I felt as if I had been pierced through the chest with one of my own arrows.
I stared up at Peeta, who looked as stunned as I felt. I searched my mind, trying to remember if this had ever happened to someone before. Even my mother and father had been approved for a license, and they were from two completely different sectors of District Twelve. I couldn't conjure up a single example of two people being unable to marry one another.
"I-I don't understand," I stammered, mystified. "That has to be a mistake."
Visions of Peeta being arranged with a town girl flashed in front of my eyes, rapid-fire images of someone like Shira Clash standing next to him in this very office, gleefully yoking herself to him with a dash of her perfect, girlish handwriting. Of standing back with the crowd at Peeta's toasting as he breaks bread with his new wife, watching my best friend slip away from me forever.
Peeta being lost to another girl, forever.
I shook my head, my hand slipping into Peeta's and clutching it like a lifeline. He kissed my forehead briefly and squeezed my fingers. I may have never wanted to be married, but to imagine him with someone else was...it was simply unbearable.
Peeta was mine.
The attendant looked regretful, tapping something into her tablet. I felt as if the worn, brown walls of the room were closing in on me. Even the air felt stale as it entered into my lungs, one shallow breath at a time. Last night couldn't have been for nothing.
"I'm sorry," she shrugged, her violet eyes meeting ours. "It's fairly straight forward, and the system says you're not a compatible match." She made a face, apologetic but dismissive, already gesturing behind us to the next person in the queue while trying to push a paper into Peeta's free hand. "You'll need to file this paperwork, and the Capitol will get back to you in six to eight weeks."
Peeta was having none of it, pushing the paper back at her with a frustrated expression.
"We don't have six to eight weeks!" he said lowly, his voice urgent. He exchanged an anxious look with me. We were both thinking about how impatient his mother was, and how school was over in less than three months. That we were supposed to get the license today.
"Well, that's how the process works!" she replied, apathetic as she placed the paper back in a drawer. If her skin weren't dyed Capitol-green, I'd have placed a bet that she was growing flushed with annoyance.
"But why?" Peeta asked, leaning forward and smacking his hand palm-down on the desk's surface. I knew him well— I could tell he was struggling to stay calm, but the pinkness of his cheeks and slightly wild look in his eyes betrayed just how upset he was.
"It's okay," I murmured to him, placing a soothing hand on his back and rubbing in slow circles. I knew that I should be even more frantic than I was, more irate, but all I felt in that moment was a strong desire to comfort Peeta.
"It's not okay," he said sharply, looking down at me before staring at the Capitol attendant again. "What's your name?"
"Ruby," she said in surprise, twirling her brightly-colored hair with a finger.
"Have you ever been in love, Ruby?" Peeta asked in an edgy voice. My eyes widened.
"I-I don't think so?" she questioned, looking confused. She glanced around the room with a nervous expression, as if someone would help her answer the question. There were two people behind us, tired and barely paying attention, most likely applying for next month's tesserae rations on their children's behalf. I recognized them from the Seam, though they were barely more than vague memories of neighbors past.
Peeta ran a hand through his hair and leaned closer to her, his eyes intense.
"You would know," he said, his voice growing softer. His arm slipped around my waist.
"You'd know exactly who they were, and when you fell in love with them—exactly where you were the first time you saw them." Peeta stopped, his eyes slightly unfocused as he stared off into the distance. "I fell in love with Katniss when we were five years old, right outside of our school building." He looked down at me then, and I was captivated by the emotion there. "I could tell you exactly what she was wearing, down to the plaid of her dress and the buckle of her shoes. I know what color her hair ribbons were."
He paused and shook his head, closing his eyes briefly before continuing, "I've dreamed of this day, every day, for almost my entire life."
I couldn't breathe. Was this true, or a bit of talented storytelling? He had told me that he loved me, but this...this was something from a picture book.
"Peeta," I said, quietly awed and a little embarrassed.
He tucked a stray piece of hair behind my ear and smiled softly, his cheeks flushing darker before pinning the attendant with a burning stare. "I will make this girl my wife today, Ruby."
"Oh," she breathed, blinking and looking around the room with hazy eyes, as if she had just awakened from the spell of Peeta's voice. "That was just like an episode of Lovers of Panem."
Of course, she would cheapen Peeta's story with some comparison to a Capitol television show that we only ever saw previews for during the Reapings. I was starting to feel hopeless again when she looked down at her tablet, a determined expression on her face.
"We don't do this anymore," Ruby said, lowering her voice. "Not for mundane paperwork issues. DNA sequencing is usually reserved for Reapings and special Testings, for both security and health reasons. The network is vuln-" She stopped and bit her lip. "Anyway." She fiddled with the bottom of her tablet, and a small tray popped out, a round pad with a sharp point jutting forward from it. I recognized it immediately. It's what the Peacekeepers prick us with during the Reaping to identify us.
"I need something to sterilize this," she mumbled, looking exasperated as she searched under the desk before finally removing a box labeled "emergency" in small black lettering.
Ruby pulled from out of it a tiny bottle that I recognized as rubbing alcohol, a very costly medicinal liquid that we keep in the apothecary for special use only. She took a small gauze from the box and poured a little of the liquid on it, briskly cleaning the small needle on the tray before tossing the gauze into a waste bin.
"Give me your hand," she said to me, her eyes a little shifty.
I hesitated, but Peeta nudged me gently before pushing forward the hand that was clasped in his. Ruby grabbed my finger and brought it down onto the tray, and I winced when I felt the tiny blade pierce my skin.
I drew back my hand quickly, but Peeta took it again, raising my hurt finger to his lips and kissing it.
"Precious," Ruby whispered, her eyes flicking up to us before looking back down at her tablet, her eyes expectant as she read whatever appeared on the screen. Her face brightened. "Oh!"
"What is it?" Peeta asked anxiously.
"You signed your name wrong, silly girl!" she said cheerfully. "That's easily fixed."
"What do you mean?" I demanded, my eyebrows furrowed together.
"You signed Katniss Everdeen," Ruby replied, matter-of-fact. "It's an invalid name. You're now listed in our system as Katniss Stone."
My mouth dropped open. What?
I couldn't believe my scheming grandparents. Or Grandmother, rather. I knew that Prim and I had been adopted by them, but I had no clue that our names had ever been officially changed. When had that happened? Of course it wouldn't have registered to me during Reapings, because they simply prick our fingers, and the rest of the time is spent praying that we never, ever hear our name during the rest of the session.
It killed me that I was no longer Katniss Everdeen. My identity officially stripped, the legacy of my father pulled from me one bit at a time—his hunting jacket, his name, our livelihood. This blow was intense, and it was only when Peeta squeezed my hand that I was reminded of where we were, and what we were trying to accomplish.
He gave me a sympathetic look, his eyes sad as Ruby held the tablet out to me again.
"Just sign your name again, dear!" she commanded me. "Correctly this time, please." Ruby grinned, looking pleased with herself.
I hesitated, staring down. Katniss Stone. It made me sick. I didn't want to write it. Every fiber of my being rebelled against it. But Peeta was looking at me, anxious and scared, his hand shaking a little in mine. Ruby was waiting, the proud expression slowly fading from her face. There were people behind us, poor and exhausted, with jobs and lives waiting for them.
I took the tablet. I signed my name.
And just like that, I wasn't Katniss Everdeen anymore. I wasn't even Katniss Stone.
"Congratulations, Mrs. Mellark!" Ruby said, a wide smile back on her face. Even the men behind us applauded a little, and when I looked over my shoulder, I saw on their faces genuine expressions of happiness. There was just so little cause for it in District Twelve.
It's just that the name Mrs. Mellark settled in my stomach like a lead weight, visions of his mother in my mind, the words sounding so foreign and unappealing and uncomfortable that it was hard to reconcile owning it. Mrs. Mellark. That's me, now. The smile pasted on my face wobbled a little.
But then, I looked up at Peeta. That's when I knew I did the right thing. The expression of happiness and relief and pure joy on his face was so intense that I reached right up on my toes, cupped his face and drew him down for a kiss.
"Adorable," Ruby sighed behind us, and we pulled away from each other. Peeta looked surprised and dreamy-eyed, and I ducked my head.
A machine behind her sputtered out a piece of paper that she placed inside of an envelope. "Here's your license, darlings," she winked, waving her jeweled nails at us. "May the odds be ever in your favor."
We thanked her, slightly dazed, and Peeta shook the hands of the men in the line and spoke to them a moment, as usual managing to charm everyone that crossed his path. A thought occurred to me, and I turned back around to address Ruby again.
"Could we have a Day Pass?" I asked her while Peeta was engaged, his hands flying enthusiastically as he spoke to the men.
I knew that we would be chastised, possibly even punished for being so late to school, but government-issued Day Passes universally excused you from tardiness, whether you were a miner late for your shift, or students like us. They weren't easy to get, but official government business was warrant enough for one. I definitely didn't want to risk being stopped by the wrong Peacekeeper.
"Of course," Ruby allowed with a smile, signing a bright yellow square with a flourish and stamping it with a Panem seal. I thanked her again and walked over to Peeta, handing him the Day Pass, which he carefully slid into the envelope with our license.
After a few parting words to the men, I led him back out onto the street. The sun and fresh air was a relief, and I tilted my head back to feel the warmth on my face as we walked toward the school, silent and a little stunned.
"Wow," Peeta finally said, his fingers curled around the envelope that held the proof of our marriage. "You're, we're-" He stopped and turned to face me. "Katniss. You're my wife."
"I kind of thought we established that last night," I said dryly, elbowing him when he flushed, a smile curling on his lips.
"But no one can take it away from us now," he replied earnestly, switching the envelope to his other hand so that he could lace his fingers through mine. He swung our hands between us as we started walking again.
I glanced at him when he fell silent again, watching as the sun-dappled strands of his hair glowed gold in the morning light. How the freckles on his fair face were sprinkled across the bridge of his nose, the tip of it turned up sweetly at the end. How the tips of his ears were a little pointed, a bit like the delicate curve of a leaf. The strong cut of his jaw.
"What are you staring at?" he asked without looking down, amusement in his voice.
"You," I said truthfully. "So many town girls are going to absolutely hate me."
He cocked his head, looking confused. Peeta genuinely had no idea how sought after he was.
"Believe me. I'll be the envied one," he replied.
I squirmed, shaking my head at him and his fanciful words. Merchant grandparents or not, I was still very much an outsider to most of the people in town.
"Sure," I muttered. He frowned at me, but correctly sensed I wasn't in the mood for more compliments.
The school loomed ahead, a slouching, aged building that had seen better days, perpetually coated in a film of coal dust, almost every window cracked or smudged. I wouldn't miss this place.
Almost unconsciously I released Peeta's hand as we approached the steps of the school. He glanced down at the space between our fingers but didn't comment on it, and instead opened the worn door, the once-red paint falling in curling strips down the faded front of it.
"After you," he said, ever the gentleman.
"Don't you want to go by your cubby first?" I asked, nodding at the envelope in his hand.
A haggard instructor poked his head out of a classroom as we passed by, an irritated look on his face. I gestured to Peeta, and he slid the Day Pass out of the envelope and held it up. Dust particles swirled around it, highlighted by the streams of light that snuck through the cracked panes of the hall windows. The man appraised the bright yellow Pass from afar before nodding and shutting the door again.
I turned back to Peeta, and pointed toward the hall that lead to the row of our personal storage cubbies.
"I'm fine," Peeta replied, gesturing instead toward our classroom. He started walking in that direction, and I followed him.
"You can get rid of that, though."
"No." His hand tightened around the envelope, a stubborn look on his face. "I don't want anything to happen to it." I shrugged, and fell into step with him.
"Don't you think something is more likely to happen to it if you're carting it around all day?" I asked with a laugh, stopping in front of our classroom.
"I just want to," he said, his voice uncharacteristically sharp.
My eyebrows raised. "All right," I said, nodding slowly.
Why was I pushing him so hard? I'd been his wife for all of twenty minutes, and already I was being unreasonably difficult.
His voice softened. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"
"It's fine," I said, nudging him with my elbow. "You're right, anyway. What if Shira Clash stole it?" I widened my eyes in exaggeration.
"Katniss," Peeta laughed quietly, opening the door for me.
"I wouldn't put it past her," I murmured as I passed by him and walked into the room.
The instructor raised her head when we walked in, and Peeta held up the Pass with a smile, a proud look in his eye. Murmurs and a few gasps spread out across the room, and I struggled to hold back a flush. There were only a few reasons why we'd be in possession of a Day Pass, and coupled with the timing of marriage-arrangement season, well—it was fairly obvious what had happened, even if I wasn't certain that either Grandmother or Mrs. Mellark had already been spreading the word of our impending family merger.
We took our seats, Peeta's desk one row over and two seats up from mine. I wished more than anything that I had him next to me, a comforting presence and buffer against the eyes that I knew were appraising and judging me. I slouched down in my chair the remainder of the day, silently thankful when it was time for lunch.
I heard a sniffle, and I turned in my seat to meet the eyes of Shira Clash, who gave me a baleful stare from underneath her long, sooty eyelashes.
"You thieving little witch," she hissed under her breath. I looked around the room, but everyone was too busy piling toward the cafeteria, or surrounding Peeta, slapping his back and nudging him in the side. News definitely traveled fast. "Are you even listening to me?" Shira was saying, and I blinked.
"No," I replied, standing up. "Peeta was never yours to begin with. And now everyone knows it." I smiled at her, feeling mean but strangely unapologetic. She gaped at me, and I walked over to Peeta, who welcomed me with a clasp of his hand.
"And you're all welcome to our toasting!" Peeta was saying with a wide smile. I wondered what his mother would think about that. There were Seam kids in the room.
"Will there be cake?" someone asked eagerly, and Peeta laughed.
"Of course!" he exclaimed. "Katniss would leave me if I didn't have cake."
Everyone laughed, but the girls stared at me with a mix of envy and anger, no doubt imagining a life filled with pastries and chubby blonde Peeta-babies. I felt my stomach swirl nervously, and unconsciously stepped backward, my fingers falling away from his.
"Everyone seemed really happy for us!" Peeta said, whistling cheerfully as we walked down the road that led back to town. He waved to people as they passed us, his eyes crinkling happily at the corners.
"Mmhmm," I echoed, turning my face away from his to hide my expression.
"I heard all about it!" Prim replied eagerly, bumping shoulders with me as she walked between us. She was carefully holding the envelope that contained our marriage license between her fingertips, and kept giving it little curious glances as we walked. You'd have thought Peeta was entrusting her with the deed to the bakery with the way he reluctantly handed it over to her after school, but not even he could say no to that hopeful little face when she asked to carry it home. "You two were all anyone could talk about today."
"Great," I said with mock-excitement, taking Peeta's hand that he held out behind Prim's back. "I do love being the center of attention."
He laughed in return, squeezing my fingers. "At least we got lunch out of it," he offered.
That was true. Peeta and I had been so flustered and preoccupied this morning that we hadn't even packed a lunch for the day, but the chums at our table had been more than happy to share their food with us. Normally, I would have staunchly refused such an offer, but it was fairly common for those who could afford it to treat a newly matched couple with a token of congratulations, and it was considered to be very rude to reject such a gift. It wasn't as common to actually be married while still in upper school, which made us even more of a spectacle than I felt comfortable with. So, I accepted the food with weakly upturned lips and not much protest.
Madge had quietly slid half of her large sandwich our way, a small but genuine smile on her face as she congratulated us. Delly contributed a bright green apple, a downright luxury which Peeta and I shared with back-and-forth bites. It had been strangely intimate, and I was hyper aware of the way the girls at other tables watched as Peeta took careful bites of the apple before holding it to my waiting lips.
In fact, the entire lunch hour was a bizarre experience, with many people walking up and congratulating us, most likely hoping for a toasting invitation, which Peeta eagerly offered to any friendly face. He was just so blasted excited.
Along with our classmates' best wishes, a few others also offered small tokens of food, such as a slice of spice cake from Alise Matterly, and a peppermint stick from Teddy Oakenridge, the son of the sweet shop owner.
I ruffled Prim's hair as she eagerly sucked on the peppermint stick, which we saved for her at Peeta's whispered suggestion. Prim will love this, don't you think? he had said into my ear, and it took everything I had not to kiss him right on the lips in front of the entire cafeteria.
"So many people were jealous of me today," Prim was saying proudly, threading her arm through Peeta's, causing him to unlink his fingers from mine. He didn't bat an eyelash, and I loved him for that. "Everyone wants to come to your toasting. It's going to be the most exciting thing!"
"We haven't even planned it yet, yet you two are inviting the entire district," I said, frowning. "Your mother is going to have a fit."
Peeta shrugged carelessly. "Our families wanted us to have a large celebration," he said.
"But you invited Seam kids," I pointed out.
Prim frowned at me and pulled away from Peeta, walking a few feet ahead of us. I flushed. I hadn't meant it like the way it sounded—as if I didn't want them to come.
"I know," Peeta said patiently. "I want everyone to have a great time. Food, music, dancing-" His eyes took a faraway look. "Everyone deserves a little bit of beauty in their lives, right? Even if it's only for just one night." He looked a little sad, suddenly, and I laid my head on his shoulder as we walked, lacing our fingers together again.
"Thanks, Peeta," I said.
"For what?" he asked, surprised.
"For being a good person." I squeezed his hand. "And a good husband."
"I think we should have it here," Mrs. Mellark said, her arms crossed stubbornly in front of her chest.
"I disagree," Grandmother said, her lips pressed together. "It's entirely too small."
I held back a groan, my eyes fluttering in exhaustion. We'd been sitting here for a few hours now, our two families having dined together at the Mellarks' before settling into planning the toasting. Mr. Mellark and Grandfather disappeared to the parlor, and Prim went home to work on her homework before bed.
It was strange to think that my sister and I would now be separated by more than just a thin wall. Peeta and I would retire for the night in our new apartment, which has its own entrance and staircase in the alley of the apothecary. I felt myself shivering in anticipation, and tried to focus back on the discussion at hand. I shifted in my chair uncomfortably, the wood cutting into the back of thighs, and the space between my legs still twinging from the activities of last night.
Mrs. Mellark's mouth dropped, and she shot a sharp, offended glare at the other woman. "We have plenty of space here! We have our living quarters, the bakery front, and the alleyway-"
"Oh, so we should have our guests mingling in the alleyway like common urchins?"
"Why don't we host it in the square and rent a tent from the grocer?" Peeta asked calmly. "We can use both of our houses for resting places for older guests, and also there will be more bathrooms. They're both centrally located." He coughed. "We've invited basically half the town between us-"
Both of the women leveled him with a look. "Not just the town," his mother said coldly. "I cannot believe you invited Seam trash to this toasting."
"That was my decision," I said, smiling at her nicely. Peeta looked at me with a frown, and I could tell he wanted to object to my lie.
"I should have known," she muttered. "Did you invite your Hawthorne boy, too?"
I blanched at the mention of him, our fight still too raw and unsettled. Peeta looked away before turning back with a determined expression on his face.
"The entire Hawthorne family is welcome at our toasting. He is Katniss' oldest friend, after all."
"Fool," his mother sneered, her favorite insult.
"Careful," Grandmother said, bored. "I think you have a little coal dust in your family tree, don't you, Lissah?"
Mrs. Mellark flushed, and Peeta and I made wide eyes at each other, trying to hold back smiles. I felt myself actually liking my Grandmother for a split second, but of course she immediately ruined it by adding, "Besides, we can afford to show a little charity to the weak and needy."
"That's enough for tonight," Peeta said, standing and pulling me with him. He shouldered a small bag of clothes that he had packed when we first arrived for dinner. Our marriage license was also tucked inside of it for safe keeping. "I think we've got it mostly sorted out for this Friday night, don't you think? Now if you'll excuse us, my wife and I are tired."
After he assured his mother he'd be back at the bakery tomorrow for his regularly scheduled shifts, Grandmother pressed the apothecary apartment key into my hand and Peeta led us outside, where we walked across the street, our steps becoming slower and more tentative as we approached the stairs that led to our new home.
"Well, that could have been worse, huh?" he asked, blowing out a breath.
"I feel like that's the theme of our life." I elaborated at Peeta's confused look: "You know, 'it could have been worse.'"
"Oh," he said softly, stopping at the bottom of the stairs. "Well. I couldn't have done better."
I shook my head. "Peeta, I didn't mean you."
He smiled at me sadly and walked up the stairs, and I followed anxiously, moving to stand next to him and unlock the door. We flipped on the light switch, and the small living room was bathed in light. I was surprised at how clean it was, the furniture outdated but made from sturdy, lasting wood. The kitchen was serviceable, and I saw Peeta eyeing it with approval. Thankfully, he'd be taking the brunt of the kitchen-work. I could cook, but it wasn't my specialty by any means.
Peeta looked at everything carefully, his fingers brushing the blank wall. "I'd like to paint this," he said thoughtfully.
"Whatever you want," I said, eager to make him happy, the shift in his mood palpable. I placed the key onto the kitchen table, feeling jittery. "We need to move your things in here tomorrow."
He shrugged, still facing the wall. "I just have the rest of my clothes, basically. Oh, and my paint supplies. Mother said we'll get household items at the toasting."
I walked behind him and wrapped my arms around his stomach. "Don't be mad at me."
He stiffened and then relaxed. "Oh, Katniss. I'm not. I could never be. I just wish-"
He inhaled. "I just wish I was what you wanted."
"Peeta, I told you. I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else but you."
He turned around, and we were face-to-face. Very close. "I just want it to be real. Our marriage."
"I know," I whispered, and then he kissed me, very lightly on the cheek.
We got ready for bed then, silently, and a little shyly. There were two bedrooms, ours the slightly larger one of the pair. We took turns in the washroom, brushing our teeth with paste that Prim must have placed in there for us, and taking care of any bathroom needs. Peeta was already stripped down to his pajama bottoms and under the covers when I exited the washroom, and he politely turned his face away while I changed into a thin nightgown, even though he had seen it all before.
I slid beneath the covers as well, and Peeta flipped off the bedside lamp once I had settled in. I fisted the blue checkered comforter in my hand, and wondered if my mother had ever used it as a child. It felt new and soft between my fingers, but I brushed off the possibility that my grandparents had purchased such a luxury just for us.
We laid there, side by side, and I found myself wondering if Peeta would touch me again. If I even wanted him to touch me. A large part of me admitted that I did, but the loudest inner voice protested it was too soon, too much, too terrifying, because what if I became pregnant? The preventative brew that we mix in the apothecary was supposed to be ingested every day for at least a week prior to intercourse. I hadn't had time to prepare for that event when our marriage arrangement was sprung upon us. But I couldn't deny Peeta-
"Katniss," he said, his voice quiet. "You're thinking too much."
"You know me so well," I whispered back.
"I don't want anything from you tonight," he said. "You know that, right?"
I was silent for a moment, my face burning. How is it that he had been inside of me last night, that this very morning I had him in my fist where I worked him to completion, but right now I felt like a mortified virgin again?
"I'm your wife."
He made a frustrated noise. "I know that." I felt more than heard the thump of his head against one of our shared pillows. "But a marriage is more than just an agreement. I don't want a marriage like my parents. You're my best friend." My eyes were adjusting a little more to the dark, and I could see him rubbing his cheek anxiously. "God, I meant what I said last night. I don't want to lose you."
"I will," he said grimly, his hand finding mine in the dark. "I will if we rush this anymore than we already have. You weren't ready last night and you're not ready now."
"Well, what about you?" I felt myself becoming annoyed. I wasn't a child, nor as innocent as he seemed to believed me to be.
Peeta laughed, a humorless sound. "Katniss, I was born ready for you."
He took my breath away with words like that. I never knew what to say, but Peeta could paint a tapestry with twenty words or less.
"You didn't even ask me if this is what I wanted," I said, a little churlishly.
"Well, is it?" he asked. I was silent, debating the answer. He gave a little nod. "That's what I thought."
"No, w-wait." I swallowed hard. "I liked what we did. It hurt a little, but...I liked it. I think it could be good," I said quietly, embarrassed at my bold admission. "I'm just worried about, well...I don't want to be pregnant, Peeta. Not right now." For all I knew, I already could be, though the odds were slim. I kept that little thought to myself.
His breath hitched, heavy and obvious in the dark, almost oppressive silence in the room.
"Katniss," he started, his voice a little more tentative. "There is-" He stopped.
"I don't think we should be...together tonight. Not like that," he said. I felt a mix of strong relief mingled with disappointment. "But nothing about last night was good for you. There's something I want to try, if you'll let me."
"What is it?" I asked curiously, sitting up a little on my elbows.
"I want you to allow me to make you feel good." I could easily make out the outline of his strong, stocky form as he rolled onto his side to face me. He continues hesitantly, "I want to kiss you."
"That's it?" I asked, teasing. "That's easy."
He shook his head and leaned forward, his blue eyes sparkling in the sliver of moonlight streaming through the window behind our bed.
"Not on your lips, Katniss," he said, his hand unfurling from mine. His fingers trailed up my arm, leaving gooseflesh in their wake. "Somewhere else."
Thank you to my brilliant beta: nonemoreblack.
Also, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and interested in this fic through the years. I hope this chapter was at least a little worth the wait—I dedicate it to all of you.
I'm "peetaspenis" on tumblr, come hang out.