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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6. Getting To Know Her

“Aria! Get up!” someone yelled into my ear, shaking my shoulders gently. I groaned, squeezing my eyes shut eye tighter.

“Ari! Seriously, all staff needs to be at the meeting today.” Liam’s voice sounding very fatherly. I shot up in bed, resting on my elbows to keep my sleepy body up.

“No one told me about a meeting.” I scolded in my rough morning voice. I swear, as soon as my mouth opened, Liam bit his lip to hold back a laugh. My morning voice wasn’t exactly the most attractive thing in the world. I felt my cheeks burning, more than I had wanted.

“Uh, well, we’ve got one in an hour. Get a shower and hurry. We’ll be waiting in our room.” Liam chuckled, planting the lightest kiss on my cheek before leaving my room. These boys never failed to make me want to melt into a mini ocean.

I sighed happily and got out of bed, a bit nervous about the meeting taking over. It would be my first time formally meeting anyone who worked for the band, besides Lou. I hoped they would like me as much as I would want them to.

After showering, I started to dig through my suitcase, looking for something cute to wear. I needed to make a good first impression on all these people who may be helping decide whether I got to keep my job. I decided on a white solid color collared shirt, along with denim shorts and silver 2 inch heels. I then headed back into the bathroom and took my makeup bag along with me. I applied light eyeliner and mascara, deciding to lay off on the eye shadow. I then added some light pink blush to my cheeks, making myself look more awake than I was. Honestly, I felt like a zombie. I started to mess with my hair, trying to figure out something to do with it. It ended up down, in its natural messy waves. I took one last look in the mirror before grabbing m phone and purse, heading to the boys room.

I knocked on the closed door, hearing thumps and thuds coming from inside. “I’ll get it!” of who I assumed was Zayn, screamed. Sure enough, not a moment later, the perfect tanned boy band member greeted me at the door.

“Hey Ari-…. Wow you look amazing,” Zayn smiled, looking me up and down. Once again, I felt myself blushing.

“Thanks. You look good, too.” I replied, licking my lip gloss covered lips. I scanned his let black hair down to his dark blue jeans and green high-tops. I then realized we were standing awkwardly at the door with no conversation.

“Um, can I come in?” I giggled shyly, looking past Zayn into their room. Apparently, my day of cleaning hadn’t been worth it, because it was messy all over again.

“Oh, yeah.” Zayn laughed letting me in. I put a lop-sided smile on my face and entered the room.

“You can sit down. The other guys will be out soon.”

I nodded, sitting down on the sofa. Zayn pulled out a chair and sat down at the dining table, drumming his perfect fingers on the table. He wasn’t looking at me, like he was purposely avoiding contact. I shrugged to myself, pulling my phone out from my purse. I started playing Temple Run on my phone, the one game I was obsessed with. It was pretty stupid actually, trying to beat your own high score on making a man run.

I found alot of things stupid.

“Hey Ari!” said an Irish accent that filled the room. I paused my game and looked up to see Niall standing there with a gorgeous smile on his face.

“Hey Niall. You look great.” I smiled, standing up. He was wearing a white polo shirt and khakis, along with black and blue sneakers. Simple but cute. Niall immediately took me into a Horan hug, squeezing me tight.

“You look even better, though.” He whispered, setting me down. I looked down to hide the blush that came out every so often now a days, giving his a soft Thank you. I glanced over at Zayn who seemed to be staring at us with a run-down look. When he saw me looking at him, he quickly covered it up with a smile. Harry, Louis and Liam filed out of the bedroom, their faces lighting up when they saw me standing there. I quickly gave them each a hug ,telling them they looked great, and received the compliment.

“Ready to go?” Liam asked, mainly looking at me. I nodded.

“Alright. The driver is waiting outside.”

We all headed outside to the van waiting for us. I sat in between Zayn and Niall while facing Liam, Louis and Harry. The ride was mostly silent, with each of the boys on their phones. I stared outside the window, the bright Californian sun peering through the glass. We would be leaving this place tomorrow. Maybe for quite a while. I was oaky with that, though. I wouldn’t miss the bullies, or my father, or the loneliness that was no more since the boys came along. My eyes still stung from having to wake up so early. I shut my eyes and rested my head against the headrest.
 

“Ari, wake up, love.” Someone whispered into my ear. My eyes shot open at the sudden noise. My face was less than an inch away from Zayn’s. I held my breath, waiting for him to move. He did, very quickly, too.

“Uhmm…” he mumbled, scooting further away from me, “Everyone else went into the studio. I came to get you.” I felt embarrassed, partly because I was not a pretty sleeper.

“Oh. Okay.”

I slid out of the car, grabbing my purse along with me. Zayn got out other me, closing the door behind us. He lead me into the studio, knocking on the door labeled, “Conference Room.” I felt my heart beating faster and faster as a familiar blonde lady opened the door.

“Aria! Great to see you again!” Lou cheered, giving me a quick hug. I said hell ot her and Zayn quickly pulled me into the conference room. There talking in there died down almost instantly, and everyone’s eyes were on me. I scanned the large table. At the end of the table, a man with brown/gray hair watched me intently, a tight smile of his face.

Simon Cowell.

Oh my god. He was here? What? No. But…he was.

“Everyone, this is Aria Lubianco. “ Zayn broke the silence, gesturing to me. “Aria, this is everybody.”

I smiled wearily, feeling the need to pass out. “Hi everybody.”

“My god, Ari. Speak louder, will you?” Louis shouted from across the room, adding a wink. I rolled my eyes, feeling a little more confident.

“Hi everyone. I’m Aria Lubianco. The assistant stylist.” I said with a stronger voice, making eye contact with Simon. To my surprise, he smiled, a real smile, one he almost always failed to show on X-Factor or American Idol.

“Well, it’s great to have you on the team, Aria.” Simon, said standing up. He began to walk towards me. Oh god, Simon was approaching me. Breath, Ari. Breath. He stuck out his hand formally, the smile still on his face. “Simon Cowell.”

I silently took a deep breath, shaking his hand. “I’m Aria Lubianco. Nice to meet you.” Simon nodded before going back to his seat. Slowly, others started to stand up, walking over to greet me. I met the producers and the sound guys, the famous Paul, and some other people who helped with production.

We sat down and talked about the boys next performance in Australia. Simon brought up some stuff about the boys being guest stars on the X-Factor 2014. I kind of just sat there awkwardly, listening in on the boys plans for the upcoming months. I eventually excused myself from the meeting, which earned me a curios look from Daddy Liam. I just gave him a smile and walked through the door, shutting it quietly behind me. The halls of the studio were empty. I spotted a water fountain and walked towards it, suddenly feeling the need to drink something. As I bent down, I heard the bathroom door opening, and quickly looked up again. A boy with brown hair a chocolate brown eyes like Liam, stared wide-eyed back at me. His lips were quivering.

“Please don’t hurt me.” He almost whimpered, slowly backing up into the boys restroom. I gave him the “wtf” look, still staring at him, blinking constantly. He was cute, with the perfectly chubby cheeks and perfect teeth. We had a rather awkward stare down for thirty seconds, when the guy finally let of a breath.

“How did you manage to get in here? Hasn’t a security guard found you?” he asked carefully, approaching me.

“Uh, why would a security guard want me out of here?”

“Who wouldn’t want a loose fan running around the studio. You could get into trouble, love.” The guys said, rubbing his neck. I looked at him for a second, then burst out laughing.

“You think I’m a fan?” I continued laughing. The boy squinted his eyes at me, like he was skeptical.

“You aren’t?”

“No. I’m the assistant stylist for the boys. Liam told me I had to come to the meeting but it’s really boring so I came to get a drink of water.”

“Oh.” The guy bit his lip, holding out his right hand. “In that case, I’m Josh Devine, the boys drummer.”

“Aria Lubianco.” I smiled, shaking his warm hand.

“Well, if you don’t want to go back to that meeting, you can come with me. I’m going to go practice the drums.” Josh offered. I tossed around my two options of either going with Josh to watch him play drums, or listen to a boring meeting about the guys plans.

“Sure, why not?”

Josh led me around the area, eventually pushing open a door to a sound proof room. It was a huge instrument room, instruments of all sorts. IN the very corner was an expensive looking drum set, with the One Direction logo on the main drum. Josh walked over to it and sat down on the stool, grabbing a pair of drumsticks.

“Okay. I’m just going to practice a few base rhythms and stuff. Might get a little boring, though.”
With that he began to pound the drumsticks on the drums with so much ease, perfect timing and so much passion. You could easily tell he loved drumming by the way he shut his eyes closed, letting his hands do the work. His free foot tapped the ground according to the beat. He seemed to be drumming the base to “What Makes You Beautiful.” I watched in silence as he played more and more songs, all from the album. Though, it wasn’t long before there was a knock on the door. Josh stopped playing and shouted, “Coming!”

Josh jogged to the door, opening it to come face to face with Harry.

“Hey Josh. We’re looking for a girl named Aria. Blonde hair, blue eyes, you seen her?” Harry said to Josh.

Josh turned around and opened the door more so Harry could peer inside. When he saw me sitting on the chair, he smirked.

“Were you two being naughty?”

Josh turned around from me to Harry with large eyes, blushing very hard. I was sure blushing too.

“No!” we both yelled in unison, as I got up and walked to the door.

“I should get going Josh. See you soon.” I said quickly, giving him a small wave before pushing past Harry into the hallway. I felt Harry following behind me, gaining on my footsteps.

“So, you escaped the meeting, and then you let Josh kidnap you.” Harry laughed, throwing an arm around my shoulder. I hoped he was doing that in a friendly action.

“Yeah, he seems nice.”

“He is a great guy. Very funny, too.” Harry agreed, leading me back into the meeting room. Once again, everyone stared silently when I entered. The next thing I knew, everyone was laughing…at me?

“You’re not the first to have escaped a meeting.” Simon boomed from the other end of the room, a smirk plastered on his face. I blushed, biting my lip. I panned the room, my eyes landing on Zayn. He wiggled his eyebrows, smiling big enough to show his perfect teeth. I rolled my eyes.

“Okay, everybody is dismissed. Good luck in Australia, boys.” Simon announced, scooting his chair out and exiting the room, holding a coffee cup in his hand. The other producers and what not filed out slowly, too. Louis approached me, squeezing my shoulder.

“Way to make a good impression on Uncle Si, Ari.” He smirked, that familiar mischievous look in his eyes. I blushed, shrugging spontaneously.

“It was boring!” I complained, trying to defend myself. Louis just laughed, brushing past me.

“Come on. We’re going out for lunch.” Liam said from behind me, causing me to jump.

“Don’t do that.” I whined, giggling at the end. Liam shot me a look and grabbed my wrist loosely, leading me out of the room. I could hear Zayn, Niall and Harry talking behind me. They seemed to be laughing. I shook the thought away that they might be talking about me and let Liam take me to the van. We all got in, and eventually ended up sitting at a reserved table at Frisco’s’ Mexican House.

“Sooo…” Liam mumbled, trying to break the silence.

Niall coughed and put his phone away, looking up at everyone. Zayn seemed to be checking his reflection on the glass table while Harry picked at the corners of the tablecloth. Geez, were these boys always this awkward around each other? They all seemed so tight and uncomfortable.

Or maybe it was just because I was here…

The waiter came up to our table and handed each of us our ordered drinks, then asked what we were going to order.

“Beef and bean burrito with refried beans on the side.” Zayn answered, smiling politely at the waiter.

“I’ll take two tacos, large please.” Harry continued, also smiling at the waiter. Liam and Louis both orders a fajita mix to share, and then came Niall.

“Hello sir.” Niall started rubbing his hands together as he stared down at the menu. “I’ll take two burrito’s, a small fajita mix, one medium sized quesadilla, two bowls of the Spanish rice and beans, a cheese enchilada and ship corn chips with the tomato hot salsa.”

The waiter blinked at him a few times, apologizing then making Niall repeat everything all over again, this time, writing everything down as fast as possible. Niall happily restated his long order. As for me, I stared at him in shock. How was that puny kid going to eat so much as stay so fit. The food he had just ordered was enough to last me half a week.

I looked at Niall, trying to not burst out laughing. He seemed completely serious with ordering so much food. I wondered how that little boy ate so much. Then the waiter looked at me.

“And for you, miss?”

I looked down at my menu, trying to decide what I wanted to eat. “The small fajita mix, please.”

The waiter nodded, jotting something down on the paper, then walking off. As soon as the waiter was gone, I shot Niall a shocked look.

“How on earth can you eat so much?”

Niall, along with the rest of the boys smirked. “Once, he ate three whole family sized bags on chips in one hour.” Louis said, that quirky smile lingered on his face. I couldn’t tell whether he was joking or not.

“You don’t know of my capabilities, Ari.” Niall laughed, causing me to hold my breath.

Whenever Niall laughed, it was the sweetest sound ever that would make you burst into giggles as well. Which is why I was holding my breath.

“So Ari, if you had been at the meeting,” Zayn began, “We’ll be flying to Australia tomorrow. We have six free days there along with two days on concerts.”

I blushed, knowing I had skipped pretty much the entire meeting. “And what happens in Paris?”

“In Paris, since it’s our last show area, We have two week there with 2 days of shows.” Said Harry. I nodded, showing I understood. I glanced over at Liam who had his head down on the table his arms bent around him.

“Liam, you okay?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows. His head shot up, staring back at me.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bit tired is all.” He smiled wearily, rubbing his eyes. I gave him a skeptical look, but the dropped the idea.

“So, Ari, can you tell us a bit about yourself?” Niall asked, smiling shyly. I gulped, a smile plastered on my face.

“I guess.” I began, “My full name’s Aria Lubianco. I’m 18 years old. I’m originally from California. I have…had a sister. My parents are divorced…” I stopped. I remembered the conversation I had with Liam up on the roof. He looked over at me. He seemed to be giving me a sympathetic look, biting his lip. “You can stop.” He mouthed from across the table. I lightly shook my head and kept going, deciding I’d skip the parts about my family.

“I really like cooking. I had a cat named Fluffles, but he died from some disease. I’m a huge fan of Coldplay. My favorite song is Viva la Vida. My favorite color would have to be red. I hate roses, especially if they’re roses from a guy. One thing I could not possibly live without is chocolate. I must have chocolate. I have a huge fear of airplane take offs and all other heights, except roofs,” again I glanced at Liam. “I have always wanted a brother and now…I have five of em.”

“You like red!” Zayn squealed like a girl. I shot him a look.

“Poor cat.” I heard Harry mumbled to himself.

“She likes Coldplay!” Niall yelled jumping up. “Remind me to take you to a concert someday. I’m a huge fan of them, too.” I laughed, grinning down at the table.

“You can’t live without chocolate?” Liam asked me. I shook my head vigorously. “Neither can I!” Liam laughed, winking at me.

“That’s s cool. Shes’ like, one part of each of us.” Louis cried out, wiping away a fake tear. “You are officially accepted as our family.”

I giggled, looking down to hide my ridiculous face.

I felt nice to know I was accepted.

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