I Meet a Girl Who Won’t Leave Me Alone is the first chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on May 15, 2016.
My name is Annabeth Chase.
I'm five years old, or almost five, and my life sucks. My dad, who doesn't care about me, just got married to a woman, Savanna, and she doesn't care about me either. She's now my step-mom, and my only mom.
I've never met my real mom before, except for when I was baby of course. Dad never talks about her. Whenever I ask about her, he gets really sad and says "You'll learn when you're older." I think he loved her, but I find that hard to believe since he doesn't even care about me, the daughter that he had with her.
Today is my first day of kindergarten. I'm glad because I get away from my dad and new step-mom for a few hours, and I like to learn new things.
I got on the bus and walked to the very back of it. There were about twenty other kids already on it, but I didn't pay them any attention. Except for one girl.
She appeared to be about my age, sitting in one of the middle seats. Next to her sat a boy that also seemed to be about the same age as her, also with brown hair, and they were acting so cheerful like it was so cool to be on a school bus.
As I was walking past their seat, the girl stopped and looked at me. For a brief moment, we made eye-contact.
It felt odd, staring at her, like I could feel something was going to happen between us, something bad or good I couldn't tell, and I think she felt it too.
I didn't think much about it before I turned away from her and hurried to the back of the bus, slung my backpack off my shoulders, and sat down with it on my lap, keeping my head down.
After the bus moved on, I glanced up and noticed the girl peeking over at me from the top of her seat. She smiled and waved at me.
I quickly looked away and stared out the window for the rest of the bus ride until we got to school.
Me and all the other kids got off the school bus and headed to class. There were short tables with pillows as chairs and I sat at the empty one in the far back.
The teacher was welcoming everyone.
"Are you Annabeth?" she asked me.
I nodded in response to her question.
"What are you doing back here by yourself? Wouldn't you like to sit with the other kids?"
If I wanted to sit with the other kids, I would be, I thought. But I just shook my head.
"Well, ok. If that's what you want."
Yes. Now please leave me alone, I thought again, but didn't say. The teacher walked away from me as if she read my mind.
The girl that was on the school bus with me was sitting a few tables away with the boy that she was sitting next to on the bus, and he was drawing a picture while the girl was watching me. She had golden-brown hair that barely touched her shoulders, black eyes, and was wearing an orange outfit with an S on the front of it.
I quickly looked away and focused on the teacher, who was teaching us about shapes. I already knew about them, but I paid close attention to her like I was learning them all over again. I even drew some of them on paper and labeled them.
Sometime later, during recess, everyone went outside to play, but I stayed inside and continued drawing shapes and making new ones.
Then the girl came over and sat down next to me. "What's your name?"
"Why do you want to know?" I asked without looking at her, because I expected her to come over, and I continued to draw.
"Do you want to come play with me?"
"No. Go away."
Before I could answer her question, the teacher came into the room and noticed us. "What are you two doing in here? Don't you girls want to play outside with the rest of the kids?"
I shook my head. Unfortunately, the girl did too, and I glared at her.
"Well, ok," the teacher said. "If that's what you want. Come outside if either of you two change your mind."
We nodded and the teacher left the two of us alone in the room. How responsible. I went back to drawing.
"You look sad," the girl told me. "What's wrong?"
I didn't answer her.
"My name's Jasmine. What's yours?"
I hesitated. "Annabeth."
Jasmine smiled. "I like that name."
"Why do you look so sad?"
"I'm not sad. Now go away."
She ignored me. "Do you want to be friends?"
"Leave me alone."
"Jasmine," a boy called, coming into the room. It was the boy that Jasmine was sitting with earlier.
"What, Peter?" Jasmine asked.
"Come outside and play with me," he replied.
Jasmine looked at me. I turned away and went back to drawing.
"Ok," Jasmine told Peter, sounding disappointed. "I'm coming."
She stood up and chased him out of the room and I watched them go.
Do you want to be friends?
Why does she want to be friends? We just met, and I don't even want a friend. Why? Because I don't want one. That's why.
Jasmine watched me the whole time on the school bus. She even watched me from the windows when I got off the bus.
"Bye, Annabeth," she told me and waved.
I didn't answer back and left. That girl is weird.
I got home and Rufus, my pet puppy Doberman, barked a hello to me, and my dad was there. Unfortunately, so was Savanna.
"Daddy, I'm back from kindergarten," I said.
I found him in the living room. He was on his laptop. He's a professor at a high school, I think. Savanna was standing near the entrance to the kitchen and narrowed her eyes at me.
"How was school?" Dad asked without looking at me.
"Ok," I replied. "Can we play together?"
"Maybe later. I'm busy. How about you go play with your cousin?"
My eyes widened. "He's here?"
"Yes, he is," a woman said, coming out of the kitchen from behind Savanna with a cup of coffee in her hand. "And so am I."
"Aunt Natalie!" I ran toward her and stopped in front of her. "What are you doing here?"
"I can visit my brother and my niece, can't I? Especially if one of them has a birthday coming up?"
I nodded. "Yes. Do you have my present?"
"You bet I do."
"Can I have it now?"
She laughed. "No. You'll have to wait just a little longer."
I frowned. "Ok. Where's Magnus?"
She nodded down the hallway. "In your room, waiting for you."
I went to my room to see him. My aunt and cousin live in Boston, Massachusetts, while we live here, in Missouri. They're really far apart from each other, but I guess they came to visit us for my birthday. At least they seem to care about me.
"Magnus?" I called when I reached my bedroom.
"Annabeth!" he called back, meeting me at my room door.
"Hi. Did you like kindergarten?"
"I don't know." I put my backpack on my bed and sat down on it.
"Tell me. I need to know before I go to kindergarten."
I laughed. I'm four months older than him, and he doesn't go to kindergarten until after his next birthday.
"I learned about shapes," I said.
"And?" he asked.
"I met a really annoying girl."
"Why was she annoying?"
"Because she was. She asked me if I wanted to be her friend."
I shrugged. "I don't know."
"I don't think I want to go to kindergarten now."
I laughed. "I wouldn't blame you. But at least she let me learn from the teacher."
"Ok. Is Savanna still being mean to you?"
I nodded. "Yeah. And Daddy doesn't care."
"I brought a game with me. Do you want to play it?"
He went to get the game from his mom, and we set it up together in my room and played it. It was a deck of cards, and the game we played was Go Fish, which was a stupid name. We played until his mom said it was time for dinner, then again until they had to leave. They were going to stay in town for my birthday, but they weren't staying at my house, so they went to a nearby hotel.
After they left, I went to look for my dad, who was still on his laptop, but in his room now at his desk, and Savanna was lying on the bed.
"Daddy, do you want to play with me now?"
"I have to finish these reports. Maybe you can play with Savanna."
She and I both glared at him.
"No," I said. "I only want to play with you. Not her."
Even Savanna nodded in agreement.
"Now, Annabeth," Dad said. "She's your mother. She—"
"No she's not!" I interrupted. "She's not my real mom and she never will be. She doesn't even care about me."
"Yes, she does."
"No, she doesn't."
"Frederick," Savanna said, not sounding or looking hurt by what I said about her, mostly bored, which just proves my point. "It's alright."
"No, it's not," Dad said. "Annabeth, apologize right now."
"No," I said. "And you can't make me."
He got even madder. "Go to your room. We'll talk about this later."
"No, we won't," I muttered. Then I left the room and went to my room.
I slammed my door shut. I went toward my window, put my arms on the sill, laid my head down on them, and did something that I hated to do, but have been doing for as long as I could remember: I cried.
I hope you guys liked this chapter as well as this story. It took me a lot longer to post it than I thought it would, but I don't want to delay it anymore, and I thought it would be a good birthday present for me. Yes, today is my birthday. Yay!
I've been thinking about this story for years, and I want to share it. This story is the sequel to me previous story, which was Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. You don't really need to read it before you read this one, but it gives you some hints as to some things that are going to happen in this story. Unlike what I did with that story, I'm not going to be publishing a chapter every day, except for the first two chapters. That's just way too much work to keep up on, especially since I have other things in life I need to do that can get in the way.
Anyway, I'll explain more about the story at the end of the next chapter. Oh, I'm so excited.
I also wanted to let you guys know about a wiki for every one of Rick Riordan's mythological books, called Riordan Wiki at riordan . wikia . com. (no spaces). It's a really cool website with the latest information on Rick Riordan's books. You can chat with other fans of the books as well as make edits to the pages of the characters and the books. There's also an app for the wiki with its won discussion board, which you can find by searching Wikia: Camp Half-Blood, and it'll either have a picture of Logan Lerman as Percy holding his sword with an orange background, or an orange background with the words Camp Half-Blood. I am a Discussions Moderator on there. There are rules, and if you don't follow them, your comments will either be deleted, or you will be blocked. The biggest warning I can give you: watch out for the moderators. They're . . . well, just watch out for them.
Now, has anybody been able to read The Hidden Oracle? It was great. If anybody hasn't, and you don't want to be spoiled, don't read anymore after this sentence. The best parts of it: Sally's pregnant! It's about damn time, too. And she's having a girl. I wonder what they'll name her. Meg . . . I liked her, but she needs to learn some things. And Leo's back! With Calypso! Well, that gets rid of my idea for how they would return, but that's fine. Anyway, enjoy!
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