Sansa was weeping again.
What was going on with her? Which madness had taken root within her to want to see a naked, aroused Lord Lannister, and to actually strip him bare?
Gods! The shame!
She was having the strangest feelings these days. As if she didn't have herself under control any more. As if she was missing something important she should know.
Sansa had wanted to touch Lord Tywin, had felt the incredible need to repeat what she had done with him once already. Her wantonness was horribly shocking, she found.
It had been impossible to meet Tyrion face to face after this incident, but she had written and sent him a note with the good news that his new destination would be Oldtown, which would be a far more convenient place for him.
Sansa also thought that she wanted to come to Oldtown as well, because it was said to be a very nice city, and a place of many educated people, what with the many maesters and the countless books one could read there.
For now, however, she couldn't really think of those things. Sansa was too excited after what she had experienced in the quarters of the Hand.
How was she supposed to sleep and to live through the upcoming wedding now?
Desperate, she opted for a tiny little drop of the milk of the poppy. Normally, she didn't want to have any sedatives, but under these circumstances...
After all, she needed to be rested for the upcoming wedding night. Sansa shivered and forbade herself any musings about the consummation of the marriage.
Finally, she fell asleep.
The soporific took its toll, more so than she would have thought, and Sansa actually slept much longer than she had thought. Her maids had to shake her awake forcefully, because she wouldn't rise herself. Even then, she was still drowsy and didn't care about the hubbub setting in around her. On her periphery she noticed that her wedding dress was delivered alongside with some jewellery, but as much as she was usually interested in fashion she didn't give the gown a second thought.
Of course, she was bathed, and flowery-smelling ointments were rubbed into her skin; one servant even epilated her legs with tweezers. The tweaks caused her to come more awake.
During the process Sansa was also served breakfast, but she wasn't very hungry.
On and on the room maids swarmed around her, doing her hair, putting drops of perfume behind her ears and doing other things to turn her into a perfect bride. Sansa, however, felt reduced to an object and simply let the women do what was necessary because it was what was expected of her. Meanwhile, her mind was strangely blank.
To her surprise, a noble lady asked to see her before the ceremony in the sept. Sansa had to find out that it was Lady Genna Frey, Lord Tywin's sister. Not knowing what to say to that she allowed the woman to enter her dressing room.
The elderly lady swept into her chamber, at once occupying the space with her presence.
“Lady Sansa! I've just heard about the wedding. And by the look of it... are you really intending to go through with it?”
Sansa looked at her, not knowing how to treat the other woman.
“I've signed the wedding contract, and I'm in the process of dressing for the wedding. No, I won't turn tail and run, Lady Genna,” she said politely, but with emphasis.
The other woman offered her a sceptical smile.
“I know, and it's very brave. It's just that I wanted to offer you my support in case you had any doubts. If necessary, I'd even take it upon myself to talk to the groom, if you thought it was getting too much for you.”
“This is very kind, Lady Genna. Yet, I've found out lately that I have to and that I can speak for myself.”
The Frey – or still rather Lannister – woman cocked her head like a bird that was looking at an interesting object.
“You're a determined woman, Lady Sansa. And you're still so very, VERY young. I wonder... Well, I wish you the very best and that you may find some happiness in marriage. The heavens know that this is no easy task in a political alliance.”
Sansa smiled and answered: “It's true, but I've heard from my parents that such an alliance can still turn into respect and friendship and even love. So I'll try to be optimistic.”
“A laudable attitude, Lady Sansa, and a mature one for your age. Let me just repeat it: should you ever need any female help and support I'll always be there for you.”
Sansa flashed the elder woman a brilliant smile... and didn't believe a single word. She had lived too long the the viper's nest that the Red Keep was and didn't – couldn't – trust anyone any more. It was a pity she had become so deeply distrustful, but she had simply learned too many dark lessons.
When Lady Genna had patted her hand and had taken her leave Sansa had a first closer look at herself in the mirror. Yes, she'd look the part. She was still proud enough to be content that her appearance wouldn't resemble a visual mess.
An hour later, she arrived in front of the chapel.
Lord Tywin was already there and waiting for her, very erect and regal, clad in the finest purple-golden fabric embroidered with lions. Sansa's heartbeat reacted, there was no helping it, and she felt embarrassed.
Lord Tywin offered her his arm and asked: “Shall we go?”
She took his elbow and nodded.
The door to the little chapel opened. The few guests turned around to watch them enter.
Sansa furrowed her brow.
Why was there nobody else at the end of the aisle? Where was Tyrion?
She looked around – and spotted him, sitting in the second row of some benches, behind King Tommen, Ser Kevan Lannister, Lady Genna and... an extremely gloomy Arya.
Sansa was confused.
The second septon in rank of the Red Keep appeared and looked... and looked at...
The missing puzzle piece fell into place in her mind.
Sansa's eyes widened in shocked understanding.
“Gods, I'm such an incredible oaf,” she thought.
An then, she threw back her head and laughed, no, guffawed in the most unladylike way possible, and the echoes of her sounds of levity bounced off the vaulted ceiling of the chapel.