Johanna dashed to the window, slamming her hands into the glass. She stepped back to examine it; although she already knew there was no keyhole or lock. The tired air buzzed around her, giving into light-headedness. She found objects and threw them at the window. Even if it cracked, she wouldn't be able to get down.
She crashed herself into the glass as customers chatted below. Chuckling and complimenting Mrs. Lovett on the pies. Had they known about the events of the previous night, they wouldn't be merry. They wouldn't be here at all.
Neither should Johanna.
She grabbed a fire poker and hammered at the glass with a grunt. It didn't budge.
"Well, of course, it didn't," Johanna muttered to herself, "I'm trapped."
She stepped away from the window, keeping a grip on the poker. Johanna surveyed the walls. Same wallpaper. Same everything. Save for a few belongings that were with Anthony.
Not Mr. Todd. Not Mr. Todd. Please don't be Mr. Todd-
She inhaled, sharply. "Who is it?"
She relaxed. Toby. She stiffed again, hiding the poker behind her. Mr. Todd could be with him. Or Toby was here to deliver a message from him.
Johanna hesitated. "What is it?"
"Mr. T wants to know if you want anythin'."
He was acting as messenger, then. Of sorts. She was used to this. Johanna leaned against the door to avoid having to yell through the door.
"Tell him, I need to go back to Anthony."
Toby paused. "'Kay."
Footsteps sounded away. Johanna slid down the wall, placing herself on the icy floor. It was cruel of her to send Toby off with her foolish wish. Mr. Todd didn't like the boy in the first place. She refused to be the reason for his demise. As Johanna stood and readied herself to stop him, someone ran to the door. She grimaced. Toby said,
"He didn't say anythin'. But he did scowl, so I don' take that as a good sign."
She allowed herself a chuckle. "I wouldn't either."
"So do you need anything?"
Johanna pushed away the urge to say something snippy, instead, she simply answered,
"I'm fine, Toby. I'm fine."
As she slumped against the wall, her mouth dried up. Johanna did nothing. She wanted to have a good cry. She was almost desperate to shed a tear. But the anger boiling in the pit of her stomach prevented any whimpers. She was stupid. Johanna should have watched the street signs. She should have turned back. Johanna pulled herself up and seized the poker. She slammed it into the window again.
It wouldn't work, but she allowed part of her to hope it would.
Johanna stepped back. Fine. Even if she couldn't et herself out. Anthony would have to some for her. He promised.
She opened the drawer to her bedside table to find her sewing from days prior. Johanna traced the patterns. Her thoughts when she made the sampler were of Anthony. Marriage. Johanna settled herself on the bed with her materials.
Hours must've passed. It seemed like more.
Johanna illuminated the small lamp by the bedside. Under the dim light, she weaved the needle through the fabric. She used to hum for her birds as she worked.
She jolted at the door opening. Mr. Todd entered. Johanna looked away. Her sewing became more agitated, as if she were angrier than anything.
"It's late," Mr. Todd said, "You should get to bed."
Johanna tied off a knot. "I suppose."
As she pulled the needle through again, it bit into her skin. A drop of blood fell onto her dress. Johanna winced. What started as a pinch throbbed. Mr. Todd noticed her grimace and pushed the needle off her skirt. Setting aside the other materials. Johanna reached out with her other hand.
"I was using that-"
Using two fingers, he guided hers so it was under the lit. He examined the tiny wound and pulled open the drawer. Mr. Todd wrapped her finger in a gentle cloth, which fit snug around her. Johanna looked down at her cramped hand, stretching each finger out.
"Thank you," she said, without looking at him.
"It's nearly midnight. Get some rest."
Mr. Todd turned to the doorway before stopping.
"I'll check in on you in a few minutes."
He closed the door.
After examining the half-finished stitches and loose threads, Johanna set her sampler aside. Anthony might come for her tonight. It would be best not to put her nightgown on. Instead, Johanna removed a few of her petticoats and bumpad. She pulled on a dressing gown, long enough to cover the ends of her gown. She draped the covers over herself to further hide her clothes.
True to his word, Mr. Todd returned. He checked she was in bed, hesitated, and left.
Johanna waited. Only a few more moments. She knew Mr. Todd didn't sleep. But he would lock himself away in his shop shortly. She pinched herself to stay awake.
Anthony may not come tonight, she reminded herself. It's not safe now. Johanna did not know of what else Mr. Todd might've done to prevent his arrival. He could be trapped.
The sunlight hit her eyelids. Johanna moaned.
It was already morning, and she'd fallen asleep in her clothes. Sitting upright in bed. Waiting for Anthony. He never came.
Despite herself, raw disappointment settled within her. Johanna stretched her arms over her head. Catching a glimpse of the bandage around her finger. The one next to her ring. Johanna kissed her band. She removed the band and placed a kiss on it. She could imagine herself lying next to Anthony in bed. Like the way they woke up together.
Johanna pushed herself off the mattress. Her back creaked like the springs in the bed after sleeping in her corset. was sore from sleeping in her corset and creaked like the springs in the bed. Johanna and tried the door. It was locked.
Of course. She shouldn't have been surprised.
Johanna picked up her needlework from the night before. After undoing the loose, jagged stitches, she began weaving the needle through again. Almost in protest. She bit down on a cut thread.
She had to be ready to leave at any moment.
Mr. Todd came by as usual, with a platter for her. Johanna cut her food into little pieces. Breakfast reminded her of the cake Anthony promised her. An air of awkwardness hung over the two of them. Which they obligated to ignore.
"How are you?" Mr. Todd asked, looking away.
Johanna set the tray aside. "Aside from feeling trapped, I'm fine."
Mr. Todd didn't answer.
She picked up her needlepoint.
She heard his exasperated grunt as he left and smiled to herself.
Johanna checked the door behind him. Locked.
That night, she fell asleep waiting for Anthony again.
The morning greeted her with rain. Johanna assumed it was early morning, although she didn't have the best instinct about time. She used to have a clock while she was in Turpin's care. Now she relayed on the sky. It was black now. Midnight, or near that.
Mr. Todd's footsteps trudged up the stairs. Johanna turned away from the window as he entered. He jerked his head back upon seeing her awake, but recovered.
"Happy birthday," he said.
"What?" Johanna inched closer to him. "Birthday?"
Mr. Todd nodded. "Your birthday's today."
She adjusted her shawl over her shoulders. Johanna never had a birthday before. Of course, she got older. She didn't know what a birthday was until a maid celebrated hers when Johanna was six. At least, that was when she noticed them. Turpin didn't satisfy any of her questions about her birthday. Johanna didn't think about her own birthday after that. Birthdays were a foolish celebration, according to Turpin. And he was the only one he manipulated her into trusting.
"If it's my birthday today, then I'm . . . seventeen."
"Seventeen, yes." Mr. Todd paused, glancing towards the window. "You look even more like her."
"Like whom? Who's her?" She paused. "If you don't mind."
The next words from him came from the back of his throat and seemed to take him much effort to say. Mr. Todd faced the window. Leaning on the wall.
There had been no talk of her mother. Johanna had questions. Yes, thousands. But it wasn't a welcome subject with Judge Turpin. It was less than welcome here. She chose her movements carefully as she neared Mr. Todd, still looking out the window. His expression didn't change. Johanna held a bit of her breath.
Johanna folded her hands in her lap. She titled her face to look up at him. "Could you tell me about her?" she asked.
His answer was stark. Johanna looked down. She shouldn't be as stunned as she was. Perhaps memories of her mother were painful. Johanna tried a different question.
"This is silly of me to ask. I know should already have the answer. But what is one supposed to do on their birthday?"
Mr. Todd turned away from the window. Facing her. "You don't know?"
"I know I should, sir." Johanna tugged a strand of hair and twisted it around a finger. "But I'm afraid that I don't. I've heard some stories before. About birthdays and parties. I've never actually experienced one myself, sir." She paused, hating herself for having to ask such a question. "I apologize."
He pulled her hands away from the abuse lock of hair. Mr. Todd tucked her lock behind her ear. He looked down at her.
"It's not your fault you don't know."
Behind his expression, Johanna could sense a flare of hatred toward Turpin. She gave a weak smile.
"Since it's my birthday today, can I see Anthony?"
Mr. Todd snapped toward her. "Anthony?"
"He is my husband." She gave a short, humorless chuckle. "I may not know what to do on birthdays, but I think wives should see their husbands on theirs."
She waited for a response. Mr. Todd scowled but appeared to consider her words. Johanna pinched her skirts, twisting the fabric.
"If the boy comes, you may visit with him."
Johanna bit back her "Really?" response. She should thank him for allowing her to see Anthony. But how? She wasn't physically affectionate. The hugs she gave were awkward and unbalanced. Actually saying, "Thank you" didn't seem right. Anthony was her husband. She had a right to see him. Mr. Todd just gave it back.
He left. The door was still locked. Johanna pressed herself to the window. Watching for any sign of Anthony.
After an hour of waiting, she spotted his mess of dirty blonde hair. He surveyed the area with a furrowed brow. Johanna waved down to him with frantic movements. Anthony didn't notice. He took a breath and entered the shop. Johanna ran to her door. She ran her hands over her skirt.
There was a click and her door opened.
Johanna half-expected Mr. Todd. But Anthony's grin greeted her. The look in his eyes was careful. She flung her arms around him. Anthony pulled her in closer and kissed her cheek.
"You're here," she said.
"I would've come sooner," Anthony replied, kissing her cheek again, "But they chased me away." He buried his head in her hair. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
They pulled apart. Anthony's arms hung loosely around her waist. Johanna left her arms on his shoulders. She studied her husband and bit her lip.
"How did you get here?" she asked, "Did Mr. Todd let you in?"
"Mrs. Lovett saw me and gave me a key. She mumbled something about you," Anthony explained.
Her expression relaxed. They could count on Mrs. Lovett, they knew that now. Still, Mr. Todd could burst in at any moment. Even if he gave his permission for them to visit, Johanna's heart raced. Mr. Todd was the sea. Unpredictable. Anthony moved her hair out of her face. She smiled.
"It's my birthday today," Johanna said.
"February 20th?" he beamed. "That's the perfect birthday."
They sat on the bed and talked. Johanna told him about Mr. Todd, tracing a finger over the bandage on her other hand. She paused.
"Before Mr. Todd gets back, perhaps we should, well," Johanna said. She dropped her voice to a whisper. "Get away."
He hesitated, glancing at the door. He nodded. Reluctant, but his nod intensified. Anthony took her hand, leading the way; like Orpheus helping Eurydice out of Hades. They looked both ways. No sign of Mr. Todd yet. The couple briskly marched down the stairs. Toby looked up. Johanna froze. But a customer ordered him over. Anthony took both of her hands. This time, Johanna paid attention to the street signs. They nearly ran to the inn. Dodging crowds and street sellers.
"I apologize, Johanna," Anthony said, smacking himself, "If I'd known it was your birthday, I would've gotten you a present." He rose. "I'll be right back. I'll-"
"Presents? You get presents on your birthday?"
Johanna hadn't meant to interrupt. But the idea of receiving something for free was foreign to her.
His expression softened, and he sat down again. Anthony took her hand.
"Yes. You get presents on your birthday." He chuckled lightly. "At least, you should."
Johanna grinned. "There's no need to worry about getting me a present." She eyed the button on his shirt, then his lips. Pleasure dripped through her veins. "We haven't had a wedding night yet." Her lips parted slightly.
Anthony quirked an eyebrow. "Are you sure?"
She nodded, opening her mouth to say something, but stopped, having forgotten. "Are you?"
"If you are, then I am."
Her gaze traveled over him. Both of them paused. Unsure of what to say or do now. Johanna never had such a strong feeling toward someone. She never wanted someone like this before. Anthony ran his hands through her hair, making her close her eyes and smile.
Johanna traced her finger along his jawline before kissing his chin and lips. Their kisses became more passionate. More needy and wanted. She pressed Anthony against her. Popping the first button on his shirt loose. Feeling his bare chest gave her more desperation. Unbuttoning the rest of his shirt. Johanna kissed his chest and neck. Anthony pushed her onto the bed.
The night, peppered with kisses and fueled by love, was swirled with passion.