Alright, so we're kicking off a new story. Every chapter comes with a song. This one is Wash: Bon Iver. I own no rights to these characters. Happy Reading!
Love stories weren't meant to blossom in the Districts. Fairytales were only made up for the children in the Capitol of Panem…and the dark days. Elaborated on for those poor people without hope and full of delusion. Those are what fairytales are made of. But they aren't found here. There are no mermaids in the sea. Only lonely fisherman with their old boats and siren songs.
The cloudy smog of sea salt shrouds our afternoons only to sometimes involve the hazy sun that would only appear with a harsh heat. The angry waves that only calm after storms beat against fishing marshes and pools that we knew to swim in when safe. No, as beautiful as the coast could be, it was just as dangerous. Where our home isn't surrounded by crashing waves, it's lined with barbed wire. District Four isn't the worst place to live, but it certainly is no Capitol of Panem. The food, although not terrible, is scarce. It's a fight for food. It's a fight for distributing it to the Capitol and for salvaging it for a starving family. That's why we do it. That's why we fight so hard for the title of Tribute…to save ourselves, our families. Once ago, being the daughter of a merchant in District Four, food wasn't necessarily the worst of our problems. Although we only receive the bits of fish no one wants or stale biscuits, it's still food. No, it was business that threatened to take that little bit of luxury from our family. That's how I first knew of him. Finnick Odair, son of my father's enemy. What with the Odair family spearing away in the territory where our nets stayed, they were practically stealing without consequences. And with that problem lingering about, we were no further from poverty than the rest of the fishmongers.
I remember the days when I was younger, helping my parents take care of our business. My mother would sit by the edge of our pools taking twine and rope and weaving these intricate nets and my father would let our used nets drape over the pools where schools of fish would swim by and hide from the thrashing waves. My father would stand carefully and still until he saw it fit to throw his spear down. I would watch in awe and my mother would just smile, her dark hair covering most of her face as she went back to work. She only brought up her dark eyes when my father would come back on shore with three buckets at a time full of fish and other little edible creatures. "A lovely catch," She would tell him, kissing him on the cheek. Humbly, he'd wipe the sweat from his brow, pushing back his equally dark hair and give her a curt smile. My father wasn't a man of many words, except when he saw the Odair brothers approach our bank. "I thought I asked you to stay away from this spot, Odair?" My father called out. Mr. Odair was a boisterous character, strong and muscular. The tall man and his sons loomed over my father and I remember a spark of anger ignite in my chest. I was young and carefree like my father had been when he was a boy, and I was ready to fight. But my mother's gentle calling pulled me back, "A lady keeps a cool temper. Now be my sweet girl," She told me, pushing her hand softly through my caramel wavy locks. I sat back down beside her and would help her net. But since then I held a special grudge for Mr. Odair and his son Kane. And an even deeper one for his youngest son, Finnick, the boy with the trident.
It wasn't until after my thirteenth birthday did that change.
"Annie, go down to the pools and check the nets," My mother ordered. I pulled back my dark curls and grabbed my swimming shorts and shirt. Wading in the somewhat calm waters of a small pool was an ideal escape of the District worries and daily chores.
"Yes mama," I called back and ran out the door of our quiet little coastal cottage. I remembered the grains of sand, slippers of comfort as I trekked through our trails to the ocean. The crisp sea air greeted me as the sun was slowly peaked past daybreak. I approached the bank of rocks that were just above the pool where our nets laid. That's when I saw him. Finnick Odair, a tall, tan, scrawny boy with no luster and bronze-colored hair, and sea green eyes like everyone who lived by the coast. Finnick Odair, a boisterous, rambunctious arrogant creature. I despised him. Him and his family were enemies of the Crestas.
I didn't mean to gaze so intense towards him, but my eyes lingered as my mind mulled over thoughts, which I can't remember anymore. He, his older brother Kane, and friend Thomas had been carelessly hunting around our fishing nets. The three of them elbowed each other with congratulatory smacks on the back. "Good shot, Finn!" The other two boys shouted after a fling with his flimsy trident.
I rolled my eyes and scoffed. That's when they took notice. "Careful Cresta," Finnick called out with that arrogant crooked smile. I became surprisingly angry as he watched me with a smug grin. My toes gripped the slippery rocks, as I pretended they weren't there and I reached out to the nets as if I hadn't heard him. I crawled on the rocks to inch closer, my knees a little bruised and scratched. I was so close but as I finally reached the buoy that held the net, pulling it up, a huge force fought back, and dragged my body to the sea. The waves thrashed and slammed my body to the rocks. I instinctively let go of the net for fear I be captured. It didn't make sense how a simple daily task became my enemy but my only option of escape was floating like driftwood. My body was pushed under, deeper into the pool until I thought I wouldn't be able to outride the crazy mayhem of the waves. I felt my body succumb to breathlessness. I felt my body sinking and my lungs shrinking. I swore I would die here in a pool of water, lack of oxygen making me weak. But I guess fate had different plans. My last memory of the pool was a strong pair of hands retrieving me. A cough, a splutter, and I was revived. "Hey, are you ok?"
Looking into the eyes of my savior, I choked. "You…You saved me." I said, gasping for air, fighting out of his hands. I stared at him in confusion.
His green eyes glared at me in surprise, "You didn't think I'd let you drown?" He asked with an offended tone ringing out.
I coughed again, trying to catch my breath, "I didn't think you'd save me."
"Be careful Cresta," He repeated but this time with a look of disappointment and warning, leaving me there with my thoughts.
After that day, I thought differently about Finnick Odair. It was my first real memory of the real him.