“Vincent Udy?” Glenn asked, his mouth agape. He took a step back and Chandler took his place just inside the door.
Chandler had never been racist, and he had no problem with his daughter dating a black man, but the stark contrast between Blayke and this man was unsettling. She was a tiny, pale white girl of twenty-years-old with soft brown hair and hazel eyes. This man, who Glenn had called Vincent or something, looked like a body builder with tattoos covering his arms, his hair was about chin length and woven into corn rows. His dark eyes shone with humor and could easily be described as bedroom eyes. Great. Chandler didn’t want to think about what this man was doing with his daughter in the bedroom.
But the most startling contrast between his little girl and this man was his age. He had to be at least thirty and looked… experienced. That was the best way Chandler could describe him.
“Hi, dad.” Blayke reached out and gave Chandler a hug as if there was no tension in the air. “I want you to meet my new boyfriend. This is Vincent. Vincent, this is my father, Chandler Morgan.”
“Good evening, Mr. Morgan.” Vincent stepped forward and extended his hand. “Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“How old are you?” was the first thing out of Chandler’s mouth, as if he couldn’t help himself and didn’t have control over his own words. Almost involuntarily Chandler shook Vincent’s hand without bravado.
Vincent cleared his throat and stepped back beside Blayke where he shoved his hands in the pockets of his designer jeans. Very expensive looking designer jeans. “Thirty-one. You?”
“Why are you asking me how old I am?” Chandler asked, not even hiding his annoyance. “You’re the one dating my twenty-year-old daughter.”
“You really are Vincent Udy?” Glenn interrupted. “That last touchdown in the playoffs against the Cardinals should have earned you a trip to the Super Bowl. Bummer on that missed field goal.”
“Ah, man, Rees let us down. He will never hear the end of that.” Vincent clasped Glenn’s hand in a male bonding half hug that showed solidarity in defeat.
“Super Bowl?” Chandler looked Vincent up and down again. “Do you play professional football?”
“Yeah, man, for the Raiders.” Vincent tried to reach for Chandler in the same type of hand clasp, but Chandler didn’t take the invitation.
“The Los Angeles Raiders?” Chandler asked.
“Nah, man, we moved to Las Vegas now. Sucks to have to jet over to Cali all the time to see my girl, but a dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do, right, bro?”
“Yeah, you know how it is, flying across the country to see your daughter.” Vincent turned and wrapped his arm around Blayke’s waist and pulled her close.
“We drove,” Chandler said through clenched teeth, staring at Vincent’s hand, which was now much higher than Blayke’s waist.
“Mamma, come meet Vincent,” Blayke said, pulling him closer to the winding staircase where Janette and Angeline stood on the bottom step with wide eyes.
“Did you do his hair?” Janette asked, not hiding her fascination and even reaching out to touch one of the intricate corn rows. Blayke used to have a job during beauty school when she did corn rows for some of the local football players. “Is that how you met?”
“Yeah, my media stylist thought I needed something playful to keep me looking young and energetic. Check them out.” Vincent leaned his head forward and Janette reached out again to touch his hair. “Blayke and I connected through a mirror while she spent three hours playing with my hair. You ain’t never felt nothing so good as a girl playing with your hair.”
“Girl is the crucial word in that statement,” Chandler said. “Blayke is a little girl.”
“Daddy, I am twenty. That’s hardly a little girl.”
“Trust me, she is not a little girl,” Vincent mumbled.
Chandler couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He wanted to pop the guy in the nose but knew better than to pick a fight with a professional athlete. He took a reverse tactic. “How old did you say your daughter is?”
“Eleven.” Vincent lifted his chin and puffed out his chest.
“How old do you think she should be before she starts dating thirty-one-year-old men?” Chandler asked.
“She better not start dating until she’s twenty-five, dude. Forget that.”
“Kind of how I’m feeling right now,” Chandler pointed out, feeling mildly vindicated.
“Seriously, man, I get your concern, but it ain’t like that with me and Blayke.”
“So, you’re not sleeping with my daughter?” Chandler raised his eyebrows.
“I didn’t say that.” Vincent scoffed.
“Vincent,” Blake said through the side of her mouth. “You’re talking to my father! Shut up!”
“Yo, babe, it’s cool. He’s just running me through the gamut to see if I can hang. I’m down with that.”
“I’m not down with any of this,” Chandler said.
“Sweetheart let’s spend some time getting to know this young man before we make judgements,” Janette said. “Blayke has a decent judge of character. She’s not going to introduce us to someone who isn’t a good person.”
“The food is ready,” Glenn interrupted. “Why don’t we all adjourn to the dining room and we can get to know each other over some nice steaks.” Glenn practically dragged Chandler away from the foyer and toward the dining room.
Chandler reluctantly sat on a chair and glared across the table at Vincent. This was going to be a long evening.