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Falling Softly

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Martin looked around the living room and groaned. "All right, Fras. Are you going to tell us why you made us all come to this family meeting in the middle of the afternoon? And aren't you and Roz supposed to be at work?"

"We worked that out with Kenny." Roz explained. "They're playing The Best of Frasier Crane, but I'm sure that we're going to pay for this unexcused absence when we come back to work tomorrow. Boy, Kenny can be a real pain when he wants to be!"

Frasier's enthusiastic smile disappeared and he glared at his father. "Well, excuse me for wanting to share some news with my family! I'm sorry I disrupted your busy life!"

"Damn right it's busy!" Martin said. "The Sonics are just two games away from-."

Frasier held up his hand, silencing his father. "I do not care to hear about the Sonics, nor do I want to hear about the Seahawks or the Mariners. I've heard enough about sports from Bulldog's ranting on his show to last me a lifetime!"

"Well, he's got a right to be mad and so do I!" Martin said. "I can't believe they traded-."

"STOP!" Frasier yelled, bringing his father to silence once more.

"Frasier what is this all about?" Niles asked. "I don't mind coming over of course, but it was a bit of an inconvenience trying to rearrange my patient schedule on such short notice."

Frasier smirked at his little brother and the way Niles was staring dreamily at Daphne. "Yes, Niles… I'm sure coming over here was an inconvenience. But I appreciate your willingness to arrive so quickly."

"Well it certainly is an inconvenience!" Daphne said. She turned to Niles and touched his arm. "I didn't mean you, Dr. Crane. You're always welcome here. I was talking about your brother and this important meeting! I have Christmas presents to wrap, Dr. Crane! And one of them, I might add is yours!"

"Fine." Frasier said. "How nice that everyone has shared how they've been inconvenienced! That is, except for Eddie. But he can't talk so he doesn't count!"

"Oh, he talks." Martin said with a grin on his face.

Frasier crossed his arms and glared at his father. "Is that so?"

"Damn right it's so!" Martin replied. "He just doesn't talk to people who hate him!"

"Dad, I never said I hated him!" Frasier insisted. "I just don't like the way he stares at me all the time!"

"But he doesn't know that Frasier!" Martin said, putting his hands over Eddie's ears.

"Well then Dad, I suggest you tell him!"

"Bloody hell, will someone please tell me what we're doing here?" Daphne yelled.

Quietness filled the room as Frasier cleared his throat. "Okay. As you all know, I am a big believer in gifts from the heart and showing those whom I love how much they mean to me and so-."

"Are you sending me to Hawaii for a week?" Daphne asked, her eyes sparkling. "Oh Dr. Crane, I hinted about this for months but I didn't think you heard me!"

"Oh, I heard you all right." Frasier mumbled.

"I mean, I didn't want to say anything out loud because I didn't want you to think I was being ungrateful for everything you've given me. But every time I see those commercials about the Hawaiian cruises, I just-."

"STOP!" Frasier yelled again, causing Daphne to recoil back into the sofa. "At this rate you'll get your Christmas gifts on Easter!"