Through His Lens (edited version)

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Confessions of a shopaholic

I shuddered in the passenger seat as images of that night flashed through my mind. A recurring nonexistent cold breeze washed over me just like that evening. It was at least 27c here in California but I still felt cold, like I have done for a month now. Cold to the bone.

A jolt brought me back to my senses sending my heart rate into panic mode. If you haven't guessed, I now have a fear of being in cars.

"Watch it asshole! Sorry hunny I've got a bad case of road rage." Lindsay chuckled. That was until she noticed the whites of my knuckles and how my finger nails were threatening to pierce through her leather seats.

She covered one of my hands with her own and gave me a sad smile.

"We're almost there."

We remained silent after that. I spent the rest of the journey looking out of the window counting down the minutes until my feet would be firmly back on the ground.

You may be wondering, how are you scared of being in a car and not of flying? Well did you know you're more likely to be in a car crash than a plane crash?

I certainly did.

"You look like you're pretending to be in a somber music video."

I glanced over at Lindsay whose eyes were focused on the road in front of her, clueless to the mocking voice apparently I only had the pleasure of being able to hear.

I went back to looking out the window, blocking out the voice like I've been doing for the last couple of weeks.

Finally we pulled into a gravel driveway. A beautiful traditional house stood at the end.

"Here we are." Lindsay said as we both climbed out of the car. "It's probably not as big as you're used to but it's home."

"It's lovely." I said turning to her. "I can't thank you enough, what you're doing for me it's..." Before I could finish my sentence, she cut me off.

"Evie we may not be family by blood but your parents were family to me which means you are too. I know we haven't spent a lot of time together over the years but listen to me when I tell you that there was no doubt in my mind when it came to you staying with us. Ok?"

Before I could answer she took my suitcase and bag from me and starting walking up to the house. I watched her go and for the first time in weeks I smiled. A small almost twitch but it was genuine.

"Ok." I whispered whilst following slowly behind.

"Come in come in. How are you feeling, are you hungry?" We walked through the hallway into a large modern kitchen.

"I'm just feeling tired if I'm honest."

I've never in my life felt tiredness like this. I can't remember the last time I felt wide awake, yet I can barely sleep at night.

"Of course you are sweetheart. Let me show you up to your room."

Picking up my suitcase like it was light as a feather (which it probably was as I couldn't actually remember packing much in there) we made our way up the stairs.

"Apologies for the mess, we've been doing some home renovations." She said whilst wading her way through boxes.

"And here's your room."

Pushing open a worn oak door I was greeted by a large duck egg blue room. A double bed filled the centre and there was also a desk to the side but apart from that the room was mainly empty space.

As I walked around my new room Lindsay leant on the door frame watching me.

"We wanted to let you decide what you wanted in here so we kept it basic. I thought maybe if you want to, we could go shopping together? Then you can really make this room you're own." She looked hopeful, like she was really trying.

"That would be nice." I replied, gaining a satisfied smile.

"Then through here is your ensuite." She pushed open a door to the side revealing spacious bathroom.

"I've never had my own room before" I blurted out as I sat on the end of the bed.

"Really?"

"Yeah, I know it's a bit weird as I'm 16 but Nora and I just always shared a room."

The bed shifted next to me as Lindsay sat down.

"I don't think it's weird. It shows how close the two of you were. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this is for you." She looked like she wanted to comfort me but wasn't sure I would let her.

"I'll let you unpack and get settled. There are towels in your bathroom if you want to have a shower. We normally have dinner around 7." She patted my leg and got up, shutting the door behind her.

As soon as the door clicked closed, I knew I wasn't alone.

"Well isn't this cute. You've got your own bathroom and everything you lucky cow."

"Go away, go away, go away." I scrunched my eyes shut trying to block out the figure in front of me.

"Erm don't be rude, look at your sister when she speaks to you."

I opened my eyes and another pair shone back at me.

"You're not real. You're dead." I replied angrily. I'd hoped that coming here I'd stop being followed but unfortunately, she was still here.

"Ouch that hurt." My mirror image put a hand over her heart and wiped a manicured finger under her eye.

"You know most people would be happy to see their dead sister."

Nora jumped onto the bed ignoring my horrified expression.

"How can I see you?" I wondered for the millionth time in weeks.

She winked one blue eye at me before disappearing.

I sighed and flopped back onto the bed. I wanted to sleep so badly but I felt so gross from all the travelling. Plus, I knew if I fell asleep now the jet lag would bite me in the ass.

I pushed myself off the bed and unzipped my suitcase. I was right I thought, mentally sighing. My suitcase was light because of the lack of clothes. Obviously not being in the right mind set when I left, I didn't take into consideration how warm it is here this time of year. Nora and I had hundreds of summer clothes at home that we'd just recently packed away to make room for warmer ones. It hadn't crossed my mind that I should probably bring them with me.

I rooted around for clean underwear, jeans and a vest top then headed to the shower.

The hot water felt refreshing as it pummeled skin. I scrubbed away at my flesh wishing it could wash away the painful memories but my skin just went pink and sore. After drying myself off and getting changed I started putting away the little things I brought with me. It became evident that 70% of what I packed was my art books and supplies. Shows where my priorities were at.

....

A soft knocking jolted me awake. I looked out the window and noticed the sun was setting, the sky a swirling mix of orange and purple.

The door creaked open and a pretty petite blond girl crept in.

"Sorry we're you asleep? I didn't mean to wake you." Her soft features squished into an embarrassed face.

"I was but don't worry about it. I'm actually a little annoyed at myself. I was trying to stay awake to help the jet lag."

Her face relaxed and she chuckled when she was sure I wasn't going to shout at her.

"It's a bitch isn't it? You're friendlier than I would be if I was jet lagged though." She said earning a smile from me. " I'm Taliah by the way but everyone calls me Tali."

"Nice to meet Tali, I'm Evie."

"Nice to meet you too Evie. Mom sent me up here to tell you dinners ready and for me to bring you down."

My stomach rumbled at the thought so I gave her a sheepish smile as I jumped off the bed. "Ok show me the way."

I let her lead me down the stairs and into a dining room that I hadn't noticed earlier. Lindsay was plating up food for a boy around the age of about 14 when she noticed us coming in.

"Evie! Take a seat hunny." She gestured before moving on to piling food onto another plate. "How're you getting settled in?"

"Good thank you." I smile whilst taking the plateful she was handing to me.

"Great! Evie this is my son James."

I smiled at the boy shoveling food into his face. He looked up when he heard the mention of his name and smiled at me, a slight blush creeping up his cheeks.

"I think he's going to have a crush on you." Tali whispered to me but it was load enough for him to hear. He kicked her under the table and went back to filing his face.

"Evie this is my husband Simon." A good-looking middle-aged man walked into the room and gave me a blinding smile. He looked a little familiar and I had a feeling I'd seen him in some photos with my parents before.

"Evie, it's good to see you. You've grown up so much." He ruffled my hair and sat down at the end of the table. "You look just like your mother." He said softly.

I smiled at him weakly and looked down at my plate. I wish I was as gorgeous as my mum was but it was still nice for him to say.

"Are you looking forward to starting school?" Lindsay asked making my stomach dip.

If I was being honest, I was dreading it. I've never done this new school thing by myself before. The school I went to in London was an all-girls school. Nora hated it as she was a typical boy crazy teenage girl but I didn't mind it. Plus, I'd known the girls I went to school with since I was 8 so the thought of having to socialise with new people was making me nervous. What if they didn't like me? Before I always had Nora and everyone loved her so I was always guaranteed to have friends. Plus, she looked out for me so I'd never been picked on before.

"Erm it'll be nice to get back into a routine but I'm not going to lie I'm quite nervous."

"Don't be nervous sweetie you'll do amazing. Taliah is in the same grade as you so she'll help you get settled in."

I looked over at Tali who gave me an encouraging look. Ok maybe it won't be so bad. At least I'll have someone to eat lunch with.

"I thought maybe us three girls could go shopping tomorrow before you start school on Monday. How does that sound to you?"

"Actually, that would really help. I don't know what I was thinking when I packed but I definitely didn't take into consideration how warm it is here. All I brought was winter clothes with me." I said earning a chuckle from everyone at the table.

"Great that's a plan then."

We finished the rest of dinner with them all asking me questions about hobbies, favourite subjects that kind of thing. When I eventually got back up to my room I was knackered. They were all so welcoming but it was nice to be back just by myself. I immediately changed into my pjs and got into bed, praying that tonight I'd actually get a decent night's rest.

If only I was so lucky.

......

I flopped down on my bed surrounded by shopping bags. After a crappy night sleep last night and a long day of trailing around shops it was safe to say that I was pooped.

When I eventually fell asleep last night, it must've been around 3am as this morning I completely slept through my usual wake up of 8am. At 10 Lindsay politely woke me up asking if I was still happy to go with her and Tali into the town. I was drowsy with pure exhaustion but I knew I desperately needed clothes. Plus, I really wanted to bond with the two of them.

I reassured her that I still wanted to go and got myself ready as quickly as I could. What I didn't realise was, both of them were unashamed shopaholics. I think we went into every single shop in the mall they took me too. As you've probably guessed shopping is not my forte. Nora was more qualified in that department. I preferred to stay in the compound of my room away from crazy bargain hunters.

Lindsay and Tali pulled out so many clothes they thought would look good on me. A wide variety of colours, cuts and shapes. After half an hour I gave up with my input and just gave them free reign. I allowed them to shove me into dressing rooms whilst I got all hot and bothered trying on the items of clothing they'd chosen for me.

My usual style of jeans and T-shirt's suited me just fine but I had to swallow my pride and admit that the clothes they picked out for me looked good. Yes, when they pulled out dresses and heels, I did have a mild panic attack but I tried my hardest to hide my horror.

I had to practically beg Lindsay to actually let me pay for some of my clothes. I hate people buying me things especially when both herself and Simon were giving me so much already. Plus, it's no secret that my family were well off so I now have a pretty hefty bank balance. Even so she insisted on buying the clothes that she knew were out of my comfort zone i.e. anything girly.

We ended up having an amazing day. The only bug bare now was having to put all my new clothes away. Luckily, I have a girly girl that lives across the hall whose more than happy to organise my wardrobe for me.

'I can't wait to see you in some of these clothes. They're going to look amazing on you!' Tali exclaimed, dumping another pile of clothes onto my bed.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Nora giggling and giving me a devilish smirk as she riffled though a bag full of new underwear. Yeah that's the other thing. After walking past a Victoria secret Lindsay and Tali we're both horrified to find out that 1. I'd never been in there before and 2. I don't have any matching underwear. They took one look at each other and herded me into the shop.

Nora always used to say that my underwear draw made her feel sad. She'd look at my basic bra and pants and shake her head asking if I'd bought them from the nannas section in M&S.

'Finally, my twin is going to stop dressing like a 70-year-old woman!' she said gleefully.

Ignoring her I turned my attention back to Taliah.

'I don't know, I'm not sure whether I can pull a lot of them off.' I bit the inside of my cheek as I looked at the body con black dress Lindsay had bought for me.

'Girl, with your figure you can pull off anything!'

'I think you're mistaking me with my sister. Nora could make a bin bag look good.' I sighed before realising what I'd said.

Taliah looked at me with a sad smile on her face, unsure if she should say anything.

'You know, don't you?' I asked softly as I looked into her brown eyes.

'I do but I'm sure you're sick of people telling you they're sorry for you and asking you stupid questions so look, I'm here if you ever want to talk about it but if not that's ok too.' Taking my hand in hers she squeezed it tightly.

'Thank you Tali.' I smiled gratefully. 'I know you probably haven't but would you mind not telling anyone at school. It's just..... it's scary enough meeting new people as it is and I know they'll find out eventually but I just want to meet them without them looking at me like they feel sorry for me. Or worse, pity me.'

'Of course Evie. It's not my business to tell anyway.' She replied looking at me thoughtfully.

'You can trust me you know, anything you tell me you can tell in confidence.' She urged.

'Yeah I know.' I smiled back at her with an insistent look on my face. There was something about Taliah that really did make me trust her. She was easy to talk to and I hadn't heard a single ounce of judgement leave her lips. In some aspects she reminded me of my sister, just a little less crazy.

'You know you're going to have to help me decide what to wear tomorrow right. In all my 16 years I've never gone to a school where you don't have to wear a uniform before.'

'How bad was it?' She cringed already knowing she didn't want to know the answer.

'Black and gold but before you say that's not so bad. Yellow knee-high socks Tali. Yellow bloody socks.'

Both of us cringed, me at old memories and her just at the idea of such combination.

'Ok girl well the whole damn school is already going to fall at your knees when they hear you speak so let's find a killer outfit to match your angelic voice.'

Butterflies erupted in my stomach as I prayed that she was joking. She was joking right? Like really, they probably won't even notice they've got a new kid in their midst. Right?!


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