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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47. Reunion

Aria’s P.O.V.

Liam and his dad were out looking for dog supplies for Brit, who was apparently on the trip with his mother. I was in the guest room, jamming out to Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. There was a bowl of popcorn that I had proudly warmed up myself, and they looked edible, but if you got closer, you could see the insides were burned. It must have been around twelve o’clock, and I was getting hungry, so I picked up the phone and ordered a large cheese pizza.

Hell yeah, I was going to eat it all.

I stripped off Niall’s hoodie, sweaty from prancing around my room. Hey, I took my freedom to the limits. Karaoke was definitely my thing when no one was around to listen to me shouting my voice out and dancing like a drunk maniac.

Then, I sat down on the floor as Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” came on next, smirking to myself as I made up a stupid parody for it. You could say that I was hyper.

Truth was, I had snuck into Liam’s room and stolen half his secret stash of chocolate. Not that it was secret when I was lying on his night table in a colorful bowl.

By the time another two hours had passed, I was exhausted, wondering where the hell the pizza delivery guy was.

When the doorbell rang, I yelled “Pizza!” and hopped off my bed, almost tripping myself in the course of running down the stairs. I unlocked the door and grabbed some money from my pocket, then opened the door.

I barely looked at the guy who was holding my large cheese pizza. I licked my lips, extremely hungry.

“How much do I pa-“ I looked up.

Oh. My. God.

The light skin. The blonde hair. The bright blue eyes.

Niall.

“Surprise.” He smiled nervously, handing me my pizza. I was suddenly very aware that I was only in a tank top and very short shorts.

I was very aware that my scars were showing.

“Why are you here?” I asked. I suddenly felt extremely nervous. A little angry that he had showed up un-announced, but mainly nervous.

His smile dropped, replaced with a nervous frown. “I- uh, I c-could leave?”

My eyes widened, and I quickly shook my head. I set the pizza box down on the ground and stood up, barely able to look right at him without melting.

“How did you manage not to eat my pizza? And what the hell did you do with the real pizza man?”

Niall laughed loudly, grabbing my waist and pulling me into his arms. He pulled away almost instantly, scrunching his nose up.

“Why are you sweating?”

I snorted. “You interrupted my karaoke session.”

“Ah,” he said, as if it explained everything. I prayed he wouldn’t notice the cuts, though even a blind person could probably see them. Niall pulled me back into his chest, my arms falling around his neck. He smelled really good, like cologne. We stayed that way for a while, just embracing each other, and it wasn’t hard to melt into his arms. But wait. I couldn’t just give in. I pulled away.

“Niall, what the hell are you doing here?”

His eyes darted in every direction, unable to settle on me. “I came with high hopes, of uh, getting you back.”

Crossing my arms over my chest, I stared at him. I knew my face was probably cherry red, and if I held my hand up, it would be shaking. Truth was, I did want to give in.

“You think flying here to apologize will make me forgive you?” I questioned, pacing back and forth. I felt like an intimidating detective.

“Yes, I mean, no, I mean, yes and no, but mostly yes,” he stammered. “Or no.”

“Make up your mind.” I smirked, watching as his cheeks reddened.

“Yes. I came here because I want you to forgive me.”

A smiled teased my lips.

“And if you don’t want me here, I will walk out that door and never bother you again. I swear.”
And then I grinned.

“Oh, don’t do that, Ni.” I cooed slyly, walking up to him with a sway in my hips. His lips quivered, just slightly, but they did. I let my arms all around his neck.

“Quit messing with me,” he mumbled, forced to look at me because of how close we were.

“Why?” I asked. “Are you scared? Because I wouldn’t want to date a guy who-”

Niall shut me up with a kiss.

He pulled away just enough so that our chests weren’t touching, but his arms were still wrapped tightly around my waist.

“I’m not scared.” He smiled innocently.

“You’re an idiot.” I laughed through tears, hugging him again.

“I didn’t know that.” He whispered into my hair. Then he smelled it. Yeah, my hair. “Your hair smells like vanilla.”

“Okay.” I giggled.

I grabbed his hand and pulled him inside, shutting the door behind us.

“God, I missed you so much.” Niall exhaled, pressing his lips to my head. He scooped me up, twirling me around in a circle until he felt dizzy, then just held me there, in a bridal style way. Our eyes met in that way that meant something amazing was about to happen.

Before I knew it, Niall was leaning down, and my arms were draping around his neck, and our lips were brushing against each others.

“I miss kissing you.” He mumbled against my lips.

“So do I.”

He chuckled, cupping my face with one hand. He completed the kiss, pressuring his lips to mine. My eyes shut close and my heart was fluttering away, damn those stupid butterflies. I missed Niall, and his electric touch, and his soft lips. And the way he would hold me so tight we he kissed me, like he was afraid I would run away. Because I already had once. The kiss soon heated up, and my legs were soon around his torso with his hands on my butt to keep me from falling. He pressed me up against a wall, and we continued our make out session from there.

We pulled away when my stomach began to growl.

“Well, someone’s hungry,” Niall laughed, breathless from the kissing.

“I called up the pizza guy for a reason.” I smirked, ruffling his hair before leaving him to get a hold of my box of pizza.

I led him into the kitchen and opened the box, grabbing a slice and stuffing half of it into my mouth. Niall eyed the rest of the pizza.

“Nuh uh. It’s mine.” I declared, pulling the box away from him. He pouted.

He had to beg me for ten minutes before I gave up and gave him a slice.

We took the pizza box to my room, and sat criss cross on the bed, facing each other with the pizza in the middle. I couldn’t even explain how shaky I felt, sitting beside him, sharing a conversation with him. He told me how much Gregg missed me, and how he had apologized to Maura like I asked. And that’s when he grabbed my hand and gasped at my cuts.

“Aria…” he mumbled. “What is this?”

I should have put that hoodie on. But what was the point? He was going to find out anyway.
I gave a shrug in response.

“Aria, why? What happened? Oh my god.” I could tell Niall was freaking out. I gulped.

“I let depression get the better of me.” I whispered. “But Liam stopped it.”

He looked up at me, amazed. “You were depressed?”

I nodded. “That’s why I was so pale and skinny when we Skyped. I almost stopped eating completely.” I admitted.

“But why?” his whimpered, tracing his finger along a scar gently. His touch seemed to heal it instantly.

“Because I was sad. I missed you. I hated myself. I hated that I left. I couldn’t get you out of my head and I thought you were never going to take me back. I did it because it seemed to be the only way to get my pain out.”

Niall shook his head in disbelief.

“This is my fault.” He whispered, biting his lip. “You cut yourself because of me.”

“No.” I protested. “It was so much more than that, Niall. I just suddenly felt so depressed and scared and angry all at the same time, and cutting was so right at the time. I swear, it’s not your fault.”

The look on his face told me he hadn’t heard a word I just said. He pulled my arm up to his lips and kissed every scar, leaving me with goose bumps.

“Promise me you won’t ever do this again. Never ever.” He said, caressing my cheek.

“Promise.” I whispered, then grabbed another slice of pizza.

“Well, that ruined the moment.” Niall pouted. “I was about to kiss you again.”

“There’s plenty of time for that, Ni.”

He shrugged, knowing I was right. I watched as he grabbed the bowl of popcorn from the floor. I considered telling him that it was burnt, but then I decided to let him figure out himself. He popped a few pieces of popcorn into his mouth and made a face.

“They’re burnt.” I explained with a giggle.

“Now you tell me.”

I laughed, watching as he washed down the taste of the popcorn by swallowing a bite of pizza.

“Oh,” he exclaimed suddenly. “I almost forgot.”

“What?”

“I, uh, wanted to make it up to you, for you know, everything. “ He stumbled as he searched for something in the pocket on his jeans.

“Niall, you made it up by being here.” I sighed, as he continued to rummage through his pocket. Then, he pulled out two slim piece of paper.

“Here.” He smiled, handing me one.

I read the large letters, my mouth dropping open.

“You got me tickets for a Coldplay concert?”

He grinned. “They’re playing in London next week. I was thinking you and I could get a flight there and stay at my flat.”

“Yes.” I nodded vigorously. “That sounds amazing.”

I almost said it. I almost told him that I loved him, but I stopped myself before I could start. We had just made up, and I couldn’t risk seeing him turn away again.

Not again.

“So, when would you like to leave?” he asked, setting the pizza box aside, and lying down on the bed, pulling me into the side of his body.

“Well, first of all, Liam doesn’t know you’re here, so-“

“Oh, he knows.” Niall assured with a wink.

I didn’t continue on the topic, instead closed my eyes and rested against him. He let his chin set on my head, his strong, familiar arms wrapped around me.

“I missed you, Aria.” He whispered.

“You already told me.” I laughed, “ but for the record, I missed you, too.”

“It was only after you left that I realized how much I had over reacted. I should have let you talk. I should have listened. I should have waited.” He sighed, caressing my hair slowly.

“Oh, that reminds me.” I said, sitting up. I wiggled out of Niall’s grasp and reached for my phone. I opened up the pervious messages I had gotten from ‘Mom’, and then handed my phone to Niall.

“I should’ve done this a long time ago.” I sighed, referring to letting him see the texts.

He read each one, his face serious and focused. As I snuggled into his arms and read them with him, I felt his muscles tense when the messages started to get threatening.

“Why won’t you show these to the police? They could track down the sender easily.” Niall suggested.

“That’s what Liam said.” I laughed dryly, shaking my head. “ Niall, they know my every move. They are paying attention to everyone I talk to, everyone I associate with. They know where I am. They probably know that you’re-“

As if on cue, my phone vibrated with a new message. Niall and I looked at each other, and Niall opened it.

Mom: Scared, are you? Thought calling your boyfriend over would help?
Fuck.” Niall cursed, setting the phone down.

“I literally just got here, Ari.” He exclaimed, rubbing his temples stressfully.

“I told you. What do you think if I brought these to the police? They would probably know I was going to the police before I got there. They would probably kidnap me and confiscate my phone before the police could see it.”

Niall put his finger to his lips, deep in thought.

“You’re right.” He said finally, nodding his head. “Whoever this is is a lot smarter than we think. They’re closer than we think.”

“I gotta admit, this is pretty terrifying. I am long gone from thinking this is a prank.”

“Whoever this is may be watching us right now.” Niall whispered in an eerie tone.

Then, we heard a door open. I yelped, grabbing onto Niall’s arm, Niall’s eyes darting around again, his arm holding me down protectively.

“Aria? Ni? You two here?” Liam’s voice yelled. Niall and I both exhaled in relief.

I got out of bed and opened the door, motioning for Niall to follow. We made our way down the stairs, and Liam and his dad were waiting at the bottom.

“Niall! Nice to see you, mate!” Liam grinned, and the two shared a man hug. Liam’s dad smiled at me, his eyes darting back and forth between Niall and I. He gave me a thumbs up. I smiled back, knowing that even though I hadn’t talked to Liam’s dad much, he still looked out for me.

“Are you guys okay now?” Liam asked hopefully.

“Yeah.” I answered for the both of us, smiling at Niall. His hand fell to my waist.

“So,” Liam’s dad piped up. “Who’s up for some barbeque?”

“Me!” Niall yelled, jumping up and down. Liam rolled his eyes and I laughed. Niall could be so immature, but when it came to food, he obviously didn't give a crap.

It was good to have him back, but deep down, I knew things were going to get dangerous.
 

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