Through His Lens (edited version)

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Dancing queen part 2

'Bloody hell.'

Natalie really had outdone herself.

I'd always been under the impression that school dances were overrated. That the extent of the decorations were some cheap plastic streamers and a few handmade banners. I should've known that with Natalie involved there was no such thing as cheap or overrated.

I'd bet that my eyes looked like saucers as I wandered around what used to be our boring old gymnasium which now looked like the set of a midsummer night's dream.

I would be surprised if the whole town didn't have a power cut at the end of the night with the light set up we had going on. Fairy lights had been strung around pretty much every possible surface, along with random filament bulbs on strings.

Somehow, they'd also managed to get lights up on the ceiling so they looked like stars with the main overhead lights switched off. Some poor kid probably had their life on the line setting them up but even they admit it was worth it, after they got over their new fear of heights that is.

Areas of the gym had been decorated to look like a forest with realistic fake trees, plants and a bed of coloured leaves. Reds, oranges and greens blanketed the ground making it feel like a real woodland floor.

On one side of the gym a small crowd had already gathered around the photo area which had been set up with a night sky backdrop and a 3D half-moon. A table off to the side held props people could use for their photos. You could choose from an assortment of hats and masks which had been made by the art department a couple of weeks ago.

The drinks and food table looked a little Alice in wonderland esk. Colourful bowls in different shapes and sizes held snacks and vases, jugs and bottles were filled with drinks. Any remain space had been filled with moss and an assortment of wildflowers.
Nora was already over there ploughing her way through the snacks. Every time she finished eating something it would reappear on the table again. As much as the thought of all the food being recycled through my sister was weird, I just couldn't tear my eyes away.

Everything was beyond incredible and like nothing I'd ever seen for a school dance before.

Natalie really didn't do anything by halves.

'You're here!' Speak of the devil and she shall appear. Rushing over to us, or as fast as she could in a long dress, she looked like a vision.

Of course, even though she'd spent god knows how many hours on this dance she still managed to find the most gorgeous, perfect dress. The emerald green fabric complimented her strawberry blonde locks and contrasted well with her fair skin.

'Natalie this is amazing!' I said accepting a hug from her.

Taliah circled one of the trees and dodged out the way just in time before getting knocked out by strings of metal moons and stars hanging off a branch above her.
'How the hell did you have the budget for this?'

'Some of it was props from the school play. I just revamped a few things.' Natalie shrugged like it was no big deal but we all knew how stressed she'd been this week trying to make everything perfect.

Natalie always came across as so put together and in control, but as her friends we knew that wasn't always the case. When you were that kind of personality people sometimes seemed to forget there were other emotions hidden by that happy smile she always wore. The more I looked at her the more I noticed the slight bags under her eyes and how tired her smile looked.

I made myself a mental note to ask her later how she was and I wouldn't let her brush me off like usual.

'Now stop standing there like you're all lost and join in.'
Suddenly the tired look I'd caught was masked by a burst of enthusiasm. She linked arms with Harrison and I before pointing out different areas of the gym.

'I'd suggest heading to the photo station first as I have a feeling it'll be popular tonight. And yes Harrison before you give me that look, I know the photos won't be to your standard, but you're going to need to suck it up.'

Harrison rolled his eyes but kept his mouth shut.

'We need some good photos for the yearbook so you four get your asses over there and take some photos with your friends!'

Harrison groaned at the mention of the yearbook as he'd been roped into helping out but with a stern look from Natalie, he took my hand and lead me to have some photos taken.

Although the idea didn't thrill us to start off with, we probably ended up spending about an hour at the photo station and honestly, it was a lot of fun.

We started off with just the four of us so after some couple's photos we took some of the four of us together. Next was Taliah and I and then the boys. By the time that was done more of our friends had arrived so we all rotated different group shots.

Of course, I couldn't let my football guys get away with not having a group photo so much to their annoyance, mainly Tom and Joseph, I made then all grab a prop and pull funny poses. After catching a glimpse of some of the shots I knew we were going to have to get one framed and give it to coach. He pretended that we were an annoyance but he loved us really so if we put one of these photos on his desk, he wouldn't take it down.

Eventually when Jennifer, Zara, Aaron and Xavier arrived we got them in photos too.

Last but not least was Paige. Just when she thought she could get away I grabbed her hand and forced her into wearing a princess tiara and smile at the camera.

I know what you're thinking, how the hell did we manage to convince Paige to come to a school dance? Well, it took a lot putting up with arguing and begging her to come. Thankfully after basically telling her she had no choice I managed to convince her. Of course, she had to get in that she was missing a night of watching the vampire diaries for this and to be honest I could understand her pain. The guys in that show were hot!

Yes she did spend the first half an hour moaning that she'd spent stupid money on an overpriced dress and asking how long she had to be here before she could go home but I knew deep down she was having fun. She spent most of the night cosied up to Matt with a stupid smile on her face and like I told her, the upside was that it was night off from her mums cooking. She couldn't argue with that.

After hours of dancing I needed a break and when I went to find a seat my eyes spied Natalie sat on a bench watching the dance.
'Hey Nat's.'

'Hi pretty girl.' A warm smile lit up her face as I sat down next to her.
'So be honest, how well did we do?'

'Ok I'll be honest. Everyone's having the best time and it's completely exceeded my expectations.'
It was like this was enough for her to finally release the last of any nerves she had about tonight going well.
'What about you? Are you having a good time?'

She stifled a yawn making both of us laugh.
'Oh the best. I'm just having a five-minute nap to stop myself snoring on the dance floor.'

'Talking about dancing, I thought I saw you and Adam on the dance floor getting pretty cosy. Are things back on with you two?'

To be honest I could hardly keep up with Natalie and this Adam guy. She first told me about him when I moved here back in September and things were still on and off with them.

'I was waiting for that.' Natalie laughed. 'We had a talk. I told him I no longer wanted to be friends with benefits and if we we're going to keep things going then I wanted to be in a relationship.'

Wow. They've been back and forth for months but when she finally says something to him, she just goes in for the kill. God, I love ballsey Natalie.

'And what did he say?'

'He said ok.'

'That's it? ok?'

'Yep. He said he knew better than to argue with me. Smart boy.' Natalie chuckled. 'Apparently he's wanted us to be exclusive for a while but didn't want to push me into something I wasn't ready for. We could've saved a lot of time if we'd been honest with each other months ago but then, hey, we wouldn't be us would we!'

If you looked past how exhausted she was you could see the glimmer of happiness in her eyes. I didn't know Adam well enough but as long as he made my girl happy then that's all I cared about.

'Well I'm just glad you managed to sort things out. I'm glad you're happy.'

'I really am.' With a megawatt smile on her face she pulled me into a hug. 'Thank you for checking up on me.' When she pulled away, she winked at me.

She knew me too well.

'I forgot to mention earlier but you look gorgeous but the way. Harrison can hardly keep his eyes off of you.' She nudged my side before looking at something on the other side of the gym.
'He's a boy that can't believe his luck.'

I followed Natalie's line of sight to find Harrison's eyes on me. My whole body lit up with warmth seeing his green eyes on my body. He was standing with most of the football team but he seemed completely oblivious to the conversation going on around him. He was too busy watching me with a gorgeous smirk on his face.

'I can't believe my luck either.'

'God I Stan you two so much!' Natalie giggled.

As if he knew we were talking about him he started walking over to us.
'Can I steal my girlfriend away?' He asked not tearing his eyes away from mine.

'Steal away. I'm going to go find a corner Adam and I can go make out in.'
Natalie got up and walked off but neither Harrison and I dared tearing our eyes away from each other.

'May I have this dance?' He bowed to me like some kind of cheesy romantic comedy and I loved it.

'You may indeed.' I linked hands with him and let him pull me over to the dance floor.

I giggled as he spun me, before moving my arms up to his neck and placing his on my waist. Ok, so he may have tried to slide one hand down to my backside with a mischievous look in his eye but after a fake glare from me he moved it higher.

'London, I've been thinking.'

I raised my head off his chest.
'Oh gosh that must've hurt.'

He narrowed his eyes but didn't smile, meaning he was being serious.

I had a feeling I wasn't going to like the subject matter but I told myself not to jump to conclusions.
'What's wrong?'

'I want you to carry on with the competition.'
I opened my mouth to argue with him but he put a warm hand over my mouth.
'It's my turn to do that to you.' This time he smirked but it didn't take long for his expression to go serious again.
'Please hear me out.'

I sighed but nodded for him to go on.
'Ok.'

'It's just such an amazing opportunity Evie. I just think you should see what the decision would be before you make up your mind. You said it yourself the other day, you applied because you were feeling home sick. I know you said you don't feel like that anymore but still, I wouldn't want you to lose an opportunity to go home.

I wouldn't want you to ever regret your decision or resent me, your friends, your life here, for making you want to give it up.

I know what you're thinking, what would that mean for us? Well I've been thinking for a while about what I want to do after high school. You know, what colleges I want to apply for.'

I knew this was coming but it wasn't something I wanted to think about yet. I thought we'd have a few more months before we'd be having this conversation.
I knew it was inevitable, Harrison definitely wanted to go to college, but thinking about us not seeing each other every day or living down the road from each other made my heart hurt.

I urged myself not to get upset.

'Recently I've been looking at Colleges in the Uk, specifically London. If you took the scholarship and I got into a college there, technically we'd only be apart for one year. I care about you so much.' He urged.
'So...as much as I couldn't bare you giving up on something that's your dream, I also would really want to give the long-distance thing a go. We could try and visit each other as much as possible. This way we could still be together and you don't have to give up anything.'

Suddenly he looked really worried.
'You're really quiet. Tell me what you think.'

'Sorry it's just a lot to take in.'

Either my tone or the look on my face made his face fall. I still had a hand on his chest and could feel his heart rate pounding against my hand.

I took my hand and placed it on the side of his face instead. The action made his eyes lock onto mine and his face softened when he saw my smile.

'What I meant to say was, the idea of both of us studying in London makes me so unbelievably happy!' I moved my other hand so I could run my fingers through the soft hair at the nape of his neck.
'If I could have it my way, we wouldn't be separated at all, but I know as hard as it will be, we can make a year apart work. I love you and will do anything to be with you so if that's what we have to do to be together long term, that's what we'll do.

I had made my mind up about the scholarship but it if something you want me to think about then I will.'

Harrison leant his forehead against mine, our noses brushed together and our lips only inches away from touching.
'I really do. I don't want you to give it up for me.'

'Ok.' I closed the gap between us and melted into his kiss.

The subject wasn't brought up again after that and the rest of the night was spent having fun with our friends.

But, by Saturday morning scholarships, colleges and London were swirling around my mind again.

For some reason my body wanted me to be awake at 6am and after getting frustrated tossing and turning I decided to give up.

I wrapped a blanket around me and curled up on one of the sofas on the back porch. The sun was only just rising so I sat there listening to the birds sing whilst watching the sky turn from lilac to pink to orange. The sky looked gorgeous when Lindsay opened the back door and placed a cup of tea in my hands.

She took a sip from her own cup before joining me under my blanket.
'So tell me everything about last night. I want all the details!'

Memories of last night filled my head making me smile.
'It was amazing!' I went into detail filling her in on what an amazing job the dance committee had done and how much fun the night had been.

'Did you take anymore pictures?' Of course, Lindsay only wants to hear about photos.

'We did.' I chuckled. 'You're going to have to wait a while for them to be uploaded though. I think they said they should be online next week.'

'Well that's ok. It just gives Erika and I something to be excited about.'

I lifted my mug to my lips and took a sip of the goodness that was a perfectly made cup of tea. Of course the drink made me think back to Harrison and I's conversation last night. The idea of both of us living and studying in London did excite me. I couldn't help but think about all the places I wanted to take him to. The list was as long as my arm and constantly being added to.

The scary part was that year of being long distance. This is the kind of thing that could make or break a couple and although we were in a great place, could I really expect him to wait for me? Was he being honest with me when he said he really wanted to study in London or was there a college in America that he wanted to go to more? These thoughts made me absentmindedly bite the skin around my nails, pulling Lindsay's attention to me.

'What's wrong sweetheart?'

I could lie and say it's nothing but to be honest, I did want to hear her opinion.

I sighed, taking another sip from my mug before putting it down on the table next to me.
'At the dance last night Harrison told me he wants me to try and get this scholarship. He says he doesn't want me to resent him in the future because I turned it down.

'Ok and what do you think?'

'To be honest I'm confused. I'd made my mind up to pull out of the competition so thinking about it again now has my mind jumbled up. What do you think?'

'Well ultimately it's your decision sweetheart.' I glared at her making a sigh escape her lips. 'but if I'm being honest, I do have to agree with him.'

Well I wasn't expecting that.

'You know how much I love you two together. Erika and I are your number one fans, but mom instants kicking in are telling me that I don't want you to give up something so exciting for a relationship.' She reached out and tucked my hair behind my ear.

'You're so young sweetheart and you've still got some much to learn and experience. I'm not saying this would happen but, imagine how you'd feel if you two didn't work out and there were all these opportunities you'd missed out on because you didn't want to be apart.'

I didn't want to admit it but she did have a point.

'When I found out I'd got into college in London I was going to turn it down because I was in a pretty serious relationship at the time. Thankfully, at the last minute I decided to choose London. My boyfriend and I decided it was best for us to break up, the reason being if we were meant to be together after college, we would find each other again.

Can you imagine if I hadn't gone though? I wouldn't have met Simon or find the bestest friend I could've ever asked for.

I met up with the ex-boyfriend a few years after I moved back here and we grew up to be completely different people. I have no doubt in my mind that if we'd stayed together, we wouldn't have worked out.

This isn't me saying I don't think you and Harrison will work, this is me saying you'll know if things are meant to be if you can make a long-distance relationship work.

But ultimately it's your decision and I'll support whatever you decide. You know I'll cry like a baby when leave home, whether that's in a couple of months or two years. I'll support whatever you decide.'

After a few seconds of silence, she chuckled and pulled me into a hug.
'I didn't help at all did I?'

The truth was as much as she'd helped a little, I still felt as confused as ever. I didn't have a clue what to do but what I did agree with was that I should carry on with the rest of the competition and see what happens.

Surely that can't make me feel any more confused...could it?

.................................................................................................................................

Hi everyone!

I hope you enjoyed this update!

So, I would love to hear your predictions. What do you think is going to happen?!

Will Evie get the scholarship?

If she does will she accept it?

If she goes will Harrison follow her to London?

I recently started writing another story which involves a band so another question I have for you is do you have any suggestions for a band name? I can't tell you too much as I'm still figuring out the storyline but to give you an idea there a 4 band members, all male.

Lysette x
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