A/N: So I can honestly say there is no way I would have written something for Everlark right now if it wasn't for my dearest friend Court81981's birthday (8.18) I have just not felt particularly inspired, but when she asked for something from the 'Saint Peeta' universe I was suddenly enthused about writing something I could give her as a gift.

So this is for you my love, thank you for being such a wonderful person, friend, writer, sounding board, and fellow fan girl. You are way too awesome and I am so lucky to have you in my corner. You never fail to put a smile on my face, thanks for being my better half in this fandom world :)

As for the piece itself, I HIGHLY suggest going back to re-read chapters 1 and 2 of this fic since this is sort of a missing scenes/outtakes kind of deal that explores more of this universe. Enjoy & HAPPY BIRTHDAY COURT ILY!

Freshman Year

My first Halloween at college is turning out to be a quite the adventure.

Slowly I realize I'm pretty much turning into your average college freshman. Getting drunk on the weekends with my friends, going to parties, and basically being an idiot.

But I like it.

As long as my studies don't suffer it's nice to just let loose and have fun. Not having the constant stress to take care of my mom and sister is so nice. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling that way but it's true.

For Halloween Madge and I planned out our whole night. We got matching outfits at the local costume store—a skin tight, blue spandex dress that has a long zipper up the middle and says the word 'Police' on the chest—and bought two tickets on a party bus going to some club downtown.

We drank on the way there but when we got there we decided we weren't quite finished. We asked some guy to buy us drinks at the bar since it was an 18+ club and we didn't have the 21 & over wristband you needed to buy alcohol. But unfortunately that's when the club bouncer spotted us sipping on our martinis without the 21+ wristband and we got kicked out.

So now we are standing on the sidewalk outside the club waiting for Peeta to come pick us up.

I would be more embarrassed if I wasn't so drunk, but right now it just seems funny to me. Plus, I'm just so happy Peeta was nice enough to do this for us considering we would have had to take a 60 dollar cab ride back to campus without him. He was actually sleeping when we called him since he has a midterm tomorrow, but he assured us it was no big deal and that he would be here as soon as possible.

I'm pretending to listen to what Madge has to say while I keep an eye out for Peeta's car. I've only known him for a couple months now, but I know he is the first guy I've ever really, truly liked. He's the first guy I've felt like a silly, heartsick girl around. He's the first guy who has given me butterflies.

I'm giddy and smiling and completely infatuated when I'm around him. He's kind and sweet and so easy to talk to.

It also doesn't hurt that he is so damn hot.

I'm so smitten it's ridiculous.

I can't walk anywhere on campus without thinking I see the back of his blonde head. I can't go out to a party without constantly looking around for him. The fact that he's made it clear that he likes me, but that we can't do anything because of his friendship with Gale just makes me want him more.

Finally he pulls up to the curb and Madge purposefully slides into the backseat, leaving the front seat open for me while shooting me a wink and a grin.

"Thank you so much!" Madge gushes when we get settled and Peeta gets back on the road.

"Not a problem," he assures us while trying to stifle a yawn. "Couldn't pass up the chance to play knight in shining armor to you two lovely ladies."

"We would have called Gale, but he's back home this weekend obviously," Madge explains. "Which means that we like you best out of all his roommates," she adds with a laugh.

"I'm flattered," he chuckles.

"So you just can't stay out of trouble can you, Everdeen?" He asks after a moment, glancing over at me in the passenger seat with a crooked smile.

I blush and bite back a smile, looking down at my lap. "It's not our fault! They shouldn't have a bar at an 18+ club if they don't want us to drink," I explain, pretending to be indignant about the whole thing.

He laughs in response and we drive a while in silence before he speaks up again. "Those are uh...some outfits you girls got on."

This time my whole face heats and I look out the window quickly to hide my blush. I picked this outfit hoping Peeta would get to see me in it, I'm not going to lie.

"I know, right?" Madge chirps in like the perfect best friend. "God you should have seen how many guys were checking Katniss out."

"Hmm," Peeta makes a noise of acknowledgment, but doesn't say anything. When I turn to look at him I see his grip on the steering wheel has tightened and he is clenching his jaw, a sudden steely look on his face.

"Yeah right, they couldn't stop staring at Ms. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, Big Boobs over there," I reply, gesturing to Madge who rolls her eyes and laughs.

Finally, we pull up to our dorm at campus and Madge is out of the car so fast I just barely make out her thanking Peeta and explaining that she has to use the bathroom before she bursts.

When she's gone I sit in the front seat of Peeta's car wanting to make this moment last as long as possible. We laugh at the sight of Madge sprinting across the quad in her scandalous blue police costume towards our dorm.

"Thanks again for picking us up."

"Anytime," Peeta replies putting the car in park and turning the engine off. I take a deep breath, preparing myself for what could happen sitting here alone in the car with him.

I realize that my buzz has slowly worn off and as I stare down at the ridiculous outfit I'm wearing a deep sense of embarrassment overcomes me. I rest my head in my hands and shake my head, laughing silently.

"God, what was I thinking wearing this tonight? I look like a hooker," I joke.

"You definitely do not look like a hooker," Peeta replies.

"I had to do like 2 shots before I could even put it on I was embarrassed just looking at it."

"Hmm...you doing shots, getting dressed...presumably Madge was there, maybe you guys had a pillow fight...not a bad image I got to tell you."

I burst out laughing and playfully smack him on the chest.

"There wasn't a whole lot to the getting dressed part though," I say, letting my hand go to the zipper that starts right at my cleavage, teasingly inching it down just a bit.

His face goes slack as he eyes my breasts, his breathing becoming labored.

"Oh God," he mumbles, tearing his eyes away. "You look so damn good. Like all the time. It should be a crime." He laughs and runs a hand through his hair. "Officer Everdeen you should consider putting yourself in custody."

His words send a pleasant thrill through me, but I also frown when I consider them further. He always does this. He is always flirting with me, saying things that make me think that something could happen between us.

He must see my face fall as I think about this because his face gets serious too and he looks away.

"I want you Peeta," I tell him bluntly. "But if nothing is going to happen between us don't say things like that and make it that much harder."

He takes a deep breath and doesn't say anything for a long moment.

Finally, he turns back to me with an apologetic look. "You're right, I'm sorry. It's getting late and I got to be up early tomorrow."

I wince as I realize he's practically dismissed me from his car. I nod my head dumbly, thank him for the ride and get out of the car.

"Katniss!" He calls out when I'm a few steps away, already walking back to my dorm. "Please don't think that I don't want to, because I do...I really, really do. It's just..."

He trails off and I see the unfinished thought in his eyes.

Gale.

I nod my head in understanding and turn away to leave.

I might understand it, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it.


Sophomore Year

It's Thanksgiving break and Peeta has come home with me and Gale for the long weekend.

Gale says he wanted to show him around our home town, but Peeta confessed to me that he really just wanted an excuse not to go home and see his mother.

Riding in a car with the pair of them for 5 hours was blissful torture. Any time I get to spend with Peeta makes me happy, but Gale's presence was a depressing reminder of what has been keeping us apart.

On the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving we take Peeta out to some of the dive bars around town where everyone we went to high school with congregates for the annual bar crawl.

At the end of the night we find ourselves at Abernathy's, our favorite spot, having taken over the big table in the corner, catching up with old friends. We're all a few drinks in and Gale is on stage singing karaoke. Peeta and I are laughing so hard he's crying and my stomach hurts.

When the song ends Gale stumbles back to our table. "You're up, Catnip," he slurs.

"No way!" I protest.

The table cheers their support for the idea.

"Come on Katniss, grace us with that voice," Darius requests, winking at me.

"Yeah brainless, we want to hear you!" Johanna agrees.

I feel a warm hand on my leg and a raspy voice in my ear as Peeta leans over to me. "I wouldn't mind listening to Katniss Everdeen sing a little tune," he murmurs in my ear.

I feel myself flush and look down at my lap. I take a peek out of the corner of my eye to see that Gale has moved over to the bar and is ordering another round. No wonder Peeta is being extra friendly, if Gale isn't around he lets himself flirt with me shamelessly.

And I hate myself for enjoying it as much as I do.

I take a deep breath and then finish the last of my cocktail in one swig. I push Peeta on the shoulder to get him to move out of the booth, announcing that I'll do one song.

Everyone cheers for me as I make my way up to the little elevated stage and pick a song. I take a deep breath and make sure I lock eyes with Peeta before I start singing "These Arms of Mine" by Otis Redding. It's an old, soulful song and totally wrong for karaoke and this bar, but I don't care.

I look right at Peeta as I sing and I only vaguely notice that the chatter in the bar dies down a bit.

These arms of mine they are lonely

Lonely and feeling blue, these arms of mine

They are yearning, yearning from wanting you

The song ends and people start clapping really loudly. I make my way back to the table, hoping the dim lighting in the bar hides my blush.

"Katniss I think I'm in love," Darius jokes, placing a hand over his heart. "Seriously, when are you going to let me take you out to dinner sometime?" He asks and I laugh a little uncomfortably, not sure if he's just kidding anymore. He's always made flirty comments to me, but I never took him seriously. Looking at him now though it doesn't seem like it's just the alcohol speaking.

Before I have to answer, Peeta speaks up. "Sorry, Darius, but Katniss is going to go out with me before anyone else. She's already told me so."

My stomach flips. He says it in a joking manner where it can just be played off as simple teasing and banter between boys. But the look he shoots me is smoldering and intense and my chest aches because I wish he wasn't joking more than anything.

Before anyone can say or do anything else Gale returns to the table with another pitcher of beer and takes the seat I had been sitting in next to Peeta. I flop down next to Johanna and try not to think about that little exchange.

A little while later in the middle of a loud conversation at the table Peeta's cell phone goes off and when he looks at it he frowns and then gets up. I'm the only one who really notices him leaving and my eyes follow him as he moves to the back door of the bar and steps outside to take the call.

I frown, wondering who would be calling him at this hour and who would be so important that he'd leave his friends to talk to.

I try and play it cool but when 5, 10, 15 minutes go by and he still hasn't come back I start to get worried. I slip away from the group practically unnoticed and make my way to the back door to step outside.

"Yeah, well I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment."

Peeta's voice freezes me in my tracks as I close the back door quietly behind me. We're out in small courtyard behind the bar and he's pacing back and forth, still on his cell phone. He looks up and meets my eyes and instead of looking mad or annoyed that I've come out here and eavesdropped on his call, he gives me a sad smile and shrugs his shoulders helplessly.

I fold my arms across my chest and lean back against the wall, waiting until his call is over.

"Well, it's been great talking to you too, mom," he says, running his hand through his hair exasperatedly. "Listen I got to go, I'll call you when I'm back at school."

He hangs up the phone and gives a small, pained sort of laugh.

"You okay?" I ask quietly.

"Fine...just, my mother..." he says evasively, waving it off.

I frown taking a step closer to him until we're inches away from each other. "You don't have to do that you know. You don't have to pretend like it doesn't bother you. You can talk to me about it. I want to listen."

He takes a deep breath and looks at me like he's seeing me for the first time. "Sorry, you're right. I'm just so used to playing it off. I guess it's not the coolest thing when a guy my age complains about how mean their own mother is to them."

"That's awful," I say, hating the fact that anyone, let alone his own mother, could treat Peeta so poorly.

He sighs and shakes his head, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "It's just...it sucks when she's constantly reminding me how nothing I ever do is good enough."

"You're the best person I know Peeta," I tell him honestly. "I don't know how anyone could look at you and not see that."

He looks at me for a long moment and my heart stutters at the intensity in his eyes. And then he puts his arms around me and I melt into him, loving the feel of his body against mine.

I love that my head fits perfectly in the space above his chest and under his shoulder. I love that he holds his arms together at my waist so I'm effectively locked in his embrace. I love that his face is buried in my hair and I can sense him inhaling the smell of my shampoo.

I run my hands up and down the hard muscles of his back, just wanting to touch him.

"Katniss..." he murmurs, dropping a hand down to my behind and squeezing it gently.

I moan and instantly feel the wetness pool between my legs. My clit throbs in response as he moves his head to the crook of my neck and starts planting kisses against my skin.

Although it's not where I want him to kiss me, it feels like heaven to finally have his lips on me. I hold him tighter and relish this rare moment where he's vulnerable and drunk and not playing the Saint Peeta role.

"Peeta," I whimper, moving my hips in a circular motion to show him how needy I am for his touch.

His lips move up my neck until he is gently biting down on my ear lobe with his teeth.

"Fuck," I groan, pulling him to me more urgently. I need him. I need him between my legs. I need him to just kiss me and tell me he loves me, because I'm certain I've fallen in love with him.

"God I want to kiss you," he says in a breathy moan, and I squeeze my eyes shut. I am so wet and ready for him, but my heart responds with a pang at those words because it just reminds me that he won't actually do it.

He'll just torture me by talking about how he wants to.

"Kiss me then...please," I practically beg him, letting my lips trail across the defined line of his jaw. I feel him suck in a breath and when I press into him I feel his hardness against my lower abdomen.

He pulls back and looks at me and I know he's going to do it. He's leaning in towards me when the back door of the bar opens and some random drunk guy apologizes for interrupting us and then asks if we have a lighter.

I'm so mad I could scream, but Peeta looks relieved if anything. He tells the guy we can't help him out with a lighter and then holds the door open for me as we make our way back inside to our group at the table.

The rest of the weekend at home Peeta makes sure not to be too flirty towards me.

And I just have to grin and bear it.


Junior Year

My head hurts.

I've been crying for the past several hours. My eyes are red and my throat is raw and the god damn past month has just completely sucked.

Things have been awkward between me and Peeta since Gale's work party where we got into a fight. Well, it wasn't really a fight as it was me yelling at him and expressing my frustration with him about the way things are between us, the way he has pushed me away all this time.

We've barely talked since and it did nothing to help my mood with the anniversary of my father's death approaching.

The anniversary that is today and has hit me harder than usual. I guess because today is 10 years since my father passed away and to think that he's been gone for that long is too much. I miss him so much. I remember him teaching me how to swim and how to shoot a bow like it was just yesterday.

I'm angry and sad and don't understand how it can still hurt this much after all this time. To make matters worse, Prim and I got into an argument last night because I told her I can't come home this weekend because of school. She accused me of just not wanting to deal with her and mom and the anniversary of dad's death and I got pissed because she's right.

I've been facing it since I was 11 years old though and I decided I deserve a break from it all for once. I deserve to be able to just hide from the pain and be weak and not have to be strong for everyone else.

I'm flipping through the channels on TV mindlessly, debating whether to go get a glass of water to soothe my aching throat, when there's a knock at my door.

I open the door to find Peeta standing there holding a brown paper bag.

"Umm..uh hi," I mumble, suddenly very aware of how awful I look. I'm in my most unflattering pajamas, my hair hasn't been washed or combed in days, and I'm sure my face is blotchy and bloated from all the crying.

You would never know it though the way Peeta is looking at me.

He grins and I ask, "What are you doing here?"

"I have treats," he laughs holding up the bag in his hands. "Can I come in?"

"Sure," I respond, opening the door wider to let him in.

"I got your favorite soup and sandwich combo from Sae's Deli. I have movies, I have popcorn, and I have candy," he explains happily, unloading the bag on my dining table.

I shake my head to clear it, confused for a moment as to what's going on here. "Peeta..." I begin carefully, "didn't you have plans tonight? Madge mentioned some alumni function you and Gale were going to."

"Yeah, well I blew it off," he says with a shrug. "I didn't even really want to go and I'd much rather be here with you." He takes a deep breath before he turns to face me more fully and continues. "I've missed you...and I know things have been kinda weird between us lately and I hate it. I hate not talking to you. I can't just not have you in my life Katniss."

The lump in my throat comes on fast and I have to quickly blink back tears. I'm suddenly so overwhelmed at the idea of Peeta showing up here tonight when I need him the most, telling me he misses me as much as I miss him.

I don't say anything. I just take a step forward and wrap my arms around him.

He holds me close and for once I'm not worried about whether or not things will go further between us. In this moment I'm just so grateful that he's here, that he's my friend, that he cares about me.

"Thank you," I whisper against his chest that is now wet from my tears.

He smiles at me, kisses my forehead and then proceeds to lay out the food he brought.

We eat and talk and laugh. We watch Old School and then surf the channels while I make us ice cream sundaes. We essentially have the best night I've had in a long time and it's such a far cry from how I felt earlier today when it is all said and done that it's hard to believe how miserable I was early.

"It's been 10 years since my dad died today," I blurt out during a moment of silence, the words leaving me on their own volition.

Peeta looks over at me and doesn't say anything for a while. Then he pulls me into his arms and I take a deep, shuddering breath as the tears threaten to return.

"I'm sorry," he says, kissing the top of my head. "I'm so sorry, Katniss."

"You made it hurt less just by being here," I tell him, my cheeks wet now.

And for the rest of the night we don't say much, but there's not much that needs to be said.

He's here.

That's all that matters.


Senior Year

I have been kidding myself.

For a while I almost had myself convinced that I was over the whole idea of Peeta and I. I tried to make myself realize that we were never going to happen and that I should just accept it and move on. I should just be grateful to have him in my life and be his friend. I should try dating other guys and I should hope he finds someone who makes him happy.

I have even been keeping my distance a little bit as of late, knowing that being around him just makes it that much harder. Being around him is just a constant reminder of what I can't have.

And for a while I thought I was okay. I thought I had been doing fairly good job of acting like not being with him doesn't hurt.

But clearly I was wrong.

The boys are having a fairly large get together for Gale's birthday at their apartment and there are a good more amount of people here than their normal weekend party. So much that I don't recognize almost half of them and I have to squeeze by people to get a drink in the kitchen and then maneuver my way back to the living room.

Somehow I get stuck talking to their other roommate Cato who is nice enough but is just dumb as a rock. He's actually telling me about how wasted he got last night and it feels like I've been stuck here listening to him for 20 minutes, nodding my head and sipping my drink.

But then across the room and through the crowd of people, I spot something that makes my stomach twist uncomfortably.

Peeta is talking to a tall, gorgeous blonde. He's laughing loudly and leaning into her.

I feel sick.

My heart starts pounding furiously and suddenly, out of nowhere I feel like I'm about to have a panic attack. It's sad and pathetic and completely ridiculous, but seeing him with this blonde is terrifying because it reminds me that since we're not together, and seemingly never will be, there is nothing to stop him from going out with any other woman he wants.

Since we met he hasn't been in a relationship with anyone and he hasn't even really dated all that much. It's been my one saving grace all these years that if we can't be together at least he hasn't been with anyone else.

That you know of, a nasty voice in the back of my mind reminds me.

I shake my head to clear it and then excuse myself from the one-sided conversation with Cato. I make my way through the crowd and feel someone grab my arm.

I look up and see Gale frowning down at me in concern. "You okay, Catnip?"

I must look like I've just seen a ghost or something so I try and snap myself out of it and offer him a weak smile. "What? Oh yeah. I just had to escape from that conversation with Cato," I offer with a weak laugh. "He was recounting how many jello shots he did last night."

Gale laughs and seems to accept this excuse for my current state. I quickly glance back over in Peeta's direction and catch him still talking to the blonde. She's reaching out and touching his bicep and laughing at something he's just said.

I want to claw her eyes out.

"You met Glimmer yet?"

I look back to Gale and he must see the confusion on my face so he points across the room at the blonde Peeta is talking to. "I work with her. She's hot and single so I told Peeta I'd invite her tonight," he laughs. "That dude needs to get laid. He hasn't got any in a loooong time."

I take several deep breaths to try and calm down, wanting nothing more to scream at Gale. I want to slap him and punch him and cry until he's feeling half as hurt and angry as I feel in this moment.

But instead I force a smile at him and nod weakly, excusing myself from the conversation.

I move to a specific part of the living room where I'm hidden from view but I can still discreetly watch Peeta and the blonde slut. I sip my drink slowly and realize not only am I complete stalker freak, but I have never even been close to being over Peeta.

I have been in love with him for a while now.

Finally, when the pair of them separate for a moment, Peeta going to refill their drinks, I make my move. Fueled by the alcohol and the incoherent rage flowing through me at the thought of Peeta with this blonde, I slowly approach her when she's alone.

I smile sweetly and introduce myself and make small talk. I ask her about working with Gale and nod my head politely and pretend to be interested in what she has to say.

"Sooo...a little birdie told me they're trying to set you up with Peeta?" I smile, like the idea doesn't make me cringe.

Glimmer laughs and licks her lips, tossing her hair back. "Yeah, I owe Gale big time for that one," she grins. "He is so fucking hot. Oh my god, I bet he's really good in bed too."

It takes everything inside me to keep the fake smile plastered on my face, but somehow I do.

"He is pretty hot," I agree. "And I actually hate to be the one to break it to you, but there's a reason he's still single."

She frowns and I continue. "He hasn't come out to a lot of people yet...especially his guy friends, but I've known him for almost 4 years so he felt comfortable telling me," I explain and gleefully watch her face fall with disappointment.

"You mean...he's gay?" She asks incredulously.

"Absolutely 100%," I lie through my teeth. "I was all excited about having a gay best friend, but he's not like that at all so we can't go shopping together or anything," I laugh.

"Well that blows," Glimmer pouts. "And he was totally flirting with me too," she whines.

"Yeah I think he tries to keep up appearances around his friends," I gesture to the room around us. "He's just not ready to come out out to everyone yet."

I console Glimmer for a few more minutes before I spot Peeta heading back in our direction. I excuse myself quickly and watch with a sick satisfaction as Glimmer coldly brushes him off and leaves him standing there alone.

I don't know what it says about me that I don't regret what I just did in the slightest.

The party dies down and later in the night only our close friends are still hanging around. Peeta doesn't seem too upset about Glimmer disappearing, but he declines a late night run for fast food when Madge insists she needs a burger and fries.

I go with them and when we get back Peeta is asleep in his room and I realize I'm way too tired and still a little drunk to be driving home. I collapse on the usual couch and Gale offers me a blanket before he and Madge disappear down the hall into his room.

I lie there alone in the dark for 10 or 15 minutes thinking about what I did tonight. I think about Peeta asleep in his bed. I think about how I made myself come last night thinking about him.

I throw the blanket off me and quietly tip toe down the the hall.

I slip into his room and shut the door behind me silently. My heart clenches in my chest when I see that he's sleeping in nothing but his boxers. I close my eyes and make another rash decision I know I won't regret.

I peel my jeans down my legs and then pull my tank top off, leaving me in nothing but my bra and panties. I grab one of Peeta's shirts that's hanging over his desk chair and throw it on before climbing into bed with him.

I slide in behind him, my chest pressing into his back and my arms wrapping around his hard, flat stomach.

He stirs and turns back to look at me, his eyes squinting through the haze of sleep.

"Katniss?" He croaks out.

"Can I sleep here?" I ask, my bare legs intertwining with his. I press my knee against his inner thigh and trail it upwards. His cock presses against me before he pulls his hips away.

"Umm...uhh...yah sure," he mumbles, still clearly half asleep.

He moves onto his back and puts an arm around my shoulder as I rest my head on his chest. The sound of his steady heart beat lulls me into a sense of peace and calm.

"That blonde you were talking to tonight was hot..." I blurt out before I can stop myself. I can't help it. I can't just pretend like it didn't kill me to see them together.

"Ehh...she wore too much makeup and was kind of fake," he explains, rubbing his hand up and down my back.

I close my eyes, loving the feel of his hands on my body.

"Besides she totally blew me off anyways," he says with a laugh and I'm so relieved to hear that he doesn't sound too upset about it.

So relieved in fact that I find myself admitting what I did. "Probably because I told her you were gay," I say bluntly, laughing to lighten the mood.

"You did what?" He asks and I can't read his tone.

I look up at him, propping my chin on his chest. I draw circles on his skin with my fingers and avoid his eyes. "I hated seeing you with her. I hated the idea of you being with her," I explain in a weak voice. When he doesn't respond, I add timidly, "I'm sorry. I had no right."

He laughs, but there is no amusement in his voice. "How do you think I felt when you dated that guy Marvel for a couple months last year?"

My heart squeezes painfully in my chest and I close my eyes. Marvel was the guy I tried to date last year to convince myself I was over Peeta. He's the only guy I've ever been in a relationship with and I lost my virginity to him. Even just thinking about it now I regret it. It wasn't even that he was a bad guy, he just wasn't Peeta. When things ended between us I was mostly upset because I knew that being with anyone other than Peeta would never work.

"So you're not mad?" I venture carefully, still not quite meeting his eyes.

He laughs and runs a hand over my hair. "Not at all. If anything I owe you. She seemed like a nightmare. Totally high maintenance and super annoying."

I laugh and knot my hand with his, bringing it to my lips to kiss his knuckles. Suddenly I'm feeling so much bolder than I ever have before. Maybe it's what he just admitted to me, that he hated seeing me with someone else too. Maybe it's that he let me into his bed half-naked and we're cuddling without reservations.

"Gale said something about you going through a dry spell," I begin carefully. "How many girls have you even been on dates with since we met?"

"Katniss..." he says in a warning tone, but I'm not about to stop now.

"You haven't been in a relationship since I've known you. How many girls have you even hooked up with? What's stopping you, Peeta?"

He exhales and I see the look of frustration on his face. Before I can do or say anything else his hand drops down my back and squeezes my behind roughly. The feel of his warm, strong hand against my lace panties makes the wetness pool between my legs at an alarming rate.

"You know what's stopping me," he says in a pained voice.

I slip my leg between his and press myself against his thigh, desperately searching for some friction for my clit. "Do you think of me when you fuck someone else?" I pant, working my hips in a circle.

"Katniss..." he tries to chide me, his hands grabbing at my hips. He only makes a half-hearted attempt to actually get me to stop though. It's at this point that I know we're both still drunk enough that this will all be a blur in the morning.

"Why are you still fighting this?" I whine desperately. "Gale doesn't even-"

But I don't get the words out because Gale's name must be like a glass of cold water to Peeta, instantly snapping him out of the lust filled haze we were just in. He grips my hips more tightly and halts my movements.

"Katniss, come on..." he says more seriously, instantly killing my libido as well.

"Fine, I'll go sleep on the couch," I grumble, moving to get up.

He holds me to him though and doesn't let me move any further.

"Uh uh no way," he shakes his head. "I need a snuggle buddy tonight. You're staying right here."

And I know that this is ultimately my complete undoing. This is why Peeta and I have been keeping up this little game for the past 4 years. The fact that one minute he can be grabbing my ass and then the next pretending like we're nothing more than really good friends who can share a bed and don't want to fuck each other's brains outs.

Peeta Mellark is no Saint. He just pretends to be.

"Fine," I huff my annoyance, but he just smiles and kisses me on the forehead.

He holds me against him and slowly we drift off to sleep. But something changes between us after that night, I can feel it. It's getting harder and harder for him to keep this up, to pretend that he can just keep going on like this.

Something has to give sooner or later.


2 1/2 years later...

When Peeta gets down on one knee in the middle of the restaurant my heart stops.

I briefly glance around and see that most of the tables nearby, including our group of friends, are staring at us in shock. The chatter of the busy restaurant has died down and even the waiters and busboys have stopped to watch this little scene unfold.

I look back down at the sight of Peeta kneeling before me.

He's grinning at me, his eyes shining with love.

"Katniss Everdeen..." he begins, reaching out to take my hand.

"Oh my god..." I mumble as my heart starts hammering away in my chest. This is really happening. He's actually doing this.

"For almost four years I told myself we couldn't be together. I convinced myself that I had to stay away." He shakes his head and laughs at the memory. "I was an idiot," he continues and I laugh but realize my cheeks are now wet with tears.

"These past couple of years have been the best of my life. Being with you has made me the happiest I have ever been. I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you," he brings my hand to his lips and kisses the back of it.

"I don't have a ring yet. All I have is my promise that I will take care of you and love you. That I will never again push you away or make you doubt that I want you every minute of every day."

At this point I have completely lost it. I'm nearly sobbing, desperately trying to keep it together. I just want him to ask the damn question already so I can say 'yes'.

He studies me for a long moment, a look in his eye that tells me he is absolutely sure about doing this.

"Will you marry me?"

"Yes."

When he rises to his feet the people around us burst into cheers and I throw my arms around him. He takes my face in both his hands and kisses me hard on the mouth.

When we break away I stay in his arms, my head buried in his chest for as long as possible, never wanting this moment to end.

The rest of the restaurant goes back to their own routine, but when we rejoin our group of friends at our table there is a lot of hugging and handshakes.

Gale and Madge, Finnick and his new girlfriend Annie, Thresh and his little sister Rue, are all equal parts stunned and overjoyed by the news. What was suppose to be a reunion dinner for the four boys who lived together in college is suddenly now also our engagement party.

I'm in a daze, floating on cloud nine, unable to wipe the stupid grin off my face. Peeta has barely taken his hands off me since I said 'yes'. Gale looks stunned, like he had no idea how serious we were all this time.

"We'll go back to our place so you two can have some privacy tonight," Madge tells me with a sly wink, grabbing Gale's hand.

My stomach does flips at the thought of 'celebrating' with Peeta tonight.

"Uh please, I don't need that mental image in my mind," Gale groans in displeasure.

"Don't worry buddy," Peeta laughs, slapping Gale on the back. "I told you. All we do is hold hands."

"Then Katniss must really enjoy holding your hand based on the noises coming from your bedroom last night," Finnick pipes in.

My face turns beet red as the table bursts into laughter. Peeta looks embarrassed, but sort of proud of himself and Gale groans in disgust again.

The restaurant is nice enough to treat our table with free desserts because of our engagement and once we pay the bill we all say our goodbyes out in the parking lot before heading home.

For a while Peeta and I don't say anything. I just hold his hand quietly as he drives and we share stupid, silly grins as the realization that we're going to get married sinks in.

I'm going to be Mrs. Peeta Mellark. I'm going to spend the rest of my life with him. I'm going to be the mother of his children.

"You getting ideas?"

Peeta's words snaps me out of my daydream and I look over to see him glancing over at me from the driver's seat.

"Maybe," I laugh.

"Because I definitely have ideas for you when we get home."

His face holds no hint of playfulness anymore and his eyes have darkened with desire. I clench my legs together to try and quell the throbbing ache.

He reaches over and slips his hand under my dress, finding the wetness that has already started to gather between my legs.

"You just can't get enough, can you?" He asks rubbing my clit quickly before pushing his finger inside me.

I whimper in response.

"Good, because I'm going to give it to you when we get home."


I am naked and tied up.

I feel like I have been on the precipice of an orgasm for hours now.

Peeta has been pleasuring me non-stop since we got back to his place and just barely made it into his room before stripping each other of our clothes.

But then he took control, tying me up and working me until I am nearly delirious with need, begging him to let me come.

Every time I get close though he pulls back or stops and lets me calm down.

He's making me wait for it.

Just like he did when we were in college.

But this time it's a good wait.

He has just pulled his head from between my legs where he was fucking me with his tongue. He started sucking on my clit but as soon as my body started to tighten he sat back on his heels.

"Fuck," I moan pulling on his dress tie that is currently binding my hands to the headboard.

"Soon..." he laughs, stroking his cock that is now rock hard and leaking from the tip.

"Let me suck you off," I whine, not able to stand not touching his dick when it's hard and ready for me.

"Later," he says, moving up my body until he is kissing me softly.

I sigh into the kiss. It's gentle and sweet and feels so good.

"I want you to come so hard," he breathes when we pull away. "I want you to fall apart."

"Peeta..." I murmur helplessly, pushing my hips towards him, begging him to touch me.

"How do you want to come baby? Do you want me to fuck you as hard as I can?"

I'm making incoherent noises at this point. Helpless. Blinded by passion.

"Yeah, I think you want me inside of you. I think you want me to punish you with my cock."

"Please!" I practically scream before he slams into me.

It's the best thing I have ever felt when my future husband penetrates me. The force of his hips pounding into me moves me further up the bed. His grunts and my gasps of pleasure and the sound of our skin slapping together fills the room.

He grips onto my hips to keep me in place and sets a relentless rhythm.

"I love you," I cry, arching my back, meeting every thrust of his hips.

He reaches up to grab my breast, squeezing it roughly before dropping his hand back down between my legs.

When he circles my clit I cry out, thrashing my head from side to side.

"You're going to make me come saying that," he grunts.

"Good," I gasp.

He reaches down and hooks my knee over the crook of his arm, changing the angle of his penetration.

"Yes!" I scream, the waves of pleasure magnifying and flooding to new parts of my body.

"Come on baby," he murmurs as he starts to drive into me with long, hard strokes.

"Peeta...I...I'm going to—"

The words die in my throat as the tidal wave crashes over me, my body flooding with pleasure so intense it leaves me breathless and shaking until I can regain my bearings.

"Fuck you're so beautiful when you come," he says through gritted teeth. His hips are snapping against me in a frenzy as he nears his release.

I'm still recovering from my own orgasm and all I can do is look up at him in wonder as he slams into me over and over again, my hands still tied up, little waves of pleasure still shooting through me.

Finally he strains against me with a shout as his cock throbs inside me, his warmth filling me up.

He collapses against me, his weight pushing the air from my lungs. With a little effort I pull my hands free of their bondage and then wrap my arms around him and hold him close, never wanting to let him go.

We are quiet for a long while, each of us catching our breath and coming down from our highs. He rolls off of me to the side and pulls me against him and in the silence around us I think about what it took for us to get to this moment.

And even though it was hard and frustrating and sometimes painful I don't think I would do it any differently.

He was worth the wait.