Prompt: Hard working coming home for thanksgiving. Stops at the store on the way to pick up the dessert she didn’t bother to make no one will notice anyway and runs into their ex lover. Tries to leave fast but has to take the walk of shame back to grab the cranberries too. Arrives home not just with the cranberries and pie… [submitted by anonymous]
“God damn it!” Katniss was not happy.
It was Thanksgiving, which meant she was being forced to spend time with people she didn’t even know.
Because they’re family, Katniss.
She could hear her Aunt Martha’s voice.
Why should she care that her cousin was getting married?
Or that her nephew had gotten into college?
Or that her godfather was slipping her a 20 buck bill while winking an eye at her?
She wasn’t a total bitch, so she bore with it, but this was people she saw one fucking time per year!
If it wasn’t for Thanksgiving, she was sure she wouldn’t see them again as they never even called. Nor did she.
But, be that as it may, Prim loved big gatherings and the attention; she was, after all, quite cheerful. Her father also bore with it, although better than her.
However, who knew? This year her mother was coming with her new boyfriend.
And that was why she was there, November the 26th, coming back from work and on her way to Aunt’s Martha’s house.
Katniss was not happy.
She had already left the store not five minutes ago, but something kept nagging at the back of her head while she accommodated the bags in the back of her car.
Of course, being who she was, she had forgotten dessert. The pumpkin pie with maple whipped cream. Sighing and fuming, she went back to the absolute chaos of the aisles. If she arrived at her aunt’s without dessert…well, she would rather face a biblical plague.
After perusing the dessert stand and seeing everything was completely wiped out‒not even crumbs were left‒she gave up and thought about getting some canned peaches and cherries. That’s when she heard it…
“Is that you, Katniss?”
She had loved it at one point. Now, it was just nails on a chalkboard.
Turning around, she set her eyes on a huge blonde guy; he had a perfect gym advertisement body, a smirk on his face, and his arm around a blonde girl with the same perfect gym advertisement body.
“Buying for Thanksgiving?”
“No, just came because I was craving some peaches.”
Seriously? It was the most direct sarcastic answer ever, and he had actually believed her?
Katniss rolled her eyes and was about to turn around when the Barbie clone spoke.
“Is this the one, babe?”
“Yes, baby, that’s her.”
“Oh, I thought she’d be…I don’t know, prettier?”
“She never wanted to put in the effort, baby.”
“She is standing right here. And if working out turns you dumb, I’m glad I didn’t do it.”
Katniss had gone out with Cato for two years when they were nineteen. Back then, he had been a kind guy, funny and perhaps a bit silly, but very nice, normal. He had asked her out after a college party, and she accepted; the rest was history.
However, after one year of being together, he began frequenting the campus gym and suddenly started to change. All he could talk about were diets, exercise, and protein. Katniss was all in for a healthier life; hell, she knew if she kept on eating Greasy Sae’s food every other night, she was going to clog her arteries by the time she was 35, but Cato was relentless. He got rid of all of her comfort food and she had been forbidden to eat chicken and meat ever again. Only turkey and fish were allowed, vegetables, no dairy or eggs, no sugar! She was going crazy; Katniss had reached the obscene point of hiding in the bathroom to eat a Snickers bar, only to quickly brush her teeth and rinse with Listerine at least thrice so that her boyfriend wouldn’t taste any trace of chocolate when he kissed her. It was that night when she knew she couldn’t do it anymore. She no longer recognized the guy she had agreed to date or herself, for that matter. So, Katniss decided to end it right then and there. She skipped her next class and went to their dorm only to find him banging the very same Barbie girl who was in front of her in the canned aisle right now.
Quickest breakup ever.
He had said it was her fault for not ‘putting in the effort,’ and she hated him for it.
“Jealousy doesn’t fit you, Katniss. Well,” Cato gave her a once-over, “I doubt anything does. Have you gained weight?”
“If I have, that wouldn’t be any of your fucking business. What are you doing here? Came to buy something for dinner? I think there’s a celery and mineral water pack on sale.”
“Still salty because I chose someone better?” Cato shamelessly licked the girl’s ear, making her giggle in an obnoxious way that made Katniss want to gag.
She didn’t have to stand here and watch this; she-
Was that a hand on her waist?
“Hey, sorry I took so long. I literally had to wrestle this from an old lady.”
Peeta Mellark was holding onto her waist and smiling that charming smile that could probably tame a wild animal, while proudly presenting a ham to her.
“Um…” Eloquent as always.
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know you were with friends.”
“Yeah, no…Not my friends.”
“Aren’t you the baker guy? You’re slumming it with the bakery employee?” Cato laughed while Barbie‒Katniss really couldn’t care less about her actual name‒looked at Peeta appreciatively.
“I haven’t introduced myself,” Peeta said, extending his right hand but not letting Katniss’ waist go. Cato immediately took it, flexing his bicep as he did so, but his expression faltered when he shook Peeta’s hand. “Peeta Mellark, owner of ‘The Cake Lair’. Have you guys ever been?”
Katniss was confused.
It wasn’t as if she and Peeta were actually friends. They had talked, yes. She simply loved the pastries he sold, and because of how she had raved about his cheese buns, well…the double entendre put her in an uncomfortable position, but he had only laughed and thanked her for the compliment, as he had, in fact, baked those himself.
Peeta always made sure to set aside at least two cheese buns for her prior to the end of the day.
And okay, yeah, they had exchanged numbers and texted from time to time, but nothing deep. It was always things about the weather, the cheese buns, or how Prim was. Did that qualify as being friends?
Katniss was awful at being a good friend, hence why she only had two: Gale and Madge. Her sister and father didn’t count; they were family.
Shaking her head, she returned to the present to find that arm still around her and Cato’s face getting red.
“Just let go, dude. You’re about to pop a vein.” Peeta chuckled.
Katniss directed her gaze at their hands; she could see they were both squeezing the hell out of each other. Cato probably thought he could scare Peeta off with his muscles, but he clearly hadn’t seen Peeta shirtless on a hot day, hauling 100-pound flour sacks onto his back as if they were light cargo. Peeta was strong, like ‘I could iron clothes on your stomach’ fit; he just didn’t flaunt it, and Katniss appreciated that.
Cato huffed and let go, and Peeta smiled once more and winked at Barbie, who was giggling like an idiot.
“So, we should be going soon if we want to make it, Katniss. You know how Aunt Martha gets if we don’t get the groceries in time for her.”
So yeah, she had told him about her hellish weekend to come last week, but Katniss didn’t think he would remember.
With his hand still on her waist and her still not shrugging it off, they made to pass Cato and his doll, but, of course, the bodybuilder felt the need to use the sole neuron in his brain.
“You know you’re just a replacement, right? I mean, she went and looked for the next guy that kinda looked like me because she clearly can’t forget me.”
Tuck your thumb over your middle finger to make a proper fist. If you wrap your fingers around your thumb, you’re likely going to break it.
Her father’s words and the boxing lessons came back in a flash, and before Peeta could hold her back, Katniss pivoted on her left foot, momentum aiding her, and connected her first with Cato’s jaw. She wasn’t an expert boxer or anything of the sort; she just liked the exercise, and she was strong. But Katniss must have been lucky enough to hit the sweet spot because Cato dropped to the aisle floor, unconscious.
“Babe!” Barbie girl screeched, and suddenly, two more gorilla-looking guys were coming to her aid.
Friends of his, no doubt.
“Tell your boy toy, next time he wants to bully me to think twice, lest he finds himself beaten up again by a woman,” Katniss spat at the blonde girl.
“You did this?” A broad and tall black guy asked. He was actually pretty scary, but Katniss held her ground and managed to nod. To her surprise, he chuckled and sort of bowed to her. “He’s an ass. I bet he had it coming. We’ll take care of him.”
“Thresh! He’s your friend…” Barbie girl actually had tears in her eyes.
“He’s not. We’re just in the same weightlifting class. And don’t cry; he’ll come to soon. Finnick, help me bring this idiot back.”
“You must have a mean right hook, hon,” the guy with reddish hair and perfect teeth told Katniss.
“I do.” She jutted out her chin proudly; her dad had taught her well.
“Nice to know you have it all sorted out. Katniss, should we go?” Peeta was pulling her a bit, and she let him, both soon finding themselves out in the parking lot, having decided to leave behind the cans and the ham.
Once they were in front of her car, Katniss did something she rarely did.
“I’m sorry I cost you your ham.”
Peeta seemed surprised, but he simply smiled. “That’s okay. There are a lot of hams left, actually; I just needed an excuse to walk up to you.”
“Why did you do that?”
“That guy was an ass, and I know you could’ve handled it on your own, but…,” he leaned in a bit and whispered, “doesn’t it feel good to let him know you’re with someone much better now?”
Katniss couldn’t help it, she laughed. “You’re full of yourself, Mellark!”
“Hey! I’m a catch, I tell you. Owner of his own bakery, hard-working; I know how to cook and bake, and I’m easy on the eyes, too.”
“Not to mention, tons and tons of humility.”
“That, too.” He smiled, and Katniss rolled her eyes, but she really didn’t feel angry with him. She hadn’t needed his help, but he had offered it freely without expecting anything in return. “So, I guess this is where we part ways.”
“What are your plans for tonight, Peeta?” Katniss suddenly asked, and he was surprised as well.
“Uhhhh, not much. Bake something? Eat it while watching TV, nothing exciting.”
“You can come to my Aunt Martha’s, if you want. Prim would love to see you, and this way I can repay your ‘act of kindness’.”
“Really? You sure it wouldn’t bother you?”
“If it did, I wouldn’t have asked.”
“Sure, I’d love to.”
“Okay, but before that, there’s something I need you to do for me.”
“What is it?”
“Can you drive? My right hand is killing me.”
°•. ✿ .•°
“Why couldn’t you just buy it?” Katniss whined.
“Because I actually enjoy baking. You should know this already.” Peeta chuckled as he handled the mixer. After a few more turns, it seemed everything was ready. “I just need to flour the containers now.” Peeta patted his hands on his apron and went back to the pantry.
Katniss took her chance.
She slowly inched her hand forward, her eyes not leaving Peeta’s back, just in case.
Two more inches and-
“I swear, Katniss, if you’re reaching for that dough I won’t make any cheese buns for a week.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” she exclaimed, shocked. That wasn’t fair! Peeta hadn’t even turned around, but he knew what she had been about to do.
“Try me, love.” He then approached the table again, watching a grumbling Katniss cross her arms. “You know you can’t have raw dough while pregnant.”
“That’s a stupid rule. I bet it’s invented. How did women manage centuries ago, then?”
“Oh, I don’t know. They sometimes died intoxicated, so no biggie.” Peeta was serious now.
“I wouldn’t die over a bit of dough…” She said it under her breath, but he heard.
Peeta sighed, and Katniss felt a pang of regret. Damn him. “Katniss, do we really have to discuss this again? It’s Thanksgiving, and I’d bet my bank account Aunt Martha would come down here and force you to go to the party if you weren’t so-”
“Go on, finish what you were going to say.” Katniss knew she was so big she might be in need of her own postal code.
“-tired. You’re carrying twins, and that’s not an easy feat. The only thing she asked for was the pumpkin pie with maple whipped cream.”
“Every fucking year.”
“She indulges during the holiday.”
“Why not just get one from the bakery?”
“She wants it fresh.”
“Why doesn’t she come down here and get it herself?”
“You really want your Aunt Martha here? Right now? Today?”
“…No.” Why did Peeta have to be so logical?
“I know you’re crabby and your feet are probably swelling. Let me put this in the oven, and then I’ll massage them with some of that lavender cream your mother gave you.”
“And a bath.”
“A massage and a bath, you got it.”
Peeta, of course, fulfilled his promise and left Katniss so relaxed she fell asleep and didn’t even notice her husband had gone and come back from the Everdeen’s annual Thanksgiving gathering.
By the time she opened her eyes, he was sitting next to her, reading a book.
“Hey…did you all get a proper rest?” Peeta put a hand on her belly, smiling.
“I think so, yeah; they just started moving.”
“I can feel. Here, let me help you up.” Peeta’s strength was no joke. He could single-handedly lift her up, yes, even when she felt like a whale, and prop her on the bed so she could sit comfortably. “That okay?”
“Happy anniversary, love.” He presented her with a huge cheese bun, making her laugh.
“Peeta, just because we fucked for the first time four years ago today, doesn’t mean it’s an anniversary.”
“For me it is! Come on, I bet you didn’t think we’d end up doing it in the bathroom that night.”
“I seriously didn’t.”
“But here we are, and that’s all that matters.”
Her husband really was the cheesiest person alive, but she secretly adored that part of him.
“Shut up and let me enjoy my cheese bun.”
“Your wish is my command.”