School isn't so bad when you have someone to talk to. I pretty much lost all of my friends after I came back, but that was my doing. I wanted to distance myself from what who I was. I'll admit it. The Hunger Games changed me into a different man. A man.

Sabrina is different. I don't see myself becoming romantically involved with her. She's too elusive for me, constantly changing subjects when something feels too close to home or too uncomfortable. I don't really care though. I can actually recount everything to her. Everything. I told her all about the Hunger Games and my nights with Mallory and my life with my mother and my resentment for my father. Everything.

But she doesn't say a thing.

"Sabrina," I catch her attention one day at lunch. "I always talk about my life. You can tell me about yours. I feel like we're friendly enough to be real friends."

"I don't like talking about myself," she informs me.

"I can tell," I respond. "But if I can trust you this much, know that you can trust me." I'm trying to distance myself from flirtation now. That wouldn't be a good thing at this point.

"My father was Head Peacekeeper in District 3," she explains. What? "He was transferred here to act as Deputy Head Peacekeeper."

"Your father is a Peacekeeper? I've been going off about my hatred for Jasper and the Peacekeepers altogether and you never said anything?"
"I love my father when he's not in the white suit," she says. Her eyes are swelling. Those illustrious gray eyes of hers. I shut up. "I don't want him to be one but that's how we earn money. That's how we can afford to live."

"I understand," I say. I really try to but her father is the very thing I hate most: the Capitol. "When were you gonna tell me?"

"I didn't want to," she admits. "But you're taking this a lot better than I expected." We both laugh. I don't know even why it's so funny. "At least we can trust each other now." We laugh again.

"The Hunger Games are approaching," I pick up the phone one day. No "hello" from Leon. Just a declarative in the most obnoxious of tones.

"I'm aware," I say.

"You best be preparing," Leon's obnoxious voice makes me want to puke.

"And how would I do that?" I ask.

"Practice your speaking, of course."

"Oh of course. How silly of me!"

"Lose the sarcasm," Leon says. Click.

The days leading up the Reaping are short. The time has come and I watch from the stage as the children of District 4 line up. Leon takes center stage and makes the usual announcements and the speech about the great President Jasper.

"And now to the Reaping," he announced. I grit my teeth and pray that I get someone worthwhile. Being a mentor will be interesting, to say the least.

"Marina Jestis," Leon reads aloud. A girl of seventeen years puts on an artificial brave face and steps onto the stage. Leon reaches into the bowl of boys' names. "Damien Seytifer." Good. Maybe he'll die. What am I even thinking?