I wake up one morning to a note on the kitchen table from Katniss. She tells me she's going hunting and assures me she'll be home before sunset. I'm glad she's going hunting. This is her first time in the woods since I first returned to district twelve. While I worry about her while she's not here, I think she needs the time alone with fresh air.
I spend my time she's not home painting. I haven't been expressing myself through my paintings as much lately, and it's been effecting my mental state. I know that's an odd thing to say, but it's true. If I go any length of time without painting, my nightmares become worse and it takes extra effort to stay calm.
Today I paint a dream I've been having lately. I'm running through the woods, chasing a family from district twelve. They were my neighbors before the bombing, but I never knew them that well. Still their deaths weigh on my mind, and I try to release that weight as I paint them. When I'm finished, I'm surprised by how much time has passed. I walk over to the window of our sitting room to find the sky a beautiful orange. I remember Katniss's promise to return home before sunset, and I start to worry.
I walk over to my painting supplies and start to put them away, telling myself that everything is fine. She probably just got sidetracked on the way home. Maybe she stopped by to see Haymitch.
I set waiting at the kitchen table, bread in the oven baking for our dinner tonight. Katniss still hasn't come home, and the sun just dipped below the horizon. A darkness settles outside, and I can't take it anymore. I walk to the front door and slip my shoes and jacket on. What could have happened? Why is she so late? I'm driving myself crazy worrying about her. Yank the door open and hurry down the front steps. Halfway down I bump into something and go tumbling until I hit the ground. I look over to see Katniss on the ground beside me.
"Katniss!" I say crawling over to her. "I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." She says pushing herself into a sitting position. "Where are you going?"
"I was coming to look for you!" I say as I wrap her in my arms. She wraps her arms around me, assuring me that everything is okay. "It got dark. I didn't know if anything had happened to you." I say, my face hidden in her hair.
"I'm sorry." She says quietly. "I went into the woods further than I meant to. It took me a little longer to get back."
"I'm just glad you're okay." I say pulling away. I get to my feet and help her stand up. We make our way up the front steps and into the house.
"Peeta," Katniss says as she takes her jacket off, "Is something burning."
I sigh and walk into the kitchen that has now filled with black smoke. I jerk open the oven to find the bread I was baking black as coal. Katniss walks up behind me and hugs me from behind. She lays her head against my back, and I hear her chuckle slightly. It's the most beautiful sound in the world.
At least she's home safely.