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Love, Lies and Murder – Part 2

Baba Ibeji knew that the exams ended two weeks ago because his twin sons also wrote the same exams. He had waited patiently for Shina to bring Mojirayo to him. Six weeks ago, he started buying trendy clothes, make-up and other fashion items. He had an idea of how he wanted his trophy wife to look. He moved his youngest wife from the room closest to his and gave her another room down the hall. Every day he went out, he came back with a new item which he put in the room and locked up. That was going to be Mojirayo’s room. She needed to be close to him. The other wives had lost steam and he needed someone fresh to make his blood boil and awake all his senses. His youngest wife did not understand what was going on but her seniors did. Was that not how they were also bounced to rooms down the hall when she took over?

 

Baba Ibeji had been reminiscing on his first night with Mojirayo. He had played the night over and over in his mind. He imagined Mojirayo was a virgin because he had never seen her with those riff-raffs who lived in his face to face apartments. It was like a dream come through when Shina approached him to seek for funds for her exams. This was his opportunity and he would be foolish to make it slip off his hands.

He went back home with Shina’s promise. He dared not refuse to fulfill it. They would be thrown out of his house before they even spelt Baba. He went to bed joyful. Tomorrow night would be the night. The night he had dreamt of the past six weeks.

 

Shina fulfilled his promise and took Mojirayo to Baba Ibeji’s house. Omowunmi prepared her daughter for the life of a married woman telling her never to reject her husband’s advances. She told her never to consider family planning as having many children would stamp her authority in her husband’s house and make her a woman to be reckoned with. She reminded her that she was the youngest wife and therefore, the favourite. She told her to make the best use of her status and better the life of her family as soon as she could. Mojirayo listened to her mother with a blank stare. She had been trained to be an obedient and responsible child and so she would remain for the sake of her family.

 

Mojirayo’s first night with Baba Ibeji was painful. Her mother told her not to reject his advances; she forgot to tell her that the result of those advances would hurt her. Baba Ibeji thought he was being careful with his new wife, he had forgotten that his calloused hands from years of working on the farm would graze her skin. He was too much in a hurry to take his wife whole as his excitement had built up immediately he touched Mojirayo’s full bosom and squeezed them as if he was milking a cow. He wondered why she insisted that he turned off the lights but it didn’t matter to him. She was standing right before him and she was all his for the taking. Mojirayo bit her lips till they bled as Baba Ibeji drove into her grunting and panting like a man on a race track and in two minutes, it was all over. Baba Ibeji was well endowed and he took pride in it. He lay on Mojirayo and she had to struggle to push him over. His mouth odour slapped her face when he asked her if she enjoyed it. Since the room was dark, he failed to notice that his new wife had tears on her cheeks. Mojirayo wiped her tears as she coughed a yes. The next three nights were visiting nights for Mojirayo. It was the same routine. Baba Ibeji’s grunting, his loud snores after and Mojirayo’s crying as she hurt all over her body. She however, endured the pains anytime she remembered her family’s living conditions. She was bent on not conceiving for Baba Ibeji and she used pills everyday which she kept at the bottom of her box.

 

In nine months, the fortune of her family changed. Her father got the Toyota Camry he wanted, her siblings changed schools and her mother changed her line of business. Even the room they lived in received an upgrade and her father rented another room; making their abode a room and a parlour. Things changed for the better for her family but Mojirayo lived in misery. Her senior wives also made life a living hell for her. She however received sympathy from Baba Ibeji’s twin sons. They had taken note of her immediately they arrived from a vacation at their cousins. Their father had sent them there two days before Mojirayo’s arrival and he had asked that they stayed there for about six months. They were just two years older than Mojirayo and they found it strange that their father had taken a young girl as a new wife. Their first three months at home, they had watched Mojirayo like an eagle would watch over her young chick. Taiwo noticed every move she made and soon began to take a liking to her and tried to make small talk with her while Kehinde, even though also liked Mojirayo was indifferent towards her.

Baba Ibeji’s elder kids lived on their own while the younger kids were in school, leaving the twins and Mojirayo alone at home during the day. The three wives all had businesses they ran while Mojirayo was confined to stay at home and be beautiful.

Over the next six months, Taiwo gradually became attached to Mojirayo. He knew Baba Ibeji must never find out about his dalliance with his wife, he therefore stayed in his room once his father returned from his farm.

************

One sunny afternoon, a friend of the twins decided to pay them a visit. Mojirayo was watching a movie in the living room. She stood up to open the door for him. Adeniyi was struck by Mojirayo’s beauty and for a few seconds, he was tongue-tied.

“Hello. How may I help you?” Mojirayo asked when she noticed the guy just stood before her like someone lost in a trance.

“Erm….I want to see Taiwo and Kehinde.” Adeniyi replied almost in a stammer.

“Okay, come in.” She said as she turned her back to lead him in while Adeniyi looked at her as if she was a newly acquired statue. Mojirayo called the twins out of their room and retreated into hers. Adeniyi continued to look at Mojirayo as she walked away. Taiwo sensing what was going and uncomfortable with the way his friend gawked at Mojirayo, slapped him on his hand.

“She’s taken.” Taiwo said angrily.

“By who?” Adeniyi asked as he rubbed his hand.

“Baba Ibeji.” Kehinde responded.

Adeniyi looked at them with shock. “How can your father take such a beauty away from young boys like me?”

“What did you come here for?” Taiwo asked getting irritated.

“Haha! I came to visit you nau. Am I not welcome in your house again?” Adeniyi asked.

Kehinde shrugged while Taiwo refused to give his friend an answer.

 

Forty-five minutes later, Adeniyi stood up to take his leave and Kehinde offered to walk him out. Kehinde also mentioned to Taiwo that he needed to get to the barbing salon down the road and would be back soon. As Adeniyi and Kehinde walked out, Taiwo stormed towards the rooms upstairs and banged on Mojirayo’s door.

“Why are you banging on my door?” Mojirayo asked as she opened the door.

“Next time, please don’t open the door for Adeniyi.”

Mojirayo looked at Taiwo confused. “I don’t understand.” She said as she walked into her room.

Taiwo followed after her and closed the door behind him. “I don’t like the way he was staring at you.”

Mojirayo raised her hands and shrugged. “So, how does that affect me? He is your friend.”

“He is not my friend. He is Kehinde’s friend.”

“Well, he asked after both of you. Was I supposed to tell him you weren’t home?”

“Just don’t let him in next time.” Taiwo said angrily.

“I don’t understand why you are getting angry. If you have a problem with him, why don’t you sort it out with him or your brother? Abeg, leave my room. I want to sleep.” Mojirayo said as she walked towards the door.

Taiwo was however faster than her. He held her back and grabbed her waist as he kissed her lips roughly. Mojirayo put her hands on his chest as she resisted him by pushing him back. She slapped him on the face but Taiwo was undeterred. He pulled Mojirayo into his arms and hugged her tightly. She initially tried to struggle out of his grip but relaxed when his arms became too strong for her.

“I’m your father’s wife.” Mojirayo said as she breathed heavily.

“I know but I am in love with you.” Taiwo said as he whispered into her ears. “And I know you have the same feelings for me but would deny it.”

He was right. Mojirayo had fallen in love with her husband’s son but it was unheard of. He was totally different from his father. With him, there was always something to talk about. They shared gists about school, watched the news together and sometimes discussed his plans to go to the university in a few months. She knew her education ended in his father’s house and that there was nothing she could do about it. She had been confined to Baba Ibeji’s house. Taiwo also showed her love and care every day. In Baba Ibeji’s books, those words took a different meaning.

Taiwo kissed the nape of her neck and Mojirayo melted in his arms. They kissed passionately and in an instant, Taiwo lifted her as he placed her on her bed gently and teased her sensitive spots with kisses. Mojirayo hugged him tightly as her body throbbed with passion. She had never felt this way and Taiwo had just given her a different definition of pleasure. She gave herself wholly to him and Taiwo proved he was a man.

As Taiwo stood up to get dressed, he kissed Mojirayo’s lips. “No one must find out about us including Kehinde.”

Mojirayo smiled as she nodded. Taiwo left Mojirayo’s room and entered into his just as Kehinde walked into the house.

——
The story continues…

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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

—————————————————- THE END —————————————————–

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The Wait – Chapter 19

The next session started a few weeks later. It was their final year and Enitan was bent on having Ajoke for keeps before she fell out of his reach. He started picking her up from home on days they had lectures and they drove to school together. They talked about various issues on their ride to and from school. He asked about her children’s father and she told him he was dead. As far as she was concerned, that is what he was to her. Dead! She told him about her salon and how she managed it together with her studies. Enitan got more impressed daily by her doggedness to succeed.

Gradually, he started getting involved in her children’s lives; having man-to-man talks with Adegbenro and seeking Adebola’s approval of his relationship with her mother. He should have had no reason to worry; they already liked him. He met Iya Ajoke when she came to stay with the kids so that Ajoke could prepare for her first semester exams. She had been happy that her daughter was finally going to pick up the pieces of her life. She and Baba Ajoke had regretted their actions in the past and this time, they were going to take a back seat and allow their daughter to chart the course of her life.

 

The first semester exams inched nearer as Enitan and Ajoke got closer by the day. They soon became inseparable and their classmates began to call them a couple. Most of them were not surprised at their relationship and even told them they deserved each other. They were given a short vacation after their exams and Enitan used it as his opportunity to get acquainted with Ajoke’s business. He gave her ideas on how to improve on her services and his idea brought a huge turn-out of clients to her salon.

The second semester began a few weeks later and a feverish feeling fell over most of the students. It was their final semester in school and a number of students had mixed feelings. The semester moved faster than expected and their final exams were soon at the corner. Enitan and Ajoke studied most evenings in Enitan’s house sharing and comparing notes and ideas. After long hours of studying, Enitan would order a quick take-out for dinner before dropping Ajoke at home.

Their results came out a few weeks after their exams and Ajoke and Enitan graduated with a first class. It had been a joyous day for both of them as they hugged each other; grateful that their hard work had paid off. Ajoke was happy that finally; she was a graduate and she was grateful to Kokumo for it. She sent him a text message informing him about her result and asked if he would not mind attending her graduation in school. He called her when he received her text message. He congratulated her and told her he was proud of her but declined attending her graduation. Ajoke had been at a loss for what to say. She had wanted him to be a part of her big day but he told her he was unable to make out time. Enitan was a few metres away from her; talking to his uncle and his wife as he gave them the good news and invited them to his graduation. She turned away as her eyes filled with tears.

 

The graduation ceremony took place a week later. Enitan and Ajoke were both given awards for the best graduating students in their department. Their score had been a tie and the Dean of their faculty had decided they both deserved it.

It was a joyous day for all the graduating students and they could all be seen taking pictures with friends and family. Ajoke had invited only her brother, Adisa for the ceremony. She smiled as Enitan took pictures of her and Adisa with her mobile phone. She was about to collect the phone from Enitan when someone tapped her lightly on her shoulder.

“Would you mind taking a picture with me on my phone?”

She turned around and gasped. She hugged Kokumo tightly as a child who had missed her mother would.

“You said you were not coming.” She said.

“I know but I thought long and hard about it and decided to make it.”

“This means so much to me.” Ajoke said smiling.

“I know.” Kokumo said as he brushed her cheeks lightly with his thumb.

Enitan stood uncomfortably as he watched the show of affection between the two.

“Enitan, meet Kokumo; my best friend from way back in secondary school.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan. “Kokumo, meet Enitan.” She said as she introduced them.

Enitan stretched out his hand to shake Kokumo. “Hi.”

“Hello.” Kokumo said as he took the extended hand. “Could you take a picture of us together?”

“Sure, why not?” Enitan replied. He took the phone from Kokumo and took a picture of him and Ajoke who was beaming with smiles as she put her hand around Kokumo.

Kokumo did not miss the look in Enitan’s eyes every time he looked at Ajoke and he thought it wise to make his visit a very short one. He congratulated both graduates and wished them success in their journey to Law school. Ajoke wanted to see him off to his car but he told her not to bother as he did not want her leaving her friend alone.

“Oh, his uncle is here. Let me see you off quickly.” She said. She turned to talk to Enitan but noticed he was already walking towards his uncle. Adisa was also seated with Enitan’s uncle and both of them seemed engrossed in a conversation.

“I told you.” Ajoke said as she turned back to Kokumo. They started walking towards Kokumo’s car which was parked a few metres away from the hall.

“He loves you. Please give him a chance.”

Ajoke turned to look at Enitan. He was talking to his uncle’s wife but she noticed for the first time that he wasn’t smiling. “You think so?”

“Yes Ajoke. It is very obvious.”

Ajoke exhaled. “I like him but I haven’t been able to forget about you and…..”

Kokumo stopped walking and looked at Ajoke. “You have to. You can’t bring your life to a standstill. You know I almost did not come here today simply because of this. I did not want to bring back memories which should stay buried.”

“I know and I’m trying. He is really sweet but I don’t want to hurt him.”

They got to Kokumo’s car and Ajoke rested on it.

“I have a family now. You should build yours with that young man. Open your heart to him. Live your life again and live it to the fullest. You deserve it.”

Tears filled Ajoke’s eyes as she thought about Kokumo’s words.

“Thank you.” She said as she hugged Kokumo.

“You are welcome.” Kokumo said hugging her back.

Kokumo eased into his car and started the engine. He smiled as he looked at her.

“I will never forget you, Kokumo and I will always love you.” Ajoke said as she placed her hand on her heart.

“You will always remain here.” Kokumo said as he tapped the left hand side of his chest.

Kokumo drove away and Ajoke stood there till his car disappeared in sight.

Ajoke sighed as she used her fingers to dab her eyes to stop the tears that were threatening to spill. When she gathered her emotions together, she walked back to the graduation venue looking out for Enitan.

His uncle, his aunt and Adisa were about leaving when she got there and she apologized for her time away.

“Oh, it’s fine. Enitan told us you were seeing off a friend that came for your graduation.” Enitan’s aunt said.

“Yes ma.”

“Should we expect to see you soon for a visit?”

“That depends on Enitan, ma.” Ajoke said as she looked at Enitan.

“Okay then. I hope to see her soon.” Enitan’s aunt said smiling as she turned to Enitan.

They all walked to the car park where Kokumo’s car had been parked a few minutes ago and Enitan’s uncle offered to drop Adisa where he could get a bus back home.

The trio eased into the car after congratulating Enitan and Ajoke again with hugs. Enitan’s uncle started the engine while Enitan and Ajoke stood and waved as the car drove away.

********

Ajoke noticed that Enitan was unusually quiet as he drove home. They had earlier agreed to have dinner on their graduation day.

“Are you okay, Enitan?” Ajoke asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Enitan said as he looked at her but his trademark smile was missing.

Enitan parked in front of his residence and eased out of the car without a word. Ajoke was confused as she eased out of the car and walked behind him.

He opened the door and slumped into the couch in the living room as he closed his eyes.

Ajoke stood before him wondering what the problem was. “Enitan, is something wrong? You have been unusually quiet.”

Enitan sat up and looked straight at Ajoke. “Maybe because you decided to disregard my feelings and flaunt your ex-boyfriend before me? Huh? Don’t you think that is enough to make me “unusually” quiet?” He said as he raised his hand to signify his quote.

Ajoke exhaled as she sat down beside him. “Kokumo and I were best friends in secondary school. We had plans for a future together but my parents gave me out in marriage while Kokumo was still in the university. My father wanted me to get married on time because he could not afford a university education. He felt my husband would send me to school. Kokumo and I were heart-broken but there was nothing we could do. I got married, had my kids and met Kokumo again ten years later. He asked why I hadn’t gone back to school and I told him I had a salon already. He reminded me of my dream to become a lawyer and encouraged me to go back to school.”

Ajoke paused as she held Enitan’s hands.

“He bought me the GCE form that same year with all the reading materials that I needed and also bought me the Jamb form the next year. He made sure I did not lack as he provided for me throughout the school sessions.”

“So why didn’t he get married to you?” Enitan asked, a confused look on his face.

“He had a fiancée he was committed to already. Letting him go still remains the most difficult decision I have ever taken. Not long after that, you asked to be my friend. At that point in my life, I was not interested in any man and I felt love was no longer worth it.”

“Do you still love him?”

Ajoke took a deep breath.

“I assume that means a yes. So what are you doing with me? Are you playing games with my heart?” Enitan asked as he stood up.

Ajoke could hear and feel his hurt and pain deeply etched in every word he spoke.

“No, Enitan.” She said as she stood up and walked towards him. “I would never do anything to hurt you. Kokumo told me it was obvious that you love me. He asked me to open my heart to you and receive the love you have for me.”

“How else am I meant to show my love for you, Ajoke?” Enitan asked in frustration.

Ajoke held Enitan’s hands as she embraced him. “I’m sorry. I did not want to hurt you.”

“I love you Ajoke. I always have since the day I set my eyes on you.” Enitan whispered into her ears. He kissed the nape of her neck and Ajoke shivered. He pulled her away from his body and cradled her face; tracing his finger on her lips. Ajoke looked at him and the only thing she saw in his eyes was love. He loved her and she was willing to give him a chance. She closed her eyes; it was time to let Kokumo go.

Enitan closed the space between them as he kissed her gently at first. She let out a sigh of surrender as Enitan took her lips and ravaged them in a passionate kiss.

——
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 15

Ajoke resumed in school weeks later to study law. She got a maid who helped her with the cleaning of the house, picked up her kids from school and made lunch for them, while they awaited Ajoke’s return in the evening. She visited her parents two days before she was to resume school and informed them that she had gotten admission into the university to read law. Her mother was excited while her father bowed his head in shame. He prayed for her and asked God to distinguish her in her studies.

Her first year in school went by smoothly. Kokumo was always to hand to assist her financially. Even though Ajoke began to kick against it, Kokumo did not relent. He told her the proceeds from her salon were not enough to sustain her family and education. He therefore transferred money into her account with his bank at the end of every month.

 

After Ajoke’s second semester exams in her third year, Kokumo called her and asked that she stopped by his house on her way home. She packed up her travel bag and flagged down a taxi to take her to Kokumo’s house. She had taken up a short term accommodation so she could concentrate on her exams. She had also gotten her mother to stay with the kids and the maid once she was writing exams. Kokumo met her at the door and planted a kiss on her lips. “I have missed you.” He said.

“You don’t know how much I have.” Ajoke replied.

Kokumo collected her travel bag from her and dropped it on the floor. He smiled as he held her hand. “Have you eaten?”

“Yes, I had lunch just before leaving school. So what’s up?” Ajoke asked as she sat down and made herself comfortable.

“Erm….I……I’m…..”Kokumo stammered as he avoided Ajoke’s eyes.

Ajoke looked at Kokumo. She was surprised he was at a loss of what to say. She scooted closer to him and held his hands. “Kokumo, what are you about to do?”

Kokumo took a deep breath.

“Is this something I need to be scared about?” Ajoke asked as she searched his face.

“I’m getting married.” Kokumo blurted out.

“You are what?” Ajoke screamed as she dropped his hands and stood up.

Kokumo looked at her. He knew it was going to be difficult but he had to tell her. The pressure from his mother had increased and Adunni was also beginning to feel that he wasn’t committed to her. She had visited him unannounced two weeks ago and asked him what his plans were. She had said she needed to know so she could move on. He asked her for time to think about it but Adunni had said she wanted an answer right away. She told him she knew he was seeing an old flame but she had decided to be quiet about it. She told him she wanted to know if he was going to get married to his old flame so she could move on instead of wasting her time with him.

Kokumo had been lost for words. He hadn’t imagined that Adunni would find out about Ajoke. He was more shocked that even though she had found out about his dalliance with her, she chose to remain silent. Adunni had a beautiful soul and he couldn’t afford to lose her. He was also in love with Ajoke but life had taken them through different paths. He could not have his cake and eat it at the same time. He needed to make a decision.

He closed his eyes as he thought about all the good times he had spent with Ajoke. He knew all that would make no meaning if her husband decided to come back home someday. Right there, he apologized to Adunni for his past attitude towards her and told her he was ready to take their relationship serious. The next weekend, he took her to see his mother. Iya Kokumo was overjoyed and treated Adunni like a queen. She asked her if she and Kokumo had picked a date for their wedding and Adunni had laughed.

Ajoke’s sobs brought Kokumo out of his reverie.  Ajoke wasn’t the only one heartbroken; he was as well. But he had decided to take what life had given him and make the best use of it. He needed to convince Ajoke to do the same. He stood up and walked towards her. Her back was turned to him and he prayed in his heart that she would listen to him.

“Ajoke, please don’t do this.” He said turning her by the shoulders to face him.

Ajoke’s body shook as she cried uncontrollably.

Kokumo took her in his arms and hugged her tight. “Ajoke, please stop crying.” He said.

“What….what….did….I….I ever do….do to deserve this?”

“Nothing my love. Absolutely nothing. Life has been unfair but we can’t continue to live in the mistakes of the past. Let go Ajoke and make the best use of what life has given you.” Kokumo said as he cupped her face in his hands.

“I love you Kokumo.”

“I know Ajoke. I have never stopped loving you too but we have to move on.”

“I don’t want to; can’t you understand?” Ajoke cried.

“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.”

Ajoke looked up at Kokumo as she broke down again into sobs. Kokumo held her and rocked her till her sobs subsided. Ajoke wiped her tears as she looked at him. “So this is it? Another goodbye from you just like you did years ago?”

Kokumo nodded sadly.

Ajoke sighed as she shook her head. She felt sorry for herself and wondered why she had to suffer so much for love. She raised her head and held Kokumo’s hands. “Thank you.” She said. She walked towards her handbag and was about picking it up when Kokumo reached her in two steps and held her up to face him. He kissed her passionately and Ajoke returned his kiss with the same passion. They ravaged each other’s lips desperately as they steadily built up and fanned the embers of passion in their bodies. Right there in Kokumo’s living room, he once again took Ajoke into the throes of passion as they both cried out and moaned in satisfaction and fulfillment.

 

Kokumo dropped Ajoke at home hours later. As she eased out of his car, she refused to look back to say goodbye to him as she did not want to break down again. Her mother and her kids welcomed her home and she faked a smile as she told her mother she needed to be alone. She lied that she was tired and stressed from her exams. Her mother urged her to take a bath and go to bed.

As Ajoke stepped under the shower and opened the tap, she burst into tears again as she hugged herself and cried. She walked out of the bathroom thirty minutes later and flopped on the bed. She hugged her pillow as the day took its toll on her. She slept off thinking about Kokumo, regretting the life she lived and thinking about the life she could have had but lost as a result of her parent’s choices.

—–
The story continues…

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

The Wait – Chapter 14

Ajoke filled the forms and handed them back to Kokumo two days after. He submitted them and she began to study in preparation for the forthcoming exams. Kokumo made it a duty to call her every morning and night. He also shopped for her children buying them clothes, shoes and toys befitting for their ages.

A week after Ajoke’s visit to the bank, Adunni called Kokumo. She wondered why she hadn’t heard from him and he told her he had been busy with work. “But you have always been busy, Lekan.” She said; calling him by his second name. He had dropped his first name after university and picked up his second name.

“Yeah, I know. I have had a lot on my plate in the last one week but I would make it up to you.”

“Hmm…..” Adunni said. “Are you coming over to my place this weekend or do you want me to come over?” She asked.

“No, no. Don’t come. I will come over.” He said quickly. He did not want to risk Ajoke meeting with Adunni just in case she decided to visit. Even though, she had not mentioned that she would see him that weekend, he preferred to play safe.

**********

Ajoke buried her head in her books for the next few months. She did not want to disappoint Kokumo so she put in extra hours of study staying up very late sometimes to read. Her exam date drew near and she became apprehensive. She hadn’t written an exam in ten years and she feared she may be incapable.

Two days before her exams were to start, Kokumo gave Ajoke a surprise visit at home during the weekend. She had been elated to see him and she introduced him to her children as her best friend. Her kids had laughed saying they did not realize adults also had best friends. During his visit, Ajoke voiced out her concerns about the exams to Kokumo. Kokumo laughed and told her he believed in her and that it did not matter that she hadn’t written an exam in years. He urged her on and Ajoke felt relieved talking to him.

While Ajoke wrote her exams, Kokumo frequented Ajoke’s home with dinner for the kids and Ajoke. On other occasions, he went to Ajoke’s house and prepared their meals. He made it a duty to keep the children engaged, sometimes taking them out while their mother studied. By the time Ajoke was through with her GCE exams, Kokumo had started discussing about the forthcoming Jamb registration. Kokumo purchased the Jamb form in the first quarter of the next year when it was released and Ajoke burnt the midnight candle again taking only a short breather.

 

By August of that year, Ajoke received her admission letter to study Law at the Lagos State University. She was overjoyed. She called Kokumo on her way out of the campus premises informing him about her letter. Kokumo told her it called for a celebration. He told her not to bother with dinner. After work, he drove to Ajoke’s house with dinner for the kids and a gift for Ajoke. The kids were excited seeing him and they thanked him for the dinner. He told the kids he was taking their mother out and that they would be back before their bedtime. The kids gave him the go-ahead. Ajoke smiled as she got dressed in the simple red gown which Kokumo had bought for her as a celebration gift. Even though she did not apply any make-up, she still looked beautiful.

 

Kokumo drove into town and took her to a bar where they were served finger food and mocktails. They made small talk over their meal after which Kokumo raised his glass and gave a toast to her future.

“I really can’t thank you enough, Kokumo. You have been more than a friend.”

Kokumo laughed. “Have you told your parents?”

Ajoke’s smile faded. “No, I haven’t. I will tell them at the right time.”

Kokumo held her hand on the table and looked at her straight in the face. “You are yet to forgive them.”

Ajoke removed her hand from Kokumo’s. “Let’s not spoil the night, please. I came to have fun with you, not to discuss about my relationship with them.”

Kokumo shrugged. “Okay. We would revisit this discussion some other time.”

Ajoke nodded and her demeanor changed as she started talking about her kids and their antics.

 

After dinner, Kokumo took Ajoke home. The kids were still awake and they asked their mum if she enjoyed her dinner. She responded in the affirmative as she looked at Kokumo lovingly. She asked Kokumo to wait so she could take her kids to bed. Kokumo nodded and sat in the living room. After Ajoke had put her kids to bed, she came back to the living room and sat beside Kokumo.

“Thank you for the dinner and the dress.” She said as she looked at him. “Thank you for everything. For believing in me.”

Kokumo rubbed his thumb on her cheeks. “Thank you for allowing me.”

Ajoke hugged Kokumo as she spoke; “You don’t know the extent of what you have done for me, Kokumo.” She said sighing.

“I may not know the extent but I have an idea.”

Ajoke eased away from Kokumo as she planted a kiss on his lips. Desire rose in Kokumo and he held Ajoke as she was about pulling away from him. He kissed her passionately and she responded. “You don’t know the extent of my love for you.” Kokumo whispered as he breathed into her neck. He eased back and cradled her face in his hands. Ajoke closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Kokumo closed the space between them again intent on making her forget her sorrows. He took her lips in his and both of them kissed with wild desire.

Kokumo stood up and lifted Ajoke from her feet as he nodded towards the rooms. Ajoke pointed towards the direction of her room. Kokumo walked towards the room, opened the door and locked it behind with Ajoke still in his arms. He dropped her gently on the bed as he teased her sensitive spots with kisses and undressed her. Ajoke shivered as a cold chill ran down her spine. She hurriedly undressed Kokumo and like a ravaging storm, they danced to the rhythm of their bodies delighting in the pleasure of the moment.

 

Ajoke woke up at about midnight and looked at Kokumo sleeping peacefully. There was a smile on his face. She sat at the edge of her bed and wondered. “What exactly am I doing with Kokumo? I have betrayed Adejoro again and I can’t seem to tear myself away from this temptation.” She sighed as she thought about how her life had panned out. She wouldn’t be in this mess if her parents hadn’t turned her life into a pawn on a chess board. She knew she should stay away from Kokumo but the more she thought about it, the more her heart broke. He was yet to mention having a girlfriend but she knew he had one. He had once ignored a call in her presence. A lady’s image had appeared on his phone while it rang. Even though, she had urged him to pick up the call, he had refused, saying he would call her later. For how long could they continue with this? She thought.

Kokumo opened his eyes and saw Ajoke staring at him. She almost felt as if he knew she watched him as he slept. He smiled as he pulled her down to lie beside him. He hugged her close as he kissed her cheeks. Ajoke tilted her head to look at him. “What exactly are we doing? Where are we going with this?”

Kokumo raised himself up and sighed. “I wish I knew Ajoke. I just want to be with you but sincerely I know it is not possible.”

“Why is it impossible?”

“You are still married, Ajoke. Don’t forget that.”

“You know I really hate it when you rub that in my face.” Ajoke said getting upset. “Married to who, please? A man who has abandoned me and my children?”

Kokumo pulled her closer to himself and held her. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I am just stating a fact. I know I am selfish for wanting you so badly but I can’t help it.”

“Do you realize how much I also want you?”

“I won’t deceive you Ajoke. We both long for each other but the circumstances in which we find ourselves is beyond our control. Let’s enjoy the moments and leave things as they are.” He said as he kissed her head.

“Okay.” Ajoke said resigning.

“School starts in a few weeks, right?”

“Yes. I should have started my search for a maid.”

“A live-in?”

Ajoke shook her head. “No, I don’t want a live-in.”

Kokumo and Ajoke talked about so many issues till the early hours of the morning when Kokumo got dressed and left at about 4.30a.m.

——
The story continues…

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

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The story continues…..

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