Author's Drabble: Hello, I've deleted my last Hey Arnold fan fiction because I did very little research when I began it. So now I begin anew with a another version! No promises this will be finished but I'm just going to go with my gut and post what I write. I apologize for any typing errors or grammar problems someone may come across. For wanting to be a writer, I FAIL. xD
Please enjoy the story! We'll see what happens as the story unfolds.
Endless words and bottles of ink, I cannot stop writing of whom I think.
Words that rhyme or words that ramble, there's nothing I can do but keep continuing.
There is no style for this love of mine, only that it cannot be contained and must be released.
So paper, release me, because to this day, I must contain my longing.
Helga stared at the words, glancing at her pen then dropping it on the notebook paper and shutting the journal over the mush she had scrawled and slouching in her chair. Phoebe glanced over at her from her position beside her at their shared lab table then back up front at Mr. Gerry. It was not unusual for Helga's thoughts to drift off whenever they were in class and her hands wonder for the notebook, but today it was the first time Helga had shut it with a sense of disappointment. That was not a good sign. Helga's love was drying up in a sense, her passions as a child fueled by the sight of Arnold on a daily basis. But with him in San Lorenzo ever since he discovered his parents with only a few visits in between…she had little to go off of these days.
Arnold wrote to his friends, this hasn't changed in the seven years since he left, for San Lorenzo, but Helga's letters were always the most impersonal. She could probably blame herself for this because she had never written him back as far as everyone knew. But Helga did write him back, she had seven binders of carefully preserved letters she had written to him. All of them loving, too loving for her to allow through postage. And so, she saved them, hoping for a time when she could write to him normally and the other letters could just be hers to cherish. But because of her not being able to mail her letters, Arnold's grew fewer and fewer. It was the lack of input from him that made Helga's passions seem to dwindle.
Loving Arnold was not hard, her memories were enough. But writing about him to herself was hard because all she had to go off when it came to describing him was from his last visit and that was a few years ago. Could he have changed since then? It seemed wrong to write about him and not even know what he looked like these days. It made the fiery words hard to throw down on paper. Which was why her writing seemed to become harder and harder to think of as any good now. Her only positive thoughts on her writing these days were for the story she was working on in secret. The story about a little girl who loved a little boy with a pure heart and soul. A story based on herself and her devotion to Arnold when they were children.
"Helga, are you alright?" Phoebe whispered once the teacher returned to his desk and the students were left to begin their assignments.
"Hm?"Helga glanced over at her, arching her eyebrow slightly over her right eye. "Oh, yeah I'm fine, Pheebs. Just Writer's Block, that's all."
"Miss Pataki, please refrain from talking in class." The teacher warned half-heartedly.
Helga gave a slight nod, folding her arms and slouching lower in her chair. Raising a hand she pulled the bill of her baseball cap down lower over her eyes and crossed her ankles underneath the table while closing her eyes to fake a nap until the bell rang. It was something to keep Phoebe from asking too many questions since her best friend knew she didn't like to be disturbed when she napped. But Helga couldn't sleep. She thought about her sorry attempt at a poem moments ago and how the words seemed to sound more and more lame the more she wrote them. It looked like she'd just have to work on the novel instead.
The heat was never as much of an issue as the humidity was, but it was something you got used to with time. Everyone on the campsite always sported sweat and tanned skin, tank tops, muscle shirts, shorts, sometimes no shirts at all. But they all coexisted like an extended family in the small cite. Miles and Stella had established a small settlement in this camp over the years, even before they were reunited with their son, Arnold. To this day the small family lived in the camp, working on assisting the green-eyed people whenever they needed them but these days—even with jungle living—the days were becoming routine.
"Arnold, can you get more lamp oil out of the storage tent for me?" Stella asked, checking the lantern she had been using.
"Sure," Arnold folded up the piece of paper he had been reading beside another light source and set it aside before scooting off of his cot and leaving the hut. The jungle nights were hardly much different than the days but the air did feel slightly cooler when he stepped out into. He approached the tent at a casual stride but when he stuck his hands in his pockets and watched where his feet fell on the damp soil, he started to feel his focus slipping. The letter he had gotten from Phoebe was mostly pleasantries but it was also concerning when he saw that she mentioned Helga. But Phoebe wasn't the only one who mentioned Helga in recent letter. Lila had written him about her as well and even Rhonda wrote a sentence about her. But the fact that the former fourth grade bully was mentioned in their letters and a few others with concern lacing the inked words made him worry about her.
Pushing aside the heavy canvas protecting the crates of supplies, Arnold looked through the contents of the boxes, shuffling through bottles and containers until he retrieved the desired lantern oil his mother asked for. Pulling it and tucking it in his arm, he left the tent but paused in front of the hut, sitting down on the rough porch. He set down the bottle next to him, removing his little baseball cap and running a hand through his hair. It had been a while since he had last seen his friends, Helga included, and the last time hadn't gone so well either. His last visit was years ago and it would take some time before he could afford another plane ticket to go back at the rate the funding was going. But the last time he went had been the one time he tried to act on what they had confessed when they were only ten years old.
Arnold remembered going back to Hillwood with high hopes of seeing everyone and messing around like he had on previous visits. But while he was there, he also spent more time with Helga than usual. His visits were usually long and they both never had much time to act on their previous confessions before, so, they tried to date. It was an attempt that failed the moment he revealed he had to return to San Lorenzo. He and Helga were only together for a month and a half before he had to return home again to his parents and the green-eyed people. Something that didn't allow a lot of getting along because he not only tried to fit in dating her but also seeing his friends and hanging out with them at the same time. Helga revealed that she felt it was unfair he was so dedicated to seeing everyone more than her. He tried to reason that he wanted to spend more time with her but he couldn't do two things at once in his limited amount of time.
With their disagreements getting more and more frequent the closer it came to his final departure, Arnold finally broke it off with her and returned to his parents after confirming they were better off as friends. But neither of them liked that idea, he knew it then just like he began to think now. Visits weren't enough time to show someone you cared about them. And Helga made the argument that if you're going to date someone, they come first in your mind, where as his friends had come to mind first in the days of their failed dating. Even now he wondered if he could hold Helga as his first priority if he were to try again. It didn't look possible since his parents had been the first people on his mind for seven years. He felt it wasn't enough time to shove them off as second priority now. He was only seventeen at this point after all.
"Arnold? Did you find the lamp oil?" Stella's voice called from inside of the hut.
"Yeah," he said quickly, jumping up and taking the oil inside. "Sorry…I got a little distracted."
Stella accepted the oil her son handed her but looked form the bottle to his rather distant face with a sense of worry. Even in the short amount of time she managed to see her son, Stella had the mother's intuition she should have had if she raised him like she should have. To this day she still regretted her lack of being there for her son and was eternally grateful for Miles' parents raising their boy, but she could say with confidence she had come to know her son rather well since he moved to the jungle with them. Apparently, Arnold's letters from his friends back in Hillwood were promoting another bout of homesickness. Something cured by sending him over for a mini break. But he always came back to them, waiting for the day all of them could move back together.
Unfortunately, she wasn't sure how long it would be before it could happen.
"Arnold, how much money have you saved since your last trip?" Stella asked, setting the bottle down on their warped table and resting her hand on it, bracing the other on her hip.
"I'm not sure." Arnold stated; glancing over at a box stuffed under his cot. "Maybe over three hundred by now but I'd have to re-count it."
"What if your father and I help you out and you can go back home for a little while?" Stella offered, "I know you miss your friends, Arnold. And recently you're not exactly into your work these days. Maybe you need some time in the city…you know, time to be a teenager."
"No, Mom. I'm fine." Arnold shook his head, "I mean, I miss being back home and everything, but I want to help out down here."
"Arnold, if you're worried about the green-eyed people they're fine. They're an ancient civilization that lasted for centuries. We helped them and they have helped us several times over, but sweetie, that's never stopped you from going on visits before. Does this have something to do with—"
"No!" Arnold said quickly, holding up his hands. "No, it's fine. It has nothing to do with Helga."
Stella smiled, "Arnold, you still like her, don't you?"
A violent blush spread across the teen's cheeks and he lowered his eyes to his boots. His mother approached him and enveloped him in a tender hug, stroking his unruly hair. It was hard to forget about someone you fell in love with, especially when their time together was so hectic the day their feelings were exposed. But Stella could understand Helga's side of the story as well. She heard Arnold's story when he came back from his last trip home. And Helga was right. The person you love has to be your first priority. That was Miles for her, though they have had their little spats every now and then as well. But Stella liked Helga, she met her while the kids were in the jungle and was reminded of herself in a way. She made threats at Eduardo plenty of times whenever he made suggestions for romantic spots for her and Miles in the past and also carried them out too, but Helga was more fiery in personality. She was a girl who could stand on her own but she also had a vulnerability that Stella pitied a little. Arnold mentioned her family life and she could only imagine her upbringing over the years.
"I don't know, Mom." Arnold finally admitted. "I think I do, but I never hear from her."
"Well, honey…if you can figure it out, whether your still like her or not, I think that will be the best time for you to return to Hillwood. I'm sure Miles would agree with me." Stella offered her son, resting her hand upon his shoulder. Arnold's confusion over his feelings was sweet, it was like something his father could have gone through with a crush. She'd be sure to hunt down that girl later if she ever found out her name…
Arnold said nothing and she coaxed him into a hug before returning to the lantern with the lamp oil and refilling it. Teenagers were never sure of what they wanted, but she was sure Arnold knew what he was doing. He was a mature kid for his age. He turned seventeen only last week but he had an old soul, aged to a glorious wisdom even when he was a child. If only she could have been around to see the wise little boy with the people of the city. What a marvel it would have been to watch him grow and change the lives of those around him for the better. Yes, Stella was proud of her baby…and she wanted him to be happy. Be it with Helga, or some other turn of events, little Arnold needed to be happy.
"That'll be four dollars and sixty three cents." Helga stated, reading off the illuminated green numbers on the register. Her hand braced on the counter and the other on her hip while she rolled a piece of gum around in the corner of her mouth.
"But the rack said 'four dollars!" Sid exclaimed, placing his hands on the edge of the counter.
"Look, I'm not in charge of pricing the stuff on the shelves, Sid." Helga said acidly, narrowing her eyes at him. "It's the way the tax system works, now pay the money or I'll charge you another fifty cents for my gum!"
"Hey, you can't talk to me like that, I'm a customer!"
"Yak, yak, yak." Helga glared at him, mimicking mouth movements with her hand before bracing it back on her hip. "I know you so store policy doesn't count for your sorry butt."
Glaring across the scanner at her, Sid fished around in his pocket then slammed the money down on the counter, sprinkling the change over the bills half-hazardly before snatching up his magazine and striding out of the door. Helga counted the bills and change, impressed he had slammed down the correct amount then stuffed it inside of the register. Helga glanced up at the rather empty super market a moment then leaned back against the wall boxing her into her cashier cabby. Folding her arms across her chest she smacked at her gum a moment, frowning at the loss of flavor and spitting it out into the small trashcan at her feet. Nudging it back into its space with her shoe, she stared off at the magazine rack; squinting at the distant names and focus catch phrases.
Once Helga had turned sixteen, she established that she needed to get out of the Pataki house and get a part-time job so that her returning home was put off as long as possible. Unfortunately, there were so many people staffed there, she often got sent home earlier than she would have liked because she was still in high school. Big Bob was against her initial idea but after figuring he could set her up at the beeper store, he offered up a job which she blatantly refused on the spot. The last thing she needed was to get sucked up into the world of beepers and cell phones. No, a cashier at the local supermarket was just fine and dandy enough for her. The supermarket was where she went most of her childhood to buy magazines and candy anyway. She even went crazy and bought a make-over magazine one time for a sleep over party.
Recalling how hard she tried to look "pretty" that night, Helga shuddered and shook her head to try and erase the image. Rhonda had finally shut up about her lack of care for her appearance. She was an awkward teen and she was proud of her awkwardness. Even at seventeen Helga was still waiting for her breasts to develop out of A's and she was a little disappointed in her lack of curves but at least no one could call her fat. Uni-brow still going strong, Helga held onto her old style of pigtails but she now wore a baseball cap on her head and abandoned the pink dress for jeans and t-shirts. Helga Pataki was still the good old tomboy she used to be, just taller and thinner. Woo hoo, the years haven't changed her much and she was starting to wonder if she had to do the changes herself. Would her twenties bring on the sex appeal she lacked?
A woman wheeled her cart towards the check-out and Helga straightened up, offering a slight smile that she certainly didn't dish out towards Sid earlier. It wasn't the friendliest look in the world but at least she was being polite to the woman as she scanned the products and slipped them into bags. Apparently she scared off all of the bag boys and now the only one who bagged outside of cashiers were stockers who could multitask. Well, at least the job could be done right instead of half-assed like some of those college kids tended to do.
"Did you see the football game last night?" an eager voice asked.
Helga nearly dropped the woman's change when she handed it over but regained her grip. The word "football" had been very sudden and she hadn't really been expecting small talk in the supermarket. Standing in aisle 3 were two pre-teen boys talking back and forth about the mentioned game but Helga was dwelling on the name of the sport more than their exchange. Football…as in football head? Oh God, Arnold! She forgot to think about Arnold! It felt almost like a sin to have let her mind be so empty since she arrived at work after school. She barely heard the woman say a polite goodbye and was more focused feeling the outline of the locket in her pocket with her fingertips. Resting another hand over he heart as it raced from the feel of the metal under denim, Helga sighed, feeling the familiar ache of the longing for her missing love. It had been so long since his last visit. Too long, she was beginning to lose focus now because of that time gap.
You'd better come back before I forget what you look like now. She thought, only able to picture his nine-year-old self housed in her pocketed locket. Stupid football head.
A/B: Well, there's the first chapter. Hope you enjoyed it. =D I'm working on the next one and hoping this story builds up as I go. So far we have Arnold and Helga to deal with but I think there will be another relationship problem or two along with just flat out Hillwood drama. Woot! But we'll see what happens.