The first chapter is from Peeta's point of view and about about what would have happened if Peeta didn't get reaped. Would he have volunteered to save Katniss? Who will be reaped instead?
Morning light streams through my window and I am greeted by the lingering smell of fresh bread. The house is unusually quiet and for about a minute, I'm not sure why. I walk into the kitchen to find my father looking uneasy. Then I remember what day it is. It is Reaping Day. Suddenly my head fills with worries about my name getting drawn. I'm slipping into a horrible daydream about my name being called when a loud yell from my mother snaps my back into reality.
"Peeta!" she barks "What are you doing, loafing around the kitchen? Reaping Day is no reason to slack off! Go feed the pigs!" I march out, to tired and worried to argue with her. I feed the pigs mush and burned loaves of bread that nobody wants. That nobody needs. -But this isn't true.
"Katniss needs these," i find myself saying out loud. I think back to that day so many years ago like I've done so many times before. In fact, I remember that moment almost every day. Surely Katniss has forgotten, but I never will.
Katniss Everdeen is a girl in my year. She's from The Seam and her father died in the mine explosion when we were eleven. I have never actually spoken to her. But I watch her. I have been looking after Katniss since we were five years old. I have tried to protect her whenever I can even though she doesn't even know me. Because I love her.
It is this moment when I realize, I can't keep her safe from The Reaping. I am overcome with fear for her. I drop the bread and the bucket of mush to keep myself from falling to my knees. Then I remember tesserae. The odds are not in her favor. My stomach begins to churn and I rack my brain for any way to protect her.
I Katniss gets reaped, I will volunteer as male tribute. Yes, this is the only way I can ensure her safety. I'm not a savage person, but I know that if it came down to it, i would kill anyone who tried to hurt her in the arena. It must be done.
I finish my chores and anxiously await two o' clock when The Reaping will occur. All I can do is hope that Katniss will be safe.
Two o' clock comes too quickly. I feels like I have only been waiting five minutes when I hear my mother summoning me.
"Peeta! Peeta, come here!" she wails. I reluctantly drag myself down the hall where I find her waiting for me wearing that stern expression on her face that I know so well. When she sees me, she lets out a loud, dramatic gasp that surprises.
"What it is?" I ask, truly mystified.
"Just look at yourself! You may as well be from the Seam!" she is screaming now. I look down and examine my clothes and see find myself covered in flour. Then I remember that I never washed up after my chores. This doesn't go over well on a normal day and I am terrified to see what kind of beating it could earn me on Reaping Day. You see, my mother doesn't tolerate it when I look like from The Seam, but one things she can tolerate is giving her children a good smack. But to my surprise, she doesn't hit me. She just scowls and orders me to go change my clothes.
I am so grateful that she doesn't hit me that I run back down, afraid that if I stay too long, she might change her mind. I reach my bedroom, and I slip on a clean shirt and pants. Soon enough, my entire family is headed to The Reaping.
Stepping outside is like stepping into giant frying pan. Heat overtakes my body and I can feel my the collar of my shirt tightening, making little drops of sweat drip from my face. When we reach the square, people are flooding in to take their places. I sign in and I am just about to find a spot among the rest of the kids in my year, when I see him.
Gale Hawthorne. Jealousy fills up my entire body so quickly that it feels almost painful. And I'm not jealous of him for the reason most boys are. Most boys are jealous that all the girls think he's handsome and they all have crushes on him. But I am jealous because I know that everyday, Gale Hawthorne gets to spend some precious time with Katniss Everdeen. They're just friends, -at least I think so. But that still can't stop me from envying his friendship with her, because he doesn't know what I would give just to talk to that girl just once.
I couldn't bear to look at him anymore, so I turn my attention to the stage where Effie Trinket is standing in her bright green suite with a pink wig perched on top of her head reminding me of a cherry topping off an ice cream sundae. Effie Trinket comes to District 12 every year to read the names at The Reaping and escort the chosen tributes to the Capitol. I can tell by the expression on her face, that she is impatiently waiting for the old District 12 victor and current mentor, Haymitch. Haymitch is a middle aged man but that surely doesn't stop him from getting drunk nearly everyday. Maybe that's why District 12 always does so poorly in the Games. Maybe it's just because we are the poorest District.
After a few minutes, Haymitch stumbles onto the stage, and The Reaping begins. The mayor gives a long speech, but I don't hear a word of what he's saying. My palms are sweating and they're sticky like syrup. I'm too worried for Katniss to listen to anything the mayor has to say.
My stomach twists into knots at the sound of Effie's Capitol accent echoing over the microphone, "Happy Hunger Games!" she chirps, "And may the odds, be ever
in your favor!" I watch her ghostly white figure cross over to the bowl containing the slips with the girl's names on them. "Ladies first!" she recites. Her bony finger greedily claw through the bowl in search of the perfect slip. Then, after what seems like years, her fingers close over a single slip and she strolls back to the microphone to read the name of the future tribute. To my horror, she utters the name "Primrose Everdeen!" in her Capitol accent.
I look around, frantically searching for Katniss in the sea of people. Then I see her. Her shocked face sticks out among the rest of the people who are busy murmuring to one and other. Her long braid is tucked on top of her head in a graceful bun and her eyes still look beautiful even in when they filled with shock. Then, she is one the move. Weaving her way through the crowd at an amazing speed. Soon she is pushing her sister out of the way and she doesn't even hesitate with her next sentence.
"I volunteer!" she says firmly. "I volunteer as tribute!" Now it's Effie's turn to be shocked. District 12 hasn't had a volunteer in ages and it's clear that she doesn't really know how the rules work. After a few moments of confusion, Effie decides to just let Katniss volunteer. She climbs onto the stage and Effie pesters her with irritating questions and comments like, "I bet my buttons that was your sister!" Next, she asks the crowd for some more applause, but everyone is silent. They refuse to take part in the sick, cruel Hunger Games. But this silence bothers me. She deserves more than silence,
I think. So I do the only thing that comes to my mind. I press three fingers to my lips and hold them out to her. It's an old gesture, but it's still a grand one. Suddenly, people around me begin to do the same. And soon there isn't a single person in the entire square who doesn't have three fingers extended to her. I watch her on the stage, and I see tears stinging her eyes. I am glad Haymitch causes a diversion by taking a drunken dive off the stage that allows Katniss to let out a small choked cry without the cameras watching.
There is a moment of confusion that Effie decides to fill by scurrying over to boy's bowl and drawing another slip. She does is so quickly that I barely have time to prepare myself to volunteer. Both nothing could prepare for the name that she read next, "Gale Hawthorne!" Effie announces. And then there's a loud curdling scream.
Please tell me what you think! I'm looking for feedback! I'll be posting chapter three tomorrow! I hope you're enjoying them!