A/N: This is a totally different AU and something light for Summer. Maybe three parts, let's see how it goes and if I get enough reviews and hits. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games or the movie SHAG (haven't seen in like 10 years but I thought of it for some reason!) which inspired the idea. Religious tones but it's not preachy. This takes place in the early sixties. I'm going to be vague about the year.
A few things to remember:
1)This is TOTAL AU and a lot of OOC. Go with it. It's strictly Summer Fun.
It's set in the EARLY 1960's as inspired by SHAG, the movie BUT Wildwood NJ was THE place to be in the 60's. It's before the Vietnam War and the hippie age. Think PURE. So I wanted to use a little bit of its history. I'm going to put a ton of Wildwood pics on my tumblr.
I wasn't born in the 60's so I only know a little bit about the music/times like everyone else. I also have no idea what rides existed back then. So, I am just using references to rides from 2012. I have gone to Wildwood for 20 years so I know the ins and outs. The story is about them all having a great weekend, not what rides they went on. ;)
Thanks to fnur for being a great beta!
I stand in front of my vanity mirror and inspect my appearance. My blue-collared button-down tank and white Capri pants look presentable enough. I pull my hair back into my classic ponytail and then apply some lip gloss. I never wear make-up. Not because I don't want to experiment and be like all of the other girls, but because my mother won't let me. Ever since my father died a few years ago, she's ruled with an iron fist. Making sure my younger sister Primrose and I do our homework, eat right, go to church, dress like a lady and most importantly, avoid boys.
For this plan to work today, my appearance cannot give off any indicators of what my true intentions are. I already plan to confess all to Monsignor Coleman when I get back from the trip, but for now, I allow a small smile to creep upon my lips, knowing the full extent of what I'm up to. I stuff the last few remaining necessities into my overnight bag and zip it up. When I'm halfway through my bedroom door, I turn around and sprint back to my dresser and retrieve the emerald green polka-dot bikini that I purchased without my mother's knowledge. I don't know if I have enough nerve to deviate away from my navy blue one piece, but I'm bringing it just in case.
I grab my bag, fling the wide handles over my shoulder and trot down the steps, nearly two at a time in excitement. I approach Prim and give her a hug. "Behave, little duck. Don't step out of line with Mom. Okay?" I advise. Prim smiles back and winks at me. "I won't if you won't, Katniss." I smile back, give her another quick hug and then head into the kitchen to say goodbye to my mother.
I find Mom at the sink washing the few remaining breakfast dishes, the ones that I was supposed to wash before I left. "Oh Mom, I'm sorry. I guess I forgot in all the excitement of packing for the trip."
Mom smiles at me and continues scrubbing. "It's okay, Katniss, I know that you're excited. It's your first trip away from home. Now listen, just remember, you are the voice of reason with those girls. God help you since Johanna is going. Conduct yourselves like the classy young women you were all raised to be and remember, God is always watching." Mom gives me a kiss on my cheek, rubs off her red lipstick stain from it and then I smile and leave the room.
Just as Johanna pulls up and is about to beep the horn, I open the door and head toward the white Ford convertible. "So you got your father to lend you the convertible after all, huh Jo?" I ask. She pulls down her classes and smiles at me. "Of course Katniss, my father doesn't ever say no, even when he says 'no'. Where is your lipstick? Please tell me that you packed at least one tube?" I toss my bag into the trunk and open the car door to slide in next to her. I give the interior a once over and slide my hand across the white leather. This car was custom-made for Johanna's father. He has some weird crazy fetish about the color white and everything in their house is white. Not a speck of dirt anywhere.
"Jo, if we get this car dirty, your dad is gonna flip." I mention. Johanna puts her hand out to me. "Katniss, never you mind. Daddy knows that this car is going to get dirty. We're traveling from Connecticut to New Jersey. It's impossible not to. As long as we don't eat or drink anything while in it, we will be fine. We're gonna have a great weekend, just you wait and see. You didn't answer my question before. What color lipstick did you bring?"
I smile and look down to my hands folded in my lap. "I brought the red. Never wore red before."
Johanna smiles at me and takes the scarf off of her head and stuffs it into her purse. "You just wait and see, Miss Katniss Everdeen. This is going to be a weekend us girls never forget. You mark my words."
I laugh heartily as she pulls away from my house and heads down a few blocks to pick up Madge. Madge's Father is the Mayor of our city, Waterbury. We've been friends since we were in kindergarten along with Annie. Johanna moved here during the third grade and became a fast friend. We've been inseparable ever since, having completed Saints Peter and Paul School together and now attending Sacred Heart High School together.
We pull up to Madge's house and she's already standing by the curb waiting for us. We barely stop when she hops into the car without opening the door. "Come on, let's go!" She orders Johanna. Jo pulls away quickly and we all glance back to see if we're being followed. We can vaguely see Madge's mother waving her hand in the front yard. When we're safely enough away and en route to pick up Annie, I turn around and ask the burning question. "What was all that about? She knew we were going this weekend, right? You told her Cape May?"
Madge nods and smiles. "Remember when I told you girls that my period was all screwed up and I needed to take care of it, make it right? Well, the doctor put me on birth control pills to regulate it. My Daddy had taken me and he's kinda ignorant about these things, so he didn't think anything of whatever the doctor said, or paid no mind, no idea. He never said anything to my mother so I just kept the knowledge to myself. Well, she found them today and got all sorts of wrong ideas. Took out the rosary beads, put me on my knees and made me recite 25 Hail Mary's while I was on them. She's crazy. I just needed to get out of there before she had me doing Our Father's too."
The realization of what Madge has said kicks in. "Madgy, are you telling me that you take those pills and you can't get pregnant? Can I see what they look like?" Madge smiles and hands the case over. "Listen here Katniss Everdeen, this Undersee is a bona fide virgin. Birth control or not, I am not giving up my virtue before marriage. You best keep the same mindset. Your mother will beat you with the stick if you do otherwise. Guaranteed she'll have the Monsignor waiting at your house for us to confess as soon as we get home. I've run out of things to confess. I'm so squeaky clean I, I can't stand it."
I smile at Madge and I run my finger over the outer edges of the case. I can't help it. I feel like this little case has given her a freedom somehow. That if she chose to be wild and reckless, it would protect her. We just graduated from high school a month ago and already things are changing. It's our last summer together. Our first and last trip. Most girls our age go through this. Some of us, those of us that are wealthy enough, go off to college. Madge will be attending Yale New Haven in September and Johanna will be attending University of Connecticut in Storrs. Annie will be doing the norm and getting married, hence the weekend away. Her family is old world Portuguese and they have arranged for her to marry a man named Seneca Costa in Portugal. Her flight leaves in a week and she is to be married overseas. None of us will be able to attend.
I on the other hand, will be entering the work force making various items from buttons to bullets at Scoville Manufacturing. Waterbury is affectionately called the 'Brass City' because we make many of the necessities needed for the United States Military. If you're an unattached female just out of high school without the resources to go to college, you enter the work force, which is what I must do.
It's not that I have a problem with marriage, for the most part I don't. My mother became a bit of a drill sergeant after my father passed but that wasn't her fault. She was a victim of circumstance. I've never met a boy that made me feel anything for him. Sure, boys have tried to date me, but either my mother put them in their place or I just wasn't interested. Still, half of the girls in my class are getting engaged or marrying this summer. They'll be popping out babies left and right.
We pull up into Annie's driveway and Johanna finally gets to honk the horn. Annie takes forever getting ready. She's very forgetful and is probably running around in her underwear, not even packed. Surprisingly, she comes out to the car and gets in the back seat with Madge. I hurriedly place the pill case into Madge's hand. I don't know what to say. Madge snatches it back from her. Annie smiles and blushes. "Katniss, you know I can't take those. Seneca will expect me to conceive within a year. You know that. The next time you girls see me, I'll probably be round with a baby. Can't believe it's only a week until I leave. My gosh, how the time has flown."
I smile at her because I don't know what else to say. I know that Annie has her doubts about the marriage, despite being fond of her betrothed. We're all silent for a moment until Johanna's feistiness breaks the silence. "Well, I have every intention of taking a handsome young man to bed with me this weekend. I'm putting in an order of tall, dark and handsome and seeing what I get! Don't you worry girls, if you place any orders, I've got you covered." Johanna pats her purse and smiles wickedly. I unzip her yellow bag and gasp in shock when I see what's inside. I can't find my voice.
"Are those...are those?" I stutter as I point towards the bag. Madge and Annie peek over the seats to get a look. Johanna gets exasperated with me. "Yes, relax. You're not gonna lose your virginity looking at them. Open one up and check it out. It's just latex rubber." She fishes her hand into the bag and removes one. One hand on the wheel, she rips it open with her teeth and we all gawk at it. "Unroll it. Don't worry it won't bite. I need two hands on the wheel. Daddy will kill me if I wreck this car."
I take the tiny item out of her hand and stare at it. "Well, unroll it Katniss, what are you waiting for?" Annie encourages me. I unroll the condom and can't get over the sight of it. I look between the girls in the back and Johanna. "This really fits on them? Like... all of them?" I ask. Jo smiles. "Yes, Katniss. It's like one size fits all. Okay now put that thing away. Can't be having rubbers in this car. My father would have a stroke. Just remember, I have them. Make sure you all keep a few in your purses and with you. This is gonna be one hell of a weekend, girlies." There goes that Cheshire cat grin again.
We drive for a couple of hours, dozing off here and there. When we stop at a rest area not too far from the Raritan South toll booth, Madge finally speaks up. "So, who's gonna tell her? She can't walk home from here now." Jo and I exchange a glance and look at Madge. Annie's head perks up and questions our glances. "You suck, Madgy. I could have just driven there and we wouldn't have had to listen to her rant the rest of the way. Were you bored back there? Jesus." Jo says.
"Johanna Mason, how dare you take the Lord's name in vain. No cursing in such a heavenly car!" Annie shouts. "Now tell me what you mean about telling who what." Jo nods at me, so I guess I'm stuck under the bus. "Well, Annie, we decided not to go to Cape May after all. We decided that we wanted to really celebrate our first and last trip together and kind of go out with a 'bang'. So ... we decided to go to Wildwood." Annie's eyes widen. "Are you all crazy? Don't you remember all those stories about girls getting crazy down there? Coming back from family trips pregnant? We are good Catholic young women. We don't belong in a place like Wildwood."
Johanna rolls her eyes. "Do you hear yourself Ann? Those girls got knocked up because they didn't have one of these with them!" Jo holds up a condom. Annie slaps her hand and the condom goes flying under the seat. "I'll get it." Madge says and begins to search for it. She comes up empty handed and shrugs her shoulders. Jo puts her hands on Annie's shoulders and gives her a gentle shake. "Get control of yourself Ann. The water didn't get those girls knocked up, some boys did. That's why we have provisions, just in case any of us have a momentary lapse in judgment." Annie nods and then Johanna opens the car door for Annie so she can get in. "However, I plan to have at least one of those judgment lapses, so forgive me in advance. I won't be taking that to confession. That one will be going to my grave with me." Johanna smiles and I blush at her implication.
When we arrive in Wildwood, we check into our motel, The Starlux. After unpacking and taking a dip in the pool (one-piece bathing suit on), we all shower and dress for our night on the boardwalk. I put on a white short-sleeve blouse and denim capri pants with my sandals. I pull my hair into a messy bun and tighten my small simple gold loops to my ears. I take out my red lipstick and stare at it. I don't know what I'm waiting for, it's only lipstick. I dab two dots on each cheek bone and rub it in via upward motion. My grandmother always said "if you had lipstick, you had matching rouge too." I outline my lips with the red paste and then smack them together, blotting with a tissue. I have to say, it's done wonders for me.
Johanna comes into the bathroom just as I'm finishing and takes in the sight of me. "Everdeen, you look smoking hot!" I blush and I'm certain that my entire face looks like I painted it with the lipstick. I exit the bathroom and Madge's eyes glow at the view before her. She gathers a couple of items out of her makeup bag and sits me down in a chair before I can protest. She instructs me to not close my eyes and just look upward while she lines them with the pencil. I do, even though they tear a bit. Then she brushes my lashes with black mascara. "Don't touch your eyes or you'll look like a raccoon Katniss. I mean it. Hands off." I nod and then look in the hand held mirror that she hands me. I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.
We finish up getting ready and walk down the street towards the ramp to enter the boardwalk. Cars drive by and you can hear the telltale sounds of current doo-wop artists. We dance towards the boardwalk and laugh at all the hoots and hollers from boys driving by. We're about to reach the ramp when a voice calls out and catches Johanna's attention. "Hey, gorgeous! I've got a number for you!" he calls out to her. Johanna giggles and shouts back. "Oh yeah? What number?"
"15!" He calls to her as they're stopped at a light. He's hanging out of the black Mustang that he's driving. "15 what, cutie?" Johanna yells back. "It's only gonna take you 15 minutes to fall in love with me, once I get out of this damn car!" He pounds on the door but the driver ignores him and turns the corner. We all laugh at the courageousness of his statement and keep walking. On impulse, I turn around to glance back at the car and I find something unexpected staring back at me. The most gorgeous blue eyes that I have ever seen.
He leans closer to the glass and places his hand on the back window. My heart catches in my throat and I feel a small tremble in my veins. Something about those eyes... I shake it off and dismiss it. We get onto the boardwalk and walk over to the railing facing the beach. Even though the sun has just set, you can still see the waves because of the lampposts on the boardwalk. We marvel at the beauty of it and take a left to follow the boardwalk path to the center of the action. The lights and attractions render us speechless. We're in awe of the action surrounding us and don't know where to start once we reach Morey's Piers.
We decide to go on a few simple rides before we eat and play some games. We go on the swings, which rise much higher than the rinky-dink carnival rides that we're used to back home. We go on the pirate ship, and scream our heads off and then we venture onto the Ferris wheel, where Annie begins to have a panic attack. When we finally get her off of it, we decide to eat and help bring her blood sugar back to normal. I walk over to the Curley's French Fries stand and read off the menu. I don't realize that I'm speaking out loud.
"Everything is good here." I turn to my right and my gray eyes land on the blue ones from the car. He smiles at me and I can't help but smile back. I rub the back of my neck, trying to control the tingling in my gut.
"Oh, it is? I've never been here before. I need to order for my friends and me. One of them isn't feeling so well. You know, from being on the Ferris wheel." I blubber out. I kick at a loose nail on the pier below me and contemplate informing the attendant that it's there.
I look up, and realize that he was talking to me and I spaced out. I blush and don't know what to say. "Are you going to order? I have to order for my friends. What are you having?" he asks. I order a hot dog for each of us, a large bucket of fries and two diet sodas, we always share. He walks up closer to me and speaks to the attendant. "Just put it all together." he says before I can object, then orders. "I'll have four cheeseburgers, four hot dogs, two large buckets of fries and four lemonades please. Thank you." He pays for the food and I just watch him until he looks at me. "What?" he asks.
"You didn't have to do that you know. We have money. Here, let me pay you back." I offer him the money for our dinner but he politely refuses. I try to insist but he won't hear of it.
"Don't insult me... I just realized that I didn't introduce myself. I'm Peeta. Peeta Mellark." He extends his hand to shake mine and I extend my hand to him. He shakes my hand lightly and then turns it to kiss my knuckles. "Katniss Everdeen. Pleasure to meet you." I stutter. No boy has ever done that before. It's amusing.
"Well, the pleasure is all mine Katniss. Let's get our food and join our friends. Gale spotted your friend from a mile away. I'm glad he did too. It looks like this is going to be an enjoyable evening."Peeta smiles and picks up two trays while I carry one and we rejoin the group.
Everyone has congregated around a couple of round cement tables. There's netting above us, keeping the pelicans away. Peeta, wasting no time, places his two trays onto a table and then reaches for mine. A round of introductions later, we are all eating. Gale Hawthorne is the dark-haired young man that was hollering from the car. He is sitting right beside Johanna, eyes boring into her as she eats her hot dog and flirts with him. Bronze-haired Finnick Odair is seated across from Annie. His sea green eyes, watching her. I wonder if she told him she's getting married next week? That's a buzz killer. Then there's hunky Cato Anderson, spiky blonde hair and hazel-colored eyes, talking with Madge. He must have been in the back seat with Peeta when we initially saw him, because I hadn't realized he was there.
Peeta gathers our food while the others have delved into theirs and he motions with his head for me to join him at a nearby table. I follow him willingly and sit down across from him at a similar table. The birds are really congregating around us and Peeta smiles and winks at me. "Watch this!" he says and grabs a few fries and flings them over the side of the pier. The birds go scampering for the treat and he rushes to sit down. "Okay, we have a minute or two to eat in peace before they're back, so eat up!" He laughs and picks up his burger, taking a huge bite and chews. I laugh and bite into my hot dog.
He looks at it with curiosity. "What's on your hot dog?"
I swallow my oversized bite and inspect my hot dog. "Oh, it's sauerkraut and ketchup." He makes a scrunched up face, his nose anchoring the disgusted look. "It's not that bad. I'm a ketchup girl. I like mustard, but ketchup must be on my hot dogs. Want to try a bite?"
Peeta looks at me questioningly. "I'm not so sure about this, but my mother always told me to try it before I ban it." Peeta leans in for a bite and then I realize he wants me to feed him the dog. His face is close enough to mine that it's noticeable, as I lift the hot dog to his mouth and he takes a bite, his eyes never leaving mine. He chews the food and after swallowing admits, "It's not bad. Your turn."
Peeta holds out his loaded cheeseburger to me to sample and I lean in for a bite and thoroughly chew it. The burger is delicious and I almost wish I got one of those. I would hardly be lady-like eating it though, so I say a silent thank you that I elected to eat the hot dog.
"So what do you think? Huh? Wildwood has the best food. I swear I gain ten pounds every summer when I visit." I laugh at his joke. There isn't an ounce of fat on his muscular frame. Peeta is extremely good looking with blonde curls adorning his head. He's a bit stocky, average height, large, strong hands. When he smiles, his whole face lights up and you can just tell, he's a genuinely good guy.
I pick up a French fry and dip it in ketchup. I swallow it down with his lemonade. He doesn't notice that I've casually slid his drink in front of me and am enjoying the drink immensely while eating. "What are you doing?" Peeta asks and looks up from his eating the remainder of his burger.
I think I'm busted about the lemonade, but play innocent. "What do you mean?" I ask.
"Are you eating those fries with just ketchup?" I nod and Peeta gets up and return a moment later with a tiny cup full of a light tan liquid.
"What is it?" I inquire and scratch my temple.
"This is malt vinegar and it's a staple in Wildwood. You cannot eat Curley's Fries without dipping some in this vinegar. It really brings out the flavor. I like to dip it in both personally." Peeta picks up a fry and dips it in the vinegar, takes a bite and then double-dips into the ketchup.
I suppose I should be skeeved about the double dipping but honestly, we've shared food together and I'm halfway through his lemonade. I think I can let it slide. My eyes lock on his. "I like this vinegar. It's good like this. Do you mind if I drink your lemonade? I'm sorry. I should have asked first." Peeta grins.
"Do you have cooties?" I make a face at him. "I'm just teasing you. If I thought you had cooties, I wouldn't have shared food with you. Help yourself. I won't drink it all and I hate wasting food."
Our group finishes their food and turns to us. Gale speaks first. "You guys finish and catch up to us. We'll be over by the tea cups. I heard they put in a couple of new rides over there." Gale gives a small wave to Peeta and the whole group walks off, following their new leader. We're nearly done with the bucket of fries and I feel stuffed. Peeta smiles at me, clears our trays, and then rejoins me. "So what do you want to do next? Tea cups?"
Now it's my turn to make a face and he laughs. "You're a nice guy, Peeta. Let's not do something like tea cups so soon, okay? I wouldn't want to vomit on you." I chuckle and Peeta nods.
"Yeah, probably not a good idea. Digestion happens for a reason. Come on, let's walk it off." Peeta extends his hand to me to help me up, and I take it.
He doesn't release me hand when he pulls me up and I don't mind. His hand is warm and strong in mine and I feel safe. My stomach is full of food, but I can still feel butterflies flip-flopping around inside of it. The feeling makes the blood rise to my cheeks, and I know my face is beet red. I avert my eyes to the ground, but Peeta speaking, lures their attention once again. "Hey, how about we take a ride on the tram car down to the end of the boardwalk? Then we'll just walk our way back?" I nod in agreement and Peeta flags down the tram car as it nears us. It makes an annoying loop of an announcement every five seconds "Watch the tram car please!" Peeta mimics the nasally voice and I can't help but laugh. The car takes us past all the people walking around, enjoying the excitement of the rides. By the time we make it down to the end, I've noticed the hairs sticking up on my arms from the chill. The night has cooled with the oceanfront wind. I rub my arms up and down to cause friction and Peeta notices.
"Damn, I didn't think to bring my sweatshirt with me. Um, I can buy you one at one of the shops though." He says, almost pleading.
I hold up my hand in protest. "Peeta, you don't need to buy me a sweatshirt. I am more than capable of buying one on my own." Peeta looks a bit deflated but I can't understand why. I don't want him to think that I'm a mooch. He already bought me dinner, and I only just met him tonight! His hand finds mine again and he tugs me over to a t-shirt shop on the boardwalk.
I peruse through the selection and find one for five dollars. I pay for the item and Peeta and I walk over towards a trash bin so I can throw the labels out. I pull the red sweatshirt over my head and my hair falls out of its setting. I hear Peeta's breath catch. "Wow", he says. I look up at him and look around us. "What?" I ask innocently. He's silent for a second. "Um, wow, you look even more beautiful with your hair down." I smile and pull the hair tie onto my wrist. "I'm glad you like it because it's staying down for now because I'm cold." Peeta takes my hand in his again and this time, I feel tremors going through my body.
We walk down the boardwalk, heading towards where we left the others. We people-watch and talk about our home lives and our future plans. He just graduated high school, like me. "So what are your plans for September?" I ask. Peeta gives my hand a squeeze.
"Well, the original plan was to go to college. But, uh, my family couldn't really afford it so I nixed that idea. I could have joined the Army, but it's not really my style. I mean, I would enlist in a heartbeat if there was a pressing need, but there isn't at the moment. So that leaves me with the family business. My family owns a bakery in Newark. I've worked there since I was practically in diapers. My brothers aren't all that interested in making a career out of running the bakery, but I like it. It makes a good living, and everyone is always smiling when they leave. I mean, it's a bakery. So I think I'm gonna give that a full time go and see what happens. What about you?"
"Well, same thing with the school situation. I just graduated high school but my family doesn't have the means for me to attend college. My plan is to get a job at a local manufacturer and do factory work. Madge and Johanna are going off to local colleges and Annie is leaving for Portugal next week to marry overseas. Her parents arranged it. This weekend is our final weekend together before life takes over. Know what I mean?" Peeta nods in acknowledgment.
We walk past a stand that's selling cotton candy. At the mention of his bakery, my sweet tooth kicked in and I pull him with me and pull out my money to buy some cotton candy before he can object. I tear a piece of the pink concoction from the top and put it into my mouth, savoring the melting on my tongue. Peeta pulls a piece off and does the same. "You know, I hate how you keep pulling your money out while you're with me. I admire your independence, but I was brought up on 'the man always pays when you're on a date' rule."
I smile and bat my eyelids. Did I really just do that? "So...we're on a date? I didn't hear you ask to take me out."
Peeta loses his smile. "Would you have said no?" he asks. I spin on my feet a little bit. "Um, probably not. But still, that's not the point." I tease.
Peeta shuffles his feet and tears off another strip. "Well, since we're already out here on an implied date, will you spend the day with me tomorrow? And the next day? And the one after that?" he asks.
I can't help but smile. "Well, I'm only here until Sunday but yes, I will go on two more dates with you Peeta Mellark." I hold up two fingers to emphasize the count.
Peeta moves a little closer to me and he takes the cotton candy from my hand. At first I think he's just going to be silly and rip a chunk off of it, but then I realize he's closed the proximity from his chest to mine. My heart is pounding so erratically at his closeness. I feel a warmth pooling in my gut and I have no idea why. He hasn't even kissed me yet. Then the realization hits me - Peeta intends to kiss me. My breath is heavy on my lips, which part slightly of their own accord. I've only had one kiss before and it hardly counted. It was just lips on lips, no spark was made.
When Peeta's lips touch mine, I feel a spark go off in my body. My attraction to him is undeniable. Peeta pulls back from me and our eyes meet. Peeta raises his right hand to caress my face and we both lean in at the same time. My lips part and his tongue grazes mine. The warmth in my body is is getting hotter and begins throbbing. What on Earth? I've never felt anything so amazing in my life. When we hear a few whistles humming our way, we part from our kiss and he wipes my bottom lip with his thumb.
He sighs and moves his thumb over my lips again. "I really like you Katniss." He whispers.
Breathlessly I murmur, "I really like you too Peeta."
He gives me a long, chaste kiss and then picks up the dropped cotton candy, disposes of it in the nearest trash bin and then puts his arm around me. I wrap my arm around his waist and lean into him. He's so warm, despite not having a sweatshirt. "Come on, we're gonna do some rides before we hook up with the others. We're bound to run into them once we get back to Mariner's Landing."
Peeta and I have to pass by the nearest pier, Surfside Pier, before reaching the other one but that pier consists of mostly kiddie rides. We play a few arcade games before continuing our walk back. When we reach Mariner's Landing, Peeta leads me over to the Music Express. Music blares over the speakers as we climb in. When the ride goes fast, I lose my grip on the bar and slam into Peeta. We're laughing so hard, I feel like I'm going to burst. After wards, we take a spin on the tea cups and the swings. Then we ride on the merry-go-round. Peeta garners a few stares when he laughs and climbs onto my horse behind me.
A married couple sitting in the loveseat looks over at us. The husband is smiling, but his wife gives us a nasty look and Peeta challenges her. "What, ma'am? She might fall off!" Then he puts his arms around my waist and hangs onto the bar and tells me a joke in my right ear. I hear the wife mutter something to her husband about "kids these days" and I laugh. Outside of being forward, Peeta isn't being out of line on the horse. If he was, I would set him straight myself.
When our ride is over, we walk towards the Ferris wheel again and find the others coming up from below dock. They had gone for a walk on the beach. Finnick notices us first. "Hey, Peet! We're gonna check out that new attraction, Ghost Ship. It's like a scary, haunted house thing. You guys want to come?" Peeta looks at me and I nod in agreement.
Johanna interrupts our walk towards the Ghost Ship by announcing a bathroom break before being scared out of our wits. Johann links her arm with mine and Madge and Annie follow us to the ladies room. Jo wastes no time. "I would say you've been missing out, but I think that would be an incorrect assumption. Spill it, Everdeen, you and Blondie liking each other?" She smiles at me and I nod, face flushing.
Madge laughs, "Ooh, look at her blush! How adorable!" She walks up to me and touches my cheeks. "You're 'fry an egg' hot, Katniss! He's a good kisser, huh?" These girls know me too well.
"Yes" I answer and smile, looking down at my feet. We relieve ourselves, wash up and head back up the stairs to the main level near guest relations. "Oh, and wait until you see Annie flirt with this Finnick kid. Oh my god, she cannot help herself. It's so entertaining to watch!" Johanna giggles and Annie pinches her arm.
"You know it's not like that, Katniss. Don't listen to the wench! She's been so unladylike like all evening. If her mother could see her now. Her tongue has practically reached Gale's toes! She has no shame!"
Jo and Madge laugh. "I'm only going to be young once, Annie. Grow up and marry an older stiff. Oh, that's right, you're gonna do that next week!"
Annie pinches her again and then Jo pinches her butt. We laugh and rejoin the boys, who somehow, look even better than when we left them. A few minutes of time apart, and I notice a few more features in each one. They are quite a handsome bunch. I notice several girls ogling them as we reconnect, and I feel a swell of pride that they were even interested in hanging out with us. I offer my hand out to Peeta but he puts his arms around me instead. I like this much better than the hand holding anyway.
We turn in our tickets for the Ghost Ship and discover it's a walk-through exhibit. Cato leads the group through, holding onto Madge's hand. It's pitch black so we all link hands to stay together. Instantly, zombies jump out at us and the ship's props come to life. It's the setting of a sunken vessel and its crew is haunting round a corner and a hand grabs Madge's arm, she screams, terrified.
Cato pushes the zombie and shouts, "Dude, you're not supposed to touch her! Hands off!" The zombie backs off, but Madge is terrified now. "Hop on," Cato tells her and she hops onto his back so he can carry her throughout. "Just hold on so I can push through everything. It'll be over in a few minutes."
Finnick grabs Madge's shirt and we continue through the exhibit, with Peeta tailing the back. He's hyper aware now and is closer to me than before. We stop at a wall and I think I make out a swear from Cato.
"Guys, this is like a bean bag wall. We have to push through it. Don't let go. Madge, you gotta get down. Just hold my hand." He pushes through and I hear Madge scream. When it's my turn to enter, I do so quickly so I don't break my clutch on Peeta's hand. I feel safe with him. It's terrifying. Completely void of light and the bean walls are so tight, it's feels like you're going to suffocate. I feel claustrophobic and can't wait to get out. When we reach the other side of it, there's a door and the ride is over. Thank goodness.
"You okay?" Peeta asks and gives me a once-over.
"Yes. But now I'm exhausted. That took a lot out of me."
Peeta nods. "Guys, I'm gonna walk Katniss back to her hotel. Oh, jeez, I forgot to ask. Where are you staying so Gale can pick me up after?"
"We're staying at the Starlux." Johanna says to Gale. The guys all smile. "So are we." Gale says.
Peeta grabs my hand and waves. "We'll see you back there then. Have fun!" and off we go. Peeta motions for the tram car again and we take the tram all the way down and hop off. "You up for ice cream? There's this place I love. They make the best homemade ice cream."
"Sure, it sounds good. What flavors do they have?" Peeta laughs and rolls his head back. "It's more like what don't they have. Normally, I'm a vanilla kind of guy but when I'm here, it's a toss between their Strawberry Cheesecake or Peanut Butter Swirl. What's your favorite flavor ice cream?"
I think for a minute. "I think I'm more a chocolate lover. But I have had pistachio ice cream a couple of times. That was pretty good."
"Well, try something different every day while you're here, because Bandana's ice cream is the best. How about we walk on the street, get our ice cream and then finish the walk back on the beach? If you're too tired, we can always take the trolley though." I'm glad that Peeta knows so much about Wildwood because I don't know anything. It's nice having my own private tour guide.
When we reach Bandana's Mexican Restaurant, I'm confused. "Are we at the right place?" I ask Peeta.
"Yep. Their food is awesome and the dessert is even better. I already ate here today. We stopped in to eat as soon as we made it over the bridge. I normally eat here every day when I'm here. I come down to Wildwood for a couple of weekends and a week of vacation with my family every summer. It's kind of a home away from home, so to speak." Peeta opens the door for me and I smile at the aromas filling my nose.
We're greeted right away and Peeta informs her that we're there for ice cream. He puts his arm around me. "Tell you what, I'll get my two favorites and you pick two and we'll just share them. Best of both worlds. Okay?"
I smile. "That sounds like a great idea because I almost didn't know what to order!" Peeta orders his and then I order a large dish of the Bananas Foster and Toasted Almond. We head out the door, sharing ice cream and making a mess until we turn left for the beach.
It isn't much further to the hotel from where we are and we've already eaten the ice cream down. We take our shoes off and walk hand in hand over the cool sand. Peeta leads up over to a lifeguard tower and we climb up and snuggle into each other. The mere closeness of our bodies has my thoughts wandering to places they haven't really gone in the past. I've never really crushed on a boy before, never been this overwhelmed by my senses. I love it.
Peeta always seems to know when the moment is right and he closes the gap between our lips again. I encircle my arms around his neck and my fingers run through his blonde curls. I part my mouth and Peeta's tongue finds mine again and I grow bold and rub his tongue with my own. He utters a soft moan and my mouth twitches in a smile. We kiss for quite some time before the burst of fireworks lights up the sky. We jump apart at the shock and then Peeta laughs. "I forgot about those. They go off around 9:30pm on Friday nights."
He kisses my forehead and pulls me closer to watch the display. By the time it's over, my behind has fallen asleep on the hard wood of the lifeguard station and I stumble into Peeta's arms on the way down the ladder. We laugh and chat all the way to my room on the second floor. What a coincidence, Peeta's room is just five doors down.
Peeta holds my hands and entwines our fingers. "So, I'll see you in the morning?" he asks, his eyes shining under his long eyelashes. I smile and bite my bottom lip. "Yes, that sounds nice." Peeta gets closer to me and gives me a chaste kiss on my lips. I'm tempted to deepen it but I don't. When he pulls away, I smile again. "Goodnight, Peeta." He nods. "Goodnight, Katniss." He lets go of my hand and backs down the hall, not breaking eye contact. He backs into a chair and we both laugh, then he waves and disappears into his room.
I enter my room to discover I made it back before the other girls. I'm sure I'll hear all about their exploits over breakfast tomorrow morning. For now, this has been a long day and a shower is in order. I gather my pajamas and toiletries and head into the bathroom. I run the shower to let the water heat, strip down to nothing. Before I enter the stream of water, I notice that my panties are wet. It's not like I don't have a normal female discharge, but this, this was different. At first I don't know what to make of it, and I instinctively touch my nether region. I gasp when I discover that I'm slathered in this wetness. Before I retract my hand, my mind must know the answers I seek and flashes of my kissing Peeta bubble to the surface.
I step into the shower and begin to wash the day from myself. I feel like I don't even know my own body anymore. All of these feelings and sensations are brand new to me. Maybe I was closed off before? I don't know. All I know is that I have never felt so alive before in my life and I love it.
I can't wait to see Peeta Mellark tomorrow.
Yes, I live in Waterbury, Connecticut which is affectionately called 'dirty water'. It is located at the mid way point between New York City and Boston. Half of our Mayors have been convicted of some crime or another. A Governor from Waterbury was also convicted. He went to jail, got out and got a job in the city making 90k. I'd vote for him again. :)
Scoville Manufacturing as well as several others really kept the USA supplied during WWII. That is how we got our nickname, The Brass City. Check out the documentary by Ken Burns about WWII. Waterbury is all over it. He loved filming here.
Yale University is located in New Haven. We always say Yale New Haven for some reason. Obviously you've heard about this Ivy League school but the hospital? OMG. Can't say enough about them down there. All personal experiences.
University of Connecticut is located in Storrs. It's in the damn boon docks and is like a city in and of itself. In addition to having a kick ass men/women basketball team, the Huskies (fnur says "Fuck your men's team, GO HEELS"), they also host an insane party during Spring Weekend which is the last weekend in April. We're talking 25,000 kids, bands, not a stitch of toilet paper on campus and like 100 kegs. It was mind blowing when I went.
Three of my Portuguese friends got married straight out of high school. One went to Portugal for the summer and came home married.
The vehicles have no significance. I just wanted them to be semi cool. Although, my father did have a souped-up Mustang when he dated my mother. He would hold his hand on the horn outside the house until my grandfather would back down and let her go with him. One night he held his hand on the horn for like two hours. I think it was the mustang that he drove backwards over the George Washington Bridge too. At 9pm at night, no less. He's crazy, even still.
Wildwood NJ is about 4 ½ hours from my door. I paid my toll at Raritan South on the way down. It didn't register, so I paid again. Same thing. They just sent me a bill for fifty bucks. Fat chance in hell.
Wildwood is nestled in between North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. You get off exit 4b off of the Garden State Parkway and take a right to head on over the bridge. It's the Doo Wop capitol of the world. The sidewalk bricks are all painted like waves and there are funky street lights and such all over the place. I don't know what kind of shops they had back then but now it's loaded with t-shirt shops, souvenirs, a million different kinds of foods, arcades, casinos, go carts, henna tattoos/hair wrapping and tats, candy shops. Three full piers with tons and tons of attractions. Ghost Ship was new this year and I almost crapped myself. It was frightening and I will never ever go in it again.
You can't go to Wildwood without eating Curley's Fries. They don't make burgers but they do make dogs at a couple of locations. All the other carnival staples abound as well.
Bandana's is amazing. I eat there every day and get the steak and cheese burrito with this funky sauce on it. Delicious! The ice cream flavors are all my faves.
I have never personally stayed at the Starlux but it is like the original Wildwood hotel and all that the city embodies. I chose it because it stands out and because of its closer location to the boardwalk and the tram car. I always stay further up the beach in a slightly more expensive place because I have a family and there's less rowdiness. Normally either Beau Rivage, Bal Harbor and this year it was the Jolly Roger Motel. All great places and the beaches are nicer up that way for some reason.
Cato's last name, Anderson, is my maiden name.
REMEMBER, I DON'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT THE SIXTIES SO JUST ENJOY THE FICTION.
Thanks for reading, be sure to REVIEW! 2-3 more chapters of this story coming soon.