General Fiction posted January 2, 2022 Chapters:  ...65 66 -68- 70... 


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Katherine meets with Riley's lawyers.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Football Chapter 40

by barbara.wilkey




Background
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 46 days.

ENDING OF PREVIOUS POST:

"I know." She studied him for a few moments. "It's none of my business, but do you have any children?"

"None."

"Are you sure? Maybe that's how you met Mr. Elder. He's a custody lawyer." She shook her head. "Never mind. I have no right to ask."

Gabriel took her hand and kissed it. "Stop. You have every right." She waited as he continued, "Yes, I'm sure. Besides if anybody was going to press for child support they would've done it before I retired." He took a breath. "The women I spent time with weren't interested in settling down. We never discussed it, but I'm sure they took precautions."

"They were completely different from me."

"It was understood, I wouldn't spend more than a night with them." Gabriel turned her head so their eyes met. "I hope this isn't a surprise. My plan is to marry you." His kiss lingered and more followed.

Katherine stood. "You need to leave before..."

"I'm in love with you," interrupted Gabriel. He winked. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

TODAY'S POST:

On her way to the ultrasound appointment, Katherine stopped by the school office and dropped-off Gabriel's coffee and breakfast.

Gabriel came from Mr. Edward's office. "Thank you." He immediately took a sip of coffee. "That's good. I'll walk you to your room."

Katherine hesitated. "I have a doctor's appointment. I'll meet you at the courthouse. Please bring Jordan with you." She turned to leave.

"This appointment was previously scheduled, right?" After she nodded, he continued, "Why wasn't it mentioned while we jogged this morning?" Before she could answer, he said, "You've had a lot of appointments lately, what's wrong?"

She checked her watch. "Nothing. Women have a lot of areas that need to be checked. My appointment's at eight o'clock. I need to hurry."

*****
When Katherine arrived at the courthouse, she sat at a long rectangular table beside Mr. Elder. Moments later Gabriel and Jordan walked in with Paul and sat in the area behind them.

Gabriel came up to Katherine, leaned over, and whispered, "Everything okay with the doctor?"

Before Katherine could answer, her in-laws and their lawyer entered. Behind them came Mr. Frost and another man.

Katherine exhaled.

Gabriel squeezed her hand. "We got this."

As he sat beside Paul and Jordan, Katherine's mom entered with Joshua. Gabriel's parents followed.

Troy glanced around the room and then faced the Riley's lawyer, "Mr. Novak, are we ready to start?"

"I think so. Why don't you start by explaining why you called this meeting?"

Pointing at a well-dressed gently graying gentleman, Troy began, "First, I'd like to introduce Judge Ryan Washington. I asked him to be present to ensure everything remains civil and to bring clarity to this situation. This isn't a trial, we're checking to see if there should be one."

He opened a file. "Mr. Novak, your clients are the grandparents of four young children. My client, Katherine and her deceased husband, George are the parents of these children, correct?"

Mrs. Riley shouted, "George was our son."

Troy continued, "Yes, Mrs. Riley. It's my understanding you've filed for custody of these children for two reasons. First, their mother, Katherine is working and you feel she hasn't provided adequate childcare, and second, her relationship with Gabriel Hudson presents a negative influence on the young children. Am I correct?"

Mrs. Riley leaned forward. "He's a playboy."

Mr. Novak nodded. "You're correct. Our evidence is Mrs. Riley teaches at Silver Cove High School and now coaches the girls' cross country team. Her hours don't coincide with the school hours of the youngest three children."

Judge Washington faced Katherine. "Ma'am, what arrangements have been made for the boys' care?"

"My mother, Sarah Beck, comes to our house before I leave in the morning, fixes the boys breakfast, and takes them to school. She picks up the youngest two after school. Joshua attends football practice at the middle school, and I pick him up after my cross country practice. If, for some reason, I'm running late, my mother picks him up. After football practice, Jordan, the oldest is brought home by Coach Hudson. If he's busy, a family friend and another coach, Bill Brooks brings him home."

The judge nodded. "Sounds like you have it covered." He paused. "What happens if one of the boys is ill?"

"I'd stay home."

Rebecca said, "My husband and I'd also help with the boys."

"Who are you?" asked Judge Washington.

Harold pointed to his son. "Harold and Rebecca Hudson. Gabriel's parents."

Mr. Riley shouted, "That's where the boys spend the night while these two party."

"Oh?" replied the judge. "Mr. Hudson, would you please share how often and under what circumstances you've had the boys all night?"

Harold stood. "We've had the boys on two separate occasions. Jordan was injured playing football and spent the night in the hospital. We took the younger boys so Katherine could stay with him. Another time, they were at our farm fishing and the boys wanted to use the telescope to watch the stars. Since it would be a late night and Katherine and Jordan had early practices, we offered to keep the younger boys."

Judge Washington faced the Riley's. "I don't see any issues with the child care."

Troy said, "Thank you. The next issue is Gabriel Hudson's influence on the boys. Mr. Novak, would you explain the issue with Mr. Hudson?"

"I'd be happy too. Mr. Hudson is a former professional football player and lived a playboy life-style. This is well documented in tabloids with photographs. We feel he's not a wholesome role model."

The judge faced Troy. "How long have you known Mr. Hudson?"

Turning around, he faced Gabriel and asked, "What year did you go pro?"

"Drafted 2005 and injured 2015."

"Thank you. I've known Mr. Hudson for fifteen years." He turned again and asked, "You got bored with the playboy lifestyle around what, 2011 or 2012?" After Gabriel nodded, he continued, "After that he became a model citizen."

Judge Washington tapped a pencil. "So for eight or nine years he's lived a normal life?" After Troy nodded, he asked, "Mr. Edwards, how long have you known Mr. Hudson?"

"Since middle school. We played football together. He's been a coach/teacher at the high school since 2016. This is his fifth year as our athletic director and head football coach. I can testify to his high moral character. He's been a great influence on our teenage boys."

Mr. Novak stood and held up a picture and a magazine. "I'd like to show you this." He handed it to the judge. "The photo is this 'great influence' kissing a porn-star at the school during a cross country meet and the magazine was found in his garbage can. It proves this woman is a porn-star."

Judge Washington's eyes widened. "Care to explain?"

"I did not kiss that woman. She kissed me. I knew her from my pro-days. She lived with a buddy and they separated. She found her way here thinking she could stay with me. I told her to leave, but in an attempt to convince me she kissed me. As for the magazine, it's not mine. I took it away from a boy and threw it in the trash. I didn't know she was in it, until that boy told me."

"What is the boy's name? We'll need to verify your story."

"I won't give his name. I gave my word that as long as he stayed away from those types of magazines I wouldn't tell. I plan to keep my word."

Mr. Novak said, "Since he won't name this imaginary boy, that's proof of guilt. He hasn't changed his lifestyle."

Joshua stood. "Sir, I'm that boy." He glanced at Gabriel. "Coach, I'm sorry I caused you trouble." He stepped closer. "Sorry, Mom. The magazine was mine. During football practice a group of us were looking at girlie magazines. Our coach caught us. He knew Coach Hudson was a family friend and contacted him. Coach called me on it. I promised not to look at them again and he wouldn't tell Mom. I gave him the magazine and he threw it away."

He glanced back at Coach. "That girl kissed him. He sent her away. I saw it. I told him she was in that magazine. He didn't know." He went back to his seat. "Sorry."

The judge released a deep breath. "I'd say that's proof of Mr. Hudson's influence on the boys." His eyes met Mr. Novak's. "Unless you have something else. I don't see a case." He paused. "Did your P.I. turn up anything?"

"No. But we do have one more issue to present." He motioned toward the door.

Melton Ivory walked in carrying a folder and handed it to Mr. Novak.

Mr. Novak gave a copy of the papers to Troy and Judge Washington. "You both received a copy of Mr. Hudson's bank statement. As you can tell, his bank statement is good, but would be better with Katherine's money. He's used to a lavish lifestyle. Why would a man like him be interested in a widow with four children? Let common sense rule."

When Katherine turned around and glanced at Gabriel, he mouthed, "It's okay."

She exhaled, and Troy covered her hand with his as he whispered, "We figured this was coming. We got this."

Jordan stood. "Sir. They're lying. The Riley's don't care about us. They're planning on sending us to boarding school. They only want our trust funds."

Judge Washington asked, "Son, do you have proof?"

"We hadn't seen or heard from them since before Jeremy was born. He's over six years old. One Sunday they came and took us for the night. All they did was fuss at us not to touch anything. I saw brochures for different boarding schools. The only reason they wanted us that night was to prove Mom and Coach were shacking up. They're not. They haven't done anything wrong." Jordan plopped down.

Troy stood. "Thank you Jordan for clearing up some things." He picked up two folders and handed one to the judge and one to Mr. Novak. "This is Mr. Hudson's financial portfolio. After you study these documents you'll see that Mr. Hudson doesn't need Katherine's money." He faced Mr. Ivory. "I'd like to know your motive for stalking Katherine?"

Melton Ivory left the room.

The judge opened the folder. "Please give me a few moments to read this."

When Judge Washington closed the folder, he faced the Riley's. "I'm sorry but I don't see a valid case. You're welcome to continue this pursuit if you choose."

Troy stood. "We've added a counter suit. If this case continues and the Riley's lose, we expect them to pay all court costs, my fee, one million dollars pain and suffering to Katherine and her children, and five hundred thousand dollars to Mr. Hudson for defamation of character."

Mr. Novak jumped up. "You can't do that."

Grinning, Troy said, "Watch me. Decide if you want to continue. By the way, the P.I. you've had watching Katherine needs to cease immediately. If not, we're adding harassment charges."

Mrs. Riley stood. "So you're saying there's no way to get our son's money? He would want us to have it."

Judge Washington's eyes met hers. "I guess you should've been more careful with the money he gave you."

Pointing at Katherine, Mrs. Riley continued, "She's rental property. She doesn't have a maid, a cook, or nanny. She even works. She's not a proper lady. We know how to use his money."

Troy stood. "The way I see it, Katherine is ten times the lady you are." He paused. "Are you dropping this nonsense?"

Mr. Novak nodded. "Yes, we're dropping everything."

Gabriel jumped up and hugged Katherine. "It's about time."

"I agree." After family hugs, Katherine said, "Gabriel, I need to talk to Mr. Elder. Would you take Jordan back to school? I'll be along shortly."

Katherine watched Gabriel leave before she continued, "Mr. Elder, could I speak with you?"

Troy cocked his head. "Sure Katherine." He hesitated. "If you're asking if Gabriel has any children hiding somewhere, he doesn't."

She smiled. "We talked about that last night. I believed him." She avoided eye contact. "I'm having a breast biopsy Friday."

"Breast cancer?" After she nodded, he continued, "I'm sorry. Hopefully it's nothing. How's Gabe taking it? How can I help?"

"I'm waiting for the biopsy results before I tell him." She fingered her purse. "If anything happens, I want Gabriel to have full custody of the boys. Can you do that?"

"Sure. Are you sure?"

She nodded. "I'm positive. I want it written in such a way that guarantees my mom and his parents remain part of the boys' lives. I don't want any possibility that my in-laws have any rights to the boys."

"I understand. Do you want me to wait until you discuss it with Gabe?"

"No. Please start it. I want everything in place in case I have cancer."

"Understood."

When Katherine stood, he did and put his hand in the small of her back. "I'll walk you out."

*****
As Katherine stood outside and waited for the girls, Gabriel walked up. "Are you pleased with this afternoon's outcome?"

"I am. I'm just worried what's around the corner. It seems it's just one issue after another."

"I know." He answered his walkie-talkie. "I'll be there in a few minutes. I need to talk with the girls."

"What about?"

He grinned. "You'll see. It won't take long."

Katherine checked her watch and then stepped inside the locker room. "Four minutes or you're running laps."

After the girls stood outside, Katherine said, "Coach Hudson has something to say."

Gabriel adjusted his cap. "This won't take long. At Saturday's meet an incident happened that shouldn't have." He noticed Rhonda hang her head. "Miss Morgan, this has nothing to do with you. I'm the one at fault."

He faced Katherine and then the girls. "At the meet I talked down to Coach Riley. As if that's not bad enough, some of you overheard it. I think she said 'I spoke to her like she was one of my players.' I want to apologize to her, again, and to you because I didn't set a good example for teenage girls."

Taking Katherine's hand, he said, "Will you accept my apology?"

"Of course." She faced the girls. "I accepted it the first time, too."

"I have an important message. You may not think so now, but you will as you get older. Young ladies, never allow a guy to talk down to you or treat you less than the wonderful people you are. Coach Riley held me accountable, and I admire her for it. Any guy who's worthy of you, won't do it. If a guy makes a mistake, he'll own up to it. You need to stand up for yourselves. This includes not only talking down to you, but also hitting. A man should never lay a hand on you. Any questions?"

When the girls indicated they didn't, he turned to leave. "Thank you."

Katherine followed him out. "Gabriel?" When he turned, she said, "Thank you. That was really nice."

"I messed up and wanted to make sure not only you, but they understood it wasn't acceptable." His eyes met hers. "I own up to my mistakes."

"I know." She glanced back at girls. "I need to get busy. I'll see you at the house."

*****
When Gabriel and Jordan got to the house, Joshua pointed to the den. "Mom's in there with her puzzle again."

Gabriel knocked on the door jamb. "Everything all right?"

She got up. "Yes, I just need to set out dinner. I had time between my appointment and the meeting so I put it in the crockpot."

He took her hand. "I'll help."

After dinner and dishes were finished, they sat on the couch as Gabriel said, "I have a feeling there are some things on your mind. Want to talk about them?"

"Joshua and the magazine."

"Our agreement was if he ever did it again, I'd tell you. That seemed to scare him enough to correct his actions. We also discussed what example he was setting for his younger brothers, if they found it."

"Thank you. I'm sure I wouldn't have handled it so peacefully."

Gabriel chuckled. "He did mention murder. When I assured him you wouldn't, he switched to grounding for life."

"Murder would've crossed my mind." She hesitated. "Maybe grounding only until he turned eighty-five."

"Sounds more than fair." He released a deep breath. "What else?"

"Mr. Novak mentioned why 'would a man like you be interested in a widow with four children'."

He leaned over and kissed her. "Because I fell in love with you. As for the boys, they've burrowed into my heart."

"You sure?"

"Positive." Gabriel held her close. "I feel there's more?"

"Nothing I'm willing to discuss right now."

"But there is something?" After she nodded, he studied her and then said, "Okay, I'll table it until you're ready."

She kissed him. "Thank you. I appreciate it."
######
Something went wrong in posting again. I'm not sure what, but I have copy and pasted it again so you can review.


CHARACTERS:

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

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 org

Benjamin Weinberg Lawyer for George's mistress and baby

Gail Mitchel and her daughter, Jewel George's mistress and baby

Mr. Novak Riley's lawyer

Judge Ryan Washington Judge Troy asked to sit in the meeting.







Recognized

#10
January
2022


Thank you Google images for sharing a photo of a hug. I also want to thank everybody for the helpful reviews. Again, thank you for catching those errors. This novel is far from over. I'm trying to post entire chapters, instead of posting them in parts. It seems most reviewers didn't have a problem with longer posts. Katherine and Gabriel still have some life issues to navigate. This is truly the calm before the storm. 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 2600 words.

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