Before Sunrise – April 2016

Opium wakes to the familiar darkness that greets her every day, and the familiar sound of Ivory breathing gently next to her.

Dawn has not yet broken, and she allows her eyes to adjust as she begins to take stock of the day ahead. She lets the sound of her counterpart’s breath wash over her and anchor her to the world.

It takes all of a second for her to notice that Ivory is not the only one breathing in the room. Opium’s pulse begins to race as dark blurs transform into the accustomed décor before her eyes.

Two people breathing, not one.


He had stayed. She hardly dares to believe it, even though she can feel His warmth. She had dreamed about this so many times that, eyes welling up, she feels she must still be sleeping.

Baelian, Ivory… and her. Together. Perfect and still, enveloped by the darkness, and by one another.

He loves us.

She silently prays her thanks for her early habits and turns her head as slowly as she can manage. She doesn’t want to do anything that might cut this moment any shorter than it will undoubtedly be. She takes in every sensation, drinking in the sleeping faces of her dearest loves. If Ivory’s breath calms her on an ordinary day, it is nothing to how she feels now.

Serene. Completely blissful.

She takes turns, matching her breath against Ivory’s first, and then Baelian's.



She has never seen them looking more beautiful. Baelian’s hair has fallen over his face, eyebrows furrowed gently as He rests.

He trusts us.

Ivory’s lips are parted and her eyes flutter beneath closed lids. She looks so young in this moment, completely untouched by the world. Opium hopes the moment stretches on forever. All doubts she has mean nothing in this space.

He feels safe with us. With me.

She was made to be His, she knows that. Without Him, she is sure she would die.

She reaches out a hand, not quite touching Him - not daring - but in her mind caressing every inch of His body, loving every part of Him. She promises the darkness that she will do everything she can to work harder, to do better, to keep the trust He has given them tonight.

Ivory shifts gently in her sleep. The movement is slight, but Baelian’s eyes open, immediately alert.

Opium wishes He could have slept forever. He already looks weary of the day ahead of Him. He notices her staring and sighs.

“Opium,” He whispers, and then opens an arm to her.

She moves over slightly and presses her body against His, trying to touch as much of herself to His side as she can. She slowly reaches out her hand above His chest, inching it closer and closer, before letting it rest over His heart. She relaxes, finding comfort in the fluttering beneath her fingers, and closes her eyes tight as she focuses on the vision she beheld moments ago of His sleeping face.

Opium doesn't expect another night like this, though she is sure she will yearn for it every night until she dies. She knows better than to hope, but is sure that as long as she holds this moment tight, just once will be enough.

She locks it away in her mind with her most precious and most private memories, and lays still with the two people she would die without as the early morning light begins to filter into the room.

“I love you," she breathes to Him, as a far off bird makes its first call of the day.

He doesn’t say anything, but she can feel that He heard her, and as he tilts His head down to press His lips to her forehead, she can feel that He loves her too.

He loves me.

Written by Jennifer Pappas.

All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2016. Natalie Ristovski.

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