Percy Jackson: Chapter 3

Chapter 1

Valentine Worries

February 14th. The day Percy nearly forgot existed until February 12th when Grover and Nico joined him for drinks, the Knicks game, and catching up.

“So what are you doing for Annabeth on Wednesday?” Grover asked, staring lustfully at Nico’s empty beer can. The son of Hades rolled his eyes and handed it to him, cueing loud crunching in the middle of Grover’s new statement, “Juniper and I are—”

“Wait,” Percy interrupted, “what’s Wednesday?”

Both other boys—although Grover was actually technically a satyr, not a boy—stared at Percy. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Nico scoffed. “I’m socially repugnant and even I remembered. You take Annabeth for romantic dinner dates and buy her jewelry just because,” he mocked, “and you can’t remember Valentine’s Day?”

Percy swore under his breath. “What am I gonna do?”

Grover shrugged and turned to Nico. “What are you doing? You got a date?”

“Technically. I guess.” He turned back to the game and grabbed another can of beer from the cooler at their feet. “I’m cooking for her.”

Percy glared at his friend. “You’re kidding. You know how to cook?”

Nico shrugged. “I have a lot of time on my hands, okay? And besides, at least I’m doing something for a girl.”

“Who, though?” Percy asked hesitantly. “Someone from camp?”

He blushed. “Sort of.”

“What does sort of mean?” Grover probed.

“You’re not dating a minor, are you, Nico?”

The youngest boy scoffed at both of them, the blush still on his cheeks. “No. She’s actually older than me, thank you very much. Now, weren’t we watching the game and focusing on Percy’s problem?”

“True enough,” Grover offered. “What are you gonna do for Annabeth now that you’re married? You spent 8 years being the boyfriend and the fiancée. Now you’re the husband and you have nothing.”

“I have plenty. I’m perfectly romantic.” He looked into his beer. “Valentine’s Day isn’t about superficial stuff for Annabeth. It’s about being together.”

“Whatever, man. If she doesn’t get some sort of gift, she’s gonna withhold the good stuff for a long, long time.”

“Let’s review,” Grover announced, his eyes still stuck on the game. “The first year you bought her what?”

“An owl doll and roses.”

“The next year?”

“Took her out for dinner.”

They continued on like that, Percy explaining what he had done for Annabeth over the years. He’d bought her jewelry, dolls, sat through chick flicks and meeting her grandparents for her without complaining, gotten her cards, flowers, chocolates, even went to the store to pick up tampons for her when she asked. In his mind, this made up for all the stupid things he’d done—missing dates, forgetting to call—but for Annabeth, though Percy didn’t know it, it was a way to show he loved her more than anything.

“What’d you do when you were engaged?”

Percy cocked his head to think about it and blushed. “Went shopping for…the wedding night.”

“Brilliant,” Nico put in crankily. “I keep forgetting that you, lucky bastard, get laid on a regular basis.”

“I think Nico’s input,” Percy said to Grover, “is going to be ignored until he tells us who he’s cooking for on Wednesday. Do you agree?”

The satyr smirked. “Completely.”

Nico groaned. “Come on, guys. I can’t tell. She’d kill me.”

Grover and Percy jumped back into their conversation.

“Guys! That’s so not fair!”

They ignored him, mumbling about which restaurant to try to get reservations for.

“Fine! Fine, I’ll tell you!”

They still didn’t glance his way. Taunting him, waiting for him to say her name…

“Guys?”

Red roses or her favorite flower, orchids?

“Jeez, guys, it’s…”

Tension rose in the air as the old friends froze their conversation, waiting.

“Are you really gonna make me say it? She’ll murder me.”

“So, Percy—”

“Fine! It’s Rachel, okay?”

Percy shot a glare at his friend. “You’re dating Rachel? Rachel Elizabeth Dare?”

“No! I just…felt bad for her, ya know, being the eternal virgin and all, missing out on all of those Valentine’s Days… And besides…” Nico smiled. “She’s cute. And I like her.”

The other boys exchanged glances.

“You realize that you can’t…” Percy paused, the awkwardness of what he was about to say hitting him like a ton of bricks. He didn’t think like that about Rachel. Or Nico. Or anybody for that matter.

“Yeah. I know. But…I…care about her.”

“That’s…good.”

“Can we stop talking about this now?”

They all looked back to the game simultaneously. It was silently awkward for a moment. Finally, Nico grunted, “Perfume.”

“What?” Percy asked.

The younger boy shrugged. “You’ve never gotten her perfume. Find a scent you like and get it for her. Each time she wears it, she’ll know you like how it smells.”

It was silent. Finally, Grover leaned over to Percy. “When did Nico become the girl expert? Can you believe it?”

“G-man, I’ve seen snakes from a woman’s head, a person turn into a pillar of smoke, a girl become a constellation... I believe a lot of crazy things… But, still, I didn’t see that coming.”

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