It was in the summer of 1876 that Elizabeth "Eliza" Harris, the Colonel's eldest daughter fell in love with Tommy. He had entertained ideas of become a banker, and with the emerging wealth of his cattle ranch, had caught the eye of the young Eliza at the annual soiree held by Dallas' founding fathers. The Colonel had initially spurned the match, but finally gave his blessing in the Spring of 1877 and the two were wed. The Colonel took the young Lawson under his wing and introduced him to the world of business. With a natural inclination toward commerce, the young Lawson family grew prosperous. Thomas and Elizabeth had seven sons who all followed their father into the respective paths of cattle farming and banking. It was their youngest, Alexander born in 1886, who set his sights on cotton and convinced Thomas of the opportunity to be found there.
The smallest and scrawniest of his siblings, Alexander was determined to make his own way and entered into sharecropping with a family of free African American farmers on an unused part of his father's land. Although it had been twenty years since the emancipation of the slaves, his venture was still looked upon with derision, and earned him much contempt amongst other landowners. It was in 1906 that he found his own fortune after a series of successful harvests saw his crops flourish, although it did little for this reputation. Rivals who had not done so well suggested that his success was due to devil worship and though Alexander had grown into a handsome young man, thanks to idle gossip, he found difficulty in securing himself a bride.
With no family of his own at the start of WWI, Alexander followed in the steps of his maternal grandfather and joined the war effort. He was soon joined by five of his brothers who had been conscripted, though only one of them made it home. When Alexander returned in 1918, a war-hero in his own right, much of the stigma associated with African Americans had been replaced with a distaste for those whose sympathies lied with the Central Powers. As such, he was able to return to his cotton crop with little hassle. Now in his early thirties, he had become something of a mythic figure amongst the young ladies of society and in 1920, he dashed all their dreams by marrying Celestine, the daughter of a Creole from Louisiana. Shortly after his marriage, his father, Thomas Lawson died and with most of his siblings lost to the war, Alexander inherited a large part of his father's estate and wealth. This allowed him to expand the cotton crop and secure the Lawson name in Texas society.
When the Great Depression struck, Alexander and his own sons toiled to keep the family fed and the plantation afloat, doing their best to extend Christian friendship and hospitality to their fellow townsfolk, with the Lawson daughters volunteering at the local soup kitchen and caring for sick children when their time could be spared. Whether by the luck that had carried Thomas to his fortune or sheer chance, the Lawson clan were able to out last the negative effects of the Depression despite the fall of crop prices and Alexander's own failing health. Although he had inherited the resilience to disease and longevity of his father, Alexander contracted pneumonia after a particularly harsh winter and passed away in 1940.
In 1950, his sons James, George and Henry sold the cotton plantation for a hefty sum, and with the wealth of the profit, coupled with their inheritances, they populated their township with family-owned businesses they deemed "recession-proof" which included general stores and diners, spurring the Lawson name to grow ever more prominent in the region. In 1952, wearied still by his experiences at Pearl Harbor, James Lawson lost his battle with depression and committed suicide, leaving George and Henry to foster the Lawson line. It was the middle son, George, who was most devastated by his brother's death and when his eldest son was born in the fall of that year, he named him James for his beloved brother.
James Alexander Lawson II however, did not resemble his namesake. Where his father, uncles and aunts had inherited the dark skin of their Creole mother and the sharp features of Scots-Irish roots, James came into the world large, pink and blond and remained that way for the rest of his childhood. Tall and burly, he seemed destined for the football field and led his team to victory time and time again as the school's star quarterback. Despite his lumbering size, he was surprisingly graceful on his feet, having inherited the wayward charm of his ancestors. In 1970, he married Beverley-Anne Neely, the home-coming queen and his high-school sweetheart. Although James II still loved the thrill of the game, he took to managing the family business when their first-born arrived in 1977, at a whopping seven pounds. He was rivalled only by his brother, Hector, who arrived in 1979, a good three ounces heavier.
Tired with Dallas society, in 1981 James partnered with his brother Charles to open an automobile dealership in Toronto and the young family moved to the Canadian city to begin anew. As Hector grew, his mother doted on him, finding it difficult to discipline him when he would act out, much to the chagrin of James who wished the boy would live up to his namesake. When Hector started school, it became apparent that he could not cope with the stimuli of so many children and would often lash out; throwing chairs and screaming at the top of his lungs. That same year, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and his mother became extra vigilant in her care.
1987 hit the family hard with the stock market crash and later that year, with the death of Beverley-Anne from ovarian cancer. Unable to comprehend the death of his beloved wife, James turned to drink, growing more and more dependant on it to stifle his grief. It soon became apparent to Charles that James could no longer manage the automotive business and he took full control of the dealership, though James stayed on to work as a mechanic, finding that working with his hands took his mind off Beverley-Anne for a time.
Without his mother's careful gaze, Hector began to fall behind in school and became a regular fixture in the principal's office. Having no patience for his son's behaviour, James began to discipline both his boys with a belt and two fists. Hector and his brother found solace in each other's company and often planned their escape from their father (they would run all the way to Detroit) though TJ seemed to deflect James' wrath far better than Hector could. When TJ joined the football team, James was so overcome with pride that he took the boys out to dinner. However, he got so drunk that a fifteen-year-old TJ had to drive them back home, crashing the car into their mailbox. Hector broke his arm in the accident and grew more apathetic toward school.
As time wore on, James drank more frequently, succumbing to blackouts that forced Charles to fire him. Angered by the audacity of his younger brother's decision, he took his rage out on Hector. That same year, James' health had begun to deteriorate from the drinking and he and TJ were in a car accident. James survived, but TJ didn't. TJ, more popular and athletic than Hector could ever hope to be, did his best to help his younger brother with his studies and keeping him safe from their father's anger. Following his death, there was nothing to protect Hector from his father. He spent less and less time at home, cutting a lonely figure in the playground after school and loitering in the streets well after dark. On the streets, he learned how to defend himself and became friends with a rag-tag of despondent kids who society seemed to have forgotten. When his teachers caught wind of what was going on at home, he was taken away from his father and became a ward of the state. His father blamed him for everything, and James' parting words that he was worthless would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Like his father, the system failed him. He moved in and out of foster homes and the years that followed were a tug of war between drug abuse and utter despondency, a dance of one step forward, three steps back. At sixteen, Hector ran away to Detroit and found grunt work as a labourer which helped him sweat out the shame. He had grown to his full height by then, and made an impression on one of his employers who hired him to run errands for a pretty penny. Hungry and eager to prove himself, Hector didn't hesitate at the opportunity. Pockets of his memory are missing. Whether from the drugs or denial, he doesn't know. But he remembers making his way to Boston. He became a hit-man by natural progression and he found that he was good at it.
Today, Hector is a different man. He has been clean for five years and is steadily making his way forward. He is a more patient and more religious man. He enjoys his work. He is often lonely, but despite it all, he is thankful to have been given a second chance at life.