Nate held his father's gaze, his gaze calm and hateful while he warred with his emotions. It had been a con. Just a con, and this time, it was too personal.
But then they had laughed and talked and joked, and it became even more personal. He recalled Cora's words about how his father was better than Nate ever gave him credit for. He felt like he had just begun to understand, had just begun to rebuild the pain of his youthful realization that his father was a criminal. He was too now, and maybe, just maybe, he could help these people without bringing his father down. Or maybe he could bring his dad down. Or hell, maybe he could shoot him.
All he could think about was that this man had betrayed him, just like he had over and over again when Nate was just a kid, looking up to hid dad. It hurt, knowing how many times his father could have been a dad, and hadn't been.
But his father was right. He couldn't shoot him. He was the good guy still, and if he killed his father, it would make him the bad guy, and he would lose everything.
But sitting alone in that chair, his hand shaking over his eyes, he admitted the truth, if only to himself. It was his father, and no matter how much Nate hated the man, he couldn't kill his father. Somewhere in him, there was still a kid, seeking his father's approval, trying desperately to find that red queen to make his dad proud.
Somewhere in him, he was hoping that now that he had found the red queen, his father would have been proud of him. Instead, the man had left without a word.
And it hurt, because Nate knew that he might be better than his father, and this might be his town now, but still, that little by who sat in the bar, getting black jack after black jack after black jack would never make his dad happy.
And it hurt.