Title: Just a Feeling
Pairing: Mark/Eduardo (heavily implied; lots of friendship references)
Prompt: From tsn_kinkmeme (part 5) at LJ
Fandom: The Social Network
For OP and Charlotte
Don't ignore this. You have to read it. zuckonit's LJ link
Stop texting me.
I will if you go to the link and read what's written first.
You've got some nerve, Mark.
It'd be simpler if you just do what I told you.
Like old times, right? Yeah, that worked out so well for me.
From inside of the hotel room, Eduardo pauses with his hands positioned over the keyboard of his phone. Mark's not the kind of person to say that word to anyone so Eduardo tells himself that's the reason he clicks on the link even though Eduardo has not been on LiveJournal for a couple of years and yet the place still looks familiar but with some obvious new features. The address takes him to a locked journal entry, Mark's and the date is fresh from a couple of minutes go. Eduardo wonders what Mark has to say that he had to beg Eduardo to look over it. What more is there?
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September 20, 2009 at 2:35 am
I think I had your heart around my graceless hands back at Harvard and it was soft and breakable, one hard enough squeeze from me and everything might have been over. Isn't that what happened with us? I didn't even understand how breakable it was until after. Would you believe me when I say I really didn't understand? I didn't understand the look in your brown eyes when you found out your shares were diluted. I couldn't deal with your expression so I didn't look at you directly. I was afraid to take in what I'd find. And when you were furious and shouting accusations, my brain was still trying to process things. It wasn't until you walked away that I kept staring at your retreating back.
If this is the last time you'll hear from me, than maybe I should finally give away all my secrets. And if nothing good will come from this, I'd know that I said everything I needed too. You'd know, maybe not the way I'd want to but you would have the information.
You were my best friend. Even after what we went through, you still are the best I ever had. No one can take your place. There's not gonna be anyone after you. I know that part deep within my gut.
I should say I'm sorry, but I'm not going to. I wouldn't mean it and you would know I wouldn't. You're not going to want to read this next part, but I wouldn't change what I did to you. I made the best decision for Facebook. I still stand by it, but I never meant to hurt you. I never wanted to do that, Wardo. You meant something to me. You were important. You still are in a lot of ways, but I'm not going to let myself hope for a reconciliation. Sometimes, I wish we could travel to the beginning when we first met at that frat party. Things were simpler back then. I must admit that I didn't make thing easier. We both made mistakes, and now there's nothing left to save.
I'm tired of where I'm at. I bet you are too.
I have one more thing to ask you. Meet me in the offices, before signing the nondisclosure forms.
Why should I?
This might be the last time we talk.
"Okay, I came here. What was so important?" Eduardo asks, curious, but his voice and face is still guarded and even then, he can't quite keep the quick look of hurt towards Mark off his expression. It's just the two of them. They're the only ones left in this particular room for now. It's early in the morning.
Mark looks at Eduardo steadily, hands digging deep inside his jacket, out of nerves. Eduardo has never seen Mark as frayed and anxious as he is now with visible circles underneath his usually controlled eyes. This time though, Eduardo doesn't see pretension; he perceives remorse in those steel blue eyes which takes Eduardo by surprise. Mark isn't one for apologies. Somehow, Eduardo thinks Mark doesn't look right without his customary gray, GAP hoodie, and Adidas flip flops. He's actually wearing a nice dressed shirt and tie that someone probably made him wear unless Mark's changed that much since Eduardo knew him. He doubts it.
Mark opens his mouth, but he doesn't seem to be able to get his words out. His face twist to annoyance at himself and lets out a frustrated sigh escape. He still appears exhausted; maybe even pass his break pointing. By now, if they were back at Harvard, Eduardo would have coerced Mark into filling his stomach with some amount of food and grabbed his wrist and steered him into his room so that Mark could catch up on all the hours of stable sleep he'd missed thanks to his coding tears.
Mark determinedly looks at point near the left of Eduardo's face. "I know you'll think this is crazy, but all I want to do is hold you, and I think that if you'll let me do that, just for a few seconds, I can walk away, and never speak to you again."
"Wow," Eduardo utters in disbelief, amazement coloring his features, eye brows raised. "I don't know what to say. I never expected you feel that way."
Mark keeps his eyes on the floor now. His shoulders are hunched forward, and his posture is slouching down. He appears to want to disappear or match the ground itself, and it makes Eduardo want to reach out and reassure Mark that things are going to be all right, but the rational side of Eduardo doesn't know if what he wants to do will be any good. Reality isn't as forgiving and Mark wasn't being a good friend when he made that decision to cut him out of their company. It hurts to just think about the betrayal and he becomes bitter and furious when his thoughts go that route. But still, it's Mark and Eduardo can never deny him anything. He blames his weak heart. His father used to reprimand him for having one. He said that kind of being had no place in the business world, check your emotions at the door. Be cold and impersonal, two things that Eduardo has never been good at. He's not his father's son, not the model heir that his father dreamed of. Eduardo hates that his father turned out to be right about this.
And yet his heart is telling him to hold Mark, so he does because he's wanted to before, he wants to now and everything is betraying him including his body, especially his chest. He gives in again and it feels good, right and wrong too. Maybe they could have been something in another life. Eduardo doesn't know, but he and Mark can't be anything now. Mark's made that entirely clear with his actions. Eduardo can't get over what he did and they could never work if Eduardo can't get past this side of Mark.
"I loved you," he whispers softly in Mark's ear, almost inaudible, like a confession that wasn't meant to be heard. Mark shivers.
Both are savoring the warmth and closeness if only for that moment, even when all they had was slipping away in front of them, the final piece awaiting in the haven. They were two people who were so immersed in each other's lives for the longest time, but this time they had to travel in different directions, a part from each other, for what seemed to be for good. If it's for the best, Eduardo doesn't understand the world. He can't be in it; he's naïve. Eduardo clutches his arms tighter around Mark, committing to memory the smell of the detergent he uses.
When he begins to pull away, Mark redoubles his efforts to keep Eduardo where he is.
"You belong here with me. I was wrong, okay? Don't leave. Stay. I need you," Mark says desperately.
"I read your blog. I know you meant what you wrote, but I can't, not with you."
"No, Wardo," Mark shakes his head from his place near Eduardo's neck. "Don't. I can be better," Mark lets out a hopeful promise, intensely securing his fingers over Eduardo's neat, pressed shirt. Mark doesn't usually let his emotions dominate but they have.
And for the barest breath, Eduardo's resolve falters before he has to force his mouth to say aloud, "Yes, Mark. We have to end this."
"No, we don't. For as long as I've known you, you were always optimistic about life and I know you care about me, about us. How can you give up on this?" Mark's blue eyes are burning to Eduardo's own.
"Because it hurts," Eduardo fiercely shoots back. "You hurt me," he's shaking his head too," I don't know how to get over that." He's tearing up, "I can't think or look at you the same way. What you did changes everything and I wish I could go back, but we can't. We have to move forward. I have to move on."
The last few sentences are spoken with some measure of conviction and it makes Mark afraid that Eduardo might mean it. He could truly move on from Mark. And Mark's dimly aware of the flare in his chest from hearing that particular concept. His logical mind has to solve this situation like warm and familiar code: in a series of numbers and the combinations of equations would have to be in perfect, working order if they want to be successful. They are far from that line though.
"Without me?" Mark settles for in a small voice.
Eduardo nods and Mark feels the motion too. "Without you," his voice cracks at the end when he says the word you.
"I thought one hug would be enough, but it's not. I want more and I know I destroyed us. It can't be fixed, but I wish I could."
"I know," Eduardo says, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Don't forget about me."
And Eduardo feels like the very air from his lungs have gone. He takes several deep breaths before responding, tone constricting in grief, "I won't." It's bittersweet similar to the color of copper, a mixture of red and orange. Mark tastes of semisweet chocolates, such sweet anguish and joy mixed in with the unforgettable pain.
Eduardo lets Mark physically go with difficulty.
They see each other again in the deposition room across a wide expanse of tables where all their lawyers are present. Mark settles and they both sign the necessary papers. The black ink remains a permanent reminder of what they signed away: first, Eduardo for unknowingly signing his death certificate (Mark for letting him), second, the nondisclosure forms for being symbolic of their friendship history how it began so promising, how they shared an idea that turned out to be separate visions, not the same one. Mark won. Now, Eduardo can't talk about it. He doesn't want to do that anyway.
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November 10, 2009 at 2:12 am
I loved you too.
He still hasn't completely let Mark go.