Life on the Fast Track – 1

Track 1: The Unexpected

Loud rock music filled the garage.  Crashing guitars and drums accompanied by screaming vocals, how anyone could appreciate this stuff was unbelievable.

“Danny!  Holy Virgin, how can you exist like this?  You’ll never get a wife.”

The song ended and Danny got the last part of the comment.  Sliding out from under the Shelby Mustang he was fixing, he lifted his head to stare at his sister with a raised brow.

“Turn the volume down,” Terry Kihome ordered, glaring at him from her position at the garage door.

She looked like an avenging dark angel in her tight fitting black jeans and top, her long mass of dark fake hair tumbling down her back.  The glint in her dark eyes warned him that her natural temper was unleashed.

Lord save him from crazy, pint-sized women.

Sighing, Danny fluidly got to his feet and moved to the stereo by the wall.  Hitting the pause button, silence filled the room and he turned to look at his little sister.

“What’s up?”

“You and your rock music,” Terry snapped, shaking her head, clearly irritated.  “It’s a wonder you can fix anything in such chaos.”

“Teresa, what did you want?” Danny asked again, his tone calm and unconcerned with her discontent.

Terry stared at him for a moment, and then shrugged, deciding she could rant and rave for hours and he’d only ignore it.

“I need a favor.”

“What type of favor?”

With Terry, a man needed to ask.  She could get the devil in trouble, and he was neck deep in it already.

“Pick up Jazz for me.”

“Jazz!” Danny felt an involuntary shiver travel through him as the image of a matching face came to mind.  “Why?”

“Her car gave up on her.  She’s stuck on the side of the highway.”

It was not going to happen, Danny thought in panic.  He’d managed to avoid Jazz for an entire year.  His plans would not change so easily.

“Why can’t you do it?” Danny asked her.

“I’m going to work, remember?  Come on, Danny.  She’s my best friend, and I won’t leave her stranded,” Terry pleaded.  “Please do this for me.”

How could he refuse?  Terry looked so worried.  To think of Jazz stuck on the highway, alone…a woman alone—

“Fine, which highway?” he asked.

Terry smiled, and hurried into the garage to give him a kiss on his jaw.

“I love you, Bro.  She’s right off the exit into Muthaiga.  You can’t miss that car of hers.”

Danny nodded and watched Terry run out, her spirit lifted.

“Great!”  He’d made his sister’s day and ruined his.

“Be nice to her,” Terry called back and he felt an actual shudder at the thought of trying to be nice to Jazz.

He’d never met another woman who could drive a man crazy just by being herself.  He’d gone through high school watching Jasmine Lima from a distance.  Beautiful, gorgeous Jasmine was the life of the party then and still was now, ten years later.  She and Teresa became friends in high school; their bond had only increased through the years.

As far as he knew, Jazz lived a wild haze of parties and bad boys.  She’d dated all the football players in their high school team.  It was no different now.  It seemed as though Jasmine had a new boyfriend every week.  Last week, he seemed to recall a Mark or Michael?

A girl like Jazz could rip you apart, he thought as he took off his work overalls.  Picking a pair of keys from a cluttered table, Danny stalked out of the garage and headed for his tow truck.

He would get Jazz’s car and drop her off at home, nothing more.

***

Letting out a long sigh, Jasmine Lima sat behind the wheel in her old Chevy Cavalier and wondered at life and its fairness.

How was it on the day she’d had the worst time at work, her car decided to blow a gasket?  Not that she was sure that was the problem.  She was completely engine illiterate.  Though she understood one thing, waking this baby up was going to put a sizeable dent on her savings.

Just what she needed, Jasmine thought, with another sigh.  As if she didn’t have enough problems already.

Punching the steering wheel to keep tears of frustration at bay, she opened the door and stepped out.  Her boots crunched on gravel, the wind high, as the weather was caught between wanting to rain and not.  She pulled the ends of her heavy sweater around her and frowned at the cars passing swiftly on the road.

Where the hell was Terry anyway?

It was going on an hour now.  Leaning into the car, she reached for her cell phone and checked the time, almost two hours now.  Sighing, she closed the driver’s door and leaned on it, her grip on the cell phone tight.  A strong wind came, and she glanced up at the dark clouds overhead.  For a full minute, she contemplated calling home.  Her mother would be home, so would her younger sister and brother.

The thought disappeared as quickly as the wind passed.  Calling home would create a new set of problems she did not need.  Yep, she would settle for Terry she decided with a shiver.

“You should carry a heavier coat,” a gruff voice said to her left, startling her out of her wits.

Turning, she stared at the tall man walking toward her.  She wasn’t aware of the tears spilling over. Why him?  Why was it that today of all days, she had to see him?

***

“Damn it!  Don’t cry,” Danny said, at a loss when he saw the tears sliding down her soft brown cheeks.  His words seemed to make them come faster so he moved to her side.

Taking her by the shoulders, Danny led her to the passenger side of his tow truck and helped her in.  Hurrying back to her car, he reached in and got her car keys.  He spent a few minutes hooking the car up to the tow truck.  When he was done, he retrieved the purse on the passenger seat of the Chevy.  Closing the door, he hurried to the tow truck and slid into the driver’s seat.

Twisting so that he could see Jazz, he handed her the purse.

The tears had disappeared and she was looking at him with huge dark eyes.  Then biting her lip, she looked down.

“I’m sorry,” she said, opening her purse.

The expression on her face made him fight hard to hold back a laugh.  It was too obvious that he was the last person she’d been expecting.  He bit back the laugh because it was also obvious that she’d had a tough day.  She would not appreciate a laugh right now.  Looking away, Danny cleared his throat and asked,

“What happened?”

“The car blew a gasket,” Jasmine said, digging into her purse for something elusive.

“Really?” Danny asked, focusing his gaze on her.

“I don’t know, Danny.  You know more than I do about cars.  I’m imagining it’s something that bad,” Jasmine said, finally pulling out a pack of tissues.

Women’s purses fascinated him.  The amount of things they could stuff in them was mind blowing.  She blew her nose and he smiled.

“I can check it out if you want,” Danny offered, aware that if he did this, he’d have to see her again.

“Could you?” Jasmine asked in relief.  “I’m sure it’s something big and I’m at my wits end right now.  I could use the help.”

She looked exhausted.  Sleep is what she could use right now, Danny thought.

Why was she working so much?  Why was she so stubborn?   She couldn’t see him.  Him right here, who wanted to take care of her.

I’m right here, Jazz, right here.

Starting the truck, Danny said gruffly, “Don’t fret.  I’ll bring your car around when it’s done.”

Jasmine smiled at him, her face so pretty—

Lord!

He needed to rush this.  He would have the car fixed by tomorrow, and then he would never have to see her again.  He couldn’t handle being too close right now.

***

“This car is a junk yard winner,” Jimmy complained as he studied the engine.  “It’s too old.”

“We’re fixing it,” Danny said, dropping the keys on the worktable in their garage.

He and Jimmy were business partners.  They owned a garage where they fixed, tuned, customized cars and anything else that included optimizing a car’s performance and look.  Their real passion was speed.  Danny hated to think what his mother would feel about his extra-curricular activities that catered to this passion.  He loved the fast lane.

“This is Jazz’s car, isn’t it?” Jimmy guessed, meeting Danny’s gaze.  “She’s the only one you would do this for.  Why don’t you just tell her how you feel?”

Danny shrugged, hating the fact that Jimmy knew him so well.  They had known each other since childhood.  Having grown up in the same neighborhood, their dreams aligned, they’d ended up following those dreams together.

Jimmy, last name Mitoni, was the son of an engineer working for Toyota.  When Jimmy turned eighteen, his father, now a big corporate executive was offered a job by Toyota in Tokyo.  Jimmy opted to remain home to finish his college and now lived in the house neighboring Danny’s in Kiambu.  Their garage was five minutes away from their estate.  Jimmy liked to call their life, the ultimate choice.  Since they were doing exactly what they loved with their lives.

Staring at the sorry state of the Chevy’s engine, Jimmy looked like a contented man in his oily overalls, his dark hair cut close to his head.

“I’m not you, Jimmy.  She’s—

Danny stopped, trying to think of a neutral word to describe Jasmine.

“Hot?  Sexy?  A babe?” Jimmy offered with a slight grin.  “If you didn’t have a thing for her, I’d have asked her out by now.”

Danny glared at him for that.  He knew how many men were after Jasmine.  It wasn’t easy knowing it.  Like her name, she was an exotic woman with a luscious bod that she knew how to use to drive men crazy.

Jimmy laughed when he looked up and saw the grim expression on Danny’s face.

“Do me a favor, Danny, since we’re fixing this abomination, how about you tell Jazz how you feel?  In the process, convince her to get a new car too.  Sawa?”

Danny smiled at that.  They both knew he was going to keep silent and watch.  Which was absolutely pathetic, but he couldn’t seem to help it.

“Danny Kihome, I worry about you,” Jimmy said, shaking his head.

***

To be continued….Thank you for reading ^_^!

A/N: Turning over a new leaf, and writing again, inspired lots, so let’s see where this takes us.  Still writing the Enchanting Violinist, don’t be discouraged.

P/S: This story is also called Jasmine & Danny and may be running on The Naked Convos Kenya Blog, if they like it that is…lolz…

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