She was Helga G. Pataki and she would never tell Arnold the truth. She couldn't! That would mean telling him that she had been in love with him since preschool and that she didn't actually hate him like he thought. Of course she had never told anyone. Well that wasn't true she had told a few people. She'd told Phoebe, Lila, Patty, and Dr. Bliss. They were the only ones that knew the truth. Everyone had tried to guess for years who she liked but she never told. They just gave up and assumed that she didn't like anyone. The ones that knew kept their mouths shut because they knew she didn't want anyone to know especially since there would only be gossip.
So here she was with the rest of the girls in her grade at a sleepover. After they had all gotten into middle school they had decided to have a sleepover every weekend. Helga of course agreed as horrible as she was to a lot of people she really did like most of the people in her grade so she went. Tonight they were of course playing truth or dare. The game that was done at every sleepover and the game that Helga could never lose at. She was the queen. "So Helga truth or dare?" Rhonda asked a smile creeping onto her face. Helga could tell she was getting ready to pounce on the opportunity to ask who Helga liked.
"I'll take dare Princess" Helga responded a grin also emerging on her face. Rhonda's face fell as she sat and tried to think of a good dare.
"Um...okay eat a jar of mayonnaise right now" she said and Helga rolled her eyes. Rhonda wasn't the best at giving out dares. Helga got a jar of mayonnaise and ate it in no time. Helga looked around after eating the jar to find her next victim. She was the one that came up with some of the worst dares. She spotted Phoebe and smiled.
"So Phoebe truth or dare?" she asked a devious smirk on her face. Phoebe paled at this. Phoebe was Helga's best friend. Ever since elementary school they had been friends. They told each other everything.
"Um...truth" Phoebe squeaked nervously.
"What is up with you and Tall-haired Boy Geraldo?" Helga asks making Phoebe blush. The other girls in the room squeal ready to find out some new development on the Geroebe relationship as they called it.
"Well...yes I like him" she says in a small voice.
"We know that already" Helga smiles this time nicely "I meant some of the juicy details."
"Oh...well you see he walked me to class this entire week" she says making most of the other girls in the room squeal excitedly "He held my books" another squeal erupts "And he kissed me on the cheek today." This was too much for the other girls. They all burst into a giant squeal that seemed to almost shake the entire house.
"That's great Phoebe" Helga says "So is he gonna ask you out on a date soon?"
"I hope so" she answers "Do you think he doesn't like me?" she suddenly asks nervously.
"Doesn't like you?" Nadine cries shocked "He held your books, walked you to class, and he even kissed you on the cheek! A guy doesn't do that if he only sees you as a friend." The other girls agreed.
"Oh I'm ever-so certain that this is just dandy" Lila smiles "You and Gerald will be oh-so good together!" Helga rolls her eyes at Lila. Helga started to like Lila more once Arnold stopped liking her. Of course now Arnold talked nonstop about the fake Cecile girl that he had dinner with on Valentine's Day that one year not knowing that is was Helga. So in reality he was talking about Helga.
"So Helga" Rhonda smiles turning to Helga "Who do you like?" Helga rolled her eyes. Like she would fall for that, that easily.
"And why would I tell you that?" she asked.
"Oh come on you've been holding out on us for years!" Nadine cried "Who is it?"
"If she doesn't want to tell don't force her" Lila said knowing full well that Helga was uncomfortable telling people about it.
"You're saying that because you know" Rhonda said exasperated "Come on! Just give us a hint! And not just that we know him."
"You have to guess" Helga smiled "I'll give you a week to observe me and next week you can come back and tell me who you think it is." She knew that she wasn't obvious at all so she wouldn't have to worry too much about them guessing. Though she decided that she would cut down on her monologues just in case.
"Fine" Nadine said "Rhonda you and me are going to take notes this week."
"Sounds good to me girl" Rhonda replied. She then turned to Helga and said "Be prepared to have your secret spilled."
"Whatever you say Princess" Helga responded making Rhonda scowl but Lila giggle.
"You sound just oh-so much like Arnold" she said "He's always saying that too you." Rhonda and Nadine looked at each other and pulled notepads out of nowhere and started to take notes.
Monday came and Helga got on the bus and sat down next to Phoebe who happened to be sitting in back of Arnold and Gerald. The two of them looked at each other and sighed contently making the boys turn around. "You two have a breathing problem or something?" Gerald asks but he's smiling at Phoebe making Helga snicker.
"Oh no" she smiled deviously "Not at all lover boy. Though I think you have a staring problem with my best friend." He blushed as she said this making Arnold laugh.
"What are you talking about?" Gerald sputtered.
"Aw come on you know you want to be sitting where I am" she said making him glare at her.
"Oh fine. Switch seats with me Helga" he sighs and she stands up. They switch seats and Helga is inwardly jumping up and down. She turns back around and winks at Phoebe who winks back. Arnold through the entire exchange was staring open-mouthed at Helga.
"How did you do that?" he asks her "I've been trying to convince him to get the courage to sit next to her and talk to her on the bus for years!" Helga laughs.
"You have to be a little forceful sometimes Football head" she replies "Plus he knows that if he hurts her I'll pound him into a pulp" she shrugs and looks straight ahead. Arnold studies her as if trying to figure her out. He notices how loyal she is to Phoebe and this makes him smile. He knew that she was a good person and as she got older and more comfortable in her own skin she got better. Helga felt a stare and looked back at him to see him staring at her a small smile playing at his lips. She raised part of her eyebrow (they still hadn't been able to convince her to pluck it) and said "take a picture Hair-boy it lasts longer." Just as she said this the bus came to a stop and Rhonda walked on.
"Well hello there Helga G. Pataki" she greeted "Are you ready to have your secret spilled?" Helga rolled her eyes and Arnold looked at her questioningly wondering what she could be hiding.
"You've been saying that since fourth grade and still no one knows what it is besides a few" she responded blandly.
"You'll be saying something different when Friday night at our sleepover I'm telling all the girls who it is that you like" Rhonda said an evil yet determined grin coming onto her face. Some of the boys on the bus looked at each other and decided that they were going to find a way to sneak into the sleepover and eavesdrop on the conversation to find out the truth.
"Rhonda" Helga said exasperated and trying to be a little patient "You've tried some many different tricks to find out who I like since we were in fourth grade and you still don't know who it is. I'm very good at concealing my feelings if you haven't noticed. I've hidden them so well that I have to tell people in order for them to realize it...well except for Dr. Bliss but she's a psychologist..." she paused as if deep in thought before continuing "I don't see the point in you needing to know anyway. Nothing good will come out of my secret being revealed except a bunch of laughs for everyone and embarrassment for me." She finished with a grim expression on her face. She knew that it was the truth. There was noway in hell that Arnold would ever fall for her. Arnold however was frowning at her attitude towards herself. He didn't see why she felt so bad about herself when he could see how good of a person she could be when she wanted to be.
"If you say so Helga but we will find out!" Rhonda said and Nadine nodded.
"And we're taking notes and using scientific reasoning to find out who it is" Nadine continued making Helga roll her eyes.
"Whatever you say" she replies wanting to end the conversation. Arnold chuckles at hearing this she turns to him ready to say something but he has a giant grin on his face that she can't resist and she starts smiling as well. This is not missed by Rhonda and Nadine and they quickly write it down.
"I'm rubbing off on you" he smiles at Helga "How many times did I say that to you a day back in elementary school?" she laughs remembering all the good times they had when they were younger.
"Too many to count Football Head" she replies the smile never leaving her face. He smiles back at her making her heart leap into her throat and a faint blush spread across her face. She mentally cursed herself as she realized how obvious she was being. Rhonda and Nadine wrote this down as well smiling to each other.
"You know Nadine this will be a lot easier than I thought it would be" Rhonda stage whispered making Helga swiftly turns her head around to glare at Rhonda. She accidentally hit Arnold in the face with her hair giving him the faint scent of strawberries and vanilla. "I thought you said it be hard Helga" she smirked at Helga. Helga's eyes narrowed at Rhonda.
"What a girl can't talk to a guy without it being that she likes him Princess?" she asked getting slightly agitated more at herself than at anything else. Arnold was watching the exchanged with a slightly bemused expression on his face. Gerald was staring at them his mouth slightly open at the thought of Helga G. Pataki liking his best friend. Phoebe was trying her best not to laugh. Lila and Patty were staring at Helga smiling. And all the guys were staring hungry for any information.
"It doesn't look like you guys are just friends to me Pataki" Nadine smiled.
"Oh really and what makes you say that?" Helga asked not really wanting to know what they were going to say.
"We're not going to tell you just yet. You have to wait until Friday in order to find out our conclusion so that we don't come up with the wrong person or no one at all" Rhonda cut across before Nadine could open her mouth to answer. All the people on the bus however were given something to think about though, did Helga like Arnold? Helga rolled her eyes at Rhonda pretending not to care in the least bit but was in reality slightly nervous. She turned back to Arnold who was studying her carefully.
"I thought your friend Geraldo was the one with the staring problem Hair-boy" she said to him but he just laughed.
"You know Helga you're an enigma" he replied after a moment.
"And what makes you say that?" she asked.
"I don't know" he shrugged "You just are." She raised her brow as if to detect whether or not it was an insult so he continued "It's a good thing Helga."
"Thanks I guess Arnoldo" she replied turning back to the front inwardly sighing at him complimenting her.
That day and the next few days became a blur. All seemingly the same. A few developments on the Geroebe front came such as Gerald asking her to dinner and a movie for that weekend (Helga had bullied it out of him that he wanted to and then forced him to ask her) which Phoebe happily accepted. Arnold and Helga sat next to each other on the bus the rest of the week and they ate lunch together seeing as their best friends were now an item. Arnold took the time to study Helga. Granted they were friends but ever since Rhonda said that Monday that Helga might like him he tried to understand. He was currently staring at her in class attempting to figure it out.
"Hey man whatchu looking at?" a voice whispered in his ear making him jump. He turned to see Gerald looking at him.
"What?" he answered "Oh...I wasn't looking at anything...just zoning out."
"It looked like you were looking at Ms. Helga G. Pataki" Gerald answered smiling slightly trying not to laugh out loud. However he wasn't that lucky since the teacher looked at him.
"What please tell me is so funny Gerald?" Ms. Smith asked sternly.
"It was nothing" Gerald said immediately "just a funny memory." He was a horrible liar and the whole class knew it too.
"Well next time Gerald please refrain from laughing in the middle of class it is quite distracting for some" Ms. Smith replied back.
"Yes Ma'am" he answered. When class let out later for lunch Gerald smiled mischievously at Arnold.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" Arnold asked his best friend but Gerald just smiled and kept walking. "What?"
"Well Arnold" Gerald finally said turning to his best friend "I saw you looking at a certain blonde girl in our class."
"I was just trying to figure out whether it was true that she liked me like Rhonda keeps saying" Arnold defended though he was blushing deeply.
"Hahahaha yea keep telling yourself that" Gerald laughed "You love the way her blonde pigtails stick out of her head and how blue her eyes are" he sighed dramatically before bursting out laughing again. The other guys had already walked over and heard everything.
"Wait you like Helga G. Pataki?" Sid cried at Arnold his voice raised earning looks from around the lunchroom. Harold who was sitting next to Patty and sipping milk spit it out all over the place making Patty laugh at him.
"What?...I don't! What are you guys talking about?" Arnold stuttered his blush darkening all the guys roared with laughter. Helga and Phoebe walked into the lunchroom at this moment just in time to hear.
"Arnold and Helga sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage." Helga turned and stared at all the guys who were singing and let out a growl ready to pound them before she looked at Arnold who was blushing profusely. She looked extremely surprised by this but she was inwardly saying 'Oh my dearest Arnold do you really return my feelings?'
"Alright. Alright" Helga stormed over to the singing group "What's going on here?" the singing died down immediately as she stomped over.
"We're just discussing how much Arnold loves you" Gerald said dramatically pretending to swoon and faint. Helga tried to glare but it wasn't as effective because she was blushing brightly at the thought of Arnold loving her.
"It looks like Helga enjoys the thought of Arnold loving her" Sid sang earning a punch in the face from Helga "Okay okay I'm kidding" he said putting his hands over his face apologizing quickly.
"Me and Football Head are just friends got it you worms?" she asked venomously and they all nodded. "Good" she said about to storm away before saying "and if I ever hear something like that again the consequences will be much worse." She started walking when she heard a voice.
"You know Helga you always were one to hide behind your tough facade when you didn't want people to find out the truth." Helga turned to the voice to see Rhonda smiling at her triumphantly. She narrowed her eyes ready to fight back and say it wasn't true but Rhonda kept talking "You know maybe I shouldn't wait for Friday night's sleepover. Maybe I should just say it now. Say what everyone has been thinking since Monday on the bus when you and Arnold were exchanging goo goo eyes." Helga felt her face become increasingly hotter throughout hearing everything. She opened her mouth to protest but Rhonda continued "Don't pretend like you weren't because everyone saw it."
"I do NOT like that Football Head" Helga weakly protested. She wished that she wasn't as obvious but she wasn't she thought she did things like she always did. 'I guess I was always this obvious' she thought.
"Everyone knows that's a lie. I can't believe none of us saw it before. He was the one that you always teased the most but you never laid a finger on him. You even defended him a few times before making up some excuse to cover it up. You stare at him in class when you think no one is looking and you brighten at the mention of him. You blush when he smiles at you or he laughs at one of your jokes. You even have picked up a few of his mannerisms. You even started listening to jazz music saying that you've always liked it but that's not true you used to make fun of Arnold for liking it" Rhonda responded looking at her notepad for reference. Helga was glued to the spot wanting to run away but was not able to. She had her eyes trained on Rhonda and Nadine who was at her side nodding. She knew that everyone was listening especially Arnold the one she didn't want to find out.
"Also" Nadine spoke up "Every school play that you two were the leads in every other girl somehow dropped out of being the lead for some reason or another. You also always kissed him for longer than was necessary for all the leading roles. You acted to well all those times when your characters were supposed to be in love with each other for it to just be attributed to good acting." she paused looking over at Rhonda for conformation and Rhonda nodded so she continued with the final blow "And you are blushing brightly right now so therefore you know that it's all true. You Helga G. Pataki are in love with Arnold Shortman." Helga felt like the floor dropped out from under her. She couldn't believe that they had said it here. Of all places right in front of the very guy she had feelings for. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She dared herself not to turn around and see. She couldn't. She wouldn't allow herself to because she knew that it was him and she couldn't face him. Not after her one secret was spewed out into the public like it was. He however, had a different idea. He turned her around with his strong arms. Years of sports she mused had done that to him. She looked down not wanting to see his face. And to see his rejection.
"Helga" he whispered softly and sweetly making her heart thump loudly against her chest. She still refused to look. He cupped her chin with his hand and gently lifted it up so that she was looking into his eyes. The beautiful emeralds were smiling and glistening. Before she knew what was going on he leaned in and kissed her. Fireworks exploded as she closed her eyes and fell into the kiss. Perfection and bliss was what it was. Slowly he pulled away and she opened her eyes just in time for him to say "I love you too Helga. I guess I have for a while. Ever since the FTi incident I saw you in a different light." She swore that if she hadn't seen his mouth moving that she wouldn't believe it. "I love you Helga G. Pataki." She felt tears slide down her face. Tears of joy. Finally she knew that he cared for her in the same way she cared for him
"I love you too Arnold Shortman" she whispered leaning in for another kiss.