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

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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 ^_^

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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 – 11

Track 11 – What does a Snitch look like?

Back at his garage, Danny filled out release forms on a Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and handed the keys back to the woman who had brought it in.

“Come again, Mrs. Mueni,” he said, watching her get into the driver’s seat with a wide smile and drive off.

Happy customers, Danny thought.  He worked on impressing women like Mrs. Mueni.  She had a strong presence in the community, and all the women in her chamas ended up at his garage for service.

Stretching his arms up, to ease tense muscles, Danny turned back to the main floor of the garage and frowned.  His gaze moving from one mechanic to another.  The garage ran with the help of three major mechanics.

Danny respected all three guys, knew their families, their circumstances.  He would hate to imagine one of them was working for Anderson.

Dropping his arms, Danny glanced at the young man to his closest left.  His name was Teron Kitonyi.  Teron was fresh out of high school.  He had a head for mechanics.  Problem was, academics gave him hell.  Danny had offered him jobs on and off during his last two years of high school.  He hadn’t hesitated when Teron came seeking a place at the garage after his final exams.  Danny considered the kid an apprentice with a bright future ahead.

Next to Teron, working on rear shock absorbers on a two-seater, was Steven.  The man was over forty, had been a mechanic all his life.  Steven was a hard worker, didn’t complain, more like he didn’t talk much, but Danny liked the guy.  He was dependable.

Danny turned at the sound of the undercoating spray gun coming to life.

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Photo Courtesy of paz.co.za

Holding it was Karie.  The man was a genius with paint and bodywork.  Karie loved to get a car looking good again.  He was fun to work with, fun to hang with, and a great friend.

Danny sighed, his mood plummeting.  This was Anderson’s fault, forcing him to suspect his crew, and turning him into a paranoid fool.

“Danny,” Jimmy called from the garage office, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“What’s up?” Danny asked, entering their main office and closing the door.

Jimmy held out the office phone.

“Anderson for you,” Jimmy said, when Danny took it with a frown.

Bringing the handset to his ear, Danny bit back a curse.

“Yes.”

“I hear you’re cutting me out,” Anderson said in greeting.

“From who?” Danny asked, stepping up to the door glass to look out into the main floor.  All his mechanics were busy working, none of them looked at him with interest.  Still his paranoia grew.

“Your sister is a firecracker,” Anderson said, making Danny close his eyes in exasperation.  “She doesn’t beat around the bush.”

Teresa was going to be the end of him.

“Leave my family out of this,” Danny warned.  “If you have issues, they are with me.  If you want to talk, you know where to find me.”

“Come on Danny.  I don’t want trouble either.  I just want to know why you want to cut me out of a good thing.”

“Call it protecting my interests.  Teresa is a large part of those interests,” Danny said.  “Do you have a problem?”

Silence greeted him and for a second, Danny thought the call disconnected.

Then Anderson sighed.

“Nope.”

“Good.  Let’s end it there,” Danny ended the call and met Jimmy’s gaze.  “Get someone to hang out at Terry’s place twenty-four/seven.”

“I can do it,” Jimmy said, a frown creasing his forehead.

“I need you free, and here at the garage,” Danny said.  “Maybe we can ask the guys from the dry cleaner next to her shop.  You’re buddies with them, right?”

Jimmy nodded.  “Good idea.  This is getting serious, Danny.  We need to deal with Anderson.”

“He hasn’t really done anything, yet,” Danny said, scratching his jaw.  “I’m going to meet the Sumani Chicks, Nic Mugera and Mikhail tonight.  Maybe one of them will have a plan.”

Danny placed the phone back on the desk and sat on the closest chair.  A meeting with the round table meant he wouldn’t get to see Jasmine tonight.

“Do me a favor,” Danny said, looking at Jimmy.  “Get Terry to go sleep over Jazz’s house.  Just in case.”

“Worried Anderson might try something?” Jimmy asked.

“I know he will,” Danny sighed.  “Shit this is going to be a mess.  We need to catch that snitch fast.”

“We will,” Jimmy said, his tone hard.  “Soon enough, then we can put that good for nothing out of our lives.”

***

Thanks for reading…To be continued!

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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!

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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! ^_^

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