alone, losing, lost and found boxes, dappled sunlight, cookies, "discovering something meaningful"
valentines day fic exchange - monsters in the closet
for: zero ; trollalalala
Her fingers skim over the ratty cardboard box, over-full with numerous cards, all an outlandish pink color. A faint smile crowns her caramel face when she comes upon a particularly amusing card, and she sets it back in the box, amongst all the other hearts and confetti and glitter.
It is Valentines Day. It is also her day to clear out the school's lost-and-found box of extraneous items. She can't really tell which bores her more - the holiday, of sorts, or the teacher-duty. Similarly, she can't decide what she'd rather be doing instead.
The dimly sunlit hallways are empty, free of obnoxious teenagers who think they know what love is. She cannot help but cringe as she thinks of all the couples in the hallways, acting so... lovey-dovey. One way or another at least one half of the lovers would end up alone.
Her hand reached into the box to pull out a jacket that could be donated to Goodwill. As she tugged the jacket out, it revealed an object.
A mason jar.
Surprisingly, it is fully intact, and from what she can see, the sides aren't cracked in the slightest. The inside is empty, and it is rather spotless on the interior glass - not a speck of dust or layer of grime could be seen. There's a slight indentation on the metal lid, which was speckled with small, rounded holes.
Her fingers run over these holes - they were obviously hand-created - and she smiles wistfully, although no one is there to witness it. He isn't there.
It had been a warm night- uncommonly warm for mid-February weather. Maybe it was because she had been bundled up in a multitude of layers - perhaps it was due to the near inexistent space between her and her partner's body. It was as if he was an exothermic reaction, in which he released enough energy to keep warm the both of them. She wasn't sure.
Still, the two of them had been lying on their backs, on top of a blanket in the grass of an empty field. There had been barely any artificial light to pollute the beautiful night sky - only the flawless moon and the stars. Maybe she had been glowing, contributing to the dim ambiance of the night. There was no way she could have told; her head was cradled in the crook of his arm as they stargazed.
She had taught him all about the constellations a while before then, and together, they had pointed out various patterns of stars. Her hand had pointed up at the sky, circling a dainty finger around a set of stars she wanted him to see.
"That one's Orion," he had said, smiling down at her. She could remember nodding, and she could especially remember the twinkle in his eyes - they had been so dark that his pupils were nearly black, in contrast to its normal sea green color.
"Since when did you become such a know it all?" she had teased, sticking her tongue out at him.
He had chuckled, the vibrations coming from deep within him. "Only because of you."
His words had made her blush, and even now, three years later the mere thought of it is enough to stain her cheek s a red color that matched the random cards at the bottom of the lost-and-found box.
She hadn't said anything in reply, instead choosing to snuggle closer to him. Her heart had seemed as if it had run up and down a dozen hills, done an infinite number of jumping jacks, and spent hours doing suicide drills, just from his words alone. To this day, it still feels as if she completed a triathlon every time she reminisced; it ached.
He had turned his head down towards her and pressed his lips to her forehead. They had stared up at the night sky, munching on home-baked sugar cookies and mumbling soft things into the ear of the other.
"Happy Valentines Day, love," he had whispered into her ear. She had laughed, and then suddenly, yellow blips of light began to appear in the distance. Upon seeing these, she had sat up from where she was lying down, bringing him up with her. She looked at him curiously, and he had only given her a knowing smile, saying, "It's time."
From there, he had reached into the picnic basket to the right of him, and pulled out a mason jar, much like the one she held in her hands currently. He had stood up, then helping her get up as well, before he had handed her the jar.
She could remember unscrewing the lid of the mason jar, and she reciprocates the action now. The yellow blips had multiplied, and now they were closer; they were close enough she could tell what they were with ease:
She slams the metal lid back onto the jar, hastily shoving the item into the ratty cardboard box. No, stop, she tells herself, setting the box on her hip. You don't want to - you don't need to - remember this.
Yet she can't stop herself from recalling the best Valentines Day of her life as she walks down the sunny hall. He had snuck kiss after kiss after kiss on her, and they had captured little universes in their mason jar. If only she could have captured that moment into a jar - she would have tightly put a seal on it and never let it go.
It slipped through her fingers before she knew it, and now…. now, she is left with nothing.
On her way out of the building, she stops by a trashcan and dumps the contents of the box into it, excluding the clothing. At the last minute, she decides to save the jar as well, and she places it on the top of the pile of fabric.
She makes it to her car and drives away from the school, the box to the right of her in the passenger seat. The mason jar continues to sit on top of everything else, and the sunlight reflects off the smooth, glassy surface. It remains there, taunting her, and she clenches the steering wheel tighter as if it would help her cope with resurfacing feelings that she shouldn't be feeling.
Stop, she warns herself as she comes to a stop light. The car comes to a halt, but her mind is ablaze with memories. Don't do this to yourself. The light turns green, and she drives on.
Upon reaching the Goodwill, she gets out of the car and cradling the box with one arm, she sets it on her hip once again. There are quite a few miscellaneous outerwear clothing that could be donated, and she heads into the building. At the counter, she neatly folds all the garments, running her hands across the fabric to smooth out the wrinkles.
Once she is done, she exits the drop-off area as a blond lady walks in, a trash bag full of clothes in her arms. Just as she is about to exit the store, she feels a light tap on her shoulder and turns around.
It is the blond-haired woman, and in her hands she holds the mason jar. The sunlight shines on the glass in the woman's hands, and it catches on the diamond ring on the woman's finger. She must have forgotten the jar in the box at the counter - or perhaps she had intentionally left it there.
"Hi, you seemed to have forgotten this at the counter… I wasn't sure if you were planning on donating it, or if you had simply forgotten to take it with you?" The woman smiles hesitantly at her, and although her gray eyes seems cold and calculating, she can sense some kind of warmth in the woman.
She pauses, unsure of what to say. "Oh. Thank you." As she accepts the jar from the woman's hands, the door at the entrance of the building chimes, signaling the arrival of another person.
"Annabeth," a male voice says from behind her. She vaguely recognizes the voice, and the woman's eyes brighten.
"There you are, Percy! I was wondering where you had disappeared to, you Seaweed Brain," the woman says with a laugh.
She freezes, jar in her hands, slowly turning around. Her mouth falls slightly open upon seeing the much too familiar person. No, this can't be happening, and why today of all other days?
He recognizes her as well - from the way his eyes widen slightly. Her name falls out of his mouth hesitantly, breathy, almost disbelievingly. "Calypso."
No, no, no, no, no, no. Her eyes fall to the ring on his finger, and then she turns around and looks at the similar ring on the other woman's hand. Are they engaged? Married? Promise rings? She, too, had once had a promise ring.
The woman, presumably named Annabeth, looks slightly confused, but when her eyes flash between Calypso and Percy, Calypso can practically see all the pieces fall together in Annabeth's mind. "Is this…?" Annabeth lets her question at Percy fade away, and he gives a terse nod; his eyes are still trained on her, and she can see some kind of… regret in his eyes.
So he's mentioned me before, Calypso thinks. She cannot help how spiteful she sounds in her head. "Percy." The words glide off her tongue in such a smooth, familiar way, that she doesn't even realize that she's said it out loud. She reprimands herself for doing so. "I'm Calypso, nice to meet you," she says as sincerely as she can to the other woman.
Annabeth gives her a small smile. "Annabeth. Percy's told me quite a bit about you," she says in attempt to be friendly. It fails. Percy makes an abrupt cough behind them.
Exactly how much had Percy told Annabeth about her? Why they had broken up? The reasoning behind him dumping her? Calypso tells herself to breathe and calm her raging nerves. She gives Annabeth a smile, but it turns into more of a grimace.
Turning around and sneaking a peek at Percy - he had seemed to grow more handsome over the years, if possible - Calypso clears her throat. "Well, I should go now - it is Valentines Day, after all."
Annabeth nods slightly. "We don't want to keep you waiting from your date tonight. It was nice meeting you, though."
She doesn't have the heart to correct her; she was still single… as she had been for three years. "You too," Calypso murmurs quietly in reply. She looks at Percy, and he nods at her silently. "Happy Valentines day."
He doesn't meet her eyes. "Happy Valentines day to you as well." She wants to laugh. Happy. Her day had been all but.
The door chimes on her way out.
Calypso sits on a couch in front of her fireplace. There's a mug of steaming hot chocolate cupped between her hands - the groundhog had predicted six more weeks of winter, and so the weather was still quite chilly.
There's a book strewn across her lap, but the pages are better off blank. She can't focus on her novel when her mind is reliving today at Goodwill. He had definitely grown more handsome, she muses silently, and she can't help the fond smile that forms on her lips.
Gods, she misses him. She really does, and today only strengthened that fact. If she had not seen him today, then she wouldn't be like this!
Okay, maybe she would, but there certainly wouldn't be as much pain in her chest.
The mason jar sits on the coffee table in front of her; it is practically omnipresent, for wherever she goes, it always seems to be in her line of sight. Calypso slides off the couch so she wouldn't see the jar, and lies on the rug beside the fireplace. She stares up at the blank, powdered ceiling, and closes her eyes, imagining stars when there are none. She pictures Orion with his belt in her mind, she pictures Canis Major, the great dog, she even sees Sirius, the brightest star in her mind-sky. And gradually, she even begins to see the bright blips of fireflies appear in her mind.
Calypso shakes her head, opening her eyes. Stop doing this to yourself.
There is nothing more that Calypso hates than being dependent on people - especially specimens of the male gender. That's what she is right now: dependent. Completely, utterly dependent on a guy. And not just any guy, but Perseus Jackson.
She shakes her head again, her long auburn hair forming a halo around her head as she lies on the ground. Her feelings for a guy that would never be hers again swamps her down. Thoughts of him were like parasites, devouring all the other thoughts she had in her head; given one little spark, they would multiply and she would become infested with thoughts all centering around Percy.
And, she thinks, sitting up, she hates it. She absolutely hates it.
Who was he to have the right to distract her with outrageous fantasies that would never come true? Who was he to take control of every part of her, as if he had a control board to her body? Who was he to send her mind into a hurricane, just from one little encounter?
He is a no one! He has no right! He means nothing to her… but at the same time, he is everything to her.
Calypso brushes a loose tendril of hair away from her face and frowns. But it isn't his fault. He isn't the one who made her unable to want to date anyone else after him. He isn't the one who programmed her brain to almost perpetually think about him. He isn't the one who purposefully encountered her today, on some kind of sadistic streak to make her feel this way.
And if it is not him… who is it?
Her. It is her. It has always been her.
She is the one in control of her life, not him. She is the one who holds the reigns, makes the calls, acts in the play. She is the one who tells her emotions to feel a certain way. She can't go on, continuing to blame Percy for something that he had no control of.
Calypso smiles, although no one can see her, for she had come upon something truly meaningful. She, and only she, is the one who controls Calypso Ogygia. And if she can make herself feel one way, then she most certainly can try to make herself feel the opposite.
Today would be the last day she mopes over Percy Jackson, and she grins to herself, climbing up on the couch again to devour the contents of the book she was once reading. It didn't matter if the pages to her novel were blank; she would be the one writing the words and creating new stories in her life.
And for the first time in three years, she reads her book, completely free from bonds she didn't know cuffed her. Exhaustion overcomes her, and as her eyes flutter close, she swears she can see the yellow flicker of a firefly in the mason jar. Her book falls off her lap, and she falls asleep not once thinking about the man who had unknowingly haunted her dreams for years.