Ring Finger, Middle Finger Down
Ring Finger, Middle Finger Down; an Austin and Ally oneshot
I do not own Austin and Ally. Cataniagirl prompted for Auslly to have a deaf child, so here is my reply.
There are a million little reasons why she loves her daughter.
She'll never be able to hear a single one.
"She can't sleep again?" When Ally had become pregnant, Austin had spent nights crafting lullabies over the piano. And jars of pickles, because she had cravings.
All of those lullabies, wasted. So he had thought.
They'd been at the piano together, and she'd been holding Eulalie as she sang out. The baby smiled.
She can feel the vibrations.
"She fell asleep a few minutes ago, but I don't want to put her down." Ally rocks in the chair, eyes following her husband as he crouches down beside her.
It's a shame she can't hear what he says next.
"I love you." Three simple words that have given him more healing in his life than anything. More comforting than a warm blanket, more valuable than the keys to his four door (as if she'd let him endanger their child with the sports car he had his eyes set on.)
Those were the words he had said when they had found out their daughter was deaf. 'I love you.'
It's not your fault.
Ally sets a bowl of cereal down on the table. Signs for her daughter to eat. They'd hired a tutor to help learn the basics of the language. She'd find herself signing her way through rehearsal, practicing.
"You sure you're okay with teaching Eulalie at home?" Ally takes a sip of her tea, scribbling something across a sheet of music.
"Of course. You're working on your album, and the Music Factory doesn't open until you get back anyhow. Piece of cake." He takes a swig from the orange juice gallon.
His wife does not look amused.
He kisses her forehead. Their daughter may be young, but that's one sign she knows well.
That one means love.
They've enrolled her in a school for those with hearing disabilities. It's a bit steeper in price, but with her salary, being a musician and a teacher, it's worth it.
Heck, she could be working retail and she would live off ramen if it meant getting her kid an education.
They drop her off, lowering their ring and middle fingers.
Always sign 'I love you.'
When they pick her up later that afternoon, her face is cracked in half by a wide mouthed grin. Ally takes her hand. They can't really talk about how the day went, what's on her mind, but she sees where her eyes are pointed.
"Who?" Austin rests his foot on the brake pedal.
Wow, he picked a great moment to be exploring his cave for gold.
He notices their stares, blows her a kiss.
At least she doesn't have to worry about her finding someone special.
If her nose was any further in her book, Ally would wonder if her daughter can't see either. But they're both 20-20, and she hasn't put that book down in hours.
"Like mother, like daughter." Austin turns on the tv, cozying up against his wife.
"We're trying to read here."
"Eulalie doesn't seem to mind." He motions to her, nose still buried in the pages.
She huffs. Marking her page, she curls into his side. There's something she needs to tell him.
The words escape her.
So onto her stomach his hand goes.
There goes the kick.
The baby cries. Ally scoops him up, resting her tired body in the rocking chair. She'd spent the morning in the studio, recording that lullaby. You see, baby Leonard can hear. He's a perfectly healthy baby with a zealous appetite.
Austin sits on the floor, placing his guitar in his lap.
Eulalie wishes she could play like her parents. They look so happy, and so does her brother.
When they leave the room, baby back in the crib, she grabs his instrument. Her fingers press on the strings at random and she strums.
Well, that must have been the wrong chord.
Her parents return to see what the matter is.
Ally's lips move, but she doesn't understand. She doesn't hear her tell Austin "I think she wants to learn music."
She doesn't learn that he suggests buying her a set of drums like Evelyn Glennie.
Yes, he's done his research on deaf musicians.
It's not impossible for his daughter to be an artist.
She wiggles her bare toes, ready to feel the vibrations in her feet. Bashing on her drums, she feels at peace.
Leonard toddles in, interrupting.
There's one sign she'd like to give him, one that she's learned at the lunch table at school. Mom and Dad weren't too proud of that.
She's gotten better at this whole deaf thing. When his face turns red, he's not happy. (Though sometimes it turns pink, and he gets dragged into the bedroom, smiling. She's not sure what happens then.)
She chases him down the hall to where Austin is practicing some dance moves to show his students. There's something about it that mesmerizes her.
"Leo!" he shouts, or so she figures, because his mouth is moving as he topples over. For a toddler, the kid packs quite the wallop.
She offers her hand. Not that a little girl can lift a grown man.
Though she'd love herself to be lifted. Twisted, to fly across the floor.
She wants to dance.
Tutu draped over her drum kit, she writes something on a piece of paper. Crosses it out. Now new words.
More crossing out.
"What's she up to?" Ally peeks through the doorway at her daughter sprawled across the floor in her leotard. She'd come straight home from school (where she'd taken up dance as an extra-curricular) and plopped herself there.
"Dunno." Austin grabs her by the waist. "But let's not disturb her, okay?"
If only Leonard had felt the same towards them.
Never underestimate the curiosity of your child when you're in a bathrobe.
She's a writer. Just like her mother. And she can feel the rhythm of the drums, like her dad.
She can dance. They put the speakers facing the floor so she can sense the vibrations.
Eulalie is an artist, just like her parents.
Who said deaf kids can't live full lives?
Her teacher is making them do reports on who they are. A self exploration of sorts. She knows that she is an artist. But what else is there to her?
How did she get her name?
A poem. Edgar Allen Poe, who she had immediately felt the urge to research and read, ignoring her assignment until her mother came to get her back on track, like a true bookworm, had been the inspiration.
Eulalie, a beautiful girl who made a man see the beauty of the world.
There was one boy she was certainly shining her light on. Though he doesn't pick his nose anymore.
As far as she's aware. Leonard, who she learned was named after Leonard Cohen, musician extraordinaire (having written Hallelujah, a song she would never fully get to immerse herself in), on the other hand, is fascinated with the contents of his nostrils.
It's a good thing she's not in love with her brother.
She is both excited and terrified.
Her father looks more of the latter.
It's a really good thing she can't here all the 'oh my goshes' coming out of his mouth. And those are just the friendly terms.
She gets him safely home, parking the car in the driveway. Her boyfriend is there waiting for her.
Signing frantically, she runs off.
One of the perks about not being able to hear your parents is not seeing them sign a curfew as you run off into his arms.
Stupid cell phone texting.
She promises to be home by nine.
Pacific Standard Time he jokes. That'd be midnight on his turf.
He calls her Cinderella.
Crossing the campus grounds, she takes in her surroundings. It's so free, so wonderful, so-
In a room full of deaf kids, you can read the signs. In that alternate universe she escapes to, the one where she really can hear, and not just feel, she can eavesdrop on conversations. She wouldn't have to, as she'd be able to contribute.
Here, it's nothing of the sort. A million faces she'll never put a voice to.
She slides to the bottom of her dormitory, burying herself in words.
Is the semester over yet?
Signing into her classes, as she's switched to online school, for journalism, if you're interested, she grips her cup of coffee. She's been up all night. They've crafted a song, her and her parents.
They're performing it next weekend.
She'll be on drums.
If only she could hear the applause, the crowd shouting her name.
That'd be bliss.
He's on one knee, and his hands are too full to sign. There's a ring box in his hands.
She doesn't need words.
They're at the altar, and she looks out to her parents, who are sitting right in the front row with her brother wedged between. Ring finger, middle finger down.
I love you.
It doesn't matter if she can hear or not. She will always be enough for them.
And that's enough for her.