Always and Forever

Swimming Lessons

We stayed out by the waterfall longer than planned, just chatting, swimming and occasionally kissing. It was probably around midnight or so by the time I checked my watch and we decided to head back. I was so tired that Peeta had to carry me most of the way back to camp. After slipping his t-shirt over my head and covering me with the blanket he drew me into his arms and that is how we remained until the morning.

“Morning sleeping beauty.”

I groan and pull the blanket up over my eyes, willing the voice to hush so that I can go back to sleep.

“It’s almost lunch time.” The voice whispers near my ear. I don’t care! I think to myself. I’m not read to get up yet!

“I’m hungry.” The voice says in a whiny tone.

Groaning again I roll over and pull the blanket tighter around me.

“Well I guess I’ll go eat alone.” Peeta concludes defeated. “I heard that Annie has some kind of big news to tell everyone and she is announcing it at breakfast.” I’m wide-awake now; sitting up slowly I rub my eyes to find Peeta’s face directly in front of my own. I rear back a little, startled.

“I knew that would get you up.” He smiles and kisses my cheek. “Come on, get dressed then we can go.”

“Fine.” I grunt and run my fingers through my tangled hair, slipping out of my pajamas. I put on a pair of shorts and a tank top, clip on the necklace from Annie and slip on my sandals. I am all ready in five short minutes.

“Let’s go, I’m starved!” Peeta grins and grabbing my hand practically drags me all the way to the Odair’s where we find the two couples already seated and beginning to eat.

“Nice of you to join us!” Finnick smirks and motions for us to sit down.

“Sorry, she didn’t want to get up.” Peeta says, pointing at me.

“Have too much fun last night?” Gale chuckles to himself causing both Peeta and I to turn a few different shades of red.

Then Peeta clears his throat, “We had a lovely time, thank you for asking.” Gale and Finnick just smirk again and go back to eating. Peeta takes a banana and a mango for each of us from the stack and I immediately scarf down the banana in just a few bites. I decide not to eat the fish like the rest of them because technically this is breakfast for me, so I stick to the fruit. Peeta, however, once he is finished his fruit sticks a raw fish on a stick and begins to cook it over the fire.

Finnick and Annie finish eating a few minutes later then he grabs Annie’s hand and calls us to attention.

“Annie and I have some news to share with you all.” He begins. The four of us stop eating and keep our eyes on the happy couple. Whatever it is it must be good news because Annie has been beaming all morning.

“Are we going to be rescued?!” Madge exclaims. Finnick chuckles and shakes his head, “No, sorry nothing like that.”

“Did you find anything interesting when you went swimming yesterday?” Peeta suggests.

Again Finnick shakes his head.

“Come on, just spit it out already!” Gale says and goes back to picking the bones out of his small fish.

“Annie, do you want to tell them or do you want me to?” Finnick asks quietly. She shrugs, “You go ahead.”

“Okay everyone, Annie and I…” He gets cut off by Gale again. “Found a ship to get us out of here?”

“Guys just let him speak! This is taking way longer than it should!” I say, somewhat annoyed at my friend.

“Thank you Katniss. Now, our big news is…”He pauses for dramatic effect. “We’re expecting a baby!”

Madge shrieks and I almost fall off of the log I’m sitting on.

“Annie, you’re pregnant?” Gale asks. Annie nods, the grin still hasn’t left her face.

“Congratulations guys!” Peeta stands up and pats Finnick on the back, “It’s about time!” Finnick just laughs and gives his blushing wife a kiss and a light pat on her still flat tummy.

“Yeah seriously, how long have you two been married?” Gale smirks.

“We had our five year anniversary last month.”

“Are you positive?” I ask hesitantly.

Annie nods again, “Oh yes, I couldn’t be more sure.”

“I’m so happy for you!” I say smiling and stand up to give her and Finnick each a friendly hug.

“Yeah, congrats.” Gale says, standing up and slapping him on the back.

“How far along are you?” Madge asks.

“I’m not totally sure but probably around a month.” Annie replies.

“Now we know how you celebrated your anniversary.” Gale mutters, receiving a glare from Finnick and another blush from Annie.

“So, now what are the plans for this afternoon?” I ask, changing the subject.

“How about we go swimming!” Peeta suggests, “The weather is so nice and maybe the rest of us could swim around the island as well.”

“Sounds fun.” I say and look to the others.

“Sure.” Finnick replies, “Annie?”

“I’d love to.”

“Madge, Gale?” Peeta looks to them.

“It’d be fun, but only if Madge wants to.” Gale says. All eyes turn to Madge then expectantly.

“Um, you guys can go and I’ll just stay on the beach.” She tells us.

“I could teach you how to swim!” Gale suggests, putting an arm around her shoulders.

“I-I don’t know Gale.” She whispers.

“Come on, it’s really easy! I’m sure you’re a natural.” He persists.

“You go ahead and have fun, I don’t want to keep you here.”

“I’m staying with you Madge, whether you like it or not. So we can either hang out around here or we can still go out into the water and I’ll teach you how to swim.”

“You know it’d probably be really helpful if we’re on this island for a while longer that you learn.” Annie says gently.

“Yeah I know. I guess I’m just kinda scared.” Madge says, shrinking into Gale’s side.

“I won’t let anything happen to you.” Her husband promises.

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt.” She relents.

“Good, we’ll get started right away!”

I smile as we watch the two converse, happy that she is finally going to let Gale teach her to swim.

“Okay then, Kat should we go change?” Peeta asks. I nod and stand up.

“Yeah, thanks for breakfast, or lunch, whatever this was.” I say to Annie.

“No problem, we’ll change too then meet you out on the beach.”

“Okay.” Peeta and I then begin walking back to our home to change into our swimwear, and so do Madge and Gale.

Madge’s POV

I take Gale’s hand and together we walk the short distance to our small shelter. I’m still nervous about learning how to swim but I trust Gale and I know that he’s been dying to teach me for quite a while now. It’s not just because I don’t like being in the water, another reason is that I think I might be pregnant. I was really surprised at Finn and Annie’s news this morning, I’m not positive but almost. Just from the symptoms and the way I’ve been feeling ever since we left District 12. I haven’t told Gale my suspicions yet, I know that he really wants kids and I want to be 100% sure before I tell him. I also didn't want to take away from Finn and Annie's excitement at all.

I hope so much that we’ll get off of this island before the babies come; I couldn’t imagine giving birth in a place like this with no doctors or even a bed to lie in. Another reason that I don’t want to tell Gale is that he’ll probably end up becoming even more strict about the things that I do and he’ll never leave me alone, it’s just the way he is. I'm not complaining about his protectiveness, it makes me feel safe, but at the same time, sometimes a little overwhelmed.

All these thoughts run through my head during the 2-3 minutes that it takes us to get to our one roomed shelter.

“You sure are quiet.” Gale nudges me arm slightly.

“Oh I was just thinking.” I reply, giving his hand a squeeze.

“What about?” He asks.

“Annie’s baby, and hoping that we get off the island before it comes.” It’s at least part of what I was thinking about; I’m not ready to tell him everything yet.

“I know, it’s exciting but kind of scary at the same time.”

“Yeah.” We enter the room then and quickly change into our swimsuits. I put on Gale’s favorite, a dark green bikini with a mini skirt and halter-top. I put my long blond hair up into a high ponytail and grab my sunglasses that I managed to get before the boat sunk, Gale wasn’t so lucky.

“Ready?” He asks a minute later. I nod and together we walk back to the beach. I don’t bother bringing my only pair of shoes since I’ll just end up taking them off and leaving them on the beach anyways so we both go barefoot, curling our toes in the soft golden sand. I find the occasional seashell and make a small pile of them, maybe to later give some character to our home of sticks and branches.

As the former mayor’s daughter I’ve always had everything I needed, never been in want, and even after getting married, Gale and I lived in on of the lavish victor’s houses that still stood in town, so living in a shelter in the woods is taking some getting used to.

For Gale this is practically normal, since he and Katniss loved the woods and spent all their free time out there, even though it was to hunt, but still, it’s like the forest is a part of him.

I notice the other two couples further out in the deeper water, already beginning their swim around the island. Gale and I wave to them and they wave back then continue on their way.

“Are you ready?” He asks, taking off his t-shirt and dropping it in a heap on the sand.

“As ready as I’ll ever be I guess.” I say.

“Good.” He takes my hand and slowly leads me out into gentle rippling waves. Thankfully the water is pleasantly warm so it doesn’t take much getting used to like the deck pools on the ship were.

Once the water is up to my chest but only up to Gale’s waist he stops us.

“We’ll start here where it isn’t so deep.”

“Okay.” I agree.

“Now we’re going to start with floating, then once you master that, swimming will be a breeze.”

“I hope so.”

“Don’t worry.” He leans down and gives me a quick kiss on my nose. “Okay, first I want you to lie back slowly.” I look at him, unmoving. Gale just smiles, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep my arm under your back until you are comfortable.”

“Okay.” I reply quietly. Then leaning back into the water with Gale’s strong arm supporting me I keep going until my head is just touching.

“Good, now let your legs rise until they are just beneath the surface of the water, then gently kick.” I do exactly as he says and it is much easier than I expected.

“Very good!” He praises and I smile in return. “Now move your arms back and forth under the water.” I do this also. “And…you are floating!” Gale exclaims.

“Yeah, but your arm is still under me.” I say.

“No it’s not.” To prove it he lifts both of his hands up out of the water for me to see.

When I see that he is no longer helping me I panic and stop moving my arms and legs, then my head goes under.

It only last a few seconds before my knight in shining armor pulls me back up, but I am choking and spluttering we I do come up.

“What happened?” He asks, concern evident in his voice.

“I-I guess I just panicked.” I reply, my eyes looking down.

“Hey, it’s fine.” He soothes and lifts my chin up so that I am looking him in the eye. “It was your first time and you did great! We’ll just keep working on it.”

“I’m sorry.” I whisper, tears threatening to spill.

“Madge! There is nothing to be sorry about! Don’t worry about it!” He assures me, giving me a wet hug. This helps somewhat and by the time he pulls away I am ready to try again.

“I’m ready now.” I tell him.

I lie back and just like last time he supports my back until I am floating on my back.

“I’m doing it!” I squeal, trying to keep my head out of the water.

“Good job Madge! I knew you could do it!” This time I stand up and don’t get any water in my face.

“Okay, so what’s the next step?” I ask eagerly.

“Next you’ll be swimming on your back.” We work on this for a little while. I’m not the most agile swimmer in the world but I am a pretty a fast learner, and of course, Gale is a patient teacher.

“I think that’s enough for now.” He says about an hour later.

“Good, I’m exhausted.” I say and together we swim back to shore.

“Can we try more tomorrow?” I ask.

“Of course.” Gale smiles and takes my hand, and together we make our way back to our home to change for dinner.


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