Back to Green Ch. 13
It has been six months.
Six months since Peeta proposed, and nothing has changed.
After that night, there was no mention of a wedding anymore. I am even getting the peculiar feeling that Peeta might not want one, either.
After all the promises of a new beginning, a fresh start, we are slowly spiraling down to a constant. A forever, nonetheless, but not forever I wanted.
I continuously remind myself that if this fails, our relationship, I will not know who I am or what to do with myself. I will sit alone in agonizing pain.
Not the pain you can get rid of or the pain that goes away after a few months or years, if I were to be so lucky. No. The pain that rips out your flesh from the inside out. The pain that gnaws at you heart until you feel that ache, that deep rancid ache that bellows at the bottom of your stomach and reaches its arms through your throat.
And the worst would be yet to come.
I must not fail Peeta. Failing Peeta would mean failing myself and I cannot stand to bear that pain once more.
So after supper, when Peeta kisses my temple and says "Lets head off to bed,"
I say, "Lets get Married."
His face contracts, "Sweetheart, we're already going to get married."
I shake my head vigorously. "No. I want to get married now." Just saying it made my tongue tingle and the corners of my mouth rise.
Peeta looks down at his dirty shorts and my translucent nightgown and raises his brows, "Now?"
"Not now, don't be silly." I bite my lip, "Tomorrow. Lets get married tomorrow. In our home."
He shakes his head and looks down at me, "Our homes are burnt to nothing. And this," He gestures to our house, "this is not our home. This is a house, that we happen to be living in. We can't get married tomorrow, Katniss, there's just too much to consider."
I smile again and kiss Peeta tenderly, "Consider this." I tell him while taking his hand and leading him to the kitchen.
"Here," I sit on our kitchen table, "is where we ate our first meal together. It was bacon and eggs, but I didn't eat the bacon, remember?" He nods.
"You gave it to the cat." He smiles.
"Yea," I close my eyes, reminiscing back to a few months ago. I inhale deeply and then move to the kitchen island. "Now here is where you showed me how to bake. We baked for the entire day and then you and I made that special bread."
He nods gently, "So you would know what it tasted like when it wasn't burnt." He whispers.
"Exactly." By now, my smile is too sad to contain between two pursed lips. I lead Peeta over to the sink and turn so that we are face to face, his hands resting delicately on my hips. I sigh. "This is where you broke down, Peeta. Do you remember that?"
Again, he nods, slower this time, and then he brings his head down to rest in the crook of my neck. "Yes, I remember."
I tangle my fingers in his curls for a moment of silence before I speak up. "That wont happen to you anymore, I promise you that."
Peeta sighs and looks back down at me, "I know," he whispers.
"Come on." I move us back to the couch and I sit in front of it, Peeta falling beside me.
"You kissed me here for the first time, for real." Peeta puts his head down and smiles lightly. I chuckle quietly at his bashfulness, "I know you remember that."
He brings his head back up and smiles again, "I remember it perfectly." He bites his lip and leans in closer to me, the ghost of his lips tracing mine. "I remember you perfectly." He kisses me quick and moves his head back, smirking deviantly.
I roll my eyes and rest my hands on his, dragging him upright and up the stairs, into our bedroom.
I close the door quietly and wait for Peeta to come and join me in bed. He sits on the edge near me and begins to disassemble the titanium on his leg. I roll over and help him, kissing his exposed shoulders every few moments.
Once Peeta has propped the false leg on the nightstand, he lies down beside me and looks at me longingly, "Are you trying to seduce me, Katniss."
"No," I tell him, "not exactly." He brings his hand to rest on my hip while my palm presses up on his bare chest. "Right here, in this very bed, we shared ourselves with each other for the first time, we gave in to each other. Peeta, we were unionized right here in this bed."
"That's an interesting way to put it."
"Peeta. . ." I sigh, "Listen to me for a moment please, I mean, really listen."
Peeta runs a hand through my hair to untangle my braid, "Okay, I'm all ears." He says while he continues to absentmindedly dishevel my locks.
"Don't you dare say that this is not our home. Don't you ever tell me that some of our most precious memories weren't shared right here in this house. This is our home Peeta, it's broken, it's sad, it's dark, but it's still our home. And I love it."
Peeta closes his eyes and exhales deeply, stroking my face with the palm of his hand and his thumb. "I understand."
"Than you'll understand why here is the perfect place to get married." I murmur.
"Yea," Peeta agrees, "definitely."
Peeta grins, "Tomorrow."
When I wake up, the smell of fresh bread seeps through the floorboards.
I wrap myself up in a thin robe and tiptoe down the wooden stairs, over to where two freshly baked bread loaves are cooling on a rack. On the first loaf, a note is attached reading:
"Went to pick up a delivery from the station. Be back shortly. Much love - P"
I fold the note with my fingers a few times before I place it back on the counter.
Before Peeta can come home and tell me not to, I decide to cut myself a slice of the bread.
I reach up to grab a small plate from the cabinets and fumble in our cutlery drawer for a slicing knife. Just as I'm about to carve into the loaf, the door opens. I let out an agonizing groan as Peeta walks in with a small, wrapped parcel in his hand.
He laughs, "Go ahead, why do you think I made two."
I squint my eyes at him, "Don't you think it would have been nice to let me know, you know, to save me the trouble?"
"Nah," he dismisses, "you need all the trouble you can get." I stick my tongue out at him and he pats my bottom in response. He breaks off a piece of my slice of bread, despite my hand swatting his away. "So isn't this bad luck?" I raise my eyebrows, "You know, seeing each other before the toasing?"
My chest tightens in anticipation. "Yes," I answer, "but I think we've run out of bad luck by now, don't you?"
When the loaf of bread was three-quarters of the way finished, and Peeta found some matches in the back of a miscellaneous drawer, we sat down in front of the fire. It took Peeta a few times to get the fire to start but when it did, all I could do was stare. Fire has such mixed connotations in my mind, and the sight of fire still makes me somewhat uneasy, but today it was soothing. Almost like a fresh start.
Peeta cuts off two small cubes of bread and sticks them onto the end of a metal skewer. He hands one to me and waits for my approval.
I slowly nod my head and we bring our bread into the fire, toasting it.
As Peeta and I sit side by side, arms extended into the fire, he brings me closer and wraps an arm around my waist. "Is this how these things work?" he asks.
"I don't know," I admit, "but it feels right."
After a few more rotations of the skewers, we bring our browned bread out in front of us. I blow on it for a few moments to cool it down and then hold it in my hand; Peeta does the same.
"On three?" I suggest. We turn to face each other.
Peeta nods, "One." He rubs his hand up and down my folded leg.
"Two." I place my lips on the warm bread, kissing it gently.
I look into Peeta's blue eyes, and they seem bluer than before. A more beautiful, noticeable blue. His eyes have always been a striking color but it's as if I'm seeing them for the first time again, really seeing them. Seeing what they hold. Seeing what they are capable of. Seeing what they see.
I love Peeta, truly, and in this moment, right before I put my toasted bread in his mouth, I fall in love with him all over again. And again, and again, and again. And I can't stop falling in love with Peeta Mellark.
Simultaneously, we both receive each others toasted bread. It's warm, it's sweet, it's a bit burnt. It's us.
I chew and swallow, never breaking eye contact with Peeta, and when it's over I ask him, "Are we married now?"
He looks over to the couch and grabs the package, unwrapping the brown paper delicately, revealing a smooth, velvety case. Inside sits two rings. Both gold, one slightly larger than the other. He hands me the large ring and extends out his left hand.
Knowingly, I slide the band on this ring finger slowly, smiling when it can't go any further.
Peeta takes my left hand and takes the ring off of my left hand, moving the diamond over to my right ring finger. "Katniss, do you remember when I told you that I knew for sure I loved you, when you sang the valley song?"
"Well, I think I was lying."
I look up at him and furrow my eyebrows. "What do you mean?" I stammer.
"I didn't know what love was. I was only a child. I'm not even sure I completely understand love now." He slides the golden band onto my ring finger, excruciatingly slow, "But when you and I spent that evening on the roof before the quell, and we laughed and we ate and we laid together for hours, I just knew, you know? I just knew you were the one. I knew I way madly, tremendously, incredibly in love with you." He takes the diamond of my other finger and moves it to this one.
"You're so different, Katniss Everdeen. You're so rare. And yet you are so excruciatingly ordinary that it physically pains me. Everything you do is so plain, yet so remarkable that words can't even begin to describe. You rise above everything, and I do mean everything. You are so beautiful without even trying. You can change the world without even knowing how."
He twists the ring around to make visible the small engraving of a bird, very similar to the one I gave Prim. The one that was used as my symbol of rebellion.
"Katniss, you're my Mockingjay."
I lean in as fast as I can to caress his cheek and kiss him tenderly before he can say anything else that might make me cry. As I pull away a few tears involuntarily fall and Peeta reaches out to wipe them away.
He chuckles, "Well, if we weren't married before, we certainly are now."
I smile and play with my two rings, letting out a roaring cackle, shoving my head into my hands to hide my timidity. "Oh my gosh."
"What is it?" Peeta asks, undoubtedly concerned.
I let out a snort "I just got married in my underwear."