"Hey Catnip!" Gale calls across the beach as he strides towards me.
"Hey Gale." I respond as he plops down beside me. "How's school going?"
"The classes are good but the assignments might just be the death of me. How is working at the bakery?" It's been a while since we've really had time to talk. I've missed my best friend. But between school and Johanna for him, and work and Peeta for me there just hasn't been time.
"It's excellent. It's good pay and not to strenuous. How goes things with Johanna?" I tilt my head in his direction and quirk an eyebrow.
A small blush creeps up his neck, "Good…really good. I really like her, and I want to ask her out but I'll admit I'm nervous." He scratches his head and looks away from me in embarrassment.
I let out a short laugh, "Gale Hawthorne is nervous? I never thought I'd see the day." I tease and playfully shove his shoulder.
"Oh quiet. How about you and baker boy?" He's trying to divert the conversation, Johanna really has gotten to him in a way I've never seen him affected before.
"His name is Peeta. And things are great." I can feel the blush on my cheeks as I mumble the words but I try desperately to cover it.
"Well well, looks like someone got Kat's tongue." He snickers.
"Gale!" I exclaim in shock.
Gale breaks into uproarious laughter. He laughs until his breath comes in gasps and he has to wipe a few tears from his eyes. "Wow Catnip, kissing baker boy already?" I slap his shoulder and he winces dramatically.
I mumble for him to shut up, if only he'd listen. "Look at that, my little Catnip is growing up so fast." He sniffs dramatically before throwing his arm around my neck, rubbing his knuckles across my scalp.
"Seriously Gale!" I yelp and he lets go, "Aren't we a bit old for noogies? Like ten years to old!"
"We're never to old for that Catnip." He deadpans and stares with a serious expression. However his eyes are alight with mirth and mischief.
"But seriously Catnip, we're best friends, I do actually want to know. How are things with Peeta? Is it serious?"
"Yeah, I think so." I proceed to tell him about last night, my admission and Peeta's. I emitted the parts about my dreams and Peeta's paintings for the time being.
"Sounds pretty serious Kat. And if the way he looks at you is any indication then I would definitely say it's serious." He throws an arm around my shoulder, a gesture of camaraderie.
"Gale." I speak up after a few moments of silence. He grunts in reply. "Something else happened with Peeta." I say hesitantly. He turns to me in curiosity. 'Do remember those dreams I told you about?"
"Ah, Catnip I thought you got over those. I told you, they were just dreams." He protests but I interrupt him.
"No Gale!" He looks a little shocked at my outburst. I continue quickly, the words rushing from my mouth. "I told Peeta about them. I've seen so many people from my nightmares Gale! Alive and real! How is that possible? I told him all about my nightmares and then he showed me something. We went back to his house and he showed me his paintings. Gale there were paintings of me from before we moved here! Paintings of me from when I was younger, and yet we only met a few months ago! That's not possible Gale! He showed me more paintings…Gale they were scenes from my nightmares. Tons of them, all of them I had seen before. There is no way that is just coincidence Gale. You can't seriously tell me that they are just dreams!"
His mouth hangs open, slightly flapping as he tries to form words. "I'm sure it's just coincidence Catnip." He glances to his wrist, "oh, geez, Kat I'm sorry. I totally forgot the time, I have a meeting with one of my professors. I need to go." With that he stands up and walks quickly away. He wasn't wearing a watch.
"Peeta!" I call through the empty bakery as I walk to the back. I push through the door to the kitchen. He's elbow deep in dough but looking concerned and curious at my sudden interruption.
"You're not working today are you?" He inquires. I shake my head and approach him. He leans forward and places a soft kiss on my lips. "Then what's wrong?" His eyebrows knit together and he surveys me. No doubt checking to see if I'm injured in any way.
"Gale was acting really weird this morning. I brought up last night and he basically told me there was not possible way it was real, that it was all coincidence. Then he looked at his wrist, said he was late for something and rushed off. He wasn't even wearing a watch. It's really suspicious right?" The words tumble out in such a rush I'm sure most of the words were mashed into one big word.
"Katniss, slow down." Peeta emphasizes, his hands still immersed in dough. So I do, I recall all the details from this mornings encounter.
"I agree. It seems like Gale is hiding something." Peeta agrees.
"He said he had a meeting with his professor, I'm going to his school." I say before exiting the bakery.
The university campus is a decent size, I head to the student common's. Thankfully I find Johanna amongst the students.
"Johanna." I call over. She turns to me.
"Hey brainless." I give her a puzzling look at the nickname but she brushes it off. "What's up?"
"Gale was acting weird this morning. I need to talk to him. Do you know where he is?"
"Yeah he was meeting with professor Abernathy." She directs me towards his office and begin my trek.
A ways down the hall I hear a door open, Gale's voice fills the hall so I duck into an alcove in the wall.
"Haymitch I'm serious. She's figuring it out, so is he. I thought Beetee said this plan would be foolproof." He hisses.
"It was supposed to be. I don't know how she's remembering Gale. I thought Beetee's device would do the trick. For now keep acting like nothing is happening. Try to push her off the scent. There is no need to worry her with the truth. See if maybe you can dissuade the boy too. It's better that they don't know." Haymitch's gruff voice replies, Gale sighs.
"I know. I know. I hate lying to her Haymitch. I hate lying to everyone. But I agree that this is best for everyone. But you might want to contact Paylor, inform her of the changes. She'd want to know." Gale huffs. They say quick goodbyes, Haymitch's office door closes again and I hear Gale's footstep retreating down the hall.
Paylor? As in president of the University? As in president Paylor from my nightmares? What the hell is going on? And Beetee too? Confusion, curiosity, and anger fill my mind. What is going on and why is Gale, Haymitch and the rest intent on keeping it from everyone? Something is not right, I'm determined to find out what it is.
Author's Note: Hey everyone. Sorry for the wait. And sorry for the short chapter. School is starting to get busy. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll try to update sooner. Review please!