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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17. To Scare Niall Horan

Aria’s P.O.V.
I woke up with a bit of weight on my waist. Whoever I was on, I was too cozy to move. I settled back into my sleep, trying to regain my dream. What was I dreaming ab-

Wait. I was on someone?

I slowly, turned my head, and by the smell of the familiar Armani aftershave, I knew it was Niall. His scent always drove me crazy. The sun was shining brightly through the window, and that made me wonder just how long I had been asleep. Niall arms were wrapped firmly around my waist as he lay of the sofa, with my back to his chest. I thought we had been watching movies earlier. Figures.

After struggling out of Niall’s protective grip, I stood up, feeling a bit dizzy. The back of my head was throbbing more than before. I ignored it and squinted at the clock in the kitchen area. The other boys would be back soon. Stumbling into the kitchen, I poured myself a glass of water and took a sip. Right on cue, I heard the front door opening, followed by loud voices and footsteps.

Louis’s boisterous voice rang throughout the entire bungalow. I rolled my eyes and went to the entry way. Zayn was carrying a few takeout boxes in his hand.

“Is that food?” I asked, licking my lips. Zayn looked up with a smirk.

“I see you are no longer Ms. Crabby Pants.” Zayn laughed, handing me the bag. Hungrily, I opened the bag to the smell of Chinese food. I didn’t answer, instead hurried into the kitchen and opened up the boxes of food. Grabbing one, I walked back to the couch, shaking Niall gently. He stirred around for a second, and then opened his eyes, taking it the smell of food.

“Food?” he moaned, reaching his hands out blindly for the box of food in my hand. I laughed and shoved him off the sofa, watching as he stumbled into the kitchen towards the food. The other boys brought their own boxes of food and came to sat on the sofa. Zayn plopped down on one side of me, Harry on the other. Liam and Louis down the floor, while Niall leaned against the counter.

“So, what was the stage like?” Niall asked, shoving more food into his mouth. He was already half way down.

Liam’s eyes grew wide in pleasure. “It was amazing.”

“Very large. It’s rather intimidating.” Zayn added. I watched Louis put his food down and take out his phone, clicking on the Camera application. He scrolled through his pictures and handed his phone to me. I felt my mouth hang open slightly, at how big the stage was. It was almost as big as the Madison Square Garden stage. Humungous.

“If I were to perform on that thing in front of that many people, I would probably pass out.” I laughed. The pressure it my head increased from the laughter, causing my hand to clutch my forehead.

“You alright there?” Harry asked, his eyebrows scrunched together.

“She had a fever a few hours ago. I gave her some medicine.” Niall answered for me while I rested my head on the headrest of the couch.

“Ew! You never told us she was sick.” Zayn yelped, scooting away from me. I believe there was a hurt look on my face, to which Zayn laughed softly and moved towards me again.

“Just joking.”

I stuck my tongue out at Zayn and shoved him by the shoulder. He just smirked and went back to eating his food. We ate in mostly silence, which was quite awkward considering this was One Direction. Louis hummed quietly while he ate while Niall on the other hand, pigged out in the corner. What a loner.

“Cow.” I blurted out randomly. Zayn looked at me and burst out laughing. The rest of the boys turned their attention to me.

“Did you just call me a cow?” Louis gasped, slapping his chest dramatically. Liam and Harry snorted.

“Dog.” Harry mumbled, glaring at me. Then Niall took his turn to gasp, staring at Harry.

“Did you just call her a dog, Harry?” Niall demanded, setting down his empty food box. Harry smirked and shook his head.

“Cat.” Liam shouted from his place. We all looked at him, silence taking over the room. The silence was soon followed by laughter. Yes, we were quite a weird bunch. Laughing harder this time, made my head ache with pain.

I slowed my laugh, mumbling an “I’ll be right back” to the boys before hurrying into Liam’s room to find a bottle of aspirin. I spotted a bottle lying on the night table by the bed, just as white spots of light started to blink within my vision. Panicked, I lunged for the bottle of aspirin, the white taking over my entire vision. What was happening?

Just like that, my body went limp, my knees locked, I fell to the floor, and everything disappeared.



Niall’s P.O.V.

No one but me seemed to notice that Aria had left the living room twenty minutes ago, and still wasn’t back. The negative thoughts of what could’ve happened to her erupted in my mind. I quickly excused myself from the conversation of which I was not even interested in, and went into the bedroom, where I had last seen Aria enter. My eyes dropped to a body sprawled out on the floor.

Oh my god. Not again. Frantically I bent down and got on my knees, shouting for the boys to help. They came running into the room, gasping when they saw Aria.

“I wonder how many more times we’ll walk into a room and see Aria almost dead.” Louis thought out loud. I shot him a glare. He looked away, quite embarrassed.

“She’s breathing lightly.” Liam noticed. Thank god at least one of them were sensible. “It seems she’s passed out.” Never mind.

“No shit, Sherlock.” Zayn muttered, shoving Louis from his path. He knelt down beside me and slipped his hand and arm under Aria’s limp body, making her sit up. She immediately took in a deep breath, coughing loudly. Her cough sounded quite terrible, and judging by Liam’s’ and Harry’s expressions, I wasn’t the only one to notice that.

Zayn tilted Aria back a bit and rested her head on his lap.

“Aria, if you can hear me, just do something.” Zayn said with a raised voice. We waited patiently for Aria to do something. Seconds later, she raised her hand and placed it on mine. I jerked slightly by her action, feeling my cheeks warm up a bit.

“She’s conscious.” Harry said. We had all just decided to ignore Harry at this point, for he was only stating the obvious. That boy.

“Let’s get her to the bed. Someone go get some ice.” Liam instructed. I quickly scooped Aria into my arms and set her down on the bed while Harry went to get ice. Moments later, he came back with an ice pack. Zayn placed it on Aria’s fore head, her skin turning white in the area, from the temperature.

Liam let out a deep breath. “Let’s let her rest, lads. Niall, stay with her just in case she wakes up.”

They boys ushered themselves out of the room, leaving me in there with Aria. Her whole body was pale, her eyelids fluttering slightly. I climbed into bed beside her and kind of just… stared at her. Even when she was ill, she managed to remain beautiful. Not just any girl could conquer that.

Absent mindedly, I took one of her hands into mine and played with her small, perfect fingers, before settling on lacing our fingers together. I squeezed her hand gently before lying back in bed, waiting for her to wake up.

I was a bit worried about Aria’s health. Was it even healthy to pass out twice in the same month? I hoped it wouldn’t become a normal routine. I felt Aria’s hand squeeze mine, sending sparks through my skin. I felt calmed by her action, as I exhaled deeply. Wait. She just squeezed my hand.

“Niall?” I heard a voice croak. But it wasn’t just any voice. It was a voice that I was absolutely crazy for, one that sounded like music.

“You feeling alright?” I asked, shifting onto my side. Aria rolled her eyes, taking her hand out from my hold.

“I don’t know. My head throbbing and I feel like I’m about to die.” She said bluntly, rolling her eyes again. I ignored her cranky attitude and pulled her to my body, her back against my chest. I wrapped my arms tightly around her and pressed my lips into her soft blonde hair.

“Don’t pass out ever again. You scared me.” I whispered against her hair, causing her to shiver.

“S-sorry,” she stammered, melting into my hold. We lay there together in silence before I heard Aria chuckle lightly.

“Most guys would not want to cuddle me when I am sick and burning with fever.” She pointed out.

“I don’t care. You’re much more important than my health.” I laughed, hugging her again. Aria smirked and flipping over so she was facing me, our faces dangerously close. She noticed that and shifted away from me a bit, a tint of pink on her cheeks.

“I love you, you know?” Aria smiled, looking straight into my eyes. Surely she didn’t mean it the way I wanted it to mean.

“I love you, too, Ari.” I replied, “You’re an amazing friend.”

Ari bit her lip, hiding a smile. Her rosy cheeks didn’t help the disguise.

“You’re cute.” I blurted, without thinking. Aria stared at me for a second before blushing harder.

“Um, thank you.” She giggled, looking down. “But I know you’re only saying that to make me feel better.” She added softly.

“What?” I paused, “No I’m not. You really are adorable, both physically and internally. Everything about you is amazing.”

“No. That’s a lie.” Aria said, frowning at me.

“No it’s not. You, are a beautiful person.” I argued, flicking a loose strand of hair out of her flawless face. She scoffed and turned her back to me, squeezing her eyes shut. An un comfortable silence filled the area.

“I’m just going to let you rest.” I muttered, getting off the bed and opened the door, shutting it tightly.

How could I even think about liking a girl who didn’t even love herself?

 


Four days later

We stumbled off the stage, sweaty and tired. What a show. Too bad Aria couldn’t be there. The poor little angel was sick in bed with a terrible fever. I knew how much she had wanted to come see us performing, but I had convinced her to take the day off and get some rest. We needed her as healthy as possible for Liam’s surprise birthday party.

I grabbed a bottle of water and twisted the cap, chugging down the liquid.

“Great show out there tonight, boys.” Paul boomed from somewhere backstage. Zayn and Harry had collapsed to the floor, also chugging water. Louis was sprawled on a chair while Liam calmly sipping a bottle of energy drink.

“Thanks Paul.” I answered for all of us.

My phone vibrated with a text. I grabbed my phone from my pocket and saw Aria’ message picture.

Aria: hey, Paul said the show finished. How was it?

Me: amazing! I wish you could’ve been here.

Aria: says the one who made me stay at home -.- I wanted to come you dummie

Me: gotta rest. How are you feeling, by the way?

Aria: not much better to be honest. Hope I’ll be okay for Liam’s birthday. The aspirin is helping, though

Niall: okay, we’ll be home in about an hour.

Aria: okay I’ll be waiting

Niall: hahaha be safe love. Bye


I followed Paul and the rest of the lads to the van which was waiting patiently for us. I was quite eager to go home and see Aria. She hadn’t been feeling any better, in fact, her temperature rising and her cough worsening.

We piled into the car and soon arrived back at our rental house. Louis and Zayn were chatting as were Harry and Liam. It felt quite normal to be the odd one out, always was. Until Aria came along. She was very accepting, and never liked to see anyone left behind. Her kindness was one of the best things about her, and it was very apparent. Aria was really different too . For having such amazing looks, she was so insecure, it was shocking. You could tell how uncomfortable she got when someone complimented her, and she smiled, though that glint in her eyes said she didn’t believe it. Had this amazing ability to light up the room when she walked in, even if she was dressed in her pajamas. I wondered when the day she would be mine, would arrive.

Stepping into the bungalow, the living room was empty. Aria was probably in one of the bedrooms. She seemed to migrate to different rooms rather frequently. Smiling to myself, I left the boys to snack in the kitchen, looking for Aria. Sure enough, I found her reading a book on the bed while eating potato chips. She didn’t seem to have noticed me walk in, probably because on the earphones covering her ears. Quietly, I walked to the bowl of potato chips and grabbed one. The movement caught her eye and she looked up, completely startled .

“If you want to lessen the risk of me fainting, then please don’t scare me.” She laughed, resting her earphones around her neck. Chuckling, I sat at the edge on the bed and put the back of my hand to her forehead.

“You’re still warm.” I sighed, pulling my hand away.

“I’m not warm. I’m hot. Burning hot.” Aria groaned, sinking into her pillow.

“That you are, babe.” I winked, kissing her forehead, rising from the bed. Aria blushed, and I knew she was going to start protesting. Quickly, I placed a finger to her lip, hushing her.

“Not a word, beautiful.” I whispered, leaving the room before she could saying anything else. In the living room, sat Zayn, whose eyes were glued to his phone.

“Where are the others?” I said, interrupting him.

“Taking showers.” He answered, looking up. I nodded and sat down beside him, watching him type on his phone. I stared at his eyes until he looked up again.

“You’re creepy.” He said, blinking at me a few times. I laughed and settled into the couch, pulling my legs up. Zayn put his phone away and looked at me, then to the closed door of Aria’s room.

“You really like her, don’t you?” Zayn asked, though it was more of a statement. I blushed, deciding that lying wouldn’t help.

“You could say that.” I answered, pausing a second. “Why, is it obvious?”

Zayn chuckled, looking me in the eye. “Very obvious. Even a blind man could see the connection between you two. You’re always the one to go a check on her, and shes never told you to leave. She likes your company and you like hers. You guys are literally reserved for each other, quite frankly.”

I took in a sharp breath. “Do… do you think she likes me back?”

Zayn rolled his eyes. “I know it, Nialler. She gets that little sparkle in her eyes when you guys are together, but it never happens around Liam or any of the other guys. Plus, we’ve ALL seen the way you two look at each other. It’s quite sickening actually.”

“What look?” I asked suspiciously. Zayn smiled.

“When Aria enters the room, you get this look in your eyes that register her and only her. Like she’s this angel floating from heaven. That look is the look that every one of us notices, except Aria herself. But no fear, because she’s got the same exact look when she sees you.”

“Are you trolling me?” I questioned, knowing my face was probably a cherry. Zayn laughed.

“I don’t lie about these kinds of things. And if you don’t believe, just ask the other guys. You two are perfect for each other.”

“But why would a girl, as beautiful and amazing as her… like someone like me?” I asked, partly disgusted. There was nothing special about me at all. Aria was the opposite.

“She likes you because you are you, Niall. Plus you’re rather good-looking,” Zayn grinned, “no homo.”

I chuckled at him comment. “Thanks, I guess.”

Zayn rubbed his eyes and let out a loud yawn, watching as Louis exited the bathroom with a towel around his waist.

“I’m going for a shower.” Zayn said, before leaving the room. I sighed and pressed myself into the couch.

Was it possible that Aria could like me? Was it possible that we could maybe date? Was it possible that I would be able to call her my girlfriend?

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