Moments later, they made their way up the stairs to the roof. Daphne's heels made the climb a bit difficult, but Niles carefully held her hand.

Daphne gasped when she stepped out on to the roof. "It's so beautiful up here!"

Niles smiled. "Yes." He and Daphne stood near the edge of the roof. A railing prevented them from falling. The height made Niles nervous, but what scared him most was what he had to say. "Remember what you said earlier, about me being a good actor?" Daphne nodded. "Well, I'm not that good."

Daphne looked at him in confusion. "But, Dr. Crane, you nearly had me fooled for a moment."

Niles took her hand, just as he had earlier at the ball. "Daphne, I wasn't trying to fool anyone at all. I meant what I said."

Daphne's eyes widened in surprise. "You meant all of that?" Daphne could hardly believe it. He'd treated her so well at the ball, and she'd figured he was simply trying to be polite. Sure, he was always complimenting her, but she'd never given much thought to why.

"Yes," Niles replied. "Being with you tonight was a dream come true. Not because of the scene we created, but simply because you were there. It's true I've been lonely since Maris and I have separated. But the one thing that's kept me going is you. Ever since I met you, I knew you were different from all the women I've ever met."

Daphne blushed. She could hardly believe all of this was true. She'd always thought of Dr. Crane as a friend, someone who was always happy to listen to her problems, no matter how trivial. His sweet compliments never failed to brighten her day.

She was very aware of the differences in their classes. However kind and caring he might be, she was still his father's healthcare worker. But as she looked at him now, she understood that he didn't care about any of that. Slowly she reached out, taking hold of his hand. When he brought her hand to his lips for a kiss, she thought she might faint on the spot.

Suddenly she realized she wanted to hold his hand forever. No one else had loved her like this. The idea of jumping headfirst into a relationship with Niles was scary. But he had a way of making her feel safe. She felt herself falling for him, and there wasn't much she could do to stop herself. When Niles put his arms around her, she knew this was exactly where she belonged.

The End