Tag Archives: romance story

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 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…..

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

The Wait – Chapter 8

Kokumo walked home dejected. The joy and happiness he had initially felt coming home had been stolen from him and he saw no reason to be home. He would have turned back to school if not that all his roommates would have also left the campus by now and locked the room. He just wanted to be alone to lick his wounds. He sauntered into his compound, taking out his own key to the padlock on their door. He opened the main door, dropped his travel bag on the floor in his room and flopped on the mattress. He had suddenly lost his appetite and also lost interest in everything. He knew his mother would still be at the market but he did not even look forward to seeing her. If only she had pushed him a little to take action the day she had the discussion about Ajoke with him. He sighed as he tossed on the mattress. The day took its toll on him and in a few minutes, he was snoring loudly.

 

Iya Kokumo arrived home to meet the padlock to the main door of their house open. Only Kokumo had a key to the door. Did that mean her son was home? She thought. She quickly dropped her basket of left-over fruits by the door and rushed to her son’s room. She saw him sprawled on the bed snoring loudly and smiled. Her son was home. She closed the door to his room quietly and went to the kitchen. He must be tired and hungry. She set to work as her hands moved in quick motions to prepare a meal for her son.

Kokumo woke up at about 7.30pm and heard the melodious voice of his mother as she sang praises to God in the kitchen. He stood up and stretched lazily. His tummy began to rumble announcing the arrival of hunger pangs. He walked to the kitchen to see his mother and to assist her with the food she was preparing.

“Ëkáalé màámi.” (Good evening, my mother). He greeted touching the floor in a half-prostrate.

Iya Kokumo turned round to look at her son as she smiled. “Kòkúmó, ömö mi. Káàbò. Báwò ni ilé-ìwé.” (Kokumo, my son. Welcome. How was school?)

“Daadaa ni mà. Mi ò mò pé ë ti dé lé láti öjà.” (It was good. I did not realize you had arrived from the market.)

Iya Kokumo returned to the amala she was preparing. “Èmi náà mö bê. Mo ri pé ó rè é gan.” (I know. I could see you were very tired.)

“Kínni ki n bá a yín se?” (What can I do for you?) Kokumo asked.

“Má yö ara ë lénu. Ìwö lö jòkó, ko ma wò ní tìë. Óúnjë ti fé jiná.” (Don’t bother yourself. Just go sit and watch. The food is almost ready.)

Kokumo picked up a small stool by a corner of the kitchen and sat down as he watched his mother. He was lost in thought that he did not realize when she finished the food and dished his meal into a bowl.

“Kokumo, Kokumo.” Iya Kokumo called.

Kokumo suddenly jerked up and looked at his mother. “Maami.”

Iya Kokumo dropped the bowl of amala and ewedu she was holding on the kitchen stool which served as her table and touched Kokumo on his forehead to feel for a temperature.

“Kílódé, ömö mi.” (What is wrong, my child?)

“Kò sí ìyönu màámi.” (There’s no problem, my mother).

Iya Kokumo looked at her son unconvinced. Kokumo noticing that his mother was getting worried, stood up from the low stool and picked up his meal.

“Ë jé ka lö jëun.” (Let us eat). He said to his mother. He needed to get himself together, he did not want his mother getting worried unnecessarily; he thought.

 

Kokumo refused to step out of his house for the next one week. His mother had expected him to visit his farm to see to what his workers were doing but he had no pleasure in that. She asked him every day what the problem was, but he continued to state that he was fine.

Two weeks after his arrival at home, he was sitting down with his mother outside the house when an old friend of his from secondary school passed by. His friend spotted him and his mother and walked up to them smiling. “Ah ah Kokumo!” Ajirebi said stressing his name. “Ojú ë rèé.” (Is this you?)

Kokumo stood up to hug his friend. “Ajirebi, long time. Where have you been?”

Ajirebi did a half-prostrate to greet Iya Kokumo. “Ëkú’ròlé mà.” (Good evening ma)

“Kú’ròlé Ajírébi. Àwön òbí rë n kó?” (Good evening Ajirebi. How are your folks?)

“Dáadáa ni wón wà mà.” (They are fine ma).

“Ìwo àti òyìnbó ë yìí.” (You and this your English). Ajirebi said as he looked at Kokumo. “You no dey tire.”

Kokumo laughed as he slapped his friend on the back. “Wetin you wan make I do? Make I no speak am again?”

Ajirebi suddenly pulled his friend by the arm. “Wetin happen to Ajoke? I hear say she don marry.”

Kokumo looked at his mother and noticed she was looking at both of them. Even though, she was not literate, she understood pidgin English.

“Yes, she should be married now.” Kokumo said looking away.

“Ah…ah, no be say both of you dey carry yourself for secondary school as husband and wife. Women!!!” Ajirebi lamented.

“It is not Ajoke’s fault.” Kokumo shouted at his friend.

Ajirebi looked at his friend, shock written on his face. “Wetin I talk?” He asked gesticulating with his hands.

Kokumo took a deep breath as he calmed down. “It is not her fault. Her father married her off against her will.”

“Hmm…” Ajirebi said as he squeezed his face. “I no no. Ah, the thing go pain you gan oh.” He continued as he bit his forefinger.

Iya Kokumo noticed her son was uncomfortable with the discussion with his friend and decided to step in.

“Ëìn Ajírébi, kí àwön òbí rë fún mi o.” (Ajirebi, send my regards to your folks). She turned to her son. “Óyá nínu ílé. Èyí ta se ní ìta ti tó.” (Let us go inside. We have had enough outside).

 

Kokumo obeyed his mother as he walked into the house without looking back to say good bye to his friend. He sat down and there was a look of misery on his face. His mother sat beside him as she walked into the house.

“Kòkúmó, ìdí tí gbogbo nkan ò se wùn é se mó leléyìí, àbí?” (This is the reason why nothing has been of importance to you anymore, right?)

Kokumo sighed as he looked at his mother.

“Sé o féràn ömö yën tó bè?” (Do you love her that much)?

Kokumo nodded his head unable to utter words.

“Mo dè sö fún ë nigba yën o. O ní pé àdéhùn tí èyin méjèjì jö ní nipé ë ma féra tí o bá ti se tán ní ilé-ìwé gíga.” (And I told you then; but you said it was the agreement between you both to get married after your university education).

Kokumo put his head in his palms. He did not want to be reminded about the mistake he had made. It still hurt and his heart was still tender and broken. Iya Kokumo noticed her son’s hurt and pulled him as she rested his head on her bosom. His mother’s action broke him and he groaned as he hid his face in her bosom and shed tears of hurt and pain; his body wracking with each sob. He had tried unsuccessfully to put the matter behind him; and right now, Ajirebi had brought it to the fore and reopened his wounds.

Iya Kokumo prayed for her son that evening that he would find his own wife when it was time. She also admonished him to put the love he had for Ajoke behind him and focus on his studies.

Kokumo went back to school a week later. The love he had for Ajoke could not easily be forgotten but he was going to make an effort. She was now married to another man and wishing things were different was only going to keep him depressed.

——
The story continues

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

The Wait – Chapter 6

Ajoke’s letter got delivered to Kokumo’s department a day before his exams were about to start. He was handed the letter by the departmental secretary. As he collected it, a smile played on his lips as he recognized Ajoke’s handwriting. He closed his eyes briefly and imagined being right by her side. He had missed her so much. He put the letter in his book folder and quickened his steps towards the hostel. He longed to read from her and he wanted to do it while relaxed. He knew she would have written to fill him on the happenings in her village and also gists about her friends.

As he hastened towards the hostel, he thought about when next to pay her a visit. Exams were scheduled to end in a month’s time and he looked forward to going home just to be with her. This time, he was going to take her home and make sure his mother accepted her. He was now a grown man and if he wasn’t in the University, he knew she would have been asking about his marriage plans.

He sauntered into his room, all his thoughts on his beloved. He took out the letter from the book folder and dropped the folder on his mattress which lay by a corner in the room. As he lay on the mattress, he tore the envelope carefully.  He took out the letter and began to read.

“My darling Kokumo,

How are you and school? I hope you are doing well.

I am writing this letter with so much pain because my father is marrying me off very soon. The man to whom I will be married to is coming for my mo mi mo o in two weeks’ time.

My eyes are filled with tears as I have no choice in this matter. I wish it did not have to be this way.

I don’t know what to do any longer. I am confused. I love you with all my heart.

See you whenever you come home.

Ajoke.”

 

Kokumo must have read the letter a thousand times but each time, he failed to understand what he had just read. Marrying her off? To who? Why? What about their plans to get married once he graduated? Then it hit him like a thunderbolt. Ajoke had mentioned during his last visit that she had overheard her parents discussing about getting her married. The moment it dawned on him, tears dropped down his cheeks. Ajoke, Ajoke, I can’t afford to lose you. He said to himself. God why? First, you took my father. Now, you want to take Ajoke away from me. He put the letter on his chest as he cried silently, hot tears making their way down his cheeks. Ajoke wasn’t the only one confused; he was as well. His exams were starting tomorrow and it did not make sense to go home now. Besides, from the date on the letter, the introduction had already been done. His mind was in disarray as he thought of what to do.

Throughout that evening, Kokumo could not concentrate. He knew he was meant to read for his paper the next day but every time he did, he saw the words in Ajoke’s letter dancing before his eyes. As much as he tried to get his mind off it, he kept on seeing the words; the man to whom I will be married to is coming for my moomi mo in two weeks’ time.

After a fruitless hour of not being able to concentrate, he decided to pack up his books and go to sleep. Maybe when he woke up, he would realize it was all a dream; and Ajoke would still be waiting for him to finish school and they could get married.

Kokumo woke up fitfully the next day. He could not remember how he slept or if he did at all. He kept on seeing Ajoke crying out to him for help. While she did, he stood afar with his arms folded and watched as she struggled with someone he couldn’t recognize. The person held her tightly by the hand and he made no attempt to rescue her. Her cries filled his ears calling him and pleading with him to save her from her captor but he shook his head, turned back and walked away.

As he was walking away, he saw his mother walking towards him. She pulled his ears as she got to him and repeated their last conversation over and over again.

“Sé bàbá ömö náà mò é?” (Does the girl’s father know you?)

“Rárá mà.” (No ma).

“Kí ló wá fi é lókàn balè pé to bá padà láti ilé ìwé gíga, o yì ma ba l’ómidan?” (What gives you the assurance that when you graduate from the University, she would still be single)?

“Àdéhùn t’émi àti è jö ní ni.” (That is the agreement between us).

“Ölórun á bá ë sé o.” (God will do it for you, I hope).

He sat up on his mattress and noticed that the tee-shirt he wore to bed clung to his body. The tee-shirt and his mattress were wet with sweat. He shook his head as he sighed deeply. What sort of nightmare did he just have? He would do anything within his power to rescue Ajoke from danger but why didn’t he do that in his dream. It made no sense to him. He loved her and would never allow anyone endanger her life. Who could have been holding on tightly to her? Was it her father or the man she was to be married to? Why had he made no attempt to save her from her captor? Instead, he had turned his back on her when she needed him most. The dream was all so confusing and he could not fathom what it meant.

To Love & to Hold 40

He stood up from his mattress and stretched. He looked at his other room mates who were still sound asleep. He needed to concentrate if he wasn’t going to fail his exams. He thought about responding to Ajoke’s letter but words were not enough to convey everything he had to say. He would rather see her in person and they could discuss their next line of action. Just give me three weeks and I will be with you, Ajoke. He said to no one.

He picked up his bucket and decided to get ready for the day ahead. As much as he loved Ajoke, he also wanted to make her proud and graduating with good grades was of utmost importance to him. Her friends who had gotten married had been given out in marriage to secondary school certificate holders and artisans. Just like Ajoke whose parents could not afford to send her to the University, most of them either could not afford to do so or did not see the importance of sending their daughters to a tertiary institution. Those who did not see the importance believed it was a waste of funds as she would eventually get married and be confined to taking care of her husband and her children.

Kokumo reckoned it would be a thing of pride when Ajoke stood in the midst of her friends to say she had gotten married to a graduate. She would become the envy of her friends just as his mother’s friends envied her in the market where she sold her fruits. She was no longer referred to as Iya Kokumo. She had been given a new name and was now called Iya Gradue. Even though, he had tried to correct them that he was still an undergraduate, it did not matter to them. The fact that he was even in the University had upgraded his status and that of his mother. He also wanted the same change of status for Ajoke and he was going to make sure he worked towards not just being a graduate but one that finished with good grades.

He walked towards the bathroom to take a shower. Once he was done, he sat down to read as he pushed the contents of Ajoke’s letter behind his mind. In three weeks, he would be done and if he needed to present himself to Ajoke’s father as the man who loved his daughter and wanted to get married to her, so be it.

——
The story continues…..

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

Omoshalewa – Episode 5

Two days later, Tunde decided to call Shalewa. She picked up on the second ring. “Hi dear.”

“Hi Tunde. How are you doing?”

“I’m good. And you?”

“I’m doing well.”

“I wanted to apologize about the other day. Introducing you to my grandma when you were not ready was not the right thing to do. I don’t want you to feel rushed. Please, I’m sorry.”

Does he really understand that it wasn’t about the introduction? I am never going to be ready. “It’s fine Tunde.” She said as she exhaled. “I’m glad I met her. She is still very strong and agile at her age.”

Tunde relaxed letting out a hearty laugh. “Yes, you are right. Do you know she arranges and rearranges her home by herself? She says she does it to keep her busy.”

Shalewa smiled. “I hope you call her from time to time. I’m sure she would love to talk to you every day if she could.”

“I try my bit. I know I don’t call her as often as I should.” Tunde was quiet for a few seconds. “Is my apology accepted?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks Shalewa. I appreciate this.”

“You are welcome.”

They talked about other random issues before putting an end to their call thirty minutes later.

********

The next four weeks went by smoothly; with Shalewa and Tunde visiting each other’s homes and having private dinners.

One night, Tunde decided to hang out with his friends in a night club. They took a table of four and threw banters at each other.

“Guy, wetin dey happen with your chic nau?” Segun said facing Tunde. He was sipping from a champagne flute and it was obvious he was beginning to get tipsy.

“Abeg leave Tunde with im chic oh. Billionaire daughter. I can imagine the headlines when they marry. Tunde, the business magnate gets married to billionaire Samuel’s daughter.” Chibuzor said as he raised up his right hand to dramatize.

“C’mon guys. But you know I love Shalewa. This is not about her father’s money.” Tunde said.

“Oh yeah! You really do?” Momoh said as he burst out in laughter.

“You guys should get serious for once.” Tunde said scolding his friends.

Chibuzor looked at the faces of his friends before bursting into laughter. “Serious? You think we are unserious?”

“That’s not what I mean. I need your support, that’s all I am asking for. I want to propose to her soon.”

“Hey congrats man. You caught a big fish.” Segun said as she stretched out his hand to shake Tunde.

Tunde shook his head. “Segun, I think you should slow down on the drinks. You have never been good with alcohol.”

“Who says?” Segun asked; his words beginning to get slurred.

“Anyway, let’s toast to Tunde’s proposal to billionaire daughter.” Chibuzor said as the other two raised their glasses.

Tunde refused to raise his glass but Momoh nudged him. “C’mon it’s your day. Let’s celebrate.”

********

It was a Saturday and Tunde’s thirty-fifth birthday. He had planned a small birthday party for himself; intending to celebrate the day with a few friends. His grandmother had woken him up with heartfelt prayers as she had gone on and on with blessings for his life, his fiancée and his business.

He stepped out of bed after her prayers and took a look at himself in the bedside mirror. At thirty-five, he had not done badly. His business was doing well, he lived in his own house and his relationship with Shalewa had been smooth the past few weeks. He took a quick shower before going downstairs to monitor the caterers who had started trooping in. They had been allowed in by his house-keeper and his dining table already looked busy with various chafing dishes. He smiled as he sauntered towards his music system and slotted in a jazz CD putting it on auto-repeat.

His friends arrived at about 1.00p.m and immediately made themselves comfortable with drinks. He warned them that there would be no alcohol as he did not want anyone to ruin his day. Even though, they kicked against the idea, they realized they had no choice and decided to make do with the mocktails served by the waiters.

Shalewa arrived 30 minutes later with her driver carrying a massive cake behind her. Tunde’s friends became green with envy as Shalewa gave Tunde a birthday kiss on his cheeks. Tunde had invited about two of Shalewa’s close friends and they also arrived a few minutes later.

With all guests present, the party got lively and everyone chatted, laughed, ate and drank. After about two hours into the party, Tunde strolled towards the music system and decided to change the CD playing to another. KC and Jojo’s “All my life” began to play, filling the house with their sonorous voices. He walked towards Shalewa where she sat chatting with her friends and asked for a dance. Shalewa was caught unawares and wondered what was going on but her friends urged her.

Tunde held Shalewa by the waist as he sang along to the music playing. As the music drew to a close, Tunde went down on one knee and brought out a small box from his jeans pocket. Shalewa was shocked and began to shake her head. Tunde opened the box to reveal a sparkling diamond ring. “Please marry me, Shalewa.” He said.

Shalewa was stunned as she looked at Tunde who was grinning from ear to ear; still on his knees awaiting her answer. Her friends cheered her on while Tunde’s friends were whistling. Shalewa closed the box in Tunde’s hands and his smile faded off immediately.

“Can we talk about this in your room?” Shalewa asked.

Everyone was shocked at the drama that has just happened. Tunde got up and he led Shalewa by the hand up the stairs to his room. He looked at his friends and signaled to them to continue the party.

 

Tunde shut the door to his room and rested his head on it. “What have I done to deserve this, Shalewa?”

Shalewa paced round the room unable to utter a word.

“Shalewa?” Tunde called; his voice more like a guttural sound.

She stopped pacing and stood before him. “I wasn’t expecting it. At least, not in front of everyone downstairs.”

Tunde raised his head to look at her. “They are my closest friends and two of your friends. There are no strangers down there.”

“You don’t get it, do you? I’m not ready for this.” Shalewa said in frustration.

“Shalewa, when would you be ready? When? I have never loved any woman the way I love you and I have never been hurt so much by any woman except you.”

“I’m sorry, Tunde. Please understand.” Shalewa said as she moved closer to Tunde.

Tunde shook his head in pity as he walked towards the massive bed in his room. “I am out of ideas of how to make you fall in love with me. We have been on this for about six months now and there has been no headway.”

Shalewa walked to the bed and knelt before Tunde. “I know my dad is behind the rush for our wedding. Why don’t we give it some time? Would you prefer I get married to you without loving you?”

Tunde took a deep breath as he held Shalewa’s hand. He cradled her face lovingly with his right hand and traced her lips with his fingers. Shalewa closed her eyes savouring the feel of his fingers on her lips. Tunde moved closer as he took her lips in his kissing her slowly but passionately. He pulled her up from her kneeling position as he continued to kiss her; the fire of passion steadily burning in him. Shalewa suddenly put her hands on his chest and pushed him back gently.

“I think I should leave now.” She said as she stood up and adjusted her dress.

Tunde closed his eyes and nodded his head. “I think so too. You can leave.”

“Are you sure you will be okay?” Shalewa asked.

“I’m fine.” Tunde answered; his eyes still closed.

Shalewa stretched her hand to touch him but changed her mind and dropped it immediately. She looked at herself in the mirror in his room, straightened out her hair and walked out.

 

As she walked down the stairs, her friends were smiling and winking at her. She sauntered towards them and informed them that she needed to leave. They were surprised but she lied that something came up in the office that needed her attention urgently.

After Shalewa’s unceremonious exit, Tunde’s friends waited expecting to see him return downstairs. After about ten minutes, his friends urged Momoh to go check on him in his room. Tunde was still seated at the same spot he was when Shalewa left the room. He had his head in his hands and did not hear Momoh walk in.

“Guy, it’s your birthday. What are you doing here alone?”

Tunde looked up at his friend and sighed. “I don’t know what to do to get her to love me.”

“Abeg leave mata for Martha. Don’t let that dampen your spirit.” “Who knows you may meet someone else tomorrow who will fall hopelessly in love with you?” Momoh said shrugging.

Tunde gave his friend a confused look.

“C’mon, you should not keep your guests waiting. Let’s get back to the party.” Momoh said as he pulled up his friend from the bed and patted his back.

********

As Shalewa eased into the back seat of her car, she asked the driver to take her straight to the office. She had nothing to do in the office but she needed to be alone. She threw her head backwards and closed her eyes. She hadn’t expected the kiss from Tunde but she had also not stopped him. He was good looking, caring and enterprising. He had proved to be better than all her previous boyfriends. Maybe she was being too hard on him. Maybe she could learn to love him.

As different thoughts filtered through her mind, she made a conscious decision to give him a chance.

——–

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