“The tie itches,” Gale grumbled to his mother as he pulled on the collar of his Capitol issued dress shirt, “and the shoes are too tight.”
“I don’t care if your feet are on backwards,” Hazelle said back. “We’re at this party on account of Katniss’s win, and we’re attending as her family.” Gale cringed, hating that word. He wasn’t Katniss’s cousin, nowhere close, yet here he was at one of her fancy parties.
Katniss had just been deemed Victor alongside Peeta Mellark and the Hawthorne family had the honor of being invited to the Undersee’s mansion in order to celebrate. “Look, Gale,” Rory pointed toward the girl descending the staircase. “It’s that girl you always talk about.”
Gale turned his head expecting to see Katniss strolling down the stairs, but was instead surprised by the noticeably nervous blonde who was coming toward them. “Hazelle,” Madge smiled, “it’s good to see you could make it!”
“It’s nice to be here,” the mother responded. “You look lovely,” she noted, through a somewhat strangled voice. Of course it was true that Madge looked stunning, but Hazelle wished she could afford things like that for Posy. Madge smiled politely at the comment but was suddenly sidetracked by Gale who couldn’t tear his eyes from her.
The blue dress she wore enhanced every feature she possessed, her hourglass curves, her subtle neckline and striking collarbone. “Would you like to dance?” Madge asked Gale who snapped himself out of his trance once she spoke. He raised an eyebrow, unhearing what she said, and she smirked. “Dance,” she said again, gesturing toward the dance floor.
“I’m not a dancer,” Gale said back simply.
“Oh, everyone’s a dancer,” Madge insisted, grabbing his arm and pulling him out to the floor. Gale frowned as he placed his arms around her waist, checked his heart rate as her hands snaked around his neck.
“Undersee,” he grumbled.
“Oh, lighten up Hawthorne,” she smiled and pulled herself closer until their bodies were pressing. “You’re here to celebrate, so at least act like you’re enjoying yourself.” Gale forced a smile onto his face and Madge bit back a laugh. “See, much better.”
“Really Undersee,” the smile dropped from his face, “I can’t dance.”
“You’re doing fine,” she waved him off as they swayed to the beat. “Just follow my lead.” Whenever she took a step to the left he followed, same with the right. “Now spin me.”
“Spin you?” He raised an eyebrow as she spun herself on his hand. “Spin you,” he repeated as he rolled his eyes, a genuine smile tugging on his lips. “I swear, you townies are ridiculous.”
“You’re just no fun,” she chided back as he dipped her, threatening to drop her against the hardwood floor. “That’s the spirit,” she forced out through shortened breath. Gale pulled her back up and her hands found their way around his neck again, his lightly resting on her waist.
“You should see a Seam dance,” he said quietly. “Now those, those are fun.”
“Maybe you could show me one day,” Madge said lightly, a smile on her lips as she leaned against his chest and her eyes drifted shut.
“Maybe,” Gale let it slip before he could stop himself, and he lowered his chin to her shoulder. Just as he started to feel comfortable with her arms around him and his heartbeat started stirring at every slight movement she made, Katniss strolled down the stairs.
The two forced themselves away from each other as the crowd stopped to cheer on the female Victor of the 74th Hunger Games. Madge glanced at Gale out of the corner of her eye and bit back the smile she wanted to shine. “I’ll take you up on that offer,” she said quietly before striding off to give her congratulations to Peeta. As Gale watched her go he shook his head, considering taking up the offer as well.