I limp back home, fuming with anger. That darn squirrel! I slam open the door to my house and see Peeta setting the table. He looks so calm and neat…no wonder. He's not the one who has to traipse through the woods all day to hunt! No, I get the hard job!
Peeta smiles up at me, a sickly sweet smile, that says I'm perfectly relaxed at home. "You're back! How was your day?"
"Awful," I grumble, stomping into the house, "I didn't catch a single thing, I fell out of a tree for a damn squirrel, my ankle is twisted—agh!" I cry out, tripping over Buttercup. Luckily, Peeta's arms catch me.
"That beast," I snarl, "should be put to sleep! No, it should die a slow and painful death! Get your arms off of me, Peeta!" I say, pushing out of his overprotective grasp.
Peeta looks hurt. "Katniss, are you okay? Why are you acting like this?"
"Acting like what?" I fume, "Sorry I'm not Ms. Sunshine, but if I got to stay inside all day like you, I'm sure I'd be just peachy!"
"Katniss!" Peeta says, gaping, "What's gotten into you? You love…" he trails off. Suddenly, understanding fills his face, "Oh! Is it your time of the month?"
My face flushes. "That has nothing to do with this! Just…get me food!"
Peeta smiles, making my anger rise. "Alright. I've made some salad, prepared the rabbit from yesterday, and made a cake."
I plop down on a chair, and Peeta gives me a look. "What?" I hiss.
"Aren't you going to freshen up?"
"Just because I don't smell like flowers right now," I say, "Doesn't mean I can't have dinner."
"Don't 'but' me, Peeta. Stop being such a nag."
Peeta narrows his eyes. "Just because your hormones are raging high doesn't mean you can talk to me like this, Katniss."
"I told you that has nothing to do with it!" I exclaim, "I'm sorry I'm not showering you with kisses, but I've had a rough day!"
"I understand that, but—"
"No you don't understand!" I say, "You stay inside all day baking and painting, while I break my back hunting and climbing trees in the hot sun!"
"You're being so irrational!" Peeta says, his voice rising, "No one's making you hunt, Katniss! You're the one who—"
"I just want food, okay?" I hiss, "I want to eat then go to sleep. Stop. Irritating. Me."
"Shut up!" I yell.
Peeta's eyes look hurt. My anger fades for a second when I realize this is the first time in years that I've yelled at him.
"Holy crap," Peeta mutters, "And I thought today was the day I would…" He sighs, "Never mind. If you want to eat and sleep, go ahead. I'll…I'll skip dinner today." He then leaves, looking so dejected that my anger evaporates.
That's when I notice the flowers. They're primroses, put in a vase in the center of the dining table. Several candles surround them.
A feeling rises through me. Shame. Peeta, for whatever reason, wanted an amorous, candle-lit dinner. And I ruined that for him.
I realize how horrible and illogical I was to Peeta. The bad day combined with my…hormones, caused me to turn into Bitter Katniss. I took my anger out on him.
Tears fill my eyes. I am so awful to Peeta! He's so nice, and I…I'm downright nasty!
The tears start streaming down my face. Peeta was right; I amon a rollercoaster ride of emotions due to my time of the month. Still, the way I acted doesn't have any excuses. I need to make up to Peeta. I can't talk to him right now, because I am utterly horrible with words, so I decide my apology needs to be written. I am slightly less horrible at that.
I traipse upstairs, knowing Peeta is in the living room. I pull out a sheet of paper from a desk, and sit down with a pen in my hand.
I can't just write I am sorry across the page and hand it to him. That's so impersonal. My eyes flit around the room, trying to think of ideas.
Suddenly, it comes to me.
My hand shakily moves across the paper. Six words stare up at me:
10 reasons why I love you.
I feel like Peeta doesn't know. He doesn't know why I love him, or even if I still love him. I do, I do very much. There are way more than ten reasons, but I figure that's a good number due to my writing skills – or lack thereof.
That's where I get stuck. One reason doesn't not immediately jump out at me; it's like a million causes are swirling through my mind, one in particular not standing out.
I then think of how I acted today, and how nice Peeta was through it. If it were him acting like that (and not due to his hijacking), I would've yelled right back and maybe even threw in a few punches. My hand automatically moves across the page.
1) You put up with my anger.
The reasons are coming faster and easier now. I think of his steady arms around me at night.
2) You keep away the nightmares.
It takes a lot to make me crack a smile. Someone who I've known my whole life might not ever get me to smile. Peeta, on the other hand, with his crazy antiques and light humour…
3) You make me laugh.
I picture him in my head. His wide smile, the rippling muscles on his arms, him shirtless on balmy summer nights…
4) Bakers are sexy.
I think of his face every morning, and two reasons come at once:
5) Your smile lights up my day.
6) Your kisses keep the world steady.
I glance out the window, and the primroses come into view. Images of the Games take over my thoughts. I close my eyes, following Dr. Aurelies' advice: find the good in the situation. Peeta replaces the mutts, and my next reason appears immediately:
7) You'd do anything to protect me.
I remember the times I am on one of my bitter moods. The only person that can cheer me up is Peeta.
8) You always know what to say.
I think of the past years: the Game, the Quell, District 13…Peeta has been through everything with me.
9) You are the only that truly understands me.
The last one had always been in the back of my mind, but it takes a nudge from Buttercup to bring it forth: ever since we had first met, the rain, the bread, the hunger, Peeta had always been my symbol of hope; that life can go on, no matter how bad it may seem. I think of the bad days, when I'm so exhausted by the injustice in the world, all I have to do is look at Peeta. His smile, his warmth, his very being encourages me to continue.
10) You are my dandelion in the spring…you give me hope.
I take a moment to read it over. Not well thought-out or poetic, but I am proud of it. I make my way downstairs.
Peeta is sitting on a couch, holding something in his hand. When I enter the room, he shoves it in his pocket. I don't dwell on it.
"Oh," he says, his lips tightened, "Are you done your dinner?"
"I didn't eat it." I say.
Oh, wow. It has never been awkward between us. This is odd.
"I…this is for you," I say, handing him the paper.
He takes it curiously, albeit a bit suspiciously. He opens it up.
Peeta's eyes roam over it once. Then twice. Again and again he does this, until its getting a bit worrisome. I shift, wondering if I have done the worst possible thing and have triggered a flashback.
But when Peeta looks up, his eyes aren't clouded and mean; they're shining with tears. In a flash, his arms are around me, my face pressing into his chest. I can't really breathe, but his happiness is worth it.
"Katniss," he whispers, "Katniss, I-I love you. I love you so much! And I want to ask…I want to ask if…Katniss, will you…"
I laugh. "Sure, Peeta. I'll finish dinner with you."
His arms go limp around me. Peeta pulls away, giving me a look. "Really, Katniss? Really?"
I cock my head. "What?"
He sighs. "Nothing. Let's go eat."
He takes my hand and we walk to the dining room. I take in the ornately frosted cake and candles. "I almost forgot. Peeta, why the fancy dinner?"
Peeta hesitates a second. He then smiles, leans in and whispers, "Because I'm sexy like that."