As we exit the fancy lobby, Niall puts on a hat and sunglasses so he doesn’t get recognized.
“Where would you like to go?” he asks.
“Anywhere really. I’m just starving. I haven’t eaten for like five hours,” I say.
Niall gapes at me. “You are in a food emergency!” he shouts as he walks me down the street. After walking for about ten minutes we come across an IHOP.
“I love IHOP!” I squeal as he holds the door open for me. “Breakfast is the best meal of the day. It’s the sweetest, you know?”
“I totally agree,” he agrees happily.
We are lead to a booth and we sit down across from each other. I search the menu and finally decide on what I’m getting. I end up ordering a hot chocolate, chocolate chip waffles, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and toast. Niall gets the same with bacon.
“Why does Zayn never talk about you anymore? He used to be blabbering about you all the time, but recently it's stopped. What's up with that?” he asks curiously.
“He been kind of...upset with me for the past few months,” I admit, looking down at my lap.
“Why is that?” he asks, but I don’t answer for a few moments. “I’m sorry if I’m being pushy. You don’t have to answer.”
“No it’s fine. It’s just... something happened to me that kind of... dramatically affected my life... for the worse. When I wouldn’t tell Zayn why I was so depressed, he got frustrated that I was pushing him away and has sort of hated me since. He just thought that we could tell each other anything. And for the most part we could, but I couldn’t tell anybody about this. Still haven’t,” I vent quietly.
Niall is silent for a moment before he reaches out and takes my hand in his.
“Are you okay now?” he asks, raising his eyebrows at me.
“I guess so,” I shrug, smiling slightly.
Our food comes, lightening the mood.
“Oh my gosh this is amazing!” I moan, rolling my eyes in delight. Niall just laughs at me.
“So what made you want to come out here and tour with us?” he asks with a mouthful of food.
“My mom made me. Honestly, I was dreading it,” I say, shoving more eggs into my mouth.
“Was? Past tense? What changed that?” he asks.
“Well now I know there is someone I feel I can actually talk to,” I admit, blushing and looking down at my lap.
“And who might that be?” he questions, raising a single eyebrow and grinning.
“Louis,” I state, looking him in the eye as his face drops. “I’m just messing with you. It’s you, Niall.” He immediately brightens back up.
“That was mean,” he pouts, but the faint smile never leaves his face.
Throughout the rest of our meal we talk about normal things. I tell him about my friend back home and he tells me about the rest of the guys. By the time we leave, I am mostly convinced that Louis is insane. We walk back to the hotel in comfortable silence, our stomachs stuffed to the max. When we finally arrive it is almost eleven at night.
“I’m really tired. I’m going to get to bed,” I yawn.
“Alright. I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight, Arielle,” he says, kissing my cheek and heading down the hallway to his room.
“Goodnight, Niall,” I coo after he is already gone.
I walk in the door to find Zayn sitting at the edge of his bed, scrolling through his phone. His eyes dart at me as soon as I step into the room.
“What the hell was that?” he growls, standing up and walking right in front of me.
“What? Am I not allowed to get food?” I question incredulously, moving right past him.
“You are not going to date Niall, or any of the boys for that matter,” he scolds.
“Who are you to tell me who I can or can’t date?” I retort, annoyance taking over.
“I am your brother who doesn’t want you messing up our group dynamic. If you two ended up splitting, Niall would never look at me the same,” he points out angrily, walking in front of me again.
His closeness is making me uncomfortable as he towers over me with furious eyes.
“Always about you, isn’t it? Vain Zayn, right? So what if I dated him? What would you do?” I yell, backing away from him.
“I would get your ass on the next plane to Bradford before you could even-” he keeps shouting as I back away slowly from his advance.
I eventually run into the wall, but Zayn keeps coming near me until he is so close we are touching. I begin to hyperventilate and tears fall from my eyes. My guard has fallen as his intimidation overpowers my frustration. Last time something like this happened, I was scarred for months. I sink to the floor and hold my hands in front of my face, not listening to what Zayn is saying. He suddenly stops.
“Listen, Arielle. I just don’t want things to get messed up,” he sighs, but I continue to sob on the ground. “Arielle, come on. I’m sorry.”
I look up to him, my face red and puffy. He holds his hand out to me, but I think he is going to hit me and flinch away.
“Fine. Stay on the floor,” he mutters when I don’t accept his gesture.
I continue to cry in the same space as Zayn flicks off the lights and climbs into his bed. I eventually run out of tears and fall asleep.