DISCLAIMER: Bad Girls and its characters are the property of Shed Productions. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This starts off @ Chix straight after Nikki's release, and aims to follow them throughout their lives outside of Larkhall. Not sure how long for. Let me know what you guys think.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To debinho23[at]hotmail.co.uk

Fresh Start
By EdenAshley


Part 1

Nikki lets the alcohol wash over her tongue, savours the taste, she was never really a big drinker prior to Larkhall, but compared to the swill she drank inside this tasted like the world's finest champagne. She's noticed already how heightened her senses are, she had managed to grab a quick bite to eat since the courthouse, and even that swift sandwich was like a gourmet meal, the flavours a thousand times anything she had eaten in the last three years.

Three years of her life wasted, and now here she was, standing in her nightclub, Chix, surrounded by all of her friends, and the opportunity of a second chance with Trisha. Her head is spinning; she can't quite take it all in. Her main thought, the one thing making her head rotate more than any of the other issues, Helen Stewart.

The woman who had fought for well over a year to get her, her appeal, and within months of it being granted, had ripped her heart out of her chest, by telling her in no uncertain terms she wanted nothing more to do with her, and then compounded that by jumping into bed with what seemed to Nikki like, the first bloke she had come across.

But alas, with Trisha at her side, trying her best to cosy up to her, and all her friends around, she hate's that all she can think about is the fiery Scot, who she said goodbye to for good, just yesterday. She had been looking forward to this moment for as long as she can remember, and right now, all she feels is empty. She tries her best not to show it, she doesn't want to let Trisha down. Who is she kidding; she and Trish had been together for how long? She could read her like a book.

Nikki is pulled from her thoughts by a swift nudge in the ribs from Trisha, taken aback she looks at her sharply.

"I think there's someone here to see you."

Nikki follows Trisha's gaze, and her heart jumps into her throat when she see's focus of her recent thoughts happily smiling and waving over at her.

She must be dreaming, surely. She takes a moment to compose herself, and waves back at her, whilst somehow managing to move her legs in the general direction of Helen, she is still very much in a daze.

Helen knew as soon as she saw Nikki's speech on the steps of the appeal court, that there was still a chance with her, and that along with her disastrous date with Thomas last night, just cemented her feelings. As much as she fought against what he had said, she knew deep in her heart, he was right. She had been lying to herself.

Helen feels sick, like seriously ill with nerves. But she has to do this, she had seen Nikki as soon as she entered the club, she is aware that she is currently waving away and grinning like a lunatic at her, but she can't help it, the smile is genuine. She is so very happy to see Nikki again. But now she's here she doesn't really know what to say.

Nikki reaches Helen after what seems like an age, and tries her best to plaster a smile on her face.

"Hey." It really is the best Nikki can manage.

"Hey" Helen feels pathetic, she's come all this way and that's the finest response she can muster.

Nikki as usual lets her mouth shoot off before her brain has a chance to proof read.

"How did you find out I was here?" She instantly hopes Helen doesn't think this is a harsh statement. She doesn't have appeared to have taken it in the wrong way.

"Bit of detective work." Helen inwardly cringes, as she taps her nose along with latest statement. She can't help it, there's something about Nikki Wade on the outside that turns her into a nervous wreck. She feels like a school girl again. Come on Stewart, power through it.

"I had to see you. Tell you how happy I am for you." Helen's emotions have taken over she is so abundantly happy that Nikki has been released.

Nikki is disheartened, that's it, that's all she here for, just to congratulate me. She feels instantly stupid for getting her hopes up. She looks down at her own feet.

"It's all a bit of a dream right now."

"You'll get used to it." Helen can tell Nikki's mood is sombre, which she can't understand, the woman has just been released from prison.

Nikki decides to get a little braver, she's got nothing to lose now, she may as well try and get some sort of reaction out of Helen, see if there is any hope at all.

"I'd never have done it without you Helen, do you know that?" Nikki's voice momentarily breaks, Helen catches this, but Nikki swallows the emotion, and continues.

"If you knew how much that meant." Nikki is now eagle eyed waiting for any sort of reaction, any sort of hope. None.

"I wouldn't have missed if for the world." She takes a deep breath, here goes, it's now or never, she has to tell Nikki how she feels.

"Nikki." Just as she about to jump head first into her declaration of love, she looks past Nikki and see's Trisha, head up like a mere cat, only with the expression of a bulldog about to attack. How arrogant had she been, of course now Nikki was out she could have her pick of women, and why wouldn't she choose Trisha over her, she's done nothing but hurt her, in the past year. Nerve, well and truly lost.

"Look I better go."

Nikki's heart which had been in her throat, now felt like it had slid right down, and was now resting somewhere near her shoes. She needs Helen to confirm that there really is no hope for them.

"Someone waiting for you?"

Helen is somewhat confused now, but her overriding instinct at the moment is to flee, the air in the club somehow feels thinner than it was previously, she struggles to breathe as the emotion rises in her chest, she needs to escape.

"Have a wonderful night." She runs away.

That's that then. That really will be the last time she ever sees Helen Stewart. Now she was in the mood to drink.

Nikki has rejoined Trisha at the bar. Trisha can see how much her little chat with Helen has affected her. Nikki confirms this by ordering a bottle of Corona, and taking a massive swig.

"Let's get plastered."

"Don't get too pissed." Trish genuinely doesn't think Nikki could cope with getting hammered so quickly after being released.

"What?" Nikki's mind all over the place, she can't really comprehend what Trisha is going on about, so she just does the first thing that comes to mind, which involves draping an arm around her.

"Love you babes."

Trisha is not impressed; in fact she is a little offended. It's obvious to her; the only person she does love is Helen bloody Stewart. She swiftly removes Nikki's arm from around her shoulder.

"If you run, you can still catch her." Nikki is surprised, but again she's not really sure why, she's already established this evening that Trish can read her like a book. She decides honesty is the best policy from here on in.

"She's not interested in me." She looks away from Trish, she has essentially just told her that she is interested in Helen, and doesn't want to see the pain in her eyes.

"Of course she's bloody interested." The forcefulness of her voice, makes Nikki look directly into her eyes, there's the pain.

"Just go." Nikki knows how hard this must have been for her, but she's certainly not giving Trish the opportunity to change her mind. She squeezes her shoulder as a gesture of thanks, before legging it out of the club.

Trisha hates herself for being such a bloody saint, now she feels like getting plastered, she grabs the nearest drink, which just happens to be a half full bottle of Moet. No need for a glass, she just starts to dejectedly sip it from the bottle.

Nikki reaches the front door in record speed, unfortunately just in time to see a black cab pull away, she assumes Helen was in it. Damn. She is startled when she hears that unmistakable Scottish accent shouting from behind her.

"You looking for someone?"

Helen had run out of the club and round the corner, gasping for air initially. Once she had composed herself, she turned the air blue with profanities. Shit. Shit, shit shit. Why hadn't she just told Nikki how she feels, at least if she'd have knocked her back she would have known. She just felt in complete utter limbo. She was thinking how she could re enter the club, and what she could say to not look a complete utter idiot, when she saw Nikki run out of the club. Thank you lord. Second chance.

Nikki tries to play it cool. "I thought it was a bit rude not asking you to stay for a drink."

"Well I figured if I waited out here long enough." Well this is all very awkward.

"So do you want to come back in?" Nikki's conversation is struggling at the moment; she's concentrating on trying to breathe.

"I could stay for one I suppose."

Nikki decides to give Helen another opportunity to either give her a glimpse of hope, or dash it completely. Here goes nothing.

"That is unless there's somewhere else you've got to be?"

Helen pauses for a second, trying to decide how she's going to play this. She decides on wholesale openness.

"Thomas and I split up. I've been such an idiot Nikki." Nikki reeling from the revelation that Helen is single, can't really comprehend much else, words just kind of fall out of her mouth, she still can't allow herself to believe that there's any hope.

"I know what you're saying." The look on Nikki's face as she says this to Helen conveys to her that Nikki really doesn't know what she's trying to say to her at all.

"No let me say it." Just bite the bullet Stewart. "Thomas is gorgeous; he's everything you would want in a man. But I want a woman." Helen tries to gauge Nikki's reaction.

Nikki's heart has been covering some distance today, its currently back in throat, making it difficult for her to speak, tears have pricked her eyeballs, Helen's words sink in, again she herself is lost for words, she just blurts out what she thinks Helen would want to hear.

"We'll take things slowly."

Helen smiles, firstly at the acceptance from Nikki, she clearly wants her back. Secondly at the notion of them taking things slowly, no chance, Helen has three years of sexual frustration to work through, and she knows deep down Nikki has just said this as not to panic her, but truthfully Helen feels like they've already wasted too much time. But she sooths Nikki, with her almost sarcastic response.

"Yeah, dead slow."

Nikki leans down and her own lips meet Helen's, and it is wonderful. Her senses are well and truly heightened now. She is lost in the kiss, but feels, Helen manoeuvring her; she smiles as she feels her back hit a cold concrete wall. Its mere seconds before Helen's lips are back on hers, and that's how they stay, like a couple of teenagers, embracing, enjoying the closeness and the feel of the other. Lost in the moment, and the kiss.

They're not entirely sure how long they stayed like that for, as they were truly lost in the kiss. But they eventually had to stop for air. They are currently still in the same position, against the concrete wall, but foreheads rested against each other, breathing heavily, both trying to recover from the kiss, Helen still holding onto the lapels of Nikki's jacket as if her life depended on it.

Nikki takes a deep breath; she supposes they can't stay here like this all day. Unfortunately. She is still reeling from all of today's goings-on, she still can't really think straight, and as ever is trying to cater to Helen's every need, unsure as to what she would want to do next.

"I suppose we better move, do you want to go back inside for a drink?"

Helen ponders Nikki's question, the truth is she couldn't care less where she goes, as long as they're together. But she guesses they should really go back in, all those people are in there to celebrate Nikki's release.

"That sounds great." Helen beams a huge smile at Nikki; she can't quite believe how happy she is right now.

Nikki returns her smile, and slips her hand into Helen's before leading her back inside, she feels pride at walking in hand in hand with Helen. The she see's Trisha still sitting at the bar, still sipping straight from the champagne bottle. Helen follows Nikki's gaze, and frowns. She had an idea that something may have happened between them, until of course she came along and threw a spanner in the works.

Helen squeezes her hand, as a show of comfort, when Nikki looks down at her, she smiles, what she hopes is a defiant yet reassuring smile.

"Are you going to introduce me to Trisha properly?"

Nikki swallows; Helen can tell she is hesitant. But deep down Nikki knows, or at least hopes, that both of these women will be a big part of her life. They are going to have to get on at some point, so no time like the present to lay the foundations.

"Yeah sure."

Trisha see's them approaching, she guessed this would happen. She braces herself for the worst, but plasters an obviously fake smile on her face.

"You found her then Nik?" Trisha looks Helen up and down; she can certainly see why Nikki has fallen for her.

Helen doesn't really appreciate the look she gets from Trisha, but she can certainly understand it. Nikki starts to speak, as the silent battle continues between her two lovers.

"Trisha, this is Helen."

Helen holds her hand out, hoping for Nikki's sake that she accepts it. Trisha looks at the hand, she knows she's acting like a spoilt brat that's had her new toy taken away, and she knows that she needs to make this work for Nikki's sake, and it's the look of terror in Nikki's eyes at the scene unfolding in front of her that makes her reach out and grab Helen's outstretched hand.

"Nice to finally meet you Helen."

"You too." Helen exhales heavily, it seems she and Trisha can be civil. Maybe she has that thought a little too quickly.

"If you hurt her any more than you have already, you'll have me to answer to." The words are out of Trisha's mouth before she has a chance to stop them.

Nikki flinches and closes her eyes, waiting for the inevitable explosion from Helen. Helen on the other decides to be a little more adult. Although what she says is through gritted teeth.

"I know I've got a lot to prove, to Nikki and to everyone that loves her, but I can assure you, that I intend to spend the rest of my life making things up to her."

She says it with a steely determination. Nikki's heart burst with joy. Trish smiles, she is suitably impressed.

"You'll do." She shakes Helens hand heartily, this time her smile is genuine, as is the one reciprocated by Helen. Nikki is just pleased they all came out of it alive.

Helen had a made a real effort with Trisha over the last few hours, Trisha knew it, and was grateful. She's confident they will at least be able to be civil to each other for Nikki's sake, but more than that she really does feel like they could become friends. They are at present propping up the bar, Nikki has been off talking to everyone, Helen had got tired after one round of being introduced, and had skulked off to the bar with Trisha.

They both happened to glance over at Nikki at the same time, to see that she was being talked at, by a couple of well meaning friends. But she looks warn out. Trisha laughs.

"Maybe you should take her home."

Helen smiled back, truth be told, she'd been looking forward to taking her home since she arrived.

"I think you're right. Are you going to be okay with all this?" She gestured with her arms over the club. Trish smiles.

"I'll be fine, take care of her."

"I will." Helen smiled warmly which was reciprocated by Trisha, maybe it was the alcohol, but they gave each other a brief hug, and a quick goodbye, and Helen strode over to Nikki.

Nikki seems to snap back to reality when Helen approaches her, and her smile reaches right up to her eyes.


"Hey, you look shattered. Fancy coming back to mine?" The twinkle that was in Helen's eyes made Nikki melt with delight.


She said a quick goodbye to the group she had been speaking to, and Trisha. They immediately jumped into a black cab, it was only a short ride to Helens, the cab had just pulled up, Helen was paying the driver, Nikki was transfixed on the view, the front of the building, she had memorised everything from the night of her escape, and replayed it over and over in her mind, it had almost driven her insane inside, and here she was standing in front of that big red door again. This time it won't be getting slammed in her face.

She heard the taxi drive off, and within seconds she felt Helen's arms slide round her waist from behind, she leaned her head on her shoulder.

"Welcome home sweetheart."

Helen strides into the flat, followed by Nikki, who is still a little in awe, she stands in the hallway, her eyes going over every inch of the entrance, taking it all in again. Helen removes her jacket and looks over at Nikki, she's worried about her, she grabs the see through plastic bag that Nikki is clutching, which contains her entire life from the past three years. This seems to get Nikki's attention; she looks down into Helen's eyes.

"Why don't you grab a shower?"

"Do I smell that badly?" a hint of a smile plays on Nikki's lips. Helen can't lie Nikki does smell a little like a brewery, all that stale alcohol and cigarette smoke. She decides to take a kinder option.

"You look like you need to relax; a shower will do you the world of good. Grab a towel from the bedroom, and I'll make you something to eat."

Nikki smiles, domestic bliss. Helen is right, she feels awful, all she wants to do is shower and sleep, and food would probably be a good idea too. She kisses Helen, who readily accepts.

"Thank you."

Nikki heads for the bathroom, through the bedroom; she remembers the flat as if it was only yesterday that she was last here. Helen heads for the kitchen, secretly hoping that she actually has some food in to offer Nikki, her brow furrows, when she suddenly realises that she has no idea what Nikki actually likes. Although the thought that this is one of many, things she and Nikki are now going to learn about each other, brings the smile straight back onto her face. She decides to go simple and make her a Sandwich; she starts to merrily hum as she gets to work in her kitchen.

Nikki now in the bathroom, had grabbed a towel on her way, she spent a good two minutes just revelling in its softness. The difference in quality to the rags she had been provided with in Larkhall was astounding, she had undressed and then wrapped herself in the towel, just to fully embrace the comfort, then she caught herself doing this in the bathroom mirror, and laughed.

After turning the shower on and jumping in, she twisted the temperature tap up as high as she could stand, the water in prison had been tepid at best, and ice cold at worst. She let the water wash over her, it made her skin feel alive, her skin was a more than a little scarlet when she jumped out over the edge of the bath. She's not sure if it's the heat or the emotional happenings of the day, or even the alcohol, although she didn't drink bucket loads, but certainly a lot more than she's had in the recent past, but nausea wracks her body.

It had been around 20 minutes since Nikki went for her shower, Helen had made her sandwich, and a glass of juice, then sat at her breakfast bar and waited patiently, after fifteen long minutes, she started to worry a little, now she was practically rocking in her seat, she wanted to go and check on her, but she wanted to give her, her independence, something she obviously hadn't been privy to in the last three years.

Helen finally decided if she waited any longer she would drive herself insane. She jumped up off the stool, and headed straight for her bedroom.

"Nikki?" When Nikki wasn't in the bedroom, she called out, no response; she made her way over to the door of the en suite, and put her ear to it. She panicked as she heard Nikki retching.

She opened the door and went to Nikki immediately, rubbing her back, as she quivered over the toilet. She started whispering reassuring words into Nikki's ear; the day has obviously taken its toll on her.

Nikki feels thoroughly embarrassed. This is the last way she wanted Helen to see her, but she feels far too weak to do anything about it. When it's clear that she finished, Helen flushes the toilet, and Nikki allows herself to be hoisted to her feet by Helen, she becomes very aware at this point that she's completely naked. Helen picks up on her discomfort straight away, she manages to balance Nikki, whilst reaching for the towel and with a little help from Nikki, she wraps it around her, covering her modesty.

Between them they manage to manoeuvre her to the bed, when she gets there she collapses, exhausted. Helen looks over her; she can't believe how adorable she looks.

"Sweetheart, I think you should try and eat something before to fall asleep."

Nikki nodded in agreement, after losing the contents of her stomach, she feels empty, a different kind of empty to what she felt earlier in the afternoon, she knows she should at least try to line her stomach. Helen at the nod of her head had already disappeared; she assumed to the kitchen, she returned with a sandwich and a drink.

Nikki hungrily consumed half of the sandwich, realising, surprisingly that she was in fact hungry. After washing it down with the orange juice she was content. Helen watched her lover from the edge of the bed, smiling throughout, she couldn't help it especially now, with her lids drooping, Helen leans over and places a small kiss on Nikki's lips. Although she's not complaining, she is a little taken aback by Helen's show of affection.

"What was that for?"

"Because I can." It was a simple, beautiful, perfect explanation. They both knew the significance of it.

"Now you go to sleep." Nikki was half obeying Helen already such was her tiredness, but she reached out and grabbed Helen's had.

"What about you?" Helen knew Nikki was worried she was going to leave her. She wasn't.

"Relax; I'm just going to get these off." She grabbed at her shirt to indicate she means her clothes. "Then I'll be right with you."

True to her word, Helen quickly removed her clothes and crawled in behind Nikki, immediately putting her arms around her, Nikki felt alive at the feel of Helen at her back, and instantly grabbed her hand and interlinked their fingers. Helen kissed Nikki's back, content.

"Goodnight sweetheart."

"Goodnight Darling."

Within minutes they were both asleep, enjoying the soundest slumber they had in years, maybe even ever. Everything else can wait until tomorrow. After all their relationship now has something that it's never had before. Time.

Part 2

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