The following morning, Johanna, Mr. Todd, and I carried Albert's old chair up the flight of stairs to Mr. Todd's shop. It was quite the workout. Even with three of us the chair was immensely heavy. After we got the chair placed, Johanna excused herself and hurried off back downstairs, where Anthony would be meeting her soon. I lingered in Mr. Todd's shop, taking a rest in the chair.
"This was my poor Albert's chair." I said quietly. "Sit in it all day long he did." I looked at the slight tears and scratches in the arm rests. There was a picture I had in the parlor downstairs of Albert sitting in the chair with Johanna on the arm rest. It was Johanna's favorite of her and her father... Well... Her and Albert.
"Why hasn't the Beadle come?" Mr. Todd grumbled, interrupting my train of thought. I looked at him. "Before the week is out. That's what he said."
"Who says the weeks out?" I asked. "It's only Tuesday." What was this insane man going on about? He threw whatever it was that he was holding at the wall behind me, causing me to flinch slightly. He walked over to the broken mirror in the corner.
"Easy now, hush, love, hush." I sang, rising from my chair. "Don't distress yourself, what's your rush?" I walked up behind him and looked at his misshapen face the mirror. If it hadn't been for his temperamental state, it would've been almost amusing. Suddenly he turned and walked towards the opposite wall, looking out the window.
"I've been thinking flowers, maybe daises, to brighten up the room." I attempted to change the subject. "Don't you think some flowers, pretty daises, might relieve the gloom?" It didn't seem to be working. "Oh, wait. Love, wait." He flicked open his razor.
"The judge!" He whispered fiercely. "When'll I get to him?" He rushed out the door and looked over the railing on the stairs.
"Can't you think of nothing else?" I asked, walking up behind him. I took his shoulders and turned him around. "Common." I led him back into the shop. I led him over to his new chair and sat him down. I knelt next to him. "Don't you know, silly man? Half the fun is to plan the plan." I smiled a bit. He glanced at me, then continued his endless stare at the floor. He looked away from me and towards the window.
"All good things come to those who can wait." I stood, also looking out the window. "Gillyflowers maybe, instead of daises, I don't know though. What do you think?" He wasn't paying attention any longer. He was marveling at his razor. I sighed.
Suddenly we heard footsteps rushing up the stairs. Mr. Todd quickly jumped from the chair and stood pressed against the wall by the door. After a moment Anthony busted through the door, freezing when he saw me.
"Oh, excuse me, ma'am." He glanced sideways to see Mr. Todd, glaring at him. "I don't mean to interrupt." He said. "I'll come back later." He shut the door and left. I sighed again. Mr. Todd walked over to the window and peered out.
"Johanna likes him a lot." I said quietly. "he cares for her too. He gives her a lot of affection, he does." I turned to see Mr. Todd very focused on something outside. I walked over to him and looked down at the street, just in time to see Signor Pirelli and his young boy walking towards the shop.
"Hello. What's he doing here?" I asked. We looked at each other.
"Keep the boy downstairs." He said. I nodded and walked out the door. I met Pirelli and the boy at the bottom of the stairs.
"Signora. Is Mister Todd at home?" Pirelli asked, his Italian accent dripping off his tongue. I nodded.
"Right upstairs." I looked at the boy. "Aw. Look now. You wouldn't mind if I gave him a nice, juicy meat pie, would you?" He waved his hand dismissing my request. "Common, lad." I said, leading him into the shop. Johanna and Anthony were sitting at a booth in the corner talking quietly. I got a quick, confused look from Johanna about the boy, but she brushed it off and continued her conversation.
"Sit down, make yourself comfy." I said to the boy, who stood awkwardly in the middle of the shop. He quickly took off his hat and sat in the corner booth. I gave him a plate with a pie on it and he immediately began to eat. Poor boy seemed to have not eaten for days. I sat down too.
"I like a man with a healthy appetite." I said to him. He smiled at me. "Reminds me of my dear Albert." I glanced at his picture hanging on the wall. "He didn't have your nice head of hair, though." I said. With that the boy reached up and removed his long blonde wig to reveal short, brown hair. Didn't really surprise me.
I smiled and stood up, grabbing the boy another pie and placing it in front of him. I sat down across from him again.
"What did you say your name was, dear?"
"Tobias, Ma'am. Tobias Ragg."
"I'm Mrs. Lovett. That there is my daughter Johanna, and her friend Anthony." I glanced at the ceiling. "Of course you know Mr. Todd." I said. He nodded, his mouth stuffed with pie. I stood up and wandered to the counter, when a loud thump caused us all to jump and look to the ceiling. The thump was followed by a few more and a loud clash of something hitting the floor.
What on Earth has that man done now?
I looked at the boy and then to Anthony and Johanna to find them all starring upward curiously. I slammed a few things on the counter, drawing their attention.
"My, my, my. Always work to be done." I said, brushing a cloth over the counter and causing flour to fly. Toby continued to eat and Anthony and Johanna stood up.
"We're heading out for a bit, mum." Johanna said. I nodded.
"Have fun, dears." I waved good bye as they left the shop.
"So, um, how'd you end up with that dreadful Italian?" I asked.
"He got me from the workhouse. Been there since I was born." He said. "Oh God!" He cried suddenly, dropping his pie and scooting out of his seat. "Signor! He's got an appointment!" He cried, running for the door.
"WAIT!" I hissed at him, but he was already out the door.
Oh God, Mr. T, please don't be in any trouble up there...
I listened to footsteps run up the stairs and the door slam. And then there was silence. I waited a moment and listened. Then footsteps, heavier than Toby's, walked a few feet. Then it was quiet. I waited. Nothing. I put down the cloth I was holding and walked slowly to the door. Just as I reached it, I heard the barber shop door close and footsteps rushing down the stairs. Suddenly Toby burst through the door, the biggest grin on his face.
"Mrs. Lovett! Mr. Todd said that I could have some gin!" He said excitedly. I glanced at the ceiling, then at Toby again.
"Well, alright, Dear. If Mr. T. said it was alright."
Toby seated himself again as I retrieved the bottle of gin. I poured him a glass. He downed it immediately and I refilled it and sat down. He began rambling away and I wasn't really paying attention. I rested my chin on my hand, looking upward, imaging what Mr. T. was doing. I looked back at Toby as he requested another refill.
"You outta slow down a bit, lad. It'll go straight to your head." I said.
"They used to give it to us at the workhouse." He said.
"That's nice, dear." I said, not fully paying attention. "I think I'll just pop in on Mr. Todd for a tick." I stood.
"Leave the bottle." I looked at the boy, then at my gin and sighed. It was either leave the bottle, or have the boy follow me. I put the bottle on the table and left the shop.
I crept up the stairs, not bothering to knock, I just walked into the shop. Mr. Todd was with his back to me, facing a wall. He seemed to be holding something. I sighed.
"That lad is drinking me out of house and home." I said. "How long until Pirelli gets back?" I asked, noting he wasn't there.
"He won't be back." Mr. Todd said gruffly, turning towards me. The sleeve of his shirt was soaked a pure crimson liquid. Quite obviously blood. He nodded towards the trunk I stood next to.
It took me a moment before I lifted the lid, closing it almost immediately with a gasp. I looked at Mr. Todd. He seemed to be almost, smiling. Looking at the razor in his hand with pure adoration. He was so beautiful.
"You're barking mad!" I said, going back to the task at hand.
"He recognized me from the old days." Mr. Todd explained. "Tried to blackmail me. Half my earnings." I sighed. That made more sense.
"For a moment there I thought you lost your marbles." I said, raising the lid on the trunk again. Inside was dear Signor Pirelli. His body was twisted and turned awkwardly, his limbs laying limp and his throat gashed open so deep it seemed his head was hardly connected. I leaned over the trunk, not really afraid of the blood, and I reached into his pocket, finding a coin purse. I took it out and opened it, finding a sufficient amount of money inside.
"Well," I said. "Waste not, want not." I said as Mr. Todd walked past me, more into the daylight to view his razor. "Now," I closed the trunk and stood up straight. "What do we do about the boy then?" I asked, already having a solution.
"Send him up." Mr. Todd said.
"We don't have to worry about him. He's a simple thing." I stated.
"Send him up!" Mr. Todd demanded a second time, looking at me. He had the absolute most attractive eyes.
"Now, Mr. T." I said, my bottom lip pouting a bit. "Surely one is enough for today." I walked over and stood in front of him. I looked up at him through my eyelashes to see him looking at me. I smiled a bit. "Besides," I continued. "I was thinking about hiring the lad to help me run the shop. My poor knees aren't what they used to be." I pouted a bit again before he nodded.
"Alright." He finally agreed. Turning from me to go look out the window. I smiled. "Daisies." He added gruffly.
"Daisies are fine." He said. I smiled and nodded.
I was in love with such a generous man.