One Month Later
"Nothing fits!" I yell, lifting the shirt over my head and throwing it angrily across the room.
"Hey, it's okay! It's perfectly normal for pregnant women to become big. Think positive - it means our baby is big and healthy," Peeta says, obviously trying to soothe my frustration.
"You're calling me big? Thanks a lot, Peeta. You're meant to be supporting me and here you are calling me fat!" I cry, tears flooding my eyes.
"I didn't say that, Katniss!"
"Yes, you did! You think I'm ugly and fat! You don't know how this feels! You just get to watch while I suffer," I snap at him.
"I don't think that. You are stunning. Tell me, Katniss. Tell me how it feels," Peeta presses.
"It feels awful. Horrible. The worst experience of my life. This will never happen again. Ever. I mean it. I am fat. I am uncomfortable. My feet are swollen. My back is aching. I need to pee every half hour. My bump is so big I can't see my toes. None of my clothes fit me. I feel constantly tired. My breasts are tender and have grown to the size of watermelons. All of this and then, at the end of it all, I have to push the thing out of me!"
"It sounds awful, Sweetheart. If I could take away your discomfort I would in a heartbeat. I'm sorry you feel this way. You're beautiful, honestly. You're glowing," Peeta says, taking my hand and guiding it to his lips.
"Fuck you! I'm not glowing! There is no glowing! It's just a stupid old myth. Go! Leave me alone! Go to school! You're going to be late! Just get out! Now!" I scream, beating my fists against his chest. "Go! Go! Go!"
"Katniss! You have school, too."
"I'm not going. Go! Go to school! Go to the bakery! Go anywhere! Just leave!" I cry, dragging my feet over to the bed. I bury myself under the covers as I hear Peeta leave. Once I hear the door close behind him my sobs become louder. "Come back! Don't go. Don't leave me." I cry, my cheeks soaked with my salty tears and nose running like a tap.
I slowly start to calm down. My eyes start to flutter closed. And soon, I am in a deep sleep.
I wake up hours later to the heavy footsteps of Peeta coming upstairs. My eyes open as he walks into the room. He eyes me wearily, probably afraid I am going to snap at him again. I am just relieved he came back.
He comes to sit next to me and starts smoothing my hair. "Hey, Sweetheart."
"I'm sorry," I whisper.
"Me too," he replies.
"I don't really want you to leave. I'm really sorry. I can't live if you are not here. I don't mean to get so... so..."
"Hormonally terrifyingly scary?" Peeta suggests.
I roll my eyes but nod anyway. "I'm sorry. It's just, this last month I have suddenly ballooned and I am so uncomfortable. I want to rip my hair out. You must know that I don't mean what I say. Really... I-I love you," I say.
"I love you more," Peeta replies, leaning down to kiss me gently on the nose. "I know you don't mean what you say. I left today to give you some space. I knew you would calm down eventually. I'm always going to come back, Katniss. Always."
I smile at him before I wrap my arms around his back and pull him over me. His legs straddle mine as he leans his head against my chest. I tangle my fingers in his hair as we lay in silence.
After a short while, Peeta looks up at me with a sheepish look in his eyes. "Um..." he starts.
"What is it?" I ask.
"My mom," is all he says.
"What do you mean?" I press.
"She wants us both to have dinner with her and dad. She's asked a few times and each time I've come up with an excuse, but I'm running out of things to say," he explains.
"I thought she didn't want anything to do with me," I say.
"She still doesn't. My dad has spoken to her and she's slowly starting to warm up. If we have a girl, it would kill her not to be able to see the baby. I know it and so does dad. Mother was always bitter towards me and my brothers because we were all male. She hated that your mom, my dads ex-girlfriend, had two girls. A girl is all she's ever wanted."
"The sex of our child shouldn't matter. What if we have a boy, huh? I'm not going to let her treat him like she treated you. I can take it if she hates me and doesn't want to look my way, but if she so much as looks at my child in a horrible way I will make sure she never sees us again," I warn him.
"I wouldn't let her say anything horrible to you, never mind our child. I'm just saying, I think if we do have a girl, that it may change her. For good. I feel kind of sorry for her," Peeta admits.
"You what?" I snap.
"Mom was dads second choice. He loved your mom. They would have probably married and had kids if your mom had never met your dad. Your mother then chose your father and my father married my mother. She was jealous, and she still is."
"That's why she hates me," I say.
"She doesn't hate you. You are just a reminder to her that my father loved your mother first, before he came to love my mom."
"I get that. I do. But I don't think I can handle having dinner with her. If she says anything to me that makes me angry, I swear, I will-"
Peeta cuts me off. "We'll walk away. I promise. We'll leave the bakery and you'll never have to see her again."
"You mean it?" I ask.
"Yes, I mean it," he confirms.
"Okay. Fine. We'll go to dinner. When does she want us to go?" I ask.
I twirl the end of my braid around my finger as I look at my reflection in the mirror. I look awful. I had walked to my mothers this afternoon and asked her for something to wear as I have nothing in my wardrobe that fits me. She told me I was in luck, before she presented me with a long, green dress.
It's beautiful but it looks hideous on me.
Peeta walks into our bedroom and comes up behind me. I look at us both in the mirror. Two teenagers. That's all we are. Peeta kisses my shoulder before he wraps an arm around me and rests his hand on my bump.
"You look ravishing," he whispers in my ear.
I swallow before I turn around in his arms. "Liar."
"I'm not lying. I would gladly skip dinner if it meant spending time in bed with you," he says and my face warms at his words. He's never said anything like that to me before. He's never suggested that we... you know. I shouldn't be surprised that he wants that. I want it sometimes, too.
"I - Er - Um," I stutter stupidly.
Peeta chuckles. "Let's go."
As we walk, I become more and more nervous. I am dreading having to sit at the same table as Peeta's mother. Lately, my hormones have been all over the place. I don't know what I will do if she says anything that I disagree with.
For her sake, I hope she keeps her mouth shut.
It's a pleasant walk to the bakery. There is a slight breeze in the air that cools me. Peeta tightens his grip on my hand and I look over to him. He smiles at me, a nervous curl of the lips, and I smile back reassuringly.
"Are you okay?" I ask him.
"I'm just a little nervous. I'm the one who should be asking you that question. Are you okay?" he asks me.
"I'll be fine as long as you don't leave my side all evening," I say.
"I'll be right beside you," he promises.
When we finally arrive at the closed bakery, we go around to the back entrance. Peeta doesn't knock the door, just walks right in and holds the door open for me. The kitchen is still warm after having all the ovens on earlier in the day.
The room is void of other human beings.
"We are eating upstairs," Peeta explains, noticing my curious gaze.
I nod and follow him as he leads me to a set of stairs that we slowly climb, trying to drag out time. Peeta knocks the door at the top of the steps. "It's Peeta! We are here!" he calls before he opens the door.
We walk into a nicely furnished living-dining room. One side of the room is occupied with a large TV and a black, leather couch. A dining table made from shiny, brown wood occupies the other half of the space.
Peeta's dad walks into the room with a welcoming grin on his face. "Hello!" he says before he envelopes Peeta in a hug and then moves to hug me. I hug him back even though I am slightly surprised at the action.
"Where's mom?" Peeta asks.
"Oh, she's in our room, fixing her hair and makeup or whatever these women do," he explains. "Go relax on the couch while I check on the food. It won't be too long. I hope you are hungry."
My stomach rumbles loudly as he leaves the room and Peeta chuckles. I elbow him in the side as we both take a seat on the couch. "This room is nice," I say.
"Yeah... Mom likes to make out that we are stinking rich when her friends come over."
"Well, you work at a bakery. You do have a lot of money," I comment.
"Not as much as you think. All the money we get mostly goes on ingredients for the bakery. When I lived here we would eat the food at the bakery, and not the fresh food, we had to wait until it was stale and no one would buy it," Peeta admits.
I'm shocked. I always thought living in a bakery would mean you have nice, rich food to eat whenever you want. Obviously, that isn't the case. When I lived at home and would bring back game from the woods, it was always fresh and nice to eat, even though there wasn't very much.
Peeta and I wait in a comfortable silence for his parents. They come into the room together a short while later and I instantly tense at the sight of Mrs. Mellark. She doesn't greet us with words, but instead nods in our direction as she sets the table.
"How are you, mother?" Peeta asks, being his usual polite self.
"I'm fine," is all she says. She doesn't even ask how he is back. I hate her.
I feel like an idiot, just sitting here and doing nothing. I clear me throat. "Would you like help with anything?" I ask. Peeta's mother looks at me, but doesn't reply.
"Thank you for asking, but you are our guests, just relax," Peeta's dad replies.
I nod and sit back.
Peeta's witch of a mother is the person who wanted me to come over and yet she won't even speak to me. I feel myself get hot with anger but I keep my lips sealed. Peeta wraps his arm around my shoulders and then kisses my forehead. His mother sneaks glances at us every few seconds.
"Dinner is ready," Peeta's father announces and Peeta and I stand up and walk over to the table. Peeta pulls a chair out for me and I sit down. He sits beside me while his mother sits directly opposite me.
His father leaves the room to get the food and Peeta, his mother and I sit in an awkward silence. I don't allow my eyes to look Mrs. Mellark's way. My stomach growls loudly again when Mr. Mellark brings in the delicious-looking food. My face heats up a little but Mr. Mellark just grins at me. Peeta is so much like him. It's reassuring to know that he follows his father and is nothing like his witch of a mother.
"Lamb stew," Peeta says once his father has put a plate in front of him. "Looks amazing, dad."
"Have you ever tried it, Katniss?" Mr. Mellark asks me as he drops a plate in front of me.
I shake my head. "Never. It smells delicious. Thank you," I reply.
We all start eating in silence. The food tastes heavenly and I have to force myself not to moan in delight. I remind myself to eat slowly and not shovel the food down my throat like I want to.
"So," Mr. Mellark starts. "How have you been feeling, Katniss?"
"Just a little bit tired," I answer. "Thank you for asking."
"You felt tired all the time when you were carrying the boys, isn't that right?" Mr. Mellark asks his wife.
She nods. "I had awful morning sickness, too. Peeta was the worst. I couldn't keep anything down when I was carrying him," she says. I'm actually surprised that she answered, having not said a word since Peeta and I arrived.
I don't know what to say. "I don't have morning sickness as often as I used to. It just happens randomly sometimes." I eat a spoonful of food, chewing slowly as Mrs. Mellark speaks again.
"How far along are you?" she asks.
"Six and a half months," I answer.
"You are big for only six months. I was very small with each of my children until I hit eight months and then I ballooned. And each and every one of them were boys," she says bitterly.
"I wouldn't mind having a little Peeta around," I say, smiling up at Peeta. He takes my hand under the table and squeezes it.
"Boys are hard work," she says.
"All kids are hard work," I say.
Silence falls once again, the only sound being heard is the scrape of forks against plates. I rest my cutlery down once I've finished eating and take a sip out of the glass of water that sits in front of me.
"How is that Victor friend of yours?" Peeta's mother suddenly asks.
"Gale? He is, uh, good," I say, my brows furrowed.
Why would she ask me that?
"Do you still meet him in the woods?" she asks.
I shift uncomfortably in my seat. "Sometimes."
Mrs. Mellark looks at her son. "And this doesn't bother you?"
"No. I trust Katniss completely," Peeta responds.
"Huh. I see. I just find it difficult to believe that she is only six months and is that big," Peeta's mother says.
"What are you suggesting, mother?" Peeta asks. I can feel my face burning with anger and I have to bite my lip to stop myself from saying something horrific to the witch in front of me.
"Oh, nothing. Nothing at all," his mother replies in a sickly sweet voice.
I take another sip of my drink.
"Have you thought of any names yet?" Mr. Mellark asks, changing the subject. I smile thankfully at him while Peeta shakes his head.
"We haven't discussed it much," he says.
"Lilly, Katniss and Primrose. You even have a cat called Buttercup, right?" Peeta's father asks me. "Do you think you are going to carry on the plant names?"
I look at Peeta. "I haven't really thought about it. What do you think?" I ask him.
"It's a good idea. I wouldn't want to break a tradition," he say with a smile. "But what if it's a boy? Can you think of a flower that will suit a baby boy?"
"We could name it after bread," I tease him.
Peeta chuckles. "Let's not," he says.
Mrs. Mellark coughs loudly and all eyes turn to her. "When your child grows older, and wants to know how you two met or how it was conceived, what are you going to tell it exactly?" she asks.
"Does that really matter?" I ask.
"The truth," Peeta says. "We'll tell he or she exactly what happened."
"I'm sure the child will be so saddened to find out that its parents only married because of a fuck that resulted in a mistake," the witch says.
Peeta stands up, his fists clenched in anger. "We're leaving."
I stand also, my hands shaking slightly. My eyes lock with Mrs. Mellark's. She smiles slyly at me. I want to say something harsh. Something that will feel like a stab in the gut. But I can't do that. That would make me childish and immature.
"Peet-" Mr. Mellark starts.
"Thank you for the meal, father. It was amazing. I'll see you in the bakery tomorrow after school," Peeta cuts him off. He then turns to his mother. "As for you, I hope one day you will pull the stick from your ass and realize that you have a nice family around you that cares for you even though you are a snobby witch. You are lucky to have everything you have got. It isn't going to last forever, mother."
With that, Peeta once again takes hold of my hand and leads me to the door, down the stairs, through the bakery kitchen, out the back door and into the dark night.