Orpheus & Eurydice


Cassiopeia is vividly dreaming about elephants when she hears violent knocking coming from her front door. She blearily blinks awake and sits up in bed just in time for someone to open her bedroom door.

“Cass? Sorry I barged in and it’s late, it’s just – holy shit are you naked?”

Jonny is full on shrieking and that is not something Cassiopeia is ready for at three in the morning. She takes her REM cycles very seriously. She rubs her eyes and goes to get out of bed but Jonny makes a noise and motions for her to stay in bed.

“What’s wrong with you?” She croaks out.

“Will you please put some clothes on?”

“Why?” Cassiopeia lets her body fall back onto her bed without covering up. She can hear Jon approaching her and she feels her covers being inched up over her chest.

“You should really locks your doors at night, especially if you sleep naked.”

“I thought I told you I sleep naked?” She ignores the condescending suggestion from Jonny.

“You did, I just – I wasn’t thinking.” She opens one eye and sees him awkwardly standing above her, just staring down at her.

She sighs and moves over in her bed for him, making sure she doesn’t slip a nip and scar him even more. He doesn’t waste time in shucking off his jacket and taking off his pants, stripping down to just his boxers. He slides in next to Cassiopeia and she offers him some of her blankets.

Jonny is silent and she figures that he just wants to sleep, so she closes her eyes and starts to count back from one hundred to lull her back to sleep. She’s at 14 when he speaks up.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” She mumbles, turning on her side and burying her head in her pillow.

“Waking you.”

“’S fine, do you wanna talk ‘bout it?” She mumbles into the pillow. She took some melatonin before bed and it always makes her a bit woozy.


She sighs and flips herself over before sitting up and squinting over at Jonny’s form in the dark. He makes a noise and promptly throws an arm over his face. Cassiopeia looks down and notices the sheet fell. Oops.

“Nudity is a beautiful thing, you don’t have to be so embarrassed, I’m not.” She says while grabbing the sheet and hiking it up under her armpits. She pokes him in the arm and declares herself presentable. Jonny waits a moment before removing his arm, like he doesn’t believe her.

“I’m not embarrassed, I’m just trying to be polite.”

Cassiopeia decides not to say anything about how it isn’t polite that Jonny just barged into her apartment at three in the morning because, frankly, he looks a little fragile.

“Tell me what’s wrong, lukchang.”


“It’s baby elephant in Thai. What happened?”

He huffs before rearranging himself so that his laying on his side, staring at Cassiopeia. She mirrors his actions and she can just see the faint outline of his face and the brightness of his eyes. He takes a while to answer so she takes the time to analyze all of the scars on his face. The one on his lower lip looks especially deep.

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“Do you know why?”

Jonny nods his head and Cassiopeia just waits for him to feel comfortable enough to talk about it. He’s silent for a few more minutes, long enough for Cassiopeia to almost fall back asleep.

“We lost again.”

“Was it close?” Cassiopeia has learned to not say sorry when Jonny’s team loses. He gets frustrated at her cause there’s nothing for her to be sorry for, only things he needs to work on.

“Yeah, it went into a shootout. I missed.”

Cassiopeia doesn’t know what that means but she doesn’t bother to ask either, knowing it’ll just upset him more to talk about his failures. She’s really at a loss of what to do to console him so she just goes with her gut and threads her fingers through Jonny’s short hair.

He stills at her touch but finally relaxes into her touch, closing his eyes and letting out a deep breath.

“Tell me about yourself.” He whispers to her. Cassiopeia’s face heats up.

“Like what?”

“Where're you from?” He mumbles, his eyes still closed while Cassiopeia continues to run her fingers through his hair in a soothing motion.

“Albany, New York.” She answers. Her thoughts are drawn to her father who’s back home working on some research at SUNY where he’s a professor.

“What about you?” She asks him. She’s shifted so her head is leaning more on his shoulder while they’re both laying on their backs looking up at her ceiling covered with glow in the dark stars.

“Winnipeg, Manitoba. My parents still live there. My mom takes care of my finances, embarrassingly.”

“What about your dad?”

“He used to work as an electrician at the University of Manitoba, but he’s retired now. What about your parents?”

Cassiopeia stills at the mention of her parents and takes her hand out of Jonny’s hair. If Jonny notices her weird behavior, he doesn’t comment on it, just waits for her to answer his question.

“My dad is a research professor at SUNY in astronomy. He worked at NASA for a while when I was younger so we lived in DC for a while.” Jon turns his head towards her and asks her a question she’s been dreading to hear.

“And your mom?”

“She was an astronaut.”

Cassiopeia turns on her side, facing away from Jonny as she composes herself. Jon mimics her actions and now they’re spooning with Jonny’s hand on her bare hip. She stares out of the window in her bedroom and watches Chicago’s twinkling lights in the distance.

“What happened?”

“Her favorite constellation was Lyra. She’d tell me all about the mythology of story and how Orpheus was so devastated when he couldn’t retrieve Eurydice’s soul from the underworld. Zeus had his lyre placed in the sky and it’s been there ever since. I always used to think Orpheus and Eurydice was the ultimate love story and I always thought my parents were just like them. Unfortunately they were, because my dad could never save my mom.”

It wasn’t really an explanation but Cassiopeia wasn’t ready to tell Jonny about what happened to her mom. Eleven years later and it still feels like an open wound that will never scabs up. Talking about it feels like it’s being infected and Cassiopeia just really wants it to heal.

“Will you teach me how to stargaze?”

She smiles at him even though he can’t see her and pulls his arm from her waist until is circling her stomach.

“Good night, little elephant.”
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thanks for all your comments! I'll probably update tomorrow since this one was a little short!