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I want you to notice, when I'm not around.

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When it starts out, it’s nothing like how it ends.

Mark is brilliant. He is also impatient, cold, vacant, vindictive, unforgiving.

Lonely.

In retrospect then, Eduardo should have seen it all coming. He’s a business major, he should have been able to connect the dots, seen the lines blur.

He knows ambition, he knows what it means to be cutthroat.

But he doesn’t see any of it.

Later, he thinks it was because Mark blinded him. Like Mark blinds most people who come close.

Until they take a single step back and realize that not only do they not like what they see.

But in fact, they hate it. He can see Erica now, see how it happened for her.

How she went from wanting Mark to hating Mark.

He couldn’t see it then.

He sees it now.

* * *

He doesn’t know when he veered over the edge. He was friends with Mark for such a long time that he doesn’t remember when he started looking at him differently.

He doesn’t remember when amused affection turned into want. When Mark’s disgusted ramblings stopped making him angry.

Started making him hard.

Mark wasn’t even good looking. Mark wasn’t even his type.

It wasn’t just that he was the wrong gender.

It was just that. Mark was hard to want. He never heard a word anyone said.

Admiring Mark was one thing. Everyone admired Mark, even before Facebook.

Mark was brilliant. But he wasn’t the kind of person that made you think about sex or made your knees ache with want.

* * *

The first time it happened was even more unexpected then the first time he realized he wanted Mark.

Mark was drunk and sleep deprived and it made an odd amount of sense, to lean in and kiss him on the cheek.

He never knows why he did it. He never stops regretting it.

Mark turns his face and catches his mouth and they end up wrapped around each other, awkward and painful because that’s what Mark is, awkward and painful and he doesn’t shut his eyes the entire time, he just stares at the ceiling and when Eduardo comes on his stomach, squeezing his name out of his lips Mark doesn’t even seem to register what’s happened.

If Mark hadn’t come on his thigh, Eduardo would have believed that none of it ever happened, that it was all a dream.

* * *

They don’t talk about it. Eduardo meets Christy and she is exactly his type and he wants someone who looks at him when he says their name.

He doesn’t think that’s too much to ask for.

Christy blows him in a stall next to Alice and Mark and Eduardo wonders if Mark is empty with her too, if he’s turned away calculating what to do next, mind at home with binary and when Eduardo comes, it almost seems like an afterthought.

The second time is the night Mark meets Sean Parker.

Correction, the night they all meet Sean Parker.

Eduardo isn’t an idiot. He knows that the meeting had very little to do with him and everything to do with Mark.

Christy is sleeping it off in his bed and Eduardo blows Mark in Eduardo’s bathroom.

Mark came to him. It seems insane, impossible even and they don’t kiss at all, because Mark starts it by cupping him through his boxers.

He doesn’t swallow, spits in the sink.

He comes against Mark’s back, turning Mark around and pressing him against the door, rutting against pale flesh that never sees sunlight.

He leaves bruises on Mark’s wrists.

Mark doesn’t make a sound.

* * *

The third time, the last time, is in Mark’s bed in California, with Sean Parker outside, acting as fucking cheerleader for the guys who are wired in.

He fucks Mark because Mark lets him, because he knows it’s ending, that Mark won’t let him do this again.

Mark says he needs him.

Eduardo knows better.

He’s rough with Mark but Mark whimpers and Eduardo feels like he’s finally, finally getting something out of this. Mark’s eyes are wide and close to panic and he holds Mark there, not letting him move for a while, forever, even though it kills him to do it.

They end up with Mark’s face pressed against his shoulder. Mark’s eyelashes feel wet.

In the morning, he freezes the account.

It’s the beginning of the end.