A/N: Uh... Merry Christmas? *Smiles sheepishly*

Disclaimer: I don't own anything... or do I? }:3


Arnold's Musings

One-Shot

What is love?

If you asked a million people what they believed love was, you'd probably get a million different answers. Me? I won't even pretend that I know what love is. 'Cause I don't. That's why I asked the question in the first place. The closest I've ever come to know love is a little fluttering in my chest, butterflies in my stomach, goofy feelings pulsating throughout me and making me do stupid stuff. That, I've felt many times. And each time I did, I learned a lesson. But even I'm not foolish enough to believe these feelings to be actual love. Love is truer than just feeling goofy and thinking someone is pretty.

Ruth is a prime example of this. She made me feel goofy inside, plain and simple. My crush on her involved a lot of gazing and daydreaming. But... that was about it. But then I found out after that... very odd yet strangely pleasant night, that she wasn't the person I thought. The daydreaming was over. She was just pretty, and that was it. Five minutes in to talking to her, I was already bored. That was the last time I ever wanted to get a crush on someone just for their looks, I'd decided. I learned my lesson that night... or so I hoped.

Miss Felter was my next crush. This one came and went fast, but it was... interesting while it lasted. I mainly only got this crush because I thought she had some kind of thing for me. And really, what guy wouldn't be intrigued by an older, attractive WOMAN having feelings for them? Of course I fell for her... even if I knew next to nothing about her. She was blonde, blue-eyed, pretty, and liked poetry. All attractive features. What more did I need? But then, it turned out she actually DIDN'T like me and... the only reason she kept saying my name was because that was the name of her FIANCE.' She was in love with an Arnold... just not me. This crush taught me to not be so quick to like someone back just because you think they might like you... especially if that person is someone who's got a good ten years on you.

Next up was Mary Margaret. I fell for her instantly upon seeing her... Despite that I promised myself I would never fall for someone just for their looks again, she had to be the coolest and most beautiful girl in the whole school. That was how I reasoned it. With her thick brown hair and blue eyes and perfect, white teeth. And she was a sixth-grader! Who cares if I couldn't reach her shoulders? Long brown hair, blue eyes, tall... Very attractive. Who wouldn't have fallen for her? And then I started getting emails from someone who apparently liked me from someone named 'MensaMiss.' I thought it was Mary. Gerald disagreed, but that only angered me. It had to have been Mary! Who else could it have been, right? But then when I approached her about it... She was so... mean. In the end of it all, it turned out it was her, uh... well, in a word, 'minion' that liked me and was sending me those emails, and she apologized and said she hadn't meant for me to get hurt. But of course, I didn't jump all over her and start liking her back instantly just because she liked me! I had learned my lesson! ...Well, okay, fine, she was a third grader... an entire grade lower than me. How could I like someone that much younger than me, and so much less mature? The irony hit me as soon as that thought passed my mind back then. How could Mary have ever liked me? I was way younger than her. But so yeah, I was over Mary as soon as I found out she was nothing but another pretty face with a very unattractive personality. That was when I REALLY learned my lesson. I was SO over falling for girls that were just pretty. Never again, I'd promised.

And then there was Lila Sawyer. At first I didn't really like her, but then it turned out I did. I don't know why I didn't like her just from the start of that whole thing. Maybe just me subconsciously clinging to wanting to fall for girls that were just pretty (Despite that I'd learned my lesson, Lila came pretty soon after Mary, so maybe it just hadn't thoroughly sunk in yet), and I didn't really like red-heads, to be honest, and there were those freckles. And plus there's something really unattractive about someone who's chasing after you so clingingly when it's clear you're not interested. I don't know. It's complicated. But I guess the bottom line is that I figured out that she was more than just pretty. She had a brain. That intrigued me, since so few of the girls I'd come across in the past actually did. But yeah, I liked her, for her looks and for some of her traits (I learned to like red-heads, 'cause darn it,' she had a brain!). I was proud of myself. But after a while, I got bored with hearing her talk, as much as I hate to admit it. She always seemed to talk about the same stuff over and over. There was never anything new. Of course, that didn't stop me from trying to get her to like-like me, or from me to still like-like her. I guess since I'd finally found someone I liked for more than just their looks, I was kinda clinging to that. I mainly just started conversations with her so I could stare at her for long periods of time. Lila was never that big of a chatter, but if you brought up just the right subject, you could get her to go on and on. That was basically what I did. But finally, after a while, I gave up on trying to get her to like me. It had become quite apparent that it was just never gonna happen. And it had occurred to me, that the thought of that didn't really bother me anymore. I was over it, and her. Perhaps one of the reasons I was so desperate to get her to like me was because no one had ever NOT liked me before. It disturbed me that she could so easily reject me. I guess I just wanted to prove her wrong or something. One of those 'you want what you can't have' type of things. If she'd just given me a chance and continued to like me, I'd probably have been over it in a week. As annoying as that thought is to me, considering all the time I wasted on her, I can't deny that it's true. But still, she's a nice girl. Just... not... complicated enough? Geez, does that even make sense? I... guess the attraction just burned out. I already knew everything about her, and it was cute... but... what more was there to do, you know? I already knew everything about her, conversations were dry, and looks can only go so far.

So yeah, I learned my lesson there too. I... needed someone a bit more complicated. Which is hilarious to me, since complicated girls are always so hard to deal with, in my experience. Maybe that's why I always leaned towards more simple girls. They were easy. Simple little pleasures with them, without ever making too firm a commitment. But of course, learning that I needed someone who was more than just pretty and was more complicated and deep, and not to be so quick to crush on someone, didn't stop me from getting a crush on this next girl.

Summer.

Oh, yeah, Summer... I thought she was perfect. She had the looks, she was older so she was bound to be more complicated, she had an intelligent sort of gleam in her eye, she seemed to be hiding something dark from me (Which for some reason only attracted me more rather than disturbed me), and she was sweet as sugar... or so I thought. It was a strange time for me back then on that beach. I felt kinda like I was rebelling against something. I don't know if that makes sense, but there you go. And Summer was great for that. She had sandy blonde hair, dark blue eyes, and a nice tan. She kinda reminded me of someone, with that blonde hair always flowing freely down her shoulders, every once in a while falling over one of her eyes from the wind... Maybe that's why I fell for her so easily. I don't know. That crush ended quickly anyway, as soon as I found out she was just using me. This crush taught me that I need to guard my heart more. I'd been hurt by a LOT of girls, and I was so tired of chasing them. It would've been SO nice to have one of them chase after me for once. I mean, not like 'Lila clinging to my arm and dragging me everywhere' kind of chasing, but just... I don't know. It's hard to explain.

But the scary part of that is... I got my wish. But... it was granted by someone I had never... and I do mean NEVER... expected... just a few months ago, actually.

Oh, yeah, I was chased. I was chased and kissed and hugged and petted and gazed at and... Oh, just thinking about it makes me woozy still.

But the weirdest thing about it all, the thing that baffles me still, is the word she used... which brings me back to my original question...

Love.

What... the heck... is LOVE?

Seriously, the extent of my knowledge on that insane word is that I know it's nothing I've ever felt. Or... have I? I-I mean, is it possible that I never KNEW I felt it? I mean, I-GAH! This entire situation has just rattled my brain. That has to be it. I keep thinking strange thoughts and doing strange things. For the love of Hillwood, I've just spent the last half-hour musing on all my old crushes when I was SUPPOSED to be tying my shoes! Look at them! I haven't even gotten through stage one - Tie a knot. What is so hard about sitting down for FIVE seconds to tie a lousy knot? You see what's going on with me? I keep drifting off on these random tangents in my head, staring at 'certain people' more often, TANGOING with my self-proclaimed arch-enemy, feeling strange new urges, coming up with all these crazy new ideas and just laying in my bed at night and listening to my heart thump louder and louder as I mentally relive the entire crazy event on that... building. What is WRONG with me? Criminy!

...I did NOT just say that. That was NOT me. It couldn't have been me. It was just a slip of the tongue-er, brain! Yeah! Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh...

Oh, man... You see? I feel so off kilter. Out of control. Since when am I not in control? I've never felt so... NOT calm before.

I let out a long, deep sigh and just fall back on my bed, kicking off my shoes and deciding I'll just skip baseball practice today. Sure, Helga will be furious, but who cares? I mean, what is she gonna do? Punch me?

I roll my eyes at the thought. Yeah, right. I may not know a lot about love, but I do know that you don't punch the people you care about. You just don't, you can't.

Which reminds me... now that I've decided I'm spending yet ANOTHER afternoon up in my room thinking... what is love?

Love, love, love...

I feel a need to know, because... Well, I don't know. It just seems like such a... grown up thing. I didn't even know it was possible for kids my age to feel that way about someone. And she's apparently felt this way ever since she met me? When did we even meet? Preschool?

I shake my head at the thought, staring up at the clouds through my skylight. But then... a new thought pops into my head... I blink thoughtfully, my brow wrinkling a little...

She'd have to be... a pretty complicated and mature person to feel something as grown up as LOVE for someone... and... I never really thought about it, but... she has long blonde hair, blue eyes, she's tall, and she apparently not only likes but WRITES poetry... Didn't I say I found all that really attractive before? In some of my past crushes? And... she's OBVIOUSLY very complicated, there's TONS about her I don't know, and I've always known there's good in her... and isn't all that what I'd already learned I NEEDED in a girl? Someone who's more than just looks? I-I mean, now that I think about it, she IS rather attractive... I mean, no matter how hard she tries to hide it behind that scowl, she has that nice complexion, long gold hair, and big deep blue eyes... and it's all actually really...

I blink a few times and instantly realize the path my thoughts had just gone down... again... Yes, this isn't the first time. I told you something's wrong with me. Another reason I'd like to know what love is like... to... assure myself that that's not what's happening to me, of course. This is just how Helga works. She gets into your head, makes you think things you wouldn't ordinarily. She has the power to make you furious in a second and then make you feel like just jumping up and hugging her, you're so happy, in the blink of an eye. She can make you do insane things that you never thought you would, practically lead you to the brink of insanity sometimes, make you want to do... certain things you KNOW you can't ACTUALLY want to... It's just... Helga again. She's crazy like that! ...Or is that just me? I tried explaining that to Gerald once, and he looked at me like I'd gone nuts. I don't know. Maybe I have. And what would be so bad about that, anyway? Grandma is nuts and look at her - She's always having a blast.

I chuckle at the thought and sigh, still just gazing up through my skylight.

It's true, you know. That's how she makes me feel. That's how she's always made me feel. She's the only person who can shove me so far from my element. She's always managed to throw something completely unexpected at me. She's so unpredictable. One minute she's mean and nasty, the next she's all shy and nice, and then the NEXT thing you know you're fighting with her, then the next she's got you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside because she's reminded you yet again that there's a nicer side to her, and then the next she's proclaiming her hatred of you as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, and then the NEXT she's got you on a roof with her throwing herself at you and practically yelling about how she LOVES you... not obnoxiously or even just loudly, but... honestly and passionately... You never know what you're gonna get with her. It's so frustrating. I've always known to be honest and open with people about stuff, I'm an open book, ask me anything! But Helga is about as closed a book as you'll ever meet, but with her randomly opening up from time to time, just a LITTLE, to show you what's inside... but on that roof top... Oh, now THAT was different... She wasn't just an open book... She just dismantled the cover all together and threw all the pages at me all at once. Could you really blame me for needing to lie down?

And ever since then, I just... I don't know. It's like I said before. I don't know. I've just felt all jumbled up and crazy inside ever since. My every thought is either based around or relative to HER nowadays. I can't even tie my shoes without completely zoning out. And now every time I see her, I either feel like screaming at her or running away from her or just dipping her back and-No! I will NOT go down THAT road again! Once today is enough, thank you.

I run a hand down my face then and shake my head, clearing my thoughts and trying to think about something that DOESN'T have to do with Helga and what love is...

Five seconds pass.

Nope, not working.

I sigh loudly.

Maybe I should just... accept this. These weird feelings. I doubt I'll ever understand them, no matter how much I try, but I'm so tired of fighting. It feels pointless to do it anymore. Maybe I'd feel more relaxed again if I just accept it... what's CLEARLY going on with me... it's the only explanation I can come up with, and I'm sure anyone I explained all this to would agree...

I've gone mad.

Of course, it's the only plausible explanation there is. Gerald is right. I'm completely nuts. It makes perfect sense. Helga has made me crazy. She's dragged me into her world of insanity; knowing it or not, she has.

I close my eyes and smile, becoming at peace with this...

Nope, this isn't working either.

I sigh even louder than before and open my eyes, agitated. I'm confused. I don't know what to think anymore. I wish I could just jot this all down as me having gone insane, but things just aren't that simple. No matter how much I wish they were.

So yeah, I don't know... I don't know what love is, or how Helga could feel such a thing towards me, or what's wrong with me...

I'm lost.


A/N: Sounds more like you're dense. e_e

Good grief. Well, hope you enjoyed. I'll try and post some crap on Christmas Eve or Christmas, so check it out if you can. I'll try to make everything NOT belated. XD ;) And it should help get you into the spirit. :D

Happy Holidays!

REVIEW!