I know, and I'm sorry...again. Please forgive me!
Though it has to happen, I don't want to just kill of the other tributes and act like nothing happened, that's President Snow's thing. I'm shining the spotlight on Marcus, the boy from district six. You'll learn a lot about him and if you don't understand anything, be sure to read the author's note at the bottom!
Only one single thought is clear to her in the midst of her anxious state: Dennis would be talking, talking to distract her. But he's not here, and now she's all alone. She folds her trembling hands to restrain them, but there's nothing that can be done for the shaky legs that bounce along to a rhythm of their own.
Dennis knew her habits. The need to wipe her hair three times before combing her hair after stepping out of the shower. Looking around when she was nervous- exactly what she's doing now. He'd tease her for these silly things and her defense would always be a lousy "Stop it". Since the day they met, Dennis was the only man with the special ability to make her cheeks burn up. This made her hate him. Then, as she fell for the man that became her husband, she was surprised to find that she enjoyed the jokes he made.
At the rate her heart is beating, she's convinced that her insides will implode. This is why some don't view the interviewing process as an exciting event. For Celline it was that and public speaking was one of her worst fears. She's normally calm, not allowing anything to affect her. But when it comes to having to speak in front of thousands of people, that calm demeanor sheds right off.
"How many times do I have to tell you not be nervous?" Tricia scolds. It certainly annoys her that her sister was panicky for something worth three minutes.
She wasn't completelyalone. With her are her sister, Tricia, and nephew, Wedrey. She has what she calls 'family' with her, yes, but she can't be blamed for thinking that it's not a complete one. The one with a strong father, a tender mother, a cocky son, and a sweet daughter.
The two sisters are nothing alike. You have Celline- calm and a woman of a few words. Then there's Tricia- the aggressive big-mouth with a stubborn temperament. If it weren't for three facial features they share –the hair, eyes, and nose– you'd get the idea that the two were only friends or complete strangers.
Tricia and her son help themselves to the food provided on the table. Unlike her sister, Tricia doesn't feel anything. She's not nervous, but not excited either. All of her attention is on the sweet treats before her. Celline looks at her sister and nephew gorging themselves, her sister displaying no manners at all. If only she could be like her and not care.
"You know, Cell, if-" Tricia begins, stopping for a second to lick the cream off the sugary dessert. "If you have a couple of these, you'll relax. They taste great. No, not great. Extremely delicious. Yeah that's a perfect way to describe it." She turns her head to look at her sister, who is still too busy worrying to listen to what she just said.
She claps her hands, demanding attention. Celline looks at her. "Stop worrying!"
"I'm not like you, Trish. I can't just stop worrying with a snap of my finger." Celline retorts weakly.
Tricia sinks onto the spot next to Celline. "If you keep thinking about it, then you're going to get more nervous by the minute," she says. "But if you come with me and Wed to that table over there, I'm sure it'll help."
"I'm lazy. Don't feeling like getting up from this comfortable little thing." She pets the soft cushion of the couch.
Tricia rolls her eyes and gets up to take what she's sure will calm her sister's nerves.
"Are you all enjoying yourselves?" Caesar asks the audience. They answer with a slightly synchronal 'yes'. The host laughs, "I am having fun, too. Though, I have to admit that my tush is hurting a little." He ends his sentence with a sad smile and big puppy eyes. The audience guffaws.
"We're moving on to the family members of the male tribute of district five-Marcus!" Caesar says. The crowd applauds.
"We're going to bring his mother, Ms. Celline, out. Ms. Celline, come outta there, darling!" he calls.
Tricia and Celline are aware that they are different. Same looks, but different personalities. It was Tricia's idea for the two of them to dress different. They appearance they chose match their personalities, with Celline going with conservative, and Tricia going with sexy, but not too sexy.
Celline walks towards Caesar, smoothing down her lace, light cream colored dress with her hands barely covered with the long sleeves. Thanks to her friendship with the owner of the fabric shop, she was able to get a good deal on the beautiful material. She wears her dark brown hair down, and the only flashy accessory on her is her earrings. Caesar gestures to her invitingly and takes her hand like a gentleman. He leads her to the seats and they sit down simultaneously.
"You look very nice, Ms. Celline," Caesar says.
"Thank you." She smiles graciously.
"With you looking fabulous, we look good standing next to each other." Caesar says.
Right before replying, Celline decides to act like her calm self, but a little more amiable. "Do we?" she inquires the audience. The audience's response consist of a mixture of 'yes's and screaming. Both Caesar and Celline laugh at this.
"Celline, can you tell me, is Marcus a mommy's boy or is he way past that?" Caesar asks.
"Marcus is independent. He makes it clear that he can take care of himself, but just like any young boy or grown man, he's happy with me cooking."
Marcus is independent, yes, but Celline doesn't mention how he came to be that way. She doesn't tell Caesar that he was forced to grow up and be tough. That when his father was lost to that machine at work, Marcus was determined to fill his father's role, to take care of his family. "You're only fourteen," his mother would say to him. "It's okay, you don't need to do this." But no, Marcus wouldn't want to hear it. It was a natural instinct to him. Just like a prince claiming his rightful place at the throne.
"You must be a great cook, then." Caesar says.
"Yeah, I'd say that. I always loved cooking." Celline nods.
"If you've been cooking for quite a long time, you must be a master. Which dish of yours was Marcus's favorite?" Caesar asks.
"He really loves when I boil chicken together with pumpkins. Marcus likes food especially if their balanced. In this case, you have the tenderness of the chicken and the sweetness of the pumpkin." Celline smiles, but it's not a happy one. Talking about the food that Marcus loved the most made her miss him even more.
Caesar sits back and imagines the food. "Talking about that makes me realize how hungry I am." He rubs his stomach, his eyes still fixed on the ceiling and dreaming of food.
"I'm sorry for making you hungry." says Celline.
Caesar pretends to not hear her. He's still thinking of all the delicious things he could be eating in this moment. Laughter erupts from the audience.
He snaps out of his "dream". "Oh, I am so sorry," he says to everyone with a dazzling smile. "If you could've seen the food I was dreaming of, you'd understand."
"Now, Celline, I want you to tell me the talents Marcus possesses. What is he good at?"
"Marcus has excellent painting skills. He can make a simple piece look like it's worth a lot of money." She answers. Unlike the previous one, this question made her feel proud. The yearning for the presence of her son she felt from the first question was replaced with pride.
"That is a great talent to have. It can be useful in the games." Caesar reminds her. And that's when Celline feels depressed over her son's participation in the Hunger Games again. If only she could telepathically tell Caesar to talk about things that make her happy.
"What does he like to paint?"
"I think I made a mistake," Celline retreats. "Sketching. Yeah, I don't think what he does is painting. He sketches. He likes sketching scenery."
"What kind of scenery?"
"Anything, really. I remember seeing a sketch of the front side of our home."
That was the piece that Marcus was most proud of. He wasn't one to brag, but he admired how all the smallest of details were captured. That spot above the front door where the paint peels from all those years of sun and harsh weather. The fragile door that can be torn from its hinges with one hard kick of a heavy duty boot. The slightly rusty doorknob that needs to be replaced. Marcus instructed his mother to hang it next to the fire if he were not to return.
"Don't you dare talk like that," Celline said sternly. "You'll come back."
"God, mom. Let's be realistic. I'm going to die in the Hunger Games." He replied, anger in his tone.
The tears fall. "Please don't say that," Celline pleaded. "You can't leave me."
Word by word, everything replays in Celline's mind. Her throat starts burning and all she wants is for the buzzer to sound.
"You think he can paint me?" Caesar inquires, posing with a giant smile.
"I'm confident that he can." She smiles at the interviewer. And then there's the sound that Celline was wishing for.
"And that means that your interview is over, Ms. Celline. I thank you for being here to answer my questions." Caesar takes her hand and plants a kiss on top.
She smiles, but this one is not for the cameras. It's for the interview being over. She can go back to her sister-the one person she needs to see- and not say anything else after she's explained everything to her.
She resists the impulse to jog away from all the lights and cameras and colorful people.
"I'm surprised you two aren't tired yet," Susan smoothes Geode's hair down. She looks at the food table. Half of the plates are almost clean. "Though I won't be surprised to find out what's helping you stay awake."
The twins have retired their efforts to eat all the things they could get their hands on. Earlier Geode came up with the idea of making it a contest, but now neither could care less about winning.
"What if there's no more food left?" asks Geode. Garnet is lazily seated beside him, watching the flat screen.
"That might actually be a good thing." Susan admits. "First you guys get hyper, and then you start to feel sleepy."
"I prefer the second part of the sugar effect." Amethyst interjects. She couldn't stand sitting with everyone on the longest piece of furniture in the room. Crowded spaces irritate her.
"And so do I, but I don't think they like watching the interviews. Looks like they find it boring." says Charles.
"Ofcourse they do. Unless there are explosions or talking animals, they're going to be bored. When they do get bored and hungry, they go back there." Amethyst thumbs the table behind them.
"It doesn't matter. They're full and tired, and they're staying right here." Susan says positively.
"That is until they get hungry again. Also, they'll be resting, so when they don't feel tired anymore, they won't be too relaxed." Amethyst reminds her mother.
"The food's almost finished. When it is, no more fuel for these fast-moving bullet trains." She tickles Garnet, and the child who was quiet earlier bursts into laughter.
The door opens and a handful of stage hands enter, each carrying a platter of food.
Reminds me of black ants spilling out of their precious ant hill. Amethyst thinks.
The family doesn't move. Instead they watch as the stage hands replace the near empty silver platters with one piled high with treats. After they leave, Geode eyes the restocked table hungrily.
"No, you stay right here." Susan orders.
Why did they have to do that?
Celline didn't have time to tell her sister anything. A stage hand had already taken her for her interview.
"Wedrey, it's your mother's turn." Celline tells her nephew. He was still at the table stuffing his mouth.
Celline sympathized with him. They didn't suffer terribly in six, which she's grateful for, but they barely had those days where they stomach was satisfied. The food was divided equally and no one complained or asked for more. Everyone ate the same amount and that was it.
Wedrey is slim, but malnourishment does not play a part. He took his mother's brown hair, but the eyes were all his father's. Celline empathized with both Wedrey and his mother for not having a father or husband. His parents had him at a young age and to their peers, it was not shocking news when they separated. But Tricia didn't want the identity of his father to be kept from him. She allows him to see Wedrey and his father tries to help by giving Tricia some of his pay.
Her husband was dead, and her sister couldn't get along with hers. There were two broke women with no man to love them. So when the idea of Tricia moving in with her older sister popped up, both were ecstatic.
"She's not nervous." Wedrey says to his aunt.
"Not at all." She agrees.
When the dress slipped on her body with no sound of fabric tearing, Tricia knew that it was the one. Her hair was clipped up and a few ringlets hung beside her face, but majority of it was hanging down the nape of her neck. A sleeveless black, thin net covered the upper part of her chest and all of her shoulders. The full fabric starts with a sweetheart neckline and cascades down to cover her feet. Pink and purple flower are printed all over the white cloth. She loved every second of the dress covering her body.
She knew how to walk like a lady, but she chose the pageant queen stride. Big smile that displayed her white teeth. A hand that waves like a princess stepping into the courtyard to greet her subjects. Tricia feels like a star.
"Hey there, Caesar!" she wraps him in a hug, ignoring the hand he offered.
"Hello, Ms. Tricia!" Caesar responds, his enthusiasm matching hers.
"I love how cheerful you are!" Caesar says.
"Do you all love her attitude?" Caesar asks the crowd. They cheer and applause. Tricia gives them a big smile. "Stop it! I'm blushing!"
Caesar laughs. "You can disagree with me when I say this. You are young at heart, yes?"
"Absolutely. I'll have a lot of wrinkles, but my heart won't." Tricia says.
"That was a nice answer! Since you are young at heart, and your nephew Marcus is young, do you help him out with the ladies?"
"I did try, but he didn't want me to do anything." Tricia replies with a laugh.
She shrugs. "Maybe because he didn't want my help, and I was okay with that after I saw him with his girlfriend."
"That he got on his own." Caesar said.
"That he got on his own." Tricia nods.
"But if he did allow you to set him up, do you think you would've done a good job?"
"I know I would've done a good job." Tricia answers, confidence in her voice.
"What would you've done to find Marcus the right girl?" Caesar asks.
"I'd compare their personalities. Make sure that they had some things in common. But everything doesn't have to be the same because they'll but heads most of the time."
"That's impressive. Sounds like it can work." Caesar tells her.
"Do you think that you could find me a girl?" Caesar asks playfully, as he already has a wife.
"Oh yes, we have plenty of possible girlfriends for you out here," Tricia says in reference to the single females in the crowd. "For those of you single woman out there, who wants to date Caesar Flickerman!" she inquires. Women without the company of a male raise their hand, most screaming, "Me!"
The two laugh. "I give up. It will last us the entire night to choose one and your interview can only last for three minutes." Caesar reminds.
"You're right," says Tricia. But if you do find a lady, credit goes to me, alright?"
"Alright." Caesar's words were said just in time because the buzzer makes a sound.
"It was fun talking with you, Ms. Tricia." Caesar smiles good-naturedly as he shakes her hand.
"Same here," Tricia says. "It was awesome."
Shine and Reina
The two friends sat on the couch, a bored expression painted on their face. With a full stomach and nothing else to do, the girls said nothing as they watch Caesar interview family members of the other tributes. "I'm bored."
"Really? 'Cause I'm having the time of my life." Shine replies sarcastically.
"How many more families?" Reina asks, hoping the answer will be zero.
"One, I think. This is the boy from district six's family, so yeah, one more. The girl from district twelve's family is last."
"Is that the girl with the really nice hair for her interview?" Reina asks.
"Oh yeah, the one with the spiral curls and the blue feathers in them, right?"
"Yeah! Remind me to buy us feather extensions when we get back home."
"For 'us'?" Shine asks. Reina nods. "I don't want feather extensions. They looked nice on district twelve, but they're not my thing." Shine says.
Reina shakes her head. "Someone better record this, it's a first in history: A blonde tomboy from district one."
"I am not a tomboy!" Shine protests.
"Hello there, Wedrey!" Caesar greets.
"Hi."He says shyly while shaking Caesar's hand.
"Is it comfortable?" Caesar asks when Wedrey sits down.
"Yeah," Wedrey replies. "I could sleep here."
"Can't disagree with you on that." Caesar says. "So what kind of relationship do you have with your cousin? Friends, estranged family members, brothers, rivals?"
"Mostly brothers, but rivals sometimes. He made me competitive."
"And what are these things you compete for?" Caesar asks.
"A lot of them are about strength. Like who can throw the farthest, or who can win the most wrestling matches." Wedrey says.
"And I take it that though you may be younger than him, you'd always win?"Caesar says, thinking that his prediction is right.
"No, I lost terribly." Wedrey says sheepishly. This answer and Caesar's reaction to being proven wrong earns laughter from the crowd.
"After he wins, how does a rematch sound?"
"Awesome. It gives me plenty of time to get ready." Wedrey says excitedly.
"When he wins, he'll also get to teach you some of the things he learned in training. Will you have something to teach him when he gets back?"
"I just learned how to make this fishing net from a friend, so I'll teach him how, and we can use it to catch fish."
The stream is where they'll test the nets. They wouldn't eat the fish, as it's possible that the water is polluted. The two would just sit by and let the silence fall. It's a peaceful place the boys would visit if there weren't many things needed to get done that day. You have to go through the district's main power plant to reach it, then after that, it's a twenty minute walk. There's nothing but a pile of debris behind the building in a separate rectangular-shaped fence. Workers only use the back door to add more useless garbage to the pile. With broken generator parts and other things kept there, many don't bother to go beyond the fence that surrounds it. Its appearance doesn't make you feel safe, with spots near the top being rusty and the base sticking out, no longer able to cover everything. Still, no one didn't want to take any chances.
It started when Marcus first started working there. He first saw the dumpster when another worker had sent him to dispose a rusty machine part that had been left on the floor. It's not a pleasant sight, but it was quiet, and that's something you can't find in a power plant. The stream was discovered when he had the urge to venture out further while on twenty minute break. During those twenty minutes, there are only two things that should be done: Eat your food on the small table in the room where all the workers store their things, or if you can afford it, run to the bakery or sweet shop and come back quickly to eat your lunch. When your time's up, you continue working.
His stomach wasn't completely empty because of the big breakfast that his mother happily prepared to get him "pumped up for your fifth day of work!" He was hesitant to go over the fence after it felt frail while he placed his hands on feet in the holes. Later, he ignored it, thinking that the fall wouldn't inflict serious damage. He was about 5'8 and the fence looked close to seven feet high.
The first thing he did when he found it was lie on his back near the bank. He stared at the little blue areas that the gaps of the canopy allowed him to see, and the sound of water running and forest animals was all he heard. The shade provided by the trees was appreciated. He wouldn't be comfortable if the sunlight covered his entire body.
You have to be eighteen to become a power plant worker, but he couldn't wait that long. After he'd convince his mother to let him start looking for a job, he had to convince the supervisor to give it to him. The week after he had a talk with the supervisor, Marcus greeted him at the front door and invited him into his home. His mother took her sister and nephew to their rooms to give the young boy and possible boss privacy. After he was told the good news, happiness spread through his body. He wasn't even suspicious when his mother, aunt, and cousin came out of the room right after he thanked the man. He knew they couldn't handle the suspense.
But there's one detail that Marcus missed and he'll never know, unless his mother tells him, that is. He was filled with pride on his first days of work. The fact that he got this job on his own made him feel like man. An independent and promising man. This little detail will hurt him, and will strip him of all that pride. He'd feel nothing but anger towards his mother, and the idea of that keeps Celline's mouth sealed. It's something she'll take to the grave. The thing that makes this detail worse is the fact that it's split into two parts. Both parts are very important information that Marcus should have knowledge of, but it's up to his mother. She chooses to not tell him anything.
He didn't take his father's death well, and from his mother's view, all it did was fuel him to grow up. But he didn't want to be open with his emotions, making it seem like he didn't feel anything. He did feel pain, but he'd dealt with it by isolating himself. To Marcus, if you admitted you were hurt, you expect sympathy and comfort. It was also seen as bringing others down with you, and that wouldn't help anyone. The story was that one of the old generators was acting up and his father had been at the wrong end. He was electrocuted, his mother had told him. 'Accident' is what everyone automatically assumed. He was electrocuted, but that's not the full story.
He'd just turn fifteen and his mother saved enough to invite a small group of people Marcus knew. She'd even told the parents to come along, so she'd have someone to talk to. Marcus wouldn't call any of the people in his home 'friends', but more like people he would talk to most of the time. The topics of these conversations were never intimate, mostly about school and how their teachers need to stop coming late to class. He wasn't close to anyone, but his mother worked hard to put the whole thing together and he didn't want it all to go to waste, so he went around, thanked people for coming, and had short conversations before moving on to the next person.
While he was doing this, his mother was with the group of parents who were able to come. Their home wasn't big, but everyone had enough space. There were six teens around the couch, some sitting, others choosing to stand and talk, and four parents. Celline's husband wasn't able to be there. His job helped provide food, but it forced him to not spend much time with his family. She tried her best to interact with all the parents, and it did not go to waste. The parents were having as much fun as the teens were, and both Celline and Marcus were happy.
"I bet you will have fun doing that. Wedrey, is it okay if we talk about your uncle? Marcus' deceased father?" Caesar asks gently, not wanting to force the boy to do something he didn't want to do. It's all up to him, and Caesar would respect any answer.
"Yeah, that's okay," Wedrey says. He gives a small smile as if to prove it won't be a problem and nods. "We can talk about him."
"Did you spend a lot of time with him?"
"Yes, I did spend time with him, but no not all the time. He always had to work."
Work was the reason that he was barely with his family. The reason why he couldn't stand by his wife's side as she thanked people at Marcus's party for showing up. Celline felt lonely and tried to keep Marcus from feeling neglected by his father by giving him all of her attention. The only time her husband got to hold her was at night when he was done with work and by the time the sun shines through their window and she stretched her arms, he's gone. She would never asked him to quit, but there was no other way to stretch his spare time. Even on his day-off he didn't want to sit down and relax. He claimed there was always some project that he needed to finish. First it's the squeaky door, the next is a loose doorknob, and more things are added to the list on every day-off.
"How would you describe your uncle?"
"Uncle Hank was very hard-working, active, and never lazy. The guy could never sit on his butt for an entire day." Wedrey grins.
"I wish I can stop being lazy. Why do you think they gave me the good chair?" Caesar says, rubbing the back of his comfortable seat. "What was the thing you loved the most about him?"
"The way he explains things. Whenever he would explain things to me, I'd understand right away. I think he's good at this because he already knows what words to use with different people, then when he's done talking, you get it and don't need to ask questions. Whenever I had a question that no one could answer, I went to him. He was wise." Wedrey says.
"It's a shame that he's not here now, I would like a guy with that kind of skill! With me having countless questions myself, I'd ask him something." Caesar says kindly.
"You," Dennis pointed at the man speaking to his supervisor. He could feel the anger deep inside of him. It was like a starving monster begging to be let out to hunt.
Ofcourse the man didn't hear him with all the different noises. He still saw Dennis point at him, clearly angry with something he had done. But what? He doesn't know Dennis at all.
The next thing to happen surprises everyone. The men move, the placement of their feet changing every second a punch is exchanged. The sick sound of bones cracking came from a fist connecting with a face, and all of that mixed with the sounds produced by the machines formed chaos. The entire place was crowded three minutes into the fight. It took the combined strength from six of Dennis's co-workers to rip him away from his opponent.
"That bastard is having an affair with my wife!" Dennis yelled. You can still make out the pure fury on his face underneath all the blood.
The man had gotten a few good punches in, but despite that, he still couldn't believe what had just happened. As he was being carried to the opposite end of the factory, he looked down at the blood on his hands. His blood. He should've noticed the signs. Celline only invited him into the house when her son was at school, and before he left, she'd always remind him to come over at the same time. His defense for doing this to his wife was the loveless marriage they're stuck in. The passion began to die down when she was more focused with her job, and he started to notice how she chose her career over her husband. His supported her mother's decision. Whenever he tried to talk to his wife about her job and how she should cut some work out, and his daughter was present, she'd defend her. His own family was against him.
He never knew that Celline already had a husband. He thought she wasn't with her son's father anymore. It's possible that she may have hidden his things before he reached her home. If she did, she hid them well. Her rooms held no signs of another man sharing the bed with her. Celline was drawn to him at the party she invited both him and his daughter to when he mentioned that his wife was the one bringing in the money. After the party, the two ran into each other in the square. They were both heading to the bakery and decided to walk there together after they greeted each other. The feelings started growing and they couldn't wait to see each other whenever they were apart.
How did he find out? Did Celline come clean? That didn't make sense. Celline wouldn't have sold him out, she would've admitted what she had done wrong and try her best to not reveal the other man's name. The guess is that someone saw him leave her house and told her husband. The angry husband who won't tear his anger-filled eyes away from his face.
"Maybe you should start being at home more!" The man yelled.
"Shut your mouth." One of the workers restraining him whispered.
"Are you crazy? You sleep with a man's wife and you're gonna tease him about it!" another said.
He ignored both of them. "Whenever I went to her, it's like that wasn't your house! She never talked about you."
"You rotten wife-stealing pig," Dennis muttered as he broke free from his co-workers' arms. He kept his head low as he shoved past the men he worked with.
He was tall, standing at 6'2, and years of handling machines didn't leave him weak. He moved quickly, giving no one an opportunity to grab him and hold him down. His supervisor was standing, helping his workers hold the man he was running to. He yelled for the workers on the other side to get a hold of Dennis but no one could, and yelling at Dennis to stop didn't have an effect.
The supervisor was pushed aside by the man Dennis wanted to kill. He dodged the men who didn't want another fight to take place, but it was too late. Dennis tackled the man and they rolled and fought for the top position to gain the upper hand. One minute it'd be Dennis on top throwing punches, then it'd switch and the man was punching him. They got off the floor when Dennis pulled the man by the collar and dragged him towards the generators. He wanted to push him up against one of them, and punch him until his body was drained of anger.
"Have you, Marcus and your uncle ever done something together?" Caesar asks.
"When he didn't have to work, sometimes we'd help him fix things. I really liked helping him. He was so patient and we didn't take too long to finish what we working on." Wedrey answers.
His uncle Dennis didn't snap when he or Marcus took a while to figure things out. He'd just give instructions and when they did get it right, he smiled and pat them on the shoulder.
It was like the patient and kind man that guided his son and nephew hid and allowed the dark side to take over during the violent encounter.
The man didn't give up, still swinging to get Dennis's grip on his shirt loose. Both of their faces were completely covered in blood. Not many of the workers could fit in the space between the generators and the ones that could had a hard time breaking the two apart. Dennis and the man now turned on those trying to stop them, pushing their eager hands away. The supervisor then gave up, saying that they stop them when they show signs of tiredness. Then when everyone saw where the fight was heading to, they jumped in again, this time in a panicked manner.
"Get them away from that generator! You all know what'll happen!" The supervisor ordered. The whole place was crowded. He was right in the middle of the chaotic sea of men, trying to reach the fight and stop it before they make contact with that old machine.
Focused on the man in front of them, the sounds of a gut being kicked and the smell of blood engulfed them. They didn't care where they were and what damage they're causing. They wanted the other man dead.
Dennis wrapped his right hand around the man's neck. His hands were longer, making his opponent's efforts of trying to reach him useless. Before he can apply pressure, the crowd surrounded him, and this time, they didn't care if Dennis elbowed them in the face or tried to kick them in their soft spots. They were pulled apart once again, and everyone was relieved.
Workers who took the man were insulting him, telling him to let it go.
"You slept with his wife, just quit it. You deserve it."
What he did was wrong. He didn't believe in being with a woman that wasn't yours, it was like stealing. But he thought about Celline and realized that she was worth fighting for. If she never mentioned that she was married, then maybe she didn't care about her husband.
"I heard you're already married!" Dennis yelled. It was his turn to tease him. "Maybe when I'm done with work, I'll visit her."
His wife didn't acknowledge him at home. She was married to her job as the mayor's secretary, and it was like she didn't need him. Sometimes he thought he was invisible when they lie in bed next to each other. He's not proud of doing this to her, for doing this to their daughter who will surely despise him for the rest of her life.
He just stood there, eyes on the ground as he thought about everything. Looking down at his hands, he finds them balled up and shaky. And then Dennis's words make him move.
"Hey, tell me. Is she pretty? You won't have a problem if I do the things you did to my wife, huh?" Dennis's words can still be heard as the men he worked with carried him away.
The man started to get a sense of how Dennis felt. Betrayed.
"We'll have lots of fun, what'd you say? You'll be okay with that?"
It's best that he walk away, and do nothing. Dennis is the victim and he treated him by giving him a cut on his lip and a face covered in the red, sticky substance. The hits that he took were deserved, and he should have walked away since then. But no. He had to shut Dennis up.
The men around him were overwhelmed by his renewed speed. He made sure to place his hands on one person for less than a minute to eliminate their chances of grabbing it. Dennis smiled, pleased that he got the man to do what he wanted. Dennis waited, pretending to be calm and not anticipate the charging man, but he did. An evil smile spread across his bloody face. The workers on his side wasted no time trying to get him as far away as possible, and he didn't resist. Not until the man was five yards away.
He swung, but Dennis ducked under his arm. He ended up behind the man and spun him around before he could do it himself. His hands flew up before the man could make his move. Dennis's hands were around his neck again, but this time he needed to shove the man up against the wall to make the job easier.
"Let go, Dennis!" a man, one who is good friends with Dennis, said.
More engineers tried to get Dennis to release his grip, but Dennis didn't let anyone stop him. He's going to finish this.
He started kicking everyone near him, and got someone in the groin. Others standing near the wounded engineer backed up a few feet, forcing those behind them to step back. This gave Dennis the chance to move forward and press the man's back against the generator.
"NO!" Most of the men exclaimed, the supervisor being one of them.
Terrance, the man fighting Dennis, came to the power plant to return something that belonged to his son. His daughter dated the supervisor's son, but they broke up recently and his daughter asked that he give her ex-boyfriend's necklace to his father since she can't do it herself. Terrance didn't ask for details, already pitying the heartbreak his beautiful daughter was going through. She assured him that he didn't do anything wrong. They both decided to not be together and it was hard for her. It was no problem for Terrance, who was friends with the father of his daughter's ex-boyfriend, the supervisor of the power plant. After giving the necklace, the two were having a small chat before this whole mess of a fight started.
Dennis didn't bother to look around. He was focused on the man that he developed hatred for. He didn't notice anything, not the one generator that workers are told to be very careful with, and even not the broken and dangerous wires sticking out at the left end of it. That's why both of their faces lit up in astonishment as the electricity took over their body. The current made contact with Terrance's body first, and since he was touching Terrance, the current travelled to his body, too.
Everyone watched in sadness and horror as Dennis and Terrance's body are taken over by spasms. Their bodies shake furiously and their eyes roll up to the back of their heads. Those who know Dennis take a step forward, reaching for their friend, but those who aware that they will get themselves hurt pull them back. The supervisor is in the front now, wearing a sad look. It was torture for everyone to wait for the agonizing minutes to pass, for the bodies to fall on the floor. Dead.
It's still surprises every single men who witnessed this that a rumor hasn't spread. The supervisor himself didn't take it all well, but he returned to the stern man who watched his workers do their job right away. It took a long time to get everyone to look at him as he spoke. The workers are not to blame. How could they not look at the two dead bodies lying on the floor with their flesh slightly charred?
"We tell their families that they were both electrocuted," he said.
"But that other man doesn't work here." One reminded.
"They were friends, they were talking, I don't know. I'll come up with something to tell them. What I want from all of you in this room is to not say anything to anyone at all. If the mayor or any other citizen of this district comes to me demanding for an explanation, workers will be fired. Any more questions?" the supervisor asked. No questions.
No one will ever have to know, at least that's what they thought. But there was someone who wasn't too convinced. Celline will never forgive herself. She knows that both men would still be alive if she didn't cheat.
"Thank you Wedrey for answering all my questions!" Caesar shook his hand.
"You're welcome." Wedrey smiles and left the stage.
"You can't sleep now, Lyndon," Lissette tells her husband.
Grouchy by nature, not being allowed to rest peacefully made Lyndon even bitterer. He doesn't bother to hide a scowl as he wife forces him to sit up straight.
"Hey dad, do you want some?" he turns to left, his face five inches away from a sweet dessert. Auriga smiles, her hand pushing it forward as if urging him to take it.
He lethargically lifts his hand to take it. His brow creases as he leans in a little to sniff. Strawberries. Auriga watches him, hoping he'll accept it. He hesitantly takes a small bite and chews slowly. His brows move up slowly. This makes Auriga smile. He does that when he approves of something.
Lissette sat next to the two of them, both her eyes and all of her attention on the interviews. Returning to her seat, Auriga tapped her father's shoulder. He turned and she held out another strawberry cookie. A small smile swept across his face for a second as he took it.
"You did good!" Tricia smiles widely as she rubs the side of Wedrey's shoulders. "Good job, my boy." She says before pulling him into a strong hug.
"Good job, Wed," Celline pats him on the back.
If your uncle were here, you wouldn't be the only boy in this room. Celline covers her sad thoughts with smile. "Were you nervous?"
"In the beginning-yeah, but when we were almost done, I wasn't." Wedrey says.
"Marcus would have been proud of you," his mother says.
Wedrey starts to think of how that's true. Marcus would've complimented him and tease him a little, but he'd still be proud either way. Wedrey smiles at the two women, thinking and silently praying for his older cousin's safety.
"How can you not be nervous?" Christy asks curiously.
"Because I know they'll love me," Tulip smiles sweetly. "And I look forward to Caesar asking me questions."
Christy couldn't help but find her daughter's best friend cocky. She always wondered how the two became best friends when they held different interests. Mina enjoys cooking and like her mother, loves a clean house while Tulip would favor sitting down and letting her older sisters do the job. Mina loves to play with children and babysit, but Tulip would rather spend her day bothering her oldest sister with requests for new dresses. All the children in twelve fear the reaping and Tulip does, too, but she sees wearing the nice clothes as a bright side. Christy knew that Mina was already mature at the age of sixteen, but she thought otherwise for Tulip. She always thought that Tulip couldn't wash her own clothes or cook a meal if even if her life was at stake.
Everyone at home sees Tulip as a superficial girl who wants more of the luxurious things. More pretty dresses. More nice hair pins. By the minute they labeled her, not many chose to become her friend. The mean rumors began when she was seen with one boy followed by another one shortly after. None of the boys she dated liked her for her. They only liked her for her pretty face. Seeing that not one boy in the district will love her for her personality, Tulip decided to hurt them like how the idea of boys chasing after her just for being pretty hurts her.
Mina's the only person who knows the real Tulip. Not the manipulative heartbreaker. Not the girl they call shallow. The real Tulip.
"You're not going to be have a hard time answering the questions or-"
"Not at all." Tulip says, confidence still in her tone.
"How about you, Hank? You nervous?" Tulip and Christy both look at her husband.
"No, not really," he shrugs. "Should I be?"
"Am I the only person in this room who is nervous about her interview?!" Christy exclaims in exasperation.
"Nothing will go wrong," Hank says quietly, but it doesn't calm Christy down.
"What makes you so scared?" asks Tulip. It's funny how the teenager is the one comforting the adult, but Tulip doesn't care. It's her best friend's mother, and she really needs someone to tell her that she'll be great.
"Everything! The size of the audience, the bright lights, all of the cameras and eyes on me. How can you Hank not be scared at the sound of that?"
"I always watched the interviews. They were my favorite part of the Games. I like to forget about all the fighting and bloody weapons and imagine the tributes as celebrities. Yes they're have been some who were obviously nervous like you, but they started to warm up to the crowd. Caesar Flickerman, the guy who asks the questions, is amazing and he'll help you. Don't worry, alright?" Tulip says firmly.
Christy nods. This must be why Mina defends her. Tulip may look shallow, but she's compassionate, maybe even smart. Christy would overhear other teenage girls gossiping about Tulip, and judging by the horrible things said, she didn't want her around Mina. Thinking back to the argument she had with Mina, Christy regrets suggesting Mina stop being friends with her. She should've been like her daughter and ignore the rumors. Half of the things might not even be true. After imagining herself in Tulip's shoes, she pitied the girl.
When a stage hand beckons her, Tulip smiles and nods. Christy smiles back before stepping out of the lounge.
"Don't go on stage yet, you have to wait for Mr. Caesar to introduce you before you walk out." The stage hand instructs her plainly.
Christy glances back at her, and sees her bored facial expression. Her bright orange eyes, which are hard to identify as contact lens or coloring, make it hard to call them dull. It's probably why she chose that color- so people won't be able to tell how she feels. Her lips are a set in a grim line, and her eyes look nowhere but straight far off in the distance.
"Please wait here until you're called out." Her tone remains the same, like she doesn't want to waste any time trying to sound friendly.
Christy was led to left end of the silky curtains that end twenty five feet below the ceiling. It's still very far up, as the ceiling of the theater is two hundred feet tall. If you look up and see how far the ceiling stretches, you'd forget that you were still in the Training Center. It goes to show how tall the structure of the whole Training Center is. It's also proof of the Capitol's unlimited wealth.
The stage hand leaves without saying anything else. Christy places her hands on the soft curtains and pulls it to the side a few inches, and leans over, her right eye peeking out. She sees half of the medium round lights hanging above Caesar. She can't see the host himself because of the large rectangular board standing in front of her. A second one is planted a few feet in front of it. Thanks to the boards, all the audience members sitting on the right side of the theater can't see her, but some on the left side might catch sight of her, with the brightness of the lights. And who knows if a camera is zooming in on her at this very second? Christy releases the curtain at the thought of getting caught.
"And that was the last of Marcus, district six male's family. The next guest I will call out is a member of the last family to be interviewed tonight. Her daughter is one out of eight tributes who are still alive. Let's make Ms. Christina, mother of district twelve's female tribute Mina feel welcome, shall we?" says Caesar.
Here I go. Christy steps out into the clapping audience and overly bright lit stage. The lights twinkle overhead, shining on her face. She casts a side glance to her right before reaching Caesar, and sees what is on the boards. Her daughter's pale beautiful face lights up the whole thing from top to bottom. Her blank face is attentive, as if the photo were taken while she was listening to someone speak. She counts nine boards in all, three standing on the left, three in the middle, and three in the right-the area she was guided to. The same picture of Mina is displayed on every one. Her blonde hair is gathered into a neat bun, and her blue eyes are filled with curiosity.
She smiles back at the photo. Caesar meets her halfway and leads her to the two chairs meant for them. The applause dies down as they both sink into their seats.
"Doesn't it look fantastic?" Caesar gestures to Mina's face.
"It is very lovely. It's like she's watching over me, helping me calm down." Christy says, a bit of sadness in her voice.
"Wouldn't it be lovelier if my face were up there?" Caesar asks and leans forward, right elbow leaning on his knee while his left hand still rested on his other thigh. He puts his hand under his chin and shows off one of his shiny white smiles.
Christy laughs at this, and so does the audience. "I think it would!" she says as she nods slowly.
"Think?" Caesar feigns offense. His lips are pressed together, already starting to quiver. "Is it the hair?" The audience breaks out into laughter. Caesar Flickerman's hair is dyed a different color every year just for the Hunger Games. He goes on stage with a new vivid color and matching suit, his signature ponytail being the only thing that hasn't changed.
"No, it's not." Christy leans over and pats him on the back while he pretends to cry his eyes out.
"As long as it's not the hair then it's fine." Caesar quickly gets back up, startling her. Christy joins in the laughter this time, shaking her head at the hilarious host.
"I'm sorry about that," Caesar says, fixing his hair. "Time to get serious! Mina has made it very far into the games, which is not common for tributes from district twelve. How are the fellow citizens back home reacting?" Caesar begins.
"Just call me Christy," she says. "And everyone back home is rooting for her. I'm rooting for her. My heart is full of happiness, and I'll be waiting for her to come back home. I'm very thankful for all the support from the people back in twelve. Thank you all so much." She says directly to the camera.
"That is very nice of them. When Mina wins and goes back home, marriage is going to come into the picture whenever she's ready. How do you feel about that?"
"I'd be thrilled, but I know that I'll have this feeling deep down that doesn't want to let her go. My mother instincts will kick in and bother me, making me think about it again. I'm pretty sure that a side of me that won't allow her to start her own family. That side will ignore every part of the saying 'If you love someone, set them free' and create their own saying like 'Screw that, if you really love someone, chain them to the house so they can live with you forever.'"
Caesar chuckles at her long answer, and the audience laughs lightly. "There's not a second where a mother bear isn't protective of her cub," says Caesar.
"Not at all," Christy shakes her head a little.
"What is Mina's hobby?"
"Cooking. I'm going to have to say that she got that from me. When she was a little girl, she'd see me preparing lunch or supper and would always volunteer to help. She wouldn't miss out even if she had the flu." Christy says.
"Cooking has been her hobby ever since she was a little girl. With many years of practice, I'm sure that she's a great cook," Caesar smiles.
"She is! It's a good thing for me, too because I'd be busy with something else and making dinner wouldn't have to be a problem. She always stepped in to lift some of the load off my shoulders. A helpful young woman she is."
"She is the only child, yes?"
"Yes." Christy answers.
"Does she enjoy being the only child or does she want siblings?"
"She wouldn't say it, but I know by watching her that being the only child felt lonely at times. It's a really good thing she met her best friend Tulip," Tulip has always been a good friend to her daughter, and Christy never gave her any credit for that. She saw this as a way of showing appreciation, even if it didn't seem much.
"Do you think it still doesn't feel the same for her?"
"Yes, I'm sure it doesn't." Christy says.
"But even if she does realize this, she's still happy, right?" Caesar asks.
"Oh yes. She doesn't cry over the things she doesn't, and can't, have. She chooses to be happy with the things she has, and it's one of the many things I love about her." Christy says. It'd be nice if these words drew sponsors in for her daughter, but Christy doesn't think about it like that.
"That's very good! I'd be proud to have a daughter like that," Caesar leans in puts his hands over hers. "We already know that Mina is like sunshine in a girl's body, but now can you tell me, was she bright in the classrooms?"
"Yep. Sometimes I'd get mad because she'd be too helpful with schoolmates when it came to schoolwork," Christy shakes her head. "She's always helping someone."
This wasn't entirely true, but a mother would never call her child dumb. Not even in front Panem, to please the colorful audience. Mina's not dumb, but she's no inventor from district three either. For every lesson, it was a struggle for her to keep up with the other students.
"She's caring, helpful, and smart. What a lovely girl she is, I must say!" Caesar says.
"I wouldn't ask for anything else in a daughter." Christy replies humbly.
The buzzer follows Christy's sentence. Caesar gets out of his seat, and Christy does the same. She waves one last time to the audience.
"Let's hear it for the mother of Mina, district twelve's female tribute!" Caesar says. The applause went on as Christy left the stage.
"Do girls think it's hot when a boy can bake?" asks Ester, his mouth full with food. Elton, his older brother, didn't care to listen. "Do you?"
"I don't know, Ester. Do I look like a girl?" Elton says tiredly.
The brothers stand alone at the table while their parents sit on the furniture, snuggled close together in peace.
"No. But do you think they do?"
"When we get home, how about I take a survey? Ask every girl in the district what she thinks." Elton says, every word dripping in sarcasm.
"I know you wouldn't do that. And since you've been feeling really grouchy, here." Ester says, holding the tart out. "It's honey flavored, to make you sweet." Ester nods insistently.
"What?" Ester shrugs.
"If you really want to know the answer, why don't you ask the nearest female?"
"Okay, that's kinda crazy, Elt. I don't know any of the people working outside, and they're going to think I'm weird. Just think about. A young, handsome man wandering around backstage, wanting to-"
"Mom's right there, dork." Elton says. He'd use nicknames on Ester whenever he said the most idiotic things, but he never intends to sound mean.
"Oh, yeah! But you still have to eat the honey tart." Ester says, face serious. He leaves to ask his mother, so there's no one to see Elton roll his eyes.
"Since you're not nervous, I guess you don't need me to assure you that you'll do a fantastic job." Christy says to her husband in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Jealous?" Hank asks, a childish smile playing on his face.
"Why would I be jealous? You think you'll do better than me?"
"Guess we can only settle this with a bet," Hank says.
Tulip sits on the isolated piece of furniture to their left. She shifts around awkwardly, having no choice but to listen to the couple since Caesar has no guest. Besides, she thinks. This might actually be the most entertaining thing all night.
"You know this makes us look immature, right?" Christy whispers.
This wasn't something new for the couple. They were known by most as "Mina's funny parents". Christy says the craziest things you can't help but laugh at, and Hank can turn a dull situation into an alive, funny one.
"And what sounds so wrong about that?"
"So what's the wager?" Christy asks.
"If you win, I'll cook-"
"Feeling lucky, aren't we?" his wife teases.
"If you win, I'll cook all your favorite foods-"
"And bake," says Christy.
"I don't know how to bake," Hank says, hoping it will keep him from having to work the oven.
"I can teach you."
Christy smiles and turns to Tulip, "Thank you!"
Hank sighs, "Fine. Cook and bake all your favorite foods for a week-"
"Two weeks," Christy demands. "I cook everyday, and a week sounds so short."
"Fine, two weeks. Then when I win, you'll bake all of my favorite foods for a week. Sound good?" Hank asks.
"For me, yes, but since you're going to lose this, don't get too excited." Christy says cockily.
"If I'm immature, you're too confident." Hank says.
"I am-" Christy starts, but is interrupted by the door opening.
"You're next." The stage hand points to Hank.
"See ya later, loser." Hank smiles as he gets up.
The door closes and Christy looks at Tulip. "And he called me cocky."
"Father of district twelve female tribute, Mina, I introduce you all to Mr. Hank! Come and join us, Mr. Hank!" Caesar yells in an excited voice.
Hank's eyes widen slightly as he is greeted with the loud applause. He pulls himself back together and strides towards Caesar. The stage floor feels like it's been waxed fifty times, as if it wasn't perfect enough. If he were to get rid of his shoes, the floor will surely feel incredibly smooth under his black socks. The lights were the only problem to him. It annoys him that all the lights hanging above on the steel beam are so bright it's like they're made for searching for fleeing criminals in the dead of night. He and Caesar shake hands and greet each other.
"Besides the looks, what do you and Mina have in common?"
"Meddling. We're always trying to stick our nose where we're not welcomed. It could be trying to stop a fight between two people we care about, trying to get people to date each other, or giving our opinion even if it isn't needed. My wife always says that I'm the one to blame for that," Hank says, a chuckle lacing his voice.
"As long as you meddle for good intentions, then it's not necessarily a bad thing," Caesar admits. "But I like your wife, Hank, so whatever she thinks is right,"
Hank laughs. "That's how it is in our house. Christy is always right."
"If it's like that, then our homes are very different. In my home, it's Caesar needs his colorful clothing. And as you can see, it's no different outside the house," Caesar dusts his shoulders. This receives a laugh from the crowd.
"You said that you and your daughter tend to meddle. Have the both of you ever involved yourselves in the same situation for the same reasons?"
"Oh yes, but just once. And she asked for my help." says Hank.
"Share it with us, please!" Caesar claps his hands together, and lets it rest on his thighs.
"It was last year, before Christmas. We invited her friend over for dinner, but her parents said no. Mina wanted to step in and help because they didn't have anything planned, and she felt bad for her, I guess. So she asked me to talk to her parents, and they did allow her to eat dinner with us."
"So it sounded like Mina was the hero and you were sidekick," says Caesar.
"Yep, she was."
"When she asked for your help, what was your reaction?"
"At first, I hesitated. But then as I thought about the whole thing, and what she was asking of me, I realized that I would've done the same thing." Hank answers.
"Has interfering ever gotten Mina into trouble?" Caesar inquires.
Hank searches his brain for any particular memory, his eyebrows knitting together as he does so. It takes a few seconds, and then he says, "I really don't think so. Maybe it's because she looks so innocent. You wouldn't expect a girl with a sweet face to plot something devious."
"I have a sweet face. How would you know if I wasn't plotting something right now?" Caesar asks, raising a dyed eyebrow, his playful features turning mischievous.
"Silly Caesar!" Hank pushes his arm playfully. "You wouldn't hurt a fly."
He becomes nervous when Caesar's face doesn't revert back.
A smile quickly appears, followed by a laugh. The audience laughs, too. Hank joins in, laughing nervously, but its start develop into real one as Caesar teases him about how his face looked.
"You're right, I wouldn't hurt a fly," Caesar says. "Okay, back to Mina. Before she left home to compete in the Games, could you tell us of a funny moment you both shared?"
"Yeah, I do remember one. This happened a few days before the reaping. I was helping Christy make dinner and ended up getting sauce right in the middle of my forehead. The sauce was dark, so it looked like a mole, and nobody told me while we ate. Christy and Mina couldn't cover up their giggling, and that's how I knew something was going on. It was shaped like a jelly bean!"
Caesar laughs, smacking his leg. "If you make that face again, and add the mole, it'd take me a long time to stop laughing,"
"I can say the same for Christy and Mina. I wouldn't hear the end of it. Speaking of Christy, I have a question for you, Caesar," Hank says.
"You asking me a question? Oh, I like the changes we're making!" Caesar says.
"And for all of you," Hank looks out towards the audience. "Christy and I made this bet. She claims that my interview won't be as great as hers, and I want to prove her wrong. So would you please help us determine whose interview went better?"
Caesar catches on right away. "Ofcourse! But you, Christy, and I all know that I can't be the one to make the decision," Hank nods. "But the audience can. Right?" His question earns screams of assent.
"If you liked Christy's interview, let's hear it!" Caesar raises his hand. The volume is loud, impressing Hank.
"If you thought her husband Hank did better, scream!"
It was as loud as the cheers for his wife, but not enough to beat her. Caesar requests that the audience do it again to confirm the winner.
"I'm sorry, Hank. The audience chose Christy," says Caesar.
Hank nods, disappointment still on his face. "It's okay."
Though the audience saw Hank as the cool dad, it was Christy's possessive, crazy yet playful personality that made them vote for her.
"You won." Tulip says. When Hank left, Christy invited her to sit on the large couch with her.
"I know, but when he comes back, I don't want to rub it in his face. It'll show that I am not cocky, and he must embarrassed." Christy replies.
"That's nice of you," says Tulip.
When the door opens, Christy doesn't look at her husband. She watches Caesar, pretending to be interested in what he says. Tulip scoots far away from Christy, offering Hank the space. He smiles, and takes the seat.
"Oh, you're here!" Christy says.
"Whatever, Christy. You won, go ahead and jump around," he says.
"I don't want to," she waves her hand.
"You're still not nervous?" she asks Tulip. Tulip shakes her head. "Then all I have to say is you'll be a natural with this interview. Since you're not nervous at all, you're interview will be an easy sail, like you're this famous Capitol person who's been interviewed since she could walk."
"Thank you." says Tulip.
Being left alone with your best friend's parents is awkward. With the long friendship she shares with Mina, it's expected that her parents and Tulip are familiar with each other, and they are, but Mina was always present to talk to everyone, to make everyone feel comfortable. But she keeps reminding herself that all of them love Mina, and they're going to do this for her.
They'll love you.
Not a single word has been exchanged with the host, yet people at school decide that it's okay to start betting on what angle she'll play up. Cocky. Ditzy. Teenage girls in twelve each have their dark little ways of finding about things. It'd have made you think that they hid in the shadows, and watched your every move, listen to conversations you try to keep at a low whisper.
This didn't shock Tulip. Her family's butcher shop is located right in plain sight among the shops in the wealthy area of district twelve. Citizens, coming from the seam or merchant section, would always walk by it everyday. She didn't care if they found out about her leaving to the Capitol to be interviewed, but she had presumed that someone listened as Christy told her about the invitation sent from the Capitol- ight on her front door. There are always people near the front door.
"Our final guest tonight is Mina's best friend- Tulip. She's waiting backstage, so let's make sure she hears you guys!" says Caesar. The audience breaks into a loud applause, and on comes Tulip.
She smiles as she waves to everyone. She looks at the crowd. There are different colors everywhere, forming a pattern of sorts. Not a square inch of the stage floor lacked lighting.
"Hello there, Tulip," Caesar greets, and takes both of her hands.
"Tulip- that's a pretty name," Caesar says when they're both in their chair.
"Thank you, it's also one of my favorite flowers." Tulip says.
"Oh? So what other flowers do you favor?"
"Bedstraw Bellflowers, wild Yellow Lilies, and Bugles."
"You really know your flowers! Let's talk about your best friend, Mina. How did the whole friendship come together?"
"Mina always sees the good in everyone, and she doesn't judge. I wish I can say the same about my schoolmates," says Tulip, hate slipping in her voice. "A lot of girls said crazy and untrue things, but Mina didn't gossip. She told me to ignore them, and we became friends when she defended me."
"What an angel she is! How did you deal with people talking about you?"
"I ignore them. After a while, they're all so much easier to block out."
She'd walk through the halls, eyes on what's ahead, avoiding eye contact with the girls whispering on the side. At school, she didn't care. Go ahead. Keep talking. She'd think, but once she was in the privacy of her room, everything she tried to hide flew out. Sometimes she'd cry, and the tears wouldn't stop coming out. Other days, when the rumors she heard were ridiculous, the anger would pile, and any light object was thrown to the wall. Her parents couldn't hear. They'd be busy cutting up meat, laughing with their employees. To them, sweet Tulip has a perfect life.
"That is the best thing to do. Besides, you're up here with me!" Caesar puts an arm around her shoulder. "Wave to them!" Caesar gestures to the camera. Tulip smiles. She imagines all of them behind the camera, and waves. This may last for a short time, but she's going to make it count.
"So what did you and Mina enjoy doing together?"
"We don't like the same things, so sometimes we'd go back and forth. One day she tries to teach me how to cook something, then next week I teach her how to make a flower necklace. But talking is the one I enjoy the most."
"Why?' Caesar asks.
"Because we talk about things that no one else can know. It's an oath that as best friends, only the other can know and not tell another being."
"You're each other confidants."
"Yes, it's like that for girls. There's always that one person you trust with the things you tell them."
"Well, I have a confidant. But I think she's called an accountant by most," says Caesar, and the audience laughs. "When you tell each other things, advice is given afterwards, yes?"
"What's the best advice Mina has ever given you?"
"'The more you mind, the more pleasure it gives them.' I've always remembered that one." Tulip says.
"She's right about that one. What did you say to her before she left?"
"I told her that she can win. But do you know what she was worried about, Caesar?"
"She was worried about me being alone to face those at school. She's not going to see me for a while and she's thinking about me, how I'm going to be. She is the most selfless person I've ever met." Tulip says.
"And you'll be cheering for her." Caesar pats her shoulder.
They get up slowly. Tulips kisses Caesar on the cheek, and smiles again for the audience. Her stinging eyes force her to move quickly.
"You need to start eating," says Christy. "These Capitol chefs really take their desserts seriously!"
Tulip looks over Christy's shoulder at Hank, who's standing at the table, his hands moving in different directions to pick up different foods.
"No, I'm going to ask where the restroom is." Tulip says.
"It's right over there." Christy points at a door six feet away from the table's edge.
I didn't notice that. "Oh,"
As she walks closer, she knows the reason for the door not being seen earlier. It's the same bright color as the walls. A dark purple border is the only thing that makes it stand out. She puts her hand on it, looking for a doorknob. The door slides up, revealing a bright bathroom. The door slides back down after she's stepped in. She presses a small red button labeled lock on the wall.
She quickly turns on the sink. The water is running, and tears are already leaking out of her eyes. She leans her back on the door, and slides down slowly, much like the tears on her cheek.
I'm alone. I miss my best friend. I might not have a best friend anymore. There'll be no one to talk to. No one to cry in front of and not care if I look like a baby.
She prays that the door is sound proof. If Christy and Hank hear her, they're going to try and help her, and she doesn't want that. She just wants to cry. Act like you don't care when people make up lies about you, but once you go home, you cry, and you scream, and you throw things. Tulip has always done this, and with the chance of her best friend being killed, there's no exception.
Poor Tulip. For those who are confused with Marcus's parent's history:
Marcus's father, Dennis, works at the main power plant. His job is very time-consuming and ever since he started working there, he doesn't have a lot of time to spend at home. At Marcus's fifteenth birthday, Celline meets Terrance, the father of one of Marcus's friends. They have an affair, and when he leaves her home one day, someone sees him and tells Dennis. Terrance goes to the power plant to give the plant supervisor something that belongs to his son, as their children dated each other. Then Dennis sees him and the fight happens. Unfortunately, they both get electrocuted from touching an old malfunctioning generator and die. Celline plays a part in Marcus getting the job at seventeen. She threatens to tell Marcus the truth of his father's death and since no one wanted that to happen, the supervisor recommended Marcus.
I am never going to do family interviews again. For future games, I will give descriptions, but nothing like this again. I had a lot of fun doing this, I did, but it was so easy to lose inspiration. So yeah, whole family interview chapters no more.
For those of you who reviewed the last chapter, I love you! For those who didn't, whatcha waiting for?
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