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What Now Chapter 11 A Shoulder to Cry on.

James POV

"James?" A girl asked.

I turned my head in the direction of whoever said my name. The voice sounded familiar but I couldn't place it. But when I turned around, I saw a beautiful face I would recognize anywhere.

"Bella!" I hugged her tight, for probably a little longer than absolutely necessary. "How are you?" I asked.

She looked so… grown up. Her hair was to the middle of her back and she had died it black, her bangs were in her eyes. I remember when we were kids, she used to keep it shoulder length and it used to be light brown, she never had bangs either. She was probably about five-six now. The last time I saw her she couldn't have been taller than four-five. But then again, I haven seen her since I was seven and she was six. A whole lot about her had changed. But her eye change thing hasn't. When I first saw her they were green. Now they're brown.

It was definitely weird to see her in a dress. As a kid, she refused to wear anything but pants, she hated dresses and skirts. But what she was wearing now was a beautiful black dress. It had a v-neck and spaghetti straps, empire waist, it was knee length and it showed off that she had amazing long legs. God, she was just so grown up. She was so beautiful. I'm not even gonna lie – and I felt really gross even thinking it – but, her body was bangin. I almost laughed when I saw that she was wearing pair of black high-top converse with it. It was just such a Bella thing to do. Somehow she still looked really good in the whole outfit.

"I'm fine. How are you doing? I thought you were off to college."

"Oh, uh." It hurt to think about exactly why I was here again. "Aunt Victoria died." I barely chocked out. Bella was shocked. Her eyes changed from brown to deep, deep, clear blue. The color reminded me of the ocean or maybe the sky. I instantly knew she was sad when her eyes turned that shade of blue. I had been around her so much as a kid – practically attached at the hip – I knew what her eye colors meant.

"What? When did that happen?" she asked, fighting back tears. Aunt Victoria was like a mother to Bella too. Bella's mom lived in Phoenix while she lived here with her dad. They lived across the street, so Aunt Victoria would baby sit her when Chief Swan had to work. That's how we became such good friends as kids. It was because we were always together.

"She was sick. She had cancer, she couldn't afford the treatment."

"What?" She was full out bawling now and it took everything for me not to start crying with her. I had to do something. I hugged her and she cried on my shoulder. We must have looked utterly fucking ridiculous to the passing bystanders. Me just standing there holding a crying girl, in the middle of the frozen food section of the grocery store. It didn't take long for her to start sobbing and shaking. Suddenly, Edward and Jasper Cullen showed up looking pissed, just staring at me like I was doing something wrong.

Jasper took one look at us like that and his fists clenched. I wondered what the fuck his problem was. "Bella, are you okay?" Jasper asked in a calm voice, but I could clearly see that he was nowhere near calm right now. Once again, I no fucking clue why. Bella tried to stop crying but couldn't, could only manage to stop sobbing so hard. She turned to them and said, "Jasper chill. This is my old friend James." She gave me a big hug and quietly asked in a sad voice, "When's the funeral?" She wiped at her face but it was fruitless, as more tears kept streaming down her face.

"It's tomorrow at noon. Will I see you there?" I was surprised at just how much I wanted her there. Bella was really the only one who knew just how close Aunt Victoria and I were. I think she was just as close to her as I was. It would be so much easier for me if Bella was there with me tomorrow. I wouldn't feel as weak if she were crying with me. I hate crying and if Bella were there with me it wouldn't be as bad. I know from the few times we had cried together as kids. As a matter of fact, everything was better if I did it with Bella. She just had that kind of effect on me. I don't know why, but she made everything better and honestly, I liked it that way. I think that's why we were so damn close as kids. I wouldn't change it for anything.

"Of course. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Hey, where are you staying?" she asked, trying to wipe away her tears again. Of course more spilled forth no matter how much she tried to make them stop. A few seconds later she got so frustrated she just stopped trying; just letting them push through and run down her face. I know how she felt. I've been feeling like that for three days now.

"I'm staying at Aunt Victoria's house. Why?"

"Oh. I might see you tonight. But I'll definitely see you tomorrow. Bye." She kissed me on the cheek and hugged me one last time. She walked away with Edward and Jasper right behind her. I wondered how she even knew them. Why she associated herself with them. It was weird to see Bella today. She's just… so fucking grown up. She's gotta be like seventeen now. It was even weirder to see her with Edward and Jasper Cullen. I don't like them. At all. I mean, I don't really know them but they give me bad vibes.

Bella POV

"How do you know James Smith?" Jasper asked once we got back home, putting away the groceries. I wondered why the hell they were so quiet and I guess now I know why. I mean, Jasper didn't even try to comfort me on the way home when I was crying, didn't try to calm me down, and didn't even ask why I was so upset. He never does that, it was so unlike Jasper. He didn't even sit in the back, beside me like he always does when I'm upset about something. It was so unlike Jasper. He just sat in the front looking angry, so tense. Once again, it was so unlike Jasper.

"We grew up together." I said, still trying to stop the tears.

"What did he do to you?" Jasper asked angrily, his hands already balled up fists at his side.

"He didn't do anything," I defended. "Our Aunt Victoria died." Jasper's face softened and he grabbed me up in a hug.

"I'm sorry."

Around midnight when Edward and Jasper were sleeping, I crept downstairs, bag in hand. I went into the kitchen and left a note on the kitchen table before I snuck out of the house.

Edward and Jasper,

I'll see you tomorrow after the funeral. I'm leaving tonight to help James with the last minute arrangements.

Love you guys

Bella

I walked for about twenty minutes to Aunt Victoria's house. I knocked on the door, hoping James was still awake. He opened the door almost as soon as I knocked. I smiled, tried to at least, and gave him a big hug.

"What are you doing here, Ellie?" God, no one has called me Ellie since I was like, six. It reminds me of the better part of my childhood. Before Dad was so drunk all the time. Before he got out all his aggression on Mom and me. Before mom left me alone with him and his rage. A childhood filled with smiles and giggles, happiness, inside jokes and whispers in the middle of the night. A childhood filled with James. I missed it. I missed him. I missed everything about him. The thing I missed the most; everything was better with him.

"I came to see my BluJay," I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster up, which wasn't saying much.

"Come on inside," he said, stepping aside so that I would enter. I smiled at him and walked inside. I only got as far as the living room before I was crying. It was when I saw her rocking chair, old, withered, forgotten looking, that I lost it. Again. It wasn't the shaky, trembley, sobby, sniffley, loud kind of cry, just silent little droplets falling down my face.

James POV

Bella was crying again. I don't know when she started but it was sometime after she walked in, but before we made it to the kitchen. It was probably the rocking chair. Aunt Victoria's rocking chair. I did the same thing a million times yesterday. I know how it feels. I fell aleep quickly after that. At the kitchen table. Holding Bella in my arms. As she sat in my lap, crying on my shirt.

THE NEXT MORNING

James POV

I woke up at the table to the smell of bacon. Bella only cooked when she was hungry or upset and I suspected it to be a bit of both this morning. I smelled cinnamon too. She was baking. Jesus, she is falling apart.

"Morning sleepy head," Bella cooed in a sleepy voice.

"Mmmmm. Is that bacon? And…?"

"Cinnamon buns" she answered shyly.

James POV

I can't believe that I'm here, in this stupid town, wearing this stupid suit, trying to convince myself that this was inevitable. I can't believe that she died, she's gone. I know that she wasn't my mom, she was better. She cared about me. She wanted the best for me. She listened to me when I needed to talk. She gave me advice when I needed it. She loved me. Unlike my real mother. She was a drug addict who wanted her next high more than her own son. Clearly

Victoria was my aunt. I never even knew she was sick. I don't think many people did. She obviously hid it very well. I used to love being in this house. It was always warm and inviting. Now, it just seems empty, hallow. It feels… vacant. I lived here with Victoria from the time I was three until just four months ago, when I moved out. I went to college. Boston University. I remember when I got my acceptance letter. We both were so excited. I was just a small town boy moving out to the city to make a name for myself.

She always wanted me to get out of this place. She used to say, "I hope you never get sucked back in James. I hope you never do." Before I left for college, she told me to never come back if I could help it. I remember her exact words. "People live here their whole lives, never seein' nothin' but the hundreds of shades of green in Forks, they die empty. I don't want that for you. You deserve better than that, boy. You should see the oranges and browns and yellows in Arizona. See the purples and reds and blues in Massachusetts. Maybe even the blacks and whites and tans in Wyoming. The millions of colors of the world, baby. I want you to see as much as you can. I don't want you to come back if you can help it. Leave and don't look back, baby. No matter what, don't look back. You hear? You don't look back. The whole wide world could be yours if you get out of this big green dump."

Just as I finally took the time to take in the purples and red and blues in Massachusetts, Aunt Victoria dies. Just when I got out of Forks, I was sucked back into the big, green, leafy, hellhole.

The one and only thing that made all this shit bearable was the remarkable young woman standing in front of me. Crying all over my shirt. Even though she's so upset over it, I wouldn't have been able to handle it without her. I'm not gonna lie, I cried on her shoulder a little too.

She said her appropriate lines and so did I. We heard, "I'm so sorry for your loss," and "It's such a shame she had to go" too many times to count. What the hell did they know about our loss? What the hell do they think they know about her to give us their condolences? They know nothing about shame. They know nothing about Aunt Victoria.

To Be Continued…

So I hope you guys liked that and I'll update probably next week. LOVE YOU GUYS!

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Michelle

What Now Chapter Eleven