Chapter 1: Getting the Mark
May 7th Katniss POV
My mother and sister were the most excited for my birthday. I was nervous and my father seemed to understand and yet share my nervousness.
My parents shared a pink and orange flower petal on their ankles. Her best friend Gale had a yellow key on his bicep. Her friend Annie had a green turtle on her lower thigh, it shimmers like glitter in the sun.
Annie loves to wear short skirts and dresses to show it off in the summer and warm days. She met her soulmate when Katniss took her to the 17th birthday of her friend Peeta, the baker’s son. Peeta’s dad did a big party for his boys to celebrate their soulmarks.
Peeta got an arrow that was green on his wrist. Annie was in her usual style of a flowy sundress. Her dress of the night was a light pink, thin strapped and flared out at her hips. Peeta introduced her to his best friend Finnick.
Soulmarks were casual conversation topics among teens and adults. Finnick asked about hers and she proudly showed him her turtle, surprising her when he lifted his shorts leg showing a matching turtle. shorts pant leg, revealing a turtle.
Annie squealed, wrapping her arms around Finnick by the neck. He asked to kiss her and she nodded enthusiastically. The entire room cheered. When Finnick, with Annie’s arms wrapped around his arm and head one his bicep, went over to apologize to Peeta for stealing attention.
“Peeta, man, I am so sorry we stole your thunder. We didn’t mean to draw so much attention-“ Finnick said.
“Finn, relax. You just met your soulmate. That’s what this party is about. Finding soulmates.” Peeta says.
My mom, the night before my birthday, at dinner started the exciting discussion of boys my age that got Soulmarks. She said who they were and what they got, telling me to look for certain images and what boys she hopped I shared a mark.
Dad remained quiet and Prim egged Mom on in her rant. I got so tired of them talking about how tomorrow was a big day for me. I was getting nervous. They gave me some chocolate cake for dessert and sent me to bed. My father came up as I settled into my cool sheets.
“I brought you something, kitty.” He said handing me something that was enclosed in his hand. I open my palm to find a small blue pill. I look up at him questioning what it was for. “It’s a sleeping pill. It’ll help you sleep tonight. It’s Saturday tomorrow so no reason to be up early. I promise it’ll calm you. I used one for my 17th birthday. I was scared.” My father confessed.
He left me to sleep after kissing my head. I grabbed my water bottle by my bed and swallowed the pill, gratefully.
May 8th Katniss Birthday and POV
I awoke groggy. As I get my bearings and realized what day it is I run to the bathroom to look for my soulmark. While checking my thighs and trying to take my pj’s off to find it, I caught a glimpse at my wrist. I flip it back over to examine it.
On my wrist I find a green arrow. I immediately know who my soulmate is. Peeta Mellark.
My father taught me to hunt when I was young. Through that I met Peeta, the baker’s son. My father and I traded our game with them. Peeta and I grew to be good friends. I’d call him my best friend but I’d always gave that title to Gale.
I fixed my pjs and went back to my room. My thoughts were a mess. Knowing for the first time that the boy I had watched me a gentlemen and hadn’t really seen him angry was now mine. I wasn’t disappointed to know it was Peeta Mellark. Every girl in 12 just wanted to share a soulmark with a Mellark boy because the Mellarks has a reputation for raising gentlemen.
I decided that I would put on a dress that Annie gave me last year for my birthday. It was orange and tight against her body. Annie always told her she had a dream figure. She liked the way the color would go with her soulmark.
After getting dressed she walked downstairs, opting to leave her hair down after brushing her hair. Walking into the kitchen my entire family had their attention on me, instantly.
“What is it Kat?!” Prom squealed impatient because of her excitement.
I extended my wrist. Showing the arrow. One word on my mind.
“Peeta.” I said weakly.
“Peeta Mellark!” Prim screamed. Her parents smiled.
“I love Peeta. He’s been raised right. A perfect gentleman and I’ve known him his entire life.” Mr. Everdeen says proudly.
“So would you like some birthday breakfast before you go to the bakery.” Her mother asked smiling.
“I’m planning on that being my excuse. I will ask for a cheese bun and when I reach to take it from him our Soulmarks will be visible to each other.” I explain.
They wish me luck and say that no rush to be home. I still have my 10 pm curfew. I feel nervous and excited energy as I quickly walk almost run to town. I slow down at the bakery door.
I can’t see Peeta. I go in knowing he just has to be there somewhere. Walking I see Mr.Mellark at the counter. He smiles at me.
“Happy Birthday Katniss!”
“Thank you Mr.Mellark.”
“So what’s your soulmark?”
I press my finger to my lips. He nods and I silently show him my wrist. Mr. Mellark smiles brightly.
“Is Peeta here?” I ask innocently.
“Yes he is…. Peeta someone’s here to see you.” Mr. Mellark can nearly keep the excitement out of his voice.
Peeta comes in with a rag bee his hands, drying them from washing them before coming to touch food that goes to customers.
“Happy Birthday Kat!” Peeta says with his smile. “17 Today right?”
“Umm yes. It is. I got my soulmark….. a umm it’s green. On my wrist. Umm Peeta… it’s an arrow... like yours.” I stuttered. Lifting my wrist as proof. Peeta runs to me from behind the counter.
Peeta wraps me in a hug. I hug back. A feeling of butterflies in my stomach and uphoria rush through me at him touching me. I felt overwhelmed by knowing it was us against the world.
Pulling away to look at each other, I am met with blue eyes holding unshed tears. We share a joyful giggle.
I was lucky. I had grown up with my soulmate. I woke up, finding my soulmark and just knowing who I had always loved. Peeta had uncertainty of not knowing because he had to wait for my birthday to come.
“I hopped it was you.” Peeta whispered to me.
Peeta’s dad gave Peeta some money to take me out to the local restaurant. We held hands, walking across the street from the bakery in the square to the small local diner on the corner of the town square.
We got a table and shared small talk at first. Being friends for a while, we knew so much of each other. Our small talk this morning was mostly of family and how he felt getting his soulmark.
“My birthday was a week after mom left. My brothers and I didn’t want her knowing. She took so much from us we were still so angry.” Peeta says.
I knew his mom leaving was more of a relief for his dad, brothers and him. His dad was training him in the finances of the bakery for him to take over in the following years. It was his mother’s job at the time. Peeta found money missing from the profits and totals. He called his dad into the office to check his math. Together they discovered that his mom had been stealing for years.
That night Mr. Mellark has a plan to confront his wife. He spent the night trying to control himself. That morning when the Rye and Peeta we’re heading to school he told them that he would pick them up late from wrestling practice but to stay there.
Peeta expressed to me his worry that day in school. I remember him telling me what he found out and how his dad was so angry he excused Peeta to work the storefront even though they were closed.
Getting picked up was a quiet affair. His dad was silent till halfway home.
“Your mother is gone. She’s staying with her sister tonight and tomorrow night she will be moved out. We are separating. She’s stolen so much money from the bakery and your college funds turned out to be a lie. I’m so sorry boys. She was able to steal enough for Wheaton’s college tuition.”
The boys were floored. It was no secret that their mother's favorited their oldest brother.
“So you knew it was me as soon as you say our arrow this morning, huh?” Peeta asked me.
“Yes. I say… our arrow… and just knew. It was familiar to me because I saw yours a hundred times.”
“How did you feel? A… knowing it was me that you were now stuck with for life.” Peeta asks nervously.
I giggled. “I was happy. And I am lucky to be soulmates with you. You know that every girl in 12 dreams to be soulmarked with a Mellark man.”
“Why?” Oh Peeta, my Peeta, I think. He is so sweet and doesn’t realize the effect he has on others.
“Peeta, your family raises you boys so well. You are all gentleman, well Rye can be if he wants to be.”
“My family might be good at raising boys because Mellarks have only ever had boys as far back as we can research, before the dark days. Sorry if you’ve been dreaming of a baby girl.”
“I mean, for me the uncertainty of who we are destined to be with had made me scared to be a parent, but knowing it’s you. One of my closest friends and you’d be an amazing father. For that I’d be proud to raise boys with you.”
The waitress comes with drinks and they each order pancakes. They begin eating and talking less.
“Peeta…” Katniss says, catching his attention “Where do we go from here? We are still in school for another year. What about college?”
“Katniss, it’s gonna be fine. We can take things slow. No one is saying we have to be married right away. We take things slow. How about we start with, will you be my girlfriend?”
“Of course, Peeta”
“Now we have an amazing romantic summer of dating. What is something you love to do and that we could use as a career for you in 12. I’m tied down at the bakery. You understand right? If your called to another district I would drop the bakery to be with-“
“Peeta. Relax. We are staying 12. As for what I want for a job; I’m good at hunting. Amazing actually. My dad taught me but you know that. I trade with people in town and I know that doesn’t bring in money or anything-“
“The bakery is stable, Kat. You don’t need to worry about that. If you don’t want to work, you don’t have to. If you want a place in the bakery you can. If you want to trade and do that half time or something you can. Whatever makes you happy. I know how independent you are but I need you to know that whatever you want to do you can.”
“Thank you for caring, Peeta. I’ve been talking with the Butcher and he might be saving money if he decides to pay me for his game and meat. He loves my kills and I get a lot to help my family from trading with him.”
“We can talk more about our future tomorrow night when I take you out for dinner?”
“Sunday is my dad’s only day off.”
“I’m sorry, I forgot. How about Saturday for lunch?”
“I can’t take you to the meadow and we can have a nice picnic.” Katniss offers.
“I’d love that.”
Sunday- Katniss and Mr. Everdeen in the Woods
“You didn’t say much at dinner about telling Peeta.”
“Mom can be nosy. Prim got more information out of me at bedtime but you know how the two of them are.”
“You comfortable talking to me about your time with Peeta?”
“Fine.” Katniss says feigning annoyance. “I guess I can tell you since I turned down a date to be here with you today.”
“Kitty… you shouldn’t have done that.”
“Daddy. You’re more important than any boy, even Peeta understands that. Sunday’s are our days.” My dad shifts his bow to his other hand to kiss you head. “Peeta and I are going to take things slow. We are going to have a picnic Saturday in the meadow.”
“That sounds sweet.” My dad says carefully.
“Remember when Mrs.Mellark moved out of the district after she was caught stealing from the bakery?”
“Peeta’s college fund was a lie. Mrs.Mellark used it to hide the large amounts she was taking. Rye is taking on an apprenticeship with the leather shop. Peeta is getting the bakery after high school, but his dad is gonna stay to help for a while now that he’s alone. Peeta asked me if I want to work, but that I don’t have too.”
“What do you want to do, baby girl?”
“I love trading because I can be done late morning and help him in the bakery. Last night I was thinking about learning the finances at the bakery. Peeta loves baking, I want him to have days where he can focus on that.”
“Sounds like you have a nice plan. What about school?”
“We will be dating this summer, he asked me to be his girlfriend.” They arrived at their spot, where they know gets the sun that the animals love. I lower my voice, cocking an arrow into my bow. “I think he is waiting to see where we are when school comes back.”
“Still got another few weeks of school. How are you gonna handle that?”
“Shhh………” I heard something russel around a tree trop. I spot a squirrel and take aim. Letting my arrow fly straight into the squirrel’s eye. The squirrel falls 7 feet down to the forest floor. “I’m a little nervous for school tomorrow. It shouldn’t be too different we have some classes together and we hang out at school. Lunches I spend with Madge and for some reason because Peeta eats lunch with the wrestling team and his brothers friends.”
“I think that having a soulmate at school with you makes the hard days easier.”
After a few minutes of silence I travel along our makeshift path to the small clearing by the meadow. I can see a deer look around before running through the open field. There are three deer that run in the open field. Between dad and I, all of them fall. We shoot each again to make sure the die quickly. Four squirrels later we go out of the woods and towards town. As far as squirrels go, it’s not much. We drag the deers’ to the butcher. Dad and I get a lot for the deer. The butcher’s son Gabe wishes me a late birthday and asks me about my soulmark.
“It’s a green arrow.” I answer shyly.
“Oh...mines a green rabbit. I thought maybe…”
“Peeta has a green arrow, same as me.”
“The bakery’s youngest? Damn what a lucky guy. I wonder if he would let me borrow you.”
I am appalled by Gabe’s words. Our fathers hear him and quickly come over. My dad puts his arm around me and I am stunned, barely able to hear the butcher yelling at his son. Dad leads me out, grabbing his own game bag. He gently tries to take mine but quickly realizes that I am clutching it too tightly.
I can hear the muffled sounds of my dad apologizing for Gabe. My dad leads me to the bakery’s back door, where we go to trade. It keeps the raw dead animals from the customers in the front. The bakery is closed on Sunday to clean the ovens. My dad knocks on the door for it to be opened by Mr.Mellark, who quickly sees my distress. I know I must look like a wreck. I’m shaking and sweating all at once.
“Jack, what happened to her?” Mr. Mellark asks, concerned.
“Gabe, the butcher’s son, said some …horrible things to her.”
“Oh Kat, your shaking. Peeta!” Mr. Mellark calls upstairs to the loft where Peeta is resting.
“What?” I hear him call down and the muffled sounds disappear but returns when I hear Mr.Mellark yell back to him.
“Bring down a blanket!” Mr. Mellark goes to the sink, getting me a glass of water.
Peeta comes down the stairs with a blanket and his curious expression shift to concerned when he sees me shaking, my grip on my game bag still firm. Peeta wraps the blanket around me, and pulls me into his arms, kissing my head after I berrow my face into his chest.
“What happened?” Peeta asks looking at my dad to explain.
“Gabe, the butcher’s son was rude to her and said some mean things.” Mr.Mellark tells his son.
Peeta holds me tighter. “Gabe asked about her soulmark, and once he heard that she not only didn’t share one with him but had already found you he said ‘I wonder if he would let me borrow you.’ and Kitty just froze in shock and then has been a mess.” My dad said using air quotes. I shook harder hearing it again.
Peeta held me close to him, his breathing getting harsh. I glance up at him, seeing his pained, angry face. I now know what makes my Peeta Mellark angry.
Chapter 2: Calming Down
Peeta helps Katniss to calm down after her encounter with Gabe. Katniss tells Gale about her soulmark.
Thank you to everyone that commented and reviewing. This is my first time writing a 3rd person perspective. Please excuse me if it shifts inconsistently in these first few chapters while I get used to it. Please see notes at the end because I have a question on what you would like to happen.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Peeta helped me calm down and held me against him while our dads went to the store front, talking in not so hushed voices.
Peeta wanted to go after Gabe. I then calmed him down. Peeta brought me up to his room. Laying me down on his bed like I had so many times when we would study together. But this time, knowing we were soulmates, he lays down with me. It’s all as innocent as it can be perceived. His hands don’t wonder. The blanket around us. He holds my body to his, his hands on my back. I’m pressed against his warm chest.
I know that he needs to hold me as much as I need him right now. He rubs my back soothingly. I can hear our father’s voices. They’ve come up to the loft. I think they are in the kitchen that’s near Peeta’s room. His bedroom door is open. We have nothing to hide.
I know it’s Peeta’s way of showing that he respects me to not only me but both of our fathers.
Peeta’s breathes become more even. Looking up from his chest I find him sweetly falling asleep. I decided to join him. Closing my eyes and letting Peeta keep me warm.
I am able to sleep for what seems like a nice while. I wake up hearing hushed whispers. My eyes open and catch my father and Mr.Mellark at Peeta’s bedroom door, watching us.
They don’t seem mad at us or disappointed. It’s almost proud and relaxed. Like seeing us innocently sleeping against one another is sweet.
I’m about to drift back to sleep when I feel Peeta’s hold on me getting a bit tighter for a second then notice him waking up. He smiles at me and I smile back. Placing my head back on his warm chest. Our dads notice us awake and laugh lightly.
“I hope my boy is being a gentleman.” Mr.Mellark says.
“I always am, dad.” Peeta defends, sitting up, causing me to sit up with him.
“He is. Always a gentleman I mean.” I say.
“How about you, girly? You being a lady?” My dad asks me.
“Yes, Of course I am.”
Soon enough dad makes me get up to head home I hug Peeta again, savoring the feeling of being with him so close and comfortable, the way he smells sweet from the bakery. His strong arms around my back and waist. His chest against my shoulders. My head on his shoulder and face nuzzled into his neck.
“I’ll see you tomorrow in school.” Peeta says.
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow Peeta.”
I join my father at the door and say bye to Mr. Mellark. We walk home and dad asks more about Gabe. When I turned 14 dad let me start going into the woods alone before school. I would get up early when dad had a shift just before sunrise and he’d wake me so I could go and be back in time. I explain to dad that when I’d trade with the butcher and that Gabe would more than tease me about being soulmates and I brushed it off and stayed silent until he said what he did today.
We started towards the hob, it was a small market place with local vendors, as a birthday treat, since he went to his midday shift on my birthday.
Dad bought me some new hunting boots as a birthday gift. Dad pays the vendor and we walk back home. The conversation is more light and normal. He says how he wants to stop by the Hawthorne’s that live across the yard from our house.
Dad offers for me to go home without him while he visits but I want to talk to Gale and share the news of my soulmark before news could spread. Upon knocking and Mrs. Hawthorne welcoming us inside, dad leaves me with Gale in the living room, pulling Mr. Hawthorne away. I turn my gaze back to Gale. He offers a smile before asking about my soulmark. I twist my wrist to show him.
“It’s beautiful, Catnip. It looks familiar. I can’t place who I’ve seen this on though.”
“Peeta Mellark.” I say.
“Shit, Catnip. A Mellark. Something normal girls dream of being paired with is a Mellark.”
“Am I not normal?”
“Obviously. You’ve been scared of love and preparing yourself mentally to be a blank soul. I’m just hoping that you’ll finally be happy now that you’ve got the big 17th out of the way.”
“I….” I was hurt at hearing him say this but the sting helped me realize that like always he understood me. I was bracing myself for a life of loneliness. “I… I hope that I am.” Gale understood me and I understood how to see his intentions through his harsh words.
I kept quiet about Gabe. Gale hated him already. Gale could see my discomfort when he would be around while we traded with his father. Gabe only made his aggressive flirting with me around Gale a few times. Gabe learned after a few punches in the jaw from Gale to stop doing so around him.
Dinner was quiet. I let dad go in ahead of me so that I wouldn’t have to hear him relay the story to anyone else. Mom was upset when I came in from feeding Prim’s stupid cat. Dad sent Prim upstairs to get him a hoodie while he told mom. We kept up our spirits up for Prim. I went to bed early trying to hope for a better day tomorrow.
how do you think Gabe and Peeta should be punished if they were to fight? Should Peeta get off easier? Please tell what you think.
Chapter 3: Fight
Katniss and Peeta's first day at school as soulmates
Waking up for school was a drag. I didn’t want to chance seeing Gabe today. I knew he was in my English class and Science. Peeta was in my science class as well.
After breakfast, mom drives us up the hill to school. It’s not far and we walk home most days but mom’s shift at the hospital alines with school starting each morning, most of the time.
Getting to the high school, I find Madge. She ran over to me asking about my soulmark. I only extend my wrist with a slight smile. She squeals, making me wince.
Peeta found me by my locker. He asked how I was doing after everything that happened. I tell him the truth, knowing he sees through any lie I conjure up.
He’s so sweet about this. Peeta walks me to class even though his is on the opposite end of the hallway. He squeezes my hand leaving at the door. After math and history I have to go to English.
Getting in there I find a seat and don’t see Gabe. He comes in a minute after the bell, taking the neglected seat beside me. My mental eye roll isn’t as strong as the fear I feel, having him so close. I’m small but strong. The true fear lies with knowing he’s much bigger and stronger. If I had my bow or any weapon I could win. I could outsmart him and catch him with a snare. But at school I can’t carry any of that.
Gabe is on the wrestling team with Peeta. Peeta is taking the spot of captain for next year when Rye graduates this year. Peeta and Rye have the school record. Gabe’s not bad at wrestling though.
My thoughts snap when he places a cold hard calloused hand on my back. My head snapping towards him, a predatory glint in his eyes.
“You still willing to let me take a ride on you?” Gabe smirks at me.
I feel vomit in my throat. “I was never and am never going to be willing to let you touch me in anyway.” I growl lowly.
“Feisty girl. I love a girl with such an attitude.”
Before I can slap him, the teacher notices us. “Hands to yourself, Gabe.” Mrs. Harris chastises.
When the bell rings I try to leave as quickly as possible. Gabe still manages to grab my ass, squeezing far too hard. I involuntarily make a shocked noise of pain. Peeta was walking past the door and my squeal of pain caught his attention.
This could not be worse. Not only did I have to deal with Gabe but now Peeta was steaming mad. Not at me but Gabe.
Peeta moved to slam Gabe against the door. Gabe punched Peeta in the head before Peeta could lay a hand on him. Peeta barely stumbled before successfully slamming Gabe against the door.
Mrs. Harris screamed for Peeta to let Gabe go. Gabe took a swing at Peeta’s head again landing right to his eye. Peeta took the hit well, without staggering back or loosening his hold on pinning Gabe against the wall. Mrs. Harris ran passed me into the hall to call for help. Without Mrs. Harris there to see, Peeta and Gabe wrestle to the ground. Peeta pinning Gabe to the ground, landing a punch to the jaw. Peeta received another punch to his lip. I didn’t know what to do.
I wanted to get involved but knew that not only could I get punched and if it was from Peeta he would never forgive himself, but that it wouldn’t end well in any situation in my head. Peeta, having Gabe pinned to the floor by straddling his hips, had gotten control of his wrists and pinned his arms to the floor just as Mr.Adkins and Mr.Martello came running into the room. They pulled Peeta off of Gabe and held the boys apart.
Gabe, Peeta, and I were escorted to the principal's office. We were all sent straight in to explain everything to Principal Hawthorn. That’s right. Gale’s dad, my best friend's dad and my father’s best friend was our principal.
We each took a seat. I was told to sit between the boys to keep it from getting physical again.
“I see a couple of first timers here. What happened?”
Gabe was quick to lie to make him sound like the victim. “I was asking Kat a question after class and he just attacked me!”
“That’s not true!” Peeta and I both exclaimed.
“Katniss tell us you side of the story.” Mr. Hawthorn asked of me.
“On Sunday dad and I were trading with the butcher and Gabe said some ...rude comments to me about me and Peeta-“
“I didn’t know you and Peet were a thing.”
“My 17th birthday was Saturday. I got my soulmark.” Peeta and I extend our wrist to show off our marks. “Gabe said that he wants to “barrow me” from Peeta. After English I was leaving the classroom…. Gabe...he ummm ... grabbed my ummm ...backside.” Peeta squeezed my hand in encouragement and support. “Peeta was walking by and saw.”
“Gabe. That’s unacceptable.But, Peeta since you were involved in the fight I have to punish you. You will have a detention saturday-”
“What that’s unfair!” I protest.
“I’m not finished. Gabe you will be suspended for the next week.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Hawthorn, I work in the bakery all day Saturday. My dad needs the help. I’m only ever allowed a lunch for an hour or two. Could I do Sunday? I could do some labor in your yard Sunday if you don’t want to come in but I have to work after school and Saturday.” Peeta pleads.
“Alright. That’s reasonable. I’ll sentence you to month of Sunday hunting trips with Mr. Everdeen and Myself.” It wasn’t unusual for Mr. Hawthorn to punish kids by dragging them along on our hunting trips. Dad and Mr. Hawthorn argued that it taught them things but I hated it. They were always loud and talked or complained. “I don’t always join him but after my son and I heard we missed all the deer yesterday we planned on going more often.”
“Thank you, sir.”
I am truly learning all new sides of Peeta. He is respectful but can hold more than his own in a fight. Peeta gets angry when People he loves gets hurt. My Peeta is protective overall. He loves with intensity. That thought warms me.
When I had gotten home I told my dad the vague story of Peeta and Gabe getting into a fight. Unfortunately after dinner, Mr. Hawthorn came over to tell my father everything, even about Gabe grabbing my ass. I guess dad had to find out why Peeta was being punished by carrying our game bags on our hunting trips for the next month.
Dad is furious with Gabe and wants to march right down to the butcher to ring the boy’s neck. My mother has to calm him down. This was turning out to be something that we couldn’t hide from my baby sister. Prim is mad but I don’t think that she fully understands.
I jump, hearing a loud banging on the door. Dad practically runs to the door opening it, Gale, my best friend, storming in. He’s yelling and screaming and Mr. Hawthorn and his wife, Hazel come in to join us. It’s like the mob in here. I take Prim’s hand, dragging her outside and into the woods.
It’s getting dark and Prim is busying herself with catching fireflies. I hear yelling off in the distance. One of the angry voices is getting closer. Prims in her own little world, still.
The voice is Gale. I can tell because once he’s in view he kicks a rock before screaming in pain and falling over. That snaps Prim out of her head and she’s next to him before I’m even fully standing. Prim and I silently help Gale into our house for mom to treat. Walking in I hear familiar voices that normally aren’t in my home. Helping Gale limp into the kitchen, I spot Peeta sitting on the counter while mom is cleaning his dried bloody wounds from the fight.
“What happened?” Dad asks coming to Gale’s other side to help him get to the table to sit.
“I kicked a rock.” Gale grunts.
Peeta turns to look at Gale same time my mom and Mr. Mellark do. “Why would you kick a rock, Hawthorn?” Peeta asks.
“Because our girl was groped by a sick son of a bitch.” Gale growls.
“Our girl? I don’t see you sharing a mark with her.” Peeta snaps.
We are lucky that Gale’s foot is hurt. “Peeta!” Me, my dad, and Mr. Mellark reprimand him.
Mom finishes bandages on Peeta’s right hand. He had some blood and bruises from the fight. Mom comes to where Gale is sitting with his leg propped up on the chair beside him.
I walk over to join Peeta, sitting on the counter. He kisses my cheek. I learned about that in my Psychology elective from last year that Peeta is doing it to prove that I am his or just to rub it in Gale’s face.
I turn to Gale, hearing his groan of pain. Mom is peeling off Gale’s boot. He’s clearly in a lot of pain. Upon noticing the blood, I bury my face into Peeta’s shoulder. I’ve always hated blood. Peeta knows my uneasiness for blood, having experienced it first hand a few years back.
Gale’s toe is many colors according to my mother. Peeta rubbed my back. He let me know when Gale’s foot was wrapped up in bandages.
Dad and Mr. Mellark helped Gale cross the lawn and over to his house. Peeta and I go into the living room to talk. I see his busted lip and forming black eye. His cheek is bruised. I hate seeing him like this.
Before I turned 17 I was never this emotional. Peeta hasn’t mentioned my change. No one has. I’ve heard of people becoming nicer or sweeter, more emotional after getting their soulmark. When you get your soulmark and find your soulmate it’s like all this love you never knew you had for them surfaces. I never allowed myself to think of Peeta as anything other than my friend. If I had allowed that love to surface I would have lived in fear of us not being soulmates. I never understood why kids did that to themselves. Dating before getting your soulmark, I mean.
“Today was a disaster.” Peeta says trying to get me to crack a smile.
“Tomorrow will be better.” Peeta promises me.
His dad returns to take him home. We share a hug and he kisses my head. I go to bed just praying that tomorrow is better than today was.
The feeling of Gabe’s hands on me. How unwanted it was. It should have been Peeta to touch my ass like that but I would have liked it and he wouldn’t have done it to hurt me or even to do so roughly. Peeta would have been gentle and playful in his touches. Gabe did it...I can’t even think of why.
I can’t forget the look in Peeta’s eyes, turning with concern and then anger at Seeing Gabe’s hand retreating from my ass.
I shiver in my bed. I force myself into happier thoughts. Dreaming of a day that I can sleep with Peeta holding my and keeping me warm.