Chapter 24:

Tea for Breakfast

Fair, no Fair

As expected, the next morning, I was bombarded with questions by my peers. I barely had time to finish my toast before Derek started his cross-examination. “Simon, what happened yesterday?" He exclaimed exhilarated. "Because I heard some rumours and if none of them are true, I will lose my mind.”

Even Georgy, who had previously been so disapproving of my interactions with Joey, could not help but show his curiosity, albeit in a very Georgy way. “Yeah, tell us what happened mate," He grumbled protectively. "If that idiot did anything to you I will not hesitate to knock his teeth in. All you need to do is ask.”

“I’m fine really..." When their expressions would not budge, I threw my hands up and defensively repeated: "I'm fine! I'm just slightly pissed I can't join you guys at the theme park today. I have to stay here and do chores, because, well... Yesterday, I went into the woods on my own to take some pictures. Joey came after me because he was concerned I'd do something stupid, which -admittedly- I did. I forgot to check the time and we missed the bus, Ms. Applebloom was mad as hell, so now we're both being punished even though it wasn't Joey's fault." I ended my frantic explanation with a deep sigh. "I'm sorry."

Derek looked a little disappointed. "No need to apologise, though that wasn't as scandalous as I'd hoped. Especially after learning you two came back wearing each other's coats."

"In that case, I'm sorry to disappoint you," I laughed shallowly. “Unless you come from the Victorian era, there’s nothing scandalous about Joey lending me his coat because I was freezing to death.”

“Still," Max spoke in his characteristically low voice, "I think it's sweet Joey was looking after you. Maybe he's not such a bad guy after all." Max did not speak often but when he did, his words carried from the heart and were rarely untrue.

Georgy averted his gaze in silent protest but was clenching onto his sandwich so hard that it was not difficult to decipher his feelings on the matter. Derek, on the other hand, doubled down on Max's sentiment. "Yeah, Isabelle also told me that he's smitten with your photography. Has she asked you to join the yearbook committee yet?"

I suddenly felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. So the rumour that I'd been asked to join the yearbook committee had already made the rounds as well? I did not like that one bit. It was better to bring the truth to light now before it could spiral out of control. “Yes, but I’m not sure if I will…" I answered hesitantly. "It'd be a lot of work and I'm not sure if I'll be a good fit for the role."

To my surprise, Derek did not push the issue. "Take some time to think it over but don't let yourself be pushed into it if you don't feel comfortable. I think you'll fit in great and Isabelle seemed to think so as well but she'll understand if you don't take the offer."

While listening to Derek, I took a quick peek at Joey's table. To my relief, he seemed to be doing much better than yesterday. He was joking around with his friends as usual and easily worked his way through a mountain of assorted breakfast foods.

Derek caught my change in mood and leaned forward to whisper in my ear. "I know Georgy would rather see you date a rock than keep longing for Joey but today is your chance to get to know him a bit." He playfully prodded my side and continued: "If you know what he's usually like, you can figure out whether or not you would be a good match."

I looked up at him with wide eyes. “Are you sure?” I whispered. I had not expected Derek to be on my side today.

There was a devious glint in his eyes. "Well, we've already tried to keep you away from Joey by force -which clearly did not work- and there's not much else we can do. Maybe you'll see that you two are simply not compatible once you get to know him better," he explained, leaning on the palm of his hand. "Buuuut, if it turns out you two are compatible and something more comes out of it... Well, you know how much I love drama, darling. I live for tea and this tea would be brilliant~."