Mark Zuckerberg (914-555-1414): u in ur room?
Eduardo Saverin (786-555-1515): in bed; door’s unlocked.
Ten minutes later, Mark is there. He doesn’t knock or verbally announce his presence, just opens the door and then closes it again. “Hey,” he says, finally, when he’s stripped down to his boxers and Eduardo has pushed the covers back.
“Hey,” Eduardo says. There’s a pause, and Eduardo doesn’t know exactly what to do—and he guesses that Mark doesn’t know, either—but he sits up a little, curls his hand around the back of Mark’s neck, and kisses him. Hello, maybe.
Mark slides under the blankets and presses himself against Eduardo’s side, and something cold and tight in Eduardo’s stomach warms and relaxes.
“You taste like beer,” Eduardo says.
“I had a couple while I was coding. They don’t care in the CS lab. You’re in bed early.”
Eduardo laughs. He runs his fingers across Mark’s ribs, down Mark’s side, and Mark doesn’t object. “It’s two a.m. Most people are in bed.”
“You’re not most people,” Mark says, as though it’s an argument-winning point.
“No,” Eduardo agrees, “but I do have a morning class.”
“So?” Mark says, but he kisses Eduardo’s shoulder and quiets.
[Waiting for You, Ben Harper]
The guy has a place in the South End.
As the guy’s unlocking the door, he turns and says, “You know, I didn’t catch your name.”
Because I didn’t give it to you, Eduardo thinks. “Ed.”
The guy tells Eduardo his own name; Eduardo does his best to forget it. “If you don’t mind my saying so,” he goes on, “you don’t look like an Ed.”
“No,” Eduardo agrees.
The guy closes and locks the door, and, to foreclose any offer of a drink or attempt at conversation, Eduardo pushes him against it. The guy sucks in a pleased breath, and Eduardo kisses him. He hasn’t been with anyone since Christy, and the only man he’s ever been with is Mark (though it’s weird, despite Mark’s wealth and his online empire, to think of him as a man), but it’s easy. Push him against the door; let the guy’s hands tangle for a moment in his hair and then begin untucking his shirt to slide up his back. Fast and easy. Eduardo knows people do this all the time, but he never has—relationships only, that’s how he’s always worked.
“Where’s your bedroom?” Eduardo suggests, and lets himself be led.
[Punch Drunk Love, Common ft. Kanye West]
At dusk, the water gleams a luminous violet-silver as the city lights blink to glittering life. Singapore is breathtaking from the top of the Mandarin Oriental. Eduardo leans against the picture window and calls Cecília.
His cousin picks up on the first ring and, as usual, minces no words. “God, Duda, where are you? I was about to call your parents and tell them to start searching hospitals, and you know what it takes for me to talk to them.”
“I’m fine. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to worry you. I’m in Singapore.”
“Seriously. I got in a few days ago.”
“How long are you staying?”
Eduardo turns to rest his forehead on his arm and look out at the harbor. “I’m not sure,” he admits. “Maybe a while.”
“You don’t—” Cecília begins, then cuts herself off. “There are people in this hemisphere who love you, you know. Your ex is an asshole, and so’s your friend Mark, and so’s your dad, but you always have a room at our house, and you haven’t been to São Paolo in forever. Do you even know anybody in Singapore?”
“No,” Eduardo says. “Thus the basis of its appeal.”
“But you’ll be lonely!” Cecília protests. “You shouldn't be by yourself after a breakup; that’s like a recipe for suicide.”
“Cilinha,” he says, “I promise I won’t pitch myself off anything. I just want to be away, make some business contacts that don’t have anything to do with Facebook, see another part of the world.”
“It’s so far,” Cecília says, but that’s not really an argument, not from her.
Something occurs to him. “Listen. Find out when you can get some time off from work, and come here and visit. On me. The nightlife’s amazing, there’s all kinds of things to see, and I’ll even go shopping with you.”
She snorts. “Please, like you won’t come home with just as much as I will. Probably more, because when was the last time you passed up a suit tailored to your specifications?”
Eduardo laughs, but he says, “I’m serious. If you can get the time off, I’ll buy the ticket.”
“I can’t ask you—”
“You’re not asking me. I’m telling you I want you to come visit.”
“OK,” Cecília whispers, and that’s how he knows she’s genuinely excited. “OK. Is it really as beautiful there as everybody says?”
“More,” Eduardo tells her.
[Grand Canyon, Sister Hazel]
Neila Hamidi is a hedge fund director who Eduardo thinks has some connection to Third Place, though he thinks he’d remember if she was an investor. Neila takes him to meet the CEO, and Orlain Sessions greets her like a personal friend.
He’s seen pictures of Orlain, but they don’t convey how striking she is: tall and ebony-skinned, dressed for the opera in a silvery sheath and a loose shawl. In her strappy stiletto heels, she’s probably an inch taller than he is. The musculature of her arms and shoulders is well defined, testifying to a commitment to some physical activity separate from her work.
Eduardo remembers his manners and introduces himself, name only, no title or corporate affiliation. Surely Orlain Sessions knows his connection to Facebook, and he doesn’t have any title worth promulgating at the moment.
Neila excuses herself, and Orlain says, “I was just going to get something to drink.” Eduardo accompanies her to the bar and discovers that she drinks sidecars; their wine selection is unembarrassing and he orders a glass of Sonoma pinot noir for himself.
They’re still talking when they realize that not only has intermission ended but the second act is halfway over.
He must have fallen asleep, but not in bed. His neck hurts and Orlain is also asleep, mostly on top of him.
They’re on the downstairs couch in her parents’ house. It’s only just getting light outside. Crap.
He nudges her. “Orlain, gatinha. Wake up.”
She mumbles something and buries her face in his chest. This is typical. He’d laugh, except that Orlain’s mother carries a Glock as part of her job.
“Wake up,” Eduardo persists. “Or your mom might shoot me.”
Most other women would laugh at a statement like that. Orlain, however, wakes right up and looks like she’s contemplating the very real possibility. “No, she won’t,” Orlain says, sounding as though she maybe half believes it. “My mom likes you,” Orlain adds, not very convincingly, and then there’s the creak of footsteps on the stairs.
Eduardo sighs. “I’ll just commend myself to God,” he says, and Orlain snickers. “It’s not funny!”
“Yeah, it kind of is,” she says, like his imminent demise is somehow not at issue.
Jerrilyn Sessions carries a semiautomatic pistol and catches murderers for a living. Allon Sessions worked behind a desk for thirty years. Thus it is, naturally, Mrs. Sessions who has decided to rise at barely dawn and come down the stairs.
She looks at Eduardo. Then she looks at Orlain.
They are, thank God, both dressed. Mostly. They really weren’t doing much more than talking, but Eduardo’s shirt did end up on the floor. So did Orlain’s. Right in front of the couch. Double crap. (At least there’s no bra in plain sight, but only because she hadn’t been wearing one.)
“It’s too early for me to see anything,” Mrs. Sessions mutters, and disappears into the kitchen.
“See?” Orlain says. “She likes you.”
“I really hope so,” Eduardo says, with feeling.
[Poker Face, Lady Gaga]
Eduardo has done “lunch with the ex” before—he and Will get together whenever he’s in Chicago, and now that they’ve been apart longer than they were together, it’s even enjoyable.
Eduardo has no words for the type of interaction that comprises meeting Mark Zuckerberg for lunch.
Mark wore a hoodie to legally sworn depositions; there’s no reason to expect anything different today. It’s plain and gray and probably came from Target.
Eduardo is wearing a Dolce & Gabbana suit.
Mark’s hair is the same, curly and barely kempt. He probably has an assistant who forces him to get it cut when it’s shaggy enough to make gossip columns. Eduardo imagines, though, that no force of personality, no matter how persistent, could overcome Mark’s love affair with the hoodie.
He hasn’t aged much. His eyes are still vibrantly, startlingly blue, and Eduardo hates himself for noticing.
“Is this where I ask how you are?” Mark says.
“That’s what most people would do, yes.” Obviously this aspect of Mark hasn’t changed much, either.
“OK. So how are you?”
“Do you actually want to know?”
Mark pauses, as if thinking it over. “Yeah,” he answers, looking right at Eduardo. “I actually do.”
[Deep Blue, Arcade Fire]