DISCLAIMER: Shed own them and keep them and I just want to borrow them for a non profit kind of while.

By Tracie L

Chapter One

Walking towards the Guards gate, Helen Stewart steeled herself once more as she entered the gloomy confines of Larkhall Women's Prison.

Not that long ago Helen had been employed at Larkhall as Wing Governor, now as a roaming official with Area management, she could come and go as she pleased. Helen was suitably amused at the irony of her current position. As Governor she had felt incarcerated, locked into a position without power or support from her staff and Management. Now with a Grade promotion and the support of Michael Banfield, a good friend and senior exec in Area Management, she felt free and powerful.

As she passed through security and into G wing she found herself musing over the unlikely, and at the time, painful circumstances, that had contributed to her current position.

And as always when her thoughts strayed along this particular path, Helen felt the familiar pain over her heart and groaned as she saw her again, in her mind's eye…Nikki Wade.

Two months, two pain filled months of hating and hurting and wanting to rip Helen Stewart's heart out, that was Nikki Wades recent history, that and the fact that she had been recaptured after an escape attempt. She had run to the woman she trusted and loved and that woman had betrayed her.

"Bitch…Fucking Bitch…I hope you rot in hell." Nikki hissed as she stared out her window and watched with narrowed eyes as Helen entered the prison. Her eyes followed the small figure until it disappeared. Sighing, she turned back into her small cell, falling onto her bunk and half-heartedly thumbing the leaves of Flaubert's Madam Bovary, the novel she was attempting to finish for her Open University Literature assignment.

"What's the fucking point.." she flung the book across the room, dropping her head in her hands.

"Oh God…"she moaned.

"Invoking the name of God Nikki, that's somewhat out of character, ..Must be a bad day."

Barbara passed Nikki to sit at the small table the cellmates used as a writing desk. She opened her notebook to begin recording the morning's events.

"Well don't forget to record all the juicy details for posterity then Barbara" Nikki snapped. "Murdering Dyke gets religion after lovers betrayal."

Barbara sighed, living with Nikki since her return had been difficult to say the least, but she felt that she owed Nikki for the many kindnesses she had displayed when Barbara had first arrived at Larkhall. Barbara had resigned herself to putting up with the abuse and tantrums until Nikki could move on and leave the Helen incident behind her. But sometimes Barbara 's patience was strained

"Thanks for the Headline Nikki, I'm sure the tabloids will love it."

"Don't say I never gave you anything." Nikki threw herself back on her bunk the re-acquired Flaubert in her hands.

As Nikki starred at the Typeface it began blurring and swirling as her mind replayed over and over again the last time she had felt anything other than hatred for Helen Stewart.

"Darling Please" Nikki pleaded as she grasped Helen's head between her hands, staring deeply into her eyes, "trust me" For a moment Nikki thought she saw something odd flicker behind Helen's eyes then it was gone.

"I've got to go…" Nikki continued to cradle Helen's face between her hands trying to transfer the love and confidence she felt to this beautiful woman, who remained still and silent.

Then Helen sighed and her hands met Nikki's,."Alright…" she finally said "Go, Go get ready" Helen inclined her head towards the bedroom where earlier she and Nikki had made love for the first time.

Helen didn't watch as Nikki left to get dressed.

It was then that Helen had called the Police and told them she had the escaped prisoner in her home.

Tears came then to Nikki's eyes, she rested the Flaubert on her chest and for the first time in two months stilled the hatred and sobbed for the loss of the woman she had loved so very much.

Barbara silently left the cell, squeezing Nikki's arm briefly before she left, instinctively knowing that Nikki needed to be alone.

Helen shivered slightly and refused to look up at the cell window where she new Nikki Wade stood and watched her. She gritted her teeth and began grinding her molars together, a habit she had started after Nikki had tried to attack her when the Police had arrived at Helen's flat to take Nikki back to Larkhall. Not that Helen could blame Nikki for wanting to hurt her, although at times she almost convinced herself that Nikki was unjustified in her hatred.

The following two weeks had been strained and painful. After Nikki had been released from segregation and six months had been added to her sentence, Helen had tried to speak to her. Helen needed to explain to Nikki how she had no choice, but to see Nikki returned to Larkhall. Helen was furious that Nikki had put them both in such an awkward position. Couldn't she see how running away to San Francisco was a fantasy and that the only way she and Nikki could be together was if Nikki returned to prison and worked on her appeal.

Helen replayed her impassioned plea to Nikki, as the inmate had sat sullenly in her cell. It had all fallen on deaf ears, Helen was convinced now that Nikki would never forgive her. She winced as she remembered Nikki's response after she had opened her heart to her and begged her forgiveness and understanding.

"You seriously expect me to forgive you" Nikki has begun, she had glared at Helen from under her brows her voice low and frightening.

"You've gutted me, Shat on me, you don't love me, you don't know what love means." Nikki stood and moved slowly toward the smaller woman as if stalking her.

Helen had unconsciously retreated toward the cell door. "Nikki Please.."

"No." Nikki stopped in front of Helen her eyes wide, her hands clenched "don't you dare speak to me."

"I've heard enough of your bull shit, you don't give a toss about me. Your only interested in yourself, you always have been, how could you love a con, you're a fucking screw." Nikki's voice was bitter "You where horrified when I turned up at your flat. You never wanted me there. God knows why you let me fuck you." Nikki spat the last words, she now stood directly in front of Helen, her eyes manic her voice harsh.

"What was it Helen, fear, curiosity? It obviously wasn't love."

Helen tried to speak but was stopped by Nikki's hand as it slammed over her mouth.

"No" Nikki shouted into Helen's face, "don't you dare speak to me. I never want to hear your lying shit again. I never want to see you again." Nikki pulled her hand away harshly, scratching Helen's cheek. She spun on her heel and returned to her bunk. She didn't look at Helen as she shouted, "Go to Hell you bitch and piss off out of my cell." She had suddenly looked up into Helen's eyes and added "I fucking hate you, Helen, just you watch your back."

Helen felt blindly for the cell door behind her, her breath harsh, her eyes burning. She fled from the cell as if it was on fire. She had plowed into Jim Fenner who had grabbed her arm and asked her what had happened. She tried not to look at him, so he wouldn't see her tears, but she caught a glimpse of the smile on his face as she shook him off and excused herself. "You better watch yourself now Helen, Wades a killer or had you forgotten?"

Helen had turned unable to speak, and headed toward the office Karen Betts,, had allocated to her, for her work with the women lifers. She had flung herself in the corner of her small office, wrapped her arms around herself and had sobbed until she was sick.

Helen shook of the humiliating memory and tried to focus on the job at hand. She was working with Area Management to have G wing at Larkhall converted to a Lifers wing within the prison. She was also working with individual prisoners, organising appeals, education and offering counselling.

The fact that Helen had petitioned Michael to create the position and suggested Larkhall as the perfect prison primarily because Nikki Wade was a lifer and incarcerated there, was a fact she was currently trying to ignore.

Not that she had seen much of Nikki, since she had told Helen she hated her. Nikki had managed to avoid the lifers meetings and was completely unresponsive when Helen had tried to bully her into attending them.

In desperation Helen had asked the Wing Governor, Karen Betts, to speak to Nikki and it was Karen, not Helen, who had persuaded Nikki to continue with her appeal and her study.

Although relieved, Helen had felt deeply hurt by Karen's success with Nikki. She was unfamiliar with jealousy and yet she found herself jealous of Karen and Nikki's relationship, however professional it was. It was far more intimate than anything she had with Nikki now.

Helen liked her replacement the new Wing Governor was fair and impartial, Karen was also committed to the service and despite having been in it for eleven years hadn't become jaded or cynical like Sylvia Hollanmby and Jim Fenner.

Helen felt uncomfortable with her jealousy and hoped it wasn't apparent to Karen, she needed the support of this woman to implement her plans for G wing.

Helen sighed and stopped gnashing her teeth, she had a Lifers group meeting in an hour that she had to prepare for and before then she wanted to meet the new Doctor, who had replaced Dr Nicholson. She would try not to think of Nikki Wade until she returned to her flat alone tonight.

Chapter Two

Nikki straightened her back and stretched, she was breaking ground for a new plot she wanted to plant before the end of spring. The Physical activity had helped her immeasurably since her return She stared up at a Lark circling the Garden and she watched it until it flew off into the West and disappeared. She checked the time, forty-five minutes until the lifers meeting with Helen.

She knew Helen's timetable while at Larkhall, to the minute,. Although Nikki had not been to a meeting since she had been returned to Larkhall, today she had decided she would make a surprise appearance.

Nikki had suddenly felt very alone this morning and her desire to see Helen dead had suddenly disappeared. She wasn't sure why, but she did know that she wanted to be at this meeting.

Helen and Karen Betts met at the Medical centre to meet Dr Waugh, He was to replace Dr Nicholson who had been removed after Xandra's death and the complaint Karen had placed regarding him.

As Helen entered the office she was pleasantly surprised by the good looking young Doctor who held her hand a little too long and sort out her eyes a little too often. He showed open interest in the general health of the prison community and was particularly concerned about the Lifers, suggesting to Helen that long term incarceration would have decidedly negative affects on mental and physical health. Karen watched their exchange with amusement, instantly picking up on the flirtation underlying the interaction.

She watched Helen appreciatively, Just what she needs, something to get her mind of Wade, Karen thought to herself as she smiled at the young Doctor.

Karen was aware of Nikki's attraction to Helen, what concerned her was the feeling that something illicit was happening between Helen and Nikki and that the sequence of events that led to Nikki's arrest at Helen's Flat didn't quite add up. She liked Helen Stewart immensely, she admired her integrity and she had a growing appreciation of her frustration with Management and staff. Simon deserted Helen over the Fenner/Dockley affair and Karen herself had felt that little betrayal keenly.

She wanted Helen's plans for G wing to work, it was a bold experiment and deserved support and she would gladly give it. But the last thing she wanted was Helen involved with a con and one who was obviously disturbed.

Helen had agreed to an after shift drink with the young Doctor and Karen archly declined the offer to join them. She smirked knowingly at Helen as the two of them left the Medical centre to return to G wing.

Nikki and the six other lifers sat in Helen's meeting room waiting for Helen to arrive. Nikki was suddenly very nervous and she rocked back and forth on her chair glowering at the other cons when they tried to take a peek at her. Nikki had become very allusive and this appearance was unique in the recent history of G wing. When Helen finally walked through the door Nikki was almost ready to bolt. The tension must have been palpable because as Helen entered the room the smile on her face faded and her eyes zeroed in on Nikki. There was an uncomfortable silence before Helen broke her gaze and turned to the other inmates.

"Morning everyone, good to see you all." She summoned up a smile for the room and avoided looking in Nikki's direction.

Mumbled hellos greeted Helen and she quickly turned her attention to fumbling through her papers and notes. What the hell was Nikki doing here, Helen desperately tried to retain her composure despite her racing pulse and the sick feeling in her stomach,. She could see the other woman's shoes peripherally, she closed her eyes and then refocussed on the documents resting in her lap.

"Ok everyone, thank you for the survey returns I found your comments very interesting" Helen handed out some sheets,." I have this weeks-individual consultation roster, could you all please check and make sure that the times I've allocated suit you all and let me know if you would like to reschedule."

Nikki was notably excluded from this exchange and Helen felt the hairs on her neck rise as Nikki leaned toward her and murmured close to her ear "Where's mine Miss? I think you've forgotten it?"

Without looking at Nikki, Helen replied quickly "Yes, Sorry Nikki, could you let me know when you would like to meet."

"As soon as possible Miss" Nikki 's voice was flat, displaying no emotion at all, Helen dared a glance to the side and suppressed the gasp that almost escaped her lips. Nikki's face was close, the closest she had been in two months. Helen lost motor control and her head turned of its own volition to face Nikki. Their eyes met.

Nikki stared into Helen's eyes, unable to look away, she felt a hot flush creep up her face and in horror realised that tears where pricking her eyes. "Shit.. " she murmured, and Nikki cursed her own lack of control. She was going to have to make a run for it or be humiliated.

A hand on her arm prevented her moving, how long had that been there, Nikki wondered, staring down at Helen's hand gripping her arm.

"Its ok Nikki, I can see you after this meeting is that OK?" Helen's voice was soft and full of concern and Nikki felt her self control dwindling as she nodded her head a little frantically, unable to speak.

She dropped her head and focused on Helen's hand, which was still holding her arm, the thumb moving back and forth over her skin.

"Ok everyone I need those of you who can, to call their briefs and check on the state of their appeals, I need to see some progress reports. For any one still organising this could you let me know what you need and I will see what I can do, Shaz we still need to organise a solicitor for you."

As Helen continued to conduct her meeting she tried to draw the other cons attention from Nikki who was obviously struggling to remain in control, she wanted this meeting to be uncomplicated and brief.

She was aware of Shaz's smirk and the wide-eyed interest in Nikki's predicament was obvious in the other inmates as well. Reluctantly Helen removed her hand from Nikki's arm and turned her attention to diffusing the situation. The sooner she could get this over with the sooner she could be alone with this seemingly vulnerable Nikki. Helen was excited, this was the first time Nikki had approached her without threats involved and she desperately wanted the opportunity to talk with her.

The sudden removal of the hand caressing her arm jolted Nikki out of her reverie, she looked around the room becoming aware suddenly of the other inmates, she turned her attention back to Helen who smiled at her gently for a moment before continuing her conversation with Shaz. What had happened? Nikki put her head in her hands for a moment, lifting her head to meet Helen's worried eyes. "Nikki are you all right?"

Nikki nodded quickly not wanting to draw any more attention to herself.

"Ok everyone, unless anyone has something they would like to bring up I think that's it for today." Helen paused and waited to see if their where any takers, the women stood and began filing out nodding to Helen and murmuring goodbyes as they left the room. Some eager to get out on the wing and let their mates know that Nikki had lost it in front of Miss Stewart..

Helen followed the last con out and shut the door behind her. She turned slowly to face Nikki who was now rocking back and forth in her chair.

She sat beside her and cautiously reached out a hand to still Nikki's movement.


Nikki looked first at the hand and then at its owner marvelling at how quickly her hatred for this woman had disappeared. It was there this morning and now it was gone. Nikki turned her head to the side frowning as she tried to analyse the feelings she had for the woman sitting beside her. What did she feel?

What was she doing here? Nikki shook her head, trying to clear it from the fug from her mind. What was wrong with her?

Helen was worried, Nikki wasn't responding to her at all, "Nikki, what is it?"

She lifted Nikki's chin in her hand and looked into her eyes, Nikki seemed dazed.

"Can you hear me?"

Helen pulled her chair up so that she was seated in front of Nikki, her legs astride Nikki's knees she moved forward and cupped Nikki's face in her hands so she was looking directly into her eyes. Her pupils seemed fine, her skin was normal to the touch, Helen tried again. "Sweetheart what is it? Can you hear me?"

Nikki responded by closing her eyes and leaning her head forward until her forehead touched Helen's.

She removed Helen's hands from her face and held them between her own. She looked down at them watching her own thumbs caressing Helen's Knuckles. The fug in her mind was clearing and she was becoming aware of the physical effect touching this woman was having on her.

She felt both soothed and excited, "How odd."

"What sweetie, what did you say?" Helen held Nikki's hands tightly searching her face for any recognition. The lack of response was frightening her and she began replaying Dr Waugh's comments this morning, about long term mental illness in lifers.

Nikki sighed and squeezed Helen's fingers gently "I'm Ok, Helen"

"Oh Nikki" Helen almost sobbed with relief, she pulled the other woman into her arms and held her for a moment before pulling away and seating herself at a safer distance.

"You had me worried there, thought I'd have to enlist the services of that new Doctor" Helen realised that her voice sounded strained, the humour a little false.

"Would you still like to talk to me Nikki, I've got another 30 mins before I have to go?" She knew that she sounded tentative. What was happening? She felt disoriented, Nikki was talking to her again and she wasn't trying to kill or abuse her. She didn't understand, what had happened to change Nikki's attitude toward her.

Nikki lifted her eyes and met Helen's, "I hated you so much" She tilted her head slightly and shook it imperceptibly, "Odd isn't it? "

Helen sighed, feeling sick inside, "I know Nikki, I know why you hate me and I understand why, I do?"

Nikki smiled slowly, her eyes sad, "But that's the problem isn't it Helen, you think you understand, but we both know you have no bloody idea really". Nikki straightened her body, raising her arms above her head in an elegant feline stretch, "Its ok though Helen, I don't really care, I don't hate you any more. I spose I needed to let you know that." She smiled at Helen, tilting her head again as she did so, her thoughts suddenly crystal clear.

To Helen the action resembled that of a predator curious about its prey.

"What do you feel Nikki?"

"Not much, not much of anything actually, it's strange."

"Strange How?"

"Its as if all the anger and pain have been taken away, removed, I don't feel anything."

Helen wasn't sure wether to celebrate or panic, Nikki no longer hated her, but she no longer cared? Helen suddenly wanted time to analyse her own reactions to this sudden change.

"Do you feel anything positive Nikki?"

Nikki closed her eyes, her head rolled back, she moaned softly.

Helen squirmed a little in her seat suddenly assaulted with an almost identical replay of that sound in her mind, resurrected from a memory of a moment, two months earlier that she had tried to forget.

Nikki opened her eyes slightly and met Helen's, she ran her tongue lightly, over her bottom lip, until it glistened slightly "Hmmm, Helen. What do you think I might feel?" she purred. The corners of her mouth curled upwards and Helen caught the briefest glint of white teeth and pink tongue, before looking quickly away.

"I honestly don't know, that's why I'm asking you" Helen was beginning to feel very uncomfortable, Nikki the sexual predator was a little too confronting, at least she knew where she stood with Nikki the vindictive murderer.

Suddenly Nikki leaned forward, until her face was centimetres from Helen's, her warm breath gently tickling Helen's cheek. "I suddenly feel very positive about a lot of things Helen, How about you?"

Helen lifted her chin until she was looking into the dark, hooded eyes, staring back at her. She suddenly felt it, "Oh god" she whispered, as Nikki moved forward, until her lips where almost pressed against Helen's. There it was again, the desire, the desperate need to have this woman, who was she kidding, she couldn't shut off how she felt, she had never felt like this for any one before.

Nikki watched as Helen pupils dilated and her breath caught, then she pressed her lips lightly against Helen's, brushing back and forth and then removing them, Helen's eyes closed and she moaned slightly as the lips left her own. Nikki waited until Helen opened her eyes again, then she placed both hands on either side of Helen's neck her thumbs caressing Helen's ears and she held the green/grey eyes in her own powerful stare as she pulled Helen's head towards her. "I feel very positive" she murmured before she pressed her lips once more against Helen's.

Helen responded immediately, moaning as Nikki pushed her lips apart with her hot wet tongue. Allowing the entry without restraint, she felt her body melting into Nikki's as both women closed the gap between them. Nikki moved her lips away from Helen's and softly planted kisses across Helen's cheek until she reached her ear, then she opened her mouth and began rolling the lobe around her tongue and lips, before moving to Helen's throat

This, this is what she wanted, Nikki's mind cleared and she knew, she needed this woman, wanted her, had to have her. "God I've missed you.." her words caught at the back of her throat and she tried not to sob as she sought out, then found Helen's mouth again. "Oh Helen, Helen…" she whispered repeatedly as she kissed her again and again.

Helen's mind was screaming for her to stop, but she couldn't, her body was obeying it's own commands, but as Nikki's whispered sobs, penetrated through the thick haze of desire surrounding her, Helen's control of her body returned and she clasped Nikki's face between her hands and pulled her away from her mouth.

"Nikki, Nikki look at me." Her voice was soft but firm. "Nikki we must stop this, it's too sudden, we need to analyse this some more. This morning you wanted to kill me, remember?"

"I don't want to now" Nikki tried to reach Helen's lips again but Helen's hands where firm and held her still.

"So you suddenly had a change of heart and now you love me again, is that it?"


"Nikki that's insane"


Helen shook her head, logic duelling with desire, "Because it is. Nikki we have to slow this down, who's to say that tomorrow afternoon you'll want me dead again"

"That depends on what you plan to do between now and tomorrow, dunnit?" Nikki tried to smile but her heart wasn't in it, 'not again, not again, I cant be rejected again'. She kept repeating it like a mantra as she sat staring at Helen who was attempted to justify her position again.

"I'm in a delicate position here Nikki, I don't deny that I feel strongly for you, but I must retain my professionalism, particularly after last time, I cant afford to have you hate me again, I cant work with you when your like that. We have to look at this from a logical perspective and not an emotional one.

I'm trying to do something positive here and I need your support, we could work so well together, these women need help I…"

"STOP IT, Stop it stop it" Nikki shouted her hands gripping her hair in frustration,

"What about what I need, I'm not your fucking assistant, I'm a lifer too, or have you forgotten. Your so bloody predictable Helen, duty, responsibility, fucking bullocks. You want me I know, I felt it, you are denying what you feel again, just like before, its always the same, I cant deal with this, I cant…" Nikki jumped to her feet, her body shaking with rage and pain, "I fucking love you and I hate that fact, now more than ever"

Helen made futile hand gestures as Nikki pushed past her. Stopping at the door Nikki turned to look at Helen, her eyes filled with hot tears

"God I wish I could still hate you. I wish…" She sobbed as she turned and left.

Helen stood immobile, her face stony, her heart aching "Nikki, I'm sorry" she murmured to the empty doorway.

Part Three

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