Sometimes, Sally lies awake at night. She stares up at the ceiling in her quiet house—ignoring Paul’s snores—and she thinks the same thought over and over again. What if.
It’s not a question. It’s never been a question, because there’s never been a definitive answer.
She thinks about Annabeth during nights like these. Paul loves her, considers her to be like a daughter. Strangely, Sally’s never felt this way. To call Annabeth her daughter would infantilize a brilliantly strong woman who is more than capable of standing by herself. If anything, Sally is hopelessly envious.
It’s a guilty feeling. Annabeth’s life has been hard, needlessly so. Sally doesn’t want to brush aside that pain and hardship just to focus on an ideal. But…Sally was young too, once.
She was young. And smart. And powerful. And hopeful. And strong. She wanted to change the world.
She watches as Annabeth rebuilds Mount Olympus, leaves her mark on this world in a permanent way. An old flame burns inside Sally’s soul.