Her shoes are gone, pulled free an hour ago and tucked under her chair. Percy's bowtie went around the same time, leaving his crisp white shirt free to be unbuttoned enough to reveal copper skin and a sheen of sweat from dancing. His jacket is tucked around her shoulders, his hand resting on her leg where the slit in her bride's maid dress has been pulled up when she laid her legs across his lap. The back of the chair digs into her shoulder, her elbow cutting into the edge of the table.
Scattered across the dozen tables set out before them are other guests, some still enjoying drinks or finishing off dessert or chatting. A handful are still on the dance floor, still keeping the DJ busy as they lose the hours to the music and laughter and the moment. Jason and Piper are amongst them, her dress twirling around her as Jason spins her, dips her, pulls her back to him. Annabeth's face hurts from how much smiling and laughing she's done but those two, they must have their smiles perpetually stuck that way because they haven't stopped for one second.
Piper pulls Jason in for a kiss, unashamed of the guests around them and caught up in having her husband wrapped around her. She hasn't finished pulling away from him when it's his turn to pull her in, apparently as equally unashamed of where they are. It's disgusting and amazing and heartwarming, exactly what she'd wish for her best friend on her wedding day.
There isn't a moment of all of it that isn't perfect, from giggling with Piper as they got ready, to trying to hold back tears as Piper walked down the aisle, to this. Annebeth's chest swells with pride and love, with joy and happiness for her friends. They deserve this and every bit of happiness that comes with it, because without them pushing her she wouldn't be as happy as she is right now.
Annabeth turns to Percy, ready to laugh at their friends and how ridiculous this all is when she catches him staring at her, his eyes unfocused and lips pulled into a half smile. Wherever Percy is it's not here, not in this reception hall that's getting too humid and loud and late.
"Hey," she says softly, hand reaching up to run her thumb over his cheek. "You awake in there?" she laughs.
"We're gonna do this right?" He answers quickly.
"What?" she chokes, shoving herself up in her seat.
"We're gonna get married right?"
Annabeth's heart shoots into her throat, gives a beat hard enough to shove every bit of blood to her face, and then plummets through the floor and into the subway line below.
"You want to get married?" she whispers, half the words lost in the dance floor screaming the words to the Macarena.
Percy's eyes focus back on her, eyebrows shooting up and mouth falling open. His hand tenses on her leg for a second, eyes flicking between hers.
"I mean- I- well I- it doesn't have to be right now- I'm not proposing- not that I wouldn't- that would be fucked up to Piper and Jason, but I- yeah- I want to marry you?" The words gush out like a damn that's been broken. Each one slowly pulling her heart back up another foot from where it's buried.
"We moved in a month ago and you're already thinking about getting married?" Annabeth slips her legs from his lap, dropping her hand from his face to grab his.
"Not like right now, but like as a concept?"
"Yeah like a possibility. A thing that should happen. Could. Could happen."
Annabeth's already sore face protests as she grins but it can't be helped. Not with the way he's bumbling through this, not with the way her heart stutters as it fits back into place in her chest. Percy, her boyfriend, is thinking about marrying her. Her. And the truth of the matter is when she saw him in that tux today, it wasn't in any way a bad sight to see. Though every detail of this day has screamed Piper and Jason she's glazed over them with the daydream veneer of what their wedding would look like, and Percy was doing the same thing.
"You're fucking with me," Percy pouts.
"Yeah," Annabeth laughs, "but can you blame me?"
Percy smiles back at her, face and shoulders losing the tension that had momentarily built in them. "Wait," Percy's smile twists into something knowing and devious. "You were fucking with me." He leans in closer to her. "Which means you were okay with me thinking about marrying you which means-" his smile runs from ear to ear. "Annabeth Chase, have you been thinking about marrying me?"
Percy puts a hand to his chest, his mock shock enough to make her roll her eyes.
"Oh shut up," she swats at him. "You'd be so lucky to have me as your wife."
"Yeah," Percy says, voice already dropping to a heavy, husky whisper. "I would."
The chill that runs down her spine has nothing to do with the room and everything to do with the gleam of his eyes.
"But really, what do you think?" he asks with a voice drowning in hope.
"About getting married?" Her stomach bounces at the word.
"About thinking about getting married."
What's she going to tell him? That she doesn't want to think about it yet when that's all she's done all day? That she didn't start making a list of things their house would need the second they moved into their new apartment together? Somehow all she's done is get pulled into thinking about the future with him. Not a future, not a possibility or a chance or an option, but her future. The same future she's been building since she was seven and looked at the New York skyline.
"I think we should definitely think about it," Annabeth laughs.
"Maybe even… talk about it?"
Annabeth scoots forward in her seat, her knees bumping against Percy's. She presses the tip of her nose to his, the warmth of his breath rolling over her.
"Maybe," she says with a grin.
"Maybe," Percy whispers back, a smile spreading across his own face.
She kisses him, savoring the feel of his lips against hers, the warmth of him so close to her, the smell of sweat and salt and heat coming off of him.
Whatever future she's building is with him one way or another, he's not the keystone that's going to make it all hold together, that's her job, but he's definitely a cornerstone. Something she can ground herself on, a fixed point everything else can work off of. And for that she will be forever grateful, but tonight she prys those thoughts away finger by finger, because right now she has him all to herself. So she'll enjoy this just as it is, and later she'll take Piper up on that room in the hotel she offered them with a wink, and tomorrow she'll figure out what they are doing, because it definitely isn't just dating anymore.
"You know," Percy says huskily, "Annabeth Chase-Jackson has a ring to it." The words tumble out as if they don't slam into every nerve in her body with the force of a tidal wave.
"Yeah," she says almost breathless. "It definitely does."
Annabeth has looked out at the New York skyline every day knowing she was going to build something permanent, now, looking up into his eyes she thinks that this could be her something permanent.
Thank you to everyone that's stuck it out and waited around for the ending. I've appreciated every message and review I've gotten. Glad to finally be able to wrap this up.