Hi, it’s Marianne Patton here. I’m the assistant at Landry Designs, an interior design company in Newport Beach, California. I think of the owner, Kathryn Landry, as the daughter I never had (but desperately wanted) and I’m sure she doesn’t realize just how much I care for her. Instead, she allows her husband, Neil, to dictate her every move and thought and he keeps tight control over her business too. I never have cared for him… why, how archaic is it that she has to ask him for money to pay our bills or to even buy new clothes?! But I bite my tongue, smile, and don’t say anything to her. I gather she hasn’t had an easy life but I don’t know all the details since she doesn’t confide in me. I’ve heard old gossip though, that her father disappeared when she was a child and the police never found him.
I was probably a little too happy when she called to tell me that her husband had taken off. Yes, I understand it is emotionally devastating for Kathryn to lose him, but in the long run she’ll be better off. Did I mention just how much I dislike him? Anyway, she’s hired that hot private investigator, John, to look into her husband’s disappearance. If anyone can take Kathryn’s mind off Neil, it will be John. I’ve seen the way he looks at her when he thinks no one is looking, like he could eat her up.
I had hoped that with Neil out of the picture Kathryn would settle into running her company and we could expand like she’s wanted to do. (I’m still mad that he put the kibosh on her ideas when she first mentioned expanding.) Instead, all sorts of crazy scary things started happening to her! Kathryn ended up moving into my house temporarily after someone broke into her apartment. And then she was in a terrible car accident after someone ran her off the road and she got caught up in a raging wildfire. Detective Williams wasn’t much help to begin with, insinuating Kathryn was probably having an affair with John, so her husband took off. Or even worse, got rid of him permanently. Poor Kathryn was so distraught when she realized she was a suspect! John and Detective Williams sure have it in for each other though. Kathryn gets caught in the middle of their feuding which adds to her stress level.
I tried to reassure her but in the end I turned to what I do to relieve tension: bake and share treats with those who need comfort. Spending time in the kitchen with the warm smells of sugar, chocolate (especially chocolate!), spices, and baking bread brings peace to my mind. It helps me think more clearly while my hands are busy creaming butter and sugar together or whipping up batter for our breakfast muffins. I like to believe that those who eat my treats know how much love and care I put into creating them and I hope brings some peace to their world as well.