This is a commission for QueenCobraWing. Thanks for being such a loyal reviewer of WLBAG!
There are several concepts, characters, and real life things that I use and/or mention in this chapter that I don't own. These include but are not limited to the Hunger Games, Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason, Starbucks, Absolut Vodka, iPad, and Dr. Pepper.
A/N: Number two of four commissions for my top When Life Became A Game reviewers. My personal back story for Johanna is very different than the prompt I was given, so I hope it's still good...
EDIT: Sorry for the mishap with the footnotes! I've fixed it now.
IN THIS CHAPTER: STRONG Adult Language (I'm finding that I want to curse a lot more when I'm writing an older Finnick), Moderate sexual content with mentions of dubious-consent, alcohol use
Dear God no. If there is one person I don't have time for right now it's Johanna fucking Mason. That girl is the biggest piece of work—
"Mason," I say with a smirk. Gotta keep up appearances. My whole freaking life is keeping up appearances.
"Finnick Odair without a bitch in tow. Hell must've frozen over."
"I've got a date in an hour and a half."
Yeah, a "date". And I wasn't planning on spending that time being antagonized by the likes of Johanna.
She laughs. "Well lucky for you I have nothing better to do then hang with you for the next hour."
Appearances. Would Capitol Sex God Finnick Odair turn down time with an admittedly smoking hot girl for no good reason? No. FML.
"Really. Starbucks? On me?"
No. It's going to be a long night and this is the only hour I'll have—
Here goes freaking nothing.
"Can I have a Quad Venti Caramel Macchiato that's breve at extra hot; ninty-three degrees with caramel in and out and whipped cream on top?"
The barista furiously taps on the computer screen as Johanna gives her overcomplicated order at rapid speed. Not that mine's not much better.
"And for you?"
"Triple Venti Caffè Latte with whole milk and extra foam."
She nods and adds in my drink, slapping printed out stickers of our orders onto two venti cups. Johanna pays on her phone, and takes a seat on a leather couch in the corner. I'm not sure why I'm drinking a triple shot coffee right before an appointment. If anything I usually go for alcohol before one of these not caffeine. Down not up. Johanna pulls her iPad out of her bag and checks on her tributes.
"Oh look. Your tribute's about to kill mine."
I turn to the screen and see that my tribute is standing on top of her's with a spear in hand.
"Wonderful," I say drily. Honestly my level of interest in my tributes is at an all time low this year. This is my second time mentoring and seeing girls at the same time, and this year Snow's really piling it on. I haven't gotten a day off since I got here, and some days I have multiples.
"I have a Quad Venti Caramel Macchiato, Breve, Extra hot, Carmel in and out, with whipped cream on top and a Triple Venti Caffè Latte with whole milk and extra foam!" shouts the Barista from up at the bar.
Johanna stands and asks, "Do you want a stopper?"
She nods and goes to get the two drinks.
I turn back to her iPad and watch my tribute kill hers with the spear before carving her name into the young girl's forehead surrounded by hearts. I kind of started a trend amongst careers with that, especially kids from Four. I was completely losing my mind and never actually endorsed that, and I'm not sure what makes them think Mags would want that, but they keep doing it. Now the mentors in One and Two might encourage that, but we never have. Johanna comes back and hands me my drink before plopping down on the sofa and beginning to chug hers. Which is only seven degrees from boiling. Once she finishes half of it she asks, "So, did your tribute finish killing mine yet?"
I nod. "And carved her name into the forehead surrounded by hearts."
Johanna rolls her eyes. "She's still doing that? She's done that to every tribute she's killed since the bloodbath!"
"She has?" I know this is her third kill since the bloodbath, but I haven't actually seen either of the other two live.
"You didn't see? Both were aired live. Primetime, for that matter."
If they were primetime I probably didn't see them. That's primetime for more than just television.
"I've been busy…"
She gives me a questioning look for a moment before saying, "You must really care to do that."
I turn toward her so fast that I probably pull a muscle in my neck, but I'm not really worried about that right now.
She shakes her head. "Not here." She finishes her coffee, tosses the cup in the trash, closes the case on her iPad and stands up, heading for the exit.
I quickly get up and follow her as she weaves through the masses of Capitol tourists flooding the Games district. I'm not sure why; the only things here are the Training Center, Mentors' Tower, and the Control Building where the Gamemakers work, none of which you can gain access to without a pretty specific identification process. Hoping to meet a mentor or tribute on their way in or out, I guess. We end up at the Metro station, and I turn to her.
"You know I have to be at White Star in," I check my phone. "An hour?"
"Yeah, it's close," she says and pays for us both before I can pull my wallet out of my pocket. And she's right. We get off at the next stop, a transfer station for the red, green, and purple lines, and she exits out the door for the red line. Serving the red-light district. Two blocks later we're at the bar/strip club that Lallie used to work at.
I turn to Johanna and raise an eyebrow as she pulls open the door and I'm assaulted with the smell of smoke, club drugs, and sweat with a merry dash of puke.
"No one's going to think anything of us being here, and no one will notice us at all if we sit on that couch in the corner."
I shudder at the mention of the couch. I've screwed three different girls on that couch.
Luckily "the couch" is unoccupied and we both take a seat. Johanna's centimeters from being in my lap but I let her stay there; there are only three reasons why someone comes here. A, they're looking for someone to fuck, B, they're trying to get their significant other drunk enough to fuck, or C, they want to watch a strip show because they're seeking that kind of entertainment and have no one to fuck. Keeping up appearances.
I call over one of the waitresses who's wearing a dress that probably used less fabric than a bath towel, and order myself a shot of Absolut.
She raises an eyebrow.
"I owe you for Starbucks. And the metro."
She nods and orders a Flaming Dr. Pepper. Apparently she likes everything she drinks to be complicated.
The shots come, I tell the waitress to get lost (literally), and we both knock them back.
"So what's up that you brought me here?"
She looks away from me but answers, "They wanted me to do it too."
She turns and glares. "You know what, Finnick."
Oh. "But you don't—"
"I didn't believe them. I thought that there's no way that he'd be able to pull that off, it was just a bluff. Until I got home and was told that my mom and little sister had been killed in a logging accident. Machine malfunction in the plant."
"No, don't be sorry. It was my own damn fault. I thought because I had won the Games I could do anything. I was freakin' invincible. And I'm sure as hell not. You were smart."
"I wasn't smart. I was scared to death. It had nothing to do with anything mildly intellectual. I was scared out of my mind and did what I was told without a thought about how it would affect me or anyone else."
"Yeah, well, my mother is dead, and your mother is not, that's gotta mean something."
"Yeah, it means that so far I've been lucky, and haven't screwed up bad enough to get her killed yet."
She shakes her head. "I guess."
And for the first time, I talk to someone other than Mags. She understands. That was something I had kind of given up on after I got back from that first trip. But she gets me. And I get her.
My phone rings and it's Solai. As in the one who schedules all the appointments. What the hell does she want. "One second, I've got to take this."
"Miss Gray had an appointment with you thirty minutes ago and is wondering where you are…"
"Shit. Umm…tell her I got stuck in a photo shoot, but I'm on the way. Fifteen minutes top."
I shove my phone in my pocket.
"You've gotta go. Appointment," she states looking at the ground.
She looks up at me.
I turn and walk out of the bar toward the metro station.
I guess I'm not the only accomplished actor among the victor's circle.
1. Like always, I'm using SI units. That's 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
A/N: So that's it. Hopefully more will be up soon.
Please review, I really appreciate the feedback!