Author: One Fine Wire PM
Maybe in another lifetime we'll be together. I'll see you smile and you won't cry. I'll hold you close and you'll be mine. I'll sing to you with all my heart and we'll never be apart. Companion story/request fic to NintendoGal55's 'Love So True'.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Arnold & Helga - Words: 5,717 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 02-11-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6733773
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Preliminary Author's Note:This is a companion/request fic to NintendoGal55's fic Love So True, which takes place in between Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen of her story. I strongly advise you to read that fic first so that you will understand what is happening here and also because the story itself is fantastic! Additionally, my original characters, Kevin and Christine (From my fic A Way To Live) were used in Love So True, and so they will be mentioned here. This story and Love So True are not connected to A Way To Live in any way, shape or form. I also do not own the character Forthwind, who is mentioned at the end of this fic; he belongs to NintendoGal55. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred.
Thanks for reading!
Arnold Shortman's hands felt empty and light while he flexed his fingers and clenched his fists together. It was as though he was trying to feel something other than the bitter cold that passed through his gloved hands, coupled with the other mixed feelings he felt that evening. The tired man took a deep, hallowed breath while watching as his own exhale took form in the chilled air. He exited the Hillwood Cemetery, having just visited the final resting place of his stillborn daughter, Francesca Marie. For the first few months after her burial, Arnold made the steadfast effort to visit his little girl every single day, never failing to bring a bouquet of white daisies with him whilst doing so.
Sometimes, the man would stay for only a few minutes. Other days, he stayed for as long as time permitted him to do so. Even though Arnold knew his daughter wasn't really there he still liked talking to her. Arnold found comfort in telling his baby about the happenings in his life whether they were good or bad. He told her about finally taking the opportunities to do the things he wanted with his life, such as going back to university and receiving an Anthropology degree. He also chronicled the voyage he took around the world with his girlfriend Julianna, having visited countries from England to New Zealand, Israel to Peru, and Egypt to France, among others. Arnold narrated how hard it was to overcome after she was born sleeping silently and how a compassionate, headstrong woman by the name of Helga Pataki Williams helped him grieve and remain sane. The father wondered aloud to his daughter how he could help Kevin and Christine, dear friends of his and Helga's who had just suffered a miscarriage after trying to so hard to start a family. Arnold marveled at knowing that he was the only one who could truly help them, having understood how it felt to lose a child that he wanted to love so badly. He explained to Francesca that he and her mother, Ruth had divorced. Though the split was amicable, it was still hard. The father hoped that his daughter would understand why it had to happen. Arnold longed for her to know how much he loved and missed her. He wanted her to know that the pain of saying goodbye to her would never go away even as the pain became less acute over time.
Then, Arnold chronicled his confusion. The first time was for his daughter and the second time was for him. Not wanting to return home just yet despite the freezing weather, he opted to walk along Tina Park in an attempt to clear his mind. The man tightened the brown scarf around his neck and buttoned his plaid red pea coat as he continued his sojourn. Noticing that the park was empty, Arnold soon found himself grateful for the solitude that was present there and for the tranquility he could use as he attempted to think and put his life together. The man didn't really know why he wasn't happy. For the first time in years, he was free to pursue his passions and interests as he desired. After the divorce, Arnold resumed his university studies and was studying Anthropology, which was his true passion. Ever since he was a little boy, Arnold had always dreamed of traveling the world and discovering treasures and artifacts. It was becoming a reality, having just gotten back from his first round of world travels with Julianna. After his final semester ended in April, he was set to accompany his father to various Central American countries to participate in an archaeological dig.
Julianna would meet up with them halfway through after working on a photo shoot in Brazil she had booked, with the proceeds going to charity. A small smile came to Arnold's lips as he thought about his girlfriend. The two of them had been friends during his earlier days studying at university, but lost touch after she began her modeling career and he married Ruth. The two of them reconnected not long after his divorce. Next to Helga, Julianna supported Arnold and was a great help to him. She was there for him in his grief and was the one to help him resume his studies. At her suggestion, the two of them travelled around the world together, helping Arnold fulfill a wish he'd had since he was young. Julianna was a striking woman, with long caramel locks of hair, bright blue eyes, rosy lips and cheeks, and a killer body set against a tanned complexion. Her sense of humor was amazing, she had a good heart, and was passionate about different world cultures just like he was. He and Julianna had started talking about marriage fairly recently and she even started dropping hints about what rings she liked and what her favorite wedding colors were.
For the first time in a while, things were finally starting to look up.
His dreams were finally coming true, and yet something was still missing.
The man contorted his face into a grimace as the nagging returned to him. At first, he thought that the persistent worry of his mind was his little Francesca. She would always be the missing piece of his heart and her absence would forever leave an empty space in his life that could never be filled or replaced by anyone else. No future wife or child could fill the void that was his first baby. It was an inevitable fact that the sorrow surrounding her death would never leave him.
Then why did it hurt so much more?
Arnold continued walking, picking up the pace as he searched his mind for answers. He wrapped his arms around his slender frame and looked about him, watching as snow fell all around him and stuck to the ground beneath his feet. The opportunity to think peacefully about his life and what, or who was missing from it in private soon lost its appeal as the weather became increasingly chilly. The wind picked up somewhat, causing Arnold to shiver in the cold. Arnold took a deep breath and began walking rapidly, intent on getting home when he bumped into someone walking in the opposite direction.
"I – I'm sorry," he apologized with quietness and he looked upward while rubbing his forehead. "I didn't mean to run into you like that."
The man's emerald eyes widened as they met sapphires brimming with tears.
Helga Pataki Williams stood across from him, breathing heavily and looking beautiful as ever. Her porcelain skin was flushed a deep red and was perspired from both running into Arnold and the cold that permeated the air. Her light pink colored lips were slightly swollen and her blonde hair was straightened. However, most of it was covered from the hood of the beige winter coat she wore, which had a faux fur trim. The coat came to Helga's tiny waist and hugged the upper half of her body with seductiveness. Her dark khaki pants seemed to be spray-painted onto her body and she donned tight black knee-high boots that had a slight heel to them. Helga was positively breathtaking and Arnold wanted to kiss her at that moment.
"Don't worry about it Arnold," Helga said, giving him a slight smile. "Accidents happen." After looking about the empty park, she looked upward at Arnold and inquired, "What brings you to this neck of the woods?"
"I was visiting my daughter," the confused man responded, his voice filled with an unspeakable sadness. "I visited her daily at first… but since then going back to university, traveling, and dating Julianna, I'm only able to make it two or three times a week." He looked at Helga and admitted, "The time I have to see… to see Francesca is really precious to me. I wasn't going to let the bitter cold keep me from doing so."
"That's okay," Helga assured him while placing a pink, gloved hand onto his shoulder. "You don't have to explain why visiting your little girl is so important to you." She bit her lip as her gaze traveled sideways and downward before looking to him again. "However, something tells me that there's more on your mind."
Arnold nodded. "There is," he confessed. "I've been thinking about Kevin and Christine a lot… and what they've had to go through. I – I just can't even fathom, Helga. They wanted to start a family so much and tried everything, only to have it blow up in their faces… and now they might never have the chance to be parents." Upon taking a deep breath, he added, "I'm supposed to be the one to help them through the grief of their miscarriage after I went through with Ruth. A full-term stillbirth is completely different, but it's still a loss… and – and I just don't know what to say."
Helga looked at Arnold sadly and let the silence come between them, allowing for the two of them to think about all that had transpired since they met. The instant connection, the death of an innocent and much-wanted child, a funeral thrown for a baby who would never open her eyes, the end of a marriage, new friends, dreams shattered and finally lived, an imminent engagement, a married couple growing further apart with each moment, lies, secrets, and wanting someone you couldn't have.
She looked at him, released her grasp on his shoulder, and admitted, "I just got back from the hospital. It turns out my old babysitter Casana had to have an emergency hysterectomy." Helga gulped and held back a small sob and added, "She… she can't have any more children and it's so devastating. I hate seeing good, wonderful people who can't have families of their own while there are child rapists, drug addicts, and careless people out in the world who can reproduce simply because they can. It…it just isn't fair ,Arnold! I've… I've been doing some thinking, and… I want to be Kevin and Christine's gestational surrogate mother."
Arnold's green eyes widened in shock as he digested Helga's words. While he had no doubt that Helga was a strong woman who could stand her ground, he couldn't help but wonder if she could go through with putting herself through both physical and emotional torments, only to surrender the baby at the end of nine long grueling months of pregnancy. Could she really give up so much of herself to make two people happy?
"Please don't change my mind, Arnold," Helga told him firmly. "Kevin and Christine want nothing more than to have a child of their own that they can love and provide for. They would be amazing parents if they were given the chance and I just know it would make them so happy." She looked at him and added, "I had a dream last night that I was fifteen years old and pregnant. Sid was the father."
"Sid?" Arnold asked. "You mean Sid from elementary school? Really?"
"That's not the point," Helga remarked darkly. "I don't remember much about the dream and the visuals are really hazy. However, I decided to give the baby up for adoption and I chose Kevin and Christine to be the adoptive parents." The woman paused momentarily, and when she resumed speaking, her voice was more subdued. "I remember how thrilled they were when I gave them the baby… I want them to be happy, Arnold. They deserve to be after all they've put up with. If I can make that happen, then what's stopping me?"
Arnold let his mouth hang ajar slightly as he looked at Helga, absorbing everything she told him. He realized that this was why he loved her so much. She was unselfish and willing to sacrifice her own wants and even her own needs to make other people happy. The woman was willing to lose the control of her body and hormones, along with sacrificing her physical and mental wellbeing so that two other people could have they child they desired to have for so long. The man recalled how Helga had put everything on the line to comfort him after he lost Francesca and how much she helped him get through that tragic time.
He loved her fiery personality and how she was not easily swayed. Helga spoke her mind and was very strong-willed, but also possessed a heart of gold that knew no boundaries. The woman before him was intelligent, well-spoken, and had an incredible sense of humor that was very similar to his own. The two of them were so much alike and yet had enough differences to balance each other out, such as the fact that Helga never understood his love for Jazz music while he could never understand why she didn't care much for the works of Edward Hopper. The man couldn't quite place it, but he was connected to her somehow, in some way. Arnold had never so much as said a few simple words to her during their childhood, and yet he felt as though he knew her better than even her own husband did… for far longer than Brian did.
Without thinking about what he was doing, the man soon found himself lifting away the hood that covered the rest of Helga's luscious blonde hair. Brushing it back tenderly with his long, nimble fingers, he cupped her pointed chin with his thumb and forefinger while he used his other hand to caress her face. Tilting it back just slightly as he felt Helga's arms wrap around his body, their lips came together in a passionate, powerful kiss that united them together and established the love they felt for each other. Helga held onto him tightly and dug her nails into his back as the two of them went in for another caress on the lips.
Arnold found himself enjoying the moment and embracing the fact that Helga's arms were willingly around him. It was just like his nightly fantasies, whereupon he wanted Helga and she wanted him in return. His jade eyes opened to find that she took pleasure in their union together, perhaps even more than he was.
It felt so right and like it was meant to be.
However, the laws of matrimony dictated otherwise, and according to the bounds of marriage, Helga had just committed the highest offense.
They parted with reluctance, not wanting to look at the other person as Arnold pressed his fingers to his mouth, which now vibrated with the taste of Helga's raspberry chapstick and bubblegum.
Revealing his inflamed mouth to her, the man said, "I'm in love with you, Helga. I feel like I've known you for much longer than this and like I know you better than anyone else."
Helga reached out to him again, but stopped herself when her azure eyes rested on her left ring finger, where her omnipresent golden wedding band was placed over the gloved pink finger. The woman looked down at the small symbol reminding her of the union she shared with Brian, where she promised that she would love and cherish for all the days of her life no matter what happened. Helga's eyes rested on her wedding band for what felt like an eternity before she clasped her hands together and looked up at Arnold, saying the words the man never thought he would hear from her.
"I'm in love with you too, Arnold. You understand me better than Brian ever has and will. I can't stop thinking about you and I know what we did was wrong, but it didn't feel that way. When I'm with you, I feel like I can be myself. I feel… free."
Arnold nodded as he reached to grab Helga's hand, but stopped himself as his eyes gazed upon the wedding band he yearned to take off her finger and throw into oblivion.
"How can we live like this?" he asked out loud. "You can't just leave your husband and Julianna and I…"
"Your girlfriend tells me she would like the Round Brilliant Three Stone from Tiffany's," Helga mused. "You wouldn't exactly be able to afford to have that reimbursed if we got caught being here together."
"No," Arnold shook his head, "I wouldn't." He looked at Helga and at the snow all around them. He brushed a few snowflakes from Helga's thick flaxen hair and asked, "Is this how we're going to spend the rest of our lives? Are we really destined to love each other only from a far while we're held back by other obligations?"
"A lot of people have done that," Helga remarked aloud, looking at the starry sky above her. "A lot of people are doing the same thing we are and many more people will do so in the future. The way we live now has nothing to do with us being star-crossed lovers forever doomed to never truly be together."
"I… I suppose it is for the best," Arnold sighed. "We'll always be friends."
"Forever," Helga agreed. "Maybe we can be something more in another lifetime… if you'll believe with me."
He squeezed her hands and said, "Nothing would give me greater happiness than to hope that I could one day be with you the way we intended to be."
It was a cruel irony how everything fell apart again just when things were finally starting to go smoothly.
Helga Pataki Williams walked throughout Tina Park after leaving the hospital, where she was shocked to find that her former babysitter from childhood, Casana Kusabana Mariano had just undergone an emergency hysterectomy. She would no longer be able to have children of her own and it left her with a forever broken heart. Seeing Casana rendered to never again bear children not only left Helga saddened for the woman, but also confounded her to no end. She was surrounded by good, genuine people such as Casana, Kevin and Christine, and Arnold, who wanted nothing more than to experience the joys of parenthood, only to be denied of that desire. Casana could never again become pregnant after her surgery, Kevin and Christine suffered through a miscarriage after trying so hard to fall pregnant, and Arnold experienced the sorrow of anticipating the birth of his daughter only to have her born sleeping.
The pain these good, innocent people were forced to go through made Helga cry. The woman sympathized with them and felt their sorrow so profoundly that it was as though she went through their losses right along with them. It was like she knew how it felt to have a miscarriage, go through the pain of a stillbirth after seeing the pregnancy through to term, and being forced to give up your ability to have children because you would be killed otherwise. Helga allowed herself to cry for these people, because she yearned to help them and make things right.
As she continued walking, it occurred to her that maybe she could.
If Christine couldn't carry a child to term, then Helga could do it for her. She was still young and was in good health. From what the woman knew, she didn't have any fertility issues. Helga smiled slightly to herself as she continued walking, thinking about how happy she would make Kevin and Christine through her ability to give them the son or daughter they wanted to have so badly. It was almost like it was meant to be; the night before, she had a dream that she was fifteen years old, pregnant, and without any help from the father of her child. For whatever the reason, Sid Gifaldi, an old classmate from her childhood had been the one to get her pregnant, but Helga didn't dwell too much on that. Though the images from her dream with unclear, the woman remembered that she made the decision to give her child to Kevin and Christine. Helga recalled how happy they were when she gave the baby to them and how she knew that they would do a much better job at providing for the child than she could.
What was wrong with the world, anyway? Why was it that the worst possible people could become pregnant and reproduce while those who wanted to start families couldn't?
But perhaps there were people who were meant to help those like Kevin and Christine, Casana, and Arnold. Helga would be a gestational surrogate mother for Casana in a heartbeat after how much she helped the woman back during the days of her childhood.
And the thought of having Arnold Shortman's babies made Helga feel the best she had in a long time. Being with Arnold and having a family with him felt so right to Helga even though she had her husband Brian. They had been together all throughout their childhood and adolescence, and Helga was content. He was educated, smart, a good provider, and was passionate about helping people. Brian loved her humor and enjoyed having conversations with her about various ethical issues. However, he became more reclusive over the past year. His anxiety increased and he was no longer the Brian Williams Helga fell in love with.
That is, if she was ever in love with him at all.
Helga pulled her hood in closer to face as she continued walking, not wanting to dwell on the possibility of her life being a complete lie. She understood why her husband had been feeling pretty low lately; in just the course of a year, he faced so many losses among his patients in the worst possible ways. Stillbirth, miscarriage, and hysterectomy didn't exactly look promising on a resident's record. That was a lot for a resident to experience in a single year alone.
That, and knowing his wife no longer loved him.
Helga took a deep breath, trying to clear her mind of what was becoming of her marriage, coming to the realization that she was no longer happy in life. She pondered the fact that there was someone missing from it and that she knew him personally. Arnold was really the only person who could fill the void in her heart that grew bigger with each passing day and who truly understood her humor, her perspective on life, and whom she could be herself with. However, Arnold was happy. He was dating a bombshell model named Julianna, traveling the world with her, and becoming an anthropologist searching for the world's greatest treasures and finds. He was proof that you could overcome any trial that threw itself at you and Helga both loved and admired him for it. She continued on her evening constitutional from the hospital, not yet wanting to return home. The woman knew Brian would be there waiting for her; she would have to tell him about her decision to be Kevin and Christine's surrogate all whilst being under his suspicious gaze as he wondered what Helga did when he wasn't around. Helga couldn't just throw divorce papers at Brian after all he had done for her, but she saw how much this made him unhappy as well; and knowing that she contributed to that made her want to cry.
The woman wasn't surprised to feel the tears gathering at the base of her eyes as they prepared themselves to fall down her cheeks, but was surprised to run into Arnold Shortman.
He was tall and slender, wearing dark washed jeans and a plaid red coat complimented with a black scarf. His substantial blonde hair was messy and spiked every which way, and his gorgeous green eyes were filled with puzzlement and sorrow. Most people wouldn't give Arnold Shortman the time of day, but Helga thought he was the most beautiful man in the world. He had the loveliest eyes, once idealistic but marred by loss and an unhappiness that was still leaving his being. He was slender and looked a little thin, but still had the strength to carry through each day even though everyone else would've understood if he'd fallen apart. Arnold was kind and considerate, as evidenced when he helped Helga and looked after her after she became sick. The man always put others before his own wellbeing that it was only now that he was starting to take care of himself at long last. He had a good heart and deserved only the best.
Upon exchanging brief apologies, Arnold revealed to Helga that he had just left the Hillwood Cemetery, having paid a visit to his daughter Francesca. Though it was sad, Helga thought it was sweet that Arnold never looked at his trips to Francesca's final resting place as going to the cemetery, but rather as an opportunity to spend time with her. She would always be his no matter what and her untimely death would never change that.
Helga soon found herself feeling awkward, like a babbling schoolgirl as she and Arnold conversed with one another. The woman told him that she understood his need to visit with his baby girl and how she just knew that something was on his mind, thus proving to her that she and Arnold understood one another. His thoughts mirrored her own as he agonized over Kevin and Christine and wondered how he could help them as Helga revealed that the two of them shared the same concerns. She told him about Casana and her emergency hysterectomy and at long last, revealed her decision to help Kevin and Christine in giving them the child that they longed desperately to have and how she came to that through her dream.
To the woman's surprise, Arnold supported her choice to be Kevin and Christine's gestational surrogate mother. He didn't object to what she had decided, despite knowing the risks and how much her body and emotions would change over the course of nine months. He understood that Helga wasn't doing this because she saw Kevin and Christine as a service project, or because she wanted to be noble and self-sacrificing. Arnold simply understood that Helga wanted to help her dear friends because she wanted them to be happy, and that was why she loved him most of all.
Helga loved Arnold because he understood her.
When the woman felt his long, willowy hands pull down the hood of her coat and caress her face, she fell into him. Holding his body close to her as she dug her fingers into his back, she felt peaceful in his embrace. Arnold's lips brushed hers and for the first time, Helga felt as though she was home, where she belonged. Helga kissed him back, not ever wanting to let go of Arnold because of how natural and right it felt for her to be in his arms. It was never meant to be any different; this was how it should've been, with the two of them together and never having to doubt how much they loved the other person. It was right, so unbelievably right that they were together enjoying each other's company and wanting to have even more.
The woman's eyes widened as her eyes fell upon her wedding ring just as she and Arnold pulled apart with reluctance, coming to the realization that though their love for each other was right, that their union was not. Helga was married and Arnold was about to be engaged. Helga had just cheated on her husband, and Arnold with the person who would soon become his wife. Guilt fluttered through Helga momentarily before she and Arnold reached for each other, only to pull away knowing what they were doing was wrong as dictated by Helga's marriage and Arnold's relationship with Julianna.
Arnold's lips swelled from both the cold and nonverbal proclamation of the love he shared for Helga as she touched her own lips, which pulsated from his touch. His presence and the scents of his spearmint mouthwash and strong black coffee stayed on her mouth as he confessed his love to her. Helga soon found herself doing the same thing, knowing that Arnold understood her better than her husband ever did, coming to the realization that he was always on her mind, and that even though she had just committed the inexcusable, unforgivable sin of adultery, that somehow, the fact that she and Arnold were meant to be with one another, coupled with how free she felt as they finally came together, made it okay.
Why couldn't she just break away from the laws that bound her to unhappiness?
It was because life was complicated and far from the fairy tale the world made it out to be. People didn't just cheat on their husbands and girlfriends and get away with it. Divorce wasn't painless and without complexities. Helga couldn't just leave Brainy simply because she didn't love him anymore; he didn't do anything wrong and had been nothing but a good husband to her. The woman couldn't just expect Arnold to leave Julianna after the two of them had been all over the globe together, after she helped him get out of his funk, and gave him the initiative needed to finish his university education. Helga couldn't expect Arnold to drop everything after he worked so hard to overcome his own trials, only to be burdened with Helga's as well. It simply wasn't fair for Helga to expect that of him, especially since he deserved so much more.
Though it pained the woman to admit it, she and Arnold could never be together the way they wanted to be. As she and Arnold discussed their doomed destinies, to spend the rest of their lives loving the other person while held back by what society expected of them much like Paul Montague and Henrietta Carbury from The Way We Live Now, the man across from her took the liberty of brushing the snowflakes from her hair with his sinewy fingers. His gentle action warmed Helga from within and made her immensely grateful that she was wearing a heavy winter jacket. As she mentioned to Arnold, they weren't the only ones who were forced to go through what they were and nor would they be the last.
And despite that it was far from what Helga wanted, she admitted along with Arnold that their being apart was for the best considering the way their lives were playing out. All they could do was remain best friends and believe in each other, believing that the two of them would one day be together, even if they would have to wait to love each other freely in a different lifetime far from the one they currently lived in.
Two condemned lovers turned their backs on each other as they left Tina Park that evening, the cold surrounding Arnold Shortman and Helga Williams even though they felt the warmth from the other person permeating their beings.
Their love was beautiful, complex, and destined to overcome all the obstacles the world had to offer them until a well-meaning, yet selfish boy had decided to toy with what was always meant to be. The elderly man on the far away park bench watched as Arnold and Helga walked away from each other and what they had shared that evening, having resigned themselves to the fact that they could never be together the way they wanted to be. Helga was married to the same person who tried to change the plans the universe had wrought while Arnold was only just starting to regain back the happiness the same person stole from him.
Paradoxically, it was up to this particular individual to set things back to the way they were and make things right again. However, the wise, aged philosopher knew that young Brian Williams would come around at some point because the further he ran from his sins, the more exhausted he would be once they caught up. Brian was learning the hard way that he could not gain happiness at the expense of another person and that he never should've tried to do so. Because he did, his own happiness came with a price.
In a lot of ways, disturbing the love of two soulmates was worse than throwing the best laid plans of the universe askew.
It was because when you messed with love, you messed with everything else.
Young Brian Williams wasn't the only person who came to that conclusion in the hardest possible way.
Watching as Arnold exited Tina Park to the left while Helga left through the opposite path, Forthwind stood up and readied himself to leave the park. He had important business to attend to.
Before the deep thinker left, he proclaimed, "You will be together in another lifetime and in what was always meant to be."