Ensuring the Enduring Happiness of Katniss Everdeen
Ten-year-old Posy Hawthorne is aware of several truths. First, though Katniss Everdeen smiles sometimes, she isn’t really happy. Second, Katniss’ house is too empty, too full of memories for her to ever truly put the past behind her. Third (though she isn’t convinced this is more than speculation) having another person with her might force away some of the memories. Posy even has the perfect idea of who that person might be: Peeta Mellark.
“No, I’m not going to pull you too!” Posy swatted at River,
but the boy dodged and stuck his tongue out at her. “I can’t pull you and the flour,
and if I don’t get the flour to Peeta by noon, he’s gonna get mad.” She couldn’t
imagine Peeta ever getting angry about something as little as that, but
four-year-old River didn’t need to know that. She lowered her voice. “He might
even take away the wagon.”
Grey eyes widened in pure terror. The red wagon emblazoned
with Mellark’s Bakery had been a
mainstay of childhood entertainment in Twelve ever since Peeta bought it three
years ago. Big enough to fit four fifty-pound bags of flour – or comfortably
seat three children – whenever Peeta didn’t need it to cart shipments from the
train station to the bakery, it could be found being paraded in circles around the
square. Without it, the long days of summer would have been dreary indeed.
Knowing when her trap had been perfectly baited, she offered
a solution. “But if you’re good and don’t bother me the entire way, I’ll make
sure you get the first turn after Peeta’s done.”
River gave a very serious little nod and climbed out of the Red
Rider. “Okay.” He followed dutifully behind her the entire way back to the
square, his eyes never leaving the wagon.
Peeta was waiting for them at the door when they arrived. “You
guys made good time. How’s Hatcher doing?”
“He’s doing all right. He said he had a tight schedule
today, so he won’t be coming into town.” Posy was pretty proud that she
remembered the engineer’s words verbatim.
“Yeah, that’s what it looked like from the schedule. Maybe
next time.” He hoisted one of the bags onto his shoulder. “You guys can come
in, if you want. I’ve got cookies that just came out of the oven.”
River didn’t seem too sure about leaving the wagon, but the
dual promise of shade and cookies lured him inside. Anyway, with three bags of flour
still sitting in the Red Rider, nobody was going to be making off with it too
A dull thud came from
the pantry when Peeta dropped the flour. He wiped off his hands on a rag and
picked out the two biggest cookies off the cooling rack. “One for Miss Posy for
being an excellent delivery girl,” he said, holding one out to her. She
accepted it with a smile. “And one for Mister River for being a good helper.”
Posy wanted to interject, tell him that no, River hadn’t
helped, just annoyed her the entire way to the station, but she had received a
cookie for jobs she’d had no part in more than once herself. It was really only
being a good friend to pass that on. “Thank you!” River stuffed a giant bite of
the sugar cookie into his mouth and sprinted outside.
Peeta laughed, a big warm sound that matched the sunny day. “I
suppose I should clear out the wagon for him. You get yourself some water, all
right Posy? I don’t want you to get dehydrated after that.”
She didn’t have to stand on her tiptoes anymore to reach the
glasses. That felt like victory.
By the time he finished carrying in the flour, she was
finished with her cookie and halfway done with her water. “Your hair looks nice
today,” Peeta remarked when he came back from the pantry. He gave her braid a
gentle tug, and she giggled.
Posy saw her chance. “Katniss did it!”
“She did a nice job.”
“She’s really good at hair and a lot of other things too.”
“That she is.” Peeta had a really nice smile. Posy wasn’t
sure if it was because he had all his teeth and they were very straight and
very clean-looking or because he got little dimples when he did it. Either way,
she liked it, and hopefully, Katniss did too. “So, what’s going on in your
neighborhood these days? I haven’t seen your mom in a few days. Anything new with
As she began recounting the geese incident, Posy had a
thought she had never before considered. If she couldn’t get Katniss and Peeta together,
she might just have to marry Peeta Mellark herself.