The end of the boardwalk was deserted, the bright lights of the Ferris wheel in the distance providing him enough light to find his way without tripping over. The laughs, and screams, of people on the rides carried on the wind to him, and he kicked his foot almost petulantly against the old wooden boards.
He knew he shouldn't have come.
He leant against the railing, staring out into the ocean. He couldn't really see it; its depths pitch black, with only the occasional slice of white as small waves broke across the top of the water. It was more the sound he focused on, the sound of the waves, the gentle lapping against the pylons that were lodged deep into the water.
Peeta had known the minute Finnick picked him up that the night wasn't going to be what he'd wanted it to be – just the guys hanging out. The sight of Annie in the front seat of the jeep, wild dark curls tossed about by the wind, gave him a good indication of how the night would pan out. The same thing happened every damn time the fair was in town, when Annie joined them.
They'd meander about, eating cotton candy and having a go at Whack-a-Mole.
Finnick would then aim for the shooting gallery, trying to show off to Annie.
Annie would roll her eyes and pull faces at Peeta, but would secretly be impressed.
Then Finnick and Annie would hop on the Ferris wheel for at least a good half an hour and make out like the couple of horny seventeen year olds that they were.
It wasn't as if he didn't like Annie – he did, he thought they were great together – but he was just so damn sick of being their tag-a-long.
Especially when Finnick knew that the girl Peeta wanted would be manning his favorite shooting gallery.
He'd known Katniss Everdeen for years, and had liked her for almost as long. Her uncle was the owner of the fair, and normally roped in as many locals as he could to help out on stands when they were in his home town. Haymitch Abernathy's philosophy of 'paying locals so that others would get off their asses and come to the damn thing' usually worked, despite the fact that everyone knew exactly what he was doing.
They kind of loved him for it anyway.
Peeta had sat in the back of the jeep, listening to Finnick and Annie argue playfully, and known that if they found their way to the shooting gallery, he'd be forced to look interested at whatever fish Finnick was trying to shoot out of a barrel, all the while going out of his mind trying not to stare at her. Trying not to look at the long braid that grazed the spot of her lower back that he couldn't stop thinking about touching. Or at the way her lips pursed as she tried not to smile at the lacklustre attempts by whoever was trying to win the oversized purple hippo. Or the way her big silver eyes would linger on him momentarily before turning their attention back to her booth.
And when the evening mapped out exactly as he thought it would, he decided he'd had enough. Bid farewell to his two friends as they headed for their usual make-out spot, and went off down the boardwalk, back towards home. He didn't mind the walk. The half an hour it would take would give him time to clear his head. Plus, he could always go to bed early, and not be absolutely shattered when he had to wake up at 6am for his shift at the bakery.
Pushing away from the railing, he turned, moving towards the path at the end of the boardwalk. But the tall, rectangular, green and orange machine - half obscured by a pillar and almost hidden from view - caught his eye and stopped him in his tracks. Before he could think twice, he changed his direction, walking over to it, studying it curiously. He'd never seen it before, and didn't think it had been part of the fair last time it was here. Tight-ass Abernathy must've shelled out some cash for something new, but it was odd that it was all the way down here, almost completely removed from the rest of the fair.
Inside, it held nothing but what looked like a combination of a giant sundial and a clock, the outline of a bird etched across it. It glowed under the lights that shone down from above it, a shimmer of orange and red and yellow against the black. The back wall announced May the odds be ever in your favor in gold cursive script, with MAKE YOUR WISHunder it, in smaller, nondescript writing. A discreet slot at the front of the machine looked like it took quarters.
Peeta glanced around surreptitiously, almost guiltily, as he reached into his pocket to pull out the quarter he kept there, more out of habit than anything. Before anyone caught him, he quickly popped the quarter in the slot, watched as it rolled down onto the dial, swirling and swirling around in circles until it stopped on the number 12, and was promptly sucked into a small chute underneath it. The words on the wall began to glow, and if his heart thumped a little crazily, and his chuckle was laced with nerves, no one was around to see or hear it. He closed his eyes, and made his wish.
Peeta rolled over in his bed at the sound of his alarm, the sunlight streaming through the open window hitting him square in the eyes. He groaned and rued the fact that he had to get up at 6 in the damned morning on a Saturday to go to work. He closed his eyes at the offending light, and reached out blindly to hit the alarm, missing several times before he finally slapped the asshole machine into silence. He sighed, and bunched the pillow under his head. He'd give himself 5 more minutes, then he'd get up and-
Holy shit, there was something in his bed.
Or someone, to be exact. Tracing their toes lazily up his calf.
He slowly rolled his head, opening one eye and peeking out, his face half obscured by his arm. Long strands of dark brown hair lay across his pillow, elegant fingers with short, unpainted nails resting on the sheet beside him. And shit! There were boobs!
He lifted his head a little more, trying to see the face of the girl in bed with him. And his heart stopped.
It was Katniss Everdeen. With a contented smile on her face, like she was the cat that got the cream.
His eyes widened comically, and almost fell off the bed in fright. How the hell had Katniss Everdeen gotten in his bed? Naked? Katniss? Naked?! He thought back to the night before, but couldn't think of anything that happened past him walking down the boardwalk and-
The realization hit him, and hit him hard. The boardwalk. The machine. His wish.
He couldn't help the grin that spread across his face, and figured he could deal with being a little late to work.
It seemed the odds had been in his favor.
N/A - This prompt was heavily inspired by the 1988 movie, Big. :)