Huh, it's been a while.

For those who are surprised that this chapter exists, that Author's Note was an April Fool's Joke. Thank you for the wonderfully sweet yet amusing reviews :)


BIANCA DI ANGELO

Set during The Titan's Curse

Throughout my entire twelve years (or so) of existence, I'd only been to one school dance. In fact, I was at that school dance right now. But nevertheless, I, Bianca di Angelo, could say with all the surety in the world that school dances were definitely not for me.

Maybe it was the sickeningly sweet teen love songs blaring from the speakers.

Or the red and black balloons that seemed like the perfect decorations for a birthday party in Hell.

Or the earsplitting squeals of girls my age teetering around in stilt-like heels and skimpy tops, screaming "OH MY GOD THIS IS MY JAAAMMM!" even though there wasn't a single Smuckers jar in sight.

Or the fact that no boy would talk to me except my ten-year-old brother Nico. Not that I really minded. Westover Hall was a hardcore military school. Most of the boys I knew were either future Marines or troublemakers who were sent here by their fed-up families.

As usual, Nico was more than eager to jump into the fray.

My brother looked around the gymnasium excitedly. "Should I ask someone to dance?"

"Who do you have in mind?" I asked between sips of punch.

Nico pointed at a gaggle of giggling girls. Wielding tubes of lip gloss and mascara, they surrounded an unlucky sixth grader, forcing onto him an unwanted makeover.

"Those girls are gonna eat you alive," I warned.

My brother thought for a moment. "Yeah, you're probably right... I'm gonna go play Mythomagic."

Nico went off to play with his friends while I remained on the bleachers with my red Solo cup. I was watching Nico cross the dance floor when I suddenly saw a peculiar shadow in the hallway. A human shadow with a tail.

No. This couldn't be happening. Not again.

Immediately, I put down my empty plastic cup and dashed out of the bleachers. Weaving around teens and tweens dancing clumsily and inappropriately, I chased after my little brother in the crowded dance floor.

"Nico!" I grabbed his shoulder.

My brother whipped around, surprised. "Oh, it's just you. Hey, Bianca! You wanna play Mythomagic too?"

"Nico, let's just stay at the bleachers," I said nervously, gently pulling him towards the sidelines.

He frowned. "Why?"

"Just... Come on."

We returned to our previous seats without Nico complaining one bit. For the next few minutes, we sat on the bleachers silently and I kept my eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Nico sighed, exasperated. "This is boring."

"Don't say that," I scolded.

Slouching, Nico blew out some strands of hair from his face. "It's the truth. Also, you're acting kinda weird."

I glanced over my shoulder. "I feel like someone's watching us."

Nico straightened, his dark eyes widening. "You mean like that time in-"

"Maybe."

Instantly, Nico became as alert as a guard dog, quietly inspecting his surroundings with an austere expression of cautiousness that was unusual to see on an elementary-school-aged kid. I always cherished these few blissful moments when Nico was actually still. As his older sister and only family, I was constantly looking after him, ensuring he never got into trouble - which, considering Nico's restless nature, was a pretty hard task.

After a while, Nico unsurprisingly got bored of sitting around. He took out his cards and began shuffling them. "You wanna play Mythomagic?"

"No."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure sure?"

"I'm sure sure."

"Aww, alright. Can we play What Kind Of Person Do You Think That Person Is?"

"No, Nico," I firmly declined, "That game makes us horrible people."

"But it's fuuuuuun." He gazed at me with pleading puppy-dog eyes.

I sighed. What Kind Of Person Do You Think That Person Is never failed to bring out the worst in me - my horribly judgmental side that I regularly repressed in order to be a good role-model for my brother. I couldn't help it though. The game was too entertaining. "Fine."

Nico beamed. "Okay, I'll start." He briefly scanned the gym. "That boy in the tuxedo." Nico tilted his head at the punch table. "Bet he didn't read the announcement right."

"I think so too," I agreed, "He probably thought this was a winter formal or something." I spotted a group of boys snickering by the refreshments, jeering at Tuxedo Boy. "Poor kid. Super overdressed at a school dance - that's pretty embarrassing."

Nico nodded gravely. "Poor, fancy-looking kid."

"My turn," I declared. I pointed at a strange-looking pair on the dance floor. The girl stuck out like a sore thumb with her raccoon-like eyeliner, Gothic clothes, spiky black hair, and chain-link boots. Meanwhile the boy was as normal-looking as they get, stumbling around his partner hopelessly as if he had two left feet.

"That girl belongs in a punk rock concert, not a school dance," I said.

"She looks scary," Nico stated, "Look at the boy's face - he's terrified of her!"

"Nah." I waved my hand dismissively. "He's probably afraid he's gonna fall."

Nico cocked his head to the side, confused. "Fall? You mean in love?"

"No. Fall on his face," I clarified, "The guy obviously can't ballroom dance. Poor kid."

Nico nodded gravely. "Poor, clumsy kid."

From the corner of my eye, I spotted a boy and a girl conversing on the sidelines. The girl was taller, with long, pretty blonde hair that tumbled down on her shoulders. She was talking very enthusiastically, smiling and gesturing a lot with her hands. Meanwhile, the boy was rocking back and forth on his heels, clearly trying to appear interested in the conversation.

I pointed at the pair. "How about them?"

"But it's my turn!" Nico complained but he still inspected my proposed target. He'd barely laid eyes on the two when he rolled his eyes. "They're dating. Boring."

"Hold up," I said, "I'm not so sure about that."

Nico waved his hand dismissively. "Look at the guy - he's only pretending to listen. My classmate says that when you have a girlfriend, you have to act like you're not bored every time she's talking."

Although I seriously doubted the legitimacy of dating advice from ten-year-olds, I could see some truth in that. Still...

"I don't think they're boyfriend/girlfriend," I argued, "I think they're friends. Most likely they've known each other for a while."

I watched the girl punch her friend playfully in the arm. Then, the two of them linked arms and entered the dance floor. As they shuffled awkwardly together, I continued.

"They look really good together," I stated. It was true. The boy's dark hair nicely complemented the girl's fair curls. The two of them looked no older than fourteen but already I could imagine together in the future. The image of them dancing as adults made me more happy than it should.

"You can tell that they both like each other that way. See how they're avoiding each other's eyes-"

"Meh, that's normal" Nico interrupted, tossing a Mythomagic figurine up and down repeatedly. "I do that all the time in gym class when we're forced to square-dance with the girls."

"Well, the kind of awkwardness those two have doesn't seem like that," I countered, "I mean, unlike gym class, they look like they want to dance together but... They don't really know how because they just haven't taken that next step."

"What next step?" Nico inquired naively.

"You know..." I started, feeling my cheeks redden. I was so not up to talking about this with my little brother right now. "When two people like each other-"

"Ewwww!" Nico cringed.

"Ugh, no not like that!" I exclaimed, "I mean, the step... Asking each other out! I'm guessing they haven't gone out on a date yet. They should, though."

I realized that Nico was staring at me oddly. Slowly, Nico said, "You've been watching a lot of T.V., haven't you? Did you get that from that show - what's-it-called? -, the one about a hill on a tree?"

With my face flushed, I scoffed. "Hill on a tree? That doesn't even make sense." I crossed my arms and muttered. "And besides, One Tree Hill doesn't have any relationship like that."

Suddenly, I felt an icy hand on my shoulder. Nico and I turned around to see our vice principal, Dr. Thorn, standing right behind us.

Dr. Thorn nodded at me. "Cadet di Angelo." He nodded at Nico. "Cadet di Angelo. Both of you, come with me."

He ushered us out of the gym, practically shoving us through the doors. He led us away from the only dance I'd ever attended, away from the streamers and annoying shrieks, and away from a particularly awkward couple swaying ungracefully on the dance floor.


I know I mentioned a "special-edition" Percabeth Club chapter a while ago but frankly, I've been a bit lazy about writing it. I promise that I'll get it done before I graduate high school (which might take a while)...

Feel free to request characters!

Also, I'd appreciate it if you check out my newest story "Chasing Phantoms". It's a story I've been meaning to write for a while now and I'd love to hear some feedback.

-Spec