Star Maps and Mute Questions
Percy laid on his back, his naked body covered only by the white, satin sheets; as Annabeth snuggled closely to his chest, quietly breathing down his neck as she pointed at the patterns created by the small plastic stars above them.
They had both calmed down from their previous adrenaline rushes and had decided to lay down, letting their bodies nestle in the comfort provided by the run-down mattress. She remained close to him, her hair pushed back, splattered across his chest, as she spoke softly into his neck.
"What about that one?" She asked, aiming her finger at the small cluster of glow in the dark dots that resided over them.
He took a deep breath and looked in the direction her finger was signaling.
"Um... Leo?" He spoke, unsure of his answer.
She plopped herself on her elbows and turned to face him, a sly grin plastered on her face.
"That... is actually correct Mr. Jackson." She said and kissed him on the lips, as her fingers traced invisible lines across his skin.
"I have my moments." He smiled, and ran his hands through her golden curls.
They kept that up for awhile, and every time he named the correct figure, he'd get a kiss. He decided astronomy wasn't half bad after all. Annabeth continued talking about the stars and galaxies, meanwhile, he began drawing his own set of constellations down her back, creating and connecting small circles with his fingers. He could barely understand what she was saying, but he didn't mind hearing her babble on about the immensity of the universe. After all, her voice was warm and soft, and for some reason it reminded him of spring. It was an unique sound, strictly reserved for post 3 AM conversations. The way she drew out the raspy syllables, letting her true Californian accent creep in, and spoke in quick whispers because she was too lazy to raise her voice, small yawns interrupting her stream of thoughts every now and then, made Percy realize how strange it was that he could know so much about her, and not know anything at the same time.
Her smile stretched itself on her lips, as slight traces of pink still burned on her cheeks and her eyes seemed to flicker like candles in the dark. That was Annabeth's real smile, unlike the small smirks she'd thrown his way every now and then, Percy noted. It brought to warm summer days of fooling around Camp Half-Blood. He could almost feel the sun hitting his back and the salt in the air from the lake fill up his nostrils. He could hear Annabeth's laughter ringing in his ears, as he chased her down the vast strawberry fields, sweat trickling down his chest and forehead. He pulled her in closer, tightening his grip around her naked waist. Percy felt her entire body pressed against him, her heart beating at an even pace, as he ran his fingers up her bare back and pushed the soft honeyed ringlets away from her face. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Her eyes were brilliant silver orbs that followed his every move, her cheeks still remained rosy and her lips were soft like velvet petals. When he'd first seen her, he'd thought she was a princess, a vision fabricated by the drug-induced state he'd been in when he'd first woken up at the infirmary. But those attributes no longer seemed appropriate, she had evolved beyond that, and he had clearly noted she was neither vision nor a princess. She was more like a storm with eyes and a beating heart. She had entire galaxies constantly forming themselves in her mind, some that even she didn't know of, and lightning that ran through her veins. There was a battle cry within her, an ancestral burden that constantly shackled her bones and weighted her heart, but she carried it effortlessly. She was gorgeously fascinating, and he half suspected he'd been a goner ever since he'd first laid eyes on her. No matter how many times he got lost, she always brought him back.
"Stop looking at me like that." She mumbled, self-consciously tapping her fingers on his chest.
His eyes lingered on her face a while longer, before his gaze fell on on her hand, a small smile remaining on his lips.
"Sorry, it's just, kinda hard not looking at you." He admitted, before adding "That was cheesy, wasn't it?"
"That was painful." She said, a small laugh falling from her lips. He moved his hand over hers, gently rolling his thumb against her skin.
He could feel the raspy tissue surrounding her forearms from the cuts. They were small, splattered like paint on the canvas that was her inner wrist. Although she had made sure to hide them well, and most of the marks were faded, a collection of scarlet slashes still contrasted gravely against her paper-like skin. She began to pull away, but he held on to her, his eyes tracing each line, new and old, wondering how many nights like that one had she felt the urge to sacrifice a piece of herself in order to warn off the demons, she alone had created. It was a haunting image that overwhelmed him with a cold curiosity, whenever Percy tried to imagine it. He wondered how she did it, whether she cried whenever she held the blade against her porcelain skin; or did her face remain emotionless with the same stone hard determination she was so famously known for? Was there anything he should say? Anything he could say? Numerous questions made their way into his consciousness, but, most of all, he wondered how many of those scars he'd been responsible for. Guilt ran through his veins as thick as blood, and his mouth felt dry.
She looked away from him, her hand turning into a small fist within his. A clear look of disappointment washed over her face as she waited for a reaction, but he remained silent.
"Please say something, don't just look at me like that..." She said quietly, hoping to gain a response.
He shook his head softly, leaning against the pillow, and shifting on the battered mattress. He faced her, his eyes fluttered, focusing on hers. They were face to face now, the faint noise of cars rushing by, feet below them was the only sound to be heard in the dark room. His eyes seemed to float aimlessly on his face, like rapidly shifting emerald orbs in the darkness, and every movement seemed like a game of shadows. She took a shaky breath before speaking again, but her voice was stern.
"What happens now?" She asked softly.
"Hmm? What do you mean?" His voice was coarse when he spoke, his gaze never leaving hers.
"I mean... After tonight, what happens? Are we just gonna to go back to our lives, like... Like we're fine? Pretend we're just some normal couple? Like 'Hey look! It's Percy and Annabeth, going to the movies' and everything's peachy?" She said sarcastically, rolling off of him. He sat up next to her, leaning on his side.
"Annabeth, I'm not sure I'm following..." He let out a small sigh, "You want us to just, breakup then?" He asked, studying her closely as she ran her fingers through her tangled hair.
"No, but... Percy, things are not gonna go back to how they were—"
"Of course they're not gonna go back to how they were before!" He interrupted her, letting out a small sarcastic chuckle, before speaking again.
"Look, I know things aren't going back, I was never expecting them to... In fact, normalcy was never in the fucking panorama for us, we both know that and things have changed but–" He was cut off short by her, her eyes timidly meeting his.
"Exactly, things have changed. A lot." She reached up, and touched the side of his face. Her hand were cold against his skin, but he didn't flinch.
"Look, I meant everything I said, every word–"
"So did I!" He spoke, but she ignored him. She glanced down at her scratched wrists and took another shaky breath before speaking again.
"But I'm not going to hold you responsible to a promise that simply isn't fair. I don't regret tonight, and I'm not having second thoughts about you, because that's not it. I love you, I really really love you, but I'm not gonna be the one to drag you down this shit-hole." She spoke quietly, her voice almost a whisper. He looked at her dumbfounded for a few seconds before properly reacting to what she was saying.
"Are you serious? I'm sorry Annabeth, but... Where have you been for the last couple of months? Cause in case you haven't noticed, I'm already in the shit-hole with you–" He grabbed her hands, warming them with his.
"–You have to believe me when I say I'm in this for the long run, okay? We both had our stuff going on and we both handled everything in extremely suckish ways, but if I could go back and change one thing, it would be not talking to you sooner! Cause, the truth is, you help me be better. And in this entire world, you were the only one these past few months, who understood everything perfectly; and talking to you, tonight, on the bridge, it made me not feel so shitty about everything... No matter what, you're always going to be the one thing that makes sense to me, you're it Annabeth. This, is it for me..." He took a deep breath, shifting his gaze downwards.
"Even tonight... I know it's... silly, but I really didn't think this is how it would go down for the first time, and don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it! I really did, but it's not at all what I envisioned, but... You know, I don't even care that much because I'm here with you, and honestly, that's all I need. You." He could feel his cheek's begin to heat up, as they took on a soft shade of pink. He spoke quietly, but loud enough for her to hear his words.
There was a small silence before she spoke again.
"Wait... You're a virgin?" She gaped at him, her eyes widening a bit. Her question catching him by surprise.
"That's the only thing you got from all that?"
"No, I heard everything else, that just, it caught me by surprise I guess." She said bumblingly, and he turned away, fidgeting with his fingers.
"Well yeah, I'm.. a virgin, well, I mean not now, obviously! But, um.. up until a few hour ago, yeah, I was. You thought differently?" He mumbled, avoiding her gaze.
He knew she must've been laughing at his poor communication and social skills, probably teasing him somewhere in the back of her mind. Instead a small smile crept into her face, as she placed a soft kiss on her dorky boyfriend's lips.
"I don't care Percy, it was a stupid question, I just assumed–" She started.
"I don't know! I didn't really think about it, I just assumed that you'd done this before." She said with a small shrug, and curled her fingers around his.
"If it makes you feel any better, it was my first time too..." She spoke quietly. He turned to look at her, and placed a small kiss on her forehead.
"Are we good now?" He asked, keeping his eyes fixed on hers.
"We're good." She spoke softly, and he could feel her breath on his jaw.
He began to lean back into the mattress, but she stopped him, grabbing his forearm.
"Wait, you should probably call your mom, I mean... I don't want Sally to worry about you the whole night, at least send her a message saying we left the party late, and I offered you my couch or something." Annabeth spoke, her thumb drawing circles over his tattoo.
"Right, good thinking," He spoke and quickly got up from the mattress.
He looked for his jeans for a couple of seconds, until he spotted them in the darkens, a small pile of clothes laying on the shiny, wooden floor. Percy wondered how they'd managed to get all the way to the other side of the room.