Well, are you guys ready
for Him to get back home?
I think it's time he was reunited with
his best friend. So here we go!
(thank you for reading, and please review)
Chapter 19: What greets me home.
Last night Mags, Bruce, Tiffy and I all boarded the train that would take me home.
Mags explained that once we arrived, the whole district would be gathered in front of the justice building, just like at the reaping, only this time it would be for a celebration.
I will be taken onto a stage in front of the justice building, and the mayor will present me to the district, then the rest of the day will be taken off as a holiday, and gifts will be showered upon everyone in the district. I think I'm going to like that the most.
Tiffy informs me that we will be arriving early in the afternoon, and to be ready to look like a victor for the district.
My prep team came with us to make me "presentable" for the big event. They probably wont even leave the train, just get me ready and then take the train back to the capitol.
I can't wait to get back, I'm actually a little quakey in my stomach. I can't wait to see the Cresta's, and I can't wait to tell them the surprise. I talked to Mags, and she says that I can get some capitol medication that will help Robbert. Wait until Annie finds out, I know she hates the games, but at least now she can see something good can come out of it.
I'm waiting in my room on the train, relaxing on my bed and thinking of district four. I decide that I should probably get a shower before my prep team shows up. I jump in and program it to a heavily pressured warm shower, and use some soap labeled "rainy breeze" It has a faint scent that smells like a fresh spring day after a good rain. I spend probably an hour in there, and once I finally get out, I am attacked by my prep team, squealing that they only have an hour to get me ready.
"Goodness you were in there a while!"
Fuchia exclaims as she starts to work on my nails, Petunia starts rubbing different oils and lotions in my skin while Violet tackles my freshly tangled hair.
"Goodness! You would think after a shower your hair would be more manageable!"
Violet says as she picks at it with a comb fiercely.
Petunia continues to work as she says quickly.
"Less talking! Just work, Dalia needs time to get him dressed and then there's the finishing touches!"
They all work quickly and efficiently. And soon I am ready for Dalia, she comes at the summoning of my excited prep team.
She sends them out, saying that she will finish on her own. They all give me hugs, and say that they will see me soon. Then they leave with tears in their eyes.
"Just ignore them, they cry at the littlest thing."
Dalia says with a chuckle.
"I don't mind, I'll see them again in six months right? When I start the victory tour?"
She nods, and holds up a garment bag.
I nod, and she pulls out a pair of cut off jeans and a white T-shirt with a short sleeve dark blue button up shirt.
She laughs at my surprised face.
"I want to show your district who you are, that you haven't changed. This is you, and you should be represented as who you are."
I look at the outfit, it is me. It looks exactly like what I would wear everyday.
I get dressed, and the outfit is completed with a pair of simple brown sandals.
Added with some of the spray that electrifies my eyes, and my hair styled, Dalia declares that I am ready.
She gives me a long hug.
"I'll see you soon, don't worry. Good luck."
Then she leaves. I take a deep breath, and walk out into the main room. Mags is there waiting for me.
"Dalia did a good job, you look like you did the day of the reaping. Well, you look a little older and more groomed."
"Well thanks. Where's Bruce?"
She looks over her shoulder.
"Probably at the bar."
I nod, It must be hard for him. He mentored Annita and she didn't make it out. How awful it must be to try and ready kids for the arena and then have to watch them die. I think of how I will have to do this in the future.
"Hey Finnick, listen. The games may be over, but the hardships are just starting."
I look at her confused.
"What do you mean?"
She shrugs casually.
"The life of a victor isn't easy. You're a celebrity now, you will be receiving a lot of attention...a lot. You just always have to remember who you are, don't ever let someone take that away from you. Understand?"
I nod. What does she know that she's not telling me? I don't have time to speculate any further, because the train slows down suddenly, and Bruce and Tiffy enter the main car.
"Here we are!"
Tiffy says excitedly.
The train stops at the station, and the doors open. Suddenly, we are attacked by camera flashes. There are dozens of camera wielding reporters, all asking questions.
I am temporarily taken off guard, and stand frozen and blinking.
"Finnick! How does it feel to finally be back home?"
"Have you talked to Annie yet?"
"How are you reacting to being crowned victor?"
"What is the story behind your alliance in the games?"
The questions come thick and fast and all at once. I'm finally saved by Bruce, who steps forward and says simply.
"Give the boy some room you vultures. He's been through a lot and the last thing he needs is to be interrogated."
Mags nudges me, and whispers.
"Smile and wave, then follow Bruce to the car."
I do as she says, and soon we are in the black car on the way to the justice building.
We arrive, and are dropped off behind the set up stage.Tiffy goes first, followed by Bruce and Mags, and I bring up the rear.
"Wait here until you hear the mayor announce you, then walk up on the stage. Remember confidence, and smile."
Mags tells me before walking up on stage. I hear the microphone click on, and the mayors voice fills the air.
"Welcome everyone, may I present to you the victor of this years hunger games, district fours very own Finnick Odair!"
Cheers from the crowd, and some screaming as I walk up on stage, shoulders back and smiling broadly. I wave to the crowd and make my way over to the mayor. He shakes my hand.
"Good job young man. You've made your district proud."
"Thank you sir."
We turn and pose for a couple of pictures shaking hands. Then the mayor says that I can visit with friends or family in the justice building while he clears the crowd and arranges some things. I agree to this, and he makes the announcement.
"Finnick will be in the justice building to visit with friends and family. Meanwhile we will start the gifts!"
Cheers once again from the crowd, and I'm shown into a large comfortable room in the justice building.
I wait for a few minutes, excitedly waiting for my first visitor which I'm sure will be the Cresta's.
I hear the door open, and Mrs. Cresta rushes in. Before I can say anything she grabs me in a tight hug. She has always been like a mother to me, and I'm overjoyed to see her.
"Hi Mrs. Cresta, it's good to see you."
I gasp out, she is hugging me so tight that it's hard to breathe.
"Oh Finnick. You don't know how hard it's been."
She starts to crying, I pat her on the back.
She finally releases me, holding me at arms length, she looks into my eyes.
"Finnick you don't have any idea...oh I wish I didn't have to tell you. But it's best to come from me."
I feel a sinking feeling in my chest.
"Is Robbert worse? Because it's okay if he is, I found out I can get a special capitol medicine that will help..."
She bites her lip, and more tears fall down her face.
"Finnick...a few days after you were reaped, his condition grew worse, we took him to the doctor...they couldn't do anything."
Her sobs grow worse, and I stare at her shocked.
"What? No it can't be..."
She takes a deep breath.
"He's gone Finnick. It's been almost a week."
No. Not this, after all I've been through...not this.
"There has to be some mistake..."
I feel panic start to flood into me again. I think of Annie...Annie!
"What about Annie?"
Mrs. Cresta shakes her head and sighs.
"She was the one who found him. She lost it, wouldn't look at me, and she kept asking to see you. I tried to explain that you were in the games, but she couldn't hear me. She calmed down a bit, but she hasn't cried at all, and I think that she is in an extreme state of denial. Most days she just stares into space, and mutters things about Robbert and you."
I sink into a chair. This can't be happening, I must be dreaming or something. I pinch myself until I start bleeding.
"Finnick, are you okay?"
She asks concerned. I look up at her.
"I'm not dreaming am I?"
She shakes her head.
"No, I wish you were but you aren't. Listen, I've tried everything to snap Annie out of it, but she just won't cope with the fact that Robbert is dead. I don't even know if she knows you won the games. Will you please come with me to our house and just talk to her? Maybe seeing you...maybe it'll bring her back to reality."
I nod. Annie needs me, and I'm going to honor Robbert's wish, he wanted me to be there for Annie, and to not change.
We leave the justice building, and walk back to the Cresta's house. Mrs. Cresta opens the door and steps inside.
"Annie? Come look who's here to see you."
There is no answer, she turns to me.
"Will you wait here for just a moment?"
I nod, and she runs upstairs. After several minutes, she rushes back downstairs, a worried expression on her face.
"She's not here. Oh dear, I shouldn't have left her alone...With her condition I have no idea what she'll do."
I feel anxiety building, but stay calm.
"You stay here. I'll go look for her, I think I know where she'll be."
Mrs. Cresta nods slowly.
"Alright, please hurry!"
I leave the house, and run to the coastline.
As I enter the large dunes, I become aware of the familiar saltness of the air. I breathe it in deeply, savouring the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and the smell of the ocean.
I run down to the waterline, and run up the beach with my feet in the water.
Soon I come to the tall dunes where my special place is. As I walk up it, I notice fresh footprints in the sand.
I reach the top, and see Annie sitting on the large driftwood stump, staring out at the ocean.
"Hey Annie." I say softly. Our code between us. It means, everything's going to be ok, and I'm always here for her.
She whirls around, and stands up.
"Finnick! You're late."
She stands up and shakes a finger at me.
"Naughty naughty, I told you to meet me here at noon, and it's almost two o'clock! What was keeping you?"
I stare at her, and a memory enters my mind.
She is repeating exactly what she said last year when we had a picnic up here with Robbert, after we swam in the water.
She stands in front of me. Her skinny figure is pale, and her copper hair is flying everywhere as usual. But her dark green eyes are bloodshot, and have a faraway look in them.
"Well, never mind why you're late. Robbert should be here soon and..."
I place my hands on her shoulders. Looking her right in the eye.
"Annie...Robbert's not coming, and you know it."
She shakes her head, pushing my hands away.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Why wouldn't Robbert come? He said he would."
Something inside of me breaks at the sight of Annie, her mind is gone, she is outright denying that Robbert is gone.
"Annie listen to me! Robbert is dead! Do you hear me? And you know he is. He's gone!"
She slaps me hard. Her face angry.
"How dare you even say that!"
"He is! Annie he's gone!"
She raises her hand to slap me again, then her eyes change, and she blinks.
"No...he was just sleaping...no..."
She bursts into tears, and I wrap her in my arms, holding her tightly.
"It's okay, I'm here. We are going to get through this together, I wont ever leave you."
She clings to the front of my shirt tightly, sobbing.
I hold her until she stops crying.
"He's gone Finnick...I lost both of you...I just couldn't take it."
I wrap my arm around her shoulders.
"Hey, I promised I would win for you, and I did. I promised Robbert that I would look after you, and that's what I plan to do. I will always be here with you."
She sighs, and kicks the sand.
"I'm an awful friend. You were just in the hunger games, and when you come home, you have to comfort me, and tell me to not worry. I should be telling you that, you shouldn't have to deal with me."
I guide her down the dune, and we start walking down the beach. She is holding my hand tightly, and staying close to my side.
"Don't ever say that, I am here to deal with you. I will always listen to your problems, and I will always comfort you. What else are friends for anyway?"
She gives me a small smile, and with that smile, I know that she will be alright.