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Gotta Run Buttercup

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I huffed out watching my breath shoot out and swirl in the freezing, winter morning. At this point I was just desperate to not focus on the cold which of course only made it worse, so the only logical answer to put on some music. Lost in my music I didn’t even notice Percy walk up to me until he nudged me on the shoulder.
Startled, I pulled out an earbud, “Hey you.” I breathed out, now cursing the cold air for blocking my view of him.
“Hey.” He shuffled uncomfortably. Probably thinking the last time we spoke what felt like a million years ago and I accidentally spilled my horrible secret of liking him since we met in middle school.
“Been hiding?” I asked trying to maintain a conversation, but wincing at how every word seemed to take on a new meaning.
“Um, something like that.” He cleared his throat and we lapsed in an awkward silence. “Hey, don’t you have a car?”
“I do.”
“And don’t you also have a license.”
“Yeah, that is something I also have.” I responded happy to be on a new topic.
“So you’re out here because…” Percy let the sentence end as a question, but also for me to finish.
“Oh, I love to freeze, yeah heat is so over rated.” I nodded along to it as though it was obvious. Thankfully he cracked a smile and knocked into me playfully.
“Spill the beans, summer child.” He answered naturally, a smile tugging at his lips. A smile that remained for barely a second when he realized that those were the exact words he said two weeks prior leading to said spilling of the 7 year old beans.
I cleared my throat, “it’s broken, something wrong with the something.” Surprised at my lack of knowledge on something he raised an eyebrow.
“Wow, the great Annabeth Chase being in the dark about something? Geez don’t they teach you anything at your fancy engineering school?” He asked in feigned surprise. “You should’ve come to let me take a look at it, by which I mean let Leo take a look at it.”
“I would’ve if you haven’t been dodging my texts.” I grumbled, apparently not too quietly. Hurt spread across his face and I regret it almost immediately, I would’ve said so too had my bus not shown up at that exact moment. Instead I turned away headed on to my bus that went to a different high school than his, tossing a “Gotta run buttercup” over my shoulder like I always do. From the steps I heard him mumble “see you later cupcake” keeping up his part of our tradition.
I climbed the bus steps and was blasted with hot air, without even needing to lift my gaze from my phone as I turned off my music I found my usual seat next to Piper.
"Saw lover boy down there sulking about after you left." She whisper with a light pinch on my arm.
"Yeah right lover boy. Why did I let you and Grover talk me into telling him, now he can barely look me in the eye!" I nearly exclaimed on the crowded bus. "Gods, I knew he still like Rachel, they went out for like two years."
"In middle school." Piper said as though that explained everything, which on course it didn't. "Ok, middle school doesn't really count."
"It seems to have counted for you." I said with a nod to the ring on her finger, it was a gift from Reyna during their one year anniversary in when Reyna was graduating middle school, Piper was a year behind us.
"Because we're still going out. Look the point is he dated her years ago, we're juniors now, nearly 17, not 12." Piper spoke with a conviction I wish I could match.
"Yeah ok." I grumbled and so we went on talking about things that didn't matter too much for the rest of the journey, but Percy stayed in the back of my mind, taking up what felt like half of my brain power with it.