Her fingers splayed through his hair, she could feel his labored breathing, his mouth searching hers, the smell of his cologne, the way he-.

Horrified, she drew back abruptly, her magical fantasy shattered. "Oh God…"

"Daphne-."

She turned away from him and gazed at the Space Needle and the surrounding buildings, ignoring the tears that were streaming down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry, Dr.

Crane. I-I don't know what came over me! I-."

"It's all right."

The tone of his voice made her turn around. "How can you say that? How can you possibly say it? Dr. Crane, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to-I was…"

"Look, maybe-."

"Yes, we won't tell your brother about this, or your father for that matter. We'll keep it between us. Or at least try to forget it ever happened."

"I don't think I can do that. But I do think that we should talk about it."

"Yes, of course. We should-."

"What happened?"

"I-I just… Oh God, why is this so hard? I thought I could handle this. I really did. But now…" She began to sob and he stepped forward, his arms open for a comforting

hug.

"Please don't get upset. You did nothing wrong. I was just-."

"I'm so sorry!"

His arms were around her and she was crying into his beautiful suit-sobbing relentlessly."

"Daphne, hey… it's all right." His fingers were stroking her hair, her back, making her feel completely wonderful. But it shouldn't be this way. IT shouldn't have

happened at all.

"No, it's not all right! I-I kissed you! I should have never-."

"Well, it would be a lie for me to say that I didn't enjoy it. But I think the question is why it happened."

"I don't know! I-Oh God, yes, I do! You'll think I'm completely daft and that's fine because I feel completely daft!"

"I would never think that."

"I-."

"Is this about Donny?"

"What?"

"Donny. Sometimes when there are conflicts in a relationship, people turn to others and-well they don't normally kiss them, but-."

"I love you, Dr. Crane. I love you so much."

He grinned, his face turning pink under the moonlight. "That's nice to hear, Daphne. I love…"

"No, I mean, I love you, Dr. Crane. Niles… As in…"

His mouth fell open and it was a long time before he spoke. "I-I see…"

"But you don't see! You can't possibly see! I don't understand it either! I was fine until a few days ago, when your brother hurt his back!"

"Fraser? What does he have to do with this? He-."Niles gasped. "How dare him!"

"Please don't blame your brother. It's not his fault! He had no idea what he was saying! He was taking those pills for his back pain and he blurted it out!"

"What?"

"He blurted out that you've been in love with me for six years. I didn't believe it at first and I'm still not quite sure, but-."

"H-he… I-I thought…"

"What?"

"Never mind. I… Oh dear God…"

"I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."

"No, I-I mean-."

"But there's something else you should know."

"S-something else?"

"I-I think I'm in love with you."

He stared at her for so long she began to worry about his state of mind.

"Say something, please!"

"I-I don't…"

"I knew it. I knew your brother had to be wrong! Those pills made him completely delirious! He was-he was talking to Eddie for God's sake, so how could I possibly

believe-."

"Eddie? Daphne, I'm-."

"I know… And I didn't mean to ruin your evening. I hadn't even planned on saying anything. But when you mentioned Mel-."

"What about Mel?"

"You love her, Dr. Crane! You're in love with her! How could you not be? I've never seen you so happy! And as for myself-Well, I'm supposed to be happy, but-."

"Did something happen between you and Donny?"

"Well, no… but now I'm confused! I don't know what to do!"

"Frankly, neither do I."

She swallowed hard. "Of course. I'm so sorry, Dr. Crane. I would never do anything to ruin your relationship with Mel. So let's just… forget this ever happened, all

right?" She moved to return to the condo, but she felt his hand on her arm.

"I can't forget it, Daphne."

"But-."

"What Frasier told you-it's the truth."

Now it was Daphne who was rendered speechless. "What? But-."

"I love you, Daphne. I've loved you for a long time."

Again she turned around, crying quietly. And this time when she felt his hands on her shoulders, she turned around, burying her face in his suit.

"Don't cry, please…" he whispered. "I'm flattered beyond words. You have no idea."

"Hey, what's going on out here? I thought we were having-."

Daphne drew back from Niles and looked up to see Martin standing in the doorway. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, Daphne was upset and I was just-she-."

"Donny and are having problems. But Dr. Crane is a wonderful listener."

"Problems? Really? I'm sorry to hear that, Daphne. Frasier thought that might be the case, but we didn't want to say anything. And it's so close to the wedding, too."

"Can we just forget about my wedding tonight?" Daphne pleaded. "Besides, it's Dr. Crane's birthday. We should be celebrating."

"Well, all right. But you know if you need to talk-."

Daphne smiled and hugged Martin, who flinched at the touch.

"I-I meant Frasier, but-."

"Thank you, Mr. Crane. Tell Dr. Crane I'll be back in a minute."

Alone on the balcony once more with Niles, Daphne sighed. "I ruined everything."

"You ruined nothing, Daphne. There's nothing wrong with saying what's in your heart."

"So what should we do now?"

"Well, we should go inside and have some cake."

"Right, and you never made your announcement."

"Announcement?"

"Yes, when you came in you said that you didn't want to damper Frasier's day."

"Oh yes, that. Well-."

"You're going to propose to Mel, aren't you?"

"I-How did you know? I never-."

"I just had a feeling."

"Well, I'm certainly thinking about it, but-."

"I ruined everything, didn't I?"

"Daphne, no. Please don't ever think that."

"What am I supposed to think? Until a few days ago, my life was, well, somewhat normal, but now everything's changed! Your brother and father will be so angry when

they find out and as for Mel and Donny-."

"Don't worry about anything. If you really love Donny, then you should marry him. It's hard for me to say that, given my feelings, but it would be wrong to tell you

otherwise."

"And you should marry Mel. That is if you really want to."

"Thank you, Daphne. But you're right. Everything's changed. And I think we should talk."

"I agree."

"Why don't you stop by my office tomorrow? I have a light schedule."

"All right. That sounds like a good idea. We should probably get back to the party."

At the door she stopped and hugged him again. "Thank you."

"You're very welcome."

He slipped his hand into hers and squeezed and then let go as they returned to the condo.

"Well, it's about time!" Frasier said. "Daphne, is everything all right? I'm sorry. I had no idea that you were having trouble with Donny."

"It's all right. I didn't want to ruin your birthday with such silliness."

"It's not silly. It's your life and I want to be a part of it."

She smiled and hugged him. "Thank you, Frasier."

"All right, now it's time for cake!" Martin announced.

They sat down at the table, discussing the wine set that Niles and Mel had given Frasier for his birthday. Daphne could give him her present later, after the party was

over. For now she was content to enjoy herself.

"Niles, you never told us-."Frasier began.

"What was that?"

"You said you had an announcement to make."

Daphne's fork dropped onto her plate with a clank. "I'm sorry-I-."

"So what is it?" Martin asked. "As long as it's not psychiatry stuff, I'm interested."

"Thanks, Dad. In fact, it's better."

"Really? Well I think we're all ready to hear it." Frasier said. "I have a feeling it's something wonderful."

Niles glanced at Daphne and smiled. "It certainly is."

"Care to elaborate?" Martin asked.

"Actually, No. I don't." Niles said.

"Fine. I understand." Frasier said. "We'll discuss it later. Now about this cake, it's so moist! The Queen Anne Bakery is amazing!"

"I don't understand!" Martin said. "Niles, what's gotten into you?"

"Nothing, Dad. I'm just unbelievably happy. Isn't that enough?"

Daphne looked out the window and then back at Niles. "It's more than enough."

THE END