Hey you guys! We're back again!/You know you love it!!!
NintendoGal55: Well, we all know how much you guys were DYING for a sequel to our first collaboration "Arnold Loves Helga", so...
SuprSingr: We wrote one. Duh.
NintendoGal55: The first "episode" here is "Love and Cheese" :D
SuprSingr: And take it from us, it's really gouda. *Snickers* Yeah, I know it was lame. But sooooooooo worth it.
The following is a SuprNintendo production, written by SuprSingr and NintendoGal55.
Disclaimer: We're only going to say this once. We do NOT own anything!/Remember that, Short Attention Span peoples.
It was a whole new day, just as everyday always was. Nothing in particular about today, except that it was one step closer to the annual Cheese Festival that was to take place about a week from now. Decorations had gone up around the neighbourhood, and the attractions area was almost finished preparing, and all the cheese was being made like crazy.
Another crazy year.
Especially when it concerned a certain football-headed nine-year-old boy.
The said boy was walking home with Gerald one afternoon after school, completely lost in thought about something he'd been thinking about since the ads and buzz about the upcoming Cheese Festival began. He was so inwardly troubled with these thoughts that he barely even heard Gerald as he was talking about a "not date" he'd had with Phoebe the night before.
"Then we get to her house and I laid one right on her cheek! It was pretty nice man, she giggled and her cheeks were all pink! Man, Phoebe sure is cute when she's all-hey, Arnold? Hey Arnold!" Gerald waved his hand in front of his best friend's face. "Wake up!"
"H-Huh? What?" Arnold blinked, coming back to reality. "O-Oh, sorry, Gerald. What were you saying?"
"Nothin' man. What's with you? You've been actin' weird all week, especially when the Cheese Festival announcements started! Come to think of it, you've been in a daze ever since your date with Helga. Was it really THAT bad?"
It occurred to Arnold then that he'd never actually told Gerald what happened during his date with Helga. That had been nearly three weeks ago, and it was still very fresh and burned in his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about it, and everything that happened. Granted, he'd had such a great time with her, it was no wonder. And yet, he just couldn't let it go. He couldn't leave it behind as a great memory. It was so much more than that.
Not to mention he was still unsure of his answer to Gerald's teasing question at the time, whether or not he loved Helga.
That was still tough. Yet, at the same time, he was leaning a little more toward yes, but he wasn't sure at all. He still needed more closure on how he felt, and on how she felt, and anything else in between. He already knew he liked her a lot, when she was actually being herself, he liked spending time with her, they had quite a bit in common, enough to "get" each other, and yet their differences were strangely very complimentary.
It was funny. They were so different in some aspects, and yet, so alike.
"Gerald... I...." Arnold sighed, and came to see the boarding house coming into view. "...I'll tell you inside."
"Well, okay, if it makes you feel better." Gerald shrugged.
They went the rest of the way to the boarding house, and Arnold opened the door, which immediately released the barrage of animals. The boys went inside and shut the door behind them.
"Hey there, short man!" Phil greeted on his way to the living room. "What are you boys up to today?"
"Nothing Grandpa, we're just going to do homework for a while."
Phil nodded and gave a thumbs up. "Understood, Arnold! You two get cleaned up before you come down for dinner, Pookie has a real treat tonight!"
"Does her cooking even qualify as that?" Gerald muttered as he followed after Arnold.
"I guess so." Arnold replied absently, pulling down the cord to reveal the stairs leading up to his room.
They went up into his room and Arnold shut the door behind him, taking his remote and flipping the couch out from the wall. Gerald sat on it, staring at his best friend as he paced around the room, a mix of emotions on his face.
"Okay Arnold, you mind telling me what REALLY happened?"
Arnold took a deep breath and exhaled, deciding to just come out with it. It was just him and Gerald, none of their peers were around to hear any of this. The whole "Arnold loves Helga" craze had died down a week after their date, though there was the occasional tease from a random student that would happen once every other day or so. They'd pretty much accepted the incredibly bogus lie that their date had been terrible.
"Gerald...I had a great time with Helga. Our date wasn't the least bit terrible. I really enjoyed it." Arnold admitted. Despite his uncertainty, he managed a soft, almost dreamy smile on his face. "We had a great time together."
He turned around to face Gerald, finding his best friend staring at him wide-eyed, his mouth slack.
"Say what?! You had a GOOD TIME on a DATE with HELGA?! Helga G. Pataki?! The same Helga who makes your life a living nightmare?! THAT same Helga?!"
"Gerald! Not so loud!" Arnold cried, and then nodded. "Yes, Gerald. The same Helga we all know from class. We actually had a really, really good date."
Gerald stared at him wide-eyed. "Huh?" He managed to squeak out.
Arnold sighed and began pacing again as he spoke, "Gerald, we actually had a really good time together. We had a lot in common, we could really relate to eachother, and she..." He stopped, staring off into space. "she's really cool... we even..." He blushed, looking away. "we even, sorta... kissed." He blushed heavily, still not meeting Gerald's eyes.
"You KISSED HELGA G. PATAKI?!" He screeched.
Arnold's eye went wide with alarm, and he lunged forward, covering Gerald's mouth with one hand. "Yes, okay. Now please be quiet. We told everyone our date went awful so they'd stop accusing us of being a couple." He released Gerald's mouth.
Gerald gawked at him, blinking in astonishment. "But-and the-who in the-why is- and you just-and she's..." He blinked, sitting there and looking straight forward with a baffled look on his face.
Arnold sighed, and sat himself up on his couch, next to Gerald with a pensive look on his face.
Gerald took a few, deep, calming breaths, and then looked over at Arnold. "Okay, I'm going to ignore the fact that what you just said is humanly impossible, and skip down to why you're acting so weird. So... why are you acting so weird?"
Arnold sighed, resting his head in his hand with his elbow propped up on his knee. "Well... we both agreed it would probably be best if we just kept how our date actually went to ourselves... but..." He sighed again.
Gerald blinked, leaning in a little. "But what?"
He looked over to Gerald. "We also agreed that we really shouldn't go out anymore... but I really would like to go out with her again.... I've been thinking that I might... ask her to go to the Annual Cheese Festival with me."
Gerald blinked at him with dull eyes. "So...?"
Arnold sighed again. "So I'm afraid to ask her. What if she says no?"
Gerald's eyes lit up in understanding, and he nodded, sitting up again. "Okay, I think I know where you're coming from... Are you sure you want to ask her?"
"Yes, Gerald, I'm sure I want to ask her." He sat up, still looking over at Gerald.
Gerald sighed, and looked away. "Why?" His eyes sprang then with fear, and he looked over at Arnold with wide eyes. "Don't tell me that you really do love her now, Arnold!"
Arnold blinked at his outburst, and leaned back a little. "No! Yes! I mean... I don't think I do..." He twiddled his thumbs a little, looking down at them as opposed to Gerald's eyes.
Gerald gawked at him. "You don't THINK you do? What does that mean?"
"It means... I don't know!" He let his head fall into his hands, and he sighed heavily.
Gerald blinked at him, his mouth still slightly agape. "You don't know?"
Arnold nodded, his face still in his hands. "I. Don't. Know." He lifted his face from his hands, and looked up at Gerald. "I really like her, okay? But... ugh, I don't know about love. I don't think I love her. I mean, I'm only nine. But that doesn't matter right now. All I know is that I like her, and I want to ask her to the Cheese Festival. But I'm afraid she'll turn me down."
"Why would it matter, man? You can always go with someone else if she says no." Gerald offered.
"Gerald, you don't understand. I don't want to go with anyone else." Arnold sighed, lifting his head from his hands a little. "I mean, if I was asking someone like Sheena or Nadine, even Rhonda, it wouldn't matter so much if they turned me down. But I really want to go with Helga, and if she says no...." His voice trailed off.
"You're gonna be real disappointed and probably not smile for about two days." Gerald said listlessly.
Arnold sighed again, his hands falling to his lap. "I know it sounds crazy, Gerald, and believe me, even I have trouble believing it myself. But I know for sure that I want to go with her."
"Then go ask her. Hey, she dragged you into that date, maybe it's your turn to do the same."
"I would never con her like that."
"Of course you wouldn't, you got more class than that. Look man, all I'm sayin' is that you should ask her when you're alone with her. Like...I know! Write her a note telling her to meet you at the park tomorrow after school, that you got something important to talk to her about. Then you're at the park, she shows up, you ask her out, without our friends in sight, and she'll accept! Come on man, you never know unless you give it a try. I hate to say this, but if goin' with her makes you happy...guess I can't turn my back on you." Gerald said, and sighed.
"...Well, I guess it's worth a shot. Maybe she'll be more inclined to say yes if I ask her in private." Arnold said thoughtfully.
"So you gonna do it or not?"
"...Yeah, I'll do it, Gerald." Arnold said after a moment's hesitation. "I guess you're right, I won't know unless I try. I know Helga had fun on our date too, so maybe she won't mind going out with me again. She might even dress up for it like she did on our date. She looked really pretty, and she wore her hair down..." His gaze became lovesick and his tone was dreamy. "She looked really pretty, and her eyes were like sparkling blue pools, and her smile was so radiant and captivating, practically lighting up the whole room and the way she laughed..."
Gerald looked at his best friend incredelously, his jaw dropped and his eyes wide. Oh no. This wasn't good. Arnold was in "crush on a girl" mode. Normally that was okay, albeit a little nauseating sometimes, but over Helga? He had to stop it.
"Arnold, hey Arnold! Arnold? Arnold! Hey Arnold!"
But Arnold wasn't paying attention then as he began to daydream, with a half-lidded, lovesick smile on his face, his head perched in his hands with his elbows resting on his legs.
"Here Helga, I won the teddy bear for you." Arnold presented a life-sized teddy bear to her.
"Well gosh, thanks, Arnold! You are such a thoughtful friend." Helga beamed at him, taking the teddy bear.
"It's nothing really, I just like making you happy." Arnold said modestly.
Helga giggled. "You're too much, football head."
The two were eating a roll of noodle-shaped cheese, not quite realizing they had the same strand. As they at ate it, they grew closer and closer and closer, until their lips brushed against each other's.
Both of their eyes widened and they blushed, pulling away and giggling.
Now they were on the Tunnel of Love, which may seem strange as an outing between two friends, but it felt so right.
"Wow, I'm having so much fun with you here today."
"I'm glad I took a chance and asked you."
Helga smiled at him sweetly, batting her eyelashes. "Well, I'm glad you asked me."
Arnold gave a half-lidded smile, and then took her hand in both of his, kissing it tenderly.
"Ewww! Arnold!!!" Gerald cried as Arnold was so lost in his daydream that he ended up kissing his hand.
"Oh, sorry Gerald." Arnold quickly let go.
Gerald shuddered a little, wiping his hand on his shirt. "Arnold, you are one sick puppy."
Arnold blushed and looked away. "Um..."
Gerald shook his head, and stood up from his seat, then walked over a little to stand directly in front of Arnold. "Arnold, admit it. You've got a crush on her."
Arnold's eyes widened. "Huh?! No! I... I..." His eyes darted around.
Gerald sighed, looking him straight in the eye. "Admit it, man. Only one thing would have led to you suddenly kissing my..." He stuck his tongue out. "...hand." He shook his head, gaining back his composure and crossing his arms over his chest. "You've got a crush on her, man. Big time." He pointed a finger in his face accusingly.
Arnold frowned a little, but then sighed, bringing his hand up to push Gerald's finger down. "Okay, maybe I do. But this'll just be a friends thing. I'll ask her to go as friends. Nothing more." He stood up from his seat then. "Besides, she probably doesn't like me like that anyway. So it doesn't really matter if I have a crush on her." He waved his arms dismissively, and walked over to his door.
Gerald blinked. "Where are you going?"
Arnold looked at him over his shoulder, opening up his door. "To buy some cologne." He walked out the door, and then closed it firmly behind him.
Gerald stood there, his arms still crossed over his chest. He shook his head. "Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmm, he's got it bad."
Arnold sat in class, staring down at a blank piece of paper, pencil in hand. He bit his lip, as he slowly, hesitantly began writing.
He shook his head, erasing it, and starting again.
He growled a little, erasing again and starting over.
He sighed, erasing and starting again.
My dearest Hel-
He erased that one quick, and let out a breath of frustration, starting over once again.
Meet me at the park after school. I have something important I need to ask you.
He read it over, sighing to himself before folding it a couple times.
The bell rang then for recess, and Arnold raced out the door, note in hand.
While everyone was still filing out of their seats, Arnold quickly stuffed the note into Helga's locker, and then turned, looking around nervously to make sure no one saw.
"I'm TELLING you Pheebs, Dark Side of the Moon totally synchs up with The Wizard of Oz!"
"Oh, I think I heard someone saying that one time..."
Arnold managed to duck away behind a corner just as Helga and Phoebe emerged from class, heading over to her locker. He peeked over, to see Helga's reaction when she found his note.
"Trust me, Pheebs, I know what I'm talking about." Helga opened her locker to put her books away, not quite noticing the slip of folded paper fall out and land on her shoe.
Phoebe did, though. She bent down and picked it up, eyeing it curiously. "Helga, this fell out of your locker."
"Huh?" Helga looked and saw the paper in her hand. "Weird, what's this?" She unfolded it, and read the note. Her eyes widened and a soft blush came to her cheeks.
"Helga? Are you all right? What is it?" Phoebe asked, though she knew very well what it had to have been. It was definitely something that involved Arnold, for sure.
"Oh, er...it's nothing." Helga tucked it away into an inner pocket of her dress, where her locket nestled. "Just Arnold telling me to meet him at the park. Huh, wonder why. Guess I'll humour the little geek and see what he wants."
"Oh! Well gosh, did it say-"
"Not now, Pheebs. We're still in school. This conversation and situation never happened." Helga waved it off dismissively.
"Right, forgetting!" Phoebe gave her a thumbs up.
Arnold released the breath he'd been holding and hurried off down the hall before they turned the corner. At least she was going to meet him at the park! Now he just had to work up the nerve to ask her when the time came.
"So how'd it go?" Gerald wanted to know as he got into the swing next to Arnold's. "Did Helga see you?"
"No, no one saw me." Arnold said. "She got my note and said that she'll meet me at the park."
"Well I'll be danged. Looks like there IS a heart beneath that stone cold outside of her." Gerald remarked.
"Come on Gerald, she's really nice once you get to know her. She just acts mean because she's insecure about herself, that's all."
"Whatever you say, Arnold. It's your life."
Arnold gave a small sigh and looked across the playground, seeing Helga playing hopscotch with Phoebe. He couldn't help but smile a little while he watched her tipsy wobbling as she stood on one foot on the spot she landed on, smiling and giggling.
He took a deep breath and decided to try rehearsing how he could ask her to the Cheese Festival.
"Hey Helga, how's it going? I was wondering if maybe you'd...no... Helga! Heeeyy, how about we....no.... Hi Helga, want to go to the Cheese Festival with me, just as friends?"
Gerald stared at him weirdly and shook his head. "Arnold....you're doin' it all wrong."
"I'm trying not to, Gerald." Arnold groaned. "It's just hard, I'm pretty nervous."
"Mmm mmmm mmm, I figured as much. Well, you are gonna need some helpin' tips from the Master."
"And by the master, you mean you." Arnold dead panned, although he couldn't help but smile a little.
Gerald smiled at him suavely, and stood up. "Yeah, man. All the ladies are always after me." He grinned proudly.
Some girls walked by, and Gerald smiled at them. "Hey ladies." He winked.
"Ugh, dream on, Hairy."
"I'll do that." He sat back down in the swing then, watching them walk on.
Arnold snickered a little, and Gerald just shook his head. "Ah, what do they know? I could win them over easy if I wanted to. They're just not hot enough for me." He humphed, and then looked back of over at Arnold. "But you need my help, buddy. Bad."
Arnold sighed, knowing that Gerald probably could help. "Okay, fine. What do I say?"
Gerald grinned at him. "Glad you asked." He swung the swing closer to Arnold, and put his arm around his shoulders as he spoke smoothly. "You've gotta lay on the charm, man. Play it smooth. Act like you're not the least bit nervous."
Arnold blinked, looking over at him curiously. "Really? You think that would work?"
"Of course it will. Chicks dig that stuff. Just act cool and confident. March right on up to her, and ask her to the Cheese Festival." He patted him on the back, and withdrew his arm.
Arnold looked away, thoughtfully. "I don't know... Helga isn't exactly like most girls..."
"Hey, man. A girls a girl." He shrugged.
Arnold blinked at him, but then sighed. "Okay, I guess I've got nothing to lose."
Gerald grinned at him. "That's right. Remember... cool and confident."
"Cool and confident." Arnold repeated.
Helga walked into the park, looking around for any flashes of blonde or footballs.
Gerald nudged him forward from several feet away, behind a tree. "There she is. Go." He pushed him forward more.
Arnold gulped, feeling his feet moving forward, a small daisy he'd found in the park in hand.
Helga turned, seeing him approaching, and raised one side of her eyebrow.
Arnold walked up in front of her then, and faltered. "Um, Helga, I... here." He handed her the flower.
Helga took it wordlessly, staring down at it, then up at him. She blinked. "Arnold, what the heck is this about?"
Arnold bit his lip, looking away. 'Cool and confident...' Gerald's words rang through in his mind. He took a deep breath, before smiling at her and crossing his arms over his chest coolly. "I just wanted to ask you if you'd want to go to the annual Cheese Festival with me." He said smoothly, while on the inside he felt he was about to explode from nerves.
Helga gawked at him, and her eyes widened. The flower fell from her grasp, though she didn't notice. "What did you just ask me?"
"I was wondering if you wanted to go to the cheese festival with me... you know, as friends." He added quickly, feeling his confidence drop.
"Yes," He began rubbing the back of his neck then, and his gaze fell to the ground. "But if you don't want to... it's okay." He said quietly. "I mean, why would you want to go with a football head like me? It was just stupid of me to ask. I'm sorry I wasted your-"
Arnold stopped mid-sentence, and he looked up at her, blinking. "What?"
"Okay, I'll go with ya, Football head." She smiled.
"Really?" He asked once more, just to be sure. She nodded, and he grinned. "Well, great! Um...so, it's next Saturday, I'll pick you up at...say, four?"
"Four's fine. Guess I'll see you then, I gotta get home." Helga turned to go, but was stopped when he grabbed her hand.
"Actually, um...would you mind if I walked you home?" Arnold blushed a bit, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand.
"Sure, Arnold..." She said, and then shook her head frantically. "I mean, yeah. Whatever floats your boat, football head."
From where he was hidden behind a tree, Gerald gave a smile as he saw his best friend walking off with Helga, both of them holding hands like they were a couple.
"My man Arnold is growing up..." He murmured to himself, emerging from his hiding place.
"Gerald?" Came a soft, squeaky voice from behind him.
Gerald turned around, coming to see Phoebe walking over to him as she adjusted her glasses further up her nose, looking at him curiously. He immediately lit up upon seeing the girl he crushed over.
"Hey, babe. What'cha doin' around here?"
"Oh, um...." Phoebe figeted nervously. "N-No reason...just taking a walk."
"Really? I always thought you went right home to study after school was out." Gerald said, a little confused.
She smiled a little at him, blushing. "Well, I do, but I guess...I....well...."
Gerald smiled and brought an arm around the petite Asian girl. "Aww, you don't need to explain, Pheebs. But you can allow me to escort a sweet girl like you to something just as sweet. Like, say, Slausen's for a milkshake?"
Phoebe smiled up at him widely and giggled in delight. "I...sure, Gerald, I'd like that very much..."
"And just throwin' it out there, but what say you and I go to the Cheese Festival next Saturday?" Gerald winked at her, taking her hand and walking toward the exit of the park.
"Really? Of course, Gerald...I'd love to." Phoebe smiled, looking away as she blushed more.
Gerald grinned, squeezing her hand, and earned a squeeze in return. Okay, so maybe Arnold actually having a crush on Helga and going to the Cheese Festival was a little bit shocking and unsettling, but if he was happy...well, not much he could do about that. And on a brighter note, Gerald grinned at the fact that he could now spend more time with Phoebe.
Phoebe, who'd followed after Helga in secret to the park, to see what this was all about, and to make sure it went okay, was surprised that Arnold of all people, actually asked Helga to the Cheese Festival. She knew that was a dream come true to Helga, considering she knew about her feelings for Arnold, despite they didn't explicitely talk about it. But Phoebe knew all along, since Preschool. She just never said anything about it, out of courtesy for her best friend.
Things had gone well, and Phoebe was glad to see the development between them. Not to mention, she had an opportunity to spend time with Gerald.
"Sooooo, you couldn't get enough of me, huh?" Helga teased as they walked down the street toward her home.
Arnold blushed and looked away, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand, his other still holding hers. "Well, we did have a lot of fun back on our date, and I...well, really wanted to spend more time with you and get to know you as a friend." He quickly added, not quite ready to admit that he had a crush on her. Not to her face, at least. "I mean, if you still want to be friends."
Helga shook her head and smirked in amusement. "I guess I should've figured as much, football head. Relax, of course we can still be friends."
Arnold let out a breath of relief, but also slight disappointment, and gave her a grateful smile. "Good."
She smirked at him again, but then realized they were still holding hands and it was broad daylight. She cleared her throat, and slid her hand carefully out of his, looking around as she lowered her voice to him, "Broad daylight, Arnold. I've got a reputation to maintain." She looked around, and seeing that no one was around, she let out a breath of relief.
Arnold frowned at all that, and lowered his gaze to the ground. She was embarrassed to be around him. She didn't like him at all, did she? He shook his head, and forced a smile at her. "Sorry, Helga. I didn't realize." He shrugged.
She nodded, still looking a little anxious, before shaking her head. "Ah, I'm probably just being paranoid. Everyone went straight home after school. It's a Friday." She rolled her eyes to herself, and then looked back down at Arnold with a small smile.
Arnold smiled back, his hands behind his back now. "Well, if that's true. Could I-..." He cut himself off, realizing how ridiculous his request was... not to mention awkward. No, he couldn't ask to hold hands again. That was silly. He took a small breath, and shook his head a little, then looked back over at her. "I mean, um..." He looked down, racketing his brain for an excuse. "Uh, could I just... never mind." He shook his head.
She blinked at him, unsure of what to make of his strange behavior. But she shrugged it off, and took his hand again immediately after. "Yeah, whatever, Arnoldo."
He blinked, feeling her warm, soft hand re-enter his. He looked over at her. "Um, Helga, we're holding hands again."
She looked over at him, and her eyes widened a little before she quickly let go of his hand, and looked away. "Oh, sorry..." She could feel the beginnings of a blush crawl up her neck begrudgingly, and she bit her lip, trying to stop it.
Arnold frowned, and reluctantly took her hand back. "No, it's okay. I was kinda trying to ask if I could hold your hand again before actually." He rubbed his arm, still holding her hand.
Helga blinked, and looked over at him. "Oh," She let out, a small note of happiness in there she couldn't quite manage to keep out of her voice. "Well, okay then. Isn't this interesting... friends who hold hands." She shook her head.
"Well, uh, lots of friends hold hands."
Helga looked over at him incredulously. "Arnold, I don't hold hands with Phoebe EVER, and I should hope you don't hold hands with Geraldo."
He choked a little on air, and then cleared his throat. "No! I mean... we're just..." He looked down again, trying to come up with an excuse to hold her hand without revealing he had a crush on her.
"Oh, as Simmons would say... we're special." She fluttered her eyelashes a little for added effect, and snickered soon after.
Arnold couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped from him, and nodded. "Yeah, we're just special... um, different... from other friends." He looked away.
Helga blinked, still facing forward, then looked over at him again. "How are we different? I mean, special is one thing but..." He eyes lit up with what he was implying, and she could feel herself grin, but she quickly forced it down before he could see, and hid it under a neutral look. "Are you implying that we're a couple of friends who just so happened to go out on a date..." She almost added, 'And kissed', but decided against it, as they had agreed that that never happened.
Arnold looked over at her in surprise, and frowned a little nervously. "Well, yeah... in a way... plus you can't be seen holding hands with me if you want to keep your reputation... but I don't know why you'd want to keep that kind of a reputation." He muttered the last part under his breath.
Helga heard him though, and she frowned a little at him. "Yeah, yeah. So we're friends who just happened to kiss-..." Her eyes widened at that, and she slapped her free hand over her mouth.
Arnold's own eyes widened too, and he faced forward, his mouth slightly agape. "Uh... yeah... but that was just... just..."
"W-Well, we had a good time is all. And it was a date, after all... W-We felt the need to kiss afterwards, because..."
"Because we were just confused." He finished for her, smiling over at her nervously.
"Y-Yeah," She nodded in agreement, and smiled back best she could.
"And, um...well, no reason we can't be a little different." Arnold added with a light shrug.
"No, guess not." Helga shrugged also. "Besides, friends go out to dinner, friends go see movies, friends watch movies at their houses, no big deal." Except friends didn't kiss and cuddle like lovers while watching a movie.
"Yeah, that's true." Arnold looked away again.
"Funny though, Geraldo and Phoebe hold hands an awful lot." Helga realized thoughtfully.
Arnold realized she was right and chuckled. "They do, don't they? Come to think of it, they've been spending a lot more time together since we...you know, had our date. Gerald always says they're not going on dates, that they're just 'two buddies hanging out'."
Helga snickered and laughed a little. "Denial. Pure denial. Pheebs says the same thing, that they're just friends hanging out together. I don't know...they hold hands, they flirt, Pheebs gives him that look, and she always blushes when he's nearby. Just friends? I don't think so."
"I'm pretty sure Gerald like likes Phoebe, he just won'd admit it." Arnold laughed a little.
"AHA! I knew it! Well, then I guess it's safe to say that Phoebe DEFINITELY likes Tall-Hair boy. Want to help me plan the wedding?"
Arnold was about to gape and protest, but for a moment he studied her, seeing that she was just kidding around. So he smiled and laughed a bit. "Sure, Helga. We can find a wedding dress for her too."
"Oh ha-ha, football head." Helga playfully rolled her eyes. "Okay, you're starting to know the difference between my being serious and joking around. You're off to a good start."
"Whatever you say, Helga." He smiled up at her fondly with a half-lidded gaze.
Helga felt her heart leap into her throat and she looked away, blushing furiously. This was practically their date all over again. Nervousness and uncertainty, and yet, with so many great moments. Did he really enjoy her company that much? Obviously he did, since he asked her to the Cheese Festival, offered to walk her home, and had even before stated he enjoyed spending time with her.
Wow. That was quite a development, especially after just one date.
If one date was enough to get him to really like her and want to spend time with her, then maybe another date could get him to fall for her.
Helga sighed at this, shaking her head. Yeah right. That was just wishful thinking. They were just friends. Good friends. Friends who held hands. Friends who flirted a bit. Friends who go on dates. Friends who once kissed.
Even now, a couple weeks later, she could never stop thinking about it. Even though it only lasted a few seconds before they were interrupted, it was the best few seconds of her LIFE! ...So far. After having regained consciousness from fainting, she'd squealed like a mad girl in her shrine, wrote about no less than ten poems about said kiss, and thought about it a few times a day ever since then.
'He was so gentle...so soft, just as I imagined it would be!' She thought, inwardly swooning as a dazed, lovesick smile came to her face. 'Maybe I'll get to kiss him again at the Cheese Festival and-no! I can't do that! We're going just as friends...yeah...friends...'
Helga shook her head a little, and looked over to see Arnold still staring at her with that half-lidded gaze. She blinked. "Uh, Arnold?" She waved a hand in front of his face.
He snapped out of his dream-like state, and just looked ahead of them with wide eyes. "Uh, sorry. Zoned out for a minute there." He laughed nervously, looking away.
Helga blinked at him, but then shrugged. "Whatever. Um," She stopped abruptly, and as effect of still holding his hand, he jettisoned backward, and stumbled a little before standing beside her.
She giggled a little, and then pointed to her house. "We're here, Arnoldo." She let go of his hand, and smiled at him. "Well, thanks for walking me home, Football Head. I'll see ya tomorrow." She turned to walk up the steps of her home, but Arnold grabbed her hand and she turned slightly to look at him.
He faltered a little, and smiled nervously. "Uh, yeah, tomorrow... as friends. Um, I just wanted to say, uh..." He sighed, bringing her hand up a little. "Bye." He lifted her hand up a bit more to meet his lips, and he kissed her hand before letting go and smiling at her. He waved, walking down the sidewalk towards his home.
Helga stood there cemented to the spot, and she looked down at the hand he kissed with a dreamy smile on her face. She ran up the steps of her home then, and quickly shut the door. She ran up the stairs and swung the door of her room open then, and then shut and locked the door. As soon as the door locked, she looked down at her hand again, and squealed. "He likes me! He really likes me!" She squealed again, twirling around her room.
Arnold walked home, his hands stuffed in his pockets and a dreamy look in his eyes.
This was going to be perfect.
Arnold stared at the small bottle of cologne, debating whether or not to put it on as he sat on his red, flip out couch. He didn't want to make her think he was coming onto her, but he did want to smell good, and he was coming onto her in a way. He sighed, and opened up the bottle, beginning to bathe himself in the smelly substance.
The door creaked open slightly. "Hey there, Shortman. How are ya-" He opened the door fully, and suddenly scrunched up his face. He put a hand to his nose, and used his free hand to wave away the stench. "Whoo wee! What is that smell?! It smells like dish soap and rotten fruit."
Arnold groaned, throwing the bottle straight into his trash can. "The bottle said that women loved that smell."
Phil coughed a little, the hand still to his nose. "I don't know about that." He shook his head, and stood at a fair distance from him, still waving one hand around from where he stood to try and ward off the smell. "Why do you care if women think you smell good? You got a hot date?"
Arnold shook his head. "No, Grandpa, I've just got this... this friend thing set up. We're going to the Cheese Festival together."
"Ah, the cheese festival." He rubbed his stomach, his eyes closed. He opened them then, and smiled at Arnold. "If this is a friend thing, why the stinky smelling cologne?"
Arnold sighed, rubbing his head a little as he spoke, "Well... it's a girl."
"Ah, is it that cute little one with the pink bow and the one eyebrow? Oh, by the way, me and your grandma have almost got all the wedding plans set. What would you think of an ice cream cake?" He rubbed his belly again, smiling. "Mmmm, I love ice cream."
"Grandpa!" He blushed heavily, looking at him with wide eyes.
Phil chuckled a little. "Oh, come on, Arnold. It's obvious ya like the girl. So what's with all this 'friend' business?" He asked, using quotations over the word 'friend'.
Arnold groaned, slouching in his seat on the couch. "Well, like I said before, our um, date was just to get everyone to stop spreading rumors about us. So now we can only really be friends..." He sighed.
Phil rolled his eyes, his hands perched up on his bony hips. "You're really gonna let your classmates rule your life?"
"Well, um... Helga has got a reputation as a bully... so I know she cares. Plus, all the teasing was torture." He put a hand to his cheek, shaking his head. "Besides, there's no way Helga could like me back."
"What makes you so sure about that?" Phil questioned, taking a seat next to his grandson.
"Well, I mean, I know she likes me as a friend, but I doubt she feels the same way." Arnold sighed, staring at his shoes.
"Why wouldn't she?" Phil then asked.
"Up until our date, she spent all of her time torturing me."
Phil snickered and patted him on the back. "Well Arnold, it's pretty obvious she was teasing you because she likes you! Boys and girls do that all the time!"
"Grandpa, putting a whoopee cushion on someone's chair isn't exactly a good way to show you like them." Arnold said in slight annoyance.
"Short man, let me tell you a story. Back when I was your age, there was this girl in my class, her name was Gertie. And she used to pick on me all the time! She'd ruin my marble games with my friends, she'd make fun of my stance when we played stickball, she put thumbtacks on my chair, and even did things that I ended up getting in trouble for!"
"Really?" Arnold looked at him in surprise.
"You betcha!" Phil laughed. "Turns out she was teasing me because she was hiding the fact that she had a huge crush on me."
"She did?" Arnold was intrigued now. "Well, what happened with her?"
Phil just laughed and patted him on the back. "That's a story for another day, short man! And remember, never eat raspberries! Which reminds me, I've gotta go!" He hurried out of the room and went downstairs to the bathroom.
Arnold sat there for a couple of minutes, contemplating all of this. Was that really what they were doing? Letting their classmates rule their lives? Letting others decide what they can or can't do? He couldn't be friends let alone date Helga because of her reputation with their peers? That didn't seem fair.
He understood why she set herself off as a rash and to-be-feared bully, a simple act of "get them before they get me", obviously so they wouldn't think of her as weak and walk all over her. But this was worse, they had more power of her than she did over them, or even herself.
'No wonder she's scared to be seen with me.' Arnold thought sadly. 'She's afraid of being made fun of and being seen as weak, being able to be taken advantage of. That has to be it. But I don't want to live by that, she should be free to do what she wants without everyone else deciding. Still, I guess I shouldn't rush her. I'll just have to show her again that there are people who see her as more than just the class bully.'
He bit his lip, and then went to the phone to call Gerald for some advice.
"Hey babe, I was hoping you'd call!" Gerald said as he answered the phone.
Arnold was dumbfounded for a moment, unable to respond. "W-What? Gerald, it's me."
"Oh! Arnold! Hey man...uh...yeah, I knew that, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. So uh, what's up? Did Helga say yes?"
"Oh, yeah. She did." Arnold nodded, though Gerald couldn't see it. "I told her we were going just as friends, but um...I don't know, should I give her flowers or something? I mean, I want to do something nice for her also, but I don't want to seem like I'm coming on to her or anything."
"But aren't you coming onto her?"
"Well, yeah... but I don't want to seem too obvious. We are going as friends, and I don't want to make her uncomfortable."
"Okay, let me get this straight... you want to do something nice, without looking like you're coming onto her... but you are coming onto her... but you don't want her to know that."
There was a moment of silence.
"Arnold, you are one sick puppy."
Arnold sighed, putting his free hand to his forehead. "Are you going to help me or not? I have to pick her up in about thirty minutes here, and Ms. Vitello's flower shop is on the way. So I could do that."
"Hmmm... well, you already tried giving her a flower in the park yesterday, but she didn't seem to care all that much. Have you put on cologne?"
"Uh, yeah. But grandpa said it smelled like dish soap and rotten fruit or something. I'm hoping that once I get outside, it'll air me out."
"Mmmm mmmm mmmm, Arnold... I don't know what-... Ohhh, I know what you could do."
"What? What could I do?"
"You said that you wanted to do something nice for her, and also come onto her sorta without her knowing. So, once you get to the festival, just buy her something, man. Cheese kabobs, teddy bears, anything you see her eyeing. It'll just seem like a friendly gesture, but it'll also have her lookin' at ya in a new way."
"Sure. Girls love it when guys buy them stuff. It gets their gears working, if you know what I'm saying."
Arnold blinked. "What are you saying?"
He could hear Gerald sigh on the other line. "It will make her like you more."
"Of course, man. Have I ever steered you wrong?"
"Don't answer that."
Arnold smiled through the phone, and relaxed a little in his seat. "Okay, thanks for the advice, Gerald."
"Anytime, Arnold. Now I've got to go pick up Ph-... Felix."
"Felix? Who's Felix?"
"No one. Gotta go." He heard the phone click, and he shook his head. He hung up the phone, and glanced at his alarm clock. He smiled, standing up, and straightening out his sweater. He walked down the stairs, down the hall, down more stairs, and then out the door, towards Helga's house.
Needless to say, he was feeling pretty giddy. Sure, this time their date was a "just friends" thing, which was fine, since the fact that they could spend time together one-on-one was what mattered. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, he could get her to like him like him. If their first date got her to warm up to him and enjoy his company, maybe a second date could take it a few steps further.
Without making that obvious, of course. The intention was to hang out with her, as a friend, and have fun together.
To think that just a month ago, or even a day prior to their first date, he would have dreaded this kind of thing with her. Who knew that after one date, he'd grow to like her a lot, and even surprisingly, develop a crush on her? If he'd been told of that at the time, he would've freaked out and thought of it as ridiculous, especially considering how he felt upon the writing on the wall.
He smiled a little now. The message on the wall was what started all of this. At first it was the bane of his existence, but now, he was glad that someone had written that. Thanks to it, he'd been able to see the true side of Helga he'd only ever seen a couple of times, and the true potential in who she was. It had seemed unlikely, since he always went for girls who were pretty and easy.
Helga was neither. She was attractive in her own right, especially when she put effort into it. And she wasn't easy. There was so much to her that it took forever to crack the code. Granted, he understood her mind a lot better now, but there was still puzzles that had yet to be solved.
And yet, he found himself actually liking the challenge.
If it meant he could spend more time with her, and she would gradually open up more and more, then why not? It was interesting to have a challenge like this. It was pretty exciting. A little difficult at times, but still it kept him on his toes.
'Where has she been my whole life?' Arnold thought to himself. His thoughtful expression melted in a lovesick, half-lidded smile as his mind drifted off yet again...
"Well gee Arnold, what is it that you wanted to tell me?" Helga asked curiously.
"I...well, Helga, I wanted to tell you that being with you like this has been some of the best times of my life." Arnold said, and held her hand. "Helga G. Pataki, will you be my girlfriend?"
"Oh, Arnold.... Yes! Yes! Definitely! To be perfectly honest, I've had a crush on you all along, but I was scared to show it."
"You don't have to be afraid anymore."
"And neither do you."
Their eyes met once more and they leaned in closer, closer, and closer...
Arnold jumped as loud car honking snapped him out of his daydream, blinking wildly as he realized he'd been too slow crossing the street and the light had turned red.
"S-Sorry!" He called out, running across the rest of the way.
He shook his head, trying to rid himself of such thoughts.
"I really AM a sick puppy." Arnold groaned to himself.
Luckily, he was nearing her house, so hopefully soon he wouldn't be so inclined to daydream. Despite that he would be spending time with the very object of his affections and daydreams.
Eventually, he reached Helga's house right on time, at 3:52. Arnold took a deep breath and went up the steps, ringing the doorbell.
This time it was Helga who answered the door, who smirked in amusement upon seeing him.
"Well hey there, football head. You're early."
"Well, you know, I wanted to be on time." Arnold blushed a bit and took her in. She was wearing her usual outfit, with her pink bow on her head, the only difference was that she was wearing her hair down again. "Hey, you're wearing your hair down..."
"Yeah, I am. Got a problem with that?" She raised on side of her eyebrow.
"No, no! Not at all. I...like it, actually. You look pretty with your hair down."
Helga blushed a bit and came outside, shutting the door behind her. "Well...thanks, Arnold. Um, so, we gonna go?"
"Oh, uh, yeah. The festival is only a few blocks away too, so we should be there in no time." He smiled at her, and walked down the steps of her stoop.
She fell into step beside him as they walked down the sidewalk, towards the Cheese Festival. She nodded rapidly. "Oh, I know. I can hear all the stupid Cheese Festival sounds from my window. It's annoying as heck." She rolled her eyes a little. "People screaming from going on some of the faster rides, vomiting after eating too much cheese, not to mention all the smells of, big shocker, cheese." She shook her head. "It's ridiculous."
Arnold nodded casually as they turned a corner, the Cheese Festival already in sight. "Yeah, I know. It's really cheesy."
She couldn't quite control the snort of laughter escaping her throat at that, and she nudged him a little in the shoulder. "No puns. I hate cheese puns." She grinned at him.
Arnold looked over at her, amused. "Really? 'Cause your smiling like you like cheese puns. Admit it, Helga. You love them. You think they're gouda."
She chuckled a little, shaking her head. "Enough, Football Head. They're so lame. You're gonna make me sick."
"Oh really?" He asked with fake concern, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Are you sure? Maybe I should take you home then. Don't worry. I'll make it all cheddar."
She slapped a hand to her forehead, chuckling under her breath. "No more! You better stop it, Arnoldo, or I'll have to sock ya one right in your-"
"Would you two like to buy your tickets now?" The lady in the ticket booth asked them, and they stopped in their tracks, realizing they'd made it to their desired destination.
They turned to see the ticket lady staring at them weirdly, and she blinked a few times at them.
Arnold cleared his throat, and came forward, money in hand. "Um, yes, we'd like two tickets for enterance, and two ride bands." He held up a few bills to her.
She smiled at him, and took the money, and pressed a few buttons. Some tickets and bands issued out of a small slit, and Arnold tore them out. "Thank you." He thanked her politely, and turned to Helga with their tickets and ride bands in hand. He handed one of each to her. "Here, Helga."
She took them wordlessly, and offered a smile. They both put on their ride bands, and walked into the festival, handing their tickets over to the ticket guy.
They walked further in, observing all the different rides, cheeses, lights, and people in awe.
Arnold grinned, and then looked over at Helga, gesturing to the festival. "Well, ladies pick first."
She rolled her eyes playfully, and put her hand to her chin, while her other hand rested on her hip, as her eyes scanned over the place. "Okay then, I say that we..." She spotted the Ferris wheel not too far off, and grinned, pointing over at it. "ride that! It'll give us a good view of the festival too, so we can scope out what we want to ride next." She glanced at Arnold.
He smiled at her, and looked over towards the Ferris wheel. "Good idea. Let's go." He took her hand gently, but also excitedly, and they both began bounding towards the Ferris wheel, through the crowds of excited kids, grownups, and cheese.
They reached the line, and after a few minutes, they were boarded onto their seats. Some men in uniform came by and secured them into their seats also, making sure they had their seat belts on correctly.
After a couple minutes of preparation, the ride fired up, and they lifted up, higher and higher into the air. Helga grinned, looking down upon all the tiny people as they went higher and higher. "Ha! Everyone looks like mice from up here. This is rather ironic since mice actually eat cheese." She rolled her eyes at that, and leaned back in her seat, her hands gripping the safety bars.
Arnold smiled too, looking down at all the tiny people wandering around. "Okay, so what do you think we should ride next? We've got a fair view from up here."
Helga smiled at him briefly, before looking back down with a thoughtful look on her face. "Hmmm, how about that?" She pointed down at one ride. "The Tilt-O-Whirl. I always loved that ride. See, the one right there with the chick with the black hair... along with that chubby kid with the protruding belly... and the one with the hat, and then the tall, lanky looking one." Her had been widening in realization as she said all this, and her mouth fell agape. "Oh, man! That's Rhonda, Harold, Sid, and Stinky!"
Arnold's eyes widened, and he looked over to get a better look, squinting his eyes. "Are you sure? I mean-"
"Arnold, I could spot pink boy from a mile away. And I can already smell Rhondaloids stanky smelling French perfume..." She waved a hand in front of her nose. "Ugh, what is that? That can't be Rhonda." She sniffed a little, and Arnold frowned slightly. "It smells like... dish soap and rotten fruit..." She scrunched up her nose, shaking her head.
Arnold's eyes widened at that, and he laughed nervously. "Yeah, don't know."
She looked back down at the four in question, currently walking over to a cheese stand it seemed, and Helga's eyes widened more, her eyes darting around. "And there's Nadine, Sheena, Eugene..." She smirked suddenly though, much to Arnold's confusion. "Well, lookie here. There's Geraldo and Pheebs, walking hand in hand." She rolled her eyes, a smile still on her face. "I should've known."
Arnold chuckled. "Me too. He lied earlier, saying he was going with someone named Felix."
"Felix?!" Helga laughed. "Who the heck is Felix?!"
"A cover-up of the fact that he was going with Phoebe."
"And they say you're the bad liar." Helga snickered, turning her attention back to their respective best friends. "Hey look, I'm Geraldo now. 'Hahahaha, you're so funny Phoebe, man I totally love you even though I deny it, but I know we're on a date right now. Look at me with my muscles, I'm gonna hit the bell with this mallet here, baby...'" She said in her best Gerald impression.
Clapping his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing too loud, Arnold snickered through his nose, his shoulders shaking as his laughter was muffled behind his hand.
"Ohhh, you liked that, huh? Well! Then I'll go on. Let's see, I'll do Rhondaloid next." She flipped her hair and stuck her nose in the air. "'Buy me this, do that for me, do this, do that, I'm Rhonda Wellington Lloyd, and I demand free access to everything because I'm a rich spoiled brat and will throw a tantrum if things don't go my way. Eww, why are you wearing such a hideous dress, I'm gonna write you up a fashion ticket.'"
Arnold laughed heartily, holding his heaving stomach as he nearly fell over in the seat, saved by the seatbelt. "H-Helga...stop....please...." He managed between laughs.
"No way! You torture me with cheese puns, I now torture you with impressions!" Helga declared. "Let's see, I'm gonna do...Harold next! 'Waaaah!! I'm so faaaaaaat!! I'm hungry even though I just ate two seconds ago! Mommyyyyyyy!!!' Okay, and now Stinky. 'Man, Ah'm soooo dumb! What the heck's that mean? Ah don't even know what day it is because Ah'm so dang stupid! Mmm, man Ah sure love lemon puddin'! 'Cause it's lemon puddin'! Had enough yet, football head?"
Wiping a tear from his eye, Arnold managed to catch his breath and stop laughing. "Y-Yeah...I'm fine. Those were pretty good impressions, you sounded just like them."
"Well thank you." Helga bowed as best as she could under the restraint of the seatbelt. "I do what I can, I guess." She looked back out over the park and grinned. "So then Arnold, want to hit the Tilt-O-Whirl after this?"
"Sure Helga, that sounds like fun. It's an awesome ride." Arnold grinned, unconsciously touching her hand that was sitting on her lap.
"I knew you'd agree. So you don't like, get queasy or anything, do you?"
"No, I don't. Do you?"
"Heck no! I can ride the roller coasters at Dino Land seven times without my stomach churning once!"
The blonde boy chuckled a little, smiling up at her fondly. Barely fifteen minutes into their "just friends outing", and he was already having a blast. He was sure glad he'd had the motivation and confidence, somewhat, thanks to Gerald, to ask her to this.
"You must have a pretty strong stomach." He remarked.
Helga smirked at him, batting her eyelashes flirtatiously. "Really? Coming from the Champion himself, that sounds suspicious."
Arnold grimaced at the memory of the food eating competition, holding his stomach. "Oh...I don't want to think about that again."
"Relax, Arnoldo, I'm not gonna make you eat a champ title's worth of cheese or anything." Helga snickered. "As funny as that would be, then I'd be the one left holding the bag."
They both laughed at this, and then the ride finished. The workers unstrapped their seatbelts and the two kids disembarked, heading toward the Tilt-O-Whirl line.
But of course, fate had other ideas.
"Not this way! Come on!" Helga quickly pulled Arnold aside into the opposite direction.
"Why, what's wrong?"
"News flash, no one knows we came here together and are seeing each other, and therefore will know we...ya know, lied." Helga hissed.
Arnold realized, and gave a slow nod in understanding. "Oh, right..." That would be when the teasing would start up all over again, and their classmates would never let them live it down.
The sad part was, they would be partly right this time.
Arnold looked and saw that Rhonda, Nadine, and Lila, apparently having just joined them, were walking toward them. They managed to duck behind a giant Swiss cheese cardboard cutout, effectively hiding from their classmates, or at least enough so as not to be spotted by the girls.
"And so THEN I said to her 'Penelope, if you're going to be wearing blue pumps with that peach dress, you may as well turn yourself in to the Fashion Police'. I mean really, who wears a hideos combo like THAT?" Rhonda was saying.
"Well I do have to admit, the colours don't go so well together..." Lila agreed. "But I'm ever so certain that some people just have different tastes."
"Oh, you have much to learn, dear, naiive Lila." Rhonda said solemnly. "But that's exactly what I'm here for."
Once the girls were out of sight, Arnold and Helga emerged, both sighing with relief.
"That was too close, football head. If we'd been caught by the infernal Fashion and Gossip Queen, we would've been toast by Monday." Helga said.
"No kidding." Arnold agreed. "Um...do you want to play a game first?"
"Sure." Helga said nonchalantly.
They made their way through the crowds, looking around for a game they might like to play, and also keeping a close look out for any of their classmates.
Arnold looked around, and suddenly spotted a certain game stand not too far away, and he grabbed Helga's hand to stop her, and pointed over to the stand. "How about that, Helga?"
Helga looked over, already being able to hear the man running the stand yelling out over the russle and bussle of the crowds.
"Come on down! Only one dollar for three balls! Knock down the milk bottles and win a prize! Come on down! Anyone can play!"
Helga rolled her eyes at the man, but smiled at Arnold nonetheless, and shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
He smiled at her, and they made their way closer to the stand, him still holding her hand so she wouldn't get lost in the crowd.
They made their way to the booth, and the man addressed them animatedly, "Hello there! Would you like to try knocking down the bottles? Only one dollar for three tries!" He grinned at them. "You can't lose!"
Helga shook her head at the man, and Arnold just smiled politely and produced a dollar bill from the back of his pocket. "Uh, yes, I'd like to buy three balls, please."
Helga came forward, and got out her own dollar, slapping it down on the counter. "Count me in too." She grinned.
Arnold looked over at her, and blinked. She didn't look back though, not noticing his look.
The man grinned at them, and eagerly took their money, grabbing out six balls from underneath the counter and placing them before the two kids. He stepped aside, gesturing to the two sets of three milk bottles all topped on top of eachother.
Arnold picked up his first ball, stuck his tongue out in determination, brought his arm back, and then threw.
"Oh no, the football head missed!" Helga giggled, picking up her first ball then, smirking deviously. "Watch and learn, hair boy, this is how we pros do it."
She threw her arm back, eyes straight on the target, the three milk bottles, and then threw the ball.
Helga stared, dumbfounded, as if to say "How could I miss?" while Arnold snickered from next to her.
"You were saying, Helga? No really, go on. I think you were saying something about being a professional?" He crossed his arms, smirking at her playfully.
"Ohhh, shut up! That was just a warm up. I can knock 'em dead." Helga picked up her second ball, concentrated, threw her arm back and tossed the ball.
Success! She knocked down the bottles.
"Told ya. Think you can beat that?" Helga smirked, leaning against the counter.
"I thought you'd never ask." Arnold smiled, taking her challenge. He picked up his second ball, reinstigated his previous pose, and threw the ball.
Success! He too knocked down the bottles.
"Well, football head, you think you can still knock them down if we throw at the same time?" A twinkle flashed in her eye.
"At the same time?" He blinked, and then smiled. "Sure, let's give it a try."
They both picked up their last ball, gave each other a nod, and threw their balls. Upon missing, their eager faces melted into disappointment.
"Well criminy, what's it going to take to win that crocodile plushie, or even that adorable puppy? Sheesh." Helga shook her head, crossing her arms. She glanced at Arnold and shrugged. "C'mon Arnoldo, let's go find something else to do."
Arnold was about to comply, but when he saw the look in Helga's eyes, the way she just wanted to have fun and try to win something, he felt a tug at his heartstrings. Seeing her a little upset wasn't what he wanted her to feel, even if it was no big deal and she'd be over it in no time. Maybe he could keep trying, trying to attempt to make her happy.
Taking out a few dollar bills from his pocket, Arnold went back to the counter and slapped them down. The man was surprised, but then gave him nine balls. Helga looked on with amazement, feeling her heart leap in her chest as she visibly lit up at his sweet gesture.
"I'll win them for you, Helga." He told her with a smile, taking one of the balls.
Oh my gosh, what an angel, just stepping up and trying to make me happy like that! Helga thought, marveled. She shook her head and regained herself. "You didn't have to, football head."
"I know, but I want to. I want to make you happy, and have a good time here like any other friends would." Arnold turned and tossed the ball, successfully knocking down the bottles.
"Well...okay, whatever floats your boat." Unseen to him, she beamed happily with a loving look in her eyes.
She watched as Arnold tossed ball after ball, sometimes missing, other times knocking them down. So far, four misses and three hits, there was one ball left. He took it in his hand, threw his arm back, sticking out his tongue in determination, and then took a chance, tossing it to the milk bottles. The man rang a little bell, and handed over the crocodile plushie and the stuffed puppy.
"Here, Helga." Arnold smiled and handed the toys to her.
"Oh...wow...um, gosh...thanks, Arnold..." Helga blushed unwittingly, taking the stuffed animals from him. "That was pretty nice of you."
"You're welcome, I wanted to make you happy, like any good friend would." He said sincerely, his hands behind his back.
Helga smiled back and then kissed him on the cheek before she could stop herself from doing it. Reality set in and she blushed, walking off toward the Tilt-O-Whirl, motioning for him to follow. It would be okay, if he asked, she could simply say that sometimes the girly reaction was that the girl would kiss someone who won them something, in a totally friendly way. Yeah, she'd be just fine. He wouldn't suspect a thing.
Arnold followed behind her, his eyes wide as he touched the spot she'd kissed. Unseen to her, a dreamy, lovesick smile came to his face as his eyes went half-lidded and his smile grew.
"So football head, what say we go on the Tilt-O-Whirl and see how long we can go without throwing up?" Helga grinned, turning to him.
Snapping out of his reverie, he nodded and smiled. "Sure, Helga. Let's go!"
"Hey, is that Arnold over there?" A voice suddenly said.
"Criminy!" Helga cursed, and hurried off into a crevice between a fortune-telling tent and a dunking booth.
Nearly about to call her back, Arnold was then greeted by Sid, Stinky, Harold and Eugene.
"Well hey Arnold! We didn't know you were here, how's it going?" Eugene asked.
"Wilikers Arnold, didn't think you'd be comin' all by yourself." Stinky remarked.
"Oh, well, you know...sometimes you just want to be able to do what you want without really having to worry about anyone..." Arnold said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Boy howdy, you're a real bold kid Arnold! Hey, you want to come with us? We're going on the bumper cars!" Sid offered.
"Yeah! I can't wait to crash some cars! Vroom vroom CRASH! Aw yeah!" Harold hooted.
"That's okay guys, I was just about to...go get some cheese." Arnold replied. "But thanks for the offer."
"Aw, well that's too bad, Arnold. Maybe we can ride something together a little later." Stinky offered, still wearing a smile.
Eugene nodded enthusiastically, and as he was distracted, the other three began running away from him in the direction of the bumper cars.
Arnold blinked, looking past Eugene and seeing them all racing away from him.
Eugene lost his smile at his strange look, and turned to see everyone running away from him. He smiled again, racing after them. "Hey! Wait for me guy-OOF!" He tripped, falling face first into a puddle of cheese whiz, the can laying over by a trash can not too far away. He groaned, lifting his head up slightly to yell out, "I'm okay!"
Arnold sighed, and looked around, then inconspicuously wandered over into the crevice Helga was, to see her standing there with wide, panicky eyes. He smiled at her, now standing right in front of her. "It's okay, Helga. They're gone now." He went to take her hand, so he could lead her out of her hiding place, but she quickly withdrew her hand from his reach, and sighed. "Look, Arnold, I really am having a good time, but..." She sighed again. "this is all really risky. I mean, what with all our classmates running around. Maybe it would be best if we just... stopped all this. It's crazy, and I really don't want another repeat of that stupid 'Arnold loves Helga' situation. So..." She turned slightly, still looking at him. "Maybe I should just sneak out the back way, and then we can just go back to our seperate lives. I'm the bully, and you're the do-gooder. So..." She sighed again. "Bye." She started walking out the back, but was surprised when Arnold suddenly grabbed her hand to keep her from going, and her ears were met with a panicked yell of, "NO!" She turned to him with wide eyes.
Realizing his actions, Arnold cleared his throat, and pulled her a little ways back by her hand. "Helga, I... it's just... don't you think you're being a little paranoid? The cheese festival is huge. The odds of us running into them again are... well, I don't know exactly what the odds are. I'm not Phoebe. But they have to be pretty low, don't you think?" He smiled at her in reassurance, though it came off a bit more nervous than he would have liked.
Helga blinked at him, considering his words with a slightly pensive look. Suddenly though, she smiled at him again. "Okay, fine. Maybe I am being a little paranoid. It is a pretty big festival. It's just... we've already had two pretty close run-ins with Rhonda, and her crew, and the idiots." She frowned. "Plus, I don't have the best luck in situations like this." She rubbed the back of her neck a little with her free hand.
Arnold frowned, feeling that she was once again reconsidering. "Helga, I... I invited you here because... well, I like you, and I'd like to spend more time with you, and I don't want to let our classmates get in the way of that. I'm sure things will get better. The girls were heading in the opposite direction of the Tilt O' Whirl, and I happen to know that the boys are all heading for the Bumper Cars. So the only people we could possibly run into if we went, would be Gerald and Phoebe, and they already know that we're here together." He smiled, feeling that his reasoning was pretty good.
Helga stared at him, considering what he'd just said, before smiling, and sighing slightly in the amazement of him. "Okay, fine. I mean, what's the worst that could hap-..." She stopped herself, shaking her head. "No, I cannot say that. Every time someone says that, things always get worse." She smiled at him. "Well, let's go. With any luck, we'll run into Pheebs and Geraldo, so we can embarrass the living heck outta them for going together and not telling us." She laughed.
Arnold smiled, and began leading her out of the crevice, and back into the crowd.
They began shifting through the crowds, still holding hands as they made their way towards the Tilt O' Whirl. They got in line, and it was about then that they both realized they were still holding hands. They both blushed, and let go, remembering that this was supposed to be a friends outing.
They waited in line, and Arnold noticed Helga leaning against the railing that was seperating them from the ride. He smiled at her, and she smiled a little back, looking very casual at that moment. He copied her actions, and stared up at her. "So, we've got a little time to kill. Anything you wanna talk about?"
She stared at him, her eyes looking slightly pensive, before she smiled suddenly. "Sure, where'd ya get that awful cologne?" She smirked at him.
He frowned, sighing a little at being caught. "I just got it at some store. It's not important, really." He looked away, feeling a little insecure.
She chuckled a little. "Remind me never to shop at that store." She smiled slightly, mockingly. "I'm flattered you felt the need to splash on some vile concoction just for lil' ol' me. I didn't know you liked me that much." Her smile widened a little. Though she was only joking, she couldn't help but squeal inwardly at the thought of Arnold caring of what she thought he smelled like.
Arnold blushed, his eyes widening a little, not realizing that she was joking. "Uh... well, it was just... I was... and you were..." He gulped, trying to gain back his composure.
Helga's eyes widened a little and she snapped her eyes to him. "Wait a minute... you really did put that junk on because you wanted me to think you smelled nice?" Her eyes widened a little more, and a faint blush began to appear on her cheeks.
Had she been joking? She had to have been, why else would she not have questioned it further, and reiterated back to the cologne? Arnold gave a sigh of relief and nodded as they moved a little further along the line.
"Oh...well, yeah. It's nothing really." He said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I just felt like doing that for the fun of it. Having something nice to smell...or terrible in this case, would be a little bonus."
"Really?" Helga smirked playfully, her hands on her hips. "Because you know, Arnoldo, boys rarely ever put on cologne unless it's...oh, what's that word again? Oh yeah. A date! Gosh, and here I thought this was a 'just friends' thing." She used air quotations for emphasis.
Arnold blushed a bit, his hands behind his back as he rocked nervously on his feet. "W-Well...friends can go do something together and wear perfume or cologne, right?"
She snorted. "Whatever you say, Arnold." She took her stuffed crocodile and poked Arnold's nose with its snout. "Raarrrgghh, the big bad Croc wants to eat you!"
He looked at it cross-eyed and laughed, gently pushing it away. "Very funny, Helga. But I don't think a crocodile would find me very tasty."
"No, you're thinking of sharks." Helga said, shaking her head. "Your head would be enough for the croc to tear you to pieces so it could eat you up in one bite."
"I also heard that an alligator's tail has enough strength to break human bones, but I guess that works better if they're full grown and big."
"The football head does his homework! Well I'm appeased. Ya know, maybe one of these days we should go to the reptile house they have downtown, go see these guys. Sure most of the time they just sit there like logs, but they're so boss. It'd be cooler at those zoos where they have the trainers go down in the pit and make them move and eat things."
"That sounds like fun." Arnold gave a smile, and saw they were further down the line, almost at the ride. "We should go."
"Wait, what? Seriously?" Helga was caught off guard. "You'd want to go, walk around staring at reptiles behind glass, talk to the experts where you can pet a baby gator or a snake or a lizard? With me, no less?"
He nodded and looked at her then. "Well, yeah, Helga. Like I said, I like you and I really want to spend time with you. If you want to go to the reptile house with me, then we'll go. That'll be a great way to spend an afternoon. It'd be fun. Well...if you would like to go, I guess you were probably just joking, and I'll understand if you don't want to, but..."
She grinned giddily for a moment, and then kept it casual and cool. "If you put it that way, sure, why not. We'll go sometime then. I'm uh...not doing anything next Sunday, maybe we can go then."
"All right, then we'll go next Sunday. I'm not doing anything either, we can go then."
"Good, then it's a date. Or should I say, outing between friends?"
Arnold laughed heartily. "Call it whatever you want."
Helga smirked. "Maybe I will call it a date then, just to kick it up a notch. I'm Helga Pataki after all, and I live to torture."
"If calling it a date is torture, then chain me to the wall."
Despite that he turned a silly joke into something with truth behind it, they both laughed and then were soon at the front of the line. They went in, and climbed into one of the "pods", and held onto the safety bar as they waited in anticipation for the ride to start.
"Don't you throw up on me, Arnoldo." Helga warned. "You're not gonna get queasy, are you?"
"No, I won't." Arnold shook his head. "Are you?"
"Well doi, of course not! Like I told you before, I've got a stomach of steel! Now, grab the hold on to this or you're gonna die bar and let's get this show on the road!"
Arnold laughed, taking hold of the safety bar, or the 'hold on to this or you're gonna die bar' that Helga playfully called it. "Whatever you say, Helga."
The ride started, lifting up several feet into the air and then spinning around and tilting, causing some of the passengers to scream in both terror and delight. Helga grinned wildly and threw her arms up, laughing loudly. Arnold couldn't help but melt at her display of having so much fun, reminding him once more that she was letting herself loose and being who she really was. He couldn't help but throw his arms up in a fit of joy and laughing along with her. At least he didn't have to worry about her throwing up or anything.
Unconsciously, they grabbed each other's hands and shouted happily as the ride progressively accelerated. As it turned out, they held hands during the rest of the ride.
Helga talked him into riding it twice, which this time they yelled and shouted random things only for it all to be drowned out by the other screams and shouts and the noise of the ride. After the second round, they headed off into the eatery section to get some cheese, not even realizing that they were still holding hands.
"Man, this is really cheesy." Helga said, and snickered.
Arnold smirked playfully and chuckled. "I told you you loved my cheese puns."
"Oh shut up!" She laughed. "Hey! There's Geraldo and Pheebs! Oh, this is just too perfect."
Arnold looked over, and indeed saw Gerald and Phoebe sitting at a table, a plate of diced cheese between them, and looking to be having a very pleasant talk. Arnold couldn't help but snicker a little at the sight, as they walked a bit closer to them.
Helga suddenly came up, and sat herself right in front of the couple, her eyes wide and holding false-friendliness. She grinned at them, as Arnold sat down beside her. "Why if it isn't Geraldo and Felix. Wow! Felix sure does look a lot like my best friend." She grinned at them a bit wider, and Arnold couldn't help but chuckle a little.
Phoebe blinked at her in bewilderment, and looked over at Gerald's blushing face. "Gerald, who's Felix?"
"No one." He uttered distractedly, and then looked under the table, then back up at the couple, now with a face that had them confused. "Hmmm, Arnold, I thought you said that you and Helga were just going as friends. But you're holding hands."
The two blushed, and immediately released eachothers hands. Arnold frowned at him a little. "Yes, but at least I told you I was going with Helga."
Gerald blushed, and frowned back at him, sighing. "Sorry. But you would've given me one of your knowing looks with one of the stupid little smiles. Ugh, I don't want that, man. Even from you, it's still embarrassing."
Phoebe looked offended. "You find this embarrassing?"
"Uh, Pheebs," Helga cut in, "sorry to burst your bubble there, but you told me you were coming alone."
Phoebe's eyes widened then, and she blushed a little. "Uh..."
"Ah HA!" Gerald exclaimed, giving her an accusing look. "I knew it. You're embarrassed too."
Phoebe sighed. "Okay, fine. But I like to be inconspicuous about these things." She shrugged a little, looking up at him.
Gerald smiled, and nodded a little. "Yeah, I know what you mean." He looked over at Arnold. "Sorry I didn't tell you."
Arnold smiled at him in forgivness, and shrugged a little. "It's okay. I knew you were coming here with Phoebe anyway. Your cover-up wasn't very strong." He laughed a little, and both he and Helga got up and walked away wordlessly.
They walked over to the vendor, and smiled at him, looking over at the menu. "What would you like, Helga?"
She put a hand to her chin thoughtfully, as she looked over the menu items. "Hmmm... how about a yahoo soda, and some of those cheese cube things. They looked pretty good." She smiled at him a little.
Arnold smiled back, and paid the vendor, then walked over to a table with their food. He sat the plate of cheese cubes between them, and the two yahoo sodas, and then sat down. Helga sat beside him, and grabbed up one of the little cheese cubes by the stick. She ate it, and tossed the stick back onto the plate carelessly. "Mmmm, gotta love cheese. It's no wonder they dedicated an entire festival to it." She giggled a little, but then forced down the remainder her giggle, feeling it was embarrassing.
Arnold picked up a cheese cube by it's little toothpick, and ate the cheese, setting the toothpick back down on the plate. "Yeah, I love the cheese festival. It's pretty cool." He smiled at her, swallowing silently.
She nodded, staring at the plate of cheese. She sat her head in her hand, her elbow resting up on the table as she stared. "This is so weird..."
Arnold blinked at her, and looked from the cheese to her. "What's wrong with the cheese?"
She shook her head a little absently, and looked over at him instead. "I mean, being here, with you. I mean, only about a week ago we both probably would've vomited at the thought of coming here together." She laughed a little, thinking of what a lie that was. Well, half-lie. She would've been squealing and giggling in delight, but he... well, she didn't want to think about it anymore.
He frowned at the thought, and took on a pensive look. "Yeah, it is weird to think about." He shook his head a little, and smiled at her. "But we're friends... so it's not that weird NOW." He shrugged, playing with one of the cheese squares with his toothpick.
She smiled at him. "Yeah, except of course how we hold hands, and you put on cologne for me." She laughed a little, eating another cheese cube.
He blushed a little, and looked away. But then he looked back at her with a slightly amused smile. "Well, yeah. But you put a little effort into this too." He smirked a little.
She blinked at him, looking a bit bewildered. "What are you talking about? I'm not wearing some foul smelling perfume."
He shook his head, his smirk still set on his face. "No, but you did put your hair down, because you know I like it." He smirked, leaning in a bit. "Admit it, you cared about my opinion of your appearance."
She rolled her eyes, her head still resting in her hand. "So I was too lazy to put it up in it's usual pigtails. That's called lack of effort, Football Head." Her eyes grew a little then, and she smirked. "And what is this about you liking it?" She raised one side of her eyebrow at him cunningly.
His smirk dropped, and he blushed again. "Um, well..." He looked away, still blushing. "It's... well, it's nice." He shrugged, looking away with a nervous look.
She giggled a little, and sat up straight then, waving one of the cheese cubes in his face to attract his attention. "Awww, you think my hair looks nice, you put on cologne for me, you ask me to the cheese festival. Geez, if you keep it up, I'm gonna start thinking you have some kind of crush on me." She laughed a little at the thought, and popped the cheese cube into his mouth suddenly, the stick sticking out from his lips.
Blushing furiously, not just at her gesture but at her comment. Once more, she was right. Did she suspect that he had a crush on her? Or was she just playing around some more? Was it THAT obvious? Sure, he put on cologne, gave her a daisy, and asked her to the Cheese Festival, not to mention holding her hand a lot, and then complimenting her on her hair.
Friends did that, right?
Keeping his composure, Arnold smiled and removed the toothpick, before taking another cheese cube and holding it to her face, making her eyes follow it wherever he moved it.
"Gosh Helga, whatever would I do if that were true?"
"I don't know, you tell me. Dance for joy? Throw pie in my face?" She made a grab for the cheese with her mouth but he pulled it back. "Hey! Gimme!"
"What's the magic word?" Arnold smirked playfully, waving the cheese in her face.
"Abracadabra. Now gimme." Helga pouted.
He chuckled and placed the cheese in her mouth, the toothpick sticking out between her lips. She smiled, and he took the toothpick from her. All of a sudden, her eyes went wide and she flew out of her seat, ducking under the table.
"Helga? What are you doing?" Arnold questioned, surprised.
"Shh! Classmate alert!"
"Well well, look ladies, it's Arnold!" Came the voice of Rhonda. "And he's here all alone."
"Um, hi Rhonda, Lila, Nadine, Sheena..." Arnold said nervously. "H-How's it going?"
"Oh, it's going just ever so great, thank you for asking!" Lila smiled. "Are you here all by yourself?"
"Oh, yeah, you know...kind of wanted some time to have fun on my own for a change." Arnold lied, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Really? Well that's funny, we heard you talking to someone awhile ago." Nadine said.
"Yeah, and I'm oh too certain that I saw you with Helga earlier." Lila added.
Arnold gulped, but managed to keep his composure. He knew he was a lousy liar, but he tried. "W-Well...I did run into her and we talked a bit...then I went and saw Gerald...it's nothing really."
"Well gosh Arnold, you sure got over her quick." Rhonda smirked. "But anyhow, we're off to get our faces painted. Care to join us?'
"That's okay Rhonda, I'd rather not."
"Suit yourself. Come ladies, let's be off."
"I hope you have a nice evening, Arnold. If you want to hang out with us, you're oh too welcome to." Lila offered.
"Thanks Lila, I'll think about it." Arnold nodded.
The girls walked off, talking amongst themselves. Arnold released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, just in time for Helga to emerge once the girls were out of sight and earshot.
"I swear, you could get a tooth ache spending just five minutes with Lila." Helga muttered, returning to her seat. "Come on, girls can be sweet but no girl could be THAT sweet on a daily constant basis."
"Like you said Helga, there's a first time for everything." Arnold smirked lightly.
She blushed wildly and waved it off. "Oh be quiet. Who asked you?"
Helga rolled her eyes, taking the last cheese cube and eating it. "Mmm-mmm, good cheese. So Arnoldo, what do you propose we do now? We just ate, and while I do have a stomach of steel, I fear it will be a bad idea to go on a fast ride, since you might throw up and all."
Finishing his soda, Arnold looked around, and came to see the Tunnel of Love not too far away. He blushed at the idea of it, wondering if that would be such a good idea. It was a slow, easy ride. You didn't have to be in love to ride it, it was just for romantic atmosphere.
"Um...we could go on the Tunnel of Love if you want. I mean, you know, friends can ride it." Arnold shrugged, seeming cool and casual about it, despite that he was blushing furiously.
Helga raised one side of her brow, and gave a light smirk. "Well...so the football head wants to go on the Tunnel of Love with little ol' me. All right, Arnoldo, let's go on it." She batted her eyelashes at him flirtatiously.
Arnold blushed a little more and got up from the table, unconsciously taking her hand and going over to the Tunnel of Love. Thankfully, neither of their classmates were in sight. The line was short, so they didn't have to wait too long.
"Well, you know, no reason friends can't ride it, right?" Arnold rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand.
Helga snickered. "Then would you mind explaining to me as to why you're blushing, flustered, and holding my hand?"
"Huh?" He looked down at their joined hands and then hastily let go. "Oh, sorry."
"Gosh Arnold, given all the blushing, flirting and hand-holding, now with the Tunnel of Love, it almost seems like we're on a date." She joked, though deep down she wished it were true.
"Do...you want it to be?" He asked softly.
Her eyes widened. "What?"
"N-Nothing, nothing. Look, it's our turn, we can get on now."
He stepped onto the boat, feeling it sway a little underneath him. He stepped over, and held out his hand for Helga.
She almost slapped it away out of instinct, but then realized how silly that would be at this point. So instead, she simply took his hand, and stepped in hesitantly, feeling it sway a little in her enterance.
They both sat down then, and Arnold let go of her hand after a moment, blushing a little.
She blinked at him, as the ride started, and their little swan boat entered into the dim, though quite romantic tunnel. Helga blinked, looking around at the surroundings with mild interest, for most of her interest was going to what she was seeing out of the corner of her eye. Arnold was sitting beside her, wringing his hands out of nerves, and glancing at her every few seconds. She blushed at all this, and couldn't help but be silently grateful that it was too dim in there for her blush to be fully visible. She cleared her throat, leaning back in the boat casually and speaking somewhat quietly, as was the effects of the atmosphere, "Um, Arnold, don't look so nervous. We're just friends here. There's really no reason to be nervous." She cursed herself silently, at realizing how nervous her voice actually sounded there.
Arnold took a deep breath, and leaned back also, trying to relax. "Sorry, Helga. It's just..." He looked away nervously.
She blinked at him, and scooted a little closer to him to put a hand on his shoulder hesitantly. "Arnold, it's okay. I know it's a little awkward, but you were the one to say that friends could do these sorts of things." She smiled, squeezing his shoulder reassuringly.
He looked over at her, and felt a smile tugging at his lips after a moment. "You're right, I did say that... because it's true." He added the ending quickly, blushing a little again, before regaining his smile. "This is just a friends thing."
She smiled back, nodding. "Of course. Friends thing ONLY." She leaned a bit closer, unconsciously letting the hand resting on his shoulder drop.
Arnold smile softened and he nodded slightly, leaning a bit closer. "Because we are only friends."
She leaned a bit closer, feeling greatly intoxicated by his aroma... she really did have to find out what kind of shampoo he used sometime. She blinked away these thoughts, and leaned a little closer. "Mmm-hmm,"
He rested his hand in the space between them, and leaned over a bit more, their lips only inches apart. "Yup,"
They both leaned a bit closer, and their eyes began to drift shut...
Before long, their lips brushed.
Helga set her hand between them also to maintain her balance, and in doing this, her hand settled right on top of his.
They both leaned a bit closer, adding firmer pressure between their lips.
Arnold's heart was beating wildly, and he could feel the butterflies swarming around in his stomach crazily. A warm chill swept over him, and he kissed her a bit harder at the feeling.
For Helga though, her entire body was practically painfully stinging with utter ecstasy. She let out a small, almost inaudible moan, and attempted to deepen the kiss.
Arnold felt her tongue pressing up against his lip, and felt a blush once again crawl up his neck. He opened his mouth curiously, allowing her hot, cheesy tongue to dart in and explore his mouth hungrily. He was slightly taken aback by her enthusiasm, but also couldn't deny how nice it felt, and neither could the added butterflies in his stomach.
They felt light begin to seep in through their eyelids, and their eyes snapped open, and their mouths snapped apart in realization that the ride was just ending.
As the ride was coming to a stop, they were both now sitting on the farther ends of the boat, as far apart as possible, with wide eyes and dark red cheeks, both looking tense.
After a moment, Helga laughed, extremely nervously, and began climbing out of the boat. "Heh, heh... well what do ya know! Friends can apparently make out too." She laughed again, but her laugh was cut off with a yelp when she suddenly slipped a bit on some water from the ride (And the swaying of the boat wasn't helping), and fell backwards into Arnold's lap.
He stared down at her in alarm, a dark blush still set on his cheeks. He laughed nervously, and leaned over her face a little. "Um, yeah, apparently they... can." He gulped, and squirmed a bit, as she began removing herself from his lap.
They struggled, and Helga only succeeded in falling back again.
"Okay, this is not working. I'll get up slowly, and you can support me so I'll stay standing. I'll get out first and then you can follow. Got it?"
"Here we go."
Helga grasped either side of the boat and pushed herself up. Arnod held her waist gently with trembling hands, but still strong enough to support her. She stepped out of the boat and heaved a sigh of relief. He stood up and stepped out also with no problem. They walked off together, avoiding each other's gazes, blushing furiously, each thinking the same thing.
What just happened back there?
They had gone beyond the "just friends" code. Friends didn't flirt, friends didn't blush around each other, friends didn't blush BECAUSE of each other, friends didn't go on romantic dates, friends didn't kiss, and friends especially didn't make out. So what were they doing?
In their own perspectives, letting their feelings for the other get in the way of everything. In the perspective of the other person, the heat of the moment.
But even the heat of the moment couldn't adequately explain it.
Needless to say, Helga was inwardly jumping for joy, her mind screaming over and over about how she not only got to kiss him, but also to make out with him. Especially since it was MUTUAL. Sure, kissing alone wasn't very common among nine year olds, and making out went far beyond what kids their age did. But did she care? Not in the least. So the kiss got a little deep and passionate. It was no one's business but their own. Despite the whole situation at hand, she swooned happily, remembering the entire feeling and the taste of him, which had been amazing. Sure, the first time they'd kissed was really nice, but this one definitely took the cake.
But there was still that level of uncertainty in the air. Why? Why did it happen? It was definitely mutual, but how? Could he possibly have a crush on her?
Wishful thinking, she knew, but it was a possibility, right?
She weighed the possibilties of it, wondering if maybe, just maybe, he might. He wore cologne (despite its terrible scent), blushed a lot and got flustered when he was around her, he asked her to the Cheese Festival when he could have easily asked another girl, he enjoyed being with her, he wanted to spend more time with her, he flirted with her, and when they kissed, which was initiated by them both, he didn't pull away or seem at all repulsed. He had kissed back, and even allowed it to deepen.
'Could he like me too? The evidence is pointing to yes, so could he? Oh, Arnold...I must know, do you like me too? Please say you do! ...Oh who am I kidding, I'm just apparently a close friend he probably doesn't mind flirting or kissing with...' She thought.
Arnold meanwhile, was also thinking of this, both excited and lovesick, while also, feeling nervous and very uncertain. They were just friends, they had come here together just as friends, and yet they had gone beyond what friends have done, quite a few times in fact. And now this. They had just made out as if they were a couple in love. Why? Why had they done that? More over, why did she deepen in like that? Was she curious? Had she heard or read about making out and wanted to try it? That had to be it.
Or was it the possible yet impossible notion that she liked him too?
Completely unsure, he wasn't sure what to think then. His mind was too clouded with it all, and yet he couldn't shake off the feeling of their kiss. He did enjoy their first kiss, the kiss she had planted on his cheek was sweet in itself, but this kiss had been...pretty amazing. The butterflies in his stomach still hadn't dissipated, and as deep and far as it was, far beyond what he could have expected, he didn't mind the idea of it occurring again.
But would it?
The question still lingered. Now what?
Before either of them could ponder it further, disaster was on its way.
Some ways ahead, surrounding a cheese vendor, were all of their classmates. It was located in a very open spot too, so if they tried to escape, their peers would undoubtedly see them no matter what direction they went in.
"Oh CRIMINY!" Helga hissed loud enough for only Arnold to hear. "That's it! I'm done. I'm out of here!"
Before he could stop her, she ran off into the crowd, disappearing from sight before any of their peers could spot her.
"Helga! Helga wait!" Arnold called after her.
"Arnold? Hey Arnold! What's goin' on, man?" Gerald asked as he and Phoebe came over, looking surprised and concerned. "Where'd Helga go?"
"She ran off." Arnold said with disappointment. "We cam here and saw everyone surrounding the vendor, and she ran off because everyone would see us together."
"Oh...." Phoebe realized, and understood immediately. "I'm so sorry, Arnold... I didn't think it would get to that point. But I suppose I should have."
He smiled sadly. "It's okay, Phoebe. It's not your fault. I don't blame her, I can understand why she feels this way. I just...wish it didn't have to be that our own classmates ruled her life."
"Mmmm mmmm mmm." Gerald said, shaking his head. "That's just the way things are, man. So hey, what'cha doing standing around here for? Go! You gotta go after her!"
"I concur with Gerald. You and Helga need to go to a place where you won't be seen or disturbed." Phoebe agreed.
Arnold nodded. "You're right. I definitely don't want tonight to end like this. Thanks, guys!" He waved and then ran off after Helga, guessing where she might have gone.
Phoebe smiled at his retreating form and looked back at Gerald. "It seems you were indeed correct, Gerald. He has a crush on her."
"Told ya." Gerald chuckled, his arm snaking around her waist. "What say we go get some more cheese and hope for the best for them?"
"Sure, I'd love to." She beamed at him and blushed.
Arnold ran through the crowd, heading to the entrance, figuring that Helga had left in order to escape the prying eyes of their peers. The entrance arch came into view, but no Helga. His gut ached, but he kept going. He had to find her.
Coming out onto the sidewalk, Arnold took a deep breath and looked around frantically for her. As it turned out, she was sitting on the curb at the end of the street.
"Helga? Helga!" Arnold jogged over to her. "Helga...are you okay?"
She didn't respond for a few moments before she sighed heavily. "I'm just peachy, football head. We were nearly caught, so I feel just wonderful."
"Helga... I can understand why you don't want the others to see us together, but-"
"That's just it! We CAN'T be seen together! It'll ruin my reputation!" Helga cried, standing up and flailing her arms. "They'll walk all over me, and you! They'll eat us alive! They'll...they'll bring back the 'Arnold Loves Helga' fiasco and we'd have to practically skip town just to escape it! I can't do this." Tears unwittingly pooled in her eyes. "We shouldn't see each other like this, it just...we can't. We really shouldn't. For the sake of our lives."
Arnold tensed, and shook his head. "No! No...Helga, I don't want to do that." He placed his hands on her shoulders. "And I know you don't want to either. I...I like you. I really like you, and I've never had so much fun with a girl like I've had with you, and I don't want us to stop hanging out together because our classmates won't approve of it. I know it's not easy for you, and hey, it's a big step for me too, considering what we've been through, but that was the past. This is now, and I know that I can never go back to what we used to have. I'm glad to have you in my life like this Helga, I really am. I really like being with you." He brought a hand to her cheek, wiping off her falling tears.
Helga stared at him in awe, her eyes still wide and sparkling with tears. She could feel that her cheeks were a bit wet, and Arnold just smiled slightly dreamily, and wiped them away tenderly still. She melted at his touch, though she tried desperately not to show it. She hated being so vulnerable around him. Heck, she hated being vulnerable, period. But... he was being so sweet. And the things he said. She couldn't believe it. She couldn't help but lean in slightly to his touch, and sigh quietly in contentment. "You really mean that, Arnold?'
Arnold just continued to stroke her cheek, somewhat absently now as her tears were ceasing. He smild at her question, and stopped in his caresses, opting to simply holding her cheek in his hand. "Of course I mean it, Helga." He smiled a bit wider at her, and then looked around them, then back to her. "We should get out of here, Helga. If you're still uncomfortable, then I think we should go somewhere more private. Would that make you happy?" He asked softly, looking up into her blue eyes.
She smiled at him, and sighed. "Fine. But we do need to have a serious talk about all this..." She waved her arms around wildly, and Arnold withdrew his hand in surprise.
He smiled, grabbing one of her currently elevated hands and taking it in both of his. "Sure, Helga. How does Slausens sound? No one's really there, because of the Cheese Festival and all. We should be safe there. No more craziness." He kissed her hand in reassurance, and smiled up at her.
She blinked at his gesture, trying desperately to hold herself back from breaking out into a jig right then and there, and shrugged. "S-Sure. I could go for some ice cream."
He nodded, and let go of her hand, then took it back into his own as they began walking down the sidewalk towards Slausens.
Helga sighed again, quiet enough that Arnold wouldn't hear, and looked away. 'Well, Helga ol' girl, you've done it again. You've gotten yourself into some insane situation where your love for Arnold was almost discovered by the world. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Now what am I supposed to do? Here he is, wanting to spend loads more time with me, and of course I want to spend time with him, but...' She sighed again, bringing her free hand up to massage her temples. 'This is all getting out of hand. We were almost caught, what? Four or five times? In ONE NIGHT! And why?! Because I just HAD to go out with Arnold again. Of course...' She sighed to herself, and shook her head, unconsciously squeezing his hand in comfort.
Arnold felt her squeeze, and smiled to himself, squeezing back gently in reassurance, while on the inside he felt quite different. 'What is going on with me? I mean, this was supposed to be a just friends thing, but look at us. We're holding hands, and... and...' He gulped. 'kissing, and we're just...' He sighed, deciding to just get it out. 'We're acting like a couple. And you know what, I like it... a lot. I don't get it... or any of this, really. Why do I feel so weird? I've never... there's the regular butterflies in my stomach from when I have a crush, but... they're so much more intense. And my heart is beating really fast and... I feel really warm and, sorta nice.' A goofy grin threatened to present itself on his face, but he snapped out of it, now simply looking confused. 'I thought I had more self control than this.' He sighed. 'I mean, I take her out, we have an awesome time, and that was supposed to be it. Nothing more. But instead, we have an awesome time, and I end up liking her even more than I did before, and we even end up...' He gulped again. 'kissing a LOT. But... why do I feel so... different? Why, if I didn't know any better, I'd say I was actually falling in-'
His thoughts were cut off when Helga suddenly came to a stop, and in being so lost in thought, he didn't realize, and got tugged backward next to her. He blinked a couple times, and then looked over at Helga curiously.
She smiled somewhat nervously at him, and gestured forward with her head. He blinked again, and looked before them to see Slausens. He could hear her laugh a little, and looked over towards her curiously.
She was laughing, one of her more sweet laughs, almost like a giggle. The kind that made his heart beat fast and his cheeks shade with a dash of pink. She stopped though, after only a few seconds, and looked down at him. "Head in the clouds again, Arnold?"
He blinked at her, but then smiled a little. "Yeah, I guess." He laughed a little to himself, and let go of her hand. He went forward and opened the door for her, gesturing for her to go first.
She smiled at him, and walked on in, as he silently watched her move past him. He could faintly smell something vanilla like, and also really cheesy... he knew it was Helga, and... he liked it.
He let out a light sigh, before following in after her.
"So what do you want, football head? Guess I'll buy this time." Helga said, her eyes scanning the menu. "I'm gonna get a jelly bean blizzard. And actually eat the black ones, since they're the best ones."
Arnold looked at her in surprise as he came up beside her. "Really? You like the black jelly beans?"
"Doi, of course! I don't get why people don't like them. They're awesome! You like them?" She looked down at him with a playful smirk.
"Yeah, actually, I do. I really like licorice." Arnold admitted.
"Well! Then looks like you and I are going to get along just fine. So then, wha'tll you have?"
Arnold scanned the menu for a minute, contemplating what he was in the mood for. He gave a smile and nodded as he made his decision. "You know, I think I'll just have what you're having."
"Copycat." Helga stuck her tongue out at him. "All righty, you get us a table and I'll get the goods." She walked over to the counter and rang the push-bell.
"Whatever you say, Helga." He smiled and then went over to a table, taking a seat as he waited for her.
While he did, he thought some more about what had happened tonight. They'd had a great time together, having lots of fun. Sure, all the ducking and dodging from their peers wasn't exactly appealing, though it did admittedly add excitement, even if they could do without it. He thought once more, about all that they were doing. This had been a just friends thing, and yet, they acted like a couple.
'Why did we do all that? I mean...we didn't force each other...it was all mutual, right? Even when she kissed me with her....tongue... I didn't even pull back. I let her, and I even tried to return it. Why did I do that? I mean, I know I have a crush on her and all, but why would se...?' He shook his head. 'No...she probably just got lost in the moment, or was humouring me. ...Right?'
Arnold looked toward Helga as she was leaning over the counter, waiting for the server to give them their ice cream. His gaze became lovesick and dreamy as he rested his head on his hand, gazing at her lovingly.
'I guess I really do like more than I did before... I think I might even be falling in lo-'
"And here we go, two jelly bean blizzards, courtesy of moi." Helga declared, slapping one down in front of him before she sat down across from him. "Were you daydreaming again, football head?"
"Um...oh, I guess." Arnold blushed a bit, taking the plastic spoon from the cup and proceeding to eat the ice cream.
"You are such a dreamer, Arnoldo." Helga teased, shaking her head. "I think it's time you got your football head out of the clouds."
He sighed, and shook his head a little. "I can't help it if I daydream a lot. It's involuntary." He smiled as he took the first bite of his blizzard.
"You wanna know a secret?" Helga asked in a low voice suddenly, leaning across the table towards him.
Arnold blinked at her, and leaned forward a little too, responding in a hushed tone. "Sure, I guess."
She smirked, lowering her voice again. "I actually daydream a lot." She snapped back up from the table, and continued eating her ice cream, not even looking at him.
He blinked, also straightening up in his seat, though much slower, trying to process this little piece of information. "Wait a minute... so you're always getting on me for daydreaming, and saying that I'm stupid for it, when all this time you've been doing the same thing?"
She simply shrugged, continuing to eat her blizzard.
Arnold smirked a little. "Hypocrite."
She nearly choked on her ice cream, before glaring at him slightly. She shook her head, and crossed her arms over her chest. "No, I am not. It just adds to how awesome I am." She smirked. "I can make fun of you, and there will never be any reprocussions whatsoever. Not even on my psyche."
He sighed again, though a smile was present on his face. "Whatever you say, Helga."
"Doi," She smiled at him, and continued digging into her ice cream.
Arnold smiled a little and scooped up some more of his frozen treat into his spoon, asking nonchalantly, "So, what do you daydream about?"
Helga froze in her actions, and slowly sat the spoon aside, looking at Arnold with a blank, almost pensive expression, "I daydream about... sports."
Arnold raised an eyebrow at that. "Sports?"
"Y-Yeah, you know, baseball, hockey, bowling, wrestling... football." She shrugged. "Nothing like what you daydream about I'm sure." She muttered under her breath sarcastically.
"I've daydreamed about sports before." He stated in a slightly defensive tone, having heard her.
"Oh?" She questioned, beginning to pick out the little licorice jelly beans, and popping them in her mouth.
"Well, yeah. Of course that's not all I daydream about, but... I do on occasion." He shrugged.
"Okay, then what the heck have you been daydreaming about tonight? I keep finding you with some dazed look in your eyes, and it's been getting a little annoying." She smiled at him, despite her words.
He tensed slightly at her question, and stuffed a big spoon full of ice cream in his mouth to help stall his response. Once he'd swallowed finally, he wiped his mouth with a napkin, and attempted a smile at her. "W-Well, I've been... daydreaming about... stuff. Different stuff. It's um, never the same thing exactly." He managed to stutter out, looking really nervous.
She blinked at him, raising one side of her eyebrow at him. "Okay, Stutter Bug, whatever." She rolled her eyes a little, though it was more playful than anything, and stuffed some more ice cream into her mouth.
"Stutter Bug?" Arnold parrotted, unable to keep from smiling.
"Yeah, that's what I said. 'Cause you stuttered."
He chuckled. "Whatever you say, Helga."
"Good boy. Well, anyhow..." The blonde girl paused a moment, trying to think of a way to ease off the tension. "So...we had fun there, even with all the epic ducking and doging."
Arnold blushed a little, looking down at his ice cream cup. "Yeah, we did have fun." He looked at her then and smiled. "You know, um, thanks for agreeing to go with me. I'm glad we did."
"Thanks? Well that's new, actually thanking the person you asked out." Helga mused, and giggled. "Gosh, you are too nice, football head. You go as far as even thanking someone for something you don't even need to thank them for! Don't get me wrong, the gesture's nice and all, but wow, you are something."
"Well...yeah, I know I don't need to thank you, but I don't know, it felt like the right thing to do." Arnold admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was pretty nervous to ask, to be honest. Because I really wanted to go with you."
Her eyebrow shot up to her hairline, her eyes widening. "...Really? You did?"
"Yeah, I really did. Our date was a lot of fun, and I really wanted to take a chance and have fun with you like a couple of friends would, you know? So, I guess you can see why I'm thankful you accepted."
"Is that right?" Helga blushed and smirked a little, eating more ice cream. "Well, hair boy, I guess you really couldn't get enough of little ol' me, could you? There's just one problem with all this."
"Friends don't exactly act like a couple. C'mon Arnoldo, we've held hands, flirted, blushed and flushed, and heck, we even kissed. I don't know about you, but that's a bit off, don't you think?"
Uh-oh. He was afraid this would come up. Then again, he should have expected it somehow, since they did need to talk about it. But how? He DID want to admit he had feelings for her, but fear was eating at his gut, as well as anxiety. What if she rejected him? Or worse, never wanted to hang out again? It would crush him, a lot more than he cared to admit. He really didn't want to lose her.
Still, what if she suspected something after what happened tonight? It was pretty hard to constitute their actions as anything but romantic. Then again, she did return it all, or was doing the same thing at the same time as him, if she'd really objected to their more-than-friends actions, she would have said so...very forcefully, and he would never get near her in that way again, respecting her wishes. But no, it was as if the air was open for whatever. No boundaries.
What was going on here?
"I-I guess we did...act like we were more than friends." Arnold murmured finally. "I-I'm sorry if it ever made you feel uncomfortable, Helga."
"Nah, relax, I think you'd know by now if it was that uncomfortable. I mean, we're friends, right?"
"And I guess...we got carried away, or something."
"Carried away, yeah, I guess that's one way to put it." He lowered his gaze to his ice cream.
"Heat of the moment, how about that?" She shrugged.
He sighed sadly to himself, and nodded, toying around with his spoon in his ice cream. "Yup,"
She sensed his sadness, and frowned a little. "Hey, Arnold..." She hesitated, "is everything okay?"
He looked up at her, and feigned a small smile. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just... thinking."
"About..." She prompted, leaning in slightly from across the table.
"Well," He shifted his eyes away, feeling a bit nervous. "what if... what if it... wasn't really in the heat of the moment? You know, hypothetically." He looked at her.
She blinked at him, feeling caught a bit off guard. "Well, wouldn't that be interesting?" She leaned back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest and taking on a thoughtful gaze. "Well, then I guess that would imply that we liked eachother, but we don't. Well, at least not in THAT way, so it doesn't really matter." She shrugged, a small dash of sadness and resentment in her eyes, directed at herself, though she knew that she still had to keep her secret a secret. 'Oh, Arnold, if only I could admit to you how much I adore your beautiful football head...'
"Oh." He looked back down at his ice cream, feeling his heart sink. "That's, um, true... I guess." He sighed a little to himself.
She slurped up the last of her ice cream, and smiled a forced smile. "Well, I'm done, how about you?"
Arnold stared down at his ice cream cup, seeing the few jelly beans floating around in the melted substance. He sighed again, looking up at her. "Yeah, I'm not really all that hungry anymore." He smiled at her best he could, sliding out of their booth.
She slid out also, cup in hand, and walked over to throw it away, with Arnold following after. They threw out their cups, and then looked to eachother.
Arnold smiled. "Can I walk you home?"
She smirked, and shrugged her shoulders lightly. "Whatever floats your boat."
They walked out of the restaurant, Arnold holding the door open for Helga, and then they began walking down the sidewalk towards her house.
"So..." Arnold started, his hands behind his back, "what do you think of..." He racketed his brain. "David Letterman?"
"He's got funny hair." She stated dryly, her arms crossed over her chest.
"He's hardly got any hair."
"Why do you think it's funny?" She smirked at him.
He chuckled a little, and then looked ahead of them, realizing they'd once again come to a dead end in the conversation department. He thought for a moment, and then looked over at her curiously. "Helga, this may sound weird but..." He looked away for a second, then looked back at her. "why does your dad call you by your older sister's name?"
She stiffened visibly, but then scowled at him. "None of your beeswax, Football Head."
"Yeah, and you always get defensive whenever the subject of your family gets brought up." He stared at her, feeling almost worried.
"Well I-!" She nearly brought on her usual fury, but then seeing his concerned face made her stop in her tracks, and she sighed in defeat, seeming to deflate like a balloon. "Just...don't ask me about it, okay? It's not something I want to talk about. It doesn't matter, okay?"
"I know Helga." He stopped then, and came around in front of her, his hands on her shoulders. "I know it's a hard issue to talk about, and I'm sorry if I make you feel uncomfortable about it, and I'm not trying to. I'm just concerned about you, and it hurts me to know that there are problems in your household. But I won't force it out of you. If you ever want to talk about it, you can talk to me anytime. Really, even if it's at three in the morning." He sighed lightly, and brought a hand to her cheek. "I care about you, Helga. Don't doubt it, that's why I asked."
Helga's eyes widened as his hand met her cheek for the second time that night, sending her heart pounding a million miles an hour and felt her cheeks getting hot. He was so kind, so caring, so sweet, it made her just want to melt into a puddle! Or better yet, throw her arms around him and smother him with all her love. Heck, it even made her want to actually talk about it all.
But she couldn't. Not yet anyway. It just didn't feel right to do.
Still, his gesture was very sweet, and she didn't doubt that he was only asking because he was concerned about her.
"....Y-Yeah, you're right, hair boy. I'm sorry I snapped at you...you were just trying to help and I guess I was a little too defensive." She finally said.
Arnold was taken aback by her apology, but he recovered and smiled warmly, his hand still on her cheek, not that he really realized it. "It's okay, Helga. It was insensitive of me to ask you of something so personal and all."
'Oh goodness, you poor Angel! How could you ever think of such a thing?! You were so sweet to question your concern! My darling, how could I be so terrible to you...why can't I just push it all aside and talk about it?' She thought, her heart skipping a beat.
"Nah, don't worry about it. You were just doing what you do best. I can't exactly condemn you for being yourself." Helga shrugged. "C'mon, let's get on home."
"Okay." He smiled and pulled back, returning to her side so they could walk along. "Still friends?"
"Doi, of course." Helga rolled her eyes, and took his hand out of habit. "I may be bad but I'm not that heartless. Couldn't live with myself if you showed up at school all sad because I told you to beat it."
Arnold snickered. "If you put it that way, then I guess I'd just have to walk up to you with Bambi eyes."
"You wouldn't." Helga held her free hand to her mouth, holding back a laugh as she tried to imagine her dear beloved with Bambi eyes.
"I don't know, I don't know if I could make good Bambi eyes."
"Well, let's see it then. Allow a second pair of eyes who can actually see your eyes to be the judge."
"Oh, okay." Arnold looked up at her, widening his green eyes and putting a lot of sadness and plead into them.
Helga was taken aback for a moment at how adorable and heart-wrenching he looked then. If he ever gave her those eyes, she could never refuse him. No one could say no to that face.
"Awww, well aren't you just precious." Helga giggled, poking his nose with her free hand.
"Really?" Arnold looked at her finger cross-eyed and gently pushed it away.
"Well yeah, you could win people over with those eyes." She winked at him. "Want free candy? They'd give it to you."
"I do like free candy, but I would never con people into doing things that aren't right just because I'd be able to win them over like that."
"Of course you wouldn't. You wouldn't be Arnold if you did. Like I said football head, don't ever change."
He smiled lovingly at her, squeezing her hand. "I won't, Helga."
Her eyes widened. Did he just smile at her the same way he looked at all those girls he liked?
She shook her head frantically. No, she was just imagining it. She had to have been.
The walk had been short, a little too short, because soon they arrived at her doorstep. Both of them were silent for a few moments, unsure of what to say or do next.
"Well...here we are." Helga finally said. "Um, you know, not for nothing, but thanks for walking me home."
"Anytime, Helga." Arnold smiled. "So...well, thanks again for coming out with me tonight. I had a lot of fun with you. I really did."
She blushed. "I'm glad I came out with you too...I had fun also. Um so, you still up for next Sunday? Going to see our little reptile buddies?"
He nodded. "Sure, Helga. If you still want to."
"Doi, that's why I asked!" Helga rolled her eyes and snickered. "You're too much, football head. So good, it's settled then."
"All right, great. ...Um, well, I guess I'd better get going."
"What, no goodnight kiss?" Helga quipped. It was a joke, despite how true it was.
Arnold's cheeks turned bright pink. "W-Wait, what? Seriously?"
"No! ...I mean, not like we haven't...kissed before."
"Yeah...I'm still sorry about that..."
"Don't be...we both were responsible."
He smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "I guess we were."
"Yeah, pretty much."
Silence befell them then, the only sounds heard then were the occasional car driving by and the distant city noises, even the distant roar of a train engine. Their eyes darted everywhere as they stood at the bottom of her stoop, feeling the uncertainty in the air, as well as the tension that made itself present.
Before long, their eyes met, and time itself seem to stop. This was bad. So very bad. Any second now and the tension would be too great for them to handle.
And yet, did they even want to avoid it?
Arnold was unsure of himself so much more now, as he looked into her hypnotic, deep blue eyes that seemed to hold the calmness and fury of the ocean all at once. Not once did he imagine that he would be standing before Helga of all people, falling more and more in love with her, and having the desire to hold her and kiss her, to be much more than just friends. Despite her defensive walls, she was such a great girl and he loved to be with her. If they dated, well, it'd be great, really great. He could see now, that it was more than just a puppy crush. He REALLY liked her. REALLY liked her.
This wasn't good.
He leaned closer to her.
She leaned closer to him.
Slowly, very slowly, but surely, they moved closer to each other.
Within seconds, their lips met for the second time that evening.
Helga let out a soft, nearly inaudible moan and pulled him closer to her, applying more pressure to his lips. Arnold was taken aback, but he didn't resist and kissed her back with equal furvor. Her tongue poked at his lips, and his heart jumped as he slowly opened his mouth to welcome her tongue once more. The taste of ice cream, cheese and yahoo soda filled his tastebuds as their tongues met in their second most deep and intimate kiss ever.
It was so wrong. Kids their age didn't make out. It was too much! Especially if they weren't dating. Why were they doing this? The heat of the moment?
Her hands came around his neck and the back of his head, tilting the smaller boy back a bit as she explored his mouth, savouring the addicting taste of ice cream and jelly beans, especially the hint of the licorice flavoured jelly bean.
Feeling his insides explode with such a foreign but amazing feeling, he brought his hands to her shoulders to steady himself, feeling the soft strands of her hair brushing his hands. His legs were going weak and his insides literally seemed to melt as if on fire.
The lack of oxygen was getting to them and they pulled away, looking at each other in amazement and confusion, panting lightly.
"What the heck are we doing?"
"H-Heat of the moment...I guess."
"We have to stop."
They kissed again.
This time, it was softer and gentle, with a tint of passion. Helga moaned softly, this time he could feel and hear it. She brought her arms down around his neck, one hand then tracing up and down his spine, sending shivers of pleasure through him. Arnold leaned closer, returning the favour by stroking her back with one hand with his other played with her soft golden locks.
For a while they kissed under the dimmed light of the street lamps, and before long, the clouds had rolled in and it started to rain. Neither of them noticed at first, not until they pulled away again.
"Oh...looks like it's raining." Helga said, as if he needed to know.
"Yeah...it is." Arnold managed, smiling shakily. "Well, I'd better go before it rains any harder."
"You sure? I could give you an umbrella."
"No Helga, it's okay. I wouldn't want to-"
"Save it, football head. You can give it back to me on Monday." Helga cut him off. "Wait here."
She went up the front stoop and went inside the house, reaching into the umbrella rack and then coming out with a spare umbrella, handing it to him.
"Here, you can use this."
Arnold smiled, accepting it. "Thanks, Helga...that was really nice of you to look out for me like that."
"Well, doi! That's what friends do. They look out for each other. Now go on home before you catch a cold."
"Whatever you say, Helga."
He opened the umbrella and met her eyes again for a moment. He went closer to her and rose himself on tiptoe, pecking her on the mouth.
"N-Night, Arnold..." She smiled shakily and then went inside, shutting the door behind her.
He watched a few moments, releasing the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Despite everything, it had been a wonderful evening.
"...I think I love you, Helga." Arnold murmured softly before he walked off down the street to get home.
Meanwhile, inside her house, Helga had managed to make it upstairs to her room before she collapsed onto her bed, hugging her locket to her giddily.
"Oh Arnold!! I love you I love you I love you I love you!"
It was the end of another perfect "date" together. Even with the way things went, hopefully it would be better in the future.