I'm trying to construct a sentence in which the speaker 'feels apologetic' toward someone. I want to avoid hinting at a sense of guilt or shame etc so that rules out 'I felt contrite/ rueful/ regretful/ remorseful/ repentant/ guilty' and similar sentences.
The context where I want to use this is:
However, no matter how much heart he had put into it I could not possibly hand out those paper bundles to the readers. I showed him the booklet I had brought with me. I had put in hours of painstaking effort in arranging the entire content myself. His eyes grew wide as he turned over the pages one by one, and I felt apologetic toward him.
Here's what I thought of:
I felt bad for him.
I felt sorry for him.
But these sentences imply 'pity/empathy' which is not what I aiming for.
The sentence I came up with finally is:
I felt apologetic toward him.
But I've never heard anyone speak this way. Is this idiomatically correct? Or is there a better way of saying this?