The Touch (14)

Chapter 14

He was in love with Maya.

The knowledge sank in and tore at his flesh like talons. No. Not possible. He didn’t believe in love, or at least not in love that lasted. She’d wreck him to pieces and make his existence a mess. She’d turn him upside down and inside out and never stay in the carefully drawn lines of his life.

Tonight, he didn’t care.

Tonight, he needed her. Craved her. His blood roared in his veins, and he stomped on the accelerator, making his way toward Tagaytay. Time passed in a blur, and Richard felt drunk as he finally reached her house and stumbled out of the car. Vision blurred, he pounded on the door, and waited.

She stood on the threshold, her arms clutched around a short, silky robe thing. Pink fuzzy slippers. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders and her eyes were sleep blurred as she stared at him. Her mouth formed a little O of surprise, and she shifted from one foot to the other as if trying to decide to invite him in or slam the door in his face.

“The date was perfect. Christy was perfect,” he said.

“Kung ganun, doon ka sa kanya. I can’t do this, Richard. I can’t.”

Her voice broke and he was lost. He stretched out his hands in surrender. “I don’t want her, Maya. I only want you. I’m . . . empty without you.”

She blinked. A sheen of tears threatened, and he waited for her to push him away and retreat for safety.

Instead, she reached over and pulled him into her arms.

Her body was on fire. Soft flesh hit his chest, surrounded him. He groaned deep in his chest and took her mouth, drowning in her taste, plunging his tongue deep to drink and drink, wondering if he’d ever be sated.

He kicked the door closed with his foot, lifted her up, and took her into the bedroom. Ripped his clothes off, tugging at her robe until her breasts were bared to his sight. Her nipples peaked hard and tight, and he sucked them into his mouth, licking, biting until she arched and cried out in pleasure. Her scent soaked his nostrils and the connection between them seethed with electricity. She opened her thighs to him and his fingers dove into the sweet honey, coating her clit and teasing her to that first climax. She shuddered and dug her nails deep into his shoulders. Richard watched her come apart with a fierce satisfaction, but he was nowhere near done, barely skimming the surface of what he wanted to rack from her body. He kissed his way down her stomach, parted her swollen lips, and rubbed his mouth over her pussy, scraping his jaw on her quivering inner thighs, licking and sucking her clit until she pulled at his hair and writhed beneath him, surrendering to her second climax. He gave her the suction needed to keep the orgasm going, pinning her thighs down to the mattress and licking her slit, his fingers still working in and out of her channel, trying to drag him in. His dick throbbed, but he refused to be done yet, wanting to immerse himself in every part of this woman who had crashed through each barrier he’d carefully built. Richard fumbled for the condom in his pants, rolling it over his erection, and pushing her wide apart, slid home.

She clenched him in a silky vise, and he groaned, the sensation of being held so tightly inside her sheer heaven. He kept still, enjoying her wet heat that tried to burn him alive. Slowly, he eased back all the way, thrusting back in to the hilt and keeping the ride easy and slow. She fought him like a wildcat, arching up and trying to take him faster and deeper, but it was too good, too sweet to be over. He added a bit of friction to her swollen clit, and she dug her heels into his back, twisting madly from side to side. Richard laughed low and sucked on her nipple, scraping his teeth against the hard tip as he picked up the pace. Faster and faster, his hips pistoned and moved until he hit the sweet spot and she screamed out, bucking under him. His fingers twisted hard within hers as he held her down and slammed into her again and again, the piercing pleasure so erotic it bordered on pain, taking him to the edge and over until he exploded.

He spilled his seed and ripped her name from his lips. Skin damp with sweat, he rode out the last of the aftershocks before slipping out. Maya collapsed into the sheets, arms and legs flung wide as her breath came in and out in choppy waves. He got rid of the condom, climbed back into bed, and pulled her close. Laying her head against his chest, she wrapped her arms around him.

“Don’t leave me tonight.”

Her whisper made him pull her closer. “Don’t want to. I’m staying.”

She snuggled closer and they slept.


Maya moved her leg and bumped against something hard. Inching her hand down the mattress, her fingers wrapped around a very proud erection. She murmured with pleasure as she surfaced from sleep, and stroked him from root to tip. Like steel sheathed in smooth satin, she enjoyed the texture and strength of his arousal. Groans rose from his chest and he thrust into her palm for more.

With a wicked grin, she ducked her head under the blankets and found him with her mouth. His breath hissed through his teeth, but Maya was far gone, lost in his musky taste. She licked and sucked him, swirling her tongue around the tip, while her hands pumped up and down his length.

His fingers worked its way into her hair and held her, giving himself up to her ministrations. Power surged through her, and she opened wider, until he slid to the back of her throat and his balls tightened.

“Maya!” Her name was ripped from his lips, amid hard pants. “Condom, now.”

“Where?” she teased, swirling her tongue around his leaking tip.

“Ah, God, pants pocket. There!”

She reached down, grabbed one, and sheathed him, never breaking contact or the rhythm of her swirling fingers. Already wet and aching for him, she climbed on top, spread her legs, and sank down onto his length.

Maya threw her head back as the delicious sensations skittered over her skin and teased her clit. So good. The heat between them only added to the edge, pumping up the tension. She looked up his body and got trapped within the seething burn of his dark slanted eyes.

“Ride me, baby. Ride me hard.”

She shuddered and obeyed. He cupped her breasts and rubbed her nipples as she ground herself against him, closing in toward her orgasm, pumping her hips as her gut clenched and her skin prickled and her nipples tightened to hard, achy points.

Richard grasped her hips, moved her forward, and slammed her back down. Once. Twice. Then—

“Richard!” She came hard, and he kept guiding her up and down, extending the orgasm into mini convulsions. He shuddered beneath her and followed, and she ached for the feel of his skin against hers, ached to get rid of the condom and take his seed deep inside her body. She slumped over him, completely boneless, and he stroked her back with soothing strokes.

“Best morning wake-up ever.”

She laughed and bit his shoulder. “Hmm, better than my coffee.” Two sharp barks made her crane her neck. Bobby looked up with endless patience and wide eyes that took in her bare ass. “Oops, sorry, baby. Ilalabas ka na ni mommy.”

“Want me to get him?”

She pressed a kiss on his lips. “Nope, I got him. Be right back.” She donned her robe, ignoring his hungry gaze and keeping her distance before she jumped back in bed and Bobby had an accident. She took him out, ground the coffee beans, and got the pot started.

“Kibble or wet food?”

Two barks.

“Kibble it is.” Maya filled up the bowl, humming under her breath, and turned to a spectacular sight framed in her kitchen doorway.

Richard Lim. Buck naked. Thighs braced apart, hands on hips, his impressive erection confirming round five was about to come up. She drank in all that raw male beauty, with his flat stomach, defined pecs, and fair and smooth skin. His lazy gaze probed under her robe and stroked her body.

“Thought I was better than your coffee.”

She pursed her lips with interest. “I did say that, didn’t I?”

He cocked a hip and that’s not all that got cocked. “Maybe I need to prove my worth again.”

She licked her lips and dropped her gaze. “I think your worth is pretty damn big.”


She loosened her robe and began to pull it open. “Counselor. I think—”

“Anak, kaninong sasakyan yung nasa driveway mo… Oh!”

Her mother stood before them, open-mouthed, staring at Richard with, first, astonishment and then pure appreciation. She closed her mouth and broke into a wide grin. “Naku, anak! May boyfriend ka ng—I’m so happy for you.”

Maya yanked her robe close and jumped in front of Richard. “Mom, anong ginagawa ninyo dito?” She grabbed for the blanket over the couch and thrust it into Richard’s hands. He wrapped it around his hips, but the broad, loopy holes in the afghan didn’t hide much.

“E kasi I’ve not seen you since I got back from the sex conference. Kaya naisip kong bisitahin ka ngayong umaga para sabay tayong mag-almusal. Pero mukhang nag-almusal ka na!”

Color flooded her face. Richard studied her mother with a fascination she was used to, as if an exotic, otherworldly creature had just burst through their universe. Teresita was wearing a very colorful boho dress complete with head scarf partially covering her greying hair, and with matching colorful shoe boots. She was also wearing numerous bead necklaces and her usual rings on each of her fingers. Although her outfit looked outrageous and weird and to some, a bit scary, Maya’s mother still looked good for her age, and not scary at all. She looked the spitting image of Maya, only older version. Bobby ran over to say hello, and Maya took the pause to push Richard behind the counter so at least his bottom half wasn’t exposed. Teresita watched his retreat with a twinge of disappointment.

“Sex conference?” Richard drawled, glancing back and forth. “How interesting. Pasensiya na kayo at hindi pa ako naipakilala ni Maya sa inyo. I’m Richard Lim.”

Teresita marched over and stuck out her hand. “How are you, Richard. Ako naman si Teresita. Mommy ni Maya. Mommy Teresita na lang ang itawag mo sa akin, just like all Maya’s friends do. Sorry for the intrusion, hindi ko alam na may bisita pala ang anak ko. Hindi ko nga alam na may boyfriend na pala siya…”

Maya groaned. “Thank you for your visit, Mom. Uhmm, can I just call you later today?”

Richard steepled his fingers together as if he were in a business meeting. “Nonsense. Please stay and have coffee with us. We’re in no rush.”

“Ay sige, gusto ko ‘yan. I would love a cup of coffee. Meron ka pa ba ‘nak nung organic coffee beans na binili ko para sa ‘yo?”

This was so not happening. Maya glared at Richard, but his delighted grin told her he was having too much fun. “Yes, I’ll get it for you.” She stomped over and poured her mother a mug, then slid it over the granite countertop.

“May I ask how the conference was?” Richard asked.

“Oh, it was very good. Marami akong natutunan. I’m a Fortune Teller, homeopathy practitioner and a Life Coach. Pero karamihan ng mga ikinukunsulta sa akin ay tungkol sa relationships, love at saka sex. I have clients who have problems on impotency so I need to know the latest techniques on how best to deal with these problems. Ikaw ba Richard, have you ever had a problem with impotency?”

Maya gave him credit. He didn’t even choke on his coffee. “Happy to report that’s a negative.”

“Hmm, I’m not surprised, not from what I glimpsed. Pero ayon doon sa conference na pinuntahan ko, very common pala ang problema sa impotency and there are several reasons why it occurs but the main one is mental block. They taught us certain moves to go about breaking down barriers.”

“What a fascinating job you have. Maya never told me.”

“Hindi ako nagtataka. Maya’s been blocked for years. Ayaw niya kasing napag-uusapan ang sex.”


“So, paano nga pala kayo nagkakilala?”

“I’m her client at Kinnect,” he said.

Teresita sucked in her breath. “Are you the lawyer?” she asked, eyes widening.

Richard raised a brow. “You know about me? Maya, how sweet. I had no idea you told your mom about us.”

Maya squirmed with sheer frustration and shot him a glare. “Mom, saka na lang natin pag-usapan ito, okay? This is not the right time.”

“Pero Maya, this is the man you experienced the touch with! Masayang masaya ako dahil nagawan mo din pala ng paraan para mag-work. We’ll need to clear a bit of that negative karma, but if you’re sleeping together, I’m confident in the outcome Mawawala na ang bad vibes.”

“Touch?” Richard frowned. “What touch?”


“Hindi pa ba sinabi ni Maya sa ‘yo?” Teresita went on. “She has a gift that runs in our family for generations.Parang sixth sense for matching people. She experiences a jolt of recognition when she meets a couple meant to be together.”

Richard stilled. Maya barely breathed, wishing she had powers like Hermione Granger and could disappear with just a swish of a wand. “Has she ever experienced the touch for herself? Or is this just for other people?” he asked.

The disaster loomed before her, like a volcano ready to erupt, and she was just as helpless to stop her mother as she was to stop the forces of nature. Teresita laughed as she played with her bead necklaces, caught Maya’s eyes and whispered into her ears, “Medyo slow din pala siya, ano anak?”.

She then faced Richard again. “Silly man. It’s you, dear. She connected with you—you’re her soulmate. I wasn’t too thrilled regarding your occupation, but what the heck! Anong laban natin sa power of the universe. Whatever fate has in store for us, we must bend to its will.” Teresita explained. She then redirected her attention to Maya and said, “At least you overcame your initial protests. Denying the touch is dangerous. Nag-alala talaga ako para sa ‘yo, anak. Yung Rose na pinsan ng lola mo na ikinuwento ko sa iyo, the only one in our family who denied the touch, she died alone and miserable.”

Maya swung her head around. “You said you didn’t remember what happened to my cousin! You said it was a family secret never spoken about.”

Teresita sighed. “I lied. I didn’t want to tell you she died an old cranky spinster, destined for unhappiness since she refused to believe in her gift. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona where no one knows her, away from our relatives in Oklahoma because she couldn’t stand anyone human and I think she owned about fifty cats when she died. No one came to her funeral except the local pet shelter representative.”

Maya buried her face in her hands and gave up. The morning had started out so rich with promise. Sex. No pesky virginity trouble. Denial galore regarding their future relationship. Now, big, bad reality was here to stay. And Richard looked like he’d swallowed a sharp object and was just about to dial 911. Maya wondered which caused more horror—her virginity or her gift of touch. Definitely a tie.

Richard cleared his throat. “Funny, I didn’t hear about this before.”

“Did Maya not tell you anything? Not even a hint? Maybe she was easing you into it. Marami kasi sa mga lalaki ang hindi naniniwala sa concept of soulmates and love forever till you die.”

This time he choked. Maya pounded him on the back until he seemed back in the land of humanity. “Mom, I think Richard and I need to talk.”

“Of course, I really am sorry I interrupted.” She blew an air kiss to them and headed out. Her voluminous clothes swishing and Bobby gave her a quick lick good-bye. “Bisitahin niyo ako minsan sa Caliraya para mag-dinner. I promise, anak, wala kang maamoy na usok galing sa aking herbal cigarette though why you don’t like it is still a mystery to me. Even though it smells like pot, it’s still good for calming your nerves. Sigurado akong pag nasubukan ni Richard, he will agree with me.”

“Sure Mom, we’ll arrange it sometime. ’Bye.”

“Bye bye, darling.”

The door slammed. She waited in the dead silence, wondering if he’d just leave now or stick around to ask a few questions. “She really did give you that pot-like cigarette, huh?”

“Sabi ko nga sa ‘yo, it wasn’t pot and it wasn’t mine.”

He nodded. Took a big sip of his coffee and straightened to full height. She remembered another requirement in his perfect companion. No embarrassing family members. Yep, she had officially blown every item on his list to smithereens. “Is that the reason I get an electric shock when we touch? Because of this gift?”

She gave him the space he seemed to need, though her chest hurt. She’d been crazy to think an extra night of mind-blowing sex would solve their issues. Already, she tried frantically to fortify the gaping hole in her chest but she knew she needed something really, really strong to do that because her heart had barely recovered from the last time it got broken by him. “Supposedly.”

“Didn’t want to mention it before, huh?”

A flare of anger pushed away the grief. “Actually I did, at your first social mixer.”

“A few more details would’ve been nice.”

“Oh, sure, let’s see how that dialogue would go. ‘Siyanga pala, Richard, I have a witchlike gene that senses when a couple is meant to be together. And guess what? You’re the one for me! Sorry about the shock, but isn’t that great, when’s the wedding?’ ”

He narrowed his gaze. “You could have tweaked the speech a bit, but yeah, maybe like that.”

A humorless laugh escaped her lips. “I wanted to pretend it never happened. I begged you to stay away from me, remember? You’re the one who knocked on my door last night! I was ready to try and move on, forget this—this thing between us ever occurred. We’ve been mismatched from the beginning.”

“Do you believe in it, Maya? Believe you can match the right couple just by touching them? Is this what you built your company on?”

Ice trickled down her spine. His tone flicked with disbelief and already she sensed his distance. How could he believe in something that was almost as magical as love? Something undefined but full of hope? The question tore through the last of her defenses, and suddenly, Maya realized she had nothing left to fight. She could tell him the gift was gone and she had no idea if it was coming back. She could deny the whole thing, laugh it off as some crazy joke her mom played, and save her pride. Instead, Maya gave him the truth.

“Yes. I’ve used my gift to guide many people together. I’ve sensed if it’s a true and proper love match. I never experienced it with myself, though. Until you.”

He jerked back and coffee sloshed over the rim of his mug. He shook slightly as he mopped it up with a towel. “I can’t deny what’s between us,” he finally said. “But do I believe in this type of love-spell witchery? No. How can I? Do I believe we were meant to have a happy ending just because we got a shock when we touched? Do you know how that sounds?”

She huddled into her robe, desperately longing for warmth. Her skin chilled and goose bumps broke out on her arms.

Yes. It sounded juvenile and silly. But it was the truth, a truth he’d never believe or believe in. She opened her mouth to defend herself and end the conversation. Retreat to her isolation and lick her wounds one final time. Then finally get over Richard Lim. For good.

The phone interrupted them and beat out the seventies version of the pop song “We Are Family.” He cursed. “My sister. I better get it.”

She nodded and turned away. The murmur of conversation drifted to her ears. Maya wiped up the counter and refilled Bobby’s water bowl, numb to the rapidly rising conversation. She had no time to transition before Richard stood in front of her, male fury vibrating from his figure in raw waves.

Her heart skipped. “What’s the matter?”

“I have to go. Rafi was very upset on the phone. Seems this guy you set her up with—the one who was pushing her for more—broke up with her this morning.”

Her hand flew to her throat. “Oh, no. What happened? Is she okay?”

His face tightened. Angry, slanted eyes held an accusing glare that churned her gut. “He explained he’s just not that into her, not for a long-term relationship, and took off after spending the night. Is this the type of operation you run? Did you use your magical power to set Rafi up with this asshole and tell yourself it would all workout?”

Pain sliced deep. She leaned slightly forward to catch her breath. “No! We set her up with two dates and she preferred Brian, but there’s no guarantee each date or relationship will work out. Let me come with you, I’ll talk to her, maybe set her up with a session with Doris if she’s upset.”

“No, you’ve done enough.” His voice flicked like a whiplash. “You still don’t understand, do you, Maya? She’s not made for this. I almost lost her once because I didn’t take care of her. I wanted to trust you, even though my instincts told me she could get hurt again.”


“She’s all I have left!”

His words shattered around her. Her throat tightened, and she caught a glimpse of a raw vulnerability and fear swirling in those narrow eyes. He’d lost most of the women in his life. Maya realized his responsibility toward his sister was so much deeper than she imagined. When he loved, he gave everything. Unfortunately, he didn’t believe he was enough for any of them. As much as she wanted to make him stay, to beg him to talk to her and open up, she knew it had to be on his terms. Perhaps he’d never be ready for more.

He disappeared into the bedroom and came back out dressed, jaw set. He looked at her with cold and distant eyes as if she were someone he didn’t recognize any longer, the intimacy that happened between them earlier completely forgotten. “I need you to leave her alone, Maya. Please.”

He walked out without a glance back.

Maya tried very hard not to cry. She dug her nails on her palms and put all her efforts in thinking about something, anything but Richard. But it was just too, too much. She eventually caved in and let bitter tears flow from her eyes.

Bobby whimpered and slid over, pressing his warm body firm against her leg in full support. She sank down to the floor and put her arms around him, laying her cheek against his head, and soaked in his comforting presence. “It’s okay, baby. Mommy will be okay, I promise.”


To be continued

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