The office had closed a little early on Friday to allow extra time to set up for the company holiday party. The staff had been instructed to bring a change of festive clothing to partake in the annual holiday traditions. So while everyone was finishing up last minute work and changing, Tyrion and a few hired hands were decorating and assembling out in the waiting area.
Truth be told, Sansa was nervous about her gift. Questioning her decision night after night. Then continuing to question it up until it’s very purchase. She absolutely had to get him something meaningful. If he figured her feelings out and rejected her, that was a price she had to pay. Sandor’s one thing was honestly and Sansa had to be true to her heart. She wasn’t outright declaring love for the man or anything, but it felt close enough.
After Sansa changed into a modest knee-length red dress and black heels, she touched up her make up, adding just a sprinkle of extra elegance. She took her hair down from her standard pony and shook out the waves.
There were several other girls sharing the bathroom and doing similar activities. Sansa was glad she chose this dress, as it was just in the middle of conservative and sexy. Unlike Rosalyn who went full harlot with a plunging silk neckline
The cheery holiday music hit her ears as they made their way to the office’s waiting area. Sansa was amazed at the total transformation. All the chairs, side tables and standard stacks of boring magazines had all been removed. The normally large sterile waiting room was unbelievably unrecognizable.
Several large tables covered with black linens were strategically placed around the room. On one side, there was a table that held gifts while a couple others housed various scrumptious looking hors d’oeuvres and flutes of drinks.
There were red and silver streamers strung about. Clusters of red and silver balloons with a green one mixed in here and there. The overhead lights had been turned mostly off and to the lowest illumination and twinkle lights hung from the walls and ceiling. Batches of fake snow collected around the corners and edges of the walls. It was a little winter wonderland.
There were several games set up throughout. A pin the carrot on the snowman game was hanging from the front door. A cornhole game in the corner. A wheel with various marked prizes to spin and win. Sansa laughed when she spotted a dart board with a picture of the Grinch on it. She never would have guessed how much effort would have been put into all this.
Sansa hadn’t been expecting much, a few streamers and a couple party platters perhaps. This was delightfully impressive.
“Alright everyone.” Tyrion called out with a champagne flute in hand. “Grab a drink and gather around for a toast.”
As everyone moved about the room, Sansa plucked a glass from the table and settled in beside Ros. She saw Sandor enter the room from the corner of her eye, though he stayed back from the group.
“From the bottom of my heart and Dr. Cleganes—I swear he has one buried in there somewhere—“
Everyone laughed. Sandor merely raised an eyebrow shrugging as if to say ‘maybe I do maybe I don’t.’
“We want to thank each one of you for your hard work and continued dedication in molding our office into the world renowned clinic it is today. Raise your glass and drink to each other. We couldn’t do all this without you.” Everyone smiled happily as they raised their glass. “Now, get some food, play some games and win something good.”
Sansa began mingling with some of her medical assistant coworkers that she didn’t see too often. A small group of them made their way to play a game.
Her eyes found Sandors from across the room watching her. She smiled just as she was being blindfolded. She was handed a velcro carrot and roughly spun in circles several times. Almost tripping on her heels, she regained some semblance of balance and marched forth. After placing the fake carrot, she ripped off her mask to see she was way off mark. Throwing her fists up she groaned. “Nooo!”
“Sorry, Sansa.” Jeyne had laughed. “Now outta the way, let me show you how it’s done.”
Sansa pretended to pout and caught Sandors eye again. His lips held a hint of a smile as he raised his glass with a shrug that said ‘you can’t win ‘em all’.
She gleefully blushed at his attentions. Then looked away quickly with a longing to go slide up next to him, but instead watched on as her coworkers continued playing the game.
While sipping champagne and chatting, Sansa and her small group of ladies found themselves at the prize wheel. It was the first time she’d been up close to it. There were around twenty different dollar amounts in each slot.
“Is this for real?” She asked astonished.
Rosalyn swallowed the last of her drink, leaning into Sansa. “Yep. Everyone gets one spin.”
Her head whipped to Sandor, still standing against the wall, drink in hand. His eyes narrowed curiously and she just gave a small shake of her head.
“There are at least thirty employees here.”
“Thirty-seven.” Rosalyn offered.
“But what if everyone lands on the big one?”
“Then dear ole Sandy-Claus is writing thirty-seven big fat checks.” Rosalyns eyes were aglow. “I’ve only seen it land on the big one once though.”
Tyrion had finished up with the previous spinner, handing her a slip of paper before turning to Sansa. “Ready for your spin?”
“I don’t know.” This didn’t feel right.
“You sound nervous, it’s not going to bite.” Rosalyn guffawed and lightly shoved Sansa out of the way. “I’ll go.”
She gave the wheel a spin. Sansa watched it go round and round while stealing sly glances at Sandor who was watching. She wondered if he hoped Rosalyn would land on the smallest amount.
Suddenly Rosalyn jumped up and down clapping and yelling.
“Congrats.” Sansa said when Ros looked at her obviously waiting for some shouts of shared joy.
“Okay, you’re turn.” Rosalyn sang, scooting Sansa closer.
“I’ll go later. I have to go to the restroom.”
She slipped away. For whatever reason it didn’t sit well in her stomach, the thought of taking Sandors money. She just couldn’t do it.
When she returned, she went to the food table and grabbed a plate. Selecting several little savory and sweet items, she grabbed another champagne and decided to finally join Sandor at the wall.
“It’s all so beautifully decorated in here.” She said at his side.
“Aye, very beautiful.” He said looking at her with a small smile. “You didn’t spin the wheel. It’s everyone’s favorite.”
“It’s too much.” She shook her head.
“They deserve it.” He shrugged.
“No they don’t. Not from you.” Her heated words came out more forcefully than intended.
“Why? Because they’re scared shitless of me?” He spoke softly and playfully, eyeing the room.
“I mean, not all of them are.” She looked at her glass in hand, feeling bad about her little outburst.
“I’m a hard ass, can’t change that. This softens the blows I give them through the year.” He explained.
“Money doesn’t make everything better.”
“No, it doesn’t. But it certainly helps.”
She couldn’t argue with that.
“I want you to spin.” He urged.
“Why?” She was baffled.
“Because it’s awfully strange if you’re the only one here who doesn’t.”
“Nobody will even know.” She countered.
“Just spin the damn wheel.”
“I don’t want to take your money!” She quietly yelled.
“Why?” He asked moving to lean on one shoulder, facing her with his arms folded. “Why can they take my money but not you?”
“Because we’re...I’d like to think...friends...or something.”
“Friends or something?” He raised his brow and drew a questioning frown. ”Bronn is my closest friend and he has no qualms about taking my money.”
“Well then maybe he’s not that great of a friend.” She huffed the lie.
“That’s not what it is.” He shook his head and pushed off the wall, facing the group of colleagues. “You’re hiding something, Ms. Stark.
Cling! Cling! Cling!
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone grab your presents and we’ll get this train moving.”
Chaotic shuffling ensued as everyone had they’re gift in hand and made a large circle. Sansa willed her heart to slow it’s speed. She couldn’t help but imaging Sandor unwrapping more than just his gift. The moment of truth was near and the butterflies are working overtime.
Tyrion took to the center of the circle.
“Okay, lets start with Gilly. Who did you pull for your secret Santa this year?”
“I got Pod.” She smiled walking across the circle to hand him his gift.
“Thanks Gilly.” He said with pink cheeks.
“Pod, now you.” Tyrion motioned for him to continue.
“I got Dr. Blackwater.” He handed the gift to the man next to him. “Happy holidays, sir.”
“Thanks, man.” Bronn sheepishly smiled. “And I got Ms. Stark.”
Sansa took the gift he held out to her with a sweet smile. “Thank you.” She felt all eyes on her as she walked across the circle. “I picked Dr. Clegane.”
Sandors eyes widened a fraction, but hid any surprise well. He cleared his throat and grumbled a thanks while taking the small box. He then promptly took several strides to meet Jeyne. “Happy holidays, Ms. Poole.”
“Thank you Dr. Clegane.” Jeyne’s nervous words barely heard.
After many more rounds, everyone was instructed to open their gifts. Sansa had received a lemon scented candle. A grin spread across her face as Dr. Blackwater came up to her.
“I heard you liked anything lemon related.”
“I do. This smells delightful. Thank you so much.”
He nodded. “You’re very welcome, happy holidays.” He then walked off to give his own thanks to Pod.
Sansa looked up to Sandor who was holding the opened gift in hand and talking to Tyrion. She had decided to make her way over to them when Sandors eyes snapped to hers. The look he sent made Sansa take a step back. His eyes were filled with a fire that burned her gut. There was anguish and betrayal swirling about. And then he stormed off without second glance.
She was panicking inside. What could have happened? The party had been going so well. She needed to speak with Tyrion immediately.
“Tyrion, is Dr. Clegane okay?” She tried not to sound too worried.
“I...I don’t know what just happened.” He looked up at her confused.
“What were you guys talking about?”
“He was telling me about the gift you got him and how thoughtful it was.”
“Okay? Then what?” She rushed the words, needing more.
“I told him that was your intentions. He was confused, so I told him what you told me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I told him that you asked to be put on his service so you could dig up some dirt on him for the exchange.” He put his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth. “I said you were very eager to be a little spy and it was quite endearing the importance of giving a thoughtful gift was to you and the lengths you were willing to go. I mean nobody ASKS to work with him.”
“And that’s when he left?” Her stomach felt like sludge.
“Yeah.” He shook his head. “I didn’t think it’d make him so angry.”
“Of course it upset him! You told him he’s been being spied on!”
“Well pardon me, but that’s exactly what you told me you were doing. You quite literally used the word spy.”
“I have to go talk to him.” She said shaking her head.
She scurried to the back office. As she was about to pass her desk, she saw a tall red box with a green ribbon around it sitting on it. She paused and looked around before going to it. She untied the ribbon, confused at who would leave a gift at her desk. Opening the lid revealed a bottle of wine. Not just any wine though. Upon examination of the bottle in hand, it proved to be the very wine she spoke to Sandor about. Had he gone all the way to Meereen?
There was a piece of folded paper at the bottom of the box. She unfolded it and read the short inscription.
You’ve made this grouchy fucker smile more times this past month than I have all year, its appreciated more than you know. Somehow you have become the brightest part of my day. I hope you will consider coming onto my service permanently. Happy holidays Little Bird. -S.C
Her breathing was labored as her head spun with thoughts. These words had to mean something. If he had flown all the way to another country, it had to mean something. Nobody flew thousands of miles to buy a bottle of wine for a colleague or a friend. He must have feelings for her. This was some grand gesture, right?
He came bounding down the hall but stopped short when he saw her standing there. His eyes were dark and furious. Without a word he spun on his heel and hurried out the back exit. No coat or scarf, just fled out into the snow.
She yanked her jacket off the back of her chair, quickly pushing her arms through. Then threw the strap of her purse around her neck and grabbed the neck of the bottle. Following in his footsteps out the back. She could make this right, she had too.
The cold air smacked her hard in the face when she burst through the door. Big puffy snowflakes cascaded down all around her and the ground was a a blanket of sparkling white. The moon lit the darkened sky, as did the street lamps lining the walkway.
She spotted Sandors large figure across the street and down the block. He hadn’t got too far.
“Sandor!” She shouted while jumping to a sprint.
He didn’t turn back as she ran through the snow.
Her toes already felt frozen in her black heels, but she paid them no mind. Her hair and shoulders were dusted with melting snow. The flakes were so large that she kept having to shake them out of her eyelashes.
“Sandor wait! Please!” She shouted again. Looking both ways she crossed the street in a careful jog. One should never run in this weather, let alone in heels, but she had to get to him. When she went to hop up the curb, her shoe slipped and she went down hard with a pained scream.
The bottle of wine shattered around her. Clutching her ankle she cried out. “No!”
It was freezing, the snow was seeping through her dress. She tried getting up, but it was so awkward in her attire. She planted a hand in the snow to push herself up but she caught a bunch of tiny shards of glass in her hand. She hissed in pain and brought both of her hands to her chest.
Tears fell down her cheeks and she let out a sob. Everything was so messed up.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He growled while bending down to lift her.
She hadn’t notice him turn back for her. She stared at him speechless as she was hoisted up bridal style.
“Well wrap your arm around me for fucks sake. I’ll take you back inside. Plenty of cunts in there to patch you up.” He spoke, not looking at her.
“I don’t wanna go back in there, please.” She sounded panicked as he strode towards the building. “Please, Sandor don’t take me back in there.”
“You need to get that glass out of your hand and your ankle checked out.”
“I know, my apartment is only a couple blocks away. I have all the stuff I’d need there. Please, I don’t want to face everyone like this. I don’t wanna ruin the party.”
He thought on it and then turned, walking in the direction of her place, grumbling. “As if they’ve never seen someone injured before. They’re bloody doctors for fucks sake.”
“Take a left up here. It’s the blue and white building.” She said ignoring him.
She studied his profile, his scars. She had never been this close to them. If things were different she’d reach up and touch them, snuggle the top of her head against him. But he was in a foul mood and would likely drop her and leave her to freeze in the snow.
“I’m sorry I broke your gift.” Her voice meek. “It was so thoughtful.”
“Did you really go all the way to Meereen to get me a gift?”
“It wasn’t a big deal.” He grumbled. “Just forget about it.”
They were standing in front of her building now.
“Would you mind helping me get the glass out of my hand?”
“Fine.” He sighed and walked up the stairs.
He set her down in front of her door and she unlocked it and let them in. Walking in without trouble, she went to her first aid kit. When she came back Sandor was staring at her in bewilderment.
“It appears you’re walking just fine.” He deadpanned.
“Yeah, it hurt a little when I hit the ground, but it’s fine.”
“You could have walked yourself then?”
She tried to suppress a guilty grin as much as possible. It had just felt so nice to be in his arms. “Yes, I suppose so.”
His eyes narrowed as he yanked the kit out of her hands. “Sit.”
Once he was kneeling in front of her with tweezers, she spoke again as he got to work.
“You didn’t have to get me a gift.”
“Aye. It’s obvious I shouldn’t have. Especially considering you carelessly dropped it.”
“I wouldn’t have dropped it had you not run away.” She spat angrily.
“I didn’t run away.” He yelled.
“You most certainly did.” She insisted.
“I told you parties aren’t my thing.” He mumbled into her hand.
“It didn’t have anything to do with what Tyrion said then?”
He let out a long sigh. “It doesn’t matter. Leave it be.” He placed a bandaid over the small cuts.
“I don’t want to leave it be, Sandor. I want to—”
“Dammit woman!” He yelled and ran a hand through his damp hair. Standing he stepped away from her. “Learn to shut your mouth once in awhile.”
She stood in anger. “Do not speak to me like that!” She slowly walked up to him. “I put up with your mouth, you can put up with mine.”
“Fucking hells you’re infuriating.” He growled and turned away for a moment.
After a quiet beat, Sansa nervously asked. “Did you like my gift?”
It was as he he punched her in the stomach. Any fight she had in her vanished. “You didn’t?”
“Do I look like the kind of man that goes out and watches plays?”
“Well no, but it’s your favorite movie and I thought that you’d enjoy seeing it live. It even has the same actor and everything. It’s supposed to be really good.” She felt like the life was draining out of her. “I thought—”
“You thought wrong.” He paced. “As if I’m going to ask one of my friends to go watch a play with me.”
“I wasn’t thinking that you’d ask one of your friends. It’s really more of a date thing.” She looked down.
He laughed a little crazily. “Aye. Because I do that sort of thing. Go on dates. You know for all your bloody spying, you did a real shit job at picking out a gift.” His shook his head angrily. “I should have seen through all your incessant chirping and questioning.”
She rubbed her arms together, holding herself. She began to cry. “I didn’t...You said...you said that I was the brightest part of your day.”
He grabbed her arms, his harsh whisper warming her forehead. “And I told you to forget about it.” He pushed her away gently.
“I don’t want to forget about it. And I hate how your being right now.”
She couldn’t believe this was happening. Everything was blowing up in front of her face in slow motion.
“You’re such a fool, Sandor. Such a bloody fool.” She was angry.
“You wanna say that again?” He stalked up to her, hovering over her. His menacing eyes roaming her face.
She let out a solitary laugh as she became consumed with rage and sorrow. “How dare you try and threaten me. What are you going to do? Hit me? Do it. Prove to me that all the men I fall for are vile abusers.” She shoved him in the chest, pushing him out of her space. “Am I really just a punching bag? A magnet for men who want to break me?” She was spiraling down by the second. “I thought you could be different. I thought you were be good. But you stand here now, trying to intimidate me, belittle me. Perhaps I’m the fool, not you.”
He staggered backwards, not stopping until he was up against her door. His eyes were full of regret. His hand blindly reached for the handle, but before he turned and left she stopped him.
“Nothing?” She spread her arms out. “You’ve got nothing to say?”
“I’m sorry. Truly.” He looked like an absolute wreck. Defeated to the very bone. His body slumped into the wood. “I’ve ruined everything.”
She didn’t say anything.
“You have...feelings for me?”
“Yes.” She took a couple steps closer, though they were still far apart. “I was hoping you’d want to use that extra ticket on me. I was hoping that I could be your date. I was about to come up to you and hint at it, but then you were running out of there.”
“I lied.” He blurted out.
She made a face that said ‘go on’.
“I loved your gift. My first thought was in fact to ask if you wanted to come with me, but then Tyrion had told me, you’d made it your mission to rip me open and see how I tick. Then all I could see was red and I couldn’t think straight.”
She held out a hand and came closer, as if he were a wounded animal. “At first, yes. All I had was office gossip about you and pity from several people because I had to work with you. But I quickly learned that you’re actually kind of amazing and funny and smart and...sexy.”
“I find all that hard to believe.” He shook his head and looked to his feet.
“You charmed me.”
He huffed. “You charmed me the first day you set foot in the clinic, Little Bird.”
“You didn’t even speak to me my first few months.”
“I saw you smile.” He closed his eyes and smiled. “I saw it from across the room, it lit up my soul like the sun itself.” Deciding to switch topics somewhat, Sansa had to know. “You said it wasn’t smart to get involved with employees.” “I never claimed to be a smart man. I just stated a known fact.” He admitted. “It would be complicated and incredibly difficult at times. No, it’s not smart. But, I don’t give a single flying fuck, because I’ve already accepted that I would do anything for you.” “You said Margaery was too young for you.” “Huh? What does that—.” He was caught off guard. “If she’s too young? Aren’t I?” She asked. “I just said that to get your father to drop it and for it to be known that I was not interested.” Then with hesitation he asked. “Aren’t I too old for you?” “No. I don’t believe you are.” She told him honestly.
They were almost close enough to touch now, but still out of reach. She stood straight, her posture firm. Clasping her hands in front of her.
“You can’t ever try and intimidate me again like that. You can’t...you can’t do anything like that again.” He went to speak but her raised palm stopped him. “I know your a grumpy man, foul tempered and generally all around moody. I like that about you, oddly enough I find it to be endearing. But if you ever try and use a show of force against me again, that will be the end, I swear on the old Gods and the new.”
He stepped away from the door, took ahold of her hand and bent down on one knee. Kissing her fingers he sighed out and pressed his forehead against her belly before leaning back and looking up at her.
“I swear I will never raise a hand at you, I will never hit you or try and frighten you. I will always be sorry for the way I acted tonight. I am the fool, not you.” He took a deep breath. “You have become my everything, Sansa and I will do everything I can to not fuck it all up.”
“Rise.” She smiled brightly through water eyes, she placed his cheek in her palm. “Rise so that I can finally kiss you.”
Popping up quicker than she expected, she let out a bubble of laughter. Which Sandor swallowed swiftly. Closing his lips around hers in a soft and eager meeting. His hands came to rest on her hips as hers snaked up his chest and around his neck. Her entire body was pressed against his as she balanced on the tips of her toes.
Sandor expertly deepened the kiss, opening her up with his tongue. Sansa moaned at the welcomed intrusion. She then pulled herself up and with Sandor’s help she wrapped her legs around his waist.
He walked her to the kitchen island and sat her down, but stayed glued to her. His hands trailed up her legs, pushing up the hem of her dress. The pads of his fingers were like little bolts of electricity shooting straight to her core. He breathlessly broke the kiss. “How far does this go tonight, Sansa?”
“As far as you want.” She smiled kissing her way up his neck.
He pushed her back and brought her chin up with a crooked finger. “No, as far as you want. You have to be sure about this. There’s no going back. You’re mine if we do this.”
“Sandor—.” She grabbed his hand and guided his fingers inside her dress and beyond her panties. “Do you feel that?”
His eyes were wide as he swallowed thickly and nodded.
“I’m wet and slick for you. I’ve thought about this moment for awhile now.” She huffed a little laugh. “I would have let you fuck me against a tree at my parents party had you tried.” She pulled out his hand and brought his fingers up to his mouth. “Open.” She instructed.
He parted his lips and she pushed his fingers inside. He licked and sucked her fluids from his digits. Closing his eyes and savoring every drop.
“Do you want more?” Her voice a husky whisper.
He nodded, panting like an animal.
She leaned back on her palms and spread her legs. “Then come and get it.”
After a fast and frenzied coupling, Sandor hauled Sansa over his shoulder and carried her off to her bedroom. Sansa couldn’t help but marvel at the ripples of muscles down his back. As she dangled in the air with her hair brushing his bare ass, she slid her hand over the firm piece of flesh and squeezed.
“Hey!” He yelped and slapped her ass before depositing her on the bed.
He crawled over her, kissing the tip of her nose. “Naughty girl.”
They shuffled their way up to the pillows and laid side by side. Sansa propped herself up on her elbow. “So, did you decide on who you’re going to ask to go to the play with you?” “What? You, obviously.” He said as if it had already been decided. Of course it had, but that was beside the point. Sansa was feeling sassy and playful in her afterglow.
“But I don’t remember being asked.” She looked on innocently.
Sandor moved slowly to prop himself up opposite of her. Tired and perhaps a bit sore. “That’s how it’s gonna be?” He raised an eyebrow.
“I’m a proper lady, sir.” She raised her nose in true brat form.
He let out a long sigh with a shake of his head. “Some annoying girl got me tickets to a dumb play. Wanna go?”
She shrugged uninterested. “I can probably arrange that.”
Sandor pushed her onto her back, pinning her arms and spreading her thighs with his leg. “You little shit.” He roughly rubbed his leg over her sex. “You’ll go with me and you’ll hold my bloody hand and it will be so proper that I’ll have you on your knees by the end of the night. Sound good to you?”
She moaned as he worked her up with only his thigh. Still sensitive from before, she felt he could easily make her climax this way. She rutted her hips against the coarse hair of his leg. “Yes.”
“Good.” He kissed below her ear as she writhed underneath him. He rose up and then flopped on his back, satisfied. “I’ve been waiting years to go see this damn play.”
“Hey!” She whined, pushing up on her forearms in a fog of pleasure, upset he stopped. “Wait, really?”
He smiled at her. “Aye. Haven’t had anyone worth taking.”
She threw her leg over his waist and sat atop his large frame. He brought his big hands to her hips, stroking lovingly. She ground her hips down on his hardness with heat in her eyes. “Well, now you have me.”
“Aye. Now I have you.” He sat up, cradling her body in his arms and kissed her with unrestrained passion.