This was written promptsinpanem "Day Two" challenge on Tumblr.
The characters of the Hunger Games Trilogy do not belong to me.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
My son is going to marry Katniss Everdeen.
That's what he told me as we rolled dough together. I should have known right away that something was up. This morning he was up before me in the kitchen. I walked in to find the ovens warmed and my son already covered in flour.
He was whistling.
"You're up early," I said as I joined him at the prep table. Peeta grinned at me. His eyes were bright and I couldn't help but smile back.
"I have news," he told me. "You know Katniss Everdeen?"
"Of course," I replied. Her mother and I were sweethearts in school. However when Joseph Everdeen came into the picture, I had become obsolete in her heart. It hurt, but things worked themselves out in the end. "How is she?"
"Katniss is perfect," he replied. "Beautiful, wonderful and-I asked her to marry me."
I stopped mid-doughfold and turned to him. "What?"
"She said yes."
"What?" I had no idea that he was courting her.
"And she is coming to dinner tonight. Prim and Mrs. Everdeen are coming also."
"No." Anna is firm about this. "There is no way that SHE is coming to my home."
My wife folds her arms and frowns like a petulant child. Her blue eyes glare at me. A lot of people never understood why I married Anna Frasier. She was beautiful as a young woman and if anything to me she has become even lovelier.
However to many she can be mean. Anna has worn this shell for years. Her parents were not nice people. They were critical of their only daughter and she had tried to be everything that they wanted.
Her parents had wanted a son.
So she was destined to fail them.
Then why did I marry her? It was her eyes. On the surface, they are hard and cold. However, if you are lucky like I have been and you can break through the surface then you will see something completely different.
You will see Anna as she is; gentle and always ready to take care of people.
Peeta doesn't see that he gets this trait from her.
"What is this really about Anna?" I ask her. "Is this about Suzanne?"
She doesn't respond. Her silence tells me everything I need to know.
The gentle knock on the backdoor interrupts the silence. Walking to the door, I open it to find Katniss standing in front of me.
"Hello, Katniss." She gives me a nervous smile as she thumbs the tip of her braid. Dark eyes look up at me in apprehension. Katniss has her father's coloring but the face is her mother's. The slope of her nose and the shape of her lips are reminiscent of the girl that I courted. "I hear congratulations are in order."
I see what Peeta finds so wonderful about her. It's her eyes. There is a spark in them. A fire even. She is lit up at the thought of my son. This warms my heart.
"Peeta isn't here. He's making morning deliveries—"
"I wasn't here to see Peeta. I wanted to speak to you and Mrs. Mellark—if that was okay." Katniss clasped her hands together.
"Of course." I widen the door. "Come in."
Katniss walks in tentatively. When she spots my wife, the young girl straightens up. Their eyes meet and I can see that there is no lost love between them.
"Have a seat, Katniss,"I say and take a tall stool from the corner of the room. Placing it at the table on the opposite side of my wife, I give her a smile and pat the chair.
She sits slowly and I sit next to my wife. Anna remains silent but her eyes are trained on Katniss.
I join my wife and take a seat. Katniss takes a deep breath before speaking.
"I know that all of this came as a surprise," she tells us. "I was surprised too. I've always liked Peeta since we were children but loving him came unexpectedly." Her face turns red and I find my mouth forming a grin. "Then when he proposed, I didn't think when I said yes."
"Are you telling us that you want to break this whole thing off?" my wife asks suddenly.
Katniss's eyes widen and she shakes her head. "No!" She bites her lip. "I realized what this could do to your family and to Peeta. A marriage between a Seam girl and a Merchant boy isn't going to be accepted." Katniss meets both of our eyes. "What I want to tell you is that if you choose to not give your approval then I'll break it off."
"Why would you do that?" I ask.
"Because your approval means a lot to me," she states. "If you both don't approve, I know that no one else will. And Peeta—he is idealistic. He believes that everything will be okay if we're together and I love him for it. I know better though."
Anna says nothing though this is her chance to get what she wants.
I admire Katniss's courage. I can see however that this is hurting her. It's all in the eyes. I know my answer.
"We'll talk later tonight at dinner," I tell her.
"What?" She is confused. I think she was already expecting my wife's disapproval.
"You like rabbit, right? I'll bake a cake for your sister too," I tell her as I stand up. "Lunch is over so I'll have to open up the bakery again."
"I guess I should go also." Katniss jumps up from her seat. "I will see you tonight then." I walk her over to the door. "Goodbye Mr. Mellark." She looks at my wife. "Goodbye Mrs. Mellark."
Opening the door, Katniss rushes out and gives me a smile before disappearing from sight.
I close the door and turn to my wife. She is expressionless.
"I'm surprised you didn't say anything," I say to her. "Something tells me that you already know your answer."
"Don't presume to think that you know what I'm going to say," she responds angrily. "I could have said no already."
I feel my own anger flare. "You always worry that Peeta is too soft for his own good. Say no and I guarantee that he will fight you on this. I hope that you can live with that."
I take a deep breath and as I exhale I feel my anger dissipate. Taking her hand, I look into her eyes. Eyes that I have loved for so many years despite the opinion of others. "You know how it feels to want someone's approval as badly as she wants ours."
Anna doesn't answer. Instead she stands up and disappears up the stairs. I hear a door slam and wince.
Only a few more hours till dinner.
"So little brother is getting hitched… I'll be damn," Rye says to me with a grin. Jovial and outgoing, our middle boy grins at the thought. "I'm surprised. She never seemed to notice him."
"Oh?" I take the empty trays in our display case and put them on the back counter.
"Peeta is always staring at her in the schoolyard," he tells me. "Katniss was more focused on her sister or her friend—the Seam boy." I recall the Hawthorne boy that hangs out with her. I wonder what he thinks about this.
My oldest boy walks in from the back of the bakery. "What are you talking about?"
"Katniss," Rye tells him. Wheaton frowns. He isn't pleased about the engagement. "I didn't know that they were involved."
"Dad," Wheaton says slowly. "You don't think that she's…" He makes a half circle gesture where his abdomen is.
My eyes widen at the thought. It had never occurred to me. It could be possible. On the other hand, she wouldn't have offered to break their engagement.
Rye responds to his brother's suggestion. "Her mother would know how to get rid of it if that was the case. Katniss isn't that type of girl, either."
"You know how those Seam girls are," Wheaton argues. He can be obstinate. Once he forms an opinion, it is difficult to change his mind. Personality-wise, he is similar to Anna. However, they fight the most for that very same reason.
"No, I don't know how those Seam girls are," Rye replies. "I'm sure you're going to tell me though."
"Most of them are no good." Wheaton leans against the counter. "They're only after one thing."
"You're full of it." Rye scoffs. "Just because one of those Seam girls screwed you over."
It happens quickly. Wheaton slams his brother against the wall and grabs Rye by the collar. Anyone else would be scared. My oldest is tall and built. He has the advantage over his shorter, broader brother.
Rye, however, grins at him which only makes Wheaton angrier.
"Boys!" They pull apart guiltily. "We have an hour till dinner. Your brother is upstairs working hard to make sure it is perfect. Now you two are going to go up there and give him a hand." I look at Wheaton. "Keep your opinions to yourself." Then I turn to Rye. "Lend him your navy tie."
They both nod. Rye walks to the back and I can hear him running up the stairs.
"Do really think that she loves Peeta?" Wheaton asks seriously.
I think of her offer today. It took a lot of courage to come and see us. A Merchant girl wouldn't think of doing that.
"I think so," I tell him. Wheaton nods though I know he is unconvinced. "Not every Seam girl is the same as the one you knew." His eyes are pained. "Think about that."
I go upstairs to make sure that Peeta hasn't burned the rabbit.
The knock on the door sends Peeta into a tailspin and I see him fiddle with the tie that Rye gave him.
"Calm down, Peeta." I grin in spite of everything. Seeing his excitement is infectious. "Let's get the door before she changes her mind." Putting an arm around him, we walk down the stairs.
I notice that they are at the backdoor. Coming through the front would definitely set off gossipmongers in our town. There would be questions. Why would the Everdeens come to our bakery? How dare they come to the bakery?
Peeta takes a deep breath before opening the door. When he does, I am greeted by the sweet face of Primrose. She is staring up at us, her two long braids swaying as she does. Her blue eyes are bright and round like her mother's.
I look behind her and I see Katniss besides Suzanne. She is wearing a pretty blue dress and I recognize it as Suzanne's. It was a favorite of hers.
"Hello ladies," I greet them. Peeta stands by me silently. I elbow him. "Peeta, why don't you take their coats?"
"What—oh!" He rushes over and goes to Suzanne. She smiles gratefully as he helps her remove her coat. Her dress is peach with a cream collar. Peeta hangs it on the hook next to the door before going to Prim who already has her coat off. As she hands it to him, she watches him curiously. Then Prim looks over at Katniss who blushes.
Katniss is the only one without a coat. I realize that they could probably only afford two. The one that Prim wore was Katniss's. I recall seeing it on her when she was about Prim's age.
"Let's go upstairs," I tell them. I hold out my arm for Prim and then for Suzanne. Both of them blush.
"Thank you, Efren," Suzanne says to me. Katniss and Peeta stay behind. Probably to properly say hello. "This is a surprise, isn't it?"
"Well, I knew my boy's feelings but I didn't know that they were involved," I admit to her.
"Peeta walks us home every day," Prim says suddenly, her voice full of excitement. "He always gives me cookies and doesn't get bored when I tell him about my garden or Lady."
"Lady?" Suzanne mouths the word 'goat' to me and I nod.
When we get upstairs, Rye and Wheaton are in our sitting room. They stand when we enter.
"Suzanne, these are my other two boys, Rye and Wheaton," I introduce them. They shake her hand and she gives them a smile. I look down at Prim who is half-hidden behind me. I gently lead her to the front of me. "Boys, this is Primrose Everdeen."
"You can call me Prim," she squeaks out.
Wheaton surprisingly kneels before her. He is still a taller even on his knees. Wheaton holds out his hand to her. "Hello, Prim."
"Hello," she replies softly, her cheeks red.
"Hey!" Rye falls to his knees in front of her also. "She's going to be my little sister, too. Let me talk to her." He looks at her with a teasing grin. "So if you had to pick, which one of us do you think is better looking?"
"That's not fair!" she exclaims and puts her hands on her hips. "I've only just met you. I have to know you more before I can make that decision."
Wheaton stands up and pats her head. "I like her already."
Rye remains on his knees. "Little sister, help me up," he jokes. Prim obliges and yanks him by the arm. Somehow they end up play fighting.
Suzanne laughs quietly and turns to me. "Thank you for having us," she says. Looking around, she notices that my wife has not made an appearance. "Will Anna be joining us?"
Anna has locked herself in our room since after Katniss came.
"I hope so," I say to her. She nods understandingly.
"You should go check on her," Suzanne replies.
I excuse myself and go down the hallway where our room is. After knocking gently, I enter our bedroom.
Anna stands by the window looking out. She is dressed in a dark green dress and her hair is pinned up. She is wearing a pearl clip that I gave her long ago as an anniversary present.
I approach her but she doesn't look at me. She only stares outside. At her side, I look to see what she is staring at.
It is Katniss and Peeta. My son cradles Katniss's face in his hands as they kiss passionately under the light of the moon. Her body is pressed closely against his and her hand rests lightly on Peeta's lower back.
I don't see my son anymore. I see a man in love with a woman.
"Do you remember when we kissed by that tree?" my wife asks and her voice is sad. "It seems so long ago."
"Time passes, things change," I tell her and look at them again. "He really loves her."
"She really loves him." I turn to her and a tear rolls down her face. "Well, I'll be damned."
She doesn't attempt to wipe the tear so I reach over and do it for her. Anna takes hold of my wrist as I pull away and kisses it softly before letting it go.
"Call them in," she says and then walks out without another word.
I open the window and whistle. At the noise, the two spring apart. Even from this far, I can see Katniss's darkened cheeks. I gesture for them to come inside. Peeta nods, takes her hand they walk away.
I walk out of the room and find everyone sitting on the couch except for Anna who stands by the fireplace. I go over to her and wait expectantly.
Suzanne clasps her hands together and I am reminded of Katniss. Clearly they share the same nervous habit. Prim sits in-between my two sons and I give her a smile.
After a moment, Katniss and Peeta join us. "What's going on?" Peeta asks.
"Have a seat, both of you," my wife tells them.
The two of them sit on the loveseat adjacent to the couch.
"After your talk with us this afternoon, I'm sure that you were expecting me to tell you that I don't approve," Anna says looking at Katniss. My son's intended squirms in her seat.
Peeta looks at Katniss. "You talked to them?"
"Before you get upset, Peeta, she did it for your own good." Anna looks at them, her expression serious. "You might not realize this but we were once young-your father, Mrs. Everdeen and I. We understand how it feels to fall in love and fall out of love. We know how it feels to have your heartbroken. You might not believe it but we were like you two once." She looks at the young couple. "So full of hope and promise. Maybe we don't seem like that now because truthfully time can dampen passion."
"Mom, what are you saying?" Peeta asks and he clings to Katniss's hand.
"Seeing you two outside reminded me," she says softly, her voice thick. "You reminded me that passion still exists. And when that fades, your father, Mrs. Everdeen, and I will remind you that love still exists no matter what." Anna looks over at me. Those eyes that I love shine the same way they did on our wedding day. "It isn't going to be easy. People are going to question you both. Marriages between someone who is a merchant and someone from the Seam are rare. For a good reason. A lot of sacrifices are made and you have to be prepared." She looks over at Suzanne. "However, I think that at least one of us can tell you that the sacrifice was worth it."
For a moment, the room is silent except for the sound of Prim sniffling. I look around and see that everyone is in tears.
Anna coughs breaking the silence. She turns to me. "Is dinner ready?"
I wipe my eyes and nod.
"Well let's eat," she tells everyone. "Peeta spent all afternoon on this meal."
My son grins as he helps Katniss up so they can go to the table set up on the opposite side of the room. Wheaton gives Prim a piggy back ride to her seat. Rye offers his arm to Suzanne.
Anna turns to me and winks. I grab gently her wrist to stop her from walking off.
When she turns to me, I take her face in my hands and kiss her in front of everyone.
Pulling away, I look into her blue eyes and rest my forehead against hers.
"It has never faded."
We hold hands as we walk to the table.
The title and a bit of the story are inspired by the movie of the same name. If you haven't watched it, I suggest you do. It is an awesome movie and the acting is superb.
Wheaton and Rye are from the "Two Wrongs" universe. Suzanne is from the "All I Know" universe.
Ways to check out my other stories:
Website- jlala webs com
Tumblr- jlalafics tumblr com