Track 4: My blood is the color of engine oil
Hidden in the lush green lands of Kiambu, was a private three-acre farm converted into a racing track. Danny and Jimmy had worked years on modifying the piece of land for their racing needs. Their work resulting in an exciting racing movement with an exclusive entry requirement.
Walking into the main field, engines purred, their sweet roars making Danny’s blood heat with excitement and anticipation. There was nothing more intoxicating than speed. The field in the middle of the track was packed with cars, the crowd thick and rowdy, drinks already flowing.
Danny walked through the crowd, his car keys in hand. Beside him, Jimmy carried a laptop and a duffel bag full of equipment. While Danny concentrated on getting through the mass of people, Jimmy scanned the crowd, his gaze sharp, missing nothing.
“We are secure,” Jimmy said, when they reached their spot. “I’m glad Anderson’s people aren’t coming tonight. They are trouble. We should never have let him buy in to the races.”
Danny nodded in agreement, unlocking his prized Matte White Nissan Skyline. The only other person allowed to drive this car was Jimmy, and only to make sure the engine was up to par.
“The last race we had, Anderson almost got us arrested.” Jimmy shook his head, hooking up his laptop to the engine. “There is something not right about Anderson, Danny.”
“He could be a thief,” Danny said, pulling off his leather jacket and throwing it on the passenger seat. “I’ve heard of his type before. If he is, we’ll be in trouble. The races will need to relocate, and that will cost us.”
“I’ll have a talk with everyone,” Jimmy said, running diagnostics on the engine. “What happened with you and Jazz? Did you tell her you paid for the repairs?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Danny said.
Jimmy spared him a short glance.
“You yelled,” Jimmy said, nodding his head, satisfied with the engine. Nodding for Danny to turn off the engine, he unhooked his laptop and met Danny’s gaze. “When are you going to suck it up and be nice to her?”
“Don’t think I haven’t tried. She’s impossible to deal with.”
“Yeah,” Jimmy smiled. “Only with you.”
Danny glared, making Jimmy chuckle.
“Can we concentrate on the race now?” Danny asked.
“Fine. The Sumani Chicks are in,” Jimmy said, nodding to a pair of Machine Gray Mazda Mx-5s parked a few feet away from Danny’s car. They were surrounded by four tall women, in long dark braids, and wearing hot pink spanks and tops. “They are as mean as they are hot.”
“That’s because they have holes for hearts,” Danny said, winking at the women in greeting. “Is Nic Mugera here?”
“I don’t think he could miss a showdown with you, especially since he owes you a log book. You embarrassed him the last time,” Jimmy answered, his gaze finding an ice blue R34, surrounded by four beautiful women in red leather. “If we didn’t hate each other’s guts so much, I’d date one of them.”
“They’d kill you in your sleep,” Danny said, his gaze colliding with Nic Mugera’s icy one. “He’d have them do it.”
“Speak for yourself, I wouldn’t stick around long enough,” Jimmy said. “We can’t forget the Tanzanian, Mikhail is here.”
“It’s a darned reunion,” Danny sighed. “Fine, set up the winnings, and don’t forget to warn everyone about Anderson. We need to find a solution to him.”
Danny got into his car, effectively shutting everyone else out. Driving took skill, an understanding of the machine and the role it needed him to play. He’d always felt most at home behind the wheel, moving at top speed, leaving everything behind. He lived for that exhilarating high and wouldn’t, no, couldn’t give it up for anything. It was his freedom, his chosen drug.
Danny’s love for speed came from his father. Raphael Kihome was a grease monkey to the bone and often joked that his blood was the color of engine oil. Raphael had given Danny his first run on a race track. Danny had been four years old at the time.
Now, at twenty-seven, Danny doubted he could learn to do anything else. This race tonight was about working out tension. Tension brought on by the one thing he couldn’t seem to get right in his life. Jasmine, Danny gripped the steering wheel tight. In all her crazy, wild twenty-five years, how was it that she couldn’t see it? Was she so hell-bent on dating losers out there?
Jimmy knocked on his window.
“The pot’s fifty per head, making it two hundred on the finish line.”
“Done,” Danny said, pulling out an envelope from his jacket. He handed it to Jimmy. “We need a new spraying machine.”
“You bet, the old one’s out of style,” Jimmy said with a wink, and stepped back as Danny turned over the engine. “I’ll be at the finish line. Hurry will you, I wanna catch up with Jazz and Terry at the new club.”
The club’s name was Sense. The hottest place to be tonight. Terry and Jasmine were allowed in as VIP, since they knew the club owner. They hit the dance floor immediately, as the DJ spun the newest dance hall music.
“Ooh, there’s a really hot guy checking you out on my six,” Jasmine said to Terry a few minutes later. “He’s totally undressing you right now.”
“Don’t make me laugh. You’re already scoping the man-market?” Terry teased.
“Not for me,” Jasmine said, bumping her bootie with Terry’s. “I don’t want no hook-up tonight. Your brother already gave me whiplash.”
“In that case, I won’t tell you about the hot guy totally checking you out behind you. I think he’s already getting it on with you in his head.”
Jasmine burst out laughing, Terry pulling her into a mock tango. It didn’t take long before the stresses of the day disappeared. Jasmine and Terry changed partners, tapping into the crowd’s energy. Jasmine loved to dance, she came to clubs to have a good time, and forget her troubles for a short while. It was also a great place to get inspiration for her plot. So many different personalities. Lately, the club scene was proving a valuable muse to her. She was hoping to send in a manuscript to a publishing house soon, and perhaps lady luck would be on her side—
Jasmine’s dance partner slipped a tight arm around her, then that hand started to slide down to her butt. Jasmine grabbed it fast and stepped back.
“We’re done,” she said, turning away.
“Fuck off,” Danny Kihome growled, his eyes glittering with danger at the man on the floor.
“Shit,” Jasmine cursed. “What’d you do that for?”
“He was grabbing at you,” Danny said, his gaze still full of anger. “Do you want him in your face?”
Danny was now holding on to her arm.
“I can take care of myself,” Jasmine said, pushing away from him and starting for the bar.
“Damn it, Jazz, simple thanks would suffice,” Danny followed her.
“I didn’t ask for your help,” Jasmine said, taking a seat at the bar. The bartender placed a shot of strawberry daiquiri before her. “Thanks, Tommy.”
“Do you know everyone?” Danny asked, unable to stop watching her.
He wanted to pull her away from here and take her someplace where he could have her to himself. She looked so beautiful, all that soft skin, the color of dark tea with a hint of milk. It pissed him off to see all the men in the joint ogling her.
Danny reached out to push back a lock of slick black hair that had fallen over her right eye. Her short hair cut was perfection, simple and elegant.
“Let’s not fight,” Jasmine said quickly, she sipped her drink. “I don’t want to spoil this night, Danny.”
“I was going to suggest the same thing,” Danny said. “Can we talk?”
Jasmine glanced at him. “Are you feeling alright?”
“I’m fine, “Danny said, with a small smile. He had won the race and his bank account was two hundred large richer. “I just—, I want to talk with you.”
Jasmine smiled. “You’re full of surprises today.”
“You too,” Danny said, accepting a beer from the bartender. “You still haven’t answered my question.”
“Why you avoid me,” Danny said.
“We found that it was mutual, didn’t we?” Jasmine said, turning in her seat to face him. “You give me an answer first.”
Danny studied her for a second, then looked away, sipping his beer.
“You scare me,” he said.
“Way to win over a gal,” Jasmine laughed. “Although, that gives me considerable power.”
“It does. Power wielded by you is dangerous, Jazz,” Danny said. “Now you answer me.”
Jasmine sipped her drink, then gave him a small smile. “You scare me too.”
“You’re using that because I said it.”
“No, no, I’m serious,” Jasmine said. “I’m not trying to be funny.”
“We’ll see about that,” Danny said. “I’ll get that answer.”
“How was your race?” Jasmine sipped her drink again to cover her curiosity.
“It was good. You refused to come.”
“It’s not my scene,” Jasmine answered.
“Why?” Danny asked, turning so that he sat facing her.
She was playing with her glass, and wouldn’t look at him. So, he asked again.
“Why Jazz? You don’t like cars?”
“No.” Jasmine shook her head. “It’s not that.”
“What is it then?”
Jasmine stared into her drink, then sighed.
“Nothing. I gotta go.”
“No.” Danny held her arm, stopping her from getting off her stool. “Tell me, Jazz.”
Jasmine met his gaze, and shook her head. “I just don’t like it.”
“Why? You don’t know anything about racing. You’ve made an assumption on something you’ve never given a chance,” Danny said, wondering whether they were even talking about cars anymore.
“I don’t need to give it a chance,” Jasmine said, meeting his gaze. “It’s easier not to know. That way, I won’t care.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Danny still held her arm, keeping her in place.
“Exactly that, now let me go,” Jasmine said. “I told you I don’t feel like fighting tonight. The longer we have this conversation, the more likely we’ll start screaming at each other.”
“Damn it, Jazz. We don’t have to fight.”
“How can we not?” Jasmine asked. “Tell me, Danny? How did it feel tonight, on that race you had?”
“Exhilarating, it would have been even better had you come,” Danny said.
“We can’t get along,” Jasmine said then.
Holding his gaze, it took only a second for Danny to realize the problem. His momentary shock gave Jasmine the opportunity to slip away from him. She was half way across the dance floor before he could move.
To be continued…. Thank you for reading ^_^