Hello. :) This is the first chapter of my Clato AU. It's kind of like a taster, because I won't continue it until I've finished Careers Assemble. (But there are only two chapters to go on that.) I don't own The Hunger Games.
Cato sighed as he took huge gulps from his bottle of water. He sat down on his couch and pulled off the brown wig.
"Knock-knock!" Somebody called from behind his trailer door.
"Come in!" He called back, resting his head in his hands. He was exhausted. He had, after all, been filming for a solid six hours. It was the last day of shooting, and the crew had been going over the tape when the director had decided that Cato needed to shoot the longest seen again. It had taken three hours to get it right the first time, and it had taken them twice as long this time.
"Are you excited?" Marvel, his stylist, asked when he burst into the room followed by his manager, Finnick. Marvel was Cato's age, but Finnick was twenty five. Effie, Cato's personal assistant and Peeta, his best friend, walked in behind the other two. Cato didn't particularly like Effie, but she was his mom's friend and damn good at her job.
"No. I just want to go back to New York." Cato mumbled.
"Well, you can't. Do you know how many autograph signings I've arranged for you?" Effie asked.
"Twenty three. And I've booked you places on about six different buses. If we don't leave within the next hour we'll be thrown off schedule." Effie scowled.
"Fine, fine." Cato sighed. He pulled himself up and grabbed one of his suitcases. Peeta took the other and they started rolling them across the floor and out of the trailer.
"You're the one that wanted to go on this trip anyway. I said we could stay here and you could take another movie, but no. You wanted to 'tour the states'. It's not like you've lived here all your life or anything." Finnick said as Cato and Peeta threw the bags into the trunk of the limo that would drive them to the bus station.
"No, Finn. I've lived in New York for all my life. It's the only state I've been in, except for the one we're in now and I hate it here." Cato pulled a face. He was only touring the states to try and get inspiration for his second album. Cato had been in movies sand the occasional television show since he was fourteen. He had released his first album at sixteen. Now, he was eighteen and wanted to focus a bit more on music. Unfortunately, he had no inspiration. As a result, he had decided that a tour of the states would get his creative juices flowing.
"Whatever. And Washington isn't that bad." Finnick grumbled, climbing into the limo.
"It's boring here. I would never have come if it wasn't for the movie." Cato climbed in behind him, followed by Peeta and Marvel.
"Why do you always complain so much?" Marvel asked, pouring himself a glass of champagne.
"Because he's an ass, that's why." Peeta laughed.
"Will you get off me?"
"No, you have a reputation to live up too!"
"Exactly, so get off me!" Cato demanded. He was sat in between Effie and Marvel on the bus to California via Oregon. They were driving through Oregon farmland and Cato had been eating a sandwich. He had a mayonnaise smear on the corner of his mouth and Effie kept reaching over to try and wipe it off.
"No, we have to get this off of you!" Effie protested, reaching over again. By now, people were starting to stare. They were sat three rows behind the driver, and Cato could tell that he was starting to get irritated. Cato moved his arm to knock Effie's hand away and ended up elbowing Marvel in the nose.
"Ouch!" He yelled, clutching his now broken nose.
"Effie!" Cato groaned. "That was your fault!"
"It was not! You're the one that-"
"Right! That's it!" The driver shouted. He pulled over on the side of the road.
"You three, get off my bus!" He said. Sighing heavily, the three stood up and exited the bus. Finnick and Peeta rolled their eyes and followed them after gathering together all of the luggage from the overhead cabinets. When they were safely on the side of the road, the bus drove off, leaving them in a cloud of dust.
"Great. This is just great. Why do you have to be so annoying, Effie? Now we're stranded in Oregon!" Cato yelled. The only civilisation they could see amongst the fields was two farmhouses.
"Oh my Gosh, we're going to be so much behind schedule!" Effie started to have a mini panic attack. Peeta put a comforting arm around her shoulders.
"On the bright side, the mayonnaise is gone." Marvel pointed out.
"There is no bright side to this!" Cato exploded. "It's hot! There's dust in places I never wanted dust in and we've only been here two minutes! I'm exhausted and I just wanted to get to California, sign a few autographs and go to sleep. This has got to be some kind of joke!"
"Calm down!" Finnick snapped. "Look, there's two farmhouses. Choose one and we'll ask if we can stay the night." One farmhouse was about a quarter mile in front of them, and the other was about half a mile behind them. Cato sighed and pointed at the closest one. They began the trek to the farmhouse, each of them pulling two suitcases. When they reached the house, Finnick hesitantly knocked on the door.
"What if an axe murderer lives there?" Cato asked. Before Finnick could reply, a smiling lady with brown hair opened the door. She couldn't have been older than thirty five but she was dressed like a middle-aged farmer's wife, apron and all.
"Hello Ma'am. Sorry to bother you." Finnick said, smiling politely. "My name's Finnick Odair. This is Marvel Johnson, Effie Trinket, Peeta Mellark and Cato Woods."
"My name is Mandy Burrows." The lady smiled back. Cato noted that she had kind eyes.
"Well, Mrs Burrows, we were wondering if you had anywhere we could stay." Finnick said, and then told her the full story.
"Why don't you come inside? I'll talk to my husband about it and we'll fix up that young man's nose." She smiled again and pulled the door open wider before walking through.
"I don't think she's an axe murderer." Finnick muttered before going after Mrs Burrows. Cato rolled his eyes and walked in last, closing the door behind him.
"From the sounds of things, you're lucky my husband recognized you off of the television!" Mrs Burrows laughed as Finnick re-told the story for everybody else sat at the dinner table.
"It was lucky indeed, Mrs Burrows." Peeta smiled.
"Oh, that reminds me! I haven't introduced you to everyone! I'm, as you know, Mandy. I'm thirty four. This is my husband Nick, he's thirty six. That's my daughter Katniss, she's sixteen. This is my brother-in-law Haymitch and his daughter Annie. She's twenty three, he's forty. This is my sister Paylor; she's thirty eight and her daughter, Jackie. She's seventeen. That's Gale, he's eighteen. He lives on the farm down the road, but he's Katniss' best friend so he often joins us for dinner. And you'll meet my other daughter, Clove, any second now. She's seventeen. She's feeding the chickens, but she should be finishing up right now." Mandy said, gesturing to each person in turn before digging into her roast beef again.
"So, tell us about yourselves." Nick said, popping a potato into his mouth.
"I'm Finnick; I've been working as Cato's manager since he was fifteen. I'm twenty five. I, uh…I love the ocean." Finnick said, not sure what to say."
"Me too." Annie said quietly. Finnick smiled at her and she blushed slightly.
"I'm Effie Trinket. I'm Cato's PA. I manage his appointments and activity schedule. I'm thirty five. I love clothes!" Effie clapped her hands.
"I'm Peeta; I'm seventeen and I work in my dad's bakery when I'm not going places with this chump." Peeta said, thumping Cato on the back of his head.
"I'm Marvel, I'm eighteen. I'm Cato's stylist and I really don't enjoy having my nose broken." Marvel said, rubbing his now bandaged nose. Cato stayed silent and everybody stared at him, waiting for him to speak.
"You too, Cato dearie. Tell us about yourself." Mandy gave him an encouraging smile.
"Seriously? But everyone knows who I am." Cato said, rolling his eyes.
"I for one have no idea who you are. And when my mother asks you to do something, you do it." Cato and his friends turned their heads at the sound of a female voice. A girl was leaning against the door frame with her arms crossed over her chest, listening to what the newcomers were saying. She was pale with black hair and piercing green eyes. She wore a red and black checked shirt and blue jeans with wellington boots. Cato's eyebrows rose, not only at her rude tone of voice but at how pretty she was.
"Now now, Clove dear. Don't be snappy with the guests. This is my daughter Clove." Mandy said, the last part aimed at the guests.
"You're sat in my seat." Clove said to Cato. Nick sent her a look, causing her to roll her eyes as she took the only available seat.
"Umm…I'm Cato Woods, eighteen, from New York. I'm an actor and a singer. Oh, and I hate farms." Cato said, shovelling food into his mouth.
"Great, city folk. Our pigs have more manners than you." Clove said. The disgust was evident in her voice.
"Clove! Don't be so rude! I think you need to go upstairs." Nick scolded.
"Gladly." Clove retorted, stomping out of the room.
"Sorry about her. She doesn't take well to visitors, but you're welcome to stay as long as you like." Mandy smiled. I think I will. Cato thought to himself. That girl could be just the inspiration I need.