He walked into his brother's condo, stunned to find Daphne on the couch crying. His father, as he might have expected, was sitting in his beloved chair, dividing his attention between whatever was on the television and the copy of the Seattle Times in his hand.
"Dad? Daphne? What's going on? What's happened?"
"Oh geez…" Martin said. "You're going to make a bigger deal out of this than it already is."
He was at Daphne's side at once, taking her into his arms where she cried against his chest. "What is it, Sweetheart? What's wrong?"
She lifted her head and looked at him, seconds before her tears resumed. "Oh Niles…"
"Don't cry, my love. Whatever it is, we'll worth through it together."
"It's a damn movie that's what it is!" Martin said.
Niles looked at his father in confusion. "What?"
"Never in my life will I ever understand why women start crying their eyes out at such sappy stuff. It's just a bunch of overpaid men and women pretending on screen. That's all acting is and that's all it will ever be."
"Shut up, old man!" Daphne snapped. "Just read your paper, all right?"
But she only cried harder, concerning Niles even more. He held her closer and kissed her forehead, rocking her back and forth like a child. "Don't cry. I'm here. Everything's okay."
"The hell with this!" Martin grumbled. "I'm going to bed!"
When Martin was gone, Niles turned to Daphne and sighed. "Are you going to be all right? What happened? What were you watching that has you so upset?"
"Message in a Bottle" And "Ghost." She said tearfully.
"Oh… I don't believe I've ever seen those films but maybe you shouldn't watch them if they upset you so."
"They're beautiful love stories, Niles."
"I'm sure they are but-."
"And when I watched them, I couldn't help thinking that what if something happened to you? I can't live without you, Niles. I can't!"
She shuddered and he held her closer still, until she could feel his heart beating against hers.
"Oh Daphne… You never have to worry about that."
"I'm fine, I promise. And I'm going to do everything in my power to stay that way. I'll never leave you, Daphne. Never."
She lifted her head and looked at him. "Really?"
"Absolutely. I couldn't live without you either, Daphne."
She drew him further into her arms and kissed him until they we both breathless. "I love you…" She said against his lips.
"I love you too, Daphne."
As she rested her head against his chest, she laced her fingers through his. "This is so much better than any romantic movie or romance novel."
His heart warmed. It was the greatest compliment he'd ever received.