It was the quiet way Fron did the simple things - anticipating a glass of water, settling to a joint task, silently prompting something urgently forgotten - that Wilhelm noticed more than anything else. She would just eye smile at him when he, yet again amazed at her casual thoughtfulness, would gratify his mutterings. As if words were not necessary.
It was as bewitching as it was uncanny. He felt she could pluck a dropped desire out of the air, well before its longing weight would shatter it on the hard stone floor of the bakery. Slowly, quickly, her careless attention to the details of his life became as much a fixture as his mixing trough; oak, imported from his too long descended, departed homeland.
When his recalcitrant, industrially reoriented, bread mixer was returned, with a new bill of health, and its tail between its legs, Wilhelm kicked it, uncharacteristically, in sudden resentment. Dough wasn't the only thing he wished to knead.