Hello peoples! I am back! :) I want you guys to all know that I am EXTREMLY thankful for all of the reviews that you guys gave me, not to mention the follows and favorites...it means a LOT to me. ;) It makes me want to write more, and it also makes me totally thankful for what I have...! Anyways, I had a little fun writing this chapter and I hope you guys will like this installment! Quick thing: I KNOW THAT I HAVE MENTIONED THIS JUST ABOUT TEN MILLION TIMES BUT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BEAR WITH ME! Okay, did I get your attention? Thank you. Um, so I'm sorry if you guys are reading this for the ten millionth time...but I really want you guys to listen to the song 'Echo' by Jason Walker and tell me what you think of it...I know what you're thinking: "PLEASE, KATIEROSEFUN, SHUT UP ABOUT THAT SONG!" But please, I WILL NOT STOP BOTHERING YOU GUYS ABOUT IT UNTIL YOU GUYS WRITE HOW YOU THOUGHT OF IT BECUASE THIS SONG ISN'T THAT FAMOUS AND THAT SUCKS AND I REALLY WANT MORE PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO IT! PLEASE! Ok, freaky Katierosefun is gone now. You guys can come out from the hidey-holes while I was screaming...! -_-" Anyways...Enjoy!
"Hey." I say softly, tugging Katniss' braid when she sat down. Katniss flashed a smile at me and Gale came up from behind her.
He narrowed his eyes at me and then says, "What are you doing here?" I bit my lip and thought of saying something smarmy along the lines of, "What's the matter with me being here?" Instead, Katniss jumped in.
"Gale, don't be so rude." She said coldly.
"Who said I was being rude?" Gale snapped. Katniss rolled her eyes and whispers in a loud voice, "Don't mind him. He's just being a jerk."
Gale harrumphed and sat down across from me, next to Katniss.
"What's up?" I ask lightly, eating my lunch. "Everything is fine." Gale says shortly. Katniss shot a glare at him and then turns back to me.
"I can't believe that our project is due five days away from now." She says unhappily, poking at her food.
"We'll just have to work harder on it." I say kindly and Gale looks over at me stiffly. "You two shouldn't be complaining." He says gruffly. "I have to work on the project alone, remember?"
Katniss sighed. "But you're GOOD at projects…I'm pretty messy." She wrinkled her nose and I laughed. "You still have me." I say, smirking. Katniss grins. "That's a definite plus." She said softly.
I beamed at her but my smile faltered as I caught sight of Gale scowling at me. "Right." I cleared my throat and turned my attention back to lunch.
"So…anything new since I was gone?" Gale asked innocently. I raised an eyebrow at him. He narrowed his eyes at me and I winced.
Katniss, completely oblivious to all of this, says, "Besides everything that I told you? Erm…don't think so." Then, she brightened up. "Well, we met Finnick." She says. Gale turns away from me and asks, "Who's Finnick?"
I snorted and threw out my lunch.
"According to all the girls in the upper grades, he's only the greatest guy in the world…" I muttered and Gale actually looked at me sympathetically.
Katniss blushed and stuttered, "No! I don't mean it like that! Jeez…besides, he said that he leaves girls who are…" She cleared her throat and looked down at her tray.
"I'm starving." She murmurs and digs into her meal, avoiding eye contact with Gale and me.
I felt a familiar stab of guilt as Gale looked at her painfully. I already knew what she was going to say, of course, and I wouldn't have minded her saying it…except Gale was right there.
"Hurry up, Katniss." I say to break the silence between us. "We've only got two minutes left of lunch."
I kept my tone light and friendly, but I could already sense that the uneasiness was still settling amongst us.
"Thanks, Peeta." Katniss responded and I pretended to examine the clock. Gale cleared his throat and then muttered something along the lines of, "I have to go to the bathroom."
He stood up and walked away before we could stop him.
Katniss bit her lip and watched him leave. "I shouldn't have said that…" She whispered. I sighed. "It's not your fault, Katniss." I say softly.
She swallowed and wrinkled her brow. "It's just…everything's mixed up, you know?" She says. "Ever since…well, the beginning of the school year…Gale has been acting…funny." She sighed and threw out her lunch as the bell rang.
"Give him some time." I say reassuringly. "He'll come back around." Katniss nodded and gave me a small smile. "Thanks, Peeta." She says quietly and I gave her shoulder a squeeze. "No problem." I replied and we departed for our lockers.
"The Boston Tea Tax was an important role on the causes of the American Revolution, right?" I ask Katniss when we walked into my house.
Katniss nodded and searched through her bag for her notes.
It's been the third day that Katniss has come to my house for our project, and we would have walked over to her house today, but since Gale was there…it would be dangerous.
"I've got the poster board for our project." Katniss says and waves the thick, Styrofoam block of white around my face. I nodded and we walked into my bedroom.
"I cranked up a couple of pages on the causes of the American Revolution last night." I said and started up my computer. Katniss nodded. "That's impressive." She says and I managed to crack a smile at her.
"So…let's see it." She said and leaned over my shoulder.
I closed my eyes for a minute, savoring the feeling of her breath against my neck. It tickled and I felt exhilaration rushing towards me.
I opened my eyes and chided to myself for being distracted.
Katniss let out a low whistle as she read my paragraphs. "Impressive, Peeta, but I think I can make some corrections." She says and pushes me out of the chair teasingly.
I grinned and watched her slender fingers tap the keys quickly. "There." She says triumphantly after a couple of minutes. "It looks much better."
I read it over and smiled. "Well, it definitely does." I complimented and she leapt out of the chair. I set the documents to print while I searched for pencils and paint brushes to begin working on our poster with.
"I'm thinking of painting the entire poster board as the United States of America's flag." I say, concentrating on choosing the right paint. Katniss murmured in agreement. "That would definitely be impressive." She says.
I finally chose out the right shade of red and blue and began to pick out a thick-haired paint brush. "You want me to help?" Katniss asked and I nodded.
I put a paintbrush in her hand and she dipped it in the blue paint, carefully mimicking my strokes to make a strip of blue across the board.
"You're putting too much pressure on the brush." I say softly and gently led her hand over the board. Katniss smiled faintly at me and whispered, "Thanks."
I felt my face flush and managed to smile back at her. "You're welcome." I whispered back.
I jumped as Kaden strolled into my bedroom. He grinned when he looked over our work so far.
"How's it going?" Kaden asked casually and Katniss shrugged. "We're definitely ahead of schedule." I replied. "We might actually be done within a couple of days." Kaden nodded and then says, "I'm sure that the project will come out great." Katniss smiled warmly at the compliment.
"So what's new?" I asked, focusing on painting another stripe of red. "Nothing much." Kaden says, tossing a ball in the air. "I'm just bored." I put down my paintbrush. "You two wanna go hang outside for a little bit?" He asks. I narrowed my eyes at him.
"Kaden, come on, we're busy." I protested. Kaden made a little whimpering noise and said, "Peeta, think about all of the times I helped you out." His eyes flicked over to Katniss and I felt my cheeks turn red.
I sighed and turned to Katniss.
"Do you like to run?"
It turns out, Katniss likes to run.
She just about kicked Kaden's butt at mostly every sport that we tried to play and at last, Kaden sat down, exhausted.
"How about…a friendly game…of hide-and-go-seek instead?" He asked, panting.
Katniss smirked. "Whatever. Try to keep on your toes." She says, putting her hands on her hips. We burst out laughing until the back door slid open and a blond hair popped out at us.
Katniss raised an eyebrow and then says, "Prim, what are you doing here?" I startled and turned. "I'm just here to ask when you're going to come home." Prim says cheerfully and Katniss crossed her arms.
"You do realize that you could have just called me on my phone, right?" She says, narrowing her eyes at her. Prim shrugged and walked towards us, bouncing at each step. "You never pick up." Prim says easily. Then, her eyes brightened. "I overheard that you guys were going to play hide-and-go-seek!" She exclaims. Katniss sighed. "Prim, why can't you just go bother Rory or something?" She asks tiredly.
Prim pouted. "Rory is at baseball practice." She says pointedly and Katniss sighed. She turned to Kaden, who shrugged.
"If she's as quick as you, then we won't have much of a problem." Kaden said. Prim leapt up, clapping her hands.
"Great!" She says happily. "Should we get into teams?" Kaden raised an eyebrow and cleared his throat. "Sure…um, Prim, you'll be paired up with Peeta…and I'll be with Katniss for this one." He says. I mentally groaned, but Kaden shot me a glare.
"I think we both deserve to have a quick runner on each team." Kaden says. I raised my hands in protest. "I'm pretty fast!" I say defensively. Kaden rolled his eyes and I relented. "Fine." I muttered and turned back to Prim, who gave me a bright smile.
"We'll seek." She says and Katniss nodded. I watched Kaden and Katniss run off and sighed. "We'll be counting to twenty!" Prim calls after them.
I closed my eyes and Prim began shouting out the numbers by order.
"…eighteen, nineteen, twenty! Ready or not, here we come!" Prim finally yelled and she nudged me.
"I'll go search for Kaden, you go look for your girlfriend." She says quickly and I nodded. Only a second later do I skid to a stop and yelled at her, "Wait, Prim, she's not my…" I let my sentence drift and shook my head.
"What the hell." I muttered and ran off.
I ran around the yard, searching for any nooks and crannies that Katniss might be able to hide in. I thought I saw her in the garage, but when I checked, she wasn't there.
I sighed and ran back outside.
"I found you!" I heard Prim squeal, followed by Kaden's grumbling about having a twelve year old girl find him.
I smirked at his direction and turned my attention back to finding Katniss.
I sat down on the ground, contemplating on where to find her when a leaf drifted down my shoulder and I looked up to find Katniss sitting on top of a branch.
I smiled and stood up.
"I found you." I say and clambered up the tree with her.
"I was wondering how long it would take you." Katniss says, poking my shoulder playfully.
"No one bothers to look up, to tell you the truth." I admitted and Katniss nodded in agreement. "So, what's with Rory and Prim?" I asked. "Who's Rory, anyways?" Katniss bit her lip and then she mumbled, "Rory is Gale's younger brother…and Prim is sort of…dating him…"
I let it sink in and then nodded. "Well, that must…feel a little awkward." I say stiffly and Katniss' lips twitched into a smile.
"I'm happy for the two of them, though." She says softly. "It just doesn't always help with…Gale around." I sighed and climbed down the tree, Katniss following me.
"What's wrong?" Katniss asked me as I sat down on the ground. I looked up at her and tore at a clump of grass surrounding my feet.
"Can we just…forget about Gale for a second?" I asked and flinched at the notes of annoyance in my voice. I couldn't help it any longer.
"I just want to…believe that you're mine just for a while…without worrying about Gale…" I said a bit quieter. "I know that Gale means a lot to you…but if it hurts this much…then I'm not going to bother having…you…" I finished and looked back down at my legs.
I heard Katniss sigh and then she sat down next to me. Her fingers entwined with mine and she says, "I'm sorry, Peeta. I hate this as much as you do…but can you please hang on for a little longer? At least, until we can figure this all out? I'm sorry that I have to ask you to wait, but…just please wait for me."
I looked up at her, at her grey, intense eyes that were staring right into my blue ones.
"I'll wait." I said in a small voice and Katniss gave me a faint smile.
"Thank you, Peeta." She whispered.
A/N: Please review! Pretty please! I know that I'm saying 'please' a lot in the author notes...but please...? :)