Romance Fiction posted September 26, 2021 Chapters:  ...52 53 -54- 55... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Katherine and Gabriel get closer.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 28 part 1

by barbara.wilkey

After Katherine's husband dies, she struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys never had and the husband she deserves?
Katherine and Gabriel have known each other for 31 - 34 days.


After dinner and the final movie, Gabriel glanced at his watch. "Jeremy, bath time. Jordan, can you do his story? I'd do it but I'm stuck."

"Sure, Coach."

When Jordan returned from reading the story, Jeremy followed him down stairs. "I didn't get to kiss Mom good night."

Gabriel nodded for him to go ahead. He grinned as Jeremy kissed his sleeping mom. Then Jeremy motioned for him to lean forward and kissed Gabriel's cheek. Gabriel returned the kiss to the young child's forehead. "Good night, Jeremy."

"Good night, Coach."

After Jeremy went upstairs, Gabriel glanced around. "Guys, you need to clean up. I don't want your mom waking up and having to do it. If you hurry, we'll watch another movie. Deal?"

As the next movie ended, Gabriel sent Joel up for a bath and bed. After Joshua went upstairs, Gabriel said, "Jordan, can you get your mom a blanket?"

Gabriel stood and then covered her. He leaned over and kissed her cheek. "I need to leave. Jordan, if she doesn't wake up in time for morning practice, don't worry. Just make sure you and she make it to school in time. I'll come by for our morning jog. If she doesn't show up, I'll know she's not awake."

"Coach, thank you."

"What for?"

Jordan studied his feet. "Everything."

He patted the teenager's shoulder. "Not a problem. I enjoy being around you guys."


Chapter 28 part 1

Monday morning, Gabriel and Reggie stood on the sidewalk in front of Katherine's house, and he grinned when he saw lights. "Buddy, our gals will be out in a minute."

As Katherine walked up to Gabriel, she said, "I owe you an apology. I'm sorry I fell asleep."

"You don't owe me anything. I knew you were dead tired. I'm sure Troy solved some of the stress you were under so you could sleep."

She tilted her head. "I don't think it was him. If it was, then I'd have slept better Saturday night." She studied her watch. "I think it was you being there. I felt safe, like everything would work out."

Gabriel's eyes met hers. "Thank you. I needed to hear it."

Setting the timer, she said, "I'm shocked you have unsure moments."

The two dogs stood alert and growled.

"I see the P.I. is still with us." He motioned for her to run. "Around you, I have a lot of them."

Her eyes widened. "Why?"

"I care for you and I don't want to mess up."

She reached over and touched his hand. "I understand. I'm glad you're patient."

"You're worth it, plus I understand why things have happened as they have."

"My hope is we don't have any more issues."

Gabriel chuckled. "That'd be wonderful but I'm sure we'll still have a few rocky patches until we get it right." He faced her. "I'm positive we will with time."

She smiled. "I agree."

When the timer sounded, they turned toward Katherine's.

Gabriel asked, "What's your day look like?"

"The usual, be a mom, a teacher, and a coach. The only thing I have this week is progress reports need to be ready today so they can go out Wednesday. I just need to check them for mistakes, but they're ready. Oh yea, the away football game. Angie and I have discussed it. We're going together. She's driving."

"I like that idea. I'm glad you two have become friends."

They stood in front of her house. Katherine glanced at the door. "I'd better get inside. See you later."

"I'll drop by before practice for sure. Hopefully, I'll see you before. Thank you for not reminding me to be careful with Jordan's practice."

"I have confidence you'll take care of him. Thank you for that." She went up the front steps.

Gabriel watched Katherine go inside. He rubbed Reggie's head. "Did you hear that? I make her feel safe and she trusts me to take care of Jordan. We're making progress."

Thursday evening when Gabriel and Jordan walked in, Katherine smiled. "Perfect timing. I just need to put dinner on. Go ahead and sit." She went to the bottom of the stairs and called, "Dinner's ready. I hope homework's finished. Jeremy, bring yours down."

"I know, Mom. You want to check it."

When Jeremy sat at the table, Gabriel put his hand out. "I'll check it."

Jeremy handed the folder to Gabriel. "Mom doesn't trust me."

"Why not?" asked Gabriel.

"Because she's a mom, and that's what mom's do."

Joshua shook his head. "Jeremy's teacher called and told her Jeremy wasn't doing his homework."

Gabriel's eyes met Jeremy's. "Is that true?"

The young child stared at his plate. "Maybe. But only because I forgot to do some of it."

"You forgot to do all it," interrupted Joshua.

Raising his hand, Gabriel motioned for Joshua to quiet. "Jeremy, what's your responsibility?"

"To do all my homework."

"That's right. It's not your mom's homework. She's here to help you if you don't understand something, but it's your job to do it. Was there something you didn't know how to do? If there is, I can help too."

"I know how to do it."

"I figured you did." Gabriel read over the page. "It looks good."

When Katherine walked in carrying a platter and a bowl, she asked, "What did I miss?"

Joshua looked at his mom. "Coach just busted Jeremy for not doing his homework."

"I had it all done this time, didn't I?"

"It looks like you did and did a good job." Gabriel offered the paper to Katherine. "Do you want to check to make sure I didn't miss anything?"

"No. And thank you. When I returned home this evening I received a phone call from his teacher. I wasn't happy. Hopefully, we have it settled, right Jeremy?"

He nodded. "Right, Mom."

After dinner, Gabriel helped Katherine clean up. He grinned. "This being a Mom's a never-ending process, isn't it?"

Katherine dried her hands on a dishtowel. "Some days I feel I go from one problem to another. Thank you for speaking with Jeremy. I appreciate it." As they walked into the living room, she added, "I got busy and wasn't checking homework. Since I let it slide, I guess he thought he could. It's my fault."

"It's his responsibility, not yours."

"True, but it's my job to teach him responsibility. He's young and still in training. I got lax."

"I see your point. I'm not used to young ones, just teenagers. I have a lot to learn."

She took his hand. "You're doing great. You already have the most important prerequisite, you care."

"I want to check one more thing. Did Jordan tell you his headaches stopped? He said they left mid-morning Wednesday. I haven't let him have full contact practice, but letting him do more. Is it okay?"

"He came to my classroom during his lunch period and told me. I guess it's fine. I can't protect him forever, can I?"

Gabriel squeezed her hand as they sat. "Not really. Also Troy called late this afternoon." As Katherine held her breath, he grinned. "Breathe, it's not bad. He wants to know if he can come by Sunday and discuss strategies. He has a couple of ideas."

"Of course. I want to get this over as soon as possible. Did he say anything else?"

He shook his head. "Nope. It was a short conversation. I was at practice, so I didn't have time to ask questions."I'll try to wait 'til Sunday."

"Let's see. This is already Thursday. Tomorrow is a busy day and so is Saturday, so Sunday should come pretty fast. I'm beginning to see where Jeremy inherits his impatience," teased Gabriel.

"My family's future depends on how good Mr. Elder is." Katherine thought for a moment. "I wonder who my in-laws have hired. Are there any good lawyers in town, or do you think they went out of town?"

Gabriel took out his phone. "You know that's a really good question. I'm calling Mom." He chuckled. "She usually knows all the scuttle-butt that goes on. I swear those women's meetings she attends should probably be outlawed."

After talking for a while, Gabriel put his phone away. "I'm sure you heard most of it. They hired a lawyer from Austin. He's supposed to be pretty good."

"Do you think you should call Mr. Elder and tell him?"

Gabriel scanned the living room before he put his arms around Katherine and drew her closer. "I have a feeling he's already scouted out his opponent. What I know for sure is it's getting late and I'd really like a good night kiss before I leave." He pecked her cheek. "I don't see a P.I. peeking through the windows. Think it's possible?"

Katherine glanced around the room and noticed all the windows had the curtains drawn. "I'd say it's a real possibility." She started to lean in for the kiss, but stopped. "Do you really think it'll be okay?"

Gabriel laughed. "Come here, silly. I'm sure it's okay. I doubt good night kisses are..."

Before he could finish his sentence, Katherine kissed him.

He matched her kiss with a lingering one, and then released a deep breath. "I could get used to that." He started to stand, but paused for a kiss that took her breath away. "Now, I really need to leave. If this continues, it might lead into something neither of us is ready for." He stood.

Katherine followed him to the door. "Good night."

Gabriel pecked her cheek. "Good night. I look forward to seeing you in the morning." He left.

My vacation had to be put on hold. We were at my in-laws house and clumsy me fell at the hotel and broke my wrist. Ended up in the ER. I have a splint, but need to see my primary so he can refer me to orthopedic and get a real cast. Typing is very difficult with one hand as are many things. I'm still in the pity party phase. Both knees' bruises resemble soft balls. Walking is also difficult. I'm feeling my granddaughter will be married before I get to hug her. My husband reminds me that I'm lucky, I didn't break a hip. A few years back, chemo stole 75% of my bone density. I've been warned about falling.


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 magazine

Janette & Jackson Riley Katherine's in-laws

Dr. Martin Jordan's doctor

Troy Elder Lawyer and friend of Gabriel from his pro-football days



Thank you google images for a photo of boy completing his homework. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. 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 1,300 words. Forgive me for the length. Thank you for having patience.
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