“How can you so easily believe him when he’s been lying to you all along?” Rowland demanded. “It’s easy for him to say anything now when Craig is not here to defend himself.”
“But I have told you to confront your cousin with all that I have said and hear what he has to say. Besides, if you wish to be honest yourself, you will admit that the things I have said are likely things Craig would do.” Sunny spoke calmly, his gaze still on Onyi. “Do you wish to call him up here and now?”
“Yes, we should do that. It might not suffice as a telephone conversation is not the right way to discuss matters such as this one, but I’m willing to take a chance.” Rowland brought out his phone.
“Don’t call him. There’s no need for that.” Onyi said and forced a smile on her face. “Um, thank you, Rowland for coming to tell me what you know and helping me out when I requested your help.”
“Onyi, you can’t trust him because he’s the one here and not Craig.”
“Actually, I should have trusted him because he’s the one here and not Craig. Let me ask you what I should have asked myself when you came to me, if Craig was innocent in all of this, why didn’t he come to me with the truth?”
“You know why he didn’t, Onyi. Sunny threatened to kill him if he did.”
“Sunny threatened him. Fine. But after he left Nigeria and was far from every supposed threat, why didn’t he contact me to warn me against Sunny? It’s been more than a year and he did nothing.” Onyi shook her head. “I should have asked myself this question. I should have thought through this before doing the things we did. I should have left what was in the past in the past and gone on with my life.”
“It’s enough, Rowland. We’ve done enough.” Again, that strained smile came on her face. “Thank you for everything. I appreciate your concern and help.”
“Onyi, Craig might be somewhat crooked in his ways, but he’s not evil. I don’t trust this story against him and you shouldn’t either. What about the note I saw?” Rowland swung accusing eyes on Sunny. “Why would you write something like that, instead making a call if it was all pretend?”
“Why would I send a note that would implicate me at all?” Sunny countered. “I tried to call him and it didn’t go through. Scared of what he might still want to do, and impatient, I sent someone with a note to him.”
“But he kept the note, and this must be for a reason.” Rowland argued.
“Of course, it was for a reason. He no doubt thought he could blackmail me with that note one day.”
“Gosh, you do enjoy maligning him, don’t you? But I won’t stand for it any longer.” With a hiss, Rowland punched his phone. “I’m calling him and telling him everything.”
“Rowland, stop.” Onyi tried to take his phone, but he shouldered away her hand.
“No, Onyi, this man can’t lie against my brother and get away with it.” He said, then put the phone on speaker. “I won’t just be the one hearing him this time, you will too.”
“Cut that call, Rowland.” Onyi ordered.
But the call was picked at that very moment.
“Hello, Row.” Craig’s voice unmistakably came through the line.
“Craig, I promise to give you full details later, but right now, I need you to tell Onyi what really happened between you and Sunny.” Rowland said.
There was a brief pause, then Craig asked in a surprised tone. “Tell Onyi? Is she there with you?”
“Yes, she is. After what you told me, I went to her with the truth upon my return and…”
“You did what?” Craig interrupted him. “You went to Onyi? Why? Did I ask you to do so?”
“Craig, Sunny threatened your life. He married Onyi under false pretenses. He lied to her and is here telling more lies against you.”
“What… Sunny is there? Is not just Onyi there, but Sunny too?” Now, Craig’s voice shook with shock.
“Yes. He said…”
“What did you do, Rowland? Who asked you to contact them, to do this? What was your business in any of this?”
“His business was that he thought he should defend his cousin. That is, of course, if you didn’t set him up to do this.” Smoothly, Sunny took the phone out of Rowland’s hand, setting it in front of him so he could be heard clearly. “You kept the note, you lied to your cousin and I am here wondering, to what end, Craig?”
“Sunny… hey, listen to me, Sunny. I didn’t send Rowland to Onyi. I didn’t ask him to do whatever it is he’s doing. I don’t even know what he’s doing.”
“He came to my wife with the so-called truth you told him and together, they made this elaborate plan to confront me with same truth.”
“You know, I’ve not congratulated you on your marriage to…”
“Cut out the bullshit, Craig. This is not a courtesy call. I told Onyi and your cousin everything but Rowland thinks I’m the liar and called so you can defend yourself. So, go ahead, defend yourself.”
There was a long pause and for a moment, Sunny expected him to cowardly end the call. But he didn’t.
“I didn’t send Rowland there and I never even told him about the note. Somehow, when he was helping move house, he found it and… well, I told him what suited me to tell him.” Craig sounded faintly nonchalant now. “Onyi is your wife and a wife should know her husband’s true nature, shouldn’t she? Look, I’m not looking to cause you trouble or take some kind of unwarranted cheap revenge. I said what I said to Row because I figured it’d end there and no one would be the wiser. My apologies if the guy tried to mess things up for you.”
“You can’t be saying that all Sunny said is the truth?” Rowland asked.
“Butt out of this, Row. It’s none of your damn business.”
“Craig, if it’s because he threatened you and you’re still afraid…”
“I said butt out of this, Rowland.” Craig snapped out. “I’m not afraid of Sunny. I’ve never been. He gave me money to leave Onyi alone and I took it because I needed the money and had no use for her. I told you that story because I’d earlier told the family a deal I made cleared which is how I got the money to move to SA. It was for my self-protection, not so for you to start nosing into what’s not your business.”
“Are you serious, Craig, or still trying to protect yourself?” There was only the faintest doubt left in Rowland’s voice.
A derisive snort was heard before Craig said. “Row, I just told you I’ve never been afraid of Sunny. He can’t do anything to me. You knowing me should know that. I got a chance to recover money I lost and I took it and walked. End of story.”
“I see. Well, I’m sorry I didn’t mind my own business, but you can be sure I’ll be doing so from now onwards.” Rowland held out his hand for his phone and ended the call once Sunny handed it over. “I’m sorry for my mistake, Onyi. And sorry to you, Sunny, that I interfered in your marriage and disrupted your home.”
Sunny only gave a nod, but Onyi said nothing to him.
After he left though, she said. “I am sorry, Sunny. I am so very sorry.”
“For what exactly, not trusting me, trying to make me think you were having an affair or saying that I deceived you into marrying me?” Before she could respond, he asked. “And why the charade? Why all the drama to make me think you were having an affair?”
“I wanted to punish you. I wanted to pay you back in some way before confronting you and then…”
“And then what?”
“Then I would leave you.”
“Ha.” It hurt. Oh, how it hurt so much. She didn’t trust him. She wanted to leave him. “Well, sorry your plan didn’t work out as you’d hoped, but you can still leave. Or maybe it is I who should leave since this is a room you hired for your payback game.”
And he walked out, his legs feeling heavier than they’d done when he walked into the room only less than an hour ago.