I lay on my bed staring out the window, watching the lights of New York. Car horns blared, and lights flickered. This really was the city that never slept. I sighed and rolled over, I had been trying to get to sleep for the past hour but it seemed to be impossible.
I stood up and stepped of my bed and onto the ground. My bare feet padded across the carpet through the dark room to my ensuite. I entered the bathroom and switched the light on, revealing the small room.
I made my way to the mirror and looked into it, the person staring back was not me. That person had short dark hair, that person had dark brown eyes, that person had not a single womanly feature on her body, that person was a boy.
Tears trickled down my cheeks and I wiped at them furiously, I had promised myself to be strong, I was not going to break now, after so long.
I didn't want to be a boy, I wanted more than anything for life to be the way it was. You see, I was raised a girl by my mother. We lived in San Francisco with my three brothers, I was a smart girl who loved all things pink. But when my mother and brothers died on that night in a terrible fire and I was forced to go live with my crazy, abusive, psycho dad in New York.
That was 5 years ago, I remember walking into his house for the first time so clearly…..
I walked down the garden path nervously, not knowing what to expect. My grip tightened on my carry bag and I knocked on the door. A man opened it and stared down at me, "So you’re Annabeth?"
I nodded and gave him a weak smile, "That's me…"
He looked down at me, surveying me. I couldn't read his expression. But he slowly nodded, "Okay come inside."
When we got inside my Dad told me to sit down on the couch, I did as I was told. He stared at me for what seemed like hours and then he finally spoke, "I don't want a daughter, I want a son." His eyes glinted mischievously and I stared into them trying to work out what he meant. His eyes seemed to burn, not with anger, not with rage but with pure craziness.
I shook my head, “What do you mean?”
He gave me a wide grin, "You are going to be my son."
My eyes widened, did he mean what I thought he meant? He grabbed my wrist tightly and dragged me up the stairs. He pulled open a door and threw me in, he followed me into the room.
I was sprawled on the floor and I looked up at him helplessly. He smirked back at me, "Your stuff is on the bed. When you come down for dinner at 7 tonight I expect you to look and act like a boy."
I was shocked, I couldn't talk, I barley understood but I nodded.
He turned to leave but when was about to pull the door open he turned back to me and smiled, "Bye Anthony."
I looked at myself, and then I realised I wanted to see myself, not the fake me, Anthony.No, I wanted to see the real me, Annabeth Chase. I stared into the mirror and slowly lifted my hand to my head where my brown wig was. I pulled it off and my blonde curls escaped, cascading down my shoulders. I squeezed my eyes shut and a tear trickled down my cheek, but this tear was a tear of happiness.
I took out the brown contacts and stormy grey eyes stared back at me. I pulled off the fat suit that hid my body. I went to my wardrobe and fumbled around the back of it and finally my hands found what I had kept for years. A dress. It was blue and flowing; I ran my fingers down the soft material and rubbed it against my cheek. My mother had bought this for me when I was 12, just before she had died.
I took a deep breath and went back into the bathroom. I covered my eyes with my hand and then pulled it away.
I felt amazing, I felt beautiful, I felt radiant. Seeing myself like this after years of being a boy felt amazing. I smiled to myself, then whispered, "I am Annabeth Chase"
That felt brilliant. I stared at myself for a few more minutes. It was like my reflection was a magnet and I couldn't stop staring at it. No one will ever understand how I feel right now, seeing the true you felt like you had been reborn. I had been so afraid to see her… No, me. And it was finally happening. I sighed contentedly.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs, "ANTHONY!"
My eyes widened, I didn't know what to do so I dived under my blanket and made sure it covered my entire body. The door opened and I shook with fear, my father didn't usually hit me but he did sometimes if I did something that wasn't considered traditionally masculine.
I needed to be strong so I said, "You know, there's this thing called knocking which most people do before entering someone's room."
He laughed his cold maniacal laugh, "It doesn't matter we are both boys, aren't we?"
I grunted in the most boy like way I could, trying to avoid the question. But my father would not have it so he repeated the question, "Aren't we?"
"Yes, Dad" I mumbled.
"Good." My father said, "Well, there is something I need to tell you. You will be starting school tomorrow morning. Somehow, my home-schooling is not acceptable to the brain dead government."
“No! Dad, please I don't want to go to school." The concept of school, with all of those judgemental yet normal teenagers scared me, despite my desperate wish for an education.
"You stupid boy, I will be put in jail if you don't. So why don't you come out from under the blanket and face me like a man."
I wanted desperately to scream, "I'M NOT A MAN!" But I would get a beating so I kept my mouth shut.
"Anthony Chase, answer me." My crazy father’s voice seemed to shake.
"Dad… I … I can't." I stuttered.
"Why not?!" He was on breaking point.
"Because… I … I have my period." I tried.
I didn't need to come out from my hiding place to know that his eyes flashed with rage. He became very silent and I began to fear for my wellbeing. I heard an odd sound escape his mouth, “Mm… OH. Well… Uh…” Suddenly I heard the door slam shut and I peeked out from over my blanket, seeing that he had gone.
I exhaled and whispered to myself, "It worked." I soon fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning and groaned. Today, I had to go to the hell-hole they call high school and to say I wasn’t looking forward to it was an understatement.
I washed and sadly put my disguise back on. I pulled on a grey t-shirt with blue jeans. I ran down stairs and packed a back pack with lunch and some note books to write in.
I waited for Dad to come but I realised he had already left and I had no idea what school I was going to. I smiled because this meant I wouldn't have to go to school. I poured myself some cereal and slumped down at the bench. I was half way through my cereal when I noticed a note on the bench just across from me.
I picked it up and read the familiar, scrawled handwriting:
I have to leave for work so I won't be able to take you to school. You going to Goode high school, a couple of blocks away. Make sure you only make friends with boys and get a try get a get a girlfriend, maybe. I will ring the school to make sure you get there so don't try pull anything.
I felt sick, I read the letter over again. I was notgoing to get a girlfriend! I had mainly come to terms with my situation but this was one of these times when I wished I could just be a normal teen girl.
I finished my cereal and head out the door. I walked down the path and made my way towards Goode High school.
When I got there, I felt true loneliness, everyone seemed to have their own friends, their own cliques. It was horrible, I found my locker and put my almost empty bag in it and pulled out my notebooks.
I didn't know what to do so I just settled for standing there by myself and pretended to be sending a text to a non-existent friend on my horrible phone.
I watched people walk by and give me strange looks, I was used to this of course because I was a strange lookingboy.This was hell, I knew I wouldn't like it here!
I was so happy when the bell rang, I basically jumped with joy. I searched for my timetable, but when I found it I didn't understand it. I knew I had Biology in T12 with Mr Poseidon. But where was that?
I looked up to find the hallway I was standing in deserted. So there was no one I could ask, so I wandered the halls looking for someone for several minutes.
I walked from hall to hall occasionally looking into rooms to see if they had T12 sign on them. Just when I was about to give up and go home, someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Hey man? Are you lost?"
I spun around to see a dripping wet shirtless boy. "I… I..," I stuttered, trying to look anywhere but at this boy in front of me.
He smiled warmly at me, "You're lost. Hang on let me just dry myself and put on a shirt. I was just doing some laps."
"Thanks man." I told my feet.
When he was all dry and had his shirt back on he looked back to me, "So do you want me to show you where your class is?"
I nodded, I knew I was acting like a very strange boy but this boy… sorry godthat was helping me didn't seem to mind. While he was reading my timetable, I got a better look at him. He was gorgeous, he had jet, black hair which was messy in a completely sexy way, his sea green eyes were like an ocean.
He looked up and grinned, "We are in the same class so we can go together if you want. I'm Percy by the way."
I looked up shyly, "Thank you, I'm Anna- Anthony." What just happened? I have never forget that my name is Anthony to everyone else!
Percy grinned, "'Kay, well lets go then."
I walked with him to the classroom, when we got there, there was a tall man who looked like an older version of Percy. Percy grinned at him, "Hey Dad. Sorry I'm late, I had swim training."
The man sighed, "Okay Percy, but how many times have I told you not to call me that in class?"
Percy shrugged, "Whatever, this is Anthony he's new. I found him on my way to class, he was lost."
The man smiled warmly at me, "Hello Anthony, I'm Mr Poseidon. But please call me Mr P. Hmmm… where can you sit." He scanned the classroom looking for an empty seat. "Ah, there is a seat right next to Percy. Why don't you go sit there?"
I nodded, and went and took my seat.
Is it crazy to say that after knowing this guy for only 15 minutes that I desperately want him as a friend? There is just something that attracts me to him and… Wait no! Not attracts as in like I am attracted to him, as in like… I like him as a friend?
He came and sat down next to me at the small table. I smiled at him and pushed my text book over so that he could share with me.
While we read I suddenly realised how close we were sitting to each other. He smelled pretty good, like lemons, I had to restraint myself from breathing his scent in. This guy was making my head spin, what did this mean. I couldn't concentrate on what Dad was saying I just wanted to stare at this strange boy.
I can assure you that I am 100% straight. I mean I have a girlfriend for God's sake! He turned his head to say something to me and our faces were centimetres apart, I moved my chair so I was sitting far away from him. He frowned, I felt bad but it just felt wrong yet so right sitting so close to him.
When the class had finished reading the textbook, we were given 20 questions to do. I sighed and began the questions. I was mulling over question 1 when I looked over to see that Anthony was already on question 7. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened, Anthony seemed to notice because he smirked, "Need any help Percy?"
I grinned, "Nah, I'm good."
At lunch, Percy introduced me to his friends. They were all so friendly, I felt so happy to be part of such a lovely group. There was Thalia, who had spiky black hair and was very pretty, she seemed nice but was also very proud and I could guess was slightly stubborn. She was Percy's cousin, along with Nico. Nico also had dark hair, his dark eyes and pale skin made him look emo. He was kind of cute but not really my type. Then again I didn't really know what my typewas because I had never dated before.
There was Silena and Beckendorf, who were obviously a couple. Silena was beautiful; she had long hair and beautiful eyes. I immediately felt self-conscious and looked down at my feet when I saw her. She was sitting on a chair with her feet propped up on Beckendorf's lap.
Then, there was Piper and Jason, Grover and Juniper, Connor and Travis Stoll, Katie Gardner, Leo, Clarisse and Chris. Everyone gave me a very warm welcome and I took a seat next to Percy. He grinned at me and I smiled back.
I talked to most of his friends especially Thalia and Piper they were so nice, I would have been happy to talk to them for the entire time but I remembered that I was a boy and I had better socialise with some of them too.
I was half-way through a conversation with Grover about plants when a pretty girl with long frizzy, red hair ran up to our table and plonked herself down on the spare seat next to Percy. She grinned at us and brushed imaginary crumbs off her paint splattered jeans, "Hey guys, sorry I was late. I was finishing of my art project and then I got a bit carried away and started painting some other stuff."
She leaned over to Percy and gave him a quick peck on the lips, my stomach lurched and my heart seemed to burn in my chest. I was wondering why, when I heard my name said. I looked up quizzically, my eyes rested on Percy. It was his voice, he smiled at me, "Anthony, this is Rachel my girlfriend." He looked at her proudly and she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. But she turned to me and smiled, "Hello, nice to meet you Anthony!"
I grinned shyly and gave her a nod. I was somewhat upset that Percy had a girlfriend but I knew i would never have a chance with him.
That afternoon, I left school with a massive grin plastered on my face. I couldn't remember the last time I had felt so happy. I walked through the big gates of Goode high and began my long walk home. I had walked a couple of blocks when I heard my name being called.
"Anthony!" I swivelled around and saw Percy leaning against a gate of an apartment. He looked so good!
I waved and walked over to him, "Hey man."
"Are you free this afternoon, because everyone in the group is going down to Olympus Pizzeria. It's a really fun place we all hang out at a lot. Its massive too, so we aren't all cramped into a tiny little place. You can also come with me and the other guys.”
I gave him a grin, "Yeah sure. I will just ring my Dad."
He nodded and I pulled out my mobile phone. I pressed my Dads contact and pressed the phone to my ear, "Dad? Hello?"
"Anthony? Hey. What do you want son?"
"Uh…. One of my friends, Percy asked me if I wanted to come have pizza with him and the rest of our group. I was wondering if I was allowed to go?" I said.
"Sure, good to see your making friends. Any girls you've got your eye on?"
I squeezed my eyes shut and said in a small voice, "I don't know."
"Ahhh, there's a girl isn't there? Is she pretty?" I could hear the crazy smile in his voice.
I decided to go along with him, "Yeah, I guess…."
"Okay, well good luck with her then. We Chase men don't let pretty girls get away. Bye."
I looked up to Percy, "I can go."
He beamed, "Awesome, okay come inside. I just have to get my jacket and then we can go pick up the guys."
"Oh is this your apartment." I hadn't realized that the gate he had been leaning on had been his.
"Yep! Come inside, I think my mum is making her delicious blue cookies!"
I laughed, "Blue?"
Percy smiled, "Long story don't worry about it."
We walked through the gate and made our way up to his apartment which was on the 6th level. He pulled out his key and unlocked the door, we were greeted by the delicious smell of chocolate chip cookies at the door.
A woman's voice called down the hallway, "Percy? Is that you?"
"Yeah mom, it's me. Are you baking cookies?" Percy called.
"Yes Percy, they're still warm and they're sitting on the kitchen bench."
He dragged me into the kitchen where I saw a kind looking woman with long brown hair. She smiled warmly at me, "Hello, who's this Percy?"
Percy turned to his mom, cookies crumbling out of his mouth, "Mam im Amfomy."
She laughed, "I think I will just get him to introduce himself." She turned to me and smiled.
"My name is Anthony, nice to meet you!" I gave her my most confident smile.
"What a polite boy, the pleasure is all mine. And you're new to Goode I'm guessing?"
I nodded, "Yes, Mrs Jackson."
"Oh please call me Sally." She turned to Percy, "I like this boy, he will be a good influence on you."
I suddenly took a very big interest in my feet.
Sally was so nice.
Percy groaned, "Whatever Mom, let's go Anthony." With that Percy walked off in the direction of what I was guessing was his room. I gave Sally a small smile and followed Percy off to wherever he was going.
I followed him into a medium sized room, its walls were cobalt. In the corner was a bed with a sea green doona on it, there were some photos on the wall and he had a large fish tank in one corner of the room. This was not how I imagined his room!
Crap, did I just say that last bit aloud? I looked up at Percy who was frowning. My eyes widened, "Not that I imagined your room, just that I would have thought your room would be more…."
I couldn't think of anything to say and I noticed Percy moved away from me a bit. He looked up at me, "Well I better get my jacket then."
I nodded, "Hey dude?" Percy looked up. "Your shirt and pants have chocolate all over them."
Percy looked down and nodded, "Oh Thanks."
He took off his shirt, I stared at his body and then caught myself and looked away. I walked over to his pictures on the wall and pretended to be looking at them. When I turned back around Percy was standing in his boxers. I let out a very feminine gasp, then mentally slapped myself. "Uh… w-what ar-are y-you d-d-doing?" I stuttered.
He frowned at me, "Getting changed…..We are both guys aren't we so it doesn't really matter!"
NOOOO! We are not!
"Uh yeah, we are. Can I use the bathroom please?" I said nervously.
He gave me a strange look, "Um… sure, second door to the right."
I nodded and left the room.
The pizza at the restaurant was delicious, we had all eaten and we were now sitting around talking. I was sitting next to Beckendorf and Percy. Percy had Rachel on his lap and was kissing her neck. I noticed that she seemed preoccupied and distant. I noticed Thalia watching me carefully so I felt kind of awkward, so I turned to Leo who was sitting across from me.
He grinned at me, "Dude, you have got to see this!"
I frowned, "What?"
He held out his phone and showed me a video of a lion riding a bike. Hewas laughing his ass of, but Ithought it was cruel. I wanted to fit in with these people though, so I laughed too. Leo grinned at me, "I thought you might find that funny." He ruffled my hair.
I gave him a small smile, I was reaching up to scratch my head when I realised that my wig was stuffed up. I excused myself subtly and ran to the bathroom. There was a long hallway and a door to my left. The bathroom was uni-sex and I hurried in.
I checked to see if anyone was in the cubicles, when I realised there was no one in there I turned to the mirror and gasped. My wig was half off. The plaster which keeps it on my head, barely hanging onto my forehead. I looked around and pulled it off my blonde hair fell and was finally free. I was about to put my wig back on when I heard a voice from behind me, "So you’re a girl?"
I spun around my face horror stricken, there was Thalia leaning against the bathroom wall with her arms crossed.
I was speechless, I had no idea what to do or say! Do I pretend that my real hair was a wig or do I tell her the truth?
I stared her in the eyes for several seconds then nodded.
She frowned a little, "If you don't mind me asking, why?"
I sighed and pushed a blonde curl behind my ear, "My Dad."
Thalia cocked her head and walked closer to me, she put a hand on my shoulder and whispered,
"You can tell me, I won't tell anyone."I looked into her eyes searching for any sign of something that wasn't genuine, but there was nothing. Pure curiosity and sympathy. So I took a deep breath and told her my story.