An update? What the heck is this, you may wonder? Just wanted to make a quick announcement for all of my awesome TA fans… ;)
The sequel to "Tutoring Arnold" entitled "Learning to be Helga" will begin to be posted within the next few weeks, so please stay tuned if you want to read about more wacky adventures with our favorite cartoon couple after the fact of TA!
I want to thank everyone who reviewed TA because I definitely got some of the inspiration for this new story from a lot of the things people mentioned, in particular Aimi-Chan who thought it might be interesting to see Arnold's reaction to the closet shrine among other things… That suggestion's actually what started this whole thing, lol (it is a LONG story that I will gladly post in the opening A/N to LBTH if anyone cares to know, lol), and now I've got a draft of a story that's basically finished and about as long as TA was originally (the good news, though, is that since the whole thing is basically written out, no one has to wait three years for a conclusion while I pace the floor cursing my writers block, lol!). Also, I really want to thank DP-Shrine-in-closet-girl who's been patient enough to listen to me vaguely rant about the direction of this upcoming story for weeks, and NintendoGal who wrote an incredible companion fic to TA called "Time Alone" (READ IT!!! This won't be continuous with it but read it anyway because it's just precious and you get to see Arnold tell Helga about his dreams about her ;) ). And also a shoutout to SuprSingr whose fics have been entertaining me so much over the last few weeks that every time I thought I might be getting some writer's block, I just thought about all of the hilarious antics she's come up with and got right back to work trying to think up my own :)
Okay, so, a brief synopsis. Basically "Learning to Be Helga" starts out on that Saturday after Arnold and Helga's technical 'second date' in Arnold's room in epilogue 2 of TA, takes them through that weekend, jumps a few weeks ahead, and then (of course) ends with an epilogue set in the future. And along the way we do indeed get to see Arnold's reaction to the closet shrine, people have major conversations, new people are brought into certain loops, old people are brought even more into certain loops, Gerald and Phoebe get their fair share of fun (gotta love them!), certain revelations are made, certain revelations are discovered, Arnold gets this monologue at one point about something that I just loved writing…all in all, I just get to have a lot of fun with two characters I love and hopefully entertain you guys a bit ;)
Okay, okay…anyway, I've put a small preview of chapter 1 below (tentatively called…(I'm seriously coming up with this right on the spot)…why don't we say… "How to Blow a Crazy Scheme in 10 Seconds" (sorry, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was on a few weeks ago…anyway…) Okay, so, please let me know what you think and I'll try and be good and start posting this within the next few weeks (and summer's starting soon which means my updates can be a lot more frequent!)
LEARNING TO BE HELGA (preview)
How to Blow a Crazy Scheme in 10 Seconds
She approached her dresser, the thoughts about how much better things seemed in her life still mulling around in her head. 'Well, one thing's for sure—Arnold's definitely having a good effect on me…' She couldn't help but sigh to herself though and add, 'I just hope all of my insanity isn't messing up my precious little love god TOO badly…'
And Helga could have just gone to bed with that thought on her mind, completing it in whatever way she desired to ultimately convince herself that, despite her fears about changing him, her presence in Arnold's life couldn't be nearly as significant as his presence in hers. Indeed, she could have slipped into her pajamas and crawled between the sheets and fallen asleep and never been the wiser about what happened next.
Unfortunately, Helga was too observant—and someone was too inept (just yet) at being sneaky—for her NOT to notice the sudden scratch of several branches of the tree just outside against her window.
Helga turned to the window, a twist of fear coming into her stomach. After all, she was alone in the house, it was almost completely dark out now, and the amount of fading sunlight in her room was only growing dimmer and dimmer. 'It…it's just the wind. I need to stop being paranoid and go to bed already! Crimeny, what am I—Three?' She was trying to rally some of her usual Helga G. Pataki toughness and courage as she had these thoughts. Nonetheless, she felt herself swallow hard with nerves.
"Ah!" A very small yelp escaped her mouth as she swore she saw some slight but very deliberate and constant motion among the dark branches now pressed against her window. Like, in some way, something or someone was indeed managing to use them to reach the second floor of the Pataki household.
Helga took a couple of deep breaths and glanced around her room. Her eyes fell on her baseball bat leaning against her dresser and she grabbed it, a scowl instantly besetting her face. "Alright," she whispered to herself in the darkness, taking a couple of practice swings, "If someone thinks they're robbing the Pataki's blind, they've got another thing coming!" Helga almost couldn't help the slight wish at the very back of her mind that she was the one with dangerous lumber and not her beloved…or that he was here to help her. After all, she'd probably only have one shot at this if there was indeed a prowler lurking around in her yard and trying to get upstairs via her window, and anything (or anyone) that would contribute to the likelihood of her knocking the creep out with one swing would be more than welcome.
Slowly (and very nervously, though the scowl was still firmly on her face), Helga crept over to her bed (avoiding the line of sight from outside the window) and crawled onto the covers. On her knees, she went to the side of the window, as close as she could get. She swallowed and, shakily, raised the bat high in one hand, and in her other hand reached as far back as she could to just touch the switch of the lamp on her nightstand. 'I'm gonna need to be able to see what I'm doing if I'm actually going to try and take this loser out… Besides, the lights suddenly coming on in a supposedly empty house should surprise the heck out of anybody.' She grinned proudly to herself. The strange movement of the branches continued and then she noticed some steady creaking sounds coming from the wood, not like someone was climbing and occasionally stepping on one limb after another so much as like they were putting constant pressure on one limb in particular—maybe finding a way to pull themselves up using a cord or a rope or something…
Suddenly, and to Helga's great terror (though she was trying to ignore this feeling and focus on putting up a good defensive of the Pataki homestead), she could make out a dark shadow coming through the foliage of the tree. She watched it move closer to the house... Whoever or whatever it was seemed to have some trouble with the window initially (it was unlocked, of course, but there was no way to grip it from the outside to pull it up), but after enough pushing up against the outside frame, they managed to get it open just a little. The amount was just enough for them to slip their hands underneath the window frame…and then they pushed it up as hard as they could, finally opening it wide and letting a blast of cool night air into the room.
That was Helga's cue. She instantly flicked on the lamp switch. "NICE TRY BUCKO BUT YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP PRETTY EARLY IN THE MORNING TO TRY ROBBING A PATAKI!!!" Helga moved herself fully in front of the window and raised the bat high.
She blinked though and her scowl was lost as she saw nothing there. No scary prowler or robber…just the tree as it usually was.
"HELGA…??!?!" Suddenly, she jumped back a bit as she heard some coughing and the rustling of a few more leaves. WHOA!!!"
Helga felt her eyes widen considerably as the most unexpected voice on the planet met her ears. She looked closer at the foliage of the tree and suddenly noticed a hand coming out of all of it, gripping a rope. Arnold's football shaped head emerged as well, though full of twigs and leaves. His exclamation of Helga's name had come from the fact that, as she had turned on her light and dove in front of the window, he had gotten a clear view of her…and the bat she was holding. His, WHOA , however, was the result of nervously trying to free himself from his current position of being tangled amongst the tree branches and the rope he had been using to hoist himself up to the top one so that he could make it to her window without having to climb in the darkness… Now, finally, he felt himself fall forward and out of the bundle of leafy branches, the rope still holding him securely around his waist on one end, though the other end was almost hopelessly tangled in the trees. The end result was that he was now currently hanging down suspended from one of the branches, dangling just below Helga's open window.
"A-Arnold…?" Her mouth hung open and she had an eyebrow raised. Her voice was at a whole new level of incredulity. "Wh-what the—I mean how in the—and how did you—and what are you—and where in the…" She blinked several times in shock, actually speechless for possibly the first time in her life.
For a second she just knelt there, taking in the sight of still totally shocked looking Arnold trying to break into her room. Finally, she lowered the bat to her bed and managed to speak a complete sentence, the flabbergasted look still on her face though. "So, is this a dream I'm having after one too many tainted Mr. Fudgie bars, or did the whole cosmos of the universe actually just invert?"
"Um…" Arnold took several deep breaths, trying to subside his panic as he felt himself finally accepting Helga's sudden (and TOTALLY unexpected) presence at the window. "Okay…I…can explain…" Helga couldn't help but notice the absolute look of mortification on his still surprised face as he said these words. He seemed to be trying to smile to help with the situation a bit…but it was obvious that even he recognized that there was no hope for escaping mounds of awkward embarrassment with this one. "Actually…" he glanced away and she noticed a blush come to his cheeks, "I kind of can't, in a way…"
As the shock of her beloved's unexpected arrival began to ebb, Helga felt herself scowl and she reached out of the window and grabbed the free end of the rope which was just sticking out of the top of the leaves and branches in which it was tangled. "Oh yes, Arnold, you are going to explain to me what the heck you are doing right now or I swear I'm going to toss this rope as far away from you as possible into the tree, lock my window, shut out all the lights and let you figure out how to get down all on your own. And my parents are going to be home soon…that means my Dad…who's going to remember your face from only two weeks ago. Now, give me a reason to even begin thinking of helping you…"
So, what's Arnold doing in Helga's tree? I'm not gonna lie, it's a little precious why he's there ;) And how's Helga going to react? And when do we get to the closet shrine already??? It'll happen soon, you have my word as a fanfic writer!
~Azure129 aka Jenna