Just a short one. I realize I have a HA! fic I'm supposed to be working on. I'll get to that sooner or later I swear! :P Anyway, hopefully this isn't horrible.
"Truth or dare?"
"What's the deal with you and Lila these days?"
Arnold glanced around at the people sitting in the circle, feeling apprehensive. Even if Lila wasn't there it didn't mean she wouldn't find out that they had been discussing her.
"No deal. We're just friends I guess."
Now it was his turn to pick someone. He chose Rhonda.
"Truth or dare?"
"Hmm… I think I'll go with dare this time," she replied.
"Okay," he said and then paused to come up with something good. "The next time someone you pick chooses a dare you have to do the dare as well."
"Fine. Helga, you're next! Truth or dare?"
"I guess I'll be nice this time and pick truth."
Rhonda was quiet for a good three minutes or so. She looked up at the ceiling in thought and then glanced around the room before she finally spoke.
"When have you ever liked someone who didn't feel the same way?"
Helga could have sworn she saw Rhonda grinning slightly as if she knew something. She immediately regretted her decision to take a truth.
"Umm… the person that I like now."
She unintentionally glanced at Arnold and hoped nobody noticed.
"Pheebs, truth or dare?"
"So how long have you and tall-hair boy really had feelings for each other?"
Phoebe smiled, "Since around the fourth grade."
"Stinky, your turn. What TV show are you most embarrassed to admit having watched?"
"Oh gee, I guess that would be…" he paused and his voice lowered into almost a whisper, "Jerry Springer."
The rest of the group laughed and Stinky eventually joined them, realizing it probably wasn't that embarrassing after all. They went through a few more rounds of the game, ending up back at Arnold. He had to answer Nadine's question.
"So Arnold… do you have a thing for Lila or not?"
"No, I don't like her that way."
Some of the girls who were friends with Lila looked disappointed. Arnold and Lila had been named cutest couple in the sixth grade. Of course, a lot of things had changed since then and a lot of years had passed.
"Okay, I say it's time for cake," Rhonda stated. Arnold didn't have a chance to finish his turn, and the group got up and stood around the table.
He looked at the sheet cake and smiled. It read Congrats Class of 2003! Phoebe lit ten candles and stuck them on randomly. They counted down and each blew one of them out.
It was strange to look back and think of when they first met in preschool. Arnold never would have imagined that they'd all be here together on the eve of their graduation from high school.
Nadine had created a slideshow of pictures that they watched while they ate. There were some from when they were ten or eleven years old that were pretty funny. Actually, he could tell that even back then Gerald was smitten with Phoebe. He also couldn't help laughing at Helga. Suddenly he remembered how she used to be, before he went to San Lorenzo for the summer that year. She kind of mellowed out in middle school and into high school. They'd never really become close, but he was now thankful that she stopped shooting spitballs at him and calling him Football Head.
The night continued. They played pool for a while, splitting off into groups of three. Helga, Nadine, and Rhonda won… mostly because of Helga, who seemed to have a natural talent for it. Eventually it was starting to get late and they all grabbed their sleeping bags and settled down in the living room. Rhonda decided to put a horror movie on just for fun, even though most of them were pretty tired.
Of course Gerald and Phoebe were next to each other. Stinky was on the other side of Gerald, followed by Brainy, Nadine, Rhonda, Harold, and Sid. Helga was next to Phoebe, and Arnold was next to Helga since it was the only spot left. The movie started.
Helga found herself dozing off. She probably loved horror movies the most out of the group, but she had seen this one before so the novelty had already worn off. She folded her arms underneath of her head and lay there thinking. Every so often one of the other kids would jump or get freaked out and she would quietly chuckle. It wasn't for another hour that they started to become quieter and she thought everyone was probably falling asleep. She got up and made her way to Phoebe's kitchen to pour herself a glass of water. The sound from the movie drowned out the footsteps of the person behind her.
"Helga, truth or dare?" he said it in a whisper but she felt as though she had jumped about a foot.
She turned around and didn't say anything for a moment. Helga tried to figure him out, wondering what he really wanted.
"What would you do if the person you thought didn't like you back actually did like you?"
She didn't have time to answer. Arnold had walked up to her and kissed her on the cheek.
Nadine's slideshow really made him think back to his childhood, their childhoods. He not only remembered Helga shooting spitballs at him and calling him names, but he also remembered when she kissed him and helped him save the neighborhood. He remembered that first day of preschool when he shared his umbrella with her.
It was quiet for a moment, and then he told her, "I'm sorry it took me this long to realize it."