Romance Fiction posted January 16, 2023 Chapters:  ...80 81 -82- 83 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Eighteen months later.

A chapter in the book Football - A Novel

Epilogue 2

by barbara.wilkey

After Katherine's husband dies, she struggles raising her four sons by herself. Can Gabriel be the father figure the boys never had and the husband she deserves?
Previous Epilogue:

As in all of my novels, my characters guide my writing. When I started this novel, my ending was completely different from where my characters led me. So, the epilogue is also guided by my characters.

Gabriel and Katherine have requested that you honor their privacy during this time. They hope later after all of this is over, they'll be able to share their future with you.

Thank you for honoring their request.

The long-awaited Epilogue

Almost a year and a half later:

Gabriel helped Katherine from the limousine. They stood on the sidewalk and stared at their house as Katherine exhaled. "We're back to reality, are you ready?"

Kissing her and picking her up, Gabriel said, "As wonderful as our month away has been, I'm actually looking forward to continuing our life together." He chuckled. "Ready to enter the lion's den?"

"Are you going to let me walk?"

"Nope, usually a groom carries his wife over their home's threshold. Since we were married in the house and with the circumstances at the time, I wasn't able to." He held her tighter and kissed her. "Now's my chance."

As Gabriel carried her inside, Jeremy ran down the stairs. "Mom and Dad are back!" When Gabriel set Katherine on the floor, Jeremy hugged them both. "I missed you a lot."

Bill and Angela walked in from the kitchen. "Welcome, back."

Bill grinned. "We have a bet. Katherine, where did this guy take you for your honeymoon? Angela says to the French Riviera. I say something like a Puerto Rican Beach."

Sarah walked in. "I think it was an ocean cruise."

Jordan walked in the front door, with Gabriel's parents, Rebecca and Harold. Harold grinned and slapped Gabriel on the back. "Jordan really liked his visit to the University of Texas. He may follow in your footsteps."

Gabriel grinned. "He still has a few other places to visit before he has to make up his mind." His eyes met his dad's. "Thanks for following up while we were gone."

"Not a problem. I'm glad we could help."

Katherine had her son wrapped in a hug only a mother could get away with. "I know you'll make the right decision."

"Don't distract them," teased Bill. "We're seeing who won the bet."

Rebecca smiled. "I think you took a trip to the major cities in Europe."

"If I know my son, and I think I do," said Harold. "You rented a private Pacific Island where you could just enjoy your wife and celebrate your marriage, her surviving breast cancer, and your future life together."

Gabriel grinned. "Sarah, is there coffee in the kitchen?"

"Of course. Aren't you going to tell us?"

"After I get a cup of coffee."

When he returned, Gabriel pretended to do a drumroll. "Dad, you were the closest, but didn't get it exactly right. I took my gorgeous wife to a secluded mountain cabin in the Montana Rockies. I wanted to spend time alone and enjoy each other. Nothing to distract us."

Katherine's face glowed. "It was wonderful. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect honeymoon." She took Gabriel's hand. "Thank you for making it perfect."

Jeremy glanced at everybody. "Who's fixing dinner? I'm hungry."

Katherine scanned the area. "It seems we're missing two boys."

Bill nodded toward the stairs. "I have a feeling they're engrossed in a ball game and haven't paid attention to what's going on around them."

Gabriel started up the stairs. "I'll get them."

Once Joel and Joshua were downstairs and welcomed their parents, Rebecca, Sarah, Angela, and Katherine got busy with dinner.

Angela and Katherine set the table as Angela asked, "Mr. Edwards keeps asking if you're ready to resume teaching. Did you and Gabriel discuss it?"

"We did. It's been a little over a year since my last radiation treatment. I feel strong. Gabriel and I took long hikes and started our running routine again. I think I'm more than ready to get back to work. I'm also planning on coaching girls' cross country. Ready to help?"

"Has Gabriel blessed off on this?" asked Angela.

Gabriel walked in. "What have I blessed off on?"

Kissing his cheek, Katherine said, "Me going back to work."

"And coaching cross country," interrupted Angela.

He studied Katherine and nodded. "I have my reservations, but she has my full support. I understand how important it is to her."

Smiling Katherine said, "Thank you." She laughed. "Besides you'll be right there butting your way in."

He kissed her. "It's part of my charm, don't you know?"

When dinner was over, everybody left, and the boys went upstairs. Gabriel and Katherine sat on the couch in an embrace. Gabriel exhaled. "This year will be busy since it's Jordan's senior year."

"Joshua will be a sophomore. Will he make varsity? Imagine them both on the same football team? Their personalities are so different. It might be hard."

Chuckling Gabriel said, "You're right. Joshua has talent and good size. He'll easily make varsity. I'm glad they play different positions. There shouldn't be any competition between them."

Katherine glanced toward the stairs. "At least Jeremy's calming down a little. Third grade should be a breeze." She tilted her head. "Joel's so quiet I worry about him. He says he's going out again for football. I hope it's what he wants to do and not what he feels he should do."

Nodding Gabriel said, "I'll talk with him. Maybe man-to-man will help. Eighth grade can be a hard year."

"Thank you." Katherine leaned over, kissed him, and smiled. "You know what the best part is of right now?" When Gabriel's eyebrows rose, she continued, "I don't have to say goodnight to you at the door. I can kiss you goodnight in our bed."

Gabriel lifted her up and carried her to the bedroom. "I plan on doing more than just kissing goodnight, Mrs. Hudson."


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.

Gabriel Hudson: High School football coach and former NFL defensive lineman

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.

Angie Brooks: Math teacher and Katherine's friend.

Sarah and Bob Beck: Katherine's parents, Bob is deceased.

Bill Brooks: Assistant football coach, Gabriel's friend, and Angie's husband.

Book of the Month contest entry



Thank you google images for the photograph of a Rocky Mountain cabin. Many of you asked for an epilogue and I really didn't want to do one. One of my editors basically said I need an epilogue to this story. So here is it. Before I sent it to her, I want you to help me edit it. Thank you, readers, for the wonderful support you continually give me.
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