“Kenny, is she alright?” Jumoke asked on sighting him squatting down and talking to Toyin. He turned and saw her standing behind with a worried look.
“Yeah. Maybe you can join us, I want to drive down the Sheraton down town and buy her ice cream and…” Kehinde was still talking when she leaped in excitement and said.
“Alright!” She said, “let me go get my hand bag right away.” She said and immediately turned around and ran back into the house to get her hand bag and he shook his head and smiled at how excited she was because he asked her to join them.
“God please, deliver me from the hands of these women.” He prayed under his breath as he massaged Toyin’s hands. Soon, she came out from the house with her handbag, walking calculatingly to join them and they walked down to the place he parked his car.
Toyin entered the back seat while Jumoke sat the front seat with Kehinde at the driver’s seat and he drove down town in silence.
“Kenny, hope you have been communicating with Oba and your mother the queen?” Jumoke broke the silence and his heart skipped on hearing the question. His parents haven’t been happy with him since the last time he visited and told them about his intention to marry Sade.
He’s been trying to convince them that marrying a single mother will not bring him nor the kingdom any harm but they insisted that he must marry a woman who has never given birth, if possible a young virgin.
He decided to stop calling them in order to give them time and space to think over his decision and accept his choice of whom to marry but for over six months, his parents have not called him, and though he had missed them a lot and desperately longed to see and speak with them, he hardened his heart and refused to call or visit them.
Jumoke was from the same village with him and had visited him several times when they were dating, so she knew his parents and they also know her. His heart beat increased because the last time he spoke with his mother, the queen mentioned Jumoke’s name saying,
“What happened to Jumoke, that beautiful and respectful girl you were friending? Why not go ahead and marry her? Or is she married? She will make a good wife and she already knows our traditions since she is a daughter of the land, not one used and dumped girl from nowhere. ” his mother suggested while he was trying to make her see reason why he should be allowed to marry the woman after his heart.
“Did anything happen between Jumoke and my parents? I hope my mother did not go looking for Jumoke’s parents in order to initiate any relationship. Did my parents tell her that I have not been calling them because of their refusal to approve the woman I want to marry?” Several thoughts ran through Kehinde’s mind in less than thirty seconds.
“Uhm.. Jumo they are fine.” He said hurriedly, then continued almost immediately.
“Why did you ask?” He asked in order to get her to talk. He knew Jumoke was one person who is very open minded and doesn’t hide anything from him.
“Nothing.” She replied, then continued.
“The last time I traveled home, I visited them in the palace and…” She was still talking when Toyin shouted from behind.
“Bother Kehinde! bother Kehinde! I like that thing.” Toyin shouted, pointing at the spiderman toys a young man was selling across the road.
“You want spiderman?” he asked, his following the direction she was pointing at while he slowed down the car. Toyin nodded in the positive and he began to laugh.
” Toyin baby, You are a girl and you should be looking out for spider woman not spiderman.”
He teased her and Jumoke started laughing hard. The traffic light showed red ,and he marched the brakes, then called the guy selling the toys and like a competition, another guy selling the same toys started running towards his car overtaking the young man Kehinde called.
“Spiderman na seven hundred naira, but I go give it to you for five hundred naira.” The guy said breathing very fast and looking behind at the same time.
“Oga na me you call o” the other young man said on arrival.
“You no come in time na. See traffic don dey move.” Kehinde said and collected a pink coloured spiderman toy for Toyin, flipped out a five hundred naira note to the guy selling it and then marched the accelerator and drove off.
” Bother Kehinde, ese gan!” Toyin thanked him excitedly and hugged the spiderman toy tightly.
The church mummy left the room, leaving Sade to pray as long as she wanted and met a great number of visitors in the parlor.
“Ah! You people should forgive my manners o. Ministry sometimes makes us forget even ourselves..” She apologized and to the women while her eyes searched around for Kehinde.
“Temi, is daddy back from the meeting?” She asked his son thinking that Kehinde might probably be with her husband.
“No mum,” Temi replied removing his ear piece, then continued.
“Mum, aunty Jumoke came around o” he informed his mother.
“Wow! Jumoke my daughter. Where’s she?” She said excitedly, looking around to see her.
“I don’t know o, it seems she went somewhere with brother Kehinde and Toyin.” Temi replied casually and the church mummy looked at him in confusion.
“Jumoke went somewhere with brother Kehinde and Toyin? Do they know each other?” She asked but Temi didn’t respond as he put the ear piece back to his ears. The church mummy rolled her eyes in disapproval and said under her breathe.
“Where on earth did Kehinde go with Jumoke? Me I’m not calling anybody o.” She said and called brother Ayo to start the opening prayers for the birthday celebration.
They soon arrived at the Sheraton, walked into it and while he was making order for Toyin’s ice cream and snacks, he turned to Jumoke and asked her to order for whatever she likes but she politely refused.
“Thank you oma oba. Today is Toyin’s outing day, maybe you should make out time and take me out one of this days also, then I will say what I want to eat..” She said teasingly, looking into his eyes to know what his reaction would be.
Their eyes got lucked up in each other and Kehinde felt a slight sensation through his spines as he beheld the beauty in Jumoke’s eyes. Crazy thoughts swept across his mind as the scenes of his old acts with her came playing afresh. The Waiter packaged what was ordered for and brought it over to the counter but Kehinde and Jumoke didn’t hear nor noticed his presence as they stood there at the counter, lost in their gazes.
On seeing the chemical reactions between them, the waiter cleared his throats in a loud and naughty way that booted them back embarrassingly.
“Uhm.. Sorry, how much?” Kehinde asked, avoiding the waiter’s eyes as he rubbed his eyes with his fingers and scratched his head which was not itching him.
“Toyin, come over here!” Jumoke ran after Toyin who had started exploring the place by running around.
Kehinde quickly paid the waiter, collected the stuffs and walked up to meet Jumoke and Toyin at the exit door. He avoided her eyes not understanding what he was feeling inside as they entered the car and gave little Toyin the Sheraton bag in his hand before driving out of the mall…