Chapter 7: The Capitol (Part 2)

Marcus helped me out of the limo. We walked next to each other, I think as close as possible. I didn't try to pull away. A look from Orpheus wasn't one of disdain, but one of curiosity as he held hands with Blair.

Then Nixon was just his douchebag self, coupled and enhanced by Thomas's douchebag-ness.

The Hall was filled with people, probably only missing a few Districts. Marcus pulled away from me then, as Orpheus did with Blair. I guess that they thought anybody watching would not appreciate a possible relationship between a person from a District and one from the Capitol?

Or would they eat it up like starved wolves after a bloody battle?

Before I knew it, all the stylists were mingling together, Victors drifted together, probably to discuss how idiotic this whole 'mentor' thing was and I was still with Marcus. I watched as other tributes began to talk to each other.

The Career group was already forming, and I saw Nixon with them. He turned around as I put distance between Marcus and myself, and pointed me out to the Careers.

I thought, very distantly, that there was no way they could be talking about potential threats yet. They were most likely making fun of me.

I bumped into someone, causing me to stumble back. I was nearly about to fall when the person grabbed my hands and steadied me.

I looked at the person, feeling quite embarrassed.

He was roughly my age, with tan skin and dark blue eyes. He had a lean build, and dimples when he smiled. I had to wonder what his honey blonde hair would feel like in between my fingers.

"Lost your balance?" He asked me, smiling. His teeth weren't yellow, more like an off white; certainly not half as blinding as the Capitol's citizens'.

"Kind of," I responded.

"You're from District 8, right? Cleopatra? I watched your Reaping on the way from District 4." He explained to me. "I'm Nyle, by the way."

"Yeah, hi…" I managed, my throat feeling like it was a boa constrictor squeezing somebody (preferably Nixon) to death.

A girl with black hair and grey eyes walked over. She was skinny, and wear tight blue jeans and a grey sweater.

"Nyle! There you are!" She said, walking closer to us. "Oh, hi! You're Cleopatra Shaft, right? I'm Smoke, from District 12," she extended her hand. I took it and gave it a shake.

As I looked at her, I saw a faint dusting of freckles, and a scar on the inside of her wrist as her sleeve moved up to pick something off of Nyle's shoulder. She couldn't be more than fourteen, but here she was, not even crying. When she opened her mouth, I saw she had a tiny gap between her two upper teeth.

The two had been talking about something as I focused on Smoke.

"Do you mind if I call you Cleo?" The girl asked me.

I smiled. "No," my throat was still bothering me, and it was still uncomfortable to talk.

As a man passed us with a platter filled with wine, I took a glass and had a sip; warm, sweet wine, probably with honey. I smiled as warmth lazily filled me as I took another sip.

"Ah, much better," I said, mostly to myself.

"Smoke! I have been looking everywhere for you!" All three of us turned around as a boy that looked nearly exactly like the young girl, came up to us.

"Well, maybe if you hadn't gone gallivanting off with our mentor, you'd have known where I was, Kevin." She told him, glancing at Nyle and me with fake annoyance as she playfully rolled her eyes.

"I'm sorry, but he wanted me to meet the kids from 2—complete, utter, brutish idiots, by the way—and then the kids from 1—those are the two we should be looking out for." He explained, as he slid his hands into his pockets. "Then I got dragged into talking with the Careers and the boy from 8—just another douche."

For a second, I contemplated sticking up for Nixon, and then decided against it. I didn't want these three thinking I was friends with him.

"Ah, well, Kevin, this is Cleo, from District 8." Nyle introduced us.

"Oh, hi. Sorry for bashing your partner." He told me, freeing one hand from the tight confinement of his pocket to shake mine.

"Don't be, I think I've thought worse about." I explained him.

He smiled at me. "And I suddenly don't feel bad." He responded.

Nyle rolled his eyes. "All right then… Hey, have either of you seen Carmen or Jax?" He asked the two tributes from 12.

They exchanged a glance as I realized that instead of talking to Marcus and sharing a bed with Orpheus, I should've been paying attention to who the Tributes for the other districts were.

"I haven't seen either of them." Smoke told Nyle.

"Um, who are Carmen and Jax?" I asked quietly, and then quickly took another sip of wine.

"The tributes from District 11," Nyle explained. "We've kinda formed a group of sorts…"

"An alliance?" I asked.

The three turned and looked at me. It wasn't out of anger, but more of surprise. Like they hadn't realized what they'd been doing until I'd finally said it.

"Yeah, I guess we have," Smoke answered, smiling a little bit.

"That's kind of smart, considering the Careers. More than likely, they already have a few people." I thought out loud.

The three are still looking at me. It's kind of uncomfortable, but I didn't say anything about that.

"Cleo, would you … join our alliance?" Nyle asked me.

I look at him, meeting his eyes. Did he actually ask me that? Do they actually think I can help them? "Sure, I guess; I wouldn't mind."

At that moment, we all heard clinking of a spoon against a glass. The four of us turned to the sound of the noise, and I felt my mouth go dry as I saw a middle-aged man standing there, holding his glass as he stood in front of his chair. We all recognized him—William Snow.

The President was about to give a speech.

Author's Note: Wow, it feels like this chapter took forever to do. What do you think of the new tributes? Please tell me in the review you readers will hopefully write!