AN: This story is based on an earlier story of mine written in Russian. Ann-Rose Lergic said she liked it, and I have decided to present it to English readers as well.

Thanks: To Pyrex Shards for helping with fixing my mistakes.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

o-o-o

"Young man, could I please have a little talk with you," Arnold heard Grandpa's voice from the downstairs. Never before Grandpa had called him 'young man'. Usually it was 'Short man', a nickname pretty annoying to Arnold (even though he would never dare to tell Grandpa it), but upon hearing the tone of his grandfather's voice, Arnold wished he could be a 'Short man' again. Arnold dreaded this moment, but sooner or later it had to come.

"Yeah, I'm coming, Grandpa," at this Arnold turned around and dragged himself downstairs, while his eyes were studying the carpeting — he was a bit afraid to look into his grandfather's eyes, maybe for the first time in his life. Grandpa was sitting on the couch in the main room.

"Take a seat, Arnold," Phil patted the place next to him.

Still reluctant to look at his grandfather Arnold obeyed.

"Grandson—"

'Oh my, now he calls me "Grandson",' thought Arnold.

"—about half an hour ago I witnessed a very interesting scene while walking past your bedroom entrance. Do you mind providing me an explanation?"

Arnold gulped.

"Grandpa, we meant to tell you..."

"Tell me what?!" Grandpa sprung up and turned to face Arnold. "Arnold, this my house... Okay, it's my and Mitzi's house... I don't mean that it isn't your house, I... Damn, I'm blabbering. It's not the point. You are my grandson, Arnold, and since your parents left I am responsible for you. I thought I didn't have to control you, I thought I could trust you! And now, what do I see? I see you and this girl! Under the roof of my house!"

"She's not 'this girl', Grandpa!" now it was Arnold's turn to get annoyed. "Her name is Helga!"

"I know what her name is. I know Helga Pataki. Trust me, Arnold, I know all the Patakis very very well! What was she doing up there? What were you two doing up there?"

"What we meant to tell you is that... well... She kind of lives here."

Phil was dumbfounded.

"Where 'here'?"

"In the boarding house."

"In your room, you mean?"

"Well... yeah."

Phil felt dizzy and had to sit. Now it was he who was afraid to look at his grandson.

"And how long?"

"How long does she...? Uh... It's about... uhm... five days... I guess."

Phil painfully groaned.

"Grandpa, I understand that we had to tell you sooner..."

"Sooner...! So, when the bathroom was occupied for an hour on Friday night, it wasn't the Four-Eyed Jack or you..."

"Well, not exactly."

"Not exactly?"

"I mean, yeah, it was occupied by Helga, but... uhm... I was in there too."

Phil stared at his grandson speechless.

"What? Helga wanted to try my shampoo," explained Arnold.

Phil covered his face with his hands.

"This can't be happening...! And why were you two quiet? Potts nearly smashed down the door!"

"We were kinda scared. Especially after all that banging began."

"You were scared! And now half the boarders are sure that the boarding house is haunted, and demand to cut the rent! And what about the salami that mysteriously disappeared yesterday?"

"Grandpa! We had nothing to do with that salami!"

"Well, at least Oskar got what he deserved."

Phil calmed down a little.

"Arnold, this is serious. You can't live with a girl. You are too young."

"Grandpa, this is really serious. That's why I want to live with her."

"Oh, so now it's 'really serious'. You're already planning the wedding, or something?" Grandpa smirked.

But the silence that followed unnerved him.

"You two are going to marry...? And I learn about it only now? Only because I happened to be walking by your room?"

"I'm really sorry, Grandpa", said Arnold, and he looked sorry too. "Well, we weren't exactly planning the wedding, but Helga showed me an advertisement for a florist that does wedding ceremonies..."

"Now you'll tell me that you have already chosen the names for your children!"

"'Mark', 'Charles', 'Simon' for boys, and 'Electra', 'Proserpine', and 'Brunhilda' for girls. We want at least three children. But she insists on keeping her maiden name. Well, I can't blame her for that. In fact..."

Phil shook his head — now he knew that nothing could shock him anymore.

"Arnold, this is absolutely impossible. You can't think about marriage — you have to think about your education! This period of your life determines what your future will be!"

Arnold just smiled.

"Oh Grandpa, you can't think about us like that. Of course we understand everything. We aren't going to take a step so serious till we graduate from college. Helga is going to become a BA. You know, her poetry was..."

"Stop it! And what about her family? Does Big Bob know where his daughter has been staying all week?"

It was obvious that Arnold was uncomfortable to speak about the Patakis.

"Yeah. Helga did tell him... well, kinda. But it looked like he did not care much. In fact the situation in her family is the main reason why she moved here — it was impossible for her to stay there, especially after her sister came home. I guess her family may be a big problem for us, but I'm sure together we'll overcome it."

Phil had a pleading look on his face.

"Arnold, please. You think you have already planned everything. You think you know what you want. But you have no idea what fate has in store for you..."

Arnold stood up and turned to face his grandfather. Never before had Phil seen his grandson as determined as in that moment.

"Grandpa. You're right, I don't know what kind of troubles are waiting for us. But I know some facts. Helga and I are a we, and that we is inseparable. No matter what kind of future we'll have, we are going to face it. I love you, but from now on you can't be just my grandpa anymore, you have to decide who you are to us."

Arnold turned around and walked away, leaving dumbstruck Grandpa behind his back.

"Wait, Arnold! Please, stop! You can't take such important decisions yet! For goodness' sake, Arnold, you're just nine years old!!!"

o-o-o

AN: Well, I dunno if it was fun to read, but it was huge fun to write.

And the 'deep meaning' is that I am a bit tired of high school and grown-up fics.

FOURTH-GRADERS FOREVA!