Doreen and Nora's FRASIER


By Nora Salisbury

Niles sat behind the wheel of his Mercedes, he and Daphne on their way over to Frasier's for dinner. He glanced beside him at his love of life, to find her gazing lovingly at him. They grinned at each other.

"Your beautiful smile lights up the night, my love," Niles said softly.

"Oh, you," Daphne blushed, "you'd say that if all me teeth fell out." Niles put on a mock scowl.

"Can I help it if everything about you makes me all ... giddy? It's your fault for being so darn cute." Daphne searched his eyes before they flicked back to the road. Lord, he was serious.

Well, she thought, maybe I can make that lovey-dovey mood work for me. "Darling," she said casually, "whose turn is it to choose the radio station?" Niles smiled.

"Oh, I've lost track," he lied, knowing full well it was his turn, "why don't you pick?" She grinned. It was easy to prod him into selfless gallantry, and he seemed to enjoy it as much as she did.

"Thanks, Sweetie," she said, relieved. She could only handle so much classical music. She pushed the last preset button, to call up her favorite soft rock station. She told Niles how handsome he looked in his new blue suit, and his smile nearly went all the way around his head when she said she loved the way it brought out the beautiful azure of his eyes, in that throaty register that told him he inspired ardor in her as well.

Just then, "Hard to Say" by Dan Fogelberg began to play. Daphne was surprised to see recognition play across Niles' face, a rare occurrence with pop music.

"Oh, my God ... I remember the only other time I've heard that song," he moaned, "it was just after the Snow Ball. I was so miserable," he confessed. As he related his feelings to Daphne, the memory of that night flooded back, crystal clear ...


Niles watched from his car as Daphne disappeared into the lobby of the Elliot Bay Towers. He had just dropped her off after their "date" at the Snow Ball. For one brief, shining moment he had thought the walls of Jericho between them had succumbed to the lively Latin rhythm of the Tango. It had been so empowering to finally speak the truth of his adoration of her, and so exciting to hear her echo his words ... until the words that hit him like a bucket of ice water, "You're such a good actor." Those words rung in his ears and burned behind his eyes.

"Big boys don't cry," he scolded himself, refusing the quenching tears' flow. "Perhaps some mindless pop music will be easier to hear than this heart-wrenching aria," he thought aloud, scanning the radio dial. He stopped on a soft harmony of guitars, keyboards and sax, not imagining how lyrics can cut straight to, and into, the heart.

The lilting voice seemed to be speaking directly to him.

"Lucky at love? Well, maybe so

There's still a lot of things you'll never know

Like why each time the sky begins to snow, you cry"

Niles stared at the radio in disbelief.

"You're faithful to her in your careless way

And so you miss her when she's far away

But every time you think you've got it straight, you fall"

Memories of the time spent in her company danced in his mind.

"You face the future with a weary past

Those dreams you banked upon are fadin' fast

You know you love her but it may not last, you fear"

Niles sat bolt upright, stunned.

"You mock me, sir," he said coldly. Normally he would have felt ridiculous for talking to his radio, but he was too caught up in his own despair.

"It's never easy and it's never clear

Who's to navigate and who's to steer

And so you flounder, drifting ever near the rocks"

Niles bit his lip as the chorus began, sounding like the plaintive call of a lonely wolf crying to the moon.

"It's hard to say where love went wrong

It's hard to say just when, (it's so hard to say)

It's hard to walk away from love, it may never come again"

"No lie." Niles' voice broke as he gazed longingly at the passenger seat next to him where his goddess sat only minutes ago. He could still smell lavender, almonds and vanilla.

"You do your best to keep your hand in play

And try to keep those lonesome blues at bay

You think you're winning, but it's hard to say sometimes"

As the chorus forced it's way into his ears again, he set his jaw, steeling himself against the pain. Then, the audio torment ambled out the same way it had come in.

"Lucky at love? Well, maybe so

There's still a lot of things you'll never know

Like why each time the sky begins to snow, you cry

You cry, ooh you still have to cry"

Too true. No longer could the emotional pressure valve stay shut. Niles leaned forward, letting his head rest on his steering wheel. A few silent tears fell onto the crisply creased pants of his tuxedo. He began to feel foolish and angry.

"This is why I hate pop music ... keep your honky-tonk therapy to yourself!" he fumed, shutting the radio off. He dried his eyes with a handkerchief and drove home in silence.


Niles smiled, proud that while the song still felt melancholy, it didn't make him cry this time.

"Well, I kept my hand in play, and I won," he said, taking her hand. Now it was she who was moved to tears. "Oh, Honey," Niles said gently, "why are you crying?"

"Because I was such a damn fool all those years ... to be so blind to how sensitive and loving you've always been ... but my eyes are wide open now, and I love what I see," she whispered, her eyes shining with all the love in her heart. He squeezed her hand, overcome with passion.

"Well," he growled, "I know a lady who's going anywhere she wants for her honeymoon!"

"Ooh," she purred, "wanna go back to Belize and risk the captain's newsletter? Or shall we christen a new beach?"

Niles tried unsuccessfully to subdue an evil laugh.



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