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:


16. Stupid Harry

Aria’s P.O.V.

We arrived at the bungalow after a long drive. By then, the only thing I could think about was a proper bed, but of course, I had to be the one to volunteer to take the couch. I was last to follow the boys into the bungalow. It was cute, not entirely large but decent. There was a large kitchen and living room, along with a small deck in the back that gave a view of a lake. The two bedrooms had queen bed in them, and now I was thinking again about that offer Niall had made. No ,that wouldn’t be fair to him. They were the ones who had worked so hard for this, not me, so they very much deserved beds.

Liam offered to let me keep my bags in the room that he was sharing with Zayn and Niall, so I did. The boys crashed as soon as they had showered, and by then, it was 8:45pm. I decided that was too early, so I tiptoed into the boys room and grabbed my laptop from my suit case, closing the door gently. I made my way back to the sofa, snuggling into the couch with the laptop on me.

I choose to watch The Hangover, which was probably the best movie ever seen. I had to hold my breath to keep myself from laughing, though it didn’t help much. Sipping the cold milk from the refrigerator, I kept my eyes on the screen, anxious to know what would happen next.

“Having’ fun there?”

I yelped, losing grip of my glass of milk. In less than a second, I was covered with the freezing cold liquid and so was my laptop. I turned around to see Harry standing in the doorway.

“What the hell, Harry?” I screamed, glaring at him. I turned back to my laptop, whose screen had blacked out.

“No, come on.” I hissed, trying to turn my laptop back on. It was no use.

“Now look what you’ve done.” I snapped, walking over to Harry. I hit him in the chest, hard, but it only hurt my fist.

“I..I’m so sorry.” Harry stammered, biting his lip. No, he was biting his lip. Why did he have to bite his lip? I love it when guys bite their lips.

“Just help me clean it up.” I muttered, dragging him over to the laptop. Harry silently went into the kitchen and came out with a bottle of Oxi Clean.

“You’re stupid if you think Oxi Clean is going to get milk out of the laptop.” I barked, making Harry stare into the floor.

“Just leave Harry.”

“But you just told me to-“


With his head still down, he went back into his room, slamming the door behind him. What reason did he have to get mad. I stared hopelessly at my laptop, turning it upside down. A ton of white liquid poured out, making my face cringe.

“Stupid, stupid Harry.” I muttered, grabbing a paper towel to dab my shirt and shorts. I still looked like a had taken a step into the rain without my hair getting wet. Pretty soaked.

Not a moment later, Blondie stepped out of his room, rubbing his eyes.

“What’s the commotion?” he said, walking over to me. He almost tripped over his own feet.

“I’m okay, Niall.” I whimpered, sitting on the floor. I felt like crying, but I had to keep it in. I loved that laptop. Niall’s eyes softened, scanning over the wet laptop and my drenched clothes.

“What happened?” he asked, he voice still groggy from sleeping.

“Harry scared me while I was watching a movie and I had milk it my hands and I spilled it.” I explained quickly, feeling a teardrop falling. Niall bit his lip. The milk, added to the already cold temperature was making me shiver. My lips chattered without say.

“Ouch.” He laughed, holding out a hand. I stared at it, refusing to take it.

“What is so funny about this?” I snapped, hugging myself, gritting my teeth to stop my lips from chattering.

Niall stopped laughing, grabbing my hand and pulled me up. He stared at my wet clothes for a second.

“Why don’t you go wash up? I’ll get this cleaned up.” He said, placing a hand on the small of my back.

“No, it’s fine. I can-“

“Seriously, Aria. I got it.” Niall chuckled, scanning my face before smiling genuinely.

“Okay, thank you Niall.” I praised, pressing my lips to kiss forehead. He waved me off, reaching down to pick up the dirty paper towels. I watched him for a second before running to the shower, taking a change of clothes with me.

I woke up to the sound of birds tweeting outside the large glass window.

“Stupid birds.” I groaned, shoving a couch pillow over my ears. That didn’t help much. I glared at the birds sitting on a tree, sitting up. I let myself adjust to my new position before standing up. The “house” was quiet. Very quiet. That meant they were asleep. I slipped into the bedroom on the left, coming in contact with three gorgeous boys sleeping shirtless.

Look away, Ari. Look away.

I quickly grabbed a pair of jeans and my favorite white, off-shoulder top. I skipped into the bathroom and started a long, hot shower.

Pretty soon, I heard pounding on the door.

“It’s not fair that you get a long shower. Let alone a hot one!” I heard Zayn shouting, kicking the door. I rolled my eyes though he couldn’t see.

“Gimme ten minutes.” I shouted back, stepping out of the shower. I quickly put my chosen clothes of and lightly blow-dried my hair, pulling the blonde mess into a side ponytail. I took a quick spin in front of the mirror before opening the door. Zayn was leaning against the wall about to fall asleep.

“All yours!” I yelled. He mumbled something standing up straight before shooting me a picture perfect smile and walked into the bathroom. I stepped into the room, spotting Liam on his phone. He still didn’t have a shirt on, bless him.

“Who ya texting?” I skipped over to him, leaning over to look at him phone. He shielded the screen with his hand.

“Mind your own business.” He snapped jokingly before his eyes softened.

“Niall told me what happened yesterday.”

Then I remembered my laptop, my poor, poor laptop. I remained silent.

“Sorry about Harry’s stupidness.” Liam said, actually being serious. I smiled a half smile.

“It’s fine. Where’s Niall?”

“He uh, went to grab breakfast from the little shop nearby.” Liam answered; his eyes locked on his phone.

“He left without taking a shower?” I asked, more like a statement that a question.

“No, he got up earlier and showered before you were even up.” Liam laughed. I nodded and left the room, sitting on the couch. I wasn’t all that hungry, but I had a feeling when Niall came home with food, I’d be hungry instantly.

Then again, being Niall, I bet there would be no food left when he came home.

I was wrong actually. He did come home with some great food, consisting of donuts, waffles, and some amazing French pastry. Today was pretty much “chill day” for the boys, which also meant chill day for me. I still wasn’t talking to Harry. What he did pissed me off. He kept giving me these apologetic looks, but then Niall or Liam always grabbed his attention. I was very thankful for them. After about three hours of movies, Liam announced he was going to get lunch for all of us, getting up to leave. As soon as we heard the front door of the bungalow closing Louis pulled us all together at the dining table.

“Okay people,” he started, “We need to start planning for Liam’s birthday.”

“I called Danielle, already.” Zayn announced. “’She’ll be coming on Tuesday the week of.”

“And I ordered the Toy Story balloons and napkins and stuff.” Niall piped up, looking at us.

“I’ve called up a bunch of Liam’s friends. I think Andy is bringing some drinks and stuff.” Harry added on. Oh god. I hadn’t done anything. All the boys stared expectantly at me.

“What did you do, Ari?” Louis asked, completely serious. I looked down at the table, playing with my fingers.

“Well, she’s the one who helped us with the whole idea of having his birthday is Paris, after all.” Niall saved me, shooting me a smile. I smiled back gratefully, nodding at the boys.

“We’ll have to work on setting everything up, and how we’re going to get everything. Paul is going to help a bunch with setting up stuff, and he says there’s a party place we can rent out and it’s very close to the Eiffel Tower.” Louis explained, looking at us to make sure we were all listening.

“How many people are coming?” I asked, looking at Harry.

“One hundred twenty three, exactly, plus us five is one hundred twenty eight.”

“Paul said he was going to take me to the place so we could see what it looks like. He showed me a few pictures from his phone and I think it’ll do.” Louis continued. Wow, normally he was the one who messed around and drove everyone nuts. Today, he was just on top of things.

We talked for about an hour or so, planning out Liam’s party. I was actually getting really excited, and I had a feeling it was going to be amazing. We pretended to be watching television when Liam came home, and we dug into dinner quickly.

At about eleven, when I was sure all the boys were asleep, I snuck out to the deck.

The water glittered from the lights of the deck, and I could see the Eiffel Tower, so small from where we were, yet still so magnificent. I climbed into the hammock that was attached to two separate ends of the deck and stared up at the sky. It wasn’t like Australia. You couldn’t see many stars. But the dark sky made it easier to think about nothing.

To just relax.

Niall’s P.O.V.

“Quickly, snap a few more?” Harry whispered to Louis, who was busy snapping pictures of Aria who was fast asleep on the hammock. I guess she had come out here last night and passed out halfway.

“We should put shaving cream on her.” Zayn suggested quietly, scratching his chin. Liam gave Zayn “the look”, which told Zayn to shut up.

Louis started to video Aria sleeping. She was mumbling certain words, and as always, I couldn’t make them out.

Wait. I just made something out.

She just said “Niall”.

I wasn’t crazy, because Zayn elbowed me. “She just said you name, lad.” He chuckled, winking at me. I blushed, staring at Aria. Her left cheek rested against her hands which were pressed together between her cheek and the fabric of the hammock. I wondered what she could be dreaming about, especially because it might have something to do with me.

“Okay, let’s wake her up.” Liam whispered. We took deep breaths and our voices harmonized into the “Get up, get up” of What Makes You Beautiful, only we repeated it quite a few times.

“Okay, SHUT UP!” Ari yelled opening her eyes. She stuck her fingers in her ears and stumbled out of the hammock, dragging the large blanket with her. She pushed passed us, shooting Louis a glare.

“I was awake. Delete those pictures or die.” She threatened before turning her back on us and to the bathroom.

“Rawr.” Harry purred. “Someone’s feisty.”

Ari turned around and shot him a glare. Whoa, she looked hot.

I watched as she slammed the bathroom door shut.

“What’s up with her?” Liam asked, clearly amused.

“Maybe it’s that time of month again.” Zayn chuckled, soon followed by Harry and Louis.

“Hey, Paul just texted. He said to come see the stage. Who’s coming?” Liam announced. Louis and Harry quickly agreed. Zayn eventually tagged along, grabbing his shoes.

“You coming, Nialler?” Zayn asked, halfway out the door. I looked from him, to the bathroom being occupied by Aria.

“I think I’ll stay.” I answered quietly.

“Alright.” Zayn waved. “Stay PG!”

I chuckled at his comment, hearing the front door closing. I sighed and slumped into the couch, staring at the blank television. Something was up with Aria. She had never woken up a single day and been crabby like that. I heard the shower being shut off. A couple of minutes later, Aria walked out in a tank top and shorts. Gorgeous.

“Hello.” I smiled, looking up at her. Aria didn’t look her best, to be honest. She had light bags under her eyes, and her eyes were dull. Her whole body seemed to sulk as she made her way to the bedroom, not answering me. Okay, something was definitely up.

“Aria?” I called, about to get off the couch when she walked back out, her wet hair now brushed down.

“What?” she groaned, rubbing her eyes as she walked towards me.

“What’s wrong, babe?” I asked softly, taking her hand and pulling her down to sit beside me. She sighed, throwing her head back.

“I don’t know. I’m just not feeling great.” She croaked, pulling her legs up onto the couch.

“Anything or your mind?”

“Nope. But my head does hurt a little. It kind of throbs.”

“I’ll get ice.” I offered, hopping off the couch. I grabbed some ice cubes from the freezer and dumped them into a Ziploc bag bringing it back to Aria. She smiled tiredly and took the ice bag, pressing it to her forehead.


“No problem, love.” I answered, sitting back down beside her. “Now will you tell me what’s up?”

Aria sighed. “It’s nothing. I’m just grumpy in the mornings.”

“No you’re not. I spent two weeks waking up beside you in Australia and you were never grumpy.” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Just drop it.” She muttered, getting off the couch. She headed into my room, shutting the door behind her. Though she couldn’t see, I shot her a very confused look. Maybe I should just leave her alone. Maybe I should’ve gone with the guys instead worrying so much about someone that barely even thought of me as a friend.

From our room, I suddenly heard coughing and barfing. And more barfing. Oh no. I shot off the couch and ran into my room, opening the closed door to the connected bathroom. Sure enough, Aria was kneeling in front of my toilet, throwing up with no control.

“Oh shit,” I cursed, bending down to collect her hair and hold it up as she vomited.

Five minutes later, she was leaning against the bathroom wall, breathing heavily while clutching her stomach. She kept groaning nonchalantly,

“Aria?” I said softly, squatting down to look at her. She lowered her head, wiping away tears. She didn’t answer me.

“Aria, look at me.” I said, sliding a finger under her chin. She looked up, teary eyed.

“Do you want to go see a doctor?” I asked, sitting down beside her. She shook her head, resting It on my shoulder.

“I just want to stay here.” She sniffled, wiping her eyes.

“Did you eat anything that would make you throw up?” I questioned. Aria thought for a moment before her eyes widened.

“No, but that night when Zayn and I were dancing in his room, ya know, in Australia, I took a sip from Liam’s glass of water. Zayn was too late to stop me.” She exclaimed. I felt my heart break went she mentioned her and Zayn. But Zayn wasn’t a threat. I mean, Zayn had a girlfriend.

“Do you think that’s why you’re not feeling well?”

Aria nodded, reaching over to flush to toilet. I leaned over and pressed my lips to her forehead, pulling back quickly.

“You’re burning up.” I noticed, placing a hand to her hot forehead to make sure of it.

“A fever would explain why I feel like I can’t do anything.” She chuckled lightly. I bit my lip and stood up, grabbing her hand and pulled her up. We stood in front of each other and stared before I picked her up bridal style and carried her to the bed. I set her down and kissed her cheek.

From now on, I’ll take the couch.”

“No,” Aria protested, sitting up right. “That’s not fair to you.”

“Too bad,” I smirked, leaving the room before she could say anything else. I went into the kitchen and started going through the bag of medicine Liam had brought along for incidents like this. I found a bottle of syrup that read “Fever Reducer”. I smiled a grabbed a spoon, taking them back to Aria. She was staring up a the ceiling, lost in her own world. When she saw the medicine in my hand, she back away.

“There is no way I am going to drink that.” She declared, leaning her head against the headboard, pulling her knees to her chest.

“But you’ll feel better if you do.” I reasoned, sitting down on the bed.

“How do you know that? It’s just a bunch of chemicals put together.”

“Aria, please don’t be like this.” I groaned, setting the spoon and medicine down on the bed. I grabbed her hand a dragged her across the bed so she was beside me, struggled in my grip.

“I’ve got you now.” I whispered, failing at a witch cackle. Aria giggled, letting out a large sigh.

“Fine, I’ll drink that crap, but only because you’re nice.”
I laughed and opened the bottle, pouring a tablespoon of the liquid onto the spoon.

“Open up.” I sang, bringing the spoon to her mouth. Aria opened the mouth and drank the liquid. Her face scrunched up adorably.

“Ew.” She spat, wiping her mouth. I laughed, getting up to leave.

“Niall, wait.” She said, grabbing my hand. I turned around, looking back at her.


“Can you stay here with me?” she begged, poking her bottom lip out. “I’ll get better faster that way.”

I rolled my eyes but didn’t argue, setting the medicine and spoon on the table before climbing into the bed beside her.

“Don’t get too close though. I don’t want to get sick.” I teased, scooting away from her. Aria laughed, resting her head on my shoulder again.

“It sucks that I had to get sick in Paris, of all places. “ Aria groaned, playing with her fingers.

“Which is why you take medicine so you can get better faster.” I pointed out. Aria smacked my arm, rolling away from me.

“I wanna watch TV.” She pouted, hugging a pillow to her chest.

“Only if you promise me you’ll rest if you move to the couch.”

“Finee.” She agreed, grabbing my hand and pulling me into the living room. We sat down beside each other, watching some weird Parisian show that we couldn’t even understand.

Moments later, a familiar weight landed on my shoulder. Aria had fallen asleep, unlike how I expected. I smiled and switched the TV off, wrapping my arms around her waist. I twisted a few strand of her hair around my finger while rubbing my thumb gently against her opposite shoulder. I felt her chest move steadily as she slept.

Soon, I fell asleep, too.

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