A/N: Recap: As she approaches entering high school, Helga is hurt by her best friend neglecting and taking her for granted (thanks to an abusive boyfriend). She's ignoring Phoebe's letters because she refuses to be treated like a thing Phoebe will get around to if there's nothing better to do. Everyone else around her is changing and she's steadily starting to hate her life in general. Needing to break away, and having no other clue where to go, she decides to go see the one person she hasn't seen in years. The one who solved everybody's problems, the one she had lived for when there was nothing else, the one who knew her heart, who broke it when he left abruptly. She's going all the way to Arizona to see him, for many reasons…

Helga had always hated airplanes, and had managed to avoid them up to this point in her life. So needless to say riding for many hours in one half of the time through bad weather, was not her ideal first time for this experience. Whether they go as imagined or not, Helga hoped to experience a few more first times this summer.

She squeezed into the plane's lavatory to splash water on her face and to look her (always slightly rugged) appearance over. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, a few careless strands fallen out around her face. A pair of steely gray eyes glared at the pimple on her chin, a mark on her usually flawless but "sickly pale" skin. Her two (yes 2) eyebrows furrowed as she analyzed her figure, pointing out everything she saw as flawed; From her above average height, to her "too small" breasts, to her extra 7 pounds, to her "oversized" feet.
She tugged at her black tank top, and growled at the jeans she'd decided to wear because to her they suddenly were making herbutt look distorted. Shrugging, she confessed to her reflection, "I'm a last cause." She sealed it with some chap stick across her full lips and headed back to her seat.
Finally she arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. With backpack on and suitcase in hand, she got a cab and handed the driver a post-it with an address she hoped was correct. He nodded and started driving. After about 15 minutes, the scenery was making Helga tired, and her eyelidswere getting very heavy. The driver looked up in his rear view mirror and said, "We're still about half an hour away, so feel free to doze off for a bit."

She gave him a half smile and gazed back out the window. Five minutes later she was asleep.

An abrupt stop shook her awake. The car had pulled up to a house, and the driver was getting her bags out of the trunk. She jumped out of the car and looked around. This was the place, this was it. Panicked she looked herself over in the car window. As she reached for her bags, the driver motioned for her to go to the door. "I'll carry them up for you." He smiled. Something about his smile was familiar…

Helga moved nervously up to the front door, her heart pounding harder with each step. She inhaled sharply and held her breath as she gave the silver knocker three firm raps. Quick footsteps could be heard inside, making their way towards the door. Her feet twitched with the sudden thought that maybe this was a bad idea and she should make a run for it, but the driver was standing directly behind her.

The door knob twisted and with the small creak of hinges, Helga came face to face with her past. She saw histall,tonedbody stiffen, and his sparkling blue eyes widen slightly. For a moment they stood and stared in silence.

"Hi, Arnold."

As Helga said those two words she suddenly felt lighter, because for three years she had thought she'd never get to say them again.

"H-Helga?" he finally stammered.

"That's my name." she joked timidly, his reaction worrying her.

Suddenly a huge smile spread across his face, and a second later Helga was wrapped up in his arms as he hugged her tightly.

He pulled away some, his hands resting on her shoulders. "I can't believe you're here. You, out of the whole gang, coming all the way out to AZ to see me."

"Yeah, well you'd better appreciate it; my savings account took a major hit just for you…football head." She grinned.

He chuckled and grabbed her hand, "come on in."

The driver followed behind Helga and after putting her bags by the stairs, went into the kitchen and got himself a drink.

"Arnold…" Helga worriedly pulled on his arm, "the driver is raiding your kitchen."

He stifled a laugh, "Don't worry. He owns the place." He yanked her into the kitchen, "Helga this is my dad."

The man grinned, "I've heard so much about you."

Helga shook his hand, relieved. "Not much to tell I'd think."

Arnold's dad raised an eyebrow and gave his son a look, "You'd be surprised then."

Arnold abruptly grasped Helga's hand again and turned her to him "Moving on…What brings you down here?"

Helga struggled for words, "Well…um…" she glanced over at his dad, "it's kind of a long story. Some of it I'm still trying to sort out."

Arnold nodded, understanding it seemed. "How long will you be here?"

She shrugged, "um, not really sure…"

"Won't your parents worry?"

"Yeah right. My dad was more than happy to buy my ticket for me."

"Where are you going to stay?"

"I dunno"

"Wait, isn't school still in session?"

She gasped exhaustedly and threw her hands up, "Look Arnold, I didn't really think this out. I just…really wanted to see you." Calming, she grinned meekly, "so here I am"

A pause and then Arnold linked arms with her, "Alright then. You'll just have to stay here and hang out with me all summer."

Helga looked at him with shock, "Arnold I couldn't do that. You're talking about a huge imposition, and I don't think your dad would appreciate it much."

"Now how do you know that?" Arnold's father smiled, "Helga, from what I've heard about you from Arnold, you sound like a great girl, and this area doesn't have many teenagers. Arnold could use a friend like you around this summer. So, as long as you're in Arizona, you're welcome in this house."

Helga grinned, shaking her head in disbelief, "You are the coolest parent I've ever met."

The man pointed at Arnold and said to him, "See, I told you I'm cool."

Arnold rolled his eyes and grinned, "Alright keep telling your self that dad. I'm gonna show Helga around."

With that, Helga was given a tour of her new home, for the next couple of months at least. The downstairs was the kitchen, dining room, and spacious living room with a complete entertainment system and sky lights.

Upstairs was the bathroom, Arnold's room, his dads room, and a spare room with only a twin bed and a small dresser in it. "Sorry it isn't all that cozy of a room. We've been meaning to decorate it."

Helga beamed at him, "It's comforting in its simplicity."

She sauntered over to the bed and flopped down on it, and Arnold followed. For a few minutes they laid there, bathing in the glow of the sunset streaming through the window.

"You must have really exaggerated talking about me to your dad, to convince him to let a girl he just met stay in his house." Helga said.

Arnold sat up, "Not at all. Idescribed you tohim exactly how I saw you in my eyes. That rough and tough girl act didn't fool me."

"I know" Helga said softly.

(((A pause)))

"So what's wrong? Something has to be going on back in the city to force you to come all the way out here to see the same person you said you never wanted to see again all those years ago."

Helga sat up (Arnold had hit a nerve), "Well that was then... and what else did you expect me to do! I spend almost my whole life hiding my feelings, and the day I finally expose my bleeding heart to you, you tell me you've found your father and are moving away in two days. It was a hard blow, I was hurt and embarrassed. So much I thought that never seeing you again would be the only way I could recover. Anyways, you didn't seem all that torn up over the whole ordeal…"

"Are you kidding!" Arnold cut in, "I've never been so torn in my life. The gang was getting along great; you and I had finally started becoming good friends, when suddenly this whole new life is presented to me that I just couldn't refuse, because I'd finally have a dad. You saying those things that night was just… too much for me to handle. Either reaction I was considering would have ended up hurting you in the end. I tried for the least painful."

Helga shivered slightly and then asked him in a voice above a whisper, "What would have been your other reaction?"

Arnold stared deeply into her eyes, his voice suddenly becoming husky, "I would have done…this."

He leaned in kissing her lips sweetly and gently. Helga had kissed him before but never like this. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling his body closer. But then he pulled away.

His breathing was staggered, "You can see why I opted for plan B that night."

She looked out the window and nodded slowly.

A/N: So what do you think? To continue, or not to continue?...