Author's note: This was written for Day 5 (Modern Day) of PromptsinPanem on tumblr. My tumblr name is atetheredmind, so come play!
How the hell do I draw "dubstep"? Katniss wondered, staring at the screen of her iPhone. She had decided to play a quick game of Draw Something with her sister, Prim, while she waited for class to start, but she was beginning to realize this round wasn't going to be as quick as she had originally thought.
She glanced at the clock. Professor Abernathy was 10 minutes late. Her classmates were getting just as antsy as she was, and she wondered who would be the one to ditch the first day of class and get the ball rolling. She certainly wasn't going to go first. With a sigh, she looked back down at her phone and tapped her pen against her lips.
"Hey, sorry, sorry!" Katniss' eyes darted to the doorway, widening slightly at the guy who burst into the room, dropping a stack of books and papers on the desk. He was too young to be Professor Abernathy. And too good-looking.
He ran a hand through his blonde curls, breathing heavily from his apparent sprint to the classroom. Katniss noticed that all her female classmates had straightened in their seats, their eyes riveted to the handsome man up front. He clapped his hands together, smiling brightly. "Please excuse my tardiness. Haymitch—sorry, Professor Abernathy is, um, sick, unfortunately," he said, and a few people around her snorted quietly. "Sick" was code for "too drunk/hungover to teach." She didn't know much about Professor Abernathy, but her friend Gale, who'd had a few English classes with him, said his alcoholism was pretty much an open secret around campus. But when he bothered to show up to class, he was a damn good teacher.
"My name's Peeta Mellark. You can call me Peeta, or Mellark, whatever. I'll probably answer to anything—as long as you say it nicely," he joked with a toothy smile, and all the girls sighed simultaneously. Katniss rolled her eyes as he turned around to the whiteboard to write his name. "I'm Professor Abernathy's TA. And this is—Literature and Sexuality?" He glanced at his notes. "Yeah. Literature and Sexuality. This should be fun, huh?"
Her classmates tittered with amusement, but she dropped her forehead to her hand. This was a bad idea; she knew she should have picked something else. She was a biology major who just needed one more English credit before she graduated, and Gale had highly recommended this course. But if the professor was just going to delegate the instruction to a grad student, why should she bother?
"This material looks pretty heavy," Peeta mused, flipping through the syllabus. "Why don't we get to know each other first before we get that intimate?" Katniss stifled a groan, glancing back at her phone. Ice breakers were the worst. As a bubbly blonde volunteered to start the introductions off, she went back to her game with Prim. She started and deleted, started again and deleted, then chewed on her pen cap in frustration. She was so immersed in her phone, she didn't even notice the classroom had fallen silent.
Her head jerked up. Peeta stood over her desk, his eyebrow quirked and the corner of his mouth curled in an amused smile. The class laughed, and her face flushed with embarrassment. "That is a hard word. I can see why you'd have a hard time trying to draw that," he teased, and she swiped her phone off the desk to drop it in her bag. "What's your name?"
"Katniss," she mumbled, playing with the end of her braid. Peeta just smiled at her.
"And Katniss likes to play Draw Something," he added for her, and the class laughed again. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Peeta flashed her one more grin before nodding to the guy behind her to introduce himself. She slumped in her seat, kind of hoping the ground would open up and swallow her.
When Peeta finally concluded the class, she was the first one out the door, certain she was going to be dropping the class first chance she got.
Unfortunately, Gale had convinced her to tough it out. "I'll let you look at my notes; it'll be an easy class for you," he promised, adding with a smirk, "Besides, you're too uptight. You could use a refresher course in sexuality." He just laughed when she threw a book at him.
Always early for class, Katniss slinked through the doorway but pulled up short when she saw Peeta at the whiteboard and realized she was the first one there. She let out an involuntary squeak, cursing herself mentally when he glanced over at her. He smiled warmly at her.
"Hi, Katniss," he greeted, and she smiled tightly in return, making a beeline for a seat near the back of the classroom. She pulled a notebook out of her bag and pretended to be writing something, hoping he wouldn't try to engage her in small talk. She wasn't that lucky. "I hope I didn't embarrass you too much the other day," he said.
She glanced at him, keeping her face expressionless. "You didn't embarrass me," she said evenly, looking back down at the gibberish she had scribbled in her notebook.
"Did you ever think of something to draw?" he asked, startling her.
"Huh?" she asked stupidly, and he perched on the corner of the desk.
"The game you were playing. 'Dubstep,' wasn't it?" he elaborated. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Was he mocking her? His blue eyes were clear of humor, however, and he regarded her earnestly.
"Um, no. I picked another word," she said, tapping her pen on the desk nervously. He nodded, but at that moment, a couple other students strolled into the classroom, and he turned to greet them. Soon, the desks were packed, and Katniss sighed in relief, ready to lose herself amongst the crowd of faces.
"Professor Abernathy will make an appearance one of these days," Peeta said once class had started. "But until he's feeling better, I promise you, I'm well-versed in literature. You're in good hands."
"I'd like to see what he could do with those hands," a girl beside Katniss whispered to her friend in front of her, and they giggled in hushed whispers. Sighing, Katniss scratched out the senseless words she had jotted down earlier and vowed to kill Gale later.
But she never did. Four classes in, she was actually considering sending Gale a bouquet of flowers and a thank you card; somehow, she didn't think he would appreciate the post script sentiment of "My TA is hot, and you should see the way his mouth moves when he recites poetry."
She was embarrassed by how quickly she had warmed up to Peeta—not that every other girl in the class hadn't, as well. Her first impression had been that he was an arrogant prick who thought he could charm anyone with a smile; that impression still stood, but he also had a mouth that could spin gold when he read. It didn't help that the things he read were extremely erotic. She didn't think it was her imagination that she could see every one of his female students clenching their thighs when he talked.
She found herself doing the same.
"Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th'eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time."
Katniss leaned her chin on her hand, biting on her bottom lip as she watched his mouth move.
"Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th'hill's shadow steals."
The way his lips and his tongue caressed the words...Her fingers tugged absently on her braid.
"License my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! My new found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann'd,
My Mine of precious stones, my Empirie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!"
Her eyes flitted up to his—and she startled when she found them locked on her face. She immediately dropped her gaze to her desk, mortified. Had he noticed that she'd been watching his mouth so intently? Had he been watching her the whole time? She was too embarrassed to look back up, so she scribbled some notes in her notebook and discretely glanced around the room. She knew she wasn't the only one staring at him. And, really, how weird was it to look at the teacher when he was instructing? Reassured, she looked back up and almost flung her pen across the room in shock when she realized he was still staring at her. Her cheeks flamed with heat, but she didn't look away this time, sliding her pen between her teeth to chew on it.
He didn't look away until he finished the poem and turned to the class to start the discussion.
When class ended, she dumped her books into her bag and darted out of the classroom. She swore she could feel his eyes on her all the way out the door.
Professor Abernathy finally made an appearance the following class, to most of the females' chagrin. Katniss couldn't deny her own disappointment. He was a good teacher. He was funny and insightful, but the material just wasn't as riveting when it wasn't Peeta reading it.
It was for the best, she told herself. The gorgeous, blonde TA was just too distracting, and she just wanted to get through this class and her last year of undergrad with little fuss.
A couple weeks later, Katniss strolled into the classroom—10 minutes early, as usual—and halted in her tracks when she saw Peeta at the whiteboard, not Professor Abernathy. Her stomach twisted in a funny way. "You're back," she found herself saying, and he looked up at her.
His face seemed to light up, and he smiled. "Yeah. I hope you're not too disappointed," he said lightly, bracing his hands on the desk as he leaned against it.
Her heart was racing, and she fidgeted with the strap of her bag. "No, I mean—no, actually, I'm not. 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' doesn't really sound right coming out of Professor Abernathy's mouth," she said, and she wanted to kick herself the second the words left her mouth.
Peeta lifted his eyebrows in surprise, and he laughed. Shaking her head at herself, she headed to her spot in the back and immediately dug out her microbiology textbook to finish some homework for her lab later that day. "I'll try to do the material justice then, for your sake, Katniss," he said after she had opened her book, and she glanced at him in surprise. There was a teasing smirk on his face, but his blue eyes were startling intense. She stared at him mutely, a flush creeping up her neck, but before she could respond, a squeal resonated from the doorway.
The bubbly blonde Katniss remembered from the first day bounced into the room, clapping her hands together in excitement. "Peeta, you're back!" she exclaimed, sidling up to the desk, and he smiled at her.
"How are you doing, Daisy?" he asked politely, but she waved a hand dismissively.
"Glimmer, please," she corrected. "I prefer to go by my last name." Katniss thought that sounded even stupider than her first name. But who was she to judge? She was also named after a plant. Turning her attention back to her homework, she tried not to eavesdrop. "It's so good to have you back!" Glimmer continued, and in her peripheral Katniss saw Peeta scratch the back of his head.
"Well, I didn't want to hog all of Professor Abernathy's class time," he said modestly, and Glimmer giggled.
"Believe me, I wouldn't mind if you hogged it all," she simpered, and Katniss decided to tune out the rest of their conversation. Undergrads flirting shamelessly with TAs gave her too much secondhand embarrassment.
She deliberately ignored the jealousy roiling in the pit of her stomach.
"I'm gonna get another drink. You guys want anything?" Katniss asked Gale and Johanna as she stood up from the table. Johanna shook her head, but Gale waved his empty glass at her.
"Yuengling, please," he said, and she nodded, ducking inside. At the bar, she waited for the bartender to notice her, drumming her fingers on the mahogany impatiently.
"Are you even old enough to be drinking?"
She jumped at the voice in her ear and craned her neck around. Her eyes widened when she saw Peeta leaning against the bar beside her, a cheeky grin on his face. Her surprised melted into a frown. "Do I look that young?"
"Oh, God, that scowl," he said jokingly, holding his hands up. "I was just teasing. Please, don't scowl at me."
She rolled her eyes, the corners of her mouth threatening to curl up into a smile. She looked back at the bartender, who motioned to her that he'd be right with her.
"You here alone?" Peeta asked, moving closer to talk over the music. His arm brushed against hers, and she briefly glanced down to where they were touching.
"No, my friends are outside," she said. "I'm just getting some drinks."
He nodded, and the bartender popped over before he could respond. "What can I get you?"
"A gin and tonic and Yuengling, please," Katniss replied, and the bartender glanced at Peeta.
"Ah, PBR," he said, and the bartender turned away to get their drinks. Katniss wrinkled her nose in distaste.
"PBR? Really? Are you a hipster or just cheap?" she asked, hoping her tone sounded lighter than her words did.
But he laughed. "I don't know which one's more of an insult. But cheap, I guess," he acquiesced. "It was about all I could afford in my undergrad days. Now, I just kind of like the taste."
This time, she smiled. The bartender returned with their drinks and asked if they had tabs. Katniss opened her mouth to give him her last name, but Peeta touched her hand.
"My treat," he said, leaning closer to the bartender. "Put it all on my tab. Mellark."
The bartender turned away before she could object. Katniss raised an eyebrow at Peeta. "I thought you were cheap," she accused, and he grinned.
"Not anymore." He held up his can of PBR in cheers. "Enjoy."
"Thanks," she said uneasily, grabbing her and Gale's drinks and stepping away from the bar. But she hesitated, looking back at him. "Are you here by yourself?"
He shook his head. "No, but I might as well be." He gestured to his right to a couple who were making out furiously in the corner. "That's my friend, Finnick, and his fiancée, Annie. They've been sucking face all night. I've had to find other ways to amuse myself."
Katniss made a face. "Wow. Okay." She considered inviting him to hang out with her and her friends but thought better of it. "Well—wait right here. I just need to give my friend his beer, and I'll be right back."
Peeta looked pleasantly surprised, and he nodded. Katniss hurried outside and deposited Gale's beer in front of him. He and Johanna were leaning close together, immersed in an intimate conversation and—she was simply guessing here—heavy petting under the table. She cleared her throat, and they finally peered up at her, their eyes slightly glazed. "Hey, I ran into a—friend in the bar. I'm gonna go back inside for a bit. Is that okay?" They just nodded distractedly, and she popped back inside.
She found Peeta perched on a stool at the bar. She was so mesmerized by the way his hair glowed in the soft lighting of the bar, she nearly collided with another patron. This was a bad idea, she was sure. And yet, her feet carried her back to him. As she approached, he smiled at her and pulled out a stool for her to sit on, and she hopped up beside him. "Thanks for keeping me company," he said, and she shrugged.
"Being the third wheel is never fun." She took a sip from her drink, not sure what to talk to him about. Would it be inappropriate if she just asked him to recite some more poetry for her?
"So, you're a gin and tonic kind of girl, huh?" he asked, nodding to her drink, and she nodded. "Never could acquire a taste for gin myself."
She smirked. "No wonder, if you're dulling your taste buds with PBR."
He laughed, the sound making her heart flutter. "God, are you gonna rib me about my beer choice all night? Should I switch to Coors or something?"
She shrugged. "I guess it's a step up. Not really, though."
Shaking his head, he tipped his can up to take a gulp of his beer, and she absently played with her braid, her eyes tracing the muscles in his neck, the lines of his jaw.
"Your tattoo—what is that?" he asked suddenly, motioning to her arm, and she glanced down at her wrist.
"Oh, um, it's the DNA double helix," she said shyly, chewing on the tiny straw in her drink.
His raised his eyebrows, curiosity lighting up his eyes. "Oh, wow. That's cool." He held out his hand. "May I touch?"
She squinted at him; his words gave her pause, dragging to the forefront of her mind a snippet of an E.E. Cummings' poem they'd read in class. Was he alluding to it? "How much?" she asked softly, testing him, and his eyes snapped up to meet hers, his eyebrow twitching slightly. A slow grin spread across his face.
"A lot," he said lowly, his eyes darkening, and she had to fight back a smile. She pretended to consider it, then she held her hand out to him, palm up.
"Why not?" she said with a shrug, coyly ducking her head to take another sip of her drink.
Still grinning, Peeta clasped her wrist in his free hand and gingerly ran his thumb over the small, black ink tattoo as he examined it. She shivered at his touch, and her heart pounded in her ears. After a long, torturous moment, he finally released her wrist and peered at her face. "I really like that. So, are you a biology major? I've noticed all the science books you bring to class," he said, and she nodded, tucking some loose hair behind her ear.
Peeta opened his mouth to say something else, but her name being called across the bar interrupted him. She felt a tug on her braid, and she twisted sideways in her seat to find Gale and Johanna standing next to her. "Hey, Catnip, we're heading out. You ready to go?" Gale asked, looking at her companion for the first time. "Hey."
Nervously, Katniss glanced between the two of them and gestured to Peeta. "Gale, this is the TA for Professor Abernathy's class, P—"
"Peeta," Gale finished for her with a smile, stretching his hand out. "I know. How you doin', man?"
Peeta smiled as he shook his hand, then he shook Johanna's hand. "I'm good."
Katniss looked at Gale, confused. "How do you two know each other?"
Gale shrugged. "We took a couple of Haymitch's courses together." Of course. Gale was a poli-sci major, currently in the graduate program, but he had also minored in English. "Jo and I are leaving. Are you coming with or staying?"
"Um..." Katniss looked back at Peeta.
"I can make sure you get a ride back if you want to stay," he offered, his tone hopeful, and she was sold.
"I think I'll hang around here for a little longer," she told Gale, and he smirked at her knowingly.
"Okay," he agreed, wrapping an arm around her neck and placing a sloppy kiss on her temple. Then he whispered in her ear, "Now I know why you didn't drop the class."
Her cheeks burned, and she elbowed him in the gut. He just laughed and turned to lead Johanna away, who reached out to pinch her bottom. When she yelped in surprise, Johanna winked at her and grinned wolfishly at Peeta. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" she sing-songed as they walked away.
"Which is nothing!" Katniss snapped, rolling her eyes when Johanna yelled over her shoulder, "Exactly!" Embarrassed, Katniss laughed weakly as she turned back to Peeta, who looked amused. "Sorry about that," she said, but he waved it off.
"Not a problem. Gale's cool," he said, taking a swig of his PBR. "You two dating or...?" he asked casually, and she gave him a funny look. She thought Gale leaving with Johanna would have been obvious enough.
"No. I mean, we dated in high school, but that was ages ago. He's my best friend."
Peeta furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "High school? But isn't he—I mean, that's a bit of an age difference, isn't it?" His cheeks looked a little pink.
"He's only two years older," she said, and when he still looked confused, she continued, "I got a late start on college. Took some classes at a community college for a couple years while I worked to save money before I transferred here. I'm probably the oldest student in your class," she joked, and he smiled. "Gale did the same, actually. He had to look after his siblings after he graduated high school."
Peeta nodded thoughtfully. "Ah." Katniss downed the rest of her drink, setting the empty glass on the bar. "You want another?" he asked, and she wavered. That was her fourth drink, and her head was already feeling fuzzy; she never could handle her alcohol very well. She shrugged, anyway.
He flagged down the bartender and ordered her another gin and tonic and another PBR for himself. "So, biology, huh? What do you want to do with that?"
"Well, I hope to get into the graduate program here next year. Working on my application now," she said, smiling her thanks to the bartender when he set her drink down in front of her, and she took a sip.
"Have you taken the GRE yet?" he asked after he'd swigged his PBR, and she nodded. "I'm sure they'll accept you. You're really smart."
She rolled her eyes. "What are you basing that on? My stellar discussion skills in class?" she asked dryly, taking another sip, and he grinned.
"I know you're shy, but the essays you turn in are really good," he said, and she frowned.
"You grade those? I thought Professor Abernathy did," she said, and he looked a little embarrassed.
"Well, yeah, he does. But I still like to read students' work to get a feel for what they're thinking when I teach," he explained. For some reason, knowing he read her stuff made her feel silly.
"So, what are you going to do when you get your master's?" she asked to change the conversation, taking a large gulp of her gin and tonic. It was already almost gone.
Peeta ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "The plan is to teach high school English, I think. Maybe someday work my way up to tenure at a university," he said then he smiled conspiratorially. "I think I'll do a little writing on the side. I used to fantasize about being appointed as poet laureate for the U.S. when I was younger."
Draining the rest of her drink, she looked at him and licked the lingering drops of moisture from her lips. "A poet, huh?" She grinned at him. "You must be a cunning linguist then." She burst out laughing before the joke was even finished, and she covered her mouth to stifle her snorts, already horrified with herself. She was drunker than she realized.
But Peeta was laughing heartily too, his blue eyes sparkling with mirth and—something else that pulled her up short, and when the laughter died, he stared at her like he wanted to devour her.
"Maybe," he said flirtatiously, and he quirked an eyebrow at her. "Wanna find out?"
Her lips parted in surprise when she realized he was serious. Her pulse quickened. "Yes." Her answer was out of her mouth before she could think, and he swiveled back to the bar to catch the bartender.
"Can we get our tabs, please?"
They staggered out of the cab, a flurry of searching hands and hot mouths. She wasn't sure who initiated the kiss, but she knew she didn't want it to stop. Peeta backed her up toward her apartment building, cradling her face in his hands as his teeth scraped her lips.
Her back hit the railing of the stairwell, and she untangled herself from him to sprint up the steps to the second floor, already digging her keys out of her purse. He followed, taking the stairs two at a time. Shakily, she jammed her key into the lock and turned it, but Peeta spun her around before she could turn the door knob. Pressing her up against the door, he claimed her mouth again. Katniss fumbled for the door knob and twisted, breaking the kiss as she stumbled inside. She fisted the front of his shirt and yanked him in after her.
All the lights were off; her roommate, Madge, must have been asleep. Katniss motioned for him to be quiet as she led him to her bedroom. Once inside, he kicked the door shut quietly. Then she pushed him up against it, stretching up on her toes to nip at his lips before sliding her tongue into his mouth.
"You taste like pine trees," he murmured, sucking on her tongue, and she groaned.
"You taste like shitty beer," she whispered against his lips, and he chuckled gruffly.
"It's okay," she gasped, sliding her hands around his waist. "Your tongue is still amazing." He kissed her again, his tongue sliding against hers, but he pulled away to tug his shirt off hurriedly, and she walked backwards, pulling her own top off and plopping down on her bed. When her bra came off next, he stared at her breasts hungrily, tugging on his hair with both of his hands.
"Fuck me," he whispered, his voice strained, and he was standing before her in an instant. She unbuttoned her shorts, but he pulled them and her panties off her legs for her, pushing her farther up the bed as he crawled over her. "So, you wanted to know about me being a cunning linguist? You tell me," he said huskily. And when his head dipped between her legs, she arched off the bed. His tongue caressed her like she were a poem, like he was writing out a blank verse in a meter she couldn't recognize—but her body found the rhythm regardless, meeting him beat for beat. It wasn't long before his mouth had her singing.
Trembling and pulsing with the aftershocks of her ecstasy, she covered her face almost bashfully as he hovered over her. He chuckled as he watched her. "Is that a yes?" he asked brashly, and she dropped her hands to the bed.
"Take your pants off. Now," she demanded, made bold and needy by want and liquor. He just smirked and climbed off the bed to remove the rest of his clothing while she rolled over to search her nightstand. She nearly crowed in triumph when her hand lighted upon a condom she wasn't entirely sure would be there. Turning back to him, her breath left her in a rush as he stood naked before her. He was glorious and hard and thick.
Her teeth tugged on her bottom lip, and he kneeled on the bed, moving between her bent legs. Impulsively, she wrapped her small hand around him, eliciting a heavy groan from deep in his throat. She marveled at the weight and feel of him in her palm, rubbing her thumb in the drop of moisture that gathered on the tip. Her own body responded in kind.
Katniss impatiently ripped the foil package open and rolled the condom down over his cock, and Peeta hissed quietly, his large hands bracing himself on her knees. "That was incredibly hot," he all but growled, and she stretched out before him, spreading her legs open to accommodate him. Crawling over her, he positioned himself at her center, but he slipped his fingers between her folds first, spreading the pooling wetness around. She whimpered in anticipation.
He lowered his mouth to her stomach, his tongue licking a path up her ribcage where he pressed a kiss between her breasts. "I like your body," he murmured, his teeth scraping the swell of her right breast, and she recognized the poem immediately. "I like to feel the spine of your body and its bones..." His hand trailed over the curve of her hip and the dip of her waist until it covered her left breast. "...And the trembling firm smoothness, and which I will again," he kissed her protruding nipple, "and again," his tongue swirled over it, "and again kiss." There, he sucked it into his mouth, and she whimpered again. "I like kissing this and that of you," he continued, his voice thick, as his teeth tugged at her nipple. Pinching her other nipple between his thumb and forefinger, his hand slid down her ribs again. "I like slowly stroking the shocking fuzz of your electric fur..." His fingers danced between her thighs again, finding the bundle of nerves that ached for his touch, and she moaned as he stroked once, twice. "...and what-is-it comes over parting flesh."
His hand moved, and then he was pushing into her, stretching her fully, and they both groaned, her fingers digging into his shoulders. He set a steady pace, his thrusts bowing her back underneath him, and he dipped his head to kiss her, his tongue seeking hers, and she accepted him eagerly. "I like," he gasped, his hips meeting hers over and over as his cock slid in and out of her, "I like the thrill of—under me you—" The rest of his words died in a grunt with one particular hard thrust, and she yelped, throwing her head back.
Planting her feet on the bed, she lifted her hips to meet his in a desperate plea, lost in the push and pull of their bodies. When his fingers lighted on her center again, she knew he was close, and his hand moved deftly, pushing her over the edge before him. Her whole body quivered, and she cried out when she came, screwing her eyes shut. Peeta grabbed her hip tightly, his own hips jerking against her roughly, erratically, and he collapsed on top of her with a strained moan. She felt his cock pulsing inside of her, and, reflexively, she clenched around him. He groaned into her neck, and after a moment he lifted his head. A sheen of sweat covered his face, his blonde hair sticking to his forehead, but his eyes were bright and mischievous.
"Got anymore condoms?" he asked hoarsely, and already she felt a familiar tug at her center.
"God, I hope so."
Katniss woke with a start the next morning. Confused, she looked up to see Peeta standing over her bed, pulling his shirt back on. When he saw she was awake, he smiled. "'Morning."
Bleary-eyed, she glanced at the clock. It was only 6. "You're leaving already?" she asked, pulling the sheets up to cover her naked body.
"I didn't know if you'd want me to still be around when your roommate woke up," he whispered ruefully, and she nodded. "I, uh, put my number in your phone. In case you wanted it." When she smiled shyly, he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I'll see you?" he said questioningly, and she nodded. "Bye."
Over the next few days, Katniss debated texting Peeta, and she had typed out numerous messages, ranging from simple to sexy. But she could never hit "Send." She decided to wait to see how he acted when she saw him in class.
But he didn't teach at all the next week, and by that point she had started to second-guess their night together. When he returned the following week, she was almost too afraid to walk into the classroom, but he seemed to sense her at the doorway. Glancing at her, he smiled. "Hey." Then he went back to writing on the whiteboard.
Confused, she shuffled into the classroom haltingly. Was that it? That was all he was going to say? "Hi," she mumbled, flopping down in her seat and taking her phone out to appear like she had something to do while she waited for class to start.
Madge took a long drag from her cigarette, then blew the smoke out, flicking the ashes over the railing. "Where the hell are Gale and Jo?" she asked, and Katniss huffed, pulling her phone out. Still no text.
"I don't think they're coming. Probably too busy fucking," she replied with a shrug. Rolling her eyes, Madge smiled, but then she wrinkled her nose.
"I gotta take a piss. Hold this real quick," she said, shoving the cigarette into Katniss' hand. She darted inside the bar, nearly knocking over a guy coming out. Katniss' eyes widened when she realized that guy was Peeta. Her face immediately set into a scowl, and she craned her neck to scan her surroundings disinterestedly, as if she hadn't noticed him. But he had noticed her.
"You smoking now?" he asked good-naturedly, stopping in front of her.
"Now? How do you know I haven't always smoked?" she retorted, an edge to her voice, and he shrugged. She sighed, holding the cigarette farther away from her so the smoke wouldn't waft into her face. "I'm just holding it for a friend."
"Pft, that's the oldest excuse in the books." He held his hands up innocently, his eyes round. "Oh, no, officer, that isn't my eight ball of blow. I'm just holding it for a friend. Honest!"
Katniss pursed her lips to stifle a smile. She was supposed to be mad at him. Peeta cleared his throat when she didn't say anything, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "So, do you always come here on Thursdays?" he asked conversationally, and she raised an eyebrow.
He smiled. "Maybe. Depends on your answer."
She shifted uncomfortably, bewildered by his flirting. Hadn't he blown her off? Madge suddenly reappeared, interrupting the awkward silence. "Kat! I ran into Thom inside. Come on!" She seemed to notice Peeta for the first time, raising her eyebrows.
When Katniss didn't introduce them, Peeta took it upon himself. "Hi, I'm Peeta."
"Madge. I'm her roommate," she said, shaking his hand and shooting Katniss a questioning look. Katniss just rolled her eyes. "So, you coming inside?"
She nodded, but Peeta touched her arm lightly. "Actually, um, can I talk to you for a minute?" he asked earnestly, and she stared at him for a moment before relenting.
"Go ahead without me, Madge," she said, and Madge leaned over to peck her cheek. She started to turn away but whirled back around, snatching the cigarette from Katniss' hand. She took one last drag from it before dropping it on the ground and stamping it out with her foot. With a wave, she breezed back into the bar.
When she glanced at him, he was grinning. "Well, I guess you were telling the truth about the friend."
She shrugged. "I don't lie."
He looked contrite, and he cleared his throat again. "So, uh, I feel like I should apologize. For the night we hung out together. I guess things got weird." He laughed weakly, and she furrowed her brow. Was he apologizing for that night or for acting weird after?
"Yeah" was all she offered, looking everywhere but him. He noticed her confusion.
"Don't get me wrong. I really, really enjoyed our, uh, our time together," he said quickly, glancing around nervously. "I just feel like I probably overstepped my boundaries."
Katniss stared at him this time. "What do you mean?"
Peeta sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Well...it's not that TAs are necessarily forbidden from fraternizing with their students. It's just—relationships beyond, you know, strictly platonic ones are kind of...frowned upon."
She had never heard him sound so flustered before. Out of habit, she began playing with the end of her braid. "I see. And you didn't want to jeopardize your position with the university," she said, keeping her tone neutral.
His eyes widened slightly. "No. That's not—look, Haymitch really doesn't give a shit about rules. He wouldn't care one way or another if he found out. I wasn't really worried about that. I just meant, well, people talk, and I didn't want to put you in a position where others might think you're trying to—I dunno, influence your grades by sleeping with the TA or something." His face flushed, and he hastily added, "Not that I think that about you. I don't even do the grading. But I could understand if you feel weird about us and would just rather avoid any potential drama."
Her own cheeks felt hot, and she rubbed her forehead. "Peeta, it's just an English class to me. All I really need is a passing grade," she said, glancing around at the few people who lingered nearby. "Can we talk somewhere else?" she suggested, gesturing to the sidewalk, and when he nodded, she led him away from the outdoor patio to the side of the building where there was no foot traffic. Out of sight from passersby, she turned to him. "Look, I'm fine if you just wanted a one-night stand sort of thing. You don't have to worry about me," she asserted, hoping her voice didn't sound as shaky as she felt. "But I really couldn't give a shit what others want to say about me behind my back."
She'd dealt with her fair share of asshole high schoolers who liked to make fun of her and Prim for being poor and fatherless. She had a thick skin by this point. If some catty college students thought her a grade-seeking slut, what did she care? She knew who she was.
His brow creased with concern. "That's not what I wanted." At her inquisitive look, he elaborated, "Katniss, I like you. I mean, I really like you. Maybe you haven't noticed, but I can't keep my eyes off you when I'm teaching." She had noticed.
"But...you acted all weird in class," she said meekly, folding her arms over her stomach. He smiled.
"We were in class. And besides, I didn't even get one measly text from you," he teased, reaching out to run her braid through his fingers. She shrugged uneasily, watching his fingers travel the length of her braid. Her breath caught in her throat when his hand grazed her breast. "Guess we just misunderstood each other," he murmured as he leaned his face closer to hers, and she found her back pressed against the brick wall. "Maybe you'll understand this."
Then he was kissing her, and she returned it readily, pulling on his shoulders so his body was flush against hers. His mouth was hot, and his hands were everywhere, tugging at her blazer, sliding under her dress to cup her bottom. When she moaned, he pulled back slightly. "No shitty beer taste this time," he breathed, and she laughed airily, shaking her head. "I made sure to drink Jack and Cokes tonight."
"Good," she whispered, licking her tongue along his bottom lip, and he groaned, resting the full weight of his body against hers so she could feel the length of his arousal.
"Katniss, I have thought about you nonstop," he said into her hair. "I swear, I could still taste you, I could still smell you, wherever I was." Just listening to him talk, she could feel the slickness pooling between her thighs. His teeth nipped at her earlobe. "God, I wanna fuck you so bad."
At his words, liquid pleasure coiled in her gut, and she inhaled sharply. She kissed him, hard, and when she broke away, she murmured, "So do it."
Pulling back, he blinked. "What—right now?" he asked somewhat jokingly, but his eyes widened at the look on her face. "Really? Out here?" he repeated, his eyes darting from side to side nervously. She ducked under his arm and pulled him behind the bar into the shadows.
Spinning back to him, she kissed him again. "There's no one around," she murmured against his lips, but her heart was racing. She didn't know what had gotten into her. "You got something on you?" she asked hopefully.
He looked at her as if he still couldn't quite believe her. "Uh, yeah, yeah, I do." He yanked his wallet out of his back pocket and hastily pulled out a condom. She quirked an eyebrow, unable to resist.
"And you just carry that on you in the hopes of picking up an undergrad at a bar to fuck?"
His lip curled, but his body pinned her to the wall. "I carry it because I knew I wasn't done with you yet, Katniss," he grunted, his nose skimming her cheek, and the way he said her name made her tremble with desire.
"I think we're just getting started, Peeta," she whispered, and he groaned lightly. Katniss twisted in his arms, her breasts pressed into the wall, and she arched her back against his chest. "Hurry up," she urged, flattening her palms on the wall. Peeta groaned, sliding his hands around her ribs and pressing his body to her backside.
"You are unreal," he whispered, and she felt him undoing his pants, heard the rip of the condom package. After a moment, he pushed her dress up and slid his hand between her legs to nudge her panties aside, using his thigh to spread her legs wider. And then he was inside her, his frenzied thrusts forcing choked gasps from her throat. When his hand slipped between her thighs, she came undone, his fingers winding her tight until she snapped.
After, as he sagged against her, pinning her to the wall while panting mindless declarations of adoration in her ear, she knew she was a goner.
Poems referenced are John Donne's "To His Mistress Going to Bed," and E.E. Cummings' "May i feel said he" and "i like my body when it is with your."