There’s something about Joyce, the way she smiles at him that makes him forget all the shit in his life for just a moment, the way she laughs at his jokes even when they’re awful that makes him want to keep making her laugh forever. Hopper can’t tear his eyes away from her when she’s in the same room as him, can’t bear to look at anything else even for a second, because that’s a second less he gets to look at her.
It’s soppy, and sort of pathetic, and it’s a miracle that she hasn’t caught on yet, with the amount of time they’ve been spending together lately. He tries so hard not to be obvious, but he really is obvious, always has been when he’s got a thing for a woman. He probably should have learned the art of subtlety by now, but hey, they call it an art for a reason: it takes a long fucking time to master, and it really isn’t for everyone. Especially not for Jim Hopper when he opens the door to Joyce Byers, flushed from the cold, beaming up at him from beneath her scarf and hat.