"Come on… come on!"

He'd been watching her run from the bathroom to her bedroom for the last forty-five minutes. He had seen her hair go up and down, in about every single style he could possibly imagine and then some. The smell of hairspray was starting to make him nauseous.

"Goddamnit, stay!"

He'd gotten used to her whining and complaining years ago; it had all become white noise. Now, paying no heed to her incessant moaning, he only watches from the couch in amusement as she shoves another bobby pin into her hair while balancing on one foot to fix the heel on the other.

"Argggghhh!" She loses her balance, slowly tilts and eventually crashes into the doorframe of the bathroom. Knocking her hand out of place on her head, she lets go of her current up-do and exhales in frustration. Catching her friend's smirk in the mirror, she turns around sharply. "You know, you don't have to laugh at me. You could be a little nicer."

He shrugs and turns away. "I'm always nice." He goes back to flipping through a magazine that he doesn't even remember picking up in the first place. He always needs meaningless little distractions when she's around. It gives him something else to do besides stare at her.

"No, no, no. Nice people rub your back and feed your ego and tell you how nice of a day it is outside, even though you're both outside while they say it. I've met nice people; and you, Scott Renaldi, are not nice." She runs back into her room and rummages for more bobby pins.

"Hey-- I do nice things, okay?" He flips a page. "I told you how hideous I thought that shirt was before you bought it, right?"

She runs back into the bathroom. "Yeah. But that's not being nice, is it?"

He looks up at the ceiling incredulously. "Then what would you call it?"

She shoves the last pin into her hair and gives it a final fluff. "I'd call it being honest."

"Oh, and I suppose the truth is an evil, nasty thing that should be avoided."

"No—" she says innocently and pauses, "but it's not nice."

He rolls his eyes. "Well, I'm sorry, but I'd prefer not to base a relationship on lies."

"Oh, but those relationships are the best kind," she says in a sarcastically disappointed tone, "they're just so full of promise." She picks up the can of hairspray and a steady steam of mist flies from it. "And anyway, your honesty's in vain. I bought the shirt, regardless of what you said, and I think it looks pretty damn good." She steps out from the bathroom.

He watches her as she pats down the deep burgundy material and his heart stops. True, he had advised her against the shirt when he saw it on the rack. But now that he sees the way the material falls on her, he can't catch his breath.

She looks up from smoothing out the fabric and waits for him to stop staring, only he doesn't. "Scott?"

He is startled out of his mind-lapse. "Humph?"

"It still looks stupid, doesn't it?" She turns back to the mirror and attempts to stretch the fabric for the effect of god-knows-what. "I should just change." She begins to take a step back toward her room.

"Daphne—" He jumps up from the couch and stops her from changing her outfit. Taking her by the shoulders, he holds her in place. "Please stop running in circles. You're going to carve track marks from here into the bathroom, and we can't afford to pay that off to our landlord."

She rolls her eyes.

"Besides," he continues, softer, "you look beautiful. Really, really gorgeous."

At first she thinks that he's laughing at her again; but once she notices the look on his face, she blushes. "Yeah?"

"Mhmm, beautiful." He's suddenly aware of just how long his hands have been on her shoulders, his thumbs tracing circles of their own accord. He jerks to life again and pulls his hands away. "Beautiful enough for James, I'm sure."

She shakes herself out of dizziness. "Yes. Yes, James." She watches as Scott's figure moves back toward the couch. "James."

Why does that name ring a bell?

"JAMES!" She's running in circles again. "Oh my god! I'm going to be so late! He's going to think I stood him up! He's going to leave!"

"Not if he's got a brain in that very large, perfectly gelled head, he won't," Scott mumbles to himself.

Daphne stops dead. "What was that?"

"Hmm? Oh, nothing. I was just saying that you should probably call him and let him know that you're on your way."

Daphne gives him a look.

"And something about Jell-O," he finishes. He turns another page of the magazine. "So, are you sure you'll be alright?"

"Scott—" it's a whine of a daughter trying to negotiate curfew. She continues to fluff her hair. "You know James; you shouldn't be concerned."

"Yeah, I know James," he says, "That's exactly why I'm concerned."

"You're just a worrier," she states, simply.

"And honest, apparently," he adds.

She sticks out her tongue in the mirror at him. Finally, she turns around, grabs her clutch, and heads for the door. "Okay, I guess I'm heading out."

He gives her an up-down and sighs. "Okay, but I should probably tell you something before you go."

Just as she places her hand on the doorknob, she hangs her head and sighs in frustration. "Yes, Scott?"

He doesn't look up from his magazine. "Your knee is bleeding profusely."

She turns the knob. "Thanks, Scott. Now if you don't mind…" and she pushes through the door.

Scott only flips a page before Daphne bursts frantically back through the door, audibly panicking and unsure of what to do next.

"Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod…"

"And we're back to running in circles," Scott observes aloud.

"Why is my knee bleeding?!" She motions toward her pant leg, the lower half of the light wash denim soaked with blood right under the knee. She disappears.

Hearing muffled curses and things being knocked over in her bedroom, he decides that he should help to prevent Daphne from making her room into a war zone. He lifts himself off the couch and steps into her room.

"Argh! It must've been from when I shaved my legs earlier. I knew I nicked myself."

He walks swiftly around her frenzied form, walking calmly to where he knew she had a few spare band-aids. "Yeah—since when do razors and running late go well together?"

"Scott! Didn't we just have a talk about being nice?!" She knocks over half the things on her bureau looking for a tissue. "I need to stop bleeding— preferably soon. Help me find somethi—"

When she whirls around to address him, Scott is already in front of her, holding up a bandage. He takes her by the hand into the kitchen.

"I can't believe this is happening. These are new pants!"

He gives her a skeptical look and pushes her down into a seat at the kitchen table before running into his own room.

"Okay, well… maybe they're not new."

He pokes his head out of his doorframe to cast her even more of a skeptical look.

"Yeah, so they're a couple years old!"

Satisfied, he disappears back into his room. She hears faint rummaging sounds.

"Point is: I love this pair of jeans! And, I look good in them. There's nothing better than a comfortable pair of jeans that you feel sexy in. But now, it looks like I crawled out of a bad horror movie."

Scott walks back into the kitchen and sits in front of his friend who looks like she's going to tear her face off if she wrenches it any harder. He places the basket of first-aid things down on the table and motions for her leg.

She gives him her leg without question. "You know, the really bad horror movies where they have no idea what to do with the blood, so they just pour it on everything?"

He nods as he rolls up her jeans one cuff at a time, taking extra care not to disturb the cut.

"What am I going to do now? I mean—this is going to take a whole new outfit—I bet James already left by now."

While Daphne holds her head in her hands, Scott slowly cleans the cut and bandages it. He rolls her pant leg back down. "Well, it looks like you'd better start looking for a new outfit—do you want me to call James? I can tell him you're running late…"

"No, no. I can do it," she says with a sigh.

As she declines his offer, it becomes easier for him to breathe—he hadn't wanted to make that call anyway. Straightening out the bottom of her pant leg, he notices how close they are together. He locks eyes with hers, watching him through her hair that has fallen in front of her face in disarray. She has never looked more beautiful to him.

He breaks the stare, remembering that she's getting ready to go on a date with a friend of his. "Well, you'd better get going," he mumbles, "Don't want to keep James waiting." He ducks his head down to give her knee a quick kiss.

As she hears him gather the first aid things, a mini spark shoots up from her leg into her brain. She lifts her head up and looks at him in disbelief.

He stops and watches her stare at him. "What?"

She continues to stare. Unable to form the words correctly, she finally answers with a meager, "You."

"Me?" He finds her behavior funny, but goes back to gathering the medical stuff, careful never to stare at her for too long.

"Yeah, you." She gives a breathy laugh. She realizes that he may not realize what she's talking about. "Did you just kiss my knee?"

He blanches.

Did I?

"Mmmmmm, no—I don't think so, Daphne." It's a weak lie.

"Yes. Yes, you did." He shakes his head no, but she won't take that answer. "You just kissed my knee."

He's avoiding eye contact. Clearing his head, he replays the moment. Without a doubt, he most certainly did bend down and kiss her knee. He loses his words.

She smiles, knowing she's won.

He gives her a dramatic, "Oh my god, Daphne." He acts like he's exasperated with her, but he loves seeing her smile. He can't hide his own smile anymore. "Yes, okay? I kissed your knee."

"I knew you did," she exclaims as she gives him a friendly shove.

"I'm sorry! I just—I don't know where it came from. It's probably…" He trails off, not knowing how to finish the sentence.

Because I wanted to kiss it better?

Because I needed to be closer than just sitting across from you?

Because I want you to stay?

"Because you worship me so much," Daphne offered, filling the silence.

Scott stares at her for a few more moments.

"Exactly." He silently kicks himself, gathering the last of the first aid supplies. "Anyway—you should hurry. James will be waiting." It hurts him to say the name, but he should remember himself.

She watches him hurry away and she can't help but feel some sort of emptiness in his wake. She wonders what the feeling is for a few moments, and then slowly lifts herself off of the chair and back into her room.

A few minutes later, he hears the faint tapping of heels on linoleum. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a figure in his doorway. He looks up and the wind is knocked out of him a second time.

"Okay, I'm headed out."

She plays with the fabric of the navy blue dress as she hangs onto the doorframe to his room. She's nervous to step closer, given the weird energy minutes before.

He turns toward her, sensing her hesitancy. "Let me see," he says softly, beckoning her closer.

I shouldn't make her feel nervous. It was a stupid slip up. Entirely my fault.

She steps into the room slowly, looking at her feet while she walks. And here he thought she couldn't get any more beautiful. He watches as she continues to play with her dress, not meeting his eyes. He gets up and walks over to her.

"You look gorgeous," he says quietly.

Her eyes meet his. "You think so?"

"I always think so," he says even lower.

This time she breaks the eye contact. "Well, thank you. That's nice of you to say," she says as she walks out the doorframe. He follows her until she reaches the front door.


She stops dead. "Yeah?"

"So, now I'm honest and nice?"

She smiles, remembering the conversation. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess you are." She gives him a small smile and turns the doorknob. "I shouldn't be too late, but don't wait up."

It's said as a formality—they both know he'll be up worrying until she's home.

"Okay," he says anyway.

She gives him one last look and walks out the door.