***** 6 years ago *****
It was my first day of the Hunger Games Institute. I dressed in black yoga pants and a black tank top. I was 10 years old. I arrived at the large training centre for the first time where I would learn how to fight in the Hunger Games. I was short for a 10 year old but muscly. I was the fastest and strongest girl in my year. My brown ringlets came to the middle of my back and my alabastor skin glowed. I walked up to my friends. Lotus, Leah and Lily. We were given our schedules and I read over my classes. Monday I would have swords and knives, Tuesday was physical skill, Wednesday was survival skills, Thursday was academics and Friday was swimming as the training centre had a large swimming pool. After 4 years of training we would start training to be either peacekeepers or go into the mines. I walked to swords with Lotus as she was in my class. I was glad I had a friend to go with me. Most of these kids were from the school across the district. The big school. Our school was tiny compared to theirs. We stood in a line with the swords teacher infront of us. He was teaching us the basics. How to hold it, how to hit something with it, that type of stuff. There was a dummy in the centre of the room with the teacher who held a blunt sword. "Everyone line up," he commanded. We all lined up behind a boy with sandy blonde spiky hair. We were to one-by-one go up to the dummy and hit it as best as we could. "Cato," the teacher called out and the blonde boy walked over to the dummy looking like he would kill it if it was a human being. He bent over and picked up the blunt sword. He raised his hand and wacked at it. It chopped in half. And it was a blunt sword. The teacher gasped. "That was extremely good. That was the best I've ever seen someone do in this training centre!" he exclaimed. Cato looked over at the teacher and smiled looking pleased with himself. I looked at him in admiration. He walked past me and smiled at me. After a few people went up and had a wack at the dummy it was my turn. I walked up to the dummy and grabbed the blunt sword. I had a turn at slicing at it. I was pretty good at it. Nowhere near as good as Cato, but better than most people. After half the day was spent in swords we moved on to knives. This was my speciality. We lined up in the same order again. There were three targets about five metres infront of us all. Cato was given three knives to throw at the targets. He got one target on the very edge and the rest landed on the floor. Noone else was much better. I was handed the knives and I walked up to the throwing mark. Most people were slow at taking there aim but I was like lightening. It hit the centre each time. "WOW! We have a talented bunch of students this year," the teacher said. I smiled and walked to the back of the line. Then it was the end of the day. I was walking along the path when someone called out my name. "LARAH! LARAH WAIT UP!" I turned around and Cato was sprinting towards me. Wow he was a quick runner. "Hey. You were really good today at throwing the knives, maybe you could help me sometime?" he asked. "Wow. Um thanks. And yeah I could help you, you were really good with the sword aswell," I said. "Thanks. Well see ya I gotta get going," he said. "Sure," I replied and walked off home.
***** 4 years later***** 2 years ago*****
We were in the courtyard eating lunch. Me, Lotus, Clove, Cato, Rhys and Jyson. Laughing and talking as usual. The bell went and Lotus and Rhys went off towards swords while Cato and I sat with Clove and Jyson still talking. After a little bit they went off towards their class, I think swimming, and we left to go to swords. "Hey, considering you've been helping me with knives for ages I should help you with swords," Cato said to me. "Sure, how about this afternoon?" I asked. "This afternoon would be great," he said.
We were in Cato's backyard hitting the tree with a sword. We were laughing at one of my sad excuses for a slash. We both had fallen on the ground in fits of laughter. Slowly we stopped laughing and Cato was right next to me. I looked at him in the eyes to see he was looking in mine. We were both very silent now. My heart started hammering against my chest and I was afraid he could hear it. Slowly he leant in, hesitating every few seconds, but then leaning in again. Our lips met and it felt like fireworks. He pulled back to see my reaction. I smiled at him and my cheeks were boiling. I was most definatly blushing. He chuckled and kissed me again. Softly and sweetly.
*****now*****Day before the reaping*****
We were at the park with Cato's little 12 year old sister Callie. I was sitting on the nearby park bench while Cato was pushing her on the swing. She was screaming at him to go higher even though she was going as high as the swing would go. Cato laughed at her and she said "Cato, let me off now!" He let her down and she ran over and sat next to me. "Can you catch me at the bottom of the slide?" she asked. "Sure," I answered. I walked over to the bottom of the slide and looked at Cato. He was smiling at me. "You ready?" she called down to me. "Yep," I replied. She zoomed down the slide and I caught her in my arms. "Come on, We gotta go now its gettin dark," Cato said. "Aww," Callie whined but followed her older brother down the footpath. I followed aswell. We arrived at his house in plenty of time. His mother, Gene, was in the kitchen making dinner. By the smell of it, it was probably spaghetti bolognese. "Mum! I'm home!" Cato called out. "Hey kids," she called back. Cato and I walked into Catos room and he sat on the bed while I sat on the floor. Usually when we were in his room alone we would either kiss or he would play the guitar. But tonight was different. Tonight we talked. "What happens if one of us gets picked tomorrow?" I asked him. "Then we try to win, at all costs," he answered. "Then come back home," I added. He nodded. He got down on the floor and wrapped his arms around me. "It'll be okay," he said soflty in my ear. I leant my head against his chest listening to his heartbeat. "I really hope so," I told him. "DINNER!" Gene called out. We got up and walked out into the kitchen. I kissed Cato on the cheek and said "Bye. I'll see you tomorrow. See ya Gene." And with that I walked home.