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 Category:  Romance Fiction
  Posted: December 12, 2021      Views: 259
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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 #3 spot on the rankings.

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Chapter 65 of the book Football - A Novel
A fight starts at the track meet.
"Football Chapter 35 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 43 days.


He drew her close. "Sorry, I wasn't there. Even though you didn't know about Ivory, maybe your subconscious knew something was wrong. I'm glad you thought of me." He released a deep breath. "As much as I want to stay tonight," he hesitated, "not to..."

"I know," interrupted Katherine.

"I want to make sure you feel secure." He held her tightly and kissed her forehead.

She stepped back and kissed him. "We need to say good night."

"You're right." He kissed her again and then walked out the door.


Chapter 35

Early Saturday morning when Katherine and Jordan arrived at school, Gabriel jogged to meet the SUV.

Jordan headed toward the locker room. "Morning, Coach. I'm going on ahead." He turned. "Good luck, Mom."

Katherine nodded at her son and then smiled at Gabriel. "How much coffee have you already had?"

"Three cups, why?"

"Your energy. I'm struggling."

"How'd you sleep?"

She tilted her head. "How do you think?"

"Horrible." His eyes met hers. "I pushed my way into your life again." As her eyebrows rose, he continued, "I contacted my police buddy, Brad Owens and told him about Melton Ivory. Extra patrol cars will be hanging around your neighborhood. I also called Troy. This guy's probably infatuated with your beauty, but your in-laws could've planted him for some reason."

They started walking toward the locker rooms, as Katherine said, "Or none of the above. Maybe he's just crazy. I seem to attract crazy people."

Gabriel opened the door for her. "Stop by my office a second." After they entered, he shut the door and kissed her.

"Thank you, kind sir. I needed that."

He poured her a cup of coffee. "This might help." As she petted Reggie, he added, "The boys and I will be at the meet as soon as possible."

Katherine glanced at her watch. "I need to get to the locker room." She sipped her coffee. "And thank you for this."

"Want a cup to go?"

"Don't have time." She reached up and pecked his cheek. "Bye."

As Sandy entered the hallway to the locker room, Gabriel called, "Miss Richards, would you do me a favor?" After she indicated she would, he handed her a cup of coffee. "Please give this to Coach Riley."

She accepted the cup and smiled. "Not a problem. You coming to our meet?"

"Wouldn't miss it. I'll be a little late but will be there. I need to get back to these knuckleheads."

When Sandy walked up, Katherine stood at the girls' locker room door. "Coach Hudson told me to give you this. I guess he thought you needed it."

"Thank you, Sandy. Since last night's game was a little over an hour away, it was a late night."

"My parents wouldn't let me go because it was so far."

"I understand. My younger boys are still in bed. Their grandma's staying with them." Katherine glanced at her watch. "Go ahead and get changed. We'll load the bus in twenty minutes." She sipped her coffee. This is so good. I wonder if he has a coffee maker in his office. Probably.

Gabriel called Jordan over. "Did your mom eat breakfast?"

"Not sure, she fixed me something, but I didn't actually see her eat."

"Thank you." Gabriel went to his office and grabbed a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit from a sack. She didn't eat. Taking care of everybody but herself. Go figure.

As Gabriel started to call Jordan over, Katherine rushed into the gym. "Coach, we're loading the bus. Just wanted to remind you to text and let me know you made it safely." She turned and jogged toward the bus.

Gabriel caught up with her. "Funny." He handed her the biscuit. "I have it on good authority you haven't eaten."

She held it out. "You just happen to have an extra breakfast lying around?" When Gabriel grinned, she added, "I'm serious about texting me. Tell Bill to text Angie too. We'll worry." She waved as she jogged to the bus.


"Will do." She climbed the steps of the bus.

Later that morning, Gabriel, Bill, Jordan, and Reggie loaded into Katherine's SUV, as Paul walked up. "Going to the Cross Country meet?"

Gabriel nodded. "We are. I'm stopping by the house and getting the other three." He paused. "It'll be a tight fit, but you want to ride with us? There's no sense in everybody driving." He glanced at the SUV. "We can put Reggie in the back."

Paul offered his hand. "We still friends?"

Accepting it, Gabriel said, "Of course. A wise woman reminded me that we're all good friends and everybody did what they thought was best."

Slapping Gabriel's back, Paul continued, "Katherine's a good influence on you. You need to keep her around."

"I plan on it. Get in. We're wasting time."

The race hadn't begun when Gabriel and the rest arrived, but the girls were lined up, waiting for the starting gun. As Gabriel texted, he said, "Bill, don't forget to let Angie know we made it."

When Katherine received the text she searched the stands until she saw Gabriel and waved.

Gabriel adjusted his cap as he studied the track. "It's still wet from last night's rain. The girls aren't used to running on a wet track. This may be a challenge."

Paul shielded his eyes from the sun. "Katherine's an experienced runner, I'm sure she prepared them."

Jeremy pulled on Coach's arm. "Can we go higher? I can't see."

Smiling down on the young child, Gabriel said, "I have a better idea." He lifted him up and set him on his shoulders. "Can you see now?"

"Really good. I'm higher than everybody, even you."

The starting gun sounded. After all the girls left, Katherine motioned for Angie to follow and they ran alongside the track.

Bill asked, "Are they going to get by with that at Invitationals?"

Gabriel scanned the area. "Not sure. I guess we'll find out." He patted his back pocket. "I have the rule book."

Paul chuckled. "Job security, right?"

Pointing, Bill said, "You're not joining the run?"

Gabriel patted Jeremy's leg. "Can't or I would. Today I have child duty."

The men and the boys had waited for about twenty minutes before Katherine and Angie came into view. Gabriel watched her walk out her run.

Bill teased, "Enjoying the view?"

Shaking his head, Gabriel put his finger to his lips and then pointed toward the boys.

Joshua grinned. "It's okay, Coach. We already know you and Mom have a thing going on."

"A thing, really?"

Rhonda and another girl rounded the corner and matched each other's steps.

Katherine ran back to Rhonda and ran beside her. "You got this." She broke into song.

Rhonda kept up, but so did the other runner. Katherine sped up. "Come on, you can do it. Just a few more feet. We got this."

The other runner fell behind.

Katherine kept up the encouragement. "Come on, breathe. We'll do this together."

After Rhonda won the race, Katherine said, "Great job! Walk it out."

Glancing over her shoulder, she saw a runner elbow Judy in the stomach and move her leg enough to trip her.

As Judy fell, Katherine ran to her and helped her up. Behind her came Rhonda and slugged the girl.

Gabriel lifted Jeremy off his shoulders and stared. "No, you're not getting involved. Yes, you are." He put his hand on the railing and jumped over it. He yelled over his shoulder. "Watch the boys."

Joshua yelled, "Great! A cat fight."

Paul said, "Doesn't Katherine realize how small she is."

Bill watched the situation. "Obviously not."

When Gabriel arrived on the scene, Katherine stood behind Rhonda and had her arms around her attempting to pull her from the other girl.

Gabriel stepped between the two girls, still swinging at each other, and stretched out his arms. "Stop!" He glared at each teenager, before he addressed them. "Miss Morgan, calm down. You're not going to do anything stupid, right?"

"Yes, Coach." Rhonda stood still but glared at the other girl.

"Coach Riley, release her." Gabriel studied the other girl. "Where's your coach?" As she pointed to the infield, he muttered under his breath, "Why isn't he here?"

Gabriel's eyes met Katherine's, and he shook his head. "You never cease to amaze me. Take care of Judy."

"Yes, Sir." Katherine went to Judy.

Gabriel massaged his temples. I snapped an order. He motioned for both girls to follow as he headed toward the other coach.

The walk to the infield was silent. Both girls jogged to keep up. When he was face-to-face with the coach, he offered his hand. "Hello, I'm Gabriel Hudson, athletic director of Silver Cove High School."

The coach didn't accept the hand. "I know who you are. We met last week." He studied his runner. "What's the problem?"

Gabriel pointed to the girl. "This young lady elbowed and tripped another runner." Then he pointed to Rhonda. "Miss Morgan came to the other girl's defense and a fight ensued. Coach Riley held her back."

"No one on my team would intentionally elbow or trip another runner. Your team started the trouble."

"Since it happened down the back stretch, I'm sure we can watch the video. Let's go." Gabriel eyed Rhonda. "Go to your team. Tell Coach Riley I'm handling this."

Rhonda nodded and left.

As Katherine and the team loaded the bus, Gabriel walked to her. "Can I speak privately with you?"

Katherine stepped behind the bus and her eyes met his. "To lecture me?"

"No. I promised never to tease you about your size, but..." he hesitated, "both girls had almost half a foot on you and probably ten or fifteen pounds."

"Your point is?"

He chuckled. "I wish you wouldn't put yourself in danger. You could've taken a punch."

"It wouldn't have been the first time." She glanced at the bus. "My team's waiting."

"Katherine, I'm only concerned for your safety."

"I know you're intentions are admirable." She climbed the steps. "I'll see you at school."

Gabriel texted, 'I love you.'

On his way to where the boys and his buddies waited, he received a text, 'I love you, too.'

As they walked to the SUV, Gabriel held back and motioned for Paul to do the same. "Has Ms. Sarah ever mentioned anything about George abusing Kate?"

Paul's eyebrows rose. "No. Why?"

"No reason, Kate said something and made me wonder. It's probably nothing."

As they crawled in the SUV, Jordan waited. "Coach, can I say something?"


Jordan turned away from the others. When Gabriel did the same, Jordan said, "I accidentally overheard you and Mr. Edwards. I know of a time Dad hit Mom."

"It's none of my business, but if you want to tell me I'd appreciate it."

"He was angry when he discovered Mom got her college degree. He said no wife of his was going to work, especially do a common job like teaching. She stood up to him, and he punched her. She had a black eye for weeks. Dad left. We never saw him again."

Gabriel put his hand on Jordan's shoulder. "Did you see it?"

"All of us did. Jeremy was just a baby."

"Thank you. I know it had to be hard to see and hard to share."

Gabriel waited until Jordan got inside before he got behind the steering wheel.

As he did, Paul asked, "Is everything all right?"

"Not really. Kate was abused at least once and in front of the boys. If it happened once, it happened before."

Except for the boys talking, the ride home was silent.

As they drove into town, Gabriel asked, "Guys, I'm grilling outside tonight. What would you like?"

A unanimous 'cheeseburgers' rang out.

"I was thinking pork chops, but cheeseburgers it is. I'll do pork chops tomorrow."

Jeremy bounced up and down in his seat. "Can we have s'mores for dessert?"

"You're going to get me in trouble with your mom, but yes."


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

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

UIL The University Interscholastic League exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The UIL was created by The University of Texas at Austin in 1910 and has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world.

Melton Ivory Lawyer and possible new suitor


The book continues with Football Chapter 36 part 1. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Thank you Google images for sharing a photo of a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. Again, thank you for catching those errors. This novel is far from over. I had broken this post up into two parts. I've decided to post it as one long one. Please let me know how you like it. If it goes over well, I'll continue doing that. Katherine and Gabriel still have some life issues to navigate. This is truly the calm before the storm. 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 1900 words. Thank you for having patience.
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