We hadn’t gotten that far into class when I became aware of a low hum of noise, and it struck me quite quickly that it was the sound of music blasting out of earphones. Our teacher, Ms. Baker, heard it, too, and stopped to scan the room. I turned to look behind me, my eyes automatically zeroing in on Tobias.
Yes, Harper dear, Mamaw said pointedly, there’s one bit more. I’ve given this a great deal of thought, so I hope you don’t think what I’m about to say is the rambling of an eccentric old woman. It worries me—deeply—that we, the last of the Muirs, are not as close as we once were, at least not as close as we were during our summers here at Sea Breeze. We’ve become strangers. I’ve thought about what I could do to rekindle that spark of family in us before Sea Breeze is sold and we all go off to the four points of the earth.It was never Sea Breeze that brought me to Sullivan’s Island, Harper said. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of Sea Breeze. It’s perfectly nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always been you, Mamaw, that I came to see. And my sisters. She smiled shyly.
Mamaw sat back in her chair, momentarily thrown by this comment. She glanced at Dora and Carson and saw that their expressions reflected agreement.I’m so very glad to hear that, she said slowly. But I fear, more deeply than ever, that once I’m gone, the connection of Muir family blood will truly dissipate.I don’t want to think of you dying, Carson said.
I can’t live forever, Mamaw said with a gentle laugh. No one can. But once I’m gone, what will become of my family? That is the worry that keeps me up at night. So! she said, slapping her thighs with her palms. I’ve a plan. I’m asking each of you to spend the entire summer at Sea Breeze. Our last summer. What do you say?Carson leaned back in her chair and shrugged. You know what I say.
Dora inched forward on her seat. I always come for two weeks in July. I suppose I can try and extend it another week or two, if you wish.
I’m sorry, Mamaw. I can’t possibly stay here for a whole month, much less a summer, Harper said incredulously. I don’t even get a month’s vacation! I’m sorry, Mamaw. I appreciate the invitation, I truly do. But this weekend is all I can swing. Believe me, it was tough enough. But we have this weekend, don’t we? she added, trying to spin a positive note.No, but…your parents? Family? Friends?
A ripple of discomfort passed over her face. She returned her attention to her twenty-dollar airplane. Not important.My highly advanced people-reading skills told me she was hiding something, but that was not unusual for demigods. For children blessed with an immortal parent, they were strangely sensitive about their backgrounds. And you’ve never heard of Camp Half-Blood? Or Camp Jupiter?
Nuh-uh. She tested the airplane’s point on her fingertip. How much farther to Perry’s house?Percy’s. I’m not sure. A few more blocks…I think.