Story and characters are all originally mine.

Don't know how many chapters it will be but I've had this swimming in my head for a while since I've been watching Italian cooking shows. Comments and CC are welcome.

Rigo Cappola looked out at the vast countryside from his bedroom window. A view that he cherished each and every single morning that he rose out of bed.

Rigo was a hard worker, and he loved his job. He got up six days out of the week to do what he had been doing for over 20 years; put on his apron, and bake bread. He would greet his only companion, a horse that had been given to him as a gift; Finchenzo.

Rigo was good at his craft, people would come for miles to buy his bread and other baked confections, usually by 2:00pm he would be completely sold out and he'd close shop. Sometimes if he did not have too many chores he would grab his paints, canvas and other materials and take a short walk until he found a suitable view.
There were times where loneliness gripped at his heart as was customary to occur to any human being but that would eventually fade especially when he allowed his mind to venture deep in the knowledge that what he sought simply did not exist.
He was not a cruel man, on the contrary; he prayed night and day for a better world, he was an honest man who tried desperately to only partake in good deeds and would beat himself up hard when he in his imperfect state failed as a person. People did not comprehend this however, they thought him odd, especially when he would distance himself from others; they did not understand that he had a very strong capacity to love and once he found out the true deceitful nature of others it would simply break his heart. It was something that he did not wish to bear, and he did not wish to lose faith in all humanity so he simply kept a safe distance from himself and the rest of the world.

One faithful day however, a strange woman came into his shop.
She was looking around nervously but with a content smile upon her face, especially when she had seen the various baked goods on display.
She was not a raging beauty and she was dressed in very simple clothing; obviously she was religious if her manners and dress said anything about her.

She had barely made eye contact with him as she slightly stammered while asking: "H..How.. much for the rosemary focaccia?"

"1 euro" Rigo replied noting curiously how incredibly shy she was, as if she had never been shopping in her life before. Normally the people he encountered were boisterous and very tempered. It was surprisingly refreshing to see someone so reserved in manners.

She extended her hand and placed the money on the counter without saying a word but he understood that that was what she wanted. As he grabbed the bread with the tongs, he continued to look at her and saw she was eyeing the chocolate cannoli's.

When he handed her the bread, she again did not make eye contact but she bowed her head and mumbled a 'thank you' before turning away. He cocked his head to the side as he watched her leave, 'such a peculiar woman' he thought to himself.

He did not know why the words rushed out of his mouth but before he knew it, he was asking her to stop.

He called out to her.

"Please..." He said as he got a small bag and placed one of the chocolate cannoli's in it.

"Since you are a first time customer, you get a treat as a welcome gift."

She turned around and looked at the bag he held and then up at him. They stared at one another for some time before she replied. "I thank your kind gesture but I really shouldn't. Have a good day sir."

And before he could reply, she had left the shop.

Such a peculiar woman! and here Rigo thought there was nobody as complicated as he.
He therefore did not think that he would ever see her in his shop again but two days later she came.
Timidly walking up and giving him a small smile before placing the single Euro on the counter top.

"Focaccia?" He asked.

She nodded.

He gave her the bread, she nodded her thanks and left as quickly as she had arrived.
They carried on this way for many weeks and for reasons that Rigo did not quite understand, he decided that he needed to figure out if she indeed was similar in personality to him. He had excused it in his mind that he was simply conducting a test of sorts.
She always came in at a certain time so before she was due to arrive, he grabbed some leftover coffee from his morning breakfast and spilled some on the floor, making sure it was visible enough so that she wouldn't accidently step on it.

Sure enough she came in, today she was wearing a peach colored skirt that reached her ankles and a long sleeved button down beige shirt; she never wore anything that showed above her knees.

Immediately he busied himself with unloading the sage bread out of the oven but he looked over his shoulder subtly and saw her taking out a handkerchief from her bag and placing it over the spilled coffee.
She was about to throw her handkerchief away when he turned to her.

"Is something the matter?"

"No... uh.. nothing." She replied nervously. "Someone had.. or there was some liquid spilled on the floor."

As she said this, she was trying to wipe her hands together, they were still dirty from having cleaned up the floor. He didn't expect her to actually clean it, he thought she would just tell him about the mess and he realized that she was scared that he would think she was the one who caused the mess. As if to prove his thought, she whispered a: "I'm sorry." and was about to turn to leave.

"No please!" He said as he hurried over to her. "What did you just throw away? Was it your own personal hankerchief?"

She stared at the garbage bag without saying anything so he quickly reached in and pulled it out. "You don't need to throw it away, we can wash it."

He went back to his kitchen and scrubbed the worn out hankerchief. It had had emobroidered little flowers on the side that were already starting to lose their color and even more so as he tried to scrub out the coffee stains-which didn't come out completely.

"I think it might be ruined." He said as he held up the miserable looking thing to her. She watched him hold up the winkled up and dripping handkerchief with sorrow in her eyes, and it broke his heart. He did not think things would turn out as they did at all and had he known, he probably wouldn't have attempted anything at all.

"It is I who am sorry." He said with sincere sadness. "Please at least take the focaccia, and a chocolate cannoli on the house. It is the least I can do for having ruined your handkerchief."

"But you didn't." She replied.
"It was old and torn anyway, do not feel obligated to give me anything."

"I must." He replied. "What kind of man would I be then?"

And he handed her the bread and the cannoli. She eyed it wearily but she did hesitantly take it.

"You are sure?" She asked again.

"If I wasn't, I wouldn't be giving it to you. I am an honest man and I want to see my customers happy."

This time when she smiled, it actually reached her eyes. A genuine and beautiful smile that melted his heart. He had a feeling that she probably hardly ever smiled like that, and if she did it was probably not directed at just any person and so it heightened his happiness all the more.

He watched her leave, still looking at the door even after she had left. He then held up the pathetic little handkerchief and sighed loudly. He wouldn't throw it out he had decided.
He turned around and placed it to hang so it could dry, smiling as he tried to smooth out the wrinkles. He would go into town after he closed shop today and buy her a new one; he had decided.