We are brought to the train, but the whole time, Rye is zoned out. I grab his hand, like I have for years. He grabs mine back, but never looks at me.
As we walk on the train, I die. Luxury surrounds us. Things that 12 could only dream of seeing were at our fingertips. I could see it had the same affect on Rye. He seemed to snap out of his gaze when he saw everything. That reassured me. A little.
We get put in beautifully comfortable chairs, right next to each other, and wait for our mentors.
As we sit there and wait, the conversation with Penny goes through my head. Penny. What if I never see her again? I untie the ribbon from my wrist and rub it between my fingers. I miss you already, Penny.
"Penny gave that to you, right?" Rye's voice snaps me out of my daze.
I smile. "Yeah. Ever since Penny was little, she was afraid of needles."
Rye lets out a chuckle. "That must stink since her mom uses needles for a living."
I laugh. "Yeah." Pause. "But, when we were six, she wanted to make me a hair ribbon for my birthday. So, she overcame her fear to make me this."
Rye looks at it. "That's nice."
I look over at him. "You don't have a token?"
He shakes his head. Without thinking, I pull my dad's ring off my finger and put it in his hand. "Now you do. Take care of it."
He gives me a sad look. "I can't take this."
I look down at the ribbon. "I want you to."
He slips it on his pointer finger. "Okay."
A few minutes of silence later, the door opens.
Peeta Mellark and Katniss Everdeen appear in front of us.
They exchange a glance. "We're so sorry that this happened to you," Peeta says.
I cross my arms and sit back. "That's what everyone else keeps saying."
Rye leans over. 'Wil..."
Katniss sits forward. "I'm guessing you two know each other. You look about the same age."
Rye nods. "We've been childhood friends since we were five."
Peeta nods. "You may be able to use that to your advantage." Great.
Just then, another guy walks in. He looks about 50, with scruff on his chin and a bottle of liquor in his hand.
Katniss and Peeta turn around the same time that we do. "Haymitch?" Katniss asks.
"That's right Sweetheart. I've come to see the Tributes this year." He looks us over and nods. Then, he comes over and takes the seat next to Rye. "Heard someone say something about an advantage?"
Peeta nods. "Apparently these two have been childhood friends since they were five."
Haymitch scratches his chin. "I see. That my be able to be used as an advantage. Like you two last year." They nod.
Then, Haymitch turns to me. "She reminds me of you, Sweetheart." And he picks up his bottle and walks out.