"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."-Rogers Hornsby
October 28, 2011
"You could have gotten over right there. Come on, you gotta be aggressive, man. Take off the training wheels."
Peeta Mellark just rolled his eyes at his young students' remark.
"Hey, I got a crowbar under the seat, okay? So don't make me knock your teeth out."
Jackson just laughed, leaning back against the old leather seat in the back of Peeta's run down Toyota 4-Runner. Peeta was driving four of his best English students to Snow Publishers, one of the country's most successful publishing companies, and certainly the most successful on the West Coast.
"What are you doing?" he asked the two girls sitting on either side of Jackson. "Rue, Cecelia, are you guys talking to each other on the phone?"
"We're conferencing Leevy, she's home sick. Leevy likes that song, Mr. Mellark. Can you turn it up, please?"
Peeta shook his head while turning up the volume on the radio, smiling slightly as he did so.
Once they had finally reached the parking lot of the company, everyone piled out of the SUV.
"Alright, you guys, let's be on our best behavior today, okay?"
"Come on, Mr. M! Have a little faith in us!"
Peeta smiled at Mitchell's passionate remark.
"You got it."
The little group walked up to the impossibly tall building, following Peeta inside. A receptionist at the front desk led them to the elevator and pushed the button for the 20th floor, where they were to meet with the editor that Peeta had spoken to over the phone.
He and his students were all impressed as they rode up the large elevator that carried them to the 20th floor. The glass elevator offered a fascinating view of the city around them as they skyrocketed to the top of the building.
Once they had finally reached the 20th floor, they headed back through a throng of different cubicles and offices, until they reached a door with a gold plaque on the outside that read: Katniss Everdeen: Editor In-Chief.
Peeta didn't know exactly what her title meant or where that ranked her in terms of importance in the company, but he did know that she was probably important.
"Katniss will be ready to see you shortly. Madge will be out to collect you in a few moments."
"Okay, so I asked for no ham, double turkey, but it looks like they gave me double ham. Do you want me to go back?"
Katniss Everdeen looked up to see her secretary, Madge Undersee popping the lid off of a salad container, ready to give to her boss. The office building's cafeteria was notorious for mixing up orders, and many of Snow Publishers' employees had fallen victim to the confusion.
"No, that's okay. Just toss some of it in my mouth," she joked, shuffling through the mountain of papers littering her desk.
"Okay. Oh, and I almost forgot…that teacher's here with those kids."
"What? What teacher?" Katniss asked exasperatedly.
"That teacher you talked to on the phone, about coming in, having a tour of the place…" Madge trailed off.
"Oh God, that's today?"
"Yeah, they're here."
"Oh, no," Katniss moaned, still scrambling to straighten up her desk. "Okay, uh, just pretend that you're me and take them around and…hi."
Katniss' frantic instructions were cut off by the sudden presence of a tall man surrounded by four young teenagers, all of them stepping into Katniss' office.
"Here they are. Excuse me," Madge said politely, nodding to the man before breezing out of the office.
"I'm Peeta Mellark," the man said. "We talked on the phone. Nice to meet you." He extended his hand for her to shake, and she took it, trying not to blush as she met his piercing blue eyes.
"Yes, yes, I've been waiting for you. I'm Katniss Everdeen." She looked away from Peeta, willing herself to think about something other than the attractive man in front of her.
"Can I get anyone something to drink?" she asked Peeta and his students.
"Vodka martini, straight up," said a slightly pudgy boy. "Three olives, please."
"Hey, I asked you to behave," Peeta chastised, cuffing the kid on the back of the head.
"Uh, are you allowed to hit them?" Katniss asked, trying to hold in her laughter.
"Yeah, actually. Do you wanna take a swipe at him? I'll hold him if you want," Peeta joked.
"Maybe later," she smiled.
"Uh, okay. As I said on the phone, Katniss... I teach Honors English, ninth grade. And every year I pick a few promising students to meet someone who's pursued language arts as an educational discipline and has made practical use of that education. So, thanks for having us."
"Of course," she said brightly. "Let me show you around."
Katniss took the students around the office, showing them the ins and outs of her job. All of them seemed interested, and she was appreciative that none of them were acting obnoxiously.
"All right, this is where I do most of my editing," she said as they came back to her desk. "Right now, I'm working on a new book from J.K. Rowling, but I can't really reveal any details. It's not another Harry Potter book but…it's fantastic, I can tell you that."
"Now that's the way to go!" a thin boy piped up.
"Yeah, and her fan base is still growing like crazy...this is a big deal for our company. Now, let me ask you a few crazy questions. Why do you write? Why do you love language arts? Why are you in Honors English? Are you ready to be consumed by writing? To dedicate your life to the art?"
"Oh my God…she knows my soul!" the plump boy whispered theatrically.
"Well then, welcome home, my friend. This is the ultimate haven of books. It doesn't get any better than this."
"She was a major hottie."
"Yeah, major. It was like she was…Colonel hottie."
Jackson and Mitchell's chattering elicited giggles from Rue and Cecelia.
"Yeah, she went optic for you, Mr. Mellark," Rue remarked.
"Optic?" Peeta asked, his eyebrows knitting together.
"Yeah, I saw her glance to the pants," Cecelia smiled.
"No way," he said, shaking his head. He couldn't deny that he'd thought Katniss was gorgeous, though. Her shiny dark hair, sharp grey eyes, plump pink lips, smooth olive skin…she was a major hottie.
"What do you mean?" Peeta asked, shaking his head slightly to stop the onslaught of inappropriate thoughts he was having about the woman he'd met only moments before.
"I mean she was totally-"
"No, no, not you. You. What did you mean?" he asked, cutting across Cecelia's words and pointing at Mitchell.
"Nothin', you know. Well, come on, man. You saw her." Mitchell looked a little sheepish as he spoke.
"What? Wait. Are you saying that she's out of my league?" Peeta asked incredulously.
"She is bringing some serious heat, man. I don't know if you got the bat speed." Jackson smirked.
"Oh, no, I got the bat speed. I got plenty of bat speed. I could hit her best cheese." Peeta laughed, ushering the group of kids back on the elevator and out of the office building.
"Thom, I need those customer satisfaction data reports," Katniss said as she walked by his office a couple of hours later.
"I put them on your desk, Katniss," he replied, not looking up from his computer.
"Thank you Thom. Keep me posted, okay?"
"You got it."
"You know, those kids were cute," Katniss said to Madge as she entered her office.
"The ones from earlier today."
"Oh. Yeah. They were," Madge replied halfheartedly.
"Maybe I should become a teacher or a college professor, you know? The hours would be better. You get summers free. It's so much less competitive…"
"Oh, my God, Brutus is leaving."
"What?" Katniss rushed over to Madge's computer to see what her friend was talking about.
"Brutus is leaving the company next summer."
The girls looked at the screen in astonishment. "Do you think they're gonna bring someone in from the outside?" Katniss asked.
"Maybe. I don't know." Madge said, her eyes still wide with shock. Brutus was one of Mr. Snow's favorite employees, and the fact that he was planning on leaving the corporation was huge news.
"Or...do you think they're gonna promote from within?" Katniss smiled devilishly at the thought, already plotting a clever way to rise to the top of the corporate food chain.
"I thought you were becoming a teacher," Madge said, smirking at her.
"Low blood sugar. I didn't eat yet," she replied, turning around to get back to her own work. A familiar face sitting in one of the waiting chairs outside her office door stopped her, however, and she curiously greeted him.
"Hi," Katniss said to Peeta, once again trying not to blatantly stare at the attractive schoolteacher.
"Hi. I didn't want to interrupt. It sounded like you were involved with some major corporate hoo-ha."
She smiled at his statement. "No, no it's okay, there's just a position about to open up. Things might get mildly murderous around here."
"Yeah. So, um…" Katniss hated the awkward lull the conversation had quickly fallen into, but she didn't know how to escape it.
"Why am I here? Um- I just wanted you to know that you really got through to the kids today. They're really juiced."
His easy smile and kind words were enough to make Katniss' knees weak. She hated how carefree she had suddenly become around this man, a stranger she barely knew.
"Oh, thanks. They were great."
"Well, you're welcome. Thank you, they'll be excited to hear that."
They fell into another odd silence, but thankfully Peeta broke it before it became too awkward.
"Look, Katniss, I also- I came back because I just- I wanted to ask you if I could ask you out sometime. Socially. I won't be bringing the kids."
She couldn't help but laugh at his words.
"Are you asking me out on a date?"
Peeta's cheeks turned pink. "Yes, I am. Would you go out with me?"
Katniss paused. She liked Peeta; he seemed like a nice guy and he was obviously interested in her, but she just couldn't go out with him, no matter how much she wanted to.
Come on, Everdeen, Katniss told herself. Don't ruin things with this guy. He's different.
"Peeta, I'm sorry…I'm just really swamped now with work, and now this new position…"
"It's okay," Peeta says, but it's obvious that he's still somewhat disappointed. "No worries. Thanks again for showing us around." He flashed Katniss one more of his brilliant smiles before quickly exiting her office.
Damn it, Katniss thought. What did I just do?
Hello! Thank you so much for checking out this story!
I haven't read any baseball Everlark AU stories (although there are probably some somewhere) so I thought I would try my hand at writing my own.
I'm sorry if you don't like the Giants. I hope that we can just agree to disagree and let our mutual appreciation of Everlark and the great game of baseball carry us forward. I'll keep it minimal as far as bashing other teams go, I promise.
I hope to get the next chapter out sometime very soon, hopefully before Christmas.
Thank you again, hope you enjoyed!