The time has come. This will be the last chapter for this story. It is picking up right where the last chapter ended. However this will be extremely long! Also, Julia J, I don't have an Instagram but if you want to give me a shout or whatever. I am completely okay with that, and I'm very flattered that you think that highly of my story to do that! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Now enjoy chapter 35 and then please leave a nice review! Thanks again!
I walk behind the other houses until I get out of sight of our house. It feels so good to be out of bed and doing something other than waiting. I just hope Peeta doesn't get mad when he finds out I broke out from my home arrest.
I walk to town slowly trying to make this walk last as long as possible. There aren't many people in town this morning which I am thankful for. The people of 12 like to talk and me walking around alone so close to my due date would sure spark some, and would get back to Peeta quickly. I avoid the center of town, and the anywhere within three hundred feet of the bakery. Just as I am about to turn back home I make the decision to walk some more. My back and feet don't hurt yet so why not. I end up walking through what once was the seam. Not many people moved back there. Most live in smaller houses close to town, but some older people came back and built small houses. Much nicer than what they had before, but still nothing like our house in Victor's Village.
I'm not paying attention to where I am going and somehow end up at my old house. There is nothing but a slab of concert. There was never I reason to rebuild, and no one has developed there. So it remains flat. No more a shack filled with starving children. No more anything. Just an old faded memory. I step up on the lot to where the kitchen use to be. It looks so small without the four walls and anything that made it a decent shelter. It might have been a shack, but it will still be the place I call home. The only place my childhood was even somewhat happy. The last place my family was whole.
I can feel the tears threatening to fall so I quickly turn away and head back home. I am so caught up in my thoughts I nearly bump into someone. "Sorry I di-," I say but stop short. It's Gale. I haven't talked to him since we met at the bakery. I didn't even know he was still here. I wrap my arm around my stomach. I still don't trust him. He notices my discomfort and takes about two steps back.
"Where's the rest of the family," he asks.
"They're at the bakery. I just went for a walk by myself. Peeta has been making sure I don't do anything to straining like walking," I huff.
"Well you do look like you're near the end. How much longer do you have?"
"Actually I am due any day now so I should be getting home," I say.
"Alright bye Katniss," he says and walks away. As turn to walk the rest of the way home I feel my stomach go hard and severe cramping in my lower back. This has to be it. This isn't false pains. I breathe deeply through my nose and out through my mouth. I try to take a step but end up letting out a strangled cry instead. I start to lose my balance, but someone catches me. I steady myself and look up at Gale. I could really care less about what he did. I just need some help. He holds me up until the pain finally subsides and I balance myself back on my own two feet. "Thanks, I think I am in labor," I say.
"Are you okay? What do you want me to do?" He asks in a panic.
"Just help me walk home," I say.
We don't talk until another round of pain hits me right before we walk up the front steps of my house. I stop again and quickly reach out for his arm to steady myself. Once the pain goes away we walk inside. I go to the office and sit down in the big chair. First I call Peeta.
"Hello?" He answers.
"Peeta, come home now I'm in labor," I say this is the line goes dead. I guess he just hung up on me. Not like I had much else to say. I then call Haymitch. Meanwhile Gale just stands in the doorway just waiting for me to instruct him on what to do. Haymitch finally picks up.
"Haymitch I'm in labor come over," I say.
"Are you alone Sweetheart?" He asks.
"No, just get over here," I say and hang up. Lastly I call my mother. Thankfully she was on a break from her shift at the hospital and is already on her way here.
I move to the living room and lay down on the couch. Gale sits in the arm chair in the corner. Haymitch burst through the front door and comes bounding into the living room. "Hey sweetheart," he says but stops short once he sees Gale. "Well hello Gale," he says.
"Haymitch," he says and stands up making his way out of the living room.
"Gale," I call before he can actually leave. He walks back into the living room. "Thank you," I say.
He nods, "Welcome Katniss," is all he says before walking out the front door. Haymitch raises his eyebrows at me and I just shake my head.
"I went for a walk and the contractions started half-way home. Gale walked me home and wanted to stay until someone was here with me," I say. "Now help me up to bed," I order and Haymitch comes over and hoist me up. I prepare for a comment about my weight, but nothing comes out. He guides me up–stairs to bed. I sit with my back against the head board and just as Haymitch leaves to go down stairs Peeta rushes over to my side quickly followed my Willow. "How are you feeling?" He asks and the two of them sit down next to me.
"Fine for now my water didn't break yet. I called my mom she will be here soon. My contractions are about ten minutes apart. I should have one soon," just as I get my last sentence out the pain takes over and this one is more intense than the last radiating down from the top of stomach to the bottom and into my lower back. I take Peeta's hand in a death grip. Haymitch quickly takes Willow out of the room. I don't want her to actually see me in this much pain. Once it passes Peeta pulls out some of my big and comfy pajamas. "Thanks, but I think I'll wait for a little bit," I say and Peeta sits back down on the bed.
"Why was Gale here," he asks.
"Well I went for a walk after you left and ran into him on the way home. That's when the first contraction happened so he helped me home. He left once Haymitch got here," I answer and he doesn't ask for anything else.
I have one more contraction before my mom shows up. My water breaks and she says that I am four centimeters dilated. While I take a shower my mother puts a new pair of sheets on the bed. Peeta helps me get dressed and then I climb back in bed. Three more hours of painful contractions and crushing Peeta's hand and my mom says I have only about an hour before I can push. This labor is going much faster than my last.
"How are you doing," Peeta asks stroking my hair.
"I could use a nap, but that won't happen," I mumble.
"I know, but you are doing so well. I love you, Katniss," he says and gives me a kiss on the forehead.
"I love you too, Peeta."
My mother comes in not even twenty minutes later. "Well it looks like you are ready to push now. You ready for a baby?" she ask putting on some rubber gloves and setting out of the tools she will need for later. Including a light blue blanket and hat I don't think much about it because the next contraction comes and is the worst one yet. I feel like I am being cut in half. I have spots in my vision, but when I hear my mom say push I push as hard as I can. I push every time with all my strength. Peeta never lets go of my hand. He hasn't left my side all day and I can't ever imagine doing this with anyone but him.
"I can see the head," my mother says. "One more push Katniss."
When the contraction starts I push away all my thoughts about being tired and exhausted and think about seeing my baby. I dig down deep and then I feel a release. At first there is nothing, but silence. Then I hear the cries of our baby. "A perfect little boy," I hear my mom say.
She places him on chest while Peeta cuts the umbilical cord. He is perfect. He has little white fuzz on his head no doubt Peeta's blonde hair. He is bigger than Willow was, but still so perfect. His cries aren't harsh, but more of a softer tone. My mom takes him off my chest to clean him up and make sure all his vital signs are normal.
Peeta readjust the pillows so I can sit up. "You did so well," he says.
"Thank you Peeta he is perfect," I say and give him a gentle kiss.
My mother brings our baby back and hands him to me swaddled in the light blue blanket. She must have known it was a boy the whole time. "I will be downstairs if you need me," my mother says.
"Thank you Lily for everything," Peeta says.
"It was my pleasure," my mother answers before exiting the room.
Once I have Rye in my arms his whimpering stops and he snuggles into my chest. "Well he knows who his mama is," Peeta says and gently touches his cheek. "What are we going to name him," he asks.
I have to tear my eyes away from him and look up at Peeta. "I think you already have a name," I grin.
"Yeah I do. Rye Jackson Mellark," he says and his grin turns into the brightest smile I have ever seen.
"This is little Rye. Our perfect Rye," I say and gently kiss his forehead. "Now it's time for daddy to hold our little boy."
I gently transfer him into Peeta strong arms. I can now get a good look at Peeta and Rye side by side, and I can tell that Rye favors Peeta considerably. Rye has the same jaw line, same hair, and his nose is the same as Peeta's. The only thing uncertain is his eyes.
"Hey there buddy. I'm your daddy," he whispers and Rye slowly opens his eyes. They aren't the piercing bright blue like Willow's and Peeta's. They are the seam gray, the color of the clouds before a storm; they are exactly like my own. Peeta now has tears streaming down his face. "Thank you Katniss. Thank you for giving me the family I would always dream about. Thank you for loving me," he says with the most sincere gaze I have ever seen. I am speechless. I have nothing to say back to that. I say the first thing that comes to mind.
"I couldn't imagine it any other way, Peeta."
Rye starts to quietly cry and I can tell he is hungry. Everything is so natural from caring for Willow that breastfeeding him is a breeze. I can tell he is going to be a very easy baby. I rock him to sleep and we both just sit on the bed and gaze down at him.
A couple minutes later I send Peeta to go fetch Willow. Peeta comes back in holding Willow's hand. They both sit next to me and Rye. Willow just stares at him like he might disappear at any moment. She looks up at me with her brow furrowed. "Is this the baby?" She asks.
I can't help but let out a little laugh. "Yes Willow this is you little brother Rye," I say and her eyes grow wide.
"I have a brother to play with now!" She chirps and smiles a big toothy grin.
"Yes when he gets older you can play with him all the time," Peeta says. "Do want to hold him?" He asks and she nods excitedly. Peeta moves so that Willow is sitting in between his legs. He places a pillow in her lap and then carefully takes Rye in his arms. He adjusts into position so her arms will be supporting his head, and then smoothly lays Rye in her tiny arms. Peeta keeps his hands close just in case she has some trouble. She looks at him with nothing but love. I was worried how she would react to seeing him for the first time, but so far all my worries have melted away. Willow is going to be a great big sister.
She holds him until he starts to cry. Peeta takes him in his arms and soothes his crying. Once Rye has calmed down he lays him in the small bassinet next to our bed. He calls in Haymitch and so he can take Willow down stairs, but not before saying, "Good job sweetheart."
Peeta helps me get out of bed and slowly make my way to the bathroom. I quickly wash off in the shower and change into some other pajamas. I am very sore and putting on my pants is almost too much. I shuffle back towards bed while Peeta gently rocks Rye in his arms. "You mom is taking care of Willow tonight and will be in her guest room down the hall," he says and hands me Rye.
"Thank goodness, because tonight is going to be a long one," I say and sit back down in bed. Peeta joins me and we both stare at Rye some more. Rye just stares back at the two of us. It seems like he is studying our faces. Peeta gently taps the back of Rye's hand and when he opens up his tiny hand and takes hold of Peeta's finger. "I guess I will be painting a forest scene in his nursery," Peeta says. I knew he already painted the other three walls the light green with the paint he ordered from the Capitol, but the mural was still to be determined.
"Yeah I guess so. I have a really good spot too. We could go out there one day next week. I should be feeling better by then, and it wouldn't take that long," I say. Peeta nods his head in agreement. Rye has fallen asleep still clutching Peeta's finger.
"How about I put him the bassinet?" Peeta suggest.
"I guess I should get some rest while he is asleep," I say and hand the sleeping Rye over. I watch Peeta gently laid Rye in the white bassinet and give his white fuzz a gentle kiss. It makes my heart swell at the sight of my two boys together. Peeta walks around to his side of the bed and climbs in next to me. Once he has his arms wrapped around me it takes me only I few moments to fall into a very deep sleep.
I awake sometime later to the soft cries coming from the bassinet. I just have to lean over and scoop him into my arms. By the time I have him feed Peeta is awake. "I'll go change him," I say starting to get out of bed. Since Peeta has to finish painting the nursery we have the majority of the baby supplies in our room, and I can just change him on the bed.
But of course Peeta stops me from getting out, "No, you rest I got this," he insist and basically steals Rye out of my arms. I would argue, but I am still so tired that I roll over and fall asleep. Rye wakes up three more times during the night. He never screams or wails. He cries just enough to wake us and as soon as one of us picks him up he quiets to a small whimper or nothing at all.
Peeta is downstairs making breakfast and I am just relaxing under covers while Rye sleeps in the bassinet. I decide to get up and join everyone else downstairs. I change into some fresh clothes and braid my hair. Once I change Rye into a fresh diaper and onsies I head down to the kitchen.
My mother and Willow are sitting at the table while Peeta is frying some bacon on the stove. "Good morning Katniss. Feeling okay?" My mom asks getting up from the table.
"I'm feeling wonderful. Would you like to hold Rye while I eat," I offer and she nods and easily takes him from me. Peeta walks over with a plate full of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast.
"Good morning. I figured you would be starving," he says and hands me the plate.
"Very," I answer and sit down next to Willow at the table. "Morning sweetie did you eat yet?" I ask Willow.
"Yes mommy daddy made me pancakes!" She chirps Peeta turns around quickly and gives her look like she shouldn't have said that. "Daddy also gave me a piece of chocolate!"
I look at Peeta and raise an eyebrow at him. He puts his hands up in defense. "I didn't give her any chocolate," he says. Willow giggles and my mother tries to suppress a smile.
"Yes you did! You said not to tell mommy, but I wanted to tell her!" She insists and I just laugh and roll at my eyes at her.
"I will let this slide one time Mellark," I mockingly scold Peeta and dig into my fluffy eggs.
We eat breakfast together and the rest of the day consists of diaper changes and feedings for Rye. Willow and Peeta play silly games that I have to sometimes stop because they are making too much noise while Rye sleeps. I was surprised that Haymitch doesn't show up until dinnertime. When he comes over he looks worn out, and very agitated. Before I could ask why he was in such a sour mood the reason walks through the front door. Effie Trinket stands in my doorway in more subtle heels than I have ever seen her wear. An almost normal color wig and a simple sun dress. She hasn't aged a day from the last time I saw her, and her skin isn't dyed some strange green or orange. "Katniss!" she squeals and clicks her way over to me. I am holding Rye in my arms, but she doesn't seem to notice and gathers me in a big hug. I haven't exactly missed her dearly, but it is nice to see how she is doing. I wonder how she is handling almost having to live a normal life where she doesn't have to escorted teenagers to their death.
I wiggle out her hug and readjust Rye in my arms. She finally notices that I am holding a baby and her eyes grow wide. "Look at this little darling. He is so adorable very much like his father. Speaking of where is Peeta," she asks.
"He's in the kitchen with Willow and Haymitch," I stumble over my words still in shock that she is here in 12. She quickly turns and heads to the kitchen. I silently follow behind her. I hope Peeta doesn't freak out from seeing our all escort standing in our kitchen. Too much like before our Victory Tour.
I walk in to find Effie hugging Peeta complimenting him on how handsome he looks. Last time she saw him he was still so skinny and half-deranged. She then moves onto Willow who is hiding behind Peeta's legs. She sees me and makes a beeline right towards me. She cowers behind my legs and Effie peruses her lips in disappointment. I don't blame Willow for being shy. This is the first person from the Capitol she has ever had an encounter with, and trust me you can still tell a difference from the Capitol and people from the Districts.
I find her little hand and pull her towards Effie. "Effie this is Willow our daughter, and Willow this is Effie she is from the Capitol. An old friend of daddy and me," I say and Effie seems pleased with my manners. "Effie this is Rye," I saying motioning towards the bundle in my arms.
"Your children are beautiful dear. I have seen only pictures and heard stories, but there truly are precious. I just knew you too would work out after everything that happened," she says and I see Peeta cringe and walk up next to me.
Willow tugs on my pant leg I look down. "Mommy what happened?" She asks and I silently curse Effie for saying anything.
"Oh it's Nothing Sweetie. Why don't you try and cheer up Grandpa Haymitch. He looks a little grumpy," Peeta covers quickly. I give him small smile as in thank you.
"Okay," Willow says before running over and throwing herself into his lap.
Peeta and I both turn our attention back to Effie. "It is such a pleasant surprise to see you," Peeta says in a believable tone. However we both know that right now isn't the best time for a house guest. "Also we have been meaning to send a thank you for all the clothing you sent for Willow. We just have been very busy and if we had known that you were coming we could have gotten you something in return." Peeta is so good at saying just the right things to smooth anything over.
"I understand completely! However, I did bring a little something for the little Rye," she says and clicks out of the kitchen. I hand Rye over to Peeta and quietly walk over to Haymitch slouching in one of the chairs.
"Do you know she was coming?" I ask.
He rolls his eyes. "I didn't know she planned on coming right now, but I knew she was planning a trip. She got here yesterday and I have kept her at my house this whole time. Saying you guys just needed some time with the baby. She should just wait to visit. Long story short, I held her off as long as possible," He huffs. I open my mouth to ask if she will be staying at his house for the rest of her visit but he gives me my answer. "She will be staying at my house for two weeks. That's what she said when I had to make two trips to the train station to get all her bags. Trust me sweetheart I will handle her."
"Thank you," I say as I hear her heels rushing back into the room. She is carrying a large box with a big green bow on the top.
"Just some things I thought you would need," she says and places the box on the table. I take the lid off the box and inside is full with clothing. Enough to last him until he is one the top is filled for clothing that will fit him now, but some for every month as he grows.
"Effie this is too much. Really you didn't have too," I say.
"Oh Katniss, it's really no trouble at all. I love shopping for your little ones!" She exclaims.
"Well thank you very much for everything," Peeta says.
Effie does indeed stay for two weeks. Peeta is almost finished with the nursery, and Rye is a perfect baby. He hasn't smiled yet, but he always seems happy. His eyes have stayed the same seam gray, and his fuzz and is looking more like Peeta's blonde locks every day. A week after Rye was born the four of us went out to the woods. I picked the perfect spot for Peeta to paint. It was just a spot along the old snare line I use to run with Gale, only about a half-mile from the fence. The sky was blue and there were hardly any clouds in the sky making the woods bright and full of life. Peeta sketched the spot and with some help and Willow and mines singing. We get some Mockingjays to perch in nearby branches, so Peeta could add them in his painting. I use the same carrying sling to carry Rye as I used for Willow. We were out in the woods for almost four hours and Rye didn't cry once. For a newborn that has to be record breaking. Rye is just so sweet I can't get over it.
Willow is also turning out to be a big help around the house. When I need some wipes or a new diaper she will always runs and gets what I need. She loves her brother so much. Every day she gives him a kiss on the cheek and says she loves him. Johanna and Annie called the other day congratulating us on Rye. I also found out that Johanna has found a 'boyfriend' or something like that. Johanna wouldn't say much about it, but Annie said she is very happy. I also found out that Gale returned to District 2 sometime after I had Rye. I wrote him a letter thanking him again for helping me, and I also said that I hoped he would write me back. I wouldn't mind talking to him again to maybe one day be his friend again. I know that might not happen, but I always have hope. I have hope because I have still have my dandelion the spring. The one person who always reminds me that life goes on. No matter how big or small our loses are. There is always a way to move on and deal with the pain and suffering of the past. I just hope Peeta and I's pain and suffering doesn't damage our two perfect kids. Two little human beings who should never have to know what horrible things their parents did to make sure they had a better life. I know one day they will have to find out. I don't know when that will be, and I hope it is when they are old enough to fully understand it. There are a lot of unknowns on our horizon. However, one thing I know is that I will have the one person I love the most right by my side, and if the road ever gets rocky while we learn and grow as a family. I will always have him to hold me steady. I will always have him to protect me, because it's what we do protect each other.
That's it! I hope you all enjoyed and will continue on to my sequel How I Imagined Mockingjay: Part 2! please leave me a review and check out the rest of this story! Thanks for reading!