Right now, I have a lot of thoughts about Ailin and his hearing loss so that's what I'm writing. I was amused to see the next WIP being on the 27th when I was setting it up (so it would be set up and I could share it with a BR); it made me think of a conversation with my therapist- "Well Christmas is just another day to me." "Yes, even so, you have enough food, right?"
Now as I'm writing, I'm managing to cause detail issues that'll mean re-writing in Vala's Story, although that's totally fine as I'm figuring out stuff about Ailin here so I can show what I need to in her story. Here, we've switched to Adan's POV; she's Ailin's twin, also fluent in ASL, but her hearing is fine. In the structure of The Queen's hierarchy, Prisca is Adan's dominant and the 4 share a bedroom.
"Adan, sweet, I know you and your brother sign a lot, but interpreting is a different sort of thing, isn't it?" Kaya asked.
"It is, my Lady, but I would offer you two thoughts: if you don't want me to go for simultaneous interpretation between you and him, I'd have an easier time, and also you could write if you would prefer. Professionally speaking, interpreters tend to work for thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the demands of the situation and a bunch of other facts, my Lady."
Kaya nodded. "I want to keep this conversation short and to ask you and Prisca to join us in the pool after this. Do you mind interpreting? And we should agree on title use while you're interpreting, shouldn't we? Well an interpreter's supposed to be like a tool, so you'd only use a title if the person you're interpreting uses one, right?"
"I could do that, my Lady, although I must admit that I'm not sure where my Lady is at the moment. She went off somewhere in the house, telling me just to hang out here with Ailin, maybe an hour ago."
"Before we start, I'd like you to get Prisca on the intercom."
"Yes, my Lady." Adan got up from the bed, smiling at Ailin as Kaya pulled him between her legs and cuddled him. Studying the intercom panel, she pushed the button for the whole house. "My Lady Prisca, my Lady Kaya would like you to talk to you on the intercom." She waited beside the panel. Why wouldn't he let us say something sooner? Look at our Lady loving on him!
Prisca's voice came suddenly over the intercom. "Sweetheart, does Kaya still want me?"
Adan pressed the answer button. "Yes, my Lady."
Kaya took over at this point. "In about twenty minutes, I'd like to take the twins to the pool. Are you free to join us?"
"I'm just down the hall in Tommy and Simon's room. Be there in a moment," Prisca answered.
Adan returned to Prisca's bed.
"Sweet boy, why did you hide this so long? It's not like dealing with hearing loss would get you punished," Kaya cried out.
Positioning herself so Ailin could see her, Adan translated Kaya's words into ASL.
With halting signs, Ailin replied, "Manly men wouldn't be deaf, my Lady."
"Love, love," Kaya murmured as she kissed his cheeks.
"Brother, you know your hearing loss doesn't affect your gender," Adan signed. She wrinkled her nose. "And this is why family aren't good terps."
"What do you mean by that?" Kaya asked.
"I just put in my own thought there, rather than just interpreting your comment, my Lady."'
"Hm. But I'm sure Ailin knew it was you talking rather than you interpreting me? What if just act like the family we are? Like you could just sign brother before your own comments?"
"Well since we're not at the doctor or anything important outside our family, I guess that's okay, my Lady," Adan replied. Switching to sign, she said, "Brother, I'm going to try to interpret in a more family like way."
"OK," Ailin signed.
"Why do you want to wait to tell The Queen?" Kaya asked.
No beating around the bush with our Lady.
"He's still getting Vala ready. And LGBT Pride is coming, my Lady. Can't we wait until when we're all together, like he said at the last stable meeting?"
"You know he'd rather know something that's wrong so he can help. Sweet, are you so overwhelmed that you're dropping my title so much?"
"Sorry, my Lady." Ailin's face scrunched up like he was about to cry.
"No, no. Tell him he's not in trouble. You're not in trouble." Kaya hugged him. "We might not be following exact interpreter protocol, but I know you're not supposed to talk in the third person like that."
"Hey, what's up?" Prisca said after opening the door and heading into their room.
"We're not going to keep it from Prisca too?" Kaya asked Ailin.
Ailin rubbed his face for a moment before shaking his head. His head bowed, he started to sign. "My Lady, Adan's been helping me to bluff my way through hearing loss for months now. I... I'm not ready for us to tell The Queen yet, my Lady."
Prisca held out her arms and lifted both her eyebrows as she'd no doubt seen the twins do at many a point while signing.
A tear streaked down Ailin's cheek as he nodded.
Prisca caught Ailin and Kaya in a big hug. She stepped back and sat on the bed behind Adan. "Why and how long do you want to wait to tell The Queen?"
"Just until he comes to the mansion in a few days, my Lady, just so I don't have to struggle over the phone or beg someone else to tell him for me," Ailin replied in more certain and emphatic signs.
"Signing and Adan interpreting is working much better than you guessing at what you only half hear, isn't it?" Kaya asked.
"Sweet boy, what do you think about a different hairstyle for you?" Kaya asked.
Brushing a hand over his head, Ailin appeared to be considering Kaya's question.
Don't try to guess what our Lady wants. Give your truth. Adan clasped Prisca's hand where it rested on her stomach as she waited for someone to say something. She relaxed back into Prisca's embrace when he started signing.
"Maybe something that would allow me to show off hearing aids, if my hearing can even be helped by them, my Lady?" Ailin smiled hopefully. "Maybe get enough cut off that we could donate my hair, my Lady? Do you think The Queen would say yes, my Lady?"
"I think he'd be open to it, but are you thinking a buzz cut? I would miss your curls." Kaya pouted.
"Not that short, my Lady." Ailin shook his head. "Might we look online later so we can print out a picture when I ask The Queen, my Lady?"
"So we're going to wait until after Vala's collaring and maybe a day or two for settling in?" Prisca interjected?
"Please, my Lady," Ailin signed with huge gestures.
"And you'll just keep relying on your partial hearing and Adan's help until we tell him?" Prisca continued.
"And writing when we're in your room, please, so Adan isn't having to interpret all the time, my Lady?" Ailin batted his eyelashes at Prisca.
"Sure. Erik is away. Let's go get in the pool naked."
Adan took Ailin's hand in hers and led him into the hallway to wait on their Ladies. Thank goodness my Lady took it better than I hoped.
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A status message to a friend- random thought, what about showing Ailin understanding in lyricals, maybe even a sex scene? (Take a read of "Song Without Words" by Gerald Shea, an autobiography in which he considers his hearing loss, that he managed to live with undiagnosed from early childhood until his 30s.) Another status message- Am I still a writer if I'm not writing? So I created an OpenOffice file, named it "Ailin's Hearing Loss" and started this introduction. I don't think it's fair to call this a work-in-progress, although maybe it's about the less of what "publish" means on those signs about writing in public schools (in other words, even onto my website is "publishing," even though I retain all the rights to it.) I'm not sure how long or short this will be because it's 7:32 pm according to my clock, late in the Eastern Time Zone to be starting fresh writing especially for #WipItUpWednesday- well and to help me inhabit a character I haven't before.
Adan's hand moving pulled Ailin's attention from his book. "Hey! Someone's coming. I think our Lady Kaya."
"Thank you," Ailin signed. He closed his book and sat up on Lady Kaya's bed. He shuddered; she still wore the shiny orange-tinted lip gloss that made her lips hard to understand.
"Lilliness, tum seer," Kaya ordered.
Ailin's heart skipped a beat before his Lady pointed at the floor before her. Saved by her gesture. He dashed off the bed and scurried across the floor on all fours to where she stood. Please gesture more without me having to admit to anything, my Lady.
"Up!" she ordered, the word clear even with her quiet tone.
He settled back on his shins before lifting his hands carefully under his hair. Tilting his head back, he watched her lips for her next order.
"Abut loofey bearta taipan sufi?" Kaya murmured.
Don't look at Adan for a translation. But that was total gibberish to me. Goddess, grant me the serenity. Um, taipan? The California house lizards? "My Lady?" he replied, hoping it didn't sound impertinent.
Lady Kaya knelt before him. "I want to lounge in a bath. You too?"
Nodding enthusiastically, he answered, "Yes, please, my Lady."
"Something clatter datter ears snorts?"
Clatter? Datter? Um, datter... dour... your ears! But what's clatter have to do with it? Matter?
"Hello? Ailin?" She pushed up on his chin until he brought his gaze to her eyes. "Don't ooey asp dourt ester. What omi ing?"
Your sister! I must have pulled my chin, trying to look at Adan. Omi ing? Om I ing? Am I ing? Ing? I must have missed half the word.
"Ailin?" She brushed her large knuckles over his earlobe. "Mooshy?"
"I... I've been... bad." He swallowed hard. "My Lady." Will she let Adan help now?
"How?" Lady Kaya demanded.
"Mooshy, my Lady?" He furrowed his eyebrows in the ASL grammar way.
"Tell. Me. How."
Poor Adan's so anxious. I can hear myself okay still. "I... I'm not hearing... my Lady." He released a puff of tense air from his burning lungs.
Kaya took Ailin's hand and urged him to stand; she released his hand to wrap her arms around his waist for a tight hug. "L-O-V-E. Not mooshy."
As she led him across the room, he looked up to see she was bringing them to Lady Prisca's bed. "Owiung ute bin dinths?" She gestured at Adan.
Adan translated Lady Kaya's sentence into ASL. "How long have you been hiding this?"
Closing his eyes, he tried to will his lips to stop trembling. Too long. Why have I been so scared? The Queen, this family, they don't ask me to be anything I'm not. His sister's soft palm pressed on his forearm. He opened his eyes.
Frowning, Adan signed, "You must tell her! She can only help if she knows."
Ailin nodded. "Voice for me?" he signed.
Looking at Lady Kaya even as he signed, Ailin replied, "A few months after The Queen collared me, I started to notice I was missing sounds, my Lady."
"One title per statement is fine," Kaya said, Adan continuing to interpret. She swiped a hand over her head, smoothing her hair down. "We need to tell The Queen."
Gasping, Ailin shook his head in desperation. "Please, not yet, my Lady!" he signed, his hands flying with his emotion.
With the back of her hand, Kaya wiped the gloss from her lips. "Help?"
"Yes, my Lady," Ailin answered in voice.
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