(a hey arnold fanfic)
Lila is the one that Helga ultimately asks to come with her to the eyebrow waxing salon. Phoebe is too busy preparing her final presentation for the national science fair, Rhonda is too judgy, and there’s no way in hell that she would ever ask her older sister Olga, which leaves her with little Ms. Perfect.
Of course, Lila is self aware enough to know that she would not typically be Helga’s first choice of companion in any situation and points this out during the bus ride to the neighborhood where the salon is located.
“Are you sure you don’t want someone else to go with you?”
“I’m ever so certain,” Helga spits back almost immediately, mocking Lila’s favorite turn of phrase before cringing inwardly. She never means to be so caustic but the words always spill from her mouth, sharp little daggers with minds of their own that fly toward their targets before she can stop them.
Lila is unperturbed; by this point, she is used to Helga’s volatile barbs. She nods and turns to look out the window at the shops they are passing by. She takes note of the new Jollibee now squished between the santeria office that has been open for two decades and the Chinese travel agency that opened last year.
A few minutes go by in silence before Helga can no longer bear it.
“You’re not going to ask me why I finally decided to get rid of it?”
Lila turns back to Helga and meets her gaze directly. “Well goodness, no. That’s not my business. I’m just here to support you, Helga. I’m ever so happy that you trust me to be there for you. I’m glad we’re friends.”
She gives Helga’s hand a gentle pat and goes back to looking out the window.
Lila’s kind gesture makes Helga feel out of sorts, as she often does. Helga has been fully aware ever since deciding to wax her unibrow that it is a ridiculous endeavor, that she doesn’t need to feel bad about the fact that her eyebrows connect. After all, Frida Kahlo never waxed hers, and Arnold has never said anything about it to her.
Not that she would ever idolize the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and of course, she knows that most of the dysfunction between her and Arnold is a self-inflicted wound that she has created herself.
But Helga has never been able to change who she is on the inside so maybe if she changes something on the outside it will be easier. She is weary from watching her sister’s perfection, listening to her father’s criticisms, and watching her mother drown away her sorrows. Maybe changing this one thing about her will make her stop feeling like she’s about to burst out of her skin. But here is Lila, the platonic ideal of the feminine, unbothered by Helga’s lack of grace, and she wonders once again who she is even trying to prove herself to.
“Forget this,” she mutters under her breath, and she pulls on the cord to stop the bus.
Lila startles. “Are we already here?”
“No. I changed my mind. Let’s get spaghetti.”
“Okay,” Lila says, smiling. “That sounds ever so perfect.”