Effie Trinket burst into the home of Katniss Everdeen wearing a pumpkin orange wig.
"We are on time!" She announced in that loud and cheery voice of hers. She kissed Katniss on both of her cheeks, making her blush a little. The team had done a marvellous job, yet again, at making Katniss look amazing. The girl herself looked a little uncomfortable, but that was nothing to worry about right now, the tour was about to begin after all.
"I have made a very tight schedule for us and there is not a single minute" Effie said and took a quick look at the bunch of papers in her hand. "Let's just shoot the beginning and get to the train as quick as possible, the other Districts are already waiting!" She chirped and motioned everyone to take their places.
Katniss stepped out of the door, seeing Peeta and trying to figure out the most convincing ways to prove that they were in love. She leaped to Peeta's arms and they spun around a few times. Their kiss in the snowfall crowned the whole thing. For some reason, Effie Trinket couldn't help feeling something chewing her insides a bit when it happened. She didn't know what it was, but she was glad it was gone as quickly as it came.
"Alright everyone, to the train." She said happily and pushed everyone to the right direction.
The trainride was certainly not silent. Cinna and Portia were chatting about new clothing ideas for the couple, Haymitch was drinking (what a surprise) and Effie was explaining the whole team's schedule to Peeta and Katniss.
"-so you see, we must get up very early in order to make it to every event that's been planned for us. I suggest you sleep as much as you can, this job can be very tiring for those who aren't used to it." Effie finished and took a small sip of the turquoise liquid in a tall glass next to her.
"Uhm.. Thank you, Effie. I think I'll go take a nap right away." Peeta said and escaped from any future lectures. Effie simply nodded in approval and was happy that she could have a chat with Katniss with just the two of them.
"Well, how's life been since.. Well.. The games?" She asked with a careful smile on her face. Katniss had to think about that for a moment. 'Safe.' was the first thing that entered her mind, but she didn't want to say it. It sounded weak to her, and that was the last thing Katniss Everdeen would be. "It's been.. Different, that's for sure." Katniss admitted. She also flashed a smile and it made Effie's heart speed up a bit. She simply ignored it as excitement for the forecoming events.
"Well, great." She replied. An awkward silence followed and Katniss couldn't stand it.
"I'm going to go find Peeta. I've got some things to talk about with him." She stated, got up and left Effie sitting by herself. Just as she was about to open the door, Haymitch flung it open and Katniss fell to the floor.
"Watch it!" She exclaimed and rubbed her nose. Haymitch mumbled something like a 'sorry', but no one was really sure if that's what he really said. Effie quickly got up to help Katniss and she had to make sure that Haymitch hadn't broken her nose.
"Are you alright? What about your nose? Should we get someone to take a closer look at it?" Effie babbled away, but got a simple answer from Katniss: "I'm fine." She ripped herself away from Effie's grip and made her way to the door once again.
"Whazzup wiff her?" Haymitch sputtered, but didn't get an answer for he fell unconscious to the floor, right in front of Effie's brand new shoes.
"Oh, for goodness' sake!" She said and asked for a servant to take the man to his quarters.
It was getting late, everyone was in their own rooms, everyone except Katniss. She had to speak to Haymitch, now that she still had the time. She arrived quickly to his door and had to knock several times before the door was opened.
"What is it?" He asked grumpily. Katniss told him that she had to speak with him and he came up with an excuse to get out of the train for a minute.
Katniss told him everything. Absolutely everything. She started from the nightmares about the games, she told him about Snow's visit in her home and she told him about Peeta. She didn't want to keep up their relationship, it simply didn't feel right.
"Don't you get it? Your relationship with Peeta isn't just going to be left in the dust. It'll be brought up every year, cause you two will be mentors from now on. Your private life will be the subject of discussion to the day you die. Face it, Katniss. You're going to spend the rest of your life with him."
They went back inside to the warmth of the train. Haymitch got safely to his room, but Katniss just had to crash into Effie. Her nose could only take so many hits, it was already sore from the blow it had got earlier.
"Sorry Katniss, I wasn't looking where I was going- wait.. What are you even doing here this late?" She asked. Katniss had to come up with an excuse and fast. "I was.. Um.. Well.. I was just.. Getting a drink. I got really thirsty back there." 'That was a close one' Katniss thought and anxiously waited whether her lie was believable enough or not. "Oh, I see. Well, good ni-"
"Wait. What are you doing here this late?" She just had to ask it. She noticed that Effie's cheeks a tad more red as she desperately tried to get something out. She struggled for a moment but decided to tell the truth, or at least part of it.
"I was simply clearing my thoughts. There is a lot on my mind lately. Everything needs to be on time, you and Peeta, and of course a few personal things, but you don't need to mind your head with that." Effie told Katniss with a slightly stressed look. Katniss felt a little bad about her rude escape from her this morning and she felt it would be necessary to apologize and yet seh couldn't bring herself to do it right now.
"Oh. Well I hope it'll get better", was all she said.
Effie smiled and left quickly so she wouldn't slip any unneeded information by accident. Katniss shrugged and finally went back to her room to get some sleep.
Katniss was staring out the window, looking as the sun was slowly rising in the horizon. The night had been filled with nightmares that made Katniss wake up to her own screams and she was exhausted, although she did her best to cover it. She was very grateful when she heard Effie knocking on her door, telling her that breakfast was ready. Katniss quickly dressed up in something comfortable and dry, and washed her face to get rid of the sweat pearls that had made their way on her forehead. After she was done she exited her room and headed to the dining car for some breakfast.
Effie was already sitting in one of the tables by herself, but she hadn't even touched her meal. She was looking out of the window with a forlorn look on her face and a heavy sigh escaped her lips. Katniss wanted to make the woman smile again so badly. She coughed lightly to get her attention and immediately Effie's eyes sprang to her. A smile was suddenly on her face, whether it was fake or not, Katniss wasn't sure. "Morning." She said sleepily.
"Good morning, Katniss!" Effie said with her usual happy tone. "You made me wait quite a while."
"You just woke me up." Katniss replied and looked hungrily at the table filled with food.
"Well, go on then!" Effie said and patted Katniss' back. In a while they were both eating a delicious breakfast, chatting about basically anything that hit their minds. As much as Effie liked small talk, she had more pressing matters on her mind.
"Effie?" Katniss asked in a concerned voice. Apparently she hadn't heard her so Katniss waved a hand in front of her eyes.
"Are you okay? You've been a lot in your thoughts lately." Katniss asked her. Effie picked on her food with the fork and answered: "Of course I am. I'm simply stressed out. No need to worry, though, it's nothing big." Another smile, certainly fake this time. She didn't know why, but she found herself caring more than she originally thought. After her remark, Effie put much more effort in being happy and positive as usual.
"Where's everyone else?" Katniss asked after a while.
"Who knows about Haymitch." Effie said, "Cinna was up really late when he was organizing your clothing car. He has reserved you at least one hundred different costumes. The evening dresses are marvellous. And Peeta's team should be up in a minute."
"Why aren't they preparing him already?" Katniss asked.
"They did a lot last night, trying out suits and whatnot.", Effie answered.
Finally everyone else began to appear to the dining car, one by one. Cinna, Portia and Venia looked terrible. They had coffee cups in their one hand and migraine medicine in the other.
When the styling team was done with breakfast they moved to the clothing car, taking Katniss with them. They quickly made all necessary touch ups around her face and her body, and checked everything from her eyebrows to her ankles. Soon she was returned to the dining car, but now instead of mountains of food, there were only some colorful drinks on the tables. Time passed on as Peeta and Katniss went through the schedule again and this time Haymitch was with them. Suddenly the train stopped. The driver came in to announce that there is a small malfunction in the train's system and it would take about an hour to fix completely.
And that's when Effie went nuts.
"An hour!? This messes up the entire schedule! Every single tiny detail needs to be moved! Do you have any idea how much effort it took me to plan everything so in detail and now I might as well feed these papers to rats!" she screamed. She began the lecture of a life time and after about fifteen minutes, Katniss couldn't take it anymore.
"Effie, who cares?" she shouted. Everyone in the table turned to look at her and she stood in silence for a second before sprinting out of the room. Effie looked a little hurt by the outburst and suddenly it was awkwardly quiet. Peeta got up and ran after Katniss to make sure she didn't do anything stupid.
He saw her sitting on the railway, staring at the sunset.
"I thought you were Haymitch." Peeta sat next to Katniss.
"He's trying to help fix the train. Bad day?" he asked her. Katniss rolled her eyes and said: "It's no big deal." Peeta looked at her, knowing she was lying.
"Ok, fine. I'm worried." she said and Peeta looked at her, silently asking her to continue.
"It's sort of stupid, but.. It's about Effie." Peeta's eyebrows rose in an amusing fashion and he said: "I knew it." Katniss shot him a look and continued: "I mean, something's obviously wrong with her but whenever I ask her about it, she says she's just stressed."
Peeta nodded in understanding. "I see.", he said and put a hand over Katniss' shoulder. "Just try to get through her shell. She'll talk to you eventually if she wants to."
Katniss just looked at the horizon, hoping that the older woman would share her worries instead of building them up inside. She knew from experience that it was no good. They stared at the sunset for a longer time than they thought, and suddenly the train whistled. Haymitch came to get them back and Katniss went right back to Effie to apologize about her outburst.
She was forgiven after a long and complicated apology with a compliment here and there, but she wasn't finished yet. Katniss waited until everyone else except Effie had gone to sleep. 'This is it.' she thought and cleared her throat.
"Effie.. I.. I need to ask you something", Katniss said.
" Oh. Well, what is it?"
"I'm a little concerned about.. you. You looked really sad this morning and I'm wondering if there's anything I could do."
Effie looked at Katniss with an unsure glint in her eyes. She opens and closes her mouth a few times, but no words come out.
"Katniss.." she whispers, "I really am sorry if I've caused you to worry. I told you that you don't have to think about my personal problems. You've got enough to deal with as it is."
That's all she says before standing up and leaving, taking all her notes with her.
"I suppose I'll just have to wait," she said aloud, slightly disappointed. She was about to leave as well, until she stepped on something. It was a piece of paper, full of scribbles and neat handwriting. 'Effie must've dropped it.' She thought and looked at the writing on the page. Something small caught her eye at the corner of the paper. There was a small heart with two letters on it, KE. There was only one name that matched the syllables.