My mom protested a lot for the rest of the day, crying and hugging me tight, but Bob was adamant and he had the power. My mom knew it. I knew it. My mom didn’t have a job at the moment. If she chose me over Bob, she wouldn’t have anywhere to go. Except her mom or dad or sister’s house, I thought, but my mom didn’t see those as an option.
“You’ll be okay at camp?” my mom asked, stroking my hair as I lay in bed, ready to get a good night’s sleep before I had to shadow travel the next day.
“I’ll be perfectly fine at camp,” I promised. “I’m really happy there. You know that.”
My mom smiled sadly. “You’ll Iris message me and write me letters, right?” “Mom, I’m dyslexic,” I teased, and she kissed my forehead. “Twice a week. Deal?”
“Deal,” I said, laughing.
“Look, honey,” she said, her face serious. “I’ll get everything figured out with Bob, and then you can come home. You’ll just have to be on your absolute best behavior.”
“Okay,” I said, not bothering to tell her that I had been on my best behavior, and he was still kicking me out.
“I love you,” she said, kissing my forehead again.
“I love you too,” I said, and she got up, turned out the lights, and shut my door.
I arrived at camp in the shade from the Big House the next morning. Even though I knew I needed to talk to Chiron about being a year round camper -- at least for the rest of this semester -- I used my last bit of energy to run to my bed in the Poseidon cabin, where I woke up two hours later to Peyton stroking my hair.
“Hey, sis,” I said, stretching my arms and turning onto my back.
“Hey,” she said, smiling. “Rough day?”
I sat up and shrugged. “Yesterday wasn’t great. Bob, my step-dad, kicked me out because he thought I played a prank on him and it was kind of the last piece of straw.”
Peyton smiled. “The last straw. That’s the saying. But why did he think you pulled a prank on him?”
“’Cause I got mad and made the sink in the kitchen explode. He doesn’t know who I am. He thinks my dad’s name is Paul.”
Peyton laughed. “I can relate to that.”
“Yep,” she said, nodding and looking off into the distance. “My step-dad, who you know I thought was my actual dad, still doesn’t know that he’s not my dad. Because, I mean, he and my mom were married when I was conceived. He has no idea that I have a different dad or powers. Over break, I spilled water on myself and he came over with a towel, ready to help me dry my shirt, and I was completely dry.”
“That’s happened to me before. At school.”
Peyton nodded. “It’s just so hard, looking him in the eyes and calling him ‘dad’ now. And I’ve never even met my actual dad.” She pounded her fist on the bed softly, frowning.
“You will someday,” I promised. “I haven’t seen Dad for a long time, but he always shows up when you least expect it.”
“Really?” Peyton asked.
“Really really. He came to Percy’s birthday party once.”
She smiled. “Seriously?”
“Seriously,” I said, then busted into laughter.