"You WHAT?????" 

This was cruel.  Arnold told him that he had a shocker for him, but this was well beyond shock.  This was a lightning strike running through his body.

"Yep" was all that his grinning friend would say.

"You… and Helga… together?"

"That's what I said."

"Helga G. Pataki?"

"Unless she's changed her name in the past few hours, yes."  Arnold seemed to be getting annoyed with the line of questioning, but Gerald persisted.

"We are talking about our Helga, right?"

"Right"

"The same Helga that's in our 6th grade class with us."

"The very same," replied Arnold.

"Our Helga."

"Yeah… although technically, she's my Helga now."  Arnold couldn't help but grin at the thought of his relationship.  However, it was that very same thought was about to make Gerald's head explode.

"You've got to be kiddin' me, man!"

"Believe it."

"I mean… Helga G. Pataki!"

"I think I know my own girlfrend's name, Gerald."

Arnold's choice of words took Gerald aback.  "I… I don't believe what I'm hearing."

"Would I lie about something like this?"

"No… but then again, you wouldn't lie about anything!"  Gerald chuckled a bit at the thought of 'Mr. Morality' stretching the truth.  Arnold, though, wasn't laughing.

"Actually, Gerald, I have something to tell you."

"I knew it!  I knew you were kidding!  I mean, why would you go out with a girl like Helga?"

"That's not it…"  Arnold bent his head towards the ground, unable to watch his friend's expression from what he knew would be another huge surprise.

"What is it then?"

Arnold sighed deeply and held up three fingers.

"Three?  Three what?"

No response from Arnold.

"Three days?  Three seconds?  Three point stance?  Spill it, Arnold."

"Three months," he muttered.

"THREE MONTHS???  THREE DAMN MONTHS!!!  How could you… I mean… THREE MONTHS???"  Gerald's brain wanted to continue this tirade, but his mouth couldn't keep up.  There was so much he wanted… no, needed to know.  But while his brain was in a state of panic, the rest of his body was in a state of shock.

Dead silence followed.  Neither could speak; Arnold was too afraid of Gerald's reaction, while Gerald was too disgusted with this new revelation.  Finally, the silence was broken.

"How come you didn't tell me till just now?  I thought we were friends."

"Gerald, you know you're still my best friend, but…

"BUT what?"

"Aw, how can I put this… I knew that your reaction would be something like this… so I wanted to make sure that this me and Helga were… that we were for real… before I got you all worked up.  I was… afraid of what you'd say."

"Afraid?  What for?"

"You're not gonna believe this."

"Right now, there's not a thing you could say to me that would surprise me, even if it was that you're Satan himself!"

"That reminds me…"  Arnold began to chuckle, and soon, Gerald followed suit.

With the tension now broken, Arnold felt comfortable enough to explain.  "Listen Gerald: I know how you feel about Helga.  I know that you two aren't the best of friends, and you probably won't be anytime soon.  I was afraid that if I told you sooner, you'd say something that would make me think that me and Helga was a horrible mistake."

Now it was Gerald's turn to put things delicately.  "But if you and Helga was a mistake, why wouldn't you want me to tell you?"

"You know that song that goes 'If loving you is wrong, then I don't wanna be right'?"

"I heard of it," Gerald quickly replied.  A second later, his mind processed what his friend had just said.  "Wait a second… you mean you actually… love her?"

"I think so."

"Wow…"

"You're telling me."

"Never thought I'd see the day.  I mean, this is Helga G. Pataki we're talking about!"

"I thought we established that already," Arnold said as a smile returned to his face.

"I know, I know, but think about it… You.  And Helga G…"

Quickly, Arnold raised his hand to quiet his friend.  "Gerald, I love you like a brother, and I love the sound of my girlfriend's name.  But if you say 'Helga G. Pataki' again, I'm going to have to hurt you."

"Aw c'mon, man!  It's not that bad, is it?"

Arnold turned towards Gerald, looked him dead in the eye, and smiled.  "Rhonda Wellington Lloyd."

Gerald quickly blushed before retreating.  "Alright, man, you got me.  I'll stop.  I'll stop."

"C'mon, I still owe you five more!"

"Man, you don't owe me anything," said Gerald.  "Well… maybe one thing."

"And that would be…"

"You and Helga."

Arnold sighed.  "Didn't we just go over this?"

"I mean… how'd it happen?  I mean, you are a guest.  If you're gonna come to my house and scare me out of my mind, the least you could do is give me the details"

Arnold quickly glanced at his watch.  "Wish I could tell 'ya, but if I don't get home in the next two minutes, I'm as good as grounded," he said as he began to make his way to the door.  "Hey man, I'll tell you tomorrow, OK?"

"Alright, Arnold.  But at least tell me this."

"Yeah?" he said, about to take his leave.

"Why her?"

Arnold stopped in his tracks and turned back to Gerald.  He thought for a second before starting for the exit.  As he opened the door, he turned to his friend and said…

"Why not?"