Charles has never been so wowed in his life, in all his years as an actor, nothing or rather no one had ever captivated him as Titi.
He knew from the very first day he met her at the party that she was indeed a rare breed, a precious gem and an outstanding young lady. He still remembered the dress she wore, the little black dress that made her stand out from all the other ladies. He knew right from that day that she'd forever hold a special place in his heart. But unfortunately for him she was smitten by Jerry and he bowed out of the scene respectfully. He had wanted to make his intentions known but held back because she was already into Jerry.
Jerry turned out to be nothing but a lying cheat and he played with Titi like a doll, which Charles could not stand. Ever since that incident at Chioma and Chike's wedding he'd made a promise to always support her, take care of her and make sure she never lacks love and attention. That night was not easy for him, it took all the will power and mental strength he had for him not have touched her. God knows he wanted her so bad, he wanted to hold her and cuddle her, rock her back and forth until she fell asleep in his arms and he'd make sweet passionate love to her in the morning, bring her breakfast in bed and spoil her silly. All to reassure her that there are still some good guys out there and he's one of them.
Charles knew he's in a bit of a pickle, here he is, in love with the most beautiful and talented lady in the world and he cannot have her. She doesn't need a man now, which would be the least of her worries now. After coming out of a hurtful relationship, he doubts if she would have the time and strength to get involved with another guy. Besides, she doesn't have feelings for him, she has never expressed any romantic gesture towards him that might suggest she has any of such. The feeling is killing him and the thought of not having her reciprocate his love if he decides to tell her is far worse. It's like having a beautiful flower but you can't touch it, water it or take care of it, it's heartbreaking.
As he focused his gaze at the models on the runway, he felt a deep sense of pride burst within him. The designs had got everyone talking and even the judges were not left out, they were all marveled and completely wowed. He had never been more proud of his woman. He considers Titi his woman even though she has no idea that he harbors such emotions for her.
After the last model went off the stage, the host called out the creative directress of TOUCH COUTURE to come out for the last roll with her models. As soon as Titi stepped on stage she was greeted with a resounding applause from the audience. They gave her a standing ovation as she walked majestically, holding hands with Mary. She was filled with excitement and enthusiasm, all smiles, she took a bow and waved to the audience. She glanced at her friends and there were they, all standing and applauding, Chioma and Oreva wiping their eyes with their fingers. They were overwhelmed with emotion and could not hold back the tears that trickled down their faces. Jide and Chike were all smiles and cheering her on, she caught Charles staring at her, she noticed it the moment she stepped on the runway. He had this soft and tender look in his eyes that made her feel cherished and loved. Yes she could see love in his eyes, or so she thinks. He smiled at her and she could have sworn she heard him whisper something that sounded like "I love you". Of course she could not hear him from where she was but she saw his lips move and she was almost sure that he said those words. She secretly hoped he did.
Just then it was as if she had an epiphany, she cannot keep holding back her feelings. She deserves happiness, she deserves to love and be loved and right now all she could think of is Charles and his adoring ways. He makes her happy and she doesn't care if he does not feel the same way about her, her mind was made. Whether she wins the award or not, she's going to tell Charles that she's madly in love with him. Seeing her up there, looking so radiant and gorgeous; mesmerized by her demeanor and beauty, Charles didn't realize when his lips parted and the words "I love you" escaped and found their way to the hearing of Oreva. He had hoped nobody heard him and also prayed that Titi didn't catch what he said because their eyes were locked in what seemed like an abyss of passion and emotion.
"I had my suspicions but you just confirmed them to me now" Oreva said smiling at Charles who obviously was caught off-guard. "Huh?" He said looking perplexed. Oreva rolled her eyes "Oh common, don't play dumb with me. I heard you. I've always known you had a thing for her. Why else would you be around her almost every hour of everyday?" She told him. Charles knew he was cornered and decided to come clean. "Hey, don't exaggerate. I'm not with her every hour of every day, some hours maybe" He said looking like a kid who'd just been caught stealing.
Oreva laughed and put her arm around his shoulders "Look, I've seen the way you look at her and the way you take care of her. I believe you're the real deal, so you better tell her how you feel before some other guy beat you to it" She advised. Charles looked at her and she saw the sadness in his eyes. "I don't think she feels the same way, besides I don't wanna complicate things for her since she's still recovering from the Jerry incident" Oreva bit her lower lip in a way that suggested she was thinking. "I get you, but trust me, you're the person she needs right now. As for the Jerry incident, I know she's over it, so you better tell her how you feel now, I mean today or else you might be stuck in the friend zone forever".
Charles thought about it hard and came to the conclusion that he actually has nothing to lose. He either open up or be stuck in the friend zone and that's exactly where he is at the moment, a friend. "You're right Oreva, I can' t keep suffering this way. After the show I'm gonna summon courage and tell her my true feelings" He told her. His mind was made and there's no going back, but he was in no way prepared for the response he got.