Margaery raised her eyebrows. “Really?” she prompted.
Sansa, dressed rather adorably in a summery flower-imprinted dress, immediately avoided her gaze.
Somewhat sadistically enjoying her discomfort, Margaery crossed her arms against her chest and leaned back against the shop’s counter, making herself comfortable.
“Really?” she said again, purposely drawling out the word.
“What?” Sansa muttered defensively.
Margaery’s heart tugged and she almost found herself wanting to wrap her arms around the other girl protectively, to reassure her that she was only teasing and didn’t mean anything by it...
But where was the fun in that?
“I thought we agreed to meet at the restaurant,” Margaery said instead.
Sansa sniffed. Margaery instinctively reached behind to grab a tissue from the box sitting next to the register, but Sansa had already pulled one out from a handy packet she kept in her purse.
She blew her nose. Margaery waited patiently and gestured to the waste basket nearby.
“We did,” Sansa finally agreed.
“And I thought it was established that you are, in fact, very much allergic to pollen,” Margaery added as soon as she’d heard the answer.
Sansa paused. She scrunched up her nose.
Adorable! Margaery thought just before Sansa let out an enormous sneeze.
This time Margaery did offer the tissue box.
“I am,” Sansa confirmed once she’d thrown away a handful of tissues. She was looking at the floor, an almost guilty expression on her face, although once every few seconds she would cautiously look up at Margaery only to slip her gaze back to her feet once she realized the older girl was watching her.
Margaery smiled at the sheer cuteness of it all.
“So why are you here?” she asked, this time in a much gentler tone. Then, “You do realize that this is a flower shop, don’t you?”
Sansa’s ears flamed and she looked up, mouth open in exclamation, but then bit back her protest when she saw Margaery’s smirk. Her eyes narrowed, and she shuffled her feet a bit before lifting her head high and replying,
“I just thought it’d be… fitting. For a first… date. To pick you up.”
Her obvious hesitations between phrases took away some of the impact, but it was the thought that counted in the end anyway.
Margaery laughed and reached out to take Sansa’s arm, looping her own under it so their elbows were interlocked.
“How very chivalrous of you,” she told the other girl. “I’m touched, truly.”
Sansa didn’t respond but did seem somewhat comforted by Margaery’s words.
“Now,” the florist went on, “I don’t know about you, but I’m starving. And the air here does seem a bit stuffier than usual, doesn’t it?” She didn’t wait for a response, only continuing with a half smile, “Shall we go?”
The more Margaery watched her, the more she realized that Sansa Stark did seem incredibly familiar.
More than just seeing her walk past the store (perhaps one too many times to be truly subtle) before their official meeting. More than just the sense of easiness and comfort she felt whenever she spoke to her (even though they’d really only spoken about three times so far). There was just a feeling of… knowing.
She wondered what she might say to Sansa about this, if she should say anything to Sansa about this, how Sansa might react if she said anything about this to her.
No big deal, but I feel like I’ve known you longer than I’ve been alive here. Suppose we’ve met before in another life?
How about no.
Margaery supposed it didn’t matter that much anyway. Not yet, at least.
Right now she wanted to enjoy this life with Sansa, what they might have together someday, what they could be starting now.
Right now she wanted to go to that restaurant and eat dinner with Sansa, and talk with Sansa, and learn more about Sansa, and tease Sansa, and maybe afterwards go on a walk with Sansa, sit in the park with Sansa, think about how overwhelming cliche the whole thing was with Sansa, and then maybe she could even kiss Sansa.
She wanted to ignore the dark, empty ache in her chest that accompanied the familiarity of Sansa Stark.
The next morning, Loras bumped shoulders with Margaery as he passed by, almost making her drop the vase of lilies she’d been carrying.
“Loras,” she glowered before carefully setting down the vase between the shelf of tulips and the bench covered with pots of orchids.
“So how’d it go?” he asked teasingly, ignoring her glare. He was inspecting the daffodils but still found it necessary to toss a smirk at her over his shoulder.
Margaery rolled her eyes and headed over to the snapdragons to check up on them. “It was fun,” she told him honestly. “We ate. We talked. Did you know her favorite food is lemon cakes? That’s just so her, isn’t it? There’s a bakery near here, do you think they sell lemon cakes? I might get her one next time.”
Obviously bored by her previous fluff, Loras pounced on her last statement. “So there is a next time?” he questioned.
“Yes, there is a next time,” she stuck her tongue out at him. “I’m not that awful, you know.”
Her brother only shrugged and said, “Of course, you’re as charming as they come, dear sister.”
Margaery flicked water at him. He flinched away.
“Not the hair,” he protested, hands rising instinctively.
“It’s just a few drops, don’t be a baby.”
“I’m not being a baby.”
“Sure you aren’t.”
Silence fell over the shop once again as the siblings completed their rounds with the flowers and then, deeming everything acceptable, retreated to the back room for a cup of coffee.
“So did you kiss her?”
Loras gave a mock gasp, clamping a hand on his chest dramatically. “Do you mean to say that my sister, Margaery Tyrell, queen of lesbians and maybe bisexuals too, didn’t kiss a girl she very obviously fancies on their first date?”
“Did you just call me the queen of lesbians?”
“And maybe bisexuals too.”
Margaery retreated to her coffee. “You suck.”
Loras waved a hand dismissively. “Seriously though. It’s not like you’ve ever been scared to kiss a girl.”
“Obviously,” Margaery replied. “I am the queen of lesbians, after all.”
“I don’t know….” Now, Margaery was hesitant.
Yes, the previous night had been excellent. Dinner was great, she’d managed to make Sansa laugh and Sansa had genuinely made her laugh as well. She’d learned about Sansa’s enormous family (four siblings plus their cousin and brother’s best friend?!) and things she liked (dogs, fairy tales, poetry, songs) and things she disliked (most of them seemed to just be her little sister doing things to annoy her) and all in all it had been wonderful.
Until Margaery had plucked the fake rose in the vase sitting at their table and offered it to Sansa at the end of the meal.
It wasn’t that Sansa had rejected it. On the contrary, Sansa had accepted it graciously, the most beautiful smile Margaery had ever seen blossoming on her face.
And then Margaery had been reminded of a day that had never happened.
A bright day, a sunny day, where she and Sansa had walked together in the Baratheon gardens. But it wasn’t the Baratheon gardens as they were now. And Margaery hadn’t been wearing clothes that were her own. And she was almost certain Sansa did not own such long, elegant dresses that looked to be from medieval times either. They had been talking about something (Margaery was almost tempted to think marriage but that was impossible) and Sansa had looked so miserable (so much more miserable than Margaery could bear to see on such a pretty girl) and Margaery had offered Sansa a rose (a real rose since apparently that Sansa wasn’t allergic) and then…
And then Margaery had returned to the restaurant. Returned to her own time, where the two of them were nibbling on the remains of their lemon cakes, and Sansa was happy, and wearing normal clothes, and pleased with the fake rose.
“Loras,” Margaery said instead. “Do you get the feeling that we’ve met Sansa before? A long time ago?”
Loras looked at her oddly. “I don’t think so,” he responded, not questioning his sister’s unusual avoidance of his previous question. “I’m pretty sure I’d never met her until she came in for the interview. Why? Do you?”
Margaery shrugged. “No. Not really. Never mind.” Then she paused. Considered. Why shouldn’t she tell Loras? She told him everything else. Granted, none of the other things had been as strange as this...
But just then a customer came in, successfully distracting her brother and leaving Margaery to wonder on her own.
“I think I freaked her out,” Sansa confessed.
Robb slurped down his orange soda noisily.
He put down his soda. “Yes?”
“I think I freaked Margaery out.”
“Why do you think so?”
“I just… I don’t know, I just do.”
Robb nodded slowly. Took another sip of soda.
“Oh, never mind, it’s different with you and Theon,” Sansa muttered. “You’ve been fancying each other since you were five.”
“That is only kind of true,” Robb replied. “Theon was always popular with girls on the playground, you know. He didn’t even seem to care that we’d made arrangements to play in the sandbox one day because he just up and ditched me to go hang out with some girl on the monkey bars. He doesn’t even like monkey bars! Can you imagine?"
“Robb. We’re not in kindergarten anymore.”
“Well, obviously, but you went and got me started about it-.”
“Can you just sit there and listen to my problems like a good older brother?”
Robb rolled his eyes and drank more soda.
“I mean, we had a great time, I think,” Sansa went on as though the detour had never happened. “She laughed at my jokes, and not in the way you and Mum and Dad do to make me feel better. I think she actually thought I was funny.”
“You are funny. Sometimes.”
Sansa continued, “And she seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. She didn’t even care if I did something silly or messed up.”
“That’s good,” Robb offered.
“Yes, but then, you see, at the end… She suddenly seemed to space out. And when she came back everything was suddenly so forced.” Sansa dipped her head at the memory, focusing instead on the napkin on her lap. “She was still nice, of course, but suddenly it just seemed as though she was… trying too hard. And rushing. You know?”
Robb only nodded, waiting for his sister to continue
“And we made arrangements to meet up again but, I don’t know, I don’t want to force her if she doesn’t like me or didn’t have a good time….”
Robb tilted his head curiously. “If she doesn’t like you why would she have agreed to go out with you again?” he asked.
Sansa shook her head. “I don’t know. She’s just… She’s so nice, and lovely, she might just not wanted to have hurt my feelings or something.”
“If that’s true she would have ended things quickly,” Robb said. “Said something like, oh, I had a wonderful time, but I don’t think it will work out between us. If she’s as nice and lovely as you say that would be the least she could’ve done.”
“When are you meeting her again?”
“Is it that soon?”
Robb laughed. “Sansa, that is very soon. If she agreed to that she must like you very much.”
Sansa brightened immediately. “You think so?”
“Well, it’s just your humble older brother’s opinion, but yes. I do think so.”
“Are you sure? Usually you’re awful with advice and things like this, but you actually sound kind of reliable right now.”
“Should I take offense at that?” Robb shot her a mock glare. “Careful, Sansa, the fact that you’re asking me for advice and not some close friend of yours must mean you’re truly desperate… It’d be awful if Arya got hold of this information, wouldn’t it?”
Sansa’s jaw dropped. “You wouldn’t! Robb!”
“Pay for my meal and we might be able to work something out.”