Chapter Sixteen - Truth (FAKE pt III)

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"I can't believe you!"

Annabeth paced her dressing room, head in her hands. Her mind swam with confusion, her thoughts seeming to fade together until she was left with just a jumbled mess.

"Annabeth, I just came here to apologise and be friends -"

"Do you not understand?!" Annabeth cried, her fingers clenching into her hair. "Everyone wants us to be together; they're pressuring us to be together! And now that this little fiasco has happened, what will the media say?!"

"You're taking it one step too far." Percy said calmly, watching as she paced in front of him. "If people can't accept that we're just friends, then screw them."

"But that's the thing, Perce." Annabeth stopped pacing to stand in front of the sea green-eyed boy. "What if I don't want us to be 'just friends'?"

"So you hate me now or -"

"Of course I don't hate you!" Annabeth's fiery grey eyes softened. "I couldn't do that. But - things have changed for me. And that's okay."

"What kind of things?" Percy asked.

Annabeth took in a deep breath. And then she grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him down onto her.

Their lips collided in a kiss, Percy's eyes wide as he stood frozen, Annabeth's squeezed tightly shut.

When she pulled away, Percy stared at her for a moment. "Well that was... unexpected."

Annabeth laughed. "That was just to check."

"Check what?" Percy tilted his head to the side.

"That you still like me."

"Annabeth - of course I still like you! It's kind of hard to not like you, you know."

"Good, because something has been tearing me apart these last few days."

"And what's that?" Percy crossed his arms, leaning on one leg as he watched Annabeth bite her lip before speaking again.

"The fact that I am attracted to you. To your smile, your kindness. All this fake-dating made me realise how much I actually do like you. I'll admit, when you broke Rachel's heart for me, that made me lose interest in you for a bit, but you coming onto the stage earlier and pressuring me into making that choice - it made me realise that maybe I do want to start things with you, to take these things slow. I think that's where I've been wrong before; I didn't take baby steps."

Percy was silent for a moment. But then he smirked. "So does that mean that Annabeth Chase is going to become my girlfriend now?"

Annabeth punched his arm lightly. "Percy," She chuckled. "Let's take things slow, okay? I don't want to rush this, to rush us."

"I think I'm cool with that."

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