The eerie whistle from the Hunger Games and an insistent rattle woke Brienne from a sound sleep. Who in the seven hells would text me at 3 o'clock in the morning? She thought grumpily, reaching for her phone, now silent on the bedside table. She slid her thumb across the screen to unlock it and pulled up Messages. She squinted at the screen, willing her eyes to focus.
Jaime: hey babe
Jaime. I woke up for that asshole? She set the phone back on the table and turned her back to it, pulling the comforter around her shoulders. She closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep. He'd never texted her before. Why would he bother to, now? And calling me 'babe'? Since when? Oh, mystery solved: he must have texted me by accident. Stop thinking about him. Think about that actor I like instead. Imagine him naked… Damn it all, that actor looked a little too much like Jaime, and it was his naked body that appeared behind her eyes. It gave her little pleasure to think of that.
It took at least twenty minutes to doze off again, and almost as soon as she had the whistle and rattle woke her again.
Jaime: brine r u there
Brine. At least she knew his autocorrect feature was working. It always turned her name into 'brine.' She was about to put the phone back when another message came through.
Jaime: sorry Brienne
Was he sorry for misspelling it or just sorry for what he'd done? Yeah, he was sorry all right. Sorry excuse for a man.
Jaime: sorry drunk
Nailed it. He was a sorry drunk. Or was he sorry for having been so drunk last time they'd been together? Didn't matter. The best-by date for contacting her and for apologies was a couple weeks past. She was about to turn off her ringer when another message came through.
Jaime: text me back I miss you
Oh, fuck you, Jaime Lannister.
And she had, sort of. It hadn't been very good, when they'd finally fallen into bed together. He had been too drunk, though he'd tried. To be honest, some of it had been good. The man knew how to use his fingers and his tongue, she had to admit that. He hadn't been able to get completely hard, though she'd taken him into her mouth and done her best. He'd seemed to enjoy and appreciate the way she had licked and sucked him, and in truth she didn't think less of him for not being able to get it all the way up. It had been a little sad when he'd tried to enter her anyway, pushing his cock against her like a half-stuffed sausage casing. Even at half mast, she could tell he would be decently endowed if he were sufficiently excited.
No, she didn't blame him, though his lack of arousal had made her feel unattractive, made her worries that she wasn't desirable flare up.
But then he didn't call. They had been dating for weeks, and she was already well on her way to falling in love with him. Okay, maybe she was already a little in love with him, when they'd decided to go all the way.
The evening had started off well, with Jaime turning up with his dazzling smile and tight jeans. He'd given her a box of Godiva truffles "for later" and whisked her off to dinner at a romantic restaurant.
Then he started drinking. Brienne knew he drank sometimes, but there was a desperation to him that evening. Maybe he was trying to numb himself to what they planned to do. She'd had to drive his car back to her place. He'd been something of a sentimental drunk, and said a lot of flattering things to her, and about the two of them being together. It was really kind of sweet.
And even drunk, he'd managed to make her come completely undone in bed. Embarrassingly undone, it seemed now. After trying and abandoning the love making, they'd cuddled together in her bed, Jaime murmuring affectionate nothings against her neck as he held her close. She had been happy. They could try again, after all. Maybe in the morning…
But at first light she had woken up to see him pulling on his jeans. He looked ashen as he quickly got dressed, barely meeting her eyes where she lay dazed in her bed. Once he had his shoes on he came over to her where she lay naked under the sheets, gave her a quick peck on the lips and said "I'll call you."
But he hadn't.
Jaime: please answer
Brienne looked at the new message and tears pricked in her eyes. She thought she was done crying over him. The familiar ache in her chest made her curl her long legs up to her chest as she tried to comfort herself like she had when she was a small, motherless child. Here in the warm womb of her bed she would curl in on herself and not let anyone in. Especially not Jaime.
She'd forgotten the phone was still in her hand when the theme to Firefly started playing You can't take the sky from me… Of course it was Jaime. She let it go to voice mail and then tapped the button to play her message.
"Brienne, I hope you get this message" - it sounded more like messhage, he was definitely drunk – "I want to talk to you. When can I shee you?"
Never. Take you out to the black, Jaime, that ship isn't coming back, she thought. This time she held the power button on her phone until the 'goodbye' screen appeared and then swirled into darkness.
Tears fell freely on her pillow, and she finally fell asleep with them drying on her cheeks.
The doorbell pulled her awake again, and was followed by loud knocking. Hells, no. She pulled the covers over her head. Normally her phone was her clock, but she'd turned it off. How long had she slept? It was still dark, she knew that.
The knocking continued off and on for a few minutes and then stopped. Good.
Then there was a loud crash like pottery breaking, a muffled curse and the thud of something falling against her door.
She got out of bed and trudged out to her living room, flicking on the floor lamp as she passed. She took a deep breath and opened the door. Jaime, who seemed to have fallen asleep leaning against it, fell across her threshold. The cause of the crashing she'd heard became clear as she saw he was smeared with potting soil and the large planter that had contained some of her ferns was shattered.
Jaime's forearm and hand were bleeding a little where he'd broken his fall in the shards. He blinked up at her.
"Brienne. I tried calling." He slurred.
Oh, no you didn't, she thought.
"I left messages. Said I was coming over." He looked up at her and smiled a little, "Can I come in?"
He was halfway in already. Brienne stepped back and he crawled his way to an upright position, stumbling to the couch to catch himself before he could fall again.
Even covered in dirt, piss-drunk and looking like a kicked puppy, he was still the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Why had she ever believed she could date someone as handsome as Jaime Lannister? He was out of her league, looks-wise. Didn't matter how much they had in common, how much fun they had together.
"Sleep it off on the couch, Jaime," Brienne said wearily, heading for her linen closet, "I'll grab you a blanket and pillow. I hope you didn't drive here like that."
"Took a cab. Brienne, please don't go," she heard him say behind her, and she turned to face him.
She crossed her arms over her chest, suddenly chilled. She hadn't thought about it when she got out of bed, but she was wearing only a thin white nightgown that barely brushed the top of her thighs. No doubt she'd already given him a nice view of her white panties when he'd been laying on the floor, looking up at her.
"Please," he whispered.
She turned away again, opening the door to the closet where she kept her sheets and extra blankets. She had to reach up to get the soft brown throw she planned to give him. She could feel his gaze on her ass as her nightie rose. Or maybe not, maybe it was just the chill air making her feel so exposed.
"Bri, Sweetling," she heard him say, and then he made a noise she recognized all too well.
"Oh, no you don't!" she cried, "Into the bathroom with you. Don't you dare barf on my couch."
She ran to him and grabbed his arm, forcefully pulling him into the bathroom. He stumbled, but she didn't let him fall. They'd almost reached the toilet when he vomited all down his chest. Brienne released him and he dropped to his knees on the linoleum with a painful-sounding thump and proceeded to pray to the porcelain Seven.
It was difficult to maintain an angry distance watching a man she cared about heaving his guts up. She knelt beside him and brushed the hair back from his face and stroked his back. She didn't want to feel sorry for him, but as he laid his head dejectedly on his arms she felt the familiar affection stir through her. He was an asshole, but she couldn't wish him ill.
When he seemed to be done, he turned toward her and slumped down with his forehead against her shoulder.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he murmured, his voice sounding broken and sad.
"You're okay, it's okay," Brienne whispered, wrapping her arms around him. Poor, disgusting man; filthy, bleeding, splashed with his own vomit. She knew what she had to do. "Are you done being sick?" he nodded without lifting his head. "C'mon then, you need a shower. Can you stand?"
"I'll try. Brienne…"
She supported him as he tried to stand. She helped him to lean against the sink and turned to start the shower. When she was sure the hot water was running well she faced him again.
"Can you undress yourself? Surely you can manage that."
He bent over to pull his shoe off and Brienne barely caught him before he toppled into the toilet. She used her foot to close the lid and maneuvered him to sit on it. So be it, she thought, it's not like I haven't seen him naked already.
The bathroom was starting to steam up around them as she pulled off his shoes and socks. His shirt was disgusting, but she tried to find a clean edge to grab around the back. Leaning over his bowed head she tugged it over his head, careful not to get the vomit on either of them. She tossed it in the corner and turned her attention to the wounds on his forearm and hand. They'd stopped bleeding, but they were clotted with dirt.
"We can wash your cuts in the shower, then put Neosporin on them after," she told him.
He lifted his head, and his bloodshot eyes found hers, "Thank you, Brie. I don't deserve…"
"Brienne, I wanted to…I want to – "
"You need to stand so we can get your pants off."
The ghost of a smile touched his lips when she said that, and Brienne had to bite her lip to keep from smiling back. So many smiles shared before this. The memory was bittersweet. Jaime fumbled at his button and she stood back patiently waiting for him to get it undone and unzip his pants.
His balance was off, so she had to help him to pull them down. She took his underwear off with them and tossed the bundle to join the shirt. She'd never thought to see him naked again, yet here he was.
"I'm sorry, Brienne," he said, trying to enunciate each word, "I just wanted – "
"It doesn't matter, Jaime. I don't want to know. Can you get in the shower, please? I'll go get you some sweats to wear."
When she came back a couple of minutes later she didn't see him in the steam. "Jaime?"
"Here," he said, and she saw he was in the tub, the water sprinkling ineffectually over his back as he sat with his knees drawn up and his head down.
"By the gods, Jaime, how much did you drink? Why?" And to her surprise, Brienne found herself stepping over the edge of the tub to join him. "Get up," she said brusquely, pulling at his upper arms.
He stood swaying before her as she steadied him with a firm grip until she thought he could stand on his own.
"I drank…I drank before because I was nervous, Brienne," he said, "I…I wanted it to be good for us, I wanted it to be perfect, but I was so worried," He was staring up into her eyes again, willing her to let him speak, "I was so afraid I would be too turned on, and I thought if I was relaxed…"
Brienne frowned at him, reaching for her bodywash as he continued to talk.
"You know…do you know? You're the first woman I've been with since…since then,"
Brienne knew he referred to the break up with his ex, Cersei. A fucked up relationship by all accounts, and a long one, with an appropriately fucked up split. It hadn't occurred to her that he could be thinking of that when he started drinking that night.
"You were missing her." A statement, not a question.
"No! Of course not, Brienne," he said, looking disturbed by the accusation.
Brienne squirted vanilla bean bodywash into her palm, and was surprised to see her hands were shaking. She set the bottle back on the shelf and used her free hand to brush her wet hair out of her eyes. She was as drenched as Jaime was, but at least she still had her nightgown and underwear on. She lifted his injured arm to so she could wash it. She was lathering it and brushing her fingers in the cuts to remove the dirt when Jaime shuddered a little.
"You're so gentle," he said softly. The slur was beginning to leave his voice, but not the sadness, "You were so gentle that night, too. I'm so sorry I wasn't good for you, Brienne. I fucked up."
Brienne looked up from where she'd been caressing his arm, clean long since. "What do you mean, 'you fucked up'?"
"I was too drunk. I was so worried I would come too quickly because it had been so long, and then I couldn't even do it. I didn't want to disappoint you." He said, lowering his gaze to where she now held his hand. He curled his fingers around hers, "I've missed you so much, and when you didn't call…"
Brienne frowned at him, "Neither did you."
"I thought you didn't want me anymore. I swear, when I think of you it makes me so hard, and I'd jacked off so many times thinking about your long legs, your beautiful eyes, and this," he said, reaching out to brush her nipple through her wet shirt, "You make me weak in the knees with wanting you, and I couldn't even prove it to you."
Brienne looked down at his fingertip stroking her nipple and inhaled sharply. The thin material of her nightie was completely transparent, clinging to her breasts and hips and belly. She may as well have been standing there naked with him. She looked up at his face, and the look in his eyes…cliché or not, they could only be described as smoldering. The rush of arousal that coursed through her made her dizzy.
Jaime stepped closer, and she felt his erection hard against her, "I drank tonight for courage. I'd come to realize that you weren't going to call me, and I didn't know what to say if I called you, after waiting for so long." He leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers, "But I'm not ready to let you give me up, Brienne. I want to be with you."
"Jaime," Brienne sighed, melting into his kiss.
He pulled his head back and grinned at her, "Also, I think you should always wear white in the shower; it's really sexy."