As much as I loved the idea that Niles and I were alone, I couldn't help feeling a bit nervous.
"Here you are, Daphne." He said, bringing me the breakfast dishes.
"Thank you, Dr. Crane. But you really don't have to stay here. I'm sure you have better things to do, like see patients."
"Actually I don't have any patients until later this afternoon. But I can see that you're a bit uneasy about this. Do you... want me to leave?"
The hesitant way he asked made my heart ache.
"No." I said. I want you to stay with me forever. I added silently.
When the dishes were done, Niles and I cleaned up the kitchen.
"Thank you so much for helping me, Dr. Crane." I said.
"It was my pleasure, Daphne." He replied.
I felt like melting. He was such a gentleman; and so handsome. I could hardly keep my eyes off of him.
"Is something wrong?" He asked.
I swallowed hard. "No, why?"
"You seem awfully quiet."
"Oh, well... I just..."
We stared at each other, and began moving closer and closer until our mouths were just inches apart. Niles was just a bit shorter than me and before I could stop myself, I leaned over and-.
"Daphne, can I tell you something?"
Startled, I stepped back. "Yes, of course."
I saw him swallow hard and when he reached over and brushed the hair from me face, I gasped lightly.
"Daphne Moon, You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life and I worship you. Since I met you, sunshine has filled my darkest days and my heart is filled with more love than I ever thought was possible."
At the familiar words, my mouth began to tremble and I found it hard to breathe.
When he sighed, somewhat irritably, I was afraid I'd hurt his feelings.
"You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life and-."
I put my fingers to his soft lips to silence him. "No, I mean... where did you hear that?"
"Oh... From this."
I watched as he reached behind his back and handed me a paperback book. I didn't even have to read the title to know what book it was. One glance at the cover told me all I needed to know.
My hand flew to me trembling mouth. "Oh my God..."
With shaking hands, I glanced at the title and sure enough, I was right.
Love's Magical Journey.
"I-I don't understand." I said. I've read this book hundreds of times; memorized every word. But how-."
"I read it." Niles said.
"I wanted to read something I could share with you."
"You read a romance novel? For me?"
"I just want to make you happy." Niles said. You see, Daphne. I'm in love with you. And I don't care what Dad or Frasier or even Maris say about it."
Trying not to smile, I shook my head. "I'm sorry but it's too late."
The sadness in his eyes almost made me cry.
"Oh. Well... Then I guess I'll be going."
"No, Dr. Crane wait. I wasn't finished."
He gave a small smile then. "I'm sorry Daphne. What were you going to say?"
"You see, it's too late for you to want to make me happy, Dr. Crane. Because I already am."
He reached out and touched my cheek.
"There's something else I wanted have to say."
"What's that, Daphne?"
"I love you too, Niles Crane."
We leaned toward each other and kissed for the first time. When the kiss ended I have to admit I was a bit surprised. It was nothing at all like Prince Marco and Princess Alexa's fairy tale kiss.
This kiss was a million times better... And so were all the ones that followed.
Thanks for reading! A note about Daphne's wine research and Niles' romance novel reading; I got the idea for that scenario from the movie "Wet Hot American Summer" in which David Hyde Pierce stars. There is an adorable scene in the movie where he and Janine Garafalo research topics that the other likes at the same time in order to have more in common. DHP is wonderful in the movie and it's definitely a unique role for him to play. Worth watching for sure!