It was a bright and sunny day at Camp Oakledge, and many of the first-year campers were milling around in excitement. Everything was so new and enticing that it was impossible for them to stand still.
The counselors tried their best at corralling the girls in order to give them their bunk assignments. Choruses of "I hope we're together" and "I wonder who we'll be with" could be heard.
"I'm telling you, Pheebs," a ten-year-old Helga Pataki told her best friend, "This is gonna be the best summer ever. Big breakfast buffets, hanging out by the pool, pulling pranks on the other campers, and, best of all, no Miriam or Big Bob bringing me down. Just you, me, and this camp by the lake."
"I have to admit that I am looking forward to this summer with great anticipation as well," Phoebe replied, "It shall be quite interesting to experience all of nature and learn some new skills. Not to mention the camp fencing competition in a few weeks."
It was true that the two girls had been looking forward to going to this camp for months, ever since their parents signed them up. It didn't take too much effort to persuade Bob and Miriam to get of Helga for most of a summer, and Phoebe's parents were convinced that spending time learning about science, the fine art of sailing, and many other activities and subjects at the outdoor camp would be good for their daughter.
"Alright now," the head counselor, Storm, called, "Pataki, Heyerdahl, and Stevenson: cabin four."
"Heh, I wonder what poor sap they stuck us with," Helga snickered as she and Phoebe went to get their luggage and head to their cabin.
The cabins at Camp Oakledge were just simple wooden shacks with four cots and the only electricity went to a small light that hung in the center of the cabin. If the girls had to use the restrooms, they had to travel to the "community bathroom" a few cabins down.
"I wonder why there are four cots, but only three of us girls," Phoebe commented.
"I wouldn't worry about it too much. We probably got stuck with some friendless dope who couldn't find a buddy," her blonde comrade suggested.
"Actually, I'm not entirely without friends," chimed in a voice, "Margie just hates camping and pretty much everything outdoors. Well, that, and she's too young."
Helga and Phoebe turned to find their cabin-mate. The girl was a little bit shorter than Phoebe, had big, bright green eyes, and had a shock of short red hair held back by a lavender headband. She was also wearing a lavender sundress and white sneakers. Overall, Helga thought she looked like a pixie, which kind of annoyed the tomboyish bully.
"What are you, some kind of fairy?" she spat, making no effort to hide her disdain, "Criminy, Pheebs, get a load of this one!"
Instead of getting angry or upset like Helga had predicted, the girl just gave her a bored stare.
"Ya done yet?" she asked, quirking up an eyebrow. Helga shot back with a glare.
"Uh, h-hi," Phoebe interrupted, hoping to diffuse her friend's anger towards their bunk-mate, "I'm Phoebe Heyerdahl and this is my best friend, Helga Pataki."
"Helga G. Pataki to you, bucko," the blonde interjected.
"Uh-huh," the redhead continued to stare at Helga un-amused for a few more seconds before turning to Phoebe, "Well hello Phoebe Heyerdahl and Helga G. Pataki, I'm Lucky Stevenson. Pleased to meet you." She stuck out her hand for them to shake, which Phoebe took but Helga just glared at.
"So, um, which bunk do you guys want?" Phoebe asked, once again sensing the blonde's anger.
"Eh, doesn't matter to me. You guys can go ahead and pick one and I'll just take what's left," Lucky suggested with a shrug and a smile.
"What's your deal?" Helga seethed. Once again Lucky shrugged.
"Just trying to be hospitable."
"Takes one to know one, Helga G. Pataki," the redhead retorted with a grin. Obviously she was getting a kick out of this.
"It's just Helga," the blonde demanded, causing Lucky to stifle a laugh.
"I thought you said, 'It's Helga G. Pataki to you, bucko.'" The small girl quoted Helga using a gruff voice reminiscent of a sailor which did nothing to improve the blonde's feelings toward her.
"Watch it, pal. You're dangerously close to meeting Old Betsy and the Five Avengers," Helga warned her with the formation of her fist.
"Aw, we're pals now? And you're introducing me to some of your other friends? How sweet!" Lucky gushed.
Phoebe stifled a giggle while Helga's glare darkened. Staring at Helga's furious expressions, however, Lucky couldn't help but laugh. Phoebe was the next one to break, and soon the cabin was filled with mirthful guffaws.
"Stop it you two! It's not, i-it's n-n-not…" Helga's voice trailed off as it became hard for her to maintain her scowl. Not too long after, she too had succumbed to the giggles surrounding her. The three girls were unable to form any sentences until the laughter in the cabin slowly died out. No longer angry, Helga turned to the pixie-esque girl.
"You know what, kid? You're alright," she confessed. Lucky smiled genuinely.
"Thanks, but personally I prefer 'Lucky,' to 'kid.'"
"Alright then, Lucky. Hey, after we set up in here, you wanna hit the pool before lunch?"
"Sure thing. You in, Phoebe?" she asked her other new acquaintance.
The three shared a knowing grin. Phoebe was grateful that Helga had simmered down, while Helga was secretly impressed at Lucky's grasp at sarcasm. Lucky, however, was just happy that the three of them appeared to have hit it off. At home, she was always thought of as "that odd little girl," which made it hard for her to make friends. She briefly wondered if either Helga or Phoebe had that problem, too.
"Guys," the redheaded newcomer addressed them, "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship."
It couldn't have been more true.