Life on the Fast Track – 7

Track 7: Mama Yells, Best Friend Shocks, and the First Date

“Hi Mum,” Jasmine said, holding the door open for Wanja.

“Don’t ‘hi mum’ me when you have explaining to do,” Wanja stated. “I’ve been worried about you.  Not coming to dinner, not calling me, kwa nini unajificha?What’s going on with you?  (Why are you hiding?)

Jasmine sighed at the expected tirade, watching her mother head straight to the kitchen.

“Nothing is going on,” Jasmine said.

Her sister, Jenny, and her brother, Daryl, came in each holding shopping bags.  They both paused to hug Jasmine before they followed their mother.

“You’re in trouble,” Jenny teased as Jasmine closed the door.

“I’m not,” Jasmine said, following them.  “How was church?”

“The usual,” Daryl said, sliding onto the kitchen counter.

Jasmine smiled at his appearance.  In a white and black t-shirt, baggy jeans and new kicks, he was the picture of cool teenager.  Her brother was into machinery and electronics, talked a mile a minute, and could make the saddest human laugh.

“I’m hungry,” he whined.

Jasmine grinned and added appetite to fit an elephant to the list.  She moved to give him a bowl of banana crisps she’d left on the counter.

“You’re looking cute, Jenny,” Jasmine commented, smiling at her younger sister.

Jenny was the brains of the family.  She was twenty-two and currently doing an internship at a prestigious accounting firm in Westlands.  She was the cool-headed one in the family, always so organized.

“I bought this whole outfit for less than five thousand shillings,” Jenny answered, rubbing down invisible wrinkles on her skirt.  “Makes me look great, doesn’t it?”

Jasmine smiled and nodded.

“How about you tell me what really happened on Friday, Jazz,” Wanja said.

Her mother was busy putting away the groceries she’d brought with her.  Jasmine hadn’t missed that her mother had inspected her refrigerator and sighed with exasperation.

“I had to fix issues at work and came out late,” Jasmine lied.  “I apologized already.  How come you came here so early?”

“Early?  It’s ten-thirty, the sun is shining outside,” Jenny said, pouring herself a glass of juice.  “Mom insisted we check on you after church.  You haven’t come home to visit in three weeks.”

“I’m sorry,” Jasmine sighed.

“Some apology,” Wanja teased.  “I’m glad you’re alright.  It looks like you haven’t eaten breakfast.  Nipike fried eggs?”

“I agree with this decision,” Daryl nodded, still eating the banana chips.  “Jazz, have you seen the new racing movie?”

“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me all about it,” Jazz said.

Thoughts of a strange night disappeared as her family surrounded her.  It suddenly didn’t matter that she was panicking about sleeping with Danny.  She had always known she had a weakness for him.  Danny could make her do anything.  Jasmine sighed and wondered what they would talk about at dinner tonight.

***

“You finally did it,” Jimmy exclaimed.  “I’m impressed.”

“Keep it down,” Danny scowled at him, while his best friend laughed.  “It’s not like we’ve worked things through yet.  I’m taking her out to dinner tonight.  Some place fancy.”

“Take her to The Passion Fruit,” Jimmy said, reaching for his cell phone.  “I’ll make the reservations.  Seven-thirty okay?”

Danny blew out nervous energy.  “I’m nervous.”

“As you should be.  Jasmine is no quick game, Danny,” Jimmy said, then spoiled it when he added, “She’s hot.”

“Respect, Dude!  She’s my woman now,” Danny said, with a fierce frown.

“Apparently,” Jimmy nodded with approval.  “Speaking of which, I hope you don’t mind.  Terry and I, we hooked up.”

“For how long?” Danny asked, knowing his best friend was a player.  “You’re not going to dump her in two days for another chick.”

“You know I respect your sister, man,” Jimmy said.  “In fact, you should be worried about me.  Terry is tougher than Jazz, you know.  Birds of a feather, and all that—

“Still,” Danny said, closing the distance between them.  He gave Jimmy a hard glare.  “You know, I’ll get on you if you hurt her.”

“I know,” Jimmy said.  “Are we cool?”

Danny studied him, then knowing Terry’s decisions were her own, he sighed and stepped back, lifting his hands up.

Jimmy cleared his throat and wiped sweat off his forehead with a kerchief in his back pocket.

“Now that we’re cool, I gotta tell you about Anderson.  Nic Mugera decided to check up on him first.  Said he didn’t like the look of the man.  He says Anderson is trouble.”

Danny sighed in disappointment.  He didn’t need this kind of trouble right now.

“Call a meeting,” Danny said.

“I agree with that, but today is Sunday.  Everyone is busy.  Besides, Nic thinks Anderson has people in all our camps, including our garage,” Jimmy said.  “That way, Anderson always knows when our races are, and how much they cost.”

“I need to think about this,” Danny said, shaking his head.  “The smart thing is to lay low for a while, no more races.  ”

“I’ll call the meeting this week, only the four heads,” Jimmy said.

“Meanwhile, find out all you can about the mechanics in our garage,” Danny scowled.  “Especially the new people.  No one is exempt. Our business is clean, I don’t want parasites invading.”

“You got it.”

****

Jasmine changed her dress four times; her shoes five times, and fussed with her hairstyle much longer than usual.  Taking in a deep breath, she closed her eyes and breathed out.  When she opened her eyes again, she stared at the woman in the floor length mirror.  She’d chosen black.  Her dress hugged her figure to perfection, stopping just above her knee.  It had long sleeves and a very low neckline, risqué but she loved the danger of it.  Studying her face, she reached for a stick of lip-gloss and pursed her lips.  Her makeup was natural tonight: emphasizing her eyes, she wore a light pink lipstick to soften her look.  Her skin looked clear, overall, not bad, she decided.

Now, if she would stop being so nervous.

The doorbell rang while she was in the kitchen warming food for Min.

“Come in, door’s open,” she called out, punching numbers on the microwave.

A few minutes later, Danny stood at the kitchen entrance.

“This habit you have of leaving your door open, Jazz,” he complained.  “We need to talk about it.”

Jasmine who had bent down to place Min’s food on the floor, straightened.

“I knew it was you,” she said, hands on her hips.  “I’m not expecting anyone else.”

Danny seemed to forget his argument, as he stood staring at her.

“Wow,” he managed.

Jasmine felt fluttered by his reaction.  Stunned had been her target, but absolute amazement worked too.

“Hi,” he said, meeting her gaze after a slow perusal of her body.

Jasmine smiled, and shook her head.

“Hi,” she said, returning the inspection.

Danny looked great.  He’d ditched the leather today and was in a black suit, black shirt open at the collar and black loafers.  She was glad he had not put on a tie.  Danny cleaned up nice.

Min meowed, and Jasmine looked at her.  She’d forgotten milk.  Pushing the microwave door open, she got the bowl of milk and placed it down carefully.

“I have to feed her now.  I might forget later,” Jasmine explained.

“Come here,” Danny held out his hand.

She took his hand, moving into his arms without protest.  His arms were so strong around her, she felt…safe.

“I missed you,” he murmured.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed closer into him.  The chemistry between them was undeniable.  She truly wanted him, always had.  Meeting his gaze, she smiled.

“I missed you too.”

Danny pulled her into a consuming kiss.  Her scent filling his nostrils, clearing his head of any thoughts, all he could do was feel her in his arms.

He sucked on her lip and murmured, “Let’s scratch dinner.”

Jasmine moaned, when he kissed her again. “We can’t.  We…mmm…we have to talk.”

“Talk later,” Danny said, lifting her up so that she wrapped her legs around him and turned to press her against the wall.  “I need you, Jazz.”

His kisses were intoxicating, his lips tracing down her neck, and she clung to him, wanting to give in.  Jasmine gasped when he nipped on a sensitive spot.

“Danny.”  She sunk her fingers into his shoulders, pushing him back.  “We should try sitting through dinner first.  Just to get through one without shouting at each other.  Please?”

Danny sighed then, pressing his forehead into her shoulder.  He took in a deep breath and allowed her feet to slide to the floor, making sure she felt every inch of him.

“This better be really good food,” he whispered into her ear, once he was under control.  Opening his eyes, he pressed a kiss to her neck.  “Where’s your sweater?”

“On the armchair,” she said, as he pulled away.

Jasmine leaned on the wall to steady herself.  She took in a deep breath, her heartbeat too fast.

****

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

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Life on the Fast Track – 6

Track 6 : Family comes knocking the morning after

Sunrays danced into the quiet bedroom through a crack in the heavy curtains.  They made glittering shapes on the queen-size bed where rumpled covers fell to the floor.  The white floral sheet half covered the two figures deep asleep on the bed.  A car passed on the street and Danny opened his eyes, his sight blurred at first before it cleared and fell on the woman lying beside him.

Jasmine.  She slept with a hand tucked under her cheek.  Her lashes long, her lips slightly parted, she breathed in and out in gentle motions, her slender body curled toward him.

He had known it would be good between them.  Really good.  Now all he needed to do was convince her they were right for each other.  A much tougher task, he thought with a sigh.  When she wrinkled her nose and curled into the pillow, he grinned.  Watching her now, she reminded him of a kitten, so cute and vulnerable.

He couldn’t explain it.  The woman had crawled into his bones and taken over, it seemed his heart had always been hers.

Her phone buzzed and he frowned when she turned sleepily, reaching a hand out to the grab the cell phone on the bedside table.  The motion was so natural he wondered who dared call her so early.

“Hello,” Jasmine said, her voice heavy with sleep.  Her hair was mussed, the curve of her neck enticing, Danny felt compelled to drop kisses on the soft skin.

He moved to do exactly that, but then she sat up in a panic.

“What?  Now?  Why?” The answers had her kicking away the sheet and she ended the call with a gasp.  “Oh God.  Get up, Danny.  Please get dressed.  We have to get you out here.”

“Why?” Danny frowned, watching her grab a robe from a couch in the corner and slip it on, hiding her beautiful body from him.

“Stop lazing around,” Jasmine said, moving to pick up his trousers and throwing them at him.  “My mother is on her way.”

“Is this normal for you?  Coz it’s not for me,” Danny said, sliding out of bed.  He ignored the trousers and reached for her instead.  Pulling her into his arms, he kissed her.

“Good morning,” he said, when he was done kissing her.

Shaking her head, as though to clear a daze, Jasmine pushed her hair back.

“Don’t distract me.  Will you dress?”

Jasmine pulled away from him and rushed to her closet.  Feeling put upon, Danny picked up his trousers, wearing them with a sigh.

“You’re hard on a guy, Jazz.  At least be apologetic about this.”

“I am,” Jasmine said, her voice muffled in the closet.  “We can talk about it later too.  Right now,” she appeared at the closet doors in a pair of jeans and a white dress top.  She was running fingers through her hair when he pulled her into his arms again.

“Danny,” she moaned, melting into him.

“You can’t blame me,” Danny said, nibbling at the sensitive spot on her neck.  “You’re delicious.”

“I haven’t showered,” Jasmine said, laughing.  “You’re going to get more than you bargained for if you keep this up.”

Danny kissed her cheek.

“I wish you could calm down and stop being so frantic.  It’s just your mom.  I want to meet her.”

“Oh no,” Jasmine said, pulling away.  “Danny, you don’t know my mother.  Right now, she’s coming because I didn’t show up for dinner Friday night.”

Bending down, she picked up his shirt from the floor and pressed it to his chest.

“Please dress, please.”

“Kiss me,” Danny bargained, liking how hard she was imploring him.

Jasmine leaned up on her toes and kissed him sweetly.

“Now dress, I gotta get the house ready for her.”

Danny watched as she rushed out of her bedroom.  Shaking his head, he wore his shirt and went on a search for his socks.  He found both in the living room where Jasmine was picking up her clothes from the night before.  Danny sat on the couch they’d spent half the night on.

“I’ll never forget this couch,” Danny said, sneaking a glance at her.

Jasmine’s answer was to rush back to her bedroom.  It was obvious, they still had a lot unsaid between them.

She came back wearing a sweater and leaned on the wall closest to the front door.

“Can we talk later?” she asked.

Danny finished wearing his socks and stood, looking at her, noting her guarded gaze.

“Over dinner tonight?” he asked.

She opened her mouth to protest, but he stopped her, placing a finger over her lips.

“I’ll pick you up at seven sharp.  Dress up.  I’m not taking no for an answer.”

Jasmine stared at him, as he picked up his car keys from a small table next to her and smiled.

“Have a good day, Jazz.”

With that, Danny was out the door and she was left staring at the closed door.

Minutes later, her mother pulled into the small driveway and Jasmine sighed.

“So close,” she murmured, opening the door, nerves racing through her.

***

To be continued….Thank you for reading!

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Life on the Fast Track – 4

Track 4: My blood is the color of engine oil

Hidden in the lush green lands of Kiambu, was a private three-acre farm converted into a racing track.  Danny and Jimmy had worked years on modifying the piece of land for their racing needs.  Their work resulting in an exciting racing movement with an exclusive entry requirement.

Walking into the main field, engines purred, their sweet roars making Danny’s blood heat with excitement and anticipation.  There was nothing more intoxicating than speed.  The field in the middle of the track was packed with cars, the crowd thick and rowdy, drinks already flowing.

Danny walked through the crowd, his car keys in hand.  Beside him, Jimmy carried a laptop and a duffel bag full of equipment.  While Danny concentrated on getting through the mass of people, Jimmy scanned the crowd, his gaze sharp, missing nothing.

“We are secure,” Jimmy said, when they reached their spot.  “I’m glad Anderson’s people aren’t coming tonight.  They are trouble.  We should never have let him buy in to the races.”

Danny nodded in agreement, unlocking his prized Matte White Nissan Skyline.  The only other person allowed to drive this car was Jimmy, and only to make sure the engine was up to par.

“The last race we had, Anderson almost got us arrested.” Jimmy shook his head, hooking up his laptop to the engine.  “There is something not right about Anderson, Danny.”

“He could be a thief,” Danny said, pulling off his leather jacket and throwing it on the passenger seat.  “I’ve heard of his type before.  If he is, we’ll be in trouble.  The races will need to relocate, and that will cost us.”

“I’ll have a talk with everyone,” Jimmy said, running diagnostics on the engine.  “What happened with you and Jazz?  Did you tell her you paid for the repairs?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Danny said.

Jimmy spared him a short glance.

“You yelled,” Jimmy said, nodding his head, satisfied with the engine.  Nodding for Danny to turn off the engine, he unhooked his laptop and met Danny’s gaze.  “When are you going to suck it up and be nice to her?”

“Don’t think I haven’t tried.  She’s impossible to deal with.”

“Yeah,” Jimmy smiled.  “Only with you.”

Danny glared, making Jimmy chuckle.

“Can we concentrate on the race now?” Danny asked.

“Fine.  The Sumani Chicks are in,” Jimmy said, nodding to a pair of Machine Gray Mazda Mx-5s parked a few feet away from Danny’s car.  They were surrounded by four tall women, in long dark braids, and wearing hot pink spanks and tops.  “They are as mean as they are hot.”

“That’s because they have holes for hearts,” Danny said, winking at the women in greeting.  “Is Nic Mugera here?”

“I don’t think he could miss a showdown with you, especially since he owes you a log book.  You embarrassed him the last time,” Jimmy answered, his gaze finding an ice blue R34, surrounded by four beautiful women in red leather. “If we didn’t hate each other’s guts so much, I’d date one of them.”

“They’d kill you in your sleep,” Danny said, his gaze colliding with Nic Mugera’s icy one.  “He’d have them do it.”

“Speak for yourself, I wouldn’t stick around long enough,” Jimmy said.  “We can’t forget the Tanzanian, Mikhail is here.”

“It’s a darned reunion,” Danny sighed.  “Fine, set up the winnings, and don’t forget to warn everyone about Anderson.  We need to find a solution to him.”

Danny got into his car, effectively shutting everyone else out.  Driving took skill, an understanding of the machine and the role it needed him to play.  He’d always felt most at home behind the wheel, moving at top speed, leaving everything behind.  He lived for that exhilarating high and wouldn’t, no,  couldn’t give it up for anything.  It was his freedom, his chosen drug.

Danny’s love for speed came from his father.  Raphael Kihome was a grease monkey to the bone and often joked that his blood was the color of engine oil.  Raphael had given Danny his first run on a race track.  Danny had been four years old at the time.

Now,  at twenty-seven, Danny doubted he could learn to do anything else.  This race tonight was about working out tension.  Tension brought on by the one thing he couldn’t seem to get right in his life.  Jasmine, Danny gripped the steering wheel tight.  In all her crazy, wild twenty-five years, how was it that she couldn’t see it?  Was she so hell-bent on dating losers out there?

Jimmy knocked on his window.

“The pot’s fifty per head, making it two hundred on the finish line.”

“Done,” Danny said, pulling out an envelope from his jacket.  He handed it to Jimmy.  “We need a new spraying machine.”

“You bet, the old one’s out of style,” Jimmy said with a wink, and stepped back as Danny turned over the engine.  “I’ll be at the finish line.  Hurry will you, I wanna catch up with Jazz and Terry at the new club.”

***

The club’s name was Sense.  The hottest place to be tonight.  Terry and Jasmine were allowed in as VIP, since they knew the club owner.  They hit the dance floor immediately, as the DJ spun the newest dance hall music.

“Ooh, there’s a really hot guy checking you out on my six,” Jasmine said to Terry a few minutes later.  “He’s totally undressing you right now.”

“Don’t make me laugh.  You’re already scoping the man-market?” Terry teased.

“Not for me,” Jasmine said, bumping her bootie with Terry’s.  “I don’t want no hook-up tonight.  Your brother already gave me whiplash.”

“In that case, I won’t tell you about the hot guy totally checking you out behind you.  I think he’s already getting it on with you in his head.”

Jasmine burst out laughing, Terry pulling her into a mock tango.  It didn’t take long before the stresses of the day disappeared.  Jasmine and Terry changed partners, tapping into the crowd’s energy. Jasmine loved to dance, she came to clubs to have a good time, and forget her troubles for a short while.  It was also a great place to get inspiration for her plot.  So many different personalities.  Lately, the club scene was proving a valuable muse to her.  She was hoping to send in a manuscript to a publishing house soon, and perhaps lady luck would be on her side—

Jasmine’s dance partner slipped a tight arm around her, then that hand started to slide down to her butt.  Jasmine grabbed it fast and stepped back.

“We’re done,” she said, turning away.

The young man took her upper arm and pulled her back, the motion fast and surprising.  She was about to yell when a hand pushed the man back, the force of the push, sent her partner to the floor.

“Fuck off,” Danny Kihome growled, his eyes glittering with danger at the man on the floor.

“Shit,” Jasmine cursed.  “What’d you do that for?”

“He was grabbing at you,” Danny said, his gaze still full of anger.  “Do you want him in your face?”

Danny was now holding on to her arm.

“I can take care of myself,” Jasmine said, pushing away from him and starting for the bar.

“Damn it, Jazz, simple thanks would suffice,” Danny followed her.

“I didn’t ask for your help,” Jasmine said, taking a seat at the bar.  The bartender placed a shot of strawberry daiquiri before her.  “Thanks, Tommy.”

“Do you know everyone?” Danny asked, unable to stop watching her.

He wanted to pull her away from here and take her someplace where he could have her to himself.  She looked so beautiful, all that soft skin, the color of dark tea with a hint of milk.  It pissed him off to see all the men in the joint ogling her.

Danny reached out to push back a lock of slick black hair that had fallen over her right eye.  Her short hair cut was perfection, simple and elegant.

“Jazz, I—

“Let’s not fight,” Jasmine said quickly, she sipped her drink.  “I don’t want to spoil this night, Danny.”

“I was going to suggest the same thing,” Danny said.  “Can we talk?”

Jasmine glanced at him.  “Are you feeling alright?”

“I’m fine, “Danny said, with a small smile.  He had won the race and his bank account was two hundred large richer.  “I just—, I want to talk with you.”

Jasmine smiled.  “You’re full of surprises today.”

“You too,” Danny said, accepting a beer from the bartender.  “You still haven’t answered my question.”

“What question?”

“Why you avoid me,” Danny said.

“We found that it was mutual, didn’t we?” Jasmine said, turning in her seat to face him.  “You give me an answer first.”

Danny studied her for a second, then looked away, sipping his beer.

“You scare me,” he said.

“Way to win over a gal,” Jasmine laughed.  “Although, that gives me considerable power.”

“It does.  Power wielded by you is dangerous, Jazz,” Danny said.  “Now you answer me.”

Jasmine sipped her drink, then gave him a small smile.  “You scare me too.”

“You’re using that because I said it.”

“No, no, I’m serious,” Jasmine said.  “I’m not trying to be funny.”

“We’ll see about that,” Danny said.  “I’ll get that answer.”

Jasmine shrugged.

“How was your race?”  Jasmine sipped her drink again to cover her curiosity.

“It was good.  You refused to come.”

“It’s not my scene,” Jasmine answered.

“Why?” Danny asked, turning so that he sat facing her.

She was playing with her glass, and wouldn’t look at him.  So, he asked again.

“Why Jazz?  You don’t like cars?”

“No.”  Jasmine shook her head.  “It’s not that.”

“What is it then?”

Jasmine stared into her drink, then sighed.

“Nothing.  I gotta go.”

“No.” Danny held her arm, stopping her from getting off her stool.  “Tell me, Jazz.”

Jasmine met his gaze, and shook her head.  “I just don’t like it.”

“Why?  You don’t know anything about racing.  You’ve made an assumption on something you’ve never given a chance,” Danny said, wondering whether they were even talking about cars anymore.

“I don’t need to give it a chance,” Jasmine said, meeting his gaze.  “It’s easier not to know.  That way, I won’t care.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Danny still held her arm, keeping her in place.

“Exactly that, now let me go,” Jasmine said.  “I told you I don’t feel like fighting tonight.  The longer we have this conversation, the more likely we’ll start screaming at each other.”

“Damn it, Jazz.  We don’t have to fight.”

“How can we not?” Jasmine asked.  “Tell me, Danny?  How did it feel tonight, on that race you had?”

“Exhilarating, it would have been even better had you come,” Danny said.

“We can’t get along,” Jasmine said then.

Holding his gaze, it took only a second for Danny to realize the problem.  His momentary shock gave Jasmine the opportunity to slip away from him.  She was half way across the dance floor before he could move.

***

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

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The Enchanting Violinist – 3

Hiring the Violinist who sells Weaves in Kinoo.

Phillip clutched his keys, his gaze taking in the quaint town Nyambura had chosen to settle in.  Kinoo was small, out of the city, but still close enough to major hospitals and the hustle and flow.  Having a major highway close was a plus.  Nyambura’s shop was thriving.

She stepped out of the shop, drawing his attention.  She always looked healthy and beautiful.  He smiled.  Her casual style far removed from the ultra modern women he met daily.  No heels for Nyams, she preferred white rubber shoes.  Comfort ruled her world.  Her well-worn jeans hugged her hips to perfection, the white shirt she wore covered her curves but the mystery intrigued him.

Meeting her frowning gaze, Phillip smiled.

“What brings you here?” Nyambura asked, with a flustered smile.

“How are you?” Phillip asked, closing the distance Nyambura kept between them.  “You don’t call or answer messages.”

“Phillip,” Nyambura started.

“I told you, think of me as your friend.”

“Yes,”  Nyambura sighed.  “I know you did.  I’m sorry.  I’ve been busy with the shop and practice.”

Phillip chuckled.

“Excuses, Nyams,” He shook his head.  “I’m not asking for anything else but friendship.”

“Yeah?” Nyambura leaned on the wall behind her.  Her gaze on his car.  “Why don’t you tell me why you came today?”

Nyambura was an escapist.  She continued to avoid his attempts to get close.  Shutting him down without effort, Phillip sighed.

“I have a gig for you,” Phillip said.  “You interested?”

“What kind of gig?” Nyambura asked, finally meeting his gaze, her interest peaked.

Phillip hid a smile and folded his arms against his chest.

“My company has a formal party tomorrow evening.  The main act cancelled.  They’re stuck in Kampala doing another performance.  We have important investors in town, the kind who need classy parties.”

Nyambura frowned.  “How much?”

“Twenty thousand,” Phillip said.  “Formal dress, our guests expect a real authentic show.”

“Twenty-five,” Nyambura countered, forever the business woman.

“Come on, Nyams,” Phillip said.

“It’s short notice, Phillip,” Nyambura said.  “If I need to convince the guys to give up stuff they are doing for cash, I need a good payout.”

Phillip calculated their budget.  The act that cancelled was to be paid thirty thousand for the night, and an early breakfast call.  Their popularity dictated their price.  Nyams and her quartet were classy, but unknown.  Oh well, Phillip decided the payout was well-deserved.  He’d get flack for it from the accountant, but—

“Fine, Twenty-five,” Phillip said.

Nyambura gifted him with her first smile and he stared.  She rarely smiled.  Phillip could count the number of times he’d seen her do it.  Six times, to be exact.  This woman with her hard shell and brown eyes that had seen too much.  She intrigued him.

“Thank you,” Nyambura said.  “What time?”

“Can you show up at five-thirty in the evening?  Set up, and make sure everything is working.”

“Sounds good,” she nodded.  “We need a room to keep stuff, and change clothes.”

“No problem,” Phillip smiled.  “Dinner is on us.”

Nyambura nodded, and reached for her cell phone.  She texted her fellow musicians in seconds, and got a reply back just as fast.  Her excitement was hard to miss.  It made him feel as though he’d helped her win the lottery.  Nyambura’s music was important to her.

Phillip stared at his car keys.  He wished Nyambura would ask him if he wanted tea.  He’d scoped out the little shopping center and the tiny hotel across the street was perfect.  Hell, he could eat a mandazi if she asked.  Or even a samosa

If she wanted, he could drive her to the nearest pizza place.  While they ate, they would talk about everything from the weather, to planting maize…the music people were listening to these days…the possibilities were endless.

“Well,” Nyambura said, and he looked up, hopeful.  “Thank you so much for thinking about us.  We won’t disappoint you tomorrow.”

Yes, the let down was swift, fast.  No room for doubt, Phillip sighed.  Nyambura never dared to give him a hope.

He smiled at her, and she held out her hand for a handshake.

Phillip took her slender hand, squeezed it gently, then she let go, and he was left with no choice but to head back to his car.  He shook his head and walked down the steps.

“What happened to all the courage, Phillip?” he murmured under his breath, and opened the driver’s door.  Getting in, he slammed the door closed and sat watching Nyambura enter the shop with a final wave to him.  He’d come to visit her with such fire, ready to make her hear him out.

Still stuck in friend zone, fail, Phillip scoffed.

Jeez, this was getting pathetic.  His mistake though, he kept spouting all the nonsense about friendship.  If he was ever going to get out of there, he had to confess tomorrow night at the party, he decided.  Nyambura was always at her best when she was playing music, so he’d talk to her right when she was flying high from the performance.

Phillip smiled with anticipation and started the car.

****

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

Previous Chapters

The Enchanting Violinist – 1

The Enchanting Violinist – 2

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Koya’s Choice

The Enchanting Violinist – 2

The Boiling Hot Day and Weaves with Celebrity Names

Midday, the sun was high, almost suffocating.  The television newscasters were calling it an equator equinox, such a fancy name for boiling-hot, as in, step-out-into-the-sun-if-you-wanna-roast days.  The heat wave was making her stupid.

Nyambura heard the fans working overtime above her.  Still, it sorta felt like they were circulating the hot air faster.  Moraa from a salon across the street walked in, wiping sweat off her face with a handkerchief.

“Nyams, give me two Rihannas, one Cici, three Full Stars and a Dora,” Moraa said.

Nyambura entered the shop’s back store.

She turned on the light and found the boxes with the weaves.

“Two Rihannas,” she said under her breath, getting two packages of weaves.  “One Cici,” she continued, getting one packet.  “Three Full Stars,” she stared at the different colors in the box.

“What color?” she shouted out into the shop.  “We don’t have no. 33.”

“She wants blond anyway,” Moraa said.

Nyambura shrugged and got two Full Star weaves, blond and a Dora packet.  Her arms were laden with her loot.  She walked back into the main shop.

“Don’t you think someone would think we’re playing a joke with these names?” she asked Moraa as she rung up the sale.  “Two Rihannas, as if.”

Moraa laughed.

“It sells the weaves though,” Moraa said.  “Who doesn’t want to look like Rihanna?”

Nyambura packed the weaves and thanked Moraa.  She’d never thought to make money from selling fake hair, but the world she lived in, women wanted beauty.  Beauty was most certainly judged with first appearance and many of her fellow ladies believed it started with the hair.  Weaves were easy installation and they looked good if done right.  They brought her money.  So, yes, she sold the weaves and wore them too because to convince a client, well you gotta believe in the product too.

She was selling beauty here.

But damn, she reached for her handkerchief and wiped sweat off her forehead.

If the weather didn’t let up soon, women were going to put down the weaves and put her out of business.

“Rachel,” Nyambura called to her best friend and business partner across the room.  Rachel was busy braiding corn rows on a young girl.  “Maybe we should offer cold drinks?  Our customers might run away at this rate.”

“Forget the customers,” Rachel said, fanning herself.  “How about buying us cold drinks first?  I’m so hot!”

Nyambura reached into her pocket and found a two hundred shilling note.  If she used it, she’d have to give up buying data bundles to watch Lindsey Stirling YouTube videos.

Glancing at Rachel, she saw her friend swipe a hand over her forehead.  The heat was taking a toll on everyone.

Oh well, Lindsey Stirling could wait.

Nyambura went around the counter.

“I’ll go get drinks,” she said to Rachel.  “What do you want?”

“Coke baridi,” Rachel said.  “Juice for the little one.”

“Sure,” Nyambura went out into the hot day.

On her way back from the shop across the street, she almost dropped the cold coke when a black Mercedes practically turned into their shop’s parking space in front of her.  She clutched her drinks scowling at the tinted windows.

Damn drivers, she thought as the driver’s window opened slowly.

“I’m sorry,” Phillip Keitani said, smiling at her.  “I wasn’t trying to kill you.”

“Could have fooled me,” Nyambura said, climbing the three stairs to her shop’s veranda.  “I’m too young to die, friend.  Got lots of business loans to pay off.”

Phillip chuckled and got out of the car, closing the door.

“Can I talk to you?” he asked, when she didn’t wait for him and started to enter the shop.  “Please, Nyams.”

She held up the drinks.

“I need to save two people from the heat.”

Phillip locked his car, glancing around the busy shopping center.

“Jeez, the thieves are sleeping in this heat,” Nyambura said with a small grin.  “At least for now.”

She entered the shop.

“What took you so long?” Rachel asked, reaching for the orange juice first.  She uncapped it and gave it to her the little girl on the short stool.

“Phillip is waiting outside,” Nyambura said, handing the cold coke to Rachel.

She glanced at the counter.

“I’ll watch the store,” Rachel said, after taking a healthy gulp from the bottle.  “Don’t brush him off, gal.  You keep doing that and he might really give up.”

Nyambura frowned at the disappointment that flooded her at that statement.  She was surprised to find out that she didn’t want Phillip  to give up his quest.

***

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

Previous Chapter

The Enchanting Violinist – 1

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The Enchanting Violinist – 1

Multi-tasking : Gotta Make a Livin’

There was no water in the house.

Nyambura sat at the dining table fighting the urge to scream.  Frustration was hard to escape.  Her Nairobi home came outfitted with two huge three thousand liter tanks, indoor plumbing and even a washing machine.  Granted that the washing machine and indoor plumbing might have contributed to the now empty tanks, still, here she sat, no different from the people who needed to fetch water from the river.

Nairobi’s water company had a special way of cutting the citizens down to the same size.  Granted those with more money than she did solved their water problems with one call to a water broker.  One full water truck about now would solve all her problems.

Sadly, she was broke.

It was the end of March, that no-man’s land between payday and tight budget.  All the money in her purse was strictly reserved to basic needs: food, fare, credit for her phone.

Nyambura sighed again.

Curse the water company, to think she paid her water bill on time.  Why couldn’t they service her with water on time too…such a one-sided commitment.  She scowled.  Sorta like love in Nairobi these days.

All the men she met had commitment phobia.

Nyambura laughed then.

Of course, water problems all led back to the lack of love in her life.  If she had a side-dish, she would call him up for the four thousand shillings needed for the water broker.  The water broker would bring her water, fill her huge tanks…

“Ah…,” she sighed.

She couldn’t do it though.

She couldn’t be the woman who called up a man to sort her problems.  It wasn’t in her DNA.  She’d never tried it anyway, and didn’t even know how one started.

“Nyams.”

She looked up from staring at the dining table to find her best friend and housemate staring at her.

“What?”

“Talking to yourself is considered a sign of madness,” Rachel said.  “Worrying about the water?”

Nyambura shook her head.

“I’ll call up Shiro.  She can get us a water broker, and we’ll pay her later.”

“What about Phillip?” Rachel asked, her gaze filled with mischief.  “He wouldn’t have a problem sending us the cash.”

“I’m not calling Phillip,” Nyambura said, shaking her head.  “You shouldn’t either.”

Rachel gave a dramatic sigh.  “Why do you judge him this way?”

“I don’t need a man to sort my problems,” Nyambura said, heading into the living room.

Her phone was on the coffee table.  She found Shiro’s number and called her.  Shiro was their Mama Mboga.  Shiro had a great network of traders, from shoecobblers, plumbers, fundis, painters, computer repair guys…water brokers.

Nyambura smiled when Shiro greeted her.

“Eeh, Nyambura!” Shiro knew everyone’s number.  “I’m guessing you need water.”

“You know me too well.”

“Can you pay him next week at least by Tuesday?”

“Yes, you know I’m good for it,” Nyambura said.  “I don’t like to keep my debts.”

“I know, that’s why I like you, Nyambura witu**,” Shiro said.  “If you leave the compound keys at the kiosk, I’ll make sure your tank is filled.”

Nyambura felt a weight lift off her shoulders.

“I’ll make sure to pay you back for this one, Shiro.”

“The concert tickets you gave my daughter last month were more than enough.  She was so excited, she hasn’t stopped praising you,” Shiru said.  “I’ll talk to you later.”

Nyambura ended the call with a happy smile.

“I guess that’s how you deal with it,” Rachel said.  She was perched on an armchair.  “I’d have called Phillip.”

Rachel had a serious obsession with Phillip Keitani.  A software developer working for a prestigious IT company in the city.  Nyambura had met  him at a function sponsored by his company.  She’d been the entertainment, while Phillip had been the esteemed guest.  Of course, Rachel had thought it a match made in heaven.  After all, Phillip was a man with a stable job, a big fat paycheck and great business connections.  He was single, or so Rachel said.

However, Nyambura was wary of Phillip.

In this Nairobi town, men had a tendency to hide their wives well.  Shaking her head at Rachel, Nyambura placed her phone on the coffee table and wondered if she’d ever trust again.

Her last relationship had left her scarred.

Literally.

She touched the long scar on her left arm, a jagged disfigurement, from the inside of her wrist to her elbow.  It was dark against her soft brown skin.  A memorable souvenir from her ex-boyfriend’s wife.

The woman had meant to kill her.

Nyambura sometimes saw that woman’s crazy gaze in her dreams.  She frowned.  To be honest, it wasn’t sometimes, but most times.  Most nights when she closed her eyes.

After surviving that incident, Nyambura had promised herself to never again allow childish dreams of love to color her world.

No, now, Nyambura focused on making money.

After all, she was Nyambura Gatano, the enchanting violinist.  The enchanting sprite who did wonders with a violin.  By God, she was going to play for the bloody President one of these days.

“Nyambura,” Rachel interrupted her dreams.  “Now that water is sorted, can we go figure out the shop downstairs?  Yesterday we were running out of stock.  I’m sure we’re going to need to order more weaves.”

Rachel listed all the hair products the shop needed, squarely bringing Nyambura back to her day job.

Yes, the enchanting violinist needed to eat, pay electricity, the damnable water bill and membership fees to the growing quartet she played with on her free time.

To keep up, she ran a small hair salon that also sold hair products in a shop downstairs with Rachel as her partner.  Her day job wasn’t boring, but it took time away from her precious passion.

The violin was her dream.  The salon was her livelihood.  One day, she hoped to make the violin her livelihood.

“Stop daydreaming, Nyams,” Rachel said, pulling her out of her thoughts.  “Dress, and do something about your hair, will you?  It’s not helping your image at all.”

Rachel hurried away to her bedroom and Nyambura sighed.

Rachel was the beloved nemesis in her world.

Rachel was the one who brought her down whenever her thoughts went flying into the ether.  Rachel was the brave one, the one who could sweet talk men into doing anything for her.  Even get a water broker….the only reason she didn’t now was because Nyambura ran their house and wouldn’t allow it.

Nyambura went to her bedroom, reached for her favorite jeans and a nice white sleeveless top.  She ran a comb through her weave.  Thankfully, it was easy to manage.  Straight and short, it fell into place without a fuss.  The only make-up she owned was a stick of strawberry lip gloss.  She applied it now with liberal abandon, smacking her lips as she slipped the tube into her jeans’ pocket.  She gave herself a critical glance in the mirror.

The woman looking back at her could pass for a twenty-seven year old.  Hardships had a way of slimming you down.  She was thirty-one: a struggling violinist, a small business owner, and very single to her mother’s chagrin.

She left her bedroom ready to face a day at the salon downstairs selling the merits of fake hair to women.

Life was good, Nyambura decided patting her hip.

***

Nyambura witu – Our Nyambura

To Be Continued….Thank  you for reading!

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Koya’s Choice – A 117 Days later

Koya’s Choice and A Writing Challenge

A lot can happen in a hundred days.  The original intention of writing the hundred days challenge was to post on the blog daily.  Midway through the challenge, the purpose of this challenge morphed into finishing Koya’s Choice as a story.  When I say challenge, I truly mean that.  It’s not easy taking time out to write in a world where you work and have people looking to you for support.  Thanks to my Sis and the messages I got constantly calling me out on the progress of this work. (@Maremma! Thanks) Glad to say that this writing process has achieved 35,000 words, and a beautiful cover.  There is nothing quite like finishing a story.  So, proud to say that Koya’s Choice will be an e-book, available to my readers this week.

 A finished story to boast about! Yeah!

Koya’s Choice gains a Cover!

The 100 Days Writing Challenge was not easy, it actually went over to 117 days, and boy was it sobering.  What I learned from this challenge is the need to recognize the fact that while real life issues like work, responsibilities, and such are important, shutting them out for a few hours a day is also imperative.  To write, to get it done and come out with a product you can touch, you gotta carve out the time.  You gotta make an appointment to make it happen.

100 days Writing Adventure

 

Cheers to a worthy challenge.

Happy December!