Chaos ensues after the death of the man. The rest of the crowd begin chanting the slogan, "We're Mockingjays and we won't go down." Peacekeepers get agitated. They charge at the mob, beating random and possibly innocent people in the crowd. Yelps and shrieks echo in the Square and in my ears too. Some people are even seen fleeing back towards their residences. They shove Amethyst and Jesse through the Justice Building doors and then us. The last thing I hear is a Peacekeeper announcing a curfew on the residents.

Mum, Dad and Keeth head off to the train station but I decide to stay in the Justice Building for some time. I observe the long lines being formed outside the rooms Amethyst and Jesse are placed in. I always knew Amethyst and Jesse were popular but this was beyond my understanding. Some I recognise as friends from school, but others are complete strangers. It takes me a while to realise that these are probably people who they have come across due to the prospective of a rebellion. What will happen to the Rebellion? The two of them are the main rebellion leaders and I'm not sure what will happen without him. At this thought my heart is filled with guilt.

My eyes skim across the line standing in front of Amethyst's door and stop when I notice Aiden, his cheeks tear-stained and his eyes pained as he sniffles every once in a while. His hands constantly make their way to his hair and then his temple, clearly trying to deal with pain and frustration. However, above all, I think he's dealing with loss. This assumption is really just based on his expression while waiting to meet Amethyst and I'm not really sure whether it is actually true, but if it is true it means that Aiden and Amethyst are a lot closer than I thought.

I hear the door open and watch Haymitch walk out of the door. Annoyance, frustration and sympathy are all reflected in his expression. He strides past me, not noticing me at all, hence I run after him out of the Justice Building.

"Uncle!" I shout. Haymitch stops immediately and turns, his hand gently rubbing his forehead. "Where're you going?"

"Home, where else?" Haymitch says, rudely.

"I don't know, maybe the Capitol," I reply with the same tone.

"I'm not going," Haymitch says. "I have much more important things to do here."

"And how do you think we're going to get Jay or Amy out?" I ask. "We need experience but we don't have it."

"Well the Rebellion needs me here, now that your friends aren't here," Haymitch says, accusingly. And then he murmurs, "Why did they volunteer," And I couldn't agree more.

"I wish they didn't," I tell him. "Things would've been much better, for everyone." Haymitch sighs at my words. "But why're you angry at me?" I ask him, frustrated by his attitude. "I never wanted them to volunteer. Heck, if I had a chance I'd take their place without even a thought."

Haymitch sighs again. "Because you made them feel so guilty about your situation. Amethyst felt she should've volunteered for you last year, damn it." He shouts. "She was being a good friend, Ash. And for you – just for you – she sacrificed the fate of the Rebellion." He rubs his temple in frustration.

I take a step back, shocked by Haymitch's harsh words. Is this what he thought about me? Is this what everyone else thought about me? As the words sink in further, I gulp, trying to wash away the sickening feeling in my throat. However the guilt spread to my stomach. It was all because of me. Everything's all because of me. I take another step back murmer a "Sorry" and turn to walk away.

Haymitch sighs. "Things will work out, somehow, sweetheart," Haymitch reassures.

I stop. "But how?" I ask him, turning around to face him. "Jesse and Amethyst are practically sacrificing themselves in the Games. How will you lead anything here?"

"We'll figure things out, sweetheart. You don't need to worry about it," Haymitch tells me and I realise he's avoiding details. I look away, trying to avoid any awkward moment. "Ash, I'm just-"

"I know, trying to protect me," I complete for him. "Amy told me the same thing."

"And let me guess…you snapped at her," Haymitch smirks and I roll my eyes but then nod.

"But I realised that you're right," I inform.

"Ash!" I hear my name being called out. I watch Rye running towards me. He jumps into my arms and I ruffle his hair. "I was so scared when I heard your name."

"I love you, Rye," I tell him, holding him closer to me.

"I love you too, Ash," He says.

"I want you to be safe, okay?" I tell him. "Always stay with Haymitch, especially when the Games begin, alright? Don't go anywhere by yourself when the Games begin. Got it?"


"I'll see you soon, Rye." I tell him, before turning away towards the station. However, as I walk away I feel a strange feeling of anxiety and fear tug at my heart and I can't help but turn around to get another glimpse of Rye. I blow him a kiss and then walk to the station, trying my best to not turn around again.

Jesse and Amethyst arrive into the TV compartment to watch the Reapings' of other Districts after a lot of convincing. It seems like they have already given up, knowing that no one will rescue them from the Arena once the Rebellion begins. However, I cannot risk that. If, by any chance, the Rebellion fails, they need to win. At least one of them.

I don't seem to recognise anyone from District 1 and no one volunteers from there either. The girl from District 2 shocks me as she volunteers despite her small size and weak build. Her hazel brown hair is put into two pigtails. She scurries along the stage as she pushes back her glasses. The innocence on her face radiates, wrenching my heart. But then the name of the male tribute is announced – Lewis Hawthorne. The surname registers in my brain and I realise that Gale will lose another one of his sons. Lewis seems to be about nineteen or twenty years of age as he towers over his District partner. He has pale skin and blond hair but brown eyes and at a first glimpse I would imagine this would be how Rye would look in some years. He is just as muscular as Mason was. At the thought of Mason I seem to notice how much their facial features match each other. One could say that they would've looked identical despite the hair colour differences. Lewis looks straight ahead and at first it seems he is just staring into the distance but when he gives a faint nod I realise he is trying to reassure Gale. When I see him standing on that stage I wonder how I'm going to be able to get Jesse or Amethyst out without the guilt of not being able to save yet another one of Gale's sons.

I don't seem to recognise anyone from District 4, but that is until I hear that familiar voice boom in the square which lets everyone know he is volunteering for the male tribute. The boy – or should I say man – jogs up to the stage, his bronze hair bouncing in the wind. He wears a white shirt, with a couple of the top buttons undone, showing off his muscular chest and tanned skin. When he climbs up onto the stage and joins the District escort and female tribute he looks straight into the camera, his expression as sombre as ever. I gasp when I see his face and my hands fly to my mouth. He narrows his eyes slightly and then speaks, "Finnick Cresta Odair."

What did you do, Finn?

There are several gasps from people in the crowd and a lot of murmuring. Finn could've escaped. A twenty five year old, who had just made it into the new eligible tribute age range, has volunteered for the Games. That's sheer stupidity. Well stupidity for me, but for him it's a strategic move for the rebellion, most possibly, which Finn is definitely a part of. Despite the reassurance that this move is strategic, a strange lump gathers in my throat as the camera shows Finn turning to look at Annie who is on the stage. Annie has broken into a well of tears at the sight of losing, possibly, her only will to live. She's buried her face in her hands and if one were listening carefully they could hear her murmuring things to herself.

That's when I decide I should probably leave the car before I breakdown right in front of Jesse and Amethyst. I stand up, brush my hands over the skirt of my dress and tuck a strand of hair behind my ear.

"I-I need to…talk to Mum," I lie. Keeth, Jesse and Amethyst give me a confused expression as they glance between Finn and me. I gulp, trying to get rid of the lump in my throat.

"He's your friend," Keeth says. I nod sadly before I walk away.

A knock at my room door brings me out of my trail of thoughts about Finn and Lewis as well as my tributes. Tributes? I curse myself for making this mistake before I allow the person at the door in. Mum walks into the room, the nervousness present when she walks to the bed and takes a seat. Delicately, she takes my hand in hers and places her other hand on top.

"Have you watched the Reapings?" Mum asks me.

"Only till District 4. I didn't want to break down in front of Jay and Amy." I tell her truthfully. "You watched it too?" Mum nods. "Did you see Annie? She needs Finn, Mum. He's the only person Annie has that can keep her calm." My eyes well up at the thought of Annie.

I had always wondered why she would name her son after someone whose memories would only bring sadness. In fact I had even asked her this question. Till date I remember the exact words Annie uttered. It was only a sentence but it told me so much. She said "Finnick had always kept me sane, and Finnick still does," as she turned to see Finn who asked her if she was fine with hand gestures. That day I realised that Annie's life resides in Finn, and Finn's in Annie.

"Ciara's been reaped as well," Mum tells me and I look at her in disbelief. Another child of a Victor? I picture Ciara, the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, trying her best to walk onto stage with courage and determination, trying to hide the growing flames of fear and anger inside her.

"Wasn't that expected?" I ask her. "Shouldn't we have known that the children of every famous Victor or rebel will be reaped?"

"But that didn't happen," Mum tells me. "Finn – he wasn't reaped."

"That's what's confusing me," I admit.

"Aquilo's smarter than Snow," Mum says with a sigh. I always knew this but that was based on things I've heard about Snow. I always had a feeling that I would be proven wrong and that Aquilo would be easier to defeat. But Mum's basing this on her experience, which proves my thoughts. This scares me. "Finn cannot be used to break anyone who's a threat to the Capitol. The closest person to Finn is Annie and they don't consider her to be a threat." Mum says and her theory sinks in. "And Finnick's a threat himself. Finnick in the Games could mean another escape out of the arena."

"But why would Finn volunteer?" I ask. "There's so much going-" I begin to say but stop midsentence realising that I was about to disclose the Rebellion to Mum.

The corners of Mum's lips lift to form a subtle smile. "You're talking about the change, aren't you?" Mum asks and I furrow my brow in confusion.

"How do-"

"I think Haymitch's learnt his mistake from last time," Mum says, smiling.

"And you're happy with what they plan to do?" I ask her and her smile fades, slowly. "With some people not being able to experience the change and good life?"

"Sometimes people have to sacrifice themselves," Mum says, although her words don't seem to be hers.

"That isnt something you believe," I tell her. "You're hiding something."

"Ashlyn, I know how you're feeling right now. You want to know and I understand that, but do you really think that's safe for you? You know who you're going to be living with and it isn't safe for you to have that information." She's just trying to protect me. They're all trying to protect me. Maybe their actions are justified.

"And Haymitch thought it was safe for you and Dad to know all the details?" I ask.

Mum laughs. "Don't you know Haymitch? I don't think he'll ever stop protecting us."

Silence takes over us and soon Mum excuses herself from the room, leaving me alone until the train arrives in the Capitol the next morning.

Once Amethyst and Jesse have gone for their prepping, I go to Justice as I have been told to. I guess this is what happens with mentors. The stylists get the mentors ready while the tribute is being prepped. Or maybe this is just for me, considering who I am now.

In an hour or so, Justice has applied my make-up, done my hair and has even managed to get me in my evening dress. It is a floor-length, light cream coloured dress with intricate blue emroidered patterns, which begins from the straps of the dress to my waist. When I look at myself in the mirror, I only have one question on my tongue.

"Why do I need to wear this?" I ask, gesturing to my dress.

"Havent you been told?" Justice asks me and I shake my head. "During the Tribute Parade, the President holds a small party in his mansion to celebrate the introduction of tributes. They watch the Parade, discuss it and quite a lot of the times people announce their favourites." I tense up immediately. How would I be able stand them? I'm scared I won't be able to control my anger and I'll just have an outburst. Justice seems to sense my worry and adds, "I thinks it's just another excuse to party. I don't think the guests would even be focussing on the tributes." His words calm me down a bit even though I know that is probably not going to true.

With all the time I have till the Tribute Parade and the party, I decide to go up to the District 12 penthouse even though I know I could spend some time with the other mentors like Mum, Dad and Keeth. I guess I want to be alone at the moment, although I'm not really sure what I want nowadays. I subconscoisly walk towards my room, probably due to habit, and I am about to open the door when a voice stops me.

"It's not your room anymore," Keeth says from the living room. I look up at the label and see the name 'Amethyst Marchand' and sigh. What did I expect? That this room will belong to me forever. "None of them are. I checked," He tells me.

None? Well, of course none of them will be mine because I'm expected to stay with Marcus. I let out a frustrated sigh. I turn on my heel and walk into the living room my head down, not looking at Keeth, though I don't know why I'm trying to avoid Keeth's eyes. I'm guessing it's because of the kiss between us, the one we had after the wedding when I was drunk. We really haven't been able to discuss what happened between us, everytime we met there were people with us. And, honestly, I was wanting to avoid being alone with Keeth, talking about that kiss. I mean I don't have much to say about it other than the fact that it felt really good. Magical even.

When I enter, I hear Keeth taking a deep breath and even though I'm not looking up, I can feel his eyes boring into me. It is probably due to my dress. "Beautiful," Keeth murmurs. I don't look at him.

"The dress…it's for a party," I tell him, wanting him to know that I havent just dressed up just for the heck of it even though I know he knows me more than I know myself.

"I wasn't talking about the dress," he says. I look up, our eyes meet and suddenly I feel my cheeks burn at the compliment and the intensity at which Keeth is looking into my eyes. The way he stares at me, it seems like he is seeing right into the heart of me, trying to read me and understand what I want. With all the strength and will I have, I peel my eyes away and focus them on the wall directly behind him. "But I still think you look better in trousers."

I want to smile but I supress the urge to do so. 'I need to be strong,' I repeat constantly in my head. I lowered my guard just before the wedding when Keeth began asking me those questions, but I can't do it again. If I do, if I spend anymore time with Keeth, I don't think I'll ever be able to leave him, something which is not possible in the cicumstance we're in. But I'm scared, I'm scared of letting Keeth go and bringing him close. I'm just so confused. I don't know what to do or how to control my desires and emotions. I'm just scared that if I bring Keeth close, his life will be in danger. I'm sure that Marcus would not spare Keeth if he were to catch us together.

"I think I need to go," I tell him, walking towards the elevator.

"You seemed fine with the compliment just before the wedding," Keeth says, sharply, causing me to stop.

"I got carried away"- I turn to look at him – "and I forgot what was at stake."

"What was – no – is at stake?" Keeth asks.

"Everything. Everyone's lives," I state.

"It's always been like this," Keeth tells me. "But we used to act differently."

"We were in 12. Now we're here – in the Capitol and I'm closer to them than I've ever been and…and-" I want to complete my sentence but with Keeth staring at me I feel like I should leave before I won't have the strength to do so. "I need to go," I tell him, getting into the elevator.

A few tributes have already reached when I get down to the Remake Center. At the far end I see Jesse and Amethyst talking to Mum and Dad and I begin to make my way over there passing the District 1 chariots and then the District 2 one. My eyes focus on the ground as I walk, which is probably why I end him bumping into someone. Or their chest more specifically. My balance falters, mainly due to the heels I'm wearing, and I stumble back. However, the person steadies me by placing his hands on my shoulders.

"Woah, you need to watch where you're going," the person says with a chuckle. This situation brings a feeling of déjà vu. It reminds me of when I first met Mason, when I bumped into him right here. And his voice – it sounds familiar, like Mason's. I look up, immediately, to see who it is, hoping it isn't who I think it is. But, of course, it is. Lewis Hawthorne. There's a smile on his face as he chuckles, staring into the distance, probably not noticing who I am. But when he finally notices who I am, his smile fades almost too quickly to be excused as shock or surprise. It is anger that takes over his body. He balls his fists, tightly, tightens his jaw as his expression hardens like stone. It seems like he is gritting his teeth at the sight of me and I can't help but feel intimidated, however I don't let it reflect on my face. I stare at him with the same intensity, my survival instincts kicking in, not wanting the predator to know that your scared. Lewis' fingers dig into my skin in anger to a point where it begins to pain. I slap his arms off of me and take a step back.

I know why he's angry. I can see the pain and loss in his eyes. The loss of his brothers. I don't think I would ever understand how difficult it must be for him since I have my brother with me and I can't imagine how I would feel.

"Will you walk away already?" He spits, rudely. "I don't want to see your face."

I sigh. I want to tell him, convince him that it wasn't my fault. That I wish Mason was still with us and that his younger brother was too. I want to console him but I don't. I don't think I can. I don't think he would understand. So, instead, all I say is "I'm sorry about Mason."

I begin to walk away but he grabs my upper arm, violently, to stop me. "And what about Liam? I lost him too," he reminds me painfully and accusingly. "All this is because of you."

I have a strong urge to retaliate in the same tone and volume he's speaking to me with. I take a long and deep breath to calm myself down, use my other hand to release his hold on me and begin to walk away from me again. Amethyst and Jesse have noticed me as they look in my direction.

However, Lewis stops me again when he speaks, his tone as rude as before. "Mason was wrong about you when he said you were the most compassionate person anyone would ever meet and anyone would fall in love with you. I'm feeling everything but love – not even anything postive for you," he scoffs. "Not even an ounce."

"I'm not asking for you to like me," I tell him, over my shoulder. "I just want you to think about the situation again." I walk away from him, hoping that he would take my advice.

Amethyst and Jesse look regal in all black. Amethyst is dressed in black gown which sparkles in the light. When I get a closer look I notice black diamonds in rows on her dress. Jesse is dressed in a unitard also adorned with the same diamonds. I'm not sure what they're for but I trust Justice. I know they'll look mesmerising.

"What has Justice and Tatiana got in mind?" I ask the two of them.

Both of them shrug. "I guess it'll be a surprise for all of us," Jesse says.

I reply by saying "It always is, isn't"- but I stop speaking when suddenly a hand slams against my mouth, covering it. My eyes widen so quickly as I try to scream through the hand but of course it comes out muffled. I use both my hands to pry the hand off my mouth but the person bends down, places their arm under my knees and heaves me off the floor in one violent stroke. My eyes close as he spins around, rapidly, making my head swirl and my sight falter. When he finally stops I make out the laughing all around me and of my attacker.

"She's a feisty one, isn't she?" He says and my eyes fly open.

"Finn!" I scream, in anger and excitement. "Put me down!"

Finn shakes his head and spins us around again.

"Finn," Dad calls out, his tone a bit stern. "Put her down."

And he does.

"I see you still have some resentment towards me, Peeta," Finn says, in an amusing tone. "I guess you still havent forgiven me," Finn adds with a smile as he puts me down.

"Don't worry, Finn, he has," Mum intervenes, talking on behalf of Dad who doesn't say anything. "Peeta's just being slightly overprotective, as always," Mum adds, to which Dad gives her a side glance but with a smile tugging at his lips.

By that time I've finally regained full stability I burst out into a fit of laughter. I laugh loudly, which makes the heads of everyone around us turn (if they haven't done so already). In the same fit, I playfully slap Finn's chest and shoulder.

"Don't worry, you're father's just jealous of me," Finn whispers. "Who would't doubt such an attractive friend?"

"You're like my older brother, Finn, so there's no room for doubt," I lie, the same one I tell him every time just because it irritates him.

"Me, and your brother," Finn laughs. "You're making a huge mistake, Miss Mellark. You're missing out on a chance with the most good-looking guy in Panem."

"It's Mrs Snow, not Miss Mellark," a voice, says from behind us. I don't turn around. I know its Marcus. "And she's taken."

I can feel him approaching me and then he slides his arm around my waist to pull me closer to him. I try not to react to his touch. I need to get used to it now or I need to get used to hiding my true emotions.

"Obviously I know that. I was at the wedding," Finn spits. "But I guess old habits die hard."

The smirk on Finn's face clearly irritates Marcus because his lips purse and his eyes narrow.

"Anyway, we have a party to go to," Marcus informs. Marcus looks at me,"Shall we?"

I don't answer but I slowly ease his hands off my waist and turn to hug Amethyst and Jesse, wishing both of them luck.

Marcus leads me to the elevator and presses a button which takes us down, rather than up, which confuses me as we should be going to the President's Mansion not stay in the Tribute Centre. I study Marcus' posture to see if he has anything planned, but he seems casual and rather stress-free.

The elevator doors ding as we come to a halt but the doors don't open. Marcus goes to a keypad which I just noticed beside the doors and enters the code. The room must be classified. I look over his shoulders and try my best to memorise the code. 4510. The doors open up to a dim-lit room, which gives the impression of an underground bunker, and is about the size of my bedroom back in 12. I scan the room to count the number of Peacekeepers – four.

"The Training Centre is under us and the Remake Centre," he points to the ceiling, "above us."

I nod.

He pulls me towards two large black double doors, which looks like it is made of strong iron – another way to prevent the place. I'm not surprised when Marcus goes to a keypad and enters in the same code in order to push the double doors open. I figured that a place with such high security measures, wouldn't allow a place as classified as this to be accessed so easily.

On the other side of the door lies a tunnel-like hallway, with dim lights, like the ones in the previous room. I begin to walk down it, over the cobbled ground, which makes walking in heels on the uneven ground a bit difficult. I try to not let the pain in my feet reflect on my face and somehow tolerate the discomfort, but after I'm about to fall over I realise I should take my heels off. I walk over to the left wall, lean against it and take them off. Marcus hasn't seemed to notice what I'm doing until the absence of the clicking of my heels is realised. And when he sees what I'm doing, he furrows his brow but doesn't continue walking. He keeps staring. This irks me.

"You can continue walking. I'm not going to run away as soon as you turn your back towards me. I'm not an idiot," I spit, trying my best to take my other shoe of. At this comment a faint smile tugs at his lips.

"I know you're not which is why you're my wife now," he says earning a glare from me. "Coming back to the point, I can't enter a party without my wife, can I?" I roll my eyes

I begin walking towards him with my heels in my hands. When I reach him, he continues, "Also, I should've warned you…about the uneven ground," he tells me.

"Where we going?" I ask him, trying to change the subject.

"To the party," he replies.

"Then why're we here?" I ask him.

"Oh, this is an underground hallyway. Right now we're under the City Circle, where the Tribute Parade takes place," he explains. I imagine myself on a chariot above us while people are walking down this very hall. I never really thought that there would be something like this and this makes me wonder, how many underground paths and tunnels do they have? "You see the light," he points to the white light ahead of us, "over there. That's how we enter our home."

The way he mentions the phrase 'our home' so casually makes me feel uncomfortable. Living in the same place as Aquilo. Living with Marcus in the same room itself takes a toll on me.

"That's where we're going to live?" I ask. "I thought you'd move out of your father's place."

"I tried, but father insisted that we should stay in the mansion," he informs.

"You don't take a firm stand for yourself, do you?" I irk him a little. I know I'm beginning to hurt his ego. "I mean, you let your father push you around, make decisions for you, as if you can't think for yourself. I mean, I guess he's right, all you do is follow him blindly as if you don't have a mind of your own." I try my best to provoke him.

He looks at me, though I'm not sure whether he's embarrassed or humiliated. "I do make my own decisions," he replies defensively. "I have plans of my own, for – you know – when I become President."

"Are they just as bad as your fathers'?" I ask him. "Do those plans involve abolishing the Games?"

"First of all, Father's plans are good. Second of all, of course not," he replies, quickly, the tone of his voice rising. "The Games are good. They are good for keeping control of the country, keeping the Districts in line and punishing those people for heinous crimes."

"Heinous crimes?" I question. "The Capitol does those, not the Districts."

"Their rebellions against the Capitol, the deaths of all those people – or murders – are all crimes," he justifies.

"If the Games didn't exist, I'm pretty sure the rebellions wouldn't either," I state. "Plus, I don't recall any rebellions when Paylor was in charge." I sigh. "I don't see the point in debating this topic with you anyway. It's not like it will make a difference."

"You're right, it won't," Marcus says and that's where the conversation ends.

This party is definitely one of my worst nightmares. A whole bunch of Capitolites in one room, all talking about the Games and their favourite tributes is not the place I want to be. I am seated at a large table meant for only family: Aquilo, Marcus and me. We sit closest to the large screen from which we can watch the tribute parade.

Jesse and Amethyst were truly breathtaking and they had stolen the show. However, I'm not as happy as I should be as the thoughts of Finn, Ciara and Lewis enter my brain.

When Aquilo takes a seat at the table, I notice one seat empty, which leads me to wonder if there are any additional family members I haven't met or known of. Before we begin eating, Aquilo raises a toast to me, much to my dislike, and suddenly I am the centre of attention. However, later all the guests seem busy in discussing their favourite costumes, districts and tributes while the 'family' table is as silent as ever. Every now and again, Aquilo and Marcus share a few comments but no one speaks to me, much to my relief.

As I play with the food on my plate I hear someone call me out. I look up and see one of the guests. "Who are you supporting? Amethyst or Jesse?" The question was said quite loudly and now all eyes are on me. I look down at my hands, wondering what to say, take a deep breath and I am about to answer when the sound of glass breaking pulls everyone's attention.

It seems that a man, about Marcus' age dropped their bottle of alcohol as he stumbles over air and loses balance. He has already dumped his blazer and tie on the floor and opened up a couple of buttons of his shirt, revealing quite an attractive body, which would've been appealing to any other girl here apart from me. His brown hair falls over his dark eyes as he stumbles out of the party.

"He always creates a scene," I hear Aquilo mumble as he gets up and apologises to his guests about the man's behaviour, which arises the question of who this man is

I manage to excuse myself from the party shortly after the drunk man leaves, following the same route back towards the Training Centre. I walk down several corridors and I am about to enter the elevator when a man – no, the drunk man – blocks my path. He stands up straight and tall yet casually as he has his hands in his pockets. He rocks subtly on his heels. I take a step back.

"I don't think we've officially met," he says, extending his hand. His voice doesn't sound drunk. He sounds normal. "Garnet. Garnet Snow."

"Snow?" I think aloud. Aquilo has another son?

"I'm not his son. I'm his nephew. His sister's son," he tells me. "I've heard a lot about you, Ashlyn, and now that we've finally me,"

"You seemed drunk at the party. But you're fine now."

"I guess I am a great actor," he says, emphasising the word 'am.' He smiles and takes a mock bow. I don't respond, I just look at him confused.

"If you're related to the Snows then why didn't I see you at the engagement or wedding?" I ask

"Well, you see Mrs Snow, Mr President banned me from those events. You know, doesn't want me to create a scene." Garnet says rolling his eyes. "He thinks I'm a drunk and that's about it."

"But you're not," I tell him. "You're not a drunk."

"Well that's something we keep between ourselves," he says, placing his index finger on his lips.

"Why're you even talking to me?" I ask. "Are you sure you're not drunk?" I ask him. "I mean, you're trusting me out of all people."

"Like I said before, I'm definitely not drunk," he repeats, emphasising the word 'not'. I furrow my brow in confusion as I try and understand him. He senses this confusion and he says "It seems like you're a bit confused about everything." Before I can respond Garnet adds, "but I guess setting this confusion aside is a task for another day." He tips his head forward, "Unless, of course, you find things out for yourself."

Garnet takes a step back and walking past me, away from the elevator but I can't help but ask, "Why not today?"

"Because I don't want to frighten you on your first day here," he call out. "Oh yeah, and welcome to the Snow family."


This chapter is dedicated to Sizzle Spirit who motivated me to continue this fanfiction.