The Hunger Games Trilogy does not belong to me.
And love, we need it now
Let's hope for some
Cause oh, we're bleeding out
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart…
-The Lumineers (Hey Ho)
Thank you to Chelzie for being awesome and catching my mistakes.
Part Three, Chapter Fourteen: Peeta
“So did you talk to Darius?” Haymitch asks my wife as he chews on a piece of kimchee pancake, then pours himself a glass of pineapple soju.
“We weren’t technically arrested,” Katniss explains and reaches for some bulgolgi with her chopsticks. She places it on Prim’s plate though the rest of the food on it remains untouched. “There’s no record other than Peeta’s car being in a red zone.”
Prim picks at the meat before placing her chopsticks down and looking at the table.
I reach for Katniss’ hand under the table and she meets my eyes. It has been a week since we were taken into the police station. It’s also been a week since Prim had her heart broken. Definitely not the best week for either of my girls.
Katniss is worried about the interview. She cleans constantly to get rid of her nervous energy. Even though she is usually unsuccessful, she has also asked Carrie to teach her how to cook so she can be a little more “domestic”. On top of all this, she is working on a paper that requires a good amount of research on sustainable architecture.
She hasn’t slept. And if she doesn’t sleep then I don’t sleep.
Prim mopes around a lot. If she is not moping, she is staring at something; either out the window or at the piano keys at my parents’ house. We often find her staring up at the ceiling of her room once we return home from work. She still smiles, but according to Katniss, it’s not the same smile.
Right now, she is staring at her plate. Her listlessness worries Effie, who reaches over to feel her forehead.
“Prim, my dear, are you alright?” she asks my sister, concern in her eyes. Effie’s light blonde hair is pulled back in a simple bun. Her face is not powdered, but naturally pale due to her peaches and cream complexion. Her outfit is also different. She is wearing a jean jacket that I suspect belongs to Haymitch. “You haven’t eaten anything.”
“I’m fine,” Prim responds and puts her napkin on the table. “I’m going to go to the restroom.” She stands up and Katniss moves to follow her. Prim puts her hand up. “I’m fine. You don’t need to go with me.”
Katniss sits back down and her eyes follow her sister to the front of the restaurant where the restroom is located. The restaurant is small, built in the garage of a house and hidden cleverly among houses that look just like it. The only distinguishable quality is the small sign with its Korean name on it.
“Sorry, Effie, “Katniss apologizes for Prim’s standoffish behavior. “She hasn’t been herself since the dark day.”
“That boy must’ve done a number on her heart,” Effie replies sympathetically. “I’ve been there.” She glances over at Haymitch, who is handing the empty soju carafe to the waitress so he can get a refill.
Haymitch turns and puts an arm around her shoulders. Effie blushes. “Who hurt you, doll?”
“Some boy,” she replies staring back at him.
“I’ll kick his ass,” he tells her valiantly and Effie’s lips break into a smile.
“Then you should get a mirror,” she tells him. “It will be hard to punch your own face if you can’t see it.”
“Burn,” Katniss says with one loud laugh.
Haymitch reaches for Effie’s hand and he blows a raspberry on it before entwining their fingers. It’s the most affectionate I’ve ever seen him. They must be getting on well, or getting it on well.
“Back to business,” I say, interrupting their interlude. “What happens next week?”
“Your appointment is next Thursday at noon, ” Haymitch informs us. “We will be there, of course.”
“And on time,” Effie adds. “We go over our own notes with Snow. Then you will be brought in.”
“You just need to be your regular old charming selves,” Haymitch looks over at Katniss. “Especially you.” She turns slightly purple as she tries to rein in her temper. He is testing her and she knows it.
Katniss takes a breath before speaking. “Thank you for the feedback,” she says in a tight voice.
I kiss behind her ear. “Relax,” I tell her and I can feel her body sink against mine.
“I’m trying,” she replies as she bites her lip nervously. “With Prim, school and all of this—I think I might lose it.”
“I know that this might sound like complete bullshit, but we’re going to be okay,” I assure her. “You have to trust me.”
Katniss gives me a quick nod before I notice her focusing on something else behind me. Prim is walking over to us and she is visibly paler. Her steps are stiff.
All of us shoot out of our seats. Katniss and Effie get to her first. Effie puts her hand to the back of Prim’s neck, then on her forehead again.
“I don’t feel well,” Prim whimpers and I notice her eyes are glazed over.
“She’s burning up,” Effie tells us. “You’d better get her home.”
Haymitch goes to my little sister and scoops her up easily. “Come on, darling. Let’s get you to the car.” He turns to me. “Take care of the bill, won’t you?”
I grumble, but hand my card over to the waitress who passes me.
Annie tells us that it is a stomach virus after coming to see us that same evening. It’s been going around. She is also not surprise that Prim caught it easily. Lack of rest and stress has weakened her immune system, which Prim knows. In-between throwing up, she apologizes for not taking better care of herself.
“I could already feel myself getting sick,” she admits while she sitting on the bathroom floor. I walk over to hand her a glass of water and move back to the doorway since we are all congregating in such a small space. Katniss is sitting next to her, rubbing her back. Her eyes meet mine worriedly. It is the worst time for Prim to be sick and we both know it.
“Why didn’t you mention any of this?” Katniss asks her.
“I thought I was just overreacting to…everything,” Prim tells us. Before she can continue, Prim throws up again. I feel my stomach turn.
“Do you want to go out and get the prescription that Annie put in at Walgreens?” Katniss asks. “You might want to get her some broth because it’s about the only thing I think she can keep down.” Prim groans. “And some crackers.”
“Sure.” I kiss her quickly on the lips and ruffle Prim’s hair. “I’ll be back with your medicine, Prim, and you’ll be good as new.”
Since it is well past nine o’clock, I take Great Highway over to the 24-hour Walgreens. Prim will definitely be out of school for at least a day or two. I make a mental note to ask Rue to get her schoolwork for her during her shift at the bakery tomorrow afternoon.
When I enter the drugstore, I grab the broth and crackers before going to the pharmacy section to check on Prim’s prescription. While they fill it, I sit in the waiting area and close my eyes for a moment. It has been a long week and it’s starting to catch up with me. I’m exhausted.
“Peeta?” I look up and see Wheaton standing before me. I don’t even recognize him for a moment. He is in a hooded sweater with matching sweats. His usually neat hair looks rumpled. “What are you doing here?”
“Prim has a stomach virus,” I tell him. “Just waiting for her meds and getting her something that she can keep down. And you?”
He sits next to me. “We ran out of diapers.” Wheaton presents a package of disposable diapers.
“I thought you were using cloth diapers,” I ask.
“We went through all of them and the service truck won’t be coming till the day after tomorrow. Don’t tell Katniss.”
“My lips are sealed.”
“Was she able to get through the LEED standards that I e-mailed her?” he asks.
“I don’t think so.”
We sit in silence for a moment. I was never super close to Wheaton. Our age difference kept us from ever attending school together like I did with Rye.
“How are things going with Carrie?” I find myself asking.
Wheaton’s mouth forms a small grin. “She’s great; a natural born mother, really. Rhea adores her. I can tell.”
“I adore her, too,” he says sheepishly. “It just took me a little longer than necessary to realize it.”
“Any advice on marriage?” I ask with a grin.
“Kiss her more,” Wheaton tells me.
“Isn’t that how you got into this whole diaper mess?” I reply.
“I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.” Wheaton leans forward and clasps his hand in thought. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alive than I do now.” He looks over at me. “I’m sure you understand the feeling.”
Wheaton and I share more things in common than I realize.
“Sir?” The pharmacist is holding out the medicine bag from the counter. I walk over and take the bag.
Before I go, I look over at my brother. “Remember what I said,” he tells me.
I nod and turn to leave. Suddenly, I find myself turning to him. “That’s a good look for you. It’s better than the stick up your butt suits that you usually wear.”
He gives me the finger.
I laugh before turning to leave. Wheaton really has changed.
When I get home, Katniss is asleep next to Prim in her bed. I place the bottle of syrup on Prim’s side table before going to the other side. I gently shake my wife awake.
“Katniss,” I whisper into her ear. Her eyes flutter open and then she focuses on me.
“She passed out about twenty minutes ago,” she tells me.
“Should we wake her to take the medicine?”
Katniss shakes her head. “No, let her sleep.”
Getting up gently, we walk together to our room and quietly close the door behind us. Katniss takes off her shirt and I watch her unclasp her bra before she reaches into one of the drawers for a shirt. Slipping it on, she peels off her jeans and tosses them into our corner chair. The shirt is long enough for her to use as a nightgown.
I enjoy how comfortable she is with letting me see her. She has, in my opinion, a beautiful body. Katniss doesn’t blink an eye when I change into my own sleep clothes.
“I am so exhausted,” she says as she sits on the edge of the bed. “The paper is due in three days and now Prim is sick.” Katniss puts her head in her hands. “I have the worst luck.”
I cluck my tongue. “WE have the worst luck then, remember? You don’t need to do this by yourself. You have me and the rest of the family.”
“I know,” she says with a sigh. “I have so much running through my head right now.”
“You need to relax.”
Katniss throws her hands up in frustration. “Don’t give me that. Give me something better to go on.”
Sometimes she really pisses me off.
I’m tired and her pessimistic attitude is definitely not helping. We stare at one another and wait to see which one of us is going to break first.
Since we were kids, I was always fascinated with how intense her gaze could get for someone so young. She’s always had a way of bringing me to my knees when she does this. I’ve been a damn sucker anytime she acknowledges me.
I feel myself harden as I stare at her. Katniss adjusts herself from where she sits and her eyes briefly glance at my erection.
Walking towards her, I slowly get down on my knees in front of her.
“What are you doing?” she asks, her voice a pitch higher than usual.
“Helping you relax.” I widen her legs by pushing her knees apart. “Now lay back.”
“You don’t have to do this,” she tells me, though does what I say.
I run my hands up the tops of her thighs and she whimpers. The scent of her is right in front of me. I inhale deeply before placing a gentle kiss on the inside of each thigh. She opens her legs wider for me and I know that I have her.
I’m not possessive, but to see her present herself to me turns me on like nothing else. Pushing her shirt up higher, I reach for the waistband of her panties and grin when I see the color. “Orange?”
“You said you liked the color,” she responds as she pushes herself up, using her elbows as support. “Maybe I subconsciously picked it.”
“Maybe.” I tug her panties down gently and she lifts her hips so I can slide them down her legs. “Perfect.”
“Not perfect,” she tells me as she lies back down again.
“Trust me, you are.” I place her left leg over my shoulder and then the do the same with the right. “Move closer to the edge.” Katniss does what I say so that her thighs are now on my shoulders.
Lifting her hips to bring her to me, I slowly lick her slit and her body visibly shakes. I flatten my tongue against her opening and slowly drag it against her. When my mouth reaches her clit, I circle the tip of my tongue on it. She moans again, but even louder as she pushes herself against me which spurs me on. My mouth latches on to the small button that turn my wife into a complete mad woman.
I grab her bottom so that she has a little more support. My cock is so hard that when I do finally get inside her, I don’t think I’ll last long.
It doesn’t help either when she grabs my hair with both of her hands, pushing my mouth closer to her. I pull my mouth away from her and notice that the shirt she was wearing is long gone. Katniss’ nude body is before me and her breasts rise as she pants, her nipples hard.
She lifts her head in a daze. “Shit, you’re so good at that.”
“I don’t want you to come,” I order her. “I want to be fucking you when you do.”
“Then fuck me.”
I don’t need to be told twice.
Lowering her hips, I pull her bottom half closer to the edge so that her feet are planted flat on the floor. I walk in-between her legs, undoing the string of my pajama pants and lowering them. I quickly remove my shirt, tossing it to the ground. Katniss watches me the whole time and when our eyes meet again, she licks her lips in anticipation.
I place my hands in-between both sides of her body and lower myself over her. Her hands reach for my face so that she can bring her lips to mine. Katniss kisses me hungrily and I respond eagerly, my tongue dancing against hers.
“I can taste myself,” she says breathlessly and I grin before biting her lip playfully.
Our hips are against one another and I can feel myself against her thigh. Adjusting myself slightly, I find my tip at her entrance and plunge my cock into her without warning.
Katniss arches and I can feel her insides contract around me.
“Oh my God…” My voice is strangled and I reach under her so that I can support her back. Pulling out quickly, I thrust into her again.
She meets my thrusts, our hips gyrating harshly into one another. I can feel her frustration because it mirrors my own. Katniss wants relief but she doesn’t want to stop. It feels too damn good for it to end so soon.
Pushing herself up on her hands, Katniss presses her chest against mine. My feet catch the floor and while I’m still in her, I find leverage to push myself deeper into her wet insides.
She yelps and I pull back. “Did I hurt you?”
Katniss shakes her head. ”No, no!” She wraps her legs around me, pushing her heels into my back. “Keep going,” she insists, kissing my shoulder while one of her hands reaches down to play with my balls.
My mouth covers her nipple and she cries out before hastily covering her mouth. Prim might be out cold, but Katniss’ moan could wake the dead.
I lift my mouth off of her breast. “Shhh,” I scold her with a grin. “We don’t want to traumatize Prim.”
Katniss laughs softly. “Then you better make me come already,” she says as she grazes my lips with her own. I deepen the kiss. As we build momentum again, Katniss moans into my mouth.
My name becomes a chant on her lips and I feel the beginning of her orgasm. My hips begin to jerk rapidly as I feel her insides clench, squeezing my cock pleasurably.
“Peeta!” Katniss says in a strangled whisper. It is enough and I am falling. I thrust once…twice and I am done.
I lay my head against her chest and her hand finds my hair. Our bodies are sticky with sweat.
“Did I help?” I ask after a moment.
Her chest begins to quake and I realize that she is laughing. I grin up at her. She’s back to her old self again.
Pushing myself off her, I take both her hands and pull her up. “Come on. Let’s get you to bed.”
I walk her over to her side and pull the sheets back so she can scoot in. I go over to my own side and slide between the sheets, which feel cool against my naked form. Katniss looks at me from her pillow.
“Get over here,” I tell her and she crawls over. I widen my legs so she can sit between them and she lays her back against my chest. I pull the sheets around us. Kissing her shoulder and then behind her earlobe, I put my lips against her ear. “Better?”
“Yes,” she replies simply and takes my hand where my wedding band rests on the ring finger. “Are you happy?”
“We just had sex and you’re naked,” I tell her. “What do you think?”
She turns to look at me. “No, seriously.” Katniss entwines our hands. “I want to know that no matter what happens next week, we’ll be okay.”
“Nothing is going to happen,” I assure her. “We started this together and whatever happens, it happens to both of us.”
“I think I might love you,” she tells me lightly and I wrap my arms around her. She lays her head on my bicep.
“Glad to know, I don’t usually marry girls that I’m not mad for,” I reply.
“Why me?” The question comes out of her mouth quietly as if she is afraid of the answer.
Pulling her closer to me, I kiss the side of her sweaty head. My beautiful, crazy wife. She pisses me off and then brings me to my knees in ecstasy.
I give the most reasonable answer to her question.
“Because I’m not me without you.”
Two Days until the Interview
I look up from the display case to see Rory. He stands before me, looking pitifully distraught. I can’t help but feel bad for the kid.
“Rory, how are you?” His eyes are downcast. Rory shuffles his feet awkwardly and his hand are deep in his pockets.
“I’m okay, I guess.” He gives me a small smile. “How are…people?”
“People are doing fine.” I look over to my house. “In fact, people are out right now if you want to sit down.”
Rory agrees, so I grab a stuffed croissant and put it on a plate, along with a can of iced tea from the mini fridge that’s under the counter. We both head over to the table next to the window and sit down. I hand him the can and the plate.
“So Prim is okay?” He looks down at the food in front of him.
“She has her good days and her bad days,” I tell him. “What’s going on with you?”
“Prim thinks that I was talking to Shelby,” he says. “I wasn’t. I guess I wanted to make her jealous.”
“Not your best move,” I tell him. “I can tell you from experience that making an Everdeen jealous is never a good idea.”
“You got that right,” he replies. “I’m sorry that you guys have been pulled into the drama.”
“We’ll be okay if you two are okay.”
Rory nods again and opens the can to take a sip. Setting it back down, he looks at me. “Do you think that I still have a chance with her? Honestly?”
“It’s going to be a lot of work on your end right now,” I inform him. While I like Rory, he hurt Prim and I highly doubt it will be easy if they ever work things out. “And even if you get back together, it’s going to be hard and she might not trust you right away. I might not trust you right away.”
“Understood.” He looks down at the croissant. “This looks delicious.”
“Are you trying to suck up?” I ask.
“Is it working?”
I laugh at his words. “Try it first, then you can complement my excellent baking skills.”
As he takes a bite, Rue comes out of the back room with a tray of cookies. She stops mid-stride to glare at Rory.
“Rory,” she greets him evenly.
“Rue,” he replies after he swallows the bite he has taken.
While they continue their staring war, I get up and take the tray from Rue.
“Go on your fifteen,” I tell her. “I’m sure Rory would like some company.”
Rue glares at me but does what I say. She sits at the table. Folding her hands, she watches Rory take another bite of the croissant.
He looks up. “You want half?” Rue shakes her head. “Come on. I know that you’re supposed to hate me as the best friend, but it’s just a croissant.”
Rue cracks a smile and I grab a knife. Putting it on the table for Rory, I watch him cut his half and give the plate to his friend.
“Go ahead, it’s not poisoned,” he tells her.
Rue scowls. “I know. I helped make them.”
Rory looks impressed. “Wow. That’s awesome and it tastes really good.” Finishing the last of the croissant, he looks at her. “I’m not the enemy, you know.”
She nods. “I know. You’re my friend, too, but Prim is my best friend and you really hurt her.”
“I agree that I did, but I don’t agree about getting the stink eye from you,” he says. He holds his hand out. “Deal?”
She shakes it and smiles. “Deal.”
That’s more like it. Rory is a good kid and I think that he could use some friends. As I watch them, I see Rue laugh at Rory’s impression of their biology teacher. My eyes focus over at my house where I see Prim standing outside, staring at the two before her eyes meet mine.
Crap. I’m in trouble.
“I’ll be back,” I tell them. Rue looks up just in time to see Prim disappearing into the house. She gives me a worried look. “I’ll talk to her.”
Walking out, I scramble across the street and through the door. Prim is waiting at the dining room table when I come in.
She jumps from her seat. “How could you, Peeta? You’re supposed to be on my side.”
“Prim, you have to calm down,” I tell her. “He is not an enemy.”
“He might as well be!” Her voice is several octaves higher and her face is red. This isn’t my sister. This is some sort of demon banshee that’s taken over. “And why are you letting him talk to Rue! She is MY friend!”
“They are friends, too, okay?” She crosses her arms. “Prim, this is the one thing that needs to be clarified. You broke up with him. You can’t keep him from talking to me or Rue or anyone for that matter.”
Another mistake. You never argue with someone when they’re upset.
Prim huffs and her eyes are an angry, frosty blue. “Don’t talk to me EVER AGAIN! I wish Katniss never married you!”
I think my heart just ripped in two.
With that, she rushes upstairs and I can hear the door to her room being slammed. The sound vibrates through the house.
“What happened?” I turn to see Katniss entering through the front door.
“How much did you hear?” I ask wearily and she closes the door rushing over to me. Pulling me into her arms, she rests her head against my chest
“Enough to know that she just stomped all over you,” she replies. I tell her about speaking with Rory and how Prim had seen Rue talking to the “enemy” while I watched them.
“I just want to run up there and tell her that I’ll never talk to Rory again.” Her words sting and the hurt is growing inside me.
“No,” Katniss tells me. “She is being unreasonable. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
I sigh. “I have to go back.” I give her a quick kiss. “She’s never said anything so mean to me…or anyone since I’ve known her.”
“Well you’ve known her since she was two days old and that’s a long time to know someone.” Katniss puts a hand on my cheek. “In my opinion, you two were long overdue for a fight.”
“Not funny,” I mutter.
She kisses me again and in turn, I deepen the kiss. Pressing her body against mine, I caress her back then move my hand so I can cup her firm butt.
Katniss pulls away and her face is red. “Now you should definitely go.”
I nod and go to the door. I can’t help but worry what will happen when I get home.
“So she’s still not talking to you?” Haymitch asks as we sit in the waiting room. I look across from us to where Prim sits with Katniss. She catches my eyes and then scowls.
Katniss looks at me and shrugs. Her face looks green as if she has just thrown up. Actually, I think she did a few minutes ago. Other than that, Katniss looks beautiful. She is wearing a fitted black dress with cap sleeves and her toned legs are accentuated by simple black heels.
“No,” I whisper back to him. “Right now, I’m public enemy number one.”
“She might change her mind after Snow,” he tells me. Effie sits beside him, quiet and stiff. “Effie hates coming here, too.” Today, she is in a simple grey pantsuit and her blonde hair is in a tight bun.
“Mr. Abernathy, Miss Trinket.” A woman stands at the doorway. “Mr. Snow will see you now.”
They stand quickly and walk quickly to the door. Haymitch salutes us before he walks through the door and the woman closes the door behind her.
I look over at Prim and Katniss again. “You look really nice, Prim.” She is wearing a pale blue skirt and cream button up top. Her hair is pulled back from her face while the rest hangs down.
“Thanks,” she says in a clipped tone.
“You still hate me?”
When she doesn’t answer, I try not to look hurt. Katniss, being her usual observant-self, notices and elbows her sister. I must look really pathetic because when Prim does look at me, the anger melts off her face and she rushes over to me.
“I’m sorry.” Prim hugs me. “I didn’t mean it. I’m happy you two got married because you really love each other. I just wish that I had something like you two have.”
“One day you will,” I tell her. “And maybe it will be with Rory and maybe it won’t. You just have to be patient.” I put an arm around her. “So are we good now?”
She nods. “Yes, we’re good now.”
“Okay, moving on, where do you want to go after this?” I ask her.
Katniss walks over and sits next to me. I put an arm around her waist.
Prim thinks for a moment and claps her hands excitedly. “Lovejoy’s!”
“What’s a Lovejoy’s?” I ask. They both remain tight-lipped.
The door opens several minutes later. Effie and Haymitch step out. They both look relieved, yet grim.
“You’re up,” Haymitch tells us. “He only wants to see the newlyweds. We’ll take Prim outside for a snack.”
“He doesn’t want to see her?” I ask, surprised. Wasn’t she the reason we were here? To make sure that she was being well taken care of?
“Effie and I presented our reports to Snow,” Haymitch explained. “We had interviews with her teachers, current report cards and a letter of praise from the coordinator at the school’s tutoring services.”
Effie proudly puts an arm around Prim. “Let’s go. I don’t know how long you two will be in there. Good luck.”
Snow’s assistant comes out. “Mr. Snow will see you now.”
We watch the three leave with Prim, telling them how I told her that we could go to Lovejoy’s. I hear a loud guffaw come out of Haymitch’s mouth as we walk into the office.
When we walk in, I look around the office. The walls are a dark cherry wood and there are ceiling to floor bookshelves behind the desk. Katniss takes hold of my wrist when she catches sight of a crystal vase with bright white roses.
White roses. The same color of roses that were at her Dad’s funeral. It’s not an ordinary feeling of dislike that she has for the flower. The color only heightens her nervousness.
I put my mouth close to her ear. “You’re alright, just keep telling yourself that.” Katniss nods.
I’m surprised that Snow is not in the room, but then I notice a door next to one of the bookshelves.
“Would you like water or tea?” his assistant asks and we both shake our heads. “Please have a seat. Mr. Snow will be out in a few minutes.”
We take the seats in front of his desk. Katniss sits stiffly and crosses her legs. Her legs look really smooth and the heels she wears makes them look longer. I am only slightly ashamed over the fact that I want to reach over to check if she’s wearing stockings.
The last time I did that however, she ended up straddling me on the chair in our room. I shift uncomfortably. I shouldn’t be thinking about that here.
The door opens and man with white hair and a white beard walks in. Both of us promptly shoot up from our seats.
He is small, but very imposing. I can tell right away by the way he walks towards of us. He is in charcoal suit and on his lapel is a single white rose. I just hope that Katniss can keep her cool.
He gives us a cool smile as his eyes slide from Katniss to me.
Snow holds out his hand. “Hello, I am Coriolanus Snow. It is a pleasure to finally meet you both.”
I eye his hand before taking it and giving it a firm shake. I won’t be intimated by him. Not when I know that Katniss, who is usually calm, is not doing so well.
“Peeta Mellark,” I reply and I put an arm around Katniss’ waist so I can pull her closely to me. “My wife, Katniss.”
Katniss shakes his hand and manages a weak grin.
“Please have a seat,” he tells us. We sit and he goes to his chair.
“Coriolanus, that’s an interesting name,” I remark when we are settled. “Sounds Roman.”
“It’s an old family name,” Snow says. “Your name is an interesting one also, Peeta. I’m not surprised, however. Your family made their money because of your bakery. You and your brothers are practically an advertisement for the Mellark Bakery.”
I try not to bristle at the tone in his voice. It is almost mocking as he discusses the cleverness of our parents giving us bread names. Then he focuses on Katniss, who is sitting with her hands on her lap.
“And you dear, Katniss is a very pretty name.” He gives her a tight-lipped smile. “Your sister’s name also. Both of your parents must have been part of the Haight-Ashbury crowd.” Snow says the last part with a sneer.
I can see her spine straighten as he tells her this. I now realize why Haymitch messed with her so much. He was preparing her for this. Knowing Katniss’ temperament, he knew that she would definitely lose it if pushed too much.
“No, sir,” she replies evenly and smiles, though it is tight as his. “My father had a love for plants and flowers.”
He nods, then turns to me again. “Haymitch tells me that you are taking over the bakery. That must be exciting.”
“It is, sir.” Snow sits back so he can listen. Crossing his legs, he clasps his hands on his lap. “I’m going to be expanding to the East Coast in a few months. We are negotiating with Zabar’s to distribute our new kosher line as well as our regular products.”
“You seem to be gaining quite a bit of popularity here also,” he says. “I hear that you two made quite a scene at the last convention dinner for the San Francisco Culinary Association. You seem to have a lot of supporters behind you.”
“Mr. Antonelli is good friends with my father. He loves to tease me since he’s known how long I’ve had feelings for Katniss.”
He looks over at Katniss. “And you, Mrs. Mellark.” His tone is mocking. “What are you doing since you’ve become the wife of one of San Francisco’s up and coming businessmen?”
“I’m majoring in Environmental Studies at San Francisco State,” she tells him and I give her a proud smile.
“Very interesting,” he remarks. “And what do you plan to do with that kind of degree?”
“I hope to work in plan management for private and public businesses. There are a lot of things that can be done to create a sustainable business while staying compliant with government regulations.”
“Well, you must come to my house and help me create a more sustainable home,” he replies. “I am an old man and not very hip to this new green trend.” Another backhanded comment. “Primrose seems to be doing very well, according to Haymitch and Effie. Her transcripts are quite remarkable and according to her interviews, her teachers say that she is a very sweet girl.”
“She is,” Katniss tells him with her first genuine smile during this meeting.
Snow looks between both of us. Leaning forward, he places his clasped hands on his desk.
“I’m going to be honest with both of you.” I glance over at Katniss nervously. “When I heard that you two got married, I was a bit surprised. It was also rather quick. Then I had to think about it more. Why would a couple decide to get married so fast? You’re obviously not pregnant, Mrs. Mellark, so it wasn’t to spare a child from being a bastard.”
“What are you implying?” I ask him.
He ignores my question.“ Your mother had a second mortgage on your house, didn’t she?” he asks, looking over at Katniss. “And you’re working as a receptionist at beauty salon, am I correct?”
Katniss doesn’t respond because everything he has said is true. Her face is ten shades paler and she now looks green. I reach for her hand and she looks over at me. While I am scared, I know that there are a million scenarios going on inside of her head.
I’m not going to let anything happen to her or Prim.
“How can someone afford to go to school on your salary?” he questions. “I’ll tell you how. When she’s come into some money. Money given to her from her very wealthy family.”
“Once again, what are you trying to say?” I ask him with a glare.
“I’m going to make an example out of you two. What kind of example is up to you,” he states. “Obviously you care for one another, but something tells me that your motives for marriage are more than just love. It’s about getting a leg up in cruel world. And if anyone needed a leg up, it was you, Mrs. Mellark. Losing your home, losing an education and possibly losing your sister, you needed help. Who better to help than your friend?”
“I love Peeta,” she tells him through clenched teeth. “I won’t have our marriage turned into something ugly.”
“No one said that,” he says lightly. “I think we can work something out.”
Standing up, Snow looks out of his window. When he turns back around, he grins down at both of us. “Did you know that I am planning to run for City Supervisor for District Two?”
“I had no idea,” I reply in a dry voice.
“Don’t your parents live in Seacliff?” he asks. “And your brother, Wheaton, didn’t he buy a house in Seacliff also? If I get City Supervisor, Seacliff will be within my borders. I could really use the support of the Mellark family, since they’ll be living in my district.”
“And how much support do you need from the Mellarks?”
He walks over and sits back against his desk right in front of us. “I don’t need money, Peeta.”
I’ve never hated the sound of my name so much.
“The Mellarks are a very known and loved family in San Francisco. Your support would give me that extra oomph in my campaign. It wouldn’t hurt if you and your wife attended one of my campaign fundraisers, either. Everyone loves newlyweds. You two were practically the talk of that convention dinner.”
“And what if we don’t want to help you?” Katniss counters as she stares up at him, her eyes hard.
He smiles at her. “Then I make an example of you. An example of what happens when you lie to an official. It will also give me the perfect opportunity to get rid of Haymitch. He’s given me enough reasons to let him go, including using his title to look for that girl, Maysilee.”
Reaching behind him, he hands Katniss an envelope.
She opens it gingerly and pulls out a cream colored paper. “An invitation?”
“To my next fundraiser,” he tells her. “At the Officers Club in the Presidio.” Snow gives us a smile. He knows that he’s winning. “I hope to see you there.”
Katniss simply stares at the invitation and then hands it to me wordlessly. I place it back in the envelope.
I don’t need to look at it. We have already accepted.
Snow looks at his watch. “I must get going,” he tells us. “I have to get to City Hall in twenty minutes.”
I get up from my seat and he shakes my hand. Katniss manages to push herself up and out of her seat. Snow turns to her, takes her hand and presses his lips to it.
He looks over at me. “Katniss is truly a beautiful bride. She’s really going to pull in the female vote for me.”
Snow doesn’t see her anymore, he sees nothing but ballots.
With that, he leaves the room through the same the door that he entered.
“I need to get out,” Katniss says and she is looking around as if she’s just realized she was in here.
I take her hand. “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”
I put an arm around her and we walk out of the room without bothering to close the door behind us. We are rushing pass Snow’s assistant at her desk and into an open elevator. The doors close and Katniss is searching through her purse.
“What are you looking for?” I ask as she rummages through the bag.
“I need something to wipe my hand,” she tells me. “I feel disgusting.” Pulling a tissue out, she wipes the area frantically.
“Calm down.” I pull her to me and she shudders. Katniss is more than unhinged.
The elevator doors open and we run out of the elevator towards the automatic doors. The entrance to the office building is in an empty alley so there is no one to see Katniss freaking out.
“What did we agree to?” she asks, her eyes darting around. “Peeta, what did we do? He has us. He has us by the balls. Well, my imaginary balls. But he has us!”
I place my hands on both sides of her head. “Katniss, you have to calm down. We are going to do this.”
“How?” Katniss begins to cry and that’s when I begin to worry. “We just gave him permission to run our lives, run our marriage.”
“No,” I state. “I won’t let that happen. I won’t turn our marriage into something horrible because it’s not. Marrying you is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.”
Kissing her forehead, I continue to trail kisses all over her wet face until she is pulling her lips to mine, kissing me desperately.
She needs this, she needs me.
Pulling away, I take her hand and lead her from the front of the building. Turning the corner, we find ourselves in an alleyway of two buildings. No windows or doors, just brick wall and us.
Katniss pulls me to her again and her lips are on mine before I can even speak. She leads me walking backwards until her back is against one of the brick wall. Her tongue is in my mouth as we kiss and I suck it roughly.
She wraps a leg around my waist and one of my hands pushes her skirt up until it is bunched to her waist. I realize that she is not wearing any stockings. There is nothing stopping me from taking her right against this wall, except for the small piece of cloth that she actually calls underwear.
Grinding herself against my erection, Katniss doesn’t waste any time. She unzips my pants and pulls my cock out of the front opening of my briefs. While she does this, my index finger finds the soaked fabric that covers her slit. I yank it aside before moving forward and thrusting myself into her.
She is so tight and I pull away only slightly before driving into her again. Damn, she is so wet.
Soon, we are fucking like there is no tomorrow. This isn’t about pleasure, although it is very pleasurable. This is about relief. The kind of relief that only a mind blowing orgasm can provide.
Katniss is clinging to me, her hands gripping the back of my suit jacket. Our hips are pumping against one another at a frenzied pace. She places kisses all over my face and then works her mouth over to my neck where she nips against my skin.
I growl and suddenly drive myself into her so quickly that she is lifted off the ground from the sheer force of it.
“Oh God!” Katniss shouts and a low moan escapes out of her mouth. I can feel the sudden tightness around me, followed by one more very strong squeeze on my cock.
I cry out and close my eyes, seeing stars as I thrust over and over, emptying myself into her pliant body. I open my eyes and press my forehead against hers. Her bangs are matted to her forehead and her cheeks definitely have color now.
I lower her back down on her feet and kiss the corner of her mouth. “I love you.”
She looks up at me and gives me a soft smile. “I love you too,” she replies breathlessly. Pulling down her skirt, she tries to smooth out the wrinkles.
I tuck myself back into my pants and undo my tie so I can get some air. When we finally look presentable, I take her hand again and lead her out of the alley. I kiss the spot where that Snow put his lips.
“No other person should kiss you but me,” I tell her as we walk out.
“Listen,” I say as she turns to face me. “We are going to play his game and while we do, I’m going to find us a way out of this. We are not going to let him win.”
“I know,” Katniss says. “I dread that event, though.”
“We’ll talk to Haymitch.” Turning the corner, we see Prim waiting with Haymitch and Effie. I give her a bright smile and look over, seeing Katniss sport a similar grin. We won’t tell Prim, she already has enough going on. “Hey guys!”
“Where were you?” Prim asks. “I was getting worried.”
“Sorry, Prim,” Katniss replies as she puts an arm the younger girl. “When we got out, we couldn’t find you guys, so we went for a walk.” I look down and when I look back up, I see Haymitch grinning at me.
“You could’ve called my cell phone,” Effie tells us. “Poor Prim thought that you left her.”
“You thought we went to Lovejoy’s without you?” I say to her with a teasing smile. “Now why would we do that? I don’t even know what this place is.”
Prim laughs and then goes to Effie so they can talk about our late lunch date. Katniss nods and gives me a smile before catching up with them.
That leaves me and Haymitch. He looks me up and down and then pulls down my collar. Afterwards, he turns and begins to walk. I follow and we stroll together in calm silence.
“Nice hickey,” he says suddenly. “Be sure to keep Prim from seeing that. She’s already told us about all the noise you were making the night she got sick.”
“Oh boy.” I put my hands into my pockets. “I’ll be sure to tell Katniss that. I’m sure she‘ll be thrilled. By the way, do you know what Lovejoy’s is?”
He nods and grins but doesn’t say anything as we walk to my car.
“So what do I do?”
I stare at the tiered tray in front of me. Little sandwiches circle the bottom tier. The middle one holds some greens and cole slaw, while the top tier holds sugar cookies and some scones. Jam and buttercream are in little containers next to the pastries.
“You eat the sandwiches, you drink the tea,” Katniss replies with a smile. “It’s not brain science, just tea time.”
I’m in a fucking tea room.
British memorabilia and Victorian portraits cover the walls. There are flowers and those little hats similar to what Katniss wore during our wedding ceremony. I look down at my table where mismatched china is placed on it. Two teapots holding different kinds of tea are placed close to Prim, who is munching happily on a sandwich.
“How did I end up here?”
Katniss turns my cup over and takes the strainer to put it over the rim of my cup. Taking one of the teapots, she pours a dark red tea into my cup.
“I think it was your overwhelming need to not have Prim angry at you that led to this,” she says to me as she scoops a teaspoon of sugar into my cup. “You have such a people pleasing habit.”
Katniss seems to be in a more relaxed mood, which is the one good thing about being here. Prim also seems happy which has also been a rarity.
Prim looks over at me as I take a sip. It’s pretty good.
“Isn’t this cool? I’ve always wanted to come here,” she says to me, then grins at Katniss. “You can have your baby shower here one day!”
I almost choke on my tea.
“Slow down, little duck,” Katniss says. “Peeta is just reconciling himself to being stuck with two girls in a tea shop where he’s outnumbered.”
“Hey! I can do this.” I grab a scone and take a bite out of it. “Holy shit! This is delicious.”
The server, a woman with cropped grey hair and glasses, comes over with a smile. “Glad you like them, dear. We make them fresh.”
“You need to give me this recipe,” I tell her. “Or at least let me see how these are made.”
“You should at least finish your cup,” she says to me.
I quickly drink the fruity floral liquid and stand up so she can lead me to the kitchen.
Thirty minutes, I emerge from the kitchen with a flowery notebook in my hands. It holds all my notes for scone making, as well as petit fours. Katniss and Prim both smile when I approach them.
“You look happy,” Katniss remarks as I cling to the notebook. I’m already imagining the things that I can mix into the scones.
“I am,” I reply. “How was tea time?”
“It was awesome. You should DEFINITELY have your baby shower here.” Prim says, looking at both Katniss and I but eyes seem to focus on me. She seems to think that I can magically convince Katniss to give her a niece or nephew.
“Oh, I didn’t know that I had grown a uterus.” I look over at Katniss and her eyes are laughing. “Did you?”
“I had no idea, but I promise to hold your hand during labor,” she mockingly assures me.
“Very funny,” Prim says. “Can I have my birthday here, at least?”
I nod and she squeals loudly. Katniss is right - I do spoil her rotten.
I pour myself another cup of the fruity tea. I also need to bring some of this to Mom. Sitting back, I take a sip.
“This place isn’t bad,” I tell them and take another sip.
I turn to see Rye and Marvel waving at us. Rye is holding a basketball as he grins, while Marvel tries not to laugh at seeing me in a frilly tea shop.
Rye takes his phone out of his pocket and types.
A beep sounds on my phone and I take it out of my pocket. ‘Nice cup. Does it come with a matching tea cozy?’
I text back. ‘How do you know what a tea cozy is? Not very masculine of you.’
He replies quickly. ‘Says the man holding the flowered teacup. And I’m very masculine, ask Marvel.’
‘Bite me’ is my response.
He messages back. ‘Remember, pinkie down!’
I make sure that my pinkie is down and place the cup back on the table. Then looking up at him, I hold another finger up for him to see.
It was my first and last time at Lovejoy’s.
You don’t understand the crazy love I have for tea. Anyway, Lovejoy’s is my favorite tea room which is in-between Mission Dolores and Noe Valley. There are two other tea rooms in the city but I’m not super crazy about them.
The first time I ever took my husband to Lovejoy’s, he was very confused. Poor guy, I make him do the girliest things sometimes. He actually asked me what to do. Like Katniss, I made his first cup.
He ended up buying a canister of tea.
The other place mentioned in this chapter is a Korean restaurant. It is based on a place called Toyose which is in Outer Sunset. The restaurant is built inside a garage and is known for their flavored soju. Soju is an alcoholic beverage similar to vodka and it is native to Korea. Bulgolgi is beef that is usually served on a hot plate.
I imagine that Effie looks like Elizabeth Banks except less makeup. Just look up the movie Definitely, Maybe and imagine that she looks like that.
Walgreens, if you didn’t know, is a drugstore. I guess it’s like Duane Reade in the East Coast. Also, Zabars is the gourmet grocery in New York.
San Francisco is divided into eleven districts. District Two is made up of Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Seacliff, Lake District, Presidio Heights, Jordan Park, Laurel Heights, Presidio, and part of Russian Hill. These neighborhoods are more in the affluent area of the city thus the reason I picked it for Snow.
I hope that no one thought that Snow would be a good guy.
And yes, the Mellarks love to flip the bird.
Please message me on Tumblr or send feedback to JLaLaFics@yahoo.com.
Next: The first of Katniss and Peeta’s appearances for Snow.