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The Month Before

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Katniss POV

Katniss was tired of sitting at the table with Peeta and what’s her name, and she was still angry he even brought her. It was supposed to be their normal Friday night, drinks and karaoke with their group from college. The tradition started when Peeta, Katniss, and Finnick moved to the Capital after college. It was a little different since Annie and Finnick started dating and she joined the mix but it was a good change, this woman, on the other hand, was not. Her fake nails, fake hair, and what Katniss felt had to be fake boobs, didn’t seem like they belonged to the kind of girl Peeta should date. It didn’t seem like she had any of the qualities he always said he wanted, but here she was giggling at his jokes and stroking his arms.

The drinks were not going down as easy as they normally did and she needed something to help her after the week she had. It was nearing the end of the school year and Katniss as just as ready as the kids to be done with class. She had looked forward to Friday all week, but when Peeta walked in with the giggly blonde on his arms everything changed. Now all she wanted to do was go home.

“Katniss, it’s your turn.” Annie’s words cut through her thoughts.

Katniss smiled at her new friend and made her way to the stage, alone. Normally her and Peeta would sing something together, just one more thing that woman ruined. She chose her song and started singing.

“Say something, I’m giving up on you.” She looked up and her eyes met Peeta’s she saw him lost in her words, his stare made her feel hot and she needed to get out of the room.

She finished the song and rushed back to the table. Finnick was looking at her with a new understanding, she knew without any words that he figured out her secret. An excuse of being tired and Katniss was walking from the bar.

Peeta’s words stopped her, “Katniss wait, let us walk you home.” Peeta and his blonde date, who now looked angry, were right behind her.

“Really Peeta it’s alright, the apartment is right around the corner.” She replied.

He shook his head, “Remember I promised to always take care of you. Besides Cashmere wanted to go to a different bar anyway so we’ll drop you off.”

Katniss didn’t answer and continued her walk around the corner to the apartment she shared with Peeta, the one they said was just so they could save money when they moved to the capital nine months before.  What Peeta didn’t know was over those nine months she fell in love with him and seeing him with another girl made her feel like her heart was burning out of her chest.

She grabbed the door at the same time as Peeta, causing their hands to brush. She felt the current rush through her body, but she knew he didn’t feel it. Even if she didn’t like her Katniss could see this woman was beautiful and she was sure she didn’t have all of the baggage that held Katniss back from being a good girlfriend.

Peeta looked into her eyes, for a moment she thought she saw something else there. “Do you want me to walk you up?”

Katniss looked away. “No, you don’t have to stay Peeta. I’m sure your date would like to spend more time with you. I’ll see you in the morning.” She quickly turned and walked through the door before she could do something stupid like cry. As she sat on the couch in their apartment she realized she’d lost him, that was if she even had him at all.

 

Peeta POV

“Finnick I don’t think this is a good idea,” Peeta said to his best friend, who obviously had some kind of plan working in his head.

“I think it’s just what you need. You’ve been pinning over Katniss forever, but you won’t do anything about it so you need to decide once and for all if you’re going to wait for her or finally date someone, anyone else. Cashmere is anyone else.” Finnick said while he waited with Peeta for Cashmere to show up.

Cashmere worked with Finnick and had mentioned a how cute she thought Peeta was when they had all gone out after work the night Katniss had Parent/Teacher conferences. Apparently, she’d been bugging Finnick to set up a date and tonight he’d run out of excuses. Maybe Finnick was right, maybe if he started dating someone else he would finally get past the crush on his roommate that seemed one-sided. At the same time, he didn’t like the idea of it being in front of Katniss.

Finally, Cashmere appeared, she was in a tight black dress, sky-high heels which looked more like she should be walking a runway instead of going to a dive bar for Karaoke night. They addressed each other and walked into the bar. When they made their way to the table he didn’t miss the way Katniss glared at Cashmere before they sat down.

The tension at the table could’ve been cut with a knife, but he seemed to be the only one who could feel it. Cashmere spent most of the night talking about herself and rubbing his biceps. When Annie had to tell Katniss it was time to get up he offered to go up with her, as he always did, but Cashmere’s whine about wanting him to stay with her ended it quickly. Katniss choose her song and started signing.

Peeta knew the song as soon as the music started, and the first few notes floated from her essentially quieting the whole bar.

“Wow, I don’t know who pissed her off today.” Cashmere stated as Katniss sang the chores words of “anywhere I would’ve followed you.”

Peeta looked at her with confusion, “What do you mean?”

Cashmere scoffed, “You boys are always the last to catch on. She’s upset with someone, someone she loves. You can hear it in her voice.”

Peeta looked back at Katniss and when their eyes met it hit him like a ton of bricks. He was the one she was upset with, he was the one she would’ve followed anywhere, the one that hurt her. He needed to find a way to make it right, but before he could come up with a plan she was done with the song and excusing herself from the table.

“I need to make sure she gets home okay,” Peeta stated while jumping from his seat.

Finnick gave him a knowing look, and Annie gave him a smile, while Cashmere grabbed his arm. “Good I wanted to try out the new martini bar down the street, maybe you can take me there after we drop her off.” Cashmere added.

Peeta nodded and they left. Cashmere had a hard time keeping up with him on her heels, but finally, they spotted Katniss and got her to stop. After they dropped Katniss off he let Cashmere take him to the new bar she wanted to go to.

The bar was all white with people that looked like they were all wannabe models or actors. It was not a place Peeta would normally go to, but Cashmere seemed to be in her element. Peeta knew Cashmere and him would never work, she was too high maintenance. This realization along with events of earlier didn’t prove to him that he needed to find a way to finally tell Katniss about his feelings.

He downed his drink and asked for his bill. “I’m sorry, I need to go.” He said to Cashmere.

“It’s her isn’t it.” She snarled, “You were the one she was singing to.”

Peeta signed the bill and nodded, “It’s always going to be her.” He got up and left Cashmere who was flirting with a man before Peeta was fully out the door.

He rushed home, it hadn’t been too long since he left. Maybe if he was lucky Katniss was still up and they could talk about the night. However, when he opened the door he found a dark apartment. He walked to her door and opened it slightly, he could make out the outline of her body in her bed. He closed it back and walked to his room, maybe tomorrow he could finally tell her the truth. That he loved her.