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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57. Gossip Girl

Niall’s P.O.V.

“Wanna go for another round?” Harry asked, tossing his controlled back and forth between his hands. I groaned.

“No. Let’s just talk.”

Harry shot me a look. “What has Aria done to you?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m just kidding.” Harry chuckled. “So how has life with Aria been?”

“Fine. As cheesy as it seems, she really is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Harry pouted. “Not even me? And the band?”

“Fine. She’s one of the best things that have ever happened to me.” I sighed. Harry gave me a satisfied grin.

“Have you told each other the big three?” Harry questioned, waggling his eyebrows.

“What?”

“ ‘I love you’, you dumbass. Have you told each other that you love each other?”

I blushed, hesitating before giving Harry a slow nod.

“Aww,” Harry grinned, reaching for me and pulling me into his chest in a light head lock.
“Nialler’s blushing.”

“Shut u,” I grumbled, though I couldn’t stop a proud smile from reaching my lips. Harry laughed, staring off for a split second.

“It seems our girlfriends are getting along well.” Harry chirped happily.

“Yes. Yes they are.” I agreed, thinking about how much time Aria and Amber must have spent together, getting ready for their night at the club. I honestly did not feel good letting Aria go out dressed the way she was. She was already stunning in jeans and an old shirt, so in that dress, she looked uncontrollably fit. Still, I decided I would trust her, and trust any other person not to get their hands on her.

“I think Amber really wants to get to know Aria. I mean, Amber and I didn’t really talk much about Aria until after she came back from London, but she was really excited to meet her when I told her we were staying with you guys while recording was in progress.”

“Wait, she was in London?”

Harry snorted. “Thing is, she came to London on like October twenty seventh to do some modeling photo shoot, and I told her she could just stay at a hotel until I came and we could come to your flat together, but she insisted on coming back to Cheshire and then flying to London with me. Something about ‘staying by my side’.”

“No offense,” I smirked, “but that’s dumb. It’s a waste of money, buying the tickets, and a waste of time. Aria and I would’ve let her stay with us earlier.”

“Wait, are you and Aria living together?”

I nodded, a bit sheepishly. Harry smirked.

“I can think of some primary reasons.”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. Harry raised an eyebrow, his signature smirk plastered on his lips.

“You guys haven’t done it?”

I just laughed. “A real man never tells.”

“Right.”

The startling sound of my phone vibrating against the coffee table made Harry and I flinch. I reached over and grabbed it, the sender I.D. displaying “Aria.”

Aria: look what I received just about an hour ago. This is insane. Now I’m on a friggin countdown. >>> Fwd: “Mom”: Did you get the note? Choose. You have fifteen days. And the clock starts now.

I gulped.

“You okay, mate?” Harry asked. “You look a little pale.”

“F-fine.” I assured, more to myself than to Harry. “Everything is going to be fine.”

Harry looked skeptically at me, and then at my phone screen. I turned the phone away so he couldn’t see, and quickly typed back a response.

Me: I know I can’t tell you everything is going to be fine but for now, just stay with Amber. Don’t walk around alone and don’t talk to creepy strangers. Okay? I love you.

Aria must have been waiting for me to respond because almost as soon as I had sent the message, she answered.

Aria: Liam, Zayn, Louis and Eleanor are here. Amber ran off before I could stop her. I have no clue where she is now, but I think I’m safe around three guys and a girl willing to punch someone, anyone, in the face. :) I love you too.

Me: Great! Tell them I say hi, and stay around them. Have funnnn

Aria: Gotcha. I’m gonna go now. See you soon. Byee. Xxx

“It’s Aria, isn’t it?” Harry finally announced with a cheeky smile.

“Yeah.” I nodded, looking up at him. “How did you know?”

“Cause’, your eyes just kind of fazed over, and you started biting your lip, and grinning like an idiot even though you were just typing a simple message. Plus, every time she replied, your eyes lit up and you can’t stop your foot from tapping. You normally only tap your foot when your urgently waiting for something.”

I looked down.

I was indeed, tapping my foot.

Looking back at Harry, I set my phone down. “Don’t you feel happier when you’re talking to Amber?”

Harry shrugged. “Kind of, I guess. But I just really like her. You really love Aria, though. Don’t you.”

“Yeah.” I admitted. “I really do.”




Aria’s P.O.V.

Ugh. Where the hell was Amber? I set my empty glass down, struggling to get up. Maybe I shouldn’t have drunk so much. My vision my anything but clear, but clear enough to the point where I could see shapes of people.

“Woah, there.” a voice said, setting my back down in my chair. “I really shouldn’t have let you drink so much.” I recognized the friendly, gentle voice and strong arms to be Liam’s.

“Where’s Am-berrrr?” I slurred.

“Amber?” he questioned. “Oh, Harry’s girlfriend, you mean?”

I managed a nod. “I think I want to goo hoo-omme.”

Liam laughed, his voice ringing through my ears. “I not letting you drive home like this. You could end up hurting yourself.”

I frowned, scoffing stubbornly. “ I’m not a baby. I ca-an gooo home myselfff. Amber was going to take us homeee anywayyss.”

“If you, innocent little Aria are this drunk, just imagine how drunk Amber must be. I’ll take you home instead.”

“You don’t know where Ni-allll lives.”

Liam chuckled. “Yes. I do actually. Come on.”

He picked me up bridal style while my head spun. I felt like I was floating as Liam carried me through the crowd, pushing away drunk girls who tried to cling onto him.

He carried me outside, and then set me down on the ground, holding my arm firmly. The streets were empty, and there was an eerie silence. My vision became slightly more blurred, but I managed to catch a glimpse of a figure standing by a very familiar car. As Liam helped me into his car, I kept my eyes on the figure, who seemed to be holding something to their ear. A phone.

Why did the person’s outfit seem so familiar? I shook my head.

I was officially hallucinating.

Before Liam had even started the car, I had closed my eyes and rested my head on the head of the chair, sleep taking over my body instantly.
 

I woke up with a massive headache. I could barely let out a groan without it feeling like a stab going through my head. Stupid hangovers.

“Good morning, princess.” Niall greeted quietly, walking in with a donut on a plate in one hand and a glass of water and Advil in the other. Don’t you wish your boyfriend was perfect like mine?

“Morning.” I managed, eyeing the donut. I was extremely hungry and craving something sugary.

Niall grinned and handed me the donut, which I devoured in seconds. He chuckled and handed me some Advil, along with the glass of water, which he declared would help with my head ache.

“I’m guessing you had fun last night?” He assumed, sitting down at the edge of the bed. He reached down and stroked my hair soothingly.

I smiled, remembering how Louis and I shouted crazy things to no one and how Zayn and I filled us up with endless shots. I remembered how Eleanor had crashed, and Louis claimed she was exhausted from studying so much for her finals.

“Yeah.” I answered. “I did have fun.”

“Well that’s good.” Niall grinned his usual grin, setting the glass of water down on the table.
I looked down randomly and noticed I was wearing one of Niall’s shirts, and my Nike shorts. I looked up at Niall and gave him a sly smile.

“So, who changed me last night?”

Niall’s face turned red almost instantly and he let out a nervous chuckle. He raised a hand. “Guilty.” He quickly added, “I looked at the most minimal amount I could, but it was kind of hard because you kept falling asleep on my shoulder.”

Damn, was that boy blushing or what?

“It’s okay.” I shrugged. “As long as you didn’t try anything.”

“I swear I didn’t.” he promised quickly, his blue eyes extremely bright. I smirked and rubbed my eyes, then flipped around so my back was faced up, my face in the pillow.

“Do you know why Amber drove herself home alone, and drunk, last night?”

I looked up. “I was looking for her, I think. But I don’t remember how I got here…”

“Oh. Liam brought you home.” Niall explained quickly. I nodded, slightly remembering the part where Liam had refused to let me drive home with someone who was also drunk like I had been.

“How did Amber know to leave without me?”

“Liam texted her from your phone and told her he had you covered.”

Seemed like this boy knew what he was saying. I would now drop the subject.

“How did your time with Harry go?”

Niall smiled. “Good. We talked.”

“Just talked?” I smirked. “Like gossip girls?”

Niall nodded jokingly. “Exactly like gossip girls.” He made this weird face in which he puckered his lips and widened his eyes, pressing his thumb and pointer finger together the way prissy girls do.

“Diva.” I mumbled, shoving my face back into the pillow.

“I’m watching Ted. Can you shower and then come watch it with me?” Niall pleaded, pulling my leg like a little kid. I rolled my eyes.

“Fine. Just quit touching me.”

“Yay!” Niall squealed and ran out of the room. He must have tripped somehow, because suddenly I heard a loud thud, followed by an “Oof.”

I pulled myself out of bed and rushed to the door and see Niall rolling on the floor, clutching his shoulder.

“You’re such an idiot.” I sighed, trying not to giggle. Sorry. His face looked funny.

“You’re mean. Can you get some ice for me?” he begged, and I felt a little guilty for wanting to laugh at him.

“Yeah. Just stay put.”

I shuffled down the long set of stairs and made my way into the kitchen. A back was turned to me, and I realized it was Amber.

“Hey, Amber.” I said. She turned around, holding a sharp knife in her hand.

“Hello, Aria.”

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