Summary: Just a little bit of 4th of July fluff between Helga and Arnold, as adults. A part of the Rebuild universe.
Helga slipped through the alley of the boardinghouse and into the backyard laden with a package. Her hair drifted in the wind as red, white and blue streamers fell around her face. Horns honked on her left and right as the boarders partied and danced.
"Happy 4th of July Little Lady!" Ernie waved at the Helga before continuing to scarf down piles of hot dogs and burgers. The blonde woman glanced around and spotted the football headed man manning the grill. He deftly flipped burgers and wiped sweat from his forehead with his shirt cuff.
Helga spotted a cooler and grabbed two ice cold bottles of soda. Slowly she sidled up to Arnold and pressed the ice against the back of his neck. Arnold jumped in surprise and dropped the spatula onto the front of his pants. Quickly he turned around and was faced with an open bottle stretched at arm's length. He gulped loudly and nervously accepted the drink. Helga winked, took a couple of steps back, and offered him a smirk from her crossed arms.
"Helga, I'm glad you could make it." Arnold's eyes crinkled as proffered her a hug.
"Thanks." He took a swig from the cola. Helga glanced down at her peep-toe flats and let her hair fall before her face. 'Sheesh, you'd think after I hit adulthood that I would be used to someone hugging me.'
"Here Arnold-o, a thank you gift," her hand curled around the package under her elbow and she shoved it at the boy.
Momentarily he stared at her, his mouth making a little "Oh" in shock. He outstretched his hand and gingerly clutched the package in his fingers.
"Sheesh football face it's not like I have a disease." His cheeks turned into a crimson mess as he began to tear the paper off the package.
"Wait! Open it later when you're alone." He nodded and they both stood there awkwardly.
Helga cleared her throat. "Burger? Hot dog?" Arnold pointed at the grill and rubbed at the grease stain on his jeans. Helga began to make a reply, 'Woah, brain fart. Get it together ol' girl,' she brought her features into her trademark scowl and Arnold's eye widened in disappointment.
"No thanks, Arnold-o who knows what type of virus I could catch from the boardinghouse's food. I'd prefer not to get Mad Cow disease or Salmonella. Anyway I just want to give you that, I'm gonna go say hi to all the freaks and geeks." She whirled on her heels and defiantly strode away from him.
'Good job Arnold, just when you think you're getting somewhere with here you go and screw it up. But then again, it's not your fault! That girl is just too darn hard to please! Yeah, that's right it's her fault!'
The man with cornflower blue eyes and cornflower yellow hair went back to looking after the grill.
'What did I say? All I did was ask her if she wanted a burger? Hmmm. Maybe she thought I was calling her fat. Or skinny. Meh,' he shrugged in bewilderment, 'women.'
"So, Arnold my boy do you have more burgers ready? I'm starving; can't you hear my poor tummy growling in pain?" Arnold cast a skeptical look to the right.
"Oskar, you leave that poor boy alone! Do you hear me?" Suzie ran up to her husband and smacked him across the head with a pack of streamers.
"I'm sorry, Arnold. Why don't you go take a break? You've been here all afternoon. I'll take over the grill and you can go find that pretty little friend of yours."
"Are you sure Suzie?"
"Yeah Arnold, it's no problem."
Arnold nodded and walked away. 'I better go find Helga and apologize for making her feel weird. I mean she did bring me a gift and all.'
He scanned the party and found no trace of her.
'Maybe she went to use the bathroom in the boardinghouse.'
He cracked the kitchen door open and ducked the door frame.
"Helga?" he called into the empty rooms. He treaded into the living room, deposited her package by the phone and grabbed the stair rail.
"Helga? Are you here?" Arnold passed the doors and threw a glance down the hallway. He was about to pull the cord to his room down when he changed his mind and turned around. He stopped down the hallway when he reached an open closet. He pulled the door open and grinned in recognition.
"Of course she would be up there." Arnold grabbed the rusty ladder, testing to see if it would hold his weight. He quickly climbed the ladder and knocked on the ceiling door. Arnold threw the door open and climbed out of the hole in the roof.
Hair flowing in the wind, pink dress ruffling against the back of her thighs and her arms crossed Helga stood staring down at the street below. The sun was sinking into the clouds behind Arnold, and rays of light fell across her figure.
Arnold sucked a breath in. He placed one foot forward. She took a step back.
"Helga? It's almost time for the fireworks."
She nodded without saying a word.
"Helga…I'm sorry about earlier. It was very kind of you to bring a thank you gift." Arnold placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Arnold." Helga turned around and was met with his chest. She drew a loud, raspy breath in. Arnold stared down at her.
'Mm. She smells good. I can't think right now. What did I want to say to her?'
'Ooh. He smells so good. Arnold, why can't I ever get over you? I love you so much.'
Arnold's hands slid onto her elbows and he pulled her closer. Slowly, Helga wrapped her arms around his slim waist. She rested her cheek against his chest, a bit too short and shy to nestle her face into his neck. Her eyes slid shut.
Jazz music from the party drifted behind them, and Arnold began to make their bodies sway. Helga pressed into him breathing deeply, desperately.
'Safe. I feel safe. I never want to let go.' Two minds repeating one thought, arms entwined, and bodies swaying.
Helga whispered, "Thank you for inviting me, Arnold."
Arnold pulled her closer, heart thumping.
"No. Thank you, Helga. Everything you're doing for this neighborhood is amazing."
' Arnold stopped dancing. 'Great job, way to put your foot in your mouth.
"But…but, I'm glad you came. I missed you. I think you're great, Helga. I always have." Arnold winced at his choice of words. However, Helga just began to sway again.
Helga paused, she felt emboldened by his words. A shot of temporary courage flowed through her.
She stood on her tiptoes and smoothed her lips against his. Arnold in shock dropped his arms to his side but then fervently grabbed her elbows again. Tilting his head he kissed and kissed and kissed her.
Slowly, but surely Helga pulled her lips away from his and leaned into his arms. Contentedly, Arnold sighed and allowed his eyes to drift open.
"Didn't you say something about it being time for the fireworks?" Helga grinned a tiny smug smirk.
"Helga, those were the fireworks." Behind them lights popped and fizzed as pyrotechnical fallout sparkled and glittered against their backs.
Arnold leaned in to kiss her again. Below them the party raged on, Ernie cackled as he pressed more and more detonator buttons.
After a particularly loud pop Helga and Arnold pulled apart and grinned sheepishly at each other.
"Let's get down there before we miss out on all the fun, Football Head!" Helga grabbed his arms and sprinted towards the door with Arnold in tow.
Just the little bit of inspiration I needed to get out of my writing funk. :D Hope you guys liked it, look forward for more Rebuild coming up. This takes place in the same universe but I'm not sure if it will happen any time soon. I'm really sorry for how long it's taken to get back to this stuff. I really have no excuse, I just got stuck.