happy valentine’s day, just barely! here’s a little drabble that wouldn’t leave me, hope you enjoy <3
“Have you had a chance to look at the menu yet?” Katniss asked the back of the man’s head, her eyes already scanning the room to make note of the new patrons she still needed to greet. A steady flow of customers through the tasting room was keeping her busy–not that she was complaining. Not much, anyway.
The man turned around, and she snapped her gaze back to him, a polite smile fixing itself to her lips. “Not yet, I’m afraid.” He smiled, and her expression froze as she got a look at his face for the first time. “Hey, Katniss.”
It took an embarrassingly long moment for the synapses in her brain to fire, and her smile slipped. “Oh–Peeta?” Why she phrased it like a question, she didn’t know. Of course, it was Peeta. She’d recognize that face, with those blue eyes and that sweet smile, anywhere. She just hadn’t expected to see it here. “Oh my god–what–I mean, hi. Wow.”
He laughed slightly, and she felt herself blushing. She shook her head, forcing a laugh too. “I’m sorry. How are you?” she asked awkwardly. She wasn’t entirely sure of the protocol for greeting an old high school classmate who’d existed mainly on the periphery of her acquaintances. The last time she’d seen him was graduation 10 years ago.
“I’m good,” he said, sliding his hands into his pants pockets. “I just wanted to check this place out. I, ah, saw your post about it on Facebook.” He looked sheepish when he said that, and she blinked. She wasn’t sure how to feel about that–the fact that he could, and did, apparently, read her posts on Facebook. She’d accepted his friend request years ago in college without much thought; they weren’t friends or anything, but she’d received numerous requests from people she barely knew from high school over the years, so it hadn’t seemed too strange. Some–actually, probably most requests–she’d declined. She hadn’t seen the harm in adding him, though. She didn’t know him well, but Peeta Mellark was nice. Funny. Popular. College wrestling champion two years in a row, or something like that–not that she was keeping tabs. He’d regularly show up in her feed over the years, even though they never interacted.
Since she barely used Facebook these days, it just didn’t occur to her he would ever see anything from her.
“Right, of course,” she said with a dazed laugh. “That was the point. Um, thanks for coming. That’s–that’s really nice of you.” She folded her arms over her chest, feeling uncomfortable and not sure what to do with her hands. They were trembling slightly.
Peeta pressed his lips into a small smile, his eyes darting around as he surveyed the room, the people milling around them. “This place looks incredible.”
She wondered if she was ever going to stop blushing at this point. “Thank you. I mean, most of the groundwork was already laid.” She took a deep breath, not wanting to launch into that story. If he’d seen her post, then he’d already learned of her efforts to revitalize her family’s old vineyard, which had been in disrepair since her father’s death more than a decade ago. “Let me get you a menu.”
He nodded while she grabbed a paper menu from a nearby table, holding it out for him. “We do glasses and bottles of the wines listed here, but we also offer a tasting where you can sample seven of our wines. If you haven’t been here before, I recommend that.” She stopped herself and laughed, shaking her head. “Which, of course you haven’t. This weekend is the grand reopening. I just mean–that’s probably what you want to do.”
His eyes flicked up to her from the menu, a wide smile spreading across his face. “Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll do that. Thank you.”
“Sure. Just find a seat outside if you’d like, and I’ll bring the wine to you,” she said with a vague gesture toward the patio, already turning away to scurry to the bar. She needed a moment to compose herself, inexplicably rattled.
It was just…Peeta. Mellark. Here. To see her. Or rather, to see her vineyard, but it was her vineyard. And he’d come because she’d made a post on Facebook proudly announcing the reopening of Everdeen Vineyards, after three years of planning and toiling and fermenting wines until they were just right.
“No one really needs me,” he says, and there’s no self-pity in his voice. It’s true his family doesn’t need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me. “I do,” I say. “I need you.”