Chapter 22 - MOM

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Annabeth sat with Percy in the cafe they were supposed to meet her mother in, holding his hand, too nervous to eat the delicious looking donut in front of her. If it was her mother… Annabeth wouldn’t know what to do. She wouldn’t know how to react. She’d only ever known family who hated her… Percy and Piper were her only real friends. She barely knew how to respond to Percy’s affections, let alone one that would come from a mother who cared about her.

“Wise Girl, you need to eat.” Percy sighed, rubbing her arm and kissing her forehead.

“But I’m scared…”

“I don't want you fainting on me, Annabeth. My ankle still hurts, after all.” Annabeth huffed. Percy had purposely rolled his ankle the day that Annabeth had avoided him, before she fell down the bleachers. He still complained. “I won’t be able to carry you this time.”

“Shut up.” She whined. He smiled at her and kissed her forehead. “I’ll eat, just… Not yet… I wanna wait…”

“Why would you wait to eat?” A barely familiar voice asked her. Annabeth jumped, turning to look at Athena Chase. She was frowning, looking both worried and excited, sounding like the idea of waiting to eat was hilarious.

“Uh…”

Percy saved her. “Hey, Mrs Chase.”

“Please, call me Athena, Percy.” Annabeth wanted to cringe. She wondered if Athena knew that her dad had remarried. She was always portrayed as a genius, so Annabeth doubted that she didn't know. “I haven’t gone by Chase in… 16 years, actually.”

“Why?” Annabeth couldn’t stop herself.

Athena sighed. “When I had you… You’re dad… I don’t know why, but for some reason, he hated that I’d had you. I planned to take you with me and leave him, pretending that my jeep had driven off a cliff, but somehow, your dad tricked me. He made me think you were in the car with me when I left, and I tried to get you out before letting the jeep go… But all that was there was your blanket.”

“My blanket-?” Annabeth cut off as Athena pulled out a Tweety Bird blanket. It was thick, small, about the size of a toddler. She suddenly wanted to cry. She’d seen a picture of herself as a newborn baby, in that very blanket. The stain was even in the same place as the picture, over Tweety’s eye.

“I don’t know how your dad managed to trick me, but I made sure I kept the blanket… Hoping it’d help me find you.” She smiled, holding the blanket out to Annabeth. Hesitantly, she took it. It was soft, old. It brought tears to her eyes, and Annabeth leaned into Percy more. He hugged her, and she felt him kiss the crown of her head. “I have a friend in New York, whose son said he saw you two. At the beach, and I… I tried getting a plane to New York, but I’ve been dealing with the whole ‘faking my death’ thing again.”

“Wait a minute… Who saw us?” Percy frowned.

“The son of one of my friends, his name’s Grover Underwood.” Percy let out a slightly relieved laugh.

“That’s why he clammed up that day.” Annabeth faintly remembered Grover. Curly brown hair, tucked under a tie dye beanie, baggy clothes, grass green eyes. The first day she’d spoken to him, she’d had a bitter feeling towards him, after the whole cold shoulder moment. Now, she didn’t feel so harshly towards him. “I don’t feel so bad about confronting him anymore.”

Annabeth wanted to question him, but her stomach suddenly felt like it hadn’t eaten in months. She grabbed the donut with a shaky hand, the other gripping the blanket tightly, holding it close to her body. She took a bite of the donut, and flavor exploded in her mouth. She let out a tiny moan, getting a laugh out of the people around her. “What?” She asked with her mouth still full. “It’s good.”

***

Piper lunged at Annabeth when they got back to her house, and dragged her away from Piper. “Okay, Annie, there’s some people you gotta meet!” Annabeth laughed as Piper pulled her down a set of stairs, into the basement living room. “Thalia, Jason, Leo! This is Annabeth!”

Annabeth heard the name Jason and raised an eyebrow at Piper, who ignored her. Three people, two of which were fighting over who got to play the third controller, while the other one was just playing the game on the screen. All three heads turned.

One of them, with curly brown hair, not a soft brown like Grovers, more of a dark brown, so dark it was almost black, and chocolate eyes. He had elfish features, and a very excited and welcoming smile. Another was a girl, with choppy black hair cut close to her head, and electric blue eyes, like lightning. She had a bit of a ‘punks not dead’ style, and her shirt actually said that very same thing. The third person was a tall boy, probably about the same height as Percy, with blonde hair and the same eyes as the girl next to him. Piper smiled a little more when he stood up and walked over.
“I’m Jason.”

“I’m Annabeth.”

“Nice to meet you. That’s Leo-” Jason pointed to the boy, then to the girl. “-And that’s Thalia, my sister.”

“Hi.” Annabeth said shyly, waving, smiling. Percy appeared behind her, walking up to her. She felt him tense up beside her, arm around her shoulders in a protective - almost possessive - grip. “This is Percy, my boyfriend.”

Jason smiled at him, but Percy barely smiled back, pulling Annabeth tighter against his side. Thalia hopped off the couch and walked over. “What’s your deal?” She nodded to Percy.

“Thalia, I told you to be nice!” Piper growled, pulling Thalia back to the couch. “Come on, Jason. I’m not missing Rainbow Bridge.” Thalia and Jason, obviously siblings, groaned. Leo grinned.

Percy pulled Annabeth to one of the couches and they curled up together. Annabeth closed her eyes happily. The meeting with her mother had been great. Annabeth had opened up, told Athena everything that happened in her life that she remembered, from the house fire ("That Annabeth easily could have prevented." Said Percy), to Fredrick and Helens marriage, to Matthew and Bobby births, to her attempting suicide (Percy had crushed her to him when she mentioned it), as well as everything with Jake ("He was a Spineless bastard who deserved to get a life sentence" according to Percy), then meeting Percy, then Jake falling ("He deserved it." Percy had smiled looking satisfied), to meeting Piper, all the way up to everything with Mark (Who Percy also called spineless as well as other unprintable names Annabeth didn't like using), till meeting Athena on the beach. Athena smiled through every part that had Percy and Annabeth together, especially when Percy, finally ,explained why he first kissed her neck in class, and Annabeth had started laughing, teasing him. He'd hugged her tightly and hid his reddening face in her blonde curls. Athena hadn't commented on it, smiling at the two of them with a faraway and dreamy look in her stormy grey eyes.

"I'm glad I agreed to meet her." Annabeth hummed, playing with the collar of Percy's shirt in boredom.

"Me too. You deserve to be happy. You especially deserve to know your mom." She nuzzled his collar bone, head tucked under his chin comfortably, a content and happy smile on her face. "I love you, Wise Girl."

"I love you too, Seaweed Brain."

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