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(fair warning, it's a reeeaaallly long chapter)
Chapter Five: The Capitol.
My slumbers are filled with nightmares, and I wake up covered in a cold sweat and shivering. I climb out of bed and stumble into the shower, my eyes are still in sleep mode, and refuse to focus on reading the control buttons in the shower. I press a random one, hoping for the best.
I yell as a stream of boiling hot water hits me, I quickly press another one,
It's colder than ice, but it succeeded in waking me up. My eyes adjust and I change the setting to mildly warm, with a harder water pressure. Then I choose some soap that has the slightest fragrance of cocoanut, it smells like home. Washing and shampooing quickly, I hop out of the shower. I'm startled as hot air blasts me dry instantly, there is a touchpad that has a hand print on it. I touch it, and a current goes up my arm and dries and untangled my hair, leaving it as its normal wave, but much silkier then usual. I wrap a towel around my waist, and walk back into my room.
I stop suddenly. The avox woman I saw yesterday in the hall, is in my room tidying up.
"Um, am I supposed to be already at breakfast?"
She turns around startled, and shakes her head.
"Sorry if I scared you. You're an avox aren't you?"
She nods her head sadly. Then motions to the dresser.
"Um, yeah I should probably get dressed...do you mind?"
I motion to the door. She smiles as she bows, and walks out, closing the door behind her. I walk over to the dresser, and slip on a pair of grey shorts, and a dark purple shirt that clings to my chest. I check the time, and decide to head to the dinning car. I see I'm the first one there. The table is empty, but over to the side is a long buffet covered in glorious food. A servant is standing at one end of the room.
"Can we just serve ourselves?"
He nods, pointing to a pile of plates and silverware. I go through the line and pile my plate with eggs, bacon, and a number of pastries. I sit at the table and start eating. In a minute I'm joined by Bruce.
I see that he has ebony hair, streaked with grey, although he can't be that old. His dark eyes are set under thick brooding eyebrows. He has a chiseled jaw, with a big scar running down the side of his face. He sits down without getting anything to eat. He stares at me, his piercing eyes seem to look through me. I try to eat, but his gaze doesn't stop.
"Uh..is there anything I can help you with?"
He blinks and leans back in his chair.
"Sorry, force of habit, when your a mentor you have to know who your mentoring."
I drink some milk, and say;
"But you're mentoring Annita, aren't you?"
"True, but I need to know about you too. After all, you may have to fight each other."
"I'm not keeping any secrets."
He says, then he motions to the servant and orders a drink. Mags walks in, dressed in a simple white shirt and black skirt.
"Good morning Finnick, I see you've discovered the pastries."
"Morning Mags. I have indeed discovered the pastries, which one is your favorite?"
She laughs and steals one from my plate.
"Cream puffs." She bites into it and sighs. "Yum!"
I laugh and she get some breakfast. In another minute we are joined by Tiffy, looking literally fresh as a daisy in a tight green dress with a large white collar, complete with bright yellow wig.
"A bright and sunny day to you all! I just can't wait till we reach the capitol!"
She gets some yogurt, and joins us at the table.
She asks in her high-pitched voice.
"She must still be in her room,"
Mags says, Bruce frowns and says.
"We need to talk with her, she'll need to know some things before tonight."
I stand up.
"I'll go get her, be back in a minute."
I hurry to her bedroom, and knock on the door.
"Annita? Mags and Bruce say they need to tell us some stuff before we reach the capitol."
There's silence for a minute, then I hear her shout through the door.
"Leave me alone!"
It's meant to sound harsh, but I can hear the waver in her voice. I knock until she opens the door, her face is tear-stained, and her eyes a red from crying.
"Fine. I'll be there in a minute okay?!"
Before I can answer she slams the door. I walk back to the dinning car. Mags and Bruce look at me expectantly.
"She'll be here in a minute."
I say, sitting back down. Bruce frowns, thinking. Mags just nods, and Tiffy continues daintily eating yogurt. Annita shows up a minute later, dressed in a pair of skinny jeans, and a leather vest. Her hair is pulled back in a tight pigtail, and all signs of tears are washed from her face.
"There you are, do you feel like eating anything?"
Mags asks, Annita shakes her head.
"Alright then, why don't we adjourn to the lounge car?"
We watch a recap of the reapings, seeing for the first time who will be our opponents. I make a note to remember the careers, but also remind myself not to overlook anyone. An enormous eighteen year old boy from district one, lunges forward to volunteer. His hair is almost white, and his eyes are like ice. A tough looking sixteen year old girl volunteers as well. Both volunteers for district two look similar, tall and lean, with dark coloring. The tributes from three are nothing special, rather small and weak. Then there's our district, I don't remember much after watching our reaping. Only that a twelve-year-old girl was reaped from district five, the boy from seven was missing an arm, and the girl from ten looked like a weasel. and both tributes from twelve looked on the brink of starvation.
After the reapings, Mags and Bruce asked us what we thought of the other tributes. We talk for a little while about strengths and weakness' then suddenly, the train goes dark, I realise we must be in a tunnel.
"Oh! At the capitol already! I'm so excited!"
Tiffy exclaims. Annita and I rush to the windows, just as we clear the tunnel into blazing sunlight.
I gasp in awe at the mighty capitol, nothing could compare to the splendor of it. Large buildings of all hues, tower over tiled streets full of exotic people cheering and waving at the train. I hear Annita scoff at the crowd. But I smile broadly and wave back. In a minute we stop at the station. Mags walks over and stands beside me.
"Fair warning, in a minute we are going to hand you and Annita over to your prep team and stylists. You may not like what they do, but don't argue. Understood?"
I nod my head.
"Good, here we go."
After a brief car ride, we arrive at the building where we'll be prepped for our chariot rides. I'm directed down a long hall to the station marked "District four: boy." I am greeted by my prep team, three color cordnated women. They squeal and declare that their names are, Violet, fuchsia, and Periwinkle. Their hair and clothes match their names, and they are identical.
"What a handsome young man!"
Declares Fuchsia, Violet and Periwinkle agree.
"Just wait till we're finished with you, although I don't think you need much work."
They all giggle loudly, and tell me to strip down and lay on a cold metal table. They then proceed to remove the hair from my torso, cut and style my hair, do something to my jaw, that they say will keep hair from growing while I'm in the arena. Then they have me take a million baths in all different solutions.
"Your skin is so dry! But such a nice tone, are you sure you haven't had any work done?"
I nod as they rub almost a gallon of moisturizer into my skin. After a few finishing touches, like plucking my eyebrows, and filing down my fingernails, they have me stand up and look me over.
"I think he's ready to meet Dalia!"
Periwinkle squeals, they all rush off, leaving me standing undressed, and alone. I want to wear the silky robe that I have had off and on the past hours, but they didn't tell me too. Someone that must be Dalia enters, she is very petite, and is dressed in a completely white dress, white shoes, even her hair is white.
She says in a quiet voice,
"I'm Dalia, your stylist, let me look you over for a second."
She surveys my body quickly, handing me the robe she says.
"Slip into this and we'll do some talking."
I follow her into a small room that's comfortably furnished with two plush armchairs, and a small round table. She presses a button on the wall.
"Lunch will be here in a minute. Tell me, has anyone ever told you anything about how you look?"
I blush embarrassed, remembering all the times in the community home that I've been called, "Princess" or "Beauty queen" Other then that I've never heard anyone say anything.
"Back at the community home where I live, all the boys tease me and call me princess."
"Well, the only reason they did that, was because they were jealous. Finnick, you are the most good-looking person I have ever seen in my entire life. Here in the capitol, we have a knack for trying to achieve uniqueness and beauty, but you have achieved it naturally, and that is a great gift."
I stare wordlessly at her. Me? handsome? Not just handsome, but the most good-looking person she's ever seen. This surprises me, I never thought I was ugly, but definitely not the best looking guy. Dalia raises her eyebrows/
"This surprises you?"
"Well, it is the truth."
She says dismissively. Lunch arrives, and we discuss the chariot ride as we eat.
A while later, I'm standing beside a green and gold chariot with a pair of chestnut horses. I am dressed in a Bluey green scaled tunic from my waist to my knees, a pair of gold sandals, and a gold net draped over my shoulders like a cape. I am shirtless, Dalia explained that I would get a lot of female sponsors if I showed off my muscles, along with my looks. However, now I'm just feeling self-conscious for the first time in my life.
Annita appears with her stylist, a short round man with a brilliant purple wig. His name is Dumble.
Annita is dressed in a scallop shell bra, and a scaly skirt that falls to the floor, it even has a small train. When she stands still, she looks like a mermaid. Her hair falls down her back in a cascade of loose curls, and she has dramatic blue makeup on. She glares at me, and I look away, apparently she's not to happy with her stylist.
Dalia and Dumple, tell us to get in the chariot, and Dalia hands me a large gold trident. I remember my token from Annie, I still have it around my neck, and I hold it tightly knowing she will be watching me. I have to look like I know what I'm doing, confident. I hear the announcement, and the crowd starts cheering as district ones chariot leads the way. After a moment, district two follows, then three, now our chariot pulls out of the building.
I smile and wave to the crowd, even blow a kiss, which causes several women to faint. Maybe Dalia was right after all, I blow more kisses, and continue to wave. I'm showered by slips of paper containing names and phone numbers, I pick one up and give the "I'll call you" sign. At least ten women swoon, thinking I meant them. After we circle around a couple of times, we stop in front of president Snow's mansion. And the president, a small man with thin paper colored hair, and full lips, announces the tributes. Then the chariots drive into the training center.