"I can't do it! I can't do it! I CAN'T!" Mrs. Lovett shrieked hysterically.
It was another evening after a long day and an even longer night filled with work was in sight.
The baker had been living like this for months. She was a strong woman but even she couldn't stand living like this for such a long time.
"Mum, are you alright?" Toby asked carefully.
"No, I'm NOT!" she screamed in frustration, jumping from the couch on which she had just fallen down.
"Can I help you to…"
"No, you CAN'T!" she yelled.
"I said NO!"
To make the statement clearer, she grasped the first object she saw and two seconds later Toby had to hide behind another couch to avoid the vase which was coming in his direction at great speed.
Mrs. Lovett regretted doing so thoroughly even before the vase had spattered in a thousand pieces against the wall, leaving water all over that part of her parlor, making her living room an even bigger mess.
"I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have…"
It was too late: Toby fled from the room. The baker yelled again in frustration before she collapsed on the couch once more, crying.
"Mrs. Lovett, what's wrong with…"
"GET AWAY!" she screamed before the person had even finished speaking. "Toby you're a sweet boy but please leave me alone now!"
However, someone entered the room anyway.
Feeling there was only one way to stop her adoptive son from seeing her in this weak state, Mrs. Lovett picked up another vase and stretched her arm to aim.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," someone snarled.
Mrs. Lovett's heart skipped a beat when she recognized the voice – not Toby, but Sweeney Todd was in her room.
"Mr. T… I'm so sorry. I thought you were…"
Before he let her finish speaking, he reached for the vase in her hand. She refused to let go and as they struggled the content of the vase spilled over body. Her clothes were soaked within a second and the flowers covered her shoulders and chest.
"Oh no," she cried, letting go off the vase and completely breaking down now. "Mr. Todd, what did you do?!"
Mrs. Lovett felt Sweeney's blaming eyes on her, which caused her to start sobbing in a heartbreaking way. However, his expression softened when he saw that she was truly desperate.
To her surprise, he sat down next to her and removed the flowers from her body, tossing them away nonchalantly.
"Now, Mrs. Lovett, tell me what's the problem."
It took her a few seconds to realize that he had asked her a question and even more time to find the strength to answer.
"It's just everything," she finally said, trying to stop the tears from falling from her eyes. "It's just too much. I sleep for four hours a night, five if I'm lucky… I'm so tired and then there's all the blood, all the corpses… I can't stand it anymore."
She continued sobbing, hiding her head in her hands.
"You just need to sleep more," he said after a few seconds of consideration. "I'm sure that Toby can run the shop on his own when there aren't many customers, so you can sleep for a while."
Mrs. Lovett nodded, but she didn't reply because sleep wasn't the answer for her trouble. The real reason for her problems was not the long hours of work each day, not all the gore she was confronted with daily, but the lack love. There was only one thing she needed, only one thing she truly wanted: the love of the emotionless shell of a man who was standing in front of her right now. But she didn't tell him, knowing that putting her feelings in words would only make things worse.
"And perhaps… if you need my help, I'm sure that I can help you with some things at night, when the Judge won't come."
"Thank you, Mr. T," she said, a watery smile appearing on her face again. "You've got no idea how much I appreciate that."
"I need to thank you," the barber said quietly. "You're kind to me and you give me help to kill the Judge. I'll be in your debt forever."
He offered her his hand. Mrs. Lovett was completely surprised by this sign of kindness and she looked into the barber's eyes, which were less cold and dead than usual, hoping to find out his intentions. His face was unreadable, as always, but the baker took Sweeney's hand anyway.
He pulled her up, closer to him, and a few seconds later she found herself in the barber's embrace.
He patted her back clumsily, but to Mrs. Lovett it was the most wonderful sign of affection she had ever received.
The barber rocked her gently to comfort her and the baker closed her eyes, desperate to savor every detail of this extremely blissful moment.
"Thank you," he whispered in her ear.
She held Mr. Todd tightly and both of them were lost in the hug for a few seconds. Then Sweeney gently removed himself from her embrace.
"Let me know if you need any help," was all he said before he walked away.
Mrs. Lovett was thoroughly disappointment for a few seconds because of this, but then she smiled brightly. She began cleaning the parlor with as much energy as ever, something she had thought to be impossible only five minutes ago.
The remedy to her temporary depression was easy. To her, Sweeney's attention meant more than a hundred hours of sleep and the fact that he had been so kind, gave her all the energy and strength she needed to make it through another endless night.