Now I feel like writing something for my favorite, majorly underdeveloped, District 1 victor. Cashmere seriously should've been more than just a random girl killed by Johanna.
I stare out the window as the train rambles out of the Capitol. Rain is pelting the windows, obscurring the outside world before my eyes. Suddenly I feel something around me shoulders and I reach up and feel the soft material of the blanket. I turn to see Gloss standing behind me and give him a weak smile.
"How are you doing?" Gloss asks, sitting down beside me.
"Fine," I whisper. Gloss gives me a sympathetic look and he tries to say more, but the words don't come to him. He finally settles on just giving my hand a gentle squeeze.
"I'll go see when we'll be back home," Gloss says. He casts one more look at me, his eyes begging for me to talk to him, but I look away. He sighs and I hear his footsteps disappear as well as the door to the car open and close.
"He's really worried about you." I turn my head to see my mentor, Tiara, standing in the doorway. She eyes me carefully, gauging my appearance, one that I'm sure makes me inwardly cringe. Of course, I'm wearing the finest clothes and my hair is absolutely perfect, but it something in my profile; the dull blue eyes, the hollow look, and the small frown. I'm definitely not the Cashmere the people of District 1 think me to be, I'm different, I'm broken and I have no way of putting myself back together.
"That's very nice of him," I answer and Tiara nods, still not letting her gaze leave me. Her and I both know it's more than nice of Gloss, he and I hadn't been close for a while now, but it seems that the mutual experiences we've now shared have created a link between us, one that isn't easily taken away.
"He needs you to talk to him Cashmere," Tiara says gently. "He knows something is bothering you and it's killing him that he can't help you." I sigh. Something is bothering me. What's the point of troubling others though? I'd always wondered what it was like to come out of the arena, and now that I know, I have a newfound respect for my older brother. Coming out of the arena is both a burden and a relief. You're finally out of a very dangerous situation, but now that you're out...half the time you feel like you've never left; nightmares and memories are just some of the constant reminders bombarding you. I don't know how half the victors deal with all that pressure; making their victories seem glorified and wonderful and their future lives perfect.
My problems start there, and it frightens me. Every moment I fear that someone around me is trying to hurt me, a simple touch almost made me go into full panic mode. The nightmares are horrendous and even when I'm awake I'm constantly reminded of the faces of the kids I had to kill. Four. I killed four people, two of which were my age, one younger, and then one older. Their faces are forever ingrained into my mind and they haunt me wherever I look. The three girls and one boy whose lives I halted in just one instant. The lives that were also fighting hard to emerge alive, just like I was. The same lives that had the same-if not more-will to live as I did. But I emerged victor and a victor I will remain.
"Does talking even help?" I ask, looking at Tiara hopefully. I'd talked to one person; my stylist, Craven. He was a good, nice man. He made me feel safe, before and after the arena took hold of me.
"Sometimes," Tiara admitted. "Sometimes it drives all the troubles away, sometimes it helps people relate to you, get a better look at how your life can actually change," She adds.
"And the other times?" I inquire.
"It makes things worse." I nod and look back out the window. The rain is falling harder now, leaving large droplets of water on the window. It reminds me of one of the final nights in my arena; it had started to pour and had caused a flood in one section. It ultimately drove the rest of the remaining tributes together, which eventually led to the battle, which of course led to my victory. Subconsciously I touch my thigh where I had been seriously injured during that battle. There's no proof left though, the Capitol erased that while they were struggling to keep me alive.
"I-I don't think that's really possible, you know?" I suddenly say. Tiara looks at me confusedly, so I continue. "How can it make things worse, when in reality there is nothing worse than the torture you were just put through?" Tiara looks at me sadly and I can see tears welling in her eyes.
"I guess that's very true," Tiara sniffles. She wipes at her eyes quickly and clears her throat. "That doesn't mean you still shouldn't tell someone, especially someone who can relate to you...and is literally related to you." She crosses over and gives me a brief hug before leaving the car, probably going off to her room.
Not much later, the car door opens again and Gloss comes back, a smile on his face. "Trina says it won't be much longer, probably another hour at least," Gloss reports.
"It'll be nice to be home," I say.
"Yeah, after being away you kind of start to miss the place," Gloss agrees. He plops down in a seat across from me and grabs one of the Capitol magazines that Tiara or Trina must've been looking at earlier and had discarded there. He flips through it silently for a moment, occasionally making some small noise or whispering something to himself, maybe even uttering a chuckle. I watch him as he does so before I turn towards the door, as if I'll see Tiara standing there, telling me to talk to my brother. The one whose done nothing but watch out for me ever since I was reaped, ever since I stepped foot into the Capitol, and ever since I came out of that arena a battered and broken person.
I suddenly stand up, letting the blanket drop from around my shoulders and go and sit down next to Gloss. Out of the corner of my eye I see him lower the magazine slightly, waiting to see if I'll say anything. I lower my gaze to my lap, where my hands are resting, twisting around nervously. The silence is awkward and I know Tiara was right, it's better to talk to someone who can relate to you than someone who can't. I'm at even more of an advantage, because not only can I relate to this person, I'm related to them; that make's thing just the slightest bit easier.
"I hate this," I finally say. It's generic and my voice is soft and probably holds little to no emotion, but I feel like it's just enough. As Gloss reaches over and squeezes my hand gently, I feel like it was the right thing to say.
"Yeah, I do too, Cash." Cash. He hasn't called me Cash in ages; not since we were younger, 10 and 12 I think. We always had fun coming up with nicknames for each other. I smile, thinking of the nickname I personally called him: Bossy Glossy. He always hated that nickname, but I thought it suited him well; always bossing me around and acting like he so superior. It was so nice back then, before Gloss had to start training and he and I grew apart. Before he volunteered for the Hunger Games and came back a victor, before I went and got myself reaped, and before I ended up finding out how truly messed up being a victor was. "Cash?" Gloss's voice breaks me out of my thoughts and I turn to look at him. "You okay?"
There it is. That two word phrase is Gloss's way of telling me to talk to him, to tell him what's wrong. I'm not his little sister, I'm some distant, broken, scarred, and scared little girl who won't tell anyone what's wrong. He's inviting me to tell him; he's being a responsible older brother and trying to drive the nightmares away, but he can't drive them away.
"I'm fine," I whisper. The hope in his eyes disppears and he stands up, tossing the magazine onto the table and marches towards the car door. "What's wrong?" I ask.
"Nothing Cashmere, nothing at all," He replies. His response is a stupid one, because it's obvious there is something wrong. He meant it to be that way though, a lesson in what I've been making him deal with for the last few days; it's not going to make me change my mind though.
"Alright," I say. He shakes his head and leaves. My attention is immediately drawn back to the window, the rain has started to let up, but small droplets still hit the window. Some of them combine with the larger ones and, weighed down by gravitational forces, they start to streak down the glass. A shudder ripples through me as I watch, the streaks glide down, reminding me all too much of blood streaking down a person's skin where a fresh wound has just been inflicted. Don't think about that, don't think about it. I try to coax myself to think of other things, better and happier things. I wait for a moment, but nothing comes. Only dark and horrible thoughts enter my mind. Frightening images and voices whispering in my ear that I'll be dead before morning. "No, no, no!" I mutter desperately, putting my hands on the side of my head. Fight off the nightmares, fight them off! Try as I may, the images don't disappear and they only seem to get worse.
"Cashmere?" A gentle touch on my shoulder makes me jump and I end up tumbling off the couch. Tiara immediately crouches beside me, gently cupping my face with her hands and scrutinizing me carefully. "I should get the doctor," Tiara murmurs.
"No!" I exclaim. Tiara raises her eyebrows at me. "I-I mean, there's no need. You just surprised me, that's all," I explain and Tiara narrows her eyes. I hold her gaze steadily for a few minutes before we're interrupted by the opening of the car door.
"Tiara?" Gloss asks in surprise. He then notices me sitting on the floor. "Cashmere? Why are you on the floor?"
"We kind of ran into each other," Tiara states. "I think we bumped heads, I was just checking to make sure Cashmere was alright, what with my being so hard headed," Tiara adds, smiling at her little joke at the end.
"Alright Cashmere?" Gloss asks. He walks over and crouches down in front of me as well and stares at me carefully. "Doesn't look like any damage was done," He murmurs.
"I'm fine," I mutter, angry that both are acting as if I can't take of myself.
"You know, every time you say that the more and more I don't believe you," Gloss admits and I glare a him.
"You do say that a lot," Tiara agrees.
"Because I. am. fine. Since when is it a crime for a person to be just fine?" I demand.
"When, as your caring older brother, I know you're lying," Gloss replies and I scoff.
"Since when have you ever showed any sign of caring about me?" The hurt in Gloss's eyes is obvious and even Tiara looks shocked at my outburst. I hadn't meant it honestly, but it had been poking around in my brain for awhile now; at least since Gloss seemed to go all overprotective brother as soon as we stepped foot onto the tribute train heading towards the Capitol.
"I'll just leave you two to talk," Tiara says suddenly. She stands and walks out of the car and I stand up as well. I return to my first seat, the one by the window, and continue to stare outside at the bleak surroundings.
"Look, I'm only trying to help," Gloss murmurs.
"Help with what?" I ask.
"E-Everything! Everything you're going through! The pain and anger and grief and just everything that's probably running through your mind!" Gloss exclaims.
"I didn't ask for you to help me!" I reply bitterly.
"Cashmere," Gloss begins and sighs. "I know I probably can't come close to Silver by any means but-"
"Don't say his name!" I snap, whirling around to face my brother. I can feel a terrible bile-like taste in my mouth at even the thought of him.
Silver. My poor district partner who died to save my life, who'd always seemed protective of me, who'd always drove away the worries and fears, and who'd kept the kiss we'd shared before the arena secret from everyone, even Gloss.
Even Gloss seems to have noticed something though. I guess by the way we acted around each other, maybe. Most district partners got along well enough, but Silver and I had always been like best friends, practically inseparable when we could get a chance to even be together. We laughed and talked and had fun...like we weren't even together just because fate wanted one (or both) of us dead.
"He told me," Gloss says, breaking me out of my thoughts.
"Told you what?" I ask and Gloss shakes his head.
"You guys were pretty stupid, you know that?" Gloss asks and I have to resist the urge to launch at him and claw his eyes out. "Forming a relationship before going into the arena, what were you thinking?" Gloss demands.
"What does it matter to you anyway?" I ask, glaring at him. "It happened and there was nothing you were going to do to stop it, so just-just deal with it!"
"It could've broken your concentration!" Gloss says and then he moves closer. "Actually, it did, didn't it? You got distracted and had Silver not had your back you would've died! You would've died and all because you were an idiot and fell in love with someone who in the end probably would've killed you to save his own life!"
"Stop it," I whisper, pressing myself against the window, but Gloss looms closer.
"He died because he had to save you Cashmere! You fell in love with someone and then led him to his death!" Gloss yells.
"Gloss, stop it, please," I whisper, tears running down my cheeks. Something flashes in Gloss's eyes and he blinks, realization of his actions and his words hitting him. He immediately looks regretful and he tries to speak, but I beat him too it. "Just...don't."
"My name," I say fiercely. "Is Cashmere." Hurt registers on his face, but before he can say anything more, the car door flies open and Trina, our district escort, enters, an enormous smile on her face. I immediately wipe the tears off my face and hope that my eyes aren't red at all. If they are, Trina says nothing as she pulls me to my feet and starts dragging me out of the car.
"We're almost there! Best get you all ready for your big return!" Trina cheers. Obviously all she really cares about is the fact that she'll be famous for being the escort that brings home the winning tribute for the second year in a row; this is probably garnering her plenty of fame.
"Yeah, big return," I repeat bleakly. She doesn't seem to notice my less than excited attitude and drags me to the end car where, through the large windows of the train, I can see the District 1 station looming ahead of us. Tiara is already there waiting and she comes over and fixes my hair while I smoothe out my outfit. I can sense rather than see Gloss's presence and I'm afraid to turn around, for if I do I know I might just break. That'd be a great headline for those Capitol newspaper: Newest Victor in Tears On Train Ride Back Home or Cashmere, crazy beautiful or just crazy? Neither please me at all, so I push back my feelings as I feel the train slowing itself as we start coming into the station.
"There is lots of excitement about your return darling," Trina tells me. "What with your family now having two wonderful victors!" Trina throws a look over her shoulder that is no doubt meant for Gloss, but if he saw it he refuses to acknowledge it, or rather he does so silently.
"Let's not bring family into this," Tiara says and she squeezes my shoulder gently. "This is Cashmere's moment." Cashmere's moment, my moment.
"Make it one everyone will remember," Trina advises me and I nod. Trust me, I think to myself, no one will forget me all too soon.
"The worst part is over, I swear," Tiara explains. I smile in relief, glad that everything will finally end. The station was a horror. Trina had literally not been joking when she said there was a lot of excitement, if the excessive amount of reporters and photographers that had practically pounced on me were no indication of that, I didn't know what would've been. It took us literally 15 minutes just to get maybe 10 feet, luckily we were rescued by some peacekeepers who forced the reporters to make a path; not that most of them listened anyway. I did owe Gloss a big thank you for keeping most of the reporters away from me...anyone that touched me was immediately attacked by Gloss, who made sure they kept their distance after that. He stayed with Mother and Father after we were finally able to reach them, something about me only needing one mentor to accompany me to Victor's Village and he'd see me there anyway.
"What all is next?" I ask.
"Just the presentation of your house and then maybe some more pictures, a quick interview or two, and then we send everyone away," Trina explains. Part of me glad that she's had a few years to get used to the whole ordeal, although the other part of me knows that she mostly just enjoys the attention she gets for returning another victor back home.
"Alright," I say. "I think that I can handle."
Two hours and 26 minutes later, I regret those words. I slump into my new house, thoroughly exhausted and just anticipating the moment I can climb into a bed and sleep. Unfortunately as I enter the house, I'm followed by Tiara who takes me into my new sitting room and sits me down.
"Gloss told me what happened," Tiara explains.
"Depends on the what you are referring to," I reply.
"Your little...talk after I left," Tiara says. I ask her to be just a tad more specific and she lets out an irritated sigh. "The one that concerned you and Silver."
I'm silent for a minute. "When did he possibly tell you all this?"
"While you were having your interview a little while ago," Tiara answers. "He didn't mean it, he really didn't."
"If he hadn't meant it then he wouldn't have said it," I say. "I know my brother, he chooses his words very carefully; he's smart that way. He said it, he meant-means it." Tiara stands up and walks over to the window, gazing out at the horizon and the almost setting sun; sunset won't happen for another hour or so. It's then that I really notice something. "When did it stop raining?" I ask. Tiara turns to look at me and chances a smile.
"The minute you and Gloss finally started talking."
- Current Mood: okay