Finding Ground
By S.L.

Chapter Seven

Leaving Anna's house had been awkward the following morning. Nikki still felt a deep sense of regret for kissing Anna, knowing things could have progressed if Helen hadn't have been there. She had peered up and seen the unease in Anna's eyes too.

"We can forget last night, can't we? I don't know what came over me Nik" Anna shook her head

"Me either," Nikki sighed, digging her hands further into her jeans

"Helen's going to hate me"

"She already does hate me," Nikki mumbled

"No she doesn't. Trust me" Anna smiled and hugged her "I'm really sorry for…"

"Don't be, are you going to be ok?" Nikki breathed hugging her close

"I'll be fine. I think you best go see Helen"

But Nikki hadn't. She'd drove around the city a few times, stopping off for something to eat. Trish had phoned and asked for help at the club and she was pleased to be able to be doing something other than dwelling on her mistake.

"Jesus babe!" Trish smiled, embracing Nikki as she entered the club "Heavy night?"

"Yeah" Nikki sighed, dropping her keys "What have we got on tonight?"

"Party, 300 guests babe can you believe it? Should be an earner!"

Nikki just nodded and walked through to her office, slumping down in her chair. She spent the afternoon checking out the reservations and the preferences. She liked to keep happy customers and wanted to give them whatever she could. Few times as she peered at the phone and contemplated phoning Helen. Three times she'd dialled the number but put it down once she'd got through to Larkhall prison. Giving it no thought Nikki kept the phone at her ear and waited for an answer after punching the number in a fourth time.

"Yes, Hello, could I speak to Helen Stewart please?" She asked shakily

"Who's calling please?" a younger woman asked on the other end

"Nikki Wade. I'm a …"

"I'm sorry miss Wade but miss Stewart is very busy right now. You'll have to contact her later"

"But this is…"

"I'm sorry Miss Wade," The woman said bluntly, replacing the receiver.

"Nikki are you going to voice your thoughts? You look upset, what's the matter?" Trish said softly as she handed her partner a cup of coffee later that afternoon

"Nothing I can't handle. Thanks for this" She said, refusing to look up from her papers.


"Trish I'm fine!!!" She snapped, her temper wearing thin

"Tell me!"

"No!" Nikki stood up "Trish, I am ok, honestly I am!" She sighed and managed a smile "It's nothing I can't handle, so don't worry about me"

"I can't help it babe. I care about you" Trish returned the smile and rubbed Nikki's arm tenderly "You'll be ok?"

"I promise" Nikki laughed walking towards the door "I'll see you later"

Helen sat at her desk after a meeting with her superiors. She had skimmed through her reports and the notes on her desk faster today than she ever had done before in her whole career. Inside she knew she was trying not to think about Nikki in any way shape or form. She was disgusted with both Anna and Nikki for what had happened the night before but she also had no right to feel like this. Nikki wasn't hers. She looked over the top of her file at her phone for the millionth time before shaking her head violently and turning away. She'd asked for any call from a Nikki Wade or an Anna Potter to be barred simply because she couldn't face it. It didn't however stop her from wishing that Nikki would phone and reassure her that everything was ok.

She read through pages of paper strewn across her desk but the words were nothing but a jumble of letters and she knew that she couldn't sit still for very much longer.

The door was knocked on twice bringing Helen back to earth with a bump as she shuffled, the papers into an organised pile. Her office looked about as functional as she was feeling.

"Cassandra Blatt for you Ma'am" a young bubbly officer smiled opening the door.

Helen looked up "Cassandra ... who..."

Her voice was caught in her throat as Nikki entered with a slight smug smile.

"Thank you" She said, motioning for the officer to leave.

Nikki sat in the chair opposite Helen and they stared at each other for a few seconds.

"What the hell do you think you're playing at?" Helen whispered harshly.

Nikki smiled as her Scottish tones became more apparent when she was angry.

"I'd say it was blindingly obvious Helen." She said calmly "You stopped me from phoning and so I came to see you in person because you need to know the truth about last night"

"Do I?" Helen asked with a sigh, "I'd say you both made it pretty damn obvious last night Nikki now if you don't mind? I'm busy" Helen lied picking up the phone.

Nikki was quick on the mark as she snatched the phone back out of Helen's hands and put it down.

"Well it can wait." She stated bluntly as she made eye contact again "It didn't mean to happen last night. The kiss I mean" She whispered.

"I don't care," Helen whispered unevenly, looking away

"You do" Nikki whispered "I know you do Helen" she sighed and forced her to look at her again "But it was a mistake. We were drunk. Anna is straight but she's very unhappy"

"I know," Helen said quietly

There was a pause

"I'm in love with you" Nikki sighed

"DON'T!" Helen shouted, standing up "Don't tell me that Nikki!"

"But it's TRUE!" Nikki was exasperated "And I want you to admit I mean something to you!"

There was a loaded silence but Helen wouldn't turn back to face her. She stood, looking out of the window with haunted eyes.

"Let me take you out for a meal tonight. Just to clear things up…" Nikki said quietly as she got to her feet "If you really don't feel anything for me Helen then I'll have to live with that. But let me take you out tonight. Just…as friends"

Helen kept her eyes closed and tried to ignore her beating heart. She didn't answer

"Meet me tonight at 8pm outside Rio's" Nikki picked up her car keys and headed for the door "I'll expect you there"

After a long wallow in the bath and a good episode of Eastenders, Helen wandered into the kitchen in her dressing gown in search of biscuits whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. She was due to meet Nikki at Rio's- the most expensive restaurant in town in just over an hour but the more she thought about it. The more she didn't feel it necessary to go. Nikki would only bring that side out that she'd been trying to hide and that wasn't right was it?

Her phone rang and she struggled to pour the kettle and pick it up at the same time?


"Helen? It's Anna"

There was a silence and She didn't know what she wanted to say. She didn't want anyone thinking she was jealous about what happened the other night. Yet at the same time, she didn't want Anna to go without knowing how hurt she was actually feeling. Helen shook her head. She just couldn't win here.

"Helen?" Anna said again

"Hi," She said coolly. Looking up at the clock as she spoke.

"Look honey, I'm sorry about what it looked like at my house the other night…"

Helen closed her eyes. It was painful just thinking about what she had seen

"I don't expect you to forgive me Helen but I think it's right that you should know how Nikki feels about you and that it was all a drunken mistake. I was lonely and I was shocked that you had feelings for another woman…"

"Really?" Helen said quietly, unconvinced

"You know me. I don't judge. It was just a natural reaction...But Helen it was a mistake. I promise you that....please...just talk to Nikki"

"I can't" She whispered through tears

"You can!" Anna said indignantly "And you will!. If she means as much as I think she means to you then I really think you need to tell her. Be honest with yourself."

There was a silence again.

In the passing moment, new thoughts popped into Helen's head. The thought of knowing that Nikki would eventually move on and find love with someone else was…unnerving. The thought of anyone else kissing those lips make her tremble

"Helen?" Anna said quietly "Are you angry with me?"

"No," She replied after a long pause "I'm angry with myself Anna"

"Don't be angry with yourself sweetheart. I must have looked like the evil friend trying to get in the way of a relationship eh?"

"We're not in a relationship" Helen sighed, wiping her face

"But you love her?" Anna asked in a rare and unwanted moment of lucidity

Helen looked up at the clock

"Sorry. None of my business" she added hastily

"I've got somewhere to be," Helen said quickly, in a moment of realisation. She had to see Nikki

"Ok." Anna laughed "And Helen?"


"Don't make the wrong choice"

Helen allowed a small smile as she put the phone down.

She didn't have long at all and suddenly her stomach was cramped with fear as she thought of the realisation of what she was about to do. Her brain was awash with thoughts of what she was going to wear, how her family would react if they knew she was in love with a woman...

She stood and peered at herself in the full-length mirror in her bedroom and sighed long and hard. This was a special night that required a special dress. Not classical black, not vampish leopard skin but cool, thousand pounds' worth of palest pink that shimmered with a tracery of opalescent beads; A Cinderella dress chosen to make her as feminine and as delicate as a porcelain doll. Would Nikki still want her? Even now, after overlooking her affections? Probably not. In some ways she knew she deserved it and tonight she'd find out all that she needed to know.

Chapter Eight

Nikki pulled up outside the restaurant It really was expensive, but Helen Stewart was worth every penny. She stepped out of the car in one of her dark suits, a silk shirt, clinging to her breasts, her jacket cut nicely around her shoulders. She looked sophisticated and elegant. Inside was a shiny horseshoe shaped bar/ restaurant that projected deep into the room. The bar imprisoned two attractive men. One black one white that co-ordinated with the décor-couches and chairs in charcoal and beige casually grouped around a scattering of zebra rugs. Something from Travis was playing on the sound system. There was a buzz of chatter from the evening crowd, a mixture of sharp suits and strikingly short dresses. The atmosphere was calm and classy. Nikki liked it, despite her nerves. She took time to scan the dining area, an array of glass top tables, plain yet stylish.

When her eyes sought the bar her breath caught in her throat and her hands tingled. Her stomach did a lazy tumble as she gazed at her with an enormous feel of love. Helen was hers, and tonight she was looking non-less than amazing in that pink dress.

She turned and their eyes locked. Nikki smiled ever so slightly and walked over.

"Helen…" she sighed with a stunned laugh, " Forgive me for saying but...You look gorgeous"

Helen smiled slightly, passing her a drink.

"So do you"

They were shown to their table. From then on the atmosphere seemed to mellow between them and Helen allowed herself to relax. Her insides danced with anticipation as she watched Nikki from across the table. Meanwhile the table filled with small plates of olives, oysters and smoked ham. A rough wine rasped her throat and conversation flowed easily. They were enjoying a meal together and neither of them wanted to risk spoiling this over a conversation of love just yet. Even when she spoke, laughed, or listened, Helen was well aware of Nikki's close proximity. Caught within her magnetic field. Every time they accidentally brushed an arm or even a leg a current of desire jolted through her veins. But instead of worrying, For once, Helen just enjoyed herself.

"Thanks, for this Nikki"

She sighed, wiping her mouth on a napkin

"It's ok" Nikki peered over the rim of a glass "But Helen I didn't do this for nothing. There's things we need to talk about and I know…"

"Nikki…" Helen said quietly, shaking her head as she peered around "Not here? Can we go somewhere else?"

Nikki was stunned. Helen had for once shown a keenness to talk.

She called the waiter over and signed a cheque before quickly finishing her drink.

"Are you ready then?" She sighed, standing

"Where…are…we going?" Helen asked standing up

"My place and don't worry I'm not going to take advantage or try any funny business" She said with a hint of bitterness, walking a few steps in front of her

It had been the first time Helen had seen Nikki's flat. A comfortable, cosy place with nice, warm and inviting décor. She smiled slightly as she stepped into the living room but didn't allow Nikki to see it. She wouldn't have any way, as Helen watched her bend to turn on the CD player.

"Drink?" She asked as soft music filled the room.

"I must be crazy now. Maybe I dream too much? But when I think of you, I long to feel your touch…"

Helen couldn't describe or fully understand the way she was feeling as she listened to the words that rang true. She was frozen on the spot, struggling to breathe properly

"Helen?" Nikki said more urgently

"No, thank you" she said hastily, meeting those brown eyes.

Nikki passed her quickly and went into the kitchen but Helen had things she needed to say. She quickly followed through and stood for a few minutes just watching her back, admiring her taut muscles as she boiled the kettle. Now that she was here, facing her feelings, things seemed far scarier.

"Nikki…" She said unsteadily, "I need to talk to you"

"Talk away," Nikki said, turning to look at her briefly before pouring the boiled water into a cup.

"The other night, when I saw you kissing Anna…"

"Helen it wasn't how it looked!" Nikki said sharply, taking her by surprise

"I know that now. Anna phoned me…"

"So you'll believe Anna but you won't listen to a word I've said to you?" Nikki shook her head and pulled out the milk from the fridge

"No." Helen shook her head and stepped forward, pulling her round so they made eye contact again "I didn't mean that"

There was a pause as the air crackled with hidden sexual tension. Helen found herself looking at Nikki's lips for far too long but now she couldn't care less.

"I've always struggled when it came to understanding you" Nikki whispered, her eyes never faltering

"So have I" Helen whispered bravely, looking away fro a second but looking straight back into her eyes, trying to keep a grasp of the little courage she had. "I've never been as jealous as what I was when I saw you with Anna" She look away, her heart thudding in her chest.

"What are you saying?" Nikki shook her head as she gently pulled Helen's face back to look at her.

"I can't stand anyone else touching you" Helen answered "Is that so hard to believe?"

Nikki's face was a mixture of amusement and pure shock.

"It's impossible" Nikki shook her head, both very aware of her hand still tilting Helen's face towards her own "But why tell me all this now Helen?"

"Because I have to before I lose my sanity. I want you. Shit, don't you think I'm scared of saying that?"

Nikki could see the fear in Helen's eyes but it only made her fall deeper in love with this woman, now stood laying her feelings on the line.

Her hands dropped down to Helen's waist, gently pulling her close

"You've no idea how much I've dreamed of you saying that to me" Nikki shook her head with a slight smile as she moved her face so that their foreheads were touching.

"You've no idea how hard it's been trying to say that to you" Helen admitted, her breathing heavy.

"But you mean it?"

"Yes," she nodded, brushing her lips softly against Nikki's. She ached to be touched by this woman. Even though her body was tense with apprehension, it didn't fail to trigger the arousal that Nikki Wade always, without fail elicited.

Nikki took her time, running her fingers through Helen's hair as they stood in a gentle embrace, kissing softly. Helen's hands moved up and around to the nape of Nikki's neck bringing her closer as her tongue slipped deeper into the taller woman's mouth. She had never felt so comfortable kissing anyone the way she did Nikki. Inside she could feel her muscles begin to relax, the way they always did. Except now her fear was being replaced with confidence and trust. Slowly, Nikki moved her hands over her smooth shoulder blades and brought down the delicate straps of that pink dress and Helen moaned softly as her breasts became the helpless supplicants of Nikki's strong hands.

"Take me to bed Nikki" Helen asked softly and Nikki needed no further encouragement....

Chapter Nine

Nikki stirred in bed as rain spattered on the window. Opening one eye after the other she peered out for a few moments at the black clouds scudding across the sky. Slight movement in the bed beside her brought a smile to her face as she turned and identified that smooth hair, splayed out over the pillow. Last night wasn't a dream, she reminded herself as she rolled onto her side and peered at Helen, far away in the land of sleep. She looked just as beautiful now; her lips open slightly to allow rhythmic breathing. She reached forward and gently stroked the olive skin of her back. It felt so nice to be able to touch her and she was sure now that Helen would be hers to touch far more often. Nikki smiled and moved her hand down to stroke her lower back and naked bottom. An emotional torrent attacked her heart as she thought of their dynamic sex, which soon subsided to tender lovemaking as dawn had neared. She was in awe of her, besotted with her, totally in love with her. A tear trickled down her cheek as she move back up the bed to kiss her neck.

Helen stirred and smiled slightly at the feel of the warm mouth on her neck. She turned and looked up at Nikki.

"Good morning"

"Good morning" Nikki smiled, wiping the tear away.

Helen leant up and kissed her gently

"Sweetheart, what's the matter?" She frowned, stroking Nikki's arm affectionately

"I'm just so happy Helen," She smiled again, overjoyed that her own happiness was mirrored in Helen's eyes.

"I need you to understand something" Helen sighed, sitting up, making no attempt to hide her naked breasts "I want this to work for both of us," she said, "But this is difficult for me Nikki. I met you and I never anticipated feeling the way I do, I don't know what to expect any more, except that things aren't going to be easy." She said quietly.

Nikki smiled and reached out for Helen to lie in her arms. She felt for Helen and her heart ached for her. She wanted Helen to feel whole and normal and loved, she wanted things to be easy. It was true, things weren't going to be easy, but the feeling in her heart and deep in her stomach told her that this was worth it.

"Darling I know that and I want you to know that I'm here for you. Helen I love you god damn it and we'll get through this together" she said passionately, stroking her cheek "I can't stand not having you here with me and…I couldn't stand loosing you ever"

"Nikki" Helen smiled, pulling her face round to look at her "I'm not going anywhere." She sighed kissing her lips softly, "I just need you to understand me"

Nikki responded with a more urgent kiss.

"I want us to take things one step at a time" Helen grinned, gliding her forefinger down the length of her cheek.

"You're a dangerous lady, Helen Stewart" Nikki smiled, kissing her neck.

That day together marked the beginning of a relationship, which very swiftly became such a vital part of Helen's life that Sometimes it was hard to remember she'd shared it with anyone other than Nikki Wade. They saw each other as much as their varied lifestyles allowed. They spent a hell of a lot of time together but Helen also wanted space. She had a lot of thinking to do. The only person that knew about their relationship was Anna. That was all well and good, Helen had told herself fiercely, but there was her family that didn't yet know. Could she really handle to stress and pain or hurt it could cause them if they were to find out she were in love with another woman? Then she thought about Nikki. No one had ever made her feel as wanted as what she felt in Nikki's presence.

Yes she was a woman, beautiful, strong minded, sexy…but their relationship went beyond that... Helen had fallen in love with Nikki as a person not as a gender. Enticed by her charisma, melted by her generosity, turned on by her physical capabilities and those loving brown eyes. Even on their first meeting, she remembered with a smile, that instant connection, the bond between them drew them together. Sexually and socially, Nikki had never forced her to do anything. Anything they did together was a joint agreement, and for that Helen wanted her even more. She loved Nikki and she knew that being without her just wasn't an option. Her only problem was finding the right time to tell her family of her feelings and that fear in it's self could tear them apart if she let it get on top of her.

Her door knocked as she sat in the living room thinking, bringing her back to earth with a crash. Shaking herself, Helen rushed to the door, tripping over her bag in the process.

"Anna!" She greeted her friend with a warm smile. Since the last misunderstanding, things had been cleared up. Helen realised that she didn't want to loose Anna as a friend over her own jealousy.

"It's freezing out there!" Anna shivered, stepping inside with a smile, shaking her hair of the rain.

"Give me your jacket, sit down, I'll get you a drink" Helen offered, leading the way through to the kitchen.

"Don't be stupid, I know my way round, I'll make it" Anna grinned, helping herself to tea bags and milk. Helen smiled, sitting down on her own sofa.

"You seem far too happy tonight miss Potter, what aren't you telling me?" Helen asked, turning her head so she could watch her friend busying.

"I'm not Happy Helen," Anna stated firmly, handing her a mug and sitting beside her on the sofa "I'm just relieved"

"About what?"

"I've left Jim" Anna said quietly, a smile of satisfaction crossing her face.

Helen couldn't hide her happiness as she squealed slightly, hugging her friend "That's the best thing I've heard all day" She said honestly "And I am sorry if that offends you Anna but you had to realise that…he…isn't right for you" she shuddered "Jim Fenner isn't right for any woman"

Anna nodded "I know that now Helen" she sighed "But I don't want to talk about him. I've come over to see if you and Nikki fancied going out for a drink, I don't know about you but I enjoyed it last time we went to Nikki's club" She grinned "Do you think she'd mind? Are you up for it?"

Helen mused. It had been a hell of a long time since she'd been out with Anna and the other girls. She couldn't however, avoid the little jealousy she still had over the incident between her best friend and her lover. She was still afraid that something would make Nikki want to do it again. Or, even worse, could Anna actually have feelings for Nikki?

"What is it?" Anna frowned, noting Helen's look of concern

"Nothing!" She was quick on the mark "I think it's a great idea"

"Great!" Anna laughed, finishing her tea "How are things between you and Nik?"

Helen flushed with a smile

"Things are good" she nodded and looked up.

"You do still believe me when I say that what happened between me and her was all just…"

"Of course," Helen laughed

"Good. I'm just glad we can all still be friends" She stood "I best run then, shall we say tomorrow at around 8 ish?"

"I'll clear it up with Nikki first, but yeah, I'll call you" Helen smiled, hugging her friend "And be safe Anna, I don't want Jim hurting you again"

Anna laughed and waved her hands around "I'm fine and Jim has moved out…well no, I kicked him out. Hel, I'm fine, really"


"Really, really!"

They both laughed and Helen watched Anna walk confidently back to her car, then with a wave she was gone.

"Trish get that!" Nikki hollered, struggling to keep hold of a bunch of paper work in her hands and a mobile glued to her right ear. The phone in their office was still ringing.

"Trisha!!" Nikki shouted.

The blonde came wandering through, her bum wiggling lightly

"I've got it!" she huffed, raising her eyebrows at Nikki. Nikki had to laugh. Trish was a tart and far too obvious a flirter in her eyes. She shook her head a little as the blonde leant forward and revealed cleavage. Trish was nothing like Helen and Nikki was glad of it. It wasn't that she didn't care of her working partner; she just couldn't find anything sexually appealing about her. She didn't want now that Helen was in her life.

"It's for you" Trish broke her chain of thoughts.

"Me?" Nikki frowned, taking the phone "Hello?"

She perched on the edge of the desk, aware of Trisha's gaze fixed firmly on the side of her face.

"Nik, it's Anna" came the bright and breezy voice

"Hi Anna" She replied kindly. "Everything ok?"

"Yeah, um, have you had chance to speak to Helen since last night?"

"No, why?" Nikki, smiled at the thought of her.

"Well I knew Helen would leave it till it was too late" Anna laughed, "I wondered if we could all meet up for a drink at your club tonight. We haven't all met up in ages"

"Who's we?" Nikki laughed

"You and Helen obviously" Anna giggled and Nikki blushed "and me"

"On your own?"

"Well yeah," Anna said casually "Unless you know of anyone. I mean, a good friend of mine would be Geri, you remember from last time?"

Nikki looked over at Trish and put her hand over the receiver

"Who's on call?"

"Tony and Jen" Trish smiled, looking up from her nails

"Fancy staying for a few drinks tonight?"

Trisha's face lit up with excitement and she took that as a yes.

"Anna, you can meet my working partner Trisha tonight. She's coming along"

"Great!" Anna said enthusiastically "I'll let you speak to Helen and don't you dare let her back out of it!"

"I won't" Nikki laughed

"Around 8 be ok?"

"Fine" Nikki nodded and said a brief goodbye before putting the phone down.

"Who was that? New girlfriend?" Trish grinned

"No," Nikki laughed "Are you up for a drink or two here with us tonight then?"

"Of course," Trish winked "Should be fun"

Nikki laughed

"Flirty cow!"

"Moi?" Trisha laughed, innocently "Never!"

Helen smiled and her heart fluttered slightly at the sight of Nikki with drops of rain in her hair. She pulled her close for a warm hug as she walked through the door later that night. She had missed Nikki sorely, so much so that she'd actually shocked herself.

"I'm freezing Helen, I'll give you pneumonia" Nikki laughed, stroking her hair and kissing her neck.

"Never mind" Helen smiled, helping her coat off.

"Did Anna phone you?" She asked, pulling Nikki into the living room

"Yeah, I said we'd go out. You're ok with that aren't you?"

"Yeah" she smiled "Now lets get something to eat eh?"

Nikki had never enjoyed being in one place at one time as much as she did then. After having a jointly prepared dinner, they took a bath together, chatting about the day's events, taking it in turns to lather soap in to each other's backs. Nikki loved touching Helen and couldn't stop the smile from spreading across her face, just being allowed to run her fingers through her hair, or kiss the back of her neck. Afterwards they dressed together, and again Nikki loved just watching her get ready, listening to her laugh and talk away. Tonight they were dressing in Helen's flat and she had to admit that nothing had ever felt so right. She wanted to be with Helen for always, to live with her, to share her bed, to dine with her, to laugh and to cry with her. But her dream was put on hold because the last thing she wanted to do was scare her away. Helen wanted 'time' and to 'take things slowly' and Nikki would wait until the time was right.

The club was bustling with that fantastic party ambience once again as they entered, both scanning the room for familiar faces.

"I love it here," Helen smiled, touching Nikki's arm lightly

"I'm glad you do and I'm even happier that I've got a night off"

They exchanged a smile.

"Nikki!" two arms wound tightly around her neck and Helen stood back with a look of surprise across her face as she watched a blonde kiss her on the lips briefly.

"Trish, this is Helen, Helen this is Trish by business partner" Nikki laughed, stepping slightly away from her friend.

Helen forced a smile and held out her hand, that was quickly and equally as coolly shaken by the blonde "Nice to meet you," Helen said, looking from one to the other. "Nice place you have here"

"I know!" Trish laughed "Our place is the best isn't it Nik?" she nudged Nikki lightly.

"Sorry I'm late, have I missed anything?" Anna's face popped up from nowhere and this time Helen smiled genuinely, as she hugged her best friend.

"Nothing much Anna, just the introductions. This is Trish my business partner, Trish, this is Anna"

The two of them smiled

"Well, I'll go get the drinks shall I?" Trish grinned, bounding off to the bar.

They found a table further away from the dance floor this time but Helen found herself getting increasingly frustrated with Trish as the evening wound on. She couldn't help but stare if she saw her hand touch Nikki, or her eyes wander to places they shouldn't. She'd gathered that Trish was a lesbian and that she fancied Nikki, but she didn't like it at all.

"Are you ok?" Anna laughed, touching Helen's arm lightly

Helen snapped her head round from Trisha and Nikki's deep conversation. She'd wanted to spend the night by Nikki's side, talking and flirting but every time she had Nikki alone, Trish would interrupt.

"I'm fine," she smiled, downing her glass of wine "What were you saying?"

The night continued steadily and Helen tried not to be jealous. She wasn't a jealous person and these kinds of feelings had only really surfaced since she first fell for Nikki.

"Are we going any time soon?" Helen asked, running her hand slowly down Nikki's back. She replied with a smile and a lingering kiss,

"Yeah, it sounds like a good id…"

"Nikki, can I just borrow you for a minute?" Trish interrupted, taking her hand with a flirty smile. But Helen saw red. Trish had totally pissed her off tonight and she wasn't up for standing any more of her unconventional behaviour.

"Um, yeah…" Nikki started

"No, Trish you can't" Helen snapped "Now I don't know what your problem is but you've interrupted our conversation on more than one occasion this evening…"

"Well excuse me Helen but since when was it against the law to talk?" Trish asked, staring

"We were talking!" Helen stated calmly, looking down at Trisha's hand gripping Nikki's possessively.

"I'll say good night now shall I? Nikki I'll speak to you tomorrow" and with that and one more poisonous look in Trisha's direction Helen made her way back to the table where Anna was sat, to say goodbye.

"Helen, where are you going?" Nikki asked, totally confused

"Home" she snapped, picking up her bag and turning to Anna "I'll call you later ok?"

"Yeah, goodnight Hel" she smiled awkwardly and for a few minutes stood with Nikki, watching Helen storm out of the club.

"Aren't you going after her Nikki?" she said pushing her slightly.

"What have I done?" she asked quietly, shrugging her shoulders

"I'd go and find out" Anna said with raised eyebrows, picking up her glass and walking away "I'll see you soon"

"Helen!" Nikki called her name for the fourth time and for the fourth time is was ignored as she followed her up the pathway to her flat. "Helen, please?" Nikki sighed, banging her hand against the glass panelling as the door shut in her face. She didn't hesitate however, and quickly opened the door and stepped inside. She was sat on the sofa taking her shoes off by the time Nikki had entered. It was then she saw that she'd upset Helen in some way, as she didn't lift her eyes to meet her and an angry crease had formed on her brow.

"What's wrong with you?" she sighed,

"You!" Helen snapped, flinging her shoes across the room "Could you ever be satisfied with one woman Nikki?"

"Yes, of course I can!" Nikki said, shaking her head in confusion "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Trish was all over you tonight!" Helen hissed, standing up and moving into the kitchen, followed closely by Nikki.

"What?" she laughed slightly

"And you were loving every minute of it weren't you?" Helen shouted, switching on the kettle

"Helen, darling, I'm not interested in Trish, you should have known that. We work together and that's it" Nikki shook her head with a smile as she touched the Scot's arm. Helen dragged it away and poured the water.

"I saw you and I couldn't get a bloody word in edge ways because of her"

"Hey," Nikki said softly, pulling her round to face her properly "I've never seen you like this before" She tried to hide the amusement.

Helen just looked at her, eyes wide, daring her to step out of line.

"Helen, I'm with you, not Trish, bloody hell, I can't believe you'd even think that."

"Nikki, I know what I saw and she didn't want me even talking to you. She was all over you" Helen's tone had lowered to a whinge now.

"That's Trisha for you. She's like that with everyone I'm just so used to it now that I can never tell when she's crossing a line"

"Really?" Helen asked, unconvinced, her eyebrows rising making her look sexier than she herself realised.

"Really," Nikki laughed, stroking down the side of her cheek "Do you trust me Helen?" she asked, seriously.

"Of course I do," She sighed, moving into her embrace. "I just don't like anyone else touching you. It's terrible knowing someone else fancies you"

Nikki moved forward and kissed the tip of Helen's nose, moving downwards to her lips, her hands spanning her waist.

"Now you know how I feel when someone so much as looks at you" she confessed in a sensual whisper. Helen shivered with delight at the feel of Nikki's mouth moving down her neck. Her own hands sought breasts as one by one their items of clothing were discarded.

"I love your body" Nikki murmured through kisses and caresses.

"Take me to bed and show me how much," Helen demanded, taking hold of her lover's hand and leading out of the kitchen.

"No, this can't wait!" Nikki whispered, pushing her hard against the door.

Their lovemaking had been slow and unbearably sweet once their initial desires were fulfilled on the kitchen floor. Usually Helen would feel ashamed of doing such deeds in the kitchen but she smiled as she looked at Nikki, sleeping soundly beside her. She always brought out the reckless side of her, the hungry, passionate wild side of her and she liked it. Helen allowed herself to look at Nikki the way she'd always wanted to. The wicked look in those gorgeous brown eyes in jest, the exquisite arch of her back, and the smooth texture of her skin. She admired her mouth, admitting to herself how hard it was to know some other woman could have had sole right to them if only she hadn't have confronted her emotions. She leant forward kissed her forehead causing a stir. With a brief smile she moved down to Nikki's cheek and pressed little kisses all around her ears and neck.

"Mmmmmmmm" Nikki moaned, "I could wake up to this every morning"

"Well," Helen said in between kisses "Don't get too comfortable Wade," she kissed her on the lips again "I want to go shopping today" This time Nikki refused to allow Helen's lips such freedom as she devoured them hungrily.

"I can think of much more exciting things," She answered, pushing her on to her back and moving over her.

"Nikki…" Helen started, her protests only to be smothered by more kisses. She could feel herself weakening at the feel of Nikki's tongue and hands. But then the phone in her bedroom rang, causing them both to jump.

"Don't answer it Helen, I'm trying to make love to you" Nikki moaned, playfully as she kissed further down her body, capturing a nipple in her mouth. Helen gasped.

The phone continued to ring

"Nikki I have to!" She laughed, reluctantly wriggling free to put a stop to the shrill noise.

"Hello?" She said with a smile, aware of her lover's mouth on her neck as she spoke.

"Helen its Julia!" came the happy chirp.

Helen froze. It was her sister phoning from Scotland, One of the many people who didn't yet know of her relationship with Nikki. She panicked and jumped off of the bed, receiving a confused look.

"Hiya Jules," Helen tried to sound in control but she could feel her legs knocking together at the thought of what she'd eventually have to tell them. She wasn't ashamed, just very afraid and in the mix up of her new found love for this woman, she'd effectively blotted out the fact that people were bound to ask questions.

"My god, we've missed you up here sweetheart" Julia laughed, "How have you been?"

"I've been fine. Great. Yeah. Fine"

"Good. Me too" Julia said warmly

"Great. How are Mum and Dad?"

"Missed you lots Helen. We want to see you"

"When?" Helen gulped

"You sound like you don't want to see your own family" Julia laughed.

"Of course I do Julia!" Helen said sharply "You tell me when"

"Can you get up for a weekend any time soon?" Julia asked hopefully.

Helen looked over at Nikki who was eyeing her intensely. "I'll have to see Julia. I hope I can"

"We hope you can"

"I'll call you back later today sweetheart ok?" Helen tried to sound happy, despite her nerves.

"I'll speak to you later then shall I?" Julia laughed, "I wasn't interrupting anything was I?"

"No!" Helen said bluntly "I'll, I mean yeah, I'll call you ok?"

"Yeah, take care sis"

The phone went dead and Helen slumped on to the bed, her heart beating far too fast.

"Sweetheart, calm down!" Nikki begged, pulling Helen down on to the sofa. After the phone call in the bedroom, Helen had flown into overdrive. She'd panicked and burst into tears. She was frightened. Now Nikki had taken her down stairs and make her a warm drink. She understood how her lover was feeling and after being rejected as a young girl by her own family, she wanted to be there for her, guide her and do things Helen's way.

"Listen to me," Nikki said slowly, "They don't have to know just yet. Everything is going to be ok. We'll deal with this together"

Helen could feel her tension easing with every touch and soft word Nikki said.

"I'm sorry Nikki," She sighed, "I just…"

"SShhhhhh darling, I understand. You don't need to explain to me you know" Nikki laughed, pulling her so her head was resting on her chest. "You can go up and see your family and I'll stay here"

But Helen didn't want that. She wanted Nikki with her. She needed Nikki's presence to keep her happy and keep her reassured.

"No Nikki, please, I want you to come up with me" She sat up and grasped her hands

"But…" Nikki was confused

"As a friend, I want you to come up as a friend" she sighed, running her fingers through her own hair "I need you to be with me but you have to understand that they can't know just yet"

"Helen," Nikki shook her head "That's going to be difficult"

"I know it is. But please come? For me!"

Nikki took one look at her and melted

"I'd do anything for you,"

Part 10

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