DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to Shed Productions. I am borrowing them for entertainment purposes only and not for financial gain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the authors.

Cloudy Skies
By Nico


Part 6

Nikki got home one evening from work a couple of days after Christmas and found she had a letter from Larkhall. She opened it and was pleased to see that it was a letter informing her that she had been promoted to captain and would be transferred to the transatlantic route. Although she was ecstatic that she had been promoted, it was tinged with sadness because it meant she wouldn't be flying with Helen anymore. Over time she had come to realise that what she was feeling for Helen was certainly more than a passing attraction.

She knew they would keep in touch when their schedules allowed but it wouldn't be the same. They had gotten a lot closer lately and Nikki didn't want to lose that when she had only just found it. She knew when she told Helen that she would happy for her but disappointed that they would no longer be working so closely. She flipped the kettle on and sat down as she waited for it to boil, and quickly got lost in her thoughts.

Helen stood in the kitchen and leaned against the worktop as Thomas ranted on. They had only gotten in from work less than two hours ago and already he was paralytic. Helen had asked him what he would like for dinner and he had suddenly taken off at her. He was now in full flow and shouting at the top of his voice.

"I can't take anymore of this, I'm going out," Helen said quietly and made a move to leave the kitchen.

"I didn't say you could move; don't walk away from me when I'm talking to you! Where the hell do you think you're going anyway? It's not like you have anywhere to run off to." He snarled slurring his words from the effects of the alcohol.

"It's none of your business where I'm going," Helen replied as she put her coat on, and picked up her car keys.

Thomas's expression changed as it dawned on him where Helen would be headed off to. He had noticed that she had become quite friendly with Nikki lately.

"I bet you're off to see Nikki, well don't get too close to her Helen, she's a dyke." He said triumphantly thinking it would upset Helen.

"I already know Nikki's gay, it doesn't bother me and her sexual preference has sod all to do with you," Helen snapped at him, wishing he would just leave her alone.

"Bet you don't know all about Nikki's dirty little secret though do you?" he laughed harshly as he drained his glass and put it down on the coffee table.

"What are you talking about?" Helen glared at him.

"She has a thing about married women. On the last airline she worked for, she had an affair with one of the steward's wives, when she got found out she jacked her job in and came to work at Larkhall. Don't be under any illusions that she likes you Helen, she only wants to get into your knickers." He sneered at Helen, as she opened the front door. She drove away in the direction of Nikki's house.

Nikki was sitting reading when she heard a knock at the door. She stood up and wondered who it was, she wasn't expecting any visitors. She was stunned to see Helen standing on the doorstep.

"Hiya, come in." Nikki stood aside to let Helen pass and then closed the door before following her into the living room.

"Why didn't you tell me Nikki?" Helen's face wore a neutral expression.

"Tell you what?" Nikki wondered if Helen was referring to Michelle.

"Don't act like you don't know, I'm talking about you and the relationship with the married woman."

"Oh that, I didn't think it was worth mentioning." Nikki sat down and lit a cigarette, not feeling good about the look of annoyance on Helen's face.

"Oh I see, you didn't think it was worth mentioning. Seems like everybody else knows. Thomas knows and I had to find out about it from him. We're supposed to be friends." Helen's voice rose an octave or two.

"I can see Thomas has been stirring it, bet he said I'm only after you to get you into bed didn't he?" Nikki stood up and stormed off into the kitchen.

"You could get me into bed any time you wanted and I wouldn't complain," Helen thought but instead she replied "yes he did as a matter of fact, but does it look like I believe him? I wouldn't be here if I did, why didn't you tell me about it?"

"It wasn't like you think; I didn't know she was married. I found out when her husband humiliated me on a flight full of passengers over the intercom. She wasn't interested anymore and dumped me. I didn't tell you because I didn't see the point, it's all in the past. I don't want to discuss this Helen." Nikki walked over to the fridge and pulled out a couple of bottles of beer, she flipped the tops off and handed one to Helen.

"You're just like Thomas, you go making all the decisions for me. You still could have told me, I shouldn't have had to find out like that."

"I probably should have told you and I'm sorry I didn't. I just wanted to forget all about it, it was a pretty painful time for me. Am I forgiven?" Nikki looked apologetic and Helen felt bad for getting angry with her.

"As long as you promise me that you won't keep secrets from me anymore, you don't have to deal with everything on your own."

Across the other side of town, the same scene was being played out in Fiona's house although for different reasons.

"I asked you to do it twice, and you still forgot!" Claire shouted loudly across the room as Fiona stood there facing her.

"I'm sorry ok! Things have been so busy at work lately and it just slipped my mind, it wasn't like I set out to upset you on purpose," Fiona shouted back just as loudly.

"That's not the point though, I'm stuck without a car now and you are buggering off to the states the day after tomorrow and yours will be parked at the airport. What if I need to go anywhere?"

"Then use the bus like every other sod! either that or take me to the airport and borrow mine." Fiona stormed off upstairs.

"It wasn't a lot to ask, all you had to do was take it to the garage for me before it conked out totally, you know I hate having to take it to the mechanic myself." Claire wasn't going to give up.

"Oh for god sake change the record! I said I'm sorry that I didn't do it and I am! borrow my car and when I get back I will sort yours out."

"Stick your car where the sun doesn't shine, I will sort it myself," Claire replied sulkily.

"Do that then, see if I care," Fiona shot back.

"That's the problem; I don't think you do care."

"How can you say that? you know I do care, more than anything." Fiona stopped what she was doing and stood looking at Claire.

"I'm not sure I know anything anymore, maybe it's time we gave ourselves a little bit of space to work things out."

"If that's how you feel then don't let me stop you. I can see how this is going to work out, you tell me you need space and then before you know where we are we are fighting over who gets custody of the DVD collection. Let me save you the trouble, I'll leave quietly." Fiona stuffed a bag with some clothes, picked up her uniform and marched out to her car.

Nikki had just told Helen about her promotion and was now wishing she hadn't, Helen had lost her temper all over again.

"What did we just say? we said we weren't keeping secrets and now you go and tell me you have just been promoted!" Helen yelled.

"I only found out when I got in from work! it's not like I have known about it for weeks." Nikki was now pacing the living room floor. She couldn't believe how the night had turned out, she was having arguments with Helen like they were an old married couple but she didn't have any of the benefits that came with it.

"It just feels like you keep everything from me, aren't I trustworthy enough?" Helen's eyes started to tear over.

"It's not like that and you know it isn't." Nikki was willing Helen to understand, but it wasn't getting through.

"When are you starting on the next route?"

"The day after tomorrow," Nikki replied quietly.

"You mean today was the last flight?" Helen's expression grew angrier.

"Yes, but it's not like we can't keep in touch Helen. We can still see each other, when we have time and there are always phone calls." Nikki felt sad at the prospect.

"Don't bother, then that way you can keep all the secrets you want." Helen stormed off and slammed the door behind her, leaving a stunned and tearful Nikki behind.

Fiona pulled up outside Nikki's house just as Helen was driving away. She knocked on Nikki's door and it was pulled open quickly.

"Oh it's you, hi stud." Nikki looked upset as Fiona stepped in.

"See you're having woman troubles too. I just had a huge fight with Claire, is it ok if I stay with you for a few days?"

"Yeah course it is, you know you're always welcome. I had a big fight with Helen, she found out about Michelle from Thomas and accused me of deliberately keeping it from her, then she blew her top about me getting a promotion and not working with her anymore." Nikki got a beer for Fiona and they sat down.

"You got promoted to captain? well done mate."

"Yeah I'm on the transatlantic route now. First flight is the day after tomorrow at 1pm." Nikki took a swig of her beer and nearly fell off her chair when Fiona squealed.

"That's my flight! looks like we are going to we working together bud!" Fiona raised her beer in a toast and Nikki followed suit.

"Maybe I should just stick my head in the oven now!" she grinned.


Part 7

Nikki and Fiona were due to set off for the airport, and were just doing some last minute packing. Nikki hadn't heard a word from Helen, and came to the conclusion that she had obviously upset her and she wasn't going to be so forgiving. Fiona hadn't heard from Claire either and she figured that Claire must agree with what she had said because she hadn't bothered to call her. They left for the airport shortly after and were both quiet, neither felt like talking much.

Claire was sitting in the living room staring idly at afternoon TV, she was feeling upset that she had been stubborn and hadn't called Fiona. It was too late now; her flight was just about to takeoff. She would see her the day after tomorrow on New Year's eve when she got back.

Helen was just arriving back at Heathrow as Nikki's flight was due to takeoff, and missed her so much already that it was making her heart ache. She realised she had been wrong to get angry with Nikki but hadn't called her to say sorry which she was now regretting terribly. She went home with Thomas and pottered about the house, her thoughts constantly on Nikki and how she could make things right between them again, she cared so much about her and didn't want to lose all that. She just hoped she wasn't too late.

The phone rang later that afternoon and it was Claire, she wondered if Helen would like to go out for a drink with her. Helen quickly accepted and they arranged to meet each other later on that evening in town. Thomas overheard the conversation and stood behind Helen with his arms folded, waiting for her to put the phone down. She turned around and nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Jesus Thomas! you scared the life out of me."

"Who was that?"

"That was Claire, Fiona's partner. They were the couple sitting with Nikki at the Christmas party," Helen explained when she saw the puzzled expression on his face, he obviously didn't remember them.

"You're mixing with lesbians an awful lot lately."

"Oh give it a rest Thomas will you? she just asked me to go out for a friendly drink with her, there is no ulterior motive."

"Don't lose your temper with me, I won't stand for it." He lashed out and backhanded Helen across the face, catching her unawares. "I'm off to the pub, behave yourself when you're out," he said menacingly before slamming the door behind him, leaving Helen clutching her face and sobbing.

"Thomas you bastard!" she said quietly as the tears fell.

Nikki was sitting in the captain's seat, and wouldn't look at Fiona. They had argued earlier when she had come into the cockpit after doing the pre-flight inspection and caught her talking intimately with one of the stewardesses, Kate Shannon. She was a woman of medium height with blue eyes and dark shoulder length wavy hair and possessed an athletic build.

"What's going on?" Nikki demanded as they noticed she was standing there.

"I er I have some things to check on, catch you later Fi," she said as she exited the cockpit closing the door behind her.

"Well?" Nikki looked at Fiona and awaited a response.

"Don't look at me like that! Kate and I have known each other for years, we are old friends. Nothing happened, and anyway Claire and I broke up."

"She said she wanted space, that doesn't mean the two of you are over. Just give it a bit of time and talk to her when you get back."

"It's too late mate, it's over," Fiona said and then climbed into the co-pilot seat to start on her paperwork.

"You don't know that for sure. What were you thinking?"

"I was just talking to her, I wasn't thinking about anything."

"Bullshit, you were thinking with your hormones," Nikki said as sat down in her seat.

"Well one of us has to."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Just look at yourself Nikki, you cut yourself off from everything, and you have no life anymore."

"That's got sod all to do with the situation, don't try and change the subject."

"It's true; you can't see what's staring you right in the face. Helen has shown a real interest in you and what have you done about it? bugger all that's what, what are you waiting for?"

"I don't want to talk about it." Nikki's barriers came right down.

"Tough, it's about time you started living again. Talk to Helen, see where it goes."

"I said I don't want to talk about it." Nikki turned away from Fiona and she knew the conversation had been closed.

They were now mid-way across the Atlantic and the only words they had spoken to each other were work related. Fiona couldn't stand it any longer and had to speak.

"Are you going to stay pissed off with me all day?"

"Maybe," Nikki replied sulkily.

"Oh come on Nikki, nothing happened, I was just talking to her. I'm sorry if I came on a bit too strong with you but it's about time you started enjoying yourself again. Just talk to Helen, it won't hurt."

"In case you forgot, she's married. I'm not sure she sees me as more than a friend anyway, I've told you that before."

"Yeah but you can't deny the way she looks at you, I'm sure there is more to it than that."

"I can see what you're saying, but lets just see how it goes eh?" Nikki smiled over at Fiona, and Fiona smiled back when she realised she had been forgiven.

Helen had applied plenty of makeup on her face to cover the rapidly darkening bruise on her cheekbone, and was now on her way to meet Claire. She walked into the pub they agreed to meet at and found Claire already sitting at the bar.

"Hiya Helen." Claire reached over to hug her.

"Hi Claire. Are you ok? you look upset," Helen enquired as she sat down next to Claire.

"I had a big argument with Fi, it was stupid really but you know how things get when you argue with somebody." Claire motioned for the bartender to bring them drinks.

"Yeah I do, I ended up having a big fight with Nikki the day before yesterday."

"Women! can't live with em, can't kill em!" Claire said as the drinks arrived.

They sat drinking and talking and Helen confided in Claire that she had feelings for Nikki. It was obvious to Claire that Helen had feelings for Nikki but she didn't let on that she knew. She had watched how they interacted with each other at the party.

"I just don't know what to do about it, you know? It was my fault we argued but I'm not sure she will be so willing to accept my apology," Helen said taking another swallow of her vodka.

"I think she would, Nikki doesn't hold grudges. Just talk to her Helen, I'm sure things will be fine."

"What are you going to do about Fiona?"

"I will talk to her when she gets back, I'm sure we can work it out and we have had worse fights than that before."

Nikki and Fiona had arrived in New York and checked in to the hotel. They dropped their bags off in their rooms and headed straight for the bar intending to drown their sorrows and get totally smashed. They could relax that night because their flight didn't leave again until the day after tomorrow.

Nikki woke up the next morning with a terrible hangover, and was annoyed to see Fiona swanning around in perfect health. The way she escaped a hangover after having drunk so much alcohol was criminal as far as Nikki was concerned. While both women had been sleeping the alcohol off, across the Atlantic morning had come in England and a very rough feeling Claire and Helen greeted the day, both wishing they hadn't quite drunk so much the night before.

Helen got up and left a still sleeping Thomas alone in bed. She made her way to the bathroom and drank some water, before stepping in to the shower in an attempt to clear her head. She settled on the sofa feeling delicate, and just lay there quietly. Her face was throbbing from the day before and the bruise had gotten quite a bit worse, it wasn't anything that couldn't be covered with makeup though. Thomas got up around noon and carried on as if nothing had happened. He didn't seem in the slightest bit concerned that he had struck his wife.

Helen spent the rest of the day trying to avoid him, and when he went to bed that night she stayed up and fell asleep on the sofa. The next day Thomas went off to visit his parents, and Helen was thankful for the time alone, it was getting increasingly difficult to live with Thomas.

Nikki and Fiona were now checking the plane over and getting ready for the flight. It was New Year's Eve and both were going to have a quiet night at Nikki's house, and see the new year in together. Fiona shouted across from the other side of the plane that things were ok and Nikki signaled that her checks were completed too. The passengers boarded and they set about getting ready to go. Fiona flipped the magnetos on and tried to start the engine.

"The engines won't start Nik," she said as she flipped the switch.

"Leave it for a minute and then try again. The weather is awful and they are probably cold," Nikki said indicating the occasional flurry of snowflakes outside the aircraft.

"Nope they still won't start," she said shrugging as she flipped the switch once more.

"Right ok, inform the cabin crew and get them to tell the passengers we have a slight delay. I'll go and get an engineer and meet you outside in a minute." Nikki stood up and left the cockpit as Fiona informed the chief stewardess of the problem.

Half an hour later, the plane had been checked and was found to be fine. The engineer persevered in starting the engines and they at last turned over and rumbled into life. They quickly got the flight underway again and waited for their slot. Their turn came around at last and they took off into the milky coloured clouds that promised to release their load of snow in the near future.

Half an hour into the flight when the autopilot had been switched on after reaching cruising altitude, an alarm sounded in the cockpit. The number two engine had gone on fire; Nikki quickly cut the power to the engine, and flicked the switch for the extinguisher system. Another warning sound, the number 4 engine was on fire and Nikki quickly flipped the switch cutting the power.

"What are the odds of that?" Fiona was amazed.

"Odds are high I know that much. We are going to have to go back, I don't like this one little bit."

Fiona informed air traffic control that they would be heading back and then changed course to take them back to JFK international. They landed easily enough on two engines and taxied to the terminal. The passengers were taken off and taken to hotels, they weren't very happy that they wouldn't be getting home on time.

They had a conversation with the engineer who checked over the plane and informed them that he didn't have the spare parts they needed and they certainly wouldn't be going anywhere today. They checked back into the hotel and Nikki rang Larkhall to inform them what had happened. They arranged to have spare parts flown to New York.

Fiona decided to ring home and see how Claire was; she felt it was time that they got things sorted out. Claire picked up several rings later.


"Claire, it's me."

"Fi! I'm sorry about the other night; I don't know why I got so angry."

"Me too, I shouldn't have stormed out. Where do we go from here?" she asked hoping Claire wanted to stay together.

"Daft question, I love you and you know it." Claire smiled as she spoke.

"I love you too, so are we back together then?"

"Definitely. I thought you would have been on the flight by now?" Claire replied.

"Yeah well we had engine trouble and I'm afraid I can't get home tonight, it's going to be the day after at least. I'm sorry, I wish I could come home but I'm stuck here."

"It's not your fault, I miss you but it can't be helped. How's Nikki?"

"She is fine, bit miserable cos she had a fight with Helen but otherwise fine."

"I know, I went out for a drink with Helen last night and she is miserable too."

"I knew those two liked each other more than they let on. Hey I have an idea, we can't get home to you, so how about you both come here?"

"There is a flight leaving later on today, I'm sure we can get on that." Claire had already started making notes in preparation to book her seat.

"Ok babe, I will phone back later."

Claire put the phone down and immediately rang Helen. She explained that she was going to New York because Fiona couldn't make it home, and asked her if she wanted to go so that she could make it up with Nikki.

"Absolutely! book me a seat then, and I will meet you at the airport, thanks Claire I owe you one!" Helen put the phone down and scurried about, trying to get her things packed. She wanted to be out of there before Thomas came back home.

Claire rang up 15 minutes later and told her she had managed to get seats by pulling a few strings. Helen grinned and thanked her and then rushed into the shower. She emerged ten minutes later, dried her hair and got dressed and then left Thomas a note explaining she had gone away for a while. She ran out to the car and made her way to the airport.


Part 8

As the plane touched down in New York Helen could feel her excitement building, she just hoped Nikki would forgive her. She had settled back on the flight and thought how romantic it would be if she could sort things out with Nikki before midnight, then they could see the new year in together and make a new start. She got off and went to pick her luggage up and then made her way to the hotel with Claire.

They checked in and found out what room Nikki was in, and then set about getting ready to see them later on that night at the party that would be taking place in the hotel. Helen dressed to kill, and had made sure her bruise was covered before she went to Claire and Fiona's room. Fiona had already gone down to the party leaving Claire to escort Helen. Helen walked into the room and her heart flipped when she saw Nikki standing at the bar with Fiona.

"Hello stranger," Helen murmured seductively, and smiled when Nikki's head whipped around in surprise.

"Helen! what are you doing here?" she asked amazed that the woman she had been thinking none stop about for the past few days was actually stood in front of her, in New York of all places.

"I came to say I was sorry." Helen got shy and looked at the floor.

"I think we should talk," Nikki said calmly.

"Hey Nik, Claire and I are going back to our room, we want to spend a little time together." Fiona smiled; she wanted to leave Helen and Nikki alone to sort things out.

"Yeah ok, see you both later. Fancy a walk?" she directed the question at Helen, who nodded and then followed her as she walked out.

They walked along the street in silence for a bit and Nikki was trying to keep her thoughts under control, however it wasn't easy.

"Helen why did you come all the way here just to say you were sorry?"

"I came all the way here because I wanted to explain."

"Explain what exactly? that you lost your temper with me because I kept my personal life private? or was it the promotion that pissed you off?."

"Nikki! it wasn't like that. Thomas is always making decisions for me and it felt like you were doing the same thing. It hurt that you didn't trust me enough to tell me."

"It was my own private business and I don't think I have to tell my friends everything, some things you keep to yourself," Nikki said stubbornly and refused to budge.

"So I was right, you don't trust me. Jesus Nikki! why is it so hard to get through to you?" Helen's anger flared up.

"It had nothing to do with trust; I wanted to keep it quiet. Do you know what it's like to be humiliated in front of people like that? to have them all laugh at you behind your back? and then be taunted for being gay? no you don't, because you are straight and have a perfectly respectable quiet little life with your husband," Nikki snapped.

"Just goes to show how much you bloody know!"

"Now who is keeping secrets?" Nikki said sarcastically.

"You must have realized I wouldn't hold any of it against you? I'm not going to judge you because of it Nikki; I'm supposed to be your friend."

As they walked they ended up in times square but neither of them noticed. They were both too wrapped up in arguing with each other to care. They stood facing each other as if they were preparing to go into battle.

"What if I said I didn't want to be your friend anymore?" Nikki said sulkily.

"Oh I see! so you can't be friends with a married woman without kissing her or dragging her off to bed?" Helen flipped.

"That was below the fucking belt Helen!" Nikki shouted, eyes blazing with anger.

"True though."

"No it's not!" Nikki shouted over the din of the crowd.

The countdown to midnight started, and Nikki and Helen continued to stare at each other. It was midnight and the ball dropped, causing the people to cheer loudly, and start singing Auld Lang Syne.

"Even if it was, it wouldn't bother me," Helen said and grabbed Nikki by the collar of her shirt and pulled her close. She kissed Nikki passionately, as the new year fireworks started to explode in the sky all around them.

They were silhouetted against the dark sky, as the myriad of colours from the fireworks lit their faces. They broke apart and Nikki looked stunned. A drunken gay couple staggered past and whistled at Nikki and Helen and gave them the thumbs up. Helen smiled back at them and Nikki finally smiled after she had managed to process all the information that had been threatening to flood her brain.

"What was that?" she finally managed to say breathlessly.

"That was a kiss, has it been so long since you had one that you've forgotten?" Helen smiled cheekily.

"No, just didn't expect one from you." Nikki smiled as she took Helen's hand.

"Happy New Year Nikki." Helen stroked the side of Nikki's face.

"Happy New Year." Nikki leant in to Helen and captured her lips a second time. Helen got as close as she possibly could and wrapped her arms around Nikki.

"So what do you reckon? new year, new start?" Helen asked staring deep into Nikki's eyes.

"Absolutely." she took Helen's hand and led her back towards the hotel.

They went straight to Helen's room to pick up her things and then went to Nikki's. They had agreed to share a room so they could spend some time together. Nikki lay on the bed as Helen took a shower, she was just about to leave the bathroom when she remembered the bruise on her face and quickly applied some concealer. Nikki went in after her and she lay on the bed thinking about how she had kissed Nikki.

She hadn't set out to do it but it had seemed like the natural thing to do, at least things between them were sorted now, but Helen didn't know where this was going to end up. She had seen desire in Nikki's eyes and was sure Nikki had seen desire in her eyes too, but things were not that simple, there was still the problem of Thomas. Helen wasn't even entirely sure that Nikki would want a relationship with her, there was so many things floating around in her head that she couldn't make sense of them all.

Nikki stood under the spray of the shower, tonight had been one big shock. She didn't expect to see Helen standing in front of her but she definitely wouldn't have expected the kiss to happen. She had assumed that Helen was straight and had no interest in her past the friendships stage. It had taken Nikki a long time to trust her but she figured her heart was probably safe with Helen, although she wasn't sure how far they would go, she was after all married.

She came out of the shower and settled on the bed next to Helen. They both felt nervous, they had never been in a situation like this before and hormones were threatening to rage out of control. Being in such close proximity to each other had always had their hearts racing but here and now they were alone and they had kissed. That changed the boundaries and neither one of them knew what to make of it, they only knew that it felt right.

Helen reached across and ran her hand down Nikki's body, caressing her slowly. Nikki could see where this was headed, and she needed to be sure.

"Are you sure you want to do this? Once we cross the line, there is no going back." Nikki looked at her questioningly, she wanted Helen to be certain about it.

"I'm totally sure, I wouldn't be here with you like this if I wasn't," Helen said moving closer to Nikki.

"I'm glad you said that, because I don't think I can hold back much longer," Nikki said with a voice that was thick with emotion. She reached out with both arms and drew Helen to her, closing the gap between them until their lips touched.


Part 9

Nikki took her time with Helen, knowing that it was her first time with a woman. She slowly undressed Helen letting her get used to the sensation of her body being viewed by somebody different than as was usually the case. As she removed the shorts and t-shirt Helen was wearing, she watched the goosebumps that sprang up on her skin. Helen's skin was flushed and she was breathing rapidly, it was obvious to Nikki at this point that Helen was already very turned on and she hadn't touched her yet.

Nikki gently took off the rest of Helen's garments and just lay there for a while looking at her. She had to stop to get her breathing under control, and she sensed that Helen was puzzled that she had stopped.

"It's ok, I just wanted to slow things down a bit that's all." Nikki smiled at Helen reassuringly.

"Ok," Helen smiled back.

Nikki leant across and kissed Helen softly, feeling her head spin as Helen's tongue danced across hers. She sucked Helen's bottom lip, nibbling on it as she drew it in to her mouth. She then began to kiss her way down Helen's face and neck, she heard soft moans in response to her touch and it only served to turn her on more.

She kissed her way down Helen's shoulders and as she got closer to her breasts she could feel her shuddering beneath her. She enclosed one of Helen's nipples with her lips and teasingly flicked the end of her tongue over the sensitive skin causing Helen to moan louder. She paid equal attention to the other one before moving down Helen's body.

Helen lay back and was aware of all the new sensations she was experiencing. It was strange somehow but her senses seemed to be acutely aware of everything around her. The bed seemed so much softer than it had done a minute ago, and the sheets seemed so much silkier than they had before. She could feel each movement Nikki made magnified a hundred times and the feelings made her nerve ends scream.

Nikki slowly stroked the velvety smooth skin of Helen's stomach, tracing tiny patterns with her fingertips, which she then replaced with her lips. Helen felt Nikki's tongue as it licked its way down her body, and she almost climaxed there and then when she felt her tongue dip into her bellybutton. She reached down to touch Nikki's head, eager to let her know that she was with her every step of the way. She felt Nikki's hand reach up to hold hers, but she didn't stop for a second. This was so much more sensual than Helen ever thought possible, the feelings that Nikki elicited as she gave attention to her body was so much stronger than she had ever dreamed.

Nikki continued down Helen's body, kissing each inch of flesh as she went. All the way down Helen's legs and up again. She then moved up beside her and they lay facing each other. Helen ran her hands down Nikki's back and buttocks, please with the sound that Nikki made in response. She took Nikki's hand and guided it between her legs.

"You can touch me you know Nikki, I wont break sweetheart," Helen whispered into Nikki's ear.

"I just want you to get used to it, I don't want to hurt you," Nikki replied as she looked at her with such a tender expression that it made Helen want to jump for joy and cry all at the same time.

"You won't hurt me, you're being so gentle with me." Helen leaned over and kissed her, Nikki gained in confidence and then built up a steady rhythm with her hand that had Helen gripping onto her tightly and moaning.

She hesitantly inserted her fingers inside Helen, so she wouldn't startle her, and she knew she had done the right when she felt Helen buck against her hand. She had wanted to get as close to Helen as she possibly could.

"Just a little harder sweetheart." Helen gasped, she sensed Nikki needed some guidance. Not because she didn't know what to do but because she was trying to take things slowly for her.

"Is that ok?"

"Mmmmmmm that feels wonderful." Helen smiled at Nikki and kissed her again.

She kept the movement steady until she could sense Helen was close to the edge. She stilled her hand and then Helen complained.

"What did you stop for? I was nearly there."

"I'm just going to let you calm down a little, believe me it will be better." Nikki grinned at her.

Helen nodded signaling that she trusted Nikki and then felt Nikki start up a slow circling movement with her thumb as she moved slowly inside her. She gradually increased the movement faster and Helen started to move with her on the bed, her hips gyrating faster as the feelings increased. She could feel a deep ache begin in her stomach and her toes started to tingle, a sure sign that she was going to have an orgasm any second.

Nikki sensed she was close as she felt Helen gripping her fingers, and sped up the movement of her hand. Helen moaned loudly and shouted out her name as the orgasm washed over her in waves. Nikki's hand remained still until she felt the muscles relax and then she took Helen in her arms as she came back down to earth.

"That was incredible." Helen pushed her hair back from her forehead and took a deep breath.

"Take it you enjoyed it then?" Nikki said grinning wickedly at her.

"I more than enjoyed it, it was bloody fantastic," Helen said and then kissed Nikki.

They kissed a few more times and then Helen pushed Nikki over on her back and sat astride her.

"Now it's your turn." she winked at Nikki, and started to caress her.

After a couple of minutes Nikki was no longer on the planet, Helen's touch was driving her crazy. She could swear Helen was tantalising her but was enjoying it so much, she was willing to wait a while. Helen had finally placed her hand where Nikki wanted it and started to bring her closer to edge. Nikki couldn't help writhing about, but Helen took her time, she wanted it to be as good for her as it had been for herself.

After what seemed like hours of slow sensuous torture, Helen built some speed up. Nikki couldn't breathe properly, and her words came out fast.

"Ohyes mmmmjusthere. oh Helen," Nikki moaned as Helen worked her magic.

It wasn't long before Nikki's orgasm exploded through her and a million lights seemed to burst in her head. She lay back breathing harshly as she felt Helen lie alongside her and wrap her arms around her. Helen rested her head on Nikki's chest, and she wound her fingers through her hair, softly caressing the back of her neck.

"How was that?" Helen said in a slightly anxious tone.

"Totally amazing, it's never been like that for me before," Nikki managed to say.

"What? honestly?" Helen was amazed.

"Yes, honestly."

"Not bad for a first timer then." she smiled at Nikki and then placed a kiss on her forehead.

"If I didn't know better I would swear you had done this before," Nikki said raising her eyebrow at Helen as she smiled.

"I've thought about it a few times so maybe that explains it." Helen giggled.

"Fancy a repeat performance then?" Nikki wiggled her eyebrows at Helen, without waiting for an answer; she pulled a squealing Helen under the duvet.


Part 10

Helen woke up next morning, and blinked rapidly to focus her eyes. She was momentarily confused at her surroundings and then remembered where she was. The breath caught in her throat when she remembered the night spent making love with Nikki. She turned over in bed, and Nikki was still in a deep sleep. She leant over and kissed her on the forehead and then got up to get a drink of water. She was feeling happier than she had for a long time, and stepped into the shower humming softly.

Nikki stirred and sat up, she noticed the bed was empty next to her and thought Helen had run out on her but then she sighed in relief when she heard the shower. Nikki's head was still all over the place, she couldn't believe what had happened the previous night, and was amazed by it all. She knew for certain now that she was head over heels in love with Helen but she was unsure about telling her. After all they had only spent one night together and that didn't constitute a full blown relationship.

Reality had come back to hit Helen full force and she know stood in the shower, her tears mixing with the water that flowed down her face. It had been proved what she already knew for certain anyway, she was totally in love with Nikki but Thomas was standing between them. Feeling the way she did about Nikki made her realise that her marriage to Thomas was all but over, she didn't love him anymore and probably hadn't for a very long time. However, walking away from him wouldn't be easy; he wasn't the type of man that would just let it all go. In any case, she wasn't sure how Nikki felt about her anyway. Nikki had been loving and attentive with her, but did that really mean she felt the same way? Helen just didn't know.

"Morning Nik." Helen smiled as she came out of the shower.

"Morning, come here and give me a kiss." Nikki reached out for her and Helen settled on the bed beside her, giving her a long slow kiss.

"Mmmm what a nice way to wake up," Nikki said huskily, then her face changed as she noticed the bruise on Helen's face.

"Where did you get that bruise?" she asked as trailed her fingers down Helen's face as she examined the bruise.

"Oh that, on the plane the other day. There was a bit of turbulence and I hit my face on one of the cabinets." Helen was surprised at how easily the lies rolled off her tongue. Was she turning into one of those women who routinely lied about their husbands hurting them?

"I also noticed that bruise on your arm last night, where did that come from?" Nikki was starting to get suspicious.

"Probably the same time I hit my face, I dunno. You know what it's like, you get all kinds of bumps and scrapes in my job." Helen tried to smile and stood up to get dressed.

"You can't have, the bruise on your arm is an old one, and it's faded whereas the bruise on your face was done recently. Helen you would tell me if something was wrong wouldn't you?"

"Of course I would, it's just me being clumsy that's all." Helen did not want to tell Nikki, she knew it would make her angry and she couldn't afford for her to confront Thomas about it. She didn't want Nikki getting hurt, so thought it was better for everybody if she kept it to herself.

"Maybe I'm being a bit paranoid here Helen but if I find out that Thomas is hurting you then I will rip his head off." Nikki sat up and lit a cigarette watching Helen's face closely for any expressions that would give her away.

"It's just bruising from turbulence that's all." Helen hoped Nikki would drop the subject.

"It better had be because if it's not." Nikki left the threat unspecified.

"For god sake! Just drop it will you?" Helen exploded

"What are you getting so defensive for? You're giving yourself away now, and you told me that you wanted no more secrecy between us." Nikki stood up and moved closer to Helen.

"There is no secret! And even if there was Nikki I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself." Helen's independent streak started to show through.

"What was it you said to me? I don't have to deal with everything on my own? It works both ways. I've seen how Thomas treats you and I swear to god if that bastard is hurting you then I'm going to make sure he is sorry."

"Nikki we slept together once, don't go assuming you must take responsibility for me. I'm old enough to look after myself!" Helen stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her leaving Nikki standing in the middle of the room, unsure what to do for the best.

"It was more than once Helen," she said quietly to the empty room.

"Morning Helen! Where's Nik?" Fiona asked smiling as she sat next to Helen in the coffee shop.

"In her room I should think, that's where I left her."

"Have you two not sorted things out then?"

"We did, and it didn't last long."

"I can't believe you two! What's wrong now?" Fiona asked rolling her eyes.

"It's nothing; she seems to think I can't take care of myself that's all. I'm not a charity case, I don't need her help."

"I think you're being a bit hard on her, she cares about you and you know she does. Why don't you go back to the room and try to sort things out?."

"There's no point, every time we sort things out then something else gets in the way. I'm going for a walk, see you later." Helen stood up and walked away, and Fiona made her way to Nikki's room.

Nikki was sitting on the sofa in the room chain smoking, when she heard a knock on the door. She shot up to answer it thinking it was Helen.

"Hiya mate, why is it when you open the door to me lately you have always have a face on?" Fiona joked slightly trying to lighten the atmosphere.

"Sorry. Probably because you always turn up just after Helen has bitten my head off and stormed out." Nikki sat back down and lit another cigarette.

"You've got more smog in here than L.A." Fiona opened the window to let the smoke out.

"Why does it keep going wrong Fi? Every time I think I'm at a point where I want to be, it all goes arse up."

"What happened?"

"Helen and I slept together last night. Then I noticed some bruises, one on her face and the other on her arm, which she says she got when there was turbulence on her flight. I suspect Thomas is hurting her and when I mentioned it, she blew up at me and stormed off, she accused me of thinking I should take responsibility for her because we slept together."

"She said she thinks that you think she can't take care of herself, seems to think you reckon she is a bit of a charity case. I spoke to her in the coffee shop before." Fiona stood up and got them both a glass of water.

"Typical! The trouble with Helen is she is far too independent, I'm not saying being independent is a bad thing, but the bloody woman takes it too far. The thought of Thomas hurting her is driving me nuts, I just want to protect her that's all." The tears tricked down Nikki's face.

"You've fallen really hard for her haven't you?" Fiona asked as Nikki nodded silently.

"Don't worry bud, it will all work out. Just give her time to calm down; she will come round in the end."

Helen had in fact calmed down but didn't think it was wise to let Nikki know. Realising that Nikki felt protective of her felt good but at the same time, it scared her. She had been used to having her independence, and Thomas had taken that all away. She was confusing Nikki's protectiveness with Thomas's possessiveness. Even though Nikki was concerned about her, Helen still didn't think it meant that Nikki wanted a full blown relationship.

She decided it was best just to leave things as they were. She would try and salvage the friendship once again but as for the romantic side of things, she couldn't take the risk. She knew if Thomas found out then there would be hell to pay and at this point, she cared more about Nikki's safety than her own.

She wandered back up to Nikki's room and knocked. Nikki let her in but didn't say a word, and Helen could see how upset she was.

"Nikki, talk to me," she said touching Nikki's face but Nikki pulled away.

"There isn't much to say, if you want to be so independent then go ahead. I care about you but I can only help if you let me."

"I care about you too and I don't want us to fall out again, we only made up last night. Can we please go back to being friends?" Helen evaded the issue slightly.

"Yeah if that's what you want," Nikki said flatly, it wasn't what either of them wanted but neither of them had the courage to say it. Nikki because she didn't want to get hurt again, and Helen because she knew how Thomas would react. One of the biggest factors keeping them apart was that they were unaware that they were both in love with one another, neither of them had read the signals correctly otherwise they would have realised.

Part 11

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