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What’s the most important thing someone can wear?

Their smile, my mother ingrained this lesson into me as she forced me to brush my teeth until my gums bled.

She would regale me with a story she had learned from her mother.

Once upon a time, there was a vain and powerful woman named Lady Amelia, whose beauty was matched only by her ambition.

Her hair was like spun gold, cascading down her back in waves, and her eyes sparkled like diamonds in the sun.

However, her teeth betrayed her like a spy who got as close as they could.

Lady Amelia’s once-perfect smile was now a source of shame.

Her teeth were like shattered glass, jagged and uneven, with gaps so wide that they seemed to swallow the light.

Each tooth was a dark abyss, a black hole that threatened to suck her into the void.

Despite her wealth and power, Lady Amelia refused to acknowledge her own flaws, convinced that her beauty would protect her from the consequences of neglecting her own body.

She wore her shattered smile like a badge of honor, daring anyone to question her perfection.

But her arrogance would prove to be her undoing.

Her broken teeth became a metaphor for her broken leadership, a symbol of the decay that had taken hold of her once-great empire.

Her enemies saw her weakness and pounced like wolves, tearing her apart with glee.

Her allies, once loyal and steadfast, abandoned her like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

In the end, Lady Amelia died alone, her body wasted away by disease, and her legacy tarnished by her own vanity.

Her shattered teeth were like broken dreams, a reminder of the cost of neglecting one’s own flaws.

My mother told me later that she didn’t get the story from her mother, no Amelia was the whore that laid the foundation for my mother’s success.

The reason her tooth became the way they were was a client of hers slapped her so hard, she fell face first into a tile floor and cracked the smile that invited so many in.

Once her image was broken, less and less men came to her, she couldn’t feed on them anymore and her teeth crumbled even more from her body breaking down.

All those clients ran to my mother instead, her beautiful smile like a porcelain lighthouse to men lost at sea.

Everything Amelia had worked for was broken due to the result of one hard strike, what happens when someone who relies on their teeth for everything gets hit hard enough?

They get replaced with something more stunning and admired by the masses who simply want to be close to the glow.

People follow the person who gets them what they want, who makes their heart beat to the point they can feel their blood run through their body.

That’s how my mother could feed upon men whose blood only ran to one place and the bitch with a black tooth could only feed upon herself.

Bells toll only once for those who neglect themselves while chasing after others to fill them up.

No need for a blueprint after that bell.