Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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53. Phone Calls

    The secret didn’t even last a day . . .

    Not even 24 hours later and the tabloids printed an article about Emily seeing Abraham in his home at Victor Village “kanoodling”. First of all, the redhead couldn’t believe she was under the power of a government that used “kanoodle” seriously. And second of all, didn’t the paparazzi have anything better to do than stalk various victors!?

    Emily let out a groan with a roll of her eyes and slapped the magazine down onto the coffee table before pressing her hands to her face. “I hate life. This is ridiculous,” she whined as her hands ran up her face and through her hair.

    Scottie had been reading the article over her shoulder and stared at the magazine for a couple of more seconds before he looked back at his sister-in-law. “But did you?”

    “NO! OF COURSE NOT!” 

    “Just have to make sure,” he raised in hands in defense. “You’ve been on the paper so often with one of your male coworkers, I have to ask nowadays.”

    “I’m not throwing my body at everyone!” she whined like a child and plopped to her side.

    “I’m believing you, for now. Better keep that thing out of Conner’s sight though. You know he’ll be up your ass more than me,” Scott cocked his brows up with a nod of his head toward the magazine.

    Emily let out a sigh and took the magazine before stuffing it under the couch cushion. “I didn’t do any kanoodling . . .” she pouted. Scottie chuckled at her and rolled his eyes at her. “There might have been kissing though.”

    “WHAT!?”

    Emily hopped off the couch with a smirk and practically pranced out of the room when she stopped and looked back at the phone. Should she? Would it be rude to not call and check up on the younger victor? The redhead pursed her lip and ran a hand through her hair, moving away from the phone then paced back to it for a couple more seconds before she made a final decision. Fuck it. Be nice and call him.

    Emily picked up the phone and dialed Abraham's number she had gotten from the victor the day before. There was no doubt in her mind that the Seven victor had seen or heard of the trash "news." The redhead leaned against the wall as she listened to each dial tone. It went on for a while, maybe he wasn’t home. Or asleep. In the afternoon. He was probably out and about—

    "Ummm, hello?"

    Emily's heart skipped a beat and she had to take in a quiet deep breath to compose herself. "Hey, Abe. It's Emily," she replied and ran a hand through her hair.

    "Oh! That makes sense . . . What's up, Red?" Abraham sighed in relief. 

    “Yeah,” she chuckled. “You didn’t . . . by any chance see the Capitol tabloids, did you?” Emily asked as she pinched the bridge of her nose nervously.

    Abraham huffed on the other line, and she could only imagine him scratching the back of his head like he normally did, "Yeah I've heard the gist of it . . ."

    “Like, don’t the paparazzi have anything better to do than spread lies,” she forced a joke and a laugh.

    He was quiet for a bit, a little uncomfortable to Emily, but she let the silence be for Abraham to collect his words. "I mean," Abraham chewed on the corner of his lip and stayed silent again. She anticipated his silence and even pulled apart the article a bit in her head. It definitely wasn’t the first time the paparazzi exaggerated and told the truth. The whole system was a gossip magazine after all. But . . . they weren’t totally wrong. Again, exaggerated. But idiots loved to eat up lies. “Clearly not,” Abraham finally answered, “breaking news: District Eight victor, Emily really likes apple juice,” he imitated in his best news anchor voice.

    “Well, at least that wouldn’t be a lie,” she chuckled. Of course he’d make a joke. Why wouldn’t he anyway? “But no seriously, sorry for dragging you into the spotlight,” the small redhead apologized and started to pace around the hallway. Abraham was such a gem, having gullible idiots believe he was sleeping with her made her feel guilty for breathing.

    "I know! You ruined my whole hermit thing, Red!" he replied lightly to keep it joke-like, "but really it's fine, it'll die down. No big deal."

    Emily ended up laughing at her end and ran her hand through her chaotic curls. “I’m still going to be sorry. Like . . .” But she paused. The two had already kissed, clearly Abraham wasn’t really worried about Wren swooping in and killing him. Or her swooping in to kill Emily and felt the redhead could handle herself. “You were on the down low for so long. And then we apparently kanoodled,” she giggled.

   "Well, now I know. I guess I just can't hang out with you anymore. Sorry, Red," he rolled his eyes, "too much of a risk."

    “Oh noooooooooo. But I like hanging out with yoooooooou. You’re such a delight,” she answered sarcastically.

    He laughed lightly. "So sass-a-frass, is that why you called? To say you've ruined my anonymity?"

    “Yeah, pretty much,” she nodded with a wrinkle of her nose. “That and see if anyone is giving you shit like me,” the redhead Eight victor explained.

    "And here I thought you wanted to hear about my day," Abraham rolled his eyes, "Yeah, I've gotten an ear full from a couple people . . ."

    “Alright alright, okay. I see how it is,” she rolled her eyes. “Just for the sake of being nice, want to talk about it? How was your daaaaaaaay?” the redhead playfully questioned.

    “Oh wow, for the sake of being nice? Now I don’t feel like talking about my day,” he huffed.

    “Awwwww, I broke your heart, didn’t I?” Emily mocked a coo.

    “Yeah, apparently you have a habit of doing that.”

    “I do, don’t I?” she wrinkled her nose and brushed a curl behind her ear. “But, yeah. I wanted to pause your day for a second on that.”

    She heard him scoff on the other side of the line, “I’m surviving. Promise.”

    Emily pursed her lips into a thin line and nodded. “Good . . . I’ll see you another time.”

    “Yeah. Cool, see ya.”

    Emily hung up on her end and pinched the bridge of her nose. The boy said it was no big deal and that it would die down. But she didn’t really buy it. The Capitol just went nuts over anything to do with relationships. Especially when it came to the Hunger Games victors.

    What a time to want to bury herself and stay there until she turned forty.

    Emily was just about to get something to eat when the phone rang. The redhead let out a groan and ran both her hands through her hair and pulled at her roots. It had to be another photoshoot gig. How could she be on the job already!? Constantine just walked in through the door when Emily turned around to go and answer the phone. “Hello?” she answered in the kindness and calmest tone she could muster. Must sound likable. Gotta sound grateful for sticking to a job that didn’t involve selling herself like a handful of victors.

    "Mmm don't you sound completely and utterly fake," Gryffon greeted gruffly, his tone flat. "Sucking Rose drain all your genuine life?"

    Emily furrowed her brows at the sound of the voice on the other side of the line. "What the—Gryffon!? How did you get this number!?" 

    How indeed?

    She never gave him her number and yet she could hear his voice making fun of her yet again. He was such a creeper. And the weird thing was, he had her number! More teasing out of him. Just fantastic.

    “Look at you avoiding the question. How cute,” Gryffon scoffed. “You sound more startled than you should be though, darling. Busy with Rose still, or did you already find someone else?”

    Teasing her.

    Not surprising at all.

    "I did find someone else," she rolled her eyes, "your mother."

    "Didn't know you were into middle aged women," Gryffon sneered. "That's one hell of a gross kink, you whore. And this is coming from me."

    "Well," she sighed and rolled her eyes, pumping her fist at the phone in annoyance, "I can only have your dick in my ass for so long before my preferences go elsewhere," the redhead answered as she flipped the phone the bird.

    "Mmm so is Rose actually a lady? That's what your logic is telling me now," Gryffon went on, amused by the heat in her tone.

    "My logic is telling me his dick is bigger than yours," she answered. Emily looked over her shoulder at a wide-eyed Connor and Scottie trying to contain his laughter. Great, so much explaining to do after her phone call. Emily raised one finger and mouthed that she'd be done in a minute.

    Maybe it would happen at the pace they were going.

    Gryffon couldn't help but laugh, and it was taunting and thoroughly amused. "Your logic is as existent as your skill in bed, cunt," he lilted, smirking at no one but the air. 

    Emily sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "So you read the stupid article,” Emily sighed for the umpteenth time, "no, we didn't do anything. It's a lie and you know it."

    "I don't know anything. There's photographic proof right here in the article."

    God she hated him. But their banters had her on her toes half the time so it wasn't the worse thing.

    "Oh yes, just like there was photographic proof that you and I were dating months ago," the redhead rolled her eyes.

    "See, but that's ridiculous for everyone but my mother to believe in," he sighed, "This just makes so much sense for your desperate ass to go after someone else who's just lusting for some half broken, half rusted romance. It's actually kinda pathetic, but you seem just in his league, so congrats."

    "Bored now. Bye, Gryff," she yawned and hung up the phone with a smirk. When she turned around, Constantine was still looking at her, but that time with judging eyes

    "Rude."

    "Gryffon Sauntor is an overall rude person. His lack of feelings don't get hurt anyway," she shrugged.

    “Oh. Well, in that case, be rude to him,” Conner shrugged and was about to go into the kitchen with Emily when the phone rang again. 

    How like him to call and be the one who had the last say. She crossed her arms over her chest when the voicemail beeped. And then the worse thing happened . . .

    He started talking . . .

    “Bored?” he started, his tone practically translating the cocky expression she could only imagine he had on at that moment. “Your loud moans and cries for me to fuck you harder and more are out of boredom toward me?”

    Everyone's eyes widened immediately at the mere mention of how she was in the bedroom and Emily's face turned a bright shade of red as she stared at Conner in horror. Oh god, just kill her . . .

    And he kept on talking . . .

    “That’s interesting. Maybe not fucking you will keep me from your stupid, so eh, no loss for me really. Have fun playing your kiddie games in the snow.”

    The redhead fumbled around for the phone and answered in anger and embarrassment, "I am going to CASTRATE YOU WHEN I SEE YOU AGAIN!" her voice high and her accent coming out in a squirrelly tone.

    "Uh huh, uh huh, yeah? Cool, no risk of kids for me then and no more fun for you. Thanks for the favor,” Gryffon answered.

    "I think I'll manage since I apparently keep dating anyone that breathes next to me," she answered and walked into the next room. The boys already heard everything; it was more for her since she was still as red as a tomato. "You've already embarrassed me for a lifetime. Are you satisfied?" she sighed.

    "Mmm not quite, I wasn't there to see your face, but I'm used to it with you; you never do seem to be able to satisfy me anyway."

    "Says the guy that, for whatever reason, keeps coming back to the girl with the lack of bedroom skills," she smirked and mouthed a 'fuck you' in her silence. "Or keeps coming to the person that he keeps saying is an idiot. I don't know about you, but you're kind of contradicting your words with your actions.”

    "I haven't asked you for sex yet after fucking you sober, it's been you climbing all over me. Recheck your facts, darling," he mused. "And idiots are fun to make fun of, and you make it all too easy. Haven’t you caught on yet?"

    Emily's mouth was gaping open, a loss for words and that only made her insanely frustrated. God . . . he wasn't wrong though and she felt gross for admitting defeat. The redhead really wanted to forget the outcome in her visit in Eleven after Gryffon had shoved pie in her face back in the summer. It was a stupid weak moment in her part and she couldn't blame the shower to clean herself off. Emily could always blame Gryffon for being the one coming onto her, but, again, it would be a lie that she didn't say 'no' to the horrible man's approach. She let out a huff and hung up the phone. The redhead could only imagine that smug look on his face if or when they run into each other for mentoring again.

    She let out a sigh and came back into the hallway to put the phone back when her eyes caught Scott’s in the other room with his brow raised. The redhead gave him a grim look, her lips in a thin line; a perfect expression of ‘no amused.’ He opened his mouth to say something, but Emily raised her hand to him. “Don’t. Say. Anything . . .”

    He snickered and pushed himself off the couch to disappear into the kitchen across the living room. The Eight victor groaned and ran her hands through her roots, feeling a slight bit of pain from tugging at her roots. Was there ever going to be a quiet moment in her life?

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