Chapter XXVIII: Complicated
Rating: T—with Percabeth!
Word Count: 3,900+
A/N: No A/N till the end. Just read :).
It is Annabeth. It is actually Annabeth. My body is frozen as if a layer of ice were covering my bones and muscles. This can't be real, I think. My mind is just messing with me. Just to make sure I'm not hallucinating, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The next time they open, not only is she still here: The distance between us is no longer too much. From here I can see her beautiful gray eyes, the upward curve formed by her lips, a dry leaf trapped on her blonde hair.
"Percy!" she shouts a second time.
This time, however, I react.
In less than five seconds I'm standing before her, my hands trembling at my sides. I am scared to find that all this is just an illusion. That my mind misses her so much that I'm seeing her everywhere. As if reading my mind, Annabeth wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me to a kiss.
Her lips on mine feel so real. So warm. So…beautiful. I realize that a hallucination would never make me feel this. Only she is capable of making my knees feel weak, of making me feel as if butterflies were moving a lot inside my body. Only Annabeth—a real one—is capable of making me feel that other kinds of hunger exist.
Right away, I pull away from her.
We stare at each other, her eyes full of worry. "What's wrong?" she asks, probably wondering why I stopped kissing her. Without previous advice, I take her waist between my hands and lift her from the ground.
"You're really here!" I exclaim while spinning on my heels. Despite everything that has happened today, we both laugh as though this were the last day of our lives. "Never do that to me again, are you listening? You're not permitted to frighten me like that again!"
Before she can reply my legs tangle between them, and we both fall to the ground. My back lands on the pavement; Annabeth, though, falls upon me, her knee some inches away from that weak spot we males have—phew…
Her gaze is on mine, gray to green, until she cuts the space between us with another kiss. A car could come and run over us, but we don't care. The only thing that matters now—somehow, I know she's thinking the same—is that we're together again. We hear Thalia and Luke coming back from inside the apartment, probably accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Chase, but we're still lost in our world.
It isn't until someone coughs that we separate, clambering to our feet. As expected, there is a little crowd formed at the apartment's door. Mrs. Chase is the first one to take a step forward, walking toward her daughter. Just like me, she moves very cautiously to make sure that Annabeth isn't false. Like me, after discovering that all this is real, she gets excited: Her arms wrap around Annabeth.
"Oh, Annabeth," she says. "You're here! What were you thinking? How could you go out without Percy? How could you go out at all? You have no idea of how worried we were! I thought I would never see you again!"
"Mom, I'm fine," replies Annabeth, patting her mother on the back awkwardly. "Nothing happened, see? I'm safe and sound. I'm sorry for making you feel worried. It wasn't my intention."
Mr. Chase joins the hug, his expression lacking of emotions. I can tell that he's trying not to cry. It is a surprise to see him like this. "From now on you're not permitted to go out without three or four people guarding your back, okay? I had never felt so scared before."
Annabeth lets out a chuckle. "Please, Dad, don't say anything more. I don't wanna cry."
"You better prepare for crying, because Luke and I still have to scold you," Thalia chimes in.
Of course, Thalia is just joking, because neither she nor Luke says anything when they wrap their arms around my girlfriend. Clearly, Annabeth is trying not to cry just like her father, but she's not making a good job. Her eyes are shiny thanks to tears, and every five seconds she sucks a lungful of air to calm herself down.
I smile, watching her bear with everyone's attention. Luckily, the street continues to be deserted, or all of us would be dead by now. It's not our smartest idea to stand in the middle of the road while giving hugs and welcoming Annabeth.
Finally, Mrs. Chase, her cheeks tear-stained and flushed, demands some silence. "I think we should all go inside the house. Annabeth has a lot to tell us."
Everyone agrees and starts entering the apartment, wishing to know how Annabeth escaped. I want to know, too, but I remain outside with her. Her eyes are on mine again, but this time no one moves. I want to say something, but, honestly, I don't know what. A couple of seconds ago I thought it would be easy to talk, but it's not.
"I'm sorry," I finally say, lowering my stare to the pavement.
"You're sorry?" she asks, sounding astonished. "What for?"
"Don't you see? Everything is my fault. I was the one who brought you out of New York. No one would have attacked you if you'd been in your house. And I was the one who fell asleep. If I hadn't I wouldn't have let you go out."
Silence. Maybe she's thinking that I'm the worst person in the world, and that it is my fault. Maybe she's thinking of breaking up with me.
As if reading my mind, she gives a step towards me and uses her thumb to tilt my head back. "Don't blame yourself, Percy. Nothing was your fault. You brought me out of New York because I asked you to do so. And you fell asleep because I told you to relax. Everything happened thanks to me. Don't ever think I will stop loving you. You're the person with whom I want to spend the rest of my life."
She stands on the tips of her feet and places a feather-like kiss on my lips. Then, we hug each other. Before someone comes to fetch us, Annabeth places her hand inside mine and guides me towards the apartment.
At the living room we are received by four pairs of eyes, watching us as if we had the answer to all the existent problems. Everyone looks anxious. They remind me of hungry animals at the zoo waiting to be fed. Annabeth sits down, keeping our hands laced. I squeeze hers, as if saying: 'I'm here with you.' She takes a deep breath and then tells us how everything happened.
It seems that the kidnappers kept her inside a garage or something of the sort, ropes keeping her from escaping. A guy tortured her with a hot, metallic thing—rage blossoms inside me while hearing this—and then moved her to a different room. There was a guy named Michael there, trapped just like her. He had a piece of broken glass in his hands. The guy helped Annabeth to escape and she did the same for him. Then, both of us ran until they found the way back to their homes.
Everything makes sense. That's why Ryder didn't find her in the house. She had escaped by then.
Again, I feel guilty for everything that happened. Every time I blink I can see before my eyes the image of Annabeth's shoulder, red where the bastard placed the metallic thing. I want to punch someone and at the same time I want to hide underneath my bed.
"That's all," says Annabeth once she finishes talking.
No one says anything. Every eye in the room is set on her, as if she were an angel or something impressing and hard to see—like a God. I start thinking that everyone will stay silent, but Annabeth's parents begin to make questions and saying that they want to pay Michael for helping their daughter.
"I don't know where he lives, Dad. He just helped me to escape and told me his name. I don't know anything more," Annabeth says.
It's Thalia's and Luke's moment to make questions or compliment her. I keep my mouth shut all the time, watching them blurt out things. The conversation last about thirty minutes until everyone is exhausted. My cousin belts out a yawn, stretching her arms towards the ceiling.
"Well, it's been a day full of surprises. I think we all need to rest before going back to New York," she says.
"Going back?" Annabeth gets on her feet, shifting her stare from Thalia to Mrs. Chase. "But our vacation just started! We can't go back."
"You wanna stay here after all that happened?" Luke asks. "I think Thalia is right. We should go back to NY. It is way safer there."
"I don't think someone will bother me again! Didn't you say everyone was captured?"
"Not everyone," I chime in. "Some escaped, but they're looking for them."
"Whatever. I don't think someone will bother me again. It would be something stupid. Too risky." Annabeth plops down in the armchair, tilting her head back. "I want to stay."
A discussion starts between Annabeth, her parents and Thalia. Luke and I stay silent. He meets my gaze, giving a nod towards my girlfriend. I shrug in response.
"Annabeth, I really think we should go back to our house," Mr. Chase says, trying to convince Annabeth, though it looks like he's failing, because she's clutching the sofa's armrests so no one can move her from there.
"Dad, please. Let me stay here. This is supposed to be Percy's and my vacation. We should be enjoying. Yeah, it wasn't fun being—kidnapped, but that chapter of my life is over. I want to continue with my previous plans. I want to spend this week here, with Percy. And I want to have Lissa and Ryder watching our backs. Please." She's pleading. Annabeth Chase is pleading.
Who can resist to that cute face? I suppose that, if one day we have children, they will inherit that expression. And I won't be able to tell them: 'No, you can't go out,' or 'No, you can't have a boyfriend, young lady.' Like her father, I would accept to let them do anything.
"Alright." Mr. Chase raises his hands in defeat, rolling his eyes as Annabeth smiles. "But you have to promise that you won't go out alone. You will take the bodyguards and Percy. And you can't go out at night. It's too dangerous. Go out early, when the streets are full of people that can aid you. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she responds, standing up and wrapping her arms around her father. "Thank you, Dad. I love you."
"I love you too, Annabeth. Don't ever scare me again, okay?" They hug for some moments until Mrs. Chase demands him to release her. "I'll see you in week. And don't forget your promise."
"Take care, Annabeth." Mrs. Chase hugs her daughter. "Are you listening? I want you to call us at least two times every day, okay? And Percy has to be with you. If not, we'll come as fast as possible and we'll take you home."
Annabeth lets out a chuckle, which dies when she notices the stern expression on her mother's face. "Uh, okay. I will call every day and I'll make Percy talk so you can know that he's with me."
Mrs. Chase remains immobile for a second. Then, she smiles, runs the palm of her hand over my cheek—I smile in response—and leaves with her husband at her side.
Annabeth and I are left alone with Thalia and Luke, who don't say anything for a long time. We just stand there, not knowing what to do or say now. Finally, Thalia yawns and places her hand inside Luke's, their fingers lacing between them. "It's a bit late," she says. "I think it's time to go back to our hotel."
"Be careful," Annabeth says. "At night the streets are more dangerous."
"You be careful, okay? I don't wanna call again and discover that you were taken by crazy people." A grin appears on Thalia's face. "I'm glad to know that you're safe, Chase. I don't know what I would do without my best friend. We'll see you two tomorrow. Good night."
"Night," Annabeth and I respond at the same time, our stares glued to my cousin and Luke as they exit the apartment. When the door closes behind them, I don't know what to do.
The lack of sound is unbearable. It would be good to have something producing any sound, but there isn't anything. I stare into Annabeth's eyes, wishing for an idea to appear in my head. Should I say the same thing as Thalia? Because I'm really glad to know that she's alright. If something had happened to her I would have died.
"Let me see what those—bastards did to you," is the smartest thing I can think of.
Without hesitating, she nods. She tugs at the sleeve of her hoodie, revealing her bare shoulder. There is a red mark upon her skin, showing where the hot thing touched. It isn't too bad, but it still makes me want to punch someone—
I realize that there's something more beside the mark. There is a gash. Dry blood is pasted on her skin, surrounding the wound. My heart starts beating twice faster than usual as I try to imagine what the hell happened to her.
"Wha-what happened to you?" I stutter. I'm not sure if I'm whispering or talking normally.
Annabeth shrugs, as if nothing was strange and all this were normal. "It's nothing. One of the men used a knife on me when I didn't let him touch me. It's no big deal. The wound stopped bleeding a long time ago. It isn't severe, or I would feel it. I just need some alcohol and a bandage."
How can she be so calm with a gash on her shoulder? It could get infected. I still wonder why she didn't want to leave Boston. Why stay here when there's more security in New York?
"If you're blaming yourself for this stop doing it," she says, shaking her head. "I already told you that nothing was your fault."
I shake my head. "It isn't that. I'm just…thinking. I can't understand some things." When a confused expression appears on her face I wave a hand at her. "Ignore me. You should take a shower. You're all dirty. In the meantime I'll search fetch ice, bandages and alcohol."
"Hey, I'm not dirty." She glares at me. Instead of replying I reach to remove the dry leaf from her hair. She sees it and blushes, something that makes me smile. "Okay, maybe I am, but I escaped and had to drag a weak guy to save his life. Try doing it without ending all dirty. It is impossible."
I laugh. It feels surprisingly good to laugh after everything. "Shut up and take a shower. I'll search for a first aid kit." Before leaving the room I take her head between my hands and pull her to a kiss, again making sure that this is not a dream. It isn't. "I love you," is the last thing I say before entering the kitchen.
From where I am standing I can hear Annabeth climbing the stairs and closing the door of the bedroom. I open every drawer, hoping to find something for her. It takes me about an hour to find a bottle of alcohol full to the brim and some bandages. By then Annabeth is clean, smelling of cinnamon and apple while sitting on the bed.
"Your father thought of everything," she says as I close the bedroom's door behind me. "I thought you wouldn't find anything because no one lives in this place."
"Dad always thinks of everything." I grin, sitting beside her upon the mattress. "Sit in front of me. I will take care of your wounds. You just sit and relax."
A smile flits across her face as she leaps off the bed, landing on the ground like a cat. Slowly, I uncover her right shoulder. Everything looks much better now that she is clean. The gash doesn't look so horrible. I pour some alcohol on my hands and start tapping her wounds. Her muscles clench, but I don't stop, because if I do she can get an infection. There is one thing more unbearable than the silence between us earlier: Watching her feeling pain. I see her hands opening and closing on her thighs, her bare feet moving a lot.
After covering her wounds with the bandages I lean forward and set a kiss on her shoulder. Her entire body trembles, as if she were made of ice and my lips of fire. We don't move for some moments. Then, she turns around, her expression serious. We look into each other's eyes until she presses her mouth against mine.
First, the kiss is tender, but then it becomes passionate. It's so easy to get lost while being with her. The next time I open my eyes I realize that she's pinning me against the bed, her legs at my sides.
"Annabeth," I mutter. "What are we doing?"
"Kissing?" She shrugs. "We're not doing anything more than that…yet."
Yet, I can hear her voice saying it over and over in my head. A part of me doesn't want anything to happen, but a bigger part wants to show her how much I missed her and how big my love is for her.
"Are—are you sure about this?" I ask, swallowing the lump in my throat.
"Yes," she whispers. "Unless you don't want to…"
I don't know what to say. Should I listen to the loudest voice in my head or the other one? Finally, I decide to say: "I—I want whatever you want."
She smiles but remains frozen in her place, and I know that she's mulling things over. I'm about to say that we don't have to do anything, but before I can open my mouth to talk she continues with our previous kiss. She rests her hands upon my chest, her thin fingers curling upon my thorax.
I wrap my arms around the low of her back, rolling over so I'm hovering above her. She grabs the hem of my shirt with trembling fingers. When it is taken off of my body I blush, every inch of my skin turning pink. Annabeth has seen me without a shirt on before, but this time is different. We're about to do more than sleep in the same bed.
Her lips place feather-like kisses on my chin, then on my Adam's apple, and in the end on my collarbone. Every kiss makes my skin burn.
"I will ask this again: Are you sure about this?" I inquire, feeling a necessity to kiss every part of her, but not without her permission. When she nods I nod too, and we start demonstrating each other how big our love is.
. . .
The next time my eyes open everything is dark around me, the only light coming from outside. The sun hasn't come out yet, but there is light coming from the street. I stretch my arm, trying to wrap it around Annabeth, but she is no longer beside me. In less than a second I sit bolt upright. Where did she go?
Without bothering to cover my bare body, I fetch my clothes. The only thing I find is my jeans. I put them on quickly and exit the room, searching for my girlfriend. What if something bad happened to her? Then, when I think that she was kidnapped again, I find her standing in the terrace.
I stare at Boston's streets, feeling as light as a feather. It's the first time in my life that I feel…okay. There are no more problems. Mom and Dad are here for me. Percy and I are better than ever, and I'm sure that we're going to be forever together. There is no one threatening me or my family. All of my problems are over.
The wind is cold, making me shiver. I should be wearing more than Percy's t-shirt, because this weather is capable of freezing a cow, but I don't care. I feel so good that nothing matters now.
"I almost had a heart attack," Percy's voice startles me. I turn around and find him standing there, wearing only jeans. Before today I would have blushed, but after what happened tonight I can't do it. I know every part of him now, and he knows my body too. There are no secrets between us.
"I'm just here, enjoying the view," I say, though probably he doesn't know that I'm talking about him.
He walks over to me, using his arms to cover my body from the wind. I lean against his chest, remaining in silence. This moment can't be more perfect.
"What are you thinking about?" he asks, placing a kiss on my cheek.
"Nothing," I respond, turning around to face him. This moment reminds me of that time when he caught me because I was falling. That happened the day I met him. "Just that everything will be more peaceful from now on."
"That's what you wanted, didn't you?"
A smile appears on my face as I lean a cheek against his collarbone. "Yeah. Percy…after what happened tonight, will something be different between us?"
He separates from me, staring directly into my eyes. "Why would something be different?"
"I don't know." A blush creeps to my cheeks. "Maybe you feel—ashamed of what happened."
"I'm not ashamed. Nothing will change, Annabeth. Everything will be exactly as it was before tonight. Well, not everything. From now on we'll do more than kiss. You realize that, right?" He grins, and I roll my eyes in response.
"Of course not. That won't happen again until we get married. You'll have to wait a long time to be with me again." I narrow my eyes, glaring at him.
"Oh well, I had to try." He laughs, and I can't help letting out a chuckle too. We wait in silence some moments more until I start feeling as if my limbs were frozen. He notices it, because he takes my hand and says: "Let's go back inside. It's really cold out here." Without warning he lifts me from the ground as if I weighed nothing.
"Percy!" I exclaim, but I don't want him to release me. As he takes me back inside the apartment I laugh, and he does the same too. Before disappearing through the entrance I stretch my arm towards the sky and open my hand, as if releasing my old life and welcoming a new one. I turn my attention back to Percy, who is suggesting taking a warm shower together.
Immediately, I hit him hard on the arm, leaving my fingers printed on his skin. "Hey, that wasn't very nice!"
"You aren't very nice." I laugh. As he continues carrying me I feel as if my old life were many miles away. Everything is peaceful. Calm. Perfect. For first time, after many years, my life isn't complicated at all.
A/N: It's over. This story is finally over. It wasn't the best ending in the world, but I hope you liked it.
I don't know what to say now that everything is over. I just want to thank everyone for reading. This story hasn't the best plot or the best grammar (or the best author), and yet you followed it. Thank you. Thank you a lot. I wanted to make a list of all the followers/reviewers/favorites, like I did the last time I finished a story. But that story only had 150 followers approximately. This one has twice that amount.
It was great reading your reviews these past months. I hope to see more reviews from all of you in my other stories. If you wanna read something else by this horrible person I'm working on three (Percabeth) stories:
-Alive. Five years after a car accident Annabeth wakes up from coma as a twenty-two-year-old woman. The first thing she sees as she comes back to the world is a pair of green eyes—her doctor's eyes. He has taken care of her since she arrived. But now that she's back she finds out that everything's changed, and suddenly she doesn't know if being alive again is good or not.
-Death at my heels. Ninety-Two; that's the number of days she's got left of life. Twenty-One; the number of things she has to do before leaving this world. Two; number of people willing to help her. The clock is ticking. Accompanied by her best friend and her good-looking acting teacher, Annabeth will try to live her life before leukemia finishes with it. Will she succeed?
-Letting Go (the story replacing this one). She can't trust men—not after being abused by one. Five years later, she has a son and is trying to let the past go, but it's not easy. When her mother appears to celebrate Thanksgiving with her, she gets herself in a lot of trouble. Now she must forget the past and find a "boyfriend" in less than four days. And a certain green-eyed man can help her.
That's all. Again, thank you for reading, and sorry for writing a Bible here; I'm just very overwhelmed because this is over. I hope to see you soon. Bye!
PS. If you like me, wish me luck! This Friday's my university admission test. :P I'm really nervous!