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Caitlin pulled into her driveway, and then into her family's garage.  It was a beautiful spring day, with nary a cloud in the sky, the flowers in full blossom.  The Illeri household was a modest one story ranch, with grey aluminum siding, a long porch along the front, and a manicured garden featuring begonias, hibiscus, and prunus-cherry blossoms.  It was a good home, simple but warm.  Parking the car her lower left arm reached across her waist to the driver seatbelt.  Her white Camry was modified, with the centersection removed, instead with additional seat space, allowing her to sit comfortably.

Stepping out, she could her hear her brothers playing basketball in the backyard, their shouts and taunts eager and competitive.  She walked inside, her middle leg stepping up on the stair into the house as her outer pair took the leap into the hallway.  

"Mom, I'm home!"

"Hey honey, I'm in the living room, you have mail."

"Okay, give me a second."

She took off her shoes, bending down, her nimble and delicate six-fingered hands quickly untying each shoe.  With four hands, she could take all three off at once.  Caitlin put them in the rack, along with all the other "pairs" before walking, with her odd gait, to the living room.  The smell of dinner filled the room, impossible pie, her favorite.  Both ovens were going, as she could easily eat an entire pie at dinner.  Her mom was sitting in the living room, reading a book.  She was a teacher at the local elementary school, and had been home for several hours.  A large framed portrait of Jesus and the Virgin Mary were hung above the mantle of the fire place and there were several crosses in every room.  A giant painting of the Tuscan countryside covered the wall above the leather couch.  The home of her grandfather...

"What was the mail?"  Her voice was thick, fuzzy, and slightly slurred, deliberately slow to enunciate each word.  Years of speech therapy, provided pro bono, had enabled her to communicate freely, despite abnormalities in her vocal cords.  (she sounds like Marlee Matlin, but not deaf).

"Colleges.  I put them in your room.  They were thick."

Her face glowed with delight.  "Awesome."  Her tails wagged with excitement and joyful anxiety.

She bent down to kiss her mom on the cheek before running to her room, as fast as possible.  Today was the big day....

There it was, on her desk, beneath a pink board cluttered with pictures and drawings, on her desk lay several packets.

She saw the big one with the giant red IU symbol.  Without hesitating she ripped it open.

There was a letter especially for her, written by the Coach of the University's Cross Country Team.

--------
Dear Caitlin,

The staff and myself are pleased to award you with the 2011 Albright Scholarship for outstanding talent and attitude.  Your continued high performance at the local, state, and national level has brought you great and positive attention.  The Albright Scholarship will provide full tuition, housing, and a monthly stipend in return to four year's dedication to the Cross Country team.  We will begin official practice the week of Freshmen Orientation.  

It would be a honor for you to grace our halls here at Indiana University.  I look forward to hearing from you personally.

Best,

Coach Walter Somerdale
Indiana University Cross Country
---------

Underneath the letter was brochure on the Albright Scholarship, applications for housing, and additonal information.

She brushed aside the other letters, from other colleges.  This was it.  This was what she had been working towards for years.  A nationally-ranked team, and a outstanding place for higher education.  Now it would come down to convincing the folks.  The full tuition would help, but mom and dad, especially mom, would not be as enthusiastic as she was.

"Mom, mom,mom! I got the scholarship, full ride!" She yelled down the hall,

"What?" Her mother never had a good ear, and her speech impediment did not help.

"Full ride!"  She shouted, each syllable enunciated.

"We'll talk about it at dinner."

With that she got out her homework.  AP psych and Euro, nothing too hard, she was very good at both,  always at the top of her class.  A political poster (she's passionately pro-life) hung beside her bed, next to a large cross and a poster of her favorite Christian Rock Band.    She prayed quietly, asking Jesus that her parents would let her go to the big University and that she would prevail.  With that, she crossed her chest and got working, after sending a wave of ecstatic text messages to her boyfriend , Jon, and countless girlfriends.

She quickly finished most of her homework.  She could read very fast, and soon got through all her assigned reading for that night.  The AP tests were coming in a few months, and she wanted to get as much credit as possible.  

"Dinner!"  yelled her mom.  She heard her brothers close their doors as they went to the kitchen, and the TV turn off, as her father, who had gotten back from work just a half hour before, all came to dinner.

She closed up her books, put back on her thick glasses, and walked down the hallway.  

She sat down next to her mom, her chair had just a single bar connecting the backrest to the seat, so her tails were free to move around and she could sit without any discomfort.   The seat was also quite wide, so she was the only one on that side of the table.  Her brothers also sat down as well.  Marco, the oldest, of 16, was a freshman, with solid dark features and muscular build, he was popular with the ladies and a born athlete.  Self-confident and proud, he was arrogant and irreverent.  Her younger brother, Luke, was only 7, with shaggy brown hair and glasses.  Scrawny and small, he idolized his sister.  She was taller than both, at nearly 6 feet tall, she was the tallest in the entire family.

Her mother, Theresa, brought each of them plates filled with linguini and impossible hamburger pie, the plate for Caitlin, twice as high as anyone else.  She'd eat the entire thing too.

The beginning of supper was typical, each went around describing their day, nothing out of the ordinary, before it was Caitlin's turn.  Her mother looked noticeably uneasy when it was her daughter's turn.  

Her father started the exchange.  A construction worker, and carpenter by trade, his face was wrinkled and brown from long days in the sun, besides obvious Italian features.  "Your mother told me you got some letters?"

Before he could even finish Caitlin spoke, so excited was she.

"IU offered me a full ride!"

"And?" her father said

"And? I'm going to take it."

"Are you kidding Caitlin?  What about our rules, have you thought this through?"

"What do you mean,.... mom?"

"Don't do this Caitlin, we've been out of the spotlight for years.  It was bad enough during the ISAA affair, now this."

"I have, and I will."

"Kate, your mother is right.  Are you sure this is a smart decision?  We always thought you were going to DePaul."

"DePaul?  And what?  Live coistered away? I've gone to small schools all my life, I've lived in a small town the same time.  IU's team is the best in the country, this is a chance for me to go pro." the last part was slurred into one long word, barely intelligble.

"What was that last part?" her mom asked,

"I... want... to... go... Pro."

"Pro?  Have you lost your mind?  For 18 years we've stayed out of the media's attention, and now you are all gung ho about becoming famous.  What's gotten into you Caitlin?  We love you Caitlin, but sometimes your too ambitious for your own good."

"Media spotlight.  You've got it all wrong.  I have no attention to make myself anymore public than I already am.  My greatest passion has been running.  This is the chance to do it."

"But there are other schools out there, smaller and Catholic, that have ranked teams."

"But IU's is the best, and plus, I want to prove to myself I can do this.  Mom, please.  Understand."
Her tails were straightened in angst and anger.  All four of her arms were in fists on the table, her eyes looking straight into Theresa's, well as close as they could be, her lazy left cross-eyed as always.

"Kate, we worry for you, you've always been so brave, so strong.  But this is not what we agreed to earlier this year.  People may, may, be mean to you."

"I don't give a damn what other's think about me."

"They'll call you a freak," interrupted Marco. He grinned mischievously at his older sister.  He was promptly hit with a batch of mashed potatoes, which fell upon his lap.

Caitlin stuck her tongue out at her obnoxious brother, it was forked, split down the middle a good inch.

"Marco, watch your mouth" said her father, his voice stern and commanding.

"Your mother and I will talk about this after dinner.  Moving on."

After that, and Marco's outburst, the rest of supper was quiet and awkward.  Caitlin only ate half her meal, so upset was she.  Her family, they always supported her, and now, the greatest challenge yet, they panic and flee.  Sure, she hated being stared at and declined a dozen interview requests a month, but she refused to let that get in the way of her dreams.

After dinner she went on a four mile run through the neighboring countryside, her mind confused and nervous.  By the end her back ached in pain, her four breasts bogging them down.  When she got back, she put on her cumbersome brace.  It covered her entire body, even with four back surgeries, she suffered from debilitating back pain.  While her scoliosis had been finally corrected, after four surgeries, and her godawful "hunch" removed, the doctor said she would likely suffer from such problems her entire life.  Wearing the brace every other night and briefly after running would help alleviate the pressure on her midback, where her spine split in two.

"Caitlin."

It was her mother, from the living room.

"Come here."

Without a word she came out, she was in her underwear, two panties sewed together for her two crotches, and her back brace covering her entire torso.  She wore a large shirt over it, with four holes cut out for her arms. The brace was uncomfortable, despite it being custom molded, it was squeezing her four breasts down flat.

"Yes?" she said annoyed, and paranoid.

"We made up our minds."

"And?"

"We will always respect your desires.  We are here to support you.  Even if we refused, you would make our lives hell until we changed our minds.  You've always been bull-headed my beautiful girl, and it will get you far, even if you step on a few toes to get there."

"So I can go to IU?"

"Yes."

She lunged forward, her four arms wrapped around her mom's petite body.  

"You guys are the best!"

"Thank your dad.  If it was up to me, you'd stay in town."

Her dad was hugged next, a giant smile struck across her face, her tails suitably moved.

"Now get to bed before I change my mind."

With that she hurried off.  As she fell asleep, her tails tucked between her three, long legs, she dreamt away of the following year.  Her last image she saw was the giant trophy on her dresser.   

Reach for the stars, as you might hit the moon....
The first of many. I hope y'all enjoy.

And feeback is crucial to improvement.
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:iconninterarewsegafan123:
NinteRarewSegaFan123 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2016  Student
In the story, how did Caitlin (Kate) get four breasts and arms, three legs and tails?
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:iconsomethingelse77:
somethingelse77 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
She was born a mutant. :)
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:iconphaichi:
phaichi Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I read it through and through. It's quite all right. I see no major errors and we get a good look at her life. Now for a question, did you incorporate the religious and political themes for a reason? Is it a form of expression, or is it a part of the character, and story as a whole? A framing device of sorts?

All in all, looking forward to the next one. This should get real interesting.
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:iconphaichi:
phaichi Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
First impressions are good, but I have to sit down and read this properly later. I'll give a detailed critique then.
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:iconsomethingelse77:
somethingelse77 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
sounds good,
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