"This is a fiasco."
"Stop saying that; it could be a lot worse."
"How so?" Helga asked, still clicking the panic button on her car's remote starter, even though it made no difference.
"It could have been stolen. At least in this case, you know that it'll be returned in one piece."
Helga continued shaking her head, not at all effected by her friend's attempts at cheering her up. Had she been in the company of anyone else, she would have punched a wall, but figured that such displays of violence would only make her look stupider than she already did.
"I still can't believe that your neighbor towed my car." she deadpanned, as the two made their way back to the boarding house. Arnold's home held no current phonebook, and the nearest one was chained to a phonebook a few blocks away to retrieve the number to the towing company.
"Well," Arnold began, wary of the mood Helga was in, and thus, treading lightly on his words. "There was a 'No Parking' sign out there."
"It was covered in graffiti; how was I supposed to know what it said?!" Helga said, defending herself.
"And you were on their property…"
"If I learned one thing from that sappy Pocahontas, Disney-crap of a movie, the earth belongs to no one." Helga remarked.
"And the spot was clearly marked 'Reserved'."
"You know, you are really not helping the situation, at present." Helga finished, holding out her palm to Arnold. Running the same hand down her face in exhaustion, she lamented at the thought of trying to get home, sans automobile. 'Why did I have to stay for six hours?' she thought, staring at her watch.
Regardless of what she told herself, Helga was aware that the invitation to Arnold's house to 'hang out' would end badly, in one way or another. She surmised that she'd either trip and fall on the steps outside of his house, and make a fool of herself, or have something hanging from her nose and make a fool of herself, or say something random and stupid, thus, making a fool of herself. Several years after abandoning her attic shrine (aside from the occasional visit and short chat), Helga still found herself in hot water whenever Arnold was around. In no way did she imagine that a neighbor, still bitter from the tulips that Abner ate last spring, would retaliate in the form of having her car towed, for the sheer fact that she was Arnold's friend and in her 'designated' parking space. An otherwise wonderful night was turning out rather terribly, from her standpoint.
"Here comes the fun part…" Helga began, pressing buttons on her phone, which was still illuminated from her recent conversation with the irate tow truck woman, Stephanie, who informed her that it was too late for her to retrieve her car. "Telling Big Bob that I got towed and going home carless. He's going to slaughter me…"
"You can't stay at Phoebe's and just pick it up in the morning?" Arnold suggested. Helga ignored the adorable wiggle that his eyebrow did when he was trying to help people.
"Reba and Kyo's patience can only be stretched so far, and I'm really not up for testing anyone's limits this late at night." Helga told him, listening to the sounds of the street at night. By this time, the two reached the boarding house and Helga rested her forehead on the cool brick of the building.
"Well, the boarding house does have a spare room or two…"
Helga opened her eyes, and stared at the brick wall before her, listening to the voice from behind her.
"And, it's not like anyone will bother you, or anything…"
Standing up straight, she too the opportunity to wiggle her own eyebrow, looking at him expectantly.
"So, if you don't mind, I guess you could stay here…for the night."
Even after answering with the affirmative, and following him into the house, Helga knew that her mouth was saying, "Well, I don't want to impose…" while her head shouted the fact that she was staying over Arnold's house. At night.
Her outlook on the evening suddenly changed.
"So, this is your room, I guess." Arnold said, opening the second to last door at the end of the hallway. Instead of looking at her, Helga noticed that Arnold looked into the room when he spoke, as if surveying the room. He did the same when he opened the door for her, staring at the flooring like he saw Michael Jackson's face in it. When the pair climbed the steps, he looked straight ahead, which only served to confuse Helga more.
During the course of the evening, the two were laughing and joking around. The initial focus of the evening was for Helga to come over so that the two could watch the original 'Raisin in The Sun' movie for their history class, and take notes for the report that was due in exactly a week. After the movie, Helga stuck around for dinner and another movie, one far less serious or historical. Throughout the duration of time, they laughed and talked and had casual, fun (and the occasional flirty) conversation. If that portion of the night was anything to go off of, Helga was setting up camp on Cloud Nine.
His most recent reactions, however, had her packing up her gear and heading back to earth. Fast.
"It was my aunt Mitzi's. She only lived her for a few weeks, before she decided to move out west." he told her, as she inspected the numerous trinkets around the room. While far from cluttered, each part of the room held a collection of some sort; from miniature chairs, to antique cameras, and everything in between. Helga was, at present, staring at a tiny tea set, no bigger than the nail on her pinky finger.
"She seems like an eccentric woman. Does she visit often?" she asked, turning around to face Arnold.
"Umm, no." he said, avoiding her gaze and looking around the room again. "She died. Last year."
Helga breathed in audibly, and found herself too gazing about the expanse of the small room. She could only imagine the memories that the room held, the things that Arnold retained while his aunt was still alive. Suddenly, staying in the room felt a lot like an intrusion.
"Arnold, if you don't want-"
"No. Really, I don't mind." he said, meeting her eyes for the first time since they walked outside to find Helga's car gone. "Honestly, you remind me a lot of her.
"She was really…stubborn. Once she wanted to do something, she just did it, no matter what. She'd say things to make my grandpa mad on purpose. And she was always talking." he said. Helga wrinkled her brow, not sure if she should be flattered or not. "But then, other times, she was just Mitzi. She loved telling stories, and she always helped the people that were closest to her. I didn't know her for very long, but the time that I spent with her was…I'll never forget it."
Helga clasped her hands together, and shrugged her shoulders. "Well, thanks. I'll try to, you know, keep everything…neat." she said, feeling awkward and suddenly chilly.
"Okay." Arnold said, finally cracking a smile and motioning back towards the door. "Have a good night." he said, slowly closing the door behind him.
Helga surveyed the room once again, before preparing herself for bed. Half an hour later, she sat on top of the covers over the bed, reading a torn and tattered copy of Breach of Promise, a favorite book of hers, when a knock sounded from the door. Guessing that it was Mrs. Kokoshka, coming to fill her earlier request, she hopped off of the bed, taking her attire into no account and walked to the door.
"It's okay, I'm-" she began, opening the door. She stopped when she found Arnold standing before her holding two neatly folded blankets in his arms. "Oh."
Taking in the oversized t-shirt that Helga was wearing for the entirety of the night, that was now her sleeping attire, Arnold visibly swallowed the lump in his throat and willed himself to keep his eyes northward for the duration of his encounter with Helga.
"Um, yeah, Suzie said you were cold, and this room has always been kind of drafty, so…here." he said, shoving the blankets into her hands, and awkwardly retreating to the stairs that led t his room. Helga stepped into the hallway and watched his bare feet disappear up the stairs, smiling to herself.
'Maybe I should get my car towed more often.' she thought, walking back into her room and pushing to door closed with her foot.
I wish this happened when I got my car towed. In my case, I just had my mom pick me up and take me home. Much less interesting, I assure you.
Literally, the beginning of this oneshot, down to "You're not helping this situation", is verbatim of the conversation that my friend and I had after we found out that my car wasn't stole, just towed. Her Arnold-like optimism impresses me, to this day. And I don't think Pocahontas was a crappy movie. I liked everything except her whole, 'Oh John Smith, your friend killed the dude I ws supposed to marry, I love you" because I don' think that happened at all. Especially since the real Pocahontas went to England with John Smith, married some other dude once she got there and died when she was 19. Plus, the talking tree was creepy.
I feel like I'm getting a lot wordier these days. Let me know, por favore.
I'm sorry I killed Aunt Mitzi. I really do love her as a character. Maybe I can find a place for her in one of my fics. We'll see. I also thought about adding this onto 'Awkward', but I decided against it. It's not as awkward, just cute and a little sad. Hope you enjoyed it!