Alone at last, every word that Niles had rehearsed hundreds of times over seemed to have disappeared and suddenly he had no idea what to say.
"I'm so sorry, Dr. Crane."
He turned to Daphne in disbelief and sat down beside her on the sofa. "What could you possibly be sorry for? Do you have any idea how deliriously happy you've made me?"
Niles took her hand and kissed it. "I'm far beyond the realms of euphoria."
"But what about Mel? I mean, you looked so happy and-."
"Mel's not important right now. All I care about is you."
She gasped and her voice quivered when she tried to speak.
His hand trembled as he reached out and caressed her cheek, brushing away a tear with his thumb.
"I've been dreaming about this moment for so long, Daphne."
She moved closer to him and kissed him tenderly. The touch of her lips on his was a feeling unlike anything he'd ever known before. If this was heaven, he surely didn't want to leave it.
Finally he swallowed hard, afraid to ask the question that he'd wanted to ask since that fateful moment.
"D-Daphne did you mean what you said to Frasier? Do you really have feelings for me? And think about me all the time?"
She nodded tearfully, smiling when he reached into his pocket and handed her his handkerchief.
"I do... I can't seem to stop."
He couldn't resist brushing a lock of hair from her forehead and placing a kiss there. And then, overcome with love, he hugged her fiercely.
"You do? Oh Daphne!"
"I just wish I had realized it before Donny-."
Her voice trailed away and she suddenly seemed unable to meet his gaze.
"Oh God... Donny..."
She turned to him and her worried expression made his heart ache.
"I suppose I should break the news to Donny. Oh God, this is going to be so hard! What kind of horrible person falls in love with someone else just days before their wedding?"
When she began to sob, Niles drew her close, hating to see her hurting so badly.
"Daphne, you're not horrible. You're beautiful, kind and the most compassionate person I know."
"But I don't know how I'm going to tell Donny." She said against his chest. "And Mel-."
He kissed her again and drew her even closer.
"We'll get through this together. But let's not worry about that right now."
When she snuggled into his chest he allowed himself to relax and gathered her into his arms. As she rested her head on his shoulder, the scent of her shampoo and perfume wafted under his nose. It was pure heaven, holding her like this and he never wanted the feeling to end.
"I love you, Dr. Crane." She said dreamily.
Hearing those words made Niles want to fly and he could hardly contain his excitement. Instead he kissed her again. "I love you too, Daphne. But would you do me the honor of calling me Niles?"
His comment was met with silence and for a moment he feared that he'd gone too far. After all, mere moments had passed since he'd shared his feelings. It would take some time for them to sink in. But it didn't matter right now.
All that mattered was this blissful moment when fate had intervened.
When he glanced at her he smiled. For his angel had fallen asleep in his arms. No wonder she was tired. She'd been through a lot for one day. And he feared that their lives were about to become more stressful.
And once more he told himself it didn't matter. He was happier than he'd ever dreamed.
"I love you, Daphne." He whispered into her hair.
Slowly his eyelids grew heavy and he began to drift off into slumber. Seconds later he could have sworn he heard his angel sigh against his chest.
And then the faint sound of her voice.
"I love you too... Niles."