Should I . . . or, should I not? Those where the thoughts going through Jude’s mind as heabsentmindedly plucked out another petal from the flower he had bought for Tayo.

“Ah! Aiye mi o!” he exclaimed, realising he had ruined the flower.

Without notice, the door in front of him swung open. With the door held open, Tayo stood before him out, looking beautiful as usual. Tayo had her hair held up high; black, curly and shiny. She was in a black short with a light blue tank top. Tayo’s dark skinned shone as the sun rays hit her beautiful skin. Such a beauty, Jude thought, his mouth agape, lost in his thoughts as he drank in the pleasantness before him. Tayo smiled, revealing a set of brilliant white teeth. A pair of lovely dimples sat nicely on her face as she smiled. His heart seemed to melt. Jude stood there, ashamed, certain he ruined his chance. Yemi, his friend, the brain behind this, would skin him alive if he found out what he had done.

Her sharp voice jolted him from his midday reverie.

“Hey, Jude!” she said. “What brought you here today, you never mentioned you would show up.” Tayo looked at the floor. “What’s with the petals . . . and that rose stalk in your hands?” She remembered she had rushed to the door after she heard someone scream. “Did you by chance . . .” Tayo decided not to complete her question. “Forgive my manners, do come in.”

Tayo noticed his dazed look. She chuckled, smiled and tapped Jude on his shoulder. “Jude, Jude, hope all is well?

Jude and Tayo have been friends since their university days. Music and software designing, those were their mutual interests, and those interests have kept them close over the years. Good friends and, for Tayo, no string was attached.

Come on, guy, you can fix this; Jude said to himself in a very low tone.

Tayo heard him mumble out words, though not clear enough. “Pardon?” she asked.

Jude adjusted his cloth, dabbed his face with his face towel, and smiled. “I’m sorry I did not call, to tell you that I was coming.”

As they walked into Tayo’s sitting room, she asked again about the petals and the stalk he held. Jude quickly put what remained of the flower in his pocket. The smile he offered was not convincing enough.

Tayo in her ever playful manner said,” Jude Jude, tell me nah, did she just jilt you or are you rehearsing how to propose?” She laughed freely. “See my small Jude of yesterday, he is now a grown man oh!”

She was quick to get him a glass of juice. Tayo settled into the settee adjacent to Jude’s. She hoped Jude had a long tale to tell. “Hey, Jude, I want the full version of the story, not the edited one oh!”

Jude cleared his throat. It would be a disaster if he ruined it any further. “I . . . you . . . ” Damn it, not again! he mused. Jude had never been courageous enough to tell Tayo about his feelings. And so began his untrue story. He had always painted a picture of his dream relationship with her, using Cynthia, a unreal person. Still he hoped would work, as Tayo’s other name was Cynthia. However, to Tayo it all appeared as a mere coincidence. Jude continued. “Uh, Tayo, remember Cynthia? uh, . . . I was planning to propose to her, but . . . my guts do fail me.” While Jude spoke, his eyes had been fixed on the floor. “Well, I guess the flower tells the story better.” Tayo had tried to maintain a straight face, but the more Jude continued to speak, the more difficult it became. Suddenly she let out a sarcastic laugh. After she regained her calm, she apologized. To encourage Jude, Tayo decided to share her story, how Tunde, the guy she was engaged to, had proposed to her. Tayo proudly showed him the ring on her finger.

Jude’s eyes were clouded with tears. Overwhelmed by emotions, he started, “No, Tayo, no, this can’t be.” Tayo who could not grasp this was surprised as Jude’s voice was breaking and he was in tears.

“No? . . . I don’t understand.” Tayo was sitting on the edge of the settee. “Jude, what’s wrong with you? I just shared something special to me, and your response is ‘no’?

Jude got on his feet. Tayo looked at him, clearly surprised.Jude walked briskly towards the door. He made a loud bang, with the door, after his exit. Before Tayo could get to him, he had zoomed off.

Tayo stood outside the house completely stunned. Could it be that Jude is interested in me? she wondered. Come off it, Tayo; don’t be silly, if he were, he would have spoken up, you’ve been good friends for seven years now. Moreover, there’s Cynthia . . . or, is there something wrong with Tunde that Jude is not saying?

Jude drove as fast as he could. He had no idea were he was heading to. This can’t be, he thought. Tayo can’t do this to me. I thought Tunde was her fantasy as Cynthia was mine. Oh no, what have I done. His tears flowed freely as he drove. “Yemi warned me,” he said softly, to himself, “but I thought….

Hello dear readers, I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the read so far. Well many guys out there are like Jude and many ladies are in or have been in Tayo’s shoes. A lot of ‘hearts’ have been jilted unnecessarily. This can be avoided and here is how.

Define your relationships , always make the purpose clear as it progresses, this might not be easy but it is surely worthwhile. If only Tayo and Jude had defined theirs none of them would have either taken things overboard or less seriously. Make sure in terms of understanding and purpose of a relationship, you and your friends or partners are on the same page.

One more thing, always have it in mind that love is a deliberate decision, so watch out, don’t let it happen to you or rather catch you unawares, be sure to walk into it.

Previous articleHow to Know When to Let a Bad Relationship Go
Next article6 Pictures Old-Fashioned Solutions For Problems With The World Today
I'm Ndubueze Mercy, a second year student of Economics at the University of Ibadan. I enjoy creative writing; it's more like a tongue to some of my muted cravings, I also enjoy adventures and am so passionate about making an impact in the best way I can. To cap all these, I love business development and the Finance industry! Twitter handle:@MercyNdubueze