CHAPTER 10- SHOPPING

Blood. This nightmare is where it seems all unending and real. It was an endless and brutal way of killing all of them. I killed her. I killed them. They were monsters. I realized that whatever I tried to do just to save them won't help. They all changed into these horrifying monsters. These mutts. I tried my best to save Prim with no success and she was my least favorite kill. I ripped her apart with my bare hands. I stabbed her continuously and I made sure to kill her again and again, ripping apart each organ. I just couldn't help myself. I shot my father with a bow and arrows on the forehead, his throat, each eye, and sending one final blow through the heart. I never thought twice to do so. They chased me around an unfamiliar place. It seemed like there was no escape at all. I shot my mother with silver bullets. Shooting her multiple times with ease and not a single blink. It seemed like I was the monster, the mutt, if it weren't for their spastic-like movements and blood-drained faces, I wouldn't have known who truly the monsters were.

When my eyes finally snapped open I can feel my muscles sore in pain, hot sweat clinging to my shirt and a raw throat. Stupid night terrors.

It's a shock that Prim and Delly are still soundly asleep on the floor.

I check the clock beside my bed and see that it reads 4:32 AM.

Great! I guess I'll be having another day at Sweets and Other Stuff with Cory, the sweet old (okay, he's not old but he's old enough to be my dad) man who owns the bakery I always visit in the morning with my usual nightmares pounding on my doorstep keeping me from sleep. I've gone there at 3AM the last time and met him at 4AM but he never did question me. He just shook his head and treated me with a cup of hot chocolate. I never troubled him while he baked fresh bread and he never bothered me while I thought. We just loved to keep the other company but sometimes he would tell me stories of his sons I never will probably meet and sometimes he would hum gently to relax me.

I finally decide to get off my bed and enter the bathroom. I wash my face and rebraid my hair.

Before I head out of my room, I think twice and change my sweaty shirt into a fresh new pair, grabbing the letterman jacket I stole from Finnick and decide to just wear yoga pants over my boxer shorts I slept in. Nudity isn't my thing, even if it isn't technically naked, but still, I feel exposed. I snatch my wallet with thirty-five bucks in it off the nightstand near the door.

I saunter down the stairs swiftly but quietly, making a bee-line towards the door.

I jog all the way to the bakery, taking the longer way because I won't be able to go to the gym with Delly around. I felt gloomy that I wouldn't be spending my Sunday with Haymitch today.

It takes me a solid 20 minutes before I finally get to the bakery.

As I enter through the front door of the bakery, I hear the familiar sound of the bell.

I don't bother to look up for Cory because I know he will appear from around back. Like I asked him before, "What crazy lunatic comes to a bakery at 5 in the morning?"

I walk straightaway towards the displays if there are any new goods for me to taste. I swear I have tasted everything they ever baked. Sometimes, I'm given free samples. Yay! I'm the official food-taster for SAOS or whatever they call the taster thingy thing thing.

I hear Cory's loud footsteps once I see a new cupcake on the display with a dandelion on it and I instantly order that and ask for my usual.

When I look up to see Cory, instead I find a young man staring at me with his eyes wide and mouth hung slightly open- Peeta Mellark.

He's in a baby blue shirt and worn out jeans. He has some flour on his forehead and an apron draped that ends just above his thighs.

"Coming, dear!" Cory calls out, breaking mine and Peeta's stare-off competition.

"You work here?" I ask more out of curiosity. He nods. "That's great. I think Cory needs some help out of here other than me."

"Y-y-you work here?" he stutters.

"See that over there?" I ask, pointing to the cupcake that tastes of vanilla and gushes caramel in the center that just went out on the display counter last week. "I tasted that."

He snorts and I can practically hear him rolling his eyes. "I'm sure you're not the only one."

"But I guess you'd need my approval to get into that pretty display over there, huh?" I snap, rolling my eyes. "You wouldn't even know."

"I've worked here my whole life since I learned how to knead dou-"

"Son, that's enough." Cory says, stepping into our fight before it got worse.

"He's your son?" I ask Cory.

"Yes, I am." Peeta answers for him.

"Well I wasn't asking you." I point out, frowning. I turn to face Cory. "He's the son you've been talking about?"

"He's some real piece of work." I mutter. "I wonder what's gotten his panties up in a bunch."

"She's a regular here, dad?" Peeta asks. Why couldn't he just ask me? I'm practically standing in front of him.

"Yes and the best customer we've got. Always accompanying me and tasting everything that goes to the display." he says, smiling warmly at me. I feel proud that he is defending me and how this makes Peeta feel. Ha! In your face! Your dad is defending me! I want to so badly dance around him in circles and chant it out. 'Cory just defended me and there is nothing you can do about it!'

I have to resist the urge of rolling my eyes at how childish I sound in my head and take the tray of three cheese buns, a mug of hot chocolate, and the dandelion cupcake.

I head to my regular table near the counter and Cory soon joins me instead of heading back in the back kitchen to knead dough and whatnot and Peeta takes a quick glance towards us before he can finally have some time to cry his heart out. Cory chose me over hiiiim.

I take a victory bite out of the dandelion cupcake and I actually feel like I'm in cloud nine. It tastes like fireworks just exploded inside my mouth. The chocolate and vanilla all mixed perfectly. I also taste a hint of something a bit bitter. Something that, I wasn't expecting that balanced it perfectly. I find that there is the blossom part of the dandelion cut into tiny bits and in the cupcake which tastes like it was dipped into honey but you can still taste it. The bitterness is still there but it blends just perfectly that not most bakers think of adding.

If you want be a food critic, you must be harsh and blunt but this is just like flying on a unicorn above the rainbow and I can't help the moan that escapes my lips (and obviously because I am not a pro and I love sweet old Cory whose son turns out to be Peeta Mellark).

"I'm taking that as you liked it?" Cory questions.

"Liked it? Are you kidding me that… that was…" I trail off, feigning disgust and by the looks of it; Cory believes every word I'm saying. He's sitting on the edge of his seat, wanting to know if I approve of it.

"Okay. I guess. No," I try to hide my smile but can't help as it erupts on my face as I gush, "It tasted like I was in heaven. I loved it. It was delicious! Can I have another one?"

"Peeta baked it earlier." He states proudly, chuckling. "I guess it is good enough to get in the displays?"

"How did he think to actually put the dandelions in it?" I ask curiously.

Peeta steps back out and answers the question himself. I guess he never really did leave or cry his heart out like I hoped.

"I got tackled by my big brother and literally started chewing the dandelions on the backyard yesterday." I burst out laughing at his confession. I would love to see that actually happen sometime.

I guess Peeta isn't so bad after all. Cory stands up and they both go back to the kitchen and leave me to finish my breakfast and think while I still can. For sure, I won't have time to think with Delly's yap unendingly flying open.

How is Delly going to torture me today? How many shopping malls will we even go to for her to feel tired? I hope she didn't bring that much money and worse off, I wish she wouldn't buy too many stuff. How will I survive this afternoon if Annie won't be able to come and I'm sure as hell won't be bringing Finnick along.

See, the thing about Finnick is that he loves himself too much at times and well, he's a better girl than I am which won't help with the entire shopping situation.

"Katniss?" Peeta probes gently. I have to blink a couple of times to know that he actually is talking to me.

"You sounded like your dad a minute ago." I blurt out, without thinking.

He chuckles slightly and this causes my face to heat up.

"So what did you want?"

"I asked if you wanted a refill on that drink of yours."

"No. I didn't bring that much money. But I'd like a bag to-go of 6 strawberry muffins 6 chocolate chip muffins and 6 more of those dandelion cupcakes."

"So you got cash to buy a dozen muffins and half a dozen more dandelion cupcakes and not enough to buy a cup of hot chocolate?" he asks, shaking his head. "You are just too odd."

He walks away into the kitchen and soon comes back out with two brown paper bags and a paper cup with 'SnS' on it. He slides in the other chair where Cory was formerly sitting in and grins.

"The cup is for the walk home. It's pretty cold out you know? And don't worry, it's on me."

"That's why I have a jacket, to keep me warm," I say, suspiciously. "I don't need your charity."

"Just take it already!" he rolls his eyes and walks back in the kitchen.

I stare at the hot chocolate and I'm actually tempted to pick it up and go.

It just smells so good. I think I can smell a whiff of caramel in it, just the way I like it. It's soooo cold outside. I might regret not picking up. Ah! Screw my pride and these pathetic excuses I'm making! I grab the cup and dash out of the place like a Mad Hatter.

Okay, now, I think I'm regretting my love for caramel and chocolate. Damn Peeta for being so persuasive! But I don't dwell on it. I'll be able to pay him back but, oh, how I hate owing people.

I drink the hot chocolate, reluctantly at how right Peeta is and rush home. I wonder if Delly is up since it's now 5:52AM which is around 1 or 2PM in France. I have my fingers cross she is still asleep in my room. We had a sleepover in my room, watched romantic movies in French and as normal, Delly and Prim dished with what has been happening since we left. We ended up sleeping at around midnight, Prim being Prim and Delly being jet lag.

~KILLING A GIANT THAT BREATHED ON MY BABY PEETA'S FACE~

When I arrive home around 6, there is no doubt that Delly and Prim are still asleep upstairs. It's never this quiet once they're up. I head into the kitchen and leave the muffins and cupcakes on the island, but bring along the chocolate cup with me towards the living room. I snuggle on the couch and drink every bit of the hot chocolate. Man, this is good.

I decide to get some rest in while I can. A long day of shopping with probably the most energetic people in the world, ahead of me and, who knows what runs wild in those pretty heads of theirs.

~KILLING A GIANT THAT BREATHED ON MY BABY PEETA'S FACE~

A squeal wakes me from my slumber and I feel disgruntled. I rub the sleep from my eyes and slowly walk towards the kitchen where I am sure the sound came from.

I find Prim, Delly and grandpa all sitting on the other side of the island, enjoying the breakfast I bought with some orange juice.

Prim's in a light green skirt that ends at around her knees and a sparky white shirt with a pink ribbon on the center and a pair of flats with her blonde hair in two braids and Delly's in a blue sundress and bright orange pumps with her hair in careless bun with some tendrils falling on her shoulders. They both look stunning and ready to go shopping while I'm still in yoga pants and Finnick's crumpled varsity jacket.

"Good morning, Katniss!" They all chirp in unison.

"Thanks Katniss for the muffins and cupcakes! It tastes great especially the cupcakes!" Prim gushes, "What's in them?"

Delly nods in agreement around a mouthful of muffins. I am so thankful she isn't like most girls who would worry about what they eat and cut back on almost everything. She's curvaceous and confident in how she looks.

"Cory told me that there were dandelion blossoms in them." I lie, not mentioning Peeta. I let out a yawn and try my best to look indifferent and inform them that I'll be in the shower.

I take my time in the hot shower, cleaning every inch of my body twice. Yes, I am practically stalling and dreading our time at the mall.

I decide to hop out once my fingers start to get a bit pruney and I am welcomed by a blast of cold air on my red, still sensitive skin.

I find an unfamiliar light blue spaghetti strap dress that makes an X at the back and a pair of sandals waiting for me on my bed that I bet Delly and Prim no doubt laid out for me while I was in the shower.

Jeez, what? Are we attending some sort of wedding?

Well, there's one thing for sure, there is no way in hell, I would be caught in that outfit. Instead I find a simple black v-neck T-shirt and a pair of light jeans. I decide to wear my black chucks and fix my hair in its normal braid. I dash downstairs back in to the kitchen to eat a muffin or two and another cupcake before we go. Hey, in my offense, I need all the energy I can get if I want to survive today.

I grab my wallet ready to go to the mall, with grandpa's keys to his red pickup truck (we need somewhere to place all those stuff Delly and Prim plan on buying.)

I walk out to the living room ready to head out to the mall but find Prim and Delly blocking the passage way to the truck.

"What the heck?"

"We are not letting you out of this place, Katniss, until you change your outfit we laid out for you." Delly exclaims with her heavy French accented voice.

I roll my eyes. "Fine by me, honestly, if it were up to me I wouldn't head out."

I plop onto the couch and twirl the key chain around my pointer finger and begin whistling.

"Awwww, Kantiss!" Prim pouts throwing in the puppy eyes, "I've been waiting for this day in a long time! You're the only one who can legally drive! Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top! I'll throw in some sprinkles if you want!"

I resist the urge to succumb willingly and huff out in annoyance.

"I'm not changing. Let's go."

We all hop in to the car and head to the mall.

(4 hours, 15 shops and 48 shopping bags later)

"Can we stop?" I wail. "I am starving!"

"Ever since we got here, you already had 3 sundaes, 6 chocolate chip cookies out of Subway, 2 sticks of cotton candy, a cheeseburger, 2 large fries, a bag of Cheetos, 2 bags of cheddar cheese flavored Ruffles and 2 coke floats and a strawberry smoothie. How are you still hungry and not fat?" Prim exclaims. Whoa! They've been taking inventory…

"Hey! I only had 4 chocolate chip cookies! You both asked for one! It's 2 in the afternoon! We missed out on lunch and we've almost been to all the shops! We had to go back 5 times just to drop off some of your bags and we missed out on LUNCH! An important meal of the day! How can I not be hungry?"

Delly and Prim both send me a flat look and I shrug.

"What?"

Prim takes pity on me and suggests we eat pizza and head out to the beach. Finally!

AN: OKAY, SO I KNOW I HAVEN'T UPLOADED THIS STORY FOR ALMOST A YEAR BUT I WILL BE UPDATING SOON AGAIN. I PROMISE TO FINISH THIS STORY NO MATTER WHAT. CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO DIE. THIS IS MORE OF A FILTER CHAPTER BUT I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT BUT I HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN THE NEXT CHAPTER. THANK YOU FOR STILL READING THIS STORY… (IF ANYONE STILL DOES READ THIS STORY.) xD

AND THERE WAS THIS REVIEWER WHO MORE OR LESS CALLED ME OUT TELLING ME TO UPDATE MY ASS (*cough cough* SORRY FOR THE LANGUAGE.) WHO WILL NOT BE MENTIONED. OKAY, THAT REVIEWER WAS ME BECAUSE SOMEONE NEEDED TO TELL MYSELF SHE NEEDS TO GET HER ACT STRAIGHT.