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 now known each other for 23 days.
ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:
After Brad left, Bill walked to the door. "I'll wait in the truck. Take as long as you need."
Both Katherine and Gabriel stood and watched him leave.
Following a silence, Gabriel studied Katherine for a few moments. "I'm not upset with you, but your lack of trust hurts." He glanced at his watch. "It's too late to discuss it now. We both need sleep. I'll be by first thing tomorrow, and we'll talk. Hopefully before the boys return."
"My in-laws said it'd be after lunch before they brought them back."
"Good. That should give us plenty of time." Gabriel opened his arms. "Come here." When she went into them, he held her and then said, "Good night."
"Good night." Katherine double checked to make sure the door locked after he left.
Chapter 21 part 2
Katherine answered the knock on the door. "Good morning. Have you had breakfast or at least your cups of coffee?"
"Reggie and I already ate, but could use more coffee. We got called out in the middle of the night and disrupted our beauty sleep," teased Gabriel.
She motioned to the kitchen. "I'm sorry about that. Pour yourself a cup. It's fresh. I made it after I returned from the store. I just have a few more things to put away."
Gabriel poured a cup and refreshed hers. "I thought we'd agreed to share that responsibility."
"We did, sort of, but Officer Owens came by pretty early so I got it over with."
He took out his billfold. "What's my half?"
"I don't remember." She averted her gaze to a cupboard. "I wasn't sure you'd still be having dinner with us."
"I thought I had my own seat at the table. Have I lost it?"
"No. I didn't know if you still wanted to."
Gabriel laid some cash on the counter, grabbed some cans, and set them in a cupboard. "They're put away. It's a beautiful day. We can talk on the back patio."
"That's not where they go."
He took her hand. "Grab your coffee. It's where they're going now."
"You're being pushy again."
"Good." He pointed to a chair. "Have a seat." After they sat, he continued, "The easy part of this conversation. I visited with Kenny again. This time I took him to the jail and Brad helped explain he could easily be locked up for his actions. He even spent some time in lock-up. I doubt Rhonda will have any problems with him."
"Thank you." She took a sip of coffee.
"Now for the real issue. I knew Grace from my pro-football days. Grace lived with a good friend, Luke Bolton. I called him yesterday to find out why or how she ended up on my doorstep. He threw her out because she posed for porn. For some reason she thought she could spend time with me. I made it clear she wasn't welcome and directed her to the hotels."
"So she just showed up and kissed you? How'd she find you?"
"That's pretty much what happened. I'm not sure how she found me. Maybe the cab driver told her I'd be at the school. She said something about benefits if I let her stay and then kissed me. I stopped it and sent her away."
Gabriel watched Katherine's expression as he sipped of coffee. "What really bothers me is your lack of trust. To be honest it hurts. I need to understand where you're coming from." After silence continued, he said, "I think it's your turn to talk. That's normally how conversations work. You've said very little."
"I know I have no right to be upset if you date other women. We've never discussed being exclusive. We aren't even dating."
"Where you going with this? We did discuss that we cared for each other and agreed to take it slow for various reasons."
"It hurt when I saw you holding and kissing another woman."
"She put her arms around me. I did not put my arms around her and I removed them. I did not return the kiss. Why don't you trust me? Is it my past?"
Katherine tapped her coffee cup. "Because she's younger, prettier, and doesn't have a lot of extra baggage. She's a lot of things I'm not. You're used to being with beautiful models with perfect figures, make-up, and hair."
"From what I'm hearing, it does have to do with my past. While playing, I dated models and you feel you don't measure up." Gabriel got up. "I need more coffee."
He returned with the pot, refilled hers, and set it on the table. "I need to apologize for what I'm about to say. It's basically uncouth but needs to be said because you need to hear it. I'll say it the kindest way I can."
She swallowed. "Are you sure?"
"Positive. Last night Bill got your robe not because he was worried about Brad seeing you in pajamas, but because you were unknowingly incredibly sexy. The feelings you aroused made him uncomfortable since he's married." He took a sip of coffee and watched her cheeks tinge pink. "As for me, we agreed to take it slow, if I keep seeing you like that, slow will be impossible."
"Just believe me. I don't want to embarrass either of us by going into details. You're sexier than Grace or any of those models could ever be. They try, you don't. It comes naturally. Enough said?"
After Katherine nodded, he continued, "As for the extra baggage, I hope you're not worried about the boys, because by now you should understand I enjoy being with them. The only extra baggage I see is the way George treated you. Your self-esteem took a huge hit. You should be treated like the lady you are."
"Good. I carry extra baggage too. My behavior during my pro-career still haunts me, and I'm trying to make it right. My prayer's that before we take our relationship to the next level, I have put my past where it belongs and I'm worthy of you. Again, I've done most of the talking."
Tears escaped Katherine's eyes. "I'm sorry." She stood.
Gabriel stood and put his arms around her. "You have nothing to be sorry for. We needed to have this talk. It was long overdue. As far as I'm concerned, we are in an exclusive relationship."
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 magazin
Thank you google images for the photo of mending a broken heart. 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 900 words. Thank you for having patience with me.