It was mid-September, I believe. The weather was chilly, the air was crisp. It was morning, I remember, because my bare feet were damp with dew drops. There is only one reason I remember this day.
It was the day that I saw him.
His eyes were that piercing blue color that could catch anyone's attention from a mile away. They were most definitely his most prominent feature, even with the flawless blonde hair that swept across his forehead in a way that made my heart melt. I was unconditionally in love with this boy from the moment I met him. Maybe that's why I hated him.
Peeta Mellark was only five when my gaze first fixated on him. We were outside in a playground full of other children and our teacher, Mrs. Melandry. I couldn't have cared less where we were, just that this boy was here.
Does it sound crazy if I say I loved him at the age of five?
Soon enough, I was doodling Mrs. Katniss Mellark on all of my notes in every single notebook. Hearts were put on my homework with the initials KE + PM marked heavily inside. Teachers never questioned me about it, but I guess they already knew what they were. They could probably see the longing in my eyes when I looked at Peeta.
Eventually, I was thirteen and couldn't imagine marrying anyone else. I would have fantasies all the time, me wearing a gorgeous white dress and Peeta in a skillfully-made tuxedo. But, somehow, my fantasies were always interrupted before we could say, "I do."
A year later, I met Gale Hawthorne. He accused me of stealing his game from his snares. I simply wanted a better look at the wonderful craftsmanship. We became friends because of this misunderstanding and began hunting together every Sunday. I became attached and started to love Gale, but not in the same way I loved Peeta.
That brings me to where we are now, where I am sixteen and Peeta is two feet away. I'll tell him today, I tell myself. I'll tell him and not care when he laughs in my face.
The final bell rings and Peeta gets up to leave class. While he is putting his necessary books back in his bag, I talk a calming breath and gather up the courage to utter my next words.
"H-hi," I say. He doesn't look up. Either he didn't hear me or he's ignoring me. He couldn't possibly think I was addressing someone else. My only friend was Gale, and I barely spoke to him apart from hunting. He's two years ahead of us anyway. He can't be in this class.
That only leaves Madge, who is the Mayor's daughter. She enjoys my company while I reciprocate. We're very alike; we don't really speak unless spoken to and keep to ourselves. Still, though, she doesn't have this class. That should've ruled her out, too.
I sigh and muster enough confidence to try again. "Hi, Peeta."
This time he takes notice to me and inclines his head to see who called his name. He smiles at me. "Hey, Katniss," he says in his suave voice. I almost drop dead.
He knows my name, I think. Then I remember that we live in District Twelve, and everyone knows everyone's name, even the ones we never bother to speak to.
I must have paused too long before responding because he creases his eyebrows. "Are you okay?"
"What? Oh, yeah," I recover. "What were we talking about?"
He chuckles softly before saying, "I don't really know. You said 'hi', I said 'hi', then you froze and here we are now."
I smile slightly to myself. I should've expected his humor. "Oh, yeah." Great response, Katniss. "Um, I was wondering if you would..."
Oh, God, I completely forgot! I'll just improvise. "...like to walk me to your bakery."
Great save. He's definitely going to be weirded out now.
He laughs again. "Sure. I'm heading there anyway."
I sigh and grab my school bag and try to refrain from screaming, I LOVE YOU, WORLD! I don't even think the Hunger Games could bring me down right now.
"Ladies first," Peeta opens the exit from the school door for me. Was it my eyes deceiving me, or did I just see Peeta Mellark blush?
"Thank you," I reply like an idiot. Peeta Mellark just opened a door for you, and all you can say is "Thank you?"
Sometimes, I wish my brain would just shut up.
"So, Katniss," Peeta's voice makes me jump slightly. I also notice we're on the sidewalk, "Why did you need an escort to the bakery? Afraid that someone's going to jump out of the streets and get you?" He chuckles again.
Normally, this type of comment would make me hurl a fist into someone's stomach, but since it was Peeta, I simply giggled. "Yes. I'm also afraid that President Snow is going to get rid of the Hunger Games once and for all."
He laughs even louder than before. "Wow. Your in good shape if that's your biggest fear."
No, my biggest fear is that you'll laugh in my face when I tell you why I really asked you to take me to the bakery. My insides are devoured with this fear, but I keep from sharing this information with Peeta. Instead, I say, "I wish."
Now, we're not even three yards away from the bakery. My time to be alone with him is running out. Now or never. "Peeta, the real reason I asked you to walk me to the bakery is-"
"Peeta!" His mother booms from the door of the bakery. "You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago!"
"Sorry, Mom," Peeta apologizes. Then he turns to me. "Hey, Katniss, could we finish this up in an hour? After my shifts over. It's not that I don't enjoy talking to you, it's just that-"
"No, I understand," I cut him off. "It's my fault you're late, anyway."
"Nah," he reassures me. "I'm usually later than this. You really did me a favor. So, can I meet you back here at five?"
I nod, not knowing what else I can do in reply. He is so sweet, I gush mentally.
He grins. "See you at five, Katniss."
I smile and give a little wave goodbye before turning to head back home.
It went better than expected at least.
My feet are tired and sore from the pacing I've been doing for the past half hour.
"Will you please sit down, Katniss?" Prim begs from the couch. "You're making my feet sore just watching you."
I finally gather the will to sit down. My antics are only replaced, though, by me bouncing my knee.
"What's got you so worked up?" Prim asks, genuinely concerned.
I debate my answer before I speak. "Nothing big. In fact, it's stupid."
"If it's so stupid, why do you keep pacing like it's important?"
Darn her for being so smart.
"I just have to meet someone in a little while," I explain, leaving out as many details as possible.
I could avoid the question and get angry, resulting in Prim's tears, or I can be honest, yet vague.
"Oh," Prim grins her adorable know-it-all grin. "I see."
"You're meeting Peeta, aren't you?"
My mouth gapes open at her. How does she know?
I decide to voice my thoughts. "What makes you think that?" Okay, maybe I tweaked it just a little.
"It's obvious, Mrs. Mellark," she teases. "I've seen you work on your homework with the little hearts that say KE + PM. I may be twelve, but I'm not completely stupid about love."
It was the first time somebody applied the word love to the relationship between Peeta and I. Well, more so the lack there of.
"Don't tell anyone," I hissed. With those words, I stomped out the door, leaving a smiling Prim behind.
She re-opened the door I had slammed and yelled, "Bye, Mrs. Mellark!" before I was able to run away.
I walked slower to the bakery so I could rethink what Prim said.
I may be twelve, but I'm not completely stupid about love.
The words replayed in my head until I ran into something tall and solid.
"I am so sorry- oh, Katniss."
My heart did little flips because I realized that I had just touched the untouchable Peeta Mellark.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I wasn't watching where I was going."
"It's alright. I was waiting for you anyway."
I looked at the sky and, sure enough, it was around five o'clock.
"I guess I'm just lucky then."
"C'mon. You can tell me what you were going to say before my mother so rudely interrupted you."
I froze for a fraction of a second. If it was because of what Peeta had said or if it was because he outstretched his hand toward mine, I'll never know. I was just happy to be able to think, I'm holding Peeta Mellark's hand.
I didn't know where he was leading me, just that it was south of the bakery. Before I could ask where we were going, he stopped in front of a beautiful house.
"I wouldn't usually take someone here," he says. "But you have this... special glow about you. And whatever you tried to say before seemed important, so I assumed you would want to speak privately."
I opened the door to what I guessed was his house abruptly and sat at the kitchen table.
"You assumed right," I told him honestly. He sits down at the seat across from me and smiles. "But, with what I'm about to say, you might want to kick me out of your house." He gave me a look of pure confusion, so I elaborated. "It's... complicated."
"I would never kick you out of my house," he says and looks me in the eye with what seemed like a look of adoration.
"Um, well, what I'm about to say will-"
"I love you, Katniss."
My mouth stopped moving. My eyes didn't blink. Even my hair seemed repellant to the forceful wind pushing through the window.
Peeta looks down, ashamed. "I shouldn't have said anything. I was going to tell you... never mind. I guess you'll want to leave now."
"Tell me what?" I pressed, ignoring the way he stood up to lead me to the door like a gentleman would.
He sighed. "That I've had the hugest crush on you since we were five. But, as I said before, it was stupid of me to even bring it up. If you want me to walk you home, I can go grab a-"
"I love you, too, Peeta."
This time, he froze. I took it as my chance to continue.
"I've had this giant crush on you since we were five, too. I was going to tell you earlier at the bakery, but..." I trailed off. He was smart enough to fill in the blanks.
"My mom cut in before you could say anything," he said. "Katniss?"
"Can I kiss you? I've wanted to for I don't know how long."
In answer, I got up on my tiptoes and kissed him with all the passion I had bottled up in me since I was five years old.
"I love you, Peeta Mellark."
"I love you, too, Katniss Everdeen."
A/N: Aw! *wipes tear* I got the idea for this last night and had to put it up on fanfiction! This is only a one-shot, though. But I may consider elaborating on it if I get some reviews telling me to do so! Sooo, you should review! :)