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The next morning I wake myself up without Seraph having to bang on my door. Out of habit, I make my bed nice and neat before dressing myself in the training uniform, same as last years I slip on some velvety running shoes. If anything else is velvet I swear I'm going to vomit.
After somewhat managing my curly locks, I skip out of my bedroom and into the dining hall, where breakfast has already been set up. Seeder and Seraph sit, eating delicately with fancy golden forks and putting tiny pieces into their mouths. Seeder looks up, sees me come in, and motions for me to sit down.
"Hey, there's our little bird." she smiles and brushes her silver-streaked black hair out of her face. "I'm pretty sure you know what's in store today," she says as I sit in the over-stuffed chair across from her.
"Yep," I reply before spooning eggs onto my plate. "Where's Chaff?"
"Probably still sleeping," Seraph answers, and we all giggle. Her hair is done in an elaborate bump thing on her head and she's wearing a flowy white dress that complements her violet eyes.
I put a blueberry muffin onto my plate just as Chaff stumbles into the room, rubbing his brown eyes. He brings the smell of alcohol into the room and I try not to recoil as he slams himself into the chair for breakfast. I notice he isn't even dressed.
"Mornin'," is all he says before stuffing his mouth with a spoonful of oatmeal.
"Chaff, dear," Seraph says with a strained smile, "shouldn't you, um, get dressed? Training starts in thirty minutes."
"Huh?" he asks through another mouthful of potatoes. Seraph repeats herself and Seeder and I share a knowing look. "Oh. Oh, yeah." He glances at his clothes but it's pretty obvious it doesn't matter to him. We roll our eyes and I finish my muffin.
Chaff hurries to his room after breakfast, burping loudly on the way. He is just so disgusting sometimes...
Chaff enters again a few minutes later, also wearing his training outfit. He has on some fancy-looking shoes and has actually combed his hair. Seeder takes notice. "Hm, Chaff. You seem... nicer than usual."
Chaff shrugs as we (Seraph, Seeder, Chaff, and me) step into the elevator. I don't get why Seraph still comes with us. I mean, Chaff and Seeder are both at least forty. I'm pretty sure they can handle themselves.
We stand in silence and the door opens to the Training Center. Unlike last year, everyone is milling about again and are completely comfortable with one another. I see Johanna lightly punch Finnick in the chest and he overdramatically stumbles backwards, pretending it hurt. I smile.
Prim and Haymitch haven't arrived yet, so I look around at the different victors. Cashmere and Gloss look gorgeous yet menacing, a double-duo you wouldn't want to mess with. I make a mental note to avoid them.
That mental note doesn't work because Gloss notices me staring at him. He grins a sly grin and motons me over with a crooked finger. Against my own will, my legs pull me forward and I end up standing right in front of the two.
"How's our little District Eleven trib, huh?" Cashmere asks in a sort of nasally voice. It isn't as bad as Glimmer's was, though.
"Fine," I reply confidently, even though I feel like crawling in a hole standing next to these two. "And yourselves?"
Gloss grins that evil grin of his. "We are quite fine."
"Good. See you, then." I breathe a sigh of relief as I walk away, my shoulders releasing their tension. Prim and Haymitch step out of the elevator and Prim immediately goes to me.
"Hi Rue," she greets once we are arm's length away from each other. Her blonde hair is styled in two braids, as it always is. I feel so puny against everyone else, standing next to her. The auburn-haired lady comes in and lets us into the training center.
We decide to head over to firebuilding. The guy from Eight, Woof, is there, but he's having a hard time hearing the guy running the station. "I said, don't make your fire that big!" the man running the station practically has to shout.
"Eh?" Woof asks, and the guy facepalms his forehead. Prim and I giggle and sit down, getting to work on setting up the fire. We put lots of tinder and things to make it more flammable, and Woof finally follows our lead.
|Amandla Stenberg||as Rue|