Chapter 1: Expecting
She paced around the bathroom, the clock slowly ticking, feeling louder with every tick. Her parents were gone tonight to one of Olga's plays. She didn't go, she said she had tons of homework, a test to study for, she lied. She had completed all her work hours ago, she had that test that morning. She had another test to complete, in progress. She thought back to what happened; the heat of the moment, just a moment of unexpected passion. She wasn't the first girl in her grade to do it, plenty of her friends have done it, so why did this happen to her? She thought back to that night.
"Do you really have to go?" Helga whined placing her cards upon his bed. He gathered them and looked at her through half lidded green eyes.
"Yeah, they're my parents. We're leaving the first week of February." He said, his voice held a hint of sadness. "It's only going to be for a year, though, and then I'll be joining everyone for college."
Over the past few years, they had grown closer, him and Helga. After all, she had helped him find his parents, rescued them from the evil La Sombra. He had finally confessed his feelings toward her and she stopped bullying him… well, nearly stopped. She still called him Footballhead and berated him in front of their friends, but he knew it was just for appearance sake, besides Arnold kind of liked that she called him Footballhead now.
His parent's came home with his class from the trip, and were now returning to San Lorenzo for some missionary work for a few years. They let Arnold decided to go with them or stay with his Grandfather, who despite being nearly 90, was still very youthful and fit as a forty year old. Arnold talked it over with his Grandfather and decided that leaving would give him the opportunity to grow and develop more and help him decided on a major for college.
When he broke the news to Helga, they had only been dating for a few months. She took it more maturely than he had thought. They discussed what it would mean for their relationship and even though Arnold didn't want to let her go, they both decided to end it amicably and remain friends for the time that he was gone and when he came back for college in a year and a half, they can pick up where they left off.
Helga was still over nearly every day before he left. His parents knew what was going on with her home life. Her father started selling cellphones and was away nearly all the time for conventions and other business ventures, and her mother was working at her new job and attending AA meetings nearly every night, leaving Helga to fend for herself. So Stella had her over for dinner all the time, and Helga and Arnold would hang out doing homework, and other things that friends did when they hung out.
Tonight it was a week before he had to leave. He had started to pack, and when Helga came over she stared at the boxes that had begun to fill up his room. He was sitting on his bed, with a deck of cards. He saw the sadness in her eyes, and quickly saw her stuff that emotion down when she glanced over to him.
"Cards before dinner?" He asked her. She nodded as she walked over and sat on the bed. He shuffled the cards and handed her five of them. She took them and studied them, rearranging them and then placed 3 in a pile and took three more. She had the best poker face and he couldn't tell if her hand was a good one or not. They played in silence for a bit.
"I'm going to miss you" Helga broke the silence as she placed her cards on the bed.
Three of a kind, damn she was good. He folded and placed his cards on the bed.
"I'm going to miss you too." He answered her. She gathered all the cards and shuffled them and began to deal.
"Will you write to me?" She asked. He took the five cards she handed him.
"I'll do you one better." He got up and walked over to his desk and opened the drawer. He came back to the bed and handed her a wrapped box. She took it and opened it and saw a pink cellphone with a football charm dangling from it. She looked up at him surprised.
"My mom thought of it and went to your dad's store to get it for you. It's already paid for and it has free international so we can text and call each other all you want. Don't worry about the bills for it either because we have that covered as well." Arnold said showing her his blue cellphone with a pink bow charm hanging from it.
She turned on the cell to see a picture of Arnold sticking out his tongue out as her phone's background. She laughed. "Stupid Footballhead… thank you." She said humbly.
"I'm really going to miss you, Helga." Arnold said, grabbing her hand. He held it in his for a few minutes. She looked at him. She normally would've sighed at this point but her eyes started tearing up when she saw the sadness in his eyes. She began to cry.
Arnold stared at her. She looked so pretty, even with tears in her eyes. She no longer had a unibrow and she wore her hair down most of the time. He leaned in towards her, and kissed her softly. Not knowing what else to do.
"I love you Helga" He whispered, looking into her eyes. She stared back, surprised at the kiss, tears still running down her cheeks.
"I love you too Arnold…" She whispered back. And with that, Arnold dove on her, covering her in more kisses.
Helga opened her eyes from that memory. She didn't even realize that she had started crying, her jeans were soaked with tears, and she looked up at the clock and noticed that more than enough time had passed. She got up and walked over to the counter where the test sat. She picked it up and stared in shock. The giant pink plus sign stared right back at her.
"Oh, Fuck… I'm dead."