A/N: Hey guys! Welcome to my second story: America's Liberty. This idea just popped into my head one day and I couldn't let it go. So here's the first chapter (they will get longer) and I ask that you please leave a review because that blue button can get awful lonely ;) Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Captain America: The First Avenger. I only own the Callaway family. Captain America rights go to Marvel.
Chapter 1: One Strange Woman
Brave hearts do not back down.-Sophocles
Rejected. Steve Rogers had been rejected by the army. Again. For the fifth time. Or was it the sixth? Eh, it didn't matter, because apparently patriotism isn't enough to go into battle. All he wanted was to fight for his country, but that was over ruled by the asthma and all of his other conditions. One way or another, he would serve his country.
Steve snatched away the paper from the desk. It mocked him with its bold red print, "4F." Unfit for military service. Steve sighed and leaned against the wall as he put his shirt back on. He stared intently at the paper, wishing it would change before his eyes. His concentration was lost when he heard a woman yelling. His head popped up to see a small lady yelling away at a worker. Many people shifted uncomfortably. Had no one told his woman to leave? "Unfit! What do you mean unfit?" Steve watched as the girl's long wavy hair bounced up and down as she jumped around yelling. It was quite comical seeing her wave her hands around wildly.
"Ma'am, please calm down. You have an irregular heartbeat. That automatically deems you unfit for service." The woman put her hands on her hips and stomped impatiently. "It's not that, you just don't want me to fight since I'm a woman! Well listen buddy, one day women will be in charge and you'll regret not enlisting me!" And with that she turned back around to walk away. Steve chuckled to himself and began walking towards the door while still looking at the paper.
Rejected. Jade Callaway had been rejected by the army. She knew it wasn't entirely because of her irregular heartbeat. It was because she was a woman and these military big shots think she needs to stay home. It reminded her of her mother. JoAnne Callaway raised her only daughter and her two sons, Jacob and Jasper, on her own after their father died of cancer. Yet she still insisted that Jade should learn to be a 'proper lady.'
She dreamed of Jade learning to play an instrument. She insisted something classical like the violin or piano. Or both. The latter was chosen. Jade went along with it.
JoAnne insisted she sat up straight and tucked her right ankle under her left one. That she drank tea with her pinky up. That she sat up straight and sat there like a mindless zombie. Jade went along with it.
Her mother wanted to teach her how to cook for her future husband and children. Jade, reluctantly, went along with it.
JoAnne decided her daughter should marry a rich man at age nineteen, have children before the age of thirty, and be a good house wife. Jade had not gone along with it. In fact, that's when she moved out. Because she wanted to be more than a housewife.
But Jade was denied that dream by a simple "4F." Furious, she grabbed the paper and focused on ripping it apart as she walked. As she was about to rip it into sixteenths, Jade collided into another person. Both of them fell back. "Oh geez, sorry ma'am, didn't see you there. Are-are you all right?" Jade looked up at the man she walked into. He was standing up now, offering a nervously shaking hand to her. Jade took it and let herself be pulled up.
"Yes, I am fine. It was my fault. I should have been paying attention." That man was a little taller than her, which meant he was shorter than the average man. Jade noticed that he was pretty scrawny; no wonder she was able to knock him over. But what really stood out were his eyes. They were a soft, warm blue that reminded Jade of the oceans in California she had seen on vacation. And his hair was a sandy blonde, like the beaches, that was parted neatly to one side.
The man coughed and they both blushed. Jade realized she was staring. "Sorry, I'm Jade Callaway." She stuck her hand out, but the man looked at her funny. Finally, he shook her hand and stuffed his own into his pockets.
"Name's Steve Rogers, ma'am." Jade noticed that he refused to make eye contact with her. "You know, I'm not trying to be rude or anything but, you're quite an odd woman. I've never heard of a lady who wanted to be a soldier." Jade subconsciously adjusted her maroon blouse even though it was already tucked neatly into her black trousers.
"America's my home Mr. Rogers, and I want to be able to keep it safe. And not by collecting tin foil." Steve blinked at her a few times. This woman was pretty strange. But Steve admired her loyalty to the country. "So, you wanna kick some Nazi ass too?" Steve's eyes widened. Did she just swear? He thought to himself.
"Uh," he coughed at the awkwardness, "Yeah, I do. But I'm unfit for service." Here it comes, the laughing and disgust. The disappointment in his strength. Or lack of for that matter.
"Me too. They say it's because of my heart problems. But really they don't want a vulnerable woman as a soldier." Jade said it like each word was venom on her tongue. Steve smiled slightly at the fact that Miss Callaway didn't say anything the normal girls said. Yep, she's different all right. He didn't know what to say to her. So he said the first thing that came to mind.
"Well, if it were up to me Miss, you'd be fighting right alongside the men." She smiled warmly with a set of perfect teeth, contrasting perfectly with her deep, deep brown hair and well, jade green eyes. Steve guessed her name wasn't a coincidence. Jade glanced at her watch.
"Well I best be on my way. It was a pleasure to meet you Steve." Before he could say a word, Jade had already grabbed her coat and was walking to the door, catching a few glances from the men. One man had the nerve to whistle at her and was given a response of a slap to the head. Steve chuckled as he picked up his own coat. She really was something else.
Jade cursed herself for running late. Bumping into Steve Rogers upset her entire schedule, even though trying to enlist had already done that. She now had only five minutes to get to the restaurant or she would suffer through a lecture her mother would be sure to give. Running through the streets of New York in heels probably wasn't the best idea. Twice she had to yank her shoe from the hole in a manhole cover. Jade looked at her watch once more. She was officially late.
After fifteen minutes of running and colliding with other angry pedestrians, Jade finally burst through the doors of the quiet restaurant, almost tripping in the process. Her heels clicked across the hardwood floor until they found themselves on the deep violet carpet. At the table in a corner sat her sister-in-law, Allison, who was undoubtedly writing a letter to Jacob while he was stationed in England. Allison always wrote letters to him and she loved Jacob dearly. That's why Jade got along with the shy, timid girl. Jacob was two years older than Jade and had married Allison when Jade was eighteen.
Next to Allison was Jasper. Two years younger than Jade and incredibly childish. For a nineteen year old, he acted like he was thirteen. His hateful demon of a girlfriend Jordan, as Jade referred to her was fortunately nowhere to be found. She constantly ragged on Jade about how she wasn't a proper lady. Her mother loved Jordan.
Speaking of her mother, JoAnne Callaway glared at her daughter in complete disappointment. "You're late." Jade sat down at the end of the table, refusing to sit next to her mother.
"I know mother." Jade remained calm for the time being. Starting a fight here would do her no good.
"Where were you Jade?" She was ignored. Jade looked over her menu instead, seeming completely innocent. "Jade Willow Callaway, do not make me ask again. Now, where were you?"
Finally Jade gave in and simply replied, "At the recruiting office mother." Allison dropped her pen onto the table as her grey eyes bugged out. Jasper rolled his eyes and chuckled. But Jade's favorite reaction was from her mother. Her fists curled up into balls. Her left eye started to twitch. Jade was glad she didn't inherit that trait from her mother.
"You-you did what? They didn't-did they-you know...?"
"No mother, I didn't enlist. They rejected me." She said bitterly.
"Oh thank God. Don't scare me like that! What business do you have trying to enlist anyways? A lady does not fight along soldiers. Your place is here. You're twenty-one years old for Pete's sake. It's time for you to settle down." Jade slammed her fists down in her frustration.
"Mother, I don't want to settle down. Yes, I am twenty one. But I am young and I want to see the world and I want to defend my country that gives me all of these opportunities. And I don't want to settle for a guy and have to have his kids and bend to his every will. I wanna fall in love momma like Allison and Jacob. Like you and Dad did."
Jade's mother winced at her daughter's reference to her husband. "Don't you dare mention your father, God rest his soul, in the middle of an argument!"
"He would have supported me!"
"You don't know that!"
"Yes, I think I do!" Allison squirmed in her seat, trying to get back to writing her letter. Noticing her discomfort, Jade decided to end the argument. She quickly rose up from her seat and put on her jacket.
"Where are you going?" Jade grabbed her bag and pushed her chair in.
"For a walk. Don't worry, I'll be back soon." Her mother began to protest, but let it go. Again, there was no point in arguing more. Jade left the restaurant and walked down the streets.