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First Comes Marriage

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“Sansa, are you sure about this?” her mother ask for what felt like the one hundredth time. She had thought the matter was settled, seeing as how they were on their way to buy wedding dresses. She could see Arya roll her eyes in the back seat. “You can still say no.”

“And...what? Go back to Harry? Or Joffrey? Not a chance.”

“Ok, maybe not Harry, and definitely not Joffrey, but surely--” Catelyn winced as Arya got out of the car and slammed the door.

Sansa turned to face her mother. “Mom, don't worry so much. Arya signed up for it too and was chosen. I don't see you asking her if she's sure about it.”

“Yes, well, she's not as sought after as you…” her mother mumbled.

Sansa grit her teeth and tried to take a deep breath. She didn’t want to explain it to her mother yet again. Clearly, she wasn’t understanding why Sansa was willing to take such a risk. “If this doesn't work out, then the show will help me get a divorce. It'll be ok, I promise.”

**********

“But I'm perfectly happy with my life the way it is. A wife would just muddle things up,” Willas whined. “I only filled out that stuff because I thought it was a personality test!”

“And the interviews?” his sister asked. He turned away from her. He didn’t want to admit he had thought that was part of it as well, and felt foolish now for thinking that.

“You are the main heir to the Tyrell fortune. You must get married and I will have no back talking, young man.” The Queen of Thorns thwacked her cane on the hardwood floor, causing Willas to flinch. Margaery was unperturbed as she sat to the side doing her nails.

“Oh, Willas, it won't be so bad! I'll be there with you, and the program says the matches are scientifically accurate. So really, you can't go wrong.” She stopped to admire her handiwork. “It's not like you have oodles of women stomping at your door anyway.” Of course he didn’t, and he was happy with that fact.

Willas grumbled. His grandmother whacked the table with her cane. “You’re getting married. And that is that. I already have your tux bought and paid for.”

He shrunk in his chair. “Fine, but I want it noted that I do this under protest.”

“Of course, dear, of course.”

**********

“Why are you doing this again?” Jaime asked. Brienne wanted to smack him. It was the sixth time in the past twenty-four hours.

“I told you, I'm tired of being alone. If this program can help, then I would like to try.”

“I don't like it,” he said, pouting as he ate the gluten free cookies she had made. They were for her father, but Jaime always ate (more like stole) whatever she made, so he got a separate box. “But the cookies are good.”

She was meeting with the wedding planner in half an hour. All the women were getting a certain amount of input in the shared wedding space, and it was the planner’s job to make it all work seamlessly. It made sense, since it was a local tv show, and the budget was taken on by the tv station, though they were allowed to add in things (within reason) at their own expense. Her father had reservations about the entire thing, but promised to be there for her. “Well, then it's a good thing you get to keep the cookies and you didn't sign up for the program,” she said, shoving the box at him.

“Yeah...good thing…” he muttered.

**********

“Uncle, I promise this will be fine. I’ll pick you up after work, and we can go pick out tuxedos. Yes, I know, it's crazy, but I think it will be for the best. You know how I get around females. And we’ll be living right next door to you, if she agrees on it, so if she turns out to be a psycho murderer, you can come save me.”

Podrick looked at his uncle with a small smile. Ilyn shook his head and waved his nephew off, signing “good luck, you moron.”

“Thanks, Uncle. I'll see you after work.”

**********

“Are you sure about this, man? Seems a bit extreme, even for you.” They had both gotten their notices.

“Says the guy who signed up with me.”

Bronn shrugged. “I was just trying to support you. I honestly didn't think they'd pick me.” Sandor really wanted to punch his friend. Bronn needed no help with the ladies, so his show of support was laughable. Bronn sighed and leaned over the table, looking melancholy. “Still...coming home to one woman, to have and to hold, have a family with...it sounds nice.”

Sandor raised an eyebrow. He supposed he could hold off on the punching for a little while.

**********

Lollys sat in the parking lot of the nursing home she worked at, staring at the instructions in her hands. One week from today, she would get married to someone she had never met. Her mother was the one who signed her up for it initially, but in the end, Lollys had agreed and gone through with the massive surveys and the numerous interviews. She was thirty-five years old and still very dependent upon her mother, though she was just as dependent on Lollys. Sure, she was able to take care of her ailing mother, help with household expenses, and of course she loved her mother, but surely there could be more. A family of her own, a husband, grandchildren. The cats lived like kings under her mother’s roof, surrogates for grandchildren. It was a nice dream. One day, possibly soon, her mother would pass on, Falyse would inherit the house and kick her out.

Oberyn and Ros were kind enough to sign up with her, though only Oberyn had been picked. Ros had breathed a sigh of relief when her letter came in. Lollys loved Ros like a sister, but even she knew her friend wasn't ready to settle down.

Her phone buzzed. It was Oberyn, asking her if she was ready to go lingerie shopping for married life. Smiling, she responded she’d meet him in forty-five minutes. Throwing her car into drive, she wondered what kind of person Oberyn would marry. Someone kind, and sweet. That’s the sort of person he needs.

**********

“This is stupid. I don't even want her back,” Joffrey complained.

“Your father and I have agreed, this is what's best for you. Ned told Robert that she’s signed up to participate in a tv program, so I signed you up too. Of course you were chosen, and this will show the little ingrate that you two are perfect together. Sansa Stark may be a dimwit, but she'll be a good wife and will help with your future political career. I’ve also paid a pretty penny to make sure the two of you get matched up.”

“Ugh… Still…”

“Darling, you can always visit your ‘friends’ if she dissatisfies you,” Cersei cajoled.

“Fine, whatever.”