Chapter 15

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I study the man before me. There is no denying it, he it utterly gorgeous. He's a tall, muscular, bronze-haired, green-eyed beauty. I think he knows it too, which is probably one of the only unattractive things about him - his air of arrogance. Right now, however, I feel awful that he seems to know me but I honestly have no recollection of him. Does Haymitch know?

''Finnick...Finnick who?'' I ask again, confused.

His shoulders sag and I feel even worse. If this guy...Finnick...really know me, surely it's horrible that I don't know him?

''Finnick Odair...'' he says slowly, breathing deeply. ''District 4. Victor of the 65th Hunger Games.''

''And you know me?''

He nods, once. ''I've known you for a very long time, Anna,'' he whispers.

Anna. There's something different about the way he says Anna compared to when Haymitch or Cinna or Katniss say it. He says it as if it's...precious somehow. A name he's not used in a while, unfamiliar but important. My name? District 4 too. There's a possibility I knew him there, or in fact, if he's a Victor, I've met him at a previous party in the Capitol.

I look up at him again, blocking out the rest of the party, who go about their business like I'm not possibly meeting a blast-from-the-past. He's staring at me, hurt and concern evident in his face, tears swimming in his mesmerising eyes. In all honesty, his eyes are enchanting. They draw you in, as if you really are amidst the ocean, waves lapping against your bare skin, the salty air waving your hair instead of stuck at a stuffy party with rich food and closed-minded conversations.

''How exactly do you know me?'' I cough, regaining my composure.

''We were -'' he gets cut off by a gruff voice.

''Vivianna!'' I turn to my right to find Haymitch, a dark look on his face.

He sends a look to Finnick and that's when I know. There is something and Haymitch is hiding it from me. Finnick nods and droops his head, avoiding eye contact. I narrow my own eyes and look up at Haymitch expectantly.

''Yes, Haymitch?'' I say, my voice void of all emotion.

''Effie told me to fetch you. It's time to go.'' he replies, something in his voice telling me it's more important to leave now than just to get home to the train, so I comply.

''Alright,'' I turn to Finnick. ''It's nice to, um, meet you...again? Maybe I'll speak with you again soon.''

''Oh...yes...hopefully.'' he sighs before swiftly leaving. As soon as he leaves I see many women snatch him up, dragging him into a conversation that will no doubt bore him.

''Come on,'' Haymitch puts his arm around me and steers me over to Effie, where she's waiting with Katniss, Peeta, Portia and Cinna.

I don't listen to them as Effie babbles on, instead I hang back, my thoughts drifting back to Finnick.

''Something on your mind?'' I start and then relax at the sight of Cinna walking slower to join me.

I bite my lip. ''I'm not sure, entirely.''

''Oh?'' he raises and eyebrow at me as we continue to walk, the others now several feet in front.

''What can you tell me about Finnick Odair?'' I blurt out.

''You met Finnick, huh? Well, he's very handsome - anyone will tell you that. Natural beauty too. Comes from District 4, naturally a good swimmer and fisherman. Won his Games the 65th year and shot straight to fame in the Capitol. Now he's some sort of, um...'' he trails off and gives me a sideways glance.

''Some sort of what?'' I press, eager to know more.

''Prostitute,'' he finishes, sounding sad about it.

''Prostitute?'' I echo, puzzled.

''He's quite infamous in the Capitol for his long trail of lovers. He's a real charmer, seductive, flirty. I'm sure there's more to him, though.''

By now we've made it back to the train. Haymitch, who I know know to be drunk, is sent straight to his room. The rest of us, however, gather around the table to share some tea that Cinna ordered.

''There's the Harvest Festival in District Twelve to think about,'' Effie reminds us while we all clutch our cups. ''So I suggest we drink our tea and head straight to bed.''

I'm the first to leave, abandoning my half filled up of tea and standing quickly. I excuse myself and head straight for my room. I pull the flowers from my hair, placing them gently on my dresser. Next, I slip off my over-the-top sparkly shoes, thankful to be flat on the ground again. I head into the bathroom, gently sliding off the dress and stepping into the shower, washing away the makeup on my face and products in my hair. As I do, my thoughts (one again) drift back to the mysterious stranger named Finnick Odair. Is he really a stranger?

And then the tears come. Over and over, burning my cheeks as they blend in with the shower water. I'm not entirely sure the reason for my tears, whether it's because I'm scared or confused or angry. It's not Haymitch's fault, I know that. He has to keep whoever I really am a secret from me, to protect me, he says. But it's driving me insane not knowing anything! I miss Rosalind, too. She was so lovely when I met her. She raised me to be elegant, despite the District I grew up in. When she died it hit me hard. Especially as it was only a year after my Games. Rosalind was the type of woman who everyone knew, everyone loved. She was quite a hit with the single men whenever we went into the Hob but she never cared for any attention. Instead, she cared for me. I remember the nights in winter where money was low and food was short and the weather was horrid. We'd always sit by the fire and tell each other stories, from the age of six to sixteen. Then it stopped.

~

The next day, I put all thoughts out of my mind. Today we return to Twelve for dinner at Mayor Undersee's house and tomorrow there's the celebration for the Harvest Festival, where for once, the whole District will be eating well, full of glorious food from the Capitol.
As soon as we arrive at the mayor's house, Katniss and I are whisked away by Effie to get ready. Cinna wants Katniss and I to be similar, so we're both dressed in floor length gowns only Katniss' is silver and mine is black. If I'm wearing a dress I prefer it to be comfier and lighter than layers of silk and tule, decorated with thousands of black sequins. At least I'm allowed to wear wedges instead of stilettos.

When we're done, Katniss and I make our way to the second floor to see Madge, the mayor's daughter. We stick our heads into the study to greet the mayor but he's not there. The television in the corner is on thought, playing a recap of last night at the party. I stop, following Katniss' lead and watch her and Peeta; dancing, eating, kissing. I can see Katniss is getting tired of constantly seeing her relationship with Peeta broadcasted throughout the whole of Panem. That's the Capitol for you.

''Come on,'' I smile, and we're about to leave when a beeping noise catches our attention.

Katniss throws me a curious glance and we turn back to the television to see it go black, then the words ''UPDATE ON DISTRICT 8'' appear on screen, flashing. ''Katniss!'' I hiss as she steps closer but she shakes her head and listens.

A new presenter appears, an older woman with a hoarse voice. She warns us that conditions are worsening and a Level-3 alert has been called. Additional forces are being sent into District 8 and all textile production has ceased.

Then they cut away and show us the District, exactly where we were last week. There are banners with Katniss and Peeta's faces left on them waving on rooftops but below them is a huge mob. There are people screaming, their faces hidden, throwing bricks. Buildings are burning, swallowed up by huge flames. The Peacekeepers open fire, killing anyone in their way.

I cover my mouth with my hand, horrified at the uprising.   


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