A/N: A short story based off the song, 'Teenage Dirt-Bag' by Wheatus. The song was one the songs that I think of as a 'theme song of my high school days'.
The song won't be sung out in any love-lorn ballad, rather there will little phrases cut out from the song placed here and there. For those unfamiliar with the song I placed the lyrics directly below in italics. Please feel free to skip over this to the story if you so wish.
I hope you enjoy the story. I own nothing by way of rights to Hunger Games or the song Teenage Dirt-Bag.
Her name is Noel
I have a dream about her
She rings my bell
I got gym class in half an hour
Oh, how she rocks
In Keds and tube socks
But she doesn't know who I am
And she doesn't give a damn about me
'Cause I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby
Yeah, I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby
Listen to Iron Maiden maybe with me
Her boyfriend's a dick
And he brings a gun to school
And he'd simply kick
My ass if he knew the truth
He lives on my block
And he drives an IROC
But he doesn't know who I am
And he doesn't give a damn about me
'Cause I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby
Yeah, I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby
Listen to Iron Maiden maybe with me
Oh, yeah, dirtbag, no, she doesn't know what she's missin'
Oh, yeah, dirtbag, no, she doesn't know what she's missin'
Man, I feel like mold
It's prom night and I am lonely
Low and behold
She's walking over to me
This must be fake
My lip starts to shake
How does she know who I am?
And why does she give a damn about me
I've got two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby
Come with me Friday, don't say "maybe"
I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you
Oh, yeah, dirtbag, no, she doesn't know what she's missin'
Oh, yeah, dirtbag, no, she doesn't know what she's missin'
"Think of it as a fresh start, Katniss," Her Mother said with a strained smile, "You can become a whole new person."
The daughter didn't respond. Her step-father had gotten a new job in a new city and they were moving, she was leaving all her old friends behind.
"We can go shopping at the best stores and pick you out a whole new wardrobe, won't that be fun?"
Katniss still didn't respond, she had heard this before, the new job was in a bigger city and at a much bigger hospital than what her step-father had been at previously, this, as her Mother had frequently reminded her, meant that he'd earn more. This did little to help the situation in reality because, as far as she was concerned, her step-father made more than enough money already, but her Mother kept bringing it up.
"And," her Mother started, the girl knew what was coming next, she'd heard her Mother's argument countless times in the past few weeks, "Don't forget what Seneca said, if you do well and get good grades you'll get to pick out a car for your birthday… which ever car you want, Katniss."
Katniss looked over at her Mother and said in a monotone voice, "Whoopee."
Her Mother let out a sigh, "Please, just try to do well, Prim looks up to you so… Just please try."
Katniss's half-sister, Prim, was younger than her by nearly 8 years, and though Katniss had originally been furious with her Mother when she re-married so soon after her Father's death, Katniss had fallen in love with her new sister when she was born. Prim was now 9 years old and wanted to be just like Katniss, which Seneca, Prim's Father saw as a problem, because that's what he viewed his step-daughter as, a problem. She'd been caught with alcohol a few times, had gotten in trouble at school more than a few times and was hanging out with a bad crowd, 'dirt-bags' he would usually refer to them as.
So when the opportunity presented itself to Seneca to move to a new and better job he saw it as the perfect solution, not only would he be making more money and making more of a name for himself, he would also be putting a few hundred miles between his step-daughter and her dirt-bag friends.
Katniss's Mother stepped closer to her daughter and said in a low pleading tone, "Please, if you start acting out again, Seneca said that we'd have to send you to boarding school… I don't want you to have to leave and I know Prim doesn't either."
Katniss has heard this once before, it was shortly after she had last gotten caught with a bottle of vodka that her Step-Father had made the threat, at the time she had viewed it as more of an empty threat but she could hear in her Mother's voice that she was worried about the reality of it. She didn't want to get shipped off and Prim would be devastated if she did have to go.
"I'll try," Katniss said, mentally thinking that she only had to get through this year and the next, then she'd graduate and be able to get her own place and be able to do as she pleased.
"Thank you," Her Mother said, relief plainly visible on her face, "Now, this weekend Dr. Cartwright and his family invited us over for dinner, he's the lead Neurologist at Panem Hospital and from what I understand a large contributor to the new Neurology wing that went up last year… He has a daughter that's in your grade…" She looks over at Katniss, waiting for a response.
"Great," Katniss says, half-heartedly.
Her Mother continues to talk about the Cartwright family and the other Neurologists at Panem Hospital.
The night of the dinner, Seneca pulled his new expensive luxury car to the driveway of the large Georgian styled mansion. Katniss walked behind the rest of her family as they walked to the front door, she felt over-dressed, wearing a blue silk dress and strappy sandals, she had at least been able to resist getting her hair all done-up, her Mother had allowed her to wear a simple braid.
The front door was opened by a smiling blonde who greeted them warmly, "Dr. Crane, so wonderful to see you again, and you must be Violet, delighted to meet you," The women said shaking their hands in turn, then she turned to Katniss and Prim.
"Good to see you again as well, Mrs. Cartwright," Seneca said then motioned to the girls, "This is Primrose and Katniss."
"Delighted to meet you two," Mrs. Cartwright said, "My daughter Delly is looking forward to meeting you, Katniss. She should be down soon, I think she's probably busy texting or something other," She said that last bit more to Violet and added with a laugh, "We can't seem to be able to separate her from her phone."
Violet laughed as if she understood exactly the troubles Mrs. Cartwright seemed to have with her daughter, even though Katniss had never been one to be glued to her phone.
A short balding man came into the foyer, "Seneca, great you could make it. Come on in and sit down… Can I get you a drink?"
Drinks were poured for the adults from crystal bottles sitting on a small hutch, and Mrs. Cartwright handed Katniss and Prim a glass of lemonade.
"Excuse me," Mrs. Cartwright said, "I'll go see what's keeping Delly." She went to leave the room but before she could a round-faced pretty girl with blonde hair bounced into the room, "I'm here, I'm here. Sorry," She gave a breezy apology to her Mother before coming over to Katniss and Prim, she stuck her hand out, "Hi, I'm Delly."
Katniss introduced herself and Prim.
Delly lead the two girls away from the parents and spent the time until dinner was ready talking about this and that, it was obvious that Delly was well trained in socializing and she very rarely needed a response from Katniss or Prim.
The first day of school came and Katniss arrived dressed in an outfit picked out a sales associate in the department store and approved by her Mother, a fitted short-sleeved blouse with straight legged dark jeans with a sensible but fashionable pair of flats and properly accessorized with two long silver necklaces and a thin bracelet.
She had seen Delly a few other times since their first meeting and she had been introduced to one of Delly's friends, a Cashmere Reynolds who went by Cassie. They had told her where to meet them on the first day and Katniss found the two of them near the front entrance along with a few of their other friends.
Delly energetically greeted Katniss with a wave and was quick to introduce her to the rest of her friends, the group seemed to accept Katniss, some of them with an undertone of indifference. The group started to make their way to the junior hall where all the lockers for the junior class were, the conversations that passed around the girls varied from new clothes, to boys who had flirted with them, to vacations that they had taken over the summer holiday and the boys that flirted with them while they were there; each person acted immensely interested in whatever everyone else was saying while they waited (sometimes not too patiently) for their turn to gush or brag about themselves.
It was only when Cassie said in a hushed tone, "Look there's Cato," That all the girls stopped talking and looked in the direction that Cassie had nodded towards.
It was a crowd of guys, each one looked every bit the jock, and in the middle was Cato, he was in no way better looking than the others but was standing out more because of his cocky attitude and demeanor; and though they had appeared to have been absorbed with their own conversations, as soon as the group of girls that Katniss was with noticed them, the group of guys all turned their attentions to them. Cato stood from his post on the bench and walked over to the girls as they stood in the middle of the hall, his friends were quick to follow.
"Hey," He said, raising his chin slightly in the universal 'cool-guy' greeting.
The girls instantly greeted him and his friends and they stood for several minutes in the middle of the hall, purposefully pretending to be oblivious to the inconvenience this caused for the other students trying to navigate the hall.
Before turning to leave, Cato, who had noticed Katniss right away but pretended not to, finally looked right at her, "Hey, I'm Cato."
"Katniss," She said meeting his gaze. He noticed that, unlike the other girls, she didn't flutter her eyelashes or have a girlish flirty coo to her voice or manner as she held his gaze, which spiked his interest more than any flirty compliment or coquettish behavior could. He gave her a half smile and a slight nod, "See you around, Katniss."
The guys turned, practically moving and probably thinking as one entity as they moved away from the girls. The girls instantly turned their attention to Katniss and started gushing about the extra attentions that she had received from Cato, while Katniss watched him walk away, noticing him shove two guys out of his way, one with dark red hair that was sticking out every which way and the other with blonde hair that hung over his forehead with a slight curl. After being shoved out of the group of jocks way, the blonde threw up his hands and told them to 'watch it', only to get another shove from one of Cato's friends. Him and his red haired friend rolled their eyes and continued on their way, the blonde sweeping his hair out of his eyes at the same moment he saw Katniss. She held his gaze for less than a second before looking back at her friends.
"Did you see that girl?" Peeta asked Darius, turning around and walking blindly backwards and he looked after the group that Katniss had been with as they walked the opposite way down the hall.
"Which girl?" Darius said, "Cato?"
Peeta smirked and laughed and turned around to face forward as they made their way to their first class, "No, the girl that was with that Reynolds chick, I think she's new."
"Don't bother with those girls, Peet, they'd never look twice at either of us."
But the girl with the gray eyes occupied his thoughts throughout most of his morning classes, he tried, unsuccessfully, to look around the lunchroom for her.
"Who ya lookin' for, Peeta?" Johanna asked as she took an oversized bight of her peanut-butter and jelly sandwich.
Peeta looked back down at his lunch and gave a shrug, "No one."
Darius snorted a laugh, sending bits of potato chips spraying out of his mouth and possibly getting some lodged in his nose, "It's that new girl… They're too good for the lunch room."
"New girl?" Johanna asked, her voice muffled through a mouthful of sandwich while she raised an eyebrow.
"A new rich girl joined Cassie Reynolds' flock," Darius explained, every class that they had shared that morning he had seen his friend do a search around the room.
"So what?" Johanna asked with a scoff, "What's she to you?"
Peeta hunched his shoulders a little while giving a little shrug, he turned his focus to opening his milk, "Nothing."
"He thinks he'll be able get her to leave her pearls and furs behind and join our teenage dirt-bag rif-raf ways."
Johanna scoffed again, annoyed by the mention of the preppy girls and their rich preppy ways, "So, anyways," She said rather pointedly changing the subject, "What class you guys got next, I've got home-ec, either of you wanna ditch with me?"
Darius gave a shrug and agreed, first day are always boring, Peeta was about to agree also because he just had health class next but then he saw Cassie Reynolds come into the cafeteria followed by her group, he quickly looked through the group and saw the long dark braid of the new girl standing near the back of the group, walking next to Delly Cartwright, it looked like they were merely cutting through the cafeteria on their way towards the main hall. He let out a breath that he didn't realize he had been holding, "There she is."
Johanna's head snapped around to follow his gaze.
His eyes followed her, though Delly was talking animatedly to her, he thought she looked bored, every now and then she'd give a short answer to whatever Delly had asked or else give a shrug.
"Stare much longer and we'll have to get a mop for your drool puddle," Johanna said with a definite edge of annoyance.
"Aw chill out, Jo," Darius said, "Let him enjoy the view before she reveals her bitch-side."
"She's not a bitch," Peeta was quick to say.
"And how do you know this?" Darius asked. When all Peeta could do was shrug for a response, Darius continued, gesturing in Katniss's direction, "Trust me, all those girls are bitches who think they're too good for us, she doesn't know who you are and she doesn't give a damn about you."
Peeta crumpled up the rest of his lunch and stuffed it into the brown bag that it had been packed in, "I'll see you two later."
"Later, lover boy," Darius said mockingly.
Peeta tossed the brown paper bag into the nearest trash can and hoisted his black backpack strap up on to his shoulder as he started heading towards the group of girls, they were in the hallway already. He was just started to steel his nerves and say something to the girl, who was in the back of the group, when he got a sharp shove from behind, he fumbled a few steps and almost fell over.
"Learn to walk, loser," Cato said as he walked passed him and joined the girls, followed by a few of his friends.
Peeta heard Cato address the girl, "How's your day going?"
She looked bored and answered with a shrug, "Fine."
"Cool… we were going to be hanging out at Marv's after school, do you girls wanna join?"
"That sounds fab, we'll be there," Cassie was quick to answer for the group.
Cato gave a nod and looked back at Katniss, "You going to come?"
She gave a small shrug, "I don't have a car."
"I can give you a ride," Cato said smoothly with a grin.
Katniss gave another shrug, "I guess so."
"Cool, meet you after school then."
When the guys had disappeared around the corner the girls turned to Katniss, saying things like, "You're so lucky." "He has the coolest car." and "You can borrow my curling iron to fix your hair at the end of school."
Peeta hadn't realized that he'd been standing there watching the scene unfold until Cassie happened to look up and see him, she gave him a pointed look of disdain and said to her friends, "Come on."
Peeta stood still for a while after they had left, his mind reeling, 'Cato? Cato? That girl agreed to spend time with Cato? What the hell is wrong with the universe.'
He held the strap of his backpack onto his shoulder and he shuffled his orange converses along the hallway tile, he didn't think that he could hate Cato more than he already did but he despised the dick now.
He sat slouched in his seat, waiting for health class to start, he regretted not going with Darius and Johanna now. He started idly doodling on the back of his notebook, not paying attention to the other students as they filed in. He didn't see her come into the room, alone, she did a quick look around the room and chose the seat in front of him.
By the time he looked up and noticed her, she had already made herself comfortable and was toying with the bottom of her braid. He mentally cursed at himself, thinking that if he'd been paying attention he could've said something to her as she sat down. He looked around the room, most of the seats were full now, is that why she chose that seat or did she want to sit near him? He racked his brain for something cool or witty to say to her but could think of nothing.
The class started and rather than pay attention to the teacher he focused on her smooth dark hair that was pulled back into a braid, a few strands had gotten loose and hung against the back of her neck, her neck had a graceful curve and held a few small dark freckles. When the teacher started taking roll call, she raised her hand to the name Katniss Crane. He focused on the name, repeating it in his mind, the teacher had to call his name twice before he snapped out of it and raised his hand.
The teacher gave him a look, "Try to pay attention please, Mr. Mellark," and then continued on with roll call.
Midway through class she started quietly tapping her tapered finger tips on the edge of her desk, he could hardly hear the beat that she was tapping out unless the teacher wasn't talking, he had to stop himself from joining in on her little beat that she was creating.
The teacher handed out a packet that held the syllabus, giving a stack to each person in the front row saying, "Take one and pass it back."
He waited, trying not to appear over eager, for her to turn and hand it back to him.
He watched her fingers as they separated one packet from the rest and then she turned, her eyes flicked up to his as she handed him the papers.
"Thanks," He managed to get out as he took them from her.
"No problem," She said, her eyes went down to his t-shirt, "Cool shirt."
"Thanks," He numbly answered as she turned around. He looked down at this shirt, it was a faded Iron Maiden tour '88 t-shirt. He spent the rest of the class wondering, did she really like it, or was she just saying that? She hadn't sounded sarcastic but had she been teasing him, Darius or Johanna would probably say that she had been.
When the teacher dismissed the class, saying that the next day would be gym class, since the two classes alternated and that they'd be meeting in the north gym.
The girl, Katniss, was up and out the door before Peeta had a chance to cram his notebook and things into his backpack. He still hurried out the door, hoping that maybe he'd run into her in the hallway on the way to junior hall, he didn't have any luck but did find Johanna and Darius leaning against his locker, red eyed and dazed looking they greeted him.
"She's in my health class," He told Darius.
"My god that must be a sign, you must be meant to be," Johanna said sarcastically then started laughing, Darius joined her in the type of laughter that's caused by a stoned mind.
"Shut-up," Peeta said.
The weeks went by, and while he was painfully aware that she was now officially Cato's girlfriend, it didn't stop him from watching her, the way she'd strum her fingers quietly when she was bored in health class and the quiet focus she'd have in gym class, she was athletic, easily the most athletic girl in the class, while he liked to see the competitive side of her, he mostly liked getting to see her tan legs. He made the mistake of mentioning it to Darius when Johanna was around, she snorted and said sarcastically, "Yeah, in her gym uniform, I'm sure she rocks with Keds and tube socks… and the white t-shirt she wears, wowza."
The school day was over and the three friends were making their way down the path to the student parking lot when they heard the sound of squealing tires, Darius motioned to the blue IRoc and said, "Look, there's your girlfriend's boyfriend."
Peeta watched as Cato's car fishtailed a bit after taking a sharp turn and then zoomed off, he couldn't tell if Cato was alone or if Katniss was with him. He lived on the same block as Cato and had seen her hanging out at his house a few times.
"He's such a dick," Peeta muttered. She didn't belong with a guy like Cato.
Darius kept insisting that Peeta was only seeing what he wanted to see, but Peeta was sure that Katniss always seemed bored and indifferent when she was with him.
"So why is she with him then?" Darius questioned and Peeta could only shrug and wonder about that himself.
"She doesn't give a damn about you or anyone else except for herself," She added in an unapologetic tone, "Sorry, but it's the truth. She probably doesn't even know who you are."
As the weeks turned into months and Katniss was still with that dick Cato (Peeta's pet name for him), Peeta couldn't help but get more and more curious as to why she was with him.
One day just before spring he saw her drive up to school in a brand new car, Mercedes convertible. In health class he worked up the nerve to say something, "Saw you drive in this morning, cool car, is it yours?"
"Yeah," She said, "A birthday present."
"Nice," He said, impressed but a little intimidated by the expensive present that probably cost at least double what his car was worth, maybe even triple, "Happy birthday."
She turned and gave him a half smile, "Thanks."
The next day as Katniss opened up her locker at the start of the day a fold sheet of paper fell out, she picked it up and opened it. It was a drawing, someone had drawn a picture of her. She stared at it for a while in disbelief, it was obviously supposed to be her, with a dark braid draped over her shoulder and light gray eyes, but the artist had drawn her far more beautiful than she had ever thought of herself as. She heard Cato coming towards her, talking loudly to his friends, she carefully tucked the picture into her backpack before Cato came up behind her, laying a heavy arm over her shoulders and turning her around to give her a wet kiss on her mouth.
Katniss mentally counted to three before pulling away, she had figured out, through trial and error, that if she broke the kiss before three seconds he would usually come back for a second kiss but if she let it last longer than three seconds then he'd shove his tongue in her mouth. She turned away from him on the pretense of grabbing her notebook and textbook for her first class.
After lunch she sat in her seat in front of Peeta, she turned to look at him, he looked up from his notebook where he'd be doodling. She looked at his notebook and then back at him, "You're a good artist."
"Thanks," He said as she turned back around to face forward.
He looked at the back of her head for a moment, was she talking about his scribbles or did she figure out that he had drawn the picture? He hadn't signed his name or even initialed it. He had seen her when she opened her locker this morning and saw his drawing, she looked surprised but otherwise he couldn't really gage any other reaction, did she like it? He turned and walked away when he saw Cato coming up behind her, it always made his insides crawl whenever he saw them touching and kissing.
"Has Cato picked out his tux yet?" Katniss's Mother asked her, holding up a dress she had just taken from the rack.
"I dunno," Katniss said, idly flipping through the prom dresses.
"I suspect he'll probably go for the classic black and white look, he seems so traditional," The Mother had a vague sort of smile on her face, proud of her daughter's choice in boyfriend, she knew that he was the starting quarterback and captain of the football team, and that he was being scouted by more than one college, when he came to the house he had always shown his best manners to her and her husband, and she had heard from Mrs. Cartwright who had heard from Delly that he was a good candidate for Prom King.
Katniss turned and went into the dressing rooms to try on the dresses that her Mother had picked out for her to try on.
"Thank you for letting me come with you, Katniss, I know you probably wanted to go with your friends."
"It's no problem, Mom," Katniss answered, she was getting tired of her supposed 'friends' and was actually thankful for the excuse to not spend more time with them. The group was planning on a group shopping trip the following day, when Katniss said she wouldn't be joining them they had acted appropriately disappointed but it was obvious that they didn't really care one way or the other.
"They're all getting mani pedis the day before and their hair done at the same salon the day of prom," Katnis s told her with an air of indifference, "I'm going to go with them for that."
"Oh that will be so exciting, part of the fun of prom is getting ready with your girlfriends."
Katniss tried on dress after dress before they picked a strapless red gown that skimmed the floor and had delicate rhinestones places along the fabric that caught the light when she moved.
When they got home she tried the dress on for Prim to see, while her sister gushed, Katniss couldn't draw up much excitement. She was tired of trying to act like the goody-two-shoes Seneca wanted her to act like, she was tired of acting like a Crane, back home her friends all still thought of her as Katniss Everdeen, even though her step-father had legally adopted her and her last name had been legally changed to Crane at the same time as her Mother's. Here, at the new school, everyone thought of her as Katniss Crane, a doctor's daughter. Sure her new 'friends' knew how to throw a decent party that served a wide range of alcohol, and Cato especially liked to drink, which provided a bit of a release, but the whole act of pretending to care about her 'friends' petty issues and listening to their air-headed gossip was draining. She missed being able to act like Katniss Everdeen.
She saw the concert notice when she was flipping through the newspaper, which made her mouth quirk up in a half smile, her and her old friends back home used to love going to concerts, the thrill of pushing your way through the crowd to get close to the stage, people bouncing around bumping into each other, it had always been a good time, the concert that was scheduled for next week was one that her old friends would've loved. At the first chance she got she drove to the nearest ticket master at a retail outlet and bought two tickets, careful to use cash and not her credit card so Seneca and her Mother would be none the wiser.
The day of prom arrived. She had gotten her nails done with her friends and now sat in the saloon that was crowded with her friends as they got their hair done. The room was buzzing with excitement but all Katniss could think about was the concert next week. Cassie brought in two bottles of top-shelf champange, and the hairdressers turned a blind eye as the underaged girls giggled and sipped the expensive bubbly.
Cato came to pick Katniss up, he gave his most charming smile to her Mother and then slipped her crosage over her wrist before giving her hand a kiss, which was more for the Mother's benefit than Katniss's. Seneca came down and shook Cato's hand, dutifully told Katniss that she looked lovely, told them to have a nice night, and ducked into his office. Katniss agreed to stand for two pictures with Cato before waving her Mother off, saying that they needed to go.
Once out the door and heading towards the car, Cato started leaving sloppy kisses along Katniss's neck. His breath had a minty smell to it that couldn't quite conceal the smell of beer.
"Got anything to drink?" Katniss asked.
He gave her a wink as he opened her door, "Got something for afterwards."
After he closed her door she reached under his seat where he usually stashed a bottle or something, she started to pull out the bottle with the red cap.
Cato slid into his seat, "Saving that for the party after prom," he slid his hand up her arm in what was supposed to be a seductive move.
Katniss just faced forward.
Cato gave a humorless laugh, "Chill out there little girly, I got two beers in the back still," he kissed her shoulder, "I know my girl likes to party."
She gave him a tight smile, trying to show that when he called her 'his girl' it made her skin crawl.
Peeta met Darius and Johanna at Johanna's house, the three of them were going as a group, they suffered through Johanna's mom snapping countless pictures of the three of them before finally escaping.
Johanna grumbled that the dainty little purse that matched her dress was too small to conceal a flask and made both Peeta and Darius promise that they'd share whenever she asked, they each had flasks tucked into their waist coats.
They handed their tickets to the teacher standing at the door and joined the large crowd.
Johanna saw Peeta scan the room, obviously looking for someone.
"Peeta, you're not going to enjoy the dance if you spend the entire time mopping over Katniss," She gave him a nudge, "She doesn't know what she's missing… and she's not worth it."
After an hour or so of mulling around the room, Johanna pulled Darius onto the dance floor, leaving Peeta by himself. He took out his flask and took a small swig on the sly before quickly tucking it away, he leaned back into the white folding chair and sighed, feeling dejected and lonely as he watched all the other couples. He started searching the crowd for Katniss,
When lo and behold he found Katniss, she was looking right at him and walking over. He drew in a shallow breath and felt his lips shake as he realized that she was really coming over to him. What should he say? Was this real?
She looked beautiful.
She stopped right in front of him and gave him a small smile, she opened her mouth and his eyes went wide.
"I've got two tickets for Iron Maiden… Come with me Friday?" She gave him a playful smirk, "Don't say maybe."
She was a teenage dirt-bag like him and wanted to listen to Iron Maiden with him.
His mouth hung open for a second before he remembered his basic motor skills and gave his head a nod, "Yeah… yeah. I'd love to." He knew his voice sounded breathless as he answered but he couldn't find it in himself to care, she was talking to him… Not only that she was asking him out.
He saw her eyes flick to the chair next to him.
"Do you want to sit?" He asked.
She made a small movement to the chair before stopping, she looked over her shoulder at the throng of other students busy dancing, looking to make sure her 'friends' weren't watching, before turning back to him, "I really want to get out of here."
His eyes bugged out slightly, his mouth dropped open and he momentarily forgot how to breathe.
"Do you want to escape with me?" She asked.
It was all Peeta could do to nod and stand, she gave him a smile and the two walked out, side by side. Peeta turned around and searched the dance floor for his friends, he caught Darius's eye, the look on Darius's face was priceless as he registered that Peeta was leaving, and leaving with Katniss no less.
While Peeta himself was still wondering if this was all for real.
As they walked out the door the teachers warned them that they couldn't come back if they left. Peeta followed Katniss's example and ignored them completely.
Once they were out of the building and on the street, Peeta found his voice enough to ask, "So… what do you want to do?"
Katniss looked at him with a raised eyebrow, "What's in your flask?"
He let out a short laugh of disbelief, had she been watching him, "Uh, whiskey… do you want-"
"Thanks," She said and eagerly took the flask as soon as he handed it to her. She took a long pull from it and handed it back. The thought that her mouth had been where his had been was enough to make Peeta feel like he was walking on air.
"Do you just want to walk around… Uh, I don't have my car… Darius drove."
Katniss just shrugged but seemed to have a destination in mind as they continued walking, passing the flask back and forth a few times. Occasionally Peeta would try to say something to get something by way of a conversation but she would usually only respond with a smirk or a raised eyebrow and then they'd fall back into silence.
After several blocks, Katniss stopped at a corner and looked up at a parking garage, she looked over at Peeta, "Wanna climb to the top?"
"Um, sure," He said, there probably wasn't anything she could suggest that he wouldn't go along with.
They were one level away from the open-aired top level of the garage when Katniss motioned for him to follow.
She noticed Peeta's confusion as they walked along the lines of cars.
"Cato parked up here," She explained.
Peeta was suddenly dumbstruck with the thought that maybe she was going to ditch him as soon as they got to Cato's car, did she just want company to get his car and then she'd leave him to pick her boyfriend up?
She pulled a pair of keys from her small clutch and dangled them in the air, "Didn't even notice when I lifted them… Probably too busy staring at Cassie's tits," She said in a joking tone.
She unlocked Cato's blue IRoc and reached under the drivers seat for the bottle of Maker's Mark she knew was there. She lifted up to show to Peeta with a triumphant grin.
The thought of taking liquor from the guy who had countless times gone out of his way to make Peeta's life hell, thrilled Peeta almost as much as being here with Katniss, almost.
"Sweet," He said, breaking the seal when Katniss handed it to him. He took a swig before taking the opportunity to refill his flask, not really caring when some spilled onto the garage floor.
Katniss reached into the car again and took one of the two joints that were pre-rolled and waiting in the pullout ashtray.
She took a seat on the hood of Cato's car and lit the joint she had taken, she offered it to Peeta who eagerly took a seat next to her and accepted.
The whole thing still seemed surreal to him, he found himself looking over at Katniss, just to make sure she really was there. The fact that he was sitting on that dick Cato's car drinking his whiskey was unbelievable, but adding Katniss into the mix threw his mind for a loop and the whiskey wasn't helping him make sense of it all.
"So…" He started, "Um, what-" He stopped himself not even sure how to continue, "Uh, not that this isn't awesome, but why?"
"Why?" Katniss repeated him, she looked over at him, "Why did I leave?"
"Well, yeah… and why with me?"
She looked over at him with a smile, "You looked like you wanted to escape too."
"You noticed me," He asked still dumbfounded. Even though he sat behind her in health, and they had exchanged a few sentences over the course of the year, he had always assumed that she didn't even know that he existed.
She answered with a smirk and took another drag off the joint and handed it to him.
He asked another question that he wasn't sure he wanted the answer to, "So… you and Cato… did you break up or something?"
She gave a short laugh, "I think he's a little to busy with Cassie for me to interrupt him with an update of his relationship status."
He searched her face for any sign of hurt but didn't see anything but amusement, he had always suspected that she didn't care about him but they had been together for the last few months, did she really not care or is it just an act?
"But you want to break up with him?"
Katniss laughed, her amusement probably intensified by the high and whiskey buzz that was setlling in, "Wouldn't you want to?"
Peeta joined her laughter.
Katniss took the joint from him and took another hit then asked, "Want anymore?"
Peeta shook his head no.
She slid off the car and carefully put the joint out on the side of the concrete wall of the parking garage and then slipped what was left of the joint into her small clutch. She took another swig of the Maker's before capping it and slipping it back under the front seat, then reached into the backseat to grab a bag that held a change of clothes and flip-flops, then she dropped the keys in the middle console and closed the door, leaving it unlocked. Peeta was still sitting on the hood of the car wondering what she wanted to do next.
She took a few steps closer to him, "When do you think your friends will want to leave?"
"Uh, I dunno."
"Were you guys going somewhere afterwards?"
"Uh, yeah… Darius's older brother invited us over to hang out."
When Katniss didn't say anything, he asked, "Um, I'm sure you have something planned but do you want to join us?"
She gave him a smile, "I'd love to."
He gave a breathy reply of, "Cool… uh I'll ask Darius to text when they're leav-"
He was cut off as she leaned over and kissed him.
His brain went into overdrive, she was kissing him!
She pulled away just far enough for their lips to break apart, their eyes met and she playfully bit her lower lip and her eyes asked the question of, "OK?"
Without thinking he reached forward, his hand weaving into her dark hair that was hanging down in waves and pulled her lips back to his.
He barely registered that she climbed back onto the hood of the car until he felt her body right next to his. His hand that wasn't in her hair went to his waist, all the while his brain was whirling, wondering, "Really? Really?!"
After a few frenzied make-out moments Peeta pulled away, over the course of the make-out session he had ended up hovering over her, he took a few breaths to steady himself and he asked, "Are you being serious right now?"
Katniss laughed, "Seriously serious."
"Why?" He said in a bewildered tone, "Why me?"
"Do you mind?" She asked.
"No," He quickly answered, "I just don't get it…. I mean, we've barely spoken before." He stopped himself from asking the question of 'are you going to act like this never happened tomorrow?', he didn't want to the answer to that question, but then he remembered that she asked him out to a concert next weekend, so surely she wasn't going to just go back to pretending that he didn't exist after this.
"Do you want to take a break and have a heart to heart?" She asked teasingly.
He laughed and shook his head, "I think we should save that for later."
She nodded and pulled him back and gave him a long kiss, her hand slipping inside his tux jacket and trailing up his back. She suddenly pulled away and looked at him, "Just so you know. I'm not going to have sex with you tonight."
His mouth dropped open at her bluntness and he sputtered for a bit, "Wh-wha, no… I wasn't… I didn't think."
She laughed at his nervousness and kissed him again.
He'd been caught off guard when she said that but even as he was kissing her back he couldn't help but pick up on how she specified 'tonight', did that mean that she would have sex with him another night?
He moaned a little into their kiss at the thought and dared to let his hand go to her chest.
The sound of the door of the stairwell closing made the two of them break apart and slide off the hood of Cato's car. Katniss covered her mouth to stiffle a laugh as they ducked behind the car. Whoever it was got into their car a little ways away and drove off.
Their make-out moment broken Katniss made a half-hearted attempt to smooth her dress as she stood up, she looked over at Peeta who had never taken his eyes off her and she smiled, "Wanna go to the top?" She asked, repeating the original plan for coming into the parking garage.
They climbed the remaining flight of stairs and were greeted with a cool breeze. Katniss walked to the edge and looked out over the four-foot concrete railing, she turned her focus on the tall building that was across the street and looked up to the roof of that building, she closed her eyes and felt the breeze on her face and imagined what it would feel like to be up on the roof of that building, she'd really feel separated from the city then.
She turned to face Peeta and hopped up, sitting on the ledge of the railing.
Peeta quickly moved forward to hold her, not liking the thought of her sitting so precariously on the ledge with nothing between her and the eight story drop behind her, "Careful."
She quirked an eyebrow at him, "I bet you I could walk the length of the railing."
He wasn't sure how to respond, why would anyone want to walk along the narrow ledge? Was she being serious?
"I'm sure you could," He said, trying to sound smooth, "So no reason to try."
Katniss laughed then slid off the railing and leaned into him and gave him a long kiss, "Were you worried?"
He wasn't sure what the cool answer would be so he chose to answer honestly, "I don't want you to get hurt."
Katniss laughed again and made a show of looking over the railing, "If I fell I don't think I'd have to worry about being hurt."
He was taken aback by the meaning of her sentence, if she did fall eight stories on to the sidewalk below, death would be more likely than injury.
"Oh don't be so serious," She give him a playful shove on his shoulder before draping her arms around his neck.
He leans in and gives her a kiss, everything was happening in a whirlwind and he was having trouble processing it all, he had spent most of the school year trying to learn more about her from afar and now she seemed to be surprising him at every turn, the girl he was kissing now was nothing like the girl that he had seen interacting with her friends at school, part of him was telling him to 'shut-up and enjoy it' but another part couldn't help but wonder, 'was she for real?'
A/N: I don't encourage underage drinking or drug use... Just saying. There will be another chapter after this one but it won't be really related to the song - just a bit of fun that was had at their after Prom party. Hope the story entertained.