DISCLAIMER: Oh how I wish they were mine……….mmmmmmmmm, we could…..oh sorry where was I!!!. The characters all belong to Shed Productions who created and cast the perfect couple. All I have done is arranged a what if……. No copyright violations intended and believe me I have no money so if that girl SUE raises her head forget it!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first attempt at writing a story, let alone Fanfic, so any feedback good or bad would be fab. I owe a great deal to Jo who kindly Beta read my story, she is very enthusiastic and encouraged me immensely.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Fire in My Heart
By Tibbies



Helen and Sean lay cosily on the sofa, wrapped in each others arms watching yet another repeat of London's Burning on the television. Helen had seen them all before and then some, but she was more than happy to let Sean indulge himself which normally ended with him bellowing at the telly that it was all wrong. Right on cue just as she was nodding off Sean leapt up and shouted:

"No!......no!, you wouldn't use a crow bar to open the door of a car crash victim…everyone knows you would use a hydraulic cutter."

"Sean, for goodness sake! You say that every time we see that episode, darlin' they still can't hear you or change the script," Helen said with a big grin on her face.

Sean burst out laughing, sitting back down he stretched out alongside Helen nuzzling into her smooth neck, inhaling her fresh feminine perfume. They had been married for 3 years and often spent the evening just watching TV, chilling out after a stressful day at work but more often than not Helen would have to bring work home, which, Sean gratefully accepted as an opportunity to vacate the house going for a drink down at the Larkhall Fire Station social club.

Although to look at his tall skinny frame you would never guess that he was a fire fighter and had been for almost 10 years. Sean was very proud of how far he had progressed in the service and loved the camaraderie even though he knew he often fell short on the physical side of the job, but he always got out of it by side stepping the problem or delegating it to the lower ranks. He was second in charge and was the Watch Manager at the local Larkhall Fire Station, serving under his best friend Jim Fenner, Station Manager.

Helen on the other hand was a fast stream graduate, having been quickly head hunted by Her Majesty's Prison Service; she was currently working at area management level developing support groups and networks for women lifers. She loved her job but it often required lots of travelling, long hours and overnight stays just to keep on top of her heavy work load, which was a constant source of friction between her and Sean. However more often than not she managed to placate him with good food or sex, continually having to explain to his miserable face that all this work was necessary to keep the momentum/support going for this new initiative. Also secretly she knew it wouldn't look bad on her C.V when promotion presented itself in the future.



The bedroom was filled with bright sunlight as Helen threw back the curtains for the start of another long day.

"Good grief Helen!" moaned Sean from the bed, "Give me a bit of notice so I can shade my eyes before you do that next time." He definitely wasn't a morning person unless of course Helen decided to wake him for some early morning loving he thought with a conceited grin.

"C'mon Sean you know we both have to go to work early, so quit your moaning, you sound like a wee bairn," grinned Helen.

"Aww Helen can't we just stay in bed a bit longer? We could go part time you know and use some of that inheritance left by your mum and dad," Sean whined. He had tried this tact before, but Helen had steadfastly refused to spend the money, saying that it should be used for when they got older, when they would really need it. He didn't even know how much they had left his wife because it was held in an individual account which Helen only had access to and she always kept the bank book locked away. Sean surmised that it must be a large amount because they had a huge house in a very affluent area and both had well paid jobs up until the time they retired, which resulted in good pensions and also hefty life insurance policies. Sean thought narrow-mindedly that being Scottish they were frugal with their spending habits because he had certainly not been the recipient of any gifts or donations from them.

Helen hated this conversation, every time Sean mentioned spending the money Helen automatically spiralled into a deep sadness at losing her parents at the prime of their lives to a house fire. She had never had closure regarding their death as the circumstances surrounding the fire were never established by the fire inspector. All Helen knew was that her parents didn't smoke, turned all switches off at night before they went to bed and even had a number of smoke alarms which Sean had kindly fitted. So how on earth had their house burnt down so quickly not giving them time to get out safely?

Although Helen's parents had lived in Scotland she visited them regularly when work allowed. When growing up Helen had not always got on with her father, her reasoning behind this was the fact that he was a minister and always seemed to have more time for his parishioners than he did for his family. However, this all changed when Helen's mother was diagnosed with cancer, needing around the clock care for a number of months. Helen slowly but surely saw a change for the better in her father. Gone was the impatient unemotional man she had grown up with. He became a compassionate family man who could not do enough for his wife and only child. Unfortunately Helen only saw this side of her father for 3 years before he perished in the house fire. But Helen was glad that she had had this time with him and grew as close as any daughter could to her father. She often felt like she had let her parents down by not providing the requisite grandchildren before they passed away. Although she wanted children at some stage she was not so sure Sean was ready for them as he would often get moody if he was not the centre of her attention and children at the moment would take all her time.

"Sean!" Helen said with more venom than she thought possible. "You know how I feel about that money and yet you continue to bring the subject up. Do you realise how upsetting it is to me? No, leave it alone. I am ending this conversation now and I don't want you mentioning it again……..ok!"

"Aww Hells you know I wouldn't say anything to deliberately upset you…..you know that. Just that life is for living not saving up till you are old and can't appreciate it," Sean tried in a placating voice.

Helen shouted, "Well my parents never got to appreciate it so why the hell should I!" as she stormed off towards the shower. Sean lay in bed thinking that it was taking longer than he had expected to start spending the money but he was a patient man and would keep chipping away at Helen's resolve. That money was half his by default due to his marriage to Helen and by God he was going to enjoy it. However, now was not the time to push it, he quietly got out of bed and headed towards the bathroom to start re-building some bridges with his headstrong wife.



After having partly made up, both Helen and Sean got into their cars and headed for work. No matter how early Helen woke in the morning she never had enough time to do her make up and it was her daily ritual to apply it when driving to work. She had got it down to a fine art; well, she had to, after arriving on her first day to work when she spied herself in the rear view mirror with mascara running down her face and lipstick on her nose.

Helen hoped she would have a satisfying day at work; it was just what she needed after her argument with Sean earlier.

As Sean pulled into the Larkhall Fire station he spotted his friend and boss Jim leaning against the wall having a cigarette. Sean smiled and honked his car horn making Jim jump.

"Oi! You sod, you nearly gave me a heart attack," Jim grinned at his friend, clutching his barrel like chest. Jim had met Sean 8 years ago when he moved to Larkhall Fire station as the new Station Manager. They had immediately become close friends after discovering they shared a number of hobbies, most of which included some form of gambling, horse racing, roulette, black jack and poker being just a few of them. They also liked making silly bets, inappropriate ones at that, such as guessing how a fire was started and how many people would survive. They thought it was a harmless bit of fun but their colleagues thought them insensitive, some being down right disgusted with them. But because Jim was the boss and also the unwritten rule amongst the fire fighters about whistle blowing, no-one felt safe to raise a complaint with Human Resources.

If Jim was really honest he believed he saw a bit of his younger self in Sean, good looking, charming, ambitious and greedy. However this was where the similarities ended, where as Jim had worked his way up the earnings ladder, Sean was lazy, expecting money to come to him. Jim found out very early on in their friendship that the younger man could talk him into any number of hair brained money making schemes. As a result of one of these schemes Jim became inextricably entwined with Sean and knew he would forever be close to this man.

"Like to keep you on your toes mate, you never know when you need your reflexes," Sean said mischievously. "So what's on the stocks for today then Jim, any cats to rescue from trees or my personal favourite some damsel in distress with her toe stuck in the bath tap?" he continued.

"You wish, you are such a pervert, but a man after my own heart none the less," Jim joked. "Nah mate only thing happening is the new starter, transferring from another station. And before you ask ….. No I don't know why they are transferring; all I know is it's due to personal reasons. His name is Nick Wade, comes highly thought of, so why they let him go is beyond me," Jim explained.

Sean didn't like not knowing everything about everybody at the station, but he said, "Oh well, we will find out soon enough what the new man is all about."

"So what's this about a new man?" a husky voice said behind them.

They both spun around to be faced by a tall, striking woman with the deepest brown eyes they had ever seen. Nikki Wade had faced this type of behaviour from the moment she had joined the Fire Service 6 years ago. She had always been non conformist from her earliest memories of school, to her choice of friends, lovers and career path.

"Hi, my name is Nikki Wade I believe you are expecting me today?" Nikki smiled looking at both the men, holding out her hand. She assumed the older was Jim Fenner, her new boss. She had heard a lot about him at her previous station and was not looking forward to working for him. However due to circumstances she had to move stations and Larkhall was the nearest to her home.

Jim was the first to recover from the awkward silence that followed Nikki's introduction. "Oh…. Er….Um….. Hi sorry, I am Jim Fenner, I'm the gaffer and this is Sean Parr my number 2. You just caught the tail end of our conversation about the new striker Larkhall United have just signed, we will have to see what this new man is all about," he stated matter of fact, trying to cover his tracks.

"Oh…right, I didn't know they had signed anyone, I thought the 4-4-2 formation they play didn't need another striker. So what's his name?" Nikki asked knowing full well the men had indeed been talking about her.

"It's some long foreign name. Anyway how about I show you around the station and sort out a locker for you?" Sean stuttered knowing he had been caught out. He didn't want to get off on the wrong foot with the new starter, well not until he knew a bit more about her.

"Yeah fine," said Nikki. She knew better than to make things difficult early on when starting at a new station. She certainly didn't want to be seen as a trouble maker on her first day! No, she would give it until tomorrow at least she smirked to herself.

"C'mon then, better make a start," Sean said as he strode ahead of Nikki, opening the door and letting it close, smirking to himself that if she indeed wanted to be treated like the lads there would be no holding the door open for the little, well in Nikki's case tall woman. He had no problems about women working in the fire service as long as it was confined to the office or canteen.

Nikki lengthened her stride, easily catching up with Sean who was pointing out various bits of the fire station, telling her procedures and protocols at break neck speed. Nikki had faced this type of behaviour before, being shown but not really being shown everything in the station and then later on if she queried anything or something went wrong she would be blamed for not knowing or doing something to which her boss would say it was all covered in your induction. At the beginning she would argue the point but now she had been through so much crap recently she just couldn't be bothered and wanted an easy life.



Helen slumped down in her seat in the room no bigger than a broom cupboard, which the Prison Service had the cheek to call an office. It had been an emotional morning, not just because of her argument with Sean but because she had made a break through at one of her lifer support groups, finally convincing one of the despondent inmates to start an adult learning class in English. She smiled as she thought about Denny the inmate in question, young, hot headed and easily led astray by those career criminals she socialised with. Helen had asked Denny why she had such a change of heart about education, thinking she would say it was down to Helen's encouragement.

This was shot down in flames when Denny replied, "Got myself a new girlfriend innit, her name is Shaz and we share a cell," she added with a wink. Helen enquired what difference this made.

"Well I got to be able to write her love letters ain't I," as though this was an obvious reason.

Helen smiled saying that she would support Denny as much as possible in her quest to become a romantic correspondent.

Denny gave her a funny look, saying "Nah Miss I don't want any of that …..I only want write a simple love letter me bit of fluff!"

Shaking her head, Helen made her way back to her office. When she got there she started thinking about Sean, feeling guilty about the earlier argument. She thought she should make things up to him after her little outburst this morning. She quickly picked up the telephone and dialled the fire station number.

Sean briskly walked into the administration office with Nikki trailing behind him.

"Hi Sean!" two blond women squealed in perfect unison. To an outsider it was like they practiced the greeting regularly to ensure absolute coordination.

"Hi Julies," Sean smiled, "Let me introduce you to our new starter, girls meet Nikki Wade……. Nikki Wade meet the two Julies, Julie J and Julie S, if you need to know anything about anything or equipment or supplies they will help you." The two women beamed not realising that Sean had basically called them the station gossips to their faces.

"Ain't that the truth…….eh Ju?" they both said together.

Nikki just stood there with her mouth open. How on earth did they do that, speaking in harmony? She realised that she must have looked like she was catching flies and quickly slammed her mouth shut. "Er….. nice to meet you both," she managed to stammer out. As she regained her composure she whispered to them with a wink, "No doubt I will be having a chat with you two later to get the low down on my new colleagues."

"Sure thing Nik," they both said with a twinkle in their eyes. As Nikki walked away the smaller blond turned to her taller best friend and said "That Nikki is going to shake things up around here…. she seems like a nice girl, yeah a very nice girl."

"Yeah, a very very nice girl," the tall blond repeated with a motherly smile on her face.

At that very moment the phone shrilled loudly making them all jump; they all burst out laughing realising that they were in an office so it was quite normal. Julie S made a dive for the phone, immediately yelling, "Sean!........It's Helen on the phone."

Sean walked over to the phone with a smirk on his face, he knew it would be Helen grovelling, trying to make up for her outburst that morning. He would never make the first move to apologise after any of their arguments because he always knew Helen would crumble first and say sorry or accept she was wrong.

"Helen……Hi how are you, is there anything wrong?". He deliberately kept his tone as sounding upset and distant knowing Helen would feel awful.

"No, no I am fine, I was just ringing to see how you were and apologise for the way I reacted this morning," she said hesitantly.

"I am ok I suppose, I was upset this morning but I forgive you, however we really do need to discuss the subject in an adult manner, not just a shouting match," he droned on, making sure she felt even guiltier.

"I know baby, but their deaths are still so raw to me and having that money makes me feel like I still have a connection to them," Helen said with tears building. "Look I am sorry, I will make it up to you in your favourite way when you get home and I might even break open the chocolate body paint," she said suggestively.

"Ok, see you later," Sean said dismissively hanging up.

Nikki couldn't help but overhear the conversation, her first thought was that Sean was a complete bastard who liked to control and play mind games with his wife. Each to their own she thought but she couldn't understand relationships which were based on this sort of behaviour.

Suddenly an ear piercing alarm sounded and all hell broke loose with fire fighters running at full speed towards the locker room. Nikki quickly snapped out of her musings about Sean, and went onto auto pilot following the stream of colleagues.



Nikki climbed out of the fire engine as soon as it pulled into the station. She was absolutely shattered and dying for a hot bath. It was a tough shout she had just returned from, a three storey townhouse which was well ablaze when they arrived. Nikki was immediately deployed to the main hose by Sean, she knew from experience this was a type of initiation for new starters, knowing all her colleagues would be watching her to see how she performed under extreme pressure. Holding the main hose for over 2 hours had been both mentally and physically demanding but she had held her own, gaining the thumbs up and smiles from her colleagues. The only one who did not share her sense of achievement was Sean, all he did was scowl and shake his head, but Nikki noticed he kept well away from the action, observing that he actually didn't do anything apart from standing there watching everyone.

Nikki knew she had nothing to worry about concerning the physical side of her job; she went to the gym 4 times a week and swam as often as possible. She loved swimming, she felt when she had her goggles on she was invisible to the outside world, retreating into herself, shutting out all the crap she had to deal with. As Nikki left the fire station she walked around the corner and spotted her beautiful girl exactly where she thought she would be. She had fallen in love with Sydney the moment she found her. Smiling to herself she quickened her pace towards her love. People would probably think her mad to name a motorcycle but from the moment she set eyes on the Harley Davidson Nikki had felt that it was a she and the name Sydney popped into her head. Cynically Nikki thought at least this was one girl that wouldn't let her down.

Sean stomped up the stairs towards Jim's office, muttering under his breathe about Nikki, how she should have caved in after about 15 minutes holding that damn hose, but his tactic had backfired and the bitch had held on for 2 bloody hours!!! From the moment him and Jim were caught out by Nikki earlier he had taken an immediate dislike to her and now with the hose incident even more so. He hated strong women, he could tell Nikki had lots of both physical and mental strength and would not fall victim to his mind games and attempts to crush her confidence. He barged into Fenner's office without knocking.

"Bloody woman! If she thinks she can just walk into this station and be one of the lads she has another thing coming," he bellowed at Jim.

"Oh, good evening to you Sean, nice of you to knock……… remind me again who the boss around here is?" Jim inquired lifting one eyebrow. "C'mon tell Uncle Jim what's upsetting little Sean today?" Jim added trying to diffuse Sean's obvious anger.

"Nikki sodding Wade, that's what the problem is!" Sean exclaimed. "She's going to be trouble, I can tell already. I mean, Jim, what woman can hold onto the main hose for 2 hours and walk away smiling to all and sundry. You know and I know women don't belong in the fire service unless they show a bit of leg and can type," Sean added with a chauvinistic smirk.

"Sean!" Jim raised his voice which left Sean thinking he had over stepped the mark and was about to be told off and reminded about the equal opportunities policy the Fire Service had in place. Nothing could be further from the truth, Jim quickly added, "Shhhh…….you know I totally agree with you but keep your voice down, you don't know who is walking past my room……as they said in the war, "Walls have ears"; in our case we have the two Julies." Jim smiled at Sean knowing he had restored the equilibrium, showing Sean he was singing from the same hymn sheet.

"Look….. Don't worry about her; we will just grind her down like we did with Hazel. You know they can't take it and end up leaving with their tails between their legs. If she doesn't leave voluntarily then you know as well as I do being a Fire Fighter is a dangerous job and "accidents" happen all the time," Jim spoke with conviction.

"I know, I know. I suppose we have bigger fish to fry, excuse the pun……NOT! And we really need to start planning for it because that conference is coming up in a couple of weeks and everything needs to be in place or else we will have to wait ages for the next gilt edge opportunity," Sean said with purpose.

Although uncomfortable with what Sean had asked him to do, Jim responded with more bravado than he felt inside, "Well no time like the present, what you doing later on, can you get away, meet up at the usual place and time?"

Without hesitation Sean added, "Yeah no problem mate, Helen always brings work home so I can slip out then," Then another thought came into his head, Oh damn Helen will expect some sort of making up session after their argument this morning.

"Wait a minute…….. It might have to be later, probably have to give the old woman a good seeing to after this mornings fall out," Sean muttered.

Jim was not happy about this, he had a home life as well as Sean and he couldn't keep disappearing from the house or his wife Marilyn would start asking questions. She almost caught him out when he was having an affair with his last secretary because of her suspicious nature. Mind you he had been careful but with his track record with other women, especially his secretaries, she had every right to be.

"Hey mate who wears the trousers in your marriage?. Just drop a sleeping tablet or sedative in her drink. That will sort out the problem." Jim said looking directly into Sean's eyes, daring the man to come up with an excuse for delaying their meeting.

As Sean looked into Jim's eyes he quickly realised that he needed to keep on Jim's good side as he needed him to carry out his plans and something in those eyes said don't mess with me on this one. Sean quickly added, "Sorry mate, what was I thinking…….yeah see you then."

"I know what you were thinking with and it wasn't your brain," Fenner said and both men erupted into raucous laughter, knowing their friendship was back on an even keel.



The front door banged shut; the flat was dark and deadly silent. This was the bit that Nikki hated about everything that had happened. Until a month ago after each shift she would come home to the cheery welcome of her girlfriend Trish but now that was all gone. They had been a couple for 5 years, had lived together for the past year, it was the happiest time of Nikki's life. She had met Trish Harris after she had been called out to a stranded cat in a tree. Nikki smiled remembering back to a distraught Trish looking up the tree at her cat. As soon as Nikki looked into her beep blue eyes she knew she was hooked. Nikki had stood talking to Trish to calm her down while her colleague shimmied up the tree to rescue the poor animal. The chat led to an invite to pop around for a coffee after her shift, which Nikki readily accepted, well she hadn't been with anyone for a while as she was concentrating on her career and the shift patterns made it difficult to start or maintain relationships. However she couldn't remember the last time she felt this way about someone and thought, hell life was too short to be alone. The rest was history…..

All the wonderful life she had built up with Trish came crashing down 6 months ago today. Nikki could remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday and re-lived it over and over every day. Thinking back, it was a rainy day, she was just sitting down to her first coffee before she left for work. The doorbell woke her from her daily routine, probably Trish having forgotten something again she smiled.

Nikki opened the door to two policemen with sombre faces; she knew straightaway that something had happened to someone close to her. She had to use the same expression when notifying people that their near and dear ones had not made it out of a fire. They quickly and efficiently told her that Trish had been killed instantly in a head on collision with a lorry. This news was bad enough but they then went on to explain that she was not alone and that other person was Trish's girlfriend. Nikki felt like someone had slammed into her chest with a sledgehammer, gasping for breathe, the room spinning she fell to a dead faint. When she came around the first thing she saw were the faces of two concerned policemen and a glass of water being thrust into her hand. She had so many questions and no answers but the policemen were non judgemental, which was a miracle in its own right and answered what questions she had with the limited information they had. Yes the other woman in the car had survived and confirmed she was Miss Harris's girlfriend of 3 years and that they were on their way to a hotel to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. Nikki was in absolute shock that Trish had managed to keep this double life from her for 3 whole years.

If Nikki thought that Trish's betrayal was the worst thing that could happen she was sorely mistaken. After her death, Nikki had to sort out finances and the mortgage on the house, which she thought would be straight forward as they both had life insurance policies. The house was in Nikki's name but she could only afford it with Trish's input and was going to use the insurance money to pay the mortgage off so at least she would have a secure roof over her head.

"Miss Wade…..Miss Wade," the remote voice shouted down the telephone which Nikki was staring at dis-believingly. She dropped the phone back into its cradle, fell to the floor and let the heaving sobs flow. She had just been told by the insurance company that she was not the beneficiary of Trish's life insurance, that she had indeed changed it to someone else less than 3 months ago. As devastated as Nikki was she surmised that the recipient of the money was Trish's "other" girlfriend.

Nikki brought her self back to the present but the raw feelings of loss, betrayal and worry still stayed with her. She had just managed to hold onto the house following Trish's death but money was very tight at the end of each month. At least she had a roof over her head and a foot hold on the property ladder.



As the front door banged shut Helen called out "Hi sweet'art, I'm in the bedroom getting changed."

Sean sighed, made his way up the stairs; he knew that Helen would be waiting for him dressed in something sexy, as she normally did when trying to get on his good side. As he rounded the corner he was not disappointed, she stood there with a red silk robe with matching lingerie and suspenders. He thought to himself, Oh …. Why the hell not, might as well enjoy the fruits of my labour, Jim would understand if he was a little bit late. Smiling he walked towards Helen and into her open arms.

As they rolled apart from each other, Sean looked surreptitiously at the bedside alarm clock. He started slightly as he realised how late it was and that Jim would not be a happy chap if he didn't get a move on.

"Do you fancy a drink darling?" Sean said in his most seductive voice.

"Oooh, ok…… a nice glass of cold white wine would be lovely," Helen replied, at least she thought he had forgiven her.

Sean gently padded down the stairs towards the kitchen, retrieving a bottle of wine from the fridge, he set about opening it. He quickly made his way to the bottom of the stairs. Staring up to check that Helen was still in the bedroom he grabbed a small plastic bag from his coat which was slung over the banister. Working efficiently he returned to the kitchen, pulled apart the capsule, emptied the contents into Helen's glass of wine and stirred it to make sure the powder dissolved. Clutching the two full glasses and half empty bottle he carefully went back up the stairs.

"There you go darling," Sean smiled handing over one glass of wine to a prone Helen. Holding his glass ready for a toast, Sean said "To us and to say, thank you God for such a beautiful wife," he downed his drink almost in one gulp.

"To us and to thank God for such a forgiving husband," Helen echoed and gulped her drink handing Sean her glass to refill.

"Darling, do you mind if I have a quick shower? I've had a hard day at work and feel really grubby. I would have had one when I first came home but I was slightly distracted," he said to Helen with a twinkle in his eyes.

Helen smiled knowing her plan had worked, "Go ahead baby, I'll just lay here, enjoy this lovely wine and wait for you," she quickly added, "but you had better not be long because this wine is going down a bit too well."

Sean grinned and walked towards the bathroom to get ready to meet Jim. He emerged from the bathroom half an hour later and poked his head around the bedroom door; sure enough Helen was out cold, lightly snoring. He quickly got changed and made his way towards the door, he suddenly had thought: what if she wakes up and realises that I am not here? With that he wrote a quick note to say that he was at Dave's at number 23 trying to fix a security alarm that had gone off and that he would be back in half an hour.



Jim sat in the quiet side bar of the Old Red Lion Inn, a typical quiet country pub; it had not gone the way of the themed ones which enticed the younger affluent crowd from the main surrounding towns. Because of this, it served both Sean and him well, knowing that they would not bump into any of their work colleagues or prying eyes of other acquaintances.

He was sitting drinking his pint, contemplating the job ahead, gradually getting more and more annoyed at Sean's tardiness and in Jim's eyes lack of respect. Just then a harassed looking Sean burst through the pub doors eliciting startled stares and sudden silence from the locals. If he wasn't so late and was about to face Jim's wrath he would have made a joke about if there was a piano playing that would have stopped as well, but he thought better of it.

"I know…I know, I am late….I am really sorry," Sean said his voice dripping with remorse, "If I hadn't given Helen some attention she would have been on at me all night and I would never have got away."

Jim sat there for a moment and took a deep breath before answering Sean, "Look I won't pretend I am bloody annoyed, well actually mad as hell but if I had a wife like yours I suppose I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to give her one either."

Sean let out a relieved sigh; he knew that Jim could blow his top at the slightest thing. He didn't even lose his own temper for Jim's comment about saying he would have Helen given half the chance.

"Right then, let get on with this, I need to be back to Helen because that sedative isn't going to last all night," Sean pushed on.

"Ok mate, just want to check though……..you definitely want to go through with this? After all you will be giving up the little delight you had less than an hour ago," Jim questioned.

"Positive Jim……..she's not that good, remember that blond from the last conference at Blackpool, now she was good. The things she could do with her……" Sean reminisced.

"Whoa!…..too much information pal," Jim sniggered. "Lets get a move on or we will be here all night……So it's agreed to happen in 2 weeks while you are at the National Fire Fighters Conference in Newcastle ……" Jim stated.



The next week followed in a blur for Nikki, it was busy but nothing she couldn't handle. Apart from the odd snide remark from Sean it all seemed to go well. Nikki noticed that Sean was very friendly with Fenner, often spotting them having little quiet conversations away from the hustle and bustle of the station. She made a mental note that if Sean did or say anything really bad towards her she would not even entertain the thought of going to Fenner to complain because she knew instinctively whose side he would take.

Nikki had already got the low down on both of them from the two Julies. All they would say was "watch yer back and don't end up like the last woman who worked here". Nikki thought: Great nice to know I am working with people who will cover my back…….NOT!!

Just then a small red Peugeot car pulled up outside the station, a small, slim, dark blond woman got out and strolled purposely towards the offices. Nikki stopped dead in her tracks, her breath hitched in her throat and time seemed to stop in that instance as the woman turned around and Nikki saw the most beautiful deep green eyes. It was obvious the woman hadn't actually seen Nikki staring with her mouth in open abandonment as she appeared to be in such a rush to get to her destination.

A loud bang sounded behind her, brought Nikki out of her trance. WOW!! Nikki thought: who the hell was that!!? Nikki had not felt this all encompassing connection and surge of electricity with anyone she had ever seen before, even Trish had not elicited this reaction. Nikki wondered what that pounding noise was, quickly realising it was her heartbeat, it had decided to react in its own way to this gorgeous woman.

Nikki had just plucked up the courage to follow the woman and introduce herself when Sean emerged from the offices with his arm around the mystery woman. Walking Helen to her car, he kissed her goodbye, turned and hot footed it back upstairs. Nikki's heart sunk, so the woman of her dreams turns out to be Helen Parr and married to the biggest tosser on the planet. Typical Nikki thought, she had to fall for a married woman; Oh well the fantasy lasted all of 3 minutes with this one, until it was blown out of the water, she mused.

Nikki went about her daily chores of checking equipment and writing up reports, trying to focus on anything apart from Helen Parr, but it was no good, her mind kept drifting back to those wild intelligent eyes and shapely legs. She was wrenched from her day dreaming by a voice behind her.

"Some of the lads are staying for a couple of drinks in the fire station at the end of the shift and we wondered if you fancied joining us?" said Dominic McAlister one of Nikki's colleagues. Dom was a nice enough lad, not much between the ears but more than made up for it in muscle and loyalty to his mates.

Although Nikki could think of much nicer things she could be doing, she readily agreed as it was a chance to get to know her colleagues in a more social setting. Looking at Dom's retreating back Nikki smiled thinking; at last they are accepting me as one of their own.



As Nikki opened the social club door she was hit by a myriad of noises and smells, a TV which seemed to be on its loudest setting was bellowing out horse racing results, the smell of old beer and stale smoke wafted over her. She peered through the crowd quickly spotting Dom waving at her excitedly to come over and join them. As she walked across the club floor the hairs on the back of her neck prickled as though she was being watched by evil itself, at exactly the same instance she spotted Jim and Sean staring at her then turning away to continue their private conversation. Nikki quickly shook the feeling off as just nerves over meeting her colleagues for the first time away from the work environment.

"Hey Nikki! Wot u having?" shouted a smiling Dom, trying to be heard over the loud TV.

"I'll just have a half a lager, thanks Dom," Nikki grinned back at him. Quickly following this up with, "Why is the TV on so loud?"

"It's for Sean and Jim, they always have bets on something or other, which means they want to know the results, so basically we all end up with hearing problems because of two selfish tossers," Dom said as quietly as possible. This statement just confirmed Nikki's initial impressions of the two men, but still it was nice to know her colleagues felt the same.

"If you want some food from the bar you will need to order it with Bodybag, she's the chef," Dom told her.

Nikki knew she was going to regret asking but went ahead anyway, "Why do you call her Bodybag?"

"Well after eating her food we are amazed that no one has ended up in a body bag through food poisoning, but when you speak to her you had better call her Sylvia," he laughed. Nikki followed suit, mainly due to Dom's infectious giggling.

Drinks flowed for the next 2 hours but Nikki had long since gone onto soft drinks as she was driving home. She couldn't help but notice how her colleagues loosened up and embraced her into the fold after a few pints, all she needed now was for them to start saying they loved her and she would know they definitely had too much to drink.

Nikki excused herself from the group; she made her way towards the toilets, passing a very drunk Sean and Jim. As she got into the empty corridor she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder, she quickly spun round to find Sean standing there with a lopsided grin on his face.

"Well, well, well……if it's not the wonderful Miss Wade," Sean slurred heavily.

"Hi Sean, enjoying yourself I see," Nikki answered matter of factly.

Running his hand along her arm and leaning into Nikki's personal space, he tried in his most seductive voice, but failing miserably, "I could enjoy it even more with a bit of your company," breathing alcohol fumes in her face.

Trying to keep the situation light Nikki added with humour, "Well Sean, I don't think Mrs Parr would agree with you, would she? Especially with a breath that strong you could drop an elephant."

Nikki's comment seemed to hit Sean like a bucket of ice cold water. With rising anger and through gritted teeth he said to Nikki, "My wife does as I say and I can tell her to do anything!..........What are you a Dyke or something?"

Nikki took a deep breath, mentally counting to ten, she had faced this situation and comment before in the fire service and had a well rehearsed line ready to deliver to any unsuspecting males making unwanted advances towards her.

"Sean just because I am a fire fighter, am stronger than you, am prettier than you and won't jump into bed with you does not make me a Dyke. What I am and what I am not outside this station whether it be a heterosexual nymphomaniac or a raving lesbian is none of your bloody business. If I hear that you have spread rumours about me at all because I won't hop into the sack with you, I will put in a complaint so fast your head will spin. Do I make myself absolutely clear?"

"Yes," Sean muttered in a defeated whisper, quickly turning around he made a staggered run back towards the bar and his friend Jim. As drunk as he was, somewhere in his sub-conscious Sean filed away this altercation vowing to get even with Nikki for making him feel so impotent.

Jim watched his friend almost run into the bar towards him, "You alright mate? You look like you seen a ghost, you are very pale," Jim said in a concerned voice.

Sean was not about to tell his friend about the incident with Nikki because he knew that Jim would say he was losing his charm with the ladies and keep making jibes about it when the opportunity arose.

"I am fine……think that last pint I had was a bit dodgy, think I will go onto Whiskey that will settle my stomach," Sean said hoping Jim would buy his excuse.

Nikki made her way into the toilets, after washing her hands and splashing water on her face she looked at herself in the mirror replaying the little scene that had just taken place with Sean in her mind. It wasn't like she was embarrassed about being a Lesbian, hell she normally let all and sundry know but when she started in a new fire station she like her colleagues to get to know her for herself, not for the label society decided to hang around her neck. No, tonight was not the time to give any sort of information or advantage to Sean that he could use against her in the future or to alienate her from her colleagues.



Helen sat in the Kitchen at the breakfast bar in quiet contemplation, drinking a mug of scolding hot strong black coffee. She needed a big caffeine hit to wake her up, she was absolutely knackered. Laying in bed the night before she had read Sophie's World while waiting for Sean to come home. Helen should have known better, Sean would be home in his own good time and that she should go to sleep but she hated being in the house on her own. So finally when the front door banged shut at 3.00am she visibly relaxed, waiting for a drunken Sean to burst into the bedroom and fall into bed. Sometimes when he came in like this he demanded sex but for some strange reason tonight he was very subdued and just got into bed, falling immediately to sleep, he did not even acknowledge her.

"Morning!.................Coffee?" Helen yelled at Sean as he wandered into the kitchen looking very worse for wear. Smiling inwardly she knew he had a whopping hangover and her raised voice would drill right into him.

"Shhhhhhhh……….Where's the aspirin, oh God I am never going to drink again," Sean whispered.

Taking pity on him, Helen put 2 aspirin, a glass of water, glass of orange juice, 2 bacon sandwiches and a cup of black coffee in front of him.

Looking up at Helen, Sean muttered muted thanks, proceeding to drink and eat everything within his reach. When he finished he let out a satisfied burp and looked up at Helen who was engrossed in the newspaper.

"Helen…..don't forget I am at the National Fire Fighter conference on Thursday and Friday and that I will be staying over night," said Sean.

"Oh Sean……. Do you have to stay overnight, you know how much I hate being on my own in the house," Helen asked.

"Yes… I do have to stay over for two reasons. One, the conference is in Newcastle and there is no way I am driving all the way back at the end of the first day. Secondly, I have to be seen to be networking and you more than anyone else knows that most of that goes on in the bar in the evening," Sean replied.

"Ok, but promise me you will have your phone with you, so if I get frightened I can ring you?" Helen asked resignedly.

"You surprise me Helen, you work in a prison with all the dangers associated with that, yet you are afraid to be alone, I just don't get that one. But yes darling I will keep my phone with me if it makes you feel any better," Sean said with surprising compassion in his voice, before quickly adding that he was off to work and he would see her later.

As Nikki rounded the corner to enter the Fire Station she was immediately intercepted by Sean and unceremoniously dragged to one side. He had obviously been waiting for her to come into work.

"Oi!....get your hands off me Parr," Nikki shouted.

Sean quickly let go, profusely apologising, "Nikki…….I am really, really sorry about my behaviour at the social club last night. It was totally inappropriate to say the least, I want to offer my deepest apology and can only blame it on the amount I had to drink," Sean looked at Nikki expectantly.

Nikki would have liked to see the little bastard squirm, if only to get him back for his treatment of Helen but if the truth be told she really couldn't be bothered with this pathetic excuse for a man. "Yeah, yeah……. all forgotten Sean, don't worry about it," said Nikki lightly, but before she could help herself, she quickly added, "I didn't know shandy was that strong Sean," and with that she turned making her way into the station.

Sean just about stopped himself from going after Nikki and punching her right in the face. He just stood there thinking: Enjoy that little victory while you can Wade, I WILL get even, watch your back you bitch.



The beginning of the week plodded along for Nikki, Helen and Sean with no notable incidents. The only thing that peaked Nikki's interest, well made her curious really, was the fact that Sean and Jim were forever in little meetings together obviously discussing things they did not want anyone else to know. Nikki knew this as fact because anytime anyone went near them their voices dropped to a near whisper and they would scuttle away from the unwanted attention.

Nikki had to display a great deal of self restraint as she was dying to goad Sean and cast doubts about his sexuality, citing his numerous elicit meetings with Jim and would he rather not be at home with his beautiful wife. I know I would, thought Nikki hormonally. But she decided she would try and be mature, leaving them to it. However, she did relent a single time, getting one dig in by sneaking onto the station speaker system and at full volume made very loud kissy kissy noises before running off, collapsing in the toilets before she could be spotted. She had the two Julies in stitches by keeping up an innocent demeanour when they asked her if she was the culprit, knowing full well she was.

Just before the end of the Wednesday shift Sean called all his crew together and told them with thinly veiled importance he would be at the National Fire Fighters conference on Thursday and Friday. Then looking over at Nikki, he told the crew that Colin from the nearby St Andrews station would cover for him. Sean knew that Nikki was the next most senior fire fighter on the watch and should be the natural choice to be in charge in Sean's absence. He was more than surprised to see not a flicker of emotion on Nikki's face, however her eyes told a different story but she steadfastly kept her mouth clamped shut. But Sean couldn't fail to see the anger in her eyes, happy to take his small victories where he could.

Nikki strolled purposely out of the station because she was sure she could not contain the anger that was bubbling inside her. She didn't even stop when Sean tried to stop her and give her insipid reasons why she had been overlooked as his cover, but she quickly walked away not giving him the satisfaction.



Helen made her way up the front path to their house, it was pitch black and she nearly tripped over. She wondered why the security light had not detected her movement and come on automatically. Her foot suddenly crunched on something, looking down she saw the broken glass, Oh that explains the darkness, she thought.

As Helen opened the front door to their flat, she heard movement coming from upstairs and called out, "Hi babe! It's just me."

"Hi darling, up here," Sean's voiced drifted down the stairs, "I am just packing my stuff for the conference tomorrow."

"Do you need anything washing or ironing done?" Helen asked, desperately hoping Sean would answer in the negative, she was hungry, tired and stressed to hell. All she wanted was to slob out with a glass of wine and vegetate in front of the mind numbing TV.

"No……..it's ok, I've got everything sorted, I'm nearly finished, just packing the toiletries," Sean shouted.

Shrugging off her red leather jacket, kicking her shoes off she made her way straight to the kitchen and the welcoming call of the fridge which held the chilled bottle of Stolle she had put there before she left for work that morning.

Helen was on her second glass of Stolle when Sean padded into the room. Quickly giving her a peck on the cheek he slumped down on the sofa. Looking at the drink in Helen's hand he couldn't help but get a dig in, "Hard day at work darling?" He knew this would wind Helen up because she often accused him of not understanding the pressures she faced at work everyday and that he always intimated that his job was far superior.

For the second time that day a woman surprised him by not reacting in the way he expected. Not wanting to get into the same old heated discussion, Helen replied, "Not really darling, just fancied a nice chilled drink……..oh by the way, do you know what's happened to the security light out front? "

"Yeah, I noticed that when I came in, normally next door's comes on as well when I walk past but it didn't. I think that group of lads who were hanging around the estate last night have been going along smashing all the bulbs," Sean confirmed. "Well at least we have a matching pair because the bulb out back blew last night when I went to put it on. I meant to get some spare bulbs today but I've been really busy and my job means I can't just pop out to the shops. I will fix them when I get back from the conference."

Knowing that Sean had got yet another jibe in about the importance of his job, Helen decided just to let it go, saying, "Ok babe……I am off up for a bath and early night," her previous hunger dissipating.

"Alright darling, I will be up soon, just got a few things to finish off," Sean said as he made his way to the garage, where he had some preparation to do for tomorrow.



The loud ringing noise erupted through the room bringing them both rudely out of their light slumber. Neither Sean or Helen had slept well that night for wildly different reasons, Helen's due to work things popping into her mind every time she just seemed to be nodding off and Sean's because it was going to be such a big day and he had kept going over in his mind that he had remembered everything.

Helen leaned over, stretching her lithe naked body, wrapping her arms around Sean's slim waist and running her nails down his rounded arse. "Morning darling…..sleep well?" she purred in his ear.

Sean could feel his body starting to react to this temptation, but knowing he had to get ready and be out of the house in less than an hour he moved away and said, "Morning Hells…..yeah not bad."

"Sean!....you know I hate that name," Helen stated matter of factly as she suddenly rose from the bed heading for the shower. What she didn't see was the smirk on Sean's face and look of triumph. He knew she would react like that, priding himself on his quick thinking to avoid Helen's advances, he thought: She is so predictable, I've got things to do and I ain't got time for distractions.

Helen took her time in the shower, knowing by the time she finished Sean would be ready to leave. As she entered the bedroom Sean turned, walked towards her with his arms out wide saying, "Right then…..I've got to go, it's a long drive, I want to get there early enough to book into the hotel and have a shower."

"Ok darling….. Have a safe journey. Will you give me a quick ring when you get there so I know you are ok?" Helen asked.

"Sure babe…..See you Friday evening," Sean answered already walking out of the room.

Nikki always woke at the same time everyday, she didn't know why but at 6.00am every morning her internal alarm clock seemed to go off and try as she might she could never go back to sleep.

Nikki was more tired than normal because for a strange reason her sleep pattern that night had been sporadic at best, she had this overwhelming and very unsettling feeling that something bad was going to happen but for the life of her couldn't put a finger on what.

With a sigh of resignation she got out of bed, padding towards her shower she stripped off her shorts and t-shirt. As she walked past her bedroom mirror she appraised herself with her deep brown, beautiful eyes; tall, thin but athletic, she particularly liked her legs which she spent plenty of gym time on. Turning round looking at her back and bottom she mused out loud, "Mmmmmmm…..not bad even if I say so myself." Well she thought: I had better say it because no one else will, oh stop feeling sorry for yourself Wade and get ready.



Nikki hadn't even had chance to put her belongings into her locker at the fire station when Colin came bounding up to her with a sheepish look on his face. "Hi Nikki………look I know you have just got in but I really need you to do me a big favour."

Nikki's initial reaction was to tell Colin to piss off but then she thought it really wasn't Colin's fault he had taken her job. "Depends what it is," she said not letting him totally of the hook.

Colin let out an audible sigh, he had heard from Sean that Nikki was a pain in the arse but he decided early on that he would make up his own mind. "Well……you know Dave from the night shift, his wife went into labour last night and we are one down, so I was wondering if you minded pulling a double shift and cover for him?"

Nikki thought, hell I haven't got much else to do and I could do with the extra money. "Yeah….sure why not," she said in a resigned tone.

Colin could almost hug Nikki but settled for a quick thank you, he felt proud of himself for sorting the cover problem without having to be asked. He made his way towards Jim's office so he could brag about using his initiative and hoping to score a gold star.

The fire station was unusually quite all day, Nikki surmised that it was mainly due to the fact that it had rained non stop for the past 7 hours straight, so nothing was dry enough to catch fire. But that didn't mean she had an easy day. No, there was checking and repairing the equipment to do, mind you she drew the line when Colin suggested cleaning the toilets.

By the time the change of shift took place Nikki was totally bored, she appreciated that when it was busy it was usually to the detriment of someone's property or in extreme circumstances a life, but she was a fire fighter deep down and that's what she wanted to do. As the night shift started to arrive she nodded to a couple of men she knew, settling down to eat her sandwiches and read her book Sophie's World.



Helen swung the little red Peugeot into a space in front of her house quietly thanking the parking gods for her good fortune, usually she had to park in the next street. She turned towards the passenger seat, grabbing her brief case, large bundle of work, a bag of shopping and made her way up the darkened path to her front door. Swearing loudly because she couldn't see, all her files slipped in slow motion from her overloaded hands.

With a big sigh she reached down, picked up the files and opened the front door, calling out "Hi babe! It's me," before she remembered Sean was away for the night. Oh well at least I can watch what I like on the TV, drink and eat as much as I want; Helen thought to herself in order to take her mind off being in the house alone for the evening.

Heading straight for the kitchen she set about preparing her supper, a very simple pasta and sauce dish, grabbing the Stolle for a quick drink whilst she worked. Taking the meal and bottle of booze she settled in front of the TV for a relaxing evening. Helen couldn't believe how tired she was, almost falling asleep while eating, she just about finished her meal before making her way up to bed and was virtually asleep as her head hit the pillow.

The dark figure sitting in the parked car had an excellent view of the house, immediately observing the bedroom light going out right on cue. It was a quiet estate where everyone kept to themselves, who were too apathetic to bother with a neighbourhood watch system. Getting out of the car he checked the street for any unwanted attention and made his way to the darkened path in front of the house, clicking on the small torch in preparation. Pressing his back tight against the rough brick of the house he made his way along the side wall towards the equipment that had been left previously to complete the task.

Moving stealthily he went towards the back of the house and poured the accelerant through the small gap at the bottom of the door. Pulling out a matchbook, he placed it gently in front of the seeping liquid. As he set it alight he knew it would give him plenty of time to do the same at the front door, ensuring both exits were for all intense and purposes blocked off.

As soon as both fires were lit he went to the car, watching with excited eyes as the orange and blue flames danced high into the night. Ensuring the fire had really taken hold the still gloved figure picked up the stolen mobile phone and dialled 999……….."Hello…….which emergency service do you require?" the female voice automatically responded.

"Fire, luv and you bet get here quick," said the deep male voice with a malicious tone.

After giving all the details the gloved figure walked down the street and disposed of the phone down a storm drain before returning to the now ablaze house.



Nikki sat there with a smile on her face, she was really enjoying her book, she loved reading, getting lost in the fantasy of it all, forgetting about all the shit that had happened recently. She was quickly wrenched from her musings when the air was split with the familiar siren calling all able fire fighters to their duty. Nikki carefully placed her bookmark at the relevant spot, threw the book down and ran at full speed towards the gleaming brass pole.

Over the crackle of the radio and the shouting of her colleagues, she gathered it was a house fire which was by now well alight. As they pulled up she noticed an anxious Jim Fenner waiting for them, leaning against his Fire Station 4x4. As they got out of the engine he called to Colin, "Hurry, hurry, get a move on!.......It's Sean Parr's house."

"I know Sean is away but is there anyone in there?" Colin yelled above the police sirens.

Giving it some thought Jim replied, "I don't think so…Helen is probably with a friend because I know she hates being in the house on her own," and then adding as an after thought "But I can't be 100% positive about that."

Nikki's heart lurched; Oh my god….Helen!!!.She did not really know the woman who was probably trapped in the house but from the moment she set eyes on her at the fire station she had felt a connection. She could hear Colin bellowing orders, telling her she was to be on the main hose. Running to the engine she wrenched the hose with all her strength, pulling it towards the burning house.

Why wasn't Colin sending someone in, did he not realise Helen was in there, an internal voice screamed at her very being. "Colin!....are you sending someone in, his wife is in there," Nikki bellowed.

This was Colin's first shout as Watch Manager and he stood there with indecision all over his face, he suddenly snapped out of it when Jim stepped in and said, "Colin…..no one is to go in there, it's a death trap, it's too far gone for anyone to have survived…..if anyone tries it I will have them suspended so fast their head will spin," looking directly at Nikki as if to get his point across.

Nikki had already made her decision before Jim had finished his little sermon. She ran towards the engine quickly pulling on the breathing equipment and grabbing the axe. Running full pelt towards the flaming house she used her shoulder to burst through the compromised front door.

She knew instinctively that the back draft would be rolling its way towards her as she had exposed the fire to the new supply of oxygen; she quickly dropped to the floor as the roaring fire blew outwards towards the street. The heat was nothing like she had felt before, the intensity was almost overwhelming but her brain quickly clicked into gear as she stumbled into the inferno.

Nikki knew that at this time of night it was almost certain Helen was upstairs in bed but could not be certain of the petite woman's daily routine. She knew she had to make the potentially fatal decision, making her way towards the stairs she had to jump up the first 5 steps as the previous 4 had completely burned away. Nikki ran up the remainder of the burning stairs as quickly as she could. She could hardly see her hand in front of her face because of the dense thick black smoke, but something like a magnetic pull drew her towards the end of the landing.

As soon as she entered the room she had to drop to the floor in order to get any sort of visibility, crawling on her stomach she made her way towards the centre of the room. Feeling out in front of her, her gloved hand came across a large barrier, Nikki immediately knew it was the bed and pulled herself up. Looking at the bed she could make out the body of Helen. Reaching out Nikki shook the woman to see if she could rouse her but was met with silence and a non-moving Helen.

Nikki took her glove off, immediately feeling the heat of the fire blistering her hands, reaching out she felt for Helen's pulse. "Noooo!" Nikki screamed as she could not feel Helen's lifeblood pumping. Quickly grabbing Helen, throwing her light body on her shoulder she made her way towards the stairs, stopping dead in her tracks as the heat of the fire hit her like a truck. Turning quickly on her heel she made her way towards the window at the back of the house. Almost letting out a scream of relief she looked down to see the flat roof of the one storey kitchen extension.

Swinging the axe back as far as she could physically manage, Nikki smashed the window and climbed through with Helen still on her shoulder. Gasping for breath Nikki continued to the edge of the flat roof, lowering herself down and roughly pulling Helen behind her she slumped to the floor. Jumping up and pulling her breathing mask off Nikki immediately started CPR on Helen. If the situation had not been so critical, she would have smiled at the opportunity to lock lips with the woman of her dreams.

Where were the paramedics and other fire fighters? Nikki's sub-consciousness was screaming. Then her rational thought remembered that they were probably still trapped around the front of the house trying to subdue the raging fire. After administering CPR for what Nikki thought was hours she had to concede she had lost Helen, but she would not stop until the medics finally got there. Just then Helen let out a string of guttural coughs, her eyes gently flickering to half opened state; it was the most wonderful thing Nikki had ever heard in her life.

The last thing Helen could remember was falling asleep in a warm comfortable bed. Then sometime later all she felt was overwhelming darkness coupled with an undeniable presence of evil and the smell of brimstone to go with it, but her body would not respond when she tried to physically escape this sensation. But now that had all lifted, she felt cold but as she slightly opened her eyes she looked directly into the most deep chocolate brown eyes filled with compassion, pure love and vulnerability, she suddenly began to warm from her very core knowing everything would be fine. She heard the words, "Hi gorgeous……c'mon stay with me Helen, stay with me my darling," as her eyes flickered and she plunged into darkness again.



"What the hell do you think you were playing at Wade?" came the booming voice of Jim Fenner back at the station in his office. "Are you deaf?.....is that what it is, you distinctly heard my command back at Sean's house, yet still you deliberately disobeyed a direct order, putting yourself and the rest of the crew in danger. What have you got to say for yourself?"

Nikki sat there staring at her blistered hands, she had shooed the paramedics away at the fire so they could concentrate on Helen. She knew that she was going to get suspended at the very least for this, possibly even face dismissal, knowing she had to be careful she consciously reigned in her emotions. "I am really sorry sir……I didn't think…. I, I, I just reacted," she stumbled over her words. "I think it was due to knowing there could be part of our fire fighting family in that fire………I just wanted to save Sean's wife." Nikki hoped that Jim would accept that she had grown close to her colleagues and didn't want to see any of them having to be told their loved ones had perished in a fire.

Jim took a deep breath, Nikki had basically backed him into a corner as far as why she disobeyed orders and all the emotion behind it. However, her actions had far reaching consequences, which Jim was not about to discuss with her.

"Ok……ok, I know, we have all felt like that at some time or another but there are health and safety regulations for a reason Nikki. Imagine the chaos and carnage that would follow if we just allowed our fire fighters to turn up to an incident and let them do just what they wanted without due care and attention to the correct protocols," Jim explained.

"I am sorry but the least I can do at the moment is to suspend you for 10 days with pay until a full investigation into your actions tonight has taken place. I have to warn you now that if found guilty of gross misconduct you could be facing the sack. Obviously I cannot conduct the investigation as I am in your Line Management chain, but as soon as I find out who is leading it I will put in a good word for you," Jim finished, knowing full well he would do no such thing.

"Thanks very much Jim, I would really appreciate that," Nikki replied in what she hoped came across as a grateful tone. "Has anyone called Sean with the news?"

"Yes Nikki, I did it back at the house. Pack your stuff up and get yourself home, it's been a long night. Look, here's my mobile number in case you want an update on your investigation or just need to talk, this will probably hit you like a ton of bricks later and under my duty of care I want to support you as much as possible," Jim rattled off the HR party line but with very little feeling behind it.



As Nikki packed her things away she could feel the tears building, she bit the inside of her mouth to try and hold them back, she didn't want to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her breakdown at work. All through her youth it was instilled in her by her Navy careered father and emotionally devoid alcoholic mother to never show emotions and this situation called on her years of training to be used big style. She almost got to the door when one of the night crew came up to her, pulled her into a big hug and said, "We are all proud of you Nikki………mind you luv, you are mad as a hatter for going in there but we are still proud of you. Don't let the buggers get you down." Nikki mumbled quick thanks as she ran for the street outside.

If Nikki had slowed down she would have noticed a furtive looking Jim whispering away in his mobile phone, "Yes, yes I know, I didn't see that coming either, don't worry we will get things sorted, you have just got to be patient…….. Yeah, yeah….see you soon," he finished.

Sean flipped shut his mobile phone as he stood outside the hospital plucking up the courage to go in and see Helen. His emotions were all over the place, he had so many questions but knew only one person had the answers but that was for later. Taking a deep breath and plastering a smile on his face he made his way to the ICU ward which held his unconscious wife.

As Sean entered the ICU, it looked like NASA control with all the machines beeping, hi tech equipment, wires and tubes. He looked down on the bed; the sight of Helen made him take an involuntary gasp. She looked so fragile and pale, the bed looked far too big for her and an atmosphere of vulnerability gripped the room, making Sean shudder like someone had walked over his grave.

The nurse had already read him the riot act about how long he could visit Helen, that he must always wash his hands and put the mask on before entering the ICU. Sean grabbed a nearby chair, pulling it towards the bed, he settled down for his allotted 30 minutes with his wife.

The doctor had told Sean that they had put Helen into a medically induced coma in order to give her body a chance to start the healing process. He confirmed that Helen had only slight burns but the main worry was the period of oxygen deprivation she suffered and possible scarring to her lungs due to the intense heat of the fire.

"Hello darling, what on earth have you done to yourself?" Sean said to an unconscious Helen. He had read somewhere that as part of someone's rehabilitation when in a coma it was beneficial to talk to them like they were awake. "I can't leave you for five minutes can I? If you really didn't want me to go to the conference you should have said, burning the house down was a bit over the top to get me back home," he added trying to keep the one way conversation light.

Keeping any sign of emotion off his face Sean thought; Damn, damn damn, it shouldn't be like this, it should all have been taken care of. She should be dead!!!! How the hell am I going to fix this? Quickly thinking that he might not get a better opportunity to finish what he had started Sean grabbed a pillow and reached over to remove Helen's oxygen mask.

"Hi Sean!" came a voice from the doorway wrenching him away from his evil mission, surreptitiously dropping the pillow, he turned around towards the source of the noise.

To say he was shocked was an understatement, "Nikki!.....what the hell are you doing here? You are bloody suspended, go away."

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to know she was ok, I'll go," Nikki said sadly.

Sean immediately realised he had to keep up appearances, for all intense and purposes should be thanking Nikki, not having a go at her. With his face softening, "Look Nikki, it's me who should be apologising and thanking you so much for saving Helen's life. It's been a long and emotional day for me, I was angry and wanted to vent it on someone, sorry to say you were that lucky person."

Nikki looked at Sean and thought to herself that he didn't actually look that upset, if Helen was her partner she would be climbing the walls by now. Cutting him some slack because she had seen various people react differently in similar situations, "It's ok Sean……glad you could let it out," she added with a lopsided grin. "How is she then?"

Sean updated Nikki, even managing a little choked breath for effect. Nikki was not fooled by Sean's bad acting and that along with what she thought she had walked in on earlier, all sorts of ideas were whirling round her head but one thought that was coming through loud and clear was that Sean wanted to get rid of Helen which in turn meant the fire was not an accident. "Oh, ok…..well I had better be going. You take care of her Sean," Nikki added with an edge which Sean was completely oblivious to.



Nikki walked along the sanitised hospital corridor, looking round and checking no one was watching as she snuck into a small cupboard. She knew she wouldn't have to wait long and her judgement was well rewarded when a happy looking Sean walked past on his way home. As soon as she was sure he had gone she exited the cupboard and made her way back to Helen's room. She was just about to walk in when a stern looking nurse bellowed, "Who do you think you are and what the hell do you think you are doing?" Nikki had half anticipated having to run the gauntlet to see Helen and decided honesty was the best policy.

"Hi…..Yvonne," Nikki said looking at the older woman's name tag. "My name is Nikki, I am the fire fighter who saved that beautif…." Nikki just stopped herself saying beautiful, wonderful gorgeous woman, "saved that woman in ICU," she corrected herself. "I…I….just wanted to check she was ok and see for myself how she was doing," Nikki said staring at the ground hoping she was hiding the myriad of emotions that were crossing her face.

"Mmmmmmm….. I shouldn't really let ya, they would have me tits in a wringer if they found out I let non-family members in. But I can see in yer eyes that you care deeply for her, well more than that arsehole of a bleedin' husband….oops did I say that out loud?" the no-nonsense nurse said with a smirk on her face. "Look luv, just make sure you wash yer hands, wear the mask and don't stay to long as to tire her out, ok? In future when you come in ask for me, the name's Yvonne….Yvonne Atkins, I will make sure you can get in to see her, cos it's nice for her to have a visit from her sister innit," Yvonne said with a wink.

Not sure how to react to the woman's act of kindness, Nikki blessed the nurse with one of her best sincere smiles and winked back. Seeing Helen again still did not prepare her for the lurch in her stomach, the sight of the woman she felt so deeply for looked so vulnerable. She approached the bed, she sat in the seat Sean had vacated only 15 minutes ago and just stared at Helen. Studying her pale face spotted with black soot marks and covered in tubes, Nikki could see she was even more beautiful than when she first saw her at the fire station. Quickly looking around Nikki could not help herself, she stood up and placed her lips to Helen's forehead. Nikki's eyes widened and she stumbled backwards, it was like someone had injected her with molten lava, she had never had this reaction to kissing anyone in her life. She felt hot, cold, calm, excited, scared, happy and that finally the long lost missing part of her life had slotted into place and she hadn't even spoken to this woman!

Steadying herself after the effects of hurricane Helen had subsided she sat back down in the seat, unaware of Yvonne's watchful eye and smiling face. Nikki grabbed Helen's hand careful not to touch the intravenous drip feeding its life force to the patient; she gently brushed her thumb over the prominent knuckles. "Helen, I know you have no idea who I am but I saved you from the fire and want you to know that I am here for you, my name is Nikki Wade," Nikki struggled to say with the biggest lump in her throat. For the next 10 minutes she just generally spoke to Helen about everything from her motorcycle to her love of gardening and everything in between.

As much as she would have liked to stay all night Nikki had taken heed of Yvonne's warning about tiring Helen out, she stood to leave, gently placing Helen's hand on the bed immediately feeling a sense of loss. Leaning forward she placed a kiss on Helen's cheek, whispering, "I am sorry Helen…….but I think you are gorgeous and I am totally in love with you. If it takes my dying breath I promise that nothing or no one will ever hurt you again."

Stepping away from the bed she made her way out towards Yvonne who was sitting at the nurse's station enjoying a cup of tea. As Nikki approached, Yvonne looked up immediately seeing concern in the younger woman's face. "Everything ok luv?"

Not sure how much she should voice her concerns out loud; Nikki made the snap decision to confide in the caring stranger. "Look, you will probably think I am completely nuts but I am really concerned about Helen's safety. I haven't got any physical evidence yet to back up my intuition but the feeling is overwhelming." Waiting for Yvonne to burst out laughing or even worse ban her from seeing Helen again, she was surprised to see her considering the information.

Yvonne took her time to respond, she had learnt from her husband Charlie never to jump into anything without giving it serious thought and he should know he was a successful business man. He never actually mentioned what his business was but Yvonne never wanted for anything and she knew he worshipped the ground she walked on. Speaking in what she hoped was an understanding tone, "Ok luv…….My Charlie always says go on gut feeling no matter what everything else tells ya, so after seeing her husband I can see where you are coming from. So how can I help?"

"You feel it too!" Nikki said with relief, "All I ask is that when Sean is around you keep an eye on him…….oh and a bloke called Jim Fenner, he's Sean's sidekick. I don't trust either of them to be honest." As she explained this to Yvonne she had another thought, knowing she had to be totally honest with this woman Nikki went on to say, "Yvonne…. just to let you know I am the fire fighter who rescued Helen but I did it against Fenner's orders and he has suspended me for insubordination. I thought I should tell you in case they start slagging me off or try to stop me seeing Helen."

Without batting an eyelid, Yvonne said, "Of course luv…..no one hurts anybody under my care…….ever! I know I shouldn't but here's my mobile number in case there are any changes in Helen's condition or if you find out anything about what happened." Looking at Nikki's forlorn expression, Yvonne added, "Or if you just want to talk." Nikki quickly accepted the offer and scribbled down her own number.



As he stretched out on the bed Sean's hand automatically reached across seeking out Helen's smooth body but was met with fresh air. He suddenly sat upright, remembering where she was and the events leading up to her absence. He shouted out loud, "Fuck, fuck and double fuck!" Everything had been planned down to the smallest detail, nothing should have gone wrong. But it did and he needed to think fast about how to get his plans back on track.

Standing in the shower he looked up into the direct spray and let the water wash away the tension in his head and shoulders. Then it hit him like a bolt of lighting: Nikki fucking Wade, that's what went wrong!! It was just an unfortunate glitch that Nikki was at the right place at the wrong time. Jim told him that she was out of the picture for a couple of weeks, but then remembering the suspicious look Nikki gave him in the hospital he knew he would have to act fast and finish this sooner rather than later.

Pulling into the Fire Station, Sean quickly made his way up to Jim's office and barged in without knocking. The first thing he saw was Jim's secretary, Shell Dockley, shoot up off his lap and start pulling down her short skirt. She quickly made her way towards the door but not before whispering in Sean ear, "See what you are missing?…..big boy."

Jim's face was a bright shade of puce and he was absolutely fuming, rising from his chair he strode towards Sean virtually pinning him up against the door. In a low menacing voice Jim said, "I will only say this once, don't ever come into my office without knocking first, I AM your boss so start showing me some respect around here, don't ever ever forget that. I can make your life very difficult." Looking at the startled man and getting no response, Jim added "RIGHT!" with venom.

Quickly recovering from the verbal tirade Sean put his hands up in mock surrender, taking a step back to give Jim an impression of submission. "I am really sorry Jim, you are absolutely right. I've just got things on my mind, I'm just not thinking straight. All this with Helen has got me frazzled." Hoping his little joke would lighten the mood.

"Yeah, well as long as you understand and make sure it doesn't happen again," Jim added, making sure his authority was not in any question. "Oh and by the way, you are one sick bastard…..frazzled indeed. Anyway wipe that smile off your face before you leave my office, you are supposed to be distraught at Helen's plight. Go on take a couple of days off to make it look like you are spending time with her."

Knowing this wasn't the time to start apportioning blame as to why their plan had gone wrong they immediately started discussing what they could do to quickly remedy the situation.



Nikki threw her keys on the hall table. Making her way towards her small but well equipped kitchen she headed straight for the cold beers she knew were waiting for her. As she turned around she caught sight of the clock on the wall….8.30 am, what the hell am I doing having a beer at this time? she thought. She had basically lost track of time, after she left the hospital she had gone on a long ride to get some fresh air into her lungs, to rid herself of some of the soot she was sure she could feel and empty some of the turmoil racing around her head. It had worked to some degree but the vision of Helen laying there helpless and so vulnerable kept bursting through, upsetting Nikki all over again.

Instead she settled for a glass of orange juice and sat down at the table trying to organise her thoughts into some sort of recognisable order. Quickly grabbing pen and paper she began to write, scribbling down the events of the previous evening in full detail. When she had finished she was surprised how much she could remember considering the amount of adrenalin that had pumped through her veins and how much she had reacted purely on instinct alone.

Sitting back in her seat she looked at the piece of paper and thought well that's the "what happened", now all I need is "the why and the who. Well, Nikki had a very good idea of "the who", she was sure it was Sean and he would not have done it without his sidekick Jim, but what Nikki wanted was "the why". She had found out through asking the odd question at work that Sean and Helen had been married for 3 years, surely he couldn't be fed up with such a gorgeous and intelligent woman after such little time. As far as Nikki was concerned Sean had batted way out of his league in the first place when he snagged Helen as his wife, Helen deserved much better.

Why, why, why…..? The same question kept going round and round Nikki's head. She decided to relax on the sofa to watch a bit of mind numbing TV, hoping that she would eventually fall sleep. Nikki was just starting to drift off when her eyes shot open; it was like someone had switched on an electric light bulb in her head. "It's got to be about MONEY!" she shouted out loudly. Smiling to herself, she had the perp, the motive and the means, God she sounded like her favourite TV star, Sara Sidle CSI, but how was she going to prove it and keep Helen out of danger?



Nikki knew she would not fall asleep after her eureka moment at working out what she thought had happened to Helen. She pulled on her slick black motorcycle leathers and matching Harley Davidson boots. Reaching for her gloves and helmet she thought that having a look at the fire scene in the daylight wouldn't hurt. Grabbing her keys she made her way to her beloved Sydney.

Pulling up outside the burnt out house, it suddenly hit Nikki what a close call both she and Helen had last night. As she looked over at the house she could see Jim Fenner emerge from the front door with a clip board in his hand chatting away to a short fat suited man. Wanting to know what they were talking about, Nikki thought about trying to sneak up on them but it would have looked to obvious, instead she bided her time. Taking her helmet off she walked up the road and doubled back on herself so the two men could not see who she was or what she was doing. As the short man walked away Jim immediately took his mobile phone out, Nikki had anticipated this move and had positioned herself so she could eves drop on the conversation.

"Hi, Sean…..Yeah just talked to the insurance bloke and everything is ok, you can put a claim in…yeah, yeah, he fell for it hook, line and sinker. I told him I was lead investigator and that it was started by an electrical fault linked to the two security lights being broken. I will put that in the report, which will explain how two fires started. So mate, we are in the clear and need to start planning how to finish all this. OK, see you soon," Jim finished flipping his phone shut and strode off down the street.

I bloody knew it, those conniving bastards. Well they think they have gotten away with it but I will make sure they pay for this and at the same time keep Helen safe: Nikki thought. Just then Dominic McAlister came walking down the front path, waving at Nikki he stopped for a chat. "Hey Nikki, what you doing here, I thought you were suspended?"

Nikki knew that if she wasn't honest with Dom she would never be able to prove what Sean and Jim did or stop what they were planning. "Hi Dom, yes I am suspended but you know how it is about returning to the scene to see how bad it really was?" Nikki answered.

"Yeah mate know exactly what you mean, have a look around, take your time, the house is safe and Jim has done the investigation so you can't compromise any evidence," Dom added.

"Mmmmmmm……has he now?" Nikki questioned. "That's partly why I am here. I have got concerns about what actually happened here and what ends up in his report if you know what I mean?"

Looking up and down the street like a secret agent to check they were alone Dom said, "I know what you mean Nikki, he's saying it was an electrical fault but I know when an accelerant has been used and this one is bang to rights. I would question him but I have a family to support and he could make my life very difficult."

Thinking fast Nikki said to Dom, "Yes but I don't care what happens to me, come on follow me and bring some evidence containers with you."

Working seamlessly together they took soot samples from the front door and back door, carefully keeping them apart and meticulously labelling them. Nikki signed them with Colin's name and her name as the secondary signature, putting a note on them asking for the results to be sent to her home because Colin was away on holiday and she didn't want them to be lying around until his return. She hoped that this simple plan would work but at least if it didn't the lab would have the original sample, which would be safe. She assured Dom that none of what she was doing could be traced back to him and asked that he would not mention it to any of their colleagues.



Nikki knew that even if she proved that the fire was deliberately started and not as a result of an electrical fault, Jim would somehow wriggle out of stating the wrong reason on the investigation report and how could she prove Sean's involvement? Sitting down at her kitchen table Nikki wracked her brain to try and dig up something more to support her theory, then suddenly three words popped into her head: MOBILE PHONE RECORDS!!

Thinking back to the night of the fire, one thing which kept nagging at her was the question of how come Jim was there at the scene before the fire crew arrived. Nikki was betting he started the fire and called the emergency services, she was also betting that he called Sean around the same time to confirm he had gone through with their plan. How could she find out, there were privacy laws and such, so she would have to be careful, then it came to her; BABS!!!!

Quickly reaching for the phone she dialled in the number of her friend Babs. She had met Barbara Hunt five years ago when she responded to a shout at Bab's neighbour's house, after supplying Nikki and the crew with cold drinks all night they had become firm friends. They had a standing monthly get together for coffee, which Babs found invaluable since she lost her husband to cancer two years ago. Nikki had encouraged her to get back out in the world which resulted in Babs securing a job with a telecommunications company.

"Hi….Babs, it's Nikki. How are you?" Nikki smiled down the phone.

"Nikki!" Babs squealed in delight, making Nikki think she was talking to a 18 year old instead of a upper class 55 year old. "I am great, how are you and what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"

"Yeah, I am fine Babs and I am glad you are but this is not strictly a social call, I really need your help but if you say no I will totally understand and there will be no hard feelings……ok?" Nikki said pensively. "It's very sensitive and I'm not comfortable explaining things over the phone, so can you meet me at 4.00pm at the usual place?"

Knowing how independent Nikki was and that her parents had instilled in her the need to keep problems private, Babs understood immediately how important and hard it was for Nikki to admit she needed help and seek it out. "Of course Nikki, we will talk then, see you later and don't worry we can sort something out," Babs added to reassure her.



Sean swung the car into the hospital car park, looking up at the typical 70's designed utilitarian glass and concrete building; he couldn't believe that some one at some stage actually admitted to being the architect of such a monstrosity. He had just driven straight from Shell Dockley's house after an afternoon spent in her warm bed, she had been giving him the come on for weeks but he decided now was the time he would allow her to comfort him in his hour of need. Most women would stay away at a time like this not wanting to betray the wounded wife but Shell just saw it as an opportunity for a quick shag.

Taking a deep breath he got out of the car pulling his jacket tightly around himself, strolled towards the hospital front entrance as if he didn't have a care in the world. He didn't see Yvonne watching him from the 2nd Floor window, flipping open her mobile phone she made the call.

Watching the shoppers bustling by, pushing and shoving each other out of the way on their all consuming mission to find the next bargain, Nikki let out a sigh and cupped her hands around her coffee.

"Hi Nikki," Babs said placing a gentle kiss on Nikki's cheek before sitting down with her Latte. Without any pre-amble Babs said, "Ok then, what's the problem and how can I help?"

Nikki trusted Babs implicitly, she had helped her through Trish's death and betrayal, so Nikki was sure she would support her now, but what she was about to ask, was it a step to far? Taking a deep breath Nikki launched into her story, telling Babs what had happened so far and her suspicions.

"Oh my God Nikki, are you ok though? It sounds like you got out in time from the fire as well. So what can I do to help?" Babs asked again.

Looking straight at the woman Nikki said, "I need the phone records and a recorded tape of what was said for both Sean and Jim for the week before the fire and the last 2 days." Not wanting to see the disappointment and impending refusal on the older woman's face, Nikki stared at the ground.

Babs sat there in amazed silence trying to take in the fact that her friend had actually asked her to break every rule in her company's policy and God knows how many data protection and privacy laws. "Nikki, I know this must be a very serious situation for you to even ask me to break the law, so let me think about how I can do it without getting myself arrested……..ok?"

Nikki let out a long sigh of relief and smiled at Babs, she knew she could rely on her old friend. "Babs, you don't know how much this means to me." She added with tears threatening to break through. Babs told Nikki that she would get back to her as soon as possible.

As they sat back to enjoy the rest of their coffee and caught up on each others lives, Nikki's phone started to ring. Not immediately recognising the number she hesitantly answered, "Hi Nikki here……..Oh hi Yvonne, yeah just having a coffee with an old friend. Oh is he now, right I will be straight over. No, no you did the right thing; see you in 10, bye."

Nikki quickly explained to Babs what was happening, standing up she gave her a hug and headed off towards her motorcycle.



Sean walked through the hospital front entrance, passing the hospital shop he absently grabbed the smallest bunch of flowers and begrudged paying the £4 price tag. Passing along the long corridor which seemed to go on for miles he openly ogled all the young nurses on the way to visit his sick wife.

As he approached the ICU, Yvonne stepped out and effectively blocked his path hoping to delay him from reaching his goal. "Hello Mr Parr, how are you today? Just to give you an update on your wife's condition, you will be pleased to know that she is responding extremely well to our medical intervention and we will be withdrawing the sedatives and breathing apparatus in about an hour. This will mean that all going well Helen should be awake in about an hour and a half," Yvonne smiled.

Sean stood there like someone had told him his best friend had died, but then he suddenly realised he had to give the impression this was the best news he had ever heard. "Oh God, that's fantastic news," He said with thinly veiled contempt. Yvonne noticed his lack of enthusiasm deciding there and then that Nikki's suspicions where spot on.

Walking into the ICU Sean had a face like thunder, he had secretly hoped that Helen would not recover and he would not have to finish the job but as he fingered the syringe in his pocket he knew he had to act quickly. Flinging the flowers on Helen's bedside cabinet he leaned in and gave her a peck on the cheek. Glancing nonchalantly around he noticed Yvonne looking straight at him, he decided to bide his time until her attention was elsewhere.

Sean didn't have to wait long; Yvonne was approached by another nurse and walked towards the other end of the ward. Quickly grabbing the syringe from his pocket Sean moved towards Helen's arm and located a prominent vein, he was just about to inject some air into Helen's blood stream, when he heard a noise by the doorway. As unruffled as possible and surreptitiously slipping the syringe into his pocket he turned towards the source of the noise, blinking furiously he saw the tall dark figure of Nikki Wade.

"Hi Sean," Nikki said having the feeling that she had walked in on something bad.

"Nikki, what the hell are you doing here again?" Sean blurted out.

Nikki had already anticipated that question so her response just rolled off her tongue as totally believable. "Oh, I am here to visit my Aunty Betty, she was bought in early this morning after a stroke. She's here in ICU but a bit further down, so it looks like we will be bumping into each other for a while."

Trying not to look disappointed, Sean said, "Yeah…….sorry about your aunty." With that Sean got up and headed towards the door, adding, "I am away to get some sleep, I've been here morning, noon and night, bye Nikki."

Nikki quickly went in search of Yvonne, though not having to go far as she was hanging around just outside Helen's room in the corridor. Nikki explained what Sean had just said and Yvonne laughed out loud telling her that this was only the second time he had visited his wife. "Morning, noon and night my arse!" Yvonne mumbled.

Yvonne quickly updated Nikki on Helen's condition and that she should be coming round in about an hour if she wanted to wait.

Yvonne visibly saw the younger woman crumble in front of her very eyes; she reached out to embrace Nikki before she dropped to her knees. Looking straight into Yvonne's eyes with vision blurred from tears Nikki sobbed, "Oh God….thank you, thank you……I was so frightened that she might never recover." Tears freely flowed down Nikki's face; she had never felt such relief before in her whole life.

In her job Yvonne had to remain detached from the families and situations that she faced everyday in the ICU because the constant onslaught of such high emotions would have caused her to burn out long ago. But there was something about this young woman who was prepared to lay her heart on the line for a person she had never actually spoken to touched Yvonne so deep down it was like she had witnessed the coming together of long lost soul mates.

Stepping away from her embrace with Nikki, Yvonne said "Look love, she won't be coming round for at least an hour, go get yourself a coffee and something to eat. I will call you if she starts to stir before you get back, ok?" Looking at Nikki trying to lighten the mood she added, "Anyway love you need to re-apply that mascara, cos you look like a bleedin' Panda and you don't want to give Helen a fright when she comes round."

Knowing what she was trying to do Nikki let out a little giggle, thanking Yvonne as she headed off to the hospital café.



"Its like she knows where I am and what I am trying to do Jim, twice now when I was going to finish the job she turns up out of the blue!" Sean moaned down the phone.

This was getting out of hand thought Jim, Sean was starting to be a liability. "Don't worry mate, Nikki can't be there all the time, it's just coincidence, bide your time or you will rush it and make a mistake," Jim said trying not to lose his temper.

"I know, I know but I want that money NOW! I am being pressured by the casino to pay off my debts and I don't think they will settle for me telling them I will pay when my wife finally kicks the bucket do you?"

Nikki had just finished her vegetable lasagne and was about to demolish the chocolate muffin when her mobile phone chirped into life. Thinking it was Yvonne her heart started racing, until she saw Babs number blinking away, quickly she flipped it open, "Hi Babs, what can I do you for?..........What! You got all that in less than 2 hours. You are in the wrong job darlin', have you ever tried applying to MI5? you could teach them a thing or two about communications," Nikki joked to her old friend. "Ok, ok…..I will pop around to see you and get the stuff later on. Thanks Babs you don't know how much this means to me."

She had just hung up from Babs when he mobile caught her off guard again making her jump. Looking at the display she saw Yvonne's number, her heart leapt into her mouth as she answered, "Hi Yvonne, oh my God its time, ok I will be right there……Not there? No I didn't think he would be, no don't ring him yet I want some time with Helen first, is that ok? Great."

Stopping outside Helen's ICU room Nikki took large gulping breaths, she had run as fast as she could from the café, normally she could run a few miles before being this out of breath, but she was so excited about seeing the woman she had fallen in love with she could hardly contain herself. Nikki stopped dead, Oh God did I just say I was in love with a woman I haven't even spoken too……….YES!! I am in love, Nikki smiled to herself.

Looking across towards Helen she thought about how much Helen had come to mean to her in such a short time. Yes, she had loved Trish but it didn't come close to how she felt about the semi-conscious woman in front of her. Nikki had never really truly believed in love at first sight or the concept of soul mates but now deep down she knew she had both of these right here and right now. Pulling a chair up, she sat down automatically grabbing Helen's hand, absently rubbing her thumb across the soft pail knuckles.

All Helen could feel was darkness and an overwhelming feeling of depression. Her senses were heightened but useless to her in the black prison, but what kept pushing its way through was the strong smell of a petrol-like substance but she knew it definitely wasn't petrol; it seemed to invade her very being. The only thing that gave Helen any sort of hope was a constant sensation of someone watching and guarding her but she sensed it wasn't Sean.

Nikki didn't know how long she had been sitting there but she suddenly felt Helen's hand grasp hers. Looking up, Nikki could see Helen's wide eyed scared expression and fighting for breath. Jumping up Nikki ran towards the door, "Yvonne, Yvonne!.....she's…she's awake," Nikki bellowed. It was then that all hell broke loose with Nikki being ushered out of the room by a conglomeration of Specialists, Doctors and Nurses. Knowing she was just in the way she went in search of a drinks machine to try to take her mind off what was going on and to rid herself of the feeling of impotence.

"Oi……sleephead," Yvonne said as she gently shook Nikki's shoulder. "You want to come and meet your woman? She is awake and conversant, but don't tire her out ok?" Nikki dutifully followed the nurse back towards Helen's room.

"Hey you, I've got someone here to see you," Yvonne said gently to Helen. Nikki couldn't believe the difference in her, with all the tubes gone her colour had returned and if it was possible she looked even more beautiful. Right at that moment the gravity of the situation hit Nikki, realising that Helen had no idea who she was, what if she hated her? Nikki's insides were doing the loop-de-loop.

As she stood over a frowning Helen she smiled, "Hi Helen…..you don't know me but..," Before Nikki could finish the sentence Helen broke out into a massive smile and pulled Nikki into a bone crunching embrace.

"You saved my life!" Helen exclaimed, "I would know those wonderful eyes anywhere. I don't know how I can begin to thank you and I don't even know your name."

A stunned Nikki blurted out, "Hi…..I am Nikki Wade and it was my pleasure. I am just so glad you are ok, you had us worried there for a while." Nikki decided not to comment about how Helen could go about thanking her, there was plenty of time to explore that avenue she thought smiling.

At Helen's request Nikki gave her a blow-by-blow account of what happened the night of the fire, the only thing she left out was her suspicions about the reason for the fire and who she thought was behind it. Chatting away like old friends they didn't hear Yvonne enter the room.

"There you go Helen, here's a jug of water, your mouth must be drier than a pharaoh's sandal," Yvonne grinned. "Would you like me to ring your husband to let him know you have come round love?"

Oh my god, I haven't even given him a second thought. I would rather just stare into those gorgeous chocolate brown eyes and talk with this intelligent woman called Nikki: thought Helen. Looking up she realised that Yvonne was patiently waiting for answer, "Oh yes…yes of course but could you do me a favour, tell him that I am really tired and could he come early tomorrow morning?"

"Sure love, you don't want to exhaust yourself," Yvonne added with a knowing smile. "Nikki, could I have a quick word?" She motioned towards the corridor with a slight flick of her head. "Right, you get straight back in there and get to know each other as much as possible because you don't know when you will get this chance to be alone with her again," Yvonne ordered Nikki.



"Oh, right thanks very much for ringing me. Yeah, yeah I will try to get in first thing in the morning," Sean sighed. Deep down he had no intention of going to hospital tonight; in fact that nurse had given him a great excuse to not have to go. Flipping open his phone Sean smiled as he tapped in a number he knew from memory. "Hi sexy…..are you up for a visitor? Ok Shell see you in 10 minutes. Oh and wear the short leather skirt."

Nikki shyly walked back into the room and sat beside Helen, remembering not to automatically grab her hand. "Hi, just thought I would see how you were before I made my way home. I know you must be tired and I bet you can't wait to have a sleep," Nikki said hoping desperately that Helen would ask her stay.

"Oh, oh ok, I was hoping you would stay. I only said to Yvonne I was tired because between you and me I don't want to face Sean at this moment in time," Helen smiled placing her tongue behind her teeth. Nikki thought this act was absolutely adorable. If she could just bottle that smile she could make a fortune, if only she could bring herself to part with it.

"I would love to spend some more time with you Helen, as long as you promise to tell me when you start to feel drowsy," Nikki added with concern in her voice.

They talked about everything and anything from childhood, career paths and current relationships. All Nikki confirmed about hers was that her partner had died and that she was now single, being careful to not mention a gender as she felt now was not the time to drop that little bombshell. Nikki gently steered the conversation around to Sean, Helen needed no prompting. Nikki basically garnered that all was not well in the matrimonial garden and although Helen did not say outright she hinted that she felt Sean was egotistical and not entirely faithful.

Helen could not believe she was voicing out loud most of the issues she had kept inside about her failing marriage to a complete stranger. Well not a complete stranger, just a strikingly good looking woman who had saved her life. What she immediately liked about Nikki was that she seemed to instinctively know what to say to encourage her and provide enough sympathy to not sound patronising. She did however get the feeling that there was something Nikki was holding back on. "Nikki?....I know I have only known you for a couple of hours but I can read you like a book and I get the distinct feeling there is something you are withholding."

Nikki knew she had to be honest with the beautiful Scot, "Helen, there is something, I want to tell you but I need more proof before I do. Now I can tell you are getting tired so I will be on my way. But Helen please promise me that you will be careful and vigilant of those around you? Oh by the way I would appreciate it if you didn't tell Sean I had been in to visit. I am not his favourite person at the Station and I don't want to antagonise him anymore than I need to before my disciplinary investigation has been dealt with. Also here is my mobile number in case you need it." Nikki could see the confusion in Helen's eyes so she quickly explained the details surrounding her suspension.

"What!" Helen exploded, immediately regretting it as her head pounded and lungs screamed in defiance of the sudden intake of breath. "I don't believe you have been suspended for saving my life. I don't know why you think I need to be careful but I will keep a look out……….for you." Helen thought; I would do anything for you Nikki. Mentally shaking her head. Where on earth did that come from? Helen was surprised at herself.

Gently pushing Helen back down onto the bed Nikki said with more conviction than she felt, "Don't worry about it, it's standard procedure, it's nothing, promise me you won't say anything to Sean?"

"Ok, ok but don't expect my silence to last forever," Helen said with a mischievous grin.

"Right then I will see you tomorrow," Nikki said. She stood up and picked up her leather jacket turning to make her way out of the room. What do I do now, just leave or give her a goodbye hug? Nikki went bright red at this thought. Helen picked up on Nikki's uncertainty and called her over, reaching out her arms. Nikki didn't need to be offered twice and walked straight into her version of heaven on earth. As soon as their bodies touched it was like everything around them ceased to exist and a bolt of lightening had struck them. As Helen turned to kiss her on the cheek, Nikki had the same idea which ended up with their lips brushing each others. A feeling of warmth was rapidly spreading between the two women, gasping out loud they reluctantly pulled apart, Helen opened her eyes and looked directly into Nikki's knowing she had experienced the same feelings.

Trying to lighten the mood, Nikki said, "Wow….you give good hugs Helen, you should sell them on e-bay." Helen inwardly thanked Nikki for averting a potentially embarrassing situation.

"Well if that's the case that one was free, but you will have to pay for future ones," Helen smiled, "Oh and don't put yourself down, you are not so bad at it yourself." Helen also thought; If that quick kiss was anything to go by, I bet you are a fantastic kisser as well, God what the hell am I thinking? This is a woman for heaven's sake, oh yeah and try to remember the small fact that you are married. But Sean has never made me feel like that, even when I thought I was in love with him.

Nikki left the hospital with a smile a mile wide, which did not go undetected as Yvonne watched her walk past the nurses station in a world of her own, Helen's World, Yvonne grinned inwardly.



As she sat down Babs poured herself a very large glass of wine, awaiting the arrival of her friend, the one she had blatantly broken the law for. The sound of the front door bell ripped her from her musings, opening the door Babs saw a very happy looking Nikki waiting to be invited in.

"Oh my lord Nikki, you look…….well I am not sure, but I've not seen you look so content ever, what's happened?" Babs said.

"Helen Parr!......that's what has happened, Oh Babs she has woken up, she's going to be fine, we talked and talked in the hospital and I am totally in love with her. She is very unhappy with Sean and I know we have only just met but I get the feeling she really likes me." Nikki then went on to tell Babs exactly what had happened at the Hospital.

"Wow, that's amazing Nikki, but please be careful, remember she is a married woman and no matter how unhappy she is it's still a world that is much more accepting than a lesbian relationship. I just don't want to see you hurt. Now end of lecture, let me get you a drink and I can show you the fruits of my illegal labours," Babs said raising an eyebrow.

Setting up the recording equipment Babs proceeded to play the various conversations she had discovered from the mobile numbers Nikki had given her.

"I knew I was right!" Nikki exploded out of her seat almost knocking over her cup of coffee, sheepishly she sat back down and said, "So these recordings show Jim Fenner ringing Sean before the fire to say what he was going to do and then again after he had set light to the house but before we got there. But I don't recognise the number Jim used." Nikki said confused.

"It's simple Nikki, he must have used a non registered phone then threw it away thinking it would cover his tracks but he forgets that Sean keeps his phone. Also I got the emergency call tape as well with the timing etc."

Nikki listened intently to the call, "It's definitely Jim Fenner and the timing means that he was at Helen's house at the time of the call, which means he had to have deliberately started the fire. Oh Babs thanks so much for doing this and I promise none of this will come back to you."

"Oh no need to worry about that," Babs said with an evil grin. "I used the password of a girl called Tessa Spall, so even if they notice someone has been browsing around it will lead straight back to her." Nikki looked at her enquiringly. "Well she is a bully and a thug who has been picking on a youngster called Rachel Hicks, so it would serve her right."



Sean sat in the kitchen of the house he had rented, he was lucky he had managed to get a house only about 4 doors down from his own raised home. At least I can keep an eye on the renovations he thought. He contemplated his day ahead.... Have breakfast, get petrol for the car, murder the wife and shag Dockley. Wow he smirked, busy day.

Walking towards the ICU Sean was intercepted by Yvonne who proceeded to give him an update on Helen's condition.

"Well Mr Parr, you will be delighted to hear that Helen has responded very well to all the medication. So much so that if we can arrange it with a local nurse to change her dressings daily she can go home later this afternoon," Yvonne beamed.

"Really? I thought she would be in for at least a week if not more. I mean it's not that I don't want her home but obviously I want her to be in the best place should she need medical care," Sean said officiously.

"I understand your concerns Mr Parr but the consultant saw her early this morning and fully examined her. He said that she was well enough to go home. So if you give me a few minutes, I can sort the paperwork for you to sign and confirm that the nurse has been contacted. If you come with me," Yvonne said not wanting to leave Sean alone with Helen.

As soon as Yvonne had learned that Helen would be leaving today she had phoned Nikki to let her know. Although Nikki was pleased she also shared her concerns with Yvonne about Helen being alone with Sean. They had talked long and hard about how they could rectify the problem without alarming Helen, coming up with the perfect solution, even though Nikki was apprehensive about the plan she readily agreed. Yvonne soon went to speak to Helen before Sean arrived to put their plan into place.

"Oh darling, I am so relieved you are awake, I thought I was going to lose you for a while, how are you? It's great news about you coming home today," Sean cooed as he leaned in for a kiss, not noticing Helen turning her head so he could only touch her cheek. "Yvonne has explained that the nurse will have to come around everyday and that someone needs to be with you at home for the first couple of weeks, you know in case you relapse. Well when I say home, I mean the rented house until ours is sorted."

"Hi Sean, I am still a bit sore and feel quite wobbly but I can't wait to get out of here," Helen replied, but thinking; I would rather be going home with Nikki. What the hell……..why are these thoughts coming into my mind? I have never been interested in women before, well not in that way.

"The only problem is that I have to go back to work tomorrow, which means I can't look after you, so I am not sure how we can organise this," Sean said hoping Helen would say she would ask to stay in hospital.

"Its ok Sean, I thought that might be the case so I have arranged for a friend to come around and sit with me, leaving you free to get back to your work routine. I think you know her," Helen said mustering the most innocent looking face she could manage without smirking.

Sean was perplexed, he knew that Helen didn't really have any friends and he had certainly sorted the parent situation. "Oh that's great, who is it?" Sean tried enthusiastically.

"Nikki Wade, you know the woman who saved my life, she was here this morning visiting her Aunty and when she saw I was awake she introduced herself to me. When I explained the situation to her she said she would be delighted to sit with me as she was currently suspended from work and needed something to fill her time," Helen smiled, knowing Sean could not disagree with the arrangements.

"Nikki Wade," Sean said with thinly veiled animosity. "Yeah, that sounds like a plan but darling you hardly know the woman, are you sure?"

"Well if I can't trust or be friends with someone who saved my life then it is a sad world don't you think?" Helen said and then quickly adding, "I feel safe with Nikki and I am sure it will help calm me when I get the flash backs because she was actually there."

"Ok, point taken Hells, let's get you home." Sean knew he couldn't say anything or it would arouse Helen's curiosity.



Nikki was pottering around the house, doing everything and nothing but she didn't care, she was going to spend the next two weeks in the company of a certain sexy, green eyed Scotswoman. She could barely contain her excitement and happiness, wishing it was tomorrow already.

Settling down on the sofa she absently flicked through the channels stopping at an old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby "Road To" film. Just then her mobile beeped, looking down she was delighted to see Helen's number flash up with a message:

See you at 9.00 am tomorrow, Sean not happy but I don't care! Miss you and take care ….Hx

Wow she misses me and I get a kiss, Nikki quickly typed back:

Miss you more…lol…Can't wait wish it was tomorrow already. Please be careful, will explain more when I see you…… Love Nxxx.

Helen smiled as she read Nikki's message, wow she said she misses me, sends her love and 3 kisses. Testing back, Helen wrote:

I will Nikki, sleep well…..Love Hxxxx

4 kisses! Always got to go one better Nikki thought happily. As much as she would like to sit texting Helen all night she knew she had to get some sleep, the flirting could begin in earnest tomorrow. But try as she might she couldn't help herself to one last text:

I will try to sleep well but don't like waking up alone…boo hoo. Anyway nite, nite Helen…..Love Nikkixxxx.

Sean walked into the bedroom just as Helen was going to return Nikki's text. "Who you texting?" Sean asked.

Seeing no reason to lie, "Just Nikki to confirm what time she can come around tomorrow. I told her around 9 as you will be leaving for work at 8.30," Helen said.

"Oh ok, but Hells I am sure we can find someone else to look after you, what about Marilyn, you know Jim's wife?" Sean tried.

Trying to think quickly to scupper Sean's plan Helen said, "There are two reasons why that plan is no good, one, I hardly know Marilyn and two she works Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the local Library."

"Oh yes I forgot about that, never mind it was just a thought," said a defeated Sean as he walked into the bathroom.

Quickly grabbing her phone, Helen texted:

Awww poor baby, can't imagine someone as beautiful as you waking up alone very often….nite, nite sweetheart….Love Hxxxxx

Sending it before she lost courage and also before Sean came back, tucking the phone underneath her pillow Helen snuggled down into bed.

Nikki just stared at the phone, she thinks I am beautiful and 5 kisses, with that Nikki placed the phone on her pillow and fell asleep with a big smile on her face.



Stopping outside Helen's house, Nikki got off her Harley and pulled her helmet off. Running her fingers through her hair trying to bring it to some kind of ruffled style; she checked herself in the bike's mirrors and strolled towards the front door. Taking a deep breathe she composed herself as much as she could before pressing the bell.

"It's ok darling…I'll get it," Nikki could hear Sean's voice on the other side of the door.

"Hi Nikki, come in," Sean said with false enthusiasm in his voice and reaching out to shake Nikki's hand. Nikki reached out her hand knowing what would happen next. Sean grabbed it as hard as he could but wasn't expecting the crushing grip he received in return. They held on for a good 30 seconds before Sean tried to release the grip but Nikki was having none of it, holding on until Sean's hand turned white.

Smiling at his discomfort, Nikki said, "Hi Sean, good to see you, bet you are glad Helen is ok and back at home?"

"Of course, goes without saying Nikki," Sean said, "Look Nikki I am going to come straight to the point here, I am not happy with these arrangements, especially in light of your suspension but Helen is adamant. All I am saying is that I don't want any funny business ok?"

"What funny business would that be Sean? You mean like the funny business you tried on me at the club the other night? Don't threaten me Sean, it doesn't work mate and I am sure Helen is enough of her own woman to choose her friends, so why don't you just piss off you poor excuse for a human being," Nikki said in a whisper.

"Just watch your back Wade," Sean snarled as he pushed past her on his way out the door, shouting over his shoulder, "Helen!…..Nikki is here, bye I am off to work."

"Ok…I will be there in a moment," Helen called.

Making her way down the stairs Helen looked towards the front door, her breath hitched in her throat as she laid eyes on Nikki dressed in leather jacket and leather trousers. She had never seen such a sexually arousing sight in all her life and had to physically stop herself from grabbing Nikki and kissing her senseless. Helen had a very pragmatic outlook on sexuality, although she had never found women sexually attractive before, she knew that right here and right now she was extremely attracted to Nikki. When they had spoken in the hospital about relationships it had not escaped Helen's notice that Nikki had not been gender specific about hers, which, in Helen's experience normally screamed that the partner was almost certainly the same sex. Helen smiled at her own deduction and as soon as she saw Nikki's eyes looking up at her she knew immediately that Nikki felt the same way but she had the feeling that Nikki would not make a move unless encouraged. Well thought Helen: I will give her all the encouragement she can handle and that would start right now.

"Hi Nikki," purred Helen, "Love the leathers, you look amazing." Helen walked towards Nikki and wrapped her arms around her for a hug, Helen's breath hitched as she inhaled Nikki's fresh perfume and the smell of leather, turning her face she placed a chaste kiss on Nikki's cheek.

"Hi Helen, you look amazing…..I..I..I mean well, yeah you look rested," stuttered Nikki as she was enveloped into the arms of the woman she had fallen head over heels in love with. Nikki physically shook when Helen's lips touched her cheek, she knew that Helen could not miss her reaction so she pulled back holding eye contact and saw her own arousal reflected in the deep green eyes staring back at her. Nikki thought: There is no way this woman is as straight as I thought, she feels the same way I do, but I bet she will not make the first move. I will take it slow and let her set the pace with this.

As they stepped away from each other, they both said at the same time, "Nice hug!" Bursting out laughing Helen grabbed Nikki's hand and led her to the living room.



"So, how are you feeling today?" Nikki said as she sat down on the sofa with Helen close by almost touching shoulders.

"I feel much better than I thought I would and I slept really well which surprised me. Thank you so much for your texts last night they had a lovely calming effect on me," Helen smiled.

"You are very welcome," Nikki said automatically.

"Would you like a coffee, tea or something else?" Helen asked rising from the sofa.

Nikki's face flushed red and a little smirk appeared on her face as she thought: Something else!.... something else!

"Erm…….coffee would be nice, thanks Helen," she said still sitting.

"Ok, no problem, come, come with me to the kitchen," Helen said holding out her hand. Taking it gently Nikki dutifully followed her into the kitchen thinking how natural it felt being this physically close to Helen and how at ease Helen was about it.

Helen moved efficiently around the kitchen, quickly producing a steaming hot cup of coffee for Nikki who sat patiently at the breakfast bar. It did not go unnoticed by Helen that Nikki hadn't taken her eyes off her the whole time, which gave Helen a warm feeling inside, knowing someone felt so strongly for her.

Grabbing her own coffee Helen moved a stool close to Nikki and sat down so their thighs were touching. Both women could feel the heat building but neither pulled away from the intimate gesture.

Not really wanting to break the moment but feeling that one of them should say something, Nikki said, "So, how's things going with Sean then?"

"Not good, he hasn't really changed he's still the same person I married, but I don't like that person anymore and I fell out of love with him ages ago. I mean I must have loved him when we got married but looking back I think I only did it because I felt a pressure to produce grandchildren," Helen sighed.

Inside Nikki was cheering, it was exactly what she wanted to hear, normally she felt sad when couples ended up in this situation but in this case she was overjoyed. "Oh, I am so sorry Helen, I know how hard it is when you have invested so much in a relationship and it hits a rocky patch," Nikki sympathised. Feeling she had to support Helen she said "I am sure you will both work it out."

"That's just it Nikki, it's not a rocky patch and the way he has reacted to me nearly losing my life has made me make up my mind that I don't want to be his wife anymore. I just need to find the right time to tell him and make arrangements for somewhere to stay." Helen explained.

"Well Helen, you seem to have put a lot of thought into this and appear very certain about all of it. If that is the case you are very welcome to come and stay at my house after you tell him. I know it is a very private thing you are going through but I want you to know I am here for you," Nikki said taking Helen's soft delicate hand into her own, absently brushing her thumb in circles on the palm of her hand.

"Oh, thank you so much Nikki, it means so much to me to know I have someone I can lean on," Helen said looking down at her hand in Nikki's feeling the arousal building. "But before I do anything else can I ask you a very personal question?"

"Sure Helen, anything apart from where all my money is hidden," Nikki said trying to keep the situation light.

"Well…….the way you act around me and look at me… are you gay?" Helen said looking deep into Nikki's eyes.

The question caught Nikki off guard and she immediately tried to withdraw her hand but Helen held on tight. Dreading Helen's reaction but knowing she had to be completely honest, Nikki said, "Yes I am, but why do you want to know, is it a problem?"

Leaning forward, Helen lowered her voice and whispered into Nikki's ear, "So I can do this." Helen reached up cupping Nikki's face in her hands, moving slowly forward but all the time keeping her eyes locked on Nikki's, Helen gently touched Nikki's swollen lips with her own. Letting out a low moan Nikki pressed her lips harder onto Helen's and was rewarded with a noise so loaded with arousal Nikki could have thrown her on the breakfast bar there and then. Helen reached up grabbing the back of Nikki's head, entangling her strong fingers in the small curls which ran just above her neck line, holding her firmly where she wanted her. Letting out a gasp Nikki felt her synapses all firing at once, she had never felt so out of control of her own body, knowing Helen was reacting the same way made her core throb with excitement. Running her tongue along Helen's bottom lip she was granted access and they both commenced the slow sensual massage of each others mouths. Pushing her body closer to Helen she could feel Helen's nipples harden through the thin material of the vest top, which served to encourage Nikki into yet a deeper kiss.

Feeling that if she did not break the kiss now, she would not be able to control her actions and take Helen there in the Kitchen. Nikki wanted their first time to be special and when Helen was fully ready and free of that prick Sean. Pulling away, Nikki immediately felt a loss and the cold air that rushed between them making her shudder.

"Oh..my..god..Helen!" Was all Nikki could think to say as she looked up into the most beautiful dilated green eyes staring back at her shining with unadulterated love and desire in them.

Helen could hardly get her breath, all she could manage to do was stare at Nikki, she knew she would never be the same again and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this striking woman.



Jim was sick and tired of Sean moaning about his money worries and his master plan of getting rid of Helen. Unfortunately he was in it up to his neck so didn't have the luxury of telling him to piss off big style. He was prepared to finish this job and help Sean get his money but then he would end their friendship. He looked up from his pint as the pub door swung open, right on time Sean made his way to the bar, ordered his usual drink and made his way to the table Jim occupied.

"Ok mate?" Sean tried nonchalantly.

"Not really, no I'm not. I am fed up with this Sean, the longer it goes on the more chance we have of being found out. I will help you finish this and get the money you promised me but that's it as far as "we" are concerned……ok," Jim said staring into Sean's eyes without blinking.

Sean put his hands up in mock surrender, trying to lighten the mood but looking at the older man her knew Jim was deadly serious. Sean knew he couldn't do this on his own so decided there and then to agree to Jim's terms.

"Ok, ok…..I am sorry mate, you have helped more than you will ever know so far. I agree, let's end this once and for all. I have been thinking about what to do next," Sean said with more confidence than he felt.

"God….you don't know how long I have wanted to do that," Nikki said looking deep into Helen's eyes.

"No I don't ……tell me Nikki…..how long?" Helen said placing her hand on Nikki's thigh, both women could feel the warmth beginning to build and Nikki felt as though someone had placed a red hot poker on her leg.

"Well it was when you last visited that toss…..sorry, Sean at the Fire Station, It was love at first sight for me Helen. I am sorry to lay this on you so quickly but I just had to tell you how I truly feel about you," Nikki explained holding her head low not knowing what type of response she would get from the beautiful Scot sitting beside her.

"I never saw you at the Fire Station when I went to visit that tosser….sorry the man I married. Oh Nikki………I feel exactly the same, when I looked into your eyes at the fire I knew then I had to find you. I love you too sweetheart," Helen said pulling Nikki into another passionate kiss.

"So, what now?" Nikki asked. "I mean, I don't want to rush you into anything and am more than happy to take things slowly."

"Yeah…dead slow," Helen said seductively as she moved towards Nikki with desire in her eyes.

Stepping backwards, Nikki laughed knowing what Helen had in mind. "No seriously Helen. I think you should come and stay with me for a while, no strings attached while you work out what you want to do and it would be safer."

Frowning, Helen looked at Nikki and could see concern in her eyes, "Ok Nikki, time to start telling me what's going on. This is the second time you have voiced your concern over my safety, so come on what has brought all this on?"

Nikki had hoped that the tests on the soot would be back by now so she would have irrefutable evidence of what Sean and Jim had done but she knew she had to tell Helen what she had found out so far.

Helen just sat there with her mouth open. "Helen…..darling, please talk to me, say something, anything, tell me you believe me," Nikki said pleadingly, taking her hand.

"That utter bastard!" Helen exploded. All sorts of things were whizzing around her head but one thing was absolutely clear, she knew without a doubt that what Nikki had just told her was totally true. Knowing she had to show Nikki that she believed her Helen said, "Darling, all you have just told me explains everything that has happened so far. I have to get out of here before he comes home tonight or God knows what he might do."

Letting out a big sigh of relief, Nikki took Helen into her arms, inhaling the citrus smell of Helen's hair she said, "Thank God you believe me Helen, I have been agonising over telling you in order to make you safe but at the same time worried sick that you wouldn't believe me. Don't worry my love I will look after you, I won't let Sean or Jim get within 5 feet of you." Helen stared into the tall dark woman's eyes and saw the determined look of an unrelenting protector and complete love.



Walking down the garden path towards his front door, Sean had a smile on his face. He had agreed a plan of action with Jim, he knew all his problems would be over by the end of the evening, Helen would be dead, he would be free of debt and be free to do what he wanted.

Opening the front door he shouted, "Hi darling it's me, your adorable and loving husband!" He was met by a wall of silence and an obviously empty house. Oh, she must be out shopping or in the garden he mused, but this line of thought was quickly blown out of the water when he spotted an envelope neatly propped against a cup in the centre of the breakfast bar. Sean grabbed the envelope with shaking hands, ripping it open he read the contents:

Dear Sean

It's probably quite obvious to you by now that I am not here!!

Sean, we both know that things have not been right between us for quite some time now. I think the fire really brought home to me how short life is and that I should make the most out of what time I have.

I am sorry to have to tell you this by way of a letter and yes I suppose it is the cowards way but I am not in love with you and to be completely honest knowing what I do now I don't think I have ever been truly in love with you.

Before you ask, yes I have met someone else who I fully intend sharing the rest of my life with and someone who has shown me what love is really all about. I believe that in life you have a soul mate and I have found mine, a person I feel safe with and who loves me back with equal intensity.

I have taken a few things to tide me over and will arrange a mutually convenient time with you to collect the rest of my stuff. I will be in touch with Claire my solicitor friend from uni shortly, so we can divide our belongings etc and begin divorce proceeding as soon as possible so we can both move on with our lives.

Please do not try to find me and try to get me to change my mind, IT JUST WON'T WORK. If any post comes for me please will you forward it to Claire until I can come up with a better arrangement?

Take care Sean, I wish you well for the future


"The bloody bitch!" Sean screamed as he ripped up the letter and threw the pieces on the floor. He was absolutely livid, how dare she leave him, nobody was as good as him and what about the money. Thinking quickly he knew he would have to act fast before she changed her will. Picking up his mobile phone he dialled a well know number.

"Hi Sean, what can I do you for?" said Jim. He had just had a very pleasant encounter with Shell Dockley and was feeling very relaxed and amiable.

"You will never guess what? The bitch has only gone and left me, that's what she's done. What the hell are we going to do now?" Sean bellowed.

"Well for one thing, you are going to calm down, ok? Let's think about this rationally, the money's going nowhere today is it? She can't change her will; all the solicitors will be closed by now, so that's one thing. Now think carefully Sean, where could she have gone to?" Jim said in an encouraging tone, even though he felt like giving Sean a bloody good hiding.

"Well she can't go to her parents, I sorted that problem a while ago," Sean laughed.

"Will you be serious, if we don't get this sorted quickly you know those thugs won't wait forever for that money we owe them, think man!" Jim shouted finally losing his patience with the younger man.

"Ok.ok….. erm, she won't be at Claire's as she is away till the weekend skiing. She hasn't really got any other friends she could call upon because I deliberately ostracised them from Helen," Sean explained. Then a sick feeling spread throughout his body as realisation dawned. "Oh Christ no."

"What is it mate? Have you worked it out!" Jim asked.

"I think she has gone off with that dyke Nikki Wade. It all makes sense now, the times at the hospital, they must have got chatting and then when Nikki said she would look after Helen, I just didn't think anything of it. But looking back Wade has been acting strange towards me and we did have a bit of a stand off in the hall when she arrived this morning," Sean whined.

"Ok then that settles it, I will get Wade's address from the Personnel records. We will pop around, check that Helen and that dyke are shacking up, wait until they are all snuggled up in bed and torch the place. Both problems solved," Jim said as though writing a mental Christmas list.



Opening the front door, Nikki led an emotional Helen into the lounge and sat her down. She turned on her heels, heading for the kitchen to get them both a large glass of wine, she had a feeling it was exactly what they both needed right now. Handing the wine to Helen she sat down beside her and waited for Helen to start putting all the pieces together.

"You know Nikki, I've been thinking, I wouldn't be surprised if that bastard had something to do with my parents death. I've had my suspicions but have always tried to put that thought out of my head. But after what has happened here, it just makes me wonder," Helen said in a melancholy voice.

"I know what you mean darling. I am sure that when I get the final soot analysis and take all the evidence to the Police, we can ask them to have the case re-opened. Ok?" Nikki said softly.

Pulling Helen into her arms, Nikki held her as the inevitable tears came that she had obviously been storing up for quite sometime, probably since her parents had died. Nikki knew that this was not a time for talking, all Helen needed was to be wrapped in her protective arms and the opportunity to let out all the pent up emotions.

About an hour later Helen pulled away from Nikki. "Thank you so much sweetheart, you know exactly what I need. I must look an absolute mess," Helen said as she looked directly into the rich chocolate brown eyes of the woman she loved as much as life it's self.

"You always look gorgeous to me Helen," Nikki said as she brushed her swollen lips against Helen's earlobe. Helen let out an involuntary shudder and reached up to cup Nikki's beautiful face in her hands.

Helen's breathing increased rapidly with each passing second, "God you are beautiful," she said just before capturing Nikki's lips with her own. Nikki immediately reacted by running her tongue along Helen's top lip and was granted access, smooth strong strokes by both women, neither wanting to win the tongue battle but neither wanting it to end. Gently pushing Nikki back onto the sofa Helen straddled her soon to be lover, Nikki's automatic reaction was to push herself upwards, pressing into Helen's hot centre as she reached up to touch Helen's erect breasts. Nikki was rewarded by a loud gasp and Helen whispering "I want you." This only sought to spur Nikki on as she rocked rhythmically against Helen.

"Oh God………harder Nikki, harder baby," said Helen breathily. Nikki quickly realised how excited Helen was and although she would love to bring Helen crashing over with an almighty orgasm she wanted their first time to be special, not on her old sofa. With that thought in mind Nikki slowed down to a stop and looked up at a very turned on, heavy lidded Helen.

"Nikki….what the fu.." Helen said barely getting the words out.

"Darling you will probably think I am toying with you, getting you so worked up and then stopping," Nikki said dropping her eyes to the floor. "But I want our first time together to be special; I want to give you everything you deserve and more when it happens."

Almost lost for words at her lover's obvious thoughtfulness, Helen said "I do to Nikki, it's just that I find you absolutely irresistible and I can't help myself. But do agree we should make our first time special." With that Helen leapt up saying "So what's for tea, I am starving!"

Laughing our loud, Nikki grabbed Helen's hand and led her to the kitchen; she was just about to reach into the fridge when her mobile chirped loudly.

"Hi Babs! You will never guess who I've got staying…… Oh very clever, never could pull the wool over your eyes. So how can I help? Oh right," Nikki said as she looked across at Helen's back disappearing behind the fridge door.

"Darling?" Nikki said to Helen, "I've just got to take this call from Babs, I'm just popping into the lounge as there's a much better reception at the front of the house, ok?"

"Sure babe, but don't be long," Helen said suggestively grabbing at Nikki's perfectly rounded bottom.

As she rounded the corner into the lounge Nikki said in a low voice "Ok, ok calm down and tell me again from the beginning Babs."



"Its number 36, just along there," said Sean to a pensive looking Jim as they drove slowly along the street. It was just as well he had access to all the fire fighters personal records or they would be right up shit creek without a paddle and would never have found NIkki's house.

"There it is, there it is!" exclaimed Sean like an excited school boy.

"For God's sake Sean, will you calm down and get a grip man, it's not like a day out at the zoo you know," said an exasperated Jim. Sean looked over at his friend, apologising profusely.

"Ok, we should park over there. We can watch the house and see if they are both there. Once we know for sure then its burn baby burn, goodbye bitches and hello money," said Sean without a hint of emotion, which sent a shiver down Jim's spine.

Just as they had both settled down for what they thought would be a long boring stakeout, the front door of Nikki's house opened. Helen and Nikki emerged, heading straight for the car, opening the boot they grabbed some of Helen's belongings and went back into the house.

"That bitch! I knew she would be here with that dyke, come one lets do this now," Sean shouted.

"If you don't calm down I am going home and leave you to get on with it on your own. You know we will have to wait until it is dark, we can't afford to be seen in any way, shape or form. For God sake Sean will you focus here," Jim said impatiently.

"Sorry…sorry. It just makes my blood boil, how she could be brain washed by Wade when she has a proper man at home. Yeah, yeah, you are right as always," said Sean. Jim bit back a sarcastic response about Sean being a proper man.

Helen put her bag on the bedroom floor as they both started to get undressed, Nikki couldn't help but take a sneaky peak at Helen's smooth back and perfectly formed arse. Helen obviously had the same thought as she turned around catching Nikki red handed. They burst out laughing but soon stopped as they both took in the naked beauty of each other. Striding across to where Nikki was standing Helen pulled her into a tight embrace, brushing her lips against Nikki's sensitive neck, which immediately left a trail of goose bumps and elicited a hitched breath from an aroused Nikki.

"Are you sure you are ok with this?" Nikki said.

"I am sure sweetheart, I trust you implicitly. I would do anything for you my love," Helen said in a low whisper which only added fuel to Nikki's fire of desire.

"Come on then, lets try to get some sleep, we have got a busy day tomorrow," Nikki said as she turned switching out the light.



Just as Sean was taking a sip of coffee he saw the light go out in what he assumed was the main bedroom, this only fuelled his anger as it was obvious that they were both in the same room. He decided to keep that assumption to himself as he thought Jim would really get annoyed if he got agitated again.

"Look Jim the light has gone out, come on," said Sean as calmly as he could.

"Wait, wait, lets give them an hour to fall asleep then we will make our move," Jim said in a voice that implied there was no further discussion to be had about the subject.

The next hour passed slowly for Sean, all he wanted was for all this to end, so he could walk away a free, rich man. He was startled out of his thoughts when he heard the car door being opened.

"Come on, stop day dreaming, its time, get your gloves on and grab the stuff," said Jim as though he was organising some gardening to be done.

Quickly and silently they both went about their tasks. Grabbing the gear from the back of Jim's car they set it down at the side of the house, out of the way of the prying eyes of the neighbours. They had already scoped out the back door, ensuring there was no way out, so they could concentrate on pouring the accelerant through the letter box only, light it and get away as soon as possible.

Nikki was sharply woken by Helen jerking against her emitting a loud hacking cough; rubbing her back Nikki passed her a glass of water. She thought it was likely that this cough would continue for some weeks until Helen's system had recovered fully from the fire.

Both men stood back as Sean prepared to strike the match. "Well Nikki and Helen I hope you enjoy the rest of your lives together, not that it will be for very much longer," Sean said with barely contained animosity.

As the match sparked into life both men jumped at the sound of a voice behind them.

"I will take that Mr Parr. Mr Fenner, please do not make a move," said the deep voice. As both men turned around they came face to face with a tall man in a dark suit, behind him were 6 policemen.

Sean immediately knew the game was up and knew it was a matter of damage limitations he exclaimed "Its was him! He made me do it, he made me do all of it, the parents, our home, Helen and here, it was all him."

Jim just stood there not believing how easily his so called best friend had betrayed him. He knew at that precise minute it would be his word against Sean's and that he would not get the opportunity to see Sean again. Turning round to face the younger man, clenching his fist around his car keys he swung his arm back and threw his fist towards Sean's face. The sound that followed was the most satisfying Jim had heard in a long time, a crunch and then a scream. Looking up Jim immediately saw that Sean's nose and cheek bone were broken but worse than that a car key was sticking into his right eye. Eye for an eye thought Jim, justice is done whatever happened now.



Nikki was awoken by the persistent ringing of her mobile, she tried to move but had no chance as she looked down to see a sleeping Helen tightly wrapped around her body. Nikki thought she had never seen a more beautiful sight and felt so content that she almost forgot about the phone.

Extracting herself reluctantly from Helen's vice like grip she reached across for her phone. "Hello, Nikki Wade here," Nikki said hesitantly as she did not recognise the number which flashed up before her face.

Listening intently to the caller recounting the events which happened only minutes before, Nikki did not notice Helen stirring and trying to hear what was being said.

"Thank you, oh God, thank you. Yes, I will be in later to give you everything I have," Nikki said pressing her finger on the end call button. As she turned to Helen the tears she had managed to hold back during the telephone conversation spilled down her face and wracking sobs exploded from her tight chest.

"What is it, what is the matter?" a concerned Helen asked Nikki, pulling her into a warm embrace.

Several minutes later when Nikki had calmed down she looked up into the gorgeous green eyes that had captured her heart so totally.

"My darling…..it's…it's all over. The Police caught them red handed trying to burn down my house. I am so glad Babs was still listening in on their telephone conversations and tipped us off or we would probably be dead by now," Nikki said with obvious relief in her eyes.

"I told you I trusted you sweetheart, when you told me earlier we were in danger I knew I would follow you to the ends of the earth my darling," Helen said.

"Helen? There is something else I have to tell you," Nikki said with sadness in her voice. "The Detective told me that Sean sang like a canary when they arrested him and he has tried to blame Jim for the death of your parents. Obviously the Detective thinks they were both involved but at least they will re-open the case and you can have proper closure."

Even though Helen had her suspicions about their deaths she did not know how hard it would hit her to find out the truth. She threw herself into Nikki's arms.

"Darling we will need to go to the Police station tomorrow. I need to hand over all the evidence and we need to make statements, is that ok?" Nikki asked.

Helen wiped her eyes and looked into Nikki's. She wished the whole world would just go away so she could spend the rest of her life looking into those chocolate pools. "Earth calling Helen, earth calling Helen," Nikki said smiling.

"Sorry my love, I get a little bit distracted when I look into those amazing eyes of yours. Yes of course, we will go there first thing. I want to get it over and done with."



Sitting in Helen's red Peugeot they both took deep sighs and gathered their thoughts about the task ahead. Grabbing Helen's delicate hand in hers Nikki said, "Darling, I am always here for you and I will be your strength in there. I love you so much, I know it is going to be difficult but just remember what those two bastards tried to do to us and you will get through it, ok ?"

Helen looked over at Nikki and smiled. Before Nikki knew what happened Helen grabbed her head and gave her a deep passionate kiss. Pulling back breathlessly, Helen said, "That's better, now I can face them."

"When this is all over, I am going to show you a good time," Nikki said with thinly veiled desire.

"I hope so," said Helen in a husky whisper, raising her eyebrows.

They walked towards the old red brick Police Station hand in hand, climbing up the front steps they were met by a tall man in a dark suit. Reaching out to shake Nikki's hand he introduced himself. "Hi, you must be Nikki and Helen, my name is Detective Neil Grayling." He led them towards an interview room and went off to get them coffees.

"Ok then," the Detective started as he came through the door with 3 steaming hot coffees, "what have you got for me then?"

Nikki pushed forward the package that contained the tape recordings of all the telephone conversations between the two men and the analysis of the soot which came by post that morning. Keeping her hand on the package, Nikki said, "You can only have this if you promise not to ask how I came by the telephone recordings?"

"That might be difficult but I will do my utmost. But to be perfectly honest we have enough evidence without those because Sean is blaming everything on Jim and Jim is blaming everything on Sean. They are both giving us slightly different details, which basically implicates both of them," he smiled at them.

"That's fantastic news isn't it darling," said an ecstatic Helen. Forgetting where she was she planted a big kiss on a stunned Nikki. Sheepishly looking up at the Detective Nikki said, "Sorry about that, it's just been a bit tense recently."

"Its ok, I would be the same if the same thing happened to my boyfriend," said Detective Grayling with a big smile on his face. "Right, let's get these statements done so you can get home."

About two hours later Nikki and Helen had signed off their statements and were just leaving the interview room, when they heard a commotion down the corridor.

"You bitch, I will kill you, don't think I can't get to you, I know people!" Sean spat, his face contorted in unsuppressed anger and hatred.

Not wanting to miss this final chance, Nikki shouted back, "We will look you up in about…..let me think about it for a minute……oh yeah, you will get life in prison, so that will be never, you piece of shit." This statement was met by a number of policemen and women whooping and clapping as Sean was roughly led away.



Opening the front door of the house Nikki took hold of Helen's hand and pulled her inside. "Are you ok baby?" she said looking into Helen's lovely green eyes.

"Yes sweetheart, I'm fine now that that bastard is locked up and I can get on with my life with you," Helen replied.

"Are you sure you want to spend the rest of your life with me? I mean it would be so much easier for you to be with a man……more socially acceptable I mean," Nikki said looking down.

Stepping forward Helen cupped Nikki's chin in her hand and tipped her face upwards so she could look into those chocolate puppy eyes, "I know about societies prejudices Nikki but I don't want a man…..I want a woman," said Helen with conviction.

Nikki's breath hitched in her throat, not being able to hold back any longer she pushed Helen back against the front door. Seeing the mirrored desire in Helen's eyes she pressed her entire body against Helen's, she took possession of her mouth. Helen moaned out loud as she sucked Nikki's swollen bottom lip between her own, Nikki brought her thigh towards Helen, pushing it hard against her hot centre.

Helen responded by letting out a guttural moan, "Oh God Nikki…..please," she managed to say as she rode Nikki's thigh. "I …..I want you…..NOW!"

Nikki had never been so turned on in all her life and was so distracted in trying to please Helen she almost missed what Helen was saying. But she did hear, pulling away from Helen, she said "Oh my God Helen, if we don't move away soon I am going to make love to you right here in the hallway."

Grasping Helen's hand, Nikki led her up the stairs, "Are you sure about this, we can take it slow you know, I can wait until you are ready," Nikki said hoping to God that Helen would not want to wait because she was unsure if she could stop now even if she wanted to.

"Darling, believe me I am more than ready……………feel this," Helen said as she grabbed Nikki's hand, lifted her skirt and plunged Nikki's hand into her silken briefs. Nikki gasped out loud as she felt the wetness of Helen's core flowing freely over her trembling fingertips.

Nikki could not restrain herself any longer; she pushed Helen gently back onto the bed. Nikki knew there and then she had never seen such a beautiful sight; a fully aroused Helen set her own heart on fire. "Come here NOW! As much as I love you staring at me darling I need a more hands on application right now," Helen said in a low whisper. Moving onto the bed Nikki straddled her, grabbing at Helen's blouse she ripped it apart sending pearl white buttons flying across the room, before Helen could protest Nikki had already reached forward and was kneading Helen's erect nipples through her lacy bra. Letting out a low moan only encouraged Nikki's ministrations, gently unhooking Helen's bra she freed the perfectly formed olive breasts. She immediately dropped her head, taking a puckered nipple into her mouth, rolling her tongue expertly around the tip whilst sucking hard. This obviously had the desired effect as Helen's hips started bucking upwards beneath her.

"Oh God, oh yes, oh yes baby," were the only words Helen could manage but these were enough for Nikki. She decided it was unfair that Helen's other breast had been neglected so far and proceeded to make up for her omission. Helen was so aroused, deciding she wanted Nikki to take route one she grabbed Nikki's hair she pushed her downwards.

Pulling back Nikki said, "No darling, I said I was going to show you a good time and I meant it…..nice and slow, you will thank me for it later." With that she rose up, planting feather light kisses on Helen's stomach, moving down to her navel she dipped her tongue inside giving Helen an idea of the delights to come.

"I need to touch your skin and feel it on mine," Helen said hoarsely. Smiling, Nikki knelt upwards, removed her shirt and black sports bra and threw them across the room. Whilst she was distracted Helen had begun unbuttoning Nikki's jeans, reaching in past her briefs Helen's fingers met with Nikki's saturated silken folds. "Oooooooooh God Helen," Nikki cried throwing her head back.

"Oh no you don't," Nikki said grabbing Helen's hand, "time to get you out of that skirt," both working faster than they thought possible, they were naked staring in awe at each others beautiful forms, Nikki tall and athletic, Helen petite and feminine. Nikki took Helen's leg in her hands and began planting butterfly kisses to the inside of her ankle, looking up she could see Helen's head tip back and her back arching, thrusting herself up towards Nikki.

Moving slowly up Helen's leg she could hear Helen's breathing increase rapidly. "Nikki darling I don't think I can wait any longer!" Helen cried. Sod taking it slowly thought Nikki as she reached up and ran her fingers along the wet silken folds tempting her so wantonly, stopping at Helen's swollen and fully aroused clit she started a slow circular movement.

"Oh God baby, yes! That's it please darling, please don't stop!" Helen screamed. Nikki had no such intentions and with that she plunged two fingers into Helen's soaked core, pumping them in and out with long slow strokes. Helen let out a long low moan, "Oooooooh God, harder Nikki, harder baby," she growled. Nikki needed no further encouragement and duly added a third finger bringing her thumb to rest on Helen's clit. Making a figure of eight movement, she could feel Helen tensing around her fingers as Helen's hips bucked harder to take as much of her lover as she could.

"That's it, that's it baby, oh God that's sooooo good, oh yes, oh fu….." Helen moaned. Nikki could wait no longer she had to taste Helen's nectar now. Replacing her thumb with her tongue Nikki continued the circular movement driving Helen wild. Nikki almost cried out as Helen's juices flowed into her mouth, she was so sweet, just like the early morning dew that captures the first rays of sunshine. Feeling Nikki's tongue on her clit was enough to send Helen crashing over the edge of an enormous orgasm, pushing her hips towards Nikki's face, wave upon wave of strong tremors caused her to come 2 more times. "Oh yessssssssss baby," was all Helen could manage before she sank back on the bed completely sated.

Smiling to herself, Nikki crawled back up the bed and spooned beside her lover. She was just going to ask Helen if she was ok when she heard a little snore come from the beautiful Scot. Nikki couldn't help but laugh at her lover, she quickly realised that the last few weeks had finally caught up with Helen and coupled with the sexual release her lover was at peace. Snuggling up to Helen, Nikki's breath quickly fell in tandem and she was soon fast asleep.



Feeling someone watching her, Helen quickly sat up in the strange bed and looked around, her heart beating rapidly. "Hey whoa there, it's ok darling," a voice beside her said.

Turning and seeing Nikki she realised it wasn't a dream what had happened the night before, quickly calming down she slid down beside Nikki and wrapped her in a bone crunching embrace, "Good morning my lover," Helen said.

"Oooh I like that name, I like it a lot," said Nikki nuzzling Helen's soft sensuous neck.

"Oh God, oh no!" Helen said pulling back, covering her face with her hands.

"What is it? what's the matter? Please don't say you regret last night, please don't," said Nikki, her heart almost breaking.

Looking at her lover's face full of concern Helen said, "No sweetheart, I don't regret a single thing. I am upset because I can't believe I fell asleep on you the minute I had had the most unbelievable orgasm in my entire life. You are amazing."

Nikki looked into Helen's eyes and saw a mixture of embarrassment coupled with a sparkle of impishness. "So are you darling," she started, "Its ok, I just think everything caught up with you at once, emotionally and physically. Anyway you have the rest of your life to make it up to me and believe me I won't let you forget it."

"Oh well if that's the case, I had better start making amends now," said Helen as she pulled the duvet over them and moved down Nikki's lithe body.

The shrill ringing of Nikki's mobile wrenched her from the peaceful slumber she had found herself in. Reaching across Helen she picked it up from the bedside cabinet, "Yes, who is it?" a sleepy Nikki asked not recognising the number.

All Nikki could hear was heavy breathing at the end of the phone then a voice she recognised immediately, "Hello dyke, just because I am in here doesn't mean I can't get to you and that bitch I used to call a wife you know," Sean said menacingly.

Not wanting to wake or upset Helen, Nikki quietly got out of bed and went to the bathroom. "Look here, you piece of shit, you come near us or send anyone after us I will personally make it my life's aim to make your time in prison absolute hell," Nikki said making a threat she had no influence over to make happen.

"Well bring it on you pervert, I will make you both pay and then some. By the time I have finished with you, you are gonna beg me to have you killed," Sean finished slamming the phone down.

The tap at the bathroom door brought her out of her musings, as a sleepy Helen looked at Nikki's pale face, asking her what was wrong and who was on the phone. Nikki knew she could not keep this from Helen no matter how much she wanted to protect her. She wanted no secrets between them so she explained what had just happened.

"The bastard! He just doesn't know when to give up does he? Listen darling, he is all talk, the only friend he has is Jim and he's not exactly in a position to do anything is he? Come on lets go take our minds off all of this," Helen soothed.

Calming down considerably Nikki said, "I suppose not, it's just that it freaked me out and I thought we had left all that behind." Taking Helen into her arms she said wiggling her eyebrows "Well there is one thing that will take my mind off all this."

"Oh is that right?" Helen said pushing Nikki back hard against the bathroom door. Smiling Helen dropped to her knees and quickly forced Nikki's strong legs apart.

"Helen, what are you do…….." was all Nikki managed to say as Helen's tongue snaked into her soaking core, before moving slowly and deeply forward towards her throbbing clit. Nikki's hips jerked towards her lover's face and began a dance of their own, Helen loved the feeling of Nikki's taut thighs tightening around her face, holding her in place.

"Ohhhhhh my God, Helen I won't be able to come standing up!" Nikki said.

Ignoring her comments Helen thrust 3 fingers deep into her lover. Nikki just managed to reach up and grab the large hooks on the back of the door to support herself, mustering all her strength she hung on while Helen's fingers were bringing her to an almighty orgasm.

"Ooooh, yeah, fuck me Helen, fuck me hard!" Nikki yelled as she opened her legs wider and pushing down in order to take as much of her lover's long slender fingers as possible.

As Nikki was close to coming Helen stood up, careful not to stop the rhythm she had built up, she pushed Nikki harder against the door, she leaned down and took Nikki's erect nipple in her mouth running her tongue around the very tip and then bit down making Nikki cry out and come with such force that Helen could not believe. She could feel Nikki's muscles tighten around her fingers and Nikki's juices flow down her fingers as she ejaculated.

"Ohhhhhh yessssss!" Nikki screamed as the tremors ripped through her very being.

Nikki let go of the hooks and slid to the floor gasping for breath. As she looked up she saw her lover licking her fingers, thinking it was the most sexually alluring sight she had ever seen. Smiling, Helen snuggled up to Nikki on the bathroom floor and said "Mmmm, God Nikki you taste good. Did that take your mind off things darling, or do you need some more distractions?"

"Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm," was all Nikki could manage.



"So what do you want to do today?" Helen said leaning on her elbow taking in the delights of Nikki's naked body.

"I know what I want to do but I a not sure my body can take much more of your attention darling," Nikki smiled, having a sudden thought she said, "Hey why don't we go visit Yvonne at the hospital and show her how well you are doing?"

"That's a great idea!" Helen exclaimed, "But first I need a shower and I definitely need some help to wash my back," Helen said as she caressed Nikki's nipple with her tongue. Blowing on the moisture left behind, it immediately became erect causing Nikki's breathing to become laboured.

"Oh wow, I don't think I can stop at just your back!" Nikki said grabbing Helen's hand, leading her to the bathroom.

Three hours later they were clean, dressed and heading towards the hospital. "You know something?" Nikki asked Helen.

"What my darling?" Helen said taking her lovers hand in her own.

"If showers are going to take that long, in the future I am going to have to get up at 3 in the morning just to make it into work on time," Nikki smiled kissing Helen's smooth knuckles. Helen burst out laughing, saying it was the best shower she had ever had.

Walking up to the hospital, Nikki took Helen's hand and marched proudly towards the steps, ignoring passer by's stares. She was pleased to see that Helen was totally oblivious to them and at one stage pulled Nikki into a passionate kiss.

"Oi u two, get a room!" the voice boomed down the corridor. Looking up Nikki saw Yvonne smiling at the two of them as they approached her. Yvonne grabbed them both into a hug, quickly stepping back she said, "Helen you look great, how are you love?"

"I'm ok thank you Yvonne," taking Nikki's hand and looking straight into her eyes she said "In fact I am better than ok."

Winking at Nikki, Yvonne said, "I see you got the girl then? I read about Sean and Jim in the paper, couldn't happen to a nicer pair if you ask me, I reckon they will be banged up for years and years."

"Wish it was that simple," said Nikki.

"Why? What's the matter?" asked Yvonne.

"Oh, nothing much apart from Sean ringing me this morning and threatening to send people round to finish the job," explained Nikki.

"Listen you two; just get on with your lives. What goes round comes round, don't worry about Sean I am sure that will be the last you hear from him," Yvonne declared.

Even before Nikki and Helen had left the hospital, Yvonne was on her phone, "Charlie love, me and you need to talk about a little problem I've got."



Sean lay on his bunk bed with his hands behind his head smiling to himself careful not to touch his healing eye. He knew his call to the dyke this morning had upset her, he could tell by her voice. All he had to do was make friends with someone in the prison who could help him destroy them both. He was so deep in thought he didn't notice the three men come into the room and gently close the cell door.

"Hello scumbag," said one of the men.

"What the hell are you doing in here? Get out, get out now!" Sean said with much more bravado than he felt.

"I've got a message from Charlie Atkins for you. If he hears that you have tried to contact your wife or Nikki Wade again. In fact he said if you even think about them, he will arrange to have your balls cut off and served to you in a curry. Oh yeah and he said you had better pass his message on to your boyfriend Fenner," said the obvious leader.

"I'm not afraid of this Charlie whoever. I will d….." Sean didn't even finish his sentence when a fist connected with his nose, causing it to explode, spraying blood across his bunk. The others were like a pack of wolves, with practised ease they descended on Sean, punches and kicks reigning down on him.

"Glad you felt like that," said the leader "I had a horrible feeling you might actually listen and then we wouldn't be able to have any fun," he laughed as the punishment continued. When they had finished the beating, an unrecognisable Sean lay on the floor, every bone in his face broken, broken ribs and broken left arm.

"Now do you understand and obey the message from Charlie?" said the man.

"Ye…." Was all Sean could manage through split swollen lips and missing teeth.

Stretching her long body as she awoke, Nikki heard the letterbox click and the post hitting the front door mat. She padded down the stairs, retrieving the mail she made her way back to her lover who was spread eagle across the bed. Smiling Nikki flicked through the envelopes in her hand, coming to an abrupt halt when she saw Helen's name and the HMP marking.

With a heavy heart she woke Helen, explaining there was a letter for her and that she probably wanted to read it now. A sleepy Helen took the letter from her lover and opened it.

"It's from Sean, I will read it out," said Helen with a sigh.

Dear Helen

I know your first thought is to rip this letter up, I can't say I blame you,, I deserve everything that's coming to me.

I just want you to know that I am truly sorry for all the pain I have put you and your family through and hope that eventually you can see it in yourself to forgive me. I will sign the divorce papers as soon as you sort it and I will not contest the way you split our money or belongings.

I accept that you and Nikki are together now and I hope you will be content. You both deserve some happiness in your lives.

I will not contact you again and please tell Nikki to forget the telephone call the other day, it was stupid of me.



P.S Please can you show Yvonne Atkins this letter and tell her to tell Charlie I understand and obey the message.

"Well, well, well," Helen said in surprise, "looks like we won't be having anymore problems with him." With that she threw her arms around a stunned Nikki. As Nikki hugged her lover she thought: That cunning old fox Atkins.

The End

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