It Started with a Kiss
Nikki froze at Helen's words. "Ok", she mumbled, not quite understanding what had possessed Helen to want to stop things. She pulled away from Helen and lay on her back, just staring at the ceiling.
Helen propped herself up on one elbow, facing Nikki. She tried to make out Nikki's facial expression, but due to the half-light, it was unreadable. "Nikki, I'm so sorry."
Nikki remained silent.
Helen continued, "God, I didn't mean for this to happen. I mean, I wasn't expecting this."
"Nikki, are you alright?"
A wordless nod.
"Are you crying?"
A wordless shake.
"Why won't you say anything?"
Nikki took a breath. "Because I'm trying not to cry."
Helen moved to give Nikki a hug. Nikki flinched because she knew for sure that this small action would be enough to set her off. Instead, the inner turmoil just stopped. The lump in her throat sank back down, and once again, Helen had made everything right in the world.
Feeling calmer, Nikki spoke again. "I just missed you so much Helen. When we ended up like this I thought that maybe things would work out. And then when you stopped, it reminded me of our first night together, and it started hurting all over again."
"That's why I stopped." Helen replied to Nikki's unspoken question, "I wasn't sure if I wanted this or not and I don't want to fuck your head up again. Or your heart."
Nikki sniffed. She wasn't quite sure why because she wasn't crying. "You know I still love you Helen."
She felt Helen nod against her shoulder.
"And just because this isn't what you want, it doesn't mean I'll stop loving you. Ok?" Feeling that Helen was about to say something, Nikki added, "and be that as a friend or whatever."
Helen didn't reply to Nikki's statement. She wasn't even sure it needed a reply. They both seemed to mutually break off from the hug and roll away from each other without a word. Nikki was just drifting off to sleep when she felt Helen's lips on her cheek.
"G'nite Nikki" Helen whispered.
As Helen turned back over, a single tear trailed down Nikki's cheek.
Meanwhile back in Larkhall, Cassie and Roisin were up late chatting. They were curled up in Cassie's bunk - last night it had been Roisin's and they liked to alternate. After making love, their conversation drifted to Nikki working at Larkhall and their possible release.
"So, do you think now that Nikki works here we'll have more chance of an early release?" Cassie asked, positively.
Roisin shook her head, "Probably less likely." At Cassie's questioning look, she continued, "Well she'll want to cover herself because her position is in jeopardy knowing you."
"She knows you too." Cassie retorted, remembering the occasional double date the four had shared during university.
"Cass, she wasn't sleeping with me!"
Cassie rolled her eyes. "D'you reckon she's changed since uni? I can't believe she was a pig though - and now a screw!" she mused, oblivious to Roisin's annoyance.
"Nikki, Nikki, Nikki!" Roisin mocked, "You'll be trading me in for her next!" Although said in a joking way, her comment carried an element of concern.
Cassie snapped out of her thoughts, "Hey, I seem to remember I traded her in for you! And I don't remember ever asking for a refund!" She nuzzled Roisin's neck, which turned into another passionate kiss. "See what you do to me Rosh!" she said between kisses.
Roisin slid her hand back down to Cassie's crotch, "I can feel what I do you Cassie Tyler!"
Roisin taking the lead like this always turned Cassie on even more. As they repeated their earlier actions, Cassie was disturbed when images of Nikki flashed into her head. And then continued to cloud her dreams into the night..
Nikki awoke to find herself spooned against Helen's back, with her arms wrapped round her. Her one arm was numb, as Helen's head had been lying on it. She slowly extracted herself from Helen and went downstairs. She made two cups of coffee and took one to Helen. As she looked at Helen's sleeping form, Nikki couldn't help but think how it was just like old times. Nikki (the morning person) always made them both a coffee of a morning. This morning was done out of habit, but Nikki felt a tinge of disappointment and confusion over last night. Minus the alcohol, the situation seemed a lot clearer - they were both starting a new job, and neither could afford to deal with a new relationship. Nikki placed the coffee on the nightstand, and quietly got dressed. She placed a gentle kiss on Helen's temple and slowly slipped out the bedroom. She pulled on her shoes downstairs, and shut the front door with a quiet thud.
Cassie was the first to wake, troubled by her dreams. She looked down through sleepy eyes at the mass of dark hair lying on her shoulder. For the tiniest split second, she thought the dark hair belonged to Nikki. Waking up fully, she realised it was Roisin. The dreams had been so vivid it scared her. She loved Roisin dearly, even more so since their close shave in the fire, but she just couldn't get Nikki Wade out of her head. Images of Nikki in her uniform, images of their first night together, Nikki with her policewoman's handcuffs, and more images of that damned uniform! Cassie had always hated screws, police and anyone else in authority because they had a nasty habit of spoiling her plans. Now the thought of Nikki being the authority over her sent a shiver down her spine. She didn't realise it was a real, physical shudder until Roisin woke up.
"You cold?" she asked her.
Cassie nodded, "Yeah. We probably need to get dressed babe." She sat up and started to climb down from the bunk.
Roisin leaned up on her elbow, and put on a pout, "Do I not even get a kiss this morning?"
Cassie grinned and planted a lingering kiss on Roisin's lips. The kiss began to get more passionate as Cassie reaffirmed her feelings after her dreams.
Roisin pushed her back to the floor, "I thought you were getting dressed."
Cassie gave an over-the-top sigh and pretended to sulk while she pulled on her clothes, occasionally casting a seductive glance at Roisin, who was watching her actions with an appreciative eye.
Cassie heard them calling for unlock, and swallowed. She wasn't sure what shifts Nikki worked, but she knew that once their cell was unlocked, she had a good chance of having to see her today. Cassie was dreading it - she didn't want to give herself away in front of Roisin, Nikki, or any of the other inmates. Besides, Nikki was probably still with Helen, and therefore completely unavailable even if she wanted to make something of these dreams. Which she didn't. And it was completely against the rules. Can't break the rules. Even with Nikki in that bloody uniform. Uh uh. No way.
By the time Nikki arrived at work that day, she still hadn't heard from Helen. 'Does she regret it?' she thought, 'Does she even remember it?'
She decided to wait until Helen contacted her - afterall; it was Helen who wanted to stop. Nikki would gladly let her set the pace for what, their friendship? A fledgling relationship? If only to avoid another confusing scene like the other night. It took all of her energy and willpower to stop last night - if Helen asked that of her again, she wasn't sure if she would be able to comply.
Helen woke to an empty bed. She was confused as to Nikki's whereabouts. All of Nikki's clothes were gone, so she assumed she'd taken off. 'Stupid!' she thought, rubbing her face with the palms of her hands as if doing it would make everything go away. Her mouth was dry from the wine and she felt like shit - and not just because of the alcohol. She had obviously hurt Nikki by leading her on last night. On seeing the now cold cup of coffee on the nightstand, Helen sighed. Maybe Nikki wasn't that mad if she'd made that small gesture. Either way, Helen decided she would give Nikki some space so they could both sort out their heads. Well, more accurately so that she could sort out her own head - as far as Nikki was probably concerned, Helen didn't want her. She flopped back down on the bed, 'what a mess' she thought. There was still the small matter of sorting out what to do about Nikki's past relationship with Cassie. Having slept on it, a plan had started to formulate in between dreams of Nikki. Executing the plan however, would mean having to see Nikki - and soon. Damn.
Nikki checked her mobile for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. Not even a text. She assumed Helen still had her number because she still had Helen's. Maybe she was just clinging onto a false thread of hope that something might still be there. Helen had probably deleted it years ago - along with the notion of Nikki. Still, there was a phone in the officer's room, and Helen knew damn well that she could contact Nikki through it. Today had not been the best.
Having spent a short while on the wing, it appeared that even Cassie had been avoiding her. This was probably a good thing, considering they didn't want any rumours started by other inmates, but still quite irritating - Nikki had really wanted to get last night's actions off her chest. As Cassie had been her 'Helen Counsellor' in uni, who better to get advice from!
Cassie had managed to avoid Nikki every time she had come on to the wing that day. She would become engrossed in conversation every time Nikki looked her way, or suddenly find somewhere else to be should Nikki appear to be travelling in her direction. It was working at the moment, but she knew she couldn't avoid Nikki forever. She was sure Roisin would sense something was wrong as well.
Yvonne looked up from her OK Magazine when she heard a gentle knock at the door, "Come in" she called absently. She smiled when she saw Cassie's face pop through the gap, then became serious when she noticed her worried expression. "What's wrong?" Yvonne asked her.
"I need to talk to you", Cassie replied, checking over her shoulder onto the landing.
"Yeah, no shit!" Yvonne laughed - completely at a loss as to what was bothering Cassie. Her voice carried the overtones of worry, even as she joked - Yvonne was as ever the mother figure and it was very unlike Cassie to seek advice like this. Usually, it was Yvonne gave her the advice for her own good whether she appeared to want it or not. She patted the bed next to her and handed her a cigarette. "Talk."
Cassie started nervously, "This can't go any further."
Yvonne nodded, "Of course", she replied seriously.
Cassie took a deep breath. "You know that new screw who's just been transferred to G-Wing?"
"Yeah, Nikki something?"
"Wade. Well, I."
Yvonne interrupted her, "Hang on, you ain't got the hots for her too 'ave you?"
Cassie looked down, and took a drag of her cigarette.
"Bloody 'ell Cass, you and your women eh! I thought you and Roisin were virtually married since." she trailed off. It was funny how no one liked to directly mention the events on open day.
"I know! We were, we ARE!" she said, with exasperation, "It's just more complicated than that."
Yvonne gave her a dubious look, "You've known this screw all of two days and you're stressing out about fancying her? You bleedin' fancied me for a while and you got over it" she shook her head, not understanding Cassie's predicament at all.
"We used to be lovers!" Cassie blurted out.
Yvonne was suddenly very quiet. "Oh."
To Be Continued