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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54. Birthday - Part Two

I set my foot down on yet another twig, creating a snapping sound.

“Niall, can we just go back?” I groaned. “It’s cold and scary out here.”

Niall was at the moment, leading me deeper and deeper into the woods, and the sky was only getting darker, The winds weren’t so strong but it was still cold. Really cold.

“Trust me, princess. Just a few more-“ he cut himself off, smiling at something ahead. It looked like a bunch of lights, but the trees were hiding the rest of it. Niall grabbed my hand and picked up the pace. “Come on.”

Just as we approached a clearing, Niall slapped his hands over my eyes, preventing me from seeing anything.

“You know, not every surprise has to involve me being blind at first.”

Niall chuckled beside me, pressing his lips to my cheek. “You’re cute.”

Both hands over my eyes, he walked us forward, then dropped his hands. My mouth twisted into a tiny grin as I realized what Niall had set up for me. In a small clearing there was a tent, with lights strung across the trees and above the clearing. Beside the tent were a picnic blanket and a CD player, along with a basket of food. A rock was holding down a bunch of reddish-pink balloons, which looked super prominent in the lights.

“How did you get everything here if you were with me the whole day?” I asked, and then realized how rude I was. I didn’t even say that it looked adorable and romantic and that it was the best birthday present I’d ever received.

“I got a couple of friends to help out.” He replied simply, looking up with hopeful eyes. “You like it?”

I grinned wrapping my arms around his neck.

“I love it.”

Niall broke away and ducked inside the tent, coming out with extra fleece blankets in his hand.

“I don’t want you getting that flu back.” He explained, gesturing for me to come over and sit beside him.

The picnic blanket was incredibly thick, because I could barely feel the leafy ground beneath it.

I looked over as Niall reached over and inserted a CD in the player, pressing the “start” button.

“It’s just a mix of songs I put together. I’m not sure if you’ll like them, but I hope you do.”

“That’s pretty cool,” I smiled. He handed me a piece of paper.

“It’s the list of songs on the CD.”

I carefully read over the contents:

There Goes My Baby- Usher
Have I Told You Lately – Rod Stewart
Crazy – Hunter Hayes
Wanted – Hunter Hayes

Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Smile – Uncle Kracker
Mine – Taylor Swift
You and Me- Plain White T’s
Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
So I Need You – 3 Doors Down
Perfect Company – Cursive Memory
Nothin On You – B.O.B ft. Bruno Mars
Count on Me – Bruno Mars
Must Have Done Something Right – Reliant K

Wrapped in fleece blankets, we sat together on the blanket, my head on his chest with our legs perpendicular to each other. The lights surrounded us in the, now, pitch black sky. England had it’s ways of approaching dark skies early.
, cause that’s what friends are supposed to do.” I sang along, craning my neck just slightly to meet his gaze. He reached down and pecked my lips, then sat up so my head rested in his lap.

“Believe it or not, this song reminds me of something.” I chirped up.

“What is it?”

“It reminds me that you really are my best friend, as pathetic as it seems.”

Niall smiled widely, kissing me again. “It’s not pathetic. And for the record, you’re one of my very best friends, too.”

I thought that the CD had gone through all the songs just as Must Have Done Something Right by Reliant K had ended, but then a new song started. I immediately recognized it as Hero by Enrique Iglesias.

“Hey, this one wasn’t on the list.” I piped up. Niall had a grin plastered across his face. He stood up and held out a hand.

“May I have this dance?”

I bit my lip, which was trembling by the major feels I was experiencing, quickly nodding. I took his hand and let him pull me up. His hands fell comfortably at my hips, my arms draped in their usual spot around his neck.

“I can be your hero, baby.”Niall sang softly into my ear, “I can kiss away the pain.”

Tears developed in my eyes and Niall and I swayed together. He grabbed my hand and twirled me around then retracted me back into his arms. This time, one arm was around my back while his other hand held one of mine out.

“God, I love this song.” I sniffed. Niall let go off my hand to wipe away my tears, then kissed me slowly. It was the kind of kiss that gave you shivers and made your knees turn to jelly. The kind that was full of passion, and fire, and emotion. But most of all, love.

We broke apart, still embraced as the chorus started again.

I will stand by you forever.” Niall whispered, quoting the lyrics, spinning me around again. Back in our original position, Niall’s arms were wrapped more tightly around my waist as he dropped his forehead to my hair, hugging me tightly as we danced.

When the song ended, there was complete silence. Niall cupped my face in his hands, and his blue eyes bore into mine.

“Uhm…” he stammered, as a small grin appeared on my face. His smiled too, kissing me once again.

I wanted to tell him. I wanted to blurt it out. That I loved him. That I felt something more than just “liking him a lot” in that previous kiss. That my feelings were him were becoming stronger every day and I could barely take it anymore. But just three simple words could throw us off. It could throw him off. For all I knew, he could have any girl in the world, so why would he love me back? Part of me wanted to tell him, but the other part of me didn’t want to know the possible reply.

“There’s something you’re not telling me.” He said softly, stroking my cheek with the back of his hand.

I looked up, startled. Did he know?

“It’s nothing.” I assured, pressing a smile to my lips. He looked at me skeptically, but then shrugged it off, sitting me back down on the blanket. I sat down beside him and nuzzled into his chest and he held me tight.

“My mum told me once, that God made each and every human a true love, somewhere in the world. She told me it could me your best friend since grade school, or someone all the way across the world.” Niall hesitated, intertwining our fingers before continuing. “I used to think that God…forgot about me. I thought that I was never going to find that one girl who I would end up loving with all my heart. I kind of gave up on girls at one point.”

Niall, not having girls falling at his feet? Unbelievable.

“I always imagined when I was little, that I was going to be one of those single men living alone, yelling at kids to get off their property and throwing the newspapers back at the paperboys.”

I giggled.

“I really was done with girls, and then, you came along.”

My heart began to race.

“I think it was that first time, when I saw you after you came to the hotel room in California. You told me that you had just ended a conversation with Liam. I remember it perfectly. Zayn was asleep so we sat at the table to talk. Literally, all I could do was stare at you and think ‘is this my true love’?

Because for the first time that I had ever looked into a girl’s eyes, they looked back with a sparkle. And day by day, I started falling for you. Everything you did, the way you acted, the way you started out kind of shy but opened up, the way you didn’t care what other people thought of you; that was just all so intriguing.”

I stayed silent.

“After a while, afterweeksof liking you, a whole month I think, you finally told me that you liked me, too, that night in Paris. I realized that maybe, God didn’t forget about me. He didn’t forget the one for me.”

I smirked, looking him right in the eye, imitating the voice of a dumb blonde, adding the twirling of the hair.

“So, who’s the lucky girl then?”

Niall let out a loud snort, that slightly echoed in the silence of the woods.

“You, you stupid nincompoop.”

I let out a loud laugh, erupting into a fit of giggles, while Niall stared at me with a slightly worried look.

“What’s so funny?”

“N-nincompoop.” I snorted, laughing again. He grinned, shaking his head.

“I definitely need to get you a crown, because you really are the queen of ruining moments.”

I shut myself up instantly, staring at Niall. His head tilted down, and our lips met once again, drowning my thoughts. With my lips melting against his and his touch radiating against my skin, I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable. He lifted me up, setting me down on his lap so I was straddling him. And then, there it was.

“I love you.” He whispered against my lips, flipping us over so he was on top of me. I couldn’t stop grinning as I continued to kiss him. You would think I would smile all day just knowing he was my boyfriend, but when the guy of your dreams tells you he loves you, then you just smile like an idiot for no reason. When we broke the kiss, we shared that stare that you give someone when it’s like they’re the only one in the world. But see, I wasn’t one for the long stares so I looked away.

When I looked back, Niall was frowning. He rolled off and sat beside me, looking down with pleading eyes.

“Say something.”

I realized that I hadn’t said those three words back, feeling stupid.

“I love you, too.”

He grinned for just a split second before resuming with a small frown. “You don’t seem obliged to say it, do you? Just b-because I feel that way, doesn’t mean-“

“No,” I said, cutting him off. “I really do love you. So much.”

Niall exhaled. “Good. Do you know how amazing it feels to finally get those words out? It’s like a whole weight load taken off my back. Honestly, at first I thought that you wouldn’t, you know, love me back, but my mum told me to tell someone you love them when you know it for sure. And I guess today, just seemed like the right moment.”

I knew he was right .Now that I had told him I loved him, everything felt better, knowing he felt the same way. And thank the Lord he did.

“I’m hungry.” I sighed, knowing that it was totally off topic, but I spoke the truth. Niall laughed.
“One of the reasons why I believe we were meant to be.”

He reached into the picnic basket and began pulling out various foods. Sandwiches, cookies, fruit salad and a bunch of other stuff that would soon be in my stomach. Just as I grabbed for a sandwich, he set his hand on mine, stopping me.

“Hold on.”

He grabbed two cupcakes from the side of the basket, setting them down, then poked two candle in, one into each cupcake. One candle was shaped like a 1 and the other was shaped like a 9 to represent my new age. Niall lit the candles with a lighter.

“Make a wish princess.” He smiled, resting his hand on my waist. I leaned forehead as Niall held my hair back, closing my eyes, my wish running through my mind as I blew the candles out.

I wish for a happy and safe life with Niall in it, forever.

Cheesy, I know, but it was truly what I wanted.

Considering it was Niall and I, all the food was finished within an hour. When the winds picked up, we crawled inside the tent and zipped it up, lying in each other’s arms talking about everything and nothing. He told me stories about his girl problems when he was younger, and I poured out my countless stories about being that quiet girl in the back of the classroom every year, being invisible. I explained that it wasn’t so bad, and that it was better to be invisible than to be noticed.

“Well you’re not invisible to me. Unless the beautiful girl with amazing blonde hair and the nicest blue eyes sitting right next to me is just imaginary.” He answered simply.

I smirked. “What if I am imaginary?”

He leaned in an placed his lips on mine.

“Nah, I think you're pretty real, babe.”

He kissed me, before pulling away with an eager smile on his face.

"I've got got something else for you. Just one more thing."

I groaned. "Niall, this is perfectly perfect. I promise you don't have to give me anything. Please."

"But I want to." he smiled, then pulled out a jewelry box from his jacket pocket. How had I not felt that before?

More importantly, what was in it?

"It's not a ring." he chuckled lightly. "I'm not gonna propose yet."

Yet.

He opened up the box, revealing a silver necklace with the word "Princess", name-plated as the charm.

"It's beautiful." I blushed, then quickly covered up my shy act with a smirk. "You have a thing for giving girls necklaces, don't you?"

"Just you, Ari. Only for you."

He made me pull my hair up so he could fasten the necklace onto my neck. It now joined the other necklace he had given me in Paris.

"Thank you, Niall. This is the most amazing birthday I've ever had."

He gave me a genuine smile, his blue eyes bright with happiness, and together, we fell asleep in the midst of the moonlight.

Best birthday ever.

They say time flies by when you’re having fun. The past month in London had proved that to me. Niall showed me around, taking me everywhere in the large city, showing me the Big Ben, and the Queen’s palace. We tried to get a palace guard to move by tickling him in the sides, but the damn guy wouldn’t even move a muscle. Niall even made farting sounds with my armpit, Niall grabbed the guard’s nose and pinched it, and the guard frowned, but remained silent. I wondered if that nose pinch was considered rape.

Anyhow, October was soon coming to an end and Niall and I were chilling in the living room and making the best of a Monopoly game when my phone rang loudly, scaring the shit out of the both of us. I grabbed it, shutting the ringtone up and answering the call.

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