DISCLAIMER: the characters don't belong to me, but to Shed. I'm just borrowing them for a while. After I'm done toying with them, I'll give them back in one piece, I promise *evil laugh* Please don't sue, all I have left in my wallet is a couple of Euro' s. Not worth the hassle.
SEQUEL: the story is going to be part of a series of one off sequels to Someone to Watch Over Me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Haunting Memories I
By Piranha


She (Charles Aznavour, also performed by Elvis Costello)

She may be the face I can't forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
Maybe my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day

She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a Heaven or a Hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell....

She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one's allowed to see them when they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows in the past
That I remember 'till the day I die

She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I care for through the rough and ready years

Me, I'll take the laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is
Oh, she....

Drying her hands on the dish cloth before hanging it up, Helen looked at Nikki with a tender smile on her face. Nikki was sitting at the kitchen table, totally engrossed in the Sunday newspaper, quietly sipping a cup of tea. It just felt so right having her there; for the very first time her house truly felt like a home. And it was all because of Nikki. Helen couldn't believe how much she wanted her again right now, she simply couldn't get enough of her. They hadn't left the house at all yesterday, truth be told they had hardly left the bed, just enjoying being in each other's arms, even if it was just to talk, though that had only been very sporadically she had to admit. At the thought of their wild antics, especially their little tryst in the shower earlier that morning, Helen had to turn away to hide the blush creeping to her cheeks. This was all Nikki's fault!

She just looked so adorable in her too short robe, her hair all mussed up and still wet from their shower, scrunching her eyebrows in obvious disagreement with the paper's editorial. All she wanted to do right now, was drag Nikki back to bed and ravish her all over again. Desperately trying to suppress a groan as her, rather libidinous, thoughts were running wild, she went to stand next to Nikki, needing to feel the closeness. Softly caressing the hair in her neck, she asked: "so what do you want to do today?"

Looking up from her newspaper, straight into Helen's sparkling green eyes, Nikki felt the familiar stirring in the pit of her stomach, especially when Helen's tongue darted out to wet her lips. Wrapping an arm around Helen, she pulled her onto her lap, laughing softly as she let out a startled shriek. "Have I told you today how much that I love you?" she murmured against Helen's lips.

"Yes, once or twice," Helen smiled, tucking a curl of hair behind her ear, "but I never get tired of hearing it."

Her forehead touching Helen's, Nikki tenderly said: "On the first page of my life's book your name appears. No matter what life throws at us, I know we'll make it Helen, together. Like Rilke once said:again and again, however we know the landscape of love and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names and the frightingly silent abyss into which others fall, again and again the two of us will walk out together under the ancient trees, lie down again and again among the flowers, face to face with the sky. I love you Helen, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I'll take your laughter and your tears and make them all my souvenirs. For where you go, I've got to be, you're my destiny."

Tears brimming in her eyes at the heartfelt statement, Helen whispered: "I love you too Nikki, so much. There are simply not enough words to express how much you mean to me. I know that I'm nobody's poet, but … just as the waves can't separate themselves from the sea, I can't separate myself from you. I belong to you body, mind and soul, your name is engraved into my heart." Grabbing Nikki by the lapels of her robe, she kissed her passionately, wordlessly trying to convey the depths of her emotions.

When they finally came up for air, they were both breathing raggedly. Her heart racing, Nikki needed a moment to collect herself, the kiss leaving her slightly light headed. Clearing her throat, she said:" in answer to your question, though I would nothing more than to spend the day with you, preferably in bed, I think I should go home today." When she noticed Helen's disappointed and dejected expression, she looked really gutted, Nikki held her even closer and hastened to add: "just for a couple of hours. I need to pick up some clothes. I only have my suit over here and somehow I don't think I'd fit any of your. I can't keep wearing this robe forever."

"Oh I don't know," Helen smiled coyly, "I think you look decidedly sexy in that robe. You certainly have my unwavering attention. I can't keep my hands off you, I guess I'll just have to keep you here forever."

"Ah same governor, different prison? Works for me," Nikki laughed. "Seriously though, I really need to go home for a few hours. Sort out some clothes, talk to Trisha about Chix, figure out where I'm going to live from now on. I mean, Trisha said that I could have the spare room, be flatmates I suppose, but that was before you and I got back together. It wouldn't be really fair on her and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't like me moving back in with my ex. The three of us meeting at the kitchen table would be kind of awkward. My old flat isn't an option either as it's currently rented out and I don't know when the lease runs out."

"You also have an apartment?" Helen interjected totally baffled, getting worried again about Nikki's apparent affluence.

Nikki didn't pick up on the worried tone however, she just started to explain: "yeah, I bought it when I was in my early twenties. I received an inheritance and wanted to spend the money wisely. Trisha and I lived there for a while before we bought the house. Afterwards, well I just couldn't bring myself to sell it, I suppose because it was the first place I could truly call my own, my first home. I just rent it out to some friends. Anyway, I can hardly throw them out, can I? Not after they looked after it for such a long time."

"Well …. Why don't you move in with me then?" Helen asked totally out of the blue, even surprising herself with the offer. When she thought about it though, she really liked the idea, she was really excited about the prospect of living together with Nikki, which was more than could be said when Sean had moved in with her, he had needed to wear her down before she consented. She only said yes to stop his whining.

"Moving in together after two days would go right against taking it slowly, wouldn't it?" Nikki stated dryly. "Though I love you to bits Helen, you have to admit that we don't really know each other that well. Moving in together is a really big step, not to be taken lightly. I really think we should go slowly, go out on dates, get to know each other better. I guess I want to court you for a while, something I couldn't do while I was in Larkhall. Besides I don't want to fall in the lesbian U haul trap." At Helen's confusion, she explained: "a persevering stereotype that dykes go out on two dates together before moving in with each other only to find out they don't want each other after all."

"I can't imagine not wanting you," Helen protested vigorously, though she could understand Nikki's point of view.

" I know, but… I guess I'm not explaining it right …. When we move in together, I don't want it to be a knee jerk reaction out of lust, I want it to be out a commitment to each other. We need to be really sure about it, not jump in head first only to regret it a few months later on because we're not compatible after all. I guess I see it as taking our love to the next level. Besides, and this may sounds incredibly selfish of me but … I'm freshly out of prison, I need a place of my own for a while, make my own decisions, …."

Lightly touching Nikki cheek as she caught the worried look on her face, Helen said: "don't worry, you're not being selfish at all, I understand and I agree that we should take things slowly. Besides, I really like the idea of you courting me." The flirtatious look she threw, making Nikki smile, she added: "the question remains though, where are you going to live?"

"I guess I could always shack up with Alice for a while," Nikki replied, nonchalantly shrugging her shoulders. "She converted the upstairs into a studio a couple of years ago. That way I could still have my own space and all the privacy and freedom I need, but I could always pop back downstairs if I wanted a chat. Guess I need to drop by Alice later on, sweet talk her into it. I'm sure she'll yes, she always had a soft spot for me, she never could say no when I asked her something."

The casual way Nikki announced she'd be moving in with another woman making her bristle, Helen jumped off her lap. "Who the hell is Alice?" she asked through gritted teeth, her eyes spitting fire, especially as Nikki started to laugh at her total overreaction.

"For someone always monumentally annoyed with me whenever I got jealous at Larkhall, you have a pretty nasty streak of the green eyed monster yourself," Nikki smirked. Sensing that her grin was pissing Helen off even more, Nikki sobered up and grabbing the tie of Helen's robe to pull her close again, she said: "look, you can relax, Alice isn't going to jump my bones as soon as I move in, she has no romantic interest in me whatsoever. She's my neighbour, my friend and my surrogate mother all rolled into one. Oh and she's about 75."

Groaning in embarrassment at her gross overreaction, Helen buried her head in Nikki's neck and muttered: "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me. I'm not willing to share you with anyone I guess, even if it's a 75 year old", as Nikki rubbed her back. Pulling back, she asked: "so how come this Alice is your surrogate mother? Where are your real parents? I never once saw them in Larkhall."

"They're dead," Nikki said curtly, abruptly getting out of her chair, letting Helen know she shouldn't ask further. Then realising she might have been a little short, she gave Helen a small apologetic lie, saying: "I'm sorry, it's not something I like to talk about. Anyway, I'll only be gone for a couple of hours, what will you do in the meantime?"

"I don't know", Helen replied, "I might give Claire a ring, I'm sure she's dying to find out how my little mission went, I kind of left her abruptly on Friday?"

"Your little mission?" Nikki queried curiously.

"Winning you back," Helen explained. "Claire gave me that final push to come and see you. I thought I had lost you forever, but she ordered me to give it a final shot. Anyway, how about I come pick you up afterwards? Maybe I could meet Alice? I've got to check out the competition, you know!"

Smiling at Helen's teasing wink, Nikki said: "sure. We could go out for dinner and a move afterwards if you want? I know just the perfect restaurant for our second date."

"Yeah, dinner and a movie sounds just perfect."

As there was a pretty good chance Trisha wasn't up yet, Saturday was one of Chix' busiest nights after all, Nikki used her key to let herself in. The house silent and deserted, she walked through to the kitchen, knowing she needed to brew a strong pot of coffee before even contemplating talking to Trisha. Her ex – girlfriend definitely wasn't much of a morning person, neither was her current one come to think of it, always difficult to rouse and both extremely grumpy until they'd had their first cup of coffee. Nikki was just pouring herself a cup when a very bleary eyed Trisha dragged herself into the kitchen. Eyeing her suspiciously, she grumbled incomprehensibly to Nikki's cheery hello, snatching Nikki's mug out of her hand before she could even take a sip. Slumping down at the kitchen table, Trisha drank her coffee in total silence, completely ignoring Nikki's presence. An amusing grin curling around her lips at Trisha thundercloud face, Nikki thought that some things don't change after all.

Putting the now empty mug down, the strong, hot coffee slowly waking her up and making her feel alive again, Trisha muttered: "sorry about that, you know what I'm like when I first get up." Throwing Nikki an apologetic look, she held out her mug for more coffee before asking: "so what are you doing here? Not that I don't appreciate you waiting on me hand and foot, but I thought you'd be at Helen's. When you weren't here when I got back yesterday morning, I was sure she had caught up with you or am I mistaken?"

"No, we're together," Nikki grinned happily, her eyes shining brightly. "I just need some clothes and stuff. I can't keep wearing the same clothes, flies would start following me soon. Besides I wanted to talk to you about some things. First off, I want to thank you. Not only for the continued support throughout the appeal, but also for being there for me on Friday. For helping me through that awful flashback and encouraging me to take a chance on Helen. You don't know how much that means to me. So thank you, for everything."

"It was my pleasure," Trisha replied, "it was the very least I could do. Before anything else, we're friends. I'll always be there for you, I love you." Giving Nikki's hand a tiny squeeze as she saw tears brimming in her eyes, she gave her an encouraging smile. "Are you happy?" she asked, not really sure if her heart wanted to hear the answer.

Yes, yes I am," Nikki gushed enthusiastically until she noticed the heartache and pain Trisha couldn't hide fast enough. "I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt you, I'd rather die before doing that. I love you, you're my best friend….."

"I know and it's okay, you're in love with Helen now. I won't deny that I wanted us to get back together, but I also realise that we'd have had a lot of mending to do. We're not the same people anymore, a lot has happened to us in the meantime, we'd have needed to get to know each other all over again. Anyway, it's all water under the bridge now, there's no use dwelling on what could have been. I'm really glad that you've found happiness with Helen. Above anything else, you deserve to be happy. I suppose that you'll be moving in with her now?"

"No, not just yet," Nikki said. When she noticed Trisha's confusion, she explained:" we need to take things slowly, get to know each other a little better first. Besides I need some time on my own right now. I've spent over four years sharing my space with a dozen others, being told when to go to sleep and what to eat. I don't mean living would be another prison, but I want …. No I need to make my own decisions for a while, how tiny and insignificant they might seem.

"I guess I can understand that," Trisha said, a pensive look on her face. "What are you going to do then? Continue living here? I don't think Helen will like that very much, you shacking up with your ex, she knows that I'm still in love with you. Besides, living with me, …. Though we probably wouldn't see each other all that often, it's not like living on your own, is it? I mean, there would still be joint decisions to be made, you'd still have to compromise or even give in sometimes."

"Yes, I know, I thought about that too," Nikki admitted. "My old apartment is out of the question too, Ben and Jerry are still living there. I thought I'd ask Alice if I could move into her little studio. That way I'd still be on my own, but if I needed some company, I don't doubt I'll need that sometimes, prison's weird like that, I could just pop downstairs."

"That's a very good idea Nikki", Trisha said. "She'll say yes, I'm sure she will. She's missed you a lot, she even popped by yesterday afternoon for a chat, thinking you'd be here."

"She did? I really missed her too, she's so easy to talk to. I thought I'd drop by later, she's probably having her afternoon nap right now. I'll ask her about the studio then, no point in putting it off," Nikki said smiling before pouring them both another cup of coffee. A pensive look on her face, she sat down at the kitchen table before continuing: "I also need to talk to you about Chix and my coming back to work. I really like the changes you made, though it'll probably take me a while to figure out how all the new gadgets work." Pausing for a moment, her hands fidgeting with the cup, she said in a uncharacteristically shaky voice: "I wonder if me coming back to work is such a good idea. I mean, I won't be much good if I keep having episodes like Friday."

"Hey, don't think like that," Trisha replied, grabbing Nikki's hand again to give it a comforting squeeze. "I know it was very difficult for you on Friday, but it does get better believe me. At first, I didn't dare to go in at all, shaking like a reed every time I neared the bar. That's why I made so many changes, thinking if the place looked differently, maybe I'd feel differently too….."

"Did it work?" Nikki interrupted her.

"In a way yes it did," Trisha replied thoughtfully after a while. "Rationally I knew that it was still the same place, but the so obvious reminders were gone. I didn't get flashbacks as soon as I entered anymore. I also realised something really important, that by being afraid I was letting Gossard win after all, because that was what he really wanted. Sure he wanted to rape me, but the rape was only a means to and end: having me at his mercy, deadly afraid of him. He kicked on that power, it made him feel superior, it was the only way he felt like a man. Rape is not a sexual act that turns violent, it's a violent, hostile act carried out by sexual means. My humiliation and degradation gave Gossard a sense of dominance, self – validation and power. Don't give into that fear Nikki, don't give the bastard that satisfaction."

"We've never really talked about what happened then, have we?" Nikki said, staring blankly in front of her, afraid that if she'd look at Trisha, she'd burst into tears at the sadness and intolerable cruelty of those memories.

"No, I suppose we haven't," Trisha replied, "we never really had the chance. It's not really something you can talk about in a prison's visitors room, is it?" Do you want to talk about it?" she hesitantly asked.

Nikki needed to think about that for a minute, but then she decidedly answered:" yes, yes I do, but not now. I need to orden my thoughts first, think about all the things I want to ask or say. Is that okay?"

"Sure, take your time. You know where you can find me when you're ready," Trisha replied, inwardly relieved as she didn't think she was up to that kind of conversation that early in the day. Besides she needed to think it through too. "Anyway, to get back to your original question," she continued," I didn't expect you to come back fulltime right away. You need to reacquaint yourself with the business first, ease you way back in. Give it a couple of weeks, if you still feel the same then, we can talk about some alternatives."

"I guess that makes sense," Nikki said with a relieved smile. "Thanks Trisha."

"Of course you can move into the studio," Alice smiled. "It's so good to have you back," she added, giving Nikki a big hug. Nikki couldn't believe how much Alice had changed over the past few years. She knew time stood still for no' one, but Alice looked so much older, frailer. Her spirit was still the same, but … Alice was definitely an old woman now. Suddenly Nikki was glad she'd be moving in upstairs, at least she could keep an eye on Alice from now on, help her out more. "So tell me, how have you been?" Nikki asked.

"Oh I'm fine," Alice said. "I need a cane to walk now and my eyes are getting worse, but that's all part of growing up, I suppose." Patting Nikki on the arm, she continued: "how about you? How are you? You must be so happy to be set free."

"Yeah, I am, you can't believe what goes on in a prison, it's inhuman. I mean, I know it's a prison, that you're being punished, but you're still a human being, you're still entitled to some respect. I felt like a shadow of myself in there. Prison's an artificial world, inside there's a world so harsh and bizarre that you can't overemphasise its brutal complexities, its perpetual assault on the senses and psyche. Without warning you're thrown in a totally different world with its very own set of rules and culture, both totally alien to you.

It really is survival of the fittest in there, prey or be preyed upon, not only by the inmates, but also by some corrupt officers. You're treated like a child: you have to obey the rules, but you don't have any say in them, you hardly have any rights and you have restrictions placed on the goods you may have and when. Those psychological deprivations lead to the destruction of the human personality, you become subdued, you withdraw from yourself and from others. I mean, I went to a rebellious stage at first, well all the time really I guess, but I saw it happening to others."

"IS that why you refused to see anyone?" Alice asked.

"Partly yeah," Nikki admitted. "I didn't want anyone to see me like that, to see the empty shell I had become. I also didn't want to be reminded of what I had lost, knowing I'd have to live without it for another ten years at least. Besides, because of prison's insidious and diabolical nature, you need some time to mentally prepare yourself for a visit, to relax long enough to appear normal and that's so hard. You'd have immediately known I was faking it and I didn't want you to go through the heartache of watching me mentally suffer. Don't get me wrong, prison's not all bad; I had some really great friends in there, people I'd never have met or even talked to on the outside. I followed an OU course, smuggled kittens out of prison, made some hooch, … I also met my soul mate in there"

"Helen?" Alice asked, smiling softly at the dreamy expression on Nikki's face. When Nikki looked at her confused that she knew Helen's name, Alice explained: "I had a long chat with Trisha yesterday. So tell me about Helen, what is she like?"

"Helen is just wonderful, I love her so much,, you'll really like her. She stood by me when no' one else would, she's the one who convinced me to go through with the appeal. Without her, I'd still be stuck in that hellhole. She gave me books, which may seem little, but to me was the single most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for me. I mean, it was my only escape from the cold, harsh reality. She's beautiful, kind, giving, infuriatingly stubborn and endearing all at the same time…. You know that Charles Aznavour song? She's like that She, who always seems so happy in a crowdn whose eyes can be so private and so proud. No one's allowed to see them when they cry.She may be the love that cannot hope to last, may come to me from shadows in the past. That I remember 'till the day I die. She may be the reason I survive, the why and wherefore I'm alive, the one I care for through the rough and ready years. She's the reason I survived prison, just a smile fro her got me through another day, a smile from her… it makes me weak at the knees."

"She sounds wonderful," Alice said sincerely. "I can't wait to meet her."

"Well, you won't have to wait long, she's picking me up in about an hour. We're going out for dinner and a movie, our second date," Nikki smiled. "Do you mind if I get ready for that?"

"No, not at all, mi casa e su casa," Alice said. "Why don't you take your things up to the studio, make yourself at home. I'll try to find the spare key for you in the meantime."

Helen and Claire had been talking for over an hour, when Claire couldn't hold back anymore, dying of curiosity, she suddenly asked: "this may be impertinent and you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but … how was it?"

Helen didn't caught on at first. "Oh, the sex you mean?" she said when the penny finally dropped. "It's wonderful," she continued with a cheesy grin on her face, "for the very first time in my life I'm not having sex, I'm making love and you don't know what a difference that makes, how much more connected you feel, the depth of emotions…. It's just breathtaking. It's so much better than the first time we were together little over a year ago. We were too rushed then, but now we can take our time, really explore the other, no' one to look over our shoulders and it's just …"

"What?" Claire interrupted her mid sentence, totally astonished. "You were together little over a year ago? How could that be? Nikki got you to let go of your principles? I'd never have thought it possible, you're such a stickler to the rules. I never have thought you'd break all professional codes to make love to Nikki in prison. So where did you do it? Don't tell me, Nikki's bunk bed? That huge desk in your office?"

"Erm no," Helen replied, blushing furiously, extremely annoyed at herself of letting it slip, "we made love right here, in my house."

"What?.... But?.... I don't understand… how could you…."Claire stammered totally perplexed.

Knowing Claire would snap out of her dazed state in a minute and start badgering her – she was quite ruthless when it came to finding out the truth, she had probably taken a crash course in interrogation techniques with the Gestapo- Helen sighed heavily. Resigning herself to getting an earful, she said: "you know how I said we had some huge rows while in Larkhall? Well after one of those rows, I refused Nikki to make it up to me, guess I was being my stubborn self again. Anyway, that night she called me, but I didn't pick up the phone, I let the machine get it while I listened to what she had to say. She begged me to talk to her and just when I was about to give in, she hung up. I couldn't talk to her at all the next day, I couldn't tell her that I had forgiven her, that everything was okay. She must have been going through hell.

I mean, you should have seen her face when I passed her in the corridor, it almost broke my heart. She was in so much pain." When she saw Claire was becoming impatient, she continued: "yes, I'm coming to that. God, I swear you have the patience of a hyperactive three year old. Now where was I? Oh yes, Well, I don't know how she did it, but later that night she stood on my doorstep. She had broken out of prison to make it up to me, to ask me for forgiveness. I was mad as hell at first, but then… you know, one thing let to another and soon we were making love in this very couch."

"She escaped?" Claire screeched loudly. "Of all the stupid, irresponsible, thoughtless things to do! She could have ruined her appeal if anyone ever found out How did she get back in?"

"Well, I smuggled her back in," Helen admitted.

They were both silent for a moment, then Claire said:" although it was a very stupid thing to do, you have to admit that it's also very romantic. I mean, breaking out of prison, risking your life and future freedom, just to say that you're sorry. She must love you a lot. You're really lucky Helen, I think you snatched up one of the last incurable romantics."

"I know," Helen sighed happily, "you should have read the letters she gave to me, they're just so beautiful. She's brought me breakfast in bed yesterday and the things she says to me…. It just makes your heart melt. She wants to take things slowly, she wants to court me for a while she said."

Engulfing Helen in a warm hug, Claire said: "congratulations Helen, I think you've finally fund someone who cares deeply for you and who can keep up with you."

Thinking the last remark was a dig at her expense, Helen broke out of the hug and looked at her questioningly. "What do you mean?" she asked with scrunched eyebrows.

Realising that her statement might have caused offence, Claire immediately started to explain:" you're a strong and independent woman, you're passionate and driven. You don't take any shit from anyone. You need someone strong to stand by you, someone who knows when to stand by the sidelines and just let you be or when to stand up for you and fight your battles. You could never settle for a doormat, a lover without a backbone. You'd grow tired of them within a week. You need someone who challenges you on all levels, who gives as good as they get. Essentially someone who isn't afraid of you hidden dark and wild side, but on the contrary embraces it. I think Nikki's the right person for that. I never knew what you saw in Sean or Thomas, they were both spineless wimps, to afraid to go into you, too willing to sacrifice their own ideas and make compromises for the sake of peace. You and Nikki are perfectly suited, you bring out the best and the worst in each other, which makes for a very volatile, but also very passionate mix."

Thinking about what Claire had said, Helen whispered: "I guess you're right."

"I'm always right," Claire smirked. "Anyway, I'd better go, you have a date to get ready for. Give Nikki my love."

"Hi," Nikki said, giving Helen a kiss. "You look really beautiful, everybody will be green with envy when I walk in with you on my arm. Come on in, I was just telling Alice about some of the scrapes I got into in Larkhall."

"Oh aye? Anything I should know about?" Helen laughed.

"Erm, maybe I'd better not tell you, I don't want you pissed at me while on our date," Nikki laughed, sticking out her tongue. "Anyway Alice, this is Helen, the woman who stole my heart with a single smile. Helen, this is Alice, my second mom." When the women had exchanged pleasantries, Helen with a blush and Alice beaming with pride at Nikki's descriptions, Nikki continued: "Alice has kindly agreed to let me move into the studio upstairs, so I guess you'll be seeing a lot more of each other. Erm, anyway, I guess we'd better go, I've made reservations for 19 o'clock. Alice, thanks again for everything and don't wait up, I'll see you tomorrow, I'll have a dig around your garden then." Giving the woman a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, she held out her hand to Helen, who clasped it firmly. Both waving Alice goodbye, they left the house smiling, confirming the old woman's belief that Nikki had found true love at last.

The End

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