It had taken a gentle push from her therapist and a few words of wisdom from a certain radio psychiatrist, but Daphne had finally come to terms with something she had denied far too long: she was in love with Niles Crane. And on this unusually sunny Saturday, she was going to tell him so.

If only Niles and Mel hadn't gone off for an impromptu weekend at a secluded cabin that very morning.

Knowing she would have to keep her feelings bottled up for an entire weekend, Daphne was on edge, liable to lash out at the first person who crossed her—Simon, in this case. She was at her breaking point when Roz, after popping in to see Frasier, became Daphne's unwitting savior. Simon escorted 'Rose' to the parking lot in a fruitless attempt to gain her affections.

With Simon gone, Daphne breathed a sigh of relief and went on with her normal routine.

"Time for you to do your exercises," she said with forced cheer as Martin came out of the kitchen with two beers.

"Simon gone?" he asked disappointedly.

Tersley—"Yes."

"That's too bad," Martin said as he returned the beers to the kitchen.

"I'm glad his out of here," Daphne muttered as she set up the massage table.

Martin, returning from the kitchen, frowned.

"Aren't you being harsh, Daph'? He's not as bad as you think. He even came all the way from England to take part in your bridal shower!"

The memory of that night cut deep and Daphne had to blink back tears. She'd had this wild, if unacknowledged, hope that Niles would tell her that he'd made a mistake in getting involved with Mel and that he still loved her, Daphne Moon. When that hope had been shattered, her life and sanity had been thrown into turmoil.

"Gentle, gentle!" Martin yelped as she roughly massaged his back, feeling a return of the emotions of that night.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. Crane," she said quickly, cursing herself for letting the past interfere with her work.

When she was done with Martin, she tried to occupy her mind, but nothing could distract her from her pent-up feelings for Niles.

Perhaps she just needed some room to think. Daphne moved toward the balcony, but froze at the door. Memories from an emotional Christmas Eve seemed to surround her.

Niles and Mel had almost broken up for good that night, and Roz was sure Niles was going to confess his undying love to Daphne.

Daphne expected to feel relief when she learned that their friendship wouldn't change, but her heart felt otherwise. When she saw Niles and Mel standing together, as if nothing had happened between them, it seemed like Frasier, Martin, Roz, and even Donny had vanished. Some unidentifiable emotion swept through her, and when Niles and Mel kissed, Daphne felt a strange sense of loss.

A wave of guilt washed over her. Daphne knew she had no right to be hurt that Niles was in a relationship with Mel. After all, she looked to all the world like the happy bride-to-be. Why should she expect Niles to dwell on his missed chances? But it hurt—oh, how it hurt—that just when she'd realized her feelings for Niles, he'd gotten over her.

If she didn't get out of this apartment soon, she'd go crazy.

"I'm taking Eddie for a walk," Daphne called to Martin.

"All right. See ya, Daph'," Martin said absently, his focus on the Mariners game. "Hey, tell Simon he's welcome to come watch the game."

"He is not," an irritated voice declared.

Frasier came into the living room, looking highly offended at his father's request.

"Dad, Daphne, I won't be dining with you tonight. I'm going to check out a new restaurant that Gil recommended. I might bring Ana there on Sunday."

"Wow, Ellen didn't last long, did she?" Daphne heard Martin commenting as she left the apartment.

Spending time in the park distracted her from the present situation for some time. She coached Eddie in 'fetch', let him play with a family of young children, and chased him through the whole park when he ran after a squirrel. Back at the apartment, however, she was alone with her thoughts yet again.

Why was she even thinking of baring her heart to Niles? Hadn't that joyless Christmas Eve and the fateful bridal shower taught her anything? He had to be over her…. yet a voice deep inside her protested and would not let her back down. No matter what fate had in store for her, Daphne knew she couldn't rest until she knew for sure. Even if her confession led to heartbreak, she'd at least have closure.

Then a horrifying thought struck her. What if Monday came and she was too late? This weekend could be a test for Niles and Mel's ability to live together. After all, they were alone with each other for a whole weekend. Could this getaway solidify their relationship for good?

If only Mel hadn't cut off all communication, Daphne thought frustratedly. The only way to talk to Niles would to be to go up there myself!

The thought struck her like a ton of bricks.

Could I be that daring? she wondered, trembling at the thought.

I have to! This is my last chance! she told herself, and then smiled wryly. Good thing Mel at least told us what town they'd be in. Now I just have to go there and face my destiny.

All of Daphne's life she'd been cautious, always doing what others expected of her. Letting her brothers bully her to avoid her mother's wrath. Ignoring her visions to keep peace with the Drs. Crane. Settling for Donny because she was afraid of missing her chance at love. Torturing herself about her changing feelings for Niles because of a hasty engagement.

It was time to do something for herself at last.

(to be continued)


A/N: I hated that Mel turned off her and Niles' phones and didn't give anyone in the Crane household a way of reaching them. So much trouble could've been avoided if Daphne could have called Niles before he and Mel ended up eloping. Stupid Mel. :P

Anyway, this is my A/U take.