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:


34. Deny, Deny, Deny

A week had passed since I had first arrived in Ireland. It really was a beautiful country, full and lush green grass and really hot guys. I rubbed my eyes as they opened to the bright sun creeping through the large window of Niall’s bedroom. I yawned before slowly flipping on my side to see Niall sleeping beside me. His soft snores were gentle, with one arm wrapped around my waist. I stared at him for a second, and then decided not to wake him up. I quickly got out of bed and headed for the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and typing my hair into a presentable bun. I quietly tip toed downstairs, lured by the strong smell of bacon. Maura must’ve been up.

Sure enough, when I stepped into the kitchen, I was greeted by a cheerful as always Irish lady with a killer smile.

“Well hello!” she smiled, setting down plates on the table. “How did you sleep?”

“Quite well, thank you.” I replied politely, slipping into a chair at the table.

“Gregg and Denise stole Noah for a small family trip, and I’m going out with some of my friends, so you’ll be stuck with my son all day.” She smirked, rolling her eyes.

“Oh no.” I gasped sarcastically.

“Well, I feel loved.” Niall groaned in his raspy morning voice, dragging his feet into the kitchen.

“Oh, good morning baby.” Maura cooed, patting his hair. He swatted at her hand with a grumpy expression, sitting down beside me.

“Well,, someone got off the wrong side of the bed.”

“No, actually I fell.” He snapped back, raising an eyebrow.

“What? How?” I giggled, leaning back in my chair.

“Well, your stupid phone decided to start vibrating like crazy, so it caught me off fucking guard and then that load of shit wouldn’t stop, so I rolled over to turn it off and I fucking fell.”

“Niall James Horan! Watch your mouth!” Maura yelled, completely serious. I bit my lip to hide a laugh.

Sorry mum.” Niall blushed, rubbing his eyes again.

“Pretty tragic story though,” I snorted. “Tell it again.”

Niall shot me a glare before grabbing a strip of bacon from the platter. I loved teasing Niall in the mornings. It was so easy to get him pissed off.

“Well, I’m off. You two have fun.” Maura sang, kissing Niall’s wave of blonde hair before leaving the kitchen.

I watched silently as Niall stuffed his mouth with bacon strips until it got too full. He glanced at me a few times without a smile.

Okay, something was wrong.

Silently, Niall stood up and got a glass cup from the cabinet, pouring himself a glass of milk. I could see him staring at me from the corner of his eye. By the way his hand turned white around the glass, I could tell he was angry about something. Was it because I had pushed him this morning, only a few minutes ago? No, it couldn’t be. He never got mad for little things like that.

“I thought we weren’t supposed to keep secrets from each other.” Niall huffed finally, setting his glass of milk down of the table. “So why are you?”

I stared at him, genuinely confused. “Um, what?”

“Aria, that text was from your mum. You told me she was gone from your life.” He pressed, his light blue eyes turning a deep blue.

“Sh-she is.” I stammered, playing with my fingers under the table. I couldn’t look Niall in the eye.
“There it is again!” he yelled suddenly, causing me to wince. “Why are you denying it? Just tell me. I saw you receiving another text from her that time in Paris, and on the plane. Remember when I asked you and then left? I thought it was some kind of prank text. But here we are, three weeks later and your still getting these texts. Why are you keeping it from me?” he snapped, clenching his fists on the table.

I could feel myself shivering. My lips trembled.

“I promise, it’s nothing.”

“Fine.” Niall spat, pushing his chair back and getting up. “When you’re read to tell your boyfriend about something as dangerous as this, tell him.” Niall hissed.

“I’m not your girlfriend, and you’re not my boyfriend.” I replied innocently. “I hope you know that.”

Niall froze for a split second, and then stormed out of the kitchen.

I slammed my forehead on the edge of the table, ignoring the pain. How could I have been so careless. I should’ve known Niall was suspicious since that incident in Paris. Another thought the lingered in my mind was how Niall could’ve suspected this as something dangerous. Had he thought about a secret connection between my mother and my father the way I had? He must have. Still, I was not going to open up to Niall if he decided to keep up the snotty attitude.

Quiet footsteps approached the kitchen, and Maura walked in, changed out clothes fit for an outing.

“Aria, I heard screaming.” Maura sighed, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Is everything alright?”

“Just a small argument.” I smiled weakly, giving her an encouraging nod. She still looked skeptical, but then squeezed my shoulder.

“If Niall becomes too much, or if you need anything, call me, alright?” she informed, slinging her purse over her shoulder.

“Alright. Have fun.” I waved as Maura exited the house.

As soon as Maura left, that familiar pressure to my eyes appeared again, forcing tears out which had been holding back. I crossed my arms on the table surface and dug my head into my arms, letting my body shake helplessly as I cried. I couldn’t help but feel a little bad that I had kept such a situation from Niall, the first person I had learned to trust since life living with my father.

And more than anything did I want to be his girlfriend.

But I couldn’t let that get in the way. If he wasn’t going to give me time, then maybe I needed to handle this on my own. Maybe for once, I needed to take these messages a big step further. I needed to see who was sending me these texts. I knew whoever the sender was, they knew my name, and of course, had my number. They knew they would gain my attention of saying they were my mother. But was it really my mother or someone else? Someone dangerous?
Either way, I had my guard up after Niall had shouted at me, but since he had brought up the texts, I suddenly felt like someone needed to know.


He never got mad at me. He never shouted at me when he knew it could make me cry. He always listened and gave me good advice, and I returned the favor. Right now, I needed Liam.
Brushing away my tears, I stood up and made my way upstairs to Niall’s room. The door was closed so I knocked on it loud and hard, not caring if I was waking my up from another one of his naps.

“What do you want?” Niall yelled, his voice cracking. Was he crying, too?

“My phone. Give it back.” I shouted back, the throbbing feeling growing in my throat again.
Seconds later, Niall opened the door and shoved my phone into my hands, slamming the door shut once again.

I squeezed my eyes shut and let out a shaky breath before regaining my posture. I head downstairs and out to the back porch, far enough from Niall so that he wouldn’t hear anything.
I dialed the digits of Liam’s number, which I had memorized weeks ago.

“Hello?” Liam’s friendly voice answered.

“Liam, it’s Aria.”

“Says your caller ID, yes you are Aria.” Liam laughed. He hushed when he realized I wasn’t laughing as well. “What’s wrong love?”

“Liam, I need to tell you something, something very important and possibly dangerous. You have to promise not to tell anyone else. Niall found out the wrong way and he’s pissed off, and he didn’t let me explain. Please don’t get mad at me for not telling you this earlier.”

“Of course not, Aria. You can tell me anything.” He assured. That’s the kind, loving Liam I know.

“Okay. So about three or four weeks ago, I started getting these weird texts from a stranger. They were saying stuff like ‘help me, Aria’ and ‘I miss you baby’. But here’s the catch: the sender was in my contacts as ‘Mom’.” There was an eerie silence before Liam spoke up again.

“But I thought your mum left you.”

“So did I. But then, I started getting more of these messages, saying she was in danger and needed my help.”

“Did you ever reply to any of the messages?” Liam asked. I could sense the slight fear in his voice.

“No. I didn’t think that would be the safest thing to do.”

“Okay. Good. Don’t answer any of those texts. Have you deleted any of them?”

“Nope. I saved them all…just in case.”

“Alright. I say that you Let the texts come as they want. Don’t mess with them, don’t delete them .Don’t answer them either. Save them like you’ve been doing. Make sure to stay safe. Don’t go out on your own in places you’re not familiar with, or at night. Just, be aware of your surroundings or anyone who may seem a bit suspicious. We’ll Skype more tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay Liam.” I smiled, taking in his advice.

“Okay. I have to go. Danielle and I are going out for dinner.” He replied.

“Wait, you guys made up?” I squealed, clutching the phone in sudden excitement.

Liam laughed. “Yeah. Everything is on good terms, thanks to you, Ari.”

“Aww. No problem Liam. Just don’t do anything stupid.”

“I learned my lesson.” Liam snorted. “Okay, gotta go.”

“Alright. Bye Li.”

“Bye, Aria.”

I ended the call and quickly switched to my missed messages. I opened the most recent one, then only one that hadn’t been opened.

Mom: If you won’t help me, I’ll find you. I’ll bring you here to help me. Whatever it takes, Aria.
Whatever it takes.

I passed out.

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