Punch Love

Disclaimer THINGY: All characters or anything else relating to Hey Arnold! were created and owned by Craig Bartlett...not me.

Chapter One Recollection

Helga Pataki sat in the back of her Calculus class, utterly bored as usual. Why Calculus existed, she'd never know. Though Helga hated the subject, she did not struggle in it at all. On the contrary, the blonde-haired girl had the highest grade in the class—probably in the whole school. Helga was, to put it lightly, a genius. Her intelligence was above that of the average sixteen-year-old though many that knew Helga by reputation would never suspect her to be as smart as she was. This was do in part to Helga's attitude.

Helga's attitude was not what many would call pleasant. It was quite the opposite. Helga's outlook on life hadn't changed much since middle school, or since grade school for that matter. She was well known, not because of popularity, but because of how notorious she was for being a, well, bully. No one messed with Helga G. Pataki and that was final. Helga was smart enough to not go picking fights with people, but those that started shit with her were sure to be sorry for it in the end. Helga had the uncanny ability to frighten the living daylights out of anyone that messed with her, simply by shooting them one of her infamous glares. True, the girl had an ever-present scowl on her face, which could possibly add to the problem.

However known Helga was throughout her high school, those that didn't know her in the first place mightn't have thought her to be so callous just based on her appearance. Helga was now in her sophomore year of high school and though she had not changed much in personality, her looks had taken a drastic turn. First things first, the unibrow had to go, and Helga had had a satisfying time plucking out each individual hair to shape her singular brow into two shapely ones—perfect for narrowing when angry or raising when she was feeling particularly sarcastic. Despite her change in appearance, Helga honestly didn't care what others thought of her. Not many people knew it, but Helga was quite insecure about the way she looked. It had mostly to do with the fact that her parents rarely noticed she was alive, and it meant something to her to get a comment from Meriam or Bob, otherwise known as her parents, about how she looked. She had plucked the hairs just above her eyes down to very fine lines, but it suited her very well considering her eyebrows were so unnaturally dark. They contrasted to her blonde hair, which she didn't wear in pigtails any longer. Helga had had it down past her waist just the previous year, but decided against keeping it long, so she had chopped it all off. And imagine this: Helga had actually donated it, though she'd never admit that to anyone. Now her hair hung messily around her face in a sort of pixie cut. She gelled it in the back when she felt like it so that it stuck out in random spikes, but it was flattering on the pale girl. Helga also wore a lot more makeup. Her hazel eyes were lined in black with bright red shadow adding to her odd appeal. Helga's lips were a dark red and her ears were covered in various silver hoops. Helga was dressed casually that day—by her standards that is. She wore baggy black pants with chuck taylor-clad feet, and a bright red band t- shirt that clung loosely to her wiry frame.

Yes, Helga was now regarded as a 'freak', though she'd always been the odd one out. Ever since grade school, she had never had very many friends, save for Phoebe, though their friendship died at the beginning of high school. During ninth grade, Phoebe had turned into a full-fledged prep, completely forgetting about the timid, intellectual Phoebe she had been ever since she was a little girl. She'd still talked to Helga, but it became less and less frequent. Helga tried to remain indifferent about the situation, but the truth was it hurt her deeply. Helga constantly regretted the many times she'd ordered her former best friend around like some kind of slave. Well, you reap what you sow.

Helga's mind began to wander as the teacher at the front of the class babbled mindlessly. She began thinking about all the people she used to know, call it a trip down memory lane.

[Let's see...] Helga thought with some sort of perverse amusement. [There was Gerald? Whatever happened to him? Oh yeah...he became Mr. Jock and doesn't even look at me anymore. Rhonda...did she ever like me? No. Mutual feelings. Sid...that boy is on crack...I think he got suspended. How about Herald? Still as obese as ever and bald no less... the stupid cow...Stinky...] Helga smiled and looked over at the boy sitting next to her.

He was very tall and gangly with a hooked nose and pale skin. On his right hand was a spiked bracelet he'd been wearing since before Helga had even knew him. It was Stinky. Although now he preferred going by 'Topher'. Odd that he'd ended up in her Calculus class. Apparently, he was one of those geniuses that no one ever suspected—kind of like Helga herself. He looked over at her, his gray eyes scaning over her in that same old, vacant way as he smiled. It was common knowledge that the poor sap still had a crush on Helga. [Crimminy...get a life.] Helga thought bitterly as she turned away from 'Topher'. Helga continued with her daydreams. [Nadine is still obsessed with bugs...heard she wrote a poem about one in English...Eugene is still clumsy as hell but he learned to play the guitar and now all the girls are drooling over him...what morons.]

Helga was snapped out of her wandering reveries as a boy casually strolled into the classroom, one hand in his pocket while the other held a slip of paper. He handed the teacher the slip and she quickly told him to take a seat so he sat down at the first one available—second to the back, in the next row over from Helga. She shot him an annoyed look, that of which he returned in full with a broad grin and a slight wave. Helga was momentarily stunned. Usually when she pulled her death glare on people, guys especially, they quickly averted their eyes and left her alone. This kid, however, had the gall to keep turning his head around to look at Helga while the teacher rambled on. Being her usual self, Helga flipped him off and proceeded to continue on with her daydreaming. One name rang clearly in her mind.

[Arnold...]

What was there to say about Arnold? [He's dead.] Helga thought with surprising clarity and no emotion. Arnold had tragically died in a car accident during eighth grade. It came a complete shock to everyone. Arnold was one of those people that everyone had to like—there was no way around it. He was just an all around nice guy.

[Always helping people...always being nice even when I called him football- head...] Helga trailed off in her head. She hadn't thought about Arnold since last year. She had been resolute this year about keeping him out of her mind. His death had totally destroyed her in eighth grade. It was the year that she was actually trying her hardest to be nice to him. [All in vain...all wasted] the words struck like knives inside her head, and she could already feel an imminent headache welling up behind her temples. [He's gone, Helga. Get over it you big baby.] Helga bit her bottom lip so hard, she could taste the metallic of blood giving a bitter introduction to her tongue. She tried desperately to put something or someone else on her mind. [When I had that picture frame of...him...I would always say the stupidest things.] she recalled, smiling just slightly. [I was such a poet.] Helga had a very odd realization then, and out of nowhere. Brainy.

It hit her like a sack of potatoes and she suddenly cracked a grin. He was always the one that would be right there, breathing down her neck, just after she'd had some encounter with Arnold. It was like he always knew where she was. Helga had socked him quite a few good ones in the past. Brainy had mysteriously disappeared during Helga's seventh year, and no one had heard hell or high water from him since. Not that his absence had plagued Helga's mind or anything. She hadn't thought twice about him since he'd left. Everyone that knew him, which was very little, just said that his dad was a military officer and his job called for them to leave. No one even knew where. [He was so annoying anyway.]

Helga's thoughts of the asthmatic boy with the mangled glasses—due to her many punches—were once again disturbed by the shrill voice of her teacher.

"Oh!" sang Mrs. Honey who was a round woman in her forties with a much too cheery persona than Helga cared for. "Class is nearly over, but I would like to introduce our newest student. His name is Devin Clyde. Please stand up, Devin."

Helga had practically forgotten about the new student already, but looked at him with intrigue as without any hesitation whatsoever the boy stood, beaming around at the class. Helga noted right away that he was cute. Very cute. The fact that she had been irritated by him entering the classroom earlier had hindered her from noticing that blatant fact before. It was odd, but he was dressed much like Helga herself, only in that more boyish way. He wore baggy black pants complete with red chuck taylor's and a patterned, pearl-snap collared shirt. His hair was a light brown colour and it fell down around his eyes stubbornly, but flattering nonetheless. Helga couldn't place it, but he looked incredibly familiar.

"Mr. Clyde.if you would please say a few words to tell us about yourself," Mrs. Honey said, while the whole classed stared at the new guy.

This Devin character wasn't nervous at all, something Helga was almost impressed with. "I would be delighted, Mrs. Honey. Hello all," he greeted the class, moving his hand in a lazy gesture that could have passed for a wave. The class just gawked at him, no one making a move to reply. "Uh...hola?" he tried. Silence. "OK...tough crowd...how about my water just broke and I think I need to be rushed to the emergency room before this baby comes?" A few people laughed as he sat on his desk, imitating a woman in labor.

Helga couldn't help it. She cracked a grin at this guy's display of absolute selflessness. Devin seemed to have noticed the smile for it seemed he was looking over at Helga every other second—something Helga was becoming more and more aware of. Mrs. Honey settled down the class and he continued.

"Well, I moved here from Spain because of my dad's job, but I lived in this same area when I was in grade school. I went to PS 118." A few students looked surprised, their attention grabbed. Rhonda was sitting in the front of the class holding a compact mirror, and she gasped, probably thinking a hunk like that couldn't have gone to her school if she didn't know about it. By the way, Rhonda's daddy paid his daughter's way into an advanced Calculus class. Stinky and Helga exchanged puzzled looks as the new guy continued on. "Um...I like bread and writing philosophical songs of anguish to play on my guitar in my free time." The boy sat down, but stood up again really quick before Mrs. Honey could say anything. "By the way, my name is Devin but I like to go by the name Brainy. I suppose you could call it childhood nickname."

Before anyone could react, the bell rang and students filed quickly out of the class. Helga didn't move. She looked at Stinky and Rhonda's reactions and realized that the name sounded familiar to them, but neither of them knew who he really was, so they both walked out of the class as well, while Helga stayed seated. The name had struck a large bell inside Helga's brain.

[Brainy?! Where the hell did he come from?] Helga realized that him walking into class must have subconsciously triggered her thoughts about the little runt. Though he wasn't so little anymore, or runty for that matter. [How did he grow to be so cute?] Helga shook her head in disbelief as she gathered up her backpack, shoving her book carelessly inside of it, and slinging it over her shoulder. [That stupid lunkhead! He probably came back to stalk me again!] Brainy--or Devin Clyde- -was going to be in Helga's Calculus class for the rest of the semester, and all Helga could think about was backhanding him again like she used to in grade school.

Here's the first chapter of Punch Love REVAMPED. I'll be redoing all the chapters slightly...just improving them. Read and review, my lovelies.