DISCLAIMER: All characters are property of Shed Productions and much as I would like to, I do not own them. I'm just borrowing them for a little while for fun and not profit. This story portrays a loving, sexual relationship between two women so if this is not for you then please do not read it. I love to get feedback so if you read it and like it please email and tell me, if on the other hand you don't like please tell me that too as this will help imporve my writing. Thanks hope you enjoy it.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a totally stand-alone AU of our favourite couple, I've also thrown in a few other of my favourite characters just for fun!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Cyber Chix
By Crispaay500


Chapter 1

Helen Stewert sat in front of her laptop screen, staring through it rather than at it. Her best friend Claire Walker had sent her a link to a dating site for young professionals, but to be honest she was sick and tired of the constant interference and couldn't seem to bring herself to click onto it.

She had split from her fiancé Sean more than six months ago now and although Helen knew she meant well, Claire's constant comments about getting back out into the world and old clichés about there being plenty more fish in the sea and that she was too good for him anyway, really were starting to grate on her nerves.

Helen shut down the lid of the laptop sharply with a long, frustrated sigh, walking over to the full length mirror in the hall she stood back and looked at herself critically, her reflection frowning back at her as she became lost in evaluation. She looked firstly at the dark patches under her hazel eyes, then turning sideways, pulling her shirt tightly across her stomach she examined her waistline. Ok, so maybe she could stand to lose a few pounds and perhaps she did look a little run down but working in a women's prison was hard work, it was bound to take its toll. She was after all, the youngest wing governor that Larkhall or any other prison for that matter, had ever had.

At 31, Helen still considered herself to be in the prime of her life, yet sometimes she just felt too old for her years and if she was honest, she would have to admit that since she had found her fiancé Sean in bed with a 22 year old bimbo, her self image and confidence had taken quite a knock and as a result she had let herself go a little.

"Right," she announced determinedly to her own reflection, "time to do something about it Stewert!" and she ran up the stairs as fast as her legs would carry her, to throw some training clothes into a bag, before grabbing her jacket and keys and heading off out the front door, slamming it loudly behind her.

Throwing the bag in the back of her little red Peugeot, she made her way across town to the new fitness centre that had only recently opened. She had noticed it on the way home from work one night and some of the officers had been talking about it, so she decided to give it a try. They had said that it was run by women for women, no men were allowed to join which had an instant appeal to Helen. She had no intention of parading her 'wobbly bits' in front of any man, well not until they were all toned and no longer wobbled anyway, she thought with a wry smile. She just hoped it wasn't one of those trendy places that you had to have the body of a goddess before you could join and was only occupied by blonde Barbie fitness freaks who paraded around all day in a couple of strips of lycra and not much else, with the soul purpose of making everyone else look bad.

Helen pulled up outside of the brightly lit, slightly bland looking building, the front of which was only adorned by a simple purple neon sign with the name flashing on and off rhythmically… 'Chix'. 'What sort of name is that for a gym?' thought Helen reaching awkwardly into the back of the car to retrieve her sports bag. 'Sounds more like a night club', she thought, but now that she had actually mustered the will power to get herself here she should at least go in and see if it was as good as the officers had been saying.

She opened the front doors and made her way over to the large, rather plain looking desk. As she approached a dark haired, tattooed woman jumped to her feet smiling enthusiastically at her, making Helen feel a little more at ease.

"Can I help ya love, ya look a bit lost…"

Helen smiled, reading the nametag on her shirt; she cleared her throat nervously,

"Hi, yes Pat…I'd like to join up if I can."

Pat stifled a small giggle at Helen's nervousness and obvious lack of enthusiasm,

"It's not the army love, you make it sound like you don't really want to be here!"

Helen shifted nervously from one foot to another, suddenly wondering why she had thought this was such a good idea in the first place.

"Well, does anyone actually want to put themselves through this kind of hell?"

Pat laughed out loud, unable to contain it any longer.

"I'll tell you what, why don't you sign in as a visitor for today and if you don't like it you don't have to come back? How does that sound? You never know you might actually like it."

Helen nodded thankfully,

"Thanks, sorry I'm not the most willing victim you've ever had in here, I'll bet…I'm not even sure why I'm here to be honest…sick of my best mate nagging me about getting another guy I guess. Thought I'd best do something about it." Helen said sheepishly. Pat laughed again,

"Well you won't find any of them round here love…"

Helen signed the book and looked up again, awaiting directions of what to do next.

Pat glanced down at the book, before smiling up and pointing towards the door on her left.

"Well Helen, changing rooms are through this door and then follow the signs to the gym and other workout areas when you're ready. The owner's around in there somewhere, so I'm sure if you need any help she'll be more than happy to assist you." Then with one final glint in her eye as Helen approached the door, Pat shouted,

"Have fun!"

Helen grimaced trying not to sound too sarcastic,

"Oh. I'll try…" then under her breath she muttered, "Smart arse!"


Chapter 2

Helen changed into her baggy t-shirt and shorts quickly, tied her shoulder length light brown hair into a ponytail and then admired the décor of the club as she crammed her belongings untidily into an empty locker. She had to admit it wasn't what she expected a gym to look like. It had a very serene feel to it and was surprisingly calm apart from the clatter of the odd weight banging together in the distance. The walls were scattered with the occasional photo of well proportioned, fit, young women but Helen chose not to look at them as they only served to remind her of what she would never be.

She opened the door at the end of the hallway and found herself standing in a large, white room filled with various types of gym equipment, most of which Helen did not have a clue how to use. Gazing around her eyes fell on a row of treadmills facing large windows looking out onto rolling hills and fields. 'That's where I'll start' thought Helen relieved, 'even I can't go wrong running'.

Helen stepped onto the treadmill gingerly and selected a slow, gentle speed to get her started. She began to run at a manageable rate, losing herself in the beautiful scenery in front of her.

"You really should do some stretches first, you know!"

Came a voice behind her. Helen turned around abruptly, seeking out the owner of the voice but lost concentration and promptly slid unceremoniously off the back of the belt in a heap.

"Whoa, are you ok? Sorry I didn't mean to startle you."

Helen gazed up as the owner of the voice crouched down in front of her looking concerned and very apologetic. The woman was maybe a couple of years older than her, Helen calculated, with short dark hair and the deepest chocolate brown eyes that she had ever seen.

Helen stared for several moments without saying a word, gazing dumbly at the dark stranger in front of her.

"I said are you OK? I am so sorry." then the stranger turned to look over her shoulder and shouted to the small woman who appeared to be wearing the same clothes as Pat that up until now Helen had failed to notice and who now was rushing over towards them, looking decidedly flushed.

"Call an ambulance Denny! Oh shit this is just what we need the first few weeks that we open…I might as well throw in the towel now."

The dark haired woman waved her hands nervously in front of Helen's face, whilst she slipped her arm supportively around her shoulders,

"Please Miss speak to me…are you ok?"

Helen suddenly seemed to snap to her senses as she tried to stand up,

"Yes, yes I'm fine…you just made me jump that's all…now please just help me up, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all."

"Please just sit still for a moment and I'll get you some water or something," the stranger said trying to encourage Helen to sit back down on the floor.

Helen stared around the room and noticed for the first time that all eyes appeared to be on them and she found herself feeling extremely stupid. Helen clambered to her feet a little unsteadily, and grabbed the strangers arm for support,

"Come on let's get you to my office and then I'll drive you home."

Helen allowed herself to be led to the office at the back of the gym as the small girl, who she thought she had heard being called Denny, came rushing up to them with a bottle of water and nervously pushed it into the strangers hands.

"Do you still want me to call that ambulance Nik?"

"No, no, honestly I'm fine", Helen insisted, "please I just want to go home, I knew this was a bad idea before I got here. Some people just shouldn't exercise."

The other woman smiled as she sat her down on the large leather couch in the office and Helen again became mesmerized at the way her eyes glistened when she smiled.

"I'm Nikki Wade, by the way and this…" she waved her arms around her, "for my sins…is my club. I'm so sorry about what happened, can I get you anything?"

Helen shook her head, shocked at the thoughts that were going through her head, never before had she found herself admiring another woman, yet here she was staring at this woman like an idiot unable to take her eyes off her. What was she thinking? Her heart was pounding erratically in her chest and she suddenly felt sweaty,

"I'm sorry…I…I…I've got to get home. I'm fine honest." Helen stammered standing and reaching for the door.

"Well at least let me drive you home or something please," said Nikki following her out of the office.

Helen quickly opened her locker in the changing rooms, smiling nervously as she saw Nikki examining the crumpled state of her outdoor clothes. Helen hurriedly pushed them into her sports bag and started to head for the door.

"Please…I'm sorry I don't know your name…but please Miss let me drive you home." Said Nikki following her as she hurried past the front desk.

"It's Helen and there really is no need…my car's in the car park and I'm perfectly capable of driving myself home but thank you."

"I really am sorry Helen, look when you're feeling better, come by again and you can have some complimentary sessions by way of a proper apology"

Helen turned as she got to the front door and smiled ironically,

"Thank you Nikki but there really is no need…I guess some of us aren't meant to exercise."

At that Helen rushed off to her car leaving a very red faced Nikki staring after her.

"What the hell happened Nik?" said Pat staring quizzically at her boss.

"Wow," Nikki said still staring out of the front doors, "I think I just fell in love Pat."

Pat slid her arm around Nikki's shoulders, hugging her tightly,

"I'm sorry mate, I don't know how to break it to you but you've done it again…that ones as straight as they come."

"How the hell do you know that?" Nikki spat slightly more aggressively than she had first intended, "Just 'cause she didn't rip your pants off on her way through the door, doesn't mean that she's straight…I think she kinda fancies me if you must know." Nikki said puffing out her chest with self-importance.

"Nah mate, sorry but she told me on the way in she's looking to make herself gorgeous so the boys'll fall all over her."

Nikki stared venomously at her friend, sighing deeply she said.

"Screw it…that's it I'm off women…I'm gonna join a convent", she turned around aggressively and stormed off back to her office, only stopping to shout angrily over her shoulder,


Pat looked over to Denny, who was staring incredulously at the office door,

"As if we'd be that stupid!"


Chapter 3

Helen strode purposefully up the drive to her house; shaking her head silently to herself she wondered why she had ever considered going to the gym in the first place. She had never really liked exercise and sports, she supposed since she had been made to play hockey at school in tiny shorts and school sports top in the middle of winter, in the snow, in Scotland when she was younger. This couldn't possibly be anyone's idea of fun surely?

Helen sat down at her desk and flipped open the laptop that she had been staring at hours before. Switching it on she once again stared at the link that Claire had sent her for the dating agency. There had to be guys out there who would appreciate the more ample woman, Helen thought miserably. 'Maybe I'll just take a quick look'.

Helen clicked on the link and watched as the page loaded, showing numerous happy couples, all sickeningly in love, walking down the beach or something as equally vomit-inducing, "Oh this had better be good", Helen muttered at the screen cynically.

She proceeded to the sign in page and began to put her details in.

User name: Helen thought for a moment then a small smile crossed her face, 'yeah why not?' Sexy Scottie Lass, Helen typed before moving onto the next questions. It then went on to ask about the usual questions of likes and dislikes, home details and other personal details about herself before going on to the sort of partner that she would be looking for.

Helen read aloud, " I am looking for a) a man, b) a woman or c) either…goodness me that's very progressive of you Cyberdate.com I must say".

Suddenly her phone rang loudly making Helen jump and curse loudly. She picked it up and failed to hide the irritation in her voice as she shouted,

"Yeah what?" into the receiver.

"Oh, that's a nice welcome for your best friend in the world isn't it?"

"Sorry Claire," said Helen lowering the tone of her voice, "I'm just having a bad day…and if you're ringing to give me more grief about that dating site then don't."

"Oh come on Helen. You've got to stop pining after that man…he's a total creep…you're better off without him. You know he's got another one now, don't you? Even younger than the one you caught him with by all accounts too."

Helen seethed angrily tapping her fingers on the laptop, trying to distract herself from what her friend was telling her. She didn't love Sean any more, that she knew but it just made her sick that even though he was a week, boring little man he still managed to get far more attention from the other sex than she did. Why the hell was that? She was still attractive wasn't she? She started clicking angrily at the questions in front of her as Claire went into yet another tirade of abuse aimed mercilessly at Helen's ex fiancé.

Her fingers hovered over the submit box as her consciousness switched back to the rantings of her best friend.

"…and I said to her, he'll dump you too you know, as soon as he can find another stupid bitch younger than you to get into his pants!" Helen slammed her finger down hard on the key and hit submit.

"Claire! Claire! Stop talking a minute will you please! It's done…I've sent it. Ok now will you please get off my bloody back"? There was an unfamiliar silence at the other end of the line for a few seconds as Claire tried to take in that Helen had finally followed her advice; there was a first time for everything after all Claire thought ironically.

"Well done Helen…. you know I only go on at you because I love you don't you?"

Helen sighed defeatedly,

"I know and I love you too…even if you do drive me up the wall sometimes! Now go and let me get some sleep, I've got a massive intake of prisoners to get through tomorrow and a meeting with the number one. I need my beauty sleep. Good night Claire."

"Let me know when all those gorgeous guys start contacting you won't you?"


"Night Helen."

What Helen hadn't realised was that, in her hurry to quell the overzealous matchmaking attempts of her best friend, she had inadvertedly made a mistake that would effect the rest of her life in a way that she could never imagine.


Chapter 4

The following day went past in a blur for Helen. There had been a mix up with the intake of prisoners, which had resulted in a dangerous prisoner being released onto the wing and a claustrophobic middle-aged civil servant being locked up on the block and sedated. Somebody's head would definitely roll for that cock up, thought Helen angrily as she pulled up onto the drive outside her house.

Checking her watch as she struggled up to the front door with an armful of files and a take-away, she was dismayed to see that it was almost nine. How was she ever supposed to get back out into the world, as Claire had so regularly worded it, when she spent most of her life locked up with hundreds of women? I suppose I could always turn 'lezzy', Helen thought with an ironic smile as she opened the front door and threw the files onto the coffee table in the lounge.

She shook her head in humour, so many officers at Larkhall appeared to be lesbians and Helen had never differentiated between them, making sure that every one of her officers were treated with equal respect but she was well aware that certain officers were not so tolerant. Jim Fenner and Sylvia 'Bodybag' Hollamby to name just two. They were the most bigoted, homophobic people that Helen had ever had the misfortune to meet and if she had her way they would both have been forced out of the profession a long time ago.

She knew that lesbian relationships were a part of life on G wing amongst the inmates too but she had never seriously considered it herself. Yet there had definitely been something that she couldn't quite put her finger on when she had met Nikki Wade at the gym. What was that? She wondered, she had definitely felt differently around her, she'd never experienced anything like it before with anyone. Was it attraction? Her heartbeat had raced ridiculously quickly and she had felt butterflies in her stomach that she hadn't felt since she was a child, and Oh! Those eyes… she could get lost in those eyes…

Helen sat down on the couch in front of the coffee table with a large glass of vodka in one hand and a fork in the other as she greedily devoured the take-away curry. Her mind wandered back to Nikki again, she found herself wanting to return to the gym just to see her but somehow the thought of exercising purely to meet a woman that she had made a fool of herself in front of just didn't seem logical. Why was she so desperate to see her? What had made her react the way that she had, rushing out like a frightened child?

It's just all getting to me that's all it is, thought Helen, staring longingly into her half empty glass, I've got to get dating again, I'm just being silly, "I'll be fancying Bodybag next!" Helen said out loud to herself, giggling childishly and shaking her head.

After finishing her meal, Helen grabbed her plate and glass and made her way out into the kitchen. She placed the dirty plate into the sink and refilled her glass, drinking deeply, enjoying the familiar burn at the back of her throat. She had to admit that she seemed to be drinking more and more these days, filling her lonely nights with paperwork and vodka was just not the road she should be going down, Helen put the lid back on the bottle and made her way over to the laptop on the desk.

'Don't suppose I've heard anything from Cyberdate, but no harm in checking', she thought, pressing the start-up key and watching it spring into life. After logging on, she discovered that she had three messages waiting for her in her inbox.

The first message was from GodsGift2U, 'mmm modest name' thought Helen smiling ironically, but she clicked on it anyway. The message simply said:

Hi Sexy Scottie Lass would love to get together sometime. Digging your profile, you sound just the lass for me, how about we get together? As you will see from my profile I am very adventurous, I would be more than happy for you to bring a friend. I'm really into that if you know what I mean. Send me a message, a photo of you would be good too and I'll show you both a good time.

Helen shivered from head to toe, "Ugh God I hope they're not all like that!" she said quickly clicking onto the next message, hoping for better results this time. The sender was simply listed as Sexygirlover, 'Oh no here we go again' Helen thought, taking another large drink from her glass.

Hi, sexy. Liked your profile, would love to meet up. I could take you to Diva, Lava or The Chateau, whichever you prefer. Would love to get to know you better. Xxx Chris

Helen frowned, and reread the message, the clubs that Chris mentioned were all gay clubs, why would a guy take a first date to a gay club? "You're a bit strange as well aren't you fella?" Helen muttered at the screen. Her finger hovered over the last message, should she open it or would it be just another weirdo? 'I knew this was a bad idea' she thought shrugging and opening the last message.

The username was TallDarkandLoving, slightly better than the other two at least thought Helen. She read the message, suddenly becoming more interested as she read further down. The message read:

Hi. I've never done this before so I guess I don't know how to go about it. Anyway here goes. I read your profile and something just jumped out at me, I can't explain it, I was hoping that you might like to chat on line or something sometime, I will leave my computer on all night for the next few nights in case you fancy it. No pressure, but I would love to get to know you. N XX

Helen sat back in her chair gazing at the message, she couldn't explain why but for some unexplained reason she was drawn to it, maybe it was the honesty, maybe it was the genuine feeling behind it Helen wasn't sure but this guy certainly sparked her interest.

Following the links to start up a private chat, Helen clicked on TallDarkandLoving's message box. Not knowing what to say Helen decided to make it simple.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: Hi, I hope you're there. Have u got time to chat?

Helen hovered over the screen, her heart beating faster with anticipation. Would he answer her? Helen hoped so; he had said he would keep his computer on all night after all. Several minutes past and Helen resigned herself to the fact that this was yet another dead end and stood up, making her way back to the kitchen for the refill that she had promised herself that she didn't need.

As Helen entered the room again she heard her laptop bleep, indicating that a message had arrived. She found an excited smile creeping its way across her face as she sat back down yet again in front of the screen.

TallDarkandLoving says: Hi Sorry about that I was out of the office dealing with a customer for a few minutes. Didn't mean to keep you waiting. I'm glad you contacted me.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: A customer? What do you do?

There was a slight delay and then the answer appeared on her screen.

TallDarkandLoving says: I own my own club. What do you do?

Helen hesitated for a moment, how should she answer that? If she was honest it, at best intimidate guys or at worst made them turn into lecherous perverts imagining all sorts of things with handcuffs and uniforms.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: I'm in the caring profession. Have you been using this site long?

TallDarkandLoving says: Do you come here often? Lol

Helen blushed slightly, she hadn't realised it had sounded so corny but she had to admit she was warming to this guy's sense of humour.

TallDarkandLoving says: sorry was only teasing. You haven't gone have you?

Sexy Scottie Lass says: No I'm still here. Sorry didn't realise it sounded so corny. It's my first time on here. I guess I'm a bit out of practice with the dating thing.

TallDarkandLoving says: Yeah me too. You're the first person I've contacted. I'm a bit rusty too. I wasn't even sure I wanted to sign up to be honest with you.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: I'm glad you did. I'm only here because my best friend pushed me into it.

TallDarkandLoving says: I'm glad she did but I'm going to have to go; the staff are trying to get my attention. The club has only just opened and we're all having to do everybody's job at the minute. I'm sure you must know what I mean in your line of work too. Can I PM you tomorrow?

Sexy Scottie Lass: PM? I'm sorry I told you I was new to this.

TallDarkandLoving says: Private message. Have loved talking to you. Would love to get to know you some more if that's ok.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: Would love that not sure what time I will be home. Will put computer on as soon as I get in.

TallDarkandLoving says: love your screen name but do you have a real one?

Helen hesitated for a minute, she didn't know this guy well enough yet, she could always be honest if they decided to meet up some time in the future,

Sexy Scottie Lass says: Heather.

TallDarkandLoving says: Nik. Talk to you tomorrow Heather

Sexy Scottie lass says: Look forward to it Nik.

TallDarkandLoving has logged out.

Helen shut the lid of her laptop down and realised that for the first time in a long time she was actually smiling. It would probably not come to anything but something about Nik made her want to get to know him better.

Helen glanced around at the files strewn across the coffee table, then shrugged and made her way up to bed. She certainly wasn't about to let Larkhall ruin her good mood now. As she climbed into her bed she hoped that her dreams would be filled with happy thoughts about what this Nik might look like. She hadn't been sleeping well recently as she had been plagued with the recurring nightmare of finding Sean in her bed with 'her' but somehow she just knew that tonight would be different.


Chapter 5

Helen sat in the restaurant waiting anxiously, constantly checking her watch. Eventually she saw a tall, dark and handsome man walking towards her.

"Hi I'm Nik," the stranger said holding out his hand. Helen stood to shake his hand but as she looked down at herself she realised that she had gained 200lbs. She looked back up into Nik's shocked face and then back at her own, much larger frame unable to work out what was happening. Instead of offering comfort Nik began to laugh at her causing all the other diners to also turn and laugh. Helen pushed her way past Nik and ran out of the restaurant, as she looked back she noticed with horror that every one of the faces had mysteriously become Sean.

Helen ran and ran and then suddenly found herself sitting at the side of a large swimming pool, crying into her hands while her sobs wracked her chest and her breathing struggled to return to normal. The door to the pool swung open and Helen could make out the tall, lean silhouette that was vaguely familiar but she could still not be certain who it was that was joining her.

In seconds Helen found herself enveloped in a pair of strong warm arms, pulling her into a firm embrace. She looked up and found herself staring once again into those chocolate eyes that had captivated her so since the first time that they had met.

"Shhh I'm here. I've got you."

Helen felt Nikki's soft breath on her neck sending shivers up and down her spine. She looked down again and noticed that she had reverted back to her usual size. She gazed quizzically at Nikki as if asking a silent question.

"You'll always be beautiful to me," said Nikki pulling her onto her lips and devouring them passionately.

Helen reached up, running her hands urgently through Nikki's hair pulling her harder and harder onto her lips, she felt her desire grow. She needed this woman's hands on her now. Helen pulled desperately at Nikki's red polo shirt, managing to pull it up and over her head. Running her hands smoothly over her taut stomach muscles Helen's hands began to travel up to Nikki's large breasts…BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Helen sat up abruptly in bed rubbing her eyes with confusion. Her alarm clock was screeching loudly at the side of her, Helen had never hated that contraption more than she did right now. She lay back down in her bed, thinking about the dream that she had been so rudely ripped out of. She had found comfort and love in the arms of another woman and instead of being alarmed by it she had actually found that she was aroused and extremely annoyed that she had been awoken before it had reach it's climax. Helen smiled childishly at her thoughts, somewhat surprised that she had wanted to make love to Nikki in her dream and had seen Nik as the unwanted admirer. 'Well the experts would have a field day trying to analyse me' she thought as she climbed out of bed and made her way into the shower.

By the time Helen had finished her shower she had decided that the dream was nothing but a realisation that she was unhappy with her figure and worried about what Nik would think of her if they ever did meet. Nikki's presence and the subsequent 'attention' that she had received from her only demonstrated her need to train and get fit, proving how much better she would feel about herself when she had achieved her goals.

Helen grinned, she wasn't totally convinced but what other explanation was there? She certainly wasn't gay for goodness sake and as far as going back to the gym and facing Nikki again was concerned, well she was wing governor over some of the most dangerous women in England, she was sure she could face one rather sexy woman again, no matter how many erotic dreams she was subjected to.

Throughout that day Helen found it increasingly difficult to concentrate. She found her thoughts wandering to the previous evening, 'chatting' with Nik and meeting Nikki again. How would she cope with that? Helen began to worry that she would not be able to face Nikki, after all she had made a total fool of herself last time and then there was this attraction' thing' whatever that was about. Should she just enrol in another gym, wouldn't that be the easier option? But then this was the only gym that catered for ladies only and Nikki had promised complimentary sessions, it seems silly to waste them reasoned Helen.

So, when five o'clock finally came round, Helen found herself rushing out of the gates of Larkhall with slightly more spring in her step than she had had for a while as she made her way to her car. Within minutes of returning home Helen had grabbed her training bag and was making her way across town towards Chix, the stereo blasting trying to hide the sound of her anxious heart thudding nervously in her chest.

She pulled her car into a space outside Chix, turned the engine off and looked around the empty car park. It was all but deserted with only one other car and a battered motorbike being the only other vehicles around her. Helen reached her bag from off the back seat and made her way nervously towards the front doors, swallowing loudly as her hand reached out for the handle.

As she walked in Denny, the nervous girl from the other day jumped up in surprise as her eyes settled on Helen.

"'Ello Miss, are you feeling better now?"

Helen smiled and nodded enthusiastically,

"Yes thanks…much better. Nikki said I could have a few free sessions and I was wondering…"

"Oh I'm sorry Miss we're closing up I'm afraid. We shut early on a Wednesday night see…no one comes in usually so Nikki said there didn't seem much point staying open."

"Oh ok…" Helen wasn't sure why but she felt extremely disappointed, "Never mind, some other time then."

Helen turned to make her way to the door when a voice from behind her startled her slightly,

"Helen! No please wait! Its ok, come in." Helen turned to find a rather flustered Nikki grinning wildly at her from the doorway behind the front desk. She then turned to Denny,

"It's ok, I'm gonna be around for the next three or four hours anyway, I've got a mountain of paperwork to get through," then turning back again to face Helen she said,

"Can't have you running away again now we've managed to get you back here can we?" Nikki winked mischieviously and shot Helen one of her sexiest smiles.

Helen felt her knees weaken as she nodded dumbly in Nikki's direction.

The two women stood silently staring at each other for several awkward moments before Denny nervously cleared her throat,

"Well I'll get off then boss, see ya tomorrow."

Nikki snapped back to consciousness and followed Denny to the front door, locking it behind her.

"Are you ok? No repercussions of your fall the other day?" said Nikki turning back to face Helen.

"No…thank you…I'm fine…" stammered Helen, feeling her face flush. She had suddenly realised that she was alone in a locked building with Nikki and for some reason found that rather exciting. 'Stop it Stewert! What do you think you're playing at?' Helen quickly reprimanded herself.

"Yeah…well…erm, I'll leave you to it then, if you want anything you know where the office is don't you?" Helen again nodded dumbly and Nikki flashed one more genuine smile before she disappeared back through the door behind her.

Helen grabbed her bag and scurried off towards the changing room. She had brought her swimming costume this time and had decided to take it a little easier; she would spend half an hour in the gym and then make her way down to the swimming pool to finish her work out.

Ten minutes later, Helen entered the empty gym and once again dared to start her workout on the treadmill, superstitiously avoiding the one that she had fallen from last time. She ran for ten minutes at a gentle speed and found herself more and more out of breath, she looked around over her shoulder, when she was happy that she could not be seen she switched it off and stood at the side, bent double, desperately trying to get her breath back. "You are seriously out of condition Stewert!" she said to herself moving over to the rowing machine.

She tried a few more of the various machines out but had to admit that she wasn't really sure what she was supposed to be doing on any of them so decided to make her way through to the swimming pool, and if she happened to look in at the office on the way she would only be being friendly, wouldn't she?

Helen knocked the office door lightly and waited, but when she received no answer she tried the handle, disappointed to find it locked she made her way back to the changing rooms to put on her swimming costume, cringing self-consciously at the full-length mirror that insulted her Lycra clad body on her way to the pool area.

As she came closer to the pool she could hear splashing in the water, hesitating for a second, Helen tried to decide whether she would be able to talk to Nikki knowing that they were both so scantily clad. The thought of it alone sent shivers up Helen's spine as waves of excitement coursed through her body. She crept to the door way of the pool area and stood back in the shadows watching her as she swam effortlessly through the water, her lean lithe body barely making a ripple as it cut through the water, reminding Helen of the way that a dolphin looks as it glides gracefully through the ocean.

Helen gulped loudly, unable to force her feet to move as her eyes greedily lapped up the sight in front of her. Nikki reached the end of the pool nearest to Helen and rested both arms on the side of the pool whilst she regained her breath. The sight of Nikki so breathless and flushed was doing unimaginable things to Helen and as hard as she tried to control them she found herself unable to take her eyes of her, even for a second.

Nikki pulled herself gracefully up onto the side of the pool; Helen's eyes scanned her body greedily as her muscles flexed and water dripped suggestively over her large breasts. Nikki sat for several seconds, staring into the water and dangling her legs backwards and forwards, making her look so vulnerable and childlike, Helen felt her heart reaching out to her. Nikki's hands ran through her short, wet hair as she pushed it back and out of her eyes and for the first time, Helen noticed that Nikki appeared to be crying.

Without hesitation, Helen crossed over to where Nikki was sitting causing her to jump and quickly wipe the tears away from her eyes with the back of her hand.

"Damn Chlorine!" Nikki quipped trying to hide her emotional state from her new friend.

Helen sat back and smiled, gently placing her hand on Nikki's shoulder. "I know we don't really know each other very well, but I'm a good listener…or so I've been told."

Nikki tried to stand but Helen gently pulled her back down,

"No I'm fine thank you Helen. I shouldn't go blubbing in front of the customers…I'm sorry." Nikki quickly stood, grabbed her towel from a nearby chair and raced off towards her office.

Not wishing to be pushed away, Helen jumped to her feet and followed in the direction that she had seen Nikki disappear. At the end of the corridor she saw a sign on one of the doors saying 'Manager's Office-Staff only'. 'It must have two doors, that's why I didn't see her leave through the gym' thought Helen as took a deep breath outside the room.

"Look Nikki, please let me help…."

Helen pushed her way into the office as Nikki dropped her towel to the floor in shock.

"Shit! Oh God! I'm sorry" Helen stammered as she quickly turned her back. Nikki frantically grabbed for her jogging bottoms and her t-shirt as she pulled them on over her naked, wet body.

"It's ok, I'm descent again." Nikki said with an evil grin. Helen turned around and Nikki couldn't help but feel sorry for her as she failed to hide her embarrassment.

"I am so sorry Nikki…I just thought…" Helen stammered,

"It's ok Helen, If you wanted to see my body, you only had to ask …just wish you'd let me take you out for dinner first…"

Nikki quipped, enjoying the embarrassment on Helen's face just a little too much.

Helen blushed again, but this time as a result of Nikki's blatant flirting as her stomach flipped over nervously as they shared an awkward stare before Nikki turned back to the mirror on the wall to arrange her hair.

"I…er…look I should go…" Helen stood and moved toward the door.

"No wait! Helen please! Sorry I'm only teasing, ignore me, what you said earlier about being a good listener…did you mean it?" Nikki knew she was grasping at straws but she wasn't ready for Helen to go just yet.

"Yeah of course I did." Helen sat back down, staring up into Nikki's puffy eyes.

"Not here though… how about you go get changed… although I'd be more than happy if you wanted to stay like that". Nikki raised her eyebrows suggestively as she looked down at Helen's ample cleavage that was very apparent over the top of her tight, black swimming costume,

" and I'll go upstairs and make us something to eat, are you hungry?"

Helen glanced down at her swimming costume, for the first time realising that she really wasn't dressed for a heart to heart. "Yeah I guess I should get changed shouldn't I and yes I am actually quite hungry, upstairs?" said Helen raising her eyebrows quizzically.

"Oh sorry, I live upstairs, it's not much but it suits me for now, till the gym starts paying a bit better. Then maybe we could have that chat, what do you say?"

Helen nodded, "Ok thanks that would be lovely."

Nikki beamed, and disappeared out of the office door, Helen stood and made her way to follow her narrowly avoiding the door as it flew back in her face as Nikki charged back into the room.

"Oh god! Sorry are you ok?" Nikki said putting her hands on Helen's shoulders. "Yes I'm fine, what's the matter?"

"The matter? Oh yeah forgot to tell you how to get upstairs, just open the door at the end of this corridor that says staff only and come up." At that Nikki shot excitedly off again.

Helen smiled after her, shaking her head, "I hope you know what you're doing Stewert!" before making her way to the changing rooms and a very cold shower.


Chapter 6

After changing, Helen made her way nervously up the stairs into Nikki apartment. She was obviously being modest when she described it as 'not much' earlier thought Helen. The apartment took over the whole of the top floor of the building and was modestly and yet tastefully decorated with real wood floors throughout.

"Hello…Nikki?" Helen called out not wishing to cause any further embarrassment by walking in unannounced.

Nikki appeared from one of the doorways, looking slightly flushed but absolutely gorgeous. Helen couldn't help but notice that she had also changed, she seemed to have made quite an effort thought Helen trying to evaluate the effect Nikki was having on her. She now wore stylish black fitted trousers with a silky lilac shirt that gaped suggestively around her ample cleavage.

Helen suddenly felt distinctly under-dressed in her vest top and jeans.

"You look nice…I kinda feel a mess now," said Helen looking down at her own clothes.

"You look lovely," Nikki gushed, suddenly realising what she had said and rushing back off towards the kitchen. Helen beamed appreciatively; she had been feeling so low recently it made her feel good to get a compliment.

"Wow, this place is fantastic, did you decorate it yourself?" Helen asked looking around.

"Yeah, it's not much but it's home…I hope you like Lasagne it shouldn't be long. Would you like a glass of wine or something?" Nikki offered holding a bottle of red and a bottle of white in each hand.

Helen shook her head and moved to stand next to Nikki, leaning on the sink.

"Better not. I've got my car outside."

"Please…we'll get you a cab, you can pick your car up in the morning."

Helen's heart fluttered at hearing Nikki say please to her and she found that she just could not refuse her, leading her to wonder what else she would be unable to refuse if she asked. She nodded, nervously surprised at her constant inappropriate thoughts whenever she was around this woman. How did she have such an effect on her? Why was she so fascinated with the tall, sexy gym owner?

"Helen?" Nikki was staring at her clearly awaiting an answer to a question that Helen simply hadn't heard, as she had been so lost in her admirations of the other woman.


"I said red or white?" said Nikki holding the bottles up again.

"Red would be great thanks."

Helen reached for the glass when Nikki offered it and their fingers brushed each other's gently, causing an intense surge of sexual electricity to flow through them both. Helen quickly withdrew her hand and moved away guiltily. Nikki busied herself with the oven, as she removed the meal and began serving it onto two plates.

The two women sat eating in awkward silence until Helen cleared her throat looking up into Nikki's still puffy eyes.

"So, are you going to tell me why you were so upset earlier?"

Nikki shifted awkwardly in her seat, no longer able to hold her stare.

Helen immediately picked up Nikki's reluctance, maybe she was overstepping the mark a little, they didn't really know each other after all.

"Hey it's ok…you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I won't be offended…it's not like we really know each other, not really."

Nikki looked up, her eyes again filled with tears, "No it's ok, I want to tell you, I… would really like to get to know you Helen… I'm just not sure you will be ok with it. I don't think you would still want to be my friend when I've told you." Helen moved over to sit in the chair next to her and put her hand gently on her shoulder.

"Don't judge me Nikki, you don't know me…why don't you try me?"

Nikki stood and reached for her wine glass and the half empty bottle, "Ok let's go sit in comfort though, if I'm about to spill my guts."

Helen stood and followed Nikki into the sitting area, her mind racing as to why she had put herself in this position, why had she felt so compelled to help this stranger? Why had her heart gone out to her so completely when she had witnessed her obvious distress?

She kicked her boots off and sat down on the leather couch next to Nikki, placing one leg under her and supporting her wine glass on her other leg. She stared intently at her waiting for her to start talking.

"Today would have been my partners birthday, if she'd lived." Nikki blurted out quickly while she still had the resolve to do it.

Helen moved closer and placed her arm around Nikki's shoulders,

"I'm sorry, were you with her long?"

Nikki turned to stare directly at Helen amazed that she hadn't reacted in the slightest to her revelation. People always backed away or stumbled for the right words to say when she revealed that she was a lesbian, she had even had one elderly lady once tell her how sorry she was for her, but Helen had not even reacted.

"Er yeah nine years…I'm sorry Helen but I've got to say it…you didn't even react."

Helen frowned, puzzled at her new friends question, "I'm sorry…what was I supposed to say…I wasn't aware there was a right and wrong response. I did ask if you were with her long, what should I have said?"

"No not about Trisha, about me...I've just told you that I'm a lesbian and you didn't even bat an eyelid."

Helen looked down at her feet sheepishly, "Oh that, well I kinda knew already…you have been flirting with me quite blatantly…" There was another awkward silence before Helen continued nervously, " anyway tell me about Trisha. Were you happy?"

Nikki looked away again, losing herself in the flames of the fire.

"Yeah…yeah I guess we were…I would have done anything for her. For the first six or seven years anyway, and then…"

Nikki's voice trailed off as her tears began to fall silently.

"And then?" Helen pushed.

"She changed. Started going out without me all the time. Said she needed space. Said I was suffocating her, even got pissed off with me if I gave her a compliment, told her how beautiful she was or anything" Nikki wiped roughly at her tears as they ran down her nose and onto her shirt.

"Then one day the coppers turned up at our house and told me that she was dead. I thought my life was ending, couldn't understand how it could happen. The copper…he looked embarrassed, like he was hiding something…poor bloke, he was only a kid. I pushed him to find out what had happened and he eventually told me…then I wished he hadn't."

"He told me that her boyfriend had killed her. They'd had a lover's tiff and he'd stabbed her." Nikki turned to Helen with pleading eyes. "How could that be Helen, she was mine not his…how could she have a boyfriend, how could she do that to me after nine years? Did she ever love me?"

Helen pulled her into her arms, holding her close until the tears had subsided. "Oh Nikki, I'm so sorry no wonder you're upset."

Nikki melted into the warmth that Helen's arms afforded her, her heart beating loudly in her ears at the closeness, her senses being assaulted by the aroma of her shampoo. Reluctantly Nikki pulled away, rubbing at her red eyes, "that's not the worst of it. I found out in court when the evidence was read out that she was pregnant…pregnant with his kid. That's why he killed her…said she was trying to trap him…stupid thing is if she'd come back to me even then, I'd have taken her back and we could have worked it out, raised the kid together."

"How long ago did all this happen Nikki?" Helen said gently running her hands through Nikki's hair. "A little over three and a half years ago. It only really gets me on birthdays and holidays and things. I think I'm grieving more for what we could have had rather than what we actually had…does that make sense?"

Helen smiled sympathetically but Nikki could tell that she didn't really understand.

"I think if I'm honest me and Trisha were finished years before she died and it was me who just wouldn't let go. She fell out of love with me five or six years in but I just wouldn't admit it…I guess I just didn't want to be on my own. We weren't in love when she died…oh don't get me wrong, I loved her but I wasn't in love with her. I think that's what I feel most guilty about. If I'd let her go she could have moved on without having to sneak behind my back, found someone better and still been alive."

"Don't say that Nikki, you don't have anything to feel guilty about. You didn't do anything wrong…all you're guilty of is loving somebody too much and for what it's worth I think she must have been mad."

Nikki stared up tearfully into Helen's eyes, "Yeah?" she said barely more than a whisper. "Yeah" said Helen leaning in to give Nikki another hug. Nikki pulled away after several moments gazing silently at Helen as she held her gaze,

"Thank you Helen," she leant in an placed a gentle kiss on Helen's lips, so gentle it was almost not there at all until she felt Helen begin to respond.

Nikki ran her tongue slowly along the length of Helen's soft moist lips and was rewarded with a long, lustful moan from deep inside Helen's core. She raised her hand slowly to her neck and pulled her in to deepen the kiss, her tongue beginning to seek entry in Helen's willing mouth as the tips gently toyed with each other. Nikki ran her hand slowly down Helen's spine; gradually making it's way across her stomach and up to her aroused breasts.

Helen gasped and pulled away suddenly, a look of shock and confusion on her face. Her fingers ran shakily over her lips as she stood staring down at Nikki's horrified face.

"Helen! Shit I'm so sorry…I shouldn't have done that."

"No you shouldn't" spat Helen as she grabbed her bag and stormed off down the stairs. Nikki raced after her, "Please Helen stay…please let's talk about this I'm sorry."

"And so you should be!" Helen shouted over her shoulder as she fought with the locks on the front door. "Now will you please let me out?"

Nikki strode purposefully over to the front door, leaning one arm against it as she leant over Helen,

"You kissed me back Helen…I shouldn't have kissed you…but you kissed me back." Nikki bent down and almost whispered the last few words into Helen's ear causing her to stifle a shudder.

"I can't do this now. LET ME OUT!"

Nikki threw back the last lock, opened the door and stood to one side to let Helen out. Helen glared angrily one last time at Nikki, looking like she was about to say something else but stopped and then stormed out into the car park, not looking back even when she heard Nikki shout angrily, "You felt it too Helen…I know you did."

Nikki slammed the door and Helen climbed into her car, roaring off out of the car park. Nikki watched her go sadly, 'Nice one Wade…that there is why you haven't dated in so long". Nikki turned and made her way back up the stairs to attempt to find oblivion in the bottom of a bottle, any one would do she really had no preference at this point as long as it blotted out any thoughts of Helen 'bloody' Stewert she really didn't care.


Chapter 7

Helen slammed her front door behind her and leant her back against it as she allowed the tears to finally fall. What the hell had just happened? She'd just kissed another woman that's what just happened she thought angrily to herself.

Helen strode into the kitchen and poured herself a very large vodka. Her mind racing, she couldn't seem to organise any of the errant thoughts and questions that were hammering their way through her head. Why did Nikki kiss her? They were getting on so well up until then, she thought she had found herself a really good friend, why did Nikki have to change that? Why did I kiss her back? Because I liked it? No it couldn't be I've never been interested in women before so why? Because I felt sorry for her, she was so vulnerable and I guess I was grateful that she had opened up to me? But I knew she fancied me so why did I put myself in that position in the first place? Because I fancy her too? No that's just not possible. Is it?

Helen drank the rest of the vodka down in one, coughing slightly as it burnt her throat and then grabbed the bottle and took it into the sitting room, pouring another large glass, before falling onto the couch frustratedly. However she looked at it she kept coming back to the one simple fact, the fact that Nikki had shouted after her as she had left the gym…she had felt it too…so now what?

Several glasses later Helen finally passed out as she allowed the alcoholic fog to cloud the thousands of questions that were swirling around inside her head.

She slept fitfully but instead of sleep calming her fears, her dreams appeared intent on adding to them. In her dreams her mind played out the events of the evening. How she had felt as Nikki sat breaking her heart at the poolside, that jolt of whatever it was as their hands had touched, seeing Nikki's naked body and more importantly the effect it had had on her and then finally… the kiss. The feelings of arousal that had risen up inside her as she had felt Nikki's lips on her own had been undeniable and unlike anything she had ever felt before…so intense… and in Helen's semi-conscious state they began to flood back to her.

Helen sat up on the couch, staring around her with confusion as to why she was still fully dressed and still in the sitting room. She sighed defeatedly; resigned to the fact that she wouldn't be getting any more sleep so she might as well give up now. She stood unsteadily, her head pounding as she made her way over to her desk. She flicked on her laptop to check her work e-mails, it never hurt to get a jump-start on the working day, even if it was 3am.

She opened her inbox and found that she had e-mail from Cyberdate.com informing her that she had another two messages awaiting her. "I don't bloody think so she muttered at the screen before she went on to open numerous messages from various prison officials all needing her immediate attention.

By 6 am, tiredness was starting to creep up on her so she stood and walked over to the window. Dawn was always her favourite part of the day, she loved to think that she was one of the only few people witnessing the sun's arrival and that somehow made her feel just that little bit special.

Helen looked back over at her laptop as it beeped loudly, informing her that a message had arrived. She wandered back to the desk and turned the screen back round to face her. A smile crossed her face as she read the message that had popped up in the left-hand corner.

TallDarkandLoving says: Hi, saw you were online. Couldn't sleep either?

Helen sat back down at the desk and began typing, this was what she needed she decided, a bit of male attention…take her mind of Nikki Wade. She was lonely…that's all it was. That was why she had reached out to the first person that had shown her some attention. Maybe it was time to crank up the flirting with Nik, find another outlet for all her built up sexual frustrations.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: No, was thinking about you.

There was a slight pause, then a beep.

TallDarkandLoving says: What were you thinking about?

Helen gulped nervously; flirting was so much easier face-to-face but she knew it was too much of a risk to arrange a meeting just yet so she found herself back peddling slightly.

Sexy Scottie Lass says: Would like to get to know you better.

TallDarkandLoving says: What do you want to know?

Sexy Scottie Lass says: everything!

TallDarkandLoving says: We'll share. A fact for a fact. I have one brother but we don't talk what about you?

And so the conversation went on. Helen found herself enjoying herself so much that she rang in sick. Larkhall could manage without her for one day. She found out that Nik was estranged from his family but had lots of friends who he was really close to, he had started up his club with insurance money that he had and that he was worried sometimes that the club wouldn't be a success.

With each message that they exchanged, Helen felt herself becoming more and more attracted to him. He had a really caring, sensitive side and seemed to be as interested in her as she was in him. Conversation was easy between them even if it was through the Internet and she found herself hoping that he would not have to sign off any time soon.


Chapter 8

As Nikki had watched Helen leave she had felt her heart breaking inside her chest. "You felt it too Helen…I know you did!"

Nikki heard her own words ringing in her ears bitterly as she watched Helen's car roar out of the car park. She hadn't been wrong she was sure of it…was she? There had definitely been a spark between them earlier and even though it had been a long time since she had dated she still knew how to recognise attraction and desire and no matter how many times she re-examined what happened she was adamant that she had seen both in Helen's eyes. She wasn't wrong, she knew she wasn't. "Bloody straight women!" Nikki shouted at the top of her voice as she stormed back off upstairs,

She reached for the six-pack of beers that she had in the fridge, "What the hell was I thinking? Straight women! They never know what they want!" she said to her own reflection in the glass of the kitchen units. She gulped urgently at the golden liquid, which subsequently frothed up over the top of the bottle.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" Nikki shouted again at the top of her voice. 'Bloody Helen Stewert, why should she care if she's all offended 'cause she can't handle that she's attracted to another woman'. But she did care, however she looked at it she had fallen head over heels in love with the woman, as much as she drove her crazy.

Nikki put her beer bottle down on the coffee table and strode purposefully into the bedroom to change into some workout wear. Ten minutes later she found herself pummelling hell out of the punch bag, all her frustrations surfacing and then duly being beaten into submission. 'Best kind of anger management there is' Nikki thought to herself as she discarded her shorts and sports top and dived into the pool.

She had always loved swimming, found that it cleared her head and helped her to solve problems. Forty lengths of the pool later a flushed, tired Nikki made her way back upstairs to try to get some sleep. She had made her mind up that she would have to leave the ball in Helen's court. She had no right to force the issue, if she was right and Helen did indeed have feelings for her then she would soon realise them and come back. In the meantime thought Nikki, no harm in a little playful flirting, as she started her computer up and began to type.


Chapter 9

Nikki was awoken around 10 the next morning by a loud banging on the door at the bottom of the stairs. She sat up stiffly from her desk, stretching the kinks from her neck and back and removing the post-it note that was firmly stuck to her forehead. She looked around her at the empty beer bottles that went a long way to explaining why she had fallen asleep in her sitting room, slumped over the keyboard of her pc.

The banging stopped and Nikki heard a familiar voice shouting her name, far too loudly as Nikki's head pounded with every syllable. Pat poked her head around the corner with her hand over her eyes. "Are you decent? Can I come in?"

"Hi Pat, yeah I'm decent…what's up?" Pat recoiled in shock as she saw the state of firstly Nikki and then the sitting room. "Shit! What happened to you? Look at the state of this place…and quite frankly mate, you look like shit!"

"Thanks mate," Nikki said massaging the bridge of her nose with her fingers, "I love you too." Pat started to pick the beer bottles up that littered the floor, "Oh come on Nikki, you know I love you but what the hell's going on? This isn't like you…you know, what happened to all your, 'my body's a temple' and all that shit?"

"I just needed to let off some steam, I was having a bit of a hard time that's all it was." Nikki ran her fingers through her dishevelled hair and sat down on the couch, trying to process all that had happened to her in the last few days.

Realization slowly crossed Pat's face; she sat down next to Nikki and put her arm around her shoulder. "Shit, Trisha's birthday…I'm sorry I forgot. Are you ok? Do you want to talk about it?" Nikki sighed, sitting back in her chair, "Not really, I did all the talking I needed last night, and then made a total tit of myself and blew it."

Pat looked up, not really understanding what Nikki meant, "Oh? No I'm sorry Nikki, I'm not following."

"Helen…she came round here last night."

"Helen? Helen who? Oh no! Not that straight woman from the other day…oh Nikki you didn't?" Nikki nodded sheepishly. "Oh love I told you she wasn't interested, when will you ever learn to fall for the ones you can have rather than the gorgeously unobtainable?"

A single tear rolled from Nikki's eye and Pat immediately regretted her harsh words. "Come here," she said pulling her in closer but suddenly recoiling again, "Let me just go make you some coffee, you get in the shower and clean your teeth…cause to be honest mate you stink and then you better tell me what happened."

Nikki nodded thankfully and disappeared off into the bedroom. Pat stared after her; she had never seen Nikki in this state. Sure she'd seen her drunk before, they had met at university after all, when they had staggered home almost every night totally paralytic, but she seemed different this time. The ever present sadness and guilt were there, always were, especially around Trisha's birthday, but Nikki seemed beaten somehow, totally lost like Pat had never seen before and it worried her.

Nikki and Pat had been best friends for more years now than either of them cared to remember, they had tried briefly, before Nikki had met Trisha, at a relationship which had never really worked but they had found that as best friends they could tackle anything. It had been Pat that Nikki had called when she had found out about Trisha's death, it had been Pat that sat with her night after night as she broke her heart trying to come to terms with it and it had also been Pat that had sat holding her hand throughout the whole trial as they sat and watched Trisha's murderer get sent down for life.

A part of Pat, a part that she was not particularly proud of, felt a slight twinge of jealousy that Nikki had chosen to confide in a total stranger rather than her and she mentally chastised herself for not realising the date and it's relevance, she'd been far too wrapped up in her own life and her new wife to see that her best friend needed her.

Twenty minutes later, a slightly more presentable version of Nikki appeared out of her bedroom, her hair still wet and her feet bare, but looking and feeling more human. Nikki smelt the coffee brewing and readily accepted the cup that Pat offered her as she approached the kitchen. "Better? Will I pass the sniff test now?" Nikki said sarcastically, moving towards Pat and raising her arms. "Get away with ya," she said pushing her away. Nikki laughed and took a drink out of her cup but Pat could see that her eyes did not convey her forced humour

"Come on mate…what's going on?" Nikki moved to stand with her back to the sink, staring into her cup as if it held the answers to everything. "Why didn't you ring me last night, you know I would have been here in a heartbeat?"

Nikki smiled appreciatively, "Yeah I know Pat…you really are the best you know that don't you…it's just sometimes…sometimes…oh I don't know… I mean I've got to handle it on my own sometime. You can't keep rushing off to hold my hand…Sheena already hates me!"

"She does not, she knew when she married me that we come as a package, she's always known that. So anyway, why Helen?"

Nikki finished her coffee and reached over to refill her cup, "She was here, she seemed to want to listen. She came by to use the gym and we were just closing up, I told her to go ahead, I locked up and went to do some paperwork but I couldn't handle it, kept thinking of Trish."

Nikki moved to sit at the kitchen table and Pat copied, placing the coffee pot in front of them as she sat down. " I went for a swim to try to clear my head but I guess she must have seen me crying and offered a shoulder to cry on." Pat nodded knowingly, "and it's not just her shoulders you're interested in is it Nikki?"

Nikki looked up guiltily, "I can't explain it Pat, there's just something about her. She gorgeous, she's witty she's sensitive, oh and her accent…oh my god…and did I mention she's gorgeous."

"And straight Nikki…I'm sorry love but you've got to face facts."

"But you don't understand, I've never felt this way about anybody before…even Trish…I just can't think straight when I'm around her…pardon the pun." Nikki smirked but decided better of it when she looked up at Pat's frustrated frown.

"Look sweetheart, you're just feeling guilty about Trisha…you've got a crush on someone, who you can't have and you're feeling guilty about having feelings for someone new, but you've got to move past it. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you're starting to show an interest in women again…God knows its time, but you need to find someone who can love you back."

"I can't help it Pat. I'm in love with her."

Pat sat back frustratedly, "Oh shit Nikki, why is life never easy with you around? I'm sorry love but you're just going to have to face it…she's not interested."

Nikki nodded sadly, "Yeah I know…don't worry I won't be seeing her again anyway. I fucked up!"

"Why what did you do? You didn't tell her did you?"

"No worse than that…I kissed her."

"WHAT? Are you mad? And what did she do?"

"Got pissed off and ran. So you see you don't need to worry. I have well and truly fucked it up."

Pat put her arm around her friends shoulders again, "Look, you know what they say about getting back on the horse? Come out with me tonight, a few mates and me are getting together in Diva's. It's one of the girl's birthdays, let's see if we can find you someone that you can get back on that horse with."

Nikki started to object but knew that it would be futile, one thing she did know about Pat was that she rarely took no for an answer. "Ok, but I won't enjoy it", she said reluctantly.

"Well no, not with that attitude, now go and put your little skimpy shorts and your lycra sports top on, you've got a keep fit class in ten minutes and you know half of them only come to get an eyeful of your tits…come on chop, chop don't keep you fans waiting."

Nikki laughed and playfully swatted Pat's arm as she got up to go back down to the gym. "Thanks mate…I should have called you last night."

"Yeah but I'd have kicked your ass if you'd tried to stick your tongue down my throat!" Pat quipped as she skilfully dodged out of the way of the magazine that came hurtling past her in response.

"Now come on…Get off your arse and come and show these women what you've got!"


Chapter 10

Later that evening when Nikki turned up at Diva's she realised that she was the last to arrive. "Sorry I'm late everybody, few problems at the gym to clear up before I left." Pat smiled at her and slipped her arm through hers, "I'm just glad you've come out tonight, let me introduce you." Pat motioned around the group, "This is Cassie and Roisin, this is Kris and Selena, and of course you know Sheena…"

Nikki pulled a face at Pat sarcastically as she leant forward and gave Sheena a kiss on the cheek. "And this is Caroline…used to work with her in my last place, she's a swimming instructor. Right I think that's everyone shots all round I think". There was a loud cheer and the group descended on the bar.

Nikki glanced around the group and started to feel as though she had been well and truly stitched up. The group seemed to consist of all couples apart from herself and Caroline, who, as Nikki was sure Pat was perfectly aware, happened to be just her type. Nikki frowned at Pat as she stood at the bar ordering the round of drinks, leaving her in no doubt that her matchmaking attempts had not been missed.

Nikki turned to Sheena, who stood next to her staring at her wife lovingly,

"When will your bloody missus stop interfering with my love life?" Nikki said with mock annoyance leaning into her ear to make herself heard over the loud dance music.

Sheena grinned guiltily, for a split second she considered feigning ignorance but she knew that Nikki was the only other person in the world who knew Pat as well as she did, "She's just trying to help Nikki and besides why don't you go talk to Caroline, she really is lovely you know…who knows you might actually like her."

Nikki pouted sulkily, realising that although she wasn't happy with the situation, Pat's heart had been in the right place and she should at least make an effort. She moved over to take her drink from Pat as she passed it over Cassie's head from the bar, "Take this one to Caroline, will you Nikki, she looks a bit lost, doesn't really know anyone here…go on, go be friendly."

Nikki threw Pat another filthy look before making her way over to where the tall blonde was standing, slightly away from the group and looking extremely self-conscious. Nikki handed her the drink, flashing her sexiest smile, "thought you could do with this, you look a little out of your depth."

"Haven't really been to a gay club before…haven't been out long."

"Oh", 'great' thought Nikki another mixed-up straight woman who doesn't know what she wants, but she had to admit she was quite attractive, a little taller than Nikki normally went for but attractive all the same.

"Have you known Pat long?" Caroline stammered, clearly nervous in Nikki's presence.

"We've been best mates since Uni, what about you?"

"We met a few years back at the community sports centre in town. I was a swimming instructor there and Pat taught Martial Arts. We were close back then."

Nikki face flushed, "Oh…you two were…oh?"

Caroline blushed wildly, "Oh no, no we weren't…we didn't…no nothing like that, we were just friends…she helped me to admit who I am that's all."

"Oh right, sorry I didn't mean to…oh god…I'm sorry I'm not very good at this, am I? Only open my mouth to swap feet." Caroline giggled at Nikki's obvious discomfort.

Nikki drank her shot back in one and turned back to Caroline, "Would you like to dance, shut me up and stop me making an arse of myself." Caroline nodded and also drank her shot straight back, coughing loudly as the liquid burnt her throat. Nikki turned and led the way to the dance floor, Caroline followed behind, knowing that she was being watched with interest from the bar.

Pat turned to Sheena, "Looks like it's going ok, see I told you they would get on well. Shall we go dance too?" Sheena turned and placed a deep, passionate kiss on her wife's lips. When they parted they were both breathless. "Wow what was that for?" Sheena ran her hands down Pat's body letting them rest finally on her hips. "Just because you're a really lovely person Pat Kerrigan and I love you very much…but leave them alone now eh?" Pat nodded sheepishly before pulling her in for another passionate kiss.

On the dance floor, Caroline and Nikki seemed to be hitting it off really well. Nikki had forgotten how much she enjoyed dancing; it had been so long since she'd been to a club she'd forgotten how good it felt. Trisha liked clubs when they had first met but soon got bored with them and preferred to go to expensive restaurants, and what Trisha wanted, Trisha got.

After several dance tracks the music shifted to slow, sensual sounds, slowly soothing the hardened dancers off the floor as they made room for the lovers. Caroline looked nervously at Nikki waiting for her reaction, Nikki stepped forward smiling uncertainly as she took her into her arms and began to sway rhythmically in time with the music.

It had been a long time since Nikki had held another woman in her arms and she had to admit that it felt good. Their bodies melted together as Nikki pulled Caroline closer into her embrace, she could feel her heart beating rapidly in her throat and then realised that it was being mirrored in Caroline's chest too.

Nikki looked into Caroline's eyes and saw desire reflected back at her, Nikki leant forward and gently placed a kiss on her lips, hearing her moan excitedly at the contact. Nikki's mind immediately raced back to the previous evening when she had taken Helen in her arms and kissed her, her body exploding in an eruption of emotions as she felt her warm lips move on hers. True there were no explosions this time, but Caroline had certainly been a more than willing partner and Nikki could clearly see that she wanted more. Who was she kidding, it had been over three and a half years, she wanted more…her body ached for the closeness and the intimacy that she would get by making love to Caroline. Her heart might long for Helen but tonight her body cried out for Caroline.

Nikki moved in towards Caroline and spoke gently into her ear, smiling to herself when she saw her shudder silently as Nikki's breath caressed her neck. "How about we get out of here…" Caroline beamed, unable to believe her luck that this stunning brunette was actually interested in her.

They made their way through the crowds and finally out to the waiting taxi rank outside the club. They climbed in and Nikki leant forward giving the driver the directions to Chix before sitting down next to Caroline. She sat appraising the woman next to her, her shoulder length blonde hair appeared slightly dishevelled as a result of their energetic dancing in the club, her natural make up complimenting her homely looks. Nikki ran her hand slowly through Caroline's hair, causing her to lean into the touch and sigh heavily. It had been a long time since anyone had wanted her as much as Caroline clearly did now and Nikki found herself becoming more and more aroused the closer the taxi got to the club.

The taxi pulled up outside the club and Nikki quickly paid the driver before climbing out, pulling Caroline with her. She unlocked the personal door at the back and the couple made their way silently into the building. Caroline looked around her, clearly showing that Nikki's little domain pleased her.

"Would you like to look round?" Nikki asked motioning to the gym "or…?" she raised her eyes up towards the stairs that led to her apartment. Caroline stepped towards Nikki, seeming less nervous somehow now that they were alone, "I wouldn't mind a look round, have you got anything to drink?" Nikki nodded, "well we've got carrot juice or smoothies or I've got some beers and wine upstairs."

Caroline moved into Nikki's arms, placing a gentle kiss on her lips, "How about you go get us some beers and I'll have a look around, then maybe we could go for a swim?" Nikki gulped loudly before turning and racing up the stairs as Caroline made her way into the club.

At the top of the stairs, Nikki took a moment to gather her thoughts. Only last night she had been in this very apartment kissing Helen, and yet here she was with another beautiful woman waiting for her downstairs. Nikki closed her eyes and remembered how soft and inviting Helen's lips had been, oh how she longed to kiss those lips again…but Helen wasn't here…Helen didn't want her, she'd made that perfectly clear and Caroline was here and she did want her.

Nikki grabbed some beers from the fridge and made her way back downstairs. Gazing into the darkness she suddenly heard the rippling of water. Turning Nikki made her way to the pool. Standing in the doorway, she gulped nervously as her eyes fell on a naked figure sitting on the edge of the pool gazing up at her.

A wry smile crossed Nikki's face as she stepped forward and placed the beers on a nearby table, "I see you found the pool then." Caroline grinned and raised her eyebrows, "I fancied a swim…hope you don't mind." She moved forward and gracefully dropped into the water, allowing Nikki enough time to appreciate her tall, lean naked body.

Nikki stripped off her clothes, never losing eye contact with the tall blonde and dropped into the water besides her. She made her way over to her, feeling her skin cover excitedly with Goosebumps as she pulled her into her arms and their naked bodies met for the first time. Their lips met in a flurry of passion as their tongues fought hard for dominance. Nikki pulled away breathlessly, "I thought you'd only just come out?" she gasped placing gently kisses along her jaw line and up to her ear. Caroline shuddered excitedly, "Oh I have…" she turned abruptly and pinned Nikki to the wall of the pool, "but I never said I'd been a good girl since then did I?"

Their lips met again as Nikki ran her hands down Caroline's body, pushing her leg between her thighs and parting her feet. Caroline gasped loudly and threw her head back as she felt her centre come into contact with Nikki's leg, she began grinding slowly and Nikki felt her body start to respond in a way that she thought it would have forgotten. Her heartbeat quickened as her inner muscles tightened, her skin begging to be touched, her nipples hard and puckered screaming out to feel her mouth on them. Nikki spun them round, pushing Caroline's back to the wall as she bent forward and took one of her nipples into her mouth, sucking it firmly between her teeth, nipping slightly causing Caroline to stiffen and arch her back forcing them further and further into Nikki's mouth.

Caroline reached up with both hands and caressed Nikki's large breasts, causing her to stop her own ministrations as she greedily looked down to watch as the blondes hands pulled firmly on both of her nipples. Nikki could feel her orgasm approaching…it had been a long time after all, so she decided to take back control. Pushing herself back in towards Caroline's body she reached down to the warmth between her legs, gently parting her inner lips before forcefully pushing two fingers deep inside.

Caroline gasped loudly and began to push down hard onto Nikki's fingers, "Oh god! Oh yeah…fuck me Nikki…please". Her hands dropped to Nikki's core as she also began to pound in and out of her. The couple writhed uncontrollably, struggling to hold one another up as they pushed against each other, kissing, nipping, gasping until finally they both cried out simultaneously as their respective orgasms hit them hard. They trembled violently in each other's arms for several moments until they began to gain control over their own bodies again.


Chapter 11

Next morning Nikki awoke to an unfamiliar feeling. She looked down at her own stomach and found Caroline's arm draped lazily across it. Nikki rolled slowly onto her back, gazing down at the sleeping woman in her arms. A smile crossed her face as she remember their passionate love making in the pool…and the shower…and then on the way up the stairs…not forgetting the three hours after they had finally made it to the bed.

Nikki slid out from under Caroline's naked body, making sure not to wake her. She pulled on some shorts and a vest and padded out into the kitchen, her bare feet flinching on the cold floor, filling the coffee maker before heading to the bathroom for a shower.

When she returned back to the kitchen she found Caroline propped up against the sink, fully dressed in last night's clothes and sipping cautiously from her steaming coffee cup. "Hey" said Nikki in greeting. Caroline looked up, beaming as Nikki crossed the room pulling her into a passionate, hungry kiss.

"Mmm that was nice…I could almost let you persuade me not to go to work, but I'm sorry Nikki, I've gotta go." Nikki started to pout, "Really, are you sure I can't change your mind?" She ran her fingernails seductively up Caroline's arms causing her to shudder involuntarily. "Sorry babe gotta go."

Caroline grabbed her handbag from the top of the stairs and quickly disappeared down towards the front door. For the first time, Nikki became aware of the time and realised that the gym would now be open, "Stop! Don't go that way!" But it was too late; Caroline had already opened the door out into reception.

Nikki cringed with embarrassment as she saw Pat's bemused face staring at them both from the desk. "Hi Caroline…Hi Nikki…fancy seeing you two here."

"Give it a rest Pat", Nikki said smirking in Pat's direction as she followed Caroline out to the Car park.

Nikki pulled Caroline to her, resting her hands on her waist and leaning in for a kiss. Caroline backed away abruptly, "Thanks Nikki, but I better get going…thanks for last night, it was great. I'll see ya." Nikki stood back surprised at her sudden coolness towards her.

"Can I give you a call?" Nikki said holding onto her hand.

Caroline blushed slightly, "look Nikki, we're both big girls, I like you…I do, but I'm just not into anything serious. Last night was great, the best…and you…well look at you, you're gorgeous. If I were ever to get serious then it would be with you. I'm sorry hun." Caroline leant in and placed a gentle kiss on Nikki's cheek before walking off towards the bus stop

Nikki's shoulders slumped as she made her way back inside, suddenly realising that she was bare-foot and rather scantily dressed. "Giving the keep fit ladies an incentive to come more often Nikki."

"Fuck off Pat!" Nikki shouted over her shoulder as she disappeared back upstairs. Pat frowned but knew her well enough to leave her to calm down. She would wait until Denny came into work later, she could cover the desk and she could speak to her then.


Chapter 12

Helen had spent most of the previous day pottering around the house pointlessly. She had chatted with TallDarkandLoving online for several hours and had felt like she could confide anything in him but when they had started to chat about their friends Helen had suddenly felt a pang of guilt, she had made her excuses and closed her laptop, determined to sort out the situation with Nikki.

She couldn't decide why it was so important to her to mend her bridges with Nikki; she just knew she had to. She thought about the events of the previous evening, replaying them over and over in her mind. Whichever way she looked at it, what happened was just a silly misunderstanding. She knew that she was just as much to blame as Nikki, she knew that Nikki had fancied her, yet she still put herself in that position, she had indeed kissed her back but she had decided that it was just a combination of the fact that she was lonely and Nikki's vulnerable state.

She didn't want to be alienated from Nikki, although they had only just met, she had felt an undeniable bond between them, she knew they could be really good friends, she needed friends outside of the prison service, besides Claire she had no one and something inside her told her that Nikki would be good for her.

After several hours of dithering, unable to get thoughts of Nikki out of her head, Helen decided that it was time to stop hiding, so she picked up her phone and dialled the number for the gym.

After several rings a familiar voice came on the end of the line, "Hello Chix, can I help you Denny speaking," Helen hesitated for a minute, "Hi…erm…could I speak to Nikki Wade please?"

"No I'm sorry Miss she's gone out for the evening can I take a message for you?"

"Erm…could you just ask her to ring Helen…tell her I'm sorry."

"Will she know what you mean?" Denny said, clearly fishing for more information.

"Oh she'll know." Helen said and hung up.

The next day Helen sat at her desk in Larkhall staring through rather than at the prisoner's file that lay in front of her. She picked up her phone and checked it for the fifteenth time that morning and realised that the gym would have been open long ago, why had Nikki not returned her call? Maybe she was expecting her to make the first move? Should she ring her again? No that would seem too needy. Maybe she's still pissed off with me thought Helen…well I'll just have to go over there and apologise in person.

Helen made her excuses to her secretary, telling her to reschedule her appointments and told her that she would be back in a couple of hours before heading off to the gym. If Nikki was going to be the kind of friend that Helen thought she would be then she was definitely worth winning back.

As she pulled into the car park, her eyes immediately fell on a very scantily clad Nikki standing too close to a tall, attractive, blonde woman. Helen stopped the car a distance away so that she wouldn't be observed. The couple seemed to be deep in conversation. She watched as Nikki held the other woman's hand and then she lent forward and kissed Nikki's cheek. Helen felt jealousy course through her body as she watched the couple from a distance, it was blatantly obvious that they displayed the type of intimacy that is only found between lovers.

Helen fumed angrily. How dare she? Nikki had made a pass at her and sent her into two days of total turmoil and what for? Was she just another conquest to her, another notch on her bedpost, another straight woman that she'd managed to convert? Well if that's the way she treats her friends then I don't need her in my life after all, Helen thought angrily as she slammed the car into reverse.

Part 13

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