My brain was racing with Daphne's yells. I had never ever thought she would yell at me. It's my own fault, I suppose. I did give her the advice not to marry Donny. I did advise her not to follow my previous advice, and she believed I was humoring her, making fun of her psychic abilities. I was not humoring her; I'm not even sure if her psychic abilities are legitimate. All I know is I was advising her not to marry Donny and follow these visions because I loved her. I should've known better. How selfish can I be? I was willing to ruin what could be a beautiful relationship for her. It's better if she's happy, right? Even if I'm not.
Frasier and Dad sat next to me on the couch. Daphne said she was going to deny Donny's proposal. But… what do I do? I can hardly make my move. I glanced over at Frasier, hoping he had some sort of opinion to give me, but he was silent as well, so no luck there.
The doorbell rang, and Frasier sped to the door to answer it. Donny walked in, smiling. I felt bad for him; my stupid advice was going to ruin his life. My stupid advice was going to ruin both of our lives.
"Hey, guys!" Donny said happily. I could see the bulge from the box that contained the ring in his pocket.
"Hey, Donny," Dad replied, waving.
Frasier and I both greeted him.
And then… Daphne came in. Beautiful, as always.
"Hi, Donny," she said softly.
"Good evening, darling," he said, kissing her lightly. "Sit down, please."
Daphne nodded and sat down on a chair.
"I was thinking a lot since that time we went to that nice bed and breakfast. I was thinking about when you told you and your dad would sit on the porch and stargaze. And he told you 'Daphne, the man who is worthy of you is a man who is willing to catch all the stars in the sky for you.' Well…" Donny presented the ring. "I caught one star for you, and I would spend a lifetime catching the rest. Will you marry me? I'll give you time to think about it." I am willing to catch the stars for her. I'd even try and get the moon if she asked me.
"I don't have to think about it," she said. Here it comes… I braced myself. "Yes."
What? Yes? She accepted?
Donny embraced her, laughing.
Frasier and Dad looked at me, and my eyes were glued on Donny and Daphne. They were engaged? What?
"Come on, guys," Donny said. "You look more surprised than I do."
Of course I do, Donny; I was expecting her to refuse.
"Oh, congratulations!" Frasier and Dad exclaimed striding towards them, arms outstretched. They hugged them.
"Excuse me," I said rather meekly; I was surprised no one other than Frasier and Dad realized how my voice was. "I'm going into the kitchen…"
I slid past everyone and used the counter to support myself. Oh, god. My heart was racing; am I dreaming? Please, tell me I'm dreaming!
The door opened. I peeked over my shoulder and sighed in relief. It was only Frasier. I didn't want Daphne or Donny seeing me like this.
I felt Frasier's hand pressed down against my shoulder. I tried to smile, but it was useless.
"I'm so sorry, Niles," he whispered.
"I know," was all I could say.
I could tell he wanted to say more, but he was interrupted when the door opened again, Dad entering this time.
"Hey, Fras, why don't you take this champagne to them?" He asked, taking out a bottle of champagne from the fridge and handing it to Frasier. Frasier nodded and left to the living room. "You know, Niles," Dad said. "I'd do anything to fix this for you."
"I know, Dad." I looked at him. "It's my own fault. I had chance after chance to tell Daphne how I felt, and I kept my mouth shut, until tonight, when I probably should've." I laughed, but there was no mirth in it. It was one of those depressed laughs I let out when I was feeling gloomy.
"Dr. Crane?" Daphne asked, stepping into the kitchen.
I quickly took deep breaths, composing myself. It wasn't that effective, but it would be enough to get me through this dreadful conversation I was about to have with her.
"Yes, Daphne?" I asked. My voice had grown considerably weaker, but she said nothing.
"I wanted to apologize for being so cross with you. But, I thought about you said earlier, and I realized I do want to marry Donny."
Daphne, don't you realize the pain you're putting me through right now? Please, just stop. I'm begging you.
"Thank you for being such a good friend," she said, wrapping her arms around my neck.
A friend… that's all I'll ever be to her. Well, it's better than nothing, right?
"I wish you all the best, Daphne," I said, returning her hug. I gently stroked her back, hoping that she would open her eyes and see that I was the one who loved her for so many years.
"Hey, don't squeeze too hard!" Donny yelled. "That's a precious commodity, there."
We broke apart. I was blushing.
Donny went to hug me.
"Oh," I laughed, hugging him back. "Congratulations."
"Daphne, what do you say we go celebrate?" Donny asked.
"I'd love to! Thank you, Dr. Crane. For everything," she said before leaving with Donny to the living room. "Thank you all!" I followed.
"Congrats," Dad said. Frasier nodded.
"She'll be back tomorrow morning!" Donny called, waving at us and escorting Daphne out once she was down putting her coat.
Did he have to say that? It's like rubbing salt into the wound. I wanted to step forward and stop her, but it was too late; she was engaged to another man, and I had no right to declare my love for her. The door was shut, my feelings were sealed.
"Frasier?" I asked.
"Do you mind if I stayed here tonight? I don't think I can make it home."
"Not at all. Take all the time you need," he said, patting my arm.
"Good night," Dad said. "Take care Niles, alright?"
"I'll try." No promises, no strings attached. I took my cellphone. "Daphne?"
I saw Frasier and Dad turn to look at me, confused as to why I was calling Daphne.
"Daphne, I'm staying at Frasier's tonight. Why? Ooh, I'm just really tired. The sofa is not really comfortable. Is it alright… if I stayed in your room? Great. Thank you. Congratulations again." I hung up.
"What the hell?" Frasier barked.
"Frasier, don't start. I just… I have different ways with dealing with heartbreak. Good night." There was no discussion after that, I made sure of it.
I stepped into Daphne's room, a familiar, enticing aroma entering my nostrils. I ran my hands up and down her bed, feeling the softness underneath my fingers. Pulling back the covers, I slipped under, the smell overpowering me. I was overcome by a fit of sobs.
"Control yourself, damn it!" I yelled at myself. "She was never yours, so you have no right to cry!" No matter what I said, it was no use. The tears came, and I could nothing to stop them.
"Niles?" Frasier asked. "Are you alright?"
Don't come in. I don't want you to see me like this.
"I… I'm fine," I lied, and he completely knew it. My voice cracked. "I need some time alone, okay?"
His footsteps receded back to his bedroom, I'm pretty sure.
I shouldn't have done this. I really shouldn't have done this. I just should have gone home. No painful memories there… Well, that's not true. Daphne did come over once during that heat wave. Oh, that heat wave. I shuddered. I was this close to spilling my heart out that day, but that damn alarm cut it short.
Eddie jumped onto my stomach and stared at me. He pressed his head against my chest, and I found myself petting him. He understood, somehow, how I felt. I had the feeling that he was the first one in the house to sense that I was in love with Daphne.
"Eddie, can you go please? I really appreciate your coming in here, but I need to be alone." Eddie licked my hand and jostled away.
It was time to look elsewhere, get a girlfriend, and take my mind off Daphne. If that's possible.
Who am I kidding? No matter who I date, no matter how serious we get, I will always love Daphne! It's not impossible to fall in love with someone else; I need to at least try.
"Oh, Daphne," I whispered into the pillow, my eyes feeling heavy with my remorse.
I was stirred awake when the door was shut. It was probably Frasier. I must have been crying in my sleep, and it annoyed him.
There was still some noise.
I felt someone join me on the bed. An arm wrapped around my waist.
"W-what?" I said.
"Oh!" Daphne exclaimed. "I'm sorry, Dr. Crane! I totally forgot you were staying in here!"
My face had to be red right now. Her arm was around my waist!
"I-it… it's quite alright, Daphne," I whispered. "I'll just get out of your hair." I slid out of the bed.
"Why are you here? I thought you were…" I cleared my throat. "…staying with Donny?"
"Well, I was, but I got the sniffles and a stomachache; he told me I should come home."
"Oh, alright. Feel better, alright? Don't hesitate to ask for anything. A cup of tea, maybe?" I was hopeful; maybe my kindness would turn her affections to me.
"No, thank you. Good night, Dr. Crane," she said, her voice soft and sweet. I wanted to take her in my arms, but I kept them firmly down by my sides.
"Good night, Daphne."
I grabbed some blankets from the cabinet and made myself a little bed on the couch. It didn't feel right here. I felt so at home in Daphne's bed.
I closed my eyes, and with no surprise, I cried myself to sleep, wishing her eternal happiness, even if it was with another man. I love you, Daphne.