Hello, everyone! So I guess I must be crazy to write three stories at the same time? Nope, just impassioned and more eager to write than I ever have been.
So my first two stories 'Underneath the Surface' and 'Longest Monday: Revenge of the 5th Graders' were designed to be more atypical. But I fell victim to temptation and decided I had to write a love story about Arnold and Helga.
Now with the Jungle Movie officially out and canon, it was tricky at first to find a suitable plot for this, but I managed to figure something out. So I really hope you guys enjoy it. Honestly, writing for 'Hey Arnold' is some of the most fun I've had as a fanfic writer. It's an incredible show with so much depth to it. Especially our two main characters.
Anyway, happy reading! And as always, please leave a review!
The Wasp Presents: More Than You Bargained For
Chapter 1. Promises
Arnold Philip Shortman had never envisioned a day he would lose hope. He acknowledged what most pegged him as: an idealist, a dreamer, and someone who never gave up the good fight no matter the circumstances…well this was one situation his idealism had failed and dreams the source of his pain.
He walked down the stairs and towards the ladder that lead to the attic, a box that held most of the memorabilia of his parents in hand. A small part of him attempted to reason with himself. That this wasn't the way to do things, that giving up was the easy way out. But for once, Arnold recognized this wasn't reason in his head, it was delusion. He couldn't keep waiting for something that wasn't coming. And that's why he had to let it go.
Mom and Dad, I love you. But I can't hold on anymore. Not when I see you every night and, in the morning, you're gone all over again.
Fighting a tear, the oblong head shaped boy pulled down the ladder and began to climb.
"Hey, short man. What's going on?" called a familiar voice.
Arnold sighed. He had hoped to avoid his grandpa when doing this.
"I'm packing up my parents' stuff."
"Really? What for?" his grandpa replied, scratching his head.
"So I can put it in the attic where it belongs."
As he headed up the ladder he could hear his grandfather's protests. But he wasn't going to let them sway him on this decision. Not this time.
"Oh, I know you feel sad Arnold. Your grandma and I feel sad too."
"I'm just fed up, Grandpa," Arnold said, not bothering to hide the truth any longer from his caregiver. "I don't want to think about my parents anymore. I'm sick of hoping they'll come back someday."
"Wait, don't give up on your memories, Arnold; that's what's important. You should celebrate em."
But the blond boy shook his head.
"It's time to move on." And he did something he hadn't done since receiving the gift from his mother and father when he was a year old. He removed his blue and put it into the box.
His grandpa, who had followed him up the stairs, gasped when he witnessed his grandson's deed.
Putting the box on top of the shelf, he turned around to see a heartbroken Grandpa Phil look at him with supreme sadness. It broke Arnold's heart too, but to go on as he had been was no longer feasible.
"I don't want to hear any more stories about my parents. I'm sorry, Grandpa. But I can't spend the rest of my life wondering where they are, dreaming that they returned only to wake up and realize they aren't here. And never will be."
Peering in his grandfather's eyes, he saw there none of the usual spark or twinkle that usually permeated within the lively 81 year old.
"Are you sure, Arnold? Are you sure this is what you want?"
Arnold sighed once more. He barely believed his next words.
"I have to let them go, Grandpa."
For a moment in time, his grandfather looked as if he were at a loss for words, until he managed to find his train of thought.
"Alright, short man. If that's really what you want I won't tell ya any more stories."
"Thank you, Grandpa."
Arnold headed back down the ladder, his heart heavy but his mind stern. As for as he was concerned, he did what had to be done.
"Just promise me one thing," he heard his grandpa request of him. Though he didn't know what that promise would be, he nodded all the same.
"You parents loved you more than anything in the whole world, Arnold. They always have. If nothing else, don't forget that."
Arnold's gut sank a few notches, but he still acknowledged the request. He would let them go…knowing full well they loved him. But he couldn't stand the pain of always thinking about their potential fate. It didn't do well to keep dreaming. Not this time.
Sometimes it was best to accept a harsh reality than cling to false hope.
Even so, he nodded at his grandpa's request.
"Okay, I promise."
A sad smile crossed his caregiver's old face and he gestured down the ladder.
"Are ya hungry, short man? Your grandma made sandwiches."
"Let's just hope she didn't try to do anything fancy. You know how that usually goes."
Arnold gave a light chuckle. If nothing else he had his grandparents, his friends and the neighborhood. But there would always be a hole, a void left by the two people who were supposed to be there for him no matter what. Perhaps it would never be filled…perhaps time was the only reliable remedy.
I'll never forget their love. But it's time to forget any possibility of them coming back.
He walked down the ladder steps, his grandpa in tow, and closed the door, unaware of the small journal that still laid on the shelf, waiting to be discovered.
Helga Pataki kicked a can down the street for no other reason than to occupy herself as she walked back to her house.
Dino Land had been exciting enough. Sneaking in and out all the time, the place definitely didn't have the thrilling appeal it used to. But half off was half off, and it was better than doing nothing at all. They had all gone together as a group, meaning the usual band of misfits of Mr. Simmons' class. And as usual, by the end of the day, she found herself alone.
Sticking her hands in her dress pockets, she gave an exasperated sigh.
"Criminy, it's not like I'm not used to this."
It was true, Helga was as self reliant as a kid could get. In fact, she prided herself on it. But deep down, she knew she wasn't happy.
Looking around, the scene was familiar: a darkened street, covered with litter, apartment buildings creating a vast maze of concrete jungle that seemed to mock her, lit only by the lampposts, one of which she currently stood under.
"Yup, seems about right," she muttered.
She continued walking as her thoughts traveled back to her day at Dino Land. It was a clear presentation of how she typically interacted with her peers. She had called Stinky a hick, pushed Phoebe to get in front for a ride, caused Harold to vomit by betting him he couldn't eat fifty corn dogs, and the refuse had spilled onto Rhonda's new sneakers. It was the epitome of the life of Helga Pataki. She was tolerated, but only because she made them tolerate her. If she couldn't be loved, she would rule by fear, even if she had to knock some heads while doing it.
Though she would pretend to enjoy her transgressions, none of them ever guessed how much emotion and depth of feeling existed within her. Often times it threatened to burst out of her, because for all the supposed cruelty and bullying, there was another side. It was kind, compassionate, full of life and it was ready to give. Especially to one person in particular.
Helga stopped in front of a familiar building, one she had become very acquainted with over the years. Staring up at the light in the window, she saw a familiar football headed silhouette.
Slowly, (mainly to ensure Brainy wasn't breathing behind her like always) she pulled out the locket that encased a picture of her love and clutched it tightly to her chest.
"Oh, Arnold!" she whispered softly into the warm night air. "How I wish you could see how much I truly care about you. That I'm not just a deplorable vagabond who delights in torturing for the sake of twisted fun. Alas, I can't seem to overcome my fear that…that you'll never return my feelings. That I'm destined to gaze and stalk from afar, never to feel a reciprocated gesture of love."
Feeling her own emotions get the better of her, she let several tears slide down her cheek, not bothering to prevent them from flowing as the night was sure to hide her display from any passing onlookers.
"Today was the day you lost your parents, my beloved. Instead of helping and staying by your side, I ridiculed you as usual and then proceeded to slip and fall in mud…Arnold, someday I will lose this mean exterior and be for you what you've been to me since the day you held the umbrella over my head. I promise you that. For now, I remain what I've always been: a basket case."
And if to prove her point, the light to Arnold's window suddenly went out.
Wiping her eyes and nose, Helga willed herself to stop crying, tucked her locket back into her dress pocket and resumed her long, lonely walk back to the home where she barely existed. Waiting endlessly for the opportunity to come her way. The opportunity to fulfill her promise.
Basically a short introduction into what's to come. I hope it sets up the story nicely and really paints a clear picture of our two protagonists.
Another update will be coming soon!