"Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that."
I tightened my hands around the strap of my backpack, walking out of the airport. I blinked at the sudden sunlight, and brought up one hand to shield my eyes. Outside, lines of cars lined the street. People pushed past me, running to greet loved ones and get out of here. I scanned the people waiting, but didn't see the person I was looking for.
Pulling my hood lower over my face, I leaned against a wall, basking in the cool shade. I eyed everyone walking past with suspicious green eyes.
New York was fascinating. As I had flown closer, all I could do was stare at the gigantic skyscrapers and the Empire State Building, rising so high above the crowded streets. It was quite different from where I used to live in San Francisco with my mother, before I had been sent here in an attempt to get me to 'behave'.
After a few… ah, infractions, of the law, my mother had decided it was time for a change of scenery to help turn my life around. Thus so, I had been shipped all the way across the country and passed onto my father, Poseidon Jackson, in the hopes he would be able to change my behavior.
I wouldn't have been so peeved off about that if my dad hadn't been the biggest jerk there had ever been. When I was only a year old, he and my mother had had a huge fight and gotten a divorce. He had left our San Franciscan home to start a new life in New York, and I hadn't seen him since. When my mother had gotten remarried to this crappy guy named Gabe Ugliano when I was seven, it sealed the deal. I couldn't even remember my dad, and had absolutely no contact with him. I mean, he sent me a birthday card once a year, but they were impersonal and dull and almost always late.
A few weeks ago, after I had been arrested for vandalizing (it was just a bit of graffiti, honestly) my mother had announced she was officially sick of my attitude. And, reluctant as she was to send me to a reform school, she decided that the best course of action would be to send me to my father for a year to see if it made any difference in my behavior.
And so here I was, in New York City, about to go live with a man who had abandoned me when I was one year old. And, as an added bonus, it was two months into the school year.
A dark blue car pulled up in front of the airport. I watched as the driver climbed out, glancing over at the entrance to the airport. He was extraordinarily handsome, with windswept black hair peppered with a few strands of grey. He was deeply-tanned, and even from here I could see his eyes were a dazzling green, like the ocean after a storm. I knew he looked exactly like me; my mother had compared the two of us hundreds of times. And by the pictures she had of him, I knew he was my father.
I let out a bored sigh, pushing myself off the wall and back onto the sidewalk. Weaving my way through the crowds, I walked up to the car and the man.
"Mr. Jackson?" I called over to him.
Poseidon looked over at me, surprised. "Yes?" he asked, frowning at me.
I shrugged my shoulders, letting my hood fall back to reveal my face. Immediately, Poseidon's face brightened with realization.
"Perseus?" he asked, peering closely at me.
I rolled my eyes. "Who else?" I asked sarcastically.
A small frown crossed my father's face, but he quickly smiled again. He had an easygoing, kind smile that lit up his face and made him even more handsome.
"You've grown so much," he said, looking me over with an almost proud expression on his face.
"Well, seeing as the last time you saw me was when I was one, I would hope I had grown," I said, my face expressionless as I stared back at him. "Can we go now?"
Poseidon looked slightly troubled, but he nodded. "Hop in," he said, slipping back into the driver's seat.
I pulled open the door, climbing inside. Slipping off my backpack, I dropped it at my feet, leaning back in my seat. Beside me, Poseidon buckled his seat belt.
"Buckle up," he said, putting the key into the ignition. I felt the engine start, roaring to life beneath me.
"I'm good," I said, stretching my legs as much as I could in the cramped space.
Poseidon glanced at me out of the corner of his eye. "Perseus, just put on the seatbelt."
"No," I countered. "You've known me for, what, two minutes? I get to choose whether or not I wear the seatbelt."
Poseidon let out a sigh, shaking his head. "Fine," he muttered, pulling out into the street. "Don't wear it."
I felt a smirk slide across my face at the small victory. We pulled into the relatively light midday traffic. Outside, I watched the city of New York pass by; a blur of pedestrians and vehicles that I couldn't make out individually, but merged together until it was one big blur.
"So," Poseidon said, breaking the silence, "how are you?"
"Fine," I said shortly.
Poseidon tightened his grip on the wheel momentarily. "Are you excited to be starting at Goode High School tomorrow?" he asked lightly.
"No," I said offhandedly, picking at a stray piece of string on my dark blue hoodie.
Poseidon sighed. "Perseus-"
"I go by Percy," I interrupted before he could continue. "Don't call me Perseus."
"Percy," Poseidon corrected. "I understand this is awkward, and will of course be hard for you-"
"Me?" I said, rolling my eyes. "I'm perfectly fine."
I had thought over my situation on the incredibly long plane ride here, and had finally decided that it would be best if I just kept to myself for the year. The less I talked the less of a reason my father would have to talk to me.
There was an awkward silence. My father kept his eyes on the road, not looking over at me again, and I contented myself with staring out the window. I tried to read some of the store names, but the bright lettering danced across my vision, the letters twisting themselves around. My dyslexia was acting up again. Feeling even more irritated by the fact I couldn't even read the names of the stores I was driving past, I sat back in my seat, scowling down at my lap.
"Are you alright?" Poseidon asked. When I didn't answer, he seemed to take it as an invitation to keep talking.
"While I'm overjoyed you're going to be staying with me this year-"
Yeah, right, I thought, bored.
"-I am greatly dismayed by the reason you are here," Poseidon went on, shooting me a sharp look. "Your mother has told you that your behavior has taken a turn for the worst over the years."
"I'll bet you and mom were having a great laugh over the phone, talking about my many faults," I shot at him.
"Percy, you know that's not-"
"I don't even know why I'm here," I said, rolling my eyes. "It's not like I did anything wrong."
"You were arrested for vandalizing public property!" Poseidon exclaimed, raising his voice.
"It was just a bit of paint!" I defended. "It's not like I robbed a bank!"
"From what I've heard, you've come close," Poseidon said sharply. "Stealing from that convenience store like you did a few months ago."
"You call nicking a couple of candy bars stealing?" I said incredulously. "I've seen worse."
"I'm sure you have, with that gang you hang out with," Poseidon growled at me. He seemed to have gotten past the proud dad stage and was on to the you annoy the crap out of me, kid phase. It was only a matter of time before I was sent back to San Francisco, labeled a 'lost cause', and dumped in a reform school. All of my teachers had sneered at me, telling me that's where I was headed. Little did they know I had realized that shortly after I had been arrested for the first time.
"Yeah, well, the gang didn't follow me here, did they?" I said crossly. "So I don't know why you give a-"
"I care about you!" Poseidon said, raising his voice.
I actually laughed out loud. "Oh, that's rich. You haven't seen or spoken to me in sixteen years and suddenly you care about me?"
"Of course! I am your father!" Poseidon exclaimed.
"You may be my father legally, but to me you're just a stranger," I snarled. "You have never done anything for me."
"I'm taking you in for the year!" Poseidon yelled.
"And it's going to be the longest year of my life!" I said, glaring at him. "So just leave me alone, I'll stay out of your hair, and neither of us will have to speak to each other!"
Poseidon clenched his jaw shut, staring straight ahead of him. I crossed my arms tightly across my chest, glaring out the window again.
If he thought we were instantly going to be best friends, he had another thing coming. I was sick of everyone treating me like I was some kind of child. I was seventeen; I could make my own decisions! And no one was going to define who I was, not even the law.
The rest of the car ride passed in complete silence. Twenty minutes later, Poseidon pulled down a side street lined with medium-sized, nice-looking town homes. Each had a small yard in front of them and a driveway, and appeared to be two stories.
The car pulled into a driveway in front of a light blue house. The lawn was neatly kept, trimmed to perfection. The whole neighborhood seemed bright and cheery; quite a change from the small, dreary street I had lived on in San Francisco.
Poseidon pulled the key out and got out of the car. I followed after him, hopping onto the hard cement and stretching my legs out. Noticing that Poseidon was already unlocking the front door, I grabbed my backpack and slammed the car door shut, slinging the bag over my shoulder.
As soon as I had entered the house, the door was shut behind me. I scuffed at the dark, glossy flooring with the toe of my tennis shoe, looking around. Just around the corner was what appeared to be a living room, complete with a long, dark blue couch and a flat screen television. I felt a smirk slide onto my face as I shoved my hands into my pockets, strolling around.
"Nice place," I muttered under my breath, slightly in awe.
"Thanks," Poseidon said right behind me, making me jump. He walked past me, over to a set of stairs to my right. "Come on, I'll show you your room," he said flatly, obviously still annoyed with me.
Curious despite myself, I trailed after him as he led the way upstairs. The second story consisted of a long hallway set with rows of doors. Poseidon turned to the left, reaching the door at the very end. "This is where you'll be staying," he said, opening the door and walking in.
I felt my breath catch in my throat when I walked in. It was a huge room, painted in my favorite shade of blue. The bed was large and spacious, with fluffy white covers, and a desk complete with a computer stood on the other side of the room. It was obvious that Poseidon had tried as hard as he could to make it homey, and he wouldn't believe how much it affected me. My mom and I lived with Smelly Gabe (which I had nicknamed my stepfather) in a small, two bedroom apartment. And, seeing as Gabe pretty much had full reign of the house, I was forced to double my room as his 'study'. So, basically, every day I had to climb over piles of sometimes empty beer cans and cigarette stubs, and the stench was absolutely unbearable. So seeing this room really hit home for me; but I couldn't let my father see that.
"I hope it pleases you?" Poseidon asked sarcastically.
Swallowing a lump in my throat, I shrugged. "It's fine," I said, tossing my backpack onto the bed.
Poseidon eyed me searchingly. "Hmmm," is all he said.
I shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. "So, er… bye," I said hopefully, glancing over at the computer. I had only ever used the computers at school for research; it would be interesting to have one all to my own.
But Poseidon wasn't finished yet. "Check the closet," he said, motioning over to a door next to me.
I shot him a look, but he returned it unflinchingly. Rolling my eyes, I tossed open the door to the closet and found myself looking at a bunch of empty coat hangers with a couple of t-shirts hanging.
"Alright," I said, trying to humor him. "Am I supposed to be looking for Narnia, or…"
As I scanned the closet, my gaze fell on something lying on my feet. Frowning, I reached down to pick it up. "A skateboard?" I asked, examining it. It looked old and worn, but well-made. I spun one of the wheels experimentally. They glided smoothly, and I could just picture them soaring down the sidewalk.
"It used to be mine," Poseidon said wistfully. I glanced over and saw him looking at the skateboard with a small smile on his face, as if he were remembering all the good times he had had with it. "I thought you might like it."
A memory swam to the surface of my mind: my twelve year old self, careening down the street on a cheap skateboard. The wind rushing through my hair, the exhilarated smile I had worn. I had loved to skateboard. That is, before I had joined Tim Reynold's gang just a few months later. They thought skateboarding was stupid, and, though I protested, I found my skateboard had mysteriously disappeared one night. The rest of the gang watched me closely to see what I would do, trying to see if I was 'gang' material. I didn't do anything. I never asked any of them about it, although I knew they had taken it. And I had never skateboarded again.
"I don't board," I said flatly, holding it back out to my dad.
Poseidon cocked an eyebrow, but didn't move to take it. "Oh, really?"
"It's stupid," I insisted. "Go on, I don't want it."
Poseidon shook his head. "It's yours, now. You can trash it if you want, but I suggest you give it a try. You might find that you like it."
I scoffed, dropping the board onto the bed. Poseidon carried on with the conversation as though the skateboard had never been brought out.
"Now, I was going to grab pizza for dinner. Any particular kind that you want?"
I wanted to reply no, now go away, but I couldn't help myself from saying, "I like anchovies."
Poseidon grinned, his good humor apparently back. "Oh, good," he said. "That's my favorite topping. Most people find it weird."
I felt my lips twitch, and held back a smile. Poseidon turned, walking back into the hall. "I'll be back in forty-five minutes!" he called back to me. "Please try to stay out of trouble!"
I rolled my eyes and ignored him. Flopping onto my bed, I leaned back against the smooth pillows. Apparently, that marine biologist job my dad worked at paid well, if this place was anything to judge on. I felt out of place here. This wasn't anything like I was used to. But I stretched out across the bed, shutting my eyes. I could get used to this.
I heard Poseidon's car pull out of the driveway. When it was gone, I cracked my eyes open again. I shot a look at the computer, then at the skateboard lying at the foot of my bed. With a sigh, I hopped out of bed, snatching up the board. At least with Poseidon gone, I wouldn't have to worry about embarrassing myself in front of him.
One spin wouldn't hurt.
A/N: Hmm. Not really sure where this story came from. I was looking around , and I don't know if I just wasn't looking hard enough, but I couldn't find any delinquent Percy stories out there. They're probably there somewhere, but I've never read one. So, I thought, why don't I write one! And this popped out.
Not the best stuff I've ever done, but there are a lot of things I can do with this story. If you don't like Percy's behavior, don't worry; our awesome hero is still there, just hidden with all that badness. But you have to admit, he is kind of cool.
The next chapter will change view points. So, if you read this and liked it, please leave a comment! But don't leave flamers. If you don't like it, don't review. It's that simple, I don't need to hear a bunch of whining about my horrible writing.
Well, that's it. I'll update soon!