How are you all liking part two? I know I'm excited to be writing more about how Finnick and Annie's relationship progresses :)
It's going to be good to see a little relationship drama with them, and I'm rather looking forward to writing it.
Anyway, I don't really have much to say...so I'll just get to writing the chapter.
Chapter Two: Away again.
It's been two months since Johanna Mason won the hunger games, and two months since Poseidon, Ariel and I returned home.
Mags was released from the hospital, and is doing much better. The doctors said that she should have a nurse live with her just to be safe, but Mags waved away this idea. However the doctors insisted someone stay with her at all times, so the solution Mags chose was to have Annie and Mrs. Cresta move in with her.
Mrs. Cresta had been a bit reluctant at first to leave her old home. But I promised to pay to keep it in good condition, so finally she agreed and so her and Annie moved into Mags' big house in victors village. Much to the joy of Annie and I who are now neighbors.
Annie and I have spent the last two months hardly away from each others sides. Just spending time with each other, today like most days we are on the beach.
Annie was a little afraid when I first took her to Calypso's cliff, but I assured her that I would make sure she was safe at all times. She's much more comfortable now that we've been here several times.
We're sitting with our feet dangling over the cliff edge, and she's sitting on my right side close enough that our shoulders are brushing. With her hands braced on the edge of the cliff, Annie leans forward to look over to the pool far below.
"It's beautiful and dangerous at the same time."
She states swinging her legs. I laugh.
"A bit like you I suppose?"
She looks at me and smiles.
"Yes, just like me."
I glance down at the pool, then look at Annie out of the corner of my eye. She turns to me, and can't help smiling.
I grin mischievously, and slide a little closer to the edge.
"Let's go swimming."
She starts to laugh, but seeing my expression, she stops.
I slide even closer to the edge. Still grinning at her.
"Oh yeah? Does this look like I'm joking?"
I push-off the cliff, and start falling toward the water. I hear Annie scream as I flip upside down, and cut through the water in a clean dive.
I wait a moment, and then resurface. The cliff above blocks my view of the top but I can hear Annie's screams echo off the rocks. I laugh as I tread water.
Her voice bounces down the cliff and echoes all around me.
"Are you alright up there?"
I shout up. There's a moment's pause, then I hear her voice call out sternly.
"That wasn't funny at all Finnick Odair."
I laugh again.
"It was funny for me."
Her sigh sounds like a wind rushing through the cove.
"You are so immature."
I look up toward the rocks.
"Jump down! The water's great!"
"Finn I'm in my clothes, and there's no way I'm going to jump down there."
I float on my back, as I answer.
"I'm in my clothes too! Come on, don't be a baby."
I hear her groan in frustration.
"Don't you trust me?"
I decide that she must have left, when something shoots down the cliff face and falls in the water with a loud splash. I switch to a vertical position, and tread water again. Annie's head pops up in front of me.
"I'm going to kill you Finn! The water is freezing!"
I laugh and squirt some water in her face.
"Oh come on it feels great."
She slaps my shoulder, sending a spray of water into my face. This starts an all out splashing war, which I end up winning. After playing around for a while, we both swim over to the cove edge, and pull ourselves out. A short walk takes us back onto the sandy beach, and we walk down to where the sand is dry but firm.
I drop onto the warm sand, and rest back on my elbows. Annie remains standing, looking down at her soaked clothes.
She's wearing a pair of short jean shorts, and a dark red T-shirt. We both came barefoot.
"Look, now I've gotten my clothes all wet."
I flick some sand at her.
"Aw they'll dry."
She reaches up and starts dragging her shirt over her head. I sit up suddenly, and turn around.
"Whoa! Whoa! Annie what are you doing?!"
"Don't be so dramatic, it's only a bra. My bathing suits cover less anyway."
I still don't turn around, and she walks around in front of me. I can see her painted toenails and her legs up to her knees.
"Finn. Hello? I think we've been friends long enough to were you can see me in a bra, sheesh."
She walks back around and sits down in the sand. I slowly do the same, still avoiding looking at her.
"Wow, seriously? Since when do you become mister bashful? I'm serious Finn, my bathing suits are more skimpy than this, and you see me in those practically every day."
She throws a handful of sand at my head, and finally I turn to look at her.
She smiles, and turns to look at the ocean.
"You've got sand on your face."
I can't help chuckling as I brush the sand off. What was the big deal? Annie and I had been best friends forever, so what if I see her in her bra? And she's right, it's no better or worse than a bikini and I see her in those all the time. So why did I make such a big deal about it?
After about a minute of sitting in the hot sun, my shirt starts to feel uncomfortably warm and sticky, and I'm quickly pulling it over my head. Annie immediately turns away.
"Oh! Finn what are you doing?"
She says in a horribly exaggerated voice.
"Don't take your shirt off! It's not like I've seen you without it on practically my whole life or anything! Oh the horror and indecency of it all!"
I place the shirt on the ground beside me and turn back to her.
"Ha, ha, very funny."
"It was funny to me."
I turn to watch the waves crashing on the shoreline, and after a moment's silence Annie says."Have you been working out more?"
I turn and give her a quizzical look.
She points to my chest.
"Have you been working out more or something? You've got more muscles."
I raise both my hands.
"Okay! This conversation just got a lot more awkward. Since when do you keep track of my muscles?"
She shrugs, and turns to look at the ocean.
"Since forever. I know you notice things about me too, it's just a natural observation."
I stay silent, and she turns to look at me.
"What you've never noticed when something changes about me at all?"
I think for a minute.
"About a month ago you started parting your hair on the side. Before it didn't really have a part at all, and it just flew wherever."
"Wow I didn't mean something that little. I was talking about major changes."
I raise my eyebrows.
"A little more muscle definition is a major change?"
"Okay, okay you've got me there. We're best friends Finn, we are bound to notice little things about each other."
There's another silence, then she pokes my bicep.
"But seriously how much weight can you lift now?"
"I don't know, a lot. And to answer your previous question yes I have worked out more."
"It shows, just don't get disgustingly huge muscles like some careers. That just looks unnatural and gross."
"Alright, you can be my muscle guide, just tell me what looks good and what looks freaky."
"Where you are now is good."
I shake my head and chuckle.
"You are something special you know that Annie?"
She smiles, and lies back in the sand.
"Yup, you're pretty special yourself."
We spend another hour or so on the beach, finally starting to walk back as the sun starts to set.
I'm holding both Annie and my shirt in my left hand, and I'm holding Annie's hand in my right. We walk slowly back towards town, halfway there Annie stops me to look at the sunset.
"Isn't it beautiful Finn?"
I gaze up at the sky, ablaze with bright shades of orange and pink, a few fluffy clouds are painted with the suns last rays as it sinks into the ocean. I turn to watch Annie as she gazes at the marvelous scene.
The sky reflects off of her green eyes, and the setting sun catches the reddish highlights in her hair, making it look like she is crowned in fire.
"The sunset makes you hair look like it's on fire."
I say quietly. Annie turns to look at me and smiles.
"It's the little things."
I say with a grin. She bumps her shoulder against mine.
"Come on, we should get back."
We start walking back, and the night cools off quickly. I hand Annie her now mostly dry shirt, and pull on my own. Our hands linked back together, we can see the district lights twinkling among the dunes.
"What time is the wedding tomorrow?"
Annie asks. I think back to when Ariel told me the date and time.
"Um...Two o'clock I believe."
It seems to have come up so fast.
"They both seem so excited, I'm very happy for them."
Annie says dreamily, then she looks at me with a grin.
"Are you nervous?"
I laugh, still unable to believe that Poseidon asked me to be his best man. When we first met we couldn't stand each other.
"Nah, it's not that big a deal. I mean, I'm not the one getting married after all."
"Oh that would be a sight to see; you getting married?"
I stop and pull her hand so that she turns to face me.
"What's so funny about that?"
She continues to giggle.
"Oh come on Finnick, you'd never get married."
She sighs as if it's terribly obvious.
"Because you wouldn't be content with one girl for the rest of your life."
"If I find the right one I will."
She rolls her eyes.
"I didn't think you were the romantic type."
I look offended.
"What? I'll have you know I can be a hopeless romantic if I want to."
We continue to walk toward the district.
"Why wouldn't you think I could be with one girl for the rest of my life?"
She shrugs, waiting before giving me an answer.
"I don't know, I guess I just don't think you could love someone that long."
I stop again, and she stops too.
"You don't think I could love someone?"
She shakes her head, replying quickly.
"No! I just don't think love can last forever you know?"
I don't know how to reply, so I stand there staring at her for several moments, finally coming up with the worst question possible.
"Does this have something to do with Irvin?"
She glares at me.
"No! Why would you bring him up? We haven't even talked in months!"
She wipes her eyes before any tears start to fall."Annie I'm sorry, I just thought you believed in "the one" and love forever, that kind of thing."
She crosses her arms.
"Yeah well, Love is to good of a thing to last forever."
I'm confused, I've never seen her like this before. So cold and harsh.
I can't think of what to say, and the words pop out of my mouth before I can register what they could mean.
"I've loved you forever."
She stares at me.
I recover quickly, realising that she misunderstands.
"No! Not like that! I meant I've loved you as a friend for forever."
She seems to relax a little.
"Oh okay. Well I've loved you for forever too."
She adds quickly.
"As a friend."
I nod. Why are we acting so awkward around each other? We've never been like this before. Then I realise it's because we've never said that we love each other. It was always just kind of a mutual understanding. I would have never guessed that it would be this awkward.
"Um...that was kind of awkward. I hope you didn't think I meant...love, love."
She laughs, and shakes her head.
"Oh no, of course not. We're best friends Finn, that would just be weird."
I laugh in agreement. That would be weird.
"Anyway! Let's not talk about that anymore."
I nod, and we once again start walking along the now dark beach.
"Don't worry Annie, there is someone out there who you could love forever. There's a special somebody for everyone in the world...except for me maybe."
"Well you could just steal someone elses special person. I'm sure they wouldn't mind having you instead."
"I'm serious though, and whoever that special someone is, well they're very lucky."
She smiles, and gives me a side hug as we walk.
Soon we're entering the outskirts of the district, and we speed up so that we won't worry anyone. I drop Annie off at Mags house, now her house as well, and tell everyone goodnight. Then I decide to pay Bruce a visit.
He has kept good his word, and shaped up after that night. He still visits a bar occasionally, but is much more on top of things than he used to be.
I don't bother knocking, and just walk in.
I call into the house, I walk through the dining room, and head towards his study where he usually is.
I open the door and poke my head through. He's sitting at his desk, reading something on a piece of paper. When he hears the door open, he opens his top drawer, and quickly shoves the paper inside. Then he looks up quickly.
I pause in the doorway.
"Um, hi. Am I interrupting something?"
He shakes his head quickly.
"No, no, please come in."
I shrug off the feeling that he's hiding something, and walk in. I plop into one of the chairs facing the large wood desk.
"So how are things with you?"
"Good, how's my parole officer?"
he says jokingly. I smile.
"I'm doing good. You going to the wedding tomorrow?"
He nods quickly.
"Yeah, yeah I'll be there. Wouldn't want to miss you as best man now would I?"
"You most definitely would not, I'm going to look smashing."
"You're a lot like your mother you know that?"
The grin fades from my face.
What's going on? Bruce never, ever talks about my mother. It's only the biggest secret in my entire life, and his probably. Well no, I'm his secret.
"She was so beautiful...that's another thing you have to thank her for."
He says teasing. His face is smiling, but his eyes are sad.
"I loved her so much..."
He looks like hes staring into the past, and I snap my fingers.
"Bruce, are you feeling okay?"
He blinks, looks at me and smiles.
"Yeah, just tired."
I stand up.
"Well you should get some sleep than."
"Yeah, big day tomorrow."
He walks around the desk and faces me. I'm taller than him now by about an inch. He smiles sadly and puts his hand under my chin.
"Your mother was the most wonderful person I've ever known. I know she would be so proud of you."
He actually has tears in his eyes, and his words are making my eyes fill as well. He takes a deep breath.
"I'm proud of you too. After everything you've been through, you've stayed strong and pushed through."
"Stumbled and fell through is more like it."
"Even still. You're practically my son Finnick, and I just want you to know that even though you're not technically, I couldn't be more proud, or love you more if you were."
I suddenly seem to have a lump in my throat. Why is he saying these things? He's never been this...emotional before. My voice breaks as I reply.
"Well you're like my father, and I'm proud that you've stepped up to be there for me. Now you should really get to bed."
"Yes, yes of course."
He smiles, and hugs me tightly. I gasp as the air is pushed out of my lungs, and I pat his back.
"Okay, thanks Bruce. I'll see you tomorrow."
He pulls back, with both hands on my shoulders.
"Yes, I'll see you tomorrow. Goodbye Finnick."
He pats my shoulder, and walks me to the door. As I walk to my house, I turn around and wave. He smiles and waves back.
I am at my house in a matter of seconds, and as I walk upstairs to my bedroom, I ponder what all that was about.
Maybe he stopped by a bar today. That was probably it.
I sigh as I change into pajamas and crawl into bed.
"Tomorrow is indeed a big day."
I say to myself. As I'm falling asleep, I mutter.
"Musn't forget the rings..."