Eleanor Lovett paced frantically around the bake house, after yet another failed attempt to reach the demon barber that lived upstairs. Only a month ago they had been waltzing around the pie shop when she came up with a plan to solve all their problems, to erase her debts, to quench his bloodthirst. To bring them closer, to allow her to surreptitiously make her way into his heart, to nurse it back to health and make him whole again. That day, she thought she saw something in his eyes as they looked at her, the embers of a fire she thought to be extinct. Was it just the anticipation of giving free rein to his murderous impulses? Or was it lust, yearning for love even? How she wished it was the latter. How she wished he could let her love him and one day, love her back. But now she didn't know where she stood.

Do I attract you? Do I repulse you with my queasy smile?
Am I too dirty? Am I too flirty? Do I like what you like?
I could be wholesome, I could be loathsome, I guess you are a little bit shy
Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me without making me try?

It felt like they had gone back to square one. It was always like that with him, one step forward and three steps back. Did he even like her? Was he just pleased by her practical mind and decided to humour her that day? Despite the suggestive smirks he sometimes gave her when she procured a new victim for him, there was no denying that they were once again tenant and landlady, or barber and baker, murderer and accomplice, nothing more. No love affair or even a friendship was to be formed in the foreseeable future. That had become abundantly clear just half an hour ago, when she brought him his dinner, clad in a new dress she's bought just for him. It was the colour of blood with accents in gleaming silver to remind him of his friends, revealing enough to hopefully tempt him but proper enough not to look like a common streetwalker. And yet, when she entered the room he only briefly glanced at her with a disgusted look before turning back to the window, before losing himself into the memories of his wife and daughter or dream about his revenge on the judge, not sparing her a single thought. She sighed, knowing fully well she could dress like Queen Victoria and it still wouldn't earn her more than an apathetic glance. But what could she do, dance around naked? She'd surely go mad if she kept trying to find ways to get his attention.

I tried to be like Queen Victoria
But all her looks were too sad
So I tried a little naturism
I've gone identity mad! (Mad, mad, mad!)

Bloody infuriating man, she thought. Didn't he see how much she did for him? How she literally slaved away to please him? She grabbed the bottle of gin she'd brought down with her and gave it a big swig, relishing the feeling of the alcohol burning down her throat. However, it only stirred the fire coursing through her veins. She approached one of the corpses lying on the floor and hastily chopped his arm with a cleaver knife, the blood splashing onto her chest and staining her new dress. But she didn't care. She gave another swig to the gin before she chopped his other arms, and then his legs and head and put his remains in the grinder to make pie filling. Spinning the handle with a strength she didn't know she possessed, her thoughts once again went to him. How she wished she could serve him the pie she would make with this corpse, to give him a taste of the human misery. It would only be a small revenge for all her troubles. Or better yet, grind herself, an arm or a leg and serve it to him, so he could taste the bitter flavour of a woman scorned. Maybe that way he could understand that he was killing her with his indifference. Nellie was angry, frustrated, and she was slowly losing hope. How could she get to him? How could she make him like her, love her like she loved him?

How can I help it? How can I help it? How can I help what you think?
Hello my baby, hello my baby, putting my life on my brink
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me? Why don't you like yourself?
Should I bend over, should I look prettier, just to be put on your shelf?

As she moved to the other body and began chopping it up, alternating each hack to the already rotting cadaver with a gulp of gin, she began pondering to what lengths she would go for him. Certainly disposing of bodies for him, cleaning his bloodied shirts and everything else for him, going out of her way to feed the ungrateful bastard delicious dishes in an attempt to impress him when she had nothing more than mashed potatoes to feed Toby and herself was not the end of it. She would do anything for him, she would put her entire life on hold for him in he asked. But then again what life did she have? He was her life, her reason to live. As sad and desperate as it was, her own self-love dwindled when it came to loving him. Hers was a love so strong as to kill for, to die for. Much stronger than anything he had probably experienced, much more selfless than the way that silly little nit had loved him. While Lucy gave up on him, carelessly abandoning a daughter in the process, Eleanor did everything to remain afloat despite the misery that threatened to swallow her, spurred on by the promise of seeing him again. She never lost hope and never, not once, stopped loving him. When he came back to her, she loved him all the more for he was a survivor, tortured but stronger, hurting but still standing. She loved him more than anything. And the arsehole still couldn't see it. It made her blood boil and her heart break at the same time.

I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like
Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Walk out the door!

She angrily went up the stairs, the copious amount of alcohol in her veins boosting her confidence to give him a piece of her mind. She needed to know, needed to know whether this was all she was going to get or whether there was some part of his heart worth fighting for. She needed to know whether it was better to let him go before he put her own masochist but stubborn heart down to an early grave like his. Her mind was fuzzy and her vision was blurry when she opened the door of his tonsorial parlour but she could nevertheless sport his tall looming figure next to the window, in the exact same spot she left him earlier. He didn't turn when she entered stomping her feet despite the bell ringing and it only angered her more. Why was he so caught up in his stupid Lucy when she was twice the woman and twice the lover the decrepit beggar ever was? Why couldn't he see her? Without thinking, she grabbed the vase with the withering daisies she'd bought for him and whose water he hadn't bothered changing and threw it at the window, making a hole in the glass and falling down into the poorly-lit street. She hoped it hit the sodding madwoman, splitting her head in two and taking her out of the way forever but by the sounds of it, it had only frightened one of the cats Mrs. Mooney hadn't caught yet. Regardless, she knew it wouldn't change anything. After all, he believed his wife to be dead and she was still always in his mind.

The impact, however, did make him turn. She expected him to burst into fury for disturbing his peace, to find herself pressed up against a wall in the blink of an eye, with a cold razor against the warm skin of her neck—something she occasionally found herself fantasising about, after all it was the only way to have him close. Instead, he regarded her with a blank expression, devoid of all emotions. He did not even seem curious as to why she would barge into his room so late at night. "Do something!" she screamed before launching herself at him. She began pounding his chest with her fists in a frenzied attempt to shake some sense into him as tears of desperation threatened to spill from her eyes. "Say something! Why don't you like me? I'd do everything for you." His hands went to her waist but she thought it was just to hold her while she released her frustrations on him. "Am I too dirty? Am I too flirty? Am I too tainted? Am I too ugly for you?" she continued, the tears now flowing freely down her cheeks. "I could change, anything for you. I love you, why can't you see that?" she confessed. "Do something, dammit!" and what he did took her by surprise. He crushed his lips to hers, kissing her savagely, desperately even as if she was all he ever wanted. Perhaps she was too drunk, her mind too contaminated by all the romance novels she read but this was what a she imagined a true love's kiss would feel like. He felt his hands leave her waist and eagerly explore her body before slowly leading her to the bed, where they lost themselves in each other for the first time. She knew that night was a turning point in their lives. It could either open the door to the salvation of their souls or accelerate their descent into madness and it could be the last nail in the coffin to kill her battered heart once and for all. She hoped it was the former but if not, what a sweet way to die.

Getting angry did solve something.