As Gale and I walked out of the bathroom hallway together, I steeled myself and stood up straight. I lifted my chin up and blinked back tears, like Effie taught me. Once again, we were swarmed with people and we stood there and greeted everyone with a few quick words. Then, after the commotion died down, Gale and I were finally at peace. We went and sat down next to Effie, Portia and my prep team. "That was really tiring. And I'm not even the Mockingjay. I can't imagine what this is like for you, Katniss." Gale said. It was pretty exhausting.
A couple minutes later, Haymitch plopped down in the seat next to me, reeking strongly of alcohol. "Let me guess, you found the bar?" I asked rhetorically.
"Very funny." Haymitch fake-laughed and took a sip of whatever was in his glass. Haymitch said. I looked around the room at the 20 meter high ceiling, the marble columns and the gold. The room was covered in so much gold detailing. We may not be ruled by the capitol anymore, but the money has definitely not been divided up evenly.
"Well, regardless, it's good to see you again." I smiled at Haymitch.
"Of course it is. Why wouldn't you want to see me?" Haymitch smiled and kissed my cheek, "Glad you've stayed alive thus far." Haymitch downed more of his drink.
I caught Gale staring at me, but he quickly averted his eyes. For some reason, that made me feel warm inside. This had never happened to me before. Gale looked back over at me and asked, "Would you like to dance?"
I hesitated, but replied with, "Why not?". He took my hand and led me to the dance floor where everyone was waltzing to the classical music. He put one hand on my waist and clasped the other around my hand and I put my other hand on his shoulder. Gale and I had been this close on many occasions, but never in this way. We were either ducking behind a bush, hiding from a peacekeeper and only the couple times we had kissed. This was different though. Even when we had kissed, my heart didn't speed up, my face wasn't turning red, I was doing that mostly because of pity. But this was different.
I leaned my head on his shoulder and heard my heart beat so loudly I was sure everyone in the room could hear it, even above the music. Snap out of it, I scolded myself mentally, You were recently widowed and you have children. Besides, he has a girlfriend. My heart sank, although I had already known it was true. After the song ended, we broke away and I awkwardly smiled at him. We went back to our seats as a middle-aged man stepped up to the podium.
"Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is a night to celebrate the falling of the capitol and the beginning of a new era!" the crowd cheered and whooped. He went on to talk about how it happened and eventually, he said this, "And now, it is time for the person who is responsible for the new era we are beginning today, Katniss Everdeen!" I gulped down the rest of my drink and walked to the podium, gripping my cue cards.
"Hello, citizens of Panem. Today, I'd like to thank you all for coming to this wonderful party and-" I was cut off by a distant explosion, which made everyone stop what they were doing and look towards the wall which the sound was coming from. A few seconds later, the wall burst open and erupted into flames. The crowd screamed and dived away from the falling rubble. A shadowy figure stepped out through the smoke. It was Coin. And this was her time to strike.