I laugh. I can’t keep anything from my brothers. It was hard enough waiting until the three-month point to tell. I couldn’t wait any longer. “They didn’t seem surprised.”
“That you can’t keep a secret? I should think not.”
She leans Matty toward me and I take him from her. “Have you seen Emily and Logan?” I ask.
“Em is working on a present for Pete and Reagan,” Sky says.
“The good kind.” She grins. “I heard a little of it this morning. It’s really wonderful.”
“When is the wedding?” I ask. It was supposed to be yesterday, but it didn’t happen, for good reason.
“Tomorrow morning,” she says. “Sam has to go back for training tomorrow night.”
“Already?” We don’t see nearly enough of him now that he’s playing pro ball.
She shrugs again. “He had to stretch it out to get permission to stay this long.”
I lean in to her and kiss her. Hoppy bounces and pats my cheek, but I don’t stop kissing Sky. When I finally lift my head, I tell Hoppy, “Kisses are good. That’s how you got here.” She hops some more and squeals.
“I love you,” Sky says to me. Then she tosses Hoppy onto the bed and dives down to blow on her belly. I do the same with Matty, and within seconds we have two happy, laughing babies on the bed. She looks over at me, and she’s so fucking perfect that my heart clenches. The baby monitor goes off, and I hear PJ making noises, so I go and get him. When you already have five, soon to be six, what’s one more?
It’s heaven, that’s what it is.
“I need a word that rhymes with forever,” I say as I drag my pick down my guitar strings. Logan sits across from me, alternating between writing the words of the song I’m working on and drawing on a piece of paper with a pencil. He looks up at me and I know he didn’t hear what I said. I nudge him with my toe. “I need a word that rhymes with forever,” I say again.
His chest rumbles. “You’re asking the deaf guy for a rhyming word?” He chuckles. “Funny.”
I nudge him with my toe again. “I’m being serious. Give me a word.”
“Says the deaf guy,” I tell him, rolling my eyes. I know he’s capable of just about anything he wants to do. He devours books like they’re water. His vocabulary is so much better than mine.
Kit walks over to him and holds out a block. She babbles at him and he looks up at me. “What did she say?”
“Ma ma ma ma,” I say. He can’t read her lips. It’s hard for him, not knowing what sounds are coming out of her mouth. She’s not saying words yet, but she’s definitely making noises.
“Da da da da da da,” he prompts, talking to her. She grins at him and stuffs the block into the block sorter. He claps his hands when she does it right, and she does a little dance. “Did she say it?” he asks me.
He gets up and comes to join me on the bed. “What does it sound like when she laughs?” he asks. He looks at me closely, and my heart turns over. He asks me this all the time, and I try to tell him, making adjustments for the changes in her as she grows. Her giggle changes every day. Everything about her changes, and the sounds she makes are the only things he misses. I set my guitar to the side.
“It’s loud and obnoxious, just like you,” I say. I shove his shoulder and he rolls me under him, tickling me as he holds me down. “Stop!” I squeal. He can’t hear me, but I know he can feel the rush of my breath by his ear and the vibration of my voice in my throat. He feels it all, but he can’t hear it.
“I’ll give you loud and obnoxious,” he growls playfully, and then he kisses me. He lifts his head and looks at my face. “You were kind of loud last night,” he says. “Sam was complaining about it this morning.”
“How would I know how loud you are?” he asks, grinning. He points to his ears. “Deaf guy.”
I shove his shoulder and he sits up. “I want to talk to you about something important,” I say.
He sits up, his brow furrowing. “Okay,” he says slowly.
I sign while I talk to him. “Do you remember right after she was born, when you and I talked about a cochlear implant?”
He freezes, his features going hard immediately, and I’m sorry I brought it up. When he first mentioned it to me, I was completely against it. I was determined that there was nothing wrong with him, that his hearing didn’t matter, just like my dyslexia didn’t matter. But it does. It matters every time he asks me to describe her laugh, or when he can’t hear her call him. When she cries in the night and his only indication of it is a flashing light and vibration under his pillow. It matters so much.
I swallow past the lump in my throat and blink back the tears that suddenly fill my eyes. I didn’t think I’d be so emotional when I talked to him about this. But I am.
“If there was a procedure to fix my dyslexia, would you want me to have it?” I ask.
“Would you?” He stares into my face, watching closely.
A tear falls over my lashes and he swipes it away with the pad of his thumb.
“Why are you crying?” he asks. “I told you I don’t need surgery.”