Summary: The third in my birthday cake series, a short little follow-up. Peeta has a very important cake to make. Will he ever get it right?
Writer's note: Thanks again for all the reviews on earlier chapters. I AM going to get to the wedding story I'm planning, well, eventually.
Peeta eyed the cake critically. He wanted to scream. He'd been working on it for almost weeks now but all he wanted to do was light all his pastry bags on fire. He dropped into the chair, letting out a huge sigh of frustration. What was the point? The wedding was tomorrow. Game over.
Normally, a little baking and cake decorating didn't fluster Peeta Mellark. But this cake had had his nerves on edge since the very start. He was to the point of considering running out on the wedding. He was just a baker, after all.
Pack up. Take everything and take off to the woods.
Not that he could.
He heard a sharp rap on the door. Wondering who it could be at this time of night – it was almost 10 – he didn't have the strength to get up and answer it. Probably Haymitch dropping in to see how he was holding up, but Haymitch was the last person Peeta wanted to see.
The knocking continued, getting progressively louder. Annoyed, Peeta wondered just how drunk he could be. No way to tell with Haymitch.
"Go away, we're closed!"
Before he could say another word, the door busted open.
Ah. Not Haymitch.
Instead a very irritated bride-to-be stood there with her hands on her hips, frowning, her eyes burning holes through Peeta as she strode up to him, almost glaring.
Peeta was about to think of something to say when, thankfully, Katniss's gaze softened at the groom-to-be and she pulled a chair next to him and sat.
"Peeta, it's just a cake." Katniss's voice bordered on exasperated affection.
Peeta jumped up, trying to block her view of the cake. "You're not supposed to see it till tomorrow!"
Katniss rolled her eyes. "I thought you weren't supposed to see me till tomorrow? Or is it me in my wedding dress?" She scowled. "What is it with these stupid rules anyway, who made them up?"
Peeta shrugged, grinning as he brushed her hair off her forehead. "Who knows? I thought it would be fun, you know, getting married the way they did way back before Panem." He reluctantly moved away from the cake. "And I wanted the cake to be a surprise."
Katniss took his hands in hers. "It's a cake."
"It's our wedding cake!"
"And I'm sure it's beautiful and will be delicious," said Katniss firmly. "And I'm marrying you, not a cake."
"Good thing, too," muttered Peeta. "You wouldn't want to marry this cake."
Katniss poked him playfully in the chest. "You're being silly."
"Hey, I take pride in my work! I want this cake to be perfect!"
"I'm sure you do, but come on, you know it'll never be good enough for you. You're too close to it. You should've just let Greasy Sae make it."
"Someone other than me make our wedding cake? Not a chance!" huffed Peeta. He crossed his arms. "And this is my thing, Katniss. It's what I do. It's what I'm known for."
"No, what you're known for is being Peeta. My Peeta. My lovely strong, wonderful, gentle, kind, caring and sweet Peeta. The man I'm marrying tomorrow." Katniss paused, then added rather pointedly, "Not just the man with the perfect cake."
Peeta smiled. "Or the boy with the bread?"
"The boy with the bread always be there. So will the girl on fire," whispered Katniss. "But we're moving on. I don't need a perfect cake. I just need you." Katniss pulled him into an embrace. Peeta smiled, putting his arms around his soon-to-be-wife.
"Now can we please go home?"
Peeta frowned, putting the cake back in the enormous bakery fridge. "Didn't Effie say something about the bride and groom not spending the night before the wedding together?"
"Effie can stuff it. And so can Haymitch, if he decides to show up drunk. Or there's any alcohol anywhere near our wedding."
Peeta flashed her a playful grin. "It's a rum cake."