A/N:

Hi all! Lol, okay so this is my Christmas present to MY ADORABLE BABY SISTER, SUPRSINGR ;) It's a companion fic to go along with her story "The Pickle Jar" (Since TPJ is an A/U I would strongly recommend reading it before you read this, otherwise this will make no sense XD). Anywho, I hope she likes it and that you guys like it too ^_^ Please review, everyone!

~*The Banana Split*~


"So, Arnold…since we're doing this whole 'dating for a month' thing to decide whether I'll be your permanent girlfriend or not…what did you have in mind for our dates, exactly?"

Helga Pataki spent about half a minute still just casually eating her banana split in the wide dish before her before the silence with which this question was met finally started to annoy her a little. She looked up and over to her companion in the opposite side of their Slausen's booth with a slight scowl. "Arnold! Focus!"

"Huh?" The poor boy in question (who had just been sitting there and staring at her in a daze) suddenly exclaimed, blinking a few times!

Helga just let out a frustrated sigh and rolled her eyes, sticking her spoon into a pile of hot fudge in her sundae dish and bringing up her now free hand to rest her head upon it. "Look, ARNOLD, I—" Suddenly though she shut her eyes for a moment and took a few deep breaths in and out…. 'Okay, alright, calm down, Helga old girl…He's not doing it on purpose…And he's technically your boyfriend for the next four weeks so just be patient with the little weirdo.' Now she opened her eyes and spoke in a calmer voice, trying not to scowl as much. "Arnold…I'd…appreciate it if you'd really just try and avoid these total fugue states of yours about me, okay? It just…annoys me to have to snap my fingers and yell every single time I talk to you." She shrugged. "Plus it makes me feel like you're not really listening to me or something."

Arnold's eyes went wide and he instantly practically stood, almost knocking over his malted in front of him! He leaned across the table toward Helga. "Helga, I would never not listen to you! I'm sorry if I keep seeming out of it like that…It's just…that lovely effect you have on me…" He let out a sigh and for a moment his eyes looked dazed and glazed over again…but then he obviously remembered her dislike of him like that and shook his head and went on seriously. "But I really am always listening to everything you say…I hang on your every word, Helga! All of them are so beautiful and witty and charming and smart…You asked me what I'd like to do on our…dates…" The goofy grin threatened to come back. "It was that word that threw me off…dates…We're…d-dating…" He let out a dreamy sigh…but then blinked a few times again and his normal tone returned. "B-But I really am listening, Helga…" He let out a breath and, seeming to be fully in control of himself once more, and sat back down, now looking at Helga with intent interest. "And as for our d-dates…well, what do YOU want to do, Helga? What would your ideal date be? Because as long as I get to be with you…it'd be a dream come true of a date for me." He smiled at her so lovingly.

Helga, taking in his entire little speech and question, just blinked a few times in surprise and then shifted in her seat. It made her feel…so funny…how much he really cared about everything about her…how passionate he could get. "W-Well, I…I don't know, Arnold…Um…I guess just what we're doing now is good—just getting some ice cream or food…and then maybe a movie or something. Or we could do other stuff too. But just food and then an activity I guess. No pressure, you know?" She shrugged and smiled.

Arnold gave a small, very understanding nod. "Okay, Helga…If that's what you want for the next month then that's what we'll do…and it'll be heaven for me." He sighed and practically giggled a little, but it was obvious he was struggling to stay coherent to please her.

Helga scowled, but not because of any of his lovesickness…He was doing that other thing again…that 'always putting her first and never expressing his own opinions' thing. "Arnold, not that I'm not flattered that just being in my presence would be the greatest date in existence for you but, you're ALLOWED to have an opinion too on what we do together! I mean, this 'trial relationship' is just as much yours as it is mine, so..." She let out a sigh and took a bite of her banana split, savoring the hot fudge before finally asking very matter-of-factly, "What would YOUR ideal date be, Football Head? Seriously."

Arnold blinked a couple of times…and then glanced down and seemed to consider. His first instinct was to insist once again that anything as long as it involved her was perfect enough, but he knew she could find his insistence on stuff like that annoying…And also well…he did have a fantasy or two about this particular subject… "W-Well…" he started, his gaze going all dreamy again…. "I do have…one or two ideas…"


Five to ten minutes (and several strange and dramatically and airily delivered musings having to do with Venice gondolas, rooftop breakfasts, a presidential campaign in which Arnold apparently convinced Helga to, uh, 'let the country be led by an angel' thus bringing about 'world peace', and a…very strange spy rescue of herself by Arnold from a castle somewhere in Italy…and then something involving a Pastrami sandwich because Arnold (creepily enough) knew those were her favorites even though she could not recall ever having informed him of that fact herself) later, Helga could NOT take it anymore!

"Arnold, ARNOLD! SNAP OUT OF IT!" She was literally snapping her fingers right in front of his glazed over green eyes.

"And then the balloon would float us right to the moon and I could give it to you as a present and—"

"ARNOLD! STOP IT! Sheesh!" She was blushing and looking around and just thankful as heck no one was here but the two of them.

"Oh and then I'd pull a star from the sky and put it in a box and get down on one knee and give it to you as a ring as I finally asked you—"

"Oh brother…!" She buried her head in her hand, feeling so very embarrassed.

"To make me the happiest man alive by being my wi—"

"KISS ME, ARNOLD!" It was all she could come up with! (Sue her—he'd been just about to bring out the W word!)

Arnold's words stopped cold. His eyes instantly flew open wide and came back into focus and suddenly he was entirely back in reality and entirely focused on Helga sitting across from him. 'Kiss me, Arnold…' Those three words…Oh, he'd…he'd only ever dreamed of hearing them spoken in real life by his angel's voice! And yet now that it had happened it was almost amusing! That she would even have to ask… Everything inside of him trembled and he was about to reach forward to touch Helga and make sure that she was real, just in ca—

"Finally, I got you to shut up! Crimeny, Arnold—I asked you what you wanted to do on our dates, not for a rundown of your…" she shivered and cringed a little, "…fantasies about me…" Okay, yes, it was understandable that he had…f-fantasies, but…she really did not want to know about them…And…all of them so intense! It made this funny, tickly feeling go through her and she just tried to block the mental images. She looked to him again, scowling just a little…but then just cleared her throat and glanced to the side…recalling the words she'd just said to him…and how they might need a little 'explaining'. "A-At least asking for a kiss got you to clam up before anyone else walked into this place and heard what you were saying…"

Arnold just…blinked…and then blushed a little…and then a frown came to his face… "Oh…" he said in the most pitiable voice imaginable. "I-I understand…" He tried to smile but that only made the pitiable quality about him all the more intense!

Helga felt horrible. 'Oh great…I deflated him again…Poor little guy, I didn't want to hurt him…I just…' "Uh…Arnold…?" She leaned a little closer to him, doing her best to look into his slightly downcast eyes… She went on sincerely. "Listen, I didn't mean to, uh…dangle something in front of you or anything…I just couldn't think of another way to snap you out of what you were saying and it was starting to make me a little uncomfortable…okay? But I'm sorry. I won't do that anymore. I promise." She gave him a sincere smile.

And suddenly (to her relief) Arnold's eyes snapped up and brightened, and he was looking just as cheerful as ever! 'She cared enough about me to apologize and say all that stuff…So perfect. No faults…An Angel.' "No, Helga. It's okay, really!" he began to assure her. "I should have remembered you get uncomfortable if I get a little too, um…emotional. And I—"

Helga cut him off with a sigh and an eye roll. "Arnold, just accept the apology so we can move on. I CAN be wrong sometimes, you know."

A slightly pained look came to Arnold's eyes—he hated the idea of saying that she had ANY fault AT ALL. But he could see she was adamant about this and so he decided not to fight her on it anymore (though in no way would he outright say that she had done something at all less than perfect). "Um…okay…apology accepted, of course, Helga." He gave her a small nod…and then resumed happily smiling at her again.

Helga let out a breath and smiled more as well (taking another bite of her banana split—her favorite type of sundae to get…although, as she'd never cared much for bananas, she'd never really been sure why…). "Okay, now that that's squared away, maybe you'd like to tell me what would REALISTICALLY be your ideal date? Like, taking into account that we're only ten and have less than ten or twenty bucks between us at any given moment in time, okay?" She smirked a little. "And don't just say again that as long as I'm with you, it'll be heaven or whatever." She almost couldn't help laughing at the notion…starting to find it more amusing than creepy at this point.

Arnold's smile brightened as her smile grew and he took another sip of his malted and genuinely considered this time around. "Okay, well, um…I guess the type of stuff you said—an activity and something to eat—would be nice for a date. But, um…" he looked to her a little shyly, "If I promise not to get carried away, can I…elaborate on that a little…Just because, um…well, what you said…it just seems…like something two friends could do just as easily as two people dating…And I just…have a few ideas on how to make it a little more…datelike…"

Helga looked at him a little unsurely… She really didn't want a repeat of him getting lost in reciting his epic fantasies about her…Still, though, he seemed to understand her discomfort…and except for just now he really had been getting better at controlling himself around her in general ever since that first day she'd cornered him in the alley and offered him the chance to date her for a week…which had led to them now dating for a month. "Um…okay, Arnold…" Helga smiled supportively, deciding to give him a chance. "Let's see what you've got…" She took another bite of her banana split and waited for whatever he'd have to say.

Everything about Arnold brightened at her approval. "Okay…well…" He glanced down in thought, and took an occasional sip of his malted as he spoke… "Like you said, there should be an activity we do together…but I don't think it should just be 'anything.' I mean...maybe one day we can do something that you specifically like and another day we could do something that I specifically like so that we could get to know each other's interests and get closer. And maybe we could even try something one day that both of us had never even tried before to kind of share the new experience together. Like, um…for example…I've always heard that watching the sunset over City Lake from Elk Island is beautiful but I've never gone out there and watched it…And, I mean, if you've never seen it either…maybe that's something we could do…A shared experience together… And while the sun went down you could tell me all about your dreams and hopes and what makes you happy…"

The boy with the strangely shaped head finished a sip of his malted, and then paused for just a moment in his speaking…His warming green eyes turned to look out of the window of the ice cream parlour…He let out a breath and went on…in his quiet, sincere voice. "And as for getting something to eat together…well, let's do that definitely, but…maybe you'd be nice enough, even if we don't have a lot of money and are only ten, to let me take you to a nice restaurant or something, Helga…at least once during this month. You deserve that, no matter what you'll say: to be eating nice food and in a nice place…courted like a girl should be…And then maybe I'd walk you home to make sure you got there safe, and just before I left you at your door…maybe you'd do me the honor of letting me take your hand and give it a kiss goodnight before I had to leave you…until our next time together…I-I mean, what you'd really deserve is a real kiss but I, um…I know you're not okay with that right now and I respect that of course, but…if you'd even do me the honor of giving you a simple kiss upon the hand before I wished you goodnight…I'd feel like the luckiest guy in the whole world."

He let out a sigh, and then Arnold turned his sights away from the window back forward (though he was still glancing down a little) and took a sip of his malted. "Sorry, um…I didn't get too carried way, did I, Helga?" he asked sincerely, blushing just a little…and hoping he really hadn't offended his angel or anything with the ideas for a date that his love for her had planted and made grow and blossom over the last seven years…

However, only silence met Arnold's ears…and it stayed that way for several, several seconds…so eventually he had to glance up, a single eyebrow only slightly raised.

He blinked and his eyes went wide for a moment at the sight he was met with.

Helga…Helga had her jaw dropped and her eyes were wide and her arms rested limp on the table…and she almost seemed to be…his heart soared…had he made her…BLUSH…a little?

Arnold had no clue what to make of any of this!

(And he would have been doubly confused if he'd known that on top of all of these things… Helga…could actually feel hot tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.)

Indeed, her lower lip even unintentionally trembled just a little…

Unfortunately, this 'lip trembling' sight caught Arnold's eye and he was instantly shot through with pain! What if how she looked right now was because…he'd made her…sad? 'I'll…I'll never forgive myself! She's supposed to be smiling and happy and sassy and funny and…never sad! Never sad ever!' "Helga?" he instantly asked unsurely, feeling his heart cracking and breaking. "Did I go to far? With all that stuff I said about our dates? I'm sorry…I…"

"I…Um…" was all that escaped Helga's mouth, cutting him off a little in the apology he was prepared to spend hours delivering if only it would make the smile come back to her bright, beautiful, pink and gold framed face… Now he just looked at her intently, awaiting with his full attention anything she might have to say. Even if she was going to break up with him here and now—as long as it was what made her happy, as long as it made her smile again, nothing else in the whole world mattered. Ever.

Helga, meanwhile, cleared her throat a little, and just remained silent for a second more…needing a minute…Because it was just…it was just that…no one had ever…and that was what he seriously wanted to…and he had said all of those…deserved to be courted like a…the honor of… Her heart was beating…and blood tickled its way into the features of her face…

"I'm sorry, Helga. Um…I can leave now if you want…I really didn't mean to upset you. I'll just…I'll just go…"

Helga blinked at these words (and at the slight movement that met her eyes of Arnold actually shifting toward the open end of the booth), and instantly came out of her shock. "No, Arnold—don't!" And before she could think about it, the young girl reached across the table and grabbed Arnold's hand, and clung to it tightly! "I'm not angry, I swear! I was just surprised! I-I mean…that was all…so…sweet. Really…I…no one's ever…I mean, not even…." She cleared her throat and instantly stopped herself, knowing Arnold tended to get very hurt whenever she brought up Lyle…though…really...the thought that had just occurred to here right here and now…it was the truth. That date or two she'd gotten out of Lyle…they had just consisted of playing a game of air hockey or two at the arcade, watching a TV show together, her buying an ice cream for herself and him from the Jollie Ollie man (in a last ditch effort to spend the maximum amount of time with him as possible when it had gotten toward the end there and she'd started to realize how much she like-liked him too)…But otherwise those dates had been nothing like…nothing like Arnold's idea of a date…No, nothing so very…romantic… 'Wow…whatever girl gets Arnold sure is lucky…' A little twinge went through Helga but she shook it off, chalking it up to some residual shock, and just did her best to keep speaking.

Suddenly, at that moment, Helga became very actively aware of the fact that she was still not just holding but practically squeezing the life out of Arnold's hand! 'What is WRONG with me? Do I want to give the little guy a heart attack?' After all, he tended to nearly pass out just from being near her, it seemed. She instantly released him and brought her hand back shyly to rest upon the table before her, folded with its mate (and all the while feeling the little warmth in her face grow). She shrugged, just glancing down, and decided to wrap things up. "Uh…Anyway, the point it, I-I'm not angry or upset, Arnold, and I don't want you to leave. A-And all that stuff you said sounds, um…nice…for a date…." She smiled at him now, and couldn't help but asking with just a small bit of a warm laugh, "You…really want to make all of this 'dating for a month' stuff special, don't you?"

Arnold was, um…well, he was still coming off of the trembling, heart-soaring, lights dancing before his eyes euphoria that had been his world as Helga had held his hand… 'So soft…Her fingers…so long and delicate…holding mine…Her touch…Her squeeze' The second she'd let him go though, of course, reality had washed over him again and he'd had to take advantage of the last few seconds of her speaking to just try and get his heart rate back to 'not about to explode' level, and to do his best to remember how to make words around her again. He clung to the knowledge, though, that she didn't care too much for him in his more 'blathering' states and also the fact that he had been incredibly lucky that her strange reaction to his ideas about the specifics of their dates had been a good thing and not a bad thing…And, indeed, and it was only by remembering how important it was for him to maintain around her that he finally overcame the deep urge to just stand up and announce with a grin that he would never be washing his now precious and angel-squeezed hand ever again!

'Y-Yes, that's right, A-Arnold…F-Focus now…A-Answer her question…a-about making the dating s-special…' Arnold took a very deep breath in…and slowly let it out…then blinked a couple of times and, clinging both of his hands around his malted glass for support, managed to reply in a steady voice warmly back to the smiling girl before him, "O-Of course, Helga. They're our dates…they should be…as special as they can be. I mean…" he let out another breath and then took a sip of his malted again to steady his nerves a little more before going on. "This is…this whole thing…this chance that you're letting me have with you…I'm just so thankful for it all… A-And I know I can make you feel a little…uncomfortable…and that you still have feelings for…Lyle…" He tried not to flinch…just tried to go on. "And, um…anyway…I just want to make sure that you're happy and enjoying yourself during the times we'll spend together for the next four weeks since, like I said before…you just being there will make it all heaven for me." He swallowed…and then even found it in himself to lean a little closer to her (and WITHOUT taking that hand that had held and squeezed his own, and kissing it and then all up her arm on either side, taking deep inhales through his nose of her scent as he did so…). "But, even besides all of that…" he added simply to his explanations, "…Just as a…rule, I guess….I want to be a gentleman, and you're a lady…and so I feel like it's my responsibility to show you a good time…to treat you properly and to make sure you're happy. I wouldn't feel right doing anything less on a date than the things I said I think we should do, Helga. Love's important…and it deserves something…well…like you said…special." Then, smiling to himself, the young boy just shrugged, sat back in his seat again and took another sip of his malted (secretly congratulating himself on doing so very good at not cracking around her, especially this time around, all things considered.)

As for Helga…

Well…Helga was…currently…feeling a little…unusual…and it felt like her heart was beating…A LOT…though she couldn't figure out why exactly… It was just that he was just so...sincere! It was like he'd die or something before going back on all of the caring and considerate things that just poured out of his little heart and then mouth! Did boys like this even exist in the world? After growing up with Olga, Helga had always imagined boys being like the ones her sister had tended to date: kind of pushy, very grabby, a little stuck up… That was part of why she had ended up being drawn to Lyle and how kind he was…But even still…Lyle had never spoken to her like this… It was almost like…like those boys Olga had dated were duds…Lyle was—dare she think it—neutral…and Arnold was…

well

Helga instantly shook her head before the thought could go on, and popped another bite of banana split into her mouth as a distraction. She was not liking how things in her head were suddenly progressing—Lyle…AVERAGE? 'No, no, no, no, no…There…must just be a gas leak in here or maybe I inhaled too much sea air at Rhonda's party or this ice cream's past expiration…Weird…Heh, heh…" She cleared her throat and opened her mouth to speak… ANYTHING to not have to be left alone with her thoughts any longer! Besides, Arnold was probably still waiting for a response from her or something to all that stuff he'd just said (especially considering how much he really did seem to hang on her every wo—)

All of Helga's thoughts and intentions of speaking, though, were suddenly interrupted by the sight of Arnold standing and the sound of him clearing his throat…and then speaking with a smile. "Um…Helga…I…I hate to do this, but, um…I…think I should go…. I-I mean, I have to get home right now to, um…help my Grandpa with dinner…if that's okay…." He looked at her sincerely.

Helga just blinked and felt a tiny shift inside of herself…and a little frown pull at the corners of her mouth at his announcement. "Oh, um…" she shook her head, "Uh…yeah, sure…right. Heh…I'll just, um, let you go then…sport." She half grinned.

Arnold smiled at her and nodded…Secretly, of course, he was feeling much, much more than just a 'little sorry' for leaving her right now, but…his new goal in life (at least for the next four weeks) was winning Helga's heart, and he knew that in order to do that he had to keep 'freaking her out' to a minimum…and he had already slipped at least once so far with her this afternoon, and had almost accidentally done so two or three times after that already…and plus after that last thing he had said she had kind of gotten a funny look on her face again, so… he had just figured that maybe for today he should quit while he was ahead, and maybe also she could use a break for the rest of the afternoon to just absorb things…their new relationship and stuff. Even angels needed a break too every now and then, after all…

With a small sigh (but still smiling, of course) Arnold then slid out of the booth, and now just stood before Helga. "Okay, then…Have a nice afternoon, Helga."

Helga let out a breath…kind of smiled a little…and finally seemed back to her old self a bit as she spoke this time. "Uh, yeah…You too, Arnold." She was in the middle of giving him a small wave when her hand was stopped by the young, smitten boy in question suddenly taking in his own and looking at her quite shyly.

"Um…" he started…and she could see a small blush painting his cheeks… "Before I go, though…well, I…I know it might seem a little soon and quick since us getting ice cream here like this right now was technically kind of sort of a date, but…I've only got a month to try and fulfill my dream of making you as happy as you make me, Helga, so…I'd like the chance to go on another date with you tomorrow as well, if you're free. So, um…" he cleared his throat and leaned down…and then looked into her eyes with a charming, shy smile. "Helga G. Pataki…would you do me the honor of going on a date with me tomorrow?"

Helga, who had not been expecting…this…at ALL…went so wide eyed that her blue eyes looked like two full oceans and she turned absolutely bright pink…and it took all Arnold had not to swoon over it. 'So cute…my lovely little pink cherub…Oh….'

He smiled a little more and added in explanation, with a small, bashful shrug (hoping that talking would help keep him from diving forward right into the booth with her to pin her down and hug her in all her blushing pinkness, and beg her to say yes to a real kiss from him!) "I…can be a little old fashioned, I guess, Helga…. But I want to ask you out officially, of course, before each date…especially since you're doing me the honor of letting me be your boyfriend for four glorious weeks…" A touch of doubt came to his features at why she might not be answering him right away yet again on this day. "Unless you're busy or something tomor—"

"T-Tomorrow would be, um…perfect. Um…" She stuttered out, still pink…still seeming just a little at a loss for words, to say the least.

Arnold just chuckled a little at the funny, cute reply and just did his best not to start going off into poetic speeches about her adorableness. "Alright…may I come by your house to pick you up at 5? Maybe we could get dinner somewhere and go to a movie or something. You pick the movie—tomorrow can be one of the days when we do something together that you like…Okay, Helga?"

The girl before him just gave a nod, obviously deep in some thought at the moment about something… The pink still remained in her cheeks.

Arnold smiled. "Thank you. Until then…" he was about to lean down and give her hand a kiss…but he thought it might push her over the edge again and so he just settled for patting her hand and then taking a step back, giving a small wave. "Goodbye, Helga."

"Bye…Arnold." Helga gave a little nod and a small wave back to him….watching as the young boy left the ice cream parlor…smiling at her the whole way until he was out the door completely…


As the bell atop the entrance to Slausen's jingled and the door closed behind him, Arnold just grinned like crazy to himself. "She…said…yes…I asked an angel out on a date and she said yes." He closed his eyes and could have just melted right there, but he figured Helga finding him passed out right in front of the ice cream parlour with a goofy smile on his face, saying her name in his sleep and giving dream-based kisses to the air with his lips would defeat the whole 'NOT freaking her out' plan which he was actually doing kind of okay with so far, so he just did his best to hold all of his emotions in for now (at least until he could get to his room and have a field day letting them out…and also planning what he should wear and how he should look and what he should say on their date tomorrow evening… 'A date…I have a date with an angel…Oh!')

Arnold reached up and gave himself a firm flick in the nose, then blinked, instantly coming out of his near lovesick state again. He let out a sigh. "That was close…Okay, Arnold, just get home…Home is the plan...Besides, if I don't hurry, I'll be late for my afternoon worship of my pictures of Helga…" He started to hurry up the street in the direction of the boarding house (which would, conveniently, take him right past the window looking in on Helga still at their booth inside of Slausen's…), when suddenly though—

"Oof!" The poor little thing tripped forward, only about ten feet or so from the ice cream parlour entrance. Blinking a few times, he stood up and then looked down, only to see that one of his shoes was untied. Smiling he quickly leaned down to take care of the problem…until his eyes caught sight of his hand that Helga had squeezed…which caused his heart to flutter, which caused his palms to sweat, which caused his brain to blanche…until he finally couldn't help letting out a goofy sigh and giving in to at least a few thoughts on the subject of his beloved Helga here-and-now (at least for the time it would take him to tie his shoe, he decided). Although…considering the whole sweaty palms thing and how distracted the very notion of her could make him, and the fact that he was trying his best not to use the hand which she had squeezed too much in the shoe-tying process since he really did want to preserve the appendage just as it was for his entire life if it was possible…the whole process was going pretty slowly, to say the least…)


Arnold finally leaving her to herself with the jingle of the bell above the door of the ice cream parlor, Helga G. Pataki let out a very deep breath and practically collapsed into her side of the booth. "Crimeny, that kid…It's like…I WANT to be creeped out by him but at the same time, he says these things that just…I-I mean, even Lyle never used to make me…blush!" It had popped out of her mouth before she could stop herself, and she quickly slapped her hand over her lips! Comparing Lyle and Arnold again…and having ARNOLD come out on top! 'NO! Stop doing that, Helga! Crimeny! This whole 'dating for a month' thing is…all just an experiment to see something. Nothing else…! Just stay focused and quit getting distracted just because he's a little gentleman or whatever…Him and his stupid old sentimental dating ideas…Yeah, that's it—that's how you should be thinking! I mean, who in their right mind is that old fashioned and corny about stuff anymore, anyway, r-right!'

Still, at this last thought…a small smile had to come to Helga's lips again….After all, he really was such a sweetheart…with all those little plans of his...and a simple fact occurred to her that she couldn't deny it to herself once again this afternoon: 'Whatever girl gets him and can handle all of that intensity and worship of his…really is going to be lucky as heck…' Again, at this thought a little twitch happened inside of Helga, but…she just chalked it up to feeling a little bad about still like-liking Lyle even though she was technically Arnold's girlfriend for this month. She shook her head and let out a sigh. "Oh whatever…I'll go out with the weird little guy, just like I promised him…give him a little thrill since he'll 'be in my presence' or whatever…" her grin picked up a little more again and she tried not to chuckle at that kind of…cute little feeling of his on the subject, "…Heck, maybe we can even become friends or something. Poor little thing seems lonely, after all….and he's not so bad…"

Still smiling, Helga turned back to her ice cream now, which was only barely half eaten, and took another little bite. A banana split…Her mind wandered a little… 'Why do I always get these stupid things…I hate bananas…I guess it's just because it's the biggest thing on the menu or something…' She just sat there for a moment, playing with her ice cream a little with her spoon…thinking about Arnold now again, strangely enough (and this time out loud—after all, the joint was still empty)… "I can't believe he has all of that stuff planned out in his head about how a date should go. All the manners and little formalities and picking me up…the honor of just kissing my hand…" Helga suddenly felt a little twitch of guilt go through her and she frowned just a tiny bit. "I really shouldn't have done that 'kiss me' thing to the little guy…I mean, with how he was talking about me deserving a real kiss after a date, it's probably some ultimate dream of his…Me actually saying 'kiss me' and meaning it…" She smiled a little again and was quiet for a few more seconds…her thoughts playing in her head…and tumbling quietly out of her mouth some more… "Hmm…It'd probably be a little different kissing that kid than any other person on the planet. I mean, with the shape of that head…I guess you'd just…grab the sides like handles or something and just kind of…pull it in…and hang on…Heh, what would that be like?" It was…amusing. Poor kid with that wide, strange head…and a girl having to grip onto it so strangely in order to kiss him…And yet…Helga, whether she was aware of it or not, was still smiling to herself…even more than before, actually… That head was… "Well, it's kind of…not ugly or anything. It's kind of…neat, a little…Wide little head…like a…like a watermelon or a…a football or something…" She sighed and looked back down at her banana split with a smile… "Hmm…I guess holding that head would be a little like holding the sides of one of these long dishes…" 'The honor of giving you a real kiss…' It made Helga blush a little again and she…she didn't know. It was all so weird.

Then she gave a quick glance around the ice cream parlour. Indeed, no one else was around, and the ice cream guy had obviously gone into the back for something or something for a minute... She turned forward back to her ice cream…and then put down her spoon, put both of her hands under the long sides of the dish, and gently lifted it up, resting her elbows on the table for support. It made her chuckle a little, the sight before her…what she was doing in general. "Huh…Guess it's kind of similar…Holding it…" She sighed…Part of her really wished she could give him that little kiss he wanted. Not that she wanted to kiss him or wanted him to be her first kiss, but…it just seemed like such a little tragedy, him wanting to so sincerely…and never getting to. "What would it be like to kiss you, Arnold…Hmm…" She was still holding the dish up right near her head…right near her face…still smiling…

She was moving it a little closer now… She closed her eyes… 'This is so stupid…' She leaned in and let her lips hit the outside of the dish.

A tiny spark went through Helga! She'd been expecting the outside of the metal dish to be cold from the ice cream but obviously some of the hot fudge must have gathered in a pocket on the other side of the side of the dish she was kissing because her lips were met with warmth…like a real kiss…Holding this dish like a person would have to hold Arnold's head to kiss him. (The bell over the door of Slausen's gave a light jingle about this time, though Helga didn't notice it at all). Okay, so, yes, it could at least be done—kissing that boy with the oddly shaped head. It was…different…but doable. This whole thing made her think about kissing in general now…Secretly she longed for her first kiss. What would it be like to press her lips and someone else's lips together…? She pressed a little more firmly into the warmth of the dish, getting lost in the heart-pounding notion a little…It would probably be wonderful…two people expressing their love so intimately…a guy with his arms around her, hugging her close…herself holding his head, angling it, savoring…even if it was football shaped…

"Hi Helga! How are, uh…you?"

"AH!" Helga suddenly screeched, dropping the dish to the tabletop with a loud clang (not spilling the contents though). Breathing like crazy her eyes shot to the person who had just addressed her and who standing right in front of her table. "LYLE!"

Lyle just chuckled. "Nice to see you too, Helga. Hey, I just saw Arnold leaving here while I was walking up the street. I take it that he was with you…" His grin picked up a little more on one side and he put his arms behind his back. "So, are you finally dating Arnold yet?" He was obviously trying to keep back more little amused chuckles.

Helga just blinked a bunch of times at his words, and blushed again the second the word 'Arnold' had left Lyle's mouth ('Darn it! It's okay, it's okay…you're just blushing because Lyle was the one who said it…Yeah, that…that's it!'). "Yes! Uh, no! Uh, well, I mean, we just…Uh…" She shook her head violently. "I-I mean, this wasn't really a 'date' date, we just…I mean…"

Lyle just smiled a little more, crossing his arms over his chest. "Right…And…if you don't mind my asking…why were you kissing your ice cream just now, Helga…?"

"NO REASON!" She half squeaked, half shouted, eyes flying open as wide as could be!

Suddenly, there was a light tapping upon the glass of the window next to the booth, and it caused Helga to practically jump in her seat and turn with a start! "ARNOLD!" He was standing out there on the sidewalk, smiling, obviously here to give her one more small wave goodbye…Then Helga watched as the boy blinked, obviously suddenly laying eyes on Lyle…and give a small, stiff little wave in his direction...and a bit of a scowl…

Helga, still in shock, just glanced from Arnold to Lyle to her sundae to Arnold to Lyle to her sundae to…And then she was just doing a major double take from just Arnold to her sundae over and over…and all of a sudden she turned a fiery red! Arnold's tufts of blonde hair…the yellow bananas sticking out of the split…Arnold's little hat…The dollop of whipped cream placed right between the bananas…Arnold's wide head… The wide dish… It…the banana split…it wasn't just shaped like him…It really DID look like him, didn't it! The item on the Slausen's menu she'd always liked and gotten ever since she was little! 'WHAT IN THE NAME OF CREATION IS GOING ON WITH ME?'

The confused and panicking and startled girl instantly shoved the ice cream away from her in fright, looked to Arnold and gave a very nervous wave and then stood up and gave Lyle a nervous wave too. "Uh, I have to go…There's…I left something cooking on the sink and the water running in the stove…Need to, um, wash the lawn and mow the dishes…BYE!" She zipped right out of the door, running down the street and away from Arnold AND Lyle, not once looking back!

'Oh…Oh, Oh, Oh…Okay, Helga old girl, that was all…um…Okay, just take a second and put this all in perspective: you just feel bad for the poor kid and you're starved for Lyle's affections and it's just a coincidence about the stupid banana splits and you don't care about how it would feel to hold Arnold's head for a kiss because your first kiss and all hereafter are supposed to be with Lyle and ONLY with Lyle, and he's not just average and Arnold is not ideal, and if you do not SNAP OUT OF IT so help me I am going to pop you one right in the—'

Wheeze….Wheeze…

"Oh great…another creepy person NOT destined for me!" Rolling her eyes and scowling, Helga's fist flew back to sock Brainy who had snuck up behind her (as per usual whenever she was in the middle of a crisis about boys) and then she brushed her hands together to clean them off, and proceeded to go right along her way…

…All the time thinking to herself, even though she really, really, REALLY didn't want to have to be thinking any of this in the first place… 'I was not imagining kissing him, I was not imagining kissing him…I…I wasn't…Couldn't have been…Kissing Arnold…' Helga instantaneously blushed again and it made a look of total panic come to her face! "STOP BLUSHING! Crimeny, you're a basketcase!"

She stormed off the rest of the way back to her house…still thick with denial! And yet also at the back of her mind…wondering if she should wear her hair a little differently or dress up a bit for her date with Arnold or—'Snap out of it! Basketcase, Basektcase, BASKETCASE!' The blushing that continued to consume her face about all of this did not help the situation.


Back at Slausen's, Lyle Sawyer was just laughing like crazy to himself, sitting in a booth alone.

Eventually the bell over the door dinged again and very soon he was joined by a familiar face.

"Lyle? Why whatever is so funny, my obviously oh too amused brother?"

Lyle let out a breath and wiped a tear from his eyes, looking to his sister now standing before him. "Ah, nothing, Lila…" He waved her off and finally managed to get his chuckles under control a little. "Just…young love…" He shrugged.

Lila's smile brightened and she instantly sat herself in the booth seat opposite to her brother, leaning in with interest. "Ooooo, I'm oh too certain it would be simply adorable if you had a new crush, Lyle. Who is she?"

Lyle shook his head, still smiling. "No, no, no, Lila. I'm talking about Arnold and Helga…"

Lila blinked…and then started giggling like crazy, putting a hand to her mouth. "Oh Lyle, you're STILL trying to get them together?"

Lyle just shrugged again. "They go well together…Come, on, you know you think so too, my ever so romantically obsessed sister…" He gave her a look.

Lila just giggled again and sat back a little in her seat…recalling how adorably Arnold had explained his intense love of Helga to her after herself and the poor boy had finished their brief bout of dating. True love—it was so sweet that he had found it with someone and at such a young age, even if Helga didn't love him back just yet. "Of course, Lyle!" Lila assured him. "Oh, they'd make an ever so charming couple! I just know it! I really hope you can work things out for them, Lyle."

Lyle let out a sigh and nodded. "Yeah…I hope so too." He shook his head in amusement…then let out a breath and looked to his sister with a smile. "Anyway, I'll go order for us, Lila. Two plain vanilla cones?"

Lila smiled. "Of course, Lyle…my matchmaking brother." She winked, obviously in love with all of his little plans and thinking this Arnold and Helga thing he had brewing was the cutest thing ever!

"Very funny Lila…" Lyle merely replied with a smile and slight roll of his eyes as he got up and walked across the ice cream parlour to get their orders… As he went along, he just shook his head and chuckled to himself a little… 'Poor Helga…I hope she figures it out before Arnold loses it and gives her one of those kisses she obviously secretly wants too…Two basketcases, no waiting… Clueless…' He reached the counter and looked to the waiter behind it. "Two vanilla cones please…" The waiter gave a nod and Lyle nodded back…still thinking to himself as he waited… 'Kissing a banana split…very much like it's a certain someone's very wide head…' He let out a sigh and rubbed one of his temples. 'What—does she need someone to scream it at her?' Another small laugh escaped him. 'Poor little dense thing…Oh well…' Lyle just sighed to himself, taking the two plain vanilla cones that were suddenly handed to him and placing some money down on the counter, and then turned and headed back over to his sister…and hoped beyond everything that Arnold's enthusiasm would be enough to counterbalance Helga's denial—and soon—for the sakes of both of their happinesses…(and swearing to himself once again that, for having taken Helga a step back in her realization of her feelings for Arnold by accidentally making her fall for himself a few weeks ago, he would do everything in his power to see to it that Helga and Arnold indeed ended up happy and together…like they both each obviously wanted to be, even though only one of them was astute enough to realize it.)


A/N:

I hope you guys liked this! Please review and I hope it got some of you to check out SuprSingr's story too, because it really is one of my favorite in-progress fics on this site ^_^ Merry Christmas, all, especially to my awesome writer of a baby sister ;)

Happy Reading!

AXH FOREVER! :D