Life on the Fast Track – 9

Track 9 : It’s the small things like trust, honesty…wanting to take care of the cat

An hour later, they sat on Jasmine’s couch, sharing a glass of wine; soft music filled the living room.  Jazz had her feet over Danny’s lap and he was stroking them absently as they talked.

“Your father is really a good man.  I like how he’s dealt with you guys.  Easy-going and encouraging, you don’t find that very much,” Jazz said.

“You never talk about your father,” Danny pointed out gently.  “Why?”

“My Dad and I, we have a difficult relationship,” Jazz sighed.  “He’s a military man.  His ways are set, he likes it when everyone in the family tows the line.  I’m the child that doesn’t follow the path he directs.”

“I’m sure if you talked now, you could settle things,” Danny said, studying her.  She was keeping her gaze down.  It wasn’t hard to see the breach in that relationship hurt her.  “He’s your dad.”

“We had a huge fight the week before I moved out of home,” Jazz said.  “He told me if I left the house, and failed, I would have no choice but to return home and live as he directed, down to marriage.  You know me.  I love a challenge.  I left.  He hasn’t wanted to talk to me since then.”

“Jazz,” Danny brushed a kiss on her cheek.  “It will work out. He’ll come around.”

Jasmine feigned a smile with a small scoff.

“You’re being sweet.  My father is tough.  He’s everything yours is not.”

“Is that why you’re scared to trust me?” Danny asked, holding her gaze.

Jasmine chuckled.

“Really Danny, you think I have Daddy issues?”

“Well,” Danny laughed.

“No,” Jasmine poked his chest and shook her head.  “That’s not why.  I’ve just never been able to be easy on trust with men”

“Hmm…,” Danny said.

“What?”

“I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about being grouped in with the horde of men you’ve dated.”

“Danny.  I didn’t mean it that way,” Jasmine frowned.  “Besides, I’m pretty sure we should take this, whatever this is, very slowly.”

“Not jumping into it,” Danny stated, “has led us here.  I’m of the opinion we should go all in.”

“Danny—,”

“Jazz,” Danny cut her off.  “I’ve never felt this way about a woman.  You’ve always had this strange hold on me.  Can’t we just go together without thinking too much?”

Jasmine studied him, her gaze thoughtful, her eyes inky black and full of wary shadows.

“If things go wrong, it will definitely hurt more,” Jasmine stated, her tone low.

“Shhh…” Danny pressed a finger over her lips.  “Don’t predict the worst.”

He shifted and pulled her on to his lap.

“Just – enjoy – the – moment,” Danny said, punctuating each word with a kiss.  “The rest, we leave for the future.”

“One step at a time,” Jasmine insisted, pressing her forehead to his.

Danny smiled, holding her closer.

“You’ll get used to having me around, Jasmine Lima.  I’ll make sure of it.”

***

Danny woke up early Monday morning and was once again disappointed to find Jasmine awake and about.  The woman seemed incapable of lazing around in bed.  Pushing a pillow behind his back, he sat up and watched Jasmine pull on a black pencil skirt.  She shimmied it up and reached behind her to zip it.  The material hugged her hips to perfection, made him want to moan in appreciation.  She picked up a lacy blouse, wore it.  As she turned to the vanity table, she noticed that he was awake.

A smile graced her lips, and she came over to his side of the bed.

“Morning,” she said, leaning down to kiss him.

He pulled her down to his lap and kissed her thoroughly, making her catch her breath and her arms lock around his neck.

“Morning,” he answered, when she ended the kiss.

“Did I wake you?” she asked, stroking a finger over his dark stubble.

“No.” Danny studied her swollen lips with an answering smile.  “I wish you had.  I would have loved to wake you up, Jazz.”

“Hmm…” Jasmine smiled.  “I bet you would have.”

“Must you leave?” Danny asked, not willing to give her up yet.

“I have to.  Work calls,” she said, resting her head on his shoulder.  He rubbed her back, holding her tighter.  “I would stay otherwise.”

“I want to have breakfast with you one of these days,” Danny complained.

He breathed in her scent, something flowery, it was intoxicating.  Jasmine pressed a kiss on his shoulder and pulled back.  She stood and returned to the vanity table.  Grabbing ab rush, she ran it through her hair, styling it quickly.  Danny watched her wear her make up, a swift sweep of a brush on her skin, drawing a steady line for eyeliner, followed by a thin coat of red lipstick.  Jasmine picked a pair of hoop earrings from a jewelry box and slipped them on.  Danny watched her study her appearance in the mirror.  She was beautiful, and it fascinated him to watch her see flaws where he saw none.

Jasmine put everything on the table back in its place.  He smiled when she removed the hoops and replaced them with gold teardrop earrings.  Satisfied with her look, Jasmine leaned down and reached for a pair of black heels.

“Terry is passing by to pick up Min.  She’s going to take her to the vet.  Will you be here?”

“Maybe,” Danny said, his tone preoccupied.  Jasmine looked like a conservative administrator now.  It thrilled him to know that underneath that was a wild temptress.  “I could take Min to the vet for you.”

“Why?” Jasmine asked, rummaging through her handbag.

“Because,” Danny said.  “Do I need a reason?”

“I’m just wondering why you’d want to run errands for me,” Jasmine said, giving up on her handbag.  She went to the closet.  “I’m sure Jimmy won’t be happy with me for keeping you away from the garage.”

“Jazz, you’re pissing me off,” Danny said, leaning his head back to stare at the ceiling.  “What’s wrong with being nice to you?”

“Because we’re together now?” Jasmine asked, emerging from her closet with a black jacket that she wore in swift jerks.  “Because we’re sleeping together, help me understand.”

“You know what,” Danny said, glaring at her.  “Go to work.”

“What?” Jasmine asked, a frown dancing on her forehead.  “What have I said now?”

“Nothing.  Go to work,” Danny said.  “I’ll call you later.”

Jasmine studied him for a moment, then picked up her handbag, moved to kiss his jaw before leaving in a cloud of subtle passion fruit perfume.

Danny sighed when he heard the front door slam closed.  He slipped out of the bed and headed for the shower.

***

To be continued….Thanks for reading! ^_^

←Previous Track

Picture Perfect – 16

Chapter 16

Eric wanted Victoria.

She was fun, her sense of humor fresh and surprising.  She had quirky habits that left him laughing in amusement when he was alone.  Like singing out loud to her favorite song came on.  The song wasn’t the problem, he could take a little Justin Bieber…but the off notes, full volume voice were the problem.

You see, Victoria thought she was the next Beyoncé, except no one had told her she wasn’t.  God help him if he said anything in criticism.

Victoria had a temper.

He found that out the hard way.  Visiting her house on a Saturday when she was doing general cleaning, he had gone out to check on her car engine.  When he came back upstairs, he entered still wearing his rubber shoes, into her clean pristine house and a monster was born.

She kicked him out, made him remove his shoes while she cursed like a sailor, almost calling the neighbors to witness his offenses.  He tried to take a picture of monster Victoria in action, and almost got his eyes scratched out when she grabbed the camera out of his hand.  She’d taken a year off his life when she threatened to drop his baby.  Her tirade lasted an astounding five minutes.  Then she got over the mad quickly, turning into a sweet woman who then cooked him lunch.

Scary shit.  He was sure she was a crazy woman!

He definitely loved her sweet side the most though.

Victoria in an agreeable mood was addictive, to the point of madness and obsession.  Her laugh was infectious, when she talked it was with passion on the subject, when she listened, it was as though he were the only man in the world.  Those moments, sitting close to her, kissing her, and never going beyond that…it was at those moments he worried for his sanity.

“Eric.”

Linda touched his left arm and he looked at her.  He was at the studio today working on an advertisement photo shoot.

“Are you up for another trip?” Linda asked.  “We have a request for a shoot in Dar.  Three days, do I schedule it?”

Eric sat back, his gaze on the dummy food waiting on a table.

“When?”

“This weekend,” Linda said.  “The cash is good.  They accepted our quotation without a bargain.”

Eric frowned.  For the first time in years, reluctance to leave the city filled him.  Victoria was tied up more than usual lately.  The holidays were here and the hotel events had increased.  He didn’t want to miss out on her free time.

“Can we postpone it?” he asked.

“Are you sick?” Linda asked, touching his forehead.

He winked at her.  “Let’s do it next weekend, Linda.”

“Why?  Can’t stay away from Victoria?” Linda asked.

“She’s off this weekend.  She promised to go see my house with me.  I don’t want to cancel.”

Linda waved the quotation in front of his eyes and he took it out of her hands.  Reading the total amount, he groaned.  The payout was very good.

“Damn it, I can do it mid-week,” he said, still not willing to give up this weekend.

Eric really wanted to hear what Victoria thought of the house he was building.

Linda smiled and took the quotation.

“Wednesday sounds good.  Victoria can do without you for three days, right?”

Eric smiled standing.  He picked up his camera and walked to the table full of fast food dummy products.

The problem, he thought, was that he didn’t want to do without her.

***

“Wait, taste this,” Olive said

Olive held out a spoon full of strawberry and blueberry ice cream to Victoria.  Victoria closed her eyes as the sweet treat melted in her mouth.  She sighed.

“I’m going to get fat if we continue like this.”  Victoria met Olive’s amused gaze.  “Fat, Olive.”

“I thought you didn’t care.”

“She got a man,” Grace said, swirling her straw in her passion fruit yoghurt.

Aki, Grace,” Victoria pinched her best friend’s arm.  “That’s not what I mean.  I’m saying the ice cream is really good and we keep buying more.”

“Don’t blame the ice cream,” Olive said, promptly taking a healthy bite of her ice cream.

Olive was naturally thin, no matter how much she ate, she never gained an ounce.  Victoria was a tad envious.  Staring at her apple green blend, Victoria just couldn’t find the strength not to finish the treat, so she dug in.

“So, you and Eric?” Olive asked.

Victoria looked up and Olive raised her brow.

“What?”

“Are you an item?” Olive asked.

“They better be,” Grace said.  “He keeps hugging her and kissing her around the hotel.  I’m getting jealous.”

“That was one time,” Victoria said.

“What about yesterday when he dropped you off in the morning.  He gives you a ride to work even when you have your own car,” Grace said.

“It’s called carpooling.  We are doing our part to save the earth from global warming.”

“Ah ha,” Olive said with a laugh.  “I’ll be sure to thank Eric for his eco-friendly thoughts when he shows up at your house.”

Grace laughed.

“Okay, you two, stop.” Victoria raised her spoon, using it as a wand.  “I did not tease you like this when you and Clifford were getting together.  Or you Grace, and the hubby who walks on water.”

“Did you do it yet?” Olive asked.

“I’m not answering that.”

“They haven’t,” Grace answered, winking at Olive.

“Hey,” Victoria punched Grace’s arm lightly.

“Wow, Eric is looking more and more like a saint,” Olive said, amused.  “Hasn’t it been a month?”

“Almost two,” Grace provided.

“No way,” Olive stared at Victoria.  “Is he normal?”

Victoria frowned.  “What are you on about?”

“Well,” Olive shrugged.  “Let’s be realistic.  In this day and age, relationships start out backwards.  You two not being together after two months is weird.”

“Who decided waiting is weird?” Victoria asked.  “Besides, two months is not that long.  Jeez, I’m glad Eric is not like Ronald.  If I had stopped to think with Ronald, things might not have turned out the way they did.”

“I’m just saying,” Olive said.

Victoria stared at her ice cream.  Truthfully, she knew Eric would prefer not to wait.  There were times when she was alone with him, when it felt like it would be alright to give in, but then…

She remembered that he was a man who was still in love with his best friend’s wife.

How could she—

“Vicky,” Grace squeezed her shoulder.  “It’s okay to wait.  You need to be sure, and that’s important to you.”

Taking a bite of her ice cream, Victoria shrugged.

“If it happens, it does,” she said.  “We’re both adults.  I like Eric.  He’s fun, considerate and I love spending time with him.  If it does happen—”

“Let me stop you there,” Olive said, shaking her head.  “That is a self-serving speech.  We don’t need to hear it, gal.  I totally get your insecurities with that hottie.  Eric is a wild card, and who knows how long it will last?  I get it.  No one’s judging here.”

“Could have fooled me,” Victoria sulked.  “Argghh…. can we stop talking about my lack of nookie?”

Grace burst out laughing, and almost spilled her yoghurt.  Victoria reached out to right it, and Olive grabbed napkins to wipe the little that had spilt on the table.

“Excuse me.”

They all looked up at the same time to find Anita the concierge standing a few feet away.  They were in the hotel’s second floor snack bar enjoying ice cream after a long day.  They had chosen the place because of convenience.  Olive was due at the hospital in thirty minutes.  Grace wanted to head out to meet her husband for a shopping spree.

“Yes?” Grace asked, her tone uninviting.

“Can I talk to you, Vicky?” Anita asked.

“You can talk here,” Grace said.

Victoria met Anita’s gaze and nodded.  She had no intention of being anywhere alone with Anita.

“Fine, whatever,” Anita said, taking a step closer to the table.

Thankfully, there were only two other people in the dining space.  It wasn’t rush hour yet.

“What do you want to say?” Victoria asked the younger woman.

“I want you to stop making trouble for me with Ronald.  He said he would fire me because of you.”  Anita’s expression was bitter.  “If you couldn’t make him happy, I don’t see why you have to take it out on me.”

Victoria gaped.

“Aren’t you out of line?” Grace asked.  “Victoria si sister yako, Anita.  You can’t come here to carpet her over a relationship you started on your own.”

“It’s not my fault Ronald chose me over her,” Anita snapped.  “All I’m saying is that she shouldn’t use her position to get me fired.  I have a family to support.”

“Are you implying that I’m trying to get you fired?” Victoria asked in shock.

“Yes.  I know you did this—

“Who told you?” Victoria cut in.

“Ronald,” Anita said.  “He said that my presence here annoys you.  So—,”

Victoria got up, forgetting her ice cream.

Anita froze, her expression full of fear.

Victoria sighed and moved around Grace to stand before the younger woman.

“Don’t worry about your job, Anita.”

“You don’t want me fired?”

“Why would I?” Victoria asked, shocked anyone would think of her this way.

Anita blinked.  “Aren’t you mad about me and Ronald?”

“Goodness, no,” Victoria said, realizing it then, as well.  “Anita, Ronald is a bastard.  If you want him, he is all yours.”

Turning to Grace and Olive, she smiled.  “I have to go upstairs and straighten this.  Call me?”

“Don’t punch him,” Grace said, winking at her.

“I love this hotel,” Olive said.  “You guys have way more drama than we do, and I work in a hospital.”

****

To be continued….Thank you for reading!

Previous Parts:

Picture Perfect – 15

Picture Perfect – 14

Life on the Fast Track – 8

Track 8: The Sands of Time Flow Too Fast when we Talk.

“Jazz, come on,” Danny called.

She cleared her throat and righted her dress.  She hurried out into the hallway to find him holding her black sweater.  He helped her wear it, and made sure it was buttoned before he ushered her out.  The night air was cool.  Danny opened the passenger door for her, and once she was settled, he hurried around to the driver’s side.

“How is your mum?” he asked, once they were on the road.

“She’s okay,” Jasmine said.  “She fusses.  Today she brought my sis and bro along.”

“Jenny and Daryl,” Danny said.  “Is Daryl in high school?”

“Yeah, his last year,” Jasmine answered.  “He’s a good kid.”

“You love them very much,” Danny noted.

“There are times we are at odds, but I’ll always love them,” Jasmine said with a smile.  “Tell me Danny, how did you start on cars?”

Danny chuckled.

“My dad.  He was a grease monkey, loved working on engines.  I used to hang out with him a lot, so the disease passed on.”

“Did your mum approve?” Jasmine asked, turning to study him.

“She was alright with it.  She’d say she was happy we were happy.”

Jasmine smiled at the that thinking of a young Danny with grease all over his face.  Maria Kihome died of cancer when they were in high school.  Jasmine remembered Danny and Terry’s struggle as the doctors tried to save their mother.  When they failed, the grief was so deep, Jasmine had thought the siblings would break.

“I know you miss her a lot,” Jasmine said, softly.  “She’d be proud of you.”

Danny glanced at her for a second, then took her right hand in his left and squeezed.

Jasmine tangled their fingers and stared out the window.

“So where are we going?”

“The Passion Fruit,” Danny said.

“Impressive,” Jasmine said.  The Passion Fruit was a popular restaurant hidden in the lush green hills of Limuru.  Getting a table on a moment’s notice was very difficult.   “How did you get a reservation?”

“I have my ways,” Danny said, getting on the highway headed toward Limuru.  “So tell me, Jazz.  What don’t I know about you?  I want to know everything.”

Laughing, Jasmine looked at him.  “Everything?  Seriously, a girl needs some secrets. So the intrigue remains.”

“Not you, Jazz.  I want to know you, inside and out.”

Smiling at his provocative words, she said, “That could take a while.”

Danny pulled into the restaurant parking lot and parked, turning off the car, he said quietly, “As long as it takes, Jazz.”

Not sure whether to be happy or afraid about that statement, Jasmine watched Danny get out of the car and came around to open her door.  He was really working at this, she mused as he locked the car and they headed into the restaurant.  How was she supposed to resist it?

***

“Action or Epic movies,” Danny asked.

“Action,” Jasmine said.

They sat close together at a very private table, eating peach pie from the same plate.

“Dark-haired Bond or Blonde Bond?””

“Definitely Pierce Brosnan,” Danny answered with a smile.  “Rock music, or rap?”

“Bondo, Punk rock and new age stuff,” Jasmine answered.  “It depends on the mood.”

“Fair enough,” Danny nodded.  “Vacation in Paris or an Island in the Pacific?”

“An Island in the Pacific.  I’m not refined enough for Paris,” Jasmine said with a wide smile, holding Danny’s gaze, she asked.  “What about you?”

Danny studied her lips and said, “Definitely the Island in the Pacific.”

Jasmine nodded and would have kissed him but then—

“Danny boy, you didn’t tell me your date was Jasmine!” Raphael Kihome interrupted, pulling a chair to their table.

Sitting back, surprised, Jasmine stared at the older version of Danny.

“You promised not to interfere,” Danny complained to his father.

“Well, that was before I saw who your date was,” Raphael said with a handsome grin.  “Jasmine, you look beautiful.”

“Thanks, Mr. Kihome.”

“No, if you’re going to be part of the family, call me Baba,” Raphael said.

“Baba,” Danny scowled at his father.

Jasmine blushed.

“Oh quit whining kid,” Raphael waved off Danny.  “Did you like the food, Jazz?”

“Yes.  I didn’t realize you would be here,” Jasmine said.  “So you’re the one who helped Danny.”

“Apart from cars, I love good food, my dear.  This place is my other obsession,” Raphael explained.  “You come here whenever you’re hungry, alright?  You’ll always have a table.”

“Baba, go bother other people,” Danny said.

“Yeah,” Raphael turned a teasing smile on his son.  “I came here to remind you that this is a public place.  My girl deserves more class from you.”

“Baba, Go!” Danny waved Raphael off, making Jasmine laugh hard.  Once Raphael was gone, Danny sighed.  “I’m sorry about that.  He gets friendly.”

“I love it.  Your Dad is charming,” Jasmine said.  “Kind of like you.”

“Like me?” Danny grinned.  “You think I’m charming?”

“Maybe a little,” Jasmine said.

“Let’s get out of here and we can talk about it more,” Danny smiled.

Glancing at the clock on the wall, Jasmine nodded.  It was already ten-thirty.  All that time passed while they discussed topics that had nothing to do with why they were on this date in the first place.  Danny could distract her like nothing else.

“Let me go to the ladies,” Jasmine said.  “Then we can go.”

“Alright,” Danny nodded, watching her take her purse and get up to leave the table.  She winked at him and hurried away, headed for the discreet ladies’ room.

For a moment, Danny appreciated how every man’s gaze followed her in the room.  It was the way she moved, such effortless seduction.

“You may stop undressing her already,” Raphael said beside him.  “I see you finally got the guts to ask her out.”

“Baba, stay out of my life,” Danny said, shaking his head.

“Can’t, you’re stuck with me.  Be good to her, she’s in need of love,” Raphael said.  “The kind you’ve been bottling for her.”

“It’s not easy,” Danny said.  “She’s scared.”

“Most good women are, you just have to know the right time to make it permanent,” Raphael advised.  “Don’t hurt her though.”

“I’m not going to screw this up.”

“It would be a shame.  You’ve been wanting her so long,” Raphael said, squeezing his son’s shoulder, he moved on to the next table.

Jazz returned and Danny smiled as she reached him.

“Ready?”

“Yes,” she said, looking around the dining room for Raphael, she said, “Just a moment.”

Danny watched as she hurried to his father.  Smiling, Jasmine hugged Raphael.

“It was nice seeing you tonight.”

“You too, Jazz.” Raphael stroked her cheek.  “Make him take care of you, and if he doesn’t, tell me.”

Jazz chuckled.  “I will.”

Danny gave his father a nod, and then quickly led Jazz out into the night.

***

To be continued….Thanks for reading!

←Previous Track

a/n :

Baba – Literally means Father in swahili.  When I first wrote this, I had met cousins who called their dad, ‘Baba’, instead of Dad, or Daddy like the rest of us. I thought that was extremely cool, so I had Danny call his father ‘Baba’, as Raphael is so laid back and passionate about life.

Life on the Fast Track – 7

Track 7: Mama Yells, Best Friend Shocks, and the First Date

“Hi Mum,” Jasmine said, holding the door open for Wanja.

“Don’t ‘hi mum’ me when you have explaining to do,” Wanja stated. “I’ve been worried about you.  Not coming to dinner, not calling me, kwa nini unajificha?What’s going on with you?  (Why are you hiding?)

Jasmine sighed at the expected tirade, watching her mother head straight to the kitchen.

“Nothing is going on,” Jasmine said.

Her sister, Jenny, and her brother, Daryl, came in each holding shopping bags.  They both paused to hug Jasmine before they followed their mother.

“You’re in trouble,” Jenny teased as Jasmine closed the door.

“I’m not,” Jasmine said, following them.  “How was church?”

“The usual,” Daryl said, sliding onto the kitchen counter.

Jasmine smiled at his appearance.  In a white and black t-shirt, baggy jeans and new kicks, he was the picture of cool teenager.  Her brother was into machinery and electronics, talked a mile a minute, and could make the saddest human laugh.

“I’m hungry,” he whined.

Jasmine grinned and added appetite to fit an elephant to the list.  She moved to give him a bowl of banana crisps she’d left on the counter.

“You’re looking cute, Jenny,” Jasmine commented, smiling at her younger sister.

Jenny was the brains of the family.  She was twenty-two and currently doing an internship at a prestigious accounting firm in Westlands.  She was the cool-headed one in the family, always so organized.

“I bought this whole outfit for less than five thousand shillings,” Jenny answered, rubbing down invisible wrinkles on her skirt.  “Makes me look great, doesn’t it?”

Jasmine smiled and nodded.

“How about you tell me what really happened on Friday, Jazz,” Wanja said.

Her mother was busy putting away the groceries she’d brought with her.  Jasmine hadn’t missed that her mother had inspected her refrigerator and sighed with exasperation.

“I had to fix issues at work and came out late,” Jasmine lied.  “I apologized already.  How come you came here so early?”

“Early?  It’s ten-thirty, the sun is shining outside,” Jenny said, pouring herself a glass of juice.  “Mom insisted we check on you after church.  You haven’t come home to visit in three weeks.”

“I’m sorry,” Jasmine sighed.

“Some apology,” Wanja teased.  “I’m glad you’re alright.  It looks like you haven’t eaten breakfast.  Nipike fried eggs?”

“I agree with this decision,” Daryl nodded, still eating the banana chips.  “Jazz, have you seen the new racing movie?”

“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me all about it,” Jazz said.

Thoughts of a strange night disappeared as her family surrounded her.  It suddenly didn’t matter that she was panicking about sleeping with Danny.  She had always known she had a weakness for him.  Danny could make her do anything.  Jasmine sighed and wondered what they would talk about at dinner tonight.

***

“You finally did it,” Jimmy exclaimed.  “I’m impressed.”

“Keep it down,” Danny scowled at him, while his best friend laughed.  “It’s not like we’ve worked things through yet.  I’m taking her out to dinner tonight.  Some place fancy.”

“Take her to The Passion Fruit,” Jimmy said, reaching for his cell phone.  “I’ll make the reservations.  Seven-thirty okay?”

Danny blew out nervous energy.  “I’m nervous.”

“As you should be.  Jasmine is no quick game, Danny,” Jimmy said, then spoiled it when he added, “She’s hot.”

“Respect, Dude!  She’s my woman now,” Danny said, with a fierce frown.

“Apparently,” Jimmy nodded with approval.  “Speaking of which, I hope you don’t mind.  Terry and I, we hooked up.”

“For how long?” Danny asked, knowing his best friend was a player.  “You’re not going to dump her in two days for another chick.”

“You know I respect your sister, man,” Jimmy said.  “In fact, you should be worried about me.  Terry is tougher than Jazz, you know.  Birds of a feather, and all that—

“Still,” Danny said, closing the distance between them.  He gave Jimmy a hard glare.  “You know, I’ll get on you if you hurt her.”

“I know,” Jimmy said.  “Are we cool?”

Danny studied him, then knowing Terry’s decisions were her own, he sighed and stepped back, lifting his hands up.

Jimmy cleared his throat and wiped sweat off his forehead with a kerchief in his back pocket.

“Now that we’re cool, I gotta tell you about Anderson.  Nic Mugera decided to check up on him first.  Said he didn’t like the look of the man.  He says Anderson is trouble.”

Danny sighed in disappointment.  He didn’t need this kind of trouble right now.

“Call a meeting,” Danny said.

“I agree with that, but today is Sunday.  Everyone is busy.  Besides, Nic thinks Anderson has people in all our camps, including our garage,” Jimmy said.  “That way, Anderson always knows when our races are, and how much they cost.”

“I need to think about this,” Danny said, shaking his head.  “The smart thing is to lay low for a while, no more races.  ”

“I’ll call the meeting this week, only the four heads,” Jimmy said.

“Meanwhile, find out all you can about the mechanics in our garage,” Danny scowled.  “Especially the new people.  No one is exempt. Our business is clean, I don’t want parasites invading.”

“You got it.”

****

Jasmine changed her dress four times; her shoes five times, and fussed with her hairstyle much longer than usual.  Taking in a deep breath, she closed her eyes and breathed out.  When she opened her eyes again, she stared at the woman in the floor length mirror.  She’d chosen black.  Her dress hugged her figure to perfection, stopping just above her knee.  It had long sleeves and a very low neckline, risqué but she loved the danger of it.  Studying her face, she reached for a stick of lip-gloss and pursed her lips.  Her makeup was natural tonight: emphasizing her eyes, she wore a light pink lipstick to soften her look.  Her skin looked clear, overall, not bad, she decided.

Now, if she would stop being so nervous.

The doorbell rang while she was in the kitchen warming food for Min.

“Come in, door’s open,” she called out, punching numbers on the microwave.

A few minutes later, Danny stood at the kitchen entrance.

“This habit you have of leaving your door open, Jazz,” he complained.  “We need to talk about it.”

Jasmine who had bent down to place Min’s food on the floor, straightened.

“I knew it was you,” she said, hands on her hips.  “I’m not expecting anyone else.”

Danny seemed to forget his argument, as he stood staring at her.

“Wow,” he managed.

Jasmine felt fluttered by his reaction.  Stunned had been her target, but absolute amazement worked too.

“Hi,” he said, meeting her gaze after a slow perusal of her body.

Jasmine smiled, and shook her head.

“Hi,” she said, returning the inspection.

Danny looked great.  He’d ditched the leather today and was in a black suit, black shirt open at the collar and black loafers.  She was glad he had not put on a tie.  Danny cleaned up nice.

Min meowed, and Jasmine looked at her.  She’d forgotten milk.  Pushing the microwave door open, she got the bowl of milk and placed it down carefully.

“I have to feed her now.  I might forget later,” Jasmine explained.

“Come here,” Danny held out his hand.

She took his hand, moving into his arms without protest.  His arms were so strong around her, she felt…safe.

“I missed you,” he murmured.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed closer into him.  The chemistry between them was undeniable.  She truly wanted him, always had.  Meeting his gaze, she smiled.

“I missed you too.”

Danny pulled her into a consuming kiss.  Her scent filling his nostrils, clearing his head of any thoughts, all he could do was feel her in his arms.

He sucked on her lip and murmured, “Let’s scratch dinner.”

Jasmine moaned, when he kissed her again. “We can’t.  We…mmm…we have to talk.”

“Talk later,” Danny said, lifting her up so that she wrapped her legs around him and turned to press her against the wall.  “I need you, Jazz.”

His kisses were intoxicating, his lips tracing down her neck, and she clung to him, wanting to give in.  Jasmine gasped when he nipped on a sensitive spot.

“Danny.”  She sunk her fingers into his shoulders, pushing him back.  “We should try sitting through dinner first.  Just to get through one without shouting at each other.  Please?”

Danny sighed then, pressing his forehead into her shoulder.  He took in a deep breath and allowed her feet to slide to the floor, making sure she felt every inch of him.

“This better be really good food,” he whispered into her ear, once he was under control.  Opening his eyes, he pressed a kiss to her neck.  “Where’s your sweater?”

“On the armchair,” she said, as he pulled away.

Jasmine leaned on the wall to steady herself.  She took in a deep breath, her heartbeat too fast.

****

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

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 6

Track 6 : Family comes knocking the morning after

Sunrays danced into the quiet bedroom through a crack in the heavy curtains.  They made glittering shapes on the queen-size bed where rumpled covers fell to the floor.  The white floral sheet half covered the two figures deep asleep on the bed.  A car passed on the street and Danny opened his eyes, his sight blurred at first before it cleared and fell on the woman lying beside him.

Jasmine.  She slept with a hand tucked under her cheek.  Her lashes long, her lips slightly parted, she breathed in and out in gentle motions, her slender body curled toward him.

He had known it would be good between them.  Really good.  Now all he needed to do was convince her they were right for each other.  A much tougher task, he thought with a sigh.  When she wrinkled her nose and curled into the pillow, he grinned.  Watching her now, she reminded him of a kitten, so cute and vulnerable.

He couldn’t explain it.  The woman had crawled into his bones and taken over, it seemed his heart had always been hers.

Her phone buzzed and he frowned when she turned sleepily, reaching a hand out to the grab the cell phone on the bedside table.  The motion was so natural he wondered who dared call her so early.

“Hello,” Jasmine said, her voice heavy with sleep.  Her hair was mussed, the curve of her neck enticing, Danny felt compelled to drop kisses on the soft skin.

He moved to do exactly that, but then she sat up in a panic.

“What?  Now?  Why?” The answers had her kicking away the sheet and she ended the call with a gasp.  “Oh God.  Get up, Danny.  Please get dressed.  We have to get you out here.”

“Why?” Danny frowned, watching her grab a robe from a couch in the corner and slip it on, hiding her beautiful body from him.

“Stop lazing around,” Jasmine said, moving to pick up his trousers and throwing them at him.  “My mother is on her way.”

“Is this normal for you?  Coz it’s not for me,” Danny said, sliding out of bed.  He ignored the trousers and reached for her instead.  Pulling her into his arms, he kissed her.

“Good morning,” he said, when he was done kissing her.

Shaking her head, as though to clear a daze, Jasmine pushed her hair back.

“Don’t distract me.  Will you dress?”

Jasmine pulled away from him and rushed to her closet.  Feeling put upon, Danny picked up his trousers, wearing them with a sigh.

“You’re hard on a guy, Jazz.  At least be apologetic about this.”

“I am,” Jasmine said, her voice muffled in the closet.  “We can talk about it later too.  Right now,” she appeared at the closet doors in a pair of jeans and a white dress top.  She was running fingers through her hair when he pulled her into his arms again.

“Danny,” she moaned, melting into him.

“You can’t blame me,” Danny said, nibbling at the sensitive spot on her neck.  “You’re delicious.”

“I haven’t showered,” Jasmine said, laughing.  “You’re going to get more than you bargained for if you keep this up.”

Danny kissed her cheek.

“I wish you could calm down and stop being so frantic.  It’s just your mom.  I want to meet her.”

“Oh no,” Jasmine said, pulling away.  “Danny, you don’t know my mother.  Right now, she’s coming because I didn’t show up for dinner Friday night.”

Bending down, she picked up his shirt from the floor and pressed it to his chest.

“Please dress, please.”

“Kiss me,” Danny bargained, liking how hard she was imploring him.

Jasmine leaned up on her toes and kissed him sweetly.

“Now dress, I gotta get the house ready for her.”

Danny watched as she rushed out of her bedroom.  Shaking his head, he wore his shirt and went on a search for his socks.  He found both in the living room where Jasmine was picking up her clothes from the night before.  Danny sat on the couch they’d spent half the night on.

“I’ll never forget this couch,” Danny said, sneaking a glance at her.

Jasmine’s answer was to rush back to her bedroom.  It was obvious, they still had a lot unsaid between them.

She came back wearing a sweater and leaned on the wall closest to the front door.

“Can we talk later?” she asked.

Danny finished wearing his socks and stood, looking at her, noting her guarded gaze.

“Over dinner tonight?” he asked.

She opened her mouth to protest, but he stopped her, placing a finger over her lips.

“I’ll pick you up at seven sharp.  Dress up.  I’m not taking no for an answer.”

Jasmine stared at him, as he picked up his car keys from a small table next to her and smiled.

“Have a good day, Jazz.”

With that, Danny was out the door and she was left staring at the closed door.

Minutes later, her mother pulled into the small driveway and Jasmine sighed.

“So close,” she murmured, opening the door, nerves racing through her.

***

To be continued….Thank you for reading!

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 5

Track 5 : If you say ‘Yes’, I promise, It will be Good.

Making his way through the crowd, Danny followed Jasmine out of the club, catching up with her outside.

“Jazz,” Danny said, rushing in front of her, stopping her progress to her car.

“Spit it out.  No more games.” Jasmine stared at him.  “I don’t want to—

“Yes, you do,” Danny said, his hands on her slender shoulders.

“I need you to.”

“I can’t,” Jasmine said.

Danny shook his head, then looking at her, he cursed under his breath and leaned in.  He kissed her hard, a demanding kiss that took her breath away.  Pulling her against him, he kissed her with all the frustration she caused him.  It pleased him when she clung to his arms.

When they both needed air, he pulled away and asked, “I want that every day.  Don’t you?”

“I’m sorry,” Jasmine said, her eyes bright under the street lights.  “I don’t want to hurt, Danny.  I know you how much you can hurt me, Danny, and I don’t want it.”

“I could never—, look at me, Jazz—, I could never hurt you,” Danny insisted.  “Jesus, Jasmine, can’t you see how much you matter to me?”

Jasmine looked away, those tears in her eyes breaking free and sliding down her cheeks.

“I don’t want it.”

“What happens if I keep pushing?” Danny asked, tilting her face up with a finger, so that he could look into her eyes.  “I never figured you for a coward.”

“I’m not a coward,” Jasmine said, stepping away from him.  “Just protective of my heart.  Will you give Terry a ride home?  Tell her I had to go.”

Jasmine hurried to her car, and left Danny standing alone, staring after her a tad baffled by her resistance.  He turned to head back to the club when Terry appeared.

“Go after her,” Terry ordered.  “Can’t you see she’s scared?  It won’t end unless you step up, dear brother.”

“She doesn’t want me,” Danny said, disappointment filling him.  He’d thought Jasmine would take a chance—

“Push harder,” Terry said.  “Go on, now.”

“You’re bossy, little sis.”

“Someone has to be,” Terry smiled.  “Listen to me.  It’s not that she doesn’t want you.  It’s that she wants you too much.”

Because Terry was never wrong, and he desperately wanted to fight for Jasmine, Danny nodded and headed for his car, pausing only to ask.

“How will you get home?”

“Jimmy is here,” Terry called back.  “Don’t worry about me, Danny.”

****

Jasmine had barely entered her house when a knock came on her door.  Thinking it was her younger brother, she sighed, removed her heels and reached for the front door.  Opening it, she stared in surprise at the man who stood on her porch, with one hand braced on the doorjamb, his head bent.

“You should ask who is at the door first,” Danny complained.

“Why?” Jasmine looked behind him, to see his car parked in the little yard outside her house.  Her house was a one-bedroom guesthouse in a very quiet neighborhood.  Security was high, and she rarely needed to worry about being secure thanks to her landlord.

“I don’t get visitors at night.  I figured it was family.”

“You truly make me worry,” Danny said, walking into her house without waiting for an invitation.

“Danny, what are you doing here?” Jasmine asked, closing the door.

“Answers,” Danny said, standing in her hallway, studying her.  “You gave me interesting ones.”

“Danny—

“No.”  Danny cut her off, stepping closer, he hooked his finger under her chin and tilted her lips to his.  He kissed her gently.  Sweetly.

“I want you.  I know you want me too,” he said against her lips.

“Danny.” Jasmine sighed, when he wrapped his arms around her.

“Just let it happen, Jazz,” he said, lifting her up as though she weighed no more than a feather.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, when he kept the kiss going.  Heading into the living room, Danny sat down on the couch with her on his lap.  Wrapping gentle fingers around her neck, he traced her skin with his thumb, pressing a kiss on her bare shoulder.

“I’ve wanted to hold you this way for a very long time.”

“Really?” Jasmine met his gaze.  “How long?”

“Since high school,” Danny said with a laugh.

“I couldn’t tell.  It didn’t seem possible.  You were so untouchable.”

“Untouchable?” Danny chuckled.  “I’m also unapproachable, and a person to avoid.  So many accusations for one man.”

Danny studied her.

“Well, I have one for you, Jasmine.  You are a serial dater.”

Jasmine bit her lip and dropped her gaze to his mouth.

“Well, my excuse is that I couldn’t date the one I wanted,” Jasmine admitted, then pressed her forehead on his shoulder to hide her face.  Her heart beat too erratic for her to keep a straight face.

“Who did you want to date?” Danny asked.

Jasmine closed her eyes, and for once allowed the truth out.

“You, Danny.  I wanted you.”

“Do you want me now?”

“Yes,” Jasmine answered on a whisper. Danny let out a relieved sigh and held her tighter.

“That’s all I need to hear,” he said. “Is it?”

“Yes, it is,” Danny answered, pulling her back to kiss her.

Danny kissed her as he had wanted to for so many years.  Hungrily, savoring her taste, devouring her mouth, exploring, a kiss made him feel as though he was making up for lost time.

“Danny,” Jasmine gasped, her fingers sliding to the back of his head, holding him to her.

“I want you, Jazz,” Danny said, trailing kisses down her throat, he kissed her left ear, and whispered.  “Do you want this?”

Clinging to him, Jasmine felt as though saying no would mean missing holding Danny.  So, she leaned closer, and kissed him.

“Yes,” she said.

“It will be good,” Danny said, holding her gaze.  “I promise.”

“I know,” Jasmine answered, and lost herself in him.

***

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

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 4

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.

The young man took her upper arm and pulled her back, the motion fast and surprising.  She was about to yell when a hand pushed the man back, the force of the push, sent her partner to the floor.

“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.

“Jazz, I—

“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.”

“What 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.”

Jasmine shrugged.

“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 ^_^

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 3

Track 3 – I Like You So Much, I’m Terrified

The next few minutes were a blur for Danny.  He could only think of her delicious scent when she leaned into him.  Her soft lips on his clean-shaven jaw and how much he wanted her to do it again.

“Danny?” Jasmine called again, snapping him back.  “Earth to Danny, is everything okay?”

“Sure,” Danny cleared his throat, blinking.

Jasmine was in the dining room, looking at him, her gaze expectant.  Following her, he realized breakfast was ready.  Jasmine had set the table.  Smiling at her, Danny moved to the dining table.

“Where did you go?” Jasmine asked, as she sat down to her breakfast.  Picking up her fork, she dug in.

Danny, charmed, watched her eat.  He wondered what she would say if he told her the truth.

“The food looks good.  I didn’t know you could cook.”

Jasmine laughed.

“Danny, you’ve avoided me for a while now.  You don’t know many things about me.”

“Avoiding?  I haven’t avoided you,” Danny said, picking up his fork ready to deny the truth.

“Really?” Jasmine studied him.  “Hmm…then, I have avoided you,” she said, taking a sip of her orange juice.

Her comment had him looking up to meet her gaze.

“Why?” he asked.

Jasmine looked away first.

“I don’t know,” she shrugged.  “Just ‘coz.”

“I want a reason,” Danny prodded, watching her eat eggs.  He imagined watching her eat eggs for the rest of his life was not a bad idea.

“No, you don’t,” Jasmine said, sipping her juice.  “How’s the business of cars?”

“Fine, we’re still standing,” Danny said, reaching for pepper to sprinkle on his eggs.

“Speeding against the air waves?” she asked, her tone cautious.

“It’s my passion,” Danny said.  “I have a race tonight.  Would you like to come?”

“No.”

Jasmine answered without much hesitation.

“I have somewhere to go tonight,” she said.

“Oh yeah, with who?” Danny asked, his teeth gritted at the answer he would get.

“Someone, anyone,” Jasmine said quietly.

“But me” Danny finished for her, matching her tone.

“I’m avoiding you, remember,” Jasmine said, finally lifting her gaze to study him.  “You and I, we’re very—, different.”

“Because you’re avoiding me,” Danny said, placing his fork on his mat.  “You piss me off more times than you know.”

“I hardly talk to you,” Jasmine frowned.  “I make sure not to.”

“Do I have the plague?”

“Can’t we have a nice meal with each other?  No arguing.  I owe you a debt—

“You don’t,” Danny said, louder than he intended.  “I helped because I wanted to.  You’re Terry’s friend.”

“Don’t yell at me,” Jasmine said, annoyed now.  “This is why I avoid you, Danny.  We can’t seem to be cordial to each other.”

Danny got up from his seat.  He reached into his pocket, pulled out her car keys and placed them on the table.

“You know what, you’re right.  Call me if anything sounds wrong with the car.  I have to go.”

“Sure,” Jasmine said, not moving.

Danny glared at her one last time before he stalked out, making sure to slam her front door.

Avoiding, ha!  Jasmine was too much.  Did she even realize he’d asked her out and she had ignored it?  Not to brag, but the list of women who wanted such an invitation was long, especially tonight.  Plenty of women!

Turning his car toward the highway, Danny cursed under his breath.  It wasn’t like he wasn’t avoiding her too, but the fact that she actually admitted staying away from him with such a calm tone, that pissed him off.

“Speeding against the airwaves,” Danny scoffed.  “Who says that?”

****

“We had breakfast,” Jasmine said, hours later.  “Then he left.”

“That’s all?” Terry exclaimed.  “Oh, come on.”

“It was an exciting moment,” Jasmine said, flashing Terry a smile.  “He yelled as usual.  You can at least give me credit.  I made him eggs.”

Terry shook her head at her best friend and wondered what she had to do to get her brother and Jasmine together.  Her best friend and her brother were the two most idiotic people she knew.  Did they need everything spelled out to them?

“Quit matchmaking,” Jasmine said, pushing clothes on the rack in her closet.

They were getting ready to go to a new club tonight.  Jasmine wanted to let loose after her disastrous breakfast.  The day had not improved, and her mood was sour.  Terry had found Jasmine dealing with work problems, the warehouse she worked for wouldn’t stop calling her.

“I’m exhausted with drumming sense into you,” Terry said, moving to take Jasmine by her shoulders.

Giving Jasmine a little shake, Terry sighed.

“You two need to stop dodging the obvious.  Things will get easier if you face up to the truth and stop avoiding each other.”

***

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

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 2

Track 2: The Situation as it is, is not what you See

A white fluffy cat jumped up on the kitchen counter when Jasmine walked into the kitchen.  She purred loudly and Jasmine chuckled.

“I know you’re hungry, Min.  So am I.  What do you think we should eat?”

Jasmine went to the refrigerator, staring at the contents with a sigh.

“Looks like it’s milk and tuna for you, Min.”

Jasmine retrieved a can of cat food and opened it.  Emptying the contents into a bowl, she stuck the bowl into the microwave.  Her phone rang when the cycle ended and she placed the bowl on the floor for Min.

“Hello.”

“Jazz, do you want to tell me you forgot to come home for the family dinner?”

“Mum,” Jasmine sighed.  “I’m sorry, I couldn’t make it.  I forgot to call.”

“What happened?”

“Work,” Jasmine lied, not wanting to explain that her car broke down, and she needed to fix it.  That she wasn’t sure she had enough money to do it.

“They are working you too hard,” Wanja said in disapproval.  “Come home, Jasmine.  You’ve proven yourself.  I promise we won’t make you do anything you don’t want to.”

“Mum,” Jasmine said.  “I like work and how busy it keeps me.”

“Then, why do you sound so tired?  You’re not taking care of yourself.”

Jasmine sighed.  “I’m fine, Mum.  I’m sorry I didn’t come home.  I’ll try and make it before the weekend is over.  Say hello to Jenny and Daryl.”

“Fine, goodnight Jazz,” Wanja said.

“Goodnight, Mum.”

Hanging up the phone, Jasmine stood leaning on the kitchen counter thinking about her mother’s concern.

Jasmine wished she could throw the towel in and go home, but, how could she?  Her pride would not let her after the huge fight she staged with her father to gain her freedom.  She argued with her father long and hard.  In the end, the man only let her out of his house after she promised to return home if something went wrong.

If you come back home, Jasmine, you’ll stay without complaint.

Jasmine sighed and shook her head.  She would never give him the satisfaction of claiming she was in trouble.

Nope, never.

Her father was in the army, and for most of her early life, she’d lived the life of an army brat.  Her father traveled too much and those early years, he insisted on moving with his family.  Until Jasmine entered high school and got tired of not having close friends.  After a particular nasty row with her parents, her mother made the decision to settle them down in Nairobi.  Buying land in Dagoretti and building a house.  Thanks to this, Jasmine was able to meet Terry during their first year of high school.  Theirs was a fast friendship one that stuck for over ten years now.

Jasmine didn’t know what she would have done without Terry’s constant support.  Especially when she decided to live on her own after college.  Her father thought it a coup, and that’s how she ended up with the ultimatum.

Despite the arguments, Jasmine loved her family, and knew it was because they loved her that they acted the way they did.

So, she vowed never to tell them her problems, unless she murdered someone.  Shaking her head, Jasmine resumed her search for food, her thoughts straying to Danny.

How long had she had a crush on that man?  Ten years?

In high school, Danny acted like she didn’t exist.  No matter how many times she tried talking to him, it didn’t seem to make a difference with Danny Kihome.  The guy was tough to crack.  With time, her crush matured into something more.  Unfortunately, his ignorance of her had also increased to new heights.  She could never get close to him it seemed.  It didn’t help that Danny was Terry’s brother.

Jasmine cherished her friendship with Terry, so she never made any attempts to close the distance Danny created.  It wouldn’t do to have a fallout with Terry over her older brother.  But, it didn’t mean she couldn’t look.

Lord, but the man was hot, thanks to hours spent wrestling engines and wrenches, she imagined.  His gaze made her shiver, so intense, she sometimes felt like he was seeing everything about her.  He had a strong jaw, kissable lips, and she so wanted a taste.

Swallowing a strawberry, Jasmine closed her eyes and decided restraint was the best strategy.  Being around a guy like Danny could only mean trouble.  Speed junkies were married to their cars and engines.  She certainly didn’t need the heartache.

***

Lack of sleep kept her up all night typing up a new chapter in her book.  At around seven in the morning, Jasmine sat staring at her laptop screen and the blinking cursor.  Inspiration had ran off with the night, right as she reached chapter ten.  The characters refused to move forward.

Getting up, she stretched her arms above her head and went to the kitchen to make breakfast.  With Min rubbing against her socked feet, Jasmine started the coffee maker.  It was Saturday, and she was off work for two days.  Her only obligations today were grocery shopping and convincing Terry to go out later to a new club in Langata.

She was busy frying eggs when the doorbell rang.

“Come in, I’m in the kitchen,” she called.

She didn’t want to leave the cooker on.

Hoping her visitor had heard her, Jasmine turned the eggs and was about to plate them when Danny appeared at the kitchen entrance.  Her kitchen had two doorways, one that opened into the dining room, the other led to the hallway that led to the front door.

Jasmine stood at the counter along the hallway side in old pajama bottoms, a t-shirt and bugs bunny socks, her hair sticking up.  It wasn’t her best look.  She had always tried to look her best around Danny and it was mortifying to have him see her this way.

“You should be more careful who you let in,” Danny said in greeting, scowling at her.  “What if I was a serial killer?”

“You certainly aren’t, unless you’re hiding a big secret,” Jasmine said, placing the frying pan back on the cooker.  “Want breakfast?”

The question was unintended.  She asked it because she did the same for all her friends.  He’d probably refuse—

“Sure,” Danny said.

To her credit, she masked her surprise, instead, reached for the eggs and started to break them into the heating pan.

“I brought your car,” Danny said, taking pleasure in watching her move around her kitchen.  This was a new side of her he had never seen.

Jasmine looked relaxed and laid back.  Far from the mask, which he realized now for what it was, she gave to the world.

“How much do I owe you?” Jasmine asked, a frown playing on her forehead as she calculated the money in her account.

“Nothing,” Danny said, remembering Jimmy’s reaction when Danny decided to pay the cost with his own cash.

‘Marry her already.’

“I can’t let you do that,” Jasmine said, a bit shocked by Danny’s answer.  “I know it was a huge mess and all, tell me what was wrong with it and how much it cost.”

“Your car needed servicing.  You have ignored maintenance for a while,” Danny lied, thinking of the new engine the Chevy now boasted.

He had wanted to get it repainted and reupholstered but that was his need to upgrade any car.  Jasmine would have wanted to pay for the obvious changes.

“Maintenance?” Jasmine studied him.  “You’re not kidding me, are you?”

“I’m not,” Danny answered, his lips twitching a bit at how intently she watched him.

“I can’t believe it,” Jasmine sighed.

Maintenance, oh well, she was guilty of adding petrol and oil without much thought to anything else.  Turning off the gas cooker, she stopped before Danny, coming up on her tiptoes, she pressed a chaste kiss on his cheek.

“I owe you,” she said, pulling away.  “Thank you.”

To be continued….Thank you for Reading. ^_^

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