"David," Nolan said to the empty room, after Emily had left. "I'm sorry. I don't think I can do this any more."
The room didn't answer, not that Nolan was really expecting it to. He should've kept that bodyguard around; at least then he'd have something to talk to other than the walls, other than his own memories and regrets.
He'd expected her to be independent, headstrong, stubborn. He'd found that, and much more. What he hadn't expected was for her to betray him, much less so cold-heartedly. She didn't regret what she'd done. Not for a second. And she'd probably go to bed and sleep like an angel.
"I'm sorry," he said again to the silence. "I don't know what to do."
It wasn't the gay thing; yeah, that was a problem, especially in a community as tight and blind to reality as the Hamptons, but the thought of Conrad Grayson's sleazy eyes on him hurt.
And Emily Thorne didn't care. (Either of them, a nasty, sharp voice in his mind added.) Maybe Amanda Clarke would have, back when she was a kid, back before time and treachery and pain had done its work. He'd been stupid to think she'd be unchanged from the gentle angel David had described. Maybe if he'd tried to intervene sooner....
No. That was a stupid road to try to follow. He hadn't been much more than a kid himself when it had all gone down (as David had so gently, sweetly, reminded him the one time he'd tried to make a move; and of course he'd been in love with Victoria Grayson, anyway). He'd been a kid, and he'd worshipped David. He'd known David was innocent, and so he'd believed everything David had told him. That was probably why Nolan still looked at Amanda -- Emily-- and searched for David's face, David's kindness, David's decency. But that wasn't there. Life had beaten that out of her, if it'd ever been there.
It'd be so easy to just leave it. He could go to Monte Carlo on his own, after all. Why not? Leave all this bullshit. To hell with the Hamptons and Queen Victoria and Emily and all the scheming and stupidity. If he went to Monte Carlo, maybe he could forget the knife Emily had planted in his back.
He rubbed his face with his hands. "I don't know, David." I wish you were here. "I thought I was helping her. Maybe I was just making things worse." He poured himself a Scotch from the sideboard. At least he wasn't pathetic enough to be drinking from the bottle. Yet.
You'll thank me one day.
"I wouldn't bet on it," he said, and tossed the drink back. "The question is, do I try to rein you in, or just sit back and watch the show?"
What would David want?
What did he want?
The Scotch didn't hold any answers. Nolan sighed. No reason to make decisions rashly, he supposed. He could sleep on it. Alone.
Whatever I do, David, he thought, I hope you'll forgive me.