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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4. Nothing More

A week later.

 

Aria’s P.O.V.

Liam lightly grabbed me by the wrist, my large blue eyes staring clueless at him.

“Where the hell are you taking me, Payne?”

“Trust me. “ was all he said, pulling me up some stairs that seemed to be leading higher into the hotel. I took deep breath, wondering where this lunatic could be leading me.

Then, Liam pushed a beige painted door open and suddenly, I was staring out at the prettiest sunset I’d ever seen to my own eyes. The sun was just above to horizon, the sky mixing with purple, orange and blue.

“Wow.” I gasped, tugging out of Liam’s grasp and heading over to the railing of the hotel balcony.

“I know, it is amazing.” Liam said, coming up behind me. He put a hand on my shoulder squeezing it gently. Liam had become like my brother over the past week. We hadn’t had any real heart to heart talks, but sometimes he just sat there in my hotel room and comforted me, especially when I had breakdowns of my dad.

“Hey, Ari?” Liam started, using the nickname all the boys had given me. They apparently didn’t have the energy to add in the “a” in “Aria”.

“Yeah?” I responded, as I sat down on the concrete floor of the balcony. Liam mimicked my actions sitting down beside me.

“Would you…would you mind telling me about your family?” he asked carefully, like he was wondering if what he was saying was going to earn his a punch or a slap. I forced a smile. Liam had taken care of me the most, comforted me the most, and encouraged me to keep on moving. Even though I’d only known him for a mere week, I felt like he should be one of the few to know what my past life was like.

“Okay.” I started, already feeling the aching in my throat when tears were about to come rushing out. We turned to face each other, his chocolate brown eyes gazing into mine.

“Well, my family wasn’t the happiest, most perfect family you’d ever find, you know,” I began.

Liam nodded for me to go on. “When I was four, my parents got divorced after my dad had beat her for several years. She didn’t want to leave him until I was old enough to understand what my life would become. After my mom left, my older sister,” I paused at the mentioning of my sister, tears blocking my throat, “my older sister, whose name was Scarlett, well, she um, she… she made wrong decisions. She was 16 when I was four, always coming home late and getting shouted at by my dad. She drank, and she smoked, slept with at least a million guys. Then one day, when I was about 6, my dad gets a phone call saying she’s been in a car crash.”

I was sobbing now, wiping away tears as quickly as possible. Liam’s eyebrows were pressed together, his lips in a straight tight line.

“Anyways, it was just my dad and I then. He of course, had always been drinking. Punching walls at midnight and shouting curse words at thin air.” I said, closing my eyes for a second to take in some air.

“One day, I was only six, I asked him if he was mental because he shouted at nothing. He got really mad and…and…” I stopped talking completely, tears running down my face. I didn’t bother to wipe them away, instead covering my face with my hands.

“He beat me. Every week from then on, he’d find at least one day to beat me, and then lock me in my room to die.”

My fists were clenched, white from the pressure. I felt Liam snake his arm around my waist, pulling me into his side.

“I…I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry you ever had a father like that. He doesn’t deserve a beautiful daughter like you.” Liam whispered, resting his chin on my head and holding me tightly.

“I hate my life.” I sobbed, soaking his shirt. “I hate myself.”

Liam took himself from me, staring straight into my eyes. “Do not say that, Aria. not. That was the past. You have a future ahead of you, something new to sculpt. You can’t spend your whole life, moping about your past, expecting a good future. I know, it’s hard to forget all that, judging by the detail you just gave me, but there are better things in life. I know that for a fact. Find those things and hang onto them, pursue them. I know there’s a fighter inside of you.”

I blinked at him, taking in Liam and his wise words. “Remind me to always come to you when I need advice.”

“Don’t you do that already?” he laughed, smiling at me.

I groaned. “That makes me sound needy.”

“No. It makes you sound smart. Someone smart wouldn’t keep all that inside them forever. Getting it all out makes you feel much lighter. Don’t you think?"

I thought for a second, taking a deep breath. In fact, I did feel better. A lot actually. Never had I ever told all that stuff to. “Yeah. I feel much better, Liam. Seriously.”

“Told you so.” He sang, grinning adorably. We were silent for a second, but it didn’t last long.

“You know one other thing I don’t know about you?”

“What?” I asked, hoping it wouldn’t be more on my past. I’d said enough.

“Your last name. And your age.” Liam answered to my relief. I sighed, giggling a little.

“My full name is Aria Mirabelle Lubianco and I’m eighteen.” I answered, blushing when Liam’s eyebrows went up at the sound of my surname.

“That’s a really cool last name.” he laughed, “Mine’s just boring old ‘Payne’.”

“But it describes what you are.” I joked, elbowing him lightly in the ribs. Liam rolled his eyes.
“I am not a pain. If anyone is a pain, It’s Niall.” He grinned, messing around with the words. At the mention of Niall, I ducked my head to cover a blush. Niall was the one out of the boys who had appealed to me the most besides Liam. He didn’t care much about his looks, but he was still a sweetheart. Plus, he was gorgeous. One night before, we’d been watching Tarzan 2. I had looked at Niall’s eyes when they were aimed at the TV screen, and by God, they were they most perfect eye color I’d ever seen. I loved his immature Irish accent that always seemed to cheer me up.

“Earth to Ari.”

“Huh,” I sat up straighter, brushing off my shirt. “Huh?”

Liam chuckled, a smirk plastered on his face. “Do you want it?”

“Want what?” I asked embarrassed, knowing I’d just spaced out at the thought of Niall.

Liam chuckled once more. “Do you want the makeup artist job?”

I was so confused. Note to self: never daydream around a talking person. They could be saying something useful. I slowly squeaked out, “What makeup job?”

Liam let out a loud laugh his time, his eyes crinkling up while he laughed. “You seriously zoned out, didn’t you? I was saying that if you wanted to hang around with us more, I asked Paul to let you be an makeup artist, the assistant of Lou Teasdale. Lou won't make you do much, but it'll be a great way for you to stick around.”

“Oh,” I dragged, still blushing. I began to think about the offer. I honestly did love makeup. I styling hair. Plus, if I took this job, I’d get to spend more time around the boys and get to know them better. “Sure. I’ll take it.” I answered with a smile.

“Alright. Just saying, it won’t be for long. We’ve only got three shows left. One here, one in Sydney, and another in Paris. But hey, at least that’s like, three weeks.”

I nodded in agreement. We were silent again, staring out at the now deepened sunset. Then, Liam cellphone rang. Liam looked down at the caller ID, a smile taking over his face. He looked back to me.

“Sorry, Ari. I need to take this. It’s my girlfriend.” Liam explained standing up and pressing the answer button.

“Go ahead.” I smiled, also getting up. “I’m going to head back in.”

Liam nodded and started the conversation on the phone, “Hi, Danni.”

With that, I turned and opened the door to exit the balcony, flying down the stairs and into the hallway.

His girlfriend? He’d never mentioned a girlfriend to me. Wow, I felt loved. I’d literally poured out my whole life story to him and he hadn’t told me about his girlfriend.

I went straight for the boys room and knocked on the door. No one answered. I knocked again, tapping my foot impatiently. When no one opened the door, I turned to go for my hotel room. Suddenly the door burst open.

“Ari!” Niall whisper-shouted. “Sorry I didn’t answer sooner. Come in.”

I gave him an odd look, walking back towards him and the room. “Why are we whispering?” I whispered, smirking a bit. His gorgeous blue eyes twinkled.

“Zayn’s asleep. He needed his beauty rest.” Niall laughed quietly, closing the door behind us.
“Where’s Liam?”

“Oh, he had to talk to his girlfriend. He’ll be back in a bit.”

“Alright. So what do you want to do?”

I got a wave of mischievousness washed over me. “How about we put toothpaste on Zayn?” I suggested, rubbing my hands together.

“Bad little Ari.” Niall laughed, shaking his head. “But no. When Zayn sleeps, he likes to be kept undisturbed whatsoever.”

I groaned playfully, sitting on a high stool at the counter of the mini kitchen. Niall sat down in the one next to mine.

“Liam offered me a job as a makeup artist for you guys.” I started, trying to start a conversation.

“Yeah. Liam and the other guys were talking about it the other night. It’ll be an easy way to keep you around longer.” Niall said, drumming his fingers lightly on the counter. My eyes flickered down to his perfect pink lips, that seemed longing for a kiss. I shook my head. I needed to snap out of it. Right. Now. I looked at Niall, who seemed to be staring off into space too. I wish our conversations were more like mine and Liam’s, where nothing felt awkward. I cleared my throat, capturing Niall’s attention.

“So…”

“Sooo…” Niall repeated my words, dragging out the “so” a little longer.

“When are we leaving California for Sydney?” I asked, trying desperately to keep a conversation going.

“We got one concert to do here. We’re leaving for Sydney in three days. Our show here is tomorrow.” Niall explained, keep his eyes locked on mine. The way his eyes shone perfectly in the mild sunlight made them look like the ocean mixed with turquoise food coloring. Little specks of gold were scattered along the dark rims, his long eyelashes complementing the whole view. I could literally write an entire book on Niall’s beautiful eyes.

When I exited La-La land, Niall seemed to be snapping his fingers in my face, a funny expression on his face.

"Are you alright, Ari?”

I nodded quickly, tucking some hair behind my ear. “Yup.” I replied way too cheerfully. “I’m going to go take a nap.” I said, standing up.

“Alright. Tell me if you need anything.” Niall called as I exited the boys room. As I entered my room, shutting the door, I convinced myself that I had no feelings for Niall, at all. I just thought he was…gorgeous. Nothing more.

I plopped down onto my bed, staring up at the ceiling.

Plus, I wasn’t one to fall for guys. I had close friendships with a lot of boys, but I never had feelings for any of them. Besides, the two guys I’d dated, had also broken my heart and left me alone. None of them truly loved me. I never truly loved them. Sometimes I wondered what if felt like to be loved, or to be in love. It sounded like it was the best feeling in the world, according to others.

I wanted to feel that for myself.



Niall’s P.O.V.

I watched as Aria slipped through the small opening of the door, heading towards her room. She shut the door, and she was gone.

Her long, beautiful blonde hair, fell past her shoulders, reaching down to her mid-back. She had a little bounce in her walk, like she was walking on clouds. I thought about how she’d just dazed off, staring into my eyes. Truth was, I was staring back at hers. Her eyes were the most amazing things in the world. As hard as it was the give a decent description of them, I could think of a good explanation. They twinkled a deep yet light blue, with a little green outlining the cornea. They looked like two blue fireworks, bursting into various shades of blue. One word:

Perfect.

I shook the lingering thought away, angry at myself. What was I thinking?

I had no feelings for Aria, at all.

I just thought she was… gorgeous.

Nothing more.

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