Eduardo's first time with a guy was in high school-- the guy was older, Eduardo only met him because he scored a fake ID and then he was drunk and dancing. He had big, blunt hands and a wicked smile and there was something there, inexplicable, that made Eduardo so hungry.
His dick was big and blunt too, it burned sliding in, nothing like the fingers that Eduardo had fucked himself with before. It hurt, a dull, relentless ache of body and brain, until the guy bottomed out and all Eduardo could feel was the press of his balls over skin. But it felt good too, vicious and deep and obliterating, like the guy had driven out everything else, left room for nothing else. In and out and it hit him and just the right spot. Eduardo moaned and drove his hips back, arching into the thrusts.
“Fuck, you are an unbelievable slut, look at how hot this is making you,” the guy whispered and tongued his ear. That was all Eduardo could feel, the wet heat of his tongue and the hot, aching burn of his dick. There were hands pressed on either side of him, but he wasn't being touched anywhere else.
It was enough. He came like that, balls tight and aching and the sting of penetration running down his ass and spine, electric where it pressed inside him. He squirmed when he sat for days, remembering it, a dull ache and the sharp brush of words, “I didn't even know a guy could come like that.” It made him flush, remembering, skin hot with shame and arousal, feeding off each other. Like it was all written on his skin, bare for the world to see.
He wanted to do it again just as much as he wanted to forget it, so he tried to do both at the same time. That went almost as badly as it could have, but at least his parents never found out.
At college he stuck with girls freshman year, because he didn't want anyone to know that he was... that... and the words unbelievable slut still rang in his ears, making him squirm and flinch and remember. With girls, it was easier, no one looked at him sideways and his mother smiled when he sent her pictures and his father never said anything. At college he met wild girls, smart girls, nice girls one specific girl, a math major with dark hair and red, fuck-off lipstick who locked her roommate out and took him apart with a harness and strap on, like she could see right through him and he was exactly what she wanted.
In an ideal world, she'd have been the one. In the world he was stuck with she hated the East Coast more than she liked him and transferred out to Stanford two semesters in. He helped her pack up her car and they swore they'd email each other, but really didn't much. Then he met Mark Zuckerberg at a party and the ideal world got derailed into history.
He didn't fuck Mark, not then, never even gave it any serious thought. Except when he was in his room at night, a little drunk with his palm pressed against his balls and he tried to imagine what it would be like, the vicious contempt in Mark's face he'd seen before but never really aimed at him. It would be. There'd be that and the burn stretch of dick, the one his fingers couldn't really replicate, and everything would break apart, but for a few minutes it would be like touching heaven.
There were guys after that, but it was always dark and hurried and it always hurts. He came anyway and it made him burn, rough laughter in his ears, bright shame and the knowledge that the variable making everything fucked up had always been him.
He's drunk when he actually makes a move on Mark, years later, and everything has been broken to bits for years so there's nothing left between them to kill. He's had too much free liquor and not enough tiny little appetizers to steady himself. He's drunk and Mark fucking Zuckerberg is staring at him from across the room like he's never seen him before. It's giving him a headache. He just wants Mark to stop looking at him like that.
Maybe he just wants to feel the hurt of being fucked over by Mark in a more literal way, it's not like there's anything left to lose.
He walks right over and says something, though he's blurry on the what later. He does remember the hush as conversations stop around them and the thin press of Mark's lips, the intense burn of blue eyes. He remembers laughing and that Mark gave him a look that wasn't nearly withering enough. He says something else, and it's softer, probably an invitation, and Mark's eyes go wide, just for a second, like he's been slapped.
Eduardo is too drunk and tired for expectations so he is not surprised when Mark gives a tight little nod and says, “Yeah, okay, let's get out of here.”
He has no expectations (that's a lie) so he isn't surprised when the first thing Mark does when they're in Mark's locked hotel room is wrap his hands around Eduardo's tie to tug him down and kiss him. His eyes are strange and soft and Eduardo's forgotten how to read them right, and when the kiss breaks Mark is still looking at him like that, panting.
“I don't really know why you're doing this,” Mark tells him and there's that old, rough honestly in his voice, the one Eduardo used to crave. “Not that I object. I just want to know if it was something I did, so I could keep doing whatever it was.”
He laughs, he can't help it. “Let's just get on with it,” he hears himself growl and he starts to unbutton his shirt without waiting for a response.
Mark nods and takes that as his own cue to undress. He's thin, but not as thin as he seems like he should be. Obviously he's been keeping up with the fencing. Eduardo gives himself a second just to watch and Mark lets him, does some watching of his own. He finishes stripping and folds his clothes neatly on the chair by the window while Mark is still just watching. There's lube and a condom in his wallet and he pulls out those, hands surprisingly steady. He can hear breathing, not his and just a little bit rough, feel eyes on his bare skin.
“Come on,” he says and climbs on the bed, pulling back the covers. “Turn out the light and come on.”
There's a heavy beat of silence, interrupted by Mark's hoarse breathing and the loud drum of his own heartbeat. It's a little cold and the lights stay on. He shivers, starting to feel stupid when the moment just drags on and Mark doesn't come. It's cold, a little, and he's naked in this bed and he wants it already (just wants it to be over. No, that's a lie, he wants it. Unbelievable slut). He bites his lower lip and looks over his shoulder, waiting to be slapped with whatever expression is on Mark's face, but it's not... it's the same one from before, from downstairs at the reception, mixed in with something wide and disbelieving.
“I'm waiting. Do you want to do this or not?” he says, and Mark meets his eyes and swallows visibly. Nods, stumbles forward. He looks nervous, Eduardo decides, though he doesn't know why. There's nothing to lose here, nothing left to be lost.
He turns around, pushing himself onto all fours, knees spread, when he feels the dip of the bed that means that Mark has climbed on. There's another mind twisting hesitation and Mark's breathe comes rougher and faster. “Can I-- Should I--” Mark starts to ask.
“Do what you want,” he bites out. And then, finally, there's a hand on his bare flank. Mark's hand is icy too, and he flinches for a second. Mark makes a startled sound and pulls back like he thinks... who knows what? Eduardo doesn't know what to do with that so he says, “Hey, it's cold, asshole. You're supposed to warm me up.”
And that makes Mark laugh, sharp and startled and not mean at all. Almost like old times. “I'm working on it,” he says and there's no meanness in that either. Then Mark's hands are on him again, slower, a little warmer, like he'd chafed them or breathed on them.
Eduardo has no expectations (lie, lie, lie. He expects rough hands and biting contempt, the way it always is and Mark is so damned good at). He doesn't know to be surprised when the hands on his spine and side are gentle, careful, almost hesitant. Like there is some concern that thing they are touching might be breakable.
“I used to think about this,” Mark tells him, soft, breathless. Still touching, hips and legs and stomach, lingering, stroking really. “I had a checklist. For if you ever let me touch you. I wasn't really giving myself very good odds, but I had a checklist.”
“What--” Eduardo starts, but then the hands on him move lower and Mark's grabs a hold of his cock, carefully, but like it's free for the touching and Eduardo forgets the question. It's not that no guy has ever jerked him off before (usually they stop if there's a second round and they figure out they don't have to give him the reach around) but it's the careful part that shakes him.
He hears himself moan, a low, throaty noise and he doesn't flinch because he's too turned on, one hands thumbing up and down his dick, the other rubbing his spine, slow and easy, down and down until it reaches the curve of his ass and dips down.
There's a tearing gasp and he arches into it. He was hard before, but the touch, the suggestion of fingers on sensitive skin, that shakes him. More when they press against his hole, not even inside, just glancing touches, but he wants more, can picture more. And then Mark's voice and he goes still for it. “Hey, you really like that, wow.” The hand that was on his dick slides off and he's waiting for the next part, the you unbelievable slut part.
He's so busy waiting that he isn't ready at all for the way Mark shifts over, steadying hands on both of Eduardo's hips and presses a careful kiss at the base of his spine. “This actually was a few items down the list of things I wanted to do, but I think you'll like it more. You don't really mind if I eat you out, do you?”
The words are so steady and there's this factual tone to them, Mark's tone, that for a second Eduardo has no fucking clue what that even means. Eat you out? That's with girls when you... and then he feels the wet, steady slide of Mark's tongue dipping down the curve of his spine and between his cheeks and he can feel himself flush hot, shocked and turned on, shivering.
“Y-you don't have to--” he hears himself stutter, because, holy fuck, this... he didn't even know you did this with guys, that it was...
There's a hesitation and the motion of Mark's tongue stops, leaving him bereft, just for a second, just long enough to say, “If you want me to stop, the word is 'stop', Wardo. I know what I do and don't have to do and what I really want to do, believe me. Do you want me to stop?”
“No, don't stop,” he forces out. No, not really ever. He waits, as if Mark might demand he say more, abase himself, beg for it until he was burning and hating himself and his own twisted body. There'd been guys who wanted... but Mark just sighs and he can feel the breath against his hole.
“I'm glad. Let me know if you change your mind.” And then there's that tongue again. Eduardo's seen Mark programming before, so he can imagine his face, what it might look like now. Steady concentration. Something relentless in his pursuit of perfect code, short breaks for alternately cursing and encouraging his computer, stroking it like it might come alive under his hands.
Eduardo comes alive under his hands and mouth. Tongued and kissed from the back of his balls to the curve of his spine, like everything needs to be touched. Moaning (like a whore, an absolute slut), body moving back onto Mark's tongue while he's spread open and licked out like Mark wants to know if he can come like this, fingered and licked and sucked.
He can. Wet slickness coating his stomach, leaving him shivering and oversensitive, collapsed onto his forearms.
“God, you--” Mark whispers. You what? Eduardo's heard all the names, the taunting laughter. You what? But Mark doesn't finish the thought with his words, just his steady, careful, stroking hands. Rubbing over his wet skin, like he wants to draw lines of code and meaning in the slippery come on Eduardo's stomach. “I want to fuck you. Can I?” he finally asks.
Eduardo's not hard again yet, he's not nineteen anymore, but he doesn't care, he just nods hard and forces out a hoarse, “Yeah.” Without adding he doesn't really know why Mark hasn't yet. He expects it to go quickly after that, Mark pulling on the condom and just going for it while Eduardo's still relaxed and open from what he just did to him, but expectations have all gone to hell today.
There's the click of the bottle of lube instead and Eduardo almost says something about not needing it, but even the thought of the words makes the hot rush of remembered shame rise up, so he doesn't. Mark acts like he needs it, like he needs it slow and careful and long, until his knees ache and his cock twitches, red and untouched, heavy between his thighs.
He's so used to the burn of penetration he almost weeps when it comes, painless and easy, and still so damn good, deep and electric and pressing inside of him. A part of him had always wondered if it was the pain that got him, that made this kind of sex work for him so well, fucked up and wired wrong, wired for this. But it's not, it's not, this is not like that at all.
“I'm sorry,” Mark mumbles, and that's it, he's inside, balls pressed against Eduardo's ass. “I'm really not going to last here.”
And Eduardo laughs, bewildered, because out of all the shit, the last thing in the world Mark should be sorry for is this. “It's good,” he makes himself say, because laughing probably comes out the wrong way. “It's good, it's really good.”
He waits until later, until Mark is in the shower, to run away. He hasn't really cleaned himself off, there's drying come, sticky and gross on his skin, in his pubes and soaking into his underwear. There are streaks of something wet on his face and he's a mess, a shaking wreck when he catches a glimpse of himself in the hallway mirror.
He runs because he has to, he can't face it when Mark acts like the other ones. He really can't face it if he doesn't. He runs, because his father was right about him, he is a fucking coward.
He doesn't expect Mark to chase him, but he's been wrong about so many other things that night, why not one more?
Mark catches him in the parking garage, his hand already on his rental car door. Mark's eyes are wide, blank and his hair is still wet from the shower, curls plastered to his neck and forehead. It brings Eduardo to a halting standstill. In all the years they were... whatever they were... Mark has never actually chased him.
This is the first time.
“Eduardo,” Mark says. “Did I... if I did something...”
Eduardo can only shake his head once, sharply. He's a mess, a sticky, exhausted mess. “I need you,” he says and watches Mark's eyes widen, watches him take a step closer. There's water dripping down from his soaking hair and squeaking in his stupid flip-flops like he just shoved his feet in them right from the shower and ran. “To let me go right now,” Eduardo finishes quickly. He's got one arm wrapped around his stomach, defensively.
Mark's eyebrows go up and he steps back onto his heels. “Just right now?” he asks. Eduardo shrugs and Mark nods his okay, but neither of them move for what seems like minutes twisting into each other.
Mark makes the first move finally, turning around, slowly, carefully and walking back across the parking garage. So slow, it's almost like he'd turn around if Eduardo calls his name. He doesn't.
The next time he sees Mark it's only about a week later, which is a lot sooner than he expected. He hasn't even had time to... he's still got the fucking clothes he was wearing that night, dried up and crusty, it's disgusting. He's still...
He's closer to sober at least, and Mark's the one who seeks him out, at a party across the country where the motherfucker isn't even supposed to be.
Mark's looking hopeful, dressed in a wrinkled suit, with his fingers threaded into his belt loops. It makes him look out of place, the bedraggled, curly haired kid at the fancy party, as if he couldn't buy and sell almost everyone here. “Hey,” he says, sounding a little awkward, but only a little, and he's half smiling. Eduardo thinks, this is a guy who probably expects to get laid. He probably will too.
Eduardo is wearing perfectly pressed Armani and bravado, as if he never been naked on all fours on Mark's hotel bed. He forces an answering smile, as if he's sure of himself, as if he is in control. If he were, if he had been at any point along the ride, none of this would be happening, but this is going to be the ultimate case of fake it til you make it if Eduardo has anything to say about it.
“Hey,” he answers. “Nice suit. Nice weather we've been having. How about that local sports teams.” Then he puts a note with his room number wrapped around a spare key card into the palm of Mark's hand. It's a revealing gesture, metaphorical, he thinks. Mark has a lot of things in the palm of his hand.
He walks away. Mark catches him at the elevator. He heaves a breath, but makes room. He's still smiling, but he's looking at Mark's forehead instead of his eyes. This was a lot easier when he was drunk.
“What do you want?” Marks asks him and he's still Mark so his affect is flat. Eduardo shrugs and doesn't say anything. He can hear Mark sigh and it's almost like the time in bed when he couldn't see Mark, just feel the warm hands on his body and the rough breath on his skin. “That wasn't supposed to be a trick question,” Mark says after the silence stretches out. “If it's... more time, then I--”
“No. I want you to fuck me, was that not obvious?” Eduardo replies, and then the elevator door pings and slides open. He steps past Mark into the plush hallway. He doesn't have to look to know he's being followed.
They're still on the wrong side of the door of Eduardo's room when Mark taps him on the shoulder. Eduardo turns to look at him and then the next thing he knows he's got Mark's hand on the back of his neck, drawing him down. It's a kiss, unexpected and startling sweet. Mark smiles at him.
“Hi,” he says. He takes his hands off Eduardo and thrusts them into his pockets, still smiling.
“Mark, we're in the hall,” Eduardo hisses at him, looking over his shoulder. No one's around, it looks clear, but you never know. “What was that for?”
“I want you to kiss me, was that not obvious?” Mark says, rolling his eyes. “Anyway, if you'd open the door, we wouldn't be in the hall, so move along.”
Eduardo opens the door and wonders what the hell Mark is thinking. He waits until the door is closed behind them before he says, “What the hell are you even doing? Don't act like we're in some kind of romantic comedy.”
Mark laughs out loud, which shouldn't be attractive. He actually looks happy while he does it, though, so it is. “Fine, but you first. Don't act like we're in some weird black and white movie with subtitles and crying in the rain. It's not that bad.”
“Well... don't act like you didn't screw me over,” Eduardo mutters and spins around, striding across the room in the direction of the bed because that seems like a good idea.
“I know,” Mark says. “That part was really bad, I get that, I got that when you smashed my laptop and sued me for a billion dollars. But. Like. You're still here now. That's... I must have done something even more spectacularly awesome in my last life and still be collecting on the good karma.”
Eduardo just shakes his head, like that makes any kind of sense, and wonders if that's his apology, the best one he's ever going to get. Or if... if the real apology was the other night, the way Mark was then, even after he knew he didn't have to be. If it's that, he doesn't know why Mark's acting like this is still-- but Mark pushes past him and sits on the bed, pushes him right into another track of thought. Mark, sitting on the hotel bed, looking up at him, blue eyes and mouth quirked up into a half smile.
There's nothing in it that he ever imagined and he doesn't know how to change it into anything familiar. He rubs his hand over his face, still shaking his head. His stomach still aches, and he's still waiting for the bottom to drop out, it's not like he doesn't know it's coming.
“Eduardo?” Mark asks. The fucker actually sounds concerned, and that's too much. Eduardo lets his hands fist up and then takes that last step forward. Mark scrambles back on the bed, like he expects to be hit or something, but instead Eduardo slides down onto his knees and pushes Mark's apart.
Mark is thinking fuck knows what, but he gets with the program fast when Eduardo unzips his slacks and fishes out his cock. He smells good, even there, like he just got out of the shower before heading down to the party, and that's unexpected as anything else. He's not fully hard yet, but his interest is obvious and it doesn't take much more than a swipe of his tongue down the bottom and then pressing his mouth against the head to make him quiver.
“Wardo,” Mark whispers, in a new tone altogether, more like that other night. And his hands are suddenly there, careful and steady on Eduardo's shoulders, not even like he's bracing himself, but like he's as hungry for the touch as Eduardo is to have it.
Eduardo could have said a lot of things, all of them stupid, so instead he turned his attention to something he knew he could do without fucking anything up any more than it was. It's been a while since he last gave a full scale blow job and Mark's not exactly small, so it takes some concentration and maybe he gags a little, but he doesn't let that stop him. Even if he has to cough and pull back for air, his eyes are watering. It's just for a second, he tells himself.
What stops him is Mark, warm hands on his chin, steady pressure. “Hey,” Mark says, “Breathe, okay?”
Eduardo wants to shake his head, to fucking do this, but he doesn't have a chance. Mark slides off the bed so that he's kneeling in front of Eduardo, face to face. “Hey,” he says again, and then he's pressing a kiss to Eduardo's mouth. Eduardo winces away, so it doesn't quite connect, just a soft press of lips against the corner of his mouth, steady and careful.
“What are you doing?” Eduardo asks, when he's calm enough to. He draws back, just enough.
Mark's mouth twists. He leans back on his haunches, looking Eduardo steadily in the eyes. “I don't know, I thought that was my line. I know you think I'm a selfish asshole, but I'm not actually into watching people be miserable when they're having sex with me. Seriously, what the fuck, Wardo?”
Eduardo stares at him. His mouth opens. He closes it again. “Look,” he finally says. “If you want me to go.”
He doesn't have a chance to try to get up, Mark grabs one of his wrists and holds on. “No, let's assume I want you to stay. I think based on the available evidence and also the fact I'm actually telling you that in words, we can say that's a safe assumption.”
Eduardo shakes his head, though he's not sure at which part. This is not... it's not like the voice in his head telling him what a fuck up he is has actually gone away. But-- “I'm not. It wasn't miserable. Having sex with you.” And that's true too. Which is so far from anything he came into this expecting it's on another planet, but... still true.
“Good,” Mark says, and this time, when he leans in for a kiss Eduardo doesn't duck it or cut it short. It's a good kiss and nothing like he's had since that one girl in college. There's a steady honesty to it. “So, stay. Be not miserable.”
Eduardo stays, but they don't have sex. He doesn't even offer no matter how much it feels like he should and Mark doesn't ask. They just sit on the bed, knees pressed together, watching Law and Order re-runs and drinking overpriced scotch from the mini-bar. He falls asleep on top of the covers still dressed in all his clothes and wakes up with a headache, wrinkled and mussed, with Mark laying half on top of him, drooling onto his shoulder.
It should be disgusting and mostly it is. It is so hard to leave that bed, though, it is one of the most difficult things Eduardo has ever done.
They have sex again the next time in Palo Alto, because Eduardo can't stay away. He dreams about in the weeks between, in the first class section of jetliners, in his New York co-op overlooking the park. The way Mark's hands felt on his skin, careful and gentle, as if he might be breakable. His back-stabbing, brilliant, cold-eyed ex-best friend, acting as if it mattered if he broke.
He spends a long time waiting on Mark's front step, knees pressed up to his chin, concrete cold under his ass. He could have called ahead and he knows it, but this gives him a chance to lose his nerve if he's going to do it without shaming himself. He can leave and Mark will never know he was here.
Mark's Prius pulls into the driveway a little after midnight. The porchlights are on and they tint everything yellow, from Mark's hoody with the faded facebook logo to his pale, pale skin. Mark walks up to him slowly but steadily, no faltering. “You should have called,” he says. “Or come to the office and found me there. You didn't have to wait here.”
That makes Eduardo snort and dodge the point. “Yeah, I thought security might have me on a blacklist after what happened the last time I was at your office.”
Mark laughs. His eyes are bright, even in the dim light. “No. That will never happen,” he says. He offers Eduardo has hand and Eduardo takes it to pull himself up. He's a little stiff from sitting way too long, but it doesn't matter.
Mark's place is mostly empty on the inside, a lot like what Eduardo's might look like if he hadn't hired the interior decorator to make it look like a person lived there. There's a huge ass tv in the living room, though, with a gaming console hooked up to it.
“Want to play Halo?” Mark offers, but he doesn't look at the game, doesn't look at anything but Eduardo.
Eduardo is the one who laughs at him this time. “No,” he says. “And neither do you.” He's also the one who kisses Mark, on the mouth, wet and a little too hungry, not half as careful as Mark was with him. Mark's fingers cling to his arms, pulling him close.
“Don't run away,” Mark says, but it sounds more like he's asking and that's new also. Eduardo shrugs.
“Not right now,” he promises. It sounds dumb when he says it out loud, how many chances has he really had to run away before he got kicked out?
Mark's bed is a California king, almost as wide as it is long. The sheets smell clean, like laundry detergent, and the room is warm. Mark puts his hand on Eduardo's arm to stop him when he starts to unzip his jacket.
“Wait, can I?” he asks. Eduardo shrugs, but he lets himself still, lets Mark do it for him, just moving enough and in the right way to make it easy. Unzip the jacket and slide it off his shoulders. Pull off his shirt and undo his belt. Then Mark's on his knees... Mark's on his knees, tugging off Eduardo's fucking boots and Eduardo just stares down and lets him, because he doesn't even know how that happened.
And Mark grins and winks, like it isn't weird, like he isn't ashamed or worried to be there like that, like he's happy, like peeling Eduardo's socks off is the best thing he's done all day. Eduardo bites his lower lip before he smiles back. “Is this something from your checklist?” he hears himself ask. “Of things you wanted to do to me?”
“With you. Things I want to do with you. And yeah,” Mark says and presses a kiss against the inside of his knee. Just a delicate brush of skin, dry and soft. It should not make Eduardo's breath come a little faster. “How'd you guess?”
Mark's still wearing his t-shirt by the time they make it over to the bed, but he's managed to lose everything else in between and Eduardo's clothes are a crumpled pile, ignored on the floor. Mark still uses too much lube, like he thinks Eduardo's a virgin, more than the guy who did have him when he was a virgin ever used.
“Y-you... don't have to be so careful with me,” Eduardo mutters half-way through, when he's lying with his knees spread, two pillows under his hips and three of Mark's slippery-slick fingers buried to the knuckle inside of him. He's got one of his own arms flung over his face, but he doesn't have to see to know what Mark's doing, he can feel. His cock aches, shifting a little with the motion of Mark's hand, in and out, slow and deep and hard. “Most people... haven't been. And it's fine.”
He doesn't have to see Mark roll his eyes, he can hear it in his tone. “No, it's not,” he says, like it should be obvious it's not, and maybe it is. Eduardo laughs and shakes his head, partly because he's embarrassed but a little because he's... he feels warm. He never laughed during, not during sex, and it should be a turn off, shouldn't it, but it's not.
“It's not,” he whispers to himself.
After, when he's sated and sweaty and Mark's finally tying off the condom and tossing it in the trash, he uncovers his eyes. Mark smiles at him and comes back to bed, dropping a kiss on the corner of his mouth. “How long will you stay?” he asks.
Eduardo frowns and scratches the back of his neck. The hair there is slick and wet, disgusting with sweat. He definitely needs a shower. “How long is your checklist?” he asks.
Mark's grin widens and he shifts a little, almost bouncing on the bed. “Long. And some of the things on it are going to be years in the making. So... long.”
“You really think you can-- we can make this work long term?” Eduardo asks and then feels weird because Mark's not exactly saying long term in the broad sense, not if it's just sex stuff, why would he, it's just a--
But, Mark grabs one of his hands and holds on, so Eduardo keeps looking at him. “Give me a shot,” Mark says, blue eyes bright and intense. “I fucked up before, I fucked up so bad, but I was nineteen, Wardo. I didn't know. I can learn to... I am learning, whatever. Give me a shot.”
Eduardo wants to say something else, about how the fucked up variable is... it's always been him. It... he bites his lip. Breathes. It can't be worse than what he thought he was getting when he first came to Mark, right? “Yeah,” he says. “Shoot.”