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Cry me a River

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On Jersey Avenue in Orlando, Florida a house has been built in the 1980ies by a construction company who was ordered to do so by a man named Steve Kennedy Rollins. It wasn’t a big house just enough for him and his future wife and maybe one, two or even three children in the future. The house was close to Crystal Lake giving Steve the freedom to fulfill his dream of building his own boat and going fishing from time to time to get his head cleared after his daily work at a local restaurant. Steve was a chef at the Ceviche Tapas in Orlando.

In 1982 Steve met Jennifer at is friend’s birthday party and fell in love. Jennifer at the age of 18 back then had just finished High School and moved to Orlando to start a schooling at the Orlando International Airport Hotel to become a made. Steve himself was 23 but the five years of age difference never seemed to bother either. It didn’t take long for them to get married and move in together into the house on Jersey Avenue. In fact it only took them four years.

It took another year for Jennifer to get pregnant for the first time and in 1988 Steve and Jennifer’s first son was born. Jeremy was a healthy and beautiful boy, all giggles and smiles and never crying. Another two years later Jennifer got pregnant again and Seth Rollins was born. His little sister Abigail was born three years later.

1993 family Rollins was complete, sharing the wonderful home on Jersey Avenue in Orlando. This was 14 years ago.

•••

As his alarm went off Seth groaned in frustration. Seven o’clock in the morning. Christmas morning. Who in the world had introduced the tradition of opening christmas gifts that early in the morning? Seth definitely wasn’t the one. Since he had no other choice though he decided to get up before either of his parents would storm into his room and literally pull him out of bed. He’d risked this twice in his life and regretted both times. After opening the gifts and having breakfast he could go back to bed and get some more rest. His only motivation to get up for now.

It was a shame though being ripped out of his dreams about Justin Timberlake. Before he’d fallen asleep the night before he’d imagined how it’d feel to get just one kiss by the endlessly sexy singer and in his dreams the fantasy went on, Seth seeing himself making out with Justin backstage after a concert of the other male. He hated being interrupted when having a great dream like this.

His room was super cold so Seth wrapped his blanket around his shoulders as he moved over to his wardrobe on wobbly legs still drunk on sleep due to being awake so long the night before. The rest of the family had been over for christmas dinner and they didn’t leave until midnight. After that he was wide awake and watched a DVD of Justin’s concert he’d gotten for his birthday. Since he still hadn’t been tired after that he put the DVD of this year’s Wrestlemania in his playstation and couldn’t fall asleep until it was over and then of course there was his imagination about Timberlake which would finally help him fall asleep. This wasn’t before 3am thought.

Reaching his wardrobe Seth put on some sweatpants without dropping the blanket, not even once risking losing the warmth inside of his blanket-coat. On his head his hair probably was a mess, blonde and brown strands lying in every direction but he didn’t bother putting them in a bun. It was only his parents and siblings who’d see him anyway.

Instead he made his way out of his room, eyes barely open as he got to the living room. His sister was already there, hot cocoa in her hands and a smile on her face. How could she even be awake awake enough to smile this early? With only a low grumble on his lips to tell her good morning Seth dropped down next to her and tried cuddling into his blanket enough to vanish in it but he was too big for the piece of fabric so his head had to keep sticking out.

“Abby?” His mom’s voice came from the kitchen where she probably had been preparing the breakfast for an hour now which he could only guess but was pretty sure of since she always put effort into everything concerning her family. “Are your brothers up yet? Please go check if they are at least in the bathroom by now. We want to start opening the gifts soon.”

His little sister emptied the cup in her hands and got up from the couch. “Seth’s here.” She yelled back. Seemed like she wasn’t as awake or happy to be awake either since the sleep was still thick on her voice. “Stop yelling.” Seth mumbled, closing his eyes again as he dropped his head back against the back of the couch. Abigail rolled her eyes as he spoke and went to leave the living room.

Nice, maybe he could nap for just a couple of minutes longer. This wish was crushed by his brother just seconds after he finished his thought. “Morning, herring.” Now that was a way to be pulled out of the sleep Seth was just falling back into. As if it could save him from his brother Seth turned his head to the side, nuzzling his face into his blanket too. “Ah, baby brother. Too tired from staying up all night watching wrestling to open your gifts now? Don’t worry, I’ll gladly take yours too if you even get any.”

Jeremy dropped down on the couch next to Seth and wrapped his arm around his little brother’s shoulder, letting it slide up to his neck to put the smaller boy in a headlock and press his face into Jeremy’s chest. Now Seth was definitely awake, struggling for oxygen as his glasses were pressed into his face too. “Get off me, Jer’” He tried pulling free but there wasn’t much muscle on his body to push off his brother.

“What? What’d you say?” His older brother tightened his grip, taking away all of Seth’s oxygen so his head turned more red every second and his only attempts of beating his brother in the stomach got weaker until he was sure he’d pass out if Jeremy didn’t let go right now. Luckily his mother entered the room. “Jeremy, let go of your brother. It’s Christmas, can’t the two of you get along just once?”

Immediately Seth was released. He started coughing in order to get back some air into his lungs as he put one hand on his chest which started hurting already. Jeremy was chuckling next to him and Seth glared at him. While he was still doing so his mom handed them both a cup of hot chocolate just like Abby had gotten before. “Seth stop glaring at your brother.” His mother demanded in the very same moment. “And Jeremy stop assaulting Seth. You’re not kids anymore, boys. Now drink your hot chocolate while I go find your father.”

As soon as Jennifer had left the room Jeremy rammed his elbow into Seth’s ribs to make him cry out in pain with a tiny “Fuck..” on his lips as he almost spilled his chocolate over his blanket and crotch. “Asshole, what the hell?” Again he glared at his brother who was still chuckling. Seth tried to slide to the very end of the couch which wasn’t as far away from his brother as he would have liked it.

Luckily his father and sister finally entered the living room and so did his mother so they were finally complete. Abby and her dad sat on the floor in front of the couch after the big man told his sons good morning. Jennifer sat between her sons. “Alright since I know you all want to go back to your beds we should start. Abby pick the first gift and give it to someone.”

This was a game his family was playing every year. The youngest one picking out the first present, handing it to it’s receiver who picked the next present and gave it to his receiver who picked the next present and so on and so on. Since he knew his siblings would leave him out for now on purpose he just watched them unwrapping their gifts while he finished his cocoa.

As his mother got passed the present he had gotten her he put aside his cup which was empty anyway to watch her unwrapping it. It was Jamie Oliver’s COOK with Jamie which he knew she had been hoping to get for Christmas. She loved cooking the British’s food for her family. Immediately a smile grew on her lips which made Seth smile too. “Thank you, Santa.”, the woman told into the small round before grabbing the next gift, looking for a name on it. “This one is for Seth.”

Finally his first present. It didn’t take long for him to unwrap it and hold the DVD of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in his hands. “Awesome!” Harry Potter was always something to make Seth happy with. “Thank you.” As he now got up he pushed up his glasses on his nose so they wouldn’t fall off as he leaned down to pick up a present and hand it to his sister.

The unwrapping seemed to take longer than usually. Seth got the DVD, two books and a game for his Playstation along with new shoes and socks and a t-shirt of his favorite wrestler, Jeff Hardy. This was all awesome and all stuff he’d wished for besides the socks and shoes which he needed though. As he looked at the things next to him he knew there were still three gifts under the tree which his mom just passed out now in order to let the traditional unwrapping find an end. “This one is for you, Steve, this is for Abby and this is for Seth.”

The gift Seth was handed was flat and small and looked like an envelope which was wrapped up. It was exactly that which he found out as he pulled off the wrapping paper. Hopefully the envelope wasn’t filled with money, Seth hated getting money for Christmas it always was such a ‘I didn’t know what else to get you so go get yourself something’-kind of gift. Abigail who had already unwrapped a new pair of shoes too was now staring at the envelope. “Come on, open it already. I’m starving.”

She rolled her eyes as he kept taking his time. It was no money. Instead Seth pulled out two tickets for a FCW show. Florida Championship Wrestling. His heart started beating faster immediately. “Holy hell!” Both his parents started smiling at him.

FCW was not only the development program of the WWE but it was also the local wrestling company. Seth had been into wrestling for years by now. He never missed a show and saved up his pocket money so he could watch all the PPVs too. That his parents got him tickets to watch a live show was pretty awesome. Since FCW shows were not available on TV Seth didn’t know many of the wrestlers there, he’d heard some names and sometimes some of them had guest appearances on Raw or Smackdown but besides that he didn’t know much about them.

Still it was awesome his parents had gotten him a present he could definitely enjoy. “Thank you so much.” While he was still gushing about the gift internally his siblings had already gotten up and moved to the kitchen together with his mother. Steve heaved his body on the couch so he could sit next to his son for a minute.

“You can go there with whoever you want but if none of your friends want to go I’ll gladly go with you son.” Seth smiled to his dad. They always had shared a pretty good relationship, Seth loving to go fishing with his dad and learning how to cook from him too. “Thanks, dad.” The 16-year old put the tickets back into the envelope before him and his dad went to have breakfast too.