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

Duty of Care
By Nico

Part 16

Helen sat at her kitchen table, with a glass of wine working on some papers, David hadn't even called and she hadn't bothered to get ready. It hurt that he said he would take her out and went back on his promise. There was a knock at the door. She looked up puzzled; she wasn't expecting anybody, certainly not at eleven o'clock at night. She opened the door and found David standing on the step.

"Hello, can I come in?" he was drunk.

"Come in."

He walked into the living room and sat down, and Helen sat in a chair opposite him.

"Had a nice night did you?" Helen was annoyed with him, he hadn't even acknowledged the fact it was her birthday, and he had obviously been out drinking.

"Just a few drinks after work with a friend. What's eating you?" he had noticed the look on Helen's face.

"You forgot it was my birthday, you told me weeks ago that you would take me out for a meal, you just forgot about me."

"Oh Helen, I'm sorry, work has been mad lately." he said as if this was some sort of explanation.

"What did you come over for anyway?"

"Just thought I would come over and spend time with you, haven't seen that much of you lately."

"At eleven at night, drunk?"

"Don't be like that, I missed you and I wanted to spend a little time with you that's why I'm here."

"Ah I see where this is going, you come here pissed and you want to spend the night. I'm not a quick shag David, and frankly I had hoped you thought more of me than that." Helen stood up and crossed her arms glaring at him.

"I might as well go; I can see I'm not welcome here."

"Yeah go on just evade the issue like you always do, when faced with something you don't want to deal with then you walk away."

"If that's how you feel then lets get down to it. In all the time you and I have been seeing each other, I haven't kissed you more than 5 or 6 times. We've never had sex, and I'm getting fed up with it."

"I explained to you why I wanted to wait; I'm going through a divorce at the moment. I don't want to jump feet first into another relationship, I wanted to get to know you first, but all you seem to be interested in is sex. This isn't the first time you've mentioned it, you're always hinting about us going to bed together."

"Just forget about it, I don't feel like arguing at this time of night. I'm off home." He stood up and opened the front door slamming it behind him.

"Bloody men!" Helen exclaimed, and stomped off back in to the kitchen to get on with her paperwork.

The phone rang jolting Nikki awake, she shot up in bed through force of habit, and looked at the clock. Usually when the phone rang so early it was to do with a case, and she was used to being hauled out of bed at all hours. She cleared her throat and picked up the phone.


"Hiya Nikki, it's me, sorry to call you so early."

"Helen, what's up?" Nikki rubbed her eyes and stretched.

"I need you to do a big favour for me, I wouldn't ask only my car won't start and I need to pick my sister up. She is stuck on the M1 with her partner, they drove down from Scotland and their car is knackered as well."

"They were driving down from Scotland at 5 in the morning?"

"Yeah they just got it in to their heads last night to come and see me and drove all night, did I tell you my sister was weird?" Helen laughed softly on the other end of her phone.

"If she is anything like you then I can well believe it! Ok just give me twenty minutes and I'll be over." Nikki put the phone down and groaned, she climbed out of bed and jumped in the shower.

An hour later they were driving up the M1 and were about twenty minutes away from the services where Helen's sister was.

"Thanks for this Nikki, I owe you one. Sorry I had to drag you out of bed; bloody car is always playing up."

"No problem, I don't mind. Won't kill me to get up early for once. You going in to work today then?"

"Yeah they will have to fend for themselves seeing as how I didn't know they were coming. It's typical of Lisa; she just shows up, she's always been a bit impulsive."

"Not at all like you then?" Nikki said smiling.

"No, we're very different. I'm the sensible one and Lisa, well she's just Lisa." Helen shook her head and smiled.

They soon arrived and Nikki pulled into a parking space. They got out and headed towards the service station, and heard a Scots accent squealing Helen's name.

"Helen! How's my big sis?" Lisa came running up towards them and jumped on Helen, almost knocking her over.

"Steady on Lise!" Helen giggled as she hugged her sister.

"Ooo hello, who's this then?" Lisa eyed Nikki up and down and gave her a crooked smile.

"This is Nikki, my friend from work and yes she is gay before you ask."

"As if I would! Nice to meet you Nikki." Lisa held out her hand and shook Nikki's.

"Nice to meet you too." Nikki smiled warmly back.

"Where's Jill?" Helen asked scanning around for her sister's partner.

"Bathroom, she will be out in a moment." Lisa was still quite taken with Nikki and was smiling at her.

"Behave yourself, Nikki is taken and so are you." Helen said with a chuckle.

Jill eventually came out hugged and kissed Helen. She was introduced to Nikki and then they set off back to Helen's house. The three women chattered as Nikki drove, she was enjoying listening to the conversation; it was obvious the three of them were very close. Lisa resembled Helen closely enough to be able to identify them as sisters but Lisa was dark haired, whereas Helen was blonde. She supposed Helen's natural colour would be the same as Lisa's and she mentally slapped herself for thinking those types of thoughts. Jill was also dark, but her hair was below her shoulders, as opposed to Lisa's short style.

They talked about when they had been growing up and all the things they got up to. Nikki giggled away at some of the outrageous things they had done, she noticed that Helen hadn't always been introverted, in fact she sounded as if she had been quite bubbly. Nikki wondered when everything had gone wrong.

"We once buggered off to France one weekend for a pissup, remember that Len?" Lisa giggled at the memory.

"How could I forget? God I was ill that weekend."

"She spent the entire journey back to England hanging over the railing, she had the worst hangover of anybody I've ever seen." Jill was laughing so hard that she had to clutch her stomach.

"What they neglect to mention is that they were spiking my drinks, I had loads to drink anyway and they kept topping my glass up with vodka, pair of bastards." Helen laughed as she turned around and noticed the angelic expression on both their faces.

"It's a wonder you've got any liver left." Nikki smiled as she indicated to change lanes.

"If I hadn't gone to medical school then I think I would have had liver failure years ago."

"Oh remember that time we went to Ibiza? Helen copped off with this gorgeous looking bloke, only to find out that he didn't speak a word of English, and Lisa said." Jill was giggling so hard she could hardly speak.

"Lisa said don't let it bother you, it doesn't matter what he touches as long as he can't pronounce it!" Jill was helpless with laughter and the tears ran down her face, Helen's face began to burn with embarrassment.

"What happened then?" Nikki looked at Helen, she noticed she was blushing.

"I sat talking to him for ten minutes; he just sat there smiling back because he didn't have a clue what I was on about. Those two were all for me making a move on him but I wasn't so sure, it's just as well really because his boyfriend showed up a short while later."

The car erupted in to fits of giggles; Nikki was trying hard to concentrate on driving while laughing at the same time. Helen couldn't help but laugh at the memory either, she was glad Lisa and Jill had showed up, it had really cheered her up. The journey was soon over and they pulled up outside Helen's house, Nikki helped them to carry the bags in.

"Fancy something to eat Nikki? We don't have to be at work for a while just yet." Helen flipped the kettle on and got some mugs from the cupboard.

"Go on then, I'm starving."

Helen made them all breakfast and they sat chatting until it was time for them to leave for work. On the way there, Nikki's mobile rang and it was DCI Jones. She promised she would call him back as soon as she could. They got to work and were immediately busy, there were a lot of emergencies coming in and it wasn't until lunchtime that Nikki had the chance to call DCI Jones back.

"What were it you wanted me for then sir?" Nikki was stood outside the hospital smoking a cigarette.

"I'm calling to tell you that you have one more week left on this job. After that we are calling you back into the station."

"You can't do that sir! What about the killer? He may still be at large."

"I have to; I don't have the resources to keep you there indefinitely. It's been over a month now since the last murder and it looks like he has stopped, I'm sorry but it's final."

"This is shit sir, what if it happens again?" Nikki was livid, she couldn't just leave the case like this, she wanted it resolved.

"If it happens again then it goes without saying that you will be sent back, but till such time you will be back in your regular job, if you've got time I need you to pop by the station later on."

Nikki stepped on her cigarette and stormed back in to the hospital in a temper, she just couldn't believe she was being dragged off the case. She tried to kid herself that the only reason she wanted to stay was to catch the murderer, but she knew there was another reason besides and that reason was sitting in her office on the phone.

"Hello, Doctor Stewart here. Oh it's you Lise, what's up?"

"Jill and I were going shopping and wondered what you fancied for dinner."

"I don't mind, whatever you fancy."

"Speaking of whatever I fancy, why don't you invite Nikki over? Ow Jill that hurt!" Lisa complained on the other end of the phone.

"Serves you right! You shouldn't be drooling over her. I will ask her but she may have plans."

"Ok sis see you later."

"See you later Lise."

Nikki was walking across the emergency department heading upstairs to Helen's office when Kerry walked up to her.

"Nikki, can I see you a moment baby?"

"Not now." Nikki didn't even break her stride and carried on walking leaving a pissed off looking Kerry behind her.

Helen heard a knock at her door and Nikki came walking in.

"Hiya, I was about to come and find you in a minute, I wanted to ask you something." Helen looked up and smiled.


"I wondered if you fancied coming to my place tonight for dinner?"

"I'm sorry I can't, ordinarily I would love to but I've got a meeting with my boss tonight."

"Another time then. Anything serious?"

"Yes it is." Nikki sat down in the chair in front of Helen's desk and crossed her legs.

"What's going on?"

"I'm being pulled off this case, I'm being given one more week and come next Friday then I'm being sent back to the station." Nikki wasn't happy about the prospect and Helen could see it in her face.

"Bloody hell, what if it happens again?"

"They will send me back if that happens, but there isn't anything I can do about it. I want to stay and catch the bastard but he has gone to ground and my boss is banging on about resources being stretched."

"Shit." Helen threw a file down on her desk and leaned forward.

"That's exactly what I said. I don't want to leave you on your own, I wouldn't be happy about you being here unprotected."

"You don't have to worry about me, there are plenty of security guards about, and it hasn't happened in a while so maybe he's moved on."

"I hope so; I just want you to be safe."

"I will be. Kerry isn't going to be happy about you disappearing." what Helen was really thinking is that she wasn't happy about Nikki leaving. She had become very fond of her and would miss her when she had to go.

"Kerry will just have to get used to the idea, it's just not working out. God knows what I'm going to tell her, I will have to make something up."

"You'll think of something. Oh well, we're just going to have to make the most of the rest of your time here, we've got the weekend, and then next Friday we can have a farewell drink." Helen was resigned to the fact Nikki was leaving, she didn't like it but she didn't have a choice.

"I'm going back to the station, I'm not emigrating, and we will still see each other. Well that's if you want to." Nikki looked at Helen shyly.

"Course I do, we're good friends now aren't we?"

"Absolutely. You know where I live and you have my numbers."

"Ditto, so you can call me any time you like."

"Count on it." Nikki winked at Helen.

They felt slightly better now that they would still see each other. They had both been worried that once Nikki had gone that their friendship would cease to exist. That wasn't the only reason, Nikki had now come to realise she had feelings for Helen, she was pretty sure she was falling in love with her. Helen on the other hand didn't know what she was feeling, and she tried not to think about it, all she was sure of is that she was glad that she would still be able to have contact with Nikki.

Helen was dealing with an emergency in resus and turned around automatically to talk to Kerry, who was usually there, while she carried on administering CPR. Kerry was nowhere to be seen and Helen wondered where she had disappeared to. She stabilised the patient and asked a few staff members if they had seen her but nobody had since lunchtime. Helen then went to look for her. She spotted Nikki wheeling a patient in to the lift and ran to catch up with her.

"Nikki have you seen Kerry?"

"Actually I have, she is in the staff room."

"Right thanks Nik."

"No problem." Nikki smiled as the lift doors closed.

Helen went off in the direction of the staff room, and marched in to find Kerry asleep in a chair.

"Kerry!" Helen said loudly.

"What?" Kerry sat upright and rubbed her eyes.

"What the bloody hell is going on?"

"I'm on my break."

"No you're not, you went for lunch an hour and a half ago and you apparently haven't been seen since. You're supposed to be working not kipping in the staff room, this isn't the first time I've had to warn you about things like this, either buck up your ideas or I will complain to management."

"It's only a lousy half an hour Doctor Stewart."

"That's not the point, we've had several emergencies all within a short space of time and we're busy enough as it is. Get back to work immediately."

Kerry stood up and flounced out in a temper, Doctor Stewart was a bitch in her opinion and she was always getting on at her. She would have to have a word with her boss at the club, stripping five nights a week was getting too much; she couldn't afford to fall asleep at work again otherwise Helen would come down on her like a ton of bricks.

Part 17

Saturday evening came around and Helen was trying to get ready but not having much luck. Her sister Lisa was talking away and kept distracting her. Jill was sitting on the bed with Lisa and they were both watching Helen get ready like a couple of kids.

"Lise I'm trying to get ready." Helen looked at her in the mirror and then tried to apply her makeup.

"You can titivate and talk at the same time or at least you used to be able to. What's the matter Len? Getting old?" Lisa giggled and Jill poked her.

"Honest to god woman! I'm gonna come over there and slap you in a minute and don't call me Len, you know I hate it." Helen glared at her sister in the mirror.

"What time is Nikki coming?" Jill asked as she clamped her hand over Lisa's mouth.

"She will be here at about 8, which means I only have another 45 minutes to get ready." Helen speeded up the application of her makeup.

"She's really nice, have you two been friends long?"

"Only a few weeks, we didn't get on at first. If I tell you something will you keep it quiet?"

Lisa and Jill both nodded.

"She isn't actually a porter, she is a copper and she's working undercover to try and catch the maniac at the hospital."

"Ooooo I love a woman in uniform!" Lisa giggled.

"She's in CID you muppet!" Helen giggled back; her sister always had a way of making her laugh.

"So how did the two of you become friends if you didn't get on?" Jill, the quieter and more serious of the two women was sitting listening avidly.

"Sort of difficult for me to explain, don't get out your pram Lise but a few weeks ago, I was attacked at the hospital."

"Bloody hell, Helen why didn't you say?" Lisa had sat bolt upright and was looking concerned.

"I didn't want to worry you, anyway I was being attacked and Nikki came in a dragged him off me. She took me to her house and she looked after me, it was at that point, save for a few hiccups along the way that we began to get on. Here we are now as friends and I don't think either of us would have believed it."

"I think she is bloody terrific!" Lisa said with feeling, she felt an enormous sense of gratitude towards Nikki for helping her sister.

"Has she got a girlfriend?" Jill asked and Helen put her makeup down, knowing she wouldn't get a chance to finish it off just yet.

"Sort of, it's complicated. She is dating a nurse but I don't think it's going to last, it's getting too heavy for Nikki's liking."

"Do you fancy her sis?" Lisa was being serious for once.

"What made you ask something like that?" Helen looked horrified.

"It was just a question." Lisa held up her hands.

"I'm not gay, you know that and besides we're just friends. I'm dating David remember?"

"Yeah who by the sound of it is a right prick, dump him and go for Nikki, she is a whole lot nicer."

"I agree, he can be a prick, but there is no way I'm going to have a relationship with Nikki, I keep telling you I'm not bloody gay!" Helen was getting exasperated.

"Don't knock it till you've tried it." Lisa said with a wicked grin.

"Yeah well don't knock being straight till you've tried it either." Helen bantered back.

"Who says I haven't?"

"What?" Helen looked shocked.

"I've slept with a couple of guys, when I was in my teens, realised it wasn't for me and here I am with Jill."

"You never said!"

"Didn't I? Must not have been worth mentioning." Lisa giggled.

"Learn something new every day eh?" Helen smiled, her sister was full or surprises.

"Seriously though Helen, you could do a lot worse than Nikki." Lisa felt like there was more to the situation than Helen was letting on, Lisa had her own idea about Helen and always had but had never said anything.

"If I was gay, which I'm not!"

Jill gave Lisa a warning look which told her to shut up; she could see Helen was getting agitated with the references to her sexuality. Jill knew that Lisa had always had an idea that Helen might not be as straight as she tried to make out and Jill agreed with her. But if Helen didn't want to acknowledge that side of herself then there was nothing they could do about it, she had to find out in her own time. They left Helen to get ready and made their way downstairs to put the kettle on.

"For someone who is so intelligent she can be a bit thick at times." Lisa said quietly.

"She has to figure it out on her own babe, you can't force her."

"I know but I've seen the way she looks at Nikki when she thinks nobody is watching. I've also seen the way Nikki looks at Helen, I'm telling you, they really like each other."

"I know they do, but Helen seems dead set against the idea and there is nothing you can do to change that."

"Ever since she was a teenager, I've watched her drift from one dead end relationship to another. I practically had a heart attack when she married Marcus, I just don't want to see her waste her life chopping and changing blokes because she can't find what she is looking for. I've always had an idea she was gay, but she won't admit it because she is afraid to." Lisa spooned coffee into mugs and waited for the kettle to boil.

"We are all afraid to admit it at first babe."

"Yeah but not for that reason. I'm not saying that the prospect of dating a woman doesn't frighten her because it probably does, but what really frightens her is dad. She doesn't want to disappoint him and never has done. It doesn't matter that he disowned us both years ago, and that we never see him, the psychological barrier is still there."

Helen was still upstairs getting ready and her mind wandered to Nikki. She really did like her and she would miss not working with her all day when it came time for her to leave. She was still no clearer on how she felt and was now feeling slightly panicked because she thought she did like Nikki, more than a straight woman should. If it had been obvious to Lisa then would everybody else pick up on it? Would Nikki?

The thought terrified her, it was all unknown territory and her feelings were so mixed up that she couldn't make sense of them. She thought back on all her relationships, and they all had one thing in common, she was looking for something they couldn't give and she didn't even know what that was herself. She enjoyed the company of a man, she even enjoyed sex with them to a point but it was never how she dreamed it would be. It was merely the means to an end, she achieved satisfaction from the sex but there was nothing emotional about it for her, not even with Marcus.

Maybe that was why she hadn't gone to bed with David, she liked him a lot but there was no emotional attachment there, he didn't make her feel the way she should. No man ever had and she always went from one relationship to the next hoping that it would feel different but finding it was always the same. She wondered if it was her fault. Maybe she was expecting too much, and her dreams of being totally in love with somebody were just that, dreams. Helen had an idea of how love should be and the reality had never matched up, she wasn't sure if real love existed. She got fed up thinking about it all and switched her thoughts off; she put the finishing touches to her appearance and went downstairs towards the kitchen.

"What are you two whispering about?"

"Partner talk, you look lovely sis." Lisa smiled as Helen gave her a twirl.

"She's right you look gorgeous. Should knock somebody's eye out tonight." Jill said with a wink.

"We'll see when Nikki gets here." it was out before Helen had a chance to think and she blushed.

Lisa walked up to Helen and put her arm around her.

"You don't have to be embarrassed, if you like her then just say so. It's nothing to be ashamed of."

Helen was trying to think of something to say when the doorbell rang, "saved by the bell." she thought. Lisa gave a quick grin to Jill, she grinned back, and it was a start at least.

She opened the door to a very attractive looking Nikki who was wearing a black Armani suit with a gray blouse.

"Hiya, you look wonderful Nikki." Helen said appreciatively.

"Thank you and you are looking gorgeous if I may say so." Nikki took in Helen's trim figure in a short black dress, which dipped low in the front and was backless. It gave her a good view of Helen's shapely legs.

"Thank you and you may!" Helen smiled, "fancy a quick coffee before we go?"

"I'd love one." Nikki stepped into the hall and walked into the kitchen.

"Looking good Nikki." Lisa said straight off.

"You look great, is that Armani?" Jill asked looking the suit up and down.

"Yep, cost me a fortune but it's a damn good suit, thank you for the compliments, not often I get them." Nikki smiled lopsidedly.

"When you've both stopped lusting over the suit girls, I'd like to get to the kettle." Helen smiled and walked past them.

"Who said anything about the suit?" Lisa grinned and winked at Nikki, while Jill rolled her eyes.

Fifteen minutes later they were ready to go and Helen went to get her things together. Nikki was in the kitchen chatting to Jill and Lisa went off after Helen.


"Yeah?" Helen turned around to face her sister.

"If you need to talk to me then you know you can always tell me anything right?"

"I better get going, see you later and make sure you and Jill behave ok?" Helen smiled, she had sidestepped the issue, she kissed and hugged Lisa and was about to leave.



"Have a great time, and if you get the urge to do something then just live for the moment and do it ok? Don't spend too long thinking about it." Lisa was referring to Nikki and Helen knew it.

"See you later Lise." Helen blew her a kiss and then left the house with Nikki.

"That bloody woman!" it infuriated Lisa the way Helen just kept dodging around things.

The taxi was waiting for them outside and Nikki opened the door for Helen, she got in and then they were heading towards town and the pub where they would meet the rest of the staff. Helen was lost in her thoughts again, she knew what Lisa was trying to say, but things were not that simple. She really liked Nikki but was she willing to change her whole life? She couldn't be certain of how she felt and she needed time to think about it.

Nikki sensed Helen was thinking about something and left her to it, it meant she could think about things herself. The sight of Helen in that dress made her feel tingly and she was certain she was well on her way to falling in love with her. Why oh why did life have to be so complicated?

Part 18

Nikki and Helen walked in to the pub to find it already full of staff from the casualty department. The pub was crowded and smoky and it was difficult to hear anybody talking above the noise. They said hello to a few people they knew and went straight to the bar.

"The usual?" Nikki leant forward to talk in Helen's ear.

"Actually I quite fancy a pint of lager." as Helen spoke, her breath caught Nikki's ear making her shiver slightly.

"Pint it is then. Excuse me; can I get two pints of lager please?" Nikki asked the barmaid.

"Sure, two pints coming up."

The barmaid was soon back and handed the pints across to Nikki; she handed a ten pound note over and received her change.

"There you go love."

"Thanks." Nikki steered Helen over to a free table and they sat down, the first thing she did was fish in her pocket for her cigarettes and she handed one to Helen and then lit it for her. Helen flashed her a sexy smile and Nikki felt her heart flutter. It was amazing what Helen could do to her with just a smile, Nikki wondered just how much she could do to her with her hands.

"Cheers." Helen said as she took a drag of her cigarette and then clinked her glass against Nikki's.

"Cheers. So tell me, how long have Lisa and Jill been together?"

"It's a really sweet story, they met when they were five at school and they were inseparable. They were that way right through their teens until they had a slight falling out for a few weeks, Jill got pissed off when Lisa started dating boys. Anyway, she realised it wasn't for her and she told me one night she thought she was gay. She also told me she thought she was in love with Jill, she asked me what she should do and I told her to play it by ear because there was a chance Jill wouldn't feel the same and she might lose their friendship. She has never been one for hanging around so she disregarded my advice and went straight to Jill's house and kissed the face off her, they haven't looked back since." Helen smiled as she thought back to all those years ago.

"That really is sweet! They make a good couple, and it's nice to see they have strong relationship, you don't see that much these days." Nikki took a long swallow of lager and then crossed her legs.

"Yeah unlike me who is currently going through a divorce and had more boyfriends than hot dinners." Helen giggled.

"You man eater!" Nikki smiled, those men had been so lucky to have Helen even if it was for a short time and she would never know what it was like, she felt sad at the thought.

"What about you then? Relationship wise I mean."

"Pretty much the same story, lost count of all the women I've dated. Longest relationship I ever had lasted three years and that ended shortly before I came to the hospital. Niamh her name was, she was a nice girl but we were never in love and it just fizzled out really. Kerry and I aren't going anywhere either."

"More or less the same story with David, he only seems to be interested in sex. Although I suppose I'm partly to blame, I won't let him anywhere near me." Helen took a mouthful of her pint and leaned back in her chair.

"If you don't want to sleep with him then that's your decision, he can't force you."

"That's what I thought but he doesn't seem to see it that way. I told him I wanted to take it slowly and that I didn't want to jump straight into bed but he seems to think I'm being awkward."

"Want my advice?"

"As long as it's free."

"Get rid of him, there are plenty of other blokes around who will be willing to give you the space you need. They aren't all bastards, I'm sorry to say that David appears to be one."

"That's more or less what Lisa said. You're both right, it's not going anywhere anyway." Helen downed the rest of her pint, and stood up.

"Another pint?"

"Yep, I'm gonna save the hard stuff for later." Nikki raised her eyebrow at Helen and smiled.

"Spoken like a true fellow pisshead." Helen giggled and walked off to get the drinks in.

Helen had come back and they were sat chatting away, they had to lean close to each other to be heard. Helen was telling her a story about Lisa, when Nikki nearly choked on her drink.

"What's the matter?" Helen looked at her quizzically.

"Kerry's just walked in."

"I thought she was supposed to be working." Helen said as she caught a quick glimpse of Kerry coming towards them.

"So did I." Nikki put her glass down and didn't look too happy.

"Hiya babes." Kerry said and sat straight on Nikki's lap.

"Get off." Nikki complained and stood up, "sit on a chair."

"Don't get your knickers in a twist! Thought you would be glad to see me anyway?" she started pouting and it really annoyed Nikki.

"I thought you were working tonight?"

"I was supposed to be but I swapped shifts so I could be with you. But if I'm intruding on something, then I'll bugger off because it looks very cosy between you two from where I'm sitting." Kerry sneered.

"Helen, would you excuse us for just one moment?" Nikki looked over at Helen.

"Of course Nikki."

Nikki stood up and dragged Kerry outside with her, they came to a stop in the car park and Kerry could see she had gone too far but it didn't stop her from having a go.

"Do you have to be so rude?" Nikki was steaming.

"My girlfriend is trying to seduce another woman and you think I'm being rude?"

"Oh for god sake! How many more times do I have to tell you that Helen and I are friends and nothing more. I will not put up with your jealousy, it's over."

"You can't end it! I love you Nikki." Kerry started to cry.

"No you don't. And the tears won't wash with me Kerry, I'm sorry but it's over."

"You can't just leave me, we are so good together."

"Do you go around with your eyes closed? We've kissed a few times but that's all, I told you right from the beginning I didn't want a serious relationship but it hasn't stopped you trying it on. You're just pissed off because you can't get what you want, life doesn't work like that. It was never going to last and you and I are too different, we just don't work."

"Fine! Get back in there to that bitch then, but she is never going to fuck you Nikki. You aren't good enough for bossy boots Helen Stewart, nobody is." Kerry's tears had miraculously stopped.

"Go home Kerry." Nikki walked away; she wasn't even going to respond to those sort of comments.


"What?" she turned around and glared at Kerry.

"I'm sorry I shouldn't have said those things. I want to try again, please?" Kerry whined.

"No it's over, I won't be around for much longer anyway, I'm leaving in a week. I'm transferring to another hospital."

"We can still see each other."

"Haven't you listened to a word I've said? It's over and besides I didn't think you had the time for a girlfriend anyway."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I know what you do Kerry, you strip in a sleazy bar at night and if the customers want extra's then you're only too willing."

"How the hell did you find out?" Kerry looked stunned.

"In case you hadn't noticed, people talk at the hospital. One of the porters was there on his stag night last week; you can imagine how that felt when I found out."

"So you're breaking up with me because I'm a stripper in my spare time, that's not fair Nikki, I'm desperate for the money."

"It's not because you're a stripper, although I don't approve. But it's because you and I aren't right for each other, we never were and it's finished." Nikki walked away without looking back.

She got back to find a pissed off looking Helen. She had already got another round of drinks in and was furiously puffing away on a cigarette.

"Are you ok?" Nikki enquired with concern.

"I'm fine. Would you believe that bastard is married?" Helen looked incredulous.

"David?" Nikki was shocked, he might be many things but she didn't picture him as the type to cheat.

"Been married for twenty years apparently. Got two kids at Uni. Bastard!"

"Jesus, how did you find out?"

"You know Marie from x-ray?"

"The redhead?"

"Yes, well it was her that told me. She saw him earlier on today with this woman, she spoke to them and found out it was his wife. She came and told me because she heard we were going out and she wanted me to know."

"Good job she did as well, you are far better off without him."

"Sorry Nikki here I am going on about myself. What happened with Kerry?"

"Oh the usual, she got tearful and told me she loved me. I ended it and she wasn't happy, even though I made it plain it was never going to be serious. Told her I was leaving, end of story really."

"It's probably for the best; you said it wasn't working out anyway."

"True. Looks like we're both back on the market then." Nikki accepted a cigarette from Helen.

"And not before time!"

They followed the rest of the gang to another pub; it soon turned in to a pub crawl. They lost count of how many drinks they had in the end as they set about getting seriously pissed. Helen was having a wonderful time, Nikki was a great person to go out drinking with and she hadn't stopped laughing all night. They were sitting talking to a couple of nurses when Paul Barrett came up with a pint and sat down.

"Hiya girls, how's it going?"

"Not bad Paul and you?" Helen smiled at her registrar; he seemed to be one of the only decent blokes around these days.

"I'm great thanks. Hey Nikki, did you and Kerry have a fight?"

"Er yeah why?"

"Saw her hanging about earlier looking pissed off, she went home about half an hour ago. What happened?"

"Just a difference of opinion, we don't really get on all that well anymore." Nikki didn't say any more and left it at that.

"Never mind eh? Happens to the best of us."

"Not brought your girlfriend with you?" Helen passed her cigarettes around, and looked at Paul.

"I haven't got a girlfriend; I'm single at the moment."

"A good looking bloke like you? Thought you would have your own fan club." Nikki said smiling.

"Oh yeah course I have, it's only got one member at the moment though." Paul took a sip of his pint, "don't get excited though, it's only my mum." he said it with a smile and everybody burst out laughing.

They all trooped off a while later to a nightclub, and by this time Nikki and Helen were blotto. They immediately headed for the dance floor and boogied away to the music, Paul stayed beside them, girls kept coming up to him for a dance. He was beating them off with a stick and seemed to take it all in his stride. Nikki grabbed Helen and twirled her around the dance floor. Helen giggled as Nikki swung her around, they could hardly take their eyes off each other and they were both enjoying the close proximity of each other's bodies.

Jill was sat flicking through the satellite channels looking for something to watch while she waited for Lisa to come back from the chip shop. They had both gotten a bit peckish and Lisa went out to get some food. Jill was ready to go with Lisa but she said not to bother that she would be quicker on her own. The doorbell rang and she got up to answer it thinking it would be Lisa, it wasn't.

"Hello, can I help you?"

"Is Helen in?"

"No I'm afraid she isn't, can I give her a message at all?"

"Just tell her David called round and that I will be back to see her tomorrow."

"Yeah of course, not a problem."

"Thank you, bye then."


She closed the door, "So that was David." she thought, not bad looking for an older bloke but still not Helen's usual type. Lisa was back five minutes later and Jill told her that David had been. Lisa was sorry she had missed him. She wanted to chew his head off for being such a prick to Helen. They sat down on the sofa and tucked in to their food.

"Wonder if Helen is having fun?" Jill mused as she stared idly at the TV.

"I hope by now she has snogged the face off Nikki and declared that she is gay."

"Nice try Lise but I don't think it's likely do you?"

"Knowing Helen, it's not bloody likely at all."

"She'll figure it out, just don't push her, you know how stubborn she can be."

"Unfortunately she takes after dad for that and he is the most stubborn person I know. Thank god Helen isn't as stubborn as he is, otherwise we could all be waiting for her to admit it till the next millennium."

"Come on eat up. We can have a nice relaxing soak and a bit of fun before Helen rolls in blind drunk, what do you say?"

"Mmmm thought you would never ask." Lisa grinned and then leaned over and kissed Jill, before turning her attention back to her food.

Part 19

It was now 4am and Nikki decided it was time they were getting home, they had drunk enough alcohol to sink a battleship and if they had anymore they would need a liver transplant. She dragged Helen outside to find a taxi, although it was debatable who was holding who up because they were both seriously inebriated.

"Nikki?" Helen slurred as she spoke.


"How come you never flirt with me?"


"I said how come you never flirt with me?"

"I have done once or twice as I recall, why do you ask anyway?"

"You flirt with other women all the time, am I not good enough to flirt with? Is there something wrong with me?" If Helen had been sober then she would never have asked but it had been playing on her mind for days.

"Course you are good enough, there isn't a single thing wrong with you." Nikki was puzzled, somewhere deep down in her alcohol fuddled brain; her thoughts were trying to tell her something.

"I'm good enough to be friends with, good enough to keep your secret but not good enough to flirt with." Helen got sulky.

"Helen it's not like that, you are good enough to flirt with and that's part of the problem." Nikki started to sober up slightly, her brain was screaming at her to put herself into gear.

"Part of what problem?"

"It doesn't matter." she admonished herself for opening her mouth without thinking first.

"It does matter, I want to know, what problem?"

"Look, I really like you Helen. Much more than I should." it was out and Nikki wished she hadn't said it, she would regret it in the morning.

"As more than friends you mean?"


Helen had now sobered up somewhat as well and just stood there staring at Nikki, time seemed to stand still and they were both frozen to the spot. Neither of them was sure who made the first move, the gap between them closed and they kissed each other. Slowly to start off with but the kisses gained momentum as time went on. Nikki couldn't believe she was standing there kissing Helen, she had thought about it many times but the reality was so much better. Helen's head whirled and it had nothing to do with the alcohol, she was enjoying the kiss and there was a little voice in her head telling her it wasn't right.

She felt as if everything was starting to slot in to place and the feeling terrified her. This was everything she had ever dreamed of and it shocked her to the core, so much so that she couldn't deal with it. She couldn't do this, not with a woman and especially not Nikki; they were supposed to be friends. She pulled away from Nikki breathlessly.

"I'm sorry." Nikki said as she caught the look of fear and uncertainty in Helen's eyes.

"Oh god." Helen mumbled quietly.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that." Nikki clamped her hand over her mouth and looked distraught.

"No you shouldn't!" Helen said, entirely forgetting that she had responded to the kiss and was just as much to blame as Nikki. And the fact that she had wanted to kiss Nikki made her hate herself all the more.

"I'm going home." Helen was adamant, she needed to get away from Nikki, she needed to think.

"Helen we should talk about this, don't run off." Nikki pleaded.

A taxi came driving towards them, and Helen flagged it down.

"I'm going home."

"Helen wait! Don't just leave me standing here like this."

"This should never have happened." Helen got in to the taxi and left Nikki standing on the pavement. Helen touched her lips with her fingers; they still tingled from the kiss as did the rest of her body.

She was now more confused and frightened than ever, her whole world had just flipped upside down, Nikki had caused her to lose control and she wasn't happy about it. She just wanted to get home and crawl in to bed and forget it had ever happened. She was pretty much certain of one thing, when Nikki left the hospital, she didn't think she was going to see her again, it wouldn't be wise. She was in denial at this point and Helen Stewart was going to do what she did best, bury it all and carry on pretending it had never happened.

Nikki walked along aimlessly; she felt the tears run down her face and didn't bother to brush them away. She felt like her heart was breaking and she had probably just lost a good friend. As soon as she got home, she collapsed into bed and pulled the covers over her head, wishing she could turn back time and put things right. She knew she should never have allowed herself to fall in love with Helen, but she had never met anyone like her and there was nothing she could do about it.

Helen groaned as Lisa came in at lunchtime the next day and opened the curtains. Her head was thumping and she was tired, having spent almost the rest of the night going over and over the kiss in her head. Lisa pulled the duvet off her and Helen looked at her through narrowed eyes.

"Bugger off." Helen growled menacingly.

"Time to get up, there is somebody waiting downstairs to see you." Lisa bounced on the bed.

"Who?" desperately hoping it wasn't Nikki.

"That sorry excuse for a boyfriend of yours."

"He isn't my boyfriend, the bastard is married."

"That's it! I'm going to tear him a new arsehole." Lisa wasn't happy.

"Just leave him to me, tell him I'll be down in ten minutes."

Helen got up and went in the bathroom; she washed her face, and brushed her hair and teeth and then got dressed. She entered the living room to find David sitting on the couch, Jill and Lisa had disappeared to the kitchen.

"Hi Helen." David said a little too brightly.

"Don't even bother; I know you're married so you can just piss off."

"Don't be like that Helen, my wife...."

"Doesn't understand you? Spare me the bullshit, it's too late. You lied to me and god knows how many other women, just go."

"My marriage hasn't worked for a long time. We are only together for the kids." David hoped Helen would buy it but there wasn't much chance of that judging by the look on her face.

"Funny that because from what I heard you and your wife look happy enough. I told you it's over."

"We can still see each other; my wife never has to know. What she doesn't know won't hurt her."

"You really are a slimy bastard David, do you know that? I'm not some bit of stuff on the side that you can pick up and drop when you feel like it; I'm worth more than that."

"Fine, if that's how you feel." he said huffily.

"It is, so I think it's about time you went."

"If you change your mind then don't bother coming to me because it will be too late, I won't take you back." he opened the front door and began to walk down the path.

"Don't you bloody well worry! I wouldn't go out with you again if you were the last man on earth."

"Wouldn't touch you with a bargepole either." he said casually as he began to walk away.

"Arrogant bastard!" Helen shouted after him before slamming her front door.

She went in to the kitchen and flopped down on a chair, Jill and Lisa were sat drinking coffee.

"How was last night then sis?"

"It was ok." Helen said flatly.

"Just ok?"

"It was good." Helen was resting her forehead on the table, she felt queasy and her head ached.

"Must have been fantastic if your hangover is anything to go by. Wonder how Nikki is feeling?"

"Don't know, don't care." she kept trying to make herself believe that she didn't, but she knew better even if she wasn't willing to say so.

"What's the matter with you?" Lisa raised her eyebrow at Jill, who shrugged.


"Doesn't look much like nothing."

"Oh for fuck sake! For just once in your life, mind your own bloody business! I'm going back to bed." Helen stood up and stomped off upstairs and got back in to bed. Tears threatened and Helen buried her head under the pillow.

Jill and Lisa looked amazed, Helen had seemed ok last night and now she was really moody, did it have anything do with David or was it Nikki?

"I'm going to give Nikki a ring, see what the matter with Helen is."

"Lise." Jill warned.

"What? It's the only way to find out because she won't talk to me at the moment."

"It's none of your business, you should leave it alone." Jill didn't want Lisa to get involved, it might cause trouble.

"Bollocks to that!" Lisa stood up and looked through Helen's address book for Nikki's number.

She dialed and waited for an answer, on the fifth ring Nikki picked up.

"Hello." Nikki sounded groggy on the other end.

"Nikki, it's Lisa."

"Oh hi Lisa, what's the matter? Is Helen ok?"

"That's what I'm ringing up about. Did something happen last night because she is in one hell of a mood."

"Er, we sort of had a falling out." Nikki wasn't going to say any more than that.

"I'm not trying to be nosy but about what?"

"I really think you should ask her that yourself, sorry Lisa but I have to go, I'm not feeling too well."

"Alright, thanks Nikki, I will have a word with Helen ok, see if I can get her to call you and sort things out."

"I won't hold my breath, bye Lisa."

"Bye Nikki."

"Well?" Jill said standing leaning against the door frame.

"Thought you said we shouldn't get involved?" Lisa grinned.

"Oh shut up, what did she say?"

"They had a falling out, she wouldn't say what it was all about though, she just said I had to talk to Helen."

Part 20

Helen had stayed in bed all day Sunday, not wishing to face the world. Lisa had tried to talk to her several times but she wouldn't talk and in the end she had stopped trying. Helen got dressed for work the next morning and left without saying a word to anybody, she wasn't looking forward to having to go to the hospital and face Nikki. She just had to make it through to the following weekend and then Nikki would be gone and she could start to relax.

She got to the hospital and fully expected Nikki to be waiting for her but she wasn't. She had been up to her office and come back down and there was still no sign of her. Kerry had given her a few dirty looks though and she wondered what that was all about. Nikki eventually turned up and completely ignored Helen as she went about her duties. Even though Helen wanted to avoid Nikki and a confrontation, it was annoying her that she hadn't said anything. They spent most of the day ignoring each other but a couple of hours before the end of the shift; Helen could stand it no longer.

"Nikki, my office now please."

"I'm busy." Nikki said flatly, she had been thinking about everything since Saturday night, she had wondered if Helen had wanted to kiss her but then got scared and backed off, in any case Nikki didn't feel like playing games with somebody who didn't have a clue what they wanted.

"Not anymore." Helen snapped and walked off; Nikki had no choice but to follow.

Nikki sat down heavily in a chair and Helen paced across the office.

"Go on then, obviously got something on your mind." Nikki glared at her.

"You had no right kissing me on Saturday." Helen couldn't stop herself; she knew it was partly her fault but she didn't want to admit it.

"Oh I see, I kissed you did I? Funny that because I could have sworn you kissed me back."

"I didn't and it should never have happened."

"So you deny you kissed me back?" Nikki stood up; she was getting fed up of being made to feel like it was all her fault.

"I don't know. Yes I suppose I must have kissed you back but I had a lot to drink." Helen was desperately trying to deny her feelings.

"And that makes it ok to blame me? It doesn't work like that and frankly I don't appreciate being the one who has to shoulder the blame. You can think what you like but it takes two to tango." Nikki went to leave.

"We're not finished yet!" Helen snapped.

"Is that right? Just do me a favour, hurry up and get it over with because I know what's coming." Nikki crossed her arms and looked straight at Helen.

"So you're a mind reader now? Pity you could have read my mind before you kissed me otherwise it would never have happened." Helen said sarcastically.

"You're going to tell me that we shouldn't see each other anymore because I crossed a line when I kissed you, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out. You are just as much to blame; you started banging on about how I never flirt with you. If you're so straight, why does it bother you? And secondly you dragged it out of me that I have feelings for you; it didn't seem to bother you when you had your tongue down my throat. I didn't force you so don't act like it's all my fault, sort yourself out for fuck sake."


"Save it Helen, in future just be careful about what signals you send out."

"What bloody signals? I wasn't sending any signals out." Helen's green eyes looked like they were on fire. But she knew Nikki was right.

"Oh right all my fault then I see! Yeah ok my shoulders are broad enough to take the blame. In future though if you're going to play with the big girls then you have to start behaving like one."

"How dare you assume I'm playing with you!" Helen was livid.

"If you aren't playing with me, are you sure you want to consider the possibilities?"

"Meaning what?"

"Meaning you were obviously serious about kissing me. I'm not blind I could see it in your eyes just before we kissed. If you got scared then just tell me, I won't think any less of you for it. Tell me what you want; tell me how to fix this."

"We were drunk Nikki and we kissed, it should never have happened and I want to forget it. There is no way to fix this, it's already too late." Helen could not believe what she had just said; she didn't know what possessed her to say it.

"Well at least I know where I stand. I really hope you figure out what you want Helen, fortunately I won't be around to see the outcome." Nikki slammed the door behind her.

"Sod you Nikki." Helen shouted after her and then slumped down on her chair, "Oh god what have I done?" she thought despairingly.

Nikki was miserable when she went home that night, had she not been in love with Helen then it wouldn't have bothered her much. She had kissed a lot of women and then been given the brush off but because of how she felt about Helen it hurt. She would never have kissed her if she hadn't been certain that Helen had wanted it. She could wait till Friday when she could leave and go back to the station, getting over Helen would take a while but she was confident she would get her out of her system if she tried hard enough. Despite what she had said, Nikki knew Helen had been sending out signals but she chose to ignore them. She had no desire to get involved with a straight woman, especially one that was a friend. Her heart told her otherwise and no matter how hard she tried not to, she had fallen in love with Helen anyway.

Nikki was certain of one thing, the conversation they had had outside the nightclub before the kiss was not a conversation that would have taken place if Helen hadn't had feelings for her of some kind. Nikki had seen it dozens of times before, supposedly straight woman has feelings for another woman, and she gets afraid of admitting it and backs off. Nikki wasn't prepared to hang around, waiting and wondering if Helen would ever make her mind up. Perhaps it was all for the best, she wanted something Helen wouldn't or could give and no amount of wishing or hoping otherwise was going to change it.

Helen had sat all night idly staring at the TV; her mind wasn't really on it. She was thinking back to the argument she had with Nikki earlier on that day and it was getting her down. She was being stubborn and refusing to give in to the emotions that were coursing through her body, deep down a part of her wanted to go to Nikki and make everything right. That wasn't going to happen; she remained steadfast in her decision to let sleeping dogs lie, admitting she was gay was not an option. Lisa could see Helen wasn't her normal self and had tried on more than one occasion that evening to get her to talk but she refused.

Since their argument on Monday, Nikki and Helen were openly hostile towards each other and the temperature dipped several degrees whenever they were in the same room. Kerry seemed to be enjoying the situation, every time she witnessed them sniping at each other, her face would break out in a big grin. This didn't go unnoticed by Nikki and she tried her best to avoid Kerry as well as Helen.


"Oh hiya Paul." Nikki smiled at him; at least he was one of the few friends she still had.

"Is everything ok? You and Helen seem awfully angry with each other."

"Difference of opinion."

"Oh that's a shame, you two seemed very friendly."

"These things happen."

"I know it's none of my business but are you and Helen? You know, er well." he blushed bright red.

"No we aren't lovers, just friends, well we were. Why do you ask anyway?" Nikki wasn't offended, just puzzled as to why Paul was taking such an interest in Helen lately.

"No reason, I consider the both of you friends that's all. Just concerned." he said quickly, looking uncomfortable.

Friday soon came around and Nikki said goodbye to everybody, they all wanted to go for a drink to see her off but she insisted she would rather just say goodbye. She didn't want to spend any longer hanging about than she had too; it was all too much to bear. Helen didn't seem all that interested in seeking her out to say goodbye and Nikki thought it best to leave things the way they were. She went out to her car and was just about to unlock it when she heard Helen shouting her name.

"Nikki wait!" she came running over to the car and stopped in front of Nikki breathless, she thought she could let her go but realised she didn't want to.

"Yeah?" Nikki replied trying to act cool, she didn't want to get her hopes up that Helen would want to stay in contact.

"I didn't want you to go without saying goodbye. What I wanted to say was...just take care of yourself ok?" Helen chickened out, she wanted to sort things out but she could bring herself to do it.

"I will. Give my regards to Lisa and Jill. I better be going, take care Helen." Nikki could feel the tears threatening to break free and did her best to hold them back.

Helen wanted to fall in to Nikki's arms but brushed the thought away, she shouldn't be thinking like that. They kissed and it was wrong, she was straight and that was all there was to it.

"Bye." Nikki said softly and climbed in to her car. She drove away watching Helen in her rear view mirror.

"Bye Nikki." Helen whispered, as a single tear trickled from her eye.

Part 21

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