"Ok Thom, I'm out" Peeta said as he walks out the door picnic basket in hand. "Say 'Hi' to Delly for me."

"Will do, enjoy the rest of your Sunday" Thom calls out.

With a quick text: On my way

She texts back: See you soon

They had been dating for a year now and she told him she didn't want him to make a big deal for their anniversary. A nice picnic at the park would be good enough. Still he was going to surprise her with the diamond stud earrings he had in the pocket of his cargo shorts.

He sees a U-haul truck pulling up to the bakery as he drives out of the parking lot into traffic. Huh someone new in town, he wonders. He passed several cars with camping gear strapped to the tops of their SUV's, leaving town to start their summer getaway.

He stops in front of her house where she still lives with her family and let's her know he's outside.

He watches as the front door opens, she steps out, olive skin, dark chestnut brown hair pulled up into a ponytail, so beautiful. She's wearing a jean skort with a light green blouse.

"Happy anniversary" he tells her as she opens the car door and slides into the passenger seat. He leans in and kisses her, slow and sweet. She gives him a soft smile that doesn't reach her gray eyes. "Something wrong?" He asks. She shakes her head.

Stopping at a red light behind a car, he smiles seeing the mom playing with a rattle trying to calm her baby in the backseat. He's hoping that will be them in a few years.

She clears her throat to get his attention. She just looks him in the eye "I'm sorry Peeta but it's over, I don't love you."

What can he say to that? Nothing, so he doesn't even try. His mind is reeling. It's not like he can argue with her into loving him. And besides he hasn't said those words to her either. But he had all these plans for their future together. Of course he didn't tell her, didn't want to scare her off, he was waiting for her to be ready. Now it's never going to happen.

"I had such a big crush on you in school, like so many girls did, when you finally asked me out I was so happy. I'm sorry; I really wanted it to be you. You're a great guy but it's not love, I don't think it's good to keep dragging it out nor for us to settle for anything less" she continues. He looks at her sad gray eyes, a tear spills down her pretty face and he knows she's not lying, she doesn't love him.

"Yeah" he chokes out, swallowing hard "I'll take you home then" she nods her head. He goes to turn the car around but he has to wait for the couple kissing as they cross the street first. Finally, after what feels like forever he pulls into her driveway. Turns around to the back and grabs the bags of pastries from the picnic basket. "There are cheese buns in here, I know there your favorite" he says.

"No, the apple fritters are my favorite" he frowns; he could've sworn she liked the cheese buns. "I always thought you were the one who liked them" she says with a shrug. "I'll take them if you want, they'll get eaten" she hates wasting food.

"Yes, I packed too much. There's some apple fritters in there too" he's a little numb, everything could be crashing down around him and he wouldn't notice. He walks her to the front door, they hug. He rubs the back of his neck not sure what to say "Um…see you around, I guess." Knowing it won't happen.

She gives him a sad smile and goes inside, not wanting to give him even that little placating lie. He walks back to the car and sits there for a bit. He knows he can't stay long, doesn't want to make her nervous. He doesn't want to seem broken. He would like to go to a bar, get wasted but he has food that'll go bad and if he learned anything from her it was not to be wasteful. He'll go home and give it to Haymitch the super. Then he'll go to a bar afterwards or get drunk at home. On the drive home he starts thinking of all the signs he chose to ignore that had warned him it was going to turn out that way.

He sees the U-haul parked in front of his apartment complex. Yep, he's getting a new neighbor, there's only one vacant apartment and it's the one across the hall from him. He would normally ask if they needed help but he's not in the mood for company right now.

"Hey, hold the elevator" he hears a musical voice call out. He thinks his mind is playing tricks on him. As if it's trying to cheer him up or something. He hasn't heard that voice in years. Seven years to be exact not that he's counting. He turns around and is met with Katniss Everdeen's penetrating silver eyes, you would call them gray but there so much more then that, they have flecks of blue and he was never able to get them just right. He takes her in, raven black hair in its signature braid. Hunter green T-shirt and brown shorts. She's carrying a huge box that might make her topple over.

He heard through the grape vine that she became engaged to Gale Hawthorne last year. He hadn't heard they had gotten married yet or that they were moving back here after all these years. He groans inwardly, great their going to be living across the hall from him.

"Hey, Katniss, wow it's been a long time…um can I help you with that" he asks before he can stop himself. He places the picnic basket down.

"Yes, please" she says with a sigh of relief, handing the box to him "I never thought I actually had this much stuff until I had to pack it all up." He noticed how she only said 'I'; she picked up the basket, pushes the button for their floor "what do you have in here, bricks? This is heavier than my box" she teases, which brings a smile to his face. He can't believe it; he had never been able to work up the nerve to talk to his high school crush. Ok, his whole entire childhood crush would be more like it. But then she went away to college and hadn't been back since, especially after Mrs. Everdeen and Prim moved away too, while he stayed and attended the local Panem U.

"What are you doing back in Panem?" He asks.

"You remember Mags from Panem Middle School?" He nods "she finally retired this year; I'm taking over the biology class and helping out the choir teacher on after school events." The elevator doors open to their floor. He hears laughter coming out of her apartment. "You two better not be eating all my cheese buns" she yells. "Your family's bakery was our first stop here. I swear I actually dreamt of them last night" she tells him. He chuckles, making a mental note to add cheese buns to his welcome back to the neighborhood gift packet.

"Well you have nothing else to eat and we're starving" said Rory tossing a bun to Prim as they enter her apartment; he places the box along the wall with the rest.

"Like you didn't already eat some on our drive over here" adds Prim.

"Well yeah but I have years to make up for" she responds, winking at Peeta. He can't help it; he's smiling like an idiot. He didn't think that was possible after today. But she's talking to him as if they've been doing it for years. "Besides you can be that hungry, you two had the cinnamon rolls."

"I have some sandwiches in the basket, if you want" he says. Sorry Haymitch maybe next time."There just leftovers." Technically they are. Turning to Katniss "you need any more help?" please say yes. He really wants to spend more time with her.

"Are you sure, you don't have plans?" She asks with a smile "Because helping haul around heavy furniture is not my idea of a fun Sunday." Her silvery eyes twinkle with amusement. God he could get lost in those eyes.

"Come on Katniss, we need help with the big stuff seeing as Vick flaked out on us" Rory answers for her. Thank you Rory he thinks to himself.

"I was planning on crashing in front of the TV" and getting plastered but she doesn't need to know that. Besides being around Katniss will be a much better distraction.

"Only if you let me buy you dinner, when we're done, deal?" She holds out her hand so they can shake on it. He takes her small hand into his and he feels a little shiver run up his spine. Yep, definitely a goner. They leave Prim & Rory to finish their lunch and head to the truck to get more boxes.

"Will Gale be joining you later?" He asks, trying to confirm his suspicion.

"Uh no, we broke up six months ago." She tells him. Oh thank god, mental happy dance!

"Sorry to hear that" he's really not.

"No it's ok, it was a mutual decision. We realized we were better off as friends. Annie told me about the position opening up at her school. I applied and was offered the job. So I stayed long enough to finish off the year at District 2 Middle School. It's kind of like a fresh start." He nods, all too happy knowing she's not seeing anyone. And now he isn't either it's a win/win.

They spend the next several hours moving all her stuff in. She tells him how Gale started dating her old roommate Madge last month and that her mom and Prim moved out with her to California. Prim has one more year of nursing school to go. He told her about taking over the bakery when his parents retired and moved to Florida. That his brother Rye became a lawyer; living in Boston and Bannock is a dentist. She was so easy to talk to he could just kick himself for not trying when they were kids. They agreed to be each other's plus one at Annie's and Finnick's wedding next month. Because neither wanted to go stag so it worked out well. He knows he needs to tell her about his break up with Leevy, and he'd rather she hear it from him then through gossip later since he doesn't want to ruin this friendship they're starting.

"Every muscle in my body hurts" said Prim, plopping down on the sofa. "You owe us big, Katniss" they could hear the guys finish assembling her bed in the next room. She can't believe, Peeta Mellark, captain of the debate team, wrestling champion and high school crush is in her apartment setting up her bed. She wonders how long it'll take to get him in that bed.

"Thanks Prim for coming out with me to help me move." Katniss tells her "What should I order pizza or Chinese?"

"Actually, we have to get going we promise Hazelle, if we finished early we'd go for dinner. She told us to invite you too but" she wiggles her eyebrows "I think your enjoying someone else's company more. Text me 'do not disturb' if dinner turns into a sleepover." Prim grins at her. She rolls her eyes.

"So what are you in the mood for, pizza, Chinese or is Sae's Diner still open?" She asks. He doesn't want to go to Sae's, he and Leevy would go there at least twice a month if not more.

"Pizza would be fine. Would you like a beer?" She nods. While she's placing the order; he goes across to his apartment to grab the six pack of beer. He takes out the box with the diamond earring and puts it into his desk drawer; he'll send them to his mom for her birthday. He hasn't laughed so much in so long; he didn't realized it until today while watching Katniss, Prim and Rory bicker and teases each other, it reminded him of his brothers. He needs to give them a call.

"It'll be here in 15 minutes. Thank you Peeta, we'd still be moving things in if you hadn't helped" they move over to the sofa and she turns on the TV keeping the volume low while they reminisce on their high school days and friends. When the pizza arrives the subject turns to their favorite foods; new restaurants that have open or old ones that have closed, already making plans on when and which they'll go to first.

"What another beer?" he asks going to the fridge, they have two left.

"No, waters fine" she goes to the boxes labeled kitchen looking for the drinking glasses. He has to tell her now. They've been making all these plans and people will start talking, not that he cares.

"You know when I came home today; I was expecting to end up moping in my apartment." She looks at him with concern on her face. "I didn't want to mention it earlier, didn't want to bring anyone down but um…I was dating Leevy and she broke up with me today" it feels good to finally put that out there.

"Oh no Peeta, I'm sorry" she walks up to him pulling him into a hug. He lingers in her embrace, enjoying the feel of her body up against his. She pulls away and doesn't press him for details. "You know what we need to do?" he shakes his head. She walked back to her boxes and pulls out two shot glasses and bottle of tequila, "Get you wasted. That's what Gale and I did. We have mutual friends to he went out with the boys and I went with the girls. Even though it was the right thing to do, that didn't mean it didn't suck. But let's do it at your place. I don't what Prim walking in on us hammered on the floor." He can't believe he's going to get drunk with Katniss Everdeen, how in the hell did this turn into the best day ever. He grabs the pizza box the last of the beer and they head to his apartment.

He was doing two shot to her one, so by the time he was down 6 shots and the last two beers he was well on his way to inebriation and she was not far behind. He thought at first that in his drunken state he would start talking about his break up but nope, it was the furthest thing on his mind. He was letting the liquid courage take charge and he became more affectionate and she was enjoying his touches and playful teasing.

"You know" he begins "I had such a crush on you, growing up" she gives him an incredulous look because there's no way one of the most popular guys in school bothered to notice her unless it was to think she was strange. "No I did, but I thought you were with Gale and I was fascinated by you to the point of intimidation." He lets his hand move from her cheek down her jaw. "I completely regret not talking to you back then." His thumb lightly caresses her lips, he's about to go in for a kiss but she decides its time to pull away.

"I don't want to be a rebound, Peeta." She said and gets up swaying a little, heading to the sink to drink some water. He's follows her and wraps he's arms around her, pulling her back against his chest.

"You wouldn't be a rebound, Katniss. You'd be a fantasy come true" he trails soft kisses down her neck and she shudders.

"Maybe in a few months, Peeta" she whispers, though she's dying to give in, loving the feel of his mouth on her. "To be sure" she's glad she didn't drink as much as he did or they'd be in his bed by now.

"Okay" he makes himself let her go. It's one of the hardest things he's had to do today. He's not lying it is a dream come true. Being around her, hugging, touching and seeing how she responds to him. "I've waited years; I can definitely wait a few more months." He takes out his phone and opens his calendar app. "A few months is in September" he tells her and adds it to his calendar. She rolls eyes and laughs, secretly excited knowing he's being serious.

"Come on lets get you to bed" she tell him. He lifts his eyebrow. She narrows her eyes "Just to sleep."

For the next few months they were inseparable but true to his word, he never asked her for more then friendship. People start talking like he knew they would and after a while they gave up trying to explain that they were only friends especially since they both wanted more anyway.

3 Months later

"Oh fuck, Katniss" he collapses on top of her burying his face into her neck, the feel of her walls pulsing around him had brought on his own release. When he comes back to his senses, she's running her hands up and down his back; he rolls off her onto his back bring her with him to settle on his chest. They lay like that for a while and then he hears her slow steady breathing and knows she's fallen asleep. He chuckles, round two can wait. He can't believe how lucky he is, how his whole world changed at a red light.