Character Interview: Hunter from Under Fire and Under Fire: The Admiral

Oct 12 2012, 9:41 am

My name is Celia Carbano. I work as a private contractor for the US government in Washington DC. I’m commissioned by select committees to interview people who’ve played a part in sensitive events.  I have no particular skills in military or government procedure. I do have an ability to gauge the veracity of what has already been put in a subjects reports. Today is the last of three interviews with persons involved in an event that took place in Ecuador. The man I’m speaking with is a Navy SEAL.  This is a first for me and I have to admit I’m nervous.  

For this interview, I was directed to a Navy facility.  I arrive slightly early and am led down a long corridor and ushered into a room with no windows and subdued lighting.  The door closes and the man sitting in one of the large chairs stands causing me to take a step back. He is huge.  I’m only 5’ 2” but I’m sure he qualifies as huge to anyone.

“Ms. Carbano,” he thrusts out a hand about the size a ten inch iron skillet. “I’m Hunter.” He finishes in a deep baritone voice as I slip my hand into his. His hand also feels like a skillet.

“Nice to meet you.” I say. He says nothing. There is something about this man, a presence, a power that fills the room. He waits for me to sit and then drops back into his chair. The leather chair groans as he shifts and brings an ankle to a knee. I take a moment to note his appearance. Long hair protrudes around the edges of a knit cap pulled low on his forehead. Sunglasses and a long un-kept beard make sure I would never be able to ID him. A non-descript polo shirt is stretched over his chest and arms. Jeans cover his legs. I have the distinct feeling he is giving me the same going over.

“Is Hunter your first or last name?”

“Yes.” he says.

“Is it your real name?”

“It is today.”  

Alrighty then. “How do you feel about this interview?” Might as well get right to it.

“Feel? Ma’am I was told to come here and answer your questions. I wasn’t told to feel anything.”

An evasive answer. “Do you always do what you are told?”

“No.”

“Did you do what you were told on this mission?”

“I was inserted into a situation and told to achieve a certain outcome. How I do that is up to me, the team. If you are asking did I achieve the outcome, that is a yes.”    

“Admiral Hendrickson said she diverted from the original flight plan because Dr Walsh asked her to fly back the coast. Do you believe her?”

“Yes.”

“Dr. Walsh said the reason he asked to fly that route was to enjoy the coastline scenery. Do you believe him?”

“No ma’am.” The hair around his mouth twitched.

“What do you believe the reason was?”

“He wanted some alone time with the admiral.”

“What makes you think that?” It was difficult keeping the surprise out of my voice.  He puts both feet on the floor and leans forward.

“You haven’t seen them together.”

I can’t decide if it’s a question or a statement. I do know when I interviewed the doctor he displayed a great deal of concern for the admiral. I shake my head. 

“You in a serious relationship?” His voice is so deep I swear it reverberates around the small room. I’m glad the light is low so he can’t see the color creep over my face.

“Mr. Hunter I’m not going to answer that. I’m here to ask you questions and then you can be on your way.”

He makes a sound and leans back. “Thought so.” My not answering confirms to him I’m not.

“Tell me why you think Dr. Walsh wanted to be alone with the admiral.”

“I’ve been in this job nine years. An important part is reading people.” He pauses. “It isn’t all body language. It’s what you say and when you say it. How you look or don’t look at a person. I’m good at what I do and I can tell you without a doubt the doc has it bad for the admiral. ” There is some amusement in his voice. “He’s one of the good guys. The only thing I could fault him with is thinking with his little head.”

“I see.” Heat rushes over my face. “What is you impression of the admiral?” I try to get the interview under control

“She is upfront. Honest. She gives and asks for a hundred percent.”

“She gave an account of killing two men. Can you corroborate what she said?”

“Lady,” he says harshly, “you’ve already read my take on the show. You know I saw nothing of what went on with Admiral Hendrickson and Dr. Walsh. I have nothing to add. I can guarantee the admiral answered your questions with the straight up truth.”  He starts to rise. “Are we done here?”

“No. Please sit.” I was amazed at how calm my voice remained even though I am thoroughly intimidated and completely sure this man is telling the absolute truth. He leans back in the chair.  I begin recounting the details of the action. Hunter agrees and when he doesn’t, he clarifies.

Half way through he says, “You aren’t writing any of this down.” 

“I have an excellent memory.” He said nothing.

“Would you say the job ended successfully?”

“No.”

“Why not?” I am surprised. The operation netted a billion in counterfeit money, and almost that much in drugs. 

“I don’t consider coming back short a team member successful.”

I understand and give him a nod. “I have what I need. Is there anything you want to add?”

Hunter is silent for a long while. “No ma’am.”

“Then we’re done.”  Strangely, I feel letdown the interview is ending. 

Two seconds later the door opens and my escort appears. “This way Ms. Carbano.”

What the hell?  “Was this interview being recorded?” I say angrily. I look at both men who remain silent. “It was.” How dare they?  “This is not..”

“This way Ms. Carbano.” The escort says in a voice that lets me know saying anymore is useless.  I retrieve my purse, shoot Hunter a vicious look and storm out.  And, it doesn’t get any better. The afternoon sky has opened up depositing torrents of rain that are pooling in the parking lot. I look back at the door but decide I will stand here and wait it out. Five minutes pass then ten and it’s still raining.  A black truck, one of those with two rows of seats, rolls to a stop close to the portico cover. The driver’s door opens and a large man dashes around the hood and stops a few feet in front of me.

“Can I give you a ride or help you to your car, ma’am?” he says in a deep voice I recognize as Hunter’s. But this man is not Hunter. He has short neatly cut hair and his handsome face is clean shaven. 

“Hunter?” I say tentatively. 

He gives me a broad smile. “My name’s Aloysius Damatto.”

This is most definitely Hunter sans the disguise and he revealing himself to me. But why? 

He leans to me. “I like you.” He says as if reading my mind.  “I’m offering a ride. Nothing else.” A smile slides across his face. I struggle not to reach up and touch his cheek.

“Nothing that is, until after you turn in your report. After that maybe you’ll want to give me a call.”

I know my mouth is moving but no sound is coming out. He opens the door and helps me climb into the monster truck.  His touch producing what every romance novel I’d read describes when the handsome guy touches the woman in the story. Sheer sexual energy. He closes the door and as he runs around the front of the truck I calculate how many hours it would take to write my reports and turn them in.

Character Interview: Captain Nick Mahoney of Forever & Always

Oct 4 2010, 5:54 pm

I’m meeting the Captain at the Quantico VA officers club. I park my car and walk to the entrance all the while enjoying the scenery. Men in uniform. Everywhere.

At the entrance I see a tall, well built man and as I get closer I know this is the Captain. He is as handsome as his wife, Sara, described him.  He leads me inside to a quiet table by a window and holds out my chair.

“Why do you want to interview me?” he says as he sits.  “Forever and Always is Sara’s story.”

“Yes it is. You are an integral part. Your life together makes the story.”

He nods.

“Before we begin,” his voice is a rich baritone and his expression serious, “I want you to know I never talk about our private life. With anyone. I’m here today because Sara asked me.”

He gives me the impression he will do anything Sara asks.

“I’ll give you basics but no intimate details. Understood?”

I almost answered, yes sir. Instead, I nod and get down to business.

“Tell me how you met. Sara’s told me her side. I want to hear yours.”

His lips twitch into a smile that spreads to his eyes.

“We met at the beach. My brother drove that day and he offered to give some girls a ride home. The car was already full and a couple of the girls had to sit on a boys lap. Sara sat on mine.” He pauses. It seems to me he is enjoying reliving the memory.

“Were you attracted to her?”

“Not for about….five minutes and then I kissed her.” He shook his head and looked like a little boy with his hand caught in the cookie jar. “I’d known her less than five minutes and I kissed her.”

“I take it this was not normal for you.”

“Nope. And it scared the crap out of me.”

The waitress brings us the coffee we’d ordered, ignores me and asks the Captain if she can get him anything else. Her body language saying she is definitely on the menu.

“Thanks,” he says, “coffee is all I need from here.”

Her do-me-now smile vanishes and she goes away.

Mahoney looks at me. “Sorry about that.”

I realize this is something he has dealt with before.

“Where were we?”  He says.

I snap my mind back to the interview.  “Did you ask her out?”

He shakes his head. “I asked around about her. Found out she was the daughter of the town upper crust. Father big in real estate. Mother big into being a snob and a bit..” he stops himself from finishing the word.  “As soon as I found out who her parents were I knew they would never approve of our dating.”

“She had to get permission?”

“She was fifteen and I didn’t want to cause her any trouble.”

“Did you come from the wrong side of the tracks?”

He laughs.  “Her family thought I did. We were farmers. To them we were rednecks. Didn’t make any difference we were the largest property owners in the tri-county area.

“How do you know they felt like that?”

“Her dad wanted to buy land from us for a development along the river. He offered to pay five cents on the dollar for what it was worth. Thought my gramps and dad were stupid. You can imagine were it went from there.”

“I can see why you stayed away.”

Mahoney is quiet.

“When did you see her again?”

“Oh, I saw her every school day. Sometimes on the weekends.” He washes a hand over his face and gives me what I would call a sly smile. “These days I think it’s called stalking.”

I am very surprised by this. Sara told me he avoided her.

“Did you know then you loved her?”

He cocks an eyebrow and gives me an are-you-serious-look.  “I was seventeen.”

O-kay. “When did you know you loved her?”

“The next school year. We ran into each other, literally, after school. It was raining, she came around a corner and crashed into me. I put my arms around her to keep her upright and she wrapped around me.  I maneuvered her against the building, under the eaves, to get out of the rain. The way she…”

He stopped going down the too-much-information highway and shifted in his chair.

“I kissed her and she kissed back.” The emotion previously gathering in his voice is now under control.  “By this time I’d dated, kissed and even..you know..” he pauses and I nod. “a few girls. That kiss was different. I was smart enough to know it was more than lust. Rattled me. I could have any girl, but the one I wanted. I look back and think the staying away could have had something to do with my fear.”

So much for no details. He drinks some coffee and begins again.

“I made a plan. As soon as she was out from under her parents I would be there.”

Men. “What if she found someone else in that time?”

“There are no what if’s. Only the right now’s. We’re together that’s all that’s important.”

This is clearly not an area open for discussion. I change the subject.

“You met again in college. What happened to staying away?”

“College.” He absently toys with the salt- shaker. “I was third year. It was her first year. A couple weeks after the semester began I saw her coming across the common in my direction. I was stunned. Last I heard, she’d applied and had been accepted to more than one Ivy league college.” He leaned to me and I swear his hazel eyes turned green.  “My plans went up in flames and I asked her out.”

“You left a few months later. Why?”

His eyes go dark as fast as they shimmered green and he turns his gaze to the view outside the window.

“Since she was ten Sara wanted to be a doctor. Everything she did was aimed at doing just that. If I stayed, I’d be in her way. I’d already committed six years to this job. I’d be gone more than I was home.

“I wasn’t what she needed. I wanted her to have the happiness she deserved.

“I left.”

He returns his gaze to me.

I was an ass. There was not a day go by I didn’t think of her.  Leaving her was the biggest mistake of my life and the only thing I ever regret doing.”

I look down at my notes to break his intense gaze.

“Three days after I found her again we were married.”

I smile, nod and think Sara Mahoney is the luckiest woman I know.

“I will stand by her forever.” He says softly.  “I will always love her.”

   

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