Arnold frowned as he stared around the lunch table. They were all familiar faces, but they were all just as sad as he was. He glanced at Gerald, who was glaring at a bowl of chili in front of himm as he listlessly stirred it, his other hand holding onto his girlfriend's. Phoebe held onto Gerald's hand and tried to bury herself in her books. Nadine leaned against Kevin's shoulder as he adjusted his reflective aviator sunglasses on his nose. Harold was trying to cheer Patty up, but she wasn't having it. Eugene was the only one at the table with a smile on his face, while Sheena scrutinized the salad in front of her. The only ones not present from the original gang were Helga, Curly, and Rhonda. Helga had moved away from Hillwood about three years ago, about six months before Arnold and his parents had come back from San Lorenzo. She had kept in touch with Phoebe for a few months, but she'd cut off communication with everyone long ago. Curly…well, no one really knew what had become of him and his family. Rhonda was still with the gang. She was just trying to rub elbows with the four girls who clearly ran things at Windborrow High School.
Making an exasperated noise, Rhonda returned to the table, turning up her nose at the girls seated in the center table. "Well I never."
Arnold blinked and arched an eyebrow at her. "What happened, Rhonda?"
She stole a glance at the girls and a scowl darkened her face. "They told me I couldn't sit with them. That I wasn't 'like them'. It's probably because they saw me talking to Patty earlier. I mean can you believe people would be so shallow?"
Patty gave her friend a skeptical look. They had a good relationship, but every now and then Patty had to remind Rhonda when she was being shallow. "Oh I believe it."
Rhonda sighed and shook her head, "They're far worse than I could ever be, Patty. I mean I know I'm no saint, but these girls are just…mean."
"It's not so bad. At least we're still all together." Eugene chimed in optimistically.
Gerald frowned, "No, man, Rhonda's right. Everyone at this school is either bitchy as hell, pathetic, or just plain weird."
"That's not true, Gerald." Arnold chided his friend. "It's only been our first day. I'm sure everything will be better soon."
"You're the national landmark kids, aren't you?"
Arnold turned around to see the girl who had spoken to him. She was dressed in dark, tight clothes with black hair tied up off her face, gray eyes lined with charcol black lined. "Um…yeah. I'm Arnold."
She stuck out her hand and shook his. "I'm Sagen, one of the weird ones." Gerald glanced at Arnold, who shot him an accusing look. "Is it true you guys were kicked out of your neighborhood because you found out that it was a national landmark like ten years ago?"
Arnold nodded, "Yeah…only it was seven years ago."
She nodded, "Coolness. So do you guys need some help finding your way around or anything?"
"That would be incredibly helpful, actually." Phoebe piped in.
"Cool. Skip last period and meet me under the trees across the gym." Before anyone could protest or ask any questions, she was gone. Arnold looked at the others, who shrugged in return.
"Why hello there, my national treasures." Sagen welcomed the class from the low hanging branches of a birch tree. "Where's the rest of you?"
Arnold looked at her and then back at the members of the gang who had chosen to join him. Phoebe refused to skip her class and Eugene and Sheena were too excited about their musical theatre class to miss it leaving him, Gerald, Rhonda, Lila, Harold, Patty, Nadine, Sid, Stinky, and Kevin. "They wanted to go to their classes."
"Typical." The voice came from a beefy boy, better dressed than Sagan, but a good head and a half taller than her.
"Excuse me?" Rhonda sneered.
Sagan scoffed. "Not you. The plastics. All in one gym class, of course."
Arnold and his friends looked over their shoulder at the gym class filing out into the football field. "Who're the plastics?"
Sagan jumped off her perch in the tree, "They're the bitchy little dictators of this school."
Rhonda's jaw fell open. "Those were the girls that told me that I could sit with them!"
Sagan smirked and nodded, "Yep, that'll be them. Only the prettiest of the pretty and the richest of the rich can sit with them. They're like…"
"Teen royalty." Sagan's friend interjected.
Sagan nodded and rolled her eyes, "Desmond, this is everyone, everyone this is Desmond."
"But I'm pretty and I'm rich!" Rhonda argued.
Sagen shook her head, "Apparently you're not rich or pretty enough."
"Who are they, and what makes them so much better than everyone else?" Arnold asked as he sat on the grass, everyone else following in suit.
Desmond and Sagen settled into the center of the group in the grass. "The ginger on the phone is Penny Lane. Her parents own and run like three zoos and six amusement parks this side of the country." Desmond stated.
"She's the newest and the youngest of them. Everyone says that she's being trained to take over." Sagen added with a chuckle.
Desmond pointed at the blonde leaning against the goal stand either sending a text message or playing a game on her brand new smart phone. "That's Jeanie. She is by far the dumbest girl you'll ever meet."
Sagan frowned and shrugged, "Jeanie's really not so bad."
"Out of all of the plastics she's definitely the best." Desmond agreed. "She's too stupid to be mean."
Sagan rolled her eyes, "The brunette flirting with Eight-Pack Eliot is Angie Roberts, the gossip queen." No one had to ask who Eight-Pack Eliot was so they saw her straight away.
Desmond nodded, "She knows everything about everyone."
"Yeah, she even knew that Desmond was gay before he did." Sagen added jokingly.
"And evil takes physical form in Stacie James." Desmond declared, pointing at the girl being carried by a pair of boys, both of them most likely on some sports team. "She's the queen bee. Apparently she's also the hottest of the four, if you like that kind of thing."
"I dunno. I kinda like the brunette myself." Sid said to himself.
"Well on account 'a I already got me a girlfriend, I really don't care much for either of them." Stinky said, draping his arm over Lila's shoulder, making her giggle.
Sagen's nose wrinkled in disgust. "Ew."
Arnold looked over the girls once more, wondering if they were really all that Sagan and Desmond said they were. The one of her phone, Jeanie, if he remembered right, looked up just in time to see him looking at her. She gave him a questioning look before looking away and jogging after Angie.
Arnold kept his head up as he walked through the tables on his way to sit with his friends, who had been joined by Sagen and Desmond. However, he wasn't expecting what happened next.
Arnold glanced around to see who had spoken to him and was surprised when he found himself looking at Stacie James. The leader of The Plastics. She smiled sweetly at him, "Sit down, we want to talk to you."
Arnold looked around, expecting to see someone else they were talking to. "Me?" He asked skeptically.
She giggled and shook her head, "Of course you, who else?"
Arnold looked desperately at Gerald, who shot him a confused look. Sagan contorted her face in confusion at him and he was just about to leave when Stacie said, "It'll only take a minute, I promise."
"Um…alright." Arnold shot a panicked look at his friends before sitting down across from them.
"You're Arnold, right?" Stacie asked, smiling widely.
"Um…yeah, I'm Arnold Shortman." He saw Jeanie glance at him before diving back into the nutritional facts on the back of her protein bar. Angie was leaning towards Stacie with a smile on her face as Penny leaned against her boyfriend.
"Like Arnold Schwarzenegger?" Angie asked enthusiastically.
"Um…I was named after my mom's dad, but yeah, I guess like Arnold Schwarzenegger."
"Shouldn't you have like an accent or something?"
Arnold expected the idiotic question to come from Jeanie, but she was giving Penny's boyfriend the same look that Arnold was. A look that said 'please tell me you're joking, you idiot'. "Actually I'm from Hillwood."
"That's right, the neighborhood that became a national landmark." Stacie put on a clearly fake pout on her face, "It must have been terrible to leave your home like that."
Arnold blinked a few times, "Yeah, it wasn't exactly something I'd want to do again."
"Sorry, Arnold, we need to have a quick conference." Stacie said before pulling the other plastics around to whisper something he couldn't here. He looked over at his own table and Sagen mouthed the words 'What the hell is going on' to him. He replied with a shrug, just as confused by it was she was.
When they turned around, everyone else was nodding in agreement, except for Jeanie who was fighting very hard to not roll her eyes. "Arnold, we'd like to invite you sit with us for the rest of the week."
"What?" Arnold asked skeptically.
Stacie continued as if she hadn't heard him, "And I'd also like to give you permission to ask me to the homecoming dance coming up in two weeks."
Arnold blinked at the Plastics, unsure of what he was hearing, finally, he stood up and shook his head. "You know, Stacie, as much as I appreciate the invitation to sit with you and…permission to ask you on a date, I'd rather not."
Stacie's bright smile was gone and she was on her feet in an instant. "Excuse me?"
"I'm going to sit with my friends." Arnold said icily.
"You do realize you've just committed social suicide!" Angie declared shrilly. "Your social life is as good as dead!"
"I'll take my chances." Arnold retorted.
Once he got back to his table, everyone began asking him what had happened, Desmond and Sagen laughing and congratulating him once he sat down. He couldn't help but smile a bit in spite of himself. He stole a glance back to the Plastic's table. He caught Jeanie smiling at him and he couldn't help but smile back. She nodded at him before turning to comfort a livid Stacie James.
"I can't believe I'm failing English." Arnold sighed to Gerald as they began walking home. The only good thing about having their homes taken away was that he and his friends all still went to the same school and lived close by. Still, it would never be Hillwood.
"Maybe you need a tutor." Gerald recommended with a shrug.
"Need a tutor?" Arnold and Gerald turned around to see who'd asked the question. It was a freshmen they'd seen lurking around the school before. Sagen had said that her name was Riley and she worked for Wells., the school legend. No one knew who Wells was, or even if Wells went to their school, but they did know that if you needed help then Wells was the person to call…if you could get to them.
"Yeah, do you know someone?" Arnold asked, cautiously taking a step towards Riley.
"Wells can help." Riley said, glancing back and forth to make sure no one else was watching. "Wells has the highest English marks in the whole county."
"Wells is an English tutor?" Arnold asked skeptically.
"Wells is a lot of thing. You want me to make you an appointment or not?" Riley asked shortly.
"No, he wants an appointment." Gerald insisted, crossing his arms over his chest.
Riley nodded, "Good. Meet me in the abandoned butcher shop on 29th street on Saturday at noon."
"That's where Wells tutors?" Arnold asked skeptically.
"That's where I'll meet you before I take you to see Wells." Riley snapped, "Be there."
"Or be square?" Gerald asked mockingly.
Riley crossed her arms, "Your friend isn't welcome."
"I'll be there." Arnold insisted.
Riley nodded and rounded a corner, out of sight.
"Man, what a weird chick." Gerald asked as he and Arnold stepped forward to see where Riley had gone. Once they got around the corner, she was gone.
Arnold nodded, "Yeah, but at least I'll get to meet Wells."
"Make sure you tell me all about it, my brother. You know how I love me an urban legend." Gerald said as he and Arnold continued down the street.
Arnold chuckled, "You've got it, Gerald."
So as you can probably tell, this story is based off of Mean Girls, but it's not…just a Hey Arnold/Mean Girls story. I hope ya'll liked it! Don't forget to review!