Track 13 – There is nothing smooth about relationships…
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.
“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.”
“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 ^_^