Niles was pacing his living room, hands in his pockets, while Mel sat, watching him. She had a cup of tea in her hand and sipped occasionally.
Ever since their day with Daphne and Donny, Niles kept wondering if it was really for the best. Was he worthy enough to be with the goddess who had stolen his heart so many years ago?
Stop it. Stop being paranoid. He told himself firmly. Daphne wouldn't hurt you like this. She loves you, and you love her. "More than you can possibly imagine," he whispered.
The phone ringing broke through his thoughts.
"Hello?" Mel asked. Her face grew sullen and bitter. "I see. Thank you." She hung up with force; Niles was surprised the phone didn't break.
"Yes?" He asked her. "Who was it?"
She refused to look at him. "We just got a call from the courthouse. The divorce has been finalized."
"She only told me ours. I'm sure Donny and Daphne's has been too. Congratulations, Niles. You got your wish." She ran upstairs and started throwing her possessions into a large cardboard box Niles had taken out of storage days ago.
When everything was in, she forcefully closed it and punched it down. "Damn it! I promised myself I wouldn't cry!"
"Mel?" Niles asked, knocking on the doorway.
"Here's your damn watch!" She screamed, throwing it at him.
He caught it and studied the engraving. "I thought this said 'forever yours?'" He asked.
"When you told me you were in love with her, I took a screwdriver to it. It says something else."
He studied it again. "It's nice to see that you could use the 'F' from 'forever'", he said grimly. "Can you move into your place?"
"There's a place available. I haven't rented it out yet, but I can get it," she said.
"Would you like a ride?" He offered.
"Ohoho, no. You be with your little English muffin. I'll hail a cab." She grabbed the box and began going downstairs, Niles following after her.
"Mel, I'm so sorry."
"If you were sorry, you wouldn't have done this. You would tell Daphne that you would get remarried to me."
"I can't do that!"
"I don't want to talk about it, Niles!"
Niles approached her and put a hand on her shoulder. "Goodbye, Mel."
"Goodbye, Niles," Mel said, staring up at his pale face. She turned away from him and left the Montana.
Niles was already outside Frasier's door. His hands were trembling madly. In a few moments, he would see Daphne… Hopefully.
"Niles, come in," Frasier said, opening the door for him when he knocked. "It got all settled then?"
"Yes," Niles said, sitting down.
"Please. My nerves are going crazy right now."
Frasier chuckled and retrieved a glass of sherry for Niles, who drank it down in one gulp.
"Do you think Donny and Daphne have everything all settled? It may take a different period of time."
"Niles, don't worry about it. If that's the case, it would only be two days at most."
"Two days? My god, that's like two weeks!" Niles screamed.
Frasier rolled his eyes at his brother's exaggeration.
"Hey, guys," Martin said, walking through the door with Eddie. "Had a nice walk with Eddie."
Eddie wagged his tail.
"Thank god, he didn't bring home another doll," Martin muttered.
"He still has that thing?" Niles asked, nodding thankfully at Frasier who had just poured him another glass of sherry.
"Yeah. He sleeps with it! Remember when I was trying to teach Eddie to get his toys just by telling him the name?" Niles nodded. "Well, just to play around, I told him "Eddie, get your doll!" And you know what he does? He jolts into my bedroom and comes out with that thing clenched in his teeth! It's almost as bad as when you started collecting dolls."
"They were collectible figurines of famous playwrights," Frasier explained.
"Oh, I remember those!" Niles said. "I remember I was so envious of that exquisite Shakespeare one. Frasier, another glass, please?"
Frasier squinted at Niles as he poured more sherry into his glass.
"You oughta go easy on that stuff, Niles," Martin said, watching him gulp the drink.
"I'm just exceedingly nervous at the moment," Niles said. "My divorce to Mel has been finalized."
"That's good, isn't it?"
"Well, yes, but what if Daphne and Donny didn't get theirs finalized? We got them filed on the same day, but there's still a slight chance."
"Son, you've got to stop worrying. Daphne loves you, and you're going to get together. And I'm glad! I like Daphne, way better than Maris or Mel."
"I know, Dad," Niles said.
Niles sat down the couch, his glass still in his hand.
The door opened a few seconds later, and Daphne came in.
"Hello!" She said.
"Daphne!" Niles stood up from his seat. The glass slipped out of his hands. Luckily, Frasier, managed to catch it before it smashed. Scowling at Niles, he set it back on the coffee table.
"So…" He said, avoiding her eyes. "Have you…?" He cleared his throat. "Have you heard anything?"
"If you're referring to the divorces, I'm afraid not," Daphne said. "How about you?"
"No, nothing," Niles said. As soon as the words left his mouth, he had to pinch his bleeding nose. "Excuse me." He hurried off into the kitchen. Frasier followed him immediately.
"Niles, why did you tell her that?" Frasier asked as Niles wiped his nose clean with a Kleenex.
"I couldn't tell her the truth."
"In my head, I had fantasized the perfect scenario. Daphne comes through the door and we tell each other that were are no longer bound to other people. Then, we run into each other's arms and share the most magnificent kiss. Oh, Frasier, it would be perfect."
"You've got to stop treating your relationship with Daphne like it's some storybook romance, because it's not! When you met her, you were instantly smitten. And you fantasized about her constantly. You had this idea that you were going to confess your love to her over a romantic candlelit dinner and at once, she would say that she had always felt the same way. You imagined the most perfect scenario for yourself. But, none of that happened, Niles," Frasier said. "You told Daphne how you felt the eve of her wedding. She did not leap into your arms and tell you she wanted to be with you. No, she married Donny. Your perfect thoughts in your head did not come true. You cannot expect this to go according to plan, because let's face it, nothing goes our way. You need to go in there and tell her the truth."
Niles looked at his brother thoughtfully. "You're right, Frasier. I can't expect my dreams to come true the way I want them to. My dreams are coming true in a completely different way, and I should be grateful for that. I'm surprised I didn't realize this sooner, seeing as you set excellent examples of things not going your way."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, you always imagine that with every girlfriend you're going to have the happiest life ever with her. But, that didn't work out, did it? Nannette, Diane, Lilith, Madeline, Lana…"
"I get it, Niles!" Frasier barked.
"Faye, Cassandra…" Niles went on.
"Shut up, you nit!"
Daphne was now sitting on the couch with Eddie resting his head on her lap.
"Daphne, I need to tell you something," Niles said.
"What is it?"
"Mel and I did get a call from the courthouse today. We are officially divorced."
"Oh, but why did you…?"
"It's nothing. I'm sorry I lied to you. I hope everything gets settled by tomorrow. Because I really, really need you."
Daphne laughed. "I need you too."
"Well, I'm going to head back. If you hear anything, come to the Montana," Niles told her, walking towards the door.
"Make sure you two come back here," Frasier said after Niles. "We must celebrate!"
"Alright," Niles said, leaving the apartment.
Donny had just gotten the call about the divorces the next day. He felt this twinge of pain in his heart, but he knew it was for the best. After his outburst at Mel, he would be a hypocrite if he tried to keep Niles and Daphne apart.
"Well, it's over, Daph," he told her after they had finished packing and put it all into a cab.
"Thank you, Donny," she said.
"You have a happy life with him, alright? I know you will."
He embraced her tightly and kissed her on top of her head. "Goodbye, Daphne."
She smiled tearfully at him and left his apartment.
Daphne stared up at Niles's door. She couldn't believe this was really happening. She raised her hand and knocked swiftly.
"Coming!" She heard him say.
Her heart was hammering madly, waiting for the doors to open so she could see her knight in shining armor.
Niles opened the doors, smiling hugely at her.
"Daphne," he said, reaching for her hand.
She threw her arms around his neck and held onto him tightly.
"We're free," she cried.
"Free." It had such a nice ring to it. The word just rolled off his tongue.
Niles balanced Daphne's chin with his index finger and caught her lips with his. The kiss on the balcony had nothing on this. He was responding with so much enthusiasm that Daphne was lifted off her feet.
She sat on his lap when he sat on the fainting couch.
His fingers were running through her silky brown hair and hers were trailing up and down his back.
When the kiss was finally over, they burst into a fit of giggles.
"Oh, Daphne, this is just how it should be," Niles said, brushing her cheekbone with his thumb.
"Yes," she agreed. "This is the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. Thank you, Niles."
"No, no, thank you, Daphne."
They kissed again, but were soon interrupted by the sound of a doorbell.
"Who could that be?" Niles grunted. "Excuse me, my love."
Daphne flushed. The butterflies in her stomach jostled around when he called her that. She quite liked it.
"Frasier, what are you doing here?" Niles asked.
"Daphne left her scarf over at my place last night, so I went Donny's to return it; he told me she came here," Frasier said.
"You're right. Dad and I were on our way to the market, and we saw Daphne driving over here. We just had to come by!"
"Well, I take it you know the good news?" Niles asked.
"No, because I'm an imbecile, Niles."
"Ah, that's the first step, Frasier! Admitting it!"
"What did you say?"
"Hey, hey! Quiet, the both of you!" Martin shouted. "This is a moment of celebration! Now, let's break out the beer and watch some Mariners!"
"That's your idea of a celebration?" Niles asked flatly. Martin shrugged.
"HEY! I got here as fast as I could without getting pulled over!" Roz shrieked, bolting into the Montana, her arms outstretched. The first thing she did was embrace Daphne. "I am so happy for you!"
"Thank you, Roz!" Daphne yelled, hugging her back.
"You better treat her right, Niles."
"Would you expect anything less from this devoted boyfriend?" Niles asked, smirking.
"Oh, I am so jealous!" Roz cried loudly. When everyone raised their eyebrows at her outburst, she added angrily, "I'm jealous she has a boyfriend! I need a boyfriend!" Roz laughed and hugged Niles. "Congratulations."
"Thank you," Niles said.
"I suppose I should tell my mother, shouldn't I?" Daphne asked, laughing nervously. She went to the phone and dialed. "Hello, Mum. Donny? Oh, well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. We divorced. No," she laughed. "He didn't find someone smarter and prettier. It was my decision for divorce. Yes, he was nice, but… MUM! I wasn't as in love with him as I thought! I'm not going to be alone forever. I'm with someone else. I divorced him because I was in love with someone else! Dr. Crane's younger brother." Daphne smile and pressed speaker phone.
"If he's as shrill as that Dr. Crane, he's no good for you," Gertrude rambled on. "But, I've seen him. He's a looker, alright. And… he's a doctor! You have me blessing, Daphne, dear."
"Nigel, where have you put the whiskey now?" Simon yelled from the background.
"Thank you, Mum. I should get going. Bye."
"Don't let this one go!" Gertrude yelled.
"Goodbye, Mum," Daphne said again, hanging up the phone. "Oh, she's so funny, isn't she?"
"As I've said, I can put up with them," Niles said, snaking his arm around Daphne's waist.
"Is somebody going to get these boxes?" Frasier called, pointing at the boxes next to the door.
"Oh, my stuff!" Daphne squealed. "Niles?"
"I think we should wait a little bit before you move in. We'll take it back to Frasier's apartment later."
"You don't want Daphne to move in with you?" Martin asked.
"Not yet," Niles said. "I don't want my reason for coming to Frasier's to be gone just yet."
"So, you don't come to see us?" Frasier demanded.
"I was kidding. Learn to take a joke, Frasier."
"Let's celebrate already!" Roz and Martin screamed.
"Well, I can make dinner reservations," Frasier offered.
"No," Niles said. "Let's stay in. Sometimes it's better not to go out. We have everything we need right here."
"Except for Eddie," Martin pointed out.
"I repeat: we have everything we need right here."
"We can celebrate with Eddie tomorrow," Frasier told Martin. "Wine?"
"He's lucky I happen to stock up for his visits," Niles muttered as he and Frasier went into the kitchen to get drinks.
"I'm so happy for you, Niles," Frasier said.
"Thank you, Frasier. Thank you for caring enough about me to do this."
Frasier smiled, patting his brotherly on the shoulder.
"Here's the wine, and Dad's beer," Niles said, putting all the drinks on a tray and taking them out to everybody.
"I propose a toast!" Frasier announced.
"Oh, geez," Martin muttered, expecting Frasier to start off with a quotation from some famous poet or something.
However, Frasier just merely raised his glass and said, "To Niles and Daphne."
"To Niles and Daphne," Roz and Martin toasted.
They all clinked glasses and drank their drinks.
Daphne's heart fluttered. She felt so extremely lucky at this moment. She never expected to find a man who loved her unconditionally like Niles did. He always occupied her mind since Frasier told her everything. It came as a shock, but she was glad he did; Niles was everything she was looking for.
Niles smiled hugely. He had no idea what he had done to deserve this kind of bliss. A loving family, a wonderful friend, and a beautiful, kind girlfriend. He was so grateful to have all these wonderful people in his life.
He put his arm around Daphne and held her close. It was finally over. The pain was gone, and he finally had his angel. Never, not since the first moment he had laid his eyes upon the new, charming physical therapist, had he stopped thinking about her.
Thank you for your constant support on my fanfictions. I never expected that my work would get the reactions it has. I have more fanfictions coming in the future, including more Frasier, Harry Potter, and various other fandoms. Thank you once again. I really appreciate it. :]
Also, I had to do the "forever yours' thing. That was the one time Mel made me laugh. And I needed to write more Martin, so I added his frustration with the doll thing. lol