It hit everyone. Worry took over our expressions, sometimes despair. Concern. I could feel what everyone else was thinking; how powerless we were, how stupid we had been, how could none of us have noticed this detail? Percy was the first to speak.
Well he said trying to look calm , in that case, I guess Jason and I better start working.
That'd be good I said, and they went to their positions, Percy by the helm and Jason seated on the back of the deck. A-and the rest of us should start making up a plan.
And so we did. With a twelve shorter days deadline, we worked harder than ever. Eventually, Jason and Percy would pass out or lash out, but now under control. No more storms, only huge waves and gales that they were making to speed up, which were making it almost impossible to stay on the deck. The two of them stayed, of course, but the rest of us tried to stay downstairs as long as possible. During the nights, we were making three watches of two people (one of them being mandatorily Jason or Percy to keep the ship going fast), and everything seemed to be working. Sometimes Annabeth talked to Percy through that rainbow thing and helped us as much as she could, saying what they had found out and giving instructions.
I avoided my bed as much as possible. I didn't like it much, because it was small with just one little window, and I was kind of claustrophobic. I tried not to be, telling myself it wasn't a very rational thing, but the fear was stronger than me, usually, so I avoided my bed, except when I was extremely tired. Otherwise, I'd be downstairs on the balcony staring at Greece's and Athens's maps trying to think. I almost looked like a daughter of Minerva, but without the huge brain.
You skipped lunch again I heard Leo's voice behind me and winced.
Oh, did I? I tried to pretend I had forgotten, which I hadn't, just hadn't been in the mood. I'm just confused.
That doesn't keep you from eating he walked around the table and placed a plate in front of me. Or sleeping.
I stared at my food, feeling my stomach complaining and begging for something. My eyes were daring to close at any minute. My whole body was telling me to eat and take a nap, but I refused. We had five days until the solstice and no plan.
I am eating I said frowning at the maps and I am sleeping.
Once every three days? he said upping his eyebrows.
I gave him a deadly glance and brought my attention back to work.
Is ignoring me part of your duty? he asked me.
Okay, I was ignoring him since Thalia had spoken to us. Not totally ignoring, like Piper was doing about Jason's existence, but ignoring enough to make me feel bad. I had figured out I was jealous of the way he had looked at Thalia, because he didn't look at me like that. I almost hated myself for feeling that way. I couldn't get distracted during an important mission like that one. I just couldn't like Leo, it wasn't appropriate. He was from the Greek camp, I was from the Roman. We shouldn't even be close friends, that was why I was ignoring him. My heart definitely didn't like it, but I was ignoring it as well.
Or are you just doing this because you've realized I'm too annoying? he asked.
You're not annoying I said pretending to be focused on the Peloponnese.
I'm annoying you right now.
I would bet you're annoyed, but I'm not betting you anymore.
You aren't annoying me, and I'm not ignoring you. Thanks for the food, but I have to work I said coldly, switching the maps in front of me and putting the plate aside, because it was covering Athens Acropolis. Suddenly, Leo pulled both maps away from me. Hey! I complained.
Enough of working he said. You need to relax a bit. You're getting crusty.
Give them back! I got up and tried to reach them, but he was taller than me and had held them high. We need those maps!
You're overloading yourself. I jumped and almost reached them. Hey he held them above the sea , I'm gonna throw them.
You can't, we need them!
Can't I? He opened a prankish smile.
Don't you dare I closed my expression.
He widened his smile and let the papers fall to the ocean. I slapped him across him face.
You idiot! How are we gonna plan our attack now?
Ouch! he turned his head to me, still smiling a bit, but angry, too. Calm down, Miss Testy. I can get new maps for you.
So go get them!
No. He saw my expression. Not now. You need to relax. C'mon.
He held my wrist and began to drag me inside. I wanted to push him away and release my arm, because I didn't want any physical (or emotional) contact with him. The fact that his hand was close to mine already made my heart race, which meant it was worse than I had thought, because I didn't like him, I had fallen in love with him even when I was trying not to. But he was just too amazing. He was funnier, cooler, nicer, and a better partner than every boy I had ever met. His sense of humor was low blow considering that's what attracts me the most, and since I knew he wouldn't change it, I was hopelessly in love. And that was bad, very bad.
Okay he stopped in front of our beds , you need to laugh a bit. You've been working non-stop for a whole week.
It hasn't been a week I complained.
But... well, someone has to work on the plans here.
Let the others work for a while.
The others aren't working.
No? He upped his eyebrows. What do you think Piper, Hazel, Bobby and I have been doing?
Nothing useful! I almost shouted.
Please, don't make me wanna slap you back. Don't say we're doing nothing useful. We've been working on the plans, too, but we're also eating, sleeping, and not ignoring each other.
If that was supposed to make me laugh, it wasn't working at all.
I'm not ignoring you! I lied.
Never mind he said a bit too quickly. You need to chill out.
He grabbed my wrist again and dragged me downstairs. I hadn't really thought about the floor under the one where our beds and bathrooms were; I had assumed it wasn't important for me, but it was. The walls were stuffed with all kinds of weapons and armors, carefully arranged and cataloged. When Leo turned on the lights, for a while I was amazed by the metal reflecting the glow of the lamps, making everything even prettier.
Wow I said.
I thought I should keep some things down here just in case he said.
That was... brilliant, literally.
He opened a little smile, and I couldn't help opening one, too. The part of the "couldn't help" that annoyed me.
But I wanted to show you the other balcony we have he said leading me to the wall on the opposite side and opening a door. I thought we should have two, just in case.
In case of what?
This balcony was slightly smaller than the other one, without the table and the chairs, but with two benches. It was closer to the sea, so if you got close to the guardrails, some salt water was spitted on your face. That place somehow calmed me down. I closed my eyes and felt the wind hitting me. I was feeling so light...
Hey I felt Leo's hand holding me. I was almost falling to the ground. Don't let the wind take you. Jason's speeding up.
I just nodded, completely aware of his hand being taken out of my waist. I hope I wasn't blushing as much as I felt I was.
So, do you like here? he asked.
Yes, it's so... calm in here.
Great, then don't tell the others this balcony exists. I frowned at him. It wouldn't be a calm place if everyone wanted to escape a bit and stay here, mainly Piper.
By the way, how's Jason?
Can't tell. He said he needed to talk to you. You should go, because I have the feeling he's on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and we don't need Sparky causing a storm again.
Why didn't you tell me that before? I should've gone directly to him.
Because... he hesitated. This hesitation meant a lot to my "in love" part. Did he want me to stay with him a bit before I went to talk to Jason? You needed to distress a bit before getting stressed again.
I nodded and went to the main deck. When Bobby saw me, he upped his eyebrows at me and said:
Oh, look who's finally out of her cave.
I ignored him and went directly to Jason, seated on the back of the deck. I sat down next to him.
Leo said you wanted to talk to me.
Yeah, like three days ago he said without looking at me.
Is it important?
Then why didn't you go downstairs and call me?
You were so focused and in the mood to yell at anyone who disturbed you that I gave up. I don't wanna interrupt your work, so please, go back to your maps he said coldly.
Leo threw them away.
Oh, that's a tragedy. You should go yell at him and make him get new ones.
Done that already.
So now go charge him.
You said you needed to talk to me. I'm here now. Talk.
No, I said I needed to talk to you three days ago, but you refused. Now...
I didn't refuse I interrupted him. No one told me you wanted to talk to me.
No one? He chuckled.
What? I asked.
If you consider Hazel, Bobby and I "no one", yeah, no one told you.
I frowned. And then my eyes widened.