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 13

Nikki has had the worst night's sleep; it's currently the morning after the evening of revelations with Karen Betts. She's done nothing but toss and turn, worrying about what might be happening inside Larkhall. Mainly to Yvonne, but she knows Fenner doesn't discriminate when it comes to being a bastard.

Helen didn't fare much better, her mind has been racing all night too. She hates herself a little bit, she's been worried about what might happen to her if they get involved with Fenner again, she listened to Nikki rustling around beside her all night, knowing that the only concern her lover has, is for her previous inmates, it makes Helen feel selfish. But if she's honest, she doesn't care, it's taken her so long to finally get Nikki, and the thought of losing her terrifies her to her very soul.

Helen exhales loudly. What a mess. Nikki hears the noise emanate from the younger woman, and turns towards her. Helen is lying looking straight up at the ceiling, hands behind her head, clearly lost in thought. Nikki reads the emotion on her face as remorse, strange. She decides to break the silence.

"You couldn't sleep either huh?"

Helen turns to face the subject of her recent thoughts. She smiles, like she always does when she comes face to face with Nikki, she settles down onto her pillow to face her lover, noses practically touching. She shakes her head to indicate Nikki's words are correct.

"I know you're scared Helen." She's confused, her facial expression conveys as much, Nikki continues. "I know why you're scared."

"Nikki I want Fenner out of Larkhall more than anyone."

Before Helen can finish she's cut off. "But last time you nearly lost everything."

Helen steadies herself. "Nikki last time, I almost had him, I was so close. I was prepared to lose my job, my career, my relationship with Thomas, my morals; I would have let Barbara lie for me. Then he threatened your appeal. I couldn't risk that."

Nikki is startled to hear Helen's confession. She hasn't finished yet. "I was prepared to give everything else up, to get him. But your freedom wasn't worth risking, not even for him."

"But I'm free now darling, we don't have to worry about that anymore."

"Nikki, don't you get it? He knew as well as I did, that you were the only thing I cared about enough for him to get what he wanted. He still knows that. I wouldn't forgive myself, if anything happened to you, or to our relationship." Helen is practically pleading now; she can feel the tears forming in her eyes.

Nikki's heart breaks when she see's Helen so upset. She knew she was scared, but she didn't realise why, or just how scared she actually is.

"Hey." Nikki reaches across and wipes away one of the tears that's made its way onto her lover's cheek. "Nothing is going to happen to me okay. We have been through so much already; we're strong enough to get through this, relationship intact. And I don't think we have to worry about anything else, he doesn't really like being alone with women who have a tendency and a history of stabbing corrupt wankers."

Helen stifles a smile, but in all honesty the thought of Nikki doing something like that again, the thought of her being carted off to prison again makes her sick to her stomach. Nikki doesn't appear to have noticed, she continues.

"You know what's it like in there. With him." Nikki looks deep into Helen's eyes, the emotion there almost takes Helen's breath away.

"Rachel Hicks, Shell Dockley, he used to have digs at me at every opportunity, calling me a dyke, I wouldn't be surprised if he was behind the whole DST thing, spinning my cell, getting me shipped out. . ."

Helen flinches at this part, she remember how stupid she'd been to let her emotions get the better of her back then, but then again she's never really been able to control her emotions when it comes to Nikki.

". . .and now I'm not in there, and you're not in there, Yvonne is the only one left connected to this brothel business, if anything happens to her Helen, or anyone else for that matter. . ." Now it's Nikki who has the tears threatening. "It's about more than just us Helen."

Helen nods; she knows they have to at least try.

Nikki and Helen threw some clothes on and meandered downstairs; to find Karen snuggled on their sofa looking like she's had about as much sleep as they have. Nikki smirks as Karen swings her legs off the couch and sits up; she looks as awful as Nikki feels.

"I'll go and put some coffee on." Helen smiles and watches her retreat towards the kitchen; she plonks herself down on the sofa next to Karen.

"What a mess."

Karen just nods her head to confirm she echo's Helen's sentiments. But her brain is back in business mode almost immediately.

"Helen you said last night you got photo's of Jim collecting the money from one of O'Kane's brothels?"

Now it's Helen's turn to nod. "Do you still have them?"

"Of course." Helen rises as she speaks and goes over to the cabinet at the far side of the room, when she returns to the couch she passes the photo's to Karen.

She studies them intently, she can't believe how fooled he had her. "These are good but we're gunna need more evidence."

Nikki returns with three cups of coffee. Last night they had discussed how they were going to bring Fenner down, now they really needed to discuss the logistics behind it.

The three women had decided that the first port of call should be get the inside word. So here Nikki is again, just stepping into the visitor's room at her least favourite place, this time however she's here to see Yvonne, not Babs. She smiles and rushes to the table where her old friend is sitting. Yvonne is immediately on her feet and they embrace warmly, before dropping back into their chairs.

"You look good Nikki." Yvonne smiles, freedom is obviously treating her friend well.

Nikki's eyes sparkle with mischief. "Bloody hell Yvonne, I've not been gone that long, you switched teams already?"

Yvonne can't help but laugh at Nikki's joke. "You wish." She quirks her eyebrows.

Nikki laughs back, but she can't help but remember the reason she's here and the laughter leaves her almost as quickly as it came. Yvonne sees Nikki's face drop, it seems this isn't just a routine visit after all.

"So what brings you all the way back to this shit hole then Nik?" Yvonne has never been one to beat around the bush.

"What apart from coming back to see your beautiful face?" mirrored smirks from both women.

"Well that goes without saying, although the sight of Bodybags mush must counteract seeing mine." This time the smirks turn into sniggers, as they both glance over at the aforementioned woman. She does not look amused.

They turn back to face each other. "Come on Nikki, I know there's more to this visit, and it's not like we've got all day to get onto it."

Nikki sighs. "I've been sent on a mission, by Helen and Karen." She has leant into the table and lowered the decibels on her speech, which has Yvonne intrigued in its own right. But then the mention of the names really piques her interest. Why would Nikki have anything to do with Helen and Karen, she assumes she means Stewart and Betts.

Nikki can see Yvonne is struggling to get her head round the information she's just received. Obviously she needs to explain a little more.

"You're probably wondering what I'm doing hanging around with Helen and Miss Betts on the outside?"

"Oh 'Helen' is it?" Yvonne teases. "But yeah Nikki I am a bit confused."

Nikki smiles at Yvonne's teasing, she reckons her head might fall off when she tells her the truth. Here goes nothing. She starts again in her lowered tone.

"Helen and I are in a relationship."

There's the eye balls on their stalk reaction that Nikki was expecting. Yvonne feels like she's having a seizure, she quickly regains her composure. But can't help the half laugh half sigh that falls from her lips.

"Wow. I mean wow. Don't get me wrong I knew you fancied the pants off her. But never in a million years." She shakes her head exasperated. Then remembers something. "I thought she was shagging the SMO?"

Great one of Nikki's least favourite topics of conversation, she needs to get through this quickly. "She dumped me after the riot, got with him, then got back with me when I got out."

"You were together in prison." That was almost the right pitch for only dogs to hear.

"Sssshhh." It wasn't really loud enough that anyone else heard, but Nikki doesn't want to take any chances. "We fell in love inside, we weren't together, together."

"Yeah right." Yvonne not convinced and the devilish smile on her face confirms as much.

"Look Yvonne that's not really why I'm here."The seriousness in Nikki's face ceases Yvonne's teasing immediately. Nikki can tell she has her full attention now.

She looks round to where Bodybag was standing before, and see's that Fenner has now joined her; it makes her feel sick to her stomach to see him standing there in a suit, lording it over everyone. Yvonne watches intently, Nikki turns back around to face her.

"Fenner." Yvonne swallows her mouth suddenly dry. "He framed you for O'Kane's murder didn't he?"

"Yeah but Nik that's all sorted now, I'm in the clear. It was the Peckham boot gang."

"On Fenner's say so though, yeah?" Yvonne can't deny that. "And now he's G-Wing governor? How's that going down?"

"It's awful, he wants me gone." Nikki's heart sinks at her words. She reaches out and grabs Yvonne's hand over the table.

"Look I'm not gunna let that happen."

"Nik, what do you really think you can do. I mean you're not in here anymore?"

"But you are, and Karen and Helen are. I know how close Helen came to nailing him the last time."

Yvonne is initially shocked, but then remembers that these two are in a relationship now, of course Nikki knows all about it. "I know that if it wasn't for him jeopardising my appeal, she would have succeeded."

So that's why Helen resigned so quickly, all the pennies are dropping for Yvonne. "Bastard."

"Can you tell me anything?"

Yvonne wracks her brain. "Well he's so far up the new number one's arse; you've got no chance of getting him sacked."

Nikki smiles, she loves Yvonne's ability to say it exactly how it is. "On our side of the bars, he's running the Peckham boot gang, and basically making our lot's lives hell."

Nikki processes the information, Yvonne not for the first time this visit watches her younger friend attentively. "I really don't have anything else that could be helpful. Sorry Nik."

"You've been more than helpful."

They both glance over to Bodybag and Fenner again. This time the two prison officers catch their glares. Sylvia can't help but voice her disgust.

"Look at those two. They look as thick as thieves."

Fenner doesn't respond, just acknowledges her words. Truth is, knowing Nikki's connection to Helen, and how Helen and Yvonne were conspiring against him before, the sight before him makes him feel more than a little uncomfortable.

It's now Karen's turn to try and find some dirt on Fenner, Nikki had some valuable information, she knew to be wary of Neil Grayling, well she obviously knew that already she glances down at her uniform as a less than subtle reminder, she knows now to keep a close eye on the Peckham boot gang, Maxi in particular, she is obviously the brains of that particular outfit.

She's back at Larkhall as we speak, roaming down the corridor, wondering what her next course of action should be. That's when she remembers she has often see Jim coming in and out of one of the old, out of use laundry rooms. She never thought anything of it at the time, but now she decides it definitely worth checking out.

She reaches her destination quickly; she looks left then right, seeing that the coast is clear see slips in. There's a stench of stale water, and an old washing machine that looks like it hasn't worked for about twenty years.

She glances around the room, there doesn't appear to be a lot else in here, but there must be, otherwise why has he been so interested in this place. Then she sees it, a large tile slightly out of place, right at the bottom, to the right hand side of the Washer practically behind it. She approaches it with caution; she knows she could be on the verge of something huge here.

She kneels down and slowly removes the tile, there's a void in the wall jackpot, there's something in there, wrapped up in a cloth of some description. She pulls it out, and unwraps whatever is concealed inside careful not to actually touch it, in case it can be used as some sort of evidence. She can't believe her eyes, when she unveils the find.

Rolls of cash, there must be thousands of pounds here, twenty pound notes rolled into bundles. But more than that there's a book, she places it on the floor and wraps her hand in the cloth and carefully opens the papers of the book, she can't believe her eyes, it's Virginia's book of clients, more than that it contains names, locations, amounts, all in Fenner's handwriting. Jackpot indeed.

It's a couple of days later, Karen has added the evidence she found to the photo's Helen had taken, and now she is looking forward to confronting Fenner. Since she's become friends with Helen and Nikki, they've relayed numerous stories of just how badly he had treated the women in this prison, it made her feel ill that she ever let him touch her.

She's heading for his office, her old office of course, right now. The room where she had found the book and the cash is on the way, she's unnerved and yet unmoved at the same time when she sees Jim stumble out of the door with a face like thunder. She can't help her smirk, it seems like she's picked the exact right time.

"Jim, everything alright? You look like you've seen a ghost?"

Jim's head snaps up at the words. He tries in vain to regain his composure. "Karen."

It's all he can muster, where the bloody hell has that book gone, the money he could do without, the book could ruin his life. When Karen realises Jim has finished that particular sentence.

"Can I have a word please Jim?"

In his panic riddled brain it takes him longer than usual to decipher what she's actually said.

"Sorry Karen, I'm a bit busy right now. Can it wait?" He needs to get to his office, he can barely breathe, he loosens his tie as he tries to escape her, it appears she's going to speak again.

"Actually Jim, I think you'll be very interested in what I've got to say."

This gets his attention, surely not, not Karen? He pushes open his office door and strides in, indicating for her to follow. He sits on the edge of his desk, Karen loiters by the door, she's aware that they're very much alone; she knows that he's not afraid to smack a woman when he needs to.

"Well?" Jim's harsh tone pulls her from her thoughts.

"You look like you've lost something Jim?"

That bitch. She has taken it. He rises from his seat, causing the panic level to rise in the blonde.

"Look Karen this isn't a joke I want that book back." The alarm is oozing out of him.

She snaps, apparently he's not even going to try to lie about, she bet's he thinks he can wrap her around his little finger again and all of this will go away.

"Really Jim, running a brothel. I didn't think even you could get that low."

He raises his hand but before he has a chance to bring it down on Karen's cheek Karen smack's it away.

"I don't think so Jim."

"Karen please, look I'm sorry, I know I've messed you around. But this could ruin me. Just give me the book back, and I'll do whatever you want."

Pathetic. It's the only word that Karen has in her mind at the moment. "You're too late Jim. It's all been handed to the police. Along with the photos Helen Stewart took of you making a collection."

He can't believe his ears. "You and that Dyke." He loses it. He hates Helen Stewart with a passion, all he can see in his rage is her face, he just starts raining punches down, this time Karen can't stop him.

Helen is also in Larkhall today, she knows Karen is planning to confront Fenner, and she wanted to be on hand in case anything goes wrong. Her boss David had been surprised to say the least when she volunteered to go to Larkhall.

She's worried she's not seen or heard from Karen all day, and is just off to look for her now. However it seems her day is about to take a turn for the worst. Sylvia. Helen nods and carries on walking, the older woman hasn't taken the hint; she falls into step and starts to walk along the corridor with Helen. Helen just rolls her eyes and puffs her cheeks out, letting Sylvia know in no uncertain terms that she really doesn't want to speak to her.

Sylvia in her usual density doesn't pick up on Helen's displeasure. "It's not right you know?"

Great another lecture. "What's not Sylvia?"

"An officer fraternising with an ex con in public." Obviously referring to the restaurant incident.

"Well that's alright then, because I'm not an officer. And you got it right, Nikki is an ex con, free to do as she pleases now."

Just as Bodybag is about to launch another ear bashing Helen's way, they are both shocked to see Jim Fenner, looking more like a raging bull, come flying out of his office, his hand firmly in Karen's hair dragging her by it. She looks terrified; she has more than a little blood on her face.

Such is the genuine disbelief; it takes Helen a minute to spring into action. "Sylvia call security and get the number one."

Sylvia is frozen to the spot. "Now." Helen raises her voice enough to snap her out of it; she waddles off as fast as she can barking instructions down her radio. Oh Jim what have you done now. She sure that whatever it is, Karen must have done something to drive him to it.

By the time Helen has come round and gone to follow Fenner and Karen, they've disappeared. Shit.

Jim knows this is it. It's all over. No matter what happens, he thinks back to Helen Stewart's words, about taking him all the way down with her. Well now that fate is going to be bestowed upon Karen. Of course he would prefer it was Helen Stewart or Nikki Wade of course, but Karen would do. I mean Stewart and Wade have always hated him, and the feeling always been mutual. But at least they were up front about it. But Karen, this really is a huge betrayal. He can't believe she would choose those two rug munchers over him.

He's dragged her all the way up to the roof. He remembers back to when that stupid kid Zandra brought her baby up here, she couldn't even get that right. Women, bloody useless women. He drags Karen to the edge of the roof, she almost dangling over it.

"We could have had it all me and you Karen." She manages to find her footing whilst he goes off on his little rant.

"You know, I told you about Stewart shagging Wade, and you wouldn't believe me. And now that you know they are, and you choose them over me?" He shakes his head.

"I'm sorry Jim, we can work this out."

"No. You're too late." Jim snaps before Karen has a chance to get anything else out.

Helen who has now managed to grab both Sylvia and the new Governing Governor, Neil Grayling, who by the way is an idiot. She's starting to think he's in love with Fenner, he's dismissed everything that both she and Bodybag have told him. He can't possibly believe that Jim could ever do anything wrong.

Problem is they can't find Jim or Karen anywhere; security is out in full force, but nothing. They're heading to Hospital wing, this is the only place they haven't looked, they are walking along the outside of G-Wing, when all of a sudden they hear an almighty scream, well half scream half the name 'Jim'. Helen and Grayling are even more surprised when they realise it's come from Sylvia.

They follow her line of sight, Helen actually cries out. Now she's frozen to the spot, she can hear someone speaking into one of the prison radios, but she can't take her eyes from the scene unfolding up on that roof.

Jim see's that they've got an audience. Great, now's the time he guesses. "Right Karen. Time to say goodbye."

She panics, Jim starts trying to push her over the ledge and off the roof. Karen starts to fight against him, for her life, she puts up an almighty struggle. Helen, Bodybag and Grayling are now all mesmerised. It appears one way or another this drama is going to come to an end sooner rather than later.

In the struggle Karen manages to out manoeuvre Fenner, and before she knows what's happened she falls backwards against the tiles of the roof, she lands just in time to see Jim go sprawling over the edge in the other direction. She hears a gut wrenching cry, then nothing, silence. She just starts to sob.

Part 14

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