Orpheus & Eurydice


Cassiopeia is working on a Saturday morning when the work phone rings. She scrunches up her nose because not very many people call the store and when they do, it’s usually just business just that makes her head swim. She picks up anyways.

“Namaste, you’ve reach Earth Lore, where art, science, and tradition meet. I’m Cassiopeia, how can I help you?” She rattles off the slogan she was trained to say and is about to transfer it to Joss’ line when the voice speaks up.


“Who’s this?”

“Uh – Jon, Jonny?”

A smile graces Cassiopeia’s face.

“Hey stranger, I thought I was supposed to call you?” She still has his number written across the back of her hand and since she hasn’t showered yet this week, it hasn’t had a chance to wash off. Lucky him.

“Um, I know. It’s just. I wanted to talk to you.” Cassiopeia bites her lip to keep her grin from growing. Jonny confuses her, but in a good way. He’s not usually the type that would intrigue her but life’s full of surprises.

“I know I sound like a broken sundial, but you really need to relax. I can feel your tension through the phone.” She doesn’t mean to upset him but she hears him huff through the phone and her smile drops.

“I can bring some calming tea to you? Or you can come to mine and I’ll make a recipe I have that I got from a little man in Thailand?”

“I – are you sure? We hardly know each other.”

“I trust you.”

Cassiopeia hears a sound through the noise that sort of sounds like Jonny is surprised of her trustfulness. Jonny doesn’t respond but she gives him her address anyway and tells him what time she gets off work.

“Do you want me to pick up any scents here?” She has to wrap up the call soon, someone just walked in looking a little overwhelmed and that’s usually where she thrives.

“Sage?” She laughs quietly to herself.

“Not a problem, Jonny.” And hangs up.

She only is at work for one hour before she can head home. She grabs two sage bushels, one for burning at her apartment and one for Jonny to take home himself. Earth Lore is only a few blocks from her apartment on Evergreen. She takes her time walking home and even finds a ten-dollar bill that she gives to Arthur who’s outside her apartment.

She walks up the steps and sees Jonny leaning against the door, fiddling on his cell phone. She lets herself watch him for a few moments, the way his eyes track whatever he’s reading, the way his eyebrows dance, and the way he sort of mouths what he’s reading.


Apparently she startles him because he drops his phone. They both watch is fall to the ground and he swears while picking it up. He examines it more and keeps swearing and Cassiopeia scrunches her eyebrows together.

“The screen shattered.” He explains, looking up at her while his face reddens. She shrugs at him and motions for him to move so they can get up to her apartment. That’s why she doesn’t really get attached to expensive electronics, they usually break and she gets upset over material goods instead of focusing on the earth.

The walk up to her room is silent and only when she gets the door open, Jon speaks up again.

“Um, does that man outside your apartment ever bother you? You should tell the landlord about him.” She looks up at him but he’s too busy checking out her living room. She frowns and sets her bag on the kitchen sink while she starts to take stuff out of the cupboard to make ginger tea.

“Arthur? Arthur wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was in Vietnam and when he came back, his wife went and got married to another man. Sometimes I buy weed off of him to help him out. Would you like milk in your tea?”

She looks up at him and he’s across the room in her living room, ducking under her tapestries that are all hung up. His eyes are bugged out like he just saw a ghost.

“What did you say?”

“Milk? Or honey? I must say honey is very good with this. I have this kind I got over in Thailand –”

“No, no. You buy weed from that guy?”

“Well, yeah I have to get it from somewhere and Arthur needs the cash. So I’m just gonna assume you want milk.”

Jon doesn’t respond and Cassiopeia just continues to make the tea, pealing and boiling the ginger pieces, making sure to use a lot because it’s way better that way. Jonny continues to just wander her small apartment while she’s busy making tea. She finishes and leaves the cups on the counter while she goes around making the perfect environment for Jon to relax.

She draws the curtain everywhere, making sure only a little light is getting in. She burns the sage and burns some myrrh in her bedroom so that the scents overlap. When she finishes she finds that Jonny is just watching her the whole time, giving her space. She grabs the mugs, handing him one before settling herself on her meditation cushions that are in a pile in the corner of her living room.

Jonny tentatively sits down next to her and she closes her eyes while willing herself to relax and empty her mind. She can still feel how tense Jon is next to her and it’s not helping her relax.

She cracks one eye open and he’s staring at her. She huffs and sets down her mug and turns to him so that their knees are touching Indian style.

“What’s the matter?”

He opens his mouth but snaps it closed.

“Seriously, just get it off your chest.”

He looks even more uncomfortable and stares down at the bottom of his mug. She’s pleased that he finished it all, but this doesn’t seem to be working. She lays a hand on his knee and feels him tense up.

“I’m just – stressed?”

“That’s it? Only stressed?

“Well, I am a little uncomfortable. I don’t really know you.” Cassiopeia perks up when she hears that. She can fix that.

“Well, that’s easy. Let’s get to know each other. Ask me anything, I’m an open lotus.” She gives him an encouraging smile and the only way to describe his smile that his gives back is awkward. It’s ok, baby steps.

“Well, you said you went to Thailand. When was that? Did you have fun?”

Oh man, she loves talking about Thailand. She hopes Jon has no plans later this evening.

“It was amazing! I went when I was seventeen and it seriously opened up my eyes. I stayed in Bangkok for maybe two weeks and then traveled down to Rayong. Seriously radical. And I met the greatest people and stayed with them. I really adapted the Buddhist way of life and that’s why I have such a hard time really doing anything western over here. Did you know that I can meditate for 5 hours straight?”

Jon looks surprised and Cassiopeia blushes because she’s been rambling. She does that when she gets really passionate about things.

“But yeah, after a month I came home and it turns out I got Typhoid fever but it was still the best time of my life.” Now Jon is gaping at her.

“You got Typhoid fever? Why didn’t you get a vaccination? Or watch what you ate?” He seems really worried and Cassiopeia puts a hand on top of his to calm him down. She obviously shouldn’t have shared that little tidbit with him.

“Hey it’s ok I lived, barley, but it’s ok. And I lived with strangers off the street so I ate what they ate.” Cassiopeia can see a vein bulging in Jonny’s forehead and this really isn’t how this was supposed to work out.

“Okay, you need to calm down. Talk to me. Talk to me about anything. How was the tea? How’s hockey? Do you travel? How’s your family?”

This seems to be the right path because Jonny slowly releases the death grip on one of the meditation pillows and looks directly in Cassiopeia’s eyes.

“The tea was really good, thank you.”

“That’s it?”

“What do you mean?” He looks confused.

“I’m giving you a free reign to just vent to me about everything you hate about your life and you tell me that I make good tea?”

“I – I don’t know where to start.”

“I’ve got all day.”

That seems to ease the pressure off of Jonny and he takes a deep breath before spewing word vomit.

“I’m so unhappy. I’m so unhappy it hurts and I don’t know why I’m telling you because I hardly know you but I think that’s what I like about it. You don’t know anything about it. You don’t know how I haven’t gotten a point in twenty games. Twenty. You don’t know about how Canada didn’t medal at all at the Olympics and you probably don’t care.

“I feel so stuck and I don’t know what to do except to get more stressed. I can’t tell anyone about this, I’m the captain, I always have to be optimistic and we’re still doing well. And my Maman keeps bugging about not being happy and finding a girl, like that’ll somehow solve all my problems. I just want to disappear for a few days. I want time to pause so I can sleep and not have to worry about anything.”

Jonny ends his confession and promptly puts his face in his hands. Cassiopeia is a little shocked at the outburst but is proud that he got that all out there. She lays a hand on his shoulder blade and rubs it soothingly.

“Doesn’t that feel better?”

“Not really.” He mumbles. She frowns. Jonny really is acting like a bird in the mud.

“Why?” She pushes.

“Cause it just makes all my problems tangible. Since I talked about them, now I have to face them.”

She rolls her eyes and takes his hands from his face and holds them in her own. He looks absolutely wrecked and Cassiopeia has just the cure for this.

“You need a nap.”

“I – I just spilled to you all my problems and you tell me I need to sleep?” Jonny seems incredulous.

“When the going gets tough, sleep. That’s what they taught me in Thailand. Well, I think that’s what they were saying, I don’t speak Thai. C’mon, I have a really comfy bed.”

She pulls him up and he easily moves with her. Her room is dark but smells great and she lights some candles so they can see where they’re going. Her mattress is on the floor but Cassiopeia’s dad bought it for her and it’s definitely one of the best things she’s ever slept one.

She has three cats cuddled up in the middle and she shoos them out of her room and faces Jon. He’s looking at everything in her room and she starts to get self-conscious. She has a lot of tapestries and fabrics draped around, along with candles and posters and the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. It her favorite place in the whole world.

“Ok, well, get naked.”

Excuse me?” Jonny practically yells. She gives him a weird look and edges closer to the door.

“Don’t you sleep naked?”

“No! And I would never in your bed, Jesus Christ.” He looks horrified and that familiar blush is back, full blown.

“Okay, whatever gets you comfy, do it. I’m leaving, I’ll go to the grocery store to give you some peace. But seriously, think about emptying your brain and letting yourself float into slumber.”

He nods and takes off his winter jacket. He’s wearing a somewhat tight white t-shirt and Cassiopeia can’t let her gaze stick on his biceps.

“Namaste and sweet dreams, Jonny.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Oh, ps just pretend that Jonny's in a dry spell and that Canada didn't medal!