Chapter 21 - A CLIFF

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They'd left the beach after Annabeth had collapsed. The woman, who claimed to be Athena Chase, had asked to meet them in a local cafe in town, and Annabeth had agreed... Though Percy wasn't sure why. She seemed weak and exhausted, obviously terrified. Now, Annabeth was asleep in the bedroom Piper's father had let her sleep in. Piper was sitting on the couch, playing a card game with Percy and her dad.

"So, how did everything with Annabeth happen?" Tristan McLean asked, putting out an Ace of Hearts.

Percy hesitated, before explaining, leaving out Annabeth's deal with Mark. Piper still didn't know. Annabeth didn't want anyone to know.

"Sounds like you were the knight she was looking for." Tristan nodded.

"She wasn't looking for a knight." Percy said softly. "She was looking for a sword."

"And you're the knight who gave her one." Piper smiled, before setting out her winning card. "I win, so pay up!"

Percy sighed and handed her his packet of mini cookies. "I'm going to go check on Annabeth."

"Okay." Piper smiled happily as her dad gave her his cookies as well. Percy stood, walking to the stairs that went up, then he walked down the hall to Annabeth's room, which was hallway adjacent to his own. He knocked on the door gently, getting a muffled response. He didn't know what she said, but went inside anyways. 

"Annabeth?" He didn't see her. 

"I'm in the bathroom." Annabeth said. She stepped out, a hairbrush in her hand. He smiled and walked to her, kissing her. She was wearing his sweatshirt, like she usually did, and she looked amazing, nestled into the too big sweatshirt. 

"You look beautiful."

"I feel like hell." She whimpered. He hugged her close, kissing the top of her head. "I'm gonna change... Can you stay with me, tonight?"

"Of course I can." He gently ran his hand through her hair as she looked up at him, before kissing her forehead. "I love you."

"I love you, too." She smiled, before pulling away, walking back to the adjoining bathroom. Percy laid down on the double bed. Soon, Annabeth was back out of the bathroom, in a tank top and cotton shorts. She moved towards the bed and laid down on top of Percy. He laughed and she kissed him, his arms tight around her waist. It got heated pretty quick. Percy rolled over, so he was hovering over Annabeth, keeping his lips on hers. Annabeth pulled him close to her, not letting him hold his body off of hers. 

"Wise Girl, what are you doing?" He groaned softly. He refused to do more than kiss her, worried about hurting her or scaring her, or having her push him away. He didn't want to risk anything. She'd been absolutely terrified the last month, afraid that Mark had gotten her pregnant. As far as they knew, he hadn't. Sure it had only been a month since New Years Eve, when Mark was arrested for good, but Annabeth had said that everything was on track, that everything was great and nothing had gone wrong. Percy was relieved that she still wanted him in her life. She'd hardly spent time away from him, and he was glad. Not even a full week of Annabeth avoiding him had made him feel like he was dying. If he had to go longer than that, he would probably, literally die.

She clammed up, arms around Percy's neck, blushing. She shrugged and kissed him again. He accepted the kiss for a few seconds, until her hands moved to pull his shirt off. He laughed softly and broke away, forehead against hers. "Whatcha doing, baby?"

"You're gonna say I'm weird."

"I'm not going to say you're weird, Annabeth. What are you doing?" He cupped the side of her face in one of his hands.

She leaned her head up, whispering in his ear. "I wanna have sex with you." Her face was blood red when she pulled away. Percy kissed her neck, and felt her body relax underneath his. 

"That's not weird."

"Even after everything that's happened?" She asked. 

"Especially after that. The fact that you'd be willing to have sex that after everything Mark did to you is great, Wise Girl." He nuzzled her jawline, and she tilted her head to the side, her eyes closing.

"But?"

"But... We're in the middle of California, in an unfamiliar place, after finding out that your mom might still be around. I love you, baby, but I highly doubt it's a good time to have sex." She whimpered, pouting. Percy kissed her forehead, laying back down and pulling her on top of him again. She clung to him, head on his chest, one of her hands gripping his shirt. 

She sat up, suddenly, straddling his hips. "Wise Girl?"

"I still want you shirtless." He laughed and sat up, pulling his shirt off. She smiled, kissing him, hands exploring his torso. He looped his arms around her waist, holding her against his body. Percy laid back down again, taking her with him, holding her in a loving embrace. Annabeth broke away again and laid her head back on Percy's bare chest, still straddling his hips. She had her eyes closed, and was listening intently to his heartbeat. Percy wondered if she were doing it for the same reason he was, to remind herself that, despite everything that was happening, he still existed... Because it's what he always did. He was listening to her breathing, holding her body tightly to his, afraid that at any moment she'd fade into nothing, and he'd wake up from the best dream in the whole entire world.

It was probably an hour later when either of them spoke again. "Wanna know the reason I'm so scared that that is my mom?" She asked softly, one of her hands on his chest, in front of her face, drawing with a pen she'd pulled out of the side table drawer. She was drawing random curls and lines, spiraling out from his heart. She'd moved her head so she was facing his left side, head on his right shoulder. Percy had his eyes closed, arms around her still. 

"Why?" He rubbed her back gently.

"My dad said that after I was born, she... Hated me so much she drove her jeep off a cliff just to get away from me." Annabeth sighed, still drawing. "I'm scared that my dad did something to keep her out of my life... That someone tried to kill her, and she's been searching for me all this time... With no success until now."

Percy opened his eyes and watched her. She pulled the tip of the pen away from his chest and blew on the blue ink, like he'd done to her shoulder once in History class. Percy moved to sit up, arm around her waist, leaning his back against the padded headboard. She stayed in her position, head on his chest, just staring at the design. She didn't question why he sat up. Her legs were folded up on either side of his, hand drawing again. He watched as the lines she drew turned into a sunflower. "Wise Girl. Any other reasons?"

"How could it take so long for her to find me? There's been news reports on my fall from the roof, on the charges against Jake, what happened with Mark. There were reports about me and dad moving to New York after his plane caught fire. Remember the one that I said he built? I was right about the piece being out of place. Burned down our house, my dad got a huge loan and stuff from his company. So he managed to afford a huge wedding with my step-mom, that was in the news too, and the apartment complex and building. I'm just glad he doesn't own your building. That would be awkward as hell."

Percy laughed, kissing her temple. She smiled up at him beautifully. Percy's breath was taken away - again. It always did when she smiled. It was beautiful. He loved her more than anything... He didn't know what he'd do without her. Annabeth put the pen down and rested her head under his chin. "I'm also scared that she's not going to be like everyone else. That she's actually gonna care about me." 

"Why?"

"That's the thing... I don't know..."

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