Confession time: I ditched Grover as soon as we got to the bus terminal.
While Grover is in the bathroom, Percy heads home. Grover's behavior is starting to weird Percy out.
Percy takes a cab home to his mom's apartment in Manhattan.
Percy is greeted by Gabe Ugliano (a.k.a. "Smelly Gabe"). Gabe is Percy's stepdad. He hates Percy's guts.
Gabe is having a poker party with his buddies, and he demands that Percy cough up any money that he has on him.
Percy tries to keep cool, even giving Gabe the leftover money from his cab fare.
Percy's mom comes home, and suddenly everything is OK again. Sally Jackson (that's his mom's name) loves Percy more than anything, and she doesn't even talk about the fact that he got expelled from Yancy. She just wants to know if he's OK and how his year was. Percy lies about how horrible school has been and chooses to focus on the good things about Yancy like Grover and Mr. Brunner. He starts to get homesick for Yancy.
Percy decides not to tell his mom about what happened with Mrs. Dobbs or about the three old ladies at the fruit stand. He doesn't want to upset her.
Percy's mom tells him that she's going to take him to Montauk (the beach) to stay at a little house for the weekend.
Percy is so excited.
Smelly Gabe commands Sally to make some seven-layer bean dip, and Percy nearly loses it.
Percy's mom reminds Gabe about the trip she and Percy are taking to the beach, and Gabe nearly flips out and says "no way." But then Sally promises to stock the fridge with all kinds of bean dip for the weekend, and Gabe calms down.
Sally and Percy drive Gabe's car to their rented house on the beach. See where Montauk is here.
Percy tells us that his mom met his dad on this very beach. That's why she loves visiting it. They've been going to Montauk since Percy was a baby.
They walk on the beach, feeding blue corn chips to the birds. They build a fire and roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Sally tells Percy stories of her childhood, how her parents died, and about Percy's dad. She tells Percy that his dad would be very proud of him.
Percy shouldn't be able to remember his dad, because his mom only knew his dad for one summer. But when Percy thinks about his dad, he remembers this warm glow. At the same time, he is super-angry at his dad for leaving them high and dry.
Percy asks his mom if she's going to send him away to boarding school again, and she tells him she's not sure. She says that his dad wanted him to go to a certain summer camp, but that if she sent Percy there, she might never see him again.
Percy is confused – isn't it just a summer camp?
Sally begins to cry, so Percy drops the subject.
That night, Percy dreams about a beautiful white horse and an eagle fighting to the death on the beach. It is stormy in his dream and, just before he is able to stop the eagle from killing the horse, he wakes up.
When he wakes up, Percy finds a hurricane is raging outside, which is very strange for New York in early summer.
The next thing he knows, Grover is knocking on the front door. But instead of being crippled, Grover has furry legs and cloven feet. What?
Grover is very worried, and Sally realizes that Percy hasn't told her everything about his school year.
Grover says, "it's right behind me" (3.137), but we don't know "it" is.
Sally tells everyone to get into the car immediately.