A gripping tale of intrigue and war in precolonial Africa. Two young people — Kalinda, a page in the court of the King of Buganda; and Nagawa, one of the king’s beautiful young wives — are swept up in conflict as missionaries, rival tribes and soldiers of fortune vie for power in what is now Uganda.
It is a time of upheaval in Buganda, an African kingdom on the verge of losing its independence. Anglican and Catholic missionaries are rapidly converting people to Christianity, in the process stirring conflict with their kinsmen who have embraced Islam. Three main characters – Nagawa, a young but unhappy bride to the king; Kalinda, a servant in the royal courts; and Reverend Clement, a Scottish missionary, are swept up in forces that will change their lives and reshape the future of their nation.
Just got a message in my inbox about this book. Unhappy Bride to a king, A servant in the Royal Courts, and Conflict in the village….yeah, sign me up. Looking forward to jumping into this gem in the coming days. Meanwhile, get your own copy here:
I’m guilty of falling into a dark repetitive cycle when what I expected doesn’t happen, or changes into what I didn’t want. #ElectionsKe is a great example of jumping into this dark repetitive cycle that leaves you spinning on the same spot. Questions like, ‘Why is this happening?’ ‘Can’t they just stop or agree?’ ‘Oh my god, there is this side, and that side. That side is definitely out to get this side‘, fill the mind. The blaming, the shaming, the hating, the pointing fingers…this is just a small part of the dark repetitive cycle, earlier mentioned.
You have to make a conscious effort to pull yourself out of there. To remember the important things, despite the turmoil bred by politics.
Your Life’s Goals – Focus on that instead of negativity. Allowing yourself to be sucked into the dark cycle will only derail your life’s goals. This isn’t easy, especially for those of us in business. Every day Kenya continues in a state of anxiety, the harder it is to buy and sell, manufacture and deliver. Costs run up, so we’re forced to think of new ways to achieve our goals. It’s a challenging experience, but one that’s way more important than jumping into the dark cycle.
Kenya is not one person, it is all of us. Be kind to your neighbor as you have always been before, are now, and should be in the future. We can only grow together.
Let the Giants fight it out. The rest of us, keep living, building, growing what matters to us, in our lives. The giants won’t pay for your rent, give you money for your house, and family. They won’t know what you’re eating for dinner, or breakfast. You can only do one thing, vote, the rest, leave it to our more than capable Justice branch.
Meanwhile, raptly waiting to do what I can, which is vote as needed, then see new trends, like #githeriman #Chilobae on my nearest screen, and smile in amusement at the Creativity in this country. Gotta love it! While doing my own thing, through it all, because that’s what matters to me and my family.
This is a Blog Hop Post! For a writing group called Literati. The best bunch of people I’ve gotten to know. Totally inspiring you and making you aspire to do better too…
Track 15 – Because getting to know you, is my favorite adventure…
The door was open, and Jasmine sat on her bed writing in her diary. She didn’t look up, so Danny leaned on the doorjamb and watched her for a few minutes.
The reading glasses resting on the bridge of her nose made her look studious, and sexy…Danny grinned. He leaned the hockey stick on the wall inside her bedroom and cleared his throat.
She looked up at him.
“Still mad at me?” he asked.
Jasmine closed her diary and placed it on the bedside table.
“I need to know you’re safe when you’re alone,” Danny explained.
“I know,” Jasmine said, removing her glasses, she held out her right hand to him.
Danny entered the bedroom and closed the door. He moved closer and took her hand. Getting on the bed, he pulled her into a tight hug. Not wanting to let go just yet, Danny shifted until he was comfortably resting on the comfortable pillows. Jasmine settled against him, and he rubbed her arm, breathing in the scent of mint. The scent like home.
Jasmine traced shapes on his t-shirt.
“Will you tell me what tonight’s been about?”
Danny held her tighter.
“First, let me ask, do you trust me?”
Jasmine’s finger stilled on his chest. She lifted her head from his chest to meet his gaze. Danny searched her eyes for a hint of doubt, and when he found none, he couldn’t help the little burst of joy in his heart.
“I’m not a criminal,” Danny said then, needing her to know that. “The garage’s revenue is clean, no dirty money.”
“And the race grounds?” Jasmine asked.
“Jimmy and I bought the land and own it free and clear. We built the course, developed the tracks. We’ve ran a tight circle until a few months ago when Adrian approached us wanting to join in.” Danny shook his head. “At first glance, his business looked legitimate. He imports car parts and has a shop in the middle of Nairobi town.”
“He has other sources of income,” Jasmine said, resting her chin on Danny’s chest.
“We allowed him into the circle because he could pay the cut,” Danny sighed. “It worked out well a few races. Then Anderson’s people started working the guests. Trying to sell merchandise, Jimmy thinks there were drugs involved. It got weird, and we started not calling him for any races.”
“Now he’s upset,” Jasmine said in understanding. “Upsetting Adrian is like stepping on a cat’s tail, Danny. He’s a mean bastard, his claws scratch deep.”
“I made Terry finish her business with anyone associated with Anderson. Jimmy has people watching her. I stayed away from you thinking I was protecting you. Then Terry came home and told me you used to date his little brother—,”
“Hence the ex-boyfriend conversation,” Jasmine sighed. “Danny, I doubt Anderson will come after me.”
“He will because you matter to me,” Danny said, tightening his hold on her. She frowned, and he brought his free hand to pinch her left cheek, and then gave it a small caress.
“It would hurt me if something happened to you, Jazz. That’s no secret,” Danny said.
Well…when he put it that way, Jasmine thought, sucking in air. Danny certainly knew how to say the right thing to make all her mad disappear. Wiping out a full evening of being upset with a few words, what talent. Her heart squeezed and she gave up on fighting her feelings for this man.
She smiled and Danny stared at her, then ran his hands down her back, tickling her. She started laughing and tried to wiggle out of his hold.
“Were you really going to hit me with the hockey stick?”
Jasmine grabbed his wrists to stop him, but he was strong. He tickled her sides and she convulsed into uncontrollable laughs.
“Tell me, or I won’t stop,” Danny threatened.
“I thought you were a thief.” Jasmine tried to move away, but then Danny rolled on top of her. “You’ve been freaking out about psychos at my door. Then I hear banging—,”
“Next time, call for help,” Danny said.
“My phone was in the living room,” Jasmine said.
“You’re exasperating,” Danny chuckled. “I think I need to stay here with you.”
“What?” Jasmine stared at him in surprise. Then he kissed her hard and she forgot all thought.
She wasn’t working the next morning. Danny finally got his wish. He woke her with heated kisses, bringing her up as the sun rose to a beautiful Friday morning. Jasmine curled to his side and pressed a kiss on his shoulder.
“Morning,” Danny said.
“Morning,” she smiled. “If they were all like this, I’d never get to work.”
“Hmm…” Danny said, his tone low. “Is that an idea?”
“Maybe,” Jasmine said.
They spent the morning lazing around in bed. At around nine, they dressed leisurely and ended up in the kitchen around nine-thirty. Danny stood behind Jasmine as she made eggs, his hands on her hips. He pressed a kiss on her neck.
“Danny,” She chuckled. “Do you have to stand so close? I’m trying to cook here.”
“I know,” Danny said, kissing her shoulder. “I’m hoping I’m the only one you cook for woman.”
“Such a jealous man,” Jasmine said, turning the eggs. “Pass the plates.”
Danny reached behind him and picked up the plates. Helping her serve the eggs, he took the plates to the dining table while she turned the fire off. Taking their cups of coffee, she followed him to the dining table. Taking a seat beside him, she grabbed her fork and started eating.
“Baby, you’ve got an appetite,” Danny teased.
“So what?” She sipped her coffee. “Am I fat?”
“I love your body,” Danny answered rubbing her back.
Danny chuckled and sipped his coffee.
“What were you busy typing last night?”
Jasmine swallowed her eggs hard, meeting Danny’s gaze. She’d never told her friends about her hobby other than her immediate family.
“Work related?” Danny asked.
“Not really,” Jasmine evaded. “Anyway, what are you doing today?”
“Spending the day with you,” Danny answered, smiling at her shocked reaction.
“The whole day?” she asked.
“Yes, Jasmine. I’m going to spend the whole day with you. Get used to the idea, girlfriend,” Danny said, leaning over to kiss her cheek.
Jasmine shook her head, taking a bite of her eggs.
“I wonder what your racing buddies would say if they saw you now. Your playboy reputation would suffer.”
“It would be worth it,” Danny winked at her. “I’m trying out new things. Speaking of which, later tonight, there is a race. I want you to come.”
“I’m not taking no for an answer,” Danny said. “Please? Come be my luck, Jazz. Let me try to end your fear.”
She stared at her fork. Terry had warned her. Told her she would need to accept this side of Danny too. When she met his gaze, he looked anxious, expecting her to say no.
Jasmine hid a smile and turned away.
“Well, since you asked so nicely,” she said, “I guess I can try it out.”
Track 14 – My past, your present…we just need to understand each other
After Danny left, Jasmine gave up on working. She took a shower, and crawled into her large bed ready for sleep. Yet, her eyes remained wide open. Her thoughts on her relationship with Tyler Anderson.
Tyler had made her smile. Had made her think she could give up on Danny, and maybe live a happy life. Tyler cared, he was easy to be around, and had accepted all her flaws. Since her dream with Danny seemed impossible, she had thought being with Tyler would work.
Jasmine sat up and gave up on sleep. Arranging her pillows behind her back, she reached for her diary on the bedside table. Opening it, she touched the silver chain with a ring hanging on the end. Tyler’s last gift.
The proposal that turned to dust when Anderson rolled into her house and told Tyler he didn’t want trash like Jasmine in their family. Tyler had not defended her. Instead, he’d said sorry and simply walked out of her house.
She kept the ring to remind herself not to be fooled again. Love was easy, but it faded in the face of misconceptions, expectations and perceptions.
Closing her diary, she sighed.
Now there was Danny, insisting he wanted to protect her, cared about her. Yet, he was neck deep in trouble. The races might be clean as far as Danny was concerned, but Adrian was a thug. If he was part of Danny’s life, she didn’t want the reminders of a hurtful love, or the idea that Danny might be involved in crime.
Putting her diary on the bedside table, Jasmine stretched out on her bed, burrowing her face under her pillows. Min jumped up and settled near her head, purring loudly, trying to offer comfort.
Jasmine closed her eyes and might have fallen asleep. When she opened her eyes again, it was to the steady sound of pounding. For a moment, she wondered if her landlord was fixing the fence again. He liked doing shit like that at odd times. She’d learned to ignore it, but this sounded way too close.
Sitting up on her bed, she felt panic fill her when she realized the pounding was actually in her house.
Who was thinking of robbing her?
Oh damn it, why was Danny always right?
Jasmine got off the bed, looking around her bedroom for a weapon. She came up short. Her cell phone was by her computer in the living room. She cursed under her breath and hurried to her closet, searching the corners for anything heavy.
Lucky there was a hockey stick from her high school days in the back. Taking it up, she braced herself and quietly got out of her room. Better to be sure, and then try to find an escape route. The banging was deliberate. Jasmine ran through her list of possessions and wondered what anyone would want her ordinary furniture, and clothes. She owned no expensive jewelry and was paranoid about cash, so never kept it in her house, it was all in the bank.
Walking the short hallway to the living room, she paused at the end of the wall, breathed in and out for courage and peeped into the hallway leading to the front door.
A hot wave of relief flooded her at the sight of Danny and Jimmy kneeling at her front door with tools around them. Stepping out in the open in surprise, she gripped the hockey stick at a loss for words.
“Hey Jazz, what’s with the hockey stick?” Jimmy waved at her.
Danny didn’t stop working, holding a power drill to her door.
“What are you doing to my door?” Jasmine asked. “Who gave you permission to change locks?”
“Jazz, don’t come closer if you don’t want to fight,” Danny warned. “Will you pass me that screw, Jimmy?”
“Jimmy do not give it to him,” Jasmine moved closer, still holding the hockey stick.
“Danny, she’s armed,” Jimmy said, his gaze on Jasmine.
“I know,” Danny said. “Jazz, if you hit me with that, I’ll come back to haunt you.”
“You’re a pain the ass,” Jasmine said.
“So are you,” Danny said, taking the screw from Jimmy and getting on with his work.
Jasmine scowled at his back, and propped the hockey stick on the wall.
“Jimmy, you want a drink? You shouldn’t have to deal with this mess,” Jasmine asked, going into the kitchen.
“Sure,” Jimmy grinned.
“Oh treat him like the saint,” Danny scoffed. “I’m the one doing all the work.”
“No one asked you to,” Jasmine said, coming over to give Jimmy a bottle of juice. She ignored Danny, went to take her phone from her desk and returned to her bedroom.
“She’s pissed,” Jimmy said, an hour later when they finished changing the lock.
“I know,” Danny said, watching the door lock automatically. Shaking the keys at Jimmy, he grinned. “But she’s safe enough. I can deal with the anger.”
“I don’t envy you,” Jimmy said, turning the lock and opening the door. “I’m heading home, see you tomorrow dude.”
“Thanks, man,” Danny said, with a short nod, letting the door close. A satisfied look coming on his face at the sound of the automatic lock engaging. Placing the keys on the a small table right at the door, Danny picked up the hockey stick leaning on the wall and made his way to Jasmine’s room.
Track 13 – There is nothing smooth about relationships…
For the first time since she’d moved into her house, Jasmine discovered she had a doorbell. The ringing started when she was busy typing at her desktop. She kept at her work thinking that someone who would ring her doorbell was not welcome at this time. Ignoring the ring, might encourage them to leave. So, she kept working.
The ringing didn’t stop.
Glancing at Min, her white cat, who was perched on her desk watching her as though in irritation at the noise, she sighed.
“Door’s open,” she called.
She kept typing not wanting to lose her thread. The door opened and in a minute, strong arms pulled her out of her chair and wrapped her in a tight hug.
Staring at Danny’s white t-shirt, she started to talk but he stopped her when he covered her mouth with his, kissing her breathless. She clung to his shoulders as he pulled her flash against him. The kiss was hungry, almost brutal. It ended as abruptly as it started.
“What’s gotten into you?” Jasmine asked, once she could breathe. “Danny—
“I’ve asked you to stop leaving your door unlocked,” Danny cut her off. “Lock it, Jasmine. It’s almost ten o’clock at night. There are psychos in this world.”
“Clearly, if a psycho was after me, a locked door would do nothing to stop him. Will you calm down?” Jasmine stepped away from him, pushing her chair under her desk. She picked up Min and stared at Danny.
He looked frantic. In black jeans and a white t-shirt, he looked deliciously wild, so handsome and annoying.
“Did you come here to yell? Coz, the same way you just walked in, is the way out,” Jasmine said, lifting a brow at him.
“And leave you unprotected, hell no,” Danny snapped. “How can you live alone like this?”
“I’m not in the mood,” Jasmine said, taking Min to lie on the couch. The cat yawned and climbed up on to the arm of the couch promptly falling asleep. Jasmine turned to look at Danny.
“What’s really bothering you?” she asked, folding her arms against her chest. “You couldn’t have driven all the way from your house to come yelling about my door.”
Danny studied her, really taking in the picture she made. She was in warm white sweat pants, fluffy pink bunny socks and a pink bunny t-shirt covered with a heavy white sweater. Reading glasses perched on her nose; she looked too soft and defenseless.
“Cold much?” he asked with a chuckle.
She made a face at him and he smiled.
“I worry about you, living here alone.”
“I’m safe enough. The neighborhood is quiet. The compound secure,” Jasmine said.
“Your neighbors are not my worry,” Danny glared at her. “Your ex-boyfriends are my main concern.”
“Ex-boyfriends…” Jasmine nodded, “and you want to have that talk now?”
“Yes,” Danny said, without a flinch. He pulled out the computer chair, sat on it and swiveled to see what she’d been doing. Jasmine moved faster and put her computer to sleep. Gracing him with a glare, she went to the kitchen.
“Jazz, we’re going to have this talk, sooner or later. Fast forward it all and tell me about Tyler. He’s the one you were most serious with right?”
“Did Terry tell you that?” Jasmine asked.
“No.” Danny swung the chair around to look at her in the kitchen. “I have eyes of my own. You nearly married that bastard.”
Jasmine stared into her fridge, taking his words in. Had it been that obvious? How desperate had she looked clinging to Tyler Anderson?
“Why do you want to know about him?” Jasmine asked, clearing her throat.
“Because of his brother,” Danny said, watching her.
Jasmine closed the fridge without taking anything and turned to look at him, her eyes narrowed.
“What about Adrian?”
“He’s dangerous,” Danny said. “Adrian is a crook, trouble-making, breaking the law, kind of dangerous.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do.”
“Danny, don’t patronize me,” Jasmine said, holding his gaze. “How do you know?”
Danny wanted to escape her gaze, but couldn’t. He owed her the truth, needed her to understand his life, his choices. So, he swallowed the urge to lie and gave in.
“Adrian is in the racing scene. I only found out he was trouble a few weeks ago. I’m trying to get him out of my business and the races.”
Jasmine stood so still for a moment; he thought she hadn’t understood what he was trying to say. He frowned when she suddenly cursed and came to where he sat. Taking his hand, she pulled him up and he followed her.
Puzzled, his frown deepened when she led him to her front door.
“See you, Danny. It’s been great.”
“You’re kidding me,” Danny blinked.
“No. Say hi to Terry for me,” Jasmine said, opening the door and holding it open. The security light in the small porch outside her house spilled into the hallway.
“Jazz, you’re nuts if you think I’m walking away from you without an explanation.”
“I don’t think I have to give you one.”
“Oh yes, you do,” Danny insisted.
“I don’t want to discuss this.”
“We have no choice,” Danny said, raising his voice.
“Okay, tell me, Danny. How straight is your business?” Jasmine asked. “For you to have Adrian, that thug in your life, you can’t be doing good things.”
“Do you think doing business in Nairobi is easy? You have no idea the amount of murk I have had to wade through to get the garage where it is. To build the races to where they’ve reached. Having you stand there, judging me—
Danny broke off, shaking his head, his gaze filled with anger. He paced the length of her doorway, and then wiped a hand down his face.
“What makes you so darned defensive about my racing? Isn’t that the problem?”
Jasmine’s grip on her door tightened and she started to turn away.
“I told you, I don’t want to talk about this.”
“Too bad,” Danny pulled the door out of her hand and slammed it closed. “Stop being scared and tell me—
“Scared?” Jasmine scoffed. “You think I’m scared. Wouldn’t that make me stupid? To be scared for someone who obviously doesn’t need my worry. I’m indifferent, Danny. Even more so, when I know nothing about your racing. Stop this and leave now.”
“What do you mean no? This is my house. I get to say when you leave.”
“We both know you don’t want me to leave,” Danny said. “You care. You pretend not to, but you do. You want to stay indifferent, but you can’t, coz I worry you.”
Jasmine shook her head, hating the fact that he read her too well. She turned to escape to the living room, bu7ft Danny reached for her left wrist and pulled her to the hallway wall. He moved closer until she was leaning against the wall.
“Admit it, Jazz.”
“Danny, I don’t—
“Come on, Jasmine,” Danny cut her off, unable to hide his frustration. He needed to break through the protective wall she had around her. “Tell me, please.”
Jasmine refused to meet his gaze, and instead pressed her forehead on his shoulder. Her heart squeezed tight, the tight knot in her stomach loosening when she took in Danny’s scent. She closed her eyes as her heart gave in. How could she explain that what she feared most was losing him?
“I can’t—,” she started, making Danny sigh in exasperation, so the next sentence burst out of her. “I can’t stand to see you hurt, Danny.”
Danny wrapped his arms around her, in response.
“I don’t breathe easy when I hear you’re racing. I make Terry take me out or drive out some place far away.”
“Why?” Danny asked, when she didn’t answer, he whispered into her ear. “Why Jazz?”
She wrapped her arms around his waist.
I don’t think I could live if you crashed, Danny.”
Danny exhaled and held her tight.
“You must think I’m a nut. Worrying about such useless—
“Your concerns are not useless,” Danny said, leaning back so that she was forced to raise her head. When she looked up at him, he kissed her soundly.
When their kiss ended, Jasmine sighed and stared at his chest.
“Despite your marvelous kisses, I won’t change my mind, Danny. Adrian scares me, Danny. I don’t want to deal with him again. I mean it.”
“What did he do to you?” Danny demanded, gripping her arms. “Tell me, Jazz.”
Jasmine hated to remember the site of Adrian in her house, telling Tyler he could do better. As though she were a worm crawling in the dirt, and Tyler was a thousand heights above her.
She never wanted to meet that bastard again in her life.
Meeting Danny’s gaze, she said, “He did nothing.”
Danny scowled. “I swear if he touched you—
“He didn’t. Let it go, Danny.”
“I can’t. Can’t you see that it’s not possible for me to let this go?” Danny asked, but she moved away and headed back to the living room.
“I don’t want to talk about Adrian. As long as you’re hanging out with him, I’ll stay away,” Jasmine said. She pulled out her chair at her desk and shook her index finger at him. “I was quite happy before you walked in. I was content in my little world. I’d like to get back to that now. So please, leave.”
Danny stood watching her, then because she got him so mad, he turned and stalked out of her house, slamming the door hard behind him. Going to his car, he got in the driver’s seat and sat staring at Jasmine’s house at a loss.
What was he supposed to do with such a stubborn woman?
Turning over the engine, he backed out of her short drive and headed out. Jaw clenched, he made a decision at the first turn on to the main road. He knew exactly what he was going to do.
Protecting your work is most important to a creator. We recently went through this process as we start on actual publishing of real books. It’s both nerve-wrecking and enlightening. Nerve-wrecking in the discovery of limitations: like costs and printing drama, and enlightening in that with every book printed, you discover mistakes and tell yourself, I’m going to get that fixed in the next print. It’s been an interesting time.
So, for copyrights, I thought I should share this process with you. It’s not so hard, you can do it too.
Firstly, you need to have your work fully completed, and ready to go.
Get a registration form from the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO). You can either visit their offices or download the form from their site. Here is the link to that →Copyright Registration Forms
Fill out the forms. To be noted, don’t copyright someone else’s work if you do not have the permissions from the original author (owner of the work). This is very uncool. Just don’t do it. Respect the original author/creator, alright. Of course, if you are copyrighting your own work, write your name with no mistakes. ^_^ You wanna have bragging rights when you get that certification. If you don’t understand the forms, do visit the Kenya Copyright board offices and they are very happy to explain them to you.
Take your completed forms to a lawyer. The wording is “Get the forms commissioned by a commissioner of oaths.’ A lawyer will help you with that.
Attach two original copies of the work to be copyrighted – they prefer it in CD or DVD form. (Yep, that’s right. That means you will have 2 CDs/DVDs. Save it on a CD/DVD and label it.)
Deposit a non-refundable fee of Kshs. 1,000 in the Kenya Copyright Board bank account. The form you get gives you their banking details. They insist on the fee being paid in the bank direct, don’t use bank agents. (Confirm this fee when you get your forms)
Take the bank deposit slip with you to the Kenya Copyright Board offices, and they will issue a receipt.
Certification is issued within five (5) working days from the day of registration. In case there is an exception, they will let you know right away.
And that’s that.
No more excuses saying you can’t copyright your amazing creativity.
Jasmine’s phone buzzed and she smiled when she checked her messenger. Danny was
checking in on her. They had not seen each other for a week since he dropped her food at work. But, he called and replied messages when she wrote them. A little thrill went through her every time her phone buzzed now. She liked it.
“So, this morning on my way to drop off an order, there was this discussion on the radio,” Terry said, as they strolled through the mall. “Apparently, most women fantasize about celebrity women. Who you’d do, the ideal one.”
“I’ve never wanted to be with a woman but if asked, I think I’d go with Angelina Jolie,” Terry declared.
“Coz, she has experience?” Jasmine asked with a chuckle.
“Her badass attitude would totally rub off on me, and come in handy when I pick fights,” Terry said. “She would be cool in a fight.”
“Gal, what are you saying?” Jasmine asked stopping at the Body Splitz shop. “You don’t think I’d have your back in a fight?”
“Of course you do, but you’re all girly looking,” Terry said, giving her a once over, then she laughed when Jasmine smacked her arm.
“I can scratch out eyes with the best of them,” Jasmine declared, strolling down the closest aisle. “What’s with the fantasies? Whose eyes do I need to scratch out?”
“Your man,” Terry said, a grim look on her face. “Danny is interfering with my business. Granted that he has every right, he footed the capital, still…it’s annoying.”
“Who is he trying to save you from?” Jasmine asked, stopping in the body wash section. “Does it have anything to do with the races?”
“Yeah,” Terry said, taking a bottle of lavender body wash and smelling it. She returned it to the shelf. “Jazz, you’re going to have to deal with that part of his life, eventually.”
“I know,” Jasmine said, handing Terry her shopping basket. She picked out a bottle of mint lotion, and smelled it. “His racing scares me, gambling with this life every time he gets behind the wheel. I can’t think about it.”
“Danny is not an idiot,” Terry defended her brother. “He is not careless and knows what he’s doing, Jazz. He doesn’t take unnecessary risks and insists on a clean race. Which is part of the reason my business is an issue now. Danny’s trying to weed out some thug from their circle.”
“Is that why he’s kept away for a week?” Jasmine asked, trying to keep her tone nonchalant. The messaging and phone calls were great, but Danny had not come to see her once.
“Do I sense some frustration?” Terry teased.
Jasmine chose the mint lotion, mint shampoo and body wash, placing them in her shopping basket. She picked out a coconut lotion for Terry and looked at her best friend.
“Maybe,” Jasmine said. “In truth, Danny and me, we’re worlds apart. I’m caught in between wanting to get close and keeping this strange distance we have.”
“Jasmine Lima, don’t try to tell me that you are not missing my brother,” Terry said, heading to checkout. They paid for their respective products and Terry pointed a finger at her as they took their shopping bags. “I know you.”
“Well,” Jasmine sighed. “I’m confused about him, Terry, and that’s the truth.”
“First, not to sound biased, but Danny is a good guy,” Terry said, when they left the store. “Second, I don’t remember the last serious relationship you had. Who was it with?”
“Tyler,” Jasmine answered, hating to remember it. She had loved Tyler. Yes, if she was to really be truthful, she had cared about Tyler enough to want to keep him. “That turned into a mess.”
“Oh that’s right,” Terry said, her eyes darkening. “Shit, Tyler wasn’t straight, Jazz. He messed you up.”
“I cared too much. He—,” Jasmine broke off. “I’m not sure what he wanted. All I know is that he did what his brother said and it didn’t involve keeping me.”
“His brother?” Terry frowned. “I never heard about Tyler’s brother.”
“Yeah, I didn’t want to admit that my boyfriend left me ‘coz his brother didn’t think I was good enough,” Jasmine said with a soft scoff. “It’s humiliating.”
“What is this brother’s name? I’ll see about him,” Terry scowled. “Tell me, Jazz.”
“It’s over and done.”
“I don’t care. What if I date him? Come on, I need to know his name.”
“Fine,” Jasmine said, amused. “But dating my ex would be breaking the bff’s code.”
“Not your ex, his brother,” Terry clarified, making a face. “Will you just tell me the bastard’s name?”
“Adrian Anderson,” Jasmine said. “A pain in the ass is what he is, thinks he is some sort of ruler of the kingdom.”
“Anderson!” Terry gaped. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Jasmine said, walking out of the mall into the cool evening. “He came over to my house once to get Tyler. It wasn’t pretty.”
“Oh no,” Terry shook her head and got quiet.
Jasmine stopped to look at her.
“What? Is everything alright?” Jasmine asked.
Terry looked at her and smiled, though she seemed preoccupied to Jasmine.
“Yes, everything is fine,” Terry said. “Come on, let’s go have something to eat. I’ll treat you.”
“I feel like eating barbequed chicken,” Jasmine said, wrapping an arm around Terry. “Real juicy and spicy.”
“So specific,” Terry laughed. “I’ll take you to the Passion Fruit.”
“Stop!” Jimmy laughed. “No more kungfu jokes, Danny.”
“Why? You used to love those old movies. What happened to that whole collection?”
“I don’t remember. Lost in the junk in the storage room,” Jimmy said, sipping on his beer. “Where’s Terry?”
“She went out earlier,” Danny said, changing the channel on the big screen to a football game. “Probably getting back about—
Terry slammed into the house and dropped the shopping bags she held on the floor. She stared at Danny, who was reclined on the couch, her expression made him wonder what had her in a tiff now.
“What?” Danny asked, sipping his beer, giving her a wary glance.
“Go to Jasmine,” Terry ordered.
“What’s happened?” Danny asked, sitting up. “Is she hurt? Why—
“No,” Terry said. “But, I think you should be with her.”
“I messaged her a few minutes ago. She said she’s fine, staying in this evening,” Danny said, relaxing.
Terry gave an impatient sigh and moved to sit next to Jimmy.
“Do you care for her, Danny?”
“You know how I feel about her.” Danny frowned. “Terry, I’m trying to find a way to pull Anderson out of our lives. It’s better to go back to Jazz when it’s over. Who knows what he’ll do?”
“Forget it. She used to date Anderson’s little brother, Tyler,” Terry said. “She told me they broke up because Anderson ordered it. He knows her. He knows where she lives. It would be better—
Danny got up, threw the remote on the couch, meeting Jimmy’s gaze. He was out of the house before Terry finished.
Back at his garage, Danny filled out release forms on a Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and handed the keys back to the woman who had brought it in.
“Come again, Mrs. Mueni,” he said, watching her get into the driver’s seat with a wide smile and drive off.
Happy customers, Danny thought. He worked on impressing women like Mrs. Mueni. She had a strong presence in the community, and all the women in her chamas ended up at his garage for service.
Stretching his arms up, to ease tense muscles, Danny turned back to the main floor of the garage and frowned. His gaze moving from one mechanic to another. The garage ran with the help of three major mechanics.
Danny respected all three guys, knew their families, their circumstances. He would hate to imagine one of them was working for Anderson.
Dropping his arms, Danny glanced at the young man to his closest left. His name was Teron Kitonyi. Teron was fresh out of high school. He had a head for mechanics. Problem was, academics gave him hell. Danny had offered him jobs on and off during his last two years of high school. He hadn’t hesitated when Teron came seeking a place at the garage after his final exams. Danny considered the kid an apprentice with a bright future ahead.
Next to Teron, working on rear shock absorbers on a two-seater, was Steven. The man was over forty, had been a mechanic all his life. Steven was a hard worker, didn’t complain, more like he didn’t talk much, but Danny liked the guy. He was dependable.
Danny turned at the sound of the undercoating spray gun coming to life.
Holding it was Karie. The man was a genius with paint and bodywork. Karie loved to get a car looking good again. He was fun to work with, fun to hang with, and a great friend.
Danny sighed, his mood plummeting. This was Anderson’s fault, forcing him to suspect his crew, and turning him into a paranoid fool.
“Danny,” Jimmy called from the garage office, pulling him out of his thoughts.
“What’s up?” Danny asked, entering their main office and closing the door.
Jimmy held out the office phone.
“Anderson for you,” Jimmy said, when Danny took it with a frown.
Bringing the handset to his ear, Danny bit back a curse.
“I hear you’re cutting me out,” Anderson said in greeting.
“From who?” Danny asked, stepping up to the door glass to look out into the main floor. All his mechanics were busy working, none of them looked at him with interest. Still his paranoia grew.
“Your sister is a firecracker,” Anderson said, making Danny close his eyes in exasperation. “She doesn’t beat around the bush.”
Teresa was going to be the end of him.
“Leave my family out of this,” Danny warned. “If you have issues, they are with me. If you want to talk, you know where to find me.”
“Come on Danny. I don’t want trouble either. I just want to know why you want to cut me out of a good thing.”
“Call it protecting my interests. Teresa is a large part of those interests,” Danny said. “Do you have a problem?”
Silence greeted him and for a second, Danny thought the call disconnected.
Then Anderson sighed.
“Good. Let’s end it there,” Danny ended the call and met Jimmy’s gaze. “Get someone to hang out at Terry’s place twenty-four/seven.”
“I can do it,” Jimmy said, a frown creasing his forehead.
“I need you free, and here at the garage,” Danny said. “Maybe we can ask the guys from the dry cleaner next to her shop. You’re buddies with them, right?”
Jimmy nodded. “Good idea. This is getting serious, Danny. We need to deal with Anderson.”
“He hasn’t really done anything, yet,” Danny said, scratching his jaw. “I’m going to meet the Sumani Chicks, Nic Mugera and Mikhail tonight. Maybe one of them will have a plan.”
Danny placed the phone back on the desk and sat on the closest chair. A meeting with the round table meant he wouldn’t get to see Jasmine tonight.
“Do me a favor,” Danny said, looking at Jimmy. “Get Terry to go sleep over Jazz’s house. Just in case.”
“Worried Anderson might try something?” Jimmy asked.
“I know he will,” Danny sighed. “Shit this is going to be a mess. We need to catch that snitch fast.”
“We will,” Jimmy said, his tone hard. “Soon enough, then we can put that good for nothing out of our lives.”
Track 10 – You showed up when I was having a Hard Day…my heart moved
Terry found Danny making breakfast while he fed the white cat milk. She paused at the entrance into the kitchen and let out a whistle.
“Well, well, you look quite at home, my dear big brother.”
“Do you want eggs or not?” Danny asked, sparing her a short glance.
“I just had waffles with Jimmy,” Terry said, looking around the neat kitchen. “Looks like you’re moving in.”
“I wish,” Danny said, placing his eggs on a plate. Picking up his coffee, he leaned on the counter and studied his flamboyant sister. Her hair was in a ponytail today. As usual, she looked beautiful in jeans and a dress top thing that should be illegal. She was too comfortable in her own skin.
Terry owned a clothing boutique in the city. She sold clothes and offered personal styling to well-off clients. Her friendly personality afforded her a long list of happy clients, but her working hours were erratic. He wished she had a steady schedule.
“Your friend is impossible,” Danny said. “What’s wrong with the cat?”
“She’s getting shots,” Terry said, stroking Min’s fur. “Otherwise she’d be popping kittens every three or four months. I’m glad you two got together.”
“I’m not sure Jazz is happy about it,” Danny said, sipping his coffee. “Enough about that, I want you to keep away from Adrian Anderson.”
“Oh come on now,” Terry scowled. “Your big brotherly concerns are so tiresome—
“Anderson’s a thief,” Danny interrupted, spooning eggs into his mouth. “He’s going to get our business and races in trouble if we keep him around.”
“How do you know this?” Terry asked, staring at her brother.
“Nic,” Terry gaped. “Since when do you take anything he says at face value?”
“Since Anderson became a thief,” Danny answered. “You realize we don’t need that kind of trouble, right?”
“Aish, Danny,” Terry cursed, moving to find a cup so that she could pour herself coffee. “Anderson has people in my client list. I have five orders right now with them. If I refuse, can you imagine the kind of losses I will make?”
“I’ll find new clients for you,” Danny said. “Come on Sis, being round Anderson is not an option. Your safety comes first.”
Terry shook her head. “How can I wake up one morning and decide to ignore five major clients?”
“Don’t be dramatic,” Danny said. “Whatever orders you have, fill them, then don’t take anymore from anyone associated with Anderson.”
“Is this an order?” Terry asked. “It’s not so easily done, you know.”
“You’ll manage,” Danny said. “I’ll have Jimmy send someone from the garage to keep an eye on you. I’m serious about this, Terry.”
Terry shook her head. “I worry about you, Danny.”
“I’m doing just fine. I’ll be a thousand times better if you do what your big brother tells you.” Placing his mug of coffee in the sink, he looked around the kitchen. “So, where’s the carrier for the cat? I’m not carrying her with my hands.”
“What?” Terry asked in surprise. When Danny gave her a look, she pointed to a store room tucked into the corner of the kitchen.
“I’ll take the cat to the vet,” Danny said, coming back from the store room holding a black pet carrier. “You go arrange your business.”
“Today?” Terry asked.
“Yes, today,” Danny scowled at her. He picked up Min and placed her in the carrier. “Give me the address to the vets, and go handle your business, Terry. Sawa?”
Terry sighed, there was no winning with Danny when he got this way.
“You’re late,” Jasmine said, trying to keep her temper calm. She pressed her cellphone to her ear. “Do you understand that sets us back a few hours? Clients wataka mali yao, and we’re making their lives a living hell. Tell me, how can you help me?”
Jasmine strode out of the building and started walking around to the docking area in the back. A line of four trucks stood, men in the back of the warehouse offloading the contents in each truck. She needed one more, and their most demanding client would receive his property in the morning.
“I’m sorry, Madam,” the truck driver on the other end of the call said. “We’re stuck in traffic. When we break free, we’ll be there in an hour.”
“I hope so,” Jasmine warned. “I don’t like lies. If you think the situation is not going to improve, be straight with me, Banda. Don’t make it worse.”
She ended the call, and stopped for a moment to take in a deep breath. This job was killing her today. Her head was starting to throb. Glancing at her cellphone, she discovered that it was passed lunch.
Three o’clock already, where did the time go?
Leaning on the wall, she closed her eyes and sighed. Opening her eyes, a second later, she stared in surprise at the sight of the black Mazda parked a few feet away. Leaning on the driver’s side door was Danny, watching her.
She couldn’t explain why her heart sped up in joy. Her mood, instantly, revitalized. Smiling to herself, she started toward him. When she was standing a step away from him, she said,
He looked good in blue jeans and a black t-shirt, she was tempted to kiss his cheek.
“Hey yourself,” Danny said, opening his arms.
She walked right into them without much thought and allowed him to hold her in a tight hug. He didn’t talk, just held her in silence. After a moment, she pulled back and studied him.
“Did you miss me?” Jasmine asked.
“Very much,” Danny said, pressing a kiss on her cheek. “I didn’t like how we left it this morning.”
“Neither did I,” jasmine said, meeting his gaze. “How has your day been?”
“Hmm…” Danny looked deep in thought, then he winked at her. “I took your cat to the vet to get her shots.”
“You did,” Jasmine smiled. “Danny, you surprise me.”
“I know,” Danny said, his gaze on her lips. “I like surprising you.”
She rested her forehead on his shoulder.
“I gotta go back to work.”
“I know that too,” Danny said, not having missed the trucks unloading in the back of the warehouse. “Have you eaten?”
“I will, later,” Jasmine said, her phone buzzing. She pulled away, one glance at the caller’s name and she squeezed his arm. “I gotta answer this.”
“Alright,” Danny turned and reached into his car. Pulling out a brown bag from the Passion Restaurant, he handed it to her. “I also saw my dad today. He sent me with this. Make sure you eat it.”
Jasmine stared at the bag in shock. Apart from Terry, no one ever cared enough to come to see her at work. No one ever brought her lunch…taking the bag, she smiled and pressed a fist to her mouth.
“Jazz?” Danny asked.
She shook her head.
“Thanks,” she said, pressing a kiss on his jaw. She answered her phone in the next minute and hurried off.
Danny grinned, watching Jasmine hurry away, her heels clicking on the pavement. It tickled him how freaked out she had been by his bringing her lunch. His task accomplished, he slid into the driver’s seat and watched her for a moment longer. Her work annoyed him, he didn’t like to see her stressed.
If he mentioned it though, she’d only ignore him. Headstrong women, he thought.
Driving off, he smiled at the little he’d done today win her over. It was a step forward.
Her story ‘Rain-check on the Last Dance’ is an awesome take on the best Rihanna/Lupita movie they’ll-never-make-but-we-wish-they-did.
Rain-Check on the Last Dance
Rihanna is walking slowly, smoking a blunt lost in thought. She’s just used up the last of her savings from the last job she had. Since President Trump took over the country it’s been hard for an undocumented immigrant from Haiti to find work. She couldn’t go home. There was nothing there for her. All her family died in the earthquake. She can’t face her own country. If she’s gonna die, she’d rather do it here, in New York.
She hears a sound behind her and looks back, hand on the switchblade she keeps strapped to her thigh. She hears a scream, high pitched, scared but angry too. It’s coming from the other end of the alley and she creeps cautiously forward to peer into the pitch dark.
There is a group of people massed together from what she can see. They seem to be agitated, moving around and struggling.
“Leave me alone you bastards!” a female voice screams from the thick of the group of people and Rihanna can’t help herself. She steps forward. Coming closer, she can see that it’s a group of five men, and one girl.
Three guesses what they’re trying to do to her.
Rihanna fishes out the 9mm she keeps in her bra and points it in the air.
“Leave her alone!” she shouted and let off a shot.
The cowardly men took off, leaving a small shape huddled on the floor. Rihanna stared at her.
“You okay?” she asked taking a step back.
The girl looked up at her with the most luminous big eyes Rihanna had ever seen, “I’m fine.” She said, “Thank you.”
Rihanna reversed direction stepping forward and reaching her hand down, “I’m Rihanna” she said.
“Lupita” the girl replied.
“Pleasure” Rihanna said helping her to her feet.
“Yeah, very glad to meet you as well.”
Eventually the girls exchange stories; Lupita tells Rihanna about getting thrown out of home when her mother walked in on her passionately kissing her best friend…Amanda. Rihanna tells Lupita about stowing away on a red cross boat after the earthquake in Haiti and ending up in New Orleans. How she’d come to New York for a job but once Trump took over, the owner had tried to blackmail her into having sex with him in return for not reporting her to the authorities.
They live together, survive together; coming up with more and more creative ways to make money. As they manage to stop living from hand to mouth, they move up from petty theft, to breaking and entering, to scam artistes. Lupita is a whiz with a computer and Rihanna can talk anyone into anything. They make a fantastic team.
As their hit list gets bigger and bigger and several big shots are affected, a task force is formed to catch them because how dare the poor rob the rich. One of their targets, Anders McCaulicolkin, turns out to be a police plant. He was sent to entrap them.
Rihanna was really excited about this mark because unlike their average idiot, this one was bloody good lookin’. She approaches him at a party, gets his number and they begin the dance of seduction and manipulation. Lupita is inexplicably hostile to this guy. She doesn’t like how much Rihanna is enjoying the job. Rihanna tries to find out what’s bugging her partner but she won’t say. Lupita channels her feelings into finding out more background on Anders and just after rihanna finishes clearing his account out and transferring the money to their holding account in the Caribbean island of Barbados…Lupita discovers that he’s a plant.
She frantically tries to get hold of Rihanna but she’s already left for the rendezvous point. If the money is tagged like Lupita suspects it is, it means one of their accounts is blown, and Rihanna is exposed.
Lupita always stays in the background but she breaks her cover to get to Rihanna before the cops do.
“Lupita this isn’t the plan!” Rihanna tries to exclaim as she follows Lupita at a dead run through the maze of streets she’s leading her through.
“Yeah well…” Lupita said, “If they caught you…”
“If they caught me what Lupita? We would follow the protocol” Rihanna complained.
“I couldn’t let that happen” Lupita breathed as she rounded the corner to the garage which housed one of their cars.
“Why not Lupita?” Rihanna demanded getting in her face, “At least one of us coulda gotten away cle-”
Her words were stopped by Lupita kissing her, very hard. The darker girl moved back.
“I can’t live without you Rihanna. Better to die together than-”
“Rihanna covered her lips with her hand before she could say it, “Don’t even think it” she said her heart pounding, “Let’s go.”
They get in the car and drive. But the police find them and chase them over three states. Eventually they get to Texas and drive with everything they have, heading for the border. The police cut them off. They veer off and find themselves over the canyon with Trump’s border wall dividing the river beneath into Mexico and USA.
Lupita and Rihanna look at each other, breathing hard.
Rihanna reaches for Lupita’s hand. She takes it. Rihanna’s foot bears down on the accelerator as the cops array behind them and they drive off the cliff.
Ooh, I love me a good Girls gone Wild story. Survivors with a strong sisterhood, maybe more, and mad gangster attitude, yeah, I would also watch this movie. Why haven’t they made it yet, again? Chicks before bros! Yeah!