A/N: First off, I apologize for the delay! I really shouldn't have given an estimation of my next update… I'm really bad about that kind of stuff. BUT, in my defense, the first half of this WAS ready by then.

Secondly, this is pretty much the end- YAY! Next chapter is the epilogue which I'm thinking of making an alternate ending to. It's been fun, albeit trying, and I appreciate everyone's feedback/thoughts and opinions thus far. I hope this chapter doesn't disappoint.


"You brought her here?" Emerald aw'ed, taking a seat beside him. The album began to play.

Sapphire rolled his eyes deciding maybe he did need another drink. "I'm being sincere," she admonished. "You talked to her?"

"Yes. She was real upset but I think I calmed her down. I don't know how long it'll last though," he said alluding to his brother's presence.

Emerald knew Sapphire would do the right thing. Heaven knew Usagi had needed it. A lazy smile stretched itself across her face as she studied him. Emerald found Sapphire to be very attractive but it was his thoughtfulness she'd always liked best about him. "Did I tell you how amazing you are today?"

Sapphire could feel the tips of his ear burn. Maybe Serena had been onto something, he thought mirroring her expression.

His mother continued to sing. "Here's my hand and my heart… it's yours to take."**


Serena stared up into indigo eyes wary of the man in front of her. "d-Diamond," she stuttered, unconsciously taking a step back. Despite his neutral disposition, the heir was still unsure on how to proceed. This was all so awkward.

Swallowing, Serena forced herself to focus on the situation at hand. "I'm going to get my things now," she managed, quickly excusing herself. Moving on what she hoped were steady legs, she prayed he wouldn't follow, but of course things were never that easy.

"Serenity!" She'd just made it to the stairs when the heir called out to her, catching up.

"I'm sorry I'm still here," she hiccupped. "Just give me a minute and I'll-" She lost her balance bumping against the wall. "Oh!"

Catching her by her waist, Diamond moved to steady her holding a little tighter than he should have. "No, stay."

"Excuse me?" Her eyes were bright with uncertainty while her cheeks were flushed from alcohol. What was his deal, Serena wondered. Couldn't he see she was trying to leave?

"Maybe you should sleep some of that wine off first," Diamond suggested wanting to buy himself time and recognizing it as the right thing to do. "I wouldn't want anything to happen to you."

"Are you sure?" She challenged leaning into his space. "I'm pretty sure you said something about me needing to learn my place." He was crazy if he thought she'd forgotten that.

"Serenity…" he groaned annoyed about the whole situation. He hadn't meant for her to take it that way. It was all so stupid now that he had time to think about it. He sighed.

Serena watched conflicting emotions flitter across his face until he was left with a flash of yearning in his indigo eyes.

One of his hands moved to touch her face clouding her already foggy mind. She was hot to touch and with a crooked smile, Dimande wondered how much hotter could she get.

There was no way… And yet she'd never known him to be anything but honest. Did this mean he… liked her? Why was this so complicated? Usagi thought trembling at the discovery of this new knowledge.

Indigo eyes followed the line of her body, from her throat to her breast and back up to those cloudy irises. Diamond could feel his pulse quicken as his thoughts took a more intimate turn. Why was this so hard? "Can I talk to you?" he tried willing himself to focus.

Serena adopted a frown of her own. She needed to get away from him and the thoughts swirling around in her pretty head. Leaning away from him, she grasped his wrist not trusting whatever was happening. "Forget I said that… Help me up the stairs?" Her baby blues were tired.


"Diamond… please…" It was the soft pleading in her voice that made him concede. Sighing, the older man shifted her in his grasp and did as she asked, helping her to her room.


Emerald Broussard 14 years ago

Amara smiled at her young charge. At 8 years old Emerald loved to be the center of attention. On their way home from the park, the little girl was laughing as she danced on the walkway singing. "Oh baby do you know what that's worth? Oh heaven is a place on earth. They say in heaven love comes first, we'll make heaven a place on earth!" She paused as a thoughtful expression blossomed on her face. "Do you think that's true, Amara?"

The older woman smiled, "Of course, Miss Emmy. All you need in life are people that care." She caught up to the little girl, securing her hand in her own.

"Amara," she groaned, "I'm not a baby, ya know."

Amara laughed, "This is a busy intersection and I don't want to take any chances." The two were a block away from the Broussard's home now.

"So when Papa and Mama go to heaven they won't argue anymore?" Hazel eyes were hopeful. Amara felt her heart ache for the pale haired little girl. The reason the two went to the park was because of Cassius', Emerald's father, nasty temper. While Almita seemed to have things under control, Amara didn't like the little girl to see or hear such things.

"Emerald… Sometimes parents don't always get along, but it doesn't mean they don't love each other or you, okay?" Personally, Amara didn't care much for Mr. Broussard as his moods were always unpredictable. But for Emerald's sake, she would hope.

Emerald nodded, "It's just he gets so mad and Mama gets so sad… But it's not like that all the time, just sometimes."

Finally, the two had arrived back home. After making it through the side gate, Emerald ran ahead as her nanny stayed to lock the gate. As if she'd forgotten their earlier conversation, she rushed on into the house looking for her mother.

"Mama!" She called relieved that there was no arguing. "Mama, are they here yet?" Auntie Ana and Uncle Caleb were visiting today. She always loved it when they came, maybe this time she'd get to see Diamond and Sapphire.

"Mama? Papa?" Where was everyone?

Wandering into the living room, the blonde girl stopped as she noticed a person on the ground. A woman with blank green eyes and cooper curls.

"Mama… what're you... Mama? Mama!"



Serena shot out of sleep as a bloodcurdling scream rang through her ears. A feeling of terror washed over her as panic pooled in her veins. What the hell was going on?

"Mère, please! Please!"

Stumbling out of bed and into the hallway, Usagi desperately searched for the source of the sound. Realizing the grief filled noises were coming from behind Emerald's door, she burst into the room to find the fretful blonde clinging to a somber Dimande Black.


Dimande Black 14 years ago

It'd been 6 months since the death of Emerald's parents. His parents insisted they take the girl in as she had no other relatives to speak of. His father, being the man that he was, was able to keep most of the details about the incident out of the paper. Only a handful of people knew what really happened and none of them ever spoke the words murder-suicide.

Diamond had hoped Emerald living with them would ease some of the tension the tragedy had wrought, but it only made things worse. No one really knew how to act so it seemed they all picked something. His father had been furious, while his mother cried. Sapphire hadn't really understood and Emerald just stopped everything. She'd stopped talking- traumatized the maids had whispered.

The older boy often wondered why she came to sleep with him but never mentioned it out fear that she would stop. Diamond worried about her and if sharing a bed with him helped her feel better then he was happy to do it. He missed the curious girl she had been.

He had expected this night to be the same as the others, but found that not to be the case when her quiet voice pierced the darkened room.

"Elle me manqué, ma mère. I was there ya know, and no matter how much I begged she wouldn't... she wouldn't answer me."

"Emerald…"The relief he felt was beyond words.

"I thought Papa could save her… I thought maybe someone had hurt her and he… he could fix it… But when I found him, he had a gun in his mouth. There was so much blood, Diamond. On Mama, Papa, me… I hate him. I hate him so much!" A sob escaped her mouth. "Amara was wrong! There can't be a heaven on earth! I don't have anyone- he took it all away!"

Even as a young boy Diamond knew there was nothing he could do but let her cry.

It was the first and last time she ever spoke of it. The next day she spoke as if she'd never stopped- like nothing was wrong. He'd never say it out loud, but after that Diamond would always have a soft spot for her.

It was fitting that after the death of his mother two years later, she felt the same.


"Diamond, what was that?"

The white prince ignored her, running a hand through his hair as he stood outside of Emerald's room. Of all the times to talk… Serena had awful timing, he thought checking the watch on his wrist. 1:23 a.m. was the time.

"Diamond, stop ignoring me!" Serena demanded. What had she walked in on? And why had Emerald been sedated?

"Sienna!" She tried when the older woman emerged from Emerald's room closing the door behind softly her. "Please, will Emerald be alright?" Trembling hands held the Italian housekeeper in place. Usagi's eyes were pleading.

"I'm sorry, Serena, but it is not my place to tell," Sienna apologized glancing at her employer. "Emerald will be fine, Signorina. Please don't trouble yourself." With an apologetic look and a squeeze of comfort, Sienna quickly excused herself and headed off to her own room. Her charge could rest without her nightmares now and that was all she really cared about.

Groaning, Serena ran after the heir accosting his arm and dragging him into her room and shutting the door. "What did I walk in on?" She hissed as he fell onto the bed.

"It doesn't concern you," He sighed pinching the bridge of his nose. Why couldn't he just go to sleep?

"Fine, I'll ask her tomorrow." That seemed to wake him up, she thought with a smug smile.

"Don't." He managed narrowing his eyes.

"Or maybe Sapphire knows…" She trailed slyly.

Despite his annoyance and frustration, Dimande had to give her credit. Sly witch, he thought with a dangerous smile. He called her bluff.

Frowning, Serena turned to open the door, but was caught off guard when Dimande was suddenly there to shut it and keep it closed.

"Please?" She pleaded with concern he knew to be genuine.


Her phone buzzed, rousing her from a light slumber. Squinting her eyes in the dark, Serena realized it was on the nightstand beside her purse… on the other side of Darien. She'd had the saddest dream about a hazel eyed girl whose parents' had died.

Sighing, she sat up crawling across her fiancé, moving to reach over for the phone. She took a sharp intake of breath as his hands clamped down on her leaving her seated on top of him in a straddling position.

"Serena... go back to sleep."


She was not home, she remembered. She had begged Diamond to tell her what was wrong and he'd told her that the anniversary of Emerald's parents' was yesterday and that sometimes Emerald had night terrors because of it. Though it was a vague explanation, he made her promise not to mention it as it would upset the ashen blonde.

One of Diamond's hands lightly stroked her thigh while the other rubbed comforting circles on her back. She could feel his member gently pulsing beneath her.

"Just stop thinking about it," he muttered catching sight of the time: 3:47 a.m..

"I can't," she groaned. Why was he even in here? Oh right- he fell asleep why she was pacing processing the story he had told her and she hadn't had the heart to wake him.

Diamond pushed his hips up against her readjusting himself. The friction causing her to stiffen as her mind went blank.

Sleepy eyes regarded her faintly with amusement. "Did that help?" He chuckled despite it not being his intention. "As much as I would love the sound of you moaning above me, I think it'd be in both our best interest if you went back to sleep."

Blushing furiously at his implications, she found her thoughts turning to their earlier conversation. She hated how nervous he made her.

"Look, I know you think… but I'm not," She stumbled over her words, "I'm not that kind of girl. I didn't ask for any of this and I wish you'd stop reminding me of how thoughtless you think I am!"

"Stop it Serenity!" He sat up forcing her to pay attention. Why did she do this to herself? He couldn't stand it when she assumed he thought such things about her.

"Diamond?" Her expression was startled.

"There's nothing wrong with you! Your prince," he spat the word, " is a fool and if you believe that filth then you're no better! Men are easily corrupted, princess. He tells you those things to ensure you stay with him. He wants a girl he can control but you're no girl are you Serenity?"


"Or is it true?" his expression turned sly.


"That you should be grateful he picked you?" The heir studied her behind hooded eyes.

"Screw you," she spat angry at his treatment of her. Struggling to get out of his grasp, Serena wanted away from him.

"Now that's what I like to see," the smirk that crawled its way on his handsome face infuriated her to no end as he fought to keep her in place.

"This from the man who acts more like a wounded boy than he does an emotionally stable grown up!" Cruelty was not in her nature, but Dimande managed to bring out her scorn. This was the woman he craved. The same 'her' Darien would never have. She finally ceased her struggle as an indignant cry marked her surrender.

"Don't presume to know me Usagi," he warned cheekily as he softly 'tsk'ed'.

"And who are you but a man?" She asked throwing his words back at him. "A man easily corrupted by cruelty and arroga-"

She found her body locked beneath his as a cold smile shined down her. White hair framed an angel's face. Serena faltered, apprehensive about this turn of events. "No… just a man corrupted by a woman. And you are a woman, Serenity despite what your darling fiancé tells you."

Why did he always throw her off guard? First he was mean, then he was kind but he was always so confident and… UGH! Serena hated how much he got under her skin.

Dimande could see temptation in her angry eyes melting his cold grin into something solemn. If he were to give this woman anything he would not coerce her into accepting it. No, he'd let her seal her own fate. Anything after that, well, let's say he wouldn't be held responsible.

"The trick isn't to say what you mean, it's to mean what you say… and when you're ready to tell me what you really want, I'll be listening." His lips were soft against hers, barely there. It's not the first time he's kissed her, but it's the first time he's kissed her with nothing else on his mind. This wasn't a kiss of comfort or apology. It was an expression of how she made him feel, he wanted her to know.

"Kiss me," she breathed, "please. Kiss me like I'm yours."

He stared into her eyes searching for any sign of doubt, and when he found none. He fused their mouths together in a soul searing embrace of lips. Serena moaned into him allowing his tongue to pillage her mouth. Her mind was abuzz with the sensation of him kissing her like she'd never been kissed before.

Breaking away from her mouth, the heir set his sights on the smooth expanse of her throat. His mouth was unyielding against the pale flesh, sucking and kissing, leaving bites to her satisfaction. Allowing him more access, Serena couldn't believe how one man could inspire so much doing so little. She ran her fingers through his hair praying this wasn't a dream.

Pushing him back, she pressed her body into his as she found his mouth with her own, nibbling on his bottom lip until he granted her her own exploration. Wrapping his arms around her, the dark prince loved the feel of her body flush against his own.

Delicate hands cupped his face, before one slid down to his chest resting over his thundering heart. Turning away from his mouth, her lips rested near his ear as Dimande pressed feathery kisses to her exposed shoulders.

"I do that?" she whispered in awe of her effect on him.

He stopped, pressing a soft kiss to her pulse before staring into her face. Baby blues widened as she felt his fingers tickle the flesh of her inner thigh before brushing against her heat. The longing that burned in his indigo depths took her breath away. She wanted to tell him something but the only sounds that escaped her lips were soft moans as she lost herself to the sensations his hands and mouth afforded her.

Dimande couldn't help the heat that pooled in his stomach as his queen arched beneath his ministrations whimpering his name as her toes curled and her fingernails bit into his shoulders. He never thought himself obsessed with carnal pleasure, but seeing Serena so unhinged heightened its appeal.

Usagi's half-naked body was tingling from the power of her orgasm. Her skin was flushed and her heart was on the verge of bursting. She couldn't understand any of this. She'd never been the type of girl to step out like this and yet here she was following this dark eyed vision into no-man's land. There was something about him that threw her off-balance.

She kissed him languidly wanting more than she knew what to do with. She wanted to speak but was too afraid to think past the moment.

"It means whatever you want it to," he murmured against her lips answering the question he knew she wanted to ask. "Go to sleep, Serenity." He would leave it up to her until he couldn't anymore.


Emerald couldn't keep her smile off her face as she enjoyed her omelet. 'Sienna really outdid herself this morning…'

Despite the craziness that would probably take place with everything going on, she never thought today would start off as it did. Talk about steamy! She tried to keep it to herself, she really did, but Sapphire knew her too well to let her odd behavior and mirth-filled grin slide.

So it was no surprise to her that the darker-haired boy almost demanded to know what she'd done this time.

45 Minutes Earlier

The French blonde couldn't understand why she had felt groggier than usual. She'd gone to bed a tad bit earlier and everything. Maybe it was just nerves- today was supposed to be busy. Going about her morning routine, Emerald had hoped Serena was still around and made a mental note to check if she had thought over her offer.

"I didn't mean it," Serena whispered into his skin.

"Didn't mean what?" Diamond hummed, pulling her closer to him.

"At the club…"

He waited for her to elaborate as he placed a soft kiss on her shoulder. "You're nothing like that man… or Endymion. I was upset with myself for not handling it better. You could've gotten in trouble or I could've been seriously hurt and yet the only thing I was thinking of was 'please don't let any of them find out.' It was disgusting."

"I didn't mean-"

"Yes you did," she smiled, "I know you -a little bit- and you meant it. Maybe it was harsh, but you were onto something. I… I'm sorry I reacted like that. He could hurt some other girl and it'd be on my hands because I was too afraid and embarrassed to do something. "

He smiled a smile she'd never seen before. It was genuine, this pull of muscle and Serena liked that he didn't do it often. It felt like the best kind of secret.

"Kiss me?" she asked, beaming when he obliged.

Tired eyes widened as Emerald had paused in the doorway to find a feminine leg wrapped around Diamond's waist as he and the leg's owner were locked in a kiss. Instead of interrupting the two, the blonde immediately closed the door as quietly as she could. Her cheeks had flushed as a feeling of accomplishment overcame her.

"Yes!" She hissed in triumphant. She knew those two would get together. Her tiredness was long forgotten.

Grey eyes were wide as the darker haired boy choked on his juice. "You're full of it," he rasped as Emerald laughed at his reaction.

"No I'm not," she giggled passing him a napkin. "They were devouring each other."

Sapphire wiped his mouth. "What were you doing in there anyway?"

"I wanted Usagi to model one of my dresses."

"The off-white one?"

"French crème."

Sapphire rolled his eyes. What was it with girls and specifics? Emerald's fascination with colors could annoy even the most patient of people. Forget pink- It was magenta. No red-violet was too purplish to be burgundy.

"Beige," he countered just to get on her nerves.

Hazel eyes widened in offense. "Fine," she spat in French, "how about ivory?"

"Still sounds like off-white to me."

The ash blonde decided to ignore him refusing to let him get a rise out of her. "It's like I dreamed it for her Sapphire. She's perfect."

"What time are you picking up my father later?" he asked changing the subject.

A look of dread shadowed her features, "Crap! I completely forgot! Can you pick him up instead? I have to alter the dress for Serena and that'll take at least an hour. Plus I have to pick up Auria from the airport after I leave the Dark Marble."

"Emerald…" The darker-haired boy didn't want to let her down, but he also had plans of his own. He had wanted to give the blonde something and after his talk with Serena he had decided now was the perfect time.


Maybe Diamond could do it… He looked up with a small smile, "Don't worry about it, Em. I'll handle it."

She smiled as her expression was flooded with relief.


After Serena had emerged from her shower, she realized the heir was nowhere to be found. She noticed the pile of clean clothes left on her bed and took her time slipping into the garments. She wondered how things would be between them.

Sighing, the blonde flopped down on the bed and checked her phone.

'Missed Call' showed up on the screen and the blonde realized she had had a call late last night. What happened for her to miss the call left her with goosebumps. Shaking away such thoughts, she returned the call.

"Molly?" She hoped the brunette hadn't heard anything.

"Serena, Oh my God! Where have you been? Everyone's been worried sick about you!"

But then again… "Molly, I'm fine. I just needed some space is all."

"Space? What? Serena, are you crazy?" Her friend's voice was confused and the smallest bit angry. "You could've called or something- I thought the worst! I thought someone had hurt you." She heard sniffles which made her flush in shame. She'd never thought her absence would've elicited so much response.

"Oh Molly, I'm so sorry I made you worry like that." Usagi's voice was full of apology as she switched her phone from one ear to another. "You're right, I should've called or left a message. I wasn't thinking. Don't cry, Mol, I'm okay, I promise."

"What happened that made you run off like that?" The brunette asked after calming down.

Serena sighed. "Me and Darien had a really bad fight."

"Oh Usagi, I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" She could always count on Molly to have her back. A thought that made her smile.

"Yeah... But I don't think me and Darien will be." And honestly Usagi didn't. The past few days gave her plenty to think about.

"But what about the wedding?"

"I don't know anymore, Mol."

"Well where are you? I can pick you up and we can talk it over lunch."

"No… I'm fine Molly. Really. Diamond's made sure of that." She flushed at the thought of the white-haired man. She didn't know what to feel about him or last night. She knew she was attracted to him and even more than that, she knew she… liked him. But even if she liked him did she want something to come out of it? Technically, she was still betrothed to Darien.

Cerulean eyes fell to the diamond on her finger.

"Diamond?" Molly's confused voice cut into her thoughts. "Usagi, who's Diamond?"


"I said, 'who 's Diamond?'"

Serena didn't know what to say as she found herself hesitantly removing the precious piece of jewelry. "Someone important to me."

"Serenity?" Speak of the devil and he will come to you.

"I'm sorry Molly, but I have to go! I'll talk to you later." She quickly excused herself as an anxious flutter of emotion came over her. She closed the diamond ring in her hand as she

ended her call turning to face the man leaning against her doorway.

"You didn't have to rush off on my account."

"We were done anyway," she rushed tossing her phone onto the now-made bed. "Is something wrong?"

"No, I was actually on my way out to pick up my father and a few other things for tonight." He hadn't really wanted to go but Sapphire looked almost desperate.


"Did you still want to leave?" He asked with hooded eyes.

"That depends… am… Am I still the cause of your corruption?"

Dusky hues danced with amusement despite his closed off expression, "I suppose you are."

Usagi blushed as a shy smile took over her face. Before the two could blink an energetic Emerald interrupted in need of Serena.


"Serena stop fidgeting!" Emerald scowled securing soft curls away from the cornflower blonde's face. Stepping away to regard her newest model, the ash blonde was more than satisfied with the other girl's look. Usagi was a beautiful girl, there was no doubt of that, but tonight she radiated with an exquisiteness one would only associate with royalty.

The dress was perfect and the look on Usagi's face belied her shock. Smoothing her hands over the fine fabric that encased her body, her cerulean eyes could not believe that the woman staring back from the full-length mirror was herself.

The ivory colored gown lent an ethereal quality with its strapless sweetheart neckline and beaded tulle overlay. Its trumpet skirts pooled behind her in a sweeping train. She looked like a bride: the perfect picture of youth and elegance.

"I told you this dress was perfect for you," Emerald smiled busying around her workroom gathering a few finishing items for the other girl's ensemble. After finding the perfect accessories, the ashen blonde approached her friend with a twinkle in hazel eyes.

Serena stared at the simple, yet elegant, diamond tiara and matching necklace. The tiara had a series of small pearls offset by diamonds and white gold molding. She couldn't believe Emerald was going to let her wear them.

She wondered what Diamond would think when he saw her later tonight. She wondered if he'd gather her up and kiss her senseless.

"Let's hope he does," The other blonde purred in her ear as she slipped the necklace around her neck.

Serena blushed wondering if her thoughts really were that transparent.

After the ashen blonde was finished with her last minute touches, the two were received by Caleb. The family patriarch looked rather handsome in his dark dress and white coat. Smiling broadly at the cornflower blonde he complimented Emerald on her creative genius as he took in the blushing beauty.

"She's simply enchanting, Esmeraude." His eyes stayed on Serena showing his sincerity that she really was just as he said.

Emerald smiled at his praise. "Where are the boys?" She asked grabbing the suit-bag she'd told Sienna to place in the parlor.

"They said they'd meet us there. You are changing, right?" He teased at her lack of formalwear.

"Of course, Uncle Caleb. As soon as we get there."

As soon as the three arrived at the Dark Marble, Sophie had whisked Emerald away to get ready. When Serena and Caleb finally saw her again, the gala was officially starting.


(*A/N: /watch?v=CbPlkCZhqPo* You should listen to this song while reading the below. It just makes this part so much more fun. It wasn't even my intention, but oddly enough it just worked out that way!)

"Thank-you all for coming tonight! Please believe me when I say I am truly in awe of all the support you have shown me and my family- especially for this cause my mother was so passionate about. No woman, or man for that matter, deserves to be verbally or physically abused. Love is never angry, harsh or unkind. Love is kind, gentle and all encompassing. My mother understood that and her music with Analiese Black reflected that. To all of you enamored with Douce Amoure and our crusade to end violence against women, this dedication is for you. Ladies and gentlemen, please join in me in welcoming Diamond Black and Alicia Barry.'

As the guest joined her in welcoming the others, Emerald found herself searching for a familiar pair of charcoal colored eyes.

She knew she was onto something when she designed her emerald colored satin cheongsam. The oriental-inspired garment silhouetted her figure perfectly with its mermaid floor-length design. Black and gold embroidery stood out against the lush hue of the piece. The fashionista was a mix of shanghai girl and dragon lady thanks to her demure make up and sultry confidence. Pale blonde hair was secured in a low bun though her winding bangs and onyx flowered comb paid homage to a more glamorous style.

She couldn't stop the shivers that ran down her spine as her hazel eyes locked on the darkening gaze of Sapphire's. He looked amazing in his black tux with its silver cummerbund and bow-tie. She relished in the warmth of his attention as a soft smile graced her coquettish features. If only he knew how much she loved him. How much she tried because of him.

Sapphire stared at the girl on stage with a mix of emotion running through him. Emerald truly was a rare gem to him. She was gorgeous, with the spirit and talent to match. The gift that lay in his coat pocket felt like an offering of himself. He just hoped the hazel-eyed siren would accept it.

Taking his seat at the piano, Dimande wondered where Serena and his father was as he looked over the crowd. The Black heir's tuxedo, unlike his brother's, was all black- tie and vest included.

Nodding at his companions, Diamond allowed his fingers to sweep over the sleek instrument to create the sounds of Erroll Garner's "Misty." A hush fell over the room as the wistful piece filled the air.

The poignant strings of Alicia's violin drifted in transforming the piece into something much more sympathetic than the audience thought possible. The melody began to change as lights dimmed and a chanteuse in a rich colored cheongsam sang in a light tinkling voice:

To love as I have loved

Is truly a blessing of the highest curse,

A baritone sound that belonged to the pianist picked up where his counterpart left off:

To long as I have longed

Is like begging the sun for a kiss,

Silver and gold mingled and mixed as the two crooned the lyrics to their parents' song:

Obliteration long before release

And though I have known you

I had never seen you for what you were

Never noticed how beautiful you are

Diamond sounded thoughtful:

the night I crashed into you

we broke each other apart

A sentiment Emerald reciprocated:

I had never felt more whole

Than when I was tangled in you

Darling- It's those pieces of you I cling to

The heir ended with resigned acceptance:

These pieces are all we've got**


Serena's breath caught as the trio's performance caught up with her. The smooth sound of the music wrapped around her as The performers' vocals drifted through filling her with a calm kind of excitement. She didn't know Diamond could sing, though she shouldn't be surprised. His voice seemed to have a hypnotic effect on her most times.

Caleb glanced at his companion, smiling at her reaction to his son and 'plus one daughter.' He could tell by the look in cerulean eyes that Serena was smitten with his son. What surprised him was that Diamond was just as smitten, if not more so, in his own way.

Turning his attention back to the performance he smiled realizing this song was always his favorite. She'd written it just for him. Sometimes love made your heart sing, and other times it made it cry. His had never been able to tell the difference as it always seemed to hurt in the end. He just hoped for his children it wouldn't be that way. If only Almita could see her daughter now… All grown up and beautiful, capturing a Black heart the way his had been caught.

As the song drew to a close, the audience erupted into applause genuinely impressed by the deceased starlets' children. Turning his attention back to the stage, Caleb grinned as he copied the audience's reaction. Offering his arm to the young woman beside him, he led Usagi through the crowd to the stage's edge so they could receive the two.

Diamond had been in the middle of congratulating his cousin and Alicia when his father made his presence known. He moved to speak but found he could not make the words as his eyes locked on the woman he'd come to crave. All of his thoughts came to a crashing halt when Serena gazed at him with hooded eyes and a shy smile.


Hanging on the arm of Dimande Black immediately made Serena the envy of the night. She didn't realize how charming Dimande could be when he wanted to. There were different emotions in the eyes of the people he introduced her to, but all of them looked upon him with respect and her with something else.

Serena was used to women and men alike staring at her, but this was different and the blonde didn't know which was worse- this brand of envy or the kind she suffered with Darien. Even though, she braved their looks with the same brand of grace and determination she always did.

It wasn't until she met the glacial eyed Auria Ibanez that she knew what to make of it all.

"Diamond," Came a feminine voice. The white prince's eyes lit up as he took in the form of his old lover. "Ibanez," he returned in a pleasant tone.

Auria Ibanez was a striking creature and the way the two regarded each other made Serena uncomfortable. Thedress she wore was a beautiful navy blue made of charmeuse fabric. The deep V-neck was tastefully daring as the fabric continue to hug her body showcasing her slim physique. Raven locks were styled atop her head in a sophisticated updo. In addition to her looks, there was an air about this woman that Serena found intimidating.

Smiling when Diamond introduced her, Serena couldn't help the nervousness that flooded her veins. She felt like an imposter standing in front of this shrewd woman who was a lot like Diamond in some ways- frank and unapologetic. However, unlike Diamond she was considerate enough to adapt her approach.

Snagging a flute of champagne from a passing server, Auria turned her sights on the pretty blonde. "So, Ms. Tsukino how did you meet Dimande? He's such a way with words, you see."

Honestly, Serena wasn't surprised. It was a harmless question- valid even. Still, she didn't know what to say. The truth of their meeting sounded like a horrible remake of 'Pretty Woman'. 'My fiancé cheated on me so I went revenge clubbing and was on the verge of being raped until Diamond, a complete stranger, saved me and let me sleep my hangover off at his house in a part of town I clearly don't belong. By the way that was two days ago and I have still yet to go home.'

Her pretty face flushed crimson and she could tell by the look in the other woman's eyes as well as the concern in Diamond's that she'd failed miserably at this question game. Stammering out an apology, she quickly excused herself making up an excuse about needing fresh air.


"Diamond's a very lucky man to have such a stunning woman on his arm." Auria's tone was genuine as her high-heeled footsteps marked the sound of her approach. She'd spotted the blonde around the corner away from prying eyes.

Now beside her, the two stood on the balcony staring at the city before them. Serena turned to stare at the darker-haired woman with a small frown on her face. She knew she looked the part, but she didn't really feel like it on the inside, and she was sure that Auria could sense as much. Her tone was derisive as she addressed the other. "You don't really mean that and I don't think too many people feel that way either."

The lady lawyer raised a finely arched brow. "And how is that you think they feel?"

Serena blushed almost too embarrassed to say what she really thought. "That I'm another pretty face in a line of pretty faces."

Auria smiled guessing as much. "Would you believe me if I told you you were wrong?"

This was not the first time Serena had been written off as an attractive item in need of coveting, or an obstacle to a man's bed. Auria seemed to follow her train of thought and quickly continued on not wanting the other to misunderstand. "Oh don't get me wrong, a good lot of those men and women are jealous… but not for the reasons you think."

"And what reasons would those be?" Usagi challenged as she tensed her jaw, gripping the balcony's stone railing.

"Diamond told me you were a spirited thing underneath all that naiveté," Auria smiled. "I can see why he likes you." Serena hadn't expected that and her expression revealed as much. "They're jealous of the way he looks at you."

"The way he looks at me?" She stammered. "What… Why?"

"Because he looks at you like you're the only other person in the room. How could anyone, male or female, compete with that?" Baby blues widened. "You don't owe anyone in that room an explanation. Diamond sees you for the person you are and that's all that should matter. You're no duck by any stretch of imagination Serena Tsukino." She let her words sink in before continuing. "I'd like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character and this isn't the you I think Dimande was aching for last night."

Usagi was at a loss for words as Ibanez' words swirled around in her mind. "He ached for me?" She repeated in a state of disbelief. Who knew Diamond Black could feel so intensely, but Usagi knew she was being silly. After all he effectively expressed his feelings to her last night with a simple kiss. More like a mind blowing kiss…

"Remember what I said," Auria intoned touching her arm with a meaningful expression on her face. As the older woman left, Serena let her mind roam free.

Auria was right. So what if those people were jealous. Girls were as pretty as they were foolish. Boys played castle to save little girls but men waged wars for women. The way Diamond's eyes had burned at the sight of her made her realize that she'd much rather have the power and independence that came with being a queen than the illusion she'd had being some boy's princess.


"Are you alright?" Serena found herself wrapped in the arms of her thoughts' tormentor.

"I'm fine now…" She sighed relaxing in the heir's embrace. "Auria… who is she to you?" Serena could feel his hold tighten ever so slightly. But there was nothing amiss on her face or with her posture. She was genuinely curious and the tenseness that seemed to guide her earlier was gone.

"She's my lawyer, but that's not what you wanted to know is it. We were together at one point of time, but we agreed to break it off."

"She seemed to know you very well." Relieved that the other hadn't been trying to play her, Serena leaned into him. As much as his friendship with Ibanez meant to him, Diamond really didn't want to talk about her while he was with Serena. Instead, he wanted to focus on this night with her.

"I never told you earlier, but you look like something out of a dream tonight." Serena smiled, remembering the look that slipped past that mask of his. It was as pure as it was unholy, a strange mix Diamond seemed to have mastered. There was a man beneath the ice and Serena liked that she was one of the few who got to witness that. Even more, she liked that she was the one to cause such a reaction.

Turning around in his embrace, Usagi stared up into his handsome face with a solemn expression of her own. "What do you want from me, Dimande?"

His eyes were soft despite the firmness in his voice. "Whatever you wish to give me. But know that once it's given… I consider it mine."

Diamond hadn't known what to expect when Auria sent him to Serena on the balcony, but he definitely hadn't expected this.

Serena's kiss was hesitant at first, but once she relaxed the two found themselves stumbling backwards until her back hit the wall of the building. Groaning at the stop, her fingers found their way to his hair as the kiss intensified. Usagi felt his hold tighten as her legs became unsteady. She felt so lightheaded as she accepted what he offered her. As Auria's word came back into her mind a light began to shine in her eyes as Serena made a decision to reverse their standing.

Moments later Dimande found himself at Usagi's mercy something that both surprised and turned him on. Letting his forehead rest against hers, Diamond closed his eyes as he was powerless to her hold on him. The feel of her delicate hand stroking and squeezing his hardened flesh was sweet anguish. Here he was with this moon-like goddess and he could do nothing but hold and kiss her. She looked amazing in her dress, but suddenly the white haired man was mentally cursing his cousin for making something so constricting.

Serena's mouth found his, sucking and nipping his lips in a slow and suggestive manner. It would seem Serenity was a witch, humming her appreciation as the prince's hips bucked into her touch.

Groaning, Dimande palmed both of his hands against the wall behind her as he buried his face in her neck. Her throaty chuckle in response to his weakness solidified his suspicions of his bewitchment.

Her free arm held him tighter as she continued encouraging his surrender. Serena wanted him to come undone. He was always so in control, it'd be a nice to see him flustered and undone. She didn't know why this felt so important, but for once she didn't care. She wanted him and if she couldn't have him the way she wanted, then she'd have to improvise. Granted she had no idea what she was doing, but Usagi figured she was doing something right because suddenly Diamond was returning her kisses with fervor as his frame unconsciously trembled.

"Serena," he groaned breathlessly between kisses," please, not here… like this."

Serena halted her hand as she returned his kisses, "Are you sure you want that?" There was teasing in her voice as she roughly squeezed him, brushing her thumb over his over-sensitive head.

Diamond groaned as his body defied his will again. "No," he chuckled miserably, "but I'd rather not in these pants."

Serena hummed thoughtfully as her free hand caressed his face before relenting. Releasing his hardened flesh, she kissed him one last time before discreetly fixing his clothes.

"Come away with me," he voiced without thinking.

Serena stilled as his breath tickled the shell of her ear. Mentally cursing himself, Dimande didn't know what possessed him to breathe those words but now that they were out, he refused to cower behind uncertainty. Though he hadn't meant to say them, he did mean them.

Cerulean eyes were wide as she stared into the affected man's searching gaze.



The brunette clutched the phone tighter to her ear as her best friend's voice cut through to her.

"Serena?" She wondered what had happened earlier. The brunette could hear music and people in the background. What was Serena doing? Every time she'd tried to call the blonde back, her call went straight to voicemail.

"Can I ask a favor of you?"

"What is it?" She breathed wondering what could make her friend so excited.

"Can you come pick me up?"

"Of course, Usagi. Where are you?"

"The Dark Marble."

"The Dark Marble?" Green eyes widened considerably. "Why on earth are you there? Did you and Darien make up?"

"Please, Mol! I'll explain later. I'm going away for a while and there are some things I need to pick up before I go."

"What…" Molly's thoughts were abuzz with panic and confusion. Why did Usagi want to leave? More importantly, where was she going and who was she leaving with. "Does this have to do with the guy you were telling me about earlier?"

"Molly…" She heard the other groan.

"I'm sorry but you're not really giving me anything to work with." There was a heavy pause as she heard Serena exhale.

"Are you coming or not?"

"Okay, Usagi… I'll be there in a bit, but I want some answers."

"Thank you, Molly. And please don't tell anyone about this!"

There was a brief silence.

"I'll see you Serena."


The heir couldn't believe it! Serena had agreed to travel with him for a couple of weeks. Just long enough to figure out what she wanted to do and where she wanted to be. It was new this feeling of elation that ran through him. He told himself it wasn't a big deal, but his heart hadn't got the memo as he couldn't wipe his stupid grin off his face.

He stood inside the banquet room watching the other couples and people swirl around him dancing to music that took him to a lifetime ago.

In a few moments the raffle would begin, and then Serena would leave and meet back up with him at the airport later. The blonde was back in front of him with a bright smile on her face as she slipped her cell in his pant pocket. Suddenly, he swooped her up in his arms and spun her around. Pleasantly surprised by this version of him, Serena laughed as he spun them around before smashing his lips onto hers. He was faintly aware of a camera flash or two, before he was grinning back at the blue-eyed beauty in his arms.

"You won't be sorry," He assured before pressing a softer kiss to her forehead.


When Molly figured out where she needed to be, she went slack-jawed at the sight.

Her friend was gorgeous, but what really caught her attention was what an impression she made in her companion's arms. This man was as beautiful as he was domineering, but he seemed softer with Usagi there. The expressions on their faces as they stared at each other spoke volumes.

Tiptoeing back around the corner she came from, Molly decided it would be best if she waited outside and called Serena down.

The whole trip to Serena's friend's house and back en route to Serena's house was silent.

The blonde had to drop off the dress and accessories, and change her clothes.

The brunette couldn't help but wonder about what she saw. Serena had looked so happy… If everything were alright, why hadn't she called anyone? From what she understood, Serena had just met this man…

"Molly, why are we here?" Serena asked staring at the white house she and Darien shared. She'd asked to be taken to her parents' home.

"No one's home, Sere." Molly kept her eyes straight ahead as she lied to her friend. This is for your own good, Usago… Isn't it? Taking a deep breath, she turned and flashed the unsure blonde an encouraging smile. "Let's hurry it up, kay?" She just wanted this to be all over with.

Molly could tell her friend was beyond nervous so she accompanied her into the house.

The two hurried upstairs to her bedroom. Grabbing a suitcase from her closet, Serena went about packing as Molly sat on the bed and watched. "You're really leaving?"

"Oh Molly, I won't be gone long. Just long enough to screw my head on straight." Serena disappeared in her walk-in closet for a bit. "Could you keep watch downstairs?" the blonde asked peaking her head out, "I just don't want to deal with Mamoru should he come home."

Molly nodded quickly disappearing downstairs. She hoped Usagi would understand.

Fifteen minutes later, the blonde came downstairs with her suitcase and purse, ready to go. "Molly, I'm-"

"Serena Tsukino!" Rei Hino exploded in a flourish of anger, "Where the hell have you been?"

Cerulean eyes widened in horror as she took in the disappointed gazes of her friends. She could feel her heart ache as she turned to Molly's pleading expression. Her luggage slipped from her fingers, hitting the floor with a crash.

"Usago, don't be mad! We were all so worried-"

"Molly!" She whispered feeling a mix of shock and anger, "I asked you not to say anything!"

"Usagi," she cried rushing to her side, "Please!' She reached out to her friend as tears filled her green eyes. Serena jerked away from her arms as if they were hazardous. Turning to face her other friends, she couldn't remember a time she saw them so upset.

"Serena!" They all seemed to converge on her.

"What were you thinking? Darien's a mess, he needs you!"

"How could you be so selfish, running away from your problems!"

"How could you consider leaving without telling us and with some stranger!"

The blonde knew her plans had been irrevocably altered.


Caleb Black stared at his son with a frown on his face. The two were seated in their limousine waiting for a familiar flash of blonde hair to show up. The jet had been fueled and was ready to go.

He'd never seen Diamond so worked up about a woman before. Auria had been a sensible match for his son, but his eyes didn't light up the way they did when he was with Serena. He suspected the relationship between the two had been one of convenience.

Looking at the watch on his wrist, the older man shook his head at the time. They should have left 30 minutes ago. He didn't want to be the one to tell Diamond that it was time to go, but someone had to.

Reaching out to lay a comforting hand on his son's knee, the older Black gave the most comforting smile he could. "Diamond… I'm afraid it's time to go."

Cold violet eyes stared back at him.

"She's not coming, then." Dimande spoke in monotones, but Caleb could tell he was more upset than he let on.

"I'm afraid I don't know, but time waits for no one, and neither do we Black's."

The feeling that ran through his veins hurt more than he thought it would. He wanted to be upset, but all he could think of was the way she moaned when his mouth was on hers, or the way she murmured his name all breathless and flustered. Why couldn't he have that? And why did he suddenly want that… with her?

It shouldn't bother him so much and yet Diamond could feel it eating away at him. He'd been rejected before, but this was different. This physically hurt him. The disappointment was new and Diamond found that he loathed it more than the aching. Its implications suggested that he'd been rash. Maybe she had an accident? Or maybe she made up with her fiancé? Disturbingly enough, Diamond wished for the former, a thought that made him frown. What was wrong with him?!

Taking a deep breath, the heir sought to reign in his thoughts- his father was right, Black's waited for no one and neither would he.

Nodding at his father, Dimande exited the limo and boarded the plane without a glance backwards. If she didn't want him he'd not sit and mope like a fool (even if he already felt like one.)

Qwik references:

**"Here's my hand and my heart… it's yours to take..."** -Line from Kelly Clarkson's "Be Still"

**Song that Diamond and Emerald sang** -Is a poem I wrote titled "Bittersweet/ Pieces" especially for this story. Remember to ask and attribute it back if you want to use it.


Well…. What do you think? Is this how any of you pictured this story wrapping up? For those who may be disappointed with how I left out Sapphire and Emerald at the end, I'm disappointed too. Lol. But rest assured their parts will receive notice in the final installment.

The Epilogue is up next! Definitely let me know what you think, even if you hated it- So don't forget to review!

Also, there was a theme in all of this. I wanted Diamond to encourage Serena to be her own person, comfortable in her own skin while realizing there was more to her character if she wanted it. As wonderful as loving someone can be, never let someone bully you into changing yourself. But if you do find someone worthy of that 'potential you,' make sure they're willing to grow and get in the mud with you.

Did any of this achieve that ^?

Was this too long?

Anyway, review please!