I do believe that this is the chapter that everyone has been waiting for. I also apologize for updating so late. I wish I could say that I'll be quicker with my updates, but in reality, I think that won't be possible. Maybe when this semester ends, I'll be able to start updating weekly again. Please enjoy.
Chapter 4: You Found Me
Today, I am in a abnormally bright and cheery mood. I had no problems with Gale yesterday - he ate his soup and then he went straight to bed. This morning, he ate his breakfast and then headed off to work.
Today is going to be a good day. I think to myself as a turn the shower on. I have a coffee date with Peeta, later I have work, and then maybe I'll buy a cupcake from Peeta's bakery.
I hold my hand under the sprinkling water, and I wait for the temperature to rise. Our heating system is very bad. The water temperature will never rise above being barely warm. Once my hand is satisfied with the warmth, I strip all of my clothes and tentatively step inside the shower. The cuts on my back sting where the water droplets make contact with my skin, but overall I feel pretty relaxed. I reach for the ever slippery soap, and begin to wash any away any dirt from my body.
I wish I had the money to buy those fancy shower gels that they cell in town. I regrettably think to myself. For some reason, I feel the uncontrollable urge of wanting to smell exceptional for Peeta.
Now, my cuts are more irritated from the soap bubbles that are seeping into their crevices. I hurriedly try to wash them away; it's hard though, when I can't see where my hands are scrubbing. I scrunch up my nose and wrinkle my forehead when my left hand brushes, a little too hard, against a large bruise across my abdomen. Minus the cuts on my back, my current condition has now beam normal to me. That's what you get for marrying the wrong man.
I finish taking my shower, and then I go to relieve myself. When I start to urinate, I feel an intense burning sensation. I'm caught off guard since I haven't had sex with Gale for a while now; in addition, even though it's pretty rough sex, I never felt such intense pain from peeing.
Maybe I have a UTI? I'm sure my mom has something for that. There is nothing worse than having the only healer in the Seam, be your mother.
"Katniss?" I hear a voice call from down stairs.
Because I'm upstairs inside a closed room, I can't tell who it is, but I put on my clothing very quickly.
"Katniss?" The voice now calls for urgently.
When I pull my shirt on over my head, I briskly jog down the stairs. I see a very unsettled Peeta sitting on my couch in the living room.
"What are you doing here?" I don't say this in a mean way, I'm just quite confused.
At the sound of my voice, Peeta turns his head to look at me, and I swear I can see relief wash over his face.
"Oh, thank god," he breaths out.
"Peeta what's going on?" I cautiously question.
Peeta looks apologetically at the front door and says, "Sorry for coming in like this. I knocked earlier, but no one answered. When I called your name, and no one answered, I began to freak out."
"Forget about that. What's wrong?" His strange behavior is starting to scare me.
He looks at me as if he's trying to find something. He must have found what he was looking for, or gave up because he looks back at my face.
"Katniss? When did you get that bruise?" he gestures at me. "Right there on your right arm. Or the one on your neck?"
My hand flashes up to cover the bruise on my neck. How could I be so stupid? I forgot to put my coverup on when I heard someone call my name, and now I have to explain these bruises.
I force a fake giggle from my mouth, "These bruises? I… I… Um. I was at work, and an out of control goat ran into me. Knocked be straight onto the ground!" I wince at my own pathetic excuse for a lie.
"Please don't get mad when I say this, and if I'm wrong I'm very sorry," Peeta apologizes before and. "Is the hypothetical goat's name Gale Hawthorne?"
I can literally feel my entire face turn white, and all the muscles in my body stiffen.
"W-what?" I choke out.
Peeta gives me a sympathetic smile. It's like he already knows the answer, but I don't understand how. He's only met Gale a few times before, and I don't think it would be enough for him to deduce that he's abusive.
"Of course not, what are you talking about?" I say this as if he just told the best joke ever.
"Um, well… Last night, Gale actually came to visit me at the bakery," I think my already white face just got paler.
"Gale d-did what?" I croak.
"Yeah, he came by the bakery with a couple of his friends…" he says too casually.
Gale's actions have taken me by surprise. I'm not sure if I should start apologizing to Peeta even though I have no idea if Gale did anything or not, but if Peeta is mentioning it then something had to have happened.
"Peeta what did Gale do?" I interrogated forcefully.
"It's not really a big deal, I'm just here to check up on-"
"What. Did. Gale. Do?" I interrupt him.
I watch Peeta's shoulders raise and then fall as he sighs.
"He told me that he doesn't like it when I hang out with you," I know he's not telling me everything.
I can tell that Peeta is having an inward debate with himself about whether or not he should tell me. Once he finishes deciding, he puts on a sour expression.
"Well, I might have taken a punch or two, but it's really no big deal," Peeta explains as he raises his shirt above his waist.
The kid is toned. I then see a reddish-purple color on his lower abdomen, and I know all to well, from experience, that the color will only darken.
"Gale attacked you?" I almost shriek out.
Peeta winces at the sound of my voice. He looks around uncomfortably as he nervously scratches the back of his head.
He gives me a look, like he's struggling on telling me the truth, when he says, "Well maybe it wasn't really an attack. It was just a punch… and a … kick."
"I'm going to have to talk to Gale about this," I am pissed off. It's one thing for him to hurt me, but he is not allowed to harm my friends - especially Peeta who is six years younger than him.
"Katniss, please," Peeta gives me those too damn cute, puppy eyes. "I'm fine, really. I didn't come here to complain about what happened. I'm here to make sure that you're ok?"
I think that when Peeta woke up today he decided 'I'm going to go to Katniss' house today, and try to say as many things that will leave me tongue tied.
"Uh… what?" I asked confused.
"Uhm…" Peeta starts with an anxious voice. "Well, I don't want to make any… assumptions… But does, does Gale ever… Ah never mined. It's not important."
I know that he wanted to ask something, but I don't press him for details. There is always a chance that he wants to ask me about if Gales does to me what he did to Peeta. I don't know what I would say if he asked me that.
"Ok, well I'll make sure to talk to Gale about his late night visits. I am so, so sorry about what happened," I inform him.
"No, it's fine. I don't want to cause you any trouble. Don't worry about it," he tells me.
Peeta then lets out a small sigh and bids me a good bye. I try to ask him if he wants to come in and drink some tea, but he tells me that he's fine. Once he leaves, I decide that I should stop by at my mother's place. Today's Saturday so Prim should be out of school, maybe I'll bring her to the bakery. She loves Peeta's cakes.
I walk into my bathroom, and just as I'm about to go, I notice that my underwear is spotted with blood droplets.
This is weird. I swear I had my period just a week and a half ago. I've been pretty regular for many years now.
If I ever get the courage, I'll bring it up to my mother later today.
Several hours after thinking (about the Peeta/Gale situation) and milling around my house, I leave for my mom's place. It's awkward to talk to her about having a urinary track infection, but it has got to be done. This isn't the first time that I've needed one of her many remedies for my never regions; on the other hand, the last time I needed her help was seven years ago when I still lived with her. Ever since I've started having sex, it's uncomfortable to ask her personal questions about myself.
I walk on the dirt road, following all the twist and turns it makes. I can feel the edges of small pebbles through the worn down soles of my leather boots. The bottom of my boots have tattered squares of different color leather that I have sewn together to patch up my shoes.
I eventually find myself in front of my old childhood home. It might just be my imagination, but for some reason, the house seems to emit an ominous ambiance.
Here goes nothing. I think uneasily.
I take the last few heavy steps to the front of the door, and knock. Then I wait. I fidget as I hear the sound of feet approaching the door. For some reason, I feel like I'm going to come home unhappy.
The door swings open, my mom is standing there with a warm smile on her face, "Hi, sweetheart! It's been so long."
"Hi, mom. How have you been?" My voice sounds rigid.
"I've been doing well, but what about you? Are you ok?" She looks worried. I know she picked up on my tone of voice.
"I've just been having a pretty bad day. But it'll work itself out," I answer hopefully.
"Is it troubles with Gale?" she questions.
Nail on the head, mom, nail on the head. She is too good at this.
I try to play it of coy, "What makes you say that?"
"Well, I'll have you know, I was once married too. Believe it or not, your father and I used to fight sometimes," she expertly replies.
"Yeah, i guess that's true… Can I come in?" I try to change the subject.
"Of course, honey. Come on in," she says as she steps to the side of the door.
I walk in and I take a seat on her couch, she sits next to me.
"So what's up?" She asks. She knows that I didn't come here to talk about my life. Ever since I 'married' Gale, I haven't stopped my here that often. I'm now feeling a little more than guilty about that.
"Well…" I start to say awkwardly, "this morning when I was going to the bathroom… I felt this intense burning pain. I think I might have a UTI. Do you have any medicine for that?"
My mom looks a little surprised from my request. I don't blame her since we aren't a really open family - I don't like to share my problems with her.
"Alright, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" She asks politely.
When did we ever become so formal with each other.
I nod my head as my 'yes' to her question.
"These might be a little personal so I'm sorry ahead of time," she warns.
"Where you exposed to a large group of people in close quarters?"
"No," I reply, my eyebrows furrow in confusion.
"Have you been wet for a long period of time?"
"Um… You're going to have to elaborate on that one," I tell her, frazzled.
She blushes when she realizes her phrasing.
"Have you worn wet clothing for a long length of time?" She says a bit more prudently this time.
"Mm… Not that I can remember."
I really don't know what she is trying to get with all these random questions.
"When was the last time you've had sex?" She asks extremely quickly.
"Uh… Uhm… Er.. not recently?" I cough out uncomfortably.
"Ok, ok. Any other symptoms that you have been experiencing?" She asks me suspiciously as if she knows something that I don't know.
I decide to man up (or woman up) and tell her about the bleeding.
"Several hours earlier, I noticed some bleeding even though I just had my period recently," I honestly inform her.
Her face scrunches up as if she's very displeased with the news.
"Normally, that happens every once in a while to girls. It really isn't all that rare."
"So I'm alright? No cause for alarm?" I feel almost relieved.
"I would like to say yes, but if you combine this symptom with your earlier symptom…" She trails off.
"What? You can't not tell me now," I hate UTIs, but it won't be the end of the world.
"Sweetheart, I think you have… Gonorrhea," she lets out the bomb.
"What? What makes you say that?" I feel like laughing because this is such an unrealistic situation. The only way I could have gotten it is if I had slept with other men, which I haven't.
My mother looks down at her hands anxiously. Her entire body language seems strange - something is off.
"What aren't you telling me?" We may not be a very close family, but I do know when she's keeping something important from me.
I know something is wrong when she refuses to meet my eyes.
"I don't know why, but I didn't think too much about it when he came by…"
"When who came by, mom?"
"Gale visited me two days ago, something about how he hasn't been feeling good."
"Gale did? He never told me about this." I say, surprised.
"I think it must have been to embarrassing for him even though you're his wife."
Now I have to know why he came here.
"What did he have? A cold? I don't recall him sneezing."
"He told me about his symptoms just like you. Except his where an off-colored discharge from his penis and swollen testes. Those are the male symptoms of gonorrhea."
"Oh. my. god." I gasp out. "He gave me gonorrhea."
Then in an instant realization struck me full-force.
"Gale cheated on me!" I voice loudly. I am horrified.
"Now Katniss, lets not jumped to any conclusions."
"I'm not jumping on anything. There is no way he could have gotten an STD without sleeping around!" I feel so betrayed.
"What are you going to do?"
I am half way out of the door when she finishes her question.
"Peeta! It's your turn to cover the counter!" I hear Verick shout into the back work room.
I then finish kneading some bread dough, then I place the dough in a bowl, and then I cover it with a clean dish rag.
I walk into the front part of the bakery, and relieve Verick. For some reason, he hates working with the customers. Aside from doing piping work on cakes and cookies, biding to customers wishes is what I like to do the most.
"Thanks man!" He says with great appreciation. "Earlier, this one-eyed lady told me some sob story then basically begged me for free cakes. I mean what? Do I look like some sort of a fool? If you're going to beg for food, do not beg for one of the most expensive desserts that we make. Honestly."
I pat his back in understanding. It's true that I do see many starving people who stare hungrily at our baked goods, but there are also those who make up stories to get free food. Usually those are the ones that ask for a specific type of free food. I hate it, but I normally don't give out free food to the obviously starving - our bakery just can't afford it; on the other hand, I do in fact, give some left over trimmings of pies or cakes (and if it's a lucky day, disfigured cookies) to the malnourished children that gaze longingly into our windows.
Several non-eventful hours pass by of me taking and filling out orders. Every now and then, if I'm lucky, I make a trade with some poachers. My shift is almost over when I hear the bakery bell jingle. I look at the entrance, and I see Katniss little sister, Prim, walking towards the counter. I've only met her once or twice when she brings her to the bakery.
"Hello, Prim. What can I get for you?" I ask her, keeping my tone gentle.
"Hi, Peeta… I think I might need your help?"
"Oh really?" I ask her, perplexed.
"Yeah. I think that Katniss might be in a bad situation…"
This statement catches my full attention.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Well, she came over this afternoon. She didn't see me, I was hiding in a room next to her and my mom. I couldn't completely hear what they were saying, but it sounds like she's going to confront Gale about something."
I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned about Katniss calling out Gale on whatever shit he has done.
"They should be fine right?" I think I'm trying to convince myself more than her.
"That's the thing. Katniss may never admit it, but I can tell. I can tell that he sometimes hurts her. You've noticed it too, right? Right?" My deepest worries have just been confirmed.
"Prim, this is what we are going to do," I try to muster up as much confidence as possible in my voice. "You're going to go home, and not let anyone know that you visited me here, ok?"
Katniss' cute little sister nods her head. "What are you going to do?" She asks.
"I'm going to make sure Gale doesn't hurt her," I pat her head and yell into the back kitchen announcing that I'm going to be taking a quick break.
I don't even wait for the permission to skip out early. I run. I run as fast as I can towards the house of the girl I love.
Man, it's been way to long since my dick has gotten any action. All I want to do is go home, eat some food, and then bang the fuck out of my wife. Except stupid me just had to go and sleep with that one chick, who's name currently escapes me, that I knew had something nasty about her - hey she was hot though. Now I went and got myself a pretty ol' STD. I've been sleeping around with several other women, and I have been perfectly fine. Too bad I had sex with Katniss before my symptoms showed up. I have heard, though, that many times women don't even get symptoms. So maybe she will never know.
I walk into my house, and I am upset when I don't hear any noises in the kitchen. I see Katniss sitting on a chair in my living room, so I stroll over to her.
"Where's dinner?" I straight up ask.
"Hello to you to, deary," there is a biting edge to her tone of voice that I do not appreciate.
"Where's dinner?" I ask again, this time a bit more impatiently.
"Dinner? I thought that you would have already munched on some crabs."
"What are you talking about? District Four hasn't sold anything to our district for a long time." Katniss is acting weird today.
"I think you know what I mean!"
"Do. Not. Raise. Your. Voice. At. Me." I say menacingly through my teeth.
"Do. Not. Cheat. On. Me." She says, mimicking my tone of voice.
"What?" I ask dumbfounded.
How does she know?
"Don't play innocent with me, Mr. Gonorrhea," she insults.
"You have no authority to accuse me of anything!" I shout at her.
"I can't believe you! How long have you been cheating on me?"
"I have never cheated on you!" I lie.
"You are such a hypocrite! You get all mad when I drink tea with Peeta, but you go off and fuck other girls!" Now I am pissed.
"You better shut your fucking mouth. And I don't want that kids name repeated in this house again." She is asking for it.
"You cheat on me, give me an STD, accuse me of cheating, and then you attack Peeta in his own bakery!" The bitch screeches.
I raise my right hand and I smack her across the face with the back of it. I have always been taught that a wife should always be obedient, and Katniss is far from that.
"He told you about that, didn't he?" I whisper into her ear.
"Gale," she says much calmer, "we are over. I can no longer put up with your shit."
Oh my god, the bitch wants to die.
I'll answer that wish.
My hands grasps her shoulders, and then I throw her onto the ground. The couch gets turned over, and the table that she halfway lands on breaks. She lets out a satisfying cry of alarm. I lift my leg into the air and prepare to stomp down on her with my foot. I propel my foot downwards with full intentions on crushing her face.
I won't get in trouble for this. This won't be the first time a husband kills his wife.
I see her eyes close tightly shut when my foot falls inches above her face, and then the next thing I know, I am hurled across the room - I connect with a crappily built bookcase. I then feel a sting on my cheek. I lift my hand to investigate, and a tooth falls onto it.
"I would suggest that you stay down where you are," the oh-so-irritating voice chimes out.
I look up and I see Peeta pulling Katniss into a sitting position. She looks too lost for words. Peeta gives me a stone-cold glare then picks up Katniss in his arms. He sets her frightened form onto the couch, and he whispers something into her ear. When he finishes, he walks back over to me.
"I'm really, really not a violent person. I don't like fighting or anything like that… But, I am going to enjoy this," as soon as he finishes I feel a quick, strong kick to my stomach.
"Ugh!" I grunt.
I am buckled over when I peter lifts my head up, and then slams it into the already broken bookcase.
"You should reflect on your actions today," he says icily, "because next time, I might not just stop here."
He walks over to Katniss. She greedily accepts his embrace as he carries her again, he arms wrapped tightly around his shoulder and chest. I am too astounded for words as I watch their retreating form exit my house.
End of Chapter 4. I hope you liked it. In one of the later chapters, I will have an explanation for why Gale's the way he is. He didn't just wake up one morning and decide to be an absolute jerk. Be prepared for some major Patniss in the next chapter! Nothing too major since I gave Katniss gonorrhea and all… I felt like I had to, to give her the incentive to finally leave Gale.
I'm starting this new thing where you can track my writing status. On my profile I'll say what chapter I'm writing and how many words I have written. That way you all won't be in the dark with my progress. I think the next chapter the I do will be chapter 2 for My Oppression.
Please, Please Review :) All of you have been so good with that, and it makes me smile every time I read a new review.