Write a Review

Pour Toujours/For Always


California 1982

“Peeta, where do you keep the band aids?” Henry called. He was standing in the frame of the sliding door that led to the backyard of Peeta’s house.

“In the medicine cabinet,” Peeta called. He was setting out the last of the tables and chairs that he’d picked up from the rental store. Katniss’ son Richard was helping him.

“Does it look all right?” Peeta asked the engineer.

“The spacing is little off,” the tall man said, eyeing the circular tables that filled the grassy portion of the yard.

Peeta nodded, feeling a bit distracted. He wanted everything to be perfect for Katniss. Personally he didn’t need all the hoopla; he’d already had all that when he’d married Clove.

But it meant so much to Katniss to have what she called a real wedding in a church followed by a party with family and friends. Her first ceremony had been a sterile affair conducted in a government office.

Peeta left Richard in the yard to adjust the spacing, while he entered the house.

Inside the living room, Henry was taping up his finger.

“Paper cut,” he muttered to Peeta. His son had brought over a stereo, speakers, and a stack of records to play during the wedding reception.

Cheryl’s husband was perusing the stack and commenting on Henry’s selection.

The television was blaring as well, as the men half-watched a football game. Henry had set up a playpen in the living room to contain his son and Cheryl’s daughter. Despite the noise from the television, both children were sleeping.

In the kitchen, Cheryl and Chau were arranging the food onto platters. It was simple fare – roasted chicken, green salad, fresh fruit, sliced cheeses, three different kinds of rolls, and an enormous strawberry whip crème wedding cake.

The woman were talking and laughing.

“It’s getting late Dad, you better get ready. But stay out of the guest room. Katniss doesn’t want you to see her dress until you get to the church,” Cheryl called out, before resuming her conversation with Chau.

Peeta was glad to see how quickly the women had formed a friendship. When he had arrived at Cheryl’s apartment in Paris after the longest cab ride he’d ever taken, he had broke down and told his daughter about Katniss and Henry.

To her credit, Cheryl had reacted positively, although Peeta had left out many details, things he was too embarrassed to talk about with his daughter.

Maybe it was because she was a new mother and feeling emotional, maybe it was because she lived in Paris, the so-called City of Love, but it was most likely because Cheryl had never seen her father so choked up about anything that she encouraged him to call Katniss immediately and invite her and her family to lunch the next day.

The luncheon had been awkward. He sat next to Katniss who had hardly spoken more than a few words. It was clear that she’d told Henry about his relationship to Peeta though. His son wasn’t as friendly as he’d been the previous day when he thought Peeta was simply a stranger from the plane.

Ironically, Cheryl and Henry recognized each other from college. They’d shared a few classes together. Peeta’s son-in-law who was also at the luncheon joked that it was a good thing the two half-siblings had never dated.

“Why would I date someone who looks just like my brother Jeffrey?” Cheryl glared at her dark-haired husband.

Peeta and Henry made plans to meet the next day to visit the Louvre. The second meeting went better although Henry spent most of the time grilling Peeta as to his intentions toward Katniss. Peeta could see the man was very protective of his mother and didn’t want to see her hurt.

“She’s had a rough time of it since my father died,” he told Peeta.

Peeta nodded, feeling a bit slighted when the man called Cato his father. “I understand.” But other than list the basic facts about his life to show Henry that he was a decent and responsible person who owned a business and a home, Peeta knew it would take time to develop a relationship with his son.

As for Katniss, he wanted to get to know her as well. The relationship they’d shared so long ago had been brief and largely based on loneliness and lust. He’d built it up in his mind for so long; he needed to find out if, at this late date, if it could even be real.

He and Katniss spent a lot of time together over the next several days, long hours conversing at the little green tables and chairs scattered throughout the Luxembourg Gardens, and then walking the winding paths pushing their grandson in a rented stroller.

There were earnest explanations by each of them, some tears, and a great deal of laughter. He was astounded and grateful when she told him of her visit to his parent’s bakery when Henry was a toddler. He was happy to know that his parents, who had died years earlier, had at least seen the boy, even if they didn’t know he was their grandson.

The more time Peeta spent with her, the more he realized that Dr. Aurelius had been wrong. Katniss hadn’t forgotten him. With the pregnancy, she’d been put into a position she’d not been equipped to deal with. She coped with it the best she could and looking at Henry, he could tell she had been a good mother.

And just as she had protected their son by keeping silent, she had also protected Peeta, kept his marriage with Clove safe. And though that part stung, he had to admit that if Clove had learned about Henry, Peeta’s marriage would have been damaged, perhaps beyond repair.

A week later, while Cheryl babysat her half-brother’s son, Peeta joined Katniss, Henry, and Chau as they drove north to the small village where Katniss had lived. After lunch in a tiny bistro, both couples hiked down to the lake’s shore.

“Your mother taught me how to swim in this lake,” Peeta told Henry.

Henry caught his eye. “Is that all that happened here?”

Peeta rubbed his neck nervously and glanced at Katniss. What exactly had she told Henry?

“That’s enough,” Katniss interrupted, a flash of irritation showing in her voice. She surveyed the lakeshore before lifting her head to look at Peeta.

The corners of lips rose to form a tiny smile. “Look Peeta,” she teased. “I think Henry is standing in the very spot where he was conceived.”

Henry took a few steps back, his face turning bright red.

Chau bit her lip to stop from laughing. She reached for her husband’s arm, whispered something to him, and pulled him away from his parents to walk along the edge of the lake.

“You really got him,” Peeta said grinning.

“He might have deserved it,” she murmured. “He’s been driving me crazy with questions.”

With her windswept hair, flushed cheeks, and silvery eyes, Katniss had never looked prettier. In all the time, they’d spent together since they arrived in France, Peeta had never done more than hold her hand and awkwardly kiss her cheek goodbye. But in this place, he felt the need for more. He walked close to Katniss and gently cupped her face. He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers. He pulled back quickly, nervous about her reaction, but she was smiling as she leaned toward him to return the kiss.

It was brief. Both were conscious that their grown son was nearby, probably watching. But that kiss opened the floodgate. By the time they returned to California, sitting together on the plane because Peeta had changed his return ticket, they were regularly holding hands and sneaking kisses.

Peeta had phoned Jeffrey when he got home to tell him the news that he had an older brother. Like Cheryl, Jeffrey had taken it well, eager in fact to meet someone who apparently bore such a strong resemblance to him.

Katniss, however, had a difficult time when she told Richard. Cato’s son was initially quite upset. He even questioned Katniss’ faithfulness to his father. But when he heard the entire story and understood that his family hadn’t shrunk, but rather had grown, he was more accepting of the relationship Katniss had with Peeta.

It didn’t take long for the couple to grow together. Picnics and dinners and walks on the beach helped them get to know each other, but babysitting their grandson united them in a way neither expected. He was proof that despite the years they’d spent apart, life could still be good.


When Peeta arrived at the church, his son Jeffrey, along with his daughter-in-law and other two grandchildren were already there. Their flight had been delayed due to an early snowfall on the East Coast.

He quickly introduced Jeffrey to Henry. The two half-brothers eyed each other cautiously, but were cordial. Katniss, meanwhile, remained in hiding. Peeta would have to save that introduction until after the ceremony.

Soon it was time to take his place up front in the chapel. Henry was at his side, acting as best man. The two men had slowly developed a friendly relationship. Not quite father and son yet, but definitely friends. Chau stood as Katniss’ witness. She and Katniss shared a special bond.

As the organ music played, Peeta watched Katniss float down the short aisle. She wore a muted orange dress with a full skirt that fell above her ankles. Her figure was slim. Her hair was braided, with an orange ribbon laced through it, and pinned up atop her head. Her face was radiant. Only the soft lines around her eyes gave her age away.

Peeta ran his fingers through his thinning hair nervously. His heart was pounding in anticipation. He felt like he was twenty again. An overwhelming sense that everything was finally coming together, that there was a synchronicity to his life, fell upon him.

He reached for Katniss’ hand as they stepped up to recite their vows before their children and grandchildren and a few friends.

The party afterwards was a blur. It was over all too fast. He gave his house key to Jeffrey. His son would be staying there with his family while Peeta and Katniss were on their honeymoon, a leisurely drive up the California coast.

Henry helped him to carry his and Katniss’ suitcases to the car.

“What do you have in here, Mom?” Henry complained to Katniss. “This bag weights a ton.”

Peeta snorted. Katniss did tend to carry far more than she needed.

Katniss grinned. “Some of that fancy lingerie my maid-of-honor gave me.”

Henry’s lips formed into a tight line. He was obviously uncomfortable thinking about his mother and Peeta in that way.

Peeta speculated that Henry would probably be horrified if he knew that they’d already begun that part of their relationship months ago. But none of their children were aware. Katniss had insisted on keeping it hidden, which given the circumstances of their history, had amused Peeta.

“You’re too pure,” he’d kidded her. But he acquiesced. He loved her too much to fuss over something so insignificant.

Family and other guests came outside the house to wave goodbye to the couple.

Peeta opened the trunk of the car and he and Henry arranged the luggage. After Peeta closed the trunk, he turned to shake his son’s hand but dropped it quickly as Henry pulled him close in a hug.

“Take good care of her Dad.”

A warm feeling washed over Peeta as he heard his son’s words. Henry pulled away and Peeta quickly blinked. He didn’t want Henry to see the tears in his eyes.

But it was clear Henry had noticed. A silly grin appeared on his son’s face as Henry attempted to make light of the moment. “You know, I’ve always wanted a little sister…."


Continue Reading

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.