I sincerely apologize for the probably agonizing long wait. ;) Just kidding, I really am sorry.


"Come on, you two. Hurry up and shower so you can get a good night's rest for tomorrow." Ha. As if. No one sleeps well the night before their deathday. Still, I felt like a mother to Faye and Floyd speaking those words. Just as they were about to open their doors, I stopped them. "Wait. You... you guys did great." I looked at Faye. "Both of you. Goodnight." I didn't give them a kiss or a hug. That wouldn't be fair for them.

I slowly walked to my own room and locked the door behind me. I felt numb, knowing my tributes were about to enter their nightmares, and also because of Johanna. Johanna had walked away from me without a word and refused to even look at me after I told her about Anthul. I guess I made it sound like Anthul was my boyfriend even though he truly isn't. I wasn't even sure if Johanna and I were on speaking terms now.

Someone knocked on my door. I was only in my gray cami and undies but I couldn't really think of anyone who would be knocking on my door right now that was so important. So with my eyes red, my braid a mess from yanking off the stupid black dress Cinna had put on me, and in my half-nudity state, I opened the door to see, out of all people, Anthul.

I slammed the door shut. "Not now!" I yelled frantically, quickly pulling on the first article of clothing I saw in my dresser: a skirt. A long polka-dot black skirt that probably made me look like a grandma. I forced a white blouse over my head, nearly tripping and knocking myself out in the process, and smoothed everything out. I opened the door again, irritated. "What do you want?"

Cinna was stationed beside Anthul. He firmly pushed my door open all the way. "Calm down. We were here to get your opinion on Faye's interview."

I scoffed. "That wasn't an interview. She didn't even spout a complete sentence." In reality, I kind of admired Faye's attitude. It made her look fierce, strong, and daring, although she was just thirteen.

Anthul glanced at his uncle worriedly. My heart melted at the sight. I wanted to take back every single hurtful thing I said to him.

Cinna said, "Katniss liked it, Anthul. Don't worry." Gosh, sometimes I hate it that Cinna understands me so well. He punched Anthul on the arm in a fatherly way and left the two of us alone.

Anthul cleared his throat. "Um, may I come in?" he asked.

No! my head was screaming. I looked ridiculous and it would be completely awkward. But I forced myself to nod and say, "Sure."

Anthul took a seat on a chair, looking uncomfortable but not bad, I secretly thought. "Whatever my uncle says... well, did you actually like Faye's interview?" he asked.

"I guess," I admitted, keeping things simple and quite possibly neutral between the two of us. Honestly, I've never been one to get dramatic, so why begin now? "Did you tell her to do that?"

"No! You think she'd actually do as I say? Or as anyone say?"

"She has her own state of mind," I said, quoting what my own mother used to say about me. It was silent for a second, Anthul staring at me and me observing my carpet. I didn't like it. I got up and said, "I better get to bed. Tomorrow's an important day."

"Everyday is an important day, Katniss."

Not in my life. But I didn't say that. Instead, there was silence all around again.

"Anthul, I'd really like to go to sleep now," I said, not caring if I sounded irritated or rude. I opened the door, indicating that he should leave. Now. "Goodnight."

He got up, but instead of going straight out the door, Anthul gently released my grip on the doorknob and held my hand.

I didn't know what to do. I was staring at our entwined fingers when suddenly, I pulled my hand back rather harshly and closed the door, locking Anthul out. Johanna was right. I shouldn't dismiss my background just for a good-looking fellow. I felt like I should be proud for locking Anthul out of my room, and possibly my life, but I couldn't help being regretful either.


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