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The Journey Continues, Continuation of "Continuum"
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 3 August 2019 - 03:38 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 3 August 2019 - 01:10 PM)

Okay, the JoGyver stuff at the end was cute, but I feel like bad things are going to happen if they go through with this...

Of course!! It wouldn't be any fun otherwise!!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 4 August 2019 - 07:23 PM                                    
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Poor Jo just can't get a break... tongue.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

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"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 8 August 2019 - 08:04 AM                                    
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Chapter 11: Reunited: Part Two

“Welcome to magical, mystical, Mission City,” Jack’s voice boomed over the plane’s intercom early Saturday afternoon. “The temperature is a balmy…well, not quite balmy…eh, never mind.”

MacGyver looked at Joanna and they both chuckled. Even though it was supposedly spring, the temperatures in Northern Minnesota definitely did not reflect the season.

Mac was proud of Jo. If she had been nervous about the flight it certainly hadn’t shown. She appeared duly impressed with the big leather captain’s chairs and sofas in the customized cabin and even complimented Jack on his smooth take-off and landing. Something MacGyver was sure he would never hear the end of! They rented a car and drove into town.

Police sergeant and long-time friend, Neil Ryder, was the first to cross paths with the trio.

“Mac! If I’d known you were coming I’d have gotten Harry’s cabin ready for you!”

“That’s okay,” Mac assured him. “We rented a couple of motel rooms since we’re only staying overnight. You coming to the reunion?”

Neil frowned. “Can’t. Had too many officers call in sick so I’m pulling a double shift today.”

“What about Chuck?”

“He’s out of town at some outdoorsman convention,” the officer informed Mac. That made sense given that Chuck owned a sporting goods store and his busy season was about to begin.

MacGyver, Joanna, and Jack soon arrived at one of the more upscale motels in the city. The little town was growing daily, it seemed. They had secured connecting rooms. Joanna’s boasted a king size bed while the other had two doubles. The guys would share that room. After taking time to freshen up and change into the clothes they had brought for the evening, Mac and Jo exited their rooms at the same time. Mac wore a casual suit with a collarless shirt and Joanna wore a black, knee-length sheath dress with a long-sleeved, emerald green jacket.

“Where’s Jack?” Joanna asked, admiring Mac’s outfit.

“When I left he was singing show tunes in the shower. I told him we’d meet him in the lobby,” Mac replied as he appreciatively regarded Joanna from head to toe.

Fifteen minutes later, Jack sauntered into the gathering area wearing khaki pants, a brown bomber jacket and his well-worn flight cap.

“Does he always wear that?” Jo asked Mac between clenched teeth and a pasted on smile.

“No!” MacGyver quickly defended his friend. “Well, sometimes…usually…yeah, pretty much,” he conceded.

XXXXX

Mission City High School was a sprawling, multi-story building which boasted recent additions to accommodate the growing population. The reunion was in full swing in the gymnasium when Joanna entered flanked on either side by Mac and Jack. They stopped at the welcome table. Due to the lack of an RSVP, there were no ready-made name tags for them. The volunteer in charge handed them blank badges and permanent markers for them to scrawl their names and then display on their clothing.

Moving further into the gym, Joanna scanned the large room. A DJ played songs from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. A few couples danced, but most chatted in small groups, sipping beverages and nibbling hors de oeuvres. It didn’t take long before her companions were recognized by fellow classmates and soon Joanna and Mac became separated from Jack who took advantage of the attention to spin yarns of his various adventures since graduation. Jo appreciated that MacGyver stuck close to her, holding her hand or placing a comforting arm around her waist. Her mind swam as she was bombarded with names and faces she would forget by the end of the night. However, she was pleased to see that Mac had been a popular, well-liked student.

As time passed, Jo became increasingly aware of the curious glances and whispered comments she and Mac garnered as they continued to mingle. ‘Mrs. MacGyver’, ‘wife’, and ‘husband’ could be heard as they walked past various groups. At one point, they were confronted by three giggling, forty-something, bleach blonde women.

“So you’re the one who finally captured MacGyver’s heart,” the most boisterous lady said to Jo.

Shocked. Joanna took a moment to reply. “Oh, we’re just—“

“She sure is!” Mac unceremoniously cut her off.

A brief, but polite conversation ensued, and as soon as the women directed their gossipy attention elsewhere Joanna rammed her elbow into Mac’s gut.

“What?!” he exclaimed, rubbing the spot she had connected with.

“’She sure is’?!”

“I thought it would just be easier to go along with it,” he innocently explained. “We’re probably never going to see these people again, so what’s the harm?”

Joanna had to admit he had a point as they headed to the buffet table. While Jo gathered finger sandwiches, MacGyver carefully began ladling punch into two plastic cups when someone bumped him from behind, causing the red liquid to slosh over onto his hands. He let out a disgusted groan.

“What happened?” Jo asked even as she observed the punch dripping off his fingers.

“Nothing,” he grumbled. “I gotta go wash this off. Be right back.”

XXXXX

Frustrated, MacGyver flicked his hands, spraying red droplets into the air as he strode down the long corridor to the men’s room, too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the shadowy figure lurking behind him. Not wanting to abandon Joanna to a room full of strangers for too long, he quickly washed his hands and checked his clothes for any damage. Luckily he found no stains. He was headed back to the gymnasium when an unbidden thought began to niggle at the back of his brain. He wondered if the science labs were still where he remembered them and, if so, had they been outfitted with up-to-date equipment. He knew Jo could hold her own socially, and he’d only be gone a few extra minutes.

Before he could change his mind, he proceeded down the hallway he knew so well. He discovered the old, wooden door of the chemistry lab had been replaced by a fireproof metal one with a small window that didn’t offer much of a view. He tried the handle. Locked. Making sure he was alone, he pulled out his Swiss Army knife from his interior jacket pocket, quickly chose a tool, and carefully picked the shiny new lock. Once inside, he flicked on the lights as an air of familiarity wrapped around him like a favorite blanket. He had spent a lot of happy and exciting hours in this room and his work here had served him well over the years. Grinning, he allowed himself to walk up and down the rows of heavy lab tables sporting Bunsen burners. Curious, he opened a drawer to reveal the standard issue equipment needed for just about every experiment done. Along the back wall, he noted with satisfaction, was a large glass and metal cabinet that held all sorts of chemicals. Yeah, this had always been one of his favorite rooms.

He was about to turn around and leave when he heard the soft shuffle of rubber-soled shoes and the click of the heavy metal door closing. He looked to find a lanky, balding man about his age dressed in an ill-fitting, powder blue tuxedo with a matching ruffled shirt. It was all he could do to keep from rolling his eyes.

“Ahhh, the infamous MacGyver! At last I have your undivided attention,” the unfamiliar man crowed. “So sorry for bumping into you earlier.”

“I’m sorry,” Mac replied. “Do I know you?”

“You mean you don’t remember me?” the man asked as he leveled a handgun at MacGyver’s chest.

Mac sucked in a breath at the sight of the gun and automatically raise his hands in surrender. “Um, off course I remember you…Gordon,” he said calmly, thankful for the name tag stuck to the man’s lapel. “Gordon Grapple. We had a class together.”

Gordon nodded eagerly. “Senior Chemistry. I sat three stations behind you.”

“Right!” Mac quickly agreed, trying to keep ole Gordy talking and diffuse the situation.

“Do you remember my lab partner?” Gordon asked, his voice low and serious now. “She had quite a crush on you.”

Doggone it! This guy was talking about a class they had almost thirty years ago! How was he supposed to remember Gordon’s lab partner when he couldn’t even remember his own?!

“She had long, blonde hair,” MacGyver guessed, hoping his punishment for the wrong answer wouldn’t be a bullet to his heart.

“Red,” Gordon replied, now looking through MacGyver as if into the past. “Her name was Winnie. Well, Winnifred. But I always called her ‘Winnie’. She was so jealous of your Ellen. That’s why she dyed her hair. She was always trying to get you to notice her, but you never did!”

Mac thought this was a good thing, but apparently it wasn’t as Gordy stepped closer, shoving the barrel of the gun into MacGyver’s chest.

“You ignored my Winnie and she ignored me!” he spat. “She was so caught up in you she didn’t give me the time of day! I tried everything to get her to notice me. Now, I finally have the chance to get her attention once and for all!”

“Aw, c’mon Gordon, that was a long time ago! We were kids! I’m sure if you saw her again—“

“I did see her. Tonight. And you know what?”

Mac shook his head.

“She was looking at you just like she did when we were in school. But that’s all gonna change right here.”

Gordon reached behind him with his free hand and pulled out two lengths of rope. He ordered MacGyver to sit on the floor where he bound his wrists behind his back and then fastened Mac’s ankles together.

“That should hold you until I get back.”

“Where are you going, Gordon?”

“I’m going for Winnie. I’m going to show her how helpless, how useless you are now. Then she’ll want me instead!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jack Dalton was at the portable bar waiting on his second…no, third…well, maybe fourth…beer when he saw Joanna heading directly toward him, a concerned look on her face.

“I’m worried about Mac,” she stated without preamble. “He went to the bathroom to wash punch off his hands, but that was over twenty minutes ago!”

“Mac’s a big boy. He probably just met up with some old pals and lost track of time,” Jack shrugged.

“Something’s wrong!” she protested. “I can feel it! Please go and make sure he’s okay.”

Jack considered himself a man of many talents, not the least of which was talking unwilling participants into participating in certain ventures, but he had nothing on Joanna’s big brown eyes and worried countenance.

“Fine,” he sighed, “I’ll go check.”

Jack made his rather unsteady way to the nearest men’s room. He earned some odd looks as he bent down to peek under the stalls looking for Mac’s shoes. Not finding his friend, he wandered back out into the corridor. He didn’t want to return to Joanna unsuccessful. After all, she was Mac’s girl and he really wanted her to think well of him. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to determine that Mac probably wandered off to check out the science labs. Or maybe the Ancient History classroom. But that was on the other end of the school. It had to be the science lab. At least the wobbly Jack Dalton hoped so. On his way, he almost collided with a nerdy, nearly-middle-age man dressed in, of all things, a light blue tuxedo. With a grunt as an apology, he continued down the corridor.

The pilot soon found himself standing in front of the heavy metal door of the chem lab. Light was shining through a small window. He stood on tiptoe and peeked in, but the view was quite limited and the knob was locked. He was about to head back to the gym when the sound of breaking glass caught his attention and sobered him up a bit as well. He tried peering through the window again.

“Mac?! Mac, is that you?!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver didn’t know how long it would take Gordon to find Winnie and convince her to come to the lab, so he had to act fast. First, he had to get out of these ropes. Ole Gordy didn’t appear particularly strong, but he sure knew how to tie a good knot. Unsure of where his Swiss Army knife had gotten to, Mac looked around the room, wishing he was in the biology lab instead. A scalpel was just what he needed. His gaze fell upon the locked cabinet that held the chemicals. It was too risky to try and use an acid to eat through the ties without taking his skin with them, but he could use the glass. He scooted over on his butt and used his foot to break the glass. Turning, he tucked his hand up into the arm of his jacket and gingerly reached for a piece of the jagged glass. He had just begun to saw through the ropes that bound his wrists when he thought he heard a muffled voice call his name. Abandoning his bindings for now, he slid across the room and banged on the door with the soles of his feet.

“Mac?!”

“Jack!” he called out thankfully.

“It’s locked!” his friend called.

Now sitting with his back against the door, Mac used it to lever himself into a standing position. He tried the knob from the inside. It was locked, too, which was very strange. Classroom doors always opened from the inside. It was a long-standing safety regulation. He glanced around the room again and was struck with an idea.

“Jack!” he yelled through the heavy door. “Fire extinguisher!”

He closed his eyes and sent up a quick but fervent prayer that Jack would understand and grab one of canisters placed at intervals along the corridor. Seconds ticked by interminably before he finally heard the steady bang of metal against metal. If Jack could just break the doorknob…”

A few more blows and he heard the knob clatter to the floor. A second later Jack tumbled into the room.

“What happened?!” he asked, his eyes wide as if now first shocked by the situation.

“I’ll explain later,” Mac replied hurriedly. “Get these ropes off me. We gotta get back to the gym.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna sat on a barstool waiting for Jack. What could be taking so long? All he had to do was go to the men’s room and get Mac. A ball of dread began to form in her stomach. Something was really wrong. She was sure of it. Too anxious to sit, she slid off the stool and began to pace when her path was blocked by a short, chubby woman with red hair and dark-rimmed glasses. She wore an overly bright flower print dress.

“Excuse me,” the woman said shyly. “You’re Mrs. MacGyver, aren’t you?”

Joanna felt her shoulders droop. She didn’t feel like explaining. “Yes, that’s me,” she replied.

The woman’s face brightened. “Mac and I had Senior Chemistry together. I had such a crush on him,” she giggled. “My name’s Winnifred.” She stuck out her hand for Joanna to shake.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Joanna.”

“Have you spent much time in Mission City?”

Joanna was not in the mood for idle conversation, but at least it would pass the time until MacGyver and Jack returned.

“Actually, I’ve only been here a couple times.”

“Oh, that’s a shame,” Winnifred frowned. “Why don’t we go for a stroll and I can show you some of the popular hangouts?”

This woman was a little too friendly.

“I don’t think—“

Suddenly Jo felt something sharp poke her in the side. She looked down to find a hunting knife in Winnifred’s hand.

“But I insist!” the woman exclaimed, looping her free hand through Jo’s arm and guiding her out the door and into the night.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver and Jack hurried back to the party. Mac frantically scanned the room for Joanna but couldn’t find her.

“Where did you leave Jo?” Mac asked his friend.

“She was at the bar when I left.”

The two men hurried over to the bar, but she was nowhere to be found. The bartender and fellow former classmate looked up from the glass he was wiping.

“Can I help you gentleman?”

“Yes,” MacGyver replied. “Have you seen—“

“Your wife?” the bartender smiled. “Yeah, she left with that weirdo from Senior Chemistry.”

“Gordon?!” Mac’s heart beat in triple time.

“No. A woman.”

“Winnifred,” Mac said under his breath.

“Who?” Jack asked.

“Where did they go?” MacGyver asked the volunteer bartender while ignoring Jack’s question.

“Got me. She said something about showing Joanna the local hangouts.”

Mac sighed and sunk onto the nearest barstool, his mind racing. He couldn’t think of any notable, and potentially dangerous, locations except…

“Gordon said he had a crush on Winnifred,” he told Jack excitedly. “And Winnifred had a crush on me!”

“So?”

“So where did we all used to go to make-out?”

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

“What’s ‘The Ridge’?” Jack asked, still befuddled.

For a moment MacGyver’s curiosity overrode his urgency. “You never went to The Ridge?”

Another shrug from Jack.

“It’s that clearing in the woods above Ridge Lake. That’s where Winnifred must’ve taken Jo!”

MacGyver jogged to the exit, Jack lagging behind. Mac stopped short and quickly turned around.

“You stay here and call Neil. Tell him what’s going on and tell him we also need to find Gordon,” Mac directed before hurtling through doors and out of sight.

It only took a few minutes for MacGyver to drive to the clearing, but it seemed like hours. As the dense trees began to thin out, he doused his headlights and eased the car to a silent stop. He got out and headed for the tree line, ducking low to keep his presence hidden as he moved closer to the two women standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the lake. Moonlight glinted off the silver blade Winnifred held against Joanna’s side and fear gripped his heart. He could hear their soft voices but couldn’t make out what they were saying. He had to find a way to get them away from the ridge, separate them, and disarm Winnifred. Based on Joanna’s shaking head and the other woman’s jerky movements he figured he didn’t have much time. Perhaps he needed a ploy more than an attack strategy.
With quiet, efficient steps MacGyver made his way back to where he had left his car. He opened the door and then slammed it shut. Loudly. Sometimes the best plan was the most obvious.

“Winnifred?” he called. “Winnie, are you here?”

He noisily plodded up the hill until he once again had the two women in his sights.

“Winnifred! Thank God you’re okay!” he exclaimed as he continued to slowly walk towards them. “I was worried sick when I couldn’t find you in the gymnasium!”

Winnie started and turned abruptly, spinning Jo around with her, still holding the knife.

“MacGyver?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yeah, sweetheart. It’s me,” he assured her in a deep, sure voice. He was now only a couple feet away. He looked at Joanna for the first time since his approach.

“What’s she doing here?” he sneered.

“She’s the only thing standing between us, and I was going to take care of that tonight.” Winnie raised the knife like a newly-gained trophy.

“Don’t bother,” he ordered. “She’s not worth it.”

“But…she’s your wife!”

“No she’s not,” Mac said harshly. “Look at her…she’s not even my type! You know I’ve always had a thing for red-heads.”

“Then who is she?” Winnie asked slowly.

“Just some chick from work. I paid her to come up here and pretend to be my wife. I didn’t want everyone to know that smart, handsome, charming MacGyver was still single because he was still pining for you.” He silently willed Joanna to understand what he was doing and get in the game.

“You…you want me?” Winnifred’s grip on the knife as well as Jo’s arm seemed to slacken a bit.

“Hold it just a minute, mister!” Joanna scolded as she freed her arm from Winnie’s loosened grasp. “I agreed to our deal because you said if I pretended to be your wife you’d show me a good time, if you catch my drift! Well, buster, that ‘good time’ did NOT include being abandon by my date and kidnapped by a nutcase. Come to think of it, I’m not sure who’s the nutcase here. Her for wanting to kill me, you for being in love with her, or me for going along with this!! That’s it! I’m outta here!”

Joanna ended her rant by stepping away too quickly for Winnifred to react, but Mac was ready and waiting. As soon as Jo was far enough away, he lunged for Winnie, grabbing the knife from her hand before wrapping his arms around her, pinning her own arms against her body, while walking them both carefully away from the cliff.

“Let me go!” she screeched as she struggled against him, kicking him in the shins for good measure.

“Want me to take her off your hands?” Neil smirked as he stepped out from behind a large oak tree.

“How long have you been here?” Mac asked as they transferred the prisoner between them.

Neil shrugged. “Long enough to see that you had everything under control.”

“Gee, thanks for all your help, man,” MacGyver replied sarcastically before growing serious. “What about Gordon?”

“We found him roaming the school corridors looking for Winnie,” Neil informed him. “He’s already in custody back at the station. I’m sorry I missed all the excitement. What was the reunion’s theme anyway? ‘Revenge of the Psycho Nerds’?”

“Something like that,” Mac mumbled as Neil led Winnifred down the path to his patrol car.

“I’ll need all three of you to come down to the station and give your statements before you leave,” the officer called before he was out of earshot.

MacGyver turned to find Joanna with her back to him, staring out at the lake below. He cleared his throat as he approached so as not to startle her. As he got closer he could see she had her arms wrapped tightly around herself. He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and rested his chin on the top of her head.

“You okay?” he asked calmly.

“Yeah, I guess.” She turned to face him, her eyes glistening.

Without another word, Mac pulled her close. She wrapped her arms around his waist, laid her head on his chest and began to sob. When the tears had stopped, she pulled back and studied the wet stain on his shirt.

“I’m sorry,” she muttered.

“You got nothin’ to be sorry about,” Mac assured her, his own heart crying out. “You did real good tonight. You know that, right?”

She nodded and turned back to look at the moonlight glistening on the water. MacGyver joined her, taking her hand in his.

“What did she say to you?” His question sounded like a command.

“A lot of it didn’t make sense. Apparently she had a huge crush on you in high school…and still does. She told me this place was called ‘Lover’s Leap’ and that if I didn’t jump off the cliff she’d stab me to death so she could have you all to herself.”

MacGyver sucked in a breath upon hearing this. He was amazed at how composed Joanna was in spite of everything. He let go of her hand and instead wrapped his arm around her shoulders and nestled her against his side.

“She lied, you know,” Mac informed softly. “The real name of this place is ‘The Ridge’. All us kids used to come up here to make-out. Well, all of us except Jack.”

He felt Jo’s shoulders tremble, not with sobs, but with laughter.

“I’ll bet you know this place quite well,” she said, looking up at him with a playful grin.

He smiled back at her. “I never kiss and tell.”

He was prepared for one of her snarky comebacks when the trees behind them began to rustle. All his senses went on alert until his mind registered a huffing, puffing Jack Dalton emerging from the woods.

“Whew! That’s some hill!” he wheezed, looking around. “Did I miss anything?”

“You missed everything, Jack,” MacGyver informed his friend.

“You mean…it’s over? Neil got Minnie?”

“Her name’s ‘Winnie’, and yes, Neil got her.”

Jack’s face fell in disappointment before brightening up again.

“So this is The Ridge, huh?” he asked. “I don’t see what the big deal is…there’s nothing here!”

Mac and Joanna began to laugh.

“I’m serious!” Jack retorted. “You know, this would be the perfect place for a—“

“Forget it, Jack,” Mac commanded.

“But I didn’t even tell you my idea yet!”

“Exactly!”










Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 9 August 2019 - 11:52 AM                                    
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QUOTE

MacGyver looked at Joanna and they both chuckled. Even though it was supposedly spring, the temperatures in Northern Minnesota definitely did not reflect the season.
It's Minnesota. It's never the temp it's supposed to be.

QUOTE

“When I left he was singing show tunes in the shower. I told him we’d meet him in the lobby,” Mac replied as he appreciatively regarded Joanna from head to toe.
I feel like Mac didn't want to wait up simply because he didn't want to listen to Jack's singing XD

QUOTE

Fifteen minutes later, Jack sauntered into the gathering area wearing khaki pants, a brown bomber jacket and his well-worn flight cap.

“Does he always wear that?” Jo asked Mac between clenched teeth and a pasted on smile.

“No!” MacGyver quickly defended his friend. “Well, sometimes…usually…yeah, pretty much,” he conceded.
Everyone knows a Jack. The Jack I know is me. I don't care about fashion either laugh.gif

QUOTE


As time passed, Jo became increasingly aware of the curious glances and whispered comments she and Mac garnered as they continued to mingle. ‘Mrs. MacGyver’, ‘wife’, and ‘husband’ could be heard as they walked past various groups. At one point, they were confronted by three giggling, forty-something, bleach blonde women.

“So you’re the one who finally captured MacGyver’s heart,” the most boisterous lady said to Jo.
Sheesh, is there anything better to do? Is it that noteworthy? laugh.gif

QUOTE

Frustrated, MacGyver flicked his hands, spraying red droplets into the air as he strode down the long corridor to the men’s room, too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the shadowy figure lurking behind him.
Of course.

QUOTE
He tried the handle. Locked. Making sure he was alone, he pulled out his Swiss Army knife from his interior jacket pocket, quickly chose a tool, and carefully picked the shiny new lock.
See, Sam's not so bad laugh.gif

QUOTE
Gordon Grapple.
What a perfect last name for what's about to happen XD

QUOTE

“I’m going for Winnie. I’m going to show her how helpless, how useless you are now. Then she’ll want me instead!”
Can't decide whether he's the biggest grudge collector I've ever seen, or completely insane.

...

...

Insane. Definitely insane.

QUOTE

Jack Dalton was at the portable bar waiting on his second…no, third…well, maybe fourth…beer
He's supposed to fly them out tomorrow. He's gonna have a bad hangover XD

QUOTE

Suddenly Jo felt something sharp poke her in the side. She looked down to find a hunting knife in Winnifred’s hand.
Wow. They're all insane -_-

QUOTE


“So where did we all used to go to make-out?”

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

“What’s ‘The Ridge’?” Jack asked, still befuddled.

For a moment MacGyver’s curiosity overrode his urgency. “You never went to The Ridge?”

Another shrug from Jack.
This amused me far more than it should have XD

QUOTE
He silently willed Joanna to understand what he was doing and get in the game.
I'm sure she will XD

QUOTE

“She lied, you know,” Mac informed softly. “The real name of this place is ‘The Ridge’. All us kids used to come up here to make-out. Well, all of us except Jack.”
I know where this is going...

I'm still laughing at Jack's lack of a love life XD XD XD

QUOTE

He was prepared for one of her snarky comebacks when the trees behind them began to rustle. All his senses went on alert until his mind registered a huffing, puffing Jack Dalton emerging from the woods.
I saw that coming XD

QUOTE

“Exactly!”
Please oh please oh please tell me Mac said that in the same tome Jack usually does laugh.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 9 August 2019 - 01:35 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 9 August 2019 - 11:52 AM)

QUOTE

“Exactly!”
Please oh please oh please tell me Mac said that in the same tome Jack usually does laugh.gif

I'm fairly certain he did thumbup.gif



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 14 August 2019 - 05:41 AM                                    
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Chapter 12: The Dance

MacGyver stood in his office doorway and gazed out at his domain, otherwise known as the Challengers Club. For the first time since beginning this venture he finally felt in full control of the endeavor. Jack had left for L.A. and, at Mac’s insistence, Cynthia had agreed to leave work early. It didn’t take long before his eyes fell on the two youngest members of the club seated on either side of Joanna studiously completing their homework. Davey, the elder of the two, had inquisitive hazel eyes and dark blonde hair with an out-of-control cowlick that refused to be tamed. In his short time with Challengers, Mac had discovered the boy’s love of science and desire to take apart anything that moved to find out how it works regardless of if he could put it back together or not. Davey’s five-year-old sister, Suzy, had dark brown hair cut in a bob similar to Jo’s. Quiet and non-assuming, the little girl had a way of wiggling into one’s heart when they weren’t paying attention. MacGyver felt his insides warm, realizing that these two children could easily be his and Joanna’s. He began to wonder what a child of theirs would be like before the ringing telephone rudely interrupted his thoughts.

“I’m going to take off now, if that’s okay,” a female voice said from the doorway.

“Yeah, sure,” Mac mumbled, not raising his head from the note he was jotting to himself.

“Davey and Suzy are helping the older kids clean up. I had them call their mom since they stayed later than usual.”

“Okay,” he mumbled again, his attention still focused on the note.

“Angus MacGyver! You haven’t heard a word I’ve said!”

The harsh tone of voice, not to mention the use of his Christian name, caused Mac’s head to snap up only to find Joanna standing in the doorway to his office, hands planted firmly on her hips, her brow furrowed.

Suddenly penitent, Mac quickly pushed back his chair and hurried around the old desk. He put his hands on Jo’s stiffened shoulders and kissed her forehead.

“I’m sorry, babe. I got distracted and didn’t even realize how late it was.”

He felt her shoulders relax as her hands reached up to gently grasp his forearms. The look on her face quickly morphing from frustration to concern.

“Is everything all right? You haven’t been out of your office since that phone call?”

“Everything’s fine,” he assured her. “How about we talk tomorrow and plan to spend some time together? Just the two of us.”

“Sure,” she replied with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes before she turned and headed toward the exit.

“By the way,” she called from across the room, “I told Davey and Suzy you’d drive them home since it’s dark outside.” This time her mischievous grin lit up the night.

The older teens made quick work of the end-of-day clean-up routine. Not only did it take a load off of MacGyver and Cynthia, but it gave the youth a sense of responsibility and ownership. Mac had just returned from dumping the garbage when he spotted Davey walking aimlessly around the rec room.

“Ready to go home, buddy?” he asked the boy.

“I can’t find Frog,” Davey replied, holding up the dog leash as if to make his point.

“He’s around here somewhere. I’ll round him up,” Mac promised. “Now go tell Suzy it’s time to leave.”

“I can’t find her, either,” Davey said woefully.

Mac’s senses went on alert. A habit from his days as a field operative. But he didn’t want the boy to see his concern.

“Maybe Suzy and Frog are playing hide-and-seek,” MacGyver suggested hopefully. “Let’s see if we can find them together.”

Hand in hand, Mac and Davey inspected the perimeter of the large room and any nooks or crannies that might serve as a good hiding place, but they found nothing.

“Maybe Frog needed to go outside,” Mac said. “Let me grab my jacket and we’ll take a look.”

He hurried into his office and grabbed the familiar brown bomber from the back of his chair. He was closing the door behind him when a muffled sob and a snort stopped him in his tracks. He stood quietly and listened. A few seconds later the sounds came again.

“Suzy? Frog?” he called softly. The only reply was more sobs and a snuffle.

MacGyver followed the sounds and soon found its source under his desk. Suzy sat cross-legged, her arms wrapped tightly around the stocky bull dog sitting in her lap, her head buried in his back as she cried. Frog sat patiently, his lolling tongue and panting breath the only indication of his discomfort.

“Hey, guys, is everything okay?” Mac asked, crouching down so he could see them better. Neither girl nor beast replied.

“What do you say we go on home?”

Suzy raised her head, her face flushed and tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I don’t wanna go home!” she exclaimed.

“Why not?” Mac asked. Was something going on at the house that caused the girl to not want to return? All sorts of unsettling scenarios crept into his head.

“I wanna go to the dance!”

Totally confused by this unexpected response, Mac repositioned himself on the floor so he now mirrored Suzy.

“What dance?” Mac’s voice was soft and calm.
“The daddy/daughter dance at school,” Suzy hiccupped. “I can’t go ‘cause I don’t got a daddy.”

“Aw, sweetie, I’m sure there will be other girls there who don’t have a daddy,” Mac tried to console her.

Suzy nodded. “My teacher said I could bring my mommy, but she’s not a daddy,” she offered, looking MacGyver straight in the eye. “Davey even said he’d go with me, but he’s only nine and I don’t wanna dance with my brother!”

“Is she still moaning about that stupid dance?” Davey groused from the doorway.

“It’s not a stupid dance!” his sister yelled back.

MacGyver sighed. He was way out of his comfort zone. “Let’s all go home and get a good night’s sleep and maybe we can think of a solution tomorrow,” he offered, trying to sound authoritative.

“But I have a solution!” Suzy proclaimed. “Only Mommy made me promise not to say anything.”

This piqued his curiosity.

“Well, ya know, I’m really good at keepin’ secrets,” Mac whispered conspiratorially. “Could you tell me what your solution is?”

Suzy shook her head vigorously.

“Why not?” MacGyver asked.

“Because you’re the solution! I want you to be my daddy for the dance!”

Mac felt the air rush out of his lungs as if someone had punched him in the gut. Hard. He was flattered that Suzy wanted him to be her ‘daddy’, but if her mother insisted the girl keep it a secret she obviously did not approve. Getting out of this conversation was going to be harder than getting out of East Germany before the Iron Curtain fell.
“I’d be honored to be your ‘daddy’ for the dance,” Mac managed to reply smoothly. “Why don’t we talk about it tomorrow?” He quickly rose from his seat on the floor to avoid a rebuttal.

“Davey, come and get Frog, it’s time to go home,” he directed.

The Nomad had barely come to a complete stop in front of the Talbot house before Davey and Suzy barreled out of the car and up the front walkway. MacGyver followed more sedately, taking in the peeling paint and lopsided roof of the old structure. A lanky young woman with straggly blonde hair greeted the children at the door, hugging each of them tightly before they bolted off in opposite directions.

“Thank you so much for bringing them home, Mr. MacGyver,” she said as he approached.

“No problem, Ms. Talbot. I’m happy to do it,” he smiled.

“Please, call me Jill.”

“Okay, Jill. Could we talk for a minute in private?”

The young woman’s thin face paled, but she ushered MacGyver into the kitchen and started pouring two cups of coffee before he could object.

“I hope the children aren’t being a burden,” she said quietly, sitting on the edge of a wobbly wooden chair.

“The kids are great,” Mac assured her. “We love having them around.”

“Then what’s the problem?” She couldn’t hide the weariness from her voice. Working two jobs was definitely taking its toll.

“I wouldn’t call it a problem,” MacGyver began, “But Suzy was telling me about the daddy/daughter dance at her school. She’s quite upset because she doesn’t have a daddy to go with.”

Jill sighed. “I know. We’ve been arguing about it for weeks.”

“She told me about her solution.”

“Oh, no,” the tired woman moaned. “I specifically made her promise not to bother you with it.”

“With all due respect, ma’am, it’s not a bother. In fact, I’d like to be her ‘daddy’ for the dance if you’ll allow it.”

The look on Jill’s face was a combination of surprise and relief. “Really, Mr. MacGyver, you don’t have to do this.”

“I want to do it. And the name’s Mac.”

Jill’s face fell again.

“There’s one problem,” she said quietly. “Suzy is going to want a new dress and we simply can’t afford it.”

MacGyver smiled. “I have a friend who might be able to help out with that if you’ll agree to it.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Saturday morning Joanna entered the Talbot home much to the delight of Suzy who bounced across the small living room to greet her.

“Thank you so much for taking Suzy shopping,” Jill said as she offered Jo a cup of coffee which she refused.

“It’s my pleasure. And don’t worry, I know some really good thrift stores,” Jo promised with a smile.

Two hours and three shops later, Suzy was still unable to find a dress that suited her. Her mother had warned her about not being too fussy and to be grateful that she was getting a new outfit at all. Nevertheless, the little girl apparently knew what she wanted and wasn’t going to stop looking until she found it. But Joanna was running out of options. There was only one second-hand store they hadn’t tried. Within minutes upon entering, Suzy perused the rack with dresses in her size before declaring them all unworthy. Joanna sighed and massaged her temple where a headache was beginning to blossom.

“Okay. Time for the mall,” she declared.

“But Mommy said the mall’s too ‘spensive.”

“Not if you look for sales,” Joanna smiled and winked at her young charge as they headed to the car.

After a quick stop at the mall’s food court to refuel with burgers and fries, Joanna led Suzy through the nearest department store. Soon they were standing in front of racks laden with party dresses. Little Suzy’s jaw dropped and her eyes grew wide. She stood stock still as if paralyzed by the options that confronted her. She bit her lower lip and looked up at Jo.

“What’s Mr. Mac’s favorite color?”

Joanna opened her mouth to reply before realizing she didn’t know the answer. What was Mac’s favorite color? She’d seen him wear everything from white tees to brightly colored print shirts and he always seemed to like what she wore, regardless of color. Not only didn’t she know his favorite color, she also didn’t know his favorite song, movie (though it was a Western for sure), season, or even pizza topping though she knew he didn’t like anchovies. How could they have known each other so long and she still not know the answers?

A tug on her handbag startled her out of her reverie. She looked down to find Suzy staring up at her, patiently waiting for an answer.

“Blue,” Jo blurted out. “Mr. Mac’s favorite color is blue.” She’d inform him later so he could give Suzy the proper compliment.

With the choices now narrowed a bit, Suzy began to gingerly pick through the brand new outfits.

“Does he like sparkly or plain?” she asked.

Yet another question Jo didn’t know the answer to, but this time she decided to take a different approach. She knelt down so she was at eye level with the girl.

“Sweetie, I know you want to wear a dress Mr. Mac will like, but it’s more important to find a dress that you like and feel comfortable in. Mr. Mac likes you regardless of what color you’re wearing or whether it’s sparkly or not.”

Suzy considered this information before plucking a powder blue ruffled dress from the rack.

“I like this one,” she declared, but a frown marred her precious face when she looked at the price tag. “But it’s too ‘spensive,” she sighed.

The girl’s comment was like a knife to Jo’s heart. No five-year-old should have to worry about money.

“Why don’t you try it on anyway,” she urged. “Maybe it’s on sale even though it’s not marked.”

Ten minutes later, Joanna handed the credit card MacGyver had given her to the clerk. After signing her name on the receipt, she reached for the tag on the dress, scribbled out the original price, and wrote in one that Jill would find acceptable.

“Your daughter will look like a princess in this dress,” the cashier commented as she completed the transaction.

Joanna opened her mouth to correct the assumption when she suddenly decided to go with the flow. “Thanks. I think so, too,” she replied, grabbing her package and heading to where Suzy stood waiting for her. She stopped and regarded the child. She had long ago accepted the fact that having a child was not part of her future, but this little sprite couldn’t help but make her wonder what a daughter of hers might be like. Her’s and MacGyver’s.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Mac winced as Joanna readjusted his tie and tugged on his collar. Once satisfied, she brushed away some imaginary lint from his lapels and pronounced him fit for the daddy/daughter dance.

“Remember, your favorite color is light blue and you like ruffles, not sparkles,” she instructed as she handed him a small clear plastic container that held a miniature wrist corsage.

“Yes, mother,” he replied cheekily which only earned him a scowl and a playful swat on his shoulder.

“Seriously,” he said, “I will treat her like a princess and make sure she has a wonderful time.”

XXXXX

Suzy’s small hand tightly grasped MacGyver’s much larger one as she led him into the school cafeteria that had been transformed into a magical wonderland complete with twinkling fairy lights. Grown men talked and laughed as little girls whispered and giggled. It didn’t take long before Suzy spotted her friends and picked up the pace, practically tugging MacGyver behind her.

“C’mon Daddy Mac, I want you to meet my friends!”

They approached a small group of girls similar in age who all turned and stopped talking when they got close.

“Hey everybody,” Suzy announced, her head held high, “this is my daddy!”

The girls began to snicker and Suzy appeared confused as the tallest of the bunch…it always seemed to be the tallest who was the bully…stepped forward.

“He’s not your daddy,” the tall girl proclaimed. “You don’t have a daddy!”

MacGyver felt Suzy’s hand tighten in his and caught the slightest quiver of her lower lip. He knew tears would soon follow.
“I usually don’t argue with pretty young ladies,” he said calmly, “But for tonight I am most certainly Miss Suzy’s daddy.” He then turned to Suzy. “C’mon honey, let’s get some punch.” And together they walked away.

Mac quickly lost track of time as he and Suzy drank punch, sampled the family-friendly finger-food, and danced to a variety of music. Suzy tried to teach him new dance steps which she insisted were the most popular among her generation while he tried desperately to follow her instructions and not look like a fool in front of the other dads who no doubt had been schooled in these moves by their daughters over the previous weeks. His efforts brought on more than one bout of the giggles from his ‘date’. When the beat of the music became slow and rhythmic, MacGyver gently lifted Suzy into his arms and she snuggled against his chest as he swayed in time to the song.

“Are you having a good time?” he asked.

“This is the bestest night of my whole entire life!” she answered, looking up at him with a happy smile. “Will you be my daddy again next year?”

Mac chuckled. “You bet I will.”

The song ended and the DJ announced the conclusion of the evening. MacGyver lowered Suzy to the floor and looked at his watch. He couldn’t believe the dance was over. He looked around to find a group of weary kindergarteners who were probably already up past their bedtime. Even Suzy’s usual energetic glow had faded.

A short while later he escorted a sleepy Suzy to her front door where her mother greeted her.

“How was the dance, sweetheart?” Jill asked.

“It was awesome,” the girl mumbled around a yawn.

“Say ‘thank you’ to Mr. Mac,” her mom instructed.

“Thank you, Daddy Mac,” she said, rubbing her tired eyes before heading down the hall to her room.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this, Mr. MacGyver,” Jill said once Suzy had disappeared. “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”

“Hey, the pleasure was all mine. You owe me nothing,” he smiled before heading back to the car.

Mac was already tugging off his tie as he entered his apartment. He shrugged out of his suit coat and deposited himself on the couch. He laid staring up at the ceiling, wondering if there were any more daddy/daughter dances in his future. If Miss Suzy had her way he was sure there would be. At least now he had time to practice his dance steps.











Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 15 August 2019 - 06:58 PM                                    
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QUOTE

MacGyver stood in his office doorway and gazed out at his domain
Is it sad that I had to pause before finishing the sentence to remember where he works now? laugh.gif

QUOTE
Jack had left for L.A. and, at Mac’s insistence,
For a second, I didn't see the 'and' XD

QUOTE

“I can’t find Frog,” Davey replied, holding up the dog leash as if to make his point.

“He’s around here somewhere. I’ll round him up,” Mac promised. “Now go tell Suzy it’s time to leave.”

“I can’t find her, either,” Davey said woefully.
Well then... unsure.gif

QUOTE
He was closing the door behind him when a muffled sob and a snort stopped him in his tracks. He stood quietly and listened. A few seconds later the sounds came again.

“Suzy? Frog?” he called softly. The only reply was more sobs and a snuffle.
That was fast laugh.gif

QUOTE
Frog sat patiently, his lolling tongue and panting breath the only indication of his discomfort.
Me trying to help when someone starts unloading to me XD

QUOTE

“The daddy/daughter dance at school,” Suzy hiccupped. “I can’t go ‘cause I don’t got a daddy.”
sad.gif sad.gif sad.gif Well, now my heart is broken, poor girl DX

QUOTE

“Aw, sweetie, I’m sure there will be other girls there who don’t have a daddy,” Mac tried to console her.
I'm 100% convinced Mac's either going to end up standing in as her 'father', or he'll suggest holding a dance at Challengers to make up for it.

QUOTE

“But I have a solution!” Suzy proclaimed. “Only Mommy made me promise not to say anything.”

This piqued his curiosity.
Mine as well huh.gif

Well, I was right XD XD XD

This whole conversation is adorable XD

QUOTE

Joanna opened her mouth to reply before realizing she didn’t know the answer. What was Mac’s favorite color? She’d seen him wear everything from white tees to brightly colored print shirts and he always seemed to like what she wore, regardless of color. Not only didn’t she know his favorite color, she also didn’t know his favorite song, movie (though it was a Western for sure), season, or even pizza topping though she knew he didn’t like anchovies. How could they have known each other so long and she still not know the answers?
Welcome to the world of marriage (from what I've heard, anyway) laugh.gif

QUOTE
After signing her name on the receipt, she reached for the tag on the dress, scribbled out the original price, and wrote in one that Jill would find acceptable.
XD Nice going, Jo!

QUOTE
She stopped and regarded the child. She had long ago accepted the fact that having a child was not part of her future, but this little sprite couldn’t help but make her wonder what a daughter of hers might be like. Her’s and MacGyver’s.
Hmm, they've both wondered about this now... ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

QUOTE

“Yes, mother,” he replied cheekily which only earned him a scowl and a playful swat on his shoulder.
I love these two XD

QUOTE

“C’mon Daddy Mac, I want you to meet my friends!”
Rofl, "Daddy mac" roller.gif

QUOTE

“Hey everybody,” Suzy announced, her head held high, “this is my daddy!”
Hmm, not sure this will end well... hmm.bmp

QUOTE

“He’s not your daddy,” the tall girl proclaimed. “You don’t have a daddy!”
Yeah, I saw that coming... :-( Some friends...

Why am I getting Lilo and Stitch vibes from this though? XD

QUOTE
“I usually don’t argue with pretty young ladies,” he said calmly, “But for tonight I am most certainly Miss Suzy’s daddy.” He then turned to Suzy. “C’mon honey, let’s get some punch.” And together they walked away.
Awww, Mac always knows just what to do :-D

QUOTE

Mac quickly lost track of time as he and Suzy drank punch, sampled the family-friendly finger-food, and danced to a variety of music. Suzy tried to teach him new dance steps which she insisted were the most popular among her generation while he tried desperately to follow her instructions and not look like a fool in front of the other dads who no doubt had been schooled in these moves by their daughters over the previous weeks. His efforts brought on more than one bout of the giggles from his ‘date’. When the beat of the music became slow and rhythmic, MacGyver gently lifted Suzy into his arms and she snuggled against his chest as he swayed in time to the song.
Oh my gosh, I think I might be tearing up, why is this so cute?!

QUOTE

“Thank you, Daddy Mac,” she said, rubbing her tired eyes before heading down the hall to her room.
XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 16 August 2019 - 05:23 AM                                    
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Glad you enjoyed this chapter Dragondog. Gotta throw in a warm-fuzzy every now and again!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 21 August 2019 - 05:02 AM                                    
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Chapter 13: Frog’s Secret

MacGyver stooped to retrieve Frog’s food bowl, noting that there was still a good deal of kibble left over for the second day in a row.

“What’s the matter, boy? Decided to go on a diet?”

Frog looked at him mournfully before bringing his back leg around to furiously scratch his neck, something else he had been doing a lot more of recently. Come to think of it, the dog hadn’t been as active as usual either, but Mac had chalked it up to age and busy days with the kids at Challengers.

“Is that collar bothering you again?” Mac asked, stooping once again to loosen it a notch before clipping on the leash and heading to the car.

Upon arriving at the Challengers Club, Frog headed straight for the corner where his plush dog bed awaited him. MacGyver readied a bowl of food and one of water, but by the time he put them on the floor next to the bed, Frog was already asleep, snoring softly…for him. Mac shook his head, but he couldn’t shake the concern that had been growing in the back of his mind. He walked into his office to find Cynthia already working away on the computer.

“Hey, Cynthia. You know anything about dogs?”

Cynthia looked up. “I never had a dog,” she shrugged. “I’ve always been more of a cat person. Why?”

“Frog’s been acting weird lately and I thought you might have an idea why.”

“Sorry,” Cynthia apologized. “But I’ve noticed it too. He doesn’t get as anxious for his walks as he used to. Maybe he’s just getting old.”

“Yeah, maybe,” MacGyver mumbled.

XXXXX

The day passed quickly and soon the center was filling up with teenagers ready to either blow off some steam or get started on their homework. Mac hardly noticed when Joanna arrived for her daily tutoring sessions, but when he did notice, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. They really needed to make a point to spend some quality time together. He watched as she commandeered a table before going over to the corner to greet Frog. She crouched down, ruffling his ears. Then she started fiddling with his collar.

“We need to tighten this up before your head slips out and you decide to take off,” she was telling the dog as MacGyver approached from behind.

“What are you doing?” he asked, more harshly than he had intended to given her startled reaction.

“I’m adjusting his collar,” she said, craning her neck to look up at him. “Someone keeps loosening it and I think it’s irritating his neck. See?”

MacGyver bent down to see the spot Jo was gently massaging with her fingertips. He reached out to feel for himself. Their fingers touched briefly, but long enough for a spark of electricity to arc between them.

“There’s a lump there,” Mac frowned.

Joanna nodded in agreement as she gently separated the short hair of the canine’s coat. “The skin around the area looks red, too.” Her eyes were full of concern as they met his.

MacGyver stood up and jammed his hand through his hair. Something was definitely wrong with his dog.

“I think you should probably take him to the vet just to be on the safe side,” Joanna suggested, rising to stand next to him.

Mac groaned. “He doesn’t have a vet,” he admitted. “He’s never needed one before.”

“Well, I think he needs one now,” Jo observed, looking down at the listless animal. “There’s an emergency clinic not far from here that should be able to see him right away.”

“I’ll let Cynthia know we’re leaving,” Mac said as Joanna went to get Frog’s leash.

It didn’t take long to drive to the clinic and soon they were seated on hard plastic chairs in an antiseptic waiting room, Frog sitting drowsily at their feet. MacGyver suddenly realized he had never even asked Jo if she wanted to come along. He simply assumed she’d come and she never objected. When the receptionist called Frog’s name, they both rose and coaxed the canine into an even more antiseptic exam room. Thankfully it didn’t take long for the doctor to see them.

“And what seems to be the problem today?” the vet asked in a kind voice. He was middle-aged with thin gray hair and wearing wire rimmed glasses.

“Frog hasn’t been eating much the last few days and he doesn’t have as much energy as normal,” MacGyver replied. “This afternoon we noticed a red bump on his neck and thought we should have it checked out.”

The doctor nodded and frowned as he reviewed the paperwork Mac had struggled to fill out when they first arrived.

“You don’t seem to have much information about our little friend here,” the vet observed. “How old is he?”

“I’m really not sure,” Mac winced, feeling like a terribly inadequate pet parent. The doctor cocked a brow.

“Well how long have you had him?”

“He’s been living with me for not quite a year, but I’ve known him for about nine,” Mac replied.

“Where did he live before?”

“Out in Los Angeles with a friend.”
“I see. And where did your friend get him?”

“From another friend,” MacGyver muttered, knowing how odd this must sound.

The vet removed his glasses, his eyes boring into Mac’s. “And where did that friend get him?” His tone indicating his patience was wearing thin.

“I don’t really know,” Mac shrugged.

The doctor scrubbed his face with his hand before settling his glasses back on the bridge of his nose.

“Well, then let me have a look and we’ll go from there.”

The vet performed a cursory exam before he removed Frog’s collar and gingerly examined the area Mac and Joanna indicated.

“It could be a cyst or tumor, or something as simple as an infected insect bite. I’d need to run a scan to be sure. Do you have time to stick around?”

“Sure,” MacGyver replied as Jo quickly nodded.

They waited in silence for the doctor to return with Frog and hopefully the results of the scan. The word ‘tumor’ echoed ominously through Mac’s brain. Joanna must have sensed his concern as she gently put her hand on his knee and gave it a comforting squeeze. Perhaps she was having the same thoughts. When MacGyver thought he couldn’t wait a second longer the door to the exam room opened and the vet walked in with Frog in his arms.

“What did you find?” Mac asked anxiously.

The man set Frog down on the table before pulling up a wheeled stool and sitting down himself.

“I don’t know what to make of it,” he replied baldly. “I started with a set of X-rays and there appears to be a small piece of metal imbedded right below the skin.”

“Like shrapnel?”

“I couldn’t tell. I’d have to remove it to find out for sure.”

“Can that be done tonight?” Jo asked.

The doctor shrugged. “It’s a simple procedure if you don’t mind waiting.”

“We’re good,” Mac assured him.

Relegated once again to the uncomfortable waiting room, Mac and Joanna sat silently next to each other, each lost in their own thoughts. After almost thirty minutes, the veterinarian beckoned them, not back to the exam room, but to the lab instead.

“Mr. MacGyver,” he began sternly, “Are you sure you don’t want to tell me where this animal came from?”

MacGyver’s muscles tensed. “If I knew Frog’s origins I would have put that on the paperwork. As I said earlier, I don’t know where my friend got him.”

“Is there a problem, sir?” Joanna asked before Mac could continue.

The doctor’s shoulders slouched as if in defeat. “Look, I don’t know who you are or where your dog came from, but the piece of metal we removed from his neck appears to be a microchip.”

“What?” the couple gasped in unison.

“Take a look for yourselves,” the vet directed them toward a microscope. “As you can see, it appears to be corroding which is causing Frog some discomfort. I doubt that anything harmful has entered his bloodstream, but to be on the safe side I’m prescribing a round of antibiotics.”

“Is it one of those microchips they’re putting in dogs in case they get lost?” Joanna asked as Mac continued to examine the specimen.

“No,” the vet answered confidently. “Those chips are quite small and implanted by injection. This chip is significantly larger and had to have been surgically implanted at some point.”

MacGyver now looked up and turned to face the doctor, questions churning faster than he could find the words to ask them.

“Also,” the man continued, “This chip is quite primitive. It looks to be at least ten years old.”

“Any idea where it came from or what’s on it?” Mac asked.

“Look, I’m just a retired vet working part-time to put the kids through college, not James Bond. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I should probably report it, but I don’t even know who to report it to!”

MacGyver shared the man’s mounting frustration and felt sorry for him. Perhaps full disclosure was in order.

“Sir, I used to work for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. That’s how I met Frog. A Bulgarian defector was living in L.A. under the Foundation’s protection. Someone got her Frog for companionship. Unfortunately, she witnessed a serious crime and had to change identities which meant giving up Frog.” Here he turned and looked at Joanna. “That’s when Frank and the Colton’s adopted Frog. He stayed with them until last July when Frank brought him to live with me.”

“That’s quite a story, son,” the vet sighed.

“With your permission,” Mac continued, “I’d like to take the chip and turn it over to Phoenix. Perhaps their labs can read it and figure out what’s going on.”

“Since the chip was found in your dog, it’s technically your property. And since I have no precedence on how to proceed, I believe your suggestion sounds like the best course of action.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

“But be sure to give Frog his full round of antibiotics. You can pick them up at the front desk on the way out. And keep his collar off as much as possible until the skin irritation subsides.” The two men shook hands and minutes later Frog was released into Mac’s and Joanna’s care.

XXXXX

“What is it now, MacGyver?!” Pete snarled into the phone.

“How did you know it was me?”

“Who else calls me in the middle of the night? I suppose you have a favor to ask.”

Mac grimaced and pinched the bridge of his nose. He glanced at Joanna snuggled up with Frog on his couch, both sound asleep. It had taken the two of them, the better part of twenty minutes, and umpteen pieces of liverwurst to get Frog to swallow his medicine. One pill down, nine to go.

“You still got any strings you can pull at Phoenix?” MacGyver asked his friend.

“Maybe,” Pete hesitated. “Exactly what kind of ‘strings’ are we talking about?”

“I’d rather not say anything over the phone. I’ll come down to your place in the morning.” Mac hung up the phone before Pete could respond…or object.

Early the next morning, MacGyver gently ran the back of his index finger down Joanna’s sleep-flushed cheek. She awoke and looked up at him with a disoriented gaze.

“You fell asleep on my couch last night and I didn’t have the heart to wake you,” he explained before she could ask.

“My stiff neck and sore back thank you for that,” she replied wryly as she pushed off the blanket he had covered her with. At some point during the night, Frog had removed himself to his favorite spot under the coffee table and continued to snore.

“Boy, you really aren’t a morning person,” Mac observed.

“It took you this long to figure that out?” came the snappy retort.

“How about I make us some breakfast and then take you home so you can get ready for work?”

“Breakfast sounds good,” she answered sincerely. “But there’s no need to take me home. I have a change of clothes upstairs if you don’t mind me using your shower.”

“No, go right ahead,” Mac replied, perplexed. Since when did she keep clothes at his place? And why hadn’t he noticed. He looked around warily, wondering what else he might have missed. So much for his keen powers of observation. He’d have to take inventory when he got back.

They discussed their plans for the day over MacGyver’s self-proclaimed world famous pancakes. He told Joanna about his hope to have Phoenix check out the microchip and she told him that she planned to spend the day at Challengers.

“Isn’t Hernandez gonna be upset with you taking off?”

“I told him it was a family emergency,” she shrugged. “After all, you and Frog are like family to me anyway. Besides, we left my car there yesterday and now with you going to Chicago I can be there to help Cynthia and take care of Frog.”

“I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone,” he warned her.

“Don’t worry about it. Just try to get some answers, okay?”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once MacGyver was on his way to Chicago, Joanna told Cynthia what all they had discovered at the vet’s office the previous evening before heading to the nearest pet supply store to buy a harness for Frog. Hopefully it would be less irritating than his collar and allow the small incision where the chip had been removed to heal faster.

Before Jo knew it, the afterschool crowd of boys and girls of all ages began to descend upon the club. Working in tandem with Cynthia, Jo made sure all the members were engaged in positive activities and that they were all following the Challengers code of conduct. She was in the middle of a tutoring session when Frog ambled over to her with an expectant look.

“Raul!” she called and the young teen quickly appeared.

“I think Frog needs to go outside. Wanna take him?”

Raul’s face brightened and she had her answer. Together they struggled to strap the pudgy bull dog into his harness and soon boy and beast were on their way.

Joanna was once again engrossed in a lesson when Raul bounded into the room, a huffing Frog trying to keep up.

“Ms. Jo! Ms. Jo! You’ll never guess what happened!”

“Well, then you better just tell me,” she replied good-naturedly.

“A man just tried to buy Frog from me! He said he’d give me a thousand dollars for him!”

“What?!” Joanna shot up so quickly that the chair she had been sitting on tumbled backwards. Realizing the attention they had garnered, she steered Raul and Frog toward Mac’s office.

“Tell me exactly what happened,” she instructed Raul once they were settled behind closed doors.

“I was walkin’ Frog around the block like I do every day when this big car came up behind us and an old white guy got out and said he’d give me a thousand dollars if I gave him Frog.”

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him he ain’t my dog so I couldn’t sell him.”

“And the old guy was okay with that?” Jo asked skeptically.

“I guess,” the boy shrugged. “His face started to turn red but then he mumbled something about different ways to kill cats and got in the car and left. I ran straight back here in case he tried to follow us.”

“More than one way to skin a cat,” Joanna absently corrected the idiom before giving the teen her full attention.

“You did good, Raul,” she assured him. “Can you tell me what the car looked like?”

“It was big and black,” he shrugged.

“What about the man? You said he was old?”

“Yeah. Older than MacGyver but not as old as my grandpa.”

“Can you remember anything else?” Jo prodded.

Raul shook his head. “I was kinda scared, ya know?”

Jo smiled softly. “I know. Now I think I hear some homework calling your name.”

When Raul had left the office, Joanna sat back in the big desk chair and tried to make sense of everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours. She didn’t think that finding the microchip and having someone try to take Frog was a coincidence. And she knew Mac didn’t believe in coincidences, either. She thought about calling him, but he couldn’t do anything but worry while he was still in Chicago. Yet her gut was telling her she had to get Frog away from Challengers. Things could have gone very differently for Raul with the man in the big black car. So as not to worry Cynthia, she claimed she had a headache and quickly took Frog back to Mac’s place.

“Okay, buddy, time for your pill,” she announced after divesting the dog of his leash and harness.

She opened the refrigerator in search of the liverwurst when her gaze landed on a clear plastic container of raw chicken livers.

“Really, dude?!” she looked down at Frog, her eyebrows raised. “Mac must really be worried about your appetite if he’s making your favorite treat.” The canine met her gaze, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth while his face was a mask of doggy innocence.

Not finding any liverwurst, she reached for a brick of tofu.

“Sorry, but this is gonna have to do for tonight.”

After fifteen minutes of wrestling with the stout little dog, Joanna finally got him to swallow the piece of tofu in which she had concealed his antibiotic. To her dismay, the ordeal left her light pink blouse disheveled and wet with slobber. She sighed and climbed the winding staircase hoping Mac had a clean hockey jersey. Doing laundry was not one of his strong suits, she had discovered. She was washing out her blouse in the bathroom sink when she heard glass smash and Frog begin to bark frantically.

“That better not have been anything important,” she scolded as she hurried to dry her hands. But by the time she made it down the staircase, all was quiet and the window that made up Mac’s front door lay in shards at her feet with no dog in sight.

Her heartbeat quickened and she let out an involuntary scream as the ringing phone startled her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver arrived at the Thornton’s suburban Chicago home by late morning. He stopped just long enough to collect Pete and head into the city where a scientist was waiting for them at the Phoenix Foundation.

“So when are you going to tell me what this is all about?” Pete huffed as they sat in the ever-present downtown traffic jam.

“Just hold your horses, Pete,” Mac soothed. “I want to know what we’re dealing with first.”

“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?!” his friend shot back.

MacGyver grinned.

Having arrived at their destination, Mac offered Pete his elbow as the two men navigated the maze of corridors that led to the electronics and computer lab. They were met by a nervous, wiry man with thinning hair who introduced himself as Doctor Downer. After settling a harrumphing Pete on a stool in a nearby corner, MacGyver handed over the small container holding the microchip.

As the good doctor prepared the chip for microscopic examination, Mac wandered around the lab which was much more advanced than anything he had encountered during his time with the Foundation. Curious, he picked up and examined various computer components and electronic gizmos. This could easily be his favorite place second only to the chemistry lab.

“Mr. MacGyver, may I please ask that you keep your hands to yourself?” Dr. Downer censured. “Perhaps you would like to wait over by Mr. Thornton?”

Mac held up his hands in a show of surrender, eventually approaching the corner where Pete not-so-patiently waited.

“Where did you get this?” Dr. Downer demanded after several long minutes of intense scrutiny.

“Why? What is it?” Mac asked as he quickly came to stand beside the scientist.

“First I must know how you came to be in possession of it,” the doctor demanded.

Mac jammed his fingers through his hair and sighed. “A veterinarian removed it from Frog’s neck yesterday.”
“What?!” Pete exclaimed.

“It was in a frog?” the doctor asked.

“Frog is the name of my dog,” MacGyver explained.

“Why would you name your dog ‘Frog’?” Dr. Downer asked distastefully.

Mac struggled for patience. “He was already named that when I got him. Now could you please tell us about the chip?”

Downer looked furtively around the lab. “I think it best if we discuss this in my office. Come.”

Leaning back in his plush leather desk chair, Downer removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Back in the early eighties, a soviet defector by the name of Pleshenkov, came to work for Phoenix. He was a brilliant, cutting edge computer scientist. Unfortunately, he used the Foundation’s funding and resources to further his own personal agenda. This was discovered in 1985 and he was let go.”

“Now that you mention it, I seem to recall hearing something to that effect over at the DXS,” Pete offered.

“Yes, well, by that time, Pleshenkov had secured his own funding sources and continued his work elsewhere until his lab was shut down due to unethical practices.”

“That’s all very interesting,” MacGyver replied. “But what does that have to do with the chip we found in Frog.”

“Doctor Pleshenkov’s work consisted of encrypting microchips with government information and implanting them in domestic animals as a means of getting them out of the country. The chip you gave me definitely appears to be his handiwork which would make your dog one of the test subjects that was still in Pleshenkov’s laboratory at the time it closed.

Mac’s heart sank at the thought of Frog being caged up and experimented on.
“So what does all that mean?” he asked.

“Up until a few weeks ago, nothing,” Downer replied. “Lately there have been murmurings in the scientific underground that Pleshenkov is looking to fund a new project and there are still some former Soviet entities that will pay good money to obtain these microchips.”

“But how can he possibly expect to find them?” Pete blustered. “The animals he used could be anywhere in the country by now!”

“Indeed,” the scientist concurred. “However, Pleshenkov had the foresight to outfit the chips with a tracking device.”

“But tracking systems back then had a very limited range,” MacGyver pointed out. “And the chip is already corroding.”

Dr. Downer shook his head slowly. “The chip is not severely damaged and the tracking technique Pleshenkov used was a very sophisticated global positioning unit.”

“What does that mean?” Pete asked impatiently.

The pieces were starting to fall into place for MacGyver. “It’s a system that uses existing satellites to transmit information. Given the proper equipment, Pleshenkov could theoretically track down the chips anywhere in the world,” he explained to Pete before turning his attention back to Downer.

“Is it safe to assume that Pleshenkov may be coming after Frog?” Mac asked Downer.

“If he found the signal before the chip was removed, I’m afraid your little friend may be in a great deal of danger,” the scientist nodded sadly.

“May I use your phone?” MacGyver asked as he reached across the desk for the receiver.

“Be my guest,” Downer muttered, clearly annoyed by this invasion of his personal space.

Mac quickly dialed the number for Challengers and asked to speak with Joanna as soon as Cynthia answered the phone.

“I’m afraid she’s not here, MacGyver. She said she had a headache and was going back to your place with Frog.”

Mac immediately disconnected the call and dialed his own number. The phone rang several times, each ring causing his concern to ratchet up a notch. Finally Joanna answered.

“Hey, it’s me. I have some important news about the—“

But Jo cut him off. “Frog’s been kidnapped!” she exclaimed breathlessly.

Mac felt as if he had just been punched in the gut.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, but Frog—“

“Go over to Charlie’s and call the police. Stay with him until they arrive. I’m on my way.”

XXXXX

Darkness had fallen by the time MacGyver pulled into his driveway to find Charlie and Joanna sitting silently on his stoop, his front door already boarded up. They stood up as he approached, Jo finding her way into his open arms.

“The cops aren’t taking this seriously,” she told him, her words muffled as her head lay against his chest. “They’re calling it an attempted break-in and since I didn’t actually see anyone take Frog, they think he may have just run off on his own, but he didn’t. Mac, someone took him!”

“I know,” MacGyver soothed, rubbing gentle circles on her back to comfort her.

“Let’s go inside and figure this out, okay?” he urged. He tucked Joanna against his side as they headed indoors. Charlie offered the couple a sad smile as he ambled back to his side of the duplex.

“Now tell me what happened,” Mac prompted as soon as he and Jo were settled next to each other on his couch.

“Shouldn’t we be looking for Frog?” she protested.

“We will,” he assured her, “But he could be anywhere. I need to know what you know to help us come up with a plan.”

Joanna told him about Raul being offered money for Frog and how she heard the glass break before discovering the dog was missing.

MacGyver regarded her thoughtfully. “It doesn’t seem like they want to hurt anyone since both you and Raul are safe.”

“But what about Frog? Will they hurt him?” she questioned.

Mac shook his head and told her what he had learned about the microchip. “I’m assuming it was Pleshenkov who took him, and as soon as he discovers the chip is missing, he’ll need to keep Frog for leverage.”

“You mean ransom,” Jo replied dully.

“Yeah. But first things first,” Mac said as he went to his desk and fired up his computer. “You call Pete and tell him everything. With what we know about Pleshenkov and the chip, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the government involved. In the meantime, I’m gonna see if we can track down our little buddy.”

“How?”

“When Frog started bounty hunting with the Colton’s, I rigged up a homing device and hid it in his collar in case…well, just in case. It isn’t nearly as sophisticated as the chip, but if he’s within range the computer program I used should still be able to locate him.”

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Joanna lower her head and wrap her arms around her waist.

“Hey, it’s gonna be okay,” he tried to convince her.

“You won’t be able to find Frog,” she said, her voice quavering with unshed tears. “I took his collar off so it wouldn’t irritate his neck. He’s not wearing your homing device.”

MacGyver sighed silently and swallowed his disappointment. He couldn’t say or do anything to make Joanna feel worse than she already did. He rose from his chair and took her in his arms again.

“It’s no big deal,” he responded, trying to sound confident. “We’ll find a way to get him back,” he promised, hoping it was true.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Frog sniffed the threadbare carpet. Cats. Not only had he been dognapped, but now he was being held hostage in an abandoned house that had been formerly occupied by cats. After being unceremoniously tossed in the back seat of the big black sedan, the speed and bumpiness of the ride caused him to be thrown to the floor boards numerous times so he had been unable to look out the window and determine the route or destination. The ride, thankfully, had not been long, so he knew he was still relatively close to his master. Thoughts of MacGyver automatically made him think of Joanna. He was glad she had been upstairs when his abductor broke in, and he hoped she wasn’t too worried about him. He liked Joanna very much. He especially enjoyed cuddling with her on the couch. But then again, so did his master. Bringing his thoughts back to the present, he was thankful, as well as more than a bit surprised, that he hadn’t been chained up or, heaven forbid, locked in a cage. Instead, he had been left free to roam the dilapidated building, but he had stayed close to the man who took him, hoping to get some information he could use to escape.

Upon arriving at the old house, another man had been waiting for them. The man was tall, and broad, and didn’t seem too intelligent. He was obviously the muscle of the operation. Frog was quite familiar with his kind given the number of assignments he had accompanied Frank and Jesse on back in L.A. during his bounty hunting days. It was the older man that really got under his fur. The man’s scent was vaguely familiar. Frog never forgot a scent. And his accent had an odd way of grating on Frog’s sensitive ear drums. This man seemed to be the key to his predicament. He slowly wandered to the far corner of the room and sat down, careful to keep his eyes blank and his mouth drooling. Working with the Coltons had also taught him that the dumber you looked, the less attention people paid to you. Frog desperately hoped that would be the case tonight.

The two men continued to speak in soft tones across the room for a long time. Oh, how he wished MacGyver were here! His master had a knack for formulating plans and getting himself out of tight spaces. Frog had even helped him a few times. All he had to do was follow Mac’s directions. Push a lever, bring him a bottle. Granted, he may not have accomplished those tasks as expediently as expected, but he always got the job done. Unfortunately, Mac wasn’t here to tell him what to do. He’d have to figure that out all by himself. The men’s voices became louder and Frog’s ears perked up.

“He’s worthless without the chip,” Muscle said. “I say we shoot him and bury him in the backyard.”

“No, no, no!” the man with the accent scolded. “Don’t you see, he is much more important now. We must keep him alive and well in order to use him to bargain with!”

This time, Frog was able to pair the man’s voice with his scent. The man who had taken him was none other than Dr. Pleshenkov, that crazy scientist who had put a microchip in his neck when he was barely out of puppyhood. He was supposed to be shipped out of the States the following week, but Pleshenkov’s lab got shut down and Frog had been sent to the relatively friendly confines of an animal shelter before the Phoenix Foundation adopted him to be a companion for a pretty Bulgarian defector.

“Aw, c’mon doc!” Muscle protested. “You really think that MacGyver dude is gonna trade us that chip for a fat, wrinkly, bow-legged bull dog?”

Ouch! Must the dimwit be so demeaning?!

“Oh, he’ll give us the chip all right,” Pleshenkov said as he reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun. “Then, with the chip back in my possession, both man and beast will be expendable.”

“What about the woman and the boy?” Muscle asked.

“The woman didn’t see anything, and no one will believe the boy. They are to be left alone. Unless, of course, they become a problem.”

Oh, no! Frog’s mind began to spin. He had to escape and warn MacGyver, but how?!?! Suddenly, his big brown eyes focused on the finely tailored trousers and Italian leather shoes Muscle was wearing. It was payback time for the ugly words he had said earlier. Frog got up from the corner and went to sit in front of the man. He barked once.

“Shut up!” the man snarled.

He barked again, more urgently, before standing up, raising his left hind leg, and relieving himself on the man’s leg and foot.

“Why you little--!!” Muscle growled as he booted Frog away from him with his now not-so-fine leather shoe.

“Don’t hurt him!” Pleshenkov commanded. “Go put him in the backyard.”

“But boss…”

“Go!”

Soon Frog was following Muscle through the house and out the rickety door to the yard.

“And stay out!” the large man yelled, as if Frog really wanted to return to the house anyway.

Alone in the grassy space, Frog surveyed his options for escape which turned out to be few to none. The entire yard was enclosed by a tall, solid wood privacy fence. The gate was no help, as the latch was placed almost too high for most humans to reach. Frog dropped to his haunches, thoroughly discouraged. He was sure MacGyver could have found a way out. He needed to think like his master. Perhaps there was more here than met the eye. Frog got up and methodically began to inspect the edge of the fence. He was about half way around when his paw landed on a section of depressed ground. He stopped and quickly began to sniff the dead grass. He smelled rabbit and soon saw a piece of sunken ground under the fence board. He would need a much bigger whole if he was to crawl under the fence, but this appeared to be his only option. He promised himself he would go on a diet if he managed to get himself out of this horrid situation. With his front paws, he began scratching away at the dirt, the hole getting slightly larger with each effort. It seemed as though he had been digging for hours before the opening was big enough for him to wriggle his pudgy body through. The roughhewn edges of the wooden boards scraped his back, but he didn’t care. His hind legs had just cleared the fence line when he heard the door open and Muscle swearing at the top of his lungs when he realized Frog had escaped.

Run! He had to get away from Muscle and Pleshenkov before worrying about finding his way home. After scampering through several yards and alleyways, he allowed himself to rest. Panting heavily, he took stock of his surroundings. Even in the dark, the houses appeared familiar, and down the road a ways was a building he definitely recognized. Challengers! Thankfully, he often hung his head out the passenger window as Mac drove them to work every day. As soon as he got to Challengers, he could easily find his way home!

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It seemed as though MacGyver had barely disconnected from his call to Pete when a number of various government agents descended upon his apartment like a swarm of angry bees. Before he knew it, his phone was wired for a trace and he was being briefed on how to handle the ransom call, never mind that he used to be the one doing the briefing, but that seemed like a lifetime ago now. Joanna stood in a quiet corner chewing on her lip. He longed to comfort her, but he had a mission to complete.

“May I have the chip, Mr. MacGyver?” a man in a dark suit asked.

“That might be a problem,” Mac replied.

“Why is that, sir?”

“Well, ya see, I don’t have it.”

“We were led to believe you were in possession of the microchip to use in a ransom exchange. Where is it?”

“With Pete and Dr. Downer at the Phoenix lab in Chicago,” Mac told him evenly. “But I find it hard to believe you’d risk Pleshenkov getting his hands on the actual chip.”

The agent ran his fingers through his close-cropped hair in an uncharacteristic sign of frustration before quickly huddling with his fellow investigators. Knowing he could resolve at least one problem, MacGyver went to his computer and unscrewed the top of the processing unit. Choosing a tool from his Swiss Army knife, he carefully disconnected a microchip of about the same size and appearance as the one found in Frog. He then approached the huddle of secret agents.

“Maybe you guys could use this instead?” he offered.

They all looked at him in disbelief before one agent silently reached out, took the chip, and slipped it into a small glass container before turning back to his comrades.

“You’re welcome,” Mac said wryly before leaving them to their whispered conversation.

Once the agents had a plan firmly solidified, the only thing to do was wait for the ransom call. MacGyver’s telephone had been set up on the coffee table in front of the couch where he and Joanna now sat. She rubbed her temples, sighed, and looked at her watch for the fifth time in five minutes.

“Relax,” Mac said softly, resting his hand on her thigh. “These things take time. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

“How can you possibly know that?” she glared, turning her head so her eyes bored into his.

“Well, I can’t. Not really. But I’ve been through this before and things have a way of working out.”

She turned her eyes back to the silent telephone and Mac wished he could have been more reassuring, but the simple truth was that while many hostage negotiations ended peacefully, others had a way of going south quickly. They could only hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. He was just about to go get a glass of milk when Jo reached out and grabbed his forearm.

“Did you hear that?” she whispered.

“Hear what?” he asked, not quite sure why he was whispering as well.

“I thought I heard something on your patio?”

The couple looked toward the patio doors. The vertical blinds had been closed tight early on to avoid any prying eyes that may be hiding in the night.

“You’re tired and upset. You probably just imagined it,” he told her gently.

A scratching sound on the glass door caused the couple to start.

“Don’t tell me I imagined that!” Jo challenged as her gaze swung to meet his.

“C’mon,” he said, grabbing her hand and slowly getting up from the couch.

After telling an agent what they had heard, lights were dimmed and men with guns drawn took up strategic positions throughout the room as others prepared to open the sliding glass doors. When the appropriate signal was given, one of the agents quickly slid open the door and aimed his gun at nothing but air. It was Mac who was the first one to look down and notice their guest.

“Frog! Buddy! Where’ve you been and how did you get here?” He moved toward the dog only to be scolded by a nearby agent.

“Stay back! It could be a trap!”

Frog trotted into the living room seemingly oblivious of the agents and plopped down at Mac’s feet before giving a soft ‘woof’ and then shaking his head, sending slobber flying. Joanna immediately fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around the canine’s neck before frowning in concern when she noticed the scratches on his back from the wooden fence he had slipped under. When the agents had finished scouring the area for any threats, they carefully examined Frog for any trace evidence that might reveal where he had been taken, but they found nothing. Suddenly, the phone blared to life garnering everyone’s attention.

MacGyver stared at the phone in disbelief. “That can’t possibly be Pleshenkov offering a trade. He has to know Frog has escaped by now.”

“But he has no way of knowing the dog is here,” an agent replied from behind. “Answer the call as we discussed earlier.”

MacGyver picked up the phone. “Hello?” he said in a low, controlled voice.

“Ah, good evening, Mr. MacGyver. I’m assuming you know who this is.”

“Dr. Pleshenkov.”

“Indeed! I must presume this call is being traced, so I will say this only once. Meet me in Wilmot Park at midnight. Come to the southeast corner by the monument. Bring the chip and come alone.”

Before Mac could respond, the call was disconnected. He looked at the technician sitting nearby. He shook his head. “The call wasn’t long enough, we couldn’t get a location.”
“So we go through with the meeting as planned, right?” MacGyver asked, knowing his answer would be confirmed.

“But why?” Joanna broke in. “Frog is safe and we have the chip. Pleshenkov just told you where he’s gonna be. Can’t you just capture him without this ruse?”

Mac turned toward her and put his hands solidly on her shoulders, willing her to understand. “If Pleshenkov even thinks he smells a set-up, he’ll go back underground and we may lose him forever.”

He could see Joanna’s eye’s soften slightly. “Think about what he’s done to Frog. We need to get him into custody,” he said gently.

Joanna had not yet responded when a Kevlar vest was shoved into MacGyver’s hands.

“You need to wear this, sir,” an agent told him.

Mac regarded the protective gear as if he was holding a snake. His brow furrowed and his lip curled slightly. He had been through and survived a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

As if reading his thoughts, Joanna whispered, “Please Mac, wear it for me?”

“All right,” he replied, softly stroking her cheek with the back of his forefinger before strapping the vest around him and fervently hoping that Pleshenkov would aim for his chest and not his head.

In the midst of the controlled chaos as the plan was set in motion, no one saw Frog nose open the sliding glass patio door and scurry out into the night.

XXXXX

MacGyver sat in the back of a dark, nondescript van as government agents wired him with a microphone connected to a tape recorded. This needed to be a solid bust. Several government agents and law enforcement officers had been dispatched throughout the park, hiding behind trees or crouching amongst bushes.

Thankfully, two officers had remained at his apartment to watch over Jo and Frog until this ordeal was over leaving him to concentrate on what he had to do. At precisely two minutes to midnight Mac slid out the side door of the van and walked determinedly toward the monument Pleshenkov had indicated. As the clock struck twelve, the scientist emerged from the shadows behind the cement statue, a taller, burlier man close behind.

“I thought the instructions were to come alone,” Mac called across the space that separated them. He stood casually, his feet slightly apart and his hands jammed in the front pockets of his jeans.

“Those instructions only apply to you, Mr. MacGyver,” the scientist replied coolly. “I trust you followed them?”

“Where’s my dog?” Mac asked, evading the previous question.

“First things first, Mr. MacGyver. Hand over the microchip.”

“Now, you don’t really think I’d have it on me, do ya?”

Pleshenkov took a deep breath as his cheeks grew pink.

“I do not have the time nor the patience for games, Mr. MacGyver. Tell me where the chip is!”

“Be glad to. Just as soon as you give me my dog back.” Mac knew he was pushing it, but he wanted to rattle the scheming scientist before the feds moved in.

“I’m afraid that is no longer an option, Mr. MacGyver.” Pleshenkov moved his hand in a silent signal to the man behind him who now stepped forward, a revolver aimed at Mac’s heart. “Tell me where the chip is!”

Mac regarded the men thoughtfully. “The way I see it, this is a no-win situation for one of us. If I keep silent, you don’t get your chip. If I tell you where it is, you kill me. What do you say we all sit down and try to come up with a compromise?”

“A compromise?!?!” Pleshekov roared, his face redder than a tomato. “I found the chip once, I’ll find it again!” He then turned to his accomplice. “Shoot him!” he ordered.

Out of the corner of his eye, MacGyver saw Frog running straight towards Pleshenkov as fast as his little bow legs could carry him, growling all the way before latching on to the man’s pant leg with his teeth and tugging hard. At that same time the other man fired his gun and Mac felt as if he had been hit in the chest by a wrecking ball, the force causing him to fall backward to the ground knocking the air out of his lungs. He heard myriad voices demanding Pleshenkov and his man to ‘freeze’ and ‘drop the gun’ before his world went black.

When MacGyver awoke, he was still lying on the ground. He tilted his head up just enough to make out the dark forms of concerned government agents standing around him, Frog slobbering his cheek with happy doggy kisses, and Joanna kneeling next to him, her deep liquid brown eyes full of fear as she stroked his hair and pleaded with him to be okay. He tried to push himself up but was met with a resisting force on his shoulder which turned out to be Jo’s hand.

“Stay down. The paramedics are on the way,” she told him. Her voice thick with unshed tears.

“I’m fine. I just had the wind knocked out of me,” he insisted, managing to force himself upright this time. He scowled when he looked down at his chest. “Aw, man! That goon ruined my favorite shirt,” he groaned, fingering the fabric that had been frayed by the bullet.

No longer able to hide her emotions, Joanna let her tears fall as she flung her arms around Mac’s neck.

“I was so scared when I saw you go down,” she sobbed. “You know they make bullets that can penetrate those vests.”

“Thanks for reminding me,” Mac responded sourly even as he wrapped his strong arms around her as she cried. “What are you and Frog doing here anyway? You should have stayed where it was safe.”

Joanna leaned back on her heels, wiping away her tears.

“After you left, I noticed Frog was gone. I figured he was following you.”

“So you decided to follow him,” Mac finished for her.

“Yeah,” she replied sheepishly.

“I’m sorry, sir, we tried to stop her,” one of the officers assigned to protect her apologized. “The best we could do was convince her to come with us instead of alone.”

MacGyver smiled at the young man. “No apology necessary. Joanna can be quite, um, persuasive when she wants to be.”

XXXXX

The dawn of a new day saw MacGyver, Joanna, and Frog cuddled up on his couch recounting the events of the previous night. After the crime scene had been cleared, Mac had finally relented and went to the hospital to make sure the impact of the bullet had been harmless, which it was. They returned to his townhouse just in time to receive a phone call from Pete informing them that Dr. Downer had been able to decode some of the information on the microchip and it was now safely in the hands of the United States government, where it would remain. Mac relayed to his friend that Pleshenkov and his crony had been arrested and would be out of commission for a very long time. Joanna lay against his chest and he felt her sigh as the first rays of daylight pierced the window.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she replied, absently fondling Frog’s silky ear. “It’s just hard to believe that Frog had that thing in his neck all these years.”

“It’s hard to believe what people will do to animals in the name of science,” Mac grumbled.

“I know,” Jo agreed sadly. “Do you think the other animals Pleshenkov used are okay?”

“I’d like to think so,” he answered pensively.

“Well, I’m just glad Frog has you,” she declared. “You’re a really good dog dad.”

MacGyver laughed. “Thanks…I think! And for the record, you make a pretty good dog mom yourself.”

Her only response was to smile and nestle closer to his chest. He savored the intimacy of the moment as his odd little family continued to watch the sun crawl over the horizon.





Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 22 August 2019 - 09:36 AM                                    
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QUOTE
Chapter 13: Frog’s Secret
I'm intrigued...

QUOTE
“There’s a lump there,” Mac frowned.

Joanna nodded in agreement as she gently separated the short hair of the canine’s coat. “The skin around the area looks red, too.” Her eyes were full of concern as they met his.
Personally, I would've checked his neck a lot sooner dry.gif

QUOTE

“I think you should probably take him to the vet just to be on the safe side,” Joanna suggested, rising to stand next to him.
Something else I would've done much earlier...

QUOTE

“No,” the vet answered confidently. “Those chips are quite small and implanted by injection. This chip is significantly larger and had to have been surgically implanted at some point.”
I'm really curious about Frog's past now...

QUOTE

“What is it now, MacGyver?!” Pete snarled into the phone.
Well hello to you too, grumpy...

QUOTE

“You fell asleep on my couch last night and I didn’t have the heart to wake you,” he explained before she could ask.

“My stiff neck and sore back thank you for that,” she replied wryly as she pushed off the blanket he had covered her with.
That happens to me every time I sleep on the couch, too XD

QUOTE

“No, go right ahead,” Mac replied, perplexed. Since when did she keep clothes at his place? And why hadn’t he noticed. He looked around warily, wondering what else he might have missed. So much for his keen powers of observation. He’d have to take inventory when he got back.
Lol laugh.gif

QUOTE

“A man just tried to buy Frog from me! He said he’d give me a thousand dollars for him!”
Frog's got a secret, all right. And he's probably in danger now sad.gif

QUOTE

She opened the refrigerator in search of the liverwurst when her gaze landed on a clear plastic container of raw chicken livers.
Mac didn't put that there...

QUOTE
But by the time she made it down the staircase, all was quiet and the window that made up Mac’s front door lay in shards at her feet with no dog in sight.
Saw that coming...

QUOTE

“Why would you name your dog ‘Frog’?” Dr. Downer asked distastefully.
I've actually wondered this a lot laugh.gif

Well, Frog has quite a past, hasn't he?...

QUOTE
“I took his collar off so it wouldn’t irritate his neck. He’s not wearing your homing device.”
Yeah, they replaced it with a harness for a reason, right? XD

QUOTE

Frog sniffed the threadbare carpet. Cats. Not only had he been dognapped, but now he was being held hostage in an abandoned house that had been formerly occupied by cats.
This little bit from Frog's POV is adorable XD

QUOTE
After being unceremoniously tossed in the back seat of the big black sedan, the speed and bumpiness of the ride caused him to be thrown to the floor boards numerous times so he had been unable to look out the window and determine the route or destination. The ride, thankfully, had not been long, so he knew he was still relatively close to his master. Thoughts of MacGyver automatically made him think of Joanna. He was glad she had been upstairs when his abductor broke in, and he hoped she wasn’t too worried about him. He liked Joanna very much. He especially enjoyed cuddling with her on the couch. But then again, so did his master. Bringing his thoughts back to the present, he was thankful, as well as more than a bit surprised, that he hadn’t been chained up or, heaven forbid, locked in a cage. Instead, he had been left free to roam the dilapidated building, but he had stayed close to the man who took him, hoping to get some information he could use to escape.
That moment you realize that Frog has human-like intelligence, enough to think logically and methodically like this XD

Forgive me for saying this, but it's also really heckin' convenient that the chip corroded and Mac found out about all this right around the same time Pleshenkov decided to reclaim him XD

QUOTE
He promised himself he would go on a diet if he managed to get himself out of this horrid situation.
XD XD XD



QUOTE

In the midst of the controlled chaos as the plan was set in motion, no one saw Frog nose open the sliding glass patio door and scurry out into the night.
Frog, what are you up to? huh.gif

QUOTE
“Aw, man! That goon ruined my favorite shirt,”
Well why did you wear your favorite shirt knowing you might get shot? laugh.gif

They're all so cute and happy in the end love.jpg

Can I just add that I can't read Pleshenkov without thinking of Peter Lenkov? XD

This chapter also makes me want more of Frog's viewpoint XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 28 August 2019 - 12:44 PM                                    
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Chapter 14: Dating: MacGyver Style

Joanna took one last, cleansing breath of the warm, sweet, spring air before pulling open the heavy plate glass door and stepping into the hermetically sealed, multi-storied building that housed the Hernandez Law Firm. Her high heels clicked a steady cadence on the ceramic tile as she headed to the bank of elevators that would take her to the floor she and several other research assistants and paralegals occupied. Upon arriving at the office’s outer lobby, Jo breezily greeted one of the many receptionists.

“Morning, Geena! Happy Friday!”

“My, aren’t we in a good mood today,” Geena, the middle-aged, African-American woman observed.

Jo quickly picked up the slightly sarcastic note in the woman’s voice.

“Why shouldn’t I be? The weather is finally warming up and there are only eight more hours until the weekend!”

“Well, I hate to rain on your parade, but I have something for you.”

Geena reached behind her and grabbed a single, long-stemmed red rose and held it out to Joanna.

“That man of yours left this for you. You two have a fight or something?”

Joanna took the flower, her stomach doing a little flip at Mac’s surprisingly sweet gesture as she pressed her nose deep into the silky petals and inhaled the intoxicating scent before frowning at the woman’s comment.

“Why would you say that?”

“Honey, there’s only one reason a man sends flowers for no reason. Now what happened?”

“Nothing,” Joanna smiled reassuringly. “And who says he’s ‘my man’?”

“Girl, since the first day y’all walked in here the entire office knew you two were an item!”

Joanna’s smile slowly faded. She and MacGyver had tried to keep their personal relationship, well, personal. Apparently, they hadn’t succeeded. A bit deflated, she turned to head to her office.

“Hey, wait a minute!” Geena called. “Don’t you want the card he left?”

Joanna turned back, reaching out to grab the card. “Thanks,” she mumbled.

Making sure her office door was closed, Joanna settled herself in the comfortable chair behind her desk before reading the little note. And little it was:

Meet me at the rink after work.
Wear jeans.
Mac

Joanna’s head dropped forward as she groaned. She had forgotten it was their first “date night”. And apparently Mac’s big plan was having her watch him practice his hockey skills. She leaned back in her chair with a sigh, absently tapping the corner of the notecard on the desktop as she recalled a conversation they had earlier in the week while cleaning up at Challengers for the night.

“So, I was reading this article,” Mac began as he gathered cue sticks that had been left lying on the pool table, “and it said that busy couples need to make an extra effort to spend quality time together.”

“Yeah, I heard that somewhere, too,” Joanna replied as she straightened the cushions on the various sofas and chairs while picking candy wrappers up off the floor. “You know, we need to crack down on getting the kids to clean up after themselves,” she said wearily.

“Then I took this quiz,” MacGyver continued, oblivious to Jo’s previous comment.

Joanna snapped to attention. “Wait a minute. You took a quiz?”

“Yeah,” he shrugged.

“What kind of quiz?” her lips began to tug upward.

“The kind you find in magazines,” he replied sheepishly.

Joanna couldn’t believe her ears! She began glancing around until her gaze fell upon an old issue of Cosmopolitan laying dog-eared on an end table, then it was all she could do not to laugh out loud.

“You mean you took a relationship quiz in Cosmo,” she clarified as she watched Mac’s cheeks flush. She didn’t think she’d ever seen him so uncomfortable before. This was kinda fun.

“Maybe…” he hedged, his back to her as he carefully racked the pool cues. “What can I say?” he countered, turning around. “It was a boring day!”

“So what, exactly, did this quiz determine for us?” she smirked as she dumped the trash she had collected and sank down onto a well-worn couch.

“Nothin’! Forget I said anything.”

“Maybe I should take the quiz and see what results I get,” Jo pretended to threaten.

“Oh, all right! It said we should set aside one evening each week and go out and do something, just the two of us. And it has to be ‘out’, not in one of our homes or workplaces.”

“So air hockey and pizza here at the club is out?”

“Yeah. Well, according to the quiz.”

Jo’s smirk faded and her voice became suspicious. “So, are you saying you really think we should do this?”

Mac tilted his head to the side before giving a definitive nod.

“Yeah. I mean, it can’t hurt, right?”

“I just don’t see the point,” Joanna protested. “We see each other all the time and practically share a dog! What is one date a week gonna do?”

“According to the magazine, It’s gonna get us away from the distractions of everyday life and break up our routine allowing us to continue to learn about and appreciate each other more.”

“That’s what the article said?” Joanna asked, eyebrow cocked.

“Um…more or less. So what do you say, should we give it a try?”

Jo wasn’t sure what MacGyver’s exact motivation behind this ‘dating’ idea was. She never pegged him as the sort to put any stock in, much less even take, a relationship quiz, and then bring it up as a topic for idle conversation.

“Fine. We’ll give it a try,” she capitulated. “Who’s gonna plan the first date?”

MacGyver smiled for the first time during the entire conversation. He shoved his hand into his hip pocket and pulled out a quarter. “We’ll flip a coin!”

XXXXX

After stopping home to change clothes and grab a bite to eat…she wasn’t sure if food was in Mac’s plan for tonight…she pulled her Cavalier into the ice rink’s parking lot, alone except for an old pick-up and Mac’s Nomad. This facility was on the edge of town and much smaller than the Pettit Center where the majority of skaters hung out. She walked into the lobby area, expecting MacGyver to be waiting for her, but he was nowhere to be found and she was greeted by silence instead, along with the scent of sweat and stale popcorn.

“You Ms. Fairfax?” a grizzled voice called from behind an opening set into the wall to her right.

“Yeah,” Jo replied skeptically, cautiously approaching the elderly, gray-haired man.

“Mac said to give these to you.”

The attendant hoisted a pair of white figure skates onto the narrow shelf between them along with another long-stemmed red rose with a white notecard. Joanna opened the card and read the brief statement:

Go to the home team’s bench and put these on.
Mac

Terrific! Mac apparently expected her to skate with him. How had she never gotten around to telling him she never learned? She didn’t even roller skate!

“Something wrong, Miss?”

“Uh, no…everything’s fine,” Joanna replied politely. “Looks like a slow night,” she commented, trying to borrow time and somehow get gracefully out of this ‘date’.

“Fridays are usually pretty packed, but when someone rents the place for the night I’ll happily close it down and take the profit.”

Her brain needed a moment to process this. Mac had paid to make sure they’d have the place all to themselves? More befuddled than before, she bade farewell to the older man and headed toward the ice. She was sitting on the bench, trying to tie her skates when she heard the distinct sound of blades cutting across the smooth surface before her. She looked up to find MacGyver, in jeans and a pullover sweater, gracefully gliding in her direction from the far end of the rink. He skidded to a stop in front of her.

“Hey!” he greeted her with a smile.

“Hey, yourself,” she muttered, pulling awkwardly on the shoelaces.

“Here, let me help you with those.”

Before she could protest, MacGyver was seated on the bench next to her. She had turned, allowing him to place her foot in his lap as he re-tied the laces properly. He patted her boot, indicating he was done, then quickly stood up, apparently anxious to get back on the ice, but Joanna remained seated.

“Is there a problem?” he asked, concern evident in his eyes.

“No,” she lied. “I just thought you brought me here to watch you skate.”

“That would make for a pretty dull date,” Mac grimaced, unaware that he had voiced her own thoughts.

“Well…um…there’s something you should know,” she said quietly.

MacGyver sat back down, worry marring his finely chiseled features. “What is it?” he asked, his voice gruff with concern.

“I probably should have told you sooner…but…I can’t skate.” Joanna hung her head, not wanting to see the disappointment and possible frustration in Mac’s eyes.

She heard him let out a pent up sigh and dared to sneak a peek at his face. He was smiling!

“Why do you think I brought you here?” he asked. “I know you can’t skate, but I planned on starting to fix that tonight. Besides, with Pete down in Chicago, I have to break in a new goalie!”

“So you’re idea of a good time is watching me fall and break my face?” Joanna shot back, her previous embarrassment replaced with the sass she reserved for those she loved most.

Mac laughed. “Trust me, breaking your face is not in my plans. Besides, you’re not gonna fall.”

“Oh really?!?!”

“Of course not, I won’t let you.” He gave her a quick wink before reaching out to take her hand.

Even though she was still seated, Jo grabbed MacGyver’s hand and hung on tight as if it were her lifeline. Skeptically, she looked down at her skate-clad feet.

“These blades are awful narrow. How am I supposed to balance on them?”

Keenly aware of her uncertainty, Mac moved to stand directly in front of her and took her other hand.

“Okay, now just stand up like normal,” he instructed.

She swallowed hard as she levered herself off the bench, holding his hands tighter than necessary. Before she knew it, she was standing tall. Actually, very tall. About three inches taller than usual. It felt kinda funny, but at least she hadn’t teetered over onto the floor as she had expected to.

“All right!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly. “Now let’s get you on the ice!”

Joanna looked at him with narrowed eyes. “You are so gonna pay for this, Angus!” she promised as he helped her totter over to the opening where, heaven forbid, her feet would meet ice. Slippery ice. Hard ice. Oh yeah, payback was gonna be fun!

MacGyver stepped onto the ice first as easily as if he were stepping off a curb, letting go of her hands at the same time.

“Okay, your turn,” he told her.

She felt her pulse ratchet up as her fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. Flight. Yes, that sounded like a good idea. Just run away. But she probably wouldn’t get very far with her feet still strapped into these deathtraps.

“Put your left hand on top of the barrier,” MacGyver instructed, breaking into her thoughts, “and step sideways onto the ice with your right foot so your blade is parallel with the boards.”

As Joanna attempted to do as he said, her right foot slipped and she quickly grabbed the barrier with both arms, unaware that with her sudden movement her left foot had also come onto the ice. Mac was immediately beside her with his arm firmly around her waist.

“It’s okay,” he crooned. “You’re okay.”

“Easy for you to say!” she complained breathlessly.

After a few moments, she began to take deep, calming breaths as Mac pried her right arm away from the top of the padded barrier.

“Hold onto me with your right hand, but keep your left hand on the rail and remember to keep your skates parallel to the boards,” he directed.

Joanna held tightly to his hand and experienced a fraction of relief as she also felt his other hand on the small of her back for extra support.

“You got your balance?” he asked and she slowly nodded. “Good. Now we’re gonna do what’s called ‘penguin steps’. Just lift up your right foot a little bit and put it down, then do the same with the left. Kinda like you’re marching only with very small steps.”

Jo had absolutely no confidence in this process, but she did trust Mac so she decided to make an honest effort. Squeezing his hand as well as the top of the barrier for all she was worth, she picked up her right foot ever so slightly and quickly put it back down. To her surprise, she remained upright and she felt a surge of confidence. She did the same thing with her left foot and when that step was also successful she was beginning to think she might be able to do this after all.

After penguin-stepping half-way around the rink, MacGyver made her stop. She looked at him with questioning eyes.

“It’s time to get rid of one of your support systems,” he declared with a slight grin. “You need to let go of either me or the rail.”

Her traitorous body yearned to remain in Mac’s arms, but her practical mind much preferred the solidness of the railing. As MacGyver eased away, she continued marching in her private little ice parade. Before she knew it, they were back where they began.

“Great job!” Mac exclaimed, spontaneously planting a kiss on her forehead. “Now for the next step!”

“Huh?” Jo paled. “I thought that was it!”

MacGyver shook his head. “Now that you’ve gained some confidence and experienced the feel of the ice, it’s time to start letting those little steps turn into glides.”

“Oh goody,” came her sarcastic reply.

“And this time you hold onto me,” he directed.

“Why?” she asked suspiciously.

“Because I’m the instructor,” he grinned slyly before turning serious and gently reaching for her.

She had to admit that holding onto MacGyver was a whole lot better than grasping the railing. He was soft and warm and smelled like-- Suddenly her foot slid too far forward, causing her to lose her balance. She prepared herself to hit the ice, but instead felt two strong arms tighten around her and place her solidly back on her feet.

“I promised I wouldn’t let you fall,” Mac whispered in her ear, causing a warm tingle to snake down her spine.

After taking a moment to regain her composure, Joanna resumed her steps which were slowly turning into glides. With Mac by her side, she took one more turn around the rink. She was prepared to do another when MacGyver suggested they quit.

“You may feel okay now,” he informed her, “But in the morning you’ll feel muscles you didn’t know you had. Besides, I’m starving! What do you say we go to the pizza place next door?”

“Sounds good to me,” Jo agreed just as her stomach rumbled its assent.

Together they divested themselves of their skates and walked the short distance to the restaurant. The place was packed on a Friday evening, but after Mac whispered into the hostess’s ear they were immediately led to a small table in a dimly lit corner. Joanna cocked an eyebrow in question.

“It is a date, after all,” MacGyver shrugged.

The next hour passed way too quickly as the couple talked and laughed and devoured the pizza that had been place between them. All too soon the dessert dishes were cleared away and it was time to go. Hand in hand, they slowly walked back to the ice rink’s parking lot where they had left their cars. Joanna suddenly wished they had driven together so she could spend a few extra minutes in Mac’s company, but instead, she dug out her key and unlocked the driver’s side door of her coupe. With a wistful sigh she turned to MacGyver who still stood next to her.

“I wish this evening didn’t have to end,” she murmured.

“I take it you had a good time?”

“Anytime I’m with you it’s good,” she replied candidly.

“But you have to admit that tonight felt extra special, didn’t it?” he asked softly, his head dipping closer to hers.

“Maybe there’s something to this dating thing after all,” she conceded, raising her face to his, their lips nearly touching.

The world became silent and time stood still as Mac captured her mouth with his. Jo felt his hands tighten on her hips and hold her closer as she reached up and clasped her arms around his neck, allowing her fingers to play with the hair at his nape which caused him to moan and gave her a surprising sense of satisfaction. The kiss was soft and tender at first, then slowly became passionate and probing, asking and reassuring, though never demanding. Eventually they broke the kiss, but they didn’t step away from each other. MacGyver gazed into her eyes until she thought he could read her soul and then he smiled.

“What?” she asked, backing away slightly but not breaking contact.

“I have a confession to make,” he stated, his voice low and husky.

Jo cocked her head but remained silent.

“I didn’t take any stupid magazine quiz that told us to date. I just used that as a cover story in case things didn’t work out,” he informed her.

“Than what was tonight all about?”

“You. Me. Us. Ever since I came back from L.A. I feel like you back away from me at times. And I need you to know…I needed to show you…”

“I’m not backing away from you, Mac,” she interrupted. “It’s just that sometimes…the way you look at me…it scares me.”

MacGyver shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

“No one’s ever looked at me the way you do, and I’m afraid that eventually I’m going to end up disappointing you.”

“Hey,” he said firmly, cupping her face in his hands. “Don’t ever say that. There is no way you could ever disappoint me. And for the record, I look at you the way I do because I’ve never felt this way about any other woman and you’re right, it is scary ‘cause I don’t wanna mess this up. Not with you.”

Jo laughed at the same time her eyes welled with tears. “We make a fine pair, don’t we?” she teased.

Mac rested his forehead against hers. “I think we make a great pair, and I’d like to keep it that way if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all,” she replied, tears of myriad emotions now flowing freely down her cheeks.

“But I know,” Mac continued, using his thumbs to wipe away her tears, “that it’s gonna take some work. I see now that none of my other relationships worked out because it never occurred to me to work at them. To fight for them. So I’m warning you now. I’m gonna fight for this. For you. Are you willing to do the same?”

Joanna gave him a watery smile. “Even if it means putting on ice skates and breaking every bone in my body.”

“Let’s hope it never comes to that,” MacGyver laughed, as he wrapped his arms around her in a hug that left no doubt he would never let her go.



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 29 August 2019 - 10:47 AM                                    
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Posts: 2,980
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Episode:Halloween Knights
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House:  House boat



QUOTE
Chapter 14: Dating: MacGyver Style
Oh no laugh.gif

QUOTE

“That man of yours left this for you. You two have a fight or something?”
Wow, jumpin' to conclusions much? laugh.gif

QUOTE
“You know, we need to crack down on getting the kids to clean up after themselves,” she said wearily.
My mom has a cleaning business, and I often help out, and that whole sentence is my eternal mood XD

QUOTE

“I just don’t see the point,” Joanna protested. “We see each other all the time and practically share a dog! What is one date a week gonna do?”

“According to the magazine, It’s gonna get us away from the distractions of everyday life and break up our routine allowing us to continue to learn about and appreciate each other more.”
Mac's got a point here, tbh.

QUOTE

Go to the home team’s bench and put these on.
Mac
What, is he gonna propose again?

QUOTE

Mac laughed. “Trust me, breaking your face is not in my plans. Besides, you’re not gonna fall.”
I DON'T NEED A PARACHUTE, BABY IF I GOT YOU, BABY IF I GOT YOU, I DON'T NEED A PARACHUUUUTTTEEE, YOU'RE GONNA CATCH ME, YOU'RE GONNA CATCH ME, YOU'RE GONNA CATCH ME IF I FAAAALLLLLLL (Yeah I have no idea what song that is, I've only heard it in crack videos roller.gif )

QUOTE

She had to admit that holding onto MacGyver was a whole lot better than grasping the railing. He was soft and warm and smelled like-- Suddenly her foot slid too far forward, causing her to lose her balance. She prepared herself to hit the ice, but instead felt two strong arms tighten around her and place her solidly back on her feet.
I really have that song stuck in my head now roller.gif

QUOTE

“I promised I wouldn’t let you fall,” Mac whispered in her ear, causing a warm tingle to snake down her spine.
Woah, Mac boy, surprise.gif

QUOTE

“You may feel okay now,” he informed her, “But in the morning you’ll feel muscles you didn’t know you had. Besides, I’m starving! What do you say we go to the pizza place next door?”

“Sounds good to me,” Jo agreed just as her stomach rumbled its assent.
What's funny is I haven't eaten recently either, and I really, really want to join them now laugh.gif

QUOTE


“I wish this evening didn’t have to end,” she murmured.

“I take it you had a good time?”

“Anytime I’m with you it’s good,” she replied candidly.

“But you have to admit that tonight felt extra special, didn’t it?” he asked softly, his head dipping closer to hers.

“Maybe there’s something to this dating thing after all,” she conceded, raising her face to his, their lips nearly touching.
Me: *reading this* Aww-
My stomach: mad.gif
My brain: I want pizza.
Me: What the heck?
laugh.gif

QUOTE
The world became silent and time stood still as Mac captured her mouth with his.
I'm so sorry, but that wording reminded me of that one meme where one puppy gets playful and bites the other on the face, fitting his entire muzzle over the other's. I just have this mental image of Mac using his entire jaw to bite Joana's face XD XD XD

QUOTE

“I didn’t take any stupid magazine quiz that told us to date. I just used that as a cover story in case things didn’t work out,” he informed her.
MAC YOU SLY DOG roller.gif

QUOTE

“No one’s ever looked at me the way you do, and I’m afraid that eventually I’m going to end up disappointing you.”
That's an interesting shift. I remember when she used to be afraid that he would disappoint her...

QUOTE

“But I know,” Mac continued, using his thumbs to wipe away her tears, “that it’s gonna take some work. I see now that none of my other relationships worked out because it never occurred to me to work at them. To fight for them. So I’m warning you now. I’m gonna fight for this. For you. Are you willing to do the same?”

Joanna gave him a watery smile. “Even if it means putting on ice skates and breaking every bone in my body.”

“Let’s hope it never comes to that,” MacGyver laughed, as he wrapped his arms around her in a hug that left no doubt he would never let her go.
Awww biggrin.gif

So, when's the wedding? XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 11 September 2019 - 08:57 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 436
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
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*****So, so sorry I missed posting last week! This is a long one to make up for it:)))


Chapter 15: Bride #3


MacGyver reached under the passenger seat and pulled the lever, inching back a few notches so he could stretch out his khaki clad legs. Joanna’s Cavalier was roomier than he expected. He glanced down at his maroon, banded-collar shirt before turning his attention to Jo’s flowery sundress over which she wore a bright blue sweater. He recalled the way the light, gauzy fabric swathed her body and swirled around her legs, kissing her ankles as she walked. Never in his life had he thought he’d be jealous of a piece of material. But he was.

“You gonna tell me where we’re going?” It had been Joanna’s turn to plan their date night, and she had been frustratingly secretive about their destination. Based on her instructions to dress ‘casual but nice’, Mac figured she did not have a second ice skating lesson in mind.

“Just hold your horses,” she smiled at him from the driver’s seat. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

A few minutes later Jo guided the car into the parking lot of a large building with a neon sign declaring it to be the Glenfield Playhouse with the marquee below advertising the current performance of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

Mac’s jaw dropped. “Musical theater?!”

“A little culture won’t hurt you,” his date replied saucily. “Besides, it’s a Western.”

“It is not a Western!”

“Well, it’s almost a Western,” she argued. “Besides,” she added sheepishly, “The tickets were free. Lee Vang at the office won them in a raffle and didn’t want them.”

He quickly bit back the rebuttal that was on the tip of his tongue when he locked onto her uncertain gaze. The whole idea of date night was to get them out of their normal routine and spend quality time with each other. Joanna had gamely strapped on figure skates and conquered her fear of the ice for him. A couple hours of watching actors sing and dance wouldn’t kill him. After all, it’s not like he hated the theater or anything, he had just been caught off guard.

As they entered the venue, the couple was greeted by an usher in black pants and a crisp white shirt who handed Joanna a program as she handed over their tickets. Mac waved off the program the usher offered him as they were led a few feet to their seats.

“The back row?” MacGyver complained in a loud whisper.

“What do you expect for free!” Joanna shot back.

Gentleman that he was, Mac stepped aside to allow Jo to enter the row of seats ahead of him. Finding the correctly numbered chair, she sat down with a huff and a frown. MacGyver sighed as he eased down next to her. The evening was not off to a good start.

The pair sat in uncomfortable silence as patrons poured in, chattering excitedly about the night’s entertainment. Soon the house lights dimmed signaling the start of the performance. MacGyver gently draped his arm around Joanna’s shoulders. When she didn’t pull away, he ever so slightly pressed her closer to him. Meeting no resistance, even though her eyes were set firmly on the stage, he leaned over and whispered in her ear.

“I’m sorry for giving you a hard time,” he apologized.

Finally she turned towards him. “It’s my fault,” she admitted. “I shouldn’t have kept you in the dark. I know you don’t care for surprises.”

Before he could reply, a group of performers broke into song. Jo refocused her attention on the play while he continued to study her profile. By happy coincidence, she had seen fit to wear her hair clipped back, exposing her neck in the most enticing way. Ever so slowly he pressed his lips to the smooth, tender skin behind her ear. Feeling her flinch, he quickly broke contact. It was then that he noticed her head tip, giving him better access. His lips tugged into a smile and he suppressed a delighted groan as he resumed his ministrations, blissfully trailing gentle kisses down her neck. He was just about to retrace his path when a slap on his shoulder roused him from his reverie.

“That’s enough! People will see us!” Joanna hissed.

Mac raised his head just enough to survey the audience. “No they won’t. It’s too dark. Besides, isn’t this what the back row is for anyway?” he assured her as he attempted to resume his previous activity.

“Maaac!” Jo was more insistent now, pulling her head back.

MacGyver sighed and slumped back in his seat. “In order for people to watch us they’d have to turn around. In that case, they deserve whatever they see. And don’t tell me you weren’t enjoying it.” He sent a quirky grin her way.

“It was okay,” she shrugged. “But I think you missed a spot.” She grinned shyly as she tipped her head and pointed to spot beneath her jaw.

“Well, I can fix that in a jiffy, lil lady,” Mac replied using his best cowboy imitation, causing Joanna to giggle softly.

MacGyver once again had his face buried in the curve of Joanna’s neck when a voice from the stage sliced the air causing him to bolt upright. He squinted, but couldn’t make out the face of the woman now singing.

“Cheap seats,” he muttered.

“What’s wrong?” Jo asked, clearly concerned at his sudden change in behavior.

“I know that voice,” he whispered urgently as he reached across her lap for the program the usher had given her.

“Hey, you should’ve taken your own!” she rebuked, but he ignored her as he opened the folded piece of paper, took a pen light out of his shirt pocket, and scanned the names of the cast members.

“I don’t believe it!” he exclaimed under his breath. There, in black and white, were the words ‘Bride #3 – Penny Parker’.

“What is it?” Jo pressed, apparently having lost all interest in the play.

“Bride number three. She’s an old friend of mine from Los Angeles.”

“Old?” Joanna’s lips formed a straight line as she regarded the actress now at center stage. She had to be at least ten years younger than him!

“You know what I mean.”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me about her?”

“Penny? Well, she can be kinda…complicated,” Mac hedged. “It’s hard to tell anyone about her. You kinda have to experience her for yourself.”

Any further explanation was drowned out by applause as the stage curtain closed and the house lights came on for the first intermission.

“C’mon!” Mac grabbed Jo’s hand leading her down the main aisle before weaving their way to the backstage door where they were met by a hulk of a security guard.

“Sorry. Cast only,” the hulk grunted.

“But I’m a friend of—“

“Sorry. Cast only.”

Apparently the reading curriculum at security guard school was quite limited.

“MacGyver?” a female voice sounded above the din of the other actors. “Oh, MacGyver! It is you!!”

Penny skittered towards him and launched herself into his arms, throwing him slightly off balance, before planting a solid kiss on his lips. Mac’s eyes widened as he looked helplessly at Jo whose glare had cooled the room considerably before extracting himself from Penny’s embrace.

“How’re you doin’, Penny?” he grinned.

“I’m good, but what in the world are you doing here?!?! Well, obviously you’re watching the play. But I mean what are you doing here in Milwaukee?”

“I live here now,” Mac informed her. Beside him, Joanna cleared her throat. Loudly.

“Oh, uh, Penny, this is Joanna Fairfax.”

“You’re reason for moving to Milwaukee?” The actress smiled knowingly at him before turning to embrace Jo. “Oh, I just know we’re gonna be great friends!” she gushed to a stunned Joanna.

The overhead lights flashed, a silent message that the next act would be starting soon.

“Oops! Gotta run!” Penny said lightly. “Hey, how about we meet at my hotel for lunch tomorrow? The cast is staying at the Glenfield Inn and they have this little café that’s just so cute and we could—“

“Parker! Take your place!” a disembodied voice commanded.

Penny’s smile faltered just a bit. “See you tomorrow?”

“We’ll be there,” Mac assured her before he and Jo turned to head back to their seats.

“So that’s a Penny Parker,” Joanna mused. “She certainly is friendly.”

XXXXX

The following day MacGyver pulled the Nomad into the parking lot of a cheap motel on the edge of town. The cute café that Penny had mentioned appeared to be more of a dingy diner. Mac glanced over at Joanna who, even though it was a Saturday, had decided to dress up for the occasion and sported more make-up than he had ever seen on her. Did she actually feel threatened by Penny?

“Hey!” MacGyver reached over and grabbed Jo’s arm before she could get out of the car. “You’re not jealous of Penny or anything, are you?”

“Me? Jealous? Why would I be jealous just because your ‘old friend’ happens to be young, gorgeous, and successful?”

“Look,” Mac said firmly, turning in his seat so he could face her better. “Penny’s a good kid. She just needs some looking after sometimes. I think of her as the little sister I never had, nothing more.” He made sure to clearly enunciate the final two words.

“Oh yeah?! How would you feel if a tall, handsome man from my past suddenly reentered my life?”

MacGyver stared out the windshield, “You mean someone like Mike?”

“Mike? Mike who?”

“Mike ‘clean cut-always-wears-a-tie’ Harlow!” Mac snapped.

“I can’t believe you!” Joanna shot back. “You know he’s just a work friend. I’ve never been interested in him!”

Mac pinned her with a glare.

“Oh,” she said sheepishly. “Point taken.”

“Good!” Mac blew out a breath. “Now let’s go inside.”

“Wait a minute,” she put a detaining hand on his forearm before rummaging in her purse and pulling out a small mirror and a couple of tissues which she used to blot her lips and gently sweep at least one layer of make-up from her face. “Okay. I’m ready now.
Once inside the tiny restaurant the couple easily found Penny seated at a corner table. After greetings were exchanged and food orders given, Mac provided his friend with the abridged version of his experiences since they had last seen each other.

“Wow,” Penny sighed when he was through. “I really missed a lot!”

“Well, what about you?” he asked. “What have you been up to?”

“After that whole fiasco with that evil Murdoc at the theater I went back to the house my Aunt Betty left me to, you know, get my head together. That’s when I got this really neat idea. I decided to turn Parker House into a bed and breakfast! I call it ‘Aunt Betty’s B&B’. I like the sound of all the B’s. Anyway, it’s been open for about six years now. People really like it even if it is haunted. You and Joanna should come and stay sometime!”

“Penny, we’ve been through this, that house is not haunted! There is no such thing as ghosts!”

The actress leaned in towards Joanna and whispered loudly, “He always tells me that, but the house really is haunted. But in a good way. It’s just my Aunt Betty and she would never hurt anyone. Besides, I think he says that just to make himself believe it. Heaven forbid MacGyver not be able to explain something with science and logic.” Penny proceeded to roll her eyes as Jo suppressed a giggle.

“All right, fine! The house is ‘haunted’. But how are you running a B&B? I didn’t even know you could cook!”

“I can’t,” Penny replied. “But with the rest of my inheritance from Aunt Betty I was able to hire people to do the cooking and cleaning and hostessing and all that sort of stuff. That way I can still pursue my singing and acting career!”

“And how’s that been goin’ for ya?” Mac asked.

Penny frowned and looked down at her plate. “Not so great. You know, L.A. is full of singers and actors. But,” she raised her eyes which began to twinkle, “I have gotten some minor parts in movies and plays and I’ve even done a few television commercials!”

“That’s great, Penny!” MacGyver smiled. “So how did you land this role?”

“It was the weirdest thing,” she replied as her eyes widened. “I was walking out of a theater after an audition and almost got hit by this man in an electric wheelchair! I stumbled and ended up falling right in his lap! But you’ll never believe what happened next!”

“Try me,” Mac challenged.

Penny took a deep breath before continuing. Likely it would be her last for a while unless something managed to interrupt her.

“Well, after I got off his lap I figured it was only right that I should introduce myself. I mean, I had fallen all over him! He asked if I was an actress and of course I told him I was. And then he told me he directed musical theater and asked if I’d be interested in auditioning for him. Mac, his name was Jacques La Rue!”

Listening to Penny was often like trying to follow a mouse in a maze and MacGyver generally found it entertaining, but this news had him shaking his head in disbelief.

“There’s no way, Penny! You know Murdoc just made all that up to get to you…and me. And since he’s dead—“

“Don’t you get it, Mac?” Penny cried. “There really is a crippled director named Jacques La Rue! Murdoc must have known that and impersonated him. But the real Jacques La Rue is much nicer! He’s the one who hired me for this show!”

“I don’t suppose I could meet him?”

Penny chewed on her lower lip before answering. “He really prefers to stay in the background. Behind the scenes, you know. I think it’s because of his disability.”

“I see,” MacGyver replied cynically.

“But I’m sure if I told him a friend of mine wanted to meet him he would make an exception!” Penny brightened. “I’ll ask him about it tonight!”

Back in the car, MacGyver found himself pinned by Joanna’s gaze.

“What was all that about Murdoc and Jacques La Rue?” she asked.

“It’s a long story. And not a very happy one.” He didn’t care to explain further. Not even to Jo. There were some things in his past that he wanted to keep there, and Murdoc was certainly one of them.

“Maybe Penny will tell me more about it tomorrow,” Jo responded. “We decided to have a girl’s day and get to know each other better.”

“When did this happen?” Mac asked, more than a little shocked.

“Before dessert, when we went to the ladies room,” she shrugged. “Do you have a problem with me spending time with your ex-girlfriend?”

“No! And she’s not my ex-girlfriend!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Late Sunday morning Joanna stood in the middle of Penny’s motel room as the actress finished putting on her make-up in the small bathroom. The main room was sparsely furnished with everything one would expect and nothing more.

“So, I was thinking we should hit the mall for some retail therapy, grab some lunch and then treat ourselves to a manicure. How does that sound?” Penny called to Joanna.

“Sounds great, but I thought you’d have a Sunday matinee.”

“No, Jacques doesn’t believe in working on Sundays which is fine with the cast. We get a whole day to relax or spend traveling without having to worry about performing.”

Joanna looked around the room once more before taking a seat in a straight backed wooden chair. “That makes sense,” she replied. “But I would’ve thought that you’d be staying in a…different...motel.”

“Yeah, me too,” the younger woman sighed, now standing in the bathroom doorway. “Jacques promises it’s only until the profits from the box office pick up. But until then, it was either fly to the cities we’re performing in and stay in cheap motels, or stay in nice hotels and take the bus.” At this, Penny pulled a face. Obviously, professional actors did not endure long bus rides.

There was a sudden knock on the door and Penny hurried to answer it. She opened it to reveal a twenty-something, blonde-haired girl holding a plain white box.

“Oh, hey Jenny! C’mon in. This is my friend Joanna. Jo, this is my understudy, Jenny.”

Jenny stepped into the room and smiled at Joanna. “I’m sorry to interrupt. I didn’t know you had company, but I just ran into the motel manager and he said this had been left at the front desk for you so I offered to bring it over.”

The girl handed Penny the box who eagerly opened it.

“Cherry cordials! My favorite!” she exclaimed. “Well, maybe not my favorite but definitely a close second! Gee, I wonder who sent them? Maybe I have a secret admirer!” She started to reach for one of the treats before hesitating.

“Oh, gosh, where are my manners?! Jenny, Joanna, would you like one?”

When both women politely declined, Penny popped an entire piece of candy in her mouth. Her eyes rolled back in pure bliss.

“These are wonderful!” she mumbled around the chocolate concoction.

“Well, I better be going,” Jenny announced. “Are we still on to run lines tonight?”

Penny nodded then swallowed before answering. “You bet. Come on over around six.”

Jenny smiled and slipped out the door.

“Poor kid,” Penny said sadly once the girl had left. “This is her first big break and she’s so worried she’s going to have to go on for me.”

“Isn’t it pretty rare for understudies to actually be needed to perform?” Jo asked.

“You’d think so, right? But brides number one and two are both currently being played by the understudies.”

“Really?! How come?”

“When we were in Houston, bride number one kept getting these strange notes and was convinced a stalker was trying to kill her so she just up and quit one day and went back to Los Angeles. Then, in Omaha, a piece of rigging fell and almost hit bride number two. She stumbled getting out of the way and broke her ankle. You sure you don’t want one?” Penny thrust the candy box under Joanna’s nose.

“No. Thanks,” she smiled.

“Suit yourself! I’ll be back in a jiffy!” Penny promised as she headed back to the bathroom, popping another cherry into her mouth on the way.

Curious about the information Penny had just disclosed, Joanna called to her, “So what did the police in Houston and Omaha say about what happened to the actresses?”

“They said the falling rigging was an accident, and the notes were probably just a cruel prank. Jacques refused to let them investigate further because that would have put us behind, travel wise, and he didn’t want to postpone any performances.”

“Don’t you think that’s kinda odd?” Jo asked, but her question was met with prolonged silence.

“Penny?” she asked again. Still nothing but silence.

Suddenly, a loud clatter and muffled thud come from the other room. Joanna raced into the bathroom to find Penny’s unconscious body crumpled on the floor. Not wanting to move her, but needing to know if she was alive, Jo gently shook the other woman’s shoulder.

“Penny! Penny, can you hear me?!”

When she received no response she frantically searched for a pulse. She relaxed slightly when she found one, albeit slow and weak. She also noted that Penny’s face was unusually flushed and there was the slightest scent of…something. Jo tried to place it and finally realized it reminded her of bitter almonds. She flew to the telephone on the nightstand and placed two calls, the first to 911, the second to MacGyver.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver all but flew through the automatic doors of the emergency room. He still had on his worn jeans and stained t-shirt as he had received Joanna’s call in the middle of painting a dorm room at Challengers. Groups of people huddled together in the waiting area. Penny’s co-stars, he assumed, but no sign of the director. His eyes continued to search for the one person he needed to find most. After several moments, he found Joanna comforting a young, blonde girl who was clearly distraught. Their gazes met and Jo excused herself from the girl and joined Mac in the center of the room.

“Any news?” he asked anxiously.

“No. They’re still working on her, I guess.”

“What about you? Are you okay?” he asked, cupping her face with his hands.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Joanna sighed. “Maybe a little shook up, but I’ll be okay.”

“You always say that,” he gently chided as he pressed his lips to her forehead in a tender, comforting kiss. “Tell me what happened.”

Jo led him to a pair of chairs away from the others and told him everything that had happened from the time she arrived at the motel until now.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t get here sooner,” he apologized. “By the time I got cleaned up and drove over to the motel everyone was already gone.”

“It’s okay. There was nothing you could have done anyway.”

“I could have been there for you,” he declared huskily as he noticed she was holding his hand a bit tighter than usual.

Before Joanna could respond, a tall woman in a white lab coat stood in the doorway, scanning the large number of people that had gathered. She spoke quietly to the nearest nurse who nodded toward Joanna.

“Ms. Fairfax?” the doctor called.

Joanna jumped out of her seat, pulling MacGyver with her, their hands still intertwined. Together they anxiously approached the physician.

“How is she, doctor?” Mac asked immediately.

“And you are…?”

“MacGyver. I’m a good friend of Penny’s.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. MacGyver, but I’m not at liberty to discuss a patient’s condition with anyone except immediate family. I came to speak to Ms. Fairfax since she was with Ms. Parker when she collapsed.”

“I’m the closest thing to family she has,” Mac insisted.

Just then a nurse quickly approached the doctor and whispered in her ear. The doctor’s face softened and she turned to MacGyver once again.

“It seems one of the paramedics found an emergency contact card in Ms. Parker’s purse with your name on it, although the contact information seems to be outdated.”

MacGyver was surprised to learn that he was the person Penny wanted someone to call if anything happened to her, but in a way it did make sense.

“And since Ms. Parker is a travelling performer, her situation is a bit different,” the doctor continued. “If you two will please follow me?”

Mac and Joanna followed the woman to the nearest empty emergency room bay for some privacy.

“My name is Doctor Reagan. I’m sorry if I was a bit brusque, but with all the new privacy laws these days…” she blew out a breath of what appeared to be frustration.

“We understand,” MacGyver assured her. “We’d appreciate anything you could tell us, though.”

“From the information the paramedics at the scene and Ms. Fairfax have provided, as well as my initial examination, I am all but certain Ms. Parker is suffering from cyanide poisoning.”

Stunned, Mac and Joanna looked at each other before turning back to the doctor for more information.

“We’ve drawn blood and the lab is analyzing the cherry cordials found in the motel, but I’ve already started Ms. Parker on an antidote. I doubt there was a high level of the poison in her system, and thanks to Ms. Fairfax’s timely actions Ms. Parker should recover quickly.”

“When can we see her?” MacGyver asked.

“We sedated her when she began to gain consciousness in order to allow the medicine to work. She’ll probably sleep into the evening. We can give you a call when she wakes up.”

Mac jammed his fingers through his already messy hair and shook his head.

“No. I’ll stay and wait,” he declared. Then he turned to Joanna.

“I hate to ask this of you, but could you swing by Challengers and check to make sure everything is going okay? I left in kinda a hurry and I’m sure Cynthia’s concerned.”

“I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” Jo assured him. “But promise you’ll call if there are any changes with Penny.”

The doctor called out to Joanna as she prepared to leave. “Ms. Fairfax, since this appears to be an intentional poisoning, I’ve already called the authorities and I’m sure they’ll want to speak with you.”

“No problem,” Jo replied. “Mac knows how to reach me.” She gave MacGyver a quick hug which he wished could have lasted much longer before turning her back and heading to the parking lot.

XXXXX

A few hours later, Penny’s condition had stabilized enough to allow her to be moved to a private room. However, it was early evening before she awoke to find MacGyver keeping vigil at her bedside.

“Hey you,” she greeted him with a weary smile.

“Hey, how’re you feelin’?”

“Not so great, but I guess I’ll live,” she replied, more subdued than Mac had ever seen her.

“Do you remember what happened?” he asked.

Penny sighed. “I remember I was putting on make-up before going to the mall with Joanna and then everything went black. What happened to me, Mac?”

Her innocent, questioning gaze twisted MacGyver’s heart. How could he tell her the truth without frightening her?

“Do you remember eating cherry cordials?” he asked

Penny began to smile. “Yeah, they were sooo good!”

“Penny, the lab here analyzed them. They were laced with cyanide. You were poisoned.”

“Oh no!” Penny exclaimed, struggling to sit up in her bed. “Thank goodness Joanna and Jenny both refused when I offered them some!”

“Who’s Jenny?” Mac asked, but he was interrupted by a soft knock on the door.

“Mind if I join you?” Joanna asked from behind a large vase of yellow roses.

“Oh Joanna! You shouldn’t have!” Penny gushed when she saw the flowers.

“Actually, I didn’t,” Jo replied with a grin, carefully setting the crystal vase on the table next to the hospital bed. “They were at the nurses’ station so I offered to deliver them. Here’s the card.”

Penny plucked the small white envelope from Joanna’s fingers.

“Oh! They’re from Jacques! He’s such a sweet, thoughtful man!” Penny clutched the note to her chest as if it was a valued prize.

“If he’s such a great guy, why didn’t he come with the others to make sure you were okay?” MacGyver asked with an edge to his voice.

“I already told you that he doesn’t care to make public appearances,” she replied with a slight pout.

He was gearing up to ask her more questions about the mysterious Jacques La Rue when Joanna cleared her throat, interrupting his thoughts.

“You look like you could use a break,” she said. “Why don’t we go to the cafeteria and let Penny rest for a while?”

MacGyver didn’t want to leave, he wanted to learn more about this enigmatic director Penny was so enamored with, but the stern look in Joanna’s eyes told him she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Joanna took a sip of her soft drink and peered over her plastic cup at MacGyver who was seated across from her nursing a glass of orange juice. An uneasy silence had settled between them since leaving Penny’s room.

“Mind telling me why you dragged me down here?” Mac asked sternly.

“I’m worried,” Jo answered softly.

“Penny’s gonna be fine,” Mac’s voice softened. “You saw how much better she’s doing already.”

Joanna shook her head. “I know. That’s not what I mean. She told me something at the motel I think you need to know about.” She then proceeded to tell MacGyver about the previous incidences.

“You gotta admit it’s pretty strange, Mac. I mean, one mishap can be an accident. A second can be a coincidence. But a third? I think there’s a pattern here.”

“Like someone trying to oust the main actresses,” MacGyver replied, picking up her line of thought.

“Exactly! I tried to convince the police of that when Jenny and I gave our statements this afternoon, but they didn’t seem to want to believe me. They’re just focusing on Penny right now.”

“I don’t suppose they shared anything with you?”

“No.”

“Figures,” Mac replied, scrubbing his face with his hands. “By the way, who is this ‘Jenny’ person anyway?”

“She’s Penny’s understudy,” Jo answered as if he should’ve known that.

“The girl you were with in the waiting room?”

“Yeah. She’s gonna have to go on tomorrow night and she’s really nervous.”

“She’s the one who gave Penny the cherries, right?”

“Right. She got them from the desk clerk.”

“Or so she says,” MacGyver mused, his eyes glinting with suspicion.

Joanna’s jaw dropped. “You don’t think…?”

“Well, she does have motive. This will thrust her into the limelight and no doubt help her career.”

“But she’s scared to death, Mac! I really think her feelings are genuine. But you could be onto something. Maybe it’s one of the other understudies?”

MacGyver tipped his head in thought. “They would all have motive and probably opportunity, but I’m still not convinced Jacques La Rue is as genuine or innocent as Penny says.”

Joanna remained silent, as if she knew Mac was working on a plan. And he was.

“Do you still have the program with the cast list?” he asked her.

“Yeah, it’s in my purse.”

“Good. When you get to work tomorrow, run background checks on all the actors. Get as deep as you can. And see what you can find out about La Rue as well.”

“You got it. What are you gonna do?”

“I’m gonna pay a visit to a certain motel desk clerk.”

XXXXX

Bright and early Monday morning MacGyver stood at the front desk of the Glenfield Inn facing a lanky young man in his early twenties.

“Sorry, no vacancy,” the man said.

“I’m not here for a room,” Mac explained. “I’m here for some answers.”

This seemed to get the young man’s attention.

“Were you working here yesterday morning?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Did someone deliver a plain white box for a Penny Parker?”

“Yeah.”

Boy, this kid either had a very limited vocabulary or he was trying to hide something.

“Did you recognize them? What did they look like?” Mac pressed.

“It was a boy, maybe about ten or so. Just asked me to give the box to Ms. Parker.”

“And did you?” MacGyver already knew the answer, but he wanted to make sure the stories matched.
“I was on my way to her room when one of the other actresses, a blonde, said she was headed that way and would take it.”

“Then what did you do?”

“I came back here,” the clerk shrugged.

Mac sighed, frustrated at the apparent dead end. He bade the young man good bye and was headed to his Jeep when his cell phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hi MacGyver! It’s Penny! I’ve got some great news!”

Penny’s bubbly toned made Mac smile in spite of himself. “Hello Penny, what’s your great news?”

“The doctor is releasing me this morning! She says I’m almost fully recovered and can leave if I promise to take it easy. Isn’t that great?! But I’m gonna need a ride, so if you could come and pick me up that would be super! You can come and pick me up, can’t you?”

“No problem. I’m on my way.” Mac grinned as he got into the Jeep and drove to the hospital.

His grin immediately turned to a frown when he entered Penny’s room to find her already dressed and sitting on the side of the bed talking to a man in a wheelchair. It could only be the infamous Jacques La Rue and MacGyver was more than ready to have a few words with the reclusive director.

“MacGyver!” Penny exclaimed when she saw him. “Look who came to visit me! It’s Jacques!”

As the man maneuvered his wheelchair to face the doorway, MacGyver observed that the director was portlier than he had envisioned. He also wore thick glasses and had a bald head.

“Ah, so this is the ‘MacGyver’ Penny has been telling me about,” the older man smiled, reaching out his hand.

Mac stepped forward and shook La Rue’s hand even as he raised his eyebrows at Penny who offered and apologetic shrug.

“Ms. Parker was telling me how you so heroically rescued her from an evil assassin who was impersonating me. I owe you a debt of gratitude for protecting this wonderful lady.”

“Yeah, well, it was nothing, really,” Mac replied, a bit embarrassed as well as surprised at the friendliness and openness with which the director addressed him.

“Oh, Mac does stuff like that all the time,” Penny added airily.

“Well, not all the time,” MacGyver rebutted. “In fact, I’m trying to cut back.”

Jacques La Rue laughed heartily and Penny giggled along with him. Mac figured now was as good a time as any to get some questions answered.

“Mr. La Rue—“

“Please, call me Jacques! ‘Mr. La Rue’ makes me feel so old!”

“Jacques,” Mac continued, “do you know why anyone might want to harm your lead actresses?”

A dark cloud appeared over the man’s countenance and MacGyver waited for Jacques to gather his thoughts.

“The theater is a fickle mistress, my boy. One day you’re on top of the world, directing the world’s most prestigious performers, the next you are staying in cheap motels, trying to earn enough money to keep the show from going under. Unfortunately, my current status is the latter. If we do not complete this tour in its entirety, my career is ruined.”

“So you believe someone is trying to shut down the show.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that is so,” the director replied sadly.

“Do you have any idea who it might be?”

“Mr. MacGyver, in my position one makes a lot of friends as well as enemies.”

They were interrupted when a nurse arrived with Penny’s discharge papers. La Rue quietly took his leave and Mac waited before helping Penny to the Jeep.

“Hey! This isn’t the way back to the motel!” Penny sputtered twenty minutes later.

“That’s right,” MacGyver replied. “I’m taking you back to my place. You’ll be safer there.”

“But I need my stuff!”

“Give me your room key and I’ll pick it up later.”

“You really think I’m still in danger?” Penny asked despondently.

“Yeah, I do. And even if you’re not, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna leaned back in her desk chair and massaged her temples. She had been staring at her computer screen since eight o’clock that morning and it was now mid-afternoon. When she had arrived at the office, she had immediately pushed her assigned files to the far corners of her desk which was now littered with computer printouts and various colored notepapers that threatened to tumble onto the floor. Despite the fact that her office looked like a landfill, she actually had gleaned very little information about Jacques La Rue and the female actors Mac had asked her to investigate. From what she could find, La Rue had been a successful theatrical producer and director in his day. Articles reported that he was beloved by performers as well as peers. Unfortunately, his most recent productions had fallen on hard times and he was struggling to stay afloat financially. Perhaps he was sabotaging his own show to collect insurance money. If there was any. As for the actresses, they were all either unknowns or has-beens grateful for any role that would pay the rent. She had just called up the information on the actor who played the eldest brother in the play when there was a light tap on her door and Geena, the receptionist, entered her office.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, Ms. Fairfax, but Mr. MacGyver is on the phone for you.”

Joanna wrinkled her brow. “Why didn’t he just call me directly?”

“He tried, but said he couldn’t get through. I just tried to transfer him to you with the same results. It sounds as if your phone’s off the hook.”

Together the women shoved aside papers and searched for Jo’s telephone. At some point, the receiver had been pushed out of its cradle and hung against the side of Joanna’s desk. She let out a low moan as she replaced it, wondering how many calls she had missed. She was just about to speak to Geena when she noticed the woman staring at the picture on the computer monitor.

“Is that who I think it is?” the receptionist asked breathlessly.

“I doubt you know him,” Jo informed her. “He’s just one of the actors in a play Mac and I went to the other night.

“That’s Chad Connors!!” Geena exclaimed.

“Who’s Chad Connors, besides brother number one?” Joanna asked.

“Don’t you watch ‘Memorial Hospital’, girl?!”

“The soap opera?”

“Of course! That delicious-looking young man right there is none other than Dr. Jack Weaver! Well, at least until he left the show.”

“Why did he leave?” Joanna wasn’t quite sure why she was interested, but she was.

“The official reason was because of creative differences,” Geena explained with an eye roll. “The real reason is anybody’s guess. But there’ve been rumors that the studio’s been bombarded with fan mail and they’re working hard to get him back. What’s his gorgeous face doing on your computer, anyway? Getting tired of looking at that man of yours?” Geena raised her eyebrows and nodded toward the small photo of Mac taped to the corner of Jo’s monitor.

Joanna smiled, squashing the urge to tell Geena, yet again, that Mac was not ‘her man’. “I’m just doing some research, Geena.”

“Okay, whatever you say,” the receptionist smirked as she headed back to the outer office.

Jo sat back and studied the face of the apparently famous Chad Connors. His dark hair and piercing brown eyes should have made her swoon. Instead, a shiver slid down her spine as a suspicion took root in her mind. The sudden ring of the telephone startled her.

“Hello?”

“It’s about time!”

“Sorry, Mac,” Jo grimaced. “I accidentally knocked my phone off the hook.”

“Find out anything interesting?” he asked regarding her research.

“Up until a few minutes ago I would have said ‘no’, but I think I may have changed my mind. I need to do a little more digging.”

“Can you come over to my place after work so we can exchange information? I’ll pick up Chinese.”

Joanna grinned into the phone. “Now how could I possibly refuse an invitation like that?!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Late that afternoon, Penny opened MacGyver’s front door to find Joanna waiting patiently on the stoop, her myriad notes now tucked neatly inside a manila folder.

“Ya know you don’t have to knock,” Mac grinned, walking up behind his friend.

“I know,” Jo shrugged. “I just don’t feel right barging in.” She blushed slightly before addressing Penny.

“I’m so glad they let you leave the hospital! Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, but I’ll feel a lot better when whoever tried to poison me is behind bars!”

MacGyver ushered the two women to his kitchen table where they passed around containers of various Chinese cuisine. Once they had taken the edge off their hunger, Mac cleared his throat and prepared to eat some crow.

“I met Jacques La Rue today,” he informed Joanna. “He was at the hospital when I picked up Penny. I think I really misjudged the guy. He really seems to want to finish the tour and end his career on a positive note.”

“See!” Penny gushed, “I told you Jacques was one of the good guys!”

“Are you sure about that, Mac?” Jo asked warily.

“Unless you found something to incriminate him,” MacGyver countered.

“Not really, though it had occurred to me that maybe he was trying to sabotage the show to collect some insurance money or something.”

“Penny and I talked about that this afternoon. From what we know, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose if the show shuts down. What did you find out about the actors?”

“Not much, and it wasn’t for lack of trying,” Jo scowled. “But I might have a lead.”

MacGyver felt hopeful for the first time that day.

“Do you know who Chad Connors is?”

“Should I?” he asked.

He noticed Penny bouncing in her chair, unable to contain her excitement.

“He plays the eldest brother, but before he signed on with Jacques he played Dr. Jack Weaver on ‘Memorial Hospital’! Rumor has it he got mad that they cut one of his scenes and just walked out one day!”

“Isn’t that a soap opera?” Mac asked.

Penny nodded vigorously. “On T.V. he’s real dreamy, but in real life he’s kinda a jerk.”

“What do you mean?” Joanna asked.

“When he’s not performing all he does is walk around like a big shot and complain about how his career is ruined. He keeps demanding that poor Jacques let him out of his contract, but if he leaves, no one will want to come to the shows. He’s the most famous person here!”

“Penny, when you signed your contract, was there some type of clause requiring you to stay for the entire run of the play?” Jo inquired.

“Yeah,” Penny shrugged. “It’s really not unusual, but I’ve heard some actors actually ruin their careers because they take legal action to get out of that type of agreement. That never really made sense to me. I mean, you get out of your contract and then you’re unemployed!”

“And nobody wants to hire you because you have a bad reputation,” MacGyver added.

“But if the show folds, then the contracts are null and void,” Joanna mused.

“Go on,” Mac encouraged.

“Rumor has it that ‘Memorial Hospital’ is eager to get Chad back. That has to be why he wants out of his contract with Jacques, and the best way to do that is to shut down the play.” Jo concluded.

“You mean Chad is behind all this?! He tried to poison me?!”

“I’m afraid it looks that way,” Mac replied sympathetically.

Penny straightened in her chair with new resolve. “Well, can’t we have him arrested or something?!”

MacGyver sighed wearily. “We don’t have any evidence, Penny.”

“Well, how can we get some?”

Her guileless expression twisted his gut. “I don’t know. Yet. Let’s sleep on it and talk about it in the morning.

He led Jo to the door and quickly kissed her goodnight as Penny trudged up the stairs to the bedroom.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Penny lay awake, staring up at the ceiling and listening to MacGyver snore softly from the living room couch below. How could he sleep when there was a killer on the loose?! Well, technically Chad wasn’t a killer, but he certainly was trying to be! She rolled her head to the side and glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand. It was almost midnight. The show should have ended a couple hours ago and, if Chad was true to form, he’d be out at a local bar getting hammered until closing time which meant his motel room would be empty. Mac had said they needed hard evidence against Chad. Well, now was the time to get it!

Penny silently slid out of bed, put on a pair of jeans and a sweater, and grabbed a pair of shoes which she planned to slip into once she was outside. She needed to be as quiet as possible. Tip-toeing down the spiral staircase, she paused every few steps to make sure MacGyver was still sleeping. She then stealthily made her way to the front door, snatching the keys to the Jeep from the brass sailboat keyring holder on the wall. Feeling bolder, she opened the door and stepped over the threshold. Unfortunately, she cut the turn a little too quick and rammed her bare toes into the doorjamb. An inadvertent squeak escaped before the slapped her hand over her mouth and hurried to the driveway.

Except for the light from a few stray lampposts, the motel parking lot was dark and more than a little spooky. Penny parked in front of her room so as not to draw attention and walked across the courtyard to Chad’s assigned room. She reached out to turn the doorknob, but of course it was locked.

“Oh, Penny! You can be so stupid sometimes!” she muttered as she headed to the front office.

An old man sat behind the counter. He was slumped in his chair, half asleep behind a newspaper he had been reading.

“Hello?!” Penny called.

“Sorry, no vacancies,” the man mumbled before readjusting his paper.

“I don’t need a room. I already have one, but I locked myself out. Can I get an extra key?” she asked, using her sweetest smile.

The clerk sighed gustily, asked for the room number, and handed over a key.

“Next time be more careful,” he growled, returning to his paper.

Once safely inside Chad’s room, Penny looked around and for the first time realized she had no idea what she was looking for! She chewed her lower lip and wondered what MacGyver would do in this situation. After a few moments, she figured he would probably look for something that seemed odd or out of place. She clicked on the lamp next to the bed, hoping the heavy curtains drawn across the large picture window would blot out the light. She really needed a flashlight, but it was too late.

Ready to begin her search, she opened the drawer to the nightstand but found it empty save for the requisite Bible. She then dropped to the floor and peered under the bed, only to be met by numerous dust bunnies that sent her into a sneezing fit. She rummaged through the dresser drawers next, but again found nothing suspicious. She was ready to give up when she remembered the bathroom. She entered the small room and clicked on the light. Unlike her own vanity, which was cluttered with various bottles and tubes of beauty products, Chad’s cabinet was empty except for his shaving kit. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she unzipped the leather pouch. Her mouth fell open at what she saw. There, nestled in amongst his razor and other toiletries was a small syringe and a vial of a clear liquid. Penny instinctively reached out to grab the items when a scuffling sound from the other room startled her. Chad had returned! And she was trapped!

Penny frantically looked around as if a window or door would appear out of thin air, but as reality set in and the man’s footsteps got closer, she did the only thing she could think of. She stepped into the bathtub, pulled the shower curtain closed, crouched down and focused on quieting her breathing.

She sensed the moment the actor entered the room. She heard him stumble against the commode before apparently leaning against the sink, causing the contents of his shaving kit to clatter to the floor. He cursed loudly and she tried to make herself as small and quiet as possible. She almost gasped when she saw his shadowed figure on the other side of the curtain. Only a thin piece of plastic fabric separated them. Her eyes widen as a large hand snaked around the edge of the curtain, flailing for a few seconds before grabbing onto the shower faucet and giving it a hard yank. The spray of cold water hit Penny and she could stay silent no longer.

“Oh!” she cried, immediately regretting her outburst. The shower curtain flew open and the tall man stood scowling down at her, his hands clenched at his sides.

“What are you doing here?!” he roared.

“I…I...um…” Penny stuttered as she slowly rose and stepped out of the tub, her foot momentarily slipping on the tile floor. Before she could gather herself and fabricate a reasonable explanation, Chad had already shoved her out of the bathroom and pushed her down into a straight-backed chair. He quickly grabbed the telephone, disconnected the extra-long cord, and used it to bind Penny’s arms to her torso.

“You’ll never get away with this!” Penny spat, finally finding her voice.

“Get away with what?” he snarled. “I’m not the one who was trespassing.”

“I wasn’t trespassing!” she denied instinctively.

“Oh yeah? Then what would you call it?”

“Ummmm, I forgot which room was mine?”

“Is that the best you can do?!” he rounded on her. “No wonder you’re such a lousy actress!”

“I am not a lousy actress! Jacques says I have a lot of potential!” She raised her chin and glared into his beady eyes.

“Well, let’s see what he has to say about you when he finds you dead!”

Penny’s bravado disappeared immediately. “Dead? Why would he find me dead?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Parker!”

“But…maybe I am dumb,” she replied softly, her large eyes full of innocence. Yes, she was dumb alright. Dumb enough to think she could find evidence and get Chad arrested all on her own. Tears threatened as she thought of MacGyver, still asleep on his couch, completely unaware she had left and was in danger. He wasn’t going to be her hero this time.

“Look,” Chad said, “I saw your friend in the Jeep this morning poking around and asking questions. You figured it out, didn’t you?!” he demanded.

“Figured what out?” Penny had seen enough movies to know that the longer you kept a person talking the longer it took for them to kill you…she hoped.

“That I’m the one sabotaging the show to get out of my contract. But if anyone finds out, my career is ruined!”

“I won’t say anything, I promise,” Penny vowed.

“I know you won’t, because I’m going to kill you! I messed up the first time, but it won’t happen again!”

He stalked into the bathroom and when he returned Penny noticed him holding a syringe filled with a clear liquid that could only be a deadly dose of cyanide.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver grumbled and opened one eye. Something had awakened him. He turned his head to find Frog sleeping soundly underneath the coffee table as usual. An intrinsic need to figure out what woke him pushed him up from the couch and he padded to the kitchen for a drink. He opened the ‘fridge, grabbed a carton of juice and took a swig. Maybe Penny had come down for a drink as well? Without turning on a light he slowly made his way upstairs to check on his house guest.

“Penny?” he called in a loud whisper.

No reply.

“Penny?” he called again.

Upon reaching the landing he found himself staring at an empty bed with the door to the adjoining bathroom standing wide open. He swallowed a curse and ran back down the stairs. Maybe she had just stepped outside for some fresh air, he tried to tell himself as panic rose in his chest. He jerked his front door open and looked around quickly. No Penny. And no Jeep!!

Thankful that he had decided to sleep fully clothed in deference to having a woman in his house, he quickly grabbed his bomber jacket and the keys to the Nomad. Recalling their conversation from earlier that evening he knew, he just knew, that Penny had gone back to the motel to find evidence against Chad Connors.

He slowed the car as he approached the motel, dousing the headlights before pulling into the parking lot. There was his Jeep, parked outside Penny’s room. Maybe she had decided to come and pick up more of her personal items. Granted, it was an odd thing to do in the middle of the night, but he had learned early on that anything was possible with Penny Parker.

He parked the Nomad next to the Jeep and tapped softly on her door. When there was no answer he took out his Swiss Army knife and jimmied the lock. The room was dark and empty. He let go a sigh of both fear and frustration. He looked around at the other rooms, all of which appeared equally dark. He had to find out which one belonged to Chad. And fast! He wasn’t in the mood to go another round with a surly desk clerk, but that seemed to be his only option. He was just about to turn and head to the office when a door opened across the parking lot and a young blonde stepped out into the night. Jenny. Mac sprinted across the asphalt and quietly called her name.

“MacGyver! What are you doing here?”

“Have you seen Penny?”

“No. I thought she was staying with you?” Confusion knit her brow.

“She is. She was. Look, do you know which room Chad Connors is staying in?”

“Yeah, room number twelve. What’s going on?”

“Hopefully nothing, but just to be safe, go back inside, lock the door, and don’t come out no matter what you hear, okay?” A sinking feeling in his gut caused him to add, “And call the police!”

Jenny nodded and Mac waited until she secured the room before moving. He kept his back up against the building and his steps as light as possible as he made his way to the room Jenny had indicated. As he got closer, he heard muffled voices arguing. Even though he couldn’t hear the words, there was no doubt that one of those voices belonged to Penny. He stopped at the edge of the large window, trying to peek around the curtain, but it was pulled tight. He had no idea what he’d be walking into, but he didn’t have time to worry about it. Chad was in there with Penny and there was no way that was a good thing. He glanced around for anything he could use as a diversion. His eyes lit on a small fire extinguisher bolted on the outside wall next to the door. It probably wasn’t large enough to meet the fire code, but for him it would serve as a key, a diversion, and a weapon if needed.

After quietly lifting the extinguisher from its holder and pulling the pin, he aimed the base at the locked door knob. He only had one shot at a surprise entrance so he had to make it good. He raised the red canister and slammed it down hard on the knob which easily gave way. Having announced his presence, he pushed the door open, raised the hose, aimed the nozzle and squeezed the discharge lever sending a cloud of carbon dioxide into the room.

“What the—?!?!” he heard Chad yell. Diversion accomplished.

But the cylinder ran out of the chemical way too soon. In seconds, the vapor had cleared enough for him to see the athletically built man charging towards him. Mac balanced the now-empty extinguisher in his hands before ramming the device into Chad’s abdomen, knocking the breath from his lungs and causing him to drop the syringe. The actor stumbled backwards, lost his balance, and fell, hitting his head on the corner of the table knocking himself out cold.

“Oh MacGyver!” Penny exclaimed as he cut through her bindings. “I didn’t think you would find me! How did you know where I was?!?! I thought for sure Chad would kill me!”

“We need to get out of here before he wakes up,” Mac commanded, pulling Penny to her feet but stopping when the excitement on her face turned to horror. Not wanting to turn around but knowing he had to, MacGyver slowly swiveled to find himself face to face with Chad Connors.

“Boy, this guy’s got a hard head,” he muttered.

A second later, Chad thrust his fist into Mac’s gut before hitting him in the jaw with a strong right cross. Mac staggered back, doubled over trying to catch his breath. Chad took another swing, but this time MacGyver was quicker and jumped out of the way. While the other man was recovering from his strike out, Mac balled his hand into a hard fist and smacked the other man square in the face. There was the sickening sound of cartilage breaking as Mac made contact and then the moans as Chad grabbed his nose and fell to his knees, blood flowing everywhere. For good measure, Penny came up beside him and kicked her would-be killer in the ribs turning the moans into curses. Mac shook out his fist. Man that hurt! Why did he keep doing things like this?! Suddenly, the room was awash in light as police offers moved in to grab their prisoner. Mac took Penny by the arm and gently led her from the room. Most of the other performers had heard the commotion and now huddled in small groups in the parking lot as their eldest “brother” was escorted to a waiting squad car.

“You saved my life again!” Penny cried, as she wrapped her arms around MacGyver’s neck and hugged him tight.

“Nothin’ to it,” he grinned, returning her grateful gesture.

XXXXX

The following evening, MacGyver, Penny, Joanna, and Jacques gathered backstage before the final performance. Actors hustled by practicing lines and dance steps. The theater began to swell with spectators and there was electricity in the air.

“Are you positive this is what you want?” the director asked Penny in a fatherly tone.

“Yes, Jacques, I’m sure,” she replied gently. “I’ll miss the excitement and all, but I really feel like it’s time for me to go home and put down some roots.” She looked at Mac and Jo and smiled. “Maybe I’ll even find me a guy to marry and have some kids. Not a lot, though. Maybe only one or two. Or maybe I won’t have any so I can be free to travel. But then again, that wouldn’t exactly be putting down roots, would it?” she laughed.

Jacques took Penny’s hand. “Just be happy, my dear. Follow your heart wherever it takes you!”

“What about you, Jacques?” MacGyver asked. “What will you do once the play finishes touring?”

The older man’s expression turned thoughtful, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“I had every plan to retire and live out my days in a reclusive French villa,” he replied. “But once news got out about this whole sabotage ordeal, well, it seems I’m a sought after director once again!”

“Hey, that’s great!” Mac responded. “But I thought this ordeal would actually hurt your career.”

Jacques smiled. “In show business, any exposure is good exposure. My name and works have been revived!”

“So you think you’ll continue working?” This time it was Joanna’s question.

“Time will tell, my dear! Time will tell.”

The overhead lights began to blink before the conversation could continue.

“Looks like that’s our cue to head to our seats,” Mac observed. “Thanks again for inviting us,” he said to Jacques.

“After what you did, it was my pleasure! Please go and enjoy the show!”

MacGyver and Joanna had just settled into their front row seats when the house lights began to dim. Mac slung his arm around Jo’s shoulders, pulled her close, and began to nuzzle her ear.

“Stop it, Mac! Everyone is watching!”

“So? Let ‘em!” he murmured as the curtain rose.



















Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 13 September 2019 - 08:29 AM                                    
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Wow, that is really long surprise.gif

QUOTE
Chapter 15: Bride #3
... huh.gif

QUOTE
Never in his life had he thought he’d be jealous of a piece of material. But he was.
On one hand I'm cracking up, but on the other, I'm trying to figure out why I find this relatable. Can't figure out why XD

QUOTE
with the marquee below advertising the current performance of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.
PFFT, I know what that's referencing! roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE

“The back row?” MacGyver complained in a loud whisper.

“What do you expect for free!” Joanna shot back.
Accurate XD

QUOTE
By happy coincidence, she had seen fit to wear her hair clipped back, exposing her neck in the most enticing way. Ever so slowly he pressed his lips to the smooth, tender skin behind her ear. Feeling her flinch, he quickly broke contact. It was then that he noticed her head tip, giving him better access.
You should be happy you're in the back row wink.gif

QUOTE

“It was okay,” she shrugged. “But I think you missed a spot.” She grinned shyly as she tipped her head and pointed to spot beneath her jaw.

“Well, I can fix that in a jiffy, lil lady,” Mac replied using his best cowboy imitation, causing Joanna to giggle softly.
You two are going to flip out on your wedding night, aren't you? XD

QUOTE
There, in black and white, were the words ‘Bride #3 – Penny Parker’.
Oh, that's where the title of the chapter came from XD

QUOTE

“Why didn’t you ever tell me about her?”
Sheesh, Jo, chill, he can't tell you about everyone he's befriended... XD

QUOTE

Any further explanation was drowned out by applause as the stage curtain closed and the house lights came on for the first intermission.
That's either the fastest first act ever, or they spent a long time making out XD

QUOTE

Penny skittered towards him and launched herself into his arms, throwing him slightly off balance, before planting a solid kiss on his lips.
Someone really needs to teach Penny about boundaries XD

QUOTE

“You’re reason for moving to Milwaukee?” The actress smiled knowingly at him before turning to embrace Jo.
Penny's not always as dumb as she acts XD

QUOTE
“Oh, I just know we’re gonna be great friends!” she gushed to a stunned Joanna.
I can picture that, and it's hilarious XD

QUOTE

“So that’s a Penny Parker,” Joanna mused. “She certainly is friendly.”
Understatement of the century XD

QUOTE

“Me? Jealous? Why would I be jealous just because your ‘old friend’ happens to be young, gorgeous, and successful?”
Jo is starting to annoy me dry.gif

QUOTE

“Oh,” she said sheepishly. “Point taken.”
Good smile.gif

QUOTE

“Wait a minute,” she put a detaining hand on his forearm before rummaging in her purse and pulling out a small mirror and a couple of tissues which she used to blot her lips and gently sweep at least one layer of make-up from her face. “Okay. I’m ready now.
laugh.gif Good call, Joanna

QUOTE

The actress leaned in towards Joanna and whispered loudly, “He always tells me that, but the house really is haunted. But in a good way. It’s just my Aunt Betty and she would never hurt anyone. Besides, I think he says that just to make himself believe it. Heaven forbid MacGyver not be able to explain something with science and logic.” Penny proceeded to roll her eyes as Jo suppressed a giggle.
You write Penny's dialogue really well biggrin.gif

QUOTE

Penny took a deep breath before continuing. Likely it would be her last for a while unless something managed to interrupt her.
Lol, I love how she prepares for this XD XD XD

QUOTE
Mac, his name was Jacques La Rue!”
Okay, so did Murdoc steal the guy's identity the first time around or what?

QUOTE

“Before dessert, when we went to the ladies room,” she shrugged. “Do you have a problem with me spending time with your ex-girlfriend?”

“No! And she’s not my ex-girlfriend!”
Mac reminds me of a little kid in this XD

QUOTE


“Poor kid,” Penny said sadly once the girl had left. “This is her first big break and she’s so worried she’s going to have to go on for me.”
You gotta admit though, if you're not feeling confident or positive for any reason, Penny's the best person to have around XD

QUOTE


“When we were in Houston, bride number one kept getting these strange notes and was convinced a stalker was trying to kill her so she just up and quit one day and went back to Los Angeles. Then, in Omaha, a piece of rigging fell and almost hit bride number two. She stumbled getting out of the way and broke her ankle. You sure you don’t want one?” Penny thrust the candy box under Joanna’s nose.

“No. Thanks,” she smiled.
Okay, something is probably wrong with those candies...

QUOTE

“Don’t you think that’s kinda odd?” Jo asked, but her question was met with prolonged silence.

“Penny?” she asked again. Still nothing but silence.

Suddenly, a loud clatter and muffled thud come from the other room. Joanna raced into the bathroom to find Penny’s unconscious body crumpled on the floor.
Called it XD

QUOTE

“My name is Doctor Reagan. I’m sorry if I was a bit brusque, but with all the new privacy laws these days…” she blew out a breath of what appeared to be frustration.
I feel you, doc XD

QUOTE

“Actually, I didn’t,” Jo replied with a grin, carefully setting the crystal vase on the table next to the hospital bed. “They were at the nurses’ station so I offered to deliver them. Here’s the card.”
I wouldn't accept any more deliveries for the time being, thank you very much :/

QUOTE

“You look like you could use a break,” she said. “Why don’t we go to the cafeteria and let Penny rest for a while?”
That... sounds like an awful idea...

QUOTE

MacGyver tipped his head in thought. “They would all have motive and probably opportunity, but I’m still not convinced Jacques La Rue is as genuine or innocent as Penny says.”
Now I just want to know if "Jacques La Rue" is some code name for serial killers, and they all pretend to be crippled directors to snag young, aspiring actors/actresses off the streets...

QUOTE

As the man maneuvered his wheelchair to face the doorway, MacGyver observed that the director was portlier than he had envisioned. He also wore thick glasses and had a bald head.

“Ah, so this is the ‘MacGyver’ Penny has been telling me about,” the older man smiled, reaching out his hand.

Mac stepped forward and shook La Rue’s hand even as he raised his eyebrows at Penny who offered and apologetic shrug.

“Ms. Parker was telling me how you so heroically rescued her from an evil assassin who was impersonating me. I owe you a debt of gratitude for protecting this wonderful lady.”

“Yeah, well, it was nothing, really,” Mac replied, a bit embarrassed as well as surprised at the friendliness and openness with which the director addressed him.
Wait... he's not Zito, is he?

QUOTE

“Don’t you watch ‘Memorial Hospital’, girl?!”

“The soap opera?”

“Of course! That delicious-looking young man right there is none other than Dr. Jack Weaver! Well, at least until he left the show.”
This installment is just packed with references XD

QUOTE
It was almost midnight. The show should have ended a couple hours ago and, if Chad was true to form, he’d be out at a local bar getting hammered until closing time which meant his motel room would be empty. Mac had said they needed hard evidence against Chad. Well, now was the time to get it!
And it'd be much better to wake Mac up and tell him such instead of sneaking out yourself...

QUOTE

“Oh, Penny! You can be so stupid sometimes!” she muttered as she headed to the front office.
Lol XD

QUOTE
Chad had returned! And she was trapped!
Also saw that coming...

QUOTE

“But…maybe I am dumb,” she replied softly, her large eyes full of innocence. Yes, she was dumb alright. Dumb enough to think she could find evidence and get Chad arrested all on her own.
I mean, I feel bad for her, but... she's not exactly wrong...

QUOTE

“We need to get out of here before he wakes up,” Mac commanded, pulling Penny to her feet but stopping when the excitement on her face turned to horror. Not wanting to turn around but knowing he had to, MacGyver slowly swiveled to find himself face to face with Chad Connors.

“Boy, this guy’s got a hard head,” he muttered.
I was gonna say, he should've been out longer than that. But then again, he should be too drunk to handle himself as long as he has too XD

QUOTE
Mac shook out his fist. Man that hurt! Why did he keep doing things like this?!
XD XD XD

QUOTE
Suddenly, the room was awash in light as police offers moved in to grab their prisoner.
Did Jenny put two and two together? Are these the same cops who were investigating Penny's poisoning? How did they know to arrest Chad and leave mac alone? XD

QUOTE

Jacques took Penny’s hand. “Just be happy, my dear. Follow your heart wherever it takes you!”
Awwwwww XD

QUOTE

MacGyver and Joanna had just settled into their front row seats when the house lights began to dim. Mac slung his arm around Jo’s shoulders, pulled her close, and began to nuzzle her ear.

“Stop it, Mac! Everyone is watching!”

“So? Let ‘em!” he murmured as the curtain rose.
He's lucky Penny's so bubbly, or she'd be so embarrassed to see this XD XD XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM                                    
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Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel? huh.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 13 September 2019 - 09:20 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM)
Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel? huh.gif

Ya got me! LOL! Probably a kid playing hooky from school? Any kid'll do something for money! Honestly, I needed a discreet, generic delivery person!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 14 September 2019 - 06:54 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 13 September 2019 - 12:20 PM)
QUOTE (Dragondog @ 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM)
Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel?  huh.gif

Ya got me! LOL! Probably a kid playing hooky from school? Any kid'll do something for money! Honestly, I needed a discreet, generic delivery person!

Works for me biggrin.gif tongue.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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