Author's Note: This is an Alternate Universe story, so please keep that in mind when reading. This is my first fanfic in many many years, so be kind. Constructive criticism always welcome. Haters gon hate haha

Chapter 1

The wedding dresses would be arriving any moment now. Try as I might, I couldn't suppress the deep sorrow inside my chest from bubbling to the surface at the thought of all those elegant dresses. This was not how this moment had ever played out in my mind. Being on the victory tour had given me a taste for beautiful gowns, and getting to play out being the pretty, desirable girl for a change had grown on me. I felt I should be giddy with excitement, getting to pick from what will most likely be the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen. Instead there was bitterness in my mouth as I thought of why the dresses were being sent to me so soon.

During the tour, Peeta had proposed to me in front of an adoring crowd as part of the plan to stop the rebellion. Snow had loved the response from the audience so much; felt they were all so convinced, that he demanded the wedding and marriage after be filmed for the people of the capitol's entertainment. It had been devastating news for me; I still was unsure which direction my heart wanted to go in, to be told that there was absolutely no other path than this forced marriage. The pain in Peeta's eyes when he found was enough to keep me from voicing anything other than joy at the upcoming wedding. As soon as we got back on the train and headed home Peeta had locked himself in his own room, and I haven't had a chance to talk to him alone since we arrived home.

There were flowers set up all over the living room; everyone was swirling around putting together sets for the photo shoot with the dresses. I sighed, playing with the petals of a rose on the table in front of me, tuning out all the noise of the crew of people sent over to make my home look perfect.

"Alright, they just arrived so let's get you into the first dress!" Cinna said, rushing into the room with several dress bags in his arms.

I brightened up as soon as I saw him, and curiosity took over as I eyed up the bags that held my future dress.

After posing in several dresses, each with different hair, make up and accessories, Cinna pulled out one last dress bag. He unzipped it slowly, and pulled out a cream colored dress. It had delicate lace on the bust over silk, and was slightly mermaid shaped flaring out at my knees slightly. Once on, it fit like a glove, the soft silk resting perfectly on the curves of my hourglass figure. A simple, small net came down from a pearl pin in my thick black hair, coming to rest just above my high cheekbones.

"I think we have a winner!" my mother said, coming to lean in the door way.

"Peeta will be beside himself when he sees you in this." Haymitch said as he looked me over.

The photographer pulled me into the center of the room, under an altar of pastel flowers.

"Try not to look so miserable" My mother threw in, placing a small bouquet of flowers into my hands before running her thumb over my cheek.

Raising my head high, I put on a big smile as the flash of the camera went off, over and over again. Playing the love-struck girl for so long had become second nature for me in front of the camera. Seeing all the hard work that had gone into this, the looks on my mother and sister's faces, it was all too much to take right now.

"We're done here, right?" I asked, ripping the veil off and tossing it on the table next to the rose.

With everyone watching, I ran up the stairs to my room and threw the dress off as if it burned my skin. As the dress floated to the ground, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on the dresser. Soft black curls swirled around my shoulders and down to the small of my back, glitter covered my body and face and deep red lipstick stained my lips. It all looked so beautiful, and I wanted it gone from me as soon as possible.

The bathroom of my new house in the village was large, with a claw foot tub and stone walls. Even with the heater on, it felt cold and dark to me, somehow reminding me of the capitol. As the hot water poured into the tub, I climbed in, sucking in air as the heat hit my skin. It felt like hours went by as I floated in the water, watching all the bubbles disappear, before I finally climbed out.

After having to get in and out of all those dresses, the last thing I wanted was to put anything else restrictive on my body. I walked back into my room wrapped in a towel, letting my eyes fall on each thing in it. This would only be my room for a short while longer; as soon as the wedding was over we'd be moving in together. I've never even been able to go on a date, and now here I was, about to live with someone for life. Sleep next to them every night. Well, that part doesn't sound too bad. The only good night's sleep I've been able to get after the games was in Peeta's arms.


Warmth started in my stomach and spread out at the thought of lying in Peeta's strong arms. Feeling so safe, so loved.

Well this is as good a time as any to talk to him.

Throwing on a sweater and pants, I ran downstairs and leaped out the door. Apparently I'd been in the bath for quite some time; everything had been cleaned up and put back in order in the living room, not a loose flower petal to be found. It was almost as if no one had been there at all. A bit of guilt set in, thinking about how I ran out on everything including Cinna.

The wind continued blowing a strong hot breeze as I walked the short distance to Peeta's house. It looked identical on the outside from my house, but the faint smell of baking bread wafted out from a window. I walked over and peered inside the window. A pair of striking blue eyes followed my every move. They widened when he saw me looking back at him, his cheeks turning red. He quickly pulled the curtains shut, leaving me standing on the street alone with my thoughts.

With only a short period of time before our wedding, he couldn't hide from me forever.