Annie Cresta read through the letter again for what seemed like the hundredth time, tears pouring down her cheeks, landing on the paper and smudging the letters. No matter how many times she read it through, she still couldn't believe it, I mean, how could she? It was such a horrible thing, especially for poor Annie, who had witnessed her tribute partner get decapitated with her own two eyes, who people called mad. The letter was from one Katniss Everdeen, a good friend of Annie's, even though they had only met a couple times during their time in District 13. It read:
I just heard the good news. It's very exciting to hear that you are going to be a mother, I'm sure you'll be just great. However I have decided to write this letter for another reason. I'm afraid it's bad news, about Finnick. I'm afraid he's not coming home.
I am so sorry Annie, I tried to help him, but it was impossible. We were fleeing some peacekeepers through the sewers in the Capitol. They released some mutts to come attack us and stop us from achieving our goal in killing Snow. We were about to exit the sewer when they caught up with a few of us trailing behind, including Finnick. I really wanted to save him Annie, I really did, but if we did manage to get him out of the sewer he would have died as a result of his injuries, and I couldn't bear seeing him suffer, and I know you wouldn't have been able to either. I feel like you should know that he died a hero. He wasn't just another casualty, he sacrificed himself for us, and for that we are all immensely grateful, and I'm sure your child will be proud of him too.
Haymitch told me that you were pregnant, and that you wanted to tell him the good news when he came home to you in District 4. Knowing this made me so much sadder. I can't fathom how you are feeling as you are reading this letter, but I want you to know that you are not alone; we will always be around to help you with whatever you need.
Oh and one more think Annie, please don't fall into a deep depression like my mother did, your baby needs you Annie, and I'm sure Finnick wouldn't want you too either. I'm sure he's up in heaven, watching over you two and wishing he could be there right by your side.
I'm so sorry for your loss Annie, and congratulations, I am sure you will be a great mother.
(P.S. Peeta and Haymitch also send their love and support)
Annie finally set the letter onto her bedside table and let the news sink in. Her Finnick would not be coming home, and he would not know about their child. This was enough to bring her to tears, but instead she just stared off into the distance in a daze, as she normally would; only this time she wouldn't have her husband there next to her to gently bring her back to reality. Instead reality seemed to crash back down like a meteorite crashing into the earth. Her loud, hysterical sobs filled the empty house with sound. Her sobs were mixed with cries of "Why?!" and "How could this happen?!" Eventually her cries slowed and she looked down at her stomach.
"Oh sweetie," she whispered, "I'm so sorry you have to see me like this, I just-, I just-, "her voice cracked, and she found it extremely hard to find the courage to finish her sentence.
"You would've loved your father," she continued, tears trickling down her cheeks once again, "and I'm sure he would have loved you too. I promise to do whatever I can to be a good mother to you, because I love you so much, more than anything in the world."
Annie spent the rest of the night rubbing her stomach lovingly, whispering to it gently.
As the weeks slowly progressed into months as Annie watched her belly swell. During this time the rest of the District had become worried as Annie had become isolated in her home. They started to think that the death of her husband had become too much for the poor girl and she had fallen into a deep, dark depression. One of the people most concerned about Annie's wellbeing was one Mrs Everdeen.
One dark grey morning, she finally decided to pay poor Annie Cresta a visit. She slowly walked up to the wooden front door and gently knocked. "Annie?" she whispered, "Are you home?" She slowly turned the door handle and found that the front door was unlocked. She ducked her head inside and quietly tiptoed through the main hall. "Annie? Are you okay?" she whispered again. She was answered by the clattering of what she could only assume were pots and pans falling off the counter.
"What?! Who's there?!" the voice sounded like it came from the kitchen. Mrs Everdeen continued cautiously.
"Annie? Is that you?" she asked. There was a long pause.
"Yes. Who's there?"
"It's me, Mrs Everdeen… You know, Katniss' mother?"
"Oh of course, you gave me a bit of a fright," she yelled, sounding very flustered, "can you come help me clean up this mess?"
"Umm, sure." Mrs Everdeen said as she made her way to the kitchen, where she found a distraught Annie curled up around her swollen belly trying to collect all the pots and pans. "Here, I'll get those while you stand up." She offered her hand to the struggling Annie. She accepted Mrs Everdeen's help and slowly stood up while Mrs Everdeen picked all the pots and pans of the kitchen tiles.
"Umm, thank you for your help Mrs Everdeen." Annie mumbled nervously.
"Oh, no problem Annie..." There was a long awkward silence between the two. Neither of them knew each other very well, they only knew of each other, and shared the odd greeting when they passed each other in District 13. "So, uh, how are you?"
"Oh, I'm- I'm okay, I guess." She glanced down at her stomach, and raised her hand towards it, caressing it gently.
"Are you sure you're okay Annie? The District hasn't seen you in ages, you never leave the house these days, everyone's worried about you..." she paused, "and the baby?"
"No no, we're fine, it's okay... really, I-"
"Annie," Mrs Everdeen interrupted, "it's okay. I know what you're feeling. I know what it's like to lose someone so close to you. There's no point isolating yourself because of the grief you're feeling. Your child needs you Annie, you can't let what happened to me to you. I've always regretted not being there for Katniss and..." she paused, "Prim," she mumbled, the pain of her death still fresh in her mind, "You can't let the same hing happen to your child. Finnick wouldn't want you to do this to yourself, he'd want you, and your baby, to be happy, and you owe him that."
Mrs Everdeen's words still hung in the air for a split second, then suddenly Annie began sobbing hysterically. Mrs Everdeen walked over to her, and held her in a warm, comforting embrace. "It's okay Annie..." she whispered, "it's okay."
"I... just..." Annie tried to finish her sentence, but she continued to cry, and held Mrs Everdeen in a tight embrace.
"I know Annie, I know, you miss him..." she whispered reassuringly, "but it will be okay, don't worry, you'll be okay. I'm here for you Annie, don't worry."