Summary: Life has gotten pretty good for 18 year old Helga, but one day after school she realizes it was all a facade. Needing an escape she runs into Arnold, who is no longer the boy who saw the good in everyone and everything that she loved so much as a child. They quickly spiral into a life of alcohol, drugs, and sex.
Warnings: Course language, sex, drinking, and drug use.
Spiraling Part Prologue
Eighteen year old Helga Pataki used the back of her hand to wipe away tears as she took the steps from her home to the street two at a time. She never thought her day would end like this. That morning—Hell that week—that month had been completely normal at home. Once a week her mom would try out a new recipe that she found online. After Miriam joined AA the summer after Helga turned 10 she quickly discovered her mother was actually a pretty good cook when she was sober. Bob would be home from the store every night in time for a family dinner. Except on Wednesdays. That night was reserved for meetings with clients and suppliers.
After Miriam joined AA and entered rehab for the first stretch of her sobriety the family began therapy. And it worked. It really worked. Bob and Miriam quickly started to work on making up for the years of neglect Helga had suffered. They relinquished the obscene amount of pressure they had put on Olga for years. They actually became a family.
At least that's what Helga had thought.
It was Thursday and she was about to enter a three day weekend. She had a longer track practice because of it. She didn't get home until nearly seven. That's when she found her mother passed out on the couch drunk. Clutching a half empty vodka bottle in one hand and a hand written note from Bob in the other. Of course, Helga read it.
You know I'm no good with words and there is no easy way to tell you this, so I'm just going to come out with it. I've met someone. A long time ago actually. I stayed longer than I should have. But you just quit drinking and you were working so hard on your sobriety and there was so much I had to make up to the girls. Helga especially. Things are different now. You've been sober nearly eight years now and Helga is about to graduate. Claire got a job offer out of state. I'm going with her. I'm so sorry. I just know you'll be okay. I think we both know we haven't been happy for a long, long time. I'm sorry I told you like this, but I just couldn't do it in person. Tell Helga I love her. We'll figure out the divorce stuff soon.
And just like that the one big happy family façade that the Pataki's had been living was shattered. After nearly eight years of sobriety Miriam got wasted and Bob was gone, leaving Helga and her mother heartbroken in his wake. Helga dropped the note, flung the glass bottle of vodka against the wall smashing it thousands of tiny glass shards. When the noise didn't even cause her mother to flinch she bailed. Running out of house as fast as her legs could take her. Which was pretty damn fast, after all she had broken six school records, three state, and one national record in track.
She wasn't really paying attention to where she was going when she rounded the corner, running directly into someone. The force of which sent them both flying into a heap of tangled limbs onto the pavement of the sidewalk.
"What the hell? Would you watch where the fuck you're going?" A man's voice hissed as he scrambled to his feet.
"Sorry Arnold." Helga apologized without looking up. She sat up, quickly swiping away tears with her palm. "I wasn't looking where I was going." She looked down, avoiding Arnold's intense stare. The last thing she needed was for Arnold to give her shit for crying. Out of their old gang it was Arnold who had changed the most. Not that she could blame him. He experienced a lot of tragedy in his young life. He had suffered more loss than anyone else they went to school with.
Things had been really looking up for both of them the summer after fifth grade. Miriam was in rehab and Arnold's parents were back in his life! When their class won a trip to San Lorenzo Helga, Phoebe, and Gerald made it their mission to help Arnold find his parents. Arnold had admitted to Helga early on that he was sure they were dead, but he still wanted to know what happened to them. Knowing they were dead was better than not knowing what happened to them. Against all odds they were alive! The reunion between Arnold and his parents was beautiful and completely perfect.
If only if could have lasted.
In the cruelest twist of fate Miles and Stella Shortman were killed in a car accident barely a month after returning to Hillwood.
Arnold was obliviously devastated. As were his grandparents. That was the start of Arnold's downward spiral. The boy who once had the patience of saint was now quick to anger. The boy who was once a friend to all was replaced with a boy who kept everyone—except a very select few—at arm's length. Junior year both of his grandparents died within a few short months of each other. He ended up being emancipated; he had been taking care of his grandparents more than they took care of him the past couple years. Though he was seventeen, he proved to the courts that he was perfectly capable to live on his own.
Things got worse from there. Any sweetness Arnold had left in him was officially bitter. He was rude, mean, and kind of an asshole. He started hanging out with an older crowd, one that liked to party. It was no secret Arnold spent his weekends drinking and smoking weed.
Arnold raised an eyebrow, which was now pierced, "You should probably leave your runs on the track Helga. You might hurt yourself…Or the person you run into." He sounded angry, yet he was smirking. He offered her a hand, helping her to her feet. "Where are you off too in such a hurry anyway?"
"Nowhere." Helga's eyes shifted down, blinking away tears.
"Nowhere, huh?" Arnold crossed his arms, leaning against the brick wall of Green Meats. He took a look towards the direction Helga was coming from, "Was anyone chasing you?"
"What? No! Why would you ask that?" Helga's head snapped up, looking at Arnold in surprise. She watched him as his fingers brushed his shaggy blonde hair away from his face before shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans that had various holes in them.
"Because you were sprinting down the street like you were in the middle of track meet." His eyes locked with hers, almost immediately noticing they were red and blotchy. "Have you been crying? I'm pretty sure I broke your fall. It couldn't have hurt that bad."
"Don't sweat it Arnold. I'm fine. Sorry I ran into you." She was about to walk away, but Arnold blocked her path. She released an annoyed sigh, "What do you want Arnold?"
"Can't I just be a concerned friend?"
"Are you?" Helga raised an eyebrow. "I don't think we've been friends for a while now. When's the last time you've actually talked to me?"
Arnold shrugged, "Come on now, you know how high school is…People drift apart." He looked genuine, but sounded sarcastic. He sighed, "Look, there's such a small window during the day when I'm not a complete dick…Just trying to help, but if you don't want to talk I'll just be on my way…" He waited a moment, but Helga said nothing. "Alright. Have a nice night." He got three steps away before Helga's voice stopped him.
"When I got home from track practice I found my mom passed out on the couch. She was drunk." Arnold turned to her, just in time to see tears filling the corners of her eyes, "She almost made it eight years." He watched her as she wiped her tears away before they could fall. "My dad left. Apparently he's been having an affair for quite some time." She sniffled, "So yeah…I'm having pretty shitty night."
"I'm sorry. That really fucking sucks." For the first time that night Arnold truly sounded genuine. There was no sarcasm or malice that Helga could detect in his tone. He pulled her into an awkward hug and for a moment he felt like the old Arnold.
Helga nodded into his shoulder, surprised how soft his vintage Led Zeppelin shirt felt against her skin. "I just want to forget everything that happened tonight." She admitted as she pulled away from the hug.
Arnold's lips twitched into a small smile. "I actually have an idea that could make that happen." He cleared his throat, "I'm having a few friends over tonight for a party…You should come."
Helga bit her lip, unsure. She wasn't really a partier. If her coach found out she was drinking she could get pulled form a track meet. Then there was the fact she had an alcoholic mother who just fell off the wagon.
"You don't have to drink or anything if you don't want to." Arnold told her. "My friends aren't really into that whole peer pressure bullshit. You can just hang out with us. We're pretty fun people." He shrugged, "It will at least get you out of your house for the night."
That caught her attention, "Yeah." She forced a smile, "That sounds good. Let's party."
Author's Note: I'm going tell you now, Arnold and Helga make some really poor and reckless decisions in this. They both make a lot of mistakes. I think it's something that some people do when they are sad or angry. So if you're looking for a fan fiction with a couple of Mary Sue's this isn't it. Saying that, I hope you enjoy this alternative portrayal of both Arnold and Helga. Next chapter will be Arnold's party and will be longer than this prologue. Please review if you enjoyed the prologue!
Also, for those of you reading Secrets or Priceless…Don't worry I'm still working on those. I'm hoping to do a rotation of all three stories to avoid any writer's block.