Through His Lens (edited version)

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Why I love Paige so much

I double checked the house number nailed to a red brick wall with the one written on my phone and raised an eyebrow.

Definitely the right place.

I pocketed my phone and started up the gravel pathway towards the creepy looking house in front of me. A gothic, black clad house stood eerily at the end of the winding driveway, giving me the Addams Family vibes.

Stairs lead up to a porch that wrapped around the front of the house and big floor to ceiling windows reflected the blue sky and surrounding trees.

It reminded me of the kind of house in films that people would avoid and tell scary stories about. Architecturally it was beautiful however it definitely had a keep away/murder house kind of feel.

It was 100% not the kind of house I would've pictured Paige growing up in.

After what felt like forever of me walking up to the house, I eventually made it to the porch. As I got to the last step, I saw a curtain twitch behind a window to my right and a few seconds later the front door creaked open.

'You passed the first half of the friendship test.' Paige said as she leant on the front door frame. I raised a questioning eyebrow at her, prompting her to carry on.

'You made it to the door without running for the hills.'

'There's still time.' I concluded.

She opened the door wider for me to come in and I entered into an entrance hall. Even from where I was standing in the hallway, I could tell the inside was very different from the out.

The walls were painted bright happy colours and even the floorboards had been painted white. Furniture covered every possible space and smiley family portraits hung up on the walls. My favourite part was that there were books scattered in piles everywhere, making me feel like I was in a hipster book shop.

'Your house is so cool.'

I ran my fingers along a wind chime hanging from the ceiling which made a pretty twinkle echo around the hall.

'Creepy you mean?' Paige stood by the stairs as she watched me take her house in.

'The outside yes. If you'd told me someone had been murdered here I totally would've believed you, but the inside really is cool.'

This was more of what I'd imagined. When I first met Paige, she told me about her mum being a writer and an expert in ancient languages. I had pictured a vibrant hippyish house, definitely not the one I walked up to.

'My mom hates it. The outside normally looks like a garden centre with all the flowers she has out there in an attempt to brighten up the place. It even took three months of my mom trying to convince the mailman that it was safe to come up to the door.'

I watched as she picked away at some loose paint on the banister.

'My dad inherited the house from my grandparents after they died. There's no way we could live in a house this big if he hadn't.'

I followed Paige through the hall to a huge country style kitchen. She then carried on through a screen door into the back garden.

'Mom, Eve's here.'

A woman with the same crazy curly blonde hair as Paige's, popped her head up from a vegetable patch.

'Pleasure to meet you Eve. Do excuse the mess, I'm just tending to my garden.'

Don't laugh Eve, don't laugh.

'Nice to meet you too Mrs Edwards.'

'We're not formal in this house Evie, call me Miranda.'

She wiped the back of her hand over her forehead leaving a trail of brown mud in its place.

'Ok we're going inside now mom.' Paige spun me on my heel and attempted to push me towards the door. Unfortunately for her she didn't do it quick enough.

'Don't forget honny, there's gluten free oatmeal cookies in the oven.'

Paige waved a hand in her mum's direction before dragging me inside by my T-shirt.

'Are you not going to get the cookies?' I asked, as I followed Paige back through the kitchen and up the stairs to her room.

'There's no way I'm going to force you to eat my mother's gross cookies. I like you so I don't want you to die from food poisoning.'

'I'm sure they're not that bad.' They didn't sound appealing but I was being optimistic. How bad could a dry cookie be?

'Oh they are. They taste like a flip flop.' That bad I guess.

'Yum.'

Once we were on the landing, she opened a door to the left leading to another set of stairs, this time they were winding. The top of the stairs opened up to a wooden clad circular room surrounded by windows.

'I bet this room is fun in the morning.'

'Oh yeah, it's like waking up in front of car headlights.'

A shiver ran over my whole body but I urged myself to push the thoughts flooding in, deep into the back of my mind.

To distract myself I concentrated on taking in the rest of Paige's room. Art supplies were everywhere in a tidy mess. Rows of blank canvases were leaning up against one of the bedroom walls alongside school books.

Paige lifted up a rug in front of her bed and leaned down to fiddle with one of the floor boards. Eventually the creaky board lifted up and she pulled out what looked like a small ice box.

'If I was still convinced this place was a murder house, I'd be worried you're about to show me something dead.'

'Don't be stupid.'

She lifted off the blue lid to reveal a beautiful scene.

'This is how I don't starve because of my mom's cooking.'

The box was filled with every kind of junk food you could think off. Half of it I'd never heard of or tasted before.

'How do you have any teeth left?'

'I really don't know and that's not because of all of the sugar. I'm talking about my mom's chargrilled food. You need a saw to get through some of it.'

After picking our snacks of choice we sat on her bed and talked.

'So what did you do last night?'

'I did this.' Paige replied as she motioned her arms at her room.

'What? You should've come to Fearfest with us.' Now I felt awful. I'd just spent the last 20 minutes talking about how good last night was and Paige had been at home on her own. I assumed she'd have something planned with her friends otherwise I would've invited her.

'Naa I've been a couple of times but it's way too busy for my liking. Plus, I'm not a big fan of people or socialising in general.'

I laughed lightly at how much her last statement reminded me of what I was like 6 months ago.

'What about your friends. Did they stay home too?'

'They went to see a horror movie and before you give me those I feel sorry for you eyes, yes I was invited but I don't like scary movies. Don't feel bad, I had things keeping me busy.'

If I wasn't mistaken, I thought a saw a glint in her eye.

'What kind of things?' I asked as I searched her face to see what she was talking about.

'Nothing in particular.' She replied as she shrugged and stuffed Cheetos into her mouth.

And that's when I realised, she was trying to hide the fact she was smiling.

'Omg you're such a liar! you were with someone.'

'No I swear I wasn't but.... I was talking to someone.'

'Go on, What's his name or hers?! Do I know them?! Paige you're going to have to give me some details here.'

'Calm down girl.'

She said that but I could tell she was liking the attention and wanted to talk about it.

'His name is Matt and no I don't think you'd know him. Eve, he's just so funny and kind, plus he actually noticed me! When he first said hi I thought he thought I was someone else but no he was actually talking to me.'

' I don't know why you act so surprised! You're amazing and anyone would be lucky to date you. So how did you two meet?'

'He's in my math class. Actually, he sits next to me.'

Ahh so that's how I didn't know him. Paige is in the top class for maths and no matter how much help I get, maths is still a pat on the back well done for trying for me.

'So we've been texting and talking on the phone the last couple of nights. Time just flies by when I'm on the phone with him. Normally with people I get so nervous when I talk to them and can't get an actual sentence out but with him it's like word vomit. Get this, he said he likes it. He likes that fact I speak absolute crap, apparently it's funny.

'I could see that.' I couldn't help it, I was grinning from ear to ear. I was just so happy to see Paige happy.

'He made this really funny joke about Pythagoras theorem the other day and-' she cut off when she saw my expression.

'Ok maybe you had to be there.'

'Yeah I think so.' Whatever works for the girl and all that.

'So when's your first date?'

All of a sudden her expression changed.

'You don't think he's going to want to go on a date with me do you?'

'Well yeahhh if you want to get to know each other better.'

I never thought I'd see Paige anymore fair skinned than she already was but in this moment she was almost translucent.

'I can't do that.'

'Why not? Hold on a second, why are you panicking now? You've already spoken on the phone to him.' I looked at my friend with a crazy expression.

'That's different.'

'Hell Is it different. Talking on the phone is so much worse because you can't see their facial expression.'

'I disagree. I'm so much more awkward in person. Truth is I've never actually been on a date before.'

I was about to reply shocked but when I thought about it, I didn't really think I'd been on a date before either, not a real one that is. I've always been friends with guys so I'd never thought too much into it. Except there was one, maybe.

'When I was 14 I met Luke Jones at our local costa coffee shop. He was the only guy back home to ever really pay attention to me. At the time I had a crush on one of his friends so when he asked me to meet him I wasn't too thrilled but my sister convinced me.'

'Only guy to pay attention, please. It's not like you were ever approachable or friendly. He was the only one that plucked up the balls to ask you.' Nora said as she flicked through one of Paige's magazines.

I ignored her jibe and continued talking.

'We were there for about an hour. He practically talked about himself the whole time and I was bored shitless. I don't think I'd really count that as a date though. So I guess I've never been on one either.'

'I don't believe that for a second. Look at you! You must've been on dates.'

'Nope.'

Nora went on dates all the time back home. I could hardly keep up with all the boys she'd be talking about. If I called one the wrong name she'd roll her eyes and tell me I never listened to her. I had perfected my resting bitch face whereas Nora was a flirting master.

'And here I was hoping you'd be able to help me.' Paige whined and flopped down onto the bed.

'Look it'll be fine. If he asks you out just go somewhere you feel comfortable and relaxed.'

'Eve I think you're forgetting something. I never leave my house and there's no way in hell he's coming here, not with my crazy mother. She'd be force feeding him celery and hummus.'

I forced back a laugh and placed my hands on her shoulders.

'Don't worry about it now. Just call me when he asks and we can come up with something together.'

She stopped hyperventilating and gave me a weak smile.

'Thanks Eve.' She shoved another handful of Cheetos into her mouth before turning back to me again.

'Hey I have a question. What would your perfect date be?'

'That's hard. I think for a first date I'd hate anything formal like a sit-down meal. I'd be knocking stuff over left, right and centre.' I sat back and thought about normal date activities.

I wouldn't want to go to the cinema because you basically have to sit in silence for two hours and I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the film. I wouldn't want to do anything that required hand eye coordination because again I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it.

'You know I've always wanted to go stargazing. Back home there's too much light pollution for that.'

'That sounds like a fun date. We used to watch the stars when I would go camping when I was little.'

'I've never been camping before.'

Paige looked at me wide eyed.

'Really?'

'Yeah, it just wasn't something my family would do. My dad took my sister and I fishing once but I think we only lasted like an hour. Plus squatting in a bush every time you need to pee doesn't sound like my idea of fun.'

'I didn't know you have a sister.'

It suddenly dawned on me I hadn't told Paige about my family. I knew we'd talked about my life briefly before coming here but I couldn't remember if I'd mentioned my sister before. It was becoming harder and harder to keep the pact with myself to not mention my old life. Especially as it seemed like everyone now knew. I mentioned as little as possible to Harrison and the girls. I knew the girls must've said something to the guys in our group because they haven't mentioned a thing about my family. I guess it's just easier to come out with it at this point.

'I..had.. a sister yes.'

I sat and waited for it, for the other question, but what she said surprised me.

'I see. Well camping's not that much fun anyway. It's great if you can do it with your friends but with family it boring. Plus the bugs.' She shuddered to add to the effect. 'Hey do you want to watch a movie?'

'Sure.' I replied as Paige jumped off her bed and started fiddling around with her tv.

'Paige, are you not going to ask me?'

She turned around with a confused look on her face, that was until she saw mine.

'It's not any of my business. You'll tell me when you want to.'

And with that she went back to pushing buttons on the tv. It was then that I realised why I loved Paige so much. She wasn't nosey nor was she a gossip. She didn't require anything out of me other than friendship. She was a good trustworthy friend.

'Ok so I'm saying we can either go with Tim Burton's weird and wonderful version of Alice in wonderland or something a bit more twisted and psychologically thrilling?'

Her elf like features looked up at me with the confusion of a tough film choice to make, written on her face.

'I say Alice in wonderland. I'm not in the mood to watch something where I have to think.'

'Alice in wonderland it is.' She pressed a button on her tv remote and quickly jumped onto her bed. We made ourselves comfy and that's where we stayed for the next couple of hours, half watching the film half talking about random crap.

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