Chapter 23 - I'M OKAY...

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"There's no way I can tell my dad!" Annabeth frowned as she walked with Percy. "He'll just yell at me again."

"I can go with you."

"You know that will make it worse. I wasn't even supposed to leave New York, Percy."

He sighed and hugged her. "I love you."

"I love you, too, Seaweed Brain." She whispered, hugging him.

"It'll be okay. In a few weeks, you're mom will be in town... You'll get to see her every day." She closed her eyes.

"If he let's me." She sighed sadly. Percy rubbed her back, arms around her shoulders.

"He can't make you stay away! She's your mother! She has a right to be in your life!" Annabeth didn't look at him, frowning. He didn't get it. She started to walk away, but Percy caught her wrist, pulling her back to him. He lifted her chin and kissed her lips, causing a sigh to escape her. She smiled and pulled away. "I'll see you tomorrow morning, baby."

She rubbed her nose against his, smiling, before going inside. Her smile fell the moment she got out of the elevator. She faced her dad and felt tears begin to slide down her cheeks. He was furious, his blue eyes burning with rage.

"Where. Have. You. Been?"

Annabeth looked at her feet and whispered. "My friend took me to California for a week."

"You don't have any friends."

"Yes, I do." She looked up at him. "Percy and Piper."

"You mean the asshole who punched me and the slut daughter of Aphrodite?" Annabeth immediately felt the rage she'd inherited from her father boil in her chest like water in a cauldron.

"Piper is not a slut. Percy only punched you because you said you'd rather I'd be dead."

"I would rather you be dead!" His voice rose to a yell.

She screamed back. "THEN WHY DID YOU TRICK MOM!? WHY DID YOU MAKE HER THINK I WAS WITH HER!?"

He paled. "How do you know about that...?"

She pulled the blanket out of her messenger bag and held it up. "How do you think?" She growled, crying. "She found me. She told me everything! If you hate me so much why did you keep me!?"

"Because. Before I met your step-mother, I'd planned on dropping you off a cliff. Be thankful for Helen. Without her, you'd be dead."

Annabeth blinked back another flood of tears as her dad stepped forward and tried to rip the baby blanket from her hands. She pulled it back, clutching it to her chest.

"Keep this up, Annabeth, and I promise I'll kill you." Her eyes widened in fear, and she turned and ran, ripping the thickly sewn blanket from his hands. She made it to the elevator and jumped in, pressing the close door button. Her father was running at her, a furious look on his face. Annabeth screamed and cowered, curling into herself as the doors closed.

They shut before her dad reached her, but Annabeth still cowered. She quickly slammed the button for the lobby and hugged herself. She hoped the elevator would be quick. She needed to run.

Annabeth stood, shoving her blanket into her bag, wiping her eyes, praying for the strength to make it a safe distance away. She pulled her phone out and dialed the first available contact.

'Mom'

***

"Annabeth?" Athena voice was worried. "Sweetheart, what's wrong?"

Annabeth had ran. She wanted to go to Percys, but she was sure her dad could figure out where he lived. She wanted to go to Pipers, but Piper was too obvious of a person to go too. She'd just kept running. She couldn't breathe.

"Dad... He... Threatened me.. I ran... Away... I'm scared." She whimpered.

"What!? Where are you!? Are you okay!? Did he hurt you?"

"No, he didnt... I'm... I'm fine... I don't know where I am. I can't see any street signs, or people. It's entirely abandoned. I... I think I'm in... Brooklyn... Wait, I know this place." Annabeth spun in a circle, eyes scanning hurriedly for the little pizzaria. She spotted it, and her heart broke.

She remembered the day she and Percy had gone there, when the lady at the counter gave him a bronze rose locket. She didn't know what he did with it, or what was inside it, but she never forgot about it. Annabeth made a run for the pizzaria. Her dad would never suspect it. Never.

Annabeth slowed as she stepped inside, the overhead bells ringing. She glanced around, and was taken back. Percy was there, laughing, holding the straw sitting in a cup, with his mom and step-dad. Percy glanced up as the bells jingled, and his smile fell. "Annabeth!?"

He was on his feet, running towards her. Percy caught her as she began to fall, holding her tightly. "What happened!?"

She heard a voice from her phone, still in hand and put it to her ear, forehead on Percy's collarbone. "I'm okay..." She said, half to Percy, half to the phone. "I'll call you later, mom."

"Okay... I love you." Annabeth whimpered and hung up, looking up at Percy, who looked panic.

"What happened to you?"

She sniffled and he lead her to where his mom and step-dad sat, watching them. "My dad. He was mad when I got back... When I defended you, he got angrier, so I confronted him about my mom. I showed him my blanket and he tried to rip it away. When I pulled it back... He said that if I kept up defying him, he promised to kill me."

"Surely he meant it figuratively?" She heard Percy's step dad say. Annabeth shook her head.

"He told me the only reason I'm alive now is because he met my step mom. He took me from my mom with the plan to throw me off a cliff. Told me my mom drove off a cliff because she hated me."

Sally and Paul shared worried looks. "Annabeth, you need to call the police."

She shook her head. "I can't." She whimpered, hair moving vigorously around her face. Percy held her tighter to him. "Not until my mom comes to New York. She can't get a ticket for a flight in the next few weeks. They're all booked."

"Stay with us." Sally offered. "We have a spare room."

Annabeth hesitated. She looked up at Percy, who's eyes were insistent. "I have to get my stuff... Without my dad knowing."

"I'll go with you." Percy kissed the top of her head, "I promise."

"I'll come, too." Sally said. "I'll doubt your father would try anything if another adult is in the apartment."

Annabeth nodded, but she was still scared. "Mom, can I take her back to the apartment? Please?"

"Of course-"

"My dad would know to look for me there. He can look up anyone and find anything on them." Percy shared a look with his mom.

"The beach house. In Montuak." Paul said softly. "You can take her there." Percy met his mom's eyes, and she nodded.

"Good idea."

Percy helped Annabeth to her feet and held her to his side protectively. "Love you, mom."

"Love you, too, Percy."

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