The Taking of Lena Ch. 07byablondegoddess©
His exploration the following day was relentless. If at all possible, Lena felt more vulnerable and exposed to him with his persistent questions than she did when he forced his body into hers.
He asked her about her childhood, about her favorites and dislikes, and about her fondest and most painful memories. He asked her about her mother, but Lena was not able to give him very much detail.
"Did you ever learn the identity of your father?" Renz asked. They were taking lunch in a small café. The morning and early afternoon had been filled with walking, touring, purchasing, and Renz's relentless inquiry. Lena was grateful for an opportunity to rest.
Lena looked down and bashfully shook her head.
"No. And after what Master Sterling said about her...I imagine she didn't know either," Lena said sadly.
She stared into her cup of tea, and tried hard to keep from crying. She hadn't revisited the memory of Sterling's resigned, disappointed face yet. It was too painful.
"You're not a whore, Lena," Renz said softly.
"You keep me around for my body. That doesn't exactly render me a Madonna," Lena replied, taking a slow sip of tea. When she finally looked at Renz again, she was surprised by the slightly angry expression on his face.
"Have I said something wrong?" Lena asked fearfully.
Renz stared silently for a few moments, but then his frown softened.
"I keep you around for more than your body, Lena. Haven't you noticed we haven't had sex today?" Renz asked.
The morning had been so busy that Lena hadn't even realized. This was highly unusual for Renz.
Lena began to blush a deep red when she realized that their conversation was highly provocative, and that they were not alone in the café.
"Do you want to...right now?" Lena asked curiously. Renz raised one dark eyebrow quizzically.
"Here, Lena? I've turned you into quite the naughty girl, haven't I?" Renz said, grinning widely.
Lena frowned and rolled her eyes, and tried to force herself to keep from smiling, but her grin refused to be contained. She wished that she didn't find his teasing charming.
"I would like my knowledge of you to be more than carnal, Lena," Renz said seriously.
Lena yelped in surprise when he gripped her wrist under the table, and pulled her hand onto his lap. Lena nearly fell out of her seat when she felt his protruding hardness against her palm. Curiously, she curled her fingers around it, causing Renz to shift slightly and release a low, pleasured growl.
"But I do hope you realize how...hard it is...to keep my desire for you contained," Renz whispered. Lena timidly looked up at him and nodded quickly, hoping no one was watching.
He released her hand with a smirk, and Lena quickly brought it into her lap, and laced her fingers together tightly.
"So, tell me. What makes Lena happy?" Renz asked. Lena watched in slightly distracted interest as Renz took a sip of dark beer. A bit of foam was left on his upper lip, and he licked it slowly, seductively.
Lena blinked several times, attempting to regain her focus. She had told him about many of her joys and pleasures already that day, but there was still that one that she kept secret.
"What are you hiding, Lena?" Renz asked, almost as if he were reading her mind. Lena shyly looked away from him, ashamed that she was so transparent.
"Music makes me happy," Lena said finally. Renz leaned forward, intrigued.
"What of music, Lena? How did you come to love it?" he asked. Lena shakily took a sip of tea before answering.
"Whenever Master Sterling would host parties, he always had music. He had an opera singer who was regularly in attendance. I can't remember her name, but...it felt like I could feel her voice in my bones. I was never allowed inside, but I would always hide just outside the door to hear, she was just so beautiful," Lena confessed.
She shyly looked up at Renz, and wondered if he would somehow use this information against her. But his expression was soft and gentle. And to her surprise, the slow, seductive smile that appeared on his face didn't cause a stirring between her thighs, as usual.
Instead, she felt a stirring in her chest.
To Lena's disappointment, and slight annoyance, Renz had ordered her back to the hotel after lunch. He'd urged her to take a nap, even though Lena had insisted she wasn't tired.
But it only took one dark look from his stern face for Lena to halt her protests, and do what he asked.
Lena was awakened by a light knocking on the front door to the hotel room. Feeling somewhat refreshed by her nap, Lena opened the door, and was greeted by three maids in simple gray dresses.
"May I be of help?" Lena asked.
"Are you the guest of Herr Wolfenbarger?" the oldest-looking one asked. Lena nodded.
"Yes, but he is not here right now," Lena replied. The speaker smiled slightly, and then bowed. The gesture made Lena feel very uncomfortable.
"We've been sent to dress you for this evening. May we come in?" she asked.
"Of course. Please," Lena said, opening the door.
The three women seemed to be everywhere at once, as they unfolded the packages in their hands and rearranged some of the furniture in the room. It was all very overwhelming.
"Is there anything I can do?" Lena called, feeling oddly useless.
"No, Fräulein. We are here to serve you. If you would please step here, we can begin," the woman said.
Lena shivered as the women removed her sleepwear and pulled on her undergarments. She felt odd that these women were seeing her naked, and they didn't even know her name. She felt especially odd being served by these women. She wasn't a noblewoman of any kind.
"Frau Eichmann had these gowns delivered for you. Is there any one in particular that you wish to wear this evening?" the woman asked.
Lena marveled at the beautiful clothing that had been draped on the hotel furniture. The colors were beautiful, the fabrics rich, and the needlework exquisite. Lena had never been surrounded by so many beautiful things.
A lovely blue dress caught her eye. It was made of a very fine silk that was dyed a pale aqua, almost silver, with dark blue velvet trimmings along the skirt and bust. The layers of the skirt were asymmetrical, cutting and flowing in lovely curves that reminded Lena of sea waves.
"This one is beautiful," Lena said.
The women continued dressing her silently, and Lena began wishing for the friendly conversation of Helga Eichmann.
Once the gown was on, the women styled her hair high above her head, and applied rouge to her cheeks and lips. They slipped on a pair of matching heeled slippers, and quickly departed before Lena was able to give them a proper thank-you.
Lena sat nervously alone in the hotel suite, wondering what she was supposed to do now. Another knock on the door startled her, and she stood up too quickly, nearly falling over.
She regained her balance and took small steps towards the door, and this time, was greeted by an older man in a white jacket.
"Fräulein Lena?" he asked. Lena nodded.
"That's me," she replied breathlessly, still getting used to the corset. He extended his arm to her.
"Herr Wolfenbarger is waiting for you downstairs. I will escort you," he said kindly.
Lena felt somewhat unnerved by the presence of servants, and she wondered if Renz himself had sent them.
The man led her downstairs, through the ornate lobby of the hotel. Strangers stared at her quizzically, but no longer with cruelty, and Lena found herself very grateful to Renz for providing her with clothes.
When she finally saw him, her heart stopped.
The last time Lena had seen Renz in white tie was that first night they spent together, the eve of Sterling's ball. The night he'd stolen her. And even though she'd feared for her life that night, she knew even then that formalwear suited Renz well.
But if it were possible, Renz looked even more dashing as he stood before her now.
"You look...very handsome," Lena said breathlessly. Renz's lips curled into an inviting, private smile.
"And you, sweet Lena, are a vision from God. May I take your hand?" Renz asked, slightly bowing towards her.
Lena tentatively placed her hand in his, and Renz pulled her close, and proudly walked outside to his coach.
"Where are we going? Another dinner?" Lena asked as she crawled into the carriage. Renz didn't speak until the door was closed and he was comfortably seated next to her.
"We'll eat a bit later tonight. There's something you need to see first," Renz said.
Lena observed him warily, nervous about what was in store for her that evening. Renz seemed far more vibrant than she had ever seen him, and that energy made him seem like a much younger man.
"Thank you for the gowns," Lena said softly. Renz's smile still hadn't left his face, and he lowered his eyes to her body possessively.
"You look...very tempting, Lena. I'll need to thank Helga again. That color suits you very nicely," Renz said.
His compliment made her blush, and Lena turned her head to the window, suddenly needing fresh air.
The coach stopped in a large square of sorts, surrounded by long, tall buildings with carved pediments and elegant columns. It was very busy with well-dressed people, and Lena's heart raced as she tried to understand where she was.
She held onto Renz's arm as he confidently strolled up the staircase to one particularly well-lit structure. Gloved gentlemen opened the doors wordlessly, and Lena marveled at the beautiful interior.
"Where are we?" Lena asked eventually. The large room was surrounded by paintings of people, mostly women, in some of the most unique dress Lena had ever seen. It almost looked like a gallery of some kind.
Lena looked up at Renz expectantly, and her cheeks flushed at the sight of his confident smile.
"Welcome to the Royal Opera House," Renz said.
Once the music started, Lena was immediately enraptured by the performance. She leaned close to the edge of the balcony of the Wolfenbarger box, and felt as if her eyes and ears weren't big enough to perceive everything that the opera had to offer. For it really was a full sensory experience, and Lena didn't want to miss a single moment of it.
She was blissfully unaware of Renz as she watched and listened, enjoying the visceral sensations the orchestra and the vocalists stirred in her chest. Lena's heart ached with emotion when the featured tenor powerfully sung of his fear of losing the object of his desire in the first act. Lena shivered when a ghost-like character sung warnings in the second act. And by the third act, Lena was in tears.
Suddenly feeling overcome with emotion, Lena momentarily looked away from the stage. She turned towards Renz, and was surprised to find that he was staring at her.
It was a brand new look that he'd never before given to her. Lena thought she might have seen something similar in Erich, and possibly even Gregory, but this look was much more powerful and direct. His eyes were gentle and focused at the same time, centered on her face, unblinking. His mouth was curved into a slight smile, his lips slightly parted invitingly. Renz had never appeared more attractive to her.
His powerful gaze empowered her, for he had the expression of a man in sheer awe. And in that moment, Lena felt like she was the most beautiful and sophisticated woman in the world, capable of incredible feats. It didn't matter that she was just a young, too thin, former maid with no social standing. Just from his stare, Lena felt like a goddess.
It was then that Lena realized that her perception of Renz had drastically changed. Despite everything he'd done, and despite all of her efforts to protect herself, Renz had still managed to find a way to sneak into her heart.
"Aren't you enjoying the opera, Lena?" Renz whispered. Lena smiled slightly and moved her gaze back to the stage. But she still felt Renz's eyes on her. And for the first time, she fully welcomed his stare.
Renz hated opera. It was shrill and far too dramatic for his taste, but once Lena had mentioned her love of music, Renz's knew he had to take her to that evening's performance of Der Freischütz.
Renz watched Lena as she watched the opera, and he found himself utterly enamored by her excitement and enthusiasm. He watched as varying emotional reactions to the performance played across her face, and Renz was completely fascinated by her.
He knew that Lena didn't know he was watching her, because she was just so uninhibited and expressive. She wasn't that crying, petrified girl that shivered whenever he came near. She was a happy, relaxed, carefree woman, simply enjoying an evening at the opera.
Hearing Lena say the servant's name had changed something within him. His first reaction had been an overwhelming sense of anger and jealousy, but once he'd confronted Erich, quite aggressively, and confirmed with some basal sense of satisfaction that the servant hadn't touched his most prized possession, Renz realized he couldn't think of Lena as a possession at all anymore.
She was a woman, slowly becoming more aware of her burgeoning sexuality, as well as her effect on men. It was only natural for her to experience attraction to the first non-threatening man, close to her age, that she saw.
And because Lena still feared him, Renz knew he was at risk of losing her.
So he'd tried to keep her in the only way he knew how. He'd given her jewelry, brought her to Berlin, and arranged for her to stay in the penthouse of the finest hotel. He had outfitted her with a full, very expensive wardrobe. All things that the servant could never do for her. And while Lena had seemed moderately impressed, Renz still didn't feel like he had her fully in his grasp.
That was until she'd touched his scars. The entire experience had been a terrifying one, but also astoundingly intimate. Renz usually avoided speaking about his father, and rarely revisited the memory of violent Johann, the man who would beat him until he drew blood, all in the hopes of grooming his son into a strong, fearless Wolfenbarger.
But almost as if he'd been possessed, Renz shared more with Lena in those few minutes than he'd shared with any other person in his life. And once he'd shared, he was filled with an overwhelming sense of relief and closeness. So he'd shared more.
He'd told her about Ilise, the one person who had hurt him more than any other. Renz knew he wasn't a good husband for her, for the lovely Ilise had always made sure she kept herself out of his reach. He'd thought that with a baby, they would have a real, fair chance at being a proper couple.
And Ilise had indulged his hopes. She'd accepted his doting ways, his boyish exuberance and impatience for the baby to arrive. She'd shared dreams and names for the child that they'd created together. She'd waited until Renz was overwhelmed with love for the baby to take the child away from him.
Renz thought his world had ended when he held the wrinkly, bloody bundle of quashed possibility, smaller than the size of his hand. Ilise had inflicted the most perfect punishment.
But Lena had surprised him with her reaction, and therein was the major paradigm shift in his attraction to her. Lena had reacted with a depth of compassion and sensitivity far beyond her eighteen years, and far beyond what he deserved.
Renz watched as gentle tears began to travel down Lena's cheeks as she watched the opera, and suddenly, she turned her head away, and locked her eyes on his.
Renz was completely trapped by her bright blue, teary gaze. In all of her youth and beauty and innocence, Renz took the time to truly admire Lena for the exquisite, warm-hearted creature that she was.
Renz knew Lena was naturally submissive, naturally quiet and shy and sweet. That's what made him initially want her, that exceptionally beautiful maid in that frilly little maid uniform. She was the perfect antithesis to his natural need for dominance and control.
But as he stared at her in that moment, Renz realized that her submissiveness didn't make her weak at all. By contrast, her submissive innocence was the very thing that gave her power...power over him. Renz was so attracted to her, so determined to keep her safe, that he knew that there was nothing she could ask him that he would deny. He could think of nothing more fulfilling than spending the rest of his life indulging her, and trying to make her happy. Renz wasn't sure if it was calculated or inadvertent, but Lena had somehow managed to completely capture his heart, and fill it with feelings he didn't even realize existed.
"Aren't you enjoying the opera, Lena?" he whispered eventually. He watched her as pink blush began to spread across her cheeks, and she lowered her head shyly with that nervous smile he adored.
She looked back at the stage, but her spine was a bit more rigid now. She was aware of his staring.
Not wanting to see a frightened Lena again, Renz decided to dedicate his attention to the Finale of the opera.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" he called from their suite's living room.
Lena had been very quiet all throughout their late dinner, and was completely silent on the coach ride back to the hotel. She had refused to look at him, and had kept her body coolly distanced from his. He couldn't tell if she was just tired, or if something was seriously wrong.
When she didn't answer, Renz stormed into the bedroom, patience officially lost, and irritation officially gained. He was determined to find out why Lena had, once again, decided to hide herself from him. Hadn't he proven himself worthy of her trust yet?
When he finally caught sight of her, all of his thoughts were momentarily lost.
Lena had casually draped one of the sheets over her body, but he could tell she was completely nude underneath. Her long, silky brown hair cascaded in lovely loose waves across her shoulders, and Renz felt himself begin to harden at the sight of the naïve seductress on the large bed.
He brought his eyes to her face, and he could tell that his little Lena was nervous. Her cheeks were pink with blush, and she was nibbling insistently on her lower lip. But she kept her wide blue eyes fixed on his, and Renz admired her confidence.
"You look delectable, Lena," he said once he recovered his wits, beginning to deliberately stalk towards her.
She surprised him when she slowly scooted towards him on her knees, and let the sheet fall from her body with a soft gasp.
His eyes trailed over her body hungrily, and Renz became acutely aware of his physiological reactions to her nakedness. His vision sharpened, his heart began to race, and his breathing increased impressively. He could feel the blood rapidly rushing through his body, hardening and swelling that part of him that throbbed to be inside of her.
She looked much healthier, healthier than he'd ever seen her, and Renz felt his desire surge to unimaginable heights. Her small, pert breasts were full and round, and her slightly hardening pink nipples seemed to stare at him, almost demanding his attention. Her tiny waist was no longer harshly angled by sharply protruding ribs. Instead, the appearance of her ribs was much softer, and her waist was a lovely small curve.
As much as Renz enjoyed the sight of Lena in her new clothes, he realized that he didn't really care for corsets. Lena's body was lovely just as it was, her waist already small, and he didn't want it contorted by whalebone any longer.
"You've been...very kind to me, for the last two days, sir. I know I'll never have enough to repay you, but...I'd like to thank you," she said softly.
Renz looked up at Lena again, at her sweet, still nervous face, and he found himself oddly touched by her risk.