Ch 11: We are B-U-S-T-E-D
Sally managed to make me into a very unrecognizable yet very pretty (at least, according to her) girl-slash-Demigod. In all honesty, I don't know where she got this dress. She said she found it inside my suitcase but I swear on the River Styx that I've never even seen this dress before; not even on my awesome but scandalous-filled cabinet back at camp.
So anyways, even though I feel slightly uncomfortable showing way too much skin and wearing heels (2 inches, but still) I guess it's not really that bad; though I would still prefer wearing my usual sneakers.
We were walking towards the Central Park since it's only a few minutes away from Percy's home. Luke was walking in between me and Percy with both his hands holding one of ours in that cute family way you'd often see in cliché movies. I guess teenage parents are a norm to see in New York since people barely look at you, unlike those totally rude old women back at the bus who seemed to not understand subtlety. We kept walking in comfortable silence as I observed everything in New York.
Okay, I'm totally feeling jealous of those girls checking out on Percy. That Seaweed Brain just had to look dashing in his clothes. He's really obtuse; I mean he can't really sense that he's practically oozing his sex appeal to girls out there.
Gods that is just it! I gave them my deluxe back-off-can't-you-see-he's-not-interested-and-he- and-I-totally-have-a-kid-together glare and thankfully, they got the message. I smirked at their crestfallen reaction.
"Wise Girl? What are you smirking about?" Huh. Speak of the devil.
I turned my head for a bit to make a sideway glance at Percy and gave him a smile. "Nothing Seaweed Brain, just found something amusing."
"Oh okay." He replied in a distracted manner. Huh, I wonder what he's glaring at.
We reached the Central Park and it's really crowded. Fortunately Percy found us a comfortable spot just under the shade of a tree and slightly away from the crowd which is totally perfect. He pulls out a blanket from Luke's super handy magical backpack and sets it on the grass for us to sit.
I sighed in relief as I removed the heels and placed it carefully beside the tree's roots and attempted to hide my exposed legs under the dress skirt. I noticed the slight coloring of Percy's cheeks after I did so and he cleared his throat from discomfort.
"So, uh, do you guys want anything?" He asked.
Luke glanced around his surroundings with those adorable eyes of his until it landed upon an ice cream stand a good distance from us. He points a chubby little finger and screams excitedly: "Dada!"
Oh my gods, he's really cute. Apparently Percy thought so too as he burst into a fit of laughter the same time I did. He ruffled Luke's hair affectionately after calming down and asked him, "What flavor of ice cream do you want, Luke?"
Despite his high level of intelligence, Luke's body and mind are still developing so I think he could not fully comprehend Percy's question. So I decided to speak up in order to save us all from an awkward silence.
"Percy, he can't really understand you. Remember: this probably would be Luke's first time to eat an ice cream. Um, why don't you just go for chocolate since it's a neutral flavor for everyone?" He nods his head and stands up. He looks at me and waits for a bit; it took me half a second to sink in.
"Oh. Uh, I would like some chocolate too." I said in a sheepish manner. Percy grins and waves his hands at us. "I'll be right back!"
"Mama." Luke tugged my dress skirt after Percy left. I turn towards him and smiled. "What is it baby?" (He likes it when I call him that.)
"O." He points at a red ball rolling towards our direction. I scrunch my brows for a second before it dawned on me. I chuckled.
"It's called a ball, sweetie. You're right about it being an 'o' but it's actually called a ball, okay? B-A-L-L."
Luke scrunched his brows just like what I did a while ago before smiling widely at me. "Ball, Mama!"
I laughed again as I placed kisses on his cheeks, making him giggle in that squeaky, really high-pitched way of his. Some passers-by gave us warm smiles, probably mesmerized by Luke's natural charm and cuteness.
I finally released Luke and I watched as he walked towards the ball and picked it up. When he started making his way back with the ball in his hand, I stood up. "No, baby, put it back –"
"Excuse me but that ball is…Annabeth?!"
I diverted my gaze from Luke to the person speaking and immediately my eyes widened. "Rachel?"
"Oh wow, I never knew you were here in New York." Rachel stated as I offered her to sit on the blanket.
"Yeah, it's a sudden trip actually. By the way, did you just name a ball after me?" I countered playfully after remembering her words minutes ago.
Rachel rolled her eyes in a good-natured manner and bumped my shoulder. "You know what I mean."
"Heh. Not really. Oh, how rude, I forgot to introduce you to my son, Luke."
Rachel spat out her soda (she was drinking at that time) and looked at me with wide eyes. "YOUR WHAT?!"
I mentally sighed to myself. Here we go again.
Exactly ten minutes after rapidly talking and explaining everything, Rachel threw her head back and laughed vigorously. She wheezed then finally calmed down. "Oh man, that is just the best thing I've ever heard in a long time."
I blushed against myself and scowled lightly. Rachel stuck out her tongue and pulled Luke on her lap. Luke raised a brow (I concluded he had both mine and Percy's personalities and mannerisms) but did not complain as his attention focused on the ball again.
"Where is Percy by the way?" She asked. I shrugged but looked around. "I don't know. He was supposed to come back from buying ice cream."
"Ah. I have a feeling that he'll be arriving soon. Anyways, I gotta go since my parents are waiting." Rachel said as stood up while dusting dirt off of her vintage pants.
"Wait, you're going already?"
"Yeah. I need to prepare for another of Dad's colleague's party or something. You know, the stupid socialites thing. And Luke can keep the ball; don't worry since it's brand new."
"Why did you have a ball with you anyways?"
Rachel shrugged. "That's the toy of my Mom's poodle, Delight. I hate that ugly dog and she hates me as well. I guess I took it just to spite her but I doubt she'll notice; she's way too spoiled than I am."
I grinned at her predicament. "Good luck with that. And seriously, Delight?"
This time it's her turn to grin. "I know right? She's anything but delightful. Hideous should've been her name." She sneaked a glance at her wristwatch and sighed. "I really need to go now, Annabeth. Congratulations on Luke and finally getting laid by Percy. I sincerely hope that you'll have another kid."
My eyes widened in horror and at the same time my face felt very hot. "Rachel!" I screamed in embarrassment as she laughed and started taking off. "I told you Luke's a brainchild!"
She must've still heard me as I caught her unladylike snort and her now barely audible reply which was 'yeah right.'
Percy thankfully came back after my face returned to its normal color while Luke went running around with his new ball. I raised an eyebrow at him as I noticed the plastic bag on his hand. Before I could ask, however, he had already started explaining.
"They ran out of chocolate, you see, since apparently today's a very busy day. So I uh, went to look for the nearest convenience store – which was very far from here by the way – and bought us a pint of chocolate ice cream instead because I don't think they sell blue chocolate ice cream."
I was touched by his effort and watched him as he settled himself down on the blanket and pulled two spoons from Luke's bag. There's one thing that confused me though. "Why didn't you just came back and told us that they ran out of ice cream?"
Percy focused on shoving the plastic in his pocket before looking at me to answer. "Because you and Luke want one. I've decided that if I could somehow make your wants and whims into reality, I'd definitely do it. "
He said those in all seriousness while maintaining eye contact. I swallowed hard and diverted my gaze first; completely unable to shake the electricity he managed to send through my whole being.
Luke ran towards us clutching his red ball while wearing a huge smile on his face. His hair became messier and stuck out to different angles and his eyes held that familiar mirth I'd often see whenever a certain someone’s sea green eyes looked at me. At that moment, Luke resembled Percy so much that I practically felt giddy for some reason. I knew somehow that this had something to do with Aphrodite but I lost my train of thoughts as I heard Luke's laughter.
Somewhere along my train of thoughts, Percy had managed to lift Luke and threw him on air. I probably would've screamed and nagged at him for being so irresponsible, but remembered he never listened to my rants anyways so I didn't bother as long as he catches Luke safely and unharmed. That, and the fact that I wanted to see a father bond with his child; something that I'd completely missed from my own dad.
Poor Luke was red in the face from his exhilaration while Percy was out of breath but still grinning nonetheless. I pulled a hand towel from Luke's bag and proceeded to wipe his small sweaty back. I also summoned a bottle of water and tossed it to Percy who caught it expertly.
"The ice cream has partially melted." I pointed out. He frowned and opened the lid.
"You're right – as always. So anyways, we should eat it now."
The moment he showed only two spoons in his hand, I immediately understood his intention. My face flushed in embarrassment and crossed my arms in a stubborn stance as Luke walked towards the pint of ice cream, clearly intrigued.
"Oh no, it was bad enough that we did it in front of everyone at camp; I am not doing it again."
Percy must've expected my answer as he smiled, completely cool and acting as if he knew something I didn't – which was very much likely, it seemed. "Yes, but Annabeth, don't you think this is way better than back at camp? At least here, nobody knows us and therefore they won't bother looking or spare us a glance. Right?"
Ugh. Stupid Seaweed Brain and his signature pleading look. Whenever he does that, my logic and reasoning is a goner; but doesn't mean that my stubbornness is affected as well. He probably also anticipated that since he used the pouting now and even pulled Luke on his lap. And being the intelligent child that he is, Luke understood the situation as he too pleaded.
"C'mon, Wise Girl, we're just eating ice cream while sharing a spoon; how is this different back at camp?"
"Mama, pwease." That did it. As much as I could hold unto my stubbornness when facing Percy, I just couldn't have the heart to do the same thing to children; especially this particular one which is my own. I uncrossed my arms and sighed in defeat. Percy hi-fived Luke and both grinned in that boyish way of theirs.
My pride prevented me from showing that I actually like it when we spoon-feed each other but I don't think he needed to hear me say it. I'm happily contented with this and judging from his looks, I deduced that Percy felt the same.
Mount Olympus, Aphrodite's Room
"Oh my~! That's just too sweet and totally romantic!" The goddess squealed as she once again managed to destroy her magic mirror. This time, she threw it on the wall from over happiness. Don't ask why she did that, though.
"I'm glad I sent that cute dress and shoes for Annabeth at the last minute when Sally opened her suitcase. I thought I wouldn't be able to make it on time!" She giggled and smoothed the creases on her pink dress as she stood.
"Hmm. But I'm actually starting to crave thrills and suspense in their relationship. Ooh! I'll come down to the mortal world and maybe find someone who could serve as my pawn for today. Where is my mirror – oh? Destroyed again?"
Aphrodite made a face as she picked up her mirror and fixed it without batting an eyelash. She flicked the mirror and searched for her target. After finding the location, she then put the mirror inside her non-existent pocket before contemplating on how she should look while disguising herself as a mortal.
Frederick Chase had a weird week. First, his daughter hadn't sent him a letter. This confused him as Annabeth always followed a routine and never broke it despite how busy she is. Secondly, time had seemed to pass by so slowly. He thought he was being paranoid but he certainly knew that something's going on on both worlds despite being a mortal. He's that perceptive.
Third, the goddess Athena came to visit him one afternoon after his last conference regarding on the war book he recently wrote. She looked exactly the same when they first met: casual yet fashionable clothes, tamed ponytail and those stunning intelligent gray eyes that seemed to analyze every move you make.
She smiled and he felt his insides churn in that familiar way whenever she did that. He blushed, thankful that it wasn't very noticeable and cleared his throat. He bowed down in respect and she, in turn, touched his shoulder gently. "Come, we must talk. I have important things to discuss regarding our daughter, Annabeth." She had said.
He was startled and panic filled his whole being. Athena, however, sensed his distress and she ever so gently reached for his wrist. "Do not worry, Frederick, for I assure you that she is safe."
And she led him through a small area at the building’s backyard that is secluded and hidden from view thanks to the trees surrounding it. When both had settled comfortably, Athena began explaining the recent events and plans of one Aphrodite. Frederick listened attentively and asked many questions that the goddess answered with utmost patience. He had been shocked, overwhelmed and at the same time fascinated but still accepted everything, making the goddess amused.
He thought that it was the last of his weird week, but it seemed not so. When he first saw her sitting by the benches of the university he visited that day, he immediately knew that she wasn't one of them; a mortal, that is. She was so beautiful and every inch of her screamed beauty and perfection and men were gawking at her openly; but, with the utmost good intention he could muster, she was just not his type. She had perfect chestnut-brown hair (he supposed it was her disguise since Athena told him she had blond hair) styled into an elaborate braid, face painted with make-up and clothes that would probably never crinkle nor can be exchanged with money.
Frederick cautiously approached the beautiful woman, earning glares from various men within a hundred-meter radius. The brunette spotted him and smiled as she stood up. "Hi! You must be Frederick, right?" She asked as she showed her pearly whites.
"Aphrodite, milady, it is an honor." He was about to make a bowing gesture when the goddess gracefully gripped his arm. She whispered with a tone of persuasion. "Don't. Not with this many people. Come, we must find a secluded area and I'm going to ask you a favor."
Aphrodite linked her arm with his and together they made their way towards the lake. As soon as there were only a few people, Frederick made a respectful bow and kissed the goddess's hand after she held it out for him to do so. Aphrodite smiled at him warmly. "I can see why Athena likes you; you're smart and you don't fall for my looks and my charm."
"Uh, thank you Milady but –"
"Ooh! That's right! I had to explain why I'm here looking for you. Actually, I…"
This would probably be the second best day of my love life. And before you ask, yes, the first one's definitely the kiss Annabeth gave me back at our quest from the labyrinth. Disregard the pitiful situation we were in, people. Don't destroy my poor bubble.
So anyways, I showed Annabeth and Luke around New York and we went into so many places and ate a lot of food and even tried the amusement park rides. I loathed the rollercoaster ride since I became the laughing stock of everyone within that area when they showed the pictures. I really, really looked horrible at that shot. Maybe it was because I felt sick and nervous at the same time or whatever. Gods, it's really embarrassing. I puked on my seat, by the way.
Annabeth and Luke still laughed as we made our way to the restroom for me to clean up the evidences of my puke. It wasn't that much, but still it was disgusting. I probably would've felt a thousand times worse had Annabeth joined me in the ride. Thankfully though, she didn't because Luke isn't allowed to ride the rollercoaster yet and Annabeth refused to let some stranger hold him even if only for a few minutes, which I totally agree on about.
We stopped by the signage. Annabeth found an empty bench a few meters away from the restroom. "We'll be waiting on that bench there. Hurry up."
I nodded my head and gripped the door when – "Look, baby, Daddy's going to clean his puke." Annabeth's teasing voice earned a flush from me. "Pukey!" Great. Now my son is teasing me as well. I turned to them with a half-hearted glare and they laughed. Despite my effort of keeping angry, my expression softened when I realized that I could never stay mad at those two for so long. I sighed as I entered.
After cleaning up, the first thing I notice is a guy talking animatedly next to a fuming Annabeth who probably is trying her best to not beat him into a pulp. The guy dared touch her bare arms and she slapped him away, looking all angry and ready for action. Luke glared at his position in her lap but none of that mattered at the moment since all I saw was red.
"What are you doing?" I growled at the stupid dude. He glanced at me and raised his brows.
"Who're you?" He asked. I could see Annabeth and Luke roll their eyes at the same time behind the dude and I narrowed my eyes.
"Who're you?" I countered back, feeling the familiar twitch of my hand reaching for Riptide. I knew Riptide wouldn't have an effect against mortals and that thought alone was enough to keep my hand from twitching. I watched as the dude snake an arm around Annabeth while she struggled to keep away from him. I knew she could've easily flipped him; but with Luke in her arms, I deemed that impossible now.
"I'm just a friend of hers. I approached her because I admire girls who are very kind-hearted and considerate enough to look for their younger siblings."
"You are not my friend. You are a stranger who's harassing me." Annabeth spat out and he ignored her.
"Why? Are you supposed to be her boyfriend or something?" He asked me in disdain. I tried to keep my temper in check and finally smirked.
"No. But I should tell you one thing wrong though. That kid's not her younger brother; he's our son."
The dude's grip on Annabeth shoulder slackened and she used this opportunity to sneak off and went beside me. He was still in shock and when he recovered, he glared at Annabeth. "You whore," he said.
In the blink of an eye, I held him by his collar and shoved him on a nearby tree. "What did you say?" I said with as much murderous intent as I could muster.
"I told you, she's a whore; flirting with me even though she'd been knocked up. Serves you right for becoming early parents." He said with that cocky smirk. I raised my fist and felt the familiar tug on my stomach. But before I could connect my fist on his face and maybe drown him in my power, Annabeth came and gently touched my fist.
"Don't. He's not worth it." She said in a tender manner as she slowly unclenched my fist. Luke stood behind her, clutching her dress and ready to burst in tears at any moment. The sight of an upset Luke calmed me down as I reluctantly let the guy drop on the ground unceremoniously.
He glared at me and I gave him my deluxe I'll-kill-you-if-you-pull-another-stupid-move stare. "Don't call my woman a whore, bastard. She didn't flirt with you; in case you haven't noticed, you're the stupid one who harassed her first. Call her that once more and I promise to put you in a situation where the sun won't shine and you won't be able to reproduce. Got that?"
He gulped and nodded his head feverishly. He dusted himself hurriedly and was about to go when a police officer grabbed his arm. I thought we'd be in trouble but an old woman pointed out to the dude and said, "That's the guy who had been harassing the pretty young lady over there. Actually officer, he has been groping and harassing young girls for hours now."
The officer nodded and turned to us. "Sorry for the trouble, you two. Don't worry since I'll make sure to talk to him all the way towards the police station."
I grabbed Annabeth's hand and squeezed it. "Yeah, please do. And I hope that he'll never trouble anyone again."
He nodded again as he handcuffed the stupid dude and let him towards the police car. I sighed and turned to Annabeth and Luke. "I'm sorry, you two."
"Hey, it's okay. It's not your fault." Wise Girl said as Luke ran towards me, hugged my legs and sobbed.
"Hey buddy, don't cry. Everything's alright now." I lifted him and he settled his head on my shoulder and continued to cry. I rubbed his back in a soothing manner and turned to Annabeth. "C'mon, I still wanna take you guys to an ocean park."
Frederick Chase's POV
"You want me to make the children's lives miserable?" I asked the goddess beside me in an incredulous manner. She in turn, shrugged.
"Not necessarily, dear. You're just going to make them miserable for today, at least. I need thrill darling! Percy's been sweet and all, but nothing beats getting scared when facing the parents. It's funny and exciting, don't you think so?"
No, I didn't think so, but since it's very logical and safe to agree to whatever the gods or goddesses are scheming, I just nodded my head. Lady Aphrodite clasped her hands like an excited child and smiledcharmingly at me. "Great! Now I'll send you to wherever they are, but you're on your own if they ever ask what exactly are you doing there, okay dear?"
I watched as she pulled a mirror from her skirt pocket and my mind made a hundred assumptions, ideas and theories about how it could be possible for mortals to do so. She flicked her mirror and it showed reflections of different places, instead of the usual function of a normal mirror.
The mirror continued to change places until it settled on an ocean park somewhere in New York. I saw my daughter Annabeth, who wore clothes that I'd never imagine her wearing, talking next to Percy who was carrying a mini him, only with different eye color and curlier hair.
"Is that my supposed grandson?" I asked.
Lady Aphrodite squealed loudly, making my ears throb for a minute, and calmed herself down. "Yes, that's him. Now, you must go and meet them. I'll be watching you from Mt. Olympus and don't worry if you're confused as to what to do since we'll keep a telepathic communication. Close your eyes; this'll get uncomfortable for a bit. When the weird feeling is gone, you'll see that you've arrived in New York, specifically to where they currently are. Ooh! This is going get exciting!"
I closed my eyes and felt the world crumbling beneath me. It was as if I were inside a washing machine; it's really uncomfortable. My head spun for a good few minutes and when the feeling was gone, I opened my eyes. Whoa. I'm already in New York.
Something fell out of my folder and I bent down to pick it up. It was an entrance ticket for the ocean park in front of me. I readjusted my glasses and noticed the pink-inked beautiful writing at the back. Good luck. XOXO, Aphrodite. When I blinked, the writing was gone.
Finding Percy and my daughter had been very easy. There's only one person who'd blurt random facts about the architecture used and one particular son of a god who knew everything about fishes better than anyone.
I watched from a good distance, amused, as Annabeth and Percy took turns in rapidly blurting facts about practically everything inside the park. They're very noisy, that's for sure, as I saw other people giving them dirty looks. The mini-Percy looked around with wide calculating eyes, tuning out his parents' rambling, until it landed on me.
Fascinating gray-green eyes stared at me and I saw a mixture of intimidation and mirth; something that I deemed impossible for a mortal to possess. Minutes later after our short staring contest, the kid grinned at me in a friendly manner. I smiled and put a finger on my lips while gesturing to Percy and Annabeth. He nodded and made a zipping motion. Huh. Smart kid.
We were shushed by some people and authorities within the ocean park. I guessed that Percy and I had been noisy judging by the dirty looks they're giving us. Despite getting reprimanded, we only laughed and Percy pulled me towards another section of fishes.
Luke wanted to walk so Percy put him down and then he automatically started running. "Luke!" We both called out while sprinting after him. I was confused; Luke had always been an obedient, intelligent and a well-behaved child. He never ignored us and his actions now worried me. But, I reasoned, he's still a child; I guess it's a norm. I calmed myself from worrying too much but still I went to look for him. I don't want to deal with an incident regarding strangers again at the moment.
I turned sharply on my left and saw Luke standing and staring at a blonde man carrying a file full of papers. He looked really familiar, I mused as I analyzed the adult. My son noticed me standing there and he waved. "Mama!"
The blonde man turned to me and I felt my heart sink to my stomach. Dad.
Dad stared at me with a confused expression. "Annabeth? Why is he calling you his mother?"
I gulped, unable to form words as I heard Percy approach us. "Oh, there you are Annabeth, Luke, what –" His words died in his throat as he stood beside me, suddenly very rigid.
Luke, at this moment, innocently called out to us while pointing a finger behind him. "Mama, Dada, sharks!"
Dad's friendly expression hardened as he narrowed his eyes at Percy and I. "Explain."Oh Hades, we're doomed.