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"She's just so... over-protective! Like, I'm babysitting this lady's kids." I exclaimed in frustration.
Thalia nodded slowly, acting like she understood my pain.
We were sitting in our favourite café, and she was stirring sugar into her coffee.
"Yeah, what's going again?"
She held up her hands. "I'm sorry, I'm tired!"
I sighed and told her again what Mom had said.
"Ok, so Athena thinks you and Percy are..." Thalia made a gesture to indicate a romantic relationship.
I rolled my eyes. "Yes." I said, ready for her hysterical laughter.
Thalia exploded into fits of giggles, spilling some of her drink onto the table.
"Why do I even bother telling you this stuff?" I crossed my arms.
She shrugged, gasping for breath. "Look, Annie, sorry I laughed, but seriously. You spend heaps of time at a stranger's house, with a hot boy who is older than you. It's no wonder your mom's concerned."
"Well what am I supposed to do about it?"
"I don't know, invite them over for dinner or something."
Huh, that actually wasn't a bad idea. Mom would get to meet Sally and Percy, and then she'd learn that he's not that type of guy.
Seeing my expression, Thalia nodded smugly. "See Annabeth, that's why you tell me this stuff."
Back at home, I decided to tell Dad first.
He nodded once, buried in his history work. "I think that's a great idea, sweetie." He said absently.
"Did you actually hear my idea, Dad?"
He nodded again. "Sure, sweetie."
Why do I surround myself with people you have the attention span of a goldfish, I wondered.
"Never mind." I deadpanned.
Mom was sitting in the living room, reading a magazine.
She glanced up at me as I came in and sat down across from her.
I took a deep breath. "I was thinking that, maybe, we could have the Jackson's over for dinner."
Mom raised a dark eyebrow. "Why?"
"Well, you were worried about me being in a stranger's house, so if you met them, you'd know they weren't like that."
"Ok, fine," She said after a moment of thought, turning back to her magazine.
I beamed, trying to contain myself as I bounded out of the room and up the stairs to my room.
A couple days after, the Jackson's came for dinner.
Mom had decided to make a range of Mexican food, from tacos to enchiladas, and it was making my mouth water even from my room.
Dad set up the table and the twins rushed to clean up all their toys, though I knew Sally would be used to things all the floor.
I got dressed, putting on dark skinny jeans and a nice light grey sweater. I tied my blonde hair into a ponytail and went to help Mom in the kitchen.
Ten minutes later, the door bell rang.
"I'll get it," I said, speed-walking to the door.
"Hey Annabeth!" Sally said, giving me a tight hug.
"Hi Sally," I hugged her back. "Please, come in."
She and Paul walked in, followed by Tyler and Sienna.
Percy was last, and he looked absolutely gorgeous. It looked like he'd at least tried to get his wild black hair under control, and he was wearing jeans and a red flannel over a black t-shirt.
"You look amazing," He flashed a lopsided grin.
I blushed. "Thanks, you too."
We followed the his family to the dining room, where Mom and Dad were introducing themselves to Sally and Paul.
"You must be Percy," My dad said, stepping forward to shake Percy's hand.
Percy grasped Dad's hand. "Nice to meet you, Mr Chase."
Bobby and Matthew ran off to play with Ty and Sienna, and Dad told me to show Percy around while Sally went to help Mom prepare the food.
I showed Percy through the house, and when we got to my room, he whistled.
"You really do like to read," He said, staring at my bookshelves.
I sat down on my bed. "Uh, yeah."
"How on earth do you keep your room so neat?"
"It's called cleaning, Seaweed Brain." I smirked.
Percy turned to look at me. "What did you just call me, Wise Girl."
I laughed. "Calling me 'Wise Girl' isn't an insult, Perce."
He sat down next to me. "Whatever, Wise Girl."
I gave him a small shove, laughing harder.
"Annabeth! Dinner!" Dad called from downstairs, and I raced Percy to the stairwell.
Mom was putting the last plate on the table as we sat down.
"Oh my god," Percy eyed the food. "I'm in heaven!"
Sally frowned at him. "Percy, no."
After seeing how he devoured his pancakes just a few days ago, I smiled at his enthusiasm.
"Dig in," Mom said, passing around a plate of tortillas.
When everyone's plate was full, conversation started. The adults talked about their work, the kids were laughing at everything and nothing, and Percy and I were kinda stuck in the middle of the two conversations until Mom asked Percy a question.
"So Percy, what are you into?"
I shot her a warning look, but her cheery gaze had darkened as it settled on him.
"Well," Percy set down his fork. "I'm in a band, and I like to swim."
"Is your band good?" She asked.
Percy shrugged. "We're getting a lot better, getting more gigs and stuff, I guess we're alright."
"Perce," I interrupted. "You guys are amazing!"
Mom glared discreetly at me. "You've heard them?" It was more an accusation than a question.
"Uh, yeah, Piper's boyfriend is their drummer."
"Yeah, he's my cousin." Percy added. His eyes were dark and I knew he'd noticed Mom's mood.
He glanced at me from the side, as if to ask, what's with her?
"Oh, what a coincidence."
"Tell me about it," I muttered as I brought my glass of lemonade to my lips.
Dad saved me and Percy by cutting off Mom to ask Paul about his teaching.
After dinner, I went around and gathered the plates.
"Here, let me help." Percy said, getting up from the seat and taking half of my huge pile.
We walked into the kitchen together, and as soon as the door swung shut behind us, Percy looked at me.
"Is it just me or does your mom seriously dislike me?" He said quietly, loading plates into the dishwasher.
I blushed. "She thinks you and I are kinda... You know." I hoped he knew without me having to say it. Talking to Thalia about it was one thing, but talking about it to Percy?
A look of confusion crossed Percy's face, and his cheeks grew redder as he came to a realisation.
"Oh. Oh, oh god," He looked like he might be sick. "I don't give off that kind of impression do I? I mean, I would never use anyone like that!"
In another situation, his reaction might've been funny. "I'm sorry, Perce. I invited you guys over tonight so we could prove her wrong."
Percy nodded. "Ok, well we should get back out there, you know, before she starts to think something's going on."
"Of course," I followed him back to the table, sitting down next to him.
Mom thanked us for cleaning up, her gaze still critical.
We talked for a few hours over coffee, Mom and Dad bombarding Percy with questions about school and stuff. He took it in his stride, even making Dad laugh at some corny joke.
"It was so great to meet you!" Mom said, giving Sally a hug as we stood by the front door.
Sally smiled. "Thank you so much for having us over, Athena, the food was delicious."
Paul and the kids went to their car, followed by Percy and Sally after they'd said goodbye.
Percy grinned at me as he hopped in the back seat next to his sister.
When they'd gone, Dad shut the door and said, "Well, weren't they lovely people, huh honey?"
"Yes, they were," Mom replied.
The next month passed as most of the year had.
Winter came, and soon the city was covered in snow. I looked after Sienna and Tyler, and my friends and I became really close to Percy's band.
Piper and Jason were literally the cutest couple, and Rachel and I had even come up with a ship name for them.
A week before Christmas, Piper invited us all over to her place for the night.
Not many people knew this, but Piper's dad was the actor Tristan McClean, and her mom was a model. She and Rachel were pretty much filthy rich, but they're didn't like to drag about it.
When I got there with Thalia, they were all there already but Luke, Hazel and Reyna.
Jason, Percy and Nico were playing Mario Kart, shouting ridiculously loud and making exaggerated movement as they turned the wheel.
Piper and Rachel were watching in amusement, and they had mattresses set up in her huge living room.
"Yo!" Leo called from his seat on one of the makeshift beds.
"Ohhhh!" Nico whooped. "Winner!"
Percy gave him a shove. "No way dude, you cheated!"
"How do you even cheat on Mario Kart?" Thalia questioned with a smirk.
"He pushed me off the track," Percy pouted, and Nico laughed evilly.
Piper told us that the other three couldn't make it, so it was just the eight of us.
We all piled onto the couches, playing games on the Wii and Xbox. Unsurprisingly, Thalia kicked ass, like she did at most video games.
Piper had ordered pizza, ordering a lot more than any of us girls would normally eat to compensate for Nico and Percy's huge appetites.
It was a wonder those two weren't fat, considering they practically ate two whole pizzas between the two of them.
"Dude, I'm impressed." Thalia said to Nico with grudging respect, earning her a mock bow.
Jason rolled his eyes, holding Piper's hand as they shared a vegetarian pizza, even though he wasn't vegetarian.
Rachel poured us all a cup, which Leo managed to spill all over himself.
"Aw man," He complained.
He headed upstairs to clean himself up, and the rest of us sat down on our mattresses. Piper and Jason shared the huge futon, Rachel had the couch, and the rest of us were in a line on the floor.
When Leo got back, we put on a movie, watching Wolf Creak 2, which really wasn't a good idea.
None of us could sleep after that, so we played truth or dare.
"Alright," Rachel said. "Truth or Dare... Nico."
"Dare!" He answered immediately.
Rachel dared him to fill Silena's -Piper's half sister- slippers with shaving cream, which was pretty lame to be honest, but we were just warming up.
Nico dared Jason to flash some passing cars, which was hilarious. Then Jason dared Thalia to a piece of clothing with one of us, probably hoping for her to do something embarrassing.
But Thalia simply swapped shoes with me.
"You're such a buzz kill, Thalia," Leo remarked with a smirk.
Thalia glared. "Whatever, you should've been more specific. Anyways, truth or dare Percy."
"Pfft, dare." Percy said, like it should've been obvious.
"Alright, tough guy," Thalia challenged. "I dare you to take a swim, in the clothes you're wearing."
Percy smirked. "Fine."
"Uh," I said. "You realise it's been snowing, right? The water's got to be freezing."
"The pool's heated, he should be fine." Piper said dismissively.
We followed Percy out to the pool. Like Piper had said, the water was heated, but it was still too cold to swim in.
Standing around the deep end, Percy slipped his shirt over his head, doing that cute thing guys do how they grab it behind their head.
Struggling to keep my gaze off his toned stomach, we watched as he readied himself for the plunge.
Jason gave Percy a shove, an evil grin on his face.
A startled expression on his face, Percy whirled as he fell in, managing to grab onto my wrist and pull me with him.
"Seaweed Brain!" I screamed as I came up for air.
Percy flicked his hair out of eyes and grinned at me.
Our friends laughed, and then Jason grabbed Piper round the waist and jumped in after us, followed by Leo.
Rachel dived, then Nico pushed Thalia in before he bombed, almost emptying the pool.
Even though it was cold, I couldn't help but smile as Percy jumped onto Jason's shoulders, bunking his cousin's head under water before Jason grabbed his leg and flipped him over.
Then I knew, that becoming Sally's babysitter was probably the best decision I had ever made.
Well, what did you guys think?
Can we get 100 reviews, ppppplllleeeeaaaassssseee!
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