In Center Stage, my main male character, Roger Zellers, falls in love with Lauren Hanson, a woman ten years younger than he is. Throughout their relationship, he struggles to gain the trust of Dr. Hanson (Lauren’s father). One of my favorite scenes is a bonding moment the two of them share, which makes them both realize that they have much more in common than they thought they did. Knowing Dr. Hanson enjoys fishing, Roger invites him to spend the day on the lake tossing in lines. Roger starts off the morning by bringing him a cup of coffee, something Dr. Hanson dearly loves. Then, once Dr. Hanson sees and admires his sportscar, Roger hands him the keys and lets him drive. They cruise to the lake, discussing various things, at which time Roger reveals something to Dr. Hanson that he hadn’t even told Lauren.
“Lauren’s lucky she has such supportive and loving parents. Not everyone can say that,” Roger said. “My mother is very supportive of me, as is Gary, but unfortunately I never knew my biological father.”
“Really? Why is that?”
Roger proceeded to explain, “My father was Lieutenant Andrew Zellers, United States Air Force. He was a test pilot. One day during a routine test flight, the engine of his plane malfunctioned. He was unable to recover from it and his plane went down. Killed him on impact. My mother was six months pregnant with me at the time, so I never knew my father.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It’s alright,” Roger claimed. “Gary’s a good man. My mother met him when I was young, and they married when I was eight years old. He’s the only father I’ve ever known.”
“It’s good to have someone like that in your life who was willing to take on being a father figure for you.”
Roger agreed. “Yes. I’m very grateful.”
When they returned to New York City, Dr. Hanson acknowledges, in his own subtle way, his newly gained trust in Roger.
Before they went their separate ways, Dr. Hanson shook Roger’s hand. “I had a great time today. Thank you, Roger.”
“Any time, Sir. Thank you for listening to the story about my father.”
“I feel honored that you shared it with me,” he replied. “Thank you also for looking after Lauren. I feel a lot safer knowing she has you here.”
All those months of working to gain Dr. Hanson’s trust finally paid off. “It’s my pleasure, Sir.”