Author's note: Well, I was writing this story before I did Holmes Academy. I like this idea better and it is a... Show full author's note »
Arnold's First Girlfriend?Arnold Riley froze where he stood, his breathe quickening as the person he hated most walked towards him. It was an unseasonably hot day for autumn and Arnold knew he would be picked on for his wet shirt and red skin. Without fail, Pierce Lovewig followed by his band of disciples spotted Arnold ahead, who sported his oh-so-fashionable newsboy bag.
“What’s up dweeb?” Pierce crooned. “Did your mom buy you that purse?”
The other boys laughed, shoving each other off the sidewalk to get a peak at Arnold and Pierce.
“It’s a news bag.” Arnold muttered. “I have to go.”
Arnold tried to pass around them but a wall of kids encircled him so that he was forced to face Pierce again.
“Look at his sweat stains!” Pierce howled. “And it looks like mummy didn’t put enough sun block on her special little boy.”
Arnold said nothing and refused to make eye contact.
“Then again,” Pierce continued, egged on by the sneers and laughs from the crowd. “Mommy doesn’t pay much attention to her failure child does she? Not when she has sons that are better then you right?”
That struck a nerve. Arnold whipped his head up and looked Pierce straight in his beady little eyes. “Don’t! You don’t know what your talking about!”
For a moment Pierce looked stunned, then he looked mad. The next thing Arnold knew, he was on the ground, his underpants ripped up, and his newspapers thrown in the gutter.
“See you at school.” The kids cheered and left him. Pierce gave him a hard kick in the side before he followed the group of kids. Arnold lay on the concrete for a long time, feeling defeated, humiliated, and worse still, he knew everything Pierce said was right. It wasn’t until an old woman and her noisy mini pincher asked him if he was alright that he trudged to his feet, pushed his underwear down, and gathered as many of his damp newspapers as he could to finish his route. Then, slow as molasses, he began the walk home.
His brothers were all in the house this afternoon, eating huge burgers their mother no doubt prepared. Mom was cleaning up the stove and Dad was talking to all three about sports.
John, Fisher, and Ben are their names but they hardly have different identities. They are one in the same as far as Arnold is concerned. They all play football, run track and wrestle. They have all been homecoming King and John, the oldest, is in the running for Prom King. They don’t even look different, despite their age difference. All three have red hair, cut short and spiky, they are fit, lean, and what girls call ‘hot‘.
Whatever accident happened during Mom’s pregnancy with Arnold must have been tragic. He was about as sports coordinated as a giraffe is with roller skates and he couldn’t even become King of the chess club. Above all else, though he is only thirteen, Arnold’s brothers were more then half the size of him when they were his age. They were attracting girls like Johnny Depp. Girl’s are the last people on the face of the earth that would choose to talk to him. Arnold’s sure even his mom has a hard time looking at him.
“Arnold buddy!” Dad said. “You’re home!” He sounded honestly happy. Dad tries to be Arnold’s friend. Tries his best anyway, but with his star-sons he already has his hands full.
“Oh.” Mom said, frowning as Arnold slid into a chair. “I thought you were at a friends house so I didn’t make you a burger.”
So Arnold ate tuna fish.
“Arnold doesn’t have friends.” Fisher grinned. “He’s too cool.”
“Way too cool.” Snorted Ben. The three of them laughed then belched then laughed again, all in perfect unison.
Arnold put his sandwich on his plate. “I’m not very hungry anymore.”
He left and no one objected.
The next morning, he went through the typical morning routine. His brothers crowded the bathroom and took all the hot water, mom didn’t make enough eggs and bacon so he had to eat raisin bran. His mom gave his brother’s their overstuffed packed lunches and gave Arnold a dollar.
“I’m sorry hunny, I forgot-”
“Yeah I know.” Arnold cut her off.
She looked down at him, her eyes showing she was truly sorry. She looked much older then she was. Lines of premature wrinkles were forming, and her red hair had lost it’ bright color. Arnold wondered if his brothers even noticed like he did, that Mom was wasting away under the heavy demands that they put on her.
“See ya little bro!” Ben hit Arnold over the head. “Little middle schoolers. I remember those days!” He and the other two stars of the family hopped into Fisher’s car and drove towards the High School. Arnold sighed and checked his reflection in the hall mirror before he had to get on the cheese wagon.
He was so small. His arms and legs were like toothpicks. His hand-me down clothes were too big and made him look even smaller. His red hair was an unruly mess and he wished he could scrape the freckles off his nose.
Arnold sighed again, wondering if he would always be like this. Would he ever hit puberty or would he be stuck in the body of a fourth grader forever?
School was really a place Arnold liked to be. It was all supervised so, besides the verbal insults, wedgies were prohibited. Arnold also liked to learn. It was what kids were supposed to do at school after all. And, but he would never admit it, he liked homework. It gave him something to do on weekends when his brothers were gone and his parents were at work or otherwise too occupied for him.
Lunch time was nice for him too. He ate outside and watched the birds, the clouds, or kids spit on each other. Whichever was more interesting.
Today however, as he walked outside with his sandwich, he noticed a girl in the spot he always sat at. Right under the huge oak tree she sat cross legged and playing with what looked like toy soldiers. Arnold had never seen her before. She had almost white blonde hair and big blue eyes. Her t-shirt had designs on it that made it look like knight armor and from her jeans, little charms of swords and horses hung. She wore bright silver boots and in her hair, a barrette with a dragon on it.
Arnold slipped to the other side of the tree and hoped the girl would go away.
Arnold grimaced as the girl appeared beside him, on her knees, looking at him like he was a test subject in a science experiment.
“Yeah?” Arnold asked.
The girl held out her hand letting a bunch of, what Arnold had thought were toy soldiers but were actually toy knights. “Do you wanna play with them?”
“N…no thanks….” He said and pointed to his sandwich. “I just want to eat.”
He unwrapped his sandwich, closing his eyes as he chewed it, hoping that if he kept them closed long enough, the girl would disappear. But when he peeked, she was still there, staring at him.
Arnold hadn’t talked to a girl since the fifth grade and had no idea what to say to her.
She said nothing either, just stared at him.
They stayed that way for several minutes, Arnold feeling more and more uncomfortable each passing second. “Come to the renaissance fair with me.” She held out a slip of paper to him.
Did she just ask him out on a date? He had only seen that sort of thing on movies and heard his brothers talk about it. But usually the guy asks the girl and it’s to somewhere fun, like the movies. Couples go somewhere normal, not to somewhere nerdy like the renaissance fair. Then again, Arnold thought looking at the girl. This girl is not normal.
“Um….okay…” Arnold stuttered.
The girl smiled. “Okay, see you after school!” And she skipped to another part of the school yard.
Arnold shook his head, still confused at to what just happened. He gazed at the invitation. The fair was at the town fair grounds about a block away from school. At least it was close and he could walk there instead of having to ask his brothers for a ride. He tucked the invitation in his pocket. He didn’t even know her name. Was this how a lasting boyfriend-girlfriend relationship started?