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 12

Helen knocks on the door timidly, and sighs. She's really not looking forward to this. The door open's, Trish is surprised to see Helen standing on the other side, although she's not really sure why, she should have been expecting this.

"Helen, what a nice surprise."

Helen smirks at the obvious fakeness of Trish's sentence. "I thought we better have a talk. Can I come in?"

Trisha doesn't speak she just opens the door fully and steps to the side, Helen doesn't need a second invitation, she steps through the door a lot more confidently than she feels. Trish braces herself as she follows Helen into the kitchen; this is not going to be a pleasant experience.

Helen removes her jacket and sits at the island in the middle of the kitchen, from the few times she's been here; she knows this is the social hub of this particular household. Trisha cautiously walks around the opposite side of the island, and places her palms flat on the surface, but doesn't sit.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" The hostess in Trisha takes over. Helen smiles and nods her head; she still really has no idea how to start this particular conversation.

Trisha busies herself with making the brews. It seems Helen's not quite ready to discuss what she's come here to talk about. Trish decides small talk would probably be better than this awkward silence between the two of them.

"How's the new job going Helen?"

Helen looks up again, it's almost as if she's just realised where she actually is. "Really great thanks."

"Nikki said you had to go back to Larkhall?" She places a piping hot cup of tea in front of Helen, as she sits on the other side of the island, nursing her own mug.

"Thanks. Yeah the Larkhall part wasn't that great."

"Too many bad memories?"

Helen thinks about the question, she can't help but smirk. "No actually. Quite a lot of good memories. Just one person in particular that I didn't want to see."

"And you did?"

Helen smiles again and nods to answer Trisha's question. She likes this, this is what she hoped could happen between the two of them. Trish seems genuinely interested in how her life's going, and Helen is really interested to know how Trisha is doing, she hopes the two of them can get past this and grow into great friends. And with that thought she decides to broach the subject she's really here to discuss.

"How did Nikki get on with her first busy night back at the club?"

Trish swallows. Here it comes. "Really great. It was like she'd never been away."

Helen can't help but notice the sadness tinged in Trisha's tone, and etched on her face. She softens a little and remembers that all that's happened over the last month or so must have been really hard for the blonde. Helen knows that this situation could easily have been the other way round; she knows if Nikki had chosen Trisha her world would feel like it had come to an end.

"Yeah Nikki mentioned you might have gotten caught up in the past a little."

There it was. Trisha wants the floor to swallow her up. She's impressed at how level Helen has managed to keep her voice, if it was the other way around, she would be screaming and shouting.

"Helen I'm so sorry."

Helen can see the remorse in her eyes. "Trish I don't want your apologies."

That's not what she was expecting; she looks at Helen like she's just sprouted a second head. She continues.

"I want your assurances that it won't happen again."

"It won't." The speed at which she answers makes Helen truly believe her words.

"Good. Because Nikki's made it clear that she wants you to be a big part of her life. That will be a lot easier if me and you can get on."

Trisha still can't quite believe how calm Helen is being. "Me and you will get on a lot better, if I don't have the urge to smash your face in."

Helen smirks at Trisha, to show she's being playful, Trish grins back there's that famous Stewart temper Nikki had told her about. Helen gets a little more serious.

"Just for the avoidance of doubt. If you try to kiss my girlfriend again, I will be a lot less calm."

"Message received." They both relax a little; Trish feels safe enough to question Helen further.

"I've got to be honest Helen; I thought you'd be a lot less calm this time round?"

Helen sighs. "If I'd have come round as soon as I found out I probably would have been."

Smirks all round again. Helen carry's on. "I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt Trish. Because I know how hard it must have been to let Nikki go."

"I didn't let her go Helen. I never had her; I've never had her since she met you." Honesty, that's all Helen can see oozing out of Trisha right now.

"Still it must have been difficult for you."

"Don't get me wrong it was. If you hadn't have come along when you did, I'm sure me and Nikki would have given it another go." Helen's heart lurches as she hears this, she thanks god again that Thomas did what he did, when he did.

Trish doesn't appear to have noticed the emotional effect her words have had on Helen. "But it would never have worked. The love isn't there between us anymore." Trish shakes her head as she speaks. "No actually, the love is still there. It's just a different kind."

Helen nods at Trisha. "She's my best friend now Helen. Nothing else, and in a way I think Saturday night really helped me realise that."

"Good." Helen is honestly relieved.

"I'd really like it now if we could try and be friends too. I know we've already said we'll make an effort, but I think it might work better now. I've dropped the bitterness, and you can drop the worry." Trisha is practically pleading with Helen, she knows she's messed up, and she'll never forgive herself if that mistake means she can't be a part of Nikki's life.

"I'd really like that Trish."

They both smile again. That was a lot more pleasant than either of them was really expecting.

Helen had ended up having a really nice afternoon with Trish; she spent a couple of hours with the blonde and discovered she actually kinda likes her. It's a feeling that is most definitely mutual on Trisha's part. She loves Helen's wicked sense of humour, and the two women have vowed to have a night out together and really get to know each other better, both are excited at the prospect.

Helen had called Nikki as she was leaving and had been summoned to the local shops to pick up a few bits for dinner. That's where she is now, meandering around the local Waitrose basket in hand, contemplating how amazing her life seems to be at the moment. She's pulled from her thoughts by someone stating her name.

"Helen, hi."

She's surprised to look up and see a sheepish looking Karen Betts staring back at her, she's the last person she expected to see and to be honest one of the last people she wanted to see, such was her close personal relationship with Fenner.

"Karen." It really is all she can muster, due to the shock of seeing in her in such a civilian environment.

Although Karen wasn't really expecting to see Helen, she's glad that she has in light of her recent downfall at Larkhall. The new Governing Governor, Helen's predecessor obviously, had taken an instant dislike to her, and just yesterday, she had been demoted to a uniform officer, and Jim Fenner was now in charge of G-Wing, something she's sure Helen will be aghast about. She's almost sure it wasn't just down to dislike. Fenner had been in the governor's ear since day one.

But more than that, she knows there was something going on between Helen and Fenner before Helen stormed out of Larkhall, and she wants to know what it was. She's almost certain everything Helen ever said about Jim was true, including the allegation of sexual assault. She can't believe she didn't escalate that particular matter any further.

No one has said anything for a while, so Helen decides to break the silence. "How's Larkhall."

"Actually Helen, I was hoping to talk to you about that. Do you have time to grab a drink or a bite to eat?"

Well that sounds like the last thing Helen wants to do, her face conveys as much. She frantically tries to think of an excuse not to go. Karen can tell she's not a fan of her suggestion, she needs to entice Helen.

"It's about Fenner really. If it helps, I'm starting to believe he's the bastard you've always made him out to be."

Helen is shocked, she thought Fenner had Karen wrapped around his little finger. She's definitely intrigued, the conversation seems a lot more appealing now. She decides to bite the bullet.

"Why don't you come back to mine? I'm just grabbing a few bits for dinner; you're more than welcome to join us."

"I'd love to." Karen smiles elated. The use of the term 'us' piques her interest. Obviously Helen is referring to the Doctor, Thomas Waugh. She chuckles a little, remembering Jim's ludicrous accusation. Helen is interested enough to ask.

"What's so funny?"

"Just something Jim said about you once. He always used to bad mouth you, but this was by far the most ridiculous thing he ever said." Helen freezes bracing herself, she has a good idea what Karen is referring to.

"He actually tried to convince me that you were having an affair with Nikki Wade." Karen giggles again, but worries slightly when Helen doesn't join her. In fact she looks positively ill. Like she could pass out.

"Karen." Another deep breath. "Jim wasn't always lying. Don't get me wrong he exaggerated a lot. But he sometimes he wasn't too far from the truth."

"What do you mean?"

"Come on, let's get back to mine, I'll explain everything there." The last thing Helen wants is for everything to come out in the middle of the local supermarket.

Karen just follows Helen to the till, a million and one questions buzzing through her brain, what could Helen mean by that comment? Helen adds a couple of bottles of wine to the basket; this could be a long night.

The drive to Helen's flat had been a quiet one. Both women had been lost in their own thoughts. But they are here now, Helen slips the key into the door and walks in confidently, Karen follows, not really knowing what to expect.

"Hiya Babe." It's out of her mouth before she has a chance to think about it.

Nikki wanders out of the kitchen; she's been desperate to find out how the visit to Trisha's went. Although it seems she may have to wait a little longer, she loses all train of thought when she sees Karen Betts standing in her hallway. To be fair the expression on Karen's face matches Nikki's, both of them look like their eyes are about to pop out.

Nikki regains the power of speech quicker, than the older woman. "Miss Betts?"

Karen seems to snap out of the trance. "Nikki? Please call me Karen."

Helen watches the two of them; they're like a pair of infants that have just discovered the ability to speak. If the situation was so serious, Helen would be highly amused.

Helen passes the bag of shopping she has to Nikki, who just looks at her with an expression that screams 'what the hell is going on.'

"I got everything you asked for. Plus a bottle of wine, why don't you crack that open and pour us all a drink?"

Nikki who's still none the wiser as to what's actually happening here, just nods her head, and starts making her way back to the kitchen, until Helen's voice stops her in her tracks.


She swings back round, and Helen places one hand on the side of her face, before giving her a quick kiss on the lips, she feels like she needs this kiss to make it through the evening. Nikki smiles, and then heads back to the kitchen, Helen turns to face Karen, who still looks astounded, she gestures towards the front room.

"Shall we go and make ourselves a bit more comfortable."

They make their way into the front room; Helen sits on one couch, Karen on the other. It seems one of the many questions Karen has is finally going to make its way out.

"Helen, I'm really confused here. I thought when you said join us for dinner you were talking about Thomas? You and Nikki Wade?"

"Karen I know it's a lot to take in."

"A lot to take in, Helen it makes me question everything. I mean I thought Jim was insane, and you were right with everything you said about him. But now it turns out he was really telling the truth."

Karen really doesn't know who to trust anymore. Helen panics.

"Not one thing Jim said about me and Nikki was true. We weren't having an affair."

Karen sighs exasperated, she finds that very hard to believe given what she's just witnessed. "We weren't Karen I promise."

Karen isn't convinced. Nikki enters the room and hands each woman a glass of wine. "I'm just sorting dinner out, then I'll join you."

She winks at Helen and smiles at Karen before leaving the room, wow that was tense. Helen needs to explain further.

"I won't deny I fell in love with Nikki while we were both at Larkhall. But it wasn't until after she won her appeal that we actually got together."

"You fell in love in Larkhall, what does that even mean? Surely that's worse."

"I couldn't help how I felt Karen, I tried to fight it. Believe me. She's the love of my life."

Helen looks on the verge of tears, Karen relaxes a little. She can tell Helen must have been through hell, she always hit Karen as one of the more professional officers, so falling in love with an inmate must have been turmoil.

"I do believe you. I know better than anyone how powerful love can be."

It seems Helen might be about to get down to the actual reason Karen is here. She pushes a little.

"You said you wanted to talk about Larkhall?"

"Yeah a lots changed."

"Karen you know I was there on Monday?" Helen can't believe that so much could change in such a short period of time.

Karen laughs, oh Helen, so naive. She decides to power through the points. "Well, your replacement decided I wasn't fit for purpose, and demoted me, and made your favourite prison officer G-Wing governor."

Helen can't believe her ears, Karen is obviously referring to Fenner, she doesn't quite understand what's happened between the two of them, Karen was sleeping with Fenner when she left Larkhall, wasn't she?

"I thought you and Fenner were an item?"

"We were engaged." Wow he really had her blindsided. "He said I didn't trust him, and he couldn't be with someone like that."

With good reason is Helen's first thought, although the news that Fenner was the one to break up with Karen makes her a little more cautious.

"It's because I wouldn't take his side, when it came to the furore surrounding your departure."

Helen looks confused. Karen explains. "Your complaint of sexual assault."

"Oh." Helen had wondered if anything had ever come of that, she assumed as she'd heard nothing probably not.

"The complaint got thrown out, I'm sorry Helen." Karen almost reading Helen's mind.

She guessed as much, Jim really does have the luck of the devil. Karen needs to know more.

"There was more going on between you two when you left?"

Helen nods to confirm that was in fact the case. Nikki re enters the room and takes a seat beside Helen. She smiles at both women; she can tell she's just stepped into a fairly tense conversation. Helen is glad Nikki's entered, she hasn't told her yet about Fenner's dealings with O'Kane, so if it's coming out, she may as well tell them both together. She decides to start with why she left.

"Fenner threatened to tell the Appeal court about mine and Nikki's 'relationship.' He knew I wouldn't risk Nikki's appeal, so he blackmailed me to resign."

Karen doesn't really understand. "You said nothing happened between you two inside, so how would he even prove that?"

This is getting a little too close for comfort now, Helen needs to explain obviously, but she absolutely cannot let slip about Nikki's escape. Nikki visibly stiffens at the route this conversation is taking. Helen grabs her hand its and almost involuntary action, but she gives Nikki her best reassuring smile before she tries to explain.

"Nikki and Barbara were very close, Barbara had written in her diary about the feelings, and I know it doesn't sound like much, but I would never have forgiven myself if it would have had any effect on Nikki's chances of getting out."

Karen seems satisfied with the answer, but she has another question that's been confusing her. "Why then though? Fenner's been banging on about you two for years, why would he all of a sudden decide it needed to come out then?"

Here goes nothing; she squeezes Nikki's hand, to be honest Nikki kinda wants to know the answer to that question.

"I found something out about Fenner, from one of the inmates, and I used that to try and get him to resign."

Nikki is shocked. She knew Helen hated his guts, but even she was surprised that Helen would stoop to using his own tactics against him.

"What did you find out?" Karen asks the question that had obviously been lingering in the air.

Helen again braces herself; she knows this is the part that Nikki really isn't going to like. "Yvonne Atkins told me that he was looking after Virginia O'Kane's brothel business, in exchange for some of the profits of course." She can see both women processing the information, she carries on. "I caught him making a collection at one of the brothels, and demanded his resignation."

It takes about three milliseconds for Nikki to put all the information swirling around her brain together. She just starts to vocalise it. The other two women listen intently.

"What and days later, O'Kane's been murdered, and Yvonne gets the blame." The more she thinks about it, the more mad she gets she's dropped Helen's hand, and is now actually pacing in the front room. "Bastard."

Karen can't believe it, she can't believe she was engaged to this man, had sex with this man, and was making a life with this man. "You can't really believe that Fenner murdered O'Kane? He was with me?"

As she says it, she realises that he has an alibi for murder, her! Helen speaks as anger is still preventing Nikki from doing so.

"I don't think he'd be stupid enough to do it himself."

"Meaning you think he got someone else to do it?" Karen still can't believe Fenner would go as far as to have someone killed.

"Do you really think it's a coincidence that he got rid of me, O'Kane and silenced Yvonne, the only three people that new about his extracurricular activity?"

"No I don't." Karen is starting to realise just what a monster he is.

"We've gotta get that bastard out of there. Away from my friends." Nikki's found her voice again. Helen's heart breaks, this is exactly why she didn't want to tell Nikki, she's lost enough of her life to Larkhall, she knows now that she'll worry until Fenner is out.

"Nikki sweetheart I don't think there's much the three of us can do." Helen says it as gently as she can, and stands and places an arm on Nikki's back.

"Maybe there is." Helen is surprised when these words fall from Karen's lips and not Nikki's. She's on a roll deep in thought. "I mean it won't be easy now he's wing governor."

"What?!" Nikki can't believe her ears, Helen rolls her eyes, Nikki probably could have done without knowing that. Karen ignores them both and continues.

"But I'm still in there every day, Helen you'll be there a couple of times a month." Helen bobs her head to confirm Karen's assumption.

"Nikki you'll be visiting Babs and Yvonne. I'm sure between the three of us, we can some sort of information. Especially with Nikki having a hotline to the inside."

Nikki likes Karen's line of thinking, Helen can tell as much just from her lovers change in posture. Helen's not as eager.

"Look, I want more than anything to get that bastard out of the service, I have done since day one. But going after him is a dangerous game. I mean look what happened to me."

"We can't just let him keep getting away with it." It seems Karen is on a crusade, and Nikki looks to be more than willing to join her.

"Look all I'm saying is we need to be careful, we can't just go in all gung ho. He will stop at nothing to protect himself."

"Helen's right Karen, he's a devious bastard, but he's smart with it."

Karen nods. Helen and Nikki slump back down onto the couch, and the women spend the rest of the evening discussing a plan of action. Helen can't help but worry, she's been on the receiving end of Fenners vengeance before, the last thing she wants is to lose Nikki out of all of this, there really isn't anything Fenner won't do.

Part 13

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