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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58. Quality Time With Amber

“Hey, Amber.” I said, stepping into the kitchen in search of some ice for Niall’s shoulder.
Amber turned around, holding a sharp to the tip knife in her hand.

“Hello Aria.” Then she handed the knife to me. “Want to help me cut watermelon? I’m pooped but Harry is making me cut this whole watermelon into slices for me to eat, as a punishment for driving home drunk.”

“Ouch,” I replied, eyeing the already badly cut slices lying on the cutting board. Then I remembered why I had come down here in the first place. I grabbed a small plastic bag and dumped some ice into it from the freezer. “I need to get Niall some ice. He hurt his shoulder while running around like an idiot.”

Amber laughed. “Alright. Think you could help afterwards?”

“Sure.” I nodded, heading for the stairs with the ice in my hand. ­When I reached to top step, I saw Niall, still in the same spot, rubbing his shoulder. He looked up and smiled when he saw the ice in my hand, taking it from me.

“You truly are an idiot.” I proposed, ruffling his hair. He shook my hand away, a lop sided grin on his lips.

“I know. You told me like, a million times. It’s like your definition for me.” He snorted, pressing the ice to his shoulder. I bet it didn’t even hurt that much and he was just trying to make me wake up.

“I’m gonna go shower now.” I started, walking towards the bathroom. “Don’t beat yourself up too much.”

Niall sighed. “Yes, m’am.”

After taking a long, cold shower, I was changing and realized that I had forgotten about helping Amber cut the watermelon. Shit.

Quickly, I threw a random shirt on, assuming it was Niall’s by how oversized it was, and slipped on a pair of long sweats. Good to go. I tied my wet hair up into a bun and ran down the stairs, heading straight for the kitchen.

Oh dear.

Watermelon juice was dripping over the countertop and down the cupboards, splattering all over the floor. Beside the cutting board was a bowl of watermelon slices – or more like watermelon scraps.

“Amber I’m so sorry.” I gasped, approaching her. She turned around and laughed when she saw me.

“What?” I questioned.

“Look. At. Your. Shirt.”

I did as she told and looked down, reading the random shirt I had picked it. It showed a stick figure jumping up with the caption, “I pooped today.”

“It’s Niall’s shirt.” I assured quickly. “And I was kind of in a hurry to get down here so don’t judge.”

“I’m not judging.” Amber giggled, raising her hands up in a surrender position. “I’m not judging.”

“Amber, I know your judging.” Then I gestured to the mess. “And sorry for not coming down sooner.”

“No, it’s fine. At least I got all of the stupid watermelon cut up.”

“Okay.”

We stared awkwardly at each other for a mere second, but Amber ended it.

“Want to go for a jog with me?”

“You do know it’s freezing outside.”

“I know,” Amber said. “But you can’t really feel it once you start to sweat.”

“I guess I could use a workout.” I shrugged, feeling happier when Amber grinned with delight.

“Cool. Meet me down here in ten.” She yelled as she ran to the guest room.

Wow. Amber definitely was some girl. She was beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, and she was a girly girl. She had great fashion sense and loved the little cute stuff but thought that a guy asking her to be his girlfriend with flower petals was too much. She was a model, and was great with makeup and clothes, but also preferred running.

I wonder what else she liked.

Cooking?

Painting?

That girl surprised me every day. And it was obvious she was a party girl and last night hadn’t been the first time she had drank, because she didn’t seem to be having near as bad a headache as I was at the moment.

I headed back upstairs and kept my sweats on, but took off the ridiculous shirt and put on a v-neck and Niall’s Nike hoodie. I found my sneakers and socks, which went on my feet.

“Where are you going?” Niall asked with a small pout, entering the room with the ice pressed to his shoulder.

“I’m going for a run with Amber.” I answered as I tied my hair up.

“But I thought we were going to watch Ted together.” Niall frowned, his eyes dulling a tad bit. I instantly felt guilty. I had told him I was going to watch the movie with him, but I had also told Amber I’d go on the run with her. What was it with me and forgetting things today?

“Okay. I’ll just go tell Amber I won’t go.” I told him, dropping my hair which I had previously been collecting into a ponytail. Niall bit his lip.

“It’s okay. We’ve got time. You can go if you want.”

“But now I feel bad.” I whined, walking towards him.

“It’s okay.” He smiled. “But I’ll be waiting.”

I laughed and made eye contact with him. Niall took me by the waist and gently pressed me against the wall, placing soft, gentle kisses on my lips. His lips seemed extra soft today, or maybe it was just a false observation. His hands cupped my cheeks, keeping me from turning away while my finger messed with his hair. He moved one hand up, his thumb sweeping across my cheekbone and the kiss deepened.

“Hey, Ari- woah.”

I tried to pull away, but Niall kept me pinned against the wall to the point where I started giggling. I managed to pull away from Niall’s lips and look over his shoulder to see who had interrupted us.

Amber stood at the doorway looking uncomfortable from what she had just seen.

“Erm, I came up to get you because you were taking quite some time.” She glanced at Niall with a knowing grin. “Now I see why.”

Niall and I blushed, and Niall let me go so I could pull my hair into a ponytail.

“Just come downstairs when you’re ready, okay?” Amber said as she turned to head out of the room. “And please, you two, don’t start another make out session.”

Niall chuckled and Amber left, leaving us alone.

“By the way, you look fit in sweats.” Niall brought up.

“Yeah. Uh, sure. Thanks.”

“I only speak the truth.”

“Sure, sure.” I sighed, grabbing my phone and slipping it into the hidden pocket of my sweats. “I’m leaving now. And don’t try and stop me with your tricks.”

Niall just smirked.

Once I made it downstairs, I heard Niall shout something from upstairs.

“I love you! Be safe and don’t get sick again!”

“Yeah. Love you, too!” I shouted back, glancing at Amber who sat on the couch, typing something on her phone.

“Ready to go?” Amber asked, looking up with her usual smile.

“Yep.”


 


So maybe I’m not the best at jogging in freezing cold weather, dressed in only a shirt, a hoodie, sweats and sneakers. Amber later mentioned that she had on at least three layers under her running jacket.

Now she tells me.

The cold air burned the inside on my nose, so I tried to breathe in through my mouth instead. That only made me cough. Amber only stopped so I could take a break, and I felt like I was holding her back. More than a few times, did I volunteer to let her finish her jog on her own. She rejected my offer every time, promising me I wasn’t holding her back at all. Lies.

We were currently walking, not the slow, calm walking I was used to, but more like power walking.

“We should stop at a Starbuck’s or something after this.” Amber suggested. Even with a pale face and a red nose, she still looked undeniably beautiful. Not fair at all.

“That’s sounds great. Only how about we go now instead of afterward.” I was only half kidding. Or maybe I wasn’t kidding at all.

I felt like a human popsicle.
Amber stopped on the sidewalk and looked at me, her face tilted as she scrutinized my face.

“You look like a vampire.” She said finally. “So yeah, I think we should get something to warm ourselves up.”

Thank god.

Amber and I made our way towards a Starbuck’s just down the street. It wasn’t too filled, six people occupying tables at the most. Amber walked straight for the counter, and I followed behind her, my brain still half frozen.

“Hi,” Amber chirped happily to the employee and the order area.

“What can I get you two?” the employee asked in a monotone voice. He must be bored out of his mind.

“I’ll have a caramel macchiato.” Amber said, and then turned to me. “What about you?”

I looked up at the large menu, trying to decide what I wanted.

“I’ll get the vanilla latte.”

Okay. Anything else?”

“Two apple fritters.” Amber answered for the both of us. I just stayed silent because honestly, I had no idea what was good here. I was leaving it to Amber.

Amber refused to let me pay –what a guy- and we sat down at a table for two in the corner.

“So, I’m really sorry for leaving alone at the club.” Amber began, running her fingers through her hair after taking her ponytail holder out.

“It’s okay,” I said, shaking my head to assure it was no big deal. “Some of my friends were there anyways.”

Amber stayed silent, looking down at the table. Then she looked up.

“I just feel kind of bad. I made you come, and then I ditched you in the blink of an eye.”

“I promise, it’s okay.” I said with a light laugh. Amber regained a smile.

“I glad you’re quick to forgive. My friends would normally slit my throat if I left them all alone in a club full of nasty men and drunken girls.”

“Well, some friends they are.” I muttered under my breath. Amber heard and nodded.

“So, you say you’re a model, right? How’s that going for you?” I asked, trying to start up a conversation. Amber smiled.

“I had a convention here in London a few days ago, but afterwards I went back to Cheshire and then flew with Harry back to London. Honestly, I never planned on being a model, but then again, my life has never gone in the path I wanted.” For a second, Amber looked sad.

“Is this something to do with your dad?” I asked.

Amber looked up and shrugged. “He’s one of those dads who expected the best, and only the best from me. A lot of the fights we had were about me getting a ‘real job’. He definitely didn’t approve of me being a model, especially because he’s a doctor at Memorial Hermann in Vegas. It was really hard to get him to trust me, but eventually he said he would let me live life the way I wanted to.”

“At least your dad tried.”

Amber frowned. “What? You’re dad never tried?”

“Well, he tried, and succeeded, at hurting me in every possible way he could. Except for killing me. But that may change soon.”

“What do you mean, ‘that might change soon’?”

Oh shit. Did I really just say that?

“Erm…” Oh what was the harm? It’s not like she could do anything with the same piece of information. “I’ve been getting these texts from someone, and I think it’s him. They’re all threatening, and I’m apparently on some countdown now.”

“Countdown to what?”

I sighed. “Amber, does it really matter?”

She blushed, turning away. “No. I think you’ve told me enough, to be honest.”

Was that a smirk I saw?

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