Author's note:

This is the newer and hopefully improved version of "The Wrath Of Scheck!" My sincerest apologies to those of you who got headaches from TRYING to read my fanfic from the lack of paragraph structure. I HAD paragraphs in the word processor, but in the madness of uploading the stories to FF.net. well, they messed everything up.

Anyway, I've fixed a few things, including the lack of paragraphs problem. Here you go. Enjoy!

Arana

[b]Hey Arnold!

"The New Girl"[/b]

The slightly cool morning breeze was a welcome relief to the hot air of summer as Arnold walked to his elementary school, P.S. 118. The large red building appeared as he turned a corner. He could see his friend, Gerald Johansson, waiting for him on the stairs, chewing mindlessly on a piece of gum and, quite frankly, looking very bored. As soon as he noticed Arnold, he stood up and walked over to him. Before he could say anything, there was a honk of a horn and a shriek.

Arnold whipped around to see Helga walking across the street. A car that refused to stop or even slow down honked its horn at her. Helga froze a moment, then leaped out of the street and ran straight into Arnold. Arnold fell flat on his back, with Helga right on top of him.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"Fine, fine, Football head," Helga said in her usual way of referring to Arnold. She got up quickly and dusted herself off.

Helga walked over to the sidewalk, looked both ways and very carefully walked out into the street to retrieve her books that she had dropped in the street, or what was left of them, actually. Muttering to herself, she picked up the tattered remains and walked back to the school. She threw them in a trashcan as she walked past one and went straight into the building.

"You know, Arnold," Gerald said. "Sometimes I almost feel sorry for her."

Arnold raised an eyebrow.

"Almost?" He asked.

"Almost," Gerald replied.

"I'd give anything to find out why she's so irritable all the time," Arnold said. "I don't know how Phoebe deals with it."

"That makes two of us," Gerald said.

The bell rang for the school day to begin, and the two boys trudged up the stairs to their class.

It was almost time for the lunch bell to ring when a pretty young girl with curly brown hair walked into the classroom, interrupting Mr. Simmons' lecture. She walked up to him and whispered something in his ear. He smiled and nodded and motioned for her to sit down in a chair by the door.

"All right, boys and girls," Mr. Simmons, Arnold's teacher, said. "We have a new student today."

Arnold looked at the young woman sitting by the door. Her? In this class? She could've almost passed for a sixth grader!

But that didn't necessarily mean Arnold was disappointed at having her in his class.

"This is Jacqueline Mark," Mr. Simmons continued. "Jacqueline, why don't you stand up and tell something about yourself to the class?"

"All right," She said. "As you all know, I'm Jacqueline Mark, but please, call me Jackie. It a lot easier to say." She smiled.

"Where ya from?" Stinky asked.

"Well, I was born in Virginia, but I grew up in Hollywood," Jackie answered.

"Ooh, Hollywood," Curly said from the back of the class.

"Did you live next to any movie stars?" Gerald asked. Jackie snorted.

"Despite popular belief, most big-time movie actors don't live in Hollywood. Although, I did meet Harrison Ford once." She trailed off and had a dreamy look in her eye.

"So what are you? Some kinda big glamour girl?" Helga's sarcastic voice rang out above the others.

"Well, in a way, I was a glamour girl," Jackie said, smiling sheepishly and rubbing the back of her neck.

The bell for lunch stopped any more oncoming questions. Immediately, all the kids except for Arnold, Gerald and Jackie flooded for the door.

"Thank you so much for telling us about yourself," Mr. Simmons said to Jackie. "It's time for lunch, in case you're wondering."

"I could've guessed that myself," Jackie said, grinning.

The young girl left the room without another word. Arnold still sat at his desk, still staring at the spot she had just been standing in.

"Arnold." Gerald waved a hand in front of Arnold's face. "Hey Arnold."

"Huh?" Arnold snapped out of it. "Oh, sorry." He grinned sheepishly as he left the classroom.

"So what do you think of the new kid?" Gerald asked, even though he could probably guess the answer.

"She's. nice," Arnold said.

"Yeah, I know," Gerald said, raising an eyebrow. He grinned and glanced over at Arnold. "Whatever happened to Ruth?"

Arnold remembered the disastrous Valentines dinners he had had with Ruth McDoogle and a person who had pretended to be his French Pen Pal, Cecile. The girl who had posed as his Pen Pal looked incredibly familiar, but Arnold still couldn't place who it was. Long curly blonde hair, large eyes, pink-

"Outta my way, geek-bait," Helga pushed her way in front of him into the cafeteria.

Arnold sighed. Maybe he should just give up trying to remember.

The cafeteria was crowded with babbling children eating their lunches. Jackie looked for a place to sit. She saw a group of kids that were in her class, including the boy with the oddly shaped head, but the table was full. She scanned the room for any more possible places and spotted one. It was a nearly empty table with one person sitting at it: the little blonde girl who had asked if she was a "glamour girl."

Jackie smiled. She walked over to the girl's table and set her food down. "Hi," she said. "Mind if I sit here?"

"Go ahead," the girl said, opening her lunch box.

"You obviously know my name," Jackie said. "Would you tell me yours?"

"Helga," the blonde girl said, pulling out a sandwich. "Helga G. Pataki."

"What does the 'G' stand for?" Jackie asked.

"Geraldine. Now will you please stop bugging me?"

"What's eating you?" Jackie asked. Helga raised an eyebrow at the curious remark. "What makes you think something's bothering me?" she retorted. Jackie gave Helga a sly look.

"I can always tell when someone's bothered," she said. "Yeah, well this is the way I always act, so get used to it sister," Helga said. "And what did you mean in the classroom when you said you could be considered a 'Glamour Girl?'"

"I used to model for a while," Jackie replied.

"Why'd you quit?" Helga said. "Most girls would die if they got the chance to do something like that."

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Jackie said. "But I had no time to myself, no privacy, and no personal space. It was a living nightmare!"

"Tell me about it," Helga muttered. Jackie raised an eyebrow.

"Ah, so I see someone else has had the taste of stardom?"

"I used to be the 'It' girl," Helga said. "You know, the one who used to scowl and shake her fist?"

Jackie sat back and took a good look at Helga.

"You do look exactly like her," Jackie said. "Why did you quit?"

"Same reasons," Helga said. "How'd you manage to get them to buy your contract?" "Refusing to work. They got so tired of trying to coax me into working that they fired me. I read about how you ended your career. Seems kind of ironic that they wouldn't want you to act nice."

"Yeah," Helga said. "Some people liked my 'new look.'" Helga glanced dreamily at Arnold. She snapped out of it immediately. "So aren't you a little old to be a fourth grader?" Jackie raised an eyebrow and put on a mischievous grin.

"Aren't you a little masculine to be wearing a pink bow and dress?" she shot back. "Besides, I'm only nine."

Helga seemed a little taken aback at first, then smiled and with a hint of satisfaction, put her arm on Jackie's shoulder and remarked, "Jackie, you and I are going to get along just fine."

Jackie smiled and finished her lunch.

Arnold was playing foursquare when he finally noticed Jackie had come out to the playground. She was sitting alone on a bench off to the side with a sketchbook in her lap.

It was only after Arnold got hit with a ball and knocked to the ground that he noticed he was staring.

"Arnold!" Gerald said, helping him up. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," Arnold replied. "Just fine. Excuse me a moment, will you?"

Gerald shrugged and passed the ball back to Stinky and Sid. The three resumed their game while Arnold walked over to join Jackie.

"Hi," Arnold said as he approached her. She seemed a bit startled, but recovered quickly. She smiled pleasantly.

"Hey," she said, scooting over. Arnold sat down next to her. He looked over at her sketchbook.

"What are you drawing?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing," Jackie sighed, looking at it with deep concentration. "Just a sketch of you guys on the four-square court. I don't think it's that good, but-"

"Are you kidding?" Arnold said. "It's great!"

"Really?" Jackie looked grateful for the compliment. She looked down at it. "I guess I did the shading well enough." She looked over at Arnold, almost as if confiding a secret. "I always have a problem with shading."

"I'm not the best at drawing," Arnold admitted.

"Practice makes perfect," Jackie said. "By the way, in case you already didn't know, I'm Jackie. You must be Arnold."

"Yeah, I am," Arnold said. "How'd you know that?" Jackie smiled and tapped her head. "Helga put me 'in the know,'" Jackie smiled. "She certainly has a lot to say about you."

Arnold didn't really react.

"Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?" He asked blandly. Jackie grinned.

"It could be a good thing," she said.

"Hey, Jackie!" Helga's intrusive voice cut Arnold off before he could ask Jackie anything more. "There you are! I've been looking all over for you!"

The bell that signaled the end of lunch rang.

"I guess we should go to class," Arnold said, standing up. He turned to Jackie. "Mind if I walk you there?"

"Of course she does, football head," Helga said. Arnold simply sighed at the annoying "nickname" he'd acquired from her over the years.

"Hey," Jackie said, clearly offended. "We're all good friends here! Can't we all just walk to class together?" Helga gave her a skeptical look. "Come on, Helga, it's not like you have a crush on him or something."

If Helga looked surprised, it was only for a moment. Arnold tried to see anything in her usually angry face, but couldn't see anything but what was revealed to him. Eventually, Helga gave and they all walked to class.

Mr. Simmons hadn't arrived yet when the kids got to class. Arnold just sat at his desk and stared straight ahead, waiting for class to start.

"Mind if I sit here?" Jackie's voice broke through his thoughts. She was standing over the desk next to him, waiting patiently for his reply.

"No, no," Arnold said. "Go ahead."

She nodded and sat herself down in the seat.

"So," Arnold said. "Where do you live?"

Jackie shrugged.

"I don't know yet," she said. "We've been looking at various apartments and boarding houses, but, so far, no success."

"Maybe you can come by my Grandpa's boarding house someday, if you haven't found anywhere," Arnold said. "We've got a few extra rooms, if you're interested."

"Maybe I'll bring it up with my parents after we start getting tired of sleeping in hotels," Jackie said, grinning.

Arnold returned the smile and turned to the front of the class to see Mr. Simmons come in with their science worksheets.

Arnold waved Jackie goodbye at the end of the school day as she hopped into her parents' car and drove off. Helga, also waving goodbye, and Gerald stood next to him. As soon as she left, Helga glanced at Arnold and stomped off towards home.

Arnold shook his head. "I don't think I'll ever understand what's going on inside her head," he muttered to himself.

"Wouldn't it be weird if Helga was actually in love with you and she only teased you to cover up how she really felt?" Gerald asked, elbowing Arnold. Arnold chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his neck, recalling the events at the FT[I]I[/I] building.

[I]I love you, Arnold! I've always loved you! Ever since I laid eyes on your stupid football head![/I]

"Yeah," he said. "Man, that would be weird."

"Arnold, you're blushing," Gerald said. Arnold felt his cheeks get hotter.

"No I'm not," he said. "It's just the heat."

"Whatever you say."

The two boys continued walking for a while in silence.

"So what do you think of Jackie?" Arnold asked.

"Who?"

"The new girl?"

"Don't know," Gerald said. "But she's friends with Helga." Arnold rolled his eyes. "Come on, Gerald," he said. "You can't really judge a person by who they hang out with!" Gerald gave him a skeptical look. "Okay, well, maybe you can. But that's not the point. Maybe she just gets along with different types of people. She seems nice enough to me."

"Yeah," Gerald said. "Maybe she'll even tame Helga, hmm?"

"Getting her to stop calling me 'football head' is all I ask."

Arnold turned the corner to go to his house and waved goodbye to his friend. He turned back around and saw a car in front of the boarding house. Maybe they'd be having new boarders after all.

He heard adults talking as he entered the building. He could pick out his grandfather's voice, but identified two other unknown adult voices that were chatting with him. As he headed up to his room, he glanced in the hallway mirror to see who it was.

There was his grandpa, another man, a woman, and. [I]Jackie?![/I]

It looked as if Jackie had taken him seriously on his offer after all! Jackie saw him in the mirror too and also looked genuinely surprised. She left her parents' side and walked over to him.

"Arnold?" she asked. "What are you doing here?"

"I live here," Arnold replied.

"Really?" Jackie said. "That's so cool! My parents just closed the deal with your grandpa! We're moving in tonight."

"Really?" he said. "That's great. Now, at least, we have another kid around." He froze. "Does that mean I get to see more of Helga?" he asked flatly. Jackie grinned.

"Yup."

"Great."

Jackie laughed.

"Relax," she said, slapping him on the back. "I'm sure you'll get along. Someday."

"That'll be the day," Arnold agreed.

"Oh, hey Helga," Jackie called over to Helga. It was the next day, and the bell that signaled the end of class had just rang. "What do you say you come over to my house? We can do our homework together."

"Sounds good to me," Helga said.

"Maybe we can even hang out with Arnold," Jackie said turning to walk away. Helga grabbed her arm.

"What do you mean?" Helga demanded. Jackie smiled pleasantly.

"You mean you didn't know?" She asked innocently. "We moved into Arnold's boarding house."

Helga got the strangest look on her face. Suddenly her eyes rolled back in her head and she promptly fainted.

Arnold, who was walking up to join Jackie, ran over to check Helga.

"What happened?" he asked. Jackie shrugged, trying to puzzle it out.

"I was just inviting her over," Jackie said. "Then I just so happened to mention that I-"

She broke herself off, and after a moment, a grin slowly spread across her lips. "Ah," she said. "I think I understand."

"What?" [I][b]ARNOLD*[/I][/b] asked, trying to revive [I][b]HELGA*.[/I][/b]

"Nothing." Jackie looked down to see what Arnold was doing. He was gently tapping the sides of her face. "No, no! You're doing it all wrong. Here, let me try."

Arnold backed off and Jackie sat Helga up. She pulled pack her hand and slapped the slumped figure's face.

"Jackie!" Arnold said, going to stop her hand. "What are you [I]doing?![/I]"

Helga groaned. Her eyes cracked open ever so slightly.

"And that's how you get a Vulcan out of a Vulcan Healing Trance!" Jackie whooped. "I told Mom I could learn something from 'Star Trek'!" After catching Arnold's baffled look, she grinned sheepishly. "Sorry. Trekkie joke."

Arnold only looked more confused. Helga looked like she needed an aspirin.

"Are you okay?" Arnold asked Helga. "You just fainted, and-"

"I'm fine, Football head!" Helga pushed him away and got to her feet. Jackie pulled back her hand again in a pre-slapping position.

"Helga," She said. "What have I told you about calling people Football head?"

Helga was about to retort, but noticed the position Jackie's hand was in. She turned away with an "[I]hmph![/I]

Gerald walked up to Arnold and shot him a questioning look. Arnold only shrugged.

And with that, the four fourth-graders turned and started walking to the old boarding house, each lost in their own thoughts (Helga's mostly revolving around Arnold, and Jackie's mostly revolving around Helga's thoughts that revolved around Arnold. So, indirectly, their thoughts revolved around Arnold. So if they both had all their worlds revolving around Arnold, does that mean that both are in love with him?! And if they both are in love with him that could make for a juicy story line!!)

(But wait! Arnold is thinking about how weird Jackie is, and Jackie is thinking about Helga who is thinking about Arnold, so that means Arnold is thinking about himself, so he must be in love with. HIMSELF! But he is thinking about Jackie so that means that he's in love with JACKIE too!)

(And here's GERALD thinking about sports, and Arnold's head is shaped like a football, so therefore he's thinking about Arnold who is thinking about how weird Jackie is who is thinking about Helga who is thinking about Arnold! So that means Gerald is in love with Arnold, too!)

(Man, I got a great story idea about this. j/k ;P)

*Oh yeah, no subliminal messages here!

[b]THE END

Or [I]IS IT?![/I][/b]