"Daphne, what's going on?" Niles asked, wondering why she seemed much too

enthusiastic for someone whose mother was dying. "How can you be so happy about

this?"

"How can I be happy? Are you kiddin'? Donny's going to ask me to marry him!"

Niles stared at her in shock, his heart breaking in two. Seeing how happy she

was, he forced himself to smile.

"Well that's just wonderful news! Congratulations." He said pulling her into an

embrace. "I'm so happy for you!"

"Thank you, Dr. Crane." She said as Niles caught the sympathetic glances of

his father and brother.

Why, Daphne's mother wasn't dying at all. His family was just trying to protect his

feelings. He supposed he should be grateful, but at that moment he was sadder than

he'd ever been in his life.

"Oh! Donny will be here any minute, so I'd better get ready!" Daphne exclaimed. "He

said he needed to talk to me about somethin' and now I know what it is! Oh, I'm so

excited, I can hardly stand it! I'd better get into me room and change me clothes. I

want to look absolutely beautiful for Donny when he gets here!"

"Well that shouldn't take long at all because you already are- um..." Niles said, feeling

his face flush pink when he realized what he had said.

"Thank you, Dr. Crane. That's very sweet." Daphne said smiling warmly at Niles.

The doorbell rang, causing Daphne to gasp lightly. "Oh God, he's here already! I'll be

right back!"

Niles sighed as he watched Daphne disappear into the hallway.

"I'll get that." Frasier said, hurrying to answer the door. "Well, Donny! Welcome."

"Hello Frasier, Martin, Niles." Donny said.

"Please, come in. Daphne's been expecting you." Frasier said, smiling at his father.

"She sure has!" Martin said with a smile.

"Oh, well. That's always nice to hear." Donny said with a nervous laugh that Niles

took notice of. He seemed much too nervous for a guy who was about to propose.

"Donny!"

Niles looked up to see Daphne walk into the room and his heart skipped a beat. She

was absolutely stunning; her hair was swept up on top of her head and she wore a

blue silk dress with tiny white flowers. When she ran past him with outstretched

arms, her perfume wafted in the air, making him feel lightheaded. He watched as she

and Donny embraced and shared a kiss, but he couldn't help noticing how distant

Donny seemed.

"So you wanted to talk to me?" Daphne asked, taking Donny's hand.

"Um, yeah. Why don't we go somewhere more private, okay?"

"Are you kidding? I want me family here with me! I can hardly believe it

meself!" Daphne said.

Donny looked at her in surprise. "Your family? Look, Daphne..."

"Now, I know you want this to be a surprise and all so I won't say anything until

you're finished. Dr Crane, why don't you and your brother sit right on the sofa? You

too, Mr. Crane. I want you all to be a part of this wonderful moment!"

Niles looked sadly at the door, wishing he could leave. But there was no way he could

leave now. Not without hurting Daphne's feelings. And he'd never want to do

anything like that.

"You know Daphne..." Frasier said, catching a glimpse of Niles' sad face.

"Maybe you and Donny should be alone. After all this is an occasion you'll never

forget."

"What is he talking about?" Donny asked.

But Daphne only laughed and kissed his cheek. "Now don't pretend you don't know

what's goin' on because that's my job, remember? And as for you Dr. Crane, I want

you all here with me. You're my family and I love you."

Frasier smiled and hugged Daphne. "Well, we love you too, Daphne."

"We sure do." Martin said, glancing at Niles.

"Okay, if you insist." Donny said. "I guess this is it."

Reluctantly, Niles followed Martin and Frasier to the couch and sat down. In just a

matter of minutes, the woman he worshiped above all others would no longer be

within reach; a thought that caused tears to well behind his eyes. Tears that he

refused to let fall.

"Daphne, are you sure about this?" Donny was asking as she took his hand and led

him to a plush chair in the middle of the living room.

"Of course! Don't be silly! Shall I sit here?" She asked, motioning to the ottoman.

"Sure, if it'll make you more comfortable." Donny said.

"It's a big moment." Daphne said; her face beaming with happiness. "I can hardly sit

still!"

Donny took her hand, causing Niles to shift uncomfortably on the sofa.

"Daphne, we've been seeing each other for a while now and-."

"Yes?"

"Are you sure you're comfortable with my doing this here? It's not exactly the most

appropriate place." Donny said.

"Well of course it is!" Daphne said. "Stop beatin' around the bush and tell me what

this big news is!"

"Okay, here goes." Donny said. "Daphne I care about you a lot. You're... you're

beautiful, sweet, incredibly loving and, well... any man in the world would be

lucky to have you."

Daphne's eyes filled with tears. "Oh, Donny..."

"So I want to be completely honest with you."

Daphne swallowed nervously. "Of course..."

Donny took a deep breath before continuing. "I'm in love with someone else."

Niles, Frasier and Martin exchanged stunned glances, and then returned their gaze to

Daphne, who wore an equally shocked expression.

"We'll leave you two alone." Frasier said as he, Martin and Niles rose from the sofa.

But upon seeing Daphne's pleading look, he motioned for them to sit back down.

Daphne's eyes went back to Donny. "Wh-what?" She managed to say.

"I'm in love with someone else. I-In fact, I'm going to ask her to marry me."

"Oh... Well... That's just... I'm very happy for you, Donny."

Niles was horrified. How dare Donny treat Daphne so disgracefully! Getting her hopes

up and then destroying them so quickly!

"I'm sorry to spring it on you like this. I just... thought you should know the truth."

Donny said.

"Well it was certainly unexpected; especially considerin' that I actually thought that

you were going to ..."

"Going to what?"

"Well it doesn't matter anyway. I-I'm glad you stopped by." Daphne said, her voice

quivering as she spoke. "I'll just see you out."

"We can still be friends, right? No hard feelings?" Donny asked when they reached

the door.

"Oh of course." Daphne said. "Goodbye Donny."

He gave one last wave to Frasier, Martin and Niles before closing the door behind him.

Niles' heart ached, watching Daphne stare at the door in silence. Slowly she turned

around and looked at them.

How he longed to take her in his arms and comfort her, but he didn't dare. She was

much too fragile right now.

Frasier rose from the couch and walked over to her, laying a hand on her shoulder.

"Oh Daphne... I-I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry."

She looked at him through tear-filled eyes. "It's all right, Dr. Crane. It's not like it's the

first time I've been dumped by a man."

"Come here." Frasier said offering her his outstretched arms. He went to hug her, but

she tearfully shook her head and stepped away.

"Oh Geez, I'm sorry, Daph." Martin said, glancing helplessly at Frasier. "Is there

anything we can do?"

"I think I'd like to be alone if you don't mind." Daphne said.

"Of course. Dad? Niles? Care to join me for dinner at Le Cigare Volant?"

Um... Sure Fras, but can't we go to The Timber Mill instead? I'm dying for a steak!"

Martin said. "Niles, you joining us?"

Niles sighed. "No, I think I'll just head on home."

"Daphne are you sure you're going to be okay?"

Daphne sniffled and smiled bravely. "Yes, I'll be just fine. You go and have a good

time. I'm just going to fix meself a light meal and go to bed early. I'm rather tired

anyway."

"Well... All right. We won't be long." Frasier said, escorting Niles and his father out of

the apartment.

"That poor kid." Martin said. "I should have never said a word about that damn ring! I

mean, I just assumed-."

"It's a perfectly normal assumption Dad." Frasier said. "After all, they've been seeing

each other for a while now, although I have to admit it was a bit soon for them to

rush into things."

"So what, Daphne having her heart broken is better? What do you think, Niles?"

Martin asked.

Niles could only stare at the closed door.

"Well come on, Dad." Frasier said. "We want to get a good table. We'll hold the

elevator for you, Niles."

"Oh, you know what? I'm so absent minded today." Niles said. "I left my car keys on

the table. I'll just go get them."

"Okay, we'll wait for you." Frasier said.

"No that's all right. You two go ahead." Niles urged.

"See you later, Son." Martin said with a wave as he and Frasier got into the elevator.

When the elevator doors closed, Niles turned to the front door of condo 1901.

Slowly he opened the door and walked into the living room, disheartened when he

saw no sign of Daphne.

He hated to bother her. After all, she had asked to be left alone. But the thought of

her being hurt like this pained him deeply.

Just then he heard a noise coming from the kitchen.

"Daphne?"

When she didn't respond, he walked to the kitchen and peered into the doorway. His

heart ached when he found her holding a carton of milk, sobbing as she leaned her

head against the refrigerator door.

"Dr. Crane..."

Before he could stop himself, he walked toward her and put his hand on her shoulder.

To his surprise, she put the milk carton on the counter and fell into his arms, sobbing.

He held her tightly, rubbing her back while she cried.

"It's okay. I'm here." He whispered, praying that the words would somehow soothe

her broken heart.

She let him hold her for a long time, resting her head on his chest. "I'm so sorry,

Daphne." He said softly.

Finally she raised her head, causing him to brush a fallen lock of hair away from her

cheek.

"Thank you, Dr. Crane."

"Are you going to be okay?" He asked.

She smiled then. "Sure. I guess I'm just destined to be alone the rest of me life. It'll

take some getting used to, but it's definitely not the first time I've been dumped."

"Daphne... you're not..."

"What Dr. Crane?"

He swallowed hard, unable to believe what he was about to say.

"Um... You're not alone, Daphne." He repeated, as he reached into his pocket and

handed her his handkerchief.

"It sure feels like it." She said, blotting her eyes.

"Well, you're not. You have Frasier and Dad..."

"I know..." She said with a nod. "They're like me family."

"And you have someone else."

Daphne laughed nervously and sniffled. "And who would that be?"

"Me." He said.

"Dr. Crane... That's very sweet." She said, returning the carton of milk to the

refrigerator.

"It's the truth. I love you, Daphne." He blurted out.

"W-what?"

"Um... I love you. I-I mean... I'm in love with you." He said.

She stared at him in disbelief, causing him to laugh nervously. "Well... that was

certainly embarrassing."

"I'm not embarrassed." She said with a smile.

His face reddened. "Oh..."

"Thank you, Dr. Crane."

"What could you possibly have to thank me for?" Niles asked.

"For being so wonderful." She said.

"Daphne..."

She leaned over and kissed him tenderly, causing him to gasp in surprise.

When the kiss ended, he could still feel the touch of her lips on his. It was a kiss

unlike anything he could have ever imagined.

"Wow... that was..."

"Amazing..." She sighed when he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her

again... and again...

The End