Through His Lens (edited version)

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The hills have eyes

I knocked on the classroom door before gently pushing it open. The previously noisy room was reduced to silence as all eyes fell on me. I tried to ignore my audience and instead focusing on a tall, average looking, middle aged man staring at me expectantly.

'Are you Mr Walker?' I asked pretending to be confident and bored like Nora said. Inside I was trying not to have a panic attack. I've never been a confident person, Nora was always that sister. She was the leader and I was happy to follow in her shadow. She's not here anymore though, well except in annoying ghost form but for now I'd have to fend for myself.

'I am indeed. You must be our sparkly new student.'

'That's me.'

'Ah new meat or however you kids say it now a days. Go on then introduce yourself.' He spread his arms out gesturing to the class as I tried to stop myself from pulling a face. He may be a little odd but he seems nice enough.

'Do I have to?' I asked earning a few snickers from my spectators.

Mr Walker laughed and nodded.

I turned my attention to my new peers trying not to look intimidated.

'Ok then, I'm Eve and I've just moved here from England.'

'Ah the land of William Shakespeare and scones.' Mr Walker added as he leant against his desk. 'Where in England are you from?'

'Well I'm from a county called Surrey but I went to school in London.'

'So, what brings you to sunny California?'

I tried not to panic. I knew I had to get used to answering this question but I wasn't ready to tell the truth yet.

'A change of scenery.' I answered making it clear I didn't was to talk about it anymore. It wasn't a lie it just wasn't the answer he wanted.

'Mysterious. Ok take as seat next to Zara.'

I scanned the room of unfamiliar faces until I landed on a girl at the back smiling and waving lightly.

I smiled back as I walked in between desks ignoring the eyes following me.

'Right everyone, back to English.' Mr Walker clapped.

'Hi.' I whispered as I sat down next to the girl known as Zara. She was a pretty girl with dark smooth skin, friendly hazel eyes and the most gorgeous long, almost black curly hair.

'You're the girl that's staying with Taliah's family right?' She asked giving me a pearly white smile.

'The one and only yeah.'

'Your accents so cute.' Zara chuckled scrunching up her nose like she'd just seen a puppy. 'I'm friends with Tali, she told me and the gang about you. She however missed out the fact that you look like a freaking model.'

'I certainly don't but thank you.'

I can remember all the times Nora had been mistaken as a model but me? Nope I'm not pretty enough for that.

'Omg yes you do, now take the compliment and don't argue with me.'

'God Zara stop being so bossy.'

A blonde-haired guy sat at the table in front of us turned around and rolled his eyes at her.

'If she gets annoying just tell her to shut up, that's what everyone else does.' The guy gave me a once over and then smiled at me. He was good looking in an all American, probably a football player kind of way. He looked in desperate need of a haircut but it almost added to his charm.

'Ha ha very funny.' Zara replied pushing his arm that he was using to lean on our desk so that he would've fallen forward if he hadn't saved himself.

'I'm also a friend of Taliah's which unfortunately means I'm Zara's friend as well.' He scrunched his face at me which made me chuckle.

'Don't make out that me becoming your friend wasn't the best thing to ever happen to you.'

Just as he was about to reply Mr Walker piped up.

'People people. I know having a new student is like the best thing ever but please, I'm a narcissist that likes to hear the sound of my own voice which means ya'll need to zip it.'

Everyone glanced around at each other trying not to laugh but the rest of the lesson was relatively quiet. When the bell rang everyone jumped up out of their seats and headed towards the door. As I left, I saw Taliah leaning against a locker waiting for me. She smiled when she saw me and linked arms.

'You survived! How was it?' She asked whilst also waving hello to Zara and the blonde guy.

'It was thrilling.'

'I'm glad.' She said chuckling. 'let's carry on with the excitement then and head off to biology.' We said good bye to the others and headed off to class.

Thankfully the morning had gone quite quickly. The lessons here are longer than the ones at my old school but so far it looked like I didn't have too much work to catch up on. Now it was lunch time, Taliah and Zara were leading me to the cafeteria. They were making me laugh by telling me embarrassing stories about each other growing up. My favourite was the fact that apparently up until the age of 14 Taliah thought she was a mermaid.

'Literally every time we went to the local pool, she'd spend ages at the bottom of the pool and all we'd see is these air bubbles. One day I asked her what she was doing and she said she was singing under water. Literally she looked like she was drowning. One day the life guard actually jumped into the pool to save her because he thought she couldn't swim.'

Both Zara and I had tears running down our faces because we were laughing so much. Taliah glared at us as she pushed the cafeteria doors open.

'Ok that was like years ago and really who didn't think they were a mermaid when they were younger?' She huffed.

'Evie don't listen to her, it was two years ago.' We both cracked up again, I was laughing so much I thought I was going to wet myself.

'God you guys, you're going to give me a hernia if you keep on making me laugh.' I said wiping tears from my eyes. It's only then that I took in my surroundings.

'Hey, why is everyone staring at us?' The cafeteria was huge, bigger than my previous school. It was filled with round tables and had another floor that overlooked the whole room. It looked like a set out of high school musical. The place was bustling with people rushing over to sit with their friends and eat their lunch. However, everyone kept on looking over at where we were stood. Occasionally they'd say something to their friends and then look back at us.

'Us? No babes they're staring at you.' Taliah replied whilst rolling her eyes at my obvious idiocy.

'God, I hate it. They look at me like I have a third eye or something.'

'Trust me that's not why they're looking.' Zara whispered when I think she thought I couldn't hear.

We each paid for our lunches and headed over to as table where a group were already sat at.

'Guys this is Eve, Eve this is Jennifer, Aaron, you've already met Lucas.' Zara said pointing to the blonde guy from my English class. 'Joseph and Xavier.'

They all smiled and said hi when I sat down.

'So, how're you liking high school so far?' Jennifer said with a slight southern drawl. My lack of knowledge of American accents didn't help much in hinting where she was from but I reminded myself to ask, her later. She was wearing a cheer leading uniform but she didn't seem like the stereotypical bitchy girl that's portrayed in all the films. She was just as gorgeous as Zara though. She flicked her long auburn hair over her shoulder and gave me a bright smile.

'I can conclude that so far so good but I'm still kind of jet lagged so I could do with a nap about now.'

'I'm not jet lagged but I'd love a nap right now too. How about we find a room?' Xavier said whilst wiggling his eyebrows at me. He seemed like the kind of guy my sister would go for, tall, dark and muscly. He reminded me of a rugby player, or a guy that would be an American football player here.

'Ew, she wouldn't want to catch anything that you've got Xavier.' Zara said in disgust.

'What's your next class? Maybe one of us has got it with you?' Jennifer asked, making the others nod eagerly. Oddly the guys seemed quite keen at that idea as well.

'I've got double art next.'

'You guy should see her art work, it's amazing!' Taliah gushed.

'Can we see?' Zara asked, gesturing to my sketch book.

I was about to agree and pass it over when I realised this wasn't mine. I flicked through the pages and realised it was full of photos. All amazing abstract pictures. Some black and white, others full of vibrant colours. Sharp photos and other completely out of focus.

'Damn that guy must have my sketch book.' I said to no one in particular.

'What guy?' One of them asked.

'This morning I walked straight into a guy whilst trying to find my class making our stuff fall to the floor. He must've given me his photography book by mistake.'

'It wasn't by mistake.' Nora chirped in. 'He totally did it on purpose as a way to speak to you again.' She rolled her eyes at me as if it was completely obvious.

'Did you get his name?' Jennifer asked

I mentally slapped myself in the face. 'No, I didn't.'

'What did he look like? Was he our age?'

'I think he was our age. He had longish, dark brown hair and green eyes.'

'Well that narrows it down.' Tali snorted. 'That's half the guys in our year. You sure it wasn't Aaron?'

To be fair he did have brown hair and green eyes.

'No, it wasn't-' I flicked over to the back page a found a name scrawled in spidery writing. 'Here we go, erm, Harrison Scott.'

The table went silent for a split second before they started laughing.

'You've been here five fucking minutes and you already have the hottest guy in the school's attention.' Zara shouted making students from other tables turn round and look at me.

'I he someone special or something?' The whole table snorted and laughed at me, well everyone apart for Zara.

'Omg it's not fucking fair. Why can't I be a hot British chick?'

'Are you coming on to me?' I asked winking at her. She rolled her eyes and mumbled something under her breath.

'Well, is he?' I asked Taliah

'All the girls at this school have a crush on him.' Lucas filled me in. 'Well everyone apart from Tali.'

'Why not your type?' I asked

'Ew, definitely NOT! He's my cousin.' she grumbled before shoving a carrot stick into her mouth.

'Ah I see. Well where do you think he'll be? I need to get my book back.'

'He's where the rest of the upper years sit at lunch. He's a junior and they have the perk of being able to sit on the balcony if they want.' Taliah explained.

'Ok well I guess I'll go and find him.'

'No, you won't.' Tali said pushing me back down in my seat. 'We're not allowed up there.'

'What is it guarded or something?' I joked.

'Yeah.' everyone said in unison.

'What is it MI5 headquarters or something?'

They all looked at me confused.

'Never mind. Seriously though there's no chance of getting 5 minutes up there?' I swept my eyes over everyone waiting for someone to answer me.

'It's guarded by a guy called Eric. Imagine a 17-year-old version of Dwight from the office. No one has succeeded in their missions.' Joseph whispered and looked around as if he was worried we were being spied on.

'Well I'm up for the challenge.' I rushed out of my seat before they could stop me.

I ignored the looks people were giving me. It was as if they knew the mission I was on. Some gave me confident you can do it smiles and others gave me sympathetic be prepared to pat yourself on the back after failure looks.

'Flirt with him, I guarantee that'll work.' Nora strode up beside me, casually walking through tables when they were in her way.

It was obvious no one could see my sisters' ghost but I wasn't sure if people could hear her or not. I looked around before replying and spoke as quietly as I could. The last thing I needed was for people to think I was crazy.

'I don't think that kind of thing will work with this guy. Plus, surely someone's tried that before.'

'You heard them back there. He never lets anyone passed. Now flaunt with your mamma gave you and flirt with the guy.'

'How do you know it'll work?' I said biting my lip skeptically.

'Oh, trust me it will if you do it right. Never once has it failed me.'

'You seem to forget you're more qualified at this than I am.' I whispered angrily.

'Don't worry just follow my lead.'

I walked up the stairs trying to muster up as much sexiness and confidence as I could. Who am I kidding, I'm not sexy. A bar of chocolate is sexier than I am. Shit why didn't I think of bribery.

'Hi you're Eric, right?' I asked sweetly as I got to the top of the stairs and stood face to face with the boy. Well as face to face as anyone can with a kid that's 6'5 at least.

'No, you're not allowed in.' He said without even glancing at me.

'Oh god abort mission! Abort mission!' Nora said through gritted teeth.

I guess friendliness wasn't a big quality of Eric's.

I laughed pretending that he'd just told the funniest joke in the world when really, I was trying to stop imagining him as a night club bouncer. He had the almost shaved head and everything. Although I don't think a mustard shirt and tie would fit the club scene.

'Ok look Eric, you seem like a guy who values authority and the rules and I am too! Plus, I really admire your commitment to the job. See the thing is the reason I need 5 minutes of you being lenient because a guy over there has one of my school books.' I gestured over to where Harrison was sitting with his friends. He raised his eyebrows at me obviously amused and showing no hint that he was going to help me but that didn't matter because I had Eric's attention.

'Touch his arm, squeeze his muscles.' Nora hissed.

'You see Eric, there was a bit of a mix up and he ended up with my art book. I'm new here and I really do want to stick to the schools very important rules but I desperately need that book.'

'The rules are really important.' He said with a look of urgency on his slightly sweaty face.

'Uh huh. You wouldn't want to be the person to stand in the way of something important like school work, would you Eric? I mean who would do that?' I looked him dead in the eye hoping I could hypnotise him to do what I wanted. 'You know you should work for like the government or something. They could really use someone like you on their team.' I threw the last part in on a whim and it seems like it did the trick.

I could see his hard-exterior melting as a blush crept up onto his cheeks.

'You have five minutes.' He huffed as I gave him my most magnificent smile or at least what I thought was.

'Nice sis.' She put her hand up to give me a high five which I ignored. 'How did I not know how good you were at flirting with geeks?!'

I squeezed past Eric and walked over to the table where green eyes was sat laughing at me.

He started clapping as I approached him making me roll my eyes.

'I'm impressed London.'

'How the hell did you do that?' A pretty strawberry blonde-haired girl asked as I sat down in the empty seat beside her and in front of the boy, I now knew to be Harrison.

'I used my amazing persuasive skills.'

A distractingly good-looking guy at the end of the table narrowed his eyes at me.

'You flirted with the general, didn't you?' His eyes sparkled when he knew he'd got me.

'Ok maybe a little. It works every time.' I reply quoting my sister. The whole table started laughing as the strawberry blonde girl patted me on the shoulder.

'I like you; you can stay.'

'Thanks.' I turned my attention to the boy staring at me.

'I believe you have something of mine.' I crossed my arms and leant forward in the hopes that it showed I meant business.

'I do, do I?' He mimicked my position obviously finding this very amusing.

'Don't pretend like you haven't noticed or that you haven't looked inside.' I pretended to act bored which only added to his amusement.

'Well we did say we'd like to see each other's work.' He wiggled his eyebrows with a glint in his eyes.

'So you did do it on purpose!' Nora was right. God, she annoys me.

'I have no idea what you're going on about.'

'I'm sure you don't. Well what's your verdict?' Not that I care what anyone thinks of my art work but it's always interesting to hear.

'A little self-obsessed but you managed to get the majority of the colours in the right places.'

I laughed at him. I knew he was trying to wind me up but as much as I didn't want to blow my own trumpet, I knew I was good.

'It was a project on self-portrait but I'm glad you think my paint by numbers is effective.' Actually, this was kind of a lie. The project was on portraits but it didn't have to be of the artist themselves. I'd managed to convince some of my friends to let me paint them on the odd occasion but the majority of the time my only willing subject was my sister. If you looked closely enough at the paintings and at my sister, you'd clearly see they were of her and not me. However, he didn't know that.

'Are you not going to ask me what my thoughts are on yours?' I asked sweetly.

'Go on then.'

'I flicked through and thought, well done. He knows how aim and press a button.' He laughed out loud making his full lips turn up into a wide smile.

'You are something aren't you Eve.'

'I see you've learnt my name.' I glanced over at Eric who was raising his arms at me and tapping his watch. I held up a finger to signal 1 minute and turned back round before I could see his answer.

'I think London suits you better.'

'I think the name Harrison could do with some improvement as well.' Actually, I really liked the name Harrison but I wasn't going to tell him that.

'Normally when I think of a Harrison, I see muscles, a god like figure you know. But then I look at you...' I held out an arm to gesture at him to add more of an effect. 'And I think, meh'

His green eyes went wide as he pretended to glare at me.

'Ok I really like this chick. She can bruise a guy's ego and she has balls.' Blondey said wrapping an arm around my shoulder as she giggled.

'I thought you only liked my balls Natalie.' A guy across the table added.

'Don't flatter yourself Sam.'

She sneered at him and turned to me.

'What are you doing this Saturday?'

'I haven't got anything planned yet, why?'

'Great you're coming to my party. Write your number on here and I'll send you over the details.'

I did as I was told and handed her notebook back to her.

'Ok well I'm going to go before Dwight's head explodes.' I grabbed my art book from the table and winked at Natalie.

'Bye London.' Harrison called after me making the nearby tables turn to look. Without even turning around I held a hand up and twiddled my fingers.

'Calm down Eric I'm leaving now.' I said before he could say anything to me. 'You're a good sport you know that.' I patted him on the shoulder and descended the stairs heading back over to my new friends.

'I bow down to you. You're a goddess.' Lucas exclaimed as he raised his arms up to praise me.

'Get up off the floor idiot.' I rolled my eyes and chuckled at him.

'I knew it was a good idea to make friends with her.' Zara squealed as she took hold of my hand. I guess she was over the whole Harrison speaking to me thing then.

'Hey I was the one that decided she was cool enough to join our group! Give me the credit.' Taliah pouted.

I looked over my new friends and for the first time I forgot everything. I didn't feel home sick, I didn't feel like I had to put on an act. I felt the happiest I had in a long time.

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