Character Dilemma

“I don’t see why we have to do this.”

I’m straightening my notes as the lieutenant sits across from me. He folds his arms and crosses his legs and pointedly stares at the wall. I smile at him. As annoying as he can be, I love the sharp features I gave him. I’ve been putting off this interview with him for far too long.

“I’m not the main character.” My lieutenant tosses his head back to get his blonde hair out of his eyes. “I shouldn’t have to do this.”

“Every named character has to do this.” I shrug. “If you were an unnamed barkeep, then we wouldn’t be here, but I gave you a name, lieutenant, and a purpose in my novel.”

“A purpose.” He scoffs. “Not a very good one.”

“To start, perhaps, but you don’t know the growth that’s involved. Trust me, my friend, it’ll be–“

“I’m not your friend!”

His snap doesn’t surprise me. I raise my hands. “Alright, not your friend. How about we just get through this interview so you can go?”

He scoffs. “You said every named character has to go through this, but you haven’t done this with the other lieutenants yet.”

I huff sheepishly. “You’re right, but their time is coming. Right now, you’re the more important one out of the three of you.”

He rolls his eyes. “Peachy.”

I try to hide my amusement. I know how he feels. I hate doing interviews and admitting personal parts of myself. I felt exactly what he’s feeling now when I had to do a meeting for work. The only difference is I was able to bite down my hostile and sarcastic comments. He can’t. I never considered this lieutenant much. We didn’t like each other when the novel started, but we have more in common than I thought. “We need to figure out how to do your scenes in the sequel. Those all depend on how you feel about what you did in the first novel.”

“Don’t you already know how I feel?” He gives me a hardened look. “Being the author and all?”

I smile and I brush my hair behind my ear. “If I knew what to put on the page, we wouldn’t be doing this.” When he rolls his eyes, I clear my throat. “Alright. You did a lot of really good things in the first novel, but there’s one thing that’s weighing on your mind, right?”


“You won’t talk about it to anyone, will you?”

“It’s no one’s business but my own.”

I nod. “I can relate to that. But, lieutenant, it is effecting your work, isn’t it?”

He shakes his head. “I wouldn’t say so.”

“I think we both know that’s a lie, sir.” I check my notes. “You’ve been stricter with your men. More argumentative with the other lieutenants. You’ve been a little aggressive with your equipment. And, you don’t talk to your superior as much anymore.” When I look at him, he’s refusing to look back at me. His leg is bouncing. “All of this tells me your faith is shaken.”

He shakes his head and offsets his jaw. I knew if he had the choice, he’d walk out. In his mind, it’s better to walk out and be rude than to admit weakness to superiors. Maybe if he can break down those defenses, I can to? “Lieutenant?”

“I followed my orders, alright? What more do you want from me?”

I lean forward. “I want to know what you’ll admit to others. I want to know what questions and doubts you’ll put in people’s minds because you’re too scared to deal with your conflict yourself. What actions will you portray to the men who follow you? What’s going to tell the readers you lost faith without using the actual words themselves?”

He stills and finally looks me in the eye. Anger burns in his gaze. “You really want to know?” When I nod, he leans forward. “I’ll remind everyone what’s right, and who’s wrong.”

Published by Nikki

I am an aspiring author with one novel written and ready for representation and many in the works.

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