LAST CHAPTER! Thank you guys so much for everything! The next story is Resistance: Falling. It's all from Finnick's POV and it's the event during and leading up to Catching Fire. I promise it won't suck – and there will be fluff!
"Finnick, I can't do this tonight," Annie says.
"I've tried to apologize twice already," I say. "And I've been interrupted both times. It's now or never."
Annie sits back on her bed, arms crossed. Her hair is soaking wet and she's pouting. "Let's get this over with."
"Don't sound so excited," I mutter.
"I'm tired, Finnick," she says. "Just get on with it."
She sounds upset. I wonder why.
"I love you," I say. It seems to be a good place to start. "You know that, right?"
She nods, making her curls bounce. "I know."
I half-expected her to tell me she loves me back. But I shouldn't be disappointed she didn't.
My next step is to come clean about the few things I can. "Yes, I had brothers. Two of them. They died along with my mother, and now my stepdad won't talk to me. And when we do have contact, it always ends in some sort of physical injury for one of us."
Annie starts gnawing on her lower lip.
I take her desk chair and move it so that I'm sitting directly across from her. "I've done things that I'm not proud of."
I know that's not a sufficient explanation. I'll have to open up. I'll have to talk about my feelings. And I hate my feelings.
How do I explain this, though? How do I explain that I'm numb – that I don't care about anything or anyone except for her and Mags? I had to become detached to survive. I had to shut out any and all emotions just to be able to get out of bed in the morning.
"I had to make myself . . . dead," I say, and realize that it sounded a lot better in my head than it did coming out of my mouth. Annie doesn't seem to get it. "Dead inside, I mean. I had to stop feeling. Otherwise, I would never have made it out of the arena."
Annie flinches at the word arena, but I only stop talking for a second.
"I managed to keep it out of my mind when I got home, but only until the, uh, selling began. And I had to start dying inside again. Am I making any sense?"
She nods solemnly.
"I was depressed," I continue. "I had no control over my own life. I couldn't even bring a tribute home. Not until . . ."
"Me," Annie finishes. She looks at me for a split second before her eyes dart down again.
"Exactly. And like I said, I love you. I love you so much it's like pain. That's why I wouldn't let you go to Mainland during the fire. I can't lose you." I sound like an idiot.
Annie is studying her hands. "Why did you sleep with her?"
"You remember what I said about being dead?" I ask. She nods. "I don't feel as guilty as I should – about anything. And I wasn't thinking about what I was doing to you." I hold her hands in mine.
"But why did you do it?"
"I don't have a good answer to that. I did it because I wanted to." In an attempt to catch her eye, I bend a bit so that my face is under Annie's. "But I don't care about Johanna."
Annie's crying now. "Really?"
And she launches herself into my arms. I hold her so tightly that I'm in danger of breaking her. But I don't care. She doesn't seem to, either.
"I love you, too," she whispers in my ear. "Just don't do that again."
"I won't," I say quickly. "I swear."
There's a small pause before she says, "Okay."
"And I promise I –"
Annie slaps her hand over my mouth. "Just kiss me."
"I can do that." But my voice is muffled and it comes out as gibberish.
Annie presses her lips against mine. We kiss for a little while before Annie comes up for air. As she pulls away to catch her breath, I kiss her cheek, jaw, and neck. "You need to stop being so . . ." she struggles for words. "You."
"Stop being so me?" I say. "I'll try my best, but it'll be hard. You may not have noticed, but I'm quite the catch."
She giggles. "I love you. I can't say it enough."
"I don't mind. I like hearing it." I just look at her for a second. "I really am sorry."
She runs her fingers through my hair. "I know." But she doesn't say that she forgives me.
"I'm never going to hurt you again. I promise."
Annie swallows. "Finnick, don't make promises you can't keep," she whispers.
She's right. But at least for now, I can pretend she's wrong. I can pretend that things will be fine. Pretend that we have a chance at a real future together. Pretend I can keep us safe from the rest of the country. Pretend that we'll both be safe in this fantasy world. But sooner or later, something will bring me back to reality.
And I can only hope that we'll both survive it.
Yeah, that's it for this story. I really hoped you like it. I had a lot of trouble with the ending so even if you hate it just pretend you don't for my sake. Thank you guys so much for everything!