A/N: Well, I'm not new to this site and I'll admit, I'm not fantastic at finishing everything I start, so I'm going to do my best! This is my first BoB fic, so I hope you enjoy.
I Won't Give Up
Chapter 1: Necessary Circumstances
"Ms. Hartleigh, Mr. Collins will see you now." The wide eyed receptionist informed the young woman seated in the stuffy waiting room of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Vivian smiled appreciatively at the red head behind the desk and gathered her pocketbook, portfolio and coat before following the petite receptionist to Mr. Henry Collins' office.
"Mr. Collins, Ms. Hartleigh is here." The woman informed her boss before she quietly exited the room, clicking the door behind her.
"Ms. Hartleigh, have a seat." The white haired man gestured, smiling kindly at her.
Vivian resisted the urge to thread her fingers through her dark brown hair as she dropped into the seat opposite the older man. Nervous ticks were weaknesses and that was the last thing she needed at the moment.
"Ms. Hartleigh, I'm going to get directly to the point. I've reviewed your idea and I'll grant you this, it certainly has merit. The human interest aspect alone is appealing. You've certainly got a stellar concept here." He started, his hands folded nearly on the mahogany desk in front of him.
Vivian leaned forward excitedly, her green eyes sparking with excitement. "Thank you Mr. Collins. I knew it was a bit of a risky idea but I just knew if there was anyone who would get behind it-" She started, her words coming out quickly and breathlessly, anticipation racing through her veins.
Mr. Collins held up his hand to silence the over eager young woman across from him. "I'm not getting behind it, Ms. Hartleigh. While I think the idea and execution would be quite admirable, I cannot, in good faith, send you overseas as a war correspondent. Not only am I very much against a woman being over there in that capacity, we simply don't have the financial means for it at the moment. Times are tight, Ms. Hartleigh. You know that." He reminded her softly, obviously sensing the forthcoming disappointment.
Her heart sunk to the cold linoleum floor. He wasn't going to send her to Europe. She'd never get her story; she'd never be able to tell the truth about what the men would be encountering over in Europe… What they'd be enduring.
"There's no way you can get me over there? You know I'm the best person for the job. I've worked here two years now, not to mention the year I spent sorting the god-forsaken mail. I've earned this. You know that as well as I do." She implored, pleading with him to give her this opportunity.
He smiled sadly at the woman in front of him. She was a good writer, one of his best, truth be told, and she would be excellent for the job but sending a woman overseas as a journalist, she wouldn't get a word out of the boys. And the funds… The paper just didn't have them, no one did.
Mr. Collins reached across the desk and covered her hand with his own. "Vivian, you've worked here a long time, I'll certainly not argue that. But I can't send you over there, not as a writer. So unless you find some other way to get yourself over there and get your story, I'm afraid I can't help you."
Vivian blew out a heavy sigh. Unfortunately, his refusal to send her to Europe was not a surprise to her. As much as she'd hoped and prayed for the opportunity, the fact was, she was far from shocked.
"Thank you for seeing me." She muttered quietly as she collected her belongings and exited his office as quickly as she could. The cold sting of rejection made her feet move all the faster.
Fifteen minutes later she dropped onto a worn barstool at Delaney's Diner. Evie, daughter of the owner and good friend to the young brunette, sidled up to her frequent partner in crime with a practiced eye. One look at the distressed woman was all she needed to confirm her suspicions regarding the outcome of the meeting.
Minutes after her arrival, an ice cream soda float appeared in front of her, along with a plate of hot fries.
Vivian lifted her gaze to the expectant stare of her friend. Evie was waiting for an explanation.
With a final of gulp of the cool treat, she relayed the entire conversation to her childhood friend.
Evie's hand covered her own, squeezing gently. "I'm sorry Vivi. I know how much you wanted that assignment." Evie offered sympathetically. This was her friend's dream, it was what she'd gone to school for, what she'd worked so hard to achieve, and it was being taken away before she could ever fully grasp onto it.
Vivian returned her friend's smile and laid down the necessary money for her late afternoon sympathy snack. "Thanks Ev. I appreciate the snack, but I'm not much for talking right. I think I'm just going to head on home."
Evie waved her goodbye and watched her downtrodden friend shrug her coat on and push out into the biting winter weather.
Vivi was halfway home and just passing Mercer's Drugstore when she glanced up into the eyes of a printed advertisement.
"Army Nurse Corps." She muttered under her breath as she snatched the flier from the pole and scanned the brightly colored posting.
Her eyes lit up as she read the patriotic call to action. If the paper wouldn't send her overseas, she'd get there on her own.
She quickly folded the paper, shoved it in her pocket and hurried home. She had preparations to make.
Three Days Later
"I'm sorry, you did what?" Evie asked as she took a quick puff off her cigarette.
Vivian had cornered her friend on a break from the diner and broken her big news.
"I enlisted with the Army Nurse Corps. I'm going into training next week." Vivian patiently explained for the second time.
Evie's eyes widened at her friend's revelation. "Have you totally lost your mind kid? Viv, you hate blood and guts. You can barely stand it when you nick yourself! How're you supposed to face soldiers with their bodies blown to bits!?"
Evie was far from wrong. Vivian had always had a strong aversion to blood and the like. Even in their youth, a skinned knee usually had Vivian turning her head. But that didn't matter anymore. She had to get over there, by any means necessary. If that meant patching up the wounded as she interviewed them, then that's what she'd do.
"It doesn't matter. This is the only way, the only option. Training is four weeks and then they'll determine where I go and what I'll do. I'm hoping for a commission as close the front line as possible, hopefully in the mobile field hospitals." Vivian continued as she twisted off the top of a soda and took a quick swig.
"You're serious, aren't you? You're really going? All of this for a newspaper article? And my goodness, your parents… What'll they say?" Evie questioned as she dropped her cigarette to the ground and snubbed it out with the tip of her low heeled pump.
"Not an article. I've decided to write a book. I figured if I'm going to travel halfway around the world, it should be for more than just an article. As for my parents… You know we haven't spoken much since I refused to move east with them. They never agreed with my decision to stay here, so I don't expect them to agree with this. I've written them about this and the decision is final." She elaborated with a tight smile.
Evie just shook her head as she tightened her jacket around herself. "I truly believe you've taken a leave from your mind. But I've known you since grammar school. I'll save myself the breath it would take to try to talk you out of it, since you'd likely just ignore me. Instead, I'll just ask that you write to me." The petite blonde suggested quietly.
Vivian didn't reply. She took two brisk steps forward and wrapped her friend in a warm hug. "You know I'll be alright." Vivian reassured her softly as she gripped her friend close.
"You're a loon, you know that? You'd better take care of yourself. I swear, if you get yourself killed, I'm done with our friendship, you hear me? DONE." Evie threatened, her blue eyes swimming with tears.
Vivian bit out a laugh. "You've got a deal, Ev."
5 Weeks Later
Training had been nothing short of completely brutal. Vivian had nearly lost her stomach on several occasions, usually due in part to a rather graphic depiction of what they'd be dealing with in the field.
But she'd held it together and passed the course with flying colors. She'd be receiving her commission today.
She smoothed her hands down the olive green skirt of her uniform and straightened the lapels on her jacket. This was an important day. This day would be the first day of her future.
She pressed a few stray tendrils of her dark hair into place and nudged her hat just a touch to the right.
Two quick raps to her door followed by a quick yell of her name signified it was time.
She grinned at her reflection once more before giving herself a quick nod and exiting her room. Senior Nurse Kelly would be addressing them shortly, as well as handing out the assignments and she certainly wasn't going to miss a moment.
"Ladies, it's been my honor to have been privy to the training that has taken you from the girls you were when you started to the nurses you are now. You've trained hard, studied and excelled in all that's been asked of you. I'm proud to call you all nurses."
The girls let out a whoop of excitement as their senior nurse smiled indulgently and waited for the chatter to die down.
"As far as your commissions go, I'll be handling those in just a few moments. Please assemble yourselves alphabetically outside my office and I'll hand out assignments accordingly."
The girls quickly obeyed the orders of their superior and arranged themselves outside her office.
Vivian's mind raced as she considered the options. She could be sent anywhere. Europe, the Pacific Theater, hell, she could wind up being intake in New York. Obviously, Europe was what she wanted. She wanted it so badly she could practically taste it. She tucked her hands under her derriere in an attempt to keep her rattled nerves at bay.
Finally, her turn arrived. She stepped into the small office and clicked the door shut behind her.
Senior Nurse Kelly offered her a small smile and gestured for the young woman to take a seat.
"I know this ordeal hasn't been easy on you, Ms. Hartleigh but I'm told you prevailed over your fears admirably. The kind of strength and will you displayed will be put to good use, and likely tested, many times over in the coming months. I understand your ultimate goal is to write a book, and in fact, that book is why you joined us. I want you to know, regardless of your intentions, you've proved you belong here. After great deliberation, we're sending you to Europe. You'll be setting out in two weeks, from New York, for Aldbourne, England. You'll handle routine examinations and clear the men for battle. Once the troops move, pending your performance, of course, you'll be assigned to a company and start working a mobile field hospital."
A huge grin broke out across the young nurse's face.
Senior Nurse Kelly offered her hand in congratulations. Vivian pumped her supervisor's pro-offered hand enthusiastically. Finally, her moment had come, she was going, she was getting her chance.
Vivian thanked the older woman profusely and made for the door, only to be stopped by the sound of the Senior Nurse's voice.
Vivian turned and met the gaze of Senior Nurse Kelly.
"A word of advice. These men you're going to be treating… They're going to be coming from quite a dark place… Trying to handle the massive effects of war… It's going to be daunting trying to heal and survive, let alone answering your questions. Don't be surprised if they don't want to talk to you. Be respectful of their wishes, as you'll likely never fully comprehend what these men are putting on the line for their country."
Her words were sobering. The statement had the desired impact, as the smile slipped from the young nurse's face and her eyes cast down to the floor. It was clear that she'd received her supervisor's message. Her job as a nurse was to come first. That was the way it had to be.
Vivian nodded her understanding and quietly vacated the office. She offered her goodbyes to the girls she'd trained with over the course of the last several weeks and made her way to her small, shared dormitory style room.
She pushed the door open and stepped into the room that had been her home for the better part of a month. She was leaving. Two weeks was what Senior Nurse Kelly had given her. She had two weeks to pack up her life and head overseas.
End of chapter 1. OK, so I know there's not any scenes with the Easy boys but that's coming in the next chapter. What I can tell you is that this will be a bit of a triangle. Luz/OC/Malarkey is the way I'm leaning at the moment.
Another note: I apologize if I've offended anyone. I've done some research on the Army Nurse Corps, so I'm working with what I've read, please, if you have a correction, send it directly to me via a PM and I'll make the changes.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. This is based purely on the BoB characters from the TV series and is not intended to be a reflection on the real men themselves. I own nothing.