She woke up next to him in an hourly hotel somewhere outside of Eads Mill. Her body was stiff and sore from driving for so long. As painful as it was to stretch, it afforded her some relief.
Emily looked over at Nolan, still sleeping. He slept on his side, his body turned toward her. One hand rested against the jut of her hip bone in the small space where her shirt had ridden up above her jeans while she slept. His hand was warm, as was his body. The AC in the room was cranked up far too high in an attempt to keep out the summer heat that bathed the mountains. Nolan was warm beside her. Some animal part of her wanted to pull him closer, to cover her body with his.
He would have to go back soon. He had a life to continue. She may have gotten away with everything, all of it, but there was no life left for her in the Hamptons. Nowhere where there was society. It was fortunate that she didn't like them. She didn’t like to think herself overly sentimental, but she would miss Nolan. She would miss the smirks, the garishly colored polos, texts from him at all hours of the day, his need to be loved. So she had let him stay the night, against her better judgment.
Nolan shifted, repositioning his arm so that it lay across her waist.
"I know you're awake," Emily said.
"You caught me," Nolan muttered, half into his pillow. "So, where are we off to next?"
"Well," Emily absently stroked the skin on the back of his hand while she spoke, "we're driving to the airport in Charleston. Then you're going back to the Hamptons and I'm going somewhere that's for me to know and you to never find out."
He sat up and the bed dipped, Emily sliding slightly toward him.
"That's not fair. I'm not just some child who you can tell what to do."
"You've demonstrated that. But if you know what's best for you, you'll charter a flight back to the Hamptons and forget about me."
"I can't forget about you. And we worked for so long on getting revenge, and now..."
He reached forward to cup her jaw with his hand, but she pulled away.
"I'm going to make a new life. You are, unfortunately, part of my old life," Emily said.
"You can't keep doing this. You can't just shed your name, your history, everyone you know, when it suits you. I don't understand. You're a free woman. We can be together."
There were tears in his eyes. She wanted to comfort him. The feeling was foreign after so long and it took her a moment to recognize it.
"No, we can't," Emily said.
She let it happen. She laid there and made no objection when he leaned over her and kissed her. There was the faintest scent of the too sweet cologne he favored. Nolan kissed her, gentle at first, but sure. There was no bravado behind it, only desperation. When she didn't push him away or laugh at him, he threaded his fingers through her hair.