"Really, Arnold, really? Going steady?" "Well, I thought it was romantic..." A look on the unlikely (yet fated) pair's awkward progression in romance accompanied by equally awkward love advice provided by Arnold's parents. Wish them luck, because they need it. Post TJM.

{I am not sorry at all. Also, I don't own Hey Arnold! Enjoy!}

The Important Question

"You haven't asked her yet!? Even Pookie isn't that crazy, Shortman!"

In that moment, for the first time in Arnold's life, he was 100% sure that his Grandpa finally said something that made complete and utter sense.

And that made him the guiltiest person on Earth.

Miles stopped in his tracks and entered the living room. "He hasn't asked who what yet, dad?"

Add embarrassed to that list.

It was almost the end of October, only a week away from Halloween; even so, Arnold's little crisis had only started.

Just a week ago, he and his class had returned from the week-long trip in San Lorenzo. It had started off badly however, as the bus that was to take them to the village that they were to stay in had been more than an hour late and temperature there was unacceptable. A fact proven so by Rhonda complaining that her hair was going to frizz with how high the temperature was. But, that was just the least of her worries, and the start of all of their problems. Unfortunately, just a day after staying not even a full day at the village, it got raided by La Sombra's goons and they were all forced to split up. Their adventure had lasted the whole week and had ended with a battle with La Sombra's goons against his class, Arnold's parents, and the Green Eyed People. And while they were all fighting, Arnold and Helga kissed for the fourth time, and Arnold kissed her back for the first time. With all the mess that had happened, they had luckily confirmed their love for each other and yet, they didn't confirm their actual relationship with each other.

'The nerve of that boy!' He'd think what Helga probably thought, which she actually did. 'Made me wait for seven years and thought it'd be okay to make me wait for him to ask me out! You are so lucky with the amount of love I have for you, football head or I'd take it back again.'

"Oh, your son hasn't asked his little friend out," Grandpa informed Miles casually. "Even though they already kissed for four times! How long are ya gonna keep her hanging, Shortman? Cheese and crackers!"

Miles blinked. "Four times?"

Grandpa nodded and stood up from his seat. "You know what, I'm gonna let you take this one, son. First talk about boyhood problems with your son, and this is a good one, too!" He patted Miles' back. This could not get even more embarrassing. "Good luck! To the both of you! Stella, you may want to help Miles out on this one."

He could not believe this got more embarrassing.

"Alright," Stella had nodded to Phil before she had entered the living room and sat in a seat next to Miles. "What's the problem? Arnold, are you hurt? Do I need to break out the medical kit or—"

"It's not that type of problem Stella," Miles assured her.

"Oh good!" She put her hand over her chest and let out a loud, thankful sigh.

"So Arnold," Miles shifted his gaze to his son. "Four times?"

Not wanting to lie to his parents, Arnold had corrected him "...actually, it was five, I miscounted..." as he stared at the carpet below his feet. Just because he didn't want to lie to them didn't mean he wanted to look them in the eye as he did so.

Stella, not being fully informed on the situation, had elbowed Miles lightly and had asked him silently what was going on. Miles, going on with the apparent charades game, had made his attempts in explaining Arnold's predicament by pointing to him, followed by making hand puppets kissing each other, before finally pointing to his watch and held up all five digits.

With all due respect, Stella had really meant to mouth her reaction to Miles. "Five times!"

Arnold winced and had begun spewing his explanation. "The first was for a school play, the second was when we won a cameo appearance on a show— and it wasn't even on script, the third was on top of the FTi building when we were saving the neighborhood, and the fourth and fifth so far… were in San Lorenzo…!"

Miles and Stella couldn't help but give each other a hi-five. But that was inappropriate. "To clarify, over the time, did you two get an understanding of each other's feelings?" Arnold nodded. "Son, I think it's pretty obvious that you have to ask her."

"Yes Arnold, even though you've sorted out your feelings for each other, she may still be confused about this," Stella agreed. "The right thing to do is just ask her. And because you two already know that you like… or like-like each other, you shouldn't be afraid to ask. Because I'm pretty sure she'd say yes."

"But I don't know how to ask her is the problem," Arnold stated.

"Well," Stella began. "When asking someone out, it has to come from your heart, Arnold. You have to be straightforward…"

"But at the same time, romantic," Miles added.

"Not too romantic."

"Just a simple, "Will you go steady with me?" Will do."

"Steady?" Stella gave Miles a puzzled look. "Miles, I know we've practically been stuck in a cave for quite some time, but I'm pretty sure that line's outdated."

Miles shrugged. "Dad told me that's how he asked Mom out when they were young-"

"Hey! I may be old but I can still hear you!"

"-er," Miles continued. "And hey, it worked!"

"We're sorry we can't be more of a help to you Arnold," Stella apologized. "We're still sort of new to this…"

"It's okay," Arnold smiled. "You tried, and I should too."

"Oh! Would you look at the time! Come on Arnold, we'll walk you over to the bus," He nodded, grabbing his lunch and followed his parents out the door. As they stood by the bus stop, they had been giving him more advice and tips on how to ask her the question coupled by apologies based on how they would have loved to drive or walk Arnold over to school. It was the weekend that had followed the week of the field trip, and boy it was a tiring one! They had lost their passports over the years, but thankfully they were given a trip back home anyways, but had to go to a mandatory meeting in a federal bureau as soon as possible in order to straight things out.

There was also the fact that their driver's license had most likely already expired.

The bus had eventually driven over to his stop and had opened the doors for him. As he stepped on to the bus, his parents wished him a final good luck and waved to him as the doors closed on them. "To be honest, I wasn't expecting problems like this until he was thirteen. Sixteen even!"

"Our boy is growing up so fast."

Miles smiled warmly and held Stella closer as they walked back to the boarding house. "Good thing we're back so we won't miss anymore."

She couldn't agree more.

"Arnold!" Half the bus had greeted him that morning.

"Never again, do you hear me? Next time, I'll even agree for a hike in the woods, just not the jungle again, ever," Rhonda deadpanned. "Stop doing that Curly! Just because the Green Eyes gave you a recipe and some sort of weirdo incantation does not mean it'll actually work!"

"Just you wait my love!"

Nadine shook her head. "I could only disagree… on the jungle part, of course! I loved it, despite the fact we had to fight those men in the end."

"Same here," Sheena nodded.

"If you see the villagers again, tell them I'm sorry about setting off their traps too early…" The bus hit a bump. "I'm okay!"

"Well, if it involves a trip with food and fighting, count me in!" Harold boasted.

"Only without the monkeys," Sis interjected.

"Wilikers, Arnold, we're sorry if we're saying too much," Stinky apologized.

"But if you don't mind us by asking," Lila begun. "Is it ever so fun to be with your parents again?"

"Arnold? Hey Arnold, you okay?" Gerald asked him.

As they all chattered, their voiced had muffled while he was walking down the buses' aisle. With each row of seats he had passed, his heart rate increased steadily only to make him more nervous than he already was.

That is, until he'd reach that one row. "Uh Phoebe, if you don't mind, can I take that seat?"

"Certainly not, Arnold," She smiled and stood up. Before she switched her spot next to Gerald, she patted his back. It had only made him felt like this was all a plan. A plan that everyone had been on, even Gerald, except him. As soon as he planted his seat next to Helga, the bus became silent.

And when he would speak his first words to her since the confession during the trip, every head made a hesitation to turn in their direction.

"Hey football head," Good, some familiarity may tone this down. "How's tricks?"

"Sorry I couldn't talk to you or anything after the trip—" He began, but only to be interrupted by her.

"Arnold." Uh-oh.

"Yes Helga?"

She turned to face him and gave him a stern look. "Quit beating around the bush."

"Will you go steady with me?" That had done it. By now, every head had turned in shock and the bus had been forced to go on an abrupt stop as the bus driver himself took one look at the rear-view mirrors to look at their reflection. The whole bus remained silent for a while, but it had been rudely interrupted when a car behind it had honked its horn repetitively, causing the bus driver to continue driving. Even so, Helga's shocked, yet confused expression remained, along with everyone else's.

What did he just do!?

More importantly, why hasn't she given him an answer yet?

She loved him, and he loved her, wasn't it supposed to be simple?

Well, he supposed it could have gone simpler if he had rephrased his words a bit. His mom was right; asking someone 'to go steady' was outdated. He guessed that if he wasn't such a nervous wreck around her all the time, maybe he could have asked her more, well, modernly!

'Going steady,' he thought. 'How romantic!'

"Really, Arnold, really?" Helga scoffed. "Going steady?"

"Well, I thought it was romantic," he lied. It wasn't. It may have been about a couple decades ago, but it wasn't now.

"Well you thought wrong," She flicked his nose. "But…"

He perked up.

She put emphasis on the next words she would say. It may have been to mock him and his way of asking her out or it might have been her way of stating that he was hers. But no matter.

"Of course I'll go out with you, football head," She gave him a small warm smile before she playfully punched him in the arm. "It's about time you asked."

She said yes.

{Is it bad that whenever I read a Helga/Arnold fic and when they're portrayed with behaviors like Lulu, it bothers me? I mean, yeah they're in a relationship and Helga's been holding off for years to show her love to Arnold but still! To be honest, I see their progression in romance to be awkward yet still steady. Arnold's a good kid, yet he doesn't know the physical side of love. Meanwhile, Helga wants nothing more than to be a sap with Arnold, yet she doesn't want to smother him. I just wanted to play with that idea. Plus since Miles and Stella are still fairly new to the parenting business, I thought it'd be even more entertaining with their attempts at giving love advice to their ten-year-old son. Hope you guys will enjoy this! Also, my version of TJM will have to be put on hold, I can only do so much at the same time, and this one just grabbed me unexpectedly, sorry.}

Next time: Hand Holding.