Fighter Girl: Part #09 by RedmanX

Old Scores and Unfinished Business

In the small apartment above her gym in the center of Maidstone, Joan Cooper picked up the telephone which had been ringing constantly and said, testily, “If you’re trying to sell me something you’re out of luck!” The familiar voice on the other end caused Joan to grin widely. “Don’t hang up Aunty, it’s me, Jo!” “And about time, too!” replied Joan, laughing “I haven’t seen or heard from you in over 18 months!” For the next few minutes Joan and her niece went through their customary leg pulling and joking. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure of a call from my favorite niece today?” Jo laughed “You mean your only niece! Actually though, it’s not about me that I’m calling, but rather a girl called Nikki Martin. Do you know her?” Remembering her niece was a nurse Joan became serious “Yes Jo, I know Nikki. Is she alright?” “I can’t say too much aunty, but she’s in our hospital and wants to see you. She’s been badly beaten up and, well, Nikki will tell you the rest!” “You tell me, Jo, what happened? Nikki and I are, were, good friends!” Jo thought, then said “Nikki’s been raped, but there’s more to what happened than she can remember or wants to tell!” Joan released a long sigh, full of regret and remorse. “I’ll be there tonight Jo. Will you be working?” “I finish at 6” Jo said “but I’m off tomorrow so I’ll wait here for you!”

Joan slumped onto her couch, her heart heavy with guilt. Leaving Nikki as her match against Liz Johnstone turned ugly was the hardest thing Joan had ever done! The next day she had tried to explain to the devastated girl why she walked out on her, but Helen Norwood had intervened and it was obvious that Nikki was hugely influenced by the rich, powerful woman and her scheming husband! Joan told herself that in the long run, Nikki would be better off with Norwood Promotions. They would get Nikki more and better fights with bigger purses and Nikki would benefit from Norwood Promotions high standing in the sport. Joan and Helen were enemies and there was no way they could both work with Nikki, even if the young fighter wanted them too! Joan knew she had lost Nikki and there was nothing more she could have done but walk away again. This time for good!

Just 2 hours earlier Jo had been astonished to discover that Nikki, who had been placed in her care, was a boxer who had once been managed by her aunt Joan, a former boxer herself! Jo liked Nikki and wanted to help her, and was very interested as the young girl told her how she had first met Joan, and how they had parted company that terrible night almost exactly one year ago. “I can’t imagine you as a boxer, Nikki!” she said “Don’t you worry that you’ll end up with a squashed nose and cauliflower ears?” Nikki laughed for the first time since she had arrived at the hospital. “That’s what everybody says, but I’m usually the one doing the squashing!” Jo listened enthralled as Nikki told her about the fights she had been in, and what it meant to win, as well as the pain of defeat! Being a nurse, Jo couldn’t quite bring herself to condone the dangers of Nikki’s profession, but she found herself admiring the young fighter who obviously loved what she did, despite what had so recently happened to her. Promising to call Joan at the earliest opportunity Jo left when Doctor Murray came in to check on his patient, and during the afternoon Nikki slept, her thoughts less troubled with the realization that Joan would be arriving that night.

As soon as Jo had contacted her aunt she rang the other number Nikki had given her, that of Helen Norwood, who informed the young nurse very curtly that she would get there as soon as she could. When Jo tried to impress on Helen how badly Nikki had been hurt she was told in no uncertain manner that the only medical opinion Helen might be even remotely interested in would come from the doctor!

Helen and James arrived at the hospital at 5 that evening. Doctor Murray met them at the door to Nikki’s room and told them that Nikki was still weak and that they should not over tire her. “And this is Nurse Wilson who has been looking after Nikki” Murray said, but Helen just sneered, ignoring her. “I think we’ll see Nikki alone, if you don’t mind” she said haughtily and, with James behind her, pushed past the astonished doctor, shutting the door firmly behind her! “Well, it’s a shame somebody doesn’t punch HER on the nose!” exclaimed Murray before setting off on his rounds.

Nikki smiled when she saw Helen, but the smile wasn’t returned! “Just what has been going on, Nikki?” Helen asked, her eyes blazing “Angela Fuller is in hospital, as are her husband and daughter!” Nikki was stunned by her manager’s aggressive attitude and momentarily at a loss! “Are they here, in this hospital?” she managed to ask, hurt by Helens lack of concern for her own well being. “Good Lord no!” Helen replied scornfully “They’ve been taken to the Delaware Clinic! Angela has a broken nose and Danielle has concussion. Graham is in intensive care! What did you do, you stupid little bitch?” Nikki flinched at the tone of Helens voice, her eyes springing with tears. “What about me? That bastard raped me!” she screamed! “Do you really expect me to believe that?” Helen replied, just as Jo stormed into the room.

“One thing is for certain, Mrs. Norwood!” she said as Helen turned, “somebody assaulted Nikki exactly as she says! Now I must ask you to leave, you’re upsetting my patient!” Helen simply stared with contempt at the young nurse who dared to confront her so! “Just who do you think you’re talking to? I don’t need you to tell me what I can and can’t do!” For a moment Jo thought the tall, powerful looking woman was about to hit her! “Nurse Wilson speaks with my full authority!” exclaimed Doctor Murray as he walked through the door. “Now please leave, or I’ll call security and have them escort you from the building!” Helen glanced at her husband, James, looking for support, but he could see by the well built doctor’s expression that he would enjoy throwing them out! He turned to Nikki, his face full of compassion and concern “Please understand why Helen is so upset, Nikki” he wheedled, “Angela is one of her oldest friend’s. Of course she’s worried about you, we both are! We’ll pop back tomorrow when you’ve calmed down a bit, ok?”

Jo and another nurse walked as far as the lift with Helen and James, glad to see the back of them as the doors shut.
Down below on the ground floor, Joan waited for the lift to arrive. As the doors opened she stepped backwards as Helen and James stepped into the hallway. “Well, well!” Helen said, disdainfully, “Mother hen has come to see her brat!” Joan fought back the instinct to punch Helen in her big mouth! Instead she asked how Nikki was, but all she got in reply was Helens derisive laughter!

Jo met her aunt by the coffee machine outside her ward and they hugged warmly. “How is she?” Joan asked “I’ve just met her so called managers downstairs!” Jo grinned ruefully and said “You mean that awful woman Helen and her wimp of a husband?” Joan laughed “So you’ve met them too, have you? Forget about them! Now, can I see Nikki?”
Jo knocked on Nikki’s door and opened it slightly “You’ve got another visitor, Nikki, shall I tell her to go away?” Joan pushed the door fully open, jokingly rebuking her niece for teasing her patient! Nikki beamed, delighted to see Joan after so long! “I’ll let you two alone for a while!” Jo laughed and closed the door behind her.

For a moment or two Joan stood at the foot of Nikki’s bed, saddened by the wan appearance of her one time protégé. “How are you, Nikki?” she said, falteringly, then “God, what a stupid question!” As emotion welled up in both women Joan went to Nikki’s side, tenderly cradling the younger woman’s head as she sobbed. “It’s ok, Nikki, let it all out” she murmured softly.

Joan listened incredulously as Nikki related to her the events of the previous Saturday. “But why were you there on your own? Helen may be a lot of things, but she’s not stupid! She knows the risks involved in private session matches!” “Angela is an old friend who Helen has known for years” Nikki replied “She’s even Danni’s Godmother!” A memory clicked in Joan’s head “You say this woman’s name is Fuller? What does she look like?” Nikki described Angela as a tall, busty blond, and added “I’m think she said she used to wrestle, and she’s very strong, like her daughter!” Joan’s mouth gaped! “Angie Moore! But, it can’t be her, surely?” Nikki was puzzled. “Who’s this Angie Moore, Joan?” Gazing into space Joan let her mind wander back over the years. She had first met “Awesome” Angie Moore in London when they were fighting on a London Ladies Combat bill, Joan boxing and Angie Moore wrestling.

Joan remembered Angie being short on skill, but long on brutality, enjoying hurting her opponent, and also being tremendously strong. A short time later Angie had started a tag team with another tall, strong woman who also liked to see her opponents suffer; Helen Norwood! As the “Croydon Belles” Angie and Helen stayed together for nearly 3 years before Helen decided to concentrate on boxing. Or at least that was the official reason for their split! For some time there had been rumors centered on Angie’s remarkable strength and power and her close relationship with a young physicist from Oxford. After the split, Angie continued wrestling, becoming more and more sadistic and vicious till finally she was banned by the British Women’s Combat Organization.

At this time, Joan was married to an American promoter called Henry Cobham who ran a stable of fighters, both male and female. Angie Moore became a Cobham fighter just 9 months before her license was withdrawn but Cobham kept her on his books, finding her fights in Europe and America. For this, and the continuing rumors about Angie, Cobham lost his license to promote fights in Britain. The promoter was undeterred as he had set his sights on the huge American television market and wanted Joan to be his star attraction, alongside “Awesome” Angie Moore! It was now that Helen Norwood was given the chance to fight Joan for her Southern England Women’s Combat title, and Angie was only too happy to be in her old partner’s corner! In all, Joan fought Helen 3 times, the last, brutal match ending her career! With Joan now of little use to him, Cobham turned to Angie both as his fledgling company’s main attraction, and as his lover! Joan divorced him less than a year later, and, in a messy and sensational hearing, her lawyer not only cited Cobhams adulterous affair with Angie, but also her use of “performance enhancing substances” while fighting on Cobham promotions! This reflected badly on Cobham and his new venture, costing him millions as sponsors pulled out of the project. He vowed then he would repay Joan for her part in it all!

Astonished, Nikki said, when Joan had finished her tale, “But Helen introduced me to Henry Cobham just before my rematch with Karen Marks!” Joan was bewildered. Helen was obviously up to something, but where did Nikki fit into it all? Why allow her most promising fighter to do a private session match with a woman known for her brutality? An injury to Nikki could cost Helen and James a small fortune! The link was Henry Cobham, of this Joan was certain, and the more she thought about, the less she liked it!

“I made a mistake Joan” Nikki said “and I don’t want to fight for Norwood Promotions anymore. Will you take me back?” Joan looked at Nikki’s face, seeing both despair and hope in her big green eyes. “I’m going to get you out of your contract, and then we’ll talk about getting you a title fight!” Just at that moment Jo knocked on the door and entered. “The police are here Nikki, and would like to see you.”

Detective Sergeant John Harris sipped at his tea, supplied by the ever helpful Jo. He and Police Constable Susan Tyler had gently questioned Nikki about the events at the Fullers home in Oxford, under the watchful eyes of Joan and Doctor Murray! Murray gave the officers medical evidence confirming the nature of Nikki’s assault which satisfied them completely, but Harris still had some questions about the attacks on the Fullers and their daughter which needed answering. He told Nikki that Angela had made a statement claiming that she had attacked Graham and then Danni and herself! “B,but, I didn’t, I swear!” stammered the bemused girl. “So, Nikki, what DID happen after Graham Fuller raped you?” Nikki, speaking in a quiet voice, said “I don’t really know. Somebody hit him, and I think I must have fainted. The next thing I remember is being in this room” Harris took out his note book, and said “You were brought here by a young woman. Do you remember her, or how you got here?” Nikki shut her eyes and said “My car! I was driven here in my car!” Harris smiled, “Good! What happened to it, do you know? And who was the driver? It’s important, because this person may know something about the attacks on the Fullers!”

Murray thought for a moment then said “Somebody in reception must have seen this person as Nikki was in no state to walk unaided!” Constable Tyler congratulated the doctor and said “I’ll go and ask if anyone remembers Nikki coming into the hospital” She was back within a few minutes. “The receptionist on duty today wasn’t here at the time but was told about a young American woman who brought a badly beaten girl in but refused to give any details, leaving as soon as a nurse appeared. That must have been you Nikki and the person who drove you here!” Harris got to his feet. “There’s not a lot more we can do till we question Angela Fuller and her daughter again. The husband is still in intensive care. If you give Constable Tyler a description of your car we’ll put it out and maybe it’ll lead us to our mysterious American woman!”

On Thursday evening the two police officers returned and Tyler remarked how much better Nikki looked. Joan, who had arrived some 45 minutes earlier asked if they had any news. Grinning, DS Harris said “Well, we’ve found Nikki’s car! It was left at Heathrow Airport on Saturday evening, and this was taped to the dashboard. It’s addressed to you Nikki!” He handed over a small envelope, already opened. “There’s a letter inside” he continued. Removing it, Nikki carefully read its contents which were written in clear, tidy hand writing, explaining the events of Saturday evening! “We know the letter wasn’t written by you, Nikki, as we’ve compared the hand writing with some from your contracts, kindly supplied by James Norwood, and, thanks to Angela Fuller, we think we know who the mystery American is!” Tyler took over. “When we spoke to Mrs. Fuller the first time she claimed that after your, er, bout with Danni, their guests all left.

However, we spoke to her again after finding your car and the letter. We wanted to know who drove it from the Fullers to Heathrow Airport! Her memory seemed suddenly clearer and she told us that two of Danni’s college friends were staying the weekend!”

Harris was obviously very pleased with his detective work, his smile widening as he continued “In short, because of the evidence of the letter and Angela Fullers own statement that she gave us earlier this afternoon, I am happy to tell you that no action is to be taken against you regarding the injuries inflicted on Graham and Angela Fuller and their daughter, Danielle, and that furthermore, once Graham Fuller is well enough, we shall be charging him with effect to the assault upon yourself!” Nikki was stunned, but Joan said “Then just for the record, I take it that means Nikki is innocent, then?” At that moment Jo entered, at once concerned to see tears falling from her patients eyes! “It’s alright, Jo!” said Joan, “We’ve just heard that all the charges against Nikki have been dropped!” The young nurse went to Nikki and carefully hugged her “I always knew you were innocent!” she declared. Joan thanked the two police officers for their excellent work, and Harris replied “Just one thing. When Nikki has her next match, can you get me tickets?”

On Monday morning Joan drove up to Bloxham Manor in her battered MG Roadster. Nikki was leaving the hospital that afternoon and would be staying with Jo for a few days, so Joan thought now was as good a time as any to confront the Norwood’s about Nikki’s contract!

Ringing the ornate antique door bell Joan didn’t have long to wait before James Norwood appeared, surprised at Joan’s presence, but outwardly unruffled. Inviting Joan inside he called out “Helen, come down dear! We have a visitor!” Joan sat in a throne like leather chair as James played the good host and called for tea then waited for Helen to join them.
Sweeping into the room Helen made her usual dramatic entrance. Wearing an expensive looking long green dress split high on her leg, with a low cut front, she sashayed elegantly on her 4 inch black heels which made her seem even taller. “Well well! It IS nice to see you Joan, but unfortunately I don’t have time to go over the old days this morning!” Joan glared at her without bothering to disguise her contempt! “I’ve come to discuss Nikki Martins contract. I’ve already lodged a complaint with the board of the B.W.C.O. regarding Norwood Promotions part in the recent incident involving Nikki and Angela Fuller, or should I say “Awesome” Angie Moore!” Helen smirked, “My my, Joan! You have been busy! And how is Nikki, by the way? We’ve been very busy arranging our next Champions Weekend here at Bloxham, so haven’t had the time to see her.”

“Or is it that since the truth came out about what really happened, you decided to keep out of the way for a while? With Graham likely to go to prison for raping Nikki and Angela being charged by the police for trying to pervert the course of justice, you must have wanted your involvement in all this kept very quiet!” Helen glowered, aware that Joan held the upper hand. “Just what exactly do you want, Joan? The Martin girls contract isn’t the real reason why you’re here, is it? Why don’t you just leave the poor little thing alone! With us she’ll have a chance to win more money than she ever would with you, plus a shot at a title!” Joan stirred her tea and said “Just like Liz Johnstone, I suppose? I spoke to Liz yesterday and she tells me her next appearance for Norwood is mud wrestling with a topless model!”

Seeing Helen lost for words for probably the only time since she had known her, Joan carried on “And I spoke to several people who saw Liz box Clare Taylor for the W.B.B. title. Like me, they knew Liz shouldn’t have been in the same ring as Clare, never mind being the betting favorite! Then there was all that last minute backing of Clare. How much did you make betting on Clare Taylor to beat Liz, Helen?” James, suddenly scared, shouted “You can’t prove anything, and you know it!” Helen had recovered her poise enough to tell her husband to shut up. “James is right, but you could certainly cause us a lot of embarrassment Joan! As for dear Nikki’s contract I wish I could help you, but you see, there’s a third party who will want to be involved in any negotiation!” Joan scoffed, believing Helen was just trying to buy some time, but a voice behind her chilled her blood!

“Hi Joanie! Good to see you again after all these years!” Henry Cobham, cigar in hand, strolled up to his ex wife, chuckling at the shocked expression on her face! “I bought me a piece of your Nikki Martin on Friday. She’s real special, Joan, just what we’re looking for at FFT!” At the mention of Cobhams seedy underground fights organization Joan shuddered. She would never let Nikki end up fighting in her former husbands brutal, violent and sordid promotions! “I’m warning you, Cobham, keep your hands off Nikki!” Cobham pulled a big manilla envelope from his jacket pocket, saying “Too late for that, Joanie, I already own 49% of her!” He puffed on his cigar, his leering gaze shifting from Joan to Helen then back.

“Helen wants to sell her remaining share so why don’t you just pay her? That way you and I can manage Nikki! It’ll be just like the old days!” Helen smirked at Joan’s outrage, already well aware of her financial situation. “Of course, you can always fight me for her!” The dilemma of her situation hit Joan like a kick in the guts! She knew there was no way Helen would sell her share in Nikki to her, even she had the money, and if she backed down from Helen’s challenge Nikki would end up in the clutches of Henry Cobham and the FFT! She had fallen right into their trap! Without a word Joan took off her shoes and said in a voice shaking with fury “Marrying you is the biggest regret of my life, and when I’ve kicked this bitches saggy arse you’d be well advised to stay well away from both me and Nikki!”

Cobham leered at his ex wife as she slipped out of her jeans and t shirt and folded them neatly on the back of a chair. Dressed only in her white bra and panties, her well toned body could have belonged to a woman half of her 46 years! Helen too admired Joan’s tautly muscled physique, and said “I’m glad you’ve kept yourself in shape. It’s no challenge beating up chubbies! Helen now stripped off her dress, revealing her own hard, sculpted body. Helen had come out of retirement 18 months ago, though she had only had a handful of matches. She glowed with vitality, tanned and lean, her large breasts naked and proud! “Alright Joan!” she said, flexing and stretching, “we’ll do this the old fashioned way; a good old apartment style cat fight! Winner takes all!”

Quickly, Cobham and Norwood moved the furniture, making as much room as possible for the two women, who then moved to the center of the plush carpet. There was very little between them physically, with Helen just the taller and weighing a few pounds heavier, but Joan hadn’t been in a fight for some 15 years apart from light sparring at her gym. Her last fight had been against Helen when a life threatening neck injury had robbed her of her title and career! Helen was confident that she would beat Joan easily. Sparring and training were no substitute for the real thing, and since her “come back” Helen had fought in 4 boxing matches and 2 bouts of wrestling, winning all, plus a few “exhibition” matches. All of these had been at Bloxham Manor Fight Nights. “That last fight finished you, Joan, and by the time this one’s over you’ll wish you had never started!” “You may have beaten me Helen” Joan retorted, “but I seem to remember there was a “problem” with the sample you gave, not for the first time! Your two wins against me were helped by whatever substance Angie was supplying you with” she continued, “and that slimy bastard”, Joan pointed to James, “bribed the crooks at the WBCO!” Helen glared, her face red with anger “That was all a long time ago, and nothing was ever proved! I don’t need drugs to thrash you!” She lunged at Joan, her fingers held out claw like, ready to scratch and tear at her hated rival!

Both women hit the carpet with a “thud” and rolled from side to side, pulling at each others hair! Joan drove her elbow into Helen’s belly and slapped her face, leaving a bright red mark, the noise resounding around the room! Helen fell backwards, out of Joan’s reach, flipping over and wrapping her steely legs round Joan’s waist! With the men screaming at her to crush Joan she squeezed with all her might, feeling Joan’s ribs between her strong thighs! Joan threw her legs up, the force of her move breaking the scissors hold, allowing her to scramble away! She got to her feet just before Helen, defending herself as the big blonde attacked her with both fists! Ducking low and keeping her hands high, Joan warded most of the blows off, but two big rights rocked her and she gasped as a fist slammed into the thin material of her panties! Helen saw her chance and another huge, scything right hand drove into Joan’s head as she doubled over in pain, knocking her on her back! Like a cat, Helen sprang on her enemy, clawing her breasts and slapping.

Pinned, Joan was unable to move as Helen ripped at her bra, bearing her breasts! Another slap brought blood trickling from Joan’s bottom lip and a solid punch in her belly knocked the breath from her. Screaming, she was yanked to her feet by her hair and tossed onto a couch. “What’s up Joan? Forgotten how to fight?” Helen smiled cruelly at the blood on the red heads mouth and the livid scratch marks on her breasts and belly. Wiping her mouth with her hand Joan said “I’ve forgotten more than you ever knew, bitch!” and she hurled herself off the couch! Helen took the full force of Joan’s head first charge in her belly and was stunned as a looping fist crashed into her jaw! Desperately she tried to grab hold but Joan stepped smartly back, smashing a right into the blonde’s breast, and somehow Helen stayed on her feet as another big punch crashed full on her chin! Joan went at her hated rival, pounding her to her head and body, and at last Helen fell to her knees. Joan moved in, her legs feeling like jelly due to her all out effort but sensing that one more good, solid hit would finish Helen.

Suddenly, Helen reached up, pulling the red head towards her, and Joan was sent reeling as a fierce upper cut smashed into her chin! She crashed against the wall, trying to stay on her feet, but Helen caught her and hooked her arms and legs around her, taking her down. The red heads legs were spread wide and her arms were stretched behind her in a reverse grapevine and then she was scissored. The big blond was enjoying herself, mauling Joan’s breasts then setting her up in an across the knee backbreaker! “Submit to me, Joan, and you may just walk out of here! Don’t make me break your neck again!” Her face grimacing in pain, Joan panted “Fuck you. Never!” Helen brought her fist smashing into Joan’s stretched belly and raked her breasts for good measure!

“You’re a fool Joan! You should have left well alone and just carried on with your gym. I knew you wouldn’t be able to just sit back as your little Nikki was sold to Henry, and he was certain you would agree to fight for her!” Like a discarded rag doll Joan was pushed to the carpet, her back burning in agony! Helen stared dispassionately as the woman she had despised for so long struggled to her knees. Grabbing a handful of hair Helen smashed her open palm across Joan’s face then, dragging her to her feet, she lifted the beaten woman high above her head and slammed her onto the carpet! Stunned, Joan lay gasping as Helen’s bare foot savagely slammed into her belly, crotch and breasts! Cobham laughed as his ex wife was kicked across the room. His revenge was even more sweet than he had ever imagined it!

Helen didn’t want to just beat her enemy, she wanted her utter and total defeat! “Beg me to stop!” she commanded “Plead for mercy, bitch!” She ground her heel on Joan’s breast, her arms raised above her head, certain of her victory! Joan writhed as her breast was crushed. Suddenly the fingers of her outstretched hand touched one of Helen’s expensive shoes, tossed aside earlier. Grasping it, Joan thrust the 4 inch spike heel into Helens calf, puncturing the muscle! Helen screamed as blood spurted from the wound, her leg buckled, and she crashed to the floor, striking her head on a solid oak coffee table! Getting to her feet Joan knew she had to finish Helen now! Jumping on the stricken blond she grabbed her head, banging it hard against the wooden floor, but Helen lashed out with her fingers, her nails clawing down Joan’s face! A fist struck the half blinded red head on the jaw and she toppled backwards. “Go on Helen!” screamed Norwood “get her!” Blows rained on Joan as Helen pummeled her, seeing that the red head was exhausted and close to defeat, and knowing she would die rather than surrender!

Joan came round with a shock, spluttering as Cobham threw a large bowl of water in her face! “Time to go Joanie!” he laughed. The beaten red head wiped water from her eyes, groaning as she tried to focus her mind. Helen sat across the room, fully dressed and looking immaculate. “Well Joan, like we agreed, winner takes all! We’re driving into town where we’ll sign over the remaining 49% of the Martin girl at our bank. You’ve lost her for good now. Henry will have her as soon as we’ve finished with her, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Joan struggled to her feet “Nikki will never agree to it” she mumbled through her puffy, swollen lips. Helen sneered, her victory about to be made even more complete “One little thing I forgot to mention, Joan, and then I want you out of my house! It doesn’t matter whether the little bitch agrees or not, she’ll have no choice! If she refuses, in a few weeks time her fighting career in Britain will be finished and her reputation ruined! Certain, shall we say, “substances” will turn up in Nikki’s possession and in the samples she gives before her next fights. James will insist that the authorities give her the maximum penalty; a life ban! After further investigation she’ll probably be sent to prison for supplying other “substances”. Then Angie will ask the police to re-open the case against Nikki for the recent assaults. Who’s going to believe a convicted drug user and pusher that she’s innocent? Now get out of my house and out of my life!”

Still half naked Joan was taken out to her car. She had failed Nikki and was in despair, her injured neck stiff and sore. Cobham through her clothes on the ground and returned to the house, smoke billowing from his cigar.
Thirty minutes later Joan was speeding towards the sleepy town of Bodicote where she hoped she could buy pain killers. Her neck was agony every time she turned it, and the low slung seat of her little MG made it even more uncomfortable. Suddenly a knife like shaft of pain pierced through her! She screamed at the intensity of it, losing control of the car which swerved violently across the road and plunged into the Sar Brook!

Jo pushed open the door of her flat and switched on the light. Nikki followed her inside, limping slightly. “Take your coat off and put the kettle on Nikki” said Jo “and I’ll sort out the spare room!” Nikki fixed them both coffee and took it through to Jo’s small lounge. As she waited for Jo to join her Nikki looked at the various pictures and photos adorning the walls and shelf units. Joan appeared in a lot of them along with Jo and a woman who could have been Joan’s sister. “That’s me, Joan and my mum at Blackpool” said Jo, “mum died 3 months after the picture was taken.” Nikki replaced the photo and joined Jo on a big lumpy couch “I’m sorry Jo, I had no idea” she said. Jo smiled “That’s alright, you weren’t to know. Mum had cancer and died when I was 13. Joan’s her elder sister. We went to Blackpool as it was mums favorite place to go on holiday and she wanted to visit one last time. When she died I went to live with my father for a while, they were divorced, but stayed at Joan’s every weekend.” For an hour or so the two girls talked, finding they had much in common and shared several interests. Jo rang Joan at her home in Maidstone but got no reply. “I expect she’s out with one of her boxing pals” she said.

Just before midnight as Jo showed Nikki where she would be sleeping, the phone rang. Nikki began to unpack her things as Jo went to answer it, sure it would be Joan. A few minutes late she returned, her face white. “What is it, Jo, what’s the matter?” Nikki said, alarmed at her friends obvious despair. Seeing Jo’s large blue eyes fill with tears Nikki went to her and took her hand “It’s Joan, Nikki. Her car was found earlier tonight in a ditch. She’s in hospital but there’s nothing they can do for her. She’s in a coma!”

Things have worked out well for Helen, but once again Nikki is beset by problems! The FFT is no place for nice girls!

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