Title: The Difference Between Playing a Role and Playing the Fool

Author: Heath07

Rating: PG-13 (for now, will more than likely change to R in future chapters)

Summary: Summer/Seth -possibly minor Marissa/Ryan-- When both Seth and Summer go out for the school play, they find out acting is not so easy...especially when they're trying to act like the other doesn't matter.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything nor do I claim to.

Feedback: Yes, please.

Notes: First off, I'm not sure I'm sticking with this title, so don't get attached. lol

The plot? Maybe not that original, but I decided on this bunny because, yes, I am a fan of the cliché. :) I'm not sure how often I will be updating this one because I'm also working on something else right now and I really should be writing one of the many essay's I have...

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Summer had to learn the hard way that playing quarters while already half-drunk was the fastest way to lose a bet. And losing a bet where the stakes were high and her reputation was on the line was the quickest way down the social ladder. If she knew that losing a bet would ultimately lead to something spectacular, she might have done it a long time ago.

--

Seth couldn't say what it was about Summer that he liked. He couldn't pinpoint just one thing and he couldn't exactly recall when he first began to have feelings for her, but he knew he always had. Liking Summer had always been apart of him.

What makes someone like another human being for years even after they are mean and dump on them every chance they got? Seth couldn't figure that out either. All he really knew was that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get over Summer Roberts and the way things were going, she would never return his feelings.

Seth sat high on top of a desk, stage right, in the auditorium, dangling his feet off the edge and humming. He was at peace with his decision to join the drama club and eager for his audition to begin. It wasn't that he was nervous--although, he was in denial about that--it was that he was pretty sure as soon as he took the stage his geek status would be cemented and stamped into everyone's mind. He was just at the cusp between nerd and techie-labels he didn't mind so much-but he knew this step would be the final nail in his never-gunna-happen-with-Summer plans.

That is until Summer Roberts strutted through the curtains, wavering slightly on four inch heels, and saddled up to him. "Ew, what are you doing here?"

Seth coughed and cleared his throat. "I could ask you the same thing, don't you have some poor saleswoman to torture at the mall?"

"Uh, the mall? Do I look like I shop at the mall?" Summer rolled her eyes, setting her purse on the desk next to Seth's thigh. He eyed it from the corner of his eye. What the hell was Summer up to now?

Seth scratched his neck and lifted his eyebrow. "Um...no?"

Summer made some quiet clicking sound with her tongue and glared at him with what he could only define as gross indignation. "What's your deal?"

Summer pulled out a chair and took her time painstakingly sitting down and smoothing out her impossibly short skirt and then folding her legs together. Seth watched with unwavering curiosity.

"I don't have a 'deal', I'm simply trying out for the play."

Plucking her purse from the table, she pulled out a nail file and began sanding down her thumb nail. "It figures you would be here with all your lame-o non-friends. I can feel my social status going down just by sitting next to you."

Seth watched the next pair auditioning and felt a pang in his stomach. There weren't many people left and he knew his time was coming soon. "Why don't you move then?"

Summer stopped filing long enough to shoot him a death stare. "Why don't you?"

Seth's leg swung too hard and he kicked the desk underneath his butt creating a resounding vibration against his buttocks. "Ow!"

"Smooth, Cohen," Summer chastised.

"I was here first."

"Real mature." Summer switched positions and slowly re-crossed her legs.

"I thought so," Seth said, distracted by all her tan skin.

"Why are you staring at me?"

Seth shook his head and smirked. "I'm trying to figure out what species of bitch you are. Seriously, Summer, why are you here? Did you come here to embarrass me or what?"

"As if!" The silence dragged on until she finally mumbled, "I lost a bet, okay?"

"A bet?" he questioned.

She waved her hand in the air, dismissing further discussion on the topic. "I don't want to talk about it."

Seth was about to comment when the voice of Mr. Birdman caught his attention.

"Reading for the part of Ethan, we have Seth Cohen and for Emma, we have Summer Roberts. Take the stage and show us what you've got."

This was it. The moment of truth.



This year, the play they were to perform was written by one of the students, so neither Seth nor Summer were familiar with the play.

Summer stood up and faced Mr. Birdman their drama teacher and play director. "I can't read with him." She pointed to Seth and propped her hand on her upturned hip.

Seth came to her side and crossed his arms in front of him, grabbing his elbows and tucking his arms against his chest. "Yeah, ditto on that one."

"You're the last two," Mr. Birdman explained. "It's not going to kill you Ms. Roberts and Mr. Cohen, I would have expected better from you."

"Better? Since when am I the poster child for maturity, but then again standing next to Summer, I can see why you would say that. She is, after all, a little on the juvenile side."

"Shut up, Cohen," she said, swatting him with the playbill that had just been handed to her.

"Ow!"

"Baby," she teased.

Seth held his hand up. "Fine, let's get through this, I have better things to do than argue with you all day."

"Right."

They went through two scenes and then each did a separate scene by themselves. Mr. Birdman seemed effectively impressed. Seth-although he would never admit it-was also impressed by Summer and her complete dedication and believability.

After they were done auditioning, Seth jumped off the stage and Summer went backstage to grab her forgotten purse. Seth was barely paying attention when he felt someone creep up behind him.

Devon Anderson, a tall, muscular, thespian wannabe, came behind Seth and pushed him against the auditorium door. The metal bit into Seth's back, but he didn't make a noise. He knew exactly how to deal with guys like Devon. You don't. You just ignore them and hope they'll go away leaving you in the least amount of pain possible. Because they always left you in pain.

"Why are you trying out, Cohen? Is there a part for a fag or are you going to be playing one of the girls?" he said, his light eyes drilling into Seth.

Seth looked down and then kept his eyes on the ground. "Heh, yeah that's a good one."

"You better not get any ideas about actually getting the lead, Cohen. Everyone knows I've been the lead for the past three years and I don't intend to give that up for a spaz like you."

Seth nodded. "Yeah, I'll keep that in mind."

"Get lost, Devon!"

Devon spun around, letting go of Seth. "What are you doing sticking up for a queer like Cohen, Roberts?"

"That's my business, now isn't it, Anderson? Why don't you go find your girlfriend, she's probably under the bleachers with Rick Stampton again."

Devon gave her a dirty look before he shoved Seth aside and stormed out the door. They both heard him mumble 'bitch' under his breath.

"If I have to act opposite him I'm going to-" Summer stopped mid-sentence and her eyes roamed over Seth. She took a deep breath and let it out. "Anyway... You can't just let people talk to you like that, Seth. I thought you had more gumption than that."

Her use of his actual name shocked him a bit, but he didn't let on. "I let you talk to me like that all the time." Seth tried to joke, rubbing his back.

"That's different."

He shrugged. "Why?"

Her lips twitched and she suppressed a smile as long as she could. "Because we annoy each other all the time and you give as good as you get."

"This is true," he agreed, still touching his sensitive back.

"Let me see," Summer said, pulling his hand away.

"I'm okay," he assured her and swatted her hand.

"I'll be the judge of that," she said, and made him turn around. Summer gasped. "You're bleeding!"

Seth felt her lift up his shirt and inspect his wound. "Summer, it's okay. Really. Just a scratch."

"Cohen," she said, quietly, dropping his shirt.

Summer looked at him and their eyes locked and held for a full minute.

"That happens to you a lot?" She wasn't really asking, they both already knew the answer. "Go see the nurse, you at least need a bandaid."

Seth nodded. "Yeah... Thanks Summer."

Summer blushed. "I'll see you tomorrow, Cohen."

"Yeah," he said, and watched her leave. Tomorrow.

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To be continued....