A/N: So I have to admit, I actually hate this chapter. It's not bad, but it does have some mature themes which I don't care for. I put in some comic relief, but remember this fic is rated T and should be treated as such. There's nothing graphic, but that doesn't mean it's okay for younger readers.
Also, I apoligize if Thalia seems slightly ooc. It took me hours of writing and re-writing to realize that Thalia is actually a relatively flat character in the series. This chapter requires her to show some real emotion, so I kinda had to guess at her character in such a situation. And FYI- this isn't a short chapter. It might seem that way though b/c it's just 1 scene instead of the usual 3.
Disclaimer-Don't own POJ, just this fic, which is actually pretty sad.
There was only one logical explanation: my life was a cosmic joke.
I had spent the rest of my week trying to figure out what had happened in anatomy. Of course no one had any idea what I was talking about. When I pestered them about the fight—the exploding sinks, the water jets, the fact that I could jump over Clarisse's head—they all just looked at me funny. Most of them asked me if I was feeling alright. One kid asked me why I would ever want to play leapfrog with Clarisse.
It was now Saturday night, and I had finally given up. Now I'd like to tell you that I was doing something pretty awesome—that I was going to some insane party, or taking a girl out on a date. The truth? I was sprawled out on the couch watching bad re-runs, moaning and griping to myself about how much my life sucks. We were also out the basic necessities such as Cheetos and Coke, which only increased the severity of the situation.
I was officially out of channel changing devices— aka couch cushions and other chuck-able items— and the TV was stuck on Lifetime. I was thinking up ways to retrieve the remote on the far table without moving when the doorbell rang.
"Percy!?" my mom called from the shower. "Can you get that, please?"
"I got it," I called back. I slid off the couch and got to my feet. I stumbled a bit from sitting down so long. When I made it to door I looked through the peephole. I wasn't surprised to see a blue eye attempting to peer in through the opposite side. I opened the door.
"I swear to God, if you're drunk—"
"Psssh…I wish," Thalia said pushing by me without invitation. She plopped right down on my couch, stretching out her legs and taking up as much room as possible. She acted like she owned the place, giving off an air of condescending indifference like she was too cool to be hanging out with a loser like me. But I knew better.
"Got a hot date tonight, Peter Parker?" she nodded down at my Spiderman pajama bottoms. She rested her hands behind her head, and leaned back with a smirk.
"Thalia what are doing here?" I asked, annoyed. It was more of an accusation than an actual question. The attitude was always a sure sign that Thalia's feelings had been hurt. When she came barging into my house and insulting me, I knew it was actually Thalia talk for Someone hurt me, but I refuse to admit it. Revenge is not an option. I need a friend. I knew I should probably cool it, but Thalia was an overachiever when it came to pissing me off. I guess everyone has their goals.
"What? A girl can't—" Thalia squinted at the TV. She scrunched her delicate nose in disgust. "Are you watching Lifetime?"
"Thalia," I shut my eyes, breathing slowly and deeply. "What did he do to you?"
When I opened my eyes, I knew I was right. Thalia rolled her eyes, but refused to meet my gaze. She began cracking her knuckles and fidgeting with her ring.
I sighed heavily. My muscles no longer coiled with tension. I moved over the couch and sat next to her, giving her no choice but to scoot over and make room. I waited in silence until she was ready to speak.
"Percy," Thalia said in a small voice, no louder than a whisper. "Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried…," she trailed off. Thalia bit her lip. A few tears glistened in the corners of her blue eyes. She looked up, blinking rapidly, refusing to let them fall.
I stared at her, mildly confused from shock. I had seen a lot of girls cry before, but Thalia wasn't one of them. She was probably the toughest person I knew, and I looked up to her in many ways. Now, seeing the eighteen-year-old reduced to an almost childlike state, I couldn't help but feeling like there wasn't much hope for the rest of us.
I remembered the story of her past that she had entrusted in me bit by bit through the years. Like me, she had never known her father, but wasn't fortune enough to be blessed with a loving mother. After years of neglect from a mother who never wanted her, she ran away. She spent over a month on the streets before she was found and informed that her mother had died in a car crash.
She now lived with her clueless uncle, who couldn't care less about her favorite color (silver) or pastime (pissing people off by eating vanilla Oreos and chocolate milk). She hung out with whomever she felt like, came home drunk at three in the morning on school nights, and snuck out like it was her job. She tried to convince me that she was a bad kid, but I knew she just wanted attention. She had been ignored for too long and needed someone to care.
"It's Luke again, right?" I said gently, after a few minutes of silence.
"Did you guys fight or something?" I asked.
"It's over," Thalia said dully.
"Oh," I said feeling guilty, though I had nothing to do with it. I was convinced that Thalia had to have been some kind of serial killer or fluffy bunny strangler in a previous life. Life was worse than unfair to her—it was downright cruel. She was unloved for so many years, and now her first real love was taken away from her.
"I knew it was coming," she said lifelessly. "He said I deserved better—that he was beyond fixing."
"Do you believe him?" I asked.
It really was the strangest thing. Up until about two months ago, you'd never think that Luke Castellan was "beyond fixing". In fact, you wouldn't even think he needed fixing. He was so cool, nice, and handsome that practically any girl would fall for him. But then one day he just started skipping school and disappearing for days at a time. He gave his friends the cold shoulder and distanced himself completely. Thalia tried harder than anyone to hold on and help him. It didn't work.
"I don't know." Thalia shrugged. "It doesn't matter anyway. He's—" Thalia made wiggling air quotation marks with her fingers. "'Going somewhere.'"
"Any idea where 'somewhere' might be?"
Thalia sighed, drained. "He wouldn't tell me, but I'm pretty sure he's not coming back."
I digested that information. It sounded way too final to be an eighteen-year-old's decision. I was seventeen, and I still had trouble with the soup or salad thing.
"Do you think he's, like, on drugs or something?" I asked.
"I don't think so." Thalia winced mildly at the thought. "Even if he was, he wouldn't be acting this weird." She decided.
"Maybe he's in trouble," I pointed out the obvious.
"Well, duh, he's in trouble!" Thalia snapped. "I couldn't have figured that one out on my own."
"I'm just trying to help," I defended.
"Then help me, Percy! I think Luke has made it very clear that he doesn't want help!" she yelled.
If Thalia was crying before, she was positively sobbing now. She hunched over, resting her elbows on her knees. She was yanking her thick black hair by the roots, and breathing so heavily I thought she'd pass out. Finally, she collapsed on my shoulder and I hesitantly wrapped both arms around her.
"Percy," she breathed, voice cracking from desperation. "Tell me what to do!" she cried, finally broken. It didn't matter what other daring, insane stunts she'd pulled in her life. Nothing could have prepared her for falling in love.
Now I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to girls. I'd never actually fallen in love myself, either. But I did know about Thalia, and I knew what was really important to her. I was just afraid to talk about it.
When her sobs became less frantic, and she had stopped squeezing the life out of my right hand, I ventured into dangerous territory.
"Thalia?" I said, though my throat was dry. My face was burning up, and I was trying to look anywhere but at her. "Did you and Luke…" I just couldn't say it. I nervously meshed my fingers together so she got the idea.
Thalia didn't say anything right away. My heart tried hammering its way out of my chest. Good thing for ribs or I'd be in pretty bad shape right about now.
"No," she said finally. Suddenly the world seemed about ten times more manageable.
"Really?" I asked. This was, after all, way to good to be true. Believe it or not, Thalia was actually a virgin. She was one of those girls who had a thing about falling in love, which was just further proof that she wasn't really a bad girl at heart. I mean, most of the really good girls I knew weren't virgins, so Thalia being all glittery fairytale about it…well you get my point.
"Believe me—I wanted to," Thalia said slowly, sincerely.
I took an uncanny interest in picking at the dead skin of my thumb.
When she realized I wasn't going to respond, she continued. "I mean, he was being so distant…I just wanted him to know that I was there for him. That I loved him and…he could trust me."
My right thumb became so raw it started bleeding. I started on my left.
"But he wouldn't let me."
My eyes snapped to her face. I wasn't sure if she was serious, or if she was just trying to get me for being an awkward prick. She looked serious.
"What do you mean?" I said suspiciously.
"I mean Luke wouldn't have sex with me," Thalia glared at me, completely serious and completely annoyed. At least she had stopped crying.
"Why?" I blurted, ignoring the awkwardness of the conversation for the sake of intense curiosity. I didn't think about it much, but when Thalia isn't trying to scare you, she's actually, well, really pretty. My brain couldn't really fathom a good reason why Luke would turn her down.
"You men are all the same, aren't you?" Thalia accused. "Have you ever thought that maybe some guys think a little deeper than just 'getting some'?"
Alright I'll admit—that really hurt my ego. It wasn't necessarily because I was that heartless about it, but rather that I assumed Luke would be. But if Luke really felt that way—if he was really that good a guy—why would he break Thalia's heart without looking back?
"Sorry, I didn't mean it like that. I'm just glad that, you know, you're okay." I said.
Thalia still looked hurt, but I could tell it wasn't from anything I said. She smirked, and for a second I could see a glimmer of the old Thalia. I knew she'd be okay in time.
"And?" Thalia demanded more of an apology. She'd definitely be okay.
"And…I respect you, and women, and their feelings…" I said systematically.
Thalia looked up at me with wide eyes over the bridge of her nose. She reminded me of a librarian that used to hate me, only she was about a hundred years old and had purple speckled bifocals.
"And I—like the rest of the male population— am a jackass."
Thalia smiled sweetly, obviously satisfied. I totally deserved, like, a cookie or a gold star or something.
"So you mind if I crash here tonight?" she said as she lay back on the cushions. I figured she had about as much sobbing and awkward conversation as she could handle. I definitely had. Either way, I didn't want her to be alone tonight.
"Go ahead and take my bed. I'm cool with the couch."
"You don't have to do that, Percy." Thalia rolled her eyes, but I could tell she secretly liked the idea. "It's your apartment."
"No, no. I was gonna watch more Lifetime anyway."
A/N: I probably won't be able to update until next weekend b/c I have midterms next week. Plus I still have a few college apps to get in, detentions to serve, and cheerleading practice. Yeah my life sucks... I also hurt my pinky finger and I have a competition the day the LT hits theaters. So really, you should pity me.
Review if you liked it, or hated it, or just need to talk about your feelings.
Oh and question! If I replace a chapter, do you guys get pestered with emails about it? AKA have you been pestered with emails? B/C I have OCD and replace chapters to fix small errors all the time, so if this has been bothering you please tell me so I can stop.
Thanks for Reading!