A/N This story is a sequel to "Violets in the Mountains," which ended in August of 1992. The sequel begins almost a year later.


May, 1993

Katniss had to stop doing this to herself.

Why was it that all it took were a few drinks for every reserve, every wall she had built up to come crashing down. She had become the easiest date ever.

Which was really a joke, since she didn't actually date.

This was the third drunken hook-up she'd had this semester, and she knew better. She knew better than to do this to herself. All it had taken was going out with Jo and her friend Chris. Chris wasn't even that cute, and he barely said a word all night.

But he was blonde and muscular, and after enough drinks, Katniss could just pretend that his eyes were blue.

When the two crashed onto her bed later that night, Katniss kept her eyes closed and actively pretended Chris was someone else. As he squeezed (too hard) at her nipple and fumbled (awkwardly) with her zipper, Katniss just focused on the blood rushing through her body, the nerves firing, bringing her release, making her gasp and shudder to a hard finish.

Who cared if, in the end, it was her own fingers and not his who brought about her release? Chris wasn't really a factor in this equation anyway. He was just a catalyst.

Unfortunately, Chris stayed the night. She woke to him in her bed, an arm draped across her waist. She shimmied out from under him and trudged to the bathroom. Aspirin and about a gallon of water were her first priorities.

After she had showered and dressed, she finally returned to her room. He was awake, propped up on her pillows and waiting for her.

"Hey," he said with a half-smile on his face. He ran his hand over the empty spot next to him. "You coming back to bed?"

She grimaced. "Uh, no," she said. "I . . . uh . . . have stuff to do today." She watched his face fall. "I mean, this morning. I'm driving up to Ellijay to see my sister." She shrugged. "I'm sorry."

She felt bad as hope and understanding bloomed in his face.

"I understand!" he said with too much enthusiasm.

"I'll make some coffee," she said, turning so she could avoid seeing him get up from the bed. She was pretty sure he was still naked, and she did not want to see it.

She was waiting on the coffee to finish when he came (dressed) into the kitchen. She leaned back against the counter and gave her best objectively passive stare as he approached her.

"I had fun last night," he said.

Katniss had perfected her response to this morning-after statement, so she busied herself at the counter by leaning over the toaster and merely said, "Yeah? That's good."

For a split second, his face crinkled in a confused expression. But then it relaxed into a smile – as if he had convinced himself that he had misunderstood her intentions.

"When can I see you again?" he asked in a low voice, leaning towards her.

She straightened up and moved towards the coffee pot, throwing him off balance and sending the confused expression back to his face.

"I'm crazy busy for the next few weeks," she said, pouring a cup and bringing it to her lips immediately. The coffee burned her tongue, but she swallowed a gulp down anyway, concentrating on the feel of it as it raced down her throat and into her stomach.

She turned back to Chris, who had backed off a few steps. "But I'll get your number from Jo and call you when things settle down."

A mask had fallen over his face. He understood.

"Would you like a cup of coffee before you go?"

She wasn't surprised when he declined the offer. He was gone in less than a minute's time.


A/N I hope you enjoyed this first chapter! It's really just a teaser. The next chapter will be published this Friday afternoon, and I'll update every Friday after that.

Thanks so much to BohemianRider for her beta skills and SunfishDunes for her help with delayed gratification.