Once upon a time, when I was a young lass just getting into fanfiction, so about eight years ago…there was a lovely little writing prompt called "The Blanket Scenario" in which you take two characters, throw them in a cabin during a blizzard, there's only one blanket…and gooooo! I have, always, always wanted to do this but for some reason never found a reason too… Well, I needed a break from Helga's Cheese Festival and thought this would be the perfect time to do so!
The Blanket Scenario
"Damn it, what the hell are we gonna do?" I asked as I slammed the cabin door closed behind us. Yeah, sure, Lady Luck had been watching over us when this little place came into view, but the winter storm that raged outside was nowhere near what I'd call lucky.
"Well, first off we need to stay calm," Arnold tried to reassure with a soft voice… But all that did was give me this over-whelming urge to punch him. Was he serious? We were stuck in the middle of a snow storm, trapped in some dingy little cottage, and worst off we were alone. Not even a full minute inside this place and already my head was spinning.
"Stay calm? Stay calm? Are you kidding me, Football Head?" I turned my back towards him, my eyes scanning the room for something, anything! As far as I saw the damn thing was practically bare. "In case you haven't noticed we're stuck in the middle of a freaking blizzard, there's no heat, and we are probably going to die!"
"You're over reacting…" he tried to soothe me again but it wasn't working. In fact, it was getting harder to think straight at all. Not that my thoughts were ever particularly calm when he was around… but that wasn't the point. I shouldn't have been thinking about him like that in the first place given this God forsaken situation. I wasn't getting any service on my phone, there was no electricity, and it seemed likely we were gonna be stuck here for the night…
Arnold gave me a look over, to which I replied with a glare, and then let out a heavy, tired sigh as he walked past me farther into the cabin. He didn't say a word as he went through shelves and drawers looking for something to help us I suppose. It was hard to focus on anything other then myself. My clothes were soaked, I was freezing, and I just wanted to sleep. I sat up against the wall of the room and tried to close my eyes…
"Don't!" I suddenly heard Arnold shout, stirring me back to life. My eyes shot daggers as I stared him down, pissed as hell he had to interrupt my nap.
"What the hell's the matter with you? What else is there to do then sleep?" I tried to turn myself out of his view but Arnold rushed to me, pulling me to my feet. I wanted to push him away but something in his eyes told me whatever it was he was about to say, it was going to be important.
"Look, I don't know much about hypothermia…" he trailed off.
"Hypothermia?" I wondered aloud. Of course I knew what it was, but it couldn't happen to me, right? I mean, I really was over-reacting when I was talking about dying… Wasn't I?
"But I remember that sleeping isn't good while you're still cold, so I need you to stay awake for me, okay?" He took my hand and pulled me towards the center of the room. Slowly he went for the zipper on my jacket and started to pull it down. My hand raced to his, stopping him midway.
"What are you doing?" I asked, flustered. If I was sleepy before I was sure as hell awake now. The heat in my cheeks alone was starting to warm me up.
"You're soaked, you can't stay in these wet clothes anymore," as soon as he finished speaking, he unzipped his own jacket and threw it across the room. Far away from where he decided we were to stay warm. "Look I found this," with an encouraging smile, he made his way towards one of the shelves and pulled out a large wool blanket. It was thick and looked kind of comfortable. "I figure we get down to our driest clothes, wrap up in this, and wait out the storm."
"Oh, you figure that's what we should do? There's only one blanket!" I crossed my arms over my chest, that feeling of always having to fight him rising to the surface. "You expect me to share with you? Hah, I'd rather die."
"Helga, are you serious?" his glare was enough to get my heart racing, pounding in my chest. He shook his head and forced my jacket off anyway, throwing it where he had tossed his own. "Well, right now I don't really care how you feel. I'm not going to let your stubborn attitude be the reason you never wake up again." It wasn't really a demand, more like a guarantee… But I thought it was best just to shut up and listen. Arnold had my best intentions and I was going to share a blanket with him. I should just follow his lead, look on the bright side and be happy…
But things were never that easy for me, were they?
"Fine, just turn around." I ordered, moving my arms to cover my chest. I was soaked straight threw to my shirt; the only dry pieces of clothing left were my bra and panties. My plan was to strip down and then crawl under the blanket before he saw me nearly naked.
"Why?" he asked, another one of those moments where I felt like shaking some sense into that adorable, albeit, stupid, Football Head.
"I don't want you watching me take my clothes off, you moron!" Arnold's eyes widened and I caught a glimpse of a red cheek as he spun around, away from me. I let out a quiet breath of relief as I took off my clothes piece by piece, then lifted the blanket and wrapped it around me. I wouldn't tell him I already was starting to feel a bit warmer.
"Are you, uh, done?" he asked, peering over his shoulder to look at me. I rolled my eyes and told him yes then threw the blanket over my head, appearing to give him the same respect he gave me…
I did say appearing, didn't I?
The universe knew I was madly in love with him and if anyone thought I wasn't going to peek they were insane. Scrunching the blanket together to make a peep-hole, I silently watched my one true love strip…even if he didn't know it.
Slowly he pulled off his blue jeans, soaked up to the knee. Ah, so like me he was only going to leave on his undergarments too…
Oh God, I was going to be sharing a blanket with Arnold while he was wearing nothing but his boxers? Again, I felt my face heat up with color but it wasn't enough to make me stop watching.
Carefully he pulled off a damp red hoodie and tossed it in the pile of wet clothes. Then, finally, he came to his t-shirt, pulling it up over his head, exposing a strong back and shoulders I didn't expect to be so broad. Testing to see how wet the cotton cloth was, he wrung it out tightly in his hands. But all I could see was how the muscles in his arms tensed and flexed at the motion. How desperately I wanted to run my fingers over each contour but I was stuck in place. There was no way I could ever act on that feeling, ever.
When he was done, he started to turn and I closed the hole and shut my eyes, waiting for the blanket to pull as he moved beneath it. When I felt his leg hit into my arm I knew our next problem was at hand.
Apparently the blanket wasn't as large as I had originally thought it was.
"Being so far apart like this, it's not going to work," he murmured, trying to pull it over him, but all that did was leave a part of me exposed. I tightly gripped my side and held it to the ground. I knew I was being selfish, but I didn't want him seeing me when I paled in comparison to him. Sure I was kind of thin, but I didn't exercise… I was mostly flab and it was embarrassing as hell. I had to wonder if he even tried to look as good as he did.
"That's enough," he ordered, letting go of his side of the blanket war. The wool nearly flew in my direction, covering me completely. I practically clawed my way out and was about to bite back with a retort but my voice seemed to disappear when I saw that his front looked just a nice as his back. If I didn't die from the cold, being with him would probably be the only other cause.
"W-what do you want to do then?" I stammered, turning my face away. I couldn't look at him anymore, in my eyes he was freaking perfect and it was killing me.
"Come here," though it sounded like a request he grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into him, and my entire body tensed. We were so close, skin touching skin. "Hmm, you're really warm," he added like an after thought, his lips hovering close to my ear. I was sure he didn't mean to breathe against my neck either but still...
Taking the blanket and wrapping it around us both, it now covered us entirely. Great, the main problem at hand was solved, yey… Now how on Earth was I going to survive being pressed up against him like this? My mind could only come up with the most inane and ridiculous thoughts… Did I shave? God, I'm so pale he must think I look like a ghost! What happens if I start to sweat? Don't put your arms around me Arnold; you'll feel my non-existent abs! Damn, why didn't I go to the gym when Olga asked me too?
Wait, he was putting his arms around me? No, it was more than that… It almost felt like a hug from behind.
"What do you think you're doing, Hair Boy?" Though my words might have been tough, my voice betrayed my bravado. In fact I felt a shiver run up my spin and it had nothing to do with the cold. In fact I don't know if I had ever felt this warm.
"I can't help it," he sounded so honest and sweet as he admitted this to me, and I wanted to turn and look at his face but he held me firmly in place. "You're so soft and…" he stopped and I felt his arms hold me tighter, closer to him.
"Arnold…I…" I didn't know what to say. I didn't have the heart to push him away, my mind playing in some twisted euphoria, never so happy to be stuck in a situation that could have been so much worse.
"Why are you so mean to me?" he wondered, his voice soft and distant. My body, which had almost relaxed in his touch, suddenly sprang to life as every nerve tensed. And he had the audacity to laugh at me, the sound low and deep in his throat. I should have been mad but it just sounded so, ugh, sexy, I didn't know what to do with myself.
"Because I hate you," I lied and I felt his head shake behind me. How could he not believe me? After all the terrible things I've said to him in the past, claiming I'd rather die then share a simple blanket with him? If anyone treated me the way I treated him I wouldn't be able to think of anything else.
"You don't hate me," he whispered in my ear, "I want to know the truth Helga…" The way he said it… well it was as if he already knew. But that couldn't be, could it?
"No, I…" I stopped as I felt his hand, the one that had been holding my waist, move to touch my fingers. What was going on? Weren't we fighting only moments ago?
My mind was cluttered with questions, so much so I couldn't even speak. Was this really the time to break out the dramatic confessions? We were huddled together like this so we could survive, that was it. He was holding on to me because I was warm and he was cold… There could be no other explanations.
Maybe I was imagining the tenderness in his voice; maybe all he was asking was a simple question.
"You're right, I don't hate you," I muttered, I could no longer contain my denial. Even though I couldn't see him, I hid my face away, as if he could. "Satisfied?"
"Not yet," with a quick pull he turned me to face him, the blanket slipping off my shoulders, down to my hips. What, could he read my mind or something? This was exactly what I didn't want…and now he got a nice view of my bra, to boot. Oh God, strike me down now, please? "There's more."
"More of what? Listen, you're nuts if you think there's anymore then like going on between me and you! Just be happy I don't hate you and let's sit out this awful, terrible ordeal in silence, huh?" I tried to gather the blanket to cover some of myself up, but Arnold had gripped my arms in his hands, forcing me to look at him.
"Do you know why I chased after you?" he asked and my eyes widened, realizing that the thought hadn't even occurred to me. I knew that the reason we were trapped like this was because of me… because I had to open my big mouth and take a situation where he and I were actually getting along and completely ruin it.
Apparently it was the only way I could function.
"What…I…?" I tied to think back to a few hours ago, how he and I were having an okay, normal conversation when that light in my brain switched on to push him away… And then, we fought, in front of all of our friends too. A whole bunch of us had been staying at Rhonda's family's private ski lodge, and I knew there was a snow storm coming but I ran off away from the house anyway and…
I couldn't think straight anymore.
"No, why would I know that?" I bit with a quiet rage, not at him, but at myself. He probably came after me because it was the right thing to do and he was made of freaking peace signs and optimism and…
"Because I care about you," he nearly whispered, but it was just loud enough to reach my ears. And every word caused even the tiniest hairs on my body to stand on end. That answer was one I did not expect. "And you drive me crazy," he then mumbled and looked away.
"You aren't making any sense!" I felt like pulling my hair out with this frustration. Does he know I love him? Does he love me? He cares about me and I drive him crazy? All this conflicting information was making the noise in my head level up to full blast.
"You don't either!" Arnold countered, his gaze once again finding mine.
"What?" It was the only thing I could think to ask, to even say.
"Sometimes, Helga, I can see how amazing you are…those times when you let me in," he looked away in a far-off gaze, as if he was recalling one of those moments fondly. But then his look darkened as his green eyes found my blue ones. "And then there's that other side of you, the one that acts like she doesn't give a damn about anything or anyone…"
"I'm not acting…" I tried to convince myself that I could fool him but I knew it was half-hearted. There was no way I was getting out of this… It seemed we had come to a crossroad. It was as if this destination had been avoided time and time again. And yet now we had finally arrived, and there was no way either of us was going to leave without our entire worlds being changed.
"And for some reason I wondered, all the time, why is she doing this? Why is Helga the way she is…" he stopped and I felt his hands loosen from my arms and gently fall away. He leaned towards me, reaching behind me for the blanket and placed it over my shoulders. "And then somehow, all I could think about was you."
I sat straighter as the butterflies that had been floating around inside me gripped my heart and shot it to my throat. And suddenly it was hard to breathe… was I even breathing at all? What did this mean? What was going on? What could I say to this?
"I love you!" I let go without a thought, without any reason. In that moment I wished words were something tangible so I could grab them as they drifted away and return them back inside my heart where they belonged. Or where I thought they belonged…
For a moment it felt as if they entire world had frozen, like the snow had engulfed the Earth, not just this mountain top. Everything was hushed…
"I love you, too," he replied quietly, moving his hand to tuck a stray hair behind my ear. His fingers felt gentle as they moved down my cheek to my chin, where he leaned my head back, his mouth less then inches from my own. "I'm going to kiss you now," he murmured with a laugh, "just incase you'd like to take anything back."
I tried to speak but Arnold kept to his word and placed his lips over mine, and that was it. Why would I even try to fight this? If I did I really would be out of my mind, wouldn't I? So I closed my eyes and let myself be taken away by it. For me, no for us, the world outside didn't exist anymore… it was covered completely in its own blanket of silent white… And now I was thankful for it.
Slowly I felt myself being lowered down, my back finding the soft wool as Arnold propped himself above me. When he pulled away I felt as if I was missing apart of myself, wishing he'd quickly return to me. He looked me over, searching my face for something before he smiled and laid himself next to me, covering us up with that wonderful blanket.
"What are you doing?" I had to ask as I turned on my side, feeling my face fall into a pout. I waited a long time for him to kiss me and want to do it… it was too early to quit now. To my question he only laughed and gently pulled me towards him, my chest pressed up against his. I could feel every breath, slightly labored as he held himself back.
"Don't get me wrong," he mused with a smirk, "I'm trying to do the right thing."
"Who says I want you to do the right thing? I can be the reason you occasionally do something…bad." Arnold may have unintentionally let out the girl who's been fantasizing about him for years…probably before he even felt this way about me. I wanted him and I wanted him to want me back. That wasn't so terrible, was it?
"Helga…" he let my name trail off as it rang deep in his voice, husky even. I was tempting him and loving every minute of it. Even with my feelings out in the air. apparently learning not to tease him was going to prove to be a hard habit to break.
"I'm telling you it's okay Arnold, I'm telling you I want you…" I couldn't believe these words were coming out of my mouth, was this even real? Maybe I did fall asleep when we first entered the cabin and Arnold never pulled me to my feet and told me he needed me to stay awake for him. Maybe I died and this is what heaven was like, just endless moments with my one true love in a world that was only real for the two of us.
"It's not too fast?" he wondered softly, his eyes unsure. I knew he was hesitating because he didn't want to hurt me, but farther then that, deep in his uncertain eyes, I saw my own need reflected back at me.
"I've loved you for a very, very long time…" I admitted, not sure if it was the right thing to say. But it was the truth and I knew he was all for that…
For a moment he closed his eyes as if to think and then, before I knew it, he was above me again, my back pressed against the floor. He pressed his lips to mine then left a trail of kisses to my ear where he whispered something I almost didn't catch.
"Say it again," I begged, wanting to be sure. My hands found his strong back, ran down the arms I had wanted to touch… Everything about him was going to be mine.
"This is the right thing to do, when you've loved someone for a very long time," my eyes grew wide at the confession but the thought vanished as his lips found mine again…
And in the silence of the white snow we found paradise.
I didn't worry about the sleep that came and went the rest of the night. Any time I drifted off, held in warm, strong arms… I had never felt so safe or so excited.
But when the sun streamed through the small glass window, when the night had finally passed, I wasn't sure if I wanted the dream to end…
I sat up slowly and let the blanket drop to my waist. The exposure felt like practically nothing now. We had ample time to study one another the night before. So I got up, and moved to check our clothes. Still damp, but dry enough to make the trek to the lodge, wherever that was.
"Not yet…" I heard him call behind me. For a minute I felt my body tense before I turned and looked at him, his arms opened for me.
"But don't you think…" I tried to come up with a good cause to get started on our trip back to reality, but he merely shook his head, refusing to hear it.
"You said you can be my reason to do something bad," he grinned, "I want to be a little selfish. I'm not ready to go back to the real world…are you?" I really did think Arnold could read my mind as I made my way to him, to the dream. The loving arms came around me and the lips I had come to know drifted and hovered over my neck.
"One more time," it wasn't a question, but it didn't matter for I had no reason to refuse…
"There's one more place we can check!" I suddenly heard a voice shout from outside, and it sounded like Rhonda. I looked to Arnold; the look of panic on his face must have matched my own.
"I'm just ever so worried about them, aren't you Phoebe?" Lila wondered of my best friend. What the hell? Was everybody out looking for us? I suppose I should have been flattered, but more important things were at hand here… We were alive, now go away!
"Damn," I whispered, "all our clothes are on the other side of the room." Our underclothes had somehow made it over there as well. Even if I sneaked under the window there was no way we were going to be able to put all our clothes on in…
I couldn't even finish the thought as we watched in horror as the little, golden colored door knob turned…
"Don't come in here!" Arnold shouted unexpectedly.
"What? Why not? What's going on?" Rhonda asked from the other side of the door. I suppose the shock of her being denied entry washed over any relief of finding us alive. For a moment I hoped Arnold would come up with an excuse to give us time to dress. But the minute that idea crossed my mind a dark shape moved to the window, peering in on us.
"Holy crap," Harold nearly screamed, "they're naked!" As soon as the words came bumbling out of his mouth I knew exactly what was going to follow in three…two…one…
"Arnold and Helga had sex!"
The collected voices outside broke into what sounded like a million different conversations, all with one common topic…
"You two had sex in my storage shed?" Rhonda demanded to know. "Well, that is just absolutely vulgar!"
"Enough of this," I fumed, grabbing the blanket and wrapping it around me entirely, getting up off of the floor.
"Helga! I'm a little bare here…" I moved across the room and tossed him his clothes to cover himself up. Finally, I threw open the cabin door. I gave death glares to every, single person who stood out in the snow.
"Yeah, so what? We did it, big deal," I tightened the blanket around me, "and while we appreciate all of you coming to look for us, as you can see we're fine. And we're very, very much alive…" I was trying to keep calm, to find that serenity I had through the entire night, but it was quickly being drained away. "But I swear if you people don't leave in the next five seconds I will beat the crap out of each and every one of you until…"
"Helga…" Arnold's soft, yet stern voice and his hand on my shoulder silenced me, but didn't remove the scary look I was sure took hold of my face.
"Hah, and here I thought you getting laid would calm you down," Harold chided.
"I swear to God if I was wearing something under this I would kill you and bury you and…" Arnold pulled me behind him and calmly told our group of curious friends we'd be along shortly and that it would probably be in everyone's best interest not to poke fun at his girlfriend.
For a moment I completely forgot that was me.
When they all finally left, Arnold shut the door behind him and shook his head with a laugh.
"What's so funny?" I asked, dropping the blanket and sliding on my panties. As far as I could see there was nothing remotely humorous about what had just happened.
"Well at least we don't have to surprise anyone with news of our relationship, right?" he shrugged and handed me my shirt and bra. I snatched them away and rolled my eyes.
"Really, hun, not the time to be looking on the bright side, okay?" I huffed and slipped on my t-shirt, staring him down. But all he did was smile and somehow all that made me wanna do was smile too. Damn him…
By the time we were both fully dressed, ready to face the winter weather; we sat in front of cabin door and stared it down.
"Ready for the real world?" he asked, holding on to my hand. I gave a kick to the floor and nodded, not mentioning that reality decided to crash our little dream a little earlier then originally intended. Moving off the floor, Arnold helped me to my feet and opened the door. I took a few steps outside, shielding my eyes from the bright light of the sun that reflected off the snow.
"I guess if we follow their footprints we'll make it back to the lodge…" he pointed and I gave a solemn nod of my head. For some reason, and I know it makes me sound crazy, I was getting a bit depressed.
"You know," Arnold started as he began walking. "Just because we're leaving the cabin doesn't mean anything that happened is going to change," his hold on my hand got just a little tighter. "I'm still in love with you."
"Good," I scoffed.
"Helga," he wanted more then that, apparently. And for a moment, I was lost in my thoughts. Like I knew it would, my world had suddenly changed… Even if it was for the better it was something I was going to have to get used to.
So with a heavy sigh and an honest smile I told him…
"I've loved you for a long time…now that I have you if you think I'm letting go, you're as crazy as I am."
"Good," he grinned.
Maybe this new reality wouldn't be so bad after all…