Prologue

The rain poured down on Fleet street, soaking the five year-old girl and her mother outside of the simple little shop. Mrs. Lovett scowled down at her daughter, her pretty features marred by a hateful expression, as the girl whimpered and tears streamed down her cheeks.

"I told you, leave and never come back." Mrs. Lovett glared at the girl with her dark curls falling around her shoulders, framing her delicate face. Nellie Lovett didn't care what her late husband had thought of their daughter: as long as she wasn't blond she wasn't good enough for Benjamin Barker, whom Mrs. Lovett had always been infatuated with, even though he was currently wed to her former friend, Lucy. Since the recent death of her husband and the birth of Benjamin and Lucy's daughter, Johanna, Nellie had seen less and less in her own daughter, Rose, and simply wanted to be rid of her.

Rose Lovett didn't understand. First, her Daddy was gone, dead, and now her Mum wanted her gone. Maybe she wanted her dead, too. Rose whimpered again. What was wrong with Mum? Mostly Rose missed Daddy. He had loved her, had called her his "little Rosie". No one called her that anymore. Ever since Mr. and Mrs. Barker who lived upstairs had their baby, little Johanna, her Mum had been even nastier. Rose looked up at her mother, pleading. Nellie looked back at her daughter with a cold stare on her face.

"Mum, please. Do I have to go? What did I ever do to you?" Rose's large eyes looked at her mother and for a moment, Nellie faltered. She had always loved those eyes, beautiful, haunting, the colors in their depths ever-changing with the weather or Rose's emotions. Right now they were a blue-gray with green-gray flecks in the irises.

Mrs. Lovett hardened and glared at her daughter. "You were born to me and Mr. Lovett, not me and Benjamin Barker. Therefore, I don't want you anymore than I wanted my husband once I met Benjamin. Now get out!" Mrs. Lovett lost her composure and kicked the five year-old hard in the stomach, sending her flying halfway across the street. Mrs. Lovett closed the door and went inside, causing the street to darken, leaving the girl alone on the streets of London.

Rose picked herself up, ignoring the pain in her abdomen. One would think she looked dejected, hurt, sad. Indeed she was, but if one looked they would notice her ball her small hands into fists and clench her teeth.

Rose looked at her former home. The light was on downstairs where her mother was probably baking: she loved to do that. She knew now that she hated her mother, Mrs. Lovett, and would never take her name again. Her gaze traveled upstairs to the apartment the Barkers rented from them. Her rage flared. She liked Benjamin and Lucy Barker, they were always kind to her and were excited that there would be an older girl in the house to help Johanna in the world. Rose had promised Mrs. Barker that she would always look out for Johanna, and she intended to keep that promise. But she also knew of her mother's lust for Benjamin, and that Nellie Lovett would never give up until the happy little family was destroyed and she was there in Lucy's place. Rose would do anything to keep that from happening. If she had her way, Rose would keep her mother from ruining anyone else's life. But she was only five, and she could do nothing. Her mother would destroy so much more.

Rose walked across the street, into an alley, and behind a garbage can. She sat there the rest of the night, tears flowing freely, staring at her mother's home with nothing but pure hatred in her intense gaze.