Around five this morning when I was still awake in bed, I decided to give up on sleeping and I started my day. Freak'n insomnia. At least I was productive this time. I finished this little story. It's in Bob Pataki's POV. It's sort of cute and sort of depressing. I've mentioned before that all of my "Hey Arnold" Fanfics are linked unless I mention otherwise. If you want to learn more about how I killed off Miriam, read Sweet Hostility chapter 3. Enjoy!

Hey Arnold doesn't belong to me btw.

The house was cold, dark, and empty, again.

I used the wall to guide my fingers to the nearest light switch.

"Olga!" I bellowed out into the empty house. She must not be here tonight. Perhaps she's at her boyfriend's house.

I threw my briefcase and my lucky belt on the floor by the recliner. I can't be so surprised that she's not home tonight. How many nights in the past three months have I done the same thing? As I fell back into my chair, I opened my cell and observed all the messages she left me. She was probably no older than Olga, a fresh little piece of meat that I use as a status symbol. Kind of like how she uses me as a meal ticket.

I know my daughter knows. She's always been quick; you can't really keep a secret from her.

It's not that I don't miss my late wife. Miriam has always been here. But that's just it, she's just been here. Behind the couch or asleep on the counter, she just existed. I can't tell of how many of the countless floosies I've seen during one of my 'business trips' even when she was alive. Long before she died she lost the passion and drive she once held and became nothing more than a walking zombie. Though I really loved her, I think I just got bored. I'm an asshole.

Olga was so much like Miriam before we married. She's so full of life and so freaking naive. Helga just reminds me of me. She's bitter, judgmental, yet, very much unlike me. She's truthful and is a better judge of character. No matter what I did, I could never hide my intentions or keep my infidelities a secret from Helga. Maybe that's why I've always been so cold to her.

With the remote, I turned the TV on to one of my favorite channels. There's no better way to drown out your thoughts or your guilt than by watching reality TV.

I was beginning to relax when I heard a knock on the door. Damn campfire lasses, "I DON'T WANT WHAT YOU ARE SELLING!" I heard another knock at the door. I hate those persistent little whelps.

I trudged toward the door and looked through the peephole. Through the fish-eyed lens I could see a young man standing on my doorstep. I instantly opened the door once I recognized him as my daughter's boyfriend.

"Oh, it's you. Alfred, right?" I said to the young man. He was dressed up more than normal. He wore a button-up shirt and slacks. "If you're looking for Olga, she's not here."

"Um, no, actually," Arnold looked a little uneasy, "I was wanting to speak with you. May I come in?"

"Whatever floats your boat but make it quick. I'm not missing tonight's Survivor." I turned and made my way to the kitchen, half expecting to see Miriam sleeping on the counter. What has it been? Seven years? Arnold followed behind me and entered the kitchen.

Arnold leaned against the counter as I made my way to the fridge. I grabbed two bottles of Budweiser and offered the other to the boy. "Here, take it."

Arnold took the bottle. He was obviously uncomfortable doing so. He's always been a good kid. I didn't think people like him existed anymore. I wonder how long until this disgusting world will corrupt his beautiful world full of sunshine and rainbows. Despite his unease with drinking alcohol, he twisted the cap off with his shirt and took a long drink. "I suppose you are wondering what I would like to talk about," Arnold said as he caught his breath.

"You want to marry Helga." I may be bold, but I'm not stupid. Arnold seemed surprised with my guess; I must have hit the nail on the head.

"Yes, I do." He held the bottle with both of his hands nervously. "I want to ask for her hand in marriage. I don't think we will plan on being married until we are finished with college in two years but I would like to take some time to plan things out. I also think Helga would like a long engagement." He kept his head down nervously, "By waiting a few years, I'm sure Helga will get the perfect wedding she deserves."

"What if I said no?" As if I had any control over the situation. I've never had control over Helga. She's always taken care of herself.

"Honestly, Mr. Pataki?" he took a long pause. "You couldn't stop me." I raised my eyebrows to his remark. He looked me square in the eyes and with a serious tone he said, "We'd run away together and elope, or maybe save for a wedding of our own. The only thing would be is that my dad would walk her down the isle instead of you."

I half smiled and drank a large gulp of my beer. "So why are you here right now? Why do you need my permission? I can't stop you from marring my daughter."

"I'm a bit old-fashioned." He said, "I'm keeping up with tradition and I hope you'll do the same. You should walk her down the isle, not anyone else."

We were silent for a few moments. I studied him out of the corner of my eye as he appeared to be counting the tiles on the kitchen floor. He then bit his lip and reached under his shirt into his pants pocket. He retrieved a small red velvet box. "Would you like to see the ring?" he asked.

"Sure, why not." I set my beer on the counter and walked to him. He then showed me one of the most elegant pieces of jewelry I've ever seen. It was white gold ring with a large square diamond in the center that was surrounded by other, smaller diamonds. The largest diamond was an excellent size.

"How'd you get the dough to get this beauty?" I asked. I took the ring out of the box and held it to the light as if I knew what to look for in a diamond.

"My grandmother kindly gave me her wedding ring. I then met with a jeweler to make a new ring that held the diamonds from my grandma's ring. It's unique, but I think she'll like it. Do you think she'll like it?" he asked.

"You obviously still have a lot to learn about most women," I remarked, "they'll be happy with anything that sparkles."

Arnold sighed, "Yeah, but she's not like most women."

Our thoughts were interrupted when we heard the front door open. "Bob!" a familiar woman's voice was heard through out the house. Arnold quickly snatched the ring from my hand and returned it to its box in his pocket. She walked to the kitchen's door way and seemed surprised by her father's company. Arnold smiled widely.

Arnold's smile was so familiar and so foreign. I used to smile like that. Perhaps not since Helga was born.

As she set her book bag down and gave Arnold a hug, I got to really look at her. How did she grow up so fast? She's a woman now, and a beautiful one. Why haven't I noticed until now?

"What's going on?" she asked first looking to the boy, then to me.

"I thought I would surprise you after you got out of class," Arnold lied. "Do you want to go see a movie?"

"Yeah, sure," she smiled.

Together, hand-in-hand, they left. I was still in the kitchen when I heard Helga gently shut the door. With my head in my hands I decided that the least I could do, though not by me, was to let her be happy. I nearly sprinted out the door after them.

"Uh, Arnold?" I yelled. Both turned around to look at me, "You better take care of her."

"Of course. I will always," he nodded reassuringly.

Helga gave Arnold a confused look but he just brushed her off, held her hand, and continued to walk away from my house.

I almost slammed the door and collapsed against it. I just gave my youngest daughter away. Perhaps not formally, but she's not mine anymore. Hell, she hasn't been mine for years. What do I have to show for it? I've been a horrible father. I've been ignorant, biased, and the few times I've actually bonded with her, I've pushed her in some competitive manner. How has she been able to grow and become the smart, intelligent, loving woman she is today? Maybe it's because of that damn, football-headed kid.

Hope you liked it.

-Twelvepercent :D