All 24 of us stood gathered around the training room, chattering away to each other. Yet Kathryn had been ignoring me since we got off the train. She stood on her own and I was left next to a girl who I can only describe as looking very much like a fox. We spoke briefly to one another. Mary her name was, and from District 8. I thought I had recognized her from somewhere but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Suddenly the room went silent. We all turned to see him standing in the door. The boy that had brought us all together. The boy who we were planning on killing for. Dan Howell.
I might add he was looking every bit as gorgeous as he does on a laptop screen. My breathing started to go funny, and I was smiling like an idiot. Thankfully I didn’t explode into a fangirl panic attack and managed to restrain my flapping hands. I looked into his deep eyes and wanted to marry him on the spot. He just seemed so perfect. Was it just me or was he looking right back at me? Maybe he was looking around at all the tributes. But no, his eyes were locked onto mine. It felt as if we were the only 2 people in the world. As if the other tributes, the Games and everything else was no longer relevant, then someone nudged Dan and we were back in reality.
“oh yes, well um” Dan sounded surprisingly nervous, a change from his usual confidence in his YouTube videos. “One of you ladies will soon become my wife…Wow the future Mrs Howell stands right in front of me.”
I almost squealed with excitement. Was he really looking directly at me or was I just imagining things?
“Now when you enter the arena you will all be standing on a small platform. You must stay on that platform until the 60 second countdown is over and you hear my voice say ‘go’. If you attempt to step off your platform early then there are landmines in the ground that will explode”. The next sentence sounded slightly choked “Killing you instantly”.
I noticed one girl whose fake tan made her look like an orange wearing fake eyelashes. Her obviously bleached blond hair was piled at the top of her head in a huge bun. She clearly hadn’t been listening to a word Dan was saying and all of her concentration was focused on her manicured nails. I doubt she had heard what he said about the landmines.
“In the arena there will be many different dangers and challenges. Most of them will be related to my YouTube videos, so this will be an advantage to those of you who know a lot about my videos and will help you get further in the Howell Games. But since nobody knows how long the Games will last, there will be supplies hidden around the arena. Um well I guess that’s all for now” He glanced back at me one last time “Good luck”. With one of his sexy winks he left us to get on with training.
I found myself interested in the bow and arrow practice. I was strangely good at it and surprisingly all the arrows made their way close to, if not right in the middle of the targets. I hoped that there would be a bow and arrow in the arena, but I decided I should probably try other stations just in case there wasn’t. After a couple more hours, all the tributes headed to the dining hall where there was a huge buffet of every food imaginable. I sat once again with Mary, still unsure of why she seemed so familiar. I jokingly asked if she also made YouTube videos like Dan and Phil. She just smiled to herself as if she had told herself a private joke. We also sat with Charley from District 1, who told us that she was a llama dealer in her District. Wasn’t entirely sure if she was being serious or not but I didn’t question her.
When all the tributes decided to head back up I noticed Kathryn stay behind. As the lift carried me up to the top floor I guessed that she didn’t want to speak to me because we know that if we try to help each other through the Games that one of us will eventually have to kill the other. That was something neither of us could live with. The lift stopped at my floor and when I walked into the living room area, someone was sitting on the couch. It was Elen. Phil’s wife.
Dan had asked me before hand to mentor the tributes a bit. Told me that I should get to know the tributes personally and see which ones would be good with him. But I could tell that Dan had felt something special for Devon, even if he wouldn’t admit it. He knows that if he himself gets too involved with a tribute then watching them die in the Games would be twice as hard.
“Uh hi”, Devon said quite shyly. “Um you’re Elen right?”
“Indeed I am” I smiled at her. “Anyway, Dan asked me to mentor all of the tributes on what its like being with a YouTuber. So you’re prepared for if you win” she nodded back at me
and I gestured for her to sit on the chair next to me. “Well first of all, you should know that 99.9% of the fans are lovely and amazing people. But every fandom has those few people who get worked up about their favourite celebrities being in relationships. So prepare yourself for a tiny bit of hate, but remember what Dan said negativity stands out from all the good.” This quote made Devon smile and she seemed more relaxed now
After about 20 minutes, we eventually just started to talk as if we had been friends for years. Giggling with each other over Dan and Phil. I had started to really like Devon, she seemed lovable almost. Her personality was sweet and yet had the same cheeky humour that we would normally hear from Dan. It started to get late and I left Devon to get sleep for her next day of training. I had already talked to some of the other tributes earlier in the day but so far, Devon seemed to be my favourite, if I was allowed to choose favourites that is.
I made my way back to me and Phil’s room where he already lay on the bed watching a film. I lay next to him burying my head into his shoulders as he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me close. He took the remote and switched off the TV before turning back to me. He pressed our lips together, reminding me of how amazing our very first kiss was. Sometimes it was still difficult to believe that this man was mine, and that he loved me. As our kisses grew deeper, I started to undo the buttons on his checkered shirt, and he tugged it off. He moved so that I was on my back and he leant down above me, kissing my neck gently. I ran one hand down his bare chest while the other gripped his thick black hair, then he turned to face me.
“I love you Elen”
“and I love you too Phil” and the perfection of that moment continued.