Death Wishes: a Twilight and Hunger Games Crossover

Bella Swan has bitterly hated Carlisle Cullen for not helping her father when he most needed it, causing the loss of her father. When she is chosen at the Reaping to go into the Hunger Games with Edward Cullen, she sees her chance to exact her revenge. What will happen in the arena?

Edward Cullen is a vampire so he is indifferent when he is chosen because none of the weapons can harm him. What happens when he falls in love with Bella Swan?

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9. Chapter 7- Interviews (Edward's POV)

Author's Note: Oh. My. God. How did this story get past Nine. Freaking. Hundred. reads?!?!?!? Thank you so much!

To you popular and amazing writers reading this, 600 reads may not be much for you, but to me, it's more than I ever imagined when I started writing.

Again, thank you so much! You readers are truly wonderful!

Edward's POV

The escort came in, exclaiming that I had to get ready for the Interviews.

Great. Lauren would be ecstatic to see me again.

But first comes the practicing with a mentor for the Interviews. Woof stared at me and asked me some questions. I answered with as much charm and smiles I could muster. That passed by rather quickly. I didn't need the practicing. I was already practiced in the art of charming and lying.

Lauren Mallory came in and I dragged my feet to get ready for the Interviews. I dressed in appropriate clothing, trying not to wince or accidentally kill Lauren when I occasionally caught an inkling of her thoughts as I dressed.

I was ready faster than the usual tribute because I knew what she wanted me to do for the Interview- only that because the other things are sort of inappropriate- before she said it so the preparations went by faster.

So I went to sit down in my room, pretend to read and just relaxed while watching Bella through Mike's eyes as little as possible with the door slightly ajar so I could smell the air wafting in from outside- a habit leftover from the earlier times when I had to be careful of everything I did and make sure I don't seem suspicious in the eyes of authority.

Lauren bustled into my room without knocking- that was very rude indeed. I heard her getting closer and I pretended to be so engrossed in the book that I didn't hear her. She "silently" made her way behind me and waited, peering over her shoulder to see what I was reading. I showed no sign I saw or heard her, on purpose; I needed to figure out if she came in here for an evil or morally wrong intent, like spying on me or trying to figure me out through subtle ways, or if she really came into my room for a serious matter.

She became impatient after a few minutes of staring at the book about photosynthesis or whatever it was talking about and spoke. She isn't all about what she wanted, for once., I thought, surprised. I found out later how wrong I was.

"Who do you want to get out of the arena with you?", she asked from behind me. It shocked me- I didn't expect to hear her say it because I was trying very hard indeed to block out her thoughts, didn't think she was kind enough to help somebody else get out of the arena alive, didn't think she was able to get out of her bubble of daydreams and wants.

"I'm not sure.", I answered neutrally, trying hard to keep the raging curiosity and hope out of my voice. I might find a way to get Bella out of there alive! Hope bloomed in my chest, pushing back the misery.

"I know what you and the mentors and Jacob Black are." How? "So tell me, Edward." She said it it a "seductive" tone. It only made me wince inwardly at her disgusting advances. "Anyone, Edward, anyone. You don't have to if you truly don't want anyone to come out alive-" How could she think that when Bella's coming in here? "- but you can if you do want someone else to come out with you. Though if you and the handsome boy from District 2 follow Jessica's and my plan, you and him would owe both of us."

I knew she was manipulative. I knew she wants me. I knew that if I owed her, she would make me repay in the most gruesome ways imaginable. But I couldn't say no to that offer. Not if it meant getting Bella out of the arena alive and, hopefully, well. I knew, now, that I would do anything for her. She had that kind of effect on me.

So I told Lauren. "B-Isabella Swan." I forgot that I wasn't supposed to know her well enough to know her nickname.

Lauren frowned in disgust. "I was with her during childhood. She wasn't a very good person."

Of course she isn't to you. You are the definition of a perverted, insincere, lying person. Of course she would seem bad to you., I knew I was being impolite but couldn't seem to stop the thought. It was all I could do to not say it to Lauren. Because she would help me with Bella, for my charm or looks, I didn't want to find out. And that's something I don't want to ruin.

And why would she help me so I could get a person she hated out alive? I knew I had to look into her mind. But I couldn't hear anything underneath the storm of daydreams. So, glad for the excuse, I gave up trying to listen to her mind.

"Are you positive?", she asked me again and again.

"Yes!", I responded for the millionth time. I was sure of Bella.

"Fine." Lauren pouted, handing me a medal. "Can you give this back to her anonymously?"

I accepted it and felt my eyebrows raise. "Her father's medal for dying bravely in battle.", I recognized. Adding coldly, "How did you get this?"

She flinched at my cold tone and I mentally slapped myself. How could I be so impolite to someone who was willing to help me?

"I didn't like her very much- she took Jacob Black from me!- so, just two days after he died, I saw her sobbing over it and, to get revenge, I stole it from her." She lowered her head and fiddled with the edge of her shirt but I knew that it was just a show. She wasn't sorry or guilty. She was happy that she hurt Bella. Why would she want to return this if she's happy about stealing it?

I found the answer soon enough. Oh, how much had I gotten her into for stealing that medal! I was part of the reason she was abused and whipped and tortured- because her mother thought she had lost it and that was the only thing they both had left of Charlie Swan so Renee was furious at her for losing it. Sad I had to give it back though I would lose my job if I got caught. And dear Edward would not be helped. And I wouldn't get what I want.....

I tried not to visibly shudder. Why do people these days value looks and visual appeal so much?

I returned quickly to what we were talking about and I couldn't contain my glare at her this time.

"I'll take this back to her.", I said stiffly, outraged at her behavior.

Lauren nodded, still pretending, oblivious to the fact I had heard every lying thought that had just gone through that perverted- that was ruse but I couldn't help myself or my disgust- brain of hers. "Please."

"But I don't see how this is relevant to helping Bella."

"I got tired of the medal and if the Peacekeepers search my room or me, they'll find it and I'll  be in trouble. And they do that all the time. I've had enough trouble trying to hide this stupid, useless medal."

So returning it wasn't out of the goodness of her heart, but because it was causing her inconveniences.

"That would be part of your favor to me."

Part. I shuddered to think of what else she wants from me but this task, at least, was easy. I slipped the small golden charm into my pocket.

"Thank you.", I said out of courtesy because what she said meant that she would help me. Hopefully. "So.... How are we going to get Bella out alive as well?"

She glared at me. "I was getting to that part."

I held back a glare of my own. Doesn't she know manners? Because what she said was very rude indeed.

She told me the plan. I didn't like a lot of the parts because I had to rely mainly on her and her friend, Jessica, and I don't trust her or want to rely on her. But there was no other way.

I nodded my head once. "Thank you."

She smiled cheerfully. "You're welcome!"

That ended our conversation and we acted like we always did. As if the deal was never made and we never talked.

I stated silent but my mind was reeling. Lauren's help didn't make me like her any more than I did before but Bella was going to come out alive! I was happy though suspicious to why Lauren wanted to help us. But I didn't care. Bella was my everything now.

Using the excuse of using the bathroom, I left the room where the escort, Sashya, Cecelia and Woof were talking. I slid the lock into place from the outside and started on my way to accomplish my mission of returning the medal. I sneaked down, through the advanced, silent elevator, to the District 2 floor where Jane, Alec and Jacob almost immediately caught my scent. I could hear that from their thoughts.

Hopefully, they would follow their common senses and think that their was no way I'm here and would doubt themselves before going to investigate.

With vampire speed, I sped to her room, where her scent, sending fire racing down my throat, an uncomfortable heat, was the strongest. I slid into her room, as quietly as possible, wincing when it creaked, and took the medal from my pocket and held on to only the string. I let the medal's chain slip through my fingers and onto her pillow. She was bound to find it when she slept tonight.

I rushed back to my story and room before being ushered to the Interviews backroom.

I wasn't nervous. I didn't need to sway the audience, the Capitol. I had enough weapons in my body alone to murder all the other tributes. I winced at the thought. I didn't want anyone to kill Bella. I didn't want to have even a tiny bit of chance that she could die or get hurt. I didn't want to like her in the first place. But it is done., I told myself.

That girl and boy from District 1 had their thoughts mainly focused on killing strategies and winning the Games, ways to kill Caesar Flickerman for making them talk about things and annoying them to no end- I shake my head in disgust at their thoughts.

I waited and waited and finally, finally, Bella stepped onto the stage. She was red and blushing, stumbling a little as she walked to the chair. A chuckle slipped through my teeth at her nervous expression.

was right. I still haven't entirely lost my ability to read people. A involuntary smile stretched across my face at this small yet important- to me- victory.

"Isabella Swan!", Caesar Flickerman greeted, smiling widely.

"Um...Hi", she whispered. I doubt the audience even heard that.

"I saw you volunteered for Renesmee!", he announced. He didn't sound very surprised. "Who was she to you?"

Bella seemed to contemplate that for a second. "A neighbor and a sister of my friend."

"I thought that was very noble, even though you didn't know her well! Any regrets?"

"No." Her voice came out flat and fierce, and hard and cold.

"You had the chance to volunteer earlier. Now, you're eighteen and you chose to go in now when you could've stayed out for the rest of your life and live it without recurring nightmares and stress. I don't understand."

She flinched at his words, her face suddenly wild with panic. Looking around and not spotting Jacob, she turned to Mike in the audience.

Mike nodded.

One pretty girl she is., he thought dreamily. I rolled my eyes at that. She is way more than pretty.

Sad she's going into the Games. I couldn't have agreed more.

"M-my mom, she's- she's abusive.", she managed to choke out, stuttering.

"Oh. That's horrible. How long has she been that way?", Caesar asked in a sympathetic tone.

"Two years. Since my dad, Char-", she choked off. Taking a deep breath, she tried again. "Since Charlie died."

The crowd gave a sympathetic sigh in unison.

"Why didn't you leave her or fight back?"

Bella lifted her head. "Because she had a reason. A good reason."

Selfless.

Caesar frowned. "Which is...?"

I perked my ears. It probably had everything to do with Lauren stealing the medal but I needed confirmation. I didn't trust Lauren. There was no telling if she was lying or not.

"That's for me to know and you to guess.", Bella answered quietly.

That was especially rude for her to say. She would never say that.

The buzzer rang and she stood up, giving everybody a curtsy, still managing to look mature and beautiful even though how she does that while curtsying, I have no idea. She quickly joined the others before her, sighing in relief, and I returned to my tuning out.

I glanced at Jacob and it was all I could do to hold in the growl that threatened to slip through my clenched teeth. He was staring at her with drooling, possessive expression and his thoughts were so disrespectful!

It's embarrassing to be be undressed, piece by piece, in anybody's mind, for the love of all that's holy!, I thought to Jacob, knowing he couldn't hear me but couldn't entirely hold them back. I'm sure Bella would feel the same way.

At least Bella doesn't feel the same way he does. I could see that from listening to his thoughts,that were disappointed and with a twinge of bitterness. I can't tell you how much that made me happier, lighter, no longer having to compete with someone else. I was so glad that I actually convinced myself that spending time with her wouldn't be so bad. But.....you still put her in danger every minutes you spend with her., I told myself.

After Bella, Jacob stepped up onto the stage. I had to admit, he was sarcastic. Funny. Lively. But he's a werewolf. That meant that he was also immature. Volatile. Dangerous when they lose their temper. And I don't want Bella hanging out with him.

But who am I to dictate who she spends time with? To do so would be cruel and unforgivable.

The tributes in front of me disappeared one by one, all the same as the ones before except Bella of course. She, to me, was the only one who stood out among the rest of her competitors.

Sashya walked on stage, fingering and fidgeting with her dress and looking very nervous. I doubt it would help me, though I wasn't nervous, I didn't want to become nervous, to listen to her thoughts right now.

Soon, she was done talking and I walked on stage, wincing at the bright lights. They didn't hurt my eyes; they might glint off my skin the wrong way and cause suspicion. But why does it matter to them anyway? In their eyes, I'm just another toy, another pawn of their cruel Games, another person that could die in the arena. And if I was to die, there was no point, for them, to puzzle over something as simple and silly as the way light glints off my skin.

Fury thrashed violently under my perfectly composed mask at my depressed thoughts.

"Edward Cullen! What impressed you the most since you came?", Caesar Flickerman asked me when I sat down in the chair.

I contemplated for a moment. There really wasn't much except the technology was a pleasant surprise. Bella was a more-than-pleasant surprise but there are some things I wanted to keep to myself instead of saying on National TV. So I told him the more non-personal one, trying to sound modern and not like a boy who grew up in the 1900's. "The technology and the convenience of everything."

It was obviously not what he expected me to say. Maybe he expected me to say the food since I did come from District 8 and the people there were slightly poor. But I don't eat food and, because of my father's status as a doctor, not poor.

"Yes, yes. Technology and convenience is very evident and useful indeed.", he answered after a slight pause only vampire ears can pick up. "How did you feel during the Reaping when you were chosen?"

Again, my answer was unexpected to him. "I don't know. Scared, I guess, but I knew that I had a chance. The matter was how big." I shrugged. "Then, I realized it didn't matter."

He looked surprise. Genuinely surprised. Well, he should. No one has probably ever said, It doesn't matter if I win or lose. Die or live., in the Games. Stuck-up, arrogant, show-off leech.

Then, Caesar asked me, "Do you have a girlfriend?"

I stiffened visibly, not comfortable with the subject, and shook my head. I hated lying and I knew he was trying to help me, and possibly the girl I like, out right now. But I couldn't help myself.

"Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what's her name?", he urged.

I could see the women and girls in the audience snap to attention at this question. I laughed at how silly they were inside. It was rude but I couldn't help myself.

I forced myself back to the current conversation and train of thoughts. I couldn't afford to go off track right now.

I didn't want to tell him. I was still a teenager in a way. I didn't want anyone to know my crush, much less the entire country. But I knew I had to say it, at least to help Bella. Bella was a stumbling mess of a Career. If you don't help her or make her attractive, she might not get as many sponsors. I mentally scolded myself for the rudeness of my thoughts and became highly offended by myself for my silent comment.

Bella doesn't need your help. She does just fine on her own., I thought reproachfully.

No, she doesn't, normally. But when she's stuttering and saying incoherent things, shouldn't you help her a bit?

I didn't have a argument against that logic.

have seen this conversation take place before. Between Peeta Mellark and Caesar Flickerman during his interview though it wouldn't help me right now because Peeta had told everyone who he likes. And I didn't want to. But you have to.

I clenched my teeth against the sigh that threatened to escape my throat and said, "There is this one girl whom I didn't know very well but I really like."

I could hear almost Esme squealing in my ears, Carlisle, Emmett and Jasper's smiles and Alice's panicked expression that she tried desperately to conceal from everyone else. And I could almost feel Rosalie's jealousy. When we had met, she was upset that I didn't take an instant liking to her or her looks like every other man did and she soon got over it because she thought as long as she wasn't lovable by me, nobody is. Now that I've found a woman, she was envious of her. I chuckled to myself inside. And Rose doesn't even know who she is.

I could imagine furious and resigned Ali right now. She had warned me and I hadn't listened to her.

Oh, dear sister, I thought, voice mockingly sweet. Love isn't something you can easily control. You should at least have known that through your relationship with Jasper.

I could just see her glaring at me and saying hotly, "But that's different! Jasper is a vampire and your girl is a human." 

Well, beloved sister, not everybody has to be a vampire to be loved by a vampire., I countered in my head.

But everybody does have to be as strong and unbreakable like a vampire to be able to be lover by a vampire., I added to myself mournfully after a pause. I winced to myself. That would be impossible. I would never change her, nor allow somebody else to change her and Jacob Black would never allow it. Unless she suddenly finds out she has werewolf heritage and probably resulting in a sudden hatred towards me- the thought was a wicked knife, especially when it's true- or happens to be some kind of supernatural, unbreakable creature, a relationship between Bella and I would be impossible.

Caesar jerked me out of my invisible conversation with Alice and miserable thoughts. "How long did you know her?", Caesar asked, curious now.

"Actually, I just met her a few days ago-", I answered, casting my gaze downwards at my perfect black shoes in embarrassment. "-and I don't think either of us- at least I wouldn't but she is pretty smart"- I could imagine Rosalie rolling her eyes of my own downgrading- "would be able to get both of us out alive this time."

A groan escaped the majority of the audience.

Some of the thoughts that swirled in my head, Caesar included, was thinking some of these thoughts mournfully,

An even more tragic love story than Katniss' and Peeta's.

I can't believe it! I don't want to have a half-broken couple.

I agree, I thought resignedly.

The boy, he's handsome.  I hope it's some girl I can get out of the way easily. Oh....What I would get if I got him. 

I halted a shudder.

I wonder who he has his eyes on?

Isabella "Bella" Swan, I wanted to answer to whoever it was.

"What's her name?", Caesar inquired.

I didn't have to answer to just that one person. The entire nation was going to know. I closed my eyes and, if I was human, I would have been blushing a deep red, forced the words out, choking, "Isabella Swan."

An audible gasp of shock sounded from behind me and my eyelids flew open. I didn't need to look to see where that came from. I would recognize that sound of warmth and humanity and beauty and kindness anywhere. A deep, hidden, unknown feeling suddenly filled my chest, like a beautiful flower, a light, pushing back all the misery I had caused myself by puzzling over Bella and I. If she gasped that way, does she like me too? Then, that small candle light was snuffed out by the dark wind of actuality, the flower crushed under the cruel foot of reality. It would be terrible for her if she fell for you. You have already fell for her and you can't change that but if she falls for you, you couldn't want to hurt her by leaving her, you wouldn't change her because Jacob Black wouldn't want you to, and you would hurt her by trying to be in a human-vampire relationship.

The side that longs to be with Bella had no valid arguments. Why would it? Every word the other part had said was based on fact and observation, the information concrete and impossible to argue against, especially when your arguing for something objective.

Jacob Black's not sure about Bella?, I noticed suddenly from the werewolf's thoughts. I never really considered them a thing- I grimaced to hear myself using one of Emmett's slangs- but I knew they were close. I wonder what Bella thinks?, I mused to myself.

Don't waste your time, Edward. You wouldn't hear anything. I chose to ignore the voice and listened anyway. For something. Anything.

But....Nothing. I restrained a frustrated groan at my failure of reading Bella's mind.

A snarling growl emitted from the werewolf a short while after the gasp had left Bella's lips; he was was very jealous- because he didn't like it that a handsome, bloodsucking leech had his eyes on her- and scared- scared because he wasn't sure who Bella would pick if she was forced to choose and the odds weren't in his favor. A chuckle at the similarities between Jacob Black and Rosalie and the little line of the Hunger Games was going to slip through my teeth before it died in the back of my throat because didn't like who she would most probably choose- data provided by Jacob Black's fuming rant inside his head- either. I was not good for her. Choosing the werewolf would've been better for her. And, now that I thought of it, I knew that the werewolf was more suited to be with her than any other- he wouldn't harm her because he doesn't have the blood lust and he was more capable to protect her than the humans that watch us from the crowds because she's always so clumsy, brave and stubborn to the point of stupidity- for example, liking me and choosing me-, and attracting trouble.

The audience let out a moan of pain for both of us. Anger rose in a tide inside me and I struggled to contain the growl that threatened to rumble in my chest. How could they despair over a tragic love story when they are yearning to watch the Hunger Games, where they force innocents to kill other innocents?

The buzzer rang and I forced a sad smile at everybody and joined my fellow tributes.

Tribute after tribute went after me and the crowd gave their approval and moaned and sighed in the correct moments. The entire time, I felt like I was blushing. The anthem played and everything went black but I could see just as well.

Finally it's over., I rejoiced in my head.

You sound like a elementary student., griped the part of me who was still a gentleman, the part left from growing up in the 1900's.

I don't care., I yelled back in my head, too relieved this pointless thing was over and I could hide from Bella's prying and curious eyes once again. 

The lights came back up and people got up to leave. I walked to the room, watching, keeping my eyes on Bella from Jacob's mind as they, chatting, walked to their story. Jealousy is a strong emotion. I had seen it portrayed by actors in plays, described in vivid details in books but never in my entire existence did I ever think I would feel it to such a strong degree as I watched their retreating backs. I could literally feel the jealousy turn my heart green.

Jacob could touch her, be with her, so easily without ever putting her in danger. I could even feel the jealousy towards Carlisle, at his perfect immunization against human blood that I don't have.

I trudged back to my room.

Well. If I can't be with her, then I'll love her from afar.

It feels like I'm being injured- in a way, I am- to do that.

I watched her through Jacob's eyes as he comforted her while she was weeping over the medal, until she jumped up, asking him, "Do you know who left it here?"

A cold feeling settled into my stomach; a warning something I didn't like was going to happen. I tensed. In a way, I was like Arial, the mermaid, who could only sit and watch in the sidelines as the person she saved, or helped, fell in love and thanked the wrong, and lying, person for something they didn't do for her, deeply in love but couldn't do anything about it.

Of course, he had said yes, smiling.

My situation reminded me of a person Emmett was fond of back in the old days. He's name was Jace Herondale and he had once said, "And I'm supposed to sit by while you date boys and fall in love with someone else while I die a little bit more everyday, watching?"

I had never given it much thought but I couldn't have agreed more. 

I watched, choked and in pain, feeling like somebody was stabbing my heart again and again, while she hugged him.

Then... he kissed her. I was in my room, watching, unable to speak, when it happened. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought he knew she didn't have that kind of feeling for him!

Why didn't she push him away?

I didn't know what to do. I just wanted to do something to decrease the pain.

She withdrew after a few seconds, smiling shyly, and ushered him out of the room. I could hear his hurt in his thoughts and I breathed a deep breath of relief and gripped the counter, hearing but not paying attention to the sound of wood snapping under my hands.

Maybe she didn't have the same kind of feeling for him. Maybe she stayed in place to be kind. She's selfless enough to do so.

I snuck into her room again at night, and watched while she slept, unable to help myself even though what happened this afternoon.

What made me happy was that she screamed my name.

You aren't good for her. I tortured myself with that thought the entire time as I watched her.

I couldn't bare it anymore so I went outside, onto the roof, to clear my head of her intoxicating scent that doesn't bother me as much as it did anymore.

I stayed there for I-don't-know how long, just enjoying the peace for the last time before it would all turn to chaos.

I heard her walk up behind me.

"Hi.", someone greeted me. I could recognize that voice anywhere.

I turned my head as small a distance as I can without seeming outright rude and gave a nod in return. I wanted to say turned back around and stared at something in the distance, at the lights of the Districts. I should've felt longing for home but...Where Bella is, that's your home. If I could cry, I would have created a river, a waterfall and have drowned the world in my sorrow. I wanted so much to talk to her, ask her about the kiss and how she liked it, to either permanently confirm or deny what I heard, but I couldn't. I couldn't force my thick throat to utter a single word and she'll ask about my gift and I'll have to explain everything. Then, she'll get angry and never talk to me again. Well, isn't that what you want? To not have a reason to hurt her anymore?

I was too selfish. Yes, I admitted. But I don't want her to hate me.

Ha! She probably already does.

Ow.

I continued staring at this Districts.

"Edward," she suddenly said.

"What?", I snapped, turning to look at her, as was polite. I couldn't bear to look at her or sound nice. Not after what I saw.

"Are you okay?", was all she asked me.

"Yes." That was a terrible, terrible lie but I couldn't giver her more than that or she'll suspect. I turned back around.

Silence filled the air again, and it drowned me in its misery.

"Did you see it?", she asked, abruptly.

I knew exactly what she was talking about but I pretended to be confused; it wasn't hard. I was a very good actor. "See what?"

"Oh. Never mind." she replied.

I wanted to comfort her instead of saying what I wanted said. But I knew I had to lie so not to betray myself and what I saw. Struggling, I made my next words sharp and cold, cutting. "It's rude, you know, to get somebody's attention and then just say 'nothing'. If you have nothing to say, then keep your mouth shut." I winced at my own words.

She left and I flinched at the stinging silence that was left without her steady drumming heartbeat.

I took my departure as soon as I was sure she was gone and wouldn't be able to see me.

I snuck back into her room to watch her once more after she was soundly asleep.

As morning light shone through the windows and illuminated the room, I sighed. The Games were going to began, in the morning, at 10:00 a.m. sharp. I looked at Bella's sleeping form and felt a twist of sorrow and misery under my perfected but entirely and utterly facade of happiness. We had so little time left.

When they threatened to stick the needle with the tracker in me, I panicked. They would surely find out what I am! But Lauren got in front of me and talked the person out of it and I relaxed. I didn't trust Lauren and I couldn't find the root cause of why she wanted to help me besides the obvious but, after that, I found that I was able to trust her a little more.

The hovercraft, much like the airplanes from my time, was very fast and got us to the arena in about 30 minutes.  

I was going to think too much so, instead, I focused on Lauren's daydreams and trying not to retch in the process. It worked and I didn't think about Bella or the Games or anything for those minutes.

I dressed when I got there. 

Lauren smeared something on my face and I had to stiffen to not slap her hand away. 

I stepped into the tube. What I felt, though, was a yearning to be up there, inside of dread. I wanted to see Bella again because none of us could escape. I yearned to be up there even though this time we meet, she would probably try to kill me immediately. I winced. Ouch. 

The tube raised me up into the world above. The sunlight glinted in my eyes and I yelped in surprise. 

No! I looked down, afraid that my skin was going to start sparkling then and there but my tensed pose abruptly loosened. The clothing was designed well and zero sunlight made it through. But what of my face? It didn't glow. How? I have no idea. In that second, I was so glad for Lauren's help.

The countdown, the canon, the talking, everything, they slipped through my brain without ever stopping and I didn't catch on to a thing. 

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