Through His Lens (edited version)

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Operation New Years a go

'B- Miss Townsend, it's an improvement but you only just scraped that grade.'
Mr Gregory, my slightly balding, beer bellied Physics teacher tutted in a monotonous voice. The grade to me was something to be celebrated as I'd worked so hard to try and ingest my notes for this test but according to Mr Gregory anything under an A wasn't good enough. I fought the urge to scowl and clenched my jaw.
'Who is it you said you were being tutored by?' He lowered his hideous 70s glasses and for the first time during this conversation looked me in the eye.

'Xavier sir.'

'Ahh yes Xavier is a talented student. If I could offer some advice, I would perhaps ask him if he could spare a little more of his time to tutor you.'

My nails scraped his desk as I moved my hands behind my back in the hopes of stopping myself from getting expelled by punching my patronising teacher.
Forcing a fake smile onto my face I snatched my test paper out of his outstretched hand.
'I'll bare that in mind.'

With that I turned on my feet and exited the classroom out in to the hallway where I suddenly exhaled the breath I didn't know I'd been holding in.

'Let me guess. You want to hit something right now?' Xavier grimaced.

'You have no idea.'

The hallway was heaving now with students fleeing their last lessons as quickly as they could to spend every precious minute of lunch with their friends.

'You know, we can meet up a few more days after school to study if you like?'

'You heard what he said?'

Xavier gave me an apologetic smile.
'Yeah I couldn't help but hear. How about Friday night?'

'I can't Friday, it's the football game remember?'
The last couple of days of football practise have been full on. Friday night is an important game for us against a great team so Tom's had us staying for extra training sessions after school. That and study for my physics test had exhausted me last week.
'If you're happy to could we do another time this weekend?'

'Yeah of course! You can help me with English whilst we're at it.'

I nodded in agreement before slowly down my pace as the cafeteria doors came into view.

'What's up?' Xavier asked when he noticed I was now a pace paces behind him.

'I'm just preparing myself for the stares.'
I knew the news of Harrison and I being back together would've made the rounds but I don't think I expected for it to be such a big deal. As soon as I got to school this morning people had been staring and whispering to their friends as I'd walked past but the new element was the fact that people I'd never even spoken to before were saying hi to me. I know, it's not exactly a bad thing but for someone like me that's introverted it's a little disconcerting. It felt like I'd walked into a parallel universe where I was sudden Regina George. People were complimenting me and asking how my weekend was. I wasn't going to be a bitch and ignore them but I knew very well that most of them were being fake and hoped they could find out some piece of juicy gossip before the rest of the school, giving them their own moment in the spotlight.

'I'm guessing this isn't a good time to tell you I'm actually planning to go off campus for lunch today.' Xavier grimaced and waited for my inevitable outrage.

'Wait no! You have to go in with me! I can't deal with the stares by myself.'

Xavier ignored the horrified look in my eyes and casually shrugged.
'Don't worry, you'll be fine.'

'Please, you know I'd do it for you.' I gave him my best puppy dog eyes and the longer I did it the more I could see the cracking in his facade.

'Uhh Evie!' He whined. 'You know I can't say no when you do that!'

'Please Xavier.'

'Fine!' He groaned and started walking towards the cafeteria. 'Come on.'

We pushed the doors open and without taking so much of a glance around the room, headed over to the lunch queue. As expected, I didn't feel so anxious being in here with Xavier next to me although I'd say from his body language, he looking like the uncomfortable one.

'Oh thank god.' Xavier muttered under his breath and relaxing his shoulders.

Xavier glanced at me with panic in his eyes, not realising he'd been heard.

'Oh Nothing...I'm just relieved there's still lasagne. Phew.' He faked wiped his brow and added one onto his tray.

'Okayyy but I thought you'd planned to go off campus for lunch?'

'Yeah...because I was worried they would've run out of lasagne.' With that he reached to steal the one i'd just put on my tray to add it alongside his before I slapped his hand away.

'Ok, you're acting weird.'

'I'm fine.. I'm fineeee. I'm what the Italians would call, perfecto.'

Turning to stand in front of him I tried to look him in the eye but he avoided me, instead looking anywhere else that he could.
'Ok what have you done?'

'Why do you assume that I've done something?' He tried his best to give me the evils until my frowning wore him down.
'Ok.' He said giving up with a sigh. He ran a hand through his already messy hair and glanced around to check the coast was clear.
'shit, things may be a little awkward between Zara and I..'

'Why? Did you have an argument?'

' not quite.'

Before he could carry on, we were interrupted.
'Hey Evie, how're you?'

I turned to find Lucy Sampson next to me. Lucy is one of those girls that could probably be described by those that don't know her well as boring and safe, but I knew there was more of a wild side to her than just her crazy blonde pink tipped hair. Lucy sits behind me in math and along with Jake is one of the reasons I haven't failed the class. We've texted a couple of times outside school to do with homework we've been stuck on but our friendship wasn't any deeper than that.
I replied with the usual pleasantries and we went back and forth with how our weekends were.

'I just wanted to say, I'm so happy you and Harrison are back together. We all agree.'

'We?' I enquired tipping my head a little to the side.

'Oh yeah, me and my friends. We've all been talking about it this morning.'

'Oh well erm thanks, that's really...sweet.' I replied but I could see Lucy's attention had already wandered.

'That asshole Mike is really going to flirt with some lower year to try and make me jealous. Well he's playing with the wrong girl. See you later Eve.'

I waved her off and turned to look at a puzzled Xavier

'Was that a little strange or just me?'

'What the fact that she thinks Mike Jenkins cares enough to try and make her jealous, or admitting her friends were fangirling about you this morning?'

'The second one.'

'Definitely odd.'
We quickly paid for our lunches before Xavier carried on talking as we walked to our usual table.
'It's seems like you've got your own I love E and H fan club. Dude you should totally take advantage of that. You'd make a fucking killing of you had T-shirt's!'

'I'm good thank you. And before you get any ideas, no.' The last thing I needed was people being pissed at me because Xavier was scamming them.

'It's been happening all day.' Paige added as she and Matt joined us.
'I've had people in my classes who have never even uttered a word to me before asking me to pass on the message and I don't think they even know you.'

'It turns out when the gossip came out about it on Saturday night people didn't believe it until they saw your Instagrams.' Matt explained when we reached our empty table and sat down.

'Who knew those pictures would cause such a stir.' I took my phone out of my pocket and saw another 10 Instagram notifications on my lock screen. My phone had been buzzing all morning to the point where I had to enable my do not disturb setting to stop my teachers glaring at me during class.
The photos in question came out of spending all of yesterday hanging out together.
Joseph and a few of our other football friends happened to have been at Harrison's house when I came over so we told them our news in person. I rang to tell Paige and to say she was ecstatic was an understatement.

'I would've supported your decision no matter what but I just love you two together! You two are just pure happiness when you're together.' I think my heart melted.

Xavier let slip that Zara had accidentally told him and so he had "accidentally" told Lucas and Aaron. It didn't surprise me and I was just happy they weren't mad because they didn't find out through me.
Tom obviously already knew as he'd figured it out last week but admitted he seemed to be relieved when we told him it wasn't a secret any longer.

'I'm just so glad you're officially in our group again.'

'Me too.'

'I erm also may have been tricked into telling someone.' He scratched the back of his head and avoided my eyes.

There was no doubt in my mind that Tom would spill to someone. He was just too much of a gossip and he didn't exactly fill me with confidence when he told me the secret was safe with him. Whoever he had told was obviously better at keeping secrets because they didn't spill.

'Who tricked you?'

'My little sister.' He groaned. 'She got me all confused by asking me loads of questions and then the next thing I knew I'd told her. She's an evil genius in an 11-year olds body.'

'Have we met before?' I racked my brain but I was sure I would've remembered meeting her, especially if she was a crafty as he said she was. It made me want to meet her.

'No but she's all aboard the Evie and Harrison train. She like your biggest fan, she follows you on Instagram.'

'Huh, well then I'm glad she's happy?'

'Oh she's happy alright.'

On Sunday afternoon when it was just Harrison and I hanging out in his room he sat me on his lap and started showing me his latest photography shoot pictures.

'Harrison these are incredible! You're so talented.' I scrolled through the remaining photos in awe over how beautiful they were. When I'd finished looking, I noticed the other photography folders on the screen and it reminded me of something.
'Hey I forgot to say the other day, we never actually celebrated the fact that we both killed it on our last project.'

Harrison held me tighter so my back was flushed with his chest. We'd been sat like that for a while so we could both look at the photos together.
'We didn't did we? We should do something this week to celebrate.'

'Yes let's do it!'

'You know, I'm a little bummed we can't do this project together. I think I did so well in the last one because I had a beautiful model in the photos.' He murmured pushing my hair aside and started kissing the skin below my earlobe down to my collarbone.

I tilted my head back as if I were giving a vampire better access to bite me and my breathing became shallow.
'You know when you do that it makes the compliments easier to take.'

Harrison chuckled and tightened his arms that were wrapped around my stomach holding me as close to him as possible.
'You really are bad at taking compliments.'

'So are you.'

'Actually that reminds me. I had something I wanted to ask you.'
I gave him a questioning look as I prompted him to go on.
'Well now the projects been marked I'm allowed to post my photos online. Well..I just wondered, only if you're happy to, if you'd let me post some of the ones of you on Instagram?'

Well I wasn't expecting that. I kind of just assumed that he would at some point as his Instagram is full of his beautiful photos. It was really sweet that he asked before though as he knew how awkward I felt at the idea of being in them. All of the photos he'd taken of me were incredible though so it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

'Of course you can. That's really sweet that you've asked.' I leant forward and kissed him before snuggling down deeper into his hold on me.

For the next hour he went through with me which photos he wanted to post. Not all of them were of me, some were gorgeous silhouette shots he'd taken before we were partnered together. Of me he uploaded our favourite shot from the beach, when I was sat down and glancing back at him. A couple from our shoot down by the lake. In particular the one of me smelling a flower and another where I'm walking up the boardwalk and my dress in blowing in the breeze. Then for the fun of it he uploaded some of the shots he'd taken when he was playing around with water shots in the pool. There was a great photo where the camera was almost gliding on top of the water. Only my eyes were showing above the water and the photo ended up looking really artsy and unique.

Seeing as he was having all this fun, I decided I wanted to share some of the photos I had too. Harrison had the photo booth photos from our double date with Paige and Matt as his phone lock screen and because I never uploaded them before I decided now was the time. I also added a video of us rollerblading last weekend. We had been messing around trying to do spins and singing along to the music. We'd been laughing so much and I thought the video was cute so I uploaded that too.

After that we went upstairs and hung out with Erika and Michael for a while. We ate a late lunch/early dinner and then watched The Joker together.

It wasn't until I got home that night that I realised my phone had blown up with notifications. I'd had my phone in my bag until I got home but when I eventually checked so many people from school had liked and commented on my latest posts. More than half of them I didn't know. If mine was bad I could only imagine what Harrison's phone was like. I checked on his profile and saw that there was thousands of likes and comments on the photos he'd added. So many people were complimenting him on his photos and how talented he was that I filled with pride.

Paige laughed bringing me back from my thoughts.
'We you're the IT couple so..'

'I don't know how I feel about that.' I grumbled.

God the IT couple sounds so cliché.

'If you keep frowning like that your face will get stuck.'
Harrison sat himself down next to me, dumping his tray and backpack down before wrapping his arms around my waist. His fingers subtly crept under the bottom of my top so they were feeling the warm skin above the waist band of my jeans. Maybe it was his fingers working soothing circles on my hips or his gorgeous face that made me momentarily forget where I was.

'Would you still fancy me?' I lowered my eyes and rested my hands on his knees as I leant into him.

'Oh yeah it's a real turn on.' He teased but I noticed that he leant in further and his pupils dilated slightly. The chaos of the cafeteria faded out and we were the only two people in the world, until..

'That's definitely not going to stop people from talking.' Matt said sarcastically breaking us out of our trance. I pulled away but Harrison stayed exactly where he was.

'Just ignore them. The only people that matter are us, unless you're having second thoughts?' He tilted his head and ran his eyes over my face.

'Never!' I leant back into him again and brought a hand up to cradle his cheek. 'I love doing this too much.' I ran my fingers through his hair and kissed him softly before pulling away.

'Ok, get a room you two. As cute as you are, I don't want to see that when I'm eating lunch.' Jennifer drooped into the seat in front of me and grinned at the two of us.

'Oh we would if we could.' I mumbled before doing as we were told and putting some distance between us. Our hands however remained interlocked under the table.

'Great and now I'm going to have to deal with these two as well, as if I really wanted a reminder that I'm single.' Jennifer grumbled as she looked into the distance. I followed her eye-line as saw Taliah and Lucas walking over to join us. They two were holding hands and looking at each other with megawatt smiles.

So it turned out Lucas' big secret wasn't that he wanted to break up with her, that he was cheating on her or was part werewolf which meant they could no longer be together. It was that he's, drum love with her.

That's right, you heard me.

So there Taliah was, panicking that Lucas was going to break up with her when really, he was panicking about how to tell her he loved her. It turns out he'd been worried that she didn't feel the same way, that it was too soon to tell her and that the more he saw her the more he just wanted to blurt it out. Hence the weird awkward moments they'd been experiencing. Of course she is head over heels for him so it was all a big drama over nothing.

When Taliah got home from helping Lindsay on Sunday she, as promised gave me the full gossip.

'So start off with what happened when you left Zara's.'

'We went for a walk and ended up at the park. I sat him down and said, Lucas if you're going to break up with me you better get on with it. He didn't have a clue what I was talking about. I told him everything I'd noticed, how weird he'd been acting and then burst into tears.'

'What did he do?'

'He said, I can't believe this. I'm not going to break up with you idiot. Why would I do that when I love you.
I of course just so happened to stop the waterworks at that point and gave him a wobbly what?'

'He told me if only I'd just waited until next Friday, he had a romantic evening planned but of course, I just couldn't wait.'

'That sounds about right.' I said. Taliah is many things but patient is not one of them.

'I know.' She forced an awkward smile but I knew Taliah would never change. Her fire and impatience made her her and as much as we took the piss out of her for it, we wouldn't want her to be any other way.
'So I told him I loved him back and then from there PG flew out the window.'

'Lovely. Thanks for the warning.'

She then went on to tell me in great detail how the rest of the night and next morning went.
'It's just the most amazing feeling. I still can't believe it. He loves me.' She said mostly to herself than to me.
'What did it feel like when you told Harrison?'

'Well..I actually haven't yet.'

'Really?!' I could understand her surprise.

'Yeah. I told him I was falling in love with him before our erm...'

'Yep enough said.'

'I knew I loved him on New Year's.' I said quietly. 'I was going to tell him then but we'd had that argument earlier in the day and I didn't want him to think that was the only reason why I was saying it. After that I never got a chance to. He told me he loved me in his letter and that was the most amazing feeling. To actually hear those words coming out of his mouth was unbelievable.' A grin broke out in my face as I replayed those memories.
'When we got back together, we agreed to take things one stage at a time and he never made me feel like I needed to say it back. I do want to though, I just haven't had the chance to. I want to make it special and put some thought into it like he did for me.'

'Like Lucas would've done if I hadn't spoilt it?'

Both of us started laughing.

'Well, we can make that happen.' Taliah had a determined look on her face and I knew she had an idea.

'You'd help me?'

'Of course! I get it, after everything you've been through together you want to make it special. Do you have any idea what you'd want to do?'

'Well if I could recreate New Years that would be great.' I joked.
'I all seriousness it would've been special to tell him then because that's exactly when I knew but I can't wait until next year so it'll have to be something different.'

Taliah fell silent and I watched as I saw the clogs turning in her head.
'Huh...not necessarily.'

'Taliah, it not like we could go back in time.'

'We wouldn't have to. Like you said we could recreate it.'

'how would it even work?' I asked sceptically.

'Don't underestimate us Evie. We're two very creative people.'

After Taliah and Lucas had sat down at our table and said hello to everyone she winked and nodded her head at my phone to tell me to look at it.

Tali- part 1 of operation New Year's underway. Have you completed your task yet?

To answer her question, I turned to Harrison.
'Hey you said you're free Saturday night, right?'

'Yeah you wanna hang out?'

'Ok good and yes so keep it free. It's my turn to plan a date.'

Now he was really interested.
'Oh really? Do I get to know what it is?'

'Nope it's a surprise. I know how much you love those.' I teased.

'I do when you're involved.'

'Well then you're going to love this one.'

With that I quickly fired off a response to Taliah who grinned as she read it. Her fingers flew across her screen before looking back up at me. I opened her text when my phone vibrated.

Tali- operation New Years is a go!
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