The sharp pain on her foot was so unbearable that she had to sit down. As she took off her shoes, she realized that her foot had swollen into huge, red lumps. This made sense since she had twisted her ankle from falling earlier. On top of that, she flung herself up the pit’s sides and landed harshly on her feet countless times. It’s no wonder her foot swelled badly.
The sky was darkening by the second, and the forest’s temperature dropped rapidly around Vivian. It wasn’t long before she was trembling from the cold.
How will Shannon explain my disappearance to everyone when she gets back? Will they come looking for me? Am I really going to spend the night in this cave? What if a wild animal shows up suddenly?
These thoughts ricocheted in her mind, bouncing back and forth furiously. Her heart raced with fear. What if no one finds me? What do I do? Will I die here?
No, absolutely not! She still had to take care of Larry. There was no way that she was letting anything bad happen to herself.
Vivian hurriedly pulled out her phone, but there was no signal. White-hot anger blurred her thoughts as she threw her phone aside. Latching onto the hope that someone might still pass by, she shouted at the pit’s opening, “Is anyone there? I’ve fallen in. Please help me, anyone!”
She called out again and again. Her voice had become hoarse and grated, but there was still no response.
Spending a night in freezing temperatures without any source of heat… I’m going to freeze to death, aren’t I? To make things worse, her foot was starting to ache. Hopeless desperation engulfed Vivian.
Just when she had surrendered to fate completely, a familiar voice sounded from above. It was deep and shaky with anxiety. “Vivian, are you okay? Is everything alright down there?”
Had someone finally come for her? Hope swelled in Vivian’s chest. Looking up, her eyes widened in surprise. Finnick crouched at the pit’s opening and leaned in. He stared at her with a face full of worry.
She was moved, not expecting him to be the one to find her. But her delight didn’t last long. It was immediately replaced by an inexplicable sourness in her chest. Wasn’t he taking his sweet time fetching water with Charlotte? Why is he here now?
Not getting any responses from Vivian, Finnick thought she must have been hurt badly. Pressing on the pit’s edge with one hand, he launched himself down without a trace of hesitation.
He approached her anxiously and immediately noticed her bright red, swollen foot. It had become more unsightly as purplish-green bruises surfaced her skin. Distress sank his spirits. He crouched down and leaned in closer. His hands hovered above her ankle, not daring to touch it for fear that it would only worsen her injury.
“Does it hurt?” He looked up at Vivian, his eyes filled with immense concern. Then he mentally yelled at himself for asking such a dumb question. It swelled up to double its size! How could it not hurt?
Seeing Vivian tremble, Finnick immediately peeled off his jacket and placed it on her. “I’m sorry, Vivian. I got here too late, but everything’s okay now. Don’t be scared. We’ll get out of here soon.”
Touched by Finnick’s warm and gentle actions, tears welled in Vivian’s eyes. She gnawed on her bottom lip and scoffed stubbornly, “Weren’t you with Charlotte? Why’d you come looking for me?”
Finnick didn’t know whether to be offended or laugh at the obvious jealousy in Vivian’s tone.
His fingers brushed against Vivian’s lips, stroking them lightly to stop her from biting herself. He soothed, “Don’t jump to your own conclusions. There’s nothing going on between us. Besides, didn’t you arrange for us to go together?”
Finnick eyed her reproachfully before continuing, “I’m not into char-whatever that woman’s name is. The one I like… the one I truly care for has always been you. Don’t ever shove me into another woman’s arms again, okay? I’ll feel hurt if you keep doing that.”
Vivian could no longer hold back. Tears poured down her face as a thousand emotions fluttered in her; she felt wronged, yet at the same time sorrowful, frightened, and there was also an indescribable joy.
Wiping her tears away, Finnick’s arms wrapped around her in a warm embrace. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Vivian. This is my fault. It’s because I didn’t look for you sooner… you must’ve been terrified.”