Author's Note: This is the final chapter, and I hope will satisfy all of you.
Legal junk: I don't own Hey Arnold, but Nickelodeon does and Mr. Craig Bartlett created it. But this fic belongs to me. Clear? Good.
Chapter 9: The Visit
Two weeks after Rhonda's discharge from the hospital…
"Okay… if you would please be so kind to write your name here miss…" a security officer asked Rhonda to write down her name on the visitor's log book at the mental hospital. She proceeded to do so.
"Okay, Miss Rhonda… Lloyd? Aren't you the girl who got shot by that psychotic kid?"
By now, she was already tired of answering the same question over and over again. Can someone just stop asking that? Don't they realize it's traumatic enough for her to stare at death in front of her eyes?
"Yes," she replied dryly in monotone, irritably. "Like, you wanna make something of it?"
"Oh… no, no, no, no. I'm just shocked that you actually wanted to see him."
"Well, it's certainly none of your business, isn't it?"
"Hey, just doing my job."
"Doing what? Being nosy? You certainly are doing a great job." She replied sarcastically.
"Okay, okay. I'll shut up now. Sheesh, and I thought Amy was rude." He muttered under his breath, comparing Rhonda to his daughter. "Take a seat… a shrink will attend to you shortly."
Without any response from her at all, she put the pen on the table and walked to the visitor's waiting room. It wasn't so big; it looked a lot like a living room of someone's house, with sofas perfectly aligned to the walls and a coffee table in the middle with a pile of old magazines on top of it. Next to a tired looking decorative plant, a vending machine stood next to it. A 21" TV was hanging at the corner of the room. The reception was horrid, as the screen was filled with noise, distorted and she couldn't hear the sound properly. She could be deaf, but a more plausible reason that the volume was toned down. The screen was showing a soap opera of some sort. After flipping through the old copies of Time, Newsweek, and Popular Science magazines many times, someone finally came to her, someone who she actually knew.
"Dr. Bliss? Is that you?"
"Oh, I remember you. You're one of Mr. Simmons' students in PS 118, aren't you? If I recall correctly, your name is Rhonda, right?"
"Oh wow, let me look at you darling! My, my, my, aren't you stunning!" She complimented. She reminded Rhonda of her aunt, who really liked to compliment on her fashion sense. But to be polite, she just gave her a smile. "Well, that's Rhonda Lloyd to you, lady."
"The guard just called me and said you want to see Curly, is that it? I'm happened to be the doctor who's supervising him. I'm the one who's checking his advancement, his progress and the one who's consulting him during his stay here. He's a tough nut to crack, if you'll excuse the pun. Come on, I'll show you to his room. He's quite dangerous at this stage, so I'm not going to let him out, for your safety and all."
They then walked out from the room and headed to the elevator. As they walk, they continued the conversation.
"What do you mean dangerous, doc? As in, like, he's going to attack me dangerous?"
"Well, something along that line. He's pretty unstable, and your presence might agitate him a little."
"Like, so why let me in?"
"It's a part of a test I'm conducting, seeing if he's ready to meet someone else apart from his family and me. "
"So, I'm your little guinea pig in your wicked, twisted evil scheme, huh?" Rhonda accused jokingly.
"Hehe, you could say that. By the way, how's the wound?"
"It's healed, thankfully, but it'll sting if I was running or something. Otherwise I'd have to come here with a wheelchair."
"That's good to hear."
They arrived at the elevator, and Dr. Bliss promptly pushed the button to go up. Just for a matter of seconds, it arrived and they went in.
"Oh, Rhonda. When the door opened up, we'll have to go through a security barrier before we can let you in. It's a standard procedure for visitors in facility. But don't fret. It won't take long."
"Like, okay, I guess…" and the elevator doors opened.
"Good afternoon, doc." A guard greeted her behind a booth. Attending Curly again I see. Well, lookie here, a visitor."
"Yeah, she's with me. Could you go through the metal detector, Rhonda? Thanks." Rhonda went through the metal detector, and another guard came to her and searched her, like what airports did to the passengers.
"All right, you're free to go young lady. No harmful objects found. Hey doc, wanna join me at lunch later?" asked the guard behind the booth.
"I'm pretty busy during lunch hour, so, sorry Mitch."
"You're running away from me, aren't ya?" Mitch said jokingly, smiling.
"Why, yes. Yes I am," Dr. Bliss said back smiling, also jokingly. Both of them knew that it'll be awkward to see a doctor and a security guard to sit in the same table. Just like high school - was the inside joke of the hospital's employees.
"Heh, see ya later." The guard then pressed a button on the panel and the door opened up.
"Well, that was a wonderful experience, wasn't it?" Dr. Bliss said with a smile, trying to ease Rhonda's nervousness.
"Yeah… I think. Say doc, like, is there a place where we could bypass security after we're over?" She said as she walked next to Dr. Bliss in the hallway.
"Sorry, rules are rules."
She let out a soft sigh, "Man, like this facility has a terrible visitor policy."
"Oh come on, honey. It's not that bad. Ah yeah, I forgot to mention, in this area where we're in right now is where we keep most of the mental patients with a high level of insanity and violent here."
"Well, that's comforting!" Rhonda said sarcastically.
Dr. Bliss just smiled at the teen's remark, "Ah, in this room," she pointed a door as they walked by it, "there's this woman that says that some 'Cyborg' from the future is coming at her and trying kill her. And over here," she pointed yet to another door, "this guy claims that he's a cannibal. You learn something new everyday, huh? Well, here we are, Curly's Abode."
"Be thou assured, if words be made of breath, and breath is life: I have no life to breathe, what thou hast said to me." Curly soliloquized in his small room, but had the appropriate necessities to sleep, drink and there was actually a small toilet inside. The door had a small window so the patient and the people outside could see each other.
"Push the intercom anytime you're ready."
Rhonda nodded, and pressed the button. The intercom was located next to the door. "Curly?"
Curly abruptly stop, but paid no heed to Rhonda. Instead, he turned himself away from the door and continues to read. Rhonda tried again. Dr. Bliss watched her from afar as she jotted down some notes on her clipboard, in a writing that you would expect from a doctor; quick, untidy, and nearly impossible to read.
Thursday: 3:36 pm – Subject A's first visit to Patient C. Patient C is not responding vocally to Subject A's call, Patient C is instead ignoring Subject A by turning away from Subject A.
"Curly… it's me, Rhonda. Like, remember me? Your love of your life? Your only true soul mate?" A brief pause, "I guess not… listen, Curly. I know that you probably hate me now—"
"Who doesn't?" Curly suddenly cut her off. "Why do you even bother visiting me? In case if you haven't noticed Rhonda, it's because of you I'm inside this wretched hellhole. Is love too hard and too grand for you? I was just asking for companionship, that's all, nothing less. You know… if it wasn't for Arnold, you'd be six feet under by now. And here I am paying the price, guilty of my crime: love."
- Patient C is showing a hint of hostility towards Subject A. Nothing physical is shown, although the tone of Patient C's voice sounded bitterly unwelcoming.
She was stunned at the remark. Rhonda then let out a heavy breath, and continued. "Well, the reason why am I here… is t-to have a talk with you. I thought if we could start this all over again, right from the beginning, you know, so we could get along with each other… a-and to get acquainted again. I… I just want to say that… t-that I'm sorry for all those years I ignored you and said all those mean things to you. Somehow, deep down inside, I… I do have feelings for you, despite your behavior. Please Curly, let's have a talk, starting from when we first met, please, shall we?"
"What, you think you could change my mind just by saying all those pretty little bullshit to me?! Saying you're sorry, just like that?! You think I'm going to give you a chance?! HAH!! Go to hell."
"Well, what are you going to lose?"
"I SAID, NO!!" he spun around violently and threw the book at her, but the fiberglass window shielded her from getting hit. She quickly darted away from the door, startling. Curly charged at the door, kicking and banging it violently, "Let me out, doc! Let-me-out!! Now I'm REALLY going to kill her this time!" he shouted vehemently, but the attempt seemed worthless.
- Some profanities are being said. Patient C is finally showing physical aggression by throwing a book to Subject A, and the door to the room is being kicked and banged at. Patient C is threatening to kill Subject A.
Rhonda was quite perplexed, but she expected for him to act that way, since Dr. Bliss had told her earlier, but not THAT kind of way. She placed her hands over her chest, as her eyes began to brim with tears. Detecting something was amiss; the caring Dr. Bliss walked over to her and hugged her to comfort, as Rhonda began to cry.
"Rhonda… are you okay, honey? Would you like to go now?" she asked softly with a trace of concern.
"Yes…" she sobbed, "but I won't give up on him. I won't, never. I will come back tomorrow. And if he still doesn't change, I will come here again until he does." She said with a broken voice.
Like she said, she did come back again to the mental asylum. Again, Curly was being hostile to her. Days had passed, and she had tried different approach on him, like bringing him some gift, reminiscing about their old childhood days, and she even brought Arnold along. It was all encouraged by Dr. Bliss, and they became close friends ever since. It was not until the twentieth day that Curly went soft on her.
It had been four months since the incident, but in everyone's mind, the unfortunate unforgettable incident was fresh like it happened yesterday. Although nobody got killed, nevertheless the tragedy left everyone in the school a scar, a huge scar that was hard to heal. The bullet holes at the lockers were still there, as a reminder to the students about the incident and how it wouldn't happen again. And due to that incident as well, the school's security had become stricter and it could rival most major airports in the country. Induced by the security measures taken by other schools in major cities across the country, the school administration even installed some new, state of the art metal detectors at every entrance, and put more CCTVs (Closed Circuit Television Cameras) in every hallway, and employed more security personnel to patrol the school around the clock. The school administration still didn't know how did Curly managed to bypass security before the current measure was taken. What used to be the safest urban school in the country; had now bumped up to the top twenty most dangerous schools in the nation. The final bell of the day rang, and most of the students were leaving their classes, except for Arnold, Helga and Gerald, who were still inside.
"How's the arm, football head? Does it still stings?" she asked, as she strokes his arm.
"Yeah, even after four months. The doctor said I can't raise my arm too high, or it might not heal at all."
"Aww, poor you…" she said, and she gave him a peck on his lips. "I'd better get going, Phoebe is waiting for me."
"See you later, sweetie." Arnold replied.
"Criminy Arnold. How many times do I have to tell you I hate it when you use those stupid lovey-dovey pet names?"
"Okay…" he caved in. "See you later Helga," he smiled warmly.
"Much better, bucko," she smiled back, lifting her bag and went out pass Gerald who was sitting on the table, waiting for Arnold.
"Sweetie is a pet name?" Gerald asked, smiling and shaking his head.
"To her," answered Arnold, smiling back.
"Heh, I'm telling ya man; you and Helga are the oddest couple in school. It was like you two weren't even a couple at all! So, what are you doing after school, man? Wanna join me and the guys for some quick round of baseball?" he said as he and Arnold walked out from the class together.
"I sorta have plans for today. I've promised Rhonda that we're going with to visit Curly at the mental hospital. You wanna come?"
They passed a metal detector, and it didn't ring, "Again? Man, she does really have a thing for him, despite that the fact he tried to kill her and all. It's very kind of you to invite me man, but I think I'll pass this one out. I have lacrosse practice after school."
"Gerald, you said you're going to play baseball right after school, and our school doesn't have a lacrosse team. Which one is right? Lacrosse practice or playing baseball?"
He fumbled a bit, "Uhh, well… Okay, you got me. I just don't wanna see him. He's a psycho, a freak. I mean, he tried to kill you for crying out loud!"
"Well, true… but I met him last month Gerald, and trust me, he's really improving."
"We'll just see after he's released from the… Happy Mansion," Gerald said, grinning. They then arrived at the bus stop, where Rhonda was waiting impatiently for him to arrive.
"Where have you been?" Rhonda demanded an answer, tapping her feet.
"I'm sorry Rhonda, I—"
"Save your breath!" she scoffed angrily.
"Well, see ya later Arnold." Gerald said, and they both did their handshake, and left him to deal with Rhonda alone. He then stood next to her and waiting nervously for the bus to arrive, and there was nothing but silence between them, each with their own thoughts. Five minutes had passed from the intended schedule. The unpunctual bus and the long wait drove Rhonda crazy, and she finally snapped.
"WHERE THE HELL IS THE FRIGGIN BUS!? AUGHH!"
Arnold glared at her, and calmly he said, "Rhonda, it's just five minutes. There's no reason you should go crazy just because the bus is late for five minutes."
"Okay. Okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She apologized. "I'm just anxious to meet him Arnold, that's all. He has improved over the past few months, and I… well… thanks Arnold, for believing in him. You're friend to everyone."
"Don't mention it, Rhonda." He smiles broadly.
Another five minutes have passed.
"You know, I think we should take a cab instead…"
Thus end the story of Curly and Rhonda. I'd like to thank to all who reviewed this fic, and hopefully you'll read my other works as well. Again, thank you, and please leave a review.