Sorry for not updating yesterday, but I had class almost all day and then I wasn't feeling good.
But hey! I update more consistently than most people so I'm sure you can forgive me. :)
Oh and I have another chapter for you guys! So here it is, and I hope you all enjoy.
*Warning! Chapter contains depressing material, read at your own risk* (sorry!)
Song for this chapter is "Photographs and memories" by Jason Reeves, and "Mad world" by Gary Jules.
Chapter Sixteen: How things have changed.
I sit with my feet up on the love seat I'm laying on. I have my arms resting on the tops of my knees, and I'm staring out the window. I watch the country zip past as the train speeds home.
My mind is heavy with thoughts of the past year and a half. My eighteenth birthday was almost six months ago, and the sixty-eighth hunger games have come and past, the victor was some girl from district two. I was a little busy to pay much attention to those games. I've had trips to the capitol every couple of months, and sometimes I'll stay in the capitol for almost a whole month.
Ariel had a little baby boy, he has a head full of light brown hair, and Ariel's electric blue eyes. They named him Eric, and he's already nine months old. Annie has been really busy with school, and we've hardly talked in the past year and a half. She hangs out with her friends, and I go visit women in the capitol. I keep telling myself that things are better this way, safer for her, but it doesn't stop the constant ache in my chest, and the eternal empty feeling. I don't feel like myself anymore, I never smile or laugh unless I'm in front of a crowd, no cheeky comments, and forget flirting. It seems like Finnick has left with Annie, and capitol Finnick has now moved into the empty shell.
I lift my hand, and stare at the gold chain wrapped around my fingers, the gold trident rests against my palm. I rub my thumb across the thin chain, and sigh as I drop my hand. I don't know why I keep it, It's only a painful reminder of Annie, but I guess that answers the question, I keep it because I'm still holding onto a piece of her. I try to think of the last time we saw each other.
It would have been when Ariel had her baby, I was home at the time, and we were all at the hospital at the same time. I ran into her in one of the hallways. I can still remember the surprise and indifference on her face when she saw me.
"Finnick, I didn't know you were home."
"Yeah, I got back about a week ago."
"Oh. Welcome back."
"Thanks."There was a moments silence, then she said.
"So how have you been Finnick?"
She shrugged."I'm doing well. Exciting about Ariel huh?"
Now she's changing the subject to something not personal.
"Yeah, really exciting. I'm really happy for them."
"I should probably get going...mom needs help with dinner."
"Yeah, I'll see you around I guess. Tell your mom I said hello."
She nodded slowly.
"Yeah okay. See you...sometime."
Without another word she had walked right past me and left.
I sigh as I remember the total lack of emotion on her face, seeing her had made my heart skip a beat, and I know my eyes lit up, but then she treated me cooly, didn't smile, and the usual brightness in her eyes was gone. I guess she just doesn't care about me anymore. I can't say I blame her, I spend almost half the year in the capitol, and I've made no effort to see her. I've convinced myself that the less time we see each other, the less the president will think that we care for each other.
I slip the necklace over my head, and rub my eyes wearily. Life has become a routine now, wait around at home until I get a letter, go to the capitol, do whatever I have to do there, come home, repeat cycle. I spend most of my time at Calypso's cliff, it's one place where nobody ever goes, and I can spend all the time I want there without being disturbed. I glance at the red clock hanging on the wall. Three o'clock, I'll be in district four within another hour, I'll probably take a nap, or go to the beach. I don't really want to do anything anymore, but I force myself to stay active. It's sort of a requirement from the president to stay as fit as humanly possible, so another thing that I use to kill time is working out.
I feel a tap on my shoulder, and turn to see Julia standing there. She smiles at me, and I smile back. She saved me from the arena when I was a baby, so I owe her my life. She deserves a smile no matter how much I don't feel like it."Hey Jules."
She opens her mouth, and I know she would laugh if she could, but being an avox she will never laugh again.
"What is it?"
She starts making hand motions, and I watch closely. Since she's on almost every train that I use to go to and from the capitol, we've had a lot of time to interact. She's taught me some sign language so that I can communicate with her easier.
"You're wondering if I want a dish?"
She smiles and repeats the last motion. I nod my head.
"You want to know if I want a snack."
She nods. I shrug and glance out the window.
"I'm not really hungry."
She puts her hands on her hips, and shakes her head, then she starts signing again. I follow her motions, and then say.
"You're saying that I never eat?"
She nods, and signs again.
"And you think that I need to eat more."
She continues to motion, and I laugh.
"Hey, don't take that attitude with me."
She smiles and shakes her head.
"Alright, I'll eat something, will that make you happy?"
She nods and I follow her to the dining car. She points to a chair, and I sit down. She motions "be right back" and disappears into the kitchen. I sigh and slump in the chair, feeling completely empty and blank. Julia returns in a minute with a ham sandwich, it has lettuce and tomato on it, and she sets the plate in front of me.
I say, she crosses her arms and looks at me expectantly. I smile and pick up the sandwich, I take a large bite out of it, and say with my mouth full.
She smiles, and nods, then she gives me a warning look and signs for me to eat all of it, then she walks out to attend to one of her jobs. I eat the whole sandwich like she wanted, and place my plate in the chute that leads to the kitchen. Then I return to the love seat I was sitting on earlier, and stare out the window.
I rest my head against the large window, and watch as fields full of bright and colorful flowers rush past, blurring the flowers into a carpet of rainbow. My fingers automatically fiddle with the trident around my neck. I think over all the memories I have with Annie. Most of them aren't even anything special, just spending time with her on the beach, in town, or at her house. But they are special, every single time I've seen her smile is a treasure, and I'll never forget them.
I don't know how long after that I hear the announcement that we are arriving at district four. Julia comes to say goodbye, and I tell her I'll see her soon. She smiles sadly when I say this, and gives me a quick hug. I exit the train, and slowly walk to victors village. I keep my head down, ignoring the sounds of children laughing as they enjoy the summer day, mothers calling after them to stay close, and fishermen walking to and from the docks. I don't catch much attention, and soon I arrive home. I walk upstairs and change into my swimsuit. Today's a good enough to go to the beach as any. I try to spend as much time as I can, knowing that I only get half as much time to spend on the beach than usual because of the capitol calls.
It doesn't take me long to get there, and I walk slowly along the beach, passing some families playing in the sand. All children old enough will still be in school, but the mothers who aren't working are sure to bring their younger children for a day in the sun. I have several young children run up to me and shout excitedly. I smile at them and keep walking, their mothers calling after them not to bother me.
School should be out soon, and then the teenagers will most likely have a party on one of the stations on the beach. They are little shelters with a fire pit, and big driftwood logs to sit on. They are common places for the older kids to hang out at after school. Lots of times someone will sneak some beer in, and then things will really get crazy.
I break into a run, and soon I am sailing through the air in a dive, cutting smoothly through the pool at the bottom of Calypso's cliff. I swim around the coral reef for a little while, spotting several rare starfish and a few schools of brightly colored fish that are migrating. I don't usually see this much variety, and It's amazing to swim among all the fish and other creatures. The water is clear and several fish are curious enough to rub against me, I spot a lion fish, and carefully swim the other direction. They are very pretty, but if you get pierced by one of their spines, it can be deadly.
I break the surface for a breath, and float on my back for a little while. By the position of the sun, I would say it's almost six. I have to admit sometimes I miss the capitol parties, sure they all end up with me in some girl or woman's bedroom, but while I'm there it's kind of fun. I get to dance, and drink and generally just have a good time, well as much as I can. I swim over to the cove's rocky bank, and pull myself out of the water. I decide to see if there are any parties going on tonight. I don't have any other plans tonight, and this time I won't have a job to go to afterwards.
The sun is starting to set, and the colors are brilliant in the sky. It doesn't take me long to find one of the shelters, nothing going on there, so I keep going. After a mile or so, I can see firelight up ahead. There we go.
I start to hear some music playing, and the loud chatter of happy teenagers. I'm sure I'll get some attention, but I don't care. There are still some people arriving, so I just blend in. Traveling along the outskirts of the group, I make my way over to a small table set up with a large barrel and cups. I fill one and sip the liquid. I'm not surprised to discover that it is alcohol, I can't quite pick out what exactly, but it's probably homemade. That's the cheapest way to get it.
I turn slowly around, and my eyes scan the scene. The majority of the group is gathered around a pretty large bonfire, and I can see three or four guys with instruments, one has a middle-sized drum, another has a penny whistle and the other is strumming on a guitar. I catch sight of a couple of girls looking my way and giggling. I decide to socialize. I walk over and they all nudge each other with more giggles.
One of them who has blonde curly hair and is wearing a bright pink bikini winks at me and says.
"Hey. What are you doing here?"
A red-head with a green bikini nudges her and whispers."Don't be rude!"
"Why wouldn't I be here?"
Pink bikini shrugs, eyeing my bare chest before meeting my gaze.
"I just wouldn't expect the incredible Finnick Odair would be at a party like this."
The third girl who has slightly darker blonde hair and is wearing a red bikini, says.
"Oh my gosh Trisha, you sound like you don't want him here."
Pink bikini, who must be Trisha turns to the other blonde.
"Shut up Sandra! Of course I want him here."
The red-head rolls her eyes, and gives me a look like this happens all the time. She holds up her hands.
"Hey, cool it you two. Finnick doesn't want to see you two fighting."
I grin, as Sandra turns on the redhead."Seriously Vicky? Maybe he likes a girl with spirit."
Trisha turns on Vicky too.
"Yeah, don't tell us what to do."
I roll my eyes, and say loud enough so they can hear above their squabbling.
"Girls, girls, you're all pretty."
This instantly shuts them up, as they turn to me with flirty smiles.
"You think I'm pretty?"
Trisha says, purposely placing her hands on her abnormally thin waist. Sandra plays with her hair, she is also extremely skinny. Vicky is almost thinner than both of them, and she places a hand over her mouth as she giggles.
"Yes, you are all absolute beauties. Why don't you hold off on the fighting and we can all have a good time."
They giggle, and I almost have a heart attack when I hear a voice behind me.
I whirl around, and swallow hard as I see Annie standing directly behind me. She's wearing a light blue bikini, and I can't help noticing how nice her slight curves look compared to the bones sticking out of Sandra, Trisha and Vicky.
"Annie...um I...I didn't know you were here."I manage to stammer. Annie crosses her arms, and says.
"Why wouldn't I be here? It's my class' party. The question is what are you doing here?"
Trisha, Vicky and Sandra stand beside me and eye Annie. Sandra crosses her arms and gives Annie a cold look.
"Since when do you know Finnick Odair?"
Annie gives her a cool look back."I've known him since I was little, not that it's any business of yours Sandra."
Trisha gasps, and says angrily.
"You've known Finnick Odair since you were little and never introduced us?!"
Annie rolls her eyes.
"Like you ever deserved anything nice from me. You three have hated me since I first starting going to school."
"Well you've never really fit in with our group."
Annie rolls her eyes.
"Yeah, the anorexic &*%$# Trio is really what I wanted to be a part of. Get lost you three."
They all look at me.
"Are you seriously friends with her?"
I smile at them.
"She's like my little sister. Why don't we all hang out?"
They scoff, and shake their heads.
"Come find us when you ditch her."
Sandra says with an air of seniority, then they all turn and walk away. Annie glares after them, and then turns to me.
"Finnick what are you doing here?"
I sigh, that's another thing that's changed. She never calls me Finn anymore. It's been Finnick for a while now.
"I just got back today, and I didn't feel like sitting around at home."
She rubs her forehead.
After a brief pause, I say quietly.
"Look I can leave if it makes you uncomfortable to have me here."
She runs her fingers through her hair, and drops her arms to her sides.
"Finnick, you don't have to leave."
I sigh and cross my arms.
"But I do make you uncomfortable."
She hesitates before answering.
"It's just...a little awkward."
"Not for me."
She shakes her head slightly.
"Not everything is about you Finnick."
I blink in shock, that really stung. But what hurt worse is she didn't seem to care that she said it. I hide my hurt by shrugging, and grinning.
"Well in the capitol it is, so sometimes it's a little hard to transition."Before she can reply, a tall young man runs up and kisses her.
"Hey babe, I was wondering where you went."He says, then he straightens up and looks at me. I stare back, suspicious of this sudden guy who is apparently in some sort of relationship with my Annie. He is almost as tall as me, only about an inch shorter. He has shaggy straight blonde hair, and light brown eyes. Annie glances at me.
"Sorry, I got a little distracted."
He looks at me and laughs.
"Well I can see why."
He offers his hand, and I shake it, smiling, but still suspicious and alert as I try to get a read on him.
"Finnick Odair, but I guess you know that already."
He laughs, and puts his arm around Annie.
"Yeah, who doesn't?"
I laugh with him, and I can tell Annie is not happy with the situation. I glance protectively and with disapproval at how low Heath's hand is on Annie's hip. I take a drink, as Heath asks.
"So how do you know each other?"
Annie doesn't say anything, so I speak up.
"Oh I've known Annie since I was little. Way before I became famous."
Heath looks down at Annie.
"You never told me that babe."
She shrugs, meeting my gaze.
"I guess I didn't think it was worth mentioning."
Her words are so covered in ice, but I guess I deserve that. She turns to Heath, and puts her hand on his chest as she looks in his eyes.
"Hey could you get me a drink? I'm thirsty."He smiles, and kisses her."Sure thing babe, I'll be right back."
He runs off, and Annie turns to me with a hard glare."Finnick."She knows what's coming, but I can't help it. I stare at her with my eyebrows raised.
She sighs and rubs her forehead.
"Stop it Finnick. He's a good guy, and he takes care of me."
I mumble under my breath.
"I'll bet he does."She takes a step forward, and her voice lowers to a harsh tone.
"How dare you!"
I can't help the anger in my voice.
"Annie! I can see clearly what he wants from you. He doesn't care about you."She slaps me hard on the cheek."You don't know anything about us. Stop pretending."I flex my jaw, and turn back to her.
Her eyes are fierce, but there's pain in them.
"Pretending that you have a right to the decisions I make. You're not my brother, you're not my father, and you most definitely do not have the authority to decide what I do or who I choose to be with. You're not my protector."
I can't help the waver in my voice.
"Well I thought I was your best friend, and we used to trust each other."
Tears build in her eyes as she replies with betrayal in her voice.
"You made a decision long ago to stop being my friend Finnick."
I raise my arms in question.
The tears fall down her cheeks, as she replies.
"The day you weren't there for me."
I feel the emptiness in me deepen, and she wipes away the tears.
"It was clear you moved on, and now so have I, just stop pretending that we still have something, because we don't."
I shake my head, as my own eyes start to fill.
"You don't believe that."
"I have no other choice. You were the one who did this Finnick, I just did the mature thing and moved on."
I reach for her hand, but she pulls away.
She shakes her head, wiping away the tears before they fall.
"It's too late for apologies, I'm tired of your excuses, you always seem to have one, and I'm tired of you lying to me."I run my fingers through my hair, desperately trying to find the right thing to say.
"You said I wasn't there for you, I am now, talk to me."
For a minute I think she might say something, but she turns around."Goodbye Finnick."
I feel a horrible pain in my chest, and I watch helplessly as she runs over to Heath and kisses him. I turn around and walk away, looking back once, I can see her looking in my direction, she looks away quickly when she sees me watching her. I turn and run away from the group, away from Heath, away from the most important thing in my life...or at least what was. I don't stop running until I'm upstairs in my house. I slam the door shut so hard the walls shake, and slam my fist against the wall. It produces a sizable dent, and I place both of my hands against the wall, pressing my forehead against the cool surface.
For once the emptiness in me is replaced by something; anger. It doesn't fill the emptiness, but now it is angry emptiness. After a minute, I turn around and storm across the room. I need to throw or break something, maybe punch something again. I rip one of the dresser drawers out, and throw it against the wall, it smashes, and I pull out another one.
In several minutes there are clothes and wood splinters piled against a very dented wall. I kick at the clothes, trying to clear a path to the other side of the room. My foot kicks something hard, and it skids across the room hidden under a shirt. I walk over and rip the shirt off, then I freeze and stare at the object.
I slowly bend down and pick up the wooden picture frame covered in shells. I lean against the wall, and look at the photo behind the shattered glass. Annie, Robbert and I are on the beach. I remember that day. Robbert was feeling better, and we were celebrating at the beach. Mrs. Cresta wanted to take a picture. Annie and Robbert have their arms around each other, and I'm standing behind them making a funny face and sticking my fingers up behind Robbert's head. Annie has her free hand behind her back, and what you can't see in the picture is her holding onto my hand tightly.
I run my finger over the broken glass, and slide down the wall until I'm sitting on the floor. I hold the picture to my chest, and rest my forehead on my knees, then I wrap my arms around my legs, and I break down.
The emptiness in me aches horribly, and my soul is broken. #$% the president, #$% the capitol, and #$% friendship. It can all go to &%$$ for all I care. I don't know how long I spend there, but eventually I drag myself over to the bed, and fall asleep with the picture held tightly to my chest.