BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Copyright © Ufuomaee
The eBook is available to Patrons via books.ufuomaee.org.
After they’d made love a second time that afternoon, Erhuvwun rose from the bed, thinking they’d better make the most of the day before the darkness fell. But Amadi pulled her into him and held her close. He was enjoying their intimacy. He was enjoying her in a way he never knew he could…never knew he had been missing his whole life…
Erhuvwun relaxed as she cuddled in Amadi’s arms. Her body felt sensational, thoroughly relaxed and satisfied. She took in a deep breath as she stroked the dark hairs on his chest, lovingly. This was a very nice change to their relationship. She wondered if there could be more in store…
“You’re so gentle and soft-hearted… Why do you hide this part of you, Am…Sir?”
“You can call me Amadi, love…”
Erhuvwun smiled. “Amadi, love…”
Amadi chuckled. It was a strange sound that Erhuvwun had never heard come from his lips before. She looked into his eyes and joined him in giggling.
“People do not respect weakness,” he finally submitted.
“I don’t think it’s weakness…”
“Because you are a woman… A good woman.” Suddenly, his expression changed, as his eyes darkened. “Who was that boy that came for you?”
Boy? Oh, he meant Akpos. Well, compared to Amadi, twenty-year-old Akpos would be considered a boy. It probably didn’t help that Akpos had a babyface. Her own eyes darkened, as she felt a mix of emotions, partly guilt and shame, for how she’d forgotten all about him over the last few days, when he’d been all she’d thought about before. Had she really loved him?
She swallowed. “He’s an old…love,” she said eventually, looking into Amadi’s face. “He said he would marry me…but then went to the city and never returned until now.”
“Hmmm… I see. You wanted to marry him?” Erhuvwun just nodded, keeping her eyes on Amadi’s chiselled chest. “And now?” he asked, lifting her chin up with a finger.
“I’m happy,” she said softly. “With you…”
Amadi closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good. I want you to be happy…”
“But I miss home… I mean, father and the villagers…”
“Why do you isolate yourself from others? You make everyone afraid of you, when you’re such a sweet soul, Amadi.”
“It’s a long story, darling. For another day…” he said, his hands beginning to roam on her body, sensitizing her again, preparing her for another round of love-making. Who knew he had such an appetite?
Things improved after that for the young married couple, but Amadi still wouldn’t let Erhuvwun visit home. He told her that when the time was right, they’d go together, because it wasn’t right for a married woman to be going to her home all the time. Erhuvwun didn’t quite understand it, but she decided to trust him. He was taking care of them, and he denied her nothing else.
Now that her secret had been discovered, Erhuvwun and Amadi both enjoyed bathing in the stream together from time to time. Today, as they bathed, there came an intruder. Immediately, Amadi stood in front of his wife to protect her and cover her nakedness.
“Who goes there?” he asked, looking about, waiting for the intruder or intruders to announce themselves.
“Eguono, Sir… From Erhuvwun’s father,” said the young boy.
“And… What is it?”
“Father Onuoha is very ill, and he has requested his daughter’s presence by his sick bed.”
Erhuvwun gasped on hearing this news.
“Are you a liar?” Amadi interrogated. “Because I don’t take kindly to liars…”
“I am no liar, Sir. I’m just a messenger.”
“Tell Onuoha that his message has been received.”
And with that, Eguono departed, leaving the lovers with nothing but the sound of brushing leaves, rushing waves of water and the chirping of birds and other noisy creatures in the environment. Erhuvwun got out of the stream immediately and dressed quickly. Amadi finished rinsing off, before arising slowly from the water.
“Do not be distraught about this news of your father. I’m sure he’s well…”
“Still, I must go. Tonight.”
“You’re not going tonight.”
“Amadi! He is my father!”
“And I am your husband. Tomorrow, we will go…”
“At first light?”
“If you will…”
“Erhuvwun… My princess,” Onuoha called to his beloved daughter, who sat by his side, holding his hand.
“Father!” she cried. He had just woken up, though she’d arrived about an hour ago. “I’m here… What happened?”
Onuoha sat up slowly. “It is old age, my dear child. And loneliness. I miss you.”
“And I’ve missed you!” Erhuvwun smiled at her father, caressing his wrinkled hands. “The doctor said you’ve had a bad fever, which came on suddenly. Are you sure you didn’t eat bad food?”
“I’m not sure,” Onuoha said, and chuckled slightly. “You know, I’ve never been good at cooking…”
“It’s not funny, father! Aunty said you have been refusing her meals, preferring to drink.”
“Don’t mind her… She adds too much salt. How’s your husband?”
“He’s fine, father,” Erhuvwun said, with a small smile. “He’s here with me.”
“He is?” Onuoha was visibly surprised. He looked about for the younger man. When he didn’t see him, he added. “I’m surprised he let you come… How are things with you?”
“Things are good, father. He is good to me.”
“Did you hear otherwise…?”
“Akpos said that you were not well when he saw you…” Onuoha whispered. “You can tell me the truth, Erhuvwun.”
Erhuvwun shook her head, perplexed. “I am well. I just want you to feel better.” She leaned and kissed his forehead. Why would Akpos fill her father’s head with such anxious thoughts about her well-being? No wonder the man was sick with worry. She would have to have a word with him, if he was still around.
Amadi walked into the hut then. “It’s time we left.”
Erhuvwun was taken aback. Why was he demanding that she call him “Sir” again? Weren’t they over that? Was it because she was in the presence of others? She took in a deep breath. “Sir, my father needs me tonight. Please, let me stay and look after him. I need to be sure he’s well, and tomorrow…”
“Onuoha, old man,” Amadi greeted, arrogantly. “Please tell my wife you are fine, so we can go…”
In that moment, the old man began to convulse, silencing Amadi and stirring a panic in Erhuvwun. “Father!” she cried.
To be continued...
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