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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53. Birthday - Part One

Sunday morning, I woke up. The medicine that I had consumed over the past three days had definitely worked. My throat was still a little sore but my fever had definitely reduced. I could feel it. Sitting up in bed, I noticed Niall was sitting in bed beside me. A huge grin was plastered across his face.

“Well, someone is happy today.” I smirked, my voice just a little off from being completely normal again. Niall just continued to grin, so to snap in out of it, I punched his arm. He scowled, rubbing the area where I punched him, then rolled on top of me.

“Happy birthday, princess.”

I froze. Of course. My birthday. It didn’t surprise me that I had forgotten. I always forgot my birthday. Ever since Scarlett died, I never really took the time to care about the day I was born.

“I-I totally forgot.” I stammered. But a more important question lingered in my brain.

“How did you know?” I asked, my heart racing as his lips brushed against mine. “I never told you.”

He smirked. “I saw that notification on your phone the day we loading the taxi.”

“Oh.” I blushed, looking down. I had honestly wanted him to not know. My birthday really wasn’t a huge deal.

“Now, I think you deserve a big birthday kiss.”

He pressured his lips to mine, capturing my lips in his. Our lips moved together in sync as I melted into his grasp. When our lips touched, I was undone. Kissing him reminded me that there was such a thing as happiness; that there was someone in the world whom I felt safe with. The taste of his lips couples with the feel of his long eyelashes fluttering against my skin tore down the pain and weariness I had been feeling over the past days.

He pulled away as a grin spread across my face.

“I haven’t seen that beautiful smile in days.” He whispered, tracing my lips with his index finger.

“Well, I’ve been kind of beaten down, if you haven’t noticed.” I sighed.

“I’m about to make that smile even bigger.” He declared, getting up from the bed.

“Please tell me you didn’t buy me a present.”

Niall gave me a confused looked. “Why would I not?”

“Number one, because I have everything I already want. Number two, I never got you anything so I’ll feel guilty.”

Niall just shook his head, reaching for something in his suitcase. He pulled out a present bag, walking over and handing it to me. The first thing I noticed was that it was decently light.

“Open it.” He urged, bouncing around in his seat. I sighed happily and took away the extra paper, and in my hands was a laptop box. A Sony Vaio Pro 11 to be precise.

“Oh. My. God.”

Niall laughed.

“Niall, there is no way I am taking this.”

“Yeah, you are.” He argued, a smile teasing his lips. I bit my lips, trying not to grin like an idiot, but it didn’t work.

“Thank you so much.” I gasped, carefully setting the laptop box aside and pull Niall down into another long kiss.

We spent about an hour figuring out how everything worked. The best part about it was that it was touchscreen. This was what I got for Harry breaking my previous laptop.

And I definitely wasn’t complaining.

Niall and I talked over a delicious homemade breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, warm waffles and sausages.

“How come you forgot your birthday?” Niall asked, chewing on his pancake.

I sighed, prepared to tell him the long reason behind it. “After my sister died, my dad got really lazy. Two years in a row, I asked him if I could have a birthday party and he said that my birthday wasn’t really important. Over time, I let his words sink in and by the time I was ten, I just started to forget my birthday. Of course, when I got my phone, I did put in a reminder for the week before my birthday, but I never really took notice to it.”

“That’s terrible.” Niall frowned, his feet tangling thoruhg mine underneath the table.

“I mean, my dad is right. It’s not really a big deal.”

Niall looked shooked. “Are you kidding me? Today is the day that you, my princess, were born exactly nineteen years ago.”

I blushed. “If you put it that way, I guess it sounds a little more important.”

“It is.” He said in all seriousness. I looked down at my food, sure that my face was red.

“So, I’ve got something planned for tonight.” he piped up, a twinkle in his eye. I smiled happily.

“What is it?”

“It’s a surprise babe. It’s always a surprise.”

I snorted, shoving some waffle into my mouth.

“I had some trouble thinking about how we were going to spend the day, you know, until night time, and it was really hard, because I wanted to make it unique and special, but your standards are so high, that it made my brain hurt trying to think of ideas.”

I gave Niall a soft grin. “Can we just watch movies all day?”

Niall shook his head. “Even though it took some time, I decided that you, princess, are going to help me make lunch.”

I burst out in laughter. “What a wonderful way to spend my birthday.”

Niall looked down, genuinely worried that I didn’t like his idea.

“Hey,” I chirped, kicking his leg lightly under the table. “I think making lunch together would be cool.”

He smiled again. “But tonight is going to be the best. I promise.”

After breakfast, Niall announced that we were going to make pizza. He explained that the day I went for my checkup, he had bought everything to make the pizza. I thought I was adorable how he had took so much time to think of something. Honestly, just having him with me was enough.

“I call rolling the wooden thingy on dough.” I yelled, even though Niall was just across the kitchen.

“Easy, woman. I’m not deaf.” He smirked, throwing me the wodden roller. I tossed some yeast and suger into a bowl that was slightly ful of warm water, stirring it and adding more yeast as needed. I sensed someone watching me, and looked up to see, indeed, that Niall’s eyes were on me instead of the knife and bell peppers on his cutting board.

“Eyes on the knife, Nialler.” I smirked. Blushing he began to cut the bellpeppers into smaller pieces. Once I had the proper about of water, sugar and yeast mixed together, I grabbed the bag of flour. Right when I was about to give up on opening it, my grip became too hard and I ripped the bag open, the flour clouding over my entire upper half.

Coughing, I batted my eyelashes in disgust to regain my vision. Niall doubled over in laughter.

“Haha. Very funny.” I grumbled, sticking my tongue out.

“Sorry, that just looked so pathetic.” He snorted, unable to stop laughing. I narrowed my eyes at him, grabbed two handfuls of flour and dumped it on his hair and face. He stopped laughing, his mouth wide open.

“That shut you up, didn’t it?” I cooed, turning back to the dough. He groaned, getting back up. I scooted my cutting board and my body away from him in fear that he would get revenge.

“Ahaha. You’re scared of me.” He sang happily, dancing around with the knife in his hand.

I rolled my eyes. “When did I ever agree to this?”

He didn’t hear me, instead singing his victory song about how I was scared of him. He could be so childish sometimes, and trust me, it was annoying.

“Niall! Cut the bell peppers!” I shouted. He stopped doing his dance and went back to chopping the vegetable as if nothing had ever happened. Rolling my eyes yet again, I focused on spreading out the dough into a decent circle. Niall let me pour the tomato sauce on, and insisted on me letting me spread it out.

“You want olives on it?” he asked, looking at the contents in the refrigerator. I made a face, declining the suggestion.

“What about onions?”

“That’s a yes.”

“Pineapples?”

“Definitely.”

“Pickles?”

“What the hell? No way.”

“Pepperoni or meat?”

“Both.” I declared. Niall laughed, grabbing the correct toppings for the pizza, along with some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Half an hour later, we had everything loaded on top of the pizza. I had to admit, it looked delicious even when it wasn’t fully baked.

Niall set the oven on 450 degrees, setting the pizza inside. Once the oven was closed, we leaned up against the kitchen island, staring at the oven.

“One hour. Just one hour, Niall.” Niall whispered to himself. I smirked at him.

“Is this pizza for you or for us?”

“Us.” He assured quickly, “definitely the both of us.”

“Sure.” I muttered under my breath.

He looked over at me, his lips curving into a smile. “You’ve got a little something.”

“A little? My whole face is covered in flour.” I laughed. Niall reached over and dusted my face off, while I dusted his.

“You still look pretty white.” I snorted, “Like a vampire.”

Niall raised on eyebrow, then made some “scary” face and bared his teeth. “Ivant su suck your vlood.”

I covered my mouth to stifle a laugh and grabbed the tomato sauce, dipping my finger into the jar and smearing some around Niall’s lips.

“Now you have blood around your mouth too.” I giggled, setting the jar of tomato sauce down. Niall did another vampire imitation, stalking around the kitchen like a lunatic. Finally he gave up, telling me that he knew he looked like an idiot. He splashed water on his face by the sink, and I did the same. There was still a decent amount of flour on my clothes, however.

“Have you thought much about your future?” Niall asked suddenly, sitting on the counter top. I shrugged, pulling myself up onto the marble counter of the island, sitting parallel to Niall.

“A little, I guess.”

“Tell me.” He said, gesturing to the oven. ”We’ve got time to kill.”

“First of all, I do plan on going to college. I just never had the time. Everything always seemed so busy, and my dad never offered to pay. I had a job at Mc Donald’s but I doubt I still have it, after I started coming on tour with you guys.”

“Well, if you still have the job, is it possible for me to get a discount?” Niall grinned, licking his lips.

“No.”

Niall crossed his arms over his chest. “So, what else do you want your future to be like?”

I nearly teared up as I stated the one-worded answer.

“Safe.”

Niall bit his lip, hopping off the countertop. He stood in between my legs, pulling me into a hug.

“I’ll keep you safe, princess.” He whispered, stroking his hair. I broke away, shaking my head.

“That’s just it, Ni. All my life, since I could remember, I’ve been afraid. You don’t know h-how terrifying it was to be pressed against the wall of my closet with my dad’s drunken footsteps getting closer. You don’t know how much it hurt to know that my entire family left me with him. On father’s day, I prayed ever year when I was little, that I would get a better father. But when I got older, I realized that would never happen. I was stuck with him.”

“But not anymore.”

I sighed. “I’ve got a hunch that the person sending me those messages is either my father or someone who has contact with him.”

Niall closed his eyes, opening them with a sigh.

“We’re not going to let your past ruin your birthday, okay?” he said, holding my shoulders. I nodded.

“So, more about your future.” He said, resuming over pervious conversation. “And only happy points, please.”

I smiled. “I want two kids. A boy and a girl. Adam and Nicolette. I planned on becoming a nurse but I’ve kind of always wanted to be an accountant, too. I want to get married on a beach and have a honeymoon in Italy. Sometime in my future, I really want to go to Alaska and go skiing, even though I might fall on my butt half the time.”

“Two kids, huh?” Niall cocked an eyebrow.

“Of course that’s the only thing you get out of it.”

Niall grinned, sitting back down on the countertop. “My turn.” He announced.

“First of all, to even it out, I too, want two children. Not necessarily a boy and a girl, but atleast one has to be a boy so we can go watch football games together. I plan on donating a ton of my money to charity and I was thinking about starting guitar lessons. I want to marry the love of my life, and spoil her and my children to death. My main wish is that even if One Direction does break up, that the five of us will remain my brothers, because we’ve honestly gotten too far to ignore one another.”

“Wow,” I sighed. “You’re future sounds a lot better than mine.”

“I’m hoping you’ll be a part of it.”

My eyes flit up to meet his, a smile growing on both our lips.

“I hope so, too.”

 


Once the pizza was devoured, Niall ran out of ideas to waste time and eventually ended up on the couch with me watching Marley and Me. We had earlier burnt the popcorn in the microwave, because for some reason, my –according to the doctor, very smart- boyfriend had set the microwave for ten minutes on the popcorn. The entire place smelled like burnt popcorn in affect, so I was scrunching my nose up for the entire movie.

The next four hours involved Niall singing and playing the guitar, us dancing like idiots to Kesha and the Harlem Shake, and having ice-cream contests. Unfortunately, Niall won all of them, while I suffered various brain-freezes.

At about seven o’clock, Niall shooed me away to get dressed for whatever birthday surprise he had planned. He had informed to wear something warm, so I figured we would be outside. I made him swear not to use any blindfolds, because I seriously just hated them. Why, I did not know.

I got changed in the guest room, taking a quick shower before I dressed in black skinny jeans, some black lace up wedges, a white shirt that had “love” printed in cursive and a black leather jacket. Just because today was a special occasion, I slipped into the bathroom and put on a minimal amount of eyeliner and mascara, avoiding anything else. I brushed my hair out and straightened it a bit, leaving it down in a side parting. I slipped on some sunglasses and pushed them up to hold my shorter bangs back, just for show. Hell knew when there would be legit sun in London ever again.

I took a long look into mirror, smirking when I realized I looked kind of like a girl version of Zayn, clothing wise. Give me a motorcycle to ride and I would look like a badass on the street.

Laughing to myself, I left the guestroom with a black handbag hanging on my arm.

Just as my foot touched the stair steps to head downstairs, I heard Niall clear his throat behind me. I turned around. Niall looked completely gorgeous in a red jacket, black chinos, red Nike high-tops and a blue V-neck underneath his jacket. My eyes met his to see him staring back at me.

“Why the hell aren’t you a model?”

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