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 3

Helen and Nikki had an excellent afternoon in London, they had stopped for lunch first at this small restaurant by the Thames, Nikki loved it, Helen had an inkling she would, and was so relieved when it turned out she did. She had started to wonder if she knew the real Nikki at all, such were the revelations of the last 24 hours or so.

They had sorted all of the menial tasks within about an hour, although it took a little longer as they got sidetracked in the photo booth, whilst getting Nikki an up to date passport photo for her driver's licence. They ended up with a photo for the licence, and about 3 different strips worth of funny faces, and kisses. They knew it was pretty childish, but this is the kind of thing they would never have had the chance to do inside.

They had then headed to the bank, Helen's eyes nearly popped out when she saw Nikki's bank balance. Nikki just shrugged her shoulders, three years of untouched profits from the club, meant she was more than a little 'well off.' This again just widened the imaginary gap Helen had created not just between them, but between the Nikki she had known inside Larkhall, and the Nikki she was now getting to know on the outside. Again Helen feels almost inferior, unworthy.

Helen was significantly quieter immediately after leaving the bank, something which didn't go unnoticed by Nikki, but she really was at a loss as to what she could do, she can't help the fact that she's wealthy. Of all the problems she envisaged her and Helen having, she never imagined money would come between them.

They spent the remainder of the afternoon, just strolling around London, Helen filling Nikki in on all the things that had happened in the city, and although she had seen the London Eye on the TV in prison, the sheer size of it in real life had amazed Nikki. Helen loved being there to see Nikki's wonderment; she racked her brain to think of anything else that had happened in the last three years that might draw the same reaction. The awkwardness that had ensued after their visit to the bank, although not forgotten by either party, was well and truly put to one side for the rest of the day.

They drove back to Helen's flat in a comfortable silence, both lost in their own thoughts, although neither of them knew it, they were both drawing very similar conclusions; making their relationship work, is going to be seriously hard graft. But both of them want to die trying. As they exit the car and make their way to the front door, they both look up to see what will inevitably be the next problem they have to tackle. Thomas Waugh, sitting on the doorstep.

Helen's heart sinks, things are hard enough at the moment without him trying to throw a spanner in the works. Nikki feels a familiar foe rising in her chest, the same sickening feeling she got when Helen had her dalliance with Dominic; Jealousy.

Thomas to be fair to him has the decency to look mortified, he obviously hadn't thought Helen would go chasing her heart quite so quickly, it had only been three nights ago, he'd told Helen she was lying to herself.

Nikki can't stand the tension, and decides this is the last thing she needs, she grabs the keys from Helen's hands and heads towards the front door, side stepping the good Doctor in the process.

"I'll give you two some privacy."

Helen panics. "You don't have to."

"It's fine." Nikki gives her the most genuine smile and she knows, it really is fine. Helen appreciates this. Nikki nods at Thomas just to acknowledge that he's there more than anything else. He speaks as he rises from his sitting position.

"Congratulations Nikki, I heard you got out." He smiles, he too seems genuine enough. Nikki just gives him a small smile before disappearing inside. When he turns to face Helen, he is not greeted by a smile, or by any particularly welcome expression.

Helen is not one to beat around the bush. "What do you want Thomas?"

Ouch, she is clearly in no mood for games or pleasantries. "Nice to see you too." Thomas laughs as he says it, Helen still in no frame of mind for small talk just sighs exasperated.

Thomas decides he better get straight to the point. "Well I came, because I thought I might have been a little bit hasty the other night. But clearly I was right on the money."

Helen decides he deserves the truth, he did nothing but treat her fairly while they were together.

"You were right about me and Nikki. I owe it to myself to try and make things work with her."

"So you love her?" He says it matter of a factly.

"Yes. I always have." Helen states this with defiance, although the last thing she wants to do is hurt him, she definitely doesn't want to give him any false hope to hang onto.

"So you never loved me?"

Helen is starting to get a little fed up of this conversation. "Thomas I never once told you that I did."

Thomas catches the edge to her voice, and decides he better not aggravate her anymore.

"Right well, in that case, I left my watch here I think."

He did leave his watch and a few other bits, Helen had collected them and put them in a box by the front door, without saying a word, she goes and retrieves the box, and hands it straight to him, with a small apologetic smile on her face. Thomas knows this is definetly over, nothing he can say will change her mind.

"Right, well I guess I'll see you around, maybe."

"Yeah maybe."

Thomas dejectedly skulks off, and Helen quickly makes her way inside, worried about the reaction she'll receive from Nikki, the Nikki she knew inside would probably exploded into a jealous rage.

Nikki however has managed to swallow the jealously, and keep it at bay. Helen finds her in the kitchen; worryingly her coat is still on.

"Are you not staying?" She gestures to Nikki's coat.

"No." Nikki feels strange, she doesn't feel jealous, well certainly not the jealous frenzy she has felt previously, but she needs to get away, just for a while, just to get her head straight.

"I'm going to go back to my house. Trish and I have a lot to discuss. About the house and the business." She knows Helen will know that's not the only reason she's leaving, and because of that she can't look her in the face as she speaks.

Now it's Helen's turn to feel jealous, her heart feels heavy, it actually aches in her chest, she feels tired and emotional, and is fighting to keep her composure.

"Is this because of Thomas?" Its barely a whisper as it leaves her lips. Nikki looks up, and immediately regrets her decision when she sees the look on Helen's face.

"No, of course not, there's just a lot I've got to sort out." She smiles, and gently kisses Helen on the lips.

"I'll try and get back here later." Helen had pulled Nikki into a hug when she kissed her, and was currently buried in the crook of her neck.

"Promise?" Nikki embraces her back willingly.

"I promise."

And with that she leaves the kitchen, and then the flat, as Helen hears the latch click on the front door, the wall that had been keeping her emotions in check crumbles down, and what starts as a few tears quickly turns into heart wrenching sobs. She wishes this wasn't so hard, the only thing keeping her going, is her unwavering certainty that everything will be alright in the end.

Trisha had been surprised when her doorbell, had rung at 7pm, and even more surprised when she opened it to see Nikki. Mainly because she had a key. Nikki had made some feeble excuse about not wanting to interrupt anything. Trisha knew something was wrong, it was obvious, but she said nothing. That was about 15 minutes ago; they were now both sitting at the island in the kitchen nursing cups of tea, in comfortable silence.

The suspense gets to Trisha. "So are you gunna tell me what you're doing here Nik?"

Nikki can't help teasing Trish with her reply. "I live here don't I?"

Trisha smiles, but gives Nikki a look that screams, 'you better tell me what's really going on.' Nikki sighs.

"I feel like I'm in a daze." She looks up at Trish, who urges her to continue.

"I've been out of prison for two days, and I'm elated, and I'm starting to slowly piece my life together, and I've got Helen, it's like I can see all of this stuff happening, but it's like it's happening to someone else." She can't really think of a better way to put it, she reaffirms how she feels. "I'm in a daze."

Trish just laughs. "Of course you're in a bloody daze, you been locked up for three years, it would be a big adjustment for anyone."

Nikki simply smiles; she supposes it is quite an overwhelming time in her life.

"You need to stop over thinking everything, and just enjoy it while it's new. Soon life will be completely normal again, and you'll be bored."

"Well not completely normal." Nikki tries her best to put a smile on her face, Trisha can tell all is not okay.

"Do you want to tell me what's brought this on?" Trisha hates seeing Nikki like this, she knows it's more than likely Helen related, and as much as this is still a pretty raw subject for her, she will always be there for Nikki, always.

"She's been acting weird since we came round here earlier today." Trisha of course knows the 'she' Nikki is referring to is Helen.

"Try and see things from her point of view Nik."

Nikki's jaw drops, the last thing she expected Trish to do was stick up for Helen. Trisha obviously picks up on this as she bursts out laughing at Nikki's expression.

"Come on Nik, I'm not the wicked witch of the west. I want you to be happy." Trish's way of explaining just why she is sticking up for Helen, she continues.

"When you were in there." Nikki nods, knowing Trisha obviously means prison. "She had all of the power, all the control. She was the authority figure. Now you're out, and you have all this money, this beautiful house, and the club, maybe it's a bit overwhelming for her too." She states its a gently as she can.

"I guess. I'm still the same person though."

"Well then show her that." Nikki laughs, which confuses Trisha.


"Her seeing my bank balance this afternoon probably didn't help. I nearly choked myself when I saw it."

Now it's Trisha's turn to laugh. Nikki continues. "I take it we're doing well then?"

"Really well." Trish can't help the proud grin that erupts onto her face. Nikki guesses there's no time like the present to refer to that particular elephant in the room.

"While we're on the subject." Trisha's instantly knows where there is going, and the smile drops.

"What are we going to do about the club, and about this place?" She gestures around the room, smiling wistfully.

"Well I was kinda hoping that when you're ready you would come back on board at the club." Trisha looks up, hoping for some kind of hint from Nikki.

She puts her out of her misery. "I will come back eventually. I was fine in there the other night, but I think the office will take me a little longer to conquer."

She is of course referring to the location of the attack, just thinking about it starts Nikki's heart pumping, and the sick feeling starts to rise in her chest. Trish sees this and is immediately around the island her arms straight around Nikki, trying to comfort her. It has the desired effect; Nikki's breathing reaches normal level.

"I'm alright." Trisha looks her deep in the eyes, to make sure she is being truthful, she holds her stare a little too long, and gets lost in those familiar brown orbs, that she's missed so much. Nikki can see the longing in her eyes, she knows Trisha still wants her; she looks away and repeats herself.

"I'm alright." Trisha knows this is yet another knock back from Nikki, if she wanted to she could have kissed her then, she obviously didn't want to. She moves back round to her side of the island, and continues as if nothing has happened.

"Take as long as you need Nik." The emotion is evident in her voice. Nikki hates what she's doing to Trish. However inadvertent it is. Trisha seems to have become lost in her own thoughts, but it appears she is going to share them with Nikki.

"I'm gunna sell the house Nik." She looks at Trisha with slight confusion. She starts to explain.

"This is our home. I couldn't live here without you, and I'd like to think that you couldn't live here without me."

Nikki hadn't really thought about this, but now Trish has brought it up, she's right, this was their place, and she could never live here with Helen or anyone else for that matter.

"I couldn't." Nikki confirms for Trish that her last statement was in fact correct. Trisha ploughs on.

"So I say we sell the house, split the proceeds 50/50. I've already got my eye on this beautiful place a little closer to the club."

"Wow you have been making plans." Nikki is a little taken aback.

"I have, I've already got the estate agent coming round next week to value the place." Trish sighs. "I love you Nik. But I knew me and you weren't gunna work, even before you got out. Then Helen came along. You two belong together."

Nikki shakes her head, not sure she believes Trish. "Hey listen, Helen is the one for you, I've seen how you light up when you're with her, you just need to give it time. It's a big adjustment for both of you, not just you."

This seems to get through to Nikki, she had been so busy worrying about the daze she's been in, she hadn't stopped to think that maybe Helen was in one of her own; of course this was affecting her as much. Nikki's life had turned upside down the last few days, but so had Helens. Trisha breaks her from her thoughts.

"You better be getting back to her."

Nikki glances at her watch, its past nine now, more than anything else she wants to get back to Helen, her chat with Trish has certainly lifted part of the haze, she longs to hold Helen in her arms. Without saying a word, she pulls Trish into a hug, and kisses her on top of her head.

"I love you too."

Trisha smiles. She knows her and Nikki, and even Helen are going to get through this and be the best of friends, and that's enough for her. Nikki releases herself and smiles. Then proceeds to let herself out and make her way to Helen's. Make her way home.

Helen had retreated into a bottle of wine, she'd had a couple of glasses so far, whilst watching trashy TV, although she hadn't absorbed any of what was on, her brain was full of thoughts of Nikki. The wine had helped calm her down, and the tears had stopped. She longed for Nikki; she's silently praying she does make it back tonight. It seems her prayers have been answered when she hears the key turning in the front door.

A few seconds later Nikki pops her head round the living door, and smiles at the sight in front of her, Helen looks cute, curled up on the sofa in her dressing gown sipping her glass of wine. Helen glances up and can't help but return the smile on Nikki's face.

"Hey you." Helen says it so sweetly, Nikki melts, god she loves this woman so much. She makes a deal with herself there and then that she will give her all to make things work with her.

"Hey." She removes her jacket and jumps down on the sofa, next to Helen, still grinning like a Cheshire cat. Helen starts to wonder if she's drunk, Nikki can tell Helen thinks she's in a weird mood, so decides to explain what's put the smile onto her face.

"I'm completely in love with you." This takes Helen by surprise, the emotion from earlier in the evening comes back with a vengeance, and a lump quickly forms in her throat. Nikki can see the effect that simple statement has had on Helen, and it makes her feel alive. She continues.

"And I am going to do everything to make this work. Okay?" Helen can't speak she just nods, and places her wine glass on the table, then puts a hand on either side of Nikki's face and pulls her in to an amazing emotion filled kiss, so much so that a lump starts to form in Nikki's throat too. The kiss appears to have helped Helen regain her composure. And she has now recaptured the ability of speech.

"I love you too, sweetheart." Both women are now grinning like idiots. "What on earth happened at Trisha's?"

"I realised that time is a commodity that I now have in abundance. That we've got time to figure this out and make it work."

Helen grins, her worries from earlier in the evening evaporating. Nikki keeps going.

"That it's not gunna be an easy adjustment for either of us. But it will be so worth it." Then Nikki adds the practical things that happened at Trisha's almost as an aside. "Oh and we've decide that I'm going to stay on at the club, eventually, and that were selling the house."

That was quite a lot of information for Helen to take in. "Are you okay with all of that?"

"Yeah. It will take a while for me to be okay in the club, but other than that, it's worked out just perfect."

"What about you and Trisha?" Helen had to admit she had let her thoughts run a little wild in the last few hours, wondering what Nikki and Trisha were getting up to, all silly, she hopes.

"I love Trisha, and she is still going to be a big part of my life. And I need you to be okay with that."

Without a seconds hesitation Helen responds. "I will be." Nikki is comforted by the speed at which Helen responds. Time for Helen to drop another question in there.

"What about us? Are we going to be okay?"

Nikki sighs, her initial reaction is to just blurt out 'god I hope so.' But she doesn't want to panic Helen.

"My head is all over the place." This panic's Helen, so much for not wanting to! "And it is going to take time for me to fully get used to being free, and on top of that, fully get used to you actually wanting to be with me in the real world."

This makes Helen frown, but before she can but in and say anything, Nikki finishes.

"But if I'm certain of one thing above all the rest, it's that we're going to be okay. Better than okay."

Helen releases the breath she's been holding. Relief. Nikki is of course right, she knows it will be a tough ride, but they both want to make it worth more than anything else. And that will be thought she clings onto when things inevitably get gloomy in the future. Future, something they can now begin to seriously contemplate.

Part 4

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