A/N Hello! Sorry, I took a while to update huh... Well, here's Chapter Two! :) Between school, homework, and water polo practices/games, it's been hard to write this... However, my new plan is to update at least once every weekend. If I somehow have time, I might even update in the middle of the week! :) Also, I've been thinking I should do a sponsor system with points, so I'll have that up on my profile maybe tomorrow or next weekend depending on what happens and how much time I have... But what I was thinking was that I could hide a piece of a song, like a verse from a song in each chapter and if you found it you'd earn 30 sponsor points. And if you somehow found song lyrics that I hadn't known I put in the chapter, you'd earn 40 sponsor points. Just an idea. I tested it out in this chapter with a fairly popular song(or at least everyone in my school has been singing it everywhere...) so tell me if you find it in the reviews or via pm, either one works. Also tell me if you like the idea, that would be great. :) Please don't cheat by going to the reviews... Anyway, enjoy!(Sorry for taking so long to update...)
Clarissa DeRocky: District Two Female, 16
Beep, beep. Beep, beep. My alarm echoes around my bright room on full volume. My head jerks straight up and instinctively, my arm flies to the snooze button to stop the noise. Once my mind processes that the 'danger' is over, I flop back onto my bed. I'd turned my alarm on full blast last night and flung my curtains wide open to let in sunlight just to make sure I woke up bright and early for reaping day. Ugh. Just imagine if I'd missed it altogether. Of course, my parents would have woken me, or the Peacekeepers would have found me, but still. I shudder at the thought.
I yawn, and stretch out my arms, cracking my back in the process. Then I lean over to my bed stand and completely turn off my alarm so that it doesn't suddenly go off again. I swing my legs out of the comforter and stroll towards my closet, practicing my queenly walk that I've decided to use when I walk up to the stage to volunteer. I plan to be one of the youngest Careers to win. Of course, there's an if in there, I won't lie. I'd like to think that I'm not like other Careers. That I'm not as arrogant and clueless as the rest of them. I won't be just another brute who muscles their way to victory. I plan to use my brains and brawn as a combined, impenetrable force.
Of course, I was expected to be a Peacekeeper like my mother, or even a blacksmith like my dad and brother. They didn't really expect me to start training for the Hunger Games, but seeing when my best friend, Victoria started training, I decided it looked like fun. Boy was I wrong. It was hell. Training for hours, lifting weights ten times your size, learning to swing twelve different sized swords… I got little sleep and acquired a terrible attitude. Everyone sees the Career, the shiny god or goddess that will obviously rise to the top of all of the peasants to the tower of victory. All that is crap. It takes years of training for that. And I've finally made it. Most Careers forget what it was like to train so hard. They think that they were as good as they are purely because they were born with skill. It isn't your skill, it's how hard you train. I always remember my years of training. It keeps me grounded when I feel hopeless. When I feel like quitting and not volunteering, I remember the years I spent leading up to that moment. Today is the day it will all be worth it. Er, well technically the day I win will be when it's worth it, but we can start today.
I yawn once more and slide my closet door open, revealing rows of beautiful dresses and casual and dress shirts. My pants and shorts are tucked away in one of the many drawers I have in my cherry wood dresser. I silently look through the clothes until I find the one I had had in mind. My eyes rest on a flowy, light pink dress hanging above a pair of creamy white heels. I smile sweetly at the outfit and slide the dress off its hanger and change into it. I twirl around in front of the mirror, admiring the shape it gives me. Most dresses make me look awkward, what with all the muscle I have on me. But this dress makes me look desirable. It beautifully contrasts my dark brown hair and makes my olive skin look brighter than usual. Although I have to admit, it does drain the color of my green-blue eyes a bit. But I can live with it. It's not like pure beauty wins the games.
For a second I wonder what happens to the tributes' reaping clothes after the Games. Do they get to keep it if they win? Are they shipped back to the family along with the body if they lose? Do the Capitolites do anything with the body? I wonder if they are shipped back in a nice getup or just the arena outfit… No. Stop thinking about that, Clarissa. Stop it, I reprimand myself. I shake off the bad thoughts and force a smile onto my face. I tiptoe downstairs, knowing my parents and brother, James, are probably still asleep. Usually, my brother stays in his own house, but ever since he's known that I'm going to volunteer, he's been staying over at our house and spending more time with us. He's 24, and has a job as a blacksmith, so I don't understand why he's skipping all his work days to just visit us. It's not like I don't have a chance at winning… I have a rather good chance, in fact.
"Good morning, Clarissa!" I yelp, dropping my heels on the wood stairs. I hear laughter like bell chimes ahead of me in the kitchen and look up to see Victoria standing there, sipping a cup of coffee, her eyes twinkling at me, amused. My mouth twists into a frown. "Always good to see you up and at 'em. Ready for your big day?" she says, sticking her tongue out at me. She sighs and looks up at a corner of the room, pretending to stare into the distance. "Alas, I remember such a day when I was a young, spry turkey like you. I was so excited for this day to come. And now, what a coincidence! We'll both be Victors!" She grins at me, and takes another sip of her coffee.
I lean down and pick up my heels, then trot over to her. "'A young spry turker?'" I question. "We're only four years apart!" I say, rolling my eyes. Although we've got a bit of an age gap, Victoria has been my best friend for a while now. She's almost the only one that I can relate to. She understands me and I understand her, not to mention she's one of the funniest people I know. She can make me smile even on one of my most terrible days. She's never acted like she's superior or better than me, unless she's joking about it. That's what I like about her. "And hey, what are you doing here so early? Who let you in?"
"Early? Pssh, it's 6:00, calm yourself. The reapings start in an hour, so therefore it is not in fact, that early. And to answer your other question, I let myself in," Victoria says, giving me a little proud smirk.
"Of course you did," I mutter, shaking my head. I slide onto one of the bar stools by the kitchen counter and pour myself a bowl of cereal.
"Better stock yourself with food while you can. You won't get very good breakfasts for a while," Victoria murmurs, almost to herself. I stop, mid-spoonful, and look at her. She takes a delicate sip of coffee. Her words really get to me. Is what I'm doing worth it? I've trained for 7 years, and for what? Fame, glory, money? Is it all really worth it? I think about what I'd do with the money. I'd support my family. I'd move in next to Victoria. I'd have enough money to support my future children and husband for as long as they live and provide a stable support for even my grandchildren. Yes, yes it is worth it. I take a bite of cereal.
Austin Slader: District Two Male, 18
The mechanical sound of the car's engine and the chatter of my parents, grandparents, nanny, uncle, and aunt collect all around me, almost driving me insane. This is one of the reasons I especially don't like riding in a car. People never seem to know when to shut up when they aren't gasping for breath from a long walk. I silently stare out my window, imagining how the feeling of volunteering will be like. I almost hope someone else tries volunteering so I can have the satisfaction of beating them to the stage. Or the satisfaction of just… beating them… My mouth twists into a sinister grin.
"I can't believe he's going to be the one this year!" I hear my mother say from the front seat.
"What did you expect, dear? Our little Austin is the best in the academy!" I roll my eyes, although secretly I enjoy the praise and support from my family. Well, it's not like I'll be needing them when I move into my own house in Victor's Village. I won't even need my friends. By the time I win I'll already be popular, and I won't need to use anybody to get there.
"My little sweetcheeks is going to be so famous!" my nanny says in her old, creaky voice. I wince. She doesn't seem to understand that I've grown up.
"How are you feeling? Nervous at all? I was sure nervous when I was about to volunteer," Aunt Tathilana whispers to me, leaning forward from the third row of seats.
I scoff. "Not at all. Completely confident," I reply, smirking. Lie. I can feel the surge of butterflies trying to tear out of my stomach as we speak. "I've got these Games in the bag. Don't you worry." Not a lie. I know I've got this. I know I can win. I'm the best trained kid in the academy, an obvious choice. My aunt slides back in her seat, silent. For a second, I wonder if I've said something wrong. But then I remember… I don't really care much.
"We're here!" Dad says, pulling into a parking lot scattered with a few shiny cars. Not a lot of people in the district have cars, surprisingly enough. Only the very rich people, such as my family. Since Aunt Tathilana won the Games, she's let us all live with her in the Victor's Village where we have all we need. Still, I'd the like the glory and fame to myself. I don't want to say I'm related to a Victor, I want to say I am a Victor. The moment the car stops, I leap out of the vehicle, wave bye to my semi-shocked family, and trot away towards the Peacekeeper station.
As I'm getting my blood scanned, I look over the tops of other people's heads for my so called 'friends'. It isn't that hard to find them, mingling by their sections. I'm rather giant and bulky, so it's easy for me to intimidate and tower above regular people. My friends, however, are almost nothing like me. Jaynie is boring, but popular, so I hang out with her. She wants to be a Peacekeeper, and is rather… ordinary. I don't usually feel the need to talk to her often. Kingston is like Jaynie, but less ordinary and more popular. Haven is the closest to a real friend. He is so much like me, it's uncanny. It's easy to talk about myself to him, although sometimes I end up 'listening' to him drone on about himself which isn't really that important or even interesting. Lastly, there's Edie, my girlfriend of the month. She's kind of annoying though, and there's bound to be pretty girls in the Capitol for me. I should probably dump her after I volunteer.
I'm on my way to Haven when I hear the loud tap of the microphone. "Welcome, welcome! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the reapings for the 87th Annual Hunger Games!" I stop in my tracks and look around. All the kids are already in their places and the line for the Peacekeeper station is nearly gone. I hadn't realized we were cutting it so close with the time. Nevertheless, I hurry for once on my way to the eighteen-year-old section, which is fortunately in the front, so everyone can see me volunteer.
"I'm your new escort, Bonnie Clyde," the escort says from the stage. I look up to see a rather short woman dressed in mink fur and caked with pale makeup. Her hair is purple, blue, and green, and she wears a funny looking brown hat atop her head. I almost laugh. What an odd woman… I think.
"Let's start off with the wonderful video of the Dark Days!" Bonnie turns around and the annual video plays out across an enormous screen. I yawn, loudly halfway through, attracting several looks from cameramen as well as other kids. Eventually, the video ends and I try to refocus on the escort, because who knows, the female tribute might be rather manipulative…
"Why don't we start with the ladies?" she says, lowering her gloved hand into the glass bowl of slips of paper. "Nina Re-" she's interrupted by two simultaneous volunteers. One is across the aisle in the female 18 year olds, and the other is farther back in the 16 year old volunteers. I shrug to myself. Happens sometimes, but obviously the 18 year old is going to get to the stage first. Nevertheless, I crane my neck above the crowd to watch it all unfold. A girl in a dark grey dress scurries to the aisle, casting a few glances behind her, trying to look for the other girl, no doubt. She starts forward, and I'm starting to wonder if the other girl decided against volunteering when a white streak whizzes past the 18 year old. She yelps and starts to turn around when another one hits her right at the base of her skull. She falls to the ground and doesn't move. A chorus of whispers buzzes around the kids, and a few Peacekeepers rush to the older girl's side to see if she's still alive. They drag her away from the aisle, speaking to each other in hushed voices.
I turn my attention to the younger girl, a small, dark-haired girl in a light pink dress. She delicately steps past the gawking teens, her feet bare. At the base of the steps, she elegantly scoops up her heels, letting them dangle from her hands as she walks up the stairs. When she reaches the escort, she turns and waves at the crowd. "Hello! I'm Clarissa DeRocky from District Two, and I hope to be the next Victor of the Hunger Games!" She gives the crowd another wave and then hops back to her place on the stage. District Two starts clapping wildly, but I only smile grimly. I wonder why she didn't mention her age. Oh well, I suppose I'll know when I watch the reaping recaps.
"Well, what a show! Why don't we see what lucky gentleman gets to compete alongside this wonderful lady!" She dips her hand into the boys' bowl and withdraws a creamy piece of paper. "Nathaniel Green," she says. I stay quiet, smirking, as the wimpy boy starts on his way to the stage. I want someone else to volunteer so I can have the satisfaction of beating them to the stage. After a while, though, Bonnie calls for volunteers nervously, and nobody volunteers. I sigh and step out of the aisle, almost bored.
"I suppose I should volunteer," I mutter, just loudly enough for the cameras to pick up. Bonnie and the boy tribute breath an audible sigh of relief. He bounds away, down the stairs, and I get the uncanny feeling that I should trip him, so I do just that, sticking out my leg. He promptly trips head over heel and stays on the ground, sniffling. I smirk, not caring enough to look back. I suddenly notice that the female tribute- what was her name? Clarissa? -is staring at me in the most peculiar way. I self consciously comb my raven black hair to the side and risk a glance at my outfit. Nothing's changed. It's the same black trousers and white-buttoned shirt I'd picked out this morning. I guess this girl's just got a screw loose. I decide to stare her down with my cold, grey eyes. She raises her eyebrows, seemingly surprised, and looks away, although I catch her glancing at me a few times.
"Well then. Go on, shake hands, won't you?" Bonnie says, gesturing us together. I begrudgingly move towards Clarissa, holding out my hand. She takes it and we shake hands, then are led away into the Justice Building.
I don't really bother paying attention to my family's visit. All they say is how much they love me, how much they believe in me, and my aunt gives me some advice, that's all. Nothing much that's worth my time. What I'm really waiting for is Edie's visit. I've been going over how I'm going to dump her for a while now. Also, I might as well ditch my friends while I'm at it. Maybe I'll keep Haven for the fun of it. And maybe also Kingston because he attracts all the babes. So then I guess I just have to get rid of Edie and Jaynie. That'll be easy enough.
"Goodbye, Austin! See you soon," my grandma says sadly as she leaves the room. Wait, what? I almost laugh. I hadn't even noticed my family were leaving! Ah well, doesn't matter to me, anyway.
"Ayyyee, Austin, my main man, what's up?" Kingston says, sliding into the room, grinning. He has a new girl with him that I don't know, and she's kind of hot. And then there's Jaynie looking kind of uncomfortable, and beside her is Haven, looking either jealous or bored or both. Probably jealous for obvious reasons.
"Hey," I say bluntly. "Jaynie, I don't think we should be friends anymore," I say, smiling sarcastically. She raises both eyebrows and crosses her arms on her chest.
"Uh… okay then. I guess I'm fine with that. I was only friends with you because your dad works in the Peacekeeper department… I never even liked you. Now that I'm well on my way to becoming a promising Peacekeeper, I don't need you anymore. Bye, Austin," she says, turning to head out the door. I stare, open-mouthed at her swishing hair as she leaves. No way did I just get stood up by her. I look around at the others and scowl to cover my shock. "Her loss," I mutter defensively. Kingston gives me a weird look, but the girl and Haven just look vacant and bored, although the girl looks kind of clueless.
We stand in silence for a while, until I start talking about myself, and then allow Haven some time to talk about himself, although I can tell that Kingston and the girl are bored with him. He doesn't have as interesting a life as I do. In a few more minutes, all three of them leave, and Edie strolls in like a queen.
"Hey, babe," she says, sitting elegantly on the sofa. I turn around from where I stand a few feet in front of the door. "Listen, I'm not as dumb as your other girlfriends you've had. I know you don't want me anymore. You going off to win the Games are going to change you though, trust me. How about we strike up a deal?" She pauses, looking at me questioningly as if she isn't quite sure she's actually right.
"Go on," I mutter gruffly. She smiles sweetly at me.
"What if I stay your girlfriend unless you die or find a pretty Capitolite who seems better than me? That way if you come home and you didn't find anyone pretty enough, you'll still have me." She smiles again, and gently fixes her hair, then stares up at me expectantly.
"Uh…" I start to say, dumbfounded. "I guess," I say, recovering. Doesn't matter. I know I'll find some pretty girl that's better than Edie. Edie's too annoying and arrogant.
"Great," Edie squeals, leaping up from the couch and kissing me. Her blond curls bounce around my shoulder, tickling me and I remember why I started dating her in the first place. Then she releases me and bounds out the door, and I'm left still smelling her sweet perfume. Maybe not dumping Edie was a good decision… I'll never know until I get back, I guess.
Thinking about it, I can't wait to come back here, with my new house in Victor's Village. I smile menacingly at the thought.
A/N If you have any suggestions that would be great to hear from you! Also remember to tell me what you think of the sponsor system. :) And, obviously, review about the stars of the this chapter, Austin and Clarissa... :D Credit to ThomasHungerGamesFan for Clarissa DeRocky and maddymellark for Austin Slader. The links to them can be found on my profile. :) *We out.*