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Breathe Chapter 7

Thanks again as always to my wonderful beta fnur! You crack me up!

Disclaimer: I do not own the Hunger Games.

Chapter 7

Katniss POV

I open my eyes to sunlight, boring into me, and making me go temporarily blind. I feel like the weight of the world is sitting on my chest and suffocating me. It’s scary considering that’s exactly how I felt last night before I went to bed and now I’m awakening to it again. I put the back of my hand over my eyes to shield them from the light but it’s no use. I have to get up and face my day. Evan will want to know where I was half the night. I glance at the clock on my bare walls and discover that it’s eleven o’clock in the morning. I am pathetic.

I struggle to right myself and get my bearings. I toss the sheets and blankets off of my bare olive skinned legs and stumble into the bathroom. I flick on the light on the yellow wall and turn the shower on. Stripping my clothes and setting the water to an uncomfortable hot, I get in. I don’t move. I just stand there, letting the water wash off my activities from the night before. Washing Peeta off of my body. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad. It took me so long to get him back and I couldn’t have been more pleased at how our night had begun last night.

I’ve never wanted anyone but him romantically. Getting to spend the night with him in such an intimate way and confessing my locked away feelings felt refreshing. Having Peeta reciprocate those feelings was amazing. Spending that time with him inside me, earth shattering. I finally felt alive and sexy. Like a real woman. Like I deserved.

I wasn’t just an abandoned single mother living in District 12, raising her daughter. Other men have asked me out before but I just never had eyes for anyone else. I just had my heart set on Peeta long ago, probably since the night he tossed me bread. I wished that I had realized how I felt sooner and things didn’t happen the way they did. If I hadn’t been scared, he would have married me as soon as we arrived back in District 12 from the games. I could have had my happy ever after.

My skin is feeling a tad red from the heat of the water and it’s time to wash and get out. I wash my hair in my lavender shampoo and then scrub my body with an equally appealing soap. When my hands reach my private area, I flash back to last night and the pleasure that arose from there. I never would have imagined it possible. I was practically a virgin again. I got to experience it all over again with Peeta and I’m not embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed every moment of it.

I’m not stupid. Peeta is a man, a Victor, and was living in the Capitol. I knew he was involved in something that would benefit President Snow. Haymitch had told me as much when he discovered where Peeta had ended up all those years ago. What I didn’t expect, was the depravity of the entire situation.

Peeta was innocent. He impulsively left here and made a mistake. I can respect that. When he explained to Snow that we were broken up, Snow offered him an opportunity to let me live in peace. Peeta felt that he somehow owed me that for taking my virginity and because he loved me. I can respect that. I’m not surprised that he let Snow whore him out to protect me and those we love. I can respect that too. What I can’t accept is that it was with so many people.

I know it’s not technically his fault and that he was doing as he was told, but come on. He was intimate, with so many people. He had to get turned on and perform. However it happened, he still thrust into them, the same as he did to me. His lips kissed them, sucked them and licked them, same as me. I cannot fathom being with someone like that and not loving them. I don’t even think I could just go with a basic instinct, even to survive. I probably would have fucked a couple of guys and then thrown myself off of a building or impaled myself with an arrow. I could never do it. And more importantly, I don’t think Peeta would ever be able to look at me the same if I did.

Ugh, this sucks. I’m so conflicted. I turn the water off, and step out of the shower to dry off. I get dressed and put my hair in a ponytail, too lazy to do my braid right now. I walk downstairs to get something to eat and make some tea. There’s a note on the table.

Mom, went hunting with Zander. I’ll see you later. Love, Evan.”

I sigh in relief that Evan is gone right now so I can wallow in self-pity. I can hear my Mother hanging laundry outside and talking to someone. It must be Haymitch. I sit there at the table and pull my legs up onto the chair, letting the tea warm my hands. The front door opens and Prim comes in with Jasper. He dashes to the open back door and chases the orange tabby that’s been hanging around here. Buttercup is still alive and kicking but mostly wanders over at Prim’s house since he hates me.

Prim walks over to the table and pulls a strand of my ponytail free. She looks me up and down and pulls the chair out to sit.

“Okay, spill it. What happened to you? Evan told me that you were over at Peeta’s late last night. I want details.” She said and gets up to fix herself a cup of tea from the still-piping silver kettle. She sits back down and I’m still a virtual mute. “I want some answers now or I’m going to go talk to Peeta.” I sigh and roll my eyes at her. “Please don’t?” I ask and shuffle around in my seat.

I lock eyes with Prim’s blue orbs and I know I cannot escape her. May as well get to the point.

“I slept with Peeta last night.” I admit. Prim’s smile takes over her entire ivory complexion and she starts laughing and puts her hand over her mouth to stifle her giggles. “Way to go Katniss! How do you feel?” She asks. I shake my head.

“It was a mistake, I think. Yeah, it was a mistake. I got all wrapped up in the moment and it just shouldn’t have happened. It would never work out between the two of us.”

Prim looks at me in shock. “Katniss, are you stupid? You’ve been so happy since he visited and announced he was coming back for good. How can you say that? Even now, you look amazing. Like you’re glowing. Was it not all that you expected?”

I shake my head. “No Prim, it was wonderful. I felt so alive and free. We confessed our feelings to one another too. I’ve never felt so content.”

Prim raises an eyebrow. “So, let me get this straight. The sex was great, you told each other you had feelings for each other and you felt wonderful. Um, I don’t see the problem here Katniss.”

I take a deep breath and pick at a node in the wooden table. “Um, he told me that Snow had sold him to all kinds of people in the Capitol. When we ‘broke up’ it had to be explained. I guess Snow sells all of the Victors. Peeta made some kind of deal with him years ago to protect me and keep me out of Snow’s clutches. Snow wanted to whore me out too. He also ensured that we would all be safe and no harm would ever come to us.”

“So Peeta is kind of a martyr, is that what you’re saying? He did what he had to do, not what he wanted to do. Are you faulting him for it?” Blue eyes cloud over in their irritation with me.

“I’m trying not to, Prim. I know it wasn’t his fault. I know it. It’s just when he told me how many people he’s been with, I just kept seeing the town square full of people that fucked the love of my life. I mean, it’s the number that’s freaking me out.”

Prim shakes her head, takes the mug out of my hand and puts them on the counter. She opens the cabinet and takes out a bottle of white liquor and pours an ample amount into the mugs and rests it back down in front of me. We clink our mugs and Prim takes a healthy swig. She’s gonna be walking back to her home half-drunk with Jasper on her hip. Rory will give me hell for it.

“Listen, Katniss. I think you’ve got it wrong. I think this is the perfect demonstration of your insecurities at their best. I know the sheer numbers spook you. They would freak me out too. But knowing the circumstances that surrounded all of those encounters, I think you can accept that. I think what you’re truly afraid of is that you think you’re not good enough for him. Sexually. Knowing that he has that much experience…I think you feel inadequate compared to some of his partners, or hell, even Peeta himself.”

I blink at her and I don’t know what to say. She’s so insightful and it’s possible that maybe that is what it is. That I’m afraid I’m not good enough in lieu of all those other women. I thought I did okay last night but maybe I performed horribly in the bedroom. I wouldn’t know. I’ve only ever been with Peeta.

I sit there in contemplation and then down what’s left if my white liquor. There’s a knock at the door and Prim excuses herself to open it. I hear the words I was dreading. “Oh, hello Peeta.” I pour the booze into my mug again, filling it to the rim and then just take a swig out of the bottle. I can’t even deal with this shit right now.

Peeta steps into the foyer and Prim puts her hands on her hips and begins talking to Peeta. Just then our mother enters the back door with Jasper’s hand in hers and a basket of laundry in the other, resting on her hip.

“Peeta Mellark, I have a bone to pick with you.” Prim states and guides Peeta into the room and then puts her hands on her hips. “First of all, how dare you for leaving the way you did. You broke my sister’s heart! Then she finds out she’s pregnant…and well, you know the rest of the story. But then, you come back home, meet Evan and decide to stay. Great news? Well I thought so until I got here this morning!”

I gasp at her outburst, Peeta’s eyes find mine and his face registers shock.

“I want to know what could possibly possess you to divulge to Katniss, pure as snow over here, that you slept with half the Capitol? Who the fuck does that? Huh? I know why you were forced to, and I commend you for trying to protect Katniss, but shit Peeta, did you have to tell her all of it?”

Peeta stutters for a second. “I knew she wouldn’t take it well Prim but I wanted to be completely honest with her. I didn’t want to start off on a bad foot again, no pun intended.”

Prim looks aggravated. “So let me get this straight! You spent the night fucking Katniss before you told her about your past? I just want to be clear about your honest intentions!”

“Primrose Everdeen Hawthorne, how dare you curse like that in this house! Don’t make me wash your mouth out with soap!” Our mother shouts. Prim ignores Peeta for the moment and then rails on our mother. “This man took Katniss to bed last night Mother! I’m yelling at him for her. Stay out of it!”

Peeta and I both turn ten shades of pink. It’s silent in the house until Jasper catches our attention while playing with a toy on the rug. “Fucking toy.” He mutters. We all gasp and then mother lashes into Prim for her filthy mouth and the fact that it’s rubbing off on Jasper.

Peeta ignores them and walks over to me, takes my hand into his and tugs me off the chair.

“Put your boots on. We’re walking.” He instructs. I do what he demands and then he takes my hand and leads me out the door. Before we get to the side walk I can hear my mother yell at Prim some more.

“That’s it! Soap for the two of you!”

A/N: FYI people, my son said that when he was four years old and my mother tore my ass up. LOL

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