"I think we're all set." I tell Gale as I stick the last of four candles in a pink cake. It's Amelia's third birthday and we're getting ready to celebrate. Just a small family celebration. Nothing too fancy but enough to make her feel special.
"Posy should be by with her in a the next half hour or so. Ma and everyone eltoo just before that." He says as he finishes hanging the last of the pink streamers.
I look around and smile. We've tried to brighten up the room and make it cheery. I charmed streamers out of Haymitch. Well, charmed him into finding a way to get them from the Capitol and smuggle them back for me. When I was a little girl, I once had a birthday party with streamers and I remember thinking it made the whole room look like a fairy tale. So, about a month ago, I decided Amelia should have the very same for her birthday this year.
Peeta helped with the cake. A vanilla flavored cake with fluffy, pink frosting and sugary sprinkles. And it smells downright heavenly! I know Amelia will love it. She loves just about anything sweet and between Peeta and Tripp, she's constantly getting spoiled with cookies and cupcakes.
Hazelle helped with the gift. I had an idea but I knew I'd need some expert help. I wanted to make her a nightgown. Actually, I wished I could have made her a dress but because of the dress code guidelines, it wasn't possible. A nightgown however was an option and the next best thing. So we got some fabric and ribbons and every night after I'd gotten Amelia to sleep, Hazelle would over and we'd spend a little time sewing one for her. I think she'll love it. It's pink. Her favorite color. And we used to the ribbons to trim the hem and put little bows on the sleeves. She's my little girly girl and I can't wait to watch her face light up when she opens it. And Hazelle loved making it for her. I think she misses Posy being so small and I know she outright adores her first grandchild. And I kind of enjoyed having the time alone with Hazelle and for her to be able to begin teaching me to sew.
Rory and Rebekah are giving her a storybook. It isn't new of course but it's full of short stories about princesses and I know she'll love it. They found it in the storage center, that's where Rory works. Someone left it when coming through processing years ago apparently and when he saw it, he got permission from his supervisor to take it for her. Rory and Rebekah have just got engaged about a month ago. They're planning to wed sometime before Christmas this year. I'm beyond thrilled for the two of them and I know Rebekah will make a stunning bride for Rory.
Posy's gift is my favorite though. She made her a rag doll. Complete with yarn hair and the cutest little dress and apron. She worked on it for nearly two months. Doing her best to make it perfect. It's touching and brings warm memories of all those years ago when I myself gave a doll to Posy. Sometimes I have a hard time believing that Posy is as old as she is now. Fifteen this year. And I couldn't possibly ask for a better Aunt for my Amelia. Posy and she are practically inseparable. I could sit and watch them together for hours. And sometimes, I do.
I don't know yet what it is that Vick's giving her. He said it was to be a surprise. My guess is it's something to do with science in some way or another. He works as a teacher now, teaching science and his passion for it really shines through. I can't wait for Amelia to be old enough to be one of his pupils.
Tripp and his wife Avonlea are joining us as well. They've been married for three years now. Avonlea is such a peach of a girl and it makes me very happy that they found each other. She came here as part of a rescue mission and it was easy to see that it was love at first sight for the two of them. She was assigned to work in the kitchen and ended up on the same shift as Tripp. Before they knew what'd hit them, they were head over heels in love. Married within a year and they have a little one on the way. Due about the same time as my next little one. Sometime in January.
Gale and I are hoping this one's a boy, that way we'll have one of each. This will be our second. One closer to having that house full of children that we always talked about. We waited a long time before getting pregnant. Our whole relationship had been a whirlwind and there was something to be said for taking our time and savoring a few years with it being just the two of us. But the minute Gale and I laid eyes on Amelia, we knew that we couldn't wait to have as many as possible. I'd heard that the love you feel for your own child is unlike that of any other comparison but I always thought that was some sort of polished up exaggeration. It isn't. Not at all.
Gale and I are just as in love as we ever were. Married nearly ten years now. He still works in the Defense Department and I stay home with Amelia. But I'll go back to work next year when she's four and starts in the preschool program. I've loved being able to spend so much time with her but I'm excited for her to go off to preschool and experience that too. We're so very, very lucky that she was born here in 13 and not in 12. Here, she'll always be safe and she'll have much more opportunity to learn and experience life than she ever would have above ground in 12.
I've learned to accept the fact that Panem isn't likely to change it's ways. Not anytime soon anyway. Snow is still the same as he always was. Manipulative and Coniving. Never up to any good. They resumed the games the year following my escape. Part of me had hoped and prayed that they'd never hold them again. But, they did and they do. Every year without fail. Senseless and brutal. There haven't been anymore arena rescues though. Not sure we'd be able to break in again anytime soon. Not with all the security measures that were added. I don't watch the reapings or the games. Gale occasionally has too because of his work but I never do. And our daughter will never have to watch them either.
My mother passed away about five years ago. She went peacefully and I know she's in a better place now. Her poor mind and body were just to ravaged by the poisons to ever recover. The doctors do tell me that she didn't appear to have been in pain in her last few years of life. She remained catatonic, never waking from what felt like a deep, deep slumber. Didn't matter though. I came to see her nearly every day. I'd sit for hours on end just talking to her, telling her about my life. Gale came too sometimes.
Cupid must have been hiding here in 13 because in addition to Rory and Tripp finding love here, so did Mabel. She met and married a wonderful man named Harlan. He works in mechanics and met her when he came to fix a sewing machine in the sewing department where she'd taken a job. Like Mabel, Harlan had married once before but sadly, his wife had passed as well. They were a good fit for one another, as if cut from the same cloth. Love is a good look on her too. I think it makes her smile in a way I'd never seen before.
I still have days where I miss my father so much it hurts. I think there will always be days like that. When that happens I try to find comfort in knowing that he loved me more than anything and that he died knowing I was safe from the clutches of President Snow. He died no longer having to worry about my future.
And I still have so much future laying before me. A future with Gale and with Amelia and my future children. And one day grandchildren, maybe even great grandchildren. When I'm old and gray and at the end of my life, I'm confident I'll be able to look back over my life and be pleased with what I've made of it. My own little happily-ever-after.
A/N: I want to thank each and everyone of you who have taken time to read my little trilogy here. And a special thanks to those of you who've taken extra time to review my work or send me private messages. You have no idea how motivating your commentary has been for me! A few of you have inquired as to if I would be writing any new stories now that this is finished so I wanted to address that. For now, this is all the fanfiction that I plan to write. The only exception would be a possible one-shot or two that I may do but no specific plans right now. My next thing will be working on my own original story over at fictionpress. It isn't started yet but is going to be a love story set in the late 1920's/early 1930's. So if you love my writing, you can always find me over at fictionpress for now!