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“Joffrey, is your bag packed?” Brienne called up the stairs. He shouted something back, but she couldn’t really hear. “Don’t forget to bring your retainer like last time,” she added. 

Tommen and Myrcella were already sitting on the couch with their bags, thankfully, waiting for their mother to say goodbye. Cersei Baratheon — once Cersei Lannister, and, before that, Cersei Swyft — was, as usual, running late. She was busy, running her own business, and it didn’t seem like her new husband cared that much to help her out, professionally or with the kids. Brienne often wondered how they’d gotten together at all. She was too intimidated by the chef and the housekeeper to pry for details.

Brienne didn’t consider herself a “real” nanny, though she knew the distinction was just made up in her head. She’d gotten laid off from her job at a newspaper, and after a few months it became clear freelancing wouldn’t be enough to pay the bills. In college, she’d babysat, and luckily her CPR certification hadn’t expired. One of her old babysitting clients had put her in contact with Cersei, whose nanny had just left. Brienne thought that if Cersei hadn’t been quite so desperate for a quick replacement, she wouldn’t have hired Brienne at all.

Because Brienne didn’t fit with the Cersei Baratheon aesthetic. Her clothes were old and comfortable. She wasn’t ridiculously good-looking, or even moderately good-looking. Everyone in Cersei’s world was stunning, both genetically gifted and perfectly quaffed. Brienne usually wore a little makeup, but she imagined that if she were as completely stunning as Cersei or her assistant Taena she would never bother with it at all.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad job. Cersei had been scary at first, but she was too busy to care that much about the minutiae of what Brienne got up to. And Brienne liked the three kids. Joffrey was 12, Myrcella was 9, and Tommen was 7. They were a handful, but genuinely happy and easy. They liked to play soccer in the park, they did their homework mostly on time, and they always cleaned up after themselves. Brienne knew she’d lucked out with this position.

Still, the best part of her job was at the end of every other week, when she got to drop them at their dad’s house. Not because she wanted to get rid of them. But because Mr. Lannister was... Jaime was…

Brienne didn’t really know him. He was a stranger, really. She heard stories from the kids about the things they did during their dad’s week, and he sounded kind and smart and funny, but she was an adult and she knew most kids would think their dads were those things, even if they weren’t. 

And while Brienne liked guys who were kind and smart and funny, she also knew this wasn’t really the basis of his appeal. 

No. It was because Jaime Lannister was ridiculously hot.

One Friday, she dropped the kids off right after he’d gotten home from some important business meeting. He was still dressed in a suit and the tie around his neck would be carelessly undone, only emphasizing the perfect lines of his neck and jaw. 

And when he was in casual clothes...Had any man ever worn a sweater and jeans so well? They were snug on his hips, bringing out the strength in his thighs. They were tight across his shoulders, showing of his bulk. Brienne had seen a photo in the Baratheon house of Jaime and Cersei when they were younger with the kids. Jaime was more svelte then; she wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had six-pack abs. But she thought she liked him better now — Margaery would say he had a dad bod, but to Brienne he just seemed sturdy and strong.

They barely interacted. After he’d open the door to his townhouse and let the kids in, he’d always asked if she wanted a drink before she left. She rarely let herself say yes. Being in his presence felt like plugging her finger into an outlet: Her stomach flipped and every hair stood on end. It felt so good and scary at the same time, and she couldn’t let herself have something that powerful regularly. It felt greedy.

But sometimes she did say yes. And she’d sit behind the kitchen island as Jaime poured her coffee, or water, or tea. He looked so serene there, strong and in command, but caring. He always had the kids favorite drinks and snacks on hand and would dole them out with whatever he gave Brienne. Usually the kids would run to their rooms with them, leaving Jaime and Brienne alone for ten minutes. 

Objectively, it was such a boring ten minutes. She still didn’t even feel right calling him Jaime to his face, usually opting for Mr. Lannister, despite how often he corrected her. If she’d told Margaery about her little visits (she never would), she would have laughed at Brienne for getting so hot and bothered over it. 

But Jaime would just pin her with his gaze and she’d be eating out of the palm of his hand. She wanted to be her funniest, smartest, most attractive self. She didn’t think she succeeded, but Jaime would still laugh and smile at her and make her blush. 

Brienne would have described it as a harmless crush until that week, when she did deliver the kids — Joffrey remembered his retainer — and Jaime answered the door in a henley and jeans and asked her if she wanted a drink before she left. It was an unusually cold October Friday, and the walk over with the kids had left her a little chilled, so she said yes. Jaime slid her a cup of tea, and clutched his own in his hands, his hips pressed back against the counter. 

“I have a confession to make,” he said. Brienne sat up a little straighter. “I googled you. You’re an incredible writer.” He looked down and smiled, shy. “But I’m sure you hear that all the time.”

“No,” Brienne confessed so quickly she practically interrupted him. “I don’t.” People from her old job had praised her writing, or college professors. But that was kind of their job. She’d never been complimented by someone in the real world, let alone a man like Jaime, a man she wanted. She felt her heart thudding too loud in her chest.

“Oh.” Jaime took a sip of his tea. “Well you should hear it more.”

That night as she lied awake in bed, she scrolled through porn on her phone, her vibrator in her free hand. Nothing was exactly what she wanted. 

And then she thought of Jaime in his kitchen. Leaning against the counter, looking at her with his bright eyes and sharp jaw. But this time, instead of looking at her like she was just his kid’s nanny, he was looking at her like she was a woman. A woman he desired. 

And he’d walk around the counter and come toward her, until he was so close to her, all she had to do was lean forward to kiss him. 

“I want you,” he’d say, his voice low and raspy. “Do you want me?” She’d answer him with her mouth meeting his, and then they’d be off. He’d barely pull down her leggings, and she’d bend herself over the counter, gripping the cold marble with her fingers. He’d slide into her, his hands reaching up her sweatshirt, skirting along her ribs. She’d arch her back as he reached her breasts, his body pounding into hers. Maybe he’d pull her head back, just a little, by her hair, so his lips could meet hers. He’d be so big and she’d feel so full and she’d cry out and —

She was crying out now, in her bed. She closed her mouth quickly, hoping her roommate couldn’t hear her over the television. When she came down, she turned off the vibrator and laid back against the pillows, tired.

Fuck .

— 

The next time she dropped the kids off at Jaime’s, she didn’t let herself go inside. She had let her imagination run too far, now — Jaime haunted all her lonely thoughts, and idle daydreams. She’d get distracted on the subway thinking about the way the stubble on his jaw would feel against her cheek. She’d pour Myrcella a glass of orange juice and think about how Jaime’s hands looked when he did the same thing. She’d fall asleep and find him in her dreams, in different stages of undress but always wanting. 

It was inappropriate. Yes, Jaime wasn’t her boss, but he was … boss adjacent. And he was older than her — not quite 40, but almost. She was more than a decade younger. It should all have made him want her less, not more. And yet.

“You’re sure?” he asked when she turned down his invitation, looking her straight in the eye. It felt like he could see right into her brain, her heart, her libido. She shook her head.

“I’ve gotta run, Mr. Lannister. Have a good week with the kids.” She turned and ran down the steps before he could finish telling her to call him Jaime once again.

The next time she saw him, Brienne felt a little less awkward, maybe through sheer force of will. She accepted Jaime’s invitation and sat at his kitchen island longer than she meant to, talking about a TV show they both watched, and then a movie and then a podcast and then she wasn’t even sure what, until Tommen came in to find out what was for dinner. Jaime seemed embarrassed at how he’d let the time slip away, but he still walked her to the door. His hand grazed against her elbow for just a moment, and she wished she could trap the feeling of it in a box so she could take it out and look at it when she was all alone. She wanted to savor every little drop of attention he gave her.

That’s all she would have gotten, if fate hadn’t intervened. Or maybe not fate. Maybe it was inevitable.

The next Saturday, Brienne and Margaery were getting brunch at a little coffee shop. It was still early, so the place was mostly empty. Margaery was seated against the wall, so Brienne’s back was turned to everyone who walked in. She was picking at the remnants of her chocolate chip muffin, when she heard a voice she’d recognize anywhere, low and rough and all the things she wanted: “Brienne!”

Margaery’s eyes shot up, but Brienne barely noticed her friend’s reaction as she turned toward Jaime. 

“Mr. Lannister, hi,” she said. He cocked an eyebrow. 

“My kids aren’t here. I feel like you can use my name for once.” Brienne’s ears felt hot. She ran her hand through her hair. 

“I’m not sure that’s what makes a difference, but fine. Jaime.” He smiled from ear to ear, bright and kind. Why didn’t she just always give him what he wanted, if that was the response it got her?

“Great,” he said. He stood there, smiling at her, until Margaery coughed and Brienne remembered to introduce them. After a little chit chat, Jaime excused himself to go get his coffee. He waved at them as he left the coffee shop.

“Holy shit,” Margaery said. “That’s your boss?” Brienne shook her head. 

“My boss’s ex-husband. I only see him a couple times a month when I drop the kids off.” Margaery nodded her head pensively as she took another bite of her croissant.

“That’s good he’s not your boss, because you need to fuck him.”

“Margaery!” It sounded so crude coming from her friend’s mouth. “That’s ridiculous!” Her friend shrugged.

“He’s insanely hot. And clearly he thinks you’re insanely hot.”

“He — what?” Brienne felt like the floor had fallen out from underneath her. “Jaime doesn’t want —”

Margaery shook her head. “I’m telling you he does. The way he was looking at you — he does. He likes you, he wants you, he does. ” There was a deadly seriousness in Margaery’s voice that Brienne couldn’t ignore completely. She shifted awkwardly in her chair.

“Well it’s not going to happen,” she said as she spun her glass, mixing the remnants of her iced coffee. It sounded half-hearted even to her own ears.

The next time Jaime invited her inside, she said yes again. Myrcella stayed with them in the kitchen, eager to tell her dad a story about tryouts for the school’s basketball team. All the kids would make the squad, but Myrcie was determined that she would be one of the starters this year, but she had to wait all the way until Monday to find out. Brienne, who’d played in high school after the coach convinced her to try it just because she was tall, had helped Myrcella practice on the outdoor courts a couple times.

“I’m so stressed,” Myrcie said, as she sat at the counter with her glass of iced tea. Brienne pressed her lips together so she wouldn’t laugh; Myrcie sounded so much like her mom it was funny. She caught Jaime’s eyes and they both smiled at each other for a moment. Brienne felt warm all over and had to look away.

She stole glances at Jaime in between sips of her own tea as he continued to talk to his daughter. He leaned against the counter like always, arms crossed. The sleeves of his denim shirt were rolled up, showing off the strong bulk of his forearms. The top buttons of his shirt were undone, revealing just a bit of his collar bone, and perfectly framing his neck. She’d never thought about licking someone’s neck before, but she was now. Something about his golden skin was just so lickable! Could he really feel even slightly the same way about her? Like if he didn’t get next to her soon, he’d combust?

“Right, Brienne?” Myrcella asked, snapping Brienne out of her horny reverie.

“Sorry, Myrcie,” she said, turning toward her. “I zoned out for a second.”

When Myrcella’s iced tea was drained and her basketball stories over, she retreated to her room to unpack her things. Brienne watched her leave, then turned back to Jaime. He was smiling.

“I should go,” she said, standing up and gathering her things. Jaime nodded. There was something in his facial expression she couldn’t name. Was it desire, like Margaery claimed? Did it matter if it was?

Surely Jaime would never make a move on his kid’s nanny. He’d wait for her to come to him. And if she did, and he rejected her, she’d have to quit her job. If she did and he said yes she’d also have to quit her job, though maybe not quite as quickly. But hadn’t this job always been semi-permanent for her? Did keeping this job matter that much?

The question circled in her head all the time. To act or not to act. If she decided to do something, what would that even look like? She only ever saw Jaime on those too infrequent Fridays, when the kids were right there. Brienne didn’t think he’d kiss her with his kids in the next room. She had his number for emergencies, but she couldn’t just shoot him a “you up?” text in the middle of the night, as much as the desperate, lusty monster in her chest wanted to. 

Yet, if she didn’t act, how long could she go on like this?

That night when Margaery asked her if she wanted to go out to a bar, Brienne said yes. She spent longer than usual getting dressed, putting on her best jeans and a tiny, sparkly tank top. She did her makeup and styled her hair and felt genuinely hot. Margaery wolf-whistled when Brienne met her outside her apartment, and Brienne didn’t even tell her to stop. It was a good feeling. Maybe she just needed to fuck this aching desire out of her system, she thought. Pick up a random person and go home with them and then the next time she saw Jaime, she wouldn’t feel like every cell in her body was on fire.

But of course it didn’t work. She tried to flirt. She let one guy talk about his job as a firefighter for so long. She even kissed him outside the bar, leaning against the cold brick of the building. But it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t what she really wanted. All she could think, as his hands grasped her hips, was Jaime, Jaime, Jaime. It was pathetic. It was futile. She went home to her cold and lonely bed and thought about Jaime and all the dirty things she’d want him to do if he were here with her.
The kids were at Jaime’s for the week, so, as Brienne did every other week, she dedicated herself to writing and pitching and applying for jobs in her actual field. Then, on Monday afternoon, she’d be back on nanny duty.

But on Monday morning as she was eating breakfast, Joffrey texted her. 

“I left my retainer at dad’s house. Could you go pick it up before school gets out?” He included a bunch of heart emojis and smiley faces. 

“Sure,” she wrote back. “Stop texting during class.” Joffrey replied with a stream of thumbs up emojis. 

Brienne texted Jaime, who said he’d be home all day and she could come by whenever. She figured she would go over now, then post up in a nearby coffee shop and get some work done while she waited for the kids to get out of school. She couldn’t even be mad about Joffrey’s forgetfulness, since it meant she’d get an extra three or four minutes seeing Jaime. As she rode the subway with a smile on her face, she realized she ought to feel a little pathetic, smiling to herself over a crush, but she couldn’t find the energy to care. It was a sunny and cold December day, and every moment felt a little brighter because of the excitement in her heart. 

She took the steps up to Jaime’s door two at a time and rang the bell at the top. She hadn’t worn gloves and regretted it, shoving her hands in her pockets to warm them. Jaime opened the door a moment later.

“Hi,” he said, a big smile on his face.

“Good morning, Mr. Lannister.” He raised an eyebrow at the use of his formal name, but for once didn’t comment. He held out a plastic bag with Joffrey’s retainer inside. She slipped it into her tote. 

“Do you want to come in for a cup of coffee? If you’re not busy.” He crossed his arms and shifted back, as if he felt nervous, too. Was he? 

“Uhh, sure, I have a little time,” she said, because she was weak and greedy and wanted things she couldn’t have. To be in Jaime’s presence was torture, but the only thing more painful was being anywhere else.

She took her usual seat at the kitchen island, and Jaime stood, as he always did, on the other side, making tea. She hadn’t realized it before, but he knew how she took her tea without asking. She watched him in silence, taking in the sight of his shoulders and back underneath his green sweater as he picked up the kettle, grabbed their mugs, and found the tea bags. She searched her mind for something to say, but everything felt trite and boring. 

“How were the kids?” she landed on eventually. 

“Good,” he said over his shoulder. “A handful, though I know I don’t have to tell you that. How was your week off?” The kettle whistled and he turned off the burner. Carefully, he poured their tea, then added milk to hers and sugar to his. 

“Good,” she said. “Uneventful.” 

Jaime turned and placed her mug in front of her. She expected that he would stay on the other side of the island, back against the counter, like always. 

But instead he picked up his mug and walked around the island and sat in the stool next to Brienne. He angled his body on his stool, so that he was facing her. She copied him, turning toward his body. He smiled then, and she almost wished they would both die right there, in that perfect moment, on the precipice of something she was finally finding the courage to try to reach.

“Uneventful,” he repeated. “You didn’t get into all sorts of exciting hijinks?” He took a sip of his tea. 

“Like what?” she asked. Her tea tasted perfect, but maybe that was because of the adrenaline coursing through her body. She felt like the air between them was singing. 

Jaime bit his lip. “I don’t know,” he said. “Go on a road trip. Stay out late every night and go to sleep at 6 a.m. Maybe you’re a secret graffiti artist, and you’re working on your big masterpiece.”

Brienne snorted. Jaime smiled wider. “Nothing that exciting. I worked on a story, sent a bunch of pitches that got rejected, looked for journalism jobs and found nothing…” Her voice trailed off.

“Terrible,” Jaime said. “Though selfishly I don’t want you to find a new job, because then you won’t drop my kids off twice a month and I won’t be able to use seasonally appropriate beverages to try to lure you inside.” He raised his mug. “Though I’m glad I was able to use my son’s forgetfulness to get an extra one in.”

Her heart stuttered in her chest. All of a sudden, she didn’t know what to say. Her mouth hung open for a second. Jaime looked down, a little abashed. It only made her like him more.

“You didn’t think I invited the old nanny in for tea all the time, did you?” 

Brienne put her cup of tea down. 

“Jaime,” she said, all her fondness for him leaking out in her voice. He looked up and smiled. 

She put her hand on his wrist on the counter. He didn’t move. She moved it up to his elbow. He still didn’t move. 

“Jaime,” she said, again. His smile was gone.

“If we’re gonna do this” — his voice was rough and low — “you have to be the one who picks it.  Brienne.” The way her name sounded on his lips, like a prayer and a curse all at once. She wanted to hear it again.

She moved her hand from his arm to his cheek and turned his head toward hers. He followed her movements, watching her lips as she slowly moved her face toward his. The tip of her nose touched his, and she took a moment to breathe him in. His skin was so warm underneath her palm, his stubble pricking her fingers. 

Brienne could back out now, she knew. She could drop her hand and push her chair away, put her coat back on and go somewhere else. And Jaime wouldn’t try to stop her, or guilt her. He hadn’t moved a millimeter toad her. It was her choice to do this, and she was finally letting herself choose.

She closed the gap, their lips meeting. He gasped, as if he still wasn’t sure she was going to do it until she did. Then he kissed her gentle and slow, his arms wrapping around her waist. 

Her hand trailed down the side of Jaime’s head to the back of his neck, her other hand joining it a moment later. She tilted her head to deepen the kiss, moving herself off the kitchen stool in the process. Jaime left his own seat, crowding Brienne into the kitchen island and pressing their bodies together. His fingers found her belt loops, pulling her closer to him still. His lips moved to just under her ear. 

“I can’t even tell you how long I’ve wanted this,” he admitted with a rough whisper. Brienne felt herself blush, despite everything.

“Really?” she asked, feeling bashful despite the man in her arms, a man who obviously wanted her.

“Yes,” he whispered back, peppering her neck with kisses. “Did you—”

“Yes,” she confessed. She brought her hands to the sides of his face so she could kiss him again, a little rougher than before. Jaime responded eagerly, moving his hands to her ass and squeezing, drawing her closer to where he was hard and wanting. She whimpered, letting herself rub against him for a moment. 

Jaime whispered again: “Tell me what you want me to do. We have time.” Then he applied his lips to her neck and jaw again, kissing what felt like every inch. 

Brienne laughed despite herself. “I don’t think we have enough time today for all the things I want us to do.” He nipped at her neck with his teeth and she whined. 

“Well we’ve got to start somewhere,” he said. “Should we go upstairs?” Brienne nodded. Jaime let go of her then and took a step back. She dropped her hands from where they’d been clinging to his neck and he took one in his and led her up the stairs. She’d been on the second floor once, when Myrcella and Tommen had wanted to show her their rooms shortly after she’d been hired. But Jaime brought her even further up to the third floor, then down the hallway to his bedroom.

Someday she’d look around carefully, but it wasn’t today. Her brain thought, “It’s very blue,” and “Big windows,” and then Jaime had crowded her against the wall, kissing her silly again. He grabbed her hands and pushed her arms back into the wall, unintentionally flexing his strength. She loved it. He kissed her long and slow, giving and holding back at the same time.

“Tell me what you want, Brienne,” he said in the rumbly and low voice that set her aflame. “Just tell me and it’s yours.” 

“You,” she rasped. “I want you.” She kissed his jaw, the way she’d imagined a million times. “I want you to undress me and throw me down on the bed and do what you want to me, Mr. Lannister.” He groaned. 

Jaime let go of her hands and grabbed her hips again. He pressed himself against her, hard and wanting. She squirmed.

“That’s what you want?” 

“Please,” she begged. “Mr. Lannister,” she added again. He smirked as he reached for the buttons of her flannel, undoing them as fast as he could. She went to help him, but he grabbed her hands again.

“Oh no, Ms. Tarth,” he said, his voice light. “You said you wanted me to undress you, and I don’t intend to let you down.” He finished the buttons and pulled the shirt off her shoulders, leaving her topless.

“Coming here like this,” he said, reaching out to cup her breasts with his hands. “Did you come here hoping I’d fuck you?”

No. Yes.

“I always come here hoping you’d fuck me,” she said, which was the truth. His thumbs ran over her nipples, making her squirm. He replaced his hands with his mouth, licking and sucking one nipple, then the other, as his hands buttoned her jeans. She put her arms on his shoulders for support, then let himself run her hands through his hair. 

He helped her step out of her jeans, then removed her socks. Brienne stood pressed against the wall in nothing but her mesh underwear, while Jaime, fully clothed, kneeled at her feet. He looked up at her with fire in his eyes, his mouth wet and swollen. She’d imagined them like this what felt like a million times, yet the reality of it was a million times better. Though she’d wanted Jaime, it had been hard for her to imagine him wanting her in return. She felt foolish for doubting it now, with the look of lust on his face staring back at her.

Jaime lifted one of her legs and kissed her ankle, her calf, the inside of her knee. He put it over her shoulder and scooted closer, leaving a trail of kisses on her thigh. He stopped before he reached the place that burned for him. 

“Jaime,” she said.

“Yes, Ms. Tarth?” he asked. He smirked up at her from between her thighs. 

“Please.” She was desperate for him. She was sure he could smell her desire. 

“Please?” he repeated. She whimpered and his grin grew wider. 

“Fuck me, Mr. Lannister.” She didn’t have to ask twice. He slid a finger under her underwear, teasing her and coating himself in her wetness. He sucked through her underwear for a moment, and she threw her head back. Brienne put her hands on the back of his head, pulling lightly on his hair. He applied himself more vigorously, using his free hand to pull the fabric to the side so he could feast on her, and he did. In no time at all, she was coming. Jaime teased and sucked as she cried out, doing her best to stay upright. 

Then he pulled her panties down her legs and helped her step out of them. 

“Why am I naked and you’re fully dressed?” she asked, a little more breathlessly than she wanted. Jaime slowly stood back up to his full height. 

“Do you want to help me with that?” She nodded and reached for the edge of his sweater. He lifted his arms and she pulled it up, over his torso and over his head. Then she helped him out of his black undershirt, revealing one tattoo on his rib cage, one on his chest, and another on the inside of his elbow. She’d never seen them before. She ran her hands across his chest for a moment, trailing through the hair.

“I didn’t know you had these,” she said. Brienne’s fingers ran over his kids’ name, written in black script. Her lips followed, tracing his chest and ghosting over his sternum. She felt him humming, content, beneath her. 

Jaime moved her hands to the fly of his jeans, and she would have laughed at his audacity if she weren’t so turned on by it. Before she took them off him, she palmed his erection through the denim and he hissed sharply. 

“You’re playing dirty,” he said in the low rumble she was becoming deeply familiar with. She found his lips with hers and she unzipped him and helped him wiggle out of his pants. 

“So punish me, Mr. Lannister.” Part of her felt a little goofy, like she was playing the part of the young seductress. But the other part of her, the bigger part of her, felt hot and wanting and desired and told the other part to shut up.

Jaime grabbed her waist again, his fingertips digging into her skin as he kissed her against the wall. He was hungry and rough and she wanted him more and more with every moment. If she had thought she could be with Jaime once and get him out of her system, she could already feel how wrong she was. 

He led her to his bed. She planted herself in the middle, leaning back on her elbows. 

Jaime stood watching her for a moment. The late morning light spilled through the windows, bathing him in gold. His lips were a little swollen and red, evidence of what they’d been doing, and what they were going to keep doing. The outline of his thick erection was visible through his dark grey boxers. 

He watched her for a moment with his hands on his hips. He smiled.

“What?” Brienne asked, unable to keep a smile off her own face.

“I’m just thinking about the day we met. Do you remember?” Slowly, he walked toward her.

She did remember. It was the end of summer, and the end of her first week as a nanny. She’d brought the kids over for their week with Jaime, and Tommen had been very excited to introduce them. 

Standing in the doorway, Jaime had been so handsome he had almost taken Brienne’s breath away. 

She nodded. Jaime finally stripped off his boxers. He was more beautiful than she’d ever imagined.

“You had on this little blue sundress. Standing on my porch like you weren’t sure what was going to happen when I opened the door.”

She laughed. Jaime kneeled on the bed and crawled toward her.

“I didn’t,” she said. Jaime nodded. He slid his body along the length of hers, until they were lined up from lips to toes. He held himself up with his forearms. 

“I wanted you then,” he said. “But I want you so much more now.” She shivered beneath him. 

“You can have me.” She smiled up at him, and he captured it with a kiss. His hands came to her face, stroking her cheeks. They traveled down her neck to her shoulders, to her breasts. Her back arched off the bed as his hands found her nipples again. She whined against his mouth — it was all so good but she wanted more, wanted him closer, hotter, harder. 

“Jaime,” she said, not caring if she sounded desperate, because she was. “Mr. Lannister.”

His hands went to her hips, his fingers digging into the skin again. 

“Tell me,” Jaime demanded. “Tell me what to do.” His lips traced her collarbone again. 

“Please,” she begged. Her legs scrambled on the silky duvet, trying to find purchase. 

“Tell me,” he said again. She ran her fingers through his hair again, holding him close. Nothing existed but them in this moment, in this bed. Right now she could say anything, be anyone.

“I want you to flip me over and fuck me,” she said. 

So that’s what he did. 

Brienne held herself up on her forearms. She could feel Jaime behind her, his thighs pressed against the back of hers. She heard the tear of the condom wrapper, the opening of the bottle of lube. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jaime put the bottle back on the nightstand. 

He leaned over her, pressing his front against her back. He kissed the back of her neck and she shivered; she’d thought she only wanted the hard parts of him, but she wanted the soft ones, too. That was scarier. 

He slid into her then. They both gasped at the same time. 

“Jaime,” she said.

“Fuck,” he said back. “You feel so good. Brienne, fuck.”

But he felt so good. After a few strokes, he brought them to a punishing pace and she could do nothing but cry out as he filled her, seemingly deeper every time. She didn’t think she would ever find the words to express how it felt to have Jaime with her, within her. 

One of Jaime’s hands came up to her head, lacing through her hair. He tugged but didn’t hurt and oh how she wanted him, this, always. 

All too quickly she was coming again, but Jaime kept going, until he followed her. She collapsed on the bed and he landed next to her. She closed her eyes for a moment, wanting to remember every detail of this moment. His bed was soft. His skin was warm. She felt tired and content for the first time in a long time.

It felt so dangerous to seek this out again

He kissed her forehead. 

“What are you thinking?” he asked. She sighed. 

“Nothing good,” she admitted.

After they’d both used the bathroom, they got back in bed. Brienne knew she should go, but she didn’t want this to end. 

“I wanted to get some writing done before I picked up the kids,” she said anyway. Jaime’s arm was wrapped around her, and she was snuggled into his shoulder. 

“You still have time,” he said. “But I’d be lying if I said I wanted you to leave.”

She pressed her mouth against his sternum. “We have a lot to talk about.” He nodded. “Probably not now, though. I can’t think straight right now.” He laughed and she savored the feeling against her chest. 

Eventually they did get out of bed, and dressed. He made them sandwiches for lunch while she pretended to check her emails. They kissed many more times before she finally left. Brienne’s brain was already mapping new things she wanted them to do together, in this house and other places, too. 

All afternoon with the kids, her mind kept wandering back to Jaime, to what they had done and what they would do now. She felt like she should regret it, but she just couldn’t. She kept picturing Jaime in the sun, with a smile on his face while he looked at her. Why should she run from him?

She didn’t go back to Jaime’s house until after work on Tuesday. She needed to get her bearings and shore up her defenses before she faced him again. She needed to figure out all the questions she needed answers to before she could decide if they were going to keep going down this path.

Jaime opened the door with a smile on his face, but it faded under her cross-examination.

“Have you done this before?” was what she started with. When Jaime looked puzzled, she added, “Slept with the nanny? Or a housekeeper or a babysitter or chef or —”

“No,” he said. They were sitting on opposite ends of the kitchen table, but he reached his hand toward hers. “Never. And if you feel like I took advantage of you —”

“You didn’t,” she said. She closed the remaining distance between their hands, and Jaime relaxed a little. “I’m not mad it happened. But I don’t know if it should happen again.” 

They talked for what felt like a very long time, and Brienne wasn’t sure they’d really gotten anywhere by the end. He wasn’t her boss, but Cersei would surely fire Brienne if and when she found out. And Brienne couldn’t afford to quit, as much as she wished she could. She didn’t want to give up Jaime, either. 

But Cersei and the kids were going away that Friday for Christmas, and wouldn’t be back until the New Year. And while Brienne wondered if she ought to use that time to establish space between her and Jaime, she knew she would use it to get even closer. 

So on Friday she ended up at Jaime’s, and she spent the night. On Saturday morning, her kitchen sex fantasy came to life. When she came back on Sunday, she brought an overnight bag. On Monday and Tuesday she wrote at the kitchen island while Jaime plied her with tea and snacks before dragging her to the bedroom.

She didn’t come around on Christmas Eve, spending the two days with her father and their family friends. It was fun, but she missed Jaime. He wasn’t her boyfriend, but she wished he was, and that she was bringing him to the holidays with her. Even if he was older, and kind of, sort of her boss, and everyone would be vaguely scandalized by them together. She wanted his laugh in her ear and his hand in hers. When she left her dad’s house on Christmas night, she went home and packed a bag. It was late when she finally got to Jaime’s, but his smile when he opened the door was brighter than any twinkle light.

But it was nothing compared to the look on his face a few days later, when she showed him the email from a job she’d interviewed for a month before, who she assumed had forgotten all about her, offering her a salaried gig writing for this website. 

Jaime bought them champagne, and they drank most of it in bed.