I really hate mixing Panem with our world because it makes me feel like a sell out but the way I did it in this chapter it was appropriate. You'll see what I'm talking about as you read. But I really think it helps set the tone. Please let me know what you think.
"Katniss, why are you breathing hard?"
I catch Cinna's eyes and immediately regret it. I'm met with a smirk of knowing, but he was whispering to me so no one has a clue what just went down in the dressing room. Obviously I give myself away even more when I start tripping over my words, "Uh, um…you see…I was, ah, running, in-in heels."
I smile nervously hoping to do some kind of convincing but I have a strong feeling it didn't work.
"The stage hand told us we were late, so we, ah well, ran." Cinna's smile grows wide, and mischievous. He knows.
"Is that why your lip-gloss is a little smeared?" He voice is only a whisper.
My immediate response was to clamp my hand over my mouth, but I know the evidence is there in my eyes.
"No one knows but me, I promise. And only because I can read you like a book."
I relax a little knowing this, but I still feel the building tensions in my stomach for the interview. One thing I've always been lucky about is how I really do have Peeta. He's so great with audiences, and speaks without skipping a beat. And he's witty, so very witty. I stand slightly comforted by the face that if Caesar tries to tease us about our sexual endeavors Peeta will take the rein and steer us away in a subtle manner.
Suddenly I want to know where my husband is. As soon as we got to the back of the stage we were separated for touch-ups. It was almost unnerving to have him away from my side.
I look to my left, maybe 25 feet away, I catch his eyes. They are heavy, and locked on me. The heated stare reminds me of a predator about to pounce on prey. He stands with Portia, who has her back angled to me. She straightens his tie and vest while he looks around her at me. The dark, sensual glaze makes my stomach drop, and makes me want him again. He winks at me and I almost lose my footing.
I've noticed his behavior since the wedding has changed, but not in a negative way. He's become more dominating and sexual, but, manages to show me his love with every touch. I feel like he's definitely more sure of himself, and I know how he makes me feel, weak in the knees. But there's something else too.
Almost like he's insatiable. Which turns me on even more, making me want to be the one that finally satisfies him. And maybe one day, after a couple years of marriage, we'll both finally be completely satisfied. But I certainly don't see that in our near future.
His eyes haven't left mine, but when Portia straightens up his sexual, dark glaze becomes a sweet, longing one. Just like that. No one has even noticed our erotic eye contact.
"Okay, one. More. Thing," Cinna says while fastening my mockingjay pin on me. "Done," he announces proudly.
"By the way," he looks at me curiously, "nice makeup trick. You know, with the hiding my embarrassing blush." He chuckles, "I thought it would come in handy."
I can't help but smile back.
The producer gathers me and Peeta together beside the stage. He talks into a mouthpiece, "5. 4. 3. 2. 1," just barely a whisper. The announcer introduces Caesar then the crowd erupts into applause. Caesar crosses the stage dramatically, sporting his big wide smile, bowing and waving to them.
He sits down, finally in his chair, and starts talking to the audience as if they were a house guest. About the weather, and some jokes.
"So, my dear friends, we have some special guests today," he pauses as the crowd roars, and cheers, "yes, I am VERY excited too!"
He laughs and smiles, everyone in District 12 knows how I feel about the Capitol, and I'm sure the entire country of Panem, (not including the Capitol Citizens), hates the members of the Capitol as well. But, I'd be the first to admit I genuinely like Caesar.
"You know them as the star-crossed lovers from District 12, the victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games, and, in fact, newly wed! Mr. AND Mrs. Peeta and Katniss Mellark!"
The crowd is up and bouncing out of their seats, cheering as loud as I've ever heard them before screaming things like, "We love you!" and "Marry me Peeta!"
The producer is pushing us forward, so Peeta takes my hand and walks out slowly with me by his side. We smile big, and wave. When we get over to Caesar he greets me with a hug and light kiss on the cheek, and, jokingly, does the same to Peeta. Which makes the audience laugh, Peeta plays along too. He pulls back and fans his face like Caesar's action flustered him. The audience eats it up. We sit down; I scoot up to Peeta as close as I can, without sitting in his lap. I ring my right arm through his left, and softly lay my head on his shoulder.
A few years ago this would have been forced but now I want to show everyone in the world he's mine.
"Well, hello lovebirds! Glad to see we got your back from the honeymoon in one piece!"
"Thank you, Caesar! It's great to be back, "Peeta replies I just stay quiet and smile sweetly.
"So audience, would you like to see the wedding?"
The audience screams in response, and the lights dim. The screen behind us lights up and begins a montage of our relationship from the beginning. It starts with the reaping, our eyes meeting and our handshake. A song comes over the speakers.
All I can say is I was enchanted to meet you.
They show the parade and us holding hands. The music becomes really low, just background noise when the pre-game interviews came on. First mine, nothing to special about that, then the music completely stops when Peeta says, "Because she came here with me." Music erupts again, this night is sparkling, don't you let it go. They show us in the games, me finding him when he was injured, our first kiss, me tricking him to go get the medicine, fighting Clove, Peeta waking up finding me in a pool of blood, and our first real kiss, the one that gave me sparks. I tap on his shoulder when he looks back at me I surprise him with a kiss.
It's not for the audience, or the publicity, just because in my heart I feel like this is just needed right now. My hands stay on his face even after the kiss, and we still look into each other's eyes. It was a tiny kiss but it made me feel so powerfully in love with him. A tear fell out of my eye without me even realizing that I'm crying.
"I love you, Peeta."
I tickled my nose with his, "I love you too. So much baby."
We turn back to the screen, and I catch Caesar watching us out of the corner of his eye smiling. Surely the cameras were on us, but I'm just assuming I'll see the footage later.
The victory crowning is on the screen now, and then it just shows little clips of us together over the years. But, even though it was out of order, the music completely stops and the room gets quiet when the show Peeta's engagement. Then the screen goes black, and the entire room is dark. Another song starts to play softly through the speakers.
Nothing prepared me for the privilege of being yours.
Slowly the screens lights come back up and you see a video of my wedding. Peeta looks into the camera, and the music fades slightly, "Katniss, you know I've loved you most of my life, and I've always dreamed of the day when you would become my wife. Well, ha ha, now that the day is here it feels like I'm going to wake up any second from this dream." On-screen Peeta tears up a little, and you can see his eyes get red. I can't help but settle in closer to him and lay my head on his shoulder. "I'm so excited about seeing you in your wedding dress, and I can't believe that in a matter of, "he pulls out my father's pocket watch, "fifteen minutes you'll be my wife. I love you so much, Sweetheart."
The only footage of me was right before I walked down the aisle. I don't even remember seeing a camera then. Haymitch stood there with me silently. I hadn't noticed the day of but in the film Haymitch is looking at me through the corner of his eye, he even has a small smile on his lips. I can see my left hand trembling slightly, as I nervously tug on my dress. Then, the camera is switched to the outside view, and all you see are the closed doors. The music starts and the doors are opened, and suddenly I'm walking out into the light.
The image flicks to Peeta, who is standing at the altar, waiting on me to join him, and has the biggest proudest smile. A close-up of my face comes on the screen, and I'm glowing, there's not really another way to say it. My eyelashes flutter rapidly, my lips are in the curve of a smile, but are puffed out like I'm preparing for a kiss. My right hand is grasping tightly onto Haymitch's arm. It's a funny sensation to watch yourself on the television. In real life I'm clumsy and not feminine really at all, but on the screen I see a beautiful, graceful, and so-in-love woman.
When the vows start the music cuts down into silence, and you hear every word clearly. I lean into Peeta's ear and start whispering my vows back to him, he shudders. When the video ends there is a standing ovation. I know I should look and smile and wave and act like I am flattered, but I really don't want to. I did love the wedding but I wish it could have been private, without the Capitol citizens looking over our shoulders. I keep my forehead planted on Peeta's shoulder, hiding my face. There's a light tap on my shoulder, I look up to see that Caesar is handing me a tissue.
He takes a seat, and waits for the crowd to die down before speaking. "Mrs. Mellark you made a beautiful bride. And you are even more beautiful as a new wife. Please, tell me how you felt walking down the aisle."
I sat for a second to search my thoughts of how I felt, and then I look up at Caesar.
"I was nervous, actually. My heels were tall, and I was really scared about falling down on T.V. But…I can honestly say I've never been so happy in my life." I look out into the crowd, "When the doors opened, the first thing I saw was him," I say looking over at Peeta. "And it was like everything else disappeared. The cameras, and the crowd, and Haymitch. All I saw was Peeta waiting for me, like he's been doing since we were kids. And then I realized how much I wanted to start running towards him", the crowd giggles.
"What about you, Peeta?"
He smiles broadly, and all the ladies in the audience sigh like they are in love.
"It literally took everything I had not to grab her. I felt like I was going to faint because of how excited I was. And then when we were actually at the alter the wind blew and it caught her perfume. When I smelled it I almost didn't wait to be given permission to kiss her."
He brought it up, he REALLY brought it up. I quickly snap my eyes down to my hands, feeling the non-visible blush crawling up my cheeks. I'm going to make him pay for that later.
The interview went on to more vague questions like "Why did you choose orange?" Which made Peeta smile. And "what did you think of your engagement ring?" He even asked us about children.
We looked at a few pictures from the wedding, one being of me looking out the window watching Peeta walk. It looks almost angelic. My eyes are lit up from the light, and the lace falls on my head like another veil. I look relaxed and happy. Caesar even gave us a wedding present, which was the footage of our wedding, and the before and after photographs that were taken. And even some messages from people we love and people we know congratulating us on the marriage and wishing us happiness.
Finally, after the 2 hour program was over. We stood and shook hands with Caesar and they called cut. Finally.
When we were home I quickly kicked off my heels. I sat down on our sofa and closed my eyes.
I started to drift but remembering that Peeta mentioned the perfume thing on TV, knowing I would blush and think about our sexy pre-interview session, I felt a second wind coming on. I thought of what I wanted to do, then smiled mischievously.
And as sweetly as I could I called for him.