Chapter 19:

Whatever Makes You Happy

Fair, no Fair

As promised, Joey did not talk to me while I took my pictures of the forest. Not that I particularly minded his presence to begin with... I had expected to feel and act more nervous around him -he had been my crush for years at this point, after all,- but his presence was surprisingly comforting. Joey was not judgemental about my hobbies, nor did he get bored with me. In fact, the opposite seemed to be the case; he could not stop staring at me and my camera with intrigue. I could sense he was burning to ask me a million questions but he politely held his tongue to not disrupt me. It was only when I turned around to take a picture of him that I finally got a reaction.

He yelped in surprise and quickly put his hands in front of his face before I could take one. “Hey! I thought you were only going to photograph the forest?!”

"Don't be so dramatic," I laughed in response and I took a picture anyway. “I never said that! Come on, do something fun, Joey!”

“Hold on, I can’t be funny on command!” He laughed. He then proceeded to make a silly face.

I chuckled and took a few more pictures of him. “Awesome, you’re a natural! I’ll be sure to give these to Isabelle so she can put them in the yearbook.”

“Wait, what, are you serious? Gimme that camera, Fisher! You have to delete those!” He smiled foolishly as he chased after me through the cold, crisp snow with his arms outstretched in the hopes of snatching the camera out of my hands.

"You'll never catch me!" I laughed playfully as I sprinted away from him. Occasionally, I looked back to see whether Joey was close but, even though he far outmatched me when it came to his speed and endurance, my technique of zigzagging through the trees made it hard for him to reach me. He came close to catching up to me a couple of times but eventually gave up when he realised it would probably not be a great idea if my expensive camera fell into the snow.

"Aw, come on, Simon! Pretty please?" He pleaded, trying to sway me with his puppy dog eyes.

His genuine expression made my heart melt a little and I rolled my eyes with a forgiving sigh. "Okay, okay, I will, but you have to promise me that you won't show the pictures I took to anyone else! You should not have shown them to Isabelle without asking me first; I'm insecure enough about my photography as is..."

"Okay, I promise," Joey answered sincerely with a serious look on his face. He put his hand on his heart as if this promise was a matter of life or death to him. Then his expression became more relaxed and he tilted his head curiously. "Did she ask you to join the yearbook committee?"

"Yeah, she did actually," I answered reluctantly as I put my camera back into its case which I safely stored inside my backpack. "I don't know yet... It would be a great way to hone my skills and I'm sure it would be fun, but I'm afraid I won't have time to contribute enough. Besides, I'm not exactly the best at making new friends. I have no idea if the other members of the committee will accept me."

Joey patiently listened to my qualms and then thoughtfully answered: "Obviously you've got to do what's best for you but -for what it's worth- I think you'll get along with the other members of the yearbook committee just fine." He smiled supportively. "You've already managed to befriend me, that's a start! And have you even met Isabelle?! She's one of the nicest people I know! I'm sure she'll help you find your place within the group. That said, take all the time you need to weigh your options; you shouldn't feel forced to make a decision."

I could not tell whether it was because of his kind words, adorable smile or a mix of both but Joey made me feel a lot better about my predicament. I decided then that I would make my choice before the end of the school trip. "Thanks, Joey. I appreciate that," I shyly muttered in response. I could not keep running away from difficult choices forever.

"You're welcome!" Joey's everbright smile did not leave his face but it did turn more devious. The sly look in his smouldering eyes made my heart skip a beat in anticipation. He was planning something for sure... But what could it be? He slowly came closer like a wolf waiting for the right moment to pounce on its prey. "Now that you've safely tucked away that camera, let's do something I like."

"W-What would you like to do?" I stammered as I nervously took a step back. A million things that Joey might like to do popped up in my head and I would be lying if I would say all of them were PG. I tried to hide my burning red cheeks in the scarf draped around my neck but I am not sure I succeeded in hiding my embarrassment from Joey. Screw my dirty mind.

Before I could react, he swiftly dropped down to his knees and shovelled together a ball of snow with his large hands. He got back up just as quickly and shoved it in my face. “A snowball fight!” He exclaimed excitedly before he immediately ran off.

It took me a few seconds to process the shock of what had just happened, but I was glad that -out of all the activities Joey enjoyed- the thing he was dragging me into now was a snowball fight.

My mouth curled up into a big smile as I wiped the snow from my face. I shouted in response: "You're so going down!" Joey's answer to my provocation was another snowball thrown in my direction, which prompted me to duck. Enough of this. I had to show Joey that I was not to be messed with!