Chapter 1: Our Lives
New York City, a rich, robust city that never sleeps. He looked at himself once more; bright yellow hair slicked back, and a football shaped head. The same small blue hat that he's held onto since he was a child. A beige turtleneck sweater, with a long black coat and loose fitting jeans. He decided to take a walk outside towards the bookstore. He turned to look at the time: "5:15pm." He began walking towards the door to put his black shoes on so he could head out walking, hopefully he might find something interesting. Anything to get away from...everything.
She awoke from the dreams she kept having of him. She never told him how she felt, and still feels about him to this very day. She must have fallen asleep while attempting to write her newest novel, so she decided to get up and take a walk to rejuvenate herself. She had been so worked up, and less inspired lately as she began to look at herself. Long curly blonde hair, smooth pale skin with a hint of rosy cheeks, natural pink lips, and now rid of her ugly uni-brow she was once haunted by as a young girl. She was wearing an A-line skirt that ended at her knees, a brown tank top, and round toed black kitten heels. She rinsed her face to wash away the tiredness she felt, and began walking towards the door to throw on her green pea coat. She needed some coffee, and a good cup too.
Once he arrived at the new bookstore that had opened last month, which still smelled of fresh printed books and sweets. Arnold began strolling through the bestsellers aisle now recognizing the one name of an author that was almost too familiar for comfort. "Helga Pataki."
It all came flashing back to the mean girl he once knew as a child, and the same girl that still continued to pick on him up until 7th grade. Shortly after that, she disappeared. At the time he always wondered what happened to her, but on the other end counted his blessings for the one woman who would no longer taunt or tease him anymore. At the time that is.
He smiled at the memory of her, as he picked up the hardback cover of the book that sat on the shelves.
The title read "Lost Love."
Helga Pataki? In love? With who? & When? He thought to himself sarcastically.
But he was all the more intrigued now. He then walked towards the cashier so he could purchase the book.
"Hello! Did you find everything okay?" The cute brown haired cashier said to him. Arnold smiled in response.
"Yeah, thanks." He replied as he handed her the book.
"Lost Love? I heard this one was good, a best seller actually" The cashier commented.
"Really?" Arnold replied to the cashier almost skeptically towards her.
"Mhm, I read it. Phenomenal book, its actually quite sad" The cashier said looking downwards avoiding eye contact with him
"That's interesting" Arnold said thinking to himself, not paying too much attention to the cashier.
"That'll be $8.74" said the cashier now looking at him.
Arnold paid for the book, and began walking towards the nearest coffee shop, after all he did enjoy coffee and a good book. Anything to get away from those damned screams he kept hearing in his nightmares.
Helga now holding her coffee in between her hands began walking towards the booth in the corner away from everyone.
She took a sip of her coffee as it began to work on her frazzled nerves.
"One regular coffee, please" She heard a familiar voice say and her eyes began to widen, and her heart skipped a beat at the sound. It couldn't be?! Is it!?
She turned to look, and there he was, her heart was now racing and her mouth went dry.
He was turned away from her, but he was wearing a long black jacket, and loose fitting jeans. His bright blonde hair was slicked back where she could see the tips of his hair, and the back of his small blue hat.
She hadn't seen him in years, since her family decided to move suddenly. Her heart was in her throat now in anticipation to look at his face.
He finally turned around so she could see him.
Her jaw dropped to the floor, she knew he would be good looking but good lord was he ever.
His bright blonde hair slicked back, bright blue eyes, square rimless glasses, a light tan on his skin, no facial hair, however his face looked much older and more attractive. His jacket was long and ended at his knees with buttons going all the way down, his jacket was open and swayed behind him and a beige turtleneck sweater peeked through the jacket, dark wash loose fitting jeans and simple black shoes. His body was more filled out, and it was easy to tell through the clothes he wore, more muscular, natural, and it made her insides like jello at how beautiful he was. No Greek/Roman God, or Spartan warrior would do this man justice at this moment.
His eyes began searching for a place to sit, when she finally noticed he had a book in his hands.
She turned away from him, to calm her racing heart, as her mouth went dry, her insides officially melted, and her nerves taking hold of her. She began gulping her coffee down, to calm herself.
She turned slowly back to look towards him, which he was now walking towards a chair in the middle of the cafe. He moved like he was in complete control of his body, graceful and poised. This was so unfair because now her cheeks were burning up.
He sat, crossing his legs, and pulled the book out of the bag. Normally when men cross there legs it would look too feminine, but for him it was very relaxed like he was in his element, which made it more manly than what she's used to see. He looked like an Angel in her eyes, and she had longed for this man for her whole life, now Helga was completely mesmerized by him, for her childish crush on this one man...named Arnold.
He opened the book, and read the first dedication page "To my family, and most importantly my love"
"Hmm" he murmured to himself as he turned the next page fixing his glasses and set them closer to his face.
"Chapter 1: The One Who Started It All.
As a young child, I remember the way everyone always treated her. Especially my parents, the way they always put her first. The earliest memory I have when it comes to her, my older sister; was when I was three years old my parents were so absorbed with her when she played the piano and I kept asking my father "Whose taking me to preschool?"
He shoved me away, and told me to "go play."
It was raining that day, and I decided to walk myself to preschool. Imagine a three year old walking outside in the rain in the big city.
When I think back on it now, so much could have happened to me but it made me realize that I was always alone in this world.
My lunch was stolen, and I was covered in mud.
When I finally made it to the school, I wanted to speak with no one and preferred to be alone.
When suddenly a little boy with a football shaped head, and bright yellow hair decided to share his umbrella with me and said to me "I like your bow"
"Huh?" I replied to him confused, shocked and a bit bewildered.
"I like your bow because its pink like your pants" he said smiling at me, as he began walking inside the preschool.
At that moment, I knew-"
"Hey football head" He heard a familiar voice calmly and almost jokingly say as he quickly and slowly glanced at her and returned his eyes to the book. He smiled at what he had just seen, because there the author was, standing in front of him only this time it wasn't the little preteen girl from his memory.
Green pea coat with a belt that wrapped around her waist and ended at her hips, her brown tank top with lace peaking from the jacket, a dark A-Line pencil skirt, with round toed black kitten heels. Her blonde hair cascaded over her shoulders seductively, making her skin look soft and supple. Her eyes a sparkling bright brown, and no uni-brow, rosy flushed cheeks and full pink lips.
Arnold was actually taken aback at how lovely she looked. His eyes still focused on the book.
"Hello Ms. Pataki. You look quite lovely, if I do say so myself" Arnold said still looking at the book, and a devilish smirk played on his lips. His voice was soft, warm, soothing, rich, and more importantly...sexy as hell.
Helga decided to ignore the fact that she now felt weak at the knees from his compliment.
He shut the book, and began looking back at her, his eyes shining bright blue.
She smiled warmly back at him.
Arnold was taken aback by her reaction, never for as long as he had known her...has she genuinely smiled, about anything. He quickly blinked the shock from his eyes regaining his composure.
"Mind if I join you?" Helga said calmly to him motioning to sit down in front of him.
Arnold decided to ignore the loud pounding of his heart in his chest. Perhaps it was because he hadn't seen her in a long time, almost 12-15 ish years.
"Not at all" Arnold replied to her still seeming calm as he accepted her offer. He snickered under his breath to himself finally remembering what she called him.
"Whats so funny?" Helga snapped returning to the shrewd little girl he was all too familiar with.
"That nickname brings back memories for me" Arnold said looking at her smiling warmly. He looked boyish in his smile.
She smiled in response to him.
"Yeah, I did torture you a lot didn't I?" Helga admitted looking at him earnestly. He blinked in surprise, and his smile became an all knowing smile.
"A lot is a bit of an understatement, Ms. Pataki" Arnold said in response his eyebrow raising as if to inquire"Yeah right".
They both started laughing at there own odd relationship and recollection of there memories.
Helga couldn't remember when was the last time she felt something this comfortable, this warm, and loving. The whole reason she came over towards him was because she remembered what she had put in the book about him. The book that became a bestseller and instantly put her to fame a few years back, and yet she was missing something and someone from home. She couldn't remember a night she didn't dream about him, which made her more uneasy than normally. They sat in awkward silence for a few moments until Arnold said something.
"I didn't know you write" Arnold said looking at her a small smirk playing on his lips, as Helga turned to look back at him.
His eyes are as shining as the sky and her made her heart race. Why did she not tell him how she felt sooner? Did he even feel the same way about her? Probably not.
She wondered if he still had a thing for Lila. She snapped herself out of her thoughts.
"Well yeah, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I guess you couldn't have known that, considering the circumstances." Helga admitted looking away from him. He was too gorgeous and it made her nervous.
He paused, and sipped his coffee before speaking again and looking back at her.
"Ms. Pataki, would you care to share what happened to you so many years ago when you suddenly left in the middle of the school year? Well you weren't my favorite person growing up, however I'm curious to know." Arnold said still staring at her intently.
Helga was taken aback, when did he get to be so blunt and honest? He wasn't like this at all. His words stung a bit.
"Where do I start?" Helga replied looking back towards him not paying attention how his words had stung her a bit on the inside, now his eyes solely focused on her intently listening for her response.
She couldn't tell him the reason she left was because she insisted to her family that they moved. She couldn't handle being near Arnold and never telling him how she felt about him. It seemed like a childish thought now.
"At the beginning, like in your book." Arnold said cunningly, a devilish smirk playing on his lips as he continued staring intently at her.
Helga's face was drained completely of all blood, like she had seen a ghost. Does he know? She gulped her coffee nervously.
Arnold could tell she was nervous, but instead decided to follow the rules of the conversation and not use his unfair advantage in this conversation. She was so easy to read, even though he hadn't seen her so many years.
Helga looked back at him and attempted to calm herself before speaking.
"So you started reading it did you?" Helga replied to him, allowing her nervousness to show a bit more.
He chuckled a charming devilish smile, and bright white teeth showed.
Her heart came to a stop.
"Yeah, before running into you." Arnold said abruptly bringing Helga's heart back to life.
For so long she had dreamed of him, and yet she still couldn't be around him. Dreams did him no justice.
"Look, Arnold...I...want to say..." Helga began to say, but her throat suddenly dry and parched. She sipped her coffee before continuing.
Arnold looked intrigued by what she was going to say as he shifted himself forward and eyes staring straight at her.
God this was so hard, but she had dreamed of saying it for as long as she can remember.
"I'm listening" Arnold said, his blue eyes piercing her and his posture relaxed.
Helga took a deep breath before she spoke, and looked into his eyes.
"I'm sorry, I know I caused you lots of pain...and plenty of embarrassment for you to count, but I wanted you to know...that...your...not a bad guy at all." Helga finally said and breathed a heavy sigh.
Arnold smiled warmly at her.
"Thank you, Ms. Pataki. That actually does mean a lot. Even though it seems pointless now."Arnold replied sipping his coffee his smile turning into a small frown and his eyes trailed away from her.
What did he mean by that? Helga curious to ask.
"What do you mean by that?" She said her eyes filled with curiosity.
Arnold smirked and chuckled at her, his posture turned away from her.
"Lets just say, life has a funny way of showing you how truly evil and ugly the world can be. Everything changed after Phil and Pookie died." Arnold said his eyes focused on her from the corner of his eye, and a sarcastic smile followed in the corner of his mouth, allowing his sadness to show and some kind of darkness that she couldn't pinpoint.
Helga looked baffled, the man she had dreamed about was not the nice boy she once knew. Had she known, she never would have left. Somehow she could tell he was hiding something, and it made her uneasy.
Arnold now realized she was frowning by what he had said, he turned to face her before he spoke.
"Hey now Ms. Pataki, there's no reason for you to frown. As far as I'm concerned I'm pretty sure I've shed enough tears for the both of us." Arnold said his lips playing into a smile, but his eyes still said everything: sadness, longing, and loneliness.
Helga was taken aback, as this made her heart sink. She did the only thing she knew how to do in situations like these whenever she was surrounded by much sadness.
She smiled em pathetically at him, and her eyes filled with understanding and something else he couldn't pinpoint.
"What are you smiling for?" Arnold asked curiously, slightly confused by the look she was giving him.
Helga's hand began to cover her smile for a moment realizing it was an inappropriate reaction when Arnold suddenly reached for her hand, and grabbed it by the wrist.
Helga was shocked by the warmth and electricity she felt when he touched her and how swift he had grabbed her hand, she barely even move from his sides.
She looked at him, as he didn't let go of her hand.
"Don't. Cover your smile I mean." Arnold said, his face serious and gentle at the same time.
She began to melt under his fiery gaze. He then let go slowly, now there eyes locked on each other for could have been long minutes.
"MS. PATAKI! MS. PATAKI! MS. PATAKI!" She suddenly heard a crowd of people screaming at her from outside the coffee shop breaking there long stare.
They both suddenly turned to look outside. People with cameras stumbling over each other taking pictures of her and Arnold together. Fans screaming outside the cafe, now rushing to get inside.
The owners decided to close the doors in respect to Helga, considering they knew she was here often.
She looked at Arnold once more, as he was caught smiling...chuckling under his breath.
"You didn't tell me you were famous." Arnold said maintaining his smirk of amusement before returning his gaze back at her.
"Well considering my book is a best seller, I would think it would shoot anyone to instant fame. I swear you can be such a Doe head." Helga replied to him snarkly the way she would have sounded if they were kids.
He laughed, a very rich robust laugh. Not a loud booming laugh, but subtle and rich. It was the laugh of a man, and not a child.
She giggled as well in response to him.
"I figured that would've made you laugh" Helga said to him, smiling.
He looked at her still smiling, there eyes now locked again. The bright flashes of paparazzi taking pictures of them through the glass window outside the cafe, as they kept looking at each other. They both seemed to be looking for an answer in each other the longer there eyes were locked, Who were they now? What was this darkness in his eyes that made her uneasy? What was she trying to tell him? Had she been trying to tell her something all this time?
"I should get going, I have desperate fans wanting to meet me. Although my publicist will be pissed at me for even being out in public without her prior knowledge. Its a job." Helga said breaking there silent conversation between there eyes now rising from the table gathering her things.
"Welcome to the world of the fishbowl Ms. Pataki, I thought you couldn't stand being an It Girl." Arnold replied to her in confusion and sarcastically.
She chuckled under her breath.
"That little girl from your memory doesn't like being in the spotlight, but this Helga doesn't mind, and as far as I'm concerned...its a job so I don't think about it much. See ya later Football Head." Helga said to him as she began walking away from Arnold, now officially outside to meet the bustling loud fans.
He rose from his chair, and put the book back in the bag he bought it in and placed it back down on the table. He placed his right hand in his pocket allowing the black jacket to sway and rest behind his arm. He watched how gracefully she walked towards the crowd, and took pictures with her fans and began signing for her book. Very classy. No where near the same person he remembered. For the record, neither was he. The one thing that was strange and true about there relationship, whenever Helga was going through something related to her family, Arnold always tried to help her out by giving her honest advice. Oddly enough, so did Helga. He never really thought about it till now, watching her outside the cafe. Almost flaunting her success in front of him. Normally this would make him feel insecure, but it didn't. Here was Arnold the USED TO BE honest guy...always looking out for everyone else, yet the two people who mattered most to him had died. Was it foolish of him to keep looking for everything he had lost? After he read the journal belonging to his father, as a young man still in high school he couldn't stop thinking about finding them. Once his grandparents died, the boarding house was sold and at 17 years old had to find some place to live. He lived with his best friends parents for awhile until he could find a good paying job and find someplace to live. Unfortunately, he awoke to reality. He had no home, and still had no home. At this point he never did, and somehow he only wanted something warm, comforting, and familiar to him once more even though deep down in his heart, it was never meant to happen.
He breathed a heavy sigh as he mumbled to himself "What the hell"
Helga walking with the crowd accepting the sudden bombarding of questions like "Who was that guy? Is he someone you know? Is he your boyfriend? A friend? He's a hunk!" from paparazzi and fans.
She looked from the corner of her eye and saw Arnold walking calmly towards her his hands in his pockets and his long jacket swaying wistfully behind him.
She then became alarmed, for the way he was walking towards her.
He finally caught up with her as paparazzi and her fans made room for him to reach her as if he commanded the crowd.
Her face filled with shock.
"Ms. Pataki, would you like to do me the honor of calling you sometime?" Arnold suddenly said his voice oozing sex appeal, and he smirked devilishly at her.
Her fans now screaming and the camera still flashing taking both of there pictures. Arnold didn't seem to be phased by the constant flashes of light as he held his composure and his eyes focused intently on her, piercing through her.
Helga was speechless. Her heart jumping for joy, and terrified at why he would behave like this asking her such an outlandish question.
His still focused on hers patiently waiting for her answer.
"Yes Arnold. Yes you can...call me sometime." Helga replied to him almost crying but swallowed the urge to do so.
He smile widened, and his bright blue eyes gleaming against all the flashes of lights and she melted again.
Paparazzi was eating this moment up like an animal devouring prey.
"Then its settled." Arnold stated, still completely relaxed and in control of everything going on around him.
She smiled at him, but now still a bit perplexed by how cool and calm he remained.
"I'll call you actually." Helga replied to him, hoping that he would get the hint to go away...she couldn't stand to see him like this, it made her want to rape him right now under his intense gaze.
Arnold then reached for her hand, grabbed it gently and he slowly kissed it and it made Helga's insides jello and her body now set ablaze by this simple reaction.
"The pleasure is all mine Ms. Pataki. I look forward to it." Arnold replied smirking at her, his voice sounding like honey dripping off a flower. As he slowly let go of her hand, and it fell to her sides before taking one last glance at her that said; "This was fun."
He placed his hands in his pockets, turned and began walking poised as he was when she first saw him.
She knew she couldn't stare at him too long, otherwise she would be subject to what paparazzi has to say about this.
Her publicist was going to be pissed. Unfortunately danger lurked around the corner, and it wasn't going to be good.
She continued walking towards her apartment as paparazzi began to flock away in news of another celebrity around in the city.
Once Helga finally reached the doors of her apartment, she collapsed into her bed and fell into a deep sleep.
A couple of hours later she was awoken by the phone ringing.
- End Of Chapter 1