Through His Lens (edited version)

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S’mores and campfire songs

'How long is the flight?' We all sat patiently in a row of seats in the departure lounge whilst people buzzed around us.

'It's around 3 and a half hours to Colorado so we should get there about 6ish.' Lindsay said looking at her watch.

An announcement blared through a tannoy instantly making eager travellers shuffle in their seats.

'Right everyone the flights boarding, get your boarding cards ready.' Erika clapped as we all gathered our things.

The group of us did as we were told and it wasn't too long before we were walking down a long hallway to board the plane.

'This way Evie.' Taliah motioned from up ahead, her blonde hair bouncing as she walked.

She made me promise I wouldn't ditch her to sit next to Harrison on the flight. Not that I'd say this to her but I was actually looking forward to some girl time on the flight.

The last week running up to thanksgiving holidays had been busy for both of us. She had some exams and I was trying to get my art homework done before break. It felt like we'd been passing each other by for the last couple of days however now we had over three hours of solid girl chat. Harrison said that was enough to make him want to sit as far away as possible so it's no surprise that he didn't moan about sitting next to James.

Anyway, I had something important to talk to Taliah about and I wanted to use this moment when she was trapped on a metal tube to pounce. I waiting until we'd taken off and she was happily sat snacking on crisps to interrogate her.

It happened the Thursday before we broke up for thanksgiving holidays and we were all sat on the school field. Taliah kept going on about this guy from the year below that had asked her out. For a solid 20 minutes she talked about him and every two minutes she would look over at Lucas. If that wasn't suspect enough, I had a sneaky suspicion Lucas was listening to the conversation because he stayed silent the whole time and didn't get involved in the guys conversations. Since then I'd been waiting for the perfect time to bring it up.

'Sooo are you going to go on this date with that Alex guy?' I tried to sound nonchalant but it clearly seemed out of the blue for Taliah. She paused, a crisp hanging mid-air as she frowned at me.

'Yeah, I guess so, why?'

'Just wondering.' I shrugged my shoulders like it was no big deal.

'I just thought you were only talking about it to make Lucas jealous is all.'

Taliah spluttered eventually turning to me a little red faced after having some water.

'Of course not. Why would you think that?' She may be good at lying but her refusal to make eye contact with me, instead choosing to stare at the chair in front was a big giveaway.

'I'm just a little more observant than Lucas. He may not have realised you were eye stalking him the other day but I certainly did. I think Xavier noticed too.'

And there it was, the nail in the coffin. She sighed and leaned her head back on the headrest.

'Oh god Evie I don't know what I'm doing. I want to go out with Alex I really do but.. there's some part of me that wanted to see what Lucas' reaction would be. I blame you. It's your fault for bringing up the truth or dare thing the other week. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since!'

'Hey it's not my fault you've been burying your feelings for years. Plus, if there's any doubt in your head I definitely think he was listening.'

'You think?' She asked hopefully.

'Yes I do. I think you should test the water, maybe flirt with him a little.'

'I can't do that. I couldn't jeopardise our friendship.'

'God you sound like Xavier now.' As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wished I could swallow them back up.

She frowned at me as she tried to put the pieces together.

'What do you mean Xavier?'

'Nothing.' Maybe I was too cocksure having this conversation at a time where there was no escape route. I wonder if they have parachutes on this thing?

'No, it's not nothing tell me! Does he like someone?! Why didn't he tell me?'

'No forget I said anything!'

'No, I wanna-' and then it was like a light bulb had gone off in her head.

'OMG. That's why you brought up that whole friendship relationship thing the other week. It's Zara isn't it? He likes Zara!'

'Taliah shhh. Look I promised, no swore to him I wouldn't tell a soul. You have to promise to keep it a secret! Promise me!' She could obviously see how desperate I was as she rolled her eyes but linked pinkies with mine.

'Ok fine. As long as you promise not to mention a thing about Lucas and I.'

I nodded in response as I relaxed a little in my seat.

Taliah stayed quiet for a little while before she sat up and turned to me with a glint in her eyes.

'You know I always thought that Zara and Xavier would make a good couple. They're both hot and they can take each other's shit.'

'That's what I said! Although he made me promise I wouldn't meddle.'

'Uhh that boy is so annoying.'

She looked as if she'd given up until she turned to me again.

'Although...technically if you just planted some seeds then..wait...hold on that's what you've been doing isn't it? Resurface old feelings to see if anything happens? Oh, you're good.'

'I try.' I shrugged like it was no big deal.

The rest of the flight was spent trying to come up with some kind of plan to meddle but not make it look like we were meddling. I felt bad because I'd promised Xavier, but I was only doing this because I wanted to help.

Once we'd landed, we quickly collected our bags and headed out to find our rental cars. There were 8 of us in total so we got two cars as Hailey and Carson would be joining us here as well. In no time we were split into two groups and heading off to Hilary's house.

There was no comparison weather wise to the temperature we'd just come from to here. As we left the airport flurries of snow were floating around the air and a dusting covered surrounding buildings and treetops. Memories flooded back to last February when a snowstorm hit my village back home. I felt like a kid playing outside in it and having a snowball fights with mine and Nora's friends. I burrowed down in my coat as I tried to fight off the chill in the air.

Before I knew it we were pulling into a driveway. The house in front looked like something out of the film chalet girl. A wooden clad lodge stood up ahead with snow covering the roof like a gingerbread house. As we started piling out of the cars the door opened and Hilary, Hailey and Carson rushed out to greet us.

'Evie darling I'm so glad you came.' Hilary hugged me close, and I was instantly met by an overwhelming waft of perfume.

'Well thank you for having me.'

She patted me on the shoulder before turning to her grandchildren.

'I hope you're ready for the next few days with my family.' Harrison put an arm round my shoulder as he pulled me close to him.

I wrapped my own around his waist and looked up at his handsome face.

'I think I'll cope.'

'What do we have here then?' Hailey was grinning ear to ear when we turned to look at her.

'I'm glad you finally plucked up the courage to tell her how you feel little bro.'

'Nice to see you too sis.' He pulled away from me to hug his sister and then fist bumped Carson.

'You two look good together.' Hailey whispered as she hugged me. Even with the freezing temperature outside I could still feel the heat on my cheeks.

After all the hellos we emptied the back of the cars and headed inside. A waft of heat was welcomed as we entered into the lodge.

Straight away we were in a gorgeous open plan living room. Off to one side was a set of stairs that led to a balcony and a row of doors which I assumed were bedrooms. A log fire crackled away in the centre of the room making all of us peel off multiple layers.

'Boys you're downstairs and Hailey can you show the girls your room please.' Hilary ordered making all of us disperse.

Hailey led Taliah and I up the stairs and into one of the rooms off of the balcony.

'Make yourself at home girls.'

The room was big and made up of three beds.

'Are you not sharing with Carson?' I asked.

Hailey shook her head and rolled her eyes.

'Gran's a bit old fashioned.'

'It's not like you've just started dating, you're getting married and you live together.'

'You're preaching to the choir.' Hailey chuckled.

'I used to argue but now I just wait until she's gone to bed and I sneak into his room. It's just easier that way.'

After unpacking our things, we headed downstairs for dinner. As it was our first night and the adults couldn't be bothered to cook, we ordered a Chinese. We all sat around the log fire eating our Chinese food and catching up. Hailey and Carson filled us in with how things were going in New York and the rest of the kids answered questions about school.

Once dinner was finished our next movements were to layer up and roast marshmallows outside whilst the adults had grown up chats. Even though it was freezing outside the balcony area at the back of the lodge was amazing. Heaters were on so even though we still needed blankets, it took the edge off. Coloured fairy lights were strung up around us tinting the white snow on the closest trees.

We all sat down on a sofa whilst we watched Taliah light a fire pit in the middle and once the fire was roaring away and blankets had been draped over us it felt unbelievably cosy.

'You play the guitar?' I asked as Carson walked outside with one that looked well loved.

'I do yeah.'

'Carson plays in a band.' Harrison filled in.

'That's how Hailey and I met. She would sing at this local cafe that i'd sometimes play in.'

'I thought you two went to school together?'

Carson chuckled as he glanced over at his fiancé.

'Oh we did but Hailey ignored me when we were growing up.'

'Hey that's not true! You just irritated me a little. He was the typical class clown.' She rolled her eyes as she crossed her legs underneath her.

'Well that was my attempt at getting princess here to notice me.'

Hailey shrugged her shoulders making us all laugh.

Carson lightly plucked away at the guitar as the rest of us roasted some marshmallows Simon had brought out for us.

'Ok so I just..' I took two crackers, some chocolate and smooshed the marshmallow in between.

'Yep that's it. Then enjoy the goodness that is a smore.' Harrison said as he made his own and ate it.

After devouring my own Carson was finally ready to play us a song. It didn't take long before the soft melody brought back memories of a familiar song.

Carson starting sing the words to shape of you by Ed Sheeran and it didn't take long before Hailey joined in too. It shouldn't have been such a surprise to me that their voices sounded amazing together. They complimented each other so well and it felt far too soon when song was over.

'Come on London, your turn.' Harrison nudged making my heart beat wildly with panic.

'No way! Someone else can go.' I looked over at Taliah in the hopes that she would volunteer but she only laughed.

'Hun you know I can't sing for shit.'

'Come on, please Evie.' Hailey pouted.

Ok I was definitely being peer pressured into this. I knew I could hold a tune but I sure as hell was not as good as Carson and Hailey. My mum had previously played some big singing roles in the west end but I definitely didn't take after her.

'Do you know dancing with a stranger by Sam Smith and Normani?' Carson asked as his fingers instantly started playing the melody.

'I do yeah but-'

I didn't have the chance to finish my sentence because he started strumming away on his guitar much to the glee of my so-called friends that had pressured me into this.

I felt Harrison squeeze my hand.

'Don't be nervous. You may not know your own talents but I do.'

Before I had a chance to reply Carson started singing. He sang Sam Smith's part so well that I was convinced I'd sound like an angry cat compared to him. My heart started beating loudly as my part got closer and closer. I felt like Lizzie McGuire when she got set up by that Paolo guy and had to pretend to be an Italian pop star. For some reason after this thought it calmed me. If Lizzie McGuire can do it then so can I!

I started singing and thankfully my nerves disappeared. Actually, the more I got into it the more I started having fun. When Carson and I finished he high fived me as the group clapped around us.

'What a dark horse you are.' Hailey joked as she nudged me with her foot.

'Yeah yeah that's all you get.'

The rest of the evening was spent this way. We all chatted and people took it in turns to sing whilst Carson played. I don't know why I was so surprised to find out Harrison had a good voice seeing as his sister was so talented. Taliah definitely didn't share their talent though but by the end of the night she owned it and joined in anyway.

When we all finally went to bed, I was way too awake to sleep. It got to about 1am and I was still laying there looking up at the ceiling willing sleep to overcome me. At the other end of the room Taliah's soft snoring was like a mock at the fact that I couldn't sleep. The more she snored the more annoyed I got to the point where I decided this was useless. If we were at home I'd go and run but we were in the middle of nowhere here and plus I'd probably freeze to death.

Eventually losing all patience I pushed the covers aside and got out of bed, padding my way over to the bedroom door. The house was pitch black apart from one lamp left on by James' sleeping self on the sofa. I guess in the end Lindsay didn't have the heart to wake him up when he'd fallen asleep after dinner.

I carefully tiptoed my way down the stairs trying my best not to wake James up. Once I'd successfully managed that I headed over to the basement door. The door creaked a little as I opened it but thankfully it wasn't too loud. As I got to the bottom of the basement stairs, I saw Harrison's sleeping peacefully on the pull-out sofa. I crept over to him and leant down to run my hands through his messy hair to wake him up gently. Almost immediately he stirred to my touch.

'Evie?' He asked without opening his eyes.

'Yeah it's me.' I whispered back, now feeling a little embarrassed.

'I couldn't sleep.'

Without saying anything else he lifted the covers and pulled me into bed with him. I snuggled down as the warmth of his arms wrapped around me. My legs entwined with his and almost instantly a wave of tiredness washed over me. What helped was Harrison's fingers running through my hair. I wasn't planning on staying there the whole night especially as Hilary had her no sharing beds rule, but it was like every time I shared a bed with him, I went into the deepest of sleep. It couldn't be a coincidence.

Before I knew it, daylight was streaming through the windows and sounds of birds tweeting were stirring me. I stretched my limbs out waking them up from the deep sleep and that's when I realised I was alone. I didn't have my phone on me but I knew it must've still been fairly early. I slipped the covers aside and started making my way up the stairs. I quickly poked my head out of the door to check for life but the house sounded quiet. As quickly as I could I padded along the hallway and after checking if James was still asleep which he was, I crept up the stairs. I was oh so cocky that I'd got away with it, however that was until I opened my own bedroom door and two smiling faces turned to me.

'And where have you been madam?' Taliah asked with an amused tone.

'I went for a walk.'

'Oh right so you've been walking since the middle of the night?'

'Well someone's snoring kept me awake.' I threw my unused pillow at her head which she artfully dodged.

'You know it's almost convincing because we all know how bad Tali's snoring is however we've already spoken to Harrison and he was more truthful than you.' Hailey said whilst trying not to laugh.

'He's a liar that boy.'

It turned out both Harrison and Carson were forced to go with the Adults to the supermarket this morning. Tonight there were family friends coming over and then tomorrow was thanksgiving so they had a lot of food to buy. Us girls had been giving the task of trying to tidy up a little. Of course, we spent the majority of that time messing around but when we realised we only had 45 minutes at most to tidy and clean up we put our feet on the gas.

By 7pm the house was tidy, food had been cooked and people started to arrive. It turned out Hilary was quite popular here so I was surprised when about 20 people turned up. I was even more surprised that everyone managed to fit in. Of course, people being people wanted to know who the new addition to the family was. After about an hour I felt like a broken record replaying the same story over and over again. Of course, it was the stripped-down version.

I hadn't thought too much into tonight but after being polite to random people I was most likely never going to see again it reminded me of all the work events my Dad used to drag Nora and I too.

'You know I have a grandson that I think would like you.'

I was currently talking to an older lady probably around about the same age as my gran. I think she said her name was Claire and I know she told me how she knew the family but if I'm being honest it was at that point I zoned out.

'Oh that's really sweet but actually I..'

'Evelyn darling there you are.'

Thank god. Hilary waltzed over placing a hand on the small of my back.

'Why don't you go and help Hailey in the kitchen. Oh and whilst you're there find out where my grandson is hiding.'

'Okkk.' Before I could reply she turned as if to look over her shoulder only really she whispered.

'Run, run whilst you can child.'

I tried to contain my laughter and put on a serious expression. I excused myself from both ladies and ran for the hills. Well slight exaggeration. Brisk walk if I'm being accurate.

Eventually I made my way through the battle field, throwing a sympathetic look over at Taliah who'd been cornered by a middle-aged couple. As I made my way through the hallway to the kitchen a hand was placed over my mouth and I was pulled into the utility room. I would've been terrified if a certain person's signature fragrance hadn't washed over me.

'You know your Gran's on to you. She told me to come and find you.'

'And you found me.' He murmured as he gently trailed kisses along my shoulder up my neck. I involuntarily shuddered and completely forgot my train of thought. What did I come in here for? Oh yeah.

'I think she meant for me to bring you back.' I managed to whisper.

'Ok but did she specify a time to bring me back? Otherwise I've found a loophole.'

'Touché.' I collided my lips into his as he picked me up and sat me on the counter top. I wrapped my legs tight around his middle pulling him as close as I could to me.

'Jesus London. Do you know how hard it was to leave you in my bed this morning?' He mumbled as I pulled away to catch my breath.

'I didn't but now I do.' I ran my hands under his shirt and I smiled as I felt his skin prickle under my touch.

'Let's just stay here all evening.'

'Sounds good to me but it sounds like Hilary will search the whole house to make sure you socialise with that lot out there.'

'I don't want too, they're boring.' He pouted making himself look more like a little kid than a 17-year-old.

I scoffed as I wrapped my arms around his neck. 'Yeah I know, I've spent the majority of the evening pretending I'm listening to them.'

It took all my might to unwrap my legs and push myself off of the counter.

'Come on. If I had to be forced into socialising you will too.'

The rest of the evening wasn't so bad. When the food came out, I busied myself with snacks. When people started to leave, we tidied away as much as we could and headed to bed.

I waiting to the point when I knew everyone would be asleep to creep out of my bed and climb into somebody else's. With his arms wrapped around me it didn't take too long to fall into a deep sleep.

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