Here I go again with another one...
You guys are gonna get sick of me lol
Hanna Cabrodi here! Here's a story with an AU touch. It takes place in the 1940's, WWII times. In this scenario, Arnold's parents never left, they were always there, just so you know. The italicized texts are Helga's thoughts. So ladies and football heads, I leave you with "Dodging Raindrops."
DISCLAIMER: HEY ARNOLD AIN'T MINE! ._.
Ugh. I LOVE it when the rain falls like this. Each drop slams onto the pavement simultaneously. It's like a heavenly concerto with angels applauding as God sits on His throne.
You'd think I'd be pretty stupid to sit out here on a bench at 7 PM with nothing but a pink sloppy joe sweater with a white button up blouse underneath and, rolled up jeans with pink sneakers without an umbrella to protect me. Truth is I don't care much for umbrellas… Not anymore.
Ever since he left, umbrellas no longer represent shelter for me. They represent something I lost and could never get back. I know we were just friends and that he did the right thing going off to fight in the war. The Germans and the Axis powers are getting tougher and tougher and our government needs all the young and brave men they can enlist to defend our country. I always told him he'd be a hero. But it scares me that he's out there.
Every day, I see men walking up to women's doors breaking the news that either their husbands or their sons were killed in the war. Sure, I'm not Stella or Gertie or anyone who's directly related to him or important enough to be solemnly greeted by these men… but if I ever got a phone call or ANY kind of notification finding out that that STUPID Football Head was killed I – I don't even wanna THINK about it.
I've always loved him. But I was too much of a coward to ever tell him that even when we were still in high school, my heart pounded against my ribcage as I saw him walking down the hall. I was too much of a coward to tell him that his smile made me weak in the knees. I was too much of a coward to tell him that I would rather take his place and fight against the Nazi's than let him be grazed with a battle wound. Or that I would be the first to storm into a war prison and rescue him if an Axis platoon DARED to lock him up. I was too much of a coward to tell him that even though I think he was absolutely STUPID to enlist and risk his neck for millions of people who will probably never learn his name or what shade of green his eyes are that he's been my hero since the day he sheltered me under his green umbrella in preschool.
I asked myself how I managed to keep my heart crucified to Arnold Shortman for all these years. I pondered as to how we ended up being friends after I bugged him so much in our elementary days. But I soon realized that the reason he DID become my friend emphasized why I love him so much. He saw past my façade and saw Helga Pataki, not the pigtailed terror of Hillwood. He saw someone who needed a friend, not a sidekick.
The day he was shipped off to Europe, it poured cats and dogs, much like tonight. He had his green umbrella with him, covering his green uniform from the rain. I remember seeing him from afar as he solemnly bid his goodbyes to his parents and grandparents. His eyes seemed like a perpetual cascade of tears, sorrow and bravery all mixed into two beautiful green pools. As he picked up his duffel bag and turned toward the bus full of comrades and superiors, he spotted me watching from a distance. What came over him I'll never know for sure but he immediately dropped his belongings save for his green umbrella and ran towards me. I was soaking wet in my pink dress and saddle shoes with my bouncy curls turned into drooped waves.
"I like your dress, Hell Girl," he chimed with a sad smile. I wrapped my wet arms around him and pulled him into a great embrace. He dropped his umbrella and returned the gesture, no longer worrying if his uniform became drenched.
"Be careful out there, Football Head," I told him, only half-joking. "If you see ANYTHING strange, don't be all curious and stupid like you've always been trying to see what it is or whether or not it's safe. Step AWAY and carry on. DO YOU HEAR ME!?"
He jokingly saluted me. "Sir, yes, Hell Girl, sir!"
God, I must look like an idiot right now laughing out loud with tears in my eyes at the memory of Arnold's nonsense before he left.
"What's so funny, Hell Girl?"
Oh my God. I know that voice from anywhere. I'm not going to turn around. I am NOT going to turn around.
Arnold sat down next to the suddenly muted young woman and shared his green umbrella with her, putting his cane to the side. Helga continued to look straight forward as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, though the corner of her eye noticed the wooden cane her estranged knight in shining armor just placed by the bench.
"I thought I told you to be careful out there."
"Helga, I missed you so much."
This drew her attention. She looked up and saw her hero, her Arnold, sitting next to her on a bench on one of the stormiest evenings of mid spring of 1945. No longer being able to take her eyes off of him, she scanned him up and down, noticing a bandage on his left knee. She dismissed his latter comment, nonetheless, not knowing how to respond to it.
"Curiosity killed the cat, Arnold."
"Ahh, but it didn't kill the Football Head, Helga," he teased.
She rolled her eyes at the comment. "You probably saw a butterfly sitting on top of a grenade and ran toward it. Don't they train you to keep your head out of the clouds and – "
Arnold's lips silenced Helga's speaking a universal language of longing, homesickness and a well-kept secret. Helga's lips had yet to respond so Arnold pulled back.
"Heroes don't get the girl until the end of the movie, Pataki. I couldn't tell you then. But I'm home."
Helga remained in silence as her ears took in every word Private Arnold Shortman just pronounced.
"I always knew," he continued. "The way you looked at me, even in elementary school. How I'd hear bits of soliloquies you'd recite in alleys. I discovered your handwriting was the same handwriting in the pink book I found back in grade school."
Lord, KILL ME NOW. JUST KILL ME NOW! She mentally exclaimed in embarrassment.
"Even when you went out of your way to make sure Mr. Hyunh found his daughter and sacrificed something you always wanted… for when you were there before I got shipped out. I knew for sure." He grabbed her hands and looked deep into her eyes. "Helga, I thought love like that only existed in motion pictures like Casablanca."
"I love you so much, Arnold," she sobbed, unable to contain her tears any longer.
He cupped her cheeks, stroked the tears off with his thumbs and inclined his forehead towards hers as he shut his eyes. "I dodged bullets, grenades and Nazi and Fascist psychos to make sure I could come home and hear you say those words to me."
She laughed amid her tears. "Obviously, you didn't dodge them well enough, Hair Boy," she added teasingly as she carefully placed her hand over his battle wound.
Their lips met again, communicating a love that was no longer suppressed by fear of rejection, time or a war. No axis power, ally or fear would ever keep Helga Pataki from Private Shortman any longer.
I know, I'm not impressed either.
But it was raining cats and dogs tonight and I wanted to write SO BADLY! xD
God bless you and thanks for reading! Reviews are appreciated!
-Hanna Cabrodi :D