Author's Note: Don't worry, I'm still working on "New Life Beginning," but this is just a little birthday story for my friend Andrea (iloveromance), whose birthday is today (Sept. 15th). I wanted to surprise her with it. I wrote it in a whole day! Please R&R, and I hope it's good. :) And usual disclaimer goes, I don't own anything.
Daphne slowly opened her eyes. She moved her arm on Niles' side of the bed, out of habit. But she started to panic when she was met with an empty space. She started to wonder where her husband could be. They always got up at the same time together. Suddenly, she heard laughter on the baby monitor they kept in their room. It was Niles' voice, mingled together with their children, David and Isabella. David was 6 that year, and Isabella was 2. She smiled at the sweet sound they made. It was like music to her ears. They must be planning some kind of surprise for her birthday. She couldn't wait to see what they were planning. Niles already told her there was going to be a dinner later with all the people she loved: Martin, Ronee, Roz, Alice, and even Frasier & Charlotte were coming in for the occasion. It had been too long since she'd seen her brother-in-law and his fiancé. Only her parents couldn't make it in town for the celebration, but there would be a phone call to them later.
She smiled when she thought of her kids & Niles working together. The kids always liked to do stuff with their daddy. Niles was the best father. He was always making sure David got to school on time, while Daphne tended to Isabella. All at the same time of going to work & seeing his patients every day. She was truly blessed in having a wonderful, loving family.
"Come on now, we've got to get this ready if we want to surprise Mommy," Niles' voice floated from the baby monitor.
Daphne thought about getting up and going to see what the commotion was, but that would just spoil the surprise. So she got up, went to the bathroom to shower & change. When she got done, she heard a knock on the door, and Niles & kids walking through, with big smiles on their faces.
"SURPRISE!" They shouted. Niles was carrying a tray with eggs, toast, waffles, coffee, orange juice, and a single red rose.
Daphne was truly overwhelmed that they would do this for her. Breakfast in bed…"Is all this for me?"
David was overcome with excitement. Apparently, he had inherited some of the Moon genes. Isabella was her quiet one, but full of amazement and wonder. "Yes, we made breakfast for you Mommy!" David spoke up.
Isabella smiled and said, "Ha'y Irthday Mommy!" She ran over to Daphne and gave her a big hug.
"Aww, thank you sweetie. Your father put you up to this, didn't he?" She looked over at Niles, who smiled and winked.
"Enjoy, my love. There's more where that came from." Niles went over and gave Daphne a hug & kiss that took her breath away. She'll never get tired of being Mrs. Niles Crane…She wished she could stay in his arms forever, but she couldn't, not with the kids there, and this wonderful breakfast getting cold.
"Thank you so much, all of you. I love you!"
"Well, come on Isabella, David. We should go clean up the mess we made," Niles said.
Daphne started to get up, but Niles stopped her. "Oh no you don't. You're not lifting a finger today!"
"Are you sure? I can't just lie here in bed all day."
"Nope, we've got everything under control. Right kids?"
A chorus of "Yes, Daddy" came from David and Isabella. Daphne smiled. "Well, who am I to say no then?"
Niles and the kids left and she enjoyed the wonderful breakfast, thinking of all the blessings she had on this day.
Daphne got through eating, and she took the tray back to the kitchen. David and Isabella were watching TV, the dishes having been cleaned and put away. Niles was with them, and she just stopped and took in the scene for a minute. Her dear husband and children. Daphne and Niles had always wanted a big family, and Daphne wanted to get pregnant again. Her first two pregnancies were a joyous time for her and Niles. Oh sure, there were nerve-wracking moments, but at that moment, she couldn't wait to do it again. David was a wonderful big brother to Isabella. She knew he would probably want a brother though. He idolized his uncle Frasier, and he surely wanted what his dad and uncle Frasier had in their relationship. But she also knew that he would love another sister just as much.
Niles seemed to sense Daphne in the room, and he turned around and grinned. "All done?"
"Yes, can I come join you guys?"
"Sure, there's enough room." He patted the spot next to his on the couch, and she sat down, snuggling close against him.
"Having a nice birthday so far?" Niles whispered.
"Oh yes, it couldn't have been more wonderful. That breakfast was delicious."
They sat like that for a few minutes, when she turned to him and said, "What time is everybody getting here?"
Niles looked at the clock. "I told them to meet here at 5. Frasier and Charlotte might come early though."
"You can't wait to see him, can you?"
"No. It's never easy being miles apart from my big brother. Especially when we were just starting to be closer before he left."
Daphne squeezed her husband's hand. She knew how being separated from your family hurt, especially on days like today.
"It's ok. I still have you, and these crazy kids. That's all I need."
Daphne wanted to say something more, but she just sat there, enjoying the company of her loved ones.
Before they knew it, it was time to greet their family. Frasier and Charlotte walked through the door first, each carrying a wrapped gift. Niles and Frasier shared a big hug. Charlotte hugged Daphne and gave her birthday greetings.
"It's so good to see you guys! Thank you for coming for me birthday."
"Nonsense, Daphne. We wouldn't miss it. Now where are my favorite niece and nephew?" Frasier grinned at Niles.
Just then, the doorbell rang again, and Roz and Alice walked in. Alice was growing up, and she and David and Isabella were as close as siblings. "Aunt Daphne!" The child screamed and ran into Daphne's arms. "Happy Birthday!"
Daphne looked at Roz and smiled. "Thank you Alice."
Roz tapped Alice on the shoulder. "Come on, Alice. Give Aunt Daphne some space."
Alice hopped down and mumbled "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it, Alice. It's ok. David and Isabella are waiting for you."
Alice skipped off to find them. Roz hugged Daphne and said, "Happy Birthday."
Daphne saw right through her friend. "Did you bring someone else?"
"No. Same old, lousy luck. I couldn't get a date. But I don't care. Is Frasier here yet?" She looked around.
"Yep. He and Charlotte were the first to arrive. We're just waiting on Martin & Ronee now."
"They probably have an armload full of gifts." Roz grinned.
"What do you mean? Roz, is something up?"
"Now why would anything be up, and my lips are sealed." She made the lock symbol over her lips to prove her point, and she went off looking for Frasier.
Same old Roz, Daphne thought. They then heard a car outside. "Must be Martin & Ronee." Daphne said.
"Grandpa and Grandma are here, kids!" Daphne shouted through the living room, and a scurrying of feet greeted the door.
"Well, look at this Ronee, we have an army welcoming us." Martin said, winking at Daphne.
Daphne looked at Martin warily, wondering what could be up their sleeve. And then, she saw. Somebody else was in their car. She looked in shock as she saw both her mother and her father get out of the car.
After their separation, they hardly spoke to each other, but maybe for today, they could pretend everything was the same between them. She ran out the door.
"Mum, Dad! This is the best surprise of all! What are you doing here?"
"What do you mean, what are we doing here?" Mrs. Moon said, "We're here to celebrate your birthday of course!"
Daphne ran into her father's arms. She found that she was crying. "It's so good to see you both. Come on in."
They walked to the door, with Daphne in the middle, hand in hand.
Martin was the first to speak. "Well, Daph, I guess you found us out, huh?"
"Thank you for bringing them here. I have to know…Whose idea was it?" She looked around the room at all the people she loved most, and knew the answer immediately.
He grinned sheepishly. "I just thought it would be a good surprise."
"How can I ever thank you?"
As she gathered around her family, and ate dinner that was just as delicious as the breakfast that was so lovingly prepared this morning, and then as she opened the gifts, she thought again at how truly blessed she was to have such a wonderful, caring family. In that moment, she believed she was living a fairy tale, 365 days a year.