First, I must apologize for the over six month wait for this story, I was terribly blocked and got side tracked with other fics. Thank you, to everyone who has stuck with the story and has encouraged me to pick it back up again.

I would like to that ackennedy7 for prereading and for me.

But the biggest thanks goes to Court for betaing not only this but all works, thanks for sticking with me, my friend! She wrote a lovely (and when I say lovely I mean hot) birthday gift for pookie and myself. It is called Looking to Score, on tumblr.

Small World

Chapter 8

Katniss was already half-awake when her cell phone on the night stand began to ring. Blurry-eyed she picked it up without looking at who it was.

"Hello?" she yawned.

"You're still in bed?" Madge asked disbelievingly. "Since when do you sleep past six?"

"I have the day off so I thought I'd lie in bed a while," Katniss sighed into the phone and stumbled out of bed. "I was enjoying a goodnight's sleep for once."

"Oh, did I wake you up?" her friend asked. "Or did I interrupt a Peeta dream?"

"No," she said and explained. "I was awake, well sort of. I was just lounging around trying to gather the get gumption I'll need for the day."

"Have I told you that you're crazy for having two parties in one day?" Madge said sarcastically.

"It's a cake and ice cream party this afternoon for eight little girls and a pizza party for my family tonight. It shouldn't be too bad...if I survive the princess party first."

"Who is helping today?" Madge asked, as if she didn't already know.

"Peeta. He's making Prim a surprise cake and is going to help me to decorate."

Madge giggled. "Nothing says 'love' like the willingness to deal with a bunch of screaming little girls."

"So did you call for a reason other than to harass me?"

"Yes, I did," Madge replied. "I wanted to wish Primmy a happy birthday before things got busy today."

Katniss snuck down the hallway to peek into her sister's room. Prim was still asleep. "I'll have her call you later; she's still sleep. I let her stay up and watch Narnia with Peeta and me last night."

"Wow, it sounds like he nearly lives there."

"He spends a lot of time here."

"Sounds serious," Madge said with excitement in her voice.

"I think it is."

"You think?"

"Alright, I know it is," Katniss admitted.

"I'm happy for you. I can't wait until Thanksgiving to meet him. Or re-meet him that is."

The conversation was cut short when Prim ran out of her room. Katniss wished her baby sister a happy fifth birthday and handed the phone to Prim. She and Madge spoke for a few minutes, in which time Katniss looked out the window and saw Peeta's truck pulling into the driveway.

After a quick goodbye to Madge she opened the door just in time for Peeta to walk onto the porch with a giant cake box.

"Happy Birthday, Prim!" Peeta told the little girl and led her to the kitchen where he opened the box to reveal his gift to her. It was a cake shaped like Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, complete to even with little mice made out of Hershey's kisses and almond slices. Prim threw her tiny arms around Peeta's neck and thanked him profusely.

Katniss was speechless and just looked at him with awe.

After he put Prim down, he simply shrugged, "I watch a lot of Cake Boss."

While Prim was taking in the details of the cake Katniss kissed his cheek and whispered, "You're amazing."

"Don't say that yet. We're nowhere near done. I have decorations in the truck." He carried in box after box of hand-drawn decorations, including a large cardboard castle, and party favors.

"Peeta, this is too much," Katniss told him as she went through the boxes full of foam crowns, pink toile bows, and all things covered in glitter.

"No, believe me, the look I got from that grumpy, big-haired cashier at Wal-Mart when I told her I was joining a drag ballet showwas worth it," he said with a straight face. Katniss laughed until she nearly cried.

Soon the mobile home was was impressed. If it had been left to her, she would have gotten a few balloons and threw some confetti around and would have called it "good enough."

"I feel like I'm in a princess's castle,"Prim said excitedly when it was all done. "This will be the best birthday ever!"

By one o'clock they were ready for the kiddie party. The house was filled with eight crowned, tutu-wearing, squealing little girls. Peeta dealt with it all better than Katniss did. When that obnoxious little girl, Neveah, insisted that she—and not Prim—was Cinderella for the day Peeta was able to amiably break up the tiff by suggesting that Prim be Sleeping Beauty instead because she was the best princess. Of course, that made Neveah want to be Sleeping Beauty, leaving Prim to be Cinderella just like she wanted. He is so good at this stuff!

After a couple hours and cake and ice cream the little girls left, and they had some time to get rested up before the family party later on. Prim fell asleep on the floor; Peeta picked her up and put her in her bed.

When he came back to the kitchen, Katniss was making them some tea. Peeta had gotten her into drinking green tea. "Thank you for helping today," she sincerely said. "Although, I have no clue why you volunteered to do it."

"I did it partially because I really like Prim," he said with a smile. "But mostly, I did it because I love you."

It took her a moment for the words to settle. Her mouth opened to say the words back, but they caught in her throat. So instead she wrapped her arms around him, pushed up onto her tiptoes, and pressed her lips to his. They kissed until they were breathless. "I love you, too," she panted against his lips. He gave her his million-watt smile and reignited the kiss with enthusiasm, and before she knew it she was hoisted onto the counter by her hips. Her hunger for him was awakened. It was increasingly harder to be sated with kisses and touches alone. She wanted so much more, but right now it wasn't even an option.

Peeta's phone rang. He ignored it and started to kiss down her neck, latching onto the spot that made her squirm. The phone continued to ring and then the caller left a voice mail. He reluctantly picked up his phone to check it.

"Who is it?"

"Clove," he answered with a concerned voice. "She hardly ever calls me, usually she just texts. I'm going to call her back." With a few taps of his phone he called his stepsister. "Clove, what is the matter?" Peeta asked quickly. Katniss couldn't hear the reply clearly, but the girl on the other line was upset. "Of course you're not being a bother." He gave Katniss a sad glance. "Do you want me to meet me somewhere? You need to get out of that house."

Katniss whispered, "Does she want to come here? She is more than welcome to come here for pizza with the family."

"Clove, do you want to come to Katniss's house? We're having pizza for Prim's birthday. The whole family will be here… No, you won't be a problem; their motto is the more the merrier. Katniss has a cousin that you'll think is hot," he added jokingly. Apparently she agreed because next, Peeta was giving her directions to the Everdeen home.

"She'll be here in a little while," he said in a solemn voice. "Mom and Neil are fighting even worse than usual. Thanks for offering."

"It's fine; she's your sister and is welcome anytime," she told him sincerely.

"Thanks, that really means a lot."

Prim woke up just before their guest showed up on the front porch. Clove apologized, "I'm so sorry if I'm interrupting anything, but I couldn't take it for another minute."

Peeta hugged his stepsister and welcomed her in. He and Katniss introduced the girls to one another. The second that Prim heard the word 'cheerleader' she was enamored with Clove and told her all about the pretty cake Peeta made for her.

Soon it was time to pick up the pizza, Katniss was about to get her keys but Peeta insisted on being the one to go. Clove opted to stay at the house and kept Prim occupied while Katniss set out paper plates and Solo cups for the next party. When she came back into the living room she saw that Prim was showing Clove her memory book. "Look, that is my mommy and daddy. They are in heaven."

Clove looked through the book with the little girl. Katniss inwardly cringed, knowing that the memory book was a lot for someone unfamiliar with them to take.

"Prim, can you go change your clothes and get ready for everyone?" Katniss asked her sister.

"Yeah," the little girl replied and headed towards her room. "Can I wear my purple dress?"

"It's your birthday, little duck, you can wear whatever you want," Katniss called down the hallway. She then picked up the memory book and explained, "She really likes her book."

"It's sweet," Clove assured her. "I wish that I had something like that for my mom. Maybe once I move out I'll make one. I'm sure that if I did, Dawn would throw it out. I'm not even allowed to have my mom's picture in a frame in my own room."

They were silent for a moment; Katniss had clue how to respond other than to shake her head. The comment only made her dislike Peeta's dreadful mother even more than she had.

Clove cleared her throat and said, "I'm so sorry again for your parents. I thought for some reason that your father passed a long time ago. Then I saw the date and realized that it was just last year. Do you mind if I ask what happened?"

"Um, no," Katniss replied and then took a deep breath. "It was year ago September. Some moron tried to pass a combine on that a nasty spot on Route 4…You know that hill with a the nasty curve?" Clove nodded and she continued, "Well, a black Mustang tried to pass, and my dad swerved to miss them. They grazed each other's sides and Dad ended up hitting a telephone pole…He was killed instantly."

Clove looked conflicted. "They never found the car driver?"

"No, Chaff Watson, the farmer driving the combine, got the first few letters of the tag and got a good look at the driver, but that incompetent Sherriff Cray said that nothing came of it and all but wrote it off as an unsolved accident."

"Cray is worthless," Clove agreed nothing more was said on the subject.

Soon the guests started to arrive. First were Effie and Haymitch.

"Oh, it looks so wonderful!" Effie exclaimed when she walked in and saw the pink decor.

Haymitch followed. "My God…It looks like a fairy threw up in here!"

"Haymitch, what do you expect for a little girl's birthday party?" Katniss replied and rolled her eyes.

"You didn't like this crap," he reminded her.

"Obviously, I was an exception," she admitted. "A princess party would have never been at the top of my list."

"Yeah, I can tell that the boy must have made the decorations because you never would have come up with this stuff."

"Thanks," Katniss said sarcastically.

The rest of the guests—the Hawthorne family—arrived with the addition of Johanna as Gale's date. Katniss introduced everyone to Clove and almost instantly she and Rory began talking like they were old friends. When she looked at the wall clock, Katniss realized that Peeta was been gone much longer than he ought to have been. She called and asked where he was and he said that the pizza weren't done when he got there, but he was on his way back.

When he arrived Hazelle sent the boys out to help Peeta. There was something funny going on, and everyone was acting strange. Rory and Vick brought in the pizzas, but Peeta still had not come in. Just as she was ready to go out to see what the problem was, Haymitch pulled back on her arm. "Wait a minute, sweetheart."

Peeta finally walked into the house with a box in hand. Everyone stilled and the house was quiet. "Hey, Prim, I have a surprise for you," Peeta announced. Then he added, "This is for you too Katniss."

Prim ran up to Peeta with a huge smile on her face. Katniss was far more cautious; she had an inkling about what was in the box, and it was confirmed when the she heard a little canine yelp.

"It's a puppy!" Prim squealed and took the top off the box and Peeta helped her to pull the red, brown and white fluff ball from the box. The little girl's face lit up with joy. "Katniss, it's a puppy!"

Katniss was stuck somewhere between elation and annoyance. She wanted to have been the one to pick out a puppy, and dealing with everything that went along with training and caring for it would be hard to do at this point. But it was very sweet and had to cost a pretty penny—even a mutt was expensive these days.

She cast Peeta a reprimanding look which that melted into a smile. How can I be mad at him for getting us a puppy?

"She's a Blue Heeler/ Australian Shepherd mix," he explained.

"I do the vet work for the parents," Johanna piped up. "They're both good-mannered dogs, so

the pup should have a great temperament."

"We're going to keep her right?" Prim questioned, with the blue-eyed fuzz ball in her arms.

"Of course," Katniss said. After all, how could she say 'no' to either precious face?

The evening went off without a hitch. It was the most upbeat gathering the family had shared in ages. It almost felt like the good old days.

Peeta's "I love you" was still ringing in her ears, and she hoped that no one could see the blush on her face whenever she looked at him. Her head was spinning. She couldn't believe that they admitted how they felt; it was a huge step.

Katniss liked to watch Peeta with her family. It made her heart swell with appreciation. So this is love. (She then mentally kicked herself for watching Cinderella way too many times with Prim.)

The trailer was packed, but everyone was jovial. Katniss ran into Clove while throwing out her plate.

"It's a bit cramped in here," Katniss apologized while she made room for Clove to pass by.

"No, it's great," the little brunette smiled. "I thought that families like this only existed in movies. I've rarely been to an extended family party, and when I have it's been seems to genuinely like each other. You're very lucky."

Katniss had to think about it. Despite everything that had happened, she was still blessed to still have all the loved ones that she did.

The party finally wound down, and Prim asked if she could spend the night at Aunt Hazelle and Uncle Galen's. Katniss was shocked that Prim was willing to leave the puppy, but thought it was most likely for the best. The little thing wouldn't get a moment's rest with Prim for a little while.

Katniss offered for Clove to spend the night, but she declined. Everyone finally left, and Peeta picked up the puppy and settled on the couch. She got them each a beer from the fridge and sat next to Peeta. It was nice; she'd been playing hostess all night and had not been able to spend much time with him. She picked up the snoozing pup. It yawned in her face and she crinkled her nose at the puppy breath.

"You need a name, little girl," she told the fuzz ball and cuddled it.

"Prim wanted to name it Princess," Peeta informed her. She made a pained expression. He grinned. "I thought that you wouldn't like that, so I have her talked down to Duchess or Lady."

"I could deal with Lady," Katniss shrugged.

"I thought that you were going to tell me to turn around and leave," he said sheepishly.

"Ahh, I wouldn't have done that. I kind of like having you around," she teased. He chuckled at her. She then became more serious. "You know you could spend the night if you wanted to. Prim is gone."

"If you want me to, I would be happy to stay," he said softly and kissed her cheek.

"Oh, I want you," she assured him and reached out to cup his cheek and guide his lips to hers. The kiss quickly escalated.

Lately she'd been seriously considering taking the next step in their relationship. They had been steadily working up to this point. In fact they'd talked about it at length on more than one occasion, but they agreed that the timing had to be right.

In the month since the night in the bed of her truck there had been other encounters. Stolen moments inside the cab of his truck when they said 'goodnight', on the couch while Prim was at play dates, and once some very heavy petting in the stock room of the gun store during lunch. They had gotten very adept at with each other's bodies.

Peeta gently put the pup on the ground, and he pulled her on top of him. Her legs straddled his hips and his hand slipped up her shirt, kneading her flesh. Soon her throbbing core set directly (over) his hardening cock and she began to rock, knowing how it drove him crazy.

"You keep doing that this is going to be over before things get interesting," he told her in a hoarse voice and stilled her hips. "I don't want to rush. I want to take my time tonight."

"Hey, you know we are alone," she reminded him. "We could do this in the bed if you wanted."

"I supposed we could do that," he conceded with a grin. "Why don't I take the puppy out one last time?"

"Okay," she nodded. "I'll get ready for bed."

They parted reluctantly; he went outside and headed towards her room. She made a brief break to the bathroom to quickly brush her teeth before hurrying to her room to sort through her underwear drawer, and located a pair of boy shorts and a cami. She thought about greeting him just like this, but it was more forward than she was ready to be just yet, so settled under the covers of her double bed.

They were as prepared for the next step as she could possibly be. She'd gone to her doctor weeks ago and had started taking birth control. A part of her thought that maybe it was too soon, while another insisted that they had waited too long already.

He brought out feelings in her that she never even knew existed before, and it went so much further than lust—it was love. She wanted the intimacy and passion; it was the first thing that she wanted for herself in ages.

She heard the front door and Peeta murmuring to the puppy before his heavy footfalls let her know that he was headed towards her room.

"It's getting cold out there."

"Well, it is November," Katniss teased. "You can come warm up in here with me."

"I think I might just take you up on that. Only…um, I don't have any other clothes here," he said, almost apologetically.

"You won't be needing them tonight," she said in her most seductive voice.

"What does that mean?" he questioned with a hint of suppressed optimism.

"It means that I'm ready."She pulled back the covers for him and crawled to the foot of the bed where he stood, and sat up on her knees. He touched the end of her braid and used a finger to release the elastic band and then unwove the plait until her hair fell in loose waves down her back. "I love your hair."

"I love you," she whispered and joined her lips to his. They broke apart just long enough to yank off his shirt.

While they explored each other's mouths, her hands dropped to his belt and began to unbuckle it. She popped his button, and pulled down the zipper. He let out a strangled noise when she pushed his jeans down his legs. She cupped his growing bulge through his boxer-briefs and stroked it.

Katniss knew that he was holding back, but she didn't want him too. Soon his underwear joined his pants around his ankles. She had a wicked idea and set back on her hands and knees. This would be the perfect position to give him head.

Her technique had improved greatly, but she still felt a little nervous. She steadied herself on her knees and one hand, and dipped her head down to lick the tip. He moaned approvingly and she engulfed at much of him in her mouth as she could.

"Fuck," he whispered. Encouraged, she took him a little deeper and sucked a little harder. Peeta wove his fingers in her hair and gently pushed, forcing her mouth off of him. She gave him a disappointed pout, but he grinned at the wolfishly and urged her back into to bed onto the. "Now it's your turn."

He hovered over her and slid the cami up and over her head. He took a moment to look at her. Suddenly self conscious under his gaze, she moved to cover herself. He stopped her. "Don't hide."

He dipped his mouth to her breast and ran the flat of his tongue over her dusky nipple. She mewled, begging for more. Peeta smiled against her skin before enclosing the tip in his mouth and suckling and nipping.

It felt so good, but she wanted more; her core was aching, "Please."

"Please, what?" he teased.

"Please, I want you," she sighed and then added, "I'm so wet."

His hand traversed to her damp boy shorts and petted her through them. "You are wet, but you're not ready yet."

He raised his eyebrows at her and hooked her panties with his forefingers and dragged them down her legs. Katniss knew what was coming next when he spread her thighs a little wider. He grinned at her, and spread her open with his fingertips, and bowed his head. The first pass of tongue made her keen, and soon she was moving against his face, wanting more, needing him deeper.

Soon he added his fingers, one at a time. His index finger felt good, but when his middle finger slipped in it felt incredible. He turned his palm up and worked them in and out of her. She was familiar with this sensation now; they had done this a few times before. The felling was euphoric. Peeta sucked her clit hard, and he added a third finger. It stretched her in a new way; it was a bit uncomfortable but she knew what he was doing. He was getting her ready for what was coming next. Soon awkwardness melted into pleasure and she felt tension building low in her belly. Her back bowed off the bed, and she came with cry to the ceiling.

Her body was a trembling, limp mess. She whined when Peeta rose to pull a foil packet from his pants pocket.

She smiled at him. They had already talked about using two forms birth control. She wasn't totally covered by the Pill yet and it gave her an added sense of security. "Looks like I wasn't the only one thinking about this tonight."

Peeta had a slightly guilty look on his face, "I got it out of my truck when I took the dog out. Just so you know, I wasn't planning on this. I just wanted to be ready."

"I appreciate that and thank you," she said sincerely and sat up on her elbows and watched him slip the condom on, mentally taking notes so she could do it next time.

He leaned back over her and brushed a strand of hair from face, "If you want to stop at anytime just let me know."

"I will," she nodded in agreement. "Now shut up and kiss me."

He smiled at her and captured her lips and began to ease his body weight into her. His hard cock rested between her folds, and their bodies writhed against each other. When she felt herself close to the edge again, she whispered, "Now."

Peeta reached a hand between them to guide himself in slowly watching her face for any signs of pain or discomfort. "I love you," he reminded her.

"I love you, too," she replied and fought to keep her face neutral. There was a slight pinching sensation and a somewhat uncomfortable fullness, much like his fingers, but nothing unbearable.

Finally he was sheathed in her fully, and he began to thrust. Any discomfort melted dissolved away and it began to feel truly enjoyable. Katniss hugged his body tight and wrapped her legs around him to invite him deeper. They established a rhythm.

"Faster," she breathed. He complied and drove into her faster.

"I'm so close," he said against her shoulder.

"Nearly there," she told him. He used his hands to lift her hips. The new angle did the trick, stimulating all the right places. Her body shuddered and she came around him; he followed suit with a few final uneven strokes. They laid in silence as their bodies recovered.

Peeta rolled off of her and padded to the bathroom. While he was gone, Katniss pulled the covers up. He came back with a damp cloth and offered it to her to clean up. He joined her under the blanket and held her tight. Neither one dared to talk for a little while.

"So, how was it?" Peeta finally asked.

Katniss tilted up her head to look at him, grinned and felt her face get warm. "Wonderful."

"It didn't hurt too bad?"

"It was a little uncomfortable for a minute or two, but then it got much, much better. I wasn't expecting to come that second time."

"Well, I'm just that talented," he joked, which earned him a playful slap on the arm. His tone turned more sincere. "I'm glad that it was good. I was dreading hurting you."

"It was incredible," she promised him. "Maybe we can do it again in the morning, Prim won't be back to until noon."

"Finally my morning wood will not go to waste."

Katniss rolled her eyes and smirked. "That is a terrible joke."

"It made you smile." He snuggled her a little tighter and kissed her hair. Soon the puppy was whimpering at the side of the bed. Peeta picked her up and set her at their feet; the little pup flopped.

"Don't get used to it," Katniss warned, but the fluff ball didn't respond.

Sleep began to creep in; she was so exhausted but the best way. But there was something niggling at her, she couldn't place her finger on it but he had a terrible sense foreboding.

This is all so perfect; something bad is going to happen soon. She chided herself for being such a pessimist. Instead she took comfort in the warm, strong arms that held her.

"Something on your mind?" Peeta asked.

"Nothing," she lied relaxed into him.

"I could get used to this, you in my arms, a dog at my feet. It's a nice little life."

"That it is," she agreed and drifted off into possibly the best sleep she ever had. Dreaming of Peeta's ideal of a 'nice little life'.

Thanks for reading you can find me on tumbr as IzzySamson.