Summary: Peeta is intrigued by the girl who moves into the abandoned house down the street, but she holds a secret, a secret that Peeta will stop at nothing to unveil.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hunger Games.
A/N: As always, thanks to Court81981 for the awesome beta work!
1928, Southern Louisiana
Over two years after Prim took her last breath, Katniss' mother follows suit. Katniss isn't too surprised; her mother was never the same after her youngest passed away. Still, the loss cuts her deeply, seeping into her soul and wiping away whatever real happiness she has left. It rains when they bury her under the earth, and when she feels the warmth of a jacket being draped over her shoulders Katniss knows that it is Gale, her childhood friend, who has always taken it upon himself to care for her. Despite the warmth of his coat, Katniss shivers again and Gale wraps his big arms around her and holds her close to him. "I'll take care of you," he whispers into her ear. Katniss lets his body heat warm her up, but her heart doesn't want to follow.
They are married a few months later. Katniss only accepts because she doesn't want to be alone, and she knows she cannot deal with her empty house any longer. Gale is ecstatic, wanting to cater to Katniss' every whim; she just wants his company. She's not in love with him, but she is entirely too lonely to care anymore and she does not want to spend the rest of her life rotting away in her childhood home.
I haven't seen Katniss in a week. It's not like I am trying to avoid her or anything; I just haven't had a legitimate reason to go see her at her house or at work, and she hasn't come in to the bakery either. I force myself to keep busy at work. Letting my questions about the mysterious girl will be difficult, but I believe that it is for the best.
I place a rack of Snickerdoodles into the oven to bake and set the timer. As soon as I turn back around, Rue is at the door with a sneaky little grin on her face. "Peeta?"
"That lady is looking for you." Rue's grin turns into a full-out giggle, and she covers her mouth to quickly stifle it.
She can't mean Katniss, can she? "Umm, okay, I'll be right out." I dust my hands off on my apron and then throw it onto an empty counter space before coming out to the front of the store.
Katniss is standing by the register chewing her lip nervously. She looks as gorgeous as ever with her long, dark hair in her signature braid and a bit of a tan darkening her skin. Watching her chew her lip makes me wonder how soft those lips are—how they would taste as well.
"Hey Katniss, what brings you here?"
She gives me a cute half-smile before she begins. "Umm, do you remember how I told you that my bathroom sink was broken?'
I nod my head at her, recalling that she was attempting to fix it when I visited her the first time.
"Well, I couldn't get it fixed, and I don't have the money to call a plumber. I…I was wondering if you would be able to take a look at it for me."
I can't keep the grin from spreading across my face as I nod at her. "Yes, of course I can."
The corners of her lips quirk up into a small smile. "Thank you, Peeta. Can you come by after you are done with work today?"
"Well, I was planning on a rather scintillating evening on my couch watching Seinfeld reruns, but I suppose I could stop over."
Katniss blinks at me a few times before she realizes that I am joking. "I'll see you later then?"
"Yeah, I'll be over."
She leaves and I can hardly contain my excitement to see her today. I know that I was going to try to forget about her, but she is just…intoxicating, and I can't help but to want to be around her.
After work, I take a quick shower and dust off my toolkit before heading over to Katniss' house. I can't keep the smile off of my face as I walk towards her house. In my mind, I imagine that I will fix her sink and as repayment, she will give me a kiss, and that kiss will lead to more. I feel like a sixteen-year-old boy again, fantasizing about a girl like this, but I can't seem to control myself when my fantasy gets a bit more…adult.
I'm so lost in my thoughts that I almost walk right past her house. My overactive imagination already has her naked and my cock twitches at the thought. I have to think of the moldy old bread that I found in my pantry this morning to calm myself down. There's no need for Katniss to see me with half a boner. I'm sure that would scare her away forever.
I walk up to her door and ring the bell, listening to its loud chimes. I place my heavy toolkit down next to me and try to make myself look as casual as possible for when she opens the door.
A minute passes and nothing; not a sound echoes from behind the heavy oak door. I ring the bell again and knock loudly as well. She has to be home; her car is parked out front and she is expecting me. Maybe she is in the shower or something. My mind begins to drift at the thought of her wet, naked body in the shower, beads of water cascading down her neck and to her breasts…
I shake myself out of my thoughts quickly because now is not the time. It has been almost five minutes, and Katniss still isn't answering. I'm about to give up when I hear a strange sound coming from within her house. It's a whimper, like a mewling kitten almost, but then the whimper gets louder, turning into a scream.
Adrenaline courses through my veins and I yank at the doorknob, praying that it will open. The door swings ajar and I catapult myself towards the sound of the screams. I end up in what I'm guessing is a library with bookshelves that line most of the walls and old-looking armchairs that have seen better days. I hear Katniss scream again and I turn to see her, not being attacked or in serious pain like I had expected, but sleeping in a fetal position on a 70's style orange couch.
She screams in her sleep again, a loud-pitched wail that almost sounds like she is saying something. I can make out a few words, something along the lines of, 'What are you going to do to me?'
I rush over to her side and shake her to get her to wake up. Her gray eyes flutter open, and she shrieks in my face before calming down once she sees that it is just me.
I rest my hand comfortingly on her shoulder. "Hey, it's okay; you were just having a bad dream."
She shakes her head and buries it into her hands. "This is so embarrassing. How did you get in here anyway?"
"I knocked and rang the bell, but you didn't answer. I heard you screaming and the door was unlocked so I rushed in to see what was wrong." Katniss shrugs away from my touch and I can see that she is fighting back tears. "Are you okay?"
She nods, but it doesn't seem sincere. "Yeah, just a really bad dream. Anyway, since you're here, I'll let you get started on the sink."
I'm a little bit upset that she won't tell me anything about her dream, but she seems like a really private person, so I let it go. "Okay, let me take a look at it."
It takes me about fifteen minutes to fix her sink. It was clogged up with old, tarnished jewelry, which Katniss swears is not hers. I place my wrench back into the toolkit and stand up, brushing my hands off on my old jeans. "All fixed!"
"Thank you so much, Peeta, I really appreciate it." Katniss smiles and my heart melts at the sight of it. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, and my eyes watch the tantalizing motion with intense interest. Our faces are only inches apart and I swear I spy her swaying towards me. This is it; I'm going to kiss her.
I lick my own lips lightly and meet her gaze. Her gray eyes are sparkling and then flutter closed. I lean forward to brush my lips against hers…closer…closer…but just as I am about to kiss her, she turns her head down and steps away.
Denied. Embarrassed, I step away and cough to clear my throat. "You need anything else?"
She shakes her head, but then turns to look at me. "I…I don't really have any money that I can give you right now. I'll pay you back when I can."
I don't want her money, but an idea comes to mind of how she can pay me back. "Have dinner with me."
She looks at me in surprise. "What?"
Before I can chicken out, I ask her again. "That's how you can repay me, by having dinner with me."
I wait for the inevitable rejection. "I…it wouldn't be fair unless I paid for dinner, which I can't."
I shake my head. "No, let me cook for you at my place. That way neither of us really has to spend any money."
She hesitates and I think that she is going to refuse, so I try one more tactic. "Please Katniss? I love to cook, and it has been awhile since I've had the pleasure of cooking for anyone else besides me."
Finally, she nods. "Okay, I'll let you make me dinner. Thanks again, Peeta."
As I lie in bed, I can't stop myself from imagining what it would have been like if Katniss had let me kiss her. She seemed like she really wanted me to, but then she turned away. But if she hadn't…oh the possibilities. My cock twitches, aching to be released from the confines of my boxer briefs. I haven't relieved myself in quite some time so I tug down my underwear and find my bottle of lube in my bedside drawer.
I find a good rhythm and soon I'm off in a fantasy of what could have happened tonight…
My mouth connects to hers and it's like an instant electrical current is flowing through me. Her lips are soft against mine and when I deepen the kiss, she moans lightly into my mouth.
I leave the warmth of her mouth for my lips to travel to the delicate skin of her neck. I kiss and nip and lick my way down to her collarbone, pushing the fabric of her shirt aside as I go.
Katniss breaks away and tugs her shirt over her head. My eyes immediately trail down to see the tops of her breasts encased in a black bra. "Touch me, Peeta."
I do as she asks, lifting my hands up to cradle both of her breasts. I massage them gently through her bra before reaching behind her and unclasping it.
The garment falls away, revealing a pair of pert breasts and dusky nipples. She is stunning…
I don't get any further than that before coming hard, spilling into my hand as my orgasm rushes through me.
I'm hot and sweaty and by the time I've washed myself off, my body has calmed down enough for my mind to begin to race with thoughts once again.
At first, I just think of what to cook for Katniss when we have dinner, but then my mind races to the odd, retro-looking décor of her house. It's as if she hasn't changed anything in the house since moving in, preferring to keep it old and frozen in time instead of making it her own.
And her dream, that was scary. She obviously was very upset by it and didn't want to talk about it, but I really want to know what is going on with her. I just can't seem to unravel the mystery that is Katniss Everdeen.
A/N: Please let me know what you thought of the chapter. What do you think will happen next?