She didn't even hear him coming. One minute, Nellie Lovett was walking down the street, her pie shop appearing in to view and the thought of a cup of tea to take away away the winter chill on her mind, and the next she felt a thick arm wrap around her neck and felt the cool metal blade of a knife being pressed to her throat. She gasped.
"Empty your pockets," A gruff, strangers voice sounded right by her ear. Trembling, Mrs Lovett began to pat her dress, hoping to feel the lump that was her purse. Her fingers brushed only over flat cotton, her heart sank.
"I'm sorry, I have nothing to give you," She said finally.
The stranger clutched at a handful of her dark curls and threw Mrs Lovett to the ground. She didn't get a chance to see her attackers face as her head hit the pavement with a sickening crack and she was certain that she could feel blood trickling from somewhere. The sky above her was pitch black, the street around her empty. Nobody was out at this time of night. There was nobody around to save her. Closing her eyes against the pain, Mrs Lovett felt the stranger descending upon her again, but then footsteps echoed from somewhere a few yards away.
"Get off her!" A familiar voice yelled, but she was too out of it to place a name to the voice. She shut herself off from the situation completely, trying to ignore the pain that seared through her head...
When she finally came round she could feel strong arms wrapped around her body, somebody was carrying her. She kept her eyes closed and allowed herself to relax, sure that her ordeal was now over. She heard the tinkle of a shop bell - her shop bell, she realised - and then thudding footsteps as somebody carried her up the stairs. A door opened, there was a pause, and then she felt the softness of her bed.
"Please wake up," A voice whispered.
She knew the voice this time. It was him.
Benjamin Barker. Or, as he liked to be called now, Mr Todd.
A warmth of joy spread over her as she came to the realisation that he had ran out to save her. He had fought a knife wielding stranger for her! And now, judging by the tone of his voice, Mr Todd was worried about her. She was going to enjoy this. She was going to milk it for all it was worth.
Mrs Lovett didn't move at first, she wanted to make sure he'd stay with her. After a few minutes, sure that he was still by her side, she began to stir. Stretching her arms and moaning, she fluttered her eyes open.
"You're alive," Mr Todd cried. Mrs Lovett had great pleasure in seeing that he looked paler than usual, if such a thing were possible, crouching right by her bed.
"You saved me," She croaked, feigning weakness, "You're my hero, Mr T!"
He snapped out of his anxious demeanour immediately. "Anyone would have done it," He mumbled, his voice now slightly angry, "Besides, if you went, where would I go?"
And, without another word or look at his landlady, Sweeney stormed from the room. Mrs Lovett remained lay on her bed, a smile playing on her lips.
"He loves me really," She muttered to herself.