Once more he could feel her eyes on him, but he was determined not to meet her gaze.
With a heavy heart, he rose from the sofa, anxious to leave as quickly as possible. Her hand went to his back, which caused him to blink away tears.
When he took a deep breath, the release was staggered; a sure sign that he was dangerously close to crying.
Dear God, what would she think of him, a grown man, crying over something as trivial as unrequited love? And a married man at that!
Even if he was unhappily married... and very lonely.
"Dr. Crane, where are you going?"
"I-I'm sorry, Daphne. I have to go. I hope you feel better soon."
Before she could protest, he walked out the door and closed it behind him.
It was completely ridiculous. Why on earth should he be so upset over Daphne not sharing his feelings?
Maris certainly never loved him the way he'd loved her. That was apparent from the moment he first fell in love with her.
And still he stayed.
He sighed deeply and stared at the elevator doors. "Why are these damn things taking so long?" He muttered.
When the sweet voice filled his ears, he turned and found himself staring into the eyes of his goddess.
"What are you doing out here and... Oh Dr. Crane... you're crying!"
"Oh... No, I..."
She moved toward him and reached up, brushing a tear from his cheek.
"Nothing, Daphne. It's all right. Should probably be going home."
Before he could reach for the elevator door she grabbed his hand.
Slowly he turned to face her.
"I've upset you, haven't I?"
He looked away a little too quickly.
"You don't have to say anything. I can see it on your face."
She moved toward him and took him in her arms, holding him for several minutes; the sweet scent of her perfume mixed with her shampoo and wafted under his nose.
"I would never hurt you, Dr. Crane. You're a wonderful man. You're sweet and kind... always so generous and caring about others."
When she laid her head against his chest, he shivered.
"I'm so sorry if I hurt you. I wish I knew what I said to you last night because you're obviously too upset to tell me. Can you ever forgive me?"
He smiled and hugged her again.
"Of course I forgive you. And you could never hurt me, Daphne. You're an absolute angel."
As he turned to push the elevator call button, he heard her gasp in surprise.
The doors opened and he stepped inside.
"Daphne? About what you said to me last night?"
"Yes, Dr. Crane?"
He moved toward her, boldly placing a kiss on her cheek.
"What was that for?"
"I love you too."
Without another word he returned to the elevator, smiling at her stunned expression.
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