A/N: Here it is… the last installment of Sweet Home Hillwood.  Yes, you do find out how Curly got his own country!  Why are you still listening to me?  Read te story!  lol

Sweet Home, Hillwood

By: ChickenGoddess

Chapter 9:

Loose Ends Are Tied

Gerald Field was occupied not by elementary school baseball players, by rows of guests present for the renewal of vows ceremony taking place momentarily.  The music began and Helga walked down the aisle, escorted by Big Bob who grumbled about it the whole way down.  She sighed to herself with a smile, noting that some things never change.  Miriam, however, was already crying.  She hadn't been the least bit sober the first time her daughter married, but she was clean for this.

"We are gathered here today to renew the vows made at marriage-"

The pastor's voice was cut off by the humming sound of a helicopter, landing in the middle of the street.  The propellers finally stopped spinning and out stepped a tall man, clad in a back tuxedo.  He had ditched the glasses long ago, but the bowl cut hairdo still remained.  This was none other than Thaddeus P. Gammelthorpe, formerly known to Hillwood as the notorious "Curly".

"I was hoping for a discreet entrance… forgive me, friends." He announced.

"I guess he got the invitation…" Helga whispered to her husband.

"You made it!" Arnold shouted.

"Of course!  I would not miss this event for the world!" Curly replied, taking a seat.

The pastor again began to speak, this time completing the ceremony.  The reception was held in the PS118 gymnasium. 

"So Curly… how've you been?" Helga asked.

"Well, and yourself?" He replied.

"It took me a while… but I'm finally happy." She said, gazing through the crowd of people at Arnold's laughing face.

"Ah.  So quickly we loose sight of what really makes us happy." Curly agreed.

"I hope you don't mind my asking… but how did you get your own country?"

He laughed. "Well, after showing the people the benefits and wonders of dry cleaning, I led the rebellion against the leader and took the throne, making it like one big dry cleaning service. We also manufacture toaster ovens." Curly explained.

"Oh.  That's interesting.  You certainly have done well for yourself." She said.

"That I have." He agreed.

"So… is there a Mrs. Thaddeus Gammelthorpe?" She asked.

"Several."

Helga's jaw dropped.

"Just kidding.  No, I've not embarked on the journey of marriage yet." He replied.

Helga sighed in relief.  "Good luck.  It was great seeing you again." She said, leaving to go mingle.

Curly sighed as he approached his helicopter.  What was that saying? The past comes back to haunt you.  That was it.  How true it was.  How very true.

"Hey… I thought you'd never get here." Rhonda Wellington Lloyd Berman said, making her presence known.

"Hello Rhonda." He replied.

"I would have talked to you before… I guess with Harold around I didn't have the guts."

"No matter.  You're here now. Speak your peace." He said.

"I came to say… I wanted to tell you… I…" she stopped to gather herself.  "I'm sorry things didn't work out for us.  I'm sorry I'm not the girl for you."

"As am I.  But we can't live on dreams alone, can we?" He replied.

"No, we can't." She offered.  "I was happy with you… but somehow I knew it wasn't right.  I love Harold.  I know I do.  We have a beautiful baby and I'm pregnant again.  Part of me can't let go of you… this is gonna sound crazy, but I can never really be happy until I let go.  I can't be a faithful wife with another man in my heart." She explained.

"I understand." He replied.

"This is so hard…why does it have to be like this?  Why can't I just love you?" She asked, a lone tear escaping her eye.

"Spill no tears over me, darling.  Our time has passed.  It was amazing while it lasted, but it wasn't meant to be.  Besides, you really want 'Curly the kid who locked himself in Wartz's office' to be your husband?  I'm happy in my country.  I get to ride a giraffe in my backyard.  I'm content.  You should be too.  Harold loves you, just be happy." Curly said.

"That's all I wanted to say." Rhonda replied.

"Goodbye, Rhonda.  I have to get back to my people!  But before I do, I must run amok the streets in loincloth and steal the elephants from the circus!" He declared, running manically into his helicopter and darting out with his trademark glasses dressed in loincloth.

Rhonda sighed.  Why did she date him again? ….

The ring Helga wore on her finger was not an exaggerated rock but the simple, unique diamond she had worn years before.  She sold her penthouse and donated her wardrobe to charity.  She'd broken up with Kevin over the phone and sent him the ring back… she didn't need it.  Stepping back into the life she had lived was so easy and comfortable; it felt like she hadn't left it at all.  Phoebe was due in a short time… so was she.  Everything had come together, everything except for one loose end she needed to tie up.

Lost and Found

This extraordinary novel by the amazing new author, Helga Pataki has turned into an overnight best seller.  What was left an unfinished manuscript of three years was picked up and refurbished at the abrupt conclusion of her fashion career.  Pataki writes with raw emotion and pure honesty.  Put those together with her excellent storytelling ability and you have a fiction that's worth the read.  What the NY Times calls a literary gem and a masterpiece of classic proportions.  Later this year we are expecting an anthology of poems from her childhood years.

Mr. Simmons sighed as he placed his copy of the Bi-Weekly Bugle on his magazine rack.  It had taken her years, but she'd finally done it.  Her first try was a Best Seller.  All the poems he had read the class she had signed anonymous were going to be bound and published.

"I'm so proud of you, Helga." He said to the empty room.  "I'm so proud."

A/N: Well, that's it.  Hope you liked it!  Thanks for the reviews, you've all been so helpful.  I appreciate it!