I want to thank the readers who have been patiently waiting for this chapter and who didn't send any flame bombs in my mailbox (despite my deserving it). Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Hey Arnold is not mine.

Chapter 15

What is true love?


Monday, 4:35 am

No.

"Hey."

No.

"Patrick!"

It's not true.

"(#$. Wake up!"

Darkness. Oh my god! It's true! Solar storm's about to hit us. We're suffering electrical blackouts! Supplies… Candles… Must talk to Alicia, mom…

"$&&! If you don't get up, I'll dump this hot coffee on you."

"Logan?" Patrick slowly sat-up and saw the silhouette of his friend by the side of his bed carrying a mug. He looked out the window and noticed that it was still dark. He was about to look at the clock when Logan said, "It's about four in the morning."

Okay. Then why…

"Arnold's missing."

Patrick's eyebrow rose. "And…"

"Hasn't been home since he dropped off Katey."

Oh-kay… "And…."

"C'mon, worrywart. We're looking for him."

What?

The lack of sleep wore off a few minutes later after talking to the nurse. No, she hadn't seen Miss Helga's husband. No, he didn't stay over. He left at around eleven o'clock.

They then asked Gerald but got the same answer. He didn't know where Arnold could be

but as they were about to hang-up Gerald suddenly told them to try the old lake near Elk Island.

'Hope he's there. Argh! Come on, Arnold.' Patrick looked at Logan and saw him without any expression. He didn't know what brought this on. Logan only told him that he couldn't sleep and that was what clued him in that he hadn't heard Arnold come back.

Why couldn't Logan sleep? Was he also worried about Helga? Or maybe about the whole mess that they were in?

"Self-righteous &$ didn't even have the decency to tell you where he was going. If he went to some bar and gotten himself drunk I'm going to haul his hide to the lake. I hope it's dirty, polluted and full of garbage. Then he'll choke and die off of some disease."

Logan was angry.

"He's probably there."

His friend turned his angry visage at him. "I hope you're right."

It turned out that he was right. They spotted Arnold by the wooden and rundown pier, a few meters away from the edge of the lake. He looked like he was waiting for the sunset. Normally, it would have been a good idea—imagine the old wooden dock, the majestic lake in front of you and then you watch as the sun casts an orange shade as it rises through the water. The only problem was that the majestic lake wasn't one at all—it was a dull blue and there were a lot of water plants seen.

It was a good thing that Arnold was there because if they did find him in some sleazy bar Logan would probably have tossed him there and then he would die of some horrible disease. Helga would then beat them both within an inch of their life. Alicia would become boyfriend-less….

"Jerk wad."

Nice greeting, Logan.

There wasn't any garbage seen but the smell seemed to indicate there was (or if there were it probably could be found underwater). He guessed that it was probably habit that drove Arnold to come here.

Arnold recognized the voice. And probably guessed who it was (having met all his friends who else would call him that?) because he turned to face them without any expression. Well, he wasn't surprised when he saw Logan but when he's eyes came to Patrick's it widened a little. "What are you doing here?"

Logan was silent. Patrick sighed a little. "It's 5 in the morning and you weren't there when Logan looked..."

Patrick felt a very sharp pain in his side. "…when I looked for you."

He nodded in understanding. "Oh."

Patrick walked towards him and sat in Arnold's left side and to his surprise Logan sat on their friend's right. Patrick was confused about this at first until he realized that Logan wanted Arnold to stay and force him to talk. That would be fine but knowing him it would be Patrick doing the talking while he just sit there and project a terse aura. Oh joy.

"So…." Arnold began as he settled himself in their company.

"How's Helga?"

Their blonde friend flinched very slightly. If Patrick wasn't looking at his face he would have missed it. "She's okay but still under observation. She'll be released tomorrow… uh later today."

In the corner of his eye Patrick watched Logan's reaction. Nothing.

Oh-kay. What should he ask now? 'What's wrong with you two? What's going to happen? What about Katey? Is Logan going to be truthful and finally enlighten us why he forced me to wake-up in some awful hour just to look for you?'

Plop.

Plop. Plop.

Curious, he looked up and saw that while he was waiting for him Arnold began throwing stones. He did that for a few minutes before Patrick noticed that his throwing was becoming much more powerful. Patrick turned to look at him and was surprised that Arnold looked like he was annoyed by something. A few more seconds the frown turned into a scowl.

PLOP!

He ran out of pebbles and resorted to a stone that was half the size of his fist.

"Jerk! Watch where you're throwing that boulder!"

For a second Patrick thought it was some fish that talked (or mermaids—in a lake?). He turned and saw a scuba diver halfway through the lake. A female, judging by the body form.

Wait a minute. Scuba diver? In a lake?

"Sorry!"

She paused. "Arnold?"
"Yes?" Arnold paused for a few seconds. "Sheena?"

The scuba diver nodded. "I have half a mind to get you arrested for aggravated assault. Now what's your problem?" She shouted and paused waiting for his answer before shaking her head. "You know what. Just stay there. I'll be back."

Sheena placed back her mask on her face and vanished.

Patrick looked at his friends. Still no words. He sighed before saying, "So… what's the deal with you suddenly having anger issues?"

Arnold looked confused for a moment. "Anger…? Oh." The frown came back and he became silent again.

Patrick silently groaned. 'Great. Just great. We're going to be here all day.'

"Helga told me something…"

Patrick brightened. "And…"

The blonde looked at one side. "She said it was an epiphany. A stinking, stupid revelation that…" Patrick noted that Arnold then began muttering things that made even Logan flinch.

'I never realized that I would want to wash Arnold's mouth with soap. Ouch! Now what did Helga say that made Arnold react this way?'

"For shame, Arnold!" A female voice said.

Startled, all three of them turned to find a blonde frizzy haired woman. Logan began to smile flirtatiously. Patrick rolled his eyes.

Sheena (now that she was up close, Patrick recognized the female) came wearing a one-piece bathing suit with cotton shorts. When she realized that there were more pairs of eyes looking at her she looked reluctant to come closer but she strengthened her resolve and walked over. She sat down beside Patrick and was silent at first probably aware that she had the boy's (men's) attention on her.

Patrick surmised she wanted to leave desperately but stopped herself, as it would look weird as she just sat down. Sheena opened her mouth but when she heard her voice begin to crack she shut her mouth quickly and blushed.

She was silent for a few more seconds before saying, "What's the deal with throwing a rock at me?"

Arnold gave her a sheepish look. "I was thinking."

"And does it normally involve objects that could potentially maim a person?" Patrick guessed that Sheena forgot to become shy.

Arnold scowled. That expression threw off Sheena's anger and looked at her friend with a disbelieving face. What could she have to be surprised about?

"My gosh! You look just like Helga that it's scary," she said in an awed voice.

Patrick could imagine any reaction except for this—Arnold was angry before but now…

"I've never seen you angry like that, Arnold. Not even H—"

"I think it would be in our best interests if you don't continue that thought, Sheena," Logan suddenly inputted. She and Patrick turned to face him and saw him give a grin. "If Arnold threw a rock at you before when he was just annoyed, what would he throw next in his condition right now?"

Arnold called him something that made Sheena gasped and Logan grin even bigger. "Helga's a real bad influence, huh, Sheena?"

"Of course, she is! That's why this is ALL HER FAULT!"

W-what? Patrick widened his eyes, Sheena dropped her jaw and Logan frowned.

"She's a nut. That's what she is. She bullies me left and right but all along she had a crush on me. Crush, HA! An obsession, more like it! She even admitted that to me. Even told me that she was a basket case. You know what, she's right!"

He stopped while he looked for something to throw and upon finding nothing gave a slight frown. "Stalking. She would stalk me and mutter some inane poems." His eyes widened. "Oh, gods. The poems in class… green jellybean eyes… cornflower hair… it's about me!" Arnold hid his face in his hands.

"She's insane." He removed his face from his hands and used one of them to smooth back his hair. "It's true. I mean, who else would collect all my used gum just to make a statue of me? Who else would create a shrine in their closet? She even changed it annually!"

His audience though was still, for lack of a better word—shocked. They learned more about their friends' relationship than necessary. They couldn't get past though with some of the things that their friend said. (Helga was like that? No wonder he's reacting like that.)

Patrick though remembered some of the escapades that he and his friends, although it wouldn't be the same weirdness as Arnold, experienced but it happened when they were young. (He was divided between commiserating with him and wishing he also had the same thing.) Kids were supposed to get into these weird situations. He opened his mouth but Sheena beat him.

"I think it's kind of sweet that Helga loved you even then."

The blond glared at her. "Weren't you listening? Look at what she did. I wouldn't call that love! She was obsessed with me. Helga was a stalker. That's it. She just doesn't deserve me." Here he paused as if he realized something (1) but he subtly shook his head.

"You're a pig, Arnold! She doesn't deserve you?" Sheena suddenly interjected. "I thought that you wouldn't have this 'holier-than-thou' attitude. So what if she was like that when we were young. We were all weird back then. I can't believe you pulled a Rhonda and went to the other side. We are all geeks."

In the beginning of her speech the two silent males were agreeing with what Sheena had said. They were surprised that Arnold would become conceited. The confusion then set in after she mentioned that they were all weird. Pulled a Rhonda? Being geeks? The two looked at each other. What?

Arnold didn't show any emotion to Sheena's scolding but he was silent, looking at the lake.

"We're all weirdoes, Arnold; although not to the level of Curly's but still…" She paused. "Look at Sid… his obsession with his Beatle boots drove him to ask all the shoe companies to make them despite the fact that no Seattle companies make them anymore. He had to go out of state just to get one. And me… despite the fact that I'm not getting paid for this I still clean this lake when I can. It's because I want to do it and I don't care what anybody says. Somebody has to clean up the environment. And then there's Rhonda…"

The two males continued to listen in silence as Sheena resumed telling Arnold all the dirty secrets about their friends. Arnold sensing the awkwardness that his two other friends were experiencing decided to stop her. (Of course, there's also the fact that his childhood friends wouldn't take kindly for others to know their secrets). "I apologize, Sheena. I was way out of line."

"You bet your butt you are," Sheena huffed.

Arnold became silent after that. He looked at the horizon.

"I know you Arnold." She gave me a rueful smile. "You could say that my extreme obsession of you paid me in some way." Helga's posture relaxed. "You would like someone just because they like you. I think that because you knew that I had feelings for you you also developed feelings for me."

She looked at me again. "It's not real romantic love Arnold. You were the first person who showed me kindness and I was the only person that reminded you of home."

Helga was telling me the most devastating news yet here she was relaxed. When she grinned I wanted to yell at her. What was so—?

"Cool your jets, Arnoldo. I want you to think about it first before you go and yell my ear off." Her eyes softened. "Don't think that just because of what I said that what we had was nothing. You are one of the most important people to me." The teasing glint was back. "You should feel privileged. Not a lot of people are on that list."

She was trying to make me feel at ease but I was too angry at her. All those years… everything that happened… All I did—it was nothing to her.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Arnold. Say good night to Katey for me. Tell her that I'll see her tomorrow."

I shut my mouth and nodded. Even though I was too angry I was still aware of where we were. I waved goodbye and just left.

'Again and again. That scene plays in my mind again and again. Who is she to say that?' He spoke out loud, continuing his thoughts. "She told me herself that she doesn't love me! Get that through your thick skull, Sheena. She doesn't love me. She loves somebody else. I mean, what the HECK!"

Sensibilities were set aside as Arnold resorted to cussing and name-calling.

Patrick, along with the other two watched as Arnold became silent after Sheena scolded him. They saw a faraway look in his eyes as if he was remembering something. And judging by the negative outburst afterwards it wasn't something good. Was it when Helga told him her 'epiphany'? He was confused as to why Arnold would react this bad to something that happened years ago. Arnold wasn't the type to hold grudges. There must be something else that was setting him off.

Oh.

Patrick blinked. "She doesn't love you."

Arnold grunted.

"And she told you she loves somebody else."

"No. But I guess, she didn't want to make me more angry." His infuriated friend glared at him. "Are you hard of hearing? Or do you have some sick hobby?"

Logan before was just lost to what was happening but at Patrick's insistence of that particular sentence it clicked to his mind what his friend was stating. Patrick's a genius! (Not that he'd say that to him.) "So you're saying that she doesn't love you," Logan says slowly.

Poor Sheena wanted to go to Patrick's other side by this time as Arnold looked like he could murder all three of them and then throw their bodies at the lake. (Now the lake will be harder to clean!)

Arnold glowered at the two but didn't say anything. He faced the lake and just resorted to clenching and unclenching his fists. "Retards," he later gruffly said.

Logan opened his mouth but was smacked in the back of the head by a small rock. Logan looked at the culprit who gave him a warning glare. Logan scowled but still ignored Patrick's warning.

"You seem to be angry by the fact that she doesn't love you rather than the exploits that she did."

"I do not!"

'The heck with Patrick. He's such a coward.' Logan threw him a feral grin even though Arnold still wasn't looking at them. "Oh yeah. She. Doesn't. Llllooovvvveee. You. Not you." He drawled on the words 'love' and 'you.'

They all saw him stiffen but he still maintained his silence.

"Lll—OW!" Logan glared at Patrick who held out his empty hands while silently shaking his head. He then turned his gaze at Sheena who was tossing another rock in her hand. He sulked into silence.

A gusty sigh was heard from their silent friend.

"Maybe you're right. So what? She told me that I 'loved' her because I was homesick and she reminded me of home. That I 'loved' her because I have this thing where I think I love someone because she was projecting that feeling into me."

Patrick noted that it seemed that their friend calmed down somewhat. "Well, why would you be so angry at her not loving you?"

Arnold became quiet. They were watching his face but Sheena was the only one who was openly doing it. It showed nothing of his real thoughts at the moment. Seconds later as if his anger (or would it be considered as a tantrum?) diminished all his strength. He gave a small sigh before slowly laying on his back using his arms as his pillow.

"Stupid. I was right before. How could I forget that?" He murmured. (2)

The remaining three who were seating looked at each other in confusion. Sheena was about to ask him but Arnold continued as if he forgot about them.

"She's wrong. Helga's wrong."

"What do you mean?" Logan asked.

Arnold wasn't even startled. "She said that it was just circumstances. Fate just threw us together dozens of times. You know, like what happened when we were young. And then now… After being separated for some time we met again."

His face seemed like with each words that he said the pain he was exhibiting earlier was slowly disappearing; was being replaced by something like indulgence towards Helga. "It's true in a way. I mean, when we were young my act of kindness focused her attention on me. Some of the stuff I did helped her shaped her actions. But she's wrong. In a way, I just set an example for her. Her actions are her own. There were circumstances that she did good deeds that had no connection to me. Even though she felt like she wasn't loved she still had kindness for others."

'Geez, Arnold you sound so arrogant,' Patrick thought.

Arnold chuckled. "And she also helped me by teaching me to be strong. There was one time that I gave up on everybody but Helga comes along and says that it would be during these times that they need someone like me. 'Your unwanted optimism is what everybody needs despite the fact that they don't say it. So what if they give you grief just be your perky self and tell them what you always spout. Criminey! Just get back to your old self 'cause your gloominess is even worse than your usual sunshine self.'

'It's scary that you remember that instant word by word,' Sheena thought.

"I mean, even then we kind of complimented each other. Yes, she was nutty but she has the biggest and warmest heart I know. So what if we were thrown again together years later doesn't that just prove that we were meant to be?"

"What are you saying?"

This time Arnold faced Logan. "I love her; always have, no matter what she says." This was said with so much certainty that you could feel that it was the truth.

"But you keep forgetting that she doesn't love you. She loves somebody else, remember?"

Patrick flinched at that comment. (Did Logan have a death wish?) He hoped Arnold would spare him and Sheena.

He sat up again. Arnold grinned at Logan. "So?"

"A-Arnold?"

I turned around. Her face wasn't the confident one that she usually displays to most people. Nor was it the softened one. What the look she was giving him was more gentle, a look that he would often see when they were still happy…and together.

The way she said his name combined with that look made him stop even though he didn't want to. She looked at his face and his demeanor and nodded as if understanding what he was thinking. That made him angrier. He was about to say something when she continued. "Find her. Be happy."

Arnold sat up with a grin on his face. 'We will be.' He walked towards land and left his three worried friends.


9: 20 am

An old man lay on a cot in the top of the old boarding house, Sunset Arms. In the background skillful piano playing could be heard. The calming music helped enhanced the peaceful aura that the once noisiest building in the block exuded.

The halcyon music changed into a dark and familiar song…

The once-reposing man opened his eyes and glared at the player of the piano. "Pookie, are you playing Chopin's piano sonata number two?"

Gertie gave no indication of having heard the question (or was probably just ignoring him) as she continued playing the 3rd measure of the song, Marche funèbre: Lento, or commonly heard in the funeral march.

While Phil was trying (and failing) to get the attention of his wife another female was at the doorsteps of the boarding house and knocking on the door.

Dr. Bliss sighed after she shouted to get their attention. She didn't hear Arnold's voice so she could assume that he wasn't there. "I'll just come back later."


11:01 am

"So did you get everything?"

Chelsea closed the drawer and faced Helga. "Yup." She briefly looked around and noticed something. "Where's Tish?"

"Looking for Lees." Helga walked around, looking for anything that might have been missed. After a few minutes cursory look, she pulled back the dividing curtain and sat at the other bed.

Meanwhile Chelsea sat on Helga's bed and began channel surfing. "Why can't hospitals ever get good reception? These are just basic channels."

"It's probably because they want people to get better quickly."

"You're such a negative thinker, Helga."

"Okay. Well, maybe hospitals are the new-age torture headquarters wherein you get poked, prodded, cut up at your expense. Then they increase your suffering by making you watch blurry, dull programs that only show suffering around the world."

"Shut up!"

"Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I leave for a few minutes and I find you two about to scratch each others eyes out." Alicia came in with Tish and an orderly who was pushing a wheelchair.

Helga looked at Chelsea, then her hands which were folded in a way that her fingers were pointing at her. Then finally, she looked at the distance between her and Chelsea.

Alicia scowled. "Just get in the damn wheelchair."

Helga raised an eyebrow. "I'm not paralyzed."

"Which is a shame as bullying you wouldn't be hard."

"I can walk."

"Hospital policy, ma'am," the orderly said.

"Who cares about hospital policy? I have perfectly able legs that I could use."

"I don't know what happened to you during your accident but you've become increasingly annoying, Helga. Just. Get. In. The. Damn. Wheelchair."

"No."

"Please," Tish added.

"Okay." Helga walked towards the orderly, who met her halfway.

Alicia looked at this with a dumbfounded expression. "Arrghhhh!" She yelled with clenched fists.

Helga signaled the orderly to make her face Alicia. She looked at her with a concerned face. "Are you okay, Alicia? Do you need to see someone? Do it while we're still in the hospital. I think…" she turned to face the orderly with a silent question.

The young orderly suppressed the smile that was threatening to appear. "Javier."

Helga nodded. "I think Javier wouldn't mind waiting for you."

Alicia closed her eyes, squeezed the bridge of her nose and then rubbed her temples. She then sighed and started walking out of the room. "Let's just go."

Helga (with the help of Javier) followed without complaint. Chelsea and Tish followed after them.


4:49 pm

"We need to talk."

"Get out."

Blonde eyebrows rose. 'Hostile, are we?' "No way."

Phoebe glared at her from her position in bed. "My house, my rules."

Helga scoffed as she entered the master bedroom. "You talk just like a parent." She didn't pay any attention to the Japanese's glare and sat beside her on the bed.

Phoebe didn't move and just resumed her focus on the television, blatantly ignoring Helga. The black haired woman gave a near precision focus on the television.

"What got you so angry, Phoebe?"

No answer.

"Does it have to do with what I told Bliss? What does discovering what was wrong with me do with you?"

"You're such a callous person, Helga. Anything that happens to you is important to me. I'm you're best friend, for Pete's sake!"

The confusion lessened in Helga's face but it didn't completely clear up. "Okay?"

That served to pop the lid on Phoebe's anger. "Best friends in case you forget should know important events when they occur."

Helga's eyebrows furrowed. "Well, gee Phoebs, if that was wrong with you I should have told you when I discovered that I didn't love Arnold. But then again, there's a problem… I was unconscious when that happened so unless I somehow have telepathic abilities I would have told you!"

Phoebe's lips drew into a straight line and thinned.

"Harboring resentment at me is not a good idea. I'm prepared for the tongue lashing that you so want to do." She gave her a vicious grin. "Let me at it!"

"This is no laughing matter, Helga."

"Do you see me laughing?"

"JUST SHUT UP FOR ONE ($& MOMENT, PATAKI!"

"I'm married you know. My last name changed to…"

"I DON'T CARE!"

Helga looked a bit put upon but shrugged.

That prompted another rise out of Phoebe but she quickly calmed herself and just said in a defeated voice, "How could you be so at peace with yourself? How could you be so calm after what you said?"

"Is that what you're really angry about?"

"Just answer the damn question, Pataki."

"How could I not be? Shouldn't you be happy that I finally know what's wrong with me?" Helga looked at the television but continued. "I thought that by acknowledging that he does have his faults there wasn't something wrong with our marriage just with me. I mean, he may not be doing it on purpose but Arnold's still a jerk by taking advantage of me. I felt that since he married me I have to do everything to please him; that I have to do everything to make myself worthy of him."

The blonde looked at her friend. "It's weird, you know. I was known as a tough no nonsense girl when we were young but when it comes to being married to Arnold I became such a pushover." She gave a rueful smile. "When we got married I had to make sure that my 'love' would be happy even at the expense of myself."

"Don't you see, Phoebs. I was giving him my all but you shouldn't that. I didn't have the sense of myself anymore. Maybe that's why I did what I did. I wanted to do something totally unrelated to Arnold. My usual outlets—my poems—just wouldn't do. Prose, was too close to it. Somehow ice skating appealed to me."

"I wasn't a genius at skating so I had to work on it from the ground up. No teacher or anything, just pure hard work. A good thing, really, as it helped me forget about him."

She paused and gave a slight wince. "When I came home late one night he thought that I was cheating. It hurt." Helga closed her eyes for a couple of seconds. "A lot. But I didn't want him to know. I didn't want him to take it. It was mine, in a way, so I let him believe what he…thought."

Helga gave a small smile to her best friend. "You have to look at it in my point of view, Phoebs. It was for the good that we would separate. I don't really love him, you know. He was my crush, the first person who ever showed me kindness. I was really in need of that when we were young." She gripped one of Phoebe's hands and squeezed. "Thanks to you and Arnold I didn't become that messed up."

"I grabbed that kindness that he offered and just twisted it to 'romantic love.' Here was a guy who gave love (I should have known it was more into friendship) and I wanted it but I was scared to tell him because if he didn't love me then…"

The same rueful smile appeared. "He was the one who first confessed and then I did."

Phoebe grabbed both of Helga's hands. "What if he really loved you?"

Helga gave a humorless laugh. "His optimism really has rubbed off on you. No, he doesn't I should know right? I was practically a stalker then." She shook her head. "No, he's in love with being in love. He probably had an inkling of what I felt and just reciprocated. Besides I was the only one that reminded him of home. If we were both there and he had to choose who to woo I think he would probably choose you. Well, not withstanding your feelings to Gerald, of course." Helga teased her best friend.

Phoebe ignored the remark. "How can you be so sure?"

"I am." She slid of the hold on her patted the Asian's hands. "I'm happy, why can't you be?"

"Because I wanted to have your passion for him. Your love for Arnold is what is true love. I don't understand why you suddenly say you don't love him now when you were unswerving in your devotion for him."

"We were kids then, Phoebs. How would you know that what I was feeling was true?"

"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous, or conceited, or proud; love is not ill-mannered, or selfish, or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs…" Helga continued. "…love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up: its faith, hope and patience never fail. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I know the quote." The blonde smirked. "May I remind you that I am conceited, proud, ill-mannered…" "What you felt for him wasn't that." Helga shook her head. "Phoebe, get it through your thick head that I am happy right now. I can't sacrifice myself just for your ideal." She stared hard into Phoebe's eyes as she said, "It's not true. I'm sorry. We're not living in a fairy tale." Phoebe's frustration was replaced by tears. "I just want you to be happy, Helga." The blonde hugged her. "I am. Believe me, I'm finally happy."

Notes:

Err…. Arnold came out weird but his reactions/rants (as well as his last word to Sheena, Patrick and Logan) will be explained in the next few chapters. This was the best of all my drafts. I hope he wasn't too much out of character though. I am just taking into account that he would be different as he was in Canada with only Helga, her family and their friends.

'Arnold Saves the Neighborhood' never occurred in this story's timeline.

It's been a while and my style kind of changed. I apologize if it's a bit of a change from my previous chapters.

I have an inkling of what's going to happen but at the very least the next chapter would be out by March.

The information on the song that Gertie was playing was retrieved from wikipedia.

(1) See Ch 11 Deserving.

(2) See Ch 13 Running in Circles.

Now you can see why this was such a hard chapter to write. The real reason as to why Helga didn't tell Arnold the truth seemed to me a weak one but it was what popped into my mind as I wrote the story along. That in mind, I am expecting constructive criticisms (and hopefully no flames) due to that. I can't imagine any other reason other than that right now but your comments will be reflected in my future stories (yes, I wasn't idling around when I was stuck in this chapter-they're all incomplete though. sigh! )