26. Stay

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( Zayn's POV )

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( Zayn's POV )

I can't believe I'm actually nervous about this. I mean, it's just a night out with a friend, nothing special. But, at the same time, this is special... more so important than anything else. If I want to keep Isa in my life after everything is done, then I need to give her a reason to. She has no obligations to stay in my life just as I don't in hers but, it feels wrong to just push her out.

"So, Malik... where are you taking me?" Isa asks as we drive for the lake.

"I said it's a surprise, remember?"

"Really? I mean, we're almost there."

"Wouldn't that be worse to tell you now, then? You've waited this long to be surprised, so why not wait a little longer?"

"I guess you have a point." She grins.

God, I hope she likes the lake. We might have to turn around and honestly, I didn't make a plan B for tonight. It might be back to leftovers by TV light.

By the time we get to the park, my heart is racing. I don't know why. I mean, worst-case scenario she hates the outdoors and we have to go somewhere else. Even thinking that now sounds a little absurd. Who hates the outdoors so much that they'd refuse to sit by a lake for a few hours? Certainly doesn't sound like something she'd do.

"Okay, we're here..." I say, parking my car in the parking lot closest to the lake.

It's nearly pitch dark out minus a single street lamp in the parking lot. It's a good thing I brought my flashlight because it seems we're about to go rogue. As I step out of the car, I'm surrounded by the calming wilderness. The soft sound of crickets mixed with the occasional croak from a frog. The bold smell of pine mixed with the soft scent of the nearby lake.

"I must admit.. I didn't expect this." Isa remarks, not really taking a stance as to whether she's pleasantly surprised or completely disappointed.

"I've just got to grab a few things from the back and then we can go to where I actually planned to go," I say, heading for the trunk.

I pop the back open and grab the blankets I brought along with the bug spray and a flashlight. Then, I close the trunk and lead us to the lake.

It's truly not that far from the parking lot but the big pine trees mask the street lamp causing it to seem as if we are truly secluded. When we emerge from the forest and get to the lakeside, it's clear that this was the best place to go. The moon reflects off of the water causing it to shine and, because of the little amount of light around us, we can now see the thousands of stars light up the sky.

"Wow, this is just beautiful..." she gapes as her eyes glisten from the moonlight shining off the lake.

A wave of relief falls over me as she says that. I've made the right decision.

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