Coffee and Classics

EPILOGUE:

"Pull your shit together!"

Gale thrusts the flask into my hand and I gulp it greedily. It's not that I'm nervous about actually marrying Peeta—I mean, I love him and there's no way in hell this would be a mistake—it's just everything surrounding it. The walking down the aisle, the vows, the kiss in front of everybody, the vows. Aw, jeez, the vows. I glance down at my hand and see that, for the most part, the sweat hasn't rubbed them away.

Gale snatches the flask back from me and takes a sip for himself. "You've got your garter?" I nod my head. "You have your something old, new, borrowed and blue?" I nod my head again; the veil, the dress, the bracelet and the hairpin, respectively. "Your vows?" I show him my hand. His expression suddenly gets serious, and he takes a few steps towards me and places his hands on the side of my neck, being careful not to touch my hair as it falls in elegant curls down my chest. "Do you love him?"

"Always." The answer falls so effortlessly from my lips. That's one thing I'll never have to question. Not since I first said those words to him, a little over year ago.

He grins at me and leans forward to press a kiss to my forehead. "Okay, Prim's taking over with the pep-talk. I've got to go help out the groom—though I'm sure he's completely fine, unlike you. Best man duties and all." He squeezes my cheek like I'm a little kid. "You'll be okay, Catnip."

Then he nods his head and leaves the room, for Peeta. I spin around, away from the door and look out the window in the corner, watching people who are arriving with only minutes to spare. I see Rye, Peeta's older brother and usher, greet Delly as she darts inside the church and I'm still a little thrown off that Peeta didn't ask him to be his best man. But he asked Gale almost three months ago. They had been growing closer and closer since our engagement, and he just thought it was the right thing to do. I'm also pretty sure he did it for me too. He knew how happy it would make me to have Gale be a part of the ceremony.

A soft knock rings out on the door behind me, and I quickly turn away from the window and see Prim sneak into the room. Of course, she looks beautiful. She's wearing a green dress similar to the one she picked out in the first bridal magazine she gave to me, with spaghetti straps and a jeweled bodice. Her pin-straight blonde hair is braided and hanging on the side of her face—like my usual hairstyle. But she wouldn't allow me to style my hair like that today. Yeah, right. It's all curls and braids and teased, things pieced and held back with blue or silver pins.

She walks towards me and grabs my wrist, pulling me until I stand in front of the mirror in the corner. "You look so gorgeous, Katniss," she whispers, tears in her voice.

I glance at my reflection, and hold back a gasp. I look so put together—it's slightly terrifying. The dress is simple, just like I wanted; it's strapless and lacy, and falls down to the floor with a small train. I really didn't want a train, but Prim insisted it was necessary. But I said hell no to the tiara like she wanted. I went with a simple, short veil.

"Have you seen Peeta?" I ask, turning away from the mirror and back to my Little Duck. We haven't seen each other two days—again by Prim's insistence—and it's been torture. Spending these days apart was the only thing Peeta didn't agree with Prim on when it came down to wedding planning. But in the end, he saw her point in the romantic nature of the gesture. The bastard.

She nods her head. "Yeah, of course."

"And he's doing okay?"

She rolls her eyes at me. "Seriously, Kat, you talked to him on the phone like ten hours ago. He's fine. Great. Just relax and get ready. The music is about to start, so we are leaving this room." I nod my head and she hands me my bouquet. "Do you have your vows?"

I nod and look down at my hand. But they're gone. Son of a bitch. My entire body freezes, and ice fills my veins. I look back up at Prim and she immediately narrows her eyes at me, scrutinizing my expression.

"They rubbed off." I begin to panic. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

She shakes her head, and lets out a laugh, ignoring my flustering. "You'll be fine. Just speak from the heart." I nod my head. Peeta will still love me even if I say something terrible. "And don't bite your lip! You'll ruin your lipstick."

I release my lip I didn't know I was biting and she smiles at me again. She takes my hand and together we walk down the back stairs to the small room where we are supposed to wait until it's time for Prim, and then me to walk down the aisle.

Prim examines my make-up one more time and after she applies another coat of lipstick the music begins to play.

"I'm so happy for you," she whispers. "Peeta's amazing."

I smile and nod my head. That he is.

She squeezes my hand and then exits through the doors as they open and close for her. Okay, twenty seconds, and then I walk. I fight the urge to bite my nails, but my foot begins to tap uncontrollably. I've only been wearing these heels for fifteen minutes, but my feet are already starting to ache.

This is it. Marriage. I'm going to walk down the aisle and get married. Jesus. I honestly never thought this would happen to me. But I guess I never thought anything good would happen ever again after I lost my parents. But then I met Peeta. I woke up from a terrible nightmare, went to a bookstore, and met the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. FUCK.

"You're not going to pass out or anything, are you, Sweetheart?"

Haymitch's voice brings me out of my thoughts. He steps out of shadows and makes his way over to me and I wrap my hand around his arm as he holds it out for me. It was hard to convince him to lay off the sauce, but Peeta gave him a stern talking to. He has a tendency to use his words and make people do things who normally thought they were incapable of doing. It's a gift.

"I'll be fine," I tell him, and myself. I kinda have to be.

Suddenly, the doors fly open, and all coherent thought is gone as Haymitch helps me take my first steps into the church. Everyone, the thirty or so people we invited, stand up for me—but I ignore them. My eyes fall to Peeta.

His achingly handsome face breaks out in a smile—but not his cocky smile or his joking smile. His incredulous smile. The shy one he gives me when I do something he never thought I would; like agree to a conversation about having children or answering one of Finnick's embarrassing questions about our sex life. It's the smile he has only for me.

He looks unbelievably sexy in his perfectly tailored black tuxedo and his hair is trimmed, but still full of floppy curls, just like I love. He thought about slicking it back but I convinced him not to.

In the blink of an eye, I'm right in front of him. I finally look away from him as Haymitch presses a kiss to my cheek.

"You could do a lot worse, Sweetheart," he whispers before giving me his lazy smile.

"Thanks, Haymitch." I don't I could do any better.

He nods his head, then removes my arm from his and hands it over. To Peeta. I look away from Haymitch in time to see Peeta smile down at me as his fingers squeeze mine. He helps me up the few steps before I hand my bouquet to Prim, who's grinning at me with tears in her eyes. Then we're standing in front of each other, our hands clasped, as the minister spouts off some random words about our union—but I can't focus on them. I'm looking at the ocean blue eyes of my soon-to-be husband.

"And now it's time for your vows." The minster's voice breaks me out of my reverie and I finally glance over to him. "Peeta, you may go first," the balding man tells him.

My eyes fly back to him and I see Peeta take a shaky breath. "Katniss," he starts. "I've been in love with you from the moment I saw you. And it's very real and very true. You are my whole life."

"We've both been through heartache and pain, but when I look at you, none of that seems to matter anymore. This does—us. I want to wake up next to you and fall asleep next you. And everything in between."

Tears begin to form in his sapphire eyes and I feel them prick in mine too. "You are my best friend. You are my confidant. You are my equal. You are the love of my life. And I can't wait to spend every moment of the rest of it with you." He drops my left hand and raises his to run his thumb along my cheek, swiping away a tear that's escaped.

I hear the crowd give a sigh and murmur of approval and I have to force myself not to lean forward and press my lips against his. That's later.

But now, it's my turn.

"And now you, Katniss," the minister tells me.

I take a deep breath. Here goes…..something. "Peeta," I sigh. "I've never been very good with words, you know that. But when it comes to describing how I feel about you—well, words seem to fail me entirely. You mean too much to me to put into words."

"I thought I had a fine life before I met you. And I did. But it's nothing compared to what I have now. You've made it better—you've made me better. And I am so unbelievably grateful to you. You are kind and funny and smart and I love you more than I ever thought I could love somebody. You're my always, Peeta. And I will always be yours."

Peeta gives me a shaky smile, his eyes officially brimming with tears of happiness, and I feel another tear slip down my nose.

The minister finishes up his little spiel, but I don't hear him until he says I'm allowed to kiss Peeta. And I do. He clasps my face in his beautiful, rough hands and brings his lips down to mine. I place my hands on his shoulders and try to make the kiss last as long as possible, his lips so incredibly soft and molding with mine as if they were created to do such.

The cheering and clapping of the guests causes us to break apart and Peeta intertwines our hands and raises them as one, for the audience. Then, together, we run down the aisle, Peeta accepting high fives from Finnick and Thresh. We exit the large cathedral and hide in the small room where I waited before the ceremony.

Peeta pulls me into his arms and kisses me again, no longer gentle or for show, but hungry and passionate and just for the two of us.

"You just married me willingly, real or not real?" he asks, placing kisses all over my face and neck.

"Real," I reply.

"And I get to spend the rest of my life with you, real or not real?" he asks, now running his fingers up and down my arms.

"Real."

He pulls back and gazes down at me, tucking a tray piece of hair behind my ear like he has so many times before, and I hope he does many times in the future. "You love me, real or not real?"

And I tell him, "Real."

THE END


Thank you everyone who read this story! It was the first thing I've ever written that I've allowed others to read, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I honestly cannot thank you enough for the reviews and follows and favorites and support.

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