“So, are you telling me you are smitten with that guy?”
“I’m not smitten with him,” Sansa’s voice was a little bit muffled, as if she was chewing her lip again. She had a habit to do so every time she was nervous or deep in her thoughts. “I’m simply telling that he is an interesting person, but…”
“Is it about his face?” her friend asked and Sandor froze on his place behind a huge plant.
He didn’t want to eavesdrop on Sansa and her friend from another branch. That Jeyne girl was coming to their work once in four or five months to deal with the accountants. They were sitting at the small table near cafeteria’s exit and Sandor was just passing by when that Jeyne mentioned something about Sansa’s potential crush. And his face.
Sandor gulped and hoped that a huge plant was completely shielding him from both Sansa and her friend. He clutched his coffee mug in his fist and held his breath. He needed to hear Sansa’s answer.
“It’s not his face, Jeyne,” Sansa’s voice sounded reproachfully. “It’s about his attitude. When we talk, he always sounds a little bit mean. And his jokes are kind of crude. I’m more than sure he doesn’t like me at all. Not that I have any feelings for him, you know.”
Sandor’s ears were on fire. She was definitely talking about him. Him, a rude and grumpy Sandor Clegane, the head of the designing department, who had a foul mouth and was trying to hide his affection for a pretty colleague under his usual barks and lame jokes.
Of course, he was hiding it, there was no way she could fall for him in return. Pretty young women like Sansa Stark never fell for people like Sandor. And she just confirmed it to her friend.
Well, at least she didn’t mind his ugly mug.
“I don’t know, I think people like him can change easily if they have a right person next to them,” that Jeyne girl said with a chuckle.
She was damn right. If there was the tiniest chance Sansa could return his feelings, Sandor would do anything to win her affection. At least he hoped so. At least he could try. Sandor clenched his fist and nodded to the plant in front of him. He definitely could try.
“You think so?” there was a clear doubt in Sansa’s voice.
“I’m dating Bronn, I know what I am talking about,” her friend laughed.
Sandor had no idea who that Bronn was, but he wanted to fall on his knees in front of Jeyne and kiss her hands. He was considering to do so if she will manage to change Sansa’s mind on him.
“Maybe you’re right,” Sansa was chewing her lip again. She had pretty pink lips. Sandor spent hours pretending he was in deep thoughts about his project, so he could observe Sansa at her working table.
Her friend whispered something on Sansa’s ear and they both giggled. Sandor wanted the damned plant to disappear so he could see Sansa’s face when she was smiling, but at the same time, he had to stay hidden.
“That’s another story,” Sansa replied to her friend’s words. “But it’s not the most important thing in a relationship. It should be about the personality too.”
“Sansa, dear, please don’t start with your brave, gentle, and strong chant again,” Jeyne pouted.
“I didn’t say a word!” Sansa laughed. Oh, that laugh. “But still, some traits are very important when you start a relationship. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to date a guy who is all about himself. And who lacks patience. And who thinks that cheating is the most natural thing for a man. And who doesn’t care about my opinions or hobbies.”
“Thank you for reminding me about your exes, but we are not talking about them now,” Jeyne cackled.
Sandor felt an uncomfortable pain in his chest. He had no idea who Sansa’s exes were, but he hated them nevertheless. How could they be so stupid to treat a perfect little lady like her in those ways? He would never treat her like any of her exes.
“I don’t know, Jeyne,” Sansa sighed. “I don’t think I’m ready for dating, anyway. And I don’t have any feelings for him, I’ve told you.”
“Oh, of course,” Jeyne chuckled again and Sansa whimpered. “But you know, if something will happen between two of you, give him a chance, okay?”
“Maybe,” Sansa said with a sad sigh and Sandor knew there was no way back.
It wasn’t nice to stalk someone on social media, so Sandor had to sit down and think about Sansa’s hobbies and interests. They didn’t talk too much, and all their interactions were narrowed down to Sandor’s teasings, and now he was cursing himself. If he wasn’t acting like a twat every time he saw her face, he would know how to win her affection for sure.
Sansa had to be interested in fashion. She always looked like a cover girl, with all those pretty dresses and various hairstyles. Sandor eyed his bedraggled jeans and t-shirt with a quote from his favourite video game. Alright, he had already lost.
Sandor pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to focus on Sansa and her interests. She had a phone case with a fluffy puppy on it. She was a dog person. Sandor sighed and threw a glance at Stranger, who was sleeping on top of his gaming console. Stranger wasn’t a dog, even if he acted like one. He knew how to ask for food and bite people. But he wasn’t a dog, so Sandor couldn’t use him as an excuse to start a chat with Sansa.
Something was wrong with Jaime's mind, if he ended up gifting him a bloody ferret.
Sansa also mentioned her interest in medieval history. She told about it during the last Sevenmas party, when it was her turn to share a little secret about her. She also said something about reading and watching movies. Probably the ones full of romance and men who were nothing like her exes. Or like Sandor.
But she didn’t mind his face. Not many women were able to share their opinion on Sandor’s mug with Sansa. It had to mean something. Sandor hoped it was something good.
“Um, hello,” he muttered, appearing at Sansa’s desk as if out of nowhere. He was hiding behind the corner until Sansa finished her conversation with Ellaria from the marketing department. And then he appeared as if out of nowhere.
Sansa blinked in a surprise, but then a puzzlement on her face turned into a frown.
“How can I help you?” she asked in a blank voice. She wasn’t happy with his presence, it wasn’t a big surprise. Sandor had earned a title of the biggest twat in her eyes, there was nothing strange she didn’t want to talk to him.
“Well”, Sandor rubbed the backside of his neck. “I was just passing by your desk when I remembered something.”
“All payrolls will be ready in a week.”
“It’s not about the work,” Sandor waved his hand. “I’ve just remembered that I saw a billboard with an ad for the new exhibition in Baelor museum.”
“Oh?” Sansa raised her brows in astonishment. Good.
“Aye,” Sandor nodded. “They’re hosting a new exposition about some medieval fashion, so I thought it would be nice to mention it to you.”
“ Oh,” Sansa’s voice was still full of surprise, but now it was a pleasant one.
“Aye, that’s all what I wanted to tell you,” Sandor buried his hands in pockets, trying to sound as indifferently as it was possible. “Have a good day.”
He marched back to his desk and spent the rest of the afternoon working on a new location design. It was so hard to not throw glances in Sansa’s direction, but he knew it was necessary to act as if nothing outstanding had happened.
At least he was able to feel Sansa’s intense stare on him until the end of the working day. He took it as a good sign.
He noticed that Sansa was ordering Lysen takeaways at least once a week. Sandor texted Jaime, who texted his wife, who texted her brother who had a friend who was working in a Lysen restaurant and agreed to give Sandor five discount coupons. He needed more of them to not look too suspicious.
“Anyone is up to an almost free meal?” he asked his colleagues when he stormed into their open-space in the morning. “I mean, they’re offering seventy per cent off at ‘The Weeping Lady,” so you’d better hurry up.”
Three coupons were taken straight away, and Davos asked to put the fourth one aside so he could check if his wife was available that week. Out of the corner of his eye, Sandor spotted Sansa, who was still sitting at her desk. She was chewing her lip and her hands were trembling a little bit. She looked excited, but unsure at the same time.
Sandor gave himself an invisible handshake.
“Hi, Sansa,” he waved his hand when he was passing by her desk on the way to his workplace. “Maybe you want the last coupon?”
“Hi,” Sansa said and her cheeks reddened. Sandor knew it wasn’t because of her nonexistent affection towards him, she simply wanted the coupon. “Um, I’m not sure… Do you have the one for you?”
“Well, no,” Sandor blurted. “But it doesn’t matter, my friends are usually bringing me Lysen food anyway.”
It was a lie, Sandor wasn’t a big fan of any cuisine except for the Westerosi one, but he wanted to show Sansa there was at least something both of them shared.
Sansa chewed her lip again and nodded.
“I’ll take it, then,” she said and now her ears were red too. “Thank you, Sandor .”
It was the first time she said his name. Sandor left the last coupon on her desk and went to his workplace, grinning like an idiot. He wanted to hope that the ice had broken up.
Sansa approached him at the end of the working week.
“You know, about that coupon,” she said nervously. She was avoiding his eyes and Sandor hoped she didn’t want to return it because of some stupid reason. Like her new boyfriend, who wasn’t happy that she accepted a gift from someone else. Even if it was a stupid discount coupon.
“What about it?” Sandor cocked his eyebrow. His voice wasn’t trembling, good.
“I was thinking to finally go to that restaurant tonight,” Sansa explained, tugging a strand of hair behind her ear. Her reddened ear. “And I wondered if by any chance you’d like to join me? If you are free, of course.”
She didn’t have an affection for him. She didn’t have an affection for him. Shedidn’thaveanaffectionforhim.
“Why?” he asked. It was the dumbest thing to ask in that situation, but Sandor’s mind was suddenly free of reasonable questions. What the fuck was going on?
“Um,” Sansa shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “I thought it would be fair if I thanked you for the coupon in one way or another. So yeah. Would you like to join me?”
Sandor wished he could hear about another way. Or not to think about it at all. So he simply nodded. Gods, he didn’t even like that foreign food!
“Great,” Sansa stopped chewing her lip and smiled. Her posture relaxed straight away and Sandor breathed out. “Then, I’ll see you after work?”
“Aye,” he said, watching her hurrying back to her desk.
Oh fuck. She came to his desk and asked him to come with her to the restaurant. She smiled at him. She was gorgeous.
“It’s just a dinner to express her gratitude, nothing more,” he grumbled under his nose.
There was a loud sort coming from the desk behind him and Sandor wished he could throw his hole puncher at Tormund’s direction.
He was right, it was just a courtesy dinner. But he enjoyed it very much. He even managed to have the first long chat with Sansa and keep a still tongue in his head. Even if there were many opportunities to make a joke. Sansa said she wasn’t fond of them, so Sandor did his best. Hopefully, he succeeded in it.
Sansa told him about her work. She also mentioned that she went to the exhibition Sandor recommended and it was marvellous. They spoke about medieval stuff until the rest of their dinner, and in the end, Sansa said she wasn’t done with that discussion.
Sandor hoped it was a sign she would go out with him again.
He managed to eat the flavourless food they were serving at the restaurant and share his positive opinion on it. Sansa was beaming and that was all that mattered. The dinner went way better than Sandor could expect.
Sansa squeezed his arm before they went off to their respective homes and smiled at him. It was the first time she touched him, and Sandor knew he would cherish that moment until the end of his futile life. And recall it while jerking off.
He decided it was a nice start.
Sandor bought a pair of tickets to the new romantic comedy and offered it to Sansa.
“I won it in the online lottery,” he lied. “So, I was wondering if by any you’ll be interested.”
She was. Sandor spent two agonising hours in the darkness of the cinema, trying to ignore Sansa’s presence next to him. It didn’t work. She was sitting there, laughing and gasping at some intense moments. At some point, she even moved a little bit as if she wanted to be a little bit closer.
Sandor decided it was because there was too noisy couple next to her. There was no way she had already developed an affection for him, right?
He had no idea what the bloody movie was about.
“I always wanted to get a dog,” Sansa told him during the lunch. No, they didn't go to the cafeteria together. Sandor got himself a coffee and a sandwich when he realised Sansa was sitting there on her own. He asked if she didn’t mind him joining her for the rest of the lunch, and Sansa gladly took her bag away from the spare chair.
“Then go for it,” Sandor shrugged.
Sansa grinned and cut her lemon cake in two.
“I was thinking about someone small, like a corgi,” she said and put a cake in her mouth. There was a crumb on her lip and Sandor’s fingers ached from the impossibility to brush it away.
“Corgis are nice,” Sandor nodded. “But an animal in your flat requires a lot of work. And commitment.”
“That’s why I still don’t have a dog,” Sansa sighed. “Do you have any pet, Sandor?”
Oh, how he liked those moments when she was saying his name.
“I do,” Sandor took a sip of his coffee. “A nasty black beast who is hissing at my guests and chewing their shoes.”
“A cat?” Sansa giggled.
“Worse,” Sandor sighed. “A ferret.”
He never saw Sansa’s eyes widening like that.
Somehow they ended up at his flat in the evening. Stranger was hissing and trying to run away from Sansa, who was bursting with laughter. Her eyes were shining, her pink lips stretched in a wide grin.
In the end, Sandor tricked his pet and caught him.
“I’ll carry him if you want to pet him now,” he mumbled and Sansa beamed. She patted Stranger’s little head and scratched his neck, cooing at him. Of course, Stranger tried to bite her, but Sandor clicked his tongue loudly and the ferret snorted. He knew it was a signal to calm down.
“He’s so cute,” Sansa whispered when Sandor put sleepy Stranger in his cage.
“You’re telling so because he didn’t bite your legs,” Sandor grumbled. “Usually he likes biting people.”
“Maybe he just likes me,” she giggled and her face reddened again.
Sandor had no clue what his ferret was feeling, but he liked Sansa for sure. Too bad he wasn’t a cute nasty ferret to be able to receive pats and sweet words from her.
Sandor took her out to the fair, where various foods from Westeros and Essos were displayed. Sansa liked it very much and ended up with an icing sugar all over her lips. Sandor thought he would die if he didn’t lick it off. He didn’t die, but recalled her petite tongue running over her pink lips when he was jerking off in his shower a couple of hours later.
The next week Sansa shyly asked if he wouldn’t mind to join her for the classical music concert. Sandor agreed and called Jaime, asking if he had any extra-large formal suits. He ended up wearing pants which were so short his socks were on a display. Luckily, Sansa didn’t pay any attention to them. She was listening to music and discussing it with Sandor afterwards, her face lightened up with all the emotions, her braided hair in a mess. Sandor didn’t even notice when he reached out his hand and tugged another strand of hair behind her ear. Sansa stopped in the middle of her sentence and blushed, and Sandor felt his face heating up.
There was a stroll around the park with Stranger on a leash, a dinner in a posh Braavosi place, two cinema visits, an exhibition about the medieval wars, and a funny play in the theatre. It looked like Sansa enjoyed spending time in his company, and Sandor hoped that maybe, just maybe, she was starting to feel something towards him.
“You can’t imagine how much I want to kiss her,” he complained when he returned from a summer party at the Blackwater Bay.
Stranger sniffed and dragged Sandor’s sweaty t-shirt to his cage. He had more important things than his master’s futile love life.
Sansa said she was moving out of her flat and Sandor volunteered to help her with packing. After all, her friend mentioned something about a strong man, right?
Sansa said she wanted to move with her old friend so they could split bills. She sighed and said that a corgi would have to wait. There was so much sadness in her eyes that Sandor stopped himself at the very last moment before offering her to move in his flat. He would be able to convince Stranger to share the space with a dog.
It would be such a nice life. He will spend all his free time with Sansa, and Stranger will teach her corgi how to bite people and hiss at them. Sandor sighed and taped another large box with Sansa’s books.
He still had no idea about Sansa’s feelings. She was so friendly with him, she was laughing at his jokes (normal jokes, not the ones she used to complain), she was eager to spend her time with him, she wasn’t afraid to invite him to her flat. She even shared some embarrassing stories from her childhood with him. Sandor thought it had to mean something.
Too bad that he was afraid to ask her straight out.
Well. At least she liked his company now. And it already meant a lot. Unfortunately, not in the way Sandor wanted.
He was ready to wait for the rest to follow. It had to be just a matter of time.
Sandor wasn’t a patient man, but he was doing his best to meet Sansa’s expectations. After all, it took him two bloody months since their first night out at the Lysene restaurant to finally kiss her.
If it wasn’t patience, then Sandor had no idea how else it could be called. Apart from the stupidity, of course.
Sansa’s face was red and under the dim light of a lantern, she looked like she was on fire.
“ Oh,” she said and licked her lips after Sandor broke their kiss. Her eyes were wide and full of something unfamiliar. He never saw Sansa with that expression before.
“Oh,” he agreed and buried his hands in pockets.
He wanted to turn around and run away, but Sansa grabbed the sleeve of his shirt.
“Um,” she said avoiding his gaze. Her hands were trembling and she was latching onto his shirt as if it was her life tube. “Don’t go. I l-liked it.”
Sandor was too dumbstruck for any type of a reply. Gods, she said she liked his awkward kiss. She didn’t mind it. She didn’t want him to leave. Sansa Stark liked his kiss. Oh gods. Oh.
He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers once again. And again. And one more time. He kept repeating his little shy kisses until she finally opened her mouth a little bit and relaxed in his arms.
“Um,” she said again, when Sandor’s lips brushed over her cheek. “To my place? Or to yours?”
Her hands were trembling, and there was a smile on her face. It didn’t reach her eyes, and Sandor frowned. Sansa’s words about her awful exes appeared in his mind and Sandor sighed.
“To yours,” he said and squeezed her hand.
Sansa was holding his hand during the whole journey to her new flat. She was nervous, and Sandor ended up stroking her tiny hand with his thumb almost all the time.
He kissed her once again when they stopped in front of her door.
“Good night, Sansa,” he whispered in her ear and left. He was a patient man now. He could wait as long as Sansa needed. He was a grown-ass man who could easily kiss the woman he liked and then return to his flat and take himself in hand. He would wait if it made Sansa happier.
At least the smile she gave him before he left was full of gratitude and happiness. It was the first time in his life when Sandor didn’t mess things up. Cheers to him.
“So,” Sansa asked him nervously when he took her out for a dinner to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. “Are we… dating now?”
Their last week was full of long walks after walk, lunches and dinners together, and, of course, kisses. Oh fuck. Sandor had no idea it was something so magnificent. Maybe it was because he was kissing Sansa, but still.
“If you won’t mind,” he said in a weak tone. His head was full of stupid fears and Sandor gulped.
Sansa grinned at his words and reached her hand out, covering his large palm with her petite fingers.
“I don’t mind it at all, Sandor,” she said and Sandor felt he was turning into a messy puddle of happiness. It had to be a huge puddle, considering his height and weight, but he didn’t care.
He took Sansa’s hand and pressed a light kiss to her knuckles. Like a gentle man she always wanted. Judging by the pink colour of her cheeks, it was the right thing to do.
It took them another two months before they finally had sex. It was messy, it was awkward, he hurt Sansa, who whispered that it was her first time when Sandor had already taken his boxers off. She said it hurt just a little bit, but Sandor was blaming himself nevertheless.
“You’re wrong,” she said in her sweet and a little bit lazy voice when they were lying down in the aftermath. They were sweaty, Sandor’s shoulder hurt from the bite Sansa managed to give him during their lovemaking, and she was running her fingers through his hair.
“Why?” Sandor grumbled.
“I liked it,” Sansa smiled. It was a good smile. Warm and honest. Though Sandor still wasn’t sure if she really liked it or just tried to calm him down.
Well. At least he could make her really like something else. He moved down until his face was between her perfect long legs and put his lips on her.
Now he was sure she liked it.
“Did you manage to take everything out of your boxes?” Sandor asked her one day. They were sitting on the bench in a park next to his house. Sansa liked that place very much.
“Not really,” she giggled, leaning into his embrace. “Just some of my books and clothes. And some other important things.”
“Then you’ll have to put them back to boxes, I guess,” Sandor sighed.
“Why?” Sansa tilted her head and looked at him with an unhidden confusion.
Sandor sighed again. Gods, it was a risky thing to do, but he had to try. He would hate himself if he didn’t.
“Maybe you’d like to move to my flat?” he blurted and Sansa squeaked.
Then her arms were around his neck and her mouth was on his lips and cheeks and everywhere else, and Sandor realised there was a nice warmth in his chest.
Of course, he gifted her a corgi pup for her birthday. Sansa was in seventh heaven and decided to name the new addition to their household Lady. Stranger wasn’t over the moon and expressed his disapproval by making a nest out of Sansa’s pretty dress.
She wasn’t angry at the jealous ferret. She just laughed and said she hoped that he and Lady would become friends.
Sandor bought her three new dresses, way prettier than the destroyed one.
It was a very strange thing to admit, but one night when he was lying in his bed and embracing sleeping Sansa, Sandor realised that he was happy. It was the weirdest concept he ever faced, but fuck, he was happy.
He shared his life with his girlfriend who was returning his affection. He had a stable job. He had good friends, who were always by his side, even if they didn't have too much time for each other. His days were full of laughter, little friendly fights with his pets, and passionate kisses.
Sandor sighed and inhaled the sweet scent of Sansa's shampoo. She liked lemons. Sandor hoped she would like a little ring with a yellow gem the same.
He planted a gentle kiss on Sansa’s hair and closed his eyes.
So bloody happy.
"So tell me," that Jeyne girl asked with a smile. "How are you doing here?"
Sansa giggled and Sandor knew she was chewing her lip. He ended up stuck behind that plant again, trying his best not to disclose his presence to Sansa and her friend. He didn't want to eavesdrop again, but his curiosity was stronger than his common sense. As always.
"Well," Sansa said with another little giggle. "I'm dating Sandor."
"What?" her friend exclaimed and Sandor had no idea if she was happy or not. "Are you joking?"
"Not at all," Sansa said in a shy tone. "I'm dating him. Actually, we're engaged now."
"Oh, really," Jeyne pouted and Sandor was sure there was a judgment in her voice. She wasn't happy with Sansa's answer, and Sandor didn't like it. How in the seventh hell someone was able to be unhappy with his Sansa?
"Really," Sansa confirmed with another giggle. Oh, those giggles. "You know, I didn't even realise myself how we ended up together, but I'm so happy right now."
"Oh," Jeyne pouted again. "That's good. But still, I'm more than sure that you had to try to follow my advice from the last time. I still believe that Tyrion would make a better match for you."
Sandor choked on his coffee. What the actual fuck?
"I've told you, Jeyne," now it was Sansa's turn to pout. "I didn't like his attitude and everything else. I mean, he's a nice guy, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work for us."
What the fuck they were talking about? Why they were mentioning Tyrion from the accountancy department? Sandor took a deep breath and shook his head.
What the fuck was going on?
"And what about that Sandor?" there was a curiosity in Jeyne's voice now. "Is he a good match for you?"
"Oh, totally," Sansa giggled again. Sandor wasn't able to see her face but he was sure she was blushing now. "He's so protective and gentle, and he always listens to my opinions. And he didn't rush things, and you know that it's really important for me. And he cares for me and our pets. And he's so cute when he sleeps. And he always..."
"Right, I've got it," Jeyne cut her off with a sigh. "You're head over heels with him."
"I think I am," Sansa said and Sandor was able to hear a sheer happiness in her voice. "I mean, I was pining for him since my first day here, and I never thought we could end up dating... I'm not even talking about being engaged."
"Lucky you, then," Jayne laughed.
Sandor decided he had to leave. His head was full of stupid unanswered questions, he had no fucking clue about what was going on.
Weren't they talking about him during their previous meeting? Why the fuck Jeyne thought that Tyrion bloody Lannister could make Sansa happy? Maybe Sansa didn't mind his lewd jokes after all? And what the fuck she meant when she said she fell for him ages ago?
The only thing he knew that somehow he managed to get everything right. Even if he had a completely different idea about him and Sansa in his head from what he had eavesdropped last time that Jeyne the accountant was here.
Well. Good thing was, he didn't mess things up. What a lucky bastard he was.
At least he knew that Sansa didn't mind being that lucky bastard's wife. Good.