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:


51. One In A Million

“Come on,” I groaned, tugging at the blindfold covering my eyes. “The fact that this is yet another surprise is bad enough. Why did you have to blind fold me?”

Niall laughed from beside me, grasping my hand gently. “I like making you mad. It’s cute.”

I wanted to smack him, but I was afraid if I tried, I may look like an idiot slapping the air.

“Besides,” Niall added, “we’re almost here.”

“Almost where?” I practically yelled. I could tell there were other people around the area, because I definitely heard voices.

“Shh. You’re attracting attention.”

“Well, if you take this blindfold off, I’ll shut up.”

“No,” Niall insisted, pulling my hand to turn as we walked. “Trust me. You’ll be glad I didn’t let you see this immediately. It’s better as a surprise.”

A rush of wind passed by, giving me the chills.

“You cold?”

“Nah.” I shrugged, holding my left hand out to make sure I wasn’t bumping into anything. I didn’t trust Niall, even if he was holding my other hand.

“Okay, okay, okay.” Niall hushed, untying the blindfold. I gasped in awe at what I saw. In contrast to the dark night sky, the huge, lit up Ferris wheel shone brightly.

“Woah.” I gasped, “It’s beautiful. The London Eye, right?”

Niall chuckled, nodding beside me. “Are you still mad?”

I shook my head in astonishment.

“Come on,” Niall laughed, intertwining our fingers together. “Let’s go.”

Minutes later, Niall was helping me onto a circular seating booth on the London Eye. The director of the ride closed the door, giving Niall a nod. The guy working the Ferris wheel cranked a bar on a machine device, causing our booth to move up so another group of people could get into the next booth. Slowly, the Ferris wheel began to move, gradually increasing the height between us and the ground. I went over to the window, which the booth was surrounded by, pressing my face against the glass to get a good view of the ground below us.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Niall asked softly, joining me at the window. He too pressed his face against the glass, one arm around my waist.

“This is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.” I gasped, slipping my phone out to take a picture.

“Nah. The most beautiful sight I’ve even seen is standing right next to me.” Niall admitted sheepishly. I pulled my gaze away from the scenery below, turning to Niall. He smiled, gently taking my waist and pulling me and close to him as he could. Silently, he twirled me around, making me giggle lightly. And then, when he pulled me back in, his eyes searching my face slowly, one hand rubbing my back, my mouth decided to be an idiot.

“You smell good.”

Niall pulled away in shocked laughter, stifling laughs as he watched me blush. He laughter drained when he saw me, not giggling along, hiding my face in embarrassment.

“Thanks.” He said, taking my hands away from my face, intertwining both my hands into both of his. “You smell good. Like strawberries and vanilla.”

I felt a smile teasing on my lips. “It’s my shampoo.”

“I figured,” he shrugged, looking at me curiously. “You’re weird.”

“I’m like, the queen of running moments.” I snorted. “Where’s my crown?”

Niall laughed. “You are one in a million, babe. One in a million.” Pulling me back into his chest, we watched as the scenery from our booth got wider and wider and we approached the top of the Ferris wheel. All the lights were glistening down below, and little specs which resembled people fled around. It seemed so peaceful, and so calming. Niall turned me around so the I was facing him. I reached up, and before he could duck, ruffled his hair.

He scowled for a second, but then a slow smile spread across his face and my own lips mimicked his. Stepping forward, he grabbed my face between his hands and planted his lips on mine.

I sighed happily as I smiled into the kiss, channeling all the excess emotions that had built up over the past few days. With the messages, and me only recently getting him back, his presence was a relief.

It was amazing how lost I could get when I kissed Niall, but it wasn’t so hard. From the way his hands firmly held me, as if he couldn’t get close enough. The way his fingertips lightly traced patterns into my skin, comforting me and letting me know I was safe in his arms. The way his tongue gently slipped between my lips and explored every inch of my mouth. The way he smiled into the kiss, as if our lips connecting was all he needed to be happy.

I knew at that moment, that it was all I needed, too. I could be in hell, but as long as I had Niall, I would be content.

We were both breathing heavily when we pulled apart. Niall smiled as he leaned his forehead against mine. “You’re my one in a million.”

“And you’re the only guy I know who can make cheesy quotes sound so sweet.” I answered back skillfully. Niall smirked.

“You really do know how to ruin moments, babe.”

“It’s a gift.” I shrugged, leaving him to ponder in thought as I headed back to the window glass, looking out at the view.

When we got back down to the ground, Niall acted all dramatic, kissing the grass and twirling around in it. I just watched him to the side, shaking my head as he made a fool of himself. But that was one thing about Niall that I loved. He didn’t care.

As we walked through the park, full of night life, I began to think.

Niall had kind of been my second Liam. He’d been there to comfort me, to make me feel wanted. He knew how to cheer me up and his smile could brighten up my entire day. The way he kissed me could make my heart explode. The way he held me in his arms, stroking my cheek and telling me everything was going to be okay.

Subtract the kissing, and I knew that Niall was my best friend. It was such a cliché concept, but it was coming true. Best friends had stupid fights where they really missed each other and made up after a very stupid apology. Best friends had each other’s back and comforted one another. Best friends could make you smile even when the entire world was frowning. Best friends could make you feel loved. And here’s the cliché concept that was coming true:

I was falling for my best friend.

Needless to say, Niall and the rest of the boys were my only friends, along with Danielle and Eleanor. But Even between Liam and Niall, Niall seemed to sense everything about me. He knew when I was lying, and could tell when I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. He knew when I just wanted to cuddle up in his arms and fall asleep, knowing someone was there for me.

I noticed the littlest things about Niall, too. How he bit his fingernails when he was nervous, how he always searched my face before he kissed me. How he hated it when I ruffled his soft hair. How he always tilted his head to the left when he kissed me. I had also noticed how he couldn’t stay mad at anyone for long, how he could never hold a grudge. And how cute it was when he nuzzled into the duvet when he slept.

“Hello?” Niall exclaimed, snapping me back to attention.

“Yeah, I’m here.” I replied, my teeth chattering from the cold weather. My lips were freezing, my nose numb. That’s when I felt it. A large drop of water hitting my nose. Followed by another. And another. Before we had walked even a full meter, rain was pouring down on us. Most people had left the park by now, and only a few couples and families were left.

I grinned, sticking out my tongue to catch a raindrop. The water caught on my eyelash and I blinked it away to see Niall shimmying his jacket off.

“Here,” he offered, raising his voice just a little so I could hear him over the rain.

“No,” I rejected, pushing the jacket back at him. “I’m fine.” Truth was, I was freezing.

“Just take it, Ari.” Niall laughed, a few strand of his hair drooping down onto his forehead. I paused for a second to take in just how beautiful he was, his eyelashes dark from the rainwater, and the sparkling blue eyes of his. AS the rain fell hard onto my clothes, I grabbed Niall’s jacket in defeat. He slid it onto me, pulling the hood over my head. I glared at him, and then pulled to hood back down.

“Geez, Niall. It’s cold and it’s raining.” I huffed. “Have some fun.”

“Aria,” he disagreed sternly, “I don’t want you to catch a cold.”

“Don’t be so pessimistic. Just because it’s cold and it’s raining doesn’t mean I’m going to get sick.”

“It means precisely that.” He argued, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Woah,” I smirked, “Since when did Niall Horan use big boy words?”

Before he could protest, I grabbed his hands and made him twirl me around, his hands just as cold is mine. I felt him loosen up, slowly agreeing to my wacky dance moves. Together, we danced in the rain, cold, and wet, and well, cold, and yet I felt happy and warm on the inside. Niall pulled me into his warm grasp, holding my chin up at the edge.

“You know what I’ve always wanted to do?” I asked suddenly, letting my arms fall around his neck. He shook his head, waiting for my response.

“I’ve always wanted to be kissed in the rain.”

Niall’s squeezed my waist gently, and like I had noticed so many times before, searched my face before crushing his lips to mine. I felt my feet leave the ground as Niall picked me up, spinning us around and around as we kissed. His warm lips felt nice against my cold ones, like pouring hot chocolate over ice. Once he set me back down, we pulled away, and the only part of my body that wasn’t freezing or numb was my lips.

“Your hair is so long.” Niall noticed, taking the longest wet clump of hair and twisting it with his finger. “I never noticed. Usually, it looks shorter because you’ve got these waves in it.”

It was true. My hair was very straight and long when wet, but it got wavy and slightly curly when it was dry.

“Thank you for noticing.” I smirked.

I was drenched, and part of my just wanted to hold onto Niall until the rain stopped. Not that I could tell, because it must’ve been around ten at night, but there would probably be dark clouds. The rain was hard, and didn’t look like it would be stopping any time soon.

“Aria, I swear, if you get sick-“

“I won’t get sick. Quit being a worrywart.”

“A worrywart?” he chuckled, raising his eyebrows. “Fine. Niall Horan is always wrong.” He grabbed my hand -and his hand was extremely warm-, pulling me towards the parking lot where his car awaited our drenched selves.

The next morning, I woke up, my throat feeling absolutely terrible. My nose was stuffy and my eyes were tearing up. I looked over to see Niall looking right back at me.

“What a beautiful morning.” He yawned, gesturing to the sun shining through his window. “Don’t you just feel amazing?”

I had the feeling he knew I would be sick.

“Oh, shut up.” I shot back, my voice extremely hoarse. Niall winced, opening his mouth to speak. I put my hand over his mouth.

“Don’t.” I sighed. “Don’t say I told you so.”

Niall’s face softened as he reached over, caressing my cheek. “I was going to tell you that you look beautiful, even when you’re feeling ill.”

I sighed, sinking into my pillow. Niall rolled on top of me, pressing his lips to my forehead. “I’ll go make you some breakfast, babe. Stay put.”

As he got off the bed and neared his bedroom door, I whispered,

“At least I got that kiss in the rain.” My voice sounded weird because of my stuffy nose.

He turned around and smiled, then left the room.

I fell asleep again, and woke up the Niall shaking my shoulder gently. I let my eyes adjust to the light again, making eye contact with him. Then my eyes trailed down to the plate of French toast and scrambled eggs on the side, along with a cup of hot chocolate.

“I feel terrible.” I groaned, rubbing my eyes. He set the tray of food and drinks down on the night table.

“I know baby, I know.” He whispered, kissing my forehead again. “But you need something to drink. If you’re not strong, you won’t get better.” I felt really warm and tingly inside when he called me “baby.” He seemed so gentle and kind, so loving. Niall was so perfect in every way.
He reached over and handed me the cup of hot chocolate.

“Drink up.” He instructed. I examined the little marshmallows floating around in the cocoa, giving him a grin. Raising the cup to my lips, I took a sip, licking the extra off my lips.

“Mm.” I moaned. “This is good.” Niall smiled, stroking my hair gently as I drank. He must have eaten before coming in here, or else he would probably be attacking my food now. I set the cup down, my head throbbing lightly.

“How are you feeling, princess?” he asked softly, as if he knew talking loud would increase the head ache I hadn’t even told him I had. He set the tray of food in my lap, gesturing for me to eat.

“Just peachy.” I snorted, cutting myself a piece of French toast.

“Then I guess we’ll spend the day in, yeah?” he suggested, climbing back into bed beside me.
“I don’t mind if you go out,” I shrugged, thought I was silently pleading him not to leave. I loved him company more than anything.

“I’m not going to leave you alone when you’re feeling ill.” He promised, bringing my hand up to his lips and kissing my knuckles.

When he should’ve been nagging me about how he was right yesterday night, about me getting sick, when he should’ve been not worrying about me, when he should’ve said ‘I told you so’, he was instead here, comforting me and making me breakfast and agreeing to spend the entire day with me.

“You really are my prince, Niall.”

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