Through His Lens (edited version)

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Arcade games and stargazing

'What if he stands me up?'

'He's not going to stand you up.'

'But what if he does?!' Paige had spent the whole car journey either biting her nails or asking me what ifs with a crazy expression on her face.

Harrison had stayed silent pretty much the whole journey, making out he was just concentrating on the road but I knew better. I think Paige kind of scared him with her mood swings. I didn't blame him, I was kind of scared of her too right now. I swear to god if that boy does stand her up, she's going to hulk out.

Harrison used his rear mirror to look at Paige in the back seat.

'Paige, Matt's a good guy. There's no way he's going to stand you up.'

Thankfully this seemed to calm her down for a little while. God bless him.

When we pulled into the arcade car park, I could see Paige scanning around for Matt. I'd never been here before but when I found out what the plan was tonight, I was really looking forward to it. I've always loved a slot machine and this place reminded me of summers spent wasting hours on Brighton Pier.

As we got out of the car Paige beckoned us to follow her over to where a slender tall auburn-haired guy was standing.

Harrison linked his fingers through mine and squeezed my hand.

'Maybe one of us should've brought a hip flask with us.' I whispered at we walked.

'I think we'll be ok.'

'I know we will, I meant for Paige. We gotta slip her something to calm her nerves.'

Harrison laughed making Paige turn around and glare at us.

'I hope Matt knows what he's getting himself into.'

I elbowed Harrison lightly as he winked at me.

As we got to where the other two were standing Harrison and Matt did the clap fist bump thing guys do and I introduced myself. I had to say Matt didn't look at all like I'd imagined. The way Paige had described him I thought he'd be quite geeky, which he was but in an adorable cute way. He didn't wear glasses and he was definitely more muscly than I'd expected.

What warmed my heart was the way he looked at Paige. He had kind warm eyes and a genuine smile on his face which made it look like he was smitten with her. As I looked over at Paige, she was radiating the same look as well.

The four of us walked into the arcade and got ourselves pots of coins for the machines. At first I could tell Matt and Paige were a little nervous because the conversation started off strained but it didn't take too long for them to loosen up around each other. By the time we'd finished our second round of air hockey the jokes were flowing and all awkwardness had lifted. I was having a great time too.

After spending a ridiculous amount of time and money on the grabbing machine I ended up empty handed. There was a stuffed toy elephant in there that I wanted so badly. I tried to keep my spirits up but I really wanted the elephant. As we lazily strolled passed other stools Harrison pulled me over to one where you had to knock down all of the cans.

'Look.' He pointed to a shelf that housed all of the prizes and in the corner was the same elephant from the grab machine. Before I could say anything, he'd paid the fee and was aiming a ball at his stack of cans. I watched on tender hooks as the first two balls knocked over all but one can. On his last go I held my breath as he aimed for the last one standing. When I heard the clatter of metal falling, I jumped up in excitement.

'What will it be?' said the gruff man who was manning the stall.

'The elephant please, for the little lady.'

My eyes went wide with excitement as the man passed me my elephant. I turned to Harrison and wrapped him up in a death grip hug.

'Thank you thank you thank you.'

'You're welcome. You can stop pouting now.' He joked as he prodded my cheek. Wrapping his arm round my shoulder he steered me back into the crowd on the hunt to find Paige and Matt.

'What are you going to call him, or her?'

I thought for a moment as I looked at my new elephant. She was definitely a girl with her feminine facial features but what stuck out to me was the toys pot belly.

'I'm going to go with Tubby for now.'

'Hmm I like it.'

As we wandered around, I noticed an old-fashioned photo-booth which made my eyes light up. Harrison groaned when he realised where I was redirecting us to but he had a smile on his face.

'Come on. It's 4 photos, it's not going to kill you.'

After putting some money in the machine, I dragged him into the booth with me and pulled the curtain shut. When we were ready, we starting pulling faces as the machine clicked away. After we were done, we stood outside waiting for the photos to be printed and then examined them.

The first was us cross eyed, then Harrison held tubby up so her trunk eskimo kissed my nose. Next was us laughing at each other and lastly, he surprised me by kissing me.

'I love them!'

'Me too.' Taking out his phone he took a snapshot of the pictures and handed them back to me.

'Come on London, let's find the others.'

We wandered through the stalls back into the main centre of the arcade. I was surprised that there weren't that many people here seeing as it was a Saturday night, but at least it meant we didn't have to fight our way through crowds to find the new happy couple.

I heard Paige's voice before I saw her.

'No fair, you're cheating!'

'Am not, you're just rubbish at this game!' At least the boy could hold his own.

We found them bickering like an old married couple next to a big tv screen showing the Mario kart end of race ranking (I know right! How cool was this arcade for having Mario kart). It didn't take me long to find Matt at the top and Paige's name at the bottom.

Paige's face lit up when she saw us.

'Eve come on! Help me beat this cheater.'

'Ok now we're talking.'

All four of us set up the game again each choosing what character we wanted. Paige chose Princess Peach, Matt Luigi, Harrison Mario and I Yoshi because who doesn't love a dinosaur.

It didn't take us long to figure out Matt definitely wasn't a cheater; Paige really was just that bad. All of us won a round of the game, except for Paige and god did she make it known she wasn't happy about it.

'You're all cheaters!'

I wrapped my arms around my sulking friend.

'No, you're just a sore loser.'

'Whatever.' She pushed me off but her frown was gradually changing into a smile against her will.

'You two have to go now don't you?'

I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion.

'No, I don't think so..'

'Actually, yeah we do.' Harrison linked hands with me as he and Matt joined our conversation.

'I forgot to say my Mom and Dad gave me a curfew. Something about me breaking into my Aunt's house the other day.'

'Ah I wondered if you got away with it or not.'

'Yeah definitely not. Are you two staying?'

Matt looked hopefully at Paige who nodded in return.

'Yep I think we are. It was nice to meet you Eve.'

'You too Matt.' I reached up to give him a quick hug. 'You two look good together.'

He was grinning as I let go but I noticed a light pink blush on his cheeks as he looked down at Paige.

'I think so too.'

'I hope this makes up for me ruining your night.' Paige whispered as she hugged me.

I frowned at her as she pulled away but she ignored me instead kissing me on the cheek.

'Get home safe.' She winked at Harrison and the two of them walked away.

'What did that mean?' He shrugged in response and linked his fingers through mine.

'Come on London let's get going.'

We walked back over to the car park and made our way out of town when we eventually found the car.

Being the passenger, I wasn't paying too much attention as to where we were going as I was too busy daydreaming out the window, but after noticing we were heading down an unfamiliar road I turned to the driver.

'Where are we going?'

Harrison chuckled when he glanced over at my confused face.

'You've only just noticed that we're going the wrong way?'

'No I noticed a while ago but I didn't want you thinking I was being a back-seat driver.' I said defensively.

'Righttt.' Yeah, he didn't believe me.

I pretended to sulk, holding Tubby close to my rib cage.

'Where are we going then?'

'It's a secret. Also, I need you to close your eyes.'

'You know I hate surprises.'

'No, I know you say you hate it but you actually love it because of the excitement. And also I'm pretty amazing at surprises you've got to give me that?'

Damn I hated that he was right.

'You're..ok at them.'

He laughed at me then told me to close my eyes again. As I didn't want to rain on his parade I did as I was told although I wasn't happy about it.

He drove for what felt like another five minutes before I heard him turning the engine off.

'Ok I'm going to get out but promise me you'll keep your eyes closed until I come back to get you.'

'I pinkie promise.' I held up my pinkie for added effect. After he wrapped his own around mine, I heard him get out of the car.

I waited patiently for a while but it didn't take me long to get twitchy. When my car door eventually opened, I nearly jumped out of my skin.

'Jesus you scared me.'

I heard him chuckle as his hands guided me out of the car. When the door was shut, he placed his hands over my eyes with his chest against my back.

'Sorry.' He was so close to me that I involuntarily shivered as I felt his lips against my neck.

We walked a few paces before his hands moved to sit on my waist.

'Ok, open.'

My eyes flew open and it took a little while for them to focus in the darkness of the night but when they did my breath drew away from me. We were standing on a hill overlooking the whole town. You could see for miles up here, rows and rows of dimly lit houses. That wasn't the best part though. The best part was the view above. Sparkling stars danced above us like they were the ones watching us instead. Even with some lights still on in the town the stars were so bright up here. I could only imagine how incredible it looked in the middle of the night.

'We're here to stargaze.' Harrison said breaking my moment. His hands dropped from my waist and dug into his pockets like he was self-conscious because I'd been so silent.

It felt like my heart had stopped beating as an overwhelming feeling came over me.

'How did you...' I couldn't finish my sentence because my mind was working a million miles an hour.

'I spoke to Paige at the start of this week. She told me you'd always wanted to and I had originally had this planned for tonight but she didn't know until earlier.' He looked down at his feet not realising how amazing he was.

I felt like this was a dream because if this was real life then how the hell did I find someone so thoughtful?

'That's the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.' I looked at him in amazement as a smile broke out on his face.


I mean come on did he really think I was going to hate this?!

I practically pounced on him wrapping my arms around his neck and kissing him like I never had before. He seemed surprised but it didn't take him long to kiss me back. My heart was pounding in my chest as I finally pulled away.

'Was that enough to convince you?' I said breathlessly.

'I don't know, maybe you should try again.' He murmured as I giggled.

I took in our surroundings and I realised what he'd been doing whilst I'd been sat in the car. Blankets and pillows covered a grassy patch on the floor.

'So you don't have a curfew?'

He laughed as I pulled him down to sit down on the blanket.

'It was part lie part truth. My parents aren't exactly the strictest in the world but they did curfew me when they found out. That was until I told them tonight was going to be our first date. My mom was so thrilled she told me to stay out as long as I like. I tell you; you've got a real fan girl on your hands.'

'Well I don't mind if it means I can still hang out with you.'

I lay myself down on the pillows so I could stare up at the sky.

'So do you know any constellations?'

I felt him lay down next to me and him pull me into his arms. We lay there pointing out stars to each other for ages. The only way I could tell a lot of time had gone by was because the town lights were gradually diming the more we talked.

Eventually it got to the point where we unfortunately realised we couldn't stay there forever, well unless we wanted a repeat of last weekend. We packed up the blankets and got in the car to head home. When Harrison parked up in Lindsay and Simon's driveway, he turned off the ignition and started getting out.

'Walking me to the door are we?'

'Of course. That's what a gentleman does at the end of a first date.'

We held hands as he walked me up the porch stairs until we stopped at the front door.

'So are you going to make a move now?'

'I don't know, it feels too soon don't you think?' He backed away from where I stood by the front door only stopping when he reached the porch stairs.

'Although it wouldn't be if you were my girlfriend.'

I wanted to play along but my grin betrayed me.

'Is that so huh?'

'Yeah. Just to let you know though I'm not going to take no for an answer.'

'Well I guess if that's the case I have no choice but to say yes.'

'Good answer.' In two steps he'd closed the distance between us and was kissing me, until I had to pull away because I couldn't stop myself from smiling.

'Night loser.' I opened the front door but I waited until he'd walked back to his car to go inside. All the lights were off confirming it was probably a lot later than I thought it was but that didn't stop me leaning on the front door smiling to myself.

'You look like you've got a coat hanger in your mouth.' My dear sister whisper shouted from the sofa in the lounge.

I was too happy to care though.

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