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That Night

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Eduardo doesn't get nervous so why were his hands shaking? He quickly drank the champagne, the crisp liquid squeezing down his throat. He put the glass down on a table near him and started to walk towards the back doors.

He hasn’t thought much about Dustin’s invitation. In all honesty, Eduardo thought Mark would be too busy to care about what Dustin did unless it had to do with Facebook. He also didn’t think Mark would fly back to Boston just for a graduation party at a college Mark never actually graduated from. Eduardo hated that honorary degree that Harvard handed to Mark as if he was a child asking for candy. It’s not like Eduardo didn’t put in the time and money and emotional trauma like Mark. No one gave him a second glance, his face wasn’t coded into the layout of Facebook anyways.

Eduardo has also graduated so he didn’t think about Mark because he wanted to just have one night where it felt like he wasn’t walking around like he’d made the biggest mistake of his life. Dustin was fun and casual and Eduardo was his friend before he met Mark. Dustin was the one that shoved him into that dirty dorm in Kirkland and forced Mark out of his coding binge to acknowledge that Eduardo was in fact a person.

Eduardo should’ve thought more. After all, that’s what led him to the fallout with Mark, with Facebook, with everything that mattered in his life. He just didn’t think enough.

“Leaving so soon?”

Eduardo turned to see Dustin standing a few feet from him, leaving the group he was talking to.

“We haven’t even had a chance to catch up.” Dustin glowed.

Eduardo’s stomach churned. He had thought he was okay with Dustin. It’s not like Dustin was the one to cut him out of the company, left him at the airport in the pouring rain, or told him he understood why Eduardo was so desperate for his father's approval.

“Have you even seen Chris?” Dustin said. “Let me get Chris. Chris! Chris?!”

“Shhh!” Eduardo hushed him.

“Dude! I haven’t seen you, in what? Two years and the first thing you do is try to quiet me up?” Dustin snorted.

Eduardo looked past Dustin to see Chris making his way through the crowd.

This isn’t what Eduardo had wanted. He didn’t want the good old days when the three of them would sit on the old earth couch in Kirkland and shotgun beers and talk about the girls they thought were hot. Eduardo didn’t really know what he wanted, but this wasn’t it.

“Dustin, hi. Good to see you and congrats or whatever, but I have to go.” Eduardo said.

“Did you see Mark?” Dustin said. “I told Mark to keep low. You know, because you were coming and I didn’t want you two to fight at my party because the last time you two saw each other was the Facebook party-“

“It wasn’t the party. It was right before and it wasn’t a fight.” Eduardo said.

“Sean said it was a fight.” Dustin said.

“Are you seriously bringing him up?” Eduardo said.

Chris was now behind Dustin, laying a hand on his shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze.

“He’s drunk.” Chris said.

Eduardo wished he could be happy to see Chris, but all of his emotions from tonight, from the past year, were bubbling up.

“I don’t give a fuck. Why the hell would he invite me here if all he’s going to do is talk about that shit?” Eduardo said.

“Look, Wardo, you weren’t the only one that went through something.” Chris said.

“But I was the only one who went through it alone.” Eduardo hissed.

Eduardo turned from them and exited the building. The cool spring air of Boston in May hit him like a brick. It was just like that night three years ago when Mark and he walked out of the coding completion to determine who was going to Palo Alto. Eduardo knew that everything was changing, but he didn’t know how or why. It was a wave of emotions and Eduardo scrubbed at his eyes to keep himself from crying. He’d done that enough in the past couple of years.

He didn’t know where to go. He’d packed his car this morning with all his shit from his dorm. He’d planned to go out drinking after Dustin’s party because he thought he’d be in a good mood, he thought he’d just spend the night with whoever had wanted to take him home and fuck him. At the very least he thought he’d be too drunk to care about sleeping in his car.

He knew he couldn’t go to the bars and get drunk now. His foul mood would lead to a chatterbox drunk and Eduardo had already said enough stuff to enough people while angry drunk. Most of it lead to tabloids that weren’t worth the paper it was printed on, but sometimes he would open The New York Times to see a blurb about “ex-co-founder of Facebook on a drunk rant about his horrible sex life”. His lawyer had sat him down and told him he wouldn’t win the deposition if he kept up with this lifestyle. So he stopped drinking while he was angry. So Eduardo hardly drank.

“Chris told me you’d be out here.”

His voice was flat, monotone like it always was.

But that’s not true because that’s the voice he used for people that don’t matter. When they were friends, when they were close, Eduardo would hear the humor and sarcasm. He would hear his voice pitch up when he got excited about something. He would hear him get angry about shitty code and the stupid advisory board and when Dustin played music too loud.

Mark used to talk to Eduardo which he hardly did for anyone.

“I’m not here to fight.” Mark said.

“We’re not supposed to talk without our lawyers present.” Eduardo said.

“Can you just look at me?”

The last thing Eduardo should do is look at Mark.

So he did.

“Thanks.” Mark said.

Mark smiled his crooked smile that he would only do for him.

“What do you want.” Eduardo said.

“I shouldn’t have come. So… sorry.” Mark said.

All the anger and resentment just dripped out of his body.

“For once Mark, this isn’t your fault. Dustin can’t handle his alcohol, never could.” Eduardo said.

Mark shrugged his shoulders.

His hair has gotten longer and even more frizzy. But he wasn’t wearing his typical attire of Nike slides, grey sweatpants, and a tattered hoodie. He was wearing khaki slacks and a blue button-up. Eduardo had always said he would look good in blue.

“Do you remember that first night in Kirkland?” Mark said.

“When Erica broke up with you?” Eduardo said. “Yeah. I think we talked about that three months ago during our ongoing deposition.”

“It’s all I’ve been thinking about since then.” Mark said.

“I’m going to stop you right there.” Eduardo said. “I don’t want some sob story about how sorry you are and that you shouldn’t have screwed me out of the company we made together or whatever other bullshit your thinking in your head right now. I don’t care if it’s true or not.”

“Can I tell you after the deposition? What I’m thinking.” Mark said.

Marks never asked permission for anything when it came to Eduardo.

What would it mean to talk to Mark after everything? Would his words even matter?

Eduardo wished they wouldn’t mean a thing, but anything Mark does would mean something to him.

“Ask your lawyer if you can wiggle that into the settlement.” Eduardo said.

Eduardo dropped Mark's gaze and turned around, walking always. He shoved his hands into his pocket, admitting to himself that he was sleeping in his car tonight fully sober, fully awake, and still fully succumbing to Mark's every word.