Katherine 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 23 days.
ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:
Taking out his phone, Gabriel called, "Mom, are you and Dad busy?" He listened. "That's right. I was thinking about bringing Kate and the boys out for the day. We'll stop somewhere and bring lunch." Silence. "Mom, don't do that." Again, he listened. "Okay, if you insist." He faced Katherine. "Mom's fixing lunch."
"I gathered as much. Any idea what I can bring?"
"Just get the boys and head for the car."
As Katherine shut the front door, Gabriel said, "We're missing Daisy. She can come too."
"Are you sure? I don't normally bring her."
"I know my parents. She's more than welcome." Gabriel laughed. "You may not get her back." He glanced around and did a head count. "We have a problem. Can we take your car? We won't fit in mine." Katherine tossed him the keys. "You drive. I don't know the way."
"Me driving a family vehicle. You're really messing with my image."
Katherine tilted her head. "I thought you wanted to work on that image."
Grinning, Gabriel nodded. "Point taken."
Chapter 22 part 2
After lunch, Gabriel and his dad took the boys to the pond and set them up for fishing. Harold agreed to supervise them so Gabriel and Katherine could talk with Rebecca.
As they sat under a shade tree within eye-sight of the boys, Gabriel said, "I feel we're trying to put a puzzle together but don't have a picture to follow and are missing some pieces." He went on to explain what had already happened and questions they had.
Rebecca took a drink of lemonade as she thought. "Sometime about the middle of March, the Rileys came into money. I don't know where it came from, but they purchased that fancy new house and started traveling more."
Katherine added, "George always gave them an allowance. It paid for their travel. George died in February and his will went into effect sometime in March."
Grabbing an apple and passing it between hands, Gabriel said, "I wonder how much money they inherited from George." He faced Katherine. "Any idea?"
"No. I was kept in the dark when it came to finances. He made sure the boys and I had plenty. All I know is each boy inherited a trust fund. I'm executor over them until they graduate from college. I invested it in safe mutual funds. Monthly money is put into my account for as long as I live. I don't know what George left his parents."
Katherine thought. "I also got a lump sum. I used part of it to buy the house and put the rest, again, in safe mutual funds. I digress. When mine was discussed, I do remember hearing something about his parents getting one too. I don't know how much."
Rebecca refreshed everyone's lemonade. "The way they've gone through money, I suspect they're broke. Do you know if they get a monthly stipend too?"
"Not that I know, just the lump sum. But like I said George didn't include me in money decisions."
Gabriel asked, "Is there any way you can find out? It could be a piece to our puzzle."
"I'll call the lawyer Tuesday."
All heads turned as Jeremy came running from the pond. "Mom! Mom!" When he got to them, he pointed to the sky. "We're watching the moon. See it?" When Katherine acknowledged it, he continued, "Grandpa said he has a telescope and when it gets dark tonight we can see the stars. Can we?"
Katherine's eyes widened. "Sweetheart, Mr. Riley isn't your grandfather."
Leaning toward her, Rebecca put her hand on Katherine's arm. "It's fine. I'm sure Harold's honored to be called Grandpa."
"Mom, can we stay?"
"It doesn't get dark until past your bedtime. Tomorrow's a holiday, but Jordan and I have to be at school by seven o'clock for practice." She glanced at her watch. "Matter-of-fact, it's getting close to time to leave. You probably want to finish fishing."
"Why don't you, Gabriel, and Jordan go on home and leave the younger boys here?" Rebecca waved her arm toward the house. "We have plenty of room, and they can watch the stars. Later tomorrow we'll bring them home."
"That'd be too much. Plus they didn't bring anything."
"We can make do. We'd love to have the company. It gets lonely out here."
Gabriel took Katherine's hand. "Mom wouldn't ask unless she wanted to do it. They'll be all right. I promise."
"I'm not worried about the boys. I'm worried about your parents. These guys can be a handful."
Rebecca laughed. "We raised Gabriel. He was a real stinker. We can handle your boys. Believe me they're easier."
Katherine glanced at Gabriel. "You're probably right." She hesitated and then said, "Okay, I'll leave Daisy. She helps calm Jeremy if he gets scared."
Shaking his head, Gabriel said, "After last night, you're taking Daisy. Jeremy likes Reggie. He'll stay."
Clapping her hands, Rebecca said, "Good that's settled. Harold will grill steaks. I've got good baking potatoes and can throw a salad together." She studied Gabriel. "How about brownies and ice cream for dessert?"
"Mom knows they're my favorite." He stood. "Are we finished for now? Is it okay if I go fishing?" After Katherine nodded, he held up his phone. "When you're ready, call."
Once back home, Katherine and Gabriel sat on the back patio. He took her hand. "I have a feeling all of this is over money. What do you think?"
"I hate to think George's parents are that vindictive, but I have a feeling you're right." She tilted her head. "Saturday, did Mr. Edwards say anything about...?"
"Yep, that's what he called about. A few parents saw it and complained. I told him what happened, he believed me, and handled it. You believe me, don't you?"
"I do." She studied the stars. "I'm sure the boys are having a lot of fun with the telescope. It's beautiful out there. It's really nice of your parents to invite them."
Gabriel grinned. "They like kids. For some reason, Mom couldn't have any more after me or I'd probably have twenty brothers and sisters. That's part of the reason Dad enjoys announcing the sporting events."
"That's how our fight song played at the meet." Gabriel nodded, and Katherine hesitated before she continued, "Besides coaching football you're into real estate?"
He chuckled. "I wondered when you were going to get around to asking." He stretched his legs. "When I played pro-ball, I made lots of money. More than I could spend, even though I wasted a lot. My financial advisor told me to invest, but to also diversify. So I have some in mutual funds and now in real estate. That gated community off the interstate east of town's mine. I have a property manager who takes care of it. I had planned to build one on the west side of town, but I think I'll look around a little longer. I'm in no hurry."
Gabriel reached for her hand. "Any other questions?" When he heard Jordan coming outside, he quickly dropped the hand.
"Mom, can I...?" Pink tinged his cheeks as he glanced at Gabriel.
Standing Gabriel said, "I need a drink. Katherine, would you like one too?" When she nodded, he walked inside.
"Jordan, what's wrong?"
"There's nothing wrong." He studied his feet. "Homecoming's in a few weeks. I'd like to ask somebody to go with me. Is that okay?"
"It is. Anybody I know?"
"You know Samantha Clark?"
"Sammy, yes, she's on the cross country team and in my geometry class. She came in fourth at the meet."
"I know, Mom. So it's okay if I invite her?"
"Yes." She watched her son walk into the house.
Gabriel returned and sat. "I guess it's safe to come back."
"My son asked permission to invite a girl to homecoming."
"Jordan's a great kid. All your boys are."
Gabriel chuckled. "Even Jeremy. He's just young." He hesitated. "I'm curious. Who does he want to ask or is it none of my business?"
"I'll tell you. But promise not to say anything, deal?" After Gabriel agreed, Katherine said, "Sammy Clark. She seems like a nice girl. Do you know her?"
"I know the family. She has an older brother who played football. He's in college now. They're good people." He grinned. "Are you ready to start the whole dating scene?"
"Are you talking Jordan or us?"
Taking her hand again, he said, "When I asked the question, I was speaking of Jordan, but now you mention it, both."
"To be honest. Neither. They're both scary."
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
Thank you google images for the photo of a young boy with a fish. 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 1200 words. Thank you for having patience with me.