Her knee rapidly bobbed up and down as she sat on the edge of the bed, her face in her hands and stomach growing tighter each time she took a shaky breath.
The open door to her bathroom was staring her in the face and she couldn't handle it. Jumping up from the bed in a huff, she walked over to close the door, trying to ignore the pregnancy test sitting on the counter.
This was all too much.
But now that she was no longer sitting, she began to pace in a slow tortured sort of walk with her shoulders slumped over and a frown set on her features.
She was never taking advice from anyone else again unless it was herself. This she was sure of.
Feeling as if she needed these words written in stone, she said it aloud:
"From here on out, you will only trust your gut."
Because of Sansa Stark, her entire morning consisted of her pacing back and forth, wringing her hands and chanting everything's fine so much so that it had become a mantra. The she began to sing it with a little tune, finding that did ease her anxiety somewhat.
Every second of every minute was spent pacing and her eyes constantly darted towards the closed, painfully white bathroom door of her tiny one bedroom apartment.
The waiting was the worst. In the one minute she had spent pacing, at least three hours had passed. Surely, going to the gallows had felt less torturous than this. Her eyes would occasionally slip to the door each time she stepped past it.
And of course, when she wasn't eyeing the door, her eyes slipped to his powder blue dress shirt that was lazily folded over the desk chair that sat in the corner right by the window. The natural light through the window shone down on it, like it belonged to some great prince. But truthfully, that was how she viewed him and already she knew that was the flaw.
It was her best friend's fault, she decided, why this onslaught of stress was unbearable. It was Sansa that suggested she take the damn test after all. If she had her way she would just pretend like there was nothing wrong and eventually, well it would just go away. Right? That was a simple solution to what she thought was an over-complicated problem.
She grabbed her cell phone from the desk and hit the home button to see how much time had passed. She was just on the cusp of two minutes and there was no greater relief that washed over her. But immediately after, she felt worse. Much worse.
Slowly and full of foreboding, she turned the knob on her bathroom door and stepped inside. She saw it before she even reached the counter it was sitting on. Two long pink vertical lines glared up at her already asking her just what the hell she was going to do about this.
Very suddenly, she found herself doubling over the toilet. The bagel, the coffee, even the water - it was all coming back up now. Then the smell of it all made her retch more. Fantastic. Just fantastic.
If she was being honest, her gut instinct agreed with Sansa anyway.
Stupid, traitorous gut instinct.
She couldn't believe this was happening. She absolutely could not believe it.
But it was...
"Shit," she whispered.
Jaime Lannister was the wonder boy to rival wonder boys. His "relationship" with Brienne Tarth was never supposed to really happen, at least not for her. Men that looked like Jaime never looked at Brienne and if they did it was with the curiosity, wonder, and often abhorrence that annoyed her so.
In the beginning, Jaime would be no different because their first interaction together consisted of him hurling insults her way because he had broken his hand and was embarrassed about it.
He had been trying to show off his new motorcycle (that he still hadn't learned to drive, it should be noted) and while he was tinkering around underneath, the thing fell on his hand nearly crushing it.
Was he a mechanic or a motorcycle expert? No. Did that stop him from almost losing his hand bothering around with things he wasn’t equipped to deal with though? That was also a no. But did he blame his fate on the EMTs that arrived on the scene to aid him? Yes.
The moment Brienne and her EMT partner arrived, aiding this man stuck underneath a motorcycle with the letters "KING" engraved on it, they knew they had a problem child on their hands. He seemed to think the word "wench" was supposed to be hurtful but it barely even registered a blink from her.
Naturally, that only pissed him off more.
He complained and bitched and whined the entire time he was in their care all the way to the hospital until she had handed him over with a smile and several inward sighs of relief. He was such a nuisance, Brienne and her partner flipped a coin to see who would be riding in the back with him.
Of course she lost.
As soon as she stepped inside to ride in back, he made snarky comments about her attraction towards him being the reason she was riding with him. He was attractive. She wasn't blind but his attitude and behavior really did ruin his good looks.
Brienne made it very aware to him that the only reason she had been sitting in the back of the ambulance with him was because they had done a coin toss and she lost the battle. He shouted that she was a liar but his rude commentary was brought to a minimum after that.
Within a week, she was receiving a bouquet of flowers and a formal apology from him, with a note telling her that he would never be disrespectful to another person like that again, no matter how much his hand hurt. Sansa had to practically force her to call him back and say thanks for the flowers but eventually she did and he warmed to her.
And here she was, from flowers to pregnancy tests...
Now it was just a matter of how she was going to tell him. Obviously, she couldn't tell him over the phone nor could it be through a text message. That was just so unlike her. One of the first things he said to her in the form of a compliment was that he valued her honesty. Well she would just have to figure out how be honest with him.
"Stay with me and let's raise the baby together like the family we're meant to be?"
It sounded silly when she said it aloud. And desperate. No, she would not ask him anything of the sort.
With a sigh, she picked up her phone and found him in her contacts. In her phone, he was playfully listed as Kingslayer. The joke never got old. She sent him a text telling him that she needed to see him and it was urgent. Despite his busy schedule, he often made a way to see her.
The phone buzzed and the message response appeared:
Need to talk to you too... *smiley face* Will come by in the afternoon.
She gulped and put the phone down. He needed to talk to her, too? What on earth could he be wanting to talk about? That did nothing to settle her nerves and now she was no longer just obsessing about telling him she was pregnant but about what he could be telling her, too.
She called in to work and if there was a problem, her boss said nothing. Being an EMT was a fairly busy job but she never faced problems with her coworkers or superiors. Sansa liked to say it was because most men were scared of Brienne. She never understood why men looked at her like she was some sort of freak of nature, malfunctioning type of human being but it did keep the worst ones away. And that was the most important part.
But it didn't keep Jaime away, did it?
His cruelty the first time they met each other, hardly made Brienne bat an eyelash though it did disappoint her. He was too handsome to be that vindictive but insults were hardly productive when it came to getting an emotional response from her. After his apology everything changed.
What started as playful banter, mostly from his end, became a friendship that consisted of long talks about every thing they could think of. And when the conversations would cease, a comfortable silence would settle between them the way a warm blanket feels on a cold, rainy day. As their friendship grew, a romance blossomed very tenderly just below the surface.
When things really changed for them, Jaime was going through a terrible separation with his wife Cersei Lannister. The running joke in the Stark household (the family that had basically adopted Brienne after her mother passed away and her father became seemingly incompetent on raising a daughter), was that Jaime had only been in one film and married his onscreen sister, Cersei. What was even stranger was how similar they looked. Even Brienne joked about it with him occasionally. Naturally, he hated the joke.
"Who would have thought," Sansa mused, "that my best friend would be sleeping with the Jaime Lannister?"
Not just the Jaime Lannister because was some fancy celebrity but because he was now a well-known attorney that was often spoken about in the paper. Even when his hand had been crushed under KING the motorcycle, it made front page news.
He was ...kind of a big deal.
By the time he was knocking on the door, Brienne was curled up on the couch in her favorite sweats and larger than life jersey that had New Zealand All Blacks written on it in large white letters. She pushed herself up from the couch and pulled the door open, her stomach tightening at the very sight of him.
"Is everything okay? You don't look so well, Brienne."
Curse him for saying her name in that way that always made her stomach dip!
"I'm fine." She retorted.
Her paler than pale face and red rimmed eyes was a dead giveaway that she was lying through her teeth.
Though Jaime didn't seem too convinced by her very short response, he did not protest. He sat next to her on the couch and sighed. Brienne watched him in silence as he fidgeted with his hands, unsure she assumed of what to do with them. He was rubbing his palms together, focusing his attention on them. It was one of the things about him that often frustrated her. She couldn't help but reach over and grab one of his hands, giving it a gentle squeeze.
"I..." they spoke at the same time and nervous laughter followed.
"You should go first," Brienne nodded her head, allowing him to start. Assuming that he had come all the way over here to tell her that he and Cersei were finally deciding on a divorce, she think she could handle the thought of pending motherhood much better.
But even she knew the very thought of that was too good to be true.
Just because Brienne was a fool in love, didn't mean she was a fool. The idea of being stupidly optimistic was a concept that fell deaf on her ears. She knew things with Jaime and Cersei would never be resolved no matter how many ways he expressed his love to her. He was never always with her entirely, even in their most intimate of moments.
She knew where this conversation was headed and she knew that Jaime still danced his way between her and Cersei, unable to make a proper decision on who he wanted to be with.
She was a grown woman! It was silly and stupid but Brienne couldn't help herself. She loved him.
"There's no right way to start this," Jaime looked down and then laughed.
And there it was, the sentence that she knew would be coming despite the attempt at being stupidly optimistic.
"And there is no right way to finish it either," he suddenly couldn't look at her.
Brienne wasn't going to sit here and hold her breath for some nonsense declaration of realization that Jaime decided she was the one for him. There were still moments she had to cope with the fact that she had been sleeping with the Jaime Lannister in the first place.
Did he deserve her the way she felt she deserved him?
No, not really.
"Cersei and I had a talk and we... well, we decided to give our marriage another try."
Quite suddenly, she realized she was holding her breath and for a moment, she sat in silence. Her heart felt like it was going to explode in her chest and there was nothing more she wanted in the world than to have the floor open up and swallow her whole.
"So that's that then?" Her voice was soft and she sounded uncaring. That wasn't what she meant to do.
"I know this seems so sudden but when you are in love, things are just so complicated, layered. I've been battling with this thought for days now. Weeks. I'm sorry."
Sudden? Complicated? When he was with her, he was never any of those things. Or was he? How was she so wrong about everything?
"You deserve better, so much better than me. You deserve someone that will be able to give themselves to you, wholly and complete. I knew I wasn't able to give that to you but I just..."
She knew she deserved better but she didn't want better. She wanted him.
He faded off and she sat in silence, waiting for him to say something else. When he seemed unable to finish, she nodded her head and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. Her palms felt sweaty and the urge to throw up returned. She turned her head away from him and looked at her television, sighing loudly. Jaime's eyes were on her and she wished he hadn't looked at her.
"What did you... did you have something you wanted to say to me?"
With her jaw set and face determined, she turned to him and shook her head.
“I think you should leave.”
He opened his mouth to reply but shut it and with a nod of his head, standing to his feet. In silence, Brienne watched him leave without bothering to say goodbye.
And she decided that she would not tell him. This moment was reserved for her. After all, he had made the decision to work through the many layered and complicated matters of love with his darling wife. She would work through the many layered and complicated matters of her pregnancy.
And really, it didn't matter any of the five, six, or seven hells what Jaime Lannister thought anymore. It was officially her decision.
But what was her decision?