Fixed

Don't You Forget

AUTHOR NOTES

As of now, my last story's first chapter is posted. It is called "Confessions of a Victim" and I would really love for you to check it out! It coincides with this story and will be written at the same time, disregard the note on the first chapter of the story; I have decided to write it at the same time.

If you all are still reading this, I would like to know how your day was, mine was stellar, in case you all were wondering.

Also, if any of you need to talk, or even just want to say hello, my PM doors are always open to all. I love hearing from you guys! It makes me get warm fuzzies!

Chapter 6

She never bargained on gaining anything from school. Not friendship, not knowledge, and certainly not love. There was no way this was happening. It had to stop, everything had to stop. She couldn't handle more heartbreak in her life. No more.

. . .

The cool air conditioning blasting from the vents mixed with the rolled down windows sends the loose tendrils of hair around my face whipping through the air.

"Good first day?" Gale asks, smirking at me as he stares at the road, driving as safely as he can.

"Thank God it's a Friday." I huff, picking at a piece of fuzz at the bottom of my shirt. I don't have to look at him to tell that he's looking at me with one of the intense stares Gale keeps in a special place for me.

"Katniss, how many flashbacks did you have today?" his hand finds mine on the worn seats of his truck. For once I don't shy away, I let him hold my hand, praying it doesn't send the wrong messages.

"Three, maybe four." I shrug my shoulders, if I don't act like it's a big deal, he won't either.

It doesn't work.

Within seconds we are pulling over and the truck lurches to a stop in front of a gas station that has long since been abandoned. My heart beats a little bit faster when I realize how vulnerable we are on the side of the road. A driver could easily swerve and hit us. We would die.

What the hell Katniss, you can't be scared of cars forever. Get over it. You're in a freaking huge truck. If anything you guys would smash whatever was coming your way.

Sighing I ignore my thoughts, leaning my head over to rest it on Gale's shoulder. He smiles, throwing his arm around me protectively.

"I'm glad you're back Kat, I was worried." He glances down at me with a soft smile.

"Me too Gale." I lie easily. He doesn't see past it this time and I feel a twinge of guilt lying to him.

"There's a football game tonight, and I think Delly wanted you to go. I'm playing, but I know the girls all want you to go. I think Nick was going to go too." The name sets off an alarm in my head and I turn towards Gale.

"What the hell is his problem?" I groan, looking up to face Gale.

He sighs and looks down at me with wide eyes. I can tell he's contemplating whether to tell me or not.

"Last year, his little sister was dating this guy named Marvel, Katniss I don't know if I should be telling you this." His sigh mixes with the sounds of the traffic whirring past us on the road with an eerie rush of noises. Somewhere in the distance, police sirens screech through the air.

"Please Gale?" I plead, looking into his eyes with what I assume is a puppy dog face. It's been a while since I've had to beg for anything.

It works, and soon he's turning towards me, his arm still draped across my shoulders like a protective shield.

"Marvel's a part of the bad crowd Katniss, he isn't like Addi. They don't buy and sell for fun." I can detect the warning in his voice "Anna, Nick's little sister was a freshman last year, she would have been a sophomore this year." Gale pauses, as if he's regaining his breath and his composure "Marvel got her hooked of cocaine, she was so young, so innocent, pretty soon she was sleeping around for money and Nick tried so hard to stop her but it just didn't work. She ODed over the summer. Nick blames Marvel for everything. Katniss this isn't McPherson anymore, druggies here aren't like Addi. I want you to be careful." Gale stares out the window for a moment, lost in his thoughts. I find myself lost in my own.

"Gale" I whisper as he throws the truck into gear.

"Yeah Kat?" he forces a smile in my direction.

"How the hell did we end up like this?" my voice is dripping with sarcasm and layered in hurt.

I know he can't answer the question, hell no one ever will. I just keep hoping that someday I'll wake up, on my bed, back in McPherson. Peeta would be there, Prim too, and he'd be asking me if I wanted pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Prim would be gushing about a movie star that starred in her favorite movie. Everything would be perfect. More than perfect.

"You know I can't answer that Katniss, just be happy we're still alive." Gale's deep chuckle fills the truck with a new sense of warmth

The rest of the ride is full of small talk and giggles, something that is vastly different than my usual nods of fake laughter.

We pull into the parking lot only a few minutes later, the parking lot is empty aside from an old beet up Honda CRV that belongs to the landlord. Most of our building rides a bike or works late into the night to support themselves. I have to remind myself of how lucky I am to have enough to go to school, however much I hate it.

"So the game." We lurch to a stop right in front of my building.

"What about it?" I huff, kicking open the door of the truck with my foot as I struggle to untangle my backpack from Gale's.

"Are you going to go?" he effortlessly picks up both of our backpacks, swinging them over his shoulder before rushing to the passenger side in time to shut the door behind me.

"I don't know Gale, this whole friends thing-" I stop talking, we both know how I was going to end the statement, and he looks away.

"I know, it's not you, but how long are you going to keep hiding from the world? I can't keep covering for you. Hell Katniss, you're damn lucky I'm still around. How do you expect to have a normal life, how do you think you're going to forget about him if you keep slipping into the shadows?" Gale's eyes piece my soul.

A defiant answer dissolves on the tip of my tongue. I don't want to forget. I can't let him go.

"You can't carry around the guilt forever." He finally whispers, pulling me closer to him. I turn away quickly, suddenly shy from his touch.

"I'm sorry, we should go inside." I finally whisper, pushing by Gale to the barred glass door.

He pulls it open for me, following in silence.

The only sound in the staircase is our feet pounding on the concrete steps to the sixth floor. The silence isn't relaxing, or clam like it usually is. It's full of tension and an unclaimed anxiety flowing freely from both of us.

The tension doesn't stop when we step out of the stairwell and onto the worn wood of the sixth floor walkway. It follows us straight to my door, and as I turn the key it grows, I know it isn't over yet, it never will be with Gale.

"Look, Catnip, I shouldn't have said what I did." He finally whispers, and I can tell how hard it was for him to even utter the words. Gale and apologies don't usually go together very well.

"No, it's fine. I probably needed to hear it anyways." I respond with a sigh, knowing full well that everything he said was laced with a stinging truth.

"Katniss!" Prim's excited yells fill the apartment as soon as our feet cross the threshold.

"Hey little duck!" I chuckle, swooping her up into a warm embrace when she launches herself into my arms.

Just hugging her brings me back into reality. She's the reason I've fought so hard to survive, and she's the reason I will keep fighting. I hug her tighter, reveling in how grounded my little sister makes me feel. Her soft blue eyes look up at me excitedly and she begins to blabber about her friends and how they all plan on going to the game.

"Hang on Prim, let Gale and I get in the door, then we can talk." I laugh, ruffling her hair.

She's grown up so much since daddy died. She was what, seven, when he left us for good. Now she's twelve, taking on the seventh grade. Time flew in McPherson, and now she isn't my little duck anymore. She's becoming her own person, despite her thin bony body, and sunken eyes, she radiates happiness and warmth to all that come into contact with her.

"Kat are you listening to me?" I look up at her just in time to realize I've just spaced out during our entire conversation.

"Sorry Prim, I was thinking. What were you saying?" I chuckle nervously. She searches me with caution, most likely looking for any sign of sadness on my hardened features.

"So I hung out with Rory today," I can't help but notice the blush that creeps onto her face when she whispers his name "and he introduced me to all of his friends and I met a girl named Amber. Oh Katniss, she was so nice, you would love her. She plays soccer too, and she wants me to join their team because they have an opening. Crystal and Janelle were so nice too, and there was this guy named Jake. I had so much fun at school. Guess what Kat?" she stops gushing long enough to look at me with exited eyes.

"What Prim?" I try to put as much excitement into my words as she has put into hers, it works well enough and in a few seconds she's back to explaining with wild hand motions.

"There's a football game tonight, and Rory said Gale is playing and everyone's going to watch. Jake and Rory are being recognized from the middle school team tonight for being good players, and everyone will be there," in my head I know where this is going "and Amber really wants me to go, she even said I could sleep over at her house afterwards. Please Katniss, Please?" she gets down on her knees next to the chair, clasping her hands together as she looks up at me with big pleading eyes. How could I ever say no?

"Of course you can Prim!" I smile at her. I barely get the words out before she is off the ground, jumping up and down and clapping like a maniac.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she squeals, hugging me as she bounces.

"Prim, can't breathe." I joke through huge gasps of air.

She lets go of me quickly before running off to her room, still squealing about what a great sister I am.

As Gale and I head to my room, I peek in the crack of my mother's door. She still sits alone, staring straight ahead. Having seen enough, I pull the door shut with a, apartment rattling bang.

Sighing, we enter the room Prim and I share. She sits in her corner, picking out a purple shirt to wear to the game.

"Gale, which shirt looks better?" he nearly chokes on his water when Prim asks, looking up at her with dazed eyes.

Part of me is astounded that she didn't ask me, but the other part knows why she didn't. Rory, she's trying to impress sweet, shy Rory.

"Uhm, the one without the frillies." He responds after a moment of close inspection.

Her cheeks turn a familiar shade of cherry red as she makes her way into our bathroom with the choice shirt.

"You know I'll kill Rory if he breaks her heart." I threaten after a moment of silence.

"I don't doubt it." He responds, a deep laugh escaping his lips.

I take the water bottle from his hands, taking a big drink of the cool liquid. It rushes down my throat with satisfying refreshment. Sighing I toss the water bottle back to him. He catches it easily, placing it on the dirty carpeting below him.

"So this game." I raise my eyebrows at him.

"So this game." He responds with a smirk.

. . .

Two hours later I'm sitting on the top bleacher of the stadium, sandwiched between Delly who's only interest is Thom who stands on her other side, and Rue who, despite her quite demeanor, is cheering louder for Thresh than I've ever heard anyone cheer. How did I ever get myself dragged into this?

Annie stands on the bleacher below me, clapping in time with the fight song as the boys run out onto the field. Football really isn't my thing. I find myself spaced out until band begins to play the national anthem.

My eyes automatically swoop over the jerseys, in search of the number twelve I've always looked for. I'm disappointed when I find the number on the back of a broad-shouldered boy standing at the front of the line for the national anthem. As it plays, I stare at the number twelve.

I've always loved the number. It was Peeta's number. I shake the thoughts away; I won't let them take me over now.

As the anthem ends, the boy turns around with the rest of the football team and my heart sinks as I realize who else bares the number. The asshole from math stands next to the water cooler, talking to Finnick.

"Katniss, look how cute Gale looks!" Delly nudges me, wiggling her eyebrows.

"No, Delly it's not like that. We're just friends." I say quickly, probably a little too quickly.

"Have you seen the way he looks at you, so romantic." Delly sighs, looking down at the field with a dreamy smile.

The glare that Madge gives me from over Thom's shoulder doesn't go unnoticed. I'd like to tell her that she can have him, keep him, but I'm selfish. I want him for myself. He has to be my rock now, no one else's. My eyes narrow back and she looks away quickly. I've been told I can be quite intimidating when I need to be.

Satisfied that I've scared the living shit out of her I turn back to Delly with a small smile.

"It isn't like that, I promise." The words dissolve into a whisper on my tongue when he smiles at me from the field before running out to join the rest of his teammates in the huddle.

I spot Glimmer in the front row of cheerleaders, looking less than enthusiastic about the game. To be honest, she looks like she'd rather be walking on hot coals.

Annie notices my stare and turns to face me.

"She hates cheerleading," she calls loudly over the cheers of the fans as one of the players makes an excellent tackle "she only does it because her mom makes her." Annie smiles at me, turning back Johanna, the girl from English that stands next to her.

Rue's yells break me from my thoughts. I'll be lucky if I make it out of here with my eardrums intact. I chuckle lightly at her antics, joining in when the team scores its first touchdown.

I shiver against the cold wind that blows from behind us, and I wrap my arms tighter around my midsection.

"You cold?" Nick's voice carries over the chanting of the fans.

I jump, startled by his ability to sneak up on me in the way he did.

"Nick!" Delly shouts, pulling him towards her and into a bone crushing hug "You made it!" she exclaims excitedly.

"Yeah, stop touching me." Nick pushes her off of him, using her shoulder to hoist himself onto the bleacher in between us.

Delly, now over her previous fit of excitement, turns back to Thom, whispering to him in the same hushed whispers as earlier.

"Football not your thing?" Nick asks, breaking the awkward silence between us.

"I don't like it." I lie. In all honesty, I've been fighting against the memories that plague me in hallucinations.

"Neither do I." he grins at me, handing me his sweatshirt. I take it gratefully, reveling in its warmth and wind blocking skills.

"Thanks." My response is muffled by the sweatshirt as I struggle to pull it over my head. It's so large that I'm lost instantly in it.

It takes both of us to get my head in the hole, and it leaves us both in a fit of laughter. It feels good to laugh this easily, like something in me is finally being set free slowly but surely.

Nick, Rue, and I chat until halftime when Rue drags me off to go to the bathroom.

"It's so cold." Her teeth chatter as we huddle in the line for the ladies room.

"I know, weather here is crazy." I respond, hugging myself.

Just earlier the weather was great, in the seventies actually, now it's dropped about twenty degrees and is sending a chill down everyone's spines.

I look at myself in the mirror while I wait for her to use the restroom. I look tired, and drained of all energy. Gale was right to worry about me. I look like a zombie. The bags under my eyes are clear indicators of the rough sleepless nights that plague me.

"So you and gale huh?" Rue smirks at me as she washes her hands under the warm water.

"Nah, he's just my friend." I respond with a shrug of my shoulders. I've never had an attraction to Gale, never had, never will.

"Uhuh." She nods her head, raising her eyebrows disbelievingly.

"Come on, just friends." I sigh, looking her dead in the eye.

"Does he know that?" she challenges, drying her hands on a stiff piece of paper towel.

A million thoughts run through my mind. Does he know that? Yes, he has to.

"Of course he does." I smile at her convincingly.

She nods her head in agreement but her eyes tell a different story. Never the less, she drops the subject, asking me if I want hot cocoa or anything from the concession stand.

I shake my head no, returning to my usual silent ways. We make our way back to the bleachers, climbing to the top quickly to rejoin our friends just as the game resumes play.

I barely talk the rest of the game, only joining in when the chants deem it necessary. My brain is being taken over by my need for a full night of sleep. I would give anything to be in a bed right now.

When the final whistle finally blows, I nearly shout for joy, but I join in the crowd cheering for the win. The game was an easy one, the score at a meager seven to twenty four.

"Hey, let's wait for the boys and then go to Alexander's." Delly suggests, Annie quickly informs me that it's an ice-cream parlor just down the road.

"Thresh and I are in!" Rue chirps excitedly "Katniss, An and I can wait for the boys while you guys go get our table." She smiles.

"Sounds good, we'll meet you there!" Delly turns on her heel with Thom not so far behind her. Nock waves goodbye, quickly catching up to them with Madge on his heels. Johanna just shouts at them to wait for her, which they do probably out of fear.

"We can wait down by the exit." Annie points to a door a little farther on the sidewalk.

I watch people file out of the stadium; teens pile into cars and speed away while parents walk slower, dragging sleepy kids behind them. At this point I feel like one of the sleepy kids being dragged by a parent.

After waiting for what seems like eternity, players start filing out in jeans and sweats, some looking as worn out as I am, and others still hyped up by the win, bound out with energetic leaps.

"Katniss, I have to use the bathroom, will you wait for the boys?" Annie asks, and I agree, she drags Rue back into the stadium in search of the bathroom while I scan the boys for familiar faces.

I barely notice the bulky figure beside me until he speaks, starting me into oblivion.

"Well hello there gorgeous." The voice sends a shiver down my spine and my nose crinkles up in distaste.

"What do you want?" I respond a little too harshly as I look up at the blonde boy from my math class.

"Your number." He gives me a crooked grin that would have normal girls swooning, it only annoys me more.

I lean in, and he looks hopeful "You're not going to get it." I whisper with a smile. His smirk falters and falls, this must be his first failed attempt at getting a girl's number. I wouldn't be surprised though; normal girls would have wet their pants if a guy like this asked them for their number. Apparently I'm not like normal girls.

"I can be very convincing." He recovers quickly, still giving me the idiotic half smirk.

"Yeah, and I can be very stubborn." Spotting Gale and the other guys, I turn on my heel, leaving the blonde wondering what the hell just happened.

God I hate assholes.

Gale sees me and smiles big, slapping me a quick high five when I congratulate them on the win.

"Delly says she wants to meet us at the ice cream place, but Annie and Rue are taking forever in the bathroom." I inform them, being sure to stress the word forever.

"Annie's probably worried about her hair." Finnick laughs, slapping Thresh's back with a grin.

"Girls and their hair." Thresh laughs, shaking his head.

"That's why I hang out with Katniss." Gale joins the conversation "Braid every day, at this point it takes her like two seconds to get ready." He laughs along with the boys.

At this point, I'm smiling too, watching them all laugh together. I'm happy that I've made these few friends; maybe my life is going up, as long as blondie doesn't screw it up. I push the thoughts of the giant blonde boy into the back of my head, ignoring the fact that he was stunningly handsome. No more boys, no more crushes, no more love.

I repeat this to myself as I follow the boys into the parking lot when Annie and Rue rejoin us.

No more, it just leaves things broken.

. . .

She never knew that a simple crush could take her so far. How many times had she fought away her feelings, why couldn't she shake this one? It haunted her thoughts, maybe this one was different. Maybe it was time to let someone in.

CHAPTER NOTES

This chapter is definitely longer, and I hope it makes up for the long period of inactivity on my part. It's late, and I apologize for any typos. I'll probably end up going back to change them tomorrow.

Only one person got the people at the beginning of the chapter right and I will tell you who it was, as soon as I reread the reviews and figure it out myself!

The people were as follows

The girl so lost in darkness- Delly

Her light- Thom

Dancer- Rue

Her biggest fan- Thresh

Football star- Finn

Invisible girl- Annie

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