Romance Fiction posted February 7, 2021 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 22... 

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A family football game.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 11 part 1

by barbara.wilkey

Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is she getting some help?

Gabriel scanned the room. "Before I leave is there anything that needs to be done. I don't want something like the washing machine incident to happen again."

Hesitating Katherine said, "I was wondering..." She exhaled. "I was wondering if you'd..."

"Just spit it out."

"Would you like to come tomorrow night for fish dinner?"

His eyes twinkled. "I'd love to. Anything I should bring?"


"Of course, I don't go anywhere without my trusty companion." He petted Daisy's head. "She'd miss him."

"Then it's a date." Her cheeks tinged pink. "I didn't mean a date. I meant friends..." She inhaled. "I don't know what I meant." She turned and walked away.

Gabriel reached out and touched her hand. "I know what you meant. It's definitely not a date."


Chapter 11 part 1

Early afternoon Gabriel adjusted Reggie's bib before he knocked on Katherine's door. Waiting for an answer, Reggie turned and growled. Gabriel sighed. "I heard it too. I have no idea what's going on. It seems every time I'm around Katherine it happens. Makes no difference if it's here or at school."

Katherine, drying her hands, opened the door. "Sorry, I was cleaning up after lunch. Have you eaten? We have plenty of leftovers. I meant to send some home with you last night and forgot. Please remind me today."

"We'll see." Gabriel scanned the room. "How can I help?"

Katherine eyed the football in his hand. "It looks like you planned a game."

"Well, to be honest I planned on helping you and then a game. I thought if you finished getting the house in order, you could join us. You need to relax too."

She tilted her head, "And you think playing football's relaxing?"

He grinned. "How about playing a game with the boys?"

"I'll give you that." She checked her watch. "I might be finished in about two hours. The boys are out back, if you want to join them."

Taking her hand, he checked it. "I see the bruise is already changing colors." He searched the room. "Where's Daisy?"

"Outside with the boys."

He glanced toward the back door. "Before I go out, how can I help?" Watching her eyes scan the room, he grinned. "Out with it."

"I have a few boxes in the bedrooms that need to be put on the closets' top shelves. Each room has at least one."

Gabriel tossed the ball to the couch and headed for the stairs. "Let's do this. Is Jeremy's room first?" He noticed she stood still. "I need you to tell me which box and exactly where." He took her hand. "Now's not the time to be shy."

After Gabriel put numerous boxes up on shelves in each of the boys' rooms, he asked, "If you need to get something from those boxes, how you going to do it?"

"I guess I'll worry about that later. They can't stay in the middle of the rooms."

"Are there boxes in your room too?" After she nodded, he continued, "Any others?"

"There's one in the den. I'm not sure where to put it."

"Is there anything on the top shelf of the coat closet?"

"Good idea. Let's put it there I didn't put anything on the top shelves because I can't reach there."

Gabriel chuckled. "I've noticed you're height challenged." He paused. "Exactly how tall are you? Can you even claim five and a half feet?" He stood beside her and put his hand on top of his head and looked down. "I'm six feet five inches. I'm well over a foot taller to you. You barely come to my chest. Come on, out with it."

"I'm not sure it's relevant." She started down the stairs but over her shoulder said, "All you'll do is tease me."

He cocked his head. "That short. Hmmm. I wouldn't think of teasing you. But now I'm curious."

"If you tease me just a little, I'll never, and I mean never forgive you. I'm trusting you. I'm five feet two even, usually."

Grinning, he asked, "Usually? Either you are or you aren't." As she started to frown, he added, "I'm not teasing, I just don't understand, either you are or you aren't."

"Sometimes I'm five feet two and a few times I've been measured at five feet and one and a three quarter inches. It depends which doctors' office measured it."

"Thank you for clearing that up. I'm pretty sure you're every bit of five feet two inches."

"You're teasing."

"Maybe a tad. Let's take care of the boxes in the den."

After all the boxes were put up, Gabriel asked, "What else you need help with?"

She picked up the football and passed it to him. "Nothing. You're free to play with the boys."

"Thank you, Ma'am." He headed for the back door and then turned. "Are you joining us?"

"I want to double, well, triple check and make sure everything's set, then I'll be out."

He continued outside. "If you take too long, I'll be back."

"I'm sure you will."

After spending time in each room, Katherine decided there was nothing more that needed to be done. She poured herself a cup of coffee and sipped it as she watched Gabriel and the boys play. He's so good with them. Better than their dad.

She paused. I guess it's a little over a week since we've met and he's already taken them fishing and, now, playing football. She laughed. "Probably because he's an overgrown kid himself."

Gabriel came up to the kitchen window and shouted, "I thought you were watching. Do I need to drag you out here?"

She set her coffee cup down. "I'm coming."

With Katherine standing beside Jeremy, Gabriel said, "This is your mom. Although, she's one tough lady, please remember she's a lady and no rough stuff."

"Oh, you don't think I can handle it, huh?"

Gabriel chuckled. "I guess she's ready. Let's go." He hesitated, "Teams, your mom, Jordan, and Joshua. Jeremy, Joel, and me on the opposing team. Sound fair?"

Everybody agreed.

After forty-five minutes, Jordan went back to pass to his mom. Katherine dropped back. Gabriel came up behind her and reached over her. She slipped back into him. Joshua came up and grabbed Gabriel's knees for a tackle, knocking him down. Katherine fell on top."

Jordan yelled, "Mom!" He ran to her and helped her up. "Are you okay?"

She glanced at Gabriel. "He blocked my fall. You'd better ask if he's okay."

Both dogs faced the same direction and growled.

Katherine sighed. "They hear it again."

"They do." Gabriel touched her arm. "Are you sure you're all right? You hit pretty hard."

"So my fall bruised you? Jordan, you'd better get Coach Hudson a bag of ice."


Gabriel shook his head. "She's teasing."

Glancing at the sky, Katherine said, "I'd better start dinner. Before I do, I better check the menu, I was thinking, of course, fried blue gill, hush puppies, coleslaw, corn on the cob, now, comes the hard part, rice or French fries?"

The vote was unanimous for French fries.


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.



Thank you google images for the photo of a family football game. I also want to thank everybody for the wonderful reviews. This novel is not actually about football, but is part of the background. High School football is a national past-time in Texas. This post is a little over 1000 words. Again, I made changes as I posted. I hope it works. I've figured out the busier I am at my paying job the more mistakes I make with my writing. Thank you for having patience with me. It's official I turned in the first part of my retirement stack of papers last week. My last official day of work is May 28th.
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