“I can’t tell you the details of what is going on but I’m sure that you can tell that something is wrong with your husband…”
“You said you would tell me everything!”
“I am under an oath! I can’t tell you everything.”
“So, Adegbola is impotent.”
Adeyimika didn’t say anything but she could tell from the look on his face that she was right. She started to cry again.
“Stop crying! Look I’ve told you what can happen and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you!”
She stopped crying and wiped her eyes. “Did you deflower me?”
“Ah!!!” she started to cry yet again.
“Folasade! Do you want to die?! I said you should stop crying!”
“You have cheated me! You have cheated me!”
“Oh!!! I said you should calm down!” he snapped at her. “This is going to turn out for your good. Let me explain.”
“Alright,” she kept quiet. “I’m listening.”
“Do you like the life you’re now living as a rich man’s wife?” he asked.
“Do you want to return to your former state of poverty?”
She shook her head.
“Good. I have a plan to make sure that you enjoy the rest of your life. You know my brother is entitled to most of my father’s property?”
Folasade looked at him with rapt attention.
“Well, all of my father’s property can be ours.”
“You will not like it but it has to be done. We have to kill my brother and then my father so that we can be in charge of all the property.”
Folasade’s mouth was agape.
“Close your mouth and think! The both of us are their slaves, we have to do whatever they tell us to do unless we do this. Do you think that Adegbola would not kill me after you have given birth to all the children he wants? Do you want the father of your children to be killed like a chicken?” he asked.
She gasped. “I can’t conspire to kill someone…”
“Do you think he won’t kill you? What do you think happened to Mowunmi? If he could deceive you like this, do you think he can’t kill you?”
Folasade was still in shock over what she had just discovered. Being asked to be part of an assassination was more than she could take.
“Go! Please go!”
“You want me to…”
“Go! Just go away!”
“Alright, I understand that you’re still angry and you should be angry, but please don’t let him know that you know! Do you hear me? I love you too much!”
Folasade didn’t respond. After he had gone, she thought about what she had just heard and continued to cry until she heard he window being opened. Then she lay still and pretended to be fast asleep.
Adegbola lay beside her, too angry to notice her swollen eyes.
Early the next morning, when Agbeniyi had been revived, the king came into the room where he was being held and conversed with him privately.
“Kabiyesi please, don’t send me back to that prison. I will be your slave in this palace, please just don’t send me back. He will kill me!”
The king looked intently at Agbeniyi and decided that he was going to save him. The man had shown so much dignity and honor in protecting his family that he thought it worthy of commendation.
“You have to sell that land…”
“Ah Kabiyesi, I know you are my ruler and the second-in-command to Eledumare but please, I implore you not to insist on this. It is poverty that has led me to this point, why would I leave my children to a fate worse than mine when I sell off their inheritance?”
“But you have to pay Adegoke.”
“Let me go and borrow from someone else then. I will do whatever it takes to protect my children!”
The king leaned back and stared at Agbeniyi, weary but still fighting for his children.
“Hmm…” he sighed and got up. “We will come to an agreement. I will pay your debt but you must tell everyone, especially Adegoke, that you borrowed from someone else. Do you understand?”
“Kabiyesi! You will pay my debt?!”
“Yes, but you will pay it back. Do you understand me?”
“I will call your wife so that you can both plan it.”
“Thank you Kabiyesi…”
“You will be here in the meantime.’
When Ajadi got to Omolere’s house and saw Mowunmi busy stringing beads, he was impressed by her hardwork. She was never idle.
“Good day…” he said tentatively as she turned to face him. “Is my friend at home?”
“Yes he is, I’ll go and call him.”
Adunni came out shortly after and greeted him.
“Have you come to see your wife?”
“Which wife? Oh, you mean Mowunmi?” He laughed mirthlessly. “She’s not interested in me and she has said so plainly.”
“So you’re just going to give up?”
Ajadi scratched his head. “It’s not that I‘m giving up… It’s just like I told my friend, I don’t like being ridiculed and the last time we talked…”He shook his head sadly. “…she ridiculed me”
“I don’t know what she said, but I know that she is a good woman. Don’t give up on her, she will make you very happy if you capture her heart.”
“How can I love someone who doesn’t want to be loved?”
“There’s nobody who doesn’t want to be loved. She just needs to be persuaded to let love in. I know you’re a wise man. You will find a way to persuade her.”
Mowunmi retuned just then.
“Mowunmi, please give our guest something to drink.” Adunni said and went back in.
As she handed a calabash full of water to Ajadi, their fingers touched slightly. Ajadi looked at Mowunmi but she looked away.
Adegbola was still in a foul mood when he got to his farm the next day. His slaves wondered what could have made him so angry and avoided him as much as possible. Later in the day, Oni arrived and found him under an orange tree, stabbing the earth with his cutlass.
“Adegbola? Ah ah what is it?”
He looked up and looked away, continuing his assault on the ground.
“What do you want Oni?”
“What is it? Why are you in such a mood?”
“I’m not in the mood to talk.”
“Alright, if you won’t talk, I’m here to talk. I want to ask Ajoke to marry me, and I want you to follow me to her parent’s house in two days’ time.”
“I‘ve heard you.” He replied flatly.
“Adegbola, did you hear what I said?”
“I heard you.”
“And you don’t have anything to say?”
“No I don’t.”
Oni shook his head angrily. “I guess whatever is wrong with you is wrong with your wife. The two of you are right for each other!” he hissed and got up.
Adegbola wondered what he was talking about and where he had seen his wife in a bad mood but he was too proud to ask him about it.
Mowunmi was on her way back from the farm when her basket came apart.
“Ah!” she cried in frustration. She had a long way to go and eight large tubers of yam to carry. Wondering what she could do, she put her hands on her waist and looked in the direction she had come from, hoping that someone could be of help to her.
“Mowunmi.” It was Ajadi. “What happened?”
“My basket came apart just now.”
“Take mine then.” He began to place the yams in the basket.
“No! What are you going to use? I can see that you’re going to the farm as well.”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“But how are you going to carry your own yams?”
“Let me help you to carry it on your head.” He replied, dismissing her question.
As soon as he helped her to carry it on her head, he turned to leave.
He nodded and walked away, leaving her staring after him.
Folasade found her way to her mother’s house the next morning and told her all that had happened.
“Ehn?” she cried angrily, removed her scarf from her head and tied it around her waist. “Do they think that we will be silent like Agbeniyi was? I will disgrace them in this village and everybody will know what they have done to my child. Let us go to the farm now and tell your father.”
Folasade was happy about her mother’s response, she wanted Adegbola and his family to suffer for what they had done to her. It never occurred to her that her family was poor, what mattered was that she wanted justice. But as her mother started to close the door, she suddenly started to feel queasy.
“What is wrong?” her mother asked.
She retched and held her mouth, then she dashed to the nearby bush and threw up her breakfast. Abeni watched her daughter in surprise, then got her some water to wash her hands, face and mouth.
“Folasade,” she said to her. “When last did you see your monthly period?”
“Maami…!” she shook her head.
“You are pregnant. Let us go and sit down.”