A/N: I just want to apologize for not updating this in a while, I've been really busy recently *slaps self on the hand for being such a lazy author* but again, thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy it, and please review, I love hearing what you think about this story! xoxo
My eyes slide open, and I'm relieved to feel Cato's huge arms still around my waist, keeping me warm and safe from the horrors that await us once we arrive in the arena. I shudder at the thought, and he stirs, causing me to still again, not wanting to disturb him from his much needed sleep. He looks so peaceful, a change from the arrogant mask he wears during his daylight hours. But as soon as we step foot in the arena, I know even that will change, and he will permanently be the brutal, vicious Cato I've known for so long. I sigh, and turn my thoughts to the day ahead. Today is our individual training sessions, the day to show the Gamemakers what we can do. I'm not worried about it, I know I'm impressive. And my skill is unexpected too, the Gamemakers will love that I'm so small yet so deadly…I'm basically guaranteed a high training score. Suddenly I feel Cato's lips on my neck, and realise he must of woken up whilst I was pondering the day's events. I roll over to see his face, and lean in to peck him on the mouth.
'Good morning handsome' I giggle, kissing him lightly on the nose.
'And to you, Princess' He whispers back, pulling me in for a quick snog.
Then he heaves himself off the bed, and cheekily winks at me before leaving for his room, to shower and change his clothes. I too pull myself out of bed, and stumble to the bathroom, enveloping myself in a whirl of lemony foam. Once I'm dry and dressed in my training uniform, I head to the dining room, where Cato, Enobaria, Brutus and Nimi are all seated, munching on the breakfast that has been laid out for us by the Avoxes. I help myself to a croissant, some strange orange scrambled eggs and juice, and lower myself onto a chair next to Enobaria, before digging into my meal. Enobaria clears her throat, and I know she is about to offer her advice on our training sessions.
'Okay. Obviously since you're from Two, you'll be sent in second, immediately after the male from 1. It's ladies first, so Clove, you'll be going in straight away, then Cato will follow once you've been dismissed. Clove, I suggest that you act all shy at first, but then shock them by whipping out your knives, which you obviously know how to use. That'll impress them, and they'll be so shocked at your deception that you'll be branded into their memories, no matter how many tributes they have to see today. Cato, they only have to look at you to know how dangerous you can be, so I don't recommend a particular strategy for you, just march in there and show them what you can do. Clear?'
We both nod, and Brutus grunts in agreement at Enobaria's speech. Nimi is positively quivering with excitement, and is continually bursting out with little phrases of encouragement, like 'Oh, you'll definitely be getting a high score!' and 'Nothing to worry about at all, my sweets, you'll do fine!'. I grimace at her over-affectionate gushing, and can see Cato pulling the same face as me, causing me to giggle inwardly. Finally Nimi announces that it's time for us to make our way to the training centre, and we head to the elevator, pressing the button that will take us back to the ground floor. Nimi totters around, seeing that our uniform is neat and our hair is perfect, and moans about how we refused to let her escort us down to the centre. Eventually the lift doors slide shut, blocking her high pitched indignant squeals, and we begin our smooth journey to the bottom of the apartment block. The doors open with a hiss again, and we step out, marching over to the sign clearly marked 'Waiting Area', and taking our seats on the cold metal benches provided for us. Cato takes my hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze, and we sit in silence, waiting for my name to be called over the robotic speakers.
'You nervous?' He asks, examining my face for signs of faltering confidence.
'Not at all' I declare, matching his gaze evenly. Truthfully, I really am not apprehensive at all. Everyone knows that the Gamemakers give the Career tributes the highest scores, and I definitely have the skill to qualify as a Career. He shrugs, and with one final squeeze, lets go of my hand, just as the speaker calls my name.
'Clove. Lozier.' The metallic voice forms my name, and I stand, the door opening for me to enter the private training room.
'Good luck!' Cato calls.
'I won't be needing that' I toss back, sending him a kiss over my shoulder. He grins, and then his face disappears from my view as the doors swing shut again.
I turn towards the Gamemakers, who are all gathered in a huge carved out section of the wall, about five metres off the ground. Their eyes follow me as I shuffle over to the section in front of them, trying to keep up the 'nervous' act Enobaria suggested for me. I anxiously call out my name, my voice turning up at the end, making it seem like a question. They nod, the confusion clear on their faces at my non-Career like attitude, and I shamble on over to the weapons provided for me. My hands grasp one of the many knives reverently, and I slot it into the belt around my waist, along with the rest, leaving two to start my routine with. I check to see if I still have their attention, and I do, so I strut to the machine which programmes which course to set the dummies on. I select the same one I beat on the first day of training, and the whirring starts up again. I pick up the two remaining knives off the table, and await the first dummy. As it shoots towards me, I let the normal me go, and evolve into my alter ego, Clove the killer. I run and leap and roll all over the place, my knives slamming into one dummy's chest, another's head, another's neck. I keep up the pace, my feet easily repeating the steps I have done many a time before, and finally my last knife slices into the dummies neck. I stand still, panting for air, gathering myself before I turn to the Gamemakers, ready for their reaction. The shock on their faces makes me want to laugh, some are even slack jawed, lost for words at my display. Finally, Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker himself, begins to hesitantly clap, and the others soon join in, the quiet clap turning into appreciative applause. Seneca nods slightly, a small smile on his face, and I bow slightly sending a cheeky wink his way. His grin spreads wider, and he lets out a quiet laugh. I take this as my cue to leave, and I saunter over to the exit, basking in the knowledge that they were definitely impressed by me.
As the double doors close behind me, I faintly hear the robotic voice announce Cato's name, and glimpse him entering the training room. I know he's going to do well no matter what, so I stroll over to the elevator, pressing the button that will take me back to our floor. As soon as the doors open, I go straight to the living room, where Nimi is waiting anxiously, Enobaria and Brutus not so much. I recline on one of the luxurious couches as they grill me on how it went, until finally they are satisfied by my answers. Eventually Cato arrives, and they begin to interrogate him too. I hear snatches of the conversation, and gather that it did indeed go as well as everyone had expected. I'm not surprised, and wait for the others to leave before rushing over to give him a hug.
'I knew you'd nail it!' I squeal into his ear.
'Well from what I hear, you didn't do too badly yourself!' He replies, kissing my forehead gently. 'Now c'mon Princess, I need to shower, and you need your beauty sleep for the interview tomorrow.'
'Hey, you think I need beauty sleep? I'm beautiful enough already, thank you very much!' I cry, faking outrage at this offence.
'Sure, sure!' He teases, before leaning in to give me a long, lingering kiss on the lips. 'You know I think you're already beautiful' he whispers, centimetres from my face.
'I guess' I say, pouting, and he laughs, before gathering me up into his capable arms and depositing me in my room, blowing me a kiss as he walks out my door.
'Goodnight, Princess!' He calls as he closes it, and it's a few moments before I hear his door clicking shut too. I hop into the shower, this time selecting strawberry, then pull on some pyjamas, sliding into bed. My eyes close immediately, and it sinks in how exhausted I am from today, so I gently drift off into nothingness once more.