DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Shed, I will return them after I have borrowed them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Lisa1981


"I'm home!"

"About bloody time, it's gone 10.30!"

"Were you worried?"

"What about you? No just thinking about food." Frances winked and kissed Nikki warmly on the lips, "are you hungry?" Nikki wrapped her arms around Frances and pulled her closer,

"I have got something of an appetite!"

"Oi, for food!" Frances playfully slapped Nikki on the arm, she grabbed her arm and led her to their kitchen, "I've saved you some, come and tell me about your first shift back." Nikki sat down at the table while Frances busied herself in the kitchen, she popped a plate with some lasagne in the microwave and poured them two large glasses of red wine. "There you go darling, you look tired." Frances leant down and kissed Nikki.

"It's just getting used to being back, mmm this wine is nice, one of the good bottles! Oh Fran I wish we were back on that beach."

"I know." The two women moved closer together, their eyes glazed with lust, the microwave beeped loudly. "saved by the bell!" Frances got up and got Nikki's lasagne out of the microwave, "so come on, who's pissed you off already."

"No one."

"Nik, you've practically got it stamped on your forehead, what's Fenner done?" In between mouthfuls of steaming lasagne Nikki filled Frances in on her first day. "To be honest Nikki it's not worth getting worked up about."

"That's what Yvonne said, I know but it's not the point Fran." Nikki got up to rinse her plate under the taps, "he's done it deliberately to undermine me."

"Don't be so sensitive, sounds like the department needed someone else and Jim decided to do something about it." Nikki whipped around from the sink,

"Are you saying that I can't do my job properly, it's my department."

"Don't Nik, calm down. At the end of the day Jim is the store manager. The buck stops with him. Let's not talk about this anymore." Frances began to clear the rest of the things from the table.

"You spoke to Yvonne today then?"

"Oh yeah I did, you lot are due an inspection. Better get your affairs in order!" Frances raised her eyebrow and flicked the tea towel at Nikki. Nikki chose not to respond and carried on filling up the dishwasher.

Affair, that was an interesting turn of phrase. Even though her and Frances had been together for nearly a year it still felt like they were having an affair. Nikki wasn't proud of the circumstances that had brought them together. She'd never cheated on anyone in her life and had never thought that she would be the kind of person to have an affair but that had all changed when she met Frances. They'd met on a training course, Frances had been one the coordinators, Nikki the representative for the Harbourne store. They had got on like a house on fire from the start. Similar senses of humour, a love of having a good time, and the attitude you should take life for what it is and grab opportunities that present themselves with both hands. Nikki knew that Frances was engaged to someone so she hadn't pursued anything whilst they were on the course, merely lamenting on the fact that all the women she met and liked were either taken or straight. They had swapped numbers because living near each other they thought a catch up drink now and again might be fun. Frances being an area manager in the same business as Nikki hadn't even been as issue, on their many nights out work had hardly been mentioned. Nikki had even been round to Frances' house and met her fiancé, David his name was. A nice bloke, just a bit dull, she just couldn't fathom why Frances was with him when she was so beautiful and exciting but she accepted that was how it was. On one of their nights out they had ended up back at Nikki's flat having a night cap, Frances seemed to be in a strange mood,

"What's the matter mate?" Nikki handed Frances a glass of scotch and sat down next to her on the sofa,

"How are things with you and Cass?" Nikki was momentarily flummoxed by the change in subject, she shrugged,

"I finished, no sorry we finished it this week."

"Really?" Frances expression lightened briefly, "why? I thought you really liked her."

"I do, she's great. Very funny and pretty but she's a bit younger than me and I just couldn't see a future in it. Plus I work with her and I think it's a bit unprofessional."

"So having a relationship with someone you work with is not a possibility?"

"I wouldn't rule it out completely it's just I'd hate for a situation to develop that might make work awkward." Frances nodded and looked into her glass, "what is it Fran?" Nikki placed her hand on Frances' knee.

"I think I'm going to leave David, I don't want to marry him anymore."

"Oh my god what's happened?"

"There's someone else."

"The bastard! Who, his secretary, something clichéd like that?"

"No, it's me, I've met someone else." Nikki was speechless, over the months her and Frances had grown really close. She thought she would have known about him, she pushed her hurt feelings to one side.

"Who is he?"

"Nikki you honestly don't know?"

"How would I? You haven't told me anything about this."

"Nikki, you idiot, it's you."


"Yes, you. I didn't say anything because I thought you and Cass were getting on well. Bloody hell I've been so jealous, that's when it hit me. Things with Dave have been crap for a while I just couldn't put my finger on why. Then I realised. The first person I thought about in the morning, the last person I thought about at night was you. I can't wait for our nights out because I get you all to myself, I've even fantasised about you." That night had been the start of the affair, Frances had left David but not straight away. She'd felt guilty and had not wanted to hurt him, this meant that Nikki had ended up conducting a secret affair with the area manager for about three months. The problem was now when it all should be out in the open it wasn't. Frances was still not completely comfortable about having a relationship with a woman. Only certain friends and selected family members knew. Behind closed doors and on holiday they were the perfect couple, Frances was attentive and a wonderful girlfriend, in public it was a different matter. Also work was an issue, Frances was as ambitious as Nikki, if not more so. She was planning to apply for the position of regional manager in a couple of months and she felt that her relationship with Nikki might not go down well. Part of Nikki was hurt by this and wanted to tell Frances that it wasn't worth the hassle, but the fact was she couldn't resist her. The moment she'd seen her on the stage at the course she'd been hooked, it was enough having Frances all to herself at home for now.

"Penny for them." Nikki mentally shook herself and realised that she had been staring out of the window,


"Thinking about anything nice?" Frances wrapped her arms around Nikki's waist and rested her head on her shoulder, "someone nice maybe?"

"I was just thinking about how happy you make me." Nikki turned around so that they were facing each other, "you do you know."

"I know and you make me happy."

"Do I?"

"Of course you do."

"But when you come into the store next week we'll have to pretend that we barely know each other won't we?" Frances took her arms away and walked towards the kitchen door,

"Nikki, bloody hell! We spent most of our holiday talking about this I thought we came to an understanding."

"So did I, but it's different when we are at home. I love you and I want to tell people, you're embarrassed."

"I'm not. I'm thinking about us, about our careers. We're both going somewhere Nikki. A few months and I could be regional manager, you could be running a store, I don't want to go over all this again, look I'm going for a bath, do you want to join me?"

"No you go ahead I'm going to have another glass of wine down here and read for a bit."

"You and your bloody books, alright I'll see you in bed." Frances headed up stairs. Nikki rubbed her temples, this argument would never go away she realised that. She also realised that nothing would change, she sighed and poured herself another glass of wine. In the lounge she curled up on one of the large arm chairs and picked up her book. She'd started reading it on holiday, in fact she'd become so engrossed in it during the final days of the holiday that Frances had got very annoyed with her, particularly when they should have been packing and Nikki kept disappearing onto the balcony to read. The book was called, Pieces by a woman called Stela Henwert. It had been an impulse buy at Gatwick, Nikki realised that 3 books to read on holiday just wasn't enough and she'd bought a couple more. It was about a young girl growing up in a very strict family in the 19th Century, that description didn't do it justice, but that's what it was about. It was just very well written and Nikki identified readily with the young girl in the story. She sat reading for over an hour, when she looked up at the clock and saw that it had gone 12 she was shocked. She stood and stretched, work in the morning. In their large bed Frances was fast asleep, the lamp on her side was still on indicating that she probably had sat up and waited for Nikki before falling asleep. Nikki felt briefly guilty, she shouldn't be so hard on her, she kissed Frances gently on the forehead before going into the bathroom.

Part 3

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