Romance Fiction posted March 14, 2021 Chapters:  ...24 25 -26- 27... 

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Gabriel and Joshua talk.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 12 part 3

by barbara.wilkey

Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is Gabriel the father figure the boys need?

"Sorry to damage your macho image, but the way I see it there's no reason to worry about the past. Besides we're not in a relationship, other than friendship. So we're good."

Mr. Edwards glanced at his ringing phone. "I need to answer this. Why don't you two get lunch." He paused. "But before you leave, Gabe invited me to help you move. I already had a family commitment or I would've helped. And Katherine, I need to ask a question before you leave today." He nodded toward Gabriel.

Katherine faced him. "Do you know what that's about?"

"Maybe, but I'm not at liberty to say." He grinned. "It's above my pay-grade. I'm hungry."


Chapter 12 part 3

That afternoon when Katherine arrived home, she opened the front door. "Mom, did you talk to Mr. Edwards?"

Sarah walked toward her daughter. "No. Why?"

"He asked me to coach the girls' cross country team, and the other day you mentioned something about it."

"I've been too busy with your boys to visit with Paul." She smiled. "How'd you answer? You know if you did, you'd be required to spend more time with Gabriel?"

"Mom! There's nothing between Gabriel and me. I'm recently widowed. I'm nowhere close to being ready for any relationship. I'm still trying to get my life together."

Her mom swiped her with a dish towel. "You didn't really have a marriage. You deserve a man who'd be a real husband and father."

"And a man whose first commitment is to football would be that man? I don't think so."

"Just remember, this is the beginning of football season and where has he been these past few days?" Sarah hesitated for effect. "He's been helping you."

"He's a jock. I don't date or even want to be around jocks."

Sarah laughed. "Yeah and where did marrying a nerd get you? The same place some jocks would've gotten you. Jocks don't have the patent on being horrible husbands."

"I'm going to get Joshua from football. I'll be back shortly." Katherine left.

About an hour later, Gabriel called and reminded Katherine that he'd bring Jordan home so he could load up the boxes.

When they arrived, Gabriel told Jordan to go inside and ask Joshua to meet him in the garage.

Joshua entered. "Coach, Jordan said you wanted my help."

"Sort of. I wanted to talk with you, alone, and figured we could do this at the same time." Gabriel tossed a few folded boxes into the bed of his pick-up. "Coach Carroll stopped by my office this morning. Any idea why?"

Hanging his head, Joshua said, "I'm not sure. Why?"

"By your body language I'd say you have a pretty good idea." He threw a few more boxes in the bed. "It'll be easier if you come clean."

"A group of us were looking at girlie magazines. They weren't mine. Another kid brought them. They were his big brother's. We got caught."

"Since the magazines weren't yours, it makes it okay?"

"I guess not. Coach wasn't too happy. Are you going to tell Mom?"

"What'd you think your mom would do?"

"Kill me."

Gabriel grinned. "I doubt that, she loves you. But she wouldn't be happy. You'd get a long lecture and maybe grounded for a month."

"Probably for life."

"Could be. Do you think it's okay to degrade women by gawking and probably making rude comments and gestures?"

"These girls get paid for it."

"Many girls do it because it's the only way they can afford college, some are run-a-ways and have to support themselves, and some are tricked into it with a promise of acting careers. They do it for many different reasons."

"I didn't think of it that way. Some of the guys said you used to hang around with models and had a different one every night."

Gabriel made a fist before he inhaled a deep breath. "That's right. I made a lot of mistakes while playing pro-ball. One morning I woke up and realized I didn't like the man I'd become. I've worked hard to change that. I try to treat women with the respect they deserve."

He tossed a few more boxes on the pile. "How do I treat your mom?"

"With respect. Does Mom know about your past?"

"She doesn't know the details, but she knows. I've told her since that part of my life wasn't a good role model I'd stay away." Joshua's eyes widened, but Gabriel continued, "She said she's willing to give me a second chance." A couple more boxes went on the pile. "How'd you feel if I disrespected your mom?"

"Horrible. I like you. I'm glad she lets you hang around."

Chuckling, Gabriel continued, "Me too."

Adding boxes to the pile, Joshua said, "Mom smiles around you. She didn't use to smile."

Swallowing, Gabriel asked, "Did you bring any magazines home?"

Joshua nodded. "One."

"After we finish, give it to me, and I'll destroy it. What kind of example would it set if Jeremy found it?"

Joshua frowned. "Horrible."

"Here's the deal. Right now this is between us. If it happens again, your mom will be told. Understood?"

"Yes. It won't happen again. I promise."

After the boxes were loaded, Gabriel and Joshua went inside. Gabriel nodded for Joshua to get the magazine.

Katherine walked into the room. While Joshua was upstairs, she said, "I can tell something's up. What is it?"

Gabriel's eyes met hers. "It's a guy thing. I hope you trust me enough to believe I've handled it."

Inhaling a deep breath, she released it. "Okay." She turned toward the kitchen. "We're having left overs. Want to stay for dinner? There's more than enough."

"I don't think so. Lately, I've eaten here more than I've eaten at home. The neighbors might talk."

"At least let me make a plate. Please?"

"That'll be fine."

While Katherine fixed his dinner, Joshua brought down the magazine. Gabriel shoved it inside a sports-bag. "I'll destroy it at my place."


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 Playboy Magazine. 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 under 900 words. Thank you for having patience with me.
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