Chidi was amazed. He had seen this guy’s picture on Veronica’s phone many times. The first time he asked who he was, she responded dismissively that he was a supplier of some of the accessories she sold. This same dude always called at odd hours at night and he had noticed she always switched her conversation to Yoruba language whenever he called.

God Lord! What a fool I’ve been, he thought miserably. I trusted this bitch absolutely against my better judgment.

He wasn’t the prying type but the few times he did, he always came up with shocking discoveries. He remembered the first incident he was exposed to. She had come back from one of her numerous shopping trips for her merchandize. He had wanted to make a call but didn’t have credit so she pointed her phone to him. He had tried the number several times but there was no response so he decided to send a text instead.

Scrolling to “compose message”, he stumbled on a text she had composed but was yet to send. It read;

“Thanks darling. My stomach still hurts a bit but I’ll be fine. I miss you too.”

A bomb went off inside his head. He went through her inbox, sent items and drafts and what he saw confounded him. To be sure he wasn’t over reacting, he called the number with her phone and a male voice said;

“Hello baby…” He hung up immediately, his heart pounding so hard that he could barely breathe. She entered the room from the general kitchen where she had been cooking and he suspected she sensed immediately that something was wrong.

“Baby, where you able to reach the person?” She asked innocently.

“No.” He said tightly.

When she saw the phone in his hand, an expression of fear jumped into her eyes but it was quickly gone but he saw it.

“I need to call Mary sef. She’ll be wondering why I haven’t call her yet.” She said casually but fidgeting nervously.

“Can I have my phone?” She asked.

Chidi didn’t answer but kept staring at her. He finally handed her the phone without a word, got up from the bed and got dressed.

“Where are you going? The food is ready.” She said, still play-acting.

“I’m not hungry.” He said harshly.

He watched her look at the phone and gasp. He had left the draft for her to see.

“Baby, I can explain…” She started with a cuddly, baby expression on her face but he cut her short.

“Of course, you can. Let me give you time to think of what lie to tell me.” He had said as he stormed out of the room in anger.

“Baby, please…” She pleaded holding his arm but he shrugged her away roughly.

“Don’t touch me!” He shouted. With that, he was gone.

After not a few sticks of Benson & Hedges and a few bottles with a couple of friends, he calmed down somewhat. He had gone back to the room they shared a few minutes past 12am . As soon as he got inside, she jumped from the bed and knelt down, holding his legs with tears in her eyes.

“Baby, please let me explain.” She cried.

“I’m listening. Go on.” He said nonchalantly. She went on to tell him a tale about how one of the guys she bought stuff from at cheap prices had been asking her out for a while and she had constantly rebuffed him but she didn’t want to ruin the business relationship they had so she allowed him take her out, blah, blah, blah.

By the time she was done with her cock and bull story, he said nothing and headed straight to bed. Somehow, he let that slide but he became aware that trusting her could be dangerous especially as he couldn’t monitor her. Still, he loved her anyway.

The second time was about less than a year later. This time, he had raw evidence. He had stumbled on her email on his laptop after she failed to sign out after using it. Out of curiosity, he scrolled to her sent items and there it was again! She had sent a photo of her breasts to another guy, a Nigerian who was an American soldier based in the US. His shock as he read the trail of emails between her and this Adebayo could not be quantified.

She had even gone as far as meeting the guy’s family and had taken photos with them. He broke up with her immediately and didn’t have to tell her to get her stuff and leave before she did.

It took almost a year for him to get over that after she sent emissary after emissary to plead on her behalf, including her mother he’d never met at that time and her elder brother whom he’d met once. He took her back because he still loved her but he warned himself that she was no wife material and a third time would be the deal breaker.

Looking at Wale now, he couldn’t begin to imagine the lies she had told this guy about him as well. He snickered at the thought.

“She told me the person who stays here is her cousin. I didn’t expect it to be you” Wale was saying looking rather confused.

“Wow! This girl is something else!! I’m a cousin?” Chidi exclaimed, laughing so hard.

“Yes. I’ve dropped her off here a couple of times.” He said in dismay.

“She told me you were a business partner of hers.” Chidi said, still laughing.

“A what?!” Wale exclaimed visibly shaken.

“A business partner.” Chidi repeated with laughter.

Wale took off his face cap and scratched his head in disbelief. He couldn’t believe what was happening. A business partner?! Hell, I am her sponsor!!! He looked at Maxwell and felt a bit intimidated by his size and more intimidated by the tales Veronica had told him about this guy.

Veronica had practically idolized this guy. She told him Maxwell stayed in VGC; that Maxwell has once bought her a brand new Gulf 4 to beg her to come back to him which she refused; that Maxwell had professional assassins as friends; that Maxwell had always wanted to find out his identity so that he could do away with him; that Maxwell was going to kill him for snatching him away from him…what didn’t she say about this guy! She had practically used this guy to put the fear of God in him. He had been scared that after the events of last night, his life was in danger.

“You’re the one with her phone?” Chidi asked, breaking into his thoughts.

Wale stopped short. “Are you the guy I spoke to on the phone a while ago?”

“Yeah.” Chidi said, folding his arms and leaning on Wale’s car. Today was turning out to be a day of revelations.

“Are you the one who bought the phone for her?” Wale asked.

“Me?” Chidi asked, rather surprised. “No. Why?”

“She told me Maxwell bought the phone for her.” He said, a bit relieved.

“Back up a minute.” Chidi exclaimed, holding up his hand. “I’m missing something here. I’m Maxwell but I certainly didn’t buy her the phone she uses. When did she tell you this and how did you come by her phone?”

Wale sighed miserably. “It’s a long story.”

“Well, pray tell. I’ve got all the time in the world.” Chidi said patiently.

“Hmmm. Na wa oh.” Emeka exclaimed suddenly, totally stunned. He had watched the exchange between Wale and this “cousin” of Veronica and the story unfolding was nothing he ever expected in his wildest dreams.

The events of the evening had left Wale a broken man. He had been surprised when Wale bolted out on him last night while they were having drinks at the bar. When he saw Wale at his gate early this morning, looking devastated, he knew something was seriously wrong. When Wale finally calmed down and explained what happened, he was so shocked that he could barely speak for some time.

This evening again, it was an entirely different story!

He knew there was something off about Veronica whom he knew quite well having met her several times but he never could put his finger to it. This right here was epic! How could one so angelic be so demonic?

He looked at his dejected friend and felt pity for him. He knew better than anybody how crazy Wale was about Veronica. He had gone through all sorts because of the girl. He had major disagreements with his mother and siblings over this same girl. He even went as far as moving out of the family house to rent a place for her sake only to experience this!

Women are devils sha, he thought. He had had own his fair share of experience in that department but it didn’t compare to this at all!

This Maxwell guy seemed amused the whole time. He probably didn’t understand the gravity of what was going on here. How could he? He probably was just there for the ride, feeding off Wale’s investment. Still, he sort of liked the guy.

“Do you have any idea where Veronica is now?” He asked.

“She said she was coming over this evening but wanted to pick up her phone first.” Chidi volunteered. “By the way, did she tell you she was robbed last night?” He asked Wale.

“Robbed ke? Ha! This girl has killed me!” Wale wailed.

“What do you mean? How then did you get her phone?” Chidi asked surprised.

“Let’s just find her first.” Emeka said, cutting in. “Wale will tell you on the way.”

“Huh? Find her? Now, why will I want to do that? You can tell me right here.” Chidi said to Wale. “I’m not moving an inch till I get some answers. Besides, where do you think you’re going to find her.”

“Her house. Where else?” Emeka answered incredulously. “Her people know you, don’t they?” He said to Wale.

“I know her brothers.” Wale said.

“Oh, so you do too?” Chidi asked quite surprised. “Wow!” He muttered. “This just keeps getting better and better.”

“The question is do they know you?” Emeka asked pointedly at Chidi.

“Of course!” Chidi responded sharply, almost offended. “How won’t they know me?”

“No offence bros. Na question I dey ask.” Emeka said apologetically.

“None taken. It’s just a ridiculous question is all.” Chidi said lightly.

“Ok, so what do we do now?” Emeka asked, beginning to get impatient.

“Calm down. I’m yet to understand how Wale got her phone when she told me she was robbed.” Chidi insisted.

“Ok, I’ll tell you.” Wale said, sighing heavily.