Brienne didn’t expect anyone to remember, they rarely did. That morning she had got a phone call from her dad like every year and a card through the post. This year it was signed, “Dad and Eva”, Brienne assumed that Eva must have been her dad’s new partner. Although she didn’t expect it to last long, there was nearly always a different name along with his each year. She left the card on her kitchen table and headed out the door to work.
Brienne noticed the rain as she opened the door, and grabbed her coat before we went outside to face the elements. The rain got faster as Brienne got to the bus stop, her hair was already soaked and her shoes were starting to squelch. She was pretty sure if she took off her coat she would be able to wring it out. That’s when she saw him. She thought she probably looked like a drowned rat carrying a handbag at this point the rain was coming down that fast. She saw his car slow down and stop right in front of her.
He rolled down the window from the backseat, eyeing her from head to toe, “Come on wench, I’ll give you a lift”
“Can’t you see I’m waiting for the bus Jaime?” The bus shelter was full, so she was stood outside getting even more soaked that she thought possible.
“Just get in” He opened the door for her and scooted across the backseat to leave her somewhere to sit. He saw her shake her head but was pleased when she finally got in the car. “See, wasn’t that difficult was it?”
They drove in near silence until they reached the Stark building; Jaime was the first to speak. He would be the one to break the silence, she thought.
“What’s wrong Brienne?” He eyed her with caution and saw she gave a little shrug as a response. “You seem upset. Has something happened? If it’s that fucking Hunt again I’ll punch him, restraining order or not”
“No. Nothing happened” She sounded almost disappointed and hoped Jaime wouldn’t push it any further. “Thanks for the lift by the way”
Before he could even think of a reply, she was out of the car and almost inside. Damn those legs of hers, he thought.
Brienne’s day passed without much event; and she got most of her work finished before her lunch. Brienne enjoyed her job and working for the Starks, loved it even. She had known Catelyn and Ned for years; she had met them through her father. So although she hated to admit it, it did sting somewhat to know they had forgotten her birthday.
Brienne grabbed her handbag and walked out of her office, clicking the door to a close behind her. “Pod, I think I’m going to take a long lunch. I might be a couple of hours if anyone asks for me” She knew no one would ask after her but she said it anyway.
“Okay, have a good lunch” Pod waved at her as she passed his desk. She liked Pod; he was her new assistant. And although he has never done the job before he was always willing to learn, which was always a good thing in her eyes.
Once he was sure Brienne had left, Pod picked up the phone to call Jaime. “Hi, Mr Lannister…”
“Pod what have I told you? It’s Jaime”
“She’s gone for her lunch. She said she’d be about two hours. Mr Lan…Jaime, what is it you’re doing anyway? I don’t know if she’ll be happy with me letting you in her office”
“It’s a surprise Pod so keep it to yourself. And I’ll be the one in trouble not you, so don’t worry. I’m coming down now”
Jaime walked towards Brienne’s office with three bags in his left hand and a small box balanced on his stump.
“Hey Pod” He passed Pod’s desk and shot him a beaming smile from ear to ear. His eyes seemed to sparkle with what could only be mischief. He stopped abruptly in front of Brienne’s office door and gave Pod a helpless look over his shoulder. He saw Pod get up from his chair and walk towards him,
“Here, let me” Pod opened the door for Jaime and took two of the surprisingly light bags from Jaime’s left hand.
“Thanks Podrick. Oh and I might need your help later too” He held up his stump, waving it a little.
Jaime got to work decorating Brienne’s office. The day before he had gone shopping to by banners and helium balloons and even to a bakery to buy birthday cake. He thought it would be easy enough to tie a couple of balloons here and there in her office, but his stump was proving to be quite useless.
He edged the door slowly open with a sad smile on his face. “Erm…Pod…could you come help me please?”
Podrick walked into his boss’ office to see a group of shiny blue balloons all huddled together on the ceiling in the corner of the room. He looked to Jaime.
“I thought I’d be able to tie them to her chair but apparently it’s not possible one handed.” He sounded sad and a little frustrated, Pod saw him stare down at his stump. “I just wanted to do something nice for her on her birthday”
Pod smiled at Jaime and began to tie four of the rogue balloons to the arms of Brienne’s chair. He did as Jaime asked. As well as the balloons on her chair, he also tied two to her desk and even one to the plant in her office. It was Jaime’s idea; he thought it would make her laugh.
“There I think that’s everything Mr Lan…Jaime” Pod looked quite pleased at his work, and he thought even if Brienne would scowl at Jaime it would make her happy.
“Not quite. Sorry to keep you from your work Pod” Jaime routed around in one of the bags and pulled out a banner. “Just two more things to do, I promise”
Jaime helped by holding the banner in place while Pod pinned it to the front of her desk; it read “Happy Birthday Brienne!” They both looked happy with what they had done and decided to leave the room in wait of Brienne.
“Oh Pod, can you go and get Catelyn and Ned for me please? And if they refuse to come tell them it’s urgent. She is their favourite after all”
Jaime, Pod, Catelyn and Ned were all waiting quietly in Brienne’s office for her to come back from her lunch. It had been well over two hours and in all honesty Jaime was worried she wasn’t coming back. He and Pod exchanged a knowing look, and Pod pulled out his phone to call her.
“Hi Brienne. I was just wondering, when are you coming back from your lunch?”
“You know what Pod, I don’t really feel like work today. I’ve pretty much finished so if anyone asks just tell them I’m ill”
“You’re not coming back?” Pod saw Jaime’s face fall and knew he had to get her back to the office somehow.
“No. I just don’t feel like it. Why, is something wrong?”
Pod saw Jaime nodding and pointing towards Ned and Catelyn. “Actually, yeah there is something. Mr and Mrs Stark said something about needing to talk to you urgently. And Jaime too. They said they’ll meet you both in your office”
"Is Jaime there?”
“Yeah he’s already here”
"I’m on my way. But if he’s done something stupid and is dragging me into it I’ll kill him on sight”
Brienne walked past Pod’s desk to see it completely empty. That’s strange, she thought, Pod’s always at his desk. She ignored the thought and walked to her door, dreading to hear what Jaime had done this time to warrant a meeting with both of her bosses. She opened the door to find her office in darkness; Pod wouldn’t play a prank of her, surely?
“SURPRISE!!” She looked around the now bright room to see Ned and Catelyn and Pod smiling back at her. But her eyes settled on Jaime, he was stood at the light switch by the door grinning like the Cheshire cat from the book she loved as a child. Brienne smiled then, a true bright smile that reached her sapphire eyes.
Cake was eaten and presents were opened. Ned and Cat had bought her a plane ticket home so she could visit her father; Brienne gave them the biggest hug possible and thanked them no end. Although it was only small, Pod’s gift was just as lovely. He bought her a mug with the TARDIS on; he knew how much she loved Doctor Who. Brienne felt terrible for ever doubting her small group of friends, they we’re sweeter than she ever first thought.
Once the small party was over it was just her and Jaime left. She slumped in her chair, exhausted from the party. “I thought everyone had forgotten” She seemed a sad but a smile still touched her lips.
“We would never forget, just be glad you went for a long lunch otherwise it might just have been cake and no decorations, and we couldn’t have that could we?” He smiled then too, genuine and light.
“What’s in the box?” She pointed to the neatly wrapped long thin box on her desk; it was wrapped in brown paper and a red ribbon, ever so subtly Lannister.
“Present” He merely said and passed the box over to her, placing it right in front of her. “Open it”
She gave him a questioning look but did as he said. Brienne cautiously untied the ribbon from the box, letting it fall away. She couldn’t think of what it could be, he’d probably gone way over the top and too Lannister about her birthday and bought her a ridiculously expensive bracelet. But no, Jaime knew her better than that; he knew something like that would be far too delicate. The box was leather and she opened the hinge slowly. She scoffed when she saw her present; a pen with the nickname “Wench” etched on the side. She looked up and caught his eyes.
“Happy birthday wench”