Arnold looked across the table to him family sitting in front of him. Everyone was sitting there, watching him. Arnold had no idea why they were looking at him that way. All he had done was sit in his chair, and all eyes were on him. The first to speak was his mother Stella. "Arnold we have a very exciting announcement for you."
"What is it Mom?" Arnold asked her quickly, he couldn't take the looks anymore.
They all smiled at each other just waiting for the news. Arnold couldn't feel more worried. "Well," Stella began. "Sweetie, since your eighteenth birthday is coming up, we decided to throw you a huge party."
Before he knew it the boarders and his parents were shouting out their ideas for the party.
"We should have a poker party!"
"I say bowling!"
"I will make tacos, Arnold!"
"Stella and I can make your decorations."
"I don't want too much riffraff in this house Shortman!"
"Oh I can't wait for the circus!"
"Stop!" Arnold shouted as loud as he could in order to be heard. Everyone was going off in their own world for this party, but Arnold didn't even know what to do. "Let me get this straight. You guys want to throw me a party?"
"Yes!" They all yelled.
"Look guys, I really appreciate this, but you really don't have to go through all that trouble for me."
"Don't be silly Arnold," Miles said. "You're turning eighteen, that only happens once."
"Yeah, but a party?"
"Oh sure!" Stella said. "We can have a dance party."
"Or a poker party," Mr Kokoshka suggested.
"How about a nice pool party?" said Susie.
"A costume party," Grandpa Phil said. "We need to have a costume party."
All eyes were on Phil now, the idea seemed great to everyone. Arnold guessed it would be a good idea, people usually liked his parties. "I kinda like that Grandpa."
"We'll invite everyone Shortman."
"And when you're done dusting you can scrub the floors. I want this place to sparkle!" Big Bob Pataki was not in a very good mood today. It was that time of the month; bills. It seemed like every time Bob had to write checks out to companies he died a little inside. To handle his rage, he took it out on his employees: Patty, Lila, Phoebe, and even his daughter, Helga Pataki. Even though she was the assistant manager, her father always treated her the way he did with the rest of them. The girls were used to Bob's attitude, besides, he paid them too well to quit. They went off to pick up their duster as soon as possible, they knew better than to keep Bob waiting.
"I hate bill day," Patty complained as soon as Bob was out of sight. She pulled out a hair tie out of her pocket to pull her brown hair back.
"Especially with a blowhard like Bob," Helga added. "I swear he makes my life hell."
"I don't know how you handle it Helga," Lila said. "I'm ever so certain I wouldn't be able to deal with a dad like that. You inspire me."
"Yeah yeah, Toots. Just get cleaning already before he gets back, I don't want no problems. Patty, get the Androids. Phoebe, you get the chargers. Lila, the iPhones. I'll take the counters. Go."
The girls were off to dust "Big Bob's Cellphone Emporium". Now that beepers were out of style, Bob moved on to cellphones (even though he still had his own beeper).
Just then a soft bell echoed in the door, signaling a customer at the door. Helga wasn't assigned for sales today, that was Lila and Phoebe's job, so she kept cleaning.
"Welcome to Big Bob's Cellphone Emporium, how may I help you?" Phoebe's sweet voice asked.
"Do you really have to do that every time we come through the door?" Gerald's familiar voice said.
At the sound of his voice Helga froze. She knew that ever time that Gerald came to the store, Arnold would be right behind him. With that Helga quickly ducked behind the counter in front of the chargers. Just the thought of seeing Arnold terrified her. Since the day Helga told Arnold she loved him in the fti building seeing him killed her. Arnold hadn't felt the same way about Helga, and frankly he never will. Helga knew it was a mistake telling him, and she lived with that mistake every day of her life. Now she was back to her old habit: teasing him.
"It's my job Gerald. What can I do for you two?"
"We just came over to bring you girls these invitations."
"My parents and the borders are throwing me a costume party for my birthday, and I'm inviting everyone. I hope you girls can come."
Oh Arnold, your angelic voice doth glisten my soul with magic. Helga knew she had to stop her obsession for Arnold, but still she longed for his affection.
"Maybe, if Mr Pataki is kind enough to grant us a day off," Lila said.
"We'll I hope to see you all there. All of you."
Helga smiled at the thought of going to Arnold's party. It had been a long time since she had gone to the boarding house. Of course, she could never go, she could never get the guts to do that. Out of instinct, Helga grabbed her golden locket out of her pocket. With the years, Arnold's picture in the locket changed. Now his 12th grade yearbook picture was staring back at her. "Oh Arnold, why must I be so prolific adoring you, yet so idle to confront you? Oh why can't I tell you how I feel? Every minute feels like an hour, and every hour like a day when I'm not with you. Oh if only-"
"Helga?" Arnold's voice asked above her. He was standing at the counter, looking right down at her. She quickly hid her locket before he could see. "Who are you talking to?"
"No one Football-head. I was just...reading some bills, that's all." Before Helga could think of another lie, she stood up from the floor. Arnold was looking at her curiously. "What are you gonna buy something or are you just gonna stand there Arnoldo? I've got a business to run here."
"I actually needed a new charger for my Android, think you can help me out?"
Helga rolled her eyes, trying to keep her tough girl attitude, when really she was trilled. "I'm not on sales today, go ask Lila."
He smiled slyly. "Just get me a charger Helga. I want you to get it, unless you want me to tell your dad about your service."
"Are you blackmailing me Bucko?"
Helga frowned, she turned behind her to the wall of chargers and grabbed one of the Android chargers. Helga knew exactly which phone Arnold had, she remembered the dreadful yet magical day she sold it to him. When she turned around Arnold was smiling in delight. "That'll be a million bucks."
"How about thirty?"
Helga threw the charger in a small plastic bag and placed the receipt inside. "I'll give it to you for twenty-five if you get out of my store in less than a minute."
"No deal." He handed her three ten dollar bills, brushing her fingers lightly. "I'm having a costume party next Saturday, will you to come?"
"Yeah right, like I would ever go to a shitty football-head party of yours. I'd rather count my own hair follicles than be stuck at your stupid party. There ain't no way you'll catch Helga G Pataki at no costume party, now get out. I need to dust."
Arnold rolled his radiant green eyes and turned to the door with Gerald. Once again Helga blew it.
"HELGA!" Phoebe and Lila yelled once Arnold and Gerald were out of sight. The two ran toward her instantly.
"How could you say that?" Phoebe said.
"Helga I'm ever so certain it sounded like Arnold was well, I suppose he was flirting with you."
Helga shushed them automatically. Sure Phoebe and Lila knew her secret, but Patty didn't, and she was determined to keep it that way. "Shut up! Nothing happened. I'm not going to that party."
"But you have to!" Phoebe exclaimed. "He invited you."
"Go out of courtesy at least," Lila added.
"Look, Arnold was just being a nice stupid football-head. That's it. I am not going. Besides I work on Saturdays."
"You could kindly ask your father for the night off," Lila suggested.
"Lila does have a point. Arnold's party will not commence until nine o'clock, you could work the morning and evening shifts."
"Look guys, Bob will never agree to that."
"Then what do you have to lose?" Phoebe asked.
"I can't go to Arnold's party!"
"Why?" they both asked.
"Because every time I look at him I feel like all my past wounds open up. You don't know what it's like to feel this way about someone. You two are beautiful, smart, and nice girls. Look at me, I ain't no Cinderella." Helga motioned to her body. She was wearing her uniform: baby blue polo, khaki pants, and a white belt. Her hair was tied back into a lose pony tail, with her bangs cascading over her forehead. Nothing special at all.
"Helga, I'm ever so sure it sounds like you're afraid," Lila pointed out with a sinister look.
"What did you say?"
"I said, it sounds like you're afraid of going to the party Helga."
"Listen Lila, I ain't afraid of nothing. I'm Helga G Pataki. Get that drilled into your head."
"Then why won't you go ask Bob to let you go?"
"Because I need the money."
Phoebe crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Helga we all know you don't need the money."
"Well I already told Arnold I'm not going."
"But he wants you there," Phoebe said. "Go ask your father."
"HELGA!" Bob shouted from his office. "GET YOURSELF OVER HERE NOW."
She turned to the girls, "yeah I don't think so."
"Helga please," Lila pleated.
Helga sighed, turned to her fathers office and walked over. She never did anything for herself, it was all about the business, she needed this. She would just go for an hour or so and leave, maybe take a souvenir from Arnold's room. Bob was sitting in his desk fiddling with dozens of bills around him. He was angry, or annoyed, she couldn't tell.
"Look at this Little Lady, we are losing money because you forget to turn off all the lights when you lock up. I can't be throwing my hard earned money away Olga. This is your first and final warning, you hear me?"
Helga didn't bother correcting him, she had to get on his good side to let her go. "I hear you Dad. Now that I'm here, I was wondering if I could ask you something."
"Well see there's this party nest Saturday night, and I was wondering if I could get the evening off to go. I can work that morning and afternoon."
"A party huh? Yeah what ever, but I want you here early to work. You can do some inventory."
Helga fought her urge to yelp. She was going to the party! Sure she had to do inventory, the worst job in the store, but anything was worth going to Arnold's. Suddenly the idea of going was becoming more real. "Thanks Dad." You finally did something right.
I hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter. this will be a short fanfic, so i'll post the rest asap. xoxoKaren