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Where Hearts Cross

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October 23, 2077

"You're going to knock them dead at the Veterans' Hall tonight, hon." My mama smiles at my father in the mirror while rubbing his shoulders with her long, bony fingers. We weren't leaving until five p.m., so that have us about seven hours to get out of our pajamas.

"You think? I'm sweating hell right now." A nervous laugh. "I hate formal events. Can we leave as soon as the speech is done?"

I squint and poke my father in his side, "Man up, at least there's cake."

"How do you know that?" My mama asks, curious. "Well if we hadn'tve drove past the bakery today I wouldn't have been able to spot a massive four tiled cake sitting on a cart. Man I almost jumped out of the car right then and there!" I exclaim running my stomach. Mama and I went to the store we get our gowns from in boring, historic, Concord. We just so happened to drive past the bakery, and it just so happens that there was a cake sitting on top of the cart. My father and I have always, always, gotten big corners of cake. Or even when we're too lazy to make a cake ourselves, we'd make our own buttercream icing and just put some on our ice cream.

A sigh, "I gave birth to a monster worse than her father, and another even worse than them." With a roll of her eyes she goes and tends to a crying Shaun.

I look in the mirror at my reflection and at my father's face. I looked just like him, Hazelnut skin, icy blue eyes, thick, dark eyelashes, a rounded nose, a birthmark on the left side of our face, and a crooked grin whenever we do something stupid. But not the 6-foot-giant height— really I'm just lazy. Me and my mother make all the tall people around us do the tall people work. I got some of my mother's attitude and most of my father's sarcasm, of course there is not a day that flies by when I'm never speaking the language of sarcasm. His brown hair is graying at the edges and into his so-called 'Godly Beard that no one but my wife shall touch; Unless I give her permission.' My brother got my father's eyes and my mother's soft features, copper colored skin, a straight, slightly crooked nose, lips that frown in their sleep and a thick brown mass of curly hair and I came out of my mama's womb with a head full of hair. and

"What's on your mind, kid?" My father asks. "It's nice to not be the only sibling for once." I smirk, "We'll start plotting against mankind and destroying every adult that stands in our way!" I say with a slow, dramatic wave of the hand. "World domination will be at our fingertips!"

I look at my frowning father and snicker. "If you can't get your head out of what's going on in TV we are not watching The Silver Shroud anymore."

I clutch at my chest, and heave a gasp, "T-those words wound me! M-must heal, m-must get to the...TV!" And slowly make my way out of the bathroom, nearly running into Codsworth. 

"Dear me!"

"Sorry Codsworth. Didn't mean to scare you."

"No, no, dear, Hazel. It's all right really. I was just coming to get your father. That same lad from Vault-Tec is at the door." Just as the last word is finished, five knocks sound on the door.

"I got it!" My father says as he opens up the door.

"Good morning! Vault-Tec calling..." I boot out the conversation and instead focus on the tv playing a commercial about the prototype Fatman—these people sure loved to use anything explosive. Mama stands a bit off to the side, cradling Shaun in her hands and watching my father and the Vault-Tec guy converse with one another.

"No, thank you."

"P-please it'll only take a few minutes!" The man's face landed on my mother in her bathrobe and me in only a tank top and a pair of sweatpants. I quickly turned around once his gaze was interested in me mostly. I mentally shudder. Years into creating technology and men still think they can be leering peices of crap because they're in 'power'. As if women can't be. Which is mostly why some women took to being simple housewives. Staying at home and planning parties and having babies and spending time with their simple friends.

"How's about you go and take that leering look smile of yours off my daughter and wife before I—" My mother sighs heavily and moves to his side, "Nate! I'm pretty sure a bit of paperwork won't kill us."

"We'll die." Both me and my father say with a robotic tone.

"You'll both sign out this paper." She takes the papers from the shocked Representative— who looks to be on the verge of pissing himself, "End of discussion. And you," she turns back towards the Vault-Tec guy, and puts on her best I-will-cut-you-in-half smile. "I don't really care how you look at me, just know you have a rifle waiting for you when you decide to test the limits. And as for my daughter?" She leans forward and, with her 5'3 frame, she's like a mini Grognak. "I'll make sure that no one can find your body when my husband is done with you." She leans back and flashes another smile to make the Vault-Tec Rep flinch and take a step back.

"Please wait until we finish these." And then slams the door in his face.

My dad looks at the door and then at my mother and shakes his head. "Should've just told him no— ow! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" I wasn't even paying attention to them to know that mama had given him a titty-twist. I was in the middle of watching the news when she slapped a pen and a peice of paper to my forehead.

"Hurry up and fill that out so that piece of colonizing—"

"Watch the language Nor!"

"How exactly can I watch language? Sorry Oreo, I was in a different place. Just hurry up and fill that out okay?"

Back before my grandmother was born she dealt with alot of racism for her being part Chinese, white, and black. But because most of her origins showed from being Chinese and speaking the language, hate was practically part of her life. She accepted it for what it was, and moved on.

I have always mulled that memory over. And I can see where she's getting that from. This war is filled on hate and a bunch of male testosterone and some other things. I thumb the locket and look out into the backyard, what if things had been different? I just huff and look at the paper.

Can't turn back now.

"Uh t-thank you! I'll just run this over to the vault. Goodbye!"

"Uh thanks?" My father runs a hand over his face. My mother had went into Shaun's room to change his pamper when she finished her S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats.

"Nate! Come'ere for a sec!" Groaning and pulling his hair, he trudges into the room. I didn't see Codsworth in the living room, he must've been in the room with my parents.

I picked up my Unstoppables comic and read through my parents' childish bickering and Shaun's constant laughter at the two until the news anchor came back on.

"Mom! DAD! GET IN HERE QUICK!"

"Followed by... yes, followed by flashes. Blinding flashes. Sounds of explosions... We're... we're trying to get confirmation..."

My father has his baseball bat in his hand, apparently the closest thing he could find in a short amount of time with my mother and Codsworth in tow. "What's going—why are you yelling?"

"But we seem to have lost contact with our affiliate stations... We do have... coming in... confirmed reports. I repeat, confirmed reports of nuclear detonations in New York and Pennsylvania. My God."

The television goes static and my arm is grabbed a bit roughly. My heart stops for about ten beats before I start panicking.

"The vault." I say just as the sirens start blaring.

Residents of Sanctuary Hills, if you are registered, evacuate to Vault 111 immediately. Residents of Sanctuary Hills, if you are registered, evacuate to Vault 111 immediately.

"Let's go!" My father jerks me out of my seat and grabs my mother and brother. I'm rushed outside, seeing my neighbors panicking and standing off on the sidewalk. Vertibirds circle overhead making a loud Thdrrrr noise above the screaming and sirens. Cars are in the middle of the road blocking the exit out of the neighborhood and a tank with a soldier standing atop it, motioning people towards the woods. One of our neighbors falls down and I rush to help, only to get pulled back towards the path.

"We're going to die."

"Oh God. What if we don't drive fast enough in time?"

"What's going on? Why is everyone screaming?"

"They're going to drop the bombs!" We reach the edge of the woods and follow the trail up the hill to the vault.

"That's absurd! I AM Vault-Tec! I'm reporting this!" My father grasps the Rep by his shoulders, unfazed by the slowed motion of the minigun pointed at the Rep, and moves him out of the way.

"We need to get in. We're on the list." The soldier, his face stoick and his eyes a bit panicky, look down at the list, "Adult Female, Adult Male, Young-Adult Female, Infant Male... Alright go on in."

"Let's go! Step in the center of the platform and DO NOT MOVE! Wait until the elevator descends!"

"What's going to happen to those people?" My mother asks breathless as we step in the center. I am suddenly reminded to breathe.

I look around the neighborhood and my heart sets and erratic pace. What's going to happen after they fall? Is Vault-Tec to be trusted? Are the bombs really going to fall?

"Don't worry about them ma'am! Worry about that family of yours!" The man in T-45 armor responds. W

My father hugs my mother and my brother and I and kisses the top of our heads. "I love you all."

Then an explosion south from where we're standing rocks the entire earth. My eyes are wide open staring at the explosion.

I won't ever forget this.

My hair starts whipping about my face and shoulders, next to me my mother sobs loudly and turns and cradles shaun tightly—as if to protect him from death. My father also stares at the destruction, a fire alight in his eyes. a

"NOW! NOW! SEND IT DOWN NOW!" As the mushroom cloud grows, and the debris cloud gets ever closer, we are lowered into the vault.

"Oh God. Oh God."