Like Father, Like Daughter (Re-Upload) May 27, 2021 22:01:09 GMT -8
Post by Morgan Payne on May 27, 2021 22:01:09 GMT -8
March 20th, 2019
Birmingham, AL - Local gym
Birmingham, AL - Local gym
"Get it up! Let's go, c'mon!" Her father said firmly as he stood at the head of the bench, dressed in a black muscle tank, white track pants with a black stripe running down the outsides and his Reebok sneakers. "Push, push, push!"
Morgan hissed through her teeth as she pushed up the 45lb bar, stacked with three 45lb plates on each side - a total of 315lbs. Her arms trembled as she pushed the bar up. Her mouth briefly opened to take in a quick breath before she continued exhaling, fighting to get the bar up in her last rep of that set. Her father held his hands underneath the bar but refused to touch it, unless absolutely necessary. He didn't need to, though, as Morgan lifted the bar all the way up and set it on the rack before her arms collapsed against her chest. Her black cut off shirt with the words 'STEEL CITY STRONG' was already damp with sweat. Morgan sat herself up on the bench, resting her forearms down on her thighs. Her father's hand came over her shoulder with a bottle of water being offered to her. She took it, still waiting for the burn in her chest and triceps to subside. "Thanks, Pop...." She twisted it open and started chugging.
"Don't chug. Sip." Her father said. His tone, as usual, was tough and hard, but with a hint of caring. He'd never been excessively hard on her. He was just a strict coach and teacher. It made her who she was, today.
Morgan sipped from her water, getting up off of the bench as her father added more plates, increasing the weight. Morgan set the bottle down and hurried over to stand at the head of the bench. She gave the bar a closer inspection, making sure the plates were locked in. She gave her father the assist in that initial lifting the bar off of the rack. "C'mon Pops, you got this!"
Her father thrust the bar up with a heavy grunt, lowering it back down, seemingly with ease. The second rep was just the same, and the third, and then the fourth. Her father pumped out an impressive eight reps before he had to rerack the bar and sat up, huffing heavily. Morgan walked over beside him, giving her old man a smile and held up the water bottle. "Sip."
The man gave a breathless chuckle and took the bottom from her.
Later into their workout, Morgan and her father moved to cable flies. Morgan stood back out of her father's way as he brought his arms in. She watched the entire stack of plates raise up and lower back down with each rep he pumped out.
"So, tell me...." Her father - the veteran superstar known as "The Punisher" Andrew payne - said as he worked through his rep. "...What's ya strategy?"
"Huh?" Morgan looked at him as the question, seemingly, came from out of nowhere.
The plates raised up slower with each rep her dad performed. "You got..." He fought through another rep, "...a shot at Serena Frost, kiddo." And another one before the plates clanked down and he let the cables retract, turning to her. Morgan handed him his water. He twisted the cap off and motioned at her with the bottle in his hand. "So what's ya strategy?" He sipped.
"Oh! Right." Her match with Serena Frost, on Monday. For the Women's Television Championship. "I 'unno." Morgan said with a shrug, moving over to the machine and adjusted the setting to something that she could manage but would push her. "She ain't nothin' but a lil sneak ass in the ring." She continued, grabbing onto the handles and stretching the cables out into the starting position. The plates began to rise and fall as she started her set. "I get my hands on her...it's gonna be a whole nother story."
She saw her father smirk with amusement. "Yeah? How do ya figure?"
Morgan exhaled on each pull of the cables. She blinked away a bead of sweat that almost dripped into her eye. "She ain't as bad as me, Pop." She answered. "I'm bigger. I'm stronger. I'm quicker on my feet."
Her father nodded. "Frost is pretty quick on her feet, too, kiddo."
Morgan fought tooth and nail for the last full rep before clanging the plates back down and turning to her father. She wiped her face with the bottom of her shirt and accepted her pink Steelers bottle from him. "Look, Pop. She won that gauntlet for tha belt by cheatin'. Every one o'tha Renegades stuck their noses in that match. They did the same for her match at 'Mahch' Misery. She the type o'chick who calls in tha backup when her ass gets threatened."
"And how do ya think she feels knowing she has to defend her belt against someone bigger and stronger than her?" Her father asked, pausing to let her answer as he sipped from his own bottle.
Morgan stopped. He had a point. She needed to account for the rest of The Renegades getting involved. She knew she could count on Marissa and LeeAnn, though. "What about Mari and Aunt Lee? They got mah back."
"Ya can't always count on them to be there, Mor." Her father said, shaking his head. "Ya gotta be able t'rely on yourself, first and foremost. I taught you that. Now, I love Mari and LeeAnn. I do. And I don't doubt that they'll be out there if anything goes South. But it doesn't take but a second, at best for you to catch a cheap shot and get rolled up for the count. Ya gotta keep ya head clear and eyes in the back of it. Ya hear me?"
Morgan nodded and moved out of the way to let her father start his next set. "What about you?"
"What about me?" Her father looked a little confused by what she meant as he adjusted the weight and started pulling.
"Dis whole thing witchu and Ethan Skinner." Morgan said, sitting down on an unoccupied bench as she watched and talked with her dad. She loved these moments. Whether the conversation was light and about something relaxed, or if it was like now and they were talking about work, Morgana Cassiano, cherished every moment she got to spend with her father. She was far from the perfect daughter but he always insisted differently. She had the mouth of a sailor and the temper of a wolverine. She did her best to watch the former around him out of sheer respect for him. He never gave up on her, in all of her years.
Her father started banging out another set. "Look, don't worried about Lasher's boy. I'm not."
"But he stahted shit witcha, Pop." Morgan sipped her water.
"And I dealt with him, Mor." Her father responded back with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "I told Judas t'keep his boy in check and he lets him run loose off his damn leash. He wanted to play games in the ring and I don't play games. I handled the problem like I said I would." Her father let the plates clang back down as he finished his set. "And if I heard right, his ass went to get checked out for a concussion. I hit him with a shot to the pills and showed him the Art of Ruin. That's not enough to give a concussion, but it gets a point across. Judas wants t'train the next generation of his little cult? He needs to find someone who ain't a hypochondriac. I ain't scared of that. And I ain't worried about someone who runs to the doctor after a scrap in front o'the hotel, either."
Morgan nodded, raising her eyebrows up and down in retraction to what she was saying. "A'ight, I'm sorry I said anything, Pop. Yikes." She looked down, sighing under her breath until she felt the man's arm around her shoulders.
"Hey." Her father said. She looked up to see him looking right down at her with a softer look in his eyes. "Don't worry about me, okay? You just worry about you and ya own goals. You're young and ya got ya whole life and career ahead of ya. I'm in my twilight years as far as doin' this goes. But if I gotta go out with a bang, I will. I didn't make it this far by worrying about who wants a fight with me. They step up and I knock 'em down. Here, you see that?"
He removed his arm from around her and flexed his arm up. Morgan watched her father's bicep rise into better view. She giggled, shaking her head. This was another part about him she loved. A goofy side of him that honestly, nobody outside of their family circle got to see. "Anybody wants to step up, they can get some o'that, right there, huh?" Her father added, relaxing his arm as Morgan giggled happily. More relaxed and less worried, now. "Let's see whatcha got for Serena, this week. C'mon."
Morgan smirked and flexed up her own bicep. Her father reached out and gave her arm a light squeeze. "Like a rock. That belts all yours, kiddo. Just remember to keep your head in the game, yeah?"
Morgan lowered her arm and nodded. "I will, Pop. Promise." She said.
"That's my girl." They exchanged a high/low five and a fist bump with each other before her father nodded to the cable machine. "C'mon, ya got one more set left. Knock it out and let's roll."
Morgan set her cup down and moved to the machine, fixing the adjustment to her preference and grabbed the cables. Yeah, she had this. And her dad had whatever came at him in the bag. Like father, like daughter. Neither of them were quitters. And they weren't going to go down easy.