Duty of Care
Nikki was working the late shift on Saturday and she was hating every minute of it, she was still upset about Helen and the bullshit assignment she had been given wasn't helping matters. She had been assigned to accompany the chief constable's wife wherever she went, after she and her husband had received death threats through the mail. Nikki wandered around behind her as she moved from shop to shop and drove her wherever else she wanted to go, Nikki felt like a glorified chauffeur.
She had to stand outside in the pissing down rain while the chief constable's wife was shopping because she had brought her dog with her and it wasn't allowed in the shop. Nikki cursed when the dog peed on her shoe and was glad to pass it over when its owner came back. She threw the shopping bags in the boot abruptly and then got in the car, ready to drive the woman off to her next appointment, which to her dismay was for a haircut, manicure, pedicure and full body massage. That meant Nikki would be stuck outside for hours with a dog that had taken an instant disliking to her and the feeling was mutual.
Helen was sitting on her bed, staring at the wall as if in a trance, she had gone upstairs on the pretext of tidying up her wardrobes. She had been miserable ever since she had last seen Nikki, it felt like weeks since she had seen her but it had been less than 24 hours. Lisa wanted to talk to her but Jill told her to give her some space so she had waited for an hour and then being impatient as usual went upstairs.
"Len? Can I come in?" she called through the door after knocking on it.
"Yeah come in."
Lisa walked in to find Helen sitting on the bed; she walked up to her and sat down beside her.
"Are you going to tell me what's wrong? You won't talk to anyone. You've been like this since last weekend and it's steadily getting worse."
"Nothing to tell sis, just feeling a bit out of sorts that's all, work is busy and it gets me down sometimes."
"Don't try and blag your way out of it Helen, you're talking to me remember? I know you, what's up?"
"Never could fool you could I?" Helen smiled faintly, "I'm not even sure where to begin, Nikki kissed me last Saturday night, no that's not fair, I kissed her back. I was drunk and I asked her why she never flirted with me, I managed to drag it out of her that she has feelings for me. We kissed and I really wanted that kiss, but I was afraid to admit it. It scared me that I felt that way about another woman and I ran away. I'm in love with her, I'm so confused and I don't know what to do."
"Why didn't you say?" Lisa put her arm around Helen and pulled her close.
"I'm scared; I don't know who I am anymore. It's like there is a whole new person inside of me struggling to get out and it's all so strange, I know I'm gay and it's hard to cope with." Helen began to cry.
"Oh babe, you are the same person you always were. I take it you haven't told her how you feel?"
"No I haven't, I can't tell her, what do I do sis, what the hell do I do?" Helen was sobbing at this point and Jill came in, she had heard Helen crying.
"You ok princess?" Jill knelt in front of Helen and took hold of her hands.
"No, I think I'm gay, my mascara has run and my wardrobes are still untidy." Helen laughed through her sobs.
"Crisis time then!" Jill smiled, "this calls for booze and lots of it, Lise shift your arse and get Helen a drink."
"Have I got slave written on my cap?" Lisa chuckled.
"Do as your woman tells you, I'm gasping!" Helen giggled, as she wiped her eyes.
Lisa disappeared off downstairs for a bottle of wine and three glasses and Jill settled down on the bed next to Helen.
"Don't worry kiddo, we'll get through this. Lisa and I weren't going to tell you until it was finalised but we found a house five minutes walk away, we have been planning to move down here for some time because we both missed you. So you don't have to go through this on your own, we will be here for you every step of the way."
"Oh Jill, that's brilliant!" Helen was ecstatic that her sister and her partner would be living a short distance away.
Lisa came back and noticed the smile on Helen's face.
"You are such a big kid! She has been dying to tell you for days now Helen." Lisa poured the wine and handed them their glasses.
"I'm glad she did, it's really cheered me up."
"Ok, let's see if we have this straight, pardon the pun!" Lisa smiled and Helen giggled, "you are in love with Nikki, and we know she has feelings for you but she doesn't know how you feel, right so far?"
"Yes, we aren't speaking either, she was pulled off the case and she has gone back to her station. I let her go after we had a fight without telling her how I felt. I blamed it all on her and told her she shouldn't have done it. I told her it was too late to fix things. I didn't want to face up to the fact that I was just as much to blame and I feel so guilty." Helen took a sip of her wine and looked at the floor.
"You can't change what's happened love, you can only go forward and try to put things right if you really want to." Jill took hold of Helen's hand, and gave it a squeeze.
"Part of me wants to, but another part of me wants to leave it all alone. I don't even know if she would want me. What if we aren't right for each other?"
"I can't answer that sweetheart, only time will tell. I'm pretty sure Nikki will still have feelings for you; she doesn't seem to be the type to switch them on and off when she wants to. Do you love her enough to want to make things right between you?" Jill shifted position slightly so she was facing Helen.
"Yes I do, but I don't know how. I wouldn't even know where to start, I said a lot of things I shouldn't have and a simple 'I'm sorry' won't put it right. How the hell do you tell somebody you love them?" Helen looked at them both in despair.
"It's easy, you just open your mouth and speak." Lisa's eyes twinkled and then she got serious, "Hang on a minute, are you trying to tell me that you never told anybody you loved them?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying. I've said it to you and Jill but that's different, you're both family."
"You never even said it to Marcus?"
"No I never did, because I didn't love him. He just assumed I did, no bloody wonder he left me." Helen downed the rest of her wine and topped her glass up.
"You know what this means don't you?" Jill looked at them both.
"No, what?" Helen waited for answer.
"This means that you Helen Stewart are in love for the first time ever." Jill started to grin, Lisa followed suit.
"She's right sis, this is brilliant!"
"Oh behave." Helen dismissed the idea but thinking about it, she was beginning to believe they were right.
"Oh she is, look Jill she's blushing!" Lisa laughed as Helen pushed her off the bed and she landed in a heap on the floor.
"Ok I admit it; this is the first time I've ever been in love. Problem is, I'm scared."
"Does it really matter so much at the end of the day if it's a woman you are in love with? Love is love when all said and done and if you love Nikki then what's wrong with that?" Lisa was glad they were having this talk at last after all these years.
"Truthfully? Not a damn thing." Helen took a mouthful of wine. It had scared her at first but after telling Jill and Lisa, she was starting to get used to the idea.
"So what's the problem? Are you scared about what people will think? Are you worried about having kids?"
"No I don't think I care what people will say, I thought I would but I don't. I'm not even worried about kids; I know I can still have them."
"So what is it that's worrying you then?"
"I'm afraid that she's going to reject me, I couldn't handle having my heart broken like that. I'm afraid of her loving me and then leaving me just like dad did."
"Not everybody is like dad Len; you have to learn to trust her. I've watched you drift from relationship to relationship and none of them have ever made you happy. When I saw you with Nikki, you seemed the happiest I had seen you in a very long time. I've noticed the way you've looked at women over the years, it was obvious there was something there but you've never chosen to acknowledge it up until now. I have no idea why, maybe you were looking for a father figure instead of a lover but the fact is you've admitted it now and you should start doing something about it. Start living your life the way you want to."
"You should have been a psychologist." Helen smiled, deep down she knew Lisa was right, she had been attracted to women in the past but had dismissed the thoughts as soon as they entered her head, instead choosing to play it safe and straight.
"She's right though Helen, it's about time you started living your life for you. It's time to stop worrying about what your father would say."
"I know deep down in there somewhere is the fear of disappointing dad, and you've always been the same. You shouldn't give a damn what he thinks, he disowned us both years ago. You for being a doctor and me for being gay, nothing you ever did or do is going to please him so you should stop trying. You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and be gay as well as being a doctor!" Lisa smiled.
"Trust you Lise but yeah I know what you're saying." Helen giggled; she knew deep down her sister was right. It was partly due to the fact that she always tried to please her father that was screwing up her life so much.
"As for being afraid of getting close to Nikki, if you ever want to experience love then you have to let go of all your fears. It might not work out but it's a chance worth taking and you will never know what might have been if you don't try." Jill patted her on the knee.
"I know, I realise now I'm pushing her away because I'm afraid, I should have told her."
"So what are you going to do then sis? Are you going to call her or go and see her?"
"I'm not sure yet, I need to think about it before I do anything. I still need time to get used to being gay, Jesus it even sounds strange when I say it! I just need time to get myself together that's all and when I do, I will think about what I'm going to say to her."
"Good, but don't take too long, you can't expect her to wait forever." Lisa smiled at Helen and then disappeared downstairs for more wine. She loved her sister dearly but sometimes she wished she could be more spontaneous instead of taking her time weighing up the pros and cons.
By 9pm that night all of them were as drunk as lords and lay on the floor in Helen's bedroom giggling. Helen had poured her heart out and for once had opened up to somebody. Jill and Lisa did their best to reassure and encourage her as far as her relationship with Nikki was concerned and they hoped they had made some progress, but they just had to wait and see if Helen would take a chance and talk to Nikki. Helen felt better about her situation now, but there were some niggling doubts deep down and no matter how hard she tried to ignore them, they were still there. She concentrated on getting drunk and having fun with Lisa and Jill, her problems could wait till morning.
After a week of putting up with the chief constable's wife, Nikki had enough. She stormed in to the station on the Friday morning and told DCI Jones she wanted a word with him. He took her in his office and asked her what the problem was.
"The problem is, is that I'm nothing more than a bloody babysitter. I'm sick to death of trawling around shops all day and sitting in the car while lady muck is entertained by various cronies."
"Come on Nikki, surely it can't be that bad."
"No it's worse. I'm pissed off following her around while she spends hours in Laura Ashley maxing her credit card out until it's screaming. If I had wanted to follow a spoilt rich bitch around then I would have joined the royal protection squad, this isn't a job it's a fucking joke." Nikki was not pleased at all and made sure DCI Jones knew it.
"Just stick with it."
"No, I want something else to do. I'm a copper which means I should be out there finding criminals, not sitting outside the hairdressers all day."
"There isn't anything I can do about it, a female officer was required for the job and you are the best I have, you should be proud that you were chosen."
"Proud? Give me a break, what I really should be doing is trying to find the killer at the hospital, not taking a woman and her psychotic fucking dog shopping!" Nikki was seething.
"You know we don't have the resources for you to continue investigating that case, which is why you were re-assigned."
"We don't have the resources to hunt for a killer but the police can afford to chauffeur the chief constable's wife about? If you ask me there is something very wrong with that picture and I'm not going to continue following that woman around like a twat! So do I get re-assigned or what?"
"No you don't, just get on with the job in hand Wade."
"In that case, fuck you and fuck the chief constable and his wife. I have some time off due to me and I'm taking it right now. See you in a few weeks." Nikki stood up and slammed his office door behind her.
DCI Jones stood up and ran after her.
"Wade! Get back here right now!"
"Sorry sir, I'm on holiday." Nikki shouted over her shoulder as she walked away.
"Get back here now, that's an order!"
Nikki turned the corner and didn't bother to look back, "screw you." she said softly as she walked away, intent on getting away from everything for a while. She was eager to relax and spend some time on her own.
Helen was sitting at her desk when a knock sounded at the door, looking up from her files, she told the person to enter.
"Doctor Stewart, sorry to bother you but we have just had a patient brought in with a severe laceration of the face, Doctor Barrett needs you to take a look. I tried phoning you but it was engaged." the nurse was standing in the doorway and was slightly out of breath.
"Ok, I'll be right there." Helen left her paperwork, it would have to wait. She picked up her pen and stethoscope and left the office.
She went to resus and examined the patient; most of the whole left side of his face was avulsed due to an accident resulting from unsafe machinery in his workplace. The wound was bleeding heavily and the skull was visible beneath the remaining tissue.
"Face is badly avulsed, he needs surgery straightaway. He looks to have haemorrhaged quite a bit and is showing signs of hypovolemic shock." Helen very easily recognised that the patient had gone in to shock caused by the reduction of blood volume.
"Should I call up to theatre?" Doctor Barrett's hand was poised over the telephone.
"Yes, do that immediately. We need to put a dressing over the face, and get an iv of ringers lactate flowing, try and make some volume back up." Helen busied herself administering the correct treatment and the patient was soon on his way up to theatre.
Helen then took the opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air and have a cigarette. She walked over to the little garden opposite the entrance and sat down on the bench. She got her cigarettes out and lit up, crossed her legs and leant back. It wasn't exactly a quiet place to sit what with the almost constant noise of ambulance sirens but it afforded a little more peace than a busy casualty department. She turned around because of a strange feeling that somebody was watching her; she caught Doctor Barrett disappearing around the corner and wondered why on earth he would be watching her. She noticed he had been acting strangely around her lately, and it unnerved her slightly.
She sat for a further ten minutes before standing up to get back to work when she noticed something under the bench where she had been sitting, she bent over to pick it up and examined it closely. It was a red leather bound book with ruled notepaper inside, it looked to be a diary, written on the front in gold leaf was the word 'ephemeris'. Helen immediately recognised it as being the Latin word for diary. She opened the cover to look for a name, assuming it must have been the property of a doctor as most of the doctors at the hospital were able to speak Latin, herself included. She couldn't find a name and decided to take it up to her office for safe keeping in case anybody reported it missing. She forgot all about the diary and got back to work, leaving it locked in her filing cabinet.
Nikki sat staring out across the water and watched the sunset. She had rented a little seaside cottage for a few weeks, hoping to find some peace and quiet. It almost hadn't been a good idea, because everything she did while she was here served as some sort of reminder that she loved Helen and could not escape from her emotions. She wished she could share all this with her, the sunset, little walks along the beach and cosy evenings in the cottage. She was finding the time alone beneficial though, it gave her a chance to get away from work and the rest of her responsibilities while she tried and failed to nurse her broken heart.
Nikki was normally tougher than this; she had never allowed a woman to get so far under her skin. When one of her relationships broke up, she would feel a sense of sadness but it quickly disappeared and she would once again be optimistic about the future. This time it wasn't working out like that, her heart ached constantly and there was nothing she could do about it, given time she supposed it would ease but it didn't seem that way at all at the moment. Nikki had thought she had been in love before but had come to realise that maybe this was the only time she had ever truly been in love because it hurt like hell that Helen had rejected her. She loved Helen and it hurt that would never get the chance to find out what it would be liked to be loved back by her.
"How did you get yourself in this situation Wade?" she said aloud to herself, before standing up and disappearing inside the cottage to make herself some dinner.
She hummed away to the radio as she set about preparing her meal and while she was chopping some vegetables her mobile phone rang. She picked it up and read the display, she didn't recognise the number. She pressed the answer button and spoke.
"Hello, can I talk to Miss Wade please?"
"Miss Wade, could you please hold while I put Doctor Stewart through?"
"Hell no." Nikki clicked the phone off and threw it down, she missed Helen but wasn't so sure she wanted to talk to her. If she was going to get another bollocking then Helen could save her breath. She knew it wouldn't be anything important because DCI Jones would have made sure she was contacted, they had her number after all.
The phone rang again, and Nikki noticed that this time it was Helen's mobile number. She pressed the end call switch, whatever Helen wanted could wait. She carried on chopping the vegetables and tried to erase all thoughts of Helen from her mind.
"Looks like I'm the last person she wants to talk to." Helen thought as she put her mobile phone down. She knew Nikki had every right to ignore her, after all she had treated her badly but it still hurt that Nikki didn't want to talk to her.
It was probably just as well because Helen didn't have a clue what to say to her, she had just picked up the phone without thinking about it. She wanted to tell her how she felt but she didn't think she was strong enough to do it, and the fear of being told that Nikki didn't want her was bouncing around in her head. She had come to terms with her sexuality now, with Jill and Lisa's help. They made her realise that she had always been gay and was no different now than she had always been. If she could get rid of her fear of rejection then maybe she could sort this whole mess out. She would try again when she had figured out what she wanted to say, it would probably be best to step back for the moment and let things settle.
Her phone rang and she snatched it up, for a split second she hoped it might be Nikki but she saw the display and it was Paul.
"Hi, I just wondered if you would like to go for a drink after work?"
"That's very nice of you but I don't think so."
"Don't worry it's not like you think, just a friendly drink that's all."
"I'm pretty busy at the moment so can I get back to you?"
"Yeah sure, no problem, see you later then."
Paul ended the call and put the phone back in his pocket. He stared off in to the distance and lit a cigarette; this wasn't going at all how he planned. He had thought long and hard about this and it wasn't proving to be as easy as he'd hoped. There wasn't much he could do about it now and tomorrow was another day.
That weekend Helen had helped Jill and Lisa move in to their new house. It was very sparse as they were still waiting for the rest of their stuff to come down from Scotland but they had a bed, a TV, a fridge and cooker and were perfectly happy to rough it for a few days. Helen now had the house to herself again and while the silence was nice, it also made her feel slightly lonely. She was now at a loss as to what to do with herself because just lately she had put an end to her solitude and was now used to having people around.
Firstly Nikki, who was now gone and then Jill and Lisa who were also gone albeit only five minutes away. Helen felt like one of those little old ladies you see all the time, alone with nobody to share their lives, they shopped alone, they ate alone and they had nobody to snuggle up to at night. She flipped through a book she had bought recently but that didn't even hold her interest, she didn't have the patience to read it. She picked up her car keys and drove to the hospital, intent on getting the pile of paperwork on her desk sorted out.
The office was dark and bathed in shadows, the only light came from Helen's desk lamp. She waded through the files and was steadily working her way down the pile when her mobile phone rang startling her. Her heart thumped loudly when she noticed the name that flashed up.
"Hiya, I wondered if I could come round to your place.."
"I'm sorry Paul but I'm kind of busy tonight, I'm sorting through some stuff." Helen didn't want to tell him she was at the hospital.
"Ok yeah no problem, right gotta go. Bye then."
Helen put the phone down and had a sudden urge to get out of her office; she didn't fancy being there alone anymore. Thoughts of her attack crept in to her mind and her breathing quickened. Something about the way Paul was acting lately was strange, she didn't want to consider the possibility that he was responsible for her attack but something about his behaviour wasn't right. She quickly gathered her paperwork up and stuffed it in to the filing cabinet; she noticed the diary and had all but forgotten about it. She knew she shouldn't pry in to somebody else's diary but she thought if she had a quick look through she might be able to find out who owned it so she could give it back. She picked it up and left her office, locking the door behind her.
Jill carried plates through to the kitchen and brought the bottle of wine back in with her. She settled back on the floor next to Lisa and poured them another drink. They had been decorating all day and had only remembered that they hadn't eaten an hour earlier.
"I'm knackered! Forgotten how tiring moving to a new house is." Lisa rubbed her eyes and leant against Jill, who put her arm across her shoulders.
"Yeah I know how you feel. Wonder if Helen is ok?" Jill took a sip of wine and sat looking thoughtful.
"She'll be fine, tough as old boots is our Helen. I just wish she would call Nikki, she should talk to her before it's too late."
"You know that and I know that but Helen is another matter entirely. You know what she's like, she will think about it till the cows come home. You just have to let them figure this whole thing out on their own."
"A little help wouldn't go amiss though." Lisa grinned wickedly.
"No chance! Leave them to it, I keep telling you not to get involved."
"Oh come on Jill, just a little shove in the right direction won't hurt."
"No, it's none of our business."
"Alright spoilsport but if they haven't called each other in the next week or two then I'm going to do something about it."
"Just be careful, you could cause trouble in an empty house." Jill smiled lovingly at her partner.
"That's a thought!"
"What is?" Jill looked puzzled.
"The house is practically empty; wanna see how much trouble I could cause?" Lisa wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at Jill, who giggled and pulled her to the floor.
Next morning, Nikki ran along the beach as fast as her legs could carry her, she was pushing herself to the limit. She was exhausted and could run no further, she collapsed on the sand. She lay there breathing heavily as she looked up at the sky. No matter how much she loved this place, she would leave early in a few days time; there were just too many things here that she was sad to be experiencing alone. She dragged herself up and walked back to the cottage; she put some coffee on and then jumped in the shower. Her mobile began to ring but she couldn't hear it.
"Come on Nikki for fuck sake pick up." Helen was chewing her thumbnail, anxious for Nikki to pick up the phone.
Several rings later Nikki hadn't picked up and Helen turned her cordless phone off and hurled it on the couch. She waited for another hour and then tried again, there were several rings and then the engaged tone sounded, and Helen knew her call had been rejected. She picked up her car keys and drove round to Nikki's place. Nikki's car wasn't outside but that didn't stop her from knocking anyway. She knocked and waited a few minutes but there was no answer, which probably meant Nikki was at work. She drove to the station and enquired at reception if Nikki was available.
"Hello, could I speak to DS Nikki Wade please?"
"I'm sorry miss, she isn't here."
"Do you know when she will be back?"
"I couldn't tell you, she is on leave at the moment and didn't give a return date."
"Ok thank you." Helen walked out of the police station and leaned against her car, where the hell was Nikki?
She went home and tried Nikki's phone several times more but she wouldn't answer it. Later on that night when she called back, the phone was switched off and she left her a message.
"Hi Nikki, it's Helen. I'm calling to tell you that I found something that you will be interested in. Please just give me a call when you get this message." Helen then went to bed, there was nothing else she could do until Nikki contacted her.
Nikki got up next morning and checked her mobile for messages, hearing that she had one from Helen; she deleted it without even listening to it. She changed in to her shorts and t-shirt and went for a run along the beach.
Helen had taken the day off work, she didn't particularly fancy going in after what she had read in the diary. It was all in Latin and she knew it belonged to the killer because it detailed his crimes. The bloke was obviously a few bricks short of a house. She sat and read through it again, it was definitely him, because it seemed to contain details she was sure even the police did not know. She was angry that Nikki hadn't called her back, and picked up the phone once again dialing her number. She waited and the phone was picked up on the third ring.
"Nikki, thank god." Helen said straight off.
"Stop calling me, we have nothing to say to each other. Lets just leave things as they are.."
"You don't understand Nikki, I need to tell you something important." Helen said desperately.
"Not interested." Nikki turned the phone off.
"Oh for fuck sake!" Helen screamed. Nikki was really starting to annoy her now, she dialed the number again but the phone was off.
If Nikki wasn't going to listen then sod her, Helen would do it on her own. She picked the diary up and began to translate it in to English. Several hours later, she had managed to translate the first few pages and she took a short break to make a coffee and rest her eyes. Everything was such a mess right now; she wished Nikki was with her because she couldn't deal with all this on her own. She reflected on how she had left Nikki to deal with things on her own after the kiss and immediately felt guilty. She couldn't blame Nikki for any of this; it was entirely her own fault. She picked up her coffee and got back to work on the diary.
Helen spent all the next day translating and still was only a quarter of the way through. She had rung the hospital telling them she wouldn't be in for the next few days because she was feeling unwell. She hardly ever took any time off anyway and they had believed her excuse. She went to bed that night exhausted, not only from spending long hours translating the diary but also because of the details, there was some pretty horrific stuff in there. She ached inside for Nikki, she wished she was here with her now but no amount of wishing was going to correct the situation. She had hurt Nikki and she just had to accept the fact that she had missed her chance. Helen had spent long periods of time just staring in to space, wondering where Nikki was and if she was ok. Then she would come back down to earth and carry on translating the diary until something else triggered a memory of Nikki and she would be lost again.
Nikki sat flicking through the channels on the TV, there was nothing on and she was getting bored. She picked up a book but couldn't concentrate, and flung it back down on the coffee table. She was starting to get worried about Helen, she said she had needed to talk to her about something important and Nikki wondered what it was. She picked up the phone and dialed Lisa's mobile.
"Hiya Lisa, it's Nikki."
"Nikki! How are you?" Lisa was surprised to hear from her.
"I'm fine and you?"
"I'm great thanks so what can I do for you?"
"I'm calling up about Helen, is there anything wrong with her?"
"Not that I know of, why?"
"She has been trying to call me for the last few days; she said she needed to tell me something. I childishly hung up on her and now I'm worried." Nikki had sat and thought about it, there must be something wrong otherwise Helen wouldn't be trying to call. Despite telling herself she couldn't care less, she was concerned.
"There is only one way to find out, go see her Nikki." Lisa wanted them to talk about things, she was sure they would be so good together.
"I'll pop by to see her in the morning."
"Good, I'm sure she would like to see you again." Lisa couldn't help but get excited; she wished her sister could be happy for once.
"That remains to be seen! Thanks a lot Lisa, see you soon."
"Yeah see you soon Nikki, bye."
"Bye." Nikki put the phone down, she felt like a bit of a git for putting the phone down on Helen but she hadn't been entirely nice to her either so in her opinion they were quits. Unless something was wrong and then Nikki would feel awful about it. She had an aching sensation in the pit of her stomach, it was always there these days, and it had been there since the Saturday night Helen had walked away from her.
Nikki went to bed and quickly fell asleep, next morning she was up early and on the road by 7am; she arrived at Helen's house shortly after 9 and knocked on the door. Her heart was fluttering and she felt sick. After a couple of minutes Helen answered the door in her dressing gown, looking like she had only just woken up. Nikki noticed how tired she looked, there were black bags under her eyes and she looked miserable.
"Nikki!" Helen was surprised to see her standing on the doorstep.
"Hiya, I thought I would come and see how you were." Nikki said tentatively.
"I'm ok; come in." Helen opened the door wider and Nikki stepped in to the hall, "Why the fuck didn't you let me speak instead of putting the phone down?" Helen started in as she slammed the front door, despite being overjoyed to find her on the doorstep.
"I didn't fancy another bollocking, which I now seem to be getting in person so it wasn't a complete waste of time coming after all!" Nikki shouted back sarcastically.
"I needed to talk to you about something important and you just cut me off." Helen marched off to the kitchen and flipped the kettle on.
"Yeah because every time you open your mouth it's to shout at me!"
"I'm sorry." Helen said quietly.
"What? I didn't quite get that." Nikki had heard alright but she wanted Helen to repeat herself.
"I'm sorry." Helen spoke louder.
"I'm sorry too, I shouldn't have cut you off, and I feel really bad about it. So what's this thing you needed to talk to me about?"
"I'll get around to that." Helen enveloped Nikki in a bear hug, squeezing the breath from her. It felt good to have her in her arms again and it hit home at that point just how much she had missed her, "I've missed you Nikki." Helen was feeling bold for once.
"I've missed you too." Nikki could smell Helen's perfume and she knew she would remember the smell until the day she died, forever associating it with the person she loved most in the world. Quite what Helen meant by her comment of missing her, Nikki wasn't sure. One minute she was shouting at her and the next she was telling her that she missed her, Nikki couldn't figure her out.
Helen went upstairs to get dressed and Nikki made the coffee, she carried it through to the living room and switched the TV on. She was watching it when Helen came back down and stood looking at her in the doorway for a few moments. She loved this woman more than life itself, she would do anything for her but she couldn't get the words out, no matter how much she wanted to.
"What the fuck is that woman on about? I can't stand her; she is always on the bloody TV. If she endorsed oxygen I would steadfastly avoid using it." Nikki ranted at an advert on the TV and Helen burst out laughing.
"What are you laughing at?" Nikki turned round to face Helen, she had no idea she had been standing there watching her.
"You and the way you're ranting on at the telly.
"Well you have to admit that woman is annoying in the extreme." Nikki smiled and switched the TV off.
Helen sat down beside Nikki and felt as if her insides were on a roller coaster ride, she knew Jill and Lisa were right, she had to talk to Nikki because she couldn't keep ignoring her feelings and lately she had managed to come to terms with her situation but now wasn't the time to do it, there were more important things to concentrate on.
"What I needed to talk to you about is this." Helen bent over and retrieved the diary from underneath the sofa and handed it to Nikki.
"What does ephemeris mean when it's at home?" Nikki looked at it curiously.
"Ephemeris is Latin for diary."
"You wanted to talk to me about your diary? And why keep a diary in Latin? You must have some serious privacy issues." Nikki grinned, she was happy that she and Helen seemed to be back to being friends, although the subject of the kiss, so far hadn't been brought up.
"It's not my diary. Jesus, call yourself a detective!?" Helen smiled back.
"You didn't tell me you could speak Latin."
"The subject never came up; I learnt it back in medical school. Are you interested in this diary or what?"
"Sorry, I'm all ears."
"I found it last week while I was at work, I was sat outside in the grounds having a cigarette and I noticed it on the floor under the bench where I had been sitting. I took it up to my office and put in the filing cabinet, for when somebody claimed it but I forgot all about it. Anyway the other night I brought it home and had a quick look through it to see if I could find out who owned it and I got more than I bargained for."
Nikki opened the book, and flipped through the first few pages which were empty. She came to a page and noticed it had writing on it, in big letters was the word 'Letum'
"What does Letum mean?" Nikki asked as she looked up.
"Basically it means, death, ruin, annihilation."
"Are you telling me what I think you're telling me?" Nikki's gaze remained fixed on Helen's face.
"Yes, it's the killer's diary."
"Shit." Nikki exclaimed and looked straight back at the diary.
"Now you know why it was so important for me to get hold of you."
"You should have taken this straight to the police, we've wasted time, the bastard could be anywhere!" Nikki stood up and looked out of the window; she couldn't help feeling pissed off that Helen had held on to some serious evidence, although she knew she was partly responsible because she had refused to talk to her.
"I wanted you to see it first. I can trust you to do something about it; I only ever get the brush off from the rest of them."
"Do you realise that withholding evidence is a serious offence?"
"I didn't even know what it was till a short while ago and when I found out I tried to call you but you being you, couldn't even be bothered to listen!"
"That's not the point!" Nikki threw the diary down and folded her arms.
"The point is, is that this was your case. I felt that to pass it on to somebody else without letting you see it first would have been disrespectful and wrong, I at least owe you that much." Helen stood up and left the room and Nikki closed her eyes and sighed, this wasn't going well at all.
Nikki went in search of Helen and found her standing outside in the garden, she was smoking a cigarette. Nikki stood watching her for a moment, Helen was trying really hard to smooth things over between them and she knew she was being awkward. Helen had paid her a really big compliment when she said about not wanting to be disrespectful, it was probably one of the nicest things anybody had ever done for her, even if it was breaking the rules. Nikki realised she was taking everything out on Helen, her frustration about work and her frustration at not being able to have her. She realised she was being unfair, if Helen didn't feel the same way about her, it wasn't her fault, you couldn't force somebody to have feelings for you. Helen being straight wasn't her fault; the same as being gay wasn't Nikki's, that's just the way things were.
"Helen, I'm sorry." Nikki came up behind Helen and gently touched her on the shoulder.
"That's all we ever seem to say to each other." Helen blew smoke out.
"Look, I." Nikki started but was interrupted.
"No you look, if you and I are ever going to have any sort of relationship then we need to clear things up, do you agree?"
"You're right, we probably should." Nikki wondered when Helen would bring the subject up again. She had said she was sorry and didn't feel like having it all dragged up but Helen looked intent on trawling it all back out again.
They settled themselves back in the living room and at least for the moment the diary was forgotten. Nikki was waiting for another round of discussion about how she had been wrong to kiss Helen. Helen on the other hand was bricking it because she was about to tell Nikki that she had feelings for her. Not to the full extent however because she wasn't brave enough to tell Nikki that she was in love with her. She hoped that Nikki still felt the same and that telling her wouldn't be a mistake.
"Go on then." Nikki wanted her to get on with it; waiting was beginning to unsettle her because judging by the look on Helen's face it was bothering her.
"Sorry, I'm just not sure where to start." Helen could feel her hands begin to shake and she clasped them tightly.
"Since this all started when we kissed, how about you start there?" Nikki got straight to the point.
"Er yeah ok. The thing is, I shouldn't have gotten angry with you, I kissed you back and I know I initiated the kiss to a certain extent. If I hadn't commented on you flirting with me then it would never have happened, I apologise for having a go at you."
"Fine I can accept that." Nikki was amazed Helen had taken some of the blame; she was expecting to get her head chewed off again.
"Thank you." Helen had chickened out, there was no way she could tell her how she felt and now that Nikki was here she could at least have her as a friend if nothing else.
"Was there something else?" Nikki could tell that Helen had something else on her mind.
"No there wasn't anything else."
Nikki picked up the diary and leafed through it, it was all gobbledygook to her but contained somewhere amongst these words were details that might help find whoever was responsible for the murders.
"You're going to have to translate this for me because I can't understand a word of it."
"I've already translated some of it so you can read it." Helen stood up to retrieve the sheets of paper and passed them to Nikki.
I've been hearing voices that keep shouting at me, I don't know who they are or what they want. It's starting to keep me from my sleep and I'm finding it hard to concentrate when I'm working. I was having a hard enough time as it was without having all this on my shoulders as well. I have fallen in love with her but she won't even look at me and I want to tell her how I feel but she wouldn't care.
It's the early hours of the morning and I should be sleeping like every other human being out there but I'm not every other human being, I'm different. I feel things that nobody else feels, I see things that other people do not see and I'm capable of things that nobody else is capable of. I must sleep now, my head aches and my eyes can't focus on the page, and I hope they shut up long enough to let me sleep.
It's been a few days since I wrote my last entry; the voices are steadily getting worse, now I know what it is that they want. They know I'm in love with her and they told me that there is a way to make her fall in love with me; I have to prove she is the only woman I want. To do that, I have to hurt some women, to prove to her that other women mean nothing to me and that she is all I need. I'm not sure who it is exactly that I'm supposed to hurt, only that they told me I will know when I find the right ones. I'm not sure I can do it, hurting them seems a bit extreme but if it's what I have to do then I have no choice. I'm due at work later, so I will began my task then, they key to all this is finding the right women. I will write more later when I get back.
I found her, the perfect one. She looks like my special one, even if it's only a little. She has lovely blonde hair, just like the love of my life, the resemblance stops there of course because nobody is as perfect as she is. I watch her while she is working, the way she uses her hands when she speaks, the way she walks. Everything about her is perfect, and she doesn't even seem to notice the effect she has on me. I have to try and sleep now, tomorrow is a big day. It's the first time I will be putting my plan into action and I need to be fully awake and ready, it's not going to be easy but I'm confident I can do it. The thought seemed alien to me at first but I have to admit now that the prospect is beginning to excite me.
"Shit!" Nikki shook her head, "we're dealing with a right fruitcake here."
"We finally found his motive, he's obsessed with somebody and thinks hurting women will prove to her how much he cares. Any ideas on who it might be that he is obsessed with?"
"God knows, there are lots of women working at the hospital with blonde hair, you included."
"You can't be suggesting he is obsessed with me?" Helen didn't like the idea one little bit.
"I'm considering the possibility, ok the fact that he attacked you makes it seem unlikely unless something went wrong and he flipped but it's still possible."
"I don't think I like the idea."
"Apart from David, have you dated anyone else at the hospital?"
"I've dated a couple of doctors besides him, but one emigrated to Australia and the other one moved up north to another hospital."
"That's quite an effect you have on men." Nikki quipped and then dodged as Helen threw a cushion at her.
"Cheeky sod! Are you trying to suggest I frighten people off?"
"Nah, look at me, I'm still here." Nikki smiled; she knew her comment was a double sided one.
"Yes you are." Helen felt her heart flutter; she wanted Nikki so much that she ached for her, "are you hungry?"
"In that case, I'm not hungry." Nikki laughed and shot up off the couch as Helen chased her in to the kitchen.
Helen caught up with Nikki and pushed her against the wall, she started to tickle her and Nikki screamed for mercy. Helen wasn't going to let her off that easily and continued to tickle her.
"Stop!" Nikki giggled.
"No you insulted my cooking."
"Don't make me handcuff you."
"Have you got your cuffs on you?" Helen smiled up at Nikki impishly.
"No." Nikki started to feel hot; the way Helen was looking at her was making her tingle all over.
"Didn't think so!" Helen smiled and walked over to the fridge, all too aware of the effect she had on Nikki. She wanted to see how Nikki reacted when they got close to each other.
Helen got busy with making them something to eat, while she was preparing the food, the phone rang. She asked Nikki to answer the phone for her.
"Hello, Stewart residence."
"Hiya Nikki, it's Lisa, is Helen there please?"
"Hi Lisa, just a sec. HELEN, PHONE!" Nikki shouted through to the kitchen.
"Who is it?" Helen asked as she wiped her hands on a tea towel.
"Thanks Nikki, hi Lise."
"Hi sis, how's it going?"
"How's what going?."
"You and Nikki of course!"
"I haven't said anything if that's what you mean, what did you want anyway?" Helen didn't want to have this conversation with Lisa right now, especially because Nikki was only a few feet away in the kitchen.
"To ask about Nikki."
"How did you know she was here?"
"She phoned me last night because she was worried about you and told me that she was going to go and see you."
"Oh she did, did she?" Helen was surprised.
"Yes she did. Talk to her Helen, I know you never take my advice but talk to her."
"I will, at some point."
"Don't wait forever sis, just do it, the longer you think about it the harder it will get."
"Ok, I'm not making any promises but I'll try. Gotta go, I'll call you later."
"Speak to you later, bye."
Helen put the phone down and went back to the kitchen, the issue wasn't just going to disappear, she had to say something but was now the right time?
Return to Bad Girls Fiction
Return to Main Page