My best friend and my sister
It wasn't late, only 22:30 on a Saturday night but ideally, I would've loved to have gone straight upstairs to my room without having to answer any questions.
I stood in the hallway and waited for a second listening out for any movement but the house seemed silent.
Just as a cocky smile made its way onto my face Lindsay poked her head around the lounge door making me jump out of my skin.
'Hi hunny, sorry I didn't mean to scare you.'
Yeah tell that to my blood pressure.
'How was your study group?'
I glanced down at the bunny slippers Lindsay was wearing and I couldn't help but feel the judgement coming from their beady little eyes as they dared me to lie. It felt like they were shooting daggers at me.
'Oh erm it was good thanks.'
I shrugged my jacket off casually as if I wasn't sweating because of my lie.
'God you kids really are good. Studying on a Saturday night? I'm all for good grades but even I don't expect you to spend your Saturday night doing that. Remind me what was it you were studying?'
'Physics.' I said without missing a beat. 'I'm only just keeping up at the moment so my teacher organised a study group for a few students.'
Ok so that wasn't exactly a lie, I really was struggling with physics. My teacher really had suggested I join the study group but he dropped it when I told him his favourite A+ student Xavier had promised to help me. Of course, Xavier didn't know this yet but I'd find a way to convince him. Or more likely he'd use it against me when he needed a servant for something.
'Eww physics. I don't envy you. Well Si and I are watching the Great British baking show if you want to join us?'
'Are you watching a Mary Berry season because the new ones really aren't the same without her.'
'Oh of course. I would not disrespect Mary Berry like that! We've also got chocolate cake if that'll tempt you?
'That is a tempting offer. Ok well I think I'm going to have a shower but I might join you later.'
I bolted upstairs to my room before the judgemental bunny slippers made me feel any worse than I already did.
When I opened my door, I found Nora sitting at my desk in the dark scrolling on my laptop.
'Evening. What are you doing here by yourself on a Saturday night?' I asked chucking my jacket and bag on the bed.
'Well..I spent a couple of hours listening to Karen next door talk to her friend about how she's getting back at her asshole manager. Apparently she spread a rumour around her office that he has a foot fetish, so now he keeps on receiving anonymous pictures of feet in his pigeon hole.'
'Yeah. Someone also signed him up for a magazine called Footsy. I can't say who did it but I can admit I gave them the idea.' She shrugged nonchalantly.
'Remind me never to piss off Karen. And you apparently.'
'After that I got a little bored so came back here and have since been watching Jonas brothers interviews. Not a bad Saturday night if you ask me.'
'So...' she pushed herself away from the desk and gave me her full attention.
'Study group huh?'
She glanced at where I'd carelessly thrown my bag and frowned.
'How did you manage that without any books?'
Damn I didn't think of that. Why didn't I think of that!
'I um left them at my friend's house because I'm going to go back tomorrow.'
'Right...' she raised her eyebrows and stared at me as if she were urging me to give in. I wasn't going down without a fight though. Unintentionally we entered a staring contest, the both of us too stubborn to give in. Just when I thought I was going to start sweating Nora threw her arms up.
'Evie give it up! I'm a fricking ghost remember. I know you went out with Harrison tonight!'
'Damn it. My intelligence has really gone downhill today.'
'Yeah that's because your suddenly boy crazy again. Now spill I want to hear everything!'
'There's not much to tell.'
'She says looking like the Cheshire Cat with that grin.'
Screw my inability to hide my happiness.
I flopped myself down on to my bed, rested my head on a pillow and relayed back my evening to her.
'Did I really have to pick you up on a street corner?' Harrison asked as I climbed into the front seat of his car.
'Well it would've looked too suspicious if you picked me up at home.'
After this morning we decided we'd keep us trying things again a secret for a while. I just wanted a little time to ourselves before everyone found out. There were two ways it could go when people found out we were back on. Either they'd worry we were going to get hurt again and or they'd be so happy they'd unintentionally add extra pressure on to make this work.
'You're right, because picking a girl up off the street isn't suspicious.' He said sarcastically. 'Do you think in the dark they'd really be able to tell my car from someone else's?'
'Don't underestimate Lindsay.'
'You're right what was I thinking? My family are like bloodhounds.' He said making me giggle.
I leant forward to kiss him but to my surprise he moved away.
'Oh, I wouldn't dare kiss you now just in case any of the neighbours have night vision goggles.'
I rolled my eyes but couldn't help but smile at his stupid jokes. I'd missed this easy conversation between us.
Tonight Harrison was taking me on a date to the next town over. I was worried about people seeing us together but he assured me where he was planning on taking me, we wouldn't bump into anyone.
After about 40 minutes Harrison parked up the car outside an inconspicuous building at the end of a street lined with shops. Apart from us there were only a few other cars parked outside and the building itself didn't look like anything remarkable.
Before I could go anywhere Harrison had jogged up to my side of the car and opened the door for me. He held his hand out which I took with a giggle and let him pull me up. After closing the car door behind me he pulled my arms around his waist and put a hand under my chin to make me look up at him.
'Before we go anywhere..' he closed the gap between us and kissed me softly.
'Hi.' I said smiling against his lips before we kissed again.
'Kissing you is never going to get old.' He murmured.
'Good. I should hope not.'
He got a mischievous look on his face and have me a lopsided sexy smile.
'I feel like I need to make up for lost time.'
'Don't worry you've got plenty of time to do that.' I kissed him again before pulling away and linking hands.
'You've brought me to a bar?' I said sceptically.
'Just trust me. You'll love it.'
'Harrison we're not 21.'
'It's ok we don't need to be to get in.'
'Are you sure because I think your family will find out pretty quickly about us if we get arrested.'
'Don't worry London, I promise.'
The bar really didn't look like much from the outside but inside was insane. My mouth hung open a little bit as I took everything in. Harrison was right, it wasn't just a bar it was so much more.
In the middle were multiple food trucks offering everything from burgers to Mexican to Japanese food. Picnic tables had been arranged in the centre of it all for those eating and up above fairy lights sparkled away.
In the far corner was a games area with ping pong, foosball and air hockey. To add to the aesthetic, every inch of brick wall had been decorated with unusual art work. Attached to one wall were piñata heads. Farm yard animals along with a range of mythical creatures watched over the room. Graffiti and neon signs were lighting up different corners giving the place more of a relaxed vibe.
It looked like a hipster threw up in here but at the same time it was epic.
I was too busy still taking in my surroundings when a guy calling over to us caught my attention. Thank god I'd thought to shut my open mouth a few seconds earlier otherwise I would've been mortified.
'Hey H! what's up man?'
I watched as they did that handshake pat on the back thing that guys do before pulling apart.
'Hey Patrick! I'm good thanks, you?'
'That's great man and I'm pretty good. So what brings you here? We haven't seen you in a while.'
'Well I wanted to show my girlfriend around.'
'Evie this is Patrick, Pat this is Evie.'
'Hi.' I gave him a wave but was taken back by a bone crushing hug.
He pulled back and gave me the once over.
'Wow dude, how did you manage to get a girl like this?'
'I wonder that every day.'
Harrison put an arm around my shoulder and beamed at me like he was proud to show me off.
'Well I'll leave you both too it but don't you dare leave without saying goodbye.' He said as if scolding the both of us.
'Have fun!' He waved us off and headed over to one of the food trucks to talk to one of the guys serving.
'So....girlfriend?' I said in a teasing voice.
'Yeah... sorry about that, it kind of just slipped out.' He said with a shrug.
'I know we're going slow but if I hadn't said girlfriend Patrick probably would've hit on you. He's a cool guy but he's a bit of a manwhore.'
Yeah, I gathered that when he looked me up and down like I was a snack.
'It's ok, I just wasn't expecting it. It felt nice being introduced as your girlfriend again.'
'Really? So, I'm allowed to call you that?' The hopeful look on his face melted my heart a little.
'You can to me and strangers? You're still cool with keeping us a secret for a little while, aren't you? If you're not just say the word.'
I couldn't help but feel a little guilty that I was the one calling all the shots here. Thankfully he instantly quietened my worries.
'Evie as long as we know what we are then that's all that matters to me. The fact that you're even willing to give us a shot again is enough for me.' He kissed my forehead and pulled me over to the sports games.
We lost a stupid amount of time playing multiple games of foosball, air hockey and ping pong. It probably wasn't the best idea playing against someone as equally as competitive as me as our games seemed to get longer and longer because neither of us was willing to give up, but we had so much fun in the process. After that we decided to just call it a draw in all three before Harrison took my hand and told me it was time for the next part of our date.
'So I've got a surprise.'
'You know what I'm like with surprises.'
'Yes, you pretend to hate them but actually you love it. Now follow me.'
To my surprise he led me past the food trucks through to a hallway. The hallway was pitch black apart from a neon arrow and sign reading Roll With It pointing us to a door way covered by a red velvet curtain.
Harrison grabbed hold of the curtain and turned back to me.
'Are you ready?'
'Oh I'm ready.'
Harrison pushed the curtain aside and pulled me through the archway to reveal a roller disco. It was like I'd just gone into a time machine taking me back to the 70s and all things disco.
Above the rink was a disco ball sending sparkles of pink and blue light around the room.
'This is amazing!'
'I told you you'd love it. You've roller bladed before right?'
'Well, when I was a kid. It's similar to ice skating right?'
'Yeah it's similar. Don't be nervous. I'm with you and I hate to brag but I'm a pro.'
'You don't hate bragging at all.'
Harrison smirked and told me to sit whilst he went to get the roller blades. All of a sudden Tame impala It might be time started playing over the speakers.
'Omg I love this song!' I said as Harrison passed me my boots.
I frowned and thought back to early today wondering if I'd mentioned the song at all.
'You did this?'
'Yeah knowing the owners son comes in handy sometimes. We can play whatever music we want and we've got this place to ourselves.'
'How did you know I like this song?'
'I Erm..the other day you were getting some books out of your locker and I heard you humming it. You were so oblivious that you didn't even notice me staring at you like a creep. Although now I've just told you..' His cheeks turned a light shade of pink which only made me think he was even more adorable.
'I don't think you're a creep..well ok maybe a little but that also makes me a hypocrite because I've been staring at you when you haven't been looking too.'
'Well then us two creeps are made for each other.' He held his hand out and helped me up when I took it. He led me over to the railing and then we were off.
To begin with I didn't stray too far from the railing. I thought because I've ice skated a lot that it would help me but no, it wasn't any easier. Even though I was still trying to get my balance the longer we roller bladed the more confident I got that I wasn't going to fall. Harrison on the other hand glided easily beside me as if it were as easy as breathing. I could tell he was being a gentleman and holding back, as every so often he'd slow almost to a stop so I didn't fall too far behind.
'Ok you're annoyingly good at this.' I said when I finally let go of the railing.
'My sister and I used to come here all the time. Patrick is a friend of my sisters. They were in the same year at school so we used to spend most weekends here.'
'How come you haven't been back recently?'
'It probably sounds stupid but this is like me and my sister's place. It's like a ritual that we only come here together. We don't always have time to come here when she's back in town so I don't come as much as I'd like to.'
'So if this is your guy's place why have you brought me here?'
Harrison took my hands and manoeuvred so he was rollerblading backwards and pulling me along.
'When we were younger, we made a pact that we could only come here with one other person but they have to be someone special. Hailey chose Carson and I chose you.'
'We'll I'm glad you picked me. If it's any consolation I'd choose me too.' I winked at him making him chuckle.
With Harrison holding onto me I finally got the knack of gliding and had the confidence to pick up speed.
'You're getting better.'
'Yeah well I'm definitely not going to upstage you. Go on show me some moves.'
With a grin he roller bladed off leaving me where I'd stopped, leaning against the railing. To be fair it was quite hot watching him do these cool skating moves. His confidence was sexy.
'Show off.' I said when he stopped in front of me.
'Here, take my hand.'
'Oh no you're not getting me doing all that spinning stuff. I'll fall on my ass.'
'Don't worry I won't let you fall. Trust me.'
And I did just that because I did fully trust him.
I gave him my hand and let him drag me into the middle of the rink. I did as I was told as he positioned and directed me. Then ever so slowly with my hands in his he spun me around. At first, I was scared but after a while when I knew I wasn't going to fall I let myself relax and have fun.
By the time we were blading off the rink I was exhausted but I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I hadn't laughed like that in god knows how long.
The rest of the evening we spent kicking each other's ass playing table tennis and air hockey, then stuffing our faces with amazing food. On the way home we had our own private imagine dragons' concert. We blasted each song through the car speakers and sang along like we didn't have a care in the world.
The bar had been around 45 minutes away but even so when we got back it didn't feel like the journey had been long enough.
'I can't remember the last time I had that much fun Nora.' I finally looked at her not realising the whole time I'd been talking I had been staring off in a happy daze. Nora was looking at me with a sly smile on her face as if she knew something I didn't.
'What? What're you looking at?'
'You. I'm just so happy you're happy again. As much as for a while he wasn't in my good books, he is one of the only people to make you smile like that. Plus it's obvious he adores you I mean how many guys would go to that effort for a date. He's trying to prove himself to you.'
'Well he doesn't need to. He's already done it.'
'So how long are you going to keep it a secret for?'
I hadn't really thought that far ahead if I was being honest. I was just living in the moment.
'I don't know. Not long. I just want us to have some alone time, where it doesn't feel like we have loads of eyes on us.'
'Yeah I get that. I think it's probably easier said than done though. If you can't keep that lovey dovey smile off your face I think people are going to figure it out pretty quickly.'
'I don't know, I think we've got it covered. We have a plan.'
We initiated the plan on Monday. We decided at school it was probably best to keep talking via text. It was actually kind of fun having this secret no one else knew about. Every time I caught him watching me it felt like an electric shock was running through my body. I could see the smile in his eyes and I had to look away before I smiled and gave it away.
Monday through to Wednesday seemed to go without a hitch. Of course, because of how drama filled Friday was I had to fill my friends in on the fact that my friendship with Tom was now back on track. Although Taliah had been out most of the weekend I had a feeling she suspected something. On more than one occasion she'd asked if I'd spoken to Harrison and who I'd been with this weekend. Thankfully I'd managed to fight her questions off even though she looked like she didn't quite believe me. I did feel really bad withholding the truth from her but I think deep down she was the person I was most worried about telling. She'd become really protective over me and even though she was on speaking terms with Harrison I felt like she'd think I was a bit stupid forgiving him after everything. So instead of telling her I kept it a secret.
It was Thursday when things started going a bit tits up.
As we were now mid project in art class our normal classroom was overrun with canvases. That was how I ended up spending two hours in the bigger photography room instead. Whilst I was painting the background on my canvas my eyes gradually drifted to where Harrison was sitting focused on the computer screen. It was as if he felt that I was looking at him, like I'd called his name. He caught me staring and smirked. Before I could stop myself, I smiled and bit my lip.
'Are you blushing?'
I quickly wiped the smile off my face and pretending I didn't know what Paige was going on about.
'Oh I was just thinking of a joke I heard the other day.'
She put her paintbrush down and turned to face me.
'Oh yeah what was it?'
'Erm, what do you call a three-legged donkey?'
'A wonky!' I forced out a laughing making Paige and a few classmates look at me like I was insane.
'I think you need to get out more.'
Thankfully after that I managed to contain myself for the rest of the day, well that was until football practise.
I was walking down the hallway to the girls locker room when a hand took hold of my arm and pulled me into a storage cupboard. Before I really knew what was going on a strong pair of hands were around my waist lifting me up and then plonking me down on a table.
Harrison stood in between my legs with his forehead leaning on mine.
'I've missed you London.' He kissed me hungrily making me unintentionally tighten my legs around his waist and melt against his body.
'I've missed you too.' I said with a content sigh.
'I know you did.'
Harrison smiled smugly whilst playing with my hair.
'You couldn't keep your eyes off me during class earlier.'
'Well can you blame me. It's unfair that someone can look as good as you do. It was very distracting.'
'I could say the same for you. I don't think I did anything all lesson.'
I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him slowly until we were out of breath.
'I think Paige is catching on.' I said going back to our previous conversation before I got too distracted.
'She caught me when I was staring at you earlier.'
'Hmm she asked me on Monday how my trying to win you back went. I told her about the photographs and that in the letter I told you to take your time thinking. I don't think she believed me though.'
As much as I was feeling bad that I was keeping this from her, from all of my friends I can't lie and say this week hadn't been great just me and Harrison wrapped up in our own little bubble. Plus all this sneaking around was quite fun.
'Come on we should probably get to soccer practise. I think we'll raise quite a bit of suspicion if both of us are late.'
He helped me down from the desk and after checking the coast was clear one by one, we left the storage room and went our separate ways to the changing rooms.
Once changed I headed out to the field where everyone had started doing some warm ups.
'There she is.' Tom threw his arms around me and squished me in a tight hug. 'How's my star player doing?'
'She's doing good, but as she's your star player maybe she can get some kind of reward?'
'Yeah nice try.' He ruffled my hair and at that point I thought the conversation was over but as I threw my water bottle down onto the ground Tom spun me around.
I grabbed hold of his arms as I caught my balance.
'You look different.' Tom frowned.
'Different how?' I said my heart beating a million miles an hour.
He squinted his eyes looking me up and down before shaking his head.
'I don't know it's just....something.'
I was in that exact same moment when Harrison walked past us mid conversation with Joseph. The two of us caught eye contact and shared a look between us. All of a sudden, I heard a gasp in front of me.
'I knew it! You two are back together aren't you?!'
Tom was looking back and forth between us like all of a sudden it was making sense.
I frantically covered his mouth with my hand and urged him to shut up with wide eyes.
'Shhhh! How did you find out?'
'Find out what?'
Both Tom and I jumped back in surprise as Joseph tried to join our conversation. I shared a look with Tom like don't you dare which made him roll his eyes.
'We can't tell you.' He said to an amused Joseph.
'Yeah why not Evie?' Tom gave me a smug smile that said this is your lie you can deal with it.
I fought the urge to punch him and came up with the best lie I could think of under pressure.
'It's a surprise. For your birthday!'
'But my birthdays not until May.'
'It's a big surprise. That's why you need to go talk to someone else for a bit.'
All of a sudden Joseph broke out into the biggest smile.
'Sure thing! You guys are the best!'
Ok well now I really had to come up with something great for his birthday but one problem at a time. As soon as Joseph was out of ear shot, I turned back to Tom who was trying not to laugh.
'Yeah thank you for that! Now tell me how the hell you found out?!'
'Well that's why you look different! Your eyes are sparkling and your skins all glowy. Don't even get me started on him.' He said pointing over to where Harrison was stretching.
He looks like someone's stitched his face into a permanent smile. I'd been wondering for a couple of days now but seeing you just then made it so obvious.'
'Damn it and our obvious give aways!'
'You know I would be angry that you didn't tell me but I can't because I'm so happy. My best friend and my sister.'
'That's a line from friends isn't it?'
'It is yes but it applies. There's a lot you can learn from friends you know.' He crossed his arms and looked at me matter-of-factly.
'Ok...but you need to keep this to yourself. Please just for a little while.'
'You know..no one ever tells me secrets. Something about having a big mouth.' He waved it off like it was no big deal but he obviously felt the need to correct himself when he saw the look on my face.
'Oh but don't worry! I promise your secret is safe with me.' Tom winked and walked off before I could make him pinkie swear. You know something about his statement didn't exactly give me confidence that he wasn't going to blab to someone.
Nora was right. Harrison and I keeping us a secret was definitely harder than it sounded. Especially with Tom around.