Fergus and Jimmy never spoke, how could they? Fergus was still a baby and Jimmy was deaf to all the gurgles he made.
Julian found it even harder with Bonnie, Mitchell, Eleanor, Fergus and Jimmy. But he got through it. He began to skip eating and sleeping. Most of the time, he only got five hours of sleep a night. He didn’t care though, for he was doing it for a good cause. These kids needed someone, and he was the someone to help them. Yes, he admitted it, they could get tiresome and maybe even annoying, but he loved them like his own children. He couldn’t imagine life without them.
“Now I know how single mom’s feel.” He muttered to himself once.
“Julian? You look tired.” Mitchell commented as he heard Julian mutter.
“I am, Mitch. But... Fergus needs feeding.” He said, getting a bottle of milk out of the fridge.
“Why don’t you go to bed? I can look after everyone.” He smiled cheekily.
“No, Mitch. You’ll burn the house down.” Julian chuckled as Mitchell glared at him. “Don’t look at me like that!”
“Fine. When’s bedtime?” He changed the subject.
“Eight o’clock, as always.” Julian replied, pressing buttons on the microwave as Fergus started to whimper in the carrier on the island. Julian couldn’t wait for the children to go to bed. He could finally get some sleep... that is until Fergus woke up again wanting feeding.
“Can’t it be nine? Just for tonight?” Mitchell put on his puppy-dog face.
“No. Eight o’clock is late enough.” Julian smiled, taking the milk out and giving it to Fergus.
“Fine then.” Mitchell stormed out as Julian shook his head, still smiling.
As Mitchell was marching out the door, he bumped into Jimmy sending him to the floor.
“Mitchell!” Julian shouted out-loud before asking Jimmy if he was alright.
Jimmy replied that he was fine and Mitchell didn’t stay to see if he was okay.
“Good. Good. Good good.” Julian repeated to himself.
“Do you want anything?” He signed to Jimmy.
“No thank you, Julian. You look tired. Are you okay?” Jimmy signed. Julian thought that it really must show how tired he was.
“I’m fine.” He lied. Jimmy nodded, approving of the reply.
“Am I going to live here forever? I hope so.” Jimmy signed, looking around.
Julian smiled broadly.
“I hope you live here forever too. But it’s your choice.” He signed when Jimmy looked at him.
They both grinned awkwardly at each other for a few moments.
“Do you know why I have to do this?” Jimmy signed hesitantly, referring to his hands.
“No. All I know is you are deaf, which means you can’t hear. I’m sorry.” Julian signed slowly back. Jimmy nodded and furrowed his brow, deep in thought.
“Why?” He signed after a few minutes of silence (but the silence still continued...).
“I’m sorry, I don’t know.” Julian signed sadly. “Maybe someday you’ll get your hearing back.” He knew immediately he had said something very wrong. He could imagine the melancholy face on Jimmy as people signed to him that he would never hear again.
Julian worried about this and turned away from Jimmy, not waiting to see his reply, but Julian imagined his little face lighting up with the prospect of being able to hear eventually.
Eventually, Jimmy got up and tapped Julian on the back to get his attention. He turned around slowly.
“I didn’t get the last part. You said it out-loud.” Jimmy signed and Julian heaved a sigh of relief.
“I was just saying... that... it happens to a lot of people, so don’t feel left out. Okay?” He signed and Jimmy agreed, still with a smile even though it faltered a little at his words.
“Do you enjoy playing with Ellie? How good is her sign language?” Julian signed.
“I really like her. She’s nice. Her sign is very good.” He signed maturely, blushing slightly. Julian beamed.
“Its good to know you get along.”
“Yes.” Was all Jimmy replied.