The Taking of Lena Ch. 06byablondegoddess©
By the time they reached the city, Lena wanted to die of humiliation.
The train ride had been sheer agony. Still clothed in Renz's poorly fitting shirt, trousers, and jacket, Lena had been the object of many scrutinizing stares and judgmental whispers. Her attire was wholly indecent, especially for being in public, and Lena was grateful she could not make out anyone's specific words. They would have been far too harsh for her to handle.
And Renz hadn't been particularly sympathetic. He didn't speak much, and maintained a cool distance from her. Lena was forced to silently follow him around, like a pet of some kind. It seemed as if he was actually taking some kind of pleasure in her embarrassment, and that frustrated her more than anything.
But her embarrassment was momentarily forgotten when she took in her first sight of the slightly distant capital.
Lena stared with wide-eyes at the glittering city blanketed by the orange warmth of sunset. Lena had never been to a city as large as this, and she felt overcome with a desire to explore every single beautiful piece of elaborate German architecture it contained.
"Careful, Lena," Renz said suddenly, grabbing hold of her arm. Lena hadn't even realized that she had nearly fallen off of the train platform.
"Thank you," Lena muttered quietly. She attempted to remove her arm from his grasp, but Renz tightened his grip and stared down at her with an amused expression.
"Won't you allow me to be a proper escort?" Renz asked humorously. Lena frowned angrily.
"You've humiliated me all afternoon," Lena replied. Renz chuckled in that arrogant way of his.
"I believe you are the one who insisted on wearing my clothes, little Lena. If you wanted something new, all you had to do is ask," Renz replied, chastising her as if she were a child.
Lena sighed, realizing that asserting herself was useless. This was how Renz liked her: submissive and at his mercy.
Lena cleared her throat and slowly looked up at him, trying to harness the confidence she had when she was with Erich.
"Please, sir...will you allow me to wear something more proper?" Lena asked quietly.
Renz appeared uncomfortable for a brief moment before his wolfish smile widened.
"My pleasure, Lena," Renz replied.
Lena held onto Renz as he led them away from the train station to a waiting coach. A proud servant stood erect as Renz approached, opening the door to the carriage without needing any kind of verbal acknowledgment.
"After you, Lena," Renz beckoned seductively.
Lena shook her head in an attempt to banish all lustful thoughts of Renz. At least for the time being.
She crawled into the coach, and was somewhat relieved to be temporarily free from the judgmental gazes of passerby. Lena didn't care what kinds of clothes Renz would dress her in, as long as it wasn't menswear anymore.
Renz sat next to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders possessively. That physical contact was enough to make Lena's heart begin to race.
"Unter den Linden," Renz said to the coachman.
The carriage began to move, and Lena felt somewhat lulled by the steady, gentle rocking motion.
"You're quiet, Lena. What are you thinking?" Renz asked eventually. Lena was surprised by his sudden interest in her thoughts.
"I was just looking at that building over there. It's beautiful," Lena answered.
"That's Berliner Stadtschloss. The city palace," Renz said.
"Have you ever been inside?" Lena asked curiously. Renz laughed, hard, and Lena's face flamed hot with embarrassment.
"You are quite adorable, Lena. Yes, I have been inside. On many occasions," he replied.
Lena stared out the window at the large, Baroque style castle, and she began to muse about the amount of beauty and royalty and glamour on the inside.
The coach stopped on a quieter section of the main, tree-lined boulevard. The coachmen opened the carriage door, and Renz smoothly stepped out and strolled for a few moments before extending his hand to Lena.
Lena watched him as he stood in front of her, his strong, handsome features relaxed and faintly amused. There was something different about him, and she wasn't sure what it was, or if she should fear it.
"Ready, Lena?" Renz asked, extending his large hand. Lena nodded, and stepped out of the coach, placing her hand in his.
They casually strolled together, and Lena stole shy glances of the people that walked by. There were couples dressed in high fashion, men in handsome jackets and women in beautiful silks and hats.
Lena blushed when she realized that strangers were still staring at her, but she was especially curious about the odd, almost scared expressions that appeared on their faces once they looked at Renz.
As they continued to walk, Lena realized that Renz was really the one who was being stared at. Lena looked at Renz, wondering if he was at all affected by the fearful glances, shaky hat tips, and timid murmurs of 'Guten abend, Herr Wolfenbarger'. To her surprise, he seemed completely at ease with these odd displays of recognition.
"Do you know all of these people?" Lena asked. Renz chuckled and looked down at her.
"No, Lena. But they all know me," Renz replied. Lena frowned in confusion.
"Are you famous?" Lena asked. Renz laughed again, much harder, and Lena's stomach began to flutter at the sight of his bright smile.
"I suppose you could say that, yes. Here we are," Renz said, beckoning her to an elegant, rose-covered building with a feminine-looking marble sculpture in the front.
Lena tentatively followed him inside, and was pleasantly greeted with the sweet scent of exotic flowers. She looked around, and noticed that the large room was filled with beautiful gilded mirrors, satin cushions, endless bouquets, and mannequins covered in beautiful fabrics.
"Herr Wolfenbarger!" a husky woman's voice exclaimed.
Lena looked at the speaker, an older, yet sophisticated woman delicately styled in a fine pale green day gown. Her slightly silvering blonde hair was piled high in a pretty coiffure, and Lena found her to be remarkably lovely and poised.
"Helga, you are radiant as always," Renz replied cordially, taking her hand. The graceful woman gave Renz a slight nod, and he lowered his head in respect.
"It's been far too long, my dear boy. I wasn't sure if I'd see you again after..." Helga replied, her throaty voice smooth and endearing. Lena noticed that Renz tensed for a brief moment, but then that familiar, conceited visage returned.
"It seems as if your business has still been thriving even after Herr Eichmann's passing--"
"My god, sir! I know your mother taught you how to properly outfit a lady!" Helga interrupted suddenly, finally glancing at Lena. Lena wanted to hide behind Renz as the woman surveyed her appearance disapprovingly.
"That's why we have come to you. Helga, this is Lena. Lena, meet Helga Eichmann, the finest dressmaker in all of Berlin," Renz complimented. Helga rolled her eyes.
"Charming as ever, Herr Wolfenbarger. How much time do I have with her?" Helga asked, observing Lena more closely. Renz reached into his coat pocket and briefly glanced at his timepiece.
"Not too long, I'm afraid. We have a dinner engagement tonight. I was hoping you could outfit her with something suitable for now, and we can perhaps pick up a full custom wardrobe in a few days' time?" Renz offered. Helga sighed in exasperation.
"Come here, Fräulein. Turn for me," Helga said kindly.
Lena did as she was told, nervously approaching the glamorous woman and turning slowly. She jumped in surprise when Helga reached forward and softly pinched her waist through the thick men's shirt.
"I doubt I have anything her size in store. Has he been starving you as well?" Helga asked. Normally, Lena would have been embarrassed by such a comment, but the kind, motherly smile on her face comforted her and gave her a unique sense of self-esteem.
"Actually, Herr Wolfenbarger is keeping me constantly filled," Lena replied, glancing over at Renz. Helga didn't appear to have noticed the double entendre, but Renz certainly did, and he stared back at Lena with an expression that appeared to be a combination of shock, humor, and lust.
"I'm sure we can find something appropriate for tonight, pretty girl like you. Follow me," Helga said.
Lena followed Helga into a dressing room, filled with even more mirrors and loose, fine fabrics. Two other women were busy with sewing, but quickly stood up when Lena and Helga entered the room.
"Herr Wolfenbarger, you may wait outside," Helga said authoritatively. Lena gulped, wondering how Renz would react to someone ordering him around, but she found that Renz remained relaxed and amused.
"Don't keep her in there forever," Renz called.
Lena quickly realized that bodily shame and modesty were useless feelings in the Eichmann Dress Shop. Lena's body was pinned, measured, poked, squeezed, and relentlessly scrutinized by the three women. Each time she dressed, Helga sweetly, yet sternly, ordered her to undress and try on something else.
Lena found dressing to be exhausting, and she was grateful for the help of Helga's two assistants. Never in her life had she been required to wear so many different layers of clothing. And while she enjoyed the feeling of the rich fabrics against her skin, she couldn't help but feel slightly nostalgic for the utter...freedom of Renz's loose and oversized garments on her.
"This will go by much faster if you weren't so quiet, Lena," Helga mentioned conversationally. Lena lowered her head.
"I'm sorry. I've never been fitted before," Lena replied truthfully. Helga smiled kindly at her.
"I can tell. You have no need to be nervous though, dear, I can assure you that you will look stunning," Helga encouraged.
Lena held onto Helga's shoulder as one of her assistants slipped on a new pair of delicate stockings on her legs, fastening them with pretty lace garters. They then pulled on a cream colored pair of frilly bloomers with a matching chemise, and Lena was grateful her nudity was finally concealed.
"If you don't mind me asking...how did a girl like you encounter Herr Wolfenbarger?" Helga asked. Lena slightly jumped, unsure of how to even begin answering such a question. Helga appeared to read Lena's discomfort, however, and offered her a sympathetic, knowing smile.
"After my husband's death I've come to realize that there's nothing wrong with enjoying an affair with a handsome, very wealthy man, Lena. And I have known Renz since he was a boy. He may seem quite cold, but...there is a lot of love in his heart as well," Helga said.
Lena blushed feverishly, suddenly overcome with the desire to correct this woman. 'Affair' wasn't exactly the word Lena would use to describe her relationship with Renz.
Renz himself hadn't even called it a relationship. He'd called it an arrangement. What they shared was a cold transaction, nothing more.
Lena was about to reply, but Helga's two assistants rapidly encircled her waist with a corset, effectively cutting off her air supply. The only sound Lena could release was a pathetic, high-pitched wheeze.
"Quickly is usually best for first-time girls. Maintain your posture and it won't be so agonizing," Helga instructed.
Lena silently whimpered as the corset tightened, compacting her waist and inner organs into an impossibly small space.
"The worst is over, dear. Try to stay patient and focus on breathing," Helga said soothingly. Lena nodded, and stared at the floral-carved ceiling as more and more layers were piled on top of her body. She eventually found a comfortable rhythm for breathing, and her lightheadedness slowly began to fade.
"Clara, why don't you quickly style Lena's hair with those flowers there? I think a lovely, loose French twist will do. Therese, fetch me some rouge," Helga instructed.
Lena winced as the young assistant pulled at her hair, combing and twisting it harshly.
"You're nearly perfect. Just a bit of rouge for your lips, and you are ready," Helga said, gently brushing the paint on her lips. Lena smoothed her lips together, unfamiliar with the feeling of rouge.
"You can come in, now," Helga called.
Almost as if he had been waiting just outside the door, Renz immediately entered. Lena turned towards him, searching his face for his opinion.
A part of her wondered why she even cared for his approval, but for some reason, Lena wanted Renz to like the way she looked.
Renz stood silent, his expression inscrutable, and Lena wondered if he was displeased. She felt his eyes lower to the blush-colored satin gown, sweeping over every curve of her body, before pausing on her chest and widening in lust.
Lena looked down, quickly gasping and covering her mouth when she realized how...rude her breasts appeared. They were propped up by the tight corset and low-cut chemise, overtly displayed, and dangerously close to spilling out. Lena didn't realize her body could produce such curves.
"Am I still worth every mark?" Helga asked. Renz cleared his throat, but didn't remove his eyes from Lena.
"You are worth far more, Helga. You've outdone yourself," Renz said, finally bringing his eyes to Lena's face. He slowly approached her, and Lena swallowed hard as her body began to react to his increasing proximity.
"I'll prepare your bill. Girls, come with me," Helga called.
Lena and Renz were momentarily alone. He stood in front of her, very close, and he reached forward almost as if to touch her. But right before he made contact, he paused, and slowly hovered over her body with his hand.
"Does my appearance please you, sir?" Lena asked softly. She looked up at him expectantly, and she felt her body begin to shake in nervousness and distant arousal.
"You're absolutely ravishing, Lena," Renz said seriously.
Lena waited for some kind of arrogant or teasing response, but Renz remained silent as he stared at her. His face was fixed and sincere.
"Thank you, sir," Lena whispered.
Lena could feel Renz's cool breath on her face as his breathing increased. His eyes darkened and his lips parted, and Lena recognized his arousal.
Lena closed her eyes in anticipation of the ravishment that she knew would come. She could feel Renz moving closer to her, could feel the heat radiating from his body. She felt his large hands lock on the bare skin of her shoulders, holding her tightly. But just when she thought he would force his body against hers, he left her with a single, soft, chaste kiss on her cheek.
Lena's eyes flew open, and she stared at Renz's surprisingly gentle eyes in bewilderment. Lena realized then that they really were a pretty gray color, like clouds after a light rain.
"I think you were born to be surrounded by fine things," Renz said.
After a few clumsy stumbles, Lena was able to walk in her new gown and dainty, heeled shoes with relative ease. Renz had openly laughed at her, but Lena was far less frustrated by his teasing than she had been before. Admittedly, there was a part of her that was somewhat fascinated by this playful version of Renz, the adult version of the impish little boy in his hall of portraits. But there was another part of her that genuinely enjoyed this part of Renz, a part that she perhaps didn't need to fear.
Lena nervously held onto Renz's arm as he led them into a luxurious hotel on a lively section of the main boulevard, in clear view of the city palace. The entryway looked like a ballroom, dominated by a massive crystal chandelier and carved ceiling. The guests appeared beautiful and affluent, and Lena lowered her head in shame, suddenly feeling very out of place, despite her new expensive attire.
"Relax, Lena," Renz whispered directly in her ear. For a moment, the sound of the low timbre in his voice calmed her.
"I don't think I belong here," Lena whispered.
Renz slowly slid his hand down the side of her body, pausing along the curve of her breast and her waist. Lena squeezed her thighs tightly together in a sudden wave of passion, and she hoped, desperately, that no one was witnessing their indecent display.
"You belong with me, Lena," Renz replied plainly. The possession in his voice resonated directly between her thighs, and Lena suddenly began feeling overly confined in her many layers of silk.
"Wolfenbarger...and lady. We're meeting Herr Friedrich," Renz said to a young man in a stiff white jacket.
"Your private table is right this way," the man replied, briefly glancing at Lena. She began to blush when she felt his gaze drop to her chest before he quickly turned around, and led them through the large hotel restaurant.
Lena tried to appear poised and dignified, like the elegantly dressed women draped in jewels, casually sitting at the opulent tables covered in intricate china and crystal glasses of champagne. But Lena knew that she was probably gawking in her attempt to catalogue every interesting thing she saw. After a while, Renz reached for her hand impatiently, practically dragging her along to keep her close.
They finally reached the table, which was located in a private balcony partially shaded by thick gold curtains, overlooking the entire ballroom.
"That will be all, thank you," Renz muttered under his breath, slipping the host a few marks.
"Herr Wolfenbarger, I'm so pleased you've arrived," an older man said. He stood up on shaky legs and reached for his cane, but Renz reached forward, and strongly grasped his quivering hand.
"As am I, Herr Friedrich. I see you've brought your lovely daughter with you tonight," Renz mentioned.
Lena hadn't even noticed the highly styled woman in deep purple that also sat at the table. She had ink-black hair, tightly coiled in pretty curls, and porcelain skin faintly smeared with rouge. Large brown eyes dominated her heart-shaped face, and Lena thought she looked lovely, like a doll.
"Pleasure as always, Herr Wolfenbarger. Did you bring your pretty guest to keep me entertained while you and father discuss business?" Gisele asked. She glanced over at Lena and gave a sweet smile, and Lena relaxed a bit on the inside.
"I'm sure you two will have plenty to talk about. This is Lena, of Sterling Manor," Renz introduced.
Lena was surprised that Renz had mentioned her former home, but then she realized he hadn't specified her place there. She began feeling nervous again, wondering if Renz was ashamed of her low social status.
Lena smiled demurely as Renz pulled open her seat. Lena sat down slowly, as gracefully as she could, and kept her eyes lowered and hands folded. She hoped that the evening would go by quickly.
"I'm not familiar with Sterling Manor," Gisele mentioned. Lena began to blush, wondering just how far she should take the lie.
"I'm not German...I'm just here visiting with Herr Wolfenbarger," Lena replied nervously. Gisele look interested, and she leaned closer, gracefully twirling her champagne flute.
"And do your parents approve? Where is your chaperone?" Gisele asked. Lena swallowed hard, wondering if she too should drink some champagne in order to relax.
Lena reached for her glass, and took a tentative sip.
"They don't have much of an opinion," Lena replied. Gisele giggled happily.
"I envy you already. Father is absolutely obsessed with reputation. You know he wouldn't associate with Herr Wolfenbarger for years!" Gisele exclaimed.
"Why is that?" Lena asked. Gisele looked over to the two men, satisfied that they were deep in conversation about business.
She leaned in closer to Lena, eyes bright with the thrill of gossip.
"The Wolfenbargers have one of the most sordid reputations in the whole of the German empire. Renz especially, and it was even worse after his divorce. Most families would have nothing to do with him if it weren't for his money, which, I'm sure you already know, is close to immeasurable. Millions upon millions. Did you know that Renz is technically part of the royal family?" Gisele said. She spoke so fast that Lena had a hard time keeping up with her.