Disclaimer: *Sigh* How I long to own that beloved show. That gorgeous football head centered animated series with the passionate girl who, but for her shyness, would announce her love of Arnold to the world. Aahhh…But alas! Tis not to be, and I am resigned to my fate. And with these final words I begin my tale (the characters not mine, but the story emanating from my own pining heart), just please, don't plagiarize or sue me. OR YOU'LL HAVE TO FACE OLD BETSY!

Love's Follies

Part One: Paradise in the Back Row

Another dull school day rolled slowly by at P.S. 118. Arnold sat up front as Mr. Simmons went on about geography and reviewed for a test they'd be taking tomorrow. Suddenly he felt something gross and wet hit him in the back of his football shaped head.

Spinning around to see who the joker was he saw Helga Pataki sitting in the back row twiddling her thumbs. As if it weren't blaringly obvious that she was the culprit. What was it with her?

Looking up and feigning innocence she whispered harshly, "What? WHAT?!"

Arnold turned back around in his chair. He'd never figure that girl out. If she hated him so much, then why'd she give him more attention than anyone else? Granted, it was attention he'd prefer he didn't get, but still…bullying was one thing, but brutal obsession was quite another.

"And that's how the Ancient Aztecs made terraces in steep slopes and thus adapted to their environment." Mr. Simmons droned on, "Geography and human interaction can be quite fascinating, especially when dealing with ancient civiliza-"

"OW! Quit it!"

"Arnold?" Perfect. "Do you have something that you'd like to share with the class?"

"No Mr. Simmons." Arnold blushed, he could hear Helga chuckling in the back row. Sometimes he wished she'd go jump off a bridge.

Their teacher went back to his lecture and Helga took a break from making spitballs. Glancing around to make sure that no one else was watching she drew out a golden locket from her pink dress and gazed at the picture inside longingly. "Oh Arnold," she began in her traditional, obsessive manner, "how I long to stop showering you with slimy spitballs and started planting tender kisses atop that wonderful oblong head of yours." Her eyes dared to travel to the back of Arnold's head, "Alas my love, my dream, my ever attentive classmate, all I seem to do is bring trouble down upon your beautiful head, no wonder you've yet to discover what you truly mean to me. Ah darling, one day I shall gather my strength, I will finally be bold enough to say the words that I now dare not speak. I shall finally profess my true feelings. Oh Arnold! I love y-"

Her whispers were cut short by raspy breathing from behind. Balling up her fist she lifted her hand and punched Brainy square between his four eyes. She'd never figure out how he managed to sneak behind her all the time. For such a smart kid, Brainy sure couldn't take a hint.

Finally it was time for recess and Helga was able to rush out with Phoebe and grab a four square court.

"Aw man!" Harold whined coming out of the double doors waving a poster in his hand. "I can't believe it. This dumb school is making us have ANOTHER stupid dance!"

"This really bites." Stinky agreed in his usually hillbilly tone.

Gerald smiled mischievously and nudged Arnold, "Well Arnold my man, I guess we all know who you'll be inviting huh?"

"What do ya mean Gerald?" Arnold asked.

"Oh pleeeaaasssee man!" Gerald exclaimed, "I didn't enroll yesterday! Everyone here knows that you're gonna wind up inviting Lila to the dance."

"Yeah," Sid grinned, "on the counta you're head over heels for her." All four boys burst out laughing then.

"Cut it out guys." Arnold frowned, "So I might ask Lila, so what?"

"Ha ha. It's just so dang funny since you really like her like her but she just likes you." Stinky pointed out.

Arnold sighed and grew red when he saw Lila walking out and heading for the jump rope skipping girls. Now was as a good a time as any.

"Hey Lila!" Arnold greeted her as he jumped in line. "How's it going?"

"Oh it's going just ever so well Arnold." Lila said sweetly.

"That's great." Arnold hated the asking part, "So---um---wanna go to the school dance with me this Friday?"

Lila's cheerful expression faded a bit, "Uh Arnold, you know I'd love to, just ever so much. But, well, I'm kind of going with someone else."

"WHAT?!" Arnold couldn't believe this, "Who??"

Lila's cheeks reddened as she replied dreamily, "You're cousin will be in town by the end of the week, remember? And I'm just ever so excited to be going with him."

"ARNIE?!" Arnold's cousin was as dull as dirt, why Lila liked him so much was beyond Arnold's comprehension. "B-but when did he ask you?"

"Oh he hasn't yet," Lila said softly, "But I'm just ever so sure he will. He's such a sweet and caring soul."

"Yeah, sure Lila." he turned and starting walking off, "See ya around."

"Bye Arnold!" Lila called, jumping the rope as her turn came, "Don't worry, I'm just ever so sure you'll find someone else to take to the dance!"

Arnold highly doubted that. Looking around the playground he didn't really see anyone else that he wanted to go with. Of course, there was always Ruth Mc'Doogle. But a sixth grader like that would hardly give him the time of day. "It's hopeless," Arnold moaned to himself, "I mean, who am I supposed to take? Helga Pataki?!"

Sid was leaning over the water fountain on the opposite side of the wall, he choked up a heap of water when he heard those words. Rushing over to Gerald and the others Sid breathlessly blurted out, "Hey guys guess what! I just overheard Arnold talking to himself and you won't believe what he said!"

"Well--" Gerald put his hands on his hips, "--spit it out!"

Sid drew in a deep breath, "Arnold's taking Helga Pataki to the dance!"

Jaws dropped all across the playground, including Helga's. "Helga! Did you hear that?!" Phoebe gasped.

Helga nodded, regaining the ability to speak she shouted happily, "I knew it! I knew it! I just knew my love would finally come to his senses and see that we were meant for each other!" Slapping herself back into sanity she added, "Uh, I mean, what's the Football Head up to now?"

Soon it was all over the playground, Arnold, the nicest guy in school, was taking Helga, the biggest bully around, to the dance! Finally the bell rang and the students were forced to file back inside. Arnold just couldn't figure out why in the world all the other kids were snickering and giving him such odd glances.

"Hey Gerald," Arnold called, catching up to his best friend, "What's up? Did someone put a 'Kick Me' sign on my back or something?"

Gerald turned and stared at his friend with a mixed look of confusion and admiration. "You're a bold kid Arnold."

"Huh?"

Too late, they'd reached the classroom door and Arnold wasn't about to get called down twice in one day for talking. He'd just have to wait until after school and talk to Gerald alone about what everyone was acting so strangely about. After all, it couldn't be that bad…could it?

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*This is my first Hey Arnold! fic, please read and review. I want to know if you think everyone's in character and all. Thanks! ^_^*