I don't own anything except an embarrassing amount of free time. Characters Belong to Suzanne Collins, I just like to play puppet master. Sorry if it sucks, I tried my best.
Legs. Of all the welcome home surprises my idiot brothers could have done they decided a strip club called legs was appropriate. It wouldn't be so bad if I did in fact have legs, which I do not. I have 1 leg and 1 piece of plastic coated titanium.
"Dude!" My brother Pacers voice snaps me back to reality from my self-loathing. "How are you in a room full of hot half naked chicks and still all mopey, shit I'd think you'd be happy your home at least."
"Pacer... You brought me to fucking place called legs..." I seethe. "Just how happy can you expect a one legged man to be here?"
Pacer visibly pales, "Shit man, I'm sorry I just wanted to show you a good time. It was either here or Crays Cabaret, last time I went in there I swear I saw grandma on stage." Pacer shivers from the memory and the mental image makes me want to vomit. "Don't know about you Peeta my man but I don't order from the seniors menu." I muster up a grin for him as the waitress begins distributing drinks among our rather large group.
"I am happy to be home Pacer, and I appreciate the warm welcome, I guess it's just gonna take some time getting use to this life again." Pacer gives me a sad smile, "You'll get there Peeta" He says as the waitress sets down his drink, up until now I hadn't paid much attention to her.
"Peeta?" The woman says "Peeta Mellark?" At this I look up into the same beautiful silver eyes I've been trying to forget for almost two years now.
"Katniss." I breathe out, "H-H-How are you?" I manage stuttering like the lovesick puppy I am. I disgust myself.
She grins "I'm alright. Welcome home, I heard you were coming back! Is this your welcome home party?" At this I'm shocked I've known this girl my entire life and have never heard her speak this much to me willingly, well, except for that day. I get excited for a minute thinking maybe she has noticed me; maybe she was upset when I left and is genuinely happy I'm back. Then I think about graduation the day I was finally going to tell her I love her, and how happy she looked when he kissed her and swung her around. Nope this isn't about me, this is her job, to be friendly and make tips.
"Uhm yeah actually. I didn't expect to see you here." I tell her, she responds with a sad smile and "Yeah, you and me both."
"Well thanks for the drink." I say effectively dismissing her. For a moment I think I see something flash in her eyes, rejection? Regret? Disappointment? I can't be sure because it's gone in a heartbeat replaced by the fake carefree smile as she moves on to the other patrons.
By the time she makes her rounds and back to check on our group I've had a good 30 minutes of hating myself even more for being so short with her. After all it isn't fair to be a dick to her for loving Gale, I know better than anyone you can't help who you love. So when she brings my drink this time I take the initiative with small talk asking after her family and what's new around town. This time when she walks away I don't feel like such a jerk. That is until I feel the weight of a body over mine.
A pretty woman with short brown hair and an intense brown state looks seductively at me with a very mischievous grin. "Hey there blue eyes, enjoying the show?" She enquires moving her scantily clad body skillfully over mine. I consider denying the lap dance but I'm sure that'll just get Pacer all sentimental again. So instead I decide to engage this woman in conversation, I honestly have no interest in getting a boner in the middle of this club.
"Oh yeah nothing better than getting together with guys to go get sexually frustrated." I tell her, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
She grins "What's wrong with a little frustration" She purrs slowly grinding against me as she drawls out the last word. That is about all I can handle, I need to get this woman off me before I get really uncomfortable.
"What's your name?" I inquire. I guess this isn't a common question as she stalls her movements momentarily. "It's Joey, how 'bout you hot stuff"
"Peeta" I tell her, "Like the bread?" she asks. Always the same fucking response. "No, but close enough" I respond. "Listen Joey, How would you like to make an easy $200" She stills completely and quirks an eyebrow. "Wow bread boy I didn't take you for that type, especially since I can't even get a twitch from you, no offence but I thought you were gay. I mean, I'm smoking hot and topless." She says with an easy grin. "But I'm afraid I'm not a whore, I just move like one." She adds, continuing her dance. "You are hot I'll give you that and I'm not gay, but I wasn't asking for that." I tell her then discretely point toward my eldest brother Phoenix, "See that guy? You take this show over there and I'll pay you $200" She nods and replies "Cash first." She gets off me and I retrieve my wallet and fork over the money.
I didn't have much to do with my paychecks in Iraq so it's accumulated to quite a nice sum of money. Now that I'm home I'll still get some benefits from the military for my leg, but alot less than my pay was so it will come in handy having a large nest egg. I need to find my own place; very soon, I cannot handle living with my mother again. I make that my mission for the following day. I begin listing all the furnishings I'll need in my head when Katniss breaks me from my thoughts with another beer.
"So are you home for good now?" She asks tentatively and I nod "Where are you staying?" She ventures.
"With my folks till I find something else, I'm going to start looking tomorrow." She bites her lip as though she's trying to prevent the words from coming out.
"My neighbor is looking for a roommate, I could give him your number if you want."
Wow living next door to Katniss Everdeen...tempting. Living next door to Katniss and Gale...not so much. My face must've betrayed my disinterest of listening to them moan over each other every night, she must have thought it was the idea of a roommate that caused my discomfort because she smiled and said, "I know roommates usually suck, but Finnick isn't too bad, he keeps the place clean and the parties to the weekends."
"Finnick Odair?" I ask and she nods
"You were in varsity football with him in 10th, right?" she asks. I grin, Finnick is a wild man, I went to more parties courtesy of Finn my sophomore year than the rest of my high school years combined. We're talking outrageous parties, as long as Finnick kept up with school his parents lavished him in whatever he wanted, it was easier than to actually set aside time from their posh lives. Having a large stature got me on varsity quick, but I think what really did it were Phoenix and Pacers' reputations as football gods that really cemented my spot.
"Yeah I was, where is the house? I'd kinda like to stick close to Dads Cafe; I'm going back to work there after I get settled."
"It's about a 15 minute walk, if you have a car it's only about 5." She responds while clearing the empty bottles from our table.
"Doesn't sound too terrible, Finnick was always...entertaining. Why not, can't hurt to look right?" I jot my number down on a cocktail napkin and hand to her, our fingers brush and she stills, our fingers still touching then says in cocky voice, "You know you never made good on that dinner invitation."
She must see my confusion, she blushes slightly continuing, "Uhm, in 8th grade you asked me to dinner but I couldn't date."
I remember now, she had told me her fathers rule 'can't date till you graduate' so I told her that I would take her out to the best dinner ever once we graduated to make up for all the dates she missed. She had given me the most radiant smile I'd ever seen, kissed me on the cheek and ran off. But of course fucking Gale Hawthorne got her first.
"Oh yeah, I do owe you the worlds best date don't I?"
She grins and nods, "I believe you do Mr. Mellark." Is she hitting on me?
"How would Hawthorne feel about me taking you out?" With that loaded question her easy smile drops and I can see her jaw tense as she grinds her teeth.
"It's none of his fucking business." She seethes through her teeth, almost like the thought of him makes her want to spontaneously combust."If you'll excuse me I've got a few tables to check on. I'll have Finn call you." And with that she walks away.
I decide I have done enough damage for the evening and stayed long enough to use jet lag as an excuse. I roll up a hundred dollar bill just loose enough so I can stick it in the neck of my empty bottle without it falling all the way through and make my way home.