Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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52. A Cute Guy and Hot Chocolate

    It felt so much colder in Seven than it did in Eight and how anyone managed was beyond her. With a loud huff, she came out of her trailer and let out a short groan and held onto herself in hopes of trapping her lack of warmth into her coat.

    The damn train station was far and the car that took her to the location had been buried into more new fallen snow. So much for leaving any time soon. The redhead rubbed her knitted gloved hands together and breathed into it to heat up her hands and looked over to Abraham with his dog still prancing around in the deep snow.

    "She's gonna stink. Like a wet dirty dog," Abraham sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. He looked between Emily and Izzy with a smile on his lips, "Stupid fucking dog gets so excited about frozen water. "

    Emily scoffed a laugh and picked up her knees just to keep from tripping in the snow toward the other redhead and his dog. "As if you're telling me you don't get a little excited seeing snow in the start of the season," she replied when he was close enough to hear behind her scarf. 

    Abraham rolled his eyes and went to scoop the wet smelly dog up, "I mean, do whatever you want." He planted one last kiss on the dog's big black nose then looked back at the other redhead. "I'm gonna take her home before she gets sick, then I'll show you around?" 

    Emily opened her mouth to answer, but closed it after. Not like she could go home anyway. The Eight victor was pretty much stuck in Seven for however long. "Sure," she answered with a shrug. "Can't really go back right now, anyway." Basically, she was free as could be. 

    The victor started trudging through the snow towards the Victor Village. "Well shit, Red, you don't have to sound so excited to spend time with me." 

    She scoffed, but sounded more like a chuckle with a roll of her eyes and a curl at the corner of her lips. "I can hardly contain myself," she answered in a joking tone, shook her head, and followed after him, lifting one knee at a time with the snow crunching just underneath their weight. "Seriously though, three feet of snow is normal here?"

    "Yeah, it's pretty normal," he shrugged. "We get a shit ton of snow and it's mostly cold all the time." 

    "That sucks," Emily laughed and tried to take longer strides to walk beside the man. God, she couldn’t wait to get to the road when the snow was maybe a foot tall or whatever. 

    "I don't know what other Victor Villages look like, but ours is pretty damn cool, if I say so myself,” Abraham commented with a smirk. 

    "I'll make a comparison then," she chuckled. Well, maybe compare it to Gryffon's and Trace's. So far they all looked different but felt the same. Capitol-made luxury homes. "You HAVE to check out Trace's place at some point. So freaking pretty, couldn't stand it," Emily went on and took in some deep breaths to smell the soft scent of pine.

    "Hmmm, somehow I think I will never be visiting Trace." He nodded and shifted the dog in his arms. "Oh, you'll get to meet my sister." 

    "Freelance photographers like you should travel more," she replied and glanced up at the man. "Does she hate it when you have girls over?" Emily rolled her eyes.

    "Nope," Abraham rolled his eyes but allowed a smirk to play on his face. He would explain that the answer was “no” because he rarely had women over, and that was woman, not plural but he'd mess with her a little. 

    And she bought it.

    At his answer, she felt relieved and a little depressed. Not the first girl and probably not the last. Prince Charming, after all, whether it was a joke or not. Emily raised a brow at the man and looked up at him, a stupid smirk playing at his lips. Idiot. "Luxury of being a victor," she shrugged. 

    "I guess. The suitors just flood in when they know you're going to make it past eighteen," Abraham rolled his eyes. 

         Emily made a sick noise at his answer and wrinkled her nose. God, she couldn't even imagine anyone of the opposite sex coming to her. Just gross. "Except for that, that doesn't sound great.” 

    Within a few seconds, they finally made their way to the gates that led into Victor Village. Her eyes widened at the view of Victor Village and looked from house to house. "Holy shit . . ." she mumbled as she looked from house to house. Creative and unearthly gorgeous. "So I'm going to have to transfer here now," she added as Abraham put Izzy down and she lead the way through the village of massive treehouses. The blue heeler walked down a few houses then started up a snow-dusted ramp into their own tree house. 

    "Pretty fucking cool right? I mean, I'm sure that the Victor Villages everywhere are nice, but I can’t imagine you live in a two story tree house." Izzy had made it all the way up the ramp and was now doing excited circles in front of the door, now barking and wagging her tail. Abraham fished for keys to open the door, but a little brunette preteen opened it from the inside first. "Hi, Abe," the girl tightened her cardigan around her torso and Izzy zipped around her and inside the house. "And Mrs. Aldair." 

    Emily shivered. Oh my god, it sounded weird when kids called her by her marital name. "Geez, you don't have to call me," she chuckled. 

    Maura looked between her brother and the other victor and nodded. "Sorry . . ." the girl moved out the doorway and went to join the dog on the couch. Abraham stepped into the house after stomping the snow off his boots. "I'm gonna go change my sweater. I'll be right back." Then he disappeared upstairs. 

    The redhead pursed her lips and went inside, stomped her boots to shake the snow off and closed the door behind her to keep the heat inside. God, she couldn't even feel her eyelids. Goddamn, it was even pretty inside. "Wow," she mumbled under her breath. "Seriously insanely gorgeous," Emily complimented.

    "It is pretty. A lot prettier than the house we used to live in,” Maura nodded.  

    Emily nodded, not even doubting for a moment the victor home was much prettier than their previous house. Weird enough though, it made Emily think of the Aldair house and much preferred it there than the largeness of the mansion.

    After a few minutes Abraham came back down in a thicker sweater and a scarf wrapped around his neck. "Alright let's go see Seven." 

    The Eight victor looked up toward the other redhead and gave a short smirk. "Lead the way."

    Abraham grabbed a coat off the rack as he walked out the door with Emily just behind him. "There really isn't much else to see."

    "Hot chocolate even sooner then," she shrugged with a small smirk. 

    "Yep," Abraham nodded. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat and defended down the ramp. "Damn it's gotten way colder since this morning." 

    "Probably should have stolen one of the coats," she chattered going down the ramp. The Eight victor let out an icy huff while running her hands against her arms. "Is your sister usually quiet?" she asked once they passed the gates. 

    "Not really. I think she's just trying to be polite. She's actually got a smart mouth on her these days," he sighed, brushing a hand through his hair. 

    Emily chuckled and then covered it up behind her gloved hand. "Must be hard being the older brother," she commented. 

    "It's not bad," he shrugged, "I love her and all. And I will always take care of her, but . . . I don't know it's hard for a kid to take care of a kid." He kept walking, the snow crunching underneath his boots. 

    Emily nodded, finding no words to reply with. He was a year younger than her, so he was only fourteen or so when he won the Games. Managing to take care of his sister that young must have been difficult. Emily didn't dare ask about their parents, mainly concerned for herself sounding bitter on the topic of parental figures. "She turned out alright," Emily added, maybe for some comfort for the boy. 

    "Thanks,” he nodded. By that point they had made it into town. The cobbled streets had a slight layer of snow with a few footstep paths here and there. The street lamps and window seals had a similar layer of as much snow as they could hold. Only a few people were still outside. 

    Emily lightly smiled at the man and looked around the town. It was surprisingly quaint. It was quiet and cute. A part of her sort of felt like she was born in the wrong district. "This district feels a lot like you. That weird to say?"

    "Uh, I will admit that's the first time someone has said that to me?" he raised a brow at her. "It's a little weird." 

    "I don't know, it just feels weird to think of you living anywhere else," Emily shrugged. 

    "I don't think I'd want to. I love Seven,” Abraham nodded. The victor caught a glimpse of someone in the corner of his eye. He turned his head to watch them and his company walked past as they smiled and laughed. Abraham let out a sigh and kept walking through the square. 

    Emily looked up to the boy in question and looked behind them to a small group that walked past them then looked back to Abraham. "You knew them?" she asked when they were a distance away from the redheads. 

    He nodded. "Do you want to go have that hot cocoa now?" 

    "Yes please," she huffed with a nod. Emily couldn't even bring that up either. Suppose all the victors had baggage that dealt with old loved ones before their win. "I kind of like being able to feel my face," she added to try and lighten the heavy mood over their heads.

    "Eh," he laughed as he turned to head back to victor village, "I don't know, Red, you kinda get used to it after a while." 

    "Two inches of snow is a thing in Eight. Near freezing and losing some toes is ridiculous," she replied grimly.

    "Sounds boring," he laughed. 

    "So you'd rather be in a blizzard?" she chuckled as they grew closer to Victor Village. 

    "At least blizzards are pretty," Abraham nodded with a yawn. 

    "Weirdo," she sighed with a slight smile curled at the corner of her lips and shook her head.

    "Whatever you say. Although I'm pretty sure you're the weird one." 

    "How about we're both weird?" she rolled her eyes at him and kept her eyes onto the snow to watch her footing. Almost was blinding staring at the snow too long, and endless. "Gonna need a giant pot for us."

    Abraham nodded in agreement, "I'll throw more wood in the fire too." He slowly moved up the ramp, every couple steps his mossy green eyes would glance down at Emily to make sure she wasn't face down in the snow. 

    Emily had to clasp onto the railing just so she didn't break her nose in the ice, not that it had happened yet. But, she could never be too careful. "Next therapy session I’m requesting how to fight on ice," she mumbled mainly to herself as they grew closer to the door. 

    The Seven victor couldn't help but laugh at the girl. "You are so fucking graceful, Red. Holy shit." 

    "I'm as graceful as a sugarplum fairy," she chuckled with a nod and made it to the door. "Didn't you know, Prince Charming?" Emily smiled.

    "Well shit, now I do,” Abraham rolled his eyes and unlocked the front door of his home. When the door opened Izzy came bounding over, bouncing around and trying to lick Abe. "Stupid dog, it hasn't been that long."

    "Shhhhhh let her love you," she rolled her eyes at him and closed the door behind them, shrugged her coat off and pulled her beanie off.

    He rolled his eyes and kneeled down to pet the dog. He ran his hands through the scruff on the dog’s neck. The dog sat there happily with her tongue hanging out, then she rolled over for him to rub her belly. That was when Abraham shook his head and stood up. He took off his coat and hung it back up in his spot. "Alright, let's get some more wood in the fire, Izzy." 

   Emily glanced over to Abraham as she walked a little further into the room. "Should I rummage through your kitchen for the stuff?" she asked and looked around for the other Rose sibling. Couldn't even see a hair of her anywhere.

    "Uh, would you? The kitchen is just to the left and the pots should be in the cabinets under the island and everything else will be in the fridge or pantry. I'll be right there to help," Abraham answered Emily. Then he went to catch up with Izzy, who bounded to the fire place and was now happily carrying a log in her mouth. 

    Emily nodded at his instructions and went into the kitchen to the left and sorted through the fridge first. Okay. Milk, done. Pantry: hot chocolate packs, marshmallows, OH! Cinnamon! She'd probably have to calm down on that so there were left for the Rose kids. The Eight victor went to the island to look for a pot big enough for the two of them, making sure not to clang them together as she pulled one out.

    Eventually, the Seven victor joined Emily in the kitchen, but didn’t step all the way into the kitchen. The victor leaned on the door frame and watched Emily start the hot cocoa, "Did you find everything alright, Red?"

    "I think I have everything?" Emily answered in a more questionable tone as she heated up the milk in the pot. "What do you usually have with your chocolate?" The Eight Victor asked and glanced over to the much taller redhead with a small smirk. 

    "Uh, I don't know? Do people eat stuff when they have hot chocolate or do you mean like putting shit in your drink," Abraham furrowed his brows, "I think it's safe to say I don't have hot cocoa often."

    "Oh my god," Emily laughed. "What do you do to keep warm during the winter season? You don't have cookies or anything? What is this life?" she went on dramatically as the milk started to bubble, she turned the stove off and looked over at Abraham. "Could you get some mugs?"

    "Uhhh, I think we might have cookies . . ." the boy scratched the back of his head as he tried to think of the whereabouts of cookies and went to pull out two mugs in a huff. One of them was just a plain black mug and the other was one Maura had bought Abraham as a present a couple years back, shaped like an apple. "I don't know where though." 

    "Well then. This has to be avoided next time," Emily joked. As if there might be a next time they'd hang out without obnoxious mentors and Capitolites leeching on their back. The short redhead went and opened up two of the packs and poured the powdery substance into the mugs then poured the milk into them steadily.

    "Yeah, I'll be sure to stock up on sweets next time you come to Seven," he rolled his eyes and took the black mug. 

    "I'm not gonna eat any if it's just me," she raised her brows at him and dropped a couple marshmallows into the apple mug then sprinkled cinnamon over it. 

    "I don't believe that if there were a plate of sweets in front of you that you wouldn't eat them just because no one else was eating," the taller redhead rolled his eyes and took a sip of the hot cocoa.

    "My . . ." Emily started, but she merely stared at him with a hesitant look in her eyes, though her mannerism spoke of arguing. Instead, she scoffed and answered, "Sugar cravings isn't THAT bad," Emily shook her head and blew into her hot chocolate. "It's alright?" she nodded to his mug.

    "No, god it's awful. I can't even drink it," the Seven victor smirked and took another drink. 

    Emily narrowed her eyes at him, even when there was a curl of a smile before she turned away into the living room for the fire. "Think you're so cute," she chuckled under her breath and sipped her drink.

    Abraham laughed and followed after her. It took a minute to make Izzy get off the couch so Emily could have enough room to sit comfortably when he sat in the dog’s place. "I think the best part of being cold is getting to warm back up." 

    Emily nodded in agreement and sipped her cocoa. Still too damn hot to chug it down. She was able to feel her fingers and toes again, the heat in the room felt molten against her cheeks. Or maybe it was because it was just them. "It sort of feels like living in the sun," Emily added and dropped onto the couch with a free cushion in between the redheads. 

    "Well," Abraham sipped his warm drink again and cocked a brow at her, "I'm not going to stick my hand in the fire and take out a log anytime soon so I would say you are shit out of luck." 

    "Oh my god," she rolled her eyes at him and put her mug down onto a rug around the corner of the couch. Would rather not create a ring on his furniture and would prefer not knocking over hot chocolate with her foot either. "Darn, and I was so hoping you'd do that," Emily answered sarcastically and turned over to him with her legs pulled to her knees. 

    He laughed and rolled his eyes at the woman, "No, I only have one hand left. I think you should reach in then we could match." 

    "God, well I know what your idea of a perfect date is," she scoffed a laugh. 

    "Yep," Abraham nodded and took another drink of his hot chocolate. 

    Emily dropped her eyes and looked to the fire for a moment, just for the sake of something else to look at besides the boy's face. The Eight victor listened to the fire break the wood down with every lick, letting the silence settle for a while. Although, it didn't last long until the quiet was too long and she let out a sigh and ran a hand through her curls before resting her head into her palm. "Goddammit, you're really cute," she chuckled. Emily could mean anything: that he was attractive, or he was simply charming, or he was a complete dork. Though her avoiding looking at him pointed to the right answer. 

    How the hell was she even able to act normally around him before? They were always sarcastic in the much more innocent sense. He always seemed calm and collected around her, though he said odd things from time to time. Just like her. But, compared to him, she was a bumbling mess trying to collect seem graceful with her words in the not so subtle sense.

    How does one talk to someone she may or may not have a crush on . . .?

    Abraham held back a smirk and presented a smile, "Hear that, Izzy? She thinks I'm cute, I think you might have some competition?" He tried to keep the conversation light by making jokes, no doubt this was a subject that could easily go south. The dog took this as an invitation to come over and stick her big black nose in his cup. "Annnd I'm done with this," he rolled his eyes and put the mug on the ground for the dog to finish off. 

    Emily opened her mouth to argue, but closed her mouth and shrugged. Whatever, his dog. The Eight victor pinched the bridge of her nose for a few seconds then went to retrieve her drink and drained the rest of it after feeling it cooled down drastically. "Yeah, forget I said that," she shook her head and put the mug on the table. "That was really weird."

    The seventeen-year-old bit down on his bottom lip before he nodded to himself and shuffled next to Emily. "You need to get out of your head, Red."

    Oh god, those two words echoed in her head. Oh god oh god oh god. Emily had her mouth open, but no words came out. She thought she was trying to talk, maybe her voice was so high only Izzy could hear her. What should she do? Should Emily dodge an emotional bullet? Should she stay there? What should she do!? Emily's face was probably as red as their hair. She pursed her lips and loosened her death grip around her legs and draped over the boy's lap. 

    Crap, wait! Was that a physical invitation? How do people normally move into this sort of situation?

    "Overthinking is kind of a habit . . ." she shrugged. 

    The victor from Seven hesitantly leaned closer to her. He gazed into her eyes for a moment before tucking a curl behind her ear. By then, Emily knew for sure her face was as red as their hair. Abraham was so close he could kiss her. Or, perhaps she was reading too much into the atmosphere and she had high hopes for something to happen. Her skin tingled just being close to him and her hands felt clammy and unresting. 

    "I do the same shit . . ." he closed his eyes and furrowed his brows for a moment. Emily blinked at him in question before he leaned forward a planted a kiss upon her lips. 

    She was so frozen in her spot. Too late to move away and far too gone to want to move away. His touch felt like fire, a sensation she hadn't felt in a long time. And it was just to brush a curl behind her ear! God she was in too deep. So warm. Too warm. Couldn't even breathe. Too shaky. And he leaned in close, his lips far too soft to be real. It almost felt strange for there to be a gentle kiss. It felt nice and welcoming. Emily kissed back just as gently. The redhead felt like she was on fire and felt a rough pounding in her chest. Each beat was like a punch in her lungs beating the air out of her.  After a few more seconds she was the first to break away. Her cheeks were dark red and she felt like she was moments away from melting. 

    Oh god, that just happened. 

    Emily pursed her lips into a stifled smile and looked down at her knees while she twiddled her thumbs together. "So . . ." She scoffed a chuckle. "Yeah, we are going to have to keep that a secret . . ." Emily finally said in an airy sigh and a smile.

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