Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold!



It was late afternoon on the day the Neighbourhood had been saved. A momentous occasion! What better was to celebrate that with a good game of baseball in the empty lot of GeraldField.

Arnold and Gerald had received praise and thanks for what they had done, everyone fully aware that there would have been bulldozers and workmen where they stood if it hadn't been for these two brave boys. So they had accepted the gratitude humbly, too tired to protest. Right now they were just happy to get back to normal.

Stinky walked up to bat, as Gerald stood ready to bowl. Arnold, however, had decided to sit this one out. He'd said he was too tired from all the excitement and just wanted to watch. Well, the gang weren't going to argue with a hero!

Taking a seat at the edge of the field he lent against the cool stonewall behind him and watched the game take shape. But there was someone missing. Someone who deserved just as much thanks as Arnold and Gerald, but she wasn't around. Come to think of it, Arnold hadn't seen her all day. Well, not since this morning anyway, when she had told him that she did indeed hate him and had then taken off down the street. That had been a very strange conversation, Arnold thought. Very strange!

He couldn't help but think of Helga, after what had happened. The neighbourhood wouldn't be standing if she hadn't have helped out. 'Deep Voice' Arnold chuckled to himself. It had been a good disguise, but everything that had happened between them just didn't make sense! If she really hated him, then why go to all that trouble to help? And what had all of that been about on the roof of the FTI building? Arnold's face reddened slightly at the thought. Helga, the meanest, most uncaring bully in the school (who went out of her way everyday to remind Arnold of that), had told him not once, but over and over that she loved him! Not 'liked' him, not even 'really liked' him, but LOVED him! And then she had kissed him! Not a peck on the cheek, not even a little mouth on mouth 4th grader 'like you like you' kiss. It had been the real thing, and had lasted a good few seconds! Arnold blushed harder, hoping that no one would notice how his face was now an unsettling shade of magenta. This whole thing with Helga was only just sinking in, even though he had been trying desperately to push it to the back of his mind.

But she had only been 'caught up in the heat of the moment'; it hadn't been real. Of course it hadn't been real! I mean c'mon, Helga G. Pataki, he thought, have feelings like that, for me of all people! She hates me!

"Hey man, you ok?" Gerald asked as he approached his slightly ill looking best friend.

"Oh, uh, yeah..." Arnold managed to mutter as he awakened from his thoughts. "Just tired. I think I'll go home, and, y'know, get some rest."

"Sure thing buddy" Gerald smiled, patting Arnold on the back.

"See ya later..." Arnold said as he rose from his seat and left GeraldField. His mind was still wondering. And where was Helga anyway? He wasn't sure whether he'd thanked her for helping him and Gerald out, but he still felt too embarrassed to talk to her. This was all just so weird!

Arnold decided to walk the long way back to the boarding house, passing the city lake. He thought the clearer air might help, and it would be nice to have some quite time to himself.

Then he saw her, just sitting silently on the edge of the dock, staring into her lap. She hates me! Just keep saying it; she hates me. I'm a stupid Football Head and she hates me. Arnold just kept repeating this to himself, he wasn't really sure why he felt he needed to, but he didn't want his thoughts wondering like they had when he was watching the baseball game. She hates me!

Helga had been having her own problems. She'd sat on the weathered dock for some time now, just watching the water and thinking. Sure she had been so happy when she could take all those 'crazy' things she had said back, but now that she really thought about it, she felt bad. Yes, she had gotten carried away and 'caught up in the heat of the moment' as Arnold had put it, but she had said it. She had revealed her deepest, darkest secret and confessed her love for him, the boy she has worshiped and tormented for the past 6 years of her young life. And what had been his reaction? He didn't believe it! That dense Football Head hadn't believed it! I mean, criminy!

She sighed, feeling the warm breeze on her face. He didn't believe it. Then, she thought, he really doesn't like me. All this time I've been too scared to tell him for fear of rejection, and when I finally do tell him, what happens? He doesn't believe it! And now I'm back where I started. She looked down at her heart-shaped locket that rested in her hands, its golden frame glittering in the sunlight. He really doesn't love me...

She watched a silent tear fall softly onto the glass that housed the smiling Arnold picture in her hands. No one loved her. She was completely alone.

"Stupid Football Head..." she muttered to the locket, sounding more distressed than angry. After all, it wasn't Arnold's fault that he had rejected her; it was her own fault for bullying the poor guy since preschool! And she hated herself for that, for being too afraid to show him that she really wasn't the nasty unfeeling creature that she made herself out to be. Too proud and too concerned with her reputation to show any kind of compassion for him. And too scared to admit that all she had said on the roof of the FTI building had been true. Now, as a consequence, she would have to live with her broken heart, and the knowledge that Arnold will never like her like her.

Another tear dripped onto the glass, and she watched as it slowly glide down the surface, deforming Arnold's picture as it slid across. He didn't believe me.

Meanwhile, Arnold was battling with his mind. Should I go over and talk to her? But what would I say? I can't avoid her forever. But it's still too soon... Too soon? What am I thinking?! I mean, she hates me! She's Helga G. Pataki, the bully, who picks on me and calls me a stupid Football Head. Nothing more! But why did she say all that stuff on the roof if she hates me? Why go to all that trouble to help save the neighbourhood if she hates me?... Just stop thinking about it Arnold! Oh great, now I'm getting a headache!

Finally he decided that he didn't want to talk to her and that he felt too tired to walk the long way home after all, so he turned around and headed back to walk the shorter route. Not like he was avoiding her or anything! He just wasn't in the mood for, er, insults, that's all... Of course that's all! I'm a stupid Football Head and she hates me. I'm a stupid Football Head and she hates me. I'm a stupid Football Head...