Chapter 22

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Finnick and I spent most of the night eating dinner together on the big couch in front of the television, talking, laughing and watching the chariots. I couldn't get what happened - or almost happened - in the elevator out of my head. He was so close to kissing me. I could still smell the sweet, sickly scent of sugar on his breath, see the familiar green glint in his eyes. I shuddered at the memory of it as I change into my training gear, tying my hair up into a high ponytail out of the way. I don't bother with makeup today, it's only going to sweat off anyway. 


I meet Finnick at the table. He's in his identical training gear, finishing up breakfast. He glances up and grins. ''Care to join?''

''Nope,'' I wink, picking up an apple from the fruitbowl and taking a bite out of it, leaning on one foot. ''Plan for the day?''

He swallows, then shrugs. ''Train. Flirt. Train some more,''

I roll my eyes. ''Come on then, Pretty Boy,'' I make my way over to the elevator, waiting for him to join me. The ride down is short and silent, something that doesn't usually happen for Finnick and I, but I put it out of my mind as we step into the Training Center. We're later than everyone else, although there's still only about half of the tributes here. I notice Finnick's sly smile as he spots Katniss struggling over a knot, narrowing my eyes slightly as he goes up behind her and puts his arms around her, finishing the knot in a few seconds. I scoff and head over as Katniss walks away. As she walks past she pulls a face at Finnick, now putting a noose down, a smirk playing on his lips.

''If you're going to hang yourself at least tie the noose tighter,'' I comment as I set myself down beside him, taking a piece of rope in my hands and running it through my fingers.

''Very funny,'' he laughs sarcastically. I feel the burning sensation of someone looking at me. I sigh, knowing very well who it is and meet his eyes.

''What?''

''It's been a long time hasn't it?'' Finnick asks me, gesturing toward the rope in my hands. I nod. ''We used to make knots all the time, do you remember?''

''I do. But I don't remember how to make the knots. I have those hazy type of memories; the ones blurred around the edges, the voices distorted and faint.'' I reply, a sad, heavy tone taking place of my mocking voice.

''Here, let me help,'' he comes behind me and sits down, like he did with Katniss only closer, his chest pressed into my back. His arms slink around my waist and his head drops on my shoulder. ''I'll go easy first,''

I allow Finnick to take my hands, guiding me through loops and twists. He tells me about random things as we tie and untie knots together, laughing loud enough to attract attention to us. I don't know how long we stayed there but eventually our hands we sore and we'd run out of knots.

''What now, hm?'' I turn my head to face his expectantly. It's closer than I anticipated.

''Archery?'' he suggests, raising an eyebrow.

''Ah,'' I smirk. ''Something I'll definitely beat you in.''

''Oh you think?'' Finnick's other eyebrow raises. ''Challenge time.''

He pecks my cheek lightly before jumping up, running over to the archery station. I roll my eyes and sigh, getting up myself and joining him. There's already a guard strapped tightly on his forearm, a quiver of bows on his back.

''Prepare to die, Everly?'' he challenges me, holding out a quiver as I finished strapping my own guard.

I narrow my eyes dangerously. ''You wish, Pretty Boy.''

''Oh, you're playing it that way?'' he chuckles. ''Care to raise the stakes?''

''In intrigued, enlighten me,'' I gesture towards him as I pick up a silver bow, weighing it in my hand.

''You win...I'll be topless for the whole day,'' I scoff at his suggestion and roll my eyes. ''I win...I kiss you.''

My smile falters. Kiss me? Does that mean he wanted to in the elevator last night? I shake my head and regain my game face. ''Looks like I'm going to have to beat you then.''

~

Sweaty and breathless, I drop my bow at Finnick's feet. ''Fine,'' I pant heavily. ''You win.''

He smirks, just as breathless as myself, setting his own bow down. ''Pucker up, princess.''

I roll my eyes and turn to walk away but he grabs my hand and spins me into his chest, a light gasp escapes from my lips. I look up at him slowly. My breath catches in my throat. Apparently he doesn't seems to notice - or care - that other people are in the Training Center as he leans down and gently presses his lips to mine. It's soft and slow. Brief and sweet.

His lips taste of sugar cubes and salt water.   


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