A/N: I appreciate all the wonderful feedback I've been getting from all you faithful readers. With my email blowing up with authors adding me to their favorite author list to pleas telling me to write back now, I feel like this beautiful Saturday was the perfect time to sit back, unwrap, and craft the next chapter of this promising story. Well, get your soda, your popcorn, and enjoy!
Helga was stunned by what just happened. She couldn't believe that the yellow-hairedgod would ever say something like that to him. All the guilt and the tough-girl demeanor flushed down the toilet, and a crippled, weak interior showed up on the outside. The Pataki Dam was overfilling with water, and it was just about to burst. Arnold's fierce eyes penetrated into her heart like a knife cutting through butter, and suddenly she couldn't hold it anymore. To other people, this may look like 4th grade love, but to me this is even more than that. This isn't Romeo and Juliet, this is stronger than that. This is the love you feel when a baby is born or when you get your first pet, and that's the type of love I feel when I'm around my savior, the person who gives me a reason to show my toughness, the person who makes me stay hopeful whenever things aren't what they seem, whether it's my family or my grades. I love you, Arnold! These thoughts urged the tears to fall down her eyes, but she wasn't ready yet. Not now, at least.
On the other hand, Arnold felt bad for exploding on Helga like that. I mean, I didn't want to hurt her feelings but something inside me told me to let her know that I didn't appreciate the way she was treating me. I know she has feelings – every girl has to – and I was looking at it one-sided. She was probably feeling stressed out or something. Arnold's heart pounded wildly, and he felt a feeling he had never experienced. When looking at Helga, a shot of electrifying passion pumped through his nerves, and suddenly Helga looked stunning, under all the other stuff she was wearing. The light brown, slightly textured dress really went well with her blonde hair that radiated a smell of lemons, and the black suede shoes looked polished enough to undergo a shined look. Plus, her hair had been tied into one, and minimal amounts of makeup complimented her eyes. She had fashion, and it almost blew Arnold off his chair. Finally a cheerful voice broke the awkward silence.
"Hey Arnold, which song do you think is better: 'I Saw Your Face and Wow', or 'You Better Not Touch My Gal'?" Gerald asked while crossing his fingers.
"That one is easy. Dino Spumoni all the way!" Arnold firmly replied.
"See, I told you! But 'I Saw Your Face and Wow' is a good song, too." Gerald compromised while giving Phoebe a small hug.
Watching this killed Helga. She couldn't bear to experience the fun and perfect date her best friend was having, and again salty tears bellowed up in her eyes, waiting to pour out. Finally she couldn't hold it anymore. Her face became the Mississippi River, and in seconds she got napkins to wipe her face. Arnold was shocked to the extent. Is this real? Is this the Helga that pushed people around, the Helga who ran the school, and the Helga who introduced everyone to Old Betsy? Wow… I really must have hurt her feelings. Before Arnold could open his mouth, the waitress delivered their food to them, and Helga struggled to keep her "public personality" alive.
"Helga," Arnold said, stuffing the delicious fries in his mouth. "Are you alright? I've noticed you weren't acting yourself lately."
"Well when you get a broken heart, of course someone isn't going to be alright." Helga sighed, realizing that one came out without thinking. Whoops!
"Oh nothing, football head. I'm… I'm just a little sick." Helga lied, being totally thankful that Arnold hadn't heard her previous remark.
"But you haven't even touched your food yet." Arnold said, looking skeptical of what Helga was thinking.
"Well I don't know. I'm just not feeling good."
"But when we walked inside, you kept saying how fast you wanted your food and how you were going to smack the chap off her lips if it didn't come fast." Arnold pushed, not realizing the growing anger of Helga.
"I'm just not feeling good!" Helga growled, feeling as hot as a chili pepper. Oh man, I wasn't supposed to do that.
"Ok Helga, I'm sorry." Arnold apologized.
Arnold ate his food hungrily as the juices of the medium-well steak coated his taste buds, longing for more. The chocolate milkshake he has was the perfect condiment to refresh his quenching thirst. But not as perfect as Helga, the girl who clearly showed hurt for his words. It killed him to see her in this state, and he started to remember a moment that happened about a month ago…
"So what are we going to do for our science project?" Arnold had questioned Helga after they were paired up to complete a "special assignment" from Mr. Simmons.
"I have no freaking clue, bucko! How about something simple, like how much time it takes to pop popcorn." Helga said with no enthusiasm whatsoever.
"Well to be totally honest, I was thinking something more along the lines of a model of the Solar System. We could get 8 planets, spray paint them the correct color, and then attach them to a foam-based board using skewers." Arnold said thoughtfully.
"Well you know what… that actually sounds like a good idea. Maybe my mom could purchase the foam board, and you could type up the report. Sounds like a plan?" Helga had said.
"Great. We can also mean up at each-other's house." Arnold had suggested.
The next day, Helga had came to Arnold's house to start working on their project. This had been the first time that Arnold actually saw Helga prepared to work. She had the foam board like she promised, and they were sitting at his computer, ready to type up the report.
"So Arnold, I mean football-head, do you think we should start with a background of the Solar System, or explain our project first?" Helga asked.
"Wow… I'd never thought that you would be so focused on this. Wait… did you just call me Arnold?"
"No, well c'mon, let's just focus!" Helga snapped, trying not to conceal her fear and anxiety.
At that point, Arnold had noticed something different about Helga. She could be really mean when she is around people, but when you hunt for the inner part in her, you see the respectable, nice Helga that helped out whenever you needed it. That was the Helga Arnold kind of "crushed on".
At that point, Arnold was very determined to bring out that part of Helga again. He started off with a few compliments.
"Hey Helga, I think your dress is nice. It really matches your shoes."
He nodded in satisfaction when he saw Helga's face switch from mad to shocked. "Well… well… whatever!" Helga said, losing her tough-girl touch. Strike 1.
More compliments, more. Break the shell apart. "Helga you really smell good. I love the smell of lemons, and it works with you so well." Arnold tried.
Helga couldn't keep the act on for long, but she tried to as best as she could. "Arnold, if you're trying to get me to like you, it's not working. Criminy!" Oh no, I called him Arnold! Strike 2.
Yes, it's working! She called me by my name, just like she did when we were working on the science project! One more and she should burst. "Helga, I bet many people say that your unibrow is weird, but I think it's cute."
Bam! Helga came down like a warship in the Bermuda Triangle. Her cheeks flushed in a red color, and her feelings for Arnold were on a power surge. "Wow… nobody has ever said that about me. Thank you. I… I kind of think your hair looks nice, too." Helga had let that compliment slip, but she didn't care. All that was running through her mind were the compliments that Arnold said about her.
"Really? I thought my hair looked weird, but I didn't know someone actually respected it."
Suddenly Helga had the best time of her life at Chez Paris. They talked about Dino Spumoni, laughed about couples coming here that would've had the worst time ever, like Rhonda and Curly, and ate the food. Arnold saw how Helga's "stomach-ache" faded and how she shoveled her food into her mouth. Before they had to go, Arnold had something to say to Helga.
"Helga, I had a really good time with you. After sitting here and talking to you, I feel like I could start to… actually like you."
"Wow Arnold. Now if I could, can I be honest with you?" Helga said. She was ready to tell the truth and tell how she really felt for Arnold.
"Well… remember the day I went to kindergarten and you were nice to me? You said something like, 'I like your dress because it matches your pink bow.' Well ever since, I've developed strong feelings for you and realized how nice you were and still am. Well other than that, what I really want to say is… I like you Arnold. I like you a lot, and I've been hoping for this day to come."
"Wow." That was all Arnold managed to say after what Helga just said to him. "But why have you been acting cruel to me?"
"Well, isn't that what every girl does when they don't want someone to figure out that they like them?"
"I guess." Arnold said. "I also have something to tell you too. When I first came here with you, I wanted this night to end quickly. I almost gagged at the thought of coming here."
"Oh, well…" Helga said sadly.
"No, I didn't mean it like that. Well basically what I'm trying to say is that I like you too. Before, I liked Lila, but I got to see a side of you that Lila doesn't have. I got to see a girl who could experience pain, suffering, and honesty. I got to see a girl that wasn't perfect. I got to see a girl who could portray different feelings. I mean, that's something I don't see from Lila."
Helga was so touched by Arnold's words that she started to cry. Not the bad type of tears, but the good type. She started to get up out of her seat and felt that this would be the right time to go. Arnold followed, put the coupon on the table, and started to head out of the door.
"I'll walk you home." Arnold said.
While they were walking, they built a friendship that grew on bricks. They talked some more, laughed while Helga was telling Arnold about the rituals she performed on him, and sighed in relief. Before long, they reached Helga's home.
"Hey football head. Thanks for the fun time at Chez Paris." Helga said before she walked inside.
"You're welcome!" Arnold called out. After watching Helga get to her room, he started off back to her house. "Just like grandpa said in his story. He had a really good time with someone who hated him. Well, maybe some of grandpa's stories do make sense." Arnold smiled to himself.
A/N: Well, hope you liked this chapter. If you think that this story is over, you're wrong. Let's just say this chapter was the beginning of the real story.