Little Steps

Aria Lubianco has been through the worst. Found freezing and sobbing on her doorstep by none other than Liam Payne, she is the definition of a strong but broken girl. As she warms up to the boys, feelings arise for one in particular. However, it is almost impossible for Aria to keep herself together when a mystery person begins sending her threatening messages.

As new people enter the story, suspects are chosen and bonds grow, all due in time.

What will little steps get Aria?

Originally by and all credit goes to lalaladooo: http://www.onedirectionfanfiction.org/Story/20318/Little-Steps/

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39. Advice From Liam

The next morning, breakfast was very awkward. No one talked at the table. Gregg tried to get a conversation started, but it ended on short notice. Maura gave up from the first second. Noah made gurgling sounds from his high chair, staring curiously at us. He wasn’t used to breakfast being so quiet. I made no eye contact with Niall what so ever. Just the sight of him disgusted me. I would never fully forgive for the words he said to me, accusing me of using the boys and him. I would never do that, and I thought Niall knew that, too.

I glanced over at Gregg, who I knew was itching to speak. He made eye contact with me, shooting me a sympathetic smile. I smiled back, just as fake. Gregg glanced at Niall, trying to make me look at Niall. I didn’t dare. Gregg sighed, looking down at his food.

Once the awkward breakfast was over, Gregg and Denise escaped the house for a walk at the park while Niall went to the T.V. room. I was about to go sob my eyes out some more in the guest room when I saw Maura sitting alone on the couch.

“Hello.” I said quietly, walking up to her.

She looked up, a weak smile pressed to her lips. “I thought he’d be over it by now.”

“I didn’t.” I mumbled, sitting down beside her.

“He’s never been this mad before. Niall never holds grudges from what I’ve seen. He’s normally so forgiving.”

“Then why does this argument matter so much?” I whispered, more towards myself than to Maura.

“Because, it was a fight with you, Aria.”

I stayed silent.

“You matter so much to him. He just doesn’t show it. God, the one thing I never taught that boy.” She chuckled dryly, shaking her head.

“He said some pretty nasty things to me, Maura.” I stuttered, gulping down tears. His hurtful words ran through my mind again. Each word stabbed my heart a million times.

“Aria, you two were shouting at each other so loud, we could all hear you from downstairs. Every single word.”

I blushed, partly infuriated. “So you all heard everything?”

“Quite frankly, yes. I heard what he said to you about your father. Is…is it true?”

I gulped, my teeth beginning to chatter ever so slightly. I nodded.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Maura gasped, wrapping me into her side for a hug. “One thing is for sure, I never taught Niall to use things like that against a girl. Against anyone. No one deserves to hear that.”

I frowned, feeling confused. “I don’t understand, Maura. Why are you comforting me when your own son is up there feeling exactly the same?”

Maura stared at me for a second, her eyes just as blue as Niall’s. I knew then where he got them from.

“Niall can handle himself. And well, we may have had a small misunderstanding yesterday morning.”

I eyed her. “What did he say?”

“I-it was nothing.” Maura stammered, shaking her head. Her face flushed. She looked like she was in so much pain.

“Was what he told you as bad as what he told me?” I asked softly, wiping away a tear. Maura bit her quivering lip. She nodded.

We sat in silence, coping each other’s misery with our own. I felt my hands shaking uncontrollably. Again and again, my mind would not stop replaying our argument, each time, ending with my crashing to the floor in tears. The throbbing in my chest grew as I sunk into the couch, beginning to cry again. Maura was forcing back tears, as well. It wasn’t hard to tell.

I felt terrible for bringing such awkwardness to this family. Nothing good had happened. I only caused them a terrible breakfast. I felt like I was breaking them apart.

“It’s not your fault, Aria.” Maura sighed beside me, rubbing my back. “Niall has his flaws, too.”

“No,” I sobbed, shaking my head. “If I hadn’t come here, you all would be perfectly happy right now. You wouldn’t be crying, Niall wouldn’t be crying, Gregg and Denise and Noah would be perfectly content.”

“Aria-“

“I…I…e-excuse me.”

I pushed myself off the couch, trying to control my crazy tears as I lunged up the staircase, entering the guest room. Locking the door behind me, I collapsed on the bed, letting my tears soak the fabric. My body was shaking like crazy, my head and heart throbbing. Each time I tried to stop myself from crying, I only ended up crying more. At one point, I grew some strength to reach for my phone, dialing Liam’s cell phone number.

“Aria?”

“L-Liam?”

“Oh, babe, what happened?” he gasped. Aria could almost imagine him gripping the phone tighter.

“I-I got in a fight with Niall.” I cried, trying to keep breathing steadily.

“Oh.” He breathed. “How are you feeling, love?”

“Absolutely terrible.”

“What did he say?” Liam asked.

I took a deep breath. “He told me that I was just using him and you, and the other boys because I was a selfless person who only cared for me. H-he told me that no one cared about me, or at least that he didn’t. He said that if I left, no one would care. And he’s right Liam, he’s right. That’s what hurts.”

“You think I don’t care about you?” Liam whispered. I heard him gulp.

“Face it, Liam. You would forget me if I left. I’m not important to anyone. My dad already proved he didn’t want me very clearly, and the other boys have their own lives. You’ve got Danielle and the baby now. Niall can live without me. He’ll find someone better than me. Nicer than me. He’ll find someone who’s actually pretty, who doesn’t make mistakes. Then he’s going to realize how stupid he was to ever like me.”

“That’s not true Aria. I care so much about you. You’re like, the little sister I never had.”

“I…I said some pretty mean stuff to him, too.”

“Tell me.”

“I told him that he wished that he was as close to me as you were. He seemed to be getting really jealous, because he found out that the relationship Harry and I had was fake. That’s how it all really started.”

“How did he find out?”

“He overheard Harry and me on Skype.”

“Ouch. That’s not the best way to find out anything.”

“I guess not.” I mumbled back.

Liam sighed. “I need you to think for a second.” He said. “How would you feel if you were Niall? What if the guy you really liked wasn’t telling you stuff, instead talking to other people about it? Wouldn’t you feel like you weren’t good enough for him? Wouldn’t you feel jealous?”

I bit my lip, knowing Liam was right. “I guess.”

“You should have told him as soon as you found out, even if you two were only friends back then. He would have appreciated it.”

“I forgot, Liam! It’s not my fault! I would have told him if I hadn’t forgotten.”

“Okay, and I understand that. But does Niall?”

“No.” I scoffed. “He wouldn’t even let me talk. He just started badmouthing me to my own face.”

“Would you like me to talk to Niall about-“

“No.” I interrupted quickly. “He would get even madder if he knew I was talking to you about this.”

“Oh. Alright.” Liam sighed. “It seems to me like Niall’s becoming a bit over-protective.”

“Tell me about it.” I snorted, wiping away stray tears.

“That’s normal, I guess. It happens when a guy starts to realize they lo-“Liam trailed off with his words.

“When they realize what?” I asked curiously.

“Nothing. It’s nothing.” Liam assured, sighing once again.

“Liam, you should’ve been at breakfast this morning. The argument made it so awkward. I felt entirely guilty because Gregg and Maura looked so desperate to talk. It’s my entire fault.”

“Niall told you some nasty stuff, too, though.”

“Yeah, but if I hadn’t come home with him, none of this would have happened. He would be perfectly fine right now. There would be actual smiling in this house.”

“Aria, what are you saying?” Lima whimpered.

“I’m saying that I have to leave.”

“Aria. Come on now. Running away from your problems isn’t going to fix anything.”

“Liam, you don’t understand.” The tears were approaching again. “What he said to me scarred my heart forever. I can barely look at him without feeling disgusted. His words hurt me so much.”

“Aria, you need to talk to him. Don’t just turn your back on him.”

“Well, he’s got his back turned on me. He didn’t say a word at breakfast.”

“That doesn’t mean you leave. You need to work things out with him. Don’t just leave your relationship hanging.”

“We have no relationship, Liam. We aren’t even boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Liam snorted. “Well, get on with it. It’s about time.”

“You honestly don’t expect me to be his girlfriend after what he said to me, do you?” I laughed dryly, my throat hurting from trying to hold tears away.

“I forgot. Sorry. No I don’t.” Liam answered. “But Aria, please don’t leave him just yet. He’s hurting just as much as you are and I know it. Don’t rush to talk to him, but when you get the chance, do something about it. He hurt you and you hurt him, so you can’t just complain. You both hurt each other in that argument and you both need to commit to fixing things. But here’s the thing; if you realize he isn’t trying, and then you don’t try either. Then you’ll see if he truly cares or not. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to apologize to you immediately. Give him some time. Okay?”

“Okay.” I agreed softly.

“Call me if you need anything. I’m always here for you.”

“Thank you, Liam. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, love. Bye.”

“Bye.”

I ended the call and threw my phone on the bed, falling back into the pillows.

What was I to do?

I stayed in that room, thinking about nothing, just staring up at the blank ceiling, until Maura knocked on my door, entering with a plate of pizza in her hand.

“Thank you, Maura.” I said quietly, taking the plate from her. She looked concerned.

“You’ve been crying?”

“A bit.” I admitted with a shrug.

“Niall was crying, too. He won’t talk to me.”

So, Liam was right. He must‘ve been hurting the way I was now.

“If you want any more pizza, there’s another box downstairs. Help yourself.” Maura smiled, closing the door gently behind her.

I wanted to watch some television while eating, so I popped my head out of the room to see if the T.V. room was occupied. The coast was clear. Grabbing my plate of pizza, I strolled into the T.V. room. I plopped down of the black sofa and switched the television on, surfing the channels until I settled on Pretty Little Liars.

Then Niall walked in holding pizza.

“Uhm…” we mumbled in unison. Niall stared at me, our first eye contact for that day.

“I didn’t think you were here.” I gulped, looking away.

“Oh.” Was all he said. Really? When I tried for an actual sentence, he gave me a one worded answer?

“I’ll, just leave.” I said quietly, standing up with my plate of pizza.

Niall bit his lip. “I-it’s fine. You can stay.”

I looked at him just to make sure he wasn’t joking. He looked dead serious. No smile or anything. I sat back down at the far end of the couch while he took the other end.

Another awkward meal was letting loose.

Maybe I was better off by myself in the guest room.

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