I stare at him for about a minute before bursting into laughter. "That's hilarious!" I chuckle and then step abruptly. His face tells me that he's pretty serious.
"You want to run away?"
"It was just an idea," he replies, running his hands through his hair. "I'm sorry. It was stupid."
"No, it's just… I thought you were joking," I whisper.
"Well, I'm serious."
"Yeah, I know that now," I reply.
The elevator doors open and we step into the hall. I sigh and lean against the wall, sliding to the floor. Percy sits down next to me. "How can we do that? We wouldn't make it five miles with everyone looking for us. Besides, where would we go?" I ask.
"Montauk. My mom had a cabin there and I realised that it's still ours, I mean, mine. I got lots of savings and put that with my birthday money and we're basically rich besides my mom me everything in her will. I don't get the apartment until I'm eighteen but I get a quarter of the money now, another quarter when I'm eighteen, another when I'm twenty-one and then another when I'm twenty-four," he explains.
I stare at him in shock. "You've actually thought all of this through?"
He nods. "I thought that if we can't be together here then why not somewhere else? It's crazy and stupid but it's either that or I ignore you and pretend I don't love you." My eyes widen and I open and close my mouth like a fish.
"You…" I trail off and clear my throat before finishing, "… You love me?"
He blushes and looks at the floor but I make out a faint nod. "You don't have to say it too if you don't mean it. I don't care if you don't love me as long as you like me and-" I cut him off.
"I love you." He looks up, surprised. I have to admit that I even surprised myself by saying it. As you know I'm not a really talkative person so saying something like that is big.
"Y-you do?" he stutters and I nod.
"I realised it earlier. I felt all empty and sad and I realised that's how everyone felt when they couldn't be with the person they loved," I reply.
He swallows. "We could be together though."
"I know but there has to be another way. Silena and Beckendorf are together doesn't Chiron know about them?" I ask.
"I asked Beckendorf the other day and he told me that it's a secret. They've been together for six months and Chiron still doesn't know about them," Percy explains.
"Why don't we keep it a secret?" I ask.
"Because we'll change again. Chiron will be suspicious. You stopped talking again when he told us about the rule and I've been quieter. If we stay and keep it a secret then he'll know." He does have a point. "Or we can just be friends."
I bury my head in my hands and shake my head. "No, I can't be just your friend." I take a deep breath and look him in the eye. "We'll do it. We'll run away." He smiles and despite my nervousness I return in.
"Come here," he whispers and holds his arms out. I crawl into his arms and he holds me tight. "Do you want to go tonight?"
"Yeah," I reply. "The sooner the better." I look up at him.
"Okay. We better go pack. Only pack what we need. There are shops nearby so we can try getting a job. We'll be fine," he says.
"What time shall we meet?" I ask.
"Come to my room at midnight. Then we'll climb down the fire escape and go to the café before getting a cab to Montauk."
"Can I write a note? Just to say that we're okay and that we're together. I don't want to worry everyone too much," I ask.
"Of course. I'll leave a note in my room to," he says. He stands up and then helps me up. He smiles. "We're really doing this?"
"Yeah," I whisper, smiling. He puts a hand on both of my cheeks before leaning in and kissing me.
It's a short but slow and sweet kiss that leaves me wanting more. I pull away. "Let's pack now. By the time we're finished it'll be dinner time and then we can have showers and try to get a little sleep before going," I suggest.
"Great. Don't tell anyone."
"I know," I sigh. "I'm so nervous now."
"Me too but we'll be fine. I know we will," he says. I nod and kiss him one more time before going into my room.
I instantly start packing, grabbing a large backpack and stuffing five different outfits inside. In another backpack I put pictures of my family and other items and toiletries that I need. I pack my phone charger and all the money I have.
"Annabeth!" a familiar voice outside my door yells. I quickly stuff my two backpacks under the bed before answering the door. I tell myself not to talk or act differently. I open the door and raise my eyebrows at Thalia. She's known my long enough to know that that face means 'what is it?'
"Dinner's ready," she says and I nod, closing my door behind her and walking to the elevator while she knocks on Percy's door.
I hear him come out of his room and I try to act awkward when he and Thalia reach the elevator. "Hi," he mutters and I smile slightly but don't day anything.
The elevator doors open and we step inside. I lean against one wall while Percy stands leaning against the one opposite me. Thalia leans against the one in the middle, watching us closely. I shift uncomfortably. "Okay, what's going on?" Thalia asks. Percy and I look at each other and then at Thalia.
"Nothing," we both say and then blush.
"I'm not stupid," Thalia snaps. "Something is going on."
"You're imagining things," Percy snaps back. The elevator doors open and he storms out. Boy, he's not a bad actor.
I glare at Thalia before stepping out of the elevator and walking into the kitchen. I grab a plate full of food and sit as far away from Percy as possible. I eat quietly, stealing quick glances at Percy who I notice doing the same.
Once I finish eating I wash my plate and put it away. I glance at the clock on one of the walls. 6.30 pm, it reads. I sigh quietly to myself; midnight is five hours and thirty minutes away. I go back to my room and check over my stuff, ticking the items off a list in my head.
I decide to go to my bathroom and have a long bath. I strip off after locking the door and slowly ease myself into the boiling water. I moan in satisfaction and close my eyes for a while. I wash my hair with lemon shampoo and conditioner and then scrub my body with coconut bath wash.
After I'm finished I dry myself off and then run to my bedroom. I change into fresh clothes; a green t-shirt, blue skinny jeans and black converse. I throw my leather jacket onto my bed with my Yankee's cap, deciding that I'll put them on when it's midnight.
I check the time on my phone: 8:30. I can sleep for nearly three hours. I can slide under the covers and close my eyes, trying to sleep. It comes a while later and I have a peaceful nap.
My alarm goes off at 11:40. I turn it off and head to my desk. I switch the lamp on and scribble out a quick note:
I'm with Percy. We will be fine. Don't come looking for us. Maybe we'll see you again someday. Thanks for being my family,
I hold the note to my chest for a second, my eyes filling with tears. I didn't think it would be so hard but the words are true. They are my family. They took care of me, even Drew and Calypso. I'll miss everyone.
I take another deep breath before grabbing my bag and tiptoeing out of my room and to Percy's. I knock the door lightly and he answers it straight away. "Do you have everything you need?" he asks. I nod.
"I left the note on my desk," I say.
"Me too," he whispers, closing the door behind me. I gulp.
"Perce, are we doing the right thing?" I ask, nervously.
"I'm going to be honest with you Wise Girl; I don't know. But there's only one way to find out, right?" he says. I nod and wrap my arms around him.
We pull away after a minute and I walk towards his window. "You ready?" I ask him and he nods. He walks over to me and opens the window.
"I'll go first," he whispers and climbs onto the fire escape. I watch him climb down and pass him our backpacks before following him. I close his window and climb down.
Once I hit the ground I look up at the care home, my home. Percy slides his hand into my mine and we turn around and walk away.
I never look back...