Chapter 17

Author's Note

I swear I didn't forget about you, fabulous readers. Life got in the way! Law school is hard. Work is hard. Life is hard. To be honest, my motivation for this story went down the drain somewhere, and I have no idea how that happened. Thankfully, I have people who help me back on track when I stray off the path and I finally had time to reread some good, ole' PJO books, and I finally sat down a few days ago and just wrote. I've mentioned before that usually my chapters are pre-written, but this one wasn't. I do hope you enjoy anyways. I'll stop before continuing to ramble, but I truly do thank you all for your patience and love on this story.

As always, leave those comments. They keep me motivated!

No One's POV

13 Days Till Opening Night

Percy almost sobbed when Miss Bree screeched again for the twelfth time in only twenty minutes.

"Rachel! I already told you, you're sad because you cannot be with your true love… Act sad!" Miss Bree exclaimed, waving her hands around. "The play is in thirteen days. Thirteen! Oh my Gods, what are we going to do!"

Rachel huffed. "I'm trying, Miss Bree! How can I focus if you keep telling me to stop every single time I open my mouth?"

Percy winced as Miss Bree took a very deep breath and let it out slowly, all while Levi patted her shoulder awkwardly.

"Let's take fifteen, shall we?"

Percy shuffled over to where his friends were sitting, ignoring Piper's side eye and Hazel's curious expression. Since the blow-up with Annabeth, both girls had been wary of him, not in a we're going to hurt you for hurting her way, but more of a please go and fix this because you love her and she loves you.

He ignored them both.

As he sat down, he glanced around the rehearsal room. Everyone had tired, irritated faces as they sat around and drank water and went over their final notes for the play.

The past few days had taken a toll on everyone and they had taken more fifteens in a singular rehearsal than they ever have the past few weeks.

Rachel was not a good actress. Sure, she had the looks and she was okay when it came down to it, but she obviously didn't have the passion or love for the play that Annabeth had held.

But the real problem was how bratty she had gotten. She demanded things like crazy, stuff like vegan water (Percy didn't even know that shit existed) and more lines and more time and had yelled as if her hair was on fire at one of the backups when they had bumped into her on accident.

"If I hear one more complaint about how her costume doesn't make her figure stand out, I am going to take her by her stupid red curls and-" Piper's threat was muffled when Hazel slapped her hand across her mouth.

"That's enough, Pipes." Hazel scolded and the chestnut-haired girl let out a noise that was half-sob, half-grunt.

"But I'm so done!" she wailed, flopping back onto the auditorium chair and making it creak.

"She refused to sit next to me at the singing rehearsal because I'm dating Nic." Will huffed and Nico patted his shoulder.

Percy sighed as he listened to his friends' rant. He felt like Rachel becoming the lead was his fault because after all, he was the one that caused Annabeth to quit. He had blown his lid off, and she had taken it and thrown it away.

He watched Rachel stomp around and yell at Levi then watched as Miss Bree tried to placate her.

Everyone was miserable.

And he knew what to do.

"We just need to get Annabeth back in the play, then," Percy murmured and Piper stared at him.

"Are you crazy? You and I both know that once Annabeth is done with something, she's done with it," she exclaimed then bit her lip when Percy's eyebrows ruffled at the implication. "Uh, didn't mean it that way."

"It's okay."

"And besides, it's not like Miss Bree's just going to give her the spot back, is she?" Hazel questioned. "I mean, Rachel's not a good actress, but she has the lead role now."

"On the contrary," a sudden voice said, making them all jump." Miss Bree would love it if Annabeth came back."

"Levi, what the fuck?" Nico muttered when the boy popped up from absolutely nowhere.

"Sorry if I spooked you guys," Levi said softly. "But Rachel is driving Miss Bree absolutely nuts. Miss Bree would take Annabeth back in a heartbeat."

"So it's settled then! Operation to get Annie back into the play is a go-go!"

"No, wait," Percy scratched the back of his neck and everyone looked at him. He blushed. "Um, actually, I'll… I'll talk to her."

"By yourself?"

"Is there a problem with that?"

"No, it's just either she murders you, or… She murders you." Will stated pointedly.

"It's my fault she walked out," Percy said, shrugging. "Might as well apologize and at least get her to calm down enough to come back. We need her, anyway."

"We need her, or do you need her?" Piper asked suddenly and Percy sighed.

"Shut the hell up."

Piper cackled. She softened at Percy's defeated expression. "Don't get so glum, lover-boy. You and I both know her. She's just bad at feelings, she'll come around. Yeah?"

"I hope so." Percy murmured.

He had already let her slip away from him once.

It wasn't going to happen again.

Hopefully.

"Okay, everyone! Fifteen's up, let's try this again!"


As usual, Annabeth was in the library.

She was hunched down in the corner upstairs, where it was a little dark, but she had a reading light in the shape of an owl that she used all the time.

Percy had given it to her when they were younger.

She was there now, a white cardigan draped around her shoulders. There was a headband in her hair, keeping her stray blonde curls out of her face, as she bent over with a thick textbook leaning against her knees.

"Annabeth?"

She startled. "Percy!"

"Sorry to spook you."

Annabeth stared at him. "It's fine."

"What'cha working on?"

Annabeth watched, gaping like a fish out of water, as Percy casually sat down next to her and scooted closer, close enough that she could smell his natural ocean-y scent.

"Um… Biology?"

He laughed. "Why was there a question there?"

"Because what the fuck are you doing here?"

Percy hummed. "Good question."

"Percy, come on, be serious. What do you want now?"

Percy's heart clenched. "I'm the ambassador for the theatre kids. We want you to come back."

Annabeth blinked. "What?"

"We wan- No, we need you to come back. Rachel's a bitch. Everyone hates her," Percy rushed out. "She's not as great of an actor as you, and I know I probably ruined the experience for you, so if you need me to, I'll back out of the play myself. It's just… Everyone wants you to be Juliet. And you deserve it. I don't need to ruin that for you, so I'm sorry. But, please? Can you just come back?"

"You… You guys want me back?"

"Yeah. Piper even made a group chat titled that they want you back. Here, I'll show you," Percy stuck his hand in his pocket to fish out his phone and clicked on his contacts. He flashed his phone to Annabeth, who huffed at her best friend's dramatics.

"She never told me."

"She wanted me to tell you," Percy shrugged. "And I guess I did, too. I just wanted to apologize-"

The guilt in Annabeth's stomach churned. "You? Apologize? For what?"

"For being too open? Um, I dunno. I just know I think I scared you, so I wanted to say sorry, because-"

"No, Percy," Annabeth said softly. Her hand somehow found its way to grip his knee, squeezing in a way that comforted both of them. "I should be the one apologizing."

"What?"

"I said," Annabeth cleared her throat as she slipped a bookmark into her textbook. "I said that I should be the one apologizing."

"Oh."

Annabeth cracked a small smile. "I overreacted, I guess. You were just… You can't help feelings, can you? They happen and they make themselves known."

Percy waited as Annabeth got her thoughts together and she sighed, leaning her head against the wall. "Feelings aren't practical. And I'm quite practical, aren't I? I… I don't like admitting feelings because then all this illogical stuff happens. Like me walking out on the play."

"Well, isn't that what they say? Love makes people idiots or something?"

Annabeth laughed. "Yeah, that's what a lot of people say. And I guess it applied to me, too."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

They sat in quietness for a few, then Percy straightened his back. "So… What now? Will you come back? I'll back out-"

"I'll come back, Perce."

"Really?"

"Yeah," Annabeth paused, then took out a notebook from her bag. She ripped out a page and set it on the floor. "I have some conditions."

"Okay."

"One, absolutely no more feelings talk. Let's stay passive until after the play, yeah?" Annabeth scribbled out the first one and Percy nodded.

"Okay."

"Two, no outside interactions unless it's theater-related."

"Fair."

"Three, no kissing."

"But-"

Annabeth ignored Percy's hurt expression as she continued to write. "No kissing. I'll talk to Miss Bree. You can do that trick thing with your thumb."

"Trick thing? What the hell is the trick thing?"

"Here, sign."

Percy reluctantly took the pen and messily scrawled out his name on the paper. Annabeth followed suit, her signature neat and with a nice flourish.

"I'll speak with Miss Bree about coming back after school." Annabeth said promptly, collecting her things. She stood up and Percy scrambled to follow.

"Bye, Bet-"

"No nicknames, either."

Percy blinked, opening his mouth to respond, but the blonde was gone.

Just like that.