Sorry for posting so much so soon! But I wanted to test this out on real people. I'm writing in a very tight third person, so I'm trying to only state what Miles knows, and even be careful that the details I include are details Miles would have noticed (for example, he won't be commenting on the fabric and trimming of a girl's dress. It's just a dress). This is somewhat difficult because Miles is horrendously bad at reading people. So he is often very, very wrong about how the other characters feel. I want the readers to pick up on cues that Miles misses (or misinterprets), without making it so banging-over-the-head-obvious that it seems impossible for Miles to not notice what is going on and makes him just look like an idiot. So here's a scene I just wrote. Can you tell how Billy is feeling from this? Is it too obvious? Suggestions? Anyone else that has written from a tight third person (or a first person with an unreliable narrator) that can give me some been-there-done-that tips? Billy got up and strode to the window, hands behind his back. He looked out for a long minute. “Can’t?” He paused, then spun to face Miles. “Or won’t?” “Both. I can’t, so I won’t.” Billy’s dramatics annoyed Miles to no end, and he liked to snap a short sentence back at him, refusing to be his fellow actor. Billy balled his fists. They hadn’t had a proper fight in ages, and Miles was ready. But then his fists relaxed. “I get it. It’s your mother again.” Miles jumped to his feet. “You don’t understand the circumstances.” It was the kind of sentence Billy would use. But in his fury, he couldn’t manage the lofty tone with which Billy would have said it. Billy opened his mouth, then seemed to change his mind. He was quiet a couple of moments, then he smiled and shook his head. “All right. If you want to show up a whole month from now, so be it. I’ll just get set up, by myself, of course. But I can manage.” He spoke in a tight, clipped manner, which was unusual. “I’ll build a house, without help, and then you can stay with me while I help you build yours. It will work out just fine. For some of us.” Miles was relieved that Billy had come around to the idea. He was afraid he'd be angry. “Thanks for understanding.” Miles held out his hand to shake, but he guessed Billy didn’t notice. He waited a while, until his arm got tired. “You’re welcome,” Billy said, in the same peculiar voice. “Well, I have a lot of preparations to make. Since I’ll be leaving next week, by myself.” Miles decided he had better leave Billy alone. He seemed busy--maybe that was what the strange voice was about. And Miles didn’t want to wait until he had outstayed his welcome. “You know the way out.” Again, Billy didn’t seem to notice the hand Miles held out to shake. He was probably overwhelmed by thoughts of what he would need to bring. Miles said goodbye and left.