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Quote used - Fear is faith that it won't work out. ~Sister Mary Tricky
I don't own anything of Hunger Games…
There is a twist to the air as its ravished by the fearful wind. I wait for it to die down a little before climbing further up the hill. It cuts off abruptly, and to be honest I didn't feel like falling a few hundred feet down a rocky precipice.
I keep going, feeling strangely compelled. I need to get away, run from the fight I just had with Peeta. It burns in my mind and I feel the fury again, but there is also something else there. I identify it as guilt. I hadn't been exactly patient or kind in the argument. I had actually had been kind of mean, perhaps cruel.
I blow the hair out of my face, and continue on. I'm trying to find another view point like the one I used to have with Gale. I don't want to return to the old viewpoint because of well…Gale. I heard some news a few days about him, but I'm trying my best to forget about it.
I swallow down the lump that begins to form in my throat, getting emotional while basically rock climbing would not be a wise thing to do. My mind wanders away from me, and I begin to wonder if something happened to me out here, would anyone know? Peeta watched as I practically ran into the forest, but then the forest is huge and in some places unyielding. How long would it take to find me with only the clue of that?
I steady my resolve again and keep going. This hill once had several immovable fallen trees at the base of it, but since the bombing they were destroyed. I have to see what is at the top of this hill. I have to know for some odd and desperate reason. It suddenly gets steeper, and I am almost crawling my way up. It's a physical challenge that I gladly take, anything to get the two men who seem to always enter my mind out of my thoughts. One because of my love for him and the other…for my almost love with him and now concern.
One step and then another. I am grabbing at the grass under me to make progress. It's arduous and I am absolutely sure it's dangerous. I take a break for a moment and try to see what the hill might reveal over the tree line. I am disappointed to see I'm still not high enough, and the only thing that dominates my eye line is the dense population of pine trees.
I notice my breathing is ragged. I breathe in deep trying to control my emotions, trying to understand why they have such gravity in my life. Without warning it all comes back to me.
We are in bed. We hold onto each other as we kiss, and I'm sure I know where it's going to lead us. I'm ready. I can finally say that I feel like I'm ready. I am sure he will ask this time, or perhaps hint. His kisses are needy, desperate, and filled with desire.
Suddenly he stops and just holds me. The world comes to a slamming halt. I have the awful thought in my head that I'm being rejected for some foolish reason. I have a feeling that a conversation is going to happen that might not be pleasing to me. Peeta is too pensive at the moment for me to think otherwise.
"Katniss, you know how much I love you and want to be with you right?" He asks out of blue.
I look up to him to see the earnest affection in his eyes. I nod yes, at once sensing there is another shoe to drop. When is there not one?
"I think…I mean I would like to…I mean…I, well…I-"
"What's going on Peeta?" I am concerned at this point because he seems too nervous.
"Nothing is. Nothing at all." He sighs out a hard breath, and then his grip on me tightens a bit as if he knows I'm going to run away with what he's about to say.
"Katniss, do like living with me? Being with me?"
I sit up and clearly my face shows confusion. "Just say real or not real." He says.
"Real." I answer.
"And you want to be with me for…well for the rest of our lives." He looks even more nervous than before. "Real or not real?"
"Just…answer so I know. I just want to know." His eyes implore me.
"Of course real. Yes." The breath he's been holding comes out relieved hearing my answer.
"What's all this about?" I almost order. He looks down, and seems to consider numerous things.
"Katniss," He begins with some confidence. "I think we should get married."
There seems to be a strange noise in the room. I look around trying to classify it, but I simply can't. Peeta is looking at me expectantly and the noise gets louder.
Still I can't figure out where this damn noise is coming from. Then it dawns on me. It's my heart pounding, but not in a good way. I hear my blood whirring inside my head. It's my fear and my reluctance. It's my ambivalence and rebellion.
"What do you mean?" He looks forlorn. "Don't you love me?"
I almost leap off the bed. I can't be exposed to guilt right now. He has done too much for me, and I could be convinced to do almost anything. But I don't want this. I don't want to get married.
"You know I love you. I love you. I love you." I kiss him on the lips as I stand by the bed."I love you." I say it more than I ever have before, hoping to distract him from this horrible idea.
"Then what is it?" He holds my face so I can't make a quick getaway.
"Please don't ask me this. I would do almost anything, but not this." I plead with him.
"You act like it's a prison sentence, Katniss."
"You get married to have children, Peeta. Yes, it's a prison sentence…for them." I feel tears creep into my voice. They taunt me into believing they will be let free at any moment.
"Children are not reaped anymore. There is not a Capitol anymore to fight. They will be safe." He tries to assure me, but I rip my face out of his hands.
"Yes, because regimes don't rise again, or governments don't change their minds. Peeta, I can't bring a child in the world fearing that they will come back in some way. You should remember well enough what they are capable of. I can't do it!" My voice has grown loud, and it's the only sound alive in the room. Then silence rules it.
I look to him and see that in some way I've hurt him, or at least hurt whatever concept he had of us for the future. He looks pained, and then I can't see his eyes anymore because he has lowered his head.
"Peeta." I sit back down on the bed. "I'm sorry. I just can't imagine feeling like that all the time. I already fear for you and my mother and…" I almost say it, but I don't.
Learning the news about Gale wasn't exactly helping the conversation we were having, but nonetheless Peeta knows me too well to figure out precisely who's name I was about to say.
"Is this about Gale?" I can't fathom how he can look so sad and unsure of himself, but I knew he would think this. I had anticipated this, and still I am unable to think of a good diversion away from this subject.
Recently, I had learned that Gale had found someone. I was happy, overjoyed even. But then I found out he was getting married and expecting a child. The thought soured in my mind. I remembered him wanting children, but we always agreed (at least I thought) that it was too dangerous. Now I found myself concerned over his happiness.
What if it got taken away? What if the people he loved the most were taken away from him like the plucking of petal off a flower? Something once so beautiful and whole turns into ugly, dark emptiness. Despite the darkness he inadvertently and indirectly inflicted upon my own life, I still can't contemplate him suffering anything close.
But the truth even though, yes I was worried for him, I was worried for myself. I feel like I got caught up in this bubble these past months, and I've forgotten some of the pain. I don't want to feel the pain, but it protects me from making stupid decisions that would only harm me more.
Gale didn't lose his sister to fire or his mother to selfish grief. He kept his family during the Games and the Rebellion. Peeta can understand me because he has it worst than me. He lost his whole family. So I feel confused. Why risk more pain, more heartache, and more agony?
I don't know what to say to Peeta because I can't express myself in the moment. I feel angry he would bring it up. We had an unwritten rule that we would not bring Gale up…ever.
"Nice, Peeta." I say sarcastically and move away from me. Peeta grabs at me trying to make me stay, but I move away too quickly. Our touch is brisk, rough and so different than a few minutes ago.
In that moment I hate him for making me so vulnerable, so available to disappointment, rejection, and hurt. What am I doing? Why am I letting myself be so exposed? I remind myself that I love him, more than anything. I breathe deep trying to calm myself down. I just want to run. Run away for a little while until I am calm and can think.
"Why can't you answer the question Katniss?" Peeta demands. It bristles my nerves to hear him use the tones he is currently indulging in.
"It's not about him okay! At least not in the way you think it is!" I feel my anger rise with my voice.
"Well, what am I supposed to think? I mean, ever since you've heard you've had this strange look on your face, like you're mourning or something."
"Unbelievable." I huff. "You think I still want to be with him. How many times do I have to tell you…its you. It's always been you, Peeta. I have struggled with myself and countless circumstances to prove that to you. What will it take?" I throw my hands up into the air exasperated.
He looks down quickly and then back up to my eyes, and I see the thought in his mind before he can voice it. Marrying him would serve as proof.
"No, I can't." My temper is flaring and I can't seem to control my emotions.
He looks heartbroken and livid himself. I feel his pain so acutely in my bones. It swims in the air with the massive tension pressing down on us. I begin to resent him. We could possibly be taking the next step right now, but he's ruined the moment. He's ruined everything.
I start putting on my boots. Getting away is the only thing I can see at that moment to do. Escape sears so vibrant in my mind that I barely see Peeta stand in front of me.
"Katniss, don't leave. We need to talk about this." He is almost begging, but it's lost on me.
In some way I feel betrayed by him. I feel like he knew the answer before he asked, but he was trying to get me to do something I didn't want to do. Who does that to someone they love?
"Get out of my way." My voice is heartless. I almost wince at the tone, but then I'm reminded that I'm still pissed.
"Is this what you're going to do? Run away whenever things get a little rough?" He shakes his head."No, I won't let you."
"Won't let me? No one tells me what to do. Who the hell are you? You're no one!" The words shock not only Peeta but me.
I feel myself melt with shame for a moment, and then he moves slowly out of the way. My mind so obsessed with getting out of this conversation screams at me and my body is moving before I can stop and think of the consequences of my words and actions.
I run out of the house, looking back only once to see Peeta on the porch watching me flee.
I wake up from the memory as if coming out of a trance. I feel the wind blow cold on my tear streaked face. My whole body is frozen in an uncomfortable pose. I'm clinging onto this steep hill with all my strength, and my arms and legs have gone numb.
I start moving again. I move slower feeling my thoughts weigh me down to the ground. I keep moving until I feel that I cannot go on. Then I sit and start to sob. What was wrong with me?
Maybe I was mourning like Peeta said, but not in the way he thinks. I'm mourning for the absoluteness I used to have inside me, the idea that I knew myself better than this. I knew what I wanted and what I didn't want.
The truth was…I wanted children. I wanted to have children with Peeta. I wanted to see the mixture of both of us on innocent faces. I wanted to watch them grow, and teach them things that my parents taught me. I wanted to feel connected to someone again that I've grown up with.
Why couldn't I have said that to him? Why did I feel the need to hide all this from him? Because I was afraid. I was frightened he would somehow be able to convince me that it would be okay. He always made me feel safe, but I didn't want to feel safe in this. I knew, at least I felt, like it would be a lie. We would have no control over the world around us if it once more fell into darkness.
I was so adamantly against it not because I had no heart, but because I had too much heart. I felt too deeply for children I didn't even have. I have felt too deeply for everyone I ever loved. Losing Prim, watching her die has scarred me beyond what I could have imagined. I almost feel like I would be replacing Prim like my mother obviously has. But I have to remind myself…she wasn't my child. It just felt that way.
And now Gale, who I thought felt somewhat the same way, was doing exactly the thing I feared. It seemed everyone around me was starting over. I had noticed more than one pregnant woman in town. Everyone was moving on and living life. They all felt…safe. Was I just stuck in the past?
When I look up, I see that I have broken the tree line. There a miniaturized version of my house. A tiny dot walks back and forth on the porch. Peeta.
He's given me my life back. He's given me hope and love. Forgiveness. He's forgiven me over and over again. Why can't I give this to him?
I stay for awhile before the air gets too cold. Fall is coming. I am risking illness being out here. I start to move feeling more calm, but not any less conflicted. Getting down is a lot harder then climbing up. Many times I find myself blinded by my own body climbing down.
I am trying to focus on the task at hand instead of my simmering emotions, but I fail when I slip and fall a couple of feet. I manage to grasp onto the small tree sticking out to the side, but it's frail. My hard breathing and panicked thinking is the only thing ruling my mind.
I observe a ledge not far from me that I could jump to safety. Part of the hill under me has fallen, and I have nowhere to go.
Before I can start developing a plan to get to the ledge, the tree starts to waver under my weight. Peeta flashes before my mind. His smile, and then his worried face.
Then it hits me. What would happen to Peeta if he lost me? I never pondered this. I've always been too selfish to think of only what if I lost him.
He's lost everyone. He has no mother that is avoiding him, but still available to him. He has no best friend he could try to reconcile with. He has…me.
Dangling almost midair makes me not only afraid for my own life but for Peeta's. Would he try to kill himself if he lost me like I had imagined doing when I felt like I lost everything?
Would marrying him be so bad? Would it be worse than the fate of not having Peeta around?
I start to move as carefully as I can to the ledge, hanging onto the branch for dear life. Its takes a few tries, and some tense moments before I'm safe.
And then I hear a voice, but it's not my own. It's my sisters recycling in my mind. It was a saying she often tried to remind me when I was reluctant to change because of fear. Fear is faith that it won't work out.
She was always the optimist while I lingered in pessimism. I was giving so much power to my fear. It's what I had been trained to do since I was a child. It's what the Capitol had wanted; me in constant fear.
I loved Peeta. Marriage didn't mean the same thing to him as it did for me. I realized it was just another way for me to tell the world I loved him. To me it was a way of telling the world we were going to have children and risk it all. I sat on the ledge with the trees now obscuring my view. I wanted more than anything in that moment to see him, feel him, and apologize to him.
I managed to get off the ledge without much incident, and then I practically slide down the hill. I run as fast as I could. I'd made a grave mistake. I have put fear in front of love, in front of Peeta. I didn't even wait to hear how we could work out our problem. I just saw pain. I saw what fate and the Capitol had given to me, not what Peeta had.
I didn't display the faith and trust I had in him. I have to make it right.
I run and run until I am about twenty feet from my door. I stop before I reach the porch searching for Peeta who is nowhere to be found. Perhaps he has finally given up on me.
Then suddenly the door opens, and there he was. I pause for a moment taking the sight of him in. He has been crying too. I have truly hurt him. I know rejecting him hurt him, but I believe running away from him probably hurt more.
I don't hesitate a moment longer. I walk quickly towards him, breaking down in sobs and apologizing over and over again before he took me into his arms. He doesn't say anything for while, but just holds me. I can't stop saying sorry. I feel like I would never be able to say it enough.
Finally he pulls away and says, "I'm sorry Katniss. I know I shouldn't have pushed you." He kisses me lightly.
I hold onto his face. "I'm sorry. There is so much…fear in me. I can't seem to stop it sometimes. I fear disappointing you, but most of all I fear losing you."
"You're not going to lose me, I promise." He hugs me fiercely.
"I will marry you, just give me some time." I whisper in his ear.
He looks at me then with a concerned look on his face. "Katniss, you don't have-
"No, I get it now. It doesn't have to be about kids. I mean…I can…I will try to think about kids, but I can marry you because I love you and I want the world to know." He smiles a blinding smile at my words.
"Are you sure?" He asks cautiously. I nod. "I will wait for you forever." He kisses me soundly, and I feel his body relax.
He takes us into the house still kissing me. I feel like this morning, like this moment could be it. When he guides us up to the bedroom I know it must be that moment. I don't stop to think about fear or hesitation. My faith in him overcomes all things.
To be continued….
Yes, be prepared…we are so going there. LOL!