Life on the Fast Track – 14

Track 14 – My past, your present…we just  need to understand each other

After Danny left, Jasmine gave up on working.  She took a shower, and crawled into her breakfastlarge bed ready for sleep.  Yet, her eyes remained wide open.  Her thoughts on her relationship with Tyler Anderson.

Tyler had made her smile.  Had made her think she could give up on Danny, and maybe live a happy life.  Tyler cared, he was easy to be around, and had accepted all her flaws.  Since her dream with Danny seemed impossible, she had thought being with Tyler would work.

Jasmine sat up and gave up on sleep.  Arranging her pillows behind her back, she reached for her diary on the bedside table.  Opening it, she touched the silver chain with a ring hanging on the end.  Tyler’s last gift.

The proposal that turned to dust when Anderson rolled into her house and told Tyler he didn’t want trash like Jasmine in their family.  Tyler had not defended her.  Instead, he’d said sorry and simply walked out of her house.

She kept the ring to remind herself not to be fooled again.  Love was easy, but it faded in the face of misconceptions, expectations and perceptions.

Closing her diary, she sighed.

Now there was Danny, insisting he wanted to protect her, cared about her.  Yet, he was neck deep in trouble.  The races might be clean as far as Danny was concerned, but Adrian was a thug.  If he was part of Danny’s life, she didn’t want the reminders of a hurtful love, or the idea that Danny might be involved in crime.

Putting her diary on the bedside table, Jasmine stretched out on her bed, burrowing her face under her pillows.  Min jumped up and settled near her head, purring loudly, trying to offer comfort.

Jasmine closed her eyes and might have fallen asleep.  When she opened her eyes again, it was to the steady sound of pounding.  For a moment, she wondered if her landlord was fixing the fence again.  He liked doing shit like that at odd times.  She’d learned to ignore it, but this sounded way too close.

Sitting up on her bed, she felt panic fill her when she realized the pounding was actually in her house.

Who was thinking of robbing her?

Oh damn it, why was Danny always right?

Jasmine got off the bed, looking around her bedroom for a weapon.  She came up short.  Her cell phone was by her computer in the living room.  She cursed under her breath and hurried to her closet, searching the corners for anything heavy.

Lucky there was a hockey stick from her high school days in the back.  Taking it up, she braced herself and quietly got out of her room.  Better to be sure, and then try to find an escape route.  The banging was deliberate.  Jasmine ran through her list of possessions and wondered what anyone would want her ordinary furniture, and clothes.  She owned no expensive jewelry and was paranoid about cash, so never kept it in her house, it was all in the bank.

Walking the short hallway to the living room, she paused at the end of the wall, breathed in and out for courage and peeped into the hallway leading to the front door.

A hot wave of relief flooded her at the sight of Danny and Jimmy kneeling at her front door with tools around them.  Stepping out in the open in surprise, she gripped the hockey stick at a loss for words.

“Hey Jazz, what’s with the hockey stick?” Jimmy waved at her.

Danny didn’t stop working, holding a power drill to her door.

“What are you doing to my door?” Jasmine asked.  “Who gave you permission to change locks?”

“Jazz, don’t come closer if you don’t want to fight,” Danny warned.  “Will you pass me that screw, Jimmy?”

“Jimmy do not give it to him,” Jasmine moved closer, still holding the hockey stick.

“Danny, she’s armed,” Jimmy said, his gaze on Jasmine.

“I know,” Danny said.  “Jazz, if you hit me with that, I’ll come back to haunt you.”

“You’re a pain the ass,” Jasmine said.

“So are you,” Danny said, taking the screw from Jimmy and getting on with his work.

Jasmine scowled at his back, and propped the hockey stick on the wall.

“Jimmy, you want a drink?  You shouldn’t have to deal with this mess,” Jasmine asked, going into the kitchen.

“Sure,” Jimmy grinned.

“Oh treat him like the saint,” Danny scoffed.  “I’m the one doing all the work.”

“No one asked you to,” Jasmine said, coming over to give Jimmy a bottle of juice.  She ignored Danny, went to take her phone from her desk and returned to her bedroom.

***

“She’s pissed,” Jimmy said, an hour later when they finished changing the lock.

“I know,” Danny said, watching the door lock automatically.  Shaking the keys at Jimmy, he grinned.  “But she’s safe enough.  I can deal with the anger.”

“I don’t envy you,” Jimmy said, turning the lock and opening the door.  “I’m heading home, see you tomorrow dude.”

“Thanks, man,” Danny said, with a short nod, letting the door close.  A satisfied look coming on his face at the sound of the automatic lock engaging.  Placing the keys on the a small table right at the door, Danny picked up the hockey stick leaning on the wall and made his way to Jasmine’s room.

***

To be continued….Thanks for reading ^_^

←Previous Track

Advertisements

Life on the Fast Track – 13

Track 13 – There is nothing smooth about relationships…

cody-davis-259003
Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

For the first time since she’d moved into her house, Jasmine discovered she had a doorbell.  The ringing started when she was busy typing at her desktop.  She kept at her work thinking that someone who would ring her doorbell was not welcome at this time.  Ignoring the ring, might encourage them to leave.  So, she kept working.

The ringing didn’t stop.

Glancing at Min, her white cat, who was perched on her desk watching her as though in irritation at the noise, she sighed.

“Door’s open,” she called.

She kept typing not wanting to lose her thread.  The door opened and in a minute, strong arms pulled her out of her chair and wrapped her in a tight hug.

Staring at Danny’s white t-shirt, she started to talk but he stopped her when he covered her mouth with his, kissing her breathless.  She clung to his shoulders as he pulled her flash against him.  The kiss was hungry, almost brutal.  It ended as abruptly as it started.

“What’s gotten into you?” Jasmine asked, once she could breathe.  “Danny—

“I’ve asked you to stop leaving your door unlocked,” Danny cut her off.  “Lock it, Jasmine.  It’s almost ten o’clock at night.  There are psychos in this world.”

“Clearly, if a psycho was after me, a locked door would do nothing to stop him.  Will you calm down?”  Jasmine stepped away from him, pushing her chair under her desk.  She picked up Min and stared at Danny.

He looked frantic.  In black jeans and a white t-shirt, he looked deliciously wild, so handsome and annoying.

“Did you come here to yell?  Coz, the same way you just walked in, is the way out,” Jasmine said, lifting a brow at him.

“And leave you unprotected, hell no,” Danny snapped.  “How can you live alone like this?”

“I’m not in the mood,” Jasmine said, taking Min to lie on the couch.  The cat yawned and climbed up on to the arm of the couch promptly falling asleep.  Jasmine turned to look at Danny.

“What’s really bothering you?” she asked, folding her arms against her chest.  “You couldn’t have driven all the way from your house to come yelling about my door.”

Danny studied her, really taking in the picture she made.  She was in warm white sweat pants, fluffy pink bunny socks and a pink bunny t-shirt covered with a heavy white sweater.  Reading glasses perched on her nose; she looked too soft and defenseless.

“Cold much?” he asked with a chuckle.

She made a face at him and he smiled.

“I worry about you, living here alone.”

“I’m safe enough.  The neighborhood is quiet.  The compound secure,” Jasmine said.

“Your neighbors are not my worry,” Danny glared at her.  “Your ex-boyfriends are my main concern.”

“Ex-boyfriends…” Jasmine nodded, “and you want to have that talk now?”

“Yes,” Danny said, without a flinch.  He pulled out the computer chair, sat on it and swiveled to see what she’d been doing.  Jasmine moved faster and put her computer to sleep.  Gracing him with a glare, she went to the kitchen.

“Jazz, we’re going to have this talk, sooner or later.  Fast forward it all and tell me about Tyler.  He’s the one you were most serious with right?”

“Did Terry tell you that?” Jasmine asked.

“No.”  Danny swung the chair around to look at her in the kitchen.  “I have eyes of my own.  You nearly married that bastard.”

Jasmine stared into her fridge, taking his words in.  Had it been that obvious?  How desperate had she looked clinging to Tyler Anderson?

“Why do you want to know about him?” Jasmine asked, clearing her throat.

“Because of his brother,” Danny said, watching her.

Jasmine closed the fridge without taking anything and turned to look at him, her eyes narrowed.

“What about Adrian?”

“He’s dangerous,” Danny said.  “Adrian is a crook, trouble-making, breaking the law, kind of dangerous.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“Danny, don’t patronize me,” Jasmine said, holding his gaze.  “How do you know?”

Danny wanted to escape her gaze, but couldn’t.  He owed her the truth, needed her to understand his life, his choices.  So, he swallowed the urge to lie and gave in.

“Adrian is in the racing scene.  I only found out he was trouble a few weeks ago.  I’m trying to get him out of my business and the races.”

Jasmine stood so still for a moment; he thought she hadn’t understood what he was trying to say.  He frowned when she suddenly cursed and came to where he sat.  Taking his hand, she pulled him up and he followed her.

Puzzled, his frown deepened when she led him to her front door.

“See you, Danny.  It’s been great.”

“You’re kidding me,” Danny blinked.

“No.  Say hi to Terry for me,” Jasmine said, opening the door and holding it open.  The security light in the small porch outside her house spilled into the hallway.

“Jazz, you’re nuts if you think I’m walking away from you without an explanation.”

“I don’t think I have to give you one.”

“Oh yes, you do,” Danny insisted.

“I don’t want to discuss this.”

“We have no choice,” Danny said, raising his voice.

“Okay, tell me, Danny.  How straight is your business?” Jasmine asked.  “For you to have Adrian, that thug in your life, you can’t be doing good things.”

“Do you think doing business in Nairobi is easy?  You have no idea the amount of murk I have had to wade through to get the garage where it is.  To build the races to where they’ve reached.  Having you stand there, judging me—

Danny broke off, shaking his head, his gaze filled with anger.  He paced the length of her doorway, and then wiped a hand down his face.

“What makes you so darned defensive about my racing?  Isn’t that the problem?”

Jasmine’s grip on her door tightened and she started to turn away.

“Jazz.”

“I told you, I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Too bad,” Danny pulled the door out of her hand and slammed it closed.  “Stop being scared and tell me—

“Scared?” Jasmine scoffed.  “You think I’m scared.  Wouldn’t that make me stupid?  To be scared for someone who obviously doesn’t need my worry.  I’m indifferent, Danny.  Even more so, when I know nothing about your racing.  Stop this and leave now.”

“No.”

“What do you mean no?  This is my house.  I get to say when you leave.”

“We both know you don’t want me to leave,” Danny said.  “You care.  You pretend not to, but you do.  You want to stay indifferent, but you can’t, coz I worry you.”

Jasmine shook her head, hating the fact that he read her too well.  She turned to escape to the living room, bu7ft Danny reached for her left wrist and pulled her to the hallway wall.  He moved closer until she was leaning against the wall.

“Admit it, Jazz.”

“Danny, I don’t—

“Come on, Jasmine,” Danny cut her off, unable to hide his frustration.  He needed to break through the protective wall she had around her.  “Tell me, please.”

Jasmine refused to meet his gaze, and instead pressed her forehead on his shoulder.  Her heart squeezed tight, the tight knot in her stomach loosening when she took in Danny’s scent.  She closed her eyes as her heart gave in.  How could she explain that what she feared most was losing him?

“I can’t—,” she started, making Danny sigh in exasperation, so the next sentence burst out of her.  “I can’t stand to see you hurt, Danny.”

Danny wrapped his arms around her, in response.

“I don’t breathe easy when I hear you’re racing.  I make Terry take me out or drive out some place far away.”

“Why?” Danny asked, when she didn’t answer, he whispered into her ear.  “Why Jazz?”

She wrapped her arms around his waist.

I don’t think I could live if you crashed, Danny.”

Danny exhaled and held her tight.

“You must think I’m a nut.  Worrying about such useless—

“Your concerns are not useless,” Danny said, leaning back so that she was forced to raise her head.  When she looked up at him, he kissed her soundly.

When their kiss ended, Jasmine sighed and stared at his chest.

“Despite your marvelous kisses, I won’t change my mind, Danny.  Adrian scares me, Danny.  I don’t want to deal with him again.  I mean it.”

“What did he do to you?” Danny demanded, gripping her arms.  “Tell me, Jazz.”

Jasmine hated to remember the site of Adrian in her house, telling Tyler he could do better.  As though she were a worm crawling in the dirt, and Tyler was a thousand heights above her.

She never wanted to meet that bastard again in her life.

Meeting Danny’s gaze, she said, “He did nothing.”

Danny scowled.  “I swear if he touched you—

“He didn’t.  Let it go, Danny.”

“I can’t.  Can’t you see that it’s not possible for me to let this go?” Danny asked, but she moved away and headed back to the living room.

“I don’t want to talk about Adrian.  As long as you’re hanging out with him, I’ll stay away,” Jasmine said.  She pulled out her chair at her desk and shook her index finger at him.  “I was quite happy before you walked in.  I was content in my little world.  I’d like to get back to that now.  So please, leave.”

Danny stood watching her, then because she got him so mad, he turned and stalked out of her house, slamming the door hard behind him.  Going to his car, he got in the driver’s seat and sat staring at Jasmine’s house at a loss.

What was he supposed to do with such a stubborn woman?

Turning over the engine, he backed out of her short drive and headed out.  Jaw clenched, he made a decision at the first turn on to the main road.  He knew exactly what he was going to do.

***

Thank you for reading…to be continued ^_^

←Previous Track

Life on the Fast Track – 12

12 – I know My Best Friend’s got my Back

Jasmine’s phone buzzed and she smiled when she checked her messenger.  Danny was

william-stitt-224290
Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

checking in on her.  They had not seen each other for a week since he dropped her food at work.  But, he called and replied messages when she wrote them.  A little thrill went through her every time her phone buzzed now.  She liked it.

“So, this morning on my way to drop off an order, there was this discussion on the radio,” Terry said, as they strolled through the mall.  “Apparently, most women fantasize about celebrity women.  Who you’d do, the ideal one.”

Jasmine laughed.

“I’ve never wanted to be with a woman but if asked, I think I’d go with Angelina Jolie,” Terry declared.

“Coz, she has experience?” Jasmine asked with a chuckle.

“Her badass attitude would totally rub off on me, and come in handy when I pick fights,” Terry said.  “She would be cool in a fight.”

“Gal, what are you saying?” Jasmine asked stopping at the Body Splitz shop.  “You don’t think I’d have your back in a fight?”

“Of course you do, but you’re all girly looking,” Terry said, giving her a once over, then she laughed when Jasmine smacked her arm.

“I can scratch out eyes with the best of them,” Jasmine declared, strolling down the closest aisle.  “What’s with the fantasies?  Whose eyes do I need to scratch out?”

“Your man,” Terry said, a grim look on her face.  “Danny is interfering with my business.  Granted that he has every right, he footed the capital, still…it’s annoying.”

“Who is he trying to save you from?” Jasmine asked, stopping in the body wash section.  “Does it have anything to do with the races?”

“Yeah,” Terry said, taking a bottle of lavender body wash and smelling it.  She returned it to the shelf.  “Jazz, you’re going to have to deal with that part of his life, eventually.”

“I know,” Jasmine said, handing Terry her shopping basket.  She picked out a bottle of mint lotion, and smelled it.  “His racing scares me, gambling with this life every time he gets behind the wheel.  I can’t think about it.”

“Danny is not an idiot,” Terry defended her brother.  “He is not careless and knows what he’s doing, Jazz.  He doesn’t take unnecessary risks and insists on a clean race.  Which is part of the reason my business is an issue now.  Danny’s trying to weed out some thug from their circle.”

“Is that why he’s kept away for a week?” Jasmine asked, trying to keep her tone nonchalant.  The messaging and phone calls were great, but Danny had not come to see her once.

“Do I sense some frustration?” Terry teased.

Jasmine chose the mint lotion, mint shampoo and body wash, placing them in her shopping basket.  She picked out a coconut lotion for Terry and looked at her best friend.

“Maybe,” Jasmine said.  “In truth, Danny and me, we’re worlds apart.  I’m caught in between wanting to get close and keeping this strange distance we have.”

“Jasmine Lima, don’t try to tell me that you are not missing my brother,” Terry said, heading to checkout.  They paid for their respective products and Terry pointed a finger at her as they took their shopping bags.  “I know you.”

“Well,” Jasmine sighed.  “I’m confused about him, Terry, and that’s the truth.”

“First, not to sound biased, but Danny is a good guy,” Terry said, when they left the store.  “Second, I don’t remember the last serious relationship you had.  Who was it with?”

“Tyler,” Jasmine answered, hating to remember it.  She had loved Tyler.  Yes, if she was to really be truthful, she had cared about Tyler enough to want to keep him.  “That turned into a mess.”

“Oh that’s right,” Terry said, her eyes darkening.  “Shit, Tyler wasn’t straight, Jazz.  He messed you up.”

“I cared too much.  He—,” Jasmine broke off.  “I’m not sure what he wanted.  All I know is that he did what his brother said and it didn’t involve keeping me.”

“His brother?” Terry frowned.  “I never heard about Tyler’s brother.”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to admit that my boyfriend left me ‘coz his brother didn’t think I was good enough,” Jasmine said with a soft scoff.  “It’s humiliating.”

“What is this brother’s name?  I’ll see about him,” Terry scowled.  “Tell me, Jazz.”

“It’s over and done.”

“I don’t care.  What if I date him?  Come on, I need to know his name.”

“Fine,” Jasmine said, amused.  “But dating my ex would be breaking the bff’s code.”

“Not your ex, his brother,” Terry clarified, making a face.  “Will you just tell me the bastard’s name?”

“Adrian Anderson,” Jasmine said.  “A pain in the ass is what he is, thinks he is some sort of ruler of the kingdom.”

“Anderson!” Terry gaped.  “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Jasmine said, walking out of the mall into the cool evening.  “He came over to my house once to get Tyler.  It wasn’t pretty.”

“Oh no,” Terry shook her head and got quiet.

Jasmine stopped to look at her.

“What?  Is everything alright?” Jasmine asked.

Terry looked at her and smiled, though she seemed preoccupied to Jasmine.

“Yes, everything is fine,” Terry said.  “Come on, let’s go have something to eat.  I’ll treat you.”

“I feel like eating barbequed chicken,” Jasmine said, wrapping an arm around Terry.  “Real juicy and spicy.”

“So specific,” Terry laughed.  “I’ll take you to the Passion Fruit.”

****

“Stop!” Jimmy laughed.  “No more kungfu jokes, Danny.”

“Why?  You used to love those old movies.  What happened to that whole collection?”

“I don’t remember.  Lost in the junk in the storage room,” Jimmy said, sipping on his beer.  “Where’s Terry?”

“She went out earlier,” Danny said, changing the channel on the big screen to a football game.  “Probably getting back about—

Terry slammed into the house and dropped the shopping bags she held on the floor.  She stared at Danny, who was reclined on the couch, her expression made him wonder what had her in a tiff now.

“What?” Danny asked, sipping his beer, giving her a wary glance.

“Go to Jasmine,” Terry ordered.

“What’s happened?” Danny asked, sitting up.  “Is she hurt?  Why—

“No,” Terry said.  “But, I think you should be with her.”

“I messaged her a few minutes ago.  She said she’s fine, staying in this evening,” Danny said, relaxing.

Terry gave an impatient sigh and moved to sit next to Jimmy.

“Do you care for her, Danny?”

“You know how I feel about her.”  Danny frowned.  “Terry, I’m trying to find a way to pull Anderson out of our lives.  It’s better to go back to Jazz when it’s over.  Who knows what he’ll do?”

“Forget it.  She used to date Anderson’s little brother, Tyler,” Terry said.  “She told me they broke up because Anderson ordered it.  He knows her.  He knows where she lives.  It would be better—

Danny got up, threw the remote on the couch, meeting Jimmy’s gaze.  He was out of the house before Terry finished.

“…if you went to Jasmine.”

***

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

←Previous Track

A/N : – If reading for the first time, this is an ongoing serial story.  I will link them all in one tab for easier reading at Track 15.  Enjoy!

Life on the Fast Track – 10

Track 10 – You showed up when I was having a Hard Day…my heart moved

Terry found Danny making breakfast while he fed the white cat milk.  She paused at the entrance into the kitchen and let out a whistle.

“Well, well, you look quite at home, my dear big brother.”

“Do you want eggs or not?” Danny asked, sparing her a short glance.

“I just had waffles with Jimmy,” Terry said, looking around the neat kitchen.  “Looks like you’re moving in.”

“I wish,” Danny said, placing his eggs on a plate.  Picking up his coffee, he leaned on the counter and studied his flamboyant sister.  Her hair was in a ponytail today.  As usual, she looked beautiful in jeans and a dress top thing that should be illegal.  She was too comfortable in her own skin.

Terry owned a clothing boutique in the city.  She sold clothes and offered personal styling to well-off clients.  Her friendly personality afforded her a long list of happy clients, but her working hours were erratic.  He wished she had a steady schedule.

“Your friend is impossible,” Danny said.  “What’s wrong with the cat?”

“She’s getting shots,” Terry said, stroking Min’s fur.  “Otherwise she’d be popping kittens every three or four months.  I’m glad you two got together.”

“I’m not sure Jazz is happy about it,” Danny said, sipping his coffee.  “Enough about that, aaron-burden-185993I want you to keep away from Adrian Anderson.”

“Oh come on now,” Terry scowled.  “Your big brotherly concerns are so tiresome—

“Anderson’s a thief,” Danny interrupted, spooning eggs into his mouth.  “He’s going to get our business and races in trouble if we keep him around.”

“How do you know this?” Terry asked, staring at her brother.

“Nic Mugera.”

“Nic,” Terry gaped.  “Since when do you take anything he says at face value?”

“Since Anderson became a thief,” Danny answered.  “You realize we don’t need that kind of trouble, right?”

“Aish, Danny,” Terry cursed, moving to find a cup so that she could pour herself coffee.  “Anderson has people in my client list.  I have five orders right now with them.  If I refuse, can you imagine the kind of losses I will make?”

“I’ll find new clients for you,” Danny said.  “Come on Sis, being round Anderson is not an option.  Your safety comes first.”

Terry shook her head.  “How can I wake up one morning and decide to ignore five major clients?”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Danny said.  “Whatever orders you have, fill them, then don’t take anymore from anyone associated with Anderson.”

“Is this an order?” Terry asked.  “It’s not so easily done, you know.”

“You’ll manage,” Danny said.  “I’ll have Jimmy send someone from the garage to keep an eye on you.  I’m serious about this, Terry.”

Terry shook her head.  “I worry about you, Danny.”

“I’m doing just fine.  I’ll be a thousand times better if you do what your big brother tells you.”  Placing his mug of coffee in the sink, he looked around the kitchen.  “So, where’s the carrier for the cat?  I’m not carrying her with my hands.”

“What?” Terry asked in surprise.  When Danny gave her a look, she pointed to a store room tucked into the corner of the kitchen.

“I’ll take the cat to the vet,” Danny said, coming back from the store room holding a black pet carrier.  “You go arrange your business.”

“Today?” Terry asked.

“Yes, today,” Danny scowled at her.  He picked up Min and placed her in the carrier.  “Give me the address to the vets, and go handle your business, Terry.  Sawa?”

Terry sighed, there was no winning with Danny when he got this way.

“Fine.”

***

“You’re late,” Jasmine said, trying to keep her temper calm.  She pressed her cellphone to her ear.  “Do you understand that sets us back a few hours?  Clients wataka mali yao, and we’re making their lives a living hell.  Tell me, how can you help me?”

Jasmine strode out of the building and started walking around to the docking area in the back.  A line of four trucks stood, men in the back of the warehouse offloading the contents in each truck.  She needed one more, and their most demanding client would receive his property in the morning.

“I’m sorry, Madam,” the truck driver on the other end of the call said.  “We’re stuck in traffic.  When we break free, we’ll be there in an hour.”

“I hope so,” Jasmine warned.  “I don’t like lies.  If you think the situation is not going to improve, be straight with me, Banda.  Don’t make it worse.”

She ended the call, and stopped for a moment to take in a deep breath.  This job was killing her today.  Her head was starting to throb.  Glancing at her cellphone, she discovered that it was passed lunch.

Three o’clock already, where did the time go?

Leaning on the wall, she closed her eyes and sighed.  Opening her eyes, a second later, she stared in surprise at the sight of the black Mazda parked a few feet away.  Leaning on the driver’s side door was Danny, watching her.

She couldn’t explain why her heart sped up in joy.  Her mood, instantly, revitalized.  Smiling to herself, she started toward him.  When she was standing a step away from him, she said,

“Hey.”

He looked good in blue jeans and a black t-shirt, she was tempted to kiss his cheek.

“Hey yourself,” Danny said, opening his arms.

She walked right into them without much thought and allowed him to hold her in a tight hug.  He didn’t talk, just held her in silence.  After a moment, she pulled back and studied him.

“Did you miss me?” Jasmine asked.

“Very much,” Danny said, pressing a kiss on her cheek.  “I didn’t like how we left it this morning.”

“Neither did I,” jasmine said, meeting his gaze.  “How has your day been?”

“Hmm…” Danny looked deep in thought, then he winked at her.  “I took your cat to the vet to get her shots.”

“You did,” Jasmine smiled.  “Danny, you surprise me.”

“I know,” Danny said, his gaze on her lips.  “I like surprising you.”

She rested her forehead on his shoulder.

“I gotta go back to work.”

“I know that too,” Danny said, not having missed the trucks unloading in the back of the warehouse.  “Have you eaten?”

“I will, later,” Jasmine said, her phone buzzing.  She pulled away, one glance at the caller’s name and she squeezed his arm.  “I gotta answer this.”

“Alright,” Danny turned and reached into his car.  Pulling out a brown bag from the Passion Restaurant, he handed it to her.  “I also saw my dad today.  He sent me with this.  Make sure you eat it.”

Jasmine stared at the bag in shock.  Apart from Terry, no one ever cared enough to come to see her at work.  No one ever brought her lunch…taking the bag, she smiled and pressed a fist to her mouth.

“Jazz?” Danny asked.

She shook her head.

“Thanks,” she said, pressing a kiss on his jaw.  She answered her phone in the next minute and hurried off.

***

Danny grinned, watching Jasmine hurry away, her heels clicking on the pavement.  It tickled him how freaked out she had been by his bringing her lunch.  His task accomplished, he slid into the driver’s seat and watched her for a moment longer.  Her work annoyed him, he didn’t like to see her stressed.

If he mentioned it though, she’d only ignore him.  Headstrong women, he thought.

Driving off, he smiled at the little he’d done today win her over.  It was a step forward.

***

To be continued….Thanks for reading!

←Previous Track

A/N: In case you’re reading this for the first time, this is an ongoing story, with a few chapters in it.  I’ll work on consolidating in one page very soon, so that it’s easier to find.

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

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