Triggers: Food mentions
Includes: Cats, Shadow Travel, Coffee, New York City
Summary: Will and Nico take a day vacation to New York City! Two/three weeks after ending of Blood of Olympus. May continue.
I was woken by a sudden flash of light.
Groggily, I sat up and looked around my cabin. The rest of the bunk beds were empty (no surprise, Hazel had been at Camp Jupiter for two weeks). A pile of clean (but unfolded) laundry was still on my floor. Three of my windows still had their gray blankets tacked over them. The fourth window, which was the cause of my pain, remained defenseless and uncovered.
“Good morning, sleepy head.”
A blonde teen’s head shot over the edge of my top bunk. He smirked as his eyes traveled over me.
“Why are you still in bed?”
I take my pillow and hit him with it, very forcefully. He falls onto the pile of laundry, but instead of complaining, he laughs.
“Leave me alone, Solace. And it’s only seven for gods’ sake!”
“Nico, you can’t stay in bed all day. And today’s free day!”
My eyes widened. I stumbled down my bunk bed ladder and dug through my pile of clean (but unfolded) clothes.
I say as I pull my ‘Severed Red String’ shirt out. It’s a dark gray color and has the name of my favorite band in spiky red lettering. I grab a pair of black jeans and my tennis shoes, and I’m ready to go.
Will is sitting on the bottom bunk of my bed, half watching me tie my shoelaces, half sipping his coffee.
See, he has this weird thing with coffee. There are people who like coffee, and then there’s Will Solace. He collects rare coffees, and he’s always making to-go for demigod friends. Will has a shelf full of coffee mugs he’s collected. Also, he has a strong aversion to Kureg Coffee Machines. Partly because of the pollution the used cartons create, and partly because 'people don’t appreciate the art of coffee making like they used to’.
Today he’s wearing his yellow “I just want a cup of Kopi Luwak” (the world’s rarest coffee type) shirt.
“I made you a cappuccino, Nico.”
“Thanks.” I say.
We grab our drinks and head out the door. The campers are usually fairly busy around this time, but today it seems more busy than it has been since the Second Giant War ended. Most of this is probably because of 'free day’.
During the summer at Camp Half-Blood, kids stay for three full months. This doesn’t bother most kids, mainly because it’s freaking Camp Half-Blood. Then there’s the kids, who like me and Will, don’t have families outside of Camp. There’s no one for us to miss. Anyway, Chiron decided that we should have a weekend (ironically called 'free day’) for homesick kids to be allowed to visit home.
I’d be ecstatic if this meant I could visit my sister. But Hazel was busy with Camp Jupiter, and visiting Bianca was out of the question.
“Where will you and Will be going,
Mr. di Angelo?”
Chiron asked me at the check out table. Despite letting us kids leave the protective borders, he still wanted to know where we are headed.
“We’re heading into New York.”
Will said. He’d already finished his first macchiato and was on his second.
“Alright. Frankly, I wouldn’t allow most of the other campers to do this, but considering how you and Nico proved yourselves capable during the war, I’m sure a field trip will be fine. Just be back inside the camp’s borders by 9 o'clock.”
“Yessir.” I nod.
We jog up the hill and wave at some Apollo campers.
I take Will’s hand and we start running. Right before we hit Thalia’s oak tree, we dissolve into shadows. A kaleidoscope of dark shapes and forms shift around us for a brief second. Time seems to slow during shadow travel, and I see Will shiver before the shadows begin to fade.
Suddenly, we’re standing in a slightly shady alleyway. We quickly walk out. Despite our demigodishness, it’s just as possible for us to get mugged by mortals… Or worse. We have to be aware of both immortal and human threats. Sigh.
The New York street is bustling. It’s only a two lane, but traffic still clogs the sidewalks. A couple kisses on a nearby bench, a teenage boy walks a Yorkie down the sidewalk, and an old man and his granddaughter walk by.
“Where to, Solace?”
Will pulls off his backpack and takes out a notebook. His coffee colored eyes swipe the page, then closes it.
“Good news! It’s only a few blocks from here!”
He grins as if he’s just won the lottery.
“1 Million drachmas to you!” I can practically hear Hephaestus announcing, as on his popular 'Drachmas of Death’ award show.
“And where is 'here’?”
“You’ll see when we get there.”
He says cryptically, and we start walking. Will’s hand stays in mine. I have to keep myself from smiling when I look at our intermingled fingers. After all, Will just thinks of me as a friend. He is possibly my first friend. Bianca and Hazel, well, they were my sisters. And I always got the feeling that Percy and Annabeth were only nice because they felt bad for me.
“And here we are.”
Will gestures forwards a bottom floor store with a white door frame. Above it are three stories of green apartments. The knob looks like it’s from a Victorian mansion of some sort. Above the door hangs a sign that reads “Cat Cafe”. The long windows allow us to see people at tables, sipping drinks from Victorian style tea sets.
Kittens roam everywhere throughout the store. Children are holding them, playing with them; chasing them; and the adults follow suit.
I’m pulled into the store before I can mutter a word. Inside the door is the hostess, who wears a black lace dress with a stiff collar. Her hair is in an immaculate bun.
“Hello, I’m Sydney. Welcome to the Cat Tea House, where you can enjoy gourmet coffees, teas, desserts, and play with the cats! Please remember that every cat here is up for adoption. Come see me or another attendant if you’re interested in adopting one.”
Sydney grins at us.
“Isn’t this place cool, Nico?!”
Will’s voice is full of energy.
“It sure is.” I nod.
Sydney shows us to our seats, and a waitress appears almost immediately.
“Solace, is that you?!”
The towering ginger server asks.
“Ariel! I knew you’d worked here before, but I didn’t know you still do. It’s so exciting to see you again.”
Will stands and hugs her. I twirl my skull ring anxiously as he sits down. Ariel was very pretty.
“Nico, I’d like you to meet me cousin, Ariel. Ariel, this is my friend, Nico.”
I let out a quick sigh and nodded politely.
“Nice to meet you, Ariel.”
“You too! Now what would you like to order?”