School started again for me last week, so updates might be slightly farther apart. Maybe. I can never really predict these things. Also, the quote from last chapter was from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, which you should read if you haven't already read it.
This chapter takes place a week after the last one ended (again):
"Annie," my therapist, Jasmine Reynolds, says from her doorway, "you can come in now."
I stand up and follow her into the room, closing the door behind me. Her office is small but cozy. Unlike most therapists, she has adorable pictures of animals on her walls- like pictures of two kittens drinking from a faucet and a dog and an elephant who are best friends - instead of all her accomplishments. She keeps all her files locked up in an oak desk, as opposed to in a big metal filing cabinet. There's a dark gray recliner for her patients to lay on, along with a chair for herself.
I make my way over to the recliner, as usual, and start talking before Jasmine has a chance, "I know that you specialize in trauma, but can I ask you about something that has nothing to do with the fire?"
She looks confused. "Of course, Annie. What is it?"
"Okay. I really hope you won't think any less of me when I tell you this, and I don't think you will, 'cause you seem kind of laid back and hip." Which is true, she's only a few years older than me and doesn't seem to be some kind of religious nut.
"I promise not to judge you for anything you might have done," she reassures me. "This is a safe haven, Annie. You know that."
"Right," I say. "Okay. I can do this." I take a few deep breaths.
"You don't have to say anything if you're not ready. I don't want to push -"
"I started sleeping with my roommate," I blurt out. "And I know that I'm supposed to be a good, righteous Christian girl - my parents raised me that way - but I'm not married, and I'm having sex! I was a virgin, and now I'm not! My brother would kill Finnick! My dad would have a fucking heart attack if he knew! My friends would -"
"Woah, Annie, you need to calm down. First off, do you actually like your roommate romantically?" she asks me.
"Yes," I reply instantly. "Yes, I do."
"And why are you freaking out?"
"Because this isn't like me. I mean - I don't sleep with guys. Not if I'm not married to them. Much less when I'm not in an actual relationship with them!"
"So, you're just friends with benefits right now? And you're not happy with that?"
"Well - no. I guess I'm not. But Finn isn't really the kind of guy for serious relationships - or maybe he is. God, I don't know!" I put my head in my hands.
"Annie, I'm telling you this as a friend, not as a therapist. What you need to do is tell him that you need a real commitment if he wants to stay with you. Tell him you need to have a romantic relationship, and if he can't handle that, you can't see him anymore. Got it?"
I nod. "Yes."
"Good. Now, I really shouldn't be asking you this, but I will anyway: How good is he? On a scale from 1 to 10."
I chuckle slightly. "11."
My phone rings just as I walk into the bar, and I answer on the second ring. "Hello?"
"Gale, I'm freaking out." Rory gets right to the point.
I sigh. "Is this about the wedding I still don't approve of?" I ask him. "Because if it is, I am not the person to come to."
"No, it's not about that. But you have to promise not to tell anyone," he says, shakily.
"Rory, come on -"
"Gale, I'm serious." This time, I can hear the depth of the worry in his voice.
"I promise I won't tell anyone," I say. "Now, what is it?"
"I need twenty thousand dollars," he tells me.
My eyes widen as I walk into the back of the bar, so no one hears me. "What?"
"I need twenty thousand dollars," he repeats.
"Rory, I don't have that kind of money," I say.
"Gale, please. I really need it," he pleads.
"Look, I can give you three thousand. That's all I can do. I'd give you more if I could, but I don't have the money."
"They'll kill me, Gale! My blood will be on your hands!" His voice breaks on the last word.
"Damnit, Rory! What did you get yourself into?!" I whisper/yell into my phone, not wanting to be heard.
"I borrowed money from the wrong person," he replies. "Let's leave it at that."
I take a deep breath. "I'll see what I can do. Does Prim know?"
"No! She can't find out," he insists.
"Rory, she's your fiance! You'll be putting her in danger by not telling her!"
"Please, Gale. I can't. Just help me out!"
I sigh. "I'll do what I can."
I lay in my bed, waiting for Annie to get back. It's been a long day, and I need a distraction.
I hear the creak of the door opening. "Hey," Annie says.
"Hey." I stand up. "I've had a rough day. Mind distracting me?"
I kiss her before she even responds. She kisses me back, but then tenses up and pushes me away lightly. I look at her in confusion.
"Finnick," she says, "I can't keep doing this." She steps backward.
"What?" I ask. It feels like a ton of bricks are dropped on my heart. And my penis, because I can't leave that sounding so ridiculously cheesy.
"I can't do things like this without a real commitment," she clarifies.
"Like, a romantic commitment?" I ask.
She nods. "Yes. We need to be an actual couple, or I just can't keep going like we are."
My eyebrows shoot up. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," she confirms.
I grin. "Annie, that's what I've wanted for a while. I just didn't think you wanted it too."
The shock is evident on her face. "Really?"
"How could I not?" I ask. "Now, get back here, because you look gorgeous right now, and I really want to take your clothes off."
She smiles. "Sounds good to me."
Johanna's POV (noon, of the next day)
"We come bearing gifts," I announce as I walk through the door to the house. Gale comes in after me. "We have noisemakers, obnoxiously loud fans, a couple of - Finnick, Annie, I didn't realize you were here."
"What's all the stuff for?" Annie asks.
Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and I stare at her in shock. "You're kidding, right?" Gale finally asks.
"I don't know why you got them either," Finnick says.
"We got them to block out the sound of you two going at it like bunnies every night!" I inform them.
Finnick and Annie gape at me. "You can hear us?" Finnick asks just as Katniss says, "Bunnies?"
"Yes, we can hear you," I snap. "These walls are paper thin. I've gotten next to no sleep in the past week. And yes. Bunnies."
"That's why you went to the hotel a few nights ago?" Annie questions, color filling her cheeks.
"Well - yeah," Gale says. "You're really loud."
"Oh my God," Annie mutters. "This is the most embarrassing moment of my life." And she walks out of the room.