Madison Walker opened the front door of the Newport School For The Deaf to witness a moment of chaos. Three little boys were playing a game of keep away with a little girl’s teddy bear and a number of other children had stopped to watch. Madison watched, a bit amused, a bit uncertain whether or not she ought to intervene. After all, she was here to interview for a job, she didn’t work here yet. As she debated her options, one of the handsomest men she had ever laid eyes on strode out of the front office and caught the teddy bear in mid-flight, handed it back to its rightful owner and spoke in fluent sign language to the game’s participants. He sent them on their way and using a combination of sign and spoken words, told the rest of the crowd that they were about to be late to class and that he expected them to move quickly. When the lobby was clear, the man smiled at Madison and approached her with his hand out.
“Seamus Lansing. How can I help you?”
Madison hoped she didn’t look as surprised as she suddenly felt.
She had pictured the man she was interviewing with to be…less attractive and certainly older. Somehow she hadn’t expected the headmaster to have a beautifully sculpted face, an athletic build and startlingly blue eyes. “Madison Walker,” she replied. “I have an interview.”
“Yes, with me,” he said, smiling at he yet again. “Come in the office. I’ll be right with you. Have a seat.”
A pretty blond woman stood and came around her desk. “I assume you are Madison Walker?”
“I’m Sheryl. Can I get you some coffee or tea?”
“No, thanks, I’m fine.”
Sheryl sat beside her on the sofa. “So, just to give you a little background information, although I’m sure Seamus will cover this too. We’ve only been open since the first week of August and we have had a much bigger enrollment than we expected. Some of our students are traditional day students and about half of our students board. That allows us to serve children who don’t live in Newport or close enough to drive every day. Parents are welcome anytime for those students and we have rooms available for them. We need a few more teachers, obviously, since we’re doing interviews.”
“It’s a beautiful campus and a beautiful town.”
“It is, and I think you’ll see when I take you on a tour after you talk to Seamus that it is an excellent school for the hearing impaired. Although, I will tell you that Seamus isn’t big on being politically correct, so you won’t hear us using all the educational buzz words here. He’s looking for teachers who are compassionate yet get good results, but not people who baby these children because of their disability.”
“I agree with that philosophy.” Madison liked Sheryl already.
“Then you’ll do fine. After you talk to Seamus I’ll show you around.” She led the way to the office door.
Seamus stood as she entered. She noticed he was holding her resume as she took a seat in front of his desk. Only then did he sit too. Gentlemanly manners, she thought. She couldn’t help but think that most men she knew weren’t as polite, nor would the act seem so natural to them. “So,” he said, “you currently live in Boston and have three years of experience teaching deaf children.”
“And you’re fluent in sign language.” He looked directly at her.
“I have family members who are deaf.” Madison wondered if it was really necessary to reveal that much information, but for some reason she felt comfortable sharing that with him.
“That would make you more at ease with our students,” Seamus said. “You would be surprised how many people who have degrees and experience in this field really aren’t.”
“If you live with it on a daily basis, you forget everyone isn’t hearing impaired,” Madison admitted. “I probably talk in sign language all the time without realizing it, even when I’m with people who hear perfectly. In fact I know I do. My best friend calls me on it all the time.”
Seamus laughed. “Most of our students use sign exclusively, although we are planning to encourage more lip reading and speech. I prefer teachers who can sign in complete sentences. I hate it when people speak in broken sentences, as if not being able to hear means you don’t have a grasp on the English language.”
“It can certainly make teaching writing more difficult,” Madison agreed.
“Exactly.” He looked at her resume again. “If you don’t mind my asking, why are you looking for another position?”
“They are cutting my position to half time. I read about the school online and I was impressed with what you are doing. And, personally, I need a change of scenery. A fresh start.”
“I appreciate your honesty. I checked your references, and if you like what you see on your tour with Sheryl and you want the job, I’d like to offer you a contract.”
“You can make a decision that quickly?”
“I’m a pretty good judge of character,” he said, leaning back in his chair, but never taking his eyes off her.
“I’m tempted to say yes right now,” Madison admitted.
“I hope you will, but take a look around first.” He stood and called for Sheryl. “Madison is ready for you to show her around. I have a contract here, you’ll go over that with her when you get done, right?”
“Of course. I have a parent on hold, we’ll go as soon as I get off the phone with her.”
Seamus asked, “Any more questions for me?”
“Yes, how is it that you are so fluent in sign language?” She hoped that wasn’t too personal a question.
Seamus laughed again. He really liked this woman, more for her honesty than for her striking beauty, although he certainly found her pretty. “Because, Miss Walker, I haven’t heard a single thing you said.”
Her mouth fell open and he laughed again before she recovered and started to apologize for not realizing he was deaf. “Enjoy the tour,” he said as he moved past her to exit his office. “Ask any questions. Think about the contract once you’ve looked over it. If this is you’re looking for, we’d love to have your join our faculty.”
Madison Walker never planned on falling for her boss when she accepted a teaching position at The Newport School For The Deaf. Seamus Lansing is handsome, wealthy, athletic, charming- and hearing impaired himself. As the only hearing person in her own family, Madison isn't sure she wants a long term relationship with someone who can't hear but she can't deny that she is attracted to Seamus. As their romance develops, Seamus will find himself questioning things he never considered about his disability.
Jim O'Brien has achieved worldwide acclaim for his musical ability. When unexpected circumstances threaten to take away his ability to play the piano how will it affect his recent marriage to Lady Berry Harrington?
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Genre - Romance, Christian
Rating – G
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