Chapter 24 - HERS

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Annabeth lay with her head on Percy's chest, in a beach house on Montuak. She was scared, still, but Percy's presence kept her sane. The feeling of his arms around her, and his lips on her neck made her relax. Annabeth looked up at him, and moved to lay on too of him. He laughed, and she smiled at him before kissing his lips. "I love you, Percy."

"I love you, too, Wise Girl." He nuzzled her neck, rolling her onto her back. Annabeth giggled and blushed red, arms around his neck as he nipped lightly at her skin, leaving what would surely form a hickey in a short amount of time. Her fears washed away, and she absorbed herself into Percy's affections. She didn't fight him. She didn't want too, actually.

He kissed her lips and Annabeth giggled again, her knees bent, pressing against the sides of his hips, holding him close to her with her hands. She closed her eyes and let herself sink in his embrace, moaning as his body moved over hers. He kissed down her neck, sliding the strap if her bikini top down her shoulder with his hand, leaving little bruises on her skin as he moved.

Annabeth smiled, closing her eyes, the things she felt making her brain explode. He stopped, head on her shoulder, frozen there. "I uh..." He was blushing, holding himself up off of her with his hands. "This is awkward..."

"Why?" She raised an eyebrow, slightly breathless. He was also shirless, and her mouth almost began to water. Alnost. She had more control than that. Not a lot, but it was enough.

"Well... If you don't let me go, I might not be able to stop." He laughed shyly, moving so his head was over hers, and Annabeth realized. She'd turned him on. Her face flared red, and she let go of his shoulders, pushing herself up and kissing him. Percy stiffened, before relaxing when she laid back down, still kissing him. When they broke apart again, he whined, but moved off of her body, his handsome face still red. She couldn't help but giggle, but when he moved away, she missed the feeling of his body being so close to her own.

Annabeth got up and went inside the walls of the beach house after him, holding his hand. They'd technically been inside already, on the porch that had mesh screens all around, but she was paranoid. In California, Piper had a neighbor who liked to peek into bedroom windows at night.

Paranoia was expected, right?

Annabeth fell on top of Percy when he laid on the couch, blushing and laughing when her body hit his chest. He held her close, kissing her forehead. He may have been able to keep his hands to himself, but she wasnt. Annabeth sat up, straddling his hips, hands exploring his torso distractedly. Percy watched her intently, curiously, his muscles tensing under the light brushes from her finger tips. Annabeth stayed silent, eyes following her hands as she felt small scars higher on his torso.

"Whatcha doing, baby?" He asked when she froze, three of her fingers staying frozen on a particularly large scar on his stomsch. There was a frown on her face. Annabeth didn't register Percy sitting up until his hand was on the side of her face, making her look at him. "I told you about my old step-dad, right?"

"You mentioned him..." Annabeth whispered. She wondered how she'd never noticed his scars before. They weren't exactly invisible... Then again... Usually when he was shirtless around her, Annabeth was thinking about other things... Innapropriate other things.

"Did I tell you he was a bit abusive?"

"I can't remember." She met his eyes again, and he leaned in, their lips meeting in a soft, unspokenly and desperately needed touch of reassurance. Annabeth sighed and leaned against him. He was propping himself up with his hands, and he laid back down slowly, with Annabeth resting against his chest. When Percy was laid back down, Annabeth slid her fingers across one of the scars on his torso, over and over. She felt him watching her, his hands on her back. Annabeth closed her eyes and relaxed.

"He was an asshole." Percy said softly. "His name was Gabe Ugliano, and he was an addicted, absuive, drunk asshole with a smoking habit. I use to be unable to go to swim meets because I couldn't breathe after dealing with him, thanks to the smoke. I almost had to quit the swim team all together because the doctor said I was forming a case of asthma from it. My mom heard that and divorced Gabe. She would have done it if I told her about everything, but he got paid somehow and we needed the money. As much as I absolutely loathe the guy, he's the only reason I made it past the age of 5."

"Why?"

"My mom had to work a lot. Couldn't afford a decent sitter... She was raised in the foster system, like I told you. Only person we had who was like family was Rosanne. She would watch me sometimes, especially after Gabe came into the picture. She hated him even more than I do." Annabeth couldn't help but laugh. "I'm serious! This woman loved everyone! Man, I wish you could have met her..." He was smiling. "She's the only real family I had other than my mom. And you, and Paul." Annabeth smiled to herself, hand on his chest, happy that he was happy.

"Where's that locket? The one you got when we went to the pizzaria?"

"Right here." He pulled something from his pocket. "I haven't let it out of my possession since I got it. And I haven't gotten to open it yet... I cant get it. It's stuck."

"Can I try?" Annabeth asked curiously. Percy didn't hesitate. He gently dropped the bronze rose locket into her palm, the chain gathering under it. Annabeth shook the chain out and examined the locket, turning so her back was against Percy's chest as he sat up again. Slowly, Annabeth worked her bitten nails into the latch, wiggling it free. She pulled one of her hands back as the nail broke, the tip splitting from the rest. She winced and sucked on it for a second, trying to ignore the pain as the locket popped open.

Inside was a folded paper. Percy let out a little laugh when she handed him the necklace. He unfolded the paper in front of them, the side of his head against hers. "It's a coupon for free pizza."

"It's expired."

"Oh." He laughed at the sound of her enthusiasm just disapparating from her voice. "Sorry... I'm hungry." He kissed her cheek and flipped the coupon over.

'Hope that pretty girl you saw 5 years ago knows your name, Percy. Because you know hers.'

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