In looking through my list of done and to-eventually-be-done Fictional Fancy ideas, I came to the startling realization that I'd never written about my fancy of a certain sensitive baker boy. (I have written about my obsession with memes that center around him, however.)
Peeta Mellark and I first met in September of 2009, when he was thrust into the limelight after being chosen as one of the two District 12 tributes for the 74th Hunger Games. Little did I know then that that slip of paper was the start of a relationship with one of the most hopelessly romantic characters I've ever had the pleasure of getting to know.
From the very start of the series, it's apparent that Peeta is a selfless and smart individual. Sure, he can be a bit cloying, but his heart is true. And there's something special about a guy who can admit that he's in love in front of millions.
I'm coming back into focus when Caesar asks him if he has a girlfriend back home. Peeta hesitates, then gives an unconvincing shake of his head.The first time I read this, I'd already made some connections, but my heart clenched. The same thing happened while I was watching the movie, even thought I knew it was coming.
"Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what’s her name?" says Caesar.
Peeta sighs. "Well, there is this one girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping."
Sounds of sympathy from the crowd. Unrequited love they can relate to.
"She have another fellow?" asks Caesar.
"I don’t know, but a lot of boys like her," says Peeta.
"So, here’s what you do. You win, you go home. She can’t turn you down then, eh?" says Caesar encouraging-ly.
"I don’t think it’s going to work out. Winning ... won’t help in my case," says Peeta.
"Why ever not?" says Caesar, mystified.
Peeta blushes beet red and stammers out. "Because ... because ... she came here with me.”
Throughout the book series, it was actually easier for me to connect with Peeta than with Katniss (Although I like to pretend at times, I'm not tough as nails. My soft, doughy side is always just underneath the surface, waiting to rise.*) Peeta doesn't give up easily, but he knows when he must sacrifice for the ones he loves. He's creative, he's thoughtful ...
"You're a painter. You're a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces."
By the end, even stubborn Katniss sees what we all saw from the beginning—that losing the boy with the bread is never an option.
*Sorry, the baking references just came so easily!