Summer Stories

by the Wooden Star Wonder

My disclaimers: Know what I hate? Disclaimers. I mean, I know I don't own Hey Arnold, you know I don't own Hey Arnold, I'm not claiming to own Hey Arnold, so can't we all just get along?

A/N: Here is my very first attempt at a fanfic. I am acknowledging right off the bat, I'm changing characters' personalities, but I'm trying to do it realistically. After all, everyone changes, so to do the PS 118 gang. Anyway, enjoy and review. Thanks.

Chapter the first: School's Out (well, almost)

The days of blond pigtails and pink dresses where long gone for Helga G. Pataki. Seventeen and living life, Helga saw the merit in changing her outfit at least once a day. If you opened up her closet now, it wouldn't be a row of pink dresses that would catch your eye but a variety of different styles. Oh, and what's happened to the pigtails, one might ask. Well, that dark eyebrow had not only been a major source of waxing pain, it also proved to be a glimpse into the future. Naturally, as time would tell, Helga was a dark brown, but, like so many naturally browns do, Helga soon joined the ranks of the dyed blonds. Not unnaturally blond though, just…subtly. If fact, one might say that was the only subtle thing about her.

          Still loud and boisterous, she didn't "take no shit, from nobody". If you pissed her off, she'd tell you. If you treaded on her toes, she'd tell you. And believe you me, if you hurt her, oh brother would she tell you. Outward appearances aside, really she hadn't changed that much.

          Well, there was still one other little, tiny, teensy thing that was different. Arnold was gone. Gone from her shrine in the attic, gone from the school, gone from her life. His parents had taken him away the summer before grade seven. At first she had been heart broken – the volumes of poetry from that era were known as the Blue Period – but, as time will do, she got over the loss, and, with a little trepidation, went on to love again.

          It was the Friday before the last day of class. The last day of high school. Sure, there was still a week of exams to sit through, but then…that's when the greatest summer of Helga's life would begin.

          She met Phoebe on the front steps, just like everyday for the past four years (well excluding Phoebe's bout with mono). Giddily Phoebe jogged up the steps, wrapping her arms around Helga, bouncing from one foot to another. Phoebe's "happy dance", as it had become known as. Especially around exam time and report card time did it frequent the halls of Franky D.'s High School.

          "Wow, Phoebe, calm down. What's got you so…like this?" Helga pushed back away from her friend. Phoebe hadn't changed much, still short and slight. Her glossy, black hair hung a little longer, framing her face, and the baggy sweaters had been plucked from the wardrobe like Helga's rogue brows, but besides that she hadn't changed much.

          "It's our last day of high school! Ever!" She skipped into the building, grinning wildly at Helga. "Don't you see? This is what I've been working towards for so long. This! Graduation! Harvard! This!"

          "You haven't graduated yet. Don't be so confident." She pushed past Phoebe, walking slowly down the hallway, looking about, almost sadly. What? Helga G. Pataki feeling something?

          "I thought that you of all people would know what I was talking about. What about McGill. Montreal? Canadian boys?" Phoebe giggled. "I can't believed you're not happy."

          "Look, Phebes, I'm not not happy, only…pensive."

          Phoebe rolled her eyes. "That's bullshit. Something's wrong with you, I can tell. But whatever it is, it isn't going to ruin your, or my day. C'mon, Pataki, look alive."

          A smile cracked on Helga's face. She shook her head. "Fine, whatever. I'll be happy today, but tomorrow, oh, you'll have one wet shoulder."

          Phoebe shrugged then grabbed hold of Helga's elbow, wrenching her down the hallway. "We'll be late!"

          "Wouldn't you like to skip homeroom at least once in your entire high school career?"

          "Nope. It's called perfect record, Helga. You should try it sometime." Phoebe looked back at Helga, making a face, before turning back and moving more resolutely forward.

          "Fine, fine." Over a decade of friendship had taught Helga not to get between Phoebe and school. You'd get trampled in the process.

          "Phebes!" Someone at the end of the hallway called. Both girls turned to see the owner of the voice. Correction, if your name was Simon Kneale you could get in between Phoebe and class.

          "Simon!" Phoebe dropped Helga's arm, running to those of her boyfriend of one year and three months. That's another thing that should be mentioned. Did you really think Phoebe and Gerald would be together forever? At the end of grade six they parted on amiable terms. Really, they had never had much in common. Phoebe was smart, she was a thinker. Gerald played sports, watched sports, breathed sports. They came to a point in their relationship where they realized that they had absolutely nothing in common. As such, they split and now Gerald was dating the captain of the school's Girls Lacrosse Team, and Phoebe was going out with the school's head boy, Simon Kneale.

          Six-four and drop dead gorgeous with short locks of black hair that hung about his sculptured face, the head boy was the coveted possession of the small Asian girl. When they started dating, girls would whisper jealously of "that little, dark haired bitch", but that was until they got to know her better. Now, while girls still spoke jealously of Phoebe, they did so with less venom and much more benevolence.

          "Hey, Phebes, you're going to be late." Simon teased, kissing her lightly.

          Phoebe glanced down at her watch, and nodded vigorously. "Shit, you're right." She took off down the hall, once again in possession of a Helga who was protesting mightily. So, it looked like not even the handsome Simon Kneale could stop Phoebe on her last day of high school.

          Classes went by pretty quickly that day. Well, considering that Helga only attended first period (which turned out to be a snore) and then took an early lunch that extended into the afternoon, classes went by pretty quickly. Her extended lunch was spent, for the most part, lounging in the cafeteria with Lila, Sid, Nadine, and Stinky. The tedium was broken for about a period by Gerald who showed up with a notebook full of Calculus notes that he declared he would never need again. The next hour was spent seeing who could sink the most Calcu-balls into the recycling bin (Nadine had insisted). Not surprisingly, Gerald, the sports star extraordinaire won.

          So why hadn't Helga, and the gang just left school? They weren't attending class, so why stick around? Well, there's an easy question to answer.

          Lila stuck out her wrist, checking her watch. "One more minute." She enunciated. Long gone were her days of irritating phrases like "golly gosh", or "ever so nice". Now, with a head full of chestnut hair, she acted more appropriately for the head cheerleader. She had swapped the dreadful green outfit for knit sweaters and short skirts back in grade seven, and those expressions were replaced with more vulgar phrases along the lines of "darn it", and "frickin' heck". (So, she hadn't changed as much of some of the other PS 118 crew, "frick off".)

          "Ten…nine…eight..." Everyone joined in, intoning each number with growing excitement, "seven…six…five…four…three...two…one." The bell rang. Their last bell ever. Around the table everyone jumped up, slapping high fives, hugging, even a bit of kissing.

          Phoebe arrived a few minutes after the bell on Simon's arm. She grinned at Helga, hugging her tightly.

          "Well, that's that." Helga whispered, squeezing her best friend happily. "High school's over."

          Phoebe drew back from Helga, her eyes dancing. "And the summer of our senior year is about to begin."

          Helga mirrored Phoebe's look, nodding enthusiastically. "I wonder what crazy things we'll do this summer."

          Phoebe shrugged, slipping her arm back around Simon's waist. "Who knows? All I know is it's going to be a summer to remember."