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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62. Going In Circles

I woke up in Niall’s arms, and decided I would go back to sleep. After all, why not sleep when you have the chance? But of course, I didn’t really go to sleep. As soon as I closed my eyes, I remembered last night, and how amazing it had been. As I replayed last night in my head, I felt Niall wrap his arms tighter around my bare waist, his legs entangling with mine.

“Good morning, princess.” He said, against my shoulder. I turned around to face him and smiled, though I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

“Morning, Nialler.” I smiled, trying so discreetly to cover my body with the sheets. He noticed, giving me a sly smile.

“You’re beautiful.” He said. “Don’t try and cover it up.”

“Whoops,” I giggled. “Too late.”

He shook his head, hugging me to his chest. “Why don’t you go shower, and I’ll make breakfast?”

“Pancakes.” I grinned. “I want pancakes.”

“What about Harry and Amber?” Niall asked. “What do you think they’ll like?”

I had almost forgotten they were in this very house as well. “Pancakes,” I laughed. “They will like pancakes.”

“You’re just saying that because you want pancakes.”

“So?”

Niall chuckled, kissing my cheek before tossing his legs over the side of the bed, sitting up. His back muscles flexed as he pulled on his boxers and slipped on a shirt before blowing me a kiss and skipping out of the room.

I smiled at his weirdness and searched around for my underwear, then made a beeline for the bathroom.

After a nice, warm shower, I changed into one of Niall’s shirts and my usual sweats, braiding my hair to the side. When I went down to the kitchen, Harry and Amber were already at the table, Niall’s back to me, turned towards the stove. Amber saw me and smiled, but I motioned for her to be quiet. I crept up behind Niall and began tickling his sides. He cringed and squealed, higher than I ever had, and dropped the spoon, turning around in shock.

“Oh my god.”

I fell on the floor laughing, wishing someone could’ve videotaped that. “I didn’t know you were ticklish.” I smirked, rubbing my hands together. “This is a new beginning.”

“And now, I’m scared.” Niall said, glaring at me with a slow grin before turning back around to flip a pancake over.

Not long after, Niall brought a plate full of pancakes to the table and sat down beside me. Harry and I grabbed the pancake on top, seeing each other.

“Ladies first, Harry.” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. I would do anything for my pancake.

“But you’re not a lady.” He smirked, tugging the pancake out of my hand. Niall gasped and kicked Harry under the table playfully. I grabbed the second pancake. Amber and Niall grabbed a few as well, and we began eating our breakfast in silence. Breakfast with Harry and Amber wasn’t normally quiet, but today said otherwise.

Finally, Harry spoke up.

“You two are loud.”

My eyes widened, and I blushed, looking at Niall from the corner of my eye. His face mirrored mine. Niall coughed on his food, sipping down a glass of orange juice.

“Seriously, when I got home last night, I heard some unpleasant noises.” Amber continued. Oh how much did I want to wipe that pretty little smile of her face.

“Okay. You can shut up now, Amber.” I muttered, glaring at her. She giggled, chewing on her pancake. Harry was stifling a laugh as well.

After a very awkward breakfast, I went back up to Niall’s bedroom, declaring some alone time, and sat on his bed, staring at my phone. I thought about the call I had received just over a week ago, and wondered what I Was going to do. One thing was for sure. I couldn’t stay here much longer. My very presence was putting Niall in danger, and there was no way I would ever live knowing I could do something to keep him safe. But where would I go? I couldn’t go to one of the guys; they may start being threatened as well. But I didn’t have any relatives, and I had no clue where my mother was. My choice was the streets, or to go back home. Face my father. If he was still there of course.

Or maybe I could get some money from my trust fund and move somewhere else.

Yes.

Half an hour of intense planning on a notebook later, two strong hands grabbed me from behind. I screamed in shock, wriggling out of the firm grip, turning around to slap my attacker.

“Hey, girlfriend!” Niall shouted happily in a horrible Texan accent.

“What the hell? Are you fucking mental? I could’ve slapped the shit out of you a second ago!” I shouted at him. We started intently at each other for a few seconds before he burst out laughing. When you hear Niall laugh, it’s hard not to laugh along.

He sat on the bed beside me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders, his eyes falling to the notebook on my bed. I gulped and quickly flipped it over.

“What’s that?” he asked, motioning to the notebook. He reached out to turn it over but I slapped his hand away.

“No!”

Niall looked at me curiously. “What? Is that a diary or something?”

“Uhm,” I stammered. “Yeah. I would rather you not read that contents of it.”

“Sorry,” he blushed, taking his arms off of me. He looked down, like he was debating with himself on something, then looked back up again.

“So, I was wondering if…” he trailed off.

“If what?”

“If you want to go back to Ireland for a bit after recording. I normally go around the end of November and stay until January.”

I froze. If I went back to Ireland, my creepy stalker might follow me and eventually get Niall’s family involved. No. I couldn’t let that happen. They had so much to lose, so many loved ones. They had people who cared. I didn’t. I could give my life. I would give my life. But how was I supposed to reject Niall?

“Um, see,” I tried to make some excuse off the top of my head. “I have these, relatives.”

“Relatives?” Niall repeated, his eyebrows raised. “You never mentioned them to me before.”

“Yeah sorry.” I shrugged quickly. “ Anyways, they want me to come down to uh, New York, for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Niall narrowed his eyes at me. “I’m going to pretend that I don’t see you darting your eyes everywhere but at me, and the fact that your face is very red.”

“Yeah, uh. That’s because my…cousins, bring back some embarrassing memories.” I lied, hoping he would buy it.

“Oh.” He smiled. “You’re cousins. What are their names?”

I blurted out the first two names at the top of my head. “Lani and Jay.”

“And are they on your mom’s side or your dad’s side?”

“Why are you interrogating me? You sound like you’re from the FBI.” I pouted suddenly, trying to change the topic. I knew that if I kept letting him ask questions, I’d run out of answers or he’d catch a problem in my answers.

“Obviously because I totally want to meet your cousins sometime.” He smirked. “I need to ask them all about these embarrassing memories that have your face going so red.”

“Yeah. They love telling stories about me. Their life goal is to embarrass me to death.” I laughed, playing along. Hey, this wasn’t so bad.

“Can I come with?” he asked quickly, looking hopeful. Oh, shit.

“Erm, It’s more of a family gathering sort of thing.”

“Oh,” Niall nodded slowly, never taking his eyes off mine. “A family gathering. From Thanksgiving all the way until Christmas. Makes sense. Your cousins’ house must be big.”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It is. They’re like, rich.”

“Uh huh.” Niall continued to nod slowly, his eyes narrowing slightly. Then he looked down at my closed notebook. “So, what’s in there?”

“I don’t know” I shot back. “What’s in your diary?”

“Well you read it already.” He snorted, and then a devilish grin spread across his lips. “Since you got to read my diary, I think I should get to read yours.”

“Nuh uh.” I said, shaking my head, about to jump off the bed. But before I could get far, Niall grabbed my ankle lightly and took the diary out of my hand.

“Niall! Don’t!”

He raced out of the room with my note book in his hand, me stumbling behind him. Soon, I lost him. Damn his large and confusing apartment.

“Niall! You don’t understand!” I shouted, hoping that wherever he was, he would hear me. “You can’t read it!”

After ten minutes of trying to find him, I realized I was walking in circles, so I just slid down against the wall and buried my head in my hands. Now, he was going to see everything. He was going to know what day I planned to leave unannounced, what time my flight would be, where I would be going, and possible jobs I would want to apply for.

“What the hell is this?” Niall’s voice hissed, him walking out of the bathroom. Wow. I had checked everywhere but the bathroom. “Are you trying to leave or something?”

I looked up at him, and was scared by his expression. He looked furious, angry, and hurt. Very hurt.

“Niall, just let me explain-“

“No.” he said, throwing my notebook to my ground. “I think this says enough.”

I stood up, tears developing at the pit of my throat. “No.” I argued, grabbing his wrists. “Remember the last time we fought? Do you remember why? Do you? It was because you never let me explain. You always jump to conclusions and never look at the details.” My lips quivered. “So please, will you let me explain?”

Niall still looked extremely mad, and he pushed my hands off his wrists.

“Fine.” He said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Tell me.”

I took a deep breath and leaned against the wall. “Ever since… look. Since the messages began threatening you, I knew that with every day that we were together, you were getting less safe. I can’t stay here anymore, Niall. I just can’t. I’m risking your life, and that’s also why I can’t go to Ireland with you. Your family is too special, to beautiful, to be torn apart by whoever this is. So yes. I am going to leave. I have to. I need to. Before this situation gets out of hand.”

I could literally see the steam pouring out of Niall’s ears.

“You can’t just run away. Why don’t you at least wait-“

“I did.” I said, cutting him off. “I waited, maybe too long. I have to leave now.”

This time, it was Niall who grabbed my wrists, pressing me against the wall, but now his expression was changing. Desperation flashed across his face. “You can’t leave.” He begged. “I can’t let you go. I won’t let you leave. It’s too dangerous. And if you’re going to leave, then I’m going with you. You mean too much to me. I just…I just can’t.”

I placed a hand on his chest, pushing him away gently. “Yes. You can. You have to.”

“I won’t let you go.” He protested, shaking his head. “I won’t.”

I looked down at the floor, tears developing in my eyes. “Then I guess I’m going to have to let you go.” I whispered, almost inaudible. But Niall heard.

“No.” he said immediately. “No, please. Please Aria. Don’t do this.”

“I don’t want to,” I cried, “but I just can’t let you-“

“By doing this, your killing me.” He shuddered, a tear slipping down his cheek. “You can’t do this. We can’t just-“

“I might be killing your heart, breaking it, but if I don’t leave, you may truly be killed, life and all.”
Niall held my hands in his, gripping them like if he let go, I would die. “Aria. Please. Please don’t leave me. We – we were doing so well, and everything was fine, and I just, I just love you too much. Please.”

I shook my head, and it was clear that was both of us were sobbing now.

“We need to break up.” I whispered, hiccupping as I cried. “It’s for the best.”

“Ari, please!” Niall exclaimed, gripping my waist. “You can’t do this to me. You can’t do this to us.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I love you. I love you for god’s sake! And you’re the first girl I have ever truly loved. And you’re leaving me to chase down some psychotic person? No!”

“Niall.” I shivered. “Niall, let go.”

He dropped his hands, still shaking his head in disbelief. “Aria, please don’t do this. I do want to keep going in circles. Can we just talk it out? I-“ he hiccupped slightly. “I need you.”

I set a hand on his shoulder and looked his right in the eye.

“You are going to be glad I left.”

I left him out there in the hall, to cry, and let it sink in what had just happened. And I walked away, hoping I wouldn’t regret this later.

And now I needed a new plan as well.

What I didn't know is that someone had been watching and listening.

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