Romance Fiction posted February 28, 2021 Chapters:  ...22 23 -24- 25... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Katherine misses Gabriel.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 12 part 1

by barbara.wilkey

Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is she getting a father figure?

A loud clap of thunder sounded and Katherine inhaled deeply.

Gabriel touched her arm. "Breathe. I'm here. I won't let anything happen."

Katherine moved closer and whispered, "I know that." She leaned her head onto his chest.

His arms circled her. After her breathing returned to normal, he pointed to a drawer to his left. "You check that one and I'll check here."

This continued until Katherine opened a drawer with two flashlights and packs of batteries. "I found them." She turned on one.

Gabriel held up candles. "And I found these. What do you want to do?"

"Go to bed."

Laughing Gabriel said, "If it's what you want, but I'm pretty sure rumors would fly."

She slapped at his arm. "That's not at all what I meant."

"I know. Teasing, but I think I can even see you blushing by flashlight." Gabriel stood quiet. "I think the storm has slowed. I'd better leave."

Katherine walked him to the door. "I'm sorry about..."

Gabriel took her hand and caressed it. "Don't worry about it. I'm glad I could help." He opened the door. "Come on, Reggie." Before he left, he added, "I'll see you in the morning for our run."

"So now it's 'our' run."

"Yep. I told you I wouldn't let anything happen. Good night."


Chapter 12 part 1

Katherine stretched inside and then walked out when Gabriel and Reggie came into view.

Gabriel was the first to speak. "Good morning, where's your jogging partner?"

"Daisy and Jeremy had a rough night. They're sound asleep, hugging each other."

As they talked, Reggie turned and growled. Gabriel stared in that direction. "Whatever it is; is still there." After a brief pause, he asked, "Did Mom have a rough night too?" he teased. "That second round was worse than the first."

"Let's put it this way, both Jeremy and Daisy ended up in my bed."

"Did you get any sleep?"

"Not a lot." She set her watch. "Our electricity's still off and my phone needs charging. It's going to be a difficult day." She stretched her arms above her head. "Let's get started."

"Yes Ma'am."

As they began, again Reggie growled. Gabriel clenched his jaw. "I've had enough." He moved closer to Katherine and continued the jog.

When her alarm went off, they headed home.

At the sidewalk leading to her steps, Gabriel said, "The district provides lunch today. Will Jordan need lunch?"

"No, Mom's picking him up."

Gabriel paused. "I have a little bit of free time. I'll bring him home and have him help load the boxes."

"Are you sure?"

He nodded. "Yes, I have a few things in the locker room that need to be taken to the landfill. Don't forget to tell Ms. Sarah. I'll wait until you get inside before I leave. See you at school."

"Bye, until later." She paused as Reggie growled.

As Katherine closed the door, she watched Gabriel make a call. I wonder who he called.

When Sarah arrived, Katherine relayed the message that Gabriel would bring Jordan home. As she got inside her SUV, she paused. Since Gabriel's parents won't be supplying lunch, should I get him coffee. He didn't say. I will anyway. I don't think there's such a thing as too much coffee with him.

Katherine stopped by the office and left Gabriel's coffee and breakfast. After he was called, she waited a few minutes. When he didn't show, she went to her room. I need to make a math word of the day bulletin board.

As she completed it, Angie stopped. "What's this?"

"I thought I'd do a math word of the day competition. The kids write down the definition and the first person who gets it correct gets a free homework pass. They'll have to have their name, the correct definition, date and time they turned it in. The basket's right inside the door. I thought I'd do it all year. How hard should the first word be?"

"Medium hard. What are you thinking?"

"Aggregate, maybe?" She scanned the hallway. "You haven't seen Coach this morning have you?"

"Not really. Is he missing?"

Katherine smiled. "No, but it's unusual he hasn't been under foot. So I guess, yes, he's missing."

Angie took out her phone. "You want me to check with Bill?"

"Heavens no! We have a faculty meeting in a little while. I'm sure he'll be there. Don't you dare say anything."

"So you don't want me to tell anybody you were concerned because you didn't see a certain hunky coach, right?"

"That's not at all what I said. You're almost as impossible as he is." Katherine stood back and stared at the bulletin board. "Think it looks okay? Or should I ask will kids participate?"

"For a free homework pass, I think they will. Is it only for your classes or can anyone participate?"

"I was thinking mine, but if Mr. Edwards agrees it can be open to the school. I hadn't thought about it."

"Put your things away, let's go to the cafeteria."

As they sat and talked, Angie touched Katherine's hand. "Don't be so obvious. Others will notice. He'll show up."

After the meeting started, Gabriel walked in. He held up the two coffees, the sack, and mouthed, "Thank you," to Katherine.

With pink tinged cheeks, she nodded acknowledgement. He shook his head and grinned.

Mr. Edwards glanced in her direction. "Mrs. Riley, would you come up, please?"

Her hand flew to her chest. "Me?"

He nodded. "Yes. I noticed something on your hallway bulletin board and thought the entire school could benefit. I'd like you to explain it."

At the podium she faced the principal. "Do you mean my math vocabulary board?"

"Yes. I thought it was a great idea. We'll see if it's something the entire school wants to participate in."

Katherine explained the idea and the free homework passes. It was decided the school would participate and she would be in charge of the words and the passes.

As she sat, she noticed Gabriel wink at her.

The meeting continued and ended just before lunch so the caterers could set up.

Gabriel walked up to Katherine. "Something came up. I had to call Ms. Sarah to pick up Jordan. When I bring Jordan home from afternoon practice, I'll take care of the boxes."

"You don't need to."

"I told you I would and I keep my promises."

"You never promised."

He turned his head when he heard Mr. Edwards call his name. "I'd better see what he wants." He faced her. "Thanks for breakfast. I needed it. See you later."

Katherine watched the two men walk toward the office.


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 math bulletin board. I also want to thank everybody for the wonderful 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 over 900 words. Thank you for having patience with me.
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