Chapter Nineteen

Vows and Such

A/N: Oh god, did I lose inspiration for this story. Now, it was supposed to be longer but I have to be honest with myself and ask, would I really make it another couple of chapters? The answer is no. I've burned out with this story back in June. But thank you for all the reviews and everything. I'm sorry I left it so long. There's a epilogue that I have to write but it's going to be good. Different, but good.

Song Recommendation: Be My Baby by the Ronettes.

Helga was in the living room, finishing up a paper while Olga waltz around in her brand new wedding gown. It had cost a good amount of money that Bob had happily shed out to make his golden child smile. The finish touches were carefully hung in Helga's room among the three bridesmaid dresses in the closet. Olga was making a spectacle of herself, enough to keep everyone else from hearing the doorbell but Helga. Getting up, she tossed her purple pen on the table and made her way to open the door. A grinning Arnold was leaning against the doorpost.

"Hey," Helga murmured, blushing. "What are you doing here?"

"I figured it was late enough to come check up on your sanity," he laughed. He pulled out a small plastic container from his backpack. "I got this for you."

"A cupcake," she said, looking puzzled. "From the supermarket."

"Actually, it's from a gourmet cupcake shop Rhonda suggested," Arnold smiled. "And since you're my girlfriend now... I thought it might be nice t-"

Arnold didn't get very as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. She wasn't expecting to see him until the wedding. Helga had decided to take the rest of the week off to make sure that the wedding would go through all right. Olga was too much of an airhead to take care of the whole thing on her own. Their parents weren't taking any time off but had given Helga a couple grand to plan the honeymoon as well. She wasn't expecting anything in return for all the work she was putting in. Arnold wasn't like her family though and even though it wasn't much, the cupcake meant the world to her.

"I probably should have brought you a cupcake sooner," Arnold chuckled.

"Maybe," Helga opened the little box. "What are you doing here anyway?"

"Well, I just came back from hanging out with Gerald," he explained. "And I thought I'd come over to spend time with you."

"I would love that," Helga sighed. "Except that Olga is parading around with her wedding dress and I might stab her."

"I don't mind," Arnold grinned widely. "You can present me as your boyfriend now."

"Oh god," she groaned.

"What?"

"I loathe you."

It turned out that it wasn't as bad as Helga thought it would be. Olga cooed over them and even offered to make Arnold a snack. He declined as Miriam took the time to talk to him about college applications and such. Helga wasn't bothered by it as she finished off the paragraph to her paper and it was only when he sent a pleading glance her way that she scared off the buzzards. Grabbing some Gatorade from the fridge, she grabbed her paper and her boyfriend and escaped to her bedroom with the door closed. Olga was just going to have to leave the wedding dress in their mother's room. Poor Arnold had been told in detail what the reception would be like on Saturday.

"Thanks," he murmured, sitting on her bed.

"I thought it was hysterical," Helga laughed, tossing her notebook on the bed next to her computer. "It was well deserved."

"I'm just making sure you're not hiding me," Arnold pointed out.

"Well, Bob knows I have a boyfriend. He doesn't seem to care who right now," she replied. "He's too busy mourning the loss of his favorite child."

"It must hurt being treated like that."

"I'm used to it," Helga shrugged. "And I don't do well when being smothered."

"Well, it still isn't fair," Arnold pulled out a binder and pulled out his Statistics homework. "But I think you deserve better."

"I have you," Helga whispered, kissing his cheek. It was a bold move for her. "It's enough."

Arnold pulled her closer and brought her in for a toe-tingling kiss that left her breathless. He slid his fingers into her hair, slowly as to make her as comfortable as possible. There were times when they were in public that she walked away or had some kind of bad reaction with him. So Arnold learned to patient with her. It was the giggles that came from the doorway that completely ruined the moment and had her raging for a good five minutes. The door was locked and the mood was dead.

It took a little bit of convincing to get Helga to calm down. Arnold pressed warm kisses against her forehead and held her as they were lying on the bed together. He didn't speak much, just watched her calm down bit by bit. Hovering over her as she was lying on her back, he realized how different she was from when they were younger. She caught him staring and blushed heavily at the attention.

"What?"

"You're pretty."

"Umm," Helga shuffled around on the bed. "Thank you?"

"It was just an observation," he murmured, kissing her gently. "I'm your boyfriend. I'm supposed to say things that like to make you into a puddle of mush."

"I don't like that," Helga sighed, ruffling his hair. "I don't need validation from a guy. Especially not you, football-head."

"You're still pretty," Arnold teased, chuckling. "And I'm not validating you, I'm just expressing the appreciation of your looks."
"Funny. Do me a favor? Don't follow advice from your friends," Helga stated, wiping hair from her face.

"Oh," Arnold frowned. "I thought I was doing well."

"It's okay to be awkward," Helga grinned. "That's the point of dating."

"Alright," Arnold snickered. "So does that mean no more cupcakes?"

"No, you keep bringing mama her cupcakes."

ououo

Helga looked in the mirror and groaned.

The peach color did nothing for her looks.

Nothing at all.

It was awful.

She was going to die.

Helga was tempted to tear it to pieces and just walk out in a pair of jeans and one of the old t-shirts she had, maybe the one that said 'Dog Vaginas' or 'Death of Zubats', she wasn't sure. She bit the bullet and whistled for Phoebe to come into the room where she was getting dressed and had her zip up the gown, which wasn't bad when it came to her figure. Even the bustline fit quite nicely. It was just the color that made her turn into a mopping mess. Phoebe chuckled and brushed away a blond curl away from her friend's face.

"You look lovely."

"I look like a peach pie," Helga grunted, then sighed heavily. "I don't even know why I have to do this. I'm not even close to Olga!"

"But you are both sister," Phoebe said firmly. "Now stop whining and get ready. We're almost done with Olga's gown. And then there's the ride to the church."

"Oh, lovely."

"Stop being so sarcastic."

"Fine, but I better get a huge piece of cake for all of this. Or a scholarship to whatever university I want. I never want to have a wedding. Ever."

"Well, maybe you'll change your mind when the right person comes along. Like Arnold."

"About that..."

"What, don't tell me you guys got together," Phoebe snorted. When Helga didn't reply, the shriek that was uttered by the small Asian girl was deafening. "Oh my god, I can't believe you haven't said anything! I'm your best friend, best friend!"

"Well, I wanted to make sure we were going to last," Helga explained, turning pink. "I just... I really like him. I don't want to screw it up."

"Oh, so he wants to hide it too? Jerk."

"Actually, I wanted to hide it," Helga adjusted the strap of her dress, looking down in embarrassment and shame. "I think everyone knows that it's really difficult to be with me."

"No one knows that," Phoebe said, exasperated in her own peach dress. She was one of the bridesmaids along with Helga who was the Maid of Honor. "But I'm so excited! I hope you both are so happy together!"

"Calm your horses," Helga rolled her eyes. "It's only been a few weeks."

"Did you kiss," asked Phoebe in a matter of factly sort of tone.

"Whoa," Helga raised an eyebrow at her friend. "We've made out a couple of times, I guess?"

"And did you like it?"

"More than anything," Helga breathed, blushing heavily. "Okay, no more of this conversation until we're somewhere saner?"

"You owe me a total play-by-play, Helga Pataki. You remember the grilling you gave me the first time I was with Gerald? It's going to be worse."

"Oh jeez," Helga sighed again, looking reluctant to ever tell her best friend anything, not even her shoe size. "Fine, go and help Olga while I fix this monstrosity."

ououo

Helga would describe the wedding as a mushy pile of crap if anyone ever directly ask her. Since everyone gave their opinion and she had to nod her head stiffly, she didn't offend anyone. She took Olga's bouquet in the back and slipped into a pair of flats she had hidden away to become more comfortable. The shoes required for the bridesmaids were five inch heels that had open toes and blistering components. Flexing her toes for a moment, she relaxed and watched Arnold sneak in with two plates of food from the buffet. He had shoved two bottles of water underneath his arm and smiled becomingly in his tuxedo with a black undershirt and peach tie. The tie was awful to be sure, but he made it look sexy and Helga made sure to show him once the food was placed on the table.

She grabbed his tie and pulled him down sensually as the bottles fell to the ground and she pressed her lips against his. His mouth turned into a grin as he agreed with her actions and turned the kiss a little more deep as he bit down slowly on her lower lip and swept his tongue into her mouth. So caught up in their actions that they didn't spot Gerald at the doorway with a jaw hitting the floor. His mumbling made Helga look up and she had to laugh dryly.

"A-arnold... why are you kissing... I don't... what?"

"Helga's... my girlfriend," Arnold chuckled in embarrassment. "For a couple of weeks actually."

"I owe Phoebe twenty bucks," he said, getting over the shock pretty quickly. "But this is going to be news!"

"I guess we're being outed," Arnold glanced over Helga who shrugged playfully.

"I suppose so."

"And you don't mind?"

"Not as much as I did a few days ago," Helga stood up and kissed Arnold on the cheek. "I just didn't want to look like an idiot if you decided to dump me all of a sudden."

"Oh," Gerald piped up. "Well that makes sense. You didn't want to kill him either."

"Oh yeah," Helga grinned fiendishly. "I could get away with the murder much easier."

"You're starting to scare me."

"Get out," Helga pointed at the door. "I want to eat in peace before I have to go sing my song, damn it."

"Phoebe knows?"

"Basically," Helga stuck out her tongue. "You own me a dance, Hair-Boy."

"I know, I know," Gerald stuck his hands in his pockets. "I called it, Arnold. You guys look like a cute couple."

"We know," Arnold grinned, spearing a piece of grilled chicken and sticking it in his mouth. When Gerald left, he grabbed another piece with his fork and fed Helga who smiled brightly. "You look pretty."

"Peach is not my color."

"You make it look good," he replied. She picked up a bottle of water and handed it over to him.

"I hope to never have to plan a wedding."

"Here's to having more time for each other."

"Hear, hear," Helga said emphatically.

Helga ate with Arnold in peace, leaning against his legs and picking at the diet-centric meal that Olga had ordered just for the wedding. Or rather the one that Olga had insisted on having and Helga had to order. Helga wasn't very pissed as she played out to be but she was definitely grateful for it to be over and she would have to fold any more napkins. Swans were now on her most hated animals list. Checking her watch, she looked skyward and asked for patience as she stood up. Arnold tossed away the plates and kissed his girlfriend, looking pleased when she looked as though there wasn't one thought left in her mind. He caressed her cheek and pressed a peck on her nose. She chuckled at that and adjusted his tie that had become skewed.

"I'm going to burn this dress," she told him. "And that tie."

"Well, whatever gets you naked," he said with a saucy sort of grin which made Helga laugh uproariously.

"Soon, football-head," she whispered in his ear. "I'm getting a little antsy myself."

"I was just kidding," he said, holding up his hands.

"I wasn't."

Helga left him mumbling to himself as she left the room and found whoever was charge of the band, which turned out to be a tall woman in a red dress who had the voice of an angel. Helga explained that she would be singing the First Dance ballad for Olga and her groom. With a nod, the woman asked for the sheets, which Helga provided. She went to the bathroom and fixed her wayward hair and added some lip gloss that was currently misplaced on Arnold's mouth. It was so strange to have him around when he had offered to help Helga on the wedding plans. Things had definitely grown heated when the late nights hit and he was so gentle which made Helga very irritated when he wouldn't go further.

She smiled softly, knowing that he cared. It was such a relief knowing that he wasn't planning on leaving which was a big issue to her. It wasn't until he promised to stay no matter what, did she stop thinking about it so much. Once she looked decent, she went to find Olga who jumped at the chance to go dance, dragging her new husband with her to the center of the dance floor. Helga took the mike in her hands and waved at Arnold who raised a glass to her. Phoebe and Gerald couldn't help but watch as their friends solidify their relationship.

"Hi," Helga started softly. "My name is Helga. I'm here to sing for my sister. I hope you like it, sis."

Helga took a deep breath and smiled, hearing the band begin to play the first notes in the song. She let the breath out and opened her eyes and stared straight at Arnold who had no idea what she was going to sing up until now.

Love me tender,

Love me sweet,

Never let me go.

You have made my life complete.

And I love you so...

Love me tender,

Love me true,

All my dreams fulfilled,

For my darling, I love you...

And I always will.

Love tender me,

Love me long,

Take me to your heart.

For it's there that I belong.

And we'll never part.

Love me tender,

Love me true,

All my dreams fulfilled.

For my darling, I love you.

And I always will.

Love me tender,

Love me, dear,

Tell me you are mine.

I'll be yours through all the years.

Til the end of time.

Love me tender,

Love me true,

All my dreams come fulfilled,

For my darling, I love you.

And I always will.

Helga watched as the couple slowed to stop. Olga reached on her tip toes and pressed a kiss to him while everyone stood up and applauded her. Even the band gave her a clap or two her way. She was sure she missed a note but Arnold never wavered in watching her as he understood exactly what she meant in the song. It was why she picked it, because she wanted to let him know how she felt.

She had loved him for years, a decade even and she never told him. Perhaps it was a little premature but she wanted to scream it from the rooftops. Even though it was a hidden message, he smiled her way and approached the stage when the band started to play "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra. Her hands gripped his shoulders gently, unsure of what his reaction would be. But they danced to that song and "L-O-V-E" and even "Rescue Me". He never let her go and whisked her away when someone came to ask for a dance. Finally, she pulled away from his comfortable shoulder and stared into his eyes.

"I love you, too" he murmured, smiling that special smile at her. "I just wanted to know you felt the same, Helga."

"Well, now I think we need a slice of cake, football-head," Helga beamed. "But hey, I do love you."

"I know now. You sang beautifully."

They came to the edge of the dance floor, holding hands and ignoring the shout that Rhonda was surely responsible for and sat down at the table where Phoebe and Gerald were sitting at. Helga pressed her forehead against Arnold's shoulder and smiled.

Maybe the wedding wasn't so bad after all.

ououo

End.