Peeta’s beside me, dressed in an outfit identical to mine. “What did Finnick Odair want?” he asks.
I turn and put my lips close to Peeta’s and drop my eyelids in imitation of Finnick. “He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets,” I say in my best seductive voice.
-Catching Fire p.211
To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. And more than once, I have turned in the school hallway and caught his eyes trained on me, only to quickly flit away. I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I’d be feeling less conflicted now. I though about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we’re going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I suppose to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won’t seem sincere if I’m trying to slit his throat.
-The Hunger Games p.32
“Yeah, but… I mean, for the Capitol, you’re pure,” he says, clearly trying to mollify me. “For me, you’re perfect. They’re just teasing you.”
“No, they’re laughing at me, and so are you!” I say.
“No.” Peeta shakes his head, but he’s still suppressing a smile. I’m seriously rethinking the question of who should get out of these Games alive when the other elevator opens.
-Catching Fire p.216
Yes, and I’m sure the arena will be full of bags of flour for me to chuck at people.
Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games p.90)
“Once you’re in the arena, the rest of the world becomes very distant,” he continues All the people and things you loved or cared about almost cease to exist.The pink sky and the monsters in the jungle and the tributes who want your blood become your final reality, the only one that ever mattered. As bad as it makes you feel, you’re going to have to do some killing, because in the arena, you only get one wish. And it’s very costly.”
“It costs your life,” says Caesar.
“Oh,no. It costs a lot more than your life. To murder innocent people?” says Peeta. “It costs everything you are.”
“It was all for the Games,” Peeta says. “How you acted.”
“Not all of it,” I say, tightly holding on to my flowers.
“Then how much? No, forget that. I guess the real question is what’s going to be left when we get home?” he says.
-The Hunger Games p.372
“Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair… it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up,” Peeta says.
“Your father? Why?” I ask.
“He said,” ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,’” Peeta says.
“What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim.
“No true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings… even the birds stop to listen.’”
-The Hunger Games p.300
Despite his controversial interview with Caesar, many ask about Peeta, assure me that they know he was speaking under duress. I do my best to sound positive about our future, but the people are truly devastated when they learn I’ve lost the baby. I want to come clean and tell one weeping women that it was all a hoax, a move in the game, but to present Peeta as a liar now would not help his image. Or mine. Or the cause.
Don’t die for me. You won’t be doing me any favors. All right?
Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games p.297)
I’m relieved Peeta’s alive. I tell myself again that if I get killed, his winning will benefit my mother and Prim the most. This is what I tell myself to explain the conflicting emotions that arise when I think of Peeta. The gratitude that he gave me an edge by professing his love for me in the interview. The anger at his superiority on the roof. The dread that we may come face-to-face at any moment in this arena.
-The Hunger Games p.157