A/N: Some background info: this fic is a spin-off from the Sweet Nothing and Shake it Out world. It's set the summer before and during Peeta and Katniss's sophomore year of high school. The 'present' date (January 21st, 2012) is their winter semi-formal, and written in between scenes of that night are flashbacks of how their relationship evolved. If you've ever seen For the Love of the Game this is written in that kinda style. I hope you enjoy! xx

Settle down with me
Cover me up
Cuddle me in

Lie down with me
And hold me in your arms

And your heart's against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck
I'm falling for your eyes, but they don't know me yet
And with a feeling I'll forget, I'm in love now

Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran

XXX

January 21st, 2012—

Prim must've helped her buy that dress was my first thought.

I knew Katniss Everdeen, and I'd known her since we were in Pre-K. She didn't do dresses, or skirts, or anything like that. You could always see Prim's or her mother's style shine through whenever we had to get dressed up for school events, and Katniss would always tug at the hem of whatever she was wearing uncomfortably. Nahh, she definitely preferred sweaters and running pants to dresses.

The dress was gold, and it hung below her knees. But it wasn't the most modest thing since it hugged every curve of her body.

I had to gulp back the lump in my throat.

It took her seconds to cross her front yard, running to get out of the cold. Snow was still on the ground from last week's storm. I turned the heat up and she stumbled in, shivering in the passenger seat.

"Hey," I said. "You look nice."

"I didn't know you were seventeen."

I laughed. "I'm not. Don't worry, I won't get you killed, I'm a good driver."

"But you don't have your license."

I cocked a brow. "Would you rather be in a car with me and my mom, or just me?"

She nodded. "Right. Gotchya." She buckled up. "But if you go all Fast and Furious on me—"

"I won't."

"You better not."

"Hey, my goal for tonight isn't to get you killed." I put the car in drive. "This might sound crazy, but I'm hoping we'll have some fun."

She shrugged. "Yeah, well . . ." was all she said to that.

I kept stealing glances at her as we drove to the formal. I felt like swearing under my breath.

Hopefully, no one else would notice how beautiful she looked.

XXX

July 3rd, 2011

"Where the hell are you?"

"Hey, I'm sorry, I just had to make sure Madge got home okay—"

"Do you have any idea what time it is?"

I groaned. "I know, I know. I'm sorry, Rye, I'll be back soon."

"You better." I could hear rustling from the other end. "If mom finds out you took the car, we're both dead."

"I know, Rye."

"Get your sorry ass back here."

I sighed. "I'm turning on Addison right now, I'll be there in a—"

My headlights landed on a figure in the street. Katniss Everdeen was lying face down in the curb.

"Oh my god!" I slammed my foot on the brakes, my phone flying out of my lap and across the front of Rye's car. I could hear my brother from the other end, but I ignored him, unable to do anything except stare at the road.

"Peeta? Peeta? What the fuck's going on?"

"Rye—"

"Shit, if you totaled my car—"

"Calm down, your car's fine," I snapped. I jumped out of the front seat, running up to the curb. Even when I slammed the door shut, I could still hear Rye screaming from the phone.

I leaned down, turning Katniss onto her side. She moaned and her eyes fluttered open, just enough for her to recognize my face before putting her head back down onto the street.

"Damnit," she grumbled.

"Are you okay?" I asked. I sat her up. "What happened?"

She opened her mouth to say something. I was answered with her turning onto her side and retching.

The smell. It was the same reason I'd left Gale's party; there were too many drunk teenagers ready to vomit themselves empty. There wasn't any mistaking the alcohol on Katniss' breath.

"Hey, hey," I murmured, holding back her hair as she retched into the street. The sounds of it echoed well into the night. I tried to talk her through it as she did—"Just let it out, it's okay"—and a few minutes later she finally turned to me, wiping her mouth.

"Oh god. I'm a wreck."

"No you're not, it's okay. I've gotchya." I reached into my back pocket, pulling out a pack of gum and handing her a stick. As she feebly chewed on it, she started to cry.

The vomit. The crying. Lying facedown in a street. Something was definitely wrong, because this wasn't Katniss Everdeen.

"What happened?" I asked as gently as possible.

Her breath hitched. She held her head. "Oh my god," she said, her voice hoarse. "Prim."

"Here, let me drive you home—"

"No," she shook her head, "I can't go home, not like this. My sister . . ."

She trailed off, her thought process lost to the alcohol.

I nodded. "Okay," I said. "Here, let me help you up."

She obliged, throwing her arms around me. We tried walking for a few steps before I gave up and just scooped her up, carrying her to the passenger seat.

Yeah, she was really far gone.

I climbed into the other side, handing her an old baseball cap of mine. "If you need to throw up—"

She shook her head. "Uh-uh."

"Well, just in case—"

"Peeta, drive," she mumbled.

I opened my mouth, ready to repeat the question. What's wrong? But her face was turned away from me, and I decided to let it go. She clearly didn't want to talk—and that was the Katniss Everdeen I was used to.

XXX

A/N: Yee-haw! Cato and Clove, I love you both—but it's so nice to take a break from you for once.

Kind of a minute detail, but Katniss is 15 the entire time and Peeta turns 16 about halfway through this fic. So they're always driving illegally (damn New Jersey driving laws.)

Aaaaanyway, I really really really hope you guys enjoyed! The next chapter of SIO will be up either today or tomorrow :D

Leave a review and I'll love you forever xx

Nina