Chapter 13

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Today, Effie tells us we're going to District 4. I'm unsure how I feel about going here again. When I first won the Games, I barely payed attention when I came to District 4, thanked them, then left. I intend to explore this time though. I mean, this is where I grew up for six years! I was ripped from my home for unknown reasons for fourteen years, and they expect me not to wonder what my old District is like?

Cinna briefly came into my room, handing me a pretty dress and matching shoes before hugging me tightly, giving me a knowing smile and leaving. I wonder if he knows? I sigh and, taking time to braid my hair up. I have to stop halfway through applying my makeup for my hands have become rather unsteady, shaking wildly. Am I really this nervous?

When we step off the train, three things hit me. The bright light of the sun, the salty sea air and the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. I smile at the refreshing feel of somewhere new, somewhere open and wide instead of dark and dirty like District 12. I love it.

Then all to soon, we're escorted away. Katniss and Peeta are handed cards, waiting to be forced on stage, reading a fake speech to an iron-faced crowd. Instead, I slip away from Effie, Cinna, Portia, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch, hopefully undetected.

I find my way out of their Justice Building, taking care to hide from any Peacekeepers. When I step out into the sun, it warms my skin and my long legs. I walk down a small footpath, not caring to where it leads me. Around me, I take in the lush of the green grass, tall and ruffling in the sea breeze. How I craved to run through it, carefree. Maybe I did, once. The vast of the ocean appears in front of me as the footpath dwindles out into the sand, stretching all the way down the coastline, a few houses lining the edge, a little way up from me.

I reach down and slip off my heels, holding them in one hand as I step onto the sand, tickling my toes as I begin to walk over to the sea. I bask in the freedom as my feet hit the water, it's icy waves washing over my feet, cleansing them. I begin to laugh, a real laugh I feel I haven't done in so long. It feels so good to laugh again. I can't seem to stop laughing as I begin to run, ankle deep in the sea, down the length of the beach, kicking the waves, squealing slightly when the cool water hits my arms or face. When I reach the other end of the beach, I find a few steps that lead me up a little hill, another footpath stretching down to a village of some sort. I wipe the sand stuck to my feet before slipping my heels back on, setting off down the path, a grin never leaving my lips.

The village is massive, shops and market stalls set up in a big circle in the center. I browse the stalls. They sell so many different things; fish, fresh bread, jewellery made from sea glass, pearls, even driftwood. It's amazing. I feel a little tug on the hem of my dress and turn around to see a little girl, no older looking than five or six, standing there, her mother a few paces back, watching her.

''Are you Vivianna?'' the girl asks me shyly, her voice barely louder than a whisper.

I glance up to her mother who looks embarrassed. ''I'm so sorry,'' her mother apologises, rushing forward. ''She insisted on meeting you, I'm sorry,''

I stop her as she places her hands on her daughters shoulders, about to lead her away. ''No, no, it's fine,'' I smile, dropping down to a crouch so

I'm at the girls level. ''Hello there. Yes I am Vivianna, what's your name?''

The girl echoes my smile, showing a toothy grin. ''Paisley,'' she tells me happily.

''That's a very pretty name, Paisley,'' I smile wider.

The girl blushes and whispers a thank you, looking up at her mum.

''Go on,'' her mum nods at her.

''We...we made you something, Vivianna. My father and I.'' Paisley says, timidly, holding out her hand. On it lies a , the pearls shiny and tinged pink in the sunlight.

''It's...it's beautiful! Thank you so much!'' I'm shocked. No one has ever given me a present like this before. I hold out my left wrist and allow Paisley to clasp it on before I smile and stand. Time's getting on. I must've been around forty minutes, by now. ''I'm afraid I must go. It was lovely to meet you, Paisley. Thank you,''

Paisley hugs my legs before letting go. Her mother mouths a 'thank you' before they turn and walk away. I walk in the direction of the Justice Building, it's roof visible above the many roofs. I glance down at the bracelet as I walk. It's a perfect fit, sitting atop my trident bracelet. Two tokens from my home District.

When I make it back inside the building, no one but Haymitch seems to have noticed I left. He shoots me a 'we'll talk later' look just as Katniss and Peeta come through the double doors and all attention is diverted to them, complimenting them, hugging them. I bite my lip, nervously.

Haymitch wants to talk. This won't be good...


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