I stare out at the darkening sky, looking out at the millions of city lights that twinkle out in front of me, seemingly seducing the darkness with the way they dance and wink into the night. My hands absentmindedly find the loose braid on the side of my head, twirling it effortlessly in between my ivory fingers. Peeta would have loved it here.
Sighing loudly I hop off the tree branch, dropping to the ground with a silent thud, barely rustling the array of leaves and twigs below me. A chilling wind sends the loose tendrils around my face into a wild frenzy, and they whip around my face like small tornadoes.
Taking another look at the twinkling lights, I turn towards the car where Gale sits patiently, a pleasant change for once.
Throwing open the door to his old truck, I plop down next to him on the worn leather seats.
"You know it's good to see you happy again." He grins wholeheartedly at me, squeezing my frigid hand that lies limply on the seat in between us.
"I know, and I think I'm finally getting there again." I smile back at him, and this time I don't feel like I'm lying through my teeth. For the first time since my blond angel left me, I'm feeling happy again, like nothing can bring me down.
"I'm proud of you Catnip." A red-hot tension fills the car as I stare into his eyes, soaking up their familiarity, but it's hidden behind a layer of intense yearning.
For a moment of time, everything around us stops. The world itself seems to stop spinning, and in this moment, it's just Gale and I, staring at each other hungrily. Our eyes search each other with fervor, and then before I have time to think, his lips are on mine, smothering me with passion.
Then, just as I feel myself begin to respond, the world starts spinning again, and the only thing I can feel is an intense dread in the pit of my stomach. Placing my hands firmly on his chest, I push him away slowly, my lips still tingling with his lingering kiss.
"Gale, I can't. Whatever just happened, can never happen again." I whisper after a moment, glaring out the windshield at the trees that line the outskirts of the small clearing in the park.
"Kat, I'm so sorry." He whispers, his voice cracking as he tries to get me to look at him, cupping my face between his large hands.
"Just never do that again." I respond icily, shoving his hands off of my face. I haven't kissed anyone since that awful night, that awful night when everything crashed down around me.
The guilt in my stomach seems to be swallowing me up, everything with Gale seemed so wrong. When Peet died I swore against love for good. Peeta was supposed to be my one and only, and with that kiss, every wall I had built up seems to be falling down and crumbling to pieces around me.
Gale throws the truck into gear angrily, swerving out of the parking space with reckless speed. My hands grip the sides of the seats tightly, my knuckles turning white under my vice-like grip.
A month has passed since the parties, a month since Thom and Delly fought, and a month since I met Cato. I've watched my friends grow stronger, Delly especially; she stands tall now, with or without Thom by her side. After they fought she was quiet for days, only speaking when she had to, and rarely letting her one hundred watt smile ghost across her face.
Everyone noticed the purple bruises that seemed to paint her forearms and her thighs, but no one asked, just nodded at Thom while he did his best to keep the people away and divert the stares. Johanna kept the masses at bay as well, one look from her and people were silenced, running for the hills in raging hoards.
No one has told me what made her snap again, but I overhear more and more snippets of conversation from the group day by day. From what I have gathered, she's been sexually abused by someone, and she was so sure it was her uncle, but as her memories started to come, it became more and more apparent that she had the culprit wrong. It sent her into a whirlwind of shock, and she broke multiple times before Thom was able to pull her back with the help of Johanna. At least that's what I've heard.
"Fuck Gale, slow down." I growl as we swerve abruptly around a car going the speed limit.
He ignores me and keeps driving the same speed, shaking his head at the empty road ahead of us occasionally.
My phone buzzes against my leg and I pry my eyes away from the black night out the window to look at the bright screen. I squint under the harsh contrast the lighted background brings against the dark skies outside before I can read the text.
The name Cato flashes up on the screen and before I can read the text the screen goes black. Cursing under my breath I push the small button on top of the phone, slamming into the door of the truck when Gale decides it's a good idea to fly around a corner without slowing down.
Hey Katpiss. Let's go to McDonalds.
I hiss under my breath after reading the text over a few times.
Since the night at the party Cato and I have been talking, mostly over text. I get these invites almost once a week, and his subtlety is slowly fading away, he seriously wants to take me out and is getting increasingly irritated at the constant shut downs I'm giving him.
Is my only response as we pull into my apartment building, honks of taxis quickly invading my hearing as I jump out of the truck, slamming the door on my way out.
Gale rolls down the window slowly, looking at me with a forlorn look in his eyes.
"I'm sorry Kat, I never meant for this to happen." He chokes on his apology, staring my direction for a few minutes without making eye contact.
"Just leave me alone Gale. You could have killed us tonight." I growl, stalking my way up to the building that looms in the distance.
I sit down on the crumbling stairs and look to the stars. Where the hell did my life go?
This is just a little piece of love from me to you to keep you people reading. Yes, since Delly is me, this has happened.
Thank you to those of you whom have been there for my family through prayers and thoughts. All of you mean so much to me, and our prayers have been answered. This is not the last you will hear from me. And I am working on updates, just keep being the patient readers I love to death.
Love to All,