A Thousand Cranes-byimpeterpan|
William stormed through the kitchen as all the maids scurried out of his way. He was livid, his hair blowing upwards and his cloak bellowing behind him from the force of the wind and his stride. He took loud, concrete steps as he approached the peculiar maid that had irritated him from the day she arrived.
"You," he snarled, "come with me."
He held himself still as Lena refused to look up. She continued teaching one of the younger maids, a tiny girl of twelve, how to fold those strange paper contraptions the house had become so fond of. "It's a paper crane," she had said, "legend has it that if you fold a thousand of them, you will get one wish." He remembered watching the light in her eyes die as he asked her what she wished for. Even after a load of threatening, she wouldn't tell him. So he crumpled the crane in his fist and threw her out of the study.
His tone was dark, and full of warning for a man his age. Or a boy, Lena thought as she remembered that he had just turned twenty-one. He was only a boy to her, and yet in the months she had been here, he was already slowly filling out into the man she had known. Except, she thought sorrowfully, deep inside, he was nothing close to the man she had known. No, this boy was a monster, and was growing into a beast.
"I'm busy," she replied quietly, not looking once at him. "If you need something done, ask Annabelle. She is your servant."
William clenched his fist, knowing full well that she did not have to obey him. He had his chance to own her, and he passed it along simply because he hated the way she looked at him. It annoyed every fiber of his being. He had always hated peppy smiling maids. He found them ignorant as if they were unaware of her position as a maid. Worst of all, it was like Lena had reserved all her happiness for him. Whenever he looked at her, her gaze was filled with so much... joy and something else - something softer - that he immediately turned around and walked the other way. But that all changed after he deliberately had her watch him fuck Annabelle.
She stopped smiling in front of him. Whenever they were about to cross paths, she was the first one to run the other way. And it went on for weeks, not a single smile on her face, not a sound of laughter, until he came back from his morning ride and unsaddled the horse when he heard her voice, along with the stable hand's.
"You don't make me any cranes anymore, Lena."
William hid in the stall, stifling his snort. Of course she had made cranes for everyone. But then there was a nagging feeling. He felt a little jilted that he wasn't the only one she had been making them for.
"There's no reason to."
"Don't you want a wish?"
Lena let out a sigh. "I had hopes for a certain... outcome, but I'm starting to think that wish has already come and gone. And that I'm just here to make sure it'll happen in the future."
"You're not making any sense, Lena."
"When do I ever, Charlie?"
William peeked from behind the stall just as Charlie lifted his hand to brush a lock of hair away from Lena's face. "Lena," he heard Charlie whisper, "You've made everyone around you so happy. I hate to see you so sad. Whatever it is that's making you hurt, it's not worth it."
At that Lena burst into tears. "It is, Charlie. It is to me. Or it was."
William watched as Charlie cupped her cheek in his palm and drew her closer in for a kiss. Their lips touched, gently at first, and then with a more renewed passion as Lena lifted her arms to wrap around his neck. Watching Lena kiss Charlie with her eyes closed, William felt a sudden burst of anger. His knuckles turned white as he tore himself away from watching them.
There was a light laughter, like a soft rainfall, from Lena.
"I can wait for you," Charlie said.
"No, I'm not worth it. I won't be here for much longer."
William frowned at those words. He waited until their footsteps faded before leaving the stables, but those reassured words, that Lena had said with such certainty bothered him well throughout the day. Even when he had Annabelle sent to his room, he was unable to concentrate on anything else.
That night was when he found himself storming in to the kitchen, realizing that he was demanding for her attention. The same attention he had lost ages ago.
Not wanting to explain himself in front of all the maids, William swept forward and grabbed Lena by the wrist. He knew she was delicate, but he hadn't known she was that tiny, her wrist fit between his thumb and pinky and she followed him as easily as a kite. "Let me go," she whined, twisting and squirming, only to have him tighten his grip.
They reached his study, the same room he had thrown her out of. The same room he made her serve tea and watch as he fitted himself between Annabelle's legs. He hadn't cared then if she watched or not, all that mattered were the tears streaming down her face as he climaxed into his servant. Lena was unable to keep the tears out of her eyes as she re-entered the room, remembering how he had made her clean up the mess every time he finished having sex.
"Let me go!" She finally wrenched her arm free. Rubbing the redness around her wrist, she eyed William with such a newfound hatred that it caused him to take a few steps back. "What do you want?"
William shook his head, regaining clarity.
Lena snorted and turned to walk towards the door. She had only taken a few steps when William stepped in her way. His tall frame was much bulkier than she remembered. He towered over her, his broad shoulders crowding her vision, as he made tiny steps forward, encroaching into her comfort zone until she found herself backed up against his desk. She tried to take one deep breath, but it ended up in a succession of pants before she finally got air.
"Are we waiting for Annabelle," she asked, unable to hide the pain in her voice.
This time William was well aware of it. "No," he replied. "It is just you tonight."
"What, did you get sick of her already?"
That caused Lena to snap. She tried to move around him but he trapped her between his arms. They were so close, and her rapid breath was hot against the base of his neck. Without thinking, William lowered himself down until he felt her pressed against him. She was shivering and he knew it wasn't from the cold. He waited until she stopped fighting, stopped thrashing about, although the trashing was insanely relieving when she moved right.
"I can't do this, my lord."
"William." He wanted her to look up at him. Those eyes, he thought, he wanted to see eyes that were happy to see him again.
She sighed, still looking at the ground. "What do you want from me, my lord," she replied, avoiding his name.
"Look at me." Very slowly she raised her eyes. Instead of the twinkle in her eye, William saw his own reflection in her glossy pupils. William carefully lowered himself, pinning her down to the desk with his hips, and used one hand to move her chin up. With her face fully turned towards him, he saw all the sadness and rejection she harbored for him. He thought of the way she looked at Charlie, and his fingers pushed down until they turned white. Lena did nothing about the pain.
"Am I done here."
The deadness in her voice made him bristle. "No. We are not done. You know what I hate more than ignorant bliss, Lena?" He didn't wait for her to respond. She already did by rolling her eyes. "Liars. I fucking hate liars more than completely blindsided retards," he spat. "And you are a liar."
She stiffened. "I never lied to you."
"Yes you did." His voice dipped low, and his face even lower. He made sure to place most of his weight on top of her, forcing her to lean back so that it was hard for her to breathe. And then he hissed in her ear, "You lied to me the moment you entered the manor. Every time you looked at me, every time your eyes accused me when I fucked Annabelle - every time you made one of those fucking paper cranes and left it on my desk."
"Wh-what did I lie about?"
"You know what you lied about."
Suddenly his hands were on her. Reaching down her blouse and pushing the cloths over her shoulders to reveal the pale flesh. They were soft to his touch, and William wasn't able to control himself. She was his, she had always been his first and his only, he thought, she had given herself to him the moment she walked into the manor. She really had, he remembered. She had offered to be his servant, and his servant only. Instead he chose Annabelle. And even then, she did the little things - start his morning fire, brought up his meals - to a point where Annabelle was more of a mistress than a servant.
He cupped her breast, watching her lips open up. He had a flash memory where Charlie was kissing them, and then a sharp gasp from Lena brought him back to earth. He was gripping onto her now, like she was about to disappear. "You aren't allowed in the stables anymore." He bent down to her neck and then kissed her collarbone. "You will serve me only."
"I am a household servant," Lena trembled. She struggled with her emotions. More than half of her loved him so fiercely that she would take whatever he offered, but the lesser half was more logical. It reasoned that the William she had loved was not the same William now. This one was so young and selfish. Even the way he trapped her now reeked of possession, like a two year old boy and his toy car.
"No," he kissed her lips quickly, "you were always mine."
He kept kissing her, trailing the kisses from her neck to her nose and to her forehead. He kissed all around her but her lips until he moved back and found time to look carefully at her face. She was older than his usual pick. He normally liked them young, sixteen, eighteen or so, but Lena was almost twenty-five, which was ancient to him.
She lifted her face up, and in that moment, William captured her lips in a tangled kiss. He coaxed her mouth to open, which was an easy feat considering how much of a fire she carried for him. As his tongue found a way past her lips, he suddenly felt a sharp pain and warm blood entered his mouth. She had bit him!
"I'm not yours anymore."
"Shit!" he cried, stepping back to wipe his lip. Lena used this chance to run away, but she didn't get far. In two steps, William pounced onto her and tackled her to the ground. Now she was underneath him and even more vulnerable. Heat pooled off his body as he wiggled himself in between her legs. His hand moved to remove her petticoat as he taunted, "What's that sing-song you taught the little girl? Oo, I remember. Liar, liar, pants on fire..."
"I never lied to you," Lena spoke up, her voice strong.
"Yes you did," he spat, biting her neck and then moving in to kiss her again. The picture of her and Charlie now replaced with images of her and all the other men in the manor, in town, from nearby villages. "You said you loved me, then a week later, you kissed another man. What kind of love lasts that long?"
Lena gasped as he began the familiar thrusting and fumbling. She wanted to fight it but... even while her mind was aware of the complications, her body recognized it all to much.
"Don't move," he said as he quickly got up and went to his desk. Lena closed and opened her eyes to his silhouette wielding a knife. In two quick movements, he opened up her dress, baring her naked like a butterfly in its cocoon. He threw the knife aside and laid on top of her again, as if he were afraid she would run. Beneath all his clothes, he felt his hard cock aching to be released, to at least be against her skin.
"It wasn't just a week." Lena tried to explain, but he hushed her as he pushed down his pants to free his throbbing member. Then he laid back down, letting out a sigh as it rested against her cunt. Lena held back a moan and tried to move away. The more she moved, the harder down he pressed. Lena tried to squeeze her legs together. "I didn't lie about loving you." She knew the entire story was far too complicated and he wouldn't have believed her anyway. She didn't believe him the first time around either.
William started to kiss her again, but his lips planted against her wet cheek and tasted the salt. Lena quickly pulled him in before he see her face. "You were the only one," she whispered into his ear.
He growled at her use of the past tense.
"I will always be your only one." Without warning, he pushed himself into her and held still when he heard her cry out. There had been no barrier, he realized, but the thought was fleeting as he felt Lena's muscles grip him tightly. He didn't move, he waited until Lena's arms tightened around him, and he felt her legs slowly widen and lift up. Her heels pressed into his lower back, forcing him to sink in deeper into her. Her moans trembled right into his ear.
He continued to hold still, waiting for Lena's cue, for her admittance that she still needed him. Still wanted him. Everything touching his cock was to painfully tight, and despite Lena wrapping herself around him, she did not move. She did not beg. She simply waited, content to be filled.
Unable to stand this game any longer, William shifted left and right, causing an itch inside Lena to start. He slowly rotated his hips, hitting dormant spots that had Lena squirming so they would be touched again. Then he made sure to let his weight rest above her pussy so that every time he moved, he would rub against her clit. And then he felt her move, rock her hips back and forth, until she begged him quietly, "Faster."
With her permission, he pounded in her. Lena's legs opened up even wider and her nails scratched down his back as she muttered encouragements in his ear. They were barely audible, but he understood exactly what she wanted from the way she sounded. She got wetter and wetter, making it easier and smoother for him to move faster, and then he felt the building begin, just as her pussy sucked him in as deep as he could go.
He felt a blinding wave crash over him and his eyes were forced to close. Lena was undulating beneath him, asking him to go harder, faster, harder until even she wasn't speaking in words anymore. As he came inside of her, he felt her come all around him, her arms, legs and body engulfed him in a way that no other woman ever had. She made him feel as if he was one with her.
Then he stilled. Lena's hand was on his cheek, and the way she looked at him was the same gaze he had been searching for, the look of love that he finally realized he had been missing ever since he forced her to clean up after his sexual encounters. It hadn't been just Annabelle. After Annabelle, there had been so many others, and now he was beginning to realize that he hated the way Lena's eyes faded each time after sex.
All of a sudden he heard her laugh. "This was sudden. I wonder what made you change your mind about me."
William kissed her forehead, unable explain his selfishness. He wasn't sure what he felt for her yet. He just knew that he just got her, and she made him feel satisfied in more than just a physical way. She made him tremble... at the thought of losing her, he realized as he recalled the conversation that had sparked this chase. "I will tell you eventually," he said, thumbing her lower lip, "as long as you promise not to leave."
Lena suddenly froze.
He did not want to hear it. He quickly shushed her with a kiss, working his lips until she opened her mouth again. With his free hand, he spread her legs and teased her clit until she squirmed, wet and ready for another round. He was still soft, so he made her come with his fingers, switching between plunging in and out of her and rolling her clit until she twitched uncontrollably. She came with a silent scream, his name as quiet as a heartbeat, causing him to devour her mouth again before she could say another word.
He did not know why, but he felt like this was the most perfect yet broken moment in the world. And he knew Lena felt it too. He knew Lena was hiding something, but every time he made a move to ask, she seemed to sense it, and would do something incredible to distract him. Eventually they were too tired to talk or move, and William made sure Lena was asleep first before he carried her back to his room.
On the bed, he sunk in around her, holding her as close to him as possible, not trusting himself to sleep until he felt her turn around and tuck herself under his chin. And then he heard her whisper, "You told me long time ago that it was when you wanted me to stay, I would finally leave," but told himself fervently that it was only a dream.
It had been four years since Lena disappeared. He had woken up that morning to find the bed cold and Lena nowhere to be found. He personally tore apart the maid's quarters, searching through her things, finding nothing but a bag barely filled with cranes and all her belongings. He nearly beat the life out of Charlie, even as the poor stable hand protested that he hadn't seen her, and if it weren't for Charlie's screams, the other servants would've never come down to stop him.
So he turned to drinking, smoking and gambling to fill the gap she had left. She said she loved him and then she left him! Why hadn't she stayed long enough to show him what love was - to let him grow to love her? He wasn't sure he could ever understand love now. Instead, he clung on to whatever she had left behind. Like the little girl, Sarah, that Lena had been mentoring. Sarah was now his personal servant, although he never touched her, he merely had her repeat the stories that Lena once told her.
In his spare time, when he was sober, he had Sarah teach him to make paper cranes. It took him several months to get it right, and even then when he relapsed into drinking, he would wake up, forgetting how to fold them again. But on a good night, he would be able to fold at least twenty of them, and it took him a good ridiculous four years, but four years later, he was finally folding his thousandth crane. Then he went to sleep, only wishing for one thing.
The next morning there was clanging and shaking, and Sarah's face appeared above him in a mixture of confusion, joy and panic.
"My lord," she gasped, "she's - she's - she's at the door!"
He jumped up. "Are you sure it's her?"
"Well, she looks younger, my lord. And her clothes are funny. But it's definitely her," Sarah said rapidly, "she has the same voice, the same eyes. I even asked her if she knew how to fold cranes, and she said yes!"
"Bring her to my study now."
William threw on his robe and rushed to the door before he stopped himself. No, he would make her wait just as she had made him wait for four years. He deliberately and painfully washed up, donned his best suit and paced himself to the study. When he got to the door, he closed his eyes, thinking of all the things he would say to her, of how she would finally feel in his arms again, of how he could finally learn to love someone who loved him. He opened his eyes again and pushed the doors open.
In the chair by the fire was the familiar chestnut colored hair, the pale hand and the face that turned around - William held himself together, unprepared for the sight. It was his Lena. It was most definitely her. But she looked incredibly young, less worn out than he remembered as if she had gone back in time. But what was missing was the look in her eyes, the look of love, was gone, replaced by complete confusion and fear. And she was wearing such form fitting clothes.
"Lena?" he asked, just to be sure.
"Wh-who are you?" she stuttered, biting her lip. "Where a-am I?"
He came closer to her but she drew back from the unfamiliar man who stared at her with such strange eyes. She didn't know this man and he was looking at her like he had known her all his life.