When Brienne ends the call, slumping back to the mirror wall behind her, Sansa and Margaery immediately look away from each other, abruptly ending a silent conversation they clearly were having just now. Brienne narrows her eyes at the two girls. “Alright, spit it out.”
“Nothing,” Sansa says. At the same time, Margaery says, “We were just—” then hisses as Sansa’s elbow makes contact with her ribs. “Sansa!”
“You two are not subtle at all, and I can already guess what you’re waggling your eyebrows about, so please, for the love of the Seven, just fucking spit it out already.” Sansa and Margaery were already hell to deal with, separately. When the three of them started hanging out together, Brienne often felt out of her depth. When Sansa and Margaery started dating each other, Brienne went to a Sept for the first time since her childhood.
“I really don’t know what you’re on about, Bri,” Margaery says, twirling her hair with one finger. It should look comically false, when other people do it, but she manages to pull off an innocent expression despite wearing booty shorts and a skimpy sports bra and being coated in sweat and glitter. Brienne knows her friend better than that, though.
Sansa rolls her eyes. “If you already know, Bri, why don’t you tell us? Maybe when you say the words you will stop being in denial already.”
“Just because I have to ask Jaime to get me—”
“Oh!” Margaery exclaims.
“Oh,” Sansa intones.
“Did you hear that? Jaime, she said. We didn’t say anything about Jaime.”
“I said she was in denial. I never mentioned about what or who. Interesting that her mind goes straight to Jaime. Who’s Jaime again?”
Brienne sighs. “You’ve met Jaime. You two got wasted and had to crash at my place, remember? Then you met my roommate and best friend, Jaime.”
“And they were roommates,” Margaery says, giggles.
Without missing a beat, Sansa says, breathlessly, “Oh my god, they were roommates.”
Brienne is pinching the bridge of her nose so hard it would be straight and new again by the time these two are done. This was not the first time they made that joke, and she knows it won’t be the last. “You met Jaime. Then you,” Brienne says, jabbing a finger at Margaery’s general direction, “called him zaddy.”
“You have to admit, he is.”
Brienne curls her lips in distaste of the term, but she’s unable to contradict Margaery.
Sansa shudders, her red locks fluttering about her shoulders. “Not me. He’s Joffrey’s uncle. They even look alike. Gross. Bri, I know you’re in love with him, but I guess there’s no accounting for your taste in men.”
“Yes, Sansa, you called him gross. To his face.” Before Margaery could say anything, Brienne adds, “And then Marg called him zaddy. Also to his face. He pestered me about which side I was on for weeks until I said he’s gross.”
Margaery places a hand on Brienne’s shoulder. “We remember, Bri. You told me he looked like a kicked puppy after that. And then you tried hurdle jumping.”
“Never a good thing when you tried a new sport for no reason.”
“There’s a reason. We know what it is. She’s just, as you said, in denial.”
Sansa shrugs. “Fair.”
“No!” Brienne says, crossing her arms. “Not fair. I just like trying new things.”
“You try new sports when you have some sort of crisis. And then you get injured, inevitably, and then your secret love interest has to mother-hen you until you heal, and somehow getting his attention makes you feel better, so you never go to therapy to talk about the actual crisis that makes you work out so hard you pull a muscle,” Sansa explains, with the patience of a brooding fowl. “This is why we’re here now, Bri.”
Marg purses her lips. “Sansa’s right. Not that I don’t want you to try pole-dancing. Gods know I’ve been inviting you for ages, now. It’s just that today you’re clearly overdoing it. What happened with Jaime?”
Last night, Brienne and Jaime watched a shitty series together on Jaime’s laptop, in Jaime’s bed. Brienne fell asleep. Jaime did not wake her. Instead, he slept next to her. She woke to him spooning her and his morning wood poking her butt. She jumped away, took a freezing cold shower even though it was winter, ran for ten miles, texted Marg to book a pole for the evening, did sets at the gym until it was time for the pole-dancing session, tried pole-dancing, and immediately pulled her hamstring during warm-ups.
Now, she’s sitting on the studio floor with one leg resting on a pillow in front of her, ice pressed to the thigh, her back to the mirror. She couldn’t even change without hurting, so she decided she’d just sleep in the tank and shorts tonight and try her luck again tomorrow. She called Jaime to fetch her already. He sounded a little scared. She wondered why. She did tell him it was just another pulled tendon.
“Nothing happened with Jaime,” Brienne says, instead. “Nothing ever happens with Jaime.”
Sansa leans forward. “Is that what you think the problem is?”
Brienne shrugs. “No. I don’t know.”
“You’re in love with him,” Margaery says kindly.
With utter despair, Brienne says, “I am. Of course I am.” She runs her hand over her face.
“Here’s a bet,” Margaery declares in that tone of hers that makes it clear this is not optional. “If he walks in here with those grey sweatpants he likes to wear so much—”
“Ew, the cock outline one?” Sansa asks.
“Yes, thank you, Sansa, the cock outline one. If he walks in wearing those and he gets a boner the moment he sees you in this outfit, you’ll quit it with the pity party and tell him how you feel, please.”
“Why?” Brienne asks.
Sansa answers, “Have mercy on the poor man. He’s been besotted for years, but you never listen to us whenever we try to tell you.”
“Because you’re wrong.”
“If we’re wrong, he’s not going to get that boner, and it’s not going to twitch—Sansa, please, we know you hate cock, but Bri is tragically straight and we need her to see reason—like I said, not going to twitch when he tries to help you hobble to his ridiculously expensive sports car.” Margaery raises one finger. “So, if we’re wrong, we know for sure his body doesn’t react to you, his loss, really, but,” Margaery says, raising a second finger, “if we’re right, we know he is definitely sexually attracted to you, so whatever it is that caused today’s crisis was not, in fact, a fluke or something that just happens to anyone.”
Brienne really, really doesn’t know how or why Margaery chanced upon the lucky guess of her crisis having to do with Jaime’s cock, and she’s not sure if she even wants to know. Ever. Brienne shrugs. “Fine. Fine. I’ll take your stupid bet, because you’re wrong.”
It’s at this exact moment that Jaime arrives at the studio, wearing a pair of grey fleece sweatpants that quickly looks very, very uncomfortably tented as he catches sight of Brienne in her exercise outfit.
Margaery makes a shameless appraising look, then looks to Brienne. “Not bad,” she says.
Sansa makes a disgusted sound and flounces towards the showers, stopping before she shuts the door only to say, “You took the bet, Bri,” and to aim a very nasty glare at Jaime and yell, “You mess this up and I will mess you up like I did your nephew!”
Margaery is in bed and snuggled close to Sansa when Brienne calls. She picks it up. “Well?”
Brienne sounds rather out of breath. “How did you know it was cock-related?”
“Oh, it went well?” Margaery says, licking her lips. “Congratulations.” Sansa raises an eyebrow at her, and Margaery waves her hand like a fan in front of her. Sansa shrugs.
“Oh, alright,” Margaery says. “You go for track and field if it’s emotional confrontation, you take self-defence when it’s something that makes you mad or unsafe, you take yoga or pilates or other zen sports if it’s something anxiety inducing, and you take dances for something sex-related. For you to go for pole-dancing at my studio when you have turned me down for months means it’s intense. Last night you posted the thing you watched on Instagram. I guessed the rest.”
“Oh,” Brienne says. “And the sweatpants?”
“Texted him and told him to wear it when he got you if he wanted to speed things along.”
Brienne makes a strangled sound from the other end.
“Never bet against the house, Bri. Goodnight.”