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A Coward's quest for love by Akinwale Peace

A coward's quest for love by Akinwale Peace.

That is Oluyode, the only son of the hunter who fought at the war of Oluji. It was from there that the Baale of Otunka, the town of Oluyode's father decided to pay him well by rewarding him with his only daughter. Oluyode's father; Odewale, is such a respected man and was not expecting such gift from Baale because he knows how Baale treats his daughter. He was quite bothered and has no point of direction as a resolution to the thought that has birthed headache considering the matter. He sat on the mat in his small room. He looked up and down and glanced at the gong he used in fighting the war.
Suddenly, tears stream down his eye, he recalled the beginning of his strength during the war, when it was fierce as all soul gasp for breath, Kings watched over their crown. No one could guard another because the war wasn't guarded itself. It was a terrible and disastrous war!
Oderonke, Odewale's wife who she got married to, three decades ago, she gave birth after a decade and named the child Oluyode. He remembered how he often gaze at the moon with the smiles of his wife; making him feel at heaven, the reflection of her face on the river. It was at the war front that she fell by the sword of Ajaka, the heartless monster. He was the first to kill the most notorious King and that was why he was called a monster. He's hefty, he has a broad chest and a big armour. The death of Oderonke made Odewale more serious and thirsty for blood. He was so thirsty that he killed himself many times to feel how sweet death was when it killed his wife through Ajaka's sword. It was her death that made him strong, he fought like a wounded lion and defeated the King, they wanted to run away but his target was Ajaka. Little did Ajaka knew that the King has been killed since all heads and hands guard themselves, no other, so he has been fighting for his life and not the King nor the town they've pledged to.
Odewale ran to Ajaka and thrust his sword into his thigh, it got dawn on him as he fell, he felt the pain and found it hard to stand, his sword did a great work for him, his armour was his shield so he fought Odewale while he was dying from the least of his body as the sharpness of the sword led to an unbearable pain. He hit his sword to the ground and use his heavy armour, waving it around his head so that it will accidentally or fortunately make him freed of Odewale's terror, thinking that armour would hit him by his hand or hit the sword against him and thereafter weaken him, but Odewale later kicked him where the wound was bleeding as Ajaka cried. Odewale furiously draw Ajaka's sword and cut his head. The other warriors yelled as they carry their heads; the King's head and Ajaka's head, they carried it home to celebrate victory in their town.
Now, Baale wants to give him his only daughter, as a gift for winning. It's a must to receive the gift because no one rejects gift from a leader in the Otunka town. Odewale thought over it countless times with the memory of his wife still fresh in him. He called on his son and told him about the matter.

"Baami, don't you want to move on?
Do you think Maami will be happy with you if you reject this offer?
Baami, the fact here is that Baale is willingly willing his daughter to you and that is what every man wants in this town"
(Oluyode said as he lick his lips and smiled)
"Are you saying I should marry the girl?"

"Yes, Baami, marry the princess, she's not just a girl."

"You're not like your father, you're not like me!
What I see here is a set up from Baale and you seem not to use your professional reasoning to understand this kind of matter. I taught you how to get fishes yourself, not to collect fishes, so why are you talking like the men of the heathen?
Don't you know that what you'd never laboured for would soon become what will be take most of your sweat in the nearest morrow?
Listen Oluyode, I've made up my mind."

Odewale said and stood up to go to the Palace, Oluyode tried to restrain him but he was off motioned as his father ignored his cautioning hands.

Odewale went straight to Baale's compound.

"How dare you say such thing? Don't you know the norms and traditions of the land?
Don't push me to plan your banishment. It will only take me days to convince the people, you'll be sent on exile when the time is ripe".

"My thoughts doesn't tally with your thoughts, my Lord, I can't marry your daughter".
Odewale said, looking at his shoes.

"So you're rejecting the offer from me?"

"No my Lord, I'm not rejecting it".
He moved closer to Baale and mutter some words into his ears which Baale nod his head to and smile.

Come and take this man and follow him home with the horse, the white horse.
Tell Ajoke that he has found favour, tell the midwives to follow her to her new house and make necessary arrangements before sun sets by morrow."

Baale said.

Odewale left the Palace and rod on the white horse as ordered by Baale. When he got to his hut, he met Ajoke, Baale's daughter, waiting for him. Ajoke smiled as he saw the man in his fifties, smiling with his grinning teeth, he has a gap teeth so does Ajoke. Ajoke smiled unavoidably as it showed her dimples. Oluyode bite his lips from behind the hut where he'd been watching them.
The midwives arranged the room as it  suites Ajoke and Odewale. They retired to the hut at night and bid Oluyode an interesting tale with the moon as he carried his mat and made way to the hut near their hut. They have two huts now, Baale has made provision for a bigger hut since he's now an in-law to Baale. Ajoke smiled at Odewale and wink at him many times. Odewale looked at her and smiled.

"You know the sweetness and pride in this kind of situation is to look at the eyes and find the smiles that befits the night."
Ajoke adjusted her wrapper and moved close to Odewale, she laid on his chest and feel his heartbeat. Ajoke smiled.

"That was how it was pumping hard, galloping like the steps of an horse, it was a heavy war which I must win, I never knew I'll have a price but now, I did"
He smiled at Ajoke who was enjoying the warmth from his body as he was also tickling her long hair.

"I'm not married to you so I won't touch you."

She startle and looked at Odewale, she was shocked and attempted to speak.

"No! Let me tell you something, I'm too old and of no match good for you though the strength that I have. I know who worth you and that's why you are here."

"Does Baale knows about this?"
Ajoke asked with an anticipating reply to hee question.

"Let us not drag the matter, are you okay with it?
I'll still act like your husband but I will not touch you."
He lied down and slept on the mat.
Ajoke was quite engrossed in love so she couldn't bear it, she laid her head on his chest and sob till she was lost in her sleep.

The next day, the sun was so hot and the birds were fluttering their wings beneath the sky. She smiled as she saw Odewale behind the hut, looking at the river and throwing his hook and net into it. He bend to take the broom and sweep when an unknown hand flung around her. She looked up as the touch seem familiar, she smiled and looked at the eye. She was frightened and at the same time surprised.

"You know this is an abomination and you would be cursed if he knows about this."
Ajoke said, looking at his eyes.

"It's you that I'd longed for since I've known you, I want you. Can you tell him that you love another person?"
He said with his gentle voice sweetening her. She mutter beneath her breath and hid the smiles.

"He'll not be happy with this. Leave me alone!"

She removed his hands and went to Odewale who is still fishing with the hook and net in the river.

Oluyode took the broom which he'd hindered Ajoke to take, he swept the floor as he watches them play their two to tango with smiles beaming her face.
During the day, Oluyode pleaded with his father to save him from a shame as he seem running out of control.
"Baami, I think I'm loving Ajoke, her voice is such admiring that I can't forget thinking of her since I know she's now yours."

"Shut up, don't you know its a taboo to lie with the wife of ones father?"

"Baami, I'm ready to face the consequence if that is the matter. I'm ready to face the consequence, I want her and I will!"

He stood firm on his words and looked at his father in the eye.

"Baami, I told you to marry her and not defile Baale, you told me you don't have interest. The charm they used for you when you got to the Palace, that made you agree is now working on me too, I want to be with her, Baami, let me have this maiden in my chamber."

Odewale shook his head and gave a short smile. He left without saying a word. He went out to meet Ajoke who is sitting down with the Palace maids in the kitchen outside.

"I want to tell you something"
He said to Ajoke as Ajoke stood up to follow Odewale.

"I brought you home to be a wife to me, not my wife directly. I brought you home to marry my son. I don't have the intention of getting married twice and that's why I have to make plans for my only son. If you like him, make it known, maybe it will work out."

He didn't gave Ajoke a space to talk as he went out of the compound.
Ajoke told Oluyode that she tired and needs to rest, she also want to be alerted when Odewale comes around. Oluyode nodded in affirmation but wasn't far from her. Been well assured that she has fallen asleep, he entered into his father's chamber and saw the beautiful princess lying on the mat, his heart pant uneasily as he sat down near her. She gently place her head and his laps as he tickle her hair.

"I've for long searched for a lady to grace my chamber and make me a man, but I've not seen Lady as precious as a Lady I am with. Its a pity she never knew someone was dying for her love while she stayed with someone who needed not her love. I wish I could turn the to the twinkling star and make her love me. I wish she could wake up and walk me up to the kitchen while I kiss her neck, I wish we could hold hands together and watch the moon together, I just wish to look deep into her eyes and tell her I've found the horizon of her smiles that melts my heart."
He paused and look at her eyes. He missed her wink.

"Kokoro ife mih, nibo lo wa o, feel the way I do and let my soul rest. Ololufe, your love is killing me; let me be drunk with your affection and love not the feelings of love that has no reciprocal. Ajoke, I wish I can be as bold as this when you rise up at night, so that we'll watch the moon together and hold hands together, in love."
He looked into her eye and stop tickling her hairs when she found out that she's waking up. He was quite afraid as he made haste to stand up, he was held by a force, he felt the beads on her hands and his heart skipped a beat. He was short of words as he wore a remorseful look.
"Now you want to go?"
She said gently.

"I'm...I.. means.. I mean..." He began to stammer.

"Now you want to go after making my sleep full of dreams, dreams about you?"
She said calmly, saying the words, word by word.

"You want to leave me and pretend you never came to me?"

Oluyode ran outside as he began to sweat, his heartbeat was beating fast.

"How will I tell Baami, he would think I've betrayed him. Oh, my late Maami would be so furious with me!"
He panicked as he starts to pack his clothes into a wooden box, he wanted to run away.

"So you really want to run away, after making my heart overwhelmed with the sincere words you said, it reached my heart and now you want to act like nothing happened?"

Ajoke said from outside.

He carried his box and went out by the other side of the hut. He saw a guard there as he panicked.

"I'm in doom"
He mutter beneath his breath. He ran inside and try to pass through the main entrance. He saw Baale and his father with some Palace guards. He knelt down before them.

"Baami, I've been faithful to you all these years and I won't let a woman come in between us, Baami, I didn't touch her. Just let me go, I'll go for you two, I'll find love and bring her to you. Just let me go Baami."
He said to his father as he steal gazes at Baale.

"You're not like me. You are a coward!
Yesterday, I told Baale I won't marry her daughter but I'll see if my son loves her, that was why I brought her home if your hearts would beat the same way with the either of you. Now, you're running away after revealing your mind and making her thirst for your love."

He looked at Baale who nod affirmatively, Ajoke smiled and ran towards him, he flung herself at him and kiss him. He looked at her eye and made her smile.
Baale and Odewale went inside to drink palm wine while Oluyode took her to the river and played with her, running and holding hands together.
At night, they climbed the tree, Ajoke rested on his chest, she looked at his eye and slap him.

"So you really  wanted to run away? Naughty coward".
She laughed and ran round the tree, Oluyode caught up with her and hit her softly on her thigh, her leg was weak to move or stand, Oluyode slid across the grass as she fell on him and smiled.

The end.

Drop your comments. Thanks for reading.


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