The party was in full swing. Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. Niles had arrived early, in case Daphne needed any help with the preparations but to his
dismay she was nowhere in sight. To ask Frasier where she was would have been a mistake. Frasier would only respond with the usual complaint about how Niles
needed to drop his infatuation of Daphne and move on. But his brother didn't know the half of it. This feeling he had for Daphne was much more than an infatuation. He
felt it deep in his heart. And the way she had comforted him when he was so upset over Maris stealing his party guests was a sign. No one would have treated him
with such love-and no one ever had.
He said a polite hello to those he knew-Bulldog (who was in pursuit of over half of the women at the party), Gil (who was discussing the latest restaurant with a
guest), Kenny (who was talking about sports with Martin) and Roz, who was silently flirting with the young guy across the room. Suddenly Niles felt left out. He
considered leaving but to do so would have hurt Daphne's feelings-wherever she was. He could see his brother, chatting happily with someone from the station and
Eddie was sitting on Martin's chair, taking it all in. But how could he possibly be expected to enjoy the party when Daphne was nowhere to be found?
He went to the bar and poured another glass of sherry. There was nothing left to do but go out on the balcony and enjoy the view. The night was beautiful and there
wasn't a cloud in the sky-a rarity for Seattle this time of year. He stared at the beautiful skyline and sipped his sherry, but something made him turn around.
He gazed through the window, and that's when he saw her. Forgetting all about the skyline he returned to the condo and stood, watching her from across the living
room. She was breathtaking, wearing a green dress that he'd never seen before. Her hair was swept upon her head, making her look even more like an angel.
He loved her so much-even more now-but he couldn't bring himself to find the right words to tell her. He certainly didn't want to scare her away, but if he didn't make
his feelings known soon, he might lose her forever. It was no or never-and never was quite a long time.
Boldly he crossed the room and went to her. "Hello Daphne."
She turned to him and smiled. "Oh, hello Dr. Crane! I've been looking for you!"
"Yes, isn't the party wonderful? Your father was such a big help. I couldn't have done it without him."
"Frasier did all of this?"
"Well, most of it. I did a lot myself, but your brother knows a lot more about throwing parties than I do."
"It's amazing, Daphne. Really. Better than I ever imagined. Thank you."
She smiled shyly. "Dr. Crane?"
"I'm sorry for the things I said before, about your wife. I know you loved her and it hurts."
"It's all right, Daphne. I appreciate your concern, but-." To his surprise, she kissed his cheek. And that's when he found the courage that was hidden deep inside of
him. He stared at her, unable to take his eyes off of her.
"Dr. Crane? Is something wrong?"
"No, I-." Just then the strands of a familiar song began. "Would you like to dance?"
"I'm sorry. That was rather foreword of me, wasn't it?"
"I'd love to dance with you, Dr. Crane."
His heart sang. He took her into his arms and they began to dance to the slow beat of the music. Her head rested against his shoulder and he sighed contentedly. If
ever there was a more perfect opportunity to tell her how he felt, it was at that moment. But the moment took a completely different turn.
"Daphne, there's something I would like to say."
She drew back and looked at him. "All right."
"Daphne, I would like to kiss you." He expected her to freeze, to lash out at him, and cry, even. But she did none of those things. Instead, she smiled.
"That sounds lovely, Dr. Crane."
"Yes, I would love for you to kiss me."
He couldn't stop smiling. "All right." Slowly he brought his face toward hers and their lips touched. The kiss, when it happened, made him feel weak in the knees and he
could hardly believe it was real. But when she kissed him a second time, he knew that it was.
"That was nice."
"Yes, it was, but-."
"Kiss me again, Dr. Crane. Please."
But it was she who insisted the kiss, oblivious to everything else that was happening around them. "Daphne, I-."
"Let's go out on the balcony. It looks like a beautiful night."
"It is. I-I mean, that's a wonderful idea."
She slipped her and in his and they walked out to the balcony. A new song began to play. "Dance with me, Dr. Crane?"
"It's the perfect place."
"Yes. It is."
They began to dance once more, under a rare star-filled sky. What a night it was.