After lunch, I violently kick my soccer ball into the net, taking out all my pent up sadness and frustration. I'm so absorbed in my playing that I don't even notice when Niall takes a seat on the sideline and watches me. When I turn and see him, I don't know what to say. "Kat thinks I kissed you," I blurt out after a few seconds of awkward silence. He nods. "I know. I made sure she found out the truth though. She's still a little mad, but at least she knows what actually happened." I sigh. "She thought you guys were like, in a relationship or something. It was weird," I comment. "I don't like her, if that's what you're getting at," Niall replies. I kick the soccer ball away and look at him. "I wasn't really sure what to believe, Niall. We just met, after all." Niall chases after the ball and then returns it to me. "I know that, Ally. But to me, it feels like I've known you forever." I stop the ball with my foot. "You sound like a cheesy Hallmark movie," I joke, smiling a bit. Niall laughs. "That's what I was going for, Ally. Duh." I laugh too and can't help but think that right now, joking with him, it does feel like we've known each other for longer than we actually have. "So," Niall says, obviously about to change the topic. "Why'd you come to camp?" I shrug. "I don't actually know. I mean, my parents said it was because I had a stressful school year because of my grades and stuff, but I think there's another reason. I just haven't figured it out yet." Niall ponders this. "Aren't you good at school?" I shake my head. "No. I'm not really terrible, exactly, but it takes me longer than other people to understand something new." Niall kicks the soccer ball wide, and I run after it, laughing. "I guess we all have something we aren't good at." Niall fake pouts. "Hey! I hope you aren't dissing my soccer skills!" he protests. "Never," I say, grinning. "You're mean," Niall tells me, and he runs toward me. Yelping, I scurry away from him. He pursues me, but I keep running. Eventually he catches up and he tackles me and we both fall, laughing hysterically. "And somehow I'm the one who's mean," I say, brushing myself off. Niall stands and holds out his hand to help me up. I take his hand, and he pulls me up. "Hey, it's karaoke in two days," he points out. "We should probably start rehearsing soon." I nod. "How about tonight?" I ask. "By the lake?" Niall agrees. "What time?" he asks. "Seven?" I say. "Emma has some master prank plan to tell me at six, but we should have all the details done in an hour." Niall smiles. "Another prank. Not on me, I hope?" I shrug. "I don't know actually," I reply. Niall checks his phone. "Oh, I have to go meet Liam and Zayn to go fishing. I'll see you at dinner, Ally." He waves and jogs lightly away, his blond hair shining in the sun.
"Sound good?" Emma asks me after she's done explaining her plans. I nod. "Yep. So tomorrow, then?" Lacey says, "Yeah, tomorrow." Emma, Lacey, Aubree, and I disband from our group and I decide to head to the lake even though it's fifteen minutes early. Maybe Niall will be there early, too. When I get to the lake, I see no one, so I wander over to the trees by the edge of the sand to sit until Niall arrives. That's when I hear someone say Niall's name, almost like a whisper. I peer into the trees, confused. That's when I see Niall. And Kat. Kissing. I gasp, and they break apart. "Ally!" Niall exclaims. "It's not what it looks like, I swear!" Kat looks almost smug over my witnessing what just happened. "Isn't it?" I ask Niall. "What is it then?" He looks helpless and scared, like a little kid. Angry, I run away, not toward the cabins, not toward the soccer fields. I just run.