Disclaimer: Craig Bartlett is the creator and he and Nickelodeon have the rights of the show.
40. Status quo II
The entire room was packed with journalists and people close to the girl who was the subject of discussion.
- I... I know I haven't been the best mother in the world... that there were things I could have done better, but... I... - The woman's voice faltered, she seemed to have lost her breath. I never imagined something like this would happen...
- I don't understand Olga! I don't understand why she complains like this! Yes, we are going through difficult times. I went through them myself when I was a child, but that forged me. Besides the fact that the girl has had a comfortable life, I don't understand why now she comes up with this stupidity!
- Poor of my baby sister, I didn't know she felt so bad, I mean, we always had a complicated relationship, but if she had wanted to, I... I know that the family should be together... I can't imagine us apart ... Baby sister, don't go! - The blonde broke down in tears, interrupting her testimony.
- Cheer up Olga! I'm with you. - Jamie O supported from the trial hearing.
- Silence! This is a serious trial. Now it's up to Mrs. Viksten to testify. Miss Pataki, stand down.
- Yes, Madam Judge.
A policeman escorted the older of the Pataki sisters to her seat, and the grandmother sat down, ready to talk.
- Members of the jury, you have seen the evidence, this family is homeless, as you can see in these photographs, they live in the store. In addition, according to these receipts that I have here, Robert's business does not provide enough for his family, sometimes they do not even have food on the table, Miriam had to work, a situation that has further broken their terrible marriage.
Miriam felt a chill, she knew that her mother was aware of her slip, she was afraid that she would show it to the audience, but instead of showing that proof, one of the many discussions with Bob was shown.
- Helga is a brilliant girl, she deserves to have the opportunity that every boy her age should have. A quiet home, with resources and attention from its caregivers.
- Objection! - Shouted Big Bob. - This woman is not interested in the girl! All she wants is revenge on me. She never liked me, she always saw me as less in her family. She wants to take revenge on me by sinking me and taking away my reputation.
- Do you see it now, your honor? The only thing this man cares about is his reputation. He doesn't know that Helga is 12 years old, that she is extremely intelligent, allergic to strawberries, that she adores ballet and writes poetry, has friends who adore her, and that she is a beautiful, sweet and sensitive girl who all she longs for is some attention and appreciation…And I want, I can and I will give her all that... if she stays by my side.
- Thank you Mrs. Viksten, you can have a seat. We have already heard the family, the prosecutor and the defense attorney, as well as some neighbors who have testified on Viksten's behalf. But I would like to hear from the minor, if she agrees.
- Thank you, Your Honor. - Helga stepped forward and cleared her throat before speaking. Her legs trembled. - I... I love my parents and even my sister... I know it doesn't seem like it, and maybe I shouldn't... but I do. I recognize Bob's effort to recover his business, Miriam's work at the hospital and how she has been improving and that Olga has given me more space... But I'm tired, tired of being the last thing in her worries, of being alone all the time and depending solely on me, criminy, even sometimes, it's me who has to take care of all of them... Gerry has known me for a few months and yet she knows me much better than any of them and has shown me her love and loyalty... I... want to have a normal life... like the others, that's all...
- Thank you Miss Pataki, you can go back. Since everything has been shown and both parts have finished exposing, the jury has two hours to define their verdict.
- Excellent, two hours to define my destiny.- Helga sighed and approached the social worker who had been with her for the last few days.
- Hey you! - The sweet voice of her boyfriend appeared behind her.
- Hey Arnold!... is a nice show, huh?
- I don't understand how the reporters found out about the trial.
- Well, some people said that Vermicelli gained some money for information, now all the people are following the Pataki's show! Is a disaster!
- I know pretty, but think it is maybe the final time that your parents will give you a hard time.
- That's Arnold Shortman, always looking for the positive thing. I'm so happy that you can stay here with me… I've never said this before but… I really need you.
For the first time in his life, Arnold saw a defenseless, vulnerable and fragile little Helga.
In her beautiful blue eyes, he could see the depth of her sadness.
- I know you think that families should be together and all that stuff, but...
- No Helga, I know that families should be together... but in this case your family is your grandma, I hope you win.
- So, all this seems good to you?
- Were you afraid that I would judge you? That's why you didn't tell me anything? - Arnold stared at her open-mouthed.
- Yes... I was afraid that... you might not understand it or that you would be disappointed.
- For defending yourself? Of course not Helga, sweetie, I want the best for you, I want you to be a full and happy person, to know what it is to have a home and if that's what your grandmother is, I will always support you. In our time together, you have taught me that not everything is rosy and that there are things that are sometimes better left behind.
- And you show me that everything has something good, how curious you are Arnoldo... thank you for being here, even though you found out on TV.
- I'll always be here, but next time, don't be afraid to tell me your battles, I'll always be on your side against whoever.
Arnold looked at her sweetly and kissed her in the most tender, yet passionate way that his twelve-year-old heart could.
- Wow... I still can't get used to this. - Helga said dreamily. - But you better go, the social worker will come soon and could see us.
- Okay, I'll see you soon.
The blond kissed his girlfriend's delicate hand and smiled at her before leaving. Once the door closed behind him, he sighed in exhaustion…
- I can't... I definitely can't ask her to reveal our relationship, nor can I accuse Gerald... I'm lost... I'll have to help Wolfgang... there's no option... - The blonde thought as he squeezed his fists with courage and impotence.
-Arnold? Are you OK?
- Oh Phoebe, hi! The social worker hasn't come yet, go by and look at Helga.
- Yes, I know her, she is my father's friend and she is helping Mrs. Viksten. And it was time, right?
- Yes, it was time for everything to be in its place.
The black-haired girl noticed her friend's strange look and watched him leave. She took out her cell phone and called without thinking.
- Babe, is about Arnold, I think he needs your help.
– Lloyd's Tower–
- What is all this dad? - Miles was watching the old folder that his dad stole from the office.
- Our end, Miles. I really don't know what we can do... maybe we finally lost Sunset Arms.
His son took the folder in his hands and saw some old letters where his grandpa admitted that he had another older son.
- So, it is true… he is our family.
- No Miles, he's just the son of my father, but not my family. My family are you, Stella, Arnold and Helga… he is an enemy.
Miles' heart broke, his mind filled with memories of his father working hard, his mother taking care of the tenants, the photos of Arnold growing up there... He grabbed his keys and started to leave.
- Are you going somewhere, honey? - His wife observed him from a distance.
- Yeah. There's something I have to fix... I'll go with him.
The school was half light, it was normal that on a Friday night and on vacation, not even the guard was awake.
Arnold was nervous, tense, but more than anything, furious. He was about to leave behind everything he believed and preached, but there was no return. A noise behind surprised him.
-Gerald? What are you doing here?
- That's what I was going to ask. What's the matter? You've been acting really weird.
- It's nothing... I just have things to fix.
- Will we lie to each other again? You know that I know you.
- It's just that I... I can't tell you. - The blonde lowered his gaze.
- Tell me, you know you can count on me.
- Oh and you with Arnold, Gerald.
-Wolfgang? What are you doing here?
- Shut up brush head! This is between my friend Arnoldo and me, right friend?
- Gerald, believe me, the best thing is that you go.
- Now more than ever I stay. - The brunette challenged the bully with her eyes.
- Ah, you won't listen to your little friend, huh? Perfect, so you can help him.
Now bring me what I asked for... now!
- No Wolfgang, this was between you and me, I won't let you get him into trouble. I'll steal the answer sheet, but leave him out of this.
- Are you crazy Arnold? We are one day away from graduation, I will not let you get expelled.
- What sweet friends, they are making me nauseous! Look Gerald, if Arnold doesn't comply, Wartz will find out about your little trick so he can pass to 6th grade... who do you think gave me the idea? - The evil teenager smiled pleased, seeing how Gerald turned pale.
- You... you know?
- And soon the whole school will know if you don't cooperate, now both of you, follow me and let's start working.
— Sunset Arms- front door —
Miles was nervous, going over one by one the words he would say to his new uncle. He had high hopes, maybe this guy could be an excellent uncle as Aunt Mitzy is, he would win an uncle, but only if he said the right thing, of course.
- Well, I think those words are correct, now I must knock and... - But before reaching up the stairs, a tall, voluptuous and elegant man came forward and knocked on the door in a special way, as if in code.
- But who the hell is he? Why does it look so familiar?
Tim opened the door and let the man in.
- It won't stay that way...
Remembering his youthful escapades, Miles climbed the fire escape and decided to investigate further.
— PS 118- Archive —
Arnold, with the help of his best friend, lit their lamps and entered the archive area, trying to make as little noise as possible. They reached Simmons's filing cabinet.
- Do you have the key? - Asked the nervous African American.
- I think it's obvious that no... I didn't think about that, and after the remodeling of the school, now the lock works.
- I know! I saw this in a few movies, let's see if it works.
From his curly black hair, the boy removed a bobby pin, and shaped it a bit to improvise a key.
- Gerald, that doesn't make any sense, how come...
- Ready! The drawer opened. Gee Arnold! We've saved the neighborhood, defeated a crazy treasure hunter in the jungle and you still doubt my abilities?
- You're right. - The boy leafed through a couple of folders and his face changed radically when he found what he was looking for. - This is... we can go now.
- Let's go, Arnie! I don't want... You really don't want to do it, huh?
- It's just not fair... I hate participating in something like this!
- And all because of me... I'm sorry friend... - He took the folder and put his hand on his shoulder. - I'm so sorry bro, I hate putting you in this situation... especially when you warned me so much last year. If I had known that you would be the victim... I never would have done it. I'm really sorry.
- Forget it Gerald... if I would do something like that for someone, it would be for my best friend.
They both made their classic greeting, and headed for the exit, while the brunette couldn't stop looking at the folder in her hands.
- Ready Wolfgang. - Said the football head looking at him furiously.
- Excellent work tadpoles! See you in Junior High School.
Meanwhile, at the Hillwood courthouse, a blonde girl was furiously throwing her bag onto the chair across from her.
- I can't believe Miriam has appealed! I can't stand it!
- Try to understand her a little, Helga, she doesn't want to lose you.- Her best friend reassured her.
- No Pheebs, what they don't want is to lose their reputation... I can't stand it! If it wasn't for their good behavior after their accident, we would have already beaten them.
- Be calm Helga, tomorrow everything will be resolved... by tomorrow morning, everything will be fine... I promise. I'm here for you.
- Thanks Phoebe... I don't know what I did to deserve a good friend like you.
- Just being yourself Helga, that's all. - Both girls smiled optimistically. - If you were to stay with your parents...
- Don't even mention it... It would be the worst thing that could happen to me. I just want a normal, quiet life, with someone who listens to me and some good food and support at school, who doesn't pay others to ensure family honor, who doesn't leave me on the road and what... someone that actually loves me...
The blonde finally cried bitterly, as no one had ever seen her before, as many times in the past she used to, in a corner, dreaming of a different destiny.
For the first time, she had someone by her side, someone who supported her and really comforted her.
- Let's go to my house Helga, you need to sleep. You'll be fine there.
They both left sharing a hug, not suspecting that someone had been listening to them.
— Sunset Arms —
With his characteristic climbing ability, acquired on his youthful travels, Miles managed to get into the boarding house, following both men without their noticing.
- I'm telling you, sir, if you hadn't shown me all those letters, I would never have found my biological family.
- Do not worry Kafka, or I must say, Shortman, everything that was taken from you will be recovered, or my name is not Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck, I was not going to allow them to be so unfair to you, as they were with me.
- Yes, Mr. Scheck, thank you very much, it's good that my lawyers helped you get out, after such an unjust arrest. Oh wait a minute, I left my cell phone in my room. I don't get used to using these devices.
- Yes, well... idiot cretin, but how naive you've been! - The man laughed when he saw himself alone in the room. Suddenly, a small crack made him turn the chair behind him. - Ah, so we have a spy! Hey?
- You will never get away with it! - Miles threatened him.
- I'll show you why entering here was the biggest mistake of your life.
— Hillwood Courthouse - Courtroom F–
- I'm Andi Andrews, reporting from day two of the famous Pataki trial, where we will discover the fate of little Olga, who alone is looking for a place to call home. Today we will see what the family judge has decided.
The room was full of people, the press, Helga's fellow students, all the Shortman tenants, anxiously awaiting the fate of the young woman in question.
- Your mother's old woman does not expect what we will do Miriam, with your letter of good behavior and re-entry into society, we will win!
- Yes, Bob... she doesn't expect the result.
Helga's heart felt like it was going to explode in her chest, it was going up and down, until she felt a warm hand on her shoulder.
She turned back and saw her boyfriend smiling sweetly at her. Fortunately, he had the reassuring touch she needed and she sighed to finish relaxing. Suddenly the judge appeared, taking her place and turned on her microphone.
- All are welcome. After deliberation by the jury, the investigation by the authorities and the social worker, we have decided that the custody of the minor, Helga G. Pataki, remains in the hands of Mrs. Geraldine Viksten, in its entirety. - The judge hit the gavel on her table, while everyone present, except Bob and Olga, celebrated the decision. - Case closed without right of appeal.
- Helga! We did it! - The old woman ran to her side and hugged her granddaughter, who was still in shock.
- Yes... I... am free.- She said astonished.
- you did it Helga! You and your grandma.
Arnold and Phoebe ran to hug the girl with the pink bow.
- I don't understand... I thought that Miriam's behavior would be enough.
- It's weird Helga, they had a good ace up their sleeve.
- Yes, unless...
And like a flash of light, a thought crossed Helga's mind. Her face turned pale and she ran as fast as she could, searching with her eyes, dodging all the people who wanted to congratulate her, until she reached her goal, which was about to leave.
- Mom, wait!
-Helga? What's going on?
- You did it, right?... you renounced my guardianship...
- I... I couldn't tie you to me anymore... I couldn't continue being selfish... no more... you didn't deserve it, I didn't deserve you.
Helga threw herself into his arms, and cried into them.
- Forgive me daughter... for all the damage I did to you and your sister. For not fighting for us... but everything will change, I promise you, I will not be a burden to you again, I will fight and work and I will be worthy of you... I promise.
- I believe you mom... and I trust you. Thank you.
They both sealed their pact with a hug, healing all the wounds from the past.
After that moving morning, all the almost, ex- students of PS 118 went home to get ready. The parents and students had prepared a small ceremony in the gym, which would culminate in a dance for the graduating youth.
Rhonda admired her reflection and dress, giving it a bit of thought.
Phoebe fixed her headdress while showing her best friend some accessories, which she miraculously agreed to wear.
Harold, Stinky and Sid laughed among themselves about the suits they had to wear. For his part, Eugene smiled, satisfied with his suit made by his mother, until his bow tie inexplicably got tangled around his neck.
- I'm ok! -He said to himself.
For her part, Lila looked sadly at a photograph of her mother.
- How I would like you to see how we are doing now... how I would like you to see me...
- She is with you, and always will be.
Her father appeared and put a necklace on her with a small gold key.
- I have kept this until now... just for you.
They both shared a hug, while their father's girlfriend sighed from the outside in annoyance.
In another very different neighborhood, a small family celebrated in a big way, although in a more modest way.
- My Patty! You're finally graduating and going to Junior High School!
- We are proud of you, my little princess. - Said the proud dad.
- Let's go to the YMAA gym, Harold is waiting for me.
His parents smiled and hurried out.
In the Llyods' penthouse the atmosphere was not so different, Arnold and Gerald were giving the last touches to impress their girlfriends, until Stella entered the room.
- According to what I see, you are ready, you look very handsome. Smile for the photo.
- Thank you, Mrs. S. A good face always helps. - The tall-haired boy teased.
- Mom... you look worried, what's wrong?
- Is your dad, with everything about Helga I didn't want to worry you... Last night he went looking for Tim Kafka and never came back... I'm afraid he did something crazy.
- Why did he do that! That guy is not to be trusted. I'd better go find dad.
- No, it's extremely dangerous. Go to the gym, I'll take care of this... trust me Arnold.
- But mom...
- Helga needs you... go.
- Okay, but I'll be writing to you.
— YMAA gym – Saturday Night —
The gym was elegantly decked out in different shades of blue, some decorations highlighted with glitter. Parents and students commented on the decorator's excellent taste, while Rhonda tried to ignore them.
- Do you listen to them, Nadine? It shows that these people do not have good taste.
- And it shows that you have no manners and if you don't want to be alone, you better start changing.
The blonde walked away annoyed, leaving her best friend behind.
Arnold and Gerald walked in and met their friends, greeting each other and joking about how cool it would be to not go back to elementary school, until the girls showed up, distracting the attention of Arnold and his best friend.
- Well, well, well... if it's the football head and Geraldo... I must admit that they don't look so terrible, I mean, to be you...
But Arnold didn't hear anything about his girlfriend's act... he was enraptured by how beautiful she looked. Her hair was loose and somewhat wavy, and she wore a pale pink sundress with some lace on top.
- Wow. - It was the only thing the boy managed to say to his secret girlfriend.
- Come on guys, the ceremony is about to start! - Simmons announced, while everyone was taking their seats. Helga looked through the crowd and smiled as she saw her mother, sister and grandmother sitting down, ready to support her.
- Come on Helga?
- Come on Phoebe!
Seconds later Stella entered and sat down next to Phil and the rest of the guests. His countenance seemed concerned.
- Everything okay daughter? - Asked her father-in-law.
- Well, Miles spoke to me... but I noticed something strange... dad, I don't know what to do.
- Welcome everyone to the graduation of the class of 99 from PS 118. We are honored to have your company. To begin the ceremony, Principal Wartz will sing our school anthem.
- Hey Arnold. - His best friend, sitting in front of him, called him.
- What's happening?
- I don't see Wolfgang anywhere... isn't it weird?
- I don't know, maybe because he is a repeater he didn't want to come to the graduation with us.
- Well young people, it's time to show your parents the good education you have received these years... and you better not do anything Harold and company. - The Principal cleared his throat and when he was about to sing the anthem, a voice interrupted Wartz.
- Stop there! Gerald and Arnold are not supposed to graduate... Gerald cheated to get into fifth grade... and Arnold helped me cheat on today's test! - Wolfgang yelled at the top of his lungs while everyone was surprised. - They should be disapproved...
- What's wrong Wolfgang? Why do you say all that? Gerald got up from his seat.
- Because you deceived me, the answer sheet was altered. You altered it!
Once again, all the parents were surprised and the students began to record the moment with their cell phones.
- You're wrong Wolfgang, I was the one who changed the exam... I heard the blackmail you did to the boys... That's why the Principal and I decided that you'll stay another year here.
- And what about the brush head? Why does he graduate?
- Because I know my students, last year I also changed the exam, their grade was honest.
- So I didn't do anything wrong? - Gerald got up excited.
- We'll talk at home, young man... - His father said annoyed and the young man sat down worried.
- So you think you won Arnold, huh? Well, I'm leaving... but not without you winning. - The teenager put his hand in his pocket and took out a control that activated the screen that was in the front, showing a video with pictures of Arnold and Helga on their dates. - That everyone finds out that Arnold and Helga have been secretly dating for almost a year... but you were embarrassed, right? I don't blame you Arnold.
- Wolfgang... I'm not going to let you...
- Stop Arnold... - The Pataki girl interrupted. - I'm tired of pretending to be something I'm not... and you are a part of me... and I'm not going to deny you anymore... I love Arnold! And I'm not ashamed to say it. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me... I've been madly in love with him since I was three years old and yes Stinky... All those cheesy poems were mine! And? If someone has something to tell me, you can enter your opinion by…
But Helga's threatening speech was interrupted by her boyfriend, who took her by the waist and kissed her deeply. Totally surprising all his classmates, who after a few seconds began to cheer and applaud them.
- I love you too, Helga... you're the best thing I've ever had in my life, and I love being able to shout it from the four winds.
- Very cute Shortman and Pataki... but this ceremony is not a civil marriage, it's an elementary school graduation... so, if there are no more interruptions...
- In fact, there are!- A familiar female voice broke into the gym, interrupting the Principal for the millionth time.
-Pookie! You have returned! Finally! - Phil got up surprised from his seat.
- Of course I came back handsome! And the best thing is that I didn't come alone, I brought you some presents!
The old woman activated a rope, from where the businessman Scheck fell from the roof tied up, once again surprising everyone.
- Grandma, why did you bring him? He had you kidnapped?
- Ha! He would like to be able to beat the old Steel Lioness!
- I don't understand anything that is happening here.- Stella said, surprised.
- I can explain it to you, Stella.
- Tim Kafka... and Jimmy the traitor.
- Yes Phil... we have come to bring your son back to you, Sheck had him captive.
They both ran and shared a warm hug.
- And I return the Sunset Arms deeds to you... Sheck lied to me... he made me believe that you were against me and made me want to take revenge on you... I'm sorry, I let myself be fooled like an idiot.. It turns out that dad never knew of my existence, he and all of you were innocent.
- So... Can we go home?
- Sure! You should never have left there...
- We got Sunset Arms back guys! The Shortmans are back!
Everyone present joined in the celebration of the family they loved so much, while Wartz interrupted the celebration.
- Very touching moments... but it will be that we can start graduation now!
Everyone took their seats, families joined together and witnessed the moment they had been waiting for for years. Miles and Stella were overflowing with joy, finally being able to accompany their son in such a special moment, and Miriam, finally being able to fully enjoy it.
- Colleagues and family... Six years have already passed, it is easy to say, but living through them has been quite an adventure. We arrived as little children, some more defenseless than others, and we grew, matured, learned, met people who would become so special, our new brothers and sisters, adventure companions, dangers, sad moments, others even happier, moments that have become memories... We don't know what will become of us tomorrow, but what I do know is that whenever I think of PS 118, I will think of Mr. Simmons, always encouraging us to be better and forgiving our mistakes.
I will think of Harold, Sid and Stinky and I will remember the pranks we used to play, the baseball games, the ice creams we shared... I will remember Nadine's bugs, Sheena's dances, Patty's advice, Gerald's legends, the accidents of Eugene, Phoebe's loyalty and genius, Rhonda's talent and Lila's genuine friendship, Arnold's unsolicited but always accurate advice... I will remember their families being our second home... and that despite what that we live in, I would not change any letter of the story. As your school president, I wish you the best of luck, but I wish even more that you are able to work for her... congratulations!
The entire audience erupted in applause, as the teachers wiped tears from their faces. The boys got together and began to celebrate their big dance... at last they had made it.
- It was a beautiful speech, President Pataki. But what are you doing out here in the garden?
- I just wanted a moment of peace... It was an intense weekend, huh?
- But everything turned out excellent... now you will live with your grandmother, we recovered the boarding house, it seems that uncle Tim is good and now...
- We can be together... yes, yes, I know... but don't get too cloying, eh Arnoldo?
- I can't promise you much... but I'll do my best to disobey you.
They both shared a sweet kiss, then hugged and looked at the moon together.
- So... since kindergarten, huh?
- Shut up Arnoldo... don't ruin the moment.
- Okay... I'll just tell you that... I'm happy that we're finally together and that... whatever comes in high school... I'll be there for you.
THE END or not…
I can finally write "THE END" after 9 months… but don't worry… this story was only the first part… we have "Hillwood tales" for a while… It's just that I consider that it would be opportune to divide the story in this new stage of Arnold and Helgas's friends… so don't worry… see you very soon at: "Welcome to Brave Lynx 's Camp!" So if you don't follow me, do so to be the first to read the next special... see you soon!
* A special thanks to Ellis97 for always commenting and supporting the story! I hope to see you in the second part!
P.S. A review for all the effort would be a great detail, I'm dying to know your opinion!