We matched at my university and i genuinely thought he was the loveliest boy i’d ever seen. He had the cutest smile and an Irish accent that left me besotted. We talked here and there on tinder chat until I bumped in to him at our student union for the first time, we were both in fancy dress and drunk off our faces but we danced until the place shut down. I remembered thinking he was the most gorgeous human I’d ever seen, and felt lucky he was even in my company. We stumbled to the taxi ranks and couldn’t stop laughing together, about anything and everything, about each others accents and each others costumes. We smiled so much our cheeks were hurting and my heart was thumping and my stomach was flipping because he was so god damn wonderful. We then shared a drunken intimate kiss that lasted until my cab beeped me to get in. 5 months later he’s now my boyfriend, and I’m going over to Ireland with him to meet his family soon. That’s some Irish luck for you.
So I didn’t accomplish a substantial portion of writing this weekend, but Ides of March Birthday Girl optimus-pam said that a SSS from WtM might make her life, so I’m dipping into what I have for a shareable non-spoilery excerpt. :D (You guys have no idea how hard that is! Lots of spoilery stuff early on in the chapter, and it’s tricky to find an excerpt that doesn’t at least reference those things!)
So, remember that bedtime story I was considering having Peeta tell Katniss in this chapter…? What follows is a portion of that story, and where it’s happening just might be interesting. But you’ll have to wait on that detail for a bit. ;D Oh, and it takes place a short while after this, if anybody’s lost on what hair has to do with things. (There’s a lot more explanation in the chapter, but I’m keeping that under wraps for now. :D)
P.S. I don’t know if this will be italicized and in a separate section, like the sun and moon tale in Ch 10, or if it’ll just be told in dialogue (to allow for Katniss interruptions ;D), but I’m leaning toward the former since the story’s getting long, so that’s the form it’s in at present.
Once upon a time, there was a baker’s son: a fat little boy with red cheeks and yellow curls, who loved cheese buns and shortbread and birds. Behind his father’s bakery stood an apple tree, and the boy delighted to stand in its shadows and tuck crumbs and seeds into its many crooks for the robins and sparrows that sang above.
And on his first day of school, this boy saw a little girl. Tiny and perfect she was, like the wren that sang in the apple tree at suppertime. Her eyes were at once like his grandmother’s hair and the downy catkins on the Meadow-willow: soft and silver-gray, and her skin was the color of cream-coffee and dove’s feathers. Her hair was black as coal and she wore it in two braids, snug and shining; one over each shoulder and tied at the ends with little bits of red cloth. And more than this: she wore a red plaid dress, just like the ‘lassies’ in the tales the oldest miners told each other dreamily on Sunday afternoons on their stoops.
She was, in short, the loveliest thing the boy had ever seen – and then she opened her mouth and stars came out. The little girl sang, and it was the most beautiful sound the boy had ever heard. In it was the coo of the mourning dove, the merry bubbling chirp of the wren, the cardinal’s whistle, the jay’s brilliant cry, and yet it was more beautiful than all of those birdsongs combined, and as the girl sang, those very birds, and more besides – every bird outside the schoolroom window – fell silent to hear her.
The boy fell in love with her then and there.
When the school day was done, the boy ran home without waiting for his brothers and begged his father for some pennies. For you see, love means marriage and a bride must have special hairpins, and this little boy was minded to go straight to the shop and buy some to present to his girl the very next morning, before someone else could claim her.
Of course, he was too shy to admit this to his father, who was a good, kind man, and thus the baker assumed that the boy wanted money for a toy or some sweets, like his brothers. He good-naturedly offered his son a penny a day if he woke extra early and helped with the bakery deliveries for the rest of the week, and the boy eagerly agreed. Five days remained in the week, and five pennies was a small fortune to this boy. Surely five pennies would be enough for the special hairpins.
Five days proved an eternity, for each day the boy went to school and saw his sweetheart in the schoolyard, drinking up the sun like a robin in June, and though she kept to herself, each day a child or two trickled over into her company and endeavored to make friends. The boy went beet-red at this and clenched his fat little fists at his sides, for he ached more than anything to go and talk to the little girl with the voice like starlight, but he was shy and needed the hairpins to give him courage. Once he had them in his pocket, he was sure he’d be brave enough to walk up to her then and there, kiss her right on the cheek, and ask her to be his bride.
And so each morning the boy woke a little earlier than the day before and climbed over his brother to push open their bedroom window and sit there awhile, breathing the crisp autumn air, watching the last stars wink out of sight, and listening as, one by one, the birds awoke in song. All baker’s sons come to love mornings – or seek for a different trade – but the boy savored these five in particular for what their labors would bring him. He would soon have a bird of his own, thought the boy happily. A beautiful little bird, all black and silver and creamy dove-brown, who sang the most beautiful songs in her starlight voice. A voice so rare and lovely that all the other birds fell silent to hear her song.
He would make her a nest, the boy decided as he sat at his window in those twilight hours and wished and dreamed. High up in the apple tree, where his mean-spirited mother couldn’t reach them, no matter how she bellowed. They would eat the delicious pink fruits until the snow fell, and then his grandmother and father would string the tree with cranberry garlands and bird cakes for the boy and his bird-girl to feast upon all winter long.