Anonymous asked you: Request? Please? It’s just an idea. Gale realizes that him and Madge could afford a place in town. (for whatever reason) and doesn’t know how he feels about it. He always thought he’d start his new family in seam but now, he doesn’t want to be a townie. Madge comforts him.
Gale lets out a deep sigh, staring down at the notebook on the table. His scratchy handwriting is tragic compared to her elegant loops, but the numbers are right, and the message is clear. He taps the end of his pen on the paper and chews the inside of his cheek.
“What’s wrong?” Madge’s voice rings out. He glances up through his bangs – he really needs a haircut – and offers a quick smile. Nothing. But she knows better than that, of course she does. She’s his wife; she knows everything about Gale from his fake laugh all the way to his forced smiles. “Gale,” Madge sighs and crosses the room to him.
It doesn’t take her long. The floorboards groan underneath her feet. They live in the Seam. An old house probably rotting somewhere just waiting to cave in. The ceiling leaks, the pipes creak. Hardly cost a thing, considering the last family that lived here all died and the home belonged to the government then.
“Nothing,” Gale actually says this time. His voice is heavy. Madge loops her fingers around him and lowers her chin to his shoulder from behind. She stares down at the book he’s left open, her blue eyes narrowing as they work to figure out why he’s upset. “Madge,” he tries.
Her voice catches in her throat. “Is that how much money we have?” she breathes.
Hesitantly, Gale tips his head forward. He feels her suck in sharply and he tries his hardest not to move. They’re rolling in money. At least, as much money as they possibly can. With two adults who work fulltime jobs, Gale in the mines and Madge at the school, they’ve saved up more than he ever thought possible.
They can afford a house in town. He knows it. And now, she knows it too.
marauderism asked you: gadge prompt because gadge is my drug: being one of the most handsome (haha) top-ranking officers of the mockingjay militia, gale has become the focal point for invasive reporters and gossip rags, what happens when they serve a special report on his oh so steamy relationship with one madge undersee… but wait, don’t they hate each other?idk what i did but i hope you like it??? happy birthday honey!
Without even a second thought Gale shoves her against the wall. He rests himself on his arm above her, pinning her against the bricks. Gale lowers his face down to hers letting his voice drop as he speaks.
“I swear to fucking God, Undersee,” he growls. Madge can see the fire in his eyes, the intense hatred he has for her burning deep within. “Say it again and I—”
“You’ll what?” she laughs. Her voice doesn’t waver. Gale doesn’t scare her. His threats are empty. “Flee the District? You’ve already done that once, Gale, that’s why you’re here in 2.” She lifts her hand to rest on his chest, pressing him only slightly so he doesn’t come a step closer. “You’re a coward,” she spits out. “You’re too afraid to talk to anyone, especially me. To form a real relationship with someone who cares. You’re too scared to face the truth that your District, your real District, needs you so you hide out here like some sort of—”
Madge is cut off by the sudden flash of a camera.
Anonymous asked you: Hi, how about for a prompt.. Post Mockingjay and in district 2, Gale finds out the girl that his friend has been crushing on (or they can be dating) is Madge. Gale until then didn’t even know she was alive. Whether or not Gale and Madge end up together is up to you.
There are only two reasons Gale agreed to his friend’s request. The first is that they survived the war together and he can’t say that about many people. The second is that he has to go to the office in question anyway, and he doesn’t suppose it would hurt putting in a nice word for his friend.
“She’s the spunky blonde,” his friend, Max, had said. “Works the front desk. All you need to do is ask for me. She’ll call my office and I’ll wait a bit before saying you can come back. You can just talk me up in the meantime, you know.”
“Sure,” Gale nodded. “Just don’t take forever. Your list of specialties is low.”
And now here Gale is, marching into Max’s office building in the middle of the day to drop off some papers for some project he’s part of.
Anonymous asked you: I wonder if you’re accepting prompt for your Gadge short stories… but just in case you do… can you write something about where Gale and Madge already happily married but somehow Madge still feel insecure about Gale’s feeling to Katniss.
It’s their one year anniversary and he’s late.
Madge sighs, straightening her posture the best she can. She was taught from a very young age that being upset gives no excuse to slouch. So she sits tall in her seat, staring down at the menu in front of her.
“Excuse me, Miss,” a gentle voice rings out. Madge lifts her gaze. “You’re going to have to order soon or we’re obligated to give your table away.”
Madge feels a piece inside of her crumbling. “Of course,” she nods. That’s only fair. Her eyes dart toward the clock on the wall. “Ten more minutes?”
He watches with narrowed eyes as the small ball of fuzz stalks across his living room carpet. Somewhere on the floor Madge is holding up one of her ribbons, dangling it in front of the creature and cooing as though it’s a child.
“For the love of God, Madge,” Gale mutters, crossing his arms, “it’s a cat, not an infant.”
Madge sticks out her tongue at him and returns to the kitten, laughing as the black and white animal attacks the ribbon.
“If you hate cats so much then why did you get him for me?” she asks. Madge drops the ribbon and reaches down, petting the kitten right between his ears. Almost instantly he falls to the floor and purrs, causing Madge to laugh again. “You could have left him in the shop and I never would’ve known.”
Gale groans as Madge tickles the kitten’s belly, causing the thing to sprawl out into a heap.
“I don’t hate cats I just—”
“Are lacking in attention and wish I would pay more to you, rather than Spot?”
He frowns. “You named the dammed thing Spot?”
“He has spots,” Madge notes. “Nice subject change, might I add.” Gale bites back another groan and drops his head backwards, dragging his hands through his hair. Madge scoops the kitten into her hands and makes her way to the couch. “Here. Bond.”
Madge deposits the tiny squirming thing on Gale’s lap and takes the open spot on the other end of the couch. He looks down at the speckled beast and watches as he nudges Gale’s hand, begging to be petted like Madge had just done.
Gale can’t help but scratch the little guy between his ears, receiving a purr in appreciation.
“I don’t hate cats,” Gale says again, looking up toward Madge who is studying the pair of them with a smile. “And I knew that you wanted one, hence the cat.”
“He’s not so bad,” Madge tells him. The kitten on Gale’s lap nuzzles into his shirt and curls into a ball on his stomach. “See? He already likes you. Took him less time than me.”
“Hilarious,” Gale frowns at her as she giggles. Madge shifts across the couch and curls into his side much like the kitten has. “So you like him then?” Gale murmurs.
“Yes,” Madge says with a yawn. Gale bends down and presses his lips to her forehead. “I’d watch out if I were you though,” she warns him. “You might have some competition.”
Gale rolls his eyes. “What? This fleabag?”
“This fleabag,” Madge grumbles, “has plenty of sharp teeth and daggers as nails. So be careful.” Just then, the kitten sneezes. “He’s a monster,” she teases.
ooh like how
perhaps! i like the idea of gale switching to calling her madge after the wedding instead of undersee because she’s not undersee anymore but she’s still madge yuh no???
Madge’s engaged to Gale Hawthorne but it appears as though he can’t even remember her name.
“What’s gotten into you, Undersee?” He waves his hand toward her and frowns. “You alright?”
“Madge,” she blurts out.
She’s put up with it long enough. The entirety of their relationship he’s called her Undersee. At first it was bitter, harsh remarks. Eventually it molded into flirting teases. Then something of a relationship, and now… now what?
Madge paces toward him. “My name is Madge.”
Gale’s eyebrows furrow and he frowns. “I know that,” he says. Again his hand extends but this time he attempts to link it with hers. She pulls away.
“Then call me Madge,” she says. They’re engaged for crying out loud. No longer teenagers. No longer dating. Engaged. “Like you mean it.”
For a moment he pauses, but then Gale’s smirking. “Madge,” he murmurs, “you’re acting ridiculous.”
Somehow he manages to get lace his fingers with hers. Despite his hold she’s still angry.
“We’re getting married in two weeks, Gale, and I’ve barely ever heard you say my name.” In fact, she’s starting to think that he hates it.
This time he really frowns, shaking his head. “That’s not true.” Madge opens her mouth to protest but he cuts her off. “Your name is beautiful. But you’ll always have time to be Madge.”
“You’ll only be Undersee for two more weeks,” he whispers. “Madge, you’ll always be Undersee until you’re not.” Gale bends down and kisses her gently. “Because then you’ll be Hawthorne.”
She lets the nickname stay.
Every relationship is a time bomb.
His relationship with her ends in a fit of yelling. Madge calls him names that her mother would be ashamed even come out of her mouth. Gale picks out all her flaws just to spite her.
“I hate your tangled mess,” he growls. Her hair is anything but messy. “And your crooked teeth.” She has the most beautiful smile in District 12. “I hate all the money you have and how you flaunt it.” She’d never show off her wealth.
“You’re a man whore,” she snaps. He’s only ever had eyes for her. “You don’t care one bit about anyone but yourself.” Gale is the most selfless person she’s ever met. “I hate you!”
But she doesn’t.
“Good,” he hisses, “just like you should. I’m the dirt underneath your feet, Undersee. Wouldn’t want to drag me in, your maid would have to sweep me out!”
She slaps him. The pain tingles in his cheek and wraps around his heart. Madge Undersee would never hurt a fly and she’s just slapped him.
“Take it back,” she pleads. Her fingers clutch at his shirt. “Gale, you didn’t mean that.”
He shoves her hands away and takes a step back. “You hit me.”
“You’re treating me like I’m a snob!” she cries. Madge takes a step toward him but again he retreats. “Gale I didn’t—I was so angry that you said that, you know I’d never—”
“But you did,” he grunts. “Christ, Madge,” he throws his hands up, “and I deserved it!” Gale turns toward her but refuses to move any closer. “This is why we can’t—this is why I have to go.”
“Gale,” she tries again. “C’mon, we… we fight all the time, we—”
“It’s not right,” he shakes his head. “We can’t do this anymore.” Gale balls his hands into fists to keep himself from pulling her toward him.
“But I love you,” she whispers. He jerks his head into a no and steps away. “Don’t you walk away from me!” But he does. “Gale Hawthorne!” She runs at him and hits him again. Shoves him away. “Fine! Go!” So he leaves, pretending he can’t hear her cries fading behind him.
Every relationship is a time bomb, but the real bombs that fall that night and take her away are so much worse.
Living together was a necessity. They were both broke after the war ended and needed to save some money. And moving to District 2 was a necessity. Neither could face their ruined District or those back in 12.
But going to the bar together was a choice. And the drinking was a choice.
“We don’t have enough money for this, Undersee,” Gale scolded her playfully as Madge sipped at her cocktail.
“I didn’t pay for it,” she told him. “That nice man over there bought it for me.”
Gale lifted an eyebrow as Madge giggled, tossing her golden hair over her shoulder. “How’d you manage that?”
“Told him it was my birthday,” she grinned. Gale tugged the glass out of her hand and tipped the alcohol down his throat. “Hey,” Madge stuck out her bottom lip and frowned. “That was mine.”
“It’s your birthday, Blondie,” Gale said loudly. “I’m sure someone can buy you a drink.”
Madge opened her mouth to protest but instantly others were shouting out their cheers. Drinks on me! Happy birthday, Princess! Here, have another! By the time the night was over Madge was so drunk she was hiccupping, and Gale could barely walk in a straight line.
“Gale, Gale, Gale,” Madge giggled as he backed her into the corner of the elevator. “Yoooou never put the lid back on the toothpaste!”
His fingers sloppily twirled through her curls, and he fell forward as the elevator shifted. It was an old building. The elevator was rickety. “On purpose, kid.”
“Don’t kid me,” she jabbed his chest. “I am only two years younger than you!” Gale propped himself on his forearm and hovered over her. “Or do the dishes or the laundry I alwaays do your laundry!”
“Willingly,” he smirked. Gale swayed as the elevator settled on their floor. “We’re here,” he reached down and grabbed her wrist. “C’mon, Undersee.”
They fiddled with the key for a few minutes before finally cracking it open. Madge stumbled into the apartment and tugged Gale along with her, laughing as he steadied himself on her hips.
“You never call me Madge,” she joked as the door slammed shut. She tripped backwards on the couch and Gale went with her. “Call me Madge,” she demanded.
The slurred state of her voice somehow sounded a bit more intoxicating than ever before. Gale grinned. “Madge,” he whispered.
She fidgeted under him and laughed loudly. “You’re squishing me!”
“I didn’t get you a birthday present,” Gale huffed, trying to shift off of her.
Again she laughed, “It’s not really my birthday! You know that!” Gale shrugged and rolled off of her, falling onto the floor with a thud. “Ugh, go to bed,” she told him, throwing her head back on the couch. Gale propped himself up on his elbow and looked toward her. “Why ya lookin’ at me like that, Hawthorne?”
“Whens really your birthday?” he asked her.
“It’s in July.” Madge shook her head. “Stop lookin’ at me funny!”
“You’re pretty, Undersee.”
“You’re drunk,” she laughed. And then laughed harder. “Me too. Go to bed.”
He chuckled and pulled his free hand through his hair. “Come with me.”
“Drunk, drunk, drunk,” Madge repeated. “Absolutely not!”
“I’ll just hold you,” he said, nodding his head. “That’s all I swear. Lemme hold you, Madge. You’re so pretty.”
Madge rolled her eyes with a laugh and somehow forced herself to her feet. She held out her hand and managed to get Gale on his feet too. Again he was swaying, using her hips to steady himself. He dropped his head down into her hair.
“Smell good, too, like fancy shampoo,” he added. Madge giggled as his lips grazed her skin. “Madge,” Gale hummed. She led him to his room. “How do you put up with me? I’m such a bum.”
“You’re my bum,” she teased.
“No, your bum is right here,” he reached down and pinched her rear.
“Oh!” Madge jumped and laughed, turning the two of them so Gale ended up falling on his mattress. “Go, to, bed! You are entirely too drunk!”
But Gale had a grip on her and she somehow ended up next to him. Before she could wiggle her way out Gale slipped his arms around her and pressed her body to his.
“I get it, I get it,” Gale whispered. “Go to bed.”
“You’re drunk,” Madge repeated tiredly, though still wearing a soft smile.
“And it’s your birthday,” he purred. His lips found her shoulder and he pressed a quick kiss to her skin. Maybe in the morning he’d tell her how much of a necessity she really was.
Just like every Tuesday, Gale shows up five minutes before Madge does to Quell training. It’s a routine. So Peeta is expecting it by now.
The hunter kicks off his shoes as he enters the house, clearly stressed from his long day at the mines. Peeta supposes he should be a bit gentler with Gale because of it, but he’s not going to cave now. He’s been rehearsing this speech all day.
“Gale,” Peeta’s voice booms. The person in question freezes, cocking his head a bit to look at the blonde. “I need to talk to you.”
“Alright,” Gale tips his head. One of his eyebrows is raised. He shrugs off his jacket. “About what?”
By the look on his face Peeta’s sure Gale is preparing himself for some sort of Katniss speech. But when Peeta answers “Madge,” a look of panic flickers over Gale’s features.
“What about her?”
“I know you like her,” Peeta says. He takes a step closer. Peeta wants to watch Gale quake in fear but the miner would never do that in front of him. “And I swear to God if you hurt her I’ll wring your neck.”
Gale rolls his eyes and hangs his jacket on a hook before stalking past Peeta and into the living room. “Katniss here?”
“She’s outside with Haymitch,” Peeta answers, following him closely. “Gale, I’m serious. Madge is basically my sister.”
“What could you possibly be serious about, Mellark?” Gale scowls at the boy in front of him. “Where’s your proof?”
“In your face,” Peeta answers. He hates that his leg makes him limp a bit. He wants to be intimidating. “In the way that you always wait until Madge is done so you can walk home with her. Or how your eyes always follow her.” Gale drops himself down to the couch and avoids Peeta’s gaze. “How when sometimes she’ll say things and you have to make an effort not to smile.”
“So what?” Gale mutters. “She’s the mayor’s kid. There’s nothing there.”
“Oh, there’s something there,” Peeta continues. “And I’m just telling you now that if it evolves into something you can’t control I’ll beat you senseless.”
Peeta doesn’t add the fact that he won a Hunger Games and is training to go into another. He thinks Gale is smart enough to understand what Peeta’s capable of.
“It’s not going to evolve into anything,” Gale grunts. “Didn’t you hear me? She’s the mayor’s kid. She’s a hell of a lot better than I am and can do better than me. She’s smart and sneaky and,” Gale pauses. “There’s nothing there,” he says again. “Madge’s too good for me.”
Madge’s voice suddenly rings out from behind the both of them. “I think that’s for me to decide, don’t you?” she asks.
Gale leaps to his feet and spins around to see her. His face is so pale he could be considered a town kid at this point. “Madge,” he chokes out. “I—I can… you hear all that?”
Madge shrugs off her jacket but keeps her eyes on Gale. “Most of it,” she nods. Gale stumbles over his own two feet to reach her and Peeta relaxes backwards on the couch, giving them their privacy. Madge’s voices drops. “You think I’m sneaky?”
Gale laughs nervously. “How else would we get all these Capitol papers?” he murmurs. In their shadow reflected on the floor Peeta watches Madge reach for his hand.
Thank God for such a predictable routine.
Thom had told Gale numerous times that the girls from town were off limits. “Never trust blondes,” he had said, thumping Gale on the back, “because they will always disappear on you.” For a while, Gale assumed this to be true. Thom was his best friend, a man of wisdom.
But then there was Madge Undersee.
The first time Gale dropped off strawberries at the Undersee household without Katniss, it took Madge a bit to answer the door. Gale thought at that moment he might have lost her already.
“Sorry it took me so long,” Madge said, thrusting coins into his hand without meeting his gaze. “I was playing the piano, it was so loud.”
And then there was that time in which he invited her to dinner. She showed up late with a basket of bread. “Where the hell’ve you been?” Gale asked, lifting an eyebrow.
“I got lost,” she choked out. Panic flashed in her big blue eyes. Continuously nervous. “I had to ask someone for directions.” Gale forgave her when she apologized again and again.
Madge Undersee was peculiar. For some reason Gale had been drawn to her ever since the start. She was so gentle, so cautious. Madge had a heart that was big enough for anyone and everyone. She would listen to anything anyone had to say. Even Gale.
And he trusted her.
He knew he shouldn’t. Not just because of Thom’s warning (“She’ll leave you, they always do.”) but because she was too good for someone like him. Nonjudgmental and forgiving and entirely too sweet. But dammit, he trusted her.
When she slipped away after his whipping he cursed himself. A few hideous scars were enough to drive her away. To vanish. He almost admitted that Thom was right. But Madge showed up eventually with a tiny smile and deep red cheeks.
“I wanted to give you time,” she told him.
“To heal,” Madge shrugged. “To think.” Gale had spent plenty of time thinking. Mostly about her, but he never would’ve told her that then.
“Don’t disappear on me,” Gale had nearly growled. She wasn’t allowed to enter his life and then fade away like that. Not her.
Again she smiled, the red cheeks making their way to her face again. “I won’t.”
For a while, Madge was true to her word. She would come over for dinner with the Hawthorne’s almost once a week. She would squeeze his hand whenever he was stressed, reassuring Gale that she was still there. Madge would sit with Gale in the meadow and let him rant about anything and everything.
And he trusted that she would always be there.
In a way Thom was right. Madge disappeared on him. Just not the way Gale thought she would. She didn’t fade away. She didn’t sink into the shadows. Madge was stolen in a storm of fire and ash without even a goodbye.
He never trusted a blonde again.
Ever since Gale had found out Madge was the one who had given him the morphling, things had been a bit more difficult. He attempted to avoid her but the harder they he the more often he ran into the blonde. In the Square. Around the Victor’s Village. He would always divert their eyes and continue on his way.
It wasn’t as though Gale hated her. He just didn’t know what to say. She was the mayor’s daughter with her precious golden hair and oceanic blue eyes. She had freckles that danced across her nose as though they were stars in the night sky. She was quiet and gentle and Gale wasn’t.
The day they both leave Katniss’ house after a Quell training session he can feel her eyes on him. She’s a few paces behind him, mostly because he keeps his strides long so they won’t have to walk together.
“Gale,” she calls out. Her voice is sweet like honey. “Wait up.” And for some unbeknownst reason, he does. Gale hears her footsteps moving toward him in a light jog, gentle against the stone pathway. When she reaches him her cheeks are pink. “Hi.”
Gale shoves his hands into his back pockets. “Hey.”
He keeps his strides just as long as they had been before but Madge doesn’t slow down at all. She matches his pace with her tiny little legs. “Why are you avoiding me?” she asks him. Gale doesn’t respond, only picks up his pace. “Oh, slow down,” Madge says, grabbing his arm and forcing him to halt.
“Why did you bring me morphling?” he demands. When Rory had asked about it the entire idea seemed like a damn joke to him. Cruel and heartless, but it had been the truth. She risked her life to save his, in a blizzard no less. Had peacekeepers caught the girl she would’ve been in heaps of trouble. “We’re not even friends, Undersee.”
Madge blinks. Once. Twice. Her eyes start to fill with tears that won’t fall anyway. “You really don’t see me, do you?”
His eyebrows narrow on his forehead. “What?”
“I mean of course you see me,” Madge sniffs, dropping her gaze a bit. “I watch your eyes shoot the other direction every single time we’re in the same area. But you don’t see me.”
Guilt trickles through his system, cold and damp. He ducks his head as if avoiding a blow. She knows he’s been ignoring her and in a way, it hurts him.
“I don’t get it,” he says lamely.
“You got mad when you saw I gave Katniss my pin,” Madge tells him, “but you didn’t even think as to why I gave it to her.” She pauses and tugs on her hair. “Songbirds,” she says with a soft laugh, shaking her head. “And you got angry when you found out I play the piano for the Capitol citizens who visit,” Madge continues. “But never thought as to why I did it in the first place. Keeping them distracted.”
“Or when I gave that first interview supporting Katniss and Peeta’s relationship,” Madge goes on weakly. “But you didn’t consider that I was helping them.” She blinks and then swats at her eyes. Something in him is cracking, seeing her like this. “You know that I gave you morphling. Did you ever think about why?”
“What do you—”
“Of course you didn’t,” Madge answers for him, taking a step back. “Because you see me, but you don’t.” Gale swallows. “You look right through me, Gale.” Still tugging on her hair Madge lets out a deep breath. “Maybe we’re not friends but that doesn’t mean…” she trails off and furrows her eyebrows.
“Doesn’t mean what?” Gale asks. Her shoulders lift. “Madge, what doesn’t—”
“Just forget it,” she finally answers. Her eyes lift to meet his and again he feels his core shattering to tiny pieces. The look in her eyes is so desperate. “Never mind.” Madge drops her hair and rubs at her eyes. “Never mind,” she says again softly.
Madge turns down the road to her house and starts walking away without even uttering a goodbye. Gale watches her go, and suddenly sees much more than just the mayor’s daughter with her golden hair and bright blue eyes. But she’s too far to reach.
Madge sits in the rickety chair across from mine, gripping her mug as tightly as she can. Her eyes are just as blue as I remembered them. Just as bright. Hair still dripping sunshine.
“They tell me that District 2 is the base of most military operations,” she says. I tip my head into a nod. “Is that why you’re here?”
“I’m here for work,” I tell her. That, and other things. “The real question is why are you here?”
It would be a lie to admit seeing her isn’t a surprise. The knock on my door just a few minutes ago had been unexpected. She looked tired. Confused. Bedraggled. Still does.
Madge shrugs and sips at her tea. I made her favorite. Vanilla and mint. “You should go back to 12, Gale.”
“Is that where you’ve been?”
Madge’s eyes meet mine. She doesn’t respond, only continues to stare at me. “Your family misses you.” Her cup is lowered to the table with an audible thud. “Katniss, too.”
“You’ve talked to Katniss?” Again, she shrugs. I take a big gulp of the tea from my mug, letting it burn my throat on the way down. “Why’re you here, Madge?”
“Gale,” Madge sighs audibly. She passes her mug to me. “May I have more tea?” I hesitate, reaching forward and grabbing her cup. From behind me I hear her fidget, the sound of her dress rubbing together. “I know that you’re making weapons again,” her voice is quiet. “And I came to talk you out of it.”
I frown, pouring her tea quickly. “That’s none of your business.”
“You hate it,” she says.
“You don’t know that.” The mug slides toward her, a bit sloshing out over the sides and dripping over the handle. She doesn’t seem to notice, grabbing the cup into her hands anyway. “It pays the bills. Makes more money.”
“It brings back the nightmares,” Madge whispers. “Doesn’t it?”
The gaze I hold on her falters, my eyes dropping down to study the grooves on the table. “You don’t know that,” I repeat, though there’s less force behind it. My hands shake as I return to clutching my cup of tea. “They say I’m good at it,” I tell her. “A natural. A prodigy.” Madge goes quiet instantly but I still can’t find it in myself to look at her. “I hate it,” I grunt out.
“Then stop.” Her voice is soft. “And go home where you belong.”
“It’s not that easy,” I snap. I release my hold on the mug and drop my head into my hands. “My family can’t stand to look at me. Neither can Katniss because of Prim and I… I don’t think I can do it.”
“I do,” she breathes.
I lift my head and ask, “You do?”
But the room is empty. The mug across the table steams, white puffs hovering just above the rim of it. And I find myself alone.
“So,” Madge starts off carefully. Gale’s immediately alert, glancing at her with wide eyes as if he knows what she’s going to say already. “Rory told me that you… that you like me.”
Gale coughs, shaking his head instantly. “No.”
Though she can feel herself deflating she tries not to let it show. “I’m not saying you do,” Madge tells him. “Just repeating what Rory said.”
“Well I don’t,” the miner mutters. He drags his eyes away from the blonde and glances out in the field. “I let it slip to Prim that Rory likes her,” Gale forces out. “I knew he’d do something stupid like this.”
Madge fiddles with the hem of her shirt, trying not to let herself be too disappointed. Of course it was a stretch that Gale had actually liked her.
“Shame,” she mumbles. “He said the sweetest things.”
Really though, he had. Maybe Rory actually was trying to get back at his older brother, tell a lie, but everything the young boy said had sounded so sincere and genuine.
Gale lifts an eyebrow. “He did?”
“Mmm,” Madge nods.
Gale’s stomach turns. He really hadn’t meant to tell Prim about Rory’s crush. It slipped. Honest to God it was an accident. So the little runt thinks it’s okay to go out and purposely tell the mayor’s daughter how Gale actually feels for her? Last time he tells Rory anything.
“Like what?” Gale wonders.
If Rory really did spill Gale’s heart all over the place he better have done it accurately.
“Well it doesn’t matter if it’s not true,” Madge nearly snaps. He can hear something in her voice. Anger? Frustration? “Just lies to butter me up.”
Gale wrinkles his nose to suppress his smile. He decides to take a chance. “Probably said something about how I think you’re pretty,” Gale says. “In all those sundresses. With your hair down.”
Madge lifts her gaze and blinks a few times. “Probably.”
“Or how I love it when you play the piano for me. No one else around.” Again Madge blinks and Gale swallows back his smirk. Her eyes are glistening. “Like my own private concert.”
“Perhaps,” she shrugs, trying her best to make it nonchalant. Madge has always been a bad liar.
“Oh,” Gale leans toward her a bit. “I bet he said something about how I don’t sell you strawberries for the money, just because I know you like them so much. Or just so I have an excuse to see you on Sundays.”
Madge’s cheeks heat up and she drops her gaze. “No,” she shakes her head. “Not that last one.”
“That’s because I didn’t tell him that last one,” Gale murmurs. Madge peeks through her bangs up at Gale, a questioning look in her deep blue eyes. He reaches over and grabs her hand. “Prim kissed Rory on the cheek last night,” he tells her. “You know that?”
“I did not,” Madge breathes.
“I guess he got mad that he couldn’t tell Prim how he felt so he was going to ruin it for me, too.” Gale shrugs a bit. “Brat.”
Madge lets out a laugh so airy it sounds like a deep exhale. “But you said—”
“I said that Rory was going to ruin it for me. Which he did. So I re-ruined it and did it again.” He slides his fingers down and links with Madge. “Probably not my best plan.”
“Probably not,” she agrees, a light smile on her face. “But I forgive you anyway.”