Maybe you were just afraid
Knowing you were miles away
From the place where you needed to be
And that's right here with me
It's you and me forever
You and me right now
I'd be alright
We're chasing stars to lose our shadow
Peter Pan and Wendy turned out fine
So won't you fly with me?
-Fly With Me, Jonas Brothers
Apollo groaned when he sat down on the couch.
"Damn Apollo, sore? You know you're supposed to set up a safety word for a reason, right?"
"You're a fine one to talk, we all saw that giant-ass hickey on Annabeth's neck when we came home."
"Oh please, you wish you could make Thalia half as happy as I made Annabeth."
Thalia stepped in before the argument could escalate and smacked both of them on the back of their heads. They whined in unison, but she just rolled her eyes and turned back to me with an amused look on her face.
I shrugged at her and turned back to cooking my grilled cheese sandwich.
Even though Percy and I hadn't gone all the way, I felt like there had definitely been a shift in the level of intensity and trust between us. The fact that I wasn't a stumbling, blushing mess - well, I was blushing, but not as much as I thought I would - and I managed to keep Luke from hearing what they were saying by playfully flicking cereal at him.
Life was good.
And then Thalia decided to say, "We're going to Disney today, and nothing you asses can say will stop me. I will hog-tie you all and drag you if I have to."
Apollo groaned, plastering his hands to his eyes. Thalia flounced over and straddled his lap, but he still refused to look at her. Smart man; she was sporting her pouting face, the one that made Luke give in and give her anything she wanted when we were younger.
"Nooooo, you already dragged me all around the mall and that's why I'm so sore, pleaseeee have mercy!"
Thalia cast a smirk over to me and leaned down to whisper in Apollo's ear. We could all hear her, but we all pretended we didn't.
"If you're still sore after today, I might be convinced to give you a massage when we come back."
Apollo promptly got up, Thalia still in his arms and walked through the door, calling over his shoulder, "Guys, get the disguises, we're going to Disney!"
Beast was about an hour drive away from Anaheim. The drive was a mixture of chaos and laughter.
The boys insisted on singing along to every song on the radio, purposefully being bad if they didn't like the song.
When one of their songs - "Be There" - came on, they immediately starting singing, poking Thalia and I in the sides to make us sing along too.
My hands darted into my purse and I dug out my iPod and plugged it into the radio, much to the protests of the boys.
I had all of their music, including their EP's and some of their own little solo singles. The look Luke was giving me made me laugh; he obviously didn't want me to play anymore of their music, so I humored them and played some of my own favorite songs.
Ellie Goulding's "Burn" played with intense beats over the speakers, and the party continued.
Their driver dropped us off in front of the gates, and Thalia pulled a camera out of her bag. She seemed to have everything in there - one time when we were in the mall and I complained that my watch battery died, she reached in and pulled out a new watch battery and a small screwdriver to fix it. I never understood how her bag could hold all that crap, but I knew better than to ask her.
"EVERYONE IN FRONT OF THE FENCE!"
We all knew better than to fight with Thalia; we all crowded around, and somehow I ended up on Percy's back. We smiled and let Thalia snap the picture.
Another tourist offered to take the photo so we could all be in it, and Thalia jumped up so Apollo was holding her bridal style. Luke had Nico in a slight headlock, and he was trying desperately to get free.
We hurried through the fence, the boys keeping their heads down so the brims of their hats covered their faces. Percy, Nico and Luke had on aviators, but Apollo had on these big-ass sunglasses that made him look like a bug - but of course, it worked on him.
Thalia snatched the map from my hands and opened it. I sighed, but kept my patience.
Thalia had just as rough a beginning as I did, and she told me one - under the influence of cold syrup when she was really sick and I was taking care of her - that she and her brother used to dream of going to Disney and living there on Main Street. I guess this was a big deal for her.
"Okay, we'll go in a slightly organized manner so we can hit up everything, and I am definitely splurging on those 'cut-the-line' passes, because for crying out loud, I don't want to wait an hour for a ride that's over in less than a minute."
Thalia forked over an insane amount of money for the passes, and we each bought our own. Thalia was lucky I loved her, otherwise I would have never spent that much money on passes.
"To Adventureland we go!"
Of course, we went into Tarzan's Treehouse (and promptly got glared at when Percy and Nico decided to do the Tarzan scream), and then cut everybody in line for the Indiana Jones ride.
And then proceeded to go on it three more times. And, to be fair, we waited in line for the forth time - and I have to say, it was nice cuddling with Percy while we waited.
Thalia dragged us through New Orleans Square, making us pose in front of the Haunted Mansion Holiday - but didn't go in, because she's a coward when it comes to that stuff - and then we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, in which I got totally freaked out by the skull right over the dive. Percy laughed his head off at me, so much I was seriously considering throwing him off the boat.
Throughout the park, we took pictures with almost every single character.
I was internally thrilled when we stumbled across Peter Pan and Wendy. I had always been in love with the idea of flying off to Nevernever Land and living with my brother and never growing up.
But as Luke told me in his ever sarcastic and still sweet way, "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional."
We skipped the little kid attractions, but we did go on all of little kid rides like Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Thalia went nuts with pictures, and I had to admit, I was ogling to appreciate it later.
We took a break, ate some burgers, I stole fries from everyone, and we all laughed as Apollo was chased by pigeons.
Thalia, the sneaky little jerk she was, managed to get a picture of Percy kissing my forehead when we were in front of Cinderella's castle.
But then she pulled out the most horrible thing of all time.
The "It's A Small World" ride. With the creepy singing dolls, the water, and the song that . . .heads.
"Thalia, I love you dearly, but I'm toying with the idea of drowning you in this water."
"I love you too honey-buns."
My ears felt like they were bleeding, but I sucked it up and went through the ride, and almost sprinted off of it when we were done.
In return for the torture Thalia subjected us to, we went on all of the huge roller coasters multiple times, screaming every single time.
Hey, it's what made it fun.
Maybe I could convince them to go to Knotts Berry Farm…
We ended up staying the entire day, drying out from Splash Mountain and then chilling around to watch the parade.
Thalia's eyes grew distant when she watched a little boy with blond hair and big blue eyes point and smile widely at his mother.
I put a silent hand on her shoulder. Nothing I could say would make her feel better, but that didn't mean I had to ignore her suffering.
We stayed for the fireworks as well, but Luke and Nico had ditched us because they "cannot stand the lovey-dovey looks of the people they consider siblings. It's too much like incest to be comforting."
Apparently my brother was following the "growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional" motto to a T.
So, Apollo and Thalia split, probably to find a place without kids to kiss like they were in an R rated movie.
Percy and I found a perfect spot. Well, it was a spot, because only one of us could sit on it.
He didn't even blink. He just sat down and then yanked me down on top of him. Internally, I thanked god I wore jean shorts and not anything more showy.
I curled into him, my head on his shoulder and both of my legs of his lap. My right arm curled around him and drew absent-minded circles on his lower back.
These were the moments I loved best about being with Percy. The quiet moments when my mind would shut up and I could just listen to his heart beat, and we would just be together without needing to talk or do anything.
Dusk fell quickly, and then all the lights went out. Kids had blankets out and were sitting with their parents, their eager faces turned up to the sky.
Disney never did anything half-assed. The firework show was spectacular.
And it did help that Percy was singing in my ear softly. He got points for it not being one of his songs, but he was singing along to the Disney music that was playing in the background. Let's just say he can beat out Shang any damn time he wants.
Seriously, this is the kind of thing that cheesy movies were made out of.
And yes, I am ashamed to say I energy crashed. It had been a long day, and I probably had been in the sun too long without a hat when we were at Autoutopia.
Percy rolled his eyes when I whined and didn't want to move, but in a quick move, he just slid me around and hoisted me up piggy-back style. I was too tired to tease him, so I just rested my face on his shoulder, pressing my face into his neck.
Luke scoffed when he saw us as we left the park, but he did help Percy lay me down in the car. Luke brushed some hair off of my face and I smiled softly at his little display of older-brotherness.
The ride back to Beast was quiet. Thalia was dead to the world, her head in Apollo's lap. The tender look on his face was so sweet, none of the boys made fun of him.
I was drifting in that weird place between sleep and consciousness. Percy had wedged himself in the corner, letting me rest in-between his legs and be cushioned by his chest.
His lips pressed to my temple, lingering there softly. I let out a long, low sigh of contentment. I could feel his smile - not a smirk, but a smile - against my skin as he wrapped his arms more tightly around me, his sea-and-sun-and-salt scent filling my nose and calming me down more than Xanax ever could.
When he scooped me up as if I weight nothing and carried me into the house, gently resting me on our bed (it really was our bed now, since we didn't sleep anywhere else, and I guess he beat out Apollo in the race for the master bedroom) and he even took off my shoes and socks. There was a soft sound of jeans and a sweatshirt hitting the floor, and I clumsily tried to pull of my own shorts.
Percy chuckled under his breath, but he came over to me and helped me out of my shorts and shirt, handing me a shirt of his to sleep in and my sleeping shorts. The fact that none of this felt sexual, and instead felt more caring than anything, made my heart stop in my chest.
Oh my freaking god…
I was in love with him.
There were no fireworks with this epiphany. There was no hallelujah chorus with angels and harps and sparkly glitter and flower petals raining down for the ceiling.
It was nothing more than a contented sigh when I finally got my bra off and thrown off the side of the bed and curled into his side, his arm curling around me protectively. It was nothing more than the roar of the waves and gentle feel of his fingers drawing circles on my side.
There was no freak out on my part, no urge to run screaming in the other direction or analyze how I could have fallen for him so hard and so fast in such a short amount of time.
I just accepted the fact that I was in love with this guy, and closed my eyes and fell asleep next to him.
A/N: Next chapter's title is "Seventeen Forever." Like the song from Metro Station. Y'all know what's coming, don't you? :) I changed the rating of this story to "M" so anyone who is reading this, PLEASE UNDERSTAND! Please do not review and bash what I write. I gave a warning, and that is that. This is more of a filler chapter for the next one, but I wanted some fluff before the big epic OH MY GOD moment. I'm having so much fun writing this guys, and your reviews and support mean the world to me!
Also, as I am going back to school tomorrow, there is a new updating schedule. I might deviate from it occasionally, but please bear with me. During the first week of the month, Ashes and Dust and With Arms Wide Open will be updated, second week will be Call of the Phoenix, third week will be Glimpses and the fourth week is my week off for writing all the next chapters. This WILL change when Call of the Phoenix is completed, which will be pretty soon. And the reason this is taking so long with chapters is because they're getting longer and longer. Normally, when I first started writing, it was about a thousand words, maybe less. Now I'm writing around three thousand words, sometimes more, each chapter. So please bear with me and keep reviewing!