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 9

Helen has been in her new job for a week, and she is loving it. Not to blow her own trumpet or anything, but she is bloody good at it. She has an excellent team around her, and she can already see what a difference they can make to the lives of prisoners.

She been based at Holloway all week while she bed's into the new role, but it will cover all of the women's prisons in London and the surrounding areas. Larkhall is on the agenda for next week; her boss David had been almost apologetic when he told her. He knows she's not really looking forward to having to go back there.

She decides to focus on the positives of going back to Larkhall; obviously she will be doing a something really constructive in terms of her actual professional capacity, her reason for being there. But on another note, she's really excited about the familiar faces she may bump into while she's there, obviously Fenner is one she'd rather avoid, but other than him, she is genuinely excited about seeing the rest. She's includes staff and prisoners in that.

Nikki has loved this week. Helen coming home and excitedly filling her in on what's happened at work, she can tell she's really thrilled by her new role; the enthusiasm practically seeps from her. As well as that Nikki has slowly reintegrated to life back at the club. Trisha has taken pity on her, and let her take charge of the mid week shifts, she even held the fort by herself last night, and she bossed it. She really feels like she's getting back to her old self, and Trisha had been really glad of the night off. It's not often she gotten to have one of those over the last four years.

Helen strides through the door of the flat she now shares with Nikki, delighted after completing her first full week, with no drama, no hiccups, she's not used to being in a woman's prison and at least not have some small thing go wrong. That being said she's looking forward to the weekend. Nikki isn't working in the club tonight and she intends to make the most of it.

"Hiya Babe." This has become her customary greeting for when she gets home. She loves that she and Nikki are creating their own customs.

"In here." Nikki shouts to indicate she's in the living room.

She's watching something on the TV rather intently, but Helen is surprised to find she's dressed for going out.

"Going somewhere?"

Nikki pulls her concentration from the TV to look at her stunning girlfriend, and as usual she can't help the smile that registers on her face.

"Actually, we're going somewhere." Nikki lifts from the couch and greets Helen with a kiss. "Hi."

"Hi" Helen kisses her back hungrily. Nikki pulls back if they carry on down this route they won't be going anywhere.

"Claire's called, asked if we fancied doing something. Is that alright?"

Helen smiles, she loves that Nikki and Claire get on so well; obviously they got off to a good start, what with Claire getting her out of jail and all.

"Sounds perfect." Helen reassures.

"Good. Well get ready then, we've got reservations for dinner. Then I thought afterwards, we could partake in a bit of your favourite pastime." Nikki wiggles her eyebrows.

Helen is confused, Nikki decides to explain herself. "Drinking."

Helen laughs. "Well I'm a prod Scot Nikki."

"That you are my love. Now go and get ready."

Helen wanders off to the bedroom, and Nikki goes back to her TV programme.

They have had a really great evening at the restaurant, they let Claire choose as it was her idea, and she didn't disappoint. Nikki supposed being a criminal lawyer has its perks, after all she must get some questionable people off, and they are very generous when it comes to their freedom. She can't help but think of Yvonne. She hasn't told Helen yet, but she won't be the only one returning to Larkhall. Nikki has really missed all of her friends from inside, she received a visiting order from Babs this morning, and she fully intends on using it. She will save that little bomb shell for tomorrow though.

Back to tonight, they were in an Italian; the food has been fantastic and the wine even better. Nikki wanders off to the bathroom leaving Helen and Claire alone for the first time this evening.

"So I take it things are a little better than the last time we saw each other?" Claire thinks back to how upset Helen had been, and by contrast how content she seems now.

"Yeah, slowly but surely we seem to be working things out. There's a long way to go yet. But I'm confident."

Nikki practically runs back to the table, she so animated and the daft grin on her face has both women sitting at the table intrigued. She takes a deep breath; almost as if she's worn herself out either from excitement or the little jog she decided to take back from the bathroom. Helen and Claire are practically on the edge of their seats waiting for an explanation.

Nikki doesn't disappoint. "Guess who I've just seen?"

It's quite a posh restaurant so Helen and Claire immediately assume someone famous, although it must be someone really famous to have gotten Nikki so worked up.

"George Michael." That's Claire's guess.

Before Nikki can let them know they are going down completely the wrong path, Helen throws her speculation into the ring. "Oooooooooooooooh Elton John."

Nikki just looks at them both like there complete idiots. She also slightly worried that the person she's actually seen is going to be a massive let down such is their high expectations.

"No. Bodybag." She smiles again as she says it, the smile goes right to her eyes, and Helen's eyes widen at her words.

Claire is just confused. "Body who?"

Helen regains her ability to speak and decides to explain to her friend. "She was one of the prison officers in Larkhall, Sylvia Hollamby."

Claire now understands the reaction from the two women. "Did she see you Nikki?" Claire turns to the taller woman as she poses the question.

"No I don't think so, I pretty much legged it as soon as I saw her."

Helen nearly bursts out laughing at the picture she has in her mind of Nikki sprinting away, lanky all arms and legs, that is until she catches a glimpse of the aforementioned Bodybag.

"Don't look now." Helen nods her head in the direction of her former colleague, and who she assumes is her infamous husband Bobby. Nikki does exactly the wrong thing, and turns directly around coming face to face with the woman who used to lock her up.

Bodybag see's Nikki immediately. She is disgusted, that is until she sees who sitting at the table with her, then her revulsion really takes off. She storms over to the table.

"You should be disgusted with yourself." Her venom is firmly directed at Helen, who just smiles back. Bodybag, utterly dismayed at the former wing governor's reaction storms off as quickly as she arrived, leaving a slightly bemused Bobby just lingering at the table, before smiling awkwardly and taking off to follow his wife.

The three women just burst into fits of laughter.

They went for a few drinks after the restaurant, but compared to the last time the three of them went out it was a fairly tame affair. Nikki had just gotten into bed, and Helen is pottering around the bedroom getting ready for bed. Something's been on Nikki's mind since the Bodybag incident.

"When I ran to the table to tell you about Bodybag." Helen who has just removed her earrings, stops what she's doing interested in where Nikki might be going with this.

"It was because, I was certain you wouldn't want to be seen with me."

Helen is shocked at Nikki's words, her facial expression conveys as much, she sits down at the end of the bed, Nikki continues.

"I was running to warn you. Then when she caught us together you just smiled." Nikki is trying to express how pleasantly surprised she was by this.

"Nikki." It's practically a shout; Helen is really stunned by Nikki's words. "Caught us together, you make it sound like we were doing something wrong."

"I just never thought you'd be okay about telling people about us." Nikki is just thinking out loud now, she should perhaps try to filter a little before she vocalises.

"Based on what?" Helen is really on the defensive now. "I told Claire about us, Dominic about us, Thomas about us, hell I even told my new boss about us. I have never had an issue, with that. I have never been anything but proud of you, and us."

She has a thought. "And if this is about when we inside, I would have thought it was obvious why I wasn't shouting it from the rooftops then."

Nikki can see she's really messed up here. "I'm sorry Helen; I've been with straight woman before. I was always the dirty little secret. I just assumed."

"Straight, is that what you think I am? Because if that's true Nikki then what the hell are we doing here?"

Helen can't believe Nikki; she throws on her dressing gown and heads out of the bedroom at pace. Nikki just sighs; she throws her head back into the pillows in frustration, before flinging the covers back and going in search of her girlfriend.

She finds her sitting on the back doorstep, puffing on a cigarette still fuming. Nikki slowly sits down next to her. She nods in the direction of the cigarette.

"I didn't know you smoked." Helen hits her with her best death glare. Big mistake, she sees Nikki's huge brown puppy dog eyes, full of remorse, and she softens a little.

"I don't. It's a disgusting habit. I only do it when I'm pissed off."

Nikki sighs. "I shouldn't have said what I did."

"No you shouldn't." Helen stubs out the cigarette and chucks its, its only served to make her feel worse.

"If you think I'm just another straight girl going through a phase. . ."

"I don't." Nikki is emphatic in her response, now she has to try and explain. "I just. Helen you've been straight your whole life. It's a big thing for you to all of a sudden be with another woman."

"Not to me it isn't, Nikki I've risked everything for you. My job. If I wanted a 'normal life' I gave up a chance of that with Sean. For you. I've not taken all these risks, and made all these changes on a whim. If I thought it was some sort of phase, do you think I would have done all that?"

"No" Nikki feels awful.

"And after doing all that, risking all that for you. Do you really think I would want to keep you locked away as some sort of secret? Like I'm ashamed to be with you?"

She's looking at Nikki, her blood still boiling that she could ever think that of her. Nikki really has no excuse for thinking it, like Helen says she has nothing to base it on, other than past relationships, with women who weren't Helen. Helen has sacrificed so much for her.

"I'm sorry." She looks Helen dead in the eyes as she says it, and she can tell she really means it, and relents.

"I should bloody well think so Wade. I don't like it when you make assumptions about me. Remember Dominic."

Nikki closes her eyes and leans her head on Helen's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm not perfect after all."

She smirks as she says it, as does Helen. "No you're not. But you're close enough."

Helen kisses Nikki on top of the head. "Come on lets go to bed, I'm bloody freezing."

"Just like that, you forgive me?"

"Nikki, you said something without thinking. I'm absolutely sure you didn't mean to hurt my feelings with your stupid comment."

"I didn't."

"Right lets go to bed then, you can start making it up to me."

That is like music to Nikki's ears, she grabs Helen's out stretched hand and allows herself to be pulled up and starts to follow Helen back to their bedroom. As they reach the room, Helen turns to Nikki and puts a hand on her face.

"I never want you to think I'm ashamed of you Nikki. Never."

Nikki is blown away by the level of emotion Helen is showing, she has obviously struck a chord with her. She just pulls her into a kiss to try and show her how sorry she is, as she obviously not conveying it very well in words. Nikki goes on to fulfil one of the promises she made to Helen once in prison, she made love to her all night long.

Part 10

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