Shoutout to Smthnborrowediamblue for the suggestion for a "Daphne's Room" story!
"So..." Frasier cleared his throat uncomfortably as he stood in the living room, facing a very angry Daphne, who had just emerged with her bags already packed. "So..."
He glanced at Martin, hoping for an out, but Martin gazed at him fixedly. This was his son's only chance to convince Daphne to stay in the Crane's employ. The look told Fraiser, you'd better not screw this up.
In the short time Daphne had been living here, Martin had grown to consider her not just as a therapist but as a friend. They understood each other, something he wasn't sure he'd ever have with either of his sons, and shared a love for the simpler, down-to-earth things in life. Daphne was, Martin was not ashamed to admit, a buffer between him and Frasier.
"If you have something to say, say it," the Englishwoman said coldly. "Otherwise, I will stay with a friend until I find further employment."
She headed for the door, obviously intent on following her decision to to find another job. Thank goodness that Niles wasn't here to see this (having just been called away by Maris)-if he knew Daphne was this close to being out of their lives...
"Daphne, wait," Frasier said desperately. "I'm sorry. I really am, and it won't happen again."
"Yes, so you've said before," Daphne said acidly.
"Fras'," Martin prodded in an undertone.
Frasier gathered up his remaining pride, swallowed hard, and continued to speak.
"I-I thought I'd make a peace offering. Show you I intend to honor what I said...for good this time."
Daphne returned to him, gazing levelly at him with the pointed glare that made him shrink back.
"This better be good," she said, with a trace of impudence that her boss would've corrected, if things were not so dire.
"Well, you've been in this city a while, and I thought you would like not having to borrow my car all the time or ask your friends for rides. So...I'm willing to get one for you."
Frasier almost hoped Daphne would refuse the offer, that the gesture was enough to make her stay. He could imagine Niles' gloating. After he'd chastised his little brother for "buying" Maris' forgiveness with a car, here he, the elder Crane, was doing the same thing! But much to his injured pride, Daphne smiled brightly and nodded.
"Apology and offer accepted," she said cheerfully. "Now, I just need to put me bags away and we'll go shopping!"
"Now?" Frasier exclaimed.
Frasier shot his father a withering look, but knew it wasn't up for argument. His phone call to the attractive woman he'd met at the wine club would have to wait. Hopefully she wouldn't think the delay meant he wasn't interested.
"I'm ready to go, Dr. Crane!" Daphne said cheerfully, breaking into Frasier's sour mood.
"Daph', you look great!" Martin exclaimed.
"Thank you, Mr. Crane," Daphne smiled broadly.
Frasier's lips twitched into a bemused smile as he looked at her new ensemble; she'd donned a smart, flattering, black felt coat, and she'd put her hair up, securing it with a jaunty bandana. Sunglasses, much in the style worn by actresses of Hollywood's golden age, completely the ensemble. Daphne noticed him looking and gave a conspiratorial grin. Frasier groaned inwardly. She was really going to make a show of this, wasn't she?
"Let's go!" she said cheerfully. "Mr. Crane, you're welcome to come, too."
"Absolutely! I can give you advice, though I'm sure Frasier will spare no expense."
The look his son gave him was full of withering indignance, but Martin only smiled back placidly, furthering Frasier's annoyance.
"Eddie, you're coming with us, too," Martin said, scooping up the little dog in his arms.
"What? I want to make sure Eddie likes it, too! After all, Daphne will be taking him to the vet in this."
"Fine, but if he gets dog hair inside my BMW..." Frasier threatened.
Half an hour and several Grammy Moon stories later, they were at the dealership, Daphne radiating a mischievous excitement that amused Martin and irritated Frasier. A dealer immediately swooped down upon them, but Martin waved him away with authority.
"Never trust a dealer, Daphne," he said as they started looking, sans salesman. "All they want to do is sell, sell, sell. There's no honesty in the game."
"I'd trust your advice any day. I'm sure you've had lots of experience buying cars," Daphne said sunnily.
"Just call me 'old' instead of playing coy," Martin kidded.
Frasier trailed behind, disinterested, until Daphne chanced upon a powder-blue convertible. Martin approved, outlining the car's finer points and good specs, until a salesman named Matt sailed in.
"Got your eye on that one, huh?" he asked as Daphne slid into the driver's seat, Eddie jumping in next to her.
Daphne checked out the interior features-and Frasier checked out the price posted on the windowshield.
"Look at that sporting little sedan over there," he feigned giving advice. "I think that one's more reliable."
"Is that a Mercedes dealership across the street?" Daphne said pertly, causing Frasier to grimace and Martin to laugh-she was on to her boss's little scheme.
"I'm sure this one will do," Frasier muttered.
Daphne smiled triumphantly.