It was at times like this that Jacob was thankful for the people who created hearing aids. He was now at home with his daughter listening to her explain how her day was. The excitement in her eyes and how fast she spoke told him she was happy and making lots of friends. Being mindful of her father she used ASL (American Sign Language) as she talked, Jasmine wanted to learn when she was three after she learned her father was different from other kid's parents. She didn't care her father was deaf she saw it as a cool way to talk to him, their own secret language. Jacob and William taught her the basics and she picked up on her own after her god father showed her YouTube videos when she was four.
Jacob was diagnosed with congenital hearing loss at birth, his mother contracted Rubella while she was pregnant with him. He was the last of three kids and his parents did everything for him to have a normal life. Treatments were done, doctor visits were more than play time, nurses and specialists were his friends till the age of four. At six months he heard his mother's voice for the first time, he couldn't remember but he saw the video when he first heard it. She cried and held him tightly not wanting to let him go even his father broke down when his son responded to his voice. Jacob would forevermore thankful to them as they made sure he had the best speech therapists, learned ASL and lip reading even went beyond to place him in a school that dealt with his needs. His family learned sign language to made him feel loved even his older brothers' friends, now as his daughter talked to him using ASL he felt even more loved.
"And she gave me a gold star because I finished before everyone and got all correct. Are you proud of me daddy?" she spoke and signed.
"Daddy is always proud of his princess." he signed.
Jasmine beamed under his compliment and climbed into his lap. Dressed in their pjs, they both sat before the tv about to watch Tangled for the millionth time for their weekend movie night. Popcorn, juices and junk food were beside them as they got comfortable to start the movie. Pressing play on the player, Jasmine spoke along with Flynn Ryder. Jacob rolled his eyes as she captured every highs and lows of the little narrative. It was Friday night and he was indoors watching a Disney movie, he never thought that this would be his future and he won't change it at all.
"Daddy?" Jasmine called out during the third movie, Brave, tapping his hand twice for him to turn to her.
"Do you miss mommy?" she asked softly playing with the engraved gold band on his left hand.
"Everyday." he answered with no hesitation.
"Would she be mad if I ask for a new one?" Her question was voiced out in fear as she focused on the conflicted emotions on her father's face.
"D-Do you really want a new mommy?" he asked carefully. Jasmine knew of her mother, he made sure to keep Annabella alive to his daughter over the years, she was only three months when she was last held by her mother. In her room, he placed two pictures of both of them beside her bed and one in the living area where they can see her everyday. The question of having a new mommy never came up but he knew the day would come and it seems that today was that day.
"Only if you want. I'm happy it's just the two of us but...." she started then stopped when she saw her father's eyes became teary.
William was right, Jacob thought to himself. It was time to get back out there, the date a few weeks back was a trial run because he wasn't truly ready to step out of his comfort zone. He did it because of his friend and was curious. Now looking at his little girl, he decided it was time, wrapping a curl of her hair around his finger he gave her a watery smile. "It's okay princess." he said. She was getting older and need that female presence in her life. He prided himself of being both parents but some days were tough. It would be nice to get some help.
"You won't forget your mother right." he voiced out. "Never." she answered truthfully. His brave and bold little princess. Going into the dating world he would have to be cautious, not every woman can be a mother to someone else's child nor would he allow every woman he meets to be in his daughter's life just to be disappointed. Jacob gathered up his baby girl in his arms, taking in her floral bubble bath and kissing her head. "Daddy will find the greatest mommy ever for you." he said. Jasmine squeezed her tiny arms tighter around his neck in response.
Monday morning came quickly, both Jasmine and Jacob sat in the kitchen having breakfast quietly while watching old Sofia videos on the kitchen iPad. They were on schedule, the two of them moved like a well oiled machine every day. He was blessed with a well behaved child from birth to now, the only time he had trouble were the terrible two's stage. From that age it was smooth sailing from there, he followed the books and incorporated his own techniques in her development. There was little help from his family due to the fact they were overseas, they visit for a month over the summer then return to Germany. Jacob first came to America as an exchange student to begin his senior year, it was a huge change for him but his family supported him. The family that took him in was great and became his surrogate family even after the programme when he decided to stay for college. William migrated to the states and joined his friend for college to begin a new life also. Both men never regretted the decision they made years ago.
A loud beeping sound cut through another one of Sofia's sound with a pop up accompanying it. Jasmine touched it to open, the icon of an ear and a stethoscope and the time of 9 am came up. "Daddy don't forget okay." she worded moderately to him with a stern expression on her face. He chuckled and nodded in response. Jacob knew if she had it her way she would be the parent and not him. She reached up with her tiny hands and touched the device behind his ear. He wore the device on both ears with an in-canal receiver, it enables him to adjust the frequency of the noises around him. A three month check up was needed to make sure everything is working as it should and get rid of whatever build up occurred. "Does it hurt?" she asked tracing the clear wire from behind his ear to the speaker. "When I was younger but now it's normal." he answered.
"How come I'm not deaf daddy?" she never asked that question she usually rolled with the punches. "Mommy wasn't sick when she had you in her tummy." he answered and that was enough for her as she went back to her show. Jacob shook his head in amusement and left her at the table to go start her bath, he was half dressed, the things they needed for the day were all near the door. It didn't take long for Jasmine to join him. He pointed to the sink where her toothbrush was placed then he motioned to the bathtub. "Thank you daddy" she signed before he left to visit her room. Her outfit for school was already out, he smiled at how organised she was, he literally had nothing to do for her on mornings beside neaten her braids and approve of her outfit. He had a very independent six year old. It took her fifteen minutes before she came into her room to get dressed. "I would meet you downstairs princess" he signed leaving her. As he waited, Lexi called. "Hey Jacob" she greeted extremely cheerful.
"Just confirming pickup for Jazzy later?"
"Um yeah as usual. You had plans?"
"Not really but do you mind if I stayed for dinner? It's been a while since we spent some time together." Her voice didn't waiver from the cheerfulness. Jacob thought over her words, they used to hang out together only when Annabella was around never one on one. The only interaction over the years they ever had centered on Jasmine. It won't hurt to have dinner with a friend.
"Sure. I would tell Jazzy that you would be staying for dinner. She would love that." he answered with a smile.
"Great" she squeaked then made an excuse to end the conversation. Checking the time, he noticed it was time to leave, grabbing their things he stood at the beginning of the hallway that lead to front door and waited for his daughter. A minute later, he heard her footsteps running down the stairs, dressed in a hooded Princess Jasmine dress and a teal vans she was ready for school. "You look very beautiful, your majesty" he said bowing to her. Jasmine giggled and took his hand as he led her outside.
Drop offs were easier now, she no longer asked him to walk her in, she was now comfortable walking in on her own and meeting her new friends one thing she always made sure to do was kiss her father good bye and tell him how much she loved him. Mothers who happened to catch the exchange always cooed in delight and try to catch the attention of the handsome father. That morning one was very successful.
"Good Morning Jacob" the red haired called out walking up to him as he watched Jasmine run up to the boy she met the first day. "Hello. Good morning Betty" he returned out of politeness.
"How have you been?" she started.
"Fine thank you and yourself?" Jacob had no time for this, from the look in her eyes and her body language he knew this wasn't a hi and goodbye greeting.
"Good. Good. I was wondering since our girls are getting along well would you mind if we arrange a play date for them?" she asked getting closer to him. He tried to remember her daughter's name and failed miserably. "Forgive me but which one is yours? They are so many Jasmine speaks of." he asked.
Betty bit her lip at how deep and sultry Jacob's voice was, the mixture of German and American accent was doing such good things to her.
"Ellie." she offered. He searched his memory for any mentioned of Ellie and failed once again, he would have to ask Jasmine about her. "How about I talk it over with Jasmine and I call you about it?" he responded smoothly and just like that he was being handed a card with her number. Reading the card, he took note of her profession - a real estate agent. "Don't take too long." she said sending him a wink.
"Sure. Have a good one." he said jumping back into his car quickly.
Women are like wolves these days, he thought to himself as he joined the morning traffic.