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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42. To Liam's House

Aria’s P.O.V.

As I sat in my seat by the window of the plane, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t stupid for rejecting Niall’s apology. Even though I definitely felt stupid. I just couldn’t bring myself to confirm that I forgave him for what he said to me. Not yet.

I rubbed my eyes, playing the sound of Niall’s voice only a few hours ago.

“Are you alright?” the girl beside me asked, her long eyelashes batting curiously.

“I’m fine. Just… boy problems.” I answered, gulping down painful tears. For the first time on the flight, I got a good look at her. And she got a good look at me.

“Wait a minute,” she whispered. “You’re Niall’s rumored girlfriend. Aria, right?”

My eyes went wide, and I felt my face flush. My hands went cold.

“What happened?” she asked, looking genuinely concerned. Then she rolled her eyes. “Just because I’m a fan of the band doesn’t mean I fan girl like those other lunatics out there. And I know how to be a good listener.”

I smiled, clearly not trusting this girl. She noticed this, and stopped asking me questions. That’s when I knew she wasn’t one of those nosy fan girls who would tweet her conversation with the second she got off the plane.

“We, kind of got in a fight.” I shivered, staring at the girl. Her smile dropped.

“Well it must have been bad if you’re leaving Ireland.”

“Bad is an understatement.” I muttered under my breath, but the girl heard.

“I’m so sorry. I really hope you guys can figure everything out. You two seem perfect for each other.” She said, biting her lip.

“Um, thanks?” I said, the statement coming out like a question. The girl just shrugged, placing her ear buds in her ears and starting up the music from her I-pod.

I sighed and lifted up the window cover, staring out at the white clouds that we were flying through. I wondered what Niall was doing right now. Was he thinking of me? Had he realized I wasn’t worth it? Had he let me go? Did he regret fighting with me? I could imagine him, sitting in his room, refusing to eat food even though he secretly wanted to eat so badly. I could imagine him, being mad at Harry and Liam for being there for me.

Even when I was sure I was done with Niall, he always seemed to consume my thoughts.

I handed some money to the taxi driver and stepped out of the car, grabbing my suitcase and dragging it up the walkway to Liam’s house’s front door. The two story house looked slightly bigger than Niall’s, but just as cozy. I pressed my finger to the doorbell and waited. Seconds later, my favorite brother opened the door.

“Hey, Aria.” He smiled sympathetically, pulling my weak body into a hug. I must have cried for hours on the plane and my eyes were sore from it. I shut my eyes tight and wrapped my arms around him neck, sinking into his protective hold.

“I’m sorry for bothering you.” I mumbled into his neck as we hugged.

He pulled away, resting his hands on my shoulders. “You’re never bothersome to me, Aria.” He glanced at my bag and grabbed it. “Come in.”

A frizz of brown hair was rushing for me a second later, crushing my into yet, another hug.
“I missed you, Aria!” Danielle squealed, squeezing me tightly.

“Missed you too, Dani.” I said back, pulling away.

“My mum isn’t home right now…” Liam began. I cut him off.

“Your mum doesn’t know I’m here?”

Liam chuckled. “No. She knows. She went somewhere. My dad is home, though. Come meet him.”

Danielle grabbed my hand as the two of us followed Liam to a large living room. A man sat on the sofa, watching a fierce boxing match.

“Dad,” Liam cleared his throat, gaining his father’s attention. The man turned around and smiled.

“Well, hello there. I’m Geoff, Liam’s father. And you are?”

“Aria Lubianco.” I smiled as wide as I could, even with the pain I was experiencing, shaking his hand.

“Excuse us, I’m going to show Aria her room.” Liam interrupted, taking me by the wrist and pulling me up the stairs. Danielle followed with her familiar bounce in each step she took. You could tell by the way she walked that she was dancer.

“This, is your room.” Liam smiled, pushing open a door to a huge room. It looked completely elegant, with detailed draperies and a large bed with a fake window behind it. The deep purple color in the wall brought out the crème color of the bed. Liam chuckled at my shock of the room.

“T-this is like, huge.” I blurted, doing a visual panorama of the room again.

“Well, this is your new home.” Danielle grinned, draping her arm around my shoulder. She smiled down at me. How was she so tall.

“I’m gonna scoot over to my room to finish of my video game now,” Liam laughed sheepishly, waving before rushing out of the room.

Danielle laughed and shook his head, then turned to me.

“Liam is trying to beat his record score on some racing game. He tried to convince me to watch with him, but it’s so boring. I don’t understand what he sees in it.”

I chuckled, sitting down on the soft, plushy bed. Danielle looked at me awkwardly, then sat down on the floor.

“So, you need to tell me about the pregnancy.” I sighed, knowing that she was holding in a lot of stuff I didn’t know about.

Well,” Danielle sighed, rubbing her temples. “when I first found out, I was sitting in my room at home, and suddenly I felt like throwing up. I hadn’t eaten anything in at least five hours so it couldn’t be an upset stomach. That’s when I realized I had missed my period by three weeks. I started freaking out and grabbed a handful of tests from my mum’s room. They were all positive. I called Liam and told him I was coming over. I think I stayed with him for three or four days and I chickened out on telling him. Then, on the fifth day, I dropped the bomb.”

“I know where this is going.” I nodded, but told her to go on anyway.

“Yeah, so I told him, and it was late at night, and he didn’t even look at me. He kind of just marched out and slammed the front door so loud that I could hear it from the room.”

“I think that’s when he called me.” I added in. Danielle nodded.

“He went to his friends house, and apparently called you, and then the day after he left, he came back to his house, where I still was, and apologized.”

I bit my lip. “Danielle?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you, like, jealous of me? Because Liam and I are friends?”

Danielle laughed quietly, looking up at me.

“I used to be, “she admitted. “But I realized that Liam doesn’t love you the way he loves me. He loves you in a different way. Like a sister. He’s your go to guy, and you’re his go to girl. You guys help each other out and have kind of friend-zoned each other, right?”

I smiled. “Yeah. I can’t think of him as more than a friend or a brother.”

“I figured.” Danielle laughed. “But you really do mean a lot to him. Even if you don’t know it.”

I couldn’t help but smile ridiculously and Danielle’s words, hoping that they were true.

“Well, I need to go pack up. I’m going back home tomorrow.” Danielle said, indicating our conversation was our, she stood up and gave me a quick wave before leaving my room.
I sunk into the pillow, wishing my sudden need for Niall’s annoyingly attractive cologne.
Suddenly, I remembered Niall’s hoodie that I had stuffed at the very bottom of my suitcase, for obvious reasons.

I got up from the bed and headed to my suitcase, taking the top layer of clothes out to see a blue piece of the fabric peeking out. I pulled on it, taking out the hoodie.

The smell of Niall rushed through my nose, making me tear up. I bit my lip and put my other clothes back in the suitcase, sitting on the floor and hugging the hoodie to my chest.

Before I knew it, I was soaking the hoodie with my tears. My whole body was shaking, and tears just kept coming and coming. They wouldn’t stop. I squeezed the hoodie tighter, wishing that Niall would pop out from it. I sighed shakily, realizing I was being ridiculous. But that didn’t stop me from crying.

Before long, there was a knock on the door, and Liam walked in after I answered with a loud sob.

“Oh, Aria.” Liam mumbled, shaking his head sympathetically. He grabbed my hand, my other still holding the hoodie, and pulled me into his chest.

“I shouldn’t have brought his hoodie. Now I’m not going to let it go.” I laughed through tears, wiping my eyes on my sleeve.

“It’s good that you brought it.” Liam assured. “It gives you something to remember him by. You two are just going through a tough time. You couldn’t stay away from him so you brought his hoodie along. Makes sense to me.”

“I miss him already.” I whispered, rubbing my nose. “Even after everything he said.”

“I bet you do,” Liam nodded. He stared at me for a second, then smiled. “Lets forget about Niall for a bit, okay? Danielle is packing so maybe we could go out for a bit. How does a walk sound?”

I pressed a smile to my lips. “Okay.”

“Perfect.” Liam said, setting his hands on my shoulders. “Lets go.”

Before I could protest, I was pulling Niall’s hoodie and a pair of sneakers on, Liam grabbing my hand and pulling me out the front door. Sometimes, he could be so impatient.

At least he didn’t shout at me.



Liam’s P.O.V.

Aria had just finished telling me about Niall serenading her at the airport. She told me how Niall stopped playing when she left, and how much it hurt her to know she hurt him. Aria told me, however, that she felt like this was payback to him.

I thought the whole thing was stupid.

Sure, I would be mad if Danielle didn’t tell me something like her parents were threatening her, or that a relationship that she had with another guy wasn’t real, but it was nothing that needed to be fought over. Sure, a small argument would’ve been acceptable, but if whatever Niall had said had caused Aria to leave his home and come to me, then something else must have happened. Either that, or they just didn’t know how to apologize to each other. Or that they didn’t know what to and what not to fight about.

They had a… complicated relationship.

“Liam?”

“Yeah?” I said, snapping back to the present.

“Do you think Niall loves me?” she whispered, barely audible.

I chuckled lightly and slung an arm around her shoulder.

“I think you’d have to ask him that yourself.” I said. “But I think that Niall has always loved you a little bit, ever since he first saw you that time I brought you to the hotel back in California. He got this sparkle in his eyes that he’s never really had before. He just seemed so much happier, and so much, better, when you came around. You really mean a lot to the kid.”

“That’s why I don’t understand why he would say such nasty things to me.”

When we got home, dinner was the same old. Except for the fact that Aria kept picking at her food, not a bit entering her mouth at any point during dinner. She was still wearing Niall’s hoodie, the sleeves a bit too long for her.

I thought about Niall and Aria, and how simple everything seemed to be when they were only friends. Call me evil, but Aria was right. They seemed much better off as friends. They got into arguments that were solved, and never hurt each other this much. Aria wasn’t eating for goodness sake. That was like Niall not eating. Which meant something was terribly off.

“So, Danielle, when will the next ultra sound be?” my dad asked, gaining my attention. I looked over to Danielle, though I already knew the answer. Next week.

“I’ve got another one next week. Just like, a check up.” She answered, looking uncomfortable. I knew that she still wasn’t so secure with the fact that she was having our baby. She thought that my father hated her because she believed that she had caused a burden for my family and I. She didn’t know how wrong she was.

Our conversation was interrupted by the loud vibration of a cell phone. Our eyes fell to Aria, who sheepishly pulled her phone from the hoodie pocket, sliding her finger across the screen to read the text. Her eyes widened and she gulped, her face becoming pale.

“E-excuse me.” Aria mumbled, struggling to stand up straight as she rushed out of the room.
Danielle shot me a look to go after her. My dad just stared at Aria with a confused look, rubbing his neck.

“I’ll be right back.” I assured, scooting out of my chair. I ran after Aria who had gone to her room. I watched from afar as she sat on her bed, breathing abnormally heavily, clutching her phone in her hand. Her body was shaking and she was shaking her head, muttering inaudible things to herself.

“Aria.”

She looked up as I approached her bedroom door.

“Can I come in?”

She nodded, watching me as I sat down beside her.

“What’s wrong? What did the message say?”

She shook her head, indicating that she just couldn’t speak. I frowned and took her phone, having to pul it to get it out of her hand.

“They just get worse.” She croaked, just above a whisper.

I looked down at the recent message, pressing my finger to the screen.

Mom: seems like you’ve left your little boyfriend. I know where you are. I know where he is. Trust me. Have you thought about coming yet? If you’re not here soon, you can say bye bye to Niall.

I closed my eyes for a second, just in case I was seeing things. But I wasn’t.

“Aria, w-what-“ I couldn’t even finish, shaking my head in disbelief. I felt so bad for her, to be dealing with this.

“Their threatening Niall now, too.” She stammered, her voice shaking. “They can’t bring him into this.”

“It’s kind of hard to keep him a secret when he’s part of a world famous boyband, love.”

“Liam!” Aria yelled, clenching her teeth. “Don’t you understand? Everyone I’m around, everyone I talk to, I’m putting in danger.” She stood up. “I’ve got to get out of here.”

I gasped and grabbed her hand, pulling her back down.

“Come on. You’re over thinking this. Just calm down.”

“How the h-“ Aria stopped herself and took deep breaths, squeezing her eyes shut tight. “I just can’t calm down. I so mad that Niall… they can’t just pull Niall into this. Liam, I can’t do this. I’ve got to go. I have to go to wherever this sender is, and I’ve got to do it soon. Or else, their next target will be you.”

I went silent, knowing that she was right.

“And I just cant risk you getting hurt. Danielle needs you. You’ve got a child coming. He’s going to need his dad, and I can’t live knowing that I could have done something to keep you safe. To keep you alive. This is serious Liam. I can’t ignore these messages anymore.”

“Show the messages to the police.” I said. Aria gave me the “what the fuck” look.

“Liam, dear stupid, little Liam.” She laughed sarcastically, shaking her head. “Don’t you realize that their watching my every move? If I call the police, this sender will track me down and kill me.”

I sighed, knowing there was no way out of this. But she just couldn’t do this on her own. I wouldn’t let her. Niall would personally murder me if he found out I let her leave.

“Just wait. You just came here. Wait.” I said simply.

“What?”

“Give it sometime. Think over what you’re trying to do. Don’t just jump to conclusions. This whole thing could be fake. Maybe no one is after you. Millions of people around the world know that you and Niall are practically dating.”

Aria studied me, cocking her head.

“So you approve of this? Of me going after the person who may end my life?”

“There’s no other way to solve this.”

Aria gulped, nodding slowly.

“I sighed and looked out the door. “I need to get back to the table. Are you coming?”

“I’ll stay here.” She answered quietly, stretching her lips into a fake smile. I left her room, sliding back into my seat at the table.

“Is everything alright?” my dad asked, eyeing me curiously.

“Just fine.”

Danielle searched my eyes and gave me a doubtful look.

She and I both knew I was lying.

Nothing was fine.

Not anymore.

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