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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8. Perfect

Aria’s P.O.V.

I somehow convinced the doctors and nurses to let me go the day we were leaving for Australia. They ran a few tests on me, made sure I could walk and stuff. Niall texted me saying that he had gathered all my things. I could only imagine how awkward it was for him to pack all my under garments and such.

There was something different about Niall. Normally it is was girl who was insecure, and I was, but Niall was an insecure boy. He seemed to get so shy around others, even when he was one of the most gorgeous I’d ever seen. I was okay with that, though. Over-confident guys were extremely unattractive in my opinion. Niall was so sweet. His laugh was the most adorable thing in the world; it made me forget how to breathe. Sometimes I lost myself staring into his eyes while he talked. It was quite embarrassing.

The boys were supposed to be picking me up from the hospital and then drive straight to the airport. I had just sat down In the lobby after signing out when a boy with brown hair and another with bleach blonde hair came into the hospital lobby, smiles plastered on their faces.

“Hey guys!” I cheered, getting up to walk over to them. Liam got ahold of me first giving me a cozy, brotherly hug. He kissed my hair, pulling away. Niall got ahold of me second, picking me up while hugging me. My feet were at least five inches off the ground.

“Ni, put me down.” I giggled, ruffling his hair. He set me down, kissing my cheek.

“I missed you.” Niall said, giving me an adorable lopsided grin.

“I missed you, too.” I sighed, hugging him again. Liam gave us an awkward look while scratching his chin.

“It this a connection I see?” Liam asked.

I literally choked on my own spit.

“Excuse me?” I said, shifting the smallest bit away from Niall. Niall looked at me with wide eyes, unsure whether he should scoot away, too.

“Um, never mind.” Liam coughed, not because he wanted to forget the moment.

“Your cough has gotten worse.” I noticed, getting a little worried. “Haven’t been feeling any better have you?”

“Honestly, I haven’t been feeling so great. No fever though.” Liam said, sighing heavily.

“Well, let’s get a move on. We got a taxi waiting for us.” Niall rushed, his Irish accent ringing in my ears. Niall grabbed my hand (causing me to internally flip out) and Liam followed behind us, chuckling to himself. I shook my hand out of Niall’s grasp.

“What are you doing? Liam thinks were an item.” I snapped, frowning disapprovingly. Niall bit his lip.

“Sorry.”

I instantly felt bad, seeing his sad blue eyes. Oh god. Why must he do this to me. “Sorry. That came out harsher than intended. It’s just that… we aren’t an item, so we shouldn’t be acting like it.”

Niall nodded a forced smile on his face. “Yeah, I get it.”

We got to the taxi where I was greeted by Zayn, Harry, and Louis. Once we were all inside, the taxi started driving again.

“Missed you last night. We had quite an fun movie night.” Louis laughed, throwing me a bag of chocolate covered gummy worms. I opened up the bag, popping a worm into my mouth.

“And I thought nothing could be fun without me.” I grinned, pulling my legs up so I was sitting crisscross in the chair seat.

“Hey, so who gets to sit where on the plane?” Zayn asked, putting his phone into his pocket.
“I call sitting by Aria!” Niall yelled, causing us all to cover our ears.

“Okay, calm down Niall. We all know you want to sit down by your girlfriend.” Harry smirked, winking at me. I blushed, frowning at the same time.

“I’m not his girlfriend.” I established firmly, playing with my fingers. I noticed Liam giving Harry the shut-up-you-bastard look.

Truth was, I might’ve had the smallest bit of a crush on Niall.

“Hey, Aria, you been on Twitter lately?” Louis asked, scrolling down on his phone.

“Nope,” I admitted, “Not really.”

“Well, you’ve reached 1 million followers.” Louis laughed, turning his phone to show me my twitter profile page. Sure enough, I had hit a million followers.

“Wow. I haven’t even tweeted anything besides that one thing with Niall.” I smirked, noticing how popular I was just for being friends with five normal guys. Wait, scratch that. They were anything but normal. Idiots, in fact. The sweetest idiots alive.

“Of course her only tweet would be of Niall.” Harry mumbled, grinning evilly. I rolled my eyes, resisting the urge to flick him off right then and there.

“Harry, shut up, will you?” Zayn snapped, slapping Harry’s arm. Harry laughed, scratching his arm.

“Sorry.” He apologized to both Niall and I.

Niall seemed to be in silent mode, staring at his lap as if it the most beautiful thing in the world. I also didn’t bother to accept Harry’s apology. He was being a jerk.

We arrived at the airport shortly, the awkward silence remaining in the group. After handing in the luggage and checking in, we had about an hour to wait for the flight. The boys were busy on their phones. The airport seemed to be pretty empty today, except for a few people wandering around, looking for their terminals and such. I began to think about what would happen after tour was over for the boys. They wouldn’t need me anymore. Then I would be on my own. No money, and no place to live. The boys would probably forget about me, moving on with their fantastic life. My father would track me down again; probably kill me for sure this time. I had come to realize that without the boys, I was nothing. If Liam hadn’t found me that night, I may have not been alive.

I was bored out of my mind until we were called to board the plane. Once the boys and I had got into the plane, there was an argument between Zayn and Louis about which of them would get a window seat. Louis won, claiming he had the biggest biceps.

I sat down at my seat by the window after putting my luggage into the compartment above. Niall came and sat down next to me, without saying a word. I could feel the awkward tension from earlier. Niall glanced at me a couple of times, looking down at a music playlist on his phone.

“Coldplay’s your favorite, right?” Niall asked, and I swore I heard his voice shaking a little.

“Yup. Why?” I answered, fiddling with my fingers again. Niall didn’t answer, instead handed me an earplug with Viva la Vida bursting out of it. I took the earphone and put it into my ear.

“Thanks.” I said, elbowing him lightly on his arm. He smiled back, his imperfect teeth making him even more perfect. His blue eyes seemed to be darker than usual. I wanted so bad to lean in and see what his perfect pink lips felt like. That would probably never happen, though.

“Ladies and gentleman, please fasten your seatbelts. The plane will being moving in less than a minute. Repeat, please have all seatbelts fastened.” The pilot’s voice rang through the intercom. My heart pounded inside. Had I ever mentioned I had a fear of take offs? Or pretty much all heights in general. I found myself taking deep breaths. In and out, I told myself.
Breathe, Ari. Breath.

“Ari, are you alright?” Niall asked, looking strangely at me. I blushed.

“Remember that day I told you all I wasn’t exactly a fan of heights?” I said, right as the plane started moving, getting faster and faster on the runway every second.

“Yeah…and?”

“I’m scared, you idiot.” I stammered, squeezing my eyes shut. Just as the engines of the airplane began to roar, I felt a warm hand taking mine, lacing my fingers with its. I opened my eyes to look down at Niall and my connected hands. He squeezed my hand tightly, sending fireworks off in my brain.

“I gotcha.” Niall whispered to me, his breath tickling my ear. I gulped, as the plane tilted upwards into the air. I felt the plane going higher and higher until it went into a neutral position, so I wasn’t tilted towards the ground anymore. Niall’s hand was still gripping mine tightly, making me feel especially warm inside. No guy had ever made me feel this way before. Maybe I liked Niall more than I thought.

“You alright?” Niall asked, still holding my hand. I was amazed at how perfectly our hands fit together.

“Yep. I’m fine now.” I stammered, not because of how high we were. Niall stared at me for a second a smile on his face. Then, he let go off of my hand, making me want to scream, “NOO” and grab his perfect hand again. But of course, I couldn’t do that. I continued listening to my favorite song of all time, next to the boy I had a decent crush on. Niall’s fingers tapping the connected arm rest as he bobbed his head up and down lightly to the song, taking in the melody. I took the moment when his eyes were closed to stare at his perfection.

Right then, Niall opened his eyes causing him to catch me staring at him. I gulped at looked away quickly, not bothering to come up with a comeback.

“Aria, can I ask you something?” I asked, turning down the volume of the song. I looked back into his blue eyes.

“Sure.” I smiled, my voice almost too happy sounding.

“Who really hurt you yesterday?”

I shifted in my seat, fiddling with my fingers again. Niall grabbed one of my hands, stopping me from playing with my fingers.

“Please, tell me?”

I inhaled a deep breath, preparing to speak. “My father…” I began, “my father beat me. He was the one who raped me, the night Liam found me. He beat me almost every day. Sometimes worse than I had been yesterday. If I made even the smallest mistake he would slap me or punch me. My father.”

Niall sat there, speechless. His mouth was gaping open, and he looked absolutely ridiculous.

“Close your mouth, Nialler. You’ll catch flies.” I smirked, reaching out to push his bottom jaw up. He blushed, sliding his hands down his face.

“I can’t believe anyone would ever think of doing that. It’s such a horrible concept.” Niall responded in disbelief.

“Tell me about it.”

We were quiet for a few minutes, listening to the song that was now playing, “Fix You.” Niall began humming quietly to the song, glancing at me every fews seconds.

“You’re really pretty.” He commented out of the blue. I gave him a funny look, though I was blushing for sure.

“No I’m not.”

Niall rolled his eyes and looked at me, taking the earphone out of my ear.

“I will not let you listen to music until you admit it.” He insisted, putting the earphone that was previously in my ear, back in his. I groaned, refusing to back down.

“Niall, I’m not anywhere close to pretty. I’m ugly. Quit lying, will you? I know you’re only calling me ‘beautiful’ because you feel bad for me.” I huffed, turning to face the closed airplane window. I felt Niall placing his hand onn my shoulder, squeezing it gently the way Liam did when he knew I needed comfort.

“Aria, please, look at me.” Niall inhaled, sliding his hand and grip to my upper arm. I shivered at his touch, turning to catch his gaze once more.

" I don’t understand why you are so insecure when you are so perfect.”

“I’m not perfect. I’m anything but perfect.” I protested, feeling the need to tell him to shut up. It was obvious he was just telling me these things to make me feel better about my ugly self.

“Real girl aren’t perfect. Perfect girls aren’t real.” Niall answered, the quote catching my attention.

“So you just called me perfect, meaning that you think I’m not real.” I said, feeling a bit angry.

Niall’s face flushed. “No! What I mean is..”

“Just stop. Stop talking. You’re not making this ride any more interesting.”

Niall looked hurt when I said that, but I wasn’t going to melt this time. “What I meant was, most girls who are real aren’t perfect. But there’s something about you that makes you a real, perfect girl, all at the same time.” Niall reasoned, “and when a guy finds one of those girls, he’s never supposed to let her go.”

“I wasn’t even yours in the first place, so letting me go wouldn’t matter.”

“Ari, don’t you-“

“Shut up Niall!” I yelled, much louder than I had wanted to. Other people who were seated down turned to look at us, shooting me dirty looks. I looked down, scooting as far away as possible from Niall as I could, though that wasn’t very far. Niall sighed, muttering stuff to himself.
I shut my eyes, falling asleep almost instantly.

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