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| Category: || Romance Fiction |
Posted:|| May 16, 2021 Views: 250|
Chapter 35 of the book Football - A Novel
Katherine and Gabriel help a teenage girl.
"Football Chapter 17 part 2"
Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys never had?
ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:
Gabriel chuckled. "I'll reserve my opinion until after Saturday's meet." He glanced toward her house. "We're back. Thank you for putting things in perspective."
"No problem. Glad I could help. If you stopped coming by, the boys would miss you." Katherine walked up the sidewalk to her house and said under her breath, "And so would I."
"I heard that."
"You must be hearing things. I didn't say anything." She ran up the steps and into the house.
"I'd miss you too." He turned. "Come on, Reggie. We need to get back to school."
TODAY'S POST: Gabriel and Katherine only met 19 days ago.
Chapter 17 part 2
As Katherine waited outside for the girls, Gabriel came over and asked, "How's your day?"
"It's been good, but I'm pretty sure you didn't come by to see how my day was."
"Maybe I just wanted to say hi, is that a crime?"
"Only in forty-five states," teased Katherine.
Gabriel grinned. "I'm pretty sure Texas is one of the five it's not."
They watched the girls walk out in groups of three or four.
Katherine tapped her watch. "Two more minutes or a few will be running extra laps."
Grinning, Gabriel walked away. "Slave driver."
"Aren't you the one who said a winning team is a well-disciplined team?"
Chuckling, he walked away and added, "Lies, all lies."
After the girls finished practice and were showering and changing, Sandy asked, "Coach Riley, can I speak to you?"
"Of course, come over here with me."
"I thought it was strange that Rhonda was wearing long sleeves in a hundred degree weather. While she was showering, I noticed bruises all over her arms and legs."
Katherine closed her eyes. When she opened them she said, "Thank you. I'll handle it." She texted Gabriel. Something has come up. I need you ASAP in your office.
As they waited for the girls to finish dressing and for their parents, Katherine asked, "Angie, can you wait for the parents? I need to speak to Rhonda. Have her parents meet me in Gabriel's office."
When Rhonda was ready to leave, Katherine guided her to the office. Rhonda questioned, "Why we in Coach's office? I haven't done anything wrong."
Katherine motioned her to a chair. "I know you haven't, please have a seat. I'm wondering why you're wearing long sleeves when it's stifling hot."
Rhonda avoided eye contact and folded her arms across her chest. "I'm cold."
Katherine glanced up when Angie escorted Rhonda's parents inside and said, "Coach Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan. I'm needed outside."
Motioning to chairs, Katherine said, "Please have a seat. We're waiting for Coach Hudson."
Mr. Morgan asked, "Why we here? Has Rhonda done something?"
"No, she hasn't. I'm concerned about something." Katherine checked the hall. "While we're waiting, I'll start." Her eyes met Rhonda's. "Please raise your sleeves."
Rhonda put her right hand on her left wrist and shook her head.
Leaning forward, Mr. Morgan asked, "Why you want her to do that? Are you checking for needle marks? She's not a druggy."
"I know." Katherine hesitated. "Rhonda has numerous bruises on her arms and legs."
Mr. Morgan jumped up. "I've never laid hand on her." He glanced at his wife. "Neither has her mom."
"Coach Riley isn't blaming you of anything." Gabriel walked in and offered his hand. "Hello, I'm Coach Hudson, the Athletic Director." He nodded to Katherine. "Please have a seat, and we'll continue."
After Mr. Morgan sat, Katherine continued, "Sir, I'm not accusing you of abusing your daughter. All I'm doing is stating a fact that Rhonda's covered with bruises. As a parent myself, I'd want to know. I'm sure you'd like to know what caused them."
Mrs. Morgan stared at her daughter. "Rhonda, raise your sleeves."
Tears rolled down Rhonda's cheeks, and she shook her head. "Mom, please, no." Both parents stared at her, as she slowly shoved up her sleeves, revealing both arms covered with bruises.
Katherine swallowed. "We won't ask you to remove your slacks." She glanced at each parent. "When you get home, you'll probably want to check her legs. They're bruised too."
Gabriel set his jaw. "What happened?"
Katherine knelt before the crying girl and cupped both her hands. "We want to help." She hesitated. "I want to help. I can't help unless you tell me what happened. We all want to help."
She reached up and hugged the crying child. Rhonda slid from her.
Drawing her closer into an embrace, Katherine almost whispered, "We can't help unless you talk. Nobody has a right to hurt you."
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan held hands as tears fell freely down their cheeks. Mrs. Morgan pleaded, "Please tell us what happened. Who did this?"
Rhonda whispered, "Kenny."
Katherine faced the parents. "Who's that?"
Mr. Morgan clutched his fists. "Her boy friend."
Gabriel moved closer. "Kenny Clark?" After both parents nodded, he continued, "I know him. I'll handle it." He answered Katherine's wide eyes. "I got this."
Mr. Morgan stood. "Thank you. Rhonda, we need to go home and have a serious talk."
Mrs. Morgan reached for her husband's hand. "Walter, calm down."
"Don't tell me to calm down when this scumbag's been abusing my daughter."
Gabriel's eyes met Mr. Morgan. "I said I'll handle it. He won't go near your daughter again. It's my promise to you. Now take your daughter home and tend to her bruises."
As Gabriel and Katherine watched the Morgans leave, Katherine answered her phone. "Thank you, Mom." When Gabriel turned toward her, she said, "When I wasn't at the school, Joshua figured I got held up and called Mom." After releasing a big sigh, she continued, "I can't take care of everything. There's not enough of me."
"That's why you have your mom and me. We'll pick up the slack."
She touched his arm. "Thank you. I really do appreciate it."
He turned toward the door. "You need to get home. I'll bring Jordan home. I'll have a talk with Paul and bring him up to date and then speak with Kenny. That boy needs some attitude adjustment."
"Be careful. I don't want to visit you in prison."
He chuckled. "You'd actually visit me in jail?"
She turned to leave. "I'm needed at home."
When Katherine walked into the dining room, she stopped and her eyes opened wide. "You're here? I didn't hear the door."
Jordan tilted his head. "Mom, where did you expect me to be?"
Gabriel chuckled. "She didn't expect me. She thought I'd be in jail."
Turning toward Gabriel, Jordan asked, "Coach?"
Katherine frowned. "It's a private joke. Don't worry about it. Your brothers are upstairs finishing homework, please get them." When she was sure Jordan was out of hearing range, she asked, "Did Kenny admit it?"
"Naw, and after meeting his parents, I have a feeling he's re-enacting what he's been watching since he was born. Paul is taking it up the channels."
"That's the problem with abuse. It's often learned behavior and flows from generation to generation."
"Monday Kenny starts on the football team. Since he likes to hurt people..." He quieted as the boys came downstairs and then headed toward the front door.
Walking up to Gabriel, Katherine asked, "Where are you and Reggie going? Aren't you staying for dinner?"
He grinned. "I wasn't invited."
She took hold of his wrist and guided him toward the table. "Come on. You have your own seat at our table. You have a permanent invitation. Reggie has his own bowl right next to Daisy's. He's already wearing his bib."
His eyes twinkled as they met hers. "You know this could be misinterpreted, don't you?"
After dinner, Gabriel said, "Jeremy, take your bath, after you're done let your mom know so she can read your story. You other three help me with the dishes. Katherine, sit and prop up your feet."
Katherine's eyebrows rose. "You're awfully bossy, aren't you?"
Gabriel chuckled. "Since I have a permanent seat at the table, I figured I could." He took her hand and led her to the couch. "Have a seat. Seriously, I got this. You need a break. Let me do it for you."
After the younger boys were in bed and the older ones were upstairs, Gabriel and Katherine sat on the couch and she asked, "How did you convince Kenny to join the football team?"
"I told him it was either that or I'd call the police. Since it's against the law to assault anyone, and that includes girlfriends."
"How's that going to stop him?"
"I don't only coach football. I try to teach boys to grow up to be respectable young men. When it gets closer to Homecoming we'll discuss how to treat these young ladies." He hesitated. "Thank you for what you did for Rhonda. You handled it really well, good job."
"I honestly didn't know what to do. I just knew I needed to do something and it sort of fell into place."
"You have good instincts."
"Thank you for showing up when you did. Mr. Morgan was getting upset. Your presence calmed him."
Gabriel patted her hand. "I need to leave."
Katherine walked him to the door. "Good night."
"See you in the morning."
She shut and locked the door. "He's a great guy, but..."
Katherine Riley: age 33 - widowed: husband died 6 months ago. She moved to Texas from NYC with her four sons.
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.
Rhonda Morgan Teenage girl on cross country team, and victim of
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Rhonda's parents.
Kenny Clark Teenager - Rhonda's boyfriend and abuser.
Thank you google images for the photo of a teenage dating violence. It's very real and not discussed nearly enough. 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 under 1500 words. Sorry about the length. Thank you for having patience with me.
and 2 member cents.
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