I've got a new life waiting for me...
"...I've got a new life waiting for me, once this appeal's out of the way."
Helen stood in Nikki's cell, her heart pounding as she listened to the dark-haired woman talk of her new life on the outside. A life that would be absent of one prison governor. She knew Nikki was saying it for her benefit, a way to appease any guilt she might still be feeling over her new relationship with Thomas. What the lifer didn't realise, was the depth of pain her words induced.
"Hey, now you're talking." Helen forced a smile, the idea of Nikki being free to be with someone else was almost too much for her to bear. For months she had prayed for the day they could finally be together without restrictions, and now that it was about to happen she was denied her dearest wish. How could things have worked out like this?
"So...good luck I guess." Nikki managed, her smile as forced as Helen's.
"Yeah..." Helen stopped. She had been about to thank Nikki for her words, but suddenly she couldn't go through with it. She couldn't lie about her feelings anymore. "How did we end up like this?"
"What?" Nikki was confused, she'd thought this was their goodbye, a final farewell to a relationship that was just too hard for Helen to deal with. Yet here she was questioning its ending, or at least that's what Nikki thought she was doing.
Helen took a step back, her shoulders coming into contact with the door and barring the way of any unwanted visitors. She didn't know what she was going to say, how she could explain feelings that had never stopped confusing her. "Where did we go wrong Nikki? When did we stop fighting to make this work?"
Nikki's eyes strayed towards her lap, unable to meet Helen's questioning gaze. "I never stopped fighting."
Helen's chest clenched, the truth of Nikki's words forcing her to acknowledge where the blame for their estrangement lay. The events that had prompted her to end things had just been an excuse to get out of a relationship that had been at once too intense and too confusing for her to handle. The truth was, she had been the one to stop fighting, stop trying to make things work. "I'm sorry Nikki, I..."
"Shhhh." Standing, Nikki made her way to Helen, cupping a cheek now damp with tears. "No one's to blame, it just wasn't meant to be, that's all."
Helen looked into her eyes, their brown depths made eternal by the shimmering of tears, "But what if it was?" A hand reached up to caress Nikki's cheek, the feeling of silky soft skin encouraging a whimper from deep within Helen's chest. "What if we are meant to be together?"
"But...but what about the doctor?" Nikki tried not to let her hopes rise, all too aware of the pain that would follow if Helen turned around and once more denied what they felt for one another.
Thomas. Helen had forgotten all about him, something she'd never managed to do with Nikki, not even during the times she'd spent with the dashing doctor. Always at the back of her mind had been the image of Nikki's beautiful face, forlorn in disappointment or anger at her betrayal. That, more than anything, told her that he wasn't the right man for her, that there wasn't a right man for her, only Nikki. "He's not the one I love."
Nikki just waited, her heart too fragile to risk on anything but a full admission of love. She had been here before, waiting for words that never came, hoping that Helen would finally let her in and accept what they had together. She didn't know if she could take anymore of this waiting, wondering, hoping to be loved.
Reaching forward, Helen let her lips brush against Nikki's, the contact so brief it almost never happened. "You are." She whispered, bringing their lips together once more.
"I am what Helen?" Nikki needed to hear her say it, needed to be certain.
Captured in Nikki's gaze, Helen could do nothing but tell the truth. "The one I love."
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