A/n: Hey guys!
Hope you all had an amazing Valentine's Day! Though it's not about chocolates, flowers, gifts, etc... It's about the people you love!
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This chapter starts off in Peeta's POV, but then switches into Katniss's. (it will tell you when).
I do not own The Hunger Games.
It's been a week since I saw my mother and Taftan at the bakery, and now I stand in front of the same building. The only reason I dare step foot into there is because I need to talk to Ryan... Surprisingly, he's been giving good advice to me. He's been talking me through my feelings toward our mother, Taftan, and even Katniss. And like an older brother should, he teases me quite often when Katniss is the subject.
I walk through the bakery doors, and the chimes go off. My eyes wander around the empty space. No one is here.. Probably because the sun is out, and it's very nice for mid-February. Footsteps come from the back workroom, and when the person comes to the front counter I feel my stomach drop. It clenches, and twists painfully.
"Peeta," she says with a bored tone. Her head is held high, with her nose sticking up in the air like she's smelled something rotten.
It takes me a few moments to choke out some words, and there's just a slight waver in my voice. "Is Ryan here?" She gives a curt shake of her head, and continues to stare me down. "Oh," I shove my hands in my pocket and look down at the floor.
My whole life.. she's treated me like I don't belong, like I'm not wanted. But why? Why is it so hard to treat your own son like he's wanted?
So, I just go for it and ask her. "Why do you despise me? What have I done to make you treat me like this?"
Her stare doesn't falter, and her voice remains cold and crisp. She holds nothing back when she begins. "You ruined my life. My dreams. You are the reason for my displeasure. I could've done great things.. I could've been somebody.." Each word is a jab to my heart. "You were an accident. We didn't want you... I didn't want you. You and your pathetic hobbies. Your smile, how you're so full of life when you shouldn't be here. I hate it all. You are worthless, Peeta."
With every word she spat, my shoulders slouched more and more until I felt like I was nothing. Wordlessly, I stumble over to the door and leave the bakery. I leave everything. My family, my childhood, everything, because I will never go back there again.
I've been laying in my bed since yesterday. Blinds drawn, door closed, blankets over me. Good thing I have the week off of work. And good thing Finnick stayed at Annie's yesterday. I don't want to deal with him and his "you're better than your mom" speech.
When I blink, my eyes burn and tear up. I haven't slept since yesterday. I've just been staring at that spot on the wall for over 12 hours, with my mothers words replaying in my head.
We didn't want you. I didn't want you.
..ruined my life...
I clench my jaw and try to man up. Stop being weak, Mellark. Just get your shit together..
"What the hell?" I don't roll to face the door because I know it's Finnick. "Peeta, what the fuck is going on?"
"Nothing, Finnick." I mumble.
I hear him scoff, but then I hear a lighter set of footsteps come around the bed. I'm face to face with a crouching Annie. She gives me a sad smile.
"Peeta, it's two in the afternoon, your blinds are closed, and your room is a mess. What's wrong?" She asks softly.
I push my face into my pillow. "I said nothing."
"Think what you want to." I grumble. An idea flashes in my head.. It works for other people, so it will probably work for me. Alcohol. "I'm going to have a drink."
I push off the blanket. I'm already in my jeans from yesterday, so I just throw on a long sleeve shirt, and leave the bedroom. Annie and Finnick follow me out of the room with confused glances.
"You don't drink, Peet." Finnick states with confusion and worry.
I shrug and slip on my shoes. "Now I do."
I watch Johanna as she keeps looking over at Ryan Mellark. They keep exchanging glances, and I know by the way she's pacing, that she wants to leave.
I sigh. "Go on," I gesture to Ryan. Johanna gives me a guilty smirk. "It's dead tonight anyway."
My eyes widen with a smirk. "Never thought I'd see the day where you'd be thanking me."
She gives a dismissive wave while she walks to the door with Ryan right behind her. Before the door closes she calls out, "Don't get used to it!"
I chuckle and head to the back room where everything is. What to do... I open up the freezer, and look through it. With triumph, I spot a tub of chocolate ice cream and pull it out. I could make a milkshake... That sounds good. I look around the kitchen area and find a blender, milk, and chocolate sauce.
I blend everything together and make a huge milkshake. I pour it into a tall beer glass, grab a straw, and head back out to the pub area. Damn this is an amazing milkshake –
"Johanna, what do you drink to make your forget all your life problems?" A voice comes from the end of the counter. I look down there, and see a familiar blonde head. He lifts his head from his hands, and his eyes slightly widen. "Katniss-"
I stop listening. The guy in front of me is not that charming Peeta Mellark. The guy in front of me is a mess. He has red, bloodshot eyes, purple bags, and messy hair that sticks up in odd places. The guy in front of me looks broken.
"Uh, are you alright?" I ask.
He shrugs and pats down his hair. "Yeah. Just worthless." I don't think he really intended on saying that judging by the way his eyes widen, and the nervous cough.
I cock my head slightly, and look at him with curiosity. "What?" I ask, giving him a chance to correct his slip up if he wants.
"I dunno," he mumbles while looking down the counter, but he sneaks a look at me. I feel something in me as I see his blue eyes. They used to be so bright... from what I remember... and now they're dull and broken. "I'm worthless."
I don't think you're worthless, I feel myself wanting to say, but I don't. "Who said that?"
"Everyone." He says, "Everyone knows it."
We make eye contact, and I feel the need to know more about Peeta. I want to know him, but I don't. I don't even understand myself. If Marvel were here and saw this... he'd probably hit me. But, then again, I'd probably give it right back to him like I always do.
"I doubt that." I say seriously, and lean against the counter a few feet away from him.
It gets quiet between us, and I slowly take a sip from my milkshake. I look around the empty pub, and then his voice rings out.
"My mom," he whispers, "she said it."
My mouth falls open, and I stare at him in disbelief. His mother said that? How could you say that to your own son? I want to say something, but I don't know what. I've never been good with words. We fall into another silence, but I intend to break it.
I blurt out, "I don't think you're worthless."
Peeta looks up at me with a faint smile, but it doesn't reach his eyes. "You would if you knew me better." I shrug, and Peeta slightly chuckles. "Don't you find it funny how you know me enough to say I'm not worthless, but I don't even know your favourite colour?"
A smile creeps onto my lips. "Green. What's yours?"
"Orange," he says.
"Orange? Like neon?" I say.
"A bit more muted," he says. "More like...sunset."
I look at Peeta Mellark, and see him differently now. He is strong. Passionate. Different. Unique. What am I thinking? Katniss, stop.
"You're different." I blurt out.
Peeta smiles, and shrugs. "How so?" I lift my shoulders into a shrug, and he chuckles. My lips twitch into a small smile, but I quickly hide it when I realize what I'm doing. I can't fall for his nice guy act. He's just pretending... He'll turn out to be a complete asshole. All guys are, anyway.
"So, shouldn't you be out with your buddies, or a girlfriend? It's Saturday." I ask hoping to change the subject.
"No girls like a guy like me. My buddy is out with his girlfriend." He states simply.
Why wouldn't girls like Peeta? Probably because he's an ass. But then I think back to the day at the laundromat when that guy was being rude to Peeta. Maybe Peeta isn't rude, but just treated differently for some reason... Whatever.
"Why?" I say, referring to the bit about no girls liking him.
He rests his chin on his palm before speaking. "Well, I guess they don't have a baker and painter on their qualities of hot guys list." he shrugs, "And I don't know.. I'm kind of a loser." I raise my eyebrows at him in disbelief. "Honestly, you don't even know the half of it."
"You paint? And bake?" I ask. He so doesn't look like a painter or baker...
"Lame, right?" he says, and I go to shake my head, but the pub doors burst open. Peeta turns around, but when he sees the bronze haired guy, and girl with him, he sighs and turns back.
A flash of recognition over comes me as I remember those two. The guy with bronze hair was the other officer with Peeta from that night they showed up at Marvel's house. The girl beside him is that paramedic, I think her name was Annie.
"Peeta Mellark!" Annie says in a scolding tone. "We looked everywhere for you. You gave us a heart attack!"
Peeta rolls his eyes, and when I look back at the officer and Annie, they're both silent and staring at me with small grins.
The bronze hair guy walks over to the counter and sticks his hand out to me. "Finnick Odair. Your knight in shining armour." He says with full on cockiness and a huge charming smile that would have girls falling at his feet. Annie smacks his arm, and he looks over at her, giving a crooked smile. "Too bad I'm taken."
I raise my eyebrows at this Finnick guy. He seriously hit on me with his girlfriend right there? And she just lets him? This guy seriously has a problem.
"Sorry about Finnick. He was just joking around," Annie says, breaking through my thoughts. "that's just Finnick for you." I slowly nod, still a little skeptical. Annie then sticks out her hand. "We've met before... but, formally, I'm Annie Cresta!"
I shake her hand. "Katniss Everdeen."
"Well, I guess since we found Peeta, we can leave now." Annie says, and looks over at Finnick. He's just about to sit down, then Annie says, "Right?"
Finnick nods vigorously, and jumps up. "Good meeting you, Katniss!" They quickly leave through the door, and I tilt my head in confusion.
"Um... interesting." I say slowly.
Peeta laughs. "Yeah... You know, Finnick's not actually an ass."
"Could've fooled me." I say.
"I guess there's more than meets the eye." Peeta says quietly. I look over to him and he's staring right at me. "Like a book. You could guess what the book is about by just looking at the cover, but the pages hold the actuality of the story."
"Very profound." I say back.
Peeta clears his throat, and nervously asks, "Where did you go last week? When we were in the room upstairs."
I bite down on my lower lip and feel slightly guilty. I kinda just left him there... He zoned out, and I just left. "I don't know... It seemed like you had personal stuff going on, and that's your business. So, yeah."
He bites down on his thumb nail before shrugging his shoulders and giving me a small smile. "Fair enough." I finish off my milkshake, and head toward the doors that lead into the backroom. My palm pushes against the door- "Hey, Katniss?" Peeta calls out from his spot at the counter. I turn around, and he nervously looks at me before saying, "Uh, do you – um, you wanna hang out sometime?"
I try to keep my face impassive and I think I do. I look over him carefully before I answer. I know I'll hurt him... and I feel like I might go to hell for this – well, I kinda think that about everything, but that's just me. I'm an awful person, too. Anyway, despite Peeta's belief, I'm sure he could get any girl he wants, so he shouldn't be to upset over this.
"I- I don't think that will work." I say slowly, "I can't."
And even though I barely know Peeta Mellark, the look on his face – the immense sadness and broken hope – will always be in the back of my mind.
a/n: KATNISS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. JEEZ GIRL.
Poor Peeta, he just can't catch a break! So, I hope you all enjoyed Katniss' POV. Her POV will be rare, so expect Peeta POV next chapter!
On the bright side, at least Peeta and Katniss had a conversation! (woot woot) ... even though it didn't end with rainbows and lollipops..
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Until next update, have a good time!