Niall ignores my calls for him to stop, and I see his fists are clenched by his sides as he hurries toward Zayn. When I catch up with him, I plead with him to stop. "It doesn't matter, Niall, I don't like him back," I say desperately. "I know you don't, Ally, but that doesn't make it okay," Niall replies. He stops suddenly, and for a moment I think I persuaded him to stop. We're only a few feet away from Zayn and the others now, and I'm relieved. Maybe we can just forget about this. Niall's eyes search my face. "I love you," he says quietly. "I love you too," I say without hesitation. He smiles a little, and then walks over to Zayn. "Niall!" Zayn says, grinning. "Good to see you again! How do you feel?" Niall pauses, then punches Zayn in the face. I gasp and Harry, Louis, and Liam all look shocked. I quickly make my way over to Niall. "How could you do that?" I say, appalled. Harry and Liam are silent but Louis says, "What's going on?" I tell Louis in a hushed tone what Lacey told me, and how Niall reacted. Zayn was cradling his face in his hand, but now he balls his hands up, looking at Niall, and I know immediately what he's going to do. "No!" I say, flinging myself in front of Niall. Zayn continues through with the punch, and it hits me in the cheek. I groan, feeling weak suddenly. "Ally!" I hear Zayn say. "I'm sorry! I didn't want to hit you!" My head is throbbing, and I feel like I might throw up. "Niall?" I whisper. "Are you okay?" he says worriedly. "I..." I start to say, but then my knees buckle and I collapse into Niall's arms, and everything goes black.
My eyes flutter open slowly, and the bright light temporarily blinds me. I blink a couple times, trying to get adjusted. "You're awake," Niall says, stroking my hair. "How do you feel?" My head still pounds a little bit, but other than that I feel okay. I tell Niall that, and he nods. "I was so worried when you collapsed," Niall tells me, his blue eyes hardening. "I can't believe Zayn hit you." I shift around awkwardly. "He didn't try it," I say. "It was my fault." Niall laughs a little and kisses me on my bruised cheek. "I'm supposed to be protecting you, not the other way around," he says. "You caught me," I reply. "You did protect me." I close my eyes again, relishing the darkness. "Do you want me to turn the lights off?" Niall asks. I nod weakly. "Zayn will probably be leaving both of us alone for a while," he says when the lights are off. Somehow, this doesn't make me feel any better. Later, at dinner, when everyone is done peppering me with questions, I decide to take a walk alone. "I'll meet up with you later," I tell Niall. He nods and smiles at me. I walk pointlessly for a few minutes, but then decide to just go back to the cabin. I open the door, and to my utter surprise, see Emma and Zayn kissing. They stop, embarrassed, looking at me. "Sorry," I mutter and shut the door. Why do I feel jealous of Emma?