This is another ficlet inspired by the 15 Minute Fics community on Live Journal. It was written using prompt #150 - 'Pain'.
This is the first hey Arnold! fanfic that I have written which isn't Helga x Arnold. I thought I'd try something a bit different, writing about a character I don't actually use much in my other fanfics. I also enjoyed writing some Femslash for another fandom a while back and thought I would try a popular femslash HA! pairing. I enjoyed experiementing with this, and hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.
A Helga x Rhonda fanfiction
It was such a pain having to keep up pretences.
Rhonda Wellington-Lloyd knew she was a decent enough actress, and she had proof that Helga was even better, but still she wished that they didn't have to keep acting.
"Move it, Rhonda-loid"
Rhonda rolled her eyes in mock annoyance, as Helga G Pataki pushed past her in the hallway of Hillwood High. Helga was gruff as usual, with her beat-up blue backpack slung over one shoulder and her blonde hair poking out from under her grey hat, her brow fixed in its usual scowl.
Rhonda longed to give that girl a major makeover, but Helga refused point blank. She said she rarely felt like herself when she underwent any make-over transformation, so why bother pretending to be something she wasn't?
Of course, Rhonda laughed at her hypocrisy as every day the pair of them played roles and did not act like their true selves.
Rhonda shut her locker and sighed in annoyance. Nadine came over as usual.
"That Helga! She really should be more polite. I mean, she doesn't have many friends, so she could at least take better care of the few who even bother to talk to her on a regular basis!" Nadine frowned, staring at the back of Helga's head as she disappeared into the scrum of the hallway.
Rhonda's mouth twitched into a slight smile, before she fell back into role.
"I know!" She replied, in her usual slightly dramatic way, "I don't even know why I bother with her anymore. She's never shown anyone compassion since Arnold left."
Nadine nodded, before grabbing a lip gloss out of her handbag and showing it off. It was the usual routine of gossip, showing off new purchases, bitching about old friends and fresh enemies, then the tedium of classes. Rhonda was so very fed up with the old routine. She longed to shed the costume of being Miss Popular and Fashionable and finally let the real Rhonda shine through. But to do that, she had to get Helga to come clean too. Helga was far too secretive, and each time Rhonda brought it up Helga would get angry and rush off in her typical threatening way of defending herself.
It really was a pain to hide their little affair.
Rhonda had always liked that fire Helga had. She always found her charming in a strange, upfront and rash way. It was when she found out how deep Helga was that she fell for her, and suddenly faced confronting her own sexuality.
One day she happened to overhear Helga's longing for their classmate, Arnold Shortman, back when they were twelve. Such beautiful poetry fell from the blonde bully's lips, in a sweet tone of adoration that she'd never heard from the girl before. It changed her whole view of Helga, and made her realise how the girl had been playing the role of bully all these years. Much like she herself had played up to her role as the 'queen' of the school, the fashion police, and Miss Popular.
Of course, she kept this rush of feeling hidden. As it deepened, she found herself jealous of Arnold, especially after Helga finally confessed and the two were dating.
Her time of confronting her own feelings came a year later, when Arnold and Helga broke up. Arnold moved across the country and Helga withdrew into herself, snapping at people and scaring away friends.
Not Rhonda though. Rhonda felt her pain, and confronted her.
"What do you want, 'Princess'?" the blonde spat spitefully, as she sat on the grass behind the gym, her arms folded across her pink t-shirt-clad chest. For weeks, Rhonda had been trying to talk to Helga, but had always been brushed off. Each time, Helga stayed to hear a little more of her conversation, or to make another sarcastic jibe, or if in a bad mood, throw a few more threats and insults. Rhonda had decided today was the day she would make Helga understand.
"Helga…" she began in a tone that came out a little too reprimanding. She cringed at herself. Old habits die hard. Sometimes the act gets too out of hand.
"Just go away." Helga hissed, turning away.
Rhonda bit her lip nervously before putting on her confident act once again. She stood up tall, steadying herself on her heels and flicked her black bobbed hair out of her face. She strode over as confidently as she could whilst wobbling on the uneven grass, crouched in front of her crush and forcefully turned her shoulders until she faced toward her.
"Look at me, Helga." Confused blue eyes met her intense gaze. "I've seen the real you, and this is not her. " She ran her hand across Helga's cheek softly. The girl was too surprised to bat it away. Rhonda took it as a good sign and pressed on, "You have a beautiful soul you are trying to hide away. Your poetry about Arnold took my breath away. And my heart…"
Helga snapped out of it at the mention of Arnold's name. Her anger flared, obviously in retaliation to the hurt she felt at being reminded of him. It was plain to see in her eyes. She pulled away, finally slapping away Rhonda's hand and made a move to get up.
"Just shut up. I don't care anymore, ok. Leave me alone." She growled, her back facing Rhonda in an attempt to hide the forming tears.
"Did you hear me Helga?" Rhonda cried, "I said you are beautiful. I said you have my heart."
Helga's back stiffened.
"I mean it. I know the real you, so it is about time you learned about the real me." Helga looked as though she were about to turn back around and ask something, but she didn't. Rhonda was glad, as in her outburst, her own tears had begun streaming. Her heart was sinking at the fact she was now exposed and most likely about to be rejected and ruined. It was painful, but she had come too far to stop.
"This is me. I am a girl, who has fallen in love with another girl. It is something I have not been able to reveal to anyone. For all my showy confidence, I, Miss Popular, am scared of their rejection. I can't be myself, and all these years acting the way I have been has made it pretty much impossible to reveal myself. I like you, Helga. I can relate to you. A girl with an impossible love, with a immoveable façade, hurt and afraid of the pain of being rejected by more people. "
"I know- I know there is a possibility that you will completely reject me and reveal my secret. But I trust you, as I kept your secret for years before you confessed to Arnold."
Helga turned round, wiping away tears.
"Rhonda…" she muttered, "I – I won't lie to you. This is a bit of a shock." Rhonda gave her a half-smile. She was trying to prepare for the rejection.
"Rhonda… Look. I am not over Arnold, as you pointed out. Yes, I know it is an "impossible love" right now, but I can't give up on all those years of my life dedicated to worshipping him. I have never given anyone else a second glance. Just… give me a while to think about this."
Rhonda's eyes widened. She was considering it?
"I'm not saying I would, you know, "Helga backtracked, "b-but if we hang out a bit more maybe…" She was blushing. As was Rhonda. It seemed unthinkable to her that she was not being humiliated and outright rejected.
But that one light of hope kept Rhonda going. Of course the two had made a promise not to be open about this. They met in secret to hang out, which thrilled Rhonda, as she had been so wrapped up in her act that Helga was considered to be not worth hanging around with, no matter how much she longed for it. The two became closer. Little by little. There had been a drunken kiss, which Helga regretted. It was just trying to convince Helga that what they had – their secret friendship and subtle romance – was better out in the open. Rhonda wanted to be open about it now. Being with Helga made her so happy that she wanted to let everyone know. She was ready to come out of the closet. Helga wasn't even convinced that what they had was a relationship. She clung to the memory of Arnold, and refused to accept any developing attraction. It pained Rhonda but she knew that one day it would happen.
Looking behind her as she followed Nadine into class, she saw Helga at her locker, a sly smile on her face. She smiled back.
Yes, she could feel Helga warming to the idea and had a strong suspicion that soon they wouldn't have to continue this painful act anymore.
Thanks for reading. I know my writing and characterization is far from perfect, so feel free to leave a review. I appreciate all comments and criticism.