Another few weeks later, I was finally dismissed from the Capitol, and moved into District Four's Victor's Village. Because I no longer have any family, Mags and Finnick became my closest companions. I visited both of them daily, and soon, I was no longer grieving for my mother.
Finnick had to leave every few weeks on "Capitol business", and there was nothing I could do to stop him. But he kept his promise, and always came back to me in the end. I never questioned him about what new secrets he got out from these trips, or whether a fancy woman caught his eye. He never tells me anything voluntarily, and I don't mind. It's better if I don't know.
Of course, I still have nightmares about the Games, especially the cannons. I jump at loud noises when I'm awake, and sometimes, if I squint into the distance, I can almost imagine being back in the arena and surrounded by dead bodies. I have to speak aloud to myself in order to snap me out of the horrid daydreams. My behavior has dubbed me "Crazy Annie" by some. I don't see myself as crazy, but then again, what's considered sane? I don't know anymore.
It's strange, but I don't dream of my sister or other dead tributes. It's as if...they had left my mind. And then there's still the mystery of my fellow District Four tribute. I never did figure out what happened, or how he died. Finnick refuses to show me the recording, and every time I bring the subject up at dinner with him and Mags, they would both shift uncomfortable and Finnick would change the subject. I deduce that they're keeping something from me.
I suppose I'll never know. Finnick is not only good at finding out secrets, but also keeping secrets. It would be impossible for me to try and find out by myself, so I give up altogether.
I think now as I stroll along beach. It's easiest for me to think when I'm by the ocean. The lapping waves sooth me, and when I swim, I can forget about everything else and concentrate.
There's a shape in the distance. I frown when I see that it's a person, and said person is shirtless. Well, I guess it's normal for people to be shirtless on the beach, but there's something distinct about this particular person, something that I recognize. Something that reminds me of...Finnick Odair in his underwear.
I begin creeping up on him, hoping to surprise him. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, and he spins around and grabs me around my waist before I can attack him.
"Hey!" I complain, elbowing him.
There's laughter in his eyes. "Trying to scare me, huh, little mermaid? Nice try, but I don't get scared easily," he teases.
"Well," I huff, my cheeks burning. "I'll just have to keep trying until I succeed in scaring you, won't I?" I whisper to the sea.
"Good luck with that!" Finnick says sarcastically. "Come to think of it...you've succeed already, haven't you? Not to sound cliché or anything, but this is how we first met, Annie. You crept up on me."
"That wouldn't really be considered creeping, especially with all the noise I was making," I point out dryly.
"Were you making any noise? I was too busy tying ropes to pay attention to anything else," he replies.
He did have a point. "Quit being all nostalgic, will you? You're freaking me out," I mutter.
Finnick grins evilly, then he tackles me into the sand. "Oh? Now, this is what I call freaking out," he declares, and before I know what he's doing, he plants a kiss on my lips.
"Mmph!" I protest. Eventually, I give in, and kiss him back.
It feels, not to sound cliché or anything, like heaven. It's the first kiss we have that's actually proper, and I find myself enjoying it...more than I should.
When we pull away, I can only stare at the sand below me. I'm too nervous to look at him, and even this plan is thwarted when he cups my cheek in his hand and lifts my head up. "You have no idea how long I've waited for this, Annie Cresta," he breathes.
I waggle my eyebrows. "Oh? Let me guess...a few weeks?"
"Like that's an answer," he scoffs, shaking his head in mock disappointment. "It was supposed to be rhetorical."
"Oh," I say, because I can't think of another answer.
"Oh indeed," Finnick agrees.
Then I remember. "Don't expect me to give you any secrets, mister. Besides, I'm still hoping that you can answer some of my questions that you've decided to keep secret from me."
"No can do, Annie, no can do," Finnick says. "I...I love you, you know? And I especially love you when you're so innocent and cute like this. So I'm keeping everything away from you."
The jerk. I clench my hand into a fist. "I'm not a kid anymore, Finnick." But I can't help feeling warm at his words. So he loves me...
As I argue with him, I notice another figure appear on the beach. When I look closer, I see that it's Liliana, and I wave to her. "Hey, Liliana!" I call, hoping that what she said in the Capitol was just my imagination.
Her head turns in my direction, but then, she realizes who I am, and stalks further down the beach, leaving us. "She's not coming back," I say softly. "She doesn't want to be close to me, Finnick. Everyone close to me dies. Dany, Ellie, my mother, Spens..."
"I'm still here," Finnick says, his voice equally soft. "You can't get rid of me that easily."
"But for how long?" I wonder, and there's nothing he can think of to comfort me.
"Whatever happens, Annie, I'll come back to you," he says solemnly. "Always."
And, as he pulls me into a hug, I smile through tears.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games!
28 chapters later, Finnick's Charm is finally at its end. Thank you all for following the story until now, and I appreciate each and every one of your reviews. Without your support, I probably wouldn't have finished it.. Hopefully the last chapter wasn't too cheesy! (but really, I couldn't think of a better way to end it. -shot-)
Anyways... leave a final review? ;)