III. What now?

"…and Helga and Arnold."

Be still, my beating heart. Helga prayed as she bit her lip nervously. She arrived school as late as possible so as not to avoid conversation when the class starts as soon as she walked in. Her football headed object of affection would've ratted her out by now, but there he was, being as normal as any oblivious crush can be.

Maybe he doesn't know how to read cursive? Maybe his stupid pig stole it the minute they turned on the lights? Maybe Arnold thought it was just some dumb prank or something? Her thoughts came running in like a wild fire. Helga just couldn't bring herself to stand up. She always made sure that her plans were foolproof. She always did. She was Helga G. Pataki! Pataki's don't mess up!

But this time, she did. By just one, simple, error, Arnold still has her locket and her secret's out in the open.

So what now?

Helga's eyes suddenly glanced at the clock. It's been three minutes since Mr. Simmons spoke out the list of partners.

If Arnold hasn't approached me yet, does this mean that he's avoiding me? She, then, furtively scanned the classroom. There was no sign of him hiding in a corner.

Nah.. probably had to take a piss. She thought, looking down at her empty desk. Relief can only calm her down for only a few seconds, though…

"Uhm…. Helga?"

Criminy, I spoke too soon…

(509—509)

Love is surreal, especially when it comes from someone who seems to hate you. Arnold realized this as he stood behind Helga's desk. He only went to the bathroom to calm his blundering thoughts but even when he came back to the classroom, he still couldn't stop thinking about that locket. As soon as he knew of her feelings about him, he suddenly became aware of her every move. From the way she fiddled her fingers and bit her lips, he could tell she was nervous. How can someone so mean, so heartless be so sweet, so compassionate… so loving? He knew that she was more than just a tough exterior but love? If Helga had kept all this nice and lovable self under that mean façade, then this must mean one thing: that her love for him had always been a secret.

But why? Why, Helga?

He sighed. Instead of indulging his wandering thoughts, Arnold decided to approach his partner.

"Uhm…. Helg?" In an instant, the said girl whipped her head towards him with a scowl already plastered on her face.

"Sheesh, FOOTBALL HEAD, would you AT LEAST stop sneaking up on ME?!"

(509—509)

"Sorry, Helga…"

They were too close.

He was too close to unveiling the depths of her soul and she was too close to losing her self-control.

Improvising wasn't hard. People rarely take notice of her slip-ups because either they don't care, they're too scared to talk to her or they're too oblivious. But even as she purposely glared at her beloved crush, Helga now felt naked. She ran out of ideas on escaping the situation altogether. Running away and changing her name was too extreme (and she lacked the resources to do so). Pretending to be sick in front of him now seemed impossible (now that's he's watching her movements too closely). A request for exchanging partners was considerable, but could raise suspicion. Fessing everything up was out of the question. They were at a stalemate and it's her move. Her only plan now was to act as normally mean as possible.

"Yea, yea, whatever." Helga rolled her eyes as she mustered her confidence to play her part as the bully, "So…! Any ideas for our project, Football Head?" Surprised at the change of subject, Arnold shook his head.

"…Not yet…." Good. Now's my chance!

"Ugh, criminy! You really are a paste for brains, Arnoldo. You can't even think of a plot with that big brain of yours." Helga mocked, hoping this keeps up her façade. Arnold frowned and crossed his arms, as if offended by her words.

Just how I like it.

"Well, I don't see you thinking of one, Helga." He retorted. Oh Arnold, my love, don't underestimate my literary capabilities as a writer…

Helga mimicked his posture. "Hmph. Don't need to, Football Head. I already thought of something." And she paused, coming up with a list of words, phrases and sentences to say. Arnold took the chance to bait her.

"…and…?"

"And I'll write it down later!" She replied with brash confidence, "Now your assignment will be number of characters and the setting. Our genre could either be horror, sci-fi, adventure, fantasy or a mixture. We can brainstorm other stuff after school. Your house. Kapeesh, Football Head?"

Still irked by her words, Arnold continued to glare at her, "Shouldn't we at least be discussing this together, Helga? English class doesn't end for about a couple of minutes or so…"

Not backing down her mean mask, Helga glared back, "Sheesh Arnoldo, what part of "we can brainstorm other stuff, after school" don't you get? Now beat it, Football Head!"

Sighing in defeat, the boy of her dreams said, "Whatever you say, Helga." With that, he walked away with Helga still glaring at him.

"That's right! Whatever I say!" With that being said, the girl turned around to look at her empty desk.

That was close… If this keeps up, maybe this'll be the chance to take that locket back and make him forget everything about it!

Hopefully…

A/N: Hi guys! So an update for this story (FINALLY). To those who reviewed this story three years ago, thank you so much! I haven't been able to reply some gratitude... :((( But back to the here and now! This is the usual part where Arnold realizes Helga's feelings and Helga still tries to hide them. There are some parts at the last that I wanted to edit (since they seem kinda OOC), but I wanted to let this out because I've been itching to update some time and it's been months since I last updated. Anyways, read and/or review! :)