After the 73rd Games...
The Games are over, but Rokia’s still not done. The Victor, a picture-perfect girl from One, won’t take too long recovering, but even that won’t be the end. Linsea’s got a schedule that runs out two full weeks, post-Games, and Phillips isn’t leaving until Rokia does. Or until someone makes him.
Rokia tries. “Go home, Phillips,” she says, exhausted and annoyed. “You should pick up the girls from Sal’s, take them home.”
Phillips just gives her a level look. “Allie would kill me if I came back without you,” he says, keeping his voice mild.
Rokia glares at him, like he’s cheating somehow. He is, knows that reasoning will work better than anything to do with taking care of her. And Allie might not kill him, but she’d be silently furious, and that’s almost worse. “Fine,” she says, and he might have won but Rokia walks into her room, pulls the door closed, and it’s nothing to celebrate.
They leave in the morning, just after sunrise. Phillips drops his things in his compartment, heads for the observation car in the back of the train to try to clear his head.
He isn’t expecting to find Rokia there—he hoped she’d be sleeping—but she’s sitting at the back with a window cracked open, kneeling backwards on the bench with her face turned into the wind.
Phillips sits off to one side and watches, and she knows he’s here but she doesn’t seem to care.
Eventually she turns around and sits, leans her head back and turns towards him, half-smiling.
“I forgot it was summer,” she says, sounding drowsy for the first time in weeks, her voice soft. “Don’t seem like real seasons in the Capitol.”
Phillips doesn’t know what to say, so he stays quiet. The sun’s shining bright in the windows, the wind whistling and bellowing against the windows, but Rokia curls into the corner of the seat, head pillowed on the armrest, and he’s pretty sure she falls asleep.