Hey, there folks! Hanna Cabrodi here again! Well, after a blackout last night (which is perfectly normal down here in the DR, unfortunately), I got a little bored and inspired at the same time and decided to write this little ditty. It is partly inspired by a Degrassi episode where Paige was raped. I know the whole rape line is overused but I DUN' CARE! I have never, praise God, have had to encounter something like rape or sexual harassment so in NO WAY am I trying to underestimate the gravity of this topic. It's just a story.

Disclaimer: Hey Arnold is NOT MINE, not even a little bit. "At Last" by Etta James belongs to whatever record company she recorded it with, rest her soul. The poem below, entitled "Poor Thing", belongs to the writers of Degrassi: The Next Generation. I DID NOT WRITE IT! And FINALLY, the starred quotes on the bottom belong to Tyler Perry. PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE don't sue me for using them, they just seemed INCREDIBLY appropriate. Mr. Perry, if you ever see this, I LOOOOOOOOOOVE YOUR WORK but PLEASE don't sue me lol! I'm just an innocent fanfic writer!

OH! And any talent and/or ability to write that I may have can be fully accredited to God. :)

So W/O further ado, I leave you with "A Storm, a Poem and Etta James"

A Storm, a Poem and Etta James

It had been 3 months since that night. No one in the gang knew what exactly happened at Rhonda's party but it was major.

Major enough to have stopped Helga from bullying.

Major enough for her to completely cut herself off from the gang. Except for just two people.

Her best friend Phoebe and Arnold, her guy best friend.

She still pined for her football headed love but she settled for his friendship, in the meanwhile.

Neither Phoebe nor Arnold know what happened to her and have tried to talk to her to see if they could have some questions answered but to no avail.

At least until one stormy Friday night.

Arnold, whose hair was now slicked back, as opposed to his once unruly spiked up hairstyle, was sporting his plaid pajama pants, a plain gray t-shirt with "Hillwood Varsity Baseball" in royal blue and white letters on the front and "Shortman" in college letters written on the back and white socks was sitting on his bed while checking his Facebook on his laptop when he heard a tap on his skylight window. He recognized the familiar silhouette and signaled for her to come in.

He laughed internally as he saw Helga drenched in water like an abandoned puppy. She was wearing her favorite purple jacket, which, oddly enough, still fit, a pink v-cut t-shirt, shredded skinny jeans and black chucks. Oh, and her ever-present pink bow, of course.

He wondered to himself what she could possibly be doing out on such a stormy night when weather reports indicated possible flash flooding that night.

He noticed her eyes were a bit red and puffy, she was definitely crying, but knowing Helga, he decided not to press the issue, so as not to arouse any kind of anger from her. He figured that's the last thing she needed right now.

"You're soaking wet." She looked at him with a 'no duh, Sherlock' kind of stare and he playfully rolled his eyes in response. He headed towards his closet and handed her a pair of sweatpants, a fleece plaid shirt and his favorite gray hoodie and told her to change out of those wet clothes. She did as she was asked.

He was used to Helga coming over often just to talk, especially since he knew what kind of home life she had but he never forced anything out of her. She would usually tell him what happened without question after a few moments.

Meanwhile, in Arnold's bathroom, Helga sulked in the smell of the clothes Arnold let her borrow. She could smell his intoxicating cologne and through the hoodie could get a whiff of that sense-electrifying shampoo he uses. Before letting herself get carried away and bursting out with soliloquies, she held her golden locket tightly, exited the bathroom and headed towards her beloved's room.

She had decided to let her hair out, letting the wet curls dance around her shoulders. Her bow was in her hand.

As she walked into the room, she made her way towards the red couch and sat down. She grabbed her messenger bag and took out her trusty pink notebook. She scribbled away and the silence in the room became almost unbearable. Then, as if the silence weren't enough to make things awkward, the electricity went out.

'Perfect', they thought simultaneously.

Arnold shut his laptop and lay down on his bed looking up at the stormy sky. Helga decided to continue writing in her notebook with her cellphone lighting up her words.

"So..." was Arnold's attempt to break the silence. She remained silent, just scribbling away until she came to a halt. She looked up and patted on the space next to her on the couch, inviting Arnold to sit next to her. He did as instructed.

As he sat down, her blue eyes reached his green ones. Though it was dark, he noticed they were teary. Instinct told him to wipe the tears that began falling on her face but he didn't want to push it.

She handed him her notebook and showed him what she'd written. "Read it," she asked him, her voice on the verge of breaking. She stared at the ground while listening to him read her poem aloud.

"It happens to other people

You say 'how sad'

You say 'poor thing'

But when it's you

It's something else

It's everything

It started as something minor

From there to something worse

The friends you loved

And thought you knew

Just disappeared

It felt so weird

Half blessing

Half curse

It happens to other people

You say 'how sad'

You say 'poor thing'"

His mind began to race when he finished reading. 'Is this about what happened at Rhonda's party? I mean it sounds as though she got... Oh, no...' He grasped the hidden message behind the poem and looked at her as if asking her if that's what she meant. She read his eyes loud and clear and nodded her head and began to cry.

He grabbed her and embraced her protectively. She returned the embrace almost immediately. He rubbed her back and began to give her consoling words, though no amount of sympathy could undo what happened that night.

His mind raced with anger, confusion and a tinge of... jealousy? 'Who was that sick bastard and what right did he think he have to touch her? To -' dare he think it 'RAPE her!? DAMN IT! Why didn't I see that!?' His grip on her became stronger, more protective, more loving.

Arnold let her go for a bit. Helga began to look around nervously, noticing that she had become too vulnerable. And just when she was about to open her mouth to put her guard back up, Arnold spoke.

"Who did this to you?" His voice was filled with anger. It might have been dark but he saw her face filled with shame. "Helga, PLEASE, don't hide this from me. PLEASE tell me who did this to you." He noticed the tears incessantly streaming on her face and cupped her cheeks with his hands as his thumbs delicately stroked the tears away. He didn't care how much it seemed that his actions may be going past a friendship boundary, it just seemed... right.

She looked into his eyes and finally spoke. "I..." she was hesitant and looked away. "I can't tell you."

He wouldn't take no for an answer. "No, Helga. I'm not gonna sit here and let this guy walk around freely in the streets while he gets away with having put his filthy hands on you. NO!"

"LOOK, Football Head. I don't need YOU or anyone telling me what the HELL I'm supposed to do with this. It is MY LIFE! MY CALL!

She began get up and make her way towards the ladder when he grabbed her by the hand and made her sit down.

"Helga, don't keep doing this. Don't keep shutting everyone out. Don't shut me out. This is too serious for you to keep it to yourself. Quite frankly, I can't believe how insane you are for not reporting this sooner! I mean, have you even gone to a doctor to see if this psycho gave you an illness or something?"

Normally, she would have internally swooned at Arnold's worry and concern for her but her pride was overtaking her. "For your information, HAIR BOY, I DID go to a doctor. I am FINE." She rolled her eyes at him. "At least, he used protection," she added disdainfully. "Pretty thoughtful, huh?"

He looked at her almost incredulously. How could she be so naïve? So careless? He grabbed her hands and looked into her eyes. Those... beautiful blue eyes. 'God, she's beautiful...' "Hellie,", he'd been calling her Hellie ever since they became such close friends,"you can't keep doing this. Please. Let me in. I want to help you so badly but you keep pushing me away. Just tell me who did it, please. I can't just sit back and act like nothing happened to you. Could we at least give the police an anonymous tip or something? I can't see you suffer like this. It's hurting me too..."

He found himself leaning in closer to her face. She began to feel nervous. She knew what he was about to do but she couldn't stop herself either. 'CRIMINY, he's amazing. I don't even deserve his friendship.' Before she could think any longer, their lips met in a tender yet passionate kiss. It was the kiss she'd been waiting for her entire life and she took full advantage.

What she DIDN'T expect, besides that kiss, was his tongue asking for permission to come in. And she let him explore her mouth. And he let her explore his. It was the most exquisite moment of their lives. Yes, theirs, not just hers because little did she know, her beloved, too, had wanted this for so long, no matter how much he tried to fight it.

They realized their need for air after a while so they finally parted, as much as they didn't want to. As much as Helga wanted to cherish this moment, she NEEDED to ask him.

So she did, in her own special way.

"What in the HELL was that?" Her voice was decorated with amusement AND confusion. She didn't wanna get her hopes up if it just ended up being the "heat of the moment."

Goodness, how she came to hate that phrase.

"I've wanted to tell you for months now but after seeing you just isolate yourself from everyone, I didn't wanna be selfish."

Her eyes began to water. 'Oh my goodness, what's he doing?'

"Helga, my entire life, I'd been falling for girls for the wrong reasons. It was always just a pretty face. But you... you're so much more than that. You've always been this enigma. You always keep me on my toes, always guessing. And I know I'm not the strongest guy out there but, and forgive me if I sound like something straight out of a movie, but I can love you past your pain. I want to... I do. Helga, I'm in love with you. Whatever that guy did will have hell to pay but let me be the one to love you through your heartache. Please." His eyes were almost begging her.

Her heart was overjoyed but her mind wasn't buying it. "Okay, where the hell's Ashton? This has gotta be some kind of joke. Arnold, what on EARTH could POSSIBLY make you love me? I treated you like the lowest form of human species to ever walk the planet for most of our lives. I belittled you, made fun of you, threw spit balls at your head and made FUN of your head. How, in that football shaped head of yours, can that POSSIBLY produce LOVE?"

He thought there was totally gonna be a different reaction but he couldn't help but entertain her with his answer. "Helga, if I'm away from you for more than an hour, I can't stop thinking about you. I carry you in my spirit. I pray for you more than I pray for myself. Heck, I've got it so bad for you, I'd go to the grocery store and buy all of your feminine products, I swear." She let out a small laugh and smiled, in the midst of her tears. "And that smile... Helga, when you smile like that, my world... it's alright." He paused for a moment. "I am in love with you. I really am."

The electricity came back and the heard a few cheers outside the boarding house. He noticed her face was still drenched in tears. "Criminy," she added while laughing. "I love you too, Arnold. I always have."

"I was hoping you were." He smiled and they kissed once more.

As they parted, she finally decided to tell him who did it. "It was a friend of Rhonda's. You don't know him. He was really drunk and he forced me into a guest room upstairs and well... did what he did. Rhonda found out and reported him. Up until now, she was the only other person that knew. There were cameras all over her house and it got him shoving me into the guest room while I was trying to beat the crap outta him to get out. He was too strong..." she paused. "The trial is next month but he's in jail without bail in the meantime. I really don't wanna go there alone and I don't want Bob finding out about this. EVER. I know this might be asking much but could you please go with me?"

"Of course, I will." He brought her closer to him and they sat blissfully in silence. Arnold decided to lower the lights in his room and turn on his favorite jazz station which conveniently started playing his secretly favorite Etta James song. "At Last."

He stood up and extended his hand towards her. "May I have this dance, Hellie?"

"You are such a loser, football head," she said, amusement in her voice. "I'd love to."

She took his hand and he lead her to the middle of his room. They smoothly swayed to the classic hit.

'At last... my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song..."

It's crazy how trauma was what brought them together... but things happen for a reason. And she's never felt safer.

Okay, the following quotes are the ones I mentioned that belong to Tyler Perry. They're from Diary of a Mad Black Woman, my FAVE TP film!

"...I can love you past your pain."

"...Helga [Helen], if I'm away from you for more than an hour, I can't stop thinking about you. I carry you in my spirit. I pray for you more than I pray for myself. Heck, I've got it so bad for you, I'd go to the grocery store and buy all of your feminine products, I swear..."

"...And that smile... Helga, when you smile like that, my world... it's alright."

"I am in love with you."

In the words of Sid Gifaldi: PLEEEEEEEEASE don't hurt me!

So that's it. Lemme know what you think. I love reviews so spoil me! :)


-Hanna Cabrodi