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Love, Lies and Murder – Part 3

The secret affair between Taiwo and Mojirayo continued; both of them taking pleasure in themselves anytime Kehinde stepped out of the house. Mojirayo continued to fulfil her wifely duties to Baba Ibeji even though she still generated sneers from her co-wives. Taiwo and Kehinde gained admission some months after into the Lagos State Polytechnic to read Agricultural Technology and Marketing respectively. Baba Ibeji insisted he wanted them close by; therefore staying in the hostel on campus was out of the question. Taiwo smiled sheepishly on hearing his father’s instruction. As long as he went to school from home, he had unfettered access to Mojirayo. Due to the difference in their courses and lecture timing, Taiwo took full advantage of the situation and left the campus premises most times without his brother.

About eight months into their secret relationship, Mojirayo realized she had missed her period for two consecutive months and was beginning to feel sick. She had not been consistent with her birth control pills for a while and it dawned on her that she might be pregnant. She became confused as to who the father of her unborn baby was. Was it Baba Ibeji or Taiwo? She tried to do a calculation backwards to deduce who she had laid with during her most fertile period. Her mother had taught her how to check her fertile period, ensure she laid with her husband during the season and note down the date in a diary. By her calculations, she realized Taiwo could be the father of her baby. The thought gave her mixed feelings and she became more confused. She was carrying a baby for her husband’s son. She sighed as she began to think of a plan.

Taiwo came in early from school as usual. He went into his room, dropped his knapsack on his bed and faced Mojirayo’s room. He eased himself quietly into her room without knocking on the door. Mojirayo was about getting dressed when Taiwo grabbed the dress and held it away from her.

“Not so fast.” He said as he encircled his arms around her waist.

Mojirayo smiled but snatched her dress back from Taiwo. “We need to talk.” She said as she wore her dress.

Taiwo shrugged. “What’s there to talk about?” He asked smiling.

“This is serious, Taiwo. I am not joking.”

Taiwo noticed the change in her countenance and sat on her bed. “What is wrong?”

“I’m pregnant.”

“You are what?” Taiwo shouted as he stood up from her bed.

“You heard me Taiwo. I said I am pregnant.”

“So why are you telling me? Shouldn’t you be giving the news to Baba Ibeji?”

Mojirayo sighed as she blew air through her mouth. “I don’t think Baba Ibeji is the father.”

Taiwo guffawed as he looked at Mojirayo. “So who is the father?”

“You are.” Mojirayo said as she eyed Taiwo.

“You can’t be serious. No, this is a very expensive joke.” Taiwo said shaking his head as he paced round the room.

“Taiwo, do I look like I’m joking?”

“I’m not ready to be a father. Besides, you are my father’s wife.”

“Really? You didn’t think about that when you were sleeping with me.” Mojirayo said with sarcasm as she rolled her eyes.

Taiwo breathed deeply as he sat on her bed. “Okay, let’s think about this clearly. I know we are both upset. What can we do about it?”

********

Kehinde sauntered into the house tired. He went into his room and dumped his knapsack on his bed. He went to the next room to check on Taiwo and found out he wasn’t there. He wondered where he could be as he had told him he was going home. He however, noticed the knapsack on the bed. Maybe he has gone out again; he thought. He was about going to the kitchen to look for something to eat when he heard voices emanating from Mojirayo’s room. Could Baba Ibeji be back so early? He tiptoed towards Mojirayo’s room and realized he could hear a man’s voice. As he moved closer, the man’s voice became clearer and it dawned on him that it was Taiwo talking. What was he doing in Mojirayo’s room? He was about to place his hand on the door handle when he heard….

“Baba Ibeji is ready to be a father. I would tell him I am pregnant so that he thinks the child is his.”

“You will pass my child over to Baba Ibeji?” Taiwo asked.

“I thought you just said you were not ready to be a father.”

“Fine, fine. But this remains a secret between us. It must never be heard by a third party.” Taiwo warned.

“I know. Has anyone found out about us up till now?” Mojirayo sneered.

“Okay.” Taiwo said as he stood up. “I need to go to my room before the house gets full.”

Kehinde slipped away quietly towards his room. What had he just heard? Mojirayo pregnant for Taiwo? How come? Was that the reason why he never stayed back in school and was always in a hurry to go home? How long had this been going on and he never knew? He shook his head as he thought about his twin brother. Was he seduced? He remembered how much Taiwo fought for Mojirayo whenever her co-wives treated her harshly. So this was the reason? He thought about what he could do. Should he tell Baba Ibeji the truth? Mojirayo was a traitor and needed to be treated as such. He sat down on his bed and thought of a plan. Mojirayo needed to be exposed.

The next day, Kehinde told his brother he wasn’t feeling well. He told him he would not be able to make it to school and would like to rest at home. Taiwo nodded as he left the house. Immediately he stepped out, Kehinde went to Mojirayo’s room and knocked on the door. Mojirayo was surprised as she wondered who could be at the door. She knew Taiwo should have left for school. Besides, he no longer knocked on her door. She opened the door and saw Kehinde standing before her.

“Yes, Kehinde. Is there a problem?”

“Yes, there is.” Kehinde said. “Can I come in?”

“Erm….can we talk about it here or maybe in the living room? I will meet you there.” Mojirayo replied.

“It won’t take long. I promise.”

“Okay.” Mojirayo said as she stood at the door.

“I can’t talk while standing here. If it was Taiwo, you would have quickly welcomed him in with open arms.”

Mojirayo looked to the left and to the right of the hall to be sure no one was around or heard Kehinde’s statement. She stepped back immediately and let Kehinde in.

“What do you want?” She asked once Kehinde was in her room.

“You.” Kehinde smiled sheepishly as he rubbed his palms together.

“I don’t understand what you are saying.”

“Okay. Let me put it in a way you will understand. I know you are pregnant and that Taiwo is responsible. I know your plans to pass the baby off as Baba Ibeji’s. Are you following?” He asked with a wicked grin on his face.

Mojirayo looked at him without a word.

“So, if you want me to keep my mouth shut, you would play ball with me. I want to have a taste of what Taiwo has been eating.”

“You are mad. Do you realize I am your father’s wife?”

Kehinde burst out into hysterical laughter.

Mojirayo walked towards the door and shouted. “Get out of my room.”

Kehinde continued to laugh as he walked towards the door. “I will leave you to think about it. You know the way to my room when you are ready; or else, this night, Baba Ibeji would hear the truth.” He said as he slid his palm on her cheek and walked out of her room.

Mojirayo slapped his hand away and slammed the door behind him. She began pacing her room in anger. How dare he threaten her? What rubbish? She took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself down. She had heard that getting upset hurt the baby. She sat down on her bed as she thought of what to do.

A few minutes later, Mojirayo took out her phone from her beside drawer and dialed Taiwo. He picked up on the first ring. “Please come home earlier than usual today.”

“Why? What is wrong?” Taiwo asked.

“It is urgent.”

“Just give me an idea of what it is. Is it about the baby?”

“Yes, something like that.” Mojirayo said.

“Okay, I’ll be home soon.” Taiwo replied as he packed up his books and put them into his knapsack. He left the campus in a hurry, wondering what could be wrong with Mojirayo’s baby.

He got home, dropped his knapsack in his room and quickly walked down to Mojirayo’s room. He made a mental note to check on Kehinde later.

Mojirayo was lying on her bed when Taiwo walked in. She stood up immediately to hug Taiwo and he noticed she had been crying.

“What’s wrong?” Taiwo said as he searched her face. “Is anything wrong with the baby?”

Mojirayo shook her head as she sniffed.

“So why are you crying?”

“Kehinde threatened to tell Baba Ibeji the truth. He must have heard our discussion yesterday. He says I must sleep with him to keep him quiet.”

“What?” Taiwo shouted. “He said that?”

“Yes. He said he is waiting for me in his room once I make up my mind.”

“No!!!” Taiwo shouted in anger. He opened the door of Mojirayo’s room and stormed towards Kehinde’s room.

Mojirayo ran after him as she tried in vain to calm him down. “Taiwo, wait.” But Taiwo was already in front of Kehinde’s door.

********

Kehinde had headphones over his ears as he listened to music from his phone. His eyes were closed and he did not see Taiwo storm into his room. Taiwo yanked off the wrapper he had used to cover himself and realized Kehinde was stark naked. For a brief second, Taiwo was shocked. Kehinde removed the headphones and looked at Taiwo in anger.

“What is the meaning of this?” Kehinde shouted.

Taiwo threw the wrapper back at him so he could cover his nakedness. “So you were truly waiting for Mojirayo to warm your bed?”

Kehinde wrapped his lower body as he sneered. “Haven’t you been enjoying it so far? What is wrong with me having a share of it? I’m sure she would even enjoy me better.”

In an instant, Taiwo’s fist landed on Kehinde’s face and he staggered backward. Kehinde put his palm on his face, brought it to his eye-level and saw blood. His nose was bleeding. He lurched forward to hit Taiwo as Mojirayo screamed. Taiwo was faster and moved away just before Kehinde’s fist landed. Kehinde punched the wall and his hand started bleeding as well. Taiwo hit his brother in the stomach and Kehinde doubled over. Mojirayo stood as she shook wondering what she should do. Should she run out and call the neighbours? Or should she leave them alone to themselves? She was confused.

Taiwo was gaining the upper hand as they both rolled on the floor. Taiwo sat on his brother and squeezed his neck. Kehinde struggled as he tried to push his brother off him. He flailed his hands but Taiwo squeezed his neck even tighter in anger. All of a sudden, Kehinde became still and stop struggling. Mojirayo was the first to notice and she tried to pull Taiwo off his brother. Taiwo still held his brother’s neck and Mojirayo started hitting Taiwo asking him to get off Kehinde. The expression on her face was that of fright and shock as she bent down to place her hand on Kehinde’s chest. Taiwo was still fuming and heaving and Mojirayo had to call his attention. Taiwo’s countenance changed when he saw the look on Mojirayo’s face. He knelt down and tapped his brother as he called his name.

“Get up Kehinde.”

Kehinde was still and Taiwo held his hand up. Kehinde’s hand fell back on its own accord.

“Stop this. It is not funny.” Taiwo said as he shook his brother. “Kehinde, I said get up.” He said; his voice becoming a little shaky.

“He’s not breathing.” Mojirayo said as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Taiwo fell on his haunches as he looked up with a blank stare. “What have I done?” He soliloquized.

Voices began to emanate from downstairs. Taiwo and Mojirayo looked at each other. Mojirayo’s co-wives were beginning to arrive from their shops to prepare lunch for the younger kids. Taiwo put his two hands on his head. Mojirayo folded her palms under her chin as she looked around in confusion. She saw a bottle of beer sticking out from under Kehinde’s bed. She took it and looked away as she hit the bottle on the wall. It splintered and she put it in Kehinde’s limp hand. She tore the dress she was wearing at the bust and started screaming. Taiwo looked at her confused. Has she gone mad? What was she doing?

Mojirayo’s screams generated commotion downstairs and everyone ran upstairs towards Kehinde’s room. As the women burst into the room and saw Kehinde on the floor, they looked at Taiwo’s face and saw Mojirayo crying and struggling to cover up her bust. Kehinde’s mother screamed as she knelt down and lifted up her son. “Kehinde, Kehinde?” She shouted. “What did you do to my son, you wicked girl?”

“He tried to rape me.” Mojirayo said as she cried uncontrollably. “He dragged me from my room, tore my dress and tried to rape me. He also wanted to stab me with the broken bottle in his hand, so I pushed him and he fell down and didn’t stand up again.” She said all in one breath.

Taiwo was astonished. His mother looked at his face as if to confirm the story and he nodded his head. He was at a loss. His tongue was tied and he just continued to nod his head. Iya Kehinde broke out into another scream as she lamented.

The other wives shooed the younger children who were standing by the door back to the living room. The oldest wife spat towards Mojirayo’s direction while the younger wife cursed the day Baba Ibeji brought Mojirayo into their house. As the oldest wife walked out of the room, she took out her mobile phone from her waist pouch and placed a call to Baba Ibeji to find out if he was almost home. He confirmed in the affirmative. She told him to come with the police and gave him details of all that had happened. Baba Ibeji could not believe his ears. He asked his driver to move faster so he could get home on time.

********

Baba Ibeji walked into his house and met Mojirayo seated on the floor in the living room. She was still in her torn dress and everyone stayed away from her like a plague. He looked at her and asked her to tell her story. The oldest wife stood up in anger. “Baba Ibeji, so you think I would lie against her?”

“Woman, sit down.” Baba Ibeji shouted.

“Kehinde did not go to school today. He said he wasn’t feeling fine. After everyone left the house, he came to my room and wanted to sleep with me. I told him I am his father’s wife and he can’t do that.”

Baba Ibeji nodded.

“When he refused to listen to me, I told him I would call you and report him to you. He got angry and tore my dress.” Mojirayo said as she released her hand from her dress and her bust became exposed. “He dragged me to his room, locked the door and undressed. When I tried to open the door to run out, he broke a beer bottle and wanted to stab me with it. I was afraid so I pushed him. He fell down and didn’t stand up again.”

Baba Ibeji took a deep breath, closed his eyes and bent his head backwards.

“Baba Ibeji, what are you waiting for? Call the police to get this wretched woman out of our house.” Iya Kehinde shouted. “I regret the day you brought her into this house. Ah, Baba Ibeji, you have killed my son. You have killed my Kehinde.”

“Enough.” Baba Ibeji shouted her down.

“Hmm….mmmmm.” Iya Kehinde hummed and cried as she shook her feet impatiently.

Baba Ibeji called Taiwo and asked him to go down the road to call the police to make an arrest. Thereafter, he placed a call to Mojirayo’s parents to come urgently. Mojirayo’s parents arrived in a jiffy thinking there was another gift to be received. They got to Baba Ibeji’s house and noticed the tense atmosphere. They met Taiwo outside and asked him what the problem was. Taiwo pointed into the house without a word. Everything that had happened still looked like a dream to him. Mojirayo was carrying his baby. Baba Ibeji was still unaware of Mojirayo’s situation and now she was getting arrested.

He still could not comprehend the motive behind Mojirayo’s lies. Would Mojirayo reveal that she was pregnant or would she decide to terminate the pregnancy? If she decided to have the baby, what was the future of the unborn baby in detention? Would they ever find out that Mojirayo was arrested for a crime he committed?

Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com

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The Wait – Chapter 20

Enitan proceeded to walk towards the end of the hall. His brother asked him if he needed to be accompanied but he told him not to bother as he was capable of handling the situation himself. Iya Ajoke had told them who the stranger was and he needed to know Ajoke’s decision. He wondered why she had lied to him all these years. He wanted to know the truth now; even if the truth would kill him.

Adisa and his brothers wondered what Ajoke had to say to Adejoro. They stood a few metres away from her as they waited impatiently for her to end her discussion. As Enitan approached them, Adisa tapped him on his shoulders.

“Go and get your wife.” Adisa ordered.

Enitan tilted his head as he looked at him. He had come to respect him over the past years he and Ajoke dated and he knew that Adisa wielded a considerable amount of power in Ajoke’s life. “Are you sure she is ready to be my wife?”

Adisa smiled as he looked at Enitan. “There is nothing left between her and that man over there.” He said nodding towards the end of the hall where Adejoro and Ajoke sat.

Enitan nodded his response as he continued towards Ajoke. Adejoro was still on his knees pleading for forgiveness from Ajoke.

The Wait 20

“Ajoke, can I talk to you for a minute?” Enitan asked as he got to where she sat.

“Please Ajoke, hear me out.” Adejoro pleaded.

Enitan held out his hand and Ajoke stood up and took his outstretched hand. He led her to a corner of the hall.

“Why did you lie to me?” Enitan asked.

“I did not. When I said he was dead, I meant every word I said. He is dead to me. His children don’t even know him. To them, their father is dead.”

Enitan’s jaw dropped. “I understand if he is dead to you but you should not have told the kids their father was dead.”

“So what should I have told them? Hmm?? That he abandoned them and remarried probably to become a citizen of another country. I did not want my kids to feel rejected by their own father and I couldn’t answer their questions every time they asked about him. I had to tell them something that would make them forget about him.”

“So now that he is back, what are you going to tell them?”

“He has no right to breeze into their life, Enitan. It is too late.” Ajoke said.

“I understand but they need to know their father.”

“Can we forget about my ex-husband and continue with our wedding? Or have you suddenly developed cold feet now that you know my ex-husband is alive?”

Enitan shrugged. “You stopped the wedding, Ajoke; I did not. And regarding your question about having cold feet? I think that question should actually be directed at you. Now that your ex is back, do you still want to get married to me?” Enitan asked as he searched her face.

“I’m sorry my love. I was just overwhelmed seeing him. He has no right to be here today. It was over between us years ago. I love you Enitan and today I choose to be your wife. Nothing and no one will stop us from getting married.”

“I’m still upset you lied to me, though.”

Ajoke moved closer to her husband-to-be and hugged him. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

“It’s okay.” Enitan said smiling. “You need to touch up your make-up. I don’t want my bride having a smeared face in my wedding pictures.”

“I will. Give me a few minutes and please help me apologize to Broda Olaitan, Uncle T and Aunty. I will explain everything to them later.” Ajoke said as she turned to walk away.

Adejoro looked at Ajoke as she passed by him. “Ajoke, please. Give me another chance. I will make it up to you.”

Ajoke turned to look at him, her eyes blazing in anger. “I have been nice enough to you Adejoro. Don’t get me upset, okay?”

Ajoke came back into the hall twenty minutes later looking refreshed. She stood before her family and Enitan’s family as she took her vows to love him till death did them part.

A court had annulled her marriage to Adejoro a few years before. She had filed for a dissolution of her marriage on grounds of separation for over ten years, desertion and abandonment and also reasons to believe that her spouse was dead. Her plea had been granted by the court.

Ajoke and Enitan smiled as they linked their hands and held the marriage certificate that had just been issued to them. The minister proclaimed them the newest couple in town and their family rallied round them to hug and congratulate them.

Adejoro unable to continue watching bent his head as he broke down in tears. After his programme, he had been advised by a friend he met in school that he could remain in the country and not return to Nigeria. He had been happy at the prospect and he was hooked up for an arranged marriage. However, things had not gone the way he had expected. Five years after, he was yet to become a citizen. Not wanting to risk coming back to Nigeria without becoming a citizen, he decided to build another family. His wife gave birth to a set of twins; a boy and a girl. He was overjoyed and he soon forgot about the family he left in Nigeria.

He had attended a party a few weeks ago and bumped into his friend, Akanbi. Akanbi told him he was in the UK for a two-week vacation. They had chatted as old buddies reminiscing on the times they spent together in the village.

“I wanted to help you fulfill your obligations to Ajoke when you decided to marry an Oyinbo.” Akanbi said as he gulped down the wine in his glass. “I can still see the look on Ajoke’s face and how she shivered under my touch. Oh, she wanted me badly. I could feel it.” Akanbi said as he faked a shiver then laughed hysterically.

Adejoro opened his mouth in shock.

“Anytime I remember that day, I wish I had gone ahead to have my way with her. At least I would have had a taste of the honeypot I had been dreaming of for so long. I’m sure she would have been so sweet.” Akanbi said as he kissed his fingers.

Adejoro became angry as he stood up and held Akanbi by the throat.

“What is your problem, Adejoro? I did not ask you to abandon your wife and kids in Nigeria. Did I?” Akanbi asked as he taunted him.

Adejoro had left the party abruptly. He had been unable to sleep when he got home that night. He had abandoned Ajoke and his kids without as much as a look backwards. He immediately planned a trip to Nigeria and booked a ticket. He flew in on Friday night. He had waited in the UK for too long; now the wait was over.

When he arrived at his parents’ house, he was told that Ajoke had moved out of his house years ago and was getting married the next day. His parents told him to forget about her since he had another family in the UK but he told them he could not. He decided to make an appearance at the wedding; just maybe he could stop it and Ajoke would give him another chance.

He bent his head as he cried tears of pity and sadness while the whole hall jubilated with the new couple. He looked up and saw Ajoke and Enitan share a passionate kiss. His children rallied round them as Enitan hugged them one by one. He stood up and walked out of the hall with his shoulders slumped and his head hung. He had lost his wife, Ajoke and his kids. They no longer belonged to him. They were in the arms of the one who would love and cherish them.

Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com

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The Wait – Chapter 18

Ajoke walked to her room; her kids following right behind her. They sat down on her bed and looked at her expectantly. Ajoke dropped her bag on her bed and noticed the look on her children’s faces.

“Why do you both have that look on your faces?” Ajoke asked.

“We want to know how your date went.” Adegbenro said.

Ajoke looked at her son. “What did you discuss with Enitan?”

“He didn’t tell you?” Adegbenro asked.

Ajoke eyed her son. “If he did, I won’t be asking you. He said men stuff. What does that even mean?”

Adegbenro shrugged. “Well, it was men stuff. I was trying to protect my family.”

Ajoke let out her breath as she tried to sit on the bed. Adegbenro and Adebola created a space in between them and she sat down. She pulled her arms around them and looked at each of them.

“I love you both. You know that, don’t you?” She asked them.

They nodded.

“And I want you to be happy.”

“We are happy, mum. But you are not.” Adebola said.

Ajoke smiled sadly as thoughts of Kokumo filtered into her mind. Her kids had been so fond of him and his sudden disappearance had taken them by surprise. They had asked day after day about him but she had refused to provide an answer. She guessed they must have figured out what the issue was.

Adegbenro turned to look at her. “Mum, we want you to be happy. We want you to find love again.”

Ajoke looked at her kids and was surprised. Where was all these coming from? How had her kids grown so fast before her eyes? She smiled as she kissed each one on the cheek.

“We love you too mum.” Adebola said; voicing out their mother’s unspoken thoughts.

They hugged her and laid their heads on her shoulders.

 

Hours later, Ajoke lay on her bed unable to sleep. She tossed and turned as she thought about Kokumo’s last statement to her.

“It would be unfair to you and to those we love if we keep our lives at a standstill. Please don’t do this to us.” Was it time to move on?

 

Enitan opened the door of his apartment and let himself in. The décor in the living room was simple but tasteful in appearance. He picked up a remote from the glass table in the centre of the room and switched on the TV with a button. A newscaster was reading the evening news. He sat down on the sofa directly in front of the TV and watched. His mind was however far away as he only watched the moving images. How long will he have to wait before voicing out his feelings to Ajoke? He had noticed her in their second year. It had not been love at first sight but he had been fascinated by her dogged attitude to her studies. While most ladies in their class were bothered about taking selfies, social media and hanging out with the wanna-bes, she had caught the attention of most of the lecturers with her excellent grades.

Gradually, he began to like her and said “hello” to her anytime she passed by him. He noticed she only came to school when she had lectures and was out immediately after she was through for the day. She did not mix freely like the others and he had wondered why.

He exhaled as he rested his head on the couch. Seeing her family with two grown kids had caught him unawares but it had only strengthened the love he had for her. He had to tell her how he felt, even if it meant she would never talk to him again. He could not hide it forever. Right there in his living room, Enitan made up his mind about Ajoke.

 

A week later, Ajoke was at her shop attending to her customers when she received a phone call from Adebola that she was needed at home.

“What’s the problem?” Ajoke asked.

“Erm….mummy, you need to come home now.”

“Why? Can’t it wait?”

“No mum.” Adebola said.

Ajoke gave instructions to her girls and walked the short distance from her shop to her house. As she approached her house, she wondered what the problem could be. Her kids hardly pulled her away from work. She just hoped it was not something serious.

As she opened the door to her house, she was startled by shouts of “Happy birthday”.  She looked at her kids, surprise clearly written on her face. Adebola and Adegbenro were grinning from ear to ear and they encroached on her space smothering her with hugs and kisses. Ajoke was overwhelmed by the love and a tear slid down her cheek. She looked at the wooden table in the middle of her living room and saw a massive birthday cake and a wrapped box. Her jaw dropped as she looked at her kids.

“How did you do this?” She asked.

Adegbenro smiled. “We got a little help.”

Ajoke’s brows shot up. “From who?”

All of a sudden, Enitan walked in from a corner of the living room. “From me.” He said giving her that smile that always made her heart melt.

Ajoke was at a loss of what to say. “How did you know about my birthday?” She asked him.

“We are in the same class. Have you forgotten?” He said as he closed the space between them stretching out his hands to her. Ajoke took a deep breath as she went into his embrace. She closed her eyes as tears streamed down her cheeks. Was she falling in love with him?

Adegbenro quietly carried the cake from the living room and nodded to his sister as they both left the lovers to discover themselves.

Enitan raised Ajoke’s head up and looked straight into her soul. “I love you Ajoke. I can’t hide it anymore.” He said as he wiped a tear from her cheek.

Ajoke lowered her head.

“Please give me a chance to love you.”

“I’ve got a lot of baggage.” Ajoke sniffed.

“I know.” Enitan said smiling. “It has only strengthened my resolve to take care of you.”

Ajoke looked up and saw love in his eyes. Could he handle her heart which had been splintered into various pieces by Adejoro and Kokumo? What was left of it that she had to give to him?

Enitan held Ajoke’s hand as he walked towards the door.

“Where are we going?”

“We are going for lunch.”

“I haven’t told them.…..” She was saying before Enitan interrupted her.

He beamed a smile at her. “Your son gave me a go ahead.”

Ajoke gave Enitan a puzzled look as she shook her head wondering how much information had passed between Adegbenro and Enitan.

 

Enitan had parked his car a few metres after Ajoke’s house so she hadn’t noticed it when she arrived home earlier. When she saw the spot it was parked, she smiled. He opened the door and she eased into the car quietly. Enitan drove to one of the newly established restaurants on the outskirts of the village.

As they took their seats and waited to be served, Enitan held Ajoke’s hands on the table. “Let me tell you a little story.” He said.

Ajoke nodded and listened.

“There was a young woman who lived in the town of Ilesa. She was given out in marriage to her husband at the age of eighteen. Nine months after her marriage, she had a son who was named Olaitan. The family of three lived happily. She was a petty trader while her husband was a bricklayer. He built houses for the rich and famous. This made him very popular in Ilesa. Two years after; when Olaitan was weaned off his mother’s breasts, she attempted to have another child. One year led to two years, then three years but Mama Olaitan was unable to conceive again. She tried all she could. She visited the herbal doctors and churches but pregnancy eluded her.”

Ajoke shook her head in pity.

“She gave up after some years and decided to face her business and her small family. However, when Olaitan was nineteen, his mother fell ill. Her husband made some herbs for her to drink and some were applied on her body. Her sickness however refused to abate. She fell in and out of sickness for about six months. One day, Olaitan’s friend who was an auxiliary nurse in one of the health centres visited him at home. They had finished from the secondary school together and she had secured a job in the health centre while Olaitan intended to go to the University. She had looked at Mama Olaitan with concern and asked her if she had been to the health centre. The answer was negative. She asked Olaitan to bring his mother to the health centre the next morning.”

The waiter brought their food and Enitan began to eat. He signaled to Ajoke to eat when he noticed she was waiting for him to continue.

“The next morning….” Enitan said as he continued his story. “Olaitan and his mother arrived the health centre early so as to avoid the long queue. Olaitan’s mother was checked by the doctor and it was confirmed that she was six months pregnant. She found it hard to believe what she had heard. Even Olaitan was lost for words. He was going to have a baby brother. Baba Olaitan was overjoyed when he heard the news. However, the joy of the family was cut short when Mama Olaitan died a few minutes after giving birth. Her labour had been prolonged and it was a miracle that the baby survived as both mother and child were in distress.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said as she shook her head.

“That’s not the end of the story.” Enitan said smiling.

“Okay?” Ajoke said. She had finished her food and she pushed the plate away from her.

“Eight days after, the child was named Eni-itan, because his father said he had a story to his birth.”

Ajoke smiled. “This is your story?”

“Yes, that is my story.”

“So your brother took care of you from birth, I assume.”

Enitan took a deep breath. “He gained admission into the University and I had to be left alone with my father. My father got a wet nurse who took care of me till I was a year old. I was seven when we lost our father. He fell from one of the high-rise buildings he was working on. He broke his neck and died on the spot.

Ajoke gasped as her hands flew to her mouth. She stretched out her hands to hold Enitan’s. “I’m so sorry.”

Enitan smiled. “Olaitan had to take me out of the village. He brought me to Lagos to stay with my maternal uncle and his wife. They took care of me till Olaitan graduated and could stand on his feet. The house I live in belonged to Olaitan. He relocated to the United States with his family some years ago. He left his business in my care and we have an agreement on profit-sharing.”

So, Law is your second degree, I presume.”

“Yes, it is.” Enitan smiled. “I have a degree in Business Administration. When I took over my brother’s business, I decided to come back to school and get educated on business law.”

“Wow.” Ajoke said. “This is a whole lot of information in one night.”

“I’m glad I shared it with you. No one in class knows about me.”

“So why did you decide to let me into your life?”

“Because I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Enitan replied.

Ajoke shook her head. “I can’t do this to you, Enitan. You deserve someone better.”

“Shhh……” Enitan said as he put his forefinger on her lips. “I want you and not someone better.”

Ajoke exhaled. If Enitan found out about her past, would he sing a different tune? She had not totally let Kokumo out of her heart. She still loved him even though he was beyond her reach. Sometimes, her nights were so lonely that she reminisced on the time they spent together exploring each other’s bodies with Kokumo making her scream in ecstasy. On such nights, she cried herself to sleep as she longed for the man who had been her first love and had set her body on fire with his touch. 

Memories of Adejoro had become a distant past and she had no feelings left in her heart for him. As far as she was concerned, he was only the father of her children. Would she be able to push thoughts of Kokumo behind and look forward to Enitan’s love? So many questions begged for answers in her life and she knew the ball was in her court to play it as she wished.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 17

Ajoke was about retiring to bed when her phone rang. She wondered who could be calling her at 9.00p.m. She had gotten home tired but her kids were not ready to let her be. They had missed her and they wanted to chat with her before going to bed. Even though, Iya Ajoke had tried to shoo them away, they had persisted. Eventually, Ajoke had to listen to their gists about school and all that had happened in the last one month while she was away.

She picked up the call after the third ring. “Hello.” She said.

“Hi Ajoke, is it a bad time to call?”

“Hi Enitan.” She said recognizing his voice. “It’s okay. I was just wondering who could be calling me at this time of the day.”

“If it is too late, I can call back tomorrow.” Enitan replied.

“No, it is fine.”

“I just wanted to check up on you.”

“Aww…thanks. I appreciate the gesture.” Ajoke said smiling.

“And erm…I wanted to ask if you would still go out to dinner with me?” Enitan asked unsure of what her answer would be.

Ajoke laughed. “Enitan, do you give up?”

“No, I don’t.” He said breathing a sigh of relief when he heard her laugh. “Is 6p.m tomorrow a good time?”

“Hmm….that’s fine.”

“I’ll pick you at home.” Enitan replied.

“But you don’t even know where I live.” Ajoke said laughing.

“Should we bet on it?”

Ajoke stopped laughing. “You know where I live? Have you been stalking me?”

“Hey relax.” Enitan said when he noticed the tone of her voice had changed. “I know where you live, I mean the street but I don’t know your house. And to your second question; no, I have not been stalking you.”

“So how do you know the street I live on?”

“I visited a friend who lives around your area some months back. We were walking out of his house when I saw you. I asked him if he knew you and he said not really but he pointed your street out to me.”

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Ajoke asked.

“I cross my heart, I have not lied to you.”

“Okay, 6p.m. Call me when you are close by.”

“Thanks Ajoke. I really appreciate this.”

Ajoke grunted. “I hope I don’t regret this.”

“Why would you? I would never hurt you.” Enitan said almost in a whisper.

“See you at 6 tomorrow. I need to catch some sleep.”

“Thanks. Sweet dreams.”

Ajoke refused to respond and ended the call.

 

The next day, Enitan was on Ajoke’s street at about five minutes to six. He parked his car and whipped out his phone from his pocket. “Hi Ajoke, I am on your street. I am by the Majestic shopping complex.” He said when she picked up his call on the first ring.

“Okay, that’s a long walk from my house.”

“I can come closer. Where exactly is your house?”

“It is way down the road; two blocks from the health centre.” She said.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Okay.”

Ajoke looked at herself in the mirror. She was wearing one of the dresses Kokumo had bought for her. She hugged herself as she thought of him. It had been a while she heard from him. The last time, he had sent her a text message that he had a daughter. She had responded with congratulations. A week later, he sent her another text informing her about his daughter’s names. She had refused to respond this time. The thought of another woman having a child for him was enough to dampen her spirit. He still credited her account at the end of every month and she wondered when he would stop.

A knock on her door brought her back to reality. “Mummy, you have a visitor.” She heard her daughter say.

That was fast; she thought. She took one last look at the mirror. She had applied light make-up and she looked simply dressed. She sighed as she opened the door and walked out of her room. Her daughter was standing outside the door. “Do you have a date, mummy?” She asked.

Ajoke smiled. At thirteen, Adebola was becoming self-aware. She always looked out for her mum and her brother, Adegbenro. “Yes dear. Something of the sort.”

“You look beautiful.” Adebola said.

“Thank you darling.” Ajoke replied as she hugged her daughter.

She held her daughter’s hand as they walked into the living room together.

 

“Hi, you look stunning.” Enitan said standing up. Ajoke noticed he had been talking to her son and she wondered what they could be talking about. She also wondered how he knew the exact house she lived in. She however, decided to keep her thoughts to herself.

She gave her son a puzzled look as she greeted Enitan. “Hi Enitan.”

“I was chatting with Adegbenro.” Enitan said smiling when he noticed the look that passed between mother and son. “Are you ready?” He asked.

“Yes, I am.” She said hesitantly.

Adegbenro stood up and hugged his mum. “Have fun.”

“Thank you.” She said.

“Bye mummy. We would wait up, okay?” Adebola said.

“Okay dear.” Ajoke responded as she waved to her kids and walked out of the house with Enitan behind her.

 

As soon as they stepped out of the house, she turned to look at him. “What were you two talking about?”

“Men stuff.” Enitan smiled.

“Like what?” She said rolling her eyes.

Enitan suddenly burst out into laughter.

Ajoke stopped walking and looked at him in confusion. “What is funny?”

“I love the way you just rolled your eyes. It makes you look sexy.”

“Ahh…” Ajoke said with shock.

“C’mon, let’s go have dinner.” Enitan said holding her hand so she could continue walking.

They got to a white Toyota Corolla and Enitan pressed the unlock button on the remote in his hands. He opened the door for Ajoke when he noticed that she stood before the car and kept looking at it. She was speechless and she looked at him when he signaled for her to go into the car. She eased into the car and Enitan closed the door before jogging to the driver’s side.

“You don’t need to say it. I know what’s on your mind.” Enitan smiled as he started the car.

Ajoke looked at him quietly.

“It’s intentional not to drive to school. So I jump buses like every other student.”

Ajoke nodded.

“Hey, loosen up. This is me; I ain’t hiding any other thing.”

“Really?” Ajoke asked with sarcasm.

“Cross my heart.” Enitan said as he did a sign of the cross on his chest.

In a few minutes, they arrived at a classy restaurant and sat at a table for two. The waiters brought a menu for them and they both ordered a light dinner. They made small talk about school while they awaited their dinner. They were through with their dinner and were sipping their drinks as Ajoke spoke about her expectations of their last year in school.

Enitan smiled as Ajoke spoke.

Ajoke looked behind her. “Why are you smiling?” She said as she turned back to look at him.

“I really do like you a lot.”

“Hellooo, we were talking about school?” Ajoke said with sarcasm.

“Yeah, I know. Ajoke, I have watched you this past years and I can’t deny the way I feel about you. Coming to your house today has opened my eyes to see you in a different light.”

“Where is all this coming from?”

“From my heart.” Enitan said as he held her hands on the table.

“I don’t understand. What did you see in my house and what is all this about?”

“Let me take care of you, Ajoke.”

Ajoke pulled her hands from his grip. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”

“You are the only one who thinks so.”

“What are you saying? Does this have anything to do with your discussion with Adegbenro? What men stuff did you two talk about?”

“Hey, take it easy.” Enitan said laughing.

“This is not funny, Enitan. Can we leave now?” Ajoke said getting angry.

“Ajoke….” Enitan said stressing her name. “Do I upset you that much?”

Ajoke closed her eyes and exhaled. She was beginning to like him and she actually did not know why she was upset with him.

Enitan stood up and stretched his hand towards her. “Let me take you home.”

Ajoke took his extended hand and they walked out of the restaurant.

 

 

Ajoke was quiet all through the journey home. She looked out of the passenger window and refused to make eye contact with Enitan. Enitan also decided to leave her to her thoughts. He loved her but he could not tell her just yet.

He reminisced on his discussion with her son. Adegbenro had asked him who he was and he had told him he was her course mate and a friend.

Adegbenro had asked him if he was taking her out on a date and he had responded in the affirmative.

“What are your intentions with my mother?”

Enitan had been shocked to hear the word “mother” but he had smiled to conceal his shock.

“I like her a lot and I just want to be friends with her.”

“Don’t mess with my mum. She’s all we’ve got.” Adegbenro had warned him.

He had looked at the young man before him. He loved his confidence and the way he looked out for his mother. There had to be a story behind her having two kids and no husband. He looked round the living room to see if he would see the picture of their father assuming she was a widow but there was none.

 

 

Enitan parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. She was about to open the door when Enitan stopped her and took her hand. She looked at him and was scared of what she saw in his eyes. No, this is not happening again. Enitan kissed her hand and dropped it carefully. “Thanks for the company.” He said.

Ajoke was at a loss for what to say. “Thanks for the dinner.” She said and stepped out of the car.

Her kids were already at the door by the time she got to her door step. They hugged her and welcomed her back. While Ajoke and Adebola walked in, Adegbenro stood at the door and looked at Enitan. Enitan smiled and nodded at him while Adegbenro nodded back; an unspoken agreement between the two. Enitan put the gear in reverse and drove out of Ajoke’s residence.

——
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 16

Three weeks later, Ajoke returned to school for her fourth year. She buried herself in her studies with the intention to forget about Kokumo. This proved difficult as Kokumo continued to credit her bank account monthly. Everything around her brought back a memory of him; her phone, her dresses, her shoes and every tangible item that she owned. Many nights, she hugged her pillow and cried herself to sleep as she mourned the loss of the only true love that she ever had. Her children noticed that she no longer smiled and asked her what the problem was. How would they understand? She thought as she looked at them. When she refused to say anything to them, they asked her why her best friend, Uncle Kokumo, no longer visited. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and she stood up abruptly lying that she had a headache and needed to rest. Her kids left her alone and she went into her room and lay down on her bed in tears.

In her second semester, one of her lecturers gave the class a project to work on and paired the students in twos.  She was paired with Enitan and given a tight schedule to deliver on their projects. Ajoke stayed up late many nights reading and researching on their project work. For once, her mind was totally off Kokumo. Enitan also brought his own repertoire of knowledge and they both put their energy into the project. They were asked to do a class presentation and Enitan urged Ajoke to present their findings. Even though she was jittery at first, she put in her best. The lecturer was impressed with Ajoke and Enitan’s project and they were rewarded with the highest score. Ajoke was excited that her sleepless nights had not been in vain. As she put her books into her bag prepared to go home, Enitan walked up to her smiling. “Ajoke, your delivery was fantastic.”

“Thank you.” She replied.

“Can I take you to dinner?”

Ajoke stopped and looked up at him. “Why? For what?”

Enitan shrugged. “Just to say thank you.”

“I don’t think that is necessary. Besides, I did not do this alone. If I remember, we were teamed for the project.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.”

“Enjoy the rest of your evening.” Ajoke said as she slung her bag over her shoulders and walked away.

 

The next day, Ajoke was reading in class when Enitan slid into the seat beside her. Ajoke looked up and frowned. “What do you want?”

Enitan smiled. “Good morning.”

Ajoke nodded. “Morning. How may I help you?”

“C’mon Ajoke, why are you so uptight? I just want to be friends. I’m not going to bite.”

“You know what? I think I should leave now.” Ajoke said packing up her books.

Enitan held her hand trying to stop her from leaving.

“Will you leave me alone? What do you think you are doing?” Ajoke said raising her voice.

Enitan dropped her hand and stood up. “I’m sorry, I will leave.”

As he started walking away, Ajoke felt sorry and called him back. “Enitan.”

He looked back at her.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. Please sit down.”

Enitan smiled. “No, it’s okay. I assumed working together could make us friends. I apologize; my assumptions were wrong.”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“Please go ahead with your reading. I don’t want to be a nuisance.” He said as he walked out of the classroom. For the rest of the semester, Enitan avoided Ajoke.

 

A week to their exams, campus became agog with activities as students began to organize tutorial lectures for themselves while some teamed up to read and burn the midnight candle. Ajoke asked her mother to come over again to stay with the kids, so she could have some time off to read. She stayed up many nights reading but she kept on having difficulty understanding a particular course. The more she read, the more confused she became. She decided to talk to one of her course mates in school the next day.

“Hi Tolani.” Ajoke greeted as she saw her course mate walking towards her.

“Hi Ajoke. How far with your reading? I won’t be surprised if you dust us again this semester.” Tolani sneered.

“Abeg, leave that matter jare.” Ajoke replied smiling. “I need help with Taxation. Anyone handling tutorials on it?”

“Ahn.…ahn, I’m surprised you are asking me.” Tolani looked at her in astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Is it not your team mate organizing the tutorials?”

“My team mate?” Ajoke asked.

“Yes nau, Enitan. He is the pro in taxation and he has been doing tutorials for the past three days.”

“Oh right!” Ajoke said surprised.

Tolani eyed her. “Everyone knows both of you are first class materials. I’m sure that is why Mr. Subomi teamed you guys together.” She harrumphed.

“Let me go find him.” Ajoke said ignoring Tolani’s comment.

 

Enitan was seated in class in a corner reading. He was so engrossed in his book that he did not notice that Ajoke was standing before him. Ajoke had to announce her presence by clearing her throat.

“Hi Ajoke.” Enitan said looking up with a smile.

He always has a smile on his face; Ajoke thought. “Hi. I guessed I would find you here.” Ajoke said a bit uneasy. She knew after the last encounter with him, he clearly avoided her.

“Please sit down.” He said tapping the seat beside him.

Ajoke sat down with her palms in her laps. “I am sorry about the last incident. It looks like you have been avoiding me.” She said.

“Avoiding you? No, I haven’t.” Enitan shrugged. “You came to school for a reason and it looked like your intention was to stick to that reason and avoid any fraternities.”

Ajoke wondered how she was going to ask for help considering that she hadn’t been particularly nice to him.

“So how may I help you? I’m sure you did not come here to talk about our last encounter.” Enitan said turning to face her.

“I need help with Taxation.” Ajoke said avoiding his eyes and glad that he had gone straight to the point.

“Okay. When do you want us to start? Right now?”

“Huh….erm….yeah, if you don’t mind.”

Enitan smiled in his trademark way. “I don’t.”

“Thank you.” Ajoke said.

“You are always welcome.”

After two hours, Ajoke was satisfied that the course which had given her sleepless nights will be a walkover for her during the exams. She thanked Enitan again before leaving him alone to continue his reading.

 

Taxation was the last paper on the exam schedule. Ajoke decided to make Enitan her reading partner and they both sat together in class reading, sharing and comparing notes and handouts. Enitan made sure he continued to refresh Ajoke’s memory on all he had taught her anytime they read together. In three weeks, exams were over and students heaved a sigh of relief.

As Ajoke walked out of the hall after her last paper, she met Enitan sitting on a bench opposite the class. He stood up as she approached him. A smile played broadly on his lips. “How was it?” He asked as she fell in line with him.

“Easier than I imagined.” Ajoke said smiling. “I should say thank you again.”

“Oh come on. How many times will you do that?” He asked as they started walking towards the main gate of the campus.

“Well, I don’t know how I would have written that exam without your help; so better get ready to hear another thank you when the results are out.”

Both of them burst out into laughter.

They got to the gate and stood at the bus-stop waiting for buses that will take them to their different destinations.

“Would you mind giving me your number?”

“Not at all.” Ajoke reeled out her mobile number to Enitan who saved it immediately on his phone.

They stood chatting and laughing at the bus-stop until the buses going towards their destinations arrived.

—–
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

The Wait – Chapter 13

Ajoke eased into Kokumo’s car after his insistence to drop her at home. It was already 9p.m and he did not want to risk letting her go home alone at that time of the night. He held her hand as he drove with the other. “I don’t know if we should have done what we did in there.” He said looking at her. “I’m sorry.”

Ajoke shook her head as she sighed. “There is nothing to be sorry about, Kokumo. We both longed for it and I do not regret my action.”

Kokumo took a deep breath. “Ajoke, I want you to go back to school.”

“Why?” Ajoke asked as she looked at him.

“It was your dream to be educated even though your parents could not afford it. What is stopping you now?”

“I don’t know.”

“I will get you a GCE form so that you can write the next exams in October. I will also get you the syllabus compilations for all the subjects you will need.”

“But you don’t have to do this. You don’t owe me anything.” Ajoke said.

“I don’t owe you anything, Ajoke. You seem to forget that we shared our dreams years ago. I have achieved mine and I want you to achieve yours as well. You can still become that lawyer you always wanted to be. And as long as I have breath in me, I would do anything within my power to help you fulfill your dreams.”

“Thank you but I don’t want to be a burden to you.”

Kokumo looked at her. “Ajoke, you can’t and will never be a burden to me. You underestimate the love I have for you.”

Ajoke looked away as she sighed.

In a few minutes, Kokumo parked his car in front of Ajoke’s house. He smiled as he looked at her and traced her lips with his fingers. Ajoke closed her eyes expecting Kokumo to kiss her but he did not. He was in front of her house and her kids could be watching. He did not want to give anyone a reason to question her. He took her hand and squeezed it. “I will get the forms and the books tomorrow as discussed. Let me have your phone so I can save my number on it.”

Ajoke opened her handbag and brought out her phone. The phone had been held together by cello tapes in various areas. Kokumo collected the phone from her without saying a word. He typed his number on it and saved it before handing the phone back to her.

“Thank you for everything.” Ajoke said.

“Thank you for making my evening pleasant.” Kokumo responded.

Ajoke opened the door and eased out of the car. She walked to the front of her door and turned back. Kokumo had started the car but was still waiting. Ajoke waved as she opened the door to her house and Kokumo drove away after ensuring her door was closed.

 

 

Kokumo got home and sat on the sofa in the living room where he and Ajoke had been intimate some hours ago. He closed his eyes as he reminisced on their time together. Ajoke’s responses to his touch had been electrifying and he wondered if she had been touched by any man since her husband left. Knowing who Ajoke was, he reckoned she would have kept herself all these years. What exactly was he doing with her; he thought.

He had no intentions of getting married to her while she was still married to another. But he could not deny the fact that he loved her and wished to make her happy. He looked at the table clock on the credenza. It read 10.30pm. He needed to sleep to be refreshed for work tomorrow. He stretched out on the sofa and closed his eyes. Soon, he was fast asleep with all his thoughts on Ajoke.

 

The next day during his lunch break, Kokumo purchased the GCE forms, the textbooks and a mobile phone. He also went to a boutique and shopped for a few clothes and shoes. He went back to his office, happy with his purchases. When he closed at 6.00pm, he stopped at an eatery to buy food and drove towards Ajoke’s house. He parked some metres away from her house and placed a call to her.

Ajoke was in her shop when Kokumo’s call came through. She stepped out of her shop to receive the call as she did not want either her girls or her customers eavesdropping on her conversation.

“Hello.” Ajoke said.

“Hi Ajoke. How are you doing?”

“I’m well.”

“I am very close to your house. Are you at home or at your salon?”

“I’m at the salon.” Ajoke said. “What are you doing around here?”

Kokumo smiled. “I came to pick you up.”

“To where?”

“I don’t know. We can go anywhere around or just sit in my car and talk. Can we do that?” Kokumo asked hoping her response would be positive.

Ajoke sighed. “Okay. Where exactly are you?”

Kokumo gave his location and Ajoke went inside her shop instructing her girls on what to do for the rest of the day. She had gone home earlier to prepare lunch for her kids and she thought about calling Kokumo back to let him know she had to go and prepare dinner. She would let him know he may have to wait a while; she thought as she walked towards his location.

 

Kokumo watched Ajoke as she approached his car. She was wearing an Ankara blouse and wrapper. She was still beautiful; he thought. Ajoke got to the car and Kokumo eased out and gave her a half-hug. “How is your day going?” He asked.

“Good.” Ajoke said. “I may have to take some of your time. I need to go prepare dinner for my children first.” She continued.

“Don’t worry about that.” Kokumo said as he stretched his hand towards the back seat and picked out the plastic bags containing food. He handed it to her. “I knew you wouldn’t be able to leave without dinner prepared so I decided to bring dinner for them.”

Ajoke looked at Kokumo with surprise.

“Hey, I’m sure the children will be getting hungry. It is almost 7.00pm.” He said when he noticed she just stood looking at him.

Ajoke nodded as she walked home.

Kokumo rested his back on the car as he watched her walking away. “Hmm Ajoke.” He said as he shook his head. He hadn’t called Adunni since he met Ajoke yesterday and he wasn’t sure if what he was doing made any sense. Ajoke was all that mattered to him now.

Ajoke was out of her house in ten minutes. She had changed into a long flowing dress and she looked even more beautiful. Kokumo did a quick mental check of where they could hang out without any disturbance. The village did not have any eateries around. He concluded he may have to drive back to town.

They hit the road and Kokumo asked after Ajoke’s children. She seemed happier talking about her children and he reveled in her joy as she gesticulated and made funny faces. They drove to an eatery on the outskirts of the village and he walked in holding her hand. He asked her if she wanted to eat but she took a rain check. He told her he had gotten the forms and the textbooks and that they were in the car. Ajoke smiled her thanks and he discussed her next plan which should be passing the exams, sitting for the next Jamb examinations and getting into school to study Law. He asked how she intended to take care of her kids once she was in school and she replied that she would employ a maid to assist her. He told her he was available and willing during the weekends to help her if she had any issues with any of the subjects.

Ajoke was grateful for everything and she told him. Kokumo also handed over the plastic bag containing the mobile phone, clothes and shoes to her. Ajoke was shocked beyond words. She looked at Kokumo as they both sat in the car after leaving the eatery. “What do you stand to gain in all this?” She asked.

“Nothing Ajoke. Absolutely nothing.”

Ajoke exhaled. “I really don’t know how to say thank you.”

Kokumo smiled. “You don’t have to. Can I take you home now?” He asked. “The children would be waiting.”

“Yes please.” Ajoke said.

They drove back to the village in silence. Kokumo parked at the same spot he had parked earlier on in the day. He switched off the ignition and looked at Ajoke. “If you can, please fill the forms this evening or tomorrow morning at the latest.” He said.

“I will.”

“Take care of you.”

Ajoke suddenly felt unhappy that she was leaving. She wished she could stay back. His presence in her life was like a soothing balm calming her soul. She removed her seat belt and stretched across her seat. She kissed Kokumo slowly and he returned her kiss. When she eased away, she smiled, bid him good night and stepped out of his car. Kokumo watched her till she had closed the door of her house before starting the engine and driving away.

——-
The story continues…

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.com

The Wait – Chapter 12

Ajoke sat in the taxi taking her back to the village. She put her hand on her chest willing her heart to slow down to its normal rhythm. She wasn’t sure whether it was the sight of Kokumo after ten years or the hope that she was going to see him that evening that made her heart beat faster; but it did. He hadn’t changed much and seeing him again had awoken feelings in her which she thought were dead. She sighed as she closed her eyes. Was he married? He hadn’t mentioned anything about a wife. If he was, he would not have asked her to see him in the evening, she thought.

She remembered his question about when she intended to go back to school and she suddenly became upset. What guts did he have to ask her about that? He had had it relatively easy for him. His dream had always been to be a graduate. And now he even worked in a bank with his certificate. Her dream of ever going to the university had been truncated by her father the day he gave her hand in marriage to Adejoro. Adejoro had been more bothered about his own education. Hers was a distraction to the marriage as far as he was concerned. As long as he provided for her and their kids, she did not need to worry herself about an education; he had told her. Now that the sole responsibility of taking care of her children was on her shoulders, Kokumo had the effrontery to talk her into getting a university education. She hissed as she looked out of the window. She had promised to see him at 7.30; she would keep to her promise.

 

She closed from her shop about thirty minutes earlier, so she could make an early dinner for her kids. Once dinner had been served, she told her kids she wanted to see a friend in town and would be back before their bedtime.

She boarded a bus into town and hoped to be back early enough. As she walked the distance from the bus-stop to Kokumo’s house, she took a look at the dress she was wearing. She had changed into a dress from the blouse and wrapper she was wearing in the morning. She had made an extra effort to look better than she did in the morning.

 

 

Kokumo couldn’t sit still. He had paced his living room more times than he could remember. Was Ajoke going to honour his invitation? Was he doing the right thing by inviting her to his house? He hadn’t even considered her children when he had asked her to meet him. How selfish of him? He blew out air through his mouth and rubbed his temples. He had missed her so much. He had tried unsuccessfully to forget about her throughout his stay in the university. He had buried himself in his books in a bid to get her off his mind. It worked but only for short periods. He refused to read her letters because he imagined reading them would reopen his wounds which were still fresh. His mother had also steered clear of talking about her as she noticed that anytime she asked if he was considering marriage after his education, he flared up and got upset.

He had graduated from the university with a First class and proceeded on the compulsory National Youth Service programme in Anambra state. All through, he had avoided intimate relationships like a plague. On his return from his youth service, his mother began to question him about marriage. She was worried that no woman visited and she voiced out her concerns. When he could not bear his mother’s questions any longer, he moved out and got an apartment in town. Besides, it was easier for him to get to work from town than while living with his mother in the village. He had gotten her a mobile phone and taught her how to use it. Two months ago, he was transferred to the branch close to his house.

He thought about Adunni as he sat down on the couch in his living room. He had met her during his Youth Service in Anambra state. She was beautiful and fun to be with. Even though, she had wanted more from their friendship, he had made it clear to her that he was not interested in a relationship. She had been disappointed but had gotten over it quickly. She was free-spirited and he loved that about her. She held no grudges and saw the bright side of every situation.

After their youth service, they had kept in touch by calling each other once in a few weeks. She had gotten a job in a telecommunications company and lived with her parents on the other side of town. His last visit to his mother had not been pleasant. She had been upset about his inability to settle down. She had asked him what he was waiting for. He had said he wanted to be a graduate. He had said he needed a good job. He had gotten both but had still refused to settle down. She reminded him of all his friends who already had kids and told him she was not ready to go down to her grave without seeing her grandchildren. That was six months ago.

He had left his mother’s house the next day and she had made him promise to settle down quickly. On his way home, he had thought over his mother’s request. She was right that he had to settle down but he couldn’t think of anyone who suited or complemented him. While he deliberated on what to do, Adunni had called him to tell him she was visiting an aunt around his vicinity and would not mind visiting him as well. He had gladly accepted her invitation. Out of all his female friends, she had remained a constant in his life.

He had told her that evening that he was willing to take their friendship a step further. Adunni had shrugged. If it worked out between them, it was fine. If it didn’t, she was willing to move on. She had told him. He had felt relieved that she had seen their relationship in that light.

 

 

The doorbell chimed bringing him out of his reverie. He looked at his wristwatch. It was 7.30pm. He stood up and walked to the door. As he opened the door, he smiled and let Ajoke in. Ajoke walked in with an expressionless face. Kokumo wondered what was on her mind.

“Please sit down.” He said. “Have you had dinner? I bought some food at the eatery down the road just in case you hadn’t had dinner.”

“I’m fine.” Ajoke replied as she sat down. “You wanted to see me.”

Kokumo exhaled. He was hoping Ajoke would loosen up with him but it seemed she was bent on being uptight. He walked towards her, knelt down on one knee before her as he took her hands in his. “Ajoke, please I said I am sorry. You are still upset with me.”

Ajoke had not expected his action and it had caught her by surprise. Ajoke looked at him and was about to speak but words failed her. She closed her eyes trying to stop the tears that were beginning to gather at the corner of her eyes. She had promised herself not to breakdown in Kokumo’s house or in his presence but her strength and resolve was failing her.

“Ajoke, please talk to me.” Kokumo said. “I love you and will always do.”

The words were the trigger Ajoke needed and she burst into tears.

Kokumo stood up from his kneeling position and pulled Ajoke up. He hugged her tightly as she sobbed on his shoulders. He was in love with her and he could not deny it. The truth was that he never stopped loving her, but life had been unfair to them, throwing a curve in their lives. He wished there was something he could do to ease the pain they both felt.

He raised her head as his lips found hers and he kissed her gently. Ajoke initially resisted as she put her hands on Kokumo’s chest and tried to push him back. Kokumo stepped back and looked at her. He used his thumb to wipe the tears on her face and Ajoke closed her eyes savouring his touch. Kokumo pulled her closer and kissed her again. This time, Ajoke did not push him away. He had kindled a fire within her and her body which was long dead lit up with passion as she shuddered with every touch. She kissed him back with a hunger that had been buried for ten years as she held on tightly to him and refused to let go. In a few minutes, both of them were caught in the frenzy of the moment and they tore at each other’s clothing thirsty with the desire they both longed for. As their naked bodies entwined, Ajoke’s body throbbed with passion and expectation. She had not been touched by any man for the past seven years and her body came alive. She screamed in ecstasy and cried in fulfillment; her whole body trembling as Kokumo made her a woman to be loved again.

——-
The story continues…

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The Wait – Chapter 11

Ajoke walked to the bus-stop and was about to flag down a bus when a car parked in front of her. She took a few steps backward so she could get on the bus which was about to park to pick her up when she heard her name. She looked in the direction of the car and saw the customer service manager stepping out of the car. She stood still as she looked at him.

“Ajoke, please come into the car.”

“What do you want from me?” Ajoke asked.

“Can we talk about this somewhere else please?” He pleaded. “Come into the car.”

Ajoke walked towards the car like someone in a trance. He opened the door for her and jogged over to the driver’s side. He put the car in drive and eased into the main road. None of them spoke to each other during the drive. Ajoke hid her hands in her laps and refused to look up throughout the journey. In five minutes, he was parked in front of an apartment within town. He got out of the car and opened Ajoke’s door as he held her hand and led her towards his apartment. He brought out a bunch of keys from his pocket and opened the door leading Ajoke in.

“Please sit down.” He said.

“Are you not supposed to be at work?” Ajoke said suddenly finding her voice.

“I have a one-hour lunch break. Since I stay close, I usually come home for lunch.”

Ajoke nodded but remained standing.

“Ajoke, I need you to sit down. I can’t talk to you this way. I wanted us to talk in a relaxed environment; that’s why I brought you here.”

Ajoke sighed as she sat on the edge of the couch in the living room. She looked round at her environment for the first time since coming in. The furnishings were simple but screamed class.

“Ajoke, I know I have hurt you but I want you to hear me out. I’m sorry I stopped responding to your letters. So many things were happening at the same time and I felt like you were putting me under pressure.”

Ajoke looked at him intently without uttering a word.

“How have you been doing?”

“Did you think I was going to suddenly forget about our love?”

Kokumo breathed deeply. “No. But you belonged to another man and the hurt I went through was unbearable.”

“And you thought I would cope better by refusing to have anything to do with me, right?”

“No Ajoke, but there wasn’t much I could do.”

“You could have at least responded to my letters.” Ajoke spat.

“I am sorry, Ajoke. I don’t know how many times I would have to say it. Sincerely, I am. I couldn’t even read the letters. I did not have the courage to. When you stopped writing, I thought it was all over. I picked out all the letters when I was about graduating and read all of them one by one. I’m sorry I never wrote back. I felt you still wanted me to remain a part of your life. You wrote about how unhappy you were and also wrote when you had your son and your daughter. They were six letters in all and I cried the day I read them all. I was still heartbroken even after three years.”

“I did not stop writing Kokumo. I knew you would be graduating and there was no way my letters would get delivered to you anymore. Since you never bothered to reply any of the letters and I did not have any forwarding address for you, there was no point writing a letter that would go undelivered. There was no one to ask and no one to talk to.”

Kokumo sat down beside Ajoke and held her hands. “Please forgive me.”

Ajoke looked away as she spoke. “Adejoro travelled abroad on a scholarship seven years ago. His course was supposed to be for twenty-four months. He left me and the kids to start another life in the UK.”

Kokumo shook his head as he realized Ajoke must have had it rough; having to cater for herself and two young kids alone. “I’m so sorry, Ajoke. I did not know that. I would have reached out to you.” He said as he covered her hands in his. “How have you been coping?”

Ajoke shrugged. “I started weaving hair for little girls in the vicinity, and then their mothers patronized me after a while before I was able to set up a salon.”

Kokumo smiled despite the situation.

“Broda Adisa advised that I open an account to save for the rainy day. There’s no bank in the village yet so I had to come to town.”

“How are your parents and your brothers?”

“My parents are fine. All my brothers are now happily married.”

Kokumo thought about what Ajoke had just said and her emphasis on the word “happily married”. It was a pity that she remained the only unmarried one for no fault of hers. He wished he could turn back the hands of time. He sighed as he looked at his wrist watch. His lunch break was almost over and he had to get back to work. He wished he did not have to. He wanted to know everything that had taken place in Ajoke’s life since the last time they saw; when he had walked her home from the stream and parted ways with her. Even though it was ten years ago, it almost felt like yesterday to him.

“I need to get back to work.” He said standing up.

Ajoke stood up as well. “No problem. I should also take my leave now. I need to get back to my shop and my kids.”

Kokumo moved closer to Ajoke as he held her hand. “I wish I did not have to go back to work but…” He stopped and sighed. “When can I see you again?”

Ajoke shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Okay, when do you intend to go back to school?”

Ajoke gave him a surprised look.

“You always wanted to go to the university. It is not too late, Ajoke.”

Ajoke removed her hands from Kokumo’s. “You know what. I think you should get back to work.” She said as she started walking towards the door.

Kokumo got to her in two steps and held her hand. “Did I say something wrong?” He asked looking confused. “I thought that was your dream.”

Ajoke looked away. “Let me go Kokumo.”

Kokumo refused to let her go. “Okay, I’m sorry. I don’t want you to leave in anger and I really want to see you again. I close from work at 6pm and I am usually home by 7.”

Ajoke looked at him without uttering a word.

“Please, can I see you later today?”

Even though Ajoke would rather not, a part of her heart longed to come back. She breathed deeply. “I’ll be here at 7.30.”

“Thank you.” Kokumo smiled. He opened the door and they both walked out of the house.

Kokumo dropped Ajoke at the bus-stop, flagged down a taxi and paid for it before driving back to the office.

He was unable to concentrate on his job the rest of the day. He wished close of business would come early.

——–
The story continues….

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The Wait – Chapter 10

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. With each passing month, Ajoke’s hope of receiving a letter from Adejoro dimmed. Initially, his mother frequented their home assuring her that he would be back soon but Ajoke was not sure who to believe; his friend or his mother. She wondered so many times if Akanbi had mentioned her husband’s refusal to write back to spite her for refusing to sleep with him or if he meant what he had said. But she was unable to ask anyone. The only close friend Adejoro had was Akanbi and her elder brother and she was not sure if it was worth asking her brother, Adisa.

Six months after Adejoro’s scheduled return, Ajoke decided to go to her father’s house to talk to her brother. She told him about Akanbi’s statement carefully avoiding to discuss her encounter in his house. Adisa had been surprised and told Ajoke he was not aware Adejoro did not contact her anymore. He was even more shocked that he had stopped sending her a monthly stipend and wondered how his sister had coped the past six months with two extra mouths to feed. He told her he was going to make sure he got to the root of the matter and find out exactly what the situation was.

Ajoke thanked him and Adisa gave her some money to take care of herself and her kids. Her mother also packed some foodstuff for her and Ajoke went home with her heart less burdened. Three months after, Adisa sent an errand to Ajoke to come home. She wondered why Adisa would call for her. She hoped her parents were doing fine. She took her kids and went to her father’s house. She met her parents and all her six brothers seated discussing when she walked in. Her mother took her grandchildren away, leaving Ajoke alone with her father and elder brothers. Adisa broke the bad news to Ajoke. Akanbi had been right. Adejoro had deserted her to build another home in the United Kingdom. Ajoke looked at her father’s face and shook her head in despair. No tears escaped her eyes. She was only sad that she had become a single mother with no source of income.

She thanked her brother, Adisa and asked for her children. Her mother encouraged her to stay the night but she refused; saying she was going back to her husband’s house – the house of the man she and her husband gave her out in marriage to. Iya Ajoke held her daughter’s hand as she begged her to please forgive them. They never imagined Adejoro would do this to them, she said. Ajoke looked at her mother and sighed. There was no point lamenting, she told her mother. The deed had been done. Ajoke walked out of her father’s house with her kids in tow.

 

When she got home, she thought of what she could do to earn a living so that she and her kids would not suffer. She remembered that when she was in the secondary school, a lot of her friends came to her house to get their hair weaved because most of them did not have the money to pay a hairdresser. She stepped out of her house and looked around. She saw a small carton lying on the ground. She picked it up and walked towards a primary school not too far from her house. Used pieces of chalk were strewn all over the floor and Ajoke picked up a few. She wrote on the carton with a piece of chalk advertising that a hairdresser lived within. She found a used rag and tore it into two, then used it to hang the carton on the tree in front of her house. She went back inside to prepare a meal for her kids and awaited her first client.

 

Within a short while, word spread round that Iyawo Engineer weaved hair better than most of the other hairdressers in the vicinity. Ajoke’s house became of mecca of sorts for children and her weekends became her most busy period. She had mothers knocking on her door very early on Saturday morning to plait their daughter’s hair as they did not want to be caught up in long queues later in the day.

She enrolled her kids in the nearby primary school and life took a new turn for her. Soon, the mothers who dropped their daughters also needed her services to get their own hair done and Ajoke became busier by the day. She no longer thought about what to eat and how to survive. She had just enough to feed herself and her kids.

 

The years rolled by and Ajoke forgot about her husband. His mother still visited her once in a while to see how her grand-children were faring. Iya Ajoke also visited her grand-children but the relationship between mother and daughter was strained. Ajoke performed her duties to her parents but it was not done out of love but out of obligation. Her elder brothers all got married and had successful marriages.

 

Seven years after Adejoro left Ajoke, she rented a shop close to her house and opened a small salon in with the proceeds of her business, establishing a name in the village as one of the foremost hairdressers. She recruited two girls who helped her in her salon and business went smoothly. Her brother, Adisa was happy that she was doing well and on one of his visits to her house, he advised that she opened a bank account so she could have some money saved for the rainy day.

She heeded her brother’s advice and took a bus to the nearest town to open an account. The lady at the customer service desk gave her an account opening form to fill. As Ajoke bent her head to fill the form, the lady’s boss walked out of his office and called the attention of the customer service staff to a form in his hand. Ajoke froze as she heard the voice of the manager. She was scared to look up to identify the person who had just spoken. The manager walked to the customer service desk and as he spoke to his report, Ajoke summoned up courage to lift up her head. She met the manager’s eyes and the expression on the faces of both of them was shock. Ajoke could not believe her eyes. Her jaw dropped as she looked at him. The manager was so stunned that he couldn’t finish his sentence. He started to stammer as his mind refused to process the information he was passing across to his report. The customer service staff noticed her boss was a little disoriented and asked him if he was okay. She wondered what had suddenly caught her boss’ attention and looked at Ajoke.

Ajoke had turned her attention back to the form she was filling. She could not fill the form any longer as the letters danced before her eyes. She held on to her pen refusing to look up as her eyes filled with tears. She could not afford to break down here in the presence of strangers. She bit her lower lip as she blew air through her mouth in a bid to subdue the tears. Life had been unfair to her. She quickly filled the form and handed it over to the lady before rushing out of the bank in a hurry.

———
The story continues…..

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The Wait – Chapter 9

Kokumo was in the faculty building when he was told by the secretary that he had a letter. He wondered who could have written him a letter as he had only previously received letters from Ajoke. As he collected the letter from the secretary, he looked at it and immediately recognized Ajoke’s handwriting. He sighed as he put it into his folder. Why was she writing him a letter? Was it to inform him about how she enjoyed her married life or what? He wasn’t sure he wanted to read the letter. It would only open his heart to another round of hurt and he was trying to get over her. He made up his mind not to read the letter. He got to his room later in the day and flung the letter into his travel bag.

 

Ajoke wondered why she did not receive a response to her letter. Even though her husband tried to make her happy, she remained an unhappy woman. She did her wifely duties as she should but found no joy in her home or her husband. She thought about Kokumo day and night and sometimes imagined he would pay her a visit. She lived with her husband in a decent self-contained apartment within the averagely expensive part of town. All her friends who had gotten married before her envied her. None of their husbands could afford to live in the part of town where Ajoke lived with her husband. Adejoro continued to work hard and he did his best to take care of his wife. However, Ajoke’s heart still longed for Kokumo even though, she knew his good bye to her behind her house on the day he arrived from school had been final.

Four weeks after her first letter, she wrote another one. She longed to hear from him. She wanted to know if he still thought about her. She wanted to know if he still missed her or if he had moved on and thrown her into the dustbin of history.

Kokumo received the second letter six weeks after the first. He was at the verge of opening it when he shook his head and flung it into his travel bag. No, he wasn’t going to read any letters from Ajoke again. In a few days, he sat for his exams and was through in another three weeks. He packed his few clothing into his travel bag and prepared to go home.

———-

Three months after Ajoke’s wedding to Adejoro, she found out she was pregnant. She knew she was supposed to be happy at the life growing inside of her but it only made her more sorrowful. She endured every night attending to the needs of her husband and the consequences lay inside of her. Adejoro had been elated when he found out his wife was carrying his first child. He immediately registered her in a Primary health care centre and ensured she got enough rest.

Six months later, Ajoke gave birth to a boy after an easy labour. Her mother praised her for her bravery and was thankful to God for giving her a grandson. Adejoro’s mother moved in with them to assist Ajoke with taking care of the child. Adejoro converted his self-contained apartment into a two-bed so as to accommodate his mother. She stayed with Ajoke for a month before leaving and Ajoke’s mother moved in to continue from where she stopped. Iya Ajoke stayed for six weeks. When she was sure her daughter was strong enough to handle the job of taking care of her home and her son, she returned to her husband’s house.

With a baby to take care of, Ajoke’s mind became occupied and thoughts of Kokumo became relegated to the back. She however wrote him another letter to inform him that she now had a son which she would have loved to be his. Six months after she had her son, she found out she was pregnant again and was even three months gone. Adejoro was ecstatic. Everything seemed to be working in his favour. His family was doing well and he was never short of sub-contracted jobs to handle. In a few months, he would be through with the technical college and he knew that while his friends would be roaming around looking for jobs, he already had jobs waiting for him to handle. Life couldn’t be better for himself and Ajoke.

Ajoke had a baby girl six months later. Her mother-in-law and her mother took turns to take care of her baby as they previously did. Iya Ajoke told her daughter how proud of her she was; having two children of different sexes in quick successions. She also never failed to praise her daughter’s husband, Adejoro for taking good care of her daughter.

 

Ajoke’s children were aged eighteen months and six months when Adejoro came home to inform his wife that one of the companies he sub-contracted for was offering him a scholarship to further his education in the United Kingdom. Ajoke looked at her husband as if he spoke in another language.

“You can’t be serious.” Ajoke shouted when she found her voice.

Her daughter began to cry and Ajoke immediately scooped her up and strapped her to the back as she patted her daughter’s bum to stop her from crying.

“It is just for a few months, Ajoke. Before you know it, I will be back.”

Ajoke harrumphed.

“Ajoke try to understand. I may never get this opportunity. Don’t deny me of this, please.” Adejoro pleaded.

“How long is a few months?” Ajoke asked as she sighed deeply.

“Twenty-four months.”

Ajoke’s jaw dropped. “And you call two years just a few months?” She asked in anger.

“Ajoke!!!” Adejoro called as he stressed her name.

Ajoke clapped her hands together and opened the palms facing upwards. “Okay oh, I have heard you Adejoro.  I don’t want you to say later that I denied you of progressing in life; God forbid. You are free to go.”

“Thank you.” Adejoro said as he moved closer to his wife and gave her a hug.

“When are you leaving?”

“In two weeks’ time. I will make sure I send money to you monthly through one of my friends for your upkeep.”

Ajoke shook her head as she thought about her children. How was she going to cope in the next two years?

 

Two weeks later, Adejoro travelled out of the country leaving Ajoke in the care of his mother. Even though Ajoke was yet to fall in love with her husband after over two years of marriage, she had grown fond of him and thought maybe she would eventually forget about Kokumo.

Adejoro’s mother moved in with Ajoke immediately after her son’s departure to keep her company. She stayed with her for six months and left after her grand-daughter clocked one.

Even though Adejoro was on a scholarship, the company paid him a monthly stipend to keep body and soul together. He therefore kept his promise by sending Ajoke a portion of his monthly stipend through his friend, Akanbi. He also wrote letters to her to keep her informed of the on-goings with his education, while Ajoke replied with pictures of his children.

———–

Twenty-four months came quickly and Ajoke looked forward to her husband coming back home. She wrote him a letter in the twenty-third month to let him know that she and the kids were eager to have him back and expected a response from him. Four weeks passed by and she did not receive a response from her husband. She kept on going to the post office every day to check her box wondering why she was yet to get a response. By the twenty-fifth month, she became worried when she did not hear from her husband. She wondered what could have gone wrong and decided to go to his friend’s house.

Akanbi was about stepping out when Ajoke arrived there with her kids in tow. She strapped her daughter on her back while she held her son’s hand. Akanbi welcomed her in and told her to make herself comfortable. Ajoke unstrapped her daughter and put her on the floor so she could play with her elder brother. She sat in the cane chair in Akanbi’s house favouring it for the couch in the living room. Akanbi brought some biscuits for the kids and a cup of cold water for Ajoke. He then asked her if he could be of any help.

Ajoke told him she was wondering why she had not heard from her husband. He was meant to return to the country after two years and it was a full month after the agreed time. She asked him if there had been any change in the terms of his scholarship and why Adejoro had not responded to her letter. Akanbi stood up from the couch he was seated on and walked towards Ajoke. He sighed deeply as he took her hand and kissed it. Ajoke stood up abruptly, yanking her hand from him.

“What do you think you are doing?” She asked him.

Akanbi stepped towards her as Ajoke backed away. “You know Ajoke, you are still very beautiful even after all these years of not having a man to warm your bed.” He said smiling.

“Akanbi, I respect you a lot as my husband’s friend. I only came here to find out what is wrong with my husband.”

“Give me a chance to take care of you, Ajoke.” Akanbi said.

Ajoke looked at him as if she had just been punched in the face.

“Are you surprised?” Akanbi asked her as he moved towards her. Ajoke continued to back away from him till her back touched the wall.

Akanbi smiled knowing that he had her cornered. He moved closer to her pinning her to the wall with his body. He traced his fingers over her bare arms sending Ajoke into a shiver. “I have always liked you but Adejoro was faster than I was. Beautiful Ajoke, the darling of many Ipaja young men.” He said as he moved his fingers up and down her collar bone, his breath on her face.

Ajoke held her breath as her heartbeat increased. She closed her eyes and bit her lips. She had not been touched in two years and her body was sore with desire. She did not push Akanbi back and he took this as his cue. He was already aroused and excited as his nether region stood out in the Ankara sokoto he was wearing. He slipped his hand under Ajoke’s dress lifting it up as he glided and pressed his excited lower torso to hers and hugged her tightly at the waist. A shiver ran through Ajoke’s spine causing a   gasp to escape her lips as her body warmed and craved a man’s touch.

Akanbi’s excitement increased as he realized he had broken her will and she longed to have him. He struggled to take off Ajoke’s underskirt with one hand while he tried to untie the rope on his sokoto with the other hand. All of a sudden, Ajoke’s daughter started to cry. Ajoke shook as she came out of her reverie. Her underskirt was on the floor and Akani groped her as he also struggled to step out of his sokoto. She looked at her daughter who was crying and crawling towards where she stood and took a look at Akanbi. He had taken off his underpants and was about to lift her off the floor when she pushed him back. He staggered backward a bit surprised at the sudden change.

“What is wrong with you?” He said moving towards her.

“Don’t come near me.” Ajoke shouted.

Akanbi laughed. “What will you do?”

Ajoke started sobbing. “Why would you do this to your friend’s wife? He trusted you.” She said as she picked up her underskirt from the floor and put it back on.

Ajoke’s tears shocked Akanbi and he stammered. “But…but…Ajoke, you also want this. I know you do. Your body longs for a man. Just once won’t hurt. No one will know, I promise you.” He said as he stepped forward and tried to touch her.

Ajoke knew she had failed her husband and she felt sorry. She shouldn’t have come here in the first place. She hit Akanbi’s hand away as she picked up her crying daughter, put her on her back while Akanbi watched confused.

“Ajoke, please don’t go. I will take care of you.” He said.

“I don’t need you to take care of me. I just want to know when my husband is coming back.” Ajoke cried.

“Your husband is never coming back.” Akanbi spat.

Ajoke looked at Akanbi with shock. “What did you say?” She asked as she held on to her son’s hand.

“You heard me. Adejoro is never coming back. He is dating someone else who he intends to get married to.”

Ajoke shook her head vigorously. “No, no, stop lying against my husband.”

“So why hasn’t he responded to your letter? Why hasn’t he told you anything about his return?”

Ajoke burst into tears as she carried her son, opened the door in a hurry and ran out of Akanbi’s house.

——-
The story continues…..

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