After all the time
Had you seen me with someone new
Hanging so high for your return
But the stillness is a burn
Had I seen it in your eyes
There'd have been no try after try
Your leaving had no goodbye
Had I just seen one in your eyes
I can't give it up
To someone elses touch
Because I care too much
~Infinity by The XX
December 21st, 2012
"Gale, this is my sister, Prim."
Prim. The name sounded so bizarre coming out of Katniss' mouth. I looked to the doorway, and my eyes stung as the rush of cold, December air filtered inside. She stood in front of me; blonde hair, blue eyes, jeans and an oversize cargo jacket. Her stunned expression mirrored mine.
Primrose Everdeen; Katniss' little sister. The one that volunteered at animal shelters and was a junior in high school, with spotless grades and nice friends.
I knew the figure in front of me. This couldn't be Prim.
Katniss shifted, probably unsettled by how quiet the room had become. I looked Prim in the eye, and the message was clear. Don't. Don't say anything. Not now.
I stuck out my hand, and managed the best smile I could. "It's nice to meet you, Prim."
She shook it, tensely. "Same here. Katniss has told me so much about you."
Dirty. That's the best way I could describe the girl throwing herself at me. She kept touching my arm and putting on a falsetto, flipping her bottle-red hair over her shoulder. She kept whispering in my ear, saying all kinds of obscene things. "You don't even have to remember my name when you're done with me tonight."
I gently pushed her away. "Here," I said, getting to my feet. "Let me get you a drink."
Clubs in New York were all the same, as far as I was concerned, so I didn't understand why Ryan felt the need to test out this one. I also didn't understand why I agreed to be his accomplice; I decided a long time ago that random hookups weren't worth it.
I took a seat at the bar, keeping my head down and turning to the bartender. "Bourbon," I said. I scoped out the room, and noticed the crazy ginger still had her eyes on me.
"Well, shit," I muttered under my breath.
I turned to my left, face to face with a wide-eyed blonde. "Yeah," I replied. "The red-head in the corner. She won't stop following me."
The blonde craned her neck, and then turned back to me. "Well. She's attractive enough."
I snorted. "Anyone showing that much skin looks attractive." The bartender slid me my drink, and I thanked him as I took a long sip. "She's not my type," I said.
The blonde nodded. "Here, lean in."
"Pretend like you came here with me, she'll get the message eventually."
I shrugged. Might as well, I thought. There were worse ways I could spend my night than talking to a cute girl. "Well, if I know you, then I should probably start with your name."
"I'm Jessica." She smiled in a way that the corners of her mouth pointed up, holding my gaze before looking down shyly.
"I'm Gale," I said to her. I turned to the bartender. "Can I get a beer?" I asked. I slid the glass to her, and watched as she nursed it. It's a good thing I didn't get anything stronger; she was such a short, wispy thing, probably not even tipping the scale at a hundred and ten pounds.
"So, Jessica," I asked. "What's a girl like you doing here?"
She raised a brow. "What's a guy like you doing here?" She pointed at the ginger. "I mean, considering you don't let your dick make your decisions."
I laughed. I decided I liked Jessica.
Jessica must've decided she liked me. Because when I asked if I could walk her to the subway, she didn't say no.
"What part of the city do you live in?"
A siren wailed by after I asked that, so she took a minute to respond.
"Uptown. Central Park is practically my backyard. You?"
"I'm from Brooklyn," I told her. "Are you studying nearby?"
"Not exactly, I'm just home for the summer. I'm guessing it's the same story with you."
I nodded. "I go to Lehigh, so not too far."
Her eyes lit up in recognition. "Really? My sister goes to Lehigh."
"What's her name? I might now know her."
She bit her lip, and then waved a hand dismissively. "Nahh, you probably don't. She's a Freshman this year." Her eyes darted to the subway entrance, probably to make sure she wasn't missing her eyes. She looked back to me. "Hey, you should get home—I don't want to keep you waiting, my friend will probably be a while."
I nodded. "Right. Tiffany. The one that drags you to clubs." I smiled, because her eye-roll was all too familiar. "I can sympathize. My friend Ryan does the same thing to me."
"Yeah. Except I'm not a good enough friend to wait for him."
She laughed. "Well, Tiffany has a habit of bringing home strange men, so I have to extract the parasites."
A wind rustled. Jessica's hair flew in front of her face, brushing her eyes. I couldn't look away from them.
She noticed my expression. And the second she did, she looked down, blushing.
The thought passed before I could stop it.
I want to be closer to her.
"Hey," I said, impulsively pulling out my phone. "I'm really glad I got to meet you tonight. Can I get your number?"
She looked at it, stunned. "Oh! Well, see—"
"Awesome." I was already punching in her name. What the hell are you doing, man? I wasn't that guy. I didn't go around picking up random girls' numbers. But, quite simply, I didn't want Jessica to be some random.
She fumbled around with the keys, handing it back to me. "Just, um, let me know if you need a cockblocker again, I guess," she coughed.
Something about hearing that word come out of her mouth made it hysterical.
"Hopefully I will."
She stopped avoiding my gaze. Yep, still blushing.
It took a month before I got to know the un-blushing Jessica.
It started like any summer night; at a party I didn't want to be at, strictly going to make sure my friend didn't wind up in the emergency room. Jessica was there with Tiffany in tow, because we'd talked the week before; I'd asked her, "Please be my distraction at this party I'm going to. Bring Tiffany, it'll be her scene."
So she came, with an already intoxicated Tiffany in tow. In between the thick smoke in the air and how crowded it was, sitting in that room was hard without getting buzzed was a challenge in itself.
Halfway through the night—and a few drinks in—I leaned in a kissed her. I knew what her expression would be before I saw it.
"Is it so surprising that I'd kiss you?" I asked. My voice was hoarse.
She nodded. "Yeah, a little."
She didn't say anything for a second. And then she leaned in and kissed me back, and it was so hard that I just about fell out of my chair. I never knew a girl like her was capable of that.
She had a suppressed side, alright.
Not that anyone would ever know. In between her wispy hair, huge eyes and modest clothes, Jessica whatever-her-last-name-was looked as innocent as they came. She didn't tell me much about her personal life, but I figured her to major in something involving animals, something only preppy girls like her would. She probably was a horseback-rider in high school, the kind of girl that spent all weekend at tournaments and went to bed at nine thirty. But when she had a Saturday night free after a shitty week, I could just as easily see her letting loose. The hair would come down, the top would come off, and she'd drink herself silly.
It's always the quiet ones, after all.
I don't know what we had—a fling? Hooking up?—but whatever it was, I felt the same the same way I did the night I met her.
I want to be closer.
September 1st, 2012
"Closer" ended when I brought up my first semester.
"I'm going to miss you this fall," I murmured in her ear. It was the night before I left for Lehigh. I ran my fingers through her hair, my bedroom sheets tangled around the both of us. I'd been with plenty of girls before—more than I could count—and there was something unmistakably different around this time.
In spite of everything, we'd never done the deed. At least not until that day.
"I'll miss you too," she choked out.
I froze, looking her in the eye.
Tears welled in their corners.
"Why are you crying?" I asked. I regretted the words the second they came out of my mouth.
What a stupid question.
"Oh, gosh, Jessica—"
"This isn't right." She stood up, and I watched as she hastily threw her clothing back on, shyly ducking back and pulling away every time I reached out to her. The moment of intimacy had passed just as quickly as it had come. As if the last months of us touching hadn't happened. "This—this shouldn't have happened."
"Did I do something wrong—"
"No, Gale, I did. This entire thing is wrong." She turned around. I don't think I'd ever forget the look on her face. "I'm not the girl you think I am. You don't really know me, things between us have gone way too far—"
"Good," I snapped, suddenly irritated. "I'm glad they went too far." I got up, crossing the room and putting my hands around the back of her neck. I ignored how she recoiled. "Because I'm falling for you, Jessica."
She pulled away. She backed out of my apartment. Just before she slammed the door shut, she turned around.
"My name isn't Jessica."
"Oh, my God, Gale—"
I ignored her. In between her hot breath and my stolen kisses, I kept at it, shrugging off any of her feeble rejections. "We can't—we shouldn't."I shut her up with my kisses, and eventually, she gave in.
I understood Katniss's reasoning. We'd been best friends for three years. We couldn't risk it unraveling just because she'd asked a simple question.
"You didn't meet anyone this summer, did you?"
So apparently hadn't done the best job of acting like it didn't happen. Because Katniss—who knew me like the back of her hand—knew something was up. I wasn't myself. And it wasn't like she could come right out and ask, "What happened to you?"
I'd met someone. I didn't know her real name. I didn't know anything about her.
"Stop resisting," I said roughly. I pulled away. She looked me in the eye, and I knew. This was something she'd wanted for a long time.
I kept kissing her, and it escalated. Much faster than either of us had counted on.
I hoped it'd eventually drown out the image of Jessica from my mind.
"Do you want to spend Thanksgiving with me?"
I looked up to Katniss mildly, my head on her lap. "I kind of already assumed we would."
Just like sex with her was natural, so was dating her. It was easy, and it was hot. And we understood each other.
"Awesome. Then we're taking the 2 PM train to New Jersey tomorrow afternoon."
"Well, I assumed you'd come to my place," I clarified. "All of the Hawthorne relatives are over for Thanksgiving. Y'know, family tradition and all. It's kind of a big deal."
She nodded. "Okay. I'll let my mom and sister know I won't be home for Turkey Day, then." She shoved me off her. "But that just means you're spending Christmas break at with my family."
I smiled. "Deal."
To say I thought of her fleetingly was a lie.
I knew it was all wrong—to be lying in bed with Katniss, trying to make myself believe it wasn't her. To hold on to someone who was so distant. To try and make sense of something that should've been insignificant.
I'd met her at a club. I knew her for a summer. I didn't know anything about her life, and she knew next to nothing about mine. Her name was fake, but that didn't matter. Because no matter what she believed, I knew her. I knew Jessica in all of her suppression and shyness, her dry humor and violent delights, her loyalty and submission. She couldn't say no to the people she cared about. She let Tiffany drag her to bars, and she let me have my way with her. And the one time she'd stood her ground, she'd dropped a bomb. "I'm not the girl you think I am."
She couldn't have been more right and wrong.
It isn't good to dwell on the past. I accepted over that Thanksgiving weekend that I'd never see her again. I shouldn't be thinking about her. I'm in college, and I have a girlfriend. Things are looking up.
Letting her plagued my thoughts was messed up. And I let her do it anyway.
December 21st, 2012
After dinner, when Mrs. Everdeen suggested she'd give me a tour of the house, Prim immediately interjected. "No. I'll do it. You still have to clean the kitchen, mom."
She shrugged it off, and Prim whisked me away, grabbing my hand in a way that just about made me jump out of my skin.
Not that Katniss noticed.
We wound up in the basement, Prim leaning onto the pool table as I stood across from her. We didn't say anything for a minute.
"So your name really isn't Jessica." It didn't come out like the question I'd meant it to.
She shook her head. "No, it's not. And your last name really is Hawthorne."
We spent three months together. I guess something as trivial as last names never came up.
We were so stupid.
"Why did you lie to me?" I asked. I didn't care about the obvious plea in my voice. "I get being cryptic with strangers, but we spent every weekend together for three months. Why'd you tell me you were in college? Why'd you tell me you'd gotten with guys before—"
"I never said any of those things," she snapped. "You just assumed."
"Because you let me!"
She bit her lip before throwing caution to the wind. "You want to know the truth? Alright, fine. My name is Primrose Everdeen. I'm a junior in High School and I'll be seventeen next month. I got a fake ID over the summer because my best friend—Tiffany—wanted to start clubbing in the city. And since I couldn't talk her out of it, I was there every time to make sure she didn't do anything stupid." Her face flushed red, and her voice was rising to a yell, but she didn't stop herself. She yanked a card out of her wallet and handed it to me. "The ID says Jessica Monroe. That's the name I give when strangers at bars try talking to me, because I don't want someone tracking me down and showing up at my door with a chainsaw."
"I'm sorry, but you're the one that talked to me, remember?" My blood boiled. "And you did it because you wanted it to. You're lying to yourself if you think you're so straight laced."
"I went to those clubs to protect my friend—"
"So I'm assuming you slept with me to protect your friend too?" I snapped.
"No, I slept with you because I was in love with you."
She realized a split second too late what'd just come out of her mouth.
I didn't say anything.
"And, no, I could never tell you who I really was. And definitely not at the beginning. Because then I would've been just some kid sneaking into City bars, and some innocent little girl that you couldn't let yourself corrupt."
It felt like I'd just been doused in ice water, because the suspicion that'd nagged me all of dinner had just come true.
"Am I the first person you—"
My throat went dry as sandpaper. "And since then—?"
"Yes, you're the last person I've hooked up with." She crossed her arms, her eyes bearing into mine. She looked nothing like a little girl. "Not that you can say the same."
My stomach twisted in knots.
"Everything that happened between us was a mistake," I managed. My voice was flat.
I thought back to that night. I thought back to her crying. It all made much more sense now.
"You're right. It was." She shifted her weight. "But at least one of us has forgotten about it."
I shook my head, laughing darkly. "Bullshit. I haven't been able to get you off my mind. I guess that makes me a pretty fucked up person, huh?"
"And you're sleeping with me sister?" She nodded. "Yeah, it does."
"Katniss is your sister," I muttered. "What are the odds."
She picked at her cuticles absentmindedly, and I looked her over. You're the last person I've hooked up with. I found it hard to believe it was because she didn't have any offers—Prim was much too pretty for that.
"Why haven't you gotten with anyone else?" I asked.
"Because none of them were you," she said. "I can't seem to stop caring."
There was something sickening about that statement's simplicity.
I crawled into Katniss' bed that same night. I caressed her and kissed her, my hands travelling across her curves and to her hair. I ran my hands through them.
It felt so similar to Prim's.
And, like that, the dynamic changed. I pulled her on top of me and she rode me, fucking me he hardest we had in a long, long time.
She was the one person I could tell anything to. We'd been friends since Freshman year. In the darkness, I could only see the outline of her body.
How similar it was to Prim's.
I knew what was happening, and I didn't even try to stop it. Katniss became Prim. I made her Prim. I didn't bother telling myself the truth—that I was sleeping with her sister and not her—because the truth was the opposite of what I'd wanted it to be.
I wanted the innocent, uncorrupted virgin.
I wanted the sarcastic-humored, sexually suppressed girl.
She was sixteen, and I was twenty-two. I knew I'd go to hell for thinking this way.
Katniss could never know about Jessica Monroe.
A/N: . . . because sometimes stories like this one happen.
This was written for the lovely smudgedcrimsonlipstick on Caesar Palace's fic exchange. The prompt I was given was Prim/Gale, "Infinity" by the XX, "Closer" by Kings of Leon, "you'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking" (Nude by Radiohead), and "it's the wrong kind of place to be thinking of you" (9 crimes by Damien Rice).
Hopefully I did the prompts justice—for some reason I always associate the XX with club music, so that's why this fic morphed into this AU thing where Prim wound up filling the good-girl-bad-girl archetype.
Okay, this one shot is definitely out there. And it's pretty messed up. But I'm proud of it :D
Here's a cookie for reading *insert noming here.* Leave a review and you'll get a hug xx