Author: Serafina
Story: Where Forever Begins (previously named Playground)
Genre: Friendship, Love
Status: Revised

Author’s note: So. I must be crazy. But this is my third draft of this story. I made it longer, added more descriptions, and i definitely worked on refining my 3rd person narrative techniques. I think it’s better than my last version but i don’t think i’m done revising. it’s nice to come back to this particular story and work at those knots. D:btw. this is also on my fictionpress account (serafina claremond). thaaanks!

The one where it all started.

“Okay, so tell me again: who is this guy?” Simone asked as her best friend Rachel dug her fingernails into her arm. Despite the six inch height difference, Rachel was still able to drag Simone toward the park near her cousin’s house at an alarming, determined pace. She was usually a bit more gentle but since the current object of her affections was out and about, Rachel was in her “get the hell out of my way” mode. Simone could tell she would do anything to spend time with this mysterious guy, including keeping parts of her plan a secret. Even if Rachel was her best friend, Simone knew Rachel had to feel superior in every single way - especially with relationships.

  “Oh, his name is Thompson De Luca,” Rachel said, trying to sound nonchalant. She flipped her hair and continued, “I met him earlier this summer at that camp I went to, remember? Well, we became pretty good friends during those two hellish weeks.” Rachel’s eyes scanned the faces at the park in hopes that Thompson’s was amongst them.

Simone raised an eyebrow and said, “Just friends, eh?” Ever since the two had met, Simone knew that Rachel had never seen her as a threat when it came to guys - probably because she never really cared about boys or relationships. But even if she didn’t care, she could still see right through Rachel’s carefully thought out anecdote.

    Rachel took a deep breath, focused her hazel eyes on Simone’s, and started slowly with, “Okay, maybe I might like him a bit more than I let on-” Simone shot her a look “-He’s really gorgeous, Simmy. And I think there may be something between the two of us.” Rachel watched Simone roll her eyes at her infamous nickname but she didn’t seem too surprised over what was going on.


  “So why am I going with you to meet the guy of your dreams? Wouldn’t it be better if the two of you were alone?” Simone asked. She knew that there had to be more to this plan if Rachel brought her along.

“This way you can meet him and tell me if you approve.” Rachel had gone through so many different scenarios but this was her best one. She already knew that she was prettier, smarter, and the better option - having Simmy with them would simply prove it. Thompson would automatically pick Rachel by comparison. If in some incredible way the plan didn’t work, there was always part two. She checked “Plus, he’s bringing along a friend. Maybe you’ll be able to catch his eye.” 

Simone looked up thoughtfully, contemplating what Rachel had said. She knew Rachel would do anything to get this Thompson guy to like her. She also knew that Rachel was deceptive enough to use her as a tool in her plans. But what Simone couldn’t figure out was what role she was supposed to be playing. At least, not until Simone processed the way Rachel had said, “maybe you’ll be able to his eye.” She said it with such subtle force; so subtle that if Simone hadn’t taken time to relay it in her head, she would have missed it. Most of it had clicked into place. Rachel wanted to use Simone as a distraction. The only problem was, Simone thought, if Rachel already felt as though she were superior, why would she need a back-up plan?

 Simone opened her mouth to ask Rachel what the purpose of the back-up plan was, but Rachel interrupted her first. “So when he gets here, be cool, okay? Don’t talk about books or school or any nerd stuff.”

    Rachel thought if Simone started talking about books or school, Thompson would get sucked in on the topics too quickly for Rachel to pull him back out. At summer camp, if anything remotely academic came up, he was off on a tangent and Rachel could no longer impress him. The last thing she needed was for Simone to steal her thunder. She looked around the playground, seeing little kids kick around in the sand and teenage boys playing ball on the concrete courts. She turned to scan the crowd a few more times, her eyes catching his.

    As the grin grew on Rachel’s face, Simone caught on to the plan. Her mysterious Thompson was a total academic - a little out of Rachel’s comfort guy zone. Instead of confronting her, Simone turned her head to see what her best friend was looking at and saw a tall guy walking towards him. Simone could definitely see the instant attraction. With Rachel stunned into speechlessness, she noted that this Thompson fellow knew how attractive he was and labeled him cocky. Rachel certainly wasn’t helping his ego by standing their agape.

  Thompson De Luca walked with confidence. That was how he always walked. He knew girls couldn’t keep their eyes off him what with his shaggy brown hair, dazzling green eyes, and million dollar boyish smile. Today, after careful consideration, he picked his favorite grey v-neck that set off his eyes just right since he knew Rachel didn’t stand a chance against his charm and his “routine.” His best friend, Q, told him once he did the same thing every time he had a date with a girl; he would puff out his chest to look slightly built, run his fingers through his hair for that perfect bed head, and smirk just enough to hint at a blazing confidence. He started his routine the moment he saw the back of Rachel’s blonde head next to a leggy brunette. 


Simone smiled a little as he arched an eyebrow and said, “Hey, Rach! Long time no see!” Simone expected “Rach” to correct him for using her most hated nickname, but she didn’t. Rachel smiled goofily as he pulled her into a big hug. Simone noticed how at comfortable Rachel was in his arms.  Once he let go, he looked at Simone with his cool confidence. He held out his hand and surprisingly stuttered, “H-hello.” 


Rachel watched as Simmy smiled and shook his hand. “You’re Thompson, right? Rachel hasn’t stopped talking about you.” She grimaced unnoticeably at Simmy’s words while Thompson gave her a quick nod. “It’s great to finally meet you. I’m Simone Clarke.”

    Thompson let a lazy grin splash across his face spoke. “So do I get to call you ‘Simmy’ too-” He watched as she winced, “That’s what Rach called you during camp. I figured it was a common nickname.”

“No, please don’t call me that,” Simone pleaded. She was about to continue with an explanation before Rachel chimed in, “I’m actually the only one who’s allowed to call her that. Sorry, Thompson.” Simone watched as Rachel smiled and giggled flirtatiously. Well, you aren’t either, Simone thought to herself. 

  “And her middle name is Eudora. Pretty lame, right ?” Rachel continued. “Her parents must have really wanted her to have a bad childhood.” She laughed by herself but when she noticed Thompson hadn’t joined her, she quickly stopped. 

   “Thanks, Rach,” Simone said sarcastically. Was this really her best friend? “But I’m proud to be sporting such an old-fashioned name. And it was my great-grandmother’s name. My parents had promised to name their firstborn after her - even if it is just my middle name.” 


  “That’s really cool,” Thompson commented with the utmost sincerity. “So I guess, I have to stick with calling you Si-” He mentally swore as his ringtone came blaring out of his pocket to cut him off. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his phone. “Hello? Oh hey, yeah, we’re near the huge slide. Alright, see ya then.”

  Rachel was completely mesmerized as he shrugged and said, “Sorry about that. My friend lives near here but he doesn’t get out much.” Gosh, he is so cute, she thought. She bit her lip in attempt to guide his eyes away from Simmy back to her.

   But instead, Simone said inquisitively, “Oh, what’s his name? My cousin lives near here too, maybe I know him.” Rachel shot her an irritated look but Simone brushed it off since it wasn’t her fault the only thing Rachel could contribute to the conversation was biting her lip. 


“His name is-” Thompson was about to answer right when Simone saw someone familiar and said, “Quentin, is that you?” 


“Hey cuz, what are you doing here? With Thompson?” Quentin questioned. He wasn’t as confident as Thompson but there was something about him that attracted dozens of girls. He chalked it up to his shy, nice guy demeanor but honestly, none of those girls mattered to him. He had eyes for only one girl since his childhood. And she was currently looking at his best friend. 

    “Did you just say cousin, Q?” Thompson asked, surprised. He liked to think he couldn’t be startled easily, but this piece of information was pretty shocking. 

    “Heck yeah. This is my favorite cousin, Simone.” Quentin turned to Simone. “How do you know my best buddy?” Simone couldn’t hide that her jaw dropped straight down. Quentin’s best friend was Thompson, the guy he’d been trying to set her up with. The guy he mentioned would be perfect for her. The guy Rachel was currently fawning over.

Before she could even try to speak, Thompson said, “This is the cousin you talk so much about? The one you said-” He stopped as his voice cracked over the words. All of his confidence went out the window and he raised his eyebrow at Quentin. 


  “Yeah, that one. You guys are so weird,” Quentin mused, jerking his head back to remove his blond hair out of his eyes. “Hey, Rachel. So I’m guessing you’re De Luca’s camp buddy?”


“That’s me,” Rachel said uneasily, unsure of what to think about all this. She had an entire afternoon planned and all that was gone now thanks to Simmy’s stupid cousin acting as a link between the two. She flipped her hair carelessly, not noticing Quentin’s wonderstruck expression.

    Simone, however, did notice her cousin drooling over her best friend and asked, “So this is really De Luca? The De Luca?”

    Quentin nodded, still staring at his Rachel with awe. For a split second, Quentin finally remembered where he was and finally tore his eyes away to Simone. He looked around and said, “I guess it’s a small world after all.”


“That it is, Q,” Thompson agreed. Simone smiled as he reached around to punch Quentin jokingly in the arm. Then when Thompson gave a wide, genuine grin, Simone was the only one who noticed that Rachel’s eyes had gone from slight confusion to stormy. Rather than giving in to Rachel’s drama, she decided to provide a challenge for the two boys.


  “Who’s up for a race because I’m going to reach the swing set before the two of you. Whoever gets there last is buying all of us lunch. Okay?” Simone said before sprinting off.

   “Looks like I gotta go beat my cousin. Peace,” Quentin said, just before running off to the swing set. 


“Hey, wait up. Rach, I know you don’t like running so I’ll be back, okay? I’ll make sure that Q buys us all lunch and dinner.” He ruffled her hair, ran, and easily outpaced Quentin. Unfortunately for him, Simone was already sitting on one of the swings, gleefully sticking her tongue out at the two best friends. Once she was sure they were done, Rachel slowly walked towards the three and stood silently beside a huffing Quentin.

    “Looks like Q is buying us lunch!” Simone teased. Quentin reached over and pushed her off, laughing. She jumped back up and pushed him into De Luca. Thompson grabbed Simone, picked her up by the waist with ease, and swung her around before dropping her gently on the grass. He absentmindedly reached behind him for Rachel and loosely wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

    Rachel would’ve been happy if not for the friendly vibe he was giving her as he looked down at her and smiled. She would’ve been okay with that if not for the looks he kept sneaking at Simmy, her supposed best friend. Rachel knew Simmy didn’t do anything intentional to attract Thompson, but she also knew that there was a chance Simmy would catch on to Thompson’s obvious feelings. So Rachel swore to herself as she watched the three of them running around together that if Simmy were to ever reciprocate those feelings, she would never speak to her again.

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