Katherine struggles raising her four sons by herself. Is she getting a father figure?
ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:
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.
Chapter 11 part 2
While Katherine prepared dinner, Gabriel walked in. She glanced at him. "Football game over?"
"For now. Is there anything I can help with?"
"I'm using your mom's left over coleslaw. I hope it's all right."
"Of course. Why wouldn't it be?"
She smiled. "Good. You said you're here to help but you've mentioned before you lacked cooking skills."
"They do, but I can follow directions."
"Okay, then I'll put you to work. In the refrigerator's bottom left drawer there's a bag of sweet corn. Do you know how to clean it?"
"You're asking this country boy if he knows how to clean corn. Shame on you."
"I wasn't sure how much pro-status corrupted you."
As soon as the words were heard, Gabriel flinched.
She touched his arm. "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I was disrespectful."
"I deserved it. So you've checked the tabloids. I'm sure you don't want me around your boys. I'll leave." He started toward the door.
Katherine took his hand. "I haven't checked anything and I have no desire to. As far as I'm concerned, you're a great role-model for the boys. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary."
Gabriel studied her hand holding his. "I've told you I'm not proud of my actions during those years."
She used her other hand and put her finger to his lips. "Please stop. The past is the past. You've done wonderful things since. You should be proud of everything you've accomplished."
He softly pecked her finger. "Thank you." He picked up an ear of corn and started shucking. "I guess I'd better get busy."
After dinner and the kitchen was cleaned, Gabriel suggested, "Let's go outback and continue the game."
Winking at him, Katherine checked the time. "Let's play a quiet inside game. It won't be long before Jeremy needs to take his bath."
Gabriel's glance alternated from boy to boy. "What do you guys suggest? I don't know what the choices are?"
Jeremy jumped into his mom's lap. "What games can we play?" He faced Gabriel. "Sometimes we argue so Mom puts games in time out."
Grinning, Gabriel said, "I see." His eyes met Katherine's. "Suggestions?"
"We can take a vote. 'Busytown', but it has to be played on the floor because the board's large," she paused, "or 'Hoot Owl Hoot'.
Jordan frowned. "Mom, not that game. It uses strategies and Jeremy's too young to understand."
"I was thinking we could play with partners."
Jeremy yelled, "I get Coach."
Katherine took out 'Hoot Owl Hoot' from the closet. "Get your teams ready."
Jordan and Joshua made a team, Joel and Katherine, and then Jeremy and Gabriel.
The game continued until the grandfather clock chimed seven-thirty. Katherine started picking up. "Jeremy, you need to take your bath."
"Jeremy, everybody has a busy day tomorrow. School starts Tuesday, the following day."
All eyes focused on the young child as he stomped upstairs.
Katherine called after him as she returned the game to the closet. "Let me know when you're ready for your story."
Gabriel stood. "I think the dogs want out." He walked toward the back door with both dogs. Jordan grabbed the football and Joshua followed.
The three of them passed the ball around until Katherine stood at the backdoor. "Boys, you need to begin to settle down. Jordan, four-forty-five comes really early. Joshua, five-forty-five comes early too."
Jordan tossed Gabriel the ball. "I know, Mom." He faced Coach. "Why do we start practice at six?"
"It's cool and as a team we need two practices a day."
"Figured it was something like that. See you in the morning."
Before the boys went upstairs, they hugged Katherine.
When Gabriel walked in the door, he passed Katherine the ball. She accepted it. "Thank you for spending time with the boys. It means a lot to them." She hesitated. "And to me."
After she entered the living room, she sat on the couch and set the football beside her. "You know you didn't need to bring your own. We do own all sorts of balls, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, and basketballs. Even a kickball or two. I'm sure I'm forgetting some."
Gabriel sat on the opposite side of the football. He tapped the ball a few times.
Katherine put her hand on his hand. "Something's on your mind. What?" When he didn't say anything, she continued, "I'm really sorry for my earlier comment. I know you're sensitive about that time in your life."
He took a few of her fingers in his hand. "Don't worry about it. I'm not." Their eyes met, as he continued, "I've wondered what your life was like before George died." When her eyes widened, he said, "The boys have made a few comments."
She nodded, "That explains your question."
"If you don't want to talk about it, I understand."
"It's fine. You've shared a little about your previous life. It's only fair I do." Katherine exhaled. "Where to start?"
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 the Hoot Owl Hoot 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 800 words. Again, I made changes as I posted. I hope it works. I've been home since Thursday because Mother Nature decided Texas needed to experience winter. Go Figure. From the looks of the weather forecast, I may be home another week. The only thing Texas knows about ice and salt is a Margarita. Thank you for having patience with me. I