Just quick heads up chapters change per point of view. Reasons... Soon to be revealed ;D also anything in italics is in French you'll see why soon pinky swear.
In the year 2002 I was twenty-four years old. This is when our story begins, it began in the early summer just after I had received my masters degree back in Montana. My home, the place that birthed me, and raised me well.
I'd gotten my degree in Foreign Affairs and a minor in French. I was on a plane flying to Seattle Washington for my first real job. By real I mean not teaching kids to ride horses, or working at the local book shop.
I'd left everything back home, too much was there. Too much to remind me just how much hell my childhood had been. My town was right in the wilderness, closed off, completely isolated from the real world. That town, and everyone in it had seen my life turn to shit.
My best friend, Gale, was watching over my baby sister until I was stable enough to send for her to live with me. Though she was sixteen, I still didn't trust her alone. She was the last bit of me I had to reality.
That's all I was willing to allow myself memories of. My home was far behind me, and now I could only focus on the future. My new job and the book I was reading on the plane, were my two main focuses.
When the flight attendant announced we'd be landing I became fairly nervous. I'd never been anywhere but Montana, only once I went to Canada and that was by accident.
I looked out at my new home, rainy and probably hot as hell.
I wondered if I would truly learn to belong here, if some small town country girl would ever make it. Spoiler alert, I would make it.
I'd gotten off the plane with hassle. Other people had connecting flights and barreled right on through. I stood around like a lost puppy for a second looking for baggage claim where my new coworker would be picking me up.
I saw the sign for baggage claim and nearly bolted to it. My one huge suit case was one of the first out.
After I grabbed it I turned and looked around for my new coworker. I didn't know much about him, just that his name was Finnick, and he knew my boss better than the back of his hand.
I eventually took a seat by the baggage carousel. I took in my surroundings, and I waited for years.
I looked over and saw a man standing by the baggage claim, on his cell phone, soaking wet. I wondered who on Gods green Earth would wear a suit and walk out in this weather.
The man looked at me, squinted at my appearance, and went back to his call. I must look like an idiot.
I wore my riding boots that day, they were the most comfortable thing in my whole damned closet, ripped jeans, and a checkered button down. I couldn't have resembled my country home town more perfectly if I had, had a farmers hat and a horse between my thighs.
I suddenly felt terribly under-dressed as the man neared me.
"Are you Katniss Everdeen?" The man asked in a low, almost intentionally arousing tone.
"Yes." I responded coolly.
"Finnick Odair." He held out his dripping hand to me, "I'm your new partner."
"Pleasure." I said.
"Sorry I'm late, and wet." He laughed.
"Sorry I look like a cowgirl." I said. He laughed again.
"Where are we from? Texas?" He guessed.
"Montana." I sighed.
"Ah, well let's get you to your apartment and fixed up for the party." He said picking up my luggage.
"Party?" I asked both confused and frightened.
"Yes, you'll meet everyone in the business. You'll meet the new interns, and the boss." He said leading me to the car outside. We drove to my new apartment in the downtown area close to my new work place.
I won't lie it was one sketchy ass part of town, but I wasn't afraid. A home was a home, I was looking for convenience not luxury.
"I'll meet you back here in two hours, from there we'll go to the dinner."
"Thanks Finnick." I waved as he drove off. I walked into the building and took no time at all to get my key. Apartment number twelve, my new home. I stood outside with the rain pounding my umbrella as I fit the key into the door. The rusty wire balcony sounded like it would cave in at any moment. (Two of the stairs down to the ground were missing and I had been certain I'd die just to get to my apartment.) I got the stubborn door open and into my new home I went.
Lord Jesus, I'm glad there was no carpet or else the place would have been absolutely revolting. A sickly yellow painted the walls, crème appliances -which were out dated- looked like... Hell.
One old loveseat sat in the middle of the 'living room' with torn fabric holding on for its washed out life, a coffee table made of peeling wood that was painted white and had suffered so much over the years the chipping was more like a complete loss of a paint job, a splintering wooden bookshelf was built into the wall perpendicular to the window, and finally two doors. One led to the bedroom -the door hung solely on one hinge- the other led to the bathroom this door had no latch.
This was my new home, and the place of some of my fondest memories. I went and visited this place a couple of weeks back, the paint still remains in all its vomitous pus colored glory. The loveseat still sat frozen in time, the only signs of age were more holes, and the faded fabric from when I had lived there, that had apparently also survived over the years, was more faded and had hardly any pattern left.
The now yellowed appliances still work by some miracle. Even the window with a crack down the middle and the frighteningly unstable wire balcony remain. Something's will always be there to welcome you home, no matter how shitty.
I went to the bathroom first, unpacking everything that belonged in there. Then I discovered the infamous, Door That Could Never Close. Oh the stories I could tell just because of that damned door.
The shower curtain wasn't a shower curtain, it was drapes, no use lying about it. They were one hundred percent drapes from a child's bedroom. Or it was a shower curtain from the seventies.
The rusty trusty sink -gained its name from the fact it never stopped working the entirety of my living there- gurgled as it churned out water, but the water was clean, so I washed my face anyway. I brushed my hair and pulled it away from my face into a braid, not even daring to try the power socket with a blow dryer/hot iron of any kind.
I left to unpack the rest of my things. I had an hour and a half left to ready myself. I put all of my books on the shelf, filing it immediately. I'm kind of a book-worm okay?
With an hour left I unpacked my clothes, which were mostly new. I caved and bought myself new clothes for work, as I had zero business clothes back in Montana.
I slipped on a dress that made me feel awkward, but didn't look half bad. I didn't have much time left after dressing and getting ready. But I did get a chance to look around at the Black hole. The bed that died long ago and was never thrown away.
That bed would be the home of so many nightmares and laughs, it would absorb blood, alcohol, vomit, and even urine. You'll figure out how I know these things later.
The mattress survived all these years, I think it's a sentimental thing. The bed being there just for me on my visit, it was there to remind me, even if it's lumpy and sinks it still means something.
I took my umbrella and locked my door. Sketchy ass part of town and all I hid anything that looked relatively valuable.
I stood on the side-walk not for five seconds before I noticed that my dress was short as hell. Mid thigh in rainy weather, and things did not look to good for me.
Finnick pulled up quickly and I hopped into his car. He smiled satisfied at me, though confused I didn't dare to question it. He'd changed and wasn't... wet.
"So where are we headed?"
"Is that the restaurant or one of the workers?"
"It's the bar."
"Bar?" I asked.
"Yep, initiation begins now Everdeen."
"The whole gang will be there. And you'll have to down a whole ten beers by the end of the night to become one of us."
Oh shit... I'd never had an alcoholic drink in my entire life... Well fuck!
"That won't be a problem will it?"
I didn't mention alcohol had been the sole reason for me to hate every part of this Earth, "I lived in the state where it is legal to be drunk and still go to work. I think I'll be fine." I concluded would be the best answer.
"I'll take that." Finnick said as we pulled up to the bar. It looked packed to the brim with people. "Everyone's here. The whole office is here." He smiled, "Ready to get drunk?"
"Good." He led me into the bar. -This bar, would become my second home, the place I still visit regularly.- The bar was warm -as it still is- It didn't reek of dying liver juice. It had an upbeat fun atmosphere. It was what every home should feel like... Welcoming.
We walked in and were greeted with an uproar of cheers.
Finnick slapped some people's hands and snickered at jokes shouted at him. I try desperately to make my dress longer.
"Finn, is this your new girl? Annie will be pissed!" A stubby man walked up to us. He was balding and had an eternally smiling face.
"Yeah right, this is my new coworker. Katniss, this is Billy. The owner."
"Hi." I shook his hand.
"If you don't mind me saying, you have one fine ass."
"Thank you." I nodded subconsciously, not entirely sure if it was meant as a compliment. The man laughed heartily, wrinkling his face even more.
Finnick led me to a table of all men. "Beetee, Boggs. This is Katniss. Katniss, these two work right next to us."
"Hi." I shook their hands.
"That's Thresh, he's new like you. This is Cinna, Thresh's partner. That's Cato he was new last year, and this is your new boss Haymitch."
The forty-some-odd-year-old stood to greet me. "I'm a professional drunk by trade." He shook my hand. "You're the little cowgirl am I right?"
"I'll be expecting, to learn horse back after you've downed ten beers."
"Haymitch how much have you drank already?" Finnick inquired.
"In my life or now?"
"About six beers."
"Keep it up." Finnick gave him a thumbs up leading me to another table. "These are the fine ladies of the office, Miss. Rue who's our only intern this year, Johanna -who's a slut just saying-"
"Hey!" The multi colored haired woman pointed her beer threateningly at him.
"This is little Glimmer -who is also a slut- Clove -who could kick my ass- and Ginger who works with Boggs and Beetee every now and then."
"My name is not Ginger!" The red-head sighed.
"I totally could kick your ass." Clove snickered.
"Don't even try to say you're not a slut Glimmer. I can see every bit of skin on you." Johanna eyed Glimmer.
"I am a slut, I won't deny it." She shrugged before tipping back her beer.
"Come on Katniss," Finnick lead me to another few tables of people I would never form a close bond with before taking me to my table.
"Katniss this is where we'll sit." He gestured to a booth with a woman and man sitting opposite each other. "This is my wife Annie, she doesn't work for the corporation. And this is Peeta, he doesn't work here either but he comes to all the parties."
"Hi Annie." I shook her hand as she smiled sweetly. "Peeta?"
"Hi." The blonde took my hand in a strong grip. I took a seat with Annie as the waiter came around.
"What'll you have?"
I'd have preferred nothing, drinking made me uncomfortable, "A hurricane." I said trying not to seem like an alcoholic wimp.
"So Katniss where are you from?" Annie asked right off.
"I lived just outside Fort Peck, Montana." I said coolly.
"Where is that?"
"Far northern part of Montana, right by Canada. I'd be surprised if you've heard of it the city itself has a population of two hundred and thirty people."
"Damn." Annie laughed, "Small town."
"Oh hell yeah."
"This is going to sound bad but did you live on a farm?"
"Oh yeah, a horse farm." I smiled trying to feel comfortable.
"That's cool, so you like own horses?"
"We breed horses, and train them sometimes."
"I got a little cowgirl over here!" Finnick laughed taking a shot.
"Finnick, you still have to drive her home remember." Annie said sternly.
"I know." Finnick said, "So Katniss, you have to tell me what that shithole of an apartment complex is like, I've always passed by it but never been in it."
I wanted to answer truthfully, I wanted to say it was better than home. I wanted to say that I loved it, I wouldn't come clean until later, "I'm ninety percent sure someone moved in during the seventies, and the owners didn't notice the guy died until a few years ago."
"Awesome." Finnick proclaimed.
To me it truthfully was. I loved that little apartment and still do.
"Peeta take a shot with me." Finnick said, "We have to get your memory fuzzy my friend."
"Finn," Peeta laughed.
"What my best friend is thinking about enlisting and I want you drunk as hell!"
"Enlisting? Peeta I thought your father talked you out of it" Annie sighed in a motherly tone.
Peeta shrugged, "I just never thought about doing anything else."
"Liar! From the day you were born you've wanted to take over your family's business." Annie retaliated. "You've got so much potential to be a pediatrician like you wanted to do a few years back."
"Annie, I promise if the enlisting office doesn't take me, I'll become a pediatrician." Peeta promised stealing one of Finnick's shots and tossing it back with ease.
"That's my best friend." Finnick laughed.
My phone rang then with Madges tone. She was my best girl friend back at home. She was studying abroad in Europe for the year. It must have been eight o'clock in the morning her time.
"Hello." I picked up, figuring Annie and Finnick were still talking to Peeta.
"Hey Kat!" Leave it to Madge to put a smile on your face through the phone.
"Paris is awesome! How's the new job?"
"I'm at a bar in Seattle. How well do you think it's going?"
"Damn you're drinking!?"
"Not really" I said the moment my drink landed in front of me.
"Don't get too crazy... Are there any cute boys?"
"What? I've never been to Seattle."
I sighed "Yep"
Madge was laughing uncontrollably from the other side of the phone "God I miss you."
"Miss you too."
"Hey, we should plan a meet up."
"For your Christmas break?"
"Yeah you could fly back to Montana for a week. It will be awesome."
"Christmas will be just like the old days." Though I knew the holidays would never be the same. Not since all those things happened... Plus that Christmas, something would change me, and my whole town forever.
"I'll talk to you later okay? I'm at a party and have to down ten beers."
"Bye!" I hung up the phone and laughed to myself before looking at the other people around the table. Faces contorted with confusion stared at me. "French was my minor." I said.
"You're bilingual?" Finnick asked.
"Yeah." I said.
"Who was that?" Annie asked.
"A friend of mine, she's studying abroad right now."
"All over Europe really." I responded as the blonde boy looked at me intently.
"Finn! Annie come over here real quick!" I think Johanna had called out.
"Sorry, be back soon okay?" Annie said politely as Finnick shoved his way through the crowd.
I swirled my drink afraid to try liquor for the first time.
"Sorry about my friend. He thinks he's the best thing to walk this Earth since Jesus Christ himself."
I nodded, "So what branch of the military are you joining?"
"Infantry. Hopefully I'll get into training by next year."
"It takes a long time." He laughed.
"Well... Just know, I think it's brave, to want that kind of life." I said this because of Gale. He'd wanted to be part of the military way back when, but he was denied for some stupid reason like hereditary illness. I told him the same thing that I told Peeta.
Annie slid in beside me and started to conversation right off again, "So Katniss, tell us about yourself."
"Family is always a good place to start." But with me that was the opposite. My family was full of crazies. Mostly unresolved emotions, and inner demons I didn't think I'd ever face. My family had a messy past, and asking about them was like a punch to the gut.
I chuckled slightly taking my first sip of alcohol ever. It was sweet and not half bad. "I don't feel like frightening you good people just yet." I took another sip of the sweet red drink.
"Secrets don't last long around here." Finnick smirked.
I simply shrugged in response, "Too bad." Finnick acquired a glint in his eye that yearned for discovery.
Yet the boy opposite me tried to read me. He looked into my face, searching for answers I'd planned on never giving. His curiosity would be my downfall.
"Katniss." Finnick pointed behind me. Looking back I saw the faces of my coworkers. My new boss and some of my coworkers I mentioned earlier held out ten beers.
Lord Jesus, was I fucked up the ass.
"You ready sweetheart?" My new boss asked.
"Sure," I responded, though I was anything but.
All ten beers were placed in front of me. As everyone gathered around. After just one beer I felt like throwing up every organ in my whole body. It almost hurt to drink it, and it made my heart hurt.
I wondered if my dad was watching me, and what he would think... But then I'd cry so I stopped thinking that.
Once the fourth beer was down, I felt intoxication take over. I was loopy, and my blood was relaxing my muscles.
After my eighth beer, I thought it wasn't so bad. I thought the taste was lost on my tongue. I then realized I must have been drunk because I thought beer turned off my taste buds.
I had actually done it. I had successfully chugged ten beers.
"Damn girl! That hasn't happened since I was new seven fucking years ago!" Johanna was laughing. Everyone congratulated me and welcomed me warmly. However, I was so fucking wasted when I tried to high-five someone I slapped myself.
"Are you okay?" Annie asked me.
"Did-... Did I... Did I ever tell you... That I've never drank alcohol until this moment?" I stuttered and watched in amusement as the room orbited me.
"A first timer?" One of the men... Who I'll be honest I was too drunk to remember the name of asked.
Annie put her hand on my fore arm, "Let's get you home yeah?"
My phone rang again at that moment, "Yellow?"
"Catnip, Madge told me you're at a bar." Gale and Madge were engaged at the time. He was taking care of my little sister, and planning a wedding. What a woman.
"Hey man what's... What is happening dude?"
"Catnip, give the phone to someone who is not alcoholically impaired." He sighed.
I just laughed, "Yeah man, you should meet my new friends... They think I'm hilarious!... They had me drink ten bears... I mean beers... I'm funny..." Then thunder crashed outside. "I think cats are falling from the sky... Meow... Meow..." I then smacked Annie's ear with my phone.
"Hello?... Yeah I'm going to take her home right now... Alright... Who?... She'll be fine... I'm Annie... I'll take care of her... Thanks Gale... Bye." Annie stood up and pulled me with her, "Peeta make sure Finnick keeps all his clothes on until I get back." Annie asked.
"Got it." He said before Annie led me to the car Finnick had driven me in.
"Katniss, who's Prim?" She asked softly.
I answered with a spacey, "Flowers... Flowers..."
"Um... Okay... Who's Gale then?"
"Wind. Like. Like the wind." I then blew air out and Annie simply nodded.
"Keep a secret for me. I don't drink because no good comes from drinking." At that point words just fell out of my mouth.
"Huh?" She asked.
"Alcohol, broke my family." Then I laughed my ass off. Why? To hell if I know.
"I'm so sorry." Annie said.
"Beer tastes like shit anyway."
"I'll talk to Finn later."
"It's cool man, it's cool..." We pulled up to my apartment complex.
"Will you be okay?" She asked me as I stumbled may way on to the side-walk. I'll be fine I thought of saying, I didn't say it though.
I got into my apartment, miraculously locked it, and somehow showered completely. After that things kind of went down hill though. I picked up my phone to see Annie had put her number in. After that strenuous activity I climbed into the hole, still naked and soaking wet.
That's how I learned about the absorbing power of the hole. As my body sunk deeper and deeper into the corpse of the mattress, I felt the water seep into it.
At about two in the morning I'd pissed myself. I was too fatigued to move, my muscles hurt, my head throbbed, and finally I vomited in bed before falling asleep.
When eight o'clock rolled around and my alarm went off my bed was both dry and showed no indication of the last nights occurrences.