The next few days pass with a blur. Callie and I don’t run into any more trouble, and we generally go from tree to tree, staying out of sight. But the air is full of anticipation and suspense. It’s been quiet for most of the time, with only a two or three deaths for most of the duration of it, and both Callie and I know something is going to happen sooner rather than later, to make it more interesting. This is supposed to be the Hunger Games, but at the minute nothing is really happening.
So when a silver parachute arrives, with my name printed on it, carrying a box that sends out a deliciously inviting smell, I am more than a little surprised. Then I remembered. “It’s my birthday today!” I gasp.
Callie smiles at me. “Well then, happy birthday.”
I open the box and a huge smile breaks out over my face. Inside the box are a dozen little iced cupcakes. There’s a slip of paper inside as well, that reads Happy Birthday Willow. and May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour.
“Hey Callie!” I call. “Cake!”
She scrambles over immediately to see if I’m telling the truth. When she sees the cupcakes, her eyes light up. “Finally some proper food!”
“Hey!” I say, in amusement and annoyance. “What about the bread?”
She goes quiet, then I wink at her. “To be honest, I agree.”
To make it last, we only get one cupcake each for now. The sponge is sweet and light, and the icing is the best I’ve ever tasted. Every good thing about a cupcake is amplified in every bite, as all we’ve had for the last week is bread, with the occasional addition of berries. I savour every mouthful, and I can see Callie’s doing the same.
“Happy Birthday Willow!” She smiles, and my heart leaps. A minute later, I dismiss it. I imagined it.
But that night, as I watch over as Callie sleeps softly, I finally recognise a feeling that I’ve been subconsciously trying to ignore. And it scares me. Because only one of us can win, so it is no good to develop feelings for her. Yet that is what I’ve done. Unwittingly, I’ve fallen in love with Callie, the female tribute from District two. And it changes my whole plan.
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