Through His Lens (edited version)

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I’d been jealous of his sister?!

I'd been sat in front of my wardrobe with clothes all around me willing for something to happen when Taliah found me.

'Oh Thank god!' Nora said as she rushed over to Taliah wide eyed like she could see her.

'Please knock some sense into her. It's been 16 years not giving a crap about clothes. Suddenly she likes a boy and it's like devil wears Prada in here. She's worse than me!'

The realisation dawned on me that since being here I'd shown more similarities to my twin sister than ever before. If anyone had told me sixth months ago that in the future, I'd have spent an hour trying to find something to wear, throwing my clothes around the room like a hurricane I'd say they were crazy.

'Hi Evie it's Taliah. Are you having a breakdown?' She pushed aside a big pile of clothes so that she could sit down next to me. Probably wasn't the best idea seeing as I was having destructive tendencies.

'Yes, Imma breakdown this whole wardrobe and throw the entire contents away because I have nothing to wear!'

'Well that's not quite true is it? I have a sneaky suspicion you wouldn't be worrying so much about your outfit if you weren't going to a certain person's house today.'

She'd hit the nail on the head but not for the reason she thought.

'Trust me he won't care what I'm wearing, especially as some other girl has caught his attention.'

She looked at me wide eyed like she didn't quite believe the words that had just come out of my mouth.

'What?! Spill!'

I'd spent the majority of yesterday helping Lindsay with errands around town. We'd actually had a really fun day. After our chat the other night it felt like the last of any barriers had gone down between us. We were almost home when she swore and said that she'd forgotten to pick something up. Luckily, we were just down the road from the shop she needed to go to so after a short while she pulled into a car park in front of a row of shops and restaurants. I noticed the sign for Hal's diner on the corner and realised this was where Harrison had brought me to the other week.

Lindsay parked up and then told me there was no point me getting out as she'd only be 10 minutes so I sat on my phone and waited for her.

After a few minutes a girly laugh distracted me from playing the murder mystery game on my phone and over to the diner. There was a young couple leaving the restaurant joking back and forth to each other. She obviously said something about him as he playfully nudged her shoulder.

That's when I realised it was Harrison. I probably looked a picture as I pushed my face up to the window trying to get a better look. I couldn't see the girls face but from the back I could tell she was pretty. She had shiny shoulder length dark hair that bounced as she walked. That's the last I saw of her before they both rounded a corner out of view.

I relayed this story back to Taliah who sat and patiently listened until I was done.

'Are you sure it wasn't Natalie?'

'No it wasn't Natalie, they have completely different hair colours and styles.'

'And you didn't see her face?'

'Nope.'

She stayed quite for a moment while I watch the clogs working in her head.

'I just find it hard to believe. I was so sure he was into you! I mean he never takes his eyes of you! Even in the cafeteria when he's sat at a completely different table from you, he keeps looking over to which you're oblivious to as per usual. Why would he go out with another girl?'

Wait, he stares at me during lunch?

'I don't know Tali. I never believed he liked me in the first place but seeing him with another girl proves it's true.'

She sat in silence for a while before her eyes went wide and she pointed at me.

'Omg you're jealous.'

'No I'm not.'

'Yes you are. That bullshit about not having feelings for him bla bla bla has just been proven wrong because you've got the green-eyed monster.'

I gasped slapping my hands to my cheeks.

'No I haven't.'

'Yes you have. No wonder you've been raging this morning. You like him!' She sat on her knees and clapped her hands excitedly.

'Shut up.' I grumbled.

'Well don't you worry my friend I'll make sure you've got an amazing outfit to knock some fucking sense into my idiot cousin.'

She riffled through the piles of clothes I'd so artfully created on the floor until she found a soft yellow sundress that had a wrap over effect on the front. I quickly changed into it whilst she found me some shoes to wear.

It was still funny to me that it was October here in California and I was wearing a dress. At home I'd be wearing at least a vest, top, jumper and coat. Any kind of a dress or skirt would be in a box in the attic.

'You do your makeup whilst I get changed, then I'll come back and do your hair.' Taliah ordered before rushing into her room.

I did as I was told, applying minimal makeup that smoothed out my skin and brightened my eyes. Just as I'd finished Taliah started on my hair. She'd chosen a blue long sleeve dress that made her blonde hair even brighter.

Using my hair straighteners, she lightly curled parts of my hair to make it look effortlessly beachy. By the time that she was done my long dark hair had been transformed from a frizzy mess into messy waves.

'Yes you look beautiful now are you ready to get going?' Lindsay asked as she caught me checking myself over in mirror in the hall.

She looked lovely herself in a mid-length khaki coloured dress. No wonder Simon couldn't keep his hands off his wife.

'Yes, but I feel nervous though.'

'Don't be so ridiculous there's nothing to be nervous about.' She replied as she put her arm around my shoulders.

'Yeah there's nothing nerve wracking about meeting the parents of the guy you're crushing on.' Nora whispered into my ear.

That's what I love about my sister. She always likes to boast my confidence.

The six of us including Marley piled into Simon's car and we made the short trip over to Harrison's parents house. From what Lindsay told me it wasn't going to be a big thing but her mum was going to be there as were some family friends. No pressure.

Soon enough we were at the familiar beautiful house. As soon as we got out of the car the front door opened and a stunning blonde woman held her arms out to everyone. I could tell instantly that it was Harrison's mum as they had the same bright green eyes but she looked strikingly similar to Lindsay. You could tell from a mile away that they were sisters.

After hugging Taliah her soft eyes met mine and instantly a smiled crept up on her face.

'You must be Evie. My goodness you're beautiful, just like you're mother!'

She wrapped me up in a warm her which I returned.

'I'm Erika.' She said as she pulled away.

'Nice to meet you Erika. Your house is lovely.'

'And you're so polite as well. You can definitely stay. Come in, come in, all of you.'

She ushered us through the house and into the back garden where groups of people were already gathered around. As soon as my foot was on the grass Erika was introducing me to everyone. First of all, she pulled me over to a group of adults, two men and one lady.

'Eve this is my husband Michael.' she pointed to a good-looking middle-aged man.

'Hi, nice to meet you.' I held my hand out for him to shake.

'Well aren't you a well-mannered young lady.'

He returned my handshake with a smile.

It was funny seeing the similarities in Harrison and both of his parents. Looks wise he was a mixture of the two of them. He had his fathers height and his mother's eyes.

Erika then turned to the couple Michael had been talking to before we walked over.

'This is Lisa and John.'

Lisa was first to hold out her arms to hug me.

'I believe you may have already have met our son Thomas.'

I really had to stop myself from laughing at Tom being called Thomas. I was definitely going to call him that from now on.

'You play on the soccer team don't you?'

'Ah you're the young lady who's a soccer genius.' John added.

'I do yes so I suppose that's me.'

We talked for a little while before Erika moved me on to other guests. Still Harrison hadn't made an appearance. After we had circulated the back garden, she took me over to a long table that had been set up for everyone for lunch. Sat at the end was an elegant looking elderly lady who already looked done with the day. Her eyes lit up though as we approached her.

'Eve this is my mother Hilary.'

'Hello Hilary, it's lovely to meet you.'

'My god it's like looking back in time. Erika darling what are you doing? Pull the girl a seat over.'

Doing as her mum told her she pulled out a seat for me to sit in before excusing herself.

'Dear are you an Evelyn?'

'Officially yes but it was only my parents that would call me Evelyn. Everyone else calls me Eve or Evie.' Or in Harrison's case my names London.

'Evelyn it is.' A smile made its way on my face but I didn't correct her.

'You're the spitting image of your mother you know that?'

'You knew my mum?'

'I did know that little minx yes. She came and stayed with us one summer when She and Lindsay were in college. That girl got more attention than a prized cow at a farm show.'

I'd never heard anyone describe my mum quite like that but I did know she got a lot of male attention when she was in her twenties.

'She always used to hint about her antics before she met my dad.'

'Yes, antics they were. You know I think I have some old photos of her somewhere back in Colorado.'

'Really?' I don't know why I was so surprised. I remember her telling me stories about the fun she'd have with Lindsay when she was in America but I didn't know I was a regular thing.

'Oh yes. She'd stay a lot as the kids got older especially in the winter. You know you should stay with us this Christmas, then I can show you the old photo albums. I'm sure I've got them stashed away somewhere.'

'Gran lets not get ahead of ourselves. We've got thanksgiving first anyway.'

Harrison took the seat next to me and looked lovingly at his grandma.

'Oh Evelyn you must come to thanksgiving!'

Harrison rolled his eyes at his gran but she either didn't notice or ignored him. Yeah it was probably the latter as grans always seemed to know everything.

'Really, I wouldn't want to intrude.'

'Nonsense. I bet you've never been to a thanksgiving either. You have to celebrate with us. It is a tradition after all.'

I had to give it to her, she was persistent.

'I haven't actually no. It's not something we celebrate in the Uk.'

'That's settled then.'

'Ok Gran now you've got Evie on the thanksgiving guest list can I steal her away?'

'Oh certainly. I wouldn't want to stand in between a budding... friendship.'

Harrison took my hand pulling me up from my chair and away from his gran.

'Where've you been hiding then?'

'Just been psyching myself up for spending time with the family. If you haven't learnt already, they're crazy so you have to get in the right mindset to be around them.'

That reminds me of a pep talk I used to have with myself before visiting my Gran at her retirement home.

'By the way, Gran talking about thanksgiving and Christmas. Please don't feel like you have to come, really I'm sure you've got other plans.'

'As sad as it sounds I really haven't and I'd love to. Crazy as they are, your family really are lovely.'

'Don't speak too soon. You haven't met all of them yet and they're putting on a show for you. Once the Evie magic has worn off, they'll be back to their true crazy selves. Come on I want to introduce you to the rest of the Clan.'

We walked over to a corner of the garden where Taliah was stood chatting to a man and woman. It wasn't until I got face to face with the woman that I almost stopped dead in my tracks.

'Evie this is my sister Hailey and her fiancée Carson.'

Thank god it was warm outside and I could use that as an excuse as to why my cheeks were heating up from embarrassment. I tried to remain cool and hide my embarrassment deep down but Taliah was giving me a funny look.

'Hi.' I said trying to force a smile into my face.

'Hi Evie, I hope gran wasn't being too intense? We were impressed though as you really held your own.'

'Well she kind of reminds me of my own Granny. Except mine is an alcoholic and runs a Mafia like organisation in her care home. So actually, I'd be impressed with anyone holding their own with her. She's like the kray twins.'

Hailey laughed lightly which brought warmth to her grey eyes. That's the most prominent difference between her and her brother.

'I'll admit I don't know who the kray twins are but you're funny. I hope this doesn't sound patronising but your accent is adorable as well.'

'Hey I'll take any compliments I can get.'

She put an arm around my shoulder and squeezed it lightly.

'I like this one.' She said to Harrison.

'Everyone does.' His green eyes bore into mine. I stared back until his gaze made a blush creep up my cheeks and I looked away.

When Erika called us over for lunch Taliah, Hailey and Carson started walking over but before I could I felt Harrison looking at me.

'Are you blushing?' He prodded my cheek lightly making me laugh.

I slapped his hand away and scoffed.

'No I'm just warm.'

I didn't give him time to reply before I followed the others to the table.

'Evie.' Erika called. 'You sit here and then Harrison you sit next to Eve.'

I sat down in my chair with Taliah in front and Hailey by her side.

'So Hails, when did you get home?' Taliah asked brightly as she pushed herself closer to the table.

'I got back Friday afternoon. Annoyingly we have to get a flight back to New York tomorrow morning.' She replied pouting.

'I wish we could stay longer than a couple of days.'

'You live in New York?' I asked

'Yeah we do. Have you been before?' She asked resting her head in her hands while looking at me.

'No, never. My dad used to visit with work a lot but I could never go with him. It's on my list though.'

'Well I'd for sure recommend. Plus now you've got two, albeit not true New Yorkers, to recommend places to you.'

She gave me a bright smile that I returned and turned to look at Taliah who asked her a question.

'So, what did you do Friday and Saturday?'

'Well Friday Carson and I met up with some friends and Saturday we hung out around town. We also went back to that diner restaurant we always used to hang out in back in school. You know the one that reminds me of Greece.'

Suddenly what I'd wondered earlier had been confirmed. Hailey had shortish dark brown hair. She was tall but slender, plus she was gorgeous. She was definitely the girl I'd seen Harrison with on Saturday. I felt mortified, I'd been jealous of Harrison's sister. I thought they were flirting not having sibling banter. In my defence I hadn't seen her face and if I had I'd have noticed the resemblance between them. That being that she was almost completely the female version of him. Unfortunately for me this realisation hit Taliah at the same time.

She looked at me, then back at Hailey before bursting out laughing.

'Say that again.' She managed to choke out between fits of giggles.

'We went to a burger restaurant?' Hailey looked at her cousin like she was growing a second head.

'Oh Evie.' Taliah said with tears of laughter rolling down her face.

I kicked her under the table which caused her to yelp in pain.

'Taliah do you need to go to the toilet?' I asked slash warned. To be fair she did look like she was going to piss herself from laughing whilst everyone else was staring at us with a mixture of confusion and amusement.

'What's going on?' Harrison whispered to me but ignored him.

'I guess I do yeah.' Taliah replied as she wiped tears away from her face and got up from the table.

I followed her back inside the house managing to keep it together until the door was closed behind us.

'Evie!'

'Shut up shut up shut up.' I covered my face with my hands as I paced around the living room.

'Can you finally admit it now?'

'Admit what?'

'That you like him!' She whisper shouted. 'I mean come on you were jealous of his sister!'

'I didn't know she was his sister.'

'That doesn't change the fact that you were jealous though.' She prodded my side until I couldn't keep it in any longer.

'Fine! Ok ok I may have slight feelings for him.'

She whopped triumphantly.

'I knew it!'

'You can't tell anyone!'

Unfortunately, before I could get her response Lindsay interrupted us.

'Girls are you done? Lunch is ready.'

'Yep coming now.' Taliah walked out of the room before answering me.

I chased after her but before I could get a reply we were back outside and everyone was looking at us.

'Tali.' I warned as I took my seat again.

She mimicked zipping her mouth and locking it before starting up a conversation with Lisa.

'What was that?' Harrison lent in and whispered to me.

'She finally understood a joke I told her this morning. That girl is slow.' I looked down at my lap as I didn't trust my face if I looked him in the eye.

'You're a terrible liar did you know that?'

Damn

'It has come to my attention before, yes.'

'So you really think you'll spend Christmas here this year? You won't go back to the UK?' He looked at me softly, like he felt he was treading on egg shells.

'I don't think so.' I wanted to say there's nothing to go back to but I refrained from it.

'I'd like to go and visit my gran but apart from that I think I'll have a better Christmas here anyway.'

I could see that he wanted to ask me about my parents but I knew I wanted to tell him when I thought I could get through the story without crying.

'It's going to be so weird though. Spending Christmas Day somewhere with the weather being mild and the sun out. I'm used to cold frosty Christmases. If we're lucky we get a snowy one.'

'It's weird for us as well. We all normally go to Colorado where my gran lives for Christmas. It's cold and snowy there. Then we come back and it's sunny. I've never liked the years that we've spent it here, it just isn't the same. I don't know much about London at Christmas but I can imagine it's nice in December. I've always wanted to go to, I think it's called winter wonderland?'

'Yes! Winter wonderland is one of my favourite places to go to during December. My friends and I used to go there all the time after school.'

'What's winter wonderland?' Hailey interrupted.

'It's this funfair slash Christmas market thing that's held in Hyde park in London. It's one of the biggest in the world and they do the best churros there!'

'That sounds fun, I want to go!' Hailey whined and nudged Carson.

I giggled at his expression when he realised that's another trip to plan at some point.

'You need to get yourself over to London then.'

'I've never been before.'

'Have any of you?' I asked the group and received nos from everyone.

'Well we all need to go, then you can give us the royal tour.' Harrison said.

'Deal.'

'Evelyn.' Hilary's voice called. She was sat at the end of the table staring at me intently.

'Yes Hilary?'

'May I ask dear, do you have a boyfriend?'

'You can ask and no I don't.'

'Hmm interesting. Well a girl as pretty as you won't be single for long. That's all.' She went back to directing Erika what food she wanted on her plate.

'That was weird.' I said to my neighbour.

'What that she called you Evelyn like she was talking to her majesty or in regards to your love life?' Harrison asked as he started adding food to my plate.

'My relationship status.'

'That's just Gran. She's very nosey.' That did sound like something my Gran would do.

'I can put food on my own plate you know.'

'I know but I want to do it.'

'Well then fill your boots.'

Harrison looked at me with an amused expression.

'Fill your what?'

'English expressions are lost on you Americans.'

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