In this scene, our heroine’s gumption is tested after a failed attempt at escape.
He whipped her around to face him, his frigid blue eyes daring her to try it again. Hysterically she wished he’d put his glasses back on. She gulped air. “A-are y-you going t-to k-kill me?” She hated herself for stuttering like a fool.
He didn’t move. She was afraid to take her eyes off him. Afraid of what he could do now that he had her alone. Why, why, why, her mind wailed in the smothering silence. “A-are you?”
He nodded behind her. “Sit over there.”
He pointed to a lovely round wooden table encircled by elegantly carved chairs. She stumbled over to it, her heart in her throat, never taking her eyes off of him.
Celia sat. He opened the door, grabbed her bags, shut the door again, then came and peeled off her coat. “It’s not too late to let me go.”
He ignored her, leaving her mind to leap from one horror to another, one stupid question to another, like, if he were a killer wouldn’t she already be dead? Stupid, stupid question. That could only mean one thing. Once upon a forgotten time she had experienced the unthinkable, the unbelievable, and since then she’d made sure her closest encounters with villains were in the books she wrote, and they were always historical figures, warriors or Romans. This man was clearly neither one, and yet he had the slight indentation of a long thin scar above his left eye, below his brow; an indication of the violence in the man, and her fate?
She shivered again, her chest tight with dread. She had reason to fear, had reason to imagine the worst.
Then, as if it he had a habit of it, he began to tie her to the chair. “No!” She jumped up and into the first rage she’d known in years. “No, I won’t let you!” Little good the rage did her. He pinned her arms with no effort, as if he’d expected her to fight, but she kicked and struggled against him anyway. This time when he set her back in the chair her tears won.
“I can’t stop.”
“I don’t want to hear it.”
“I don’t care!” Celia had no idea what bug of self destruction bit her, but anger welled within her again, righteous anger, dangerous anger, could-get-her-killed-right-now anger. It overwhelmed her fear, blocked it out for one sweet instant. There were some things worse than death. She jerked her arms to make it harder for him. “I don’t want to be tied up.”
He leaned down and brought those icebergs close enough to her face for frostbite. “Get used to it.”
The fact that through her fear Celia can still think clearly, still react in spite of the danger, shows her gumption, her courage, and will help sustain her through her ordeal, we hope! What about your heroine/hero? Do they have the gumption to make it through what life throws at them, and if so, how will they put that gumption, that courage to work?