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 15

Helen jumps bolt upright. It takes her a second to get her bearings. She is breathing heavily, and has sweat forming on her brow. She glances around the room, her room, her bedroom. Thank god. It was just a dream. Since watching Jim Fenner fall to his demise from that roof, these dreams, no these nightmares have plagued her. They always start the same, with Fenner and Karen up on that roof, never the same ending, sometimes Karen falls, sometimes she does. Sometimes Nikki. . .

She can't let herself think about that, she glances down at the former lifer, sound asleep next to her. The nightmare instantly forgotten, Helen's heart swells almost to bursting point; she still can't believe the amount of love she feels for this woman. It's Sunday morning, Nikki worked a full night at the club last night, no wonder Helen's thrashing around didn't wake her, the younger woman glances over to the clock on the bedside table. Urrgh is her first thought, 8.45am on a Sunday, Helen has never been an early bird at the best of times, but this time on a Sunday morning shouldn't exist.

She decides however that she's not going to get back to sleep after her latest dream, so sighing loudly, and completely against the decision her own brain has just made, she pulls the covers back on her side and climbs out of bed, careful not to disturb Nikki, and heads for the shower.

Helen had set herself up in the front room, files and folders spread all over the coffee table, numerous cups of coffee have enabled her to get over her early rise. Nikki is just waking up, she stretches , and reaches out across the bed, she's genuinely surprised when the other side proves empty, her brain is a little fuzzy having just woken up, but she's pretty sure it's Sunday, and one of Helen's favourite pastimes is a Sunday lie in. She glances over at the clock starting to worry a little about exactly how long she's slept for, 10.30am hmmm, Helen would usually still be in bed. It dawns on her quickly, her lover must have had another nightmare, she hates that she wasn't there to comfort her, and get her through it.

She jumps out of bed and throws on some jogging pants and a t-shirt before heading out into the belly of the flat in search of her girlfriend. She smiles when she finds her in the living room; she looks like she's been here for some time. There's paper work everywhere. Almost as if she can feel Nikki's stare on her, she looks up and isn't disappointed when she sees the older woman smiling down at her.

"Morning sleepy head."

"Morning. It's not like you to be up this early on a Sunday."

Helen smiles as she glances over to the grandfather clock that takes pride of place in her living room. She tuts. "Nikki it's almost 11am."

Nikki laughs. "When was the last time you saw 11am on a Sunday. I thought you liked our special Sunday morning lie ins?" Nikki wiggles her eyebrows as she speaks.

Helen laughs out loud. Nikki is however slightly concerned. "Looks like you've been up for sometime as well."

She gestures down at the paper work. "You wanna talk about it?"

Helen sighs. "It's normal to have some side effects after a traumatic experience. Isn't it?"

"Of course it is darling. It's also normal to get help, if you need it."

"I'm not sure I do Nikki." She can tell the former lifer isn't convinced. "Look let's give it a couple of weeks, if I'm still having the dreams, then I'll get some professional help. Deal?"

"Deal." Nikki grabs Helen's hand as they come to their truce.

She leans down and gives Helen a soft kiss on the lips. "Right, I'm gunna make you the biggest fry up ever."

Helen grins. "You are the best, do you know that." She continues to plant kisses on Nikki's lips as she's speaks.

"Mmmmm keep telling me."

The both smile into the kisses, before Nikki reluctantly pulls away and heads for the kitchen.

Helen had ditched her work soon after and joined Nikki in the kitchen, she loves watching her doing domestic tasks, something that would seem so meaningless and normal to any other couple, but something that signifies so much for them. She can tell Nikki loves it too; the smile on her face when she's cooking fills Helen's heart with pride. To make it even better, Nikki is a fantastic cook. Helen had no idea, but then again why would she, it's not like they would have had the chance to discover this in Larkhall.

Over the past few months it's these things that have brought so much joy to Helen, just discovering the little things about the woman she has been in love with for all these years. For instance Nikki has two sugars in her coffee, but doesn't have any in her tea. She loves the antiques road show, and countdown, which Helen would never have guessed in a million years, and she's most definitely a crier when it comes to sad films and the like. Of course Helen has seen her cry before, but she had usually been the cause of the tears in the past.

The breakfast they had enjoyed was immense, and Nikki insisted on doing the dishes. Not that Helen was complaining. Helen is pulled from what has fast become her favourite past time, staring at Nikki, when the house phone starts ringing, she quickly jumps off the stool she's currently occupying and races to answer it. Nikki smirks as she watches her.


"Hello Hen." Helen can't help the grin that spreads onto her face at the sound of her father's voice. Yes they've certainly had their ups and downs over the years, but she loves the man dearly, and over the last couple of years or so, since she broke off her engagement to Sean, they have grown a lot closer.

"Hiya Da."

"How are you keeping?"

"I'm good thank you." She glances over at Nikki. "Actually I'm better than good, I'm amazing." Duncan Stewart can practically hear the joy in his daughter's voice, before he gets a chance to comment she speaks again. "How are you Da? How did your sermon go today?"

Her father is Presbyterian minister and today being Sunday, she knows it's been his main gig of the week.

"It was okay. Parishioner levels are holding steady so I can't complain too much."

Now he wants to get down to the real reason for his call. He has some news for Helen. News that he needs to tell her in person. "I want you to come for a visit."

This takes Helen by surprise. "When?"

"As soon as you can. I know you've just started your new job and everything. But it's been so long since I last saw you."

Helen can't argue with that. She places her hand over the mouth piece of the telephone, and gestures towards the older woman who is still watching her intently.

"Nikki, can you get my diary please." She starts to move, until she realises she has no idea where, Helen chuckles at the look of confusion, but takes pity on her. "It's in the draw on my side of the bed."

Nikki nods and sneaks out of the kitchen, leaving Helen to talk to her Dad. She heads straight to the bedroom, and starts rummaging in the draw that Helen had stipulated. She immediately knows that this draw holds some of her lover's most precious possessions. She pulls a photograph out and can instantly tell its Helen with her mother. She doesn't really talk about her mum much, Nikki knows she passed away when she was a child, but she always gets far too emotional to divulge much more.

Nikki spots what she's looking for, the planner; she grabs it and goes to close the draw, when something else catches her eye. She places the diary carefully on table top of the draw, and cautiously pulls out the piece of paper that's captured her attention; she holds her breath as she gently unfolds the letter.

A letter she recognises really well. A letter she wrote. She can't believe this is the letter she penned for Helen well over a year ago, telling her that she was her whole world, and trying desperately to convey just how much she loves her in the written word and failing miserably. Nikki reads the words over again, she hadn't realised she'd started crying until she sees a tear drop onto the paper.

She carefully places the note back where she found it. Underneath the photo of her mother, it makes Nikki's heart lurch in her chest when she thinks of the importance Helen has so obviously attached to this letter. She better get back into the kitchen before the younger woman sends out a search party.

She places the diary in Helen's hand. She is still happily catching up with her Dad, she looks at Nikki quizzically, has she been crying? Nikki is smiling, so whatever caused those tears must have been good, she looks moved rather than angry. Helen is determined she will get to the bottom of this when she finished speaking to her father.

Helen can tell her dad is currently skating around an issue, he's dying to ask something, she's not sure what, but she hopes he gets to the point soon. She has glanced over her diary.

"Right Da, it looks like I can get a long weekend at work in three weeks. Would that be okay with you?"

"Perfect. Helen. . . "

It seems Helen is about to find out what her Dad is desperate to ask her. ". . .Who's Nikki?"

Her throat goes dry; he must have heard her asking Nikki to get the diary. Duncan is almost certain this Nikki guy must be the reason his daughters been so happy recently.

Helen decides to be diplomatic in her answer, without revealing too much. "Nikki is someone that I very much want you to meet, soon."

Nikki is taken aback by Helen's words.

"Well in that case, why don't you bring him with you when you come home?" Duncan is genuinely excited at the thought.

"I'll think about it. Listen Da, I've gotta go, but I'll talk to you soon, and we can sort something out."

"Okay Hen. Speak to you soon."

Helen hangs up, and moves towards Nikki. "Why have you been crying?" She places her hands on Nikki's face, who is shocked; she actually forgot she shed a tear earlier.

"I found my letter." Nikki explains.

Helen instantly knows what she's talking about, she almost feels a little embarrassed at first. But that doesn't last long when she sees the look of pure unadulterated love in Nikki's eyes. It appears her lover hasn't finished yet.

"You keep it with the photos of your mum?" Nikki voice catches in her throat.

"Of course I do. I keep all the things that mean the most to me in that draw." It seems so simplistic to Helen.

Nikki can't help the fresh tear that falls from her eye; she just buries herself into Helen's neck. Although startled, the younger woman provides her with the comfort she unquestionably needs. Helen doesn't understand why Nikki still doesn't realise that she is one of the most important people there's ever been, and will ever be in her life.

Nikki has another realisation, she pulls back looking confused, Helen braces herself, not really sure what's going to come out of the older woman's mouth next.

"Did you just tell your dad, you want him to meet me?"

Helen feels a flash of anger rise in her, the Bodybag situation rearing its ugly head. But she swallows it down, she can't lie, up to now she's been fine with telling people, but her dad really is a different kettle of fish, and she is frightened. But she's determined in equal measure, she's not willing to give Nikki up. Not even for her father.

"Well yeah. He's got to meet you eventually. You feel like biting the bullet in three weeks with me?"

"Really?" Nikki is proud that Helen wants to introduce her to her family, but petrified as well, especially after what happened with her own family. She would hate herself if she was the cause of Helen's family breaking up too.

"Really, he actually said to bring you along. Of course he's assumed Nikki is a man."

Nikki rolls her eyes as Helen continues. "I don't know whether to put him right before we go, or when we get there. Might be more fun when we get there."

Helen is putting on a brave face; Nikki can tell she's as worried as she is. She grabs her into a hug. Helen hangs onto her like her life depends on it.

Nikki has decided to finally treat herself to the new car she's been threatening to buy for the last few weeks. In the end she went for a brand new BMW X5. Helen although having a little car envy didn't overreact to her little splurge, Nikki was relieved. She used the excuse that it will be a much better vehicle for the long drive up to Sterling in a couple of weeks, Helen couldn't argue with that, she doubts her little Peugeot would make it all that way in one piece.

It's currently Friday night, Nikki is in charge at the club, and Helen Trisha and Claire who decided to tag along are having their bonding session in the hope that they'll become firm friends. Nikki is more than a little worried. They haven't actually arrived at the club yet. Nikki is watching the entrance like a hawk.

It's not long before a rather worse for wear looking Helen falls through the entrance, closely followed by Trisha, and then Claire, Nikki calms a little when it seems they are all having a laugh, no scratch that, they are all doubled over laughing. Trisha becomes more assertive the closer she gets to the bar, after she weaves through the crowd; she heads straight behind the bar and grabs a bottle of champagne and three glasses. She winks at Nikki.

"Nights going well then?"

"Of course, you know how charming I can be when I need to." Trish smiles; she really has had the best night. She can't wait to continue it. "Right I'm off back to it. Unless you need anything while I'm here?"

"No no, you get back to your date with my girlfriend." Nikki can't help but tease.

"Ha, hardly a date Nikki, now Claire on the other hand." Trish wiggles her eyebrows.

"Isn't remotely gay." Nikki is appalled.

"That's never stopped me before." Trisha sticks her tongue out as she sashays down the bar and heads up towards the VIP section. Nikki just shakes her head in disbelief.

Trisha navigates the stairs with ease, she plonks the large bottle of champers on the table, and it's met with squeals of delight from Helen and Claire. Trish slides into the arch shaped booth next to Claire, perhaps a little too close, but the lawyer shows no signs that it has made her in the least bit uncomfortable.

Helen has poured the glasses and passed them out. A toast is in order. "Here's to us. Making it through the evening. Alive."

They all clink glasses. Trish can't help a little joke. "The night is still young yet Helen."

Raucous laughter ensues from the three women. Helen can't help but notice the admiring glances they're getting from a number of women in the vicinity. She starts to think out loud.

"Why are you still single Trisha?"

Trish is confused by the questions; Helen picks up on as much and explains herself. "I mean look at all these women; some of them are actually staring at you, no subtly whatsoever."

"Oh Helen, you've got so much to learn about this community you've belatedly become a part of." She gestures out across the dance floor. "I could have my choice of any of them. But believe me, none of them are girlfriend material."

Helen nods knowingly. Trisha leers at Claire. "Beside I might have my eye on someone else."

Claire smiles, loving the attention Trisha is lavishing on her. Helen bursts out laughing. "You're barking up the wrong tree there Trish, Claire's straighter than a ruler!"

Claire is not impressed. "Oh yeah, 'cos you were renowned for your womanising before Nikki came along."

Touché. Helen smirks. "Point taken. So you thinking of switching teams too?"

"Well you make it look so much fun."

Laughs all round again. Then the three women get back to their drinks and good times.

Its 4.30am when Nikki and the rest of the working staff have finally finished cleaning the bar, she cautiously makes her way up to VIP, she can still hear the three of them howling like hyenas, so they must still be having a great time. No doubt they will all be paying for it tomorrow, Nikki smirks, but then realises she'll probably suffer the most as a result of Helens hangover.

She approaches the table, Helen see's her immediately, and is straight up and stumbles towards Nikki, before practically falling into her arms, Nikki catches her, and pulls her into a hug, which Helen immediately turns into a kiss, a drunken one at that. Trish and Claire both roll their eyes, and smile at each other, perhaps holding the stare for a little too long. It's Claire that loses nerve first and looks away. Trish smiles, she's adorable but the last thing she wants to do is make her feel uncomfortable, so she focuses her attention back to Helen and Nikki, her smile grows, these two are so completely besotted with each other, it almost makes her sick. But she can't help but be completely happy for the them.

Nikki pulls away, and glances over Helen's shoulder. Come on you two, I'll drop you both off home. Helen who is obviously extremely drunk, can't help a little crack, these two have been flirting outrageously all night, she's felt a little like a third wheel.

"And where exactly will we be dropping the two of you off?"

Trish laughs, as she takes Claire's hand and helps her out of the booth, Claire is a lot less impressed, and she scowls at her best friend. Nikki can't believe her ears; she knows Trisha was joking about this very subject earlier, but surely not? This has disaster written all over it for sure, if it's actually happening.

To Be Continued

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