TWO YEARS LATER: MAY
I walked slowly towards the grapevine arch, along a slate pathway. Yellow, aqua and orange flowers of any species fitting that description were everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Flickering candles lined the aisle and hung from the branches of the mature oak that hung over the arch. The sun was just setting, making everything take on a rosy glow. The melody the string quartet played echoed over the audience as they all watched me descend to stand with the others. I clutch the bouquet for dear life, afraid it will slip through my clammy hands. My eyes flit to the people I walk towards until they land on Peeta's. The smile on his face is encouraging and it makes me smile even bigger. And then he winks at me.
As I join the ranks, a row of yellow chiffon with bodies underneath, the bridal march begins to play. My eyes pull from Peeta and to the stunning bride walking towards us now. Madge is the picture perfect bride on the arm of her father. Her grin is genuine and her stare does not waiver from Gale. I glance at him. He's smiling like an idiot…an idiot in love. A look I am quite practiced in.
After her dad hands her over and she hands me her bouquet, I get lost in my own thoughts. I remember their first date and when Gale told me he was in love with her. I remembered helping them move into their very own apartment and gushing over Madge's ring when he popped the question at her surprise birthday party last year. It was a fairy tale love story.
My eyes wander to Peeta's again. He's staring at me.
It is a difficult thing for me to fathom why I held out so long on him now. I can't really imagine where I would be if he didn't find my letters. My life has definitely been on an upswing since then.
We bought a house together that fall after our "come-to-Jesus" talk (as Peeta calls it). I finished school that following spring and started very low on the ladder at a marketing company. I got to work at home a lot but I missed being away from Peeta for any amount of time. So he spruced up the back office in the bakery and now I do my work there. It's nice to have a kiss or a slap on the butt at any given time. I still do the clerical and ordering for the bakery too. I think I would feel lost if I didn't have something to do there.
I'm brought back to reality as Madge and Gale say 'I do' and kiss as the new Mr. and Mrs. Gale Hawthorne. Everyone cheers loud, particularly me. And then I am escorted back down the aisle by Rory and into the long process of picture taking.
The reception is just what you would expect from a video game store owner and rebellious sheriff's daughter: drinks, loud music, drinks, wings and sliders, drinks, a photobooth and an impromptu game of Rock Band on a projector screen with more drinks. I cling to Peeta all night, taking in all the lovey-dovey couples dancing and laughing. I do let go of him for a duet of "Bohemian Rhapsody" with my little sister with Jo on drums, Finnick on guitar and Madge on bass. But she soon finds herself back to Rory. They are a lovely couple, so obviously smitten with one another. I miss her these days. Both Prim and Rory got into Capitol State College and are currently living together in sin. A situation I wanted to protest but Peeta told me I didn't really have any room to talk.
Eventually, the DJ starts up again and Peeta pulls me out to the floor to dance to a slow song. I sing softly in his ear.
"This isn't so bad is it?" he asks as another song starts up.
"The wedding" he answers.
"Peeta…" I say, threatening.
"I'm just asking."
I narrow my eyes at him. While he's only mentioned it a few times over the past couple of years, it's obvious he would like to get married now rather than later. I usually change the subject but tonight with a slight buzz and my heart over filled with joy, I seriously contemplate it. "No," I answer finally, "it's not so bad." And then I change the subject.
After we've seen the newlyweds off in a sea of sparklers, we head back to our hotel room, my heels in my hand. I am exhausted beyond comprehension, but when he lazily pushes me against the door after it closes, I am suddenly full of energy.
"I like you in yellow" he breaths into my ear.
"I like you naked" I breathe back. I push his jacket off his shoulders, unbutton his vest and unravel his bowtie as he kicks off his shoes. His fingers hastily bring the zipper down on the back of my dress and it cascades to the floor. His lips land hot and wet along the line of my strapless bra as he unhooks it, letting it join my dress. He smothers my neck in kisses as I go back to work on his shirt, satisfied when I can press our bare chests together. My hands work quickly to get his slacks and boxers off before our lips meet again. I push him back slightly in an attempt to make it towards the bed. But we don't. We only make it to the fancy five star desk before he is turning me around and I am clutching the edges, facing the wall. He wastes no time getting started. His hips make a delicious slap against my ass as he finds a rhythm.
Somewhere in between the panting and thrusting and orgasms, we do find our way to the bed, collapsing. We lay there enjoying the sweet bliss of mind-blowing hotel sex, holding each other. He twists a tendril of hair around his finger over and over again.
"Let's get married."
I sit up on my elbow to stare at him. I scrunch my nose up and let out a sigh.
"You're not changing the subject…." He says slowly and quietly, like he's trying not to frighten me.
I think about it for a moment. I always preached about not getting married until I was sure. I wanted to be sure that not one shred of me felt like it was a bad idea. I used to be terrified of being a wife really, just because I'm so awkward to be around. But now it's sort of a nervous thing. I think nervous is much better than blatant terror. And a lot of that has to do with Peeta. His love is unconditional. I know within the dark depths of my heart that Peeta is the one for me and I want to make him happy. It seems that becoming Mrs. Mellark would make him happiest of all.
So I moisten my lips and I say, "You know, that sounds like a good idea."
His eyes are wide. I know what he's going to say then. The same thing he says when things seem too good to be true. The same question he asked when we made love the first time. It's almost like a game now. "You're going to be my wife. Real or not real?"
I can't contain my smile, "Real."
Author's Note: So there you have it. My very first completed chapter story. I had loads of fun writing it and I learned a lot of things along the way. I am very grateful for anyone who took the time to read and review this story. It means more than you know! I would also like to add that I'll probably be coming back to this little world I created here and fill in some gaps with one-shots. What do you think? If you haven't already, come find me on tumblr (address on my profile page). We can fan-girl together!