Disclaimer: I do not own Rick Riordan, the Percy Jackson books, characters, series, movies, or anything else you may recognize.
One More Day
"I'm hurting, baby, I'm broken down
I need your loving, loving
I need it now.
When I'm without you,
I'm something weak…"
"Sugar" by Maroon 5
"Say cheese!" A camera flashed as we smiled and struck the classic prom pose in front of a gold, black and white balloon arch. The smell of the ocean wrapped around me as Percy's lips lightly brushed the top of my head. I looked up and Percy was smiling at me, his sea green eyes sparkling. He led us away from the photo station so the other couples could get their portraits done as well.
He looked so handsome. I had never seen him in a suit and looking so fancy. He had chosen a black suit with royal blue dress shirt and a black tie. His hair was as messy as always, but I could tell that he (and probably his mom) had tried to tame it somewhat.
"You look so gorgeous," Percy said, his eyes never leaving me.
"I was just thinking the same thing about you," I said, for once not having to stand on the tips of my toes to kiss him. "I think it helps that you helped pick out my dress."
"That was surprisingly fun," Percy said cheerfully. We had made a deal – I chose what he wore for my prom, which was after his, and he chose what I wore for his. He had chosen a beautiful royal blue mermaid-style gown with an illusion neckline, a racer back, and beading all over. The skirt was fitted all the way down at the end had some tulle overlay, which made me look like an actual mermaid. My boyfriend had great taste. "I can't believe I'm actually graduating."
"I'm so happy for you, Ducky," I said. "You've worked so hard."
"Thanks," he said as a couple of guys came up with their dates.
"Yo…you're her!" One of them said, looking at me in shock.
"Andee le Fay is at our prom? Are you here for one of those surprise prom crashes?" one of the girls asked.
"Nope, I'm here with my boyfriend," I said, giving Percy's hand a squeeze.
The guys looked stunned, looking back and forth between Percy and I. "Jackson, you're dating Andee le Fay?"
"Getting close to a year now, aren't we, babe?" Percy asked, and I could tell by the smirk on his face that he was loving this. Some of the guys he went to school with still got on his case because of his past school history, his ADHD, his dyslexia…kids suck. But Percy had done phenomenally this year – his grades were excellent, he had joined the swimming team (he had to tone it down a bit for that, make it somewhat fair) and the football team, and had made a couple mortal friends. "You guys knew I had a girlfriend that didn't go to this school named Andee. I literally talk about her all the time."
"That's true," the one guy said and another nodded. "But how would we know it was the Andee le Fay?"
"The Andee le Fay is standing right here and is in fact a normal person," I mentioned and Percy grinned, pulling me in close and wrapping an arm around me.
"That's true. She's very normal. She swears in traffic, she takes forever to get ready in the morning, she talks in her sleep…"
"Percy, shut your mouth hole right now," I said and he laughed.
"We'll see you guys later," Percy said and we walked away, over to the dancefloor.
"You liked that way too much," I said.
He was grinning so impishly I couldn't help but smile too. "I like showing you off. You are way too good for me and I have to take advantage of that at every opportunity. It's not every day a guy like me ends up with a girl like you."
"A guy like you?" I asked. "The most handsome, funny, sarcastic, sassy, kind, caring, powerful, strong, stubborn and sexy man I've ever met? You're right, it's not every day that a man that good ever ends up with a girl like me."
"Are we really doing this? Are we going to have a compliment-off right now?" Percy asked. "Because I'll win and you know it. I'm stubborn, you know."
"Gods, I love you," I said, holding him tightly and leaning into him.
"I love you too, Glow Worm."
Even though my alarm was blaring in my ear, I woke up smiling. That night had been so much fun and so perfect. We had danced all night and Percy fell asleep in my lap on the car ride home and it was the most precious thing in the world.
"Morning, Andee!" Johnny – my godmother's husband (basically step-dad) – called into my room, pushing the door open. "How'd you sleep?"
"Surprisingly well," I said, stretching a little. "You?"
"I have a ten-month-old," Johnny said flatly.
I stuck my tongue out at him as he walked away. I took a moment to stretch before heading to the bathroom to quickly brush my teeth, put my hair up in a ponytail and changed into some workout clothes. I left the house to go for my morning run before my last day of school – my last day of high school. Ever.
I was almost done!
So much had changed since last summer. I now lived in New York, which meant I was also finishing my last year of high school here too. I went to Brooklyn Academy for the Gifted. Thankfully it was only a twenty minute drive from my house (I mean, traffic was crazy so it was usually a lot more, but the thought of a short commute was nice). When the principal of my school in Vancouver found out I'd be moving to New York, she referred me and got me a spot at Brooklyn Academy, which worked out well in everyone's favor.
Since last summer, I had recorded an album that went diamond, five singles from that album have all sat at number one spots on the charts, a month-long tour of the United States and Canada, a couple weeks in Europe and Australia. All that, on top of keeping up with my school and getting caught up with the New York curriculum. It was easier, though, because the majority of my classes were performing arts based, so my touring counted as extra credit (thank the gods!). I still had to do AP algebra, AP astronomy (easy science…well, easier than chemistry or physics…no thank you), AP history and AP English literature. But I kept my grades and my training up, so that was all that mattered to Val.
I got back from my run and went back up to my room, setting myself up on the small balcony attached to my room and started my sun salutations. No matter where I was in the world or what was going on in my life, this is something I always did. It restored peace to my mind and helped me focus, especially after last summer.
Physically you couldn't see the darkness lurking in the corners of my mind. Kronos was gone, back in Tartarus where he rightfully belonged, and my mind was solid – no one could get in. But Kronos had left a sort of dark residue in my mind. I tried to keep it in at first and hope that no one would notice, but it didn't work. So instead of taking it out in anger, I put it into my music. I was known for my darker songs and sexy costumes and dancing, which was also a reason some of the teachers at my school didn't like me. Oh well. I need to get it out somehow and this way, no one got hurt.
I finished my last cycle before showering and getting re-dressed, this time in my uniform. I freakin' loved wearing a school uniform – it made me feel like I went to Hogwarts. And besides, I thought they looked cute. Ours was a navy blue pleated skirt that I pulled up a couple of inches because I wanted to make a point now that I was almost officially done school, a white oxford shirt under a navy cardigan with the school's logo, a bright red tie, white knee-high socks, and black high-heeled booties. Okay, the high heels weren't part of the uniform, but we could wear whatever footwear we wanted as long as they were neutral colors. And I loved these shoes.
I put on a little bit of make-up and as I looked in the mirror, my sun necklace glittered around my neck, the crystal back to its pristine white color. I wrapped a hand around it to remind myself that Kronos was gone, and even if a little bit of that person still remained inside me, lurking in the shadows, I was back to me. I had a choice over all of my decisions.
I went downstairs to the kitchen where Johnny was making breakfast, and Val sat at the table feeding little Dimitrios. Dimka was already ten months old! He had grown so much, and he was learning so fast! He was already starting to walk and knew a few words – way ahead of his age.
Very much a grandchild of Athena.
"Good morning, cutie," I said, hugging him in his high chair and kissing the top of his thick head of hair. "How are you?" He made some babbling noises at me and clapped his hands. "Well that's just great! I'm so glad!"
I gave Val a side-hug and she returned the embrace. "Morning, sweetheart," Val said.
"Morning, mom," I said and kissed her on the cheek before sitting down. Johnny brought over a plate with some scrambled eggs, breakfast sausages, and avocado on toast.
"Are you ready for your last day of high school?" Val asked.
"I'm so ready," I said.
She chuckled. "It's been a long haul, but you've stuck through it and I'm so proud of you," Val said. "And now, university!"
"Val," I moaned. "History final today and then we're free, prom, camp and then university. But I don't want to even start thinking about it until the end of July. I want to just enjoy summer and being a high school graduate."
We enjoyed the rest of breakfast together, eating and joking before the time came for me to leave. Val and Johnny gave me a ride to school and Phoibe was waiting for me outside at our usual meeting bench when I got there.
"Okay, so are you ready for this final? Because I don't know if I'm ready for this final," Phoibe said as soon as I approached. Phoibe Layton was my best friend at Brooklyn Academy and a daughter of Demeter. She had dark brown hair that she always wore up in a messy bun, and usually had some sort of flower or flower crown in her hair. She had pretty acorn brown eyes and freckles all over her face. She had been at Empire State Building with us, last summer, fighting alongside her brothers and sisters. It was nice to have someone here for the everyday things that had also been there for the horrible life-changing things we had had to see and do.
"It's literally on myths and mythology, I think we're good," I said as we walked into the building.
"In a sense, yes, but it's not just about our history," Phoibe said as we got to our lockers. "We have to know the Roman equivalents –"
"- which is a bunch of bull. They just stole everything from the Greeks –"
"Anyways," Phoibe interrupted my tirade, opening her locker as I did the same to mine beside hers, "we have to know our Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, and Hindu."
"It's easy to mix them up," I said, taking stuff out of my locker and putting it into my bag. The less I had to do after classes, the better. "But at least we know all the Greek ones solid."
"Yeah, you know, those…numbers, algebra, science, am I right?" someone said. "Hey Sunshine." Before I knew what was happening, lips were on mine. I was shocked and about to pull away, but I knew who it was in an instant. The smell, the feel, the taste were all engrained in me like a tattoo.
When I pulled back and looked at Percy, he was wearing his trademark grin, along with someone else that was a little disturbing. "How in Hades did you get one of the school uniforms?"
"There is a surprising amount of spare uniforms just lying around in the office – did you know that?" he asked. "I mean, anyone could just take one and pretend to be a student!"
"Like you're doing right now?" Phoibe asked and Percy grinned. "How did you even get into the office?"
Percy pulled Annabeth's Yankee's hat out of his backpack. "How mad do you think she's going to be when she figures out that I borrowed it?" I gave him a look. "Good point."
"What are you doing here, Percy?"
"Well," he started, "you know how my school got out a week ago?" I nodded. "Well, it's been so boring waiting for you to get off school every day so I thought I'd surprise you at school for your last day. Surprise!" He threw his arms in the air.
I laughed and hugged him. "Gods, I love you, Percy Jackson."
"Love you too, Andee," Percy said. "So what classes do we have today?"
"Just the history final, and then we get our yearbooks and we get out early," I said.
"Oh, isn't your history class all on 'mythology'?" Percy asked and I nodded. "I bet I could do pretty well on that test."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you banned from campus?" Phoibe asked.
There had been an incident on Valentine's Day, involving Percy scaling the building with a banner. He didn't quite finish hanging it up before our principal caught him and he got escorted off the campus and banned. "That would be why, dear Phoibe, I am undercover," Percy said, doing a little spin.
"And how long do you think you'll make it until they catch you and throw you out?" Phoibe asked, smiling.
"The goal is to make it through the entire day," Percy said. "And even if they try to kick me out, I can just disappear. So let's go to history and pretend like it's just another normal day at Brooklyn Academy for the Gifted."
I honestly couldn't stop smiling because this was just such a Percy thing to do, and it made my heart overflow with happiness.
The bell rang and we headed to history class, Percy's fingers tangling with mine. I had never had a boyfriend that went to school with me, so even if this was just for a few hours, probably less, it was really nice.
"You know, I have never liked school uniforms but you look so sexy in that," Percy said into my ear.
"Thank you," I said, smiling as I leaned into him.
We filed into the classroom. "There is already a test on every desk, so you can begin as soon as you'd like! You've got the full hour and a half to complete it. Once you're done, you can hand it up to me and then head to the auditorium for yearbook hand-out and your farewells for the year. Good luck with the test, and good luck with your life's next adventures!"
Phoibe and I sat in the back of the class per usual, Percy joining us. I quickly put my bag down, got out a couple pencils and pens and started the test. It was mostly multiple choice, except for a couple short answer questions, asking to go into detail about a few of the different stories from each culture's beliefs. I glanced over at Percy who was balancing his pencil between his nose and his lips and had to stifle a laugh. He looked over at me, grinned and winked.
I finished up my test, gathered my things and as I stood up, gave Percy a little tap on the shoulder. As I placed my test on the teacher's desk, Percy was right behind me doing the same.
"I don't recognize you," the teacher – Mr. Hoffman – said.
"I'm just not that memorable," Percy said. "But thank you for all your help this year! This was probably my favorite class. Have a good summer!"
"Yes, you too, Mr.…"
We were already out the door before Mr. Hoffman could have time to really ponder who Percy was.
As we walked down the hall, Percy peered into an empty classroom before grabbing my hand and pulling me inside it. He locked the door behind us and pulled the blinds over the window to give us some privacy. "I think I did pretty well on that test…well…on the Greek portions," he said, casually leaning on one of the desks. "The Roman parts were alright because they're pretty similar, but the Egyptian, Norse and Hindu went right over my head."
"Well hopefully you get a good enough grade to graduate on time," I said and Percy laughed, wrapping me in a tight hug.
"Oh shush, you," he said, nuzzling into my neck and hair. "I missed you."
"It's only been like, a week so I could focus on studying," I said. "But I missed you too. Thankfully it's my last day and then tomorrow's prom, which you would have seen me at anyways."
He pulled me onto his lap. "I've snuck in here all year to see you and you've never been too upset," Percy said with a smile. Our faces were so close to each other's that it was hard for me to keep myself together. I could feel the heat coming off him as our breath mixed. It was so intoxicating that all I wanted was to close the distance between us, but I had to show some sort of restraint. "I can't wait until camp. We'll have all the time in the world to do whatever we want with no distance between us."
"Do you really think Chiron will let us be anywhere alone together after finding out exactly what we were doing last summer?" I said quietly. "After my brothers found out? Which, thanks for telling them, by the way."
Percy grimaced. "I had to! And we'll make it work. That's what love is all about, isn't it?"
I smiled and nodded before his lips were on mine. I pressed myself against him, our bodies fitting together perfectly, like two puzzle pieces. His hands moved up my thighs, lightly massaging them. I gasped a little into the kiss, which made him chuckle. I moved my hands out of his hair and pulled his tie off, before moving to the buttons of his shirt, quickly undoing them. I felt the tightness of his muscles as I ran my hands up his chest and slid his shirt right off his shoulders.
"So is that the game we're playing?" Percy asked in a low, husky voice before moving his hands up, slipping them under my shirt for a moment. His hands were warm against my bare skin and rough and callused like he had been practicing his swordplay earlier (which was very likely). It only took a few seconds for him to unbutton my shirt and slide it down my arms. He loosened my tie and slipped it over my head.
We moved over to one of the tables in the back of the room so that he could prop me up higher, my legs hooked around him. He started kissing me along my jaw line, then my neck and down my stomach, kissing every inch of bare skin he could as he slid my skirt down over my hips. I used my feet to kick off my shoes and socks before reaching down and unbuttoning his pants. His lips found the scar on my lips, kissing it lightly and sending shivers through my whole body before he moved back to my lips, a new passion in our kissing.
I pressed my body to his, wanting to be as close to him as possible. His hands were restless, tracing light designs along my thighs, hips, stomach and arms. He was just about to slide off my underwear (risqué, I know) when there was a rapid knocking on the door, followed by Phoibe's voice saying, "If you guys are doing what I think you're probably doing in there, you need to wrap it up quickly because the bell is about to ring in maybe two minutes, and then you need to check in in the auditorium."
Percy sighed heavily, and I leaned my head against his forehead. "One more day," I told him before hopping down to start re-dressing. "My grad ceremony is tomorrow, and then its prom. My manager booked a room for us for after prom so we can have a special night together, then you'll come with me to my interview in the morning, and we'll go straight to Camp Half-Blood from there."
"I can't wait," Percy said, pecking me on the lips before putting his own clothes back on and moving to the window. "I'll see you tomorrow, beautiful." He kissed me again, more deeply this time, before putting jumping out the window and putting on Annabeth's hat. Normally I'd be worried because we were on the third floor of the building, but ever since he got Achilles' Curse, he's been literally invincible. It came in handy, especially when we were sparring. Neither of us had to go easy on the other, which upped our fighting skills considerably. It was great.
I pulled up the drape, unlocked the door and slid out. Phoibe was waiting for me and gave me an accusatory look. "Really?"
"We haven't seen each other in a week!" I said. "Besides, we didn't actually get that far."
"Don't want to know."
"I'm sure you'll be in the same mood when we get to camp and you see a certain son of Dionysus," I said, waggling my eyebrows at her. "Maybe one of you will actually make a move this summer?"
She gave me a look and walked a few steps ahead of me to the auditorium.