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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30. Fine By Me

Aria’s P.O.V.

Niall’s and I had our flight departure first, while the other boys were leaving for home afterward. We all stood at the airport, getting ready to split of the each of our own waiting areas. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. I tried so hard not to let them fall, because crying was something I hated.

I stepped towards Liam, whose lips were quivering slightly. He took me into his arms, giving me a long hug.

“I’ll miss you Aria. Keep in touch. Text, call, Facetime, Skype, anything. Promise?”

“Promise.” I whispered weakly, moving on to Zayn.

“Aria!” he squeaked, pressing his lips to my forehead. “Why are you leaving me?” he sobbed, squeezing me tightly.

“I-I’m sorry. I’ll miss you so much, Zayn.” I stammered. He nodded, pecking my cheek before letting me go.

“Aye Ari!” Louis cheered, his happy old self. But deep down, in those normally turquoise blue eyes, they were dark and weakening. He bit his lip, pulling my face to his and peppering kisses all over my face. I pulled away giggling through tears which were a mixture of happy and sad.

“You are annoying, but I am never gonna forget you, Lou.” I grinned, kissing his cheek. He smiled and gave me a warm hug, pushing me towards Harry.

Harry stood awkwardly with a troubled look on his face.

“Things haven’t been the smoothest with us, have they?” I began with a shaky voice. He shrugged, looking down.

“Hey, chin up. I’ll still miss your dirty mind.” I giggled softly, giving him a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me back.

“Gonna miss you too, Ari.” He whispered, planting a sloppy kiss on my cheek. I forced a smile onto my lips, the burning feeling growing in my throat from all the tears I was holding in. I turned towards Niall who was saying his goodbyes. Once we were finished, Niall and I turned our backs to the four other boys waving at us, heading towards the terminal. I shivered, teardrops splattering on the floor as we walked in silence.

“Aria, please don’t cry.” Niall gulped. “It hurts to see you cry.”

I took a shaky deep breath, clutching my hand luggage tightly as we walked. I felt Niall grab my free hand and lace our fingers together in that familiar, perfect way.

“We’ll see them again soon, I’m sure.” He encouraged, kissing my cheek as we walked. We got to our terminal just as our plane was being called.

“You’re going to love Ireland.”

 


The plane flight was more quiet than expected. We sat in first class seats, not really talking at all. I was still sad for leaving four of the five boys that had grown so much on me in just a little under two months. Niall was asleep for pretty much the whole flight, missing lunch and dinner. When he woke up, he was furied by this information.

“You should’ve woken me up.” He groaned. “I need my food.”

I just laughed, ruffling his already messed up hair. “You’re adorable.”

He rolled his eyes, still annoyed by missing two meals. He called up a flight attendant and managed to get both meals to him within ten minutes. The advantages of being a celebrity.
My phone vibrated with another text. This one was from “mom”.

“Mom” : Aria, I’m in trouble. I need you. Help me please.

Just like always, my heart beat unnaturally fast, sending my mind crazy. Maybe this time, I would answer. No. That wouldn’t be safe. Who knows who might have her phone now.

At that moment, I decided to flicker my eyes to Niall. He was looking at the text. He saw the text. When Niall saw me looking at him, he turned away abruptly, clearing his throat.

I didn’t want any questions to occur, so I kept silent.

The next time I woke up, it was the flight attendant telling me the plane would be landing in an hour. She woke Niall up as well.

“What the hell? Why do they wake us up a whole hour before the plane lands. Do they just not want us to get fifty nine minutes of extra sleep?” he groaned, rubbing his eyes like a baby. I laughed, checking my phone for any messages. I had two missed messages from Liam and one from Harry.

Liam: Hey, missing you already. I want my wittle sissy back.

Liam: How is the flight? I’m sitting next to this random old lady who keeps snoring in my face. Life is unpredictable. :P

I laughed at his texts, then sent him a message back.

Me: Flight is good. Still recovering from leaving you all. I miss you too and I hope to see you soon. Love ya big bro ;)

I then checked Harry’s text message.

Harry: Hey Ari. I’m really bored right now because the other boys have left and I’m still at the airport all alone. Haha. I’m really bored. Really really bored. Did you know bananas are yellow?
(Sent 4 hours ago)


Me: oh, are they? I didn’t know. :O

Slipping my phone back into my pocket, I saw Niall falling asleep again. Gosh, he was so cute. I pressed my lips to his, making him jump in his seat.

“I’m up! I’m up!” he exclaimed, looking around, alarmed.

“You are so weird.” I smirked, suppressing a laugh. He rolled his eyes, glancing at me.

Once we entered the airport, we were greeted by a few of Niall’s fans, who stalled us by about an hour so that he could sign every girls type of merchandise. He was sweet in that way. He didn’t want to miss anyone.

Once we got past security and grabbed our other luggage, we made our way to the waiting area. Niall had received a text from his older brother Gregg, that he, his wife and baby son were waiting for him. Niall was overjoyed by the fact that his nephew was here to greet him. He grabbed my hand tightly and rushed through the lobby, finally running into a brunette man.

“Gregg!” Niall yelled, dropping his bags and hugging his big brother. A lady stood beside Gregg, holding an adorable kid in his hands.

“Aye’ little man!” Niall grinned, turning from Gregg to the lady, taking the small child into his arms.

“Hey, he’s even hotter than me.” Niall gasped, holding the baby with one hand, resting the little boy on his hip.

I stood quietly, glancing at Gregg who smiled back. Gregg kicked Niall in the shin, motioning towards me. Niall looked at me for a second, before realizing what Gregg was talking about.

“Wow, I’m rude.” Niall snorted.

“Aria, this is my brother, Gregg. Gregg, this is my friend, Aria.” He introduced. Gregg and I shook hands.

“And Aria, this is my brother’s wife, Denise. Denise, this is Aria.” The said, gesturing to the woman beside Gregg.

“Wait, from what you told me about her, she seems to be more than a friend.” Gregg blurted out suddenly. Denise elbowed him.

I blushed instantly, looking down to cover my face. Niall let out an embarrassed laugh, still holding the baby in one hand while taking my hand with the other.

“You could say that.” He shrugged, winking at me.

“What’s the baby’s name?” I asked quietly, still a little shy.

“Oh. This is Noah.” Denise smiled, taking the child from Niall. Niall pouted, but quickly regained his maturity. Denise held Noah out to me. I was surprised. She actually trusted me?

Maybe I was being too tensed up. Maybe I just needed to chill.
 



Gregg hit the gas at full speed after the next stoplight, heading towards the street of Niall’s parent’s house. I couldn’t keep still. I was nervous. What if they didn’t like me? What if they didn’t approve? For god’s sake, I wasn’t even Niall’s girlfriend.

“Babe, you need to calm down.” Niall whispered, setting his hand on my thigh.

“I can’t help it. I’ve already been shunned enough in my life.” I shivered, whispering back. We were trying not to let Gregg hear anything we talked about, as he would turn it into a chance to tease us.

“Trust me. My parents are going to love you for sure.” He assured. I opened my mouth to protest, but he quickly pressed a finger to my lips.

“Shh.”

He kissed my lips quickly before Gregg could see us, taking my hand in his.

Gregg pulled up in the driveway of a cute and cozy looking home. I could see the bright yellow lights on inside, through the clear glass.

“Just be yourself, Aria.” Niall whispered one last time, getting out of the car. Gregg opened the car door for Denise as Niall did for me.

Leaving our bags in the car, Niall took my hand and squeezed it, then let it go gently.

We followed Gregg and Denise, who was carrying a sleeping Noah, to the front doorstep. Gregg turned around and winked at us before pushing the doorbell. Moments later, a short, blonde women opened the door.

“Niall! My baby!” she squealed, completely ignoring Gregg, Denise and I. She took him into his arms, kissing him all over his face. He didn’t look the least bit embarrassed which I found attractive. He loved his parents. I never did.

“I’ve missed ya, Mum.” He replied, wrapping his arms around her. Gregg cleared his throat, making Niall’s mom look up at me.

“Niall, I told you not to bring pretty girls home.” She teased, smiling up at me. Yes, she was shorter than me.

“You must be Aria,” she grinned. “Niall’s told me so much about you.”

I could see Niall squirming from the corner of my eye, obviously embarrassed now.

“Oh, does he now?” I giggled, shaking her hand. “He’s quite a gossip girl.”

“You bet. Call me Maura.” She laughed, patting my back gently before taking Noah into her arms and ushering us inside.

“Niall, feel free to give her a tour.” Maura called, heading towards the living room, cradling Noah in her arms. Once they were all out of sight, I let out a deep breath.

“See, was that hard?” Niall asked.

“Not, really. Your mom seems nice.” I said quietly, looking up at him. He smiled and leaned down, our lips connecting for a short kiss.

“Do we have to tell her about us?” I asked, feeling a bit nervous.

“Definitely not. We technically aren’t even a couple yet.” He smirked. I could see the uneasiness welling up in his eyes.

“Okay, then let’s wait. We’re only friends.” I concluded, winking at him before skipping to where the others had gone. I found Maura in the kitchen with a man I had not yet met. I noticed that they stood a good distance from each other, Niall’s mom looking almost uncomfortable. I had a feeling Gregg, Denise and Noah had gone to another guest room. Sucking up my guts, I walked into the kitchen.

“Hello.” I said quietly, batting my eyelashes at them. Just then, footsteps approached from behind me, a hand pressing against my waist.

“Mum, Dad, this is Aria.” Niall’s voice rang from behind me. I always went insane for his voice.
“I think we know that, Niall. You’ve told us enough to write about a whole book about her.” His, who I was assuming was his dad, rolled his eyes with a gentle laugh.

“Once again, I’m Maura, please don’t call me Mrs. Horan. It’s quite formal.” She laughed, shaking my hand again. The man stood up, walking towards me.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Bobby Horan, Niall’s father.” He boomed, shaking my hand tightly. I gave him a small smile, taking a second to scan his face. Niall had gotten his blue eyes, and his smile.

“So,” Maura cooed, “Are you two a thing?”

I immediately flashed Niall a distressed look, to which he coolly answered his mother,
“No, just friends.”

Maura and Bobby both rolled their eyes, smirks on their lips.

“Well, I should get going,” Bobby sighed, after a bit of silence. “Nice meeting you, Aria.”

He flashed a smile to Niall and I, then his face softened as he gave Maura a long stare.

“Goodbye, Maura. Take care of Niall for me?”

Maura pressed her lips together, nodding back.

“Of course, Bobby.”

I witnessed them awkwardly shaking hands before hugging quickly. Then Bobby left.

What was that?

I looked at Niall, who returned the “don’t ask, I’ll tell you later” look, then grinned at his mom.

“So, tomorrow, we should show Ari around, yeah?” Niall announced happily, putting a smile on Maura’s lips.

“Of course. But for now, you two should get some sleep. We can talk tomorrow, alright?” Maura answered, and I could tell that smile on her face was fake. But I didn’t say anything.

“Okay. Good night, mum.” Niall sighed, pecking his mother’s cheek before taking my hand.

“Let’s go.” He whispered calmly to me, leading me out of the kitchen and away from Maura.

“Niall, what was that?” I whispered as we walked up the stairs.

“My parents are divorced.” He sighed simply, his grip on my hand tightening.

“How come you never told me that?” I asked, as our feet hit the carpet of the second floor. He shrugged.

“It never came up.”

“Are they always so… uncomfortable around each other?” I questioned, as Niall led me into a room. I took a second to scan the surroundings. The room was painted a not light, but not dark blue. White furniture matched the blue and white bedspread. There was a large green and white Irish flag spread out of the wall which the bed was pushed against, with football, or soccer, symbols for the Irish team.

“Most of the time, yes.” He answered quietly, sinking into the mattress. I could see the pain in his eyes. I honestly thought he would have a perfect family, unlike mine. Maybe we were more similar than I realized.

“I’m… sorry for questioning you so much.” I sighed, sitting down beside him.

He shook his head gently, taking my hand and playing with my fingers. “It’s fine. Sometimes it just hurts to see them that way.”

Atleast you know who your mother is.

“Do you see your dad a lot?”

“No. I used to live with him, but after I got on to the X Factor, I started seeing my mum more.” He answered. His lips were trembling. I would stop with the questions, now.

“It’s hard.” He said quietly, letting go of my hand. “Sometimes I hear them arguing when my dad visits. They don’t know how much it hurts. One time, I was like, seven maybe, and I hear this terrible ranting going back and forth from downstairs. I know by then my mum is sobbing while my dad is probably just as stressed. I remember Gregg would try to comfort me, shut my ears so I couldn’t hear them, but that didn’t stop anything. I used to cry sometimes. Not a lot, because I hate crying.”

I really didn’t know what to say now, so instead I lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Niall did the same.

“I…I wish…” I sighed deeply. “I wish I knew who my mum was.”

Niall turned towards me, resting on his elbow. I could tell he was trying not to cry from what he had just poured out to me.

“She would’ve been proud of you, you know. Knowing that you been through stuff you don’t deserve, managing to walk away from that shit. She probably loves you.”

I shook my head. “If she loved me, she wouldn’t have left me.”

“She left your dad, not you, Aria. I bet she still thinks about you.”

I hesitated, thinking back to the texts I still received. I thought about the fact that I hadn’t deleted any of them. Maybe for evidence, but also they may have meant something to me.

“I miss my mom.”

“No one has a perfect life, Ari. It sucks, but you have to accept that.”

“Accepting stuff sucks.”

“Even accepting me?” Niall winked, rolling to hover over my body.

“Well that’s different.” I giggled, embarrassed to look into his eyes, which was almost impossible as his face was less than an inch away from mine.

“You’re different.” He spoke softly, clearing the strands of hair that covered my eye. “And I like that.”

My breath hitched as his lips brushed gently against mine, one of his hands twirling my hair. I love it when he did that.

“You know, Aria, I really, really like you.” He mumbled against my lips, not yet pressuring them. I smiled back, and nodded, indicating I felt the same towards him. “And you know that just looking at you can make me forget all my troubles.” He whispered, caressing my cheek with his thumb. I blushed, and with that, my eyes shut as Niall closed the gap between us. We lost each other in a deep kiss, nothing like what we had ever shared.

This kiss, it was full of pain, and desperation, something to hold on to. Yet still, every kiss, was so intoxicating. Niall pressed me against his bed, careful not to put all his weight on me, gingerly kissing my lips as if they would break any second.

“You don’t know what you do to me.” He whispered, flipping us over so that I was on top of him.

“Niall!”

There was a harsh knock on the door. Niall and I jumped apart immediately, my hands going up to fix my hair in a rush. He mimicked my actions, looking a bit alarmed.

“Come in.” he called, pretending to be calmly resting on the bed with me beside him.

Maura walked into Niall’s room with quite a few bags in her hand.

“Here are your bags.” She smiled, leaving them by Niall’s small white desk. He nodded in a appreciation.

“Thanks mum.” Niall grinned, blowing her a kiss. It was so adorable how much he cared for her.

“So, you two are sharing a bed?” Maura asked with a semi shocked expression. I couldn’t hide the blush that approached my face.

“I..If that’s alright…” Niall mumbled shyly, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Sure, sure. Be safe!” Maura winked, shutting the door behind her.

“Oh god, that was embarrassing.” I giggled, hiding my face in Niall’s chest. His hand went to my back, rubbing it gently.

“My mum is pretty chill. She trusts me. Especially because I’ve never, ever brought a girl to my room before, so when I do, she knows I’ve thought everything over.”

“Wait, you’ve never brought a girl to your room?”

Niall shook his head, smiling down at me.

“You’re the first, and that’s fine by me.”

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