Effie squeals with excitement as I walk out into the living space. She wraps me up with her arms tightly and doesn’t let go until Cinna tells her she will ruin the finished look. Effie smiles widely at me as we wait for Peeta.
Haymitch is at the bar, as I guessed he would be. Effie will escort us down there but then she will come back up. The ball is only for tributes and to serve us there will be Avox’s. I know about Avox’s from classes about the Capitol, they are traitors that had their tongues cut out. They now wait on the Capitol citizens.
Peeta steps out from the hall and into the living space, dressed in a black and white tuxedo. He looks smart but so innocent and different. Peeta probably feels the same way that I do now, fearless.
Effie smiles at us both and nods at us to follow her. “Now I want big smiles, make an impression. Remember that this ball will be televised so sponsors will also be watching. You need to make friends with other tributes. So at least try.” Effie stops at the entrance of the ballroom. She was talking the whole way down the elevator. “But don’t forget to have fun.” Peeta and I both nod at her as she opens the door for us to enter the room.
I watch Effie walk away with her pink wig bobbing up and down until the big wooden door closes and I am left stood next to Peeta. He stares out at the room with wide eyes, full of wonder at what could happen at this ball. All I want to do is go to bed and sleep; parties aren’t for me at all.
The other tributes are spread out across the room. There are twelve tables set out with four seats to each of them, more than enough for each district. I do not want to sit with Peeta so it seems good that there are more tables and chairs to choose from.
Peeta runs off and leaves me standing alone, I prefer it this way. I like being alone with no one to bother or annoy me. As I search the room, checking it out, I notice small cameras dotted everywhere and around four massive cameras pointed at the tables and the dance floor. There is a band up on a podium above the dance floor for when we will dance, which seems to be soon because they are gearing up.
I believe I am doing the right thing right now, stood here just observing the room, trying to fake an interest for the cameras. I expect the audience wants me to do something rebellious or outrageous to win their hearts but I don’t know what to do.
I try to sit at a table that doesn’t have all of the cameras on it and find one that, as I calculate, only has one camera pointed at it. I won’t be getting much airing time. Just as I want it to be.
The band has started to play now and I see tributes take advantage of this to get airing time of them dancing with other tributes. I see a ginger girl dancing with another tribute, close and intimate dancing to the slow music. How can they do that with the thought in their mind of killing each other? I don’t understand.
As I look up to the dancers my view is blocked by a body. I trace up and expect it to be Peeta wanting to dance or something but find a trim, fit Cato stood before me with his head held high. He wears a blue tuxedo that is the same tone of blue as mine. His shirt is white and he wears a blue bow tie, cute.
“Did you try to match me?” I joke and laugh a little. With Cato stood there he is blocking the cameras view of me. I stare up at him as he stares down at me. Cato pulls the chair in front of me out and sits down, now the cameras can see us and maybe this is getting airing time because it is district two and twelve talking at a table in the corner. Hidden and secluded.
“Sorry about appearing out of nowhere earlier, I just wanted to say hi.” I smile and thank him. I notice how I am slouching, that is a big no no from Effie so I straighten up and see that I am still not as tall as Cato. Effie, and maybe Haymitch, will be up in the penthouse watching this live so she knows how things are going with us and our progress.
Does Cato want to talk to me to ask me to be his ally or does he really just want to talk to me with no motive? “You know what, thanks for talking to me. I was alone and scared and you made it better for me.” Cato tries not to smile but does and quickly conceals it.
“You look...beautiful.” I blink a few times, am I dreaming? A boy is telling me I look good. Never have I ever had a compliment given to me from anyone out of my family, and Effie or Cinna. Maybe Cato is showing actual interest in me. Why am I thinking about this and analysing everything we do? I’m over thinking things.
I smile at Cato, “Thank you! You don’t look too bad yourself.” At least he has more clothes on now; it is less distracting this way.
The band ends their first song and then dancers stop dancing and clap them. It catches mine and Cato’s attention and we both look towards the dance floor. The band starts another slow song and Cato stands. I expect him to just leave me but he holds his hand out for me to take.
“Want to dance?” I bite my lip, should I? Am I contradicting myself by dancing with him? I said I wouldn’t make friends but here I am having a friendly conversation with another tribute.
I stare up at Cato and straight into his wide, wondrous eyes. My hand meets his as I say, “But...I don’t know how to dance.” Cato smirks and pulls me up off of my chair, taking me by my waist and walking me to the dance floor.
The dress makes it difficult to walk, let alone dance. “This one is called the Waltz.” Cato says like a song whiz. How would such a fierce boy know what a Waltz is? Cato takes my hand and places it on his right shoulder and then he moves his hand to the right side of my waist. Then he links his fingers with mine and we begin to Waltz.
I am careful with my steps as I let him lead. I have only ever seen dancing at a small party back in district twelve. The adults would dance gracefully and the children would watch. I watched my mother extra carefully in case I would ever have the chance to dance. We dance around the dance floor gracefully, our eyes meet and it is just like in a dream.
“Why did you really come up to me earlier?” I ask as we dance, trying to concentrate on my rhythm. Cato smiles at me for the question I have just asked.
I bet we are getting a lot of air time now, other won’t be happy about that but Effie will be happy that I have made at least one friend. I haven’t seen Peeta on the dance floor yet so he will be in trouble. Maybe he is in the back flirting with some girl from district five or six, setting his standards high.
“Because I saw you on the screens and I thought you were beautiful.” I blush immediately, if this is true then I am happy but if it is a game I will have been a foolish person to believe his words. “So I came to talk to you. That’s the story.”
“You are too nice.” I say back to him as he twirls me, my dress spinning along with me. Our speed picks up as the music gets louder and faster. “What do you want to get from talking to me?” I am trying to suss him out, to try and find his faults. Surely he wants to become allies or something like that. He has seen how good I am at getting attention, shown at the chariot ceremony. Obviously he wants to team up.
Cato shakes his head. “Truthfully I should be hanging around with the careers right?” I nod when he pauses. “But you are pretty, charismatic and one hell of a fierce person from what I have observed.” I blush again; compliments from Cato really do get to me.
The song ends before either of us can say anymore. We stop dancing, remove each other from our arms and separate fully, clapping the band. When I turn to walk away I notice no one else on the dance floor. They couldn’t have dispersed that fast which means they weren’t dancing the Waltz like me and Cato were moments ago. We were the only ones dancing.
It is announced that food will be served so we have to find seats and sit in them. I sit on the table near the back where I was before. I don’t want the whole Capitol watching me eat. When I am sat down Cato walks over to join me which I find complimenting again but I don’t know what to say. Is he trying to pair up with me? Because all I could hear were compliments on the dance floor.
“What are you saying to me then?” I ask as our starter is served. We both pick at the weird food before I decide not to eat it. The food is lumpy and looks slimy, I’d prefer to eat the stuff I catch than this food here that looks like slugs and sick.
Cato doesn’t mind the texture though. “I’m suggesting we pair up.”
“Really?” I am surprised that he has chosen me and not the careers. If he wanted me to join the careers I wouldn’t because the careers are vicious and merciless, I don’t want to become them. “What do you see in me that you don’t see in the others?” I take a sip of my water.
Cato takes another bite and I watch him eat, I have no idea why. “Well it isn’t a final offer. I need to see what you can do in the training room. But I think we could train together.” Cato pushes his plate away and rests his arms on the table easily. “You are good with the people and I am good with the weapons. I see that as I good pair Katniss.” He removes his arms from the table and sits back. “Don’t you?”
Maybe it is my infatuation with Cato now that we have talked; complimented, and danced that makes me feel like this will be good pair. “I just told myself not to make friends because friends mean it will be harder to let go near the end.” I confess to Cato.
He just stares at me, “You are very intelligent Miss Everdeen.” I laugh at him for saying that in such a smart voice and he laughs back. Maybe this will be a good pair.
I just don’t want to get too involved with him.