I know last chapter was rather depressing, and I'm sure some of you weren't expecting it, but my first idea for this story was a scene that had popped into my head, so everything else has kind of been leading up to that one scene.
The scene won't be for another couple of chapters, but I'm just letting you know that YES I do have a plan, and have no fear things are going to be moving along and there is going to be lots of drama and fluff coming up :)
So anyway, here is the chapter, and the song for this chapter is "Dreaming with a broken heart" by John Mayer, and "Empty Gaze" by Epica.
Chapter Seventeen: Heartache.
I don't get much sleep that night, and when I do sleep, it's full of painful nightmares. The only way I convince myself to keep going, is that Annie is safe now, and I'm being selfish to want her to be with me.
For an hour or so, I sit on the edge of my bed in the early dawn, and stare at the picture. I think of how I've abandoned Annie, I never thought of it that way, but when she said I wasn't there for her, I realize I have abandoned her. I don't know how I could have done that, how could I have ever hurt her?
I sigh, and put the picture on my nightstand, then I get up and dig through the clothes scattered on the floor. I finally find a pair of jeans and a coral shirt, and dressing quickly I walk downstairs.
I have to find someone to clean up my bedroom and I have to get a new dresser. I open the front door, and blink in surprise as a piece of paper falls from between the seam. I pick it up, and unfold it. My eyes quickly scan over the contents, and I frown.
A summons to the capitol? I just got back. This doesn't look like the usual summons. For one it doesn't have a list of women, and it just says to come to the capitol, it doesn't say what for.
I read through it one more time, and stuff the paper in my pocket. My train leaves in an hour, so I still have time to find someone to hire.
I find a middle-aged woman, and explain the job, she agrees to help me, and I give her a handful of capitol coins. Then I go directly to the train station. It's almost a relief to be leaving, after last night I don't really feel like facing another day in district four. I walk onto the train, and plop onto a large couch. I close my eyes, and wait for the train to leave.
In a few minutes I hear the low hum of the engines, and a slight motion as the train starts off with its incredible speed. After an hour or so, I realize I never had breakfast, so I go into the dining car and order some fresh fruit and a few pastries. As I wait for my food, I see Julia through a doorway. I call to her, and she looks at me with surprise. She finishes what she was doing, and walks over to me.
what are you doing here?
She signs quickly. I wait until she's done, then say.
"I don't know, I got a letter that just said to get on this train."
She looks confused.
I shake my head.
"It didn't say anything about that, I don't know though, I might get more information when I get there."
She nods, and points to the kitchen with her eyebrows raised. I smile.
"Yes I ordered a late breakfast."
She smiles with approval, and waves. I wave back and she goes to attend her duties. My breakfast arrives, and I eat it quickly. Since the train arrived early this morning, we should arrive in the capitol sometime tonight. I spend most of the ride sleeping, or eating. An attendant comes to tell me we will be arriving in a half hour. I glance at the clock; 7:00. We made good time. I grab the little rectangle of glass, and tap the top. Lights appear on it, and I switch the power button. The television on the wall flickers to life, and I flip through the channels to kill time.
I stop, and switch back a couple of stations, I set down the remote and watch for a minute. There are two women in bright green and blue, and they are talking to each other, set in a room made to look like a lounge. The one in blue is saying.
"Well I don't know about you, but if there's one thing that gets better with age it is..."
She and the lady in green look at the camera and smile, saying in unison.
My eyebrows shoot up in surprise, and curiosity keeps me watching. The blue lady's name flashes on the bottom of the screen; Ollet. The green lady's name is Yula. Ollet continues.
"Yes indeed, I believe this young man is undeniably the most beautiful creature to ever walk the earth!"
Yula agrees, and they both giggle. I had no idea things like this existed.
"Oh Ollet, why don't we take a look at some of the letters we received from fans!"
Ollet smiles at the camera.
"Yes! Why don't we!"
They make a huge show of gasping and covering their mouths as several men from their crew drag out large bags full of letters. The men dump the bags out, and soon there is a giant pile of letters. Ollet and Yula place their hands to their cheeks dramatically.
"Oh! Oh my! Just look at all these letters!"
"And these are just the ones we've got today!"
Ollet picks up one, and delicately slits open the envelope, pulling out the letter, she unfolds it and begins reading.
"Dear Finnick, I am your biggest fan ever! I've seen every single interview with you in it, and even all the ones where they just mention you! I own every copy of every magazine featuring you, and I watch your games every day! I love you more than anything! And when we meet I know you're going to fall in love with me too!"
Ollet sets down the letter and raises her eyebrows.
"Well, well, that is one love struck little girl!"
Yula is scanning another letter, and she looks up and says.
"Well who isn't love struck by Finnick Odair?"
They both start giggling again, and Ollet points to the letter in Yula's hand.
"What does that one say?"
Yula blushes, and sets the letter aside.
"I'm afraid we can't read that one aloud."Ollet blushes as well, and they start giggling. I can feel my cheeks heat up as I try not to think what was on that letter. Yula opens another one, and says.
"Oh! I can read this one. It says; Dear Finnick, thank you for the best night of my life! I can't believe I got to meet you! You are even more dreamy than I could have ever imagined, and I am soooo in love with you! I know someday we will get married because I felt we had a connection, and I could tell you are in love with me too. I love you! Tali."
I frown, I don't even remember a Tali. Ollet wags her finger at the camera.
"Oh no Tali! You can't have him all to yourself! I'm sure lots of young girls, and even women feel that they are in love with Finnick."
Yula sets down the letter.
"Why don't we look at some footage of Finnick's latest interview?"
They turn to a screen, and I cover my eyes as my interview starts playing. I remember that one, it was the last one I did a month ago. It was a cover for coming to the capitol, and I was in full capitol Finnick swing.
"So Finnick, how does it feel to be eighteen?"
I peek through my fingers, and groan at the screen. Could anyone look more like a flirt? I keep glancing at the camera with a lazy smile, casually stretching so that my muscles flex, and flicking the hair out of my eyes. I smile that cursed charming smile, and say with a light laugh.
"Well, everyone says eighteen is a big deal, but it really doesn't feel that different."The interviewer straightens out his cards, and says.
"But you're a man now."One side of my mouth twitches up in a devilish grin, and I say with a sly wink.
"Well I was already a man if you know what I mean."
The interviewer laughs, and moves on to the next question. I slam my head against the back of the couch, and drag my hands down my face.
"I'm an idiot."I say with another groan. With a heavy sigh, I lift my head and keep walking.
"Well, when I released the news that I was doing an interview with you, I received over a thousand letters just that day all begging me to ask you certain questions."
I watch capitol Finnick raise his eyebrows in surprise.
"Oh? What kind of questions?"
The interviewer hold up his cards.
"Well I've written down the most popular questions, I'll ask and you just give a quick answer okay?"
Capitol Finnick nods his head.
"Sounds good, fire away."
The interviewer reads off the first card.
"Are you dating anyone?"
"No, I am very much single. Still looking for that special lady."
"What do you look for in a girl?"
"Oh, I'm not picky. Although I do like a girl who enjoys romantic gestures."
"I'm sure you'll find no trouble there. Next question is, What do you like to do in your free time?"
"I love to be outside, swimming is one of the major things, um...I also love to shop."
"Any girl would love that in a man. Oh, here's a good one. What exactly is your relationship to Annie Cresta?"
I trace the trident around my neck as capitol Finnick answers quickly on-screen.
"I know lots of people don't believe that Annie and I are just friends, but we are. She's been like my little sister for as long as I can remember."The interviewer nods, then he laughs and says.
"I can't even count how many times I got this question to ask you on the show."Capitol Finnick looks curious, and I shake my head, knowing what's coming. The interviewer grins as he reads off the question.
"Could you please ask Finnick if he would take off his shirt on the show?"
I moan as captiol Finnick laughs, and grins.
I ask myself on the screen as capitol Finnick stands up and pulls off his shirt. All the girls in the live studio scream, and the screen freezes as Yula pauses the interview footage. Her and Ollet fan themselves and giggle.
"Oh my! What a body!"
Yula exclaims, Ollet adds.
"I know what I want for my birthday!"
They giggle, and then Yula looks at the clock.
"Oh! I'm afraid we are out of time! We'll see you next time on 'Dreamboat', the Finnick odair fan show!"
I turn off the television and sigh. So apparently they have a fan show just for me. That's rather unpleasant news. I hear a low whistle behind me, and turn around. Julia is standing there, and I smile. She has figured out how to do low whistles, so she will do that to get my attention. She points at the screen with a grin. I give her a mock glare.
"Oh be quiet."She finds this funny since she can't say anything, and walks over. She signs something really quick.
"No, I don't actually act like that. I have to when I'm in the capitol."
She nods, and signs again.
"No I don't like it!"
She smiles. Signing some more. I shake my head.
"I didn't know I had a fan show."She keeps signing and I follow her hands concentrating.
She nods, and holds up her hands.
She shrugs, and signs.
"Oh great, ten that you know of. Don't the people in the capitol have anything better to do?"
She shrugs, and shakes her head with a smile.
"Great, and now I'm on my way to the capitol for some mysterious reason."
She signs quickly.
"Well I'll see you soon I guess."She nods, and waves. I wave back, and walk out onto the train station. I look around, and see a long black car with a driver standing by it. I walk up and he just opens the door. I slide into the back seat, and he closes the door, gets in and starts driving.
We arrive at a luxury hotel, and he hands me a key.
I say, he doesn't say anything, and drives away. I turn around and walk into the hotel. It's not the one I usually stay at, this one is closer to the south side of the capitol, where as my normal one is on the north side. Well nothing is like it usually is, so I just take the elevator up to my room. It is the royal suite, and has it's own private balcony with a pool. I put the keys on the kitchen counter, and walk into the master bedroom. A brief search later, and I have discovered a sealed envelope. I sit on the bed as I slide my finger under the wax seal, and pull out the folded piece of paper.
Thank you for coming on such short notice, but something has come up, and your services are needed only once.
After your appointment, you may return to district four, however we have booked the room for a week if you so wish to stay.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, and hope that you find your accommodations are satisfactory. Your appointment is at nine.
Miss Snow will be waiting for you at the plaza.
I freeze, and re-read the name four times just to make sure my mind isn't playing tricks on me. Snow? As in president snow? Something sparks in my brain, and I remember the president has a granddaughter. I read the letter again. The plaza, I've heard of that. It's supposed to be one of the highest class restaurants in the capitol. It would make sense that is where the president's granddaughter would go to eat.
I glance at the clock. I have about an hour to get ready and get to the Plaza. I find a suit with a sea-foam green shirt and classic black pants and jacket to go with it. I dress quickly and find a car waiting for me. The drive doesn't take near as long as I thought it would, and I stare at the giant square building made almost entirely out of glass. Once inside, I can see the ceilings are one way mirrors, so people above can see down, but people on the lower floors only see their own reflection.
"Reservation for Finnick Odair."
I tell the attendant, she flips through her registry for a minute, then says.
"Ah yes, mr. Odair your reservation is for the roof. Take this card and have a good evening."She hands me a small clear plastic card, and points the way to the private roof elevator. I walk up to the mirror doors of the elevator, and slide my card in front of the small security box on the side. The doors open, and I stick the card in my pocket as I board the elevator. There is no buttons inside, so I just stand and wait for the doors to close.
The elevator is located in the middle of the resteraunt, and it is made out of glass, so I can see the floors sliding past as the elevator rises to the roof. In about thirty seconds, the elevator pulls up into a metal rectangle, and the doors slide open. I walk out and gasp at the view. Millions of lights twinkle among the bright buildings, and I can see a large portion of the capitol.
"Are you going to stand there all night?"
I hear a quiet voice say behind me. I turn around and looked surprised to find a girl who looks to be around the age of ten. She is extremely slender, and pale. her large eyes are a blue so light they almost look silver. She has full lips and her hair is a very light strawberry blonde.
She's dressed in a white gown that makes her look even more pale and slim. She walks over and smiles.
"You can call me Zaria if I can call you Finnick, mr. Odair."
I can't help smiling."Well Zaria, excuse my surprise but I thought you were older."
"Sorry for disappointing you."
I shake my head and offer her my arm.
"Oh no, just surprised, not disappointed."
She takes my arm, and I feel like if I'm not extremely careful, I'll break her arm. We walk over to a table lit with candles and settings for two. I pull out her chair for her, then I sit down.
"I hope I didn't keep you waiting long."She shakes her head.
"Not at all."She seems older than she is, and I wonder if I've misjudged her age.
"Eleven today. To answer your question."She says with a slight smile. I blink in surprise.
She laughs quietly.
"I could tell you were confused, and it was simple to figure what about."I nod.
"You're a rather perceptive young lady."
She shrugs."It's in my blood I guess."
A waiter comes and takes our orders, then leaves.
"So your parents?..."
"Dead."She says softly, holding my gaze steadily. I nod.
"I'm sorry."She takes a sip of her water, then replies.
"It happened when I was young. You can relate."
"Yes I can. So you live with your grandfather?"
"The mansion is so large that it's quite easy for me to live in it and stay conveniently out of grandfathers way."She says it cooly, and I can't help smiling.
"Not the most loving grandfather?"
"I wouldn't know."She adds as an afterthought.
"He was kind enough to get me dinner with you for my birthday."I nod.
"True. Happy birthday by the way."She smiles.
"Thank you. Sorry to take you away from home, I didn't know you were just here. Otherwise I could have celebrated early."I shake my head.
"Don't worry about it. I love the capitol."
She shakes her head slowly.
"No you don't, you hate it as much as I do."I laugh nervously.
"What are you talking about?"
She sighs, and straightens her silverware.
"Everything is too perfect here, I wish grandfather would let me visit the other districts. But he says I wouldn't be safe, lots of people wouldn't take to kindly to me, knowing I was related to him."I remain quiet, and after a moment she says.
"I'm not like him you know. Well I am a little, but I'm not evil."I raise my eyebrows.
"I wouldn't say the presidents evil."She smiles slightly.
"That's because he can kill you. I'm his granddaughter."
Our food arrives and the rest of the meal we spend making small talk. She asks me lots of questions about district four, and anything I know of the other districts. I find that she is quiet and extremely smart and perceptive. At some points I can't help thinking she looks like the president. She has that same piercing stare, the one that seems like it can look right into your soul. She isn't bad company, and I feel sorry for her.
As we're eating dessert, she asks quietly.
"Is it awful? What you have to do here?"
I smile nervously, and give a half-hearted laugh.
"Interviews and photo shoots aren't that bad."
She shakes her head, giving me that piercing stare again.
"That's not what I meant. I know about them Finnick."
I sigh, and lean back in my chair.
"How do I know you really do?"
"I may not be allowed to know some things, but one hears things. The walls in the mansion aren't that thick."
"So you know. Yes it is awful."
She looks at me sadly.
"It's not your fault you're related to him."She stays silent, and I can tell she's thinking about telling me something.
"You've probably heard some stories about grandfather..."
I nod slowly.
"Don't worry about being heard, I chose this place because it doesn't have any cameras."
I glance around quickly.
"Well that was a smart move."
She smiles slightly.
"Whatever you've heard, it's probably true. You know that blood smell whenever he's around?"
I nod slowly.
"It's because he drinks the same poisoned wine that he gives to people he wants out-of-the-way, he has antidotes, but the poison still left permanent sores in his mouth, that's why he has those roses genetically made so they have a stronger smell."
I look down at the scar on my finger.
"Well that explains a lot."
"I think deep down he might care about me a little, but he's almost a stranger to me."
She sighs, and looks intently at me.
"Sometimes I wish someone would do something that would change how things are."
I lean forward.
She lowers her voice, even though there aren't any cameras.
"Like a second rebellion, something that could end the hunger games and bring the whole country freedom. I think things would be better that way."
"It probably would."
Zaria stands up.
"Thank you for having dinner with me, and I know I can trust you to keep our conversations a secret."
I nod, and shake her hand."Yes you can. Happy birthday again."She smiles.
"Thank you. Goodbye Finnick."
She leaves, and I wait until the waiter brings the check.
"It's already been taken care of sir."He says. I thank him and leave. I tell the driver that I'll walk back to the hotel, he nods and drives off. I'm fairly confidant that I can find my way to the hotel, and I start walking. The streets are almost empty at this time of night, but there are always a few people out and about at all hours. I get several looks and a few stop to shake my hand and get a picture. For the most part I avoid attention, but it's a little hard for a six-foot three celebrity wearing a suit to be inconspicuous. I cut down a side street, as I see a group of people coming towards me.
"She's gone mad!"
"Let's get out of here!"
I hear the scattered shouts, and walk towards them. A bright pink man bumps into me.
"Sorry."I mumble, he turns and doesn't even seem to recognise me.
He shouts, then he continues to dash down the street. I turn and see a whole crowd scattering and running in different directions. As I walk closer, I hear more shouts and screams, and I push through the crowd looking for the source of the commotion.
"GET OUT OF HERE YOU FREAKS!"I hear a voice scream. I push frantically through the crowd, and stare in disbelief.
"Johanna? What the &*%^ are you doing here?"
She can't hear me, and I quickly survey her condition. She looks horrible, her hair is dirty and sticking up in all directions, her clothes are filthy and torn, she's not wearing any shoes and her eyes are bloodshot, adding to the crazy look. I gasp as I see she's wielding a pistol. How did she get a gun? Those are strictly forbidden for everyone except peacekeepers. She shoots into the air, and then swings the gun at the crowd.
"Where is he?!"
She shrieks. I push past the crowd, and step towards her. She turns on me and points the gun directly at me.
"Hey Jo...why don't you put the gun down?..."
She screams, shaking her head as tears fall out of her eyes.
"Don't you dare tell me what to do Finnick."
I take another step forward, and she steadies the gun.
"Don't come any closer or I swear I will shoot you!"
I raise my hands and talk quietly.
"Jo. Let's talk okay? Just you and me."
She shakes her head slowly, grinding her teeth together as more tears fall from her eyes.
"No...I'm done talking. Where is he?!"
I shake my head.
She waves the gun at me.
"You know who!"
I shake my head again.
"No I don't. Tell me."The gun shakes slightly, and when she says the name, a shiver goes down my spine.
"Ssssnow."She hisses the word out between her teeth, and it is more fierce than a cold wind over ice. Pure and untainted hatred is in her voice, and her bloodshot eyes are glowing hotly with murder.
"Jo...I don't know where the president is, he's probably at the mansion."
She screams at me, cutting off anything else I was going to say.
"Don't! Give him a title! The only title that fits him is..."
She runs off into some very colorful names and swears.
"SNAKE! MURDERER! WORM!"
I take a step forward, and she freezes. Bringing the gun sharply back up to point at me."Not another step Finnick!"
I stop and keep my hands up.
"Jo, drop the gun."
I take another step forward, and she cocks the gun.
"I will shoot you!"
I take another step forward, and she readjusts her grip on the gun. I keep moving forward.
"Put the gun down."I say firmly, I'm only about four feet away from her when she takes a step back and holds the gun to her head.
"Jo! Stop!"She shakes her head slowly, tears cleaning off two streaks on her face.
"Finnick stop! It's either you or me!"
I open my arms.
"Then shoot me."She hesitates.
"You can't stop me...I'm going to murder the president. Or I'm going to die trying!"
I take a final step forward, still with my arms open wide.
"You're going to have to shoot me, or I'm going to try to stop you."
Her chin quivers, and she points the gun at my chest shakily.
I shake my head.
"I'm going to stop you unless you shoot me."There is a moment of tension, Johanna staring at the spot on my chest where she's aiming, I'm watching her eyes carefully.
Her eyes slowly flicker up to meet my gaze, and I don't say anything. She drops her head, and sobs loudly. I quickly grab the gun out of her hand, and throw it far away. She is holding her hands to her head, grabbing onto her hair and sobbing. She falls to her knees on the street, and I drop down next to her. Holding her shoulder.
She chokes. I wipe mud off her face.
"Jo what happened?"
She pauses, and her grow wide, her pupils shrinking to pinpoints as she re-lives whatever is causing her so much distress. She closes her eyes, and her mouth opens wide in a scream.
The scream pierces through me, and the pain in her scream is so intense I know her soul is finally broken in pieces. Blood starts to run down her face as her nails dig into her head. I grab her hands, and hold them away from her.
She screams brokenly, shaking her head quickly back and forth.
She strains to cover her head with her hands, but I keep a firm hold on them.
"Gone! Finnick gone!"
I shake my head, tears starting to form in my eyes.
"What's gone Jo?"
She gasps, and her whole body stiffens, then shudders.
"He took him away from me!"
She goes limp, and I wrap my arms around her, holding her up. She screams.
I almost drop Johanna, the realization finally dawning on me.
"No...It can't be..."
She grabs onto the front of my shirt, and her whole body shakes with the force of her scream.
"He killed him!"
I hold onto her tightly, and the tears fall out of my eyes. I wordlessly start walking, I carry Johanna all the way to the train station, and ignoring the questions and looks, I board the train set to leave for district four. Julia looks up shocked as I walk into my usual room and set Johanna on the bed. She's clinging so tightly to my shirt, that when I straighten up, it rips off. I ignore the tatters hanging on me and tell Julia quickly.
"Please don't ask anything right now, do we have any morphling on the train?"
She nods quickly, glancing at Johanna.
"Go get it quickly."She nods and hurries out of the room. Johanna is shaking horribly, and she's still clinging to my ruined shirt. I walk over and kneel in front of her.
"Jo, can you hear me."
Her eyes are vacant, and tears run continually down her face. I take off my jacket, and drape it over Johanna's shoulders. Julia returns with a small vial full of morphling, and a syringe.
"Thank you, one more thing. Could you hold her down while I give her this?"
Julia nods, and hold Johanna's arm steady as I give her a shot of morphling. Her breathing slows, and her pupils widen slightly.
"Thank you Jules. I'll call you if I need anything else."
She motions quickly.
"What happened to her?"
"The president killed my little brother."Johanna says quietly. Julia looks astonished at me, questioning if this is true. I don't have to say anything, the pain in my eyes is enough. She looks from Johanna to me, and then shakes her head.
"It's true. I'll call you if we need anything."
She nods, and a tear escapes her eye as she leaves. I sit down next to Johanna and wrap my arms around her. She hides her face in my bare chest, and holds onto my arm tightly.
I stay up with her all night, holding her tightly as she sobs, and giving her more morphling when she starts screaming and scratching herself. Around three o'clock, she finally calms completely down.
"I was shopping."
She says quietly.
"When I got back it was already too late."
She takes a deep breath, and her voice shakes as she says.
"They said he hit his head and fell into the lake. But he was a great swimmer, there's no way he accidentally drowned."
I still have my arms around her, and my chin is resting on the top of her head.
"It could have been Jo..."
She shakes her head.
"No, when I got back to the house there was a rose on my bed."
I shiver slightly and Johanna sighs heavily.
"It's my fault. I told him no."
She's strangely calm, and I think it has something to do with the morphling.
"He asked me to be a prostitute like you, and I said no. He told me that it was fine. 'I can't make you do anything you don't want to' he said calmly. Then he told me to have a nice day."
She rubs her hand against my chest slowly.
"It happened the next day. He moves fast doesn't he?"
A tear falls onto Johanna's head as it escapes my eye.
"Yes he does."