A/N: I'm not sure what inspired me to write this; I suppose I just wondered why Mrs. Lovett is a "Mrs." but has no husband. Also, I wanted an explanation of why she's so subservient to Sweeney. Anyway, this is random and a bit out of character, but hey, no one knows what she used to be like. Enjoy! Oh, and there could possibly be a sequel to this; I'm considering writing everything up unto the point where Lucy takes arsenic and Johanna is taken away. I don't know, though.

Nellie Lovett sat huddled in the corner of the tiny flat she lived in with her husband, curled up as small as she could possibly make herself. Dark bruises stood out starkly against her pale skin, but they were difficult to make out in the blackness of the room. The only light shone from underneath a crack in the door, filtering through along with shouts and angry arguing.

He had gotten behind in another payment. What kind of payment, she didn't know; he refused to discuss anything business with a woman. Nevermind that she had a much better head for business than he did, or that she was more capable of keeping a record of their accounts. She was a woman, and that made all the difference in the world to him. So the little money they had was squandered away on liquor and gambling, until they became so buried in debt there was no honest way out. She had her own secret stash; every spare pence she got her hands on, she tucked away in the loose floorboard of their closet. By now, she had a few quid saved up in the form of pence and shillings --

Suddenly, there was a thud from the other room, and the shouts stopped. The sound was that of a body hitting the floor, and she listened carefully, a part of her hoping that the richer man they owed money to had won out. But soon staggered footsteps came towards the bedroom door, and her heart sank miserably as it was shoved open. A thin, towering man stood in the door frame, silhouetted by the light behind him. Nellie wrapped her arms tighter around her knees, praying that he would fall straight into bed and not see her there.

He sat down on the edge of their creaky bed, the mattress sinking slightly underneath him, and began pulling off his boots and trousers. She held her breath, closing her eyes for fear that they might catch the light from the open doorway and reflect enough to draw his attention. One boot hit the floor, then the other, then....

"Come 'ere."

Eyes still closed, she forced back a whimper, hoping that somehow he was talking to himself or to the candle or the bedpost or anything but her. She heard him stand up, and he began to walk towards her, his steps uneven. "I said come 'ere!"

Sighing in defeat, she opened her bruised eyes to look at him, noticing for the first time the pistol in his hand. He must have hit the other man with that; she had heard no gunshot, and wondered if the gun was even loaded. "Can't ye leave me alone for one night?" she pleaded tiredly, not moving from her position on the floor.

He didn't answer; instead, he fired the gun into the wall not very far from her head. Her body jerked involuntarily, and she huddled as close against the corner as she possibly could, unable to keep from uttering a soft whimper of fear. He threw the pistol to the table by the bed and reached down, grabbing her arm with his large, ugly hand and forcing her to her feet. "Don't talk t' me that way, slut." he growled into her face. His breath stunk of alcohol, and she turned her face away as he tried to lean in to kiss her.

With an angry shout at being refused, he struck her across her face so hard she was sent back into the corner for a moment, only to be pulled up again and thrown to the dirty bed. He was straddled across her stomach before she had time to roll away, fumbling with the fastenings of her dress. She always made sure that her clothes had plenty of buttons; they took some time to be put on, but often took even longer to be removed, and sometimes if he was drunk enough and tired enough he would give up before he actually got them off of her.

Tonight wasn't one of those nights. Frustrated by the buttons on the front of her dress, he hit at them with his hand as a child hits at a toy that won't work, forcing the air out of her lungs and bruising her ribs in the process. He tore at the dress, ripping it haphazardly away from her body as she trembled in fear beneath him. "Slut..." he mumbled again distractedly, putting both his filthy hands on her naked breasts and lowering himself into her.

Tears stung at her eyes, and she bit back a cry of pain as his hands groped her roughly, his jagged fingernails digging into her flesh. She turned her head to the side, and her gaze fell upon the silver pistol gleaming in the light of the door. Slowly, carefully, she snaked one arm out as he grunted on top of her, until her fingers closed around the gun's handle.

As soon as she had a good grip, she shoved the gun between them, the barrel pressing against his chest, and he was forced to stop and take notice of it. "Aw, come on now, Nellie love--"

But she had already fired. For a moment, he seemed suspended in mid air, and she felt a drop of blood splatter onto her bare skin. Then, his limp body collapsed on top of her, and she immediately struggled to shove him off. She stood there, looking from the blood smeared gun in her hand to her dead husband on the bed. Trembling slightly, she dropped the gun to the floor, wiping her hand against his discarded trousers.

It didn't take long to regain her senses, and she hurriedly started ridding herself of the crimson blood and getting dressed in clean clothes, her hands and knees still shaking. Now it was she who fumbled with buttons, and cursed herself for not owning anything simpler. She pulled out a small suitcase in the floor of their closet, blindly packed all the money she had and whatever else she could, then stepped out of the bedroom and closed the door behind her.

The rich gentleman was still lying on the floor, although he didn't appear dead. She knelt down beside him and promptly emptied his pockets of any valuables, sticking them safely down the front of her dress. Taking a closer look at the man's face, she realized she'd seen him before, and decided she had better leave quickly before he woke up and recognized her.

Nellie was halfway out the door before she stopped and turned around, heading back into the bedroom. She could smell blood as soon as she entered, and steeled herself against it's stench long enough to pick the pistol up off the ground and the box of bullets off the table. Placing the gun in one dress pocket and the box in the other, she hurriedly picked up her suitcase once more and left the flat, down the stairs and into the dirty London streets that awaited her.

For a moment, she suddenly felt very lost and alone standing on the darkened street, with nothing but the glow of the red light district nearby to light her way. Yes, she was leaving pain an abuse, but at least it was pain and abuse with a roof over her head.

"Too late now." she said aloud to the empty sidewalk, straightening her shoulders and taking a deep breath. Her husband was dead, and she had to make a new life for herself. There was no turning back.