This one-shot is based on the song "Ours" by Taylor Swift and her music video for this song.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Hunger Games or parts of the storyline
With the rising sun, I rushed out the door of my apartment in a hurry. In my attempt to shut and lock my door, my scarf that was draped around my neck got caught in the door. I growled under my breath and reopened the door to get my scarf out. When the door was locked, I struggled to properly wrap my scarf around my neck while juggling my bag and my books.
I was going to be late to work again, my boss wouldn't be happy with me. If he found out. I worked at an insurance building. In an office. In a cubicle. It was absolutely horrible. I longed for a more exciting job and one where I wasn't cooped up in a small space all day. I liked the outdoors much better than the indoors. But, times were tough and this job was the best I could find.
I awkwardly ran in my skirt to get to the bus that was just about to pull away from the stop. I couldn't afford a car because of my low-pay job but today, I didn't care. Today was the day Peeta was coming home. Peeta was my fiancé; we had been dating for two years when we got engaged. He was in the military and proposed right before he had to leave, promising me that he would come home safe to be with me. He had been gone for ten months and I missed him so much. Everything was so lonely and boring without him.
The bus driver must've seen me running to catch up because it didn't leave. When I got on, I gave a small smile and nod to the driver but he just stared blankly ahead, waiting for me to pay and take my seat. I put my coins in the small slot before taking a seat in the middle of the bus. My mood was not tarnished. Today wasn't off to the best start but I didn't care, Peeta was coming home. Just the thought of it made me smile.
My clothes didn't quite match; they were just a simple skirt and button up shirt with a light jacket and a scarf. My frizzy hair was braided loosely down my back. I had barely any makeup on. My shoes were brown combat boots when they should have been heels. Hopefully, no one would notice. But my alarm clock didn't go off so I woke up forty-five minutes late.
I tapped my foot impatiently, wanting the bus to go faster. As if it would make the day go by faster. I stared out the window, watching the city skyscrapers pass by and gazed up at their vastness. The sun outlined them, making them look rather pretty. As soon as the bus pulled up to my stop, I got off as fast as I could and again, ran awkwardly into my building. I almost dropped my books in the process but I managed to catch them while readjusting my bag on my shoulder.
The only people in the lobby were a secretary and a security guard. The secretary was on the phone and typing rapidly on her computer, she only glanced at me as I entered. The security guard was half asleep and he made no acknowledgment that I passed by. He usually would check our IDs or make sure we worked here before we got onto the elevator but I guess he wouldn't do that today.
I continued to run but I was a bit distracted and almost ran into the janitor, Jack, who was one of my only friends. He was one of those big, jolly men who just loved to smile and makes sure people had a good day. He gave me a smile and acted as if he tipped his hat towards me and I gave him a bright but tired smile back.
"Good morning, Katniss. Late again?" he laughed as I stumbled towards the elevator. My books began to slip again and I could tell all my papers would fall if I didn't fix the problem soon. Jack also knew that today was the day Peeta was coming home; he helped me count the days down and kept my spirits up when I was sad.
"Of course! But you know what today is!" I called back, joining the crowd that was trying to get into the elevator.
Luckily, I was able to squeeze in but just barely. I stood awkwardly near the doors of the elevator once inside, clutching my books and bag close to me. Everyone was staring vacantly off into space as the elevator went up. I just looked around impatiently and smiled softly to myself, thinking about how Peeta and I used to laugh about those vacant stares. I began to wish I had taken the stairs rather than get in this cramped elevator.
The elevator reached the twelfth floor and I was rudely shoved past as everyone filed out of the elevator. I was bounced around between everyone until I was the last one in the elevator. I was beginning to regret my rush this morning; I wanted to spend as much time as I could away from here. I sighed; this was going to be a long day.
I walked slowly to my cubicle, setting my bag on the ground and my books on the desk. There was already a stack of papers sitting there waiting for me to go through them. Things such as sticky notes, pens, pencils and crumpled papers littered my desk but I just ignored them. I took my jacket off and hung it on the back of my chair before taking a seat. For a moment, I just sat back and stared at nothing. But one of the fluorescent lights above me was flickering and pulled me out of my thoughts.
I began to get everything out of my bag and organizing the stack of papers on my desk. The sound of a couple of young boys in the cubicles behind me reached my ears; they were playing video games on little handheld things and laughing quietly. I just raised an eyebrow at them before turning to my slow computer to start it up.
Just as the login screen came up, a paper airplane went flying past my face. I blinked in surprise and leaned back. I turned to my left to see a red headed boy staring past me blankly, a couple more paper airplanes sitting on his desk. I gave him a confused look before getting back to work.
After about two painful hours of work, I glanced around the room. Everything was so boring and gray, every cubicle looked the same. None of my coworkers bothered to decorate their workspaces and I wasn't even sure if it was allowed. I had a couple of pictures hanging around mine but that was it. Everyone was quiet too, no one bothered to say anything to each other.
Later, I tried to print something but a little box came up, telling that there was a printer error. I exhaled loudly in annoyance and stood to go find the printer. When I got to it, someone had put a sign on it that said "out of paper". I rolled my eyes; couldn't someone have just put more paper in it?
I walked to the supply closet, which was strangely far away from the printer, and grabbed a stack of computer paper and began the walk back. But when I got there, a new sign had been put up that said "out of toner". I scowled and trudged back to the supply closet to put the paper back and grab a couple cartridges of toner. When I returned, instead of a new sign (which I half expected), the printer was completely gone.
I gazed around in confusion, turning in a circle as if the printer would be nearby. But I couldn't find it so I just decided to go put the toner back before returning to my desk.
Too soon, I got bored again and decided to make a paperclip chain. I was sort of lost in thought because I didn't realize that I had run out of paperclips until a couple minutes later. After that, I went to the staff lounge to get a drink of water. When I got there, a heavy man was already getting a drink. I stood in line behind him, waiting until he was done but he strangely didn't move out of the way to let me get to the fountain. Instead of letting me pass him, he just refilled his empty cup and turned to face me while he drank. I just stood there awkwardly under his gaze.
After he refilled his cup for the second time I let out a frustrated sigh and scowl, turning to walk back to my desk without any water at all.
Luckily, lunch came next which was a break from work but also more torture. I always sat alone unless Peeta showed up to have lunch with me. He worked in a small bakery a couple blocks away from my building and would usually show up with some treats for me at lunch. He knew how miserable I was here. But Peeta wasn't here, he was coming home today. So, as usual, I sat alone by myself and the cafeteria itself was almost empty.
Two other ladies sat a couple tables away, chatting and eating their little salads. I ate my sandwich and flipped through a magazine until I was bored again. The two women had suddenly stopped talking and I looked up to see them staring at me. When I met their gazes, they turned away with disgusted faces. When they weren't looking, I returned the face as if I were mocking them.
I finished my lunch and headed back to my desk, not really having anything to look forward to. When I sat back in my swivel chair, my eyes scanned my desk full of papers but then they caught the sight of a yellow sticky note. It stood out against the boring white and the black pen on the sticky note made it stand out even further. I leaned forward and pulled it off the small clipboard that hung on the wall of my cubicle. It read "Always" in Peeta's style of writing.
I had given him a sticky note that said the same thing but in my handwriting. It was the answer to something I had said to him once.
"Stay with me," I said, clenching his hand in mine.
"Always," he answered, squeezing my hand back.
I had kept the sticky note since the day he gave it to me, the day before he left. I hoped he was able to keep mine. I smiled softly at the memory of that moment and began clicking through my computer to try and find the video Peeta had recorded that day. He liked to videotape things so that he could remember the moment.
I played the video with the volume on low to not disturb anyone around me. I watched the video while smiling widely the whole time. We had recorded the video on a cool fall day, the leaves were falling to the ground and we had been raking them all into a big pile only before tackling each other into the pile. We had a leaf fight but when we tired ourselves out, Peeta turned the camera on me only to find my braided hair a mess full of leaves.
A shy smile and a laugh escaped through my lips on the video, I had put my hand up to cover the lens. I didn't like it when Peeta tried to videotape me but he usually got his way one way or another. The video switched to another one of my sister's, Prim's, cat whose name was Buttercup. We had to cat-sit while Prim and her boyfriend Rory were away. I had not looked forward to taking care of that cat but it loved Peeta. I had videotaped this one and it was of Buttercup curling up in Peeta's lap on the couch. As I neared, the cat hissed at me and Peeta laughed.
There was one last video and it was of Peeta writing on the yellow sticky note. When he had written it, he held it up to the camera before I handed him the camera so I could write my note. I used a red sticky note and wrote the same word on it before smiling and holding it up.
I jumped as the sounds of people packing up their work areas reached my ears. I paused the videos and checked my watch with a bright smile. As quickly as I could, I dumped my papers into my bag and turned off my computer. My sticky note was clenched in between my fingers as I ran towards the elevator. The videos I had watched were still playing in my head, leaving a goofy smile on my lips.
Strangely, opposite to what happened in the morning, there was only one other person in the elevator with me. He was staring off into space as the people did this morning but I was able to ignore it this time. Memories of Peeta's smile, his touch, his warmth, everything, was going through my mind and I couldn't wait to see him. When the doors to the elevator opened, I turned to wave goodbye at the man who gave me a blank stare. I looked back to see him smiling and waving back at me.
I had a bounce in my step as I walked down the hallway towards the door. I couldn't have kept the excited smile off of my face even if I wanted to. I passed Jack again and gave him a high-five.
"Good luck, sweetie! Tell him I said hi and give him a big smooch for me will you?" he called after me before laughing.
"I will!" I called back, laughing with him and half-running out of the building.
I waited impatiently at the bus stop, holding one of the small luxuries I owned, an iPad, in my hands. My mother had given it to me for Christmas and I had made sure to put all of the videos Peeta and I had filmed on it. A few of Peeta's recipes were there and a few songs but nothing much. When the bus showed up, I payed admission again and headed for an empty seat. Once I sat down, I unlocked the iPad and began to watch more videos of me and Peeta.
The videos made me smile as I relived each moment, I was sure I looked crazy to a passing stranger. The concluding video was when Peeta was leaving. He had put his bag in his car, waved goodbye and drove off. Watching it happen all over again made me tear up a bit. Since that was the last video (I never filmed anymore with Peeta gone), I turned the iPad off and clutched it to my chest, looking out the window as the bus lolled down the street.
Finally, a half hour later, the bus pulled in to the front of the airport. Many people were also pulled up to the curb, getting out with large suitcases and their families. Some even had summer clothing on, showing that they were heading some place tropical. I got off the bus along with many other people, most of them in a rush (same as me). Upon getting off, I looked around eagerly for Peeta, hoping to find his familiar golden mess of hair in the crowd.
Then I saw him. His muscular figure still wearing his uniform walked out of the automatic doors and as soon as I recognized him, the biggest smile I ever had since he left spread across my face and tears of joy gathered in my eyes. He seemed to be looking for me too and when he spotted me, he grinned widely at me too.
We just stared at each other for a moment, hardly believing that we were seeing each other in the flesh. I couldn't bare it anymore and I quickly ran over to him, he met me halfway and we both dropped our bags in anticipation. We embraced each other in a long hug and I melted into his touch, so happy that he was finally home.
I was so happy that I could feel his warmth that he somehow always emitted. I could finally look into his baby blue eyes and touch his blond hair again. I could even have a decent meal again, something I hadn't had in what seemed like forever.
Peeta lifted me up, his arms around my waist, and spun me around, making me chuckle quietly. I buried my face in his shoulder, inhaling his scent that I hadn't smelled for so long and closed my eyes. He still smelled like that bakery he worked at.
He put me down and I kept my arms loosely wrapped around his neck. We gazed into each other's eyes, my gray and his blue shining with happiness and we hugged once more, still not being able to find the words to say to each other. But being in Peeta's arms was all I wanted for the rest of my life. And I thought, I would be happy to freeze this moment right here and right now, and live in it forever.
"Always," Peeta said and I felt his smile against my neck.
"Always," I returned before kissing his cheek softly.