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:


44. Distractions

I drew a line threw another box on my mini calendar, marking the seventh day of staying with Liam. The seventh day of being away from Niall.

Later, I got a call from Harry telling me to get on Skype. He was dying for me to meet this Amber chick, begging me for five minutes straight. I didn't have any way of Skyping him, other than my phone and Liam's computer, but I didn't want Harry knowing I was with Liam. He would easily tell by Liam's Skype username. I wish I still had my laptop.

So instead, I settled in on using my phone.

The connection was naturally terrible, because my phone wasn't in the best condition, but soon enough, Harry and his cheeky smile popped onto the screen.

"Ari!" he cheered, pulling a pretty brunette girl into the picture. She looked a little more mature than Harry, but still seemed pretty young at the same time. I couldn’t help but think that she looked so vaguely familiar.

"Hi," she smiled, waving at me. "You're Aria, right?"

Her accent was completely American.

"Hello, fellow American." I giggled, waving back. "You must be Amber. Harry won't shut up about you."

Amber gave Harry a funny look, which he returned and then the both looked back at me.

"I really wanted Amber to meet you because you guys are so much alike. I mean, you guys are both hilarious and stubborn, and well, yeah. You two can talk. I out." Harry made a saluting gesture and left the screen.

Amber stared at me for a second, then another smile spread across her lips.

"So, you're with Niall, right?"

I gave her an annoyed look, but she didn't catch the drift.

"We aren't exactly on speaking terms right now."

"Oh." she answered, scratching her chin. "He's in Ireland, right?"

"Um, yes." I answered hesitantly. "How did you know that?"

She laughed. "Duh," she stated, "everyone knows he's in Ireland. He's famous, remember?"


She sighed, biting her lip, and looked up again. "This is kind of awkward. You know, talking with you, because we don't really know each other."

We both laughed a little, then resumed the silence.

"So, what’s your favorite color?" she piped up. She seemed like one of those bubbly people, and definitely not Harry's type from what I knew. People change, I guess.

"I guess purple. or blue. All colors are nice really." I shrugged. "What about you?"

"White. Don't laugh. It's such a pretty color."

"Nah, white is cool. It reminds me of weddings and happy things."

I needed some white in my life.

"Where are you from? You have an American accent so..." she trailed off wit her words, looking at me expectantly.

"I'm originally from Sacramento California." I answered. Amber froze for a second, but quickly shook herself back.

"That cool. I'm from um, Las Vegas." She seemed really unsure. I nodded, and looked down at bedspread, feeling weird.

"Do you have siblings?" she asked, making me gulp. I thought for a moment, wondering if I should tell her about Scarlett. What the heck. It wouldn't hurt anyone, right?

"I used to," I started. "But she died in a car crash. Apparently she was drunk driving."

Amber smiled sympathetically, looking uncomfortable. "I'm sorry for asking."

"It's fine."

"So, where did Harry go?" I asked. Amber looked around the room as if she was looking for him.

"I think he went to give Niall a call. Apparently it's his birthday today."

I froze, my eyes widening. September thirteenth. Today, was Niall's birthday. I had forgotten. I battled with myself, wondering if I should call him. No, I wouldn't. I couldn't. What was I supposed to say, anyways? "Happy birthday! I'm going to leave now before we argue!" ?
Um, no.

"So, Aria, Harry told me about your issue with your dad." Amber dragged, playing with her fingers. I narrowed my eyes at her.

"Yeah. What's it to you?"

"I just," she paused. "I kind of had the same problem with my dad. He hated me, but I think you should talk to him. You know, I talked to him, and things turned out great. We’re a lot better now.”

I restrained myself from rolling my eyes.

“I just can’t do that, Amber. My situation is way too dangerous.”

She nodded. “I totally understand that. I felt the same way. I felt really terrified of him, like I couldn't even come near him. But seriously, if you get your dad to calm down and listen to you, things might be okay.”

I stared suspiciously at her, but considered it. She might be right. Just maybe.

“Trust me, even though I know you don’t. When Harry told me, I knew how you felt instantly. We may not know each other, but I’m here if you want to talk about it.”

I sighed, appreciating her concern. “Thank you, Amber. I’ll talk to you when I need to.”

Wow, that sounded a lot nicer in my head.

“Well, I’m gonna go now,” she said.

“Alright. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Yeah, “ she smiled. “Can I get your number? Maybe we could text.”

“Sure.” We exchanged phones numbers and then she left.

Amber seemed like a nice person. It actually seemed like she cared about what I was going through, and wanted to help. Not the way Liam would, but in a more, distant way. Like she wanted to give me tips. I definitely wanted to get to know her better in the future.

I set my phone on the bed and went into Liam’s room. He was playing that video game that Danielle said he was obsessed with. He barely looked up when I walked in.

“Today is Niall’s birthday.” I stated simply. I saw him bite his lip and pause the game, turning to me.

“I’m called him to wish him happy birthday.” He confessed. “He seems terrible. His voice was all croaky, like he had been crying. He told me it was the worst birthday ever.”

I bit the inside of my cheek, staring at him.

“I forgot.” I told Liam, sitting down on his bed.

“Niall told me he couldn’t even eat his birthday cake. He said he refused to even have a party.”

Geez. Was Liam trying to make me feel guilty?

“I don’t know if I should call. I’m still mad at him.”

Think of it like this,” Liam sighed. “If it was your birthday, would he still call you.”

Yeah. He probably would.

I gave a shrug, staring at the floor.

“You do whatever you’re comfortable with. I understand if you don’t want to talk to him, anyone would understand. What you two went through isn't something easy to forgive, so either way, I’m not going to judge you.”

I sucked In his words, and walked out of the room, headed back into mine, grabbed my phone and sent Niall a short text, before I could chicken out. He responded within seconds.

Me: Happy birthday. I almost forgot. Whoops…
Niall: No problem. Thank you.
Well, that was the end of that conversation. But then my phone vibrated again.

Niall: did you really forget?
I gulped.

Me: I honestly did. Sorry.
Niall: It’s cool. Bye the way, I have been watching my back. Took your advice.
Me: Good.
I turned my phone off before the conversation could get any longer. Just a message from him made my heart flutter and my head spin. Just a message. Which meant I may pass out if I actually called him. That’s when I looked up and saw Liam leaning against the door frame.

He smiled.

“Good choice.”

He turned around and left.

I shuddered and raised the sleeve of Niall's hoodie up. The scars from my cuts were prominent, and then I decided, why not add some more? My arm already looked bad anyway.

I grabbed a razor and went to the bathroom.


Niall’s P.O.V.

I couldn't believe Aria had even texted me a birthday wish. I figured she would just ignore it and pretend like it hadn't happened. Instead, she had admitted to forgetting my birthday, and still called. Then I realized something. If she had forgotten my birthday, she must have been around or contacted someone who knew it was my birthday.

One step closer.

I sat on my bed with the door closed, my heart throbbing. I missed her so much. I couldn't even spare one minute of thought without her colliding in. She was my thoughts, my words, my everything. I wondered if it was the same for her. I wondered if she couldn't get me out of her head.

Gregg walked into my room without knocking, holding a piece of my birthday cake in his hand.

“Niall, you cannot let a stupid girl ruin your day.” He sighed. “Just smile and eat the damn cake. Mum is very disappointed.”

“She isn't a stupid girl,” I sneered, feeling infuriated. “I’m the stupid boy.”

Gregg groaned quietly and sat down.

“Look, I know you’re heart broken right now. I know that you feel terrible and helpless and all that other shit, but can you keep yourself together for one day? For goodness sake Niall, it’s your twentieth birthday. Smile for once. I haven’t seem you smile in a whole week.”

“I haven’t smiled since Aria left, and I don’t think I will until she’s back.”

“Come on. Just today. Live a little.”

He pat my knee and left.

I fiddled with my phone, reading over my conversation with Aria over and over again. At the top of the phone screen, a notification of a new message appeared. I looked at the sender’s name, seeing it was Liam.

Liam: don’t ask, and don’t tell her I told you. Ari has your hoodie.
Me: the blue one? I was looking for it.
Liam: yeah. She really misses you. A lot.
Me: She still seems mad. I don’t think she’s even going to forgive me for what I said.
Liam: She talks to me sometimes. She wants to forgive you. Just not yet.
Me: Okay. How do you know this? That she has my hoodie? That she wants to forgive me? Is she with you.
Liam: No. But we Skype a lot.
Me: Oh. Do you know where she is? I’m worried about her.
Liam: Sorry, Ni. I don’t know. Gotta go. Happy birthday, mate.
It’s was definitely not a happy birthday. Not at all.

I stared at my phone, and decided Gregg was right. I did need to live a little.

And so I went to a club.

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