I Make a Vow is the thirty-ninth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on February 4, 2017.
Summer is here again, and Camp Half-Blood is full with many demigods that come to train mostly during this time of the year.
This was our third summer here, and we looked forward to it all the time because we had enough campers to play Capture the Flag, our favorite game at camp.
Cassandra and I were welcoming our siblings back at our cabin.
Cassandra came back to camp last winter after being gone for about seven months, so she wasn’t here last summer, and our second oldest sibling had to take over for her as senior counselor.
After Cassandra came back, she and Luke were still acting weird toward each other, just like they were before she left. But now that she’s back, they kind of went back to Cassandra hating Luke, and for some reason, Emily seemed to be mad at Cassandra now. Maybe she didn’t like her being mad at Luke anymore.
Jasmine and I asked them what happened and why she left before, but neither of them would tell us. Even Toothless knew, but wouldn’t tell Jasmine, which she really didn’t like, and she didn’t want to be unfair and use her powers to make him tell her, though she did want to know.
So that’s how it’s been with them since Cassandra came back.
The summer passed by quickly, as it always seems to do.
We got another bead to put on our necklaces, and most of the campers went home, even us, but we weren’t the only ones.
“You’re leaving again?” I asked Cassandra as she was packing most of her stuff up that was in her bunk.
“Yep,” she replied, zipping up her suitcase.
“Why?” Jasmine asked.
“Is it because—” I started, but Cassandra interrupted me before I could finish.
“No, it is not because of Luke,” she said.
“Are you sure?” Jasmine asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. I knew that one of you two were going to ask me that. I am way past that now.”
“Then why do you always look like you’re not every time you see him?” I asked.
“It’s just an automatic reaction I have. I do it without thinking.”
“That’s no excuse. You told me to never do anything without thinking about it first.”
Cassandra groaned. “Why do you have to remember everything I tell you?”
“Because you always know what to do and say in any situation,” I replied.
“That’s not true, and I’m pretty sure I’ve proven that with the reason of the last time I left.”
“Which was what?” Jasmine asked.
Cassandra pursed her lips and looked away. “It doesn’t matter. It’s gone now.”
“Ok,” I said. “Then what’s the reason you’re leaving this time?”
“I’m going to college.”
“College?” Jasmine asked.
“So that I can get a degree in architecture, as I’ve been waiting for a long time to get.”
“Where is it?” I asked.
“There are a lot of colleges in the United States,” Cassandra replied. “But the only one I applied for is the University of California since it’s the closest one to my home.”
“How long will you be gone?”
“College usually takes four years to graduate from.”
“So I won’t see you again for four years?”
“Well, I do get summer break, so I will come to camp to see you when I’m not seeing my dad.”
“I promise. But this is good, Annabeth. I can finally start my dream, and fortunately for me, he won’t be there to distract me from it.”
“You mean Luke?” Jasmine asked.
“I’ll admit, yes,” Cassandra replied. “I’ll finally be away from him.”
She grabbed her suitcase and put it next to the door.
I’ll finally be away from him, I repeated in my head.
She’s never really gotten past that, even though she said she was now. She’s been hurting every day since they broke up but hides it so that no one could tell. Or, at least, tries too, but doesn’t always succeed.
Will she ever really be over Luke? What if that happens to me some day. Will I be able to get over it, or be just as stuck in it as Cassandra is?
“Well, that’s everything,” Cassandra said. “I guess this is—”
“I don’t want to fall in love,” I blurted out.
Jasmine and Cassandra stared at me. “What?”
“I don’t ever want to fall in love,” I repeated.
“Why?” Jasmine asked.
“Because all it seems to do is hurt, and I don’t want that to happen to me.”
“Annabeth,” Cassandra said, coming toward me and putting her hands on my shoulders. “Falling in love is uncontrollable. You do it whether you want to or not.”
“Because that’s how we were made. But not all love is bad. Sometimes it’s good.”
“Yeah,” Jasmine agreed. “Like for my mommy and daddy.”
“She’s right,” Cassandra agreed. “And they had her when they were sixteen. It’s very rare for two people that had a child together that young to stay together, get married, have another child, and still have a love that strong to this day.”
“Yeah, but love hasn’t been good for you,” I said.
Cassandra’s expression turned sad.
She sighed. “Maybe it will be for me someday. But I have to let go of my past love first so that I can have a future love, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I still don’t want to fall in love,” I said.
“Well, you’re still too young to be worrying about that right now. Wait until you’re a teenager, then we’ll see how you still feel about love.”
Cassandra stood up and walked toward the door. Then she turned back. “I am curious, though, if you were ever to fall in love willingly, who would you want to fall in love with?”
I thought about it for a moment. Who do I love that’s a boy?
There isn’t really any boy at camp that I like. No one at school either. Peter’s ok, I guess, and he does seem to like me since he likes to play with me at home a lot, but I don’t really like him that way. Johnathan’s more my brother than my friend and is too young anyway. What other boy do I know?
Our cabin door was open, and when I looked out it at that moment, I noticed Luke passing by, I guess done with his lessons at the arena for today and heading back to his cabin.
Hmm . . . Luke was really the first boy I met who cares about me and understands me more than anyone else does. And I knew that he always would.
“Luke,” I said.
Cassandra stared at me. “Really? Because I wouldn’t suggest him.”
“Because he hurt you? He didn’t want to, and he’s mad at himself for it.”
“I know. But that’s not the only reason. Annabeth. He’s seven years older than you. That’s like a student liking her teacher, and that’s wrong.”
“Yeah?” Jasmine agreed. “My grandma and grandpa are more than sixty years apart from each other.”
“That’s . . . different,” Cassandra replied.
“How?” I asked.
“Because they’re adults. It’s ok for adults no matter how far in age they are apart. But it’s not ok for you because you’re not an adult.”
“No, and thank the gods for that. But Luke will be one in two years from now. Look, I understand why you would want to fall in love with him since I know how much you two adore him and how much he adores you since he calls you his little girls all the time, which is the one thing I’m not going to miss seeing him do. Sort of.”
“Why?” Jasmine asked.
“Because it’s hard to hate him when he does that,” Cassandra replied. “And when he calls you his little girls, he usually means that you two are like his daughters or his sisters. And if that’s the case, he’ll probably never feel that way about you, Annabeth. And if you did have any chance with him, you’d have to wait until you’re eighteen for it not to be wrong to act on those feelings. Well, it would probably still be wrong, just not illegally wrong. But like I said, you’re still too young to be worrying about that right now. Can you promise me that you won’t feel crazy for a guy until you’re a teenager?”
“I told you that I don’t want to fall in love,” I said. “But I might make that exception for Luke.”
“Gods, I hope not,” Cassandra said. “But I guess it’s better him than a bad boy. Just remember that he hurt me. He can hurt Emily the same way, and you too if you fall into that. But what about you, Jasmine? Who would you want to fall in love with?”
“Not Luke,” she replied. “I also think that he’s too old for me, and I don’t want to wait until I’m eighteen. I want a love like my mommy and daddy’s love. So I want to fall in love with whoever my first boyfriend is, and I want him to fall in love with me too.”
“That actually doesn’t sound bad. But you say that you want a love like the one your parents have. Do you mean exactly like your parents, or partly?”
“Exactly. But Mommy told me that she and Daddy broke up three times, and I don’t want me and whomever my boyfriend is to break up even once.”
“Three times? Why?”
“Umm, the first time because my mommy was jealous; the second time because my daddy was being overprotective of my mommy; and the third time because my mommy was jealous again.”
“Huh. I’m actually surprised that they got back together after that many break ups.”
“Mommy and Daddy love each other,” Jasmine said.
“Apparently,” Cassandra agreed. “And good job for not wanting to repeat that. But your parents also had you when they were sixteen. Do you want to repeat that?”
“Having a daughter when I’m sixteen?”
Jasmine thought about it for a moment, then smiled. “Maybe. Though I don’t know how I could have one.”
“Oh, gods, I hope you don’t learn for a long time. And for that, how about we keep this conversation just between the three of us, ok?”
We nodded. “Ok.”
“Good,” Cassandra said. “Now, I have to go, or I’ll miss my flight.”
I went up to her and gave her a hug. Jasmine did too.
“I’ll miss you,” I said.
“Me too,” Jasmine said.
“I know,” Cassandra said. “I’ll miss you two too. And you’re my favorite sister.”
“You’re mine too,” I replied.
“What about me?” Jasmine asked, sounding hurt.
“Cassandra is my favorite blood-related sister. You’re my favorite non-blood related adopted sister.”
“Aww. And you’re my favorite non-blood related adopted sister too.”
She gave me a hug and I hugged her back.
“Oh, I’m going to miss you two even more now,” Cassandra said.
“Bye, Cassandra,” I said.
“Bye. But don’t worry. We will see each other again. The latest will be next summer. I’ll try to come see you during winter break. If not, then probably spring break, ok?”
I nodded. “Ok. I hope you get your degree.”
“I hope so too. Bye.”
We waved goodbye. Then she grabbed her suitcase and she was gone.
Unfortunately, that was the last time I would ever see her.
A few months later, after finishing for the week and going to camp for the weekend, I was doing my homework in my cabin when Jasmine came in with Toothless right behind her.
“Emily and Luke are arguing again,” she said.
“About what?” I asked.
“About telling you something.”
She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Which one of them wants to tell me, and which one doesn’t?”
“Emily wants Luke to tell you, but he doesn’t want to tell you at all.”
“Tell me what?”
“I don’t know.”
Toothless said something, but I didn’t understand what. But Jasmine did of course.
“What?” she asked him.
He said something in response.
“What did he say, Jasmine?” I asked.
She looked at me. “It’s about Cassandra.”
As soon as she said that, I stood up from my chair and ran out of the cabin to find Luke. Jasmine and Toothless followed.
I found Luke talking to Emily at the volleyball courts.
“Luke,” I called. “What about Cassandra?”
He looked at me, surprised. “How did you know that we were talking about Cassandra?”
“Jasmine told me that you and Emily are arguing about telling me something, but she didn’t know what about. Toothless knew and told Jasmine and she told me that he told her that it was about Cassandra. Now tell me what about her, or I’ll stab you with my knife.”
Luke glared at Toothless. “Thanks, Toothless.”
He grunted back in response.
“He said—” Jasmine started, but Luke interrupted her before she could finish.
“I don’t care what he said,” he said. “Though it’s pretty obvious that he agrees with Emily.”
“That’s exactly what he said,” Emily said.
“Luke,” I pleaded.
He sighed, then he kneeled down in front of me. “Chiron got a call from Cassandra’s father in California earlier today.”
“He said that Cassandra got attacked by a monster on her college campus, and she got overwhelmed by it.”
Tears started to form in my eyes.
I could hardly speak. “She’s dead?”
I wrapped my arms around his neck and let my tears fall. I hated crying, but I didn’t care.
I hate losing my sister more, and I’ll never get her back.
It took me a couple days to finally stop crying. At least for a little while.
Jasmine cried too, but not as much as me.
We made a gray shroud for Cassandra with the symbol of an owl in the center of it, the symbol of our mother, Athena. Then we burned it at the campfire and watched it until it was complete ash.
The day after that, we packed up most of Cassandra’s stuff that she left in her bunk, even some pictures of us together that I already had on my nightstand in my room at home.
I was about to put some books that she left behind in the box when I read the title of one of them: Classical Architecture for the 21st Century. And it was written in Ancient Greek, probably so that it would be easier to read since she, too, was dyslexic.
She went to college to become an architect because that was her dream. Now that dream was smashed by a monster. She died before she could even begin to live it.
I left the books out of the box and put them on my bed. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now I do. I’m going to become an architect, for Cassandra since she couldn’t become one herself like she wanted to. I’ve never really been interested in what Cassandra liked so much about it before, but I’ll make myself like it, for her.
She even left behind some of her ideas in her bunk, and I’m going to make them come true if it’s the last thing I do.
Aww. Poor Annabeth. She lost her sister. Now, obviously, this didn't happen in the series, but I wanted to create a bit more of a backstory for Annabeth as to why she wanted to become an architect and what I came up with was to complete her big sister's dream that she couldn't complete herself. A sweet reason. What do you guys think about it?
Please review here.