Here's a short blurb:
“I’m glad you came. You’d better get a plate now if you’re hungry before everything disappears. Make sure you try the chicken. I put my best hand on that. We’ll save your seats.”
When she said “we,” Val give Mac a visual once-over and whispered something to her sister before they headed to the buffet table. Jan figured it was time to warn him about her youngest. “Before they get back, I wanted you to know that Valerie still hasn’t gotten over my divorcing her father. So if she doesn’t want to be your best friend, don’t be surprised. It’s not personal.”
“Yeah. I caught that look she just gave me. Don’t worry, I’m not touchy.”
The girls came back with full plates. “Well, Mom, are you going to introduce us?” Bobbi asked, being her typical good-natured self.
“Sure. I just wanted to make sure you got some food first.” She turned to Mac. “These are my daughters, Valerie and Roberta. This is Mac Sinclair.”
Bobbi reached out, offering a friendly handshake. Val simply mumbled, “Hi.”
Mac stared at Bobbi for a moment. “Wow, you look just like your mother. I thought I was seeing double for a minute.”
“I wish,” Bobbi said cheerfully.
Val grunted and rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. “Oh, please.”
“Val, did you see Kwame when you came in?” Jan asked, referring to Kathy’s son and quickly changing the subject. “He said he wanted to talk to you when you got here. It might have something to do with school. He’s trying to get into Georgia State for the winter semester.”
“No I didn’t see him yet. He’s coming to State?”
“That’s one of the schools he’s interested in,” Mac answered. “He’s also considering Morehouse and Emory.”
“How would you know?” Val asked in a rude tone.
Mac graciously overlooked her disposition. “Ron Scott and I talked with him earlier this week. We’re trying to help him get an internship.”
“Oh, so ours isn’t the only family you’re meddling with?” She gave him a surly stare.
Mortified, Jan sprang from her seat and grabbed Val by the arm, dragged her toward the foyer then backed her into an unoccupied corner. “Valerie, I’m so ashamed of you!” Jan hissed through clenched teeth, her head throbbing with anger. “I did not raise you to be disrespectful. You’re going back in there right now and apologize to him.”
“When you made your big announcement, you conveniently left out the fact that he’s young enough to be your son,” Val snapped in defiance. “How old is he?”
“That’s an exaggeration, and you know it,” Jan lambasted her, trying to keep her voice down. “I don’t have to justify myself to you. I am your mother, not one of your girlfriends.”
Bobbi came up behind them. “That was real ugly, Val.”
“So it’s all right with you that Mommy’s running around with some –”
“Some what–good-looking, sexy, young man? Yes, as a matter of fact, it is all right with me. Why can’t you just be happy for her and stop acting like a brat?”
“Come on, Bobbi. Be real. What could he want with her?”
A wave of shock slapped Jan, and hot tears welled in her eyes.
Bobbi took a napkin from the table and put it into her mother’s hand. “She didn’t mean that, Mom. She’s just being ignorant.”
“Valerie, get in there and apologize – now!” Jan dabbed at her eyes.
“Oh, all right,” Valerie sputtered. “Why didn’t you at least warn us about his age?”
Jan’s fists clenched were so tightly her fingernails dug into her palms. “Because it was none of your business. Now move!” She and Bobbi followed Val’s reluctant walk back across the family room.
“Mr. Sinclair,” Val began, avoiding direct eye contact once she reached him. “I’m sorry for the way I acted before. It wasn’t right.”
Mac motioned for her to sit. “Valerie, I can’t say I know how you feel, because I don’t. I’m sure you love your father, and I’m not trying to meddle with your family. But I do care for your mother very much. Even though you probably don’t see her this way, you have to understand that she’s an attractive, appealing woman. And to be honest with you, we were drawn to each other from the very first night we met. Granted, I may not be exactly what you expected, but if you give me a chance, I can grow on you.” He grinned.
“Did she tell you how old she is?”
“I never asked, but I knew she had college-aged kids. It wasn’t hard to do the math. Your mom isn’t as old as you seem to think she is. Lighten up on her, okay?”
Val managed a slight smile. “I’ll try.”