THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC THE SONGS I'M SINGING" They are not going to pick you." Fang assured her once again. " You are not the only girl whose name starts with a vowel."
THANKS FOR ALL THE JOY THEIR BRINGING
Azelma tried to repeat these words while her mother did some final details on her hair. They were not going to pick her. She was not the only girl whose name started with a vowel. There was an Anastasia, an Irene, an Anne and an Olga in her class. Their name started with vowels. Besides, they had picked a lot of tessarae all these years. They also standed a chance of being reaped. Azelma had nothing to worry about." This is just like any normal reaping, Azelma. They are going to pick a girl and this girl is not going to be you... I promise."
Azelma bit her lip as she walked towards a couple of fifteen year old girls whose names started with a vowel. Fang was right. At least she wanted to think he was. There were many other girls whose names started with vowels. Eponine's name started with a vowel as well. Why would they pick her name among so many other names? She had been lucky all these years and she was going to be lucky this year as well." Besides, Azelma, there were so many names which started with vowels. They are overrused... Maybe... Maybe this is Capitol's way to tell us " Pick more unique names, people."
Azelma's mouth cracked to a smile as she remembered Fang's words. She had nothing to worry about. He was right. They were probably going to pick an Anne, or an Irene, or maybe that Anastasia girl from her class. Not her. Not Azelma.
Every year, they had to listen to the same boring speech which was displayed on the big screen in front of them. Why did they have to say these same words every single year? Everyone in Panem knew the reason the Hunger Games were born. A failed rebellion. And now, all the nation had to pay, even the people who were not involved in the rebellion. Like her family. Azelma doubted that the Thenardiers took part in the rebellion against the Capitol.
Despite the fact that Azelma hated that long, boring speech, she felt safe while President Sinclair was talking. As soon as he finished his speech the names were going to be picked. Azelma wondered which pieces of paper contained her name. She hoped that the name Azelma Thenardier was at the bottom of the ball, where the escort's hand couldn't possibly reach. " Ladies first."
Azelma took a big breath, as she looked how the escort walked with grace towards the large, glass ball which contained the names of all the girls in the District. His hand sinked in the sea of paper and for a couple of seconds, it swam among the waves of paper. Then, with a quick move, he pulled a small, white piece of paper out.
Azelma closed her eyes and bit her tongue. She could feel her heart beat faster and louder than usual. She could feel her whole body shake with fear and adrenaline. Her hands curled to fists and for a couple of seconds, she couldn't hear anything around her.
Azelma didn't hear whose name was pulled. Someone spoke to her. Anastasia. The way she looked at her was weird. As if she was pitying her for something. As if she felt sorry for her. Azelma could feel thousand pairs of eyes staring at her. But why? For a couple of seconds she feared that Eponine's name was pulled, but a scream made her realise that the name which was pulled was not Eponine's, but hers.
Her mother was screaming her name, somewhere far away from the place she was standing right now. Azelma tried to look among the sea of heads, but it was impossible, she was always shorter than most fifteen year old girls. Stay strong, Azelma. Don't you dare cry. Don't you dare break down. Try to be brave... For Fang.
Azelma swallowed as she started walking towards the platform where the mayor, the victors and the escorts were standing. Two peacekeepers were walking by her sides and Azelma couldn't help but feel more worried that she walked near peacekeepers, than the fact that her name was pulled, which meant only one thing. She was District Nine's female tribute for the 100th annual Hunger Games, part B.
When she turned her back to the crowd, she closed her eyes, trying to seem as confident as she possibly could. If Eponine's name was picked, she wouldn't look like a coward. Azelma tried to look nonchalant, cold and brave, like Eponine. She bit her tongue, which made her feel pain, but it worked. She had managed to look cold, despite the sparkle of fear which decorated her eyes." What a beautiful lady we have!"
the escort commented, as she finally stepped near her. Great. A weak but yet confident smile blossomed on her lips, just like every time she heard a compliment. With this small boost of ego, she managed to look straight to the crowd, feeling fearless, as the boy's name was picked.
Despite how nonchalant she tried to seem, Azelma still felt a sunking pain at her chest, as she looked how her mother was crying, fighting with a peacekeeper while trying to approach her daughter. Fang at least was not crying, though Azelma was sure he was upset. Azelma wished that he wouldn't break down now, when she was standing there, in front of the whole District.
Her hands curled at a fist again, as she lowered her eyes, towards the first line of people in front of her. She had to wait just a couple of minutes, until she and her district partner walked in the Justice Building. Only minutes parted her from her beloved ones.