Here is the first chapter to "Underestimated" I hope all who read this will enjoy it and thanks to all my fans who came here from my other stories, the support I get from you guys is truly amazing.
So hopefully this story will be succesful, I am very excited to write it because we know pretty much nothing about Mags, so I have lots of creative liberty ;)
I don't really have a set plot, or way this story is going to go so we're all along for the ride. Let's see how it turns out shall we?
Chapter One: Pirates.
I float weightless in the warm tranquil waters. I can feel my blonde hair slowly moving back and forth as I sink lower towards the bottom. When I feel my feet touch the coral of the reef, I open my green eyes and look around.
There is so much to look at down here, but I'm only looking for one thing in particular and I soon spot it. I effortlessly swim over to the cluster of oysters and quickly start prying them off the coral with my fishing knife.
I manage to free six of them before I have to return to the surface for air. I gather the oysters in my small bag made of a close-knit net, and securing the bag around my waist, push-off the reef for the surface. I timed the swim perfectly and my head breaks the surface just as I take a deep breath, inhaling the fresh salty air.
"Did you find any?"
I hear one of my brothers call from the small fishing boat a couple of yards away. I tread water and pull my wet hair out of my face.
"Yeah I got some! Hang on I'll be right there."
I say as I dive back under the surface and shoot through the water with effortless speed. My father always says I swim better than the dolphins that hang out around district four.
I reach the boat in under a minute, and surface again, pulling myself over the side with the rope my brother slipped into the water. I stand on the deck and shake my wet hair out of my face. My two little brothers are at my side in an instant, begging to see the oysters I have.
"Will! Leroy! Shoo! I will show you once I catch my breath."
I hear someone chuckle behind my back.
"Listen to you giving them orders like that. You sure are bossy for a sixteen year-old."
I turn around and smile as I see the tall dark-haired boy standing behind me. I run forward and throw my arms around his neck laughing.
"Felix! What are you doing here?"
Felix gives me a quick kiss, to which my brothers exclaim their disgust, and then motions back towards shore.
"Your father sent me, he says to tell you there's a storm coming and he wants you and the boys off the water before it hits."
I glance up at the almost cloud free blue sky, and brightly shining sun.
"A storm? In this weather?"
Felix looks at me with those gorgeous brown eyes of his and flashes me his slightly crooked smile.
"Don't ask me how he does it, but Vern is never wrong when it comes to predicting the weather."
I shrug and turn back to my younger brothers. Leroy is fourteen, my junior by two years, where as Will holds the title of baby of the family only being twelve. They both look nothing like me, Leroy has my fathers brown eyes and dirty blonde hair, and Will has dark brown hair and blue eyes. None of us are really sure where he got his coloring from. My father says I am the spitting image of my mother, with me slight frame, golden blonde hair and large green eyes.
"Leroy, get the boat heading towards the dock. Will, why don't you help him?"
They both run off to start up the boat, leaving Felix and I standing near the starboard rail. Felix turns to look at the ocean, leaning his elbows against the rail as his dark brown eyes scan the horizon. I lean on the rail next to him, my naturally golden skin looking pale in comparison to his heavily tanned skin. Even without a tan his skin is dark, people say he might have some indian ancestors, and that's where he gets his coloring.
"What are you thinking about?"
I ask casually, knowing what is most likely on his mind.
I guessed right.
"You mean the reaping?"
He nods silently, and I don't push the matter further, knowing it's a sore subject for him. The six hunger games claimed his older sister, now with the reaping for the eleventh hunger games tomorrow, he's been a little tense. I don't remember much about the rebellion, I was very little when it ended. I do remember vividly the announcement for the start of the hunger games, where a male and female from the ages of twelve to eighteen would be chosen by 'reaping' to face each other in a televised fight to the death, with only one tribute surviving and being crowned victor. They get to return home and move into a large house with more money than they could ever spend, but there are twenty-three other tributes who aren't so lucky.
"You don't have anything to worry about."I say quietly.
"You turn nineteen tomorrow, you won't be eligible for reaping."
The muscles in his cheeks flex as he clenches his jaw, and when he answers his voice is low.
"It's not me I'm worried about."
He turns to look at me, and brushes a strand of hair off my cheek.
"I can't lose you."He whispers quietly, slowly brushing his hand down my cheek. I slide my hand in his, and give him a reassuring squeeze.
"You're not going to. I'm going to be seventeen tomorrow, then there's just another year before I'm safe."
He sighs and kisses my hand.
"I know. But your name is in there thirty times...that's a lot of chances."
I brush his black waves out of his face and smile."There are hundreds of names in the bowl, I'd say my odds are pretty good."
He gives me a small smile.
"Yeah...I guess you're right. I just can't help worrying about you."
I sigh and turn to look at my two little brothers guiding the fishing boat towards the docks. This is the first year Will is going to be eligible for reaping, and although my father and I told him and Leroy not to, they both have taken tesserae every year, increasing their chances of getting reaped.
"Well it's a good thing you worry about me, because I don't have time to worry about myself what with worrying about those two little scamps."
Felix turns and leans back on the rail, watching the two younger boys laugh and shout out commands as if they were captains of pirate ships.
"I worry about them too, and I know your fathers grey hair has something to do with worrying as well."
I smile slightly."Well even without the reaping they're enough to give him grey hair."
Felix chuckles and wraps his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into a hug.
"You're not wrong there."
We remain wrapped in each others arms for a while, taking comfort in being together. Felix doesn't have any family now that his sister is gone, she was like his mother and since she died he's been on his own. My father got him a job on the large fishing boat that he works on, and Felix has been taking care of himself for the past five years.
I think of my own family; my father and two little brothers. My mother died after having Will, there were complications to the delivery and she barely lived long enough to see him. I've been like a mother to Leroy and Will, and my father always says I'm just like her. I'm glad I have Felix, sometimes life gets hard and I need someone I can run to who will wrap their arms around me, give me a kiss, and tell me everything will be alright.
I stretch up on tip toe and give Felix a kiss.
"What was that for?"
He says with a smile. I rest my head against his chest and sigh.
"For loving me."
He chuckles and kisses the top of my head.
"I'm afraid I couldn't help that Mags."
I smile at his nickname for me. When we first met he had dubbed me Mags, and has called me that ever since. I don't mind, Magarida is some what of a mouthful. Although my younger brothers and friends now call me Mags, my father refuses to call me anything but my full name.
I hear Leroy shout in his best pirate bellow. I detach myself from Felix and stand in front of him, looking towards the helm.
"Yes helmsman Leroy?"
He smiles and shouts back.
"We will arrive at the docks in precisely three minutes!"
I nod and give him a salute."Steady as she goes Mr. Leroy, we shall dine at lord Vern's house tonight!"
Will bursts out laughing with the title I've given our father, and he and Leroy shout back in unison.
"Aye, aye captain!"
Felix chuckles and wraps his arms around my waist, leaning down and resting his head on my shoulder.
"Aren't you a little old to be playing pirates with your brothers Mags?"
I turn and give him a glare.
"Never. And that's captain Mags to you."
He smiles and gives me a quick kiss.
"I'm going to help Leroy dock the boat, he hasn't got the hang of it quite yet."
I agree quickly.
"Yes please do, if we get another scratch on this old thing my father will kill us."
He quickly walks to the helm and helps Leroy steer the ship into the docks. Having nothing to do, Will skips over to me, his dark brown curls falling around his ears and slightly over his face. His bright blue eyes peek out from several locks and he gives me a smile."Mags, could you show me what you got down on the reef?"
He's using his baby voice, and I fix him with a glare.
"Young cabin boy, I told you that I would show you the treasure when we reached lord Vern's manor."
Will giggles and salutes.
"Aye, aye captain. Any chance you snagged a surprise for me?"
I can't help smiling as I wave him away.
"Be off with you! I'll show you what I've got in due time."
He scurries off to watch Felix and Leroy, leaving me alone by the rail. I look out towards the horizon, and smile as I see the dark clouds quickly building over the sea and blowing towards district four. My father can always tell when the storms are coming, and by the looks of this one it's a good thing he sent Felix to get us.
Within the next minute we are standing on the dock finishing tying up the boat, once we're done Leroy and Will run ahead.
"Stay in sight!"
I call after them, as Felix and I follow. Our hands our linked together, and we walk at a reasonable pace towards the poorer part of town where our small house sits calmly at the base of a large dune. It had been my mother and father's first and only house, they had always had enough to eat, but weren't wealthy enough to afford certain luxury's in life. Now with three growing children to take care of, my father works long shifts as ships doctor on the large fishing barges.
I do what I can to help out, cleaning the houses for the richer families in the district, mending and making nets to sell. We get by well enough, and once in a while we can afford a couple of sweets from the shop in town.
"What are you thinking about?"
Felix mimics my question from earlier. I smile and shrug.
"Nothing much, just things."
He smiles and swings our linked hands.
"What kinds of things?"
I laugh and shake my head.
"Just things, the way our life is, the way it was."
"The way it will be in a few years?"
I look up at him.
"What do you mean?"
He's silent for a moment.
"Mags...in a few years...would you maybe...well I don't know..."
He stammers and trails off. I smile and prompt him.
He takes a deep breath.
"Mags, I want to have a future with you, a home, a family...I want us to be together."
I raise my eyebrows in surprise.
"You mean get married?"
"When we're old enough and I'm able to support you, but I need to know if that's what you want too."
I smile and give him a kiss.
"Of course that's what I want! I can't believe you even had to ask."
He blushes slightly.
"Well you're supposed to ask. I just needed to know."
I squeeze his hand.
"Well now you do. Don't be afraid to ask when the time comes."
"Oh captain Mags!"
Bellows Will, his dark curls blowing in the rising wind. I smile and bellow back.
"Yes deck-hand Will?!"
He points forward.
"Lord Vern's manor is in sight!"
I look ahead and see the humble home; made out of worn wood, the front steps covered in a light dusting of sand blown there by the wind.
"By all means, fire away!"
I shout, and the two younger boys break into whoops and run to the house. Felix looks up as a few raindrops fall, and then turns to me.
"We'd better run if we don't want to get wet."
He breaks into a run and pulls me with him as the rain really starts to fall. We both laugh as we make it to the safety of the porch as a loud thunder-clap breaks overhead. Felix holds the door open for me and once inside he shuts it against the wind quickly.
Leroy and Will are running upstairs to get changed out of their wet clothes. I look down at my bikini top and shorts, still completely soaked and sandy. My hair is covered in sand as well and I smell like fish from being on the old boat.
"Hey Felix, do you mind if I get a quick shower? I smell like fish."
He laughs and shakes his head.
"Go right ahead, I need to tell your father you got back safe anyway."
He kisses my forehead and opens the door. I think of something and stop him.
"Oh wait! When you find him, tell him that I invited you over for dinner."
He smiles and nods.
"Alright, I'll see you soon."
I nod and wave. He turns and runs out into the pouring rain, ducking his head to avoid some of the onslaught. I quickly shut the door and run upstairs to my room. I walk over to the small dresser and pull out a pair of cut off jean shorts and a light blue shirt, then I run into the hall bathroom I share with my brothers and claim the shower. they protest briefly, but I shout through the door that they can use the one downstairs.
Taking a quick shower, I walk downstairs and start making dinner. As good smells start wafting through the house, Will comes in with his eyes closed and his nose twitching as he sniffs.
"Mmmm, what's for dinner?"
He says dreamily. I laugh and poke his stomach as I pass him.
"Well, I went shopping earlier and bought some meat from the butcher, and I am making pasta."
Will's eyes grow wide.
"You had it once when you were little, remember? It was on daddy's birthday."
He thinks for a minute then says."Oh yeah, I remember. It had noogles in it."
I laugh and correct him.
"Noodles. Come on you can help me finish the sauce."
In a hour or so Will and I have finished dinner and Leroy is setting the table. I hear the front door open and run to the living room.
I say with a slight squeal, throwing my arms around him and kissing his cheek. My father lets out a low rumbling chuckle that sounds deep in his chest and detaches me from his neck.
"It's nice to see you too Magarida. Do you mind if I change so I won't drip anymore?"
I laugh and look down at the puddle his rain-soaked clothes are creating on the wood floor.
"No of course not, here let me take your coat."
I pull off his heavy seal skin coat and hang it to dry. He disappears in his room down the hall and I turn to Felix who has a rather hurt expression on his face. He sticks out his lower lip and says.
"I didn't get a hug."
I laugh and wrap my arms around his neck.
"That's because I was saving this for you."
I lean forward and give him a kiss. Ignoring his wet clothes and dripping hair. He wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me back.
I hear Leroy's disgusted cry from behind us, and Felix pulls away slightly, giving Leroy a look.
"Do you mind?"
I hear Leroy scoff and walk towards the kitchen as he says.
"Do you mind? Geesh, you don't have to do that every time you're together you know."
I hear the kitchen door close and Felix turns back to me.
"Now, where were we?"
He's about to kiss me again when we both hear someone clear the throat loudly. I smile at Felix's blushing cheeks and turn around to see my father looking at us with a serious face, although I can see the amused twinkle in his green eyes. His deeply tanned face is lined and worn with long years in the sun, and the crows feet around his eyes tells anyone that he smiles and laughs a lot. His tall figure and long limbs are strong and hard, while his fingers are gentle and steady, giving the fact away that he is a doctor.
He raises an eyebrow at both of us and says in his deep voice.
"Yes, where were you?"
Felix hurriedly releases me, and says quickly.
My father breaks out into a deep rumbling laugh and walks forward, slapping Felix on the back.
"Felix you've known me long enough to be able to tell when I'm messing with you."
Felix grins sheepishly, and shrugs.
"I can never tell when it comes to Mags, she is your only girl."
My father looks at me fondly and taps the end of my nose with his finger.
"That she is. Magarida, what is that delicious smell?"
"You should know, it's pasta, and it's getting cold too."
His eyes light up at the mention of food, and he walks towards the kitchen, calling over his shoulder.
"I hope you made plenty because I'm hungrier than a tiger shark!"
The minute he enters the kitchen Leroy and Will exclaim delight loudly and by the sounds of it they tackled him. Felix pulls me to him and gives me a quick kiss.
"I saw that!"
We hear my dad shout from the now open door, and we both grin.
"Come on lovebirds, us pirates need our grub!"
Leroy and Will shout their agreement, and I hurry to the dining room closely followed by Felix.
Dinner was delicious, and we all had seconds. I'm glad we can have a meal like this once in a while, because a lot of the time we don't have the money to buy the rarer ingredients, and so most of our diet consists of some kind of seafood. After dinner Felix explains that he has some things he needs to finish before tomorrow, and my father nods, knowing that since tomorrow is reaping day, all work is called off.
I walk Felix to the door, and step out on the porch with him. The storm has died down to a light drizzle, and the hot afternoon has turned into a cool evening.
"So I'll see you tomorrow?"
I say hopefully, knowing that he has no reason to go to the reaping tomorrow except to watch.
"Yeah...I have to go."
I nod slowly.
"Because of me?"
"Are you going to see your sister tonight?"
I ask slowly. He visits his sisters grave the night before every reaping.
"Yes...she would have been twenty-three now."
I wrap my arms around his waist and rest my head against his chest. I don't need to say anything, he knows what I mean. He rests his cheek against the top of my head.
"I can't have that ever be you."
I nod slowly.
"I won't be able to take it if..."
I nod again, knowing it would tear him apart if I died.
"I'll be safe."
I whisper. He kisses the top of my head and holds me tighter.
"You'd better be. I'll see you in the morning."
He pulls away and gives me a kiss.
"I'll see you then."
I say, giving him a smile.
He calls over his shoulder as he walks down the street. I wave as I reply.
After he walks out of view, I walk back inside.
"Why don't you kids get some rest? I'll clean up."
My father says with a smile. I shake my head.
"No, you've been working all day. I can clean up."
He chuckles and starts gathering the dishes.
"If you classify sitting around dosing sea-sickness pills as working, then yes I was working all day. I am perfectly capable of cleaning a few dishes. You kids need your rest."
I relent, as Leroy and Will say goodnight and dash upstairs. My father chuckles and shakes his head.
"So full of energy those two. You get to bed now Magarida, you need your sleep."
I glance towards the stairs.
"I'm not going to get any sleep tonight anyway."
My father nods, worry in his eyes.
"Yeah me either, you should try though anyway."
I nod, giving him a kiss goodnight and retreating upstairs to my bedroom.
I lay on my bed staring at the ceiling, holding tightly onto the picture of my mother I keep on my nightstand.
"At least Felix will be safe."
I murmur quietly, closing my eyes and finally dropping off to sleep.