Hi guys! Okay so this is my fist fanfic so go easy on me but I think this story is pretty awesome! Enjoy :D
"Strawberry or vanilla?"
I study the two cupcakes careful, "Hmmmm, strawberry!"
The young baker laughs as he hands over the pastry, "Should have known."
I smile back at him as I unwrap the goody, handing him the coins to pay for it.
"Peeta!" I bite back a cringe as the shrill voice of Mrs. Mellark cuts across the shop. Does she always have to yell? The bakery is truly not big enough for her to have to shout. Peeta sighs as he calls back, "Yes Mother?"
"Finish up with the front then come wipe down the back counters! And stop taking your sweet time, we have to get going soon!" He sighs again giving me a small apologetic smile. "Its okay," I tell him before he can apologize, "I better get going anyway. I'll see you after the Reaping?" He nods quickly coming around the counter to hug me goodbye.
"Good luck, Peeta."
"You too, Madge" he says giving me a quick squeeze before releasing me. He looks down at me with a sarcastic smile and says in his best Capitol accent "And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
I laugh, pushing him away, "Hurry up before your mother comes out and hangs you up by your shoe strings." He laughs again and I make a hasty out the door, the jingling bell announcing my departure.
I race home, quickly nibbling on my cupcake and trying to fight the ache in my stomach. Reaping day. The one day a year where every citizen of Panem shares the same feeling of dread and fear. Well, at least most of the citizens, give or take the bloodthirsty Careers that think of the Hunger Games as some sort of sporting event. Which in a way it is, a sporting event to entertain Capitol citizens as they watch innocent children kill each other on television.
I feel the stares and mutters as I pass by people on their way home to get ready for the Reaping. The muttered comments about the spoiled pampered mayor daughter. By now I'm almost used to it, being welcomed by the snide comments and cruel glares. They hate me, and why do they hate me? Because I have food in my belly and money in my pocket, two things many go without. The only person I have is Peeta, but even our relationship is wishy-washy. We're friends, best friends ever since we could remember, but at school we are friendly acquaintances. It's my fault really, I asked him when we were around eleven to stop eating lunch with me, I knew I was holding him back from branching out, he was one of those kids that everyone likes, everyone says hi to in the halls, probably because he is the nicest person I know. I knew by being friends with me publicly he was dooming himself so I stepped in and asked him to stop. Of course I made up another reason why, if he knew my real reasoning he would never have gone for it. And then there's Katniss Everdeen, the girl I eat lunch with though I'm not quite sure if she thinks of me as a friend.
"I'm home!" I call as I walk into my home. "Madge! There you are dear I was beginning to worry." Nora smiles at me as she finishes washing the dishes. She's been our housekeeper for as long as I can remember, her husband died in a mining accident years ago and she soon after came to work for us. She a kind woman, sweet and caring and quite lenient on the rules. She never had any children of her own, but she has always been a second mother to me. "Sorry, I just stopped by the bakery on my way home." "Oh, huh you usually take upwards of an hour visiting Peeta." She teasing flicks some soapy water at me. I laugh, " Well Mrs. Mellark started her screeching fest so I got out of there pretty fast."
"Oh I see, Mrs. Mellark right. Not any other reason you raced home?" My cheeks burn as I quickly excuse myself to go change, hearing her laughter as I climb the stairs.
I close the door behind me with a sigh, "Smooth." I mutter under my breath. '"Well, I thought it wasn't so bad." I turn around to see a girl looking eerily similar to me sitting cross-legged on my bed.
I smile "Hi Maysilee."
I see my dead aunt. I've seen her since I was a little girl, believing in my childhood ignorance that she was my imaginary playmate. Then I realized what she truly was. A ghost. A phantom. A spirit. Call it what you may she was my aunt. Although we act more like sisters than anything else. Which I admit is pretty weird. No one else sees her, while except for maybe my mother but I never asked her about it and she never brings it up.
" How's Peeta?" she asks smiling at me. She is, or was, my mother's identical twin although she barely resembles my headache ridden mother now. Of course that could be because she never aged, forever sixteen years old, the same age I currently am. She wear the same dress that I've always seen her in, a short tea-length flowing white lace dress, the dress she wore to her final Reaping. Her hair is the exact same color gold as mine, flowing down to the middle of her back in waves. The blue of her eyes is the precise shade of the endless blue sky, the same shade as mine. The only thing to suggest that her is beyond this world is that slight simmer that radiates off her body, giving off a slight misty glow.
I slump down on the bed next to her, "He's good. His mother is as cheerful as ever."
She laughs, " Well, Meredith never was a very merry person."
I nod in agreement, "Do you know what time it is?"
She smiles slyly, "Oh, I'd guess about twenty minutes or so till strawberry delivery." She laughs as I scowl at her, my school girl crush on Gale Hawthorne was of endless amusement for her. "Well you best be getting ready if you want to look dolled up for the boy with the snares." I throw a pillow at her but she easily dodges out of the way. I push myself off my bed, making my way to my oversized closet. A brand new off white dress hangs hauntingly in the back of my closet. My father ordered it especially for the Reaping, it was a color he described as 'cream' and came down to just above my knee. On all accounts it was truly a gorgeous dress; it was spaghetti strapped with a sweetheart neckline and had lace details. I throw on the dress quickly, zipping up the back and slipping into my tan ballet flats. "Madge." I turn to see Maysilee standing beside me, a slight sad smile on her face. She walks over to my vanity, picking up the gold mockingjay pin. The pin that was once her token in her games. She gently pins it to the front of my dress, "For luck", she says with a smile gently touching my cheek. I smile back at her as I tie my hair back with a pink ribbon when I hear a knock on the door. I spin around quickly, rushing out my room and down the stairs. I hear Maysilee chuckle, clearly amused by my behavior but I pay her no attention.
I open the door to see Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthrone standing there in their hunting clothes with a basket full of strawberries. Before I can greet either of them I hear Gale say, "Pretty dress."
I glance at him, trying to see if it's a genuine compliment or if he's just being ironic. The smug look on his face suggests the latter, so I press my lips together then smile, "Well, if I end up going to the Capitol, I want to look nice, don't I?"
Gale looks confused before coolly stating, "You won't be going to the Capitol," I watch as his eyes land on the gold circular pin that adorns my dress.
"What can you have? Five entries? I had six when I was just twelve years old."
I briefly consider telling him that my aunt was reaped with only five entries but decide against it. I don't need or want his pity . "That's not her fault," Katniss say defensively. I give her a small grateful smile as Gale says, "No, it's no one's fault. Just the way it is."
I decide that that's all I can take and I close my face off. I put the money for the berries in Katniss's hand. "Good luck, Katniss."
"You, too," she says, and I close the door as they walk away. I stand there for a second, the basket of berries to clutched in my hand.
"You okay?" Maysilee asks, suddenly appearing besides me. I nod tensely, setting the berries on the table, glancing at the grandfather clock in the living room. One fifteen, less than an hour to go now. I stride over to the grand piano, sitting down on the bench. I place my hands gently on the keys and began to play. My fingers dance across the keys and I close my eyes allowing the music to soothe me. All too soon Maysilee is tapping me on the shoulder telling me its time. Before I leave I walk quickly down the hall to my mother's room, "Mom?" I call quietly opening the door. My mother lays in her bed, pale and weak her hair rests dull and frail against her cheeks. "Madge? There you are darling, I didn't think you were going to say goodbye before you leave." Its relief t see her awake, usually she is out cold on morphine, especially on the reaping day.
"Yes it me Mom." I say, sitting next to her on her bed.
She smiled, " You look lovely," her eyes watered and she grasped my hands. "Be careful Madge. Your strong and your brave and you're truly smart. You can do this honey," with a sudden wave of strength she pulls me down to her, wrapping her arms around me. "I love you Madge. I love you so much. Never forget that, promise me you won't!" She grasps my face in her hands looking me with wide eyes. "
"I p-promise." I say confused and scared. She kisses my forehead and both cheeks before releasing me. I stumble backward and leave her room in a daze. What was she talking about? I glance at myself in the mirror making sure I look alright when I see Maysilee behind me. I m suddenly struck at the resemblance how extremely similar I'm dressed to her, my gold pin shining in the soft light of the living room. "Why was she saying those things May?" I ask, my stomach sinking to the ground.
"I don't know, she's just scared for you Madge. Don't worry it'll be fine." She smiles but it doesn't reach her eyes. I'm honestly confused as I walk out the door, heading to the Reaping knowing that something was terribly wrong.
The sun beats down on my bare head as the clock strikes two. My father steps up to the podium, and begins to read the history of Panem. I zone out, fiddling with my pin. Maysilee gives my hand a gentle squeeze when my dad is introducing Effie Trinket. "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!" she shrills, going on about how pleased she is to be here. Complete rubbish. Then the moment that everyone dreads as she announces, "Ladies first!" reaching into the glass bowl that has every girls name in District 12 ages twelve through eighteen. Everyone draws in a collective breath as Effie holds up the small piece of paper that has the victims name on it. She leans forward into the microphone and I swear you could hear a pin drop.
I freeze, my head spinning while everything else stands still. The girls around my back away as if I'm a leper. "Be strong. Don't think just walk. Don't let them see fear." Maysilee quickly whispers in my ear, giving me a small shove and squeezing my shoulder. I lift my head up in a daze as I walk up to the stage, trying my best to look unafraid. I meet my father's stare and my façade almost crumbles at his despair, oh dear God what is happening? I quickly climb up the stairs as Effie proudly announces how wonderful it is that this year's tribute is none other than the mayor's daughter and how proud I must feel to be chosen to represent my district. I nod in agreement although I truly feel like throwing up. I see Haymitch Abernathy looking at me bewildered quietly saying something I can't hear. I find Katniss' face in the crowd and she looks at me shocked and saddened. I see Gale next and feel a small twinge of satisfaction that for once he doesn't look smug; in fact he almost looks distressed. I search for Peeta's face and find him just as Effie introduces me as the girl tribute and the crowd gives a small round of applause. His face is ashen and it looks like he's trying not to cry. "Head up, it will help keep the tears away." Maysilee says quietly next to me, squeezing my arm trying to reassure me. I lift up my head just as Effie's talking again, something about district pride and I look out into the crowd remembering faces of people who I know and those I don't and never will. I look out at the shops and the tops of homes and the hills near the horizon trying to imprint every detail into my mind. Because the chance of me seeing any of this again is slim to none. Effie reaches over into the boys bowl and I find Peeta again, praying it's not him.
My eyes immediately race to find Gale, striding through the crowd. He doesn't look scared, no he looks pissed. Enraged, determined. No, I'm never coming home. Finally on the stage he purposely avoids looking at me, staring into the crowd. Effie asks for any volunteers and is meet with the stark quiet that she is always meet with when she asks. My father approaches the podium and reads the Treaty of Treason, sounded more robotically than ever, his eyes never leaving me. Then, right as he finishes and Gale and I are supposed to shake hands he captures me in his arms, squeezing me quickly and tightly before letting me. He signals us to shake hands, Gale's grip is firm and solid and he drops my hand quicker than I excepted. We face the crowd as the anthem of Panem plays. Maysilee squeezes my arm again as I look at Gale out of the corner of my eye. His mouth is set in a smooth line, his expression promising destruction. No I'm never coming back.
So what'd you think? Do you like it do you hate it please review! Anyone who reviews gets a kiss from Peeta and/or Gale ;)! Thanks guys!