Betrayal. That’s the first thing I feel, which is ludicrous. For there to be betrayal, there would have had to been trust first. Between Peeta and me. And trust has not been part of the agreement. We’re tributes. But the boy who risked a beating to give me bread, the one who steadied me in the chariot, who covered for me with the redheaded Avox girl, who insisted Haymitch know my hunting skills. . . was there some part of me that couldn’t help trusting him?
On the other hand, I’m relieved that we can stop the pretense of being friends. Obviously, whatever thin connection we’d foolishly formed has been severed. And high time, too. The Games begin in two days, and trust will only be a weakness. Whatever triggered Peeta’s decision – and I suspect it had to do with my outperforming him in training – I should be nothing but grateful for it. Maybe he’s finally accepted the fact that the sooner we openly acknowledge that we
are enemies, the better.
“Good,” I say. “So what’s the schedule?”
“You’ll each have four hours with Effie for presentation and four with me for content,” says Haymitch. “You start with Effie, Katniss.”
I can’t imagine what Effie will have to teach me that could take four hours, but she’s got me working down to the last minute. We go to my rooms and she puts me in a full-length gown and high-heeled shoes, not the ones I’ll he wearing for the actual interview, and instructs me on walking. The shoes are the worst part. I’ve never worn high heels and can’t get used to essentially wobbling around on the balls of my feet. But Effie runs around in them full-time, and I’m determined that if she can do it, so can I. The dress poses another problem. It keeps tangling around my shoes so, of course, I hitch it up, and then Effie swoops down on me like a hawk, smacking my hands and yelling, “Not above the ankle!” When I finally conquer walking, there’s still sitting, posture – apparently I have a tendency to duck my head – eye contact, hand gestures, and smiling. Smiling is mostly about smiling more. Effie makes me say a hundred banal phrases starting with a smile, while smiling, or ending with a smile. By lunch, the muscles in my cheeks are twitching from overuse.
“Well, that’s the best I can do,” Effie says with a sigh. “Just remember, Katniss, you want the audience to like you.”
“And you don’t think they will?” I ask.
“Not if you glare at them the entire time. Why don’t you save that for the arena? Instead, think of yourself among friends,” says Effie.
“They’re betting on how long I’ll live!” I burst out. “They’re not my friends!”
“Well, try and pretend!” snaps Effie. Then she composes herself and beams at me. “See, like this. I’m smiling at you even though you’re aggravating me.”
“Yes, it feels very convincing,” I say. “I’m going to eat.” 1 kick off my heels and stomp down to the dining room, hiking my skirt up to my thighs.
Peeta and Haymitch seem in pretty good moods, so I’m thinking the content session should be an improvement over the morning. I couldn’t be more wrong. After lunch, Haymitch takes me into the sitting room, directs me to the couch, and then just frowns at me for a while.
“What?” I finally ask.
“I’m trying to figure out what to do with you,” he says. “How we’re going to present you. Are you going to be charming? Aloof? Fierce? So far, you’re shining like a star. You volunteered to save your sister. Cinna made you look unforgettable.