(This story was inspired by a poem I wrote on hellopoetry four years ago or so.)
Labake, the Olori (queen), rose from the bed after frantically groping at the side of her husband’s bed with her hand and finding it empty once again much to her dismay. In fact, the bed was cold which meant that her husband hadn’t been in bed for a while now. Alarmed, she looked around the well-furnished room lit with oil lamps and called out for her husband, but she got no response. Thinking that he might have gone out to use the royal bathroom in the outer chamber, she started to rise from the bed to go seek him. Tying her wrapper properly under her armpits and above her young heavy breasts which only sagged a bit from their own weight, she grabbed a shawl, draped it over her shoulders, gently took an oil lamp in her hand, and was about going out in search of her husband, the king, when she almost bumped into him in the narrow corridor leading out into the living room.
“Kabiyesi!” She uttered, lifting the oil lamp a bit, so that she could be sure that he was indeed the one.
“Omolabake, where are you going to at this time of the night?” His soothing voice reached her, discarding her doubts.
“I was coming to look for you, olowoorimi. I woke up to find out that you were not in bed and I grew worried.” She explained.
“Do not be distressed dear wife. I only went out to take a leak.” He said, putting his arm around her plump shoulder and guiding her back into the bedroom. “I must have taken too much water with the evening meal. You know how peppery the soup you served me was and it caused me to fill my stomach with more than enough water than is needed.”
“Forgive me, your highness. I forget that you are not like my father who likes his food peppery enough to give the throat sores.”
“Never mind, Araba, you are a new wife and such errors are expected from new wives who are yet to know their husbands that well. With time, I’m however positive that you’ll get better.” He assured her.
Labake smiled. She felt so lucky. Who wouldn’t feel so lucky marrying such a wonderful man. Not only was he a king loved by his people, he was also the husband every maiden in town wished to have. Labake knew she was envied by every woman in the village, but unlike most of the other wanton ladies, she hadn’t flirted with the king nor charmed him like her enemies claimed, she had only been returning from the stream with her water pot perched on her head a few months back, when the king who had been taking his evening walk with his Otun (right-hand man) had run into her in the popular path that led to the stream. The king had suddenly developed a likeness for her after she had offered him a drink from her water pot to quench his afternoon taste, and she had been surprised when he had come to her father’s house the following week to seek her hand in marriage; and here she was now, the Queen of the whole Lagbedu land.
But there was a problem which bothered the young queen very much. Labake, had a feeling that the king had only married her as a trophy wife just to save face. She realised that although, he was eighteen years older than she was, which would have made her very young body desirable to other men at her young age, the king had refused to bed her ever since they had gotten married. All her attempts to get him to consummate the marriage had proven abortive. It had been four weeks now and the king kept giving various excuses of why he wouldn’t touch her just yet. In fact, there was a rumour in the village that the king disliked women because of his reluctance to marry for a long time. People said that the king who was in his late forties had only ended up marrying her because Otun had pressured him to do so in order to stop the rumours from getting worse and making him the ridicule of other kings in neighboring village who were beginning to doubt his potency.
The act of her husband’s disappearance was certainly not the first time it was happening. Labake had woken up on several occasions to find her husband gone from bed in the middle of the night when all mortal men should be sleeping, while the restless spirits and nocturnal animals roam the land. Labake had been so distressed that she had told her grieviances to the Yeye Oba (Queen Mother), and the aged woman, had implored her to bear with her son and be exercise a little more patience till her son was ready to perform his manly duties as a husband.
Now, that the king was back from the ‘supposed toilet’ he had gone to, he got into bed and lay down and she realized that he was panting a bit as if he had done some sort of exercise that had put him out of breath. She got in next to him on the bed and her hand sought his. She had been brought up in a society where women could not openly ask their husbands for sex, but instead show signs that they wanted their husbands to make love to them by lying on their sides and persistently pushing their buttocks towards him, groping his body with their hands or legs until he got the message and attended to their sexual needs. And when all that yielded no result, most women who were bold enough would simply throw their wrapper open so that he could feast his eyes and be compelled to make love to them.
Labake however took the king’s right hand placed it on her right breast. The king mumbled under his breath and tried to take his hand away but she held his hand put. “Olowo orimi, squeeze it na.” She cajoled.
“Labake, as a king, I’m bound to rise very early to offer the daily sacrifice to my ancestral gods before the first crow of the cock. You wouldn’t want me to miss it now, would you?” He complained.
“No, my husband but please have mercy on this helpless maiden.” She begged him. “Haven’t I be patient enough? It’s been four weeks now and yet I still remain a virgin under your own roof. We spend the night together but the most you do, is cuddle me. I want more than that, your highness. I want to know what it feels like to be a woman. Come into me and let me give you as much children as you want when my body is still yielding and supple. Your highness, words alone cannot explain how much I yearn for your touch. Dakun, make a woman out of me tonight, or am I not beautiful enough? Do I repel you?”
“Try to understand, Labake. Indeed, you are the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and there’s no disputing that…but-“
“Then why do you delay in consummating our Union? Why do you tarry?” She cut him short.
“Labake, my dear wife, I do not want to offend the gods lest I bring a curse upon my land. Do not put me between the rock and a hard place, please.”
“A curse? I do not understand, Kabiyesi.” She said, propping on an elbow on her side to face him.
“That’s because you are a woman. Women cannot understand things like this. Please be more patient and I shall give to you what you most desire. I swear on my late father’s grave.”
Labake was not ready to be dissuaded this time. If despite all her efforts and her husband would only continue to resist her, then the only solution was to take the bull by the horns this time. Without saying another word, she dug her hand into her husband’s wrapper till her hand came in contact with his phallus and much to her surprise, he was partially erected. He tried to push her hand away and in the mild struggle, her hand slipped off after a small squeeze which left her hand moist. Lifting her palm to look at it, she realized a whitish sticky substance and instantly, she knew that it was his semen. She might be a virgin but that had not stopped her mother from educating her about men some weeks to her marriage to the king. If there was semen in her husband’s dick then it meant that he had only just ejaculated a few minutes ago; after all, he wouldn’t have released just from mere holding his phallus for some seconds.
“Kabiyesi, what is this that I’m seeing?” She asked, stretching her open palm towards his face.
He pushed her hand away now as his countenance changed to that of anger now. “So you have grown wings, eh Labake? You now have the guts to go against my wish by grabbing my member, abi? Is this how you were raised by your parents? To go grabbing men’s members anyhow?!” Then he stuck out his index finger at her in a warning. “Now, listen to me woman! Let this be the first and last time this ever happens! If you try this disrespectful nonsense again, I shall have you sleep alone for six moons and ban you from preparing my meals!” Finishing the warning with a hiss, he angrily turned on his side, turning his back to her, fuming.
Dumbfounded, Labake could only stare at his back in shock. So many things was running through her mind now. Was Kabiyesi cheating on her? Yes, she knew that the king was liable to marry as many wives as he wished, but not only was their marriage a month old and still very fresh, he had also refused to consummate it. Who could Kabiyesi be sleeping with? Who was that unfortunate woman who would dare try to take her sexual rights from her? Who was that woman whom Kabiyesi found more appealing than she was? Who was that woman who could easily compel her husband to make love to her? Was it one of the maid servants? Or did Kabiyesi have a secret lover no one knew about? If Kabiyesi wanted sex, he could have simply just asked for it! Why would he sneak out to relieve himself with another woman when a ripe virgin shared his very bed with him?
The questions kept coming but Labake had no answers to them. She thought of leaving the room to go lay her complaints to the Queen mother, but she was skeptical about how her husband would take it if he found out that she had reported him to his mother and had also disturbed her sleep. What if he got so angry and sent her packing to her father’s house, then she would be a laughing stock in the entire village. Labake was not ready to lose her place as a queen, not this soon, especially when she had only started to enjoy royalty. Deciding to uncover this mystery about her husband’s lover, she lay on the bed on her back, entwined her fingers on her belly and thought into the night by staring into the dark ceiling until she fell asleep.
To be continued
© Angela Okoduwa