Mark looks so good in his tux. He looks uncomfortable, and Eduardo has already stepped away to the lobby during Mark's speech to book them a room upstairs to make up for it, but he looks so good.
"You look ridiculous," Mark says, coming back to their table with a drink for Eduardo and two for himself. "What did you do to your hair?"
"Oh, Mark. You were going to get laid tonight." He sips his cocktail and watches Mark over the rim of the glass.
Mark narrows his eyes. "Let me get you another drink," he says, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
After he nearly lost Mark over a stupid fight over the phone of all things, Eduardo flew back to Palo Alto, newly single and resolved that he would do things right this time. They wouldn't start over, but they would rewind this whole thing a little. Mark even picked him up at the airport. They talked in the car in the driveway before going inside the Facebook frat house, and Eduardo said out loud what he had been thinking the whole flight out.
"CFO was a very generous title, but it's not the name of how I can best serve Facebook."
Mark stared at him with that blank look that everyone underestimates and no one else understands.
"C'mon, Mark. You know what I'm talking about, and all I need is, just once, for you to say out loud that you know."
The car was quiet for a long time. Eduardo was sure he'd fucked everything up.
"God, Wardo." Mark yanked him across the parking brake, Eduardo's tie in his fist, already pulled loose at his collar. "You deserve so much more than just once," Mark said, and then they were kissing.
Eduardo stays on the masthead as co-founder and agrees to a five percent share. In return, Mark agrees to eat whatever Eduardo puts in front of him, whenever Eduardo puts it in front of him. The first thing he does is clean the kitchen and wash Mark's sheets. The second thing he does is rent two tuxes and a car to drive them to a full calendar of Silicon Valley events Peter tells them to attend. He holds Mark's hand and keeps the conversation going in the right direction. Those are the nights Eduardo really feels like he earns his five percent.
"Sit down, Mark," he says. Eduardo puts a hand on Mark's thigh. "Pretend to enjoy yourself for another hour and then we can go."
He's quiet, drinking his beer, not looking at Eduardo or anyone else. There's a band playing mid-tempo music, but no one is dancing. The crowd is a lot older than them and maybe richer, but they're all looking at Mark. Facebook passed a million members last week.
"We could get a room," Mark says, ignoring them all.
Eduardo pulls the keycard out of his inside jacket pocket.
"What the fuck are we sitting here for?"
He leans into Mark's space in the elevator on the way upstairs. He doesn't touch, though. Eduardo holds himself back until he hands over the keycard so Mark can open the door. Then he pulls Mark out of his jacket, lets Mark rip him out of his tux, bends at the waist so Mark can fuck him over the end of the bed. After, when they're panting on top of the covers, Mark says, "We should get married."
"I'll fly us to Vegas." Mark's fingers are light on the back of Eduardo's neck. "We'll do it tonight."
He rolls away and then back to straddle Mark's hips, pressing down when he feels Mark getting hard again. "Just because they call me your trophy wife, doesn't mean you have to make it so."
Mark frowns up at him. "Who calls you that?" He goes tense between Eduardo's thighs.
"Doesn't matter." Eduardo smiles. He shakes his head. He leans down and sucks a bruise over Mark's collarbone, jutting sharply under pale skin.
They don't talk about marriage again, but they fall into a routine that feels like it. They lease a new house, smaller, but closer to the new Facebook office, and they still have a pool, but no interns. Mark comes home before 10pm one night a week. Eduardo finishes his degree at Stanford, and Mark gives Facebook the day off so he and Dustin can be at the graduation ceremony. Eduardo spends three months redecorating their house, and when they buy the next one together, a classic 1920s Californian Spanish bungalow, he does it all over again. Chris gets them the cover of Architectural Digest, and Eduardo's interview gets him a regular column in the magazine.
The first time Mark does Oprah, Eduardo gives the tour for the advance cameras and sits in the front row while Mark squirms on the couch in his brand new Ben Sherman sport coat. Eduardo has book club twice a month with a group of Silicon Valley wives. He teaches Mrs. Ellison how to bake.
Eduardo stops enjoying the attention when Gawker posts nude photos of him, swimming and tanning in their own backyard. He refuses every interview request and watches old movies instead of the news. Chris deals with the problems at Facebook, Dustin emails new versions of the pictures with badly Photoshopped clothing, and Mark rents a jet to fly them to New York. He's bought them an apartment, too, on the Upper West Side.
"I'll be out here occasionally when we open the new office, and there are always dinners, galas, conferences." He's nervous when he tells Eduardo, wringing his hands in the pocket of his hoodie. "Also," Mark says. "I thought you might like a new project."
There's no furniture, just parquet floors, built-in bookcases, original fixtures, four rooms, two baths, and a huge kitchen. Eduardo wraps Mark up in a hug, a kiss, and then they fuck against the picture window.
Chris leaves Facebook for the presidential campaign early the next year. Dustin goes after that, for his own big idea. Then, on Eduardo's 25th birthday, after everyone they know jumps out from behind Dustin's couch and yells, Surprise, after Mark brings him a margarita, after they make the initial round of hellos and how are yous, Mark leads him out to the backyard, sits him down on the porch swing, and says, I didn't buy you anything, but what do you think about having a kid?
Oliver Saverin is born 20 months later, with the help of a lovely grad student named Petra and an unexpected donation from Mark's sister. He's a little part of both of them, but Mark insists they give him Eduardo's name.
"I'm not saddling another generation with Zuckerberg," he says.
Eduardo thinks it's funny because he would take Mark's name if Mark would just ask him again.
They sell the apartment in New York and move to a bigger house, closer to the best private school in Palo Alto. Eduardo decorates again, alternating farm animal mobiles and flocked wallpaper. Mark starts leaving work at 7 and working weekends at home. The Silicon Valley wives buy Ollie a library's worth of books that Eduardo reads to him, rocking in the handmade rocking chair Mark's dad ships across the country. They don't have as much sex as before, but when they do, it's better. Eduardo doesn't doubt anything about it. Dustin gets married, and they both stand up with him, and Mark squeezes Eduardo's hand whenever people ask if they're going to be next.
In the early years, Ollie grows faster than Facebook. Mark passes more of his official duties to the rest of the board, keeping only a little coding for himself. He lets Eduardo pick the events they shouldn't skip, and he agrees to do 20/20 and Oprah again. Eduardo sits on the couch this time, holding Mark's hand in his lap and teasing him during the breaks about Oprah's crush.
Ollie is three when Facebook turns 10. Chris flies in, and turns down both Eduardo's and Dustin's offer of a guest room because he's bringing his new boyfriend. He walks first through Dustin's door when everyone meets for dinner that night, but Sean doesn't escape interrogation and hugs.
"Meeting the family," Mark says, refilling Eduardo's wine glass and joining him and Chris on the porch. "That's big, Christopher."
Sean is currently stuck in the kitchen with Dustin and only Anna for protection. Eduardo can just see Ollie, running through the mess of Dustin's backyard. As long as he can hear him, everything's OK.
"It's my turn to settle down, right?"
Eduardo lays his head on Mark's shoulder. He closes his eyes and listens to Chris talking, his son laughing in the grass.
"I think I'd like to get married. When New York passes the law, maybe."
"Would you wait?" Marks asks. His thumb draws circles on the back of Eduardo's hand.
"Yes," Chris says. "But only because I'd want to give Sean the victory. I mean, it's his job, you know, as well as our life."
Sean goes shopping with Eduardo and Ollie the next day, when Chris and Dustin go into the Facebook office with Mark to reminisce and pretend they aren't being sentimental. It's just picking up a few groceries at Whole Foods, but with a three year old boy and a crowd of paparazzi outside.
"How do you just ignore them?" Sean asks, carrying Ollie on his hip after he nearly ran into a cereal box display. "Chris runs into the occasional photographer in Manhattan, but this is insane."
Eduardo shrugs and picks out a nice looking watermelon. He was thinking about making sangria to go with the ribs tonight, but watermelon margaritas will be much easier. He grabs a few limes next.
"It was worse when Mark and I first got together. They used to call me the Whore of Facebook."
"Jeez." Sean is the kind of guy who says jeez.
"After that, spying through windows doesn't seem so bad. Besides, they know not to get too close."
The first photographer who got too close after Ollie was born isn't a photographer anymore.
When they get home, Sean agrees to watch Ollie in the pool while Eduardo starts dinner. Anna comes over after work, and he gives her the job of attacking the watermelon. They have drinks and chips and hummus with warm pita ready by the time Mark gets home with Chris and Dustin after 7.
"You couldn't resist, huh?" Eduardo hands Dustin a beer.
"I may have logged in and killed a few bugs," he says. He leans over and kisses his wife. "I miss it sometimes. The early days."
"Speaking of the early days," Eduardo says, letting Mark hold him around his waist. "There may be a story about how I was spotted at Whole Foods stepping out on you with another man."
Eduardo nods. "They have photos. Who knows what they'll do with them."
"Getting that 10 year itch, Wardo?" Dustin says, his mouth wide in a teasing grin.
"10 years," Anna says, awed. Eduardo is, too, because he had completely forgotten. It's not just 10 years since Eduardo stood in the cold in a silly hat, watching Mark's face light up with his biggest idea yet. It's 10 years since they sat in Mark's car, deciding that their relationship was going to be about love, not about money.
After a few more beers, Mark gets handsy, like he wants to apologize for forgetting their anniversary, even though they usually celebrate in the summer. He stands behind Eduardo at the grill, hands up underneath his shirt, nails leaving rough tracks of tingling pleasure.
Eduardo turns in his arms to say something, to say, Cut it out, but Mark gets there first with a kiss. With Anna and Chris's help, Eduardo gets dinner done and even manages to eat something himself with Mark's hand high up on his leg. Chris and Sean leave first, the blush of wine and wandering hands on their cheeks. Mark corners Eduardo against the kitchen counter. Dustin offers to put their son to bed. They kiss, long and slow, then Mark pushes him up, so Eduardo is on the counter next to the sink and Mark is between his legs.
"Happy 10 years," he says against Eduardo's lips.
Dustin says, "Hey," and they break apart, only a little sheepish. He's smiling at them in the doorway and holding Ollie's backpack. "I thought we'd take the kid for the night," he says, when Mark and Eduardo stare stupid too long.
Eduardo slides off the counter. He wonders sometimes how this might have worked in college, if they hadn't been so afraid. It would have happened a lot like this, with Chris hustling Dustin out of the room or Dustin dragging Chris to the dining hall for dinner. They would have made it work, just like they have for the last 10 years.
Mark says, "Thanks," before Eduardo does, and then he wants to see what Dustin has packed. Anna comes downstairs with Ollie in his pajamas already, falling asleep on her shoulder. Eduardo rubs his back and says, "Good night, querido."
Dustin holds the door open for his wife. Mark walks them to their car. Eduardo waves, checks the back door is locked, then climbs upstairs to take a shower. He scrubs hard at his scalp and the day off his skin. He slides two fingers inside where his hole is already sensitive and clenching with anticipation. The water stays hot and feels so good pounding down on his shoulders. Eduardo thinks about staying in, letting Mark find him in the shower and fuck him against the tiles. Maybe tomorrow morning. Tonight, Eduardo wants it in their bed.
He strips the sheets and pulls fresh linen out of the closet. He changes the beds every Sunday and hangs the sheets out back to dry in the sun, but it's Friday, and Eduardo wants everything to be clean before they get dirty. He's shaking out the flannel blanket when Mark finally joins him.
"How long has it been?" Mark says, pressing his nose into Eduardo's wet hair at the back of his neck. He dried off just enough, dropped the towel in the hamper, and slipped on a clean pair of black briefs. Mark rubs him through the damp fabric.
"10 years," Eduardo says, words fading into a groan as Mark pulls his underwear down to mid-thigh.
"No, I mean." He walks Eduardo forward and bends him over the end of the bed. "How long has it been since I fucked you like you need it?"
He does need it, and Eduardo thinks maybe he says that out loud, but he can't hear anything over the blood rushing through his body. Everything feels hot, like tiny pin pricks when Mark touches him, lips on his shoulder, fingers down his spine, tongue in the crack of his ass. It's been a long time since Mark did that.
He licks Eduardo long enough that by the time they're both ready, he doesn't need any lube. He's wet and relaxed, panting from his first orgasm and wanting to say, Fuck the condom, but he can't get the words out. It doesn't matter, because Mark knows. Mark knows him.
He brings coffee up from the kitchen in the morning and presses Eduardo into the pillows until he agrees to make chocolate chip pancakes.
They make a big deal out of Ollie's 5th birthday. Mark rents out the local amusement park and invites the entire kindergarten class. The grandparents and aunts and uncles all fly in, and Eduardo cooks a whole pig in his new brick oven. Anna gets pregnant, and Eduardo starts planning the shower and how to decorate the nursery. A week later, Mark comes downstairs, phone in hand, his face white, and says, They lost the baby. Eduardo sits on Dustin and Anna's couch for two days, holding her hand, making her tea, saying nothing because there's nothing to say. Mark goes to London to speak at a tech symposium. It's the first time he does it alone because Eduardo doesn't want to take Ollie out of school. They go to Miami in June, Dobbs Ferry in July, and stay with Chris and Sean for a week in the Hamptons in August. Eduardo tans nude and goes home a deep bronze and well-fucked. Mark buys more toys for the pool, and Eduardo gets Mark wearing chinos, and by the time Ollie is 6, they're talking about finding a house with a bigger yard. Mark is talking about getting a dog.
Ollie starts school full-time in September, and Eduardo walks him there and back. Mark says they should let him be independent and walk with his friends. Eduardo isn't ready to give up his time.
Eduardo waits at the bottom of the front steps. He talks the stock market with Stephanie's dad, whose name Eduardo doesn't remember, and it's been too long to politely ask. Stephanie comes out first. Eduardo waves, and she says, "Bye, Mr. Saverin," and he feels bad all over again that he doesn't know her dad's name.
Ollie is next down the stairs.
"Hi." Eduardo waves. "Good day?"
Ollie looks up. "Not really." Eduardo reaches down to comb out his messy curls.
"Want to talk about it, querido?"
Something's not right. "Can we wait until Daddy comes home?"
"Of course." When Eduardo hugs him close, Ollie grabs onto his belt, something he used to do, but not so much anymore. "We have some apple pie leftover from last night."
"Yeah," Ollie says. "I want pie."
Eduardo makes little pizzas for dinner, letting Ollie choose his own toppings and make his own. He wants to make one with tuna for Mark. Eduardo guides him towards the vegetables instead. The pizzas start coming out of the oven as soon as Mark gets home from work.
"I'll open a couple of beers," he says, passing behind Eduardo, trailing a hand across his ass.
"I want a beer, too, Daddy."
"Not until you're thirty." When he passes back, Mark sets an opened bottle next to Eduardo on the counter, and he leans in close to kiss his neck. "You smell amazing," he says low. "Like sweat and food."
"You're disgusting," Eduardo says and hip checks him away. Mark isn't deterred and comes back with both hands free to hold Eduardo's hips steady. He's hard, and Eduardo wants him. They always did have terrible timing.
Ollie has two pieces of his own cheese and mushroom and one of the veggie pizzas Eduardo made. Mark sticks to meat and cheese. He grabs them each another beer, and Ollie is happy to drink apple juice out of a novelty beer stein Eduardo finds in the back of the cupboard, maybe from a Facebook secret Santa, more likely a real gift from Dustin.
They're almost finished when Ollie says, "Daddy, can I ask you a question?"
Eduardo sets his pizza aside and gets ready. But Mark is excited. He actually misses the question phase, when Ollie wanted to know about everything and Mark wanted to tell him.
"You can ask anything, my son."
He folds his hands together on the counter. "What's a Wardo?"
When Ollie started talking, Mark spent hours coaching him. He wrote a program and installed it on the ancient laptop that was Ollie's favourite toy. Ollie pressed any button and a picture of Mark appeared with his recorded voice saying, "Dada." Then Ollie pressed any other key and Eduardo appeared. Mark's recorded voice said, "Papai." He was ridiculously proud, as if they were the first same sex parents who didn't have to worry about what the kids would call them.
But Ollie's second word, after he had learned and exhausted all the uses for No, was Wardo. They sometimes call Eduardo Pai, especially when they visit his parents in Miami, but Ollie made his choice.
"Wardo is Wardo," Mark says before he realizes how big the question actually is.
"But what does it mean?" Ollie says, and just keeps going. "Because the kids at school all laughed when I did my family presentation, and Bailey says there's no such thing, and Jackson says Wardo isn't a real word, but it is, I know it, he's right here."
By the end of the sentence, Ollie has pressed his way completely onto Eduardo's lap, clinging. Mark moves over to the stool Ollie abandoned. Eduardo holds him around the waist; Mark holds his hands.
"Oliver, look at me." Mark leans forward to kiss Ollie's cheek where he's buried himself in Eduardo's chest. "This is your family, not Bailey's, not Jackson's. Nobody but you gets to decide what you call us. I'm your dad, and Eduardo's your dad."
"Nobody else has a Wardo," he says, his voice very small. Eduardo's heart clenches in his chest. They haven't yet had big problems with discrimination. There are three other kids in Ollie's class alone with same sex parents. But he's right: nobody else has a Wardo.
"That's because we're better than everyone else," Mark says. A hundred years ago, Eduardo would have told him to be nice. But he knows now that it's just how Mark sees the world. He knows, too, now that Mark doesn't think Eduardo is everyone else.
"Nobody else has a Wardo because Wardo chose us." Mark's eyes are shiny, and Eduardo thinks that's what makes Ollie climb off his lap and into Mark's, wrapping his arms around Mark's neck. "And that makes us lucky," Mark says, punctuating the declaration with a kiss.
They sit huddled together until Ollie falls asleep in Mark's lap. It doesn't take long after he work himself up. Eduardo tries to take him out of Mark's arms.
"Don't worry," Mark says. "I'll put him to bed, then be back for you." It's a promise Mark makes with his eyebrows, enough to make Eduardo want to get the food put away and the dishes in the washer. He can't remember the last time they had sex that wasn't a lazy handjob after their son fell asleep.
While he waits for Mark to return, Eduardo says out loud to the room, "This is what being married must feel like."
Ollie's teacher asks about getting the kids a tour of the Facebook offices. Mark turns it into a whole day's field trip, ending with cupcakes frosted Facebook blue in the conference room. Eduardo is laid up with the flu in January and finds a week's worth of dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor when he comes out of the fog. Mark calls Dustin and Anna to take Ollie for the weekend, and he takes Eduardo to a rented mid-century house in Palm Desert to say sorry. They fit an entire year's worth of sex and dinners out into three nights. When they get back, Ollie's school is in the middle of a head lice epidemic, and Eduardo remembers what his life actually looks like.
Chris calls early on a Sunday morning. Eduardo has to reach across Mark to grab the phone.
"Congratulate me," he says. "I'm getting married."
"What?" He shakes Mark's shoulder and gets an unhappy grunt in return. "Congratulations, oh my God."
"He asked me last night. We were walking the High Line after dinner and, right there, he got down on his knee."
Eduardo grins himself silly. "Tell Sean that is the cheesiest proposal in the history of proposals, and he should be very proud of himself."
"He's making me breakfast right now." He sounds gone, high on love.
Mark starts muttering in his sleep. Eduardo pushes him over onto his back and settles on his chest. He rubs his hand low on Mark's belly, which gets him a happy little hum.
"You're the first person we've told," Chris says.
"What? You better get Dustin on conference or there will be blood."
He laughs and says, "All right, all right. But you have to wake up Mark."
"Yeah, right. Where's my son who doesn't sleep past 6 when you need him?"
"I'm putting you on hold. Go get him, too."
Once Chris is gone, Eduardo puts the phone on speaker and sets it on his bedside table. He curls back around Mark, sliding his hand further, sneaking under Mark's boxers, finding his morning erection warm and waiting. As he strokes, Mark's sleepy humming turns sexual. Eduardo doesn't have to wonder what he's dreaming because Mark starts talking, too.
It's his name and a few choice expletives, Mark's usual sex talk with less verbs, and his voice is raspier due to sleep. Eduardo really doesn't have the time before Chris is back on the phone with Dustin, but he pulls Mark's cock out of his boxers, and then he has to kiss it. He licks the salty fluid from his lips.
Eduardo suckles the tip first, not taking too much in. He presses his tongue flat over the slit. He makes his lips wet and soft, opens his throat, then goes all the way down. He pulls off with one long hard suck, and Mark is awake and coming before either of them are ready.
"What the fuck was that?" Mark groans, slamming his head into the pillow.
Eduardo climbs up the bed and kisses him.
"Fuck," Mark says, surging up, his hand tangling in Eduardo's hair, kissing deeper when he tastes what's on Eduardo's lips.
A tinny voice startles them out of it. "Are you guys having sex or just making out?"
"Which would be more awkward for you, Dustin?" Mark's grin is familiar and cruel.
They talk for a few minutes, Eduardo and the phone on Mark's chest and Mark's hand in his hair. But then Sean brings Chris breakfast, Anna finishes her shower, and Ollie stumbles out of bed and into their room. For a few minutes, it's the four of them, like it always was. Then life moves on.
Eduardo is thinking about marriage again. All those years ago, it was Mark who asked. Eduardo wasn't ready then, and he's been waiting for Mark to realize that he's ready now. He had almost convinced himself that they didn't need to be married. They already have less sex than when they were dating. They have lawyers to take care of the benefits, and there's a kid, and Mark's still talking about getting a dog. Eduardo had almost convinced himself that they didn't need the piece of paper.
He was on the groom's side when Dustin got married. Chris was best man. Anna was smart and didn't let her fianc√© get too involved in the planning. Both sides were happier that way, and on the day, Dustin was happier than Eduardo had ever seen him.
But Chris is a community organizer, and he asks Eduardo to be his best man. This time, he's involved with everything. It's May when Sean proposes. In June, they rent the High Line for their engagement party, and Eduardo, Mark, and Ollie fly to New York for the first time since they spent his second Christmas with the Zuckerbergs.
"We're going to do it at Sean's parents's house in the Hamptons," Chris says, champagne in hand and glowing. Mark is off chasing Ollie through legs and under tables. Eduardo can hear Ollie's giggle even over the music and the chatter.
Chris puts a hand on his leg. "Eduardo," he says, and clearly it's not the first time. "Where did you go?"
"Back about ten years when Mark asked me to marry him so I could smack myself and say yes." He tries a laugh, but Chris looks about as stunned as Eduardo feels.
"He--You--I can't believe you never told me. Either of you. He asked you to marry him?"
"It was right after I came back to Palo Alto. We hadn't even moved out of the Facebook house then." Eduardo knows he was right to say no. But he's wanted to say yes ever since.
Chris agrees. "He definitely wasn't ready then." He sits back in his chair. "Wow. But not wow, you know?"
"You two were always supposed to be the first of the four of us. I mean, you kind of were."
He looks up from his glass to see Mark walking their way, Ollie on his shoulders, kicking his feet and waving at everyone to see if they'll wave back. Mark's still jet-lagged, and Ollie has been hyper since they told him about the trip, but they're smiling. Mark is smiling at him like Eduardo used to dream about at school, laying on Mark's bed, waiting for him to turn away from the computer and notice how much Eduardo wanted him.
"Wardo, look." Ollie makes his hands into a telescope. "I can see our house from up here."
He gets up to help Mark put Ollie on the ground. "Nice try, kid, but your dad isn't tall enough."
Chris laughs, and Ollie laughs because his uncle is laughing. Mark gets another round of champagne and orange juice in a fancy glass for Ollie from the nearby bar. Sean joins them, and Chris continues the wedding briefing. Ollie falls asleep, finally, in Eduardo's lap. Anna finds them a blanket from somewhere, and the party breaks up around them. Chris and Sean have to say goodbyes, so Mark and Dustin talk business until they get back when conversation circles around to weddings and kids and taxes and life.
Mark deals with getting Ollie back to sleep in his unfamiliar hotel bed. Eduardo brushes his teeth in the bathroom doorway and listens to Mark reading him the next chapter of The Magician's Nephew. He listens to Ollie ask if Uncle Chris will let him be a part of the wedding.
"Well," Mark says. "That depends on what part you want to be. I don't think Uncle Sean will like it if you want to be the groom."
"No, Daddy. Don't be silly."
"I'm never silly," Mark says, and Eduardo lets out a snort.
"What did I get to be at your wedding, Daddy?"
Eduardo stops brushing.
"Wardo and I aren't married, Ollie."
There's a long silence, long enough for Eduardo to spit and rinse and step back into the main room to hear Ollie's question. "But how can you be daddies if you aren't married?"
Mark's answer doesn't take as long. "The only thing you need to be a daddy is so much love that you can't hold it inside anymore. You need another person to help you carry it. Wardo and I needed you to make our family complete. We didn't need to get married."
"Maybe Uncle Chris and Uncle Sean will let you get married with them."
Eduardo sinks back against the wall outside the bathroom, a laugh bubbling up and something so much more from far deeper inside. He thinks back to the first day that Ollie realized he was different from most of his friends, and every day after when he wanted to know why kids on the playground called him a faggot and why he had a Wardo instead of a mom.
Getting married wouldn't stop any of that, but he wonders if it wouldn't help Ollie. He's always been a kid who wants to know the names of things, who makes up stories to explain the things he doesn't know, who gives names to the dogs they meet on their afternoon walks. Mark says it's the need for order he gets from Eduardo; Eduardo says it's the need for creativity he gets from Mark.
"Wardo?" Mark's forehead is wrinkled when Eduardo opens his eyes. He pushes off the wall and into Mark's arms.
"Get in here," Eduardo says. They stumble into the bathroom, and Mark shuts the door behind them, carefully, so it doesn't make too much noise. "C'mon."
Mark helps him up onto the counter and presses himself between Eduardo's legs. "You are fucking ridiculous," he says, breaths heavy, deep in Eduardo's mouth. They kiss against the bathroom mirror. Eduardo keeps his arms wrapped around Mark's neck while Mark does all the work, getting Eduardo's pants open, his belt, his zipper, his briefs.
"There are condoms in my Dopp kit," Eduardo tells him. "Lube."
But Mark isn't ready for that yet. His hand works fast like he just needs to make Eduardo come. Mark likes to make Eduardo come. It felt like a power thing when they first got together. But it didn't matter because Eduardo likes it.
He loves it, giving himself up to Mark. After everything Eduardo does to take care of Mark, it feels so good to lay back and let Mark take care of him. When they have the time, when they have their own bed, when they send Ollie to Dustin and Anna's for the night, the only thing Eduardo wants is for Mark to fuck him, hard, usually on his hands and knees with his face in the pillow. He doesn't want to hold anything back. In fact, Mark would rather he didn't. Mark is hungry for Eduardo's noises as much as for Eduardo's ass.
But sex in a hotel bathroom with their son asleep on the other side of the wall is a different adventure. Mark's fist is slick with Eduardo's precome, making a warm, wet place for Eduardo to thrust and thrust and let go with long pulses and a heavy groan muffled against Mark's neck.
"Oh, God," Eduardo says. His head falls back, and Mark's hand is there to stop him before he hits the mirror. "You have to fuck me. Mark. You have to fuck me now."
Mark lifts his other hand to Eduardo's mouth, slipping his fingers inside. Eduardo licks and sucks his taste from Mark's hand. He whines when Mark steps away to find a condom and lube. He's within reach, but anything feels too far away for Eduardo right now.
"Let me take care of you," Mark says, shaking his head at Eduardo's impatience. "You know I will."
"I know you will."
He steps back between Eduardo's legs, sliding a hand under each knee to pull Eduardo to the edge of the counter, just the right height. His fingers are still slick from Eduardo's orgasm and his mouth. Mark strokes behind his balls, then further back to his hole and inside.
"Christ, Wardo." Mark bites and licks and groans into his neck. "You're so tight."
"It's been too long since you fucked me, querido."
"You need it too much," Mark says. He rips the condom open with his teeth. Eduardo unwraps himself from Mark to help him roll it on. Mark works a third finger inside, and Eduardo can't hold his noises back.
Mark kisses him quiet. "Do I need to gag you, Wardo?"
"You need to fuck me."
"Yeah," Mark says. He presses one hand low on Eduardo's back to hold their bodies close together; the other he uses to guides his cock into Eduardo's ass with a slow, steady push. "Fucking love being inside you."
Eduardo has no words left. He clings to Mark, balanced carefully on the bathroom counter, his arms around Mark's neck, his legs around Mark's hips. He breathes his moans into Mark's mouth and just feels. Mark's cock is huge inside him, and he thrusts with long strokes, pulling out until the head stretches Eduardo's hole, then back in, finding the right angle to scrape across his prostate on the in and the out.
It's been a few weeks since they've done this, but it's been years together. Their bodies don't forget the places where they fit. Eduardo opens up to let Mark in, but clenches tight to make the friction so good, so hot. He digs his heels into Mark's back. He arches up to press his hardened cock against Mark's chest. Mark's curls are sticking to his forehead, and he's salty when Eduardo sucks a dark red spot on the side of his neck.
"Fuck me," Eduardo says with Mark's ear caught between his teeth. "Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me," and he loses his voice when he feels Mark come, spurt again and again inside the condom, inside Eduardo. His hole clenches tight around Mark, still hard and too big to pull out, but Eduardo can't come again without something around his cock. Rubbing off isn't enough. He can't find the right angle.
Mark gulps deep breathes in and lets them out against Eduardo's shoulder. "You didn't come, baby?" Mark's so gone. He doesn't even notice the pet name.
"Gimme your hand," Eduardo says, curling Mark's fingers around his cock, and they jerk him off together until Eduardo groans out another climax, clenching hard around Mark again, who pulses and finally slips out of Eduardo's body.
Mark tosses the condom in the basket next to the toilet and wipes them down with a big fluffy bath towel. He runs the tap to wet one corner and wipes the sweat from Eduardo's eyes. He moves back to pull up his sweatpants. Eduardo lets his stiff legs fall against the counter.
They're both tired and sweaty, but when Eduardo looks up and catches Mark's eyes, they laugh and grin. It feels like one of those moments, like sitting in Mark's car in the Facebook frat house driveway, like swinging on Dustin's porch the night of Eduardo's birthday, like standing at the bottom of stone steps and watching his son struggle his backpack through the tall school doors.
"Ask me again, Mark."
He doesn't look confused at all. He shakes his head. "I asked you once before, Wardo. You said no." He pulls away and sits down on the edge of the bathtub. "Actually, you laughed."
"You asked me a lifetime ago." Eduardo slips down from the bathroom counter. He pulls up his briefs, but leaves his pants on the floor. His shirt falls open as he walks across the tiny room and kneels in front of Mark on the bath mat. "Ask me again, Mark."
That wrinkle is back in his forehead. "You want to get married?" The question doesn't sound like a proposal. It sounds incredulous.
"I want to get married to you." Eduardo smooths a hand over Mark's face. He presses a kiss to his cheek. "I want to do it in our home and in front of all our friends, and I want our son to be a part of it."
"That's what I want, too," Mark says, voice tight.
"So let's do it."
Mark kisses him very carefully, closed lips just touching. "OK."
"OK. But don't say anything tomorrow," Eduardo says. Mark frowns, but Eduardo kisses it away. "Chris is going to kill us for getting engaged the night of his party."
He doesn't, only because Mark otherwise distracted at brunch the next morning. Nobody thinks anything of it, as they hold hands under the table, as Eduardo leans into Mark's side, as Mark eats home fries off Eduardo's plate. It probably doesn't look too different from breakfast in the Harvard dining hall. Except for the spouses and the kid, not much has changed, only that Mark and Eduardo don't ignore what they did back then.
He tears himself away from Mark and turns to Ollie, sitting between Chris and Dustin across the table.
"What do you need, querido?"
"Daddy's stealing your fries."
The table laughs. Mark doesn't even look sheepish; he steals another fry.
"Don't worry." Eduardo leans over for a kiss. "Your dad's been stealing my fries for years."
They drive up to Dobbs Ferry the next day, after a trip to the Central Park Zoo and as much New York pizza as Eduardo can stand. Mark's parents spend three days taking Ollie out and buying him whatever he wants, and Eduardo doesn't say anything because he and Mark spend three days having as much sex as they can while the house is empty. When they get back to Palo Alto, Mark spends a week going to work early and coming home after Eduardo has fallen asleep, and then the update goes out, and he takes the next two weeks off completely. They finally buy a dog, a little white fluffy thing that Ollie picks out from the shelter and that Mark names Beast. She joins Facebook the next day, and suddenly, Mark has a new hobby. They take Ollie to Disneyland near the end of August, and then it's September, and he starts grade two.
Eduardo flies back to New York in November to help Chris plan his wedding for May. He stays in their guest room and phones home every night and every morning. They go out to a club on his last night, and Eduardo dances like he hasn't since college, and he convinces himself it's the adrenaline and the drinks that make him lean over and tell Chris that he and Mark are getting married.
His eyes go wide, and he throws his arms around Eduardo. "You'll make him wear real shoes?"
Eduardo nods, even though he's been thinking about doing it on the beach to avoid precisely that fight.
They stay home for Christmas, opening gifts from New York City, and Dobbs Ferry, and Miami, and delivered by Dustin in a full-out Santa suit from 30 minutes down the street. Stephanie's parents--Suzanne and Gary, Eduardo finally remembers, using Mark to get their names again--invite all the families over for New Year's Eve. The kids in their pajamas lay out sleeping bags in the basement and watch the Toy Story trilogy while the parents drink and enjoy a little freedom upstairs. They have to start telling people they're getting married after Mark surprises Eduardo with a ring at midnight. It's a thick gold band with an elaborate carved design and shards of diamond that make it sparkle. Eduardo wears it on his left hand.
There is a rush of charity galas, tech conferences, political events, and golf tournaments that Mark is required to attend. Eduardo takes him out to buy new suits, a new tux, and it turns into a whole day when he figures they could save time and Mark's sanity by getting him fitted for Chris's wedding party at the same time, and then Mark decides that he's 30, and maybe he could let Eduardo buy him some nicer clothes. They drive home in a full car. Mark says, "You know this was your birthday present, right?" and Eduardo says, "I know," putting his hand on Mark's thigh, though he knows Mark will end up buying him something anyway.
Ollie turns seven in April. Eduardo makes the little pizzas and cupcakes for fifteen kids, but he lets Mark and Dustin take care of everything else. Mark gets a new slide installed for the pool, a seven foot enclosed corkscrew that keeps the kids busy all day. Mark and Dustin spend most of the party, watching from the deck with the rest of the dads and drinking beer. Anna helps Eduardo sprinkle nonpareils and confesses that she's twelve weeks pregnant.
She's showing just a little by May and, thankfully, still fits the dress Eduardo helped her pick out for Chris and Sean's wedding in the Hamptons. Ollie is happy walking down the aisle with the rings, sitting next to Anna during the ceremony, right up to the moment dinner is served, and he decides it's time for cake.
"Ollie, sit down." Eduardo holds him at the back of the neck as he squirms at the table. Mark has already let him take off the jacket and tie, and Eduardo's afraid the shirt might be next.
"This is stupid," he says and shoves his plate away.
"Hey." Eduardo snaps. He gets down on his knees and turns Ollie's chair away from the table. "Look at me." He doesn't, so Eduardo puts a hand on his chin. "We're done with this nonsense, Oliver. What would your uncles say if they knew you called their wedding stupid?"
Mark appears behind Ollie. He catches Eduardo's eye with a question. Eduardo shakes his head. "What's this about, Ollie?"
He twists around to stare up at Mark. "I'm sorry, Dad."
"I'm not the one who needs an apology."
Ollie falls against Eduardo and lets out a sob into his neck. "I'm sorry, Wardo."
"Thank you, Oliver." Eduardo lifts him into a hug, then puts him back into his chair. "Are you ready to eat your dinner?"
Mark steals the chair on Eduardo's right side, and he spends the next hour rubbing Eduardo's back and not talking. It's exactly what he needs at that moment.
Rebekah Moskovitz arrives late in September. She has Anna's hair and Dustin's lungs. Ollie decides he's going to be her big brother. Eduardo cooks up a few months of meals for them, and he and Ollie walk over after school to visit and help. Mark is particularly smitten. Anna and Eduardo tease him mercilessly. He hogs Rebekah, rocking her in the chair Eduardo asked Mark's dad to make for them. Dustin offers to change all the diapers.
Chris calls every day, but they hold their trip until the first weekend in October when Mark and Eduardo get married.
The wedding happens on the beach. Eduardo wears a linen suit, and Mark goes barefoot. It doesn't take very long, considering what it took to get them to the moment. Ollie stands between them while they say their vows. He's getting taller, but he clings to Eduardo's leg and claps when the Justice pronounces them married. Mark insisted on a fully-catered service, and they eat a Brazilian-inspired dinner with half a dozen different kinds of meat, spread out at two long tables set up on the sand. Mark holds his hand the entire night, not because he can't stand being separated, but because he doesn't want Eduardo to do a single thing but enjoy himself.
"This is for you," Mark keeps saying, pulling Eduardo into his side to whisper into his ear or just give him another kiss.
Eduardo shakes his head. "This is for us."
The wedding is for their family, and Ollie enjoys all the attention. Eduardo's parents fly home the next morning; Mark's stay another day. Chris and Sean settle in. They'll be housesitting, kidsitting, and dogsitting for the three weeks Mark has agreed to spend away from Facebook and on their honeymoon in the south of France. Dustin teases Chris mercilessly about nesting, even as he holds his new daughter in his arms.
Ollie is a grump all morning, the day of their flight. He's stubborn and quiet, except to call breakfast and homework and Beast stupid. It's become his word of the year, and Eduardo doesn't know what to do. Mark decides that Oliver has to stay home when Dustin drives them to the airport. Ollie calls Mark stupid, and Eduardo decides that he has to stay in his room. He stomps up every stair.
"I'm sorry, guys." Eduardo flops onto the couch next to Chris. He looks up at Mark, still watching the stairs. "Mark, maybe we should wait." He turns back to Chris. "I don't want to leave you two with a horrible brat."
"If we wait, we'll never leave, Wardo."
"Go," Chris says, pulling him into a quick one-armed hug. "We'll figure it out."
Anna finishes making breakfast, and they eat at the counter, everyone quiet. Then Sean and Dustin pack their luggage into the SUV. Mark leads Eduardo up the stairs and knocks on Ollie's door. There's a new sign taped up, red marker on a piece of lined paper ripped out of a spiral notebook. GO AWAY, it says, as well as the voice from inside.
Eduardo feels awful, pancakes and bacon rumbling around in his stomach. Mark knocks again.
"We're leaving, Oliver. This is your last chance to say goodbye, so get your butt out here."
His eyes are red and puffy when he opens the door. He grabs Eduardo around the waist and says, very quiet and muffled, "I'm sorry, Wardo."
"Be good, querido." Eduardo runs his fingers through Ollie's hair. He'll need to have it cut by the time they get back.
"I will." He nods. "I promise."
Mark crouches down for a hug and a kiss. "Chris and Sean are in charge, right?"
"We're going to talk every day, OK?"
The tantrum is over, but Ollie has to stay in his room until Chris and Sean tell him he can come down, and he doesn't get to come to the airport. But he hugs them both again and says goodbye with a choked voice. Before Mark and Eduardo leave, Ollie rips the sign off his door.
They say the rest of their goodbyes on the lawn, listening to Beast bark behind the door. Dustin walks around to the driver's side. Mark puts a hand on Eduardo's back and opens his door. "Do you want me to sit with you?"
"When did you become such a sap?" Eduardo grins.
Mark and Dustin talk code up front, as little business as necessary, and babies, too.
"I'm not too proud to admit she's defeating me."
Mark scoffs. "You had years of baby practice. You changed more diapers than I had when Ollie was born."
"Sure." Dustin glances up to the rearview mirror and finds Eduardo's eyes. "But not in a row."
Eduardo sleeps on the plane, tucked under Mark's arm and on his shoulder. Somewhere over the Atlantic, his stomach settles and his heart loosens, and he wakes up in France feeling light and in love. It feels like being 21 again. They were newly rich and slightly famous. Mark worked too much, living at the Facebook office on Red Bull and red vines, and Eduardo was the face of the company at the parties. When they crashed back together, they had better sex than Eduardo had ever fantasized it would be, back when he was sitting in Mark's dorm room that always smelled of dirty socks and watching the back of his head while he ignored Eduardo to code into the early morning.
Mark has rented them a house in Nice. He sets up his laptop and the internet connection and checks his email while Eduardo wanders around their new home for the next three weeks. It's old, but well-maintain, with original painted mouldings and a hand-forged wrought iron railing on the balcony. Eduardo has started writing his next column for Architectural Digest on his phone when Mark comes to find him.
"What time is it in California?"
Mark puts a hand in Eduardo's hair. "He's in school. We'll phone later."
They eat mussels on the waterfront, with white wine and a big loaf of warm crusty bread. Mark orders a plate of calamari, too, and eats nearly the entire thing himself. They walk a long way back to the house, Eduardo with his arm around Mark's shoulders. He leans them against the weathered brick of their rented house and settles at a height where Mark doesn't have to stretch to kiss him silly.
"You could fuck me right here against this wall," Eduardo says and pulls at Mark's lips with his teeth. It's a quiet neighbourhood and a dark night, and Eduardo hasn't seen a single person since Mark tipped the waiter too much.
"Not tonight." He pulls Eduardo's arms off his shoulders and drags Eduardo's hands to his ass. Mark groans into his mouth as he squeezes Mark's ass in his jeans.
"Yeah?" Eduardo asks.
They don't have a lot of time for sex in their every day life. Mark still works too much, and there's an increasingly temperamental seven year old in the room down the hall. When they can carve out a good 45 minutes, Eduardo likes to get fucked. Mark likes blowjobs. They don't have a lot of time, so they always want to get right to the good stuff.
Their sex life fell into a married routine long before they were married. Mark doesn't bottom very often is the thing. But he wants it tonight.
Mark ruts against him as Eduardo squeezes and rubs his ass. He does the same thing when Eduardo's on his knees for Mark, opening his throat to let him fuck his mouth deep. When he slides his finger between Mark's cheeks and over his hole, it's just one of the ways Eduardo can get Mark to his orgasm. Tonight, it's a promise.
"Take me to bed," Mark says, in a voice Eduardo hasn't heard for a long time.
Their clothes come off as soon as the door closes behind them. Eduardo slips each shirt button out of its hole. Mark pulls everything off over his head. He wriggles out of his jeans, stepping on the hems to pull them off. He straighten his boxers, bunched up after a day in jeans, and holds up a finger: one second.
Eduardo picks up Mark's clothes and lays them over the back of the closest chair. He adds his shirt and undershirt, and then his belt and pants. Socks next, but Eduardo leaves his underwear on. They're Mark's favourites, brief and black, and sometimes he bends Eduardo over the couch, yanks the fabric aside, and fucks into him from behind until Eduardo soaks the front.
There's already a wet spot. Eduardo rubs the head of his cock through his underwear with a thumb and forefinger. His eyes flutter closed, and he presses his whole palm against his hardness. When Eduardo looks up, Mark is watching, a bottle of lube in his hand, a strip of condoms between his teeth, and a hungry look in his eyes.
Eduardo pulls his cock out, tucking his briefs behind his balls. "What do you think?" he asks, though he knows.
"Kneel on the couch." Mark is naked when steps up and slots their hips together. He leans forward and kisses the knobby line of Eduardo's spine. "You fucking need it, don't you?" With one hand steady on his hip, Mark slides the other under arch of Eduardo's body. He gives one dry stroke to Eduardo's cock, no more than a greeting, then he pulls the briefs back up. "I'm going to fuck you because you're gagging for it." He bites Eduardo where the skin is sensitive over his ribs. "But you're not going to come, yes?"
Eduardo agrees. "Yes, Mark," though he doesn't know how long he can last.
"Because you have to fuck me with this after." He does everything Eduardo wanted him to do: places Eduardo's hands on the back of the couch, pulls the fabric of his briefs aside, and shove two slick fingers in without any warning. "I think I'll take you bare, fill you up. Make you soak yourself front and back."
When he's prepared enough to make him wet, Mark fucks in with short fast strokes. Mark is big, not just around, but long when he's all the way hard. They do it sometimes with Eduardo in his lap, and Mark can get so deep that Eduardo feels it for days after. But the shallow strokes and the right angle is best for pressing the wide head of Mark's cock up against that bright spot of pleasure.
He doesn't come. He clenches his whole body, fingers on the couch, asshole around Mark's spurting cock, toes in the air, but Eduardo doesn't come. Mark slumps forward, kissing wetly across Eduardo's shoulders. They lay like that until he's soft enough to pull out without too much pain. He turns Eduardo around on the couch, his whole body heavy with anticipation, and Mark straddles his thighs.
"Even if that was the only thing you ever gave me, I'd still marry you." Eduardo pants into Mark's chest, runs his tongue over Mark's collarbone.
"Shut the fuck up, Wardo." He says it with no bite at all. Mark says it like he's saying I love you.
Eduardo makes Mark do the work, stretch himself, roll a condom down on Eduardo's aching cock, and sit down until Eduardo is fully inside his tight heat. He makes noises in Eduardo's ear, short soft gasps and fragile whines like Mark would never let anyone else hear.
"I've got you," Eduardo says. He arches up every time Mark presses down, and their stomachs rub together, making a slick place for Mark's cock to get hard again and spurt. It's honeymoon sex, not their every day greedy grasps for intimacy. It's beyond.
Mark pulls them up off the couch and into the shower. They fall into bed and sleep until Mark's phone alarm goes off at 3 am.
"Wha?" Eduardo rolls out of Mark's arms. He pushes up on his elbows and blinks in the dark. Mark pulls him back onto the bed.
"It's dinnertime back home," Mark says.
Eduardo smiles. "Oh." They kiss until Mark falls half off the bed to grab his laptop. Eduardo reaches down the other side to find a shirt and one of Mark's hoodies, and they video chat with their son in the middle of the night.
Eduardo sleeps until noon the next day. Mark's been up long enough to take a shower and go out to buy pastries at the shop on the corner. He's sitting at the kitchen counter with a French language paper and his laptop open with a dictionary.
"I should learn French," he says, wrapping one arm around Eduardo's waist and tilting his chin up for a kiss.
"After learning Latin and Portuguese, it shouldn't be too hard." Eduardo licks the sugar off Mark's lips, then turns his attention to the pain au chocolat in the basket in the middle of the table. He's still wearing his stiff briefs from last night and threw his dress shirt back on when he got out of bed. Mark rubs his ass when Eduardo leans across the table. He grabs Eduardo's hips and pulls him onto his lap.
"Can I fuck you again?" he asks. Mark's hand slips over Eduardo's cock, hardening in his briefs, over his stomach, twitching with each breath, and up to his nipples, stiffening points of pleasure.
"Yeah, Mark." Eduardo lets his head fall back onto Mark's shoulder. "Do it."
Three weeks goes too fast. Eduardo finishes a first draft for Architectural Digest and sends it off. He takes a lot of photos, and they walk everywhere. Mark takes him out for brunch at the old hotel in the center of town, lunch on the waterfront, and dinner in a fifteen seat hole-in-the-wall where Eduardo makes embarrassing noises over a perfectly clear bouillabaisse. They rent a boat, and the elderly couple who own it, and spend a whole day on the water. He lets Eduardo take the wheel; she shows Mark how to gut a fish with one smooth turn of the knife. They eat good food, have good sex, meet good people. They chat with Ollie every night. Chris says there hasn't been an incident like departure day since they left.
"It means he's saving it up," Mark says. Eduardo runs his fingers through Mark's curls and kisses his cheek.
Soon, they're home. They're married, but once they're back in their house, and Chris and Sean are on a plane back to New York, the dog pees on the kitchen tile, Ollie loses his math homework, and Mark flops onto the living room couch, in a pair of sweatpants Eduardo recognizes from college and a free t-shirt from a 2006 tech conference.
"I thought grown ups wear nice clothes now." Eduardo doesn't hide his frown.
"Not in his own home, Wardo."
They're home, and not much has changed. Ollie's good mood lasts through Saturday morning cartoons, homework after dinner, and waffles for Sunday breakfast, until Mark asks him if he wants to come for a walk to the park with Beast.
Ollie says, "Yeah, right, Dad," and then asks if he can be excused from the table. Both Eduardo and Mark are too stunned to say no.
Mark starts. He says, "What was--" but Eduardo waves him off.
"Take care of your dog. I'll talk to our son."
The door is closed when Eduardo gets to the top of the stairs. There's no sign, at least, except for the cross-stitched Oliver nameplate Mark's youngest sister made when he was born. Eduardo knocks.
"Ollie, can I come in?" He leans his forehead against the warm wood.
Eduardo opens the door, slow, like his son is a wild animal he doesn't want to scare away. "We need to talk."
"I didn't do anything."
"You didn't do anything today, but your attitude has been appalling lately. We need to talk about what's going on."
"It's not nothing, Oliver." He wants to sit on the bed and gather Ollie up in his arms, but Eduardo holds back. He grabs the desk chair and sets it in the middle of the room. "Hey, look at me. Your dad and I will never stop loving you. But you have to talk to us."
Ollie squirms on the bed. He pulls at a loose thread on the blanket Eduardo's mother knit during Ollie's first year. Reaching out to stop him before he unravels the whole thing, Eduardo changes his mind. He moves from the chair to the bed and gathers Ollie up, just like he wanted.
"Henry doesn't want to be my friend anymore." Ollie rubs his nose on Eduardo's sleeve, but he's not crying, not yet. "Nobody wants to be my friend anymore."
"Did you have a fight?"
"No. Henry said I was a baby. I said I wasn't. Then he said we weren't friends anymore." Ollie recites the facts like it's a book report, not his best friend. He gets that from Mark.
"That sounds like a fight, Ollie."
"I didn't punch him, Wardo. I swear." He looks up at Eduardo, eyes wide, begging to be believed.
"Oh, querido." Eduardo hugs him tight.
"We're not friends anymore. It's fine."
"It's not fine, Ollie. If Henry doesn't want to be friends, that's his loss. But you can't take it out on the rest of us. I know it feels awful. I know."
They sit together on Ollie's bed for a long time, as it gets dark outside, until Eduardo hears the front door slam.
"Put your pjs on, brush your teeth, and then we'll read a book, OK?"
Eduardo reads the next story in the fancy hardcover edition of Grimms' Fairytales they've been working through over the last month. He does the voices and makes Ollie laugh, and that's enough to lift the weight from Eduardo's heart for now.
Mark is already showered and in bed, typing. Eduardo lays on his stomach and tries to read. After a long time of Mark saying nothing, Eduardo turns his bedside light off and drops his ereader on the table. He curls up around Mark's hip. He presses his smile into Mark's skin when one hand slides off the keyboard and into Eduardo's hair.
"You talked to Ollie?"
"Yeah. He's asleep now."
Even with one hand combing through Eduardo's hair, Mark doesn't lose typing speed. It used to be impressive. Eduardo would be more impressed if Mark came to bed without the laptop.
"He and Henry had a fight. He doesn't want to talk about it, but I think they're growing apart."
Mark sighs and closes his computer. He sets it on the floor. "Now he's calling me Dad."
"I noticed. He's growing up, Mark."
He slides down the bed and pulls Eduardo onto his chest.
"He's seven, I know. But it feels different. Every time he says it, I see this look in his eyes and I can't figure it out."
"Well." Eduardo stretches up to kiss him. "That was never your strong suit."
"I knew you liked me, Wardo," he says with a scowl. Eduardo kisses it away. "I just didn't know why."
"Yeah." He rolls away and lets Mark pull him in with an arm around his middle. They curl up on the bed, and Eduardo closes his eyes. "You still don't."
They visit Eduardo's parents in Sao Paolo over the Christmas break. At the end of the two weeks, Ollie's speaking Portuguese fluently, and he doesn't want to go home. Mark travels to the Tokyo Facebook office without them. When he gets back, they have to go to D.C. for dinner at the White House. Mark hates wearing a tux, but he loves their hotel room. Ollie doesn't get an invitation to Henry's birthday party, and he comes home on the verge of tears. Eduardo makes pizza, and they watch Pixar movies in their pyjamas. Mark comes home during Up and has to be reminded twice that he can't hack his way out of all problems, but they both know that isn't true.
"I don't think it's about Ollie growing up," Mark says, later, in bed. "I think he's watching his friends grow up, and he's not ready to let go of being a kid."
As soon as Mark says it out loud, Eduardo knows it's true. In this neighborhood of private schools, rich families, and mostly absent fathers, kids don't stay kids for long. They stop talking about a bigger house. Eduardo starts looking at public schools. Dustin and Anna come over for dinner when Rebekah turns six months old.
"You can't leave!" Dustin says, spitting rice across the table.
"You left Facebook," Mark shoots back.
"Which is why you can't move. Then we'd never see each other."
Eduardo gets up for another bottle of wine and a quick check on Rebekah sleeping in her playpen in the living room. There are cartoons on the TV, but Ollie's watching Rebekah. Back at the table, he gives Anna a nod to let her know everything's OK.
"If we moved to Singapore, Dustin, you'd buy a jet so you wouldn't miss Halo night," Mark says.
Dustin's eyes go wide. "Singapore?"
"We're not moving to Singapore," Eduardo says. "Stop worrying." He stands up again to pour the wine.
After dinner, Dustin pulls a USB drive out of his pocket, and he and Mark head upstairs to the office to work on whatever Dustin needs help with. Eduardo leaves the dishes next to the dishwasher. Anna refuses another glass of wine, so Eduardo finishes off the bottle himself. Rebekah starts fussing as soon as they drop onto the couch.
"Why don't we sit outside?" Eduardo says. He picks up Ollie from where he's crawled into Eduardo's lap. It might be the last chance he gets, and Eduardo misses the early years as he watches Anna bounce Rebekah back to sleep.
"Eight years old," she says after they're settled on the porch, Beast running wild around the pool.
"I know. Next month." Eduardo rubs Ollie's back. He snuffles into Eduardo shoulder. He's not asleep, but his arms around Eduardo's neck feel limp.
"I hope you don't move too far. Rebekah needs her big brother close."
Eduardo smiles and blinks until he knows he won't cry. "We're not going anywhere," he says. He bumps Anna's shoulder because both their hands are occupied. "But we need to find a new school. I don't want him in that environment anymore."
"Public?" she asks. Eduardo nods. "I don't know if I should tell you this, but the people across the street from us are putting their house on the market."
"Oh, God." He laughs. Ollie tightens his arms, then settles down again. "You didn't know them when they were roommates. I don't know if I can live through that again."
They laugh together.
"How long have you and Mark been together again?"
"Since I was 19. Almost half my life."
"You're still so in love." Anna looks shy. "I watch you watching each other, but never at the same time, of course. Not just in love after 14 years, but smitten."
The window above them slides open. Mark sticks his head out. "Hey, Wardo." He looks up. "Come check my math?"
He looks over at Anna. She stands up first.
"Did you know Dustin was the first person who called me Wardo?"
"I didn't," Anna says. She always calls him Eduardo. She thinks she hasn't earned the nickname yet, no matter how much everyone at the table disagrees with her.
"But Mark was the first person who told me I wasn't an Ed." He hated being Ed in school, but that's what his friends called him. That's what his teachers called him. When he met Mark and Dustin at an AEPi party, he shook their hands and said, Hi, I'm Eduardo. Ed. Mark's face twisted up. You don't look like an Ed, Mark said. Dustin, already buzzed, said, You look like a Wardo.
He calls the dog inside and tucks Ollie into bed, kissing his forehead and saying, "Good night, querido," when Ollie murmurs, "Good night, Wardo." Anna is sitting on the sunken couch in Mark's office when Eduardo walks in. Dustin is singing softly to Rebekah in his arms.
Mark looks up from his computer. "Wardo, I need you."
"I'm here for you."