I had never cared about what I looked like. In District 12, things like make up and cosmetics were something of a mystery aside from what we see caked on the faces of those from The Capitol. I could never imagine myself with the thick layers like Effie wore. Maybe after the explosion that took my father I wouldn't mind having my face distorted in colors and blanked out with white. If only to erase the image of my father I saw in my own eyes and features when I caught my reflection in any surface.
But now I yearn to catch the smallest glimpse of him whenever I can especially now as I walk my way to meet Cinna. I'm taken aback by the simplicity of what the stylist have done. From all the picking and poking and brushing, I had expected something much more elaborate. Something darker or rugged to go along with coal mining. But that's not what I see. All I see is me. Me and the shadow of my father who had once muttered how beautiful I was when my mom decided to do my hair in one braid instead of two.
It's almost too much for me to take in and I push the door open to see Cinna waiting on the couch for me. I can't meet his eyes. My mind is too busy. It's stuck on that memory of my dad's gentle, rasp of a voice muttering something so intimate. He may have been the last one to call me beautiful other than Prim and my mom but it never resonated in me the same way it had when he did. Maybe because it was always expected from them and not him.
"Amazing," he says as I stop and look down at myself.
"I don't feel amazing," I mutter, self conscious with the way his eyes move around, examining every thread of the dress he made.
"Don't you know how beautiful you look?" he said and my eyes widen only a fraction before I blink away.
The warmth of his voice ignited the simple words of the statement. It spread out through me, squeezing my heart with the dead ringer to the way my father had said it long ago. I couldn't help but shiver even in the heat of what I felt.
"Thank you," I could hear myself say it in my head but it never reaches my lips. I just stare, wondering if Cinna felt the tension, heard the breaking of my heart and the words I wish to mutter.
"No," I say instead, voice barley cracking. "And I don't know how to make people like me. How do you make people like you?"
"Well, you made me like you,"
"That's different," I move to sit, turning away from him hoping the blush my prep team but in my cheeks masked the natural rosy tint seeping into them. "I wasn't trying."
My breath hitches in my throat as look at him across from me. His eyes slowly find way to my face and I can't help but lock on with his gaze. It was soft, inviting, and easy. I felt myself relax with those eyes, finding myself slip into the girl I was and not the facade I had been putting up with everyone else. With Cinna, I was just me.
And Cinna might be the only other person who would ever know me that way.