Chapter 1 – Katniss's POV

"Dad? Daddy?" I cried. There was no response. "Daddy, wake up!" I shouted into his ear. Blood ran down his cheek. I kissed it and curled up in a ball, only then noticing the blood on my own face. Some men in navy blue uniforms carried me out of the car and put me in an ambulance. Before they closed the back doors, I saw a big black bag outside the car. My dad wasn't in the car. Then the doors shut and I kicked and screamed. The EMTs just held me down until we got to the hospital.

5 Years Later

"Katniss!" Prim yelled from her room. I was under my covers and I did not want to get up. I pretended to be asleep. I heard loud footsteps getting closer. Eventually they stopped and my body started shaking. I slowly opened my eyes and hid my smile under my blanket. "Katniss! It's the first day of school! Help me pick out what I'm going to wear!" She ran off. At this point, I had no choice.

As I walked out of the room, I saw myself in the floor-length mirror. Christ, I though to myself, I look like crap. My hair was all parted to one side, my cheek was covered in dry drool. I looked back to my pillow and a big wet spot lay in the middle of it. I went back to turn it over. "Katniss!" Prim stomped in and grabbed me by the arm to drag me to her room. She had a purple sundress, a kaki skirt with a light blue shirt, and a pair of jeans and an Aeropostale shirt laying out on her bed. She glared at me.

"Why is the dress first?" I asked. Prim smiled innocently.

"Rory is in my class." She beamed. I sighed. Gale's younger brother Prim's age. They spent nearly every waking moment together.

"Prim, if you know you want to wear the dress, why don't you just wear it?"

"Because it's the only way to get you up before noon." She was right. For a twelve year old, she was really mature. "Now let me pick something out for you. You need to look presentable. After what happened with Gale-" I covered her mouth with my hand to keep her from talking. But she insisted on getting to the point. Prim licked my hand and I wiped it on her pajama shirt. "Katniss, you need to find another guy. You are lonely and spend way too much time with me. Please?" I was still quite peeved that she mentioned Gale. I tried all summer not to think about it. But that didn't work.

I didn't even want her to talk about Gale. The name made me shiver. Throughout middle school, I could tell he had a crush on me. But I didn't let him know that. He asked me to go with him to the Fall Formal in tenth grade, and I said yes. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but he told me that he loved me. I told him that I loved him, but I was just happy from having a good time. I only meant it like I love him as my own family, like I love Prim. His pupils dilated and he put his hands on my waist. I had just gotten the curves for it, so there was no wonder he was hesitant. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, expecting a kiss. I felt his breath deepen and his face got closer to mine. I prepared myself and he put his face into my hair as if he was sniffing it. I let the air out of my lungs and relaxed. After that, and throughout all of freshman year, we "dated." I didn't really see the difference between us just hanging out like friends and dating him. Over the summer, after absolutely no previous kissing or other contact, he brought my lips to his and kissed me very deeply, forcing his tongue into my mouth. That night he tried to have sex with me, but I kicked him in the balls once I found out what he was trying to do and ran off crying. I never heard from him for the rest of the summer and I swore to myself that I would never date again because boys are idiots. All of them.

Prim ended up making me wear a short blue skirt with a white top. I didn't know that I owned such clothing. We walked to school in silence, my hand in her's. I dropped her off at the junior high building and made my way to the high school building. As I walked through the hallway to my new locker, people stared at me, but I pretended that I didn't notice. I never wore clothes like this and I certainly made an impression. "Catnip?" I heard his voice. I turned around and saw Gale standing there. He had broad shoulders and was a head taller than me. "I just need to know, do you still love me?"

I took in some air. Breathing seemed to calm me down a little. Sometimes I would forget and just start pouring out all my anger. "Yes, but not how you love me." He looked confused, so I continued. "You loved me. I love you like a brother. Kind of how I love Prim." I didn't care if this hurt him. He deserved it.

"Look, Katniss, I am so sorry that I tried that. I didn't know."

"Just stop, Gale. I still want to be friends with you. Is that okay?"

"I don't think that's possible."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I still love you, Catnip. I can't stop trying to get you when I'm around you, so I will just leave you alone." I didn't understand his reasoning, but I went along with it. "Stay if you want that, but I'm not forcing you to do anything you don't want to do anymore. I'm letting you choose." We stood there staring into nothingness for a few seconds. I finally walked away. I heard his fist slam against a locker then he cursed. I ran to the girl's bathroom and sat in the corner, crying. I had nobody left.