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Part one

“Eduardo’s wearing the hoodie,” Dustin said as Mark sulked in the corner. “But he still hasn’t RSVP’d for the reunion. We need to get him back to Harvard for phase two of this operation.”

“Why go through the trouble?” asked Chris, self-appointed voice of reason. “We can always get him to come to Palo Alto for another shareholders’ meeting.”

Dustin shook his head. “Positive associations, remember? If Eduardo comes here, no way he’s going to feel nostalgic about—“ He cut himself off, with a glance at Mark.

Still irked by the tweet, Mark was in no mood for Dustin’s attempt at tact. “All Eduardo remembers about Palo Alto is me being a dick. Fine. We’ll get him to Cambridge, where I was also an asshole, yet inexplicably more tolerable. So that’s our plan?”

“It’s better than cat photos on his Wall—” Mark’s phone rang, cutting off Dustin’s retort. With a glare at Dustin, Mark wrestled his phone from his pocket.

“Who is this?”

“Hello, Mr. Zuckerberg,” said an unfamiliar voice. “I am Rick Campbell, Sexton of the Memorial Church at Harvard. I’m calling about your reservation with Mr. Saverin . . . .”

“Memorial Church,” Mark repeated. “My reservation. With Mr. Saverin.” So this was what befuddlement felt like.

“Yes, Mr. Zuckerberg, our register has you and Mr. Saverin down for Sunday, the 29th of May,” Campbell said. “We recently noticed that you still have Mr. Saverin on your reservation, notwithstanding your . . . er . . . differences. It is not uncommon for our alumni to use placeholders when they put down the deposit, but you’ll need to make any modifications soon.”

Reservation? What reservation? OH! THAT -- Mark sits up straight, muscles complaining at the unfamiliar action. It had been a rational use of their (well, Eduardo’s) financial resources: reserve a popular weekend at the discounted student rate, trade it in if no eligible woman presented herself in time to walk down the aisle.

Mark hadn’t given much thought to marital arrangements since his one and only attempt at proposing had gone down in flames. (He thought proposing by Facebook message was perfectly adequate. By the time he’d tried again with a ring from Tiffany’s and a string quartet, she’d decided to join Doctors Without Borders and move to East Timor.)

Campbell was still talking. “ . . . rehearsal times on Saturday are available until 6 p.m., but we can make special allowances for Jewish couples that want to wait until after sunset. The reunions are also happening that weekend, so you may want to go with an early evening ceremony to avoid any crowds -- ”

“Reunions? That’s the same weekend?” Mark asked. He was starting to sense an opportunity.

“What?” said Dustin.

“What??!” yelled Chris. Mark winced at the twin looks of shock on their faces. Why did people always feel the need to correlate increased volume with feelings of surprise?

“Wait, you’re saying that you and Wardo booked Mem Church for a wedding when we were sophomores? And it’s this May?” Dustin’s expression was torn between disbelief and extreme glee.

“It was a good idea at the time.” Mark tried not to sound defensive.

“Huh, no wonder he was pissed at you about Sean. Dude, you were cheating on your fiancé.

Mark had never thought about it that way. Yes, he and Eduardo had reserved the church together, but not together together. He said that out loud.

“What’s wrong with ‘together’ together?” Chris shot Mark a dirty look.

“Nothing! I mean,” Mark stammered. “I’m perfectly cool with . . . it would have been fine if . . . but, Eduardo and I weren’t like that.”

“Pity,” Dustin said. “You would have been such a lovely bride.”

“Technically, Eduardo is the ‘bride slash candidate for marriage,’” Mark said. For once, air quotes were justified.

“That makes sense.” Chris turned to Dustin. “If one of them has to change names, ‘Saverin-Zuckerberg’ looks much nicer than ‘Zuckerberg-Saverin.’”

“Hey! Zuckerberg is great name!” Mark was rather surprised by his own indignation, and he made a note to exact revenge later. “But that’s not the point. The point is: I know how to get to Eduardo.”

“No.” Chris was adamant when Mark explained.

“Why not?” Mark asked. “It’s already legal in Massachusetts.”

“No, you can’t use Sean and me as bait to get Eduardo to come back to Harvard,” Chris said. “We’ve already made plans for a ceremony in California, once the Ninth Circuit gets its act together.”

“Why don’t you want to be married in Mem Church? I already have the reservation, and it’s apparently romantic—”

“Nah, it’s only romantic if you met the other person in college.” Dustin snickered. “Exactly the kind of thing to get Wardo all dewy-eyed and glowing.”

Mark coughed. “Actually, it was my idea.”

“Oh, even better.” Dustin clutched his stomach to hold in the laughter. “Your wedding colors should totally be blue and white.”

“We can sell the pictures to People magazine,” said Chris, joining in the fun. “Headline: ‘Facebook Wedding: When the Like Button Just Isn’t Enough.’”

“Shut up!” Mark wished he could kick them off his team. That Cobb guy from Inception didn’t have this problem. “This is not helping.”

“Wait,” Dustin said. He chewed on his pen, which was a bad sign. “We want to corner Eduardo back at Harvard, and we don’t have any leverage over him. But Wardo does value his privacy . . . ”

“And if we threaten to expose your ‘engagement’ to Wardo to the press, he’ll say yes to seeing you at the reunion,” Chris said, nodding. “Then we can work our reconciliation magic.”

“Blackmailing Eduardo doesn’t work. I already tried,” Mark pointed out. “He threatened to call my mother.”

“Mark, your mother would be so happy to hear that you’re ‘engaged,’” Chris said, “She’ll point the shotgun at Wardo to make him marry you. And Wardo knows that.”

“I still don’t like it,” Mark said. “Eduardo will just get even more pissed at me—”

“He’s already pissed at you—”

“It’s still better than exploiting Sean and me—”

A beep interrupted their argument. On Dustin’s laptop, Eduardo’s Twitter page refreshed with a new retweet.

RT @Trendeh #improudtosay I love Twitter. Twitter makes me love people I don’t know & Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.

It felt like heartburn, but Mark recognized the feeling as complete, utter jealousy. This situation could not stand.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

Eduardo eyed the blue envelope, with his address printed in white with the familiar font. Chris and his team took this branding thing too far—did every piece of correspondence need to have the “Facebook look” as well?

The card inside was a letterpress invitation, in the obligatory blue and white. Eduardo almost chucked it into the waste bin from habit, when the actual text caught his eye:

Mr. and Mrs. Rafael Savarin request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their son, Eduardo, to Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Zuckerberg

Sunday, the twenty-ninth of May two thousand and eleven at half past one o’clock

Memorial Church, Harvard University

Eduardo blinked, but the words stayed the same. I must be dreaming, he thought. He pinched himself and laughed at bit under his breath at the sting. What were they supposed to do in that Chris Nolan movie? Shoot themselves to wake up?

Eduardo had never quite forgotten that reservation he and Mark had made for Mem Church. It was an idle daydream: he and Mark in their tuxes (even if Mark wore a hoodie underneath), their families gathered together, Dustin crying into a large handkerchief . . .

A more realistic outcome would have featured him or Mark as the groom, the other in the wedding party. Even now, years after the lawsuit, Eduardo still half-expected a phone call from Mark: Hey, Wardo, I met someone. Do you wanna be my best man? It was probably their remaining chance at reconciliation.

But this card, this invitation, must have been someone’s idea of a sick joke.

Resisting the urge to tear it in half, Eduardo turned the card over: Call me. 650-223-4828. He tossed it on the table and reached for his phone.

As Mark’s phone rang, Dustin and Chris sat up on the couch and abandoned their laptops. Mark took a deep breath. This is Wardo. He was your best friend. You can do this. He hit the call button, then switched it to speakerphone.

“Who the fuck is this?” It was never a good sign when Eduardo started out cursing.


“Mark, is that you? Of course it’s you. Only you would have the unmitigated gall to pull this shit!”

Mark’s mind went blank. Didn’t Chris give him a script for this? Was this what stage fright felt like? He wanted to hang up and start again, but Dustin waved both arms and caught his eye.

Chris had brought out a giant poster board, labeled “Friendship Reclamation Algorithm.” Mark vaguely remembered a conversation about someone named Sheldon (a consultant, maybe?). He followed Chris’s finger through the flow chart from Receive Phone Call to Would You Like To Go To Our Reunion?

“Hi, Eduardo. Would you like to go to our 5-year class reunion?” Mark felt his heartbeat begin to calm down. He liked flow charts.

Eduardo sputtered. “What? I wasn’t planning to . . . what does that have to do with this invitation to OUR WEDDING?”

Chris’s finger traced the arrow labeled No to I Would Like Us To Reconnect. “You should go,” Mark said. “We should meet up in Cambridge. I . . . I really would like us to reconnect.” His voice cracked at the last sentence, and Chris gave him a thumbs-up.

“Why would you—You didn’t even graduate—Stop trying to change the topic!” Apparently, Eduardo was incapable of finishing a sentence.

Again, the No arrow. It led to BLACKMAIL. Dustin held up a smaller poster, featuring the likenesses Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan.

“If you don’t go to our class reunion, Chris will send out a press release about our wedding,” Mark said, gaining momentum. He didn’t want to examine why he felt more comfortable with this part. “I’ll stand in the middle of Mem Church and wait for you to show up to marry me. There’ll be tons of reporters waiting, with cameras.”


“If you don’t show up, I’ll be humiliated in front of the national press. And you’ll look like such a jerk—they’ll have to make a Facebook movie about our doomed romance.” Or remake Never Been Kissed, which Dustin had forced Mark to watch by withholding Red Bull.

It took several more minutes of shouting from Eduardo, but he finally bowed to the inevitable. Mark made an effort not to sound too smug.

“We should meet Wednesday, the night before all the reunion activities,” Mark said. He read from the flow chart. “Would you like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage? We can have champagne, some beers, or a Scorpion bowl.”

“Scorpion bowls?” Eduardo couldn’t suppress a short burst of laughter. “Oh, why not? Yes, let’s get scorpion bowls.”

He sounded weary, but Mark could see the little arrow that led from Case: champagne, beer, scorpion bowl to Begin Reclaiming Friendship. He basked in the glow of small victories.


Date: 2011-05-19 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am laughing so hard at the “Friendship Reclamation Algorithm" that I woke up my baby. ooops. This is fantastic!


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October 2011

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