Peanut shells and spills from the beer had the staff of the bar bustling around non-stop. From the draft poured thick streams of beer that slipped like silk down the throat. Non-connoisseurs, who made up the crowd tonight, called for endless rounds of cheap beer.
Students from Riverrun Law occupied every square inch of the bar. They were at the tables, toasting once again to passing the bar. They were at the dimly-lit corners, sipping beer from each other’s tongue, or simply engaged in rough tongue tennis, couples and pairs who will just be for the night. They were at the pool tables, ready to make bets because their jobs were secure at last, and at the bar.
Catelyn Tully pushed herself off the wall, gasping and a little unsteady on her feet. Her dark auburn hair was mussed and smelled faintly of beer. Though she was clearly disoriented, her blue eyes were clear, sparkling at the promise of the life that lay ahead of her. She burst out laughing when she was shoved against the wall again, her lips coaxed open by the sure, wet kiss of her boyfriend.
“Let’s bounce, come on,” she whispered heatedly between kisses. He continued kissing her, hand slipping under the short skirt of her dress to fondle her hip and trace the curve of her underwear. “Petyr,” she giggled, planting a small hand on his chest to push him away. “If you want me naked you’d better put me to bed.”
“Ah. Looks like tonight is gonna be all about WildCat, isn’t it?” Petyr Baelish told her, taking another kiss from her mouth.
“You like WildCat.”
“Indeed. But it’s Cat I love.”
Catelyn put her arms around him, looking in his dark eyes. “Tell that to my Dad the next time you see him.”
He shrugged. “If he lets me within ten feet. He’ll sic your hounds on me, you can count on that. No father wants his precious baby daughter married to the coal miner’s son.”
“He might change his mind when he finds out you’re third in the bar. And that you’re the newest associate at Lannister & Lannister.” She smiled and kissed him back, her heart welling with pride and love. “Come on, take me home.”
They got their coats and flung their arms around each other on the way out. Catelyn pulled him to the parking lot and he shook his head. “What?”
“Cat, neither of us can drive. Come on, just leave the car here. It’s only five blocks.” Petyr said, trying to steer her away from the row of cars.
“No! Too far,” Catelyn complained, pulling him harder. “It’s only five blocks. What can happen between here and our place?”
“Alright. But you’re driving. I’ve had more to drink than you.”
“Pussy.” But she kissed him passionately, throwing herself in his arms and sending him toppling against a truck. Petyr kissed her back with equal fervor, hands slipping under her skirt and cupping her ass. She giggled and pushed away from him again.
“No! Fuck me in bed, Petyr!” She exclaimed before breaking into a run towards her car.
“I changed my mind. I love WildCat!” He called after her as he ran.
They got inside her car. He laughed when she failed to start the car, unable to stick the keys in the correct slot. It took her three tries before putting the key in and turning it to start the engine. They laughed as she revved up the engine before suddenly pulling out of her spot and swerving towards the exit.
The windows were down and Catelyn laughed at the kisses of the cold, evening hair on her cheeks. What a year this was. Law school was behind her. She’d placed twentieth in the bar. As of this afternoon, she had two firm offers from Stark, Manderly & Associates and Tyrell & Associates. She had until tomorrow morning to make her choice but she already knew where to go: Stark, Manderly.
She guided the car down the road, already imagining what lay ahead of her. In two years, she and Petyr were getting married, and she hoped, a year after that, to be pregnant. She hoped to make partner by the time she was thirty-five. Gods. Thirty-five. She was twenty-seven now. Eight years to begin and get her life in order.
As she fantasized about a big apartment in the city, Petyr’s hand settled on her knee then slyly crawled up. She bit her lip to stop a smile, but lost. Life was never perfect but there were moments in which she thought otherwise. This was one. She was a lawyer, at last, and would soon be Catelyn Tully-Baelish. Or Catelyn Baelish? Or—
The figure came out of nowhere. Petyr shouted first. She froze and in her panic, stepped on the accelerator rather than the breaks. She screamed as the body slanted to the ground, and screamed again hearing and feeling the tires bump and roll over the body. She let go of the wheel.
“Cat!” Petyr yelled. “Stop!”
“Oh my gods!” She braked, their bodies lurching sharply. She feared her ribs would crack from the grip of the seatbelt. Shaking, she pulled out the keys, feeling sick and numb. She gripped the wheel. A click to the side showed Petyr getting out of the car. "No! Petyr, stop!"
"Seven hells," Petyr was wailing as he ran toward the body. "Oh, gods. What have we done?"
Cat slowly got out of the car, her eyes quickly pulled to the slumped shape ten feet away from her.
A body. Her eyes were wide. She knew it was a person but right now she couldn’t reconcile the body on the ground with the idea of a person. Petyr fell to his knees beside it, checking for a pulse.
“Is it—is it. . .” she couldn’t say the words. Her heart was pounding so fast.
“He’s dead,” Petyr muttered, cursing under his breath.
Her hands flew to her mouth.
“Fuck.” He spat, shooting to his feet.
“I—I—“Catelyn looked around frantically. The street was deserted, though it was only half an hour before midnight. Why were there no lights in the windows? It slowly hit her that the buildings flanking the street were office buildings rather than apartments. She clutched her heart, its panicked beating rendering it a stranger, more like the violent fluttering of an animal in her chest. “Phone. Petyr. Petyr! we have to call the police.”
“I—I ran over him and he’s dead. It was an accident---” She was going to be sick.
“No. No police.”
She stared at him, aghast. The man who stood before her, with the dark hair she loved to run her fingers through, and the coat he had inherited from his father, was not. . .no. This was not the boy who sat next to her in Economics class that first day of college. He was not the boy who kissed her at the football field after picking out a star and naming it Littlefinger. This was not the person she had made love to under the stars, in her bed.
This was not the man she loved.
“We are calling the police,” she said firmly. “What the hell, Petyr?”
“Don’t be a fucking idiot, Cat.” The violence of his tone unnerved her. She reeled away as if from a slap. “Think. There’s a dead man and a car. What’s the first thing the police will do?”
“It was an accident!”
“It was fucking reckless! Gods damn it, Cat, we’ve both been drinking! I can smell the beer from your skin. You think we can still be lawyers after this?”
Catelyn’s jaw dropped. Shocked, her legs collapsed under her.
No. No. She will never be a lawyer. Eyes wide and her heart threatening to burst from her chest, she started to shake. Petyr gathered her in his arms. She burst into tears.
“It’s alright, Cat. It will be alright.”
She had killed someone. Petyr pulled her closer until her chin rested on his shoulder. Clinging to him, she could only stare at the broken, limp shape of the person the dead used to be. He. A man.
Someone’s father. Someone’s husband. Someone’s son. Gone. Because of me.
“What are we going to do?” She whispered, unable to tear her eyes away.
Petyr kissed her and glanced at the body.
“We live, Cat.” He suddenly grabbed her by the chin, his eyes sharp as they scrutinized her. She shivered from the coldness of his stare. “Do you hear me? No one can know. We can’t call the police or it’s shit for us, Cat. Do you understand? We come clean about this man and it’s over. Over. We will never be lawyers. I—“’ his voice broke and for the first time, she was reminded of the boy she had loved since college. “I will lose you, Cat. I can’t lose you. I love you too much.”
“I love you too,” she whispered. “I promise, Petyr. No one will know.”
Petyr nodded. She was the one to hug him this time. He was also shaking. “Hush. Everything will be alright.” She pulled away to kiss him firmly. “It’s a vow, Petyr. No one will know of this. You’re right. We will live.” Her eyes flashed. “We must.”
She stood up and stared at the body. He was wearing a coat over his clothes. Despite the lack of a proper light, she knew that the growing pool under him was blood.
“Come on, Petyr.” She turned back to him, offering her hand. He took it.
“Let’s go back to the car, Cat.” Petyr sounded tired.
She shook her head. “Not yet.”
“What do you mean?”
She glanced at the body again. “No one can know. Help me. We’ll throw him over Frey Bridge. The current will take him away.”
And then she walked, her boots thumping softly on the concrete as they led her towards the darkness cloaking the dead body,
She will live, and nothing will get in the way of what she wanted. She had worked too hard to let some body derail her.