"Forever" Is A Strong Word

I threw a knife directed at the center of the target, painted onto a bale of hay. It hit the target, dead center.

"Dude!" You're 50 yards away from that thing!" a familiar, beautiful voice rang out from the woods. "Cato!" I yelled out. I searched the familiar lush, green forest, looking for a streak of blonde, or a flash or brown. I thought I saw a dark brown color flash by at the edge of my gaze when someone tapped me from behind.

"GOTCHA!" he cried. "Nah, you kinda didn't. I saw you flash by." Cato was wearing a dark shirt and jeans. I had my hair braided down in one braid over my shoulder, and I had a knife in one hand, and tomato juice spilled over my shirt (blame Mom for making me cook) and I was wearing an old shirt and jeans with lots of rips and holes. Not a good image to show to my boyfriend when we haven't seen each other in a week. "So, you excited?" Cato asked me, sitting down on our stone (of course) bench while pulling down an apple from a tree. "Duh! I'm FINALLY 18 and I HAVE to get chosen." I said.

"And why is that?" Cato asked me with a smile on his face and with fake modesty. I pretended to look nonchalant and shrugged. "Because my hay is about to fall apart." He looked over at the hay and true to my word, it had completely fallen out of place, my knife still dead center. You see, the Reaping is today. And I woke up a bit early to train. Cato had gone for a week to a special training camp in which apparently, girls aren't allowed. Cato opened his mouth to say something when my mom called for me to start getting ready. I blushed and was about to tell him 'sorry' when he waved his hand and said, "It's okay. I better get going anyway." I smiled.

"See you at the Reaping." I said with a smile as he left. He turned around with a smile, bowed down, and kissed my hand. "And may the odds be ever in your favor." He replied. And then he walked away. I sighed.

"CLOVER ALEXANDRA RIVERS! Get ready this instant; I've already drawn a bath. "my mom cried out. I rolled my eyes. I hated it when she called me by my full name. "Yes, mother!" I rolled my eyes as I slowly trudged towards home.

My hair was in one high ponytail with several other ponytails every 2 or 3 inches down my back. I was in a frilly (blegh!) dress that was laced at the bottom but tight at the top. My mom brought out some black flats and I was off to go.

"Clover, be careful on the way, don't get yourself dirty. We'll be leaving shortly after you. You'll find us at the front line at the ropes, and seriously, be careful with th-" "Okay, gotta go, Mom, byee!" I interrupted. "And by the way, Mom!" I yelled as I ran out the front door. "THE NAME'S CLOVE!" I laughed to myself as I walked through the forest and made it to where the Reaping was held. Every year, Cato and I would meet up at this pretty tree with leaves that had the shape of a maple leaf, but they were silver, with gold at the edges. I knew he'd be there, and I also knew that I would be first. I started sprinting towards the familiar tree, not really caring what my mom had said. I'm a knife thrower. She's a cook. Wow, if we were got in a fight, I WONDER who would win, knife thrower or a chef? Hmmm, I SERIOUSLY wonder. Anyway, I was about 20 yards away from the tree, and to my surprise, he was already there. I laughed to myself as I spotted him looking for someone, probably me. I smiled and moved with the crowd, blending in. I made my way to the back of the tree and crept up slowly on him. I pulled out my emergency knife disguised as a hairpin and crept up slowly. Silently and quickly, I held it to his throat and whispered in his ear, "Miss me?" He whipped around, pure alarm on his face when he saw me. "CLOVE! You scared me to death, darn you." I laughed as I still held my knife to his neck, sliding it around in the air close to his neck, mockingly. I gasped as he twirled me around and pinned me to the tree. I was fast, but he was strong. I laughed as he smiled and set me down. "All right, enough of this. We need to be identified and take our places." All of a sudden, things grew quiet. I knew we were both thinking the same things: 1)What if we're both chosen? There can be only one winner. 2) What if one of us is chosen and dies?

"Don't worry," he said as he pressed his forehead to mine, making us close. Even though we were dating, nobody was supposed to know. They might tease us, or think we're soft. And it's a better show. We even have fake-fighting moves. "We'll be together, no matter what. Together forever." Cato promised. "Forever is a strong word, Cato. Don't make promises you can't keep." I replied, my heart heavy. "You know me too well, Clover, to not know that I don't make promises I can't keep." And then, in the safe shelter of the tree, (since we were pressed up against the trunk, all people would basically see is a trunk) we kissed. For the first in two weeks, for what may the last time in our lives with each other. We kissed. He broke away first, saying that we should sign in. I tried to smile, a tear streaking down. He brushed it away for me. "It'll be okay." He said. I smiled, and we broke away. I walked over to the identification place thingy and signed in.

"Miss Rivers, you're late." The Peacekeeper said. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Whatever." I left and joined the other girls. I desperately searched the boys' crowd to find Cato. He was taller than most boys, so I should be able to find him. And there he was. I waved hi sadly and he smiled back, mouthing "It'll be okay." I smiled back, just as the "oh-so-special" video from the Capitol ended. Aurelia, our tribute selector, smiled, and said (as usual), "Ladies first!" She dug around, and picked a slip of paper. She picked it up about 3 inches, then maybe thought better, dropped it, and pulled one out from the bottom. I held my breath, probably as everybody else. She opened it up, and said three words.

"CLOVER ALEXANDRA RIVERS!" I let out my breath, my eyes wide open with shock. It was me. Me. I wildly searched for Cato and founded him cheering the loudest among everyone else, yelling out my name.

"Clove! Clove! Clove! Clove!" he yelled. I walked up to the stage where Aurelia was and she welcomed me. "Boys!" she called out. The whole area grew quiet. She reached in, and pulled one out from the top. I was crossing my fingers, and praying. Oh please, Dear God, please don't let it be-

"CATO HUNTER!" Aurelia spoke into the microphone with a smile and a bubbly attitude. His jaw dropped and his eyes were filled with alarm and shock. Only one thought crossed my mind.

How am I supposed to kill my boyfriend?

Hi, everyone! This is my first story, and I am really new here. I have ALWAYS wanted to be an author, but I don't know how I'll do. I guess you guys will help me out on this one! Thanks! I'll try my best to update every week, and I hope you like it! By the way, sorry for the mini-cliffhanger!