I've had this idea for awhile and I really wanted to write it. Anyway, this takes place during Catching Fire and will go into Mockingjay. Enjoy.
Chapter one: On the Boundaries of Properness
A Quick Insight from Effie:
Behavior. That's what defines each individual whether you are from the Capitol or from the very low class of District Twelve. My mother used to tell that to me as a child. It was always, "Effie, sit up straighter in your chair. Young ladies of Panem do not slouch." or "Effie, darling, do hurry up. You are expected to be at your studies in exactly one hour and you know how important promptness is." And I respected my mother for drilling such a topic as the importance of proper behavior into my young mind. It got me where I am today.
Of course, I expected the position I landed in would entitle me to deal with others who—unlike myself, had mothers who did not see one's behavior as the most important aspect of daily life. And I did prepare myself as best I could but of course, being that citizens of the Capitol were of no comparison to those in District Twelve, I found myself utterly disgusted by most mannerisms they—the tributes I escorted, exhibited. And then of course, there was Haymitch…
Haymitch, probably the rudest and most primitive—I refer to it as that because he might as well be living in a cave the way he keeps himself groomed, man I had ever met. I cannot count the number of times I nearly vomited at the sight and smell of him. It took all of my efforts and all of my training to keep myself sane when I first became acquainted with him. Though, as my mother would say, with a bit of coaxing and tough—well I'd rather not use the word "love" at the moment, anything was possible. So, whenever I found myself around him, I managed to press forth the idea of a shower once in awhile and a uniform change. It didn't always work but I made sure that at least when we were visible to the important head figures from the Capitol during the Hunger Games events, he was "acceptable" a term I use lightly when saying.
I could put up with Haymitch—for short periods of time of course because, after all, there is only so much peeving a person such as myself can take. So, our short visits with one another while the Hunger Games go on are enough to last me a good while…
But, unfortunately, I guess after being around someone enough, you grow a liking for them—much to my dismay. It wish I didn't. His manners, his attitude, he made me so angry, livid to put it better. But, there was something about him that—and my mother would turn in her grave if she knew, attracted me to him. And maybe that's why I showed up two months earlier than necessary to discuss the schedule for the Victory Tour with him. Maybe there was a deeper meaning to my visit rather than just my concerns of making sure everything was perfect. Little did I know, the outcome of that visit would dramatically change my life and his.
"Haymitch Abernathy!" I call, growing impatient as I knock yet again on the door of his home in the Victor's Village.
I knew he was awake, probably having a good laugh about me standing outside in the cold. That was Haymitch for you. Always finding some way—whether it be on purpose or just his usual self, to annoy me. The wind blows causing a shiver to spread through my body as I wrap on the door once more, cursing myself for not wearing my warm mink coat like Cinna had suggested when I had called to inform him and Portia that I would be paying a visit to District twelve. Then again, there was always the possibility something inside Haymitch's house would ruin it…
"Haymitch!" I snap, the cold causing my ability to mask any mood I'm usually with a smile to fade. "I know you can hear me! Open this door immediately! I—"The door opens and there before me looms a figure reeking of alcohol and sweat. Haymitch. "Well, it's about time!" I huff, straightening my hat as the wind has blown it crooked on my head.
Haymitch grunts and I push myself into his home before he has time to shut the door. The ungodly stench of alcohol reaches my nose as I make my way across the floor littered with empty liquor bottles and into what probably once was a very nice living room.
"You know," Haymitch reaches down and manages to find an unopened bottle amidst the rubble. "It's improper," he mimics my tone of voice as he opens his bottle, taking a rather large swig of the stuff before clearing his throat. "To come to a person's house unannounced to them."
"Well I tried calling." I say getting a bit defensive. "Several times actually but you never answered. I suppose the phone was off the hook or something…"
"Didn't feel like answering it." He takes another gulp and exhales. I frown deeply at his comment but decide not to press it further. After all, I would get no where with him on that. "So Princess," I stiffen at that name. I had told him on several occasions to refer to me as Effie but for some reason, he seemed to find that more fitting. "What has made you decide to come and annoy the hell out of me this time?" He lets out a sarcastic laugh before flopping down on what I now see is a filthy couch. "I thought I had at least another two months before having to endure another lecture about my despicable appearance. Has my stench reached the Capitol or something?"
He's drunk but there's no surprise there. Taking a deep breath to maintain my composure, I manage to find a nearby chair that has not been too dirtied up and careful take my seat. I flip through the neatly written pages on my clipboard until I locate the section entitled 'Victory Tour'.
"Well," I exhale, forcing a smile onto my face. "I just thought I'd come early and discuss the details of the Victory Tour with you." He lets out another sarcastic laugh but I continue anyways. "Anyway, as you know, in three months the tour is to begin and—"
His hand extends forward before I can finish. "Princess, I've been on the tour before. I doubt much has changed and if it has, I really honestly don't give a damn." I inhale sharply as he finishes his bottle of liquor. How rude of him to interrupt me like that! I don't ever interrupt him…usually.
"Well, as this will be your first time touring as a mentor, I thought it best that we—" He tosses his bottle on the floor. I wince as it clinks with another, unsure of if it shattered. I'd be careful to watch where I was walking when I finally decided to leave. "Anyway, I just think it's very important that we make sure Katniss and Peeta's schedules are perfect and everything goes according to plan."
"If it's their schedules, then why are you discussing it with me and not them?" I blink a few times, trying my best to not lash out. After all, it was not at all proper to do such a thing.
"Well, as their mentor, I thought that maybe—"And again, I am interrupted.
"Look Princess, neither I, Katniss, or Peeta really care exactly what time we arrive at a destination or where to be at certain points, isn't it obvious that none of us are even wishing to go on this damn tour in the first place?"
I bit my lip. "Don't call me Princess and how do you know they aren't excited? You're drunk most of the time and are oblivious to half the things that are going on around you!" I slap a hand to my mouth once I realize my mistake. An outburst. Now I was becoming just as good as him.
Haymitch expression does not change as he reaches for another bottle. "You forget, Princess." His tone is serious. "I was them once and," He opens his bottle and before I have time to even blink he drains it dry. "And I realize more of what's going on than you think I do." He tosses it aside, an expression on his face that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand. "Much more."
We're silent for a few minutes. I have never really been at a loss for words before. I place my hands over one another as I do my best to keep from nervously picking at my nails. You would never have known it from looking at my well kept nails, but I was quite the nail bitter—visit the manicure place every Wednesday.
"I'm sorry." I finally manage to say. "I shouldn't have snapped." To my surprise, Haymitch actually lets out what I think is a genuine laugh.
"Made you seem human for a minute." And I'm not sure whether to take his words as a compliment or an insult. So, instead, I focus on the empty bottle in his hands.
"How can you stand the taste?" He lifts an eyebrow in response to my question. "It smells horrible. It can't possibly taste good." I thought about mentioning how it was rude that he hadn't offered me, his guest, anything to eat or drink, but I wasn't sure if what it had would be worth asking for.
"Burns like hell going down." He mumbled, tossing yet another bottle aside. "But that's what it's supposed to do. Far better than any drug your Capitol could make."
I look down at the floor for a moment, taking in for the first time how many empty bottles there are. Shaking my head, I left my eyes to meet his. "Well, I wouldn't have time for such a drink anyway. I have far more important things to focus on. You have no idea how much planning I've put into this," I shake the clipboard at him.
He rolls his eyes and I watch him lift two bottles from the floor. I can't hold back a small huff of disgust as I think of him drinking two more bottles of that horrid drink.
"Haven't you had enough?" I chide, thinking of the three bottles I saw him drink previously, not wanting to know how many he had drunk before my arrival." But, I'm a bit taken aback when he tosses one towards me.
"Also good for stress." He gives me a smug look before nodding at the bottle. "That one's on the house."
I'm shocked. Why did he just toss me a bottle? Had I somehow implied I wanted one? I tried to think back but nothing I had said made me think that I had given him the idea I wanted a taste but actually, implied the exact opposite. I stared down at the bottle in my hands as my mind flashed to my mother's lecture on manners. "Always accept a drink from your host, even if you don't like it." She had once said. But, did that even apply to Haymitch? I inhale sharply as I pop off the top, the smell fumes out causing me to feel a bit dizzy.
"Go on," He grunted, nodding towards my hands. "It ain't gonna kill you. At least," He laughs sarcastically, "Not yet anyways." And I wonder if he's referring to his own drinking.
Without thinking, I thrust the bottle into my mouth and take a rather large gulp. He's right about the burn. My eyes water in pain as it slides down my throat leaving a sizzling pain behind. But, it's quite odd, it, in a way, feels good. Very good. So much so that I find myself taking another sip and then another until reality grows hazy and I sink into a fantasy, a dream, that only a bright light and a searing headache pull me out from. And that's when I find myself in bed. Not my bed but a dirty, yellowed sheets, liquor reeking bed that takes me only a minute to put two and two together.
In my drunken stupor, I, Effie Trinket, had slept with none of than Haymitch Abernathy.
Poor Effie, this trip didn't seem to go how she had planned. Anyway, to clarify a few things. No, Haymitch did not drug Effie or anything like that, she's just not one to hold her liquor. I hope I portrayed them alright. I'm doing my best to keep them in character as much as possible. Anyway, please review, author alert, favorite, all of that good jazz. It makes me feel motivated which makes chapters come sooner.-Jen