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 7

Helen is watching Nikki like a hawk; they had followed her earlier suggestion and now find themselves in the club. Helen is leant against the bar arms folded, Nikki is next to her, looking extremely apprehensive, She hasn't looked at the door yet, she's building up to it. She doesn't want to lose it again like she did the other day, it's not because Helen's there, there's no embarrassment issue, just the feeling that coursed through her body the other day, it really wasn't nice, and she really isn't looking forward to feeling like that again.

"Are you sure you're up to doing this?" Helen can see the inner turmoil Nikki is going through, and is starting to wonder if this is a good idea after all.

Nikki just takes a deep breath and slowly lifts her head, so she comes face to face with the dreaded door. The panic rises, she knows it's silly, it's all psychological, there's nothing behind that door right now, that can cause her harm, she knows that, she holds onto this thought, as she tries to fight back the panic and nausea.

Helen sees Nikki lapse into a kind of trance, the pace of her breathing picks up rapidly, and Helen can tell she's starting to panic. She moves to her, she wants to provide comfort, but she also wants Nikki to face this.

"Tell me what you're thinking." Helen still rubbing Nikki's back to try and provide some comfort, asks the question quietly.

The question takes Nikki by surprise, she isn't really thinking anything, just feeling terror, panic, and sickness. Helen's words seem to spark her brain into gear, what is she thinking?

The words start to fall out of her mouth, she's just contemplating out loud now. Helen listens intently.

"I'm thinking about what happened that day." Nikki is confused trying to get all of her thoughts clear in her head. Helen is still providing comfort in the form of rubbing her back gently. She doesn't speak, she hopes her silence will spur Nikki on, it does.

"I'm scared. When I saw what he was doing to Trisha, I lost control. My life changed that day. I can still smell the blood."

This thought brings back the nausea that Nikki felt the other day, again she becomes transfixed by the door, and moves towards it, Helen moves with her. She places her hand on the door again, mirroring what had happened previously. She still can't get her head around why the door seems to hold so much power over her. She begins to verbalise her thoughts again.

"When I opened the door, and saw him on top of Trisha, it was the worst thing I had ever seen. When I stabbed him, it was the worst thing I have ever done." Tears are now streaming down her face; Helen is trying desperately to keep her own tears at bay.

"This door signifies all the terror I feel, I'm scared what I'll find if I open it again." Nikki closes her eyes. She's almost certain Helen thinks she's crazy.

Helen actually thinks the opposite, Nikki has attached all the pain from that day, and all of the pain from the fallout from that day, to the symbolic action of opening the door, Helen needs to show her, that she has nothing to fear either behind the door or anywhere else.

"Open it." Nikki's eyes open abruptly. She's taken aback by Helen's words; she just looks at her hand on the door. Helen continues.

"I promise you sweetheart, there's nothing behind that door that can hurt you. The sooner you realise that, the sooner you can get on with your life."

"What if I don't deserve to get on with my life?" Ah, it seems Helen may be getting to the real issue. She needs to keep Nikki talking.

"What do you mean?"

"I killed a man Helen. He doesn't get to carry on with his life." Nikki has now reverted to looking down, she daren't look at Helen.

"Listen to me Nikki." She is forceful in what she says, but she keeps the same tone and pitch to her voice. "That man was a bully and a rapist, and he got what he deserved. Okay."

Nikki closes her eyes again, Helen moves her hand from rubbing circles on her lovers back, and gently squeezes her shoulder, to emphasize that what she's saying is correct. "Okay?"

Nikki just nods her head, tears still freely falling from her eyes, there's another issue that terrifies her more than anything.

"I can't be sure I wouldn't do it again."

Helen is confused, but doesn't get a chance to voice her confusion, as Nikki continues to speak.

"If I opened that door, and I saw someone doing the same thing to you, I'm not sure I'd be able to stop myself from doing the same thing all over again."

Nikki really looses it now. Helen can't keep her composure either, tears streaming down her cheeks, but she needs to reassure Nikki.

"Good." This really takes Nikki by surprise, so much so that her head whips up, and she instantly looks at Helen, a little like she has gone insane.

"Nikki, you did nothing wrong that day." Nikki's head drops again, Helen again shakes her shoulder, causing her to look up. Helen is really struggling through her own tears now.

"And I hope you would do it again, because I know for sure, if anything like that was happening to you, I would do what you did, in an instant. No questions asked."

A look of confusion comes over Nikki's face, as she takes in Helen's words, then it's like the penny drops, the confusion is replaced by a look of clarity. She isn't scared any more. It's that simple.

"Open the door." Helen can tell Nikki seems to have understood that, she has no reason to be scared, but she wants her to overcome the actual physical thing of opening the door. Nikki still somewhat in a daze takes a few seconds to let Helen's words wash over her, she can't lie, she still feels a certain apprehension, about opening the door, but she takes one last look at Helen, and instantly knows, that with her by her side, she can get through anything.

She moves her hand, from where it is palm flat on the door, down to the door handle, and without a moment's hesitation, she opens the door, wide open. Helen gets ready for an emotional breakdown. But it doesn't arrive, Nikki just stands looking in the office she's not entirely sure what she was expecting to happen when she opened the door, but she is greeted by bright sunshine teaming in through the windows, it's just a plain office. Nothing to be scared of. She exhales loudly, pure relief. She honestly thought it would be a lot harder. She can't help the smile that forms on her face, she feels a little embarrassed, but moves forward into the office.

Helen just watches her with immense pride. Hoping that she finally realises that she did nothing wrong that day, that her actions and reactions, were normal, and anyone under that level of provocation, would have acted in exactly the same manner. Helen follows her into the office, happy.

They stayed in the office for a while, just chatting and getting used to the feeling of being in there. Like with the rest of the club, Trisha has redecorated the office beyond recognition as well, so Nikki had taken a little while to get re-accustomed with where everything was. One thing she knew for certain, she was never going to get to grips with the new computer system. She was getting a headache just thinking about it.

She is currently stretched out in the office chair, Helen has been having a proper look around the club, and giving a Nikki a chance to be alone in the office, she strolls back into the bright room, and smiles at Nikki, who looks a lot happier. Before she gets a chance to comment, her mobile phone rings, she pulls it out of her pocket, and doesn't recognise the number.

She moves to the side of the room, and Nikki watches with interest, only picking up bits and pieces of Helen's side of the conversation. When the phone call ends, she turns to Nikki, looking more than a little uneasy herself.

"That was Area Management. They want to see me this afternoon, about the job I interviewed for."

It seems it's now time for Helen to face her fears.

Never in her life has she felt as nervous as she does right now. Sitting opposite the three people that interviewed her, just a few days ago. The horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach is making her wonder, if this is actually worth it after all. Before she has a chance to give anymore thought to backing out, David, the senior interviewer begins to speak.

"Helen, we were mightily impressed with your CV."

She smiles, a little apprehension fading away. "Thank you."

"Your interview was excellent. We have no doubt that you can do the job."

Helen smiles, but its shorted lived. "The only worry we have is the circumstances under which you left Larkhall." Her head drops; she really doesn't know how she can explain that one, the truth certainly isn't an option.

"We notice from your record, it's the second time you resigned with immediate effect from this particular prison."

Helen hadn't even thought about the first time she resigned, this was when she was G Wing governor. She remembers when she had sought out Nikki afterwards, and they had shared their second kiss. The memory makes her smile, momentarily until she remembers were she is, she looks at David, expecting to see an expression implying that he requires an explanation, instead it seems he is going to speak again.

"We are aware of certain individuals at that particular prison, who have a more than colourful professional record, and who may not have been the easiest to work with."

Helen can't believe her ears. "We just wanted to bring you in today, to reassure you, that although you would have to work at Larkhall again, there's absolutely no reason you would ever need to cross paths with that particular individual again."

Helen really is lost for words he's obviously referring to Jim Fenner. David can see she is struggling with the information he has just imparted on her, truth is, Helen Stewart would be perfect for this particular project, and her reputation in Area Management is exemplary, in spite of the recent blip, she is still held in very high regard.

"In light of that, we would like to offer you the job, and hope we've reassured you enough to want to take it."

Helen is delighted, she needs a job, but the truth is, she needs to tell them about Nikki. For two reasons, her Moral code at work, and secondly and more importantly she doesn't want Nikki to be a secret, from anyone. She knows this may lose her the job offer, but she has to tell them.

"Before we go any further, there's something I feel I need to disclose."

Now its David's turn to look worried, he doesn't speak, just gestures for her to continue.

"I currently live with Nikki Wade." The name seems familiar to him, but he's not entirely sure why, Helen picks up on his uncertainty, and continues to explain.

"She was an inmate at Larkhall, while I was Wing Governor."

David wasn't expecting that. "When you say 'living with'?" He realises it's a silly question as soon as he asks it. Helen, feeling a lot less confident about her chances of actually getting the job, looks at the floor.

"We are in a relationship. A sexual relationship." She wanted to be clear so there was no doubt as to what she was saying.

This is a blow for David. It will certainly make things a little more difficult, but he needs to get some answers before he decides his next course of action.

"Did anything happen with her while she was inside?"

"I won't deny I fell in love with her while we were both in Larkhall, but nothing actually happened between us, until we were outside of those prison walls." Not exactly a lie.

David exhales, Helen can practically see the cogs turning in his head. "Thank you for being honest with me."

Helen nods, there it was, she's blown her chance of the job, but at least she was honest about Nikki, and that in some way made her a lot happier about the situation. She rises from the chair.

"Thank you for your time."

David is a little confused. "You haven't given me an answer yet."

Now its Helen's turn to be confused. She wasn't aware he had asked a question. "To what?"

David is really starting to wonder about her intelligence a little. "To whether you'll take the job or not?" he just looks at her like she's stupid, and to be fair; she's looking back at him with a mirrored expression.

"You mean the offers still on the table?"

"Of course. Don't get me wrong I'll need to talk to my supervisors about your relationship, but if nothing happened on the inside, then there's no reason it should affect me offering you the job."

Helen just stands there dumbfounded. After a couple of seconds she realises she needs to give him an answer. "Of course I'll take job."

A smile explodes onto David's face. "That's great. Okay well I'll get everything sorted this afternoon, and get all the paperwork out to you, but I don't see any reason why you can't start next week, if that's okay with you?"

Helen still in disbelief and grinning like an idiot. "That is absolutely fine by me." She grabs his outstretched hand, and shakes it joyfully. She didn't know how much she wanted the job until just now. She shakes the hand of the other two interviewers, who to be honest she had forgotten where in the room, and left excitedly. She can't wait to tell Nikki. Although she is slightly worried about how she'll take the news that she'll be working in Larkhall again, it's not really a place either of them wanted to revisit this quickly.

Part 8

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