The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg/Eduardo Saverin. ~1500 words. Sequel to The Shape of the Storm. | "So you know what I just realised — we, you and me, were actually the first Facebook breakup. Isn't that funny?"
Economically-speaking, sunny days aren't really worth much to anyone.
As a species we're just drawn to brightness, to revelation and enlightenment. It's the same need that, ironically, forces people to retreat into their dank dorm rooms and give themselves over to the staccato of laptop keys and the greater inspiration of dull screens and neverending lines of code. Sometimes, the sun comes up and reveals something that wasn't there before. Something plucked right out of your brain and given shape and form and colour for everyone to see. Sometimes, what you create can surprise even yourself.
But sometimes, the sun doesn't make things clearer at all. Sometimes, it blinds us to what's really happening. Sometimes, it burns away layers of truth.
Sometimes, it does exactly what you want it to do.
Eduardo books a flight to California. But not before he replies to Mark's email.
"I'm pretty sure you've never said that to anyone, though. So I rather not hold my breath, if you don't mind."
He considers adding a cryptic, What's the weather like there? But he probably knows better than Mark anyway (he still watches the weather channel what must be an unhealthy amount), and he doesn't particularly want him to know about this little trip. He wants to have the upper hand again, if only for a second. Because it's still Mark, after all. He's still Mark.
He doesn't wait for a reply this time, if it comes at all.
When he thinks about it, the lawsuit, the depositions, the one thing he remembers the most is the first time the question is asked:
Were you aware that you were signing your own death certificate?
He thinks about a lot of things then, in the interim, chair and face turned away. He thinks about the first time he met Mark. He thinks about the first time they got drunk in his room. He thinks about the algorithm. Then, he remembers the rain in Palo Alto. He thinks about after he froze the account. Remembers the feel of the pen in his hand as he signed the contracts, remembers Mark's smile afterwards. He always knew who Mark was — he knew that he didn't know how to deal with someone caring about him like that. He was used to people caring about his ideas, his brain, but not him. He didn't know how to make that enough, make that mean something, when he'd spent so much time defending himself against people like the Winklevosses, the ad board, everyone. When he thought that that was what his life would be — always proving himself smarter. And by suing him, Eduardo had thrown him right back into that environment — the type he was used to, really. He'd made it into what he'd never wanted it to be, just like when Mark used the company to break his heart (and he isn't sure why — maybe he'd thought it would hurt less that way — but hurt which one of them less?). He always knew though. He knew —
The question is repeated.
He says no, of course. And he's not lying, not really. Because he had spent so much time making it real.
("I was your only friend. You had one friend."
Maybe that had worked both ways, eventually.)
He has a few drinks before he goes to Mark's — and okay, in retrospect, he'll probably think it was a bad idea — but he's not drunk. It just loosens his tongue a little. Or, a little more, considering the truthful nature of their last, albeit electronic, exchanges. Mark doesn't like bullshit. He doesn't like sentimentality, doesn't really know how to feel it. Eduardo doesn't know how he started feeling sentimental towards Mark at the beginning, but all of that feeling had went the way of the smashed computer on Mark's desk.
He's not drunk though, but the first thing that escapes his lips is,
"So you know what I just realised — we, you and me, were actually the first Facebook breakup. Isn't that funny?"
Mark kind of blinks at him for a second, before, "Wardo? What are you doing here?"
Being Mark Zuckerberg, though, his mind is always working, backwards and forwards simultaneously, so he has the sense to pull him inside by his upper arm and then gesture him into the living room using his eyes only.
"You didn't reply to my email," he says, in a way that indicates he could be thinking aloud or not.
"No, because I was on a plane."
"Right. And then you were getting smashed."
"No, not smashed. Just a little...inebriated."
"I don't know," he says, shaking his head, like he's regretting it already. "Maybe so I'd have a valid reason to be here."
"So why are you actually here?"
"Your last email — no, your second to last one, I guess. You said —"
"I know what I said."
"But you didn't actually say anything. I think that was the point of the email. To indicate that something...wasn't said."
"I know that too."
And he has the upper hand again, like predicted, and it's infuriating.
"I came because I had to tell you that I know why," he says in a rush.
"Why what? You know why you came? Wardo, you're very confusing when you're —"
"I know why you did it." And he's smiling now, which is probably the weirdest part. He's walking away a little now, and he makes a too-wide arc around Mark's coffee table before he sits on the couch. Mark's still standing perfectly still, just looking at him from a distance.
"I understand...sort of. I knew it had to happen, sooner or later. But I didn't sue you for money or revenge or anything. I knew those things wouldn't matter to you, and they didn't matter to me either."
"Why did you do it then?" Mark asks, softly.
"Because I wanted you to look at the masthead and remember that there was a time when I was the only person who really cared about you. I thought it would change something. I guess I was as stupid then as I was before."
"Do you know what the stupidest part is though?" he says, almost grinning now, but still so sad. "I'm probably just as lonely now as you were back then. You screwed me over completely, and I still cared about you more than I did about myself. What does that even say about me?"
"Well, I'm not a psychiatrist, but —"
Eduardo laughs then, loud and genuine. Mark smiles, and looks down at the floor, twisting his hands together. He almost (almost) looks nineteen again. He seems to shake away a memory or two, and then he sits next to Eduardo, still smiling a little.
Eduardo turns to look at him though, and the smile practically melts away.
"I'm still just as lonely," he says again, softer but harsher. And Mark feels hurt somewhere inside of him he didn't know existed.
"I blamed you for that for a long while. Maybe it is your fault. Just not in the way I thought."
His hand comes up to grip Mark's neck now. He brushes his thumb along Mark's jaw and Mark makes this noise, somewhere between a sigh and a moan. And fuck. Fuck.
He says, "I missed this," into the first kiss, and it's hard and deliberate, and Mark tries to nod and breathe and say, "Yes, yes," all at the same time — and he did, he really did, miss this.
Mark mumbles something against his neck, afterwards.
"I said...I'm not sorry. Most of the time, I'm not. But sometimes, I wish I could go back. And handle it better maybe. Handle you better. And those times...I think you did change something, Wardo."
"You were such an asshole, Mark." And it sounds kind of strangled, kind of pained, kind of desperate, like, Why did you make me care so much? Why did it hurt so much to try to hate you?
"Yeah. But I think I did love you anyway."
He curls a hand in Mark's hair then, feels him close his eyes and relax against him. Eduardo tries (and fails) to resist the smile that comes, the first real one in a long while.
"Do you ever get tired of all the sun out here?" Eduardo asks at breakfast.
"No, not really," Mark replies quickly, and he's distracted by his coffee, his laptop, responding to emails, running his (their) company...and he never had much interest in Eduardo's rambling about the weather anyway. So okay.
But then he looks up at him. And it's always kind of disarming, that rare moment when he gives you his entire attention. His eyes go softer than Eduardo's ever seen them.
And he says, "It reminds me of someone I used to know."