25. Where You Are Is Where I Belong
Weeks pass. Zayn is convicted, and he's sentenced to life in jail. I attend Ansley's funeral. It's a pretty bland funeral, just some close family and my friends supporting me. No one really wants to go a murderer's funeral. I spend a lot of time with Louis, Harry, Liam, Kat, Lacey, and Aubree. I fall out of touch with Emma, and neither of us makes an attempt to start up contact again. Before I know it, I'm seeing Liam and Lacey off to college. They're going to Dartmouth together. The next to go is Kat. She's off to Syracuse, her dream school. After Kat goes, Harry and Louis leave to go to Princeton. When I leave to go to UNC, the only person there to see me off is Aubree. "Have fun at UNC," she tells me, hugging me tightly. "Have fun at Villanova," I reply. As my dad pulls out of the driveway, I look behind me, remembering the first time my dad was taking me to camp. It seems so long ago. I wave at Aubree and she waves back, on the verge of tears. I preoccupy myself the whole drive to UNC playing games on my phone. When my dad announces our arrival, I look up and see a bunch of people milling around, looking for their dorms and hugging their parents goodbye. My dad helps me bring my luggage to my dorm room and then he hugs me. "I love you Ally," he says. "Don't forget to call mom tonight. She'll want to know how you're settling in." I agree to call tonight and say goodbye. I decide to leave my unpacking for later and just explore the campus for right now. It's a bright and sunny day, and everyone seems to be in a good mood, including me. I sit down on the ground beneath a tree and stretch out my legs. The muffled chatter of the people around me is soothing, and I close my eyes. "Ally?" I hear someone say tentatively. I would recognize that voice anywhere. "I'm right here," I say, looking around for Niall. He comes up behind me and twirls me around. "Niall?" I say when he sets me down and I turn to face him. "I bet you thought you'd gotten rid of me," Niall jokes. "But here I am." He gazes down into my eyes and I look up into his. Before I know it, we're kissing. When we break apart, I blush a little. "How?" I ask. "I got accepted here a long time ago," Niall said. "I just didn't know if I should come or not. But this summer when I was apart from you for so long, I realized something." I grin. "What did you realize?" I ask mischievously. "I realized that wherever you are is where I belong," Niall whispers. And then he kisses me.