Hey guys… I have to say, I'm kinda really sad this is ending! :-( To be honest, it kind of snuck up on me. I was so busy writing it that I barely realized I'd gotten there until the last couple sentences! But alas, even good things must come to an end, and I think I feel proud of this baby… It's been a good ride. AND, you guys are some of the sweetest reviewers out there! I want to thank all of you who've reviewed, especially everybody who's been there since the beginning and stuck with it.
Valeriavinn, your drawing was awesome! I love their expressions! :-D
While not exactly a sequel, I do have something planned that would likely be in the same universe. I also have a couple other ideas which could prove interesting… It will probably be a while before I post anything, but I definitely have plans for more in the future.
Disclaimer: If I owned Hey Arnold, then I would have totally made the Jungle movie. So obviously, I don't.
She told him not to hold the door open for her, but Arnold had insisted. Helga had rushed inside, embarrassed by all the fanfare. Honestly, it was only Slausen's… although her stomach was doing flips the entire time.
Now, they sat across from each other at a booth in the back, waiting for their shakes. It'd been her choice; the fear of their classmates seeing them sent her scurrying into dark corners. Arnold tapped his fingers nervously. She couldn't get over how adorable he looked in his blue dress shirt, all flustered like that. And it was because of her, no less!
He cleared his throat and glanced up at her shyly. "You look nice," he commented, and then smirked. "I like your bow."
Helga blushed and fingered the ribbon she'd tied in her hair for the occasion. It'd seemed appropriate. "Thanks," she mumbled back. Her hair was still too short to do much with, but apparently Arnold liked it, and that was enough to make her day.
Arnold cleared his throat again, unsure what to talk about. "So… how are you feeling?"
"I'm fine," she quietly replied, "I still get tired, but it's getting better."
He nodded. "That's good…"
Helga studied the wood grain on the table. Boy, this could get weird fast. How could things be this awkward when they had practically been making out yesterday? It would be best to find something to talk about before her long dreamed about first date with Arnold went south… "So I've been wondering," she began.
Arnold's head snapped up. "Yes?"
"Gerald mentioned that when Danny first got me, you were the one who told him where to go. How did you know where I was?"
He blushed. "This is probably going to sound strange, but… I kind of just knew. Like… I could sort of, um, feel it. Right when you should have been coming off stage, I got this feeling in my stomach and I KNEW something was wrong. When you didn't get back right away, I could tell something was up. For some reason I couldn't stop thinking about that time when we walked into town and passed Rhonda's vacation house… So I had Gerald drive us there. And there you were." He sent her a small smile.
Helga told her swiftly beating heart to cool it and looked at him skeptically. "Tall hair boy seems to think you've got psychic powers or something. Is there anything you're not telling us, football head?"
He laughed. "Helga, I'm pretty sure I don't have psychic powers."
"I don't!" he pressed. "I mean I did get a feeling about it, but it made sense logically, too. I didn't think he'd take you anywhere too far, and there really aren't many houses in that area." He paused and cocked his head to the side in thought. "Although," he added, "I did have a dream about you a couple days before, so who knows. Maybe I do have a bit of psychic in me."
She smirked and cocked an eyebrow. Inside her chest, her heart was beating like a jackrabbit's. "You had a dream about me, eh?"
Images of the first dream he'd had about her that week ran through his mind and he blushed again. "I might've…"
"Does this mean you've fallen madly in love with me?" She asked dramatically, trying to keep her tone lighthearted.
He coughed and thumped a hand against his chest. "I wouldn't quite say I've gotten to that point yet. This whole thing about you being in love with me is still a little new for me."
"New?" She stared at him blank faced, "Arnold, I confessed for the first time when we were nine."
""Well, that was a big deal!" He argued pitifully, "It took a while to sink in." She raised both eyebrows. He rolled his eyes and leaned back in his seat. "And anyway, I seem to remember something you said that night that always confused me…" A mischievous twinkle came to his eye, "Something about stalking me day and night…and filling up volumes of poetry about me?"
Helga blanched, and then put on a calm face. "That's funny. I have no memory of this."
He leaned forward on his elbows, that mischievous little twinkle still in his eye. "So you're not going to tell me about these 'shrines' you've been building?"
She choked before closing her eyes and shaking her head. The little sneak had a better memory than he let on. "I'm sorry, but I don't discuss stalker-ish tendencies until after the second date."
He laughed. "Oh come on, that's one I've always wondered about." His eyes shone with unrestrained curiosity. "I mean, really? Shrines?"
She bit her lip, resisting a smile. One day, she might fill him in… but not today. "Sorry Arnold," she replied, batting her eyelashes at him, "A girl's gotta stick to her principles."
"Please?" He begged.
All trace of humor vanished. "No."
"Why not?" he asked in all seriousness, "You've apparently been studying me for years, so shouldn't I get to know something about you?"
He had a valid point, but that didn't mean she was going to acknowledge it. "No," she repeated.
"It can't be all that bad," he pressed, "I mean, it's not like you were stealing my underwear or anything."
Helga remained quiet and prayed she wasn't blushing.
At her silence he looked at her more critically, eyebrows inching together. "….were you?"
Just at that moment, the bus boy arrived with their shakes. Helga breathed out a sigh of relief and took a slurp of her milkshake as he left. Saved by the ice cream…
Arnold swallowed his first mouthful of chocolaty goodness and placed his hands on the table. "Alright," he said, beginning the conversation again, "So if you won't tell me about that, what about yourself are you willing to talk about?"
She tapped her fingers and squinted her eyes in thought. "That's a broad area. You're gonna have to narrow it down. I mean, I'm willing to talk about my shoe size but I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about that."
He tapped his chin. "Hmmm… Family?"
"You know most of that."
"It's Phoebe, and you knew that too."
She sent him a blank stare. "Really?"
"I mean before, um, me."
"That would have to be when I was about three years old."
He blinked in surprise and then leaned forward, searching her face. "Really? There was no one before me?"
She fidgeted and let her hands fall to her lap, twiddling her thumbs. "No," she answered quietly.
"So…" he began hesitantly, "…I'm the only one you've ever…?"
"...yeah," she mumbled, "What of it?"
He shrugged and shook his head wordlessly. "It just.. surprises me, I guess."
She crossed her arms before looking up at him and pleading, "Can we please talk about something else?"
"Sure," he said, shrugging again, "But my love life isn't much more interesting. The last time I went on a successful date with someone was in elementary school. And I already mentioned that every other time I've tried to date something goes horribly wrong…" He squinted at her, suddenly suspicious. "Why do I get the feeling you know something about that?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied, poker face in place.
"You know, Helga," he pointed out, "You're going to have to tell me about those 'stalker-ish tendencies' eventually. You can't hide it forever."
"I can try," she shot back.
His face grew more serious. "If we're actually going to have a healthy relationship," her heart fluttered at the word, 'relationship', "Then we both need to be honest. I want to know you, but apparently I've been missing half of the picture for the past decade. I'm not saying you need to tell me everything now, but at least think about it, okay?"
She bit her lip and looked down to the table. "I don't want to scare you away," she whispered.
A gentle smile formed on his face and he reached under the table to snag her hand. The touch sent sparks running up her arm. "I won't run away."
She gulped. "Not even if I said I once made a sculpture of you out of gum?" Conveniently, she'd left out the 'used' part.
For a moment his eyebrows raised to the point where she thought they might fall off, but then he shook his head and the smile came back in place. "I promise."
Hesitantly, she returned his smile, and he squeezed her hand. "Alright," she agreed, "I'll think about it. But," Her standard menacing scowl flashed across her face, "Don't expect an immediate response."
"Whatever you say, Helga," he said, smirking.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap…
The sharp sound of clicking heels alerted them to the presence of the approaching woman. Helga glanced up just in time to see Rhonda striding toward them in all her glory, mini skirt swishing as she walked.
"Great," Helga mumbled and sank down in her seat, trying to disappear.
"Well, well, well," Rhonda announced as she reached their table, "Isn't this the development. I see you two must have found some time to bond in between destroying my family vacation house."
Helga groaned and rolled her eyes. "Oh can it, princess. You don't know what you're talking about."
"How did you even know we were down there?" Arnold interjected before she could reply.
Rhonda's glare lessened slightly as her gaze switched to him. It was just hard to be mad at the guy. "Someday, if you manage to be as influential as my Daddy, then maybe you'll understand. When your house gets broken, you find out who did it."
Helga snorted. "In that case, it's not even us you should be mad at. Go talk to Ger-"
Arnold frowned at her and kicked her leg.
"Ow," she mumbled and glared at him, "Never mind."
Rhonda sniffed and crossed her arms. "I know who did it. But I also know that you two were with him. What were you even doing down there, anyway?" She ran her gaze up and down Arnold suspiciously. "Feeding some illicit romance?"
Helga narrowed her eyes. Why that hypocritical little brat… "Oh shut up Rhonda," she glared pointedly at her, "Like you're one to talk."
The look of complete and utter shock was only on Rhonda's face for a split second, but it was priceless. She had composed herself again before anyone around them noticed, but Helga saw. "I don't know what on earth you could mean by that," she huffed, fluffing her hair with her free hand. She looked calm, but her eyes were nervous.
And nervous she should be. That's right honey, Helga thought devilishly, I know your dirty little secret. If her social following got wind of her involvement with Curly, her reputation would be ruined. Helga might just have the power to knock Rhonda-queen-of-the-universe-Lloyd off of her throne.
Arnold squeezed her hand under the table and Helga rolled her eyes. Always such a do-gooder… "Go find someone else to bother before my conscience spontaneously combusts," she grumbled, "Wouldn't want to singe your perfect hair."
Rhonda huffed again and turned away. "How rude…"
Helga looked back to Arnold and found him silently smiling at her.
"What?" She demanded.
"That was nice of you, to keep her secret like that. Now you just have to work on your delivery."
"Hey," she said with a casual shrug, "Beggars can't be choosers."
He rolled his eyes at her and just smiled.
They walked out of Slausen's hand in hand, each shyly glancing at the other in the afternoon sunlight.
"So… What now?" Helga asked quietly.
Arnold shuffled his feet. "I figured I'd walk you home, if that's okay."
She bit her lip, unable to keep from grinning. Don't jinx it, don't jinx it, don't jinx it… "Then… does that mean you don't want me to show you how to break into your room?"
He stopped walking so that he could look directly at her. "Are you telling me you've broken into my room before?"
She watched him nervously. "…does that freak you out?"
He blinked a couple times before shaking his head. "A little, but I'm more surprised than anything."
"….would it make it better if I said it was for a good cause? Like killing an obnoxious parrot?"
His eyebrows shot up. "That was your's?"
Letting go of her hand, he crossed his arms. "Okay, now you definitely have to tell me about this."
She caught herself giggling and shook her head. "Your grandpa still have those sandwiches?"
He grinned at her and snagged her hand again. "It's a date." He gave her fingers a squeeze.
Either the sun shining on her cheeks caused them to heat up, or she was blushing. That warmth she'd felt in the hospital was back, and for a moment she hesitated. After all, there had been very few times in her life that she'd been this happy. She'd learned long ago not to trust this emotion for long. Maybe, she thought tentatively, just maybe, this can be the start of something new. Grinning back at him as the warmth in her chest spilled over, she squeezed back.