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.

Family Ties
By Nico


Chapter 27

By the time Nikki and Helen arrived at Bill's hospital ward, it was apparent something was wrong. The place was in chaos and people were rushing about everywhere. Helen's heart lurched when she saw her mother talking to DCI Crawford. Now that she knew he was there, it was obvious that the corridor was crawling with police officers.

"Nikki look," she pointed in Stella's direction.

"Oh fuck, what's happened now?" Nikki said as walked towards her mother and pulled Helen with her.

Tears streaked her face and she was nervously waving her hands around as she spoke, a sure sign that something was wrong. Crawford noticed them before Stella did and beckoned for them to come closer.

"What's going on?" Nikki asked straight off as Stella's face crumpled and she clutched onto them.

"Campbell attempted to murder your grandfather tonight." Crawford's tone was somber.

"Oh Jesus." Helen's legs felt like jelly and she had to grip onto Nikki's arm to save herself from falling.

"Where's granddad, I need to see him." Nikki steered her mother and Helen to a couple of vacant seats and made them sit down.

"The doctors are checking him over at the moment, they're trying to assess him for any injuries he might have." Crawford responded.

"How the fuck can somebody just walk into a hospital and attempt to murder one of the patients?" Nikki began to pace, she was furious.

"This is as much my fault as anyone's," he was feeling guilty, he regretted not having one of his officers stationed outside the ward.

"No." Nikki shook her head, "no it's not, you didn't know that homicidal maniac was gonna come waltzing in here and try to finish granddad off. Can you prove it was him?"

"We're getting a statement from one of the nurses who saw him trying to smother Mr. Wade. She was going in to check on him and realised what was happening, she screamed bloody murder but he had it away on his toes before she could stop him."

"He's not that fast and these days he gets out of breath opening a bottle of whisky." Nikki was pissed off that nobody had caught him, but she couldn't really blame anyone.

He nodded, he had noticed as much when he'd been at Campbell's house, "anyway, she gave us a description and one of my officers has already checked out the CCTV cameras, it's him alright."

"So irregardless of anything else, you can have him put on trial for attempted murder since you've got evidence?"

"Yes I can," he gave a small smile, he had at least one crime pinned on him at last, "and then hopefully I can pin the rest on him and put the evil bastard away. Sorry," he apologised.

"No don't be, he is an evil bastard, no other word for him." Nikki ran her fingers through her hair and sighed, "look DCI Crawford, just knock it to me straight, will Campbell end up being charged with murder instead of attempted murder?"

He knew exactly what she meant, "look I've had a word with the doc and Bill is not too good but they're fairly confident he can pull through it. I know it's hard, but try not to worry. I'll sort everything else out ok?"

"Cheers." Nikki shook his hand warmly, he was a decent bloke.

"My pleasure. I've still got a lot to do here so why don't you take your mother and Miss Stewart for a coffee or something and I'll speak to you again in a short while."

"Yeah, yeah I think I will." Nikki then thanked him again before steering a shell shocked Helen and Stella towards the canteen.

Campbell's eyes watered as gusts of cold air blasted him in the face. He closed his eyes as the taxi took him closer to Edinburgh Airport and closer to freedom. He intended to fly to Spain and then work things out from there. He had no luggage and carried only a credit card in his wallet which he knew he wasn't going to be able to use again. He'd taken as much money from his account as he could after fleeing the hospital and he would ditch the card as soon he could.

The taxi pulled up in front of the airport and as he paid the driver, he noticed a couple of police officers hanging about just inside the doors. He casually walked past them and made his way to the ticket desk where he intended to purchase a one way ticket to Barcelona. He was sorting his money out when he overheard one of the staff members behind the desk on the phone.

"Thanks for that, I'll inform the rest of my staff," she put down the phone and nudged the woman next to her, "anyone trying to buy a ticket in the name of Campbell Stewart should be flagged immediately, he's wanted for attempted murder among other things."

"Right boss." the woman seemed uninterested and carried on attending to the young couple in front of her.

Campbell put his money back in his pocket and sauntered across the terminal as if he had all the time in the world and was interested in having a walkabout. He edged his way around the policemen again and back outside into the cold night air. He was getting desperate now, and realised he'd made a very big mistake. He should have fled the country while he had the chance instead of trying to get rid of Bill.

He whistled as a taxi approached him and leaned down to the window and peered in at the driver, "can you take me to Glasgow?"

"Not gonna be cheap pal." the driver positively drooled at the thought of a big fare.

He contemplated it and decided to go ahead with it, "aye that's ok."

"Glasgow it is then." the driver grinned as he climbed in, and slammed the door behind him.

Back at the hospital Helen was sitting in the canteen opposite Betty, whilst Nikki had took Stella back to her ward. Betty had been to visit Bill and had popped in to see Stella on her way home but Helen hadn't even realised she had been there until she saw her talking to a police officer on the way to the canteen.

Helen placed a hand over Betty's and smiled, "been a wee while since we've seen you, how are you keeping?"

"Oh I'm fine sweetheart, can't smile wide enough me," she smiled again, although her heart plainly wasn't in it.

"I'm sorry I didn't realise you were here at first, there was such a lot going on."

"He asked me to marry him you know." Betty said suddenly.

"What did you say?" Helen pulled her chair closer.

"I told him I was too young to get married," she laughed softly, "I wish I hadn't joked about it now."

"Hey come on, chances are he'll be just fine. He's a stubborn old bugger you know, I'm sure that's where Nikki gets it from," she winked at her.

"I hope you're right, because I want a second chance to say yes." a tear trickled down Betty's cheek.

"If I know granddad, he'll make sure you do."

"I know it sounds stupid but I was afraid to say yes." Betty wiped her eyes and looked embarrassed.

"Why is it stupid?"

"I'm hardly a spring chicken am I? Not much left to be afraid of in life at my age."

"Things can be scary at any age but you know the funny thing? As scary as it seems, it could be the best thing you'll ever do. I felt like that with Nikki, I was scared to death of leaving Sean at one point but at the same time it felt right and I have never regretted it. Well maybe once or twice when she can be a moody sod." Helen smiled.

"Look who's talking, you can get stroppier than anyone I know." Nikki reappeared beside them, "Mum is settled back into the ward and I've just spoken to the sister, apparently granddad is starting to wake up. Campbell seems to have done him no harm at all but they're keeping a very close eye on him."

Both Helen and Betty breathed a sigh of relief.

"It's early days yet but the doc thinks he's gonna be ok." Nikki grinned.

"Didn't I tell you?" Helen smiled at Betty, "now you'll get your chance to say yes."

"Chance to say yes for what?" Nikki sat down beside Helen and looked from one woman to the other.

"Granddad asked Betty to marry him and she's going to say yes."

Nikki's smile widened and she went to speak but Betty cut her off, "if you even attempt to call me granny Nicola Wade, then I will batter you," she giggled.

"Aww flippin' 'eck." Nikki pulled a face, "well I hope you're gonna make up for all the stuff you missed out on. I'm free this weekend, you can take me to the beach, then the zoo, and we'll work out when I get to stay over at your house gra…Betty," she winked at her.

Both women burst out laughing and Helen looked at Nikki with love in her eyes. She loved the way she always managed to lighten the mood and cheer people up when they needed it most. Helen knew she was just as upset and worried as they were but she always put other people's feelings first.

"So I've got what…lets say 45 years of Christmas and birthday presents to make up for plus sweets and other various things?" Betty's eyes twinkled as Nikki's eyes widened.

"I am not 45!" she pretended to be huffy, "I'm 21 if I'm a day."

"Don't think so love, you passed 21 a long time ago." Helen's chipped in.

"Look who's talking, you're two years younger than me although you wouldn't think so from looking at your gob. Did you know she has to re-grout her crows feet every morning Betty? And I tell you, those big support knickers she wears are a right passion killer, one flash of them and your well runs dry. It's like making mad passionate love to…."

Helen choked on her laughter and slapped her across the arm to shut her up. She was just about to jokingly tell her off but she needn't have bothered because Betty stepped in.

"Right that's it madam, when you come to stay with me this weekend, there'll be no sweets or treats of any kind. You'll go straight to bed at 7 and you can't take Helen with you. No more nookie until you start learning to behave yourself."

"That's not fair!" Nikki protested.

"Would you like me to arrest her for you?" DCI Crawford had overheard the last part of the conversation and was grinning.

"If there's gonna be no nookie then you can lock me up right now." Nikki chuckled and held her hands out to be cuffed.

"I'll lend the cuffs to Helen then shall I?" he grinned as Helen turned red, "right I'm sorry to cut this short but I need to talk to you. I need to find out if there is anywhere your father would go when he wanted to be on his own and that sort of thing."

"He's probably left the country by now." Nikki piped up.

"I know he hasn't, because he drew a large sum of money from his bank account less than an hour ago. I've also informed customs and told them to be on the lookout for him."

"There could be one place he would go." Helen looked thoughtful, "but I can't be certain."

"You had better tell me anyway," he sat down and pulled out his notebook, they needed to catch Campbell and they needed to catch him now.


Chapter 28

Campbell grudgingly counted out his money and paid a large amount of it to the grinning taxi driver. It was more than he could afford but at least he was clear of Edinburgh now and he knew he'd be fine so long as he stayed away from the airport and kept a low profile for long enough until the police turned their attention towards somebody else.

The taxi's tail lights disappeared into the distance and Campbell was left standing in an empty street with the cold wind whipping around his legs. His next task was to find somewhere to stay and he was undecided as to which would be better: a busy hotel where he could fade into the background or a bed and breakfast where there would be very few guests to notice him. Both carried risks and in the end it was a question of finances. He couldn't really afford to stay in a hotel so it would be have to be a bed and breakfast after all.

He wasn't very familiar with Glasgow and that presented another problem. He knew he was a short walk away from George Square but after that he had no idea. He stood for a few moments trying to figure out what to do next. He needed a drink, he could never think straight without alcohol and he considered the risk to be worth it.

He shuffled along the pavement holding his jacket tightly around himself to ward off the cold. His hair clung thinly to his head in sparse strands and his face was deeply lined. He looked every inch the old man he'd suddenly become in the last few weeks.

A passerby would assume he had the weight of the world on his shoulders and they would have been correct. Getting caught by the police and thrown into jail for the rest of his days was the only thing that scared him. He had no remorse for what he'd done and never would. Campbell was a man without a conscience.

He soon spotted a bar he liked the look of and was about to enter when somebody bumped into him from the side. He twirled around and was about to bark a warning to them about watching where they were going when his breath caught in his throat. There were two large men, barely out of their teens standing there looking at him menacingly from an entrance to an alleyway.

"Gi' us ye money granddad," he spoke in a thick Glaswegian accent, so thick that Campbell could hardly understand him.

"I haven't got any." He replied before he tried to move along but was stopped by an arm across his chest.

"Ye heard the man, hand ye money over." the second man's eyes glittered coldly.

"I don't have any money now piss off and leave me alone!" Campbell tried to sound braver than he felt, he couldn't afford to hand his money over, he desperately needed it.

The attack was so sudden that he didn't even have time to protect himself before he was dragged into the alleyway and thrown violently to the ground. Blows rained down on him and his life began to flash before his eyes as heavy boots connected with his face. He now understood what people meant when they said that everything they had ever done in their lives flashed by in an instant. He could suddenly see Nikki on the floor as he laid into her, blow after blow followed by an ear piercing scream of pain. His screams of pain now echoed alongside hers as he felt himself slipping into unconsciousness.

DCI Crawford was eating his lunch on the run; it was the same as he'd had to eat all week…a sad looking pork pie from the station canteen. He didn't have time to stop, he was co-coordinating the search for Campbell as well as working on several other cases and it was driving him mad. He took another bite of his pie and pulled a face before launching it into the nearest bin. As he did so, his mobile phone rang and he rolled his eyes, he didn't have time for this now.

"Crawford," he said tersely.

"It's Mags, have I got news for you," she sounded keyed up on the other end, "having just finished processing the rest of that evidence, I can tell you Campbell Stewart was definitely at the house around the time of the fire. The fingerprints on the glass from the back door and on the piece of wax matched the prints we lifted from his house after he did a runner…."

"What prints?"

"The prints that your pal Sinclair submitted along with his shoes. There were several good ones which we compared and bingo, they were a match."

He sighed, "Shows just how bloody good I am at my job these days, it never even entered my head to get fingerprints. At least she used her common sense for once."

"Don't beat yourself up about it, it was a minor slip and she covered it up without knowing so it's fine. Anyway, I was also able to trace the manufacturers of the lighter after finding a partial serial number purely by chance. It was a limited edition and the serial number matches with details of his wife's credit card; it was indeed engraved with his initials."

"That's great!" finally something was going right, "it should all fly in court. Ok the lighter might be a bit of a pain but he can't argue with the fingerprints cos I checked, the windows were cleaned a week before the fire and he wasn't living there at the time."

"I also had a look at that other stuff," she was referring to the evidence from the Wade Haulage case that he had sent to her, "it's in surprisingly good shape and I was able to do tests on it. Most of it tells me that it was arson, as we already knew, and what accelerant was used et cetera. But the interesting thing is there was a blood sample from the scene which was swabbed from a window frame at the back of the warehouse. The window had been smashed and whoever it was cut themselves as they gained entry. Now back in those days all they could do was test for blood type and try to match it to a suspect but these days we can test for DNA, which I have done. Now, if you can get me a sample of Campbell Stewart's DNA then I can do the rest. There was also a bloody fingerprint lifted from the same window frame and guess what?"

"It matches Campbell's fingerprints."

"Got it in one, it's starting to look like an open and shut case," she grinned on the other end of the phone.

"That's fantastic; I didn't think we'd get this far so quickly. Mags love, you're a star."

"No worries, was happy to help. You've got to find him first though before you start counting your chickens."

"I know, god knows where he is though. I've got surveillance watching out for him at his grandmother's dilapidated cottage, but so far no sign."

"There is just one other thing though, having looked at the autopsy reports and done a few extra tests, I can tell you that Mrs. Stewart was pregnant and it was John Wade's baby."

Crawford didn't answer, he couldn't find the words.

DC Sinclair smiled as she put the phone down. She straightened her hair and buttoned up her suit jacket as she prepared to find DCI Crawford and tell him of the latest development. It wouldn't make up for her mistakes but she was keen to show him she was still on the ball. She took a deep breath and knocked on his office door.

"What can I do for you?" he asked distractedly as he waded through the pile of paperwork on his desk.

"Development in the Stewart case sir, we know where Campbell is."

"He's been spotted?" Crawford's adrenaline surged.

"Better than that, he's in custody, well sort of," she grinned.

"Fill me in then," he grinned back, her previous behaviour forgotten since he realised that she'd helped him out of a tight spot, albeit inadvertently.

"He made it as far as Glasgow and if his surgeon is to be believed, he might not make it any further."

"Oh god, what happened?" he was trying to be patient, he knew she was stringing it out on purpose.

"He was beaten up outside a pub in the town centre around midnight last night; his face was pretty much unrecognizable. They were only able to identify him by his credit card, his wallet was otherwise empty."

"And you're telling me he's not expected to live?" Crawford hoped it wasn't true; he wanted to see him convicted and sent to jail.

"They had to re-construct his face and he's got serious internal injuries. And apparently he wasn't in the best of health to begin with; his liver was beginning to pack in on him. So the surgeon reckons that if he pulls through, then he's got a hell of a long recovery ahead of him."

"Shit," he pounded the desk with his fist and then sighed deeply, "I better inform his family. Oh and Sinclair?"

"Yes sir?"

"Good work on getting fingerprints from Stewart's house, it had slipped my mind and well, the case could have been in trouble had you not had the forethought," he decided he should mention it, his sense of fairness always got the better of him.

"Don't mention it sir, we're a team aren't we? We cover for each other, that's how it should be," she'd learnt one or two lessons, and now that she thought about it, Crawford wasn't all that bad.

"Keep your diary free after work, I owe you a pint," he smiled at her and received a smile in return. He took a deep breath and then picked up the phone; he had always hated being the bearer of bad news.

Betty bustled around in her kitchen as she prepared lunch for Helen, Nikki and Stella. Stella had been released from the hospital with a clean bill of health less than two hours ago and Betty insisted that they all stay with her until they had somewhere to live sorted. She already felt like part of the family and wanted to spend some time with them whilst helping them out.

"This is really good of you Betty, are you sure we're not imposing?" Stella smiled as she sipped a cup of coffee.

"I'm perfectly sure; it will be lovely to have you here. This place hasn't been a proper home for quite a few years now, I know the kids visit but it's not the same," she smiled.

"Can I play out in the garden please Gran?" Nikki piped up with a cheeky smile.

"Didn't I warn you not to call me that?" Betty giggled, "I'll leather your arse and send you to bed for being naughty."

"Seriously though, can I call you Gran?" Nikki leaned against the counter next to Betty and looked at her shyly, "I'll understand if you don't like it but it's nice to have a proper family again and that's what I'd like to call you."

All eyes were on Nikki and not a single one of them was dry. At times she was able to reduce them to tears in the sweetest of ways. They knew that was typical of her, she could detach herself when she wanted to but when she said something sweet it was usually from the heart.

"Of course you can, I'd love being your Gran." Betty wiped her eyes and clung onto Nikki in a bear hug.

"Thanks, that means a lot to me." Nikki said quietly with a smile, it had taken a lot of courage for her to ask, since showing her true feelings always made her feel a little awkward.

"It means a lot to me too lass." Betty kissed her on the cheek and gave her a smile.

"Oh god, look at those two." Nikki placed an arm around Betty's shoulders and giggled at Helen and Stella as they tried to wipe their eyes and look as if they hadn't been crying.

"It's your fault." Helen sniffed, "you're so bloody sweet."

"I'd blame it on your hormones but mum went through the menopause sixty years ago and hasn't got any left." Nikki giggled as she shot past Stella and narrowly missed getting a slap.

"Nicola Wade, you're in big trouble madam!" Stella shouted after her, "Get back in here right now."

Nikki reappeared with a grin and was about to speak when Helen's mobile rang. She watched as Helen's smile was replaced with an even bigger one, but then that quickly faded as her face paled slightly. Nikki's heart dropped into her boots, she immediately thought something must be wrong with Bill.

Helen mumbled a few words into the phone and then turned to speak to them, "that was DCI Crawford, they've found dad."

"That's great." Nikki was relieved, she thought it was going to be bad news again.

"He's in hospital, he's been beaten up and mugged, they're not sure if he's going to live."

A silence descended over the room, they were all feeling slightly guilty that they thought it was no more than he deserved.


Chapter 29

The next two weeks passed in a blur. Preparations had been made for the wedding and it was all going smoothly. Bill had been let out of the hospital the day before the ceremony and had had orders from his doctor to take it easy. But everyone knew he'd up dancing with the best of them even though he'd been close to death just weeks before.

Bill wasn't aware of the whole story. Nobody had wanted to give him the facts until they knew he was fully fit. He knew something was going on but when he asked they would brush it off and change the subject. He waited until Betty was settling him in to bed just after arriving home from the hospital and he asked point blank.

"I know there's something going on Betty and I want to know what it is right now."

"It's not my place to tell you love," she looked awkward, she didn't like keeping secrets, "I'll get the girls to come back up and you can ask them yourself," she gave him a kiss on the forehead and left the room with a smile.

Five minutes later Helen entered the room with Nikki in tow, they both looked awkward too and it was beginning to get on Bill's nerves, why didn't they just spit it out?

"Right you two, spill. I'm too old for buggering about."

Helen was first to speak, "dad tried to kill you."

Bill laughed, "I know that much, that's why I've just been in hospital."

"No granddad." Nikki shook her head and sat on the side of his bed, "two weeks ago when you were just starting to come round, Campbell went into the hospital and tried to suffocate you."

"Tried to finish me off eh? He's a gutsy little bastard isn't he," he chuckled but there was no humour in it, "what else don't I know?"

Helen picked up the thread, "he legged it but the police managed to pick him up in Glasgow."

"Why didn't that copper, whatsisname? Crawford. Why didn't he tell me any of this when he interviewed me a couple of days ago?"

"We asked him not to." Helen knelt down and took hold of his hand and rested her other arm on Nikki's leg, "see the thing is granddad, mum filled us in on a lot of things we didn't know. Like my mum and Nikki's dad were having an affair and also that dad was very likely the person who murdered them."

Bill's eyes became misty, "I'd bet my life on it lass. He was in shit up to his neck at that time."

"What sort of shit?" Nikki knew they were getting the last pieces of the puzzle and pulled Helen on to her knee and wrapped her arms around her as they waited for Bill to speak.

"A few weeks before the fire at the Haulage firm, which I'm guessing you know all about?"

"Most of it aye." Helen nodded, "mum said that you and John were having lots of hushed conversations."

"That's right we were. Campbell had won a large contract for the company and we were ecstatic about it. That was until we found out that the cargo wasn't entirely legit. You see Campbell was picking up cargo from all over Europe and hiding diamonds in the side of the truck behind false panels. Customs were none the wiser because he'd tipped the wink to a few of the officers and they were happy to let it go for a tidy sum in return."

"Bloody hell." Helen couldn't say she was really shocked though, nothing surprised her now where her father was concerned.

"But the money didn't last long, Campbell liked the expensive things in life and gambled the rest of it away." Bill was getting tired now but they needed to know, "anyway, his debts mounted and he needed money to pay it all back, so he approached John and I and naturally we refused. So he did the next best thing he could think of and arranged for a shipment of diamonds to go missing that were worth around two million pounds in those days. Only problem with that was, when he sold it on, he was cheated out of his money and didn't receive a single penny. The guy he was doing business with wanted to know where his diamonds were and Campbell couldn't bluff his way out. He either had to produce the diamonds which he couldn't or produce the money and he couldn't do that either."

Nikki saw the fatigued look on Bill's face, "you can tell us the rest later if you want granddad, you're looking tired."

He smiled, "no no, I'm fine. Anyway, he strung it out for as long as he could but things were getting desperate. He came to me again to ask if I could give him the money because he knew John wouldn't and I still refused. A week after he asked me for the money, Helen's mother Mary told him that she was leaving him. I knew about all of this because John had told Stella and I what was going to happen. Campbell put two and two together, correctly assumed she was leaving him for John and he went nuts. John agreed to meet her at the warehouse and an hour later they were dead."

"What happened then? We know the insurance didn't pay out cos mum said so." Nikki said as she noticed Helen seemed to be a million miles away.

"That's right it didn't, because I cancelled it with John's consent. We knew Campbell was desperate to get his hands on some money and knowing quite a lot more about what he was like than when we first met him, we decided that if he was going to destroy the business then we'd all rather lose out totally instead of him getting his hands on his share. Anyway, your mother got your father's life insurance money and I got what was left of the business, trucks etc which I sold on and used the money to keep us going. Mary was heavily insured, and the sad thing is, it was done only weeks before her death. Campbell had no knowledge of the affair at that time so I can only assume...." Bill stopped speaking when Helen cut him off.

"That he was planning to kill her anyway," her eyes glittered coldly, any shred of feeling she may have had for him had been killed stone dead forever.

"That's my assumption yes," he coughed harshly and put his oxygen mask on, "needless to say, the money from her insurance policy didn't cover his debts and he came crawling to me again begging for the remainder of the money. I refused and several days later, he ended up in hospital after receiving the worst beating of his life and he was made to pay the rest back bit by bit. It didn't take him all that long; he always was good at conning people."

"Well I think he may just have received a worse beating than that." Helen stood up and pulled Nikki with her, "he's in hospital, and he's hovering on the brink. Apparently he was mugged and beaten up in Glasgow after he went on the run. And I for one, couldn't care less whether he lives or dies."

"I do." Bill's eyes began to get heavy, "I want to see that bastard in jail for what he's done," he said before slipping off into a deep sleep.

Everyone had gone to bed for the night and Helen remained up with Nikki as they cuddled on the sofa. They hadn't bothered to tell Stella about what Bill had said just yet, there would be plenty of time after the wedding and they wanted it to be a happy day without the shadow of Campbell hanging over them all.

"You know, we never asked granddad about his will." Nikki had suddenly remembered.

"True and I get the feeling that something had been going on for a while and that granddad was trying to set dad up. Still, at this point, it doesn't really matter."

Nikki nodded and then nuzzled Helen's earlobe before kissing her temple, "you remember when mum said about our parents having an affair?"

"Aye." Helen let her hands wander up and down Nikki's stomach.

"You had this funny sort of smile on your face, why were you smiling?"

"Oh no reason really, I was just thinking, you're a Wade and I'm a Stewart." The mysterious smile was back on Helen's face.


"Well it's no wonder we're madly in love, it runs in the family." Helen chuckled.

"Yeah yeah." Nikki laughed along with her, "what's the real reason though? I know you better than that."

"It's daft really but I just thought that they loved each other so much and they didn't get to spend the rest of their lives together like we will. It feels like that in some way, we're keeping their love alive while we're together."

"You're a soppy sod Helen, and I love you with all my heart." Nikki captured her lips in a passionate kiss.

"And I love you too, forever and always." Helen replied before returning the kiss.

"Do you want to go and see your dad? You know just to say goodbye in case anything happens? I'll come with you." Nikki asked when they came up for air.

"No, I never want to see him again unless it's in court." Helen was adamant.

"Supposing he does die though, I mean it doesn't sound as if he'll make it and you might want to make your peace with him, just for the sake of closure."

"I've had my closure Nikki. Granddad is fine, we're all fine and I'm where I want to be which is right here with you. It might sound harsh but I don't want to waste any more of my life on him, it's done with now."

"If you're sure."

"Absolutely sure. Now come here, I haven't kissed you in at least two minutes and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms," she slipped further down onto the sofa and pulled Nikki with her.


Chapter 30

The morning of Bill and Betty's wedding arrived and even though it was a crisp cold day, the sun shone brightly in a cloudless azure blue sky. The house was a hive of activity with all the women rushing around trying to do their hair and makeup and sort Bill out at the same time. Betty had been banished downstairs with it being bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding but still couldn't resist holding a conversation with him from the foot of the stairs.

"And put clean underwear on," she giggled, "there's no way I'm peeling a dirty pair of y-fronts off you tonight when I'm feeling passionate."

"Don't fuss woman, I've got the very thing to get your heart racing." He called down, "got a lovely thong with lady killer written on the front in big red letters."

"Good job you're not wearing a kilt then, one flash of that and you'd have the guests fainting."

"If I was wearing a kilt love, I'd have gone commando and with a tackle like mine, I'd have all the women chasing me."

"I don't think so love, cos whoever told you that yours is…." Betty felt a hand placed over her mouth.

"Betty please, there are lesbians in the house." Helen chuckled as she removed her hand.

"And you're just telling me now?" Betty looked shocked, "well you could have told me that your grandfather was a lesbian before I agreed to marry him, oh the shame!"

Helen collapsed into fits of giggles, "stop gassing and get yourself ready, Nikki and I will be along to finish your hair off in a minute."

"Right you are love." Betty winked at her, "Oi Rambo, stop yacking and get yourself ready, Helen's orders," she called back up to Bill.

"I'm trying, I'm just putting up the scaffolding now so I can get this thong on," he replied as both women rolled their eyes with a smile.

Helen and Stella helped Bill to put his suit on whilst Nikki fiddled with her hair in front of the mirror. She was wearing her best black Armani suit with a red silk blouse, she knew she looked good in it but more importantly she knew it turned Helen on. Helen had chosen her outfit for the same reason, a cream skirt suit, knowing that showing her legs off was bound to drive Nikki nuts all day.

"How much longer are you gonna fiddle with your bonce Nikki?" Stella was knackered already and was getting tetchy as time was getting on.

"Till it looks right," she replied back just as tetchily.

"Well it looks no different than it did when you got out of bed this morning," she said as she tightened the knot on Bill's tie and prepared to attach his carnation to his jacket.

"It's the messy look I'm going for," she liked her hair to be just right.

"Well you should have said and I've combed it with a carpet slipper for you." Stella huffed.

Both Helen and Bill burst out laughing as the two women glared at them.

"Anyone would think it was you getting married mum." Helen took hold of Nikki's arm to steady herself as she put her shoes on and Nikki tutted.

"Do you mind? I don't want to go to this wedding looking like Ken Dodd thank you very much and you hanging off my arm while you put your bloody high heels on isn't helping."

"Oh shut your trap you miserable sod." Helen grinned at her, "if this is the way you're going to behave then don't go thinking we're ever going to get married."

"I wasn't asking." Nikki stuck her tongue out at her.

"You can both shut your traps." Stella wagged a finger at them, "Nikki stop farting about, your hair looks fine. Go downstairs with Helen and sort Betty out and then I can get Bill into the car."

They nodded and left the room like naughty children, stopping to kiss on the landing, "I do want to marry you one day you know, I was only joking." Nikki whispered.

"I know Nikki and as soon as my divorce comes through, you'll have no say in the matter." Helen grabbed her and kissed her deeply.

"It might be polite to ask me first." Nikki spoke around the kiss.

"Will you two stop snogging on the landing and get downstairs! Honest to god I've already had to stop Bill and Betty from trying to get their leg over this morning and I'm not chasing after you two all day for the same thing!" Stella appeared in the doorway, "get downstairs this instant."

"Ja mein fuehrer." Nikki saluted and ran downstairs with Helen before Stella could say anything else.

The wedding went like clockwork and Bill and Betty were soon standing outside the registry office having confetti thrown all over them and posing for pictures. Betty's children and grandchildren were there and there was a very happy atmosphere. It was only slight broken when Sean slithered towards them.

"Hi Helen," he smiled the stupid smile she had once thought sexy.

"Sean," she said curtly.

"Lovely wedding," he was stuck for something to say while Nikki stood there.

"Yes it was but I don't remember you being invited."

"I heard about it on the grapevine and I just wanted to come and give Bill my congratulations."

"Well now you have and you can go." Helen still hadn't forgiven him and she wasn't sure she ever would.

"Helen please, we can at least try to be friends. That's if you're sure our marriage is really over, because I would still like for us to try again," he whined.

"Helen, I'll just go and see if granddad is ok, I think you two need to clear a few things up." Nikki wouldn't go far, she would be close enough to keep her eye on Helen but she knew they needed a few minutes alone.

"Ok sweetheart, I won't be long," she kissed Nikki full on the lips as Sean's face fell, "Look Sean, we've been over all this and there is no hope for us, I just wish you'd get that through your head. I want a divorce."

"But maybe…."

"There is no maybe, it's finished. We both need to move on and while you're still hoping there's a chance then it's not helping either of us. It's bad enough that you kept me a virtual prisoner but it's even worse that you went whining to my father. It's probably your bloody fault he was pushed over the edge!"

"Helen that's not fair," he brushed his floppy fringe out of his eyes, "I only did what I thought was right. I needed you to see sense."

"I did see sense and that's now why I want to divorce you. Whether you moaning to him pushed him forward to attempt to murder us in our beds or not is immaterial now, because we're all fine and he'll get what's coming to him either way. Now I'm sorry Sean but this is granddad's special day and I've got nothing left to say to you," she pushed her way through the crowd back to Nikki and didn't glance back at him once.

By midnight the party was in full swing and Bill was shuffling his way across the dance floor with all the energy of an eighteen year old. They made sure they kept an eye on him but generally left him to it, it wasn't every day he got married and they wanted him to enjoy himself.

Sean hadn't hung around for which Helen was grateful, because she knew how persistent he could be and she didn't want the day ruined. Hopefully all of that was behind her now and she took another sip of her drink and drew her mind back to the present. She smiled as Nikki came staggering off the dance floor after waving away a group of Betty's friends.

She collapsed beside Helen and took a long swallow of her pint, "bloody hell, is there a convention of lesbian pensioners in town that I don't know about? They won't leave me alone; I keep getting grannies coming up to me wanting me to jive with them."

Helen giggled, "That's because of your charisma sweetheart."

"Bugger that, they're all just after my body. And that one there, the one wearing what looks like a dead pheasant on her head," she pointed, "she's been feeling my arse up for the last twenty minutes." Nikki wiped the thin sheen of sweat from her forehead, as Helen giggled uncontrollably, "I think mum has copped off though," she pointed across the room to where Stella was dancing with one of Betty's neighbours.

"Good, she's done nothing but stress out all day and now she can relax. It will do her good to have some company for once." Helen waved when she caught her mother's eye.

"Here, while she's occupied, do you fancy nipping off for that leg over we're not supposed to have?" Nikki grinned wickedly.

"I thought you'd never ask. I've been waiting to hear you say that all day." Helen grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the door.

They had hired the function room of nearby hotel and it was set in beautifully kept grounds full of trees with lawns that seemed to stretch on forever. Brilliant moonlight shone down coating everything in silver and it made the garden look magical. Helen shivered in anticipation of what was to come, she would never tire of making love with Nikki and she knew she felt the same. The beautiful night added to the atmosphere making it feel as if they were the only two people in the world.

"You know, this is the kind of night that makes you fall in love again." Nikki whispered when they were sufficiently hidden by the trees, "even if my arse is gonna freeze when my kegs come down."

Helen burst out laughing, "You won't feel the cold when I get started though baby, trust me."

Nikki didn't have chance to reply when Helen suddenly wrapped her arms around her neck and pressed their lips together. Nikki's heart thudded as a feeling of pure love ran through her veins. Helen's lips nipped and sucked at Nikki's and both felt faint when their tongues made contact. Helen was having a hard time staying upright as was Nikki, their legs shook and Helen had to push herself back against a tree to keep them both standing. Nikki heard Helen's sharp intake of breath when she began to kiss her throat and run her tongue along the soft skin.

"Oh Nicola." Helen gasped softly as Nikki's hands found their way under her blouse and began to tweak her nipples.

She pulled Nikki's head up to kiss her again before she kissed her way across her cheekbones and to her ear. She ran her tongue around the outside of her, immediately causing Nikki to gasp and press further against her. Helen grinned as her lips traveled down Nikki's neck; she knew exactly what effect she had on her and was loving every minute of it.

Nikki allowed Helen to kiss her neck for a few seconds more before pressing their lips together in another kiss. Nikki could kiss Helen forever, she loved the way she kissed her, it was like nothing she'd ever experienced. It was now Nikki's turn to grin as Helen uttered 'oh god' as her lips closed over her breast and pulled the puckered nipple into her mouth as she ran her tongue across the sensitive skin.

As Nikki was occupied with paying equal attention to Helen's breasts, she heard her gasp when she slid her hand between her legs and ran it up and down in slow teasing movements. She knew Nikki was wet, just as she was herself and she longed to feel her fingers inside of her. Nikki responded by mirroring Helen's movement with her hand as they began to kiss again.

"I love you." Helen whispered breathlessly against Nikki's lips.

"I love you too." Nikki replied as her heart skipped a beat, something about Helen's voice saying those words made it even more special.

Helen gasped and began to rub against Nikki's hand but then suddenly pushed her back as she heard a noise coming from a short distance away.

"What was that?" she asked as she scanned around the trees.

Nikki sniggered, "that would be granddad with Betty in the bushes, look," she pointed to a tree less than fifty yards away and they saw Bill and Betty staggering back towards the hotel hand in hand as they laughed like teenagers.

"God you wouldn't think he was on oxygen would you? He was still boogying when we left and then he shoots out here to get his leg over." Helen shook her head and smiled.

"I'm pissed off he's finished before us." Nikki giggled again.

"That's cos they only came out here for a quickie. We were going for the full monty." Helen wiggled her eyebrows.

"As much as I love you Helen, I just can't carry on. Seeing my granddad staggering out of the trees knowing what he's just done has thrown a bucket of cold water over me," she kissed Helen once more as they giggled.

"Aye it does put you off a bit. Plenty of time though sweetheart, just think of that as a wee preview of what you're gonna get when we go to bed tonight."

"Mmm I can't wait." Nikki pulled her close and wrapped her arms around her, "we should be getting back to the party, but there's something I want to do first."

"What's that?" Helen held her head to one side and looked at her questioningly.

"You'll see." Nikki winked at her.

Stella was just about to make her way down the steps to find Bill when he appeared from behind the trees with Betty. She tutted and then smiled, they were like a couple of lovesick teenagers and it warmed her heart. She helped Betty to get Bill back up the steps and they were just about to go back inside when she spotted Helen and Nikki on the lawn.

"What are those two up to?" she squinted in the moonlight, it looked like Nikki was down on her knees.

"I think Nikki is just about to propose." Bill smiled, he knew it would happen sooner or later, they loved each other to distraction and his heart swelled with pride, "lets go back inside and leave them to it, we'll let them tell us when the time is right."

Stella nodded and quickly glanced back at her daughters as a warm glow spread through her, "You two were meant to be together, just like your parents," she smiled and disappeared back into the hotel.

The moon seemed to glow brightly around Nikki as she knelt on the damp grass. Helen's heart was beating loudly, she'd had an idea of what Nikki was going to say, but didn't dare hope until now. She took hold of Nikki's hand and looked down on her with a smile.

"Helen Stewart, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever set eyes on and I love you so much more than you will ever know. I want to spend the rest of my life making you as happy as you make me. Will you marry me sweetheart?"

Helen's smile widened, "Nikki, I love you so much, you're my rock, my soul mate, my everything. Yes, I will marry you."

Nikki jumped up and drew Helen into her arms as she picked her up and twirled her around. She gently placed her down on the ground before capturing her lips once more in a kiss as the moon and stars continued to shine down on them from the velvety black sky.



Three months later

Helen had kept her promise; the only time she had set eyes on Campbell had been five minutes ago as he had entered the court flanked by two burly policemen. She hardly recognised him, he was pin thin, almost bald and his face was a mass of pink scars and lopsided from the operation to reconstruct his face. He looked so small and pathetic, but she wasn't fooled for a second, he may have looked old on the outside but inside he was still every inch a killer.

Nikki stood beside her and clasped her hand tightly, going through exactly the same emotions as Helen was but for slightly different reasons. Neither of them had expected him to survive, not even the doctor knew how he'd managed to live through such horrendous injuries. But survive he did and DCI Crawford had done everything in his power to make sure the case against him was watertight.

He'd eventually been able to match Campbell's DNA to the sample from the warehouse fire and pieced together with Bill's side of the story, he was certain they could prove he was guilty as charged without a shred of doubt. Crawford stood to one side of the courtroom and had nodded and smiled at Nikki and Helen as he had entered.

They were there as spectators, they had been informed they weren't required to testify as Campbell had already admitted his guilt during the numerous interviews with the police. There was an air of excitement in the press box as it promised to be the biggest news story of the week and they were all poised with pens over notepads as they got ready to jot everything down.

They were instructed to stand by the court clerk as the judge entered the room. He settled himself down with his notes and nodded to the clerk who told them all to be seated once more. The judge gave the nod to the prosecution team and they began.

Campbell was made to stand as the charges against him were read out.

"In the case of the Crown versus Stewart, you are hereby charged with three counts of murder, that you did unlawfully take the lives of Mary Stewart, John Wade, and their unborn child on the 23rd of July 1982."

A loud murmur traveled around the court room and both Nikki and Helen sat frozen in shock at this latest piece of information.

"You are also hereby charged with five counts of attempted murder, that on the 5th of October 2005, you did unlawfully attempt to take the lives of Stella Stewart, Helen Stewart, Bill Wade and Nicola Wade. You also unlawfully attempted to take the life of Bill Wade a second time on the 8th of October 2005. How do you plead to the aforementioned charges?"

The courtroom held its breath as Campbell seemed to mull the question over. He glanced up at Nikki and Helen, with a ghost of a smile that made their blood run cold.

"Not guilty," he replied as the noise in the court room became louder.

The End

Return to Bad Girls Fiction

Return to Main Page