Writing to Meet You
The next night Nikki couldn't stop thinking about Helen, she didn't want to but couldn't seem to stop. She'd really enjoyed talking to her last night and she wanted to do it again. She realised that she was jealous, not of Helen but of the people who were out with her and spent the entire evening prowling around the house wishing the phone would ring, the peace and quiet gave her too much time to think. What was happening to her? Had she fallen for Helen? Well she already knew the answer to that, the problem was what should she do now? Nothing seemed to be the only conclusion that suited her.
They both knew the score and both were happy to carry on just as 'friends' that made Nikki feel more settled. She wasn't ready for anything more, was she?
She went to bed late, hanging on to the hope that Helen might ring, it was gone midnight when she'd finally given up and got into bed. She couldn't get to sleep for ages, her mind was a swirling mass of emotion and thoughts, she must have drifted off to sleep because when the phone woke her it was 2:50 am.
'Hello?' she was still half asleep.
'Hiya, did I wake you?' a slightly inebriated Helen asked.
'No, I'm always awake at this time' she joked.
'Sorry it's so late, I did try to get away earlier. Easier said than done. I needed to hear your voice again' she added.
Nikki's body was tingling. 'I'm glad you did, I was hoping that you would'
'Really?' Helen sounded surprised.
'Of course, so how was the party?' she asked.
Helen groaned, 'Usual crap. Guess who I met though' she asked.
'Trish by any chance?' Nikki offered.
'How did you know?' Helen demanded.
'Well you'd never have said that about anyone else would you? So dare I ask what did you think?'
'Am I allowed to swear and talk freely?'
'I wouldn't expect anything less'
'What a fucking tramp! Nikki what did you see in her?' Helen asked bluntly.
'No Helen, don't hold back, tell me what you really thought', Nikki laughed and continued to speak, 'What did I see in her? Well let me see, she had a nice figure, is gorgeous and probably went out of her way to, what's the word, woo? me for a while. I think I was flattered, besides I was in love and I thought she was too'.
Helen tutted, 'Didn't anyone try to tell you what she was? It seems so obvious just by the way she was acting tonight', she was surprised that Yvonne hadn't put Nikki straight as she had struck Helen as the kind who would call a spade a spade.
'Well Yvonne tried. We kind of fell out over it, she called Trish a lot of names and told me I needed my head examined, of course she added quite a few more expletives than that' she admitted.
'I can imagine'
'Yeah well, I didn't like being told who I could see or what I should do and that's when I moved to London. Yvonne and I didn't speak for months, Lauren and I kept in touch, well she had to since she was living in my house'
'Your house? Is Lauren's place yours? if you know what I mean'
'Yeah, have you seen it?'
'Seen it and fallen in love with it. Don't tell me Trish was responsible for decorating or I may have to go and kill myself ' she semi pleaded.
'No, she had nothing to do with that, I did it all. I was working from home, writing and did the decorating during my breaks' she confessed.
'Well I am very impressed. Perhaps I should get you round to look at my place, offer me some tips'
'Any time' Nikki yawned. 'Sorry' she said.
'Hey, I should be the one apologising, I know I'm gonna cringe when I wake up in the morning and remember ringing you this late. Have I apologised?'
'Once or twice and I've already told you, there is no need to feel embarrassed. I wanted you to ring me' surprised at her own admission, she waited for Helen's response.
'Well I'm glad that I did then, but I'm going now. If I don't I'll fall asleep on the phone, no reflection on the conversation of course'
'Of course. Are you in tomorrow? Can I ring you' Nikki asked.
'That would be nice, I'm in all evening, speak to you then?'
'Great and Helen thanks'
'For phoning me, for being my friend, for not giving up on me? All of the above and more'
'My pleasure, good night'
They hung up and both were soon asleep, dreaming of what might be.
Their conversations continued over the next few weeks, some late at night some during the day. No matter how often there was always something to say. Today Nikki had a surprise for Helen and couldn't wait 'til she rang.
'Hi' Nikki spoke first
'How's your day been?'
'Oh well congratulations, what's happened' Helen brightened up.
'Nothing much, signed all the papers for the show, got the contracts ready for all the cast, the usual'
'You're kidding! When do we start?
'A month' Nikki was grinning.
Helen screeched down the phone, 'I can't believe it. You know that it means I can hand my notice in then, I can tell them to stick their bloody job'.
'It means exactly that and I'm delighted to be the first to tell you. How are you going to handle it?'
'I'm not really sure, I don't want to rush in and tell them. I've got an idea do you think I should go out with a bang?'
'Well you know that the show has been nominated for a National TV Award'
'I've also been nominated for one'
'You didn't say'
'Well I was going to surprise you, but not just that, I've been asked to present an award too, what do you think of me announcing it on live TV?'
'Wanna bet? The more I think about it the more I like the idea'
Nikki laughed, 'Ooh you're wicked'
'You think that's wicked?' Helen said suggestively.
'You mean there's more' Nikki's body tingled.
'Aah well if you want to know you'll have to come here and find out' she teased.
'Well how about tomorrow' Nikki replied.
Helen stopped teasing and suddenly sounded serious.
'Well I am holding your contract in my hand. I could deliver it in person if you like, maybe we could go out and celebrate?'
'You certainly know how to cheer a girl up don't you Nikki Wade'
'I've had no complaints' she said.
'Hey! I don't wish to hear about your lurid past thank you very much' Helen laughed. The thought of seeing Nikki tomorrow and the excitement over her new job was almost too much to deal with in one go, she wanted to scream.
'So?' Nikki asked.
'So.. what?' Helen was confused.
'So do you want to go out with me tomorrow?'
'What do you think?'
'Is that a yes?'
'YES!!' she shouted and they both laughed.
They talked for a while longer and arranged to meet up at Nikki's house the following evening. Helen was going to make the arrangements as far as dinner and their night out was concerned.
The following day seemed to drag. Nikki drove to London early, because she wanted to make sure that she would be ready on time. She arrived in plenty of time and pottered around the house, not wanting to start getting ready too quick, yet eager to get ready because she wanted to be with Helen. The afternoon dragged even more, at four the phone rang.
'Guess who' the by now familiar voice asked.
'Ooh, tricky, you sound familiar but I get a lot of calls from women, a clue please?'
'Very funny.. not' came the reply, 'How are you?'
'Sitting here trying to stop myself from getting ready too early' Nikki admitted.
'Snap!' said Helen, 'Isn't it hard'
'It's a bloody nightmare, want to come over earlier?' Nikki suggested.
'That could solve our problem'
'Okay, well start getting ready now and come as soon as you can'
'Yes Ma'am, I'll see you soon, I can't wait'
They hung up and both raced off to get ready, glad that their day was not going to be strung out any longer than necessary.
Helen had told Nikki, smart but fairly casual, she could deal with that. Hopeful that it meant going somewhere nice, not to the usual sort of shit hole Trish used to drag her to. Nikki admonished herself, she really had to try to stop making comparisons. After all she better than anyone knew that Helen and Trish were as different as chalk and cheese.
An hour and a half after they'd spoken the doorbell rang. Nikki tried to keep her pace to a walk, though her feet seemed to be moving a lot faster than normal.
She opened the door. There stood Helen smiling holding up a bottle of champagne.
'Thought we'd start celebrating early' she said.
'Fine by me, so long as you don't mind me being legless at dinner' Nikki told her.
'I don't mind if you don't' she laughed.
They opened the bottle and started their celebrations. Helen had booked a taxi to pick them up for 7:30, they spent over an hour talking and drinking, the drinking led to laughing and by the time they left both were quite drunk.
'So where are we going?' Nikki asked cheerily.
Helen told her the name of some restaurant that was frequented by the who's who in showbiz. Nikki felt her heart sink. Shit! She had hoped Helen would pick somewhere better than that. Helen grinned when she saw her reaction, she didn't like teasing her but she didn't want to spoil the surprise.
Fifteen minutes later they pulled up outside the restaurant. Nikki hadn't really paid much attention to their journey so hadn't realised exactly where they were. Taking a deep breath she got out of the car, when she looked up she was surprised to found herself outside her favourite restaurant.
'Surprise!' Helen whispered in her ear.
'I thought we were going to..'
'Nikki, as if I'd go there, I wanted to have you to myself tonight. That place is alright if you want to get your picture in the paper but I don't and I didn't think you would either. So I asked Lauren where she thought you'd like to go. Apparently this is your favourite restaurant so we are eating here'
Nikki turned to Helen, 'Thank you, I'm so glad that you chose here. I nearly died when you told me where we were going in the taxi'
'I noticed' Helen admitted.
'Ooh, that's so callous, watching me squirm like that'
'Well I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Come on I'm starving'.
They were shown to their table, Nikki chose her favourite meal and recommended the better menu choices to Helen. They had several bottles of wine with their meal and slowly but surely got more and more drunk. By the time they had finished they were barely able to walk straight. They somehow managed to maintain their composure as they left the restaurant, collapsing into fits of laughter as they got into a waiting cab.
'Where to ladies?' the cabbie asked.
Nikki looked at Helen.
'Your choice, I chose the restaurant'
'Want to come back to my house? No strings'
Helen tutted and laughed, 'Spoil all my fun why don't you'
Nikki gave the cabbie her address when they got to the house and started drinking again.
'I've had a brilliant evening' Helen told her.
'Me too' Nikki admitted, 'I'm pissed though'
'So?' Helen asked.
'Nothing just thought I'd tell you in case I say something stupid'
Nikki got up in an attempt to change the subject, 'Oh I don't know that I'm a closet Spice Girls fan or something'
Helen started to laugh, 'You had me worried then, I thought you were going to proposition me or something!'
'Na!' Nikki said, 'Why spoil such a good friendship'.
Her words hit Helen like a bucket of icy water. Helen's mood sobered, she had thought that they were getting closer, from what Nikki had just said they weren't any closer than day one apart from on a 'friendship only' basis.
'Quite' she mumbled and swigged back a large shot of vodka, suddenly she felt the need to drink more.
As Nikki talked she noticed the change in Helen, she had become withdrawn.
'What's up?' she asked.
'With me? Nothing, why do you ask?'
'You've gone all quiet on me'
'Not! I guess the alcohol is slowing down my speech, either that or you're talking for both of us'
'Would I do such a thing' Nikki joked.
'It wouldn't be the first time, I seem to recall a phone conversation last week where you talked non-stop for 20 minutes' she retorted.
'Piss off' Nikki laughed 'More like ten'
'Fifteen at least' Helen argued.
Their banter continued along that vein for ages, until Helen looked at her watch.
'I'd better be going, is it okay to call a cab?'
'Of course' she watched Helen stagger towards the phone, should she offer she wondered.
'Helen before you ring..'
'You're welcome to stay here. I'll drive you home in the morning.. if you want to that is.'
'Would you mind?'
'Would I offer if I did? Besides, you're only going to phone me as soon as you get in so I might as well keep you here and talk to you', she laughed but stopped when the cushion Helen threw at her smacked her in the face.
'Sorry!' Helen laughed 'My aim must improve with drink'
'Well, no pillow fights tonight then' Nikki said rubbing her jaw. 'Do you mind if we call it a night now? I'm tired'
'Let's go to bed then'
'I thought you'd never ask' Helen joked.
'I didn't mean..'
'Christ Nikki, lighten up. I was pulling your leg!'
'I knew that! I was doing the same' she added trying to sound convincing.
She led Helen into her room, 'You don't mind sharing do you?' she pointed to her king-size bed.
'With you.. and Lauren?' Helen joked 'I'm sure we could all fit in there'
'No just us' Nikki said drily.
'That's fine. Besides we've shared a bed before haven't we'
'Yeah' Nikki grinned ' That's why I'm glad this is a king size, I've never known anyone hog the bed like you!'
She jumped when Helen poked her in the ribs.
'Shared your bed with a lot of people have you?' Helen asked.
'One or two. I'm very selective though'
'Well I'm honoured!'
'Good' she walked to a drawer and pulled out a large T-shirt, handing it to Helen she headed for the bathroom.
When she got back Helen had already changed. It did all sorts of strange things to Nikki's body seeing Helen wearing her clothes, she tried to shake the tingly feelings off while Helen went to the bathroom. She thought she'd managed to until she came back.
Nikki's heart was pounding, her body was crying out for her to make some kind of move immediately but her head was holding her back, she didn't feel ready.
Helen sensed her turmoil, taking control of the situation she said, 'Thank you for a wonderful evening, you were right when you said that we shouldn't spoil our friendship by taking it any further, but' she walked up to Nikki, 'I just have to do this'
She leaned closer, putting her arms around Nikki's waist she lifted her head up and gently brushed her lips across Nikki's.
Nikki felt an enormous shock wave shoot through her body. Helen maintained gentle pressure waiting for Nikki's response. She wasn't disappointed, Nikki relaxed and kissed her back, very gently at first but slowly increasing the pressure. Her tongue brushed gently along Helen's bottom lip. Helen opened her mouth slightly, an invitation - one which Nikki accepted. When their tongues met, Nikki felt her legs go, she felt like she was slowly sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion. This was so much more than she had ever imagined.
Helen pulled back, the kiss had escalated into more than she intended and she had to be sure what Nikki wanted, Nikki looked confused at her withdrawal
'Nikki I I didn't mean for that to happen. Well the kiss I did, obviously but I didn't realise.. Look, I'll be honest, I want more than this. If we don't stop this now I don't think I will be able to stop' she admitted frankly 'but, I want to be sure that you are doing what you want to be doing not what the drink is making you think you want. So, do you want us to carry on?'
Nikki paused, what did she want?
She didn't get a chance to choose.
'Well if you have to think about it, I think I already have my answer'
'Don't say anything, please. I don't want to spoil tonight, we haven't and by stopping now we wont. Come on' she smiled reassuringly but her insides felt as though they'd been ripped to shreds.
They got into bed.
'I'm sorry' Nikki said.
'Don't be, it's my fault for kissing you, I shouldn't have I broken my promise'
'I'm glad that you did though, it's just '
'Too soon, I know. It's okay sweetheart' she took hold of Nikki's hand and kissed it. They curled up together and went to sleep.
The following morning Helen woke first. She opened her eyes, trying to focus on her surroundings. Her head was pounding , she needed a drink of water desperately.
As she moved to get up Nikki groaned and pulled her closer. Helen stopped and revelled in the feeling of Nikki's arms around her, the 'if onlys' flooded her brain again. She could be patient couldn't she? But for how long.
She got up and went to get a drink, when she came back upstairs she decided to take a shower. A shower usually helped her to shake off a hang over. Nikki was still fast asleep so she took a bathrobe off the back of the bedroom door and headed for the bathroom.
When she was in the shower she didn't hear the front door opening, their visitor headed straight upstairs and into Nikki's bedroom.
Soon Helen was feeling much better, she got out of the shower, wrapped the bathrobe around herself and towel dried her hair.
Nikki was happily ensconced in her own dreamland, unsurprisingly she was not alone there. Helen was with her, they were making love, she could feel Helen's hand travelling up the inside of her thigh, she could feel Helen's lips touch hers, she moaned her name, she was thrust back into reality by a voice shouting.
'Who the fuck is Helen?!'
Nikki's eyes flicked open, there sat on the edge of her bed with her hand still mid-caress was Trish!
'Trish! What the hell are you doing here? How did you get in?' Nikki sat up.
'I still have a key of course' Nikki was not happy to hear that.
'How dare you waltz into my house like this!' Nikki could feel anger rising up inside her.
Helen had heard voices and she opened the bathroom door to hear Trish demand
'Never mind all that. Who is Helen?'
'Helen, is none of your business. You left me remember?'
'And you found a replacement?'
'Not as quickly as you it seems' Nikki replied denying nothing. She was wondering where Helen was. Her clothes were still in the room.
'Hello Trish' a voice came from the door.
Trish turned around.
'You are joking!' she shouted. 'That's Helen?' she pointed rudely 'Exactly how long has this affair been going on?'.
'Like I said before Trish, it's none of your business. Now if you'll just give me my key you can see yourself out. Helen and I would like to be alone, wouldn't we?'
She looked across for a bit of support.
'Absolutely sweetheart' turning to Trish she said, 'Three's a crowd and you haven't been invited to this party. Key?' she held out her hand.
Trish thrust the key into her hand as she stormed past, she slammed the bedroom door on the way out and slammed the front door even louder.
'Ooh! I think someone just got a taste of her own medicine' Helen grinned.
'Sorry about that'
'That she dragged you into it, she can be a real bitch'
'Do I look bothered?' Helen asked.
Nikki looked at her, stood wearing her bathrobe with damp hair hanging loosely around her face she looked gorgeous. Nikki only realised the words actually came out of her mouth when Helen thanked her.
She walked towards the bed and sat next to Nikki, the movement caused the bathrobe to loosen revealing a bit more of Helen's skin than Nikki could handle. She wanted so much to be able to touch her.
'So, how did she know I was here' Helen asked.
Nikki blushed when she realised what she was going to have to tell her.
'Well Oh God this is embarrassing'
'Mmm, sounds interesting, come on you have to tell me'
'Okay, I was dreaming about you .. and me.. and we were kissing' she looked up sheepishly.
'Only kissing eh?'
'Well..no.. We were making love and you were touching me and I might have mentioned your name' she finished quickly.
'So I got to touch you did I?'
'Mmm' Nikki mumbled, she was getting excited just thinking about it. She jumped when she felt Helen's hand on her arm, she looked up.
Helen looked very serious.
'I'd like to' she said simply.
'I think sorry, I mean I know that I would like you to too'
They drew closer. Helen's hand traced it's way up Nikki's arm and onto her neck slowly moving around to the side of her head gently pulling her closer, their eyes never broke contact, just before their lips touched Helen whispered 'You're sure?'
Nikki closed the distance between them, giving Helen the answer she wanted, the answer she ached for.
Nikki's hands sought the belt of the bathrobe, she pulled at it releasing the hold it had on the material behind it, her hands slipped inside. Helen's skin felt warm and damp but at the same time was so soft. Gently Nikki trailed her hand across Helen's waist, gradually moving upwards, brushing softly against her breast. Helen's breath caught in her chest. This was almost painful, the sensations shooting through her body were so intense, never before had she experienced such a feeling so quickly.
She wanted Nikki to understand just how strong an effect she was having on her, she moved closer and deepened the kiss. She reached for the edge of Nikki's nightshirt, her hands sought Nikki's skin, she touched, dragged her nails gently across the soft skin. Nikki's body felt like it was on fire, her heart was pounding. Their breathing became ragged as they lost themselves in the feeling of each other's touch.
Their caresses moved lower each wanting so much to please the other, instinct took over and they began to move in unison. Gently caressing each other at first, slowly becoming more insistent, pushing each other closer and closer to a final climax, one that was so intense that they remained silent for some considerable time afterwards.
'Wow!' Nikki managed to say.
'Wow! Indeed' was all Helen could get her brain to reply.
They kissed each other again.
'So much for my promise' Helen muttered.
'Hey, no complaints from me about that' Nikki said quickly.
They wrapped themselves in each other's arms.
'Are you okay?' Helen asked seriously, obviously referring to Nikki and Trish.
'I am fine. I am happy and I am bloody tingling all over. What did you do to me woman?'
'What did I do? Excuse me but I can still feel my pulse coursing through my head!'
'Mmm. Very good' Helen returned stretching her body in a very sensual way and managing to turn the meaning of Nikki's statement around to suit her.
'So what are your plans for today?' Nikki asked.
'I think I'm going to spend the day in bed' Helen said. Nikki looked disappointed she had hoped Helen would stay and spend the day with her. 'With you' Helen added.
Nikki's frown turned into a grin, 'That's the best news I've heard all . Ever' Nikki added
pulling her closer.
The weekend flew by, they spent most of it on their own, not wanting to share what they had found with anyone. Lauren had managed to pick up the 'we want to be left alone' signals and had made herself scarce for the weekend but not before phoning Yvonne to pass on the news.
Their conversation was full of self-congratulations, firmly believing they had been the cause of Helen and Nikki finally getting together. In a way they had, perhaps their persistent attempts at match making had made things move along a little faster but in all honestly the relationship seemed to be guided by fate.
Nikki hated leaving at the end of the weekend, she took Helen home where they made love again, whispering secrets to each other, sharing their hopes and dreams for their future together.
Their routine returned to daily phone calls, they missed each other terribly. After one particularly harrowing week Nikki decided that she could not stand being stuck so far away any longer. She made a decision, but before telling anyone else she felt she had to tell Yvonne.
She broached the subject the next evening.
'Yvonne, what would you say if I said I wanted to move back to London' she asked tentatively.
Yvonne thought about it and finally spoke 'I'd say about bleedin' time too darlin', that girl has been good for you. She deserves a lot more than a couple of hours chat on the phone each night. So when are you going?'
'I don't know, I hadn't really thought much past telling you. I thought you'd be upset or something'
'Oh you daft bugger! 'Course I'm upset, but that's not half as bad as seeing you moping round here with a face like a slapped arse. So, have you told Helen yet?'
'Jesus Christ girl, come on let's get you sorted'
Yvonne took over the arrangements. She rang Lauren and explained to her while Nikki went back to the flat to phone Helen.
'Hey yourself. How are you? What've you been up to today?'
'Well I think I've managed to make Yvonne's day' she admitted.
'How so?' Helen was intrigued, she had already learnt that it took a lot to make Yvonne's day.
'I've informed her that she's finally going to have me out from under her feet'
'..and that means what exactly?'
'Well darling, it means several things Firstly cheaper telephone bills. Secondly, me seeing a great deal more of a certain Scottish lady I have fallen for and thirdly...one of us having to pack overnight bags continually'
'You're coming back?' Helen sounded delighted.
Nikki grinned, she could hear the excitement in Helen's voice and it stirred the emotions she had been trying to hold in check. She could feel her body responding and could do nothing to stop it.
'I'm coming home' Nikki said simply.
They both felt the significance of that one simple statement. Home, each knew that home was wherever the other was.. that's the way it was going to be.
'When?' Helen asked eagerly.
'I reckon I could pack up tonight and set off in the morning. Want to meet me for .. lunch' she said suggestively.
Helen picked up on the double meaning and immediately responded, 'I'd love to, I'm absolutely starving, I feel like I haven't 'eaten' for weeks'
Nikki laughed, 'You're so naughty' she joked.
'What did I say?' Helen asked feigning innocence.
'You know exactly what I'm talking about woman. And believe me you won't be feeling that way tomorrow'
'Promises, promises' Helen chirped back.
Nikki was going to miss these flirtatious telephone conversations.
'Hey, I never make a promise I can't keep' Nikki said confidently.
'Well we will have to see about that tomorrow' Helen said, 'I can be very demanding'
'I'm sure you can, but like you said we will see about that tomorrow' Nikki wanted to change the subject as this conversation was getting her all hot and bothered, much more of it and she would be tempted to set off right now, but she knew that she was too tired to drive that far.
'So.. shall I pick you up?' Nikki asked.
'Can you meet me at work? I shouldn't be too late finishing..' Helen was keen to see her.
'Fine. I should get there about lunchtime'
'Great. I can't wait'
'Tart!' Nikki quipped.
'Ooh! I'm crushed.' She laughed and Nikki laughed too.
They talked for a while longer and after ending their conversations each went to bed looking forward to fulfilling the secret hopes and dreams they had only recently shared.
The following day Nikki set off early, now that the idea was set in her mind she just wanted to be there. There was nothing more frustrating wanting to be somewhere and knowing it could not happen until the distance had been driven, she broke several speed limits on the drive down to London.
She arrived on the set and was happily watching Helen shooting a scene. In the scene she was telling off a junior officer, the poor bloke was flinching! He didn't need to act, the ferocity of her delivery made the hair on the back of Nikki's neck stand up. She was very good.
She didn't notice the woman who came to stand next to her until she spoke.
'Well, well, well. What brings you here, as if I need to ask' came the snide voice.
'Actually Trish' Nikki acknowledged her, 'I came to see some real talent at work. Not the usual tat I've had to watch'
She felt Trish's hackles rise. As far as Trish Harris was concerned she was the best! (Though not many people seemed to agree, as far as Nikki was aware she hadn't worked for quite a while now).
'Well you would say that since you're shagging the star' she spat.
'Not necessarily' Nikki returned, 'I don't ever recall saying it when I was shagging you' with that as her parting shot she walked off.
Trish was livid, she wasn't going to let her get away with that.
'Nikki wait' she said it loud enough for Helen to hear, she looked up and saw them together.
Nikki stopped and turned.
'What do you want?' she asked.
'I wanted to apologise, for the way I treated you. I still love you Nikki, I know I treated you badly, but please give me another chance' she sounded so insincere Nikki almost laughed.
'Christ Trish, if that's your standard of acting these days it's no wonder you can't find work' she laughed in her face.
Trish started to cry. That had always been her ultimate weapon against Nikki. She knew that Nikki could not stand to see anyone upset. Trouble was these tears were real. She was in serious trouble, she was up to her neck in debt and had (unknown to Nikki) developed a serious drug habit, one that she was unable to finance herself.
'Oh Nikki, please I know I've been a bitch and I don't deserve your help, but I'm begging you. I'm desperate'.
'Money, a job'
'Sorry can't help you' Nikki dismissed her.
Trish ran after her again and grabbed her arm.
'Don't I mean anything to you? Can you really just turn me away like that? I thought you loved me' she whimpered.
Nikki spoke through gritted teeth.
'I gave you my heart you bitch and you ripped it out and stamped all over it. You expect me to want to help you .. forget it' Trish had never her seen her like that, she had hoped that turning on the waterworks would have worked.
'Alright. She admitted. I know I don't deserve any break, but if I audition for your new series will you give me a shot. I'm not asking for favours, just let me audition' she pleaded.
Nikki looked at her, she was pathetic, but deep down there was still a thin string that tugged at her heart. She couldn't put the final boot in, it just wasn't in her to be like that. She looked up and saw Helen watching with interest. She spoke quietly.
'Audition' she said flatly, 'I'll have nothing to do with it, if they want you, they have you. I won't interfere'.
Relief flooded over Trish, acting on impulse she pulled Nikki to her and kissed her firmly on the mouth, it wasn't a peck and it took Nikki a few seconds to shake off the surprise and pull away.
Those few seconds were all that Helen needed to panic and run off, she didn't see Nikki push Trish away.
She had thought Nikki was over Trish, but now?? She didn't get chance to speak to her for almost an hour, by which time she had managed to work herself into quite a state. Nikki had no idea that she was worried and when they met took her into her arms and kissed her.
She was no fool, the complete lack of response from Helen made her stop. She pulled back a frowning.
'What's up?' she asked lightly.
Helen could not believe that she didn't know!!!
'You' she warned 'You are what's up' her voice was barely under control.
'Why?' That was it! She went up like a rocket.
'Perhaps it's because I was forced to watch you playing tonsil tennis with your ex-girlfriend! Perhaps it's because she hasn't stopped bleating about the fact that you agreed to give her an audition, perhaps it's because ' Helen's accent became even stronger as she stressed each point.
'Firstly' Nikki took control, 'She kissed me. She caught me off guard and I pushed her off straight away. She means nothing to me now, no, she means less than nothing .. Can't you see that? and secondly, she already had an audition and she asked me not to interfere or stop her getting her chance at getting a part, I said I would not interfere. She won't get a part anyway because she's not right for any of them, but it won't be because of anything I've said or done. Thirdly, I can't fucking well believe that you think I'd do something like that to you. Do you have any idea what you mean to me? I have spent the last 24 hours thinking of nothing but coming here to be with you. If you think I can just pick up and drop those feelings on a whim then perhaps we need to re-evaluate what we thought we had going here' tears sprung to her eyes.
Helen realised the mistake that she had made, she immediately tried to put things right, they had come so far to stumble at the last hurdle would be so wrong.
'I'm so sorry Nikki. I just saw you and her together and flipped. I guess I was afraid of losing you just when I'd got you. Please don't be angry with me. Nik?' Helen touched her arm.
Nikki embraced her and held her as if her life depended on it.
'I know this is probably not the time or the place but' she looked directly into Helen's eyes and spoke gently,' I love you, I never thought I'd say that to anyone ever again. You have made my life worth living again and I swear I will do nothing to jeopardise what we have'
'I know, I was being stupid, jealous I ' Nikki silenced her in the best way she knew how, with her lips.
Whatever Helen had been about to say was lost in that kiss, all that had gone before was swept away, all that mattered was here and now. Some minutes later they broke apart.
'We'd better get out of here before I do something I shouldn't' Nikki remarked.
'You have a promise to keep and I am sooo hungry' Helen said seductively.
Nikki felt her whole body respond to Helen's suggestion and she quickly grabbed her hand and they hurried to the car.
The weeks that followed saw their relationship flourish into something really special. Helen had more or less moved into Nikki's house but she kept her flat, mainly because it was closer to work and on the days when she had to be there very early or late they would stay there.
Auditions for Nikki's new show were well under way and the TV Awards ceremony was fast approaching. Helen had not yet broached the subject of Nikki attending She knew that she would not want to go, but deep down Helen felt she needed her to be there. She wanted to be able to convey that to Nikki without having to ask directly and putting her on the spot. In all honesty, she wanted Nikki to offer, so far she hadn't.
Helen had asked Yvonne how she should handle it. Yvonne agreed with the approach she was using, let Nikki come to the decision herself. She'd told Helen that pressurising her would make her want to do the opposite.
At dinner that night Nikki was herself trying to bring up a subject, one which she knew Helen would not like, but one that Nikki knew she had to tell her.
'err auditions went well today' she started.
'Oh good, I'm glad. Anyone I know been given parts yet' Helen moved off the topic that Nikki was trying to bring up, they spent a few minutes talking about who had been cast so far.
'err.. Trish has her audition tomorrow. I just thought I should tell you'
'Really..which part is she going for?' Helen asked, trying keep her emotions under control.
''Shell Dockley..' Nikki grinned.
'Suppose that'd suit her down to the ground' Helen muttered taking a large drink from her glass of wine.
'She wont get it' Nikki stated firmly.
'How can you be so sure?' Helen asked, 'You haven't said anything have you?'
'No. I said I wouldn't interfere and I won't. Thing is they've got someone else lined up for it, the audition is more or less a formality. Trish might get a part as an extra, but that's it'
Helen tried not to look smug, she wasn't successful.
'What are you looking so please about?'
'I'm just thinking how lucky I am and how stupid she is' she told her.
'Thank you' Nikki said.
'Oh, I wasn't talking about you I meant me having the part' she grinned.
Nikki put down her knife and fork all appetite for food had been replaced by an appetite for the woman sat opposite her.
'You know that sense of humour of yours is going to get you into big trouble one of these days Stewart' Nikki warned as she stood and walked towards Helen.
'Oh please, I'm quivering with fear' she laughed.
'You sure it's with fear and not excitement..?' Nikki whispered as she took her hand.
'Well I'm not sure.. perhaps you could check..'
'Oh I intend to make sure it's with excitement' they held hands as they headed upstairs..
All through the next day Nikki had attended various auditions, fortunately she didn't have to attend them all, she chose the ones she thought most important, generally those for the key characters.
When the Shell Dockley audition started Nikki headed to the bar, this was something she wanted to steer well clear from, that way Trish could not accuse her of meddling.
As expected Trish did not get the part, she was livid and of course put the fact that she was rejected down to Nikki interfering, not for one moment considering the possibility that she was not good enough. She went looking for Nikki.
The bar had started to fill up, various actors and actresses who were auditioning were there together with a few production staff. Nikki had chatted amicably with a few, accepted the congratulations on the quality of the new project and was getting ready to leave when Trish stormed up to her.
'You couldn't leave you fucking nose out of it could you!!'
'Trish I don't think this is the time or .'
'I don't give a flying fuck what you think, you are going to damn well listen to what I have to say'
'That's where you're wrong' Nikki said and walked off.
'Don't you dare walk away from me' Trish shrieked, the room fell silent.
Nikki turned around, 'Who the hell do you think you are?' she yelled at Trish.
'I wanted that part Nikki' Trish growled.
'Then you should have been good enough to get it' Nikki spat back.
'Good enough in bed you mean? What like your girlfriend? Is she going to get a part? She is isn't she?' she added.
That did it for Nikki, all the sympathy she had was gone.
'Don't you dare bring her into this' she warned, she could feel the anger building up inside her.
'Why not, it's obvious what you have to do to get a decent part round here. So what does she give you that I didn't..eh! I bet she's a great shag' she hurled.
The sound of the slap echoed around the room.
'If I ever hear you talk about her again I swear I won't be held responsible for my actions. What does she give me that you didn't? Love, respect ..things you couldn't possibly understand. Now GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!' the fire in her eyes told Trish that she had pushed too far. She slowly walked past Nikki and left the room.
Nikki waited a few minutes, slowly calming herself down and then she too left.
The room buzzed, no-one had ever seen Nikki lose her temper like that before, they were all totally shocked, but not as shocked as Nikki when she received a phone call from Yvonne a few days later.
'Hi 'vonne, what's up'
'You're not gonna believe what that fuckin' junkie has gone and done now'
'Who? What are you talking about' Nikki had been woken and was not quite 'with it'.
Helen stirred at the sound of Nikki's voice.
She became fully awake when Nikki sat bolt upright and shouted.
'The lying bitch!!' she went quiet again, but not for long, 'She what I did not!!'
Helen was wide-awake now and needed to know what was happening.
'Alright, I'll wait to hear from him, thanks 'vonne' she slammed the phone down and swore.
'What's wrong?' Helen asked tentatively.
'You're not going to believe it' Nikki groaned.
'What? Tell me! Tell me!' Helen could not stand it.
Nikki filled her in on the brief details. Yvonne had rung to tell her that she was splattered over the front page of the tabloids. Apparently following Nikki's slap, Trish had tripped upon an idea for a story to sell to the press. Presumably to earn a few quid to feed her habit or pay off her debts.
'What has she said?'
'Something along the lines of Nikki Wade beat seven shades of shit out of me. That I have an uncontrollable temper and that she had to leave me because when I drank I became violent and used to slap her around or some such bollocks'.
'That's utter rubbish' Helen scofffed.
'You know that and I know that, but following the slap I gave her in the bar the other day she has witnesses who have backed her up' Nikki put her head in her hands.
'So what do we do?' the way Helen had made it her problem to filled Nikki's heart with the hope that all was not bad in her world.
'Well Yvonne said she's got her brief working on it, hopefully if I threaten to sue and the papers do a bit of research .. given the right hints, they'll realise that she's just a junkie using them to pay for her next hit. I was thinking of staying with Yvonne for a bit'
'Oh Nik I'm so sorry' Helen pulled her close, but her
'No I'm sorry because it means I won't be able to come to the TV awards with you' Nikki told her.
The awards were only three days away.
Helen sighed, after all her waiting she was going to be let down at the last minute.
'You could still go, you don't have to hide away, you've done nothing wrong' she tried.
'Oh yeah! Come on can you imagine the interest I'd generate whether I did anything wrong or not. Besides it's going to be your night, I reckon you'll win I don't want all this bullshit getting in the way and spoiling it' she said.
'I'll be the loser if you aren't there with me' Helen admitted.
'I wish I could' Nikki said.
'You could if you wanted to'
'Oh Helen you know that's not true' Nikki argued, all she needed now was a row!
'Do I? How?'
Nikki sighed, she was never going to be able to explain.
'Look I'm not going and that's all there is to it'
Helen got up 'Fine!'
'Fine!' Nikki replied.
'Fucking marvellous! Thanks!' Helen said as she walked out of the bedroom and slammed the door.
'Thanks for the support!' Nikki called but there was no reply.
At a time when they should have stuck together things became very, barely a word passed between them all day. They shared a bed that night but did not touch.
The following morning Helen packed a bag and went home leaving Nikki a note.
We seemed jinxed by that bloody woman.
Whenever we seem to get somewhere she is there getting between us, until whatever it is between you is resolved I think it's best if we don't see each other.
I wanted to help you face this, you seem to want to hide away and pretend it doesn't exist. The world won't disappear just because you want it to..
I hope you can sort it out. If you want me, you know where I am.
Nikki screwed up the piece of paper.
As always in a crisis, she turned to Yvonne.
'You know your trouble Nikki love? Too bleedin' independent. You won't let anyone share your troubles. Just like when the slag left you you hid away, pretended nothing was wrong. She's right, you can't shut yourself away from this one'
'I'm not going to the awards Yvonne'
'I'm not talking about that you daft sod. I'm talking about facing up to sharing your problems, asking for help, leaning on people, people who love you. Jeez Nik, does it take a bleedin' sledgehammer to get through that thick skull of yours?'
Nikki laughed, 'I think I get the point. I'll try to talk to her'
She rang Helen constantly all day but all she got was her answering machine, she left message after message, finally giving up and going to bed at 11.
She went out for a meeting with her solicitor that morning and when she got back had missed two calls from Helen.
'Shit and bugger!' she tried ringing her at home but there was no reply. She didn't know where to find her now, her mobile phone was clicking straight onto the answering service. She had an idea, made a few phone calls and waited for Helen to ring her back but she didn't.
The awards were being shown live on TV, Nikki sat at home watching.. Yvonne had gone with Helen and Lauren. Nikki scoured the screen for glimpses of each but didn't see them.
In the arena Helen was called from her table, she was due to present an award before her nominated category came up. She left Yvonne and Lauren and went behind the scenes.
A girl she recognised from the show handed her the traditional gold envelope, as she did she winked at Helen. Helen found that strange but didn't dwell on it.
She heard the host announce her and walked down the steps to the podium. She gave the introductions and announced ' .. and the winner is ' as she looked at the card that held the result, attached to it was a yellow post it note which simply said..
I'm sorry. I wish I could be there with you now.
I love you, please come home tonight.
We should be together
Helen choked back tears and removed the note, revealing the winner to the waiting crowd.
She handed over the award and stepped to the side of the stage. She wanted to go and ring Nikki, to tell her she would be there but she was caught up in the activity behind the stage and by the time she got away from it she had to get back to her seat ready for the nominations for best actress.
The nominations were shown. Helen sat between Lauren and Yvonne, they were all holding hands tightly. Nikki sat on the edge of her chair at home, they were all tense but when Helen was announced as the winner, the room erupted. Yvonne and Lauren hugged and kissed her and Nikki was jumping up and down on the sofa at home.
She made her way to the stage, she was dumbfounded, she honesty had not expected to win, much as everyone told her the award was hers. The technician who had winked at her back stage was now waiting for her, she handed her a single red rose 'from Nikki' she whispered and Helen felt her heart flip in her chest.
When she got to the podium she had to make a speech. She thanked all those she had to and finished by announcing that she was leaving the show. She heard the shock waves ripple through the audience, she went on to announce that she would be appearing in a new production called Bad Girls, written by the very talented Nikki Wade, to whom she gave her special thanks and ended by saying simply 'I will see you soon'.
Nikki grinned like a Cheshire Cat. She was coming home!!!!!
After the awards had finished Helen met up with Yvonne and Lauren for some celebratory drinks. Also at the bar was Jim Fenner, he was gutted to hear that Helen was leaving, he knew as well as anyone that she was holding the show together. He had used up most of his favours regarding getting more work, he couldn't afford to lose this job. He blamed Helen for that and quietly plotted his revenge as he got more and more drunk.
As they celebrated Helen felt the need to talk to Nikki, she told Yvonne that she was going to find a quiet room backstage to ring her from.
Jim watched her leaving the bar.. He swallowed what was left of his drink and discreetly followed her.
He saw her going into one of the dressing rooms along the corridor, the door had not closed completely and he stood outside, he heard her talking.
'Hi it's me'
'I got your note' she grinned ' and the rose, thank you it means so much'
'Are you okay?' Nikki asked.
'I'm fine, I've missed you' she admitted.
'Me too. God you wouldn't believe how much'
'I think I would' Helen laughed, 'So what did you think of my speech? I told you I'd do it didn't I'
'I couldn't believe it, they cut across to Fenner when you said it. He almost had steam coming out of his ears'
'Good! Fenner deserves all he gets' Helen said, little realising that Fenner was outside getting more and more irate.
'So.. are you coming home to celebrate'
'I'm definitely coming home to celebrate. What've you got in mind?'
Helen blushed when Nikki described in fine detail exactly what she had in mind.
'I'll be there as soon as I can No I can't wait either. I love you Nik' she finally admitted.
Fenner chose this moment to creep silently into the room.
'Look I'd better go or they'll be sending out the search parties. I'll see you in a little while yeah me too' she went to click off the connection but before she could someone grabbed her from behind.
'Ow!' she shouted as she dropped the phone.
Nikki heard this and stopped herself from hanging up.
She could hear voices faintly in the background but couldn't make them out, she switched off the TV whilst at the same time pressing the phone closer to her ear.
'What the fuck do you think you're doing' she heard Helen say.
'Get off, don't get your dirty hands off me'
Fear slowly rose up through Nikki's body, what was she hearing?
'Helen! Helen!' she shouted down the phone, but it was no good.
Her heart froze in her chest when she heard the other voice, Fenner!
'Had a laugh did you? So I deserve all I get do I? Well the same goes for you love and by God you're going to get it'
Nikki heard Helen cry out again, but her voice became muffled.
Panic raced through Nikki now, what should she do? She tried disconnecting the call, but Helen had phoned her and she couldn't break the connection. She ran to get her mobile, swearing as her hands would not work fast enough. She switched it on, cursing it when it asked for her pin number and she typed in the wrong one.
Finally she got the bloody thing working.
She rang Yvonne.
It rang , 'Come on! Come on!' Nikki yelled.
Finally Yvonne answered, 'Hiya Nik love, Helen's not here, she's gone to ring you'
'Yvonne you've gotta find her, Fenner's got her!' Nikki shrieked. She felt so fucking helpless.
'Oh for fucks sake! Find her, Fenner's got her, he's hurting her'
'Bastard! I'll ring you back' Yvonne rung off and ran in the direction Helen had headed.
She tried the first 3 doors and they were locked, the third door opened. Fenner had Helen pinned against a table, she was still struggling her clothes were torn and his hands were all over her, he hadn't heard her coming in.
Yvonne picked an empty champagne bottle off the table and quietly walked up to him.
Helen was struggling, she felt like she was fighting for her life. She thought he had been fooling around at first but when his hands became more insistent she realised the trouble she was in.
She was using all of her strength but he seemed to be getting the upper hand. Just when she was beginning to think the inevitable was going to happen he slumped forward. Helen was confused.
He fell to the floor and she looked up and saw Yvonne holding the remains of a broken bottle, she moved in to stick him with it but Helen grabbed her.
'Get me out of here..please' she started to sob.
Yvonne kicked Fenner in the groin 'Bastard' she spat, but he didn't hear her, he was completely unconscious.
Yvonne helped Helen straighten out her outfit as best she could and hurried her out of the building. Lauren caught up with them in the foyer..'Mum, what's going on?' she took one look at Helen, dark bruises were already starting to appear on her upper arms, 'Oh my God! Mum?'
'That bastard Fenner' Yvonne muttered quietly, 'I'm taking her home'
Yvonne and Helen left and Lauren went in search of Fenner.
In the cab Yvonne phoned Nikki, who by this time was out of her mind with worry.
'What the fuck has been happening?' Nikki shouted.
Yvonne told her she'd explain everything when she got there.
They arrived and Nikki was out of the door before they'd got out the taxi.
'Helen? Oh God Sweetheart, are you ok?'
Helen crumbled visibly before her.
'He He ' she broke down.
Nikki guided her gently inside, whispering words of reassurance to her.
Helen insisted on taking a bath. Nikki went with her, she wanted to kill Fenner when she saw the bruises.
'He's going to pay for this!' she warned.
'Nikki please just hold me' Helen asked. Nikki wiped away the tears and as Helen got into the bath she went to get her a drink.
Yvonne was pacing the floor downstairs.
'What happened' Nikki asked, 'Did he..?'
'No, he hadn't got that far, but he would have' Yvonne admitted.
'I'll kill him' Nikki growled 'I swear to God! I'll Fucking KILL HIM'
'Nik, you just be here for Helen, leave Fenner to me' Yvonne already knew Jim Fenner's fate but she would not involve Nikki in this.
She left Nikki and Helen together and went to find Lauren.
Back at the party Fenner had come around, he was not happy about the large bump on the back of his head- that bitch !.
When the reporters came sniffing around for his reaction to his star leaving the show, he gave them the thread of a story none of them expected.
Lauren watched as he dragged Nikki and Helen's relationship into the sewer, suggesting that Helen had slept with Nikki in order to get the part. Of course she was gay, didn't they all know etc etc the reporters lapped it all up.. what a story!
Yvonne caught up with Lauren and Lauren filled her in on the details of Fenner's ramblings.
'He just doesn't know when to stop' Yvonne tutted ' He's gonna learn the hard way. Come on love
She telephoned Nikki and warned her that they were about to hit the headlines. Nikki told Helen who still appeared to be in shock. She didn't want her having to face the press so she told Yvonne she would pack their stuff and meet them at the pub.
Nikki and Helen drove in virtual silence to the pub, they held hands most of the way. Nikki was afraid that Helen was not going to get through it, she put her foot down, wanting to get them there as soon as possible.
They met at the pub and Nikki got the keys to the flat, she thanked Yvonne for her help and drove Helen home. Inside the flat she took Helen into her arms.
'Are you okay sweetheart?'
'I'm okay. I guess I'm in shock, I can't seem to stop shaking, but that bastard is not going to win, he won't beat me' she spoke with a determination.
They went to bed, Helen curled herself up in Nikki's arms, she felt safe, secure, she was home.
The following day
Yvonne saw him come in, felt the hair on back of her neck could only mean one thing, trouble, hadn't felt that for a few years, not since the pub in East End.
She smiled, 'what can I get you?'
'Coke please' (yep definitely trouble, snooping), the young lad put his crash helmet onto the bar.
'Not from round here are you love?' Yvonne chirped
'No' came the stony reply
'Working around here?' she pestered.
'Something like that..' he avoided eye contact.
'Chatty aren't you. I bet I could tell you more about you than you think' she said
' Oh Really?' came the disinterested reply.
'Yeah, give us a look at your 'and' she wasn't going to be put off.
He sighed, didn't want to upset the woman, gave his hand, she yanked it firmly across the bar and pretended to read the lines on it.
'Mmm life line looks good, but here look, it crosses the career line. That means that your job is not good for your health, does that make sense?' she asked.
'No, not really' he muttered.
'Well these things don't lie' she gestured to the lines on his hand. 'Your job, you deal with words a lot .. are you a writer?'
His head shot up, he tried to pull his hand back but she had a firm grip,
'Oh I know! You're a journalist aren't you?' She looked straight into his eyes, and said 'Listen here biker boy I can sniff your type out a mile off, I'll give you a friendly warning now, just to be fair. Don't let me catch you snooping around here again, if I do you will need to be wearing more than that bleedin' ponsy crash helmet to save you from what I'll be dishing out, got it?
He looked at her as if to say yeah right like I'm scared of some country bumpkin landlady.
Yvonne had met his type before, the pub that she'd run in the East End before 'retiring' to the country was no fit place for a 'lady' and she, not being much of a 'lady', had fitted in very well.
She looked under the bar, moving the baseball bat aside but making sure she did it in a way that the reporter saw it. Tutting and saying,' bleedin' kids always leaving their toys behind!'
She picked up a book that she kept under there for purposes such as this, it was something she'd always kept and it had served her well.
'Now then sonny, cast your eye over that, you're a smart kid. I'm sure you know who's who in the city, I think you'll recognise a few faces'.
He picked up the book, silly old tart, like he was going to be bothered about a few snap shots, the public had a right to know about Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart and he was going to be the one to tell all.
He looked at the first snap, Yvonne, clearly much younger and in another pub surrounded by Fuck Me.. he thought, as he looked closer. Then he glanced at the other faces, he recognised quite a few big time gangland bigwigs. He flicked on through the book quickly much to Yvonne's amusement, he could feel a movement in the pit of his stomach.
By the time he had finished looking at the snaps his mouth was completely dry. He was clearly in way over his head with this woman, she was bloody well connected. Getting a bit of a scoop was one thing, but the price???
Yvonne chose her moment well, she leant across the bar and touched him lightly on the wrist, he jumped.
'Now I see I've got your attention. I want you to pass this on to the rest of those bleedin' scumbags, this place is off limits, got it? In fact the whole friggin' village is off limits'.
She started to become more threatening, 'You listen and listen good. If I hear a whisper, see a sign or even feel it in my piss that one of you is close by, then there will be trouble. Not just for them but for you too because I have decided to make you my messenger. You make people understand - got it?'
'If I read anything about this conversation, reference to my friends, any of them then ' she tapped the book,- 'then sonny you'd better start looking for a different job coz you wont be able to write fuck all after I catch up with you'.
She stopped for a second looking out of the window.
'And that crappy piece of tin out there will be no good to you, you'll be riding round in something much more reliable, it has four wheels and I believe you can get the free on the NHS'.
She paused and shouted 'DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR', he nodded.
'I'm sorry I didn't hear that' she said.
'Yes' came the reply.
'Good, now you know what you have to do, so bleedin' well fuck off and don't darken my door again' she dismissed him.
He jumped off the stool and was out of the door before she had chance to say anything else.
She picked up the book and flicked through the snaps a huge grin spreading across her face, it had always worked wonders. She'd rarely had to call in the favours that these fellas owed her, but she knew the value that her silence about the various gangland dealings she'd seen meant that if she ever needed to she only had to pick up the phone.
An idea occurred to her, taking the book with her she walked towards the phone.
A few days later Nikki and Helen called round to see Yvonne. Helen was looking much better than the last time Yvonne had seen her, apart from the bruises.
'Well you two are a sight for sore eyes!' Yvonne was never one to wrap people in cotton wool, 'about time you came out of hibernation' she grinned.
Nikki put her arm protectively around Helen's shoulder.
'We just wanted a bit of time on our own, you know'
"I do indeed. How're you doing luv?' she directed the question to Helen.
'I'm getting there thanks Yvonne. Look I don't know what or how to say it but I'm so grateful for what you did, if you hadn't ' she broke off and bowed her head.
'But I did, that's all you need to think about. Don't even consider the what if's, they don't matter, okay sweetheart' she put her hand under Helen's chin lifting her head up Helen smiled at her.
'That's better' she smiled.
'So what are your plans?'
'We've booked a holiday, we're going back to Spain for a few weeks, before shooting starts'
'Bleedin' marvellous. You two swan off while I'm left to work my fingers to the bone.. I don't know the youth of today' she laughed and muttered on.
'Miserable old cow' Nikki quipped.
"Oi less of the old you!' Yvonne shot back at her grinning.
She stepped and hugged them both.
"I'm so glad you two finally saw sense, for a while there I thought I was going to have to bang your bleedin' 'eads together'
'In that case I'm glad we adid too' Helen joked, 'Don't think I could handle many more bruises' they all laughed.
That small quip from Helen was an indicator that she was on the mend, she was getting back the fire and determination that Fenner had knocked out of her.
A couple of days later they were happily holidaying all thoughts of Fenner, Trish and work had been pushed aside.
After a particularly pleasant day spent on a secluded beach (where the application of sun oil had developed into something much more pleasurable) they returned to their hotel to find a message to ring home.
Nikki was immediately worried and they went to phone Yvonne.
'Hi, it's us. What's up?'
'Nik, there's something I have to tell you, I'm not sure how you'll take it but you need to know'.
'No Lauren's fine Nik. It's Trish'
'Trish. Oh fuck what's she been up to now?' Nikki groaned.
'She's dead Nik' Yvonne said solemnly.
'Dead?' Nikki was stunned, so too was Helen who had picked up the gist of the conversation.
'Drugs over dose'
'That's not all'
'Go on' Nikki waited for Yvonne to fill in the details.
'She was found with Jim Fenner. Nik he's dead too'
'You're kidding. What the fuck was she doing with him?'
'Story has it that he promised her Helen's old part. He was 'auditioning her' and it seems their party got a little out of hand' Yvonne said simply.
'Christ. I knew she had a habit, but she was always so careful.. I can't believe it'
'I know we're all shocked, but I thought I should let you know before you saw it in the press'
'Thanks Yvonne' they exchanged a few bits of news and before ending the conversation turned back to Trish and Fenner.
'I still can't believe it'
'I can't say that they're going to be missed' Yvonne said honestly, he had a lot of enemies.
An idea occurred to Nikki, ''vonne, you don't think anyone '
'Bumped them off?' Yvonne knew she'd think of it eventually.
'Nah, I don't think so love. Him maybe but why both? They weren't linked, just an accident love plain and simple'
'Yeah I suppose you're right' she looked at Helen and smiled.
'Well I'd better be off, got things to do people to see' Yvonne said.
'Yeah me too. Well things to do with a particular person anyway'
'Ooh go on you'll make me blush. Have a good time and I'll see you soon' Yvonne said her goodbyes and hung up.
Nikki and Helen walked off hand in hand, relaxed, happy and looking forward to a bright future.
Yvonne meanwhile walked back into the bar.
She picked up the book she kept behind the bar flicked through it and said ' thanks fella's, I owe you one Just an accident my bleedin' arse!' and she started to laugh
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