This chapter is based on the final song of The Last Five Years called Goodbye Until Tomorrow.

If you skipped listening/watching the musical numbers up to this point, I highly recommend that before you read this chapter, go to YouTube and search for 'The Last Five Years Goodbye Until Tomorrow.' At the time of update, there's a 8:12 minute video of the movie's ending song. I based this chapter directly on the choreography of the movie because it was so well done, namely the part where both of them are on the stoop, her Year 1 and his Year 5. I hope I can explain it well and do it justice. Also, Jaime's melody during his solo is my favorite in the entire musical, and maybe one of my favorite things ever.

Both Arnold's and Helga's POV make an appearance in this chapter. We start with Arnold's POV from the beginning of their relationship, and we end with Helga's POV at the end of the relationship.


Chapter 14 - Goodbye (Until Tomorrow)

ARNOLD, YEAR 1

He awoke to the feeling of hair tickling his nose. He twitched it and sniffled. The sensation was still there. With his eyes still closed, he brought his hands up to his nose to move whatever was tickling him. It was indeed hair, but long, and attached to somebody else.

Arnold opened his eyes. His mind flooded with warm memories as he realized his luck. A lock of Helga Pataki's long blonde hair had curled up and reached his nose.

They had fallen asleep in a spooning position. He had slept with several girls before, but he never liked touching anyone while he slept. It was different with Helga. He felt like touching her completed him. It gave him a feeling of connection that he didn't know he needed.

He tightened his embrace around her warm body and buried his nose into her hair, breathing her in. Her smell was intoxicating, further confirming that this was right.

She started to squirm, waking up. He didn't know what her mood was like waking up in the morning. He decided to proceed by being himself and backing off if she got pissed. "Good morning," he said, his voice thickly coated with adoration.

Her head turned toward his direction, looking up at the ceiling. Her voice was sleepy and so precious. "Were you just sniffing me?" she asked.

Arnold smiled and dug his nose into the crook of her neck, making her shoulders tense up and rise upward out of ticklishness. He started doing obnoxiously aggressive sniffs all over her neck and shoulders, making her wiggle and giggle, in a small effort to try to escape. "This is not proper wake up etiquette!" she forced out between giggles.

Arnold suddenly stopped. He was lying above her, and she was looking up at him. He leaned in and gave her a deep kiss, reaching his free arm through her long hair to touch her neck passionately. His kiss relaxed her body. After a moment, he ended the kiss by slowly backing his lips away from hers. "How's that?" he asked quietly.

She looked at his lips, and then up to his eyes. "Surprisingly nice," she responded in soft euphoria. He didn't understand why it was a surprise, but it sounded like a compliment to him, so he didn't question it.

He rolled onto his back, put his hands behind his head, and looked up at the skylight. Man, he had missed this skylight. He could tell by the position of the sun that they had slept in.10:00?He checked the clock. It read 10:12. He considered it a win.

"We slept in," he said.

"Pfft, it sure doesn't feel like it," she scoffed, her tone laced with humor. She looked over her shoulder to the clock. "Oh my God, it's not even noon yet!" She threw her head back into the pillow and pulled the covers over her head.

He chuckled at her childish response. "Well, I'm getting up," he said, doing an athletic hop over her body and out of the bed. "I'm hungry. You?"

She peeked her head out from under the covers. "Food? I could go for some food."

He loved the way her presence was already having a positive effect on his day. He smiled at her morning disposition. She's adorable in the morning, he noted. He started to put on pants. "I'll make us something," he said. "Is that okay with you?"

Helga's eyes began to shift around in thought before she threw the covers off of her and sat up. "If I'm going to show my face in this house full of people, I'm going to need a shower first." She looked down at her naked body. "Got any clothes for me?"

Although she was a gorgeous sight, he fully explored every inch of her body several times last night, once just a few hours prior. He didn't need to gawk at this point. "Yeah, lemme look," he said, approaching his closet. He opened the door and burst into laughter.

"What?" she asked, pulling down last night's black dress over her head.

"Helga, you gotta come see this."

He looked back at the closet and keeled over in laughter, gripping his knee for support. She stood beside him and looked inside. Her laughs started off small, but got bigger and louder as the thought settled in. Soon, they were feeding off of each other's laughter for perhaps a full minute.

They were looking at a closet that was absolutely destroyed. Clothes were dangling off hangers and all over the floor. There was a crooked shelf that used to hold a box; the baseball cards in said box now blanketed the ground like leaves on a forest floor. Instead of Arnold's shoes sitting obediently in a line on the floor, they were thrown in every which way.

He remembered it well. In fact, he'd never forget it. He left his guests who came for his surprise party on the roof and went down into his childhood bedroom to check on Helga, who had been writing poetry at his desk. It didn't take long for the two of them to be all over each other in a very heated makeout session. She began to lead him to his bed, when he stopped her, pointing to the skylight, implying that all his friends and family were up there. She looked around, opened up the closet door, and shoved him in. It was the most primal and passionate sex he had ever had. Ten years of buildup led to an almost frenzied need to have every part of each other in an explosively erotic expression of lust.

When the laughter died down, standing side-by-side and still looking at the wreckage, he wrapped his arm around Helga's shoulder and pulled her into a hug, kissing her forehead. "Totally worth it," he said into her hair.

"Oh yeah," she agreed, squeezing him tighter before heading toward the closet. "Here, let's clean this up together and I'll find an outfit I'll feel comfortable in."

This surprised him. "Wait," he said. "You're not going to say, 'You're on your own, bucko!' and leave me to clean this by myself?"

"Trust me. I considered it," she said with a smile, looking back at him. "But I'm riding high off last night's memories and I'm feeling generous." Her eyes twinkled and her smile lingered for a moment before turned around and started picking up hangers.

Warmth. Connection. Completeness. As he quietly knelt down to pick up his baseball cards, stealing glances at her, it felt like true happiness was finally realized. His mind returned to the doubts and even regrets he previously had about leaving Hillwood for San Lorenzo and staying there for so long. Those regrets were long gone. Last night confirmed that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen. He already had an overwhelming feeling that this was the real thing. That Helga was the person he was meant to be with.

When the closet had reached a state of normalcy, she picked out a plain blue cotton t-shirt from Arnold's closet. He felt like they were on the same wavelength. "You have good taste," he said. "That's one of my favorite shirts."

She motioned toward him, as if he had finally proved her point. "Finally, someone acknowledges it!" She broke character with a chuckle and said, "Show me which pants of yours are the tightest."

He thought about it for a moment before reaching in and handing her a pair of worn-in jeans. "Probably these," he said. "Another favorite. I'll be expecting these back, by the way."

"Yeah, yeah," she said, turning around with a wave of her hand, about to head out the door.

He smiled before he lunged for his shower caddy. "Wait! Take this with you," he said. "Also, fresh towels are under the sink."

"Oh, right. Boarding house life," she said with a shake of her head and a laugh. She descended down the creaky stairs. He watched her go, leaning against the doorframe with his hands in his pockets.

Suddenly, he heard his cell phone buzzing on his bedside table. He closed the door and checked out who it was. Gerald.

"Hey Gerald," Arnold answered.

"What's up, lover boy?"

"Oh my God," Arnold sighed, flopping down onto his bed and looking up at the skylight, totally blissed out. "Never better."

"Ah, so last night went well."

"More than well," he said with enthusiasm. "Better than anything I could've imagined. It was perfect."

"Happy for you, man."

"The party was a great idea, dude. Thank you so much for setting it up."

"Anything for my main man," Gerald said. "So, I'm guessing you weren't too disappointed when Pataki dipped out, huh?"

Arnold furrowed his eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

"You know, when you woke up and she was gone."

"What? No, she's not gone. She's in my shower right now. She's staying for breakfast."

"Hold up," Gerald said. "Helga's still there?"

"Gerald, what's going on?" Arnold asked, sitting up.

"Arnold, Helga is notorious for slipping out after a hookup," Gerald answered. "She's told me all about it. She's even given me tips, man!"

"Wait, so you're telling me that she might not be in my shower right now?" Arnold said, looking toward the door. Disappointment began to pull at his ankles and yank him down off of cloud nine.

"I don't know, man. Check."

Arnold got up. "Okay, stay with me. I'm going to check." He opened the door and started walking down the stairs. "She better not have left. I gave her one of my favorite outfits to borrow!"

He heard Gerald chuckling on the line as Arnold approached the bathroom door. He heard the shower running. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

"What?" he heard her voice ask.

He instantly felt relieved. "Nothing, just seeing if you had everything you needed!" he said into the crack of the door.

"I'm fine! Sheesh, Football Head!" he heard her say.

He laughed as he started heading back toward his room. "See?" he said into the phone. "She didn't bolt."

"Damn, dude," Gerald said. "This is serious. She must really like you, man."

"I'm telling you, Gerald," Arnold said, reaching the top of the stairs and closing the door behind him. "I think I'm falling her."

"Woah woah woah. You gotta pump the breaks, man!"

"I know, I know. I'm not gonna say anything."

"Good, 'cause you'll scare her the fuck off!"

"I just know that this is gonna lead to something big," Arnold said, almost pleading. "I think she's the one, Gerald."

There was silence at the other end for a moment. "Mmm mmm mmm!" Gerald replied. "I had a feeling you were going to fall hard, but I didn't think it would be like this."

"I'm just telling you the truth," Arnold said. "I need to say it to someone, because I obviously can't tell her right now!"

"Alright, man. Alright. I got you," Gerald said. "Just get it out of your system before you accidentally slip up and send her running for the hills."

"You're right," Arnold said, pacing back and forth. "She can't know yet that I'm in this deep. Anyway, I gotta go. I said I'd make her breakfast."

"Helga staying for breakfast... I still can't even believe it."

"Wanna come over in about two hours? Maybe we can shoot hoops or something," Arnold asked. "Now I'm all wound up and need to move."

"You also need some basketball tips because you seriously suck at it," Gerald said bluntly. "I'm in. See you soon."

"Bye Gerald."

Arnold bounded down the stairs and wondered what she'd like. He looked in the fridge. It was the beginning of summer, and berries were in season, so they were stocked with plenty of them. He grabbed them and decided to make her oatmeal, one of his go-tos, and add the berries to it.

She walked into the kitchen just as he was placing the finished bowls on the table. She was shaking around her wet hair with her hands, trying to expedite the drying process. He loved the way she looked in his clothes. They hugged her figure in such a different way, and it excited him.

"I'm totally keeping these clothes, by the way," she said, as she pulled out the chair. She sat down and looked at the bowl. "This oatmeal looks different."

"It's cold," he said. "It's not weird and lumpy like hot oatmeal is. Trust me. It's better."

"Ah, you're one of those weird texture people," she said with a smirk before taking a bite. Her eyes went wide. "Wow, this is really good."

"Right? I got lazy one day and didn't heat it up. Now, I'll never go back."

"I won't, either," she said. "You'll have to show me how you make it this good."

She's thinking about the future with me in it, he thought. Sure, it was a not-so-distant future, but it was still promising. He smiled at her. "Yep, next time," he said, hoping she got the hint. She did; she looked straight at him, her features softening once her eyes met his. They gave each other a knowing gaze before looking down at their bowls for their next bites.

. . .

Much too soon, Arnold and Helga were standing on the stoop of the boarding house. Arnold was standing at the top step, Helga, the bottom.

"I can't believe I'm walking home in your flip flops," she said, gesturing at her feet. "I look like a toddler trying on clown shoes."

He chuckled. His flip flops were a few sizes too big on her, but she was being dramatic. Probably no one would notice. She said that she didn't want to do a walk of shame home, which meant no wearing or carrying her heels. This was the next best thing.

Arnold's hand met the back of his neck. "So, I'd offer to walk you home, but I kinda told Gerald I would meet up with him soon to play basketball."

"Ah," Helga replied, breaking eye contact and nodding in understanding. She's disappointed.

"What are you doing tonight?" he blurted out, wanting more than anything to erase any feelings of disappointment or doubt from her, ego be damned.

She thought about it. "No plans," she said, her fingers rimming the thick stoop railing.

"Can I take you out to dinner?"

Her hair had dried by this point. Her long hair was swept to one side over her shoulder. She looked beautiful with the wind in her hair. "Yeah. That sounds nice."

He felt relieved to hear her say that. "Okay. I'll pick you up around 7."

She kept her eyes on him for a long pause, almost as if she were taking a mental picture. He didn't mind; he was also drinking her in. He felt sad to see her go. She started walking up the steps. He stayed put, his eyes not leaving hers. She came in with a passionate kiss, one where her arms were on his back and his hands were in her hair. Warmth reentered his body and soul. It ended too soon; she broke off the kiss, leaving him to lean in, expecting more. She headed down the steps, gave him one last look with a slight smile, before she turned and headed down the sidewalk.

"Goodbye," he said, watching her walk away until her figure disappeared into the horizon.


HELGA, YEAR 5

The house was dark. It had been a rainy day, the type of day where she needed to turn on the lights when she'd normally rely on natural light. She didn't turn them on today, though. It felt as dark as her heart felt. It felt like it fit somehow, so she let it be.

She sat at the desk where she had written many songs. The desk faced the window, which gave her a view of the street. She'd miss this window. She'd miss this desk, even. But she needed to start over. A fresh start. She couldn't bear to bring any items with her that she and Arnold shared. It would be too painful, or worse, it might cause her to run back to him.

She took a deep breath. Do it. Do it now. She reached into the desk and pulled out a notebook. The first one she grabbed happened to be Arnold's notebook, the same one she had written Blue's first songs in just 5 years ago. The one she had filled pages and pages about her feelings for him on that fateful night. Those pages had since been ripped out, but the memories still remained. The depressing coincidence of pulling out this particular notebook wasn't lost on her. He probably wouldn't notice.

She looked to her left. Her suitcase had been packed with some of her essentials. She had a backpack hung over the back of the chair with some of the same. Her ticket to LA was ready to go. She changed it to a one-way ticket. She was going to attend the event and play things by ear. This city was tainted with memories of her and Arnold now, and she needed to get out of here. At least for a little while.

I'm doing this, she kept telling herself, yet her body wouldn't respond. She couldn't bring herself to pick up that pen. The pen would end it all. The pen would ruin his birthday. The pen would break his heart. The pen would tear her away from the only person she has ever loved.

Or ever will love. Sure, she might move on, but she will never, ever love anyone the way she loves Arnold. If you love him, let him go. Give him the happiness he yearns for, the happiness you can't give him.

That was it. That was the motivation she needed to pick up her shaky hand and hold that life-altering pen. Tears began to form as she began to write.

Arnold, my love,

You might be wondering why I can't do this in person. It would never happen that way. I'd look into your eyes, and they'd pull me right back to you. You'd convince me to stay. You'd tell me, yet again, that your dream for me to be your wife was bigger than any of your other dreams.

But I'm not enough, my beloved. As time would go on, you'd crave to do the one thing you were put on this earth to do:

be the best father any kid has ever had. With time, you'd resent me for keeping that gift from you.

So here is my sacrifice. I'm letting you go. I'm leaving, and I'm not coming back.

I love you. I'll never stop loving you, which is why I have to do this.

Go out there and make beautiful Shortman children someday.

With all the love I can muster,

Helga

She felt like a coward. She was a coward. But it had to be this way. She was breaking his heart, and she'd never see the ruins. It would kill her if she did.

She quickly got up, slung the backpack over her shoulder, and grabbed the suitcase. She needed to go. He'd be home in about an hour or two.

She walked out the door and descended the stairs of the stoop. The quicker I do this, the easier it'll be. She got to the bottom. She couldn't help but turn around and say a final goodbye to her life.

She was shocked to turn around and see Arnold standing on the steps. Why are you here? she thought.

It seemed out of character for the current moment. Arnold was giving her a completely entranced lovesick gaze. Mushy eyes, she mused. His hair was long again, pulled back into a bun. His features were slightly softer, more youthful. She recognized the outfit. This is what he was wearing 5 years ago. The morning after that unforgettable night they reunited.

Even in her mind, his stare was spellbinding. Maybe we can make this work, a small voice inside her said. She missed this look. He hadn't looked at her this way in a while. She found herself climbing up the stairs to be closer to him. They were face to face, her horrified stare meeting his infatuated one. She relished in it for a moment.

No, a louder voice said. Let him go.

She took a step backward, making her go down one step. He took a step toward her, keeping their close proximity, his eyes screaming how much he wanted her.

You're not real, she pleaded. She took another step back. He took another step forward, his love for her pouring out of every part of him.

This isn't what we have anymore, she reasoned. She took another step back. He stepped forward again, not breaking his adoring gaze.

She stepped back one more time. She was on the sidewalk now, reunited with her suitcase. He had stepped forward, too, though there was some distance between them now. The look of desire was still strongly beaming from him. She returned his gaze with a troubled and frightened look. She felt the tears well up in the tragedy of it all.

She took a deep breath.

"Goodbye," they said to each other. She closed her eyes intentionally, allowing the tears to stream down her face. When she opened her eyes, he was gone.

Collecting her courage and her belongings, she grabbed the handle of the suitcase, turned around, and walked away from their life together. She embarked in a new, yet seemingly familiar territory. A life without him.


A/N: Phew! I'm sweating. That was rough, huh?

For those of you who stuck around, curious enough to see me destroy Shortaki unnecessarily for no fucking reason at all, thank you.

Nah, there was a reason. To FEEL! It feels good to feel. I absolutely love The Last Five Years for this exact reason. It reminds me of my first love and my first heartbreak. I hope I did the same for all of you reading.

Just so you know, this was just an experimental piece. I wanted to see where this plot line would take me with these two, and here's where it went. I absolutely believe that Helga and Arnold end up together with the kids and all that.

Now, go off and balance this ending with a fluffy Shortaki one-shot or something.

If any of you deeply yearn for a happier ending, I'll consider adding an epilogue. Only if I get enough feedback asking for it. So give this story a follow, leave a review asking for an epilogue, and maybe you'll see an update here in the future. You never know.

Oh, and if anybody wants to chat about anything Shortaki or The Last Five Years, send me a PM or review. I'm always down for that.

Again, thanks for reading.