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Sweets For My Sweet

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The bastard had waltzed into Mrs. Appleby’s 80th birthday party and acted all apologetic and sorry that he had nothing more to give then a plate of confections. The conniving, scheming wretch had acted like the plate of brownies were nothing special, just something he’d whipped up from a box mix, and instead, they’d been the type of brownies that made her nearly melt into an ooey gooey puddle on the floor. They’d made her nearly moan in delight and really, she’d been tempted to wrap a few in a napkin and take a few home when she wanted to remember what a really good shag was like.

The nerve of Mr.Sherlock Holmes. She was the best baker in the neighborhood! Her! Amelia Jessica Pond! Her bakery had won bloody awards!

She had slipped one of the bloody brownies in her handbag and took it home, taking a few nibbles to find out how he had done it. Not to replicate the recipe; oh, no, she never wanted to be called a thief. But her brownies were never so moist, so light and fluffy, and if she could just figure out his secret, she’d be all set. She’d have the best bloody brownies in the whole of London, and the extra business would be worth its weight in cake flour.

Mark her words, she’d figure it out.

---

The envelope was slipped into her mail slot aside on top of the morning post, with no writing on it of any sort. She was balancing the package the postman had left outside which she was hoping was her new stand mixer on her hip, and bending over could either be bad for her health or bad for the mixer, so after a moment she set it down and picked up the envelope. On the back, it was sealed in wax, and the seal was a baker’s hat. That was rather amusing, and she grinned slightly at it as she ran her fingernail underneath to lift it up. Inside she saw a letter, folded over twice, and she pulled it out.

To the intriguing Ms. Pond,

The brownies are known as Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies with Dulce de Leche. A friend of mine in the States sent the recipe before posting it on her website to see if I could convert it easily to British standards. The secret ingredient is cayenne pepper. I doubt she would mind if you made a version for your store.

S. Holmes.

Underneath was a recipe, and she smiled as she read it before heading towards her kitchen, completely forgetting about her package or the mail on her floor. It was time to bake.

---

Soon other recipes arrived, every so often, always in a plain white envelope sealed with a baker’s hat wax seal, all added underneath letters addressed to “the intriguing Ms. Pond” and all signed “S. Holmes.” She started incorporating each recipe he sent to her into her weekly specials, moving some towards her more regular treats, and she found business picking up quickly. Soon she was having to hire more staff because there was a queue at the door before she even opened in the morning.

And yet she didn’t see him around the neighborhood much. She would bring treats to parties, usually ones he had sent her recipes for, but he wouldn’t come, and she felt herself disheartened each time she went to an event hoping to see him and not catching even a glimpse. She would ask if anyone saw him, knew where he was, but everyone shook their head. No one knew.

So she resolved to find out.

---

It took some time, but eventually she found out he didn’t even live in London. He was an accountant in Leadworth, working in a shoppe owned by his family and, from all accounts, not very happy. He’d come to Mrs. Appleby’s party because she’d been his favourite teacher in primary school, encouraging him to try his hand at the culinary arts before his family made clear he was to join them in the family business.

And so she formed her plan.

Of all the recipes he had sent her the best was the Samoa Brownie, so named because it used the same ingredients in the Samoa Girl Scout cookie in the States, he said, and he had gotten the idea from a copycat cookie recipe he’d found. The secret ingredients in the brownie were instant coffee granules, he said, and she had to agree that it was ingenious. She was sure she could convince his family he was much better as a baker than an accountant if they could just taste one.

She went to the shoppe in Leadworth with a covered plate in her hand. She recognized Mr. Holmes right away, and he looked up in surprise. “Ms. Pond,” he said quietly.

“Mr. Holmes,” she replied with a smile. She set the plate on his desk and took off the cover. “My best sellers. I thought your family might want to try one?”

“It won’t do any good,” he said with a wry smile. “They’re on diets.”

She hadn’t even considered that. “Damn.” She paused, and then picked one of the brownies up. “Come with me.”

“What?” he asked surprised.

“Come with me to London. Work in my shoppe. Room with me in my flat. Get the hell out of this village and do what you were meant to do.” She broke the brownie in half and moved one half towards him. “Become my partner. I need you.”

“You...need me?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yes. Very much.”

“You don’t know me, though,” he said.

She gave him a warm smile, popping the brownie in his slightly open mouth. “I know enough to know I want to.”

He chewed and then grinned. “Alright. You have a deal.”

“Good,” she said before popping her own half in her mouth. This was exactly what she wanted, and she couldn’t wait to see what happened.