money can only buy him so much – a fancy house, fancy gadgets and heck, he can even afford to hire a fancy bodyguard but it's there's one thing money can't buy, it's a true friend. he's never had a friend, not really (especially after dean summers stole his muffin in first grade; he retaliated by hacking dean's gameboy and nobody ever caught him out but that's a different story). no one really approaches him, save the odd hooker who charges way too much. after all, his reputation as the lonely, misunderstood playboy billionaire is actually kind of accurate. the boy with lots of money and many willing bedwarmers but no one to truly involve him in their life, no one that confides in him, no one who sees him for who is really is.
and then amanda (it's emily now, he tells himself, emily. emily, emily, emily) comes along. he spots her as she's coming out of the metal gates of hell itself – dark hair falling over defiant grey eyes, a scar just under her chin, faded freckles on her nose and thinks that maybe she can be his friend. but when he gleefully walks to her with the intention of enveloping her in a warm hug, the last thing he expects is to hit the ground. hard.
what do you want, she all but growls, pinning his arms down. he can only groan a little. a rock is digging into his chest and he's pretty sure he has dirt in his mouth. she tightens her hold on him and he can't move. so much for new friend.
tell me, she demands and warningly twists an arm around his back. dear lord, how did an eighteen year old who's spent half her life in care and two years in juvie learn this? he's twenty six and can't do jack. it's kind of embarrassing.
ow – ow – okay. jesus, calm down, he manages, i'm nolan, your guardian, your father's...confidant.
my father was nothing but a liar she grinds out and twists his arm around a little more, making him gasp in pain.
i'll explain – just go easy on me… get off and I'll explain.
there's a moment of silence and then the pressure eases off.
you try anything funny and you'll be on the ground again, she says and her eyes flash. he promises not to and he stumbles up, wincing. he brushes his suit down and mutters, this was armani, only to receive a glare from her.
get in the car, he sighs.
it starts raining once they're on the highway.
she seems on edge, glancing in the rear mirror every now and then, and her hands are trembling slightly.
hey, he says, hey, I'm trying to help you, here. You don't have to be scared of me. but he knows it's not that.
i'm not scared of you, she says as if to confirm his thoughts and almost snorts, tossing her hair. her eyes flash again – that molten colour. he's kind of getting used to it by now.
but how do I know I can trust you?
he pulls over, tyres skidding on wet tarmac and wordlessly hands over the wooden box. she looks confused at first, but one by one, the pieces fall into place.
he's somehow recalling the events of that day as she lays in his sheets, the white quilt enveloping her sleeping form. the sun hits her brown hair and grazes her carefully concealed freckles. her eyelids are milky and translucent and she looks so vulnerable. just like that time that amanda, no emi-
nolan? emily says as she barges into his room, fresh as a daisy in a cream sundress. and then she sees the girl in his sheets.
oh, she says offhandedly, i didn't know you had company. i'll just come back later.
her face is an indifferent mask and her voice measured but he had seen the chink in her armour – the momentary flash of pain in her eyes when she had first entered. it has taken him five years to notice these small signs; it's an acquired ability.
ems! he pleads, but she's already out the door.
the girl beside him stirs. get out, he says to her, and rolls out of bed.
he finds her at the beach, tucked away from view by a large rocky outcrop.
what do you want, nolan, she asks disinterestedly, not tearing her eyes away from the waves.
he cocks and eyebrow at her, and even though she isn't looking, he knows that she'll notice. more like what do you want, he says, there must have been some reason, considering you barged into my room at six in the morning.
a normal girl would've blushed and apologised but this is emily and normal and emily do not go together.
i needed your help, she replies, unabashed. her eyes are still trained on the waves, but her hands are trembling. emily may have perfect self-control in almost every single way, but her hands give her away every time. her hands and her eyes. maybe not to anyone else, but after living with her for four whole years, he notices what others don't.
it's my mother, she says and her voice wobbles. a tear is leaking out of her eye but she rubs it furiously, as if it will stop her from crying. he doesn't know what to do – he's never been good with crying women, least of all a crying emily. emily never cries.
awkwardly, he puts his arm around her. she doesn't slap it away or reprimand him or mention anything about baby steps, she lets him. and a moment later, she's sobbing into his chest so hard that she doesn't notice his fingers gently stroking her hair as he whispers into her ear.
don't worry ems, it's going to be alright. trust me. everything is going to be okay.
later on, she'll straighten up and pretend this never happened. she won't thank him or anything, she'll just leave and get herself composed and the next time he sees her, she'll address him with the same maddening indifference as she always does.
she cannot be bought; she's too precious to be bought with money, too invaluable. and even though she'll deny it to the day she dies, nolan knows better: emily is a friend. she is his friend. and nothing else really matters.
A/N: sorry guys, it's my first time writing revenge fanfiction, so leave a review please! :)