Warning, I mention some drug use in this one.
After an uneventful afternoon, I was more than ready to grab a bite and hit the hay. It's amazing how tiring doing nothing can be.
Unfortunately (that seems to be a key word in my life right now), Luke had other plans.
I sit down beside Annabeth at dinner. She gives me a very tiny smile, and I send one back. Luke is sitting across from me grinning like the cat that swallowed the mouse or has been sniffing way too much catnip. I nod at him in greeting, feeling uneasy with his intense stare.
"So, Percy," He says with a slick tone, "Hear you got flushed by Clarisse." He lets out a low whistle. "Not many people are around to tell the tale after that happens to them."
I shrug as if it were no big deal. "What is she in for?" I ask, trying to keep my tone as casual as possible.
"Word is she was found literally sacrificing cats," Thalia says from behind me, walking over to us with a tray laden with cheeseburgers. "I even heard she was, like, cooking their guts and shit." All of a sudden, the food on my tray looks a lot less appetizing.
Annabeth scoffs, "That's ridiculous, Thalia. She was put in for the attempted murder of her mother." She turns to me, "Sliced her up real bad." I shudder, and Luke laughs.
"She's nothing to be afraid of," He says, "They screen rezzes like her for knives and shit like that."
"Rezzes?" I ask.
"Slang for residents," Thalia answers, "Although using the word 'inmate' wouldn't be totally incorrect here."
"Anyways, you guys won't believe what I got today," Luke whispers. We all lean in. "7g of you-know-what." He smiles, leaning back in his chair.
"What?" I ask, unsure as to why my three new acquaintances are smiling like Christmas came early.
Annabeth whispers in my ear, "Weed." I ignore how her breath tickles my skin, and raise my eyebrows.
"How?" I wonder out loud, "Don't they check for that type of stuff?"
Luke laughs. "Sure they do. Unless you know the right people." I don't think I want to know any more, so I just nod as if to say 'Yeah, I hear you,' and let Luke talk. "So I can arrange for us to get to the roof tonight, or I can make a better arrangement with night shift for tomorrow."
Thalia groans and Annabeth rolls her eyes.
"I'm not doing it," The blonde replies, "I need to be clean."
Thalia munches thoughtfully on her (second? Third?) cheeseburger. "Tomorrow night." Luke nods, and looks at me expectantly. Put on the spot, I begin to stutter incomprehensibly.
I'm saved by the arrival of Leo and Piper. They sit down, and I let myself shrink into the background. The talk around me is unfocused and it pretty much sounds like every person at the table is having a different conversation.
Annabeth leans over to me. "Don't let Luke talk you into anything you don't want to do," She says, simultaneously stealing a few potatoes from my plate. "The last thing you want is to get caught and sent down."
I really do not like the sound of getting sent 'down'.
"What's down, exactly?" I ask, hoping she doesn't notice my voice crack.
"Well, all the way down is Tartarus," She begins, "This building is leveled. The higher in the building you are, the better the living conditions. And the saner the rezzes." She steals another potato.
"Is being sent down, like, permanent?" I squeak, really not liking how these next few months will pan out, considering my capacity for trouble.
"Depends," She answers, "I mean, it's either just a punishment, or it's because you are actually going insane. If it's the latter, yeah, that's permanent."
I give an audible gulp.
"So, have you ever been sent down?" I venture curiously.
Annabeth frowns and nods. "A few times. It isn't fun." She shoves some peas around her plate.
"How long have you been here?" I'm really just grasping at potential conversation topics right now, hoping to get to know her better.
"A very long time," She sighs. I take that as my cue to shut up and eat.
The food isn't too bad, a little cold since I left it untouched. Annabeth had eaten all of my potatoes, but I'm not too broken up about it.
I listen to the conversations happening around me and make out what I can about each person.
Luke is definitely verging on sadistic.
Leo is certainly an extreme case of ADHD.
Piper is undoubtedly a kleptomaniac, seeing as she keeps swiping napkins and cutlery.
I'm not sure about the rest of them, though - Annabeth, Thalia, and Jason. It seems rude to ask, but maybe there's someone I can ask. Luke probably knows, and he doesn't seem too concerned with things like social barriers.
I'm staring off into space when a loud clang shakes me out of my reverie. I glance back over my shoulder to see what's happening.
It's a skinny kid with dark shaggy hair and sunken cheeks. He's glaring at some big guy who looks like he just knocked the tray out of the skinny kid's hands.
"Watch where you walk, di Angelo," The bigger guy sneers.
"Watch where you breathe," The di Angelo kid retorts. The entire cafeteria has gone silent watching the standoff.
"You little punk, you think you're so smart don't you, so privileged because Daddy owns this place," The big guy taunts. In the blink of an eye, Luke is standing beside di Angelo, looking ready to fight off any attack.
"Bring it on, Polinski," Luke provokes. Polinski gives Luke a once-over and cracks his neck.
Right about now is when I start wondering where the security detail is.
A/N: Hello! It didn't take too long this time, luckily.
Hope you all enjoyed it, and I'll use this time to put in some free personal advertising and say that I would be over the moon if you lovely people would have the time to check out my other creations!
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