The fact that Jaime was at her side still chuckling to himself only further infuriated her. She was cold, wet and had run out of patience. Brienne fixed her gaze straight ahead on the snow lined sidewalk, determined to ignore him. But every now and then in her periphery, she could see him glancing over at her, smirking in that smug way of his, green eyes dancing in amusement.
“You know, you can’t ignore me forever Brienne,” he said with a wry smile.
She did not respond. She would not respond.
“Oh, lighten up, Brienne," he said. "My place is just around the corner. I told you I’d lend you a pair of sweatpants and a hoody. I can even toss your clothes in the dryer.”
She shoved her mittened hands deep into the pockets of her bulky winter coat and trudged on as he continued to have a one-sided conversation with her.
“C’mon, Brienne. It was just one little snowball to the back of the head. I couldn’t resist! How was I to know you’d shriek like a little girl and come after me with a vengeance? You know, come to think of it, you’re not completely innocent in this. I’m not exactly warm and dry over here either! You were the one who escalated the situation and pushed me into that snowbank.”
She took the opportunity to shoot him a glare from beneath a few strands of limp, damp hair.
“Ok, ok! So I shouldn’t have wrestled you down with me, demanding that you ‘Eat snow!’ It’s just that I…”
He trailed off. They had rounded the corner to make their way up his driveway, only to find that the large house that Jaime shared with his younger brother had been completely decked out for the holiday season. Multicolored lights illuminated the house from top to bottom, plastic candy canes lined the path to the front porch, and a large wreath hung from the door, giving the home a welcoming appeal. Even in her less than cheerful state, Brienne had to admit, it truly was a beautiful sight.
“Tyrion,” Jaime said matter of factly as they made their way up the porch steps. “I guess somebody was in a festive mood today. You’d be surprised what a short person with a ladder can accomplish.”
Jaime looked to her for a response, and when she didn’t give him one, he took to fumbling in his coat pocket for his house keys. As he reached to unlock the door, she could hear him mutter what sounded like, “Stubborn woman,” under his breath.
He sighed exasperatedly, and his shoulders suddenly drooped in defeat. He slowly turned around to face her, shaking his head, clearly at a loss. She couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for giving him the cold shoulder. He took a step towards her, standing close to her now. Too close.
“Seven hells, Brienne. I’m sorry! What more do you want me to say?” he said placing his hands on her shoulders, looking her squarely in the eye. “Talk to me! Curse me, or kiss me, call me an ass…give me something!”
“K-kiss?” she managed to stammer in confusion, breaking her silence. She wasn’t sure why she had said it, and she immediately felt herself blushing in embarrassment. The word had taken her off guard. She had meant her response to be a question, but Jaime had taken it as a command. With a devious grin, he eagerly complied, grabbing the faux fur-lined hood of her coat, pulling her towards him so that her lips pressed firmly into his.
Brienne’s first instinct was to protest. To push him away. Anything to protect herself from being made a joke. But, no. This was Jaime. Jaime wouldn’t do that to her. Jaime, who she had undeniably been harboring feelings for over the past few years. She couldn’t make herself pull away. His mouth was working a dizzying magic on her that was holding her captive.
Jaime had ignited a burning heat within her that distracted her from the cold winter air and thawed her resolve to remain angry with him. She surprised herself when she managed to find just enough boldness within herself to lean into him, encouraging him to continue while she clumsily tried to keep up.
Finally he broke the kiss, and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear as he looked at her intently. She could tell he was searching her face, looking for any sort of reaction.
“What. Was. That ?” Brienne demanded wide eyed and breathless. “Why did–? Why would you–?
“When I mentioned ‘kiss’, you spoke to me for the first time since...the incident,” he said drolly. “I decided to press my luck and see what would happen if we actually did kiss. I figured you were already mad at me. What did I have to lose? Besides, everyone knows you’re supposed to kiss under the mistletoe,” he said nodding to the covered porch above them. She glanced up, and sure enough, there hung a cluster of bright green mistletoe embellished with a red bow.
“So...are we ok?” asked Jaime tentatively, drawing her attention back to his penetrating gaze.
“Yes, Jaime. We’re ok,” she said shyly. “I’m sorry too. I might have overreacted about the snow thing.”
“Possibly,” he said teasingly. “And what about this,” he said gesturing between the two of them. “I mean, us. Was this ok? The kiss I mean. I hope I didn’t cross any lines.”
She rolled her eyes and chuckled at his seriousness. He seemed to relax a little. She knew the kiss didn’t change anything between them, and it would be silly to make a bigger deal of it than it was. Her best friend had simply been desperate to break the tension between them, and had gotten swept up in the holiday spirit. “It’s like you said, Jaime. Everyone knows you’re supposed to kiss under the mistletoe,” she said dismissively.
“Yeah. About that,” he said. “What if I told you that mistletoe and provocation weren’t the only reasons I kissed you? And that I’ve been wanting to do that for quite some time now. And that I’d like to take you inside and pick up where we left off...”
It was as if he had read her thoughts. She stood there gaping at him, while her mouth dumbly tried to form words.
“Ah, look at that. I’ve rendered you speechless yet again,” he said amusedly as he pushed the front door open for her. “That’s ok. I now know a trick that gets you talking again,” he said winking at her. “Come now,” he said cheerily, “Let’s get out of these wet clothes and warm up.”
She nodded and smiled at him affectionately, trying her best to convey in a single look everything she wished she could put into words. She saw the same look reflected upon his own face as he took her by the hand, and pulled her across the threshold towards him.
Drawing by Erin (bearsofair)