Brienne breathed in deeply as she turned off the car, she never enjoyed driving for so long at once but now that she was safely at her destination, she could sleep and relax for most of the day and go into work tomorrow to well rested before the Holiday’s Seventmas break.
Having to take over some of Catelyn’s obligations in the company earlier this year had been such an unexpected proposal, but ended up filling her life with travels, learning and all sort of plans which consequently left very little time to worry about the wreckage that had become her personal life.
After Ned died at the beginning of the year, Catelyn had stepped over as CEO, Peter Balish had been fired from the CFO post which had been replaced by Robb Stark who had finally graduated and could step into the family legacy. Which made it impossible for Catelyn to continue with her role as the strategic manager of operations.
Working at one of the biggest textile industries in the country was not something Brienne had ever imagine herself doing after college, but she had ended up with a Business major besides several art and history courses she had been able to do over the years. When Catelyn suggested the challenge of slowly taking over the position there wasn’t anything she could say besides Yes.
“Hey Brie!” Coming out of the guest house in Winterfell and coming her way was Jon Snow, Cat and Ned’s nephew, who worked on the factory as one of the managers for the factory and did most of the organizing shifts and the communication between management and workers. “We weren’t expecting you until very late today.” Jon paused and gave her a hug before they both continued their path to the main house.
“I know” Brienne grimaced knowing by now Olenna had already called Cat about her leaving earlier then scheduled. “But you know Olenna, she was on a roll yesterday reviewing all the fabrics, ideas and plans. We ended up not needing another day to go over everything.” Brienne and Jon had been friends from the start, he was very easygoing, always let her have her time and come to him when she needed. He was the first Stark she befriended and one of her favorites.
“And so, you decided the best idea was to drive 9 whole hours without stopping during the night, alone without telling anyone?” Brienne knew logically It didn’t make much sense, but she wanted to be able to rest today so that tomorrow on the meetings she was well rested and on top of her game.
“Yes? I just wanted to have a whole day to rest and organize myself for the meeting tomorrow. Besides I still have the whole trip to Tarth this week, so spacing it out was the best plan.” Yes, she was going to get a talk from Catelyn, that’s for sure.
“Aunt Cat is still biting your head off.” He laughed as they entered the house and removed their coats by the side door that led to the big kitchen.
Winterfell could be classified as a mansion from its size, but it had the feeling of a cottage from the warmth and coziness you felt when inside it. When Brienne first started going to Winterfell, she had just become a Senior Analyst after 3 years of hard work in the North and Cat started inviting Brienne for sporadic dinners, she knew that Brienne didn’t have any family in the North as well as the fact that she and Jon had become good friends outside of the company.
Brienne was assaulted with the smell of eggs and bacon as soon as they got to the kitchen, but the coffee pot was what was calling her name. It was barely 8 in the morning and Catelyn already had the house on full speed.
“Jon?” Called Catelyn from the stove
“Hey aunt Cat, look who the cat dragged in.” Catelyn turned to take a quick look at both of them and then back to her sizzling pans.
“I had hope that you weren’t answering my texts because you had left early but I should have known better.” The tone held all the recrimination the face probably held.
“Good morning Cat.” Brienne knew she was being slightly awkward, but she always felt like a little girl being scolded by her mother. “We wrapped up early yesterday around six-ish and I was able to take a nap and hit the road around 10 PM, enjoy the nonexistent traffic during the night.” Brienne tried to reason while grabbing two mugs and poring a bit to herself and Jon.
“It was unnecessary, you are taking unnecessary risks. I’m very glad your father is coming, maybe he can talk to you about unnecessary risks.”
“My dad?” Brienne knew Catelyn and Selwyn knew each other, but they never had any contact besides when she was involved.
“Yes, your dad as well as your brother. Robb and I decided to make the holiday season a bit more cheerful for the kids and everyone we decided they if they wanted to have friends over or invite people to stay around until Seventmas we could make a tradition out of it.” Catelyn explained while putting eggs, bacon and toast on a plate and giving one to Brienne and another to Jon. “So, it made complete sense to invite your dad and your brother for Seventmas so that you can also have your family while spending the holidays with us.”
“Oh.” Brienne took the plate and sat down at the chairs on the big isle that was in front of the stove. “He didn’t say anything”
Her father and brother had never visited at the same time as they worked on the family inn, Evenfall Hall. Normally for the holidays she would get 2 weeks off and just go home to visit and spend time with both men.
“That is the meaning of a surprise dear, they should be coming in a couple of days, they were just making sure your uncle Goodwin was prepared”.
It was nice to think of spending a white Seventmas with her brother and father in the north, she had never had that, and knowing her father and her brother they would love the white Seventmas and all the activities they would be able to do in the snow.
“Morning Brie.” Brienne turned to see Arya and Bran walking into the kitchen and grabbing plates for themselves.
“Morning guys.” Brienne smiled. With the kids coming down for breakfast and Cat having been assured that Brienne had gotten home safe it was time to make her escape to her own home in the center of the city and finally go to sleep.
“You are not running off to that apartment of yours until you go and sleep for at least 8 hours in one of the guest bedrooms.” Catelyn was using her motherly voice.
“It’s really not necessary, I just ate a full breakfast plate and had coffee, I can get home safe before sleeping.” Catelyn just turned to look at her. “I’ll just stay today and go home tomorrow.” You had to know when to pick your fights.
“I have had the sheets changed and the cabin is all set for you if you want it.” Sansa had just entered the Kitchen from apparently somewhere outside and gave her mother a kiss.
“Hi Brie, how was the trip?” Brienne and Sansa had taken some time to become friends, but every time she saw the young woman it was more and more clear they were becoming very good friends indeed.
“It was good, Marge asked me to say hello” It helped that Brienne was one of the very few that saw how Sansa’s eyes shined at the mentioned of the brunette Tyrell.
“Thank you Catelyn I’ll go to the cabin then; we can go over numbers and details of the Highgarden visit later.”
“Rest Brienne, work will be there in the morning. Even the Lannisters decided to come so we will have a full house starting tonight.” Brienne’s heart stopped beating and she paused her movement of putting her coat back on.
“The Lannister? Which Lannisters?” Brienne hoped her voice didn’t give too much away.
“I believe Tyrion and Jaime will come and they might bring their younger nephews Tommen and Myrcella, apparently their sister Cersei was abroad with her husband and older son but they might not be back in time for Seventmas”
“Huh” The only thing on Brienne's mind was: Oh God.
“Do you know them?” Sansa asked with a curious face letting Brienne know she wasn’t as inconspicuous as she thought.
“Just the older brother, I met him this past week.” She replied trying not to give too much away. “I’ll see you guys later.” Brienne needed to get out before any other questions of the Lannisters came her way, this was shaping up to be a very crowded Seventmas indeed.