Chapter 21 – This is what the future looks like
Jasmine wanted to fight Danny. She wanted to stay angry at Danny. Angry at him for making her live through a sleepless night worrying the worst had happened. Yet, seeing his face, his eyes filled with sincere worry, all she could think was, ‘thank goodness he wasn’t hurt.‘
Jasmine shifted her gaze to the silly apron he still wore. It was pink, with frills on the side. She liked sticking her hands in the pockets while she cooked. Now, she would always remember how funny it looked on Danny.
“Are you going to say anything?” Danny asked, not moving away.
“I lived through a nightmare last night,” Jasmine said, still staring at the apron. “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is you spinning out and you not making it. I needed you to stay with me, Danny. I needed to make sure you were fine, but you pushed me to Jimmy and drove off.”
“I needed to do that,” Danny insisted. “It was the only way to catch that bastard. Which we did, and the trouble is gone now. I finished it.”
Jasmine shook her head.
“So, now what? Should I be happy you almost got yourself hurt? Oh, thank God he caught the culprit. What if something happened during the process? I can’t live like that. Don’t make me lose you. I don’t want to—”
Danny pulled her into a tight hug.
“I’m not reckless. I was safe, and as long as you were with Jimmy, I knew you were safe too.”
“You’re missing the point.”
“Don’t ask me to stop racing.”
Jasmine closed her eyes pressing her forehead into his shoulder.
“I’m not asking you to stop. I’m asking you to think about the fact that you and I, we—
“We what?” Danny asked when she stopped.
Jasmine bit her lip, then let out a soft sigh.
“We’re like two peas in a pod, Danny. Can you think about my heart too? I don’t want to see you hurting. I don’t want you to catch trouble. I—I wouldn’t survive it if something happened to you. So, promise me you’ll be extra careful.”
Danny tightened his arms around her, kneeling on the floor as he pulled her even closer.
“I promise, Jasmine. Your heart is the most important thing to me. You have to know that by now.”
Jasmine smiled, thinking she must have saved a village in the distant past. Danny seemed to be hers when she had thought he would never be. She wrapped her arms around him, as the fear that had bothered her all night dissipated. It always did, when he felt so alive in her arms. She hoped it would always be so.
They stayed holding each other until the door opened to admit Wanja. Danny took his time letting go, even with Jasmine pushing him off her gaze on her mother.
“I figured I would have to come in here,” Wanja said, her chuckle startling Jasmine. “Jazz, food is ready. Come on.”
Wanja left them and Jasmine sat staring at the open door in surprise. She had expected yells, and a few curses at Danny. Danny took her right hand and pulled her up. She followed him out of her bedroom to the little dining room off the kitchen.
Lunch was eaten in a cloud of excitement. Jasmine listened as her brother and sister asked Danny too many questions. He answered each one with patience, and interest. He engaged her mother with stories of his childhood, his father’s restaurant, Terry’s business, his garage. In a sense, it was the perfect family lunch.
Her strange apprehension about her mother disproving of Danny died away with each minute, each laugh, each giggle, and she wondered why she had worried so much.
Jasmine took her glass of orange juice from the table, sipping juice, her gaze resting on Daryl. She thought about Daryl and their father. The man who saw fault when his kids refused to follow the line and wondered how she was ever going to introduce Danny to him. She frowned.
More importantly, what were they going to do about Daryl?
Jenny touched her left shoulder and she looked up to find everyone staring at her.
“Danny wants to take us to visit his garage,” Daryl said, his excitement tangible. “Do you mind if we go?”
Jasmine looked at Danny and smiled when he winked at her.
“You can go,” she said, smiling at her brother. “Don’t cause trouble though.”
Danny chuckled as both Daryl and Jenny got up heading outside to his car.
“I should help clean up,” Danny said, waving at the messy table.
“Don’t worry about it.” Jasmine pushed her chair back and stood. “You helped cook. I’ll clean up.”
Jasmine took plates to the kitchen, and wasn’t surprised when Danny followed her.
“I’ll see you later?” Danny asked, stealing a quick kiss, making sure Wanja didn’t see him.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll be home.”
Jasmine swatted his hand away when he pinched her waist. She watched him hurry back to the dining table.
“Mamma Jazz, I’ll bring Daryl and Jenny home. Thank you so much for lunch.”
“It was nice to meet you, Danny,” Wanja said. “I hope this is not the last time we’ll see each other.”
“Definitely not,” Danny said, moving to hug her. “I’ll come visit you with Jasmine next time.”
Wanja chuckled and Jasmine came back to the table to see Wanja watch Danny leave.
“He’s bold, that one.” Wanja noted when Danny was gone. “So, you two are serious?”
Jasmine wiped the table mats, arranging them neatly.
“Do you approve?”
“He’s a good man. I know his father, and Terry is like your sister. She slept over our house so much, she’s like a daughter to me.”
Wanja patted the empty seat next to her.
Jasmine placed the cloth she held on the table and moved to sit next to her mother.
Wanja took her hand, and rubbed her fingers gently.
“I’m no expert on love.” Wanja gave her a rueful smile. “So, I won’t tell you Danny is right, or he is wrong for you. All I can say is make the right choice for you. Your heart knows what it wants. That’s what matters most in this very long life.”
Wanja brought her hand up to stroke Jasmine’s right cheek.
“You were always the strongest of my kids. I don’t think you get it from me, Jazz. I think you get it from your father.”
“He won’t approve of Danny.”
Jasmine shook her head, sure she was right.
“He is set in his ways,” Wanja said with a sigh. “But you prove him wrong on a constant basis. So, he’ll accept Danny, in time.”
Jasmine squeezed her mother’s hand and stood up.
“Speaking of which, before he approves or disproves of my boyfriend, why don’t we talk about Daryl.”
“Military? Mum, seriously? Daryl doesn’t want that.” Jasmine shook her head. “You’ve always known he loves engineering. Why won’t you fight for him?”
“It’s not that easy.”
Jasmine picked up the mats she had arranged.
“Fine, I’ll help you make it easy. Daddy is home, right? Let’s go see him.”
“We have to try, Mum. Otherwise, Daryl won’t forgive us when he ends up marching for the country. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with joining the military. I just think a guy should do what he wants. If Daryl wants to work in engineering, he should. Who knows what he’ll end up building?”
Wanja wiped a hand down her face, and shook her head.
“You’re probably the only person who can stand up to Daddy with that statement.”
Jasmine grinned and hurried into the kitchen to dump the mats in their drawer.
“Then let’s do it today. I’ll go get my sweater. We should go before Danny finishes with Jenny and Daryl. I don’t want them anywhere near the explosion when it happens.”
Thank you for reading…to be continued ^_^