Navy Suits and Early Admission
It was mid November when Percy's world came crashing down (again).
The cold, winter air cut through the city like a butcher's knife, as Percy made his way to Goode High. His gold and blue stripped tie kept hitting him on the face and his navy blue jacket didn't do him any justice in this weather. Maybe it was the cold, or the steel grayness of the sky, but somehow he knew things were about to get bad again. It was the calm before the storm.
He'd been walking down the busy Manhattan streets when he saw her. He'd been tangled up in those golden curls enough times to recognize her in the crowd almost immediately. She was walking with someone, Percy didn't know who, and she hadn't seemed to notice him. Annabeth.
She was his girlfriend and he couldn't even remember the last time they'd gone on a date together. With school, and her job reconstructing Olympus, and his weekly visits to the psychiatrist his mom had gotten for him; there just never seemed to be enough time. Or at least that's what he told himself. He didn't want to face the fact that Annabeth had been distancing herself from him, so instead he'd kept himself busy. Percy pretended not to be disappointed whenever she cancelled dates or said she was too tired to hang out. After a few weeks he had eventually stopped asking, and would make up excuses whenever his plans failed.
They texted, and sometimes she called him, but other than that, there hadn't been a lot going on between them during the past month or so. The night they had spent together during his breakdown in September was still fresh in his mind, but that was all it was now. A memory, one that, if he was being truthful, he didn't know how much longer he could hold on to it. Even his mom had noticed his awkward shuffling during his phone calls and the cancelled plans and the missed calls. When she had asked him about it, he had lied and said that everything was good, that they had just agreed to take some time to focus on their schoolwork.
Percy didn't think she believed that for a second, but she didn't push him either, to which he was grateful.
"You know you can tell me if you and Annabeth are having problems, if anything has happened that I should know of..." She had told him but Percy had stopped her by saying that it was fine and that nothing had happened between them, and that was the end of their conversation.
The more he thought about it the less sense it all made to him. She had just decided one day to lock him out, and that was that. There was no apologizing, or asking any of the questions that had been burning holes in his mind for weeks now. No, there wasn't any of that, because technically they were still dating. Could it still be called dating? Even when they barely saw each other, and couldn't make it through a meal without being terrified of saying the wrong thing?
Percy had no idea, which was strange because, this was his best friend. He knew exactly where she began and where she ended. He knew her better than anyone, and he loved her, and what irritated him the most about all of this was that absolutely none of that seemed to matter. No, instead she was starting to become just another faceless ghost in the sea of his memory, which was something he was deeply terrified of.
Percy walked closer to where she was standing. She was wearing her school uniform, a plaid skirt with a white buttoned down shirt tucked in neatly, and a blazer with her schools emblem. Her back was against a stone wall and she seemed to be laughing at something that the other person had said. Upon closer inspection he noticed that the other person was guy, he was tall and wore the same colored uniform she wore, so Percy assumed they must've been classmates.
"...So then the other atom comes in and says, ARE YOU POSITIVE?" The guy said and Annabeth let out a small laugh.
Percy assumed he had told some kind of joke, and stood there almost unsure of wether he should've kept walking or not. When Annabeth turned she saw him, his brows furrowed as he took in the scene before him.
"Percy, hey! Come here." She said, waving.
The guy, the tall one also turned around and noticed Percy standing there, looking at them like an idiot. He walked over to them slowly, almost like he had intruded on something, which was stupid considering that she was his girlfriend.
"Hey Annabeth." He said softly and kissed her on the cheek.
The guys who was laughing just a few seconds ago was now eyeing them carefully.
"What are you doing here?" He asked, he hadn't meant for it to sound harshly, in all honesty he was curious, but he would've been lying if he didn't admit that finding Annabeth with some other guy on a random street in New York didn't bother him a little.
"Um, we were just grabbing some breakfast before school, by the way, have you two even met? Hunter, this is Percy. Percy, this is Hunter the guy I told you about from my calculus class that got into NYU, EA." She said it, as a small smile played on her lips.
So was this how he was being introduced now, as just Percy? It was stupid, but the thought was a little disconcerting. The guy extended his hand and Percy took it and shook it slowly.
"EA?" He asked and Hunter just shrugged.
"It means 'Early Admission'. Annabeth won't shut up about it."
Percy didn't usually notice guys, but Hunter was good looking. He had neatly combed, chestnut colored hair and pale blue eyes. Percy vaguely thought he looked like a puppy, but a threatening puppy nonetheless.
"I'm just excited for you, seriously Hunt, that's really cool."
Hunt? Seriously? Since when had Annabeth used nicknames for her friends, or people in general. The only thing she'd ever called him was 'seaweed brain' and even that was still better than 'hunt'. He must've made a face, cause Annabeth nudged him slightly.
"You should apply too, though. I mean, with your grades and scores, you could definitely get in." He said, and Annabeth looked slightly embarrassed for a moment.
"Um, no it's fine... I mean we already made plans to go to California after graduation." There was a slight hint of disappointment as she spoke, it was barely noticeable but Percy caught it.
That caught Hunter by surprise.
"We?" he asked and Percy spoke before his brain could stop him from sounding like a total ass.
"Yeah, we, as in her and me. Her boyfriend. The one she's going with to California next year." He wasn't the jealous type, he really wasn't.
He knew he shouldn't have felt threatened, he knew it was illogical and that neither, Annabeth or the guys, had actually given him any reason to feel like that. But he did, and he acted on impulse. Annabeth remained silence, her brow slightly furrowed, and maybe the Hunter guy took that as his cue to leave.
"Her boyfriend, oh, okay. Well, I still think you should apply, but uh, I'll see you around, Annabeth" He left them standing there awkwardly, as Percy shoved his hands into his pockets and Annabeth glared at him.
"What was that, Percy?" She asked, her tone slightly irritated.
"Maybe I could ask you the same thing. What's going on with you and Mr. Early-Admission, over there!"
He should've just kicked himself in the face, he's sure that would've been a smarter decision. Annabeth looked at him like she had just been struck.
"What?" There was a bit of hurt in her voice, but as soon as it had appeared it had gone away.
Was she hurt? Did she even care if he got angry or not? Did he? Was this it, had they really stopped caring about what each other felt or said? No, that wasn't the issue, at least not for him anyways. He cared, he cared too much, which was why it all bothered him so much, because he knew that no matter the competition, he would almost always lose when it came down to Annabeth. So he acted like a dick because he was scared of losing.
"You two seemed pretty chummy together, how come didn't know who I was? Or that you had a boyfriend?" He said frustration creeping into his voice. Annabeth was clearly worked up now, he knew it.
"I don't know, it never came up but... Where the hell is this coming from anyways?" She said angrily and he knew she was just holding on because they were in the middle of some street, surrounded by people, and Percy hadn't cared.
He would've said some more, but he didn't want to fight, and he was late for class, and there wasn't that much he could say without upsetting either one of them even more.
"Whatever, just forget it." He finished quietly and started walking away.
He heard Annabeth scoff and mutter something under her breath that he couldn't hear. He knew the entire incident would blow up in his face soon enough, that he would come to see in the following week. Never had Percy Jackson been more disappointed to be proven right.