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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: May 23, 2021      Views: 230
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Mrs. Wilkey's first novel, Two Tattered Hearts, was published by G and J Publishers and can be found at It's a novel about how Anna, an abused spouse escapes, with her son, the man-made hell she lives in and finds love. < - more...

She is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #5 spot on the rankings.

She is also an active reviewer and is holding the #7 spot on the top ranked reviewer list.

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Chapter 36 of the book Football - A Novel
Gabriel accepts and invitation from Jeremy.
"Football Chapter 18 part 1" by barbara.wilkey

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


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..."

TODAY'S POST: Gabriel and Katherine met 20 days ago.

Chapter 18 part 1

Thursday afternoon as Katherine waited for the girls to make it outside for cross country practice, Gabriel walked up.

Katherine smiled. "If we keep meeting like this, people are going to talk."

"I think they already are," teased Gabriel. He surveyed the area. "I wanted to see how you were doing, but I also wanted to check on Rhonda. Have you seen her?"

"Briefly in the hallway, but wasn't able to talk with her."

He nodded as Rhonda walked out by herself.

Rhonda glanced in his direction and then studied her feet.

"Miss Morgan, would you please come here a minute?" asked Gabriel.

She stood in front of him. "Yes, Coach."

"I was wondering how you're doing."

"As good as I can be. I no longer have a boyfriend, and his friends are accusing me of being a lying snitch."

Katherine touched her arm. "You did nothing wrong."

Gabriel knelt to her level. "Coach Riley's correct. You did nothing wrong. Trust me to work on this. Kenny will stop his harassment. My goal's to have him apologize but I can't have him do that until he knows how wrong he is. Can you give me time to work this out?"

"Yes, Sir."

He patted her arm. "Thank you. I won't let you down." He stood and nodded toward Katherine. "I need to get to my team."

"Thank you, Ga...Coach."

As Jordan and Gabriel walked into the house, Jordan yelled, "Mom, we're here."

Katherine came from the kitchen drying her hands on a dish towel. "I'm running a little behind. I hope you can wait about twenty minutes for dinner."

Gabriel asked from across the room, "Late parent?" After she nodded, he asked, "How can I help?"

"Really there's nothing to do but wait. I've set the table and cleaned the kitchen."

Joshua came down the stairs. "Coach, Jordan just told me the D-linemen carried the freshmen lockers outside and left them while the freshmen were in the shower. Is that true?"

Frowning he said, "They did."

"Wow!" Joshua laughed. "I can't believe it. That's pretty bold." He paused. "Wait, I'll be a freshman next year. Did they have to go outside naked to get their clothes?"

Jordan attempted not to laugh. "They tried to cover themselves with towels."

Katherine stepped from the kitchen and glared at Gabriel. "Exactly who was in a towel?"

"Mom, what's wrong?" Jordan and Joshua said at the same time.

Gabriel touched her arm. "My D-linemen thought they'd prank the freshmen and carried their lockers to the parking lot while they were showering."

After Katherine exhaled, she said, "Sounds like there's a problem with that locker room."

Gabriel grinned. "You may be right."

Joshua shook his head. "D-linemen are known for being big and strong, but not the smartest guys around. Did somebody tell them to do it? I'm sure they couldn't think of it by themselves."

Attempting to hide her grin, Katherine said, "Gabriel, please share with my opinionated son, what position you played."

Gabriel cleared his throat. "D-line."

Jordan laughed and slapped his brother's back. "Man, are you ever busted."

Flexing his right arm, Gabriel said, "You're right about the muscles and a little right about the being smart. It's not that we're dumb, but sometimes we forget to think things through."

"When you played high school football, did you carry the lockers outside?" asked Jordan.

He nodded. "I did, and my coach, your grandpa, had us doing up-downs forever."

Jordan grinned. "Is that why you had them do the same thing?"

"It worked. I never did it again. Hopefully, they'll learn the same lesson."

Joshua laughed. "I sure wish Grandpa was alive so I could ask questions about you."

"As much as I miss Coach, I'm glad you can't hear the stories. Let's say as a teenager I did some stupid things. I've learned from my mistakes."

"I wonder if he shared them with Grandma?" asked Joshua.

Jordan shook his head. "Grandma really likes Coach. I doubt it."

"Or maybe your grandma understands that young males are capable of maturing."

All heads turned as Jeremy ran down the stairs, waved a piece of paper and yelled, "Coach, Coach, Coach!"

Gabriel got on one knee to his level. "What's wrong"?"

Jeremy climbed up on the knee and sat. "Here!" He shoved the paper in his face. "I don't have a Dad, and next Tuesday is 'Dads have lunch at school day.' Will you come and be my dad?"

Lowering the paper so he could see it better, Gabriel said, "I'd like that."

Katherine walked over. "You don't need to do that. Jeremy, Coach has a job. He'll be at school."

Setting Jeremy on the floor, Gabriel stood. "It's okay. I want to do this with him."

The timer when off, and Katherine went into the kitchen. "Dinner."

As the others went to the table, Gabriel went outside. "Just a minute."

When he returned, he carried a fifty pound bag of dog food over his shoulder. "This should last these two a few days."

Katherine sighed. "You didn't need to do that."

"I did. This guy eats here more than he eats at home. I know how high his food bill is."

During dinner, Joshua continued asking questions about Coach's antics as a teenager.

After releasing a deep breath, Katherine said, "Joshua, I think there's been enough said. Nobody's perfect. We all make mistakes. I don't see a need to continue this."


"Joshua, your mom said enough," interrupted Gabriel. "I have a feeling you've made at least one mistake in your life, right?"

"Yes, Sir." He studied his plate.

"Is there something I need to know?" asked Katherine.

Gabriel eyed Joshua. "I don't think so, do you?"

"No, Sir, I'm pretty sure there's nothing that needs to be shared with Mom."

Winking at Katherine, Gabriel said, "As far as I know, everything's good." He took a bite of casserole. "This is really good. When do you grocery shop?"

"Usually Saturday mornings, but I'm not sure now that there are cross country races. Maybe I'll need to move it to Sundays but I hate doing it then. We need to find a church home." Katherine hesitated. "I don't see any other choice. Maybe I'll move it temporarily. Cross country ends in November, right?"

"District is the last Saturday in October. You planning on going to state?"

Katherine laughed. "Plan big or go home, right?"

Jordan teased, "Mom has a competitive side I didn't know about. Go Mom!"

Gabriel's eyes twinkled. "You boys might be surprised at what your mom's capable of."

Laying her fork on her plate, Katherine glanced at Jeremy.

With a pout, he said, "I know its bath time. Why do my brothers get to stay up late?"

"Because you're the youngest," teased his brothers.

"Call me when it's story time, okay?"

"Yes, Mom."

Putting both hands on the table, Katherine stood. "I'd better get these dishes done."

"Get!" teased Gabriel. "The boys and I got this."

"You guys did them last night. It's not fair you do them two nights in a row."

"Is it fair that you cook, we enjoy the meal, and don't help in any way?"

"It doesn't seem right, you're a guest."

"I think since I'm here almost every night I'm past the guest status. Now sit on the couch and rest."

When the dishes were finished and the kitchen cleaned, Gabriel walked into the living room. "You look comfortable."

"Thank you. I am. After dinner is the only quiet time I get."

"Then maybe, I shouldn't come by."

Katherine swallowed hard and studied her hands. "You being here helps. It's nice to sit and talk with an adult."

"Thank you for saying that. I enjoy visiting with you." He walked toward the door and put his hand on the door knob. "I need to leave."

"Probably, but do you have time to sit and talk for a few minutes?"

He nodded. "I do. Are we visiting about anything important or just visiting?" He paused. "Is it all right if I go grocery shopping with you? I feel I should pull my weight. I need to at least pay half."

"Half? Are you forgetting the four boys? If anything, your part would be one sixth. Hardly worth paying for."

"You shop, put away, cook, and clean up."

"You've cleaned up two nights in a row."

"But you had the kitchen already cleaned except for the plates and silverware. Let me do this."

"Do I have a choice?"

Gabriel shook his head and took her hand. "Not really. I want to."

"Figured as much. You're used to getting your own way, aren't you?"

"I've already told you, it's a side effect of being an only child."

"I'm changing the subject. I don't understand why the D-linemen would do that to the freshmen."

"Because they could and they're teenage boys." Gabriel's eyes met hers. "I've been trying to get those lockers anchored to the floor for years. There's never enough money. I've offered to pay to have it done, but my offer has been turned down. I walked into the locker room and heard a commotion. I knew exactly what had happened. It happens every year."

Katherine titled her head. "While in high school, what's the worst you ever did?"

"Painted the playing field of our opposing team our team colors before their homecoming game." He grinned. "It was fun but we almost got a lawsuit thrown at us. Finally they decided the grass would grow out. I guess its amazing boys ever make it to adulthood." He patted her hand. "What's the craziest thing you ever did?"

After thinking for a moment, Katherine said, "I didn't really do anything crazy. If you consider who my dad was, you'd understand. I didn't realize until years later that his bark was worse than his bite. I guess marrying George one week after graduation was the worst thing I ever did." She studied his hand holding hers. "I guess that's worse than anything you ever did, isn't it?"

"Depends how you look at it. At least you have the boys."

"That's true, and I love my boys."

They sat in silence for a few moments. Finally Gabriel said, "You're a great woman and mother." He cupped her face with both hands. "I know it's none of my business but I hate the way George treated you. I feel because of that you have a low self-esteem. You don't realize how wonderful you are." He leaned over and started to kiss her, but gulped and kissed her cheek. "I need to leave. Good night."


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
dating violence.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Rhonda's parents.

Kenny Clark Teenager - Rhonda's boyfriend and abuser.


The book continues with Football Chapter 19 part 1. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you google images for the photo of teenage males in towels. Taking the freshman lockers outside during showering is a real thing. 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 1800 words. I hope you don't mind the length Thank you for having patience with me.
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