Romance Fiction posted June 13, 2021 Chapters:  ...37 38 -39- 40... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
The cross country team ask Katherine if she's dating Gabriel

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 19 part 3

by barbara.wilkey

Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys never had?

Gabriel stood on the track below the railing. "Coach Riley, why're you pacing? I know you're not worried about this game. We got it. So you must be worried about the hill challenge. You saw my linemen warming up and got worried."

"No, I'm concerned about tomorrow's race. I don't have the map of tomorrow's course."

He hit his forehead. "Darn! I knew I was forgetting something. Sorry, it's on my desk. I was going to give to you when I came to practice."

"Can I get it now?"

"The door's locked." He reached in his pockets. "And I don't have my keys. I promise I'll bring it by after the game. After the game, take your boys home. I'll bring Jordan." He turned toward the field. "I'm needed. Again, I'm sorry."

"I know you're busy. I didn't think of it until a few minutes ago. Good luck tonight."


Chapter 19 part 3

As the team captains met at midfield for the coin toss, many of the cross country girls sat beside Katherine and her boys.

When they made their first touchdown, Gabriel turned toward her and gave thumbs up.

Sandy asked, "Coach, is Coach Hudson your boyfriend?"

Katherine faced the teenager. "What made you ask?"

Rhonda smiled. "Because you're together a lot and he just gave you thumbs up."

As Katherine's cheeks tinged pink, Sandy added, "And you're blushing."

"We're not dating. We've never had one date. It's safe to say we're friends."

Rhonda added, "Maybe really good friends."

The girls said together. "Okay, if you're sure."

"I'm positive." Katherine stared at Gabriel. This isn't good if the students are noticing. We need to talk.

Judy smiled. "If he asked you out, would you go?"

"I don't know. I have four children to think about. Probably not. All my extra time is spent with you girls anyway. I don't have time to date."

Katherine jumped up and cheered as Jordan caught a pass and ran for the first down. "Good job, Jordan."

Rhonda tilted her head. "She's right. Dating takes a lot of time."

Jeremy touched her arm. "Mom, I finished eating everything. Can I see Grandma for some popcorn?"

"No," said Joshua. "I'm watching the game. Mom, don't make me."

Sandy offered, "Coach, I'll walk down with him."

"You sure? You'll miss part of the game."

"I can watch while I walk."

Katherine took a few dollars from her pocket. "Jeremy, behave and listen to Sandy." She handed Sandy the money and smiled. "Get something for yourself too. It's a chaperone fee."

"Thank you."

Going into the half, the Bears were up fourteen to zero.

During half-time, Katherine noticed a teenage male sitting in section D glaring at Rhonda. She touched Rhonda's arm. "Is that Kenny?"

Rhonda swallowed. "It is. He's waiting for me to be alone."

"That's not going to happen. Are your parents here?"


Katherine offered her phone. "Call and let them know they need to pick you up. I don't want to take any chances. If they can't, let me talk with them, and I'll give you a ride home."

It was agreed that Rhonda would remain with Katherine until her parents arrived. As the fourth quarter began, her father sat beside Katherine.

Mr. Morgan thanked Katherine for being concerned and he and Rhonda left.

The final score was twelve-to-thirty-five. Silver Cove's Varsity football team had now won two games. They had one more home game before they went on the road.

At home, Katherine prepared some chicken, rice, and bean burritos with an assortment of vegetables. She had a fresh fruit salad on the side.

She fixed Jeremy one and put some fruit in a bowl. "You need to eat and take your bath. Tomorrow we have an early morning. I need to be at the school by six-thirty. Grandma will bring you boys around seven-forty-five."

"I want to stay up until Coach gets here."

"Eat and take your bath. I'll let you come and say hi. He's only going to be here long enough to give me a map of tomorrow's race."

Before long Jordan opened the door. "Mom, we're here."

She smiled as Gabriel held up the map. "Thank you. Please help yourself to some burritos and fruit." She petted Reggie's head. "Have you had dinner tonight?"

"He has. Don't let him fool you. Sorry about the map. I set it on my desk and still forgot."

"No worries." She motioned toward the kitchen. "Please help yourself.

"Good idea." He studied her. "What's on your mind?"

"We'll talk after the boys go upstairs."

As Gabriel nodded and fixed himself two burritos, Jeremy ran downstairs. "Hi! You haven't forgotten about Tuesday's lunch, have you?"

"How could I forget something that important?" He ran his hand through Jeremy's hair, messing it up. "I promise I won't forget." He took out his phone and showed Jeremy his calendar. "See its right here."

Katherine gave her youngest son a hug. "You need to get to bed."

After Katherine knelt, Jeremy kissed her cheek. "Night, Mom." He motioned for Gabriel to bend down. When he did, Jeremy kissed his cheek. "Good night, Coach. See you tomorrow."

When Jeremy was upstairs, Katherine said, "I'm so sorry."

"Don't worry about it. Jeremy's a great kid."

"You're very important in his life."

"He's important to me too."

After the boys and Coach thoroughly discussed the game and ate, the boys went upstairs.

Katherine put things away and cleaned the kitchen.

Picking up some paper plates, Gabriel said, "I'll help while we talk. What's wrong?"

"Most of my cross country girls came and sat beside me."

"I noticed. That's a good thing. They like you. It's a sign you're doing a good job."

She put a lid on the bowl of vegetables and placed it in the refrigerator. "Kenny Clark sat in the next section and glared at Rhonda. I had her dad pick her up. If he couldn't, I would've given her a ride home."

"Good instincts. I guess I need another chat with the lad." He hesitated. "There's something else bothering you. What is it?"

Katherine put her right hand on her hip. "The girls are wondering if we're dating. They've noticed we're together a lot."

"How did you answer?"

"That we've never dated and are good friends."

"Sounds good."

"They wanted to know if you asked me out would I go."

Gabriel chuckled. "What did you say?"

"I told them I spent too much time with them so I don't have time to date. They agreed dating takes a lot of time."

"Maybe when our seasons end we can change that. What do you think?"

"I think we need to solve our Frost problem before anything can happen."

"You're right, but we can't put our lives on hold while he realizes how wrong he is." Gabriel exhaled. "On that note, I know you have an early day tomorrow. I need to leave. I'll be there after practice. I may call it early so the boys can watch."

"Or so their coach can watch?"

He chuckled. "Maybe a little of both." He motioned to Reggie. "Come on, buddy, you can't spend the night either."


Katherine Riley: age 33 - widowed: husband died 6 months ago. She moved to Texas from NYC with her four sons. She teaches high school math and also coaches girls cross country.

Daisy: Katherine's yellow Labrador

Gabriel Hudson: High School football coach and former NFL defensive lineman

Reggie: a very large English Mastiff

Jeremy: Katherine's six year old son. He's in first grade.

Jordan: Katherine's fifteen year old son. He's a sophomore.

Joshua Katherine's thirteen year old son. He's in 8th grade

Joel Katherine's eleven year old son. He's in 6th grade.

Paul Edwards: High School principal and Gabriel's friend.

Rodney Frost: Math department head, at least for now.

Angie Brooks Math teacher and Katherine's friend.

Frank Collins Math teacher.

Rebecca and Harold Hudson Gabriel's parents

Sarah and Bob Beck Katherine's parents, Bob is deceased

Frank Collins math teacher

Alan Green an Assistant Principal

Sandy Frost Rodney Frost's wife

Sam Auto repair shop owner

Bill Brooks Assistant football coach, Gabriel's friend, and Angie's husband.

Harold Hudson Gabriel's dad and football announcer.

Sandy Teenage girl on cross country team.

Judy Teenage girl on cross country team.

Rhonda Morgan Teenage girl on cross country team, and victim of dating violence.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Rhonda's parents.

Kenny Clark Teenager - Rhonda's boyfriend



Thank you google images for the photo of a Texas high school football stadium on game night. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. I made changes again as I posted. Again, I hope I didn't make it worse. This novel is not actually about football, but is part of the background. High football is a national pastime in Texas. This post is a little over 1000 words. Thank you for having patience with me.

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