Katniss scowled to herself as she watched the rain pitter-patter against the sidewalk outside. She instantly longed to be out there, smelling the sweet scent that rain culls from the soil after a dry spell, instead of the pungent aroma of marinara sauce from inside the pizzeria. Fondly she remembered the forests of home, traversing them with her father. Rain was better, he'd say, it quieted the leaves so you could creep without detection. He'd often smile and say that's why God put the rain clouds in their eyes, because they were both natural born hunters who needed the rain. It was inside them.
Now here she was, sitting alone in this pizzeria with her gray, perpetual rain cloud eyes, waiting on a man who was not going to show. Madge's "great idea" of setting her up on a blind date with some guy from the swim team had ended before it began, as she thought it would. She didn't even like pizza, she thought sourly as she glared at the red, white and green streamers everywhere. The waiter had come over an obscene amount of times and appeared to revel in Katniss being stood up with his smug grins. With a frustrated grunt she started to slide out of the booth when she heard a voice saying her name. Her fingers, two of which had been partially in her mouth from a nail-biting habit she hadn't been able to shake since childhood, whipped down to the table.
"Katniss Everdeen?" Katniss looked up the length of the person's body until she got to her face. The girl was dressed in a pair of skintight dark wash blue jeans and a black blazer with a shimmering green top underneath. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, a few wisps in the front dyed scarlet red against the natural black of her hair. Her eyes were a deep cedar like the forests of home. She saw a dainty eyebrow raise on the girl's face, lips faintly turned upward in amusement. "You are Katniss, yeah?"
The lilt of her voice was high and she possessed some hint of an accent of which Katniss couldn't quite identify the origin. "I'm ...yes?" she sputtered, a blush scattering across the tops of her cheeks. "But I think you have the wrong table."
The girl's ruby lips widened into a large smirk. "Now if I had the wrong table, would I have addressed you by name?" Katniss shook her head. The woman gave an unimpressed look around. "Besides there's no one else in this joint anyway." Katniss darted her gray eyes around the restaurant. There was one other couple sitting by the windows, sharing spaghetti like they were those dogs outside the Italian restaurant in that Disney film. Otherwise it was dead. Katniss brought her attention back to the girl.
"You're not Finnick Odair," Katniss stated dumbly. Why was she at a loss for words? Because she wasn't good with words, she reasoned with herself, that's why. Even less so when a gorgeous older woman was next to her. Wait, gorgeous?
The woman titled her head to the side and chuckled. "You don't miss a thing, do you?" Her voice was amused, not mean, and Katniss lifted the corner of her mouth. The woman sat in the booth across from her and slid down a few inches so she was directly across from Katniss. Katniss observed her in the quiet way she observed everything, eyes narrowed and the hair on the back of her neck standing at attention. The girl wore a ring on her right hand, a gold and diamond piece that looked expensive to Katniss's untrained eye. She was perfectly made up with a killer smokey eye, just a dash of eyeliner and some deep ruby lipstick to color her lips. One of those girls that though she was wearing make-up, she was obviously naturally beautiful. It was almost unfair. Katniss felt dowdy in her brown sweater and jeans. "I'm not Finnick Odair. I'm Johanna Mason. Finnick is my cousin and, I love the big ass, but he isn't the brightest. I am here to offer his deepest apologies."
Katniss's face darkened. Oh. "Oh. Well, that's okay, I guess. You didn't have to come all the way here. He could've called me or messaged me on Facebook." Spared me this fucking embarrassment, Katniss thought to herself.
Johanna smiled with mirth. "That would've been one way to do it. Or he could've wrested his testes from wherever they are captive to come here himself and apologize like a gentleman." Katniss found herself chuckling at Johanna's jab and her posture became less rigid. Johanna's eyes sparkled with apology, but not pity, Katniss noticed. "In any case, and I hate to take up his side but he's ...he would've been completely uninterested."
Katniss's smile was wiped from her face, fast as lightning. "Oh."
Johanna's brown eyes were confused for a split second and then she stretched her hand across the table and brushed her fingertips against Katniss's knuckles. Katniss felt the burn of her touch go right up her arm and spread across her chest. "Oh, no, not like that. Fuck no, you're - you're stunning. Really." Katniss blushed at the compliment, the sincerity in Johanna's voice, and the shy smile she gave her. "He's the idiot. He'd be uninterested because he's been secretly dating a crazy girl from back home since high school. Doesn't want to ruin his lady-killer image so he tells no one." Katniss's eyes rolled involuntarily and Johanna snickered. "Men are truly very stupid."
A sigh of relief spilled from Katniss's lips. Not that she cared if some guy found her attractive but she suddenly wished she wasn't embarrassing herself in front of Johanna. Now she didn't know the protocol in this not-blind-date. "Should I go?" Katniss asked as Johanna picked up the menu that had been staring Katniss in the face from across the table all night, mocking her.
Johanna shrugged her shoulders. "If you want to, be my guest. I wouldn't want to keep you from enjoying the rest of your night." Katniss's face fell a little and Johanna peered at her over the menu. "Or, you could stay. And I can stand in for my idiot cousin."
"Stand in?" Katniss repeated, blinking a few times. Johanna sat the menu down and smiled. "You don't have to do that for me."
Johanna rolled her eyes and nodded her head. "You're absolutely right, Katniss Everdeen, I don't. But, seeing as how you are probably free since you thought you'd be staring into the beautiful sea green eyes of Finnick Odair, and I rushed over here instead of getting my own dinner, we could help each other out." Katniss closed her mouth in fear of her jaw slacking and making her look like a fool. Johanna slapped the plastic menu down on the table. "But not here. I'm not going to have indigestion just because Odair can't pick a good restaurant from a hole in the ground."
Johanna shuffled out of the booth and held her hand out to Katniss. Katniss took the proffered hand and Johanna helped her from the seat. The brunette took her coat from the hanger and put it over her shoulders. "Where are we going?"
The older girl mused on that for a few moments. The waiter looked crossly at them and Johanna rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Somewhere else. I'll decide outside." And she would decide, Katniss figured. Johanna carried herself with effortless authority and the look she shot the impatient waiter made him shrink back behind the counter. They emerged into the night and Katniss hoped the rain wouldn't do what it always did to her hair, fraying it and making her look like a loofah sponge. Johanna peered both ways down the street before turning to Katniss. "Do you like Indian food?"
"I've never tried it," Katniss confessed. She wasn't adventurous with her eating habits. She wasn't adventurous at all. Agreeing to this "blind date" with not-Finnick-Odair was probably the most adventurous thing she'd ever done.
"No?" Johanna took Katniss by the arm and put it through the loop she had made with her own. "I know a great place. I realize this is unorthodox, but are you game?" In spite of her asking, Johanna was already leading them down the block. There were a lot of restaurants in this area of the campus, but Katniss always stuck to the same cafe a few blocks from her dorm that made a lamb and plum stew like she used to have back home. "I don't want to seem like I'm forcing you."
"Not at all!" Katniss protested, too quickly. She ducked her gaze to the darkened, damp sidewalk. "I mean, you were right. I don't have any other plans." Ever, Katniss wanted to add, but didn't.
Johanna smiled. "Great. It's just around the block over here." Once they walked around the corner there was a small, unassuming restaurant with a dark red awning covering the entrance. Johanna led her into the place and she was stopped short by the strong scent of curry. Katniss watched an older Indian man emerge from around the host podium and greet Johanna by name. "Rahul, how are you?" she asked, giving the man a hug.
"Jo-hanna," he said, pronouncing the silent 'h'. "I'll bring you to your seat." The seats were wonderfully and richly embroidered pillows that surrounded a small table that sat about shin height. Johanna sat cross-legged on one side, and motioned for Katniss to sit across from her.
Katniss plopped on the ground, crossing her legs as well. The man Johanna called Rahul brought them each a menu. Johanna placed hers to the side. "Try whatever you want. We'll start with the paneer pakora," Johanna instructed to the man. "And two glasses of the Silex."
Katniss could see the whites of his eyes. "That is only by the bottle, Miss Jo-Hanna."
Johanna shrugged. "Then let's have the bottle, shall we?" Johanna waved him off and turned her attention back to Katniss. "I've had nearly everything they have here. It's all delicious." The brunette nodded her head. She had no idea what anything was on the menu and once the waiter returned with the bottle of champagne, he looked at her expectantly. Johanna narrowed her eyes at Katniss. "You know what, why don't you choose for us, Rahul? Something delicious." She turned to Katniss. "Are you allergic to anything? Or vegetarian or vegan?"
Katniss shook her head. "Nope, I can eat anything."
"Can you now? I may hold you to that," Johanna murmured, capturing Katniss's eyes in a heated stare. She handed the menus to the man. "Then let's allow Rahul to whip something up for us." He nodded and took the menus, scurrying back toward the kitchen. "So why don't we start this off right, hm? I'm Johanna Mason."
Johanna held her hand out across the table and Katniss smiled softly. "Nice to meet you, Johanna. Katniss Everdeen." She shook the girl's small, but firm hand and then retracted her own back into her lap.
"And what do you do, Katniss Everdeen?" Johanna asked, pouring the champagne into two small flutes for them. "Aside from hanging out at pizzerias waiting on strangers?"
"I'm a student," Katniss informed with a shrug as she took a slow sip. The champagne was extraordinary, unlike anything Katniss had ever tasted. With no price tags on the menu, Katniss didn't know if this was really expensive champagne, or cheap stuff. Whatever it was, she downed it like water. Johanna raised a bemused eyebrow but said nothing about her exuberance.
"And what do you study?"
"History, boring stuff," Katniss dismissed embarrassedly. Being a history major in this economy was like having a degree in sky-writing: impractical and rather stupid.
Johanna snorted. "How can history be boring? Accounting? Now that can be boring. But history is beautiful. What part do you specialize in?"
Katniss was taken aback. Nobody ever really cared to hear what she was studying. Even Madge, her best friend, zoned out when Katniss would go on excitedly about some ancient text. "Oh, um, the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece. A bit into the life of Alexander the Great, but mostly the history between his death and the rise of the Roman empire."
"I can't say I know much about that," Johanna responded, taking another sip from her champagne flute. She leaned over and filled Katniss's glass again. "But it sounds fascinating."
Katniss rolled her eyes. It was bad enough that this girl was taking her on a pity date, she didn't need to be patronized. "No it isn't."
Johanna eyed her. "Sure it is. Matter of fact, you sound fascinating, Katniss Everdeen." Katniss blushed again, ready to deflect the compliment, but Johanna's eyes were insistent so she swallowed it down and nodded. Everything about Johanna made her heartbeat race and her skin get warm. It was a reaction she'd never had before with anyone, girl or boy.
"What do you do?" Katniss pressed, raising a challenging eyebrow toward the older girl. Well, she seemed older. Katniss wasn't sure.
"Politics," Johanna shrugged. Off Katniss's inquiring expression she continued. "I work for my father in the government."
Katniss filed through her brain to try and figure out what Johanna was talking about. Suddenly her gray eyes flew open. "You're President Mason's granddaughter!" Katniss blurted out. President Roger Mason was the patriarch of the Mason family - a generations-old timber family with heavy government ties. The modern day Kennedy's. Johanna's father, Roger Mason Jr, was a Senator from Washington state. How she hadn't recognized that trademark look all the Masons had - wide set brown eyes, jet black hair, disarming smirk - Katniss felt like a fool. Johanna was the spitting image of her handsome father, just feminine, and you know, real and in person and not on some CNN news report.
"That I am." Another waiter, not the man they had met, brought out two beautifully colored plates of food that steamed up into their nostrils. The warmth of the restaurant, the champagne, and the food, made Katniss wish she had some water. It didn't help to be on the end of Johanna's penetrating gaze and all she had to drink was the intoxicating champagne. "This looks amazing. I am starving." Johanna dug into the food with abandon. Katniss watched on with delight, joining in after Johanna made several blush-inducing groans at the taste of the spread.
They talked about Katniss's life with her little sister, her parents, and their curmudgeon cat Buttercup. Katniss didn't realize how much she missed her family until she was nearly a half an hour into talking about them. About hunting with her father, watching her mother do wonders in the hospital as a nurse, or listening to Prim prattle on about animal cruelty for hours. She missed waking up to the smell of her father cooking breakfast, or the entire family piling on to the couch to watch a movie. She missed home. She even missed the little bit of soot that still sometimes blew in the air from the long-closed coal mines near where they lived.
Katniss babbled about the mockingjays that lived near their house, and how she and her father could sing to them and they'd sing back. Something not everyone was able to do. "In fact," Katniss stated as she stabbed at her plate, "it's considered even more rare than being able to shatter glass with your voice."
Johanna grinned indulgently. "You'll have to sing for me, then."
"Oh, no," Katniss backpedaled, waving her hand. "You don't want to make me sing."
"On the contrary," Johanna purred, "I think I'd love to make you sing." Katniss bit her lip and ducked her attention back to her food.
Johanna regaled her with stories of growing up in District Seven - the peculiar name of the Mason estate way up in the north of Washington state. Fancy dinner parties that she and her (four!) brothers would try to ruin by playing various pranks on the guests. Being the youngest of five, and the only girl, Johanna was victim of relentless teasing from her brothers, but also favoritism from her father. She told her tales of Finnick trying to teach her to surf - which she was dreadful at - and her grandfather teaching her to fell trees - which she was excellent at. They had summers on the coast of the Georgia Strait, and winter vacations to Bali and Thailand. She described her insanely competitive prep schools and the art of dodging paparazzi since the day she hit puberty.
That was the price of their lavish lifestyle, Johanna explained: the lack of privacy. Katniss could remember seeing photos of Johanna's brothers out with various women - and the one who went out with various men - but very rarely any photos of Johanna. "They're idiots," Johanna dismissed, dabbing her face with her napkin. "They go to well-known hotspots with all these celebrities, and then wonder why they can't go grab the mail in their boxers without paparazzi in their face."
"Have they ever caught you?" Katniss asked, scooping up the last bit of her food from her plate. She couldn't even remember if the food was good, she had been so engrossed in Johanna's stories.
"No, when I retrieve my mail in my boxers, no one sees me," she replied with a wink. Johanna's cheeks blushed lightly under the yellow lamp hanging above their heads. "But yes, once or twice," she conceded. "I'm much more discreet now than I was as a teenager. I thought private school was, you know, private. Other people did not."
"People you dated?" Katniss ventured.
Johanna nodded. "Yes. I once got caught on a date with a girl I met at school."
"How'd they know you were dating? It could've been platonic," Katniss supplied, and off Johanna's amused look, felt about four years old for making that assumption.
Johanna sucked in air through her teeth. "There was no mistaking my head between her legs and my hands on her boobs."
Katniss turned a deep beetroot red. "Oh. Like - like in public?" Katniss was curious about not only the answer to that question, but about the liquid heat that was searing her between the legs. The thought of Johanna, in public, doing ...doing those things, was sending her usually dormant libido straight through the ceiling.
"Yes, darling, like in public." Katniss tried to not look fazed by Johanna's same-sex preference or her crude talk. "And then I got seen once with a boy just before graduation." Oh. Katniss nodded for Johanna to continue her story. "And somewhere on the world wide web there's definitely a grainy photo of me naked in a glass elevator." Katniss's own blush deepened considerably; she made a mental note to do some private window Googling later. "It makes dating rather difficult. People I get close to, they have a habit of disappearing on me." Her eyes dropped to her plate. "Pressure of being with someone with a camera lens on her 24/7. Since then, I've tried to avoid the whole scene." She smirked. "Until now."
Katniss's eyes darted to the door, but there was no one there. She was almost expecting cameras to swarm in. "I'm sure you don't want to be caught out with me," Katniss said, trying not to let the sullenness creep into her tone.
Johanna laughed, giving an appreciative nod to the waiter who retrieved their plates. Johanna's hand reached across the short table and brushed the tops of Katniss's knuckles. "I'd be as stupid as Odair if I were anything but flattered to be seen with you, Katniss Everdeen." Her mouth split open into a grin - a grin Katniss could see on her father and grandfather, and her brothers - charming and rakish. But where the Kennedy family's reputation was clean and "Camelot," the Masons were rough and tumble. More Theodore Roosevelt than John F. Kennedy. All of the men were burly and bearded, all looking like lumberjacks or Vikings. Johanna had the masculine charm, but was soft and feminine.
"So you don't date much?"
Johanna shook her head. "I keep busy with the work for the guv'ment," she reasoned, looking down at her plate. "I sorta hate the whole scene anyway." Her eyes looked up. "Tonight notwithstanding," she added with a quirk of her lips. "What about you? Go on a lot of blind dates?"
Katniss huffed out a laugh. "Not even close."
"I find that hard to believe. Gorgeous girl like you? I imagine you're beating guys away from your door. You'd certainly have been beating me away if we had gone to the same college at the same time." Johanna flicked her head to get some of her scarlet locks out of her eyesight.
Katniss licked her lips and gave Johanna a sly smile. "Who says I'd want to keep you away?"
Johanna chuckled lowly and Katniss felt it reverberate in her chest. "Touché, Everdeen." Johanna sighed and looked over at her. "Room for dessert?"
Katniss rubbed her belly. "I'm afraid not," she said glumly.
"Perhaps next time, then?" Johanna propositioned as she slid a black card into the check presenter. Katniss fumbled in her purse for a moment but Johanna's hand reached across the table and gripped her wrist. Katniss's eyes snapped up. "Don't, please, let this be my treat for my idiot cousin's behavior." Her thumb traced across Katniss's wrist and she hoped Johanna couldn't feel her pulse racing.
The waiter came and took the check. "You don't have to do that, it was already nice of you to eat with me."
"Was it?" Johanna's eyes sparkled. "Or did I steal the most beautiful girl on either side of the Mississippi River right from underneath my brainless cousin's nose?" The waiter returned with the check, and Johanna quickly scribbled on the receipt. She tucked her credit card back into her wallet and stood up. She took Katniss's hands in her own and lifted her to a standing position. After saying her goodbyes to the owner, Johanna escorted Katniss back outside. The rain had let up, leaving only the wonderful smell of petrichor to rise into the night air. Katniss loved the first rain after a dry spell. She took a deep inhale of the air and tilted her head up toward the sky. Back home Katniss could see almost all the constellations for the seasons, but near the university there was too much light pollution. It always made her wish to be transported back in time, to when there was no light pollution and nothing stood in between the earth and the sky.
"Do you mind if I walk you back to your dorm? Not to go all chauvinist on you - I'm sure you can handle yourself - but I'd like to see you get back to your dorm safely." Katniss realized they were already moving toward the university and she shrugged.
"I don't mind," Katniss replied with a smile. "Wouldn't want to sully your good reputation by telling everyone you dined and ditched me." Johanna glanced over at her as she took her arm again, giving her a smirk. Katniss liked putting that expression on Johanna's face - the one of approval.
A block or two into their walk, Johanna looped her arm through Katniss's. "Okay, Miss Everdeen, let's play a little game." Katniss raised her eyebrow but didn't respond. "A get to know you game. Favorite color?"
"Green," Katniss replied. "Yours?"
"Red. Favorite food?"
"Ice cream. You?"
"C'mon, I'm from Washington. Cedar-plank salmon."
"Never had it," Katniss replied with a shrug.
Johanna stopped in her tracks. "Well one day you'll come visit D7 and we'll make you the best damn salmon you've ever had. You'll love it there, anyway. Loads of woods for you to do your archery in." Katniss smiled. She liked that Johanna wanted to take her to her home. It was far and away, both figuratively and literally, from the backwoods of where she came from. "Favorite body part?"
Katniss paused. "On me or on someone else?"
Johanna grinned. "Someone else."
"Smile?" The older girl scoffed. "You can do better than that, Everdeen."
"I like smiles!" Katniss protested. Johanna seemed unimpressed so Katniss sighed. "Fine. I like arms. Biceps, specifically." She didn't like big biceps, either. She just liked how they felt in her hands when someone used their arms. She began to daydream what Johanna's would feel like under some exertion.
Johanna pursed her lips. "Nice," she drawled, interrupting Katniss's embarrassing thought train.
"Hands," Johanna replied immediately. "I like hands." She took one of Katniss's in her own, examining each of her digits. She traced her fingers along the underside of Katniss's hands, up from her palm to the pads of her fingers. "I like callouses and those little life lines. I like to feel how strong they are. It's always been amazing to me, how someone's hands can be so strong, and yet, just the lightest of touches can set off fireworks." Johanna met her eyes briefly before dropping her hand gently. "You can tell a lot about someone by their hands."
Katniss knew her fingers were strong from having done archery since she was old enough to toddle. She was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to show Johanna just how strong they were. "What do mine tell you?"
The older girl smiled. "They tell me that you haven't had an easy life. A little rough but they still have that feminine softness to them." Johanna took Katniss's hand again and inspected her. "Your fingers are strong, but that's to be expected from an archer. Your nails are short, but clean, so maybe you play sports. Or you're a lesbian. Though those are rather mutually inclusive, aren't they?" Johanna chuckled to herself. "They tell me that perhaps they'd like to touch my hands, too."
Johanna entwined their fingers and swung their joined hands back and forth a little as they continued down the blocks. It was only about five blocks back to the dorm, and they traversed the last few before Johanna spoke again. "So, what's your dream, Katniss?"
Johanna nodded. "Mhm. Everyone has The Dream. The 'If Money Was No Object And I Could Do Everything I Wanted And Be Good At It' Dream."
Katniss mused on that for the next block. If she could go anywhere, do anything? There were plenty of fantasies she wanted to live, but one she would do if she could do anything? "I'd like to run an archery camp for kids. Teach them how to use a traditional bow and arrow, you know? Like my dad did with me. Responsible hunting and camping."
"I think that sounds fabulous," Johanna responded as they crossed the large lawn toward the dorm's front door. "Living in the woods, hanging out with little humans all day."
"I think it would bore you to tears," Katniss laughed.
Johanna grinned slyly. "Perhaps, but if it were with you, then maybe I could find some way to entertain myself." Katniss swallowed and gave Johanna a shy smile before her wide set brown eyes looked at the building to her right. "So this is your stop, hm?" The building was tall, 14 stories high, looking as if it was going to touch the dispersing clouds. "What floor are you on?"
"Twelve," Katniss answered, rummaging in her pockets for her swipe key to the building.
"Well, Katniss Everdeen, there's only one question left. Actually, two, depending on how you answer the first."
Johanna cleared her throat. "One, do you date girls?"
Katniss blinked. Did she date girls? She didn't really date anyone. Just her childhood boyfriend, Peeta Mellark, whom she hadn't dated since they were 12 and hadn't seen since he left for culinary school. Briefly during high school she dated Gale Hawthorne, the boy next door, but that didn't last, either. So no, she didn't date girls. But looking at Johanna, she didn't see why not. "I-I think I could," came Katniss's late reply, sheepishly looking at the ground. When she caught Johanna's eyes, the girl was curling that grin at her again.
"I can handle that," Johanna quipped with a nod. "And my second question, then, is would you like to do this again some time?"
There was a hint of nervousness in Johanna's tone that Katniss hadn't heard all night. It was rather endearing. Summoning up her courage from the alcoholic depths of her stomach, Katniss nodded. "I would."
"It doesn't have to be dinner," Johanna elaborated. "Maybe just some coffee, or a walk." Her eyes lit up. "Actually, there's a fabulous exhibit at the museum that opened a week ago," she gushed. "It's on Alexander the Great, I believe. I could take you."
Katniss didn't have the heart to tell Johanna she had seen the exhibit several times already, and bobbed her head. She had never seen it with someone who cared; she either went alone, or dragged Madge with her. Going with Johanna seemed exponentially more interesting. Not only for Johanna's company, but it would be a chance for her to show off her knowledge. Maybe erase the 'poor girl who got stood up' image of her Johanna probably had. "Any of that sounds good," she agreed. "I have some tests coming up, but I'm free Friday."
Johanna grinned. "Whatever I have planned, I'll move it around. So, Friday around seven sound okay?" Johanna reached her into her back pocket and pulled out her wallet, sliding a sleek forest green card from within it and handing it to Katniss. "If I give you my number, will you use it?"
Katniss smirked. "Why? If I don't will your family have me taken out or something?" Katniss teased, poking Johanna in her stomach. Johanna pursed her lips in amusement.
"Hey, you know what happened to Marilyn Monroe," Johanna joked, nudging Katniss with her elbow.
Katniss chuckled and nodded. "Sure, but Marilyn Monroe was supposedly sleeping with the President. I'd only be sleeping with his granddaughter," Katniss said before she could stop herself. She could feel the tops of her ears and cheeks burning with embarrassment. Johanna gave her an impressed look.
"Well, you sure are full of surprises tonight, aren't you, Katniss Everdeen?"
Katniss ducked her head and ran her fingers through her hair. "You seem to bring that out in me." When she met Johanna's gaze again, the girl was biting her lip in an infuriatingly sexy manner. "Yes, I'll text you so you have my number."
"Good. Okay. So, thank you for a wonderful dinner. It definitely beat sitting in my hotel poring over paperwork all night." Johanna stubbed the ground with her foot. "It beat most of my dates, too, actually."
"It is missing something, though," Katniss started, taking a small step closer to Johanna. The girl's cedar brown eyes whipped up at her. For once, maybe in her entire life, someone was holding Johanna back against the ropes. Katniss was very glad it was her. She stepped forward, tilting her head down to capture Johanna's lips in a tender, but fervent kiss.
Katniss was surprised at her own boldness, but greatly glad she had taken the chance. Johanna's kiss was so unlike Johanna. Her lips tasted like the spice of their dinner, but they were so soft and gentle. Shy, almost, Katniss thought as she grinned into their kiss. She was rewarded with a soft gasp when she ran her tongue along Johanna's bottom lip, and felt Johanna's hands curl around the edges of her jacket. It was nice, kissing someone with soft lips, someone she had to crane down a bit to reach her mouth. Maybe she should've been dating girls all along. The pulsing throb between her legs was also a good indicator that she may prefer the fairer sex. Or maybe it was just Johanna.
Either way, the gentle probing of Johanna's tongue in her mouth was about to make her swoon. They broke apart, and Katniss looked down through hooded lids at Johanna, who for the first time that night, looked slightly off-balance. "Full of surprises," Johanna breathed.
"Thank you," Katniss whispered against Johanna's breath, "for a wonderful date, Not-Finnick-Odair."
Johanna's lips turned upward and she took Katniss's hand, placing a quick kiss on her knuckles. "Friday?" she asked, an adorable amount of hope in her tone.
"Friday," Katniss confirmed. The brunette walked to her door, swiping her pass to let herself into the dorm. She turned around and waved to Johanna, who was watching her leave with her hands in the small pockets of her slacks, a crooked smile on her lips. She looked so darling that Katniss wanted to scoop her into her arms again and kiss her until they both saw stars, but she didn't. "Wait," Katniss called as she held the door open with her foot. "You never told me your dream."
Johanna licked her lips slowly and raised her eyebrow. "Guess you'll have to sleep with me and maybe I'll share my dream with you in the morning," she quipped with a large grin on her face and an exaggerated wink. Katniss chewed on the inside of her cheek and rolled her eyes, walking into the building and resting against the closed door.
Friday, she told herself. She could hold over until Friday. Now all she had to do was tolerate Madge's incessant "I told you so" when she relayed to her the unexpected success of the blind date she so begrudgingly agreed to. Small price to pay for perhaps another chance to kiss Johanna Mason.
Author's Note: Thanks for JMI for her helpful beta read and her suggestion for the title of this piece.
The inspiration for this is from the Game of Thrones Sansaery story "Sweetest Secret" by itsfaberrytaboo which you can read here, or on AO3. I'd link it but this website is REALLY FUN with its insistence that we not share links.