It didn't take long for me to notice. However, I didn't think much of it at the time. I was distracted by the wars and Percy's eventual disappearance. Percy had a problem-no, an obsession.
At first it was a little cute.
I settled onto the couch to get started on homework. Percy and I had just gotten back from school, since I stayed late to watch Percy's swim team practice. He absolutely loves it. He loves the team mentality, getting to be in his element everyday, and having a place to go to be normal. Heaven knows he deserves a little bit of normal. He’s able to dial down his powers and swim just fast enough to do well at practices and meets. I couldn’t be more proud.
Speaking of Percy, I can hear him singing in the shower. I can’t contain the giggle once I identify the song. He’s totally singing “A Part of This World” from the Little Mermaid. I sneak over to the door and call out, “You okay in there, Percy?” I hear a loud bang and a whispered curse word.
“Yep! Almost done.”
“Okay, just let me know when you want to be a part of my world,” I say with a laugh.
But then it was just annoying.
"Percy, I swear to the gods. I'm not asking you to get rid of all of it, but maybe you should part with an item or two. Your apartment isn't that big and Jason's bringing all of his stuff too, it’s going to be tight enough as is." I glance down at all of the stuff surrounding us on the floor. You wouldn’t guess it, but Percy is a bit of hoarder (he says he just never knows when somethings going to be handy. *cough* hoarder *cough*). He has everything from a participation certificate from 2nd grade to five shredded camp half blood shirts. I’ve been trying to convince him to go through his stuff for weeks, but he finally broke down today. I told him it would only take a few hours, but with the way he is dragging his feet it could take days.
"But I don't want to," Percy whines, stubbornly clinging to ten beanies. I just spent ten minutes convincing him that he could part with a broken skateboard (the third one I’ve found), and I am not prepared to battle him on his hat collection.
"Lets just move onto your closet,” I say with a sigh,” Maybe that'll be a little easier."
"Oh. My. Gods." The sight I am greeted with is horrific. There's Little Mermaid plushies, CDs, figurines, shirts, and even stickers. "You've built a shrine," I say faintly. "My boyfriend has a Little Mermaid shrine in his closet."
"It's not a shrine," he says sheepishly, scratching at his neck. The beanies were sent flying when he had tried to stop me from opening the closet of horrors. "It would have to have candles for it to be a shrine. It's just an arranged collection of memorabilia."
"An arranged collection of memorabilia," I repeat, still shocked. I turn around and see him trying to give me his best sheepish puppy dog look. Nope, not gonna….. work this time. I have to stay strong “Where did you even get all of this."
"It's not like I got all of this in one day," He said defensively," I've just collected things over the years and they've added up."
"You have to get rid of some of-"
"No. Absolutely no way!"
"Percy, you literally have stacks and stacks of this stuff! You can not seriously expect to bring this all with you. You're barely going to have enough space as is. And that’s not even counting Jason’s things!"
"I'm not going to bring all of it with me. I'll leave most of it here and only bringing a few things. Mom won't mind." I can see the stubborn side of Percy popping up again. Percy is usually pretty chill, but when he wants something, he's willing to drag his heals in and and fight his way to victory.
"This is going to be the new nursery, your mom will not want you to take up all of her space with this Little Mermaid stuff."
Then it was out of control.
I can hear murmuring voices as I walked up the stairs to Percy's apartment. We don't have any plans, but I figured we could just hang out and do some homework or watch a movie. Maybe I should have called before coming over. But I remember him saying he didn’t have any plans.
"-Leo, I cant believe we're doing this again. What if Annabeth finds out?" Percy's voice says.
"She won't, trust me, Perc. Besides, we aren't doing anything wrong. We are just two bros hanging out and enjoying ourselves. I’ll go get the drinks while you finish setting it up." Leo's voice replies.
I slowly slide my key in and unlock the door, slightly nervous about what I'm going to find inside. The sight I see shocks me more than anything else could. Percy is sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn on his lap. I turn my head and that's when I see it on the tv.
"Hey, do you want blue coke or blue-OH! Hi, Annabeth." Leo stops awkwardly. He's holding two cups full of blue liquid and wearing Little Mermaid shirt. Percy looks up at Leo’s exclamation and freezes at the sight of me. I can see the blush creeping up on both of their faces.
"I can't believe what I'm seeing. Are you guys secretly watching The Little Mermaid?" I’m honestly surprised. Suddenly the lack of nagging to watch Disney movies made sense.
"No," Percy says guilty while stowing away the popcorn, revealing his matching outfit. "We're just-fine. That's exactly what we're doing."
"Why?" I ask. I've made Percy cut down the amount of times he watches the film the last few months, for my sanity and Jason's, but I didn't think he'd go to such drastic measures to watch it. Suddenly, I remember his partner in crime, "And why with Leo?"
"Well," Leo starts, setting down the drinks and settling down next to Percy." We made a deal. I would watch The Little Mermaid with him as long as we took turns and watched The Hunger Games too. It's become a bit of a tradition to watch movies every Thursday night- since you and Jason have classes today. We wouldn't have had to pull something like this, “ Leo finishes as he swings an arm around a blushing Percy,” but you tried to cut off my little boy blue. He was desperate for his dosage of Under the Sea. I can't believe you tried to-"
"Leo," Percy cuts him off," Thanks but shut up now. Listen, Annabeth, I'm sorry. I should have told you but I knew it was driving you crazy. Don't be mad at me, please." Then he shoots me his best puppy dog eyes and I melt. No use to argue with a deal that benefits everyone.
"Fine," I say with a sigh." Finish your movie night with Leo. I'll just go and see you tomorrow like planned." I turn around and head out, rolling me eyes. Those two are too similar for their own good.
"Percy," I ask frustrated, " do you actually believe Ariel is your sister?"
"Not really," he says slowly, refusing to meet my eyes. “But it wouldn't be the craziest thing ever. Look at some of the people I’m related to!"
His obsession had seemed to had simmered down to a healthy enjoyment, but then I heard him refer to Ariel as his sister, more than once. “But, really, Ariel?” I say incredulously.
“I’ll stop,” Percy says suddenly, his mood seems to have gone from 100 to 0 instantly. “Please, just leave it alone.”
But I wasn’t giving this one up. I’ve watched the movie hundreds of times, listened to Percy sing it at karaoke bars, wore the shirts, and even dropped it about the memorabilia. “We are contacting your dad and ending this once and for all.”
“Don’t” Percy said scrambling to stop me from getting a drachma. “I’ll tell you why if you just stop. Please,” He said while shooting me his best puppy dog eyes. I was ready for this whole thing to end, one way or another. But….. I guess letting him, finally, tell me the backstory could help. Damn him and his puppy dog eyes.
“Fine,” I sigh. “But I want the whole story. Not just some half assed lie.” I settle back in on the couch. He may have me whipped, but I’m not giving this battle up anymore. I just want to understand this crazy obsession.
“It’s just,” He begins nervously, “my mom and I where always close growing up. And she always talked about how much my dad loved the water. Then I watched The Little Mermaid after school one day, and I felt so connected to Ariel. She didn’t have a mom and I didn’t have a dad; I felt drawn to the water, and she was drawn to the land. I dressed up as Eric for about four Halloweens,” he said with a laugh. “Then Gabe came around.”
I felt my stomachs take a plummet as he paused before continuing. “Gabe said the movie was too girly for me to like, and if I didn’t get rid of all of my Little Mermaid stuff he would burn it. I didn’t want to, but I knew he had it in him. So, I hid it all away in that closet and just slowly continued adding things to it here and there. I had to be careful; otherwise he would find out about it and I was afraid what he’d do. There you have it, that’s why I have a weird obsession with the Little Mermaid. It’s sort of like with the blue food. Just a little way for me to rebel without getting in too much trouble,” he finishes with a fake chuckle.
“Percy,” I start, but I don’t know how to continue. “Do you want to watch some Little Mermaid?”
A smile grows on his face. “Yes, please.”