A/N:

Hey all 8D Lol okay, this is a random one shot from me. Think about it as an epilogue to "Summer Love aka Beach Story" ^w^ (Lol, will these epilogue-type one shots become a habit with me? Since I'm already cooking up an idea for one involving "School Play", yeah, probably XDXD). Anywho, the idea for this came from talking one night randomly with my baby sister SuprSingr and my buddy NintendoGal55 about this ep and how Arnold might have reacted to Helga's mouth-to-mouth, and also SuprSingr pointed out to me that if you look really closely at the last few frames of the ep you see Helga end the kiss and Arnold actually sit up because of it so this little first section of this oneshot came from that XD Thanks, baby sister and NintendoGal! Anyway I hope you guys like this and please review! Thank you!

~* 'Mouth-To-Mouth' *~


"And…cut! I said cut! Young lady, we've got this shot! Please cut! Alright, kill those lights!"

At this final command from the director, the bright lights over the BabeWatch beach set went out… though, it being a sunny, bright, spring day, this fact certainly did not plunge the set into darkness…

…which meant that as a certain football headed young man felt a certain pair of moaning lips impress to his extra deeply for one moment longer and then FINALLY pull back in a separation so dramatic that he was pulled from lying down on his back on the sand to a sitting up position, his eyes opening wide, he could clearly see the face of his blond young female companion kneeling before him.

She was panting rather heavily…and so was he, he soon realized…yes, just panting and looking at her with wide eyes unblinking. She seemed to be glancing slightly down, looking a little flushed ( 'presumably' from the heat of the day), and just taking a moment to catch her breath…

…while Arnold was taking this moment to…to…Well, for crying out loud, she had just…No, he couldn't bear to put it into actual, coherent thoughts…He just let his heart pound and felt his breaths coming shallowly and felt a little blush in his cheeks…the feeling of cool moisture on his lips.

His lips…

What had Helga G. Pataki…just done to his lips?

Why had it started? Why had it taken so long to stop? And why did he feel like he felt right now?

He had to know.


As a result of 'having to know', Arnold had taken the liberty, after he and Helga had gotten out of their BabeWatch swimwear and back into their normal beach attire (Helga in her white tank top and pink shorts, Arnold in his red and yellow plaid trunks and a white t-shirt (since now it was nighttime and the air was cooler)), to ask her, as long as they were staying in the same house together, if she would like to come over to his side of the house and…maybe just eat some ice cream, relax from the day, and also he had been just clever enough to come up with the pretence of wanting to thank her yet again for saving him from being used by Summer to win her the prize of starring in the BabeWatch episode. And, after a bunch of stubbornness, Helga had finally said yes to his invitation (with the conditions that he wouldn't bug her too much and that he better be aware that she was only doing this out of pity for him since he didn't have any other plans for the night and she just happened to have a gap in her schedule as well, of course).

And so now the two kids were lying on their stomachs on a rug alone together in a little back room on Arnold's side of the house in front of a small fire in a fireplace (the nights here really were kind of cool-feeling)…and Arnold STILL hadn't worked up the nerve to bring up the ki-…uh, the 'mouth-to-mouth', as he was insisting on referring to it in his head.

"Arnold? Youwho…Hey Arnold!"

Arnold instantly snapped out of his thoughts about…earlier…and looked right to the girl resting beside him.

With a slight scowl, Helga just rolled her eyes at him and put down her empty ice cream bowl and shoved it a little bit away from her. "Crimeny, Football Head, you go and invite me here and then you keep zoning out on me! Sheesh, what, still all daydreaming about that stupid Summer chippy or something? Hmph!" She crossed her arms on the rug and looked with frustration at the small, burning fire before them.

Arnold instantly blinked and felt his face heat up with a blush. "NO!" He realized, the second after he practically shouted it, just now arguably desperate that 'no' had sounded, and quickly blinked and swallowed, swirling around his spoon in his on empty ice cream bowl a little. "I-I mean…" he started again, much calmer sounding, "N-No, I…I'm sorry, Helga…I was just kind of…thinking about things…and this week, I guess…But not about Summer." A twinge of hurt came to his eyes and a little frown affected his mouth for a moment. "I don't want to think about her anymore…ever, actually." The poor, rejected ten-year-old boy pushed away his own empty ice cream dish and took in a breath and just did his best to keep the expression of his pain at a frustrated glance forward and down for now.

For a moment there was silence, filled only with the occasional crackle of flame in the fireplace before Arnold and Helga.

"I really am sorry she hurt you, Arnold…" These words were then said sincerely, so comfortingly and so full of concern to Arnold by the girl lying beside him (just as when, just before the sand castle competition, she had first told him she was sorry about all of this happening to him)… And then, a second of slight hesitation later, Arnold felt…a hand come to rest reassuringly on the upper part of his back…Helga's hand.

For a moment Arnold's eyes went wide and a little bit of that blush of his returned…That blush he couldn't help…But then the young boy blinked a few times and managed to look over at his companion again and say quietly…almost shyly… "I know…Thanks, Helga." His gaze caught that sincere, caring look on her face directed at him right now, and he couldn't deny…a small part of him…wanted to move even closer to her right now…just scooch closer on his stomach on the floor. Her hand touching him made him feel better, without question…as did that look in her eyes…So…would he feel even better if he was even closer to her…? Would he feel better if she…they…

"Football Head, I know you really liked her but, trust me…She's not good enough for you." These further consoling words broke Arnold from his (VERY UNEXPECTED BY HIMSELF) sudden stream of thoughts and feelings, and he instantly snapped back to the present moment with a slight jerk and small gasp, his eyes focusing directly to Helga's once more. 'Stop that…Stop letting yourself think things like that…Please!' he mentally told himself YET AGAIN today. 'It's crazy…There's a perfectly good reason for everything. There always is with Helga…' The reassurance comforted him somewhat…but it was very very slight. Meanwhile, at his sudden start, he felt Helga's hand on his back tense…then watched her quickly pull it away with wide eyes.

Helga blinked a few times, cleared her throat, and then went on (trying to return at least some of the normal tone and casualness and toughness to her voice and words now), "I-I mean…I mean, n-not that you're perfect, Football Head—far from it, heh…But…well…what I'm trying to say is, at the very least, you're a good person…And Summer…she's selfish and mean and stuck up and…you don't deserve that, Football Head. You deserve a girl who's as honest and caring and trusting as you are…" She seemed…to be smiling…trying to smile…It was like she was smiling and the initial act of smiling was sincere but the little bit of enthusiasm she tried to add to it was feigned. Arnold felt so very confused…

…while Helga just…tried on the inside to hold on to the good feeling it gave her to let her guard down for a moment to let Arnold know exactly what kind of woman he did deserve…even if that meant totally painting herself out of the picture. 'Honest and caring and trusting…My darling, if only I really could be all of those things for you instead of the bitter, jealous, defensive person I am…' She would have frowned a little upon admitting this truth to herself once again in her life if she hadn't been quite sure that much of her beloved's happiness right now probably depended on her putting up a smiling front. 'His problems are what are important right now…not my stupid basketcase stuff…' She took some comfort in this determination.

"I…think you're right…Helga," finally escaped Arnold's mouth meanwhile, quietly, slowly and sincerely…as he still looked at her…and Helga still looked at him. "And thank you again," he added with a small smile. "Really…I…I wouldn't have known what kind of person Summer really was until it was too late and she'd already used me to get on BabeWatch if you hadn't kept trying to tell me, Helga." He smiled completely and warmly now at Helga, unable to help it. "I should have known you'd never lie to me about something important like that…You really are a good person, Helga…and I'm happy you're my friend…" He knew the purpose of inviting her here to spend time with him right now NOT to find himself randomly complimenting her, but it had just naturally flowed from him…on top of which it really was how he felt. What would he have done without her, after all? However confused he was feeling inside right now, he couldn't deny the fact that she had truly helped him today at least.

At this appreciative response from Arnold, Helga G. Pataki went wide eyed at first…then obviously didn't know what to say or do…and then she shifted just the teensiest bit away from Arnold on the floor and looked downward, rubbing the back of her neck. "U-Uh…well, I…I just…I told you already that she was taking advantage of you and so I couldn't just let her, and…and making your life miserable and tricking you into things is MY job, and…a-and who said you could get all mushy on me in the first place, Football Head? Hmph!" Crossing her arms over one another on the floor yet again she looked forward with a little stubborn little scowl and pout.

Arnold…still smiling and looking at her…just let out a sigh at her (expected) rant against him. "Helga…" he started in that warm, familiar way that he knew from two thirds of a lifetime of experience was the best way to get through to her when she was being a little extra stubborn about just admitting that she wasn't nearly so bad as she tried to seem, "I'm just saying that…well…you're my friend and…today you really really acted like it…and…I appreciate it." He scooched…just the tiniest bit closer to her (just so that they could resume their former distance apart on the floor, of course…heh…).

His words processed…Helga's scowl and pout remained a moment longer…and then she rolled her eyes to the side, swallowed…and finally her gaze and look relaxed. "Well…I…I guess that makes sense…" she finally conceded to him. "And I…" And then her eyes went wide, and then she raised part of her brow. She turned her face to look at him directly once more. "I…I'm your friend, Arnold?" she then asked, almost in puzzlement.

Arnold blinked several times, not understanding how there could be any confusion on that point, and then smiled and nodded. "Of course you are, Helga. I mean…I know we usually argue a lot but…we're…friends…right?" He looked at her curiously, wondering now if maybe her confusion came from her not considering them friends or something.

A rather surprised looking Helga G. Pataki blinked several times at first but then finally nodded. "O-Okay…Friends. Heh, why not—like I said before, you're not exactly perfect, Football Head, and also you're a bit of a pushover so if anyone could use my friendship it's probably you, right?" She smiled a little. 'Friends…We're friends…Oh Arnold…' Instantly, bits and pieces of every romantic comedy movie or TV show she had ever managed to see about a guy and a girl who were friends suddenly falling in love started to flicker through her mind.

Arnold, meanwhile, still looking at Helga warmly (even more warmly now that she was smiling a little), just chuckled a tiny bit at her way of putting things about their friendship and shrugged. "Yeah. And…" he swallowed…and just tried to keep his breathing normal…tried not to let his heartbeat increase…and tried not to think about actually having to do that last thing regarding his heart as he added… "And…we've known each other for so long that it only makes sense that we're friends, right, Helga?" This was his lead in: hey, she seemed happy and in a good mood, and the night wasn't getting any younger so…now seemed as good a time as any to finally ask her…about…earlier…BabeWatch. The last scene…Certain things that had happened…

Helga just shrugged at his observation about their friendship, seeming to think it over for a second before replying simply, "Uh, yeah. I suppose…"

Arnold swallowed again…went on… "A-And…over all that time…we've shared a lot of, um…experiences together…which makes us being friends make even more sense…don't you think?" He smiled just a little nervously, just willing himself to ask already before he lost this moment and this chance to do so.

Helga swallowed this time…and she was looking a touch nervous herself. 'Where is he going with this…? Something's up…' Still, though, she still felt on safe enough ground to at least reply with, "I…I guess. Yeah, I mean…we've grown up together so we've done some stuff together so…naturally we'd end up friends together…" Still though, Helga really could sense that Arnold was building to something with these few little questions and how nervous he was looking asking them, and so now she decided to stop him from beating around the bush about it. "What's your point, Arnold?" she asked nicely but still firmly.

Arnold blinked once or twice at the direct question and glanced forward toward the fire. "Oh…nothing…" he quickly said as calmly as he could, "Just that…we're friends, like we've said, and…that we've done stuff together. You know, like, playing baseball…working on school projects, tracking down urban legends…Just…Just reminiscing a little, I guess…Heh…Like…for example…remember, um…the school play?" He really specifically did not look at her and he really specifically felt heat enter his cheeks…and also he really specifically thought about reconsidering touching upon this topic…And yet still, he recalled his shock, his wonder, his confusion from earlier on the beach…and once again couldn't deny that he had to know…

Helga felt a definite lurch in her stomach. He was bringing up the school play. He'd…NEVER brought that up (and neither had she of course) ever since it had happened…The school play…And then she kind of figured why that question from him might have come about (more specifically a 'certain thing; from today that might have reminded him of a 'certain thing' from the school play), and then for just a moment she felt everything inside of her lock up in a sick, electric lurch while she just tried to remain calm and remind herself that, taking a risk as big as she had taken earlier on the beach with him when the director had yelled 'cut', she had had the foresight to make an emergency plan…just in case even a boy as dense as Arnold couldn't let a prolonged and moan-filled bit of impromptu 'mouth-to-mouth' slide. "Uh, yeah, I remember…the school play. A bunch of nine-year-olds trying desperately to do Shakespeare, me having to dress up in some stupid outfit, you with a fake plastic sword. Good times, good times, heh… Um…So yeah, we're friends and we've had some laughs, Arnold. No big deal right?" She grinned and shrugged and just tried to keep it all casual—that was KEY here: keeping it all casual…

"Remember how we had to act that, um…kissing scene?" Arnold twitched just a little, unmoving his eyes from the (apparently) 'very interesting' section of wooden floor before him now… The kissing scene. If Helga hadn't been the one who'd had to do all of the kissing, he still wasn't sure how he would have gotten through that day… The very idea of himself being the one to kiss a girl…to kiss Helga…A brief flash of an image of it entered his mind and he quickly did everything he could to push it away: something about the idea was just…too much for him to bear! It made his pulse quicken and made him practically feel like passing out!

Meanwhile, in Helga's 'getting so FREAKING close to panicking' mind! 'HE ACTUALLY CALLED IT THE KISSING SCENE! NOT the 'tomb scene', not the 'death scene', not the 'last scene': THE KISSING SCENE! Okay, okay…easy, Helga old girl, easy…I know you didn't expect him to start asking about the BabeWatch stuff by bringing up the school play kiss specifically like this but…whatever, just go with it…And just DON'T spill the beans!' "…Yeah. Why?" she finally managed to ask him in an average sort of voice, with an actually average sort of look. 'Nice job!' She mentally patted herself on the back.

Arnold cleared his throat a tiny bit. "Well, I…Heh…I just think it's funny how, um…" He turned to look at her again…There was nervousness among the casualness…and both he knew it and she knew it… "…how…well…for that time acting together we ended up having to…do kind of a kissing scene…And then today…when we acted together…kind of a kissing scene came up again, if you think about it…" He looked at her with this shy little look. "I-Isn't that f-funny, Helga? Heh…"

Helga, not wanting to have to put her full scale emergency plan in regards to all of this into motion unless absolutely necessary, decided to make a final attempt at just casually getting Arnold off of this topic of conversation with a little shrug. "Uh…I don't know what you're talking about, Arnold. I mean, yeah, sure, we had to do that disgusting kissing thing for the play but that was because it was a love story and we were the leads, but today it was just a stupid BabeWatch episode…You drowned, I tried to save you…and so did a bunch of other 'lifeguards'. Sheesh, Football Head, you gonna play this weird version of six degrees of separation every time we happen to act together in something because if you are then I'm steering clear of the drama club in high school." She rolled her eyes to the side and did her best to even laugh a little.

Arnold watched her curiously at first…then gave her a look. "Helga…" he started flatly…in that slightly more 'no nonsense' tone that he could get sometimes.

Helga just let out a sigh and started playing distractedly with a thread on the edge of the large room rug upon which they were lying. 'Crimeny, he's going to make me do this the hard and complicated way, isn't he…' Still, she figured she'd give doing it the easy way at least one more shot. "Honestly, Football Head," she started, still acting more interested in the rug than anything else, "I don't know what's with you and this loopy thought pattern of yours tonight about us, but I think you've been spending a little too much time in the sun…That football shaped brain of yours is probably scrambled like an egg at this point."

"Helga…" The flat voice from Arnold continued…this time a bit more firmly though. And Helga knew he meant business when he said her name like that. Arnold continued…obviously not about to be put off… "In the school play we had to kiss, and then out on the beach before…with the 'mouth-to-mouth'…" Arnold felt the heat of a blush returning and couldn't go on for now.

"Heh, oh is that all…" Helga waved him off with a grin and a glance. "You think a fake kiss and fake mouth-to-mouth are similar? Well, I guess that works logically though WHY you're bringing it up in the first place is beyond me, heh…" 'Arnold, just LET IT GO, for crying out loud!'

"I'm bringing it up because the kiss in the play was part of the script…and the mouth-to-mouth…wasn't." Arnold wasn't looking at Helga…In fact, his eyes were downcast, and the shadows of the room made his expression unreadable.

These simple words made Helga's heart stop beating for just a moment…and then she knew Arnold really wasn't going to let this go until she gave him an excellent reason to do so…and also, at this point, he was edging so dangerously close to her secret that she figured a good logical argument leading away from it wouldn't hurt as a preventative to him thinking about some of this stuff later on his own and finally drawing some very big conclusions…some very big love filled conclusions… So, yes, she was going to do this the hard way. 'Darn it, I knew I shouldn't have let myself moan when I was kissing him before on the beach…I was too bold again, wasn't I…' She let out a breath, mentally noting to herself to at least TRY and not practically blow her secret the next time she might be fortunate enough to kiss Arnold, and prepared herself to 'talk herself out of another one' (and once more in her life she thanked her lucky stars that her little love was so dense and had always seemed so willing to buy any excuse she had ever given over their lives to explain away the actions of her secret love).

Meanwhile… "Helga, I…" Arnold let out a sigh and finally willed himself to look at her fully and seriously again and just say it…his face a palette of everything unsure… "That…That 'whatever it was' back on the beach wasn't scripted…it went on for…a while…and…I've never gotten mouth-to-mouth from someone before but I'm still pretty sure your way of doing it wasn't how you do it. So I just…I…want to know…what that was, I guess, and why you did it and…and also why you don't want to talk about it?" He looked at her with wide eyes and a firm gaze, seeking answers.

Helga remained just silent and looking at Arnold for a moment…considering…just for a piece of a moment…maybe really just coming clean with him…Just saying…everything…

…But then of course she threw that ridiculous concept right out the window and responded quietly…not about to go off into things until he said the magic word…just in case there was really some hope that he wasn't thinking what she thought he was thinking… "I…I don't know…what you're talking about…"

There was silence. Neither one of them broke from eye contact with the other. And then Arnold asked, before he could stop himself, "Did you kiss me, Helga?"

Yeah, that was the magic word. 'Kiss' in regards to what she had done to him on the beach. It was official: he thought she kissed him…and from how nervous he was acting and how hesitant he seemed about all of this…she figured it was safe to assume that his reaction to the concept was turning out to be a rather negative one. "N-No!" Helga instantly exclaimed, then scoffed and rolled her eyes as she prepared to throw him off the scent. "Of course not! Ew! Why in the WORLD I WANT to? Are you insane? I can't, I don't even…Ugh!" She faked a serious cringe.

"Helga, can't you just be honest and open with me and not make me have to spend days figuring out what's really going on with you?" She was interrupted by Arnold delivering these words in a rather impatient tone now, and looking at her kind of impatiently to boot. He went on. "I just want to know why you did on that beach... 'what you did on that beach', okay?" He didn't mean to be harsh or demanding but…it had been a very emotionally confusing day for our football headed hero and was it so wrong to just want one straight answer at the end of it all?

Helga paused and blinked at first, a touch surprised by his little desperate outburst. But then she instantly recalled 'the plan' and decided now was the time to put it into action without fail. And so she let out a deep sigh…and looked down and at the floor as she spoke now…and hoped this excuse would come off as smoothly as she had imagined it might in her head… She played with her fingers as she spoke. "Okay…Arnold…let's say…hypothetically…that…the stuff out on the beach…was something I did on purpose…and was maybe…partially…kiss like…" She barely glanced at Arnold and watched as his eyes went wide as could be and his breaths stopped and then he opened his mouth, seeming about to speak. She cut him off though before he could, turning to him fully again. "But I have a perfectly good reason for that that I'd be happy to tell you if you'd just clam up for a minute and let me finish explaining! Sheesh!"

Arnold blinked a few times at this little addendum to her words and then blushed in a touch of embarrassment and nodded. "S-Sorry…" his voice cracked a little and he quickly cleared his throat and tried speaking again (only feeling even more embarrassed though), "Sorry…Okay…I-I was just curious. I didn't mean to interrupt…" He glanced down bashfully.

Helga just scoffed and rested her head on one of her hands on the floor, looking at him. "Oh brother, calm down, 'Romeo', it's not that epic of an explanation so you can rope in the whole 'boyish blushing' thing, alright? Otherwise, seriously, I'm gonna lose my lunch!" She laughed a little, really really trying to bring the casualness of the room up and the tension of the room down. And so Helga smiled more and shrugged and spoke averagely…and lied through her teeth. "Look, okay, yes, I admit, what I did to you on the beach at the end of the episode there was…unscripted…and on purpose…and…kiss like…But…I…well, I…" she faked a little sigh and shrug, "Oh alright, Arnold, you got me—for crying out loud…" And there it was again…that little temptation to…to really and truly say it…the truth…The whole crazy, love-filled truth… But she resisted, and announced instead, "I did not just ONE but TWO morally upright things as favors to you today all because we're apparently buddies or something." She grinned at him smugly. 'And of course he's not going to get it and I'll have to explain…'

Arnold blinked several times at these words from her. Then he said, looking rather curious, "Um…Helga? I'm sorry, but…I don't think I understand. Can you explain some more?"

Helga just tried not to laugh. 'Oh my darling…I can read you like a book.' She let out a breath and grinned. She spoke with compassion and ease. "Arnold, look…maybe…MAYBE deep down I do sort of have SOME SORT of very very FAINT moral conscience…" she leaned in a little closer toward him and lowered her voice and added, "And by the way, that fact does NOT leave this room…" She winked and then leaned back again and went on. "So, anyway…I figured…after all this stuff that happened with Summer and with how bummed you looked after you found out the truth about her and told her off that, well…you maybe needed a little…ego boost." She gave a little nonchalant shrug again.

Arnold took in these words with a thoughtful expression, seemed to consider them, and then asked, an eyebrow raised, "Okay…But…I…I still don't understand…about the beach before…" He looked at her in a touch of distress again.

"Relax, Relax, I'm getting to that," Helga held up her hands and chuckled a little before crossing her arms in front of herself on the floor and going on. "Anyway…by ego boost I sort of meant…you know, an ego boost…as a boy." She blushed, unable to help it, and rambled a tiny bit, also unable to help it, her eyes looking downward again and one hand rubbing the back of her neck. "I-I mean, you seemed all hooked on that Summer chick and then she mocked you and insulted you and completely rejected you…"

"Helga…" Arnold interrupted with a touch of impatience, wanting her to move on from that topic.

"I mean, she completely used you, hung you out to dry…"

"Helga…"

"Heck, she was even two-timing you with that Sandy guy the whole time!"

"Helga…Is there really a point to this?" he asked rather firmly, not enjoying her little recap of his humiliation at all.

"Huh?" Helga blinked, acting like she was coming out of a rant she hadn't even realized she had gone into, and then turned to Arnold. "Oh, sorry, Football Head. Yeah there's a point…" 'That's good…A few well-placed jabs to remind him that you're still the boss, but not enough to really upset him…' "Anyway, so…" she clasped her hands together on the floor, "I, uh…I thought about all of that a little…and figured that…being a girl myself, heh…I could maybe, um…make you feel more confident again…a-and then when we were filming the end of that BabeWatch episode it hit me that the best way I could maybe do that, a-and also to pay you back for helping me get on BabeWatch in the first place, was…maybe to show you that…even if Summer wouldn't kiss you…there really are plenty of other fish in the sea who would…even if it was just to make you feel better about yourself." Helga brought her wide eyes to Arnold's with a touch of nervousness…To be honest, this emergency excuse about her BabeWatch activities had sounded a lot more plausible and a lot less paper thin in her head than it did right now…Still though this WAS Arnold so that did mean that the odds of him buying it hook line and sinker were in her favor…

Arnold…was very quiet at first. He opened his mouth as if to speak but then closed it again, considered…

…And then he said quietly to her…with a little touch of a blush that he couldn't fight in his features… "So…technically…you kissed me…" 'She kissed me…' Letting the thought finally go through in his head made that huge, overwhelming feeling he had been avoiding all evening come over him again instantly and he actually gripped at the edge of the rug a little with his fingers, nearly unable to process all of it! And the most intense part of it all was that he knew the shock and disbelief would wear off soon…And then what was he supposed to feel? And to make matters even more distressing, on top of all of this going on inside of him now he couldn't help this little…thought at the back of his mind that…okay, if…if he hadn't gotten things to work with one girl on this beach trip…well…he…had… 'technically'…gotten somewhere at least with…another…g-girl… And as the final cherry on the sundae, Arnold instantly realized that he had never been more aware of the fact that Helga was a girl than he was at this moment. In short, he was a very confused and emotionally-full ten-year-old boy alone in a room with a girl who had kissed him today and…he had absolutely no idea what to do. His eyes fixated on Helga again for answers…

…which Helga, of course, refused to give…instead opting to stick with her ego boost/technical kiss story…

The young blond girl just let out a small sigh of frustration at Arnold's response about a 'technical kiss' and resumed scowling ('Darn him, coming back to calling it a 'kiss'!) "So… 'technically' I only did it because I took pity on you, Football Head! I'm a girl—it's my prerogative who I kiss and why I do it. What's your point?" She looked at him defiantly, waiting for him to accept her words and defensiveness and move on (as usual) like the good little submissive and polite boy he was.

"Well…I…" Arnold blinked several times, glancing alternately from her to the floor to places around the room as he stammered out in a fluster, "Does…Does that mean that the one on the beach…since the school play one really was all just acting…Does that mean it was my first kiss?"

An appalled scoff almost escaped Helga who really REALLY hadn't expected him to be this caught up in things. "I-I don't know! Doi!" she did manage to stammer convincingly though, "I-It's whatever you want it to be!" 'Oh please don't let him figure it out! Please!' Oh she could just imagine him stumbling over the truth right now, going from mild fluster and confusion to total panic and disgust, gently trying to let her down (as he stood up and started pushing her from the room), and then, once he had her locked away in her side of the house, proceeding to go into the bathroom on his own side and puke his guts up at the idea that SHE of all people felt that way about him and had LIPLOCKED with him for a good solid minute today!

She waited, tensed all over…

Arnold…still looked rather flustered…blinked a few times…The blush was still there…He tried to speak but couldn't…and then finally asked (in a rather cracking voice), unknowing what else to say off the top of his head, "S-So, um…So now do I…buy you dinner or something?" He shrugged a tiny bit and let his eyes go back in her direction. Perhaps it was silly to ask but after all but she was a girl and she'd done something 'kiss like' to him and she'd been really nice and so what was he SUPPOSED to say?

Helga was just silent at first…just silent and wide eyed and looking at him, her jaw actually open a little and just looking at him so strangely.

And then she proceeded to burst into warm laughter, totally unable to help herself.

At this sight Arnold just blushed extra and gulped, feeling so nervous and shy and ridiculous all of a sudden. 'What's wrong with me…? I really can't get any girl to take me seriously can I?' He let out a small melancholy sigh, frowned, and instantly dropped his face down onto his arms on the floor.

Helga was still laughing a LOT meanwhile…But when she finally noticed Arnold reacting in his melancholy way to her laughter, she instantly felt shot through the heart with pity and sympathy and guilt. She was used to him rolling his eyes and ignoring her when she laughed at him…not flopping down in depression. 'I almost forgot how hurt he's already gotten today…Stupid, Helga, stupid! You pushed it too far…' she mentally chided herself. Instantly she got her laugher under control and looked at him with a small smile, and reached out and placed a single hand upon one of his shoulders again tonight. "Hey, Arnold?" She spoke comfortingly and quietly. "Come on, I didn't mean to make you feel bad. Look, I…I'm sorry…It's just…well…to answer that 'dinner' question of yours, uh, no, you don't have to buy me some grub out of guyish guilt and you don't have to 'pop the question' either, Mr. Prudence. Just because I did something 'kiss like' to you doesn't mean we're 'betrothed' now, okay? Sheesh, all we did was touch lips." She grinned, trying to lighten the mood and at the same time trying to come off as sincere…and all the while hoping she had succeeded at further steering Arnold from any real suspicions about why she had really kissed him back out on that beach before. She waited in silence for how he would respond.

Arnold had seemed to tense up a little under the touch of her hand she now noticed…then his head slowly lifted…his eyes were rather wide, a bit of that blushing look still remained. Then he looked to Helga, silently…felt her hand on his shoulder…and asked before he could stop himself…speaking quietly and unsurely… "Um…well…was it…okay…for you…? The touching lips, I mean…"

Alright, at that random question, Helga broke for just a moment and her jaw fell entirely and a full blush flowered in her face and she instantly pulled her hand from him to cross both of her arms shyly on the floor. "I…" She didn't even know where to begin! And why the heck were her desperate attempts only making him get closer to discovering her secret instead of pushing him farther away from it? 'I knew that stupid mouth-to-mouth kiss out of the blue in the middle of a freaking public beach was too bold! Oh brother, I'm going down like a lead balloon!' "I…" she just did her best to get out of it, blinking, stammering, feeling her heart pound and full heat flood her face. "I…Arnold, I, um…well, I don't know, it was probably the same for me as it was for you." And then after hastily saying these words she was instantly up and off the floor and standing. "A-Anyway, maybe I should, um, go to bed now, heh…" She began to back step toward the connecting door between their two sides of the house with a sheepish smile on her face, all the while only able to think, 'O-Okay, that's it—I've pushed my luck enough for one day. Better to just reiterate my pure denial, not take the chance of either spilling my guts to him about my love or insulting him and making him all depressed again, and just get the heck OUT of this nightmare I've created for myself!' She was already across the room and reaching back and groping against the wall for the doorknob.

Arnold, from the floor, was just blinking a few times at her words of departure and then instantly he was standing as well and walking towards her…feeling a small sadness at her going, feeling a little sheepish as he suddenly realized he really had gotten very caught up in this topic of their mouth-to-mouth (although he just…really hadn't been able to help himself, the topic had taken such a hold of his mind since this afternoon…and especially upon her admissions tonight in regards to it), and also feeling…lonely at the idea of her leaving…He desired her presence…He desired…

But…

"U-Um…okay…well…goodnight then, I guess…Helga…." was all that came out of Arnold's mouth as he stood directly before Helga now. He was just so unsure that, even if he had found the courage to press her to stay, he wasn't sure why he'd want that and wasn't sure what reason to even give her to keep her with him. His heart and feelings had been pulled in so many ways today that nothing seemed clear to him. There were only two facts he had: Summer was a mean person…and Helga had done something kiss like to him today. But he just couldn't figure out how to draw a conclusion from those two facts…how to sort them all out and see what they should mean. There definitely was something there to figure out, to be sure, but…he just couldn't figure out what it was that needed figuring out.

"Yeah…Goodnight, Arnold…"

These words, softly spoken, met Arnold's ears and brought him out of his thoughts to look at Helga, standing before him, her back against the door and one hand loosely on the knob. She was just looking at him with kind of wide eyes, seeming a little awkward.

"U-Um…thanks for…everything, Helga…" Arnold added softly and just a little awkwardly back.

Helga gave a little shrug, glancing to the side with a touch of nervousness that she hoped he wouldn't detect or comment on…or draw conclusions from. "Uh…you're welcome…A-And thanks for, uh…winning the sand castle competition for me and letting me be on BabeWatch with you…" She blushed and mentally smacked herself for bringing up that show again in her rambling nervousness.

In response to her sudden and unexpected gratitude Arnold blinked and then smiled. "We both won the sand castle competition together, Helga. But you're welcome for the help." He looked at her reassuringly, warmly…unable to help smiling. 'She's such a good person deep down…She should know that…even if it surprised me a little…there's no reason to feel bad for trying to help make me feel better. She should know how much I like her.'

Helga, meanwhile, was so caught up by that smile on Arnold's face…that warm, sincere, half lidded smile…and directed straight at her, no less…and so very close to her as well…that she just couldn't bring herself to turn the doorknob behind her and slide out of the room. Heck, she could barely bring herself to not…wrap her arms tightly around him, kiss him feverishly, spill her guts, and beg him to not be disgusted by her! Beg him to like…to love her back…

The result was a moment of quiet.

Then Helga was on the brink of either bailing or blathering all of her secret feelings, at which point Arnold came forward and gently put his hands on either one of her shoulders, looking up into her eyes sincerely.

Helga felt her insides going into total meltdown, her knees ready to buckle—she just wanted to swoon and collapse upon him and give him 'mouth-to-mouth' until he one hundred percent could NOT deny that he was having the living daylights kissed out of his sweet, ten-year-old lips!

But then Arnold spoke…warmly, sincerely…and the sound of his voice was just enough to keep Helga tied by a thin thread to reality. "Helga?" he started simply.

'Okay…I have to respond, don't I?' Helga got her jaw steady then finally managed to move it and asked, "Y-Yes…Arnold?" in quiet, light voice, her eyes wide and unblinking.

Arnold let out a small breath and held her shoulders a little more firmly…sensing her nervousness and wanting to help ease it if he could…And, well…he'd come to find her touch soothing so it stood to reason that perhaps…she might find his soothing as well. He went on. "Thanks for…doing everything you did to make me feel like a girl could really like me, Helga. I-I know you don't in the way that…I wanted Summer to, but…thanks anyway. A-And, um…um…" The light blush building in his features grew…He was getting that feeling again…That feeling like…if he couldn't get the first girl he had gone after on this trip…there was technically another one…Technically… (and there was that word again: 'technically'…and all the possibilities it held). "…A-And…" he finally managed to go on, "…if our lips touching was the same for you as it was for me then…I'm happy you liked our 'kiss-like thing' too, Helga…even though it was just acting and just you making me feel better. Goodnight, Helga!" He quickly pulled her close in a hug, smiled as he savored the action, but then instantly felt so flustered by the whole thing that he pulled back from her and, with a little nod and wave goodbye, left the small room they had been hanging out in and darted down the hallway of his own side of the house.

As Arnold passed by a few doors now, the sound of a television playing in the main downstairs room caught his ears and made him stop and peek his head inside to see what was up.

His whole extended family was sitting on couches and chairs facing away from him, and they were watching something on TV and laughing a lot about it with each other.

His grandfather's laugh and voice let him know what it was they were all looking at and getting amused by. "Heh, heh, heh! Oh boy, Shortman didn't say anything about having a 'mouth-to-mouth' scene with that little girl with the pink bow and the one eyebrow! Heh, look, he even just opened his eyes, he's so flustered! Aw and she's practically on top of him! That's so cute! Pookie, pass the chips!"

"Aye, aye, captain!" Gertie called out and then she used a fake hook hand to catch the bag and pass it along. "Aw look, that sweet little girl's still resuscitating Kimba! I'm so happy he found a little first mate for himself!"

"Heh, I'm just happy that at least one of us guys found a beach cutie, right, Huynh?"

"Yes, Ernie. Arnold is very lucky!"

"Aw, you guys…I think it's sweet. Don't you think they look cute together, Oskar? Doesn't it make you want to go for a romantic moonlit stroll along the shore or something?"

"Heh, heh, eh, I think I'd rather stay here and eat more chips and just watch TV—OUCH! Suzie that hurt!"

"Oh Oskar!"

Arnold, having heard enough (and blushing quite distinctly and undeniably), now slipped his head from the room entrance and quickly proceeded to walk the rest of the way up the hall to the base of the steps that would lead him upstairs to his bedroom…and he was rather wide eyed, a little distressed looking, and feeling about as shy and embarrassed as he ever had in his entire little life…And all of these reactions were magnified as he swallowed and considered what kind of razzing from everyone might befall him at the breakfast table tomorrow morning about all of this BabeWatch stuff. Coming to the base of the stairs he paused for a moment and took in a breath and let out a breath, just trying to soothe himself. It worked a little and after another deep breath in and out the young ten-year-old boy even smiled, starting to slowly feel a lot less funny inside of himself now that he was away from everybody else and had a moment to think clearly. He let out a small sigh and glanced back in the direction of the entrance to the TV room where the glow of the box still came from. He spoke quietly to himself. "It's okay if they tease me a little I guess. They just wouldn't understand why it's not…what it looks like…Just… 'kiss like' but not a kiss. Just lips touching." He tried not to blush but he couldn't help it and smiled all the more. Yes, now that he was alone again he could think 'sanely' and 'clearly' and could rationalize away so much of what had passed between himself and Helga today. 'She's just a good person and what Summer did was really bad and Helga wanted to make me feel as better as she could. And it worked.' Yes, Arnold couldn't deny that when all was said and done today, he...definitely felt better about himself and girls now. After all, if he could get someone as defensive as Helga to open up and go out of her way to do something caring and good for him, and especially even after he had been kind of harsh with her over the last few days and hadn't believed her about Summer, maybe he really did have a certain charm to himself and maybe just because Summer hadn't worked out didn't mean that the right girl for him wasn't out there somewhere…

…And as for…any…fleeting thoughts about…looking for that right girl…a little closer to home than 'out there somewhere…'

Arnold instantly made himself shake his head to clear it, tossing away the silly half idea that had tried to take hold in his mind once or twice…or a few times…tonight. He let out a breath and spoke to himself firmly and simply as he began to head up the stairs. "I was just vulnerable. I was just dumped and I was feeling kind of desperate and she was there tonight and there was that whole 'kiss' thing between us before. But she told me why she did it and I feel better now so...now we can just be even better friends from all of this." Arnold smiled to himself…his eyes going half lidded. "And…it's nice to know that there's at least one girl was out there who wouldn't really take advantage of me and who really does care about my feelings." He made it to the second floor and made his way down the hall to his room. "Helga's really nice."

He walked into his bedroom and felt the fatigue of the day take him over. 'I should probably get some sleep. It's been a long day.' He changed into his pajamas and nestled into his bed with a smile on his face.


Meanwhile, while our football-headed hero had been making his little soul-searching journey through his side of the house…

…Arnold had left Helga standing all alone wither her back to the door to her own side of the house…

And now, still, Helga…was just standing perfectly stock still…Her body tingled in warmth from having Arnold's body pressed to hers in that hug he had given her…Her shoulders seared in numbing pleasure from his deeper touch there with his hands. 'Oh, he…he…liked…lips…touching…O-Oh…' She almost couldn't bear it! On autopilot her hand on the doorknob slipped and turned the round object, the door opened up behind her and she fell a step or two back into her side of the house. There, she lightly let the door close in front of her. She found herself in a little back room on her side of the house, the mirror of the one she had just been in with Arnold. And luckily, just as with the version of the room on Arnold's side of the house, a soft rug was behind her and spread out over most of the floor of the room…

Helga dropped like a stone on her back with a deep swoon and instantly proceeded to dream and dream and dream about her and Arnold and BabeWatch and giving him mouth-to-mouth that took the breath from his lungs rather than giving any to them for the rest of his freaking little life!

(Eventually she did wake up in the darkness on the floor and with a wide grin instantly scrambled upstairs and popped herself right into bed so she could dream more and more about kissing her beloved…which she had officially managed to do TWICE in their lives now, thank you very much!)


Towards morning…in the land of dreams of a certain sleeping ten-year-old…

"Mmm…Mmm…Mmm…" The light sound of lips separating mixed with the crashing of waves on the shore. "Oh Arnold…You're…very good at receiving mouth-to-mouth you know…over and over and over again…" A lovely, glowing, Helga G. Pataki with flowing blond hair and her pink bow crowning her head and billowing in the sea breeze (and a rather cutely cut red swimsuit) gazed down with a loving smile at the young man over whom she was positioned.

The young (football headed) man in question…a dreamy smile upon his countenance, his hair swept back a little, red swim trunks on and his (slightly more buff looking than usual) chest bare, gazed up at her and then reached up and gently brushed a piece of hair from her face. "And you're...so very good at giving mouth-to-mouth…I'd drown a thousand times just for the chance at a touch from your lips…"

Helga sighed dreamily. "And I would pull you from the waters a thousand times just for the chance to touch my lips to yours. Oh Arnold…Such a hunky beachgoer for me to save…I care about you more than any other. Only you may see who I truly am. Only for you would I ever care enough to do anything 'kiss like'…" She pulled him up from the sand so that now they were sitting right before each other just out of reach of the surf, Helga with her (slightly longer than usual) legs pulled coyly to the side. "And only I truly see how much of an irresistible man you are, Arnold…" She smiled more, blonde strands blowing around her face, eyes on fire with something for him.

A smiling (and equally sultry looking) Arnold moved closer to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. "I know. It's only you, Helga…Helga G. Pataki. And I too can only be myself when I'm with you. I trust you in ways I've never trusted anyone even if I never realized it for so many years. And if I had to touch the lips of anybody, it's only yours that would take my breath away, make my eyes fly open in shock and wonder every time, make me think about it and think about it and think about it…" He moved closer, eyes narrowing a little. "And you look…very very nice in that bathing suit…" His arms went down and came around her waist, pulling her in. "Pretty and nice…Oh Helga…"

A swoon escaped her. "Oh my darling…Let's not pretend anymore…" Her hands came up to hold his head, pulling their bodies slowly flush against one another as the sun set in the background of the surf. "Forget acting mouth-to-mouth together…Kiss me…You've thought about it so much, just kiss me already and give in to it all!"

His breathing had picked up and his eyes burned along with hers! "Oh whatever you say, Helga! I don't want to pretend anymore either! I just want to kiss you and I don't care who knows it!"

"Oh Arnold!"

"Oh Helga!"

And then Arnold dashed his lips against Helga's, and the two swayed for a moment in each other's grasps and then collapsed down into the surf, in a kiss never-ending save for the occasional gasps of breath needed to keep things going for all time.

A giggle here and there…and the ocean waves rolled on. "Oh…Oh I…Oh Arnold…I…O-Oh…Arnold…"

'Helga…'


"Arnold…Arnold…Hey, Shortman, rise and shine, sleepy head! Come on, we've got the Packard packed up and everyone's already jamming in to the car!"

"Ah!" A sharp gasp escaped Arnold as he sat bolt upright in his bed, his eyes wide, his face flushed, his jaw open, his hands gripping the hem of his blanket. 'Wh…Wh…What…I…I…'

"Shortman!" There was a rap on his door and then it opened, revealing a smiling Phil who had been calling Arnold from the hallway. "Ah you're awake! Good! Well, like I said, the car's all packed so let's get a move o—Arnold? Cheese and crackers, are you feeling okay? You look like you've just seen a ghost! And…did you get a little sunburn on your face at that BabeWatch thing? Your cheeks are all red, Arnold." Phil's voice had a definite touch of concern.

"I-I…" Arnold just closed his eyes and shook his head and then opened them again, putting a hand to his forehead. "I…I think I was just…having a dream…" He blinked a few more times, already feeling any memory of the dream almost completely eroded at this point. Something about the beach…Something pink…Very warm…But he just couldn't catch it…though whatever it had been about…it must have certainly been some dream.

"Oh a nightmare, huh?" Phil asked, looking over at his grandson with understanding. "Yeah, you had to see your grandma in her full length bathing suit on this trip so I can't blame you for that." Phil grinned to himself at his little joke.

Arnold, however, was far too distracted with other things at the moment to really be finding the humor in anything. He just responded to his grandfather by shaking his head, his eyes still wide and so very confused looking…face still pale…except for his burning red cheeks. 'I…I didn't feel any sunburn yesterday though…' "N-No…I…Not a nightmare. I…I don't know. I don't think so…It was a dream, but just a little…heart pounding, I guess…But it doesn't feel like I nightmare. I can't really remember it though." He tried again. The beach, something pink…and also red was there too, heat…But even these faint threads of what he had just woken up from were only familiar to him not because he was truly still remembering a flash of the dream, but rather because they were what he had come up with just now upon waking up. "It was just…a little intense, I guess…whatever it was…Something about being on the beach…Lying on the beach…Something with the water…I can't remember…" And somehow, on top of confused and still a little shocked…Arnold recognized now that he was also feeling just a touch…embarrassed…though he absolutely could NOT determine the cause of feeling like that, of all things, right now! After all, all that had happened was that his grandfather had walked in as he had been having some sort of 'intense' dream…What could there be to be embarrassed about in that…Right?

Phil just looked at his grandson with a curious smile at first…And then he smiled a little wryly (and finally realized that maybe Arnold wasn't sun burnt but rather blushing perhaps). The hold man just chuckled a bit to himself and rolled is eyes a little. "Whatever you say, Shortman." He just grinned at his grandson again. "Well, anyway, like I was saying, you get dressed and get your suitcase packed so we can all beat the traffic back to the city. I saved you a plate of breakfast downstairs that you can eat before we go." He began to head out of Arnold's bedroom door.

Arnold, a bit calmer now, shook his head a little more, just to really clear it, and then just took in and let out a decent sized breath and nodded, finally starting to feel a bit more grounded in reality once more. "Okay, Grandpa. I'll be down in a minute, I promise…" He removed his blankets and turned himself so that he was sitting now with his legs hanging off the edge of his bed, ready to stand up and start getting his things together for the trip back home.

"Alright then, Shortman…" Phil smiled, half way out the door. "Oh…and, Arnold?" he suddenly added though, popping his head back into the room, and addressing his grandson in a tone seemingly like whatever he had to say was just a quick, casual afterthought.

Arnold looked over and up at the old man. "Yes, Grandpa?"

Phil's grin widened. "We all saw your little cameo on BabeWatch last night with your little friend with the pink bow and the one eyebrow. You know, your whole little 'mouth-to-mouth' moment…Just wanted to say, good job 'acting', Shortman! Heh heh heh!" Phil gave Arnold a big wink and then instantly left the room, laughing to himself all the way down the hall.

"Grandpa!" Arnold instantly exclaimed, standing up and running over to his door to yell out of it and down the hall kind of desperately, instantly recalling his worries last night about how much teasing he would have to endure this morning…and during a two hour car ride with no escape, no less! "We really were just acting! A-And it wasn't even a kissing scene! It was just mouth-to-mouth!"

However, the only response to this protest that met his ears was the sound of his grandfather laughing even more as he finished heading down the stairs to the first floor.

Arnold was a little blushing and wide eyed for a few seconds at first…but then he just sighed and a listless look came to his features and he rolled his eyes and stepped back into his room, closing his door behind him. 'Oh well…I knew they'd make jokes. At least I just have to deal with it for the car ride home and then we'll be back in the city and I can call Gerald and get out of the house ands spend some time with him and the other guys or something…'

Arnold walked back over to his bed, grabbed his suitcase from the floor and hoisted it up to rest upon his covers, and then opened it and began to pull out a few pieces of clothing to change into for the day before he would fill it up with clothes he had stored in the little dresser up here during their mini beach vacation.

Then some sounds from outside of his open window met his ears besides just the gentle roll of the ocean waves and the cawing of seagulls.

"Alright, Miriam, YOU drive because I can barely move! Just please don't stop short! Stupid sunburn…And where's the girl? I told her to be down here with her suitcase by 9 sharp!"

"Crimeny, Bob, I'm right here—no need to blow a gasket!"

Arnold, in the middle of pulling out a shirt, stopped and let it drop back into his suitcase. And then, he couldn't explain the sudden compulsion but…he found himself walking over to his window and looking out to see if he could see her, and…

His eyes lit up. There she was! Arnold smiled at the sight of his friend, and then leaned a little out the window and called out to her with a wave. "Good morning, Helga!"

From her spot on the ground not too far from Arnold's window, Helga instantly froze, remained perfectly still for exactly a second, and then whipped around and looked up at him with wide eyes. "Arnold!" She blinked a few times and then closed her eyes and shook her head back and forth, and then opened her eyes again and scowled up at him, her hands on her hips. "I-I mean…oh…what's so good about it anyway, huh? Just as I'm heading back to the city YOU'RE heading back there too! Sheesh quit stalking me all the time! Hmph!" She crossed her arms over her chest and glanced away defiantly.

Arnold blinked several times and then looked at her curiously…and then a somewhat deflated look came to his face. He sighed and rolled his eyes. "Oh…okay. Whatever you say, Helga…" He moved away from the window and prepared to go back over to his bed to finish changing and packing.

"A-And…Have a safe drive, Arnold! I-I mean, I just don't want your stupid old Packard crashing into us! Bye!" Then there was the sound of her car door slamming and the car starting up.

Arnold's eyes went wide and he gasped, freezing again. He blinked…and then smiled to himself and shook his head and went back to readying his stuff to leave…though with a much lighter, nicer feeling in his heart now. 'I don't know why she always wants to fight being nice to me…but she always ends up being nice in the end…And I like that. A lot…' He smiled more and finished changing and packing, then headed downstairs to head back to the city where Helga might go back to acting all defensive and angry at him again…but maybe if he was patient he could get another moment or two like yesterday from her…

(N-Not the 'kiss' stuff from yesterday, of course…He just meant the 'her doing nice things for him and opening up to him a little in private' stuff…Yeah, that was it.)


Post TJM…Several months after 'Summer Love aka Beach Story'…

Arnold sighed, his head resting on one of his hands, a dreamy smile on his face as he lie upon his bed in his attic room…and not alone on this bed. He thought to himself about how he liked how kissing Helga these days made him remember their few kisses prior to her confession…and of course prior to his own…And it was so cute thinking about how shy she had been back then…and how silly and dense he had been to not see that she loved him…or that he loved her so…

(On a side note, Arnold had started vividly remembering his 'Helga dreams' now that she and him were officially a couple following their return from San Lorenzo a month or so ago, and he'd had plenty about her at the beach so far, so…he figured that that was probably what he had been dreaming about that day at the beach house…when he'd woken up all blushing and with his heart thundering in his chest just like he did every time he dreamed about her now.)

"Arnold…Hey, Arnold!" A giggle met his ears. "Crimeny, I've been lying here staring you down for the last five minutes fluttering my eyelashes and looking all coy and TRYING to tempt you back into suggesting that we go back to kissing now that we've caught our breaths…Can't you daydream about me when I'm gone, my silly little football head?" A repeat of the giggle, after the delivery of these words, met Arnold's ears again.

Arnold blinked a few times, coming out of his reminisces, and then turned his half lidded eyes back to the girl lying on her stomach before him on his bed, as he was lying on his stomach before her. "Oh…Sorry, Helga…Couldn't help it. Kissing always makes me remember…the first kisses you gave me before I finally gave you one back…And speaking of which…" He grinned…his eyes narrowed just a tiny bit mischievously… "Since we still have a month off from school before summer's over…why don't we see if we could get my Grandpa and Grandma and my parents and the boarders to take us to the beach?"

Helga's eyes instantly brightened and her smile grew. "Huh…That's not a bad idea, Arnold. I like the beach. You wanna see if we can win another sandcastle competition or something?" She looked at him warmly and happily.

Arnold just smiled a little more…shrugged. "Well, that would be nice...but…also…well…I never did get to repay you for the… 'mouth-to-mouth'…You know, at the end of that BabeWatch episode we acted in together…" He reached out a hand, began to twirl the end of one of her pigtails around one of his fingers…tried not to let himself pass out from blushing as, even two months into this mutual relationship between them, he could still work himself up into quite a fluster by trying to actively romance her… "We could…find a nice little cove on the beach…just you and me…and I'll carry you in my arms from the surf and lay you in the sand…move your long, pretty hair from your face…then lean in and give you a little kiss of life…for…awhile…Does that sound nice, Helga?" That had been his latest little vivid beach dream about her…and he couldn't help the bold compulsion to just lay it on the line…especially considering the state he was in now since they'd just spent the better part of a half an hour giving each other little kisses and cuddling and saying nice things to each other up here.

Helga's eyes were closed and she was smiling and she let out the dreamiest sigh ever and just nodded. "Oh, Arnold…So very bold…I love how you've gotten like that lately. Yes, my darling…Yes to all of it…" Her eyes barely managed to open…her voice lowered. "And then when we're all done there…perhaps we could take a little moonlight raft ride on the water…and celebrate you 'saving me'…Just you and me and nobody else…totally cut off from the rest of the world…My love…"

Arnold, his grin all goofy, just removed his fingers from her hair and collapsed his head onto his arms in all out blushing…barely managing to give a little nod. "S-Sure…Wh-Whatever you say, Helga…" he mumbled out…even less used to handling being romanced with then being the one doing the romancing. And also…them in a little raft…no chance of interruption…in the moonlight…It reminded him of being in San Lorenzo with her and watching the silvery moon beams glow upon her hair…and how he had known, in little moments like that, that his love for her was inevitable…

At his cute little reaction, meanwhile, Helga just giggled and then scooched herself closer to him and laid her head upon her arms as well, and then gently snuggled her own head forward against Arnold's. "Okay, then…we'll set it all up…" she cooed sweetly, her eyes closed…and then she added in slightly more of a sarcastic tone with her grin growing, "Oh but hey, if I'm going 'away for the weekend' with you, I expect a lobster dinner every night and at least two ice cream cones every day. Nothing on the cheap, Football Head." She chuckled a little.

Arnold chuckled a little as well, feeling some of his embarrassment ebb at her little joke. He even managed to nuzzle her head back a little, his eyes open but so very half lidded. "Of course, Helga…Like I always say, whatever you say."

She giggled and added further playfully, her eyes opening now and catching his. "Very good, Arnold. And since you're being such a sport, I'll spring for a six pack of Yahoo sodas for the car ride there and a little picnic lunch for our first day of just you and me…and our own little private beach time together." She winked.

He laughed a little and nodded, looking right into her eyes now…and just feeling so comfortable and right here with her right now like this. "That sounds like a very good weekend at the beach, Helga."

"Yeah…" She agreed with a nod, and then added, "Oh and fair warning, Football Head—if I see Summer, I'm going to punch her, Arnold. I'm just letting you know in advance—be prepared for a catfight." She smirked a little.

Arnold just sighed and smiled and shook his head. "Forget her, Helga…She's not worth your time. All that matters is…you and me." He reached out and took her hand on the bed and gave it a squeeze.

Helga glanced down and blushed instantly at his touch. "O-Oh…Uh…sure, Arnold…You're right—why waste energy on that bimbo. Besides she'll be eating her heart out once she sees how cute a couple you and I make, right?" She squeezed his hand back a tiny bit, just barely glancing up again to him.

Arnold nodded, his smile growing. "Exactly. I couldn't have put it better myself, Helga."

Helga smiled and let out a small sigh.

For a moment then just gazed at each other happily, holding hands, totally content and in love.

Then…

"Hey Arnold?"

"Yes, Helga?"

"Speaking of all this talk about the beach and water and stuff…wanna maybe spend the rest of our date together today at the Aquarium?" Helga blushed a little extra again and glanced to the side as she added 'innocently'… "You know, I hear that they just got a new little exhibit put together of animals that mate for life…That could be kind of cute, don't you think?" She grinned at him and fluttered her eyelashes suggestively.

Arnold gulped, his little eyes wide for a moment, but then he blinked a few times and blushed bashfully and shrugged and even managed to nod and say, "Uh…Y-Yeah…Mate for…Cute…Heh…" And now he sat up on his bed and then quickly stood, still looking all extra bashful…but still holding Helga's hand…though he still couldn't manage to take his eyes away from the floor. "Um…let's go then, Helga…" Yes, he could handle going to an exhibit like that with her at this point in their relationship, he could handle how she might start talking and giggling about weddings and marriage and how certain couples of animals might remind her of them, but he'd need a few minutes before he could really look her in the eye about all of this of course.

He heard Helga let out a sigh and then she stood up with him from the bed as well, squeezing his hand again. "Yes, my love, let's go…And don't be so shy my darling…" She angled her head low so she could just get her eyes to meet his a bit. "As for us, we still have to wait eight years before we can even think of 'mating for life'." She giggled a ton and then was instantly pulling him across the room and to its exit. "Now come on! Last one down stairs is a rotten fish egg!"

Quickly they were out of the room, Helga grinning and blushing and pulling her love along, and Arnold blushing and blinking and tumbling along behind her…and also…and also…maybe…maybe partly wishing that eight years didn't feel like such a long time…and hoping he could fill it up with enough dreams and days at the beach and days at the aquarium and days of just dates and kissing together to maybe possibly make it go by just a little more quickly. Mated for life…him and his real little summer love…his real love for every season…forever.


A/N:

Lol alright well I hope you guys liked this! :D And XD yeah I put in the 'Post TJM' part to resist any temptation to write an epilogue for this epilogue XDXDXD Anyway, please review and have a great beginning of the summer, guys!

Happy Reading!

~Azure129 aka Jenna