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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15. Hello Paris

“Niall, where are my jeans?!” I yelled, frantically stuffing my clothes into my suitcase.

“I don’t know! Look in the drawers!” he yelled from the bathroom, walking out with all his toiletries.

“Crap.” I muttered, forgetting that I needed space for my toiletries as well. I shoved my clothes to the corners on the suitcase, trying to make space for my shampoo and such. I ran into the toilet, grabbing my toothbrush and shower caps into my left hand, taking my shampoo and conditioner into my right. I walked back into the room and stuffed them into my suitcase, I looked at the other stuff on my bed. Dammit. I still need to fit in that towel of mine somewhere.

But I couldn’t. So I put of my best puppy eyes and turned to Niall, sticking my bottom lip out.

“You are strange.” He said, glancing at me before zipping up his suitcase.

“Wait! Do you um, have space im your luggage?” I asked, staring at his bag. Niall laughed that beautiful contagious laugh and took my towel from me. He unzipped his bag and put it in, still closing it without any trouble.

“Remind me never to procrastinate on packing again.” I breathed out, collapsing onto the floor. Niall grinned,

“Well I reminded you last night, but you decided to fall asleep.” Niall smirked. “By the way, you snore.”

I rolled my eyes, turning away so he wouldn’t see my deep blushing.

“You’re blushing.” He snorted, followed by laughter.

“How’d you know that?” I demanded, turning around. I watched as Niall’s eyes softened. He bit his lip, which I found rather attractive.

“Because, whenever you blush, you always look down or look away, like you think I don’t know.” He said with a hushed tone, a smile playing on his lips. “But I know.”

Once again, I blushed, but I didn’t bother to turn away. Because he knew.

“Well, uh, is everything done?” I asked, my voice squeaking at the end. Niall dusted his hands as if something dirty was on it. He panned the room, and then looked at me, nodding.

“Think so.”

“Then I say we chill.” I made my way to the bed, pouncing onto the soft plushness. Niall fell into bed beside me, tucking his hands behind head.

“So, we should have a heart to heart talk.” Niall began, looking at the ceiling.

“Alright,” I said slowly, “What is your biggest fear? And it can’t be vague.”

Niall thought for a moment, and then a troubled look took his smile away. “I’m scared of…of rejection. I’ve always been scared of it, ever since I realized that I was the least liked one in the band. There are always at least five girls, five girls who come up and ask me to not be in a picture during a meet-and-greet. There are always fans and concerts saying they hate me and stuff. I’ve always been rejected by girls, too. Ya know, when I like them. So…well… yeah.”

I felt genuinely sympathetic for him. “Wow.” I exhaled, watching Niall’s eyes turn a deep blue.

“Your turn.” He said, almost grimacing. I already knew my answer.

“Well, there are two major things I’m scared of. One is obviously my dad, and whether he’ll try to attack me again,” I sucked in a breath, ”and well, I’m scared of love. I mean, I’m obviously not one of those girls who shield ever guy out of her life, and if someone likes her, pretty much kills him, but I guess I’ve just been hurt a lot. And I don’t even know what it truly feels like to be IN love. I don’t think anyone in my life has ever loved me, especially not my parents, so ya know, it kind of sucks. I just want to know what it really feels like, but almost every guy I’ve dated has either cheated on me, dumped me because they got bored with me, or completely forgotten about me. So now I kind of, I don’t know, I just wonder whether I’m meant to be forever alone sometimes.” I said, laughing little. “I don’t want to have my heart broken again.” And these last words were softer.

I searched Niall’s eyes for a response, realizing I had just told him something I hadn’t even told Liam. But, Liam wouldn’t understand. He would try to give me advice or something, which would make me a little fidgety. But what Niall did, what he said, made me so glad to have him.

“I know five guys who love you. Especially one.’” Niall whispered against my skin, not touching it, but very close.

“Who?”

“Harry, Liam, Zayn and Louis. But most of all, me. We all love you, so much Aria. And I know you may not believe it, but it’s true.” Niall said, hugging me tightly. He squeezed me, as if he never wanted to let go, and I never wanted to either.

“You should also know that we’re here for you, and all of us will gladly help you out. You can talk to any of us, and you can trust us. Alright?”

Though I was still very skeptical about being around Louis, I nodded. “Alright.”

We were quiet, and I was enjoying Niall’s warm body holding mine. Then I decided to say something about his view.

“How do you handle it?” I asked quietly, wishing I could lean in and kiss his perfect lips.

“I don’t.” he said plainly, avoiding my gaze. “I cry a lot, especially after meet-and-greets where girls say they would rather not have me interfere. I try to look happy, but I’m not. I die inside.”
I gulped, watching as, slowly, Niall’s eyes sparkled with tears. I grabbed onto his hand, squeezing it tight.

“You don’t need to take that to heart. They don’t mean anything.” I said firmly, trying to get him to look at me, but he wouldn’t.

“I know, Aria. But I can’t control it. Their words just affect me so quickly.” Niall whimpered, wiping away a tear. I felt like crying when I saw Niall crying. He looked so delicate, like a glass vase on the verge of breaking.

“Come on, Niall. They’re just jealous. They don’t really hate you, they just-“

“Yes they do, Aria,” Niall snapped, cutting me off. “They do hate me.”

“Well then you just have to remember that the people, who matter more, don’t hate you. The people who love you more, like your fans, and the boys, and me, we don’t hate you. We love you.”

“Yeah, I know.” He mumbled, staring at me. I stared back at him. Had I ever mentioned how easily I got lost in his eyes? How they drew me in so quickly? I found myself leaning in slowly, and he was too. It was like how we had almost kissed earlier. Only I seemed more confident now.

“We should-“ Niall interrupted, which followed by me pulling away, “We should, go see how the others are doing.”

“Yeah, sure.” I forced a smile onto my face and followed Niall as he rushed out of our room, leaving the door open for me. He was going into Zayn and Liam’s room, so I followed. Liam and Zayn were calmly sitting on their bed, watching television, the total opposite of what mine and Niall’s morning had been like.

“Hey guys.” Niall said with his usual upbeat attitude. Zayn and Liam looked away from the TV.

“Hey Niall.” They said in unison. Zayn then glanced at me.

“Hey dancer girl.” He winked, causing me to blush.

“What’dya mean, dancer girl?” Liam asked, sitting up straighter.

“Aria, here is a dancer, Liam.” Zayn said, poking Liam’s sides. Liam looked back at me curiously.

“Are you, Aria?” he asked, his chocolate brown eyes staring back at me. I could feel bright blue ones on me as well.

“Yeah.” I mumbled, blushing deeply.

“And she’s quite amazing at it, too.” Zayn added, shooting me another wink.

“Wait, how’d you know that?” Niall asked Zayn, looking back and forth between Zayn and I.

“Well, the other day I was trying to dance and Aria kind of walked in on me and rubbed it in my face how good of a dancer she was.” Zayn joked, touching his gelled up hair.

“So, you can dance as well?” Niall asked, turning to me looking impressed. “Wow. A singer, a dancer, what’s next?”

“Wait, you can sing?” Liam piped up, a half smile of my face. My eye’s widened, and I glared at Niall.

“No, Niall’s just being-“

“Yes. She can.” Niall interrupted, and if I could. I would’ve killed him right then.

Liam asked the one question I knew he would ask. “Can you sing for us?”

“No.” I said, crossing my arms, giving Niall a death stare. He looked away, obviously embarrassed.

“Please?” Zayn begged, falling off the bed and getting on his knees.

“No.” I repeated, turning my back to the boys. I covered my face in my hands.

“Guys, don’t push her.” Niall mumbled finally, meeting my gaze. Though I should’ve been mad at him, I shot him a thankful smile.

Liam cleared his throat, switching off the TV. “So, you guys done packing?”

At this, Niall and I had to laugh, giving each other knowing looks. “Actually, we decided to procrastinate and ended up screaming at each other.” Niall laughed, but it was mostly Ari screaming.” He added quickly.

“Was not!” I yelled in protest “You were louder!”

“Actually I believe Niall when he says you were the one screaming most.” Liam winced, covering his ears. Zayn chuckled along with Liam.

“But we managed to get everything packed.” Niall finished, giving me a sad smile, indicating our little “heart to heart” talk from earlier. Just as we all fell into another silence, a loud knock was applied to the door.

Niall got it, opening it to see Harry with his cellphone in his hand.

“The driver just called. He’s waiting outside and says that the front doors are clear or paparazzi so we best leave now before anyone decides to sneak up on us.” He explained quickly, shooting me a flashing smile. I rolled my eyes, walking up to the door.

“Hey, Harold. Long time no talk, eh?”

“We’ll catch up later, Ari.” He winked before turning back to his room. Niall frowned from beside me, looking confused.

“Do you like him?” he asked, a hint of amusement in his voice. I smirked, mentally laughing at Niall’s stupidness.

“He is the last guy I would ever fall in love with.” I said before heading back to my room, to grab my suitcases. I could hear footsteps behind me, meaning Niall was following. We grabbed out bags and I slipped my hoodie on, hooking my sunglasses to my belt loop. Niall was putting his hoodie on as well, doing something on his phone before putting it away.

"I'm going to kill you for telling them I can sing." I threatened. Niall just laughed, making sure all his bags were closed.

"I'm going to miss Australia," I sighed, running my fingers through my hair. Niall smiled, his braces making his smile so much more adorable.

“Goodbye Australia,” Niall started, glancing back at me.

“Hello Paris,” I finished, laughing along with him as we headed to the van.




Niall’s P.O.V.

The flight was long. It was boring, despite sitting by Aria. She slept most of the flight, quiet. No mumbling, no frowning. Just light breaths and smiling. She was so beautiful.

I took a sip of my apple juice, when I saw the flight attendant coming to wake people up for the landing. Thirty minutes away from Paris, the city of love.

I wonder what potential I would have there.

I shook Aria’s shoulder lightly, waking her up before the attendant got to her. She mumbled, swatting my hand away.

“Ari, were almost in Paris.” I whispered, and she shot up, quickly covering up her tired face with a huge smile.

“Oh my god! We’re here?” she squealed, looking out the windows. Poor girl only saw the clouds. I laughed at her cuteness.

“No love, but in thirty minutes we will be.”

She groaned, sitting back in her seat. “How long was I asleep?”

“Almost the whole flight. You missed breakfast.” I informed, making her groan again.

“But I need my food.” She moaned, smirking a little at the end.

“Too bad.”

 


“Oh my god, this is going to be amazing!” Aria squealed as we walked through the airport. She was obviously overly excited. I glanced around feeling a bit odd as many of the people here were brunettes, while Aria and I stuck out as blondes.

“How long do we get to stay here?” she asked me, gripping my arm loosely.

“Three and a half weeks, since it’s our last tour destination.” I answered, trying to keep up with talking to Aria and following the other boys through the crowd of people.

“Liam, wait up!” I yelled, trying to get him to slow down. The other boys trailed quickly behind him, but Aria was holding me back. She tended to slow down while she talked. Liam couldn’t hear me, and I was about to lose sight of the boys. I could just barely spot Liam’s spike hair.

“Aria, come on!” I yelled, grabbing her hand.

At first Aria looked hurt, but she quickly frowned. “Sorry, I’m holding you back. I’m so sorry.” She said. Together we began to run, gripping tightly onto one another’s hands, hoping we wouldn’t lose each other in the crowd. I finally found my way, spotting the familiar curls.

“Harry!” I yelled, thankfully getting his attention. “Tell Liam to slow down!”

Harry nodded, shaking Liam’s shoulder. Liam turned around, stopping the other boys from walking as well. People rushed passed us, and them, filing into the lines to departure.

“Sorry, mate.” Liam apologized when we caught up to him. Aria was out of breath, her cheeks flushed.

“You alright?” I asked, looking into her eyes. She nodded, breathing fast.

“Yeah, but I think I’ve just realized how un-fit I am.” She laughed. I grinned, following Liam and the others to the security check. We stepped into line with Zayn and Harry behind us. Then I realized Aria and I were still holding hands. I glanced quickly at her, but she didn’t seem to notice, so I didn’t let go. It just felt so natural, so right, to be holding her hand.

“Next time, wait for everyone.” I snapped jokingly and Liam, who rubbed his neck.

“Sorry.” He blushed, shooting me an apologetic look. I smiled back.

Aria still seemed to be catching her breath, her grip on my hand tightening.

“Are you sure your okay?” I asked, fully concerned. Her face hadn’t gained much color after running.

“Y-yeah. I’m…fine.” She inhaled and exhaled, refusing to meet my eyes. I had a feeling she wasn’t telling the truth but I decided to drop it.

After waiting for about fifteen minutes, it was finally our turn to go through security. After so, we made our way to the taxi area, looking for our van. Sure enough, there was a small crowed of girls searching for us, holding posters and other One Direction accessories.

I sighed as we made there way to them, letting go off Aria’s hand. I didn’t look back at her, moving towards the girls. But for some reason, I got the feeling she felt terrified. The other boys followed setting their suitcases down by Aria.

“Be right back, love!” Harry shouted to Aria as we approached the girls. They were screaming perverted stuff that made me incredibly uncomfortable. I quickly scratched my signature down on some posters and other merchandise before Paul arrived from where ever our van was, moving the girls out of the way.

“We got to hurry. Grab your stuff and follow me!” he shouted over the noise. The boys and I ran back to Aria who was holding our stuff, taking it from her.

“Let’s go.” I said to her, grabbing her wrist lightly and pulling her towards Paul. Paul led all of us to the black van, dumping our suitcases into the back. We climbed into the van, shutting the doors as quickly as possible. The girls were following us, and Paul shouted at the driver to go. I laughed lightly at how dramatic Paul made everything .Then again, I didn’t want to get killed.

Aria sat beside me, closest to the window, staring out at the crowd of girls.

“You’ve got quite the fans.” She chuckled lightly, looking at each of us. Harry and Zayn laughed, along, not really saying anything otherwise.

Aria looked a bit shaken up by the fans and such, taking deep, shaky breaths beside me. At first I thought she was still shocked, but then I realized what she was staring at as we drove.

It was the Eifel Tower.

It was so much bigger and brighter than I had ever imagined, and now I knew why Aria had been so excited. The other boys were staring out at it too. Once we were far enough away from the airport, Liam rolled the window down and snapped a few pictures with his phone.

“It’s beautiful.” Aria whispered, her eyes glued to the tower. I wish she looked at me like that.

“It is.” I replied, but of course, I wasn’t talking about the Eifel Tower. I was talking about her.

“Okay, boys,” Paul loudly interrupted, “Management and I were thinking about how you all will be in Paris for a while. So, we’ve decided to rent out a small bungalow to stay in.” he announced. I sighed in relief. I liked it when we stayed in bungalows. We didn’t have to be so quiet, or travel up elevators every time we wanted to get to our rooms.

“It’s quite massive actually,” Paul continued, “so I don’t think you all would mind sharing it for a month?”

“Not a problem, Paul.” Liam smiled, giving Paul a pat on the back.

“As long as a get a room with Louis.” Harry declared, Louis agreeing quickly.

“Well, there’s two bedrooms, one that can fit two and one that can fit three, so if one of you wouldn’t mind sleeping on the sofa in the living room, that would be quite good.” Paul reasoned, looking at us.

“I’ll sleep alone.” Aria volunteered after so long of being quiet. Paul almost looked surprised, but quickly agreed.

“Okay, thank you Aria.” Paul smiled kindly at her before going quiet again.

“Hey, you sure you want to sleep alone? We could switch.” I offered, feeling kind of bad that she wouldn’t be getting a real bed. Aria shook her head, giving me a small smile.

“No it’s fine.” Aria said, placing a hand on my knee, “I think I’ll survive.”

But with her father and his capabilities, I grew more doubtful by the second.

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