Visiting Hylla had been Annabeth’s idea. Though Reyna and her sister had reconciled a long time ago, the two of them rarely saw each other. They kept in touch by letter, but it had been over a year since Reyna and Hylla had spoken face-to-face. It had taken quite a bit of persuasion to get Reyna to agree to make the trip to Seattle to see her sister. Reyna had only agreed under the condition that Annabeth go with her, a condition that was not met with any resistance; Annabeth wanted to go with her to meet Hylla.
After all, it only seemed right that she meet her girlfriend’s sister. Well, again, anyways. It had been several years since her brief stay on Circe’s spa island and she barely remembered Hylla from the island. From what Reyna told her, the older daughter of Bellona had changed considerably from the assistant that had showed Annabeth to the spa. Annabeth had read extensively on the Amazons, but Reyna had insisted that no book told remotely what the Amazons were like these days.
They’d called Hylla and scheduled a week in Seattle during the beginning of summer, when the weather was nice. They could have easily taken Scipio to the city, the pegasus having no problems with flying the two young women up, but they’d decided to take the train, instead. Let them enjoy the trip there, Annabeth had suggested.
They sat together on the train now, the car they were in almost empty. Annabeth sat by the window, with Reyna next to her, hands intertwined between them and Reyna’s head resting on Annabeth’s shoulder. The train was nearing its destination after several hours, from San Francisco to Seattle. Annabeth had pointed out several interesting landmarks on the ride up, including Mount St. Helen’s, where she mentioned there being a forge for Hephaestus. Reyna had listened to her girlfriend go on about the landmarks half-heartedly, her mind on a completely different subject.
She had told Annabeth that Hylla knew about their relationship. She’d told her that Hylla hadn’t minded, that her sister had been approving, but the truth was that the subject had barely been scratched with the older girl. Reyna’s letters to Hylla mentioned Annabeth from time to time, but rarely told that Annabeth was Reyna’s girlfriend. To be completely honest, Reyna was a bit worried about telling her sister that she was dating another woman. She’d never really fully told her sister that she was attracted to the same sex.
Having told Annabeth a lie, Reyna felt incredibly guilty and worried about what the meeting with Hylla would be like when Reyna’s lie was exposed to both of the other women’s surprise. No doubt that both Annabeth and Hylla would be upset with her, but what would Hylla think of Annabeth? As far as Reyna knew, her sister wasn’t opposed to homosexuality; it had been pretty common for the girls on Aeaea to like other girls, since the only males on the island were guinea pigs, and the Amazons actually did have a few bisexual women in their ranks. However, when it came to her own sister, Reyna didn’t know how Hylla would react.
“Reyna, are you alright?”
Reyna was startled by the question, so deep in her own thoughts that she hadn’t heard most of what her girlfriend had been saying until then. She lifted her head from Annabeth’s shoulder and looked at the other woman. The moment her eyes met the daughter of Athena’s, Reyna knew she couldn’t lie to her girlfriend again.
“I’m worried,” she admitted. She held to Annabeth’s hand, fingers woven between the other woman’s. Turning in her seat, Reyna faced Annabeth, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. “Annabeth, I wasn’t honest with you. Hylla doesn’t know we’re dating.”
Annabeth frowned, her brows knitting together under her bangs. “You said you told her.”
“I told her I was seeing someone,” Reyna explained. “I tell her about you in my letters. But I never told her that you were the someone I was seeing.” She ducked her head in shame. “I was scared to tell her. I don’t know how to tell her that I’m dating another woman.”
Reyna expected Annabeth to be upset. She expected the other woman to let go of her hand, pull away, refuse to talk to her. All sorts of scenarios popped into Reyna’s mind, none of them particularly good. All of them ended in uncomfortable silence between the two of them.
What Reyna didn’t expect was for Annabeth to reach out with her free hand and lift Reyna’s chin. Annabeth’s expression was a comforting smile, light and loving. “I understand,” Annabeth told her. “I was scared, too, when I told my family. It’s a hard thing to do, even in our world.” She gave Reyna’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “We can tell her together.”
Reyna returned the squeeze and smiled back at Annabeth, grateful to her girlfriend for understanding and offering to help her, by supporting her, and telling Hylla with her. “Thank you.”
The announcement that they’d reached their destination came shortly after that. The train eased to a stop and the remaining passengers retrieved their baggage before filing out. Reyna and Annabeth were the last to leave the car, hands clasped together as they stepped off the train. Hylla was waiting for them, leaning against a support pillar of the station house, with her arms crossed casually over her chest. Reyna and Annabeth moved to meet her.
“Hylla,” Reyna greeted, forcing herself to not sound nervous. “It’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you, too,” Hylla replied. She had a smirk over her lips as her sister stood before her. “It’s been too long. Letters are only so much.”
Reyna nodded, then pulled Annabeth a little closer. “Hylla, this is Annabeth. I wanted you to meet her.”
“I remember her,” Hylla said. She studied the Greek woman, sizing her up, and her smirk turned into an easy smile as she noted the hands being held between the younger women. She gave Reyna a knowing look. “She’s definitely an improvement from that son of Jupiter.”
Reyna gave a start. “Hylla, you – you know?”
“How could I not?” Hylla asked. She reached out and put her hand on her sister’s shoulder. “The way you write about her in your letters, it’s obvious that she means a lot to you. I’m disappointed that you didn’t actually tell me you were dating. It could have saved a lot of time.”
“Time?” Annabeth arched a brow, not sure where Hylla was going with this.
“Kenzie owes me,” Hylla grinned. “She and I had bets on whether you two were a couple or not. I knew it, but couldn’t prove it.” She laughed, then gave Annabeth and Reyna both a hug. “Come on. Let’s get you to HQ and you two can tell me what Reyna’s continuously failed to mention in her letters.”
Annabeth gave her girlfriend a smile of her own, squeezing Reyna’s hand again before they followed Hylla out of the station. Reyna couldn’t have asked for things to go any better and both of them knew it.