Chapter 14:

Counting Sheep

Fair, no Fair

When I came back from the bathroom, Joey was texting again. I looked over his shoulder to see who he was talking to, but without my lenses, I could not see shit. I tried a different tactic as I slid under the cover of our bed and asked: “Who are you chatting with?”

Joey did not look up from his phone and sighed dismissively: “Oh, I'm just chatting with Isabelle.” My heart sank as I remembered Georgy's cryptic comments.

“Who’s Isabelle?” I asked sharply.

Joey noticed my change in attitude and his posture stiffened. His answer immediately confirmed my worst fears. “Don’t worry, I am not going to break our agreement and bring her to our room. It was a rule I came up with anyway.”

“That does not answer my question,” I responded coldly. "Who is she?"

Joey shifted away from me when he heard the tone of my voice. “She’s in our year, but in a different class and I believe she helps organize the yearbooks. She's a petit girl, with her black hair always in a bread; I bet you'd recognize her if you saw her.”

Shit. Not that Isabelle. If she was at all interested in Joey I would not stand a chance.

“Do you like her?” The question had left my lips before I could stop myself.

Joey put his phone away and rolled over to face me. For a moment he hesitated. “Hm, I don’t know yet… She's incredibly nice and my friends would love it if we got together, but I've only started to get to know her better this week. It's too early to tell if this could be more than a friendship." He softly bit his lower lip and gave me a quizzical look. "Why do you care?"

Fuck, Joey was surely onto me. "L-like you said, because of our agreement of course," I stuttered as I dove further under the duvet.

“Riiight,” Joey answered. His teasing smile made my heart skip a beat.

“Well, how many girlfriends have you had?” I huffed. "Not to use your own words against you, but... I do not want to stumble upon anything unsavoury. How can I be sure that you won't break our agreement?"

“I've had a few,” he lazily answered while he rested his head on his hand. "Okay, now that I think about it, maybe more than a few, actually."

I smiled triumphantly. “My point.”

“Not so fast, Fisher. If I am going to spill my secrets, I want some of yours too. How many girlfriends have you had?” Joey sniggered as he ran his hand through his hair.

I blushed profusely. Was Joey trying to tease me again? “Z-zero, I like guys,” I muttered almost inaudibly.

“Oh." Joey did not look disgusted like I had thought he might. He did not even look surprised. Maybe he was just unsure of how to react, or maybe I was once again projecting my own emotions onto him. “Well, in that case, how many boyfriends have you had?”

“Also zero,” I answered timidly. My mind was in shambles. So many things I thought I knew about Joey had been proven wrong today and it made me wonder what else I was not aware of.

Joey sighed dejectedly and averted his eyes. “Ah… So that’s why Nick and Georgy called you a... I don’t really want to say it." Suddenly, his eyes shot back to me and he asked: "Wait, how did they know? Did you tell them?”

“Most people know, Joey." I managed to conjure up a weak smile. “I like ballet, I look a certain way and I've been friends with Derek for a while now; you do the math. Not to mention that rumours spread fast at Saint Clair's...”

“I’m so sorry,” Joey said with a shameful grin. “I should have punched Nick in the face. It’s extra wrong what he did to you if you’re actually gay.”

Joey's bluntness made me burst into laughter. I shook my head and tried to hide the smile that was creeping on my face. “It’s always wrong to call someone a slur, Joey, but I appreciate that you’d beat up your friend for me.”

“Don’t feel too privileged. I don’t mind beating up dirtbags and sometimes my friends are dirtbags of an extraordinary kind.” Joey's bright smile made me feel a lot better. "I'm really tired, but we can chat tomorrow again if you want to," he proposed with a big yawn.

I nodded. “Yeah, I’d like that... Good night, Joey.”

“Good night, Simon.”