Romance Fiction posted June 20, 2021 Chapters:  ...38 39 -40- 41... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Katherine finds Gabriel in a comprising position.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 20 part 1

by barbara.wilkey

Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys never had?
There are a couple of things I need to say. First on Wednesday, a former team mate called because she was extremely upset. I said former because I retired as of May 28 of this year. That is when our contract ends. Teachers are not on contract again until August 3. Those dates are important for what I am going to share. On June 4 she had an adult party, no children, in her backyard; barbecue, alcoholic beverages, and dancing. One of her students' parents found out about it and called the district office to complain, who in turned called our principal, who called this teacher and reprimanded her for acting 'unprofessional'. The teacher went on to explain she was not on contract and could do whatever she wanted at her own house on her own time. She was told she could not and if she planned on remaining employed she had better keep her act spotless. The reason I am sharing this because not everybody understands that, at least some, school districts have 'moral clauses' in their contracts and teacher are held to a much higher standard than other professions. Is it fair, no but it's reality.
The second point I'd like to make. Katherine and Gabriel have only known each other 22 days. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't and didn't jump into bed with someone I had known only 22 days. Maybe, others do, but not everybody. Also I want to mention, I could care less what happens between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own home. Their are people who are interested in unconditional love and not the lust that is prevalent in our society.


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."


Chapter 20 part 1

Saturday morning, when Sarah arrived Katherine and Jordan left the house. Katherine glanced at her watch. "It's six-thirty. We're doing good on time."

"Mom, are you worried about this meet?"

She released a deep breath. "Maybe a little. I want the girls to do well so they don't get discouraged. They've only had a week of practice."

After Katherine parked the car, they walked to the locker room area.

Gabriel stood in the hall. "Riley, we're meeting in the gym. You don't need to dress out." He nodded toward Katherine. "How's your mom doing?"

"She's worried how the girls will do after only a week of practice."

Gabriel took a few steps toward the direction she was walking. "You got this."

Katherine turned and waved. "I hope so."

Once the girls were dressed, they met outside under some shade trees. Katherine described the race route, explained there'd be signs with arrows pointing the right direction, and in many areas people would be there making sure they remained on course. The race would begin in the student parking lot and end on the track field.

She reminded them to find their rhythm and stick with it. "If you need help staying in rhythm, it's okay to sing our fight song. I sang it when I ran. Matter-of-fact, I still do. I'll be with you for part of the race. When you're at the golf course, I'll cut through so I'm back for the ending. Questions?"

When nobody commented, she continued, "Team, you got this. I have confidence in you. Running this course will be easier than the hill." She held up a stop watch and laughed. "I'll make sure the judges are honest."

Katherine clapped her hands and raised her arm. "Let's go to the parking lot, stretch, and get this started." She followed Gabriel's idea of leading the team to the parking lot. They sang their fight song as they jogged.

As the football team watched the game film, the coaches stopped the tape and pointed to missed plays and explained how the play could've improved.

When Gabriel heard the girls' fight song, he stopped the film. "Our girls cross country team meet's about to start. I hope many of you will stay after practice and support them. They showed up at our game last night. We should return the favor. I'll let you out early so you can see the beginning." He continued with the game film.

Five minutes before the meet began, Gabriel released the players and went to watch the start. The gun sounded, and the race began.

Gabriel grinned as he watched Katherine wave her arms cheering the girls on. After the final girl left, Katherine adjusted her cap so her pony tail stuck out the back opening and began running alongside the trail. Her form's perfect. No wonder she holds running records.

Bill stood beside him. "Admiring the view?"

"What view?"

"Katherine running. That view."

"Don't know what you're talking about." Gabriel hesitated. "Let's go." He started running.

"You mean us run?" teased Bill as he followed his buddy.

Almost thirty minutes passed before Katherine jogged in place at the entrance of the track. She jumped up and down when she saw Rhonda leading the pack with a Midway girl close behind. Remaining on the infield grass, she ran beside her. "Stay in your rhythm. I'm here. You've got this." She began singing the fight song.

Gabriel took steps closer to get a better look. "Good, Rhonda's got this. Kate, stay with her. Let her follow your pace." He glanced back and saw the rest of the girls leading their opponents. When Rhonda won, Katherine hugged her and motioned her to walk it out.

Watching Katherine go back and run with the remaining girls making sure they stayed in rhythm, Gabriel cheered, "Good job, Kate."

Suddenly Gabriel felt a hand rubbing up and down his arm and heard a female voice, "Gabe, who's Kate?"

His eyes widened. "Grace, what are you doing here?" He glanced behind him. "Where's Luke?"

"I left Luke. I thought maybe I could stay with you. I won't be a problem and I'm sure you'll receive plenty of benefits. I remember how well you enjoyed benefits."

Gabriel took a few steps toward the track. "I'm busy. Sandy, you can do it." He released a sigh when he saw Katherine move closer to her. He grinned when he heard the girls singing their fight song to cheer for Sandy. He removed his phone. "Dad, hurry, put on 'This is my Fight Song.' The girls are used to running to it."

He watched Katherine glance toward the announcing booth and clap her hands. She glanced toward him and gave a thumbs-up.

Before long Grace stepped in front of him. He attempted to move around her. "I'm watching this."

She put her hands behind his neck, yanked his head forward, and kissed him.

After the last girl crossed the finish line, Katherine gathered her girls but heard cursing and defamatory comments toward Rhonda. She glanced up and saw Kenny and some other boys leaning over the railing. She ran to get Gabriel, but stopped when she saw him kissing the model.

Katherine paused, sighed, and made an abrupt turn. I guess he hasn't completely forgotten his past. She found a security guard and had Kenny and his friends removed from the track area.

Gabriel removed her hands, stepped back, and wiped his mouth. "What are you doing?"

"I told you there would be benefits with us living together."

"You're not staying with me. There are a few very nice hotels in town. I'm sure you can stay there until you figure out what to do. I'm busy." Gabriel turned and walked toward the track.

He scanned the area but couldn't find Katherine or the girls. He did find Joshua. "I thought I saw your mom walking toward me a little while ago. Do you know where she went?"

"No. She looked pretty upset watching you lock lips with that model."

Gabriel raised his cap and then replaced it. "She saw that?"

"Yep. She turned and went back to the team." When Gabriel started walking toward the locker room, Joshua added, "You know she was featured in that magazine you took."

Turning around, Gabriel asked, "What?"

"That girlie magazine you took. She was the main attraction. Didn't you look at it?"

"I never opened it. It went directly in trash." Under his breath, Gabriel added, "Now I know why Luke threw her out. How do I smooth things over with Kate?"

A few hours later, Gabriel knocked on Katherine's door. Joshua opened it. "Hi Coach."

"Is your mom home? I need to speak with her."

"She's out back eating ice cream."

"A gallon of ice cream?"

Joshua nodded. "Yep."

Gabriel continued through the house until he got to the patio. She's mentioned women eating a gallon of ice cream meant they had relationship issues. I guess that problem is me.

He stood and watched for a few moments before he said, "I looked for you after the meet but couldn't find you. We need to talk."

Katherine set the container of ice cream on the side table. "You shoved your way in again." After she hesitated, she continued, "I needed, no, Rhonda needed you. When I went to get you, you were busy necking with a model. What example does that set for the students? Next time get a room."

"There are two issues with what you just said. First, why did Rhonda need me? She won the race. What happened?"

"Kenny and his friends shouted obscenities at her. The entire stadium heard. You didn't because you were busy. I found a security guard who took them away."

Gabriel glanced at his ringing phone. "It's Paul. I'll call him back later. I'll handle Kenny."

Katherine stood. "I'm sure Paul wants to address your behavior at the meet. You need to leave."

Releasing a deep breath, Gabriel said, "Now, for what you think you saw. I thought you trusted me enough to know I'd never do anything to hurt you." He walked to her, put his arms around her, drew her close, and gave her a lingering kiss. When the kiss ended, he said, "That's what me kissing someone looks like."

He glanced at his arms still around her. "Notice where my arms are. Never did my arms or any part of my body touch her. If you stayed, you would've noticed she kissed me, but you jumped to conclusions and left. I didn't kiss her and didn't return it. I stopped the kiss and sent her away. I came looking for you."

Gabriel turned to leave. "I have a few things to take care of. When you're ready to talk, call."

On the way out, Jeremy ran up to him. "Coach! I didn't know you were here."

He knelt down. "Little Buddy, I have some things to take care of. Your mom will call when she's ready for me to return." He glanced toward Katherine, nodded, and then left.

Tears streamed down Katherine's cheeks as she watched him leave.

Thank you Youtube - Moana "" Fight Song


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

Grace Former friend of Gabriel and featured in porn magazines

Book of the Month contest entry



Thank you google images for the photo of a broken heart. 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 1500 words. Thank you for having patience with me.

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