It all began innocently enough. Just one summer changed my life forever, without my wanting it too.

I will state here, now, that I was always, up to this point, faithful to Lila. I never glanced or even really spoke to another girl besides my girlfriend. It happened so suddenly with her . . . just like it did this one time . . .

(A/N: No ownies)

It was my 17th summer; I was finishing the school year on a high. The year had been perfect. I was in the running to be school valedictorian next year. I was captain for the basketball team. I was dating the girl of my dreams . . . Lila Sawyer . . . and there was no Helga.

That to me is the most remarkable thing about that year. That my instinctly knowing Helga wasn't there, and being happy and elated…Everything happened for me in so many good ways without her here. Funny that huh?

We had the end of year bash at my Grandparents boarding house, as my parents wouldn't allow such a thing at their house. They liked their quiet. I hadn't yet told Lila that we were going away for the summer and was planning to tell her tonight . . . I just couldn't think of how. See Lila was . . . capable of "outbursts" when she wasn't going to get what she wanted. And I knew my going away wasn't something she was going to want . . .

"Lila, I need to talk to you privately, ok? Meet me in downstairs," I whispered in her ear. I saw her go a little pale and her eyes widen.

She just nodded and excused her self. I went ahead of her and down the stairs.

"What is it?" She asked, slight panic in her voice.

"Nothing bad, I just needed to let you know we need to take a rain-check on the road trip we were planning,"

"Why?" she snapped.

"Because me, my parents and my grandparents are taking a family vacation to the bach at the beach. I would turn it down, but Grandpa's convinced he's going to die soon, my mum and dad just want time with me, and grandma . . . I think she just needs to get away from here for a while-"

Lila held up her hand. "You're ditching me? to go galavanting round the countryside with your family?" she asked snobbishly.

"Well, yeah . . ." I said lamely.

"What about my grandparents, Arnold? What about my family. They were all looking forward to meeting you this summer," she said.

"I know, but-"

"No, Arnold. 'But' isn't good enough. Did your parents know about this road trip? They did didn't they?" she demanded.

"Well, yeah, but-"

"Why don't they like me?" she said a whining sound coming into her voice.

'Hmmmm, because I always give into you and leave them in the cold…' I thought. 'And because you act so selfish sometimes . . .'

"They don't not like you, Lila, it's just that this is very important to my family. Grandma is so sick and this might be her last summer. We all want it to be special," I told her.

"Well, ask if I can come," she said, cheering up suddenly.

'Yeah, right . . . my parents would LOVE that'

"Okay, I'll ask, but I'm not making any promises to you,"

"Eiii! Thank-you Arnold! I love you so much!" she said, throwing her arms around me and kissing me.

Somehow, whenever she said that a little part of me never believed her.

"I'm sorry, Arnold," Stella said, closing her suitcase. "This is strictly a family only affair," she said, jumping up and landing down on her husbands. She winced and looked under her bum, then shook her head. "And you know how I feel about that girl. I'm not hiding the fact that I don't like her,"

"What your mother is trying to say is, it's a family only summer," Miles said, resting a hand on my shoulder. "And I don't like the girl either. Something about her is so annoying . . ." he said. "Sorry, son,"

"It's Okay. It's just telling her that. I knew you would say no, but I just wanted to ask so if she asked I wouldn't be lying," I told them.

"Do you want me to tell her?" Stella asked, an evil gleam lighting her eye.

"No, it's cool. I'll tell her . . . but if I'm not back by five, send a search party, OK?" I said and left their room, closing the door,

"A microscope?" I heard my mother ask, before I walked away. 'Do it over the phone, it's always safer. Besides by the time she gets here, we'll be gone . . . I hope'.

"I hate to be pushy and everything, but could we hurry up?" I asked my parents, looking down the street for any sign of Lila.

"There!" Miles said, slamming the door shut. "Let's go get your grandparents," he said. I sighed with relief. I had had to leave a message for Lila. Thank-you God.

OK. No thank you God. She was waiting at my Grandparents.

"Arnold, I thought you told her no," my mom said.

"I had to leave her a message…" we slowly got out of the car.

"I got your message," she said looking towards my parents, then at me. She was mad. Really mad. But she wouldn't show it. Not in front of my parents.

"I want to break up." She said simply.

I stood there for a second, trying to comprehend what she had just said.

"What?" I asked.

"I want to break up," she repeated annoyed. "If you don't want to be with me Arnold, that's all you needed to do," she said. "I'm sorry," she said, and turned to walk away from me.

"You're breaking up with me, because you can't come to summer vacation with me and my family?" I asked aloud. My grandparents had just come out of the boarding house, along with the boarders who were seeing them off. My parents stopped what they were doing.

"No," Lila said, looking around at my family nervously.

"Oh, so it's because I won't put you and your family before mine? Is that it?" I asked, getting angry. How dare she?

"You are always breaking our plans, Arnold-"

"One plan, Lila. One. How many have I broken of my family's for you? Huh? And what, you don't get your way ONE TIME and suddenly I'm the worst person on the earth?" I yelled.

"We planned this for months! From practically since we got together Arnold!" she screamed. "And you just chuck it away, because your family decides on the spur of the moment that they want to go away. Well, stuff you, and stuff your family!" She yelled, and took off down the street.

"Good riddance," I heard myself say. "Let's go, drama over," I said hoping in the car and slamming the door.

We left not to long after that.

"Are you OK sweetheart?" my mom asked.

"Yeah," I said, surprised to find it was true. "Yeah, I am…"

If only I had known…