.:. Curtain Call .:.
The shop was busy now, with greedy customers coming and going, banging the door open in their haste for satisfaction. Fingers met flour and dough more than ever, and bodies hit their beds already asleep when it was finally time to rest. Mrs. Lovett loved watching her business boom, especially when she saw old Mrs. Mooney glaring at her window as she passed. Mrs. Lovett would only smile coyly and wave, peering at her competition contemptuously as the noticeably poorer woman disappeared around the corner.
However, there were a few times, rare moments of peace where Toby would borrow a bottle of gin and disappear into his room, and Mrs. Lovett would rest on one of the chairs inside. Having minutes with nothing to do was a blessing now that it came so rarely, and the tired woman would rest her chin on her hands and gaze out onto the street with a trespassing eye. She observed all types of people out in that square, well-to-do's in fancy dress and hard working men returning home to their wives with cheerful whistles. Sometimes it made her smile, but it usually made her heart ache.
Yet, there was one person Mrs. Lovett loved to see most of all.
Ah, there she was!
Mrs. Lovett would lean closer to the window, almost with her nose against the glass like a child in a candy shop. Her dark eyes would narrow on that crumbled figure, that tattered dress, those wretched hands begging for money from uncaring passersby. The image always made her smile.
Oh Lucy Barker, how far from heaven you have fallen.
She'd watch the mad woman cringe at the loud noises of the streets, disappearing into her alleys and dirty passageways where few were desperate enough to tread. Fleas and mites were her bedmates now, as well as the only loyal friends she had.
But what Mrs. Lovett adored most of all, what caused that sinister gleam in her glittering pools, was her hair.
It had been such golden, yellow hair, a shade somewhere around cornflower blonde. So pale, so angelic...it was what Benjamin had loved most about his wife. He adored everything about her of course, but that hair... It always set his eyes aglow with delight, and his hands itched to run through it with insatiable desire.
And now...this thought always caused Mrs. Lovett to giggle unbecomingly, even though she didn't care since there was to hear her. Now that hair, that precious hair, was filthy and greasy, fouled to the most horrendous gray shade. It was pitiful. Lucy looked less like an angel and more like a devil now, and Mrs. Lovett always found it so fitting.
To be honest, she had never liked the woman. When she'd first met her, shaking her hand as the new, promising couple moved upstairs, she had seemed too bright, too perfect. Lucy was a doll, beautiful on the outside but fragile and easy broken with little will of her own. Now Mrs. Lovett was the complete opposite. Her appearance was darker and less attractive than most, with pale but pasty skin and bruised bags under her eyes (Lucy Barker would have them too if she worked an honest day's labor). Her will, on the other hand, was strong and admirable, and that was where the two diverged.
Mrs. Lovett had found herself despising the delicate creature exponentially as time passed, her thoughts toward her twisted into something bitter and acrid. The jealousy poisoned her veins with the strength of thousands of vipers sinking their fangs into her vulnerable flesh. Her shadowed glances would shift from handsome Benjamin Barker, who she secretly adored, and then to her own pudgy mountain of a husband, Albert. She was fond of him true, but it wasn't the loving marriage she dreamed of. That fantasy was right above her head, playing above her like a ballet; only she had feet of clay.
She couldn't hate Benjamin Barker. Sweet Benjamin, with his smiles of greeting and chaste kisses on the cheek whenever she popped inside to grace him with one of her pies. Darling Benjamin, with his open honest face and those warm brown eyes that caused her to melt.
No, she couldn't hate her Benjamin.
So, she hated Lucy instead. Greedy Lucy, who had stolen such a perfect, endearing man before the deserving could meet him and shake his hand. Needy Lucy, who had not a brain in her head but seduced her husband with a dazzling smile and silky dresses.
Yes, she could hate his Lucy.
And it was here where the smallest seed of guilt would plant itself in her stomach, the thin tendrils slinking around her insides and twisting around, strangling her near death. It was very easy, though, to wilt these tedious weeds of woe, and soon enough they would crumble and fade. Mrs. Lovett had no use for guilt, especially when the very actions she felt guilty for had led her to the happiest time of her life.
So what if she had been a little unsympathetic when Lucy had burst through the door, soiled and trashed beyond recognition and screaming at the top of her lungs in her agony? Was it so horrible that she only watched the woman's terror? After all, the show was quite frightening, and she had every right to be apprehensive about the half-crazed girl. It was only natural for her to recoil instead of to assist, and honestly, who would have followed a raving ghoul into London's crowded streets at such a hectic hour?
As Mrs. Lovett would watch through the window, her hands would twist around themselves like fretful animals. Her already large eyes would widen a little more, almost an unnoticeable change, and she would stay fixated on the ragged figure that huddled across the street in pain and discomfort.
Here was when she would remember everything so clearly. Lucy had returned after only about an hour, a vile clutched in her ghostly, shaking hands as she stumbled inside of Mrs. Lovett's kitchen. She herself had been taking some fresh pies out of the oven, but she almost dropped the tray in shock at the other's desperate but resigned features. One meat pie had slid off when she tilted the metal too late to catch it. It hit the floor without a sound, the thin crust cracking sorrowfully as the filling spilled out in a disgraceful pool.
"Now Lucy dear," she had said, setting down the tray carefully before stepping around the counter cautiously. She could see the flickers of uncertainty beneath the woman's eyes, and an air of something horrid radiated around her. "What 'ave you got there?"
Lucy had been silent then, her iridescent eyes full of the darkest turmoil and grief. Mrs. Lovett had reasoned it all out in her head, torn between what was right and what would fulfill her shameful dreams. Lucy decided for her, downing the poison before Mrs. Lovett could let out more than a shocked gasp.
Things went downhill for the broken girl after that. Mrs. Lovett had been kind enough to drop her almost lifeless form on her bed upstairs, returning downstairs to work since being in the same room with that feverish body made her sick. When she had closed up the shop and returned to check up on Lucy, she had to admit she was pleased with what she found.
Once intelligent, playful eyes were empty and clouded with madness, while her skin, which had always been oh so favorable and pale, was now a sickly, gaunt gray. The image was horrifying, but Mrs. Lovett found herself joyous as she slunk back down the stairs. Somehow, word of what happened spread, and men came for Lucy before a day had passed.
"What's going on here?" she had questioned, wiping her flour-coated hands on an apron before approaching one of the few stately men dragging the shrieking Lucy outside. He tipped his hat to her politely, smiling in a sinister way.
"We'll be taking her to bedlam," the man replied with detachment, shifting his slate eyes on Mrs. Lovett. "It's too bad when these things happen." Mrs. Lovett nodded faintly, her voice a soft murmur compared to its usual volume.
"It's a pity, the poor dear."
With that, Lucy was gone, and Mrs. Lovett couldn't have planned things better if she had staged it all herself. Her husband Albert died soon after, gorging himself to death on her meat pies and whatever else they could afford. He was buried a few days after his death, as it took some time to find a box large enough for him.
Everything had played out beautifully. Lucy was gone, banished to some insane asylum to live in solitude until she rotted to naught, and her husband was sleeping soundly in his grave. Mrs. Lovett was a free woman, and so she spend her days dreaming, watching her sales sink as prices rose. Years passed, the pallor of her face growing more pronounced, her eyes beginning to bulge from the skin as if her head were nothing but a skull. But every morning she would smooth down her increasingly battered dress before she began her labor, hoping one day a certain very special man would step through those doors.
A few years after, everything was still the same. Mrs. Lovett had run out for fresh meat for her pies, only having enough to afford the worst cut of the bunch. Holding her prize to her chest securely, knowing some ragamuffin would try to snatch it, she heard the pitiful cries of some poor old woman begging for some spare change. Shaking her head at the antics, she made to cross her street when she felt a sharp tug on her dress. Glimpsing down in annoyance, she found herself staring into familiar eyes.
Pulling away and ignoring the hand reaching out in her direction in pleading, Mrs. Lovett dashed across into her shop briskly, slamming and locking the door behind her. After dropping her package on the counter, she drew back the curtains on the window and peered out, watching the homeless wretch in her squalid attire. At first she had been horrified, but soon a grin bubbled poisonously on her lips.
She never knew how Lucy had gotten back onto the streets, and she didn't mind much.
Mrs. Lovett soon looked forward to her daily shows.
After remembering all this, running it through her mind rapidly, Mrs. Lovett would pull back from the window and glance around, hearing Toby's soft snoring or mumbling from the other room. The sound relaxed her somewhat before she turned back to the outside again, but it was now that she met those eyes again.
Those unfocused but wise eyes…
They would sometimes stare at the shop for brief seconds or long minutes, the ragged figure shifting back and forth from foot to foot. Mrs. Lovett would swear that for a moment, Lucy remembered, but the sanity must've slipped through her fingers because it was only a little while until she was on her way, finding a new street to beg on the corner.
These moments always drove Mrs. Lovett's cruel fires of satisfaction into cold, fearful frosts. Lucy, her enemy, her competitor, was still alive and walking the streets instead of being securely locked up. There was always the change of Mr. Todd catching a glimpse of her in recognition, even though he believed her dead. If he saw her in just the right light, or if one yellow tendril of hair slipped from underneath her putrid cap…
The thought made Mrs. Lovett almost faint from the worry that devoured her heart and mind, but she would always push it away and laugh feebly. Mr. Todd thought his wife was dead, the fault of his own musings. He barely left the shop, and she kept that woman from entering, so there was no way he would ever see her, much less recognize the angel she had been. She was his only angel now, even if she didn't have the golden hair and porcelain skin.
With these thoughts fresh on her mind, Mrs. Lovett would grab a clean pie, dropping it off for Toby before heading toward the stairs to answer the calling from above.
It was her turn to play the part of the happy wife, and now it was Lucy who was trapped on the other side.
Act II - Enter Mrs. Lovett.
Author's Note: Well I hope you liked it. I'm a little too obsessed with this movie lately. I think my friends are getting annoyed at me : (. Alright well, I'm not sure if Mrs. Lovett is this cruel, or if it is actually written how any of these events occurred (if they did…oops?). I do attach jealously, hatred, and fear to Mrs. Lovett regarding Lucy, especially with the way she looks in the movie the second time she tells Toby to throw the old woman out. Maybe I'm interpreting her wrong. If so I do apologize. I just had to write some more, even though it's not much.
Please do tell me what you think in a review, if you don't mind. It would be very nice. ; )