“I got kissed!” Erica hissed at Christy during the town meeting. Christy’s head jerked up and she stared at Erica, eyes huge.
“What?” she demanded. “Who? Where? Tell me everything!”
Erica looked around and caught Cameron’s eye on accident. She blushed and whipped her head away. Christy was grinning at her knowingly when she turned back.
“Oh, I see,” she murmured, and Erica rolled her eyes before turning to face front again.
“The Iliad,” a voice said. Erica looked up and saw Luke’s nephew standing next to her, a coffee pot in his hand. “Do you like it?”
“I don’t know about this translation,” Erica said dubiously, looking at the cover. “But that’s what my school picked.”
“You don’t go to Stars Hollow High,” he said as he refilled her mug.
“Thanks. No, I go to Chilton.” She smiled at him hesitantly. “I’m sorry, I don’t think we were ever introduced. I’m Erica, Lara Albright’s daughter.”
“Mark Zuckerberg,” he said. He didn’t smile back. “I have a few different translations if you’re interested.”
“Really?” She looked at his battered sandals and tattered hoodie and reflected wryly that she might have to revise her initial impression. “Sure, thanks.”
This time, he did flash a small, bright, and utterly disarming smile. “Sure.”
Erica was studying for her exam in history when there was a knock on the door. Christy got up to look through the peephole, then said, “Uh, Erica? I think it’s for you.”
Erica straightened up as Christy opened the door and Mark, Mark, stepped inside, searching her out with his eyes. She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination, but she thought he looked a bit tanner, as if someone in California had made him go out into the sun every so often. She swallowed hard, hand clenching on her pencil. She wasn’t going to speak first.
After a long, awkward pause, Mark said, “Hi.”
“That’s what you have to say to me?” Erica burst out. “After two years?”
“Okay, I’m going to just — go,” Christy said, eeling towards the door. “Call me when you’re done here.”
They both ignore her in favor of glaring at each other. “It’s not like you called me either,” Mark reminded her.
“You show up after swanning around getting investors or whatever, tell me you love me, and then you run off to California for two years, what did you expect?” Erica demanded. “Did it ever occur to you to ask me to come with you?”
“But you always wanted to go to Harvard,” Mark said blankly.
Erica slumped, her pencil falling from her slack fingers. “Mark, I would have come with you. I wanted to.”
“I still love you,” Mark said. “If you’re, you know.” He shrugged eloquently.
“Mark,” she said softly, leaning towards him, and he crossed the distance between them in two quick steps.