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90 Words Per Minute

90 Words Per Minute

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Published by: teamenvyhannah on Jul 21, 2011
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07/21/2011

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Ninety Words Per Minute

by Gnarlish aka Hannah

a Mark/Eduardo fic for #TEAMENVY

(approx. 5,300 words)
Chapter 1 At 90 wpm, Mark felt comfortable. He clanged mindlessly on the computer keys with his eyes fixed on the screen, but his mind drifted elsewhere. It took only a moment for Mark’s thoughts to drift back to him, Eduardo, his best friend. The code rushed out as mere muscle memory and Mark wondered when Wardo would get back. So I think I love him. ENTER. No, it is not something I merely think but a feeling I know. ENTER. No, it is a side effect of us hanging out too much together and now, now, I can’t--think straight. ENTER. Ironic, not only can I not properly devise an action plan or pinpoint what I am feeling despite the fact that I am smarter then anyone at this school but quite literally I can’t think “straight” anymore. ENTER. He chuckled to himself softly. The alcohol he had consumed earlier that evening wasn’t helping matters. But it’s not like I am the only person to ever stray away from a heterosexual existence. ENTER. It’s not like I am only person to fall for my best friend. ENTER. The truth is Mark resented the fact that he would ever act this way at all. He had never wanted to fall for anyone. He always approached dating as more of a practical matter. His friendships had been no different. They weren’t suppose to be any different. Eduardo gave a quick knock on the door, as more courtesy than anything (Mark never answered as he was always so immersed in his work) before he opened it up and slid into the room, placing his hands neatly on Mark’s shoulders. Mark tensed up, closing his eyes tightly as he pushed Wardo away, an automatic reaction to such human contact. Just tell him the truth. ENTER. “Are you almost done?” Eduardo asked him, hands now clenching the dorm room chair. He stared at the code curiously, noticing that Mark wasn’t typing the usual elaborate equations or complex graphics code but what seemed to Eduardo to just be simple commands. And the same ones at that, over and

over. He moved to Mark’s side. “Are you okay?” His voice was so gentle. Mark admitted to himself how much he loved how when Wardo spoke to him it sounded like he really cared. Just spit it out. ENTER. Just say it. “Mark?” “Look Wardo, I have something to--” Wardo was right by his side now, expression worried but supportive. Mark glanced the other way, but Eduardo stood there patiently waiting for him to finish. “I think we should start dating.” “Like girls or...” Eduardo didn’t miss a beat. “No I mean you and me. We should start...dating.” “Oh.” This time he paused. “Mark--” “I mean I just figured since we--” “Mark--” Silence. “Just forget it.” “No, it’s just that my father--” “Look Wardo, you are going to have to stop letting your father control your every move. It’s getting rather pathetic and--” “I know, I know.” Eduardo got up and squeezed Mark’s shoulders again. “Stop doing that. Please, just stop.” “Okay.” By this time Mark was back to coding. Just kiss me already. ENTER. Just go away. “It’s more than just my father-Mark swiveled around. “Okay, what is it?” “It’s...” Eduardo didn’t look at Mark. He looked so guilty, fidgeting with Dustin’s Rubrix cube. “Never mind. I mean, It’s not like I haven’t thought about it.” Red, green. TURN. Blue. TURN. Why now? TURN. “Of course you’ve thought about it.” “You never seemed all that interested...” “I’m interested now.” I’ve always wanted you. TURN. But I’m afraid. TURN. You’ll just use me. Eduardo calmly placed down the Rubrix cube. He swiveled Mark around, and picked him up by the shoulders. Both standing, Mark stood nonchalantly in his hoody waiting for Wardo to do something.

“I really care about you,” Wardo said lifting Mark’s chin. “I know, I know. I--” Something changed in Eduardo’s face and then he took his hand off and began to walk away. “I can’t do this.” Mark eyed his chair and wanted to jam his toe into the corner. He felt so stupid. But then, in his tailored suit, Eduardo swung around. But his expression was so different, he looked like another Wardo. “All right. Fine.” His normal calm and giving expression had turned angry, aggressive. Controlling. He walked confidently back up to Mark and kissed him. But it wasn’t a sweet kiss, it was aggressive and cruel. Mark returned it, fumbling in Eduardo’s presence, failing to measure up to what Wardo was giving him. Eduardo had his eyes closed, acting like Mark could have been anyone at all. Mark needily played with Eduardo’s shirt, taking off his jacket and carelessly unbuttoning things while Wardo steered him to focus up on his face, guiding him almost impatiently. Wardo refused to let himself think this meant something. But this was Mark. He hated how good it felt, pressed up against him. “The reason--” Eduardo stammered. “Shh...” “I don’t want to do this--” “Wardo--” “I want--” A pause. “I need you too much.” And then without a knock, the door knob started to turn. “Stupid key,” a voice said from outside. “I can never get this to work.” Eduardo brought his hand up to his forehead, giving Mark a frustrated look of blame before he quickly fixed his shirt and his pants and, affectionately but angrily, Mark’s hair just before Dustin and Chris hopped in. He had such a scowl on his face that was so un-wardo it was only a matter of seconds before they’d notice something was wrong. Mark wanted to be anywhere else but there. “What’s going on?” Mark stood there in a daze. Dustin and Chris looked at him, worried. “He’s fine,” Eduardo answered haughtily. “Look, Mark--” He started fiddling with the Rubix Cube again almost manically (Dustin eyed him and his Rubrix cube carefully.)

Blue, White. Turn. He’ll never love me. Turn. Not like I do. Turn. He’s Mark. Turn. He’s practically physically incapable. “--I have to go and get some rest. I’ll...I’ll see you tomorrow for, for, breakfast.” The words came out rehearsed. Mandatory. It clearly wasn’t posed as question, but Mark questioned whether Eduardo really wanted to see him tomorrow at all. However, unlike per usual, he wasn’t going to talk back this time. Maybe Wardo was really going to meet with him for breakfast and everything would go back to normal. “Oh..okay.” Eduardo started to walk off, grunting something underneath his breathe. “Hey!” Dustin called. Eduardo turned, unamused. Dustin cowered backwards. Eduardo was rarely angry and from the looks of it, he was currently about to explode. “That’s...that’s my cube.” “Oh.” Wardo tossed it over, no change in expression. “Sorry.” “Thanks.” The door slammed and Mark’s two roommates glanced at each other and then at him. “What happened?” Chris asked after a pause. “He seemed...” Chris was careful not use the S.A.T. words that were coming to mind like livid, choleric, irate, or incandescent. Instead he finished, “different, than usual.” “Who? Wardo?” Mark was back to coding. I don’t I understand. ENTER. Why he feels the need to get so emotional about everything. ENTER. It’s not that big ENTER. of a deal, anyway. “Did you two have a fight or something?” Chris tried. “What?” “Mark! He was flipping out. He practically broke my Rubrix cube!” Dustin shuttered. Chris gave Dustin a look. “What?” Then more softly, “I like that cube...” “It’s just...something about his father or something.” “Okay,” Chris replied not really believing Mark but wanting to end the subject. He didn’t want to push Mark too far. Then to Dustin he mouthed, “Go talk to Wardo.” And Dustin, with a funny look on his face, frantically mouthed, “What?” back. Trying again, Chris gestured the door and mouthed so loud it came out as a less-than-soft whisper, “Go. Talk. To. Wardo.” Mark pretended not to hear.

“I better, you know, leave and go try and get some notes for my history test,” Dustin lied as he shut the door behind him. “You know,” Chris patted Mark on the back before landing on the bed with his laptop to finish some computer science homework of his own. “He really cares about you.” “I know...” Mark just wanted to get back to the safety of his computer, back to 90 wpm, anywhere he felt safe. import java.applet.*; ENTER That’s the problem. ~~~~~~ Chapter 2 “Wardo?” Dustin knocked on Eduardo’s door cautiously. He was a bit frightened, still picturing Eduardo’s strong hands twisting his Rubrix Cube like he was trying to strangle someone. “Are you in here?” The door knob latch opened. “Hello?” Dustin looked over at Eduardo’s bed, perfectly made. Even the corners were tucked in. He always was impressed with Eduardo’s room and how it was so atypically clean for a college freshmen. Then he glanced at the desk, Wardo’s stack of books categorized alphabetically and by subject, but frowned at the empty chair. Then when he looked at the bathroom, the door was open, shower dry and floor swept, and it was also empty. “Wardo?” Then finally he heard a sniff from behind the door. Curled up in the corner, Eduardo covered his face with his hands as he let out a sob. He looked so fragile like that, knees up to his forehead. He tried to speak, but the words failed to make sense. “It’s...it’s okay,” Dustin sighed as he slid down against the wall next to his friend. He glanced at the dorm phone wishing he could call Chris, he was much better than him at this sort of thing. He barely knew Eduardo. It sometimes felt like he was just Mark’s friend, and not really his. But Dustin knew he couldn’t just leave Wardo like this here. He had to say something, anything to make it better. “You know how Mark gets. Whatever he did, I’m sure he didn’t mean it. He just, doesn’t realize...” Eduardo seemed to have heard what Dustin said, which was a good sign but he was shaking his head in denial. “It’s not--” A cry. “It wasn’t---” A sharp breathe. When you are crying this hard it’s hard to get the words out. “It wasn’t him.”

Dustin shook his head. From his perspective, it was always Mark causing the trouble. It had to be Mark. Eduardo continued to try and get the words out in between exasperated gasps. It wasn’t easy, but Dustin was there to listen. “I--” He punched his fist against the floor. “I tried--” Dustin put a hand how his shoulder, awkwardly attempting to comfort him and let him know that whatever he says next it will be okay. “I kissed,” Eduardo smacked his hand into his own forehead angrily before looking up guiltily at Dustin. “I. kissed. him.” “What!? Why did you do that?” “I--I don’t know. He said, he wanted to date. It was stupid.” Dustin almost looked a little relieved, for a second he thought Eduardo had done something horrible like--like break Mark’s hard drive or something. “Wanted to date you?” Dustin smirked, suppressing a chuckle. “Yeah.” Then Eduardo kinda started to smile because, if you really thought about the ridiculousness of it all, the situation was pretty funny. “What!? Date you? I mean, I guess I can see his logic but..” “Yeah.” Wardo grinned. “Pretty crazy, right?” “So you kissed him.” “Yep. Like an idiot, I kissed him.” Dustin grabbed a couple of drinks from Eduardo’s mini fridge plus some snacks (in addition to the alcohol his fridge also contained yogurt and granola “brain food”--this amazed Dustin to know end) and handed one off. “And like, how did Mark respond to that?” Dustin bit into the granola. “I think-- I think he liked it.” “Of course he did, I mean, it’s you and you’re Wardo you know? It’s not surprising but--I have a question for you. Why were you so angry?” A pause. “I hate how he makes me-- I just...don’t want to get hurt.” “Because he’s Mark?” “Yeah. Because he’s Mark.” A few beers later they were both on the ground laughing. “Could you imagine the two of you, like, as a couple?” “I know..I know...it’d be absurd.” “And think about me! Chris and I already have to clean up all of your messes. This would be--a project. And you know...it would like affect my studies.” “Your studies? When do you study? Not once in our time here have I seen you study!” “Exactly. I’m too busy dealing with you and--” He paused, confused. Dustin really couldn’t hold liquor. “And what’s that guy’s name...the really nerdy one...” “Mark,” Eduardo corrected him. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, that crazy socially incapable roommate of mine who can’t do anything but like-- mess people up. He’s just so--”

Eduardo’s smile faded a bit. “Selfish.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah, and ridiculously vain and” “Thinks he’s better than everyone else.” Eduardo’s voice started to slow down. The alcohol wasn’t making him feel better anymore. Dustin sensed tears, and he didn’t want that again. He couldn’t handle anymore of that. Then a thought crossed his mind, making his eyes pop up bright even in his drunken haze. Much more seriously Dustin asked, “You don’t, you know, like love him or something?” “No of course not. I mean I love him like, like a friend. Yeah. Like you probably do.” Dustin looked suspiciously up at Eduardo. “Then, then why were you crying?” “I...” Eduardo couldn’t get the words out. He was collapsing in on himself, again. It was heartbreaking to watch. “Hey man, woah. I’m sorry. It’s, it’s okay.” Dustin patted Eduardo’s shoulder has he wiped away more incoming tears. “You guys...you’d make a cute couple.” Eduardo snapped out of his lament and grinned at that, playfully hitting Dustin’s arm. “Thanks. And um, thanks. You know, for coming. I’m sorry you always have to clean up after Mark..” “No problem. You should really stop apologizing for him anyway. You know, I may be his roommate but we’re friends too right? Or at least now we are now. Now that I, you know, cleaned up your snot and everything.” Eduardo pretended to ignore that last comment, but Dustin could tell he thought it was hilarious. “Yeah man, you’re pretty cool. But um, you can like leave now if you want. I think I’ll be okay?” “You sure?” Dustin hopped up and got to the door. He was just about to walk out when he paused. “You know, can I just crash on your floor? I really would rather not face Mark tonight. He is probably in worst shape than you were.” “Yeah, you’re probably right.” When Dustin returned the next morning, with a bit of a hangover, Mark was fast asleep at the keyboard. “What happened?” Chris whispered to him anxiously. “Mark had a coding tear like no other--it was scary to watch.” “Oh my gosh you’ll never believe this--” Dustin cried a bit too loudly, even for his own ears. “Shhh! I finally got him to bed like three hours ago at seven when I woke up and saw that he was still on there.” Then way too fast Dustin explained the whole thing. Chris, impatient with Dustin’s bad story telling skills, tried to follow as best he could. “Okay so

Mark wanted Eduardo to date him, so then Wardo kissed him and freaked out because Mark won’t be able to love him?” Chris was very proud of himself for putting the pieces together. Dustin nodded in affirmation. “That kinda explains a lot. So what are we going to do?” “No, no, no...no way Chris, we’re not going to do anything. You didn’t see Wardo last night, he was wrecked. I don’t want either of them to get hurt.” “Yeah, you’re probably right. I feel like I’m living in a soap opera. And not in like a good way. Knowing Mark--” “Someone will get hurt.” And as if on queue, Mark started to stir then plopped out of bed rubbing his eyes. “Mark?” “Dustin. You just woke me up from this dream I was having.” He was very flustered, in the middle of being awake and asleep; last night’s events had yet to cross his mind. For a few seconds there, he looked like a little kid. “It was a good dream, and you woke me up!” Chris glanced at Dustin, eyebrows raised, “what, what was it about? This dream you had?” Mark burrowed his brows. “Coding. Of course.” Dustin didn’t believe him. “Hey so um, Wardo--” And then it hit him. Mark had confessed to Wardo. And Wardo had rejected him and then kissed him. The same kiss he would never admit to dreaming about this morning. “Can we please just--not talk about him. I told you, he was just annoyed with his father again I would really rather not deal with that right now.” Chris and Dustin looked concerned at their roommate, could he really be so apathetic? “Well, he was pretty upset last night.” “He’s always upset, he’s Wardo. So?” Mark slipped on his robe. “Look Mark, you should go talk to him. About like what happened.” “Nothing happened.” Dustin nudged Chris. “Look man,” Chris began. “If you ever need to talk to me, about anything, like...just feel free okay? You shouldn’t...” Dustin nudged him again. They had decided that Chris would deal with Mark while Dustin would continue to keep the spirits up of Eduardo. Since Chris was openly gay, Dustin thought it would be a good idea if he talked to Mark about accepting himself for who he was, yadayada. Chris thought this was a bit over the top, knowing Mark he was probably fine with it or would at least try and act like it, but he was happy to help. He hesitantly finished this already awkward speech with, “You shouldn’t have to feel alone.”

It was a funny thing that even though Mark was someone who would take advice from nobody but himself and people who he considered like himself, he felt comforted by Chris’ sincerity. They weren’t at all like each other, the three roommates. Chris even attended Mark’s rival prep school so they should technically have hated each other from day one. They had the same common interest of computer science, sure, but Mark’s skills way exceeded the both of them in his opinion. But at the end of the day, Mark felt really lucky to have Dustin and Chris around. And Chris and Dustin kind of felt that, the gratitude, because though they knew Mark would never say it out loud they could sense that he appreciated that he had support. “I’m going to um, go to breakfast. You know.” Mark grabbed his Northface jacket. “You never go to--” Chris nudged Dustin, but it spilled out too fast. “Breakfast.” “No, I know, it’s just that Wardo--Eduardo might be there so...” “So go then,” Chris added smiling. “Yeah,” Dustin said. “Go on!” One step at a time, Mark urged himself out the door. He appreciated his roommates but the only person he felt truly connected to, that he’d actually ever thank in person, was Wardo. He couldn’t keep avoiding him just because of one little--kiss. ~~~ Chapter 3 Kiss. It came out of nowhere, and in the public hallways of Commons no less where people could be at any moment turning the corner with their trays. It was gentle this time, still passionate, but much more loving and personal than yesterday. Eduardo had plunged directing into him, without warning, and Mark was contemplating forgetting about talking and punching him or ignoring him instead when all of a sudden their lips were locked. In response, Mark just shoved his hands in his pockets, and looked down. Yesterday, that was all he wanted. But after Eduardo left so angrily, he wasn’t sure if this was really best thing for the two of them to get themselves into. A calculated risk. “Mark,” Eduardo sighed lifting his friend’s chin up with his hand. “Mark, listen, I wanted to do that. Because yesterday, last night when I kissed you, I wasn’t being fair. I didn’t, it wasn’t, it wasn’t right how I kissed you.” Mark stood in shock. Eduardo was really doing this, here, where anyone could hear them? “Wardo can we just-- we have to go somewhere else.” His flip flops squeaked on the floor as a professor and his family walked by. Three seconds earlier and they would have been exposed.

“Okay, yeah, you’re right. Sorry.” He put down his hands. A guilty smile came across Eduardo’s face. “Wardo--it’s okay.” They walked passed the edge of campus and determined that it would be best to get on the train and get farther away, so they could really talk without Harvard eyes judging their every move. On the train, Mark and Eduardo sat together and Mark fell asleep onto Wardo’s shoulder. It felt peaceful, lying there. Eduardo read from one of his business books, highlighting the main points in blue. Looking back over them later he realized that they weren’t necessarily the “main points” at all, just sentences that started with “M.” It was the first time either had been out of Boston since Christmas break. They got off in a little town with access to a beach called Crane Beach and even though Mark, who brought along a Dell laptop in his bag, hated the outdoors and the sun almost as bad as he hated being robbed of a final club invite he decided to walk down to the water with Wardo. They hiked down the small trail in silence, but it was a comfortable silence not full of awkwardness or contempt. Finally, when they got down to the waves Wardo was the first to speak. “I miss the water so much.” He smiled up at Mark. “I’m really glad you’re here.” Mark took a breathe. If they were going to talk, he might as well talk. And with Eduardo he felt free to say what he really wants. “I want, want to make something clear that when I said that I wanted to date you I didn’t mean it in the same way--that I’ve dated girls in the past. You do, you do mean something to me. You’ll always.” Mark stared at the ground. “I think you’ll always mean a lot to me. I don’t know why I asked you. It was--in retrospect, it wasn’t very fair to you.” “You know, I’ve secretly wanted you to ask me that for a long, long time.” “So why have you never asked? You follow me around everywhere, and sometimes it basically feels, it feels as if you’re flirting with me.” Mark shuffled his flip flops as he spoke. Eduardo’s face went beat red. “I didn’t know--I knew I would be comfortable with it. But I wasn’t sure how’d you handle it. I mean, we never really talked about,” Eduardo bit his lip. “About sexuality before.” “Okay. So let’s talk about it now. When did you first realize you were gay?” “Mark--I’m bi.” Eduardo looked to one side at the ocean, almost embarrassed. “I knew that. What age?”

He sighed. “I was nine.” “Okay...so why didn’t you ever bother to say anything?” “I didn’t think it was important. And I was afraid--I was afraid that it might get back to my father.” It felt like being interrogated. His stomach ached a bit at the feeling, but Mark was his best friend and should know his secrets, so he knew he had to answer all of the questions without hesitance to gain his trust. “Have you ever had a boyfriend?” “Yeah, but never in public.” “Okay, how many?” Mark felt angry, jealous almost, at the thought of someone else having had Eduardo. He knew about most of the girls, but still. It sickened him. “I don’t know, three or four? Mark, life was different in high school. It felt different. None too serious though. Just, like...yeah.” “Okay, ask me,” Mark replied steadily. “Ask you how many boyfriends you’ve had?” “No, ask me when I realized that I was...not straight.” It was a dare. “Okay, when?” “Yesterday.” Eduardo fell back a little at Mark’s answer. “I don’t believe you.” “Well, it’s true. I realized it yesterday as I was coding. Is that a problem?” For someone who usually comes off to others as insecure, Mark surprised Eduardo with the real inner-confidence he held. “You never even thought about it before?” “It..things like that...” “Things like that don’t seem to cross your mind.” “I’m...I’m sorry.” “For what?” “Not letting it cross my mind.” There was an apologetic tone in Mark’s voice. Like he really meant sorry, instead of just saying it. Eduardo knew at that moment that he could forgive Mark for just about anything. Right there, on the sand, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask a question. “Mark, do you want to go swimming with me?” Mark carefully slid Eduardo’s shirt off of his back, trying not to get caught up in the ecstasy of the feeling of having Wardo right there in front of him. Eduardo slid off Mark’s Northface jacket and then pushed off his own jeans. “Mark, breathe. It’s not like you haven’t seen me in underwear before.” He gave a reassuring smile but it felt different as Eduardo helped Mark with his t-shirt and shorts and as he guided him to the waves. The two of them were maybe two feet out when they started kissing again, holding each other tightly as the waves swung back and forth. Eduardo was giggling and while Mark would usually find this irritating-- a grown man giggling like a young school girl--he found it rather charming when it was

Wardo’s voice so he pushed him down onto the sand to bring his friend even closer. They must have been pretty engrossed in one another because they barely noticed when a furry friend, a little silver schnauzer, came up behind them and started slobbering over Eduardo on the forehead. “Hey there little guy,” Mark patted him. Eduardo laughed in disbelief. This was Mark, categorized as the most reserved and ice cold kid on campus, who was at this moment nuzzling with a puppy. “What? I can’t pet this dog? Isn’t he cute? Your name is Wardo, baby. Your name is Wardo.” “His name is not Wardo.” At Eduardo’s nickname the dog barked. “I think it is. Isn’t it?” Another bark. “Nope. He’s just playing with you. Where is your owner little guy?” “I like how we are here.” “The dog? You want to keep him? I don’t think adding dogknapping to your list of offenses will help your reputation at Harvard.” He let the dog go, watching it run off to its distant owner who was jogging along the seaside. “Not the dog Wardo, you and me. Together like this. It’s...nice.” Mark smiled. Eduardo grinned back and kissed Mark again. It felt so nice kissing him in the open like this. “Let’s not go back to Harvard. Let’s just stay here forever.” “If we stay out for another minute I am going to die of sun exposure. Not to mention--” “I know, I know your precious code. That needs to be done so you can save the world from itself and connect everyone through the world wide web and win the noble peace prize--” Wardo rolled his eyes. “What? How did you know about?” “You blogged about it.” Eduardo laughed. “You blog a lot. You should really like, kick the habit. And hang out with me more.” “Oh yeah?”” “Yeah you should. Enjoy the world.” Eduardo slid back on his suit and ran straight into the water, this time entering fully clothed. “You are crazy! And I thought I put that blog on private!” Mark yelled as Eduardo ran out to Mark hugging him with his soaked suit. “Oops!” Eduardo cried playfully. “Well you just ruined one of your fancy suits. What is your father going to say about that?” “I have a secret for you--I know you know very little about fashion but I know enough to know that this suit has nothing to do with my happiness and I know nothing about coding or the internet but I know enough to know that it shouldn’t have to define your happiness either.” He would have sounded a

lot more philosophical and deep if he wasn’t flapping around his arms in a soaked blazer like an idiot. “And, what in your opinion defines our happiness, professor Wardo?” “Us, right here.” Eduardo pulled Mark in close to him. “Beneath the sun, with the sand. No worries, no troubles, no fathers or electronics.” “Wardo, we’re in the middle of some random beach in Massachusetts. What do you want us to do? Become fishermen? Dig for Narnia?” “Mmmm.” “I need to get you back to Harvard before the sun takes away the rest of your sanity.” “Too late.” “To become fishermen? Yeah it’s too late.” “It’s too late to save my sanity. You drive me absolutely--” “Don’t say crazy, that’s a cliche.” “Hey Mark--let’s go home now. Come on, Chris and Dustin will be waiting. They are a handful those two, hard to keep track of.” “Yeah, so I was thinking now that we are together, Chris and Dustin--we should like adopt them. “What?” “I am being completely serious. We should adopt them.” “No I mean, we’re officially in a relationship now?” Mark nodded. “Okay, okay. I’m completely good with this. Do you think that’s legal?” “We can’t get married yet, but maybe in a few years when they get the laws all worked out..” “No the adoption.” And then all joking aside, there was a pause. Mark gazed out into the sea then back at Eduardo. “Hey Wardo--” “Yeah?” “So I’m thinking that before we go, since I never tell you enough things like--” “It’s okay.” Eduardo didn’t need to hear this, he already knew it. He didn’t want Mark to have to say anything he didn’t feel comfortable saying. “No, let me finish. I need to say this because I know that in our relationship I’m going to screw it up. So let me get it on the record.” “Okay, I’m listening.” “I just want to get it on the record that I am very, very sorry for everything I ever do. I won’t say sorry then, I’m physically incapable because I’m usually right and I just don’t want to apologize for something that--that I’m right with. But it’s you so I’m apologizing in advance.” “Okay...” Eduardo could not be grinning any wider without resembling the Joker. “And I also want to say that I--I love you.”

A beat. “I, love you too. I really really really don’t want to go back to school and have to play third wheel to you and code again...but I’ll do it. Because I love you too.” When they got back to campus, Mark went back to coding. He still had a little trouble focusing on what his fingers were doing. I need him. ENTER. I have him. ENTER. I love him. ENTER. Don’t ever lose him. Everything felt so comfortable with Wardo behind squeezing his shoulders with one hand and twiddling with the Rubrix Cube in the other. Red. TWIST. Blue. TWIST. I love you. In fact, one might say that life was at a nice speed of 90 wpm.

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