The woman staring back at me in the mirror is radiant. She wears a light blue eyeshadow that brings out her grey eyes. Her hair is in a fancy updo, with a flower on the band that ties it all together. Her skin glistens in the moonlight coming in from the window, and her lips are soft as silk and shiny with gloss. Her eyelashes are coated a dark black and there is glitter on the corners of her eyes.
She wears a necklace, fashioned by a custom jewelry manufacturer who lives in District 12 but learned her trade in the Capitol. It's a beaded pearl necklace, with a mockingjay fashioned in the center of her chest.
She wears a long, white wedding gown, that is simple yet elegant; not the ridiculous one she wore five years ago when President Snow forced her into her second Hunger Games.
There's a knock on my door, which brings my attention off of my mirror image. I pick up my dress so as not to step on it as I walk over to the door.
"It's your mother."
I open the door and my mother, who is dressed in emerald clothing, steps through the doorway and takes me into her arms.
"I'm so happy, I never thought I'd see this day." She tells me while hugging me. When she steps back, she gasps.
"You're absolutely beautiful," she says, smiling and then kissing me on my forehead.
"Peeta's a lucky fellow." She says.
I don't respond.
"What's wrong dear? Please tell me you're not thinking of backing out."
"Of course not. I think I'm ready for this. It's just odd because, I never thought I'd be here."
"You're going to be a great wife and mother some day sweetheart."
"I'm going to try to be a great wife, but I'm never going to be a mother."
I didn't try to, but I upset my mother.
"Things aren't like they used to be Katniss."
"I know, but if one regime can fall the other can too."
"You can't think like that, you have to live in the here and now. That's how I'm doing so well."
"Can we just forget about the baby thing and live in the here and now then?"
She smiles, "Of course."
She gives me a blue ribbon she had on her wedding day. "Something new to you, old to me, borrowed, and blue. For luck. It's what your grandmother told me they did before Panem."
"Thanks mom." I tie it around my wrist, under my sleeve of my dress, and she tells me she'll see me out there.
One hour before the wedding. In one hour I'll be married to Peeta.
Haymitch doesn't bother to knock before he enters the room.
He laughs right off the bat. "You sure you should be wearin white sweetheart?"
I punch him hard in the stomach.
"Ouch," he says trying to regain his breath. "I was just joking, relax. You're supposed to be happy today."
"I am, and aren't you supposed to be sober today?"
I glare at him.
"Well it's an open bar you can't expect me not to drink, but I'm not drunk. See," he says, while standing on one leg and touching his finger to his nose.
I laugh and he stops. "See, there's that smile. That's what I want to see."
He hugs me. "You know you kids are like family to me."
I've never heard a more heartfelt thing come out of Haymitch.
He leaves before he says anything else that might damage his reputation.
I sit down on a couch in the small bridal dressing room of the hotel that is in town, before going out into the lobby, where the wedding will be held.
I remember the engagement:
Peeta and I sit by the fire in my home, four years after the war. He lives here now, and sold his house to a buyer from District 10. I'm fashioning a new bow out of some wood I found in the woods, because lately I've been teaching Peeta to hunt, even though we really don't need to anymore. It's therapeutic to me and he asked to learn, so it was the least I could do.
He is drawing me. All of a sudden he drops his pencil. "I love you so much."
"I love you too," I say without looking up from the bow I'm working on.
"We should get married."
I drop the bow, and look up at him. "Why?"
"Because we love each other, and we're twenty -three years old, we've been a couple for four years. Don't you think it's time?"
"It wouldn't change anything. We already live together, we already sleep together. The only thing that would be different is a piece of paper."
"Precisely. Which is why you have no reason to fear it. But I would like to make it official."
"What's the point?"
"To celebrate this with family and friends. And, it would make me happy. And I think it would make you happy too."
I thought about it, but couldn't find a reason not to go through with it. If it would make Peeta happy, I suppose I could live with dealing with all those people for one day. Peeta senses my hesitation. "It can be a small ceremony. Even just you me and a witness if you want."
Agreeing to this was worth it when I saw the look on his face.
"Yes, Peeta, I will marry you."
His smile was so genuine and innocent, and he crawled over to kiss me.
"Not a big ceremony, okay? You, me, Haymitch, Sae, my mother. And maybe Effie. That's it. Okay?"
"That's fine with me."
"No Capitol broadcasts?"
"They'll never even know about it. I promise."
Another knock on the door brings me back to the present. Who comes through the door, I wasn't expecting.
I stand still in shock.
He closes the door.
He smiles and hugs me, it takes me a minute, because I'm so surprised but I hug him back.
"You look…absolutely beautiful." He tells me.
"Thank you. What are you doing here?"
"Your mother invited me. I hope that's okay…"
"It's okay. I didn't think you would want to come but, I'm glad you're here."
"Just because it's not me you're happy with doesn't mean you shouldn't be happy. I love you and I want the best for you, I mean that. Peeta is a great guy, and I know he will love you the way you deserve to be loved."
"Thank you Gale."
"Your welcome. Besides, you're twenty-four now. It's about time."
"You're okay with this though, you're sure?"
"If I wasn't okay with it, would you change your mind?"
"..No, I wouldn't."
"Good. That's how I know you want this wedding just as much as Peeta does. I'll be fine. I have a girl back home, actually."
I thought I'd have the slightest bit of jealousy upon hearing it, but all I felt was happiness for Gale. "I'm so happy to hear that, you have no idea."
"Yeah…." He looks like he wants to say something else.
"What is it?"
"I also have a son. His name is Antony."
"Gale, that's great. How old is he?"
"I really am happy for you. But I thought you didn't want kids?"
"I didn't, but then times changed. And when I found out about him, I was happier than I ever thought I could be. I'm sure you'll feel the same way when you have kids."
"I am still not having any kids."
Gale just smiles, and walks out the door, and then I hear the wedding bells chime.
It's a simple ceremony, but beautiful. We partake in the traditional wedding routines District 12 always participated in. We read each other our vows, and an hour later we were married and on our way to the lakehouse, for the seclusion, which was much needed after a big day like that.
It's warm now, in the middle of June, and by the time we got to the lakehouse it was midnight. The moon was high in the sky and shining over the lake. We decided to take a midnight swim.
We held each other in the water, and he kissed me. "You're going to make a great mother someday."
I laughed. "You may have gotten me to accept marriage, love. But convincing me to have children won't be so easy." I tell him.
He kisses me again and then says, "…But not impossible." He smiles and instead of replying, I splash him in the face and giggle before swimming away from him. He follows me, "I'll catch you, Katniss." He says laughing, "You won't get away that easy."
I still have no interest in being a mother to Peeta's children.
…But then again, I never thought I'd be his wife either.