Tessa Ray (15) POV

Victor of the 227th Hunger Games

I'd like to say that I was surprised that I won the Hunger Games, but I try not to make a habit of lying.

It was easy enough once I got out of my own head. The turning point was realizing that while I originally teamed up with Rowan because I thought he would help me, he ended up doing the opposite. Sure, the Capitol was into our little love story while it lasted, but that was nothing compared to how much everyone adored me afterwards. Little Tessa Ray from District 12 was able to overcome poverty, abuse, and heartbreak and come out on top as the Victor of the 227th Hunger Games.

But my family was never poor, at least not compared to the rest of District 12. My parents may be bad people, and we might not get along, but they were never abusive. As for my heart? I'll get over it. Knowing that Rowan didn't really care about me hurt, but at the end of the day, I knew him for two weeks.

Following my victory, they gave me three days to get myself back together and feeling like a person again. They got rid of all signs of the Games from my body- the cuts from the piranhas, the stab wound in my side, the knots in my hair, and the grime that I thought would never wash out from under my fingernails were all gone. They even pumped me up with so much fluids in the hospital that no one could tell how hungry I had been. My hair was detangled, trimmed, and deep conditioned. My skin was spray tanned and given so much exfoliant and moisturizer that it glowed. My body was waxed and my nails were filed and painted.

I looked better than ever.

The day of my interview, I was dressed in a short black dress with a ruffled skirt and a corset top, fishnet tights, and strappy black heels. My hair was done in an intricate curled updo, my nails and lips were painted red, and my ears, wrists, and neck dripped with diamonds. It's easy to see what they were going for.

When I stepped out onto the stage, the crowd cheered my name. Both of the times so far that I've been on display for the Capitol, I've been met with cheers and applause, and I've responded by smiling, waving, and blowing kisses. But that was when I was just a tribute from District 12 trying to get enough sponsors to win. But I'm a Victor now. I don't need their approval anymore. So when they chant my name and throw flowers up to the stage, I merely look out to the crowd, raise my chin, and narrow my eyes ever so slightly before taking my seat.

My interview went off without a hitch. It started with me watching the four hour movie cut of the Games, starting with the girl from 11 digging into the girl from 9's throat with her knife, and ending with my name being announced as the Victor. The audience went crazy for my first kiss with Rowan, us receiving the meal, and each of my kills.

After the video came the interview. Magnus asked me a whole bunch of questions about when I realized I had to leave Rowan, if I think I'll ever love again, and how excited I am to go back home, and I answer them all in as few words as possible. How I feel about Rowan is none of their businesses anymore. I'm not going to talk, and they can't make me.

The interview seems to go on forever, but when it's finally over, I head back to my old room in the training center and rest up before I'm shipped back to District 12. I'll have to see how it is living in Victors' Village, but there's a good chance that I'm going to look into living in the Capitol full time as one of my options. I'm willing to bet that the best District 12 has to offer is still worse than the average house in the Capitol.

My prep team wakes me the next morning and readies me for my homecoming. They straighten my hair and put it in a high ponytail, and make up my face including what I can tell is going to become my signature red lipstick. I'm dressed in crisp black pants, a red bralette, a black blazer, and red heels. To finish it off, they give me a pair of large black sunglasses. And with that, I'm off to the train station.

While I may be on my way back to District 12, I know that my life will never be the same again. With a giant house, no need to work, a team of stylists, and more money than I know what to do with, it's time for me to finally start living the life I've always deserved.


Mykindleisawesome: Firstly, thank you for my Victor. But more importantly, thank you for always being there and reading my work. You've been around ever since I started on this ugly blue website seven years ago, and it means so much that you came back when I did so that you could keep up with the story. You're the only person outside of my immediate friend group that continued reading this when I came back, and I'm so grateful for that. By the way, let's change that. You got Instagram?

Ladyqueerfoot: Lindsay, you read this story front to back five years after I started it when you didn't even have a tribute in it. Who does that? Thank you so much for letting me FaceTime you in the middle of the night so much, and for ultimately helping me figure out how Tessa was going to win.

Fifidear: Thank you for always being honest with me. I could always count on you for well thought out reviews with legitimate praise and constructive criticism. You make me a better writer. I adore you.

And with that, we move onto Deceit Kills.