Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games


5. Friend

    Emily leaned against the school building picking at the crust of her sandwich during lunch time. The other kids played around the metal apparatus, swinging on the old swings that cried and squealed for every back and forth motion, and playing tag with one another. The redheaded girl rolled up a bit of crust in a small ball and tossed them a couple feet in front of her, hoping for some birds to land in front of her and peck the bread ball. 

    She noticed a pair of feet walk her way but she didn’t dare to look up, just ignore them and they’ll get bored of her silence and walk away, then bother her at work in a couple hours. The small feet stopped a couple feet in front of her and lightly kicked the small bread balls back to her.

    “Your dad looked like he cared where you were . . .” the voice said.

    The little girl looked up and saw Liam stand before her; she immediately dropped her eyes back down to her sandwich and picked at the rest of her crusts uncomfortably.

    “More silence, huh . . .?” Liam sighed.

    No answer.

    She heard a sucking nose come from the eight-year-old boy before he sat a couple feet beside her. “Was that why you didn’t want me to go with you . . .?” 

    Emily blinked once, her green eyes still on her lunch when she barely nodded as a reply.

    “Okay . . .” he muttered and went quiet again. Emily pulled her legs up to her chest and lightly pulled at the sleeve of her jacket down. “You always wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants . . .” he commented. Emily could see in the corner of her eye that the blue-eyed boy studied her. “And that bandage on your face . . . did he hurt you that bad . . .?”

    Emily nodded. The man’s strike had left a dark bruise against her already sickly pale skin and only a large Band-Aid could cover it. “Can we . . . not talk about it . . .?” she asked timidly.

    She could see he wanted to ask more questions, but she said something and he was sure she wouldn’t talk again for another long while. Liam let out a sigh and leaned his head back against the brick wall. “How come you haven’t told anyone?” he asked. So much for not talking about it.

    With a sigh, she hugged her legs and rest her chin on her knees. “Because . . .” 

    “Because what . . .?”

    “Just because . . .” She couldn’t tell him. She didn’t know the boy nor did she even trust him to share something as personal. 

    “Don’t you have any friends to run away to?” the boy asked.

    Emily let out a sigh and hugged her knees tightly. No . . . no friends. She didn’t understand why when everyone else made friends with ease. “Don’t you think I would be playing with them if I had any . . .?” she muttered.

    He wasn’t sure how to respond to that. No friends to receive any comfort, her father wasn’t worth the time to even think twice of, her mother had yet to be mentioned . . . the redheaded girl honestly had no one to trust and no one to run to when she was troubled . . .

    “How am I different compared to others . . .?” Liam asked.

    She didn’t know how to answer his question. Besides him pushing his questions and showing no signs of backing down, how was he able to get answers out of her when others couldn’t? What was it about him that made him special . . .?

    How was he able to faze through her walls without much of a fight?

    “I don’t know . . .” Emily answered.

    The redhead took in deep breaths when the corset finally came off and Liam held onto her so she didn’t fall to the floor. The elevator doors opened and the young man helped her to the floor. District 8’s floor was large and colorful, lots of textile designs upon the furniture. The rest of the place was heavily Capitol décor, but Emily didn’t bother to stare at her new “home” while she was so lightheaded. Phox ordered one of the Avox to get a glass of water while Liam helped her to the couch of the living space.

    “Feeling a little better?” he asked.

    “I’m getting there . . .” she sighed and leaned her head against his shoulder. “I think I need to eat.”

    “Wait . . .” Liam leaned away and stared at Emily with furrowed brows. “Who are you and what have you done to Emily?”

    “Stop,” she rolled her eyes at him and nudged him. Liam lightly chuckled and nudged her back. “You did great,” he complimented as he unbuttoned his needle vest and then uncuffed his sleeves.

    “What happened to the promised killing spree during the parade?” she teased.

    “Well . . . you were there, so I couldn’t really do it . . .”

    “You’re saying I’m your leash?”

    “You’ve BEEN my leash since I admitted you were my friend,” Liam laughed.

    “Wooooooooow, you’re a little whipped.”

    “Shut up,” he rolled his eyes.

    “Food is ready, children,” Thorburn announced. “Get out of your costumes, get comfortable, and eat something.”

    “Fiiiiiiiiiine,” the two sighed in unison and got up. Thorburn stared at the two in total awe at how in sync they were, they were practically one person to his eyes. And at the same time, it was heartbreaking knowing that only one of them may or may not come back . . .

    Liam bothered with Emily for about a month since they met, always asking questions and getting answers from time to time. What Emily noticed was that the more he talked to her the more she opened up to him and answered his questions. She still tried to avoid talking about her life at home, but she talked more about other things.

    Like: what her favorite color was, her fears, her likes, her dislikes, and so on and so forth.

    At the one-month mark, she wasn’t even sure if it was trust she felt for the boy. She wasn’t sure WHAT trust felt like. Not only that, but Emily realized that Liam’s attitude toward her began to soften more and more, his questions didn’t sound annoyed nor did it sound forced. It felt like he had general interest in her.

    Then they heard kissing noises. The two furrowed their brows at stared ahead at two of the boys that often picked on Emily. Liam noticed, immediately, that Emily shrunk in her spot. “Ginger likes Liam! Ginger likes Liam!” one of them mocked and her cheeks glowed as red as her hair.

    “Ew, who would like a girl with a big nose and fugly teeth,” the other laughed.

    Liam then shot up on his feet and stormed toward the boys. Emily quickly looked up when she heard someone take a hit and found Liam had thrown a punch first. The second boy fought Liam while the other writhed in pain from getting his teeth, literally, knocked out of him and Emily pulled herself up on her feet.

    “The HELL is your problem with her!?” Liam snarled at the boys. “What did she ever do to you!?” he screamed and kicked the boy that was still down.

    “Liam! Stop!” Emily cried and pulled at his arm.

    “If you have a problem with my friend you come to me!” he kept yelling.

    Friend . . .

    He was then knocked down by the other boy and Emily backed away and ran off to go get a teacher to break up the fight. She could at least do that for him, as a friend.

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