Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters mentioned in this story.
They all belong to their rightful owner: Craig Bartlett.
Title: "Leave the lights on"
Summary: "I know that it's a secret and that I gotta kept it, but I want the lights on." In a universe where Arnold and Helga never met as children, they both find themselves teenagers with only one parent. When Miriam and Miles got together, neither of their children ever imagined how so many twisted turn of events could lead them to fall in love with each other.
Author's 1st note: Since you clicked on this story, I am assuming you are ok with this semi-taboo we have got going on here, but I need to say this anyhow: If you have a problem with the subject of the story just DON'T READ IT. I don't want to get reviews saying: "Oh, this is so disgusting, they are supposed to be stepsiblings, ew!" No, they are supposed to be step siblings, it's not the same thing, not to me at least. But if you have a problem with it anyhow, that's your deal, but then just don't read this, ok? Any review that is basically about how disgusting the subject is will be deleted because I have already warned you all!
Now that the "warning" is done with… Hi there! Welcome to my new long-termed story! Yay! I have been wanting to write this since I finished Blackmail toy in… God, May 2014 O.o Have I really been writing for that long? :O Anyways! This will be a long journey I believe, like, it'll be really long xD It might become summer before this is done, let's see, shall we? :P By the way, the title is inspired by the song "Leave the lights on" by Meiko, which is a song about lovers hiding, but the girl wanting to show their love to the world. I recommend listening to it because it's a really good song!
[Please notify me if you notice any grammar mistakes. This isn't my first language, so there's bound to be mistakes.]
Chapter 1: "I'll never see her again"
The blonde teenager was packing his things into his bag as quickly as his hands could to the surprise of the classmates around him. "Arnold, where do you need to be since you're in such a hurry?" Gerald, the blonde's best friend asked as he quirked one of the dark eyebrow above his brown eyes.
Arnold smirked. "My dad told me he's got some big news he had to tell me after school so I want to get home as quickly as possible." He explained and shoved the last book in his bag.
"Good news?" one of the other boys, called Sid, asked as he readjusted his signature green cap on his black-haired head.
"I'm hoping so." Arnold said with a chuckle and pulled his bag over his shoulder, waving the boys goodbye before heading towards door.
"Hey, Arnold!" one of the other boys said, causing Arnold to stop and look at him curiously. Harold moved his hand to behind his neck awkwardly. "How are you… doing?"
Arnold quirked an eyebrow. "How I'm… doing?" he asked with a bit of disbelief in his voice. Harold wasn't known for being the sensitive type who would ask how you were feeling even if he had all the reason in the world to ask.
Harold waved his hands around in defense. "I'm just wondering." He explained and waited for Arnold to answer, which he noticed the rest of the boys were too and even some of the girls who had picked up on their conversation. They were all worried about Arnold, but he wasn't sure if he liked all the attention he had been getting because of it.
"I… I'm ok, I guess. Still a little, you know, but… I have my dad now." Arnold answered with as much bravery as he could, but his heart crumbled whenever he remembered. He waved goodbye at the others one last time before hurrying out of the classroom and eventually to the street.
Arnold was staring at his feet as he walked, having decided to skip the bus in order to avoid his classmates. He knew it wasn't fair, they were just worried about him after all, but he hated being reminded of it.
Arnold had lived most of his life without his parents and was raised by his grandparents instead. His dad, Miles, and his mom, Stella, were both amazing people who were well-known for traveling through the tropics, studying and helping different tribes in the world. Through the years, before they had Arnold, they had grown particular fond of a tribe called The Green Eyes; they were Indians with characteristic green eyes, which people even today claimed Arnold had inherited from them. His green eyes were very green after all.
Stella and Miles had lived with The Green Eyes for many years and hadn't planned to change that even when Arnold was born, but they soon realized the jungle was too dangerous for him to be in and so they had traveled back home to Miles' hometown Hillwood. Arnold had barely turned one year old before they were called back to the village. An old friend of theirs called Eduardo had told them of a plague haunting The Green Eyes and since the tribe had saved their lives more than once, they couldn't possibly leave them to their dismay. And so, Arnold had been left with his grandparents, all of them thinking they would return in a few weeks. They didn't.
Arnold almost flinched when he heard the bus stop in front of him. He hopped inside, paid for his ticket and sat down at the nearest empty seat, silently praying no one would decide to sit next to him as he kept thinking about all the stories his grandpa and grandma, Phil and Gertie, had told him about his parents when he was a child. He hadn't believed most of them until he had found his dad's journal and realized that his parents truly were heroes.
Arnold missed his parents every day even if he was happy with his grandparents. When he had found Miles' journal, he had found a map to San Lorenzo, the place where The Green Eyes' village was supposed to be. He had only been ten when he found the map and had insisted on going even though his grandparents tried to talk him out of it. They didn't want to lose their grandson as well and so, he couldn't bring himself to go until he was older.
When Arnold was fifteen, he tried to talk with his grandparents about it again, but they still weren't too fond of the idea. They had lost a son and a daughter-in-law already, so he didn't blame them, but he couldn't live the rest of his life without knowing what had happened to them and so he had decided to leave. As if it was destiny though, a few days before Arnold had planned his trip to begin, Miles had appeared on the doorstep like a ghost coming back from the dead.
Arnold had at first been so happy that he didn't even think about where his mom was, but when he realized and asked his dad about it, his happiness fell to the ground. The reason his parents hadn't come home as soon as they had planned was at first because the plague had been more severe than they thought. They stayed for two years before the plague had finally been contained and they could go home.
On their way home though, an earthquake had forced Miles and Stella to separate in order to save their lives. Miles had watched as Stella had fallen through the earthquake, but had refused to believe she was dead. He had searched for her for all these years, praying that the strongest woman he had ever known was strong enough to survive in the jungle on her own. When they finally found her, she was unrecognizable, but Miles recognized the necklace with The Green Eyes' symbol around her neck, which was nothing but bones at that point. And so, he had finally gone home to reconcile with his son, but also share the sad news.
Arnold had run away from home and hid himself in the local treehouse called Mighty Pete for an entire week. It just wasn't fair and he hated that he hadn't gone to San Lorenzo earlier. He insisted he could have saved his mom even though he knew that was a lie. Stella had been dead for a long time when they found her; it was a miracle the necklace hadn't rusted beyond recognition. Miles had brought it home and given it to Arnold as a memory and even to this day, he still wore it. He had worn it the same way he used to wear the blue hat his parents had bought him for his first birthday. Ever since the day he had finally gone home, he had decided to be grateful for what he got. One parent back was better than none at all. All that happened a year ago.
Arnold jolted when he was pulled out of his reverie by the sound of someone sitting next to him. He sighed silently and looked at the person for a moment, looked away, but then back at her. It was a girl around his age wearing some baggy black jeans and a pink hoodie. She moved the hood down from her head, revealing beautiful blonde, wavy hair under it and she blinked her light blue eyes as she looked at her cell phone.
Arnold didn't realize he was staring until she looked at him. He looked away instantly, hoping she wouldn't call out on him, but she didn't seem to care and simply looked at her phone again. Arnold's eyes traveled towards her again curiously. She was bopping her head and he was wondering why until he noticed the earplugs in her ears. He strained his ears, trying to hear what she was listening to, but all he picked up on was that it was some sort of rock. It was loud at least in his opinion.
Suddenly, the girl removed the earplug from her right ear and shoved it into Arnold's right ear. He flinched in surprise, but didn't remove it as he just stared at her in shock. She was looking at him casually, but there was a hidden smile on her face.
"You were curious, weren't you?" the girl asked a little mockingly and moved her foot up to her thigh, resting it on it.
"Uh, n-no. I was just, um… I'm sorry." Arnold finally admitted, but the girl didn't respond. She wasn't even looking at him anymore and just let him listen to her music. He listened for a bit and then looked at her again. "Halestorm?" he question curiously.
She turned to smile at him. "You know them?"
"But you don't like them?"
"They're… not my style." Arnold admitted.
The girl snickered. "Yeah, I figured as much. You don't strike me as the type." She said as she eyed him, obviously laughing at his clothes inwardly. He was wearing what he usually wore; a pair of dark blue jeans and a plaid shirt, on this day the green one.
Arnold frowned at her comment and removed the earplug from his ear to give it back to her. "You can't judge people by what they wear." He said.
The girl just snickered again though as she put the earplug back in her ear. "Yeah, right. We choose what we wear and we can judge people by their choices, can't we?" she asked, turning the volume down on her cell. Arnold looked at her in surprise as she kept talking. "I'd say I can guess a few things about you and all I know about you is what you look like."
Arnold smiled curiously. "Try." He insisted and crossed his arms.
The girl removed her earplugs altogether, humming as she looked at him. "You're a soft, sensitive kind of guy. You care about your friends and your family and are well-liked. Your taste in music is probably something like… reggae or jazz or something soft like that, you don't like heavy or loud music. You're straight, but have a hard time picking up girls because you always end in the friend zone because you're such a nice guy." She stated casually, smiling once she was done.
Arnold blinked in shock. He stared at the girl who just waited for confirmation of what she had just said. He frowned stubbornly. "I don't like reggae." He stated.
She snapped and leaned her head towards him. "Damn it. Almost had it all." She said, snickered and leaned back.
"I don't think normal people could figure all that out." Arnold said, smiling at the intriguing girl.
"Who said anything about me being normal?" the girl huffed.
"Don't tell me you're psychic?"
The girl snickered in disbelief. "It's the power of observation. You don't need to have behavioral psychology at a high level in order to figure out such basic things about a person." She said.
Basic? Arnold repeated in disbelief. "So you take psychology?"
"Yes, because I find people so interesting." The girl bellowed sarcastically.
"Why did you take it then?"
"Didn't I just tell you?"
"You sounded sarcastic…"
The girl smiled. "See? Power of observation." She said before punching his shoulder playfully. "Yes, I was being sarcastic. My mom thought it'd be a good idea for me to study psychology because I'm such an antisocial character."
"Antisocial?" Arnold repeated in disbelief. This girl? The girl who started a conversation with me, a complete stranger, on a bus? He thought.
The girl hummed. "Perhaps not as antisocial as hated by most people. I've been called a heinous bitch." She stated casually, completely unfazed by what she had just told him.
Arnold's eyes widened. "Why would anyone call you that?" he asked.
She looked at him. "The same reason why you'd say a catholic priest wouldn't make a good babysitter." She said and grinned. "It's the truth."
Arnold didn't know what to say to that. He had never met a girl who spoke so harshly and joked about things that probably shouldn't be joked about. She gave him the feeling that he should stay away from her, but he couldn't help but be curious about her.
He was about to ask her about her name, but she suddenly stood up. "Well, this is my stop. Thanks for the chat, Football Head." She said casually and walked towards the door.
Football Head? Arnold thought in disbelief. He knew he had an oblong-shaped head, but surely it wasn't quite that oblong, was it? Before he could think more about it, he turned and sat on his knees on the seat. "W-Wait! Please tell me your - - " he said, but she was already gone. He sighed heavily. Damn.
"Dude, you have to be quicker than that." The boy who was seated behind Arnold said to him. Arnold nodded before turning his back to him and sliding back in his seat.
He looked out on the street, watching the blonde girl walk across the road towards a house that made Arnold's eyes go wide. She lives there?! He thought as he stared at the big house. He kept looking even as the bus started driving, all the while thinking that yes, maybe you could judge some people by their clothes, but she wasn't one of them.
Arnold was still thinking about the strange girl once he reached Sunset Arms. It was the same boarding house he had been living in since he was a child. Miles had been talking about maybe moving to a house of their own, but Arnold didn't like the idea of being away from his boarding house family and his grandparents.
Arnold opened the door and moved to the side just as a horde of different animals ran outside. He snickered at the familiar sight before he walked inside, calling his dad's name to tell him he was home.
"I'm in the living room!" Miles yelled just before Arnold heard someone, presumably his grandma, smack him on the head with something out of paper.
"Don't shout inside the house!" Gertie said with a shout of her own.
"Sorry, mom." Miles said with a snicker and looked at Arnold as he walked inside. "Hi there, Arnold. Sit down." He said and gestured to the armchair next to his own. Arnold nodded and waved at his grandparents who were sitting on the couch next.
Arnold sat down next to his dad. "So, what is the big news you had to tell me? Is it good?" he asked, noticing how his grandpa started to wave his hand from side to side, indicating that he wasn't sure whether it was good or bad.
"Dad." Miles scolded and looked at his son again. "You remember me mentioning I thought we should move, right?"
A frown came on Arnold's face instantly. "You've… found a place?" he asked, sincerely hoping the answer was no.
"Not as such. More like I have decided we definitely should move at some point in the near future. We are not moving out of town though and we'll stay as close to Sunset Arms as possible."
Arnold sighed at his words, but nodded obediently. He decided to look on the bright side as he usually did in situations like these; moving to a new place might turn out to be interesting and Miles had promised to find something nearby. Arnold could live with that.
"Tell him why you want to move." Phil said as he crossed his arms, an insulted frown on his face. Arnold looked at his grandpa curiously before looking back to his dad who looked more than a little nervous. He hadn't thought there was any special reason behind wanting to move, he thought maybe Miles just wanted some peace and quiet with his son after everything that had happened through the years.
"Well… Arnold, I, uh… I've met someone." Miles said nervously and sighed once he had said the words.
He looked at his son who looked like someone who had seen a ghost. "Someone as in… a woman?" he asked.
"Well, not a man." Miles joked, but could see that Arnold didn't find it amusing. The blonde boy stood up, walked to the middle of the room and just stared at the carpet. He tried to come to terms with what he had just been informed. He knew it wasn't fair to expect Miles to stay alone forever, but there was a part of Arnold that thought Miles would never get over Stella. She was the love of his life after all.
"Well…" Arnold said, took a deep breath and turned to smile at his dad. "When will I meet her?" he asked, deciding to face things head-on. Who knew; perhaps she was really kind. Maybe a mother figure wouldn't be too bad even if he was sixteen years old and hardly was in any need for a mother anymore.
Miles sighed in relief and patted on the chair next to him. Arnold sat down obediently, earning a hug from his dad for his understanding way of handling it. "Thank you so much." The blonde man said and released his son before removing a tear from his eye. Arnold smiled; Miles had obviously been scared of telling him.
"Well, that was boring!" Phil stated childishly. "You should have thrown more of a tantrum, Shortman."
Arnold frowned at his grandpa's words, despite him using his old nickname, which also happened to be their last name. "I am not here for your amusement, grandpa." He insisted, snickering when the almost 90-year-old man blew a raspberry at him.
"Arnold." Miles said and earned his son's attention once more. "The reason why I'm telling you this now is because… well, because I didn't want to tell you until I was sure it was serious."
Arnold gulped at those words; he sounded so, well, serious. "And… it just got serious?" he asked and Miles nodded. "What kind of serious?"
Miles took a deep breath, obviously nervous again and that just made Arnold more anxious. "I asked her to marry me and she said yes." He said so quickly that Arnold had to focus to hear what he said. His eyes widened again. It was too much to take in and eventually, he let his head fell backwards. He landed on his grandma's lap, ignoring the stabbing feeling of two different armrests pushing at his back as Gertie petted his head as if he was one of her many street cats.
"When… When did you meet this woman?" Arnold asked, not sure what else to ask. His mind was blank, it was too much to handle at once. Not only was his dad dating some unknown woman, he was going to marry her?
"About a year ago when I came home." Miles answered. Arnold bolted right up, staring at his dad in disbelief who started waving his hands in defense. "I-I didn't start dating her straight away naturally!"
Arnold visibly relaxed, but he was chewing on his lips in frustration. "What happened?" he asked, hoping to gain some time to think before his dad would force him to say what he was thinking about all of this.
Miles sighed. "When I first came home, there was a part of me that still hoped Stella would somehow return to me… Of course that could never happen. I was at a bar when I ran into this woman. She looked… so sad and lost that I couldn't help but wonder if we were in the same boat. I started talking to her and she told me she had just divorced her husband whom she had been with for more than twenty years. She was scared and felt alone and so did I. I came back to the bar the next day and there she was. Eventually, I asked her if she would go out with me and… the rest is history."
History… Arnold repeated in his mind, shook his head and started massaging his temples. He didn't know what to think. It was one thing that his dad was dating a new woman, but that he was going to marry her was too much to take in. "Tell me again why you haven't told me about her till now?"
"I wanted to be sure it was serious. I didn't want you to maybe get attached to a woman who might turn out to be nothing like I thought or something." Miles explained.
Arnold nodded; the explanation made sense, but he still felt left out. "When… When is the wedding? What… Where are we going to live? Who is this woman? Does she have children of her own? And why don't I know all these things already?!" he asked in anger and stood up to walk through the room aimlessly.
"W-We haven't decided that yet, I proposed to her last night! We don't know that either, but she agrees to stay in Hillwood and as close to Sunset Arms as possible, she's not picky. Her name is Miriam and - - "
"And what?" Arnold hissed.
"She has a daughter." Miles continued calmly. "Well, two technically, but the older one is 28 years old and lives in Paris so I don't think we are going to meet her anytime soon."
Arnold relaxed at those words. "A daughter?" he repeated.
Miles nodded eagerly. "She's around your age, but a half year older. I haven't met her yet, but… I was hoping the four of us could go out to dinner together. You know, get to know each other and give you kids a chance to meet." He said.
Arnold went quiet. He recalled wishing he had a sibling in his childhood, most of all because he felt so lonely. He always thought it could have been nice to have someone share the pain with, someone who understood it. He had his dad now so he had forgotten about that wish ever since, but now he started wondering what it would be like again.
Arnold closed his eyes, trying to imagine it; him, his dad, this woman named Miriam and her daughter in a house together like one of those picture perfect American nuclear families you always saw on TV. He couldn't help but smile at the thought; it did seem nice after all.
Arnold sighed. "I just want you to be happy… so if this woman does that then I won't stand in your way." He insisted.
Miles looked ready to cry as he stood up to wrap his arms around his only son in a bone-crushing hug. "Thank you so much, my boy!" he said excitedly and kissed his forehead. As soon as he had done that, both males stared at each other awkwardly. Miles quickly patted his son shoulder clumsily and coughed as he walked towards his parents. "W-Well then, is tonight all right with you?"
"Sure… Can I head over to Gerald's first though?"
"Of course. I'll call Miriam and tell her about the plans and then I'll text you when we have the details settled, ok?" Miles said and shot his son a smile before the teenager jogged out of the room. Miles turned to look at his parents. "Do you think he was being honest…? When he said he was ok with this?"
"He never said he was ok with this, you nut ball, he just doesn't want to be selfish." Phil retorted with a huff and stood up from the couch.
"Why are you so angry though?" Miles asked with a frown.
"You're taking my only grandchild away from me! I raised that kid while you were in San Lorenzo looking for your wife." Phil answered with a somewhat childish pout.
Miles sighed as he put his hand on his dad's shoulder. "I swear we'll find a house as close by as possible. And if I know Arnold, he'll probably visit at least once a day." He said. Phil frowned at him and Miles did the same. "I know my son, no matter what you think." He insisted.
Phil sighed and nodded. "Oh, all right. But this Miriam woman of yours better be worth it!" he stated before plumbing back down on the couch.
Miles smiled. "Don't worry, dad. She is."
Arnold had gone to Gerald's house after that to tell him what his dad had told him. The African-American boy had reacted just like Arnold had predicted; even more dramatically than himself. Gerald had almost thrown a tantrum, that's how confused he felt. Arnold had tried to calm him down, telling him to look on bright side, whereas the boy had asked him why he always had to look on the bright side. Arnold had, per usual, told him that somebody had to.
Once Gerald had calmed down, Arnold got a text from Miles telling him where they were going tonight and at what time. Arnold knew the French restaurant Miles had decided upon; he had been at Chez Paris a couple of times through his life and knew the place had a dress-code, so he decided to say goodbye to Gerald and go home in order to change.
When Arnold and Miles were in the Packard, Arnold started to feel nervous. His leg was bouncing and he looked out the window at the different building they passed by. He was about to meet his stepmom and sister… What if they didn't like him or if he didn't like them or the daughter didn't like his dad and what if the dinner was a disaster?
"Calm down." Miles said and rubbed Arnold's shoulder. He could hear that his son had been about to start hyperventilating so he decided to try to calm him down. "It's going to be fine. She's going to love you."
"Miriam, of course. I've told her a lot about you and she already adores you."
That made Arnold feel a little better, but he was still nervous. "What about her daughter?"
Miles hesitated at that question. "Well… Miriam says that Helga is, uh… a little special."
"Special?" Arnold asked curiously and couldn't help but think about the girl he had met earlier. She was definitely special.
"Yes, she can be, um… a tad outspoken."
Miles sighed. "Arnold, Helga didn't have it easy growing up. Miriam knows she's been a bad mother and her husband was an even worse dad. They focused a lot on Olga, Miriam's oldest daughter, and Helga was kind of forgotten in the process. Miriam hasn't told me all the details, but she says that Helga is truly a good girl when she wants to be, she's just… acting out due to what happened when she was a child. Miriam says it's gotten better since she divorced her ex-husband Bob and Helga got away from him."
"Was Bob… abusive?"
Well, now I feel bad. Arnold thought and looked out of the window again. "Should I be careful what I say?"
Miles snickered. "You should just follow your instincts, Arnold. You've got good ones." He said and saw that Arnold smiled at his words and started to relax.
Arnold tensed again though when he saw they were already outside Chez Paris. He gulped nervously as Miles parked and Arnold quickly jumped out of the car to get some air. After inhaling and exhaling a couple of times he looked towards the restaurant and eyed the people standing around it. There weren't a lot of people so his eyes naturally felt on the one person sitting on the bench.
Arnold's eyes widened. No way. He thought when he recognized the blonde sitting and smoking on the bench. She wasn't wearing jeans and a hoodie anymore, now she was wearing a pink dress and her long hair went below her shoulder despite it being tied in a ponytail. She was still sitting with her ankle on her thigh in a very boyish way and he couldn't help but chuckle at the odd sight of this ladylike figure in this very unfeminine position.
"You ready?" Miles asked and patted Arnold on his back, gesturing for them to start walking. Arnold walked like a robot, his eyes completely glued on the girl as they approached the restaurant.
The girl then decided to look up towards them for whatever reason and her eyes widened. "Football Head?" she asked with an incredulous chuckle.
Arnold smiled. She remembers me! He couldn't help but think happily and stopped walking. "H-Hi." He said awkwardly.
"Oh, you know this girl, Arnold?" Miles asked with a smile, but didn't wait for him to answer. "You can stay here and talk for a bit with your friend, I'll go inside and try to find our girls." He said with a smile before heading inside.
Our girls. Arnold thought and rolled his eyes before he walked towards the blonde girl.
She snickered. "Are you stalking me or something?" she asked as she leaned back casually on the bench, the cigarette resting between her index- and middle finger.
"I swear I'm not." Arnold insisted as he sat down next to her. "I'm here with my dad."
"I could see he was your dad. You have his hair… but your heads are different so I'm guessing you got that form your mom?"
Arnold felt a sting at the mentioning, but hid it and nodded. "Yes, but my mom's head isn't as wide as mine." He answered as his fingers automatically started playing with his mother's talisman.
"I feel bad for her; having to give birth to you." The girl said and leaned closer to him, staring into his eyes.
He gulped nervously. "W-What?"
"Who did you get your eyes from?"
"They're green. Your dad's eyes weren't green. Are your mother's?"
"Ah, no. Her eyes were brown actually."
"Were?" the girl repeated, but then noticed that Arnold was playing with something. She used her free hand to grab at it and pull it out of his shirt before he could stop her. Her eyes widened. "Nice. What is this?"
"Oh, uh… it's kind of hard to explain. It's a talisman my mom used to wear…"
"Are they Native Americans?"
"Not really." Arnold said with a chuckle. "More like they're… kinda special."
"Well." The girl said and leaned back again, putting her cigarette to rest on her lower lip. "Their son seems quite special too." She said with a smirk before sucking on the cigarette.
Arnold smiled at her words. It had been a long time since he felt this way about a girl. He had just met her so it was nothing huge just yet, but she definitely had his attention. "What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I'm here with mommy dearest." Helga groaned sarcastically and let her head fall back over the bench, exposing her cream-colored neck to Arnold. He averted his eyes, suddenly finding his feet interesting. "I hate this place."
Arnold looked back at her at that comment. "Why?"
"Wait. I'm lying." The girl stated and moved her head back up. "I just hate being dressed like this."
Arnold looked at her dress again, but forced his eyes away. "Why?"
"Because I already look more and more like my big sister and if I start dressing like her too, I'll start looking like a copy of her or something."
"I take it you don't like her very much?"
"Football Head's astute observation skills strikes again." The girl said jokingly and grinned at him. "I hate her. She's like a wind-up doll, doing whatever our dad says. She took his side when our parents split and I'm on my mom's side. Well, I wasn't on anyone's side at first, but I've grown to like my mom a little more. She's not so bad now that she dumped my shitty excuse for a dad."
Arnold wasn't sure how to react to the girl's story; her way of thinking and her view on family was so different from his and that just made him all the more curious.
The girl suddenly threw her cigarette on the sidewalk though, stood up and stepped on it with her sandal-clad foot. "Well, sorry, Football Head, but I gotta go. My mom said one smoke and I had to be back." She said and dusted off the back of her dress even though the bench was probably clean.
"I need to get back inside too." Arnold decided and followed the girl inside. He gulped nervously, deciding he didn't want to let this chance slip again. "Hey." He said and she looked at him. "I was wondering… I really like talking to you so I thought maybe we could - - "
"Over here, Arnold!" a male voice said and Arnold forgot what he was about to ask. He looked towards his dad, noticing that he was sitting down at a table next to a woman, whom Arnold presumed was Miriam. The woman had a darker shade of blonde than his and his dad's and her hair was bobbed. She was wearing a pair of light purple, square glasses, which matched the long sleeve-less dress she was wearing.
Arnold smiled. "Hi, dad."
Arnold's head whipped to the side to look at the girl who was staring at him too. They kept staring for a bit before Arnold gasped. "That's your mom?!"
"That's your dad?!" the girl asked in just as much disbelief.
"You two know each other?" Miriam questioned in surprise.
"W-We met this afternoon." The girl, whom Arnold now realized was Helga, answered. She was staring at him in shock, almost in as much shock as he was.
Well… Arnold thought, his brain still trying to process what was going on. I guess I don't have to be afraid that I'll never see her again.
Author's 2nd note: Ok, before anyone complains that Helga seems OOC or something: Like Miles tells Arnold, she's gotten "better" since Miriam divorced Bob. Also, she's older in this, she's almost sixteen. There's going to be more explaining to what happened, but this is all for now ;) I know there was a lot of exposition in this, but I felt it was needed xD Stay tuned for more of you're interested! :D
Btw, I attempted to state Miriam and Miles as a couple in this story, but apparently Miles and Stella aren't on the list of characters you can choose O.o I am so pissed!
Btw-btw, please do try and draw a cover for this if you want to, I'd might put it here as the official cover :D