The much anticipated 11th chapter of "Waking up" is here!

I bet you guys thought I forgot all about you? You probably thought I up and left you for another story. But you were wrong. So I'll go ahead and tell you "I told you so". And you can apologize by reviewing! :)

Love, Nicolette

- Year Five -

[April]

Peeta's POV

It didn't take long for word to spread about our engagement. I promised Katniss that no one else needed to know but her and I. Then a few days later I found out that she'd told Haymitch, who of course, foolishly told Effie, who of course told everyone else.

Plutarch already called a few weeks ago, literally begging to catch the wedding on video. To which Katniss and I, not so politely, declined.

I still can't shake the feeling that she may leave me some day, and I'm not sure I'll ever be convinced that she's with me to stay. But lately I'm trying to live in the moment and be happy that she's given me the things that she has. I can't dwell on the past forever, and I can't continue to worry about things that may or may not ever occur. The only thing I can do is give her my all every day. Try to show her how much she means to me, try show her how lost I would be without her. And continue to hope and pray every day that I won't wake up one morning and she'll simply be gone.

Tonight, I can't sleep. I've been so used to her warm body resting next to me every night for the past few weeks, that now I'm spoiled. You'd think I'd be used to the feeling of her not being around after the years I spent without her, but this isn't the case. And now the feeling of wanting her near is even worse than before.

I flip over onto my back, simultaneously throwing the blankets away from my body. It's far too hot for a typical April night. The moon outside casts long streams of light across the ceiling in my room. I watch as the tree outside my window dances in the wind, causing the shadows on the ceiling to dance. I close my eyes again. Fighting the urge to leave my bed and walk over to Katniss' home. But tonight, above all nights, we should be apart. If for no other reason than to truly appreciate being together every night for the rest of our lives after tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the official ceremony. Much to Effie's dismay, we've decided to keep it a simple as possible. Tomorrow I'll wake up early and bake a loaf of bread to be used in the toasting. I'll shower and get ready on my own. Effie wanted to help, but I convinced her to help Katniss instead (something Katniss won't really know about until tomorrow...). I'll meet Haymitch at his house and we'll make our way to District 12's newly built town hall. Katniss and Effie we'll already be there getting ready for the signing, as well as all the other guests that we've invited. The guests will take their seats in the main room and wait for the signing to take place. Katniss and I will wait at opposite doors that lead to the main room. Once we're given our cue, the doors will be opened and we'll walk toward one another to the pedestal in the middle of the room. Tidus, the towns newly elected mayor (I decided to turn down the position myself several months ago), will present Katniss and I with the official paperwork to become husband and wife. She and I will sign the papers and will be followed out of the hall by the few people we've invited to the wedding. We'll all load up into Thom's wagon that will take us back to Katniss' house, which will be considered our marital home. Our friends will sing the traditional District 12 marriage song as I lift Katniss across the threshold of our new home, and shut the door behind us. Once inside we will start a fire in her fireplace and each toast a piece of the bread that I made that morning over it. Sharing a bite from each piece, we will officially be wed.

No one from District 12 truly feels married until this ceremony is completed.

I can't imagine anyone ever feeling more excited in their entire lives than I do in this moment. Which is another reason why it's impossible for me to sleep.

I close my eyes again and try to remind myself of all the reasons why I shouldn't get up and go to Katniss' house. Why I shouldn't take comfort from her, the only person who can offer me any comfort.

My eyes fly open when I hear a creak coming from somewhere in the hallway outside my door. Immediately my heart speeds up in pace and I feel a smile involuntarily stretch across my face.

"You're losing your touch Katniss."

I wait for a moment, and sure enough my bedroom door creeps open slowly. She doesn't say a word, but I can't help the warmth that floods through my veins when I feel her move to lay next to me. Her head easily finds it's place on my shoulder as my arm slips around her back. We lay silently for a while. I feel my body relax more and more every moment that she's near, I'm just about to drift off to sleep when she speaks.

"It's hard to imagine that tomorrow I'll have this... Forever." She whispers.

"Forever." I repeat into her hair. Suddenly, instead of wishing for morning to come so that I can marry the girl I've loved most of my short life, I'm wishing this moment would never end, so that I might simply stay here in this bed with Katniss, forever.

She says nothing more, but moves her hand slowly back and forth against the light dusting of hair that covers my chest. The feeling causes a chill to rush through my body, and I feel her smile against my skin. I feel the muscles in my stomach tense as she slowly begins to slip her hand lower, moving it across the now feverish skin covering my ribs, and then down to the trail of hair that leads toward a very sensitive area. I feel her fingers gently brush along the elastic of my boxers and I know if I don't say something now, I never will.

"Katniss..." My voice sounds foreign even to myself and I try to ignore the feeling of self loathing I feel when her fingers leave my skin. But instead of getting up and leaving like I was half expecting her to do, she moves all at once, swinging a leg over me, sitting on top of me, straddling my waist. I notice for the first time that she's wearing thin pajama shorts that feel silky as they brush the skin below my belly button.

"Peeta..." She whispers my name back, with a smile in her voice. She leans down and brushes a soft kiss against my lips. "Don't you want to touch your fiance?" She whispers against my ear before sitting up and slowly ridding herself of her shirt. Tossing it to the ground somewhere in the dark recesses of my room. I reach my hands up slowly to rest them on the sides of her naked hips, my eyes lingering on the faint outline of her rose colored nipples.

"I need you Peeta..." She whispers in the darkness. Her fingers gently grab the wrist of my right hand and guide it slowly up to cover her pert breast. On instinct my fingers pinch the pebbled nipple and roll it between them gently. I feel her intake of breath and her body suddenly shift on top of me.

This is when I snap.

I simply can't take the waiting anymore.

If she leaves me tomorrow, then so be it, at least I could have this just once before she leaves. This is a mantra that I'm sure I'll be repeating in my head every night for many years to come.

Although I'm not exactly sure when it happened, suddenly I'm on top of her. In a position I've never let us get to before. Me on top of her, between her legs. My hands are in her hair, our tongues play a feverish game of cat and mouse. Darting toward one another, then away. Over and over. I roll my hips into the juncture between her thighs and she gasps against my mouth.

Knowing that her and I will be married tomorrow helps me to give in, to accept my not so grim fate.

My hands trail along her naked skin and find purchase at her hips, I anchor her to the mattress as I trail kisses from her lips, down to the skin of her neck, before placing a feather light kiss onto her nipple. She takes in a quick breath, bucking her hips up against the now completely evident bulge in my boxers. Without thinking I pull the nipple between my lips, trapping it while I suckle gently, effectively pulling sounds of ecstasy from Katniss' throat.

I'm forced to stop my ministrations when she suddenly reaches down to slip her hand into my boxers. Wrapping her chilled fingers around the overheated flesh of my cock. I feel myself throbbing in her hand as she stills, obviously unsure of what to do next. I've never let her get this far. I move back up towards her face, capturing her lips in my own.

The heat has momentarily subsided, our inexperience in all things sex finally surfacing. She doesn't move for another moment, and I decide to take the lead by reaching down and wrapping my own hand around her tiny one, slowly guiding her hand to slide up the length of my cock until her fingers slip over the head and I feel the wetness of my own pre-cum touch the sides of our fingers. I remove my hand and she takes over, moving her hand agonizingly slowly along the shaft of my cock. I attempt to resist the urge to buck into each stroke, but fail most of the time. Every tiny movement of her hand on me is threatening to push me completely over the edge.

Each time she strokes I lose a little bit of my control. I realize that I'm about to hit my breaking point and without thinking reach down to take Katniss' hand away from me. I see the look of disappointment in her eyes only a moment before I reach my hand down slip below her shorts. Her eyes go wild and she reaches down to try and stop me, until my fingers make contact with the wet heat between her legs. Immediately her hand drops from my arm and her head falls back onto the pillow. She's slick and warm and I savor every tiny moan that escapes her lips as I slide my finger back and forth across the sensitive nub above her opening. Her hips begin to jerk towards me. My cock throbs with every movement and sound she makes, to the point that it's painful to continue.

Before I even have time to realize what I'm doing I've stood and removed my boxers and begun slipping Katniss' shorts and panties down her never ending legs.

The picture before me is one that I imagined in my mind hundreds of times in my short life. But I don't think I ever truly thought I would witness it outside the recesses of my mind.

Katniss lays naked before me with her legs slightly spread, a deep blush covers her from head to heel, but the look in her eyes is anything but shy. Her now long dark hair is splayed across the pillow around her head. I've never seen anything more intoxicating in my life. An overwhelming sense of responsibility and pride washes over me when I realize what this amazingly perfect woman is giving to me tonight. She actually chose me. Of all the people in the world, of all the men she could have had, she for some unknown reason, chose me.

She chose me.

My lips are on her again as I push my fingers through her silky hair. My other hand finds hers laying limp against the sheet above her head. I intertwine our fingers and take a moment to pull back and look at the face of the woman I love. The only woman I'll ever love. Her heavy-lidded silver eyes lock onto mine and I watch in awe as the corners of her mouth twitch up into an unbelievably seductive smile. Her eyes slip close as she leans forward and catches my lips in another lingering kiss. I feel her move her hips up off the bed to make contact with the hardness between my legs. The heat I feel there is overwhelming.

"Please Peeta..." She whispers. Hearing the desperation in her voice, I know that I can't hold on much longer.

I have to ask. I have to be absolutely sure this is what she wants. Although I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to stop if she says no.

"Katniss..." I pause, waiting for her to open her eyes and look at me. She has to know exactly what I'm asking. "Katniss, are you sure?" I finally manage to choke out. If it's possible, her blush deepens and she doesn't hesitate before nodding. I reach between our bodies, positioning myself so that my tip is just inside of her. Everything in my being wants nothing more than to be completely buried within her, but I find myself unable to continue without warning her. "It might hurt a little bit the first time..." This knowledge is completely based off things that my brothers had talked about when I was younger. I have no idea if what I'm saying is even completely true. But she whispers in response,

"I know..."

And with those two words, I press into her, feeling just the tiniest bit of resistance break before I begin to slip inside. Every inch deeper that I move I can feel her body tense and stretch to accommodate me. I fight the urge to take her fast and hard like my body is begging me to. I can't help but notice the wince of pain in Katniss' eyes as I enter her. I manage to hold still every few seconds until she seems to relax, and then continue to push my way in. I can feel her walls contract against the invasion. But once I'm buried to the hilt inside of her I feel her entire body begin to relax. I wait for some kind of sign from her that I should continue, and after a few seconds I feel her squirm beneath me and she whispers my name. This is all the hint I need.

The next minutes will probably be the most remembered and recalled moments of my entire life. After a few strokes Katniss begins whispering my name in pants and bucking her hips up eagerly to meet my thrusts. Her fingernails drag down my back, stinging, but in just the right way.

We move slowly and I savor each moment. My mind isn't able to wander anywhere, but on the body and responses of the woman below me. She whispers incoherent words into my ear and I shower her neck with nips of my teeth. I feel one of her ankles hitch behind my hip and somehow I manage to slip even deeper inside of her, pulling long moans from Katniss' lips. It's only moments later that I feel her entire body tense up around my cock, her body begins to convulse below me and I hear my name escape her lips, this time in tense broken syllables. I can't possibly hold back any longer and am unable to control the groan that passes by my lips before I feel myself come undone inside of her. Thick waves of pleasure lap over me as I spill hot streams of seed deep inside, shudders wrack my body and I'm unable to control my movements. The pleasure is undefinable.

I lay breathless for a few moments on top of her, careful not to put all of my weight down, but unable to lift myself off of her. She throws one arm around my waist and leaves it there, while catching her breath beneath me.

"I love you." She whispers breathlessly into my hair.

"Forever." Is the only word I manage to sputter out, but I know she understands what I'm trying to say.

Sometime, hours later, I awake to the first light of morning and realize that I have to make the bread for our wedding ceremony. I wake Katniss with a kiss and she hastily collects her things to make her way over to her own home to get ready. Hopefully Effie doesn't notice her running down the street this morning. Something tells me she wouldn't be happy if she knew we didn't spend our last night before the wedding apart.

But frankly I don't care too much.

I just had the most earth shattering, mind numbing, unexplainable, unbelievable night of my life. After today, Katniss will be my wife and as long as she's around and will have me, I'll have many many more nights just like it.

xoxo

Katniss' POV

I feel as if my heart is going to beat right out of my chest. I can't manage to catch my breath and it's crossed my mind more than a few times to run away and never look back.

Last night was absolutely nothing at all like I thought it would be.

I understood that my body wanted Peeta. And over time came to realize exactly what I was craving. But I had no idea that it would be anything like what I experienced last night.

I felt as if I'd been taken to some other dimension. A place where only Peeta and I existed. I felt sensations that I never knew my body could produce and knew they were something that only Peeta could pull out of me.

And I literally couldn't wait for it to happen again.

As strange as it sounds, I'm almost positive that's the only reason I'm still waiting outside this door. Effie sits next to me jabbering on about the flower arrangements in the main room, that I haven't seen and probably won't notice once I enter the room anyway.

Somewhere in another room, Peeta is waiting to see me too. In a few short moments we'll be man and wife, we'll be tied together for as long as we'll have each other.

These thoughts make me panic and shudder in anticipation simultaneously. I grew up assuring myself that I would never get married, never bring children into the world, never become destitute and dependent upon another human being like my mother did with my father.

Yet here I am.

And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that whether Peeta and I are married or not, I'm already a goner. I'm already as his mercy, I'm already completely dependent upon him for survival. I exist simply because he exists. And although the thought of losing him is just about the scariest thing I've ever imagined in my entire life, I can't bring myself to try to separate myself from him. In a few moments we'll be married. In a few moments everyone will know he is mine, and nothing short of death will force me to be separated from him.

"It's time!" Effie chimes. And I'm sure my heart will leave a bruise, as hard as it's pounding against my chest.

The door opens and far on the other side of the room I can see my reason for existing. He moves towards me and suddenly all my fears are forgotten, I want nothing more than to meet him in the middle and never leave his side again.

xoxo

Peeta's POV

How did this happen?

How did I suddenly go from the unfortunate soul chosen to be a tribute in the Hunger Games, to being the luckiest, happiest man in the world?

Long after our toasting I lay next to Katniss' sleeping form. Her shoulders are bare and I brush my fingers along the soft skin of her back until they reach the silken sheet that covers her lower half. I move them up to slip through her silken hair. The sheets of the bed are pulled up in two corners and our clothes are strewn around the floor and bed. Evidence of our lovemaking fills the room. I lay back in our bed feeling spent and completely satisfied. My body finally cooling off from our first multiple heated sessions as husband and wife.

Looking over at her, I can't help the warmth that seems to fill my body and soul. I now know what it is to love with every fiber of my being and wouldn't change a single aspect of my life up until this point. Every horrible thing that's happened to me has led me one step closer to her.

It was all worth it.

xoxo

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