Chapter 14 - TALK

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"Nice outfit, Annabeth." Drew laughed. "Pretty daring for such a loser."

"Leave me alone." Annabeth sighed, wincing when her locker door slammed in her face.

"You know I won't be doing that, Annie." She grinned meanly. "Where's my money?"

"You're not getting it." Annabeth crossed her arms over her chest. Drew scoffed.

"Uh... Excuse me!?"

"Pay for your own shoes, Drew. I'm done being your punching bag."

"You're not my punching bag. Money bag, yes. Punching bag, no. Girls?"

Annabeth didn't back down, even as Drew's posse of sneering, makeup caked friends. It had been a couple weeks since Piper had told Annabeth to just talk to Percy, and he was out of town again for something. She didn't know what, just that he'd be back 3 days before Christmas. Over the weeks, he'd taught her a few self defense moves, going slow so she didn't break his arm, until she'd judo flipped him without prompting. He'd scared her, so she decided to hurt him. He'd looked so proud of her... It was worth it. A few seconds later, and he'd almost kissed her.

He would have, she was sure, if she hadn't been the one to pull away. Since the day Piper said to talk to him, Annabeth had avoided any kind of romantic confrontation with Percy. She didn't want too do it, but she had too. Even if she ached to feel him kiss her, to feel his hands on her hips, holding her close to him. She couldn't get that though. She wouldn't let herself. She did trust Percy. It definitely wasn't that she didn't trust him. The person she didn't trust was herself.

She didn't trust herself to not screw up, make his life worse. He already went through hell just by being her friend. What would happen if they became more? If he did like her as much as Piper said, then Annabeth knew he was as screwed for her as she was for him... But that didn't mean she couldn't keep her hands off him. He still held her hand though, during passing periods, lunch, and gym. He still played with her hair and trailed tiny butterfly kisses on her neck during History. It was nearly impossible for Annabeth to stop him during History. She'd gotten so used to the feeling of his proximity, that not having it felt foreign.

"You're awfully brave today, Annie. Funny, considering no one is here to back you up for once. You have to fight back all on your own."

"Fine by me." Annabeth shrugged. "Touch me, Drew, and you'll regret everything you've done to me."

"Oh, trust me... I already do. I should have just killed you myself that day on the roof. I wouldn't have been stupid enough to let the firemen catch you." Drew smirked, and Annabeth felt dread pool in her stomach.

She spun around, slamming her elbow into the gut of a girl who had reached to gra b her by the hair. People circled around them, most of which booing as Annabeth fought. She could tell by the evil gleam in Drew's eyes that if Annabeth lost, it would be her last battle. Annabeth refused to let that happen.

She wasn't going to die. Not at the hands of Drew Tanaka. Not without kissing Percy at least once in her life. Not because her entire school wanted her to die. She was rebelling against them, an entire school, filled with over 200,000 students. Annabeth was ready to survive. There was no way she'd let herself die.

Drew grabbed Annabeth's arm, and Annabeth flipped her. Drew gasped as she hit the tile. Everyone silenced when Annabeth shoved her way through them, pushing her hair into a ponytail. Of course, the only people who saw were students who wanted Annabeth dead... She would have killed to let Percy see how good she was at fighting after he helped her... She also would have killed to let Percy kiss her after she judo flipped him that day...

But neither was meant to be... And apparently, neither was Annabeth's sanity.

***

She sat down at lunch, nibbling on a piece of bread. She hadn't been hungry that day, and there was now only 3 days left before Percy came home. When she fought Drew, it had been four days away. Annabeth almost wanted to cry. She wanted Percy to hold tight and never let go, with a kiss on her lips. Of course, that wasn't possible.

Out of nowhere, a pair of manicured hands grabbed Annabeth by the hair, dragging her away from her hiding spot. Annabeth didn't hesitate to scream in pain, trying to fought. A second pair of hands grabbed her arms, forcing her to go with them without fighting. Terror filled Annabeth to the care as they reached the roof, a place Annabeth had only been once.

That day hadn't ended well.

"No!" Annabeth screamed, "Let me go!"

She jerked out of Drew's grip, feeling a chunk of hair get ripped from her hair. Tears filled her eyes, and she kicked at the person holding her arms. They called out in pain, and Annabeth pulled away, staring in disbelief at who was helping Drew. She backed away from him, scared. Mark Latin had been the best friend of Jake, someone who was kicked out of school for attacking Annabeth in front of a teacher. He promised her that day that, the next time he saw her, he'd get the same thing from her that Jake did. He grinned at her.

"Hey there, Annabeth. Lookie, lookie, I came back." He held his arms out, stepping towards her. Her back was too a metal wall, her eyes searching for a way out. As far as she could tell, there wasn't one. "I came back, and I can't wait to get what I've been waiting for, for so long. So come here, princess."

"Stay away from me!" Annabeth snapped, tears in her eyes.

"Why would I do that?" He smiled, grabbing her wrist and pulling her arm towards him. "I ain't gonna hurt ya. If you just relax and let me in like you did Jake, you might enjoy it."

"Don't touch me!" She ripped her arm away from him. His smile fell, and he slammed her into the wall, grabbing her wrists. Annabeth screamed, and kicked at him, but the smell of alcohol overwhelmed her senses and she knew that no matter how hard she kicked his groin, he wouldn't feel it. Tears filled her eyes, and Annabeth screamed louder, still doing her best to hurt him.

Pretty quickly, Annabeth was laying on the ground, shaking, scared, hurt. She stayed curled up on the floor, shaking like a leaf. Mark knelt down beside her and whispered in her ear, even as she turned her head defiantly away from him. "Let's make a deal, princess... You let me have my way with you whenever I want, and Drew won't push you off the roof again. SHould be a no brainer for someone as smart as you... Your life or your virtue."

Annabeth closed her eyes, tears streaming down her face. She nodded weakly, not wanting to agree. He left, and Annabeth hugged herself, terror being the only thing in her mind. Her body ached, bruises on her arms, hips, legs, and... Everywhere else. Drew crouched in front of her. "Got that, Annie? Unless you want to die, you gotta be his little sex toy."

Annabeth huddled into herself, whimpering softly. Drew scoffed, "What that idiot would ever want with a loser like you is beyond me."

She left, and Annabeth stayed there, unable to believe that it had happened again. That someone had hurt her again, had taken advantage of her, and had forced her to let them in. She was terrified. She couldn't even tell anyone. Percy was out of the state for a family emergency again, Piper was on a cruise with her dad, a kind of father daughter trip. Her dad was still out on business, her step mom in San Fransisco. The only person she could talk to was her dad's butler, and he'd been threatened. If he didn't do exactly as told, keep Annabeth inside after school, and make her clean, he would be fired. That also meant that he wasn't allowed to talk to her outside of what he had to do.

Annabeth was all alone, again, and she couldn't wait for Percy to come back and hold her tight again. She didn't care if he kissed her or not... She just wanted to hug him and feel safe again. She just wanted to talk to him.

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