A part of her felt guilty. An even bigger part of her felt guilty about not really feeling as guilty as she felt like she probably should. It was always the way for her, when she lashed out over the way her family made her feel - namely her Mother of course... She’d feel like she SHOULD feel bad, for causing more trouble. Even if she only did it because she wanted to be seen and heard. Perhaps that was dramatic. But it was true.
And it certainly didn’t apply to ALL of her family. But it was sometimes easy to forget that her sister had her back for the most part. Understanding and getting angry on her behalf whenever she did lash out, because she could see why she did it herself. But Arya didn’t have to deal with the same restrictions as such either. As she had told her brother, their Father had let Arya go to Braavos to finish school, when she hadn’t even been allowed to go home. So to a point, as much as she had her back, it felt more like it was purely for entertainment value - even if she knew it wasn’t. She had grown so much when she came home from Braavos for good, that they were genuinely close now. And she WAS grateful. She just sometimes forgot that she would be there for her too.
And then there was Jon. If anyone should truly understand about just not measuring up to Catelyn Starks extreme standards of expectations? It was her cousin. He had quite simply - never been good enough. She was never cruel or neglectful or anything quite so obvious, but she made the distinction between his being their cousin and not their brother just a little bit too strongly. She had even inadvertently made sure that distinction was kept as a small child too - because her mother didn’t like it that to all of them, Jon was just their other older brother. And she didn’t want to upset her mother either. Now that she was an adult she could see it for what it was though. Jon had only been a little boy, it wasn’t his fault that his parents were killed in that car accident, leaving him alone in the world and in need of his Uncles family, and it certainly wasn’t his fault that they had been having an affair when Uncle Rhaegars first wife was dying of cancer either! And she and Jon were close now because she understood that. Because he had been the strong, silent big brother who found her crying on more than one occasion when her mothers judgemental words had cut just a little too deeply. He never said anything, understanding that she wouldn’t appreciate it. He just held her; or sat with her, until she felt better.
It was disingenuous of her to think SO poorly of her mother over that! She hadn’t been awful to him, she had welcomed him into their home and raised him. He WAS part of the family and her mother understood that. He was just a nephew, not a son and his being the elder, more Stark like child than Robb, didn’t help. But she didn’t NOT love him, there was just a level of jealousy there that led to distance.
Robb SHOULD understand. The impossible standards applied to him too. But he had blinders on, and the only time he had ever come close to challenging the status quo, was when their mother had taken such a dislike to his NOW wife. She had been proud of him for that. For holding his ground and following his heart. She wasn’t proud of him at the moment though. He had been potentially even more vile and outright cruel, in his reactions to her antics than their mother would have been. The things he had said had ripped her apart inside. But she had been forced to keep it together so that Jaime didn’t beat the ever living hells out of him - like he clearly wanted to, for it.
It was just one of the many reasons that she didn’t feel nearly as much guilt as she thought she probably should. The impulsivity to lash out, had led to SOMETHING. And YES, it was something that she shouldn’t have let go so far, and she really SHOULD NOT let it go even further still. She had been honest with her Father about that. She did understand that any further interactions with Jaime Lannister would only exacerbate already fraught tensions. Her parents didn’t like him, his sister and her son hated her, there was around twenty years between them in age, and there was that unspoken truth about unfriendliness between her family and his. Plus her ‘break up’ with Joffrey had caused enough drama with the parts of their families that once were amicable, already.
But there WAS something there. And it was something that she hadn’t experienced with anyone else. He made her feel special. Safe and almost cherished. And he liked HER for HER. Just as she liked him, and the way he laughed and made her laugh too. Sure! It had all started as some petty, childish, alcohol fueled rebellion for them both! But it was rather clear that it had stopped being about that - or at least JUST that, moments after she posted that picture of them. It definitely stopped being about that when he pulled her close and kissed her almost desperately after she had him roaring with laughter. She didn’t even remember what she had said to make him laugh so hard and pull her into his arms as he did. But she did remember the surprise over his heated look mere microseconds before his lips were on hers. And it had most definitely stopped being about that when their drunken, fumbled, extremely passionate sex had taken a rather more sensual, affectionate turn.
She felt like she should feel guilty, and the small part of her that did, only did so because of the resignation in her Fathers tired voice. The reason she couldn’t actually let herself succumb to her guilt over not feeling guilty, was Jaime Lannister. AND herself. He had said it so plainly, as though it was the single most obvious thing in the world. Her family had gone mad - far beyond her predictions mad, at that! All because she had made a personal choice as a grown woman. It wasn’t up to anyone BUT HER who she developed a relationship with, no matter the potential feelings or reasons behind said relationship. And she LIKED Jaime. She really liked him. And consequences be damned! She needed to know where it could go. Because for the first time in her life, someone had noticed her for HER - even if, technically, he noticed her for WHO she was initially, just as she did him. But he wouldn’t have stuck around and he wouldn’t have ‘protected’ her from her brother and even attempted to be amicable once things calmed down, nor would he have blatantly stated that he wanted MORE, after the ridiculously unexpected dramas that they had caused, if it was ONLY about their little rebellion.
Any lingering guilt or guilt of not feeling guilty disappeared completely, the moment she opened the door to the man himself, just before seven o’clock. He stepped straight in the door, kissed her nose and sauntered off to put the bottle of wine he had tucked in his arm on the kitchen counter, before dropping the overnight bag he had in his other on the blanket box at the end of her bed. It was presumptuous as all get out. But it was also strangely endearing and so adorably practical. “Moving in are we?” She grinned as she watched him make himself even more at home than he had that morning, and crossed her arms over her chest with a brow cocked in challenge as he smirked and sauntered right back over to stand directly in front of her. His hands, both real and bionic, finding their way to her hips to drag her closer to himself. “Settle down Stark. Just preemptive measures. I dislike using other people’s toothbrushes to start with, even more so than simply not brushing my teeth as I did this morning. Plus! I’ll have clean and NOT DAMAGED clothes in the event that you rip my shirt again.” She blushed softly and rolled her eyes at his stupid handsome face and the stupid pleased grin on it too. “It was ONE button!”
“And a very expensive shirt. But it’s also rather easily replaced, even more so if I have an extra right here on hand for next time. Besides? It’ll be far more comfortable, when we are lounging around all day tomorrow, avoiding the media and our rather intrusive families, and actually TALKING! If I can do so in lounging clothes! I could do that naked I suppose? But we won’t get much talking done if I do. Even less so if you are either naked or wearing only my shirt again too!” She sighed softly and shook her head at his apparently well thought out and maybe even practiced arguments. She loosened her crossed arms and wrapped them around his neck, inviting herself to be just as presumptuous about touching him, as he was being about touching her. She was not about to tell him that she liked his high handed arrogance - in THIS situation. Because he was already so full of himself as it was. “And here I was thinking that that was the purpose of an actual DATE? To TALK - get to know a person.”
The feel of his hands dragging rather lazily around her lower back to pull her closer still, was enough to set a fire under her skin. “Mmm. True enough. But my theory is - that we can talk about all those little ‘get to know you’ topics over beer and pizza. Pretend that we are just normal people. THEN! We can have incredible, mind blowing sex all night again! And we can actually go over the.... Awkward and uncomfortable parts because of WHO we are tomorrow.” She smiled against his lips as he leaned in and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to her own. She liked that. From what she could gather so far? Jaime Lannister was a big fan of kissing. Of simply showing his underlying feelings, with small gestures. And she was a big fan of such things too. She had never DATED anyone who enjoyed those little moments, like she WANTED to herself. “Alright. I’ll give you this one Lannister. But before we do go and find pizza and beer - or whatever you want for dinner? How DID your family react?” He groaned dramatically and flopped his head back to look up at the ceiling. Clearly not wanting to go into it and making her rather more uncomfortable about asking because of it.
“Don’t be surprised if my Father does something incredibly intrusive, like having your finances checked or something. SOMEBODY swindled him out of hush money at one point and he’s paranoid about your motives. But he will hold back any demands or whatever until he decides if he can trust your intentions aren’t to cripple us. Or something equally as ridiculous and paranoid! He does want to meet with you in coming days too - but don’t stress about that. I’ll put him off. Tyrion thinks we are hilarious and is completely supportive of us actually dating AND getting our little bout of revenge. And I haven’t spoken to my sister - nor do I plan on doing so, because like YOUR MOTHER? She is a narcissistic bitch who likely thinks this is all a strike at her and her son and HER inheritance. So she can get fucked. Preferably by someone who will share yet another venereal disease with her. So can Joff. THEY have been sent to The Stormlands on my Fathers orders for now anyway, so they don’t cause dramas.”
She should be offended on her mother’s behalf for his calling her a narcissistic bitch. She SHOULD be offended for women in general for his rather disgusting thoughts and assumptions and jokes about his sisters sex life. AND she should be highly disturbed by his resentment. But truthfully? She just found it funny. So she laughed. She shouldn’t have, because the reality was that their families were pretty screwed up and they were pretty screwed up because of it too. But it was what it was too. “Well if it helps? I won’t actually mind meeting with your Father at some point. I’ve got nothing to hide. Though I might just have something to say about it if he does run financials and a background check or whatever. And my sister is apparently rather firmly ‘TEAM SANSA’ too. So a couple of siblings is a start right? I mean.... If we are.... Whatever.” She blushed slightly at his VERY amused humming and tugged his hair just because she could. He stole a quick kiss in retaliation and she could do nothing but laugh softly at his antics. “They won’t all come around Sansa. Which is WHY we do need to talk about it. And just so you aren’t stuck in some confused limbo? I want to see where the train actually stops. IF it stops. Do you understand?” She let out a slow breath and studied his eyes. He wasn’t HIDING anything from her. He was genuinely interested in pursuing an actual relationship with her. And for as nerve wracking and disorienting as it was? She wanted that too.
“Consequences be damned?” He grinned wickedly against her lips and hummed in affirmation and agreement. “I don’t give a shit what any of them think sweetheart. They can kiss my ass - or tear each other apart for all I care. My Father has been pushing me to settle down for years anyway. Besides, he pissed me off - and not that arguments are particularly rare between my sister and I these days? But she pushed a little bit too far recently too. And no offence? But I’ve never cared what your family thought OR wanted. And in regards to THIS? I’ll only care about any potential effects it and they have on YOU.” She bit her lip and nodded, pulling him in close so she could kiss him properly. Boldly clinging to that proud, cocky woman who had drawn his attention initially. Nipping at his lip playfully and licking into his mouth, making him groan and squeeze her in those fantastically strong arms.
“Keep kissing me like that beautiful? And we aren’t going anywhere tonight. Come on. Dinner.”
“We could order in instead?”
“We could? But I’m not HIDING.” She smiled softly and nodded. More than just a little bit happy that he was so determined. After talking to her Father, she had been almost tempted to step back - even though she REALLY didn’t want to. So it helped to have him take the lead a little there. She let out a shuddering breath and actually hugged him. Seeking comfort and strength too. If they meant to take this into a potential full blown relationship? It would cause far more drama than they had already, simply by sleeping together. She hoped it was worth it.
“Pizza. Beer. Copious amounts of mind blowing sex. Come on little wolf. It’s our first DATE.” She snorted a laugh and pulled back to see the cocky grin on his stupid handsome face. The cocky grin that was doing a terrible job of hiding his vulnerable, underlying tone. “Well alright? But if the sex isn’t AT least on par with last night? I’m just not sure we will make a second date Lannister!” He tipped his head back and laughed happily, and held tight so she couldn’t step back away from him as he did. “I love a challenge little one. I am willing and prepared AND most importantly? CAPABLE, of doing exactly that. Perhaps even exceeding expectations there, especially if it means you will entertain the idea of MORE DATES.”
“Just for future reference? Are you planning on packing an overnight bag if I DO agree to more dates?”
“It’s likely I’ll pack an overnight bag when I’m just popping in to visit at times too. Maybe I’ll just start leaving stuff here too. Who knows.” She smiled softly and nodded. She SHOULD be affronted by his presumptions. She was not.
Her heart thudding rather nicely in her chest as his cheek turned soft and silently telling, as he tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and thumbed at her jaw. “You with me Baby?” She swallowed hard and studied his eyes quietly. He was nervous. Likely just as nervous as she was, if his eyes were telling the actual truth. But he had said that he wasn’t a liar, and she didn’t think it possible to fake the sorts of emotions that he was showing her either. His whispered words were asking a hell of a lot more than merely whether she was ready to head out for dinner. The hilariously inappropriate - given their age gap - endearment telling her that much, VERY clearly. And it was as terrifying as it was exciting. “I’m with you.” She was absolutely ready to be his Baby, and let the world burn around them. Mad as it was full stop, let alone after little more than a drunken ‘one night stand’.