Romance Fiction posted October 10, 2021 Chapters:  ...54 55 -56- 57 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Gabriel gains new knowledge about Katherine

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 30 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 36 days.


After the tire change, Gabriel said, "Why don't Bill and Angie drive home and I'll take the rest of you? It'll save time."

Katherine smiled. "It's a great idea, but I doubt you can fit four boys and Reggie in your backseat."

He lifted his cap and then replaced it. "True. I guess we stick to the original plans." He hugged her. "We'll follow. See you at home. Wait a minute." He jogged to his truck and returned. "My phone charger. Charge your phone."


Chapter 30 part 1

Gabriel maneuvered his pick-up out to pass. "Call the girls. They shouldn't have any problems from here. We're only thirty miles out. Let them know we'll meet them at home. I need to make a stop."

Bill removed his phone. "Which one should I call?"

"Try Katherine. I gave her my charger. If she doesn't answer, then Angie."

After Bill relayed the message, he asked, "It's after midnight, what stop do you need to make?"

"I'm sure the boys are hungry. Katherine always fixes an after game snack. It's too late for that. I'll stop and get something. Any ideas?"

"You're the professional. What would your trainers suggest?" asked Bill.

Jordan leaned forward from the backseat. "Coach, Mom says her dad always suggested protein and fruit. That's what she tries to do."

"Your mom's right. Mexican's good. I'll stop and get some burritos. Do you have fresh fruit at home or should I get some?"

"I think so. There's usually plenty, but it is the end of the week."

"Let's hope so."

After stopping at a Mexican Restaurant, Gabriel parked in front of Katherine's. "We still beat them. Jordan, do you have a key?"

As Jordan unlocked the door, he asked "Coach, why'd you do this?"

Gabriel's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"It's nice, but why?"

"To be honest, I kind of like your mom, and know it's getting late. She has a cross country meet first thing in the morning."

"In case you're wondering, I think she kind of likes you too."

They turned their heads when they saw the headlights pull into the driveway.

All three of them went outside. Joel and Joshua ran inside. Katherine attempted to get Jeremy from the seat, but he'd fallen asleep.

Gabriel nodded at Katherine. "I'll get him. Should I put him in bed?"

"Yes, I doubt he'll wake up."

When Gabriel returned downstairs, the boys were eating.

Katherine touched his arm. "Thank you. I had no idea what I was going to fix. What I'd planned would've taken too long." She glanced at her watch. "It's almost one o'clock." She sighed. "Boys you need to hurry. Morning's coming awfully early. Jordan, you and I have to be at school in six hours. The rest of the boys can sleep a little longer. I'll have Grandma bring them about eight o'clock, maybe a little later. They don't need to see the beginning."

The boys finished and headed upstairs. Katherine began cleaning up. Gabriel touched her arm. "Leave it until tomorrow. After the meet, I'll come and help. Go to bed."


Gabriel interrupted with a kiss. "Seriously, it can wait." He headed toward the door. "See you in the morning."

The following morning when Jordan stepped into the locker room, Gabriel glanced up. "You don't need to dress out. We're going over the game tapes. How's your mom this morning?"

"She's grumbling something about making sure there's always a jack and spare tire." Joran laughed. "She's also mentioned getting an extra phone charger that stays in her purse."

Gabriel chuckled. "It's always good to be prepared." He stepped in the doorway and watched Katherine walk down the hallway toward the girls' locker room. She's captured my heart. How'd she do it so fast?

Bill came up behind him and slapped his shoulder. "Enjoying the view?"

A slight pink tinged Gabriel's cheeks. "Don't know what you're talking about."

"Then why you blushing like a teenager? She's a looker that's for sure."

As the cross country meet prepared to begin, Gabriel released the football players so they could attend. He caught sight of Katherine and grinned as he watched her calm down the girls and yet encourage them to do their best. She's a natural.

When the race began, she ran on the grass but alongside the girls, helping set their pace.

Gabriel started jogging. "Come on Bill, let's do this."

Bill joined his buddy. "I like running as much as the next person, but you're crazy. You know that, don't you?"

Katherine cut through the Golf Course so she arrived at the High School track before the girls and walked out her run. After a few minutes she saw girls come her direction. She noticed Rhonda was in a close tie with the opponent. She released a deep breath. What would Gabriel do? She laughed. He'd do something crazy. Crazy doesn't work on a track.

She faced the announcing booth and motioned her arm in a circle, until Harold noticed. He played loudly their fight song. Smiling she ran until she was equal with Rhonda. "You got this. We'll do it together. Follow my lead. Match my steps."

Rhonda slightly pulled ahead of the other girl, but then she caught up. Katherine increased her speed. "Just a few more feet. You can do it. Match my steps."

Again, Rhonda pulled ahead and won the race, by seven inches.

The opposing coach ran to Katherine. "It's illegal for you to run with your team! You're disqualified!"

Katherine scanned the stands for Gabriel, but answered, "Excuse me, Sir. The way I understand the rule is I can run alongside my girls as long as I remain on the grass and don't step onto the track."

Gabriel put his hand on the railing and jumped to the track. "Is there a problem?"

The coach glared at him. "I should've known you'd be here causing trouble. You're a football coach. You don't belong at a cross country meet. I'm familiar with your antics. I watched last night's game."

"Not only am I the head football coach, but I'm the athletic director, so I do belong here. You haven't told me the problem."

"This coach is cheating. She's running alongside the runners." He looked up at the speaker. "Since when do we play music during a meet?"

Katherine stood tall. "Since my team enjoys running to music. It adds a little culture to the meets."

Gabriel's eyebrows crunched together and said under his breath, "Culture?" He pulled a book out of his back pocket and handed it to him. "Please show me in the UIL rule book where it says a coach can't run alongside the runners."

Mr. Edwards walked onto the infield. "Is there a problem?"

Katherine answered, "Running alongside my runners is being questioned."

Paul glanced toward Gabriel. "What's the rule book say?"

Gabriel pointed to the coach searching through. "It says on page seventy-eight paragraph four that as long as she stays off the track it's legal."

The opposing coach threw the book on the ground and walked away.

Katherine's eyes met Gabriel's. "How do you know that?"

Gabriel picked it up. "After watching the first meet, I figured it'd come into question at some point so I looked it up and memorized it." He grinned. "I don't normally carry around the rule book, but figured until it's questioned, I'd better."

Touching his arm, she asked, "Is the play that scored your winning touchdown last night described in the rule book?"

Gabriel chuckled. "No, that was probably a first. Leave it to these boys to come up with a new play. This group's unique."

Katherine ran off to join her girls. "Got to go."

The coach returned to where Mr. Edward and Gabriel stood. "I just realized who she is. She's Katherine Beck. She still holds cross country records for the four kilometer runs. She had an all-expense paid scholarship to University of Texas."

Gabriel faced Mr. Edwards. "Really? They don't give that type of scholarships for cross country or girls' anything."

Paul turned in Katherine's direction. "Normally, you're right, but she's special. She was in the running for the Olympics, but she chose to get married."

The opposing coach glare went between Paul and Gabriel. "Okay, since she's a great runner, how'd she get on your staff? What's she teach? Study hall, hallway, or maybe parking lot duty?"

Paul grinned. "She actually teaches math, and not only math, but our AP courses."

The coach left.

Gabriel watched him leave. "Think we've heard the last of him?"

"I doubt it. Pretty sure Monday morning I'll get a call from the UIL's front office. Maybe even a visit. Between your interesting play last night and this, I'm going to be busy Monday." Paul slapped Gabriel's back. "Since hiring you, I've had job security."

"Glad I could help," teased Gabriel.

Paul walked off. "Between you and your girlfriend, I'll never have any peace."

"She's not my girlfriend."

"Want to bet?"

I want to thank those of you who have expressed concern and have asked about my broken wrist. Things got interesting this week. I saw orthopedics on Wednesday and surgery was scheduled for Thursday. I never expected it so soon. I had a plate and some screws put in. I was also surprised I had to have a tissue donor. I'm still getting better at finger typing.
Thank you Youtube for Muana Fight Song


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 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.



Thank you Arianna for sharing a photo of you running cross country. Arianna is my granddaughter. She has earned many cross country medals for her team. Today, 10/10 is her 18th birthday!!! I also want to thank everybody for the helpful 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 1,400 words. Thank you for having patience.
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