College life was a bit lonelier for Annabeth than she'd predicted. Percy had been an unexpected addition to her life, but after watching him wear himself out on his long shifts at Starbucks and dealing with his abusive stepfather, she realized he might have needed her more than she'd originally thought.

Chapter One

Luke: Are you sure you don't want to come back to California this summer?

Annabeth: Yeah. I like New York, and I love my classes.

Annabeth: Besides, the lease isn't up on the apartment until the end of August.

Luke: Not even to visit?

Annabeth: Why, miss me? ;)

"Hey, can I sit here? Everywhere else is taken."

Annabeth glanced up quickly and nodded before gazing back at her laptop screen. She barely registered the boy sit down in the empty seat across from her. Her attention was solely fixed on the Skype conversation, feeling anxious as she waited for Luke's reply.

Luke: Yes, I miss my girls. They're too far away.

Annabeth: You could always visit us…

Luke: I can't get off time from work. :(

Annabeth: :(

Luke: Are you and Thalia still getting along?

Annabeth: Of course. Just because we're living together doesn't mean we'll stop being best friends.

Luke: How's her protesting going?

Annabeth: Hasn't she told you?

Luke: Just asking.

Luke: Hey, I've gotta go. Tell her hi from me.

Annabeth: So soon?

Luke: Yeah. Crazy boss. I'll ttyl.

Annabeth: ttyl.

With a frown, she closed her laptop and bit her lip. It seemed all of her and Luke's conversations had been cut short like this, and she'd had an inkling that he and Thalia weren't speaking. Both insisted everything was fine, but she'd known them since she was seven. She knew them. There was something strange going on.

She'd never admit it aloud, but she did tend to pay more attention to Luke's conversations. It was natural when one had a crush on a guy for more than ten years. Though she wasn't so sure of that anymore. It was dwindling.

Annabeth sighed and let her eyes travel to the boy in front of her. He smiled politely, looking very tired as he sipped his large coffee. He was wearing the green, coffee-stained Starbucks apron all the baristas behind the counter were wearing. He must've been on break.

"You go to NYU?" he asked suddenly, leaning back in his chair. Annabeth glanced down at her purple sweatshirt. New York University's crest was embroidered onto the front.

"Yeah," she answered, nodding. He seemed to be around her age. "Do you?"

"Just finished second year."

"First," she said, offering a small smile in his direction. He was cute. He had that boyish look to him, however tired he seemed with his messy hair and bags under his bright green eyes. "Are you taking classes this summer?"

"Nope. But I'm guessing you are?" he said, acknowledging the pile of textbooks beside her chair. "What are you taking?"

"I'm in the architecture program," she said, trying her best not to boast.

He raised his eyebrows. "Impressive."

"Thank you," she said, smiling again. Was he flirting? She wouldn't know. She'd never really flirted with anyone, not even Luke. "What are you taking?"

"Marine biology. Sort of." He shrugged, looking sheepish at Annabeth's questioning gaze. "I don't know if I'll be going back. I lost my scholarship."


"Yeah," he said wistfully. "Mind you, I got in for swimming, and marine biology is a lot more demanding than I'd anticipated."

Annabeth's eyes involuntarily dropped to the boy's torso. Cute, smart and a swimmer's body. Goddamn. Her cheeks burned, but he hadn't noticed anything.

"So you got kicked off the team?" she asked.

"Yeah," he admitted, not seeming too concerned. "I mean, I miss the scholarship, but I don't really like swim meets. My coach loves me, though, he lets me use the pool whenever I want."

"Have you been to the ocean a lot?" she asked, thinking back to her hometown. One of her favourite pastimes was swimming in the ocean in the summer. She felt a pang in her chest. Maybe she should've taken up Luke's offer to visit.

"Not a lot, but I have." The boy's cheeks were flushing, slightly. "I love the ocean."

"Me too."

"Are you from here?"

"No, I'm from San Francisco," she admitted, and he chuckled.

"So you go swimming in the ocean a lot," he said, almost wistfully. She nodded. "How are you liking New York, then?"

"I like the school a lot," she said, absent-mindedly tracing the apple on the lid of her laptop. "I haven't really gotten a chance to explore the city as much as I would like to."

"Was your first year demanding?"


He nodded in understanding and took another sip of coffee. "It's pretty touristy around here. Are you into that stuff?"

"To an extent, I suppose…"

He smiled. "Well, I could always show you the beach, if you want to go. Nothing like California beaches, but if you're ever feeling nostalgic –"

"JACKSON!" His head whipped around as an elderly lady called him from behind the counter of the shop. "Your break ended five minutes ago!"

Annabeth saw him roll his eyes as he turned back to her. "No one's lined up. She's just bugging me."

She chuckled. "Shouldn't you be getting back?"

"Why, are you trying to get rid of me?"

Now he was definitely flirting. She shook her head and tried her best not to blush. "Just thought you wouldn't want to get in trouble."

"I'm always in trouble," he said dismissively, waving a hand.

Annabeth shook her head in amusement. "How long have you worked at Starbucks?"

"A few years. It was my first job," he explained.

"And your last, if you don't get you butt over here!" his boss called again.

"I'm coming, sheesh!" But he made no effort to move, keeping his attention on Annabeth. "Do you have a job?"

"I worked in a grocery store when I was in high school." She looked around the coffee shop. It was busy and flooded with students. There was something she loved about it the atmosphere there. "I've always wanted to work here, though. It seems entertaining."

"You end up smelling like coffee beans for the rest of your life."

"Just a plus," she teased. She hoped she was doing all right with this whole flirting thing. He was smiling, so it seemed like she hadn't screwed it up yet.

"Jackson!" the manager called again.

"Okay, I'm coming," he said resignedly. He finished up the last of his coffee, looking a little less tired. She watched as he rose, stretching his arms up before holding out his hand. "I'm Percy, by the way."

She shook his hand. "Annabeth Chase."

"Nice meeting you. See you around?"

"Sure," she found herself saying. He smiled and dropped her hand. Percy did really seem genuine. And nice. Which was more than what she could say for most of the guys she'd met in university so far. Annabeth packed her laptop and textbooks into her backpack, heaving it over the shoulder. He waved to her as she left the coffee shop.

Annabeth had never really warranted the kind of attention she wanted from boys. She was often seen as too tall. Or too nice. Or too intimidating. Something or another. She wasn't into one-night stands, unlike many of her classmates.

Or maybe it was Luke.

She'd had a crush on him for as long as she could remember, but it had always been the three of them. Luke, Thalia, Annabeth. Both of them were a few years older than her, but they'd never made her feel like the bratty little sister tagging along. They were the best friends she'd ever had.

Which was why she was nervous about going off to university and leaving them behind. She'd been more than a little surprised when Thalia decided to go with her and carry on with her activism in New York City. Although it made sense, with her career choice and all, Annabeth had sensed the divide in the group, though she hadn't a clue what happened.

Annabeth reached her apartment building. Not an overly nice place, but definitely better than the NYU dorms. She loved sharing an apartment with Thalia. She respected her space and let her study when she needed to. Annabeth fumbled with her bag for the key as she got to her door, kicking it open once it was unlocked.

"Annabeth?" Thalia called. "You home?"

"Yeah," she called back, dropping her backpack in the hallway beside her room. She wandered over to the living room/kitchen, taking in the newspaper spread across the floor. She had a giant board set on top of the papers and a can of black paint next to her. Thalia was an activist, participating in nearly every protest she could. It suited her need to express her opinion (loudly) and standing for what she believed in. Annabeth loved that she was always trying to be her own person, with her spiky black hair that fit her overall punk attitude.

Thalia looked up as Annabeth entered the room. "Hey."

"Hey there." Annabeth sat on the couch. "What are you making?"

"Another sign," she said, dipping her paintbrush in the can and fixing up a letter. Annabeth couldn't read what it said; being dyslexic was one thing, but dyslexia and reading upside down? No thanks. "Did you get some work done at Starbucks?"

"A bit."

"That's good."

"I talked to Luke."

She paused for only a millisecond before continuing painting. But Annabeth caught it. "That's good. What'd he say?"

"Hi. And that he misses us."

"Not enough to visit."

Annabeth shrugged, and Thalia straightened up and placed the paintbrush on the lid of the can. "He said he couldn't get time off from work."


"That's what he said."

"That's always what he says." Thalia wouldn't look Annabeth in the eye as she took the board from the floor and looked for a place to prop it up. "By the way, are you okay with me having a few friends over tonight?"

"Rachel again?"

"Yeah, and this guy we met, Grover." She put the board against the wall and moved a newspaper underneath it. "He's an environmentalist."

"Oh." Annabeth shrugged. "Well, sure. I'm just studying."

"You don't want to join us?"

"I'm not that interested in watching documentaries and drinking beer."

"We eat popcorn, too," Thalia defended, and Annabeth laughed. "Okay, well as long as you're okay with it. We won't be too loud."

"Don't worry about it." Annabeth wandered off into the kitchen, hoping her expression wouldn't betray her. She was glad Thalia was making new friends and all, but either Annabeth was too busy or just plain sucked at making friends.

She really was thankful for Luke and Thalia, who'd been her family since her parents divorced when she was five. But as much as it pained her to admit it, she still needed them, and they were a bit absent at the moment. As much as Annabeth loved architecture and NYU, it wasn't enough.

She couldn't help but feel a little lonely.

"Mom, I'm home!"

Percy kicked off his shoes and ran to the kitchen. His mom was at the stove, stirring a pot of pasta sauce. He engulfed her in a hug that made her laugh. "Percy, I'm cooking!"

"Hey, mom," he said, kissing her bony cheek. "Spaghetti tonight?"

"Yes," she said, slapping his hand away from the sauce. "Gabe will be home for dinner."

Percy's arms fell limp, his good mood evaporating immediately. There was no one he hated more than his step-father. At the beginning, he was all smiles and caring, but as soon as he married Percy's mother, he became manipulative, demanding.


Percy didn't like to think about all the times he'd had to protect his mother because Gabe was on a drunken rampage. He couldn't stand how much he'd hurt her. His mother was possibly the sweetest person he knew, and she never deserved any pain.

But they were stuck. Not only could they not afford a divorce, they couldn't afford their apartment without Gabe. Percy's mother already worked two jobs just to bring food into the house before Gabe stole the rest of her paycheck for alcohol. And now that Percy lost his scholarship…

"Great," Percy mumbled, reaching into the cupboards for plates and beginning to set the table. "Just great."

"It'll be fine," she said soothingly.

"Maybe." He sighed. And he was having a pretty good day. He'd gotten his bi-weekly paycheck and made sure to deposit it before Gabe could lay his greedy eyes on the numbers and force him to fork it over. He hadn't spilled any coffee on him today. He managed to talk to a pretty girl without seeming too nervous.

One day, maybe he'd talk to one without word vomiting.

One day.

"How was work today?" his mother asked.

"Good. By the way," Percy said, suddenly remembering. "I'm going to a friend's apartment with Grover after dinner."

"Which friend?"

"Don't actually know," he confessed sheepishly. "He said he met these cool girls at the environmental protest he was doing today. He wanted me to come."

"A double date?" she asked.

"No. Just watching movies."

His mom rolled his eyes and turned off the stove. "All right. So that means you're coming home tonight?"

Percy rolled his eyes this time. He wasn't a one-night stand kind of guy. He could barely flirt with girls without getting tongue-tied. "Of course."

"Just making sure," she teased, leaning over to kiss his cheek. "Why don't you go ahead and eat and leave before Gabe comes home?"

He paused, watching her closely. "Are you sure?" If Gabe was drinking, he could get violent when he didn't get what he wanted. And he was always drinking.

"A hundred percent," she assured him.

"You're taking the cell phone, then." They only could afford one basic phone bill.

"Are you sure? You need to walk home late –"

"Grover will be with me," Percy promised. "Keep the cell."

"All right."

"And you have to call me if anything goes wrong."


"Seriously," he said, taking her by the shoulders and looking into her eyes. Just getting the message across. "If he's being horrible or if you're scared or anything. Just call. I'll be here. I'm only ten minutes away."

"Percy, I'll be fine," she said, and he could tell she was trying not to laugh. "The fridge is stocked, he'll be out before you know it."

He let out a long breath and nodded.

He was on edge the entire time he was eating, despite the fact that Gabe wasn't home yet. He never trusted him if he could help it. Sure, he could pay the bills and rent on time, but he was vile and cruel and overall disrespectful in every way imaginable. Percy couldn't count the number of times he'd been beaten for standing up for his mother.

It was worth it.

So he was a mama's boy. It didn't matter to him. She was all she'd had for so long. His father left when he was younger, practically disappearing off the face of the earth. He was around ten years old when Gabe came around, and nearly ten years later, he was still wishing he'd leave. If only he'd said something. Just once. He was so afraid of messing with something that made his mom happy.

Percy shook the regret from his mind and shovelled down his spaghetti, aware his mom was watching him. She always did that. Smiled and watched him like he was still a baby.

"You're such a mother," he shot cheekily at her, mouth still full. She only laughed.

He made sure the cell phone was in her pocket before he took off in the direction of Grover's apartment. Even though Percy knew he had Grover, his best friend, and there were people like the guys on the swim team and the coach who gave a shit, he just couldn't shake the feeling that his mother was the only person he really cared about. He knew he was being parental and obsessive, but if something had happened to her… he shivered, despite the heat.

He was just scared for her. Or petrified. That worked too.

Grover was waiting outside his apartment building and wearing a shirt that "Treesome", featuring a couple of trees on the front, and Percy laughed. Grover was crazy about the environment. Percy swore that he was going to get beat up some day after giving someone his "Trees Need Love Too" speech.

"So who are these girls?" Percy asked as he followed Grover to wherever these girls lived. "My mom is convinced you've set me up."

Grover snorted. Percy supposed he knew better than to try that. "No. I'm pretty sure one of them has sworn off dating, anyway."


"Thalia and Rachel," he said. "They're a bit older than you, more around my age. They're cool. They were talking about this documentary –"

"Grover," Percy cut in, moaning. "You guys aren't watching a documentary tonight, are you?"

Grover didn't say a word.

"Goddammit," he swore, kicking the sidewalk moodily. "Not again."

"Free drinks," Grover supplied weakly, but he knew it wouldn't help. Percy wasn't sworn off alcohol, but after seeing what it did to Gabe, he wasn't so fond of it. Grover didn't know any of this, of course.


"Hey, just stick around for a couple of hours," he said pleadingly. "A favour to me. And to yourself. You need to stop working yourself into the ground."

"I need to pay my tuition," Percy replied automatically.

"You need to be sane to study." Grover nudged Percy. "Come on. I owe you."

"No, it's okay," Percy said, shaking his head. "You're right. I could use a drink and some time to relax."

"I'm sure you'll fall right asleep."

"Great," Percy mumbled again, and Grover laughed.

Well, at least his boredom was useful for something.

Annabeth couldn't make up her mind.

This was strange for her. She was normally a decisive person and sure of herself. But she couldn't decide whether it was too late to go in and join Thalia and her friends when she hadn't said hello when they'd first come in. But they were roommates, right? She didn't have an obligation. Was it rude? Maybe she could pretend she'd just gotten in – no, that wouldn't work, they could see the front door from the living room. Maybe if she was quiet, she could just tip toe out, open the door and quickly turn around and say hello. But Thalia would know and probably call her out on it.

Goodness, she just wanted her frozen pizza.

Fuck it, she decided, slamming her pencil down and shoving her chair back. She hadn't eaten in eight hours and she was starving. To hell with it if it was rude. She really hated the way she overthought things sometimes. It couldn't be healthy.

The television was facing the opposite way of the kitchen, so she quietly padded into the hall and slipped into the kitchen. Her stomach was grumbling so much she thought it was going to cave into itself. The frozen air from the freezer was calming on her skin (this summer was unusually hot, and the lack of air conditioning didn't help). She stood there for a few seconds, revelling in the slight relief of heat before taking her beloved frozen pizza box from the freezer, heading for the microwave.

Then jumped about ten feet in the air.

Annabeth blinked repeatedly, her heart slowing from the scare. What was the cute barista from Starbucks doing in her kitchen?

"It is you!" he exclaimed gleefully. "You live here?"

"What the hell are you doing here?" she said in a rushed whisper, holding the frozen pizza box to her chest. She hadn't even heard him come into the kitchen. "You almost gave me a heart attack!"

He suddenly grinned sheepishly. "You probably think I'm stalking you."


"I'm not!" he reassured quickly. "I came with Grover. He knows Thalia and Rachel."

Annabeth let out a sigh of relief. "Oh."


"Small world," she commented, opening the box. Now that she knew Percy wasn't here to kill her, she was hungry again. "Didn't have any shifts tonight?"

"Nah, I've been working since five."

Annabeth turned back to him, stunned. "Five in the morning?" she asked, not believing her ears. He'd talked to her around three in the afternoon. Then went back to work.

"Yeah," he said, unfazed. "I took two six-hour shifts."

"That's twelve hours working, non-stop."

"Well, I had a break, as you know," he said, grinning at her. She turned away to hide her blush, busying herself with her pizza. He had an amazing smile. Why did he have to have an amazing smile?

"Why do you work so much?" she asked as she put her plate in the microwave. He shoved his hands in his pockets and shrugged. "Do you want to be manager or something?"

He snorted. "Only if it'd get me higher pay."

"Oh, so you need the money." He shrugged again, and Annabeth got the hint. She propped herself up onto the counter and crossed her arms around herself. "So how's the movie?"

"The documentary," he stressed, "is boring as hell."

"I suspected as much."

"Were you going to join?"

"I thought about it," she admitted. Sometimes she just wanted to be around people, even if she wasn't going to enjoy it. But she wasn't about to admit that to him. "I was mostly hungry, though."

"I can see that," he teased.

"Do you want any?" she asked, suddenly remembering her manners. Good going, Annabeth.

"No thanks, I ate before coming here." He looked around the kitchen. It was small and plain with white walls, but it was clean. Mostly. "You and Thalia have a nice apartment."

"Thank you."

"How'd you end up rooming together?"

"We're actually both from San Francisco," she explained, reaching back to the microwave to get her pizza. "I've known her since I was seven."

"You must be close." She shrugged, and Percy raised an eyebrow. "Or not?"

"We're okay," She said shortly, taking her pizza and gesturing him to follow her. Thalia, Rachel and who she guessed was Grover didn't look up from the documentary as they passed into her room. Annabeth sat backwards on her chair and Percy sat on the only other available surface: her bed.

She was really hoping that wasn't suggestive.

"Are you and Grover close?" she asked, hoping she wasn't blushing again.

"Definitely," he said, looking around distractedly. "Ever since high school. You're really good at drawing buildings."

Annabeth noticed he was staring at the blueprints she was working on, tacked up on the bulletin board above her desk. She blushed again. Why was she blushing so much? "Thank you."

"You'll be a great architect," he said, still staring at the drawings.

"Quit flattering me." Okay, so maybe she wasn't the greatest at taking compliments. She shoved the rest of the pizza in her mouth to shut herself up, avoiding his grin.

"That's okay," he said, unconcerned, "you can just flatter me at my next swim meet."

Half-naked Percy. She'd noticed how good he looked, especially without the unflattering Starbucks apron in the way. Fuck.

"So," she said, quickly changing the subject, "want to play cards or something?"


"Or watch a movie on my laptop," she suggested. "Unless you're sick of movies."

"Let's play cards."

Maybe playing cards was a bad idea.

But also a very good idea, in a completely different way.

Annabeth was outwardly unnerved by Percy, and he couldn't tell why. Maybe he shouldn't have scared in the kitchen, but he hadn't meant to. He could tell she really didn't like talking about herself. At all.

But Annabeth was very competitive, and when they were playing cards, this game where they were switching cards back and forth as fast as they could and their hands kept bumping into each other but they couldn't really play the game otherwise and it was as though something had lit in her. Like she'd come out of hiding, like she'd come alive.

And it was so fucking hot.

"I win," she declared, slamming down her last card and sweeping the pile of cards towards her triumphantly.

Percy narrowed his eyes. "You do not."

"I put it down first!"

"You did not!"

"We're playing again," she said stubbornly. They were playing to see who'd win best out of three, and they'd each won a game. "We can't declare a tie."

"Deal," he shot back. Though he didn't really care all that much about winning. She probably had won that last round. But he didn't really want to leave yet. He reached to shuffle the cards, watching Annabeth practically jumping up and down, like she was warming up.

He dealt the cards quickly, looking up at her as they counted off to start. He found himself looking in her eyes again. They were grey. Interesting. She was interesting. He didn't understand why he was already so invested in her.

"Three!" He stumbled upon flipping over his first card, accidentally giving her a head start. And then his head was back to cards, flipping them, lining them up. Her hand slammed on his accidently but she brushed it off, too focused on the game. He kept his grin to himself as he slammed his cards down, nearly losing them all, he had just one card left, but so did Annabeth and then –"

"GOT IT!" she yelled happily as she slammed down her last card. Percy couldn't claim otherwise; he couldn't put down his own card. He watched as she did a little dance. "I win!"

He grinned. "Yeah, you did." She blushed and immediately stopped dancing, much to Percy's disappointment.

"You're good," she said, picking up the cards. "No one's ever come so close to beating me."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" he joked.

"It's all about the strategy."

He shook his head, still smiling. He lay back on Annabeth's comfortable bedroom floor and closed his eyes. He suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired, and for some reason found the ground as a suitable temporary bed. He heard a giggle before hearing a gentle thump next to him. She'd lain down beside him.

"Tired?" she asked, her voice light and airy.


"No more twelve-hour shifts, Percy."

"Gotta pay tuition," he repeated, shifting around to get comfortable. "Your carpet is very soft."

"No, it's really not. You're going to get back pain."

"I can take it."

"Percy, I don't think I can lift you. I'm sure you can crash on the couch if you get up."

"Nah, I've gotta get home." He opened his eyes and placed his hands behind his head. Annabeth was watching him curiously. "My mom's probably waiting up for me."

"You live with your mom?"

He suddenly felt defensive. "Yeah."

"That's nice," she said, and he relaxed. Annabeth is nice, he reminded himself. He just felt overly protective of his mother. To strange extremes. Annabeth rolled over onto her back and stared at her ceiling. "I wish I lived with my mom."

That was an odd wish for someone her age. "Why?"

"I've never lived with her," she said quietly. Very quietly, like it was a secret and there were others around. "She and my dad never married."

"Neither did my parents," Percy said, equally as quietly. He never thought this was what they had in common.

"My step mother isn't so bad," she said, like she was trying to reason with herself. "Not really. She's annoying, though. She likes to try to act like my mom. Set curfews and tell me to eat better and makes me babysit. Then she tries to talk to me like we're best friends, about makeup and boys and school. I hate it."

"She's just trying."

"I hate that. But my real mom…" She trailed off. "Well, she never tries at all."

Percy stayed quiet for a moment. "So, are there any boys?"

Out of the corner of her eye, he saw her lips twitch. "No."


"Do you talk to your mom about girls?" she asked, equally not-as-subtly.

"If there were any, I would." He turned to her. She was biting her lips, trying not to smile. "Might talk to her tonight." And without really realizing what he was doing, he was leaning in to kiss her.

He could feel her breath on his lips when she ducked away.

"Umm," she blurted out. Percy leaned back immediately. "Sorry."

"No, I'm sorry," he stammered. "I didn't mean to –"

"It's okay." She sat up, determinedly not looking at him. "Maybe you could take me out first. If you want to."

He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Shit, he'd been really worried he'd been reading everything all wrong. It wasn't as if he'd done any of this before.

"Yeah," he said, sitting up as well. She finally looked up to him, and he smiled. "Of course I want to."

Annabeth still looked nervous for some reason, so he leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. She blushed a brighter red, if that was possible. He was pretty sure his own face was the colour of a tomato.

"I'm just going to see if their movie is finished," she said softly, standing to peek out to living room and check. Percy ran a hand through his hair as he stood up. She seemed overly cautious again, and he hoped he hadn't messed up too badly.

"I can leave, if you want," he offered, shoving his hands in his pockets.

"No no," she said immediately, slipping back in her room. "Don't leave. I didn't mean it like that."

"Okay," he said, relieved. "But, umm. I probably do have to go soon. Talk to my mom about girls and all."

That made her smile, and he was glad.

He went out the living room. Thalia, Rachel and Grover were in the same position on the couch as he'd left them. Typical. "Hey, Grover, I'm going to go!"

"Wha? Percy?" He tore his eyes away from the screen and twisted around. "I thought you left. Like an hour ago."

"Nope, I'm leaving now. You coming?"

"Yeah, just hold up a second. Movie's almost over." And he went back to staring at the screen, jaw automatically dropping. Percy chuckled and leaned against the wall, waiting.

"So you're working again tomorrow?" Annabeth had come out to the living room and was leaning against the opposite wall. Percy nodded and unsuccessfully attempted to stifle a yawn.

"Yeah. Ten o'clock, though. And only one shift."

"I may be studying there," she mentioned casually.

"I may be taking a lunch break."

She glanced back at our friends, who were cheering and clapping at the end of the movie. "Lunch break, huh?"


She quickly leaned up to kiss his cheek. It immediately tingled. Annabeth leaned back on her heels, smiling. "See you then," she said, hurrying back into her room. Percy didn't move. He was pretty sure he'd been stricken dumb.

Grover laughed at him the entire way home.