A/N: Thank you all so much for the wonderful reviews! I'm really glad you like this, because sometimes I hate it. lol. But any-who! Here's the next part of the saga- I hope it doesn't disappoint!
The Bijoux Noir looked a bit more refined when its patrons weren't there to booze the place up.
After leaving the museum, Emerald reminded Diamond to stop by the club so Serena could pick up her clutch. The heir had made a call to the manager informing him of their visit as well as his lawyer asking her to fax over some legal documents.
"Mr. Black," the trio was greeted by the manager as soon as they walked in. "The lost and found is in the office as well as the papers you had faxed over." Nodding at the man, Diamond turned to face the cornflower blonde behind him and told her to follow the club's manager.
Leaving Emerald and Diamond at the bar, Serena followed the manager to the club's upstairs office. She hadn't even realized that there were three levels. When they finally reached the office, Horace showed her where they kept all the lost objects.
"If we have your purse, it'll be in there." He pointed to a cornered closet on the opposite side of the room. I gotta take these papers down and grab some shipments. You can handle yourself, right?"
Serena nodded, thanking the man as he grabbed a stack of papers from the fax machine on his way out. Glancing around the medium sized office, Serena took note of the many monitors on the desk realizing the room was also for security. She quickly walked into the lost/found marveling at the types of things people had lost. Finally locating her clutch, the blonde checked to make sure everything was accounted for. Id, keys, and cellphone- everything was there, even her money.
She was just about to leave when something on one of the security monitors caught her attention. Deciding to get a closer look, the blonde walked over to the desk to look at the screen full on instead of at an angle. Placing her clutch down, she took a seat and watched as the footage played.
.10- A couple strolled through.
2.50- security guard was smoking a cigarette
3.15- a flash of blonde hair as a man pulled another into focus.
Gasping, she paused the playback realizing this was last night's footage. She remembered the fear that had saturated her bones as her attacker drug her down the alleyway. Afterwards, she had felt so ashamed and she hadn't had a clue as to why. It was Jacob who had been guilty of a great wrong- so why did she feel so horrible about the situation?
Checking to make sure no one was coming, she hesitantly clicked the play button watching as her savior dealt with her attacker.
Diamond stared back at the man with a blank expression on his face. A few months after his mother's death, his father sent him away to a boarding school in Russia. Even though he'd hated that school, he could appreciate its teaching. Success was not for the faint of heart and people are not always as benevolent as they appear. It was there the young heir learned the tall-tale signs of fear. He could see it clearly in this man's eyes, and it angered him. Not the fear, because fear was natural and necessary for survival, but the sentiment behind the fear: guilt.
His disgust for the creature before him grew with every shudder and plea the other produced. What kind of man forced himself on a woman? If there was one thing Dimande prided himself on, it was his discipline of self. In the world of business the man with the most control was king. Control was patience, and patience and self-discipline were what separated true power from the illusion of power. His family's name would not be what it was if they had fallen prey to temptation.
This man in front of him had no self-control- and look at where it landed him…
Pathetic. Allowing his lips to curl in disgust, he openly signaled to the two men his brother had retrieved per his request. He watched as the other's eyes darted nervously about the looming figures before him. It brought him little satisfaction to teach such a cretin, but the man would learn and that brought a ghost of a smile to his face.
"Please!" Jacob cried with tears shining in his green eyes. He pushed himself closer against the wall of the club all too aware of their intention. "Please, I'm begging you!"
Dimande tilted his head as a look of amusement blossomed across his features. "Begging? You don't know the meaning of the word. But you will. Gentlemen." With that, the heir turned his back leaving Jacob to the mercy of his men.
Serena covered her mouth as the two descended upon the man from the club. She watched as they threw him against the wall, punching and kicking him until he was a groaning ball on the ground.
She felt tears prick her eyes when the viscous beating slowly drew to an end. The two then left as casually as they had appeared, leaving an unconscious and battered Jacob.
Some would say that Jacob had deserved it, but Serena didn't share that sentiment. Despite his indifferent nature, Usagi thought Diamond to be fair. So to see him allow such a beating shook her badly- especially since it hadn't been necessary.
How could he? She thought horrified by what she'd witnessed. He didn't have to do that. He wouldn't have had to if she hadn't been such a baby. But he did, and by the looks of that beating, Jacob was probably hurt in a hospital somewhere.
Grabbing the satin clutch with shaky hands, she quickly left the office with a desire to be anywhere but where she was. The cornflower blonde found herself on auto-pilot as she made her way back down to the first level of the club.
Before her thoughts could go any further, she heard Diamond and Emerald casually talking at the bar.
"I checked my itinerary and we have rehearsal tonight at 7:30." Emerald said glancing at the man beside her as she quickly scribbled her name on the last of the papers requiring her signature. She could hear him groan which made her smile slightly. "The price you pay for talent such as ours."
"You mean our mothers. Auria will deliver the last of the contracts to you tomorrow night."
In a couple of months' time, Emerald would be launching her own fashion line. Dimande had signed on to be one of her financial backers, not that she needed his money. However, she recognized how competent a business man he was and was ecstatic to have him help her with the business side of her upcoming venture.
"Will she now?" Emerald gave him a knowing smile that made him roll his eyes. Auria Ibanez had been Diamond's lawyer for the past four years and for two of those years the two had been together. A striking young woman with long raven hair and glacial blue eyes, Auria was of a slim build with even finer features. The two had made quite a couple. Despite Emerald's initial mistrust of the other girl, the two ended up becoming good friends. To this day Emerald had yet to discover why they had broken up, but Diamond had kept Auria on payroll and the two were as amicable as ever.
"You and Serena seemed awfully close during the exhibit." She straightened the small pile of papers before sliding them beside the stack of papers he was studying carefully. Snorting at her observation, Diamond knew better than to waste his breath on telling her to mind her business. "Even Uncle Caleb noticed."
"Do you want my help or not?" He asked, voice tinted with annoyance.
Emerald pouted, "Spoilsport," She groaned in French standing and crossing her arms. It was then she noticed Serena standing by the main stairwell watching with a solemn expression on her face.
Serena saw them sitting at the bar, looking over some contracts. Before she knew it she was making her way across the room with intentions she wasn't too sure of.
The heir heard her approaching footsteps and looked up from his reading. He told Emerald to wait outside for the girl as he had things to take care of elsewhere. "Did Horace find your-" he never got the chance to finish as her hand flew across his face slapping him soundly. The heir was silent, shocked by both her action and the stinging sensation it left.
Serena stood over him with angry tears rolling down her cheeks as they stared at each other. Tensing his jaw, he slowly stood to his full height narrowing his eyes silently demanding an explanation from the angry girl in front of him. He watched as her delicate hands clutched tightly at the blue colored purse, trembling as his eyes burned into hers.
"You had him beaten," she forced out angrily.
Horace could be such an idiot sometimes. He told him to dispose of that security tape, not that it really mattered if anyone saw it or not, least of all Serena. Honestly, Diamond didn't know how she would react to what had transpired with the man who had tried to take advantage of her. But he definitely didn't expect her to slap him.
"Are you serious?" He asked with a slight air of disbelief. "The man tried to rape you and you are upset with me?"
"It wasn't up to you!" She cried balling her fist in anger. "You could have killed him!"
"He deserved worse for begging and more still for even attempting such a thing." Serena was taken back at the seriousness in his tone, shrinking back a little. He was so self-assured and the thought irked her more than it should. Why couldn't she be more like that? It was fitting that his namesake was not only known for its brilliance and depth, but also its coldness and strength. And diamond was as hard as they came.
Serena was disappointed in her musings and her voice expressed this emotion as her frustration in herself and with him grew. "You shouldn't have had to, Diamond! What you did was just as bad as what Jacob tried to do to me!"
Dimande could see disgust in her orbs. Was she serious? "He was weak!" Diamond thundered gesturing towards the direction of the alleyway. "And because of that weakness he sought to harm you in the most disgusting way imaginable. You begged and pleaded with him to stop, to rethink his course of action, and what did he do? He hit you and tried harder. A man like that doesn't deserve mercy from anyone, least of all me!" His voice had lowered despite the anger that burned coolly in his eyes.
"What- so you're judge and jury now?" Her outrage was palpable. "You had no right! None whatsoever!"
Why was she so upset? Diamond had known men like Jacob all throughout his life. Men like that were cruel and unpredictable except in their intention. It's easier to hurt someone after you've found them in a delicate state. Easier still after you've alienated them from their friends and family. But it was harder when they fought back…. And Serenity had fought back. So where was this… reaction coming from?
"If you were so sure of his intentions maybe I should have left the two of you alone, Princess." Sometimes he really was a bastard. "A good rump in the alleyway would've no doubt reminded you of your place. Isn't that what you got in the situation to begin with?" His voice was rich even in his mocking, and Serena hated it. Baby blues widened with offense, as her face flushed in embarrassment. She didn't feel like a princess and she certainly didn't feel any gratitude for the man in front of her. Why had she even bothered?
The Prince regretted his cruel words as soon as they'd left his mouth. Her expression only made him feel worse. He wanted to apologize but couldn't bring himself to utter the words. Instead, he told her that Emerald and Sapphire were waiting for her, and that she was more than welcome to leave.
Serena felt like crying.
How had things ended up so badly? She'd been so pleased about the time they'd spent in the museum. Now it seemed that whatever connection they'd forged was mute, and it was all her fault. What had she been trying to prove? That Jacob was mistaken and Diamond was wrong for what he'd done?
No… That wasn't it at all. So why had she been so self-righteous?
Emerald had been so absorbed in a phone call that she didn't notice the forlorn expression Serena sported. Sapphire, however, noticed all too well. The dark-haired boy glanced in the rearview every so often as he drove wondering what had transpired between Serenity and his brother. She looked miserable as she stared out the backseat window.
Remembering his vow to not get involved, he decided to casually mention it to Emerald when they got home. Nothing wrong with expressing concern he thought turning off the main highway.
Taking a seat at the kitchen table, Sapphire watched as the other two girls came into the room behind him. Emerald, still on the phone, bee-lined for the fridge while Serena, lost in a world of her own, continued on leaving the kitchen.
Frowning, the dark-haired boy was still in thought when Emerald finally disconnected her call.
"Did you notice anything weird between Diamond and Serena?" he vocalized staring at the doorway.
Hazel eyes seemed to brighten as an opportunity presented itself. "What do you mean?" Emerald asked taking a break in her fridge rummaging.
"I don't know…" Sapphire trailed, "it's just she seemed really upset when we were in the car. And just now… She looked a little lost."
Humming thoughtfully, the ash blonde settled on a piece of cheesecake as she grabbed the pie and a knife from the cutlery drawer. "Did you ask her about it?"
The other looked startled, "No, why would I?"
Rolling her eyes, Emerald cut herself a hefty slice of pie and placed it on a plate. Grabbing a spoon on her way back to the fridge, she returned the frozen treat where she found it and joined Sapphire at the table. "Because you obviously cared enough to be concerned."
Sapphire glared. "It's none of my business- I was just-"
"Curious?" Emerald snorted. "It's not a crime to like the girl your brother brings home."
"I don't-" He stopped when he noticed the dull expression on the other girl's face. Sighing, he tried to switch tactics. "I thought you were trying to set them up."
She swallowed a large bite of pie. "And I thought you told me to mind my own business." She grinned rather broadly, "That is unless of course you wanna rethink your position."
Sapphire frowned. He was not getting involved. The hazel eyed temptress before him would not force his hand in any way. 'Em and her mind games,' he thought more annoyed than fondly. Huffing in an almost childlike way, he stood leaving the other to her eating. "Forget it, Emerald."
Her horrid laugh followed him as he sulked away.
Now dressed in a mint colored romper, the ashen blonde looked rather chic due to the feminine drape of the piece and the neutral color of her accessories and wedged heels. With her hair pulled away from her face, she was glad to finally be out of that dress and stilettos.
Deciding to check on her new friend before she set off to take care of her own business, Emerald knocked on the guest room's door. She had a feeling Sapphire would come through, but she wanted to know how serious the situation was before she confronted Diamond at their dress rehearsal. Waiting a moment or two, she slowly opened the door and frowned at the scene before her. Usagi was seated on the bed, clutching her phone lost in a world of her own.
Clearing her throat to catch her attention, Emerald flashed a concerned smile when cerulean eyes locked on her figure. "Just checking in on you before I went out. You need a charger for that?" She asked politely, "I have an extra one in my room."
Serena voiced her thanks with a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "Yeah, that'd be great. I'll finally be out of your hair once I can get one of my friends to pick me up."
The ashen blonde pouted as she stepped into the room and leaned against the door. Her voice was at a near whine, "You don't have to go you know. We're having a gala tomorrow night in honor of our moms and to stop violence against women. You'd make a perfect model for the drawing I'm going to have."
"If you were so sure of his intentions maybe I should have left the two of you alone, Princess. A good rump in the alleyway would've no doubt reminded you of your place..." Serena could still hear Diamond's hurtful words. At least he didn't call me stupid, were her bitter thoughts. "I don't think your cousin would want me there." She laughed humorlessly. "I'm not even sure I want to be near him."
Pushing off the door and crossing the room to sit beside her, Emerald's expression was a mix of sympathy and concern. "What happened between the two of you after I left?" she asked.
"I thought you were leaving…" Serena stalled, "I don't want you to be late or anything on my behalf."
"Well, I have a minute or two to talk."
Serena snorted as she folded her arms across her chest. "It'll take more than a minute to tell you this story."
"Let's make a deal then." Emerald suggested, "How about you wait till I get back to call your ride and then you can give me all the gritty details. If you still wanna leave after we've talked it out, I'll drive you myself and leave you a ticket anyway. Diamond may be my family, but I don't stand for anyone hurting my friends. And I'm honestly coming to think of you as one. Okay?"
Cerulean eyes were wide with surprise at the genuineness of the other's offer. "Okay," she stumbled at a lost for what else to say.
Emerald flashed Serena a brilliant smile as she squeezed her knee in a gesture of comfort. Standing, she made her way towards the door with promises to send her a cell phone charger by Sapphire. "See you later, Princess." Serena froze as Emerald shot her a wink and disappeared out the door.
She really hated being called that.
He'd been in the Tokyo office for about an hour trying to look over some last minute proposals until he gave up on getting any work done. The Black heir couldn't seem to focus on anything except the argument he had with Serena earlier.
Groaning in frustration, he got up from his desk and moved to the minibar. Pouring himself a much needed drink, he sipped at the amber liquid as he gazed out at the city of Tokyo from his executive suite. He had a whole city at the tips of fingers and all he could think about was a mere slip of a girl. A girl who made him feel out of his element.
Unbelievable... He thought chuckling humorlessly to himself.
The guilt he felt in regards to her was new to him. Maybe he had been a little harsh, but for her to look at him as if he were the one to try and force his self on her hurt. For once, Dimande Black was at lost for what to do. As Emerald would say, this wasn't his forte. What he needed was a distraction or preferably some advice.
Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he punched in a number and waited for his contact to pick up. They answered on the fourth ring.
"Dimande, to what do I owe the pleasure?" The lightly accented voice of Auria Ibanez filled his ears. He could tell by the tone of her voice and the voice in the background that she was in the middle of something, or was about to be in the middle something.
"So when do I get to meet the brown-eyed angel who has stolen your heart and apparently your house?" He sighed, remembering when he had been able to call without feeling like he was intruding on something.
"Oh Diamond, you know there's always room for you in my heart…" It was as if she read his mind. "I'm your advisor you're supposed to call when you need advice. It's just Riley-"
"Completes you. Yes I know…" And he did know, it was just odd having Auria so infatuated with someone.
"What can I say- I'm a woman-in-love!" She laughed. "I'm not that bad am I?" He knew she could see his patented eye-roll in response to her question.
"No. It's just I'm not used to this freer version of you." He stated without blame or bitterness as there was none to feel.
"You made me plenty happy. You were the first person I was able to be myself around."
"And this Riley gets to reap all the benefits of my hard labor." He stated as he turned to pour himself another drink.
Choosing to ignore his remark, she brought up the gala instead. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Em had my dress sent over a little while ago. You should see it."
"Oh I have… But I thought you and Emerald had a love-to-hate relationship."
"No… she's like the younger sister I never wanted. Quite the busybody, but she's fierce and loyal. Remember that time we got lost in Milan? She was ready to kick a whole bar's ass over something some asshole said to me." Diamond grimaced remembering the scene he'd had to talk their way out of. Unconcerned with his health, Diamond knew he could handle himself in a fight but he wasn't so sure if a drunken Auria and Emerald could. "I think Riley will love her." He could hear the smile in her tone.
"I'm sure she would."
There was a brief pause as Diamond thought on what exactly he wanted to tell his former flame. But Auria, with her quickness was already a step ahead. "Why did you really call? The Diamond I know doesn't call to make small talk."
"I can't catch up with an old friend?"
"You can, but you don't. Besides it makes you feel 'clingy.' It's not business-related or else you would have already gotten to the point. So what is it?"
"I think I've met someone…"
Sapphire had brought her a phone charger fifteen minutes ago. As soon as she powered on her phone the device went crazy informing her of 8 voicemails, and even more text messages. The first message had been from an annoyed Rei.
"Your boyfriend called me looking for you. I don't know what you did meatball head, but you'd best fix it before you lose the best thing that's ever happened to you. Be safe, okay! Call me!"
The eye roll that followed was an automatic response.
"Serena where are you? This is ridiculous. It was one stupid fight- come home so we can work this out! I get that you're mad about this and I understand why, but can you hear my side first before you judge me? Call me."
"Serena, this is Ami. No one knows where you've run off to and Darien's really upset. What did you do? Call me please, I'm worried about you."
Oh right, because needing space because someone cheated is wrong… But I bet he didn't tell you guys that part. That would make him a liar.
"I get it, you're going to pay me back by turning into a slut? I was weak Usagi, I'm only human. If you're going to fuck someone else have the decency to tell me it's over before you open your legs to half of Tokyo! Come home."
Now that one hurt… Serena wondered if Dimande thought that too. Why did she even care? He'd made it obvious what he thought of her at the club. It wasn't fair- any of it! Before she could comprehend her actions or the glassiness in her eyes, her grasp on the phone tightened before she hurled it across the room in a fit of anger.
"Bloody hell!" Sapphire yelled as a sleek electronic device just missed his head crashing into the wall behind him. Thanking his lucky stars as he stared at the downed projectile, his alarmed gaze found the one responsible for almost nailing him in the head.
Before he could he ask her what was wrong, the cornflower blonde's anger melted into horror as she burst into tears, burying her face in her hands. Real nice, Tsukino. Damage the nice one why don't you.
"Serenity?" he probed hesitantly as he crossed the room to her side. "Are you… alright?"
She mumbled something, but the words were muffled by her hands. Not being able to understand, the dark haired boy told her as much despite his nervousness about the situation. He took a seat as he waited for her to regain her composure.
"I said," Serena sniffled trying to get a hold of her emotions, "not to call me that. Only Diamond calls me that and I really don't like him right now."
"Oh…" Sapphire hated it when girls cried, he never knew what to do. Now what was he supposed to say? Whatever she was upset about had something to do with his brother. Not that he disliked Serena, because he did, like her, it was just his relationship with his brother was built upon all the things that they didn't say to each other. And one of those unsaid things involved staying out of each other's love lives.
"I'm sorry about the phone…" She added trying to keep the frustration out of her voice. Sapphire hadn't done anything to deserve her anger.
Blinking, Sapphire studied her disposition as he stumbled out some polite dismissal. She looked so upset the darker haired boy couldn't help but want to help. Her cerulean eyes had dulled, while her pink lips were set in a thin line. She looked even more miserable if it were possible. He could hear Emerald's voice encouraging him to the right thing- a.k.a what she knew he would eventually do.
"Serena," he voiced cautiously, "what's wrong?"
"My friends…" She frowned, "were just really concerned for me. They can't wait for me to get back." So they can tell me how irresponsible I am, she bitterly added in silence.
"Oh… What a relief," he sighed, "I thought it was something serious."
Usagi turned to look at him. His relieved expression and seriousness of tone almost made her laugh. "You're really bad at this," she said with a smile that didn't reach her eyes. And he wants to be a doctor, she thought wryly.
"So, I've been told," he laughed as his nervousness slowly ebbed away. "Honestly, I'm concerned for you. You haven't been yourself since we left the club earlier today. Is it really your friends or did something happen between you and my brother?"
Now it was Serena's turn to sigh. "Both. But your brother started it." Coal colored eyes stared at her encouragingly. The blonde continued with a serious look on her face. "Did you know Diamond had Jacob beaten?"
"Yes," he admitted somewhat reluctantly. "When Emerald told us you didn't want to press charges… Diamond doesn't let that kind of thing slide."
"Well…" Serena continued unhappily, "we fought over it."
As soon as Emerald had arrived to the Dark Marble Hotel, she found Sophie Alshir waiting for her in the banquet hall.
"Ah Emerald, you look more and more like your mother," the older woman greeted warmly in French as the two embraced. Sophie had known both her and the boys' mothers for years. She'd pretty much been the manager of the famous duo for their entire 12 year stint.
"Merci," Emerald breathed as she took the other in. "It is good to see you as well."
Despite her full head of silver hair, Sophie was still an attractive woman. One of the very best at what she did, Emerald had been ecstatic to know that Ms. Alshir still worked hard at keeping her mother's success alive. Tomorrow night's gala was about raising money and awareness for violence against women, a cause her mother had been very passionate about. It also helped her upcoming fashion venture since she was going to raffle off three of dresses.
When she came of age, Sophie was the first person she spoke to about continuing her mother's advocacy. Glancing around the dark marble ballroom Emerald smiled her satisfaction.
"Sophie… It looks amazing," she breathed studying the promotional posters that lined the walls with pictures of the now the deceased duo. There was Analiese Black, who was as cool as she was beautiful. Sapphire received his eyes and hair from the Russian pianist who's voice rivaled liquid silver. And finally, her mother: the lovely Almita Broussard. A French violinist, with dark copper hair and jade eyes, her voice was sweet as honey and right as rain.
Blinking away the tears that threatened to fall, she turned to face her coordinator smiling as the older woman gave her a rundown of everything that would happen tomorrow night.
"Alicia is right outside on the balcony," Sophie gestured towards the set of doors that led to the outside. "As soon as Diamond arrives, the three of you can start practice."
Emerald nodded her thanks and the two talked on other things until Dimande arrived a little after 6:25 p.m.. The ashen blonde had hoped to talk to him before they started practice. But from the looks of his closed expression, he already knew she had wanted to, arriving on time to buy time.
When Diamond had arrived to the hotel, the concierge directed him to the banquet's floor. The prominent hotel was known for its elegance. Between Sophie and Emerald planning this event, he knew it'd be nothing short of stunning- No expense spared. Though, it helped that the Black's owned the Dark Marble.
Upon entering the room, he noticed the elevated stage area was already set up with a grand piano and the seats for the orchestra.
Turning to his right he saw Emerald and Sophie talking about what he knew to be last minute details. "Ladies," he greeted crossing the large distance from his side of the room to theirs. "Excuse, my tardiness," he said ignoring Emerald's accusing glare. "Sophie," He nodded politely taking her hand.
"Diamond," she returned with a wink, "I'll go get Alicia and the three of you can start. I hope you don't mind, but there'll be workers moving in the tables and chairs for the food and caterers."
The two assured her there'd be no problem and waited as she went to retrieve their musician.
"You're not nearly as smart as you think you are," Emerald said, pointedly eyeing the older man.
Diamond deadpanned, "I can't have this conversation with you, we have practice you know."
The blonde huffed, "After practice then."
"Your friends can't be that bad," Sapphire said reassuringly.
"Wanna bet," the blonde groaned. "I know you're trying to help me and I really appreciate it, honestly… I Just… I really don't want to think about any of this. Diamond's your brother and-"
Sapphire frowned deciding to end her train of thought before it went any further. "Diamond is my brother, but I can think for myself. I won't pressure you to tell me what happened between the two of you as I'm sure you're perfectly capable of working things out for yourself." His words were firm and yet not unkind. "I just want to make sure I don't get beamed by any other objects that have offended you."
Her face flushed as she moved to apologize again but the darker haired boy waved her off with a grin.
Serena didn't even remember making the decision to throw the phone. It just happened and the things said were hardly anything new. Her friends loved her, she knew that, but they also didn't know the whole story. Darien could be as wonderful as he was unappreciative. Sometimes she could ignore his cruel words in favor of the better times they'd shared. But Dimande… she didn't ever want to go through any of the above with him, and that was the thing that really upset her. Not her best friends in the entire world, or even her fiancé… It was Diamond really believing she was slut, which was crazy because she just met him yesterday.
"Can I share something with you?" Sapphire asked reminding her she wasn't alone in her head.
Serena flushed again, embarrassed that her thoughts had wandered off. "Sure," she stammered with a sheepish grin. "Sorry."
Sapphire chuckled, "It's quite alright." Standing he offered Usagi a hand. After he pulled her up he walked through the door to where her phone lay and grabbed it. Shaking his head, he held the item out to her smiling. "At least it's not cracked," he informed with mirthful eyes. Despite her blush, a genuine giggle escaped her mouth.
"C'mon," Sapphire called making his way down the hall. "Follow me." With a curious twinkle in her blue eyes, Serena followed the taller boy out of the room and down the stairs to the first level of the home. The two entered the living room crossing over into the main hall where a set of solid doors were on the right.
Pushing open the doors, the darker haired boy led her into what looked to be a library. The walls were lined with shelves of books until you came to the back of the room. The first thing she noticed was the grand piano and a giant portrait of two women and a piano. Both were striking creatures. One was laying atop the piano, long raven hair framed her face as coal eyes stared straight out with a mischievous smirk upon her face. The other was leaning over as if whispering a sinful secret in her companion's ear. Her green eyes were cut towards the viewer making you feel as if the two were maybe whispering about you. Dark copper curls were tossed over her shoulders.
"Who are they?" Serena asked in awe at the skill it would've taken to paint such a portrait that inspired so much feeling. She moved to stand by the piano staring up at the painting.
"That's my mother," Sapphire said after a while. "This was her music room. She was a pianist."
"Oh. Can you play?" she asked ghosting her hand over ivory keys.
"Not at all," he laughed, "but Diamond's very good at it."
"I bet…" She murmured to herself. "You look a lot like her, ya know," she said smiling at the resemblance. "You have her eyes and her mouth." Serena looked thoughtful as she studied the other woman in the portrait. "Is that… Emerald's mom?" she asked tilting her head squinting up at the sage eyed woman.
"Yes, she was a violinist and a good friend of the family. Have you ever heard of the group Douce Amoure?"
A light seemed to go off in the blonde's head. That's why the name Analiese Petrova had sounded so familiar! She and Almita Broussard were said to have been angels on earth. With voices akin to silk and honey and beauty unrivaled, the two were grace personified when they performed together. Ami was big on classical music and the group Douce Amoure was one of her favorites.
Serena was touched by her friend's invitation into such a sentimental place. "She was very beautiful," Usagi commented watching as the boy moved to grab a vintage looking record player. "I'm sorry she left at such a young age."
"Thanks, but it doesn't matter much now," he smiled over his shoulder setting up the player on a table in a small sitting area in the corner of the room. "I was quite young when she died. But I miss her all the same." Finally he'd finished setting up. "Now, come and sit." He instructed.
"Sapphire, what's this?" She asked as she took a seat.
"Just close your eyes."
Taking a deep breath, Serena did as she was told. A second later the music started.
As Emerald let the last of the note fade, Diamond smiled genuinely impressed with her singing ability. As Emerald would say, 'I get it from my momma,' because the heir knew for a fact it was nothing she'd done if her laughter was any inclination.
"Very good," Sophie purred clapping for the trio. Alicia agreed as she placed her violin and bow atop the piano. "I'm sure everyone will be surprised."
Emerald smiled, "We hope so."
Moving over to join the Black heir at the throne, Emerald paid no attention to the other two women as they wandered about talking about the musicians who were due to arrive. Diamond waited for the inevitable as he absently played Puccini's "Nessun Dorma."
"What did you do?" Emerald cut to the chase leaning against the piano.
"Nothing that can't be rectified," he sighed letting his fingers play the melody of the Italian classic. Or at least he hoped so. "Don't trouble yourself over it," he sulked.
Emerald raised a finely arched brow as she studied the man in front of her. Recognizing his resignation, it looked like Diamond had already figured out what he needed to do. And he thinks he's so clever. "Well I hope for your sake that it is fixable. But you must tell me, did Auria like her dress?"
Indigo eyes locked onto hazel. Sometimes he forgot how perceptive the blonde could be. As if she could read his mind, a smug grin appeared upon her face. "As long as you know the error of your ways," she taunted good naturedly.
Rolling his eyes, Diamond stopped playing as he stood up from the piano. "Can we leave now?" he breathed, annoyed with her lack of ignorance.
"Of course," she grinned taking his arm. The two found Sophie and Alicia before taking their exit. "See you tomorrow night," The silver haired woman said before turning her attention to the arriving orchestra.
"Diamond," The ash blonde said as they made it to the elevator, "stay close tonight?" Her seriousness was instantaneous. Today was the day.
Pulling her close, the prince pressed a kiss to her hair assuring her he'd stay for as long as she liked.
I don't know why I love
Or even miss you
It's sad the way I've deluded myself into
Waiting, caring, and pining for you
And tantalizing kisses
Is this what it feels like to be in denial?
Use me and set me aside for another day,
And I'd hoped and thought just maybe
You'd come around…
And I'd hoped and thought just maybe
You'd see something that was worthwhile in me…
But you haven't and you probably won't
I've decided I don't have the time to wait and see
I don't have the heart to let this continue
I thought just maybe
You'd come around…
I hoped you'd see something worthwhile in me…
It's not really you, cause you've always been the same
Oh, you've always been this man
But I'm no longer that woman
And it's the price I've paid for this lesson I've learned
I'm happily sad to say:
I quit you…"*
"Wow," Serena breathed as the nostalgic piece drew to an end. "That… was beautiful."
Sapphire raised his glass in a silent agreement before draining the remaining red liquid. The two had spent the last hour and a half talking and drinking as the deceased starlets sang of love and disappointment. Sienna had found the two and offered them wine. Sapphire had accepted hoping to soothe his distressed companion. That was a bottle and seven albums ago.
"Yea it was." He moved to pour himself another glass, but thought better of it. The room hadn't begun its spinning yet, but Sapphire knew to stop while he was ahead. Usagi, however, may not have been as wise as she grabbed the bottle pouring her fourth glass.
"Is it always like that you think?"
"Love?" was her reply. "Sometimes, I wonder if it's worth all the trouble." Serena appeared thoughtful in her inebriated state. "I mean, I love Darien, I know I do. But sometimes I wonder if he's worth all the other things he makes me feel."
Sapphire furrowed his brow in deep thought before offering a reply. "Well how does he make you feel when things are good?"
"Like a princess," She smiled taking a long sip of wine. "You should see the way people look at us sometimes. Girls are green," she hiccupped. "Green with envy I tell you. I can see them scheming, ya know. I can hear the gears in their head turning," She laughed freely and deeply.
"What are they thinking?" he asked amused by this tipsy version of her.
"They're thinking about how to take him away from me," she took another big sip swallowing her humor along with it. "But he always comes home with me. Sometimes." Her humor was back as she giggled. "They're thinking, 'how did he end up with her?'"
The blonde realized her cup was empty and moved to pour herself another drink. Coal colored eyes belied their concern, and perhaps pity, an expression noticed by the blonde. "Serena…"
"He's smart, rich and charming- I'm lucky Sapphire. That's what everyone tells me. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!" There was that humor again. She moved to take another sip only to feel Sapphire's hand lightly restrain hers.
"Are you sure you want to drink that? I'm pretty sure there's a saying about the sixth glass introducing you to the floor."
Serena focused her vision on Sapphire's kind smile and concerned eyes before relinquishing her intention to drink more.
"She's lucky, ya know."
"Who?" he asked noting her change of subject.
"Emerald. She's lucky to have someone so concerned and considerate. Maybe for the two of you it won't be such a bother."
"What!" The dark haired boy stuttered as the blood rushed to his face, "Emerald doesn't see me like that." His heart fluttered loudly in his chest.
Serena shot him a look before she burst into giggles. "Don't be so silly! Of course she 'sees' you like that! I'm surprised you aren't blinded by the stars in her eyes from when she looks at you."
Sapphire cocked a brow more amused now, than embarrassed. "Blinded by the stars in her eyes?" he repeated. "I didn't know you waxed poetic." Serena punched him in the arm good naturedly.
"Laugh now, but it's true." She grinned, "She's in-love with you and if you feel the way I think you do, you'd best do something about it before she gives up on you."
"And how do you know? Emerald's not afraid of anything. If she wants something she'll do what she can to get it." He said quietly thinking about the feelings he had for his blonde. Emerald was loud, nosy and infuriating… But she was perfect and Sapphire couldn't fathom how a girl like that could want a guy like him.
Usagi watched coal eyes darken as the younger Black's thoughts were riddled with uncertainty. "She's just as scared of your answer as you are of hers. I think she's fearless the way she is because she wants to be enough for you." She hiccupped. "I think that's what true love does. It makes us want to be better for the ones we love."
If Sapphire was surprised by her astuteness, he didn't let on. "I knew you weren't just another pretty face," he grinned. "But that's not the case for you and yours is it?"
Uncomfortable with his observation, Serena's good mood began to fade. "I… think I've drank too much," A nervous laugh sounded. "I should go." She stumbled to her feet willing the floor to stop its spinning as she made her way to the corridor.
"Usagi," Sapphire began trying to find the words he wished to say, "I don't think it is that way."
She halted in her tracks turning to question him. The younger Black had stood as well.
"I mean about your question from earlier. I think love is only that way when you're with someone unworthy of you. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if it doesn't feel worth it, then it probably isn't."
Serena blushed as his words sunk in. "You're awfully considerate to be a Black," her smile was coy.
Sapphire chuckled, blinking when something else caught his attention.
"Brother," he greeted, "How was practice?"
A/N: Ta Da! The next chapter is almost done. Hopefully, it'll be finished by the end of the week.
Oh before I forget:
*The 'song' Serena and Sapphire were listening to is actually a poem I wrote a while ago called "Letter from the Unrequited." I changed it up a bit to make it feel more like a song. If you wanna use it/quote it, remember to ask and shoot me a URL so I can see what you're doing with it.