Ch 12: What?
Frederick Chase's POV (Italics are Aphrodite's)
I knew I had to start acting as soon as I saw my daughter on the glass reflection. Luke conveniently called her out and that gave me an opportunity to actually face her. She smiled at Luke and then gaped after seeing me. I tried my best to not laugh at her expression and pretended to look confused. "Annabeth? Why is he calling you his mother?"
Very good, Freddie! You're actually very much believable right now. I decided not to tell her that I hated the nickname in fear of getting transformed into a dove. Or worse.
Percy then suddenly jogged towards Annabeth while wearing his usual troublemaker smile. "Oh, there you are Annabeth, Luke, what –" His words hung on the air as his posture mimicked like that of a plank. What was that popular thing teenagers like to do out of whim today – Planking, was it? Oh yes, I think so. Percy looked like the standing version of planking only with huge eyes that might fall out of his sockets anytime soon and his mouth wide open.
Oh dear, he's too hideous to look at. Isn't this funny, Freddie? Now do you understand why I love moments that involve meeting the parents? But don't you dare laugh right now, though. I swear on the river Styx that I'd turn you into a vulture once you mess this up. So do your job properly if you don't want to become an ugly creature, okay honey?
Luke, gods bless that intelligent child, saved me from a potential laughing slip up by innocently pointing out to the shark display behind us. "Mama, Dada, sharks!"
Seeing this as my cue, I pictured myself at a war history conference with incompetent 'professionals' getting facts all wrong and that was enough for me to make an angry expression. I narrowed my eyes at the two, imagining them as one of those incompetent people and said with barely suppressed irritation: "Explain."
That broke Annabeth and Percy out of their temporary shock and both started talking at the same time.
"Dad, I'm sorry but I was going to write you a letter and explain everything to you–"
"Dr. Chase, it's all my fault. Annabeth is –"
"–but I honestly forgot about that but –"
"– completely innocent and I really am an idiot, but –"
"– I/We want to take care of Luke!"
They both shouted the last line and that made everybody stop whatever they're doing to stare at them. The sudden eerie silence was so awkward and unbearable.
"Um." Percy said. Poor kid's really shaking up.
"There's nothing to see here folks." I said as I readjusted my glasses and bore my eyes at them. Thanks goodness they got intimidated and soon everything came back to normal. I let them see my ghost of a smile before my hard expression returned. "You'd have to repeat that since I couldn't understand anything when both of you are talking at the same time."
Annabeth gave a sheepish smile while Percy gave a nervous one. Taking pity on the boy, I put a hand on his shoulder and smiled slightly. "Relax, Percy. I'm not going to bite; we'll just have a nice, long chat in private."
I probably shouldn't have said anything else since it only made him gulp audibly. I sighed as I heard Lady Aphrodite's girlish giggles ringing inside my head.
OH MY GODS, please kill me now. I already had enough embarrassment in front of Annabeth for today and I certainly am not prepared for this. I knew shouldn't have taken them in an ocean park after that stupid stranger incident. But I just couldn't resist; I didn't want our totally-not-a-date-but-it-looks-like-a-date to end that early so I made an excuse to see the fishes and maybe talk to them for a bit.
Milord is already meeting Milady's father? This is a juicy detail that should not be missed!
I thought Master Poseidon said they aren't together yet…
Humans are really complicated. Does one need to meet the parents first before dating that certain person they like?
The rumors were right, they do have a child. I wonder if Milord already did 'that'…
Oh, you know, 'that' is –
Hush! Milord is looking this way!
Okay, scratch talking to them. Gods, they're all starting to sound like Blackjack and the Aphrodite kids! I sighed inwardly as I felt the fishes and all other sea creatures stare at us and some even decided to follow. Or swim, whichever. I'm guessing they're intrigued with Luke's existence since their eyes concentrated on him more.
The Young boss is staring at us!
Wow, he's a mixture of Milord and Milady's physical traits!
He said 'hi!'…Holy Poseidon the young boss talked to me!
No, he was talking to me!
Huh? Luke talked to them? Nah, he couldn't have. He has his head placed on Annabeth's shoulder and he's looking very sleepy at the moment. And I doubt he could talk to them at all.
I hurried my stride until I was walking next to Annabeth while completely ignoring the obvious gossiping of the sea creatures behind us. Annabeth readjusted Luke's head and turned to me.
"Are you okay?" She asked in a whisper.
"I'm terrified." I said honestly. I diverted my gaze back to Dr. Chase walking a few feet in front of us. "What if he won't let me see you guys again?"
"Relax, Seaweed Brain. You'll be fine as long as you're being completely truthful with everything. Trust me, Dad likes honest people."
Her words helped me to relax a bit but I won't deny that I'm still nervous. We finally reached the exit and my heart rate's speeding up. Gods save me now.
Frederick Chase's POV
I tried contacting Lady Aphrodite since I honestly don't know what I'm supposed to do now. If it were up to me, I'd already given my permission to Percy and leave the kids alone. I'm quite certain they both are doing a very good job in taking care of Luke. After a few minutes of desperately calling for the goddess, she finally answered.
Oh, hello dear. I'm sorry if I hadn't answered immediately; my darling Ares is just too hard to resist right now. *giggles* Anyways, is there something wrong?
'Uh, what am I supposed to do again?'
Oh um, make them miserable, especially Percy dearest. He's the perfect teasing material.
Ouch. I felt sympathy towards the poor teen. 'Exactly how am I gonna do that?'
Make a test. Just like what Heracles did. Ooh, Ares darling don't…mmm…no, I'm not done talking to him yet… *giggles again*Stop it that tickles! Mmmmm… You know what Freddie dear? I'll just let you do whatever you please since I'll be busy for a long while. Do not even dare disturb nor call for me, okay? Ahh, Ares!
I inwardly winced. The noises I heard coming from the goddess herself left me traumatized. I really shouldn't be hearing all of those; it's quite revolting even for us adults. Seeing (or hearing) as she and Lord Ares are currently busy at the moment, I decided to end our communication.
I just realized that Lady Aphrodite practically made my coming here useless. I mentally face-palmed for my sake and for the goddess' effort of seeing me but just disregarded everything. Oh well, might as well do things my way.
"Dad?" Annabeth called. I turned to my daughter and raised a brow. "Yes honey?"
"Luke pooped on his diapers. I'm just going to find a restroom and clean him there. I, err, we'll be gone for a bit, okay?"
Annabeth brisk walked while clutching the giggling Luke and his bottom, leaving me looking amused with Percy wearing a mixture of horrified, scared and nervous expression.
As soon as my daughter was out of vicinity, I faced Percy and smiled warmly while gesturing for us to sit. "Let's have a chat, shall we?"
Only a few minutes of silence passed until Percy's ADHD started acting up. He started talking about basically…everything. He told me of his adventures and quests with Annabeth, their friends, how little Luke arrived and even his feelings for my daughter. I admit that the last one wasn't really necessary since I knew from the moment he arrived at our house when Annabeth was missing that he felt something special for her.
But still, it's nice to know that he's being completely honest and that alone reassures me that my beloved daughter is in good hands. Percy then ran out of things to say and only then did I know that he's probably waiting for me to say something.
I purposefully took my time in answering (Lady Aphrodite did instruct me to make him miserable for at least today) and after a minute of letting Percy suffer from nervousness and his ADHD, I finally talked.
"You know Percy, I was going to give you my permission in the first place but I never had the chance to say it since you started talking."
Percy gaped at me. He kept opening and closing his mouth, making a very good impression of a fish. I laughed and patted his shoulder.
"It's okay, you'll get over it. I'll just let you know that I appreciated your honesty and I thank you for pouring yourself out to me. But really, Annabeth should've told you that I should be the one talking first since I usually just head straight to the point. Oh well, it was worth it though. I hope that you'll take care of my daughter or else I'll be forced to introduce my collection of war artillery to you."
He gulped and nodded his head. "I certainly will. Thank you, Mr. Chase."
"Call me Frederick, my boy. And I should be the one thanking you for always being there for Annabeth."
I wasn't disgusted at the mess Luke made on the diaper. In fact, I find it not bad at all; though the slight stench made me wince a bit. Anyways, I set aside his shoes, socks and tiny pants (which were miraculously spared from the poop) on the side as I cleaned Luke's dirty but super cute and round butt.
Luke squealed when his butt hit the running tap water and made some wild gestures with his hands (which mostly hits me square in the face but I forgive him since he's too cute). He really likes the water, I mused, and that contributes to him being the son of the son of the sea god.
I let him play on the water for a bit, making sure that his shirt won't get wet, and before finally setting him down on the towel I laid on the sink tiles. The sink was large enough for a few children of Luke's age to sit and since we were the only ones there, I made use of the extra spaces.
Luke lay obediently as I rubbed dry his lower parts before putting on baby powder on his butt. I put on a new clean diaper then pulled out underwear from his bag.
"Why didn't Daddy let you wear underwear, baby? Weren't you uncomfortable?" I cooed at him. Luke scrunched his brows and tilted his head. I giggled.
"Never mind. You don't understand Mommy right?"
I continued working silently while listening to Luke's baby babbles. After finally getting him dressed up, I settled him on the ground as I cleaned the evidences of his mess.
The restroom was quite far from where Dad and Percy were but it was okay for me if it meant giving them more time to talk. A few women stopped to talk and pinch Luke's cheeks and by the time we reached Dad, Luke's cheeks were already swollen and beet red.
"Daddy." I said as my father kissed my forehead and hugged me. From the corner of my eyes I saw Percy smile at us and is it me or is his face beet red too?
"I must say you chose a fine young man, Annie. I'm proud of you." He whispered in my ear. I blushed slightly and half-heartedly scowled at him. "Dad!"
We chatted for a bit until it was time for Dad to leave. He told us that there's still a conference he needed to attend to and that we should be careful on our way back. Percy, Luke, and I watched until his taxi blended in the sea of yellow.
"So, any chance that you'll tell what happened with you and Dad?" I asked Percy as we made our way back to his house.
Percy turned red and shook his head furiously. "Not a chance, Wise Girl. That's strictly between us men."
I rolled my eyes as Luke yawned in my arms. "I'm guessing you're not telling me since you probably said something Seaweed Brain-like and you don't want to embarrass yourself even further. And I'm assuming I forgot to tell you that Dad likes to talk first."
"Oh gods, you did that on purpose, didn't you?"
I shrugged and smirked. "Hmm. Maybe I did Seaweed Brain. So, are you going to tell me now?"
Percy grinned and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Never in a million years, Wise Girl."
One word to describe my day: What?
My talk with Mr. Chase came out surprisingly well (not that I'm complaining) but I was like, 'Dude, I thought I was gonna die today.'
Oh gods don't even remind me of my stupidity. I blame my ADHD for making me blurt out everything up to my deepest darkest wish (which, you might guess right, is dating Annabeth and or making her my girlfriend) to the object my affections' father.
And the worst thing? He knew all along. He had let me talk in vain for about half an hour when he basically already knew where it was eventually going. Gods, I have the worst luck ever.
I don't even get why Mr. Chase was all angry and in I'm-going-to-kill-you mood in the first place when he approved of me all along. Maybe it was because he didn't know about Luke? But he totally believed me when I told him about how Luke showed up as if he heard the story already. It was so strange, but oh well.
Luke was also acting strange today. First, he ignored me and Annabeth (I could practically hear her correction: 'Annabeth and I') when he ran away. Then he pooped; which I thought, was the first time in Luke's history to do so.
I talked to Annabeth about it when we made our way back home but she just brushed it off. She said it's a norm for all kids and while Luke's a super intelligent kid, he's a normal one too which made my doubts disappear.
There were still a few hours left before dinner starts so Mom let me sleep for a bit. After taking the sleeping Luke from Annabeth I made my way towards my bedroom. I carelessly took off my shoes along with Luke's, placed the baby gently on the bed, plopped next to him and dozed off immediately.
By the time I woke up, it was already close to dinner time. I yawned and took the sleep off of my eyes and after making sure Luke wouldn't fall off bed, I started heading towards the living room.
Giggles and laughter echoed throughout the apartment and it was right then that all my senses were awakened. Oh gods, the baby pictures!
By the time I reached the living room, Mom, Paul and Annabeth were already looking at the last page of my baby album, which I remember clearly was a picture of me completely naked for all the world to see playing in a small tub surrounded by rubber duckies and rubber fishes.
Or was it the other one which showed baby me sleeping on the floor with a wide puddle of drool and drool-drenched toys?
Judging from their reaction, it was the second one. Ah, Hades. I watched as the three laughed until tears came out from their eyes. Mom was the first one to notice me.
"Oh, Percy! I was just showing Annabeth your old baby pictures!"
I know that Mom, I could practically hear your laughter bouncing through the hallway. "Mom!" I said as my face turned red from embarrassment. Annabeth wheezed quietly but didn't say anything. I have a feeling that she's saving it up for later.
Mom stood up and stretched. "Well, that was enough laugh fest for today. Let's have dinner! Percy, could you please set the table? And no, Annabeth, Percy should be the only one doing it. You're our guest and he should at least learn how to be a proper gentleman.""Mom please, just stop." I grumbled as Paul chuckled at me. Annabeth sent me an apologizing look but I just waved it off. Geez. The things I do for that girl.