That's when they both burst into tears. "I'm sorry Daddy. I hurt you so much, and it's all my fault. I can't live without him, Daddy; my life is complete with Matt. That makes me a freak, Daddy, and it's all my fault this is happening. I understand if you're ashamed of me."
Dad just hugged her back, a fresh bout of tears started between them. Mom and I just sat and watched. This was the first time Caitlin had bared so much of herself to anyone in the family. We both knew this had to be sorted out between the two of them; Mom and I were purely spectators for now.
"The day your mom gave me that little girl in the hospital was the day I knew I would do all in my power to make her happy. I don't aim to break that promise anytime soon, Caitlin."
It was an age before either of them spoke again. The rebuilding of so many bridges between them was a slow process. Mom and I continued to sit in silence, fearing that any movement on our behalf would stall, or even halt, the peace process between father and daughter.
"I tried so hard not to hurt you or Mom so much, Daddy, but I had no one to talk to. Who can you tell that you're in love with your own brother?"
"Perhaps the two people that love you both so much, Caitlin, but until you finally admitted it to Matt and yourself there seemed to be nothing we could do. It seemed every day something died inside you a little more."
That brought on another bout of tears, and even I had to admit I misted up as well. For the next hour, they hugged and cried. Step by perilously slow step, Mom and I watched the light return to Caitlin's eyes, and Dad knowing he had his daughter back.
True to her word, the realtor found us a great house two miles from college. Mom and Caitlin went a week early so they could plow through the remaining paperwork to enroll Caitlin and for the house. She impressed her professors so much, that most gave her a week's grace to get her accommodation sorted out; she in turn insisted that they give her course work that she could get stuck into so she could hit the ground running the following week. Although she wasn't looking to impress anyone, I think she did by her enthusiasm, rather than looks.
Dad drove me there on Sunday, ready for the start of term on Monday. Caitlin greeted us at the door and showed us both around. Since she would not start college until a week later, she was intent on getting the house in order first. Word spread quickly amongst my friends that I had married, so Caitlin and I decided to get it over with and had a small party for my friends and their partners. By my watch, it took Caitlin less than an hour to win over everyone in that room. The friends she made that evening carried over into college.
Caitlin was a hit with the karate team as well, and continued to win medals and competitions for our college, right up until graduation. The one small hiccup came when she was noticed by a member of the Olympic team. Thankfully, she had spotted the dangers, and they were confirmed when she spoke to Dad on the phone that evening. I sat and watched her as she called the committee and respectfully declined to try out for the team.
It was a sport she loved so much, and yet, there wasn't even an ounce of regret when she put the phone down. To me, it simply showed just how much we had all sacrificed as a family, and no doubt would continue to do, so that every day Caitlin and I could wake up in each other's arms, and tell ourselves how much we loved each other.