Chapter Six - Our Silence

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Annabeth was still tingling from the kiss by the time she had gotten up to her apartment. Luke was just so ... perfect. She couldn't find a better match for herself. And as she laid back on her bed, all she could think about was him.

Beep, beep!

Annabeth glanced down at her phone as the screen flashed.

You have a new message from Luke Castellan

Already? Annabeth thought.

Luke:
Hey babe! Hope you're still thinking of me! xx

Annabeth smiled and keyed in her reply.

Annabeth:
Why would I not think of my fabulous boyfriend?

Luke:
Because he's always thinking of his beautiful girlfriend. xx

With every kiss that she read, Annabeth smiled as she imagined Luke giving her one. But then she frowned. Wasn't be supposed to be meeting with someone?

Annabeth:
Are you still waiting for your friend?

Luke:
My manager, you mean? They haven't arrived yet.

Annabeth was just about to reply when a notification went off again. Her eyebrows shot up. One of her close friends Leo Valdez had designed this particular phone especially for her and one of the features he put in was that the notifications only went off if she got a text or if Annabeth was mentioned somewhere on social media or in the news. This time, it was on Twitter.

/annabethchase - love you heaps /lukecastellan !! xxx

The tweet had been posted only five minutes ago. Attached to it was an image of Annabeth and Luke in the park, holding hands.

Annabeth felt her breath speed up. How could Apollo have done this to her, again? Tears blurred her vision. Her hands shook so much, she dropped her phone. Annabeth was freaking out. She needed someone to talk to... pronto.

When she picked up her phone again, this time she went into her contacts, and scrollled down until she found Hazel Levesque. But then she remembered. Hazel and Frank had gone away for a few weeks. She went down a bit further to Piper McLean and then stopped. No, her manager wouldn't like her interrupting her night off.

Thalia Grace - after the breakup with Luke they hadn't spoken in months. No use there.

Clarisse La Rue - did Annabeth really fancy combat fighting to cheer her up?

Rachel Dare - out of town on an Art trip. Darn.

There was no one for Annabeth to talk to. She really was alone.

Annabeth leaned back against the wall, silent sobs shaking through her body. She couldn't stop crying. This just felt so ... personal. She was alright with Apollo taking photos of her and friends, but not love interests.

'The kiss' still hadn't been resolved on Social Media either. And Annabeth hadn't felt as bad about that as she had then... 

And it was because of her pride.

This breach in privacy wasn't her fault; someone had been purposely stalking her. Apollo. All he wanted was to blow the internet up.

Annabeth flicked through her contacts again. There was no one left to talk to who would understand.

Except for...

•••

The next morning...

"Hey, I got your message last night." The chair in front of Annabeth scraped backwards as the boy wearing the cap-and-sunglasses disguise slid into it. "Are you alright?"

Annabeth was wearing sunglasses as well. Not only to disguise herself - to hide the tears.

"You were the only one I could think of to help me." Annabeth sniffed. "I - I'm not doing so well."

"Yeah, I saw the tweet. It's nearly as worse as what happened to us." He sighed.

"Nearly as worse?" Annabeth snapped. "Percy, this is just as bad!"

"Hey, I know how you feel." Percy said defensively. "I'm your friend, Wise Girl. You can come to me if you ever feel down. I'll respect you and your problems. Even if it's ... boy problems."

Annabeth cracked a smile. "Thank you, Perce."

"Now, what would you like to drink? My shout."

"Oh no, you don't have to do that." Annabeth protested, but Percy was already standing up.

"That's what friends are for, right?" Percy smirked. "I say ... something sweet to cheer you up. Hot chocolate."

Annabeth nodded and Percy headed up to the counter of the bakery - the same bakery they'd been in all those weeks ago when they made up as friends.

Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Annabeth saw a flash. She glanced around the café, spotting the man with the dark sunglasses holding a large black camera pointed at her.

She took a deep breath. Not Apollo. She thought to herself. No, it wasn't Apollo. Apollo never made himself so obvious.

When Percy came back with a number for the table and sat back down, there were even more flashes. Percy glanced over at the man and a smirk broke out on his face.

"Why Annabeth, I believe we're being watched."

"Mm-hm."

"Shall we give him a show?"

"What, the one-fingered salute?"

"Nope. And no kissing, either."

Annabeth sighed in relief. "Good. What do you propose?"

"We say goodbye."

The pair stood up and made their way over to the man. "Why hello there." Percy began casually. "We couldn't help but notice you taking photos of us without our expressed permission."

"Yes, it's not as if we had signs on our foreheads saying: 'take our pictures!' Is it?" Annabeth gave him a sickly-sweet smile.

The man's jaw dropped. "Uh - um."

"Could I have that?" Percy snatched the camera off the man. He scrolled through the photos, then pressed the big red button which read: 'DELETE ALL'.

He smiled at the man and passed the camera back. It hit the man's face and Annabeth and Percy sauntered over to Miranda Gardiner at the counter.

"To-go, I assume?" She said, holding up two take-away cups.

"Lets find somewhere quieter, shall we, Wise Girl?"

"We shall, Seaweed Brain."

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