I do not own Twilight.

I am so sorry for not updating in…half a year. Honest to god I didn't know that much time had past. I've started university and lets just say I've been caught up in the awesomeness of it for a little while :).

Anyway, here's what happened last time on Jewels:

1. Edward took Bella out on another daytrip, this time to his own apartment

2. This was so Bella could give an opinion on Edward's outfit for a charity gala his mother was hosting.

3. Edward's apartment is really bare and its obvious he only uses it as somewhere to sleep

4. Bella has a flashback and it shakes her up little bit

Reading that back, it all sounds like the set up for a bad sitcom…ah well, I hope you enjoy this!

White Lily

"Bella?" he was behind me, I knew so I shrugged off the touch that came to my shoulder, even if it did send sparks along my bloodstream.

To be honest, I really wished these sparks would fuck off and leave me alone.

"Take me back," I said abruptly, turning to look into his unreadable eyes, "I'm tired."

That was not technically a lie. I was always tired but tired for me didn't always mean fatigue.

He frowned, "But Bella, we haven't filled out the full time I was supposed to be with you. They'll be suspicious."

I hated know he was right. But this unbearably bare room was starting to get a little choking. The sparse white walls reminded me of freshly fallen snow, making everything dead and quiet. Licking my lips, I said in a scratchy voice, "can we go for a drive or something? Get some fresh air or something."

He looked confused but nodded, murmuring that he just needed to change. He stripped off, right down to his boxers in front of me, uncaring that I was there. Before he'd gone behind the door of the closet, as if sparing me the sight of his body but now for the first time I saw him near fully naked. I was right in the beginning, he did take care of his body but it was like looking at the statue of David. You can acknowledge that he is beautiful but you're not attracted to him. It was just art. Just stone.

After he changed back into his original clothes we made out of his indistinguishable apartment. The elevator ride was silent, only the ticking of floors flying past. I felt my heart slow with each floor we flashed past, my hand unclenching, only a few centimetres from his relaxed one. It was so quiet between us, the silence seemed to form into this heavy fog that kept our lips sealed, our thoughts private. My thoughts were still a little shocked at the buried memory that had suddenly surfaced only moments before, a fragment of the girl that was. The memory had been as sharp as broken glass, lodging in my head and refusing to budge. I was now remembering the colours of the hot air balloons, the tomato reds, the bottle greens, the blue that reminded me of the inside of mussel shells. I used to imagine where the people in the hot air balloons would be travelling to, clambering to the globe in the sitting room to trace their routes across the planet.

The memory tasted like honey.

The memory tasted like poison.

As we walked back into the foyer, Ivan wished us a good day but it was hardly noticed. The valet brought his car, handing back the keys into those perfect marble hands. I wondered vaguely if childhood memories affected him the same way they affected me, as we settled into the car.

The silence was starting to get sickly and a part of me wanted to scream at it. The gap between us yawned wider, as we had nothing to say to each other. We were so very different. It made no sense how we could ever fit.

He drove randomly through the streets of New York, as if allowing the car to drive for him. People passed on either side, wrapped in their own lives, like bubble wrap around precious objects.

We ended up near Central Park, and as we passed Barnes and Noble, I asked him to stop. I needed to get something, I explained, holding my purse tightly in my hands. For a friend, I pleaded. He only nodded, face inscrutable as he drew up on a double yellow line and he even followed me in.

Barnes and Noble was full as I walked in, I heard the chatter of children, the rustle of paper, the louder conversations of adults. I weaved in between the other people going about their business, looking around the shelves.

I wanted to get Emerald a birthday present. Something to make her smile. Because there's nothing wrong with smiling every once in a while. I knew I shouldn't encourage any attachment towards her but I couldn't stop myself. She just needed looking after. Like we all do at that age.

Edward trooped after me, eyeing me in a way that made me think he was trying to analyse me. It was a little irritating to be honest but I ignored it.

I perused the shelves, breathing in the smell of paper and fresh made coffee from the café at the back. Fingering the titles, I enjoyed the feeling of spines that hadn't been cracked with white lines of overuse. Other people browsed with me, picking out books with quiet content looks on their faces as they scanned the backs of books.

I felt so normal next to them. To them, I was just another customer. Maybe I was a secretary or an estate agent. Maybe I had an apartment in the Bronx with a boyfriend who farts in bed and whom I make lasagne for while my cat Felix sat on the windowsill of our kitchen, licking his white sock paws.

They didn't know that I was the best piece of ass in Manhattan, that I sucked the cocks of attorneys and mobsters because an Italian madam of an exclusive brothel told me to.

Nope, to them I was dull. Boring.

Weird thought.

I tried to make the experience last. Under Edward's watchful eyes, I picked up books and read the blurb on the back, flicked through pages, reading random parts before putting them back. I wandered to the children's section and watched surreptitiously as mothers and fathers sat with their children to help them pick out the next book for bedtime. I came close to the café and watched how friends met up after shopping for books, smiling with easy grins at each other.

I had to pick something though. I reluctantly chose the three books I wanted to give to Emerald before dawdling to the front to pay, getting wrapping paper and a card along the way. Edward followed in quick succession, my shadow as I brought out my purse.

"Let me," he tried to insist, bringing out his wallet.

One look from me had him slipping his wallet right back where it came from.

Like La Petit Reine this was my experience, not his.

Paying for the books were like saying a quiet 'fuck you' in the face of…well…everything. I could still get books, like any normal human being. That, at least, couldn't be taken away from me.

The books were satisfyingly heavy to carry. I even swung the bag a little bit, to feel the weight of words in my hands. I headed for the car, expecting to be driven around in silence some more, but he took my hand and murmured, "Do you want to feed the ducks in Central Park?"

I blinked, startled by the request. But then I thought; I actually really wanted to feed the ducks. And for some reason, so did he. Smiling for the first time, I nodded, "please, that would be nice."

His grin was sudden and it split his face like fireworks on 4th of July. We bought duck feed from a vendor inside Central Park, and dawdled to the pond. Clusters of flowers were starting to bloom on the banks and people were about us, some with dogs, some in couples, some were jogging. We stood at the very edge of the pond, sharing the bag between us. We looked quite a pair, him in the designer suit and me in a printed silk shirtdress, one of the many 'presents' that Edward had made me wear.

The ducks flocked, orange bills snapping frantically as we sprinkled feed into the blackish green waters.

I wondered what ducks thought about. What they worried about. Duck feed maybe, migration patterns, how to make skeins in the sky, ponds to swim in…

I really want to be a duck.

Listening to the sounds of the park, the tense rippling silence seemed to ease a little. Edward even crouched close to the waterline, I caught the glint off his family ring as his hand hovered over the desperate ducks, "haven't done this since I was a kid and living in Chicago."

I snorted, watching how the water churned between the frantic ducks, standing as close to the edge as I could, "who does nowadays? Unless you're five."

"My mom always used to take us," he said, "the au pair would always have a day off on Sunday, so my mom always made a big thing of hanging out with us on that day. Duck feeding was the thing for her."

He retracted his hand a little as one of the ducks made a daring attempt to snatch the feed from his hand, "she came from Belfast. My mom. From a wealthy family but it was dangerous to be Catholic back then in that city. Marrying my dad was the safe way out. She always said feeding ducks felt like the only safe thing you could do back when she was young."

His lips quirked bitterly and he let his fingers loosen and the duck feed trickled out of his fingers and into the water to the scrambling ducks.

I watched him, pausing in scattering the food. He stared blankly off into the distance; seemingly unaware of where he was and whom he was with. Hands were slack, elbows resting on his bent knees.

The story was small, but it felt like a gift. A small facet of what Edward Cullen was. Sometimes, you had to treasure stuff like that.

I crouched down next to him and touched his hand. He glanced at me as I brought his hand palm up and trickled more duck feed into his hand. "Lets make it last longer then," I murmured, closing his fingers over the last of the food.

Just as I was about to pull away, he reached for my hand and grabbed it. I stared down, at where our hands were joined, his holding mine rather tightly. Fingers parted slightly, veins vivid, bones ghosting under his skin. His knuckles were a little scratched, a little bruised, as if he had been in a fight recently. Probably had been. His scratches were red and small, as if birds had clawed at his skin.

He gave my hand, my comparatively small and bony hand a tight squeeze. I didn't look at his face, because I knew he was staring at mine. One look and I'd be done for.

When he let me go, I stood up and looked around, wondering if anyone had noticed. Edward also stood up and did not look at me anymore.

2 days later…

I woke up to the sounds of crying.

This isn't really that abnormal.

Emerald normally cried when she woke up.

I turned over and watched from my bed as her little form shook with hard sobs, head buried in her pillow, a dark cloud of hair only indicating where it was. Her sobs were a little more vigorous this morning. Probably because of the date.

I stretched, popping my joints, the cracks echoing around my skeleton. I remembered that I hadn't slept a wink on the night before my first. I kept on imagining the scenario in my head, over and over, imagining the man who would clamber over me and force entry. I'd got myself in a such a state that the next morning old Emerald had a hard time keeping me from chaining myself to the bed.

I finally got up, swinging my legs over the side of the bed onto the cold concrete floor. I looked under the gap in my bed and pulled the books wrapped in wrapping paper that had 'Happy Birthday' stamped in different fonts and colours.

I walked quietly to Emerald's bed and sat down on her bed, springs squeaking. She didn't seem to notice, and what little I could see of her face was red and swollen.

"Emerald?" I asked quietly, not touching her. She wouldn't want anyone to touch her right now.

No answer.

More sobs.

"Emerald?"

No answer.

"Bree?" her name was simple to say, sweet in my mouth. I've always wanted to say it secretly, ever since she said it to me. It felt like a rebellion, like when I took joy in saying swearwords all those years ago.

Names are precious. More precious than any jewel in the world.

The reaction was instant.

Her face turned to look at me, eyes large in her head, lips parted in swollen shock. She palmed her face, wiping the wetness away, "You said my name." Her voice was cracking and hoarse but she'd stopped crying at least.

I grinned, brushing her hair out of her eyes, "yep, I said your name."

I brought the present out from behind me and murmured, "Happy Birthday, squirt."

The nickname isn't as clean as it sounds.

Girl didn't know what vaginal ejaculation was.

Priceless.

She blushed, sniffling a little. "How was I supposed to know women could ejaculate," she muttered, "and that is what Amber is known for in Manhattan."

Her face screwed up in disgust and I laughed, "honey you're gonna have to get used to knowing what goes in and out of other people's vaginas. Kinda comes with the territory."

She sat up, staring down at the parcels in her lap, "you didn't have to get me anything."

"Yeah, I didn't have to but I felt like it, so shut up and open it, squirt," I leaned back against the concrete wall, watching as her fingers searched for the seams in my wrapping, tearing the paper apart.

There were three books.

One was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

One was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

One was Nightfall by Stephanie Mayer.

She stared down at the books as I explained quietly, "Every girl has to read Jane Eyre. It is practically national law. The Perks of Being a Wallflower I enjoyed when I was your age and I think you'll enjoy it too. And Nightfall is apparently what all the cool kids are reading. Its about British vampires and damsels in distress and stuff."

I watched her face as she looked down at the books on her lap and she murmured a quiet 'thank you'.

I added in an even softer voice, "these are your escape. Use them."

She seemed to tense up but then her arms flung around my shoulders and she gave me a bone-crushing hug.

"I'm so scared," she whispered, as something warm and wet soaked into the shirt of my pyjamas, "what if it hurts? What if I screw up with the lube? What if he doesn't like it a complains to Padrona? What if-"

I pushed her away, grabbed her face and made her look me in the eye, "There are a ton of 'what if's in this job." I brushed her hair out of her eyes, "I used to think about them a lot too. It's perfectly natural. But there's no point in torturing yourself. The 'what if's are nothing now. You don't have the luxury of wondering about them. So stop." I smoothed my hands down her shoulders and arms, feeling how cold she was, "and anyway, you won't screw up. Most men are pretty unobservant anyway and the guy will be drunk on the high of winning you. And the actual sex… I'm not gonna lie, its not going to be pleasant. He won't care whether you are enjoying it or not and frankly it can feel like its going to last forever." I took her hands, smoothing my fingers over her flesh. "I think of sunset on the ocean and uh…my dad's garden shed and takeaway pizza and books I have to read. You take yourself away from situation. As far as you're concerned, its happening to someone else."

Her fingers were starting to warm and she nodded, her brown watery eyes starting to clear, "what would I do without you?"

I said nothing, pursed my lips, realising I'd gone too far. I gave her hand a final squeeze and got up to get dressed.

But the rogue thought came unbidden, as it was wont to do nowadays.

Was it so wrong to want human connection?

/*\\\

That night, there was no room for regrets.

The Floor was decked out for one of the most exclusive nights it hosted. Certain people had been selected to come and only those people. No gatecrashers, this was for New York's richest and sleaziest only. Fewer girls were working the poles tonight, so as not to detract from the main attraction: Emerald. Instead, we were waitressing, wearing bikinis that corresponded to what gemstone we were.

Emerald was supposed to be the showstopper here. She'd been tutored by Padrona personally on the dance she was going to do, on what she was going to say when she was finally won, what she was going to do when she was alone with the guy. Padrona was still trying to play Emerald off as a virgin to up her price.

Did you know that the Japanese make fake hymen to insert into your vagina before intercourse? It even oozes blood when it's broken.

Well now you do.

I'd helped do her make up, Topaz chatting away over me as she threaded green stones into Emerald's hair. We were with strict instructions to make her look innocent and seductive at the same time. It would work out that Emerald would be introduced, she will do her dance to model her assets, and then the bidding would start.

I'd heard Padrona gloat that Emerald was going to bring in thousands, maybe millions to the house of Cipro.

Emerald was shaking so much I nearly smeared mascara all around her eyes and not on her actual eyelashes.

She wasn't crying, she just stared fixedly at one spot on the wall in the Rec Room.

Topaz, in a dark ochre bikini was whittering about hair extensions.

I said nothing, the cerulean sequins of my bikini pinching into my flesh.

The others around us were in various states of undress, some were doing make up, others were still completely naked, as even though we each had a different coloured bikini, we all had to have the same general look. We had no shame either. We'd all seen each other naked. We'd all had threesomes with each other at least once.

You end up realising that flesh is flesh. We are all made the same way in the end.

"How are you feeling?" Jade was next to us, carefully curling her hair with curling tongs and a mirror perched precariously on the kitchen island, her eyes fixed on Emerald's goosepimply form.

Emerald glanced up, broken out of staring at the microwave, licking her lips nervously, "you know those trashy period romances by Mills and Boon? I feel like those girls in them who are getting married and they're getting ready for the wedding night."

Topaz cocked her head onto one side, frowning a little, "never thought of it like that, but I guess it fits."

I said nothing, gently rubbing rouge into Emerald's cheeks.

But she was correct.

It was like a medieval wedding night.

Funny how things change. And yet stay the same.

After she'd been prepped, Emerald was surprised by Topaz with a birthday cupcake. She blew out the lone candle, but looked to nauseated to eat it. Most the girls otherwise ignored Emerald's birthday, more concerned with the fact that they were being made to work when they really didn't need to.

One of Padrona's lackeys came through a few minutes later, ordering everyone apart from Emerald to get out onto the Floor; guests were about to be let in. Emerald was glued to her chair frozen, as the rest of us trooped out. My hand brushed her shoulder briefly, one last touch to her that meant her well. Then I followed everyone else.

/*\\\

When you go onto the Floor from the Boudoir side, you have the bar to your left, the stage and poles to your right and circular booths around low drinks tables in between. The stage itself was circular, but it had a catwalk platform that jutted out in the middle in amongst the booths. On the other side of this platform was the VIP area only reserved for special guests.

It was all full now, men in wealthy business suits and even a few women decked out in beautiful dresses with tasteful jewellery. All guests would have been thoroughly briefed on what they could and could not say outside these walls. They would have been given their own personal nickname. They were told what would happen to them if they broke the rules.

Nothing personal. Just business.

The Jewels began to weave in and out these important people, taking orders for drinks and bringing these drinks to them. This isn't the first time we'd done something like this and it wasn't going to be the last.

Make no mistake, we were still meat.

Men still fondled my ass and tits whenever they could.

The music was tasteful but had a dark beat to it as people made conversation. The Boss and his contemporaries were seated in their VIP area, eying the place with cold attention.

As I served his limoncello, he fixed me with a glare and said, "Lion enjoyed his night with you I hear."

I froze, wondering whom he was talking about. Then realised that 'Lion' was Edward's nickname here. I relaxed and said smoothly, "he seemed very pleased at the end of the night, yes."

He took a sip of his sweet drink and smiled a smile that seemed to gleam unnaturally in the light, "so much so that he visits you often now."

I nodded mutely, waiting for his verdict.

His smile remained, but his eyes became very hard, "do not fowl it up, mia topina."

Lips were dry but I nodded again not breaking eye contact with him and only drew away when he dismissed me with a wave of his hand.

In a way it was comforting. I was an important chess piece at the moment. Maybe I could be given a more important role if I do it right. Just that one little catch.

5 minutes later and a familiar face got my attention with a particularly distinct ass slap. "The lovely, gorgeous, scrumptious Sapphire, you're still here! How's my little love? Miss me? Remember the first time we met?"

Emperor, an oil tycoon worth millions with a Southern accent, hair as white and as thick as freshly fallen snow, his artificially beautiful face giving a winning smile with a certain defiance to not age. He was always impeccably turned out, always had a Pretty Young Thing on his arm that didn't have to brain cells to rub together and always, as he'd say in his post-coital glow, 'wouldn't know exciting sex if it bit her in her implanted ass and fucked her collagen trout pout.'

Emperor was one for excitement. He liked his sex new and fresh. He liked to be young. He wasn't cruel. And he took my virginity.

I remembered how he sweated off his fake tan, painting my body orange. I remember the smell of his cologne, too strong. But he told me jokes after; genuine ones that made me laugh, and told me I'd been brave.

So I sort of hated him and liked him at the same time.

Hard line to walk I know.

Putting on a winning smile, I cocked my hips and said in a voice that was partly genuine warmth and partly put on, "Emperor, I've missed you everyday. Where have you been?"

His arm was wrapped around the waist of what must have been a Russian supermodel, who was giving me a glare that would have made Siberia look tropical, "this Pretty Young Thing has been keeping me in Paris, haven't you sweetie?"

Pretty Young Thing could barely get a word in edgeways as Emperor continued on, "you were always my favourite Sapphire. Out of all my Pretty Young Things, you hold my heart. Trembling Pretty Young Thing you were when I met you and look at you now." He winked slow and it made my skin crawl but I was still sort of giggling at his antics, "maybe I'll have some time for you later, my little love."

I smiled in mock sadness, "As much as it would make my night, I think you should wait for Emerald. She's a beauty."

I was doing Emerald a favour.

Like I said, Emperor was a pig but he wasn't cruel.

Emperor raised an eyebrow, "high praise from a girl like you. She really something?"

"Let's say I've taken her under my wing," I said, smiling like the perfect saleswoman, "she knows all the tricks but is still a virgin, still pure. A dark beauty, any man would be lucky to have her."

I was forcibly turning a client away, losing personal revenue. This goes against everything you're supposed to do to get yourself out. But Emerald needed this more than me.

Emperor pondered for a moment, "I'll consider it. If she's as wonderful as you say she is." He picked up his whiskey glass and handed it to me, "little love, get me another scotch and maybe I'll follow your advice."

I smiled and nodded, taking it from him. Just as I turned around, he smacked my ass again, shouting at the top of his voice, "still got the tightest ass in Manhattan though!"

Just as I returned with his drink, the lights suddenly dimmed. A spotlight focused on Padrona who was standing on the stage. Her red dress fell to mid calf and her face and hair were perfectly made up. Her smile was wide and inviting, voice warm from the red wine she normally drank and the expensive French cigarettes that she smoked, "Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, here at Cipro we take great pride in our Jewels and how they please the people who walk through our doors. Our girls will be your fantasy, yours to enjoy. We seek perfection, beauty and pleasure. That is why it is always a momentous occasion when we have a new girl to add to our handpicked group of girls. For one of you lucky bidders, she will be yours for this night, her debut night, as pure as the fallen snow. But only for the man who wins her. Who is champion of this auction." Padrona's hands clasped in prayer as the music began to pick up pace, "my dear colleagues, my faithful clients, I give you the young, fresh beauty that is Emerald!"

Claps all around as Padrona moved off stage and Emerald shifted on, her body glittering in the overhead lights. The bass was low in the music and slow, allowing her to move with sensuous moves designed to entice. Only someone who'd watched the routine several times over, would see the tremor in her hands. The beads in her hair glimmered, but her eyes showed how terrified she was. All these men, staring at her as she dances, imagining what they could do to her.

I remembered that feeling, the uncertainty of who'd I be with, who would finally take my last scrap of dignity away. It was all I could do to face the music and dance to it.

So when Emerald's eyes met mine I gave her a smile and mouthed 'well done' as if I was a mother at my daughter's nativity play.

Her lips twitched and she swung away from me continuing in her dance. But she was shaking less and her eyes looked less like a rabbit's in front of a car.

As the dance drew to a close, the audience applauded and Emperor said to me, "you were right, she is exquisite." His smile was large and I could see the dreams of what to do with her, building in his eyes.

I nodded, giving him a quick smile, "I'm glad you approve." Eyeing Pretty Young Thing I said, "hope Pretty Young Thing can keep up. We Jewels are hard to compete with."

Pretty Young Thing practically hissed at me and Emperor laughed, "that's my girl!" as I sashayed away.

I didn't watch the bidding though, didn't listen to it. I didn't want to know how much Emerald's vagina is worth. I knew it was over when there was a final gasp as some enormous figure was announced and applause as the price was met. I watched as the lucky man traipsed to the front to claim his prize.

Relief filled my gut as Emperor kissed Emerald's knuckles and said in front of the whole crowd, "tonight I possess beauty."

Another round of applause as Emerald stood like a wooden board. Emperor and Emerald were led off by Padrona to their room and that was when business continued as usual. Within minutes, I had a brutish man pinning me against the bar.

"I may have lost her to the scummy old bastard," the Alpha Pig snarled, palming my breast and grabbing my ass, "but I won't lose you will I?"

A normal girl will push him off. Tell him to stick it where the sun shines.

But I'm a prostitute. And this is what I do.

I palm his growing erection, clasp his earlobe in my teeth and then tell him in a sweet voice, "For a price baby, I'm all yours."

He took my mouth in a fierce clash, beer all I could taste in mouth. He was sweating, he was holding me too tightly, but this was normal. Standard. Acceptable assault.

His lips met my neck and as he left a wet trail across my neck I saw a pair of green eyes over from across the Floor.

Edward's eyes.

Uh oh, this is going to be messy…

I liked writing this, showing a softer side to Bella and maybe to Edward. Whether it's a good thing in the grand scheme of this, we'll just have to wait and see.

The book Nightfall that Bella got for Bree is a parody of Twilight. Thought it would be a bit weird otherwise.

And I've looked it up. You can get insertable hymen from Japan.

It's probably not even the weirdest thing you can get in the wonderful world of sex toys.

But still…yuk.

Till next time,

Bones x

Random Fact # 2: Another tooth related fact: my left front tooth is only half there. My sister, when I was 7 and she was 4, accidentally smacked a video tape (remembered those? Heavy bloody things) into my mouth, chipping a large part of my tooth off. All I remember is blinding pain and the fact that the video tape was Chicken Run.