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:


49. The Prince And Princess

After a two hour conversation the day after, Liam, Niall and I decided that Liam would go to Danielle’s house to work things out with the baby, while Niall and I jet off to London.

By eight o’clock on Monday night, Liam had left the house and Niall and I were stuffing our suitcases into the back of a taxi, preparing to head to the airport.

I thought about Liam, and how quiet and sad he had been. I mean I hadn’t expected him to be happy, but I now understood how much he cared for this human being that wasn’t even bored.

He cared a lot.

I might have eavesdropped again on a conversation between him and Danielle. He had legit volunteered to take the child as raise the baby on his own if Danielle’s parents didn’t approve. That was such a heart melting moment. If I were Danielle, and actually had parents who did care, then I would flip my parents off and run away with Liam.

My phone vibrated in my pocket, and I prayed that I wouldn’t have to go through a flight thinking about another threatening message. Instead, it was a notification for an event on the calendar of my phone. I pressed my finger to the screen, opening the event notification.

AHHH! One week until my BIRTHDAY!
My eyes widened and I realized the notification was right. I wasn’t surprised I had forgotten my birthday. I hadn’t celebrated my birthday since Scarlett had died and left me with my father, which was nearly twelve years ago.

“What’s that?” Niall said, coming up behind me. I quickly covered the screen, but I had a feeling Niall had seen it. I didn’t want him making a huge deal of my birthday. If I could skip it for the past twelve years, I could skip it again.

“Nothing.” I assured, stuffing my phone back into my pocket.

“It doesn’t seem like nothing.” Niall said suspiciously. “But I won’t push it.”

I smiled a little, heading back into the house. Once we were sure we hadn’t missed anything, we went into the kitchen where Liam’s dad was, just having set down the landline phone.

“Are you two off?” he asked, giving us a smile.

“Yes, sir.” Niall nodded, walking up to shake his hand. “Thank you for letting me stay these past few days. I really appreciate it.”

“Anything for you, Niall.” Liam’s dad laughed, patting his back. I came forward and Niall stepped back, letting me shake Geoff’s hand.

“Thank you so much Mr. Payne. I don’t know how I can ever repay you for this.”

“No problem, Aria. It’s my pleasure.” He smiled and pat my back as well, then waved goodbye as we exited his house. Niall grabbed my hand as we walked to the taxi, opening the door for me to step in. He got in after in, shutting the door. As the car pulled away, Niall and I turned to wave to Liam’s dad one last time, then got ready for a two hour drive to the airport.

The flight to London took under an hour, and yet I still managed to fall asleep and wake up to Niall laughing at the fact that I had drooled. He sure did know how to make me feel confident.
Once we had disembarked, Niall took my hand protectively and laced his fingers through mine, leading me through the crowd of busy people. Thankfully, there were no fan girls prepared to swarm us, as this trip to London hadn’t been announced.

The car ride to Niall’s flat was longer than the flight itself, so of course, I fell asleep on his shoulder. It wasn’t hard to fall asleep on Niall, the way he rubbed my arm and gently twisted strands of my hair. And don’t get me started on the way the hummed beautifully into my ear, as if he knew it would make me fall asleep instantly. Anyways, when I woke up, the taxi had stopped in front of a huge building that contained at least fifty flats. This building was huge.

And tall.

“So, you own just a portion of this or the whole thing?” I joked. Niall even laughed a little, getting out of the taxi. I got out after him and helped him take our suitcases out.

He paid the taxi driver and watched as it zoomed off, then pulled me into the building. He told me to wait by the elevator as he walked to the counter. He said a few things to the receptionist, who obviously recognized him. I noticed that she didn’t recognize Niall in a fangirl way, but more like she actually knew him. Niall came back to me with a keycard in his hand.

“Is this a hotel, or your home?” I asked, my words dripping with meaningless sarcasm. Niall just smirked, grabbing my free hand. Once having entered the elevator, we waited patiently for it to bring us up to his floor, which was the very top floor. He explained that all the flats of the top floor were two-story.

He walked in front of me, leading me to a door reading number “193”. He slid the card into a slot, unlocking the door.

Oh how I wish I were rich.

As soon as I entered, I stepped foot into a huge living room, with a TV implanted into the wall and themed in white and black. My eyes fell to the zebra rug on the floor and I looked up at him, amused.

“My mother helped me design.” He blushed, answering my confusion quickly. I nodded slowly, examining and declaring the rest of his décor pretty manly.

“You’re living room is half the size of my entire old apartment.” I smirked, circling the furniture.

“Want me to give you a tour?” he grinned, setting his bag down. I looked up and nodded.

After showing me everything from the balcony, to the guestrooms, to the bathrooms, to the kitchen, he finally led me into his room, which honestly looked nothing like his real old room at his parent’s house.

“Woah.” I breathed, just like I had for every other room he had showed me. The walls were brown with a wooden texture, along with a small alien looking guy peeking out from the corner of a large platform, separating his bed from the rest of the room. Behind the vertical platform was a separate section of his room that had a mini fridge and a desk.

“If you want, we can share.” Niall suggested carefully, watching to see if I’d reject in disgust. I turned to him and pecked his cheek.

“I’ll stay if you want.”

“Of course I want you to!” he blurted way too quick to be classified as calm. I laughed at his cuteness, ruffling his hair the way he hated it, and fell flat on his bed. You could tell that this mattress was all plush. My bed back in the apartment my dad and I had lived in was the definition of hell. You could feel every single damn string and hear every movement when I twisted and turned at night from lack of sleep.

So if that was hell, this was heaven.

“Yeah, I’ll be staying here.” I clarified, sitting up. Niall grinned goofily, and then pinched his lips together to stifle a laugh.

“You’re weird.” He said finally, and then jumped onto the bed beside me. Hell, the bed was so perfect that I could barely feel when Niall put all of his weight onto the bed.

I definitely needed to get rich.

First thing I’d do was get myself a better mattress.

No pun intended.

Laughing at my thoughts, Niall shot me a look.

“Why do you always laugh at nothing? It’s cute, but it’s weird.” He teased, lying on his side.

“I’m not laughing at nothing,” I protested. “ I was just thinking that if I become rich, that the first I would do was get a mattress like this one. The one I had in the apartment was such crap, but I guess I didn’t realize it was that bad until I lied down on a mattress this good.” After I finished explaining, I looked at Niall who looked like he was going to burst into giggles.

I shot him an annoyed look, even though I wasn’t really annoyed at all. “You’re immature. I can’t even talk about a mattress without you cracking up.”

“I think I’m just acting like a normal teenager, not a stuck-up and way too serious adult.”

I almost laughed. “You’re not a teenager anymore, Ni. You’re twenty.”

He frowned, as if he just remembered but then looked up with a smile. “When is your birthday?”

If I told him the truth, he would probably go all out there with crazy presents and some way too expensive candlelight dinner or, I don’t know, just something way out that I wouldn’t want him giving me. So, I kind of lied.

I lied smoothly, “March fifth.”

Niall nodded. “If I buy you a car, would you get mad?”

I knew he only asked that because he knew I would, in fact, be mad.

So I didn’t answer.

I rolled off the bed and skipped out of his room. Once I stepped out, I looked around and changed my mind. I swear, I would get lost in this place in a second.

“Change your mind, love?” Niall nagged teasingly. I turned around and gave him a pout, to which his face softened. “Don’t worry. When my mum came here for the first time, I had to lead her everywhere for two days straight.” I guess that made me feel a little better.

“I need to get a GPS.” I muttered, sighing and plunging back onto the bed in defeat. Niall wrapped me in his arms, kissing the top of my head.

Niall’s P.O.V.

“Can I tell you a story? And you can’t interrupt.” I asked, playing with Aria's loopy earrings. Aria smiled up and nodded. It was surely near midnight and we were still in my bedroom, talking and lying in each other’s arms peacefully. I could never get enough of her.

“Tell me.” Aria nudged, her legs entangled with mine.

“Once upon a time,” I began, “there was this prince. He had everything in the world than he could want. Money, a palace, and even his own carriage. He had everything he could possibly want except for one thing – a princess. His mom and dad, the king and queen, had promised to let him find the right one on his own, but he could tell that they thought he needed someone. Still, years and years passed, and that prince couldn’t seem to find the right princess.

One day, one of the prince’s friends brought back a hurt princess. She had been kicked out of the palace in her father’s kingdom for standing up for herself. The prince immediately declared the princess to be beautiful. He knew as time passed, that he was developing a mad crush on her.”

Aria giggled.

“Anyways, the prince had a feeling that now that he had found this perfect princess, he wouldn’t get her. And then, one day, the princess came and told the prince that she liked one of his friends. The prince was beyond devastated, and watched the princess and his friend slowly fall in love with each other. The prince thought that he was done for good, but then the princess told him that she didn’t love his friend anymore.”

Aria listened carefully, analyzing my story. I knew that she had made the connection by that small tint of red on her cheeks.

“Even though it was his friend, the prince couldn’t help but feel happy. He figured that he might have a chance with the princess again. Meanwhile, the princess had been threatened by her father, sending his guards to tell her the threats. One of the prince’s other friends had a really strong connection with the princess, and they shared everything. The prince was slightly jealous of him. Somehow, and it must have been a miracle, the prince finally got the chance to hear the princess say that she liked him. The prince let the princess stay with him at his palace, and his parents were happy to know he had found his princess. But then, the prince was an idiot and fought with the princess, causing her to leave.”

Aria kept her eyes on the ceiling. Suddenly, she rolled her eyes and got off the bed, heading for the door. I frowned, quickly following her. I could see her smiling, even though she was turned away. She kept walking, eventually going out to the balcony. When she couldn’t walk any further, she turned around to face me.

“Niall, this is so incredibly chees-“

I pressed to fingers to her lips so she couldn’t finish her sentence. I backed her up against a wall of the balcony, keeping her from looking anywhere else but at my eyes.

“The prince fell into slight depression. He missed the princess so much, and didn’t know where she had gone. One day, the friend who had a strong connection with the princess made the prince and the princess meet again. Over a short period of time, the prince and the princess made up."

“And now, they’re standing on his palace balcony, at this very second. And the prince is retelling his princess the whole story. Retelling the story to his beautiful princess. Hoping it won’t ever end.”

I stopped talking, just gazing into Aria’s bright blue eyes. Her eyes were developing tears at the corners, her smile growing.

“Still cheesy, Niall.”

I laughed and kissed her with force and a fiery passion. Her arms draped around my neck, I picked her up and spun her around, still kissing her. I could feel her wide smile against my lips as I spun her, and for a few seconds, the world was only Aria and I. I stopped spinning her when I felt dizzy, but only set her down to pin her against the wall again.

“Niall,” she whispered breathlessly, turning her head so my lips made contact with her cheek.


“Am I really your princess?”

I gave her a look. “I told you that whole story and you still don’t believe it?”

Aria laughed airily. “I’m just a little doubtful.”

“Why?” I asked, stroking the baby soft skin of her cheek. “What makes you so doubtful?”

The fact that there are so many more princesses out there.” She answered meekly, hanging her head low.

I slid my index finger under her chin and brought her head up, sliding my finger down the side of her neck. She shivered, a smile playing on her pink lips, (which were swollen from the kissing.) I moved my finger to lightly trace her lips, and then tucked her hair behind her ear.

“But you’re my only princess.” I vowed in a whisper. Aria’s eyes fell down, and for a minute she stayed silent.

Finally she answered. “Then I guess you’re my prince.”

With that, we kissed the night away.

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