Christmas Miracle in the Cold

BY : Sadarax
Category: +G through L > Hey, Arnold!
Dragon prints: 7456
Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold!, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Hey Arnold - Christmas Miracle in the Cold
By Sadarax (sadarax.wwoec at gmail.com)
Website: http://sadarax.wwoec.com/
[Written for the WWOEC Forum 2007 Christmas Writers Jam]

Story Tags: Challenge, COMPLETE, HJ, Finger, M/F, Minor2, Oneshot, SoloF


Chapter 1 Invitations


"Outta my way Football Head!" exclaimed Helga Pataki as she roughly pushed aside the blond haired boy in front of her.

The boy's unhappy expression was lost on the rough girl as she passed by quickly, not even giving him a second glance. Making her way around the other students in the lunch room, she threaded over to a table held by Phoebe. As she came up to their saved seating area, her friend commented, "That was hardly necessary Helga."

"What was that Phebes?" she replied as she opened her brown lunch bag and removed its contents.

"You didn't have to push Arnold. You had plenty of room to pass by him." answered the Asian girl across from her. "It was not very nice."

"Eh, he was gonna be in my way," shot back Helga as she took a bite out of her apple. "Besides, I'm not a very nice person. I'm Helga G. Pataki! I don't need to be nice." She took another large bite of the apple for emphasis.

Phoebe shrugged, being well accustomed to her friend's bravado act. "Well," she replied as she opened her own lunch, "I think you're nice. To me anyway."

"Of course Phebes, you're my best friend!" replied Helga and took another bite of apple, chewing loudly on the juicy fruit.

"Thanks. But you know, you could be a *little* nicer to Arnold. It's not like he does anything to bother you, and... well, if you ever *wanted* him to be nice to you, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything," said Phoebe.

Phoebe's timing was quite good, as she had intended. Helga's mouth was full of apple, so her response was delayed long enough to give her a second to stare at her friend sitting in front of her.

"Of course, it's not like you'd want that sort of thing," added Phoebe a second later, breaking eye contact and looking down at her lunch. She suppressed a small sigh, knowing that her friend was a long way indeed from admitting that she longed for such a thing.

Helga nodded with her mouth still full.

A few seconds of silent chewing followed. Helga was greatly thankful that Phoebe had never explicitly acknowledged that she aware of her friend's extremely passionate love for Arnold. It was something she valued highly in their friendship, how gentle and kind Phoebe was. She was meek really, but Helga still liked it. The fact that Phoebe knew of her deepest darkest secret and never brought it up openly was a really nice gesture. The unobtrusive gentle nature of her friend was much more likely to beget her private confidences than any amount of promises for secrecy.

"Yeah, well..." said Helga after swallowing at last, "Maybe I didn't exactly have to push him."

"Tee-hee." giggled Phoebe, smiling widely.

Helga was about to ask what she thought was so funny, when someone else spoke, "And here's one for you. And here's one for you." At these words a white envelope dropped in front of her and she looked up to see Rhonda standing next to their table.

"Of course you both simply *have* to come. You will won't you? It will be simply marvelous," said Rhonda.

"A party huh?" said Helga, without opening or even looking at the letter. That was all Rhonda ever did it seemed. Parties. Or occasionally brag about stuff.

"Yes, a Christmas party, with the best catering that daddy can buy," answered Rhonda as she swung one arm outwards in some grand gesture of implied opulence. "It's going to be in our new house. We've just had the basement remodeled and expanded to include a pool. It will be splendid for summer parties when things get a touch warm around here."

"When it is happening Rhonda?" asked Phoebe as she opened the letter.

"Two days before Christmas," answered Rhonda, and the she frowned, adding, "It would've have been on Christmas Eve, but I was afraid that too many people have some sort of lame family duties then and simply wouldn't be able to come. Maybe next year."

Rhonda shrugged off her disappointment a second later. "So, do you two think you will be able to attend?" she asked.

"Eh," shrugged Helga. "Sure, why not?" After all, thought Helga, it was not like she had anything better to do.

"Great." replied Rhonda. With a elegant twirl, she practically spun away from them as she moved towards another table.

"You comin' too Phebes?"

"I should think so. Christmas break starts tomorrow. We have the week off and I'll be free then, besides Rhonda's parties are normally quite enjoyable."

"And the food ain't gonna be half bad either."

With that, the two students resumed their lunch, the topic of Arnold from before forgotten and, for Helga, thankfully not brought up again. Despite the topic never resurfacing in conversation, Helga's thoughts remained on it for some time.

The fiery blond roiled inside, berating herself at her unnecessary aggression towards her love. Oh why couldn't she be nice to him like Phoebe subtly suggested? Why couldn't she show him just a little bit of kindness, civility, or even indifference? Why did she always hide her feelings by acting out so?

It was the same inner monologue she had gone through for what must have been a thousand times. She had no answer. Her feelings betrayed her. Her sense of vulnerability became too great at the thought of having her feelings exposed. She... she shared her true self with almost no one. Phoebe was the most regular, but she had earned it. The others... oh, they only got a small sample every now and then, and usually when it could not be avoided, like with Lila or Patty.

"... it is the season for miracles. Or so they say." finished Phoebe.

Helga had only been half listening, but her attention refocused now that her friend had finished speaking. Miracles? Ha! Suddenly her foul mood, brought on by her self deprecation, sharply focused onto her holiday complaints and hates.

"Yeah, a great big fat season of miracles is right!" ranted Helga. "Olga comes home for the holidays to make absolutely sure Miriam and Bob pay no attention to me whatsoever. Dad goes on and on about his holiday specials and seasonal Christmas commercials. Miriam has an excuse to make fountains of Eggnog smoothies, and worst of all, all three of them act like we're some big happy family! We gotta go through all the 'perfect family togetherness' motions."

Helga spat a stray piece of food onto the floor in disgust. "I swear Phoebe, I'd love to spend Christmas Eve with ANYONE but my family."

"So, you're saying it would be a miracle to spend it with someone else then?" asked Phoebe, more sympathetically than jokingly.

"Yeah, anyone. The worst part of *that* is that I can't go visit you at your house because you're having dinner with *your* family."

"Maybe something wonderful will happen to you this season Helga. Maybe...." Phoebe paused for only a second, and then continued, "you will get to spend time with someone you like."

Helga blinked and then let out a laugh. "Haha, now that would be a miracle!"


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