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© Copyright 2011
All work is property of Leah Crichton, any duplication or reproduction of all or part of the work without explicit permission by the author is illegal.

Tongue - Tied: (tung-tyed)

speechless or confused in expression, a form of shyness, embarrassment or astonishment

affected with tongue-tie



Vancouver was bigger than anything I’d ever seen in my life. Suffice it to say the entire town of Churchill would probably fit within the confines of a few city blocks. All of the houses and buildings were one of two extremes: run-down and decrepit, like their owners had stopped caring, or towering, surreal architecture straight from the pages of a magazine.

Trees lined the streets and suggested God had a fondness for different shades of green. The nicer homes boasted pristine manicured yards with little verandas, curvy paths, and tropical foliage reminiscent of an island paradise.

We drove a good twenty minutes or so outside the city before Luke pulled into the driveway of our new home. He rushed around the car to open the door for me, my crutches secured in his hands. Humbled, I accepted his assistance since there wasn’t much I could do by myself, and limped out. The house itself was massive and the surrounding land rolled into vast wilderness.

The exterior was white with pretty red shutters framing all of the windows. A red brick pathway lined with little lanterns wound up to the front door and branched out to the side and the back of the house. A creek, complete with a small bridge, cut through the landscape and provided undeniable charm. 

“Nice, huh?” Luke asked.

I surprised myself by admitting that it was.

Snickers heard my voice and burst from behind the house full throttle, his tail flying side to side like a propeller.  I froze and braced for him to knock me over.

“Whoa, boy!” Luke leaped in front me. “Sit!” Snickers followed his command and sat, his tongue hanging lopsided out of his mouth.

I patted his head gently. “Hey boy, did you miss me, buddy?” He licked my hand as if to acknowledge that yes, he had.

“Let’s go inside, I’ve got a surprise for you.”

The house was ancient and the décor inside reflected its age but in a surprisingly shabby-chic sort of way. The front was little more than a starting point for a staircase. To the left, French doors led into a large dining area, and beyond that an absurdly modern kitchen. A sitting area was off to the right and housed a warm fireplace with built in bookcases, complete with enough books for our own personal library. Luke probably thought he'd died and gone to Heaven.

Upstairs housed six massive bedrooms, three of which would eventually be for bed and breakfast guests. Each stair accommodated my crutches nicely and I made it to the top with relative ease.

The pride in Luke’s voice was unmistakable as he side-stepped the door to my bedroom. “Come and see this.”

When I got past him, I gasped. My mom said that when Luke was not at the hospital, he was here, in my room trying to make it perfect. It was.

There was no question the room was designed by someone who knew me. Everything in it was black, aqua or white.  A white comforter with black swirls sat atop a cherry wood bed. Aqua accent pieces were strategically placed throughout the room in the form of pillows, lamps, a cashmere throw, and an area rug. All the walls were painted my beloved blue-green except for the one opposite the bed, which had wallpaper similar to the pattern on the bedding.

An oversized desk housed my computer on the other side of the room. I walked over and ran my finger along the smooth edge of the wood. I noticed my word of the day calendar sat perched on one of the shelves; somehow it had been retrieved it from the wreckage.  I picked it up.  The blue card-stock was practically destroyed, some of the pages torn. The entire thing was covered in caked, dried dirt. I swallowed the lump in my throat and set it down.

“What do ya think, I.Q.?” Luke beamed with satisfaction.

“Oh Luke, it’s wonderful! This is an amazing gift.” I threw my arms around him, resting my weight on my good leg. 

“I’m glad you like it. You had me worried there.”

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