DISCLAIMER: Bad Girls and all its characters are the property of Shed Productions. The author implies no ownership of these characters. They are used in the stories without permission, solely for entertainment and not for profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: One day I went to the post office, and while I waited my eyes caught a stand filled with Valentine cards and greetings. And I just got an idea for the story you are about to read.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Happy Valentine's

Chapter 1

Valentine's day hastily approached. Helen was not a big romanticist unlike Nikki, but she definitely did appreciate all the tokens of affection that Nikki continuously kept giving her in the form of small surprises, poems, flowers and other little gifts. Sometimes Helen wished that she had the fantasy and skill to return the affection and love she felt in similar ways to Nikki. But that was not in her nature, in the same way that it was not in her nature to show her feelings freely or even talk about them. However, she did have other ways of proving how strong her love for Nikki was. And she shamelessly used them, not that Nikki complained about that.

Normally at Valentine's day Nikki would make something special arrangement for them. It might be a romantic dinner, a holiday or something totally unexpected like whole day visit to a health centre. And normally Helen would know all about it long before the actual day, because Nikki could not keep it to herself being all excited about it like a kid on a Christmas morning. But this year nothing out of the ordinary had really caught Helen's attention, much to her surprise. That was not like Nikki at all to forget a Valentine's day.

Yet Helen could not help being worried about Nikki's recent behaviour. She seemed distracted and strangely preoccupied with something. Helen just couldn't figure out what it was. Normally Nikki would share her thoughts with her, but during the last couple of weeks she seemed to be closing up much to Helen's dismay. However, she did not want to push her. Helen knew by now that pushing her to open would definitely not be a very wise course of action. So she kept quiet, but carefully observed every little change in Nikki's behaviour.

Nikki did behave in a strange way, totally estranged from her normal way of living and acting. Beside from the fact that she kept the household running like always, she sneaked around in the house in the middle of the night, had secret telephone calls and jumped if Helen came into the room unexpectedly and unheard. She also increased her working hours. But that was the way it had to be. Even though Nikki did not like to keep anything secret from Helen, nor was she very good at it. Helen knew her far too well, but she had no choice but to keep quiet, until the right moment to reveal everything.

Chapter 2

They had been together for almost 11 years since Nikki's release from Larkhall. Helen was still amazed how much she actually loved Nikki and how much Nikki affected her mind and body just by one look or a fleeting touch. In very much the same way Nikki could not comprehend how Helen could still send her hormones into overdrive as well as making her heart skip several beats when speaking in that soft Scottish accent or smiling that endearing smile of hers.

Even though their life together had not been all roses and sweets, things had generally been very good and by far exceeded their imagination. They had their ups and downs like any other couple. Some periods had been more tempestuous than others, considering the fact that they both possessed fierce tempers and both were extremely stubborn. Needless to say their arguments could be rather heated causing their friends and family literally to take cover when they were in a tantrum. But at the same time their love for each other was like a bright and strong beacon leading them safely through the rough waters. Yes, their tempers could flare within seconds, erupting like a mad volcano but they could be soothing, quiet and loving towards each other just as quickly. Their friends did not know which side of the couple they hated the most, the heated pig-headed couple or the sickening love-struck couple. Some witty person had at one point compared their relationship with the quick tropical changes in the weather. One moment a sunny, bright, warm and beautiful day, then the next moment black thunder clouds, chilly storms and heavy rain threatening to destroy everything within miles.

But that was their way of dealing with things, life and each other. Most of the time, they actually lived a very quiet, peaceful and loving life together. Neither of them were mind-readers, but they knew each other so well. They connected mentally on a totally different level unknown to most people. They no longer needed to talk all the time. Often a look, a gesture or a touch would be sufficient to let each other know what went on inside their heads. This was due to the amount of communication and a very conscious choice they had made to allow a raw honesty to flow between them in order to avoid any kind of misunderstanding to develop. The time at Larkhall had clearly shown them that misunderstandings were not very healthy for their relationship. And they were very determined to have a good steady relationship, to live together as a couple and to have a family. Living together for as long as they had now made it possible for them to know all the little things, like how to take a cup of tea or what other strange habits they were having.

They had eventually had a couple of kids. It was what they both wanted. It had suddenly been a very strong urge for them to indulge into motherhood. It was a new thought for Nikki, who had never seriously contemplated having children. Not even in her nine years relationship with Trish had she ever given it a serious thought, since it had never been a subject for discussion between them. For Nikki with Helen coming into her life for good, having kids had been the natural development in their relationship. Helen on the other hand had always wanted kids, but was not really prepared to settle for good and actually have kids until Nikki had become a steady factor in her life.

When the decision was finally made they had agreed upon how the project "Kids" was going to be launched. Helen should carry the children, since Nikki did not really like the idea of being pregnant. They had wanted two children, but they had not bargained on that the second pregnancy brought a set of twins. Artificial insemination and IVF certainly does have some surprises in store for the unknowing parents, the result being a small male versions of Nikki and two girls both a real mixture of Helen and Nikki, but looking distinctively like miniature versions of their mothers in facial expression and manner, which could be quite unnerving at times.

Chapter 3

Helen woke up in the morning only to find the bed empty and cold. Even though Nikki was a morning person, an unchanged habit from Larkhall, she would normally wake Helen up before leaving or she would be heard bustling around in the kitchen, not being a very quiet person. But today was different. The house was quiet, much too quiet for Helen's liking. She was still half asleep, as her mind desperately tried to focus. Helen stretched and found the cool air touching her naked body as the duvet fell aside. She shivered lightly, pulled the duvet back on and turned in the bed, as she buried her head in the pillow and sheets. They still held the lingering sent of Nikki, and she breathed in deeply, letting the feeling of love flow through her mind and body, warming her this cold morning.

In her dazed mind she tried to recollect the events of the previous night. She had dropped the kids off early at Claire and Simon's. They had two kids roughly the same age as theirs, and the kids liked to play together. Sometimes they would have all the kids at their house and sometimes Claire and Simon would have the whole bunch of rascals.

Nikki had made a delicious dinner and they had basically just enjoyed a quiet evening together without the kids running around and making havoc in their home. However, as one thing was leading to another they had eventually ended up making passionate uninhibited love without the restraints of having to be silent or careful about being interrupted. It had been far too long since they had been able to indulge in that kind of pleasures. At first they never made it out of the living room and the second time they ended up on in the hallway on the bottom of the stairs. Finally they made it to the bedroom, where their lovemaking had continued most of the night until the early hours of morning. What a bliss! Helen thought as vivid memories of the previous night flooded her mind and made her body shiver. Then reality hit her. Where is Nikki? Her eyes flung open and her ears strained to pick up any sound that might vibrate through the house. But nothing was heard. Helen sensed something was wrong.

She finally made it out of the bed. As she tied her robe around her waist she went in search of her wife. The shower had not been running, nor had the door to the bathroom been closed so she headed straight to the kitchen. Only to find it empty, but Nikki must have been there, since an empty mug was placed on the kitchen table and the coffee machine was on. Normally Nikki would leave a note or at least some indications of her whereabouts, but this morning absolutely nothing. Helen poured herself a mug of coffee trying to figure out what was going on. Since the kids were away and would not be back until later they had agreed to make the most of the day alone. But now Nikki had gone. What the Hell is going on? Helen thought.

Just then she heard a key in the lock at the front door and Nikki strode into the hall oblivious to Helen who had appeared in the doorway. Not sensing her present Nikki just bolted up the stairs two steps at the time and into their study holding a small briefcase close to her chest.

Helen was even more puzzled than before, but by now her temper had gotten the better of her and she was ready to explode. She was literally fuming, and her eyes glowed ominous with anger. She wanted some answers and she wanted them now. Determined to get what she wanted Helen went upstairs, and was about to enter the study when Nikki almost came running out and almost knocking Helen over.

"Ops.., sorry…" Nikki's mind was definitely somewhere else.

"That's it, Wade! Stop right there!" Helen looked furiously at Nikki "You have some explanation to do!"

"Erh…, what…., erh…" Nikki stuttered her eyes flickering in all directions except Helen's, but otherwise trying to keep her cool.

Chapter 4

"You better start talking and that right now!" Helen's voice virtually shook with fury as she yelled at Nikki, her Scottish accent growing stronger with every word she spoke. Her eyes were narrowing, but flaring green anger.

Due to their collision Helen's hair had fallen down on her face and her robe was half way open revealing a little too much of her body for Nikki to be able to really concentrate as memories of the last night came crushing into her consciousness. Nikki mentally shook herself. She could not risk loosing her composure. Helen was not to know anything yet. But how could she be distracted and pacified. She obviously was not going to take no for an answer. Nikki quickly debated with herself how to twist things around to her advantage, as she tried to buy herself some time.

"Hey baby… I didn't realize you were up this early." Nikki tried her soft approach and to avoid the inevitable questions by changing the subject.

"Don't 'baby' me…, obviously you didn't expect me to be up…" Helen was still seething. "Now, where were you?"

"I was just getting some milk." Nikki tried the innocent look, but it did not fool Helen.

"And where is that now?"

"Erh.., forgot it in the car… Will just go and get it."

"Don't you dare walk away from me, Nikki Wade!"

Oh, boy… When she starts saying 'Wade' to me, she is really pissed off, Nikki thought and made a mental note not to piss her off again too soon. Ok, I have to change my tactics.

Normally Nikki would go off like a rocket when yelled at, but much to Helen's surprise she just smiled sweetly and traced Helen's chin with her fingers. Helen let out a gasp, both in anger, surprise and instant arousal by the simple touch. Bingo! Nikki thought when she saw the untamed desire in Helen's eyes. That's the way out of this. Nikki made a sudden move and pulled Helen in close to her so their bodies would touch. She brushed her fingers lightly over the robe feeling Helen's nipples respond immediately to the touch. At the same time Nikki stared intensely into her eyes. Her own brown eyes smouldering and dark with desire and need. She knew the effect she had on Helen's body and she knew it was the only way to distract her. She simply knew Helen too well. And Helen knew it too. Damn, I can't stay angry when she does that to me, she thought, cursing her body for responding so willingly to the sensations even the slightest touch or look would evoke.

I have to try to avoid further contact, or I will be lost. Helen thought as she mustered all her strength to break away from Nikki's hug.

"Don't do that!" her voice sounded a bit breathless, but still with an underlying tone of anger.

"Don't do what?" Nikki asked looking like the picture of pure innocence.

"Just don't …."

"Don't do this?" Nikki said teasingly letting her fingers brush over Helen's bare skin revealed by the robe, and then letting her palm rub ever so lightly over a breast again feeling the immediate respond. Helen gasped at the touch and had the urge to just pull Nikki in for a punishing kiss, but her sense kicked in and she inched away from Nikki again.

"No, you can't piss me off like that and then just kiss it all away, like nothing has ever happened!"

She was still seething with anger, but her eyes betrayed her primal lust and desire to ravish the gorgeous woman in front of her. A vision of innocent mischief with amusement sparkling in the deep brown eyes and ruffled black hair with the light touch of beginning sliver stripes.

Chapter 5

Nikki looked down at Helen and caught the raw desire in her angry green eyes. She then knew that she had won herself some precious time to come up with a plausible excuse. She also knew that it would only take one deep passionate kiss to have Helen totally under her spell. So she did the only thing that there was for her to do.

Nikki bent her head and captured Helen's mouth in a deep lingering kiss conveying all the love that she felt for her. Helen was about to speak when Nikki had captured her mouth and thus it was already opened, though not prepared for the sweet assault from Nikki's probing tongue.

I shouldn't be doing this Helen thought as she gave in and kissed Nikki back with a force and need that for a very brief moment took Nikki by surprise. But she quickly regained her composure and kissed Helen back with an equal enthusiasm and fervour. Hands were roaming all over their bodies. Helen's robe soon fell to the floor as well as Nikki's jacket.

Nikki had Helen pinned up against the wall as she placed small kisses all over Helen's neck and breasts. Helen moaned in delight and could do nothing but to surrender to the needs of her body. Every single touch ignited a fire within her and made her skin tingle all over with excitement. She could feel the wetness from her burning centre seep down her thighs. She wanted to claw and scratch and rip of Nikki's clothes in order to feel her skin against her own, but she could not, as Nikki had both her hands securely trapped behind her back.

Nikki continued to draw small kisses all around Helen's neck and upper breast deliberately not going down where she knew Helen would want her to touch. This made Helen moan in frustration, but she could not voice her frustration anymore as Nikki suddenly changed her position and started to kiss her face and finally taking her mouth in her possession again. Tongues sought each other feeling, probing, dancing and playing. Hot waves of pleasure shot through Helen's body and made her legs weak and she almost fell to the ground when Nikki suddenly released her body from the tight hold. Nikki sensed the motion and knowing Helen as she did, she held her up, but only so she could take her in her arms and carry her to their bedroom.

She placed her gently on the bed and lay on top of her looking down in her heavy-lidded eyes full of lust, desire and love, her own eyes mirroring the need and love. She somehow managed to remove the remains of her own clothes without breaking the body contact. They kissed feverously, enjoying the well-known taste and feel of each other. Nikki's hands were cupping Helen's breasts, carefully kneading them and prompting the nipples to stand to attention aching for the touches. She gently ran a hand down Helen's curvy hips over her stomach, to finally run her fingers gently through the soft hair that covered Helen's burning sex. Helen instinctively opened her legs a bit wider to let Nikki gain access to her womanhood. She marvelled at the exquisite feeling of long strong fingers playing with her swollen lips and hard nub of nerves that tingled at every caress.

Words were not needed between them, as they instinctively knew what the other wanted. The love flowed so easily between them as they looked into each others eyes. Slowly Nikki found her way to Helen's opening and easily slipped first one then two fingers inside the warm and silky wetness. At the same time Helen had managed to put a leg in between Nikki's thighs and felt the wetness that seeped from her. Helen could not control her body anymore as Nikki continued to trust her fingers in and out in a steadily increasing pace putting pressure to that magic place in her inner core. She growled loudly as the orgasm swept over her leaving her body to shiver violently in aftershock. She was fulfilled in a way that only Nikki had ever been able to do.

Chapter 6

The kids were coming back soon with Claire and Simon, who were supposed to stay for dinner. Trish and her girlfriend Kathryn were also supposed to stop by, so they had no time for speaking, much to Helen's regret. Nikki, however, was very relived to have avoided lying to Helen. She really hated this deceit and lurking around, but she had to stand by her decision and wait for the right moment. Normally Helen would be able to pry everything out of her, since Nikki could not deny her anything, but this time she would stand her ground.

Nikki was preparing dinner as Helen got herself ready. That always took ages, but this time it took even longer. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she totally forgot the time. She was jolted back to reality, when the doorbell rang, and she cursed under her breath realising that she had not even dressed yet.

"Nikki, would you please get it? I'm not dressed." She shouted.

What!? Not dressed yet? She has been up there for hours. Nikki shook her head in amusement as she went to open the door.

"Hi, kids… Had a good time?" Nikki picked up Nicholas as the kids rushed into the house followed by a smiling Claire and Simon with their children Tom and Janie.

"Yes, we've been to the zoo today, and we all got an ice-cream" Nicholas said happily.

"Mummy, mummy… " Emily and Erin tucked at Nikki's leg to get her attention.

"Nicholas fell into the pond…"

"… when he was feeding the ducks."

"What!?" Nikki's eye widened and Nicholas turned all pink.

"But aunty Claire picked him up…"

"…and she got all wet too."

Nikki looked at Claire with some concern, but Claire just laughed and shook her head. Tom and Janie had followed their father into the living room, but came back to greet Nikki, who put Nicholas down again. Emily and Erin had already run off to find Helen and tell her the big news.

"What was that all about?" Nikki asked, but she didn't get an answer as Helen came down the stairs at the same time and greeted Claire. Nikki had to catch her breath. Oh, my God! She looks so beautiful…, even with clothes on. Helen caught Nikki starring at her almost drooling, and could not help blushing and smiling a little bit to herself. Oh yes, you just wait, Wade, I will get the truth out of you later.

The doorbell rang again and this time Helen opened the door to let Trish and Kathryn in. "Hi, Helen… Good to see you. We brought some wine. Thought we should bring something…" Trish strode in and hugged Helen tightly, and Kathryn followed close by. They had been together for almost 8 years, but they had no kids. 'Too much work' was their excuse. 'Beside we have yours to spoil. And the good thing about baby-sitting other peoples kids are that you could always give them back to their parents, when you get enough of them.' Trish had joked. And it was true, that they worked a lot. They had started a new restaurant and two new clubs. Nikki still co-owned the "Chix" with Trish and worked there part time as manager and helping out when they were short-staffed. She had also invested in the restaurant and one of the new clubs, but was only involved in that as a silent partner, Trish and Kathryn doing all the work and management of the business.

The dinner went well. The conversation flowed easily, even though it was noted by Claire that Helen seemed much quieter than usually and somewhat occupied with her own thoughts. Claire made a mental note to speak to her before they left, but she did not get the chance.

Chapter 7

Their guest left quite late, but Helen was set on speaking with Nikki after the kids were put to bed. But before she could get a serious word with her, Nikki had ushered her upstairs and into bed. They had made love again, and then Nikki had told her to get some sleep while she cleaned up a bit in the kitchen. Helen did not have the strength to argue, not after their intense lovemaking. Damn her! She knows I'm on to something. was her last conscious thought before falling asleep.

The next morning she woke up alone again, but this time she could hear Nikki bustling around in the kitchen. Good God, does she ever sleep? she thought. Oh well, at least she was in bed last night. A content grin slipped across her face as she remembered what they were doing in the early hours. The bedroom door flew open as two four year old tornados came crashing in and jumped on the bed.

"Mummy, mummy…"

"Where are we going today?"

"Mummy says we are going somewhere nice."

"Is aunty Trish and aunty Katie coming too…"

"… and aunty Claire and uncle Simon…"

"…what about Tom and Janie…."

Helen laughed at the speed in which the questions came rushing out the mouths of her daughters. Somehow they reminded her of the way the two Julie's used to speak, finishing off each others sentences.

"Hey, you two.., slow down a bit…We are going to see Barbara and Henry today."

"Wow…, then will we…"

"… get some ice-cream?"

"Please…, mummy…"

"Yes.., please…."

"You got ice-cream yesterday… Now run along and find your brother…"

Two whirlwinds ran out of the bedroom, leaving Helen to get up. She put on her robe and went downstairs to the kitchen. That was when she heard it.

"…. yes, love you too Jen, see you tomorrow, bye…"

Helen stood paralyzed, but somehow managed to walk unseen back upstairs. The lovely morning was suddenly not so lovely anymore. She went back into bed, not able to comprehend what she had just heard and feeling sick to her stomach.

"Hey, babe… Why are you still in bed? We are going in half an hour…." Nikki came into the bedroom looking all puzzled.

"Listen, Nikki…, I don't feel very well… Why don't you just take the kids… And give my love to Barbara and Henry…" Helen could hardly look at Nikki. She felt her tears start to build, but tried to keep her emotions in bay.

"Are you all right, sweetheart?" Nikki was concerned. Helen looked like shit and she sensed that something was really wrong. So she sat on the bed and reached out to stroke Helen soothingly on the back.

"Yes…" Helen had to fight very hard not to collapse into a heap of tears.

"Are you sure?" Nikki tried one more time to make Helen open to her.

"Yes…, sure…" Helen turned away from Nikki.

"Ok then…" Nikki frowned, but had a feeling that it would not be wise to pry anymore. So she got up and left, closing the bedroom door silently behind her.

"Come on kids… It's time to go…" Helen could hear Nikki call out to the children and then there was the sound of small feet rushing in the hallway followed by a door closing and then silence.

The tears had started to fall and she sobbed quietly. She reached out, took the telephone and dialled. "Claire.., it's Helen… Can you get away for a couple of hours… I really need to talk…"

Chapter 8

Claire had managed to get away from her family. She had to, when Helen had called her, she sounded really upset and something was definitely wrong. As she rang on the doorbell she was musing about what had happened. She was let in to the house by a Helen still clad in her robe and looking utterly miserable with tear-streaked red eyes.

"Oh, Claire… Nikki is having an affair…." Helen had slumped down on the couch looking all dejected and dissolved into tears.

Claire had almost started to laugh at the absolutely ridiculous statement, but the truly miserable appearance of her friend had soon stopped that impulse. Instead she cautiously said:

"What have given you that idea? I mean, Nikki adores and love you, Helen. There is no way she would ever as much as look at another woman."

"Claire, I heard her this morning. She spoke to someone called Jen. She said she loved her. And that she would see her tomorrow." Helen said with slight annoyance, but still looking like a defeated woman.

Claire frowned, making a mental note on 'Jen' and on remembering to have a word with Nikki as soon as possible. Could it be…? Nah…, no way… Well, maybe it was…. Helen sensed that Claire was not quite present and jerked her back with a very direct question. "Claire, is there something you know, but are not telling me?"

"No…, no, Helen. I was just contemplating the possible reason for Nikki to speak that way to another woman." That was half the truth as Claire tried to sound convincing. She had known Helen for so long, and Helen knew when she was lying. She did not like this, on one hand she had to keep her professional client-confidence for Nikki as her client, but on the other hand her friend was feeling so shattered and defeated. She felt like a real first-class ass, but she was in no position to do any different. She had to try the soft approach.

"Don't you think you are jumping to conclusions? There might have been a perfectly logical reason for that conversation."

"I know what you are trying to say, but I am not mistaken." Helen's stubborn streak was now clearly showing. "Oh, God…, I love her so much and I am so scared of loosing her. She is everything to me and I can't live without her." She dissolved into tears again and sobbed uncontrollable as her whole body shook. It was so unlike the normally detached Helen to show that amount of emotions, even to Claire it seemed a bit overwhelming and quite disturbing.

"Maybe you should try talking to her?" Claire suggested carefully.

"Oh, I have tried, but every time she manages to turn me on instead, any conversation soon forgotten." Helen said sniffling and suddenly she blushed deeply when realizing what exactly she had revealed to Claire. Claire noticed how flustered Helen had become, but pretended not to have seen it, when she said in a dry tone "Well, at least you know she hasen't gone off you then." and smiled a little.

"Claire, be serious!" Helen looked anything but amused. Taking a deep breath she said: "I have noticed how her behaviour has changed. In the beginning I didn't think anything of it, but the last couple of weeks she has been so secretive, always avoiding my questions of her whereabouts. I have thought that she might be ill or something like that, but I never really imagined that she would cheat on me."

Claire stayed with Helen for a couple of hours trying to reassure her of Nikki's love and to comfort her by trying to be soothing. As she left she was cursing Nikki for making her friend so miserably sad.

Chapter 9

Not a word about the events of the day was spoken between them. The next day Nikki had as usually taken the kids to school and kindergarten, leaving Helen on her own to get up and ready for work. Normally by the time Nikki would return, Helen would be about to go herself. But today, Nikki had not returned and Helen could not stay. She had to rush out for work. She left a note saying she would be home late that night, though she contemplated coming home very early since she was in no mood for working at all.

Meanwhile Claire walked down the corridor in search of her partner in crime. She walked into the last office and greeted her colleague as she slumped into the chair in front of the desk.

"Jenny, have you seen anything of the Wade-woman?"

"Well, hello to you too. How are you today? Thanks I'm fine. Ever heard of knocking?"

"Shut it, will you..." Claire was in no mood for Jenny's jokes today.

"Bad weekend?"

"Well, let's just say it could have been better." Claire said without elaborating. "When is Nikki coming to see you?"

"In about 10 minutes…Why?"

"I need to have a word with her. Will you send her down to me, when you are finished with her?"

"Yes, sure..." Jenny smiled and Claire got up and walked back to her office grabbing a cup of coffee on her way.

One hour later Claire heard a soft knock on the door and Nikki's head popped inside looking questioningly at her. "Jen said you wanted to see me. Is anything wrong?" Claire gestured for Nikki to come in and close the door. "Come in, Nikki and have a seat."

Thought she had often been in Claire's office and it was really silly, she suddenly felt like a schoolgirl about to be lectured. She nervously fiddled with the hem of her jacket.

"So, Claire, what's up?" She tried to make it sound light.

"You've got to talk to Helen."

"What do you mean?" Nikki did not like where this was going.

"I went to see her yesterday, after you had taken the kids to see Barbara and Henry." Claire did not beat around the bush, but cut straight to the point. Being a lawyer had taught her to be very direct.

"She was turning into a sobbing wreck in front me. I have never seen her like this before. She had never shown her emotions like this, not even when the kids were born. It was very disturbing."

Nikki cringed at her words and shifted uncomfortably in the chair.

"Nikki, this is really serious. I hate to see her like that. She asked me, if I knew something. I have never lied to her before and I don't like doing it now. Don't ever put me in a situation like that again." Nikki lowered her eyes.

"I know, Claire. It is really shit. I hate lying to her too. But I really need to hold it together a few more days until I can tell her properly." She said as she felt tears welling and threatening to make her sob.

"I know, it means a lot to you, Nikki. But Helen is falling apart." Claire tried to reason with Nikki and make her understand, but she also made her tone a bit softer, when she saw how bad Nikki felt.

"I live with her, Claire. She had withdrawn from me more and more the last couple of weeks, and I know I am the only one to blame. I tried to bring back some of the closeness between us when you had the kids over at your place. And it was really great, until the next day when she went through the roof in a fit. Yesterday she didn't want to go with me and kids. When we got home she was still in bed pretending to be asleep, but I knew she wasn't. Normally she would snuggle up to me, even in her sleep, but last night she kept her back to me all the time. And I didn't get a chance to speak with her this morning. I was held up by Nicholas' teacher when I dropped him off at school. When I got home, she was gone."

"She thinks you are having an affair."

"What!!??" Nikki shot out of the chair as her temper flared.

"Nikki, I really think you should talk with her. You always seem to communicate so well, at least these last couple of years. This cloak and dagger game is not very good for either of you."

"I know you are right. I will try to talk with her tonight. Thanks, Claire." Nikki had stopped pacing and looked resigned.

"What for?" Claire looked puzzled.

"For everything…." Nikki answered truthfully before walking out of the office.

Chapter 10

Nikki had been home very early to prepare herself for facing Helen and possible also the infamous Stewart wrath. She was pacing the living room floor, nervously smoking a cigarette. She had actually given them up for Helen's sake, but occasionally she fell into her old habits and now was definitely a time for the odd smoke. She was jolted back from her thoughts when she heard the key turn in the front door. Helen walked into the hall and dropped her briefcase unceremoniously on the floor along with her jacket. She entered the living room without acknowledging Nikki.

"Hi, honey, you are home early, didn't expect you until later." Nikki tried to get Helen's attention. She just nodded and mumbled something incoherent as she purred herself a large vodka.

"You can't keep avoiding me…" Nikki started, but she did not get a chance to finish her sentence.

"Sod you, Nikki!" Helens temper flared and shot out like lightning cutting through the room as she spun around to face Nikki.

"Hey, slow down… I just wanted to know what is wrong with you…" Nikki tried to diffuse the situation, but could feel her own temper starting to boil. But it was the wrong question.

"What is wrong with me? You dare to ask that, when it is you who keeps avoiding me. And it is you who refuse to talk to me." Helen had enough and the repressed tension and anger just made her lash out.

"Well…, you are the one who always keeps things to yourself and then like you always do, you run off when things get a bit too rough or unpleasant for your perfect life." Nikki had started to yell too, as she lost her temper completely.

"I don't need this crap from you, Wade! You are always the innocent and I am the bad guy, like in Larkhall. Why don't you take a good look at yourself and stop behaving like a bloody child and start taking some responsibility." Helen mentally cursed herself for speaking out before thinking. She knew she had overstepped a line, when she saw the look on Nikki's face.

"Now you listen to me, Stewart. Don't you ever accuse me again of not being responsible for my actions. I have paid my debts in more ways than you will ever know." With that Nikki stormed out of the living room and out of the front door slamming it in the process making the walls shutter.

Helen managed to drag herself upstairs and into the bed. She felt totally exhausted and so emotionally drained. When she pulled the duvet up the faint smell of Nikki hit her nostrils sending a wave of pain through her body. Why did I have to yell at her? Why couldn't I just have listened to her? She dissolved into tears and finally fell into a restless sleep.

She had not heard Nikki return, but instinctively knew that she had after picking up the kids. Helen also knew that Nikki would take good care of the children, even deal with the fact that she was not down for dinner again. She did not know how Nikki could cope so well with the kids when they had their tantrums. It was amazing to observe her calm patience and loving guidance. Helen knew she would never be able to do it so well without ever loosing her temper completely. Yes, she had been wrong. Nikki never behaved like a child in serious matters. She was one of the most mature and responsible persons Helen had ever known. And yes, she had paid her debts for her actions with four years of imprisonment filled with humiliations. Four years of freedom taken away from a kind and loving woman, who just wanted to protect the ones she loved. Helen sighed deeply as waves of guilt washed in on her. She knew she was behaving so badly because she was too afraid to loose Nikki for good. She just wanted to keep her close. But she had achieved just the opposite. With those thoughts she drifted off to sleep again.

Later she heard the bedroom door open and close and Nikki quietly going to the bathroom to change and get ready for the night. She slipped under the cover careful as not to wake Helen, even though she knew she was not asleep. She turned carefully and put her arms gently around Helen, who just turned into the embrace and silently sobbed. Nikki felt the wetness from the tears on her face as she planted a soft kiss on her cheek.

"Do you trust me?" Nikki whispered.

"Yes, I do… With my life…" Helen said in a broken voice through her tears.

"Then be patient my darling. Everything will be all right I promise. And I do love you." Nikki whispered back and planted yet another soft kiss on Helen's for head and hugging her tightly.

"I love you too…" Helen snuggled up in Nikki's embrace and fell into a deep dreamless sleep for once in a long time feeling safe.

Chapter 11

The following week had passed by quite uneventful. They had not talked properly apart from things regarding work and the kids, since they were both very busy with their work. Helen had very long working hours due to a sudden major workload, but Nikki had been very supportive and understanding. She had kept the household running, even though she had a tough schedule too. Helen admired her for her efficiency. Nikki always seemed to know exactly how to balance things so everything ran smoothly. Helen did not know what she would have done without Nikki, especially after they had kids. Though very efficient and competent with her work, Helen did not master the same amount of organizing things at home. However, she did like a clean and tidy house, and did her best to ensure that. It was not always easy with three, no make it four (when including Nikki), kids running around and messing things up. Helen smiled a little to herself.

It was Valentine's day, but Helen had not even noticed. Too many things were still unsettling her in the back of her mind and Nikki had not made any signs regarding the prospect of celebrating this very special day in any way.

Helen's boss Dave came strolling into her office. "Hi, Helen… erh…, look I was wondering if you could cover a meeting for me today?"

"Yeah…, sure… when?" Helen looked up from her paperwork and searched for her calendar.

"It is erh.., 17.30 tonight…" Dave hesitated, but knew he had to convince Helen to cover for him.

"What!?" Helen's head shot up and she fixed her eyes sternly on Dave.

"I know it's Valentines and all…, but listen…, Helen…, you.., ehrm…, we really can't miss out on this one… So could you please do it?" Dave looked suitably ashamed, but also with that lost boy-look that Helen could not resist.

"Yes…, yes…, ok then…, well…, I will just have to call Nikki, cancel dinner and tell her I will be late." Helen sighed deeply and cursed silently.

"Thanks, Helen… I owe you one." Dave hurried out of her office, before she would have a chance to change her mind.

"Yes, you do!" Helen shouted after him. She shook her head and reached out for the telephone.


"Hi, babe… How are you doing?" Nikki sounded surprised that Helen had called her.

"Listen, I am really sorry, but I will be late tonight. Dave practically ordered me to take on a meeting at 17.30 tonight." Helen did not like saying it. It somehow sounded so pathetic. And she felt bad about it.

"Oh…, ok…" Nikki went very quiet.

"I am so sorry, baby… I promise I will make it up to you later…" She tried to sound sincere and hoped that Nikki would understand that she did not have a choice other than to do what Dave had told her to.

"Yeah.., sure…, see you later..." Nikki seemed to be all right with it, but Helen could detect the underlying tone of disappointment in her voice. It made Helen feel even worse, especially since they still had some issues to work on.

When Nikki put down the telephone a slight smile crossed her face. Everything was going according to her plan. Helen seemed to be genuinely pissed off on Dave and apparently she had not a clue about what was going on. Nikki was very pleased with herself. This could not go wrong. The kids would be at Monica's place and Helen's father had volunteered to keep Monica company while she was baby-sitting the small terrors. Trish and Kathryn would get things running at the club, so yes, everything was ready.

Chapter 12

Helen was late as usual and she cursed silently under her breath. But this time it was not all her fault, since a vacant parking space in close proximity to her destination was not very easy to find at this hour. Helen crossed the street in a hurry to find the restaurant where the meeting was to take place. Dave had given her detailed driving instructions, but had not revealed much or actually anything about who she was meeting and what the meeting was about. She only knew that she was supposed to meet a Mr. Graham Jones for dinner. Helen wondered why, as she went up to the waiter in the reception area of the restaurant.

"I'm Helen Stewart. I'm here to meet a Mr. Graham Jones." She inquired trying to sound businesslike and not too nervous.

"Just a moment, Ms. Stewart", the waiter smiled pleasantly.

Helen took a closer look around the fancy restaurant. She was feeling a bit apprehensive about it all. Even thought she was wearing one of her best two-piece business suits, a grey pinstriped skirt and jacket, and a matching red silk top, she felt totally underdressed compared to the other guests. I wonder what Nikki and the kids are doing? she thought and felt a wave of sadness. She just wished she was at home with her family instead of in a posh restaurant with someone she did not even know, especially on a day like this, when seeing all the happy couples.

It suddenly hit her full force that it was Valentine's day and actually the first one that she did not celebrate with Nikki since they had got together after Larkhall. I would give anything to be in Nikki's arms right now…, and feel her kisses … Oh, why did I agree to do this for Dave? She cursed him again and felt right miserable and definitely not in the mood for a business dinner. Bloody hell, he really owes me for this one… A voice pulled her away from her thoughts.

"Ms. Stewart, if you will please follow me?" Another waiter, possible a head waiter had appeared and gestured for Helen to follow. He led her through the dinning area, to the back of the room and upstairs to a long corridor. Helen was feeling more and more anxious and puzzled by every step.

They finally reached a door and the head waiter opened it and motioned Helen to go inside.

"Please, take a seat Ms. Stewart. Mr. Jones will be with you in a moment." And then he was gone before Helen had a chance to speak.

The room was dimly lit by two lamps. Helen looked around in the room still with her back to the door where she had entered. It was mainly empty, but Helen noticed a table with a white table cloth and two chairs in the middle of the room. A thick carpet lay underneath the table and two big paintings covered the end wall. White curtains were drawn for what Helen assumed to be a large window, and another door was to her left. Helen was clinging on to her briefcase as to get some support. She had a strange feeling about all this. Why would Dave have sent her to this strange appointment? It did not seem like an ordinary business deal. Her brain worked overtime to figure out what she had gotten herself into. Added stress, a difficult or maybe even awkward situation was certainly not what she needed at the moment. Not now when she still needed to work things out with Nikki.

Helen sudden sensed that someone else was in the room and that she was being observed. A shadow showed on the wall. Her senses were overly sensitive and the adrenalin rushed through her, a slight touch of fear gripped her heart. She embraced herself and slowly turned around to face whoever had entered the room. Helen gasped out loudly when she realized who it was.

Chapter 13

"Ms. Stewart, please take a seat. We have some business to discuss." The voice was low indicating not to mess around, but at the same time very soft.

"Nikki, what the f….!!??" Helen looked on the person standing in front of her totally paralyzed and in a state of shock.

"Now, Ms. Stewart, please sit down." The voice commanded without a hint of agitation, just calm superiority.

Helen was left totally speechless, but managed to drop her briefcase and seat herself on the nearest chair. Nikki had slowly moved around the table and sat down as she handed Helen a big brown envelope. "You will have to read these papers. And while you do that, I will send for our dinner." Helen took the brown envelope from Nikki. When their hands touched for brief moment electricity sparked between them and for a fleeting second Nikki's eyes seemed to grow even darker. But the moment passed as Nikki quickly pulled her hand away returning to her cold composure. Helen slowly opened the envelope with shaking hands and pulled out the papers. She silently started to read.

As on cue two waiters entered the room and started to place plates, glasses, wine and food on the table and on the side table they had pulled in. When finished they silently left and closed the door behind them. Nikki took a sip of the wine and looked at Helen over the top of her glass. Helen was still engrossed in her reading so she did not consciously notice the look, but somewhere her senses knew Nikki was staring and her body responded by tensing up and shivering leaving her with goose bumps all over. She had so many questions that she wanted to ask, but something told her to keep quiet and play along with Nikki, since it seemed to be of great importance to her.

Helen finally stopped reading and put the papers down. She looked up into two deep brown pools of love, and she had to swallow hard to get her voice to function when speaking still in some kind of shock. "What is this, Nikki?"

Nikki could not keep her businesslike attitude anymore, but simply had to let it all burst. She smiled broadly with excitement shining brightly in her dark eyes. "We're in business together, baby. Well, not that you actually have to do any work, I will do that, but half of it is yours. And then the other half is for the kids, with me guarding it until they grow up. And then there are the trust funds and…" the words came rushing out of Nikki with the speed of lightning. Helen had to stop her to fully understand what it was all about.

"Hey, slow down… You mean…., this is mine? Ours? But how?" She was totally bewildered, but slowly the facts were sinking into her mind.

"Yes, Helen… You own this very restaurant with the kids. I am just managing it until the kids are old enough to decide what to do with it. It is a really sound, strong and well-established restaurant and I intent it to keep it exactly that way. The interests alone will pay for school and university. Education is important. You taught me that in Larkhall. It is your security for the future, if anything ever happens to me. And then Trish and Kathryn will keep an eye on it."

"You are not ill are you?" Helen suddenly became extremely worried maybe that was the reason for Nikki's strange behavior.

"No, no…, at least not what I know of." Nikki could not help but laugh at Helen, but soon stopped as she saw a spark of anger in her eyes. "No, my love, don't worry. I am ok." She said softly as she put her hand reassuringly over Helen's.

"I am sorry, darling, to have kept all this secret and for not telling you, but I wanted it to be a big surprise for you. Unfortunately it took a little more of my time, the negotiations being quite tough and it also took a little more effort to hide it than I intended it to. I never meant to hurt you in any way…" Nikki spoke with an earnest voice willing Helen to believe and forgive her for her deceit, looking into her eyes with big wide brown puppy eyes. Helen had never been able to resist that look, nor did she have any reason to think that Nikki was anything but sincere. She smiled gently at Nikki and entangled their fingers and said in a solemn voice "I am so sorry too, sweetheart…. For everything…" Helen did not need to say anymore, Nikki already knew what she meant.

Chapter 14

"Now, let us eat. I hope you will enjoy it. The chef has made a big effort to impress the new boss." Nikki smiled teasingly at Helen, who just shook her head in amazement and surrendered to Nikki's enthusiasm. The dinner was truly wonderful. The first course was a symphony over the best seafood ever to be served. The main course did not lack anything either, being an artwork in colours and tastes that sent the senses into Heaven. The wine matched the dinner perfectly, and Nikki was quite pleased with herself for the choices.

Helen felt much more relaxed and happy than she had for months, as everything seemed to be just perfect. They were having a really great time, enjoying the food, the wine and each other. They did not talk much, since it was not needed. The looks that passed between them said most of what was needed to be said. The love flowed between them with no restrictions and no hesitation. They both knew this was a time for reconciliation and a manifestation of their relationship. A time to rebuild the trust between them, the love always being there, but they had to believe in it again. Deep down they both knew it would last forever, no matter whatever might happen to them.

"What is for desert?" Helen said while smiling in a very seductive way, that made Nikki's heart skip several beats. Helen's eyes were twinkling, but deep down a burning desire was starting to shine and Nikki caught a glimpse of it. She had to swallow hard before answering in an equally teasingly way, but with an underlying tone of huskiness. "Now, that would be telling, Ms. Stewart."

Then they lent across the table in silent agreement to kiss, tenderly at first but the need for more increased every second. They were interrupted by a soft knock on the door, and they reluctantly pulled apart as the waiter entered with their desert. After he left they started to giggle like schoolgirls and started to feat each other with the desert while kissing.

When they had finished Nikki stood up and held her and out to Helen. "Come on, we are going out, and we have to get you dressed up for a night out."

"But Nikki, I don't have anything to wear. I only have this suit…" Helen stated with hesitation, but before she could finish her sentence Nikki cut her off.

"Don't worry, I got another surprise for you. Now come on." Helen shook her head in exasperation. Nikki took hold of her hand to lead her towards the other door and into the adjacent room. It was also dimly lit, but Helen noticed a big bed in the middle of the room which gave her an idea.

Chapter 15

Before Nikki could do anything Helen had pulled her inside the room and pinned her against the door, kissing her with a ferocity that totally took Nikki by surprise. Helen pulled Nikki's jacket off, trapping her arms in the process so she could have her wicked way with her. Helen had a sexy smirk on her face when she pulled away for a short moment to look at Nikki who seemed totally paralyzed by Helen's unexpected, but not unwelcome actions. Helen started to kiss her again. This time much slower and with more gentleness, but the urgency to take it further soon made them both deepen the kiss.

Helen slipped off Nikki's shirt and it made its way to the floor together with the jacket. Her attention was then drawn to Nikki's trousers. She swiftly opened the zipper and lowered both the trousers and knickers in one experienced movement while kneeling in front of her wife and planting kisses on her stomach and thighs. She lingered a little longer at the soft curls covering Nikki's womanhood blowing cold air across the hot flesh causing her to shiver. Helen inhaled the arousal and felt totally light-headed by the intoxicating fragrance that she knew so well, but still could never get enough of.

She stood up again pushing Nikki over to and down on the bed. Then she started to undress herself with deliberately slow movements watching Nikki's eyes growing darker with desire and arousal. Nikki breathed heavily as her eyes were fixated on Helen's seductive performance. She could not move even if she wanted to. Nikki just lay there on the bed eagerly waiting and truly enjoying the magnificent view. Helen had discarded her jacket, top and skirt, revealing a set of nice black lace underwear and self-sustaining stockings. She moved over to a chair, where she lifted her leg so she could roll down the stockings, one at the time. Nikki moaned at the sight and felt the wetness seep down her thighs and her nipples painfully peaking out.

Finally Helen stood totally naked in front of the bed and looked down at Nikki with such passion in her green eyes that Nikki could do nothing else than to reach out and pull her down on top of herself. She had to feel her soft skin against her nakedness. Helen gave into her own carnal instincts and her craving for the body of Nikki. She had to taste and feel her. She covered every inch of Nikki's breasts and upper torso with hungry kisses and at the same time she moved her hand down between Nikki's legs willing them to open wider. As they did, she slipped two fingers into the warm wetness and vigorously started to trust them in and out. Her actions were filled with lust and a strong insatiable passion that took them both to new heights. Within minutes Nikki came in a mind blowing orgasm. Helen held her tight and whispered sweet nothings in her ear as she recovered.

Nikki moved a bit to be able to look into Helen's eyes while saying: "You are amazing." "So are you" came the reply from Helen. They smiled as they both remembered the first time those words were spoken between them. Nikki turned to kiss Helen, who felt her body respond immediately, her arousal building rapidly. Nikki sensed this and expertly rolled her over onto her back while kissing her way down to the full breasts that ached to be touched. Helen whimpered at the contact and arched her back to gain more body contact. Nikki caressed her body with gentle strokes down her side. Helen was getting very impatient and suddenly gripped Nikki's hand roughly and quickly guided it down between her legs. Nikki instantly knew what it meant, but she was not going to fulfil Helen's need without teasing her a bit first.

Nikki let her fingers move up and down the swollen wetness, just encircling the entrance to the soft velvet place of burning desire, but never entering. This made Helen growl in frustration and Nikki smile with satisfaction. After quite an extended period of teasing Nikki finally took pity on Helen and plunged her fingers deep inside her warm wetness seeking out that special spot that would make her come in waves of pleasure and pure ecstasy while stroking the hard nub of nerves with her thumb. Helen could not hold back any longer. She gave into the release and climaxed with a loud animalistic groan, as her body shuddered violently and finally she collapsed into Nikki's arms.

Their need for each other had not yet been extinguished, so they ended up making love all over again. This time satisfying each other at the same time and reaching the peaks of pleasure together. They had fallen back on the bed satiated and in a state of pure bliss. Suddenly Nikki's mind snapped into focus.

"Shit, what time is it? We got to get up. We have to go." She rushed out of bed while nudging Helen. "Hurry up, get your lovely ass out of that bed. They are waiting for us."

"Mmm…. Who? What?" Helen mumbled with her mind still in a sex-dazed state.

She did not receive an answer as Nikki had run into the en-suite bathroom and was already showering.

Chapter 16

Somehow Nikki had managed to wake Helen and get her to shower and dress without much further delay. Nikki had brought a beautiful black and green evening dress for Helen to wear. She had rushed around the room to collect her own clothes when Helen was in the bathroom. So only half an hour later they were all dressed up and ready to go. "We can leave your briefcase and your other clothes here, since this is our private suite and I've got the key for it." Nikki said as they hurried out of the door and down the stairs to the back entrance.

"Nikki, will you please tell me, where we are going?" Helen said breathlessly as she tried to keep up with Nikki's pace. It was difficult since Nikki had the advantage of longer legs and flat shoes.

"We are going to the adjacent club that belongs to the restaurant, and which by the way you also own by now." Nikki said without looking back at Helen.

"What!? Do we own that one too?" Helen tried to get her head around to this new information.

"Yes…, and while I remember it. Please don't kill Claire when you see her." Nikki said with a slight apprehension.

"Why would I do that?" Helen asked bemused. Then she suddenly got it. All the pieces in the puzzle were falling into place. "She knew, didn't she?" she asked as Nikki had stopped at a new door.

"Erh…, yeah… Please don't give her a hard time. She tried to force me to tell you…." Nikki said still a bit worried about how Helen would react. But she did not need to worry. Helen was by now far beyond being angry anymore. She was happy, relaxed, sexually satisfied and very much in love with her wife. She was not in the mood for killing anyone, not even verbally. She just chuckled at Nikki's frown and lent in to kiss her.

Nikki reluctantly broke the kiss and said: "We better stop this, before we get carried away."

"Spoil sport." came the curt, but teasingly reply from a smiling Helen.

They entered a corridor that led into a very big room filled with people. Nikki stopped for a moment as if she was searching the room for something. Helen just stood and took it all in, never letting go of Nikki's hand and squeezing it tightly. Then Nikki steered her across the room to some of the minor private cubicles. Helen's eyes widened when she saw who was seated there.

Trish, Kathryn, Claire, Simon, David, Saihra, Dave, Jules, Barbara and Henry were all seated comfortably and they all seemed to have a very good time. They greeted the newly arrived pair and motioned them to have a seat. Trish stood up and walked to the bar to speak with the manager. She came back a little later with drinks for everyone.

"So what took you two so long?" Kathryn said with a broad knowing smile that made both Nikki and Helen blush deeply. They were glad that the room was not too brightly lit, so no one would see just how flustered they looked.

"Oh, you know those two love-birds can't get enough of each other." Saihra laughed. She was married to David, Nikki's older brother. He had come back into her life six years ago, regretting that he had abandoned her all those years ago. It had been awkward at first, but his wife had made a great effort to get them back on track. And now here they were having a good time together.

"Well, last time I saw them, they were ready to kill each other." Claire joked, but held Helen's eyes for a second longer than necessary to ensure that everything was all right. Helen just made an almost imperceptible nod with her head and smiled happily.

Chapter 17

The atmosphere was light and laughter often filled the room. Their friends had all more or less been involved in Nikki's scheme to surprise Helen, who had finally given up being mad anymore. She playfully berated Claire, but was not really serious about it. She had also given Dave a hard time for coaxing her into Nikki's trap. But she could not stay mad at any of them for long, knowing that Nikki had persuaded them to keep silent and that it was all for her own benefit. So now they all had a very good time, dancing drinking and celebrating.

Though the mystery woman "Jen" still was in the back of Helen's consciousness, she did not think too much about it anymore. She knew Nikki loved her and that she would never be unfaithful. So why had she acted like a prat? Helen berated herself for even thinking that Nikki would stray. That was totally ridiculous, but a part of the excuse was that she was feeling hurt that Nikki would keep something this big to herself. But she could not find an excuse for not believing in Nikki's love for her. After all she really did trust her more than anything or anyone else. As she sat contemplating it all, Nikki took hold of her hand and motioned for her to greet someone.

"Helen, I want you to meet Jenny Adams, senior partner in Claire's firm. Even though Claire is a brilliant lawyer she does not know much about cooperate law, but Jenny does. And she had done all the legal work for me." Nikki said. Helen looked perplexed but managed to hold out her hand and greet Jenny, thinking: So this is Jen. "Yes, this is Jen." Nikki said as if she had read Helen's mind and Helen just shot her an amazed look. She just knew what I was thinking. Jenny Adams was a short round lady around 60 years old with steel grey hair tied in a knot and warm brown eyes peering over a pair of glasses. She was married to James Cadwell, senior partner and co-founder of the law firm, where Claire worked. "So you have nothing to worry about, darling." Nikki continued with an amused smiled.

With that Nikki grabbed Helen's hand and pulled her towards the dance floor. She pulled her into a tight hug and kissed her lightly on the lips. They started to dance, their bodies swaying in beat with the rhythm of the music and each other. The song suddenly changed into a slow one. Helen rested her forehead on Nikki's shoulder enjoying the feeling and Nikki hungrily inhaled the sent of Helen's hair. From time to time Helen would turn her head a bit to kiss Nikki on the neck at that special sensitive place that only Helen knew about. She also knew that kissing Nikki there would make her go all mush. She used that to her advantage as she pressed her body closer and felt Nikki tighten her grip while letting her fingers stroke the small of Helen's backside. The loving gesture sent tingles down her spine and Helen loved that feeling. At the same time it made her feel so safe and comfortably being in the arms of her wife and soul-mate. Helen relished in the feelings that the embrace evoked in her, and there was no where else she rather wanted to be than just there.

Nikki gazed lovingly into Helen's eyes as she spoke quietly: "I know it is not our anniversary today, darling, but do you remember that it is actually 10 years ago since I proposed to you?" Helen looked back at her with an equal amount of love shinning brightly back towards Nikki.

"How could I forget it with you around to remind me?" Helen smiled gently at Nikki.

"You know…, I got another surprise for you…" Nikki said feeling slightly embarrassed even though she did not know why. She continued before Helen had a chance to say anything.

"We are going on a 10 days cruise in the Mediterranean. The kids will stay with Barbara and Henry. I got it all settled. I even spoke to Dave about you having some time off. I hope you don't mind. I mean, usually you don't like me to interfere with your work." Nikki spoke in hurried short sentences, afraid that Helen might go off in a fit again.

"Nikki, darling…., please…" Helen put a finger to Nikki's lips in order to prevent her from speaking anymore. "I don't know how many more surprises I can take tonight, but it sounds very lovely and I would like to go with you. Not only on that cruise, but anywhere you go… I love you so much…" with that Helen lent in and kissed Nikki very tenderly forgetting about the world around them. They had stopped dancing and just stood there in the middle of the room on the dance floor kissing and totally oblivious to the stares they got.

Their friends and family looked at the couple, then blinked and giggled to each other at the sight. Yes, they were definitely back on the right track, behaving like love-struck teenagers again. Everything was going to be just fine.

Helen finally broke the kiss and looked lovingly into Nikki's deep brown eyes. Nikki smiled shyly and said:

"Happy Valentine, darling. I love you, Helen."

"Happy Valentine to you, sweetheart. And I love you too, Nikki."

Chapter 18 - Epilogue

It was yet another Valentine's day to celebrate. They had done so every year that they had been together and now it was the twentieth time. The years had passed by, over good and bad times. They had argued, laughed, cried and seen their children grow up. The years had marked them, but time had done it graciously. They both had silvery grey stripes in their hair and few more wrinkles at the corner of the eyes and around the mouths. But they were still very much in love with each other, maybe even more now than ever before. The sparks of passion could still make them all weak with desire, but they also enjoyed the tranquillity of just being close together in quiet understanding. Though still being madly in love with each other, their love had also evolved into something even bigger, as a strong emotional bond tied them together. Their business had flourished beyond their wildest imagination leaving them with an essential amount of money and the possibility of doing exactly what they wanted both for themselves and for their children.

This Valentine's day Helen and Nikki had been out for a lovely dinner and were now on their way to their night club, where they had agreed to meet with their friends and their children. Nicholas had announced that he would bring his new girlfriend. At that his sisters had giggled and tried not tease him too much. As much as they loved and adored their big brother, they could not help making fun of his seriousness and shyness when it came to girls. Helen just shook her head in exasperation of their behaviour and Nikki had fallen on the couch in hysterics, laughing at their imitations. Nicholas went all red and stormed out of the living room in a tantrum looking so much like the young Nikki that it unnerved Helen. Eventually Emily and Erin had apologized to Nicholas for making fun of him. Since he loved his little sisters to bits, he could really not stay mad at them for long and soon forgave them.

Helen and Nikki entered the room filled with happy people everywhere, dancing and enjoying the stylish night club.

"Good evening, Ms. Wade, Ms. Stewart" George said as they walked in. George was almost 7 feet tall and wide as door. He was the head of security and took his job very serious. "Let me take you to your table."

They soon found themselves seated in one of the private cubicles with Trish, Kathryn, Claire, Simon, Saihra, David, their girls and Nicholas with his new girlfriend.. They all enjoyed a happy evening with plenty of drinks. At some point when a slow song was playing, Helen had pulled Nikki to her feet and dragged her off to the dance floor. They moved in close to each other, loving the feeling of their bodies pressing together. They swayed silently into the rhythm of the music, forgetting the world around them. They kissed lightly, looking with into each others eyes with a deep emotional love.

"Remember 10 years ago, when you had me all worried?" Helen whispered in Nikki's ear.

"Yes, of course, sweetheart…. You blew your lid several times during that time." Nikki chuckled.

"Aye, I did… But it was just because I was so scared of loosing you." Helen said with a hint of seriousness.

"I know…, and I am still sorry for upsetting you. But I just wanted to surprise you, darling." Nikki had become serious too and she had the grace to look a bit guilty.

"You certainly did…." Helen had a seductive twinkle in her eye as she smiled warmly and with a hint of playfulness at Nikki.

"And now here we are again… I still love you to bits, Ms. Stewart…. Happy Valentine." Nikki said pulling Helen into a very tight hug, squeezing her body and caressing it with her own.

"Happy Valentine, darling…. I love you too…" Helen breathed before leaning in and taking Nikki's mouth in a very passionate kiss.

The End

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