This is for those who asked for an epilogue. I truly thought I was finished, but apparently Carl and Muse, the plot bunnies, liked the idea of an epilogue. So the final ending of the story; this is it, no epliogue-epliogue.

Enjoy.

Leaving the Nest

"Isn't it hot over there?" Phoebe asked. "It's sweltering over here. I honestly thought the Midwest would be slightly cooler than what we had in the East Coast during the fall."

Thad laughed, leaning back in the chair he sat on in front of the web cam. "Nope. Cali is hot year round. It's just different degrees of hot."

Helga sat in her desk chair, her arms leaning on the one foot braced in the seat, smiling at her two best friends in the web cam. "We're just starting to get cool here."

Phoebe sat in her desk chair, looking as proper as she usually did. "We were cool down here for a week then Mother Nature decided to put up one last fight before she gives in for the season."

Thad grinned. "That can't make the cadavers smell good."

That comment got sounds of disgust from both girls. The black haired young man laughed as the girls wrinkled their noses at him. Helga cocked her head, looking around the site behind Thad.

"Where's your princess?"

Thad grinned. "Last swim of the night. We have a pledge party to go to tonight."

Helga shook her head. She really didn't believe Thad and Rhonda would make it past that one week. So far they reveled in proving the entire Senior class of Hillwood wrong. After graduation, Thad shocked both Helga and Phoebe by telling them he'd gotten a scholarship to UCLA and was joining Rhonda at the University. Helga had a slight suspicion that Rhonda had made sure Thad's application went through. The two were still going strong...but then again, they'd only been there for almost three months.

Phoebe was accepted at Washington University in St. Louis and had left a little after Thad and Rhonda.

Helga herself, had gotten a scholarship to NYU and had packed up and moved to New York the same day Phoebe left for Missouri.

Helga sat back listening to her two friend talk about what was happening at their schools, her mind going back to the last couple of months of her Senior year. Her bet with Thad, her proposition to Arnold, the weirdest week ever when Thad and Rhonda shocked the entire school by dating.

For a small moment after she found out Thad and Rhonda were together, she briefly gave into the fantasy that she and Arnold would end up the same way. But after that week, they'd...dated on and off, but nothing really ever came of it. Gerald and she had almost come to blows when he found out that they'd actually gone out on dates. Luckily, he never discovered what else they'd done.

Helga smiled, her mind going back to her favorite memory. That weekend had been her glimpse of heaven. She knew he felt something for her, because he did keep in touch with her, they did go out, he had kissed her again. But in the end, the constant interference of Gerald proved to be too much and they just never...connected again. Which was a shame, because when they did connect...they were incredible.

"We've lost her Doc." Thad's voice brought her out of her thoughts. She blinked, looking at the screen to her two friends staring into their webcams, matching looks on their faces.

"What?" she asked.

"Come out of fantasy land and get back here and talk to us." Thad demanded. Phoebe grinned. Helga shook her head, amused.

"But it's a great fantasy."

There was a knock on her bedroom door and her roommate Lilly poked her head in.

"I'm getting ready to head out Helga. You sure you don't want to go?"

Helga looked over her shoulder at her redheaded roommate and smiled. "Sorry Lils, passing out drunk at a frat party is not my thing."

"Ok, But I'll be at PKI if you change your mind. Text me." She waved at the computer. "Night guys!"

"Bye Lilly!" Thad answered.

"Be careful." Phoebe added.

Helga turned back to see the grins on her friend's faces again. "What?"

"Wasn't this how we got into this in the first place?" Thad asked amused. "Because you didn't want to end up at some frat party in a bedroom with a random frat boy?"

"Shut up Thad." Helga groused. "It worked out for you."

"Helga." Phoebe said, her face going from amused to sympathetic. Helga forced a smiled and shook her head.

"Don't Phoebe, I'm fine. I plan on watching bad movies tonight and gorging on popcorn. I'll deal with homework tomorrow."

Suddenly the face of a damp Rhonda Wellington Lloyd appeared in the webcam. "Sorry ladies, but I need to steal Thad to get ready. "

"I should get to my studies." Phoebe said.

Helga nodded. "Yeah, and I should get to those movies." The sound of knocking on her apartment door, caught her off guard. "Right after I see who the idiot is banging on my door."

"Night all." Phoebe said.

"Have fun you two." Helga added.

Thad grinned lecherously, then turned off the camera. Helga shut off her webcam then climbed out of the desk chair to walk into the living room.

The knock on the door sounded again.
Hold your horses, I'm coming!" she yelled making her way through the living room to the front door.

She unlocked the door and opened it, ready to make some smart assed remark to the student standing out there. The comment died on her lips when she saw who it was.

"There are a lot of people running around this campus." Arnold noted. Helga blinked a couple of times, not quite sure if her eyes were playing tricks on her. He cocked his head, eyed her stunned expression.

You...going to invite me in?" he asked.

She blinked again, then stepped back, opening the door further. "Criminy! I wasn't expecting...I mean, you kinda caught me off guard...I mean, what are doing here?"

He stepped into the apartment, glancing around at the tidy room as Helga shut the door.

"I go to school here." he told her. She spun to face him, frowning.

"Here?" she asked, her voice cracking. "When? I mean, I thought you had a scholarship to go to Kansas State University."

"And here. I decided at the last moment, here was closer." He scratched the back of his neck. "You know, to my grandparents."

She nodded, still not quite sure what was happening.

"It took me a good month and a half to find you on the roster." he told her. "And another couple of weeks to find the right time to see you."

"I...I don't understand."

He smiled at her, his half lidded gaze boring into her. "Look. High school is not the right moment for anyone." he said, slowly walking towards her. "College though, is like a reset. To shed all the prejudices of childhood and completely start fresh." He grinned again. "Well, not too fresh."

She stood there, watching him, still not quite understanding what he was saying to her. He stopped inches from her, exactly eye level to her.

Helga's brain suddenly clicked. Her eyes widened as she tried to process what her brain was screaming at her to the handsome blond young man of her dream who was standing mere inches from her body, looking at her like...

Arnold leaned in, his mouth covering hers. A hand went to her waist, pulling her towards him. Helga stumbled stepping closer to him, kissing him back automatically. She'd missed this; the taste of his lips, the firmness of his body against hers, the feel of his hand on her body.

He broke the kiss, pulling his face away only slightly.

"So," he said, his voice low. "What do you say to an almost fresh start?"

Helga licked her lips, trying to slow down the pounding of her heart. "I'm always up for a challenge."

He grinned. "Perfect." he murmured, before reclaiming her lips.

Helga was dizzy, her hands wrapping around his shoulders to hold her balance and to confirm that no, this was not just a really great fantasy. Arnold really was in her living room kissing her like he hadn't seen her for years.

He broke the kiss once more, and Helga gasped for air. Slowly, he smiled. A mischievous, sexy smile that let Helga know that some articles of clothing might need to be changed.

"So, I hear there's a couple of frat parties going on tonight."