The Stoll brothers couldn't contain their wide grins as they placed the golden mango in the center of the Aphrodite's cabin. Next to the mango, they left the note, "For the Hottest".
"This may be our best prank yet Travis," snickered Connor to his older brother as they stood back and admired their genius. The two brothers had concocted the plan of spray painting a mango gold, leaving a note that could start a war amongst the Aphrodite girls, and then sitting back and enjoying the show. They both let out a well-deserved round of laughter as they slithered out of a window, being as inconspicuous as they could while they walked away from their soon-to-be crime scene. They could only imagine how much damage would be done once the oh-so lovely girls of Aphrodite returned from their archery lessons. The Stoll brothers gloried in the fact that they may be the best pranksters known to Camp Half-Blood.
"This is going to be great," Travis said, practically quivering with excitement as he and his partner in crime leisurely sauntered away from the cabin, as if they were innocent, and over to the Strawberry fields, where they were supposed to be according to their schedules. All the campers were gone to whatever activity they were supposed to be at, so they allowed themselves to enjoy the moment. The two choose a random row of strawberries, after sneaking under the small fence, and resumed picking the fruits just as Mr. D passed by.
He was doing his rounds and checking up on his precious strawberries and not-so-precious campers. At first, he passed the insignificant row, but then he took a few steps back and walked down it, inspecting the two brothers since they seemed much too well behaved.
"What are you two brats smiling about?" barked Dionysus.
"Oh, nothing really Mr. Dionysus, Sir," replied Connor, barely managing to keep a straight face or even voice.
"We're just so proud of our little wine god! I mean, look at these beauties!" Travis sighed as he picked a strawberry and caressed it against his wistful face. The look of ridiculously believable admiration on his brother's face caused Connor to burst out in a fit of silent laughter behind the annoyed counselor's back.
"Whatever you two mutts have done, I'd better not need to clean it up later," said Mr. D, tossing a look of disapproval over his shoulder as he walked away, muttering his distaste for the teenage tricksters. The two stuck their tongues out after the bitter god.
"We'll head back to the cabins right when everyone is switching for lunch, got it?" Travis said to his brother in a hushed tone and they tossed strawberries into a basket on the ground.
"I can't wait to see the girls freak out," Connor speiled.
As the brothers continued their conversation, a girl walked by.
Madeline was a petite girl with long, black, curly hair that framed her pretty caramel-colored face and dark eyes. Right as she was passing the row where the brothers were plotting, she tripped on an exposed root. The two brothers turned around at the loud noise of the heavy basket she was carrying as it fell to the ground, sending all the strawberries it contained rolling. They rushed over to help the poor girl.
"Ow," mumbled Madeline as she rushed to look a little less helpless by jumping up from the ground, brushing the hair out of her face and straightened her shirt.
"Are you okay?" asked Connor, not doing a good job of hiding the amusement in his voice as they helped the girl. Travis elbowed his brother on the arm and gave him a look as held out his hand to her.
"I'm fine. Thank you," said Madeline as she took Travis's hand politely, her face growing hot, and not from the summer air. She brushed off her jeans and Camp Half-Blood t-shirt and scanned the area, looking at her display of clumsiness, and sighed.
Connor handed her the basket with a few strawberries left in it and she smiled and nodded.
"Yeah, thanks again. I guess I wasn't watching where I was going."
"No problem. I'm Travis, by the way. This is my brother-"
"Connor," his brother finished, giving a small grin.
Madeline would have to try to remember that Travis was the taller one. Other than that, they could be twins.
They both had curly brown hair, upturned eyebrows, mischievous crooked smiles and sparkly blue eyes, probably shining with the possibilities of their next prank.
"We've never seen you around before," said Travis, trying to save the girl from her obvious embarrassment.
"Oh, I'm Madeline. Madeline Cosecha. I'm new here, just arrived this morning. To Camp Half-Blood," she said in a skeptical tone. "I just came from the Pegasus stables. At least Strawberry picking is normal-ish."
The brothers tried not to laugh at the comically quizzical expression on Madeline's face.
"Well, it's almost time for lunch. You should join us," said Travis, extending the ever present Stoll charm.
"I assume you haven't been claimed yet," said Connor.
"Claimed?" questioned Madeline.
"Yeah, so you'll be sitting at our table for now, since you haven't been claimed," stated Travis.
"Sure. I guess so," said Madeline, having no reason to disagree.
"C'mon. Let's skip fruit picking and we'll give you a tour of the ol' camp," said Connor cheerfully, taking the basket from her and placing it on the ground. She hesitated as the two weaved under the white fence and started to walk away.
"Are you coming?" Travis asked. "Don't worry, we won't get in trouble," he added, seeing her doubtful expression.
"The fields are a big place to notice a few missing kids, and Mr. D already saw us," offered Connor. "Besides, I think there's something you'll enjoy seeing," he smiled, thinking of the Aphrodite girls as they returned back to their cabins before lunch for one of their many makeup checks.
The brothers shared a laugh and continued to leave, Madeline following behind.
"Follow us," Travis hollered over his shoulder.
"Yeah, coming," Madeline replied timidly.
'What am I doing?' she thought as she stumbled after the two brothers. At least they seemed friendly.