Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games


35. Should Have Stayed Home

    She couldn’t quite remember if the days were as long as it felt when she was a tribute last year. It all felt like a blur to her. Emily was quiet during breakfast while Phox and Abir did their mentoring job, she merely watched. Not listened. Her eyes kept falling on Velcro, constantly reminded that the girl was exactly how she was if Liam stayed too quiet and didn’t bring her back to the surface of reality and kept her cheerful. The girl didn’t have that; she was stuck with a teenager that could honestly care less of her existence . . .

    The new victor didn’t go downstairs while Vulture and Velcro trained. Instead, she stayed inside the District Eight floor and watched brainless television and read a few pages of books that had been untouched for years on the shelves.

    She swore, within seconds, it was already late in the night.

    Emily had refused to go out and eat with the tributes and try to be a role model, she just couldn’t conjure up the need to be anything more than a sad redhead that committed a crime the year before. She couldn’t think of anything except the fact that it had been a year since coming to the Capitol, and within a week it would be the anniversary since his death . . .

    One year since that knife went through his heart . . .

   Emily dropped her hand back down after sipping her vodka when she heard the door click open, she rolled her eyes and felt her should slump downwards in annoyance. Probably Abir checking up on her. Phox didn’t care for her in the slightest and Abir kept checking on her to see how she was doing back in the Capitol. To be honest, she missed being ignored by any of the mentors back home. She was more than delighted to go back home and be with Conner and Scottie, even though their level of concern was up with Abir; but at least she was more comfortable with them than she was with her other mentor.

   “Good evening, Emily,” an unfamiliar voice greeted her. Oh god, someone new. Couldn’t they all just give her the space so she could gain the confidence to go up to them? She knew she was new, but it was utterly ridiculous. “Don’t think we’ve met?” he continued. Obviously not, if she didn’t recognize his voice. He had to be someone she hadn’t met.

   “No . . . I don’t think so . . .” she answered and looked back toward a much taller victor standing at her door. And with a flash, she recognized him. Not by name, but she remembered a bit of his Games and recalled seeing him one day after training. He was that weird guy that kept staring at her and Liam. That guy with the three scars that met at his jawline and ended at his cheek. The Eleven victor, if she remembered correctly. “You are . . .?” she asked as her hand gripped tightly around her bottle.

   “Gryffon Sauntor. District Eleven victor,” he replied with ease. “Emily Aldair, District Eight?”

   She barely nodded and took another swig of her drink, keeping her eyes on him as she swallowed the burning sensation. “Yes . . . Mind telling me what you’re doing here?” she asked, feeling uncomfortable having him in her room. The setting and the dim lighting in her room made her nervous and it only fully reminded her of the last time she had a man in a similar background. Dammit, she’d have to take another drink to drown the nervous fear away.

   But the way he looked at her didn’t make her feel any better . . .

   “Oh, I’m not supposed to wander into random floors? Sorry, didn’t realize,” Gryffon shrugged as he nudged the door closed before he walked further into her room. “What’cha drinking—?”

   “Can you not?” she muttered. “That doesn’t need to be closed . . .” Emily continued, her voice shaky yet tried to put up a front to hide her terrors.

   “Oops,” the man chuckled and bent closer to her, making her flinch away when he snatched her bottle from her hand instead. He raised the bottle up to his eyes as he examined the sustenance in the clear bottle. “Oh, this shit. Didn’t think you’d be one for too-strong drinks?” Emily gave him a weak and short smile and looked away from him. Her hands balled into a fist, clinging to her bed sheets as he raised the mouth of the bottle to his lips and finished off the rest of the drink.

   It was going to happen again . . . wasn’t it . . .?

   Her body trembled ever so slightly when he finished. She could feel his eyes on her and it terrified her . . . He stank of alcohol, she highly questioned if he was drunk—“Why you here all alone, m’dear?” he asked, the bottle dropped from his fingers and he hovered closer to her. Emily’s body automatically leaned away from him, yet she could still smell the alcohol off of him.

   She swallowed the lump caught in her throat and took in deep breaths to calm herself, when she finally spoke up, “I’m tired, Gryffon. C—can you please leave?” Dammit, her voice was noticeably shaky. She kept her eyes down, to hide the fear that reflected in green eyes. He didn’t have to see them. Maybe he’d think her question was the sound of her body reacting to being cold. Maybe he was stupid and would take it as that.

   “Don’t think that’s an option . . .” Sauntor began slowly and took her chin. She flinched away from his touch, but his thumb and index finger gripped around it and lifted her head to look up at him. He was too close. Close enough that she could see the gold ring in his green eyes. He smiled at her, one that made her palms sweat and her body grew cold. “Think it should be?”

   Emily pursed her lips and shoved him away, “Get out,” she growled in the most threatening way she could muster. Yes, she was small. But she took down Careers twice her size and twice her strength. She could probably take him down too. Probably . . .

   “No thanks,” he answered and moved back to her. He came too close and too fast to the point that her body automatically reacted and pulled her legs to her chest and closed tightly. It was going to happen again . . . Goddammit, why did it have to—“What’s wrong? Scared?” he questioned, his voice hard and practically hungry. And he suddenly let out a slight laugh. Was he AMUSED by her reaction? His actions sure as hell weren’t amusing TO HER.

   “Gryffon . . .” she started, warning him that if he didn’t back down she would have to try something to make him go away. She moved back further onto her bed and he followed and crawled closer. Shit . . . her heart raced and her hands trembled just as badly as her heart beat, Emily’s eyes went to the lamp. Maybe she could smash it on his head and knock him unconscious? She looked back at him and the way he looked at her made her reconsider. Like he could stop her immediately before she could reach the lamp. As she kept moving away from him, she made sure to keep her legs closed as to not leave a chance to attack. But she was moving further away from the door and he made it easy to corner her in her own place of supposed safety. “Don’t do anything you’re going to re—”

   “Shut up, Emily,” he interrupted her and grasped her hand. She slipped out of his hold quickly and ended up hitting her elbow against the wall behind her, letting out a pained groan and tenderly brushed her fingers against her forming bruise. “Look, you’re going to hurt yourself if you’re stupid like this,” Sauntor said and pulled at her again, that time more forcefully that put her in a panic. His arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer to him, and then pushed her down onto her back and held himself over her.

   No, not again . . .

   “Get the fuck off—” she growled weakly and began to push him off when he grasped her hands and pinned them on either side of her head.

   “With pleasure,” Sauntor laughed and let one hand go, inching his hand under her top that made Emily freeze up. “Or regret? Whichever makes you think better of me.” As IF anything would make him look better to her! His other hand ran through her short curls and clasped a handful in his grasp, keeping her from escaping him, and pulled her closer to him when he forced his lips on hers. Her hands immediately went to his shoulders to push him, but he wouldn’t even budge. His lips were as hard as a rock that matched her stiff body from the uncomfortable and unnatural feeling bubbling through her very being. His hand underneath her top snaked upward and copped a feel of her breast. His long fingers practically pawing at the bit of skin above the cover of her bra and gave short yet hurtful squeezes that made her wince.

   He forced his tongue past her lips, the taste of alcohol breaking her senses as he deepened the kiss. And the longer they kissed, the more her body began to give up on fighting back until she was frozen underneath him. It wasn’t like she could control her body from weakening; it was like it completely shut down. Her skin was covered in goosebumps and her blood felt cold, almost like she was dead . . .

   And she FELT dead to her on the inside . . .

   The moment her body gave up, the bruising kiss felt softer but equally as dreadful. Of course she absolutely hated the horrible act the man forced on her. And from her own experience, the more you fight the longer it would take for it to be over. Her only chance of shortening the horrible act was to go along with it and let him do what he wanted with her . . .

   Emily’s hands slid from his shoulders to either side of his face and kissed him back, though it lacked the loving touch she shared with Liam a year ago. It was just to make him go away faster. Words obviously didn’t work. It was ONLY to make him go away, even though she’d absolutely regret it in the end. Emily pulled her body up, pressing herself against him until they both sat up, still kissing in the most unloving way possible. The Eleven victor pulled her up onto her knees so he wouldn’t have to bend over her just to meet her lips.

   His hands slid up to her collarbone and one by one unbuttoned her top until he reached the bottom and aggressively pulled it off her body, all while barely leaving her lips, allowing them to breathe as an only excuse to separate when they were back against each other half a second later. Once her top touched the floor, Emily pushed him backwards and kissed whilst lying on top of him. But Sauntor didn’t allow that to last even ten seconds when he turned them over, back on her back and him in between her legs.

   The redheaded victor began to tremble again when he pulled his shirt over his head, his skin touching hers, and snaked his hands down her curves whilst the bruising kissing continued. At that point she couldn’t control her strong composure and felt her tears run down the side of her face. The Eleven victor separated their lips and actually looked at her when he saw her tears. Emily looked away; pressing the back of her hand against her lips but didn’t even put in her usual effort to wipe the tears away.

    Just do what you want already, was what ran through her head.

   “There, you’re let go,” he whispered with a smirk and pushed himself off of her. Emily looked toward him as he turned his back to her and plucked his shirt back from the ground. For a moment, she was confused, then relieved, and then anger boiled her insides when she pushed herself off and turned her back to him to get her shirt. So it was just a game . . . a stupid GAME TO HIM! Emily buttoned her top from top and gave up halfway and pushed him off the bed, any way for him to get the message through his head that she didn’t want him near her if he couldn’t read the atmosphere.

   He complied with no effort whatsoever. Oh, but OF COURSE he would actually respond to pushing when he wouldn’t even budge earlier!

   The man lifted his hands up and Emily couldn’t help but want his blood on her hands. He thought he was SO funny! He thought he was desirable! God, looking at him made her want to either scream at him or break apart for being so stupid as not kick him out sooner before it all happened! Emily stumbled off the bed and her eyes went to the vodka bottle left on the floor, her hand snatched around the neck of it and looked up at him with fury burning in her eyes. She lifted the bottle to him, thinking about breaking the glass against the nightstand and jab the sharp ends at him.

   “This is the thanks I get for leaving you alone?”

    Oh my FUCKING GOD!? Was he KIDDING!?

   “GET OUT!” she snarled at him. On the count of three. “One . . . Two—”

   “I’m going, I’m going,” Sauntor rolled his eyes as he turned away toward the door.

   Emily kept her eyes on him, tears rimming her eyes as her breathing started to become shallow and short. He was almost gone . . . he was almost gone. He opened the door, and slipped halfway through she angrily threw the bottle at the door and watched it shatter into a million pieces. Emily gasped a sob, tears spilled down her cheeks as her knees became weak and dropped to the ground. She forced herself to keep from screaming and curled into a ball, crying into her knees as everything came crashing down on her emotionally.

   “Three . . .”

   She could hear voices outside her room; Abir had come out and spoke to Gryffon. Emily wiped away her tears and crawled back into bed, knowing she had no time to clean up the shattered glass at the foot of the door, and turned away from the door before Abir came inside to check up on her. Emily kept lying that she was fine, that she and Gryffon just spoke, and that the glass at the door broke because she accidentally left a bottle at the door and the door swung open too fast and too hard and broke it.

   Of course he didn’t buy the lie. She was awful at lying.

   He kept pushing her to tell him what happened, but she wouldn’t budge. So he left her alone when he realized she wouldn’t say anything. That whatever happened was between her and Sauntor.

   As Emily laid in bed, trying to get some sleep, regret enveloped her like a familiar acquaintance.

   She felt used . . . dirty . . . stupid . . . like a toy born ONLY for the soul purpose to pleasure men . . . She felt like a cheap whore . . .

   Emily should have stayed home . . .

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