ROOMMATE WANTED (King’s Landing) – 800 Dragons
King’s Road & Silk Street – 3 months, possibly longer. SF seeks responsible roommate, M or F, no smoking, no drugs. Strictly platonic. You get your own room in a 2 bedroom apartment. Shared bathroom. Shared kitchen. Utilities included with rent.
Brienne took a deep breath and tapped the ‘post’ button on her iPhone, wondering if she’d just made a spectacularly bad move as the Petyrslist confirmation page loaded. Oh well, she thought. It’s not like she had to take a roommate, if she changed her mind. She shrugged into her blazer and headed out the door, down the street to the subway station. She spent the whole ride to work praying for a nice, quiet roommate, preferably one she didn’t have to see very often.
She spent her lunch hour replying to the four inquiries she received in her email, painstakingly typing out her responses while eating her chicken salad. ‘Jaime Lannister’ was the first to respond. Fair being fair, Brienne emailed her back to see when she was available to meet. The next three inquiries, she emailed to let them know it was pending.
She’d barely sent out her last email when her phone went ding!, a response from Jaime Lannister already waiting for her.
Anytime this evening or next. Would like to move soon. –J
Brienne took a moment to think. Well, at least she’d cleaned last night. No reason to put it off.
This evening is fine. Would 6:00 work? –Brienne
She took another bite of her salad, surprised by another ding! before she even finished her mouthful.
Yes. Address? –J
She sent the address and her phone number and prayed some more.
It was 6:17, and Jaime Lannister still hadn’t shown. Brienne had been checking her phone obsessively, but hadn’t heard anything back since she’d emailed her address. Petyrslist horror stories ran through her head, and she wondered if maybe Jaime was planning on robbing her, or worse, what if she was a serial killer? What if—
An abrasive bzzzzzz filled her apartment, and Brienne jumped, startled, before rushing to press the button on the call box. “Hello?”
“Jaime Lannister,” was all he said, his voice smooth and confident, the words sounding almost lazy. He. Not a woman at all. Brienne buzzed him up.
It seemed no time at all before he was knocking on the door of her second-story apartment. She undid the chain, slid the bolt to the side, and twisted the lock in the knob before opening the door. Her heart sank.
Jaime Lannister was easily the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on, soft gold hair hanging in his laughing green eyes, a devastating grin with even white teeth, and a tall, leanly muscled build. His sharply tailored suit and shiny patent leather shoes had to cost more than three months of Brienne’s salary, and she wondered why someone who looked as wealthy as he did would ever need a roommate. It took her a moment to register the crimson lipstick smeared on his collar and that his shirt buttons were uneven. No need to ask why he’s late, then.
Brienne didn’t realize she was staring until he cocked an eyebrow, his eyes running over her before rising to meet her gaze.
“I thought the ad said you were a woman?” he drawled with a smirk, and Brienne felt her face heat at his casually cruel words. Did he think she wasn’t already painfully aware of her messy hair, her broad nose, her thick lips?
“Aren’t you clever?” she finally said, finding her tongue. She knew immediately that this wasn’t going to work.
He shrugged and stepped over the threshold before she could ask him to leave—and that was when Brienne noticed the large suitcase rolling by his ankles. Shocked wouldn’t even begin to cover it.
“I’m sorry,” she spluttered, “what is that?”
Lannister stopped by the small table where her mail was piled, scratching his fingernails idly over the cheap faux-wood veneer. The gesture spoke volumes, and embarrassment washed over her as his gaze ran over the comfortably shabby furnishings in her living room and dining nook before finally landing on her. She felt as though she was being measured and found wanting.
“Jaime Lannister. Charmed.”His brows quirked. “This is a suitcase.” He spoke as though she was a particularly slow child, and Brienne knew her face was still burning.
“I know it’s a suitcase,” she hissed. “I believe we scheduled a meeting and a walk-through, Mr. Lannister.”
“Call me Jaime,” he said easily, as though completely unaware of how upset she was. “No point in delaying this. I’m not picky.” His gaze ran over her once more. “Clearly.”
Brienne gaped, sure she’d never met a more arrogant person in her whole life. “Well, Mr. Lannister, I do happen to be picky.” She barely stumbled over the words at all. “Please leave.”
She saw the moment he seemed to understand how badly this was going for him, his smile faltering, turning brittle at the edges, his eyes a little wild.
“Would you reconsider if I paid you three months up front?” he asked, trying for casual and missing the mark.
She finally noticed the shadows under his eyes, dark like bruises, the way his hands twitched at his sides, the quiet desperation masked by his entitled attitude. She set her jaw, refusing to be swayed by pity.
“I can pay in cash, right now.” He watched her carefully. “I’d also throw in an extra thousand. For the inconvenience,” he added.
Brienne’s eyes widened. Who even carried that kind of money? she wondered, agog. “That’s 3400 dragons.” She nearly choked on the words.
He merely raised an eyebrow at her, reaching inside his jacket and removing a thick envelope. He opened it, removed a few notes, and put them back in his pocket, then handed the rest of the envelope to her. She peeked inside to see a stack of 100 dragon notes. “Do we have an arrangement?” he asked coolly.
Brienne felt herself waver. She still had reservations about this working, but… She looked at the envelope in her hands, heavy with cash. At the rate she was going, it would be ages before she had enough savings. And an extra thousand dragons, she thought longingly.
It was against her better judgment, but she looked back up and gave a firm nod, leading him down the narrow hallway. “Let me show you your room.”