When Albert told me knew neighbors would be moving in, I suspected they'd be much like the ones before. A man and his wife, trying to start a life. Building off the man's tailoring career, constantly fighting, and eventually going bankrupt. At least that was the one before them.
They moved in on August 28. Albert took the man straight upstairs, without introducing him to me. The man's wife wandered into my shop though, letting the men chat. She introduced herself as Lucy Barker. She had porcelain skin and golden hair which fell in locks down her back. She was petite, standing a few inches below me. She had crystal eyes which danced when she laughed and a smile that could light up a dark room. In simple words, she was gorgeous.
Her husband, Benjamin, was even more beautiful than she was. He was tall, and thin. He had fair skin and amazing chocolate eyes. And when he looked at Lucy... I'd never seen a man more handsome. You could tell he loved her. And I would've given anything to have him look at me that way.
After a few weeks, it'd been like they'd been living there forever. I'd became good friends with both Lucy and Benjamin. They had only been married a few months when they moved in. Benjamin was a barber; the best I'd ever seen. Lucy mostly kept to herself, staying upstairs unless she needed something. Benjamin would often invite me and Albert up for dinner, which was Lucy's specialty. She was an amazing cook. Albert was especially a fan of her food.
One evening, Lucy had asked Benjamin to go pick up some things at the store. He was unsure where to get some of the items, so I was asked to accompany him. Which I gladly agreed to do.
I purposely took Benjamin the longest way possible to the market, claiming there was too many people at that time of day in one area of town. I had him to myself for almost 3 hours that night. We picked up Lucy's items and I did a bit of shopping for myself. Me and Benjamin walked arm in arm back home, laughing about a man who was running around, yelling like a madman. When we arrived home, Lucy was waiting for Benjamin on the staircase.
"Where were you?" She asked Benjamin.
"We were at the market, getting the things you asked for, Lucy." Benjamin replied, giving her a charming smile that made my heart melt.
"I expected you back an hour ago." She said.
"I'm sorry I worried you, my darling." He kissed her forehead and turned back to me. "Thank you for your help, Mrs. Lovett." I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. The charm he looked at Lucy with stuck on his face as he looked at me and my breathing became shallow. I simply nodded. He smiled and grasped Lucy's hand, leading her upstairs.
I rushed into my own home and leaned on the counter for support. Once my breath regulated I walked into the parlor to see Albert sitting in his favorite chair.
"Where've you been?" He grunted.
"I was helping Mr. Barker do some shopping." I replied calmly.
"I've been waiting for dinner." He said. I sighed and retreated to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
I heard soft footsteps upstairs and wondered what they were doing. I imagined her standing in their small kitchen, preparing a meal, while he stood at his vanity mirror, sharpening his razors. I imagined how he looked at her, and I imagined he was looking at me. I pretended for a moment that I was the one he loved and I was the one he would hold onto. Lucy took advantage of his love. He deserved so much better than her. And that's when I officially realized it.
I was in love with Benjamin Barker.