There were only two bedrooms in the building. Mrs. Lovett could still remember that first night; she had been just about to blow her candle out when Mr. Todd had come bursting in, his face even paler than usual.
"What is it love?" she had asked, in a tone that couldn't decide whether it was hopeful or concerned.
The hope was quickly dashed. "Don't get any ideas, Mrs. Lovett," Todd growled, sitting heavily on the edge of the bed. He put his head in his hands and began to tremble violently.
"Mr. T?" She was really alarmed now.
"I can't sleep in there," came the half-strangled whisper. "I can't sleep in there--"
Her face softened as comprehension dawned. She got up and sat beside him, placing an arm around his shoulder, thumb tracing small soothing circles at the base of his neck. He shuddered at the initial contact, but then relaxed, exhausted. "Hush, love," she crooned, and kissed him once, on the top of his head. Then she guided him into the bed, making sure he was warm and easing his head onto a pillow. She stroked his arm until he stopped shivering and fell asleep.
After that he never let her touch him except when he woke from nightmares, drenched in sweat and crying out for vengeance, or Lucy. Then she would lean her head on his great chest, and squeeze his hand and whisper to him about sunshine and the sea and places where there weren't any ghosts.
Mrs. Lovett had nightmares too. Nightmares from her childhood, ghastly visions of the orphanage headmaster looming from the shadows and swinging his cane. And other nightmares, more terrible, of dreadful things happening to Mr. Todd or to Toby. Mostly, though, she dreamed of beggar women, their wretched faces leering from every street corner.
When Mrs. Lovett woke from these dreams, whimpering and shaking, she sometimes fancied she could feel the barber's rough hand on her cheek, or hear him murmuring comforting things in her ear, stroking her back as one would a child. Then she would sigh contentedly and the shadows would dissipate and her breathing would grow even again. Once, she thought he may even have kissed her, so lightly she had immediately doubted whether she had felt anything at all.
In the morning, though, she could never be sure that she hadn't been dreaming.