Back once again for the renegade master.  Thanks for all the reviews; they make me feel all warm and squishy inside (more so than usual, anyways).  Well, I tried to put some humor into this one (keyword: tried), so hopefully you have a laugh and enjoy.  If not, then I know where you live…

Well, I know which planet you're from, anyways.


The smell of the lunch line was horrid.  If there was one thing that Helga had learned in high school, it was that food does not seem too appetizing when you're surrounded by hot, sweaty teens, most of which had yet to fully grasp the concept of deodorant.  The mix of body odor and chicken… well, at least you'd hope it's chicken… was taking a toll on her stomach, which wasn't in great shape to begin with.  As she finally reached the front of the line, she received her hearty helping of Tuna Surprise with a fitting plop.

"I'll have what the lady's having."

"Arnold?"   She turned around to make sure she hadn't become totally insane.  Sure enough, there he stood, with that ever-present smile on his face.  "Where did you come from?"

"That out of it, huh?  I've been behind you the whole time."  A look of concern crossed his face.  "You doin' OK?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.  Just… a little nervous, that's all."

"A little?"  He could always read her like a book.  "C'mon, you can tell me.  How bad is it?"

"Well," she started as she picked up her tray and brought it to Arnold's attention.  "You remember how I felt when I found out what was actually in this stuff?"

"That bad, huh?"  There was that smile again.  "Look, everything will be OK.  What's the worst that could happen?"

"We tell them, and everyone goes into shock.  Then Harold has a heart attack, and we end up getting charged with murder."

"Wow.  That's… pretty bad."

Helga pulled her money out of her pocket and handed it to the cashier.  "See?  You never thought about the consequences, did you?"

"Why do you always have to be the pessimist?" he asked with a sly smile.

"Because you always have to be the optimist," she sniped, returning the grin.  "That's kind of our thing."

"Well, at least you're smiling now."  The two shared a quick laugh before turning towards their regular lunch table.  "You ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," Helga responded with a heavy sigh.

And so began the longest 40-foot walk of their young lives.

It was just another day at the third table from the door.  While Harold and Sid chowing down French fries like nobody's business, Gerald was once again showing Phoebe that when it came to Chinese checkers, he was 'da man.  But it all stopped when Arnold and Helga joined the table.  The time for fun and games was over.  The big question had to be asked.

"Arnold, my man," started Gerald in a very concerned tone.  "We got a test in Rodderick's today?"

"Yep," he replied with a sigh.  "And if the one you guys get is like the one we got, it's brutal."

"What's it cover?" Sid asked with a gulp.

"Pretty much everything we've done last couple of weeks," replied Helga.

"Even the video?" asked Harold.

Arnold and Helga looked at each other and replied in unison, "especially the video."

"You know what this means, honey," said Gerald with a sigh as he turned toward his girlfriend.  With a nod, Phoebe reached into her folder and pulled out several pages of US History notes which were immediately grabbed by Sid, Harold and Gerald.  Thus continued the gang's most time-honored tradition; mooching off of Phoebe's work.

"You know, I think I should start charging you guys for this."

"You know," Gerald replied, "that ain't such a bad idea.  Do you accept sugar?"

"Always," she said as she leaned in for a kiss.

"Oh, that's great!" exclaimed Harold.  "I've got tons of sugar at my house.  Just name your price."

"Harold, when I said sugar, I didn't mean actual granulated sugar."

"So… do you take brown sugar?"

Another sigh from Phoebe.  "Harold, I don't accept sugar.  When Gerald said sugar, he was talking about something else.  It was innuendo."

"Hmmm…  Never heard of it.  Is that like that powdered sugar that's on top of donuts?"

"Nevermind," cried an annoyed Gerald.

"You know," cooed Phoebe.  "You still haven't paid me that sugar."

"Well I think I should pay that debt in full," he replied with a smile as he once again leaned in for a kiss.

"But… but I thought you weren't accepting sugar."

The entire table stared at Harold in shocked silence… a silence which was broken when Sid smacked him in the back of the head.  Harold always seemed to have a way to spoil any romantic moment he came within 20 feet of.

"Idiot," sighed Sid.

"Man, when are you guys gonna stop pickin' on me?"

"As soon as we find something else to make fun of," said Sid.

"Yeah, speaking of which…" sighed Helga.  "Ummm, I've got something to tell you guys."

"Is it a secret?" asked Sid.

"Well… it as been for a while."

"It's not anything like Jerry Springer, is it?"

"Hell no!"

"Good.  I couldn't handle you being a guy or anything like that."

"You think I'd be thrilled?" Arnold muttered to himself.

"Well…"  Helga paused to take a deep sigh.  She felt a warm hand squeeze her own under the table, and suddenly felt a surge of confidence run through her had to the rest of her body.  The fear was gone, and all that remained was optimism.

She could get used to this.

"… I've got a boyfriend."

"Whoa ho ho!  Go Helga!" cheered Gerald.  Phoebe ran around the table to give her friend a hug, while Arnold watched on with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.

"So who is this future Mr. Pataki?" asked Sid.

"Well…"  Another of her deep sighs was met with another of his hand's comforting squeeze.  She turned to Arnold, smiled, and…

She couldn't resist.  Neither could he.

They kissed.

It was short and sweet, but it was a kiss none the less.  And it was more than enough to send everybody at the table into absolute shock.

"And you guys call me dumb!" exclaimed Harold.  "I may not know about sugar, but I know that Arnold's stupid for kissing Helga.  Her boyfriend's gonna kick your butt!"  Once again, the rest of the table stared at Harold in utter disbelief.

See what I mean about him killing the moment?

"Harold," urged Helga, "the kiss… with Arnold… I kinda thought it was self-explanatory.  Didn't you think so, Arnold?"

"It was pretty clear to me," he said with his trademark grin.

"Well I don't care what you call it, Arnold.  It was still pretty stupid."

Helga was about to explode.  "How could you…  I mean, Arnold is…  He's my…"

"Let it go, honey," urged Arnold.

"But I can't… he's just so…"

"Let it go.  At least he's not having a heart attack."

Helga shot her boyfriend a glare.  "You say that like it's a bad thing."  She burst into laughter and let herself fall into Arnold's arms.

"Man, Arnold?" said Gerald.  "I'm sorry, but that's just a weird site to see."

"Don't worry," replied Helga.  "You'll get used to it."

"Oh, so you're in it for the long haul, are 'ya?" asked Sid.

"I see us being together forever," replied Arnold with a smile.

"But we're in high school," chimed Helga, "so that translates to about 3 months."

"Three months, huh?" asked Arnold.  "I guess I still have to be the optimist."

Helga looked up and smiled.  "I thought I was being the optimist!"