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X-treme Wrestling Federation » XWF Live! » Character Development RPs
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Old Debts
Author Message
Thaddeus Duke Offline
Management Lv. 2


XWF FanBase:
Some of everyone

(cheered; very rarely plays dirty but isn't lame either; many likable qualities)

03-24-2024, 05:51 PM

The Story So Far:

In Triad, Lauren’s problematic brother, Maurice Weber entered the family dynamic.  He’d been in prison for quite some time and unbeknownst to the Duke’s, he’d been released.  In Lauren’s youth, Maurice treated her as a tool to get whatever he wanted.  He’d use her anyway he could.  A lot of that, was having her use her body to help him.  Sex, drugs, robbery, he was a piece of shit in every sense.  His inclusion into our story was to serve a few purposes:
  • to shed light on Lauren MacKay’s youth.
  • to peel back the curtain on her history in order to force folks to question whether or not she married Thad for love, or for what he could give her.
  • to finally and emphatically establish the fact that Lauren and Thaddeus truly love each other and there’s no boundaries when it comes to protecting one another and their family.  Less Bonnie & Clyde, certainly not Sonny & Cher, but more like Johnny & June with an edge.  Or maybe like Dan and Roseanne before she went nuts.  Except far more money, far less fat, and a million times prettier.

In the closing chapters of the Maurice Weber Triad story, Lauren made him leave.  He came back while Thad & Lauren were en route to the airport for Cambodia, holding Frankie and the twins in a hostage situation at knife point.  Upon returning home with the quickness, Lauren shot Maurice in the chest, killing him.

While killing him was deserved, it doesn’t change the fact that despite Maurice being a terrible person, in his own way, he loved his baby sister.  Lauren loved him too.  As a human being, I can’t imagine what it’d do to a person who was forced to make a life and death decision to kill someone you love to protect other people you love.  I’d imagine it’s torture.

Thad has been there.  He knows what it feels like to kill someone you love.  No matter how deserving they are of death, making that decision to end their life then having to live with that decision for the rest of yours… brutal.

Green Lawn Cemetery
Long Island, NY

The procession rolled slowly, then slower still as it made a right turn to enter the cemetery gates.  Frankie and Seb joined Lauren and I in the limousine, but no one spoke.  From the house to the church, from the church up until now, Lauren has just stared out the window at nothing in particular.  Maurice was not a good person and I’m personally happy he’s dead.  I wish though, for my wife’s sake, that she hadn’t been the one to kill him.  I’ve been there before.  I know what it’s like.  I have lived with it everyday since and she doesn’t deserve the internal torture that comes with it.

On the other hand, maybe it needed to be her.  Maybe in the end, if I had done it rather than her, maybe she’d have grown to resent me for it.  Maybe it would’ve attached a dark cloud over our marriage.  One so thick, so dark and so black that eventually we wouldn’t see the light anymore.  One that would threaten to tear down what we’ve built.

We’re in the very early stages here though.  It still could fall that way.

In the distance, I saw the mammoth black marbled granite structure that housed the dead Duke’s of generations past rising over the hill.

”Dad can I take this tie off?” Frankie asked as he fidgeted with the knot.

”No,” I replied quietly.  ”And stop messing with it.”

”Why not?” he protested in a huff.  ”He’s dead, it’s not like he’ll be offended if I’m not wearing a tie!”

”Frankie,” I sighed as Lauren gripped my hand tighter.

”Well I’m right,” he quipped.

”It doesn’t matter if you’re right or not,” I said curtly.  ”Leave your goddamn tie alone and stop pissing me off.”

The procession slowed to a stop outside the family mausoleum and we slowly filed out of the car.  Lauren hadn’t uttered a single word since we left the house.  Part of me worries about that.  Part of me… gets it.

”You gonna help us this time?” Frankie asked as he and Seb took their places on either side of the hearse joined with some guys from the local church.  ”It’s heavy.”

”My place is right here,” I said as I pulled Lauren closer to me.  It occurred to me why the usually level headed Frankie is acting out today.  It has nothing to do with me or Lauren, nothing to do with Maurice even.  Fact is, his birth mother is buried in this same cemetery.  Only about an acre from where we stood.  Every now and then, I caught Frankie looking in her direction.

Lauren and I followed Seb, Frankie and the other pallbearers as they carried Maurice’s casket inside the building.  Things fell quiet as we waited for the priest.  The irony is not lost on me.  For decades my family waged war with the Catholic Church.  Now, inside the Duke mausoleum, rest two Catholics.  In the decades to come, more will be added.  Lauren and Frankie are both Catholic.  From a personal standpoint, I don’t care.  I have no more love or hate for Catholics than I do anyone of any religion or denomination.  I’m an atheist from tip to tail.

I took a moment to glance around the interior.  My father, my mother, and my best friend James are all buried here.  Noticing a mark on my father’s headstone I took just a second to check it out.  Once I got closer, I realized the mark was a deep scratch running diagonally downward from top left to bottom right.  Even closer still, the scratch wasn’t a scratch, but a crack.  Making a mental note to get it fixed or replaced, I returned to my place beside my wife.

”Our brother Maurice has gone to his rest in the peace of Christ,” Father Ellis Murray began.  ”May the Lord now welcome him to the table of God’s children in heaven.  With
faith and hope in eternal life, let us assist him with our prayers.  Let us pray to the Lord also for ourselves. May we who mourn be reunited one day with Maurice; together may we meet Christ Jesus when he who is our life appears in glory.”

The four of us stood there, unspoken, unshaken.  Lauren was as cold as ever.  So cold that I could swear I  felt the ice.

”We read in sacred scripture,” Father Murray continued.  ”In chapter six, verse thirty-nine John tells us: This is the will of my Father, says the Lord, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day.”

I’m not a stranger to church or to religious ceremonies.  I don’t like them.  I think they’re bullshit and lead people to think they’re somehow morally superior to anyone that disagrees with them and their opinions as to whether or not there is a God.  However, I do not shove my beliefs down anyone’s gullet.  Lauren and Frankie are both Catholic and as such, I’ve spent many Sunday’s with my wife and kids sitting on a mahogany bench pretending to listen, all the while wishing I was anywhere else entirely.  That’s my job as a husband, as a father.  To support those I love, even if I disagree.

”All praise to you, Lord of all creation,” began Father Murray as he gathered us around Maurice's casket.  ”Praise to you, holy and living God.  We praise and bless you for your mercy,
we praise and bless you for your kindness.  Blessed is the Lord, our God

“Blessed is the Lord, our God,” Frankie and Lauren said in unison.  Seb and I politely nodded our heads.

[purple]”You sanctify the homes of the living and make holy the places of the dead,”
he continued.  ”You alone open the gates of righteousness and lead us to the dwellings of the saints.  Blessed is the Lord, our God.”

“Blessed is the Lord, our God,” they said again… like sheep.

Kill me, please.

”We praise you, our refuge and strength.  We bless you, our God and Redeemer.  Your praise is always in our hearts and on our lips.  We remember the mighty deeds of the covenant.  Blessed is the Lord, our God.”

“Blessed is the Lord, our God,” they repeated. How do they not know this sounds cultish?

”Almighty and ever-living God, remember the mercy with which you graced your servant Maurice in life.”

LOL, he had no mercy.

”Receive him, we pray, into the mansions of the saints.  As we make ready our brother’s resting place, look also with favor on those who mourn and comfort them in their loss.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.”

“Amen.”  The sheep conclude being sheep.  For now.

I had zoned out for the majority of the ceremony.  I noticed him before the end, lingering near the entrance like cabbage induced flatulence.  My grandfather, Alister Henry.

[Image: 41StSo7.png]

Alister and I have never had a warm relationship.  One could be forgiven for thinking that since he's one of just two known living blood relatives that I have left, that maybe I should forge a relationship with him.  If not for me, then for my two youngest children, his great-grandchildren.

Once upon a time, I left the life I used to live and wore the name Jameson Henry.  Acting as Alister’s debt collector, I did many bad things to many people.  Some of them were no doubt deserving of what was done to them on my orders.  Many of them, not so much.  I know the life he leads.  I know the business he tends to.  I know the people he's beholden to.  That is not the world I want my children to grow up in.  Not yesterday, not today, certainly not tomorrow.

Things with Alister started complicated five years ago, and they remain complicated today.  During my time working for him and staying with him and his arm candy wife, I struck up a relationship with her.  One that was full of danger and physical attraction. That woman would mother Caty and Talon.

It all seemed like ancient history now.  When I left Alister's employ, Elizabeth came with me.  She divorced him and there was a time I thought I'd marry her, make her a righteous woman.  Instead, it all fell apart through my own infidelity.

I'm a different man than I was then.  I've sought treatment for my marital misconduct and while I do not now, nor should I ever receive a pat on the back for learning to control my worst impulses and remain loyal to my incredible wife, I'm a better man for having dealt with things the way I have.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth has fallen off the grid, seemingly.  After our split, we did our level best to share custody of Caty and T.J.  Splitting their time between New York and North Carolina where she lived, was less and less feasible as time went on.  Their stays with me grew longer and longer until… eventually… Liz stopped calling entirely.

Many people that used to know Lauren, or at least thought they knew her, might be surprised to learn that she stepped into the mother role flawlessly.  Between diapers, feedings, illnesses and just general love and nurturing, she has effectively become their mother despite not sharing an ounce of blood with them.  Hell, they even call her mom.

As everyone filed out of the mausoleum, Alister hung back to speak to me privately.  I stopped to chat with him, but waited as I watched Lauren and Frankie bypass the cars and head off across the lots, presumably to pay his respects to the woman that gave him life.  Meanwhile, Seb leaned against the car and pulled out his cell.

”I don't imagine you knew Maurice let alone give two shits about my wife and her well-being so let's just cut the shit and tell me what you want,” I said, urging him to get to the point quickly.

Alister says nothing at first. The unemotional man tied to the New York underworld grabbed me by my suit jacket and pulled me toward one of the benches inside the mausoleum.

”You promised me things, Jamie,” he began as we sat.

”Don't call me that.”  He always insisted on pissing me off.  Especially by calling me that name.

”You had images of wealth and grandeur dancing inside my head,” he said in reference to a meeting we had at my warehouse in Brooklyn a year or so ago.

”That was a different time,” I informed him.

”Was it?”

”Besides that, you lack neither wealth nor grandeur.”

”No I surely don't,” Alister agreed.

”Things went quiet, Grandfather,” I told him without attitude.  ”The warning shot we gave them made it so.”

”You're sure about that?” he questioned.  ”Sure enough to bet the safety of your wife and children on it?”

”I don't gamble anything I'm not willing to lose, Alister,” I said before a brief pause as I considered what he was beating around the bush for.  ”I don't gamble when it comes to my family.  I’m all in and if it comes to it… all out.”

”Then you better get strapped and ready to get back in the game, Thaddeus,” he warned me.

”What do you know?” I asked after some consideration.

Alister stood from the bench as he considered his answer.  He paced a moment in thought.

”I don't think they know yet that your late brother-in-law and your wife are kin,” he began.  ”But I figured it out without you telling me, so how much longer do you think it'll take them?”

”What are you saying?” I asked furiously as I stood from the bench.

”Ahhh, that infamous Duke temper,” he said before answering my inquiry.  ”I know nothing concrete.  Only that your brother-in-law had yet to pay what he owed before he met his untimely end.

“You know them as well as I do, Thaddeus.  When they put it all together, do you think they'll hesitate to recoup their investment by targeting Lauren? Or worse still, young Francis?”

My heart raced and my brain went into a million different directions.

”You know more than you’re telling me,” I pressed.

”I told you, I don’t know anything concrete, but I do know they’re searching for any living family members,” he said.  ”Rumor is, he owed them a lot of product.”

”Son of a bitch,” I muttered to myself as Alister began his stroll toward the door.  ”Keep me informed?”

”Believe it or not Thaddeus, I do care a great deal about you and your children,” he said as he stopped at the doorway.  ”My blood is in your veins.  If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here.”

Alister turned to leave, but I stopped him.

”Alister,” I called out to him.  He stopped and turned.  There were a lot of things I wanted to tell him.  I wanted to apologize for the times I lost my cool and hit him.  I wanted to apologize for stealing his wife, though I do not regret it.  Regretting Elizabeth would be regretting Caty and Talon and that surely won’t happen.  I wanted to thank him for taking me in when I wasn’t myself and despite the type of life he leads, I do cherish what few bonding moments we had.

”Thank you, Grandfather,” I said instead.  He nodded with the slightest of smiles and made his exit.  I sat pondering on the mourning bench.

”Business associate?” Seb asked, startling me from my thoughts.

”Grandfather,” I said as he sat beside me.  ”We gotta talk business.”

”What kind of business?”

”Veneras business,” I replied.  ”I’m gonna need no less than three armed guards on Frankie at all times.”

Seb leaned forward with a worried look on his face.

”What’s going on, mate?”

”Maybe nothing,” I answered.  ”But I’m not willing to make that bet.”

It could be nothing.  But in the event that it isn’t nothing, the only thing I have that people can use to get to me is my family.  That’s the biggest drawback to having a virtually unlimited bank account.  No matter how hard they try, they can’t ever hurt my wallet.  So, they resort to the only way they can hurt me… family.

[Image: wgqr9W2.png]

1x  XWF Universal Champion || 3x  XWF Xtreme Champion || 1x  XWF Supercontinental Champion (First)
1x  XWF Hart Champion (Last) || 2x  XWF Television Champion || 1x  XWF Tag Team Champion
1x  OCW Savage Champion || 1x IIW Tag Team Champion  || 2x  SOTM (9/20, 7/21)
2021 Male Wrestler of the Year (shared w/ Alias) || XWF Hall of Legends
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