Life on the Fast Track – 21

Chapter 21 – This is what the future looks like

Jasmine wanted to fight Danny.  She wanted to stay angry at Danny.  Angry at him for making her live through a sleepless night worrying the worst had happened.  Yet, seeing his face, his eyes filled with sincere worry, all she could think was, ‘thank goodness he wasn’t hurt.

Jasmine shifted her gaze to the silly apron he still wore.  It was pink, with frills on the side.  She liked sticking her hands in the pockets while she cooked.  Now, she would always remember how funny it looked on Danny.

“Are you going to say anything?” Danny asked, not moving away.

“I lived through a nightmare last night,” Jasmine said, still staring at the apron.  “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is you spinning out and you not making it.  I needed you to stay with me, Danny.  I needed to make sure you were fine, but you pushed me to Jimmy and drove off.”

“I needed to do that,” Danny insisted.  “It was the only way to catch that bastard.  Which we did, and the trouble is gone now.  I finished it.”

Jasmine shook her head.

“So, now what?  Should I be happy you almost got yourself hurt?  Oh, thank God he caught the culprit. What if something happened during the process?  I can’t live like that.  Don’t make me lose you.  I don’t want to—”

Danny pulled her into a tight hug.

kay-653602-unsplash
Two peas in a pod

 

“I’m not reckless.  I was safe, and as long as you were with Jimmy, I knew you were safe too.”

“You’re missing the point.”

“Don’t ask me to stop racing.”

Jasmine closed her eyes pressing her forehead into his shoulder.

“I’m not asking you to stop.  I’m asking you to think about the fact that you and I, we—

“We what?” Danny asked when she stopped.

Jasmine bit her lip, then let out a soft sigh.

“We’re like two peas in a pod, Danny.  Can you think about my heart too?  I don’t want to see you hurting.  I don’t want you to catch trouble.  I—I wouldn’t survive it if something happened to you.  So, promise me you’ll be extra careful.”

Danny tightened his arms around her, kneeling on the floor as he pulled her even closer.

“I promise, Jasmine.  Your heart is the most important thing to me.  You have to know that by now.”

Jasmine smiled, thinking she must have saved a village in the distant past.  Danny seemed to be hers when she had thought he would never be.  She wrapped her arms around him, as the fear that had bothered her all night dissipated.  It always did, when he felt so alive in her arms.  She hoped it would always be so.

They stayed holding each other until the door opened to admit Wanja.  Danny took his time letting go, even with Jasmine pushing him off her gaze on her mother.

“I figured I would have to come in here,” Wanja said, her chuckle startling Jasmine.  “Jazz, food is ready.  Come on.”

Wanja left them and Jasmine sat staring at the open door in surprise.  She had expected yells, and a few curses at Danny.  Danny took her right hand and pulled her up.  She followed him out of her bedroom to the little dining room off the kitchen.

Lunch was eaten in a cloud of excitement.  Jasmine listened as her brother and sister asked Danny too many questions.  He answered each one with patience, and interest.  He engaged her mother with stories of his childhood, his father’s restaurant, Terry’s business, his garage.  In a sense, it was the perfect family lunch.

Her strange apprehension about her mother disproving of Danny died away with each minute, each laugh, each giggle, and she wondered why she had worried so much.

Jasmine took her glass of orange juice from the table, sipping juice, her gaze resting on Daryl.  She thought about Daryl and their father.  The man who saw fault when his kids refused to follow the line and wondered how she was ever going to introduce Danny to him.  She frowned.

More importantly, what were they going to do about Daryl?

“Jazz?”

Jenny touched her left shoulder and she looked up to find everyone staring at her.

“Danny wants to take us to visit his garage,” Daryl said, his excitement tangible.  “Do you mind if we go?”

Jasmine looked at Danny and smiled when he winked at her.

“You can go,” she said, smiling at her brother.  “Don’t cause trouble though.”

Danny chuckled as both Daryl and Jenny got up heading outside to his car.

“I should help clean up,” Danny said, waving at the messy table.

“Don’t worry about it.” Jasmine pushed her chair back and stood.  “You helped cook.  I’ll clean up.”

Jasmine took plates to the kitchen, and wasn’t surprised when Danny followed her.

“I’ll see you later?” Danny asked, stealing a quick kiss, making sure Wanja didn’t see him.

“Yeah, sure.  I’ll be home.”

Jasmine swatted his hand away when he pinched her waist.  She watched him hurry back to the dining table.

“Mamma Jazz, I’ll bring Daryl and Jenny home.  Thank you so much for lunch.”

“It was nice to meet you, Danny,” Wanja said.  “I hope this is not the last time we’ll see each other.”

“Definitely not,” Danny said, moving to hug her.  “I’ll come visit you with Jasmine next time.”

Wanja chuckled and Jasmine came back to the table to see Wanja watch Danny leave.

“He’s bold, that one.”  Wanja noted when Danny was gone.  “So, you two are serious?”

Jasmine wiped the table mats, arranging them neatly.

“Do you approve?”

“He’s a good man.  I know his father, and Terry is like your sister.  She slept over our house so much, she’s like a daughter to me.”

Wanja patted the empty seat next to her.

“Jazz, sit.”

Jasmine placed the cloth she held on the table and moved to sit next to her mother.

Wanja took her hand, and rubbed her fingers gently.

“I’m no expert on love.” Wanja gave her a rueful smile.  “So, I won’t tell you Danny is right, or he is wrong for you.  All I can say is make the right choice for you. Your heart knows what it wants.  That’s what matters most in this very long life.”

“Mum.”

Wanja brought her hand up to stroke Jasmine’s right cheek.

“You were always the strongest of my kids.  I don’t think you get it from me, Jazz.  I think you get it from your father.”

“He won’t approve of Danny.”

Jasmine shook her head, sure she was right.

“He is set in his ways,” Wanja said with a sigh.  “But you prove him wrong on a constant basis.  So, he’ll accept Danny, in time.”

Jasmine squeezed her mother’s hand and stood up.

“Speaking of which, before he approves or disproves of my boyfriend, why don’t we talk about Daryl.”

“Jazz.”

“Military?  Mum, seriously?  Daryl doesn’t want that.” Jasmine shook her head.  “You’ve always known he loves engineering.  Why won’t you fight for him?”

“It’s not that easy.”

Jasmine picked up the mats she had arranged.

“Fine, I’ll help you make it easy.  Daddy is home, right?  Let’s go see him.”

“Jazz—

“We have to try, Mum.  Otherwise, Daryl won’t forgive us when he ends up marching for the country.  And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with joining the military.  I just think a guy should do what he wants.  If Daryl wants to work in engineering, he should.  Who knows what he’ll end up building?”

Wanja wiped a hand down her face, and shook her head.

“You’re probably the only person who can stand up to Daddy with that statement.”

Jasmine grinned and hurried into the kitchen to dump the mats in their drawer.

“Then let’s do it today.  I’ll go get my sweater.  We should go before Danny finishes with Jenny and Daryl.  I don’t want them anywhere near the explosion when it happens.”

***

Thank you for reading…to be continued ^_^

←Previous 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 – 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 – 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.

Blog Feature – Child of Destiny

This week, The E.i.N blog takes a break from writing, and goes on a Nairobi Fictionspiration Trip.  Sharing stories from fellow writers (bloggers) from my area code (254).

Thursdays, the eve before Friday, like the calm day before the storm.  Of course, our blog feature is anything but Calm.   A. Musawale over at Child of Destiny, loves shaking your life up.  She keeps it real, and pushes your boundaries whether you want it or not.

Her story ‘Rain-check on the Last Dance’ is an awesome take on the best Rihanna/Lupita movie they’ll-never-make-but-we-wish-they-did.

Rain-Check on the Last Dance

Rihanna is walking slowly, smoking a blunt lost in thought. She’s just used up the last of her savings from the last job she had. Since President Trump took over the country it’s been hard for an undocumented immigrant from Haiti to find work. She couldn’t go home. There was nothing there for her. All her family died in the earthquake. She can’t face her own country. If she’s gonna die, she’d rather do it here, in New York.

She hears a sound behind her and looks back, hand on the switchblade she keeps strapped to her thigh. She hears a scream, high pitched, scared but angry too. It’s coming from the other end of the alley and she creeps cautiously forward to peer into the pitch dark.
There is a group of people massed together from what she can see. They seem to be agitated, moving around and struggling.
“Leave me alone you bastards!” a female voice screams from the thick of the group of people and Rihanna can’t help herself. She steps forward. Coming closer, she can see that it’s a group of five men, and one girl.
Three guesses what they’re trying to do to her.
Rihanna fishes out the 9mm she keeps in her bra and points it in the air.
“Leave her alone!” she shouted and let off a shot.
The cowardly men took off, leaving a small shape huddled on the floor. Rihanna stared at her.
“You okay?” she asked taking a step back.
The girl looked up at her with the most luminous big eyes Rihanna had ever seen, “I’m fine.” She said, “Thank you.”
Rihanna reversed direction stepping forward and reaching her hand down, “I’m Rihanna” she said.
“Lupita” the girl replied.
“Pleasure” Rihanna said helping her to her feet.
“Yeah, very glad to meet you as well.”
Eventually the girls exchange stories; Lupita tells Rihanna about getting thrown out of home when her mother walked in on her passionately kissing her best friend…Amanda. Rihanna tells Lupita about stowing away on a red cross boat after the earthquake in Haiti and ending up in New Orleans. How she’d come to New York for a job but once Trump took over, the owner had tried to blackmail her into having sex with him in return for not reporting her to the authorities.
They live together, survive together; coming up with more and more creative ways to make money. As they manage to stop living from hand to mouth, they move up from petty theft, to breaking and entering, to scam artistes. Lupita is a whiz with a computer and Rihanna can talk anyone into anything. They make a fantastic team.
As their hit list gets bigger and bigger and several big shots are affected, a task force is formed to catch them because how dare the poor rob the rich. One of their targets, Anders McCaulicolkin, turns out to be a police plant. He was sent to entrap them.
Rihanna was really excited about this mark because unlike their average idiot, this one was bloody good lookin’. She approaches him at a party, gets his number and they begin the dance of seduction and manipulation. Lupita is inexplicably hostile to this guy. She doesn’t like how much Rihanna is enjoying the job. Rihanna tries to find out what’s bugging her partner but she won’t say. Lupita channels her feelings into finding out more background on Anders and just after rihanna finishes clearing his account out and transferring the money to their holding account in the Caribbean island of Barbados…Lupita discovers that he’s a plant.
She frantically tries to get hold of Rihanna but she’s already left for the rendezvous point. If the money is tagged like Lupita suspects it is, it means one of their accounts is blown, and Rihanna is exposed.
Lupita always stays in the background but she breaks her cover to get to Rihanna before the cops do.
“Lupita this isn’t the plan!” Rihanna tries to exclaim as she follows Lupita at a dead run through the maze of streets she’s leading her through.
“Yeah well…” Lupita said, “If they caught you…”
“If they caught me what Lupita? We would follow the protocol” Rihanna complained.
“I couldn’t let that happen” Lupita breathed as she rounded the corner to the garage which housed one of their cars.
“Why not Lupita?” Rihanna demanded getting in her face, “At least one of us coulda gotten away cle-”
Her words were stopped by Lupita kissing her, very hard. The darker girl moved back.
“I can’t live without you Rihanna. Better to die together than-”
“Rihanna covered her lips with her hand before she could say it, “Don’t even think it” she said her heart pounding, “Let’s go.”
They get in the car and drive. But the police find them and chase them over three states. Eventually they get to Texas and drive with everything they have, heading for the border. The police cut them off. They veer off and find themselves over the canyon with Trump’s border wall dividing the river beneath into Mexico and USA.
Lupita and Rihanna look at each other, breathing hard.
Rihanna reaches for Lupita’s hand. She takes it. Rihanna’s foot bears down on the accelerator as the cops array behind them and they drive off the cliff.
Thoughts:
Ooh, I love me a good Girls gone Wild story.  Survivors with a strong sisterhood, maybe more, and mad gangster attitude, yeah, I would also watch this movie.  Why haven’t they made it yet, again? Chicks before bros! Yeah!
Yeah, It put a smile on my face, that wouldn’t Quit!

Blog Feature – Jagombaka

This week, The E.i.N blog takes a break from writing, and goes on a Nairobi Fictionspiration Trip.  Sharing stories from fellow writers (bloggers) from my area code (254).

Our Blog Feature today is Exciting.  I love this blog, and the look and the feel of it.  Jagomboka, written by Awino Lesley.  And in her own words, she is:

 “I am a simple listener, writing to you the stories from the true Jagombaka. I fear she sees too much, but the stories must be told. They hold our souls together, and therefore, must be told or else…”

Read one of her stories “Watching Wonder” below:

Watching Wonder

A lone female sits in one of the available benches in Nairobi. The day has yet to turn from where it sleeps in preparation for its final dream. She is young, a few months shy of 24, and yet, looking into her eyes, you get the feeling that she has lived more years than you. A large furry coat is all you see keeping her covered, besides the heeled black boots.  What you see of her skin is smooth and chocolate coloured. Her hair is dark, pure and untouched by the unnatural element of cosmetics. You think about going to her, but you stop yourself mid stride. She does not give  any indication that she has noticed your presence.

She looks up to the dark sky as if searching for something. Something you fail to grasp, because you hear her chuckle to herself. There is a look of wonder on her face, pure and unadulterated. Somehow, she has managed to find wonder in the night sky, even as the bright lights of still open bars dull its brilliance. Her gaze remains unbroken even as the colours begin to adjust. As night’s shift ended, it left in its wake a trickle of people milling about in a bid to reach their jobs, businesses, and in some cases, homes.

Her eyes change focus, to the fast and faster moving waters of humanity. She reads them all as they walk past. To them, she is invisible. To her, they seem to be all the same, all running around like headless chicken. From the suits, to the dresses, to the tattered old clothes worn by the still sleeping chokoras. Nothing matters to them save their own little worries, and perhaps the notion that they care for others. But even then, it is rare to find those that truly love, whose hearts understand the magnitude of that emotion.

Every now again, there is a ripple caused, as someone passes by whose heart is true and continues to feel love. She smiles, knowing that there may be hope yet for the future of this species. And then comes one of them for whom she searches. One of them whose very presence alters whomever they pass for the better. He is self assured and, every once in awhile, busts out a small smile as he moves. There is something tangibly positive about him… He is compelling in his own walk, with neither a word nor sound needed. You get the feeling he has the power to do anything he sets his mind to, and he does so often. She turns to you.

“What do you think? Are you the same?”

She pauses.

“I bet you are…you just don’t know it yet.”

She watches him for a few seconds, gets up, stretches and follows him. Two steps in, she disintegrates into flecks of gold dust and becomes a part of him. You sense a subtle change… and you know he has just become the best and most powerful version of himself.

A voice softly whispers in your ear.

“I’ll come to you once you decide you are ready.”

Thoughts:

I love the description of the city in this story.  How intense the masses of people can be walking along those streets.  I see the one on the bench, watching these masses, seeking for one that stands out, one that shines with strength.  What do you see in this story?  Do you think she would see you as being different too? 

Follow this link to read the Birth of Jagombaka as well. 

Follow her on twitter

Follow her blog

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