Chapter One

Helen Stewart was having the worst day imaginable at it was only 8:15. She was due in the office 15 minutes ago and was still not closer to leaving her flat. The roads outside on the warm July day in London didn't't look to be on her side either. As Helen set off, some 10 minutes later it was clear to see that the rest of the London commuters were in the same stressed out state as her; their faces were anxious and the sound of horns beeping filled the air. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road weren't't helping the situation and this was a day that Helen wished she had the motivation to cycle the 15 miles to work.

Helen lived in her smart and sophisticated London pad with her finace Sean Parr for 6 years now. Sean was slightly old fashioned, strictly straight-laced and he hasn't changed his floppy brown curtains since the 80s! Shaun did treat Helen well, how could he not when he loved and cherished her; romantic meals in her favourite restaurants, holidays abroad, shopping sprees in the worlds best cities. Helen knew she was lucky, however Sean talked non-stop about two subjects, his ever growing successful career in family law and getting married. At 30 years old, Helen had found that her one true love was work. For the past two years she had being wing governor at Larkhall which was an all woman institute in Oxford. Helen had some much passion for her job; she fought for justice of the women tangled in the cruel prison system. So far the love for her job had prevented Helen from seriously analysing her feelings for Shaun or the situation that she had found herself in.

The traffic ahead of her was progressing at a slow speed and this allowed Helen to think about the busy schedule she had ahead of her, even busier now that she was running 30 minutes behind. Almost forgetting where she was she the traffic finally picked up pace and she was sure that this was just a bad start to a day which would run alot smoother. No sooner had this thought entered her head her beloved red Peugeot suddenly cut out on her. "Shit" She shouted as the car rolled a couple of meters to a grass verge.

"Fuck, fuck, fucking stupid car" Helen jumped out of the car and slammed the door to try and make herself feel better. The drivers of other cars passing her seemed to bare a slight smug grin to their faces. "What am I to do?" Helen thought outloud, phone Sean? No he is stressed enough with his current case. Please someone stop and help me Helen prayed.

Just as she thought she was running out of luck an old rusty white pick-up truck pulled up behind her, her car currently smoking from the bonnet. Helen didn't know who she expected to be her knight in shinning armour but she certainly didn't expect it to be female. Out of the truck jumped out a tall and slender woman.

"Hello. Having some trouble?"

Helen sighed. Ready to reply with some sarcastic comment she looked up to see a warm and friendly smile and this made her stop.

"Just a little bit. I don't suppose you know much about old and knackered cars do you?"

This woman was dressed in green combat trousers and a white vest, both immaculately clean and Helen couldn't imagine her wanting to get them dirty. To her suprise she followed this women towards the car and she watched her confidently flip up the bonnet. Helen found herself staring at her arms, they were so tanned and defined. She wore her dark hair short and ruffled. She had an air about her which demonstrated confidence and charisma.

"I know a bit about cars but I'm sorry I can't do anything about yours. I have a friend who can make it here in the next hour"

"Thank you but I don't have an hour" Helen said defensively "I am already late for work" Helen could feel herself getting more frustrated especially seeing as this woman was just staring at her with her big chocolate brown eyes.

"I need your hands" the stranger said dismissing her air of hostility.

"Pardon?"

"Your hands...To hold the bonnet up"

Helen, who was dressed in her smartest grey suit, court shoes and crisp white shirt begrudgingly removed her jacket, rolled up her sleeves and went towards the car. She couldn't bare the thought of getting oily and was completely distressed at the whole situation. 15 minutes later, the car had stopped smoking and as Helen predicted her hands were covered in oil. She was currently sat on the grassy embankment whilst this other woman was on the phone to someone.

"I have a friend who can fix your car, he will be here in 20 minutes but it is going to have to be towed away, the engine as well and truly overheated" She said with a slight smile

Helen got up and walked over to this woman, suddenly realising that she had spent the last 20 minutes in her company and she didn't even know her name

"Thank you..." she said with a pause

"Nikki. Nikki Wade"

"Well thanks Nikki Wade for helping me out"

"The pleasure is all mine" she said again with a slight smile and sparkle in her eyes "Where do you work? Perhaps I could give you a lift"

"Larkhall prison. It's just..."

"I know where it is" Nikki interrupted "better late than never, they say"

Helen smiled at Nikki's kindness "Would you mind?" she asked "It would be a great help...if you're not too busy saving other defenseless women at the side of the road"

"No, just the one for me today" she replied "grab your stuff out of your car and jump in. You can trust me and leave your car keys with me along with your number. Here" she said pulling a card out of her wallet "take my business card and when your car is fixed we'll figure a way of sorting this mess out".

Helen jumped into the car and even though she had only just met Nikki she knew she could trust her. Helen accepted the card off Nikki and nervously played with it nervously in her hands. Nikki's van was dirty, untidy and battered, Helen wasn't in a position to comment about this as she was ever so grateful for the lift.

"So whats your name" Nikki asked snapping Helen out of her daze "you already have mine"

"Helen Stewart. Oh my god, I can't believe you let me get into your van without you even knowing my name" She joked

Nikki smiled, taking her eyes off the road momentarily to look at Helen "So Helen, are you always this unlucky?"

Helen nodded and turned to continue looking out of the side window. Nikki turned the music up.

The rest of the short journey was in silence and they pulled up in the employees car park. Nikki, having never been near a prison before took the surroundings in. Iron bars on the windows and cold, grey brick walls, very eerie. Helen quickly scribbled down her extension number on a piece of paper and handed it to Nikki. Their fingers touched ever so slightly and only for a matter of seconds and Helen blushed. Mentally shaking away the tingles that she was feeling Helen thanked Nikki for all her help. Nikki promised her that she would call as soon as she knew the state of play with her car. Helen carefully, as to not get anymore dirt on her, climbed out of the van and quickly walked towards the entrance. Nikki couldn't stop watching her and she light out a laugh as she saw Helen try to smooth her smart trousers down and to probably get the dust off.

Nikki was completely in awe of Helen. Helen Stewart was the type of woman that Nikki dreamed of and she was so glad that she had decided to stop and help her. Everything about Helen was attractive, her smart suit, her sultry Scottish accent, her short bobbed hair and those green piercing eyes. Nikki smiled when she thought of Helen's lips, they were so full and knew that she was attracted to her at first sight, this shocked her as she hadn't experience this before. She had fancied other women but this was different, this woman had left Nikki feeling desire and intrigue and the need to see her again. This was not a good situation, mentally undressing a woman who you have just met isn't ideal, especially seeing as she was in a relationship with Trish. Helen realised that she had been driving with the piece of paper in her hand, she looked down at the number and smiled.

It was going on half past 10 when she finally sat down at her desk with a coffee. Helen had received one or two odd looks from colleagues as she rushed through the wing and into her office, she wasn't sure if this was through her lack of punctuality or if they had seen her getting out of the grubby white van. Helen thought back to her journey to Larkhall and she wasn't sure if she was slightly shaking from the trauma of the mornings events or the slight touch of Nikki Wade's fingers. Shaking the thoughts out of her head Helen pulled out a prisoners file and set to work.

Work kept Helen busy throughout the day and although she always liked to remain focused at the task in hand the well-being of her car seemed to be at the forefront of her mind. Where was her car now? Had Nikki Wade done a runner? Helen grabbed the business card of her desk and studied it "Wade's Landscape Gardening" She could imagine Nikki doing a job like that and she wondered if the constant stretch of gardening, moving around and pulling weeds up was the reason for Nikki's arm to be in such great shape? Why was she even thinking about Nikki's arms? And why had she been so stupid for leaving her car and the keys in possession of a woman who she didn't even know? Running her fingers through her hair she sighed deeply, when was she going to hear about her car? It had been almost 5 hours ago since Nikki left and she hadn't heard a thing. At that precise moment Helen's phone rang causing her to jump.

"Helen Stewart" She barked down the phone

"I have Ms Nikki Wade on the line for you Ma'am" came the much less tense voice of her receptionist

Helen exhaled a sigh of relief

"Put her through Sandra. Thank you" She sat back in her chair

"Very posh, your own receptionist and everything" Nikki teased

"Hello again Nikki" Helen laughed "I am hoping you are bringing me good news about my car"

"She's fixed" Nikki said "Expensive, but fixed. I have the keys and your invoice"

"Brilliant. Thank you so much" see beamed.

"I should be finished at this job at around 5pm. If you can manage to finish around that time I can come and pick you up and take you to the garage. I'm only working around the corner from Larkhall so it's no trouble and it makes sense because I have your keys" Nikki found herself with her fingers crossed that Helen would agree to this

"I take it this means I am going to have to get back into that god awful van of yours again" Helen added with a bit of humor

"'Fraid so" Nikki laughed

Helen agreed to this, much to Nikki's delight. She was eternally grateful for all that Nikki was doing. Helen was relieved when Nikki showed up on time, there was a tiny bit of doubt in her mind that she would show up at all. Helen put on her suit jacket and found herself quickly walking out of Larkhall feeling slightly giddy that she got to see Nikki again. There was definitely something likeable about Nikki but Helen couldn't quite put her finger on it, yes she had helped her out all day but there was something else...definitely something else.

Nikki smiled when she saw Helen practically running towards her, giving her a smile and a little wave, she tried not to look too long because she would wind up with goose bumps. She knew that she could have easily dropped the keys off for Helen and they would have never crossed paths again, but she couldn't help herself. How could she when Helen was so gorgeous? She was more than happy to bend over backwards for Helen and this way it meant that they could spend another 10 minutes in her company. The conversation flowed between the two so easily in the journey to the garage, it was like they were old friends.

Helen paid for the work that had been carried out on her car and just as she was doing this Nikki happened to notice one of the work men checking Helen out. Helen, who was completely oblivious to this smiled at Nikki and then realised that the two were going to go their separate ways now. Her heart sank a little, she didn't want to say goodbye yet, why was this? She didn't even know Nikki Wade. She was just a woman who had rescued her and she probably had a husband at home waiting for her, just like Sean would be waiting for her. No, she wasn't prepared to leave without getting to know Nikki better, she marched over to Nikki's van and watched the window slide down.

"Everything ok?" Nikki asked

"Shall we grab a drink or something? I feel like its the least I can. Just one drink for the road, so to speak" She watched as Nikki hesitated and quickly added "Or if you have somewhere else to be, which you probably have then..."

"No, i'd love to" Nikki answered mid sentence. She felt a real need to spend more time with this beautiful stranger and getting to know her. She wanted to know everything about Helen. Nikki knew that her better judgment should have said goodbye to Helen, give herself a little pat on the back for helping her out and then carried herself off home to her loving partner of 9 years but on the other hand she fancied the pants of Helen and she was curious about her. She quickly reminded herself that this wasn't the reason she was going for a drink with her, she was simply being polite. They agreed that going in one car would make more sense so they decided to go in Helen's and make sure it was running ok in the process. They drove to the next village along and pulled up in the car park of a lovely quaint pub. It wasn't the type of pub that Nikki was used to spending her time in, but then again she didn't often spend her time helping distressed women at the side of the road, spend all day running round trying to help get their cars fixed and then agree to go for a drink with them. The pub had an olde worlde charm to it with its log fires, moth-eaten net curtains and walls that looked like they had seen decades of cigarette smoke. The staff were warm and friendly and the locals offered them welcoming smiles.

"What can I get you?" Helen asked "It's my treat"

"A pint of lager shandy will be good, thank you"

"A small red wine and pint of lager shandy please" Helen instructed the voluptuous bar lady

The two of them took their drinks and found a rather nice cosey spot near to the window. They immediately struck up conversation, talking about their respective jobs, their career hopes and dreams, their families and relationships. When Helen spoke about the fact that she was practically married Nikki inwardly deflated like a balloon. What was she expecting? Helen to be single? Of course she wasn't going to be single, she is bloody gorgeous, she had to be taken, still she was slightly disappointed. Nikki had to remind herself that she was in a relationship herself, she was happy, this was simply a casual drink to say thank you on Helen's part.

"How about you, are you married?" Helen asked, sipping her wine

"As good as" Nikki laughed. She wanted to pretend she was single, just for tonight "I've been with my girlfriend for nine years now"

"Your gay?" Helen blurted out. Her eyes shot open in suprise and there was shock apparent in her voice. Nikki stared at her. Had she not figured out that she was a lesbian, that she had a girlfriend, that she fancied her like mad?

"Er...is that a problem" She has seriously and felt slightly sorry for Helen who was now starting to blush and her face was starting to match the colour of her wine.

"No, no" Helen shook her head and put her wine glass down. "God no, I just wasn't expecting it" Helen was sat staring at Nikki, trying to read what she was thinking but Nikki quickly looked away. She felt uncomfortable now, stupid even. Nikki was gay, so what? She didn't have a problem with it, it just made her feel...she squirmed in her seat...

"It's alright Helen. Being a lesbian doesn't mean that I am going to fancy you. I'm not going to attempt to get into your knickers if thats what you are worried about. You're not my type" She regretted saying this almost instantly but then again she was annoyed with Helen's reaction. She downed the rest of her drink and stood up as a signal she wanted to leave, Helen left her drink and the two walked out of the pub.

The car journey was awkward, nothing like the previous two. Helen was replaying the conversation over and over in her head. What the hell will Nikki think of her, that she is some self-obsessed homophobe? She needed to say sorry but she felt like she couldn't breath never mind talk. As soon as they pulled up to Nikki's van she knew that she had to get out of there, and fast.

"I'm going to go now. My girlfriend will be wondering where I am" Nikki said as she got out of the car. She slammed the door and muttered "thanks for the drink" as she walked away.

Chapter two

Helen wanted to bang her head against the steering wheel. What the hell was all that about? Where had her voice going? How had it gone from a nice afternoon/early evening, talking, laughing and joking to it crashing and burning into this mess? All because she had reacted so stupidly to Nikki's sexual orientation. She couldn't understand why she had reacted the way she had done. She had stuttered and blushed like that since high school. She had no problem with people who were gay, she had never reacted that way to someone "coming out to her" but she felt different. She didn't know why but the very thought of being around Nikki, Nikki was had just told her she had a girlfriend, made her stomach churn uneasily and her cheeks burn fiercely as though she had just been slapped in the face. The more she thought about it the more cross she got with herself for fucking everything up. They were having such a lovely time and now Nikki probably hated her before she got to even know her properly. She could still smell Nikki's perfume in her car, still remember the touch earlier on in the day, how did my broken down car lead to all this madness? For the first time in the day Sean entered her mind, somehow it made her feel guilty.

Helen couldn't sit in the car park for Larkhall all night, that would really get people talking. As she drive home, fast, her hands clammy and unsteady she felt like an absolute fool. What is wrong with me? She asked her self harshly. Did it really matter if I ever saw Nikki again? Yes it does she thought. She tried to keep her concentration on the road but she couldn't help but think about Nikki. They had got on so well, she enjoyed her conversation, and liked how at ease they were with each other. She really had no problem with Nikki's being gay, not one bit, she just wished she could have managed to actually say this to her. She liked Nikki's charm, she liked the way she spoke so passionately about her gardening business and how she had managed to build the business up from nothing. She liked how her dreams were to simply move away to the country side and do nothing but potter around or cosy up and read books all day; the same thing she had always wanted to do. God, they had connected and shared more in their 35 minute pub conversation than Helen had shared with her 6 year relationship with Sean. She knew that this feeling of attachment to someone she barley knew wasn't normal, it wasn't normal because she had never felt it before in her life.

When she walkd through the door to her home Sean was making their tea. She wasn't hungry and she couldn't face Sean at this moment in time.

Sean popped his head around the kitchen door "Hey, there you are my gorgeous girl. I nearly sent a search party out for you"

"Sorry, I got dragged to the pub after work" she lied. Well, it was kind of the truth. "I have had one hell of a day" she didn't want to go into the details of the car and Nikki "do you mind if I head straight for a bath?"

"I have made some tea. Do you not fancy any? A glass of shiraz perhaps" Sean offered

"I will pass on tea, sorry sweetheart. Glass of red may help me relax though" She planted an awkward kiss on his cheek, grabbed a glass of wine and headed upstairs to lock herself in the bathroom.

"Baby what's wrong with you?" Trisha Clarke asked as she snuggled up to Nikki "You seem agitated tonight, what is it?

Nikki didn't want to talk about the days events, she didn't even want to think about it. She had been so annoyed and disappointed and was trying so hard to hide it from Trish but the images of Helen stuttering and blushing was plaguing her.

"I'm fine. Sorry, honestly I am. Just got a lot on my plate at the moment, start a big job tomorrow so I'm a bit..." She struggled to find her words, fucking annoyed, sprung to mind and it almost rolled her tongue.

"Stressed...?"Trish offered and Nikki simply nodded in agreement.

Nikki lay awake that night, long after Trish had fallen asleep. Helen had seemed too good to be true and she was! Not only was she stunning, intelligent, witty and down to earth she had also got massive issues regarding people's sexual orientation. Why? She had enjoyed Helen's company so much, she enjoyed listening to her talking so passionately about getting justice for some of the women serving life in Larkhall. She shared all her hopes and fears, and they connected so well Nikki was certain that a long friendship was on the cards. Nikki wished she had never stopped for Helen to help her with her stupid car, at least she wouldn't be feeling so pissed off right now. She could have just gone about her day to day basis, finished work and come home to Trish and have a nice relaxing evening, it would have been so much better and she wouldn't be feeling so tense and restless right now. Who would have thought that Helen Stewart, this women of the world, would have had such an issue with lesbianism, surely some of the lifers that she looked after her were lesbians, I bet she wouldn't dream of treating them the way she did me. She couldn't believe that one sentence I've been with my girlfriend for nine years now would silence the pretty Scot. The fact that Helen just sat there without even so much as an apology annoyed Nikki so much just not as much as the fact that Helen was clearly very straight and practically married to Sean, now that really annoyed her.

Nikki never thought that she would fancy anyone as much as she did Trish, however, this sexy brunette with the sexier Scottish accent proved her wrong. Helen clearly had no idea of her own beauty and sex appeal to both men and women and Nikki found this incredibly sexy. She was the complete opposite of Trish; Trish knew she was gorgeous and relished on the fact that people found her attractive, Trish was also blonde and no passion or dreams or goals in her life. Nikki, unsettled at the fact that she fancied someone more than Trish, snuggled closer up to her and held her tightly. This will make things alright she thought as she drifted of to sleep, praying that her sleepy mind wouldn't start to think of Helen during her sleep.

Chapter three

A week had passed and there had been no contact between Helen and Nikki. Helen had on several occasions thought about phoning Nikki and giving her the apology that she deserved but she couldn't imagine Nikki would want to strike up a life-long friendship now anyway. Helen could still picture the look on Nikki's face; hurt, confusion, anger...all caused by her stupid reaction. Somehow she had convinced herself that the momentary infatuation with this woman was linked purely with the admiration she felt and thanks she owed. Helen was lucky enough that her job demanded most of her time and thoughts, thus allowing her to forget all about Nikki Wade and about what an idiot she had been. Unfortunately since meeting Nikki her relationship with Sean had taken a battering, she was determined to get her relationship back on track, therefore she jumped at the chance when Sean suggested taking her for a romantic meal and then onto her favourite bar ZEUS afterwards. Work had different plans for Helen, a riot broke out on the prison roof therefore she was late leaving and wanted nothing more than to unwind with some piece and quiet and a lovely hot bath.

She was all tense when she walked through the door at home and wasn't in the mood for other peoples company, even Sean's. She dropped her bag, kicked off her shoes and made her way upstairs to the noise of the hissing shower.

"Hi babe" Sean called loudly as she pushed open the bathroom door

"Hi"

"Listen, seeing as you are late home and we have missed our reservation at the restaurant I thought we would just got straight to ZEUS and meet Jim for a drink" He spoke happily, even though their plans of a romantic night for two had just been ruined. This was supposed to be an evening for her and Sean, not her, Sean and Jim Fenner.

"Jim?" She asked "What happened to tonight just being about us?"

"Well I have just spoken to Jim on the phone. He is really cut up, he has just been dumped by Carol. I felt sorry for him" He said as he popped his head around the shower curtain and gave her the puppy dog eyes look.

She wasn't in the mood for an argument with Sean, she didn't even want to go out anyway but she wasn't letting Sean go out with Jim, not after the state he got himself into last time. She tutted and went to find something to wear. She was disappointed in Sean, yet again, why couldn't he just put them for first, just once?

By half 8 Helen was perched up at the bar with her elbows resting on the glass-top sipping her favourite glass of shiraz.

ZEUS was a popular bar, usually full of a very modern middle-class crowd. It opened two years ago and it had instantly become Helen's favourite spot to unwind. She loved the dramatic cream pillars, cosy leather booths, the piano in the corner of the room and not to mention the rows upon rows of vintage wine and champagnes. She wanted to have a good time tonight, hell she needed it after the week she had. She also wanted to reaffirm her feelings for Sean, the man she loved, the man who one day she would marry. She made a special effort tonight after she had spent all week either in her work clothes or her dressing gown, she opted for her favourite little black dress which hugged her figure in all the right places and accentuated her breasts just a little. On her feet she wore the highest black strappy sandles which tied at her ankles. She wondered why she had gone to all the trouble now, the only attention she was getting was from the greasy haired old man at the other end of the bar who she knew had got lost and ended up in the wrong bar, he certainly didn't fit in at ZEUS. Sean had chatted constantly with Jim, his oldest friend, since they had stepped inside the bar which was nearly an hour ago. She took a large gulp of wine and signaled for the bar man to bring her another one, she sat waiting for the drunkness to claim her. Sean had known Jim Fenner for years now, long before they had met, when she first met him she took an instant disliking to him, he was rude, sleazy, chauvinistic and very sly, no wonder Carol his wife had left him. To be honest Helen couldn't understand why Carol hadn't left him sooner. Jim was the type of guy who would spend all evening talking to your breasts rather than your face and she was now regretting wearing this dress. Helen's glass of wine arrived and she was contemplating leaving Sean to pay for it, hailing a taxi and going home but then a familiar scent filled her nostrils and the hairs on the back of her neck began to stand up.

Nikki Wade passed Helen with a pretty blonde attached to her hand, she almost died on the spot. Nikki appeared to not notice Helen, either that or she had forgotten who she was! Helen found herself outraged by this, how could she not remember? Feeling of guilt, annoyance and a weak sense of longing sent her senses into overdrive and she is sure that her heart had missed a beat somewhere, either that or she had just been holding her breath for too long. Helen couldn't understand why Nikki was here, surely it wasn't her scene, although she looked to be fitting in pretty well dressed in a fitted white shirt and tight blue denim jeans. Nikki looked exactly the same as Helen remembered, apart from she was smiling; she was laughing with her crowd of friends, all females Helen noticed. The blonde woman was obviously Trish, she was gorgeous and looked at ease stood with her arm protectively around Nikki's waist. She obviously went to the gym ,her arms and torso looked so toned and Helen felt a ping of guilt that it had been several months since she last stepped foot into a gym. She wore her hair short, just above her shoulders and her eyes were a perfect shade of blue, like two twinkling sapphires. Helen was envious. Envious of how happy they looked together, envious of Trish with her perfect body and pretty face. Envious that she was sat here more-or-less alone whilst her boyfriend got drunk with Jim bloody Fenner. Nikki obviously didn't know she was there, or she was choosing not to.

"Fuck" Nikki muttered to herself. Luckily this mutter wasn't heard by anybody and was lost in the crowds of joking and laughter. This was Trish's new favourite place to be, something about their amazing, and expensive sparkling cocktails, there was no way she could steer her and the crowd of girls away without a valid reason. She would just have to stay here and pull herself together the best she could.

On entering ZEUS Nikki's eyes automatically found Helen Stewart, of all the people to bump into it had to be her didn't it? She was the last person she wanted to see, she just wanted to enjoy the company of her girlfriend and friends with a few nice cold beers. What is the problem? Nikki asked herself stiffly. She wasn't the one who was bad mannered and rude, she hadn't messed up their friendship before it got started. Seeing Helen again confirmed the thought that Nikki had had in her mind since they first met, she fancied her like mad. Within the first 10 minutes she was hooked on Helen, this was the reason why she never told Trish about the day they met, she was worried that she would see straight through her and immediately realise that she fancied another woman.

Ignoring Helen was like trying to ignore a warning sign in neon colours but she was damned if she was going to acknowledge Helen after the way she was treated by her. She checked her watch, only 20 more minutes to of the pain before they would have to set off to the theater. After this she could well and truly forget about Helen Stewart. She glanced over at Helen and a jolt of lust sent a shiver down her spine, damn she thought, why does she do that to me? God she looked gorgeous, that black dress was certainaly worn to impress someone, her tits looked amazing, her make-up, her hair, everything was just amazing. She was stood with two blokes and laughing loudly at someone they were saying, she began to wonder which one was Sean. She tried to stop staring at her but she simply couldn't. Helen looked across at her and Nikki snapped her head back towards Trish and the girls and pretended to be listening to their conversation.

Helen was furious now that she'd noticed Nikki looking over at her. She hadn't even had the decency to wave to her or smile never mind coming over to say hello, just how long had she known that she was there? Alcohol had made Helen more confident now so she weaved through the crowds and headed over towards Nikki who was now stood at the bar alone. Sod this, she was 30 years old and not into playing stupid games.

"Nikki?" She said as she approached her side. When Nikki turned to look at her the confidence she had took a bashing and she suddenly felt very stupid and guilty. Nikki didn't seem too impressed, there was no smile, no hello, just just raised her eyebrows and turned her head back towards the bar. "Nikki, look I'm sorry, okay?" The atmosphere suddenly changed and Nikki turned her body to face her looking really uncomfortable.

"You humiliated me! I spent all day running around and helping you out and the way you repaid me was by humiliating me" Nikki said louder than she anticipated "Look it doesn't matter anymore, I'm over it. I helped you out, your car is sorted, lets leave it at that eh?"

"I was hoping that we could be friends" Helen asked Am I drunk? She wondered.

Nikki looked right into her, obviously trying to work her out, but she said nothing and so Helen continued "I like you Nikki. The way I acted the other week..."she blushed "I'm sorry, I don't know why. I have a lot of gay friends. I was just shocked. I am truly sorry if you thought that I was uncomfortable with it, I know I sounded like I was but I wasn't" She leaned over and touched her arm softly "I am comfortable with it"

Nikki looked into Helen's eyes and could have sworn she saw something other than apprehension there but she put this down to drunkness. Her stomach did and almighty tumble at the feel of her warm hand on her arm.

"You seem a nice person, I thought we could have been friends" Nikki smiled slightly "I certainly didn't think I would see you again, especially not in here"

"Me neither" Helen admitted with a wry smile "So do you accept my apology?"

"Of course I do, but only if you accept my lesbian tendencies" Nikki grinned treating Helen to that mischievous look that she had.

"Like I said, I'm comfortable" Helen added with a coy smile "Look I better go, they are waiting for me" Helen indicated to Sean and Jim "I will call you and when we are both free we can go for a drink, or lunch?"

"That sounds like a plan" Nikki replied.

Nikki's eyes lingered over hers for a second longer before she bid farewell and returned to her party of friends.

Helen's miserable week suddenly got a lot brighter.