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X-treme Wrestling Federation » XWF Live! » Character Development RPs
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Family Secrets
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)

04-09-2024, 04:59 PM

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Long Island,
New York

Tyler and his significant other left just after three this afternoon.  For the last hour and a half I debated in my head just how to tell Frankie everything.  I wondered if I should tell him at all.  Certain things would be a heavy burden for a full grown well adjusted adult to carry.  He is not that.  He’s intelligent.  He’s mature for his age.  He sees more than he realizes, he knows more than he lets on… but at the same time, he’s still just a kid.

”Hey Bub,” I said quietly after politely knocking on the door jam of his bedroom.  He rested on his bed with his iPad in front of his face and his knees pointed toward the ceiling.  At first, he considered whether or not to acknowledge my existence.

”I don’t have anything to say to you right now,” he said with deep sadness in his voice.

”I think you have plenty to say to me, Frank,” I argued.  ”So let’s go for a ride.  You can get everything off your chest.”

”Dad, I just wanna lay here and play this game so if you don’t mind…”

”I do mind, actually,” I cut him off.  ”Put the god damn game down and get your ass in the garage in five minutes.”

Saying nothing initially, he sighed deeply and laid his iPad upon his chest.

”Can we at least take the Land Yacht?”

”Land Yacht?” I questioned.  ”What the hell is a Land Yacht?”

”The Lincoln,” he replied.

I didn’t drive it much.  My dad and I built it when I was Frankie’s age, but while it held some sentimental value, it just wasn’t a practical car.  You’re basically behind the wheel of a rolling… oh i get it.  Land Yacht!  Clever little shit.

”Five minutes Frankie.  Don’t be late.”

He was definitely late.  He’s learned way too much from me and not all of it is good.  Nevertheless, as I waited in the garage, I started getting the Lincoln prepped for a ride.  Moved the seat way up, adjusted the steering wheel, made sure the brakes were good.  All of it for an intended purpose.  Right after we moved here almost a year ago, I taught Frankie how to drive.  In fairness, it's just an old beater truck that we use on the farm, but still, he’s capable of driving.

When he finally met me in the garage, he didn’t say much.  He just stood near the doorway to the house.  He was showered with his New York Yankees ball cap pulled low over his brow.  His curls, like my own, looked pretty awesome curling back and up below the cap.  He was always small for his age but over the last six months, he’s hit a growth spurt and is now well over five feet tall.

By “well over” I mean like 5’4”.  That’s pretty tall for him.

Leaning against the fender, I just looked at him.  As a dad, I’m so proud of him for so many different things.  From the second I met him, I’ve loved him with my whole entire heart.  His kindness, and strength.  His giving and loving heart.  His caring, selfless nature.  There was a time that he had me on a pedestal.  Perhaps in some ways he still has me there.  But, the truth is, I have him on a pedestal.  Everything he is as a young man, I wish I was.  I admire that kid from tip to tail.

”So,” Frankie cut through the silence.  ”What do you wanna talk about?”

Saying nothing, I tossed him the keys to the big Lincoln Continental.

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”What’s this?” he asked.

”You’re driving,” I answered.  Most assuredly I looked around for Lauren.  ”Just don’t tell mom because she’ll have my ass.”

”You serious?” he asked with a wide grin as he looked at the keys in his hand.

”You know how to drive, Frankie.  I’m not scared of it,” I said as I poked my head out of the garage to once again look for Lauren.  ”Your mom however, scares the shit out of me.”

Inside the Land Yacht, as Frankie calls it, he sat proudly behind the wheel and fired the engine before slowly backing it onto the driveway.

”Where we goin’?” he asked as he put the car in drive and started down the driveway.

”You remember that warehouse in Brooklyn where we took your Firebird?”

”It’s literally burned into my memory, dad,” he informed me.  ”I lived like three blocks from there.

“Hey,” he said as he stopped at the edge of the drive.  ”What if we get stopped?”

”Even if we did, it’s me that gets in trouble, not you.”

The ride to Brooklyn was largely uneventful.  I gave him some tips and tricks for street driving here and there but he did well.  Slow, but well.  At the warehouse, I instructed him to pull the car inside.  Once the car was parked and the engine was killed, Frankie took a few minutes to look over his Trans Am, then turned his attention to me.

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”What’s this all about?”

”An apology,” I said with a shaky voice.  ”I put you in a position to get hurt and no matter what Tyler did… Frankie, I let my guard down and it’s my fault.”

”Dad, I…” he tried to interject.

”Let me finish,” I interrupted as I pulled a garage stool over and took a seat.  Likewise, he hopped up on the fender of the Lincoln.  ”It’s my fault Tyler is out of prison, it’s my fault he was at Thanksgiving and it’s my fault that I made you confront him before you were ready.  I didn’t consult you.  I didn’t consider how you might feel and I regret that.

”Today, tomorrow, forever Frankie.  I’m sorry I couldn’t see right from fucked up this time.”

”Stop,” he insisted.  ”You’re just gonna make me cry and I don’t want to.”

”That’s alright,” I said with a smile.  ”I’ll cry enough for both of us.”

“You're a good person, Frankie.  You're kind and caring.  You want to love everyone.  You don't deserve the things that have happened to you.

”You didn't deserve to be in fear for your life when the plane was hijacked.  You didn't deserve to have to run for your life when my enemies attacked our house.  You didn't deserve for Lincoln Tritter to put a price on your head.

”And you damn sure didn't deserve a two bit hack like Easton Alexander targeting you just to hurt me.  You didn't deserve to have someone like Tyler help him do it.  Frankie, I will spend the rest of my life being sorry for all of that.”

It was hard, emotional. I have made numerous mistakes that I can never take back.  I was never prepared to be a dad when he came into my life.  That's not an excuse, just the truth.  I was 20 years old and raising a then-9 year old boy.  I've been learning on the job every day since.  My success far outnumber my failures, but my failures have been some real whoppers.

”Dad?” he interrupted my thoughts.  ”What is this place?  I mean, really.”

”I'm really glad you asked me that,” I said as I stepped off the stool and nodded for him to come with me.

After he hopped down off the fender, we took a stroll through the facility.  I bought this place just after Lauren and I were married.  This was supposed to be a sort of command center for any “war” we'd have with the New York underground.  That war has gone cold since, but… you never know.

We walked and talked for at least 45 minutes.  I started small, naturally, but he took most things in stride.  He asked questions when he had them and I answered them honestly and truthfully. Carefully, I explained to him that there are no limits, no lengths to which me and his mother will not go to in order to protect him and his brother and sister.  By the time we’d made it up to the catwalks, he’d posed scenarios and asked some questions about what we’d do if this happened or that.  The answer never changed: whatever it took, legal or not.

Up among the catwalks lies a room.  Within that room rested an ‘office’ with a bank of servers and a number of computers that are tapped into the NYPD mainframes.

…for monitoring purposes, obviously.

He and I sat in a couple of chairs in that room.

“You said Lincoln Tritter targeted me?” he asked with sadness in his voice.  ”What'd you mean?”

”At the end of The Last War, it came out that the hijacking of our plane was orchestrated by Tritter,” I began.  ”I was obviously the main target but he knew you were with me.  If you went down with me, it was all the better.

”You were my son, he told your mother.  And I was raising you in my image.”

He sat quietly for a few minutes as he considered what I'd told him that night.

”What happened to him?”

”Mom happened to him,” I said before turning my head to look out the door toward the ground floor.  ”Right down there.”

”But why though?” he asked.  ”Why do people want you dead?”

”Because of my family,” I began to explain.  ”I was indoctrinated from the moment I was born, Frankie.  The Catholic Church was my enemy.  That's what I grew up believing.

”They weren't though,” I paused.  ”At least not until my father and grandfather made them so.  They went too far and a war that existed only in their own minds became a reality.

”I didn't know that my whole life’s purpose was a lie until it was too late.  I had to finish what they started in order to live.  You became a target as a result and there are no apologies that I make to you that will make that right.”

That one was heavy, but I made a vow to myself to answer any question he had with full transparency.  He sat quietly again for a few minutes.

”What about my dad?” he asked.

At first, I couldn’t answer.  I just sat there staring into his eyes and he into mine.

”What about him?” I stalled.

”Did you do something to him?” he asked.  ”I remember me freakin’ out when I found out he was let out of prison.  I distinctly remember you sayin’ he’d never take me away from you.  I remember you sayin’ you’d fix it.

”When you got home you came into my room,” he paused as quiet tears streamed down his cheek.  ”Did you kill my dad?”

”No,” I answered him as honestly as I was able.

The truth is, I meant to kill him that night.  When I got there, I couldn’t bring myself to do it and instead, I tried to buy him off.  I offered him an absurd amount of money to go away, start a new life and never come back.  That night in the dark alley behind some random dive bar, Keith Rickle lost his life but it was not by my hand.

”Fact is, Frankie,” I began to explain.  ”Your mom has some enemies inside the New York mob and they ambushed me in the alley while I was talking to your dad.  He was gunned down by people trying to kill me.

”If I hadn’t gone there, if I hadn’t tried to buy off your father, Keith would still be alive.”

Looking into his eyes and watching them well up with tears, I knew he was in incredible emotional pain.  Dealing with his mothers death, his entire life being upended, his fathers imprisonment, subsequent release and murder is… unimaginable.

”He was your dad, Frankie,” I said to the boy.  ”Despite everything, it’s okay to still love him.  It’s okay to still grieve for him.  It’s okay to hurt… and it’s damn sure okay to let it out.”

As if he waited for my permission, no sooner did I tell him how okay everything was, his eyes sprung tears as if it were a failing dam.  Grabbing him by his shirt collar, I pulled him from his chair to rest against my chest.  He sobbed into my shirt and all I did was hold him as tight as I could and kiss the top of his head.  I didn’t care how long it took him to get it out.  We’d have stayed there all night if that’s what it took.  While he openly wept on me at first, it slowly faded to quiet sobs.  I did the only thing I could do.  I just stroked his hair and kept reminding him how much his father loved him despite his crimes, how much I love him, how much his mother loves him.  I told him how grateful I was that Keith fathered him, because without Keith, there is no Frankie.  Without Frankie, I simply cease to exist.  I told him how much I admired his strength and courage.  I reminded him just how much it’s okay to not be okay.

One thing is for certain.  I need to do a much better job honoring Frankie’s former life and those he came from.  Sure, he lives a new life now, but that doesn’t mean that his past simply no longer exists.

”Why do you think Tyler did it?” he finally asked as he wiped his eyes and pulled away from my chest.

”That's the million dollar question, isn't it?” I asked him rhetorically.  ”I don't know why, exactly.”

”But you have a theory,” Frankie said as a statement of fact as he took a step backwards.

”I think Tyler fears people getting too close,” I began.  ”Me, your mom, Uncle Seb, Aunt Sloane… we took him into our little clique, made him one of us.  He was a good ally, a good friend… until he wasn't.

”I think he suffers from the same affliction that I did,” I continued.  ”For a long time it seemed like everyone I loved either left, or pushed me away.  So I'd push them away before they could.

”I think that's what Tyler does.  It’s called self-sabotage and I think that's why he did it.  When you go through that stuff it's really scary.  So when people get close you start thinking ‘they'll be gone soon.’  So rather than wait for the inevitable heartbreak, we speed up the process just to get it over with.

”Does that make sense to you?”

”In a way, I guess,” he replied.  ”But there's a chance no one is leaving, so why speed it up if they never had any intention of leaving in the first place?”

”Because history teaches us that they're gonna leave,” I replied.  ”No conversation we ever have in our heads includes the possibility that anyone is sticking around.”

”You said you used to do that too.  How did you get better?”

”Tens of thousands of dollars in therapy bills,” I laughed as I answered.

We paused as he reflected on some things.  If I’m being entirely honest, I am too.

”This Tyler treason can not stand,” he said with a smirk.

”You've been watching House of the Dragon.”

”Only in YouTube reaction videos,” he answered.  ”Rhaenys is a boss!”

”Well then, Blood of my Blood, how do we respond?”

Frankie sat and pondered my question for quite awhile.  When he broke his silence, it was less about what's to be done and more about how he felt when it happened, how he feels now.  At least at first.

”It was humiliating,” he began.  ”I thought he was my friend.  I loved him and I thought he loved me back.

”I felt powerless.  Like I had no control over anything.  How do I make him give me my power back?”

”You don't,” I replied, much to his dismay.  ”I'll tell you something I learned from my grandfather when I was about your age.

”Power isn't inherited,” I began.  ”It isn't something that can be given away.  It's not something that can be handed down through generations.

”Power, Frankie… is something you take.”

”Well then,” he sighed.  ”I guess I'm stuck feeling powerless.”

”Are you?” I asked in a manner that was more of a challenge to him to make him think harder rather than an actual question.

”It's not like I can beat him up or something,” he replied.

”That’s true, but I think you're missing the point,” I said as I stood from the chair.  He followed suit and followed me to the edge of the catwalk overlooking the ground floor.

”Think of it like a game of chess,” I continued.  ”The goal is to capture the king and the only way to do that is to move the chess pieces in such a way that you corner the son of a bitch until there is no escape.

”I'm your prized chess piece and the ring is your board.  You move all the pieces… and I'll corner the mother fucker.”

”So plotting against him takes back the power he stole from me?”

”Maybe it will, maybe it won't,” I answered him honestly.  ”But it's your plot and I am your vessel.  I am the puppet attached to your strings.  Now, and always.”

For as long as Frankie has been a part of my family, I have always cherished these one on one’s with him.  In the past, I've claimed that he is the best thing to ever happen to me and to this day, I still believe that.  It's at a point now where not only do I not remember what life was like without him, but I don't even want to remember it.  I'm obviously still growing and learning as a father, but from the day I met him as Francis Robert Rickle, he's made me want, strive, and need to be a better man.

Sometimes I fail and I'm the first to admit that.  Unlike most, I do not shy away from my shortcomings.  I do not hide from my past demons.

I confront them.

Tyler Norrie is a demon from my past… and I do look forward to exorcizing this one.

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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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