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14 January 2012 @ 08:59 am
still another day, part 1/4 (mark/eduardo)  

a/n: so this is genderswap fic that all came into being because aby and I were discussing how kristen stewart is mark -> there’s a picture of her sick -> sick!girl!mark -> this. this is also the longest fic i've ever written, so that's... nice, to finally be done with it. 
this was written for team albright, for the tsn-a-thon. :)
word count: 22,103.
warnings: language, sex, character death.
summary: he sees her at a party. she looks different, pale, tired. and without meaning to, he worries.
(he rsvp’s yes at the next shareholders’ meeting.)


*

   We the mortals touch the metals,
    the wind, the ocean shores, the stones,
    knowing they will go on, inert or burning,
    and I was discovering, naming all the these things:
    it was my destiny to love and say goodbye.


Still Another Day, clause XV, Pablo Neruda

*

He sees her at a party.

He sees her at a party and she looks different. He’s used to seeing her at these things, used to seeing her with her hair done up nice and her make-up perfect and a glass of champagne in her hand.

Now, though – now she’s in flats and her dress is slightly wrinkled and she’s not wearing make-up and her hair is down around her shoulders. Now, she’s sitting and staring at the table in a way that’s not like the new Mark that he’s seen too many times – no, this is like Mark at Harvard, hunched over her laptop, typing away at her desk. It’s the same focus and now she looks at nothing, the table.

He looks away.

*

He sees her walking toward the bathroom, and it takes her too long to stand up properly and she’s holding onto the edge of the table. From across the room, he can see her breathing patterns and he unconsciously matches them, hand tightening around the glass in his hand.

He watches her walk to the bathroom and she keeps a hand skimming against the wall, walking as quickly as she can. She runs a hand through her hair and he’s mesmerized by it, and she’s ducking into the room.

He realizes he’s staring and has to close his eyes, shake his head, because this is Mark and he can’t be doing this, not about her, not here.

He doesn’t know Mark anymore, doesn’t know who she is, and just because she’s not wearing make-up doesn’t mean she’s any of his concern.

*

She’s none of his concern but he keeps an eye on her, because she’s breathing more quickly and her eyes are shut.

He walks over to her, and puts a hand on her arm, and she flinches, just the tiniest amount. He watches – and it’s not something anyone else would notice, the way her body recoils, but she doesn’t pull away and so he doesn’t comment.

He’s spent five years trying to un-know Mark, who he once knew better than he knows himself, and he’s beginning to realize that can’t happen, wasn’t ever going to happen.

“Eduardo,” she says, and she sounds – not surprised, but there’s something like wonder in her voice. She quirks an eyebrow at him. “Fancy seeing you here.”

She never used to quirk her eyebrow, not like that, and even the way she’s sitting – arms on the table, legs crossed – isn’t like before. Now, her back is straight even though her make-up isn’t done and she’s smiling at him, a soft smile that he doesn’t recognize.

“What do you want?” she asks, and her breathing is still irregular and he’s staring at her hand, her hand that’s starting to shake.

“I just –” and he doesn’t know what to say here, how to proceed, because Mark’s staring at him with unblinking eyes and she’s not wearing make-up and her hand is shaking and that has to mean something. “I – are you okay?” he asks.

A small smile floats across her face and she nods, running a hand through her hair again. “I’m okay,” and it doesn’t sound like a lie but Eduardo knows it is.

He doesn’t know if he’s allowed to call her on her bluff, doesn’t know if he’s lost that right, and he watches as her expression turns to one of amusement, as her posture seems to relax.

“I’m fine,” she says to him, now, and she shifts in her chair so that she’s closer to him, a bit.

(There’s a scar on her chin that she got when she was eight years old. She was ice skating and had just come home, wearing her boots with the too-smooth bottoms, and she’d opened the door and slipped and broken the skin on her chin.

She told him this, back at Harvard, after a night with too many beers. Her head was pillowed on his shoulder and her eyes were sliding shut and she told him, showed him, lifted her chin, and the scar looked the same then as it does now.

It’s tiny, not something he would have noticed without her telling him, and he wonders for a white-hot moment who else knows about it, the secret parts of Mark that she doesn’t dare show.

He hopes it’s no one else, hopes no one else gets to see her like this, gets to know her like he does – and earlier he would have thought it should be did, the way he did know her, but as she smiles at him over the rim of her glass and he sees that same fond amusement in her eyes, he realizes – he’s never forgotten anything about her.)

And he ends up with his arm draped over her chair, and her head isn’t leaning on his shoulder but it’s close. He could kiss the top of her head, if he wanted to – and he does want to, wants to make her feel safe, because she’s got her legs pulled up on her chair and she’s picking at her nails. (She’s nervous, but not because of anything he’s done – this is something different, something that’s been bothering her for a while.)

He nudges her, and she tilts her head to look up at him.

He should feel angry at her, should still be livid for what she did to him – but he looks at her, looks at her wide eyes, and he can’t make himself be angry.

Even if they don’t see each other again after this, don’t ever talk to each other again, he can’t regret it – because Mark always meant too much to him for his own good and he had to talk to her, had to try to fix her if she was even a bit broken.

She’s still looking up at him and she swallows, harsh.

She grabs his hand and squeezes. “What is it?” she asks, and her voice is softer now.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” and he looks at her nails without meaning to.

She smiles, and it’s tired, worn. “I am.” She sits up, then, stretches her legs out, and the spell of what might have been is broken.

He stands up and holds a hand to her, helping her. She swallows, and she’s still got the amused grin on her face when she says, “It was nice to see you again, Eduardo.”

“You, too,” he says, and he isn’t surprised at all how much he means it.

//

Later, that night, he’s in a hotel room by himself.

He’s on his laptop and on a whim, goes on Facebook. He doesn’t use it, not often, but now – he wants to look at Mark’s page.

He’s friends with her, still, because he didn’t want to de-friend her, didn’t know if she’d care if he did.

There’s an event notification waiting for him.

Mark Zuckerberg has invited you to Shareholders’ Meeting Dinner.

It’s in less than a week and he shouldn’t even respond, but this is an invitation from Mark on Facebook of all things, and he saw her tonight and they didn’t argue – they acted something like friends.

He can’t keep the grin off of his face, because this has to mean something, because maybe she does care about him, even a little bit.

And so he clicks accept.

*

(He’ll never know, but across the city Mark’s staring at her computer.

A notification pops up and she holds her breath.

Eduardo Saverin is attending Shareholders’ Meeting Dinner.

She smiles, and even though it’s difficult to breathe she thinks that tonight was okay, that it might all be okay.

He accepted and he’s been coming to meetings but not the dinners – and it feels important, something big.

Eventually, she might have her Wardo back.)

*

He goes to the meeting and Mark is there, and her eyes are soft. She smiles when she looks at him but has a blank expression for the rest of the room, and he wonders if that means something or if she’s trying to make him feel comfortable.

(He thinks that’s bullshit – Mark’s never worried about making people comfortable.)

He doesn’t sit next to her but a few chairs down, and she’s fiddling with her laptop instead of paying attention and it’s only her, that he can watch.

She smiles at him, once, a fleeting smile, and if he regretted coming here, promising later, before, that would have gotten rid of the regret entirely.

(He always felt more for Mark than he should have, and he’s not sure why – it’s her smile, he thinks, not the smirk that she shows everyone else but her real smile that she saves for people that make her happy.

He was one of those people, once, thinks he could be again if he tried.)

And he smiles back and she bites her lip like she never used to do.

He looks at her instead of paying attention and he’s not sure what they’re talking about, entirely, but he notices that Mark’s breathing quickly, again, shallow – like she was at the party – and he wants to help her, wants to take her hand and hold her tight.

She stands, when the meeting’s over, and sways on her feet for the briefest of moments before straightening, turning to answer a question someone’s asking her.

And Eduardo doesn’t know what to do with the tightening in his chest, with the way his fingers itch to touch her, hold her, keep her, and so he turns, leaves.

“Eduardo,” he hears, not a shout but not a whisper, either, and he half-turns to look at her. She’s smiling, and she’s in a sweatshirt and jeans and she absolutely should not be that adorable. “You’re coming later, right?”

He  nods, mute, and her grin widens. “Good,” and she goes back to her conversation with the programmer.

And this is still Mark, Mark who fucked him over years ago, and he’s wary to be around her, now – but when she smiles at him, he doesn’t want to be angry.

He’s spent too long being angry, refusing to talk to her, because of things that happened back then, when they were too young to be adults but never really kids.

(Neither of them were really children – they didn’t have the college experience that most of them had. Mark had Facebook, Wardo had his father, and those were the driving forces.

And now they’ve got to deal with the messes, and he thinks – for the first time in a long while – that maybe they can.)

*

He has a couple of hours to kill before the dinner, and he drives to his hotel to change, get into better clothes.

He’s assuming Mark’s going to be dressed up. He hopes she is – it’s easier to see her like that, easier when she’s made up to look like someone other than the girl he was in love with in college.

It doesn’t get easier, being in the offices. It’s never been easier, because every time he steps through the doors he hears himself shout Mark?, sees her face fall just the slightest bit.

He doesn’t regret what he said because she deserved it, but they’ve never spoken about it. He knows they have to – because that’s part of what makes them up and they can’t ignore it.

For now, though, now he’ll let himself be her friend, nothing more – because that’s always been his problem, is getting too far ahead of himself.

He won’t scare her off, because all they are is friends, acquaintances – they’re people who knew each other, once, and he still knows her because he recognizes when she’s breathing oddly and he knows her smiles.

He gets a call from a number he doesn’t recognize but thinks he knows the owner of. He’s smiling when he answers. “Eduardo Saverin.”

“Good, you haven’t left yet.” Mark’s smiling, too, Eduardo can hear it. “Would you like to drive with me?”

Eduardo frowns. “Don’t you have someone to go with?”

“No – I – ah – Dustin and Chris went ahead without me.”

“Are you okay?” Eduardo asks, sitting up straight, now, and he feels worry spike its way through his heart before he remembers he isn’t supposed to care about her.

He hears the rustle of her shaking her head. “I’m fine. I just got stuck. Would you like to go with me? Perhaps we could eat together, talk a bit? If you don’t mind.”

And Eduardo should say no, should hate her beyond belief, shouldn’t be thinking of saying yes – but the words are out of his mouth before he can stop them. “Sure.”

“I’ll pick you up, then. In fifteen minutes.”

He grins. “I’ll be waiting.”

He doesn’t ask how she knows what hotel he’s staying at; sometimes her hacking abilities frighten even him.

*

She’s there right on time, and he gets into the car quickly, flashing her a smile. “Thanks.”

She waves a hand, and they drive in companionable silence that somehow isn’t uncomfortable for a while.

Finally, at a red light, she turns to him for the first time. “I want to thank you.”

“What for?” he asks.

She shakes her head. “For talking to me at the party. I wasn’t having the best of times – and you made it better.”

“Did I make it good?” he asks her, and he’s not sure if they’re at that state of friendship yet but the sly grin she gives him tells him that they are.

She shrugs. “It was adequate,” but she smirks at him, gives him a wink, and he knows what she means.

“I’m glad,” he says, and she looks at him with something like surprise on her face. “You should have a good time when you go to those things.”

She smiles, closer to a smile than a smirk, and nods. “Thank you.”

“Any time,” and he means it.

*

Mark sits next to him at the dinner. She doesn’t ask, not in so many words, just sits down, and waits for a moment before looking at him, a soft smile on her face.

And maybe Eduardo should care, should want her somewhere else, but he doesn’t. For the time being, at least, he wouldn’t rather her be anywhere but here, next to him.

He gets the feeling Mark doesn’t usually talk during these dinners – she’s quiet for a long moment, and then her knee nudges against his and she’s talking, low.

“You seem uncomfortable,” she says, and no one else can hear her (deliberately), he’s sure of it. She isn’t looking at him, cha sing a piece of broccoli around her plate.

He nudges her knee back, and – because he can’t ever help but be honest with her – says, “A bit.” His voice is low, to match hers, and he watches a small smile make its way onto her face.

“It doesn’t get better,” she says, and he watches her swallow. “Just so you know. It doesn’t get any more interesting.” She winces, then, and he reaches out a hand as if to comfort her but she’s sitting up straight, then, and he must have imagined it.

(He knows he didn’t, but he’s not going to focus on that, right now.)

She looks young, now. Her face is clean and the candlelight reminds him of dim lights at Harvard, of her constant typing next to him on the couch.

“Thanks for letting me know,” he says, before he lets any of his other thoughts spill out.

Mark shrugs. “I usually spend my time making fun of all of them,” she says, nodding at other people in the room. She smiles, then, and it isn’t her real smile but it’s wonderfully close.

He looks at her properly, and her face looks strained but he doesn’t know if he’s allowed to comment on it, so he doesn’t.

He grins back at her. “Any interesting observations tonight?” he asks, because he likes hearing her talk, likes seeing the way her hands start to move, when she really gets into what she’s saying. He misses that, sometimes, when it’s late at night and he can’t stop himself from missing the stupidest things about her, from wanting her.

(He doesn’t want her, though, this time around.

He can’t.)

She smirks, and nods, and he can only listen to her.

*

It’s a more enjoyable night than he expected, and he almost forgets that he’s supposed to hate her, forgets their past.

He forgets, because every time he thinks about it, every time he looks at her and sees the girl she was in college, he notices something else.

She’s fragile, now.

She looks weak, almost, and that’s never a way he’s described her before but when her body folds in on itself, just the lightest bit, he can’t help it, can’t help but want to help her.

He’s always wanted to be there for her, wanted to fix her when she’s hurting (not that she’d accept help from anyone; she was always far too proud for that and he can only assume that hasn’t changed), and now he’s sitting next to her but he can’t, can only talk to her.

And that’s enough, for him.

She smiles at him, at the end of the night, when she’s dropping him off at his hotel. It’s the most genuine he’s seen her look since the party.

“Thanks for sitting with me,” she says, and her smile doesn’t dim in the slightest.

He frowns at her. “You’re thanking me quite a lot tonight.”

“Yeah, I know.” She looks down. “You’re just – you’re a great guy, Eduardo. I want you to know that.”

His brow creases, but she’s just smiling at him, and he gets out of the car without another word.

She drives away.

*

He stays in Palo Alto for a while, because he wants to see Mark again but he doesn’t know how to say it.

He’s being pathetic, he knows he is, but he can’t get her smile out of his head. He’s gone too long without seeing it to ignore it now.

He’s about to crack, call Chris or Dustin, when he gets a message from Mark.

Want to have a night at Dustin’s? He has Halo and beer. Like Harvard.

Let me know.

He smiles.

I’d love to.

He shouldn’t feel as excited as he does – he shouldn’t  be grinning like this.

They set a date, two days later, and Eduardo gets on his computer.

*

Chris calls him, the day of.

“Eduardo Saverin,” he answers the phone, without looking away from his laptop.

“Eduardo, it’s Chris.”

He looks up. “What’s wrong?” and he can’t help the stab of worry – Mark.

“Nothing’s wrong – it’s just – well, we’ve got some stuff to do here, you know, at Facebook. And – I thought – well, I was wondering if we could reschedule?”

Eduardo nods, and he swallows. “Yeah, that’s – that’s fine.”

“I mean, if you’re going back to Singapore, I get it. But we really do want to – you know, have a day together. Like old times.”

Eduardo flashes a smile. “I don’t need to be back in Singapore,” he says, and means it. He doesn’t have anything waiting for him, there.

He hears Chris exhale. “That’s good. I know Mark – well, we want to see you. It’s been a while since the four of us got together, hasn’t it?”

“Since Harvard,” Eduardo says, because he has to say it, because it’s the truth, because Chris has to know how much this means to him, too, the four of them back together.

Chris clears his throat. “You’re right. It’ll be like nothing changed,” but his voice is too light, too forcedly cheerful.

Eduardo rolls his eyes. “I’m not an idiot, Chris.” He pauses. “It’s not going to be the same, but I don’t think it needs to be.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’re different, now, all of us.” He smiles, laughs a bit. “There’s no denying it,” and he’s thinking about Mark, of course he is, of similarities and differences.

He hears Chris laugh, too, but it sounds forced.

*

(He doesn’t know how true his words are –

Across the city, Mark is curled up on Dustin’s couch, head pressed into a pillow. Dustin’s sitting next to her, threading a hand through her hair.

“Are you okay?” he asks, murmurs.

“I will be,” and it’s the closest she’s willing to get to asking for help, for anything.

Dustin gets it, and he smiles, doesn’t say another word, choosing instead to watch his stupid show that Mark’s got figured out in five minutes.

Dustin’s phone rings. It’s Chris. “Did you tell him?” he asks, because he’s worried about Eduardo, too, even if Mark takes precedent.

“Of course I did – but – I felt like shit.” Chris pauses. “I want to tell him.”

No,” Mark says, and her voice is too-powerful, commanding. “We’re not telling him.”

“Why?” comes the reply.

Mark makes herself sit up, wincing against the everything that hurts. “We’re not going to tell him because he’s just going to leave. This isn’t like college, isn’t like Harvard, and I’m not going to be the one to put more stress on his plate than he already has. We’re going to keep it quiet until he leaves – and that’s okay. He doesn’t need to know.”

“And what if he does?” Chris’ reply is soft, gentle.

“He won’t.”

Mark’s sure of it.

She hands the phone back to Dustin and feels dizzy, like she’s floating above the rest of the world, like she can do anything – but she’s paralyzed in her skin, too weak to do anything but lie there and have Dustin’s fingers in her hair.

Next week, she’ll be better – next week, she’ll be stronger and Eduardo will be able to see them and it won’t be obvious.

She closes her eyes, and though she tells herself she isn’t tired falls asleep within moments.)

*

They reschedule.

It feels a little bit off, to Eduardo, the way Dustin’s the one to call him, strained, and he sounds like he’s hiding something but Eduardo tells himself he’s being silly.

He goes with a six pack of beer and he’s more nervous than he would have anticipated – but he should have seen this coming, probably, because he’s always nervous around them.

They’ve built lives around each other and outside of him, and while he’s a member of it now (he hopes) he can’t build himself into their previous lives.

Mark answers the door, and she’s grinning at him, leaning against the frame a bit. She reaches out, grabs his wrist and squeezes, once, before dropping it – and Eduardo’s not sure it even happened, everything’s so fast.

“Come on in,” she says, and she’s still smiling and it’s sort of surreal, walking back in here.

Chris and Dustin are playing Mario Kart, and Mark smirks at the both of them before turning to Eduardo. “Are you okay?” she asks. “You seem tense.”

Eduardo shakes his head, and just like that, it becomes less than a lie – he gets rid of the last of his nerves, because being here, seeing them, reminds him that they were friends, once, that he hasn’t gotten rid of that part of their history.

“Are you sure?” and she seems skeptical.

He smiles, back at her, and nods toward the living room. “Should we go in there, cheer them on?”

“My money’s on Chris,” Mark says, and she leads Eduardo into the living room, sitting next to him on the couch. “He hasn’t lost a game in – well, a really fucking long time.”

“Year and a half,” Chris says, without looking away from the screen. “There’s no way that I’m losing to Dustin.” His tone is joking and it isn’t forced, and Eduardo lets himself relax back against the couch, drinking this all in.

It feels like college but more so, somehow, and he doesn’t feel nostalgic for what could have been so much as happy for what’s happening now, for what’s to come.

Dustin brings in the beer, after a while of Chris completely kicking his ass, and Eduardo finally lets himself really relax. Mark is next to him, and instead of a beer, Dustin hands her a Red Bull.

Eduardo’s expecting something – he doesn’t know what, really, but he knows that he wants to stand up and protect Dustin – Mark may be the only girl, but she can kick all of their asses (verbally, at least, if not physically).

But Mark just chuckles and nods, raising the can, almost as though as she’s grateful but doesn’t know how to say it. Dustin nods at her, brusque, and then he’s back to the game, trying his hardest to beat Chris, not even touching his own beer.

*

As always happens, the game dies down after a while, and the four of them sit on the couch, talking about everything and nothing. Eduardo’s hand finds its way into Mark’s, and she’s curled up against him like a cat, nestled into his side. She’s finished with her third Red Bull but Dustin gets up, grabs her a bottle of water instead. He tosses it to her, and Eduardo once again fully expects her to put up a fight, demand the damn Red Bull back (another, Dustin, please), but she accepts the water, cracking it open, taking a small sip.

She smiles at Dustin, who pats her on the shoulder before sitting back down.

She drinks it slowly, staring at her hands, and next to him Eduardo feels her shoulders trembling.

“So when are you going back to Singapore?” Chris asks, quick.

(Next to him, Eduardo feels Mark stiffen, but he tries to push that thought away.)

“I’m not sure,” he says, and he’s thinking of Mark, of wanting to stay with Mark, because he’s always been pathetic about that. “I was thinking I’d stay for a while, catch up, before going back.”

Mark stands quickly, hands trembling fully now. Dustin stands up as well. “Let me get that,” he says, reaching out for the bottle, and his voice is soft, comforting.

“No,” Mark snaps, and it’s just like Harvard – and then she clamps her mouth shut, shakes her head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

He shakes his head, too-quick.

(Eduardo feels like he’s missing something, like there’s something going on that the rest of them have neglected to inform him of.)

Dustin turns to Eduardo, still standing. “You going to be coming back here any time soon?”

It sounds almost mocking, and Eduardo glares at him – he hasn’t done anything, what the fuck? But Dustin shakes his head, minutely, and out of the corner of his eye Eduardo sees Mark go all of the way into the kitchen.

He clears his throat, still staring at where Mark’s just left. “I, uh, sure,” he says, and half shrugs. “I don’t want – I mean, I like it here. And I can work here, if – if I want.”

He hears a soft snort. “Please,” Mark says, voice a whip. “Don’t act as though there’s anyone or anything tying you here.”

Eduardo opens his mouth, but a weary-looking Chris stands up, running a hand through his hair. “Shut up, please,” he says, shaking his head. “I know how difficult this must be for both of you, but – I’m tired. Can’t we be civilized? Please?”

And, to Eduardo’s surprise, Mark nods, shutting her mouth. Her finger are trembling again, and Chris frowns before walking to her, putting a hand on her back, rubbing circles into the skin there. Mark sighs, relaxes back against him, and Eduardo feels an entirely irrational stab of jealousy.

(Irrational because Mark isn’t his, and never has been. He has no claim over the girl standing in front of him. He knows her better than he knows himself but that’s not enough, might never be enough.)

Mark’s eyes open, and she looks at Eduardo, bare, open, and outside the world is dark and he suddenly feels silly, sitting there with a beer between his legs, staring at the girl he might have loved if everything hadn’t gotten so fucked up.

He stands, quickly, feeling everything too much and all at once, and nods at them, cokes out a “bathroom”.

He doesn’t hide for long, just splashes some water on his face, overheated, too rough. “Mark,” he sighs, a whisper, and squeezes his eyes shut, shakes his head.

He opens the door and hears the unmistakable sound of Halo – but sitting right there, looking up at him, is Mark. Her eyes are wide, unguarded, like she gets when she drinks. But she hasn’t been drinking tonight, Eduardo reminds himself. It’s just her, and that has to mean something, doesn’t it?

“Eduardo,” she says, and her voice almost catches on the last syllable. He wants to walk to her, wrap her into his arms, but she’s speaking again. “We’ll – I’ll pay for your plane ticket, if you want. When you decide to go. I just – we had to reschedule and this has been inconvenient for you and we just want to pay you back.” The words are said in a kind tone but they cut through him – and he thinks fleetingly that this is a change from before, from Harvard, from soft words spit like fire.

“Oh, you will?” he asks, snaps, and his arms cross.

She frowns at him for a moment before seeming to realize something, and he watches as her eyes widen. “That’s not what I meant,” she says, soft.

Eduardo shakes his head, closes his eyes. “You never say anything you don’t mean, Mark,” and he holds himself straighter.

He walks down the hall, back into the living room, just as Dustin is laughing, saying “fuck you,” to Chris.

It’s all pathetically familiar, and Eduardo feels a tug in his chest. “I should go,” he says, though, instead, and both Chris and Dustin look up at him.

“You sure?” asks Chris.

Eduardo nods. “I just – you know. I have to go, do things.” He smiles at Dustin, holds out a hand. “Thanks.”

Dustin rolls his eyes and pulls him into a hug. “Anytime,” he says, whispers in his ear. “I swear – anytime. Come back soon.”

“I will. I’ll see you guys soon. And – and Mark,” he adds, almost hesitant, but he’s not going to leave her out. Even if she wants him gone, out of her life (again), he can’t make himself stay away from her, knows he wouldn’t be able to.

“See you,” Chris says, and then, as though he’s resigned to something (or perhaps decided something), wraps Eduardo into a hug. “She doesn’t want you to leave,” he says, under his breath, and flashes him a small smile. “Come on, you speak Mark, always did. You know how she is, don’t you?”

Eduardo does know, far more than he’d like to admit – but this is Mark and him, this isn’t Mark being belligerent to a teacher, this is something that’s important, something that matters, at least to him.

But he nods.

“Mark!” Chris calls, “we’re leaving, would you like to walk out with us?”

Mark appears, then, at the corner of the room, and Eduardo notices with something more than fondness the way that her hair is piled behind her head, the slightest bit of shine on her lips.

(She’s beautiful, and he shouldn’t be thinking like that, but she is.)

She shrugs. “Sure,” and she follows them outside.

“When are you going back?” asks Mark, and this time, the question sounds less nasty, more worried.

“I don’t know,” he says, honest and hesitant.

Mark’s hands are shaking again and she doesn’t look at him.

“Do you want me to stay?” he asks, and Chris has gone and now it’s only the two of them standing in a moonlit yard, because she’s a girl and he’s a boy and he could have loved her, once. His voice cracks on the last word  and now Mark looks up, eyes on fire.

“I don’t give a fuck what you do,” she spits at him, harsh, and walks away, leaving him to stare after her.

(It’s exactly like Harvard, in that.)


*

continued here.


 
 
Current Mood: pleasedpleased