Jewel drifted back to Eddy’s Inc and found herself under a car, screw and spanner in hand. She was a fixer. It was her gift. Fixing cars always calmed her nerves down. Machines just made sense to her and they never left and never lied. She loved that about them. They had the stability that her mother never gave her and Nick clearly couldn’t possibly have known in his entire life. Machines reminded her of her father. The only stable thing she had ever known. Still working, she saw Eddy’s shoes at the edge of the car and kept quiet hoping that he would not notice it was her under there.
“are you hiding under cars again?”
“NO! The crank needs a bit of tweaking so here I am”
Eddy joined her under the car and asked her quietly now what was going on. He had not seen her like this since he had found her as a young girl at Motor cross. She had always been oblivious then, recognising nothing but cars. Eddy had worked with her gently until she had said softly one day that she missed her dad and he saw her shed a tear. He had thought the father had travelled or at worst abandoned her and her mother whom she had also not talked about. But his efforts of comforting her had been met with a stern but gentle voice telling him not to pity her. Her daddy was in heaven taking care of her. She had let out the tiniest of sobs that had let him know that discussion was over. He had gone and bought her a teddy bear on that day and watched her carry it to sleep on those days she didn’t go home. He never asked her where home was, never asked about her parents, not even about her unusual freedom. All he needed to know was that she was here, she was vulnerable and the cars helped and he made sure she knew Eddy Inc would always be home to her.
She had grown strong. Almost too strong. But here with him now was that thirteen-year-old girl again and it broke his heart.
“Jewel what’s up? Is it that boyfriend of yours bothering you again?”
Eddy simmered! He had saved her from lunatics in a BAR where her dress had been so torn and she looked so confused and lost and it was because of that God forsaken man! She had made him swear not to harm him! Now she was asking what boyfriend????
“Let’s not play games young lady, you know exactly what I’m talking about…”
“No, you don’t know what you’re talking about Eddy!” She shouted at him. The first time she had ever raised her voice at him. “My so-called boyfriend is dead Eddy! He’s dead!” She said breaking into a sob. “it was all over the news! So please just let me be Eddy!”
Eddy shuddered. Of all he had anticipated to hear, none of it had prepared for the pain he felt for her. He had wanted to kill the bastard. And he would have. Yet here she was so broken, and he hated knowing he would have caused this. He reached out his hand and took hers in his.
“I am sorry love. I really am. Nick? Nick Simmels was your boyfriend? I really didn’t know”
“I know Eddy, I do” her voice trembling. She steadily calmed down. “I hadn’t told you, don’t sweat it! It’s okay he deserved everything that came to him. I hope you don’t mind me crashing here for a few days.”
“no worries baby, you know Ed Inc is always your home. Want to talk about it?” Eddy didn’t know what exactly he would say if she said yes but he knew talking helped.
“Not really, the cars are a good distraction”
“Then I know something that will get your blood pumped up. Come with me! He was so excited he hit his head on the car, Jewel laughed. She loved the excitement and enthusiasm in Eddy’s voice, such kind of excitement could only mean one thing- a race! He was a big shot in the automobile industry but racing was and forever would be his first love.
Eddy led her to her office which had a huge window behind his desk that overlooked the whole establishment but most importantly the racing track Eddy had had included into the space. Small but functional. In front of his huge chestnut table was a 65”curved Tv split into four showing the different tracks that they frequently raced on.
Eddy was planning a race in his mind, Jewel was sure of it. His eyes glistened, there was an upbeat to his step and he was literally oozing excitement.
“I’m organizing a cross country street race.” Jewel smiled. “ I’d like the stakes to be so high that everyone is afraid to race in it but everyone will risk it all and I mean all to win and I want you to race for us Jewel”
Jewel buckled back. “what??! You want who to race??”
“I’d like you to race for Ed Inc my dear”
“but you know damn well I haven’t been in a race for years”
“Even so, you are still the best driver I have ever seen, a split second slower than me and your lack of presence is good, it means no one can predict your pattern”
“ But Eddy you’ve said it! I am slower than you! On a good day! This is two years Eddy, Two of just me and my Merc!”
“we can pimp it if you want have you race with it! Its not really the car that matters and you know that, its who’s behind the wheel Jewel and why”
“Eddy this is is a lot. I am so flattered and sincerely honoured but this is heavy. Let me decline Eddy at least until when I’m back in shape.”
Eddy smiled. She had not completely turned him down. “Think about it little one. No pressure.”
Jewel took the remote. Scanning through route after route. Eddy was crazy! He had chosen the worst of terrains, some of which she hadn’t even trained on before. Some would need to be done late at night if they were to evade the men in blue, some she knew they would have to pay them off. And he wanted it all done in one day!!!! Jewel was sure this man had finally lost his mind. The stakes were high! If everyone entered the race the first prize winner could even walk away with 3,000,000 USD and that was a lot of money! A lot! How could Eddy trust her with such heavy responsibility? It would be the biggest greatest race recorded in the country. She could feel the chill in her spine and the adrenaline rush kicking in.
NO JEWEL stop considering it! She admonished herself.
As she flipped through the screens, scanning the different terrains and studying the roads she found a local news channel and was about to change when something halted her.
“WE GIVE YOU FURTHER NEWS ON OUR BELOVED NEWS ANCHOR MS. JESSICA CAMPBELL WHO HAS BEEN CAPTURED BY ARMED TERRORISTS IN SOMALIA FOR 10 DAYS NOW. THE TERRORISTS RELEASED YET ANOTHER BROADCAST TODAY MORNING ASKING FOR 500 MILLION KENYA SHILLINGS GIVING THE COUNTRY OFFICIALS THREE DAYS OR THEY BRING HER BODY BACK IN PIECES. THE KDF ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO INFILTRATE THE CAMP THEY BELIEVE SHE IS BEING HELD IN. WE APPEAL FOR ALL KENYANS TO KINDLY COME FORWARD AND GIVE ANY AMOUNT THEY CAN TO SAVE OUR BELOVED JESSICA TO PAYBILL NO. 87643 ACCOUNT NO: SAVE JESSSICA. HERE IS JACKSON IRERI WITH FURTHER DETAIL ON THIS SAD NEWS. MAY THE LORD KEEP PROTECTING AND SAFE GUARDING JESSICA AND BRING HER BACK HOME SAFELY.
Jewel felt everything go dark.
Everything was spinning! Her mum was a captive? And for ten days? And she did not know?
She felt her whole world tumble down. In fact, she felt herself tumble down. But she did not care. Her mum was in trouble. As in big trouble and she had been for so many days and she, Jewel, had not even known. The many strange phone calls made sense now. She had dismissed them and then had gone further ahead to curse and insult her mother. She had been so disappointed with her and all this while her mother was in trouble. Her mother was a terrorist captive. Jewel felt so bad so so bad. She wondered what her mother must feel.
She was such a terrible daughter.
500,000,000 in three days where was she to get that kind of money? Honestly! They would kill her mum. They would.
“Oh God oh God please keep my mummy safe, please! Please save her from this! I am so sorry Lord just please save her! Please Lord, I know I said I didn’t care for you, I know I said you don’t care but Lord no one else can help her…not here please Lord ..please Lord…” her whole heart broke..she couldn’t breathe. Her heart was in literal pain. She gasped as she tried holding her chest. The pain was too much too too much.
“Lord please, Lord please..Please God.. I don’t know if I can even call you dad…but I see no way out of this…please God” She felt her heart break into so many pieces. The News kept running in her mind.
“Lord you’ve taken Daddy, Nick too…Lord please please give me a few more days with my mum. Even if to say sorry Lord. To tell her I love her God. Please ”
For the second time today she cried with all she had…it was just her, that screen and this invisible God who had to be alive, like He just had to be alive because she needed Him to be. He needed to save her mum for her.
“Jewel? What’s going on?” Eddy had never seen her like this. She was kneeling on the floor, fist on her chest and she was beating at it so much he wasn’t sure if she wasn’t hurting herself. She was crying so much. And so silently, but the anguish in her face was enough to tell of the pain she was going through. She didn’t want to be held. She just wanted to cry. She seemed so enthralled in conversation,he could only guess she was praying. Eddy had not seen her pray since she was a child. He didn’t know what to do. He closed the blinds so that no one could see her in this state and sat next to her… overlooking her.
“Jewel what’s wrong?” he softly asked.
“That’s mama Eddy. Jessica Campbell is my mum.”
“Jesus woman! What do I know about you?” Eddy wondered aloud then pulled her closer to him, allowing her to finish crying… “Don’t worry Hunny we will get her back. I promise you!”
“How Eddy? Where will we get 500,000,000 Kenya shillings?”
Jewel asked breaking into sobs. She could not remember a single conversation she had held with her mum apart from the nanny incident since her father died. And here she was about to lose her without having a chance to even let her know she loved her. It devastated her.
“God knew putting this idea in my heart at this point in time. If everyone comes on board we can raise that money.” Eddy said with conviction that he didn’t even know he had, “We don’t have enough time for publicity in that span of time but we need to put high stakes. Something people will jump at immediately and an initial bet of $10000 but that would mean 500 participants.” Eddy rumbled as he made plans still rocking her back and forth. Jewel just looked at him in wonder. Here he was again, jumping to her rescue! His plans were impossible to achieve in the time frame they had but even if the race was on time would she be able to win?
She felt like such a battle was coming. That the next three days would be some of the most gruelling days of her life and she was not sure she was ready. She needed to do so much, go to the TV station, find Michael and Liz, train, meet bankers, train…
As a myriad of thoughts screamed in her head, anger, anxiety, worry, fear, guilt, determination, busy-ness, she felt a calm voice in her mind, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous.”