Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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55. Abraham Rose

Chapter 54:

 

     Emily had gotten out of her ‘career training’ back at Tribute Tower and was on her way back to her Capitol apartment she normally stayed in during her visits in the strange rainbow city of the mountains. The redhead fixed her ponytail with a yawn as she walked down a street filled with restaurants and coffee shops.

 

     God, she couldn’t wait to get out of there and be home back in her dully-colored district.


     Emily puffed a curl out of her eyes when her eyes fell on an unusually ordinary looking person. She had walked slowed her paced while the person read a menu outside one of the restaurants and stopped to check out their face. Although, their huge rose tattoo on their neck was what caught her eyes instead.

 

     Oh thank god, someone familiar.

 

     The Eight victor came up behind the Seven victor and lightly flicked his ear, if not playfully.

     Abraham made a small uncomfortable sound before cupping his hands over his ears and turning around to find the ear-flicking culprit. He was only a little relieved to see Emily’s familiar face and half tried to hide the utter betrayal of the act.

 

     "Emily? Do you just go around flicking people's ears or am I a special case?"

     Emily shrugged as she tried to suppress her laughing fit. “Special case,” she nodded and gave him a smirk. “But I can always stop and just jump on your back like a koala,” the redhead continued and shoved her hands into her coat pocket.

     Abraham pursed his lips and kept his hands over his ears. "What are you doing here in the Capitol this time of year, Em?

     “I had an appointment at the tower,” she shrugged simply. No need to say out loud it had something to do with what Snow said, especially when they were out in public amongst the weirdness. “What about you?”

     "Photos or whatever," he shrugged. "Said something about me being a free loader, the people wanted to know what I was doing with my time blah blah blah . . ." he rolled his eyes and somewhere in his explanation he had started mocking the Capitol accent.

     "Well that sounds utterly dreadful," Emily mocked in her horrific Capitol accent ever heard and looked to the restaurant they stood in front of them then back at the much taller redhead. "This place has awesome salad if you're up for a salad date," Emily said with a wrinkle of her nose.

     Abraham smiled, genuine and light, "Hmm, I don't know, Red. Last time I hung out with you I didn't stop getting shit from Lapadis for, like, a week."

     Emily kept her nose wrinkled at his answer. “That happens a lot. But I don’t think a salad will lead to anything on the rated X side of the reality spectrum,” she shrugged. What? What did that even mean? She shook her head at her choice in words and looked back up at Abraham. “But, I know when I’m rejected,” the small redhead pouted playfully and slowly turned away from the much taller victor.

     Abraham rolled his eyes at her, “Wow, if only everyone was so easy to get rid of," he smiled and hooked his arm through hers and dragged her along with him towards the restaurant.

     Emily snickered as they entered the restaurant. “I thought you didn’t want to get chewed out by your mentor again,” she raised her brows at him, though the corner of her lips was curled into a smirk.

     "Well, I figure," he started and chose the most secluded table he could, “that and he's going to find out anyways, so I might as well give him something to bitch about."

     The small redhead scoffed and rolled her eyes, "Mentors are so rude." She shrugged off her coat and pulled her scarf off before taking her seat. "Still going through a blizzard back in Seven?"

     "Oh my god," Abraham rolled his eyes and laughed at the girl, "It’s a couple inches of snow, not a blizzard."

     "It was horrible last time I was there," Emily chuckled. "It was up to my knees." After her minor whining fit, the waiter came around with an uncomfortably forced calm smile asking what they could start them off with. With that, Emily answered for a glass of water. She'd much rather not drink around the other redhead after the last time he saw her drunk.

     “That’s because you’re small, Red,” he scoffed at her.

     “Maybe you should have offered to give me a piggy back ride,” she playfully scorned him.

     He shook his head. “Nah, I think I’ll let you drag behind in three inches of snow,” Abraham answered with a smirk.

     “I’m not THAT short,” she narrowed her eyes at him.

     “You and I remember that completely normal snow day differently,” he shook his head with a smirk. “How bad does it snow in Eight? Does it even snow at all?”

     “It snows,” Emily answered and crossed her arms over her chest when the wait came in with their waters. “Just not as often. Like, at worst we get a foot of snow. At best . . . maybe half an inch?”

     “Wow, a whole twelve inches,” he nodded. “Must be horrible when it gets that bad,” he retorted sarcastically with a roll of his eyes.

     “It does,” she pouted, but that immediately went away into a soft smile. She really didn’t hate the snow, in all honesty she preferred it more than the summer. Emily loved bundling up and the sense of childhood wonder in seeing snow in the morning. “The plus side is if it gets past six inches, people freak out and school is cancelled.”

     “Wow . . . District 8 is full of weenies,” Abraham chuckled.

     “I know. I’m amazed we’ve lasted as long as we have too,” she nodded in mock agreement.

     The colorful Capitolite came in with his notepad and curled his lips into a polite smile at the two in waiting. Abraham opened up his menu and skimmed through it, “So this place has good salad?”

     Emily smiled and shook her head at his joke of a comment, not in disagreement, but to indicate that he was a ginormous dork. “We’ll just have the Flickerman salad. With grilled chicken on mine,” she ordered.

     “Chicken with mine too,” Abraham added. The Capitolite nodded, took their menus, and left them alone. “So you’ve been here a couple of times.”

     She shrugged at his statement. “Yeah, Gryffon convinced me to ditch work and took me here a while back.”

     The mere mention of Gryffon Sauntor immediately soured Abraham’s mood; he pursed his lips and pulled his gaze off of her. “You, uh, it sounds like you hang out with him a lot . . .” he said.

     Not really.

     “I see him maybe as often as I see you outside of the Hunger Games,” she shrugged, “Which is accidentally, usually.” Wrong. Sort of. Accidental then it would become a plan, but work was always the source of running into each other or being in contact with each other.

     “I don’t know,” Abraham sighed. “It feels like most of the time I see you around or hear anything of you, Sauntor is not too far.”

     Emily uncomfortably brushed a loose curl behind her ear, opened her mouth to say something, then closed it again. The Seven victor wasn’t exactly wrong. She was hardly around Abraham since starting off her mentorship. And she really SHOULD be around him more than a colossal asshole like Gryffon.

     He knows about my secrets and hasn’t told anyone about it, Emily thought to herself, He’s kind of my friend for keeping it a secret between us . . . But she couldn’t bring that up, not the secret part.

     “We’re kind of friends,” she said.

     “What does ‘kind of friends’ mean?” Abraham asked.

     Emily pursed her lips and shrugged. “He’s a pain in the ass and gets under my skin easily whenever he mocks me,” she began. “But, for whatever reason, he hides the fact that he cares? I guess?”

     Nearly one swing away from breaking her father’s nose at least officially dubbed him as her friend in her head. He denied it before, but who the hell beat the crap out of someone’s abuser and claim to not give a damn about them? No one, that was. Gryffon wanted to be that kind of person, but Emily wanted to believe no one was completely immune to compassion.

     “THAT selfish bastard?”

     She nodded. “I don’t know. Somehow becoming friends just happened—”

     “No, I get that. Shit happens. I’m just—” Abraham stops and runs a hand through his red hair, “Trying to wrap my brain around you being friends with Sauntor.”

     What did that mean?

     “Like, you’re nice and shit. And he’s . . .”

     “A dick.”

     “A huge dick,” he sighed.

     “Yeah . . .”

     “So I don’t know why or how the fuck you stand him,” Abraham continued.
 
     “It’s . . . It’s definitely a challenge,” she nodded then shook her head. “Lets talk about something else,” Emily sighed. “This is supposed to be a date, or something?”

     Abraham raised his brows at her and his annoyed scowl lightened up in a light smirk. “I can’t believe you talked me into having rabbit food,” he shook his head. Emily giggled and leaned back in her seat when the waiter came in and gave them their salad. “This better be the best fucking salad in the world to call this a date.”

     “Oh! Well, if you want the best salad in the world, that’s next door then. Sorry,” she wrinkled her nose and shrugged.

     “Worst date ever,” he mused sarcastically and forked his plate of lettuce and chicken.
_________

     “I can’t believe you have your own place here,” Abraham commented.

     “Well, I don’t want to practically live in hotels one week each photoshoot I want to have things cleaned my way and I get super uncomfortable when people clean up my own mess,” she shook her head as they walked down the hallway toward her apartment. “And trailers are too cramped,” she shivered. “The apartment was just given to me as a part of the job.”

     “Wow, being a model must be sooooooo hard.”

     “It is,” Emily whined. “The traveling, the nice clothes, looking pretty, it’s hard,” she sighed dramatically and turned on the balls of her feet once they reached her door. “This is my place,” the small redhead commented and fiddled with her keys in her hands. “Want to . . .” Just breathe. Don’t be nervous. She brushed a curl behind her ear and glanced back up at Abraham, “Want to come inside? Maybe for some coffee? Or wine? Or—”

     “Red . . .” he stopped her. “Look . .  .”

     Oh no . . .

     “I like you, and—”

     Oh god it was happening . . .

     “I can’t.”

     Why? What happened between District Seven and now? He made the first move and kissed her back in his home. What changed?

     “Okay . . .” she nodded.

     “It’s just . . . I was thinking about it and you have one major deal-breaker that I can’t turn my back and ignore, you know?” Abraham began.

     Emily could only guess what that one deal-breaker was.

     She pursed her lips and nodded again. “Okay . . . yeah, I get it,” the small redhead replied.

     Abraham ran a hand through his hair and let out an uncomfortable sigh and looked away for a moment then back at Emily. “I still want to be friends and shit, you know. Like, you’re super cool and all,” he babbled.

     She scoffed at his flustered talking and gently smiled. “Yeah, I try to be,” Emily answered with playful confidence. “Maybe we can hang out some more when I’m not working too much and you’re—”

     “Not being a hermit?” he raised his brows at her.

     “Well, I was going to say ‘lazy bum’, but ‘hermit’ is nicer,” she shrugged and unlocked her door.

     Abraham gave an uncomfortable smile and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Yeah. Let’s hang out later. And lets keep Sauntor out of it next time.”

     Yep, that was the deal-breaker. Gryffon constantly looming nearby. The bitterness in the Seven victor’s voice wasn’t well hidden.

     “I’d prefer that,” Emily nodded; remembering the last time they were alone, kind of sort of not really, and Gryffon disturbed them for his own amusement. “I’ll see you later,” she added as she opened her door.

     Abraham nodded. “See ya.”

     Emily wasn’t sure what possessed her and for whatever reason she couldn’t stop herself! But when Abraham turned away to leave, Emily leaned forward and stood on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. She twirled around back to her door before she could look at his expression and waved without looking back. “Bye,” her shrill and embarrassed voice high, even to her ears, when she closed the door behind her. Emily’s face was as red as her hair and her eyes as big as dinner plates. Why did she do that!?

     God, why did she do that!?

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