Chapter 11

Thinkin' to myself
should I even take the chance

Just as Arnold found the bottle there was a slight knock on the front door, so slight Helga almost didn't hear it. When she pulled the door open there stood Phoebe and Gerald. The latter looking very put out.

"Hey Pheebs, what are you doin' back?"

"Well my parents were supposed to be out so I took Gerald to my house, but when we got there my father was there. So I had come back here." Phoebe explained.

Helga nodded now understanding why Gerald looked like someone had called of the trip to Disney World.

Arnold, who had just returned from retrieving the stashed bottle, gave Gerald a sympathetic look.

"We thought maybe you'd let me stay the night," Said Gerald.

Arnold looked up sharply. He felt sorry for Gerald's ruined plans, but not that damn sorry. "Man, don't you have to be home by one tonight?"

Gerald looked up and gave a drawn out, "Right, I forgot all about that."

Helga looked from one to the other with narrowed eyes. It didn't take a genius to know what had just taken place. "Well since its only 12:30, why don't you guys stay for a drink," She offered smiling innocently at first him then Arnold.

"We'd love to,"Accepted Phoebe giving Helga a wink that was not missed by Arnold. He knew when he'd been out maneuvered.

A while and a bottle later

"It's getting late. I think I'll turn in," Announced Arnold.

Helga went ahead to let him out but instead of heading out the door he started up the stairs.

"Where do you think your going?" Asked Helga tapping her foot.

"To bed," was the simple answer.

"Oh, Hell NO!"

"Aw come on Helga, have a heart. Climbing in your window really took a lot out of me."

"Its not my fault you're a wuss."

Arnold gave her a puppy dog look.

Helga growled then said, "Fine, but your sleeping on the floor."

"After what we just shared?" Arnold feigned a hurt expression.

Through this whole conversation Gerald and Phoebe looked on piecing together a very wrong picture.

"Oh Helga tell me you didn't," Said Phoebe.

"Did you use protection?" asked Gerald.

"What???" Both Helga and Arnold said in unison.

"You didn't use protection?" Asked Phoebe thinking by the 'what' that they had forgotten.

"Man have I taught you nothing?" Asked Gerald.

Phoebe rounded on him, "What would you know about it?"

Gerald winced and looked at his bare wrist.

"Would you look at the time, I'm going to be late for dinner." He said edging toward the door.

"It's one in the morning," dryly pointed out Arnold, who had stopped on the stairs to watch Gerald dig a hole for himself.

"Breakfast then. We have very early breakfast. Well, bye-bye." He said as he finally reached the door and jerked it open.

"Wait just a minute," Said Phoebe, but it was too late Gerald was out the door and running top speed down the sidewalk.

Phoebe took off after him.

Helga laughed and turned to address Arnold, but he was no longer on the stairs.

By the time Helga got to her room Arnold had gotten in her bed and was faking sleep.

Helga shook her head and walked to the closet and got out a blanket, which she laid down on the floor right beside her bed.

Helga walked around her bed and flicked off the switch to the ceiling light.

"Good night Arnold," She whispered just before she kicked him off her bed.

He landed with a thump and a curse.

"You could have at least given me a pillow," He grouched right before a pillow hit him smack in the face.

The next morning

She groaned. It felt like she'd gotten hit by a bus, then bounced a couple times on her head. "Oh God," she prayed silently, "Please stop that pounding,"

For a minute Helga thought her prayers had been answered because the pounding stopped. But it only stopped for a minute. Then it was back in full force. And finally, as she knew it would, the old door caved in and hit the floor with a, "Pow!" Which had Helga withering on her bed in pain.

"Rise and shine!" said a way too energetic Phoebe.

"Um Phoebe," whispered Helga as she held her head in her hands, "Could you be a smidge quieter?"

"But Helga, whatever for?" Asked Phoebe in her most innocent voice.

"Because I got smashing drunk."

Phoebe went on as if she hadn't heard Helga talk. "Whatever could you have been doing last night that would cause you to have a headache?"

"Who could you have been doing last night that would have you so damn chipper?" countered Helga.

Before Phoebe could throw the pillow she'd just picked up the phone rang, and Helga groaned.

Phoebe grinned in satisfaction and picked it up. "Hello home of the hangovers," Phoebe said to the person on the other end of the line.

"So she still has it huh?" Asked Patty.

"What do you mean still?" Phoebe asked while she watched Helga try to rise, grimace, fall back on the bed and hold her head in agony.

"Well when I called earlier she said, and I quote, 'what the hell are you doing calling so early, and why are you shouting? Oh my head!' Unquote. Then she hung up in my face."

'She's been busy this morning,' thought Phoebe to herself when she happened to see a hand grab a pair of pants from the end of the bed.

"Well she still has it, but don't worry we're on our way." Phoebe said.

Phoebe hung up the phone and held out a pair of pants to Helga.

Helga smiled her thanks and proceeded to change in front of Phoebe.

Sometimes Phoebe wondered how Helga could have absolutely no modesty. She chalked it up to Helga's environment.

"Helga we need to talk," Phoebe said as she started raising the blinds.

Helga hissed at the light and dove back under the covers. Phoebe just laughed and pulled them off.

"Helga, I'm serious."

Helga sighed and nodded then grimaced as pain went off like Black-Cat firecrackers in her head.

"I'm taking Gerald back. He explained it all to me. About the girl, about the kiss, about her in his lap," She gritted out the last.

Helga thought that Phoebe and Gerald were already back together. But hey, maybe that was just her.

"Anyway," Phoebe continued after quite a few deep breaths and some muttering in Japanese, "I want to tell you what he told me. I think it will help you understand Arnold."

Helga nodded. Any insight into Arnold's world would be really appreciated.

"But first will you tell me what happened after I left last night." Though it was phrased as a question, Helga knew it wasn't one.

"First bring me coffee," She pulled Phoebe close, "Strong coffee."

Phoebe left to do as her best friend bid.

"You can come out now."

Arnold rolled from under the bed.

"We have two options. You can go out the window and risk breaking your neck, or you can lay low up here and rest while I talk to Phoebe."

"Bed or closet?" Arnold asked referring to where he'd be sleeping.

Helga pretended to think it over and pointed to the closet.

Arnold turned and headed for the window, "Good-bye brave cruel life.

Helga laughed. "Go ahead you big baby."

Arnold kissed her cheek and dove under the covers groaning with pleasure when he laid his head on the pillow.

"You'd better stop," warned Helga, "Or I'll think you like that bed more than me."

Arnold grinned at her from the bed, "Helga, I'm going to marry your bed. But don't worry you can be my mistress."

Helga was about to throw something at his head, but she heard Phoebe on the stairs. She gave him a look that said 'we'll finish this later'.

Helga practically ran into Phoebe as she exited the room. They made their way down stairs chatting about nothing.

In the kitchen Helga drank Phoebe's ultra strong coffee, grimacing after every sip. "Okay now tell me what Gerald told you."

"Gerald said that . . .that . . . hussy! crawled on his lap she didn't fall. He said that she was all over him because rumor was he'd be taking over as captain of the basketball team. Which is only half true. The truth was that at that time coach was always drunk after losing his wife to the Plummer. Gerald and Arnold both got picked as captain because the coach couldn't make up his mind and because the coach was totally useless Gerald coached and Arnold played.

"Arnold was just doing what they agreed on and letting Gerald play while he coached half the season. Well the girl didn't know all this so she tried to coax him into dumping me so they could be together. Which by the way is a moot point since I dumped him. Any who, the Girl had a boyfriend but no one but her, Gerald, and the boyfriend knew about it because she'd begged him, the boyfriend, not to tell anyone they were dating. Don't ask me why he agreed,"

Phoebe shook her head at the stupidity of the male species." Well anyway Gerald asked the little hussy what about her boyfriend. She said he was just a diversion. According to Gerald the girl didn't care that she had a boyfriend or that he was Gerald's best friend."

Helga just stared for a minute then she said, "No."


"You mean . . ."

"Lila," they both said together practically spitting out the name.

"Oh poor Arnold," Helga said sympathetically

"We always knew that girl had sluttish tendencies," said Phoebe

"Yup, but I suspected even before she got caught in the janitors closet with the janitor last year."

"I suspected even before she got caught with Curly in the broom closet in 7th grade."

They looked at each other and laughed.

Helga raised her cup. "To a real piece of work!"

"To the girl who gives hookers a bad name."

"To the greatest slut of them all!" They said together, "To Lila!"

They clinked mugs took a swallow and grimaced.
Sorry Phoebe, but I wouldn't drink that coffee if you paid me!

Next time. . .
A lover scorned.
And the greatest slut of them all comes into the picture.
On the next