Early one morning, Phil was working at the kitchen table at the boarding house. Reading a sheet of paper, he sighed and threw the paper on the ground in frustration. The piece of paper was intercepted by his grandson, Arnold.
"Are you okay, grandpa?"
"To tell you the truth, short man, things aren't doing too well. Ever since Lana and Mr. Smith left the house, we haven't had a tenant who's paid the rent most of the time. I almost think it would be better if we sold this old place and moved on."
"Don't say that. I'm sure we can think of something."
"What? I've already put an ad in the newspaper."
"Gerald and I can put up signs around the neighborhood, and find out if anyone we know needs an apartment."
"That's awfully kind of you, short man, and you can try if you'd like to, but I don't know if it will work."
Before Phil could finish speaking, Arnold had run off to call Gerald. He knew that if they worked together, the two of them could find a tenant and save the boarding house.

Meanwhile, the Patakis had just gotten back from their trip to Wellington College, and were driving home from the airport. Olga had just graduated, and she had shone, becoming valedictorian of her class. Bob and Miriam could hardly contain their praise, while Helga sulked.
"We're so proud of you, Olga dear. Your speech was just lovely."
"You really showed them!" Olga smiled weakly. "She's a real winner, just like her father, isn't she, Miriam?"
"Uh-huh."
"I bet you can't wait to start work next week. I've got you a manager job at the Bob's Beepers down on Chestnut Street. I even got you a nice place right by the store. In a few years you'll be able to run the entire empire yourself, I'll bet."
Olga broke down. " Daddy...I'm not sure that that's what I want to do with my life."
The car came to a complete stop. "What?! Do you realize that the Bob's Beepers is what has put you through college, young lady! If you want us to support you, you had better play by our rules!"
"Well then, I guess I'll have to go, then." Olga, in tears, grabbed her suitcase and ran off.
"Miriam, can you go after her?"
"Helga, dear?"
Helga rolled her eyes. "Fine, I'll do it." She jumped out of the car and ran after her sister.

Olga ran until she got to the park, where she sat down on a bench. Helga sat beside her.
"Olga, what in the name of crimeny did you just do?"
"Little sister, do you remember my graduation speech?"
"Um..."
"I talked about how now is the time to create new pathways for ourselves, to find out what we want to do in life and to pursue it with all our hearts. When I was in the car, I thought about what I said at graduation, and how I was going to end up doing something that I didn't really care about, and I couldn't stand it. I had to leave."
"But what are you going to do now?"
"I can find a job, I suppose, and I can look for someplace to live. Then I can work on finding my calling."
"But that'll take time. How are you supposed to find a job and a place to stay in so little time?"
"I don't know, but I'll have to find a way." Olga looked around and spied Arnold, who was hanging up fliers. "Hey, isn't that your little friend from school?"
"Um, no... I don't think I've ever seen him before..." Despite Helga's protests, Olga waved to Arnold, who came over to them.
"Hey, Helga. Hey, Olga."
"Hey, football-head. Didn't recognize you from over there." Helga soon spotted the pile of fliers that Arnold was holding. 'Crimeny!', she thought. 'If Olga sees those fliers, my worst nightmare will come true. She'll tell him all of my secrets, even...' Helga panicked. "Um, isn't that Gerald over there?"
"That's odd; he should be across town by now. Well, I'd better go up to him. Where is he?"
"He just went behind that building. You'd better hurry, football-head!"
"Bye, Helga. Bye, Olga." As Arnold ran over to find Gerald, he dropped one of his fliers. Olga, curious, picked it up, and, as she read it, her eyes lit up. She ran after Arnold.
Helga groaned. "That's it! My life is over!"
Big Bob and Miriam sighed as they saw Helga walk back to the car sisterless. Helga shrugged her shoulders and got into the car. "I went after her, but she found an apartment and it looks like she's going to try and do things on her own."
"Crimeny! What's gotten into her, Miriam?"
"Maybe you should have given Olga more room to explore. It's a hard time for her, and maybe you shouldn't have given her an ultimatum. It's probably just a phase."
"I've been patient... I've let her go through her phases... but for cryin' out loud, Miriam, she's twenty-one! She's had time to explore! It's time for her to take over the chain now..." Bob looked away. "Though maybe I shouldn't have been so hard on her."
Helga tentatively joined in the conversation. "You know, I could probably track her down. I know where the apartment building is. Then I could spend a few days with her, and convince her that she is making the wrong decision."
"Hey, that's not a bad idea. Why not? You can go over there tomorrow."
After the Patakis got back home, Helga ran upstairs to her room. "Helga, you are a genius! This is a no-lose situation! As long as I'm there, I can make sure that Olga doesn't blab anything embarrassing. Big Bob and Miriam are appreciating me. And...," She opened her closet and hugged the paper-mache Arnold statue, "...and I shall be in the same building as my beloved! The abode of my Adonis!" Helga sighed happily as she went to bed.

The next morning, Helga walked, suitcase in hand, down a path she knew all too well. Arriving at the Sunset Arms boarding house, Helga rang the doorbell and was answered by Phil.
"Um... Hi, mister... mister... never mind. Is my sister, Olga Pataki, living here? I was hoping I could stay with her for a while."
Phil half-smiled. "Well.... I'll have to think about it, we don't usually allow kids..."
"But this is important."
"How come?"
"I'm just concerned about Olga. She's going through a difficult time.."
Phil looked a little let down. "If it's alright with Olga, it's alright with me. You'll find her in Mr. Smith's old room. It's over by the..." Before he could finish giving directions, Helga ran up to the room and knocked on the door. Olga opened the door, looking a bit surprised.
"Little sister, what are you doing here?"
Helga thought for a second. "Well, I've been thinking, and we haven't spent enough time together. I thought that I could offer you some support while you're trying to figure things out."
"Oh, that is so sweet, little sister! Of course you can stay a while. Mi casa es su casa! You don't mind sleeping on the couch, do you?"
"Yeah, that's great, thanks Olga." Helga moved her suitcase into Olga's room. "So, have you talked to anybody in the boarding house?"
"Well, I talked to Susie, who's going to help get me a job, and Oscar, and Mr. Hyunnh. Oh... and I spoke for a minute with your little school friend."
"Arnold!?" Helga tried to calm herself down and act casually. "So... what did you guys talk about?"
"Just about how I was trying to move on, and stop being dependent on mom and daddy. Oh, by the way, could you do me a little favor? I have a few things at home that I would like you to get for me."
Helga rolled her eyes. "Sure, Olga." Olga wrote some things down on a list and gave it to Helga.
"Thank you so much, little sister!"
"Sure, no problem." List in hand, Helga made her way over to her home.

Helga picked up the requested items and took them to the boarding house. Upon reaching Olga's room, she saw a sign written on the door, saying 'Dear Helga: I've gone to an interview, and I'll be back soon. Thank you for picking everything up. Your big sister, Olga.'
"Great. Now I'm going to have to wait out here until she gets back!" As Helga grumbled, Arnold walked up the stairs and read the sign.
"Locked out of your sister's room?"
"Yeah, Arnoldo. What's it to you?"
"I can get the keys from grandpa. Can I help you move your sister's stuff in?"
"Go ahead, knock yourself out."
"I'll be back in a minute!" As Arnold ran to get the keys, Helga sighed and felt inspired and began to write a quick poem in her pink book, nervously hiding it when he returned. The two of them started to move Olga's things in.
"It's nice of you to help your sister out. It seems like she's going through a tough time and she really needs a sister to help her out."
"To tell you the truth, football-head, I'm only doing this to convince her to come back and run the beeper business. It's kind of funny; all of a sudden, I'm the good influence."
"I don't know, Helga. I think you should do what's best for Olga."
"Yeah, right. Like she's ever done anything for me."
"I was just trying to say that you should extend a helping hand, do the right thing. At least think about it"
"Sure, Arnoldo." After he finished moving the last thing in, Arnold smiled and waved goodbye. Helga lied on the couch, thinking about what Arnold had said, and drifted off into sleep.
Helga slept until Olga came into the room and excitedly shook her awake. "Guess what, little sister?"
"Wha..."
"I got a job at the law firm downtown! I'll soon have enough money to pay off the loan for this apartment, and I'll really be on my own, free to figure out what I want to do. You have no idea how relieved I am right now."
Helga, still tired, tried to go back to sleep. "That's great, Olga..."
"For so long I have been doing what's expected of me. Mom and daddy have pushed me to follow in their footsteps, and I am finally making steps towards becoming my own person, with my own apartment and my own career."
"Super."
"Little sister, would you like to come to my job for the day? We could talk and get to understand each other so much better... wouldn't it be wonderful?"
"Sounds great, Olga." No longer that sleepy, Helga went downstairs to get a snack. "Great! An entire day wasted with Olga and her stupid job..." She smiled as inspiration hit her. "So Olga wants me to go to her job. Well, all I have to do is make her look like a fool on her first day. They'll fire her, she won't be able to pay for the apartment, and she'll be running back to Big Bob in a minute! She'll take over the beeper business, I'll be the hero, and she'll be unable to tell anything to Arnold! It's the perfect plan..." Helga smiled as she grabbed some chips and went back to the apartment.

The next morning, the two sisters waved goodbye to Arnold and the boarders as they left for Olga's new job. Though Helga was tired and wasn't paying too much attention, she couldn't help but see how animated Olga was. 'Almost makes me regret what I'm about to do...' she thought. Still, she wasn't about to give up her plan. After the two went into the office and Olga introduced Helga to her new colleagues, Olga went over to get some coffee. As it was early and there was hardly anyone else at the office yet, Helga took the opportunity to act. Without stopping to think about what she was doing, Helga opened the office's file cabinets and moved several important-looking files. Grinning, Helga awaited her sister's return.
Olga came back carrying a cup of coffee and accompanied by an older woman. "Oh, little sister! I'd like you to meet my supervisor, Laura." Laura waved.
"Now, Olga, do you have those case folders that I asked about?"
"Why, of course. It's right..." Olga opened a nearby cabinet and looked for the folder. "...that's odd. It's not where I remember putting it. It's got to be around here somewhere..."
Laura sighed quietly. "Well, when you find it, just place it on my desk. I'll be in my office."
Olga eventually found the file and took it to her supervisor's office. As she returned, Helga noticed that she looked sullen. Trying not to look her sister in the face, she asked what was wrong.
"Oh, it's horrible, little sister! My supervisor said that she is putting me on probation, and that if I don't shape up in the next week, I'll be fired! I don't ever want to be dependent on mom and daddy again!"
Helga wasn't sure what to say. "Well... don't worry. It'll get better."
"I hope so, little sister."
Though Helga felt a bit guilty, she reasoned that this was the only way to prevent Olga from spilling the beans to Arnold. Plus, if she got Olga back, she might be the favorite for once. As the day continued, Helga kept sabotaging her sister's work whenever she got the chance. They drove back to the Sunset Arms, Olga wearing a dejected look on her face, and Helga looking out the window, trying not to feel so guilty.

As the two sisters made their way up the stairs of the apartment building, they were greeted by Arnold, who immediately noticed their glum faces.
"Are you two alright?"
"It's none of your buisiness, Arnoldo."
"You know, if it might cheer you guys up, I have some tickets to a play later tonight, and my grandparents had a last-minute problem to deal with, so they can't go. Would you two like to come with me?"
"That would be absolutely wonderful!", replied Olga. "Don't you think so, little sister?"
"Sure, why not. It's not like I have anything better to do."
"Great! I'll meet you by the stairs at 7:30, then."
The threesome dispersed and began to get ready for the performance.
At 7:30, Arnold, Helga, and Olga met with each other. Arnold smiled at the sisters. "You guys look great!"
Helga tried not to blush. "Thanks, football-head. You don't look half bad yourself."
"So, Arnold, where is the theatre?"
"It's on the corner of King and 3rd. We'll be seeing a performance of Twelfth Night."
Olga seemed excited. "I can't wait to see it! I played Olivia in my school's production of Twelfth Night a year ago; it would be great to see how this production compares to it."
The three of them then got into Olga's car and made their way to the theatre. Olga kept going on about her school's production. For the first time since that morning, she seemed to be in good spirits. Helga rolled her eyes as her sister went on about the play, but Arnold seemed genuinely interested and happy to hear her story. After Olga finished parking, the threesome entered the theatre and took their seats.

As the play continued, Olga almost entirely forgot her problems as she got drawn into the world of the play. When the intermission began she thanked Arnold immensely for letting them come and left to get a drink. When Olga had gone out of earshot, Arnold asked Helga what happened that day to make Olga so upset.
"Like I said, Arnoldo, it's none of your buisiness."
"Sorry, Helga. I'm just concerned about you two."
Helga sighed. "Well, football-head, Olga was having some problems at work, and her supervisor threatened to fire her if she didn't shape up. If she gets fired without having a sense of direction, she'll probably give up and run crying back to Big Bob and Miriam."
Arnold gasped. "That's terrible..."
"Yeah, yeah, sure it is, Arnold..."
"...Olga's the only new boarder we were able to find. If she leaves, we'll have to close down the boarding house, and maybe even move!"
"...Sure, Arnold...What!?" Helga's face turned pale. "Um... I'm going to check on Olga." Helga walked over to the lobby, a panicked look on her face.

Helga sat in a corner and took out her locket. "Oh, what am I going to do? If I stick to the present course, I risk losing my beloved forever! I must save Olga's job, if only for the sake of my love... Oh Arnold, the beacon of my life, how could I survive without your presence? How could I..." Helga heard wheezing behind her, and turned around to see Brainy wearing a tux. She got ready to punch him until she noticed two figures who would have to be his parents. Helga waved and grinned nervously.
"Uh... you're from school?," asked Brainy's dad.
"Yeah... nice to meet you. Great play, huh?"
"Uh... Yeah."
"Well, see you later." Helga ran back to her seat.
For the rest of the evening, Helga convinced herself that she would have to do something, anything, to keep her sister from losing her job. She would see what she could do tomorrow to make Olga into a star employee and keep Arnold in the city.
The next morning, Helga woke up and went downstairs to find Olga sipping some tea and reading a newspaper. Upon seeing her sister, Olga put the paper in her briefcase.
"Good morning, little sister! I just know that today will be the best day I've had in a long time!"
"That's great, Olga. I'm sure you'll do well at work today..." Helga smiled slightly as she thought, 'You'll do well because I won't let you mess up this time.'
"I can't tell you how happy I am!" Olga looked at her sister. "Little sister, will you meet me at Le Bolognese at noon for lunch? It's right by my office, and you can take the bus there. It would be so wonderful to just talk with my dearest sister!"
"Sure, whatever. I'll be there." Olga hugged her sister tightly until Helga managed to free herself. "Well, um... I've got to go... I promised Phoebes I'd meet her at the arcade." Helga rushed out the door as she began her plan to change Olga into a star employee and keep the boarding house afloat.

After stopping to buy some daisies at Mrs. Vitello's flower shop, Helga made her way over to Olga's office. There was no way her plan would backfire. Remembering the code to get into the office building, she snuck into Laura's room and placed the arrangement along with a small card on it. She then went over to Olga's desk and found a 'to do' list there. If she could do some of these tasks before her lunch meeting, it would make Olga look more efficient, and ensure that she didn't get fired. While she was in the process of writing down the list, she heard someone come and hopped behind a nearby plant.
Helga watched as her sister sat at her desk and began to work. A few minutes later, she saw Laura enter the building and walk towards her office. 'This is it!', Helga thought. 'One look at those flowers and she'll have to look at Olga in a more positive light!' Helga waited to hear Laura's reaction to the flowers, but only heard a scream. She cringed as she saw Laura walk out with a bee sting on her face and Helga's card in her hand. Laura glared at Olga. "Is this your idea of a joke?"
"I'm perfectly sure I don't know what you're talking about..."
"Well, maybe it was an accident. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. But remember, I've got my eye on you."
Olga sighed and went to copy some papers. While she was gone, a desperate Helga went about her first task: mopping the floor. She was midway through mopping when she heard footsteps. Not thinking to dry off the floor, she hid behind the plant. Soon Laura came in, hands full of papers. Predictably enough, she tripped. The rest of the morning went much like that, and Laura got almost as many bruises as Eugene on a bad day. As Helga hid in the hallway, she overheard Laura angrily confront Olga.
"Now Olga, what has happened today was unacceptable..."
"I know..."
Helga knew what was coming, and she couldn't bear to hear it. Tearing up, she ran to La Bolognese to await an inevitable confrontation with her sister.

Helga sat in the restaurant, head buried in her hands, as she waited for the lunch meeting with Olga. 'Where did I go wrong? Now Olga will be so depressed she'll run crying to Big Bob and Miriam for support... and, without Olga in the boarding house, Arnold won't be able to stay!' She sobbed. 'The one person who kept me from being utterly miserable, and he'll be gone forever! And all because I wanted some attention and felt I had to butt in to Olga's life. Arnold will never really know how I felt...'
Helga looked up as she saw her sister enter the restaurant. She didn't look the slightest bit depressed; rather, she actually appeared to be overjoyed. Helga looked at her curiously. 'Crimeney! Getting fired must have finally made her go off the deep end! She has to be delirious!' Olga, seeing her sister, waved happily and approached the table.
"Oh, little sister, I have the best news to tell you... I've quit my job!"
Helga could only stare at her sister with a look of shock as Olga began to tell her why this was such great news.
"I finally know what I want to do with my life."
"What on Earth are you talking about!?"
"Last night I figured out what I had wanted to do all along. I have always loved acting, but until now I have been to blinded by what mom and daddy have wanted me to do to even know how much I enjoyed it. Going to the performance last night made me realize what I wanted to do."
"Crimeney, Olga! You're just going to drop everything and go into acting?"
"Yes, little sister! I'm going to find an agent and go on auditions during the day. I had to quit my job because it conflicted, but I am going to apply for a job as a waitress at this very restaurant."
"So you'll be staying at the boarding house!?"
"Yes, little sister. Why wouldn't I?"
"...Just curious, that's all. But you just quit your job, like that? Just because you figured out that you wanted to act?"
"...Well, yes." Olga looked a bit confused. "Would there be any other reason?"
"...Why, no..." Helga couldn't keep the charade up any longer. She burst into tears. "It was me! I confess! I mixed up your files!"

"Why would you ever do such a thing to me, little sister?"
Helga told her story, though she naturally omitted a certain football-head. She told how her parents were finally looking at her as the good daughter, and how she hoped that bringing her sister back would get her more positive attention. "But I wasn't trying to get you fired today. I was actually trying to fix things..."
"I see." Olga smiled slightly. "So, you changed your mind, then?"
"Yeah... you don't have to make a big deal about it."
"Ah, I am so proud of you, little sister!" Olga hugged her sister.
"What?"
"You're really growing up!"
"Olga, what are you talking about?"
"You are learning to separate yourself from mom and daddy. You cared about something enough to follow your own wishes. It has been such a long time before I was able to do what I wanted, or even realize who I was; I couldn't help but be shaped by them. I'm finally free from that, free to be honest with myself."
"Yeah, well, I never had that problem, Olga."
"Are you really sure you haven't had that problem at all?" Olga looked at her sister earnestly, and Helga soon realized exactly what Olga was hinting at: Arnold.

Helga quickly said goodbye to Olga and took the bus back to the Sunset Arms. Thoughts of her conversation with Olga filled her head. Helga might have hated to admit it, but she was on to something. Like Big Bob had always said, Patakis were winners; you earned affection by proving your worth and being the best. You didn't show emotion or weakness. Helga shuddered when she compared her own gruff exterior to that of the father who she had always been critical towards. 'Was Olga right for once in her life?', thought Helga as she got off the bus.
Helga got the spare key out of her pocket and entered her sister's room. She began to pack her things. When Helga got back, she would have to tell her parents that she had tried; they couldn't fault her for that. She closed her suitcase and put the key on the table. There was really nothing more she could do at the Sunset Arms. Her time had run out. Helga sighed as she contemplated what she was about to do. Out of habit, she couldn't help but think that she had gone a bit crazy, but she was determined to do one last thing before she went back home. She went upstairs to Arnold's room and knocked on the door. Once he opened the door, Helga gathered her strength and began to speak.
"Arnold, can I have a talk with you?"
The End