Long time no see huh? Well I've been super busy with the holiday's and everything, plus I'll admit I was procrastinating maybe a little...I don't want this story to end, and it's quickly drawing to a close :( although after this I get to write Annie's story with my dear friend so that should be fun! While we're doing that I will most likely be posting Mags' story as well so keep an eye out for that.
Thank you so much for anyone and everyone who has read/reading my stories, it is amazing to see that "Life with Annie" has almost 10,000 views! I seriously am shocked and delighted, when I first got on here I seriously doubted that my writing was any good, and I expected only a few people to check out my stories. So to all of you out there who have viewed my story, I'd like to give you my sincere thanks for being so supportive.
Your views and reviews have helped me become more confident of my writing abilities, and I am working on getting one of my books published. I probably wouldn't have been able to without all your support, knowing that there are thousands of people out there who enjoy my writing is incredible, and it has helped me realise that maybe I'm better at writing than I thought I was :)
Anyway, cheesy moment done with and I'll get on to writing this chapter! Song is "She is love" by Parachute.
PS: If you have any questions, comments, ideas, critic please don't hesitate to PM or review, I love hearing what you guys think. Once again I can not thank you all enough, especially those of you who review :)
Chapter Twenty-Five: could this be a breeze of change?
It takes me several minutes to recover from my nightmare, and lots of deep breaths. I keep telling myself that Annie is fine, I just saw her an hour or so ago. She is fine when I'm around, and now that we're together she said she hasn't been seeing or hearing things that weren't there. She's better, and she's not going to lose her mind.
I sigh and drop my head into my hands, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath that comes out in a heavy sigh. This is my worst fear, the one thing I dread more than anything. I'm afraid Annie is going to lose her mind...and this time I won't be able to snap her out of it, this time I'll lose her forever. I would rather live every single day in the arena, than ever lose Annie.
With another sigh I run my fingers through my hair and sit up straight. Telling myself that what I fear will never happen, I'm here to protect Annie now, and she won't lose her mind if I'm there to help hold her together. I stand up and take a quick shower, washing the sweat from my body, the warmth of the water relaxing my tense muscles. I dress quickly in a pair of nice pants and a black shirt. Running my fingers hurriedly through my wet tangled waves, I walk downstairs and decide to swing by the Cresta's to pick up Mags, Annie and her mom if they are all going.
It takes me about thirty seconds to walk down the street to the house Mags shares with the Cresta's. I knock twice, and wait on the porch. In a moment I hear someone walk up to the door and pull it open.
"Finnick! Have you come to escort us to dinner?"
Mrs. Cresta says with a smile as she gives me a hug. I grin and give her a light kiss on the cheek.
"Yes I have. Three beautiful ladies can't exactly go to dinner without an escort now can they?"
She laughs, and pats my cheek.
"Oh Finnick you are so charming. Come in, we'll be ready to leave in just a few minutes."
I walk into the living room and decline Mrs. Cresta's offer to sit.
"No thank you, I'll stand if that's alright."
She smiles and shrugs.
"Whatever you're comfortable with, I'll be back in a moment."
She disappears down the hall, and the minute her door closes, I hear one open upstairs and the sound of feet running down the steps. I see Annie jump down the last few steps, her hair falling down around her face as she lands. She quickly straightens out the tiered white skirt she's wearing and runs up to me, wrapping her arms around my neck and planting a passionate kiss against my lips. I wrap one arm around her waist, and slide my fingers under her hair to the back of her neck, resting my thumb against her cheek. She finally breaks the kiss, and smiles.
"What was that for?"
I ask with a playful smile, her hands slide up my neck and twist through my hair.
"That was because I can't kiss you at dinner tonight, but mostly because I missed your lips."
I laugh slightly, slowly moving my head closer to hers, our lips only a few inches apart. As I wrap both arms around her waist.
"Is that so?"
She smiles, tilting her head slightly so that her lips are directly in front of mine.
"Yes, you have very nice lips."
My eyes flicker from her eyes to her lips, then I look back into her green eyes that are just a shade darker than mine, like twin emeralds that sparkle like stars.
"Just my lips?"
She slides her hands down to my chest and smiles.
"Well...not just your lips. You have very nice eyes as well."
I lean slightly closer, dropping my voice to a whisper.
"That's all? My lips and my eyes?"
Her hands slide up to my face, and she whispers back.
"Finnick Odair, I think you are just perfect in general. But you're especially good at kissing."
I ask, closing the gap between us and gently pressing my lips against hers, I feel her smile against my lips before deepening the kiss. Suddenly we hear someone clear their throat, and I don't think we could have pulled away faster. We both turn and see Mags standing at the doorway, her arms crossed and one eyebrow raised. Annie bites her lip to keep herself from giggling, and I flush bright red, scratching the back of my head as I stare at the floor.
"Um...Mags hi...how long have you been standing there?"
Her face is serious, but I can see amusement in her eyes.
Annie can't help letting out a small embarrassed laugh, as she covers her face with her hands. Mags walks over to us and shakes her head.
"Honestly you two, can't you spend ten seconds with each other without exchanging saliva?"
Annie's cheeks are red now, while mine have faded somewhat. I give Mags a grin.
"Does it make you uncomfortable?"
She shakes her head, turning serious.
"No, but I'm not the one you should be worried about seeing you."
Annie gives me a look, and I nod.
"You're right, we'll be more careful."
Mags nods, and Mrs. Cresta walks in. Seeing the embarrassment on Annie and my face, she slows to a stop and raises her eyebrows.
"What's going on?"
She asks with curiosity. Mags turns around and snorts.
"I caught the two lovebirds expressing their feelings to one another."
Annie is looking at the floor, trying not to laugh. I can't blame her, my face must be beet red by now.
Says Mrs. Cresta with a smile. Mags walks over to her and whispers loud enough for Annie and I to hear.
"I won't go into detail but a rather passionate kiss was involved."
Annie covers her face with her hands again, and groans.
"Mags, do you have to torture us?"
Mags turns around and grins."You asked for it with your PDA."
Mrs. Cresta laughs, and shakes her head.
"Teenagers will be teenagers I guess. Come on you two, we're due for dinner."
I offer Annie my arm and she slides hers into it quickly.
"Let's go."In a few minutes we are knocking on Ariel and Poseidon's door, which is opened by Lily.
"Come on in, mommy is finishing dinner."
She says with a smile as she steps to the side allowing us to enter. We hear a call from the kitchen.
"I'll be there in a minute, make yourselves at home!"
Mrs. Cresta immediately walks towards the kitchen, offering to help Ariel with any last-minute preparations. Mags gives Annie and I a look before following Lily into the living room. Annie and I grin at each other before joining Mags and Lily in the living room. Eric is playing on the floor with some toys, and Annie quickly sits on the floor in front of him with Lily and they start playing with him. Mags is reclining comfortably in an armchair, so I take a seat on the couch.
After several minutes Lily jumps up and runs to the door.
She shouts happily as she opens the door and gives Poseidon a quick hug.
"Lily honey could you go get me Eric's bib? I think it's upstairs."
Ariel calls from the kitchen, Lily dashes off and Poseidon walks in carrying several bags. He pauses in the living room doorway, his eyes looking over us quickly.
"Welcome, do you need anything?"
Annie turns from playing with Eric and smiles.
"No thank you."
Mags just shakes her head.
"I think we're all fine thanks."
Poseidon looks at me hard for a few seconds.
"Hey Finnick could you help me put these away? They go out back in the shed."
I stand up quickly and take half of the bags he's carrying.
"Sure, lead the way."
He walks quickly through the house and out the back door, leading me over to a small shed at the back of a tall dune. As I help him unload the contents, he says quietly.
"Listen Finnick, I've gotten to know you pretty well, and I think I can trust you."
I pause and look at him.
"You can...what's going on?"
He hesitates, then says in a hushed whisper.
"I've been in contact with some of the other victors from different districts, we send each other coded letters, appearing to be just casual talk but with messages hidden in the text."
I shake my head confused.
He continues to unload as he answers.
"Lately there has been a restlessness among the districts, the capitol fears a second rebellion is not too far off."
I almost drop the bag in my hand, tightening my grip just in time."A second rebellion? Are you sure?"
"It won't be much longer now, things have been building up for a while now, things have gotten steadily worse in the districts and uprisings can't be that far off. Once the kindling of unrest is piled high, it will only need the smallest spark to start the flames of rebellion. From there it could build into a war that could free the districts from the reign of the capitol."
I can feel adrenaline pumping through my veins, excitement and fear mixing into one inside my head as I think about what he just said.
"How far off could this be?"
He shrugs, unloading the last of the supplies from his bag.
"Who knows? Years, a decade, a few days. All that we know, is that the districts won't take the tyranny of the capitol much longer, and that there will be war. When we don't know, but we're going to be ready for whatever lies ahead."
I shake my head, trying to clear my thoughts.
"Who knows about this?"
"I think everyone does in a way, somewhere deep down they can feel the knife-edge that we're all walking on, and they all know sooner or later we are going to step off the edge. As for who specifically is preparing for rebellion, well that's a bit classified. I can say that we are not alone, we have allies everywhere, some even in the capitol, others where you would never expect."
I have a thousand more questions, but Poseidon walks around me, and out of the small shed.
"Come now, enough talk about that. Don't worry, I'll make sure you know what, when, where, how and who when the time comes. Right now my beautiful wife has made dinner and I am hungry."
My mind racing with thoughts of a second rebellion, I follow Poseidon back inside. What if it's true? Could there be another rebellion? And if so when would it happen? What could be the spark that would set off the flames of war? Poseidon said something small...could it be something a small as a single act? One little spark of rebellion to set the whole country in flames?
"Hey, Finn what's the matter?"
I snap out of my thoughts as I hear Annie's slightly curious voice. I smile and shake my head.
"Nothing, just thinking is all."
She smiles her perfect smile as she says.
"Oh alright, come on dinner's ready."
That night is spent with lots of laughter, and talking. Annie and I are seated next to each other, and I hold her hand tightly under the table through the meal, gently stroking the back of her hand with my thumb as she smiles. Poseidon and Ariel tell us all about what they've been up to since they have been married. Ariel hasn't had to visit the capitol since Eric was born, but Poseidon is still called on every now and then. I'm surprised they are able to still go through all that even though they are married now. It makes me wonder if Annie and I could ever have that relationship, would Annie be able to handle me going to the capitol if we were married as long as we were together?
I look over at her, her shining emerald eyes, her wavy brown hair, her flawlessly smooth tanned skin, and her beautiful smile. I give her hand a gentle squeeze, knowing I could never ask that of her. We will never be able to have a normal life, I can never give her a normal relationship, and if I'm to keep her safe, we will always have to be a secret. That means we can never have children, if Annie just became pregnant, she would be an outcast and I would have too many questions to answer.
She turns to look at me, and the smile slowly fades from her face as she looks into my eyes. She can see the pain in them, the longing to have the relationship we can never have. I give her a small smile, knowing somehow we will figure out a life together. She smiles back, but I can tell she's slightly worried.
After dinner is finished, we spend another hour or so talking in the living room, Eric falls asleep in Annie's arms, and I give her a playful jealous look. She wrinkles her nose and grins at me, Poseidon has Lily on his lap, who is also fast asleep.
"Well I think we should get these little ones to bed."
He says quietly, carefully standing up with Lily in his arms. Ariel stands and gently takes Eric from Annie as Mags stands up.
"Yes, and we need to get our little ones in bed as well."
Annie and I make quiet protests, receiving smiles from Ariel and Poseidon. Mrs. Cresta gives Ariel a careful hug so she doesn't disturb Eric.
"Thank you for dinner, it was wonderful, and next time we have you over at our house."
Ariel and Poseidon agree, and with quiet farewells we walk back to the Cresta's house. As we walk inside, Annie rubs her forehead.
"Are you alright?"
I ask anxiously, putting my hands on her shoulders. She nods.
"Yes I'm fine, just a headache."
Mrs. Cresta walks over, feeling Annie's forehead.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Do you want Mags and I to stay home tomorrow morning?"
Annie shakes her head quickly.
"No, no, you go ahead, you've been talking about going to breakfast for a while now. I think I just need some sleep."
I'm still holding her hand, and I give it a small squeeze as Mrs. Cresta answers.
"Alright, well you should go upstairs and get some rest."
She gives Annie a kiss on the cheek.
"Goodnight sweety, I'll see you tomorrow afternoon okay?"
Annie nods, giving her mom a quick hug. Mrs. Cresta walks towards her room, nudging Mags as she passes her.
"Come on Mags, let's give the kids a little privacy."
Mags snorts slightly and shakes her head as she turns and follows Mrs. Cresta down the hall."I'd better hear that door shut in a couple of minutes Odair."She calls back threateningly. Annie smiles as Mags disappears in her bedroom.
"Do you want to stay for a little while?"
She asks. I shake my head.
"You need rest, I'll come by tomorrow morning and make you breakfast okay?"
She smiles and nods.
"Alright. Although I think you're just scared of Mags."
I lean down close to her and whisper."Terrified."
She laughs and I give her a quick kiss.
"Goodnight love, I'll be here early tomorrow."
She nods and brushes her hand against my cheek.
I walk back to my house, and soon I am dressed in a pair of sweatpants and laying in bed. I'm almost asleep, when I hear knock on my door. I open my eyes and frown. Who would be calling on me this late? My blood runs cold as a thought enters my head. What if it's a summons to the capitol? Before I can decide what to do, I hear the door open and someone quickly runs upstairs. The footsteps sound familiar and just as realization dawns on me my bedroom door opens and Annie runs in. I sit up startled.
"Annie? What are you doing here?"
She climbs quickly onto the bed and wraps her arms around me as she sits on my lap.
"I don't want to have any nightmares, and I want to do this."She presses her lips against mine, her hands running over my bare chest. I pull away for a minute.
"Annie, I thought you had a headache. Shouldn't you be getting rest?"
She shakes her head.
"Mom and Mags aren't going to bother me tomorrow morning, and they're going out to breakfast, they probably won't be back until the afternoon. I can spend the night here without them knowing."
I smile at this slightly rebel side of Annie."Oh really? What if I don't want you to stay here tonight?"
She smiles, and runs her hands over the knotted muscles on my stomach and chest, leaning in close as she whispers.
"Then I'll persuade you."
I put my hands on her hips, and pull her closer to me, grinning mischievously.
"Oh really? How will you persuade me?"
She kisses me lightly on the lips.
She says quietly, slowly running her hands up my stomach and chest as she kisses me on the cheek.
"And like this."
I run my hands slowly up her folded legs, wrapping my arms around her waist. Tilting my head slightly as I make a face like I'm in deep thought.
"Hmm...I don't really feel persuaded."
She smiles, and leans forward until her lips are almost brushing mine, teasing me before kissing my neck.
"What about now?"
I shake my head.
"Nope, still not convinced."
She quickly wraps her arms around my neck and pulls herself up slightly so that she's level with me. Giving me a long and passionate kiss, her hands running up and down my neck, shoulders and back, ending up tangled in my hair. She finally breaks away leaving me gasping after the lengthy kiss. She smiles cheekily and says.
"What about that?"
I smile and brush her hair off her neck and away from her face.
"That will do it. You can stay here tonight."
She unwraps her arms from around my neck, and lays back on the bed, closing her eyes as she nestles into the pillow.
"Thanks Finn, you're the best."
I chuckle and shake my head as I move over to her.
"Is that it?"
She peeks open one eye playfully.
"Well you're convinced, my work here is done."
I grin and slide above her on all fours.
"Well if you're going to spend the night here, you have to earn it."
She props herself up on her elbows, bringing her face closer to mine.
"Oh well if you want me to stay here tonight you're going to have to earn it as well."
I lean down and kiss her, she wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me down with her. I'm careful not to lean all my weight on her as we kiss, but she has her arms wrapped tightly around my neck, causing more weight for me to hold up. Finally I wrap my arms around her waist and roll over, pulling her on top of me. She laughs and rests her head against my chest. The pressure of her laying on top of me is comforting, she can't weigh more than a hundred and thirty pounds anyway, and I can easily support her.
"Do you hear that?"
She asks quietly, her fingertips tracing small circles on my chest.
"No, what is it?"
She slides her hand into mine, and slips her fingers in between mine.
"Our hearts, they beat at the same time."
I kiss the top of her head.
"And so they should, my heart belongs to you."
She looks up and gives me a quick kiss.
"And mine to you."
She rests her head back on my chest, and in a few minutes I can feel her breathing peacefully. For a while I lay with my hand resting on her back, feeling her heart beat in perfect time with mine.
"You'll always have my heart Annie Cresta."