Fallen from Grace (Hunger Games)

68th Hunger Games

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50. Visiting District Eleven

    About a month before the Games, she came to Eleven for a photoshoot and the Sauntor brothers accidentally found her on their way to the market. Gryffon’s little brother absolutely adored Emily and offered her to come over to their home in Victor Village, but declined due to work. Though she did promise to come back next time and make them food. The oldest Sauntor brother, however, didn’t seem so excited to have her come over for whatever reason.

    So, as promised, Emily visited District Eleven for another photoshoot and went to the Sauntor household right afterward. Gryffon came to pick her up, by the demand of his mother, and helped her shop for some ingredients that the redhead only guessed would taste much better than the shipped goods she could buy back at Eight. While she and Gryffon shopped in the Square, Emily felt out of place in the market, being that she was the only pale skinned person with unusual colored hair in Distirct Eleven standards. Not that it was any different back at Eight either, though there were a 10% difference in lighter skinned individuals than dark skinned.

    Clearly she was a minority.

    When they entered the Sauntor house, Emily was immediately greeted by a compliment and a hug from Gryffon’s mother. The two had never met, yet the woman behaved as if she had known Emily since she was a child. With her bubbly behavior, it was strange to even think about how big of a sourpuss Gryffon was compared to his mother and his little brother. Either that was what he was always like, or the Games had really messed him up. Either way, she wasn’t going to intrude on his life story the way he had in the months they had grown somewhat close. 

    The kitchen grew crowded, pretty much everyone in the house and Emily was in there helping make dinner while Gryffon “supervised” and threw in sassy one liners at the redhead that she countered with her own sarcasm. Mrs. Sauntor kept glancing at her and Gryffon, her brows raised at their interaction, yet said nothing about it. Emily didn’t think too much of it and kept her concentration on making dinner right. 

    Emily got to meet Andie, the little sister of Gryffon’s districtmate in his Games. She was a small child, very sweet and adored Emily just as much as Gryffon’s mother did. It was sort of off-putting for them to like her so much, especially when they had all just met her in person. Gryffon just rolled his eyes and told her that his mother read the tabloids and loved Emily from the lies the paparazzi would come up with. Wasn’t entirely reassuring, but at least she wasn’t nervous around the supposedly-crazed victor.

    As the food grew closer and closer to being done, Emily would stir the sauce from time to time during making conversation with Mrs. Sauntor. Occasionally taste testing the sauce and adding in more spices then continued talking to Mrs. Sautor and sassing Gryffon when he spoke up. And every time, Gryffon’s mother tried to suppress her laughter whenever Emily called him out on his attitude and he did the same in a similar and playful tone, all without sounding the least bit murderous like usual. It even kept the kids entertained to watch someone challenge the owner of the household without fear or breaking a sweat.

    Finally, dinner was served and everyone tried Emily’s food in silence. Gryffon’s  expression remained impassive as always, and that only made Emily chuckle behind her hand. "Your poker face is unsettling," she giggled at Gryffon.

    “It’s not thaaaaat good,” Gryffon shrugged, motioning with the fork in a circular motion. It was different than how his mother, or even Annabelle made it for some reason. Not bad, though, not at all; if anything, he preferred it the way Emily made it. Which was funny since the items were all native to District Eleven. 

    “No, it’s not!” Stephen piped up, his mouth half full with pasta and tomato sauce. “It’s really yummy!” Andie nodded enthusiastically beside him, too occupied with her food to verbalize her thoughts. 

    Their mother laughed a little, giving a soft smile to the redhead. Gryffon merely blinked at the rest of them with pursed lips and rolled his eyes. “Oh, so, Emily,” his mother started, forking up another bit before nodding. “How did he convince you?”

    As she chewed her food, Emily looked up at the mother of the house curiously and swallowed her mouthful. "Convince me of what?" she asked once her mouth was empty.

    “Convince you on being his girlfriend?” she went on curiously. 

    Emily immediately busted out laughing, unable to hear what else the woman had asked. Beside her, Gryffon about choked on his drink. “I don’t,” Gryffon mumbled. “And she’s not my damn girlfriend. The stupid tabloids are feeding that to her,” he added, glancing at the redhead. “You hang out with me too much, this is all your doing.”

    But the redhead was still laughing. She tried to calm down, but she kept on laughing while Gryffon looked annoyed at his mother for believing they were a couple in the first place. "Oh my god no," she snickered and covered her smile behind her hand. "No no no," Emily shook her head then her hand, "No no no he's not my boyfriend." The redhead started laughing again at the thought and tried her best not to snort. "Gross, no. We're just friends.”

    “Oh, you can’t be serious,” Mrs. Sauntor sighed wistfully, tilting her head a little before glancing at the youngest two kids who were trying their best not to die behind their suppressed giggles.

    “She isn’t,” Gryffon raised a brow. “We’re not friends either . . ?” 

    "Meh," Emily shrugged, "kind of, sort of, in the line of friends," she added. Sure, the man was a pain in the ass to be around from time to time. But he was alright on a good day. She glanced over at Gryffon for a moment before going back to eating her meal.

    The woman gave a bright smile and took a couple of forkfuls, just watching as the each of them threw a look to one another. Gryffon blinked over at her at some point and rolled his eyes. “The hell you thinking?”

    “You two just look like it . . . And the pictures I’ve seen, oh, you’re just so cute,” the woman sighed before her smile turned into a mocking frown. “She’s definitely one of the better girls, too!”

    Dear god, no.

    They looked like a couple? They were cute? Gross.

    “Like you would know the difference between good and bad in anything,” Gryffon scoffed with an amused shake of his head. “Like, look at who you both got married to, and when. Ridiculous.” Mrs. Sauntor pursed her lips at the comment and shrugged, averting her eyes to her plate instead of either Victor.

    Damn, that was low and rather hurtful. 

    "Don't go attacking us just because you can't keep a girlfriend," Emily said with a sly smirk.

    Gryffon scoffed and cocked a brow at the redhead. "See, you're wrong there," he started, motioning to her slightly with the fork he held. "I don't look for girlfriends; I can't keep something I've never had." 

    At their small exchange, Mrs. Sauntor remained silent and eating, but watching. She glanced to the side as Stephen giggled beside her and raised a brow at the boy in question. "They argue like they're . . .married," the boy spat the word out like poison and twisted his expression into one of apparent disgust, but his grin was amused and teasing. 

    "Maybe it's because you're so darn charming," Emily mocked with a raise of her brows and pointed a forkful of pasta at him.

    He leaned over the table with whatever amount of care he could manage and more or less pried the fork from her hand, pulling the contents of the fork into his mouth before letting go and sitting back down again, though deposited the utensil on his own plate. “Rude to point, you know,” he sneered.

    Stephen poked Emily’s shoulder for her attention and the redhead looked down at him. “Come wif me when you f-ffinif?” the boy asked half covering his mouth with the back of his hand as he spoke as he looked up hopefully at Emily; completely brushing off the victors’ banters.

    "Sure, I think I'm almost done." But with no fork, she couldn't eat. With a shrug. She looked up at Gryffon. "What's rude is taking the only utensil I have to eat," she said as the redhead took a handful of spaghetti in her hand and threw it at the older man with a wrinkle of her nose and a smile. "And now we're even," she laughed and pushed away from the table to clean her plate.

    Stephen jumped in place while Andie just about died in her seat, and the two stared at Gryffon as he shot off his chair, watching as the pasta dripped off him.

    “That’s just a damned waste of food,” he growled. And it wasn’t like he had anything left—food or drink—to throw back at her. 

    “That’s a nice look for you, sweetheart,” Mrs. Sauntor laughed a bit as she got up, just barely avoiding her son’s aggravated glance. She side-stepped him to place her things in the sink before she nudged Emily away. “Go with Stephen, I’ll call you down when I’m done here.”

    “The fuck—”

    “And you go change.”

    Emily somehow managed to escape with the help of Stephen pulling her by her hand up the stairs with Andie following just behind them. Almost as if she was rewarded for being brave and teasing Gryffon, she was given a flower crown. She remembered she had to wear a flower crown when she met Stephen and he had made one for her for her visit to District Eleven. The kids were so excited that Emily loved it and they claimed her to be nice, given what they had seen her do to Gryffon at the dinner table.

    “It was funny,” he refuted. “And he deserved it!” 

    "He really DID deserve it," she laughed. "That doesn't mean it's okay for you to do the same though," she pointed to him in slight warning. "I'm a bad example to follow," Emily laughed, but mostly to herself.

    The muffled sound of Mrs. Sauntor called to their attention to come back downstairs, so the three of them came back to the kitchen. Once Andie stepped out of the room, Stephen followed down. "Yay!" he heard Andie squeal at the bottom and ran to catch up to her. "It's my favorite!" 

    "You say that for all of them," Gryffon's voice sounded from the top of the stairs where he seemed to just be pulling a new shirt over his head. "The fuck is on your head, Em?" he asked, something similar to disgust in his tone as he reached the bottom of the stairs with them.

    The redhead stared maybe a second too long and made eye contact with him at his question. "Flower crown, Gryff?" She raised a brow at him. "I know you're smarter than this," she kept mocking and started down the stairs.

    As Stephen grabbed his dessert from Andie, Gryffon shook his head at Emily. "You're actually wearing it," he deadpanned, rolling his eyes. "Annabelle cursed it with her presence; she helped them with it," he added as he got a plate of pie that Mrs. Sauntor had made.

    Emily merely rolled her eyes at him after she retrieved her own slice and went over into the living room across the hall from the kitchen. It was no secret that Annabelle disliked her as much as Phox did. And vice versa with Phox disliking Gryffon, as he had made it known the morning after the drunken one nightstand. Emily tried her hardest not to think about that—

    Then the feeling of cold sticky goo smashed into Emily’s face. The crumbs and blackberry spread over her Emily cringed and remained frozen where she stood. Gryffon chuckled and ignoring the surprised but amused gasp of his mother as the two kids stared in shock. “You should clean that up,” he chuckled.

    Emily wiped the dessert from her eyes and flicked it toward the man before she stood on the coffee table and took a step toward the man. "Give me your face, Gryffon," she muttered quietly with a tone of malice in her voice.

    Gryffon stopped in place when the redhead stepped onto the table, and at her words, he just rolled his eyes. She would even sound menacing if she didn’t have to step on a table to reach near his height. To him, she just looked like an angry, puffy, runty kitten.

    “Give her your face, Gryff,” Stephen hissed behind the woman, staring up at the two with a mischievous grin on his face with Andie wide-eyed beside him, as if actually worried Emily was about to hurt the man.

    Gryffon scoffed and looked at the redhead. “What, so you can kiss me? Tough chance; you’re already gross without pie all over you.” 

    "Gross no," she shook her head and took a step closer. "Now give me your face, asshole," Emily continued and took the pie from the plate into her hand and jumped off the coffee table then clung onto the tall man like a koala on a tree. 

    Or a really aggressive lioness.

    “What the hell is wrong with you!?” Gryffon growled, instinctively wrapping his arms around her legs, but tightened his grip to pull her off. “You’re not a fucking monkey, let go of me,” he insisted, attempting to unwind her legs from around him and ignoring the kids’ and his mother’s laughter behind them. “I will fucking sit on you,” Gryffon chided quickly.

    “Do it!” she dared him before she shoved her handful of pie at his face and smeared it all over him and even into his hair. "Oh man, so sorry! Did I get that on you!?" Emily hissed playfully, maybe a tad bit angrily.

    He stopped moving, his hands only getting tighter around her legs. Emily laughed in his ear before Gryffon dropped back onto the couch, pushing some of his weight onto her to get her to focus on something else aside him. 

    "Oh geezus!" Emily growled. "Goddammit you're fat!" God, he was heavier than he looked and Emily could hardly breathe with his weight on her. She swore he could snap her like a twig that she was. The redhead ran her sticky fingers through his hair some more just to get the crumbs out of her hands then unwrapped her legs around him. "Okay okay I'm off just get off before you break my pelvis," she struggled to say.

    “Oh, I’d be glad to,” Gryffon growled, letting go of her as he pushed himself up. He glanced at Stephen who had practically turned red with laugher and Andie who was just barely containing herself. He ran his hand through his hair to get the remnants of crumbs onto the kids who squealed and bolted off the couch. 

    And then Gryff went and attacked Emily with the remainder of the pie left in the kitchen. Leaving a giant mess in the living room. Least she couldn’t argue that her visit to Eleven wasn’t fun.

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