*Hello! I'm so, so sorry for not updating in ages, I'm so awful-.- but this is a very dramatic chapter, and I've been looking forward to describing Clove's interview look so much! I'm deviating from the book/film a little, but I think you'll enjoy it none-the-less. Here's the picture I got the idea for her eye makeup from, incase you weren't sure what I meant by 'swirly' Click Me! I hope that works! If not, just google 'swirly eye makeup' and you'll see! Thank you for reading!* *BTW, this chapter contains a scene of sexual abuse/almost rape, so not suitable for younger readers*
I awaken to the sound of Nimi bashing on my door once more, and groan, heaving myself out of bed. Then I realise. Today is interview day, the last day before the games begin, and my last chance to make an impression. My excellent training score already sets me off to a good start, now I just have to prove I have the personality and charisma to match. My ten in training was announced last night, after I went to bed, I heard Nimi, Brutus and Enobaria celebrating late, so I went to see what the fuss was about, and then they informed me of my score. I remember that my interview prep will begin in a bit, so I pull on some simple clothes, and exit my room, heading to the dining room. Cato is there ready and waiting, as well as our mentors and Nimi, and they explain the days agenda to me in detail. I'm going to spend the morning with Enobaria, figuring out how to present me in my interview, then a few hours of the afternoon with Nimi, working on my etiquette, and finally back to my stylists and Phoenix to prepare my look, ready for the interviews at 9.00pm. I scoff down a small breakfast, then Enobaria leads me to a small room.
'So Clove. How do you think you should be presented?' She asks abruptly, straight to the point.
I've been thinking about this all night, and know exactly what to say. 'Sweet, but deadly' I reply, a smirk on my face. Enobaria smiles back, obviously pleased with my answer.
'Perfect' She announces. 'Just go with whatever Caesar says, he knows what he's doing, but think about what you're saying, one slip up could lose you a lot of sponsors. And no matter what, do not mention that little romance you've got going on with Cato. Careers are NOT romantic, they're deadly.' She looks at me seriously, judging my reaction. I'm in shock, I can barely open my mouth.
'How...how did you know?' I choke out, staring at the floor.
'Please Clove, it's pretty obvious. We've known since Cato's reaction to you at the parade that he felt strongly for you, and you feel the same. But like I said, Careers aren't famous for their love stories; they're famous for their viciousness. So you can play out your little romance for now, but as soon as you enter the arena, it stops, okay? Your feelings will get you killed.'
My mouth feels dry, and I'm struggling to take in this revelation. They knew all along? My mind flies to Cato, and how he'll react to this news. 'Is Brutus telling Cato this? I rasp.
'Of course' She replies crisply. 'Now, lets continue with your preparation...'
The rest of our session flies by, me barely taking in a word Enobaria says. I'll do fine at the interviews, I know exactly how to present myself. But I'm worried about how Cato will take the news that we have to continue keeping our relationship a secret. He's not gonna like it...my thoughts are interrupted my Nimi battering on the door, coming to collect me for her etiquette lessons. Again, that rushes by, my mind still on Cato. Finally we are reunited for a brief meal before we're taken to our prep team and stylists, and I run to his side. He looks down at me, before scooping me into his big arms and hugging me tight.
'It's okay' he whispers in my ear. 'We can do this, keep a secret. It may not be what I wanted, but it's better than not having each other at all, right?'
I nuzzle into his neck, surprised by his reaction. I'd assumed he'd be a lot angrier, but I guess Brutus talked some sense into him. We eat in comfortable silence, and when we're finished, he kisses me on the cheek goodbye, then is taken off to his prep team, and I am led off to mine.
Leven, Melissa and Englesbee greet me once more, and I am swept back onto the familiar, cold, metal table. Melissa takes my hair once more, and sweeps it up into an elegant half-up, half-down style, loose waves framing my face. It's very striking, and perfectly accentuates the intricate eye makeup Englesbee has drawn on. My eyes are outlined in black, with long, swirly lines reaching from the outer corners, and little rhinestone gems sparkle in the soft light. My skin is flawless and radiant, and my lips have been carefully filled in with a shimmering, red-orange pigment. I lift my hands to examine my nails, and I smile when I see that Leven has worked her magic again. A shimmering paint is glowing on my nails, and it seem to fade from orange, to red, to pink, repeating over and over, mesmerising me. I look up to see their amused expressions, and the smile falls from my face.
'What are you laughing at?' I snap, and they look away, motioning for me to leave through the door that will lead me to Phoenix. I rise from the table, and stalk out, annoyed at their cheek. 'Stupid bimbos' I mutter, as I walk through the door to meet Phoenix. I slam the door behind me, and my stylist looks up at me, startled. But he then smiles, his eyes travelling over my slender body. I stand there uncomfortably as he rises, before he drags his eyes off me and walks over to a small compartment in the wall. He taps a touch screen panel, and the wall slides away, revealing a garment bag, presumably containing my interview dress. He slides the dress out of its bag, but keeps his back to me.
'Take off your robe, and close your eyes' He orders me, and I do so, covering my naked body self consciously as I hear his footsteps approach. I can sense his arms reaching for me, and I prepare myself to be slipped into my dress. But instead, Phoenix's arms encircle me, and pull me close, smashing his lips against mine. My eyes spring open in panic, and I desperately attempt to push him off me, but he's pushed me up against the wall now, and I can't move. I feel him groan as his hands travel lower, and I squirm, whimpering, unable to escape his strong arms. He pulls back from my mouth, and his eyes search my face, ravenous.
'Why aren't you responding?' He hisses, his eyes narrowing. 'Well!?'
I try and push him off me again, but he forces me back against the wall roughly, bashing my head against the cold metal.
'Respond!' He growls, taking my hand and placing it down there. I flinch it away, and he snarls again, grabbing my hair and forcing me to kiss him once more. He shoves his tongue between my lips, and roams around, trying to get me to kiss him back. But I keep my lips frozen in place, my arms desperately trying to break free of his grip, when suddenly he is pulled off of me. I crumple to the floor, my face to the wall, hysterical sobs erupting from my chest. I can hear Phoenix grunting in pain behind me, and I wonder who has come to my rescue. I roll over to identify my saviour, and my chest contracts a little when I see him. Cato. His fists are clenched as he stands over Phoenix's unconscious form, and I can tell that he's trembling. When he notices my eyes on him, he rushes over, scooping up my shaking body in his arms. He can tell I'm terrified, and I hear him calling for Enobaria and Nimi as I drift out of consciousness.
I awaken to Nimi's shrill voice, screeching at some medical assistant. I shake my head groggily, and look around. Cato is by my bedside, handsome in his silvery suit, and Enobaria is in a chair on the other side of the room.
'Where's Phoenix?' I whisper, frantically clutching for Cato's hand.
'Brutus and the Peacekeepers are escorting him to a cell as we speak.' He replies soothingly.
'But the interviews!' I cry, panicking, scared that I've lost my chance to impress the Capitol once and for all.
'Still another hour until we're needed, there's always a few warm up acts before the interviews, remember? He assures me, squeezing my hand. 'Do you feel up to getting into your dress now, love? He gently inquires. I nod, and he helps me get out of bed, and pulls my dress on over my head. I can see now that it's a beautiful soft orange shade, with ruffles at the bodice and a full skirt down to my knees. My prep team must of fixed my makeup whilst I was out, because I look as perfect as I did...before the incident. I guess everyone knows what happened, but is choosing not to bring it up...I decide then to forget about it. I can't afford to let anything distract me from now on, and this distraction could cost me the games if I don't focus. I slip on the matching silk heels, and Cato lends me his arm so I can steady myself. I give everyone in the room an unsteady smile, and I can see them visibly relax. We begin the process of getting me and Cato to the interview building, and all the way there I hold tight to Cato, tucking myself under his big arms in the car, never once letting go of his hand until we arrive at out destination, where I finally have to let go. We're escorted to our own private waiting room, which contains a screen so we can watch the other interviews in private. I collapse on the plush sofa, kicking off my heels so I can sit comfortably whilst I wait my turn. Cato sits beside me, his arm around my shoulders, my head on his chest. We watch for a while as Glimmer is interviewed, and I smirk at her sheer gold dress. I guess sexy was the only thing they could do with her, seeing as she has no personality or intelligence to speak of. But when Marvel begins his interview, Cato and I are called backstage, and Nimi fusses around us, her hands grooming and smoothing our hair, adjusting any tiny imperfections in our outfits. Finally Marvel exits the stage, and I hear Caesar introducing me.
'And now, from District 2, a very talented girl with a training score to match, I am proud to present to you, Clove Lozier!'
And with a final squeeze of Cato's hand, I'm shoved onto stage, where I am greeted by blinding lights, and the deafening roar of the crowd. I find my way to my seat, and the interview begins.