The Client Meant for Me

Her biggest challenge in life, was not running a business, she was managing that. No, her challenge was getting a decent access road, one that didn’t flood, or get muddy with each flash of rain. She needed money to fix the access road to their home. Her business could not afford it as an expense, yet. She couldn’t get a loan, so it was not a quick fix.

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Nouta Ahito stood at her door, her gaze intent, as she stared at the fat drops falling on the steps outside her house.  Rain, the blessed waters from the skies, the tears wept by the earth, her most feared enemy, taunted her.  The faster it fell, the more it mocked her, and she could do nothing.  She wished for super powers.  How wonderful it would be if she could wave her hand and stop this rain.  She groaned long and hard, and closed the door, escaping the upsetting scene.

Nouta walked to her chair at the dining table and stared at her cup of tea, now cold.

“What are we going to do?” her sister asked.

She looked up to see her sister watching her.  Everyone in the house knew that when it rained, she worried.  At some point, in the past two years, rain had become her nemesis.  She loved the hot months, and never complained even when it got too hot in January.  Everyone complained then, but not her.  No, hot months were her favorite days.

Why?

Well, during the warm months, she did not have to worry about a muddy access road.

Nouta was a business woman.  She ran a baking skills training workshop at her family home.  She was proud of her training workshop: a neat green building, constructed with mabati she had painted green.  She had furnished it with all the baking equipment she could find, and more to come.  She liked calling it a workshop because it was not an institution.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

She enjoyed focusing on her work: on the process of imparting knowledge to a new baking student.  It was hands on, practical, and personal.  Her workshop would never be an institution.  She was proud of that.  However, banks consistently and with precise prejudice categorized her as a small business, without the enterprise in the SME acronym.  They did not look at her or favor her business.  Not even when she had all the necessary city and government permits.  Banks would not touch her with a ten-foot pole.

Sometimes, Nouta imagined, they probably smelled her coming into the bank to seek a loan for her small business and locked the vaults.

Don’t let her know we have the money, the officers would say to each other, and then chortle when she walked out.

She was too young, the loan officer would say.  As if, twenty-eight was just right, she thought.  Her faults were that she was single, with no rich husband in sight.  Her business was a passing fancy: because doing business in her family home was a temporary thing, a passing thing, it won’t last, they said.

Ah, her personal favorite was when once, a loan officer told her not to worry because her parents would get her a job soon.  In this day and age, jobs were about as available as unicorns in the sky.  Nouta rolled her eyes at that memory.  She doubted that loan officer had seen a unicorn in the sky.  How did he know her parents would help her find a job?  Her mother did not have that kind of motivation.

The rain amped up its rhythm as though demanding Nouta’s attention, she sighed.  Her biggest challenge in life, was not running a business, she was managing that.  No, her challenge was getting a decent access road, one that didn’t flood, or get muddy with each flash of rain.  She needed money to fix the access road to their home.  Her business could not afford it as an expense, yet.  She couldn’t get a loan, so it was not a quick fix.

Customers hated muddy roads, especially when they came from neat tarmac roads.  No one wanted to trudge through the mud and ruin good shoes.  She could understand that even respect it.  However, her business had to move forward.  She needed her customers to reach her, so that she could keep saving to fix the muddy access road.  And so, the love of sunny months and the hate and stress of rainy days started, and turned into her daily struggle.

Nouta got up from her seat and went to heat up her tea and sweet potatoes.  She needed a good breakfast.  She needed to be at full energy to convince the two women visiting her workshop today to sign up for a class.

What was a little rain, she thought.  What was a little mud?

She was strong enough to face down barbarians if they ever appeared in her corner in Nairobi.  Nouta chuckled at that stupid idea and set the microwave to heat her tea.

“We will manage,” she said to her sister, when she got back to the dining table.

“Well, if the two ladies don’t sign up, we’ll look for others,” Lita echoed, nodding her head.  “I’ll offer to get them from the road with gumboots, if they need it.”

“Or, we could pay someone to carry them on the back to the gate,” Nouta suggested, making her sister laugh so hard she almost spilled her tea.  “God help him if they are chubby.”

“As if that will happen,” Lita scoffed.  “We could try Mutheu’s mkokoteni.”

“I’m not pushing it in the mud,” Nouta said, thinking of the wooden cart with car tires Mutheu drove.  “Besides, he’ll just walk away if you suggest it.  He hates stupidity.”

Lita sighed and sipped her tea.

“It will work out, Nouta,” she said, her sure tone brought comfort to Nouta.

Lita always made it seem as though they could manage any kind of situation, and they did.  They always managed.

The first call of the day came right after breakfast.  Nouta answered her phone with a sense of calm.  Her first client was already on the way to visit the workshop.  She sounded levelheaded, and friendly.  Nouta took the opportunity to warn her of the rain.

“It’s a bit muddy,” Nouta said.  “Do you have sturdy shoes?”

“It was raining at my place too.  I’m prepared.”

“Okay,” Nouta said, hopeful.

She ended the call, giving her sister a small smile, though the nerves didn’t disappear.  They already had two students in place, and needed two more to fill the current class.  Two more to make a profit, otherwise they might need to cancel the class or do it at a loss.  This was their constant struggle.

It was nine in the morning.  The rain kept up for another thirty minutes, and then it stopped.  The sun stayed hidden behind clouds.  Their dirt road would take a while before it dried.  There would be mud; there was no escaping that reality.  Nouta finished her third cup of tea.

At ten, her first client called her.  She was at the end of the access road.  She sounded unsure about her destination.  Nouta came out of the house and went to stand at the gate.

“You’re on the right track,” Nouta assured her.  “I can come to you with gumboots.  Or meet you at the road—”

“Ah, I see you.  It’s not that far after all.  I’m on the way,” the lady said, and ended the call.

Nouta stood at the gate watching the woman who entered the access road.  Her steps were steady as she navigated the muddy road, jumping over puddles, and going around rough patches.  It took her five minutes to reach Nouta.

When she did, Nouta realized why the lady had been so confident.  She wore gumboots on her feet.  Black gumboots with a silver bow on the side, they were so handsome, Nouta could not help but smile wide.

Karibu,” she said, holding out her hand to her first client of the day.  “Welcome to Nolita’s Baking Workshop.”

“Hi, I’m Halima.  I’m so honored to meet you, Nouta,” Halima said, taking her hand in greeting.  “I have heard you’re the best in the city.  I’ve wanted to take classes with you, and always missed intake.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to sign up with you this time, so here I am.”

Charmed, Nouta launched into a conversation about the workshop and the upcoming classes, forgetting about the mud.

They entered the compound and went straight to the green workshop.  They talked for thirty minutes, and by the time Halima was ready to leave, she had paid a deposit.  Halima booked her spot for the class.  Nouta walked her to the gate, and once again remembered the state of the road.

“I’m so sorry about the road,” Nouta felt compelled to say.  “It’s not usually so muddy.”

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that,” Halima said, showing off her gumboots.  “Your road is just like ours at home.  I don’t mind it, Nouta.  I’ll see you on Monday next week.  I look forward to learning from you.”

Nouta smiled wide and waved Halima off.  The first client of the day had set her mind at ease.  She rushed back to the house in a pleased mood to share the news with her sister.

Flush with a win of the day, Nouta waited for the next call with less anxiety.  It came at around twelve o’clock.  The sun was peeking out, the ground less wet from the morning rain.  Nouta felt confident that their muddy road was easier to pass now, than earlier.  When she answered the call, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that her next client had a car.

Great, she thought.  This will be even easier.

Nouta gave her precise directions to their access road, and the lady promised to call when she reached.  It took another thirty minutes.  Nouta was surprised when she answered the call and the lady on the other end sounded less than cheerful.

“You didn’t tell me the road was so muddy.  Why would you keep that from me?”

“I’m sorry, I told you it rained,” Nouta said.  “Our access road is a dirt road.  I was very clear about that from the beginning.”

“No, no, no,” the lady said, as though saying it in threes made it more negative than it already was.

Nouta felt a flush of annoyance race through her.  She sat at the dining table working on her laptop.  Opening her email, she double-checked the message she had sent to the lady.  In the directions, she clearly stated the access road was a dirt road.  It was necessary, especially in Nairobi.  She had dealt with all kinds of people.  It was always easiest to describe the destination without rose-colored glasses.  Her home area was not upscale Lavington, but it also was not slummy, but a homey kind of area.  Farms and family homes dominated the street.

“I’m not sure I can make it for this class,” the lady on the other end said to her.  “First, it’s so far and now this muddy road…”

“Where are you coming from?” Nouta asked, curious.

“South C,” the lady said, indignation clear in her tone.  “It took me almost an hour to get here.”

Nouta wanted to point out that it took her just as long to get to Eastlands.  This was Nairobi, no place was close, and no place was far.  Two, last month, she had a student who had come all the way from Muranga every morning.  That was four to five hours away.  She was still awed at that boy’s dedication to his baking dreams.  He never missed a day, and was never late.

What was South C?  Ndwaru Road was not in Ukambani, but in Dagoretti.  Less than an hour away if you took the newly minted bypass.  She rolled her eyes, but did not voice her opinion.  She kept her tone calm when she spoke.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Nouta said.  “Since you’ve come all this way, wouldn’t you like to see the place?  We can talk—”

“What about my car?” the lady asked.  “I can’t drive in to this mud.  Who can I ask to watch it?  I don’t even have gumboots to walk in the mud.”

Nouta fought the urge to talk back and pushed her chair back

“We have clean gumboots I can bring to you,” Nouta said.  “I’ll be at the road in five minutes.  Please wait for me.”

She ended the call and let out a frustrated groan.

Why had she attracted this lady again?  If she was from South C, why didn’t she then get a baking teacher from there?  Why come all the way here?  Why the frustration when the woman had a car?

Nouta found the clean gumboots.  She slipped her feet into her own used ones and gripped her phone tight as she left the house.  She headed to the road with an annoyed sigh.  Why did she need the money so bad?

Nouta breathed in and out on the five-minute walk to the main road.  She was right about the access road.  It was much easier to navigate, with only a single rough patch in the middle.  A car could manage it with no trouble.  When she reached the road, she bit back a curse word when she saw the white jeep waiting on the curb.  The driver rolled down the window and she met her second would be-client.

“Hi, I’m Rose.  You must be Nouta,” Rose said, smiling at her from the safety of her car.  “How come you don’t have a branch in town?”

Nouta slipped her phone into her jeans pocket.  She worried she might crash it with anger and frustration.  She hated this question most.  Did Rose even understand the logistics of opening a second branch in Nairobi town?  The capital that would involve, the amount of money she would need to sink into marketing to make both places work.  Why ask such a question?

Nouta smiled.

“Oh, we’re working hard to get one,” Nouta said in her most cordial voice.

“Oh well, I don’t think my car can make it through that mud,” Rose said, shaking her head, looking at the access road, disdain clear in her eyes.  “Is it always like this?”

Nouta bit her bottom lip, and breathed in and out.

“No.  It rained this morning.  If you give it a few hours, it will be good as new.”

“Why can’t you get it fixed?” Rose asked.

Nouta smiled, because the alternative was to shout, maybe shed a few tears of frustration.

“We’re working on it,” Nouta said.  “You know how it is.”

Actually, Rose’s expression said, she had no idea how it was to mobilize neighbors in such areas.  To get them to work with you, or otherwise, you work alone and find the money to fix the access road.  Nouta sighed and lifted the gumboots.

“You can wear these,” Nouta said.

She then pointed at the small parking lot in front of the small shopping center to her immediate right.  She was friends with all the shop owners in the center.

“If you park here no one will touch your car.”

“It doesn’t look safe,” Rose said, giving the shopping center a skeptical glance.

“It is,” Nouta said, her tone strong, leaving no doubt.

Rose looked at her for a minute, and then started the car.  When she backed up, Nouta took a moment to study the Jeep.  It looked too clean and the tires were new.  Rose had stopped the car at the entrance into the parking lot, and wasn’t moving.

Nouta closed her eyes, a tirade forming in her head.

‘Let me ask you a question,’ she wanted to say to Rose.  ‘Let me really ask you a question.  Do you want to tell me that you have never traveled upcountry?  Do you not visit your grandmother in your fancy car?  Are you telling me your big car does not and cannot drive on muddy roads?  What is a small stretch to the green gate?  Three minutes, probably less, those tires look new.  Are you telling me you can’t drive to that gate, to my place of business, because the road is muddy and not tarmacked?’

Nouta let frustration ride her for a full minute, and then she opened her eyes to find Rose still paused at the parking lot.

In life, there was one lesson she had learned.  She could not force someone into joining her class.  There was nothing like teaching a mind that was skeptical.  It felt like adding milk into an already full gourd bottle.

Rose looked like a full gourd bottle

Nouta hugged her clean gumboots and walked up to Rose’s car.

Rose’s window was open, so she smiled as Rose turned to look at her.

“I’m sorry, Rose.  I don’t think we’re meant to be.  I’m afraid it will rain all next week, and our road will be very muddy.  Thank you for coming all this way,” Nouta said.  “I will send you a free recipe e-book for the trouble.”

Rose studied her for a moment, and then smiled, as though relieved.

“It was nice to meet you, Nouta.”

“You too, Rose.”

Nouta smiled at her as courteous as could be.

In the next minute, Rose pulled out and was on her way back to South C.

Nouta worried she would need to monitor her social media pages, in case Rose wrote a bad review about her location, or even her experience.  She worried about this encounter until she was at her gate again, only to receive a call from her sister.

“Where are you?” Lita asked.

“At the gate,” Nouta said, heaving a sigh as she entered the compound.

“Oh great, we have a client who just paid for the class.  She wanted to meet you.”

“What?” Nouta grinned.  “How?”

“She walked in like three minutes after you went to deal with the one at the road.”

Nouta hurried to the green workshop her worries disappearing.  They had won the day.  Their class was full.  They had managed this round.  She would worry about the rest as it came, she decided.

For all the women in Small Medium Enterprises (SME). You are super women.

Zuri Kabinda: Sweet & Lemon/ Big Numbers and Li’l Sisters – 2

“We have a two-day conference to be held at the St. John Riruta hall.  We’ve invited a hundred people to participate from the surrounding area.  I have to handle the program from the office.  I need you to help me handle venue logistics, food, and everything else.”

A hundred people, Zuri smiled.  She loved big numbers.

“I’m happy to help out, Mr. Khali.”

She got a brochure from a drawer to her right and handed it to him.

“These are our prices.”

When he took the elegant paper, she continued.

“We have a package for corporate events.  The price is reasonable and I assure you that my staff and I handle everything from day one to the last.”

Mr. Khali read the prices carefully.  She wondered if he always looked so serious.  Relief flooded her when he nodded in approval.

“Great.  Shall we get started?” she asked, picking up a pen and a diary from the corner of her desk.  “Let’s start with what the conference is about?”

Mr. Khali gave her his first genuine smile ready to relinquish control to her.

****

An hour later, Zuri walked along the path to the St. John Riruta Hall with Anjik and Lily.  She jotted notes in her diary while Lily and Anjik talked about the coming event.  Mr. Khali had written a check to pay the booking fee and a deposit of his estimate.

Zuri stopped at the entrance into the hall.  She’d introduced herself to the church secretary, and gotten permission to scout the hall.

“Can I work this event?” Lily asked, coming to lean on the fence beside her.  “Please?”

“I suppose that means I have to pay you?” Zuri asked with a slight grin.

“Money sounds good,” Lily said.  “I need to get my hair done, sis.  Weaves don’t come cheap.”

“Yeah sure, you can work the gig.  But, it sounds like a big wigs kind of thing.  So—”

“I know the drill,” Lily said happily.  “Be cordial and smart, no hitting on cute executives in perfect suits.  Jeez, Zuri, when do you let loose?”

“When my bank account is chubby,” Zuri answered.

Lily laughed then teased, “That’s like never, you hustler.”

“See what I mean?” Zuri said.  “Come on, we have to check the chairs in there and find out how many more we need.  Then we can go find out about food.”

“Yes, mistress,” Lily said, following her to the hall doors.

****

Have you read all about Zuri Kabinda? Catch up on all Zuri Kabinda’s Snippets below:

1. The Birthday Party Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

2. Sweet & Lemon Part 1 ,

Zuri Kabinda is a story about a young woman in her late twenties, living in Nairobi and struggling to make her Event Planning Business work.  Follow her as she works through the various challenges young entrepreneurs face, especially in a city like Nairobi.

Zuri is joined by her two best friends, Sonnie and Airi.  They’re the people she relies on, especially when she’s down on her luck and the world is imploding.

Life on the Fast Track – Track 23 (Final)

Track 23 – Our Life Together

Danny drove Jasmine home, after calling Jimmy to pick up her car. Ignoring the messy dining table, she sat on the couch and took the glass of water Danny got her.  After, he sat with her and she told him about Daryl’s situation with their father.

“He makes it hard for the rest because of me.  I refused to follow Daddy’s plans,”Jasmine murmured, studying her hands.  “I’m the eldest, the one supposed to show a good example.  When I moved out and chose different, he cut me off.  It seems like he’ll never forgive me for going against him.”

“Jazz.”

“I told you my dad is not like yours,” Jasmine murmured.  “He’ll take one look at you and shake his head.  You might never get along.”

Danny smiled then.

“Are you thinking of introducing me to him?”

Jasmine looked at him, her heart racing.

“If it’s what you want too,” she said.  “Just so you know, meeting my dad—

“I’m in all the way,” Danny cutin.  “I want you for life, Jasmine.  I hope that’s what we’re discussing here.  “I want nothing less”

Jasmine bit her bottom lip and nodded.  She looked away after a moment.

“I’m sorry my father will be a pain, when your dad was so nice to me.”

Jasmine shook her head.

“Dads are supposed to be over protective when it comes to their daughters,” Danny said, pulling her into his arms so that she rested against his chest. “We’ll face him together, Jazz.”

Danny’s together sounded like a gift.  She didn’t feel so alone hearing it.  The world seemed bearable with the sound of that together.

Jasmine took in a deep breath and let it out, feeling relieved for the first time in hours.

“Thank you, Danny.”

****

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon,Jasmine finished filing invoices from a distribution company in Mombasa.  She shut down her workstation for the day and got up, ready to leave.  Stretching her arms above her head, she winced when her back cracked.  A bitter sweet release from tension.  Her phone buzzed and she dropped her arms,her gaze on the lighted screen.

She answered the call with a smile.

“How did you know I was leaving?”

“I know you,” Terry said with a small laugh.  “Come out.  I’m waiting by your car.”

Jasmine had not seen Terry since the day she left Danny’s house, the night of the race.  They had written each other short messages,but not really talked.  It was weird not talking to Terry about everything.

“How did you get here?” Jasmine took her handbag and her sweater in a hurry. She left her office and waved at the receptionist who gave her a thumbs up as she ran to the front doors.  “You should have told me when you reached.”

“I used Taxify,” Terry said.  “I was just finishing with him before I called you.”

Jasmine saw Terry first.  She was leaning on Jasmine’s car, looking fabulous as always.  Jasmine ended the call and walked fast to her car.

“Hey, you,” Jasmine said, when she reached Terry.

Terry pulled her into a tight hug as though they had not seen each other in ages.

“Danny told me you and him are official,” Terry said into Jasmine’s shoulder. “I’m really happy, Jasmine.  I always hoped but dared not say anything.”

Jasmine smiled.  “Hoped for what?”

“That you’d be my sister,” Terry said, still holding on to Jasmine.  “I would have hated it if you two broke up or something over the racing thing.  I’m glad it’s all worked out now.”

Jasmine rubbed Terry’s back, gentle strokes designed to soothe.  She had not stopped to think Terry worried about losing her.  She had not thought that at all.

“Terry,” Jasmine leaned back to look at her.  “You won’t get rid of me that easily.  Even if Danny and I don’t work out, I’ll still show up at your shop and make you dress me.  You know I suck at finding clothes.”

Terry chuckled, and agreed with a nod.  She stepped back and touched the pink blouse Jasmine was wearing today to compliment her black jeans.

“This does look really good on you,”Terry said.  “And you had refused to buy it, saying it didn’t fit.”

Jasmine smiled and pressed a kiss on Terry’s cheek.

“I missed you, Terry.”

Terry pinched her cheek and waved to the car.

“Well, let’s go.  I heard your brother was hanging out at Danny’s garage today.  You wanna go check on him?  We can go celebrate after, have dinner or something at Dad’s place.”

“Sounds great,” Jasmine unlocked her car as Terry went around to the passenger side.

The drive to Danny’s garage went fast as Terry told her about getting new clients for her boutique.

“I’m so glad the Adrian saga is over and done with,” Terry said.  “Did you hear about Tyler?”

“What about Tyler?” Jasmine asked as she turned on to the street where Danny’s garage was.

“He helped the police arrest Adrian, and provided them with evidence to put him in.  He’s taken over Adrian’s businesses.  I didn’t think he had it in him.”

“Wow,” Jasmine drove into the garage and parked in the parking lot, next to Danny’s car.  “Who would have thought?”

“Jimmy says that Danny talked him into it,” Terry said, shaking her head.  “I believe it.”

Jasmine turned off her car and stared at Danny’s business.  The garage was alive with activity.  Three clients standing by their vehicles as Danny’s mechanics checked tires, and engines, and whatever else.  It annoyed her that she didn’t have the knowledge to name whatever else.

“I think I have to start learning about cars,” Jasmine said, the thought suddenly so clear.

Terry laughed, long and hard.

“What?”

“Welcome to the family, Jasmine Lima,” Terry said as she opened her door.

End of Track coming up!

Jasmine followed her into the garage, stopping in a corner when she saw her little brother having a serious talk with Jimmy.  Their heads bent over a car engine, with Jimmy using a screw while Daryl helped.

Terry started to walk over, taking her along, but Jasmine refused.  She didn’t want to take this away from her brother. He looked happy and at home doing what interested him.  It was enough watching him work with Jimmy.

“Jazz.”

She turned and smiled wide when she saw Danny.

“Hey.”

“You came.”

Jasmine nodded, waving a hand to take in the garage.

“I thought I should see where you spend your days.”  She lifted her shoulders.  “I can’t move engines, but I can drive a car, manage the receipts or arrange the new oils.  After work of course.”

Danny grinned and opened his arms.

She walked into them and he laughed when she jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist.  Danny hugged her to him and whirled her around.

Catcalls and whistles greeted their embrace, Danny ignored them holding her tight making Jasmine feel as though she had finally found her place.

***

Life was not about the happy ending, but what happened after.  Jasmine embraced a new world with Danny.  Sure,she held her breath when he joined races. Sometimes he won, other times, he lost and was in a terrible mood for a week.  She learned to coax him out of those bad days.  When Daryl moved out of home in protest of their father, Danny helped her cope with the constant calls from her father.


Life was not about the happy ending, but what happened after.  Jasmine embraced a new world with Danny. 

She loved Danny even more for letting her little brother stay at his house, and work at the garage for money.  When their dad discovered what his son was doing, he agreed to pay for any degree Daryl wanted.

When Jenny was stranded on the road because her purse was snatched, Danny was the one to pick Jenny up and take her home.

So many little things that amounted to so much.  A year after the Adrian saga, Jasmine sat on the couch at her parents’ house facing her father once more.  Danny sat beside her dressed in a formal dress shirt and trousers, looking more nervous than a new mother.  Wanja busied herself with pouring tea for them.

Taking a deep breath, Jasmine held Danny’s hand and smiled at Duncan Lima.

“Daddy, this is Danny Kihome.  I’m going to marry him.”

Duncan Lima glared at Danny, and a new tale began.

****

End of Tracks….Rough Road ahead!

Thank you for reading Life on the Fast Track!

Picture Perfect – 17

Victoria headed to Ronald’s office spurred by aggravation.  She had avoided facing Ronald for two months, even if they worked so close, it was surprisingly easy to go weeks without seeing him.  Entering his office without knocking, Victoria stopped before Ronald’s desk, annoyed by his nonchalant expression.  Fighting the urge to smack the knowing look off his face, Victoria stood her ground.

“What brings you to my office, Vicky?”

“Stop bullying Anita,” Victoria said.

“She’s not a good worker.”

“That’s crap talk,” Victoria sighed.  “You’re not being fair to her.  She did nothing wrong.”

“If I don’t fire her, will you come back to me?”

“No.” Victoria flashed him a smile.  “I will, however, start thinking of you as a human being.”

Ronald scoffed.

“I see you’re still deluded by the photographer.  What can he give you?”

“His time,” Victoria said.  “If nothing else, at least Eric is honest with me.”

“I was honest too,” Ronald said, cocking his head to the side.  “We had it good, Vicky.  Dump that rough boy and come back to me.”

“I’m not here to talk about us.”  Victoria placed her hands on her hips.  “You’re the manager here, I work for you and so does Anita.  Keep things professional, or I’ll be forced to go above you with this.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Ronald scoffed.

“Try me, Ronald,” Victoria snapped.

His expression dared her to try, and God help her, it worried her to tangle with her boss this way.  She didn’t want to lose her job.  After all, she needed to pay rent, there was her car payment, water, electricity, and future projects…her job was important to her.  Still…she would fight for Anita.

“Fine,” Ronald said, his tone cold.  “Anita can stay.  Don’t expect anything from me, Vicky.”

“I never did, Ronald.”

As she left Ronald’s office, Victoria realized that in truth, her attachment to Ronald was superficial.  The fear of being alone had kept her with him.  Clinging to a partner who cared nothing about her, she smiled as she entered the elevator.

That had changed now.  She wasn’t afraid.  There was nothing wrong with being single.  Despite her mother’s wishes or what everyone around her thought, it was pleasurable being by herself.  There was confidence in that knowledge.

On her way down to her office, her phone buzzed a message and she smiled when she saw a reminder from Eric.  Well, she reminded herself, there was now Eric.  They were visiting his house this weekend.

***

Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful, the light a golden yellow, turning the yard behind Eric’s house magical.

Eric, for once without a camera, carried two rose

Transplanting little flowers

plants, one white and the other pink.  They were in black bags, and ready to be transplanted into their new home.  He hurried to Victoria’s side where she was crouched in the flower garden, making sure the holes they’d made were deep enough.  He stopped beside her, placing the plants on each hole.

“How long until they bloom again?” Victoria asked.  “I’ve never known how long.”

“I don’t know either.  We can discover together,” Eric said, crouching beside her.  “What flowers do you like Victoria?”

“Lavender,” Victoria smiled.  “You can use lavender for a whole bunch of stuff, it’s a multipurpose flower.”

Eric chuckled.

“Typical.”

“What?”

“You always need to justify why you like something.  Say, you like lavender.  Leave it at that.”

“Fine, I like lavender flowers.”

Eric shook his head.

“What now?” Victoria bumped his shoulder with hers.

“Now you’re saying what I want to hear.”

“I’m going to throw dirt under your shirt.”

“I’ll stick earthworms in your hair.”

Eric lifted one out of the manure and Victoria fell back on her butt, with a strangled scream.  Eric laughed and brought the wiggling fat earthworm closer to her face.  Victoria screamed and scrambled away.

“Why are you freaking out?  You had your hands in the manure minutes ago.”

“Stop torturing tiny animals,” Victoria said getting to her feet.  “Eric, put the worm back in the soil.”

“Bribe me.”

“With what?”

“A kiss.”

“Fat chance I’m getting close to you right now.”  Victoria pointed at the squirming earthworm.  “That looks too disturbing.  Drop it in the soil, Eric.  Come on.”

“Say please,” Eric teased.

“Please?” Victoria begged, her eyes so wide and pleading, he dropped the earthworm in the hole they’d made for the roses.

“Babe, you beg prettily.”

Victoria scoffed and came at him.  She grabbed a handful of dirt and poured it down his shirt before he could react.  She ran off with a happy laugh and he stood still.

“Victoria!”

She giggled and raced toward the hose pipe fitted to the rain water tank by the house.

Eric ran after her, removing his t-shirt and throwing it on the grassy lawn.  He caught her just as she picked up the end of the hose.  She started to spray water at him, but he pulled her close and kissed her hard.  She dropped the hose and clung to his shoulders.

The compound was private, thanks to the live green fence he planted years ago.  The only gate was locked.  There was no one to interrupt them.  Eric smiled and kissed Victoria until she was breathless, her arms locked around his shoulders.

She broke the kiss first, burying her face into his shoulder.  He held her trembling body against his thinking his control was slipping.  Then, Victoria gasped her fingers digging into his skin.

Eric frowned.

“What’s wrong?”

Victoria tapped his shoulder, doing her best to step out of his embrace.  Eric turned to see what had her so panicked.  He gaped when he saw his four sisters standing a few feet away in a row.  All he needed was his mother behind them and the family would be complete.

How had they gotten in again?

“Eric?” his youngest sister said.  She had just finished high school.

Eric cleared his throat and took Victoria’s hand when she started to edge away.

“Mimo,” Eric said, pasting on a wide grin.  “Hi, this is Victoria.  I was removing an earthworm from her hair.”

Victoria groaned when his sisters burst into uncontrollable laughs.

“You couldn’t have come up with a better excuse?” Victoria whispered, she scowled at him and he smiled.

“This earthworm must have been tiny,” Waceke, the oldest sister, said.

“The size of wheat grain, he was searching so hard,” Njoki said.

Christine laughed the hardest at this comment.  She was the third born sister, always so amused, but the easiest to conquer.  Eric looked at her for support.  He gave her a pleading gaze and she giggled, hurrying to his side.

“Oh, look, you have soil on your back,” Christine said.  “You’re working hard, Eric.  Hi Victoria, I’m Christine.  Third sister on the line.  Hope you’re now free of earthworms.

Victoria scowled at Eric, and then smiled at Christine.

“Thoroughly free,” Victoria answered.

Mimo launched herself at Eric and he braced for impact as she hugged him hard.

“What are you ladies doing here?” he asked, not willing to give up the privacy he’d carved out this weekend.

“Mum bought veggies from the market for you.  She said to drop them off,” Njoki explained.  “Didn’t think you’d be home at this hour.”

It was only nine-thirty in the morning.  Eric had hassled Victoria out of her house at eight wanting to spend the day with her.  They had gone to buy the flowers along Ngong road, then come straight to his house.

“We started out early,” Eric said, locking his arm around Victoria’s waist.  “Want to share a late breakfast with us, since you’re here?”

“Yes,” Christine said, she moved fast, pulling Victoria out of Eric’s reach.  Christine led Victoria to the house.

“Why don’t you wash up,” Njoki said, giving him a small smile.  “We’ll get breakfast started.”

Before Eric could protest, his sisters were gone toward the house, and he was alone with the hosepipe.  He wondered if he should invest in a new better lock for his gate.  Staring at the blue sky, Eric groaned.

***

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

Special thanks to Ngatia Edwin for reading this story this year, and inspiring me to continue posting it on here!  I will work hard to post it all.

Picture Perfect 16

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 – 1

Track 1: The Unexpected

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

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

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

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

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

Lord save him from crazy, pint-sized women.

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

“What’s up?”

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

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

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

“I need a favor.”

“What type of favor?”

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

“Pick up Jazz for me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fine, which highway?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Where the hell was Terry anyway?

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m right here, Jazz, right here.

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

Jasmine smiled at him, her face so pretty—

Lord!

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not you, Jimmy.  She’s—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

Atlantic by Phil Dass

Atlantic

9dmzyieg4oi-frances-gunnReta eased her running, slowing the treadmill, as she let her muscles relax in relief.

Two minutes later, she went to her yoga mat for cool down stretching exercises, nimbly extending her legs and arms as far as she could.  Then she lay flat on her back on the yoga mat, her face and palms glistening with sweat.

When she started her exercises, it had been cold.  So, she dressed appropriately.  She wore a black seamless lurex pullover and high-waist leggings with her feet ensconced in Nike running shoes. She lay for a few minutes savouring the rush of warm blood coursing through her taut veins as her muscles relaxed after a two-hour long onslaught.

Her reverie broke only when she heard her phone buzz for the umpteenth time.  She never picked up the phone when she was working out and all her contacts knew her routine.  She sighed and stood up, walked over to the window sill and picked up the phone.  She looked at the caller’s name and her shoulders arched up.

“Hallo,” she said softly, trying to hide her excitement.

She listened to the caller for a minute and she cut in, “That’s great…”

Her face fell a few minutes later, her glowing pretty face suddenly losing colour, turning into a frown, and then sinking further into a distressed woebegone look.  Her eyes crinkled up.

“Oh,” is all she said, and then continued to repeat herself – inserting an “ok” now and then, in-between the conversation.

“Ok,” she said again, for the final time.

Then the conversation ended with, “Yeah sure! I am getting into it.”

Gone was the exuberance she had felt when she finished her workout.  She felt drained and incapacitated.  She looked through the window and saw the ocean churning a frothy tide.  Some distance away, she could see the other houses by the cliff.  Further way down, a few miles away, she could see the white beach trying to get one over with the sea.  It was still daylight. She turned to look at the other end of the window and could see the wind gaining speed as the shrubs and the few barren trees swayed dangerously.

She looked at the phone again, tempted to make a call, but seemed undecided.  She put the phone down and walked out of the fitness room.  She crossed the living room and into the open kitchen and poured a glass of water from the jar on the table.  She sipped the water slowly, her face still reflecting a numbed feeling.

“What do I do?  Talk to John and end it once for all?” she frowned at the thought.

She had waited long enough.  This was getting ridiculous. After everything, this!  When everything seemed to be going fine!

She was getting agitated and even more upset.

She placed the glass on the table, and left the kitchen.

Damn, this was not the end!

She went into her bedroom, entered her closet and absentmindedly picked the colorful kanga on the edge of a shelf.  She tied it around her waist, then delved through the overflowing wardrobe, pulling out a sleeveless woolen top.  She wore it too, and left the closet.  In her bedroom, she looked out the windows, and shivered involuntarily.  It was going to be cold and windy outside.  Should I? she wondered.  She wanted to go out.  Clear her head.  Do something other than think of the phone call.  She returned to the closet and picked out a cap, wore it and left the bedroom.

She was about to walk out the front door when she froze, midstep.  She smiled wanly at herself, and detoured.  She went to the bedroom across hers, opened the door and peeped in. She sighed with relief and then gently walked to the cradle to check if the baby was breathing.  Assured the baby was fine, she left the bedroom, and hurried to the gym.  She picked up the baby monitor on the yoga mat and put it in her pocket. 

On the way out, she peeked at herself in the large mirror by the back door and saw that she had become pale.  She tried to smile and pinched her cheeks.  She tried to smile again, failed and shook her head at her own naivety and left the house.

She walked slowly, trying to ignore the cold and the wind.  The sun was setting fast, lending to the gloom around her.  The path was rocky, the shrubs and the grass around the area were losing their colour.  She saw nothing of it – her mind still not coming to terms with the new situation.  After a turn here, an upward stride there, she was soon at the edge of the cliff over 300 feet up from the ground.  The rocky cliff itself fell ninety degrees straight into the rocky edges where the Atlantic Ocean met Africa.

stoat
Stoat- Cute deadly creature…^_^

She stood at the edge, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back at the lights in her house, checking if John was back.  But no, it didn’t look like it.  She took out the baby monitor and held it to her ear, to see if it was working.  It was.  She put it back into her pocket and turned back to stare into the cold Atlantic Ocean that seemed to be frolicking with the wind.  Her kanga fluttered wildly threatening to come loose.  She felt her waist to see if it was tucked in securely.  Her kanga was going wild and it reminded her of the stoat’s so-called ‘dance of death.’ She had watched it on the National Geographic Channel – the stoat– a puny animal that looked like a mix of a rat and a beaver or a weasel.  Her Kanga was behaving like a stoat doing its famed dance:  flapping, swirling around with frenzied leaps, and upward rolls at dizzying speed, creating a psychedelic vision that was at once riveting as well as dizzying.

She looked up and shook her head, clearing her head of the vision of the stoat and her unruly kanga.  The cold was now penetrating her skin.  Her face was going numb but she did not seem to realise it.  There was a lump in her throat and then the tears flooded down her cheeks and she cried loudly.  The howling wind helped her along.

No, she had to do it.  She told herself grimly while trying to control her sobbing.  It was just two feet away.

She took one step forward.  The wind seemed to support her decision.  She paused and then the baby monitor came alive.

“Hey Love!  Where are you? I’m home!” Her husband’s cheery voice broke through the wind.

She stepped back from the edge and turned around to look towards the house.  She had to wait a few seconds before her husband came into view on the porch, with the baby in his arms.  He seemed to be scouting for her but it was getting darker and she doubted he could see her.

She put the monitor away and walked swiftly back to the house.

“There you are!” John kissed her on the cheek while trying not to suffocate the baby.

“Yes,” she replied. “Was by the cliff – Phew it is cold and windy!”

“So, any good news?” John asked as both of them walked back into their warm and cozy living room.

Reta took the baby from him and cooed into her face making baby talk. There was no sign of her gloomy self by the cliff. The light was back in her eyes and her skin glowed in the light of the fireplace.

“Sure is,” Reta replied. “I am being called for another screen test tomorrow.”

“Swell!” John said. “Congrats – and what role is this for?”

“That screenplay we read together…of the love triangle? They offered me the wife’s role. You know – the one who is supposed to be schizophrenic and suicidal…”

“Nice,” John said. “You will surely get the role.”

”Of course, I will. I just had a practice run by the cliff and I was awesome.”

Reta had a flair for dramatics at short notice.

The End

Story by Phil Dass writing for the Prompt: She stood at the edge of a cliff, the wind whipping her kanga into a frenzy, she looked back….

This little gem was written by Phil last week for a writing prompt exercise.  I loved the dancing kanga in the air, colorful, and fighting with the wind like a Stoat.  ^_^ Didn’t even know there was an animal like this.  You learn as you read more!  Tidbit from Phil: – The story is titled Atlantic as Reta’s emotions are turbulent and changing like the Atlantic Ocean.   I look forward to reading more stories by Phil Dass.