Chapter Five - PICK UP

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They stayed until the police arrived, after dark. Annabeth was sat on the bottom seat of the bleacher, as far from Jake's un-moving body as she could get. Percy sat beside her. He was the first of the two to approach Jake. When the paramedics arrived, they said that he'd been dead halfway down the stairs. Annabeth stared at the ground, only shaking her head and nodding when the police asked her questions. Percy sat beside her and rubbed her back when they began to question him.

He explained everything, assuring the officers that they were only there because Percy insisted, and that if any of them got in trouble, then Annabeth should be left out of it, because she hadn't originally wanted to enter the field. What Annabeth didn't know, was that Percy already had permission to be on the field.

When the officers left them be, Annabeth silently asked for Percy to take her somewhere else - not her house, but anywhere other than the football field. He complied, and walked with her as they wandered the city. He didn't let anyone else touch her, knowing how scared she was just by her body language. Percy put an arm around her shoulders, a little surprised when she leaned against his side.

They just walked, neither of them speaking, neither of them trying to talk about what had happened not to long before. It took reaching a large apartment building before Annabeth spoke. "Wow... Looks like no matter how much I hate the thought of heading home already, we got here anyways." She mumbled.

Percy frowned and looked up. The building looked fancy, with lots of glass windows along the walls. "You live here?"

"Yeah... I know what you're thinking... 'She's rich, what's she doing being bullied at school, she could just pay them to leave her alone'." He shook his head, but she didn't let him speak. "I'll see you on Monday, Percy."

"Annabeth, wait-"

She kissed his cheek. "Thanks for walking me home... I'll see you later."

Then she was gone, inside the building, probably not coming back down to see him. Percy sighed and hesitated, wanting to go inside and talk to her. The door automatically locked though, and he knew he couldn't go in. He wanted too, though. He wanted to help her, to reassure her that that's not what he thought. It wasn't. It was far from what he thought.

In his head, Percy had marveled at the fact that, not even two blocks away from her apartment building, was his own apartment. He lived a block and a half away from her... He didn't care how expensive the building looked. What mattered to him was that he wasn't far from her. She didn't let him explain, though. She didn't even give him a chance to try. Percy sighed and ran a hand through his hair, before starting to walk home. He just wanted to... He wasn't sure. He wanted to be her friend, hell, he wanted more than to just be her friend. He couldn't deny that she was beautiful, but he wanted to help her too. He wanted to take care of her, protect her, and all the while be the friend she didn't seem to have. so far, she tried to let him... But she didn't trust him. He could see that as clear as day... He'd just have to try harder... He wasn't going to hurt her. Ever.

He wasn't like Jake. He had a heart. He knew his boundaries, and he knew hers. He just had to prove it.

***

That night, Annabeth couldn't sleep. She was so sure that Percy would leave when he realized that her father was rich, but, by the time she reached her apartment... She could still see him standing on the sidewalk, as if debating trying to get inside. He ended up leaving though, after a determined look set on his face. Annabeth sighed, wanting to go back down and apologize. She knew she shouldn't have reacted so coldly to his question, but... She couldn't help herself. She was still scared.

She was lucky about one thing, though. Her step mother didn't even bother yelling at her for being late. She gave Annabeth and look of disgust, and walked away to the living room, where her sons were watching a cartoon.

Annabeth went to the window and watched until he left, before going to her room and starting on her homework.

She still couldn't sleep. Around 3 in the morning, Annabeth had gotten up and went into her adjacent bedroom. She opened her medicine cabinet and stared at the things inside. On one side was a bottle of sleeping pills, with a specially designed bottle that only allowed her to take one pill a day, and on the other was a razor. She stared for a long time, her mind running over idea's and dark thoughts, the same thought that always came staying in her mind a little longer than the others...

How long will it take for them to notice if I'm gone? Will they care? Would anyone cry if I never woke up? Then something yelled at her. It wasn't her own voice... It was a mans voice... Percy's voice...

"They aren't gonna do nothin'." It was quiet, barely coming to her mind over the thoughts that were hurting her so much... But it was there. "He can't hurt you anymore, I promise."

Tears suddenly pricked at Annabeth's eyes and she closed the medicine cabinet, sitting on the floor and hugging her knees to her chest. Mixed emotions and thoughts flooded her mind. If Percy hadn't taken her to the old field, she wouldn't have ran into Jake... But he had helped her, defended her, protected her. If he hadn't taken her to the field, she wouldn't have felt that tiny bit of freedom and let herself breathe for the first time in her life. She let herself breathe, and felt a thousand times better, safer, even.

Managing to soothe her own tears, Annabeth got to her feet and went into her room again, to see her phone screen lit up with a text.

Seaweed Brain:
Hey. Couldn't sleep after we ended the conversation like that. U okay?
~ Percy the Mermaid

Annabeth smiled to herself at the signature and sat on her bed, taking her phone with her as she curled up under a white comforter.

I'm okay, now. I'm sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have walked away like that.
~ Grey

Seaweed Brain:
It's fine, I promise. Guess what... I live a block and a half away. I'll pick you up tomorrow. We're gonna have fun.
~ Percy the Mermaid

Annabeth giggled softly and her fingers flew across the screen before she laid down and let herself sink into her covers, the warmth lulling her to sleep.

Pick me up at 10.
~ Grey

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