Chapter 9: Promises Aren’t Always Easy to Keep
It was midnight when we were finally alone. Kensey and Aphrodite had had it all worked out, except Kensey didn’t know that Aphrodite hadn’t known the ending.
“Seaweed Brain, what are you thinking about?”
“I was an idiot.”
“Yep.” She smiled and wrapped her arms around my neck. We were standing in the middle of my cabin, listening to the silence of the night. “But you couldn’t help yourself. Aphrodite was playing you.”
“Does that mean you forgive me?”
“Does this answer your question?”
The kiss she gave me made me feel like I was wearing Hermes’ flying sandals. I was floating on air. With her. The kiss was so much better than Maggie’s—it said everything, kept back nothing, was open and honest and it lasted forever and ever, but was over all too soon.
“Nah. Maybe if you tried again…”
I’m not gonna lie. I’m a guy and thinking about making out with Annabeth was one of the things that made me wake up and get out of bed each morning.
“Don’t push it, Seaweed Brain.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Wise Girl.”
Well, maybe I would, but only because I couldn’t help myself. I wrapped my arms around her waist and angled my lips down over hers. My brain needed to learn to stop turning to mush when this happened.
She gripped my shoulders tightly. “Jeez, Percy, you’re getting good at that.”
“Oh, and I wasn’t good before?” I teased.
“That’s just mean.”
She giggled, capturing my mouth again. “Don’t worry. I’ve taught you well.”
“I’ll teach you something, Wise Girl,” I grumbled, bending down and scooping her up, an arm under her shoulders and the other under the knees. “Don’t tease a dude that’s stronger than you and knows your deepest fears.”
Her head rested against my chest as I carried her outside. “You’re not gonna sic a bunch of spiders on me, are you?”
“Nah. I’ll just throw you in the water.”
“What?! No, Percy, you wouldn’t—” She was squirming now, hitting my chest, tugging on my hair, but I just walked right into the lake, laughing. When I tossed her away from me, she sunk down under the water and reappeared pouting. “That was pointless.” She was only up to her middle, the tip of the water against her ribs.
My breath caught as the moonlight hit her at exactly the right spot, making her glow, making her eyes light up. Jeez, she was the most beautiful girl that ever lived—more beautiful than Aphrodite, more beautiful than anyone and everyone. She must have noticed my expression because she pouted even more and said, “What? Is my hair sticking out?”
When her hand reached up to flatten her hair I grabbed her wrist, pulling her against me. “No—you’re beautiful.”
I noticed her breath skip for a moment, making her take a shaky inhale. “Oh.” Our hands adjusted so our fingers were interlaced. Her eyes went our hands and then back to my eyes. There was a spark of teasing in her pretty grey eyes. “Promise not to let me drown, Percy?”
“Hmmm,” I said, pretending to consider it for a moment. “That would mean I’d have to get closer to you. Make sure you don’t go anywhere.” She shrugged and I took that as permission to take the step necessary to be standing directly against her, chest against chest. “And I’d have to keep you in my arms. Make sure you’re safe…and stuff.” Her eyebrows arched but she didn’t protest. My arms went around her middle. “And then… I don’t really have an excuse for kissing you, but I’m gonna do it anyway,” I whispered.
“I’d expect nothing less.”
Her soft lips brushed against mine in the suggestion of a kiss. When more pressure was applied, she twisted her fingers into my hair, keeping me locked in her arms.
“Annabeth, I would never let you drown. I promise.”
“Good. Now shut up and go back to kissing me.”
Okay, if that’s how she wanted it, it was fine with me. I actually liked this quite a lot. Her lips fit perfectly with mine and when she pressed herself even closer against me, I learned that our whole selves fit together quite wonderfully as well. I made a big bubble around the parts of us that were underwater and started to slowly pull her under. She gasped at first, but realized we were dry and relaxed.
I had been wrong last year. This was the best underwater kiss ever.
And then the water started swirling. She held on to me and looked down and around at the quickly disappearing water. The spirals were strong, pulling us down, deeper into the lake.
“Percy—what are you doing?”
“Nothing! I swear, it’s not me.”
The swirling sped up, going faster and faster around the two of us. I fought to slow down the spinning, make it freeze; but the power was too strong. It was hard and fast and relentless, stopping my attempts to make the water stay still, overpowering me in everything I tried. Annabeth’s eyes were wide in fright as she held even tighter to me. I returned the embrace with equal fervor, now frightened that I couldn’t even stop what was happening.
“Seaweed Brain, I’m gonna kill you if this is some stupid prank.” She closed her eyes, hiding her face against my chest.
“I swear, Annabeth—”
And then the water sucked us both under, popping the bubble around us.
My first thought was Why are my arms empty? Why isn’t she still in my arms? Annabeth! Oh, dear gods, Annabeth! I looked around frantically, breathing easily under the water. Annabeth. Annabeth. Oh, jeez, she was going to use this as an excuse to not go swimming from now on. That is if I could find her…alive.
okeydokey, i know it's not really a happy ending, but it's a cliffhanger and you know how i love those! :D
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