Luke Goes Home is the twentieth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on August 26, 2016.
It’s fun to run away when you’re not being chased by monsters.
After being in Chesapeake Bay for a few days, making a lot of hideouts and leaving some weapons in them just in case we needed to go back and restock, we walked around for a while and came to a city next to a beach.
I ran to it.
“Jasmine!” Thalia called.
They ran after me.
I stopped near the water. “Can we play here? Please?”
Luke looked around us, probably making sure that there weren’t any monsters around.
He looked back at me. “Ok. But just for a little while. Then we should get going.”
“Yay,” I cheered. “Come on, Annabeth.”
“What?” she asked.
I grabbed her hand and pulled her into the water, getting us both, even Toothless, wet.
Annabeth coughed. “Why did you do that?”
“It’s fun,” I replied.
Luke and Thalia laughed.
“Come on in!” I called to them.
“Oh, no,” Thalia said. “I don’t want to get wet.”
“Why not?” Luke asked.
“I don’t like water.”
“Ok. Suv yourself.”
Luke had a weird smile on his face, like he was planning something mean. A minute later, I realized he was.
Thalia turned away from him for a moment and that’s when Luke picked her up and threw her into the water.
Thalia was mad. “Luke! I’m going to get you for that.”
She chased him, but he jumped into the water, laughing. Annabeth, Toothless, and I laughed too.
Thalia swam after Luke, but he kept swimming away from her.
Annabeth and I looked at each other and had a silent agreement: We needed to help Thalia get Luke. So we did.
Luke was swimming by us and that’s when we jumped on him.
“What are you doing?” he asked us, surprised. “She’s going to kill me.”
“We know,” Annabeth said.
“And we’re going to let her,” I said.
Thalia reached us. “Thank you, girls. I can take it from here.”
Annabeth and I let go of Luke, and Thalia put her hands on top of his head and pushed him underwater, holding him there for about a minute while he was flailing and let him back up.
“Don’t ever do that again,” Thalia told him.
“I won’t,” Luke said, coughing water out of his mouth, but he was smiling.
Thalia smiled too and splashed him. He splashed her back. Basically, we all splashed each other for a while.
Annabeth climbed onto Luke’s shoulders, Toothless flew onto her head, and I knocked them back into the water. Then we got out of the water and Annabeth, Toothless, and I started to build a sand castle while Luke and Thalia laid on the beach a few feet away.
After we built our sand castle, Toothless destroyed it with his fire. Even though it was an accident, we got mad at him for it, and we didn’t feel like rebuilding it again, so we just went to Thalia and Luke.
When we reached them, I noticed that their faces were getting really close to each other.
“What are you doing?” Annabeth asked them.
They noticed us and pulled away from each other quickly.
“Uh, hey, girls,” Thalia said oddly. “We didn’t see you two there.”
“Were you about to kiss?” I asked. “Because that’s what my mommy and daddy look like when they kiss.”
Luke and Thalia’s faces turned red.
“Let’s get cleaned up,” Luke said quickly. “We’ve been here too long, and we’re all covered in sand.”
We went to the nearest bathrooms and cleaned up in them. Thalia, Annabeth, and I went into the girls bathroom, and Luke and Toothless went to the boys, obviously.
“Thalia, did you and Luke almost kiss?” I asked.
“Oh, will you please stop asking me that?” she replied, turning red again.
“I want to know.”
“Me too,” Annabeth agreed.
Thalia growled in frustration.
“If you tell us, I promise not to ask you anything about it,” I said.
Thalia seemed to consider it. “And not tell anyone about it?”
“No. I promise.”
“I promise too,” Annabeth said.
Thalia took a deep breath. “Ok. I believe you two.”
“Did you and Luke kiss?” I asked again.
“Almost,” Thalia replied.
“What happened?” Annabeth asked.
“You two interrupted us.”
“Sorry,” I said.
“It’s ok. You didn’t know. But remember: keep quiet, or I’ll pound you both.”
“Good. Now clean up so we can go.”
After we finished cleaning the sand off ourselves, the five of us got some food together, then we continued on our journey. That’s when the monsters came back.
There were a few of them. Whenever they got too close, Luke would stab them with his sword, and Thalia her spear. I kind of blamed myself for them, because they were kind of animals, and I attract animals with my aura. But they’ve been chasing Luke and Thalia before Annabeth and I met them, so I guess they attract them too.
One day was the worst day of our journey so far.
But not exactly because of the monsters.
We were running down a hill, a steep one, when Thalia slipped on something and fell all the way down to the bottom.
“Thalia!” Annabeth called.
We rushed to her.
She was sitting on the ground, holding her left leg. “I’m ok.”
“Are you hurt?” I asked.
“I think I twisted my ankle.”
“Can you stand?” Luke asked.
Thalia adjusted her spear and used it to pull herself up. Luke helped her. We kept moving.
We stopped at another safe house that they made for a while and Luke made a temporary small cast on Thalia’s hurt leg. Then the monsters managed to set our hiding spot on fire and we had to move again.
“Great,” Thalia said while we were running. “Now what?”
She was still limping and Luke was helping her move.
“I’m thinking,” he said.
Then he suddenly stopped.
“What is it, Luke?” Thalia asked.
“I recognize this place,” he said, referring to the woods around us.
“What?” I asked.
Then we heard a loud roar behind us.
“Come on,” Luke said, but he didn’t sound happy about it. “I know where we can go to restock.”
“Where?” Annabeth asked.
“My mother’s house. It’s just over that ridge.”
Thalia gasped, like it surprised her. “But, Luke, you said—”
“What?” Annabeth and I asked him.
Luke looked at us and it was hard to tell what he seemed to be feeling. “My mother is . . .” he stopped, maybe thinking of a word.
“Crazy?” I suggested.
“I’d say horrible. Let’s go before I change my mind.”
We ran up to the ridge.
“Just a little farther,” Luke said.
Annabeth and I both stumbled, and he took our hands. Thalia stayed behind us with her shield in hand, still limping.
We finally reached the ridge and we looked down the other side of it at a big white house. The backyard was covered in a lot of trees, kind of like the woods behind my house.
“All right,” Luke said. “I’ll just sneak in and grab some food and medicine. Wait here.”
“Luke, are you sure?” Thalia asked. “You swore you’d never come back here. If she catches you—”
“We don’t have a choice!” he growled, kind of scaring me. “They burned our nearest safe house. And you’ve got to treat that leg wound.”
“This is your house?” Annabeth asked like she’s never seen a big house before.
“It was my house,” Luke said. “Believe me, if it wasn’t an emergency—”
“Is your mom really horrible?
“Can we see her?” I asked.
“No!” Luke yelled.
He scared us. So much, that we hid behind Thalia.
“I . . . I’m sorry,” Luke said, obviously sounding bad for scaring us. “Just wait here. I promise everything will be ok. Nothing’s going to hurt you. I’ll be back—”
Suddenly, a bright golden flash appeared in the woods. The five of us were surprised.
Then we heard a man’s voice. “You should not have come here.”
The light disappeared and a man was standing right in front of us. He looked like a normal man, but his shoes had wings on them.
Annabeth grabbed my arm. “That’s Luke’s dad,” she whispered to me.
I wondered how she knew that, but then I remembered that she had a vision of him a couple weeks ago. But this was Hermes, and he’s a god? I guess they do look normal, like Immortals.
Luke also knew that it was his dad, but he didn’t look like he liked it. He was about to say something, but his dad stopped him.
“Let’s talk inside,” he said. “Your friend needs help, then we can talk.”
Luke didn’t seem to like it, but he nodded. He helped Thalia down to his house and it just got worse from there.
After we reached the house and got inside, we met Luke’s mom, May Castellan.
Well, she did look kind of scary. She gave Luke a hug, but he didn’t return it. He actually looked uncomfortable, sad, and mad. Then Luke’s mom noticed Thalia’s hurt leg and took her to the kitchen to fix it.
Annabeth, Toothless, and I went with her, and Luke and his dad stayed in the living room. Luke’s mom fixed Thalia’s leg at the table and Annabeth sat next to her, playing with a scary-looking beanbag toy. I stood next to the door that goes to the living room with Toothless around my neck.
I peeked out. Luke and his dad stood in the middle of the room, looking at each other.
“Why show yourself now?” Luke asked his dad. “All these years I’ve been calling to you, praying you’d show up, and nothing. You left me with her.”
He pointed toward the kitchen, at his mom, without looking at her.
“Luke, do not dishonor her,” Hermes said. “Your mother did the best she could. As for me, I could not interfere with your path. The children of the gods must find their own way.”
“So it was for my own good. Growing up on the streets, fending myself, fighting monsters.”
“You’re my son. I knew you had the ability. When I was only a baby, I crawled from my cradle and set out for—”
“I’m not a god! Just once you could’ve said something. You could’ve helped when—” Luke took a quick breath and lowered his voice for some reason. “—when she was having one of her fits, shaking me and saying crazy things about my fate. When I used to hide in the closet so she wouldn’t find me with those . . . those glowing eyes. Did you even care that I was scared? Did you even know when I finally ran away?”
Hearing all of that made me feel sad and cry for Luke. He was scared and he had no one to help him until now. That’s sad. I think Hermes was a worse daddy than Annabeth’s daddy.
I turned toward the kitchen table. Thalia was rubbing her bandaged led nervously and Annabeth looked into the living room and held up a burned cookie for Luke to see.
She mouthed, Can we go now?
I wanted to go too.
I turned back toward the living room.
“Luke, I care very much,” Hermes said slowly. “But gods must not interfere directly in mortal affairs. It is one of our Ancient Laws. Especially when your destiny . . .” He stopped.
He looked like he was remembering something bad.
“What?” Luke asked. “What about my destiny?”
“You should not have come back,” Hermes said. “It only upsets you both. I see now that you are getting too old to be on the run without help. I’ll speak with Chiron at Camp Half-Blood and ask him to send a satyr to collect you.”
“We’re doing fine without your help. Now, what were you saying about my destiny?”
“My son, I’m the god of travelers, the god of roads. If I know anything, I know you must walk your own path, even though it tears my heart.”
“You don’t love me.”
“I promise I . . . I do love you. Go to camp. I will see that you get a quest soon. Perhaps you can defeat the Hydra, or steal the apples of Hesperides. You will get a chance to be a great hero before . . .”
“Before what?” Luke asked. “What did my mom see that made her like this? What’s going to happen to me? If you love me, tell me.”
“Then you don’t care!” Luke yelled.
Everyone in the kitchen heard him.
“Luke?” his mom called. “Is that you? Is my boy all right?”
By the way he looks, I’d say no.
Luke turned away from his daddy, and I saw tears in his eyes. That almost made me run to him, to give him a hug, but I stayed back.
“I’m fine,” Luke said. “I have a new family. I don’t need either of you.”
“I’m your father,” Hermes said.
“A father is supposed to be around. I’ve never even met you. Thalia, Jasmine, Annabeth, come on! We’re leaving!”
“My boy, don’t go!” Luke’s mom called. “I have your lunch ready!”
Luke left the house, and Thalia, Annabeth, Toothless, and I had to run after him.
He was mad and he kept moving, so we struggled to catch up to him. And it only got worse.
After a while, we stopped to rest, but Luke was still really mad, and he was scaring me, so I sat farther from him, but Annabeth didn’t.
“I’m sorry that your mom and dad hate you,” she told him. “But we don’t hate you.”
Luke didn’t look so mad now, but he still was.
I agreed with Annabeth that we don’t hate him. When I heard him say that he was scared and that his dad couldn’t help him for some reason, I didn’t blame him for being mad. And he’s right: we are his family.
But Thalia looked at him with worry.
Then my grandma appeared, along with Mommy, Daddy, Nick, and the animals.
“Mommy! Daddy!” I called to them and gave them a hug.
“Hey,” Mommy said. “We came to see if you guys were ok.”
“Yeah,” Luke said. “You’re a little too late for that, as you always are.”
My family stared at him. I did too.
“What?” Grandma asked.
“You heard me,” Luke replied. “Maybe if you actually stayed with us, we wouldn’t have such rotten luck.”
Oh, I am now more scared of him.
He was making Grandma mad. And if he’s known her for five years, he should know that you should never get her mad. But that’s what he was doing.
“Luke, what the hell happened to you?” Grandma asked. “Why are you so angry?”
“If you came around more often, you’d know,” he replied.
Grandma got more mad, but she looked at Thalia, who looked with just as surprise at him as we were.
“What the hell happened?” she asked her.
Thalia told her everything, about meeting Luke’s mom and dad, then talking, and it probably not being a good talk, which it wasn’t.
“Well, that explains your attitude,” Grandma said when she finished. “But you need to stop, Luke, and control your anger, or I’m taking the girls away from you until you do. We had nothing to do with what happened, and you’re scaring Jasmine.”
He was. I was hiding behind my daddy’s legs.
“It’s not his fault,” Annabeth said, coming between Luke and Grandma. “His dad hates him, just like my dad hates me.”
“That may be so,” Grandma replied. “But that doesn’t mean he can be angry at us for something that wasn’t our fault either. I get it, but it’s not fair to us.”
“Whatever,” Luke said, and he walked away.
Annabeth followed him.
“Are you going to stop him?” Nick asked Grandma.
She shook her head. “I should, but I’m not. He needs time.” She looked at Thalia. “Please keep him out of trouble. I’ll come check on you guys again soon.”
Thalia nodded. “Ok. And I’m sorry.”
She walked away to where Luke and Annabeth went.
“Do you still want to go with them, Jasmine?” Mommy asked me. “Or do you want to come home with us?”
I thought about it. Then I looked at the bracelet on my wrist.
“Annabeth is staying,” I said. “And best friends stay together.”
“Ok. Good luck.”
I gave my family all hugs goodbye.
Then I looked at Toothless on my shoulder. “Are you ready, Toothless?”
I’m ready if you are, he replied.
“I am. Let’s go.”
I waved goodbye to my family and ran to catch up to Annabeth, Luke, and Thalia.
I loved the beginning of this chapter between the five of them. That was so cute! The second half of it though . . . I have to make up some of these things that they did/ran into since they weren't elaborated in the books, and it was quite difficult. But what do you guys think about it?
Please review here.
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