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Peeta Mellark Part TWO
Dim sunlight peeks through a slit in my window, and I awake to the sound of my bedroom door opening.
“Peeta, it’s time to get up” Haymitch’s voice says. I object and pull the covers over my head.
“Go away,” I moan, turning over so my back is facing the door. Suddenly, the cover’s been yanked off me, and I sit bolt upright to see a smug looking Haymitch. I glare at him for a second, and then lie back down.
“You’ve got 20 minutes,” Haymitch says before chucking the cover back in a heap. I watch him walk out, purposely slamming the door, and can hear him chuckling as he walks away.
“Stupid Haymitch. Stupid Capitol. Stupid, stupid Games,” I grumble to myself as I take a quick shower in the blissfully warm water, and dress myself. I can’t help but stomp to the dining car sullenly, like a stroppy child. I’m not a morning person.
“Oh, Peeta, thank goodness you’re up! I’ve just been to wake Katniss. Sit!” Effie Trinket trills as I enter. Even the sound of Katniss’ name makes my heart jump. I go over and sit opposite Haymitch, and am greeted by a mug of strangely brown liquid. I look at it inquisitively, then, when I can’t figure out what it is, look to Haymitch reluctantly.
“It’s called hot chocolate. They love it here” he says, before breaking a roll in half and chewing it loudly. Effie sits next to me, sniffing in disapproval at Haymitch’s table manners. I approach the mug with caution, as most of the things loved in the Capitol are grotesque. Once I take a sip, however, I discover that it’s delicious, and can hardly stop myself from drinking the lot in one go.
“Pace yourself dear, there’s more where that came from,” Effie Trinket says, and as if on cue, an enormous platter of food arrives.
“Ignore her boy, and drink more. Who knows when you’ll have a decent meal in that arena?” Haymitch interrupts, in between chewing.
“Disgraceful. Peeta, if you want to grow up a decent man, listen to me” Effie says, tutting and shooting a pointed look at Haymitch.
“Ha! Peeta, listen to me, never take a woman’s advice on how to be a man,” Haymitch says, winking at me. He’s clearly enjoying having fun at Effie’s expense.
“What are you saying about my ability to judge character? Are you saying I don’t know how to teach Peeta to be a man?” Effie squeaks her voice high and obviously verging on angry.
“How do you know how to be a man? ARE you a man?” Haymitch replied, fighting not to laugh. I bite my lip to stop myself bursting into laughter.
“Are YOU a man Haymitch? That’s the real question!” Effie’s nearly shouting now.
“Well I’ve got all the essential parts!” Haymitch says, and that does it. Effie goes bright red, and jumps to her feet. I have to duck my head and pretend to eat the roll I’m holding to hide my laughter.
“Well, that just- it just proves... it’s hardly a point... no respect!” Effie mutters to herself angrily as she takes her mug of what I think is coffee, and leaves the room. Haymitch chuckles as he reaches for another roll. As Effie walks out, Katniss walks in, and my heart jumps. I go red as I realise what an idiot I must look, just staring at her, and focus on my roll instead.
“Sit down! Sit down!” Haymitch says, waving her over. He seems to be in a better mood after his argument with Effie. Katniss slides into her seat, and her food arrives. I notice hr eyes widen slightly as she takes in the amount she’s been given. Then, she notices the mug of hot chocolate, and looks at it blankly.
I find the courage in me to speak to her.
“they call it hot chocolate,” I say. “It’s good.”
See, you didn’t sound too odd then! I say to myself. I dig into my breakfast, and see Katniss do the same. I spot Haymitch draining a glass of red liquid out of his glass, and am sure he’ll be incoherent soon.
Any respect I had for Haymitch before momentarily disappears as I realise he’s the entire reason that none of the District 12 tributes had a chance. He drowned himself in alcohol every year, and left the tributes to fend for themselves. No wonder District 12 hadn’t got any sponsors; no-one in their right mind would support a drunken Haymitch.
“So, you’re meant to give us advice” Katniss says, and we look to him expectantly.
“Here’s some advice. Stay alive,” he says, and bursts out laughing.
I’m surprised to find that I’m furious all of a sudden. I catch Katniss eye by chance, and even her eyes can’t melt me right now.
“That’s very funny” I say coldly, and then lash out at his glass angrily, smashing it against the floor. “Only not to us,” I continue. Haymitch looks like he’s considering what I said, then, out of nowhere, he smacks me in the jaw, knocking me from my chair. See stars for a second, then I put a hand to my jaw, and can tell it’s going to bruise. Katniss chucks a knife at the bottle, and I see her start to protect herself, waiting for Haymitch to hit her. I start to get to my feet, despite the pain in my jaw, prepared to protect her, but instead, Haymitch just sits back and looks at us.
“Well, what’s this?” Haymitch says. “Did I actually get a pair of fighters this year? “
I get up, and reach for some of the ice and start to put it to the mark on my jaw. Haymitch stops me, and I look at him like he’s mad
“No, let the bruise show. The audience will think you’ve mixed it up with another tribute before you’ve even made it into the arena. “ he says.
“But that’s against the rules” I say, confused.
“Only if they catch you. The bruise will say you fought, you weren’t caught, even better.” He turned to Katniss, all business like. They seemed to have sobered up within a second. “Can you hit anything with that knife besides a table?” he asked her. In response, she yanked the knife out of the table, and threw it across the room. It lodged itself between two panels with amazing precision. I look at her, amazed, and see that she’s almost as surprised as I am with her abilities.
“Stand over here. Both of you.” He says, and we obey. Then, he says nothing, but walks around us, occasionally prodding us, as if he’s doing an examination. I don’t mind it, partly because I’m standing so lose to Katniss that our arms are nearly touching. I focus on not looking like a fool and accidently miss what Haymitch’s says. I listen to him quickly hoping I haven’t missed anything important.
“Alright, I’ll make a deal with you. You don’t interfere with my drinking, and I’ll stay sober enough to help you. But you have to do everything I say.” He says seriously. It’s not much of a deal, but I have a strange feeling that he’ll honour it. I look at Katniss, and weigh our options. If one of us is to get out of the Hunger Games alive, then we’ll need a mentor. Eve a half-drunk mentor is better than nothing, I think. I make my decision.
“Fine,” I say.