A/N: This is my first drabble. I'm trying to kill some writers block that keeps on stalling my attempts at writing chapter two of Bluebird. I'm inspired, I just couldn't write, so here's my attempt at an exorcism of sorts. No holy water required. ;)

Single Stitches – Drabble 1: Concept

a Hey Arnold drabble fic series by Pyrex Shards

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By the time she was five years old she had a pretty good concept of what it meant...

The word 'love'...

Or at least Helga thought so. It was a feeling that fluttered up from her legs and up to her heart, paralyzing everything in its wake and mushing up her muscles so she had to retreat behind a corner and swoon before her legs gave out. For her, love was a topic learned from a cheap supermarket romance novel that Helga stole from her mom when she knew that Miriam had finished reading it.

Helga sat on the swing in front of Hillwood Kindergarten Center number four, with her arms around the dirty metal chains and her hands cradling a haggard looking paperback book like it was her most prized possession, for it was at the time, with its corners worn smooth and the pages fanning out. Her feet anchored her to the ground but she pivoted on her tows in a rocking motion as she looked through the book. She recalled the first time she read it.

Her introduction to literature happened in Preschool! That introduction was in the form of a cheap two dollar world printed on substandard paper stock, and it quickly became something she wanted to wrap herself in like a warm blanket. It was her solitary place, her retreat from her mother, her father, her sister, her classmates, even Phoebe at times.

Helga had read through the novel time and time again. But that first time. The words didn't make sense. Sure, she kind of picked up names and places. She was sitting in her spacious walk-in closet, the naked light bulb overhead casted ugly shadows through the brown dust that had burned onto its glass. She held the book in her little hands while she slowly attempted to read the words out loud, one finger hovering over the page, allowing her to pace through the paragraphs.

"Pw... Pweju.. dice. Pwe, ju, dice"

It went on like this for hours each evening. It was only interrupted by her groaning stomach, prompting her to sit the book down and figure out what was on the menu for dinner.

Slowly, and methodically, she finished the book until she hit the end. A smile crept on to her face. She didn't close the book. Instead, Helga flipped to the first page and started to read it a second time. After more attempts she got better...

"Pwejudice" became "Prejudice"

She mastered the phonetics and the meaning came shortly after. She discovered that Sergio, a police officer down on his luck, loved Emily. Emily was in a loveless marriage with Edward, a stock broker. Helga had no idea what a stock broker was, but she knew police officers, and somehow stock broker just didn't sound handsome. That is what the book led her to believe.

Sergio was investigating a murder in the area and Emily was a suspect. This hurt the young police officer's aching heart. Helga read through the story time and time again and the world in the pages opened up to her. It pulled her in. Sometimes she was Emily, and Arnold was her Sergio. Other times, in fleeting moments of indulging the wilder part of her fertile imagination, she fantasized herself as Sergiana, a young female police officer, and Arnold was Emilio, a mild mannered stock broker, framed for murder and in a hopeless marriage with a woman who was very obviously cheating on him.

Helga re-read the book constantly, as if playing a video tape and then rewinding it to memorize each frame of video.

She continued this as she sat on the swing in front of the brick red kindergarten building, and she read her favorite part.

"I love Emily, sir"Sergio finally admitted to his chief from around the Marlboro that danced on his lips as he spoke. "You say its a worthless concept, this thing called love. If my love for Emily is nothing but the product of this fleeting notion, then I love this concept, and I'll make Emily mine, I'll find the murderer, and it won't be Emily."

Helga sighed lovingly.

Arnold...

He was her Emilio...

She loved the concept.

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Author's Corner:

No, I have never read a romance novel. That would be disturbing since I'm a man. But I've mocked plenty of romance novels mercilessly while bored at the book store with some friends, picking up the novels and reading the cheesy synopsis out loud. So I guess I learned how to write the synopsis of a romance novel. I plead sanity! :)

I'm putting this into a container that I'm calling "Single Stitches." This will turn into a series of drabbles, as a catch for when I'm running on empty in the inspiration department and need to come up with something cheap and quick to keep me "in the zone."

These things don't go through independent beta reads so I'll probably have some horrid errors here and there. If you find one then please let me know.

As always, please R&R. I love feedback!