Every Touch (Love After Death Book One)

By Nerika Parke

Romance, Paranormal, Women's fiction


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2 mins

The First Touch

“And don’t come back!” Denny yelled, grabbing the door and slamming it shut.
He gasped, suddenly realising what he’d just done. Turning around slowly, he saw Laila staring at the door, her eyes like saucers.
“Oh no,” he said.
She pressed herself back against the fridge, gasping for breath, her eyes darting around the room in panic.
He brought one hand to his mouth. “Oh no,” he repeated.
“Is... is someone there?” Laila said, her voice shaking. She shook her head. “What am I saying?” She looked back at the door.
Denny could almost hear her thinking, trying to work out how the door could have slammed itself. Not to mention what he’d done to Avery right in front of her.
“Look,” she said, “I don’t know if I’m going crazy here, but everything that just happened... That couldn’t have happened by itself. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if there’s someone there, you just saved me. And...” She stopped and he could see her clenching her fists, her body shaking. A tear rolled down her face. “...and I’m really scared right now. So, please, if you’re there...”
She held out a trembling hand.
Denny looked at it in fear. He couldn’t, could he? What if she freaked out so much she ran away and never came back? He couldn’t bear to lose her.
“Please,” she whispered, her hand still extended.
But he couldn’t leave her like this, terrified and alone.
His heart pounding in his ears, he reached out his own hand, which was shaking more than hers, and touched her fingertips gently. She gasped and immediately snatched her hand back, clutching it against her and looking around frantically.
After a few seconds, she swallowed.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I was just surprised. I didn’t really expect...” She held out her hand again. “Please?”
He took a deep breath and lightly placed his hand on top of hers. She gasped again, but instead of pulling away, she turned her hand over and gently wrapped her fingers around his. He slowly closed his fingers around her.
And there they were, holding hands.
Denny couldn’t believe it. He stared at their hands pressed together, every nerve where they touched feeling like it was tingling with electricity. For the first time ever, he was touching the woman he loved. A tear slid down his cheek.
Laila was also staring at where their hands were wrapped around each other.
“Can... can you speak to me?” she said.
He looked at her helplessly. He didn’t know how to say no.
“Oh, sorry, stupid me,” she said, “if you can’t you can’t tell me you can’t.”
He smiled at her response, fighting the urge to hug her.
“How about, you tap my hand once for yes and twice for no. Okay?”
He stared at her for a moment. She was asking him a question, and he had a way to answer. Communication. He was going to speak to her, kind of. So he’d better get on with it, he suddenly thought. He looked at their hands, so entwined he wasn’t sure where to tap. Then he had an idea. He brought his free hand up and tapped lightly on the inside of her wrist. Once.
Her face lit up in a smile that made him want to laugh out loud. She wasn’t running away. She wasn’t freaking out. This was the best day of his life. Or his death.
“Okay,” she said. “So, can you speak to me?”
Two taps, no.
“Right,” she said, “can I see you somehow?”
Again two taps.
“Okay, so all I can do is touch you?”
One tap.
“Um, okay.” She seemed to be thinking. She hadn’t let go of his hand. He hoped she never did. “Please excuse me if this sounds like a stupid question, but are you like, the invisible man?”
“Are you,” she paused, looking nervous, “a ghost?”
He looked at her. He didn’t want to answer her. What if this was what scared her? He sighed and tapped her wrist once, waiting for her to snatch her hand away and run screaming.
She was silent for a while, not moving. Then she nodded her head, once.
“Okay,” she said. “And now I know.”
She brought her free hand to her face. It was shaking. Denny suddenly noticed how pale she looked.
“I think...” she said, “I think I need to sit...”
Her hold on his hand loosened, her eyes fluttered closed and she began to slide down the fridge door.



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