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Continuum, Mac's story continues 2 1/2 yrs. later
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 22 October 2018 - 03:18 PM                                    
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Chapter 1: The End of the Beginning

The mid-November wind-driven rain battered the walls of the telephone booth.

“We’re gonna spend another day here to check out Alcatraz and then head home!” MacGyver all but yelled into the telephone in order to be heard above the storm. “We’ll see you when we get back!”

“But Mac!” Pete yelled back as well, aware of the noise in the background, “a lot has changed since…”

MacGyver cut him off. “I know, Pete, and I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. We’ll catch up when Sam and I get to your place!”

“But Mac…” Pete tried again.

“See you soon!”

And the line went dead.

MacGyver sprinted back to the pick-up, hoping to get inside before he got drenched. Too late. His shaggy hair was soaked, plastered to his head, and his clothes hadn’t fared much better. Home. When was the last time he had thought of anyplace as ‘home’? He glanced at Sam. His son was bone dry and dozing in the passenger seat of the rusted old pick-up they had been forced to buy several hundred miles back, their battered and broken motorcycles secured in its bed.

As the rain continued to pour down, MacGyver sat pensively in the driver’s seat. It had been two and a half years since he and his photojournalist son had discovered each other and set out on a journey along the West Coast to do some father-son bonding. It seemed so long ago, now. With the new knowledge that he had a son, albeit a grown one, Mac’s priorities had changed in an instant. Without hesitation, he had handed over his letter of resignation from the Phoenix Foundation to his long-time friend and boss, Pete Thornton. He gave his landlord a couple extra month’s rent to make up for the lack of notice, trusted that his neighbor and self-appointed caretaker, Mama Lorraine, would put his belongings in storage, and packed only a few necessities on the back of his Harley before heading out with Sam on their motorcycles to explore the country and their new-found relationship.

Everything had started out great. No assignments, no deadlines, no ticking bombs, just two guys and the open road. Exploring big cities and tiny towns not even worthy of a dot on a map, the two crashed in seedy motels or camped and foraged in the wilderness, sharing stories of their past well into the night. The corners of Mac’s lips started to curve upwards. Of course, they had also had their share of adventures along the way. Seems the two had a knack for encountering people in need or getting themselves involved in situations that might have been better off left alone. But righting wrongs was something Mac did…would always do, and apparently Sam had inherited that trait.

Sam. The young man and his camera had been inseparable. He could shoot several rolls of film in a day…perhaps more when his dad wasn’t watching! At the first opportunity, he would get them developed and stow them safely in his satchel until he had the opportunity to sell some to a local newspaper or magazine. Not that he needed the money or recognition. He simply enjoyed the feeling of creating something to share with others. Mac began to think that, given Sam’s natural curiosity, ingenuity, and interest in helping others, he had the makings of a great investigative reporter. Perhaps when they returned to L.A. Sam would consider starting a career in this field.

Upon reaching the Canadian border, an unspoken agreement had the duo turning their bikes south and heading back down the coast. As weeks had turned into months and then eventually years, father and son had both become a bit saddle-weary. The easy comradery and eagerness to learn about each other had slowly dissolved into periods of tense silence and even boredom. The seedy motels became seedier, and the campouts became more work than fun. It was time to go home.

MacGyver sighed as the rain continued to beat relentlessly on the roof of the truck. There was that word again: Home. After over 30 months of living a true nomadic lifestyle, Mac found himself yearning to put down roots for the first time since he was a kid. A plan began to form in his mind. He and Sam would crash at Pete’s until Mac could buy them a place…a house…a real home. No more apartments, lofts or houseboats. He had family now and his son deserved stability, permanency. Maybe he did, too. Pete would surely tease him about sounding like an old man. But let’s face it, he wasn’t getting any younger. This trip had seen him reach the wrong side of forty. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it did get him thinking more about the future. Settling down with Sam, surrounding himself with friends, and maybe even finding a woman to share his life with didn’t spook him the way it would have a few years ago. On the contrary, it gave him something to look forward to.

Feeling as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, a weight he didn’t even know had been there, Mac grinned broadly as he fired up the truck and headed into town for one last night in a motel bed.


The incessant high-pitched whine slowly penetrated MacGyver’s sleep-fogged mind. The pounding in his temple beat in double-time as he reluctantly pealed one eyelid open and then the other. “What the….?” It took him a few moments to remember where he was.

“About time you woke up, Sleeping Beauty!” Sam laughed from behind the kitchen counter where he was whipping up a green concoction in the blender. “Wouldn’t want you to miss breakfast,” he continued, as he nodded toward the glass container.

Mac grunted and closed his eyes again. He was back in his old apartment, lying on the well-worn couch which, for so many years, had been comfortable and welcoming but now felt harder and lumpier by the day. Mac had insisted his son use the bed. “Fool,” he grumbled, as he once again began to pry his eyelids open.

Suffice it to say, things had not gone as planned upon returning to L.A. When Mac and Sam appeared on Pete’s doorstep a few weeks ago, it was only to find that Pete and his ex-wife, Connie, had gotten back together and were trying to work things out…finally. During their marriage, she had always complained that Pete was married to his job more than to her. With his friend now completely blind, Mac was glad there was someone in his life to help him adjust to the changes that had been so cruelly forced upon him. Due to a fortunate twist in fate, Mac’s old place had been recently vacated and Pete had enlisted Mama Lorraine to retrieve MacGyver’s belongings from the downtown storage unit and return his friend’s apartment to its former glory, if one could call it that. Mama Lorraine was also quick to see that the refrigerator was filled, a point not wasted on her two returning neighbors.

“What’s that?” Mac nodded toward the blender as he pushed himself off the sofa.

“It’s a special recipe Mama Lorraine gave me. I told her you had been having headaches and she assured me this would cure just about anything.”

MacGyver pinned his son with his gaze. “I have not been ‘having headaches’,” he said in as surly a voice as he could manage. “The only ‘headache’ I have around here is you!”

Sam cocked an eyebrow and smirked, “You mean to tell me that a guy who gets knocked out as often as you doesn’t get headaches?”

MacGyver was now sitting at the breakfast bar, ready to change the subject.

“So, to what do I owe the honor?” he asked as Sam eagerly poured them each a glass of the green drink.

“What?” Sam asked, feigning insult. “Can’t a guy make breakfast for his favorite dad?”

Mac studied his son. The son he had hardly seen since returning to L.A. Their first couple days back they had spent together getting their rides back in working condition. The pick-up had heaved its last breath upon their arrival in Pete’s driveway and Mac’s Harley was DOA with no hope of an impending resurrection. He had donated Harry’s vintage truck to the Challengers Club to be used in a money-raising raffle and his good friend and pain-in-the butt, Jack Dalton, had been awarded custody of Mac’s beloved Jeep which he was sure Jack had managed to destroy in short order. He knew Jack would never do such a thing on purpose, but bad things tended to happen when Jack was involved. So that left the Nomad, which MacGyver had put up on blocks before heading out to parts unknown. There were some things a guy just couldn’t part with. It didn’t take long before the old wagon was up and running and Sam’s motorcycle, which had fared much better than his father’s, was repaired.

Then Sam had changed. MacGyver couldn’t turn around without finding his son’s eyes glued to TV news programs or his nose buried in the newspaper or a history book. He started going out for hours on end, sometimes not even coming home to sleep. Mac became worried, his paternal instincts kicking in with a vengeance. More than once he had confronted Sam about his clandestine activities, but his son wouldn’t talk to him. The relationship they had built these past three years was crumbling around them and MacGyver had no idea how to fix it. Duct tape and a paperclip couldn’t repair this. And then suddenly today, Sam was smiling, energetic, fixing breakfast for his dad and concerned about his headaches. Instead of feeling relief, Mac felt a solid ball of dread begin to form in his stomach. He had learned long ago to trust his gut, and his gut was telling him that something was up. Something he wasn’t going to like.

“C’mon Sam, what’s up?” Mac was now wide awake and his voice was strong, demanding.

“What makes you think something’s up, Dad?”

“Gee, let me see…” Mac’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “First we were all buddy-buddy, then for the last few weeks you spend as much time away from home as possible, and when you are home you hardly speak to me, and now you’re fixing me breakfast and trying to cure a headache I DO NOT HAVE!” Ouch! That little outburst sent his pounding temple into overdrive causing Mac to think that maybe he should drink the green stuff just in case it worked. Mama Lorraine’s natural cures had worked in the past. What could it hurt?

“You really wanna know what’s goin’ on?” Sam rounded on his father. “I’ve been doing research for my new job!”

“Job?! You got a job?!”

“Don’t sound so shocked, Dad. I’ve been taking care of myself for a good long time!”

It suddenly felt as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. Mac and Sam rarely talked about the years they hadn’t known about each other, but when they did, it always hurt. It was a different hurt for each of them, but a hurt nonetheless.

Macgyver took a deep breath and let his heart rate settle back to normal. “So, what kind of job did you get?”

“I got hired on by a newspaper as a photojournalist.” Sam replied proudly.

“That’s great!” MacGyver exclaimed, excited for his son. “You’re following in your mother’s footsteps. She’d be proud of you, ya know?”

Sam sighed and didn’t meet Mac’s eyes. “There’s more, Dad,” his voice little more than a choked whisper.

Mac hadn’t been a father for long, but he was pretty sure those were words he didn’t want to hear.

“Go on,” Mac prompted.

Sam forced himself to stand tall and look his father square in the eye. “I’m going to be a photojournalist embedded with U.S. Troops in Saudi Arabia,” he said evenly, just as he had rehearsed it a dozen times.

“Dammit Sam!” MacGyver yelled as he slammed the palms of his hands against the kitchen counter, “Are you out of your mind?!?! There’s a war going on over there!”

“Technically the war is over,” Sam shot back. “It’s now a peace-keeping mission.”

“There will always be unrest there, Sam. Why do you think the troops are staying?! And you’re putting yourself right in the middle of it! Why?”

“There are stories that need to be told, Dad. Stories that didn’t end when the fighting stopped.”

MacGyver jammed his long fingers through his hair, fear, frustration, and pride all vying for a place in his heart.

“I know that, Sam, but you don’t have to be the one to tell them.” MacGyver willed his voice to sound calm, normal. “I just found you, I don’t want to lose you again.”

Understanding and compassion shown in Sam’s eyes. “You’re not going to lose me, Dad.”

“You can’t know that!”

“Look, I know what you’re thinking, but when you were my age you were diffusing bombs and disposing of land mines in Vietnam.”

Darn kid had a point. Sam was, for all intents and purposes, a grown man. A man on a mission. A man like Mac had been….still was.

“So, when do you leave?” Mac asked calmly.

Sam’s eyes found the floor. “Tomorrow afternoon,” he stated softly.

“Tomorrow!!!” MacGyver all but bellowed. “And when, exactly, were you planning on telling me this!?!?”

Sam remained silent. He could provide no good answer to that question. He had been wanting to tell his dad all week, but the time never seemed right. He had hoped to ease into his announcement over breakfast this morning. Bad plan.

MacGyver had made his way to the living room window and was now leaning his forehead against the cool glass. Physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted, he allowed the silence to hang in the air rather than say something he might regret later.


MacGyver slumped against the back of his sofa, his head tilted and resting on the cushion, his stocking feet propped on the coffee table. It had been over a week since Sam had left. Over a week since Mac had pulled all the window shades, blocking out the bright December sun. Upon hearing about Sam’s sudden departure, Pete had called constantly, leaving message after message pleading with MacGyver to call him back. Annoyed by the constant pestering, Mac had given in and answered the phone, grunting “I’m fine, Pete,” before ripping the cord from the wall. Periodically, he would hear Mama Lorraine tap her distinctive cadence on his front door. When he was sure she had left, he would amble over, open the door and pick up the brown grocery bag she always left. His kitchen counter was overflowing with various fruits and vegetables while his fridge was about to explode from the stacks of yogurt, tofu, and Tupperware containers filled with Mama’s “special” recipes, very few of which MacGyver could recognize and even fewer that he actually felt like eating.

The day Sam left, Mac’s first instinct had been to pack up his camping gear and head for the forest to take refuge in the glorious solitude of nature. That was his usual MO when he felt like brooding. This time, however, the idea just made him tired…and sad. A reminder of all those nights spent under the stars sharing stories with his son. So he decided to stay put, literally.

Over the last couple of days, MacGyver’s thoughts had slowly shifted from Sam to himself and what the future now held for him. The warm, cozy images of hearth and home he had briefly harbored had left with Sam despite his son’s not-so-subtle hint that he wouldn’t mind having a new step-mom when he returned from his assignment. The corners of MacGyver’s mouth spontaneously curved upwards as he remembered their departing conversation. “Yeah, good luck with that one, kid,” he had grunted.

With a sigh, Mac heaved himself off the couch. Even though his mind wanted nothing but to shut out the pain of yet another loss, his body began to protest the lack of movement it used to crave. He lazily padded through the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door, surveyed its contents and let door swing closed. He glanced at the array of fresh fruit on the counter, much of it beginning to spoil which sent a pang of guilt through MacGyver’s already wounded heart. His gaze landed on three black plums, looking ripe and juicy. He heard himself chuckle as he recalled the time Mama Lorraine had tossed him one of those plums, assuring him the inside was “as red as your sweetheart’s lips.” He picked up the fruit and took a healthy bite, checking out the flesh as its juices dribbled down his chin. “She wasn’t lyin’” he mumbled to himself as he went for another bite. One last taste and the fruit had been consumed, its pit tossed in the trash. MacGyver continued to amble through his apartment looking at this and touching that when his hand happened upon his trusty Swiss Army Knife laying on his desk. Mac ran his long, capable fingers along the tool, gently caressing it before grasping it tightly in his fist. He closed his eyes and was bombarded by unbidden images….jungles, deserts, mountains, avalanches, camels….camels? His eyes popped open and he saw his surroundings, and his life, in a clear new light. He knew what he had to do.

MacGyver took a quick and much-needed shower before slipping into fresh clothes. Soon he was standing in front of Pete’s house, urgently ringing the doorbell, an energy coursing through him he hadn’t felt since he and Sam had left L.A. He could hear Pete grumbling on the other side of the door, “Hold your horses, I’m coming…”

Pete opened the door and was greeted with a familiar voice, “Hiya, Pete!” MacGyver!! In an instant, the two friends were in a strong embrace, slapping each other on the back as guys do because it makes hugging another man look okay.

Pete stepped back. “How’ve you been, Mac?” he asked gently, concern evident in his unseeing eyes.

“I’m okay, Pete,” Mac replied confidently. “I wasn’t for a while, but I am now.” Mac smiled. For the first time, he noticed Pete was still in his bathrobe.

“It’s past noon. Shouldn’t you be dressed?”

“What? Uh?” Pete stammered as Connie appeared behind him adjusting the satin belt of her dressing gown.

Mac felt his cheeks grow warm. “Um, maybe I should come back….?”

“Nonsense!” Connie quickly replied as she reached out and put a hand on MacGyver’s should. “Pete’s been worried sick about you! Now you come inside and make yourself comfortable while I put on a pot of coffee.”

MacGyver took a breath, but before he could say anything Pete whispered, “She doesn’t know. It’s what she does when we have guests. You don’t have to drink it.”

Mac grinned and allowed himself to be led inside. He was soon ensconced in a supple, over-stuffed leather chair. Pete sat in a matching one across from him. A coffee pot and ceramic mugs sat untouched on the table between them.

“Gosh, Mac, I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you’re here and okay. I kept calling and calling….I tried to get over to your place, but Connie refused to take me, insisting you needed some space.”

“It’s alright, Pete. And Connie was right. I needed some time to work things out in my head.”

“Probably not an easy feat given that complicated brain of yours,” Pete teased and both men laughed.

“So, now that you’ve had some time to think things through, what’s the next move?” the older man asked.

“What makes you think there is a ‘next move’? MacGyver asked.

“You wouldn’t have come out in the sunlight if there wasn’t.”

“Well, Pete,” Mac began, leaning forward in his chair, elbows resting on his knees, “I wanna come back. I wanna come back to the Phoenix Foundation.”



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 October 2018 - 04:42 PM                                    
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QUOTE
In an instant, the two friends were in a strong embrace, slapping each other on the back as guys do because it makes hugging another man look okay.
I completely cracked up roller.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: 22 October 2018 - 05:54 PM                                    
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Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 22 October 2018 - 04:42 PM)
QUOTE
In an instant, the two friends were in a strong embrace, slapping each other on the back as guys do because it makes hugging another man look okay.
I completely cracked up roller.gif

I think I should trademark that line...I had another reader that really liked it too!! hmm.bmp

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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 26 October 2018 - 08:17 AM                                    
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Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
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House:  House boat



Chapter 2: All In His Head

“That’s excellent, Mac!” Pete exclaimed, both excited and relieved that his friend had finally found his way ‘home’. “You were the best field operative the Phoenix Foundation ever had. I’m sure they’ll be glad to have you back.”

MacGyver sighed and relaxed back into the supple leather chair. “So, when do you want me to start? I bet you got a ton of files on your desk screaming for attention. And I’m not picky...yet. Send me to rescue some diplomat in Timbuktu or track the mating ritual of polar bears in the Arctic Circle….your wish is my command!”

“Um, Mac…” Pete started hesitantly, “things have changed….”

The seriousness in his friend’s voice caused MacGyver to once again lean forward in his chair. He was getting a gut feeling again, and it wasn’t good.

“What ‘things’?”

Pete sighed gustily. From the moment MacGyver had called him from San Francisco he knew this conversation was coming. “Mac, accepting your resignation was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Things just weren’t the same without you around. And when Connie reached out to me, well, my priorities changed.”

“Changed how, Pete?”

“I realized there’s more to life than work. Can you believe it! Me, the eternal work-a-holic,” he chuckled. “Anyway, about a year after you left, I put in for retirement.
My eyesight wasn’t going to get any better and it felt really good having Connie back in my life, you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I know Pete,” Mac replied earnestly. Hearth and home. At least one of them had found it.

The older man continued, “Knowing I’d go stark raving mad just rattling around at home, the Board of Directors agreed to keep me on as a consultant for some of the more challenging projects.”

“Am I one of those projects?”

“When haven’t you been!” The two men laughed, easing some of the tension that had hung in the air between them.

“So,” MacGyver started determinedly, “how do I go about re-upping?” He felt sad and disappointed that he and Pete wouldn’t be working together like they used to. Things were certainly going to be different, but he still believed going back to Phoenix was what he had to do.

Pete stayed silent for a moment. He knew Mac wasn’t going to like what he had to say.

“Peeeeete?”

“The Foundation has become increasingly concerned about the overall health and well-being of their employees. In particular, their field operatives. I still have enough pull to get you in the door, but from there it’s all on you.”

“Fair enough. Just tell me what I gotta do.”

“Well, you’ll have to pass a physical exam,” Pete began.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Mac interjected. “I can ace that obstacle course.”

“Undoubtedly, especially since you’re the one who created ‘Macgyverland’,” Pete grinned before continuing. “But it’s more than that, now. You also have to pass a comprehensive medical exam as well as a psychological profile assessment.” Pete waited for the resistance he knew would come quickly.

“Awww, C’mon Pete!” Mac whined, sounding for all the world like a petulant child. “The last time they poked around in my head they recommended you fire me because they thought I was burning out,” his voice dead serious now.

“I know how you feel about those evaluations, Mac,” Pete said gently, “but it’s standard operating procedure now.”

Pete anxiously awaited MacGyver’s response. How badly did his friend want this? Would this be the deal breaker?

Mac sighed and threw his hands in the air as if surrendering. “All right, just tell me when and where and I’ll be there.”

“I’ll put in a call this afternoon and let you know,” Pete replied as relief washed over him. He had expected MacGyver to dig in his heels. Obviously, Mac was itching to get back to the work he thrived on.

The two men rose from their chairs and headed to the front door. MacGyver reached out for Pete’s hand and shook it. “Thanks for helping me out,” he said. “So, got any inside info that’ll help me pass these tests?”

Pete chuckled, “Just be nice to them, Mac. They’re only doing their jobs. And,” he added, “you might wanna get a haircut!”

“You know Pete, I may just do that,” MacGyver replied, running his hand through his shaggy hair as he headed to his car.


MacGyver did not get a haircut, but he did arrive ten minutes early to his appointment with the Foundation’s new staff physician. As he sat in the lobby, flipping through an outdated magazine, he felt a rare onslaught of nerves. Which was ridiculous, of course. He had nothing to be nervous about. He was in great physical condition if he did say so himself. And it had been several days since he had even a mild headache. This would be a breeze.

A middle-aged man with graying hair and a slender build soon entered the room and introduced himself to MacGyver as Dr. Kastner. The two men shook hands before the doctor started flipping through the thick file he held.

“Ah yes, Mr. MacGyver,” the doctor addressed him. “You have quite a lengthy, and interesting, medical history.”

“What can I say, Doctor? I have an interesting job.”

“Hmmmm,” was all the doctor said as MacGyver shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Apparently ‘Vagueness 101’ was a prerequisite for medical school.

MacGyver was in the small exam room buttoning up his shirt when Dr. Kastner came in and sat down, a concerned look on his face.

“What’s up, Doc?” Mac asked, and then flinched as the doctor grimaced at his Bugs Bunny remark.

“Have a seat, Mr. MacGyver,” the doctor said as he motioned to a chair across from the exam table.

MacGyver obeyed as the doctor continued. “As I was looking through your chart, I couldn’t help but notice the numerous head injuries you’ve sustained over the years. More than one has resulted in a concussion and even amnesia.” The man fixed MacGyver with a concerned stare. “When was the last time you suffered a blow to the head?”

“Well, I really can’t remember, sir,” MacGyver replied. “That’s not a good answer, is it?”

The doctor remained silent.

“Alright, a few months back I was on vacation and found myself in a ‘situation’ of sorts.”

“Exactly what kind of ‘situation’ are you talking about Mr. MacGyver?”

“Oh, you know, the kind where someone took offense to something I said and introduced my head to the sidewalk.” Mac knew that wasn’t what the doc wanted to hear, but he also knew he had to be honest if he was going to get back into the Foundation.

“I see,” the doctor replied calmly. “Did you lose consciousness?”

“No, just a bit of my pride.”

“Tell me, Mr. MacGyver, have you been experiencing any issues such as headaches, dizziness, trouble concentrating, recall problems?”

Time to come clean.

“Well, I have been having headaches off and on for a while now. But they always go away.”

“Do you experience nausea or light-headedness with these headaches?”

“Sometimes,” MacGyver grudgingly admitted.

“I see,” the doctor said gently. “Head injuries are serious business. They can have long-term effects which aren’t always immediately noticeable. I’m going to order an MRI of your head and neck.” The doctor held up a hand to stop Mac’s protest. “It’s in your best interest.”

“And I won’t be cleared to return until I comply, correct?”

“I’m afraid so. It’s –“

“Standard operating procedure,” Mac cut in, his voice flat.


That afternoon found MacGyver sitting in yet another office lobby. This one belonged to Dr. Darnell, the Foundation’s psychiatric guru. The same doctor who found Mac unfit to work a case due to job burn out. MacGyver wasn’t nervous about this appointment. He was ready. To his surprise, the interview was not as challenging as he had anticipated. Apparently, taking a three year vacation had ‘cured’ his ‘burn out’ and Dr. Darnell promised to declare MacGyver fit for return to his previous status as soon as he was cleared by Dr. Kastner. That’s not to say there weren’t a few speed bumps he had needed to flatten along the way. The doctor had worn a frown as MacGyver’s sudden departure from Phoenix was recounted. Apparently, for most folks, leaving town and all your earthly possessions behind at a moment’s notice to go on a road trip with a son you never knew for an indeterminate length of time was generally frowned upon. Of equal concern was MacGyver’s less than stellar coping mechanisms when said son up and left for the Middle East with a day’s notice. But in the end, Mac was able to assure Dr. Darnell that his motives were pure, his loyalties true, and his psyche sound. He just need to get back to work. That was all that mattered.


MacGyver awoke slowly as the late December sun labored to penetrate the window shades he had pulled the night before. The familiar pounding in his temples had returned, along with a dull ache that encompassed his entire head. He forced his eyes open, only to blink against the muted sunlight. “Aw man,” he moaned, as he closed his eyes and rolled over, trying to bury his head in his pillow. “I really should have taken Pete up on his offer instead,” he thought as he decided whether getting up was worth the effort…and pain. He took some comfort in knowing that his particular headache had nothing to do with getting hit in the head, but everything to do with Mama Lorraine’s Christmas Celebration Extraordinaire the previous day.
In retrospect, he really should have taken Pete and Connie up on their invitation when they had asked him to Christmas Day dinner at their house, but he had graciously bowed out, not wanting to feel like a third wheel on the festive day. Unfortunately, MacGyver found that it was darn near impossible to decline Mama Lorraine’s invitation.
By noon on Christmas Day, the street below MacGyver’s apartment had been barricaded off and a large, gaily decorated fir tree took center stage, an almost life-size nativity scene nestled under its lowest boughs. Hours later, tantalizing smells began pouring out from his neighbors’ houses and he joined the small crowd gathering in the street. The dinner hour saw the sun dipping below the horizon and the street bustling with men, women and children in colorful Haitian garb dancing to native and popular music that blared from large speakers and wishing everyone they met a Merry Christmas or Jwaye Nowe. Long tables laden with every kind of food imaginable framed the perimeter of the festivities.
Now, one of the perks of Mac’s job had been traveling around the world and immersing himself in various cultures. He had missed that these past few years, so he happily joined in the celebration Mama Lorraine had orchestrated. He clapped his hands to the music, played street games with the children, and joined in on some caroling once the words turned to English. He even had a kiss stolen by a pretty young blonde. Apparently mistletoe was a universal language. Every time he turned around he was handed a disposable plate heaping with delightful tastes and textures. As Mac enjoyed the variety of bold, spicy dishes he headed towards a large metal tub filled with ice and bottled water. He had just reached out his hand to grab one when he heard giggling behind him and looked over his shoulder to see several young boys gathered around what appeared to be a large punch bowl.
“Hey Mister!” a little dark-haired boy called.
Mac estimated the child to be around nine or ten years old. The water forgotten, he made his way over to the boy.
“Jwaye Nowe,” Mac wished the boy a Merry Christmas. Apparently, he didn’t get the pronunciation quite right as the group once again broke into a round of laughter.
When the boys had settled down, the one who had first called out to him approached with a cup of whatever the bowl held, presumably a fruit punch as MacGyver had seen adults and children alike drinking it as they roamed the street. Mac accepted the cup with a smile and made a big show of taking an experimental sip. The liquid was sweet with notes of licorice and just a touch of bitterness. MacGyver emptied the cup in two more swallows.
“Outstanding!” Mac declared, and within seconds the boy was handing him another cupful which he drank a little slower this time. He found the taste interesting and oddly addictive…sorta like potato chips. He was on his fourth cup when he met up with a happy and energized Mama Lorraine.
“Ah, MacGyver!” She called, her Haitian accent a bit heavier than usual. “I see you have been introduced to anisette.”
When she saw the confusion on his face she tipped her head to the almost empty cup in his hand.
“Yeah,” Mac replied with an easy smile. “Good stuff.” And he held up his glass in a mock toast.
“And all this time you telling me you don’t imbibe!”
“I don’t.”
“You do now, my boy!” Mama called as she headed off to mingle with the other revelers.
Mac shrugged his shoulders and headed back for another cup of punch…um, anisette.
It was nearly 2am before MacGyver tumbled into bed, and almost 3am before the sounds of the street party below died down enough to allow him to drift into peaceful oblivion. And it was back to that oblivion he now wished to return when he heard a distinctive knock on his door.
“Not now, Mama,” he grumbled as he struggled to sit upright. The room started to spin. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that when he opened them again everything would be standing still.
The knocking continued
“I’m coming,” he tried to holler, but his voice was weak and his mouth dry.
MacGyver opened the door to find a glowing Mama Lorraine on the other side, her smile as bright as the sunshine that hurt his eyes.
“That wasn’t punch I was drinking last night, was it?” he asked before Mama could say a word.
“No, my dear MacGyver,” she crooned. “It was anisette. A sweet drink with just a touch of the spirits.”
“There was more than a ‘touch’ in that stuff. My head is killing me! Why do you let the kids drink that?!”
“The children, they are used to it and only have but a cup. But you are not used to the liquid spirits so I brought you this to drive off the remains I knew you must be suffering from.”
It was only then that MacGyver noticed the glass of brown goop she held out to him. “This will help you feel better.”
Mac sighed as he opened the door wider so she could enter.
“I am NOT drinking THAT!” he proclaimed emphatically.
‘But it will—“
“I am not drinking that,” he declared again, cutting her off. Normally, he would welcome one of Mama Lorraine’s natural home-grown cures, but he didn’t think he could stomach this one right now. “I’m sorry, Mama, I just don’t feel like—“
The ringing of his phone interrupted the conversation.
“Excuse me,” he said to Mama as he picked up the receiver.
“Hello?”
“Hello, my name is Jenny and I’m calling from Dr. Kastner’s office. Is Mr. MacGyver available?”
Good. The results of his MRI were back. He was eager to get back to work.
“This is MacGyver.”
“Dr. Kastner asked that I schedule an appointment for you to come in and discuss the results of your MRI as soon as possible.”
MacGyver sighed. “Can’t you just tell me over the phone? Do I really need to come in?”
“I’m sorry, sir, but yes, the doctor wishes to speak with you in person.”
“All right,” Mac gave in a scheduled an appointment for the next day. He hung up the phone and turned to find Mama Lorraine still standing in his living room.
“Did you get some bad news, hon?” she asked, concerned etched on her brow.
“No. At least I don’t think so. Apparently it’s just standard operating procedure.”
The following morning saw MacGyver once again waiting in Dr. Kastner’s lobby flipping through the same magazine as before. However, unlike his previous visit the week before, Mac did not feel a bit nervous. He was anxious. Anxious to have the doctor sign off on his chart and declare him fit for work.
Within minutes, Dr. Kastner opened a door and bid MacGyver to enter his office. The room was well-appointed with a large, mahogany desk, expensive leather chairs, and framed degrees hanging on the walls. As the doctor settled himself behind his desk, Mac took a seat across from him.
“So,” MacGyver started the conversation, “when can I start working?”
Dr. Kastner regarded the younger man in front of him with concern in his eyes.
“That’s why I wanted to speak with you in person. We have a few things to discuss.”
Mac’s stomach began to roil and his palms began to sweat. He instinctively knew that he did not want to hear what the doctor had to say.
“I’ll get right to the point,” Dr. Kastner continued. His voice was gentle now. “The MRI showed some abnormalities on your brain.”
“What do you mean by ‘abnormalities’?” MacGyver knew a fair deal about human biology and he wanted real answers.
“It’s hard to say exactly, without further examination, but given your history and recent headaches, I am fairly certain that the shadow we found is either built up scar tissue from over the years or a bruise on the brain from a recent encounter with a sidewalk you mentioned. If it is, indeed, a bruise, it should heal itself. If it is scar tissue, we may have to be more pro-active.”
“You mean surgery, right?”
“It probably won’t come to that, but it is a possibility. My recommendation for right now is to follow-up with another MRI in a month to see if there are any changes. If it is a bruise and it heals, I’ll clear you for field duty.”
“And until then?” MacGyver asked.
“I am going to release you to light duty. The best thing you can do right now is get plenty of rest, take pain meds as needed for the headaches, and most importantly, protect that head of yours from sidewalks, fists, and any other ‘incidences’ that could cause trauma to your brain.”
“So I guess taking up boxing is out of the question,” Mac quipped, trying to lighten the heavy mood that had descended on him.
“Yes,” Dr. Kastner smiled sadly, “I’m afraid it is.”
MacGyver stood up and prepared to leave the office. He thanked the doctor for his time and honesty, gave a weak smile and walked out the door. He had to talk to Pete.


“They want me to be a desk jockey, Pete!” MacGyver all but yelled into the phone. He had called Pete immediately upon returning to his apartment, not even bothering to take off his jacket.
Pete sighed, “I’m sorry, Mac. I know how you feel.”
“There is absolutely no way you can know how I feel!” As soon as the words left his mouth MacGyver regretted them. Pete may be the only person who could empathize since Pete had been forced out of the Foundation due to a medical condition as well.
“I’m sorry, Pete. I didn’t mean that.”
“I know, Mac. Forget about it.” So,” Pete continued, “what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know, Pete,” Mac replied. “I never thought of doing anything else but field ops. I’d go nuts sitting at a desk all day. They’ll probably even make me cut my hair.”
Pete chuckled, “Well, hopefully it won’t come to THAT!”
MacGyver laughed, then turned solemn. “Seriously Pete, what are my options?”
“Well, I’m sure they could use you in Research and Development. You’ve always liked tinkering with things. There are plenty of projects going on at Phoenix that would welcome your knowledge and, um, creativity.”
“Yeah, I guess….”
“Look, first thing tomorrow I’ll put in a call. See where I can get you assigned. And look on the bright side, it may only be for a month and then you can get back to gallivanting around the globe saving lives with duct tape and paper clips. If not, perhaps it’s your body’s way of telling you you’re getting too old for that kind of stuff and you need to take it easy.”
“Gosh Pete, you sure know how to cheer a guy up,” MacGyver replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm.








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: 27 October 2018 - 05:52 PM                                    
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Gee, wonder how Mac's head is going to end up? unsure.gif

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Posted: 30 October 2018 - 07:13 AM                                    
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Chapter 3: Transitions

MacGyver rattled around his apartment for the next two days, keeping the cordless phone handset close by in case Pete called with an assignment. By the middle of the third day, he had to get out. Go somewhere, do something, anything! He grabbed his jacket, keys and flipped on the answering machine before heading the Nomad toward downtown Los Angeles and the Challengers Boys and Girls Club where he had volunteered for several years in a variety of capacities from mentor to handyman. The inner city center was a safe place for youth to congregate, recreate, and receive academic assistance all with the goal of keeping them off the streets and away from gangs and violence.

Mac parked his car in a lot surrounded by a tall, chain-link fence and soon found himself pulled into the middle of a pre-teen street hockey game. After several minutes of purposely muffed shots and one goal, MacGyver made his way to the door of the building.

“Hello!” he called. “Anybody home?”

“No way,” a deep voice boomed from across the large rec room. “That can’t be MacGyver I hear!”

Mac heard heavy, sure footsteps approaching before being soundly embraced by a large, African-American man. MacGyver heartily returned the greeting before breaking away to assess his friend. About 10 years Mac’s senior, R.T. Hines was a former U.S. Marine who had taken over the operation of Challengers from the Club’s founder, Cynthia Wilson, a few years earlier. Tough, unyielding, but with a heart of gold, Hines ran the center with a steel fist and warm heart, treating each member as if they were his own child. Judging from the pick-up hockey game outside, the large number of teens vying for turns at the game tables in the recreation hall, and another group of kids planning what Mac assumed was the annual New Year’s Eve party, it was obvious the club was indeed in good hands.

“I didn’t know you were back in town.”

“Yeah,” Mac replied. “Got back in November.”

“And it took you this long to come by and see us?!” Hines mockingly scolded.

“I had some things to take care of first, ya know?”

Hines squinted his eyes and examined MacGyver’s face. “Yeah, sure, I understand.”

The air hung heavy between the two men. Hines knew Mac well enough to know there was a lot he wasn’t saying. He also knew that Mac couldn’t be forced to talk about anything he didn’t want to. The ex-Marine sighed in resignation and decided to change the subject.

“So, did Peter Thornton tell you about the school?” Hines asked with renewed enthusiasm.

“Actually, Pete and I haven’t had the opportunity talked about Challengers,” Mac answered.

“Well, then come on over and let me get you up to speed!”

Hines led MacGyver to a far corner of the rec room. Vending machines stood sentinel against the wall and there were several mismatched sets of dining tables and chairs.

“Pick your poison, I’m buying,” Hines addressed Mac, nodding toward the machines.

“Got any orange juice in one of those?”

“One OJ comin’ right up!”

Hines handed the bottle of juice to MacGyver who broke the plastic seal and uncapped the bottle, taking a long drink before casually leaning back in his chair. Across from him, Hines chugged a soft drink before he, too, leaned back contentedly.

“So, what were you saying about this school?” MacGyver asked.

“Ah, piqued your curiosity, did I?” Hines teased.

Mac raised one eyebrow in response.

“Alright then,” Hines coughed and turned serious. “Shortly after you and Sam cut out, the Phoenix Foundation received a large sum of money from an anonymous philanthropist with one request: That the money be used to fund programs designed to educate at-risk youth. So, to make a long, bureaucratic story short, the Phoenix Board of Directors, along with Mr. Thornton, started Challengers Academy, a co-ed high school for teenagers who have been in juvie, are in juvie, or are on the path to juvie.”

“Sounds like an interesting concept,” MacGyver mused as he drained his bottle of orange juice.

“It’s more than a concept, Mac. It’s an honest-to-goodness state accredited school that’s been up and running for about two years now. You know that old brick building next door?”

“Yeah, the one the kids are constantly trying to explore.”

“Well, that’s the school now!”

Mac thought back to the building he had passed on his way in. In a former life it had been a bustling warehouse, but a declining economy had forced its doors closed and time had taken its toll on the large structure. From the outside, it still appeared to be the abandon warehouse MacGyver had scoured more than once for wayward teens hungry for adventure.

“That’s a school?!”

“Sure is! I know it doesn’t look like it from the outside— “Mac interrupted with a grunt but Hines continued, “but with the hard work of a construction team, community volunteers, and dedicated teachers we turned it into a model educational center.”

Hines could see that MacGyver still had his doubts. “How about we go over there now and I give you the grand tour? School is out for winter break so there aren’t any teachers or students around, but you’ll get the general idea.”

“Sure, what the heck,” Mac shrugged. “I’ve got some time on my hands.” Too much time, he thought dejectedly.

As the two men entered the old building and Hines threw on the lights, MacGyver could hardly believe what he saw. Long, bright corridors were flanked with what Mac could only assume were classrooms. At the end of one hallway was a room labeled ‘Office’ and another ‘Teachers’ Lounge’. Hines kept up a steady narrative, clearly enjoying showing off the place.

“We have state-of-the art classroom facilities and highly trained instructors. Students engage in a rigorous curriculum of all core subjects plus electives such as Music and Physical Education in order to obtain their high school diploma.”

Mac stopped and poked his head into what appeared to be a large study hall.

“That’s the Learning Center,” Hines replied before MacGyver could question him. “Any student is welcome there at any time for extra assistance with academics. It also serves as the computer lab. The teachers take turns staffing it and provide any assistance a student may need.” Mac nodded, clearly impressed.

“So how many students come here?”

“We have 120 students enrolled and our absenteeism rate is quite low,” Hines answered proudly. “Of course, a lot of our success is due to the fact that we have abbreviated schedules. Most students only attend a few hours a day as opposed to traditional schools where students are generally required to attend around 7 hours each day.”

“Sure wish I could have gone to school for only a few hours a day,” Mac smirked. “But seriously,” he continued thoughtfully, “with that many at-risk kids in the building at the same time, aren’t you concerned about safety and discipline problems?”

“Absolutely!” Hines exclaimed. “In fact, that was one of the most challenging aspects of getting the school up and running. Phoenix was kind enough to loan us a security expert in the beginning to help set up surveillance cameras and an emergency communication system. All teachers and staff are trained in basic self-defense skills as well as strategies to recognize and de-escalate potential trouble. There is also a uniformed officer at the front door whenever school is in session to screen students as well visitors who enter and leave the building.”

“Is he armed?” Mac asked.

“Only with Mace, a radio, and his wits. Our goal is not to have the students fear us, but rather work with us to keep the school community safe and conducive to learning and interacting with others. The participants know the rules and expectations. It is a privilege to attend here that can be taken away.”

Mac nodded, duly impressed.

They continued to the far end of the building where a large, multi-purpose gymnasium awaited, complete with retractable bleachers.

Mac let out a low, appreciative whistle and Hines beamed with pride. “Here is where our physical education classes take place. We also play team sports here including basketball, volleyball, and sometimes even tennis and soccer. If our funding continues, we have plans to buy up surrounding properties to convert to a baseball diamond and football field.”

“Very impressive,” Mac responded as he continued to survey the gym. “Any plans for a hockey rink?”

Hines let out a belly laugh. “I should have known you’d ask about that! Unfortunately that would require a whole other building and a lot of maintenance. Not to mention the cost of the required gear.”

“Have you approached Phoenix about it?”

“Whoa, one step at a time, Mac,” Hines cautioned. “Besides, academics come first around here.”

“As well they should,” MacGyver conceded, as Hines steered him back through the maze of corridors and back out to the parking lot.


MacGyver tacked up the new calendar on his kitchen wall and then went to look out the rain-splattered window as thunder rumbled in the background. January 1995 was starting out as gray and depressing as he felt. He had spent New Year’s Eve at Challengers chaperoning their yearly party. He was assigned to stand guard at the refreshment table to ensure that no one spiked the punch. A job he took very seriously since his experience at Mama Lorraine’s Christmas party. He enjoyed talking with the teens, reuniting with many he used to spend time with on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that enjoyment was short lived. It would soon be a week since he asked Pete for an assignment at Phoenix, and he had yet to hear from his friend. He knew Pete well, and he knew that no news was bad news. He flopped on his couch, grabbed the TV remote, and tuned into a college football bowl game. “Happy New Year, Mac,” he grumbled to himself.

The sky continued to spit rain late into the evening as the final game of the day was in its waning minutes. Mac was dozing when the shrill ring of his telephone jerked him awake. He fumbled for the receiver.

“Hello,” he said groggily.

“Happy New Year, Mac!” Pete exclaimed cheerfully.

“Not so far.”

“Oh, I think you’ll change your mind when you hear what I have to say,” Pete replied, the smile on his face somehow coming through the receiver to Mac.

“You got an assignment for me, Pete?” MacGyver asked as he rose from the couch now fully awake and trying to quell his excitement.

“I do,” Pete assured him. “That is, if you still want it after you hear about it.”

“I want it! I want it! What is it?!”

“Whoa, calm down. Meet me at Phoenix tomorrow at 10am and I’ll give you all the details.”

“C’mon Pete, can’t you just tell me now?”

“Sorry, Mac. You’ll just have to wait. But look on the bright side, I hear that patience builds character,” Pete chuckled as the line went dead.


MacGyver arrived early to the Phoenix Foundation the following morning. The last time he had been there was for his MRI results. Today he clipped on his ID Pass and roamed the once-familiar halls to check out some of the projects the think tank was working on. As he poked his head in various labs and offices, he found few faces he remembered and garnered cautious stares from the new employees. He couldn’t believe how much things had changed since he left.

He made his way to Pete’s office. Helen, his secretary, was seated at her desk, holding down the fort as always.

“Hi Helen, how’re you doing?”

“MacGyver!” The older woman hopped out of her chair faster than Mac thought possible. Before he knew it, he was wrapped in her arms and relishing the motherly hug she saw fit to bestow on him.

“And here I thought you didn’t care,” Mac said facetiously.

“Of course I care,” she said as she pulled away and swatted his shoulder. “Whenever Pete sends you out on an assignment I never know if you’ll come back in one piece what with all those stunts you pull! It’s no wonder you’re still single. And at your age! Well, I guess no woman in her right mind is going to want to marry the likes of you…never knowing when, or if, you’ll come home. Such a shame…” she continued to cluck like a mother hen and MacGyver was amazed at how the woman had managed to make him feel ten years old again.

Soon her intercom buzzed and she instructed MacGyver to enter the inner office. Pete sat at his old desk, a few members of the Board standing behind and to the side of him, hidden in the shadows. Pete was taking the lead on this case, but he was being watched carefully.

“Hiya, Pete! Whatcha got for me?”

“Ah, hello MacGyver, thank you for coming down on such short notice. Please, have a seat,” Pete gestured toward where he knew a chair would be.

Mac’s senses immediately went on high alert. Why was Pete being so formal? And who, exactly, were the guys in the shadows?

“No problem,” MacGyver said, deciding to play along with the formality as he settled into the chair across the desk from his friend.

“So, I heard you paid a visit to Challengers. Mr. Hines said you seemed quite impressed with the school they started.” Pete settled comfortably into his chair.

“Yeah, I did and I was,” Mac replied, a bit confused at where this conversation was going.

“I’m glad you feel that way, MacGyver,” Pete began, as he slid a thick manila file across his desk towards Mac’s voice, “because I’m assigning you to oversee security at our other Challengers Academy.”

“You mean there’s more than one?” Mac asked, eyebrows raised.

“Yes. When the one here in L.A. saw such immediate success, the donor asked that we open another school in a different part of the country that also has a large population of at-risk teens. You will find all the information you need in that file, and Helen has dossiers on all the staff members. Please review the files and be prepared to leave by the end of next week.”

Pete stood up and the shadowed figures moved forward signaling the end of the meeting. Mac shook Pete’s hand, nodded at the other gentlemen, and left to pick up the files from Helen.

“What just happened in there?” Helen asked in a loud whisper as she handed the pile of files to MacGyver.

“I’m not sure,” Mac replied slowly, “but I definitely intend to find out”.

Leaving the heap of files in his car, MacGyver hurried into his apartment, peeled off his jacket and flung it across a chair as he picked up the phone and dialed Pete’s private line at Phoenix. At least he hoped it was still Pete’s private line.

“Hello?” Pete answered.

Mac let out a sigh before turning indignant. “What the heck was that all about, Pete?” he demanded.

“I’m sorry I didn’t have time to warn you, Mac—“

“Warn me about what?!”

“When you left the Foundation…the way you left…well, it ruffled some feathers. The Board members were not pleased that I allowed our top field agent to fly the coop so easily.”

“Cute metaphor Pete.”

“Today’s meeting was as much about me as it was you. I had to prove to them that I was still your boss and could make you toe the line if I’m to oversee your assignments,” Pete explained. “By the way, thanks for playing along.”

“No problem. Sorry I got upset. I’m just not used to—“

“Forget about it, MacGyver. Look, Connie is serving apple pie ala mode for dessert tonight. Why don’t you come to the house where we can talk freely and I’ll tell you all about your new assignment. Deal?”

“Anything for ice cream, Pete,” Mac teased before disconnecting the call.


That evening found Pete and MacGyver at the Thornton’s kitchen table savoring Connie’s dessert as they discussed the details of Mac’s new assignment.

“Did you read through the files I gave you?”

“You know how I feel about dossiers, Pete,” MacGyver replied before quickly shoving a huge forkful of pie and ice cream into his mouth.

“I know,” Pete answered with a long-suffering sigh. “You prefer to talk to people, get to know them, listen to your gut.”

MacGyver just nodded, still chewing the large piece of dessert.

“MacGyver?”

“Oh, sorry Pete,” he said around a mouthful of pie. “I forget you can’t see when I nod.”

“Did you at least look at the file about the Academy?”

“No. I left it in the car.”

Pete rolled his eyes. MacGyver was a meticulous genius, but he was also one of the most unorganized bachelors Pete had ever met.

“Well, then, I guess we’d better start from scratch,” Pete proclaimed as they headed into the living room and more comfortable seating.

“After you and Sam left, Phoenix opened a satellite office in Chicago. It seemed sensible that the second Challengers Academy be located there as well. Unfortunately, the Illinois Department of Education had some ‘issues’ with our little project so we were forced to look for a different location. We decided on the next largest city in the same general area and voila Challengers Academy-Milwaukee Campus was born!”

Mac remained silent.

Pete forged ahead. “And I thought, given your involvement with Challengers here and you being raised in that area of the country, it seemed like a natural fit.”

“So what, exactly, do you need me to do?”

Pete grinned satisfactorily. He had piqued MacGyver’s interest. He was going to take the assignment.

“Well,” Pete cleared his throat, “your assignment is actually two-fold. Like I said at the office, you will be going in as the new security advisor. They’ve run into some problems in that area and I know you can do the job.”

“That’s not a problem,” Mac replied confidently. He had a great deal of experience in setting up and testing security systems for some of the most sensitive and vulnerable government agencies in the country.

“And then there’s the second part,” Pete continued. “The Foundation wants you to submit a report on the growth and success of the program for future funding purposes.” Pete braced himself for the response he knew would follow.

“Aw, c’mon Pete!” MacGyver complained. “You know I hate anything having to do with politics and bureaucracies. Besides, what do I know about education? Don’t ask me to be the one to give or take back funding.”

“Now settle down, Mac,” Pete said calmly. “Phoenix is only asking for your observations and opinions about the school. The Board will have the final say, as always. And it’s not an issue of taking away funding. Thanks to the generous donation of our anonymous benefactor, we have a surplus of funds. We just need to decide how best to use them and your reports will be considered when the Board makes their final decisions.”

Mollified by this explanation, Mac asked, “So how long will this assignment last?” He was supposed to have another MRI in a few weeks and, if all went well, could be cleared for active field duty within a month.

“Well, that’s still a bit unclear,” Pete hedged. “When you get to the school you will contact the administrator, Evelyn Quinn, who can give you a better idea of what needs to be accomplished. However, I’d say to plan to stay for at least a couple months. Possibly until the end of the semester if you run into setbacks.”

“And by ‘setbacks’ you mean if I don’t pass the Foundation’s concussion protocol.”

“I’m afraid so,” Pete said flatly. “And don’t worry,” he continued quickly, “Phoenix is providing you with a company credit card and expense account. You also have a furnished apartment near the school.”

Mac wasn’t too keen on the idea of such a long term assignment. Especially since he’d only been home for less than two months. But, if he wanted back into Phoenix, he’d have to pay his dues.

“So, when are they expecting me?”

“As soon as you can get there.”

“Great. Just great.”

*******************************************************************
MacGyver spent the next few days preparing for his trip. Pete had offered him a plane ticket, but Mac preferred to drive the two thousand some odd miles that would take him to his next assignment. He gazed longingly at the Nomad and shook his head.

“Sorry ole girl, driving halfway across the country in January is not something I want to put you through.” So he put the classic car back up on blocks and pulled out the battery to hide in Pete’s garage.

“Just in case Jack gets a hankering for a road trip,” he had explained to Pete.

“But he could just buy a new one,” Pete replied.

“Jack? Buy something?!”

“You got a point, Mac.”

Nevertheless, Jack Dalton was his best friend since childhood and, since Jack was currently between ‘lucrative business prospects’, MacGyver had invited him to stay in the apartment so Mac wouldn’t have to put everything into storage….again. Jack had jumped at the offer and MacGyver had a feeling he had just made a really dumb decision.

All that was left was to load up the Chevy Blazer the Foundation had provided for him. Mac was used to traveling light, so he made quick work of packing. Jack and Pete stood on the sidewalk in front of his apartment as he stowed his duffel bags in the back of the SUV, followed by his hockey stick, helmet, and favorite pair of gloves. He then bid his two friends a fond farewell with promises to keep in touch and stay alive.


After three days on the road and a snowstorm that followed him like a lost puppy, MacGyver finally arrived at his destination. He pulled out the piece of paper Pete had given him with the address of his apartment and maneuvered the vehicle through the slick city streets until he found the building he would be living in for the next several weeks. He parked the Blazer by the curb and stepped out to survey the non-descript two-story apartment building. “Home sweet home,” he murmured, “for now…..”


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: 30 October 2018 - 11:34 AM                                    
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Mac being so overeager to accept a job reminded me of a child laugh.gif

QUOTE

“Anything for ice cream, Pete,” Mac teased before disconnecting the call.


QUOTE
“Did you at least look at the file about the Academy?”

“No. I left it in the car.”

Pete rolled his eyes. MacGyver was a meticulous genius, but he was also one of the most unorganized bachelors Pete had ever met.
I love Mac roller.gif



QUOTE
So he put the classic car back up on blocks and pulled out the battery to hide in Pete’s garage.

“Just in case Jack gets a hankering for a road trip,” he had explained to Pete.

“But he could just buy a new one,” Pete replied.

“Jack? Buy something?!”

“You got a point, Mac.”

Nevertheless, Jack Dalton was his best friend since childhood and, since Jack was currently between ‘lucrative business prospects’, MacGyver had invited him to stay in the apartment so Mac wouldn’t have to put everything into storage….again. Jack had jumped at the offer and MacGyver had a feeling he had just made a really dumb decision.


That cracked me up sooo much roller.gif roller.gif roller.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: 30 October 2018 - 12:07 PM                                    
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I'm so glad you're enjoying and commenting on my story, Dragondog! Jack is always so much fun to write about!!

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: 30 October 2018 - 05:56 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 30 October 2018 - 03:07 PM)
I'm so glad you're enjoying and commenting on my story, Dragondog! Jack is always so much fun to write about!!

Jack, Penny, and Murdoc and Mac's bickering- from my experience so far, they're the best to write 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: 4 November 2018 - 10:15 AM                                    
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Chapter 4: The Stranger

MacGyver opened the back hatch of the Blazer and pulled out a large, military style duffle bag. With his free hand, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the key Pete had given him. He entered the front of the newly renovated economy apartment building, crossed the small lobby, and took the elevator to the second floor. The doors whooshed open and Mac stepped out, facing a long hallway. He checked the apartment number on the key and approached the first door on his right: 2A. Nope, not his. He turned and looked at the door across the hall. 2B…or not to be, he thought, as he smoothly slid the key into the lock and twisted the knob. With a gentle push the door swung inward as if inviting him in to his new, albeit temporary, home.

Mac slowly stepped over the threshold and allowed the heavy duffle to drop with an oomph to the floor. He looked straight ahead down the hall that led to what appeared to be the bathroom. To his left, large windows let in the final rays of the setting sun, illuminating the open living area sparsely furnished with a couch, two mismatched chairs, coffee table and television set. Against the wall, next to the door, sat a large, worn, wooden desk with a personal computer already hooked up. He figured that was Phoenix’s way of reminding him to keep up with his reports. Across from the living room a closed door indicated his bedroom, next to which was a galley kitchen that boasted a breakfast bar with two stools. Immediately to his right was a space he assumed was the dining area, but instead of a table and chairs, he was greeted by a brand new air hockey table. “Thank you, Pete!” Which reminded him, he needed to call his friend and let him know he had arrived. It only took a quick glance for him to find the cordless telephone and charging base in the middle of the breakfast bar. Another hint from Phoenix? Mac grinned as he picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number.

“Hello?” a sweet female voice answered.

“Hi Connie, it’s Mac.”

“Oh MacGyver, I’m so glad you called! Pete has been driving me nuts worrying about you! Hold on while I get him.”

Mac heard a ‘clunk’ as Connie set the handset down and then her muffled voice called Pete’s name.

“Mac, is that you!?!”

“Yeah Pete, and you don’t have to yell,” MacGyver said with a smile.

“Oh, um, sorry. I’m just…just so glad to hear you made it to Milwaukee safely. You are in Milwaukee, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Pete,” Mac replied slowly, as if speaking to a child. “I am in Milwaukee. At least, that’s what the road sign said. Any reason I shouldn’t have arrived here safely?”

“No, no,” Pete replied. “You know me, a born worrier, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, etcetera.”

“Yes, I know, Pete. You’ll be glad to hear that my trip was as dull and mundane as those suits you wear.” If you don’t count getting stuck in the snow for three hours and almost hitting a deer…on multiple occasions.

“Well, I’m just glad you arrived safely. Have you contacted Evelyn yet?”

“No, I was planning on calling her first thing in the morning. I still have to unload the truck and get settled.”

“Oh, of course. Take your time.”

“Will do. And Pete, thanks for the air hockey table.”

Pete chuckled, “I just wanted to help make you feel more at home.”

“Well, you succeeded, and I’m grateful. There’s only one problem…”

“Oh?” Concern returned to Pete’s voice.

“I don’t have anyone to play with.”
“All the more reason for you to make some new friends,” Pete replied, hanging up before MacGyver could retort.


Joanna Fairfax plopped down in her desk chair and leaned back. She stared at the thin manila folder sitting on her desk front and center. She glanced at the tab labeled ‘A. MacGyver.’ Honestly, if she read through this file one more time she swore her eyes would bleed. Since receiving the dossier from Evelyn, her supervisor and friend, she had read every word at least ten times and was still unable to form a complete mental picture of the man who was coming on board as the new security advisor. When the file had been delivered by a special courier, Joanna couldn’t help but notice how thin it was. Upon first coming to work at Challengers Academy as the Director of Education, Joanna had been asked to provide several detailed documents and private information to the Phoenix Foundation. Quite frankly, she was surprised they didn’t ask for an IOU for her first-born child. Then again, being over forty and hopelessly single with no prospects in sight, even they probably figured that was a lost cause!

With a sigh, Joanna leaned forward and began leafing through the papers yet again, searching for anything that might give her a better idea of exactly who A. MacGyver was. The same words popped out at her: Vietnam Special Forces, bomb disposal expert, degrees in physics and chemistry, security systems expert, former DXS agent and a list of countries he had operated in, many of which Joanna had never even heard of. In addition, it said he had some working knowledge of several foreign languages and excellent observation skills. His resume read like a script from an Indiana Jones movie. Yet there was precious little, actually make that no, information about the man, himself. No birth date, no home town, no out-of-focus photo ID. And no clue as to why the Phoenix Foundation would send such an accomplished agent on such a mundane mission.

Joanna leaned back in her chair once again and rolled this information around in her brain. She was an intelligent woman. She could figure this out. Slowly a theory began to form. If he had served in Vietnam, he was definitely older than her. His science background screamed ‘nerd’. And the fact that he was assigned to such a safe and boring mission had to mean he could no longer handle himself in the field. A mental picture quickly followed. She closed her eyes to help flesh out the details. Middle-age, average height, overweight, balding, glasses (perhaps held together with masking tape), wrinkled dress shirt, ugly tie, and last but not least a pocket protector. OK, maybe she was going a bit overboard, but not by much! And why did she even care?! Well, she knew why, but she wasn’t about to admit it to anybody.

When Joanna had turned forty, she had made peace with the fact that she would be single for the rest of her life. She had a comfortable existence sharing a house with her parents and working at a job she enjoyed. She had never been much for the dating scene anyway. First school and then work took priority over socializing. Her career didn’t lend itself to meeting attractive, eligible men either. Female teachers far outnumbered their male counterparts. For instance, there were only two male teachers in the entire Academy. Mr. Kowalksi, the science teacher, was coming to the end of his career, marking the days until he could retire. Mr. Simmons, the math and social studies teacher, had his drawbacks as well. Closer to Joanna’s age with a lanky build and slicked back dark hair, the adjective that always came to mind when she saw him was ‘sleazy’. Oh, he was a good teacher and the kids liked him well enough which was more than she could say for the females on staff whom he was always pestering for dates. He had even approached Joanna on a few occasions before she summarily put him off by declaring she did not fraternize with other staff members outside of work. But it would be nice to have an attractive man around, just to look at. A girl could dream, couldn’t she?

Joanna pushed herself to her feet and went to the window where she could see white flakes falling from heavy gray clouds once again. As she watched the snow fall silently to the ground her mind wandered back to the time her best friend had signed her up with a computer dating service as a birthday present. Joanna had gone out on a handful of first dates, but never any second ones. Her friends and family insisted she was too picky, but she knew the truth. The type of man she was attracted to was, unfortunately, attracted to women not like her. Average on all accounts, she was vanilla ice cream and guys wanted rocky road. The sound of sleet hitting the window drew her attention away from her self-inflicted pity party. Great. Not only would she have to brush the snow off her car when she left, she’d have to scrape off the ice as well. She hated winter!

Determined to dispel her sour mood and get something accomplished, she walked back to her desk and closed the offending file. She slipped off her red wool blazer and tossed it on the back of her chair. Time to take down the Christmas decorations, she decided. She pulled a rickety wood step-stool over to the wall which held her large bulletin board and gingerly climbed up to stand on the second and top step, her hands pressed against the wall to help her keep her balance. Soon she was busily pulling push pins from the cork and carefully removing cheerful holiday pictures which she immediately replaced with inspirational and educational posters. She became so engrossed in her endeavor that she almost didn’t hear the soft tap of knuckles on her doorframe.
Since she and Evelyn were the only ones in the building during winter break, she addressed her boss without turning around.

“So, how does it look?” Joanna asked.

“Looks great from where I’m standing,” a masculine voice replied.

Startled, Joanna snapped her head around to look over her shoulder. Too fast. She had moved her head too fast. The room started to spin and she started to sway! Before Joanna could right herself she felt two large, strong hands at her waist, gently steadying her.

“Whoa, take it easy there!”

Turning around more slowly this time, she looked down to discover the source of the voice…and the hands. There, looking up at her, stood a handsome man with an unruly mop of dark blonde hair, penetrating brown eyes, and a smile that could melt the largest of snow piles. Now there was a guy she wouldn’t mind seeing every day.

“Th…Thanks,” she stuttered.

“Do you always climb stools in heels?” the man asked, a hint of laughter in his voice.

“No,” she replied indignantly, quickly regaining her balance and sensibilities. “Sometimes I wear flats!”

The good looking stranger chuckled briefly before asking, “What’s this?” as he tapped the plastic and metal contraption holding the waistband of her skirt closed.

She glanced down with a look of chagrin. While she had been reaching for the top of her bulletin board, her silky white blouse had hitched up, exposing her makeshift closure.

“It’s a binder clip,” she replied shortly.

“I can see that. What’s it doing there?”

“I lost the button this morning and couldn’t find a safety pin. The material is too thick for even a jumbo paperclip to hold so,” she shrugged, “I used a binder clip.” Why she bothered to give the stranger so much information she couldn’t say.

“Ah,” he replied simply before reaching a hand up to her. “Let me help you down,” he stated.

“I’m fine,” she replied brusquely even as she wondered how she was going to gracefully get down from the stool in the tight black skirt and heels she was wearing while this man was apparently determined to watch her every move.

“Humor me,” he replied in a voice that held no humor at all. Only concern.

Joanna conceded, ever so lightly placing her hand in his. As she began her descent, her grip tightened and she waited for an ‘I told you so’ that never came. “I hate heights,” she murmured under her breath. The stranger grinned.

Once back on solid footing, she murmured her thanks and took a step back to discreetly assess the stranger a bit further. He was about her age and tall, the top of her head reaching just past his chin…in three-inch heels. His hair was a bit too long and shaggy for her taste, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. He had high cheek bones, and a strong jaw. Even though he wore a cable-knit pull-over sweater the color of oatmeal underneath a brown leather bomber jacket, she could tell by the contour of his clothes that he was physically fit. As her eyes reached his slim, jean-clad legs, they instinctively sought out his left hand. More specifically, the fourth finger of his left hand. No ring. No tan line. Her heart leapt. Of course, that didn’t mean much nowadays.

Joanna focused on smoothing her skirt and subtly adjusting her blouse as she fought to regain control of her wayward eyes.

“Nice outfit,” the man remarked, as he went to retrieve her jacket from the chair.

“Thanks,” Joanna replied with all the confidence she could muster. “I’m meeting a new staff member today and wanted to make a good impression.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that,” he said with an attractive smile as he helped her slip into the red blazer he now held.

She was trying to stifle a blush before she suddenly realized that she had no idea who this man was or why he was here. Oh, where had her brain cells gone!

“I’m sorry,” she said in her most professional voice. “Is there something I can help you with?”

“I hope so. I’m here to see Evelyn Quinn, the school administrator.”

“Do you have an appointment?” Evelyn had only mentioned meeting with the new security advisor today.

Before the stranger could respond, Evelyn opened her office door and headed toward them.

“I heard some voices and came out to see who was here,” she explained. Turning to the man she exclaimed, “You must be Mr. MacGyver! It’s so nice to finally meet you in person! Peter has told me so much about you!”

“Only believe the good stuff,” Mac quipped, as he pulled out his Phoenix ID to confirm his identity.

“Trust me, Mr. MacGyver, it was all ‘good stuff’ as you put it.”

Ms. Evelyn Quinn was a spritely woman. A good foot shorter than MacGyver, her ginger hair was cropped close and her face belied her age.

“So you and Pete are friends?” Mac asked.

“Of course! Didn’t he tell you? We go way back. Connie and I were college roommates. I met Pete when they started dating. In fact, he was the one who convinced me to come out of early retirement to help get Challengers Academy up and running. That should have all been in my dossier.”

MacGyver’s eyes found the floor.

“You did read my dossier, didn’t you Mr. MacGyver?”

“Please, call me ‘Mac’, and I’m afraid the dog ate my homework.”

At first he feared his attempt at humor would be lost on her, but the next moment found her laughing heartily. “Pete told me you’re allergic to paperwork! I see you’ve already met Joanna.”

“Not formally, we just bumped into each other,” he grinned mischievously.

“Well, then let me do the honors,” Evelyn began. “Joanna, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. MacGyver, our new security advisor.”

Mac could literally see her eyes become shuttered and her face turn wooden. What had just happened?

“Hi, my friends call me ‘Mac’,” he said warmly as he offered his hand for her to shake.

“Hi, I’m Joanna Fairfax, Director of Education,” She shook his hand firmly but quickly.

“Her friends call her ‘Jo’,” her boss added.

If the look Joanna shot her could kill, Evelyn would have been dead on the spot.

“Nice to meet you, Jo,” MacGyver responded in what he hoped was a friendly, harmless tone.

“Nice to meet you, too, Mr. MacGyver,” came the icy reply.

“Joanna, could you please bring the new-hire paperwork and meet us in my office?” Evelyn asked.

“Of course. I’ll be there in a minute,” she said smoothly, waiting until the two had left her office and headed down the hall before turning to her desk. “Oh my God, Oh my God,” she muttered repeatedly to herself as she walked back and forth waving her hands in front of her face in an effort to cool her blushing skin. “He was supposed to be a nerd! An old, fat, bald nerd!!” She stopped her pacing and took a deep, calming breath. She felt like such a fool! She had let her guard down with the stranger. She had let him touch her. Dear Lord, she had practically ogled him which he surely didn’t miss given his ‘excellent observational skills’. And then she had turned into an ice queen when she discovered his identity. What must he think of her? And how was she going to work with him on a daily basis?

After gathering her wits as well as the requested paperwork, Joanna entered Evelyn’s office to find her boss seated behind her desk and MacGyver relaxing in one of two visitors’ chairs. Evelyn motioned Joanna to take the seat next to him.

Mac hadn’t missed the way she had checked him out earlier. Now it was his turn. Taller than Evelyn, her head would fit neatly beneath his chin if she would get rid of those stupid heels. She wore her dark brown hair in a jaunty pixie cut that flattered her features and her brown eyes sparkled with bits of gold. Her loose fitting blouse and blazer concealed her figure, but MacGyver remembered the firm feel of her waist and the contour of her hips as he had helped her regain her balance earlier. Finally, Mac glanced at her hands. A dark blue sapphire solitaire accented with diamonds twinkled at him from where a wedding ring would be. For some reason he had assumed she wasn’t married or even engaged. Did she wear that ring to purposely throw guys off her scent? She was beginning to puzzle MacGyver, and he could never leave a puzzle alone.

MacGyver spent several minutes completing the appropriate forms. Even though he was a temporary employee, the school was required to have documentation for him. Evelyn invited MacGyver to return Thursday so he could start meeting the staff and getting familiar with the layout of the school.

“Joanna will be happy to show you around and I’m sure you’ll have some questions for each other.”

The trio began walking down the hall to the main exit when Evelyn stopped just short of Joanna’s office.

“There’s an empty room next to Jo’s office that you can use while you’re with us, MacGyver,” Evelyn offered. “I’ll make sure she passes a key on to you.”

“Thanks. I’d appreciate that,” Mac responded just as a telephone rang close by. Joanna scurried into her office to answer it while Evelyn continued to escort MacGyver to the exit.

“And don’t mind Joanna,” Evelyn instructed. “It takes her a while to warm up to new people, some more than others,” she explained as she looked MacGyver up and down before giving him a wink.

Mac chuckled softly. “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.”



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 November 2018 - 06:58 PM                                    
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Caaaaaan you feel the love tonight 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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Posted: 6 November 2018 - 08:12 AM                                    
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Chapter 5: New Kid on the Block

MacGyver arrived at the school early Thursday morning. He was hoping to have some time alone to look around before taking the official tour. He pulled into the staff lot and parked his Blazer next to a dark red, modestly appointed Chevy Cavalier with a window sticker sporting the words “Chevy Thunder”. Mac chuckled. It certainly wasn’t a muscle car, but he could see it was well-maintained, well-loved.

He looked up at the old brick school building. It was two stories high and ‘L’ shaped. From his previous visit, he knew the short leg of the ‘L’ housed the administrative offices and teachers’ lounge. He slowly walked across the large parking lot, trying to avoid puddles of slushy snow while looking to see what kind of security system was already in place. He noticed a small camera perched on each corner of the building which was better than nothing, but was it enough?

MacGyver saw the teaching staff beginning to arrive so he joined the little parade that led him through the front doors and into the warmth of the old building. He was about to head to the offices when he heard laughter and talking coming from down the long corridor. Curious, he followed the noise to a large recreational room. Much like in L.A., a number of vending machines lined one wall and there were metal picnic tables set up in a corner. In the opposite corner, there was an old television set surrounded by overstuffed couches that had seen better days. There was also a pool table, a pinball machine and a few arcade-style video games. Voices continued to fill the air and Mac noticed a small group of women chatting as they put away various cleaning supplies. His gaze immediately landed on Evelyn. Though short in stature, her red hair stood out making her immediately recognizable. But it was the brunette standing next to her that captured his interest.

Since no one had noticed him yet, he knocked loudly on the door jamb. “Excuse me, ladies,” he called politely.

Five heads swiveled around to face him.

“Oh, Mr. MacGyver! We lost track of the time!” Evelyn was the first one to speak. “I hope you weren’t waiting long.”

“Not at all,” Mac replied. “You have quite a recreation room here.”

“Thank you,” the older woman replied. “We wish we had more to offer the students, but we generally rely on donations.”

MacGyver thought that odd since Pete had assured him the Academy received sufficient funding. He’d have to look into that…later. Right now his attention was fixed on Joanna. Clad in faded jeans and an oversized Green Bay Packer sweatshirt, she looked as good as she had the day they met…if not better. Her face was free of make-up, her wispy bangs fell just above her eyebrows, and the diamond studs in her earlobes twinkled in the sunlight pouring through the windows. Out of shameless curiosity, Mac looked down at her hands. No ring today. Hmmm.

Joanna made her way quickly towards him, her gaze not quite meeting his but landing somewhere around his chin. The other women resumed their chattering.

“Nice outfit,” he said with appreciation.

Joanna quickly glanced down at her clothes as if she had forgotten what she was wearing, a guilty look flooded her face. “Oh, well, we’re cleaning today…” she let the sentence hang.

“You a fan?”

“Of cleaning? Not really, but it needs to be done.”

“No, I meant the Packers.”

Joanna’s cheeks grew warm. “Yep! Born and bred,” she answered. How could she have been so stupid to misunderstand his question? “You?”

“I’m not much into football. More of a hockey fan myself.”

“Oh,” she replied flatly.
“I apologize for keeping you waiting,” she changed the subject, her professional veneer now firmly in place. “Please follow me to my office and we’ll begin your orientation.” As she stepped past him, he caught the distinct scent of coconut radiating from her hair. He breathed in deeply to savor the smell.

Now, Mac had traveled all over the world and was the first to admit that he had admired and enjoyed the company of quite a number of beautiful, exotic women including the many young, blonde beach bunnies he had left behind in L.A. But it wasn’t until now, as he watched Joanna’s hips sway to a steady, unpretentious rhythm, that he realized how much he missed good, old-fashioned, down-to-earth, Mid-Western girls. Um, women.

“Aw man, what am I thinking?” he muttered, as he wiped his hand down his face. She’s just part of my assignment, no one special, he tried to convince himself, yet from the first moment they met he had felt…something.

“I’m sorry, did you say something?” Joanna asked as she turned around to look at him.

“Um, no…nothing,” he replied, surprised to see they were already at her office door.

“Please come in and have a seat,” she motioned for him to enter ahead of her.

He obeyed, once again inhaling the sweet coconut scent as he stepped past her.

Settling into the chair behind her desk Joanna addressed him: “I thought we’d start off by me giving you an overview of our program and expectations before touring the facilities. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to meet the majority of the staff today as well.”

“Sounds like a plan.” MacGyver couldn’t help noticing she had yet to make eye contact with him. Was it simply shyness or something more?

“I assume you’re familiar with the basic concept of Challengers Academy having visited the one in L.A.” she began and Mac nodded. “There are some differences between us, however. For instance, we have class year round. Summer is a time for students to either catch up or work ahead. We also require that students remain on the premises from 9am to 4pm. We try and keep their academic schedule light so they can use the rec room or computer lab when they’re not in class.” Joanna continued her monologue and stopped only to answer any questions MacGyver was able to get in when she took a breath, but he didn’t mind. In fact, he enjoyed hearing the passion and dedication in her voice. She clearly cared for the school and, as she put it, ‘her’ students.

Suddenly, MacGyver heard Joanna’s stomach rumble with hunger causing her to look up at the clock above the door.

“Oh dear,” she moaned apologetically. “It’s already lunch time and you must be starving!”

‘I could eat,” he smiled lazily. “I saw a restaurant on my way here, do you want to go out and grab a bite?”

Joanna’s expression closed in a flash and MacGyver realized he had already pushed her too far. “It could be a working lunch, talk more about Challengers,” he back-peddled, but her expression remained unchanged.

“No thanks, I have work to catch up on,” she replied stonily. “Perhaps some other time.”

Sensing his dismissal, MacGyver nodded his head in agreement, got up from his chair and walked out the door, closing it behind him. Evelyn was standing in the hall.

“So, how did it go?” she asked.

“I thought everything was going great, until I asked her to lunch,” he frowned.

“Shot you down, did she?”

“Like a heat-seeking missile,” he grumbled.

Evelyn put her hand on his forearm, “Don’t give up. Jo isn’t one to trust easily, but once you earn it, you’ll see it was worth the effort.”

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True to her word, Joanna spent the afternoon giving MacGyver a tour of the school and introducing him to the faculty. The first floor of the building was dedicated to staff offices and multipurpose rooms. There was a large room that served as the computer lab and learning center, much like the one Hines had showed him in L.A. This was also the domain of Mrs. Lynn Wade, a middle-aged woman of medium height, graying hair, and stern expression. She was all business, and Mac could appreciate that…to a point.

Next door was the freshly cleaned recreation room where he had found Joanna that morning, and at the end of the hall was a large gymnasium. Rickety wooden bleachers flanked the faded markings of a basketball court. The hard wood floor was scratched and stained, and the basketball hoops lacked nets. This was so different than the one in L.A.

“So,” MacGyver ventured, “what kinds of sports programs do you offer here?”

“Basketball,” Joanna replied, her tone clipped. “Mr. Kowalski is the coach, you’ll meet him in a few minutes.”

“Just basketball?”

“Yes,” Joanna answered. Seeing the questioning look in MacGyver’s eyes she sighed and continued, “All other team sports require gear and equipment we can’t afford right now. As it is, all our basketball games are played on the road because, as you can see, our gym isn’t quite up to par.”

“So I suppose a hockey rink is out of the question?” Mac quipped, curious to see her response.

“Do you have any idea how expensive it is to buy the necessary gear, much less rent and maintain the facility?”

“I do. I grew up playing hockey. It’s a great sport for kids who need to let out some frustration without breaking the law.”

“I suppose,” Joanna said simply and headed back the way they had come, pointing out the large kitchen and cafeteria on the opposite side of the hallway. She pushed open a heavy metal door that led to a stairway. She explained that all the academic classrooms were on the second floor. That way, when school wasn’t in session, the doors to the stairway could be locked allowing kids to still have access to the areas on the first floor in an effort to keep them involved in Challengers rather than street activities.

There were only three rooms in use upstairs. The first one belonged to Ms. Candace “Candy” Miller, the English teacher. Tall, young, and fit with bushy blonde hair she practically purred a greeting as Joanna introduced her to MacGyver who politely shook the teacher’s hand despite his fear of being impaled by her long fingernails. He snuck a peek at Joanna standing behind him and noticed her shoulders had slumped and she looked sad. No, not sad really, more like resigned. Was this yet another piece to add to the Joanna Fairfax puzzle?

Stepping into the classroom across the hall, Mac was introduced to Mr. Todd Simmons, the math and social studies teacher. Joanna explained that, with low enrollment numbers and lack of qualified instructors, teachers might be called on to teach more than one subject. MacGyver estimated Todd to be about his age and height, though lankier with dark, shiny hair slicked back from his face. After the two men exchanged handshakes and some small talk about sports, Mac turned to head back to the doorway Joanna had retreated to, but a strong hand on his shoulder stopped him.

“Hey, man,” Todd whispered in MacGyver’s ear, “don’t waste your energy on her. You’ll never get anywhere with the Ice Queen.”

“Is that so? I thought she might be married or engaged since she wears a ring.”

“No way, man! And if she keeps going at this rate she never will be. She’s shot me down every time I’ve asked her out. Says she doesn’t date co-workers. Guess us lowly teachers aren’t good enough for her,” Todd said with a sneer.
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” Mac said as he walked toward the door, keeping a more colorful reply to himself. He decided he didn’t like Todd.

“And last but not least,” Joanna said as entered the classroom next to Todd’s, “this is Mr. Walter Kowalski, the science teacher and basketball coach.

Walter looked up from the newspaper he had been reading. Mac shook the older man’s hand and then surveyed the room. He let out a long, low whistle as he took in the state-of-the-art laboratory and was drawn to the huge glass and metal cabinet that housed various supplies and chemicals to be used in experiments. Clearly this was one aspect of Challengers where no expense had been spared.

“Wow,” MacGyver finally spoke. “I could have some serious fun with all the stuff you got here.”

“Knock yourself out,” Walter responded. “I never use it. Don’t even have a key to that cabinet. Don’t want these darn kids getting a hold of stuff they don’t know how to use.” Mac raised a questioning eyebrow at Joanna who simply shrugged and rolled her eyes.

“So,” Mac thought he tried another topic. “How’s your basketball team doing this season?”

His question was met with a grunt from Walter whose attention had already turned back to his newspaper. Joanna motioned MacGyver to join her in the hallway and he happily obliged.

“Talk about a disgruntled employee,” he complained.

“He’s just counting the days until he can retire this summer. Good science teachers are hard to come by. I’m hoping you’ll have some free time to spend with the class and show them some experiments and stuff. I hear you’re pretty good at that,” she said, her lips turning into a hint of a smile. Reaching into her front jean pocket she pulled out a small silver key and held it out to MacGyver. “Here’s the key to the cabinet,” she said slyly as she dropped it into the palm of his hand. “And as for the basketball team, they have yet to win a game this season.”

“Ouch! That’s gotta be tough.”

“Yeah, but there’s not much you can do when your players keep fouling out. They’d rather fight than play by the rules. One game all but four players fouled out giving their opponents the equivalent of a power player for the last 8 minutes of the game!”

Mac caught her use of the hockey term and smile inwardly. “Shouldn’t that have been an automatic forfeit?”

“Yes...no…I don’t know,” she threw her hands in the air. “This is a recreational city league for alternative schools and clubs. It isn’t sanctioned by WIAA.” At the questioning look on MacGyver’s face Joanna explained further. “The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. It’s my understanding the other team was asked if they wanted a forfeit, but they chose to keep playing.”

“Rub some salt in the wound.”

“Something like that.”

Mac realized that as they had been talking Joanna had led them back to the office area. She was standing in front of the office door next to hers. She reached in her pocket and pulled out another key. “The phone and computer are already connected. Let us know if you need anything else.” And with that she disappeared into her own office, or refuge, as Mac was beginning to think of it.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Friday, the final day of winter break, was a whirlwind of activity at Challengers. The first item on MacGyver’s agenda was to meet with Officer Carl Wilson, a large, burly African-American man Mac found easy to talk to. Officer Wilson was a retired police officer and Challengers’ first line of defense. Uniformed and armed with Mace, he had been with the school since day one and manned the guard booth at the front door. No one got in or out without going through Officer Wilson.

After some polite conversation to break the ice, MacGyver decided Carl was a trustworthy man and had the makings of a valuable ally so he decided to ask the question that had been niggling at him ever since he received this assignment.

“Officer Wilson,” he began.

“Please, it’s Carl when the kids aren’t around.”

MacGyver smiled. “Alright, Carl. I’ve been curious as to what happened with the previous security advisors.”

“Humph!” Carl grunted disgustedly before launching into his tale. “The first guy was sent out by the Phoenix Foundation to get things up and running. He was good. Real good. Unfortunately, national security apparently trumps a non-profit school and he was reassigned back to L.A. Left poor Ms. Evelyn high and dry, so to speak. Phoenix didn’t have any qualified men to send so she had to hire from the outside. The next dude was wound tighter than a Rolex knock-off. Thought he was a darn drill sergeant. No way was Ms. Jo gonna let him bully her kids around like that! Then this last guy,” Carl shook his head sadly, “afraid of his own shadow, he was. Cowered at even the thought of an aggressive student. Slipped his letter of resignation under Ms. Evelyn’s door after everyone had left for the night.”

“Wow,” Mac responded, shaking his own head in disbelief. Whatever he had expected to hear, it certainly wasn’t that.

“Well, now that I’m here we’ll get things back on track,” he confidently promised Carl.

“Good to hear,” the officer smiled widely showing off a straight row of pearly white teeth. “And if you need any help, just you let me know!”

“Thanks Carl, I’ll be sure to do that.”

Back at his office, the other teachers were beginning to gather in the teachers’ lounge next door. The aroma of Italian cuisine filled the air.

“MacGyver,” Ms. Evelyn called to him. “Please fill a plate and join us.”

Mac loaded a plate with various pasta dishes and bread sticks before joining the fiery red-head.

“It’s become a back-to-school tradition to cater in lunch for the staff before the new semester starts. Gives them a chance to catch up with each other and show them our appreciation before the chaos begins on Monday!”

MacGyver looked around the room as teachers and other staff members chattered quietly between bites of food. Some of the faces were familiar from yesterday, some he had not yet met. He frowned slightly when he realized a certain brunette was missing from the festivities.

“She took a plate back to her office,” Evelyn leaned over and whispered to him as if reading his mind.

“Of course she did,” he muttered before taking a heaping bite of eggplant lasagna.

After the luncheon, Mac stayed behind to help Evelyn clean up. He also had some things he wanted to discuss with her.

“Well,” Evelyn addressed him before he had a chance to speak. “What do you think of Challengers so far?”

“Actually I was hoping you had some time to talk about that,” he replied.

Evelyn dumped the last pile of disposal plates in the trash. “Let’s go to my office and chat.”

Back in the administrator’s office, Evelyn took a seat behind her desk and pinned him with a no-nonsense gaze as he settled in across from her.

“I assume you have some questions after your little tour yesterday?”

How did this woman read his mind like that?

“As you know, Mr. MacGyver,” Evelyn continued, “this school is essentially a pilot project due to the success of its predecessor.” Mac nodded but remained silent. “Unfortunately, we have run into some unanticipated developments. I’m sure you can see that we have somewhat of a mismatched patchwork of teachers. Good instructors are hard to find and even harder to keep when you ask them to work year round and carry a heavier load than their colleagues in the public sector. We’ve spent a lot of money in an effort to improve our staff, but we have seen little return on our investments. This is especially frustrating because it takes funds away from other areas of the school.”

“Such as the rec room and the gym.” Mac was beginning to get the picture.

Evelyn sighed. “Yes. Those are two examples. Building upkeep is another. We are becoming more and more reliant on staff and community volunteers to help out.”

“But Pete assured me you had plenty of funding to cover all your expenses?”

“And we did! But it takes more than money to keep a school running. It takes people, Mr. MacGyver. People who are willing to invest their time and energy to help our students. People who care about our community and the changes that need to be made in order to keep our children safe and allow them to succeed in life.”

“But I’m sure if you told Pete—“

“Peter knows. He’s doing all he can, but at the end of the day all the Board cares about are the numbers. And quite frankly, ours aren’t looking very good.”

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MacGyver stared out his office window as heavy gray clouds blocked out the sun. A snowstorm was predicted to hit the area that evening and most of the teachers and staff had already headed home. He was still trying to wrap his head around everything Evelyn had told him. At least it was now clear to him why Pete had asked him to report his observations and opinions about the school. Perhaps a narrative explanation of the data could sway the board to continue the funding.

A knock on his door startled him out of his reverie and Ms. Evelyn walked in.

“MacGyver, go home. It’s late and there’s nothing more for you to do today. Besides, you’ll need to rest up for Monday,” she teased.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he agreed, running his fingers through his hair.

As Mac was gathering his things to take home, he heard Ms. Evelyn knock on Joanna’s door and the muted sounds of a conversation. He stepped into the hall to find Joanna bundled up and loaded down with her purse and briefcase.

“Now you two go home. I don’t want to see either of you until Monday morning,” Evelyn ordered.

“I guess we better do as she says,” his comment directed toward Joanna.

“Yeah,” she replied in a tired voice, taking one last look at the paperwork on her desk. “There’s nothing that can’t wait a few days.”

“Well, I guess I’ll see you Monday,” Mac offered, as he made his way to the Blazer.

“Yep,” Joanna replied. “Bright eyed and bushy tailed!” Her attempt at enthusiasm falling short as she headed toward the car next to his.

“Wait a minute!” He stopped short. “You’re ‘Chevy Thunder’?”

She flashed him a mischievous smile as she slipped into the driver’s seat, the first flakes of snow beginning to fall.




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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Jediferret
Posted: 6 November 2018 - 09:31 AM                                    
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Love all the good humor.

I so relate to Joanna. XD Nice job! I'll keep reading. happy.gif

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uniquelyjas
Posted: 6 November 2018 - 09:49 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Jediferret @ 6 November 2018 - 09:31 AM)
Love all the good humor.

I so relate to Joanna. XD Nice job! I'll keep reading. happy.gif

Thanks Jediferret!! I'm so glad you're liking it and will continue to read! I'm especially glad you like Joanna. Given the way people (women!) reacted to any possible love interest for Mac during the series I was really wary about using her and, many many chapters later, I'm still careful with how I use her and to not let her overshadow Mac.

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: 6 November 2018 - 03:42 PM                                    
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QUOTE
Evelyn put her hand on his forearm, “Don’t give up. Jo isn’t one to trust easily, but once you earn it, you’ll see it was worth the effort.”


This is me. I am Joanna laugh.gif

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Posted: 6 November 2018 - 03:50 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 6 November 2018 - 03:42 PM)
QUOTE
Evelyn put her hand on his forearm, “Don’t give up. Jo isn’t one to trust easily, but once you earn it, you’ll see it was worth the effort.”


This is me. I am Joanna laugh.gif

thumbsup.gif me, too!!

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: 8 November 2018 - 07:33 AM                                    
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Chapter 6: Begin Again

Monday morning Joanna awoke from a fitful slumber ten minutes before her alarm was set to wake her. She sighed, debating whether or not to turn over and wait it out or get a head start on the day. She stared at the ceiling, anxiety roiling in her stomach. It was the first day of the new semester. The last semester if things didn’t turn around and Challengers lost their funding. There were so many things to think about, so many things that could go wrong. She slipped out of bed and headed for her bathroom.

Twenty minutes later she padded quietly down the stairs to the kitchen she shared with her parents. She turned on the TV news, keeping the volume low so as not to wake them. She didn’t want to see another human being any sooner than she absolutely had to. The weatherman was calling for snow every day that week. Not a lot, just enough to make life miserable. “Terrific,” she grumbled around a mouthful of cereal. Her mind drifted back to the school and the job that consumed her, defined her, controlled her. Things were such a mess! Supplies and structural maintenance were needed, but more importantly, she needed better teachers if the school was to succeed. She had been so embarrassed to introduce her staff to MacGyver. To his credit, he had been charming and polite on the outside, but she knew he was accomplished at reading people and didn’t even want to guess what he had really been thinking during their little tour.

And then there was MacGyver, himself. For the first time in more years than she could count, she and her mom had stayed up late Saturday night as she talked through the conflicting emotions this man evoked in her. She had worked hard to create her ‘ice queen’ façade until it had become second nature to her. A defense mechanism she could switch on as easily as a lightbulb. It greatly disturbed her that this stranger had been able to get under her skin in two short days, and she didn’t know how to react to that. The obvious choice was to be the detached professional and keep him at arm’s length. After all, his time here was temporary. That thought made her sad. She sensed that he was a good man, a man she wanted to trust and spend time with, a man who could save her from her worst enemy….herself.

Joanna pulled into the staff parking lot and guided her car into its usual space. Normally the first one in and last one out, she was surprised to see Evelyn’s car as well as MacGyver’s truck already there. She gathered her things and headed into the building. She stowed her coat and boots in her office before heading down the hall to greet Evelyn. When she passed MacGyver’s office, she noticed his door was open. During the drive over, Joanna had decided she would try and be nice to him. Maybe even flirt a little. It could be fun. After all, he’d be leaving sooner or later so she really didn’t have anything to lose. And she just might gain a friend.

She knocked lightly on the door before stepping over the threshold. MacGyver looked up from his computer and offered her a warm smile.

“You’re here bright and early,” she said, trying to sound cheerful.

“What can I say, I’m a sucker for mornings.”

“Can I ask you something?” she uncharacteristically blurted out.

“Sure,” he replied, his attention now focused solely on her.

“How did you get this assignment?” He did not respond immediately so she continued, trying to fill the silence. “From what I did read in your dossier, you have quite an impressive background. You should be guarding diplomats or something, not babysitting teenagers.”

“First of all,” he leaned back in his chair, “I happen to like ‘babysitting’. I spent a lot of time at Challengers out in L.A. and I like feeling that I’m making a difference in these kids’ lives.”

Joanna felt heat begin to rise in her cheeks. Had he just chastised her?

“Secondly, I didn’t pass the Foundation’s physical and was assigned to light duty.” With that statement he stood up to stare out the window.

Joanna was glad he was no longer watching her as her lower jaw literally dropped at his words. She gazed at the long sleeved henley stretched firmly across his straight, broad back, his khaki pants lightly hugging his hips. How could this man not pass his physical?

As if feeling her eyes on his back, MacGyver turned to face her. His features seemed to soften, most likely in response to the utter confusion that must be displayed on her face.

“I didn’t pass concussion protocol,” he explained.

“Oh,” was all Joanna could bring herself to say. She was not prepared for this.

“As you said,” he continued, “I have quite an impressive background. Unfortunately, it also came with a few too many blows to the head by various means and it’s now catching up with me.”

“I’m sorry,” Joanna breathed softly.

“Yeah.” MacGyver raked his hand through his hair. “Which reminds me, I need to take a day off next week. I’m scheduled for another MRI.”

“Oh, of course. No problem. Just let Evelyn know when.”

“Will do,” he smiled reassuringly. “Now I have a question for you.”

“Don’t make it too hard,” she teased, cocking an eyebrow playfully in hopes of changing the sullen mood that had descended upon the room.

“Got any advice for a guy’s first day?”

“Stay away from the teachers’ lounge,” she told him without hesitation. Now it was his turn to look surprised.

“Why?”

“It’s where teachers get together to gossip and spread rumors. They also vent about the students. Eventually they start to believe what they hear. I prefer to keep an open mind so I stay away.”

“Got it,” he said with a nod. “Anything else I should know?”

“We’ll be having an all-school assembly in the gym first thing. Be sure to come up to the front with the other teachers.” Joanna glanced at her watch. “Well, I better get going. I have some things to do before the students arrive.” And with that she turned on her heel and went back to her own office, no longer feeling like chatting with Evelyn.

Well, that conversation certainly didn’t go as Joanna had expected. She had been prepared for some light chit chat about the weather or the football playoffs. Instead, they ended up talking about traumatic brain injuries! She reconsidered the plan she had made in the car earlier this morning. Perhaps it would be best to keep her distance from this enigmatic man with an unusually dangerous job and propensity for concussions.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Shortly before 9am, MacGyver made his way to the front of the gym and sat down on a metal folding chair next to his new colleagues. Teenagers noisily clambered up the old bleachers, greeting friends they had not seen over the long winter break. Ms. Evelyn stepped up to a microphone connected to an ancient public address system and welcomed the students with a typical ‘go get ‘em’ speech. It was then Joanna’s turn to step up to the mic. Mac couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to stand a little taller and speak a bit more confidently as she addressed the teens. The Challengers Code of Conduct was reviewed and then, for the sake of new students, she introduced the teachers one by one. MacGyver noticed that, unlike typical schools where teachers were addressed by their last name, these students were asked to address them by the appropriate prefix and first name.

After introducing Ms. Candy and Mr. Todd, Joanna’s eyes landed on him.

“And I am pleased to introduce the new security advisor, Mr. MacGyver.”

Mac raised one eyebrow at her.

“Um, Mr. Mac if you prefer,” she amended before turning to dismiss the students. Hmmm, perhaps the ice queen was melting just a tad.

As bodies poured out of the gymnasium and into the corridor, Mac was caught in a whirlwind of activity that made the week fly by. He monitored the halls, assessed the effectiveness of the current security measures, and researched how other alternative high schools managed student and staff safety. But his favorite activity was assisting Mr. Kowalski in the science lab. He enjoyed mixing up his special ‘recipes’ and seeing the teens’ faces as chemicals reacted with each other in various ways. Unfortunately, his other duties left him with little time to indulge himself with the kids in the lab.

Following Joanna’s suggestion, MacGyver stayed away from the teachers’ lounge, opting to mingle with the students in the cafeteria or rec room whenever he had a chance. He hardly saw Joanna and couldn’t help but notice that every time he walked past her office she had her door closed tight. He figured she probably had a lot of paper work to do, but sometimes he could swear he would hear it click shut just before he rounded the corner. The few times he did see her she was assisting in the learning center surrounded by students all seeking her attention. He knew how they felt. Her eyes shone brightly as she helped them one by one with their daily assignments amidst raised hands and requests for ‘Ms. Jo’. MacGyver sensed an energy about her that was not present when she was behind her desk. She was truly a puzzle he was becoming obsessed with solving.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

As predicted, and much to Joanna’s dismay, it snowed a bit every day that week. Nothing major, but enough to cover the cars and make the roads slick. Early in the week, Joanna stayed at work as long as she could because when she left she’d have to brush the snow off her car. A common and mundane activity, but one she especially hated for no good reason. To her surprise, every afternoon when she got to the parking lot, her car was already free of snow. At first she assumed it was a student trying to get on her good side. After all, it wasn’t a secret which car she drove. But Officer Carl was a stickler when it came to protecting staff and their property. No way would he let a student get near someone’s car. At least not more than once. She glanced at the parking space next to hers and the small pile of clumped snow. It was always empty by the time she left, but she knew MacGyver had claimed it for his SUV. She felt a tingle of warmth in the pit of her stomach. Yep, looked like someone was trying to get on her good side. She smiled.

The following week seemed interminably long, and it was only Tuesday. The thrill of returning to school had worn off already causing a high absenteeism rate. The kids that did show up were restless and looking for trouble. It wasn’t anything the staff couldn’t easily handle, but it was one more thing Joanna was losing control over. MacGyver had been there yesterday to help out, but he was at the Phoenix facility in Chicago today for his MRI. His absence shouldn’t make a difference. She had worked there a year and a half unaware of his existence, but in the last week had come to depend on his calm, steady presence. She shook her head as if it would help her mentally erase all thoughts of him. A pile of paperwork awaited and she had several phone calls to make. And still it was only Tuesday.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver arrived back in Milwaukee late Tuesday afternoon. He had tried to charm the Phoenix radiologist into giving him the results of his test, or at least letting him sneak a peek for himself, but the woman was intolerable and insisted he wait like everyone else. Hopefully someone would call with the results before the weekend.

He was back at work on Wednesday and returned to his normal routine. It was only his second week there, too soon to actually have a routine, but he did. Not that anything was ever routine when dealing with at-risk high schoolers! That afternoon he stayed later than normal, closeted in Evelyn’s office with Joanna to brainstorm ways to alleviate the tension that had been building amongst the students and staff. It was well after 5pm before he left the building. The winter sun had already set and he couldn’t help but notice how dark it was. Lighting. He definitely had to get some serious outdoor lighting in place. Rounding the corner to the parking lot, he noticed Joanna’s coupe sitting by itself, Evelyn’s hatchback parked several spaces away. Where was his Blazer? As he moved closer, he could see a small pile of glass glinting in the light from the building behind him. The glass formerly known as his driver’s side window.

“Aw man!” he exclaimed, though no one was there to hear him. Throwing his hands in the air, he turned back to the school.

MacGyver stomped down the hall to his private office, startling Evelyn and Joanna who were gathering their coats.

“Mac, what’s wrong?” Evelyn inquired before Joanna could form a coherent thought.

“Someone stole my truck,” he answered through gritted teeth, trying to remain calm. “I thought the lot was supposed to be secured.”

“Carl takes care of that,” Joanna told him.

“Obviously not!” MacGyver shot back. He tone was harsher than he had intended and he immediately felt guilty as Joanna’s eyes found the floor.

“Where is he anyway?” Mac asked, glancing around.

“He leaves at five,” Evelyn replied.

And then they all realized that Carl had left while they were still meeting. A waiting thief would have had plenty of time to smash the window and hot wire the truck before MacGyver had even left the building.

“Terrific,” Mac muttered as he picked up the phone to call the police.

“One of us will stay with you,” Evelyn informed him. She was standing ramrod straight while next to her Joanna shifted her weight from one foot to the other as if she couldn’t decide whether to stay or run like the wind.

MacGyver pinched the bridge of his nose as his head began to pound. Apparently the stress of waiting for his MRI results, dealing with unruly teens, and having his vehicle stolen had been, well, stressful.

“That’s not necessary,” he replied while waiting for his call to be answered.

“And just how do you plan on getting home, young man?” Evelyn asked.

Boy, was he losing it! The guy everyone called on to save the day was suddenly stranded at school without a set of wheels. He scrubbed his face with his hands.

“Guess I hadn’t thought about that,” he replied quietly.

“Well, I should get myself home and walk Lady before she relieves herself in my house. Perhaps Joanna would be willing to stay and drive you home. It’s practically on her way,” Evelyn suggested with a saccharin smile.

Mac saw a hint of panic in Joanna’s eyes briefly appear right before she pinned Evelyn with the dagger-shooting gaze she had used on the woman the day he had first met them.

Before Joanna could reply, an officer came on the line and MacGyver began to explain what had happened.

“I understand, sir,” the officer responded. “I’ll send a patrol car over as soon as one is available.”

Mac knew that was cop code for ‘it’s not a priority’ so he figured a little name-dropping wouldn’t hurt.

“I don’t think you understand, officer,” he began politely, “I’m a field operative with the Phoenix Foundation and I’m in a bit of a rush.”

“No problem sir! We’ll send someone right over.” Bingo!

As MacGyver hung up the phone, he heard Joanna in her office making a phone call of her own. He didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but the walls in this part of the building were thin, more like partitions.

“I’m gonna be late, Ma. Mac’s truck was stolen.” She called him ‘Mac”!

“No, that’s OK. I’ll pick something up on the way home.” A police officer walked through the front door garnering MacGyver’s attention and causing Joanna to hastily end her call.

“You guys really need to keep that door locked after hours,” the officer cautioned.

“Yes, I know, officer. But things got a bit hectic around here,” Joanna replied in a defensive tone.

“You know, Joanna, you don’t need to stick around,” MacGyver turned to her. “I’ll manage to get home.”

“No,” she answered firmly. “I can drive you, it’s not a problem. I promised Evelyn.” Of course, she was doing it for Evelyn. Not him.

“But you don’t even know where I live!”

“I assume you’re staying in the apartment building Phoenix rents for long-term temporary Challengers staff.”

“Yeah,” was all Mac could get out before the officer cleared his throat, anxious to get on with the report.

The police officer spent the next 30 minutes gathering basic information from MacGyver and Joanna, peppering them with questions about possible suspects, and examining the crime scene.

MacGyver suddenly remembered the surveillance cameras he had seen on the building.

“What about surveillance footage?” He asked the officer.

The officer turned to Joanna. “You have surveillance cameras of the area?”

Mac looked at Joanna expectantly. “Well, um, not really. The cameras don’t work anymore,” she said, cringing inwardly.

“What do you mean they don’t work?” MacGyver fairly growled at her.

“They take a beating in this climate. We couldn’t afford to have them repaired or replaced. We hoped leaving them up would be enough deterrent for would-be thieves.” MacGyver continued to glare at her. “I guess we were wrong,” she said flatly, biting her bottom lip.

“Um, well, okay folks,” the officer said uncertainly, sensing the tension in the air. “I’ll file the report as soon as I get back to the station, but to be honest, the chances of recovering your vehicle are pretty slim. Slimmer if you want it intact.” And with that the officer nodded farewell and headed out into the night.

MacGyver let out a tired sigh. Would this day ever end?

“You ready to go?” Joanna asked softly as she closed her office door behind her, coat on and briefcase in hand.

“No, actually I’m not,” Mac retorted. “How many nights do you leave here after dark? Huh? The lighting stinks and now you tell me the cameras are just for show! Don’t you at least value your personal safety?!”

“Of course I do,” Joanna shot back. “Look,” she continued softly, all the fight had left her face, “can we just get out of here?”

MacGyver felt pangs of guilt pummel his chest at her gentle, broken voice. He hadn’t meant to yell at her. He was tired, that was all. Tired and stressed.

“Yeah, let’s go,” he muttered quietly, urging her ahead of him with his hand on the small of her back.

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: 8 November 2018 - 05:11 PM                                    
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Oooh, the tensiooooonnnn 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: 8 November 2018 - 06:37 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 8 November 2018 - 05:11 PM)
Oooh, the tensiooooonnnn laugh.gif

This may be one of the toughest (or most frustrating) assignments Mac's ever had...LOL!

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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 14 November 2018 - 09:06 AM                                    
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Chapter 7: A Matter of Trust

Joanna pulled her car up to the curb in front of MacGyver’s apartment building. Both she and MacGyver had been silent on the short drive to his place. Mac started to reach for the door handle as he turned to face her.

“Thanks for the ride,” he said.

“No problem,” she glanced at him with weary eyes.

“You know, you didn’t have to do this. I would’ve figured out something.”

“I promised Evelyn I’d take you home,” she said firmly.

MacGyver’s stomach growled loudly and he glanced at the glowing clock on the dashboard. It read almost 7pm. Joanna had to be hungry as well.

“How about you come on in and I’ll fix us something to eat?”

Mac held his breath as he waited for her answer.

“That’s okay. I was planning on hitting a drive-thru on the way home.”

Shot down again!

“Consider it a thank you,” he urged.

Joanna stared out the windshield into the night. She had promised herself she would try to be nicer to Mac and she was hungry. Only a fool would pass up free food.

She sighed. “Alright. As long as you don’t mind.”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I did.”

Joanna turned off the ignition and they both climbed out of the car and headed into the building. MacGyver unlocked his apartment door and motioned Joanna to enter ahead of him. He shrugged out of his jacket and then took her coat, hanging them both in a small closet.

“Feel free to look around. I have to call Pete and let him know about the truck,” Mac offered. “Don’t hold the furniture against me, it came with the place.”

Joanna chuckled softly causing MacGyver to grin as he headed for the phone. The light on his answering machine was blinking, indicating he had a message. He’d get it later. Right now he had more important things on his mind, like asking Pete for a new car by morning.

Joanna slowly began to wander through MacGyver’s open-concept living room, her curiosity stronger than her shyness. She could see that he had already added some of his own décor to the otherwise drab space. Various pieces of hockey equipment were stowed in a corner and a Calgary Flames jersey was draped over the back of his desk chair. On the desk was a computer. Joanna wrinkled her nose. She didn’t like computers or, more accurately, they didn’t like her. She had to use one at work, but she sincerely hoped it was a passing fad. As she continued her self-guided tour, she noticed a guitar case leaning against the wall in the opposite corner. Next to the TV, a bookshelf housed a collection of video-taped Westerns

Mac finished his call to Pete and hung up the phone. “Well, what do you think?” he asked her.

“Nice,” she replied sincerely. “Contemporary NHL I see.”

Before MacGyver could respond, he saw her gazing appreciatively at the brand new air hockey table.

“You play?” he asked.

“No. I’m not very coordinated,” she answered softly.

“Well, you know how to fix that, right?” Mac asked lightheartedly. She looked up at him with questioning brown eyes. “Practice.”

“You can’t seriously want to play with me?!”

“Why not? I can’t play alone.”

Joanna looked very unsure, and at that moment he would do or say just about anything to make her smile.

“Look, I’ll play with my hockey gloves on. That should make us about even.”

Her stomach rumbled loudly before she could respond. “Maybe we should eat first,” she suggested with a grin.

“Good idea,” Mac replied with a firm nod. “Why don’t you see what’s in the fridge while I change out of this shirt,” he proposed, already working to loosen the collar.

“Mind if I use your phone?” she called as he headed down the hallway toward his bedroom.

“Not at all,” he answered. “Tell your mom I said ‘hi’.”

How did he know she was calling her mom? He didn’t even know her mom!

After informing her mother that she was at Mac’s and would be home later than anticipated, she opened his refrigerator and cautiously peered inside. She found yogurt, tofu in various forms, sprouts, and a couple kinds of juice. Didn’t the man know the meaning of ‘comfort food’? She decided to check out the freezer. Ice cream. Aha, that must be his guilty pleasure, but it wouldn’t do for supper.

“Find anything good?” he asked as he reappeared in the kitchen.

“Umm….”

“How about we order a pizza? Any preferences?”

“Pizza sounds good,” she replied with what sounded like relief. “Get whatever you like on it. I’m not fussy.” MacGyver shot her a look that said he didn’t believe her, but she chose to ignore it.

After ordering their dinner he decided to check his messages. He hit ‘play’ and a young woman’s voice announced that his test results had come back and he should call in the morning.

“Was that about your MRI?” Joanna asked, still standing in his kitchen.

“Yeah,” he let out a sigh.

“Are you worried?”

“No,” he replied confidently. “Not really,” his confidence slipping just a bit at the concerned look on her face. “Well…maybe a little.”

An hour later saw the pair leaning back comfortably on the sofa, an empty pizza box between them and soft drinks on the coffee table. After savoring the first few bites of their meal they had fallen into easy conversation.

MacGyver was unusually talkative as he regaled Joanna with stories about growing up in Minnesota and falling in love with hockey. He told her about the summer his dad took him on a quest to visit every major league baseball park in the country. They had gone to a Braves game right here in Milwaukee before heading to Wrigley Field and Comisky Park in Chicago. He reflected with humor on how bored he became and begged his dad to go home so he could play hockey with his friends, ending their quest after attending only three games. He even talked about the death of his parents, a subject he normally went out of his way to avoid, yet somehow the words flowed easily tonight.

“So, what exactly do you do for the Phoenix Foundation?”

MacGyver knew she would ask that eventually and, like always, a satisfying answer was hard to provide.

“Oh, a little of this and a little of that,” he offered.

“Well, that certainly clears things up,” Joanna responded wryly.

MacGyver jammed his fingers through his hair. A gesture Joanna had come to realize was a sign of frustration.

“I’m not trying to hide anything, it’s just that what I do is tough to explain.”

Joanna thought for a moment before deciding to accept his answer.

“I can understand that,” She replied. “My career path has been a bit untraditional and I’ve had jobs that are kinda hard to explain as well.”

Much to her surprise, Joanna found it incredibly easy to let down her guard as she then went on to tell him how she had wanted to be a teacher since she was a little girl, but after college life hadn’t worked out the way she had planned. She talked about growing up in a small but loving family and how she and her parents still lived in the house her grandparents had built during World War II. She laughed openly as she recalled stories of her days as a student in a strict Catholic school as well as her experiences teaching in the correctional facility where she had met Evelyn and forged a strong friendship.

Somewhere along the line, Joanna had kicked off her shoes and tucked her feet up under her on the couch. Her head now lolled on the back cushion. For the first time in a long time she felt completely at ease and, dare she say, happy.

“How do you like the job you have now?” Mac inquired.

“It’s good,” she replied dully, a bit of the light fading from her eyes.

“Really?” MacGyver’s eyes bored into hers as if he could read her soul. Drat the man! He could convince a zebra to give up her stripes with that look!

“Things have been stressful lately,” she confessed.

“Tell me.”

“You really wanna know?”

MacGyver’s silence and penetrating gaze were her answer.

Joanna sighed. “I’m sure you’ve noticed we don’t exactly have a top-notch faculty nor do we have the facilities in the shape we would like. The students aren’t performing up to expectations and now we are beginning to have security issues as well.”

“And you blame yourself.”

Before Joanna could think of a proper retort, Mac continued, “You’re not in it alone, you know.”

“I know,” she murmured, “but everyone is overworked right now and I have a hard time asking people for help.”

“You don’t ask ‘people’ for help. You ask your friends. Evelyn, your colleagues, me.”

Joanna broke eye contact and Mac knew he had pushed her as far as she was willing to go…for now.

“So, rumor has it you make it a rule to not date guys you work with.”

Joanna’s eyes flashed at him, “You’ve been talking to Todd.”

“More like he’s been talking to me but, yeah.”

She let out a laugh. “Well, in a way it’s true. I created that rule to get him off my back!”

“Then what about this?” He slowly reached out and lifted her left hand from where it was resting on her thigh and gently fingered the sparkling sapphire ring. “You wear it there to scare guys off?”

Joanna tensed, but made no effort to remove her hand from his. “Perhaps at one time,” she replied thoughtfully. “But quite honestly, I wear it there because that’s the only finger it fits on, and I’m too cheap to have it resized.” MacGyver let go of her hand, threw back his head, and laughed. Joanna soon joined in.

“Can I ask you something else?” MacGyver inquired once their laughter had died down.

“You’re kinda nosy, you know that?”

“Yeah, my friends say I’m famous for that,” he smirked.

“Okay, go ahead,” Joanna smiled, deciding that resistance was futile.

Mac’s face turned serious and she wondered if she had made a mistake. His voice was low and mellow.

“Do you think, in time, you could ever learn to trust me, even a little?”

“I think I already trust you,” she replied, her voice little more than a whisper.

“Since when?” MacGyver shot back. This was certainly not the answer he had been expecting!

“Since the first day we met when you kept me from falling off that stupid stool.”

“And all this time I thought you hated my guts!” MacGyver exclaimed in relief.

“Who says I can’t do both?” Joanna challenged.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver awoke early the next morning after a restless night. He wasn’t one to easily get stressed out, but he had found himself rummaging through his kitchen drawers at 1am to find something to tinker with. He looked out his front window, the winter sun still waiting to make its appearance, to find a Jeep Wrangler much like the one he used to drive parked where his Blazer should be. Pete had come through. After a quick shower and even quicker breakfast, Mac stared at the phone. He needed to call for his MRI results. His gut clenched. His entire future might be determined by a two minute conversation. He placed the call, only to be greeted by a friendly, recorded voice informing him the office was not yet open. He slammed the phone down more forcefully than he had intended to. He would call once he got to the school. He gathered his things, including two small, white boxes which held the results of his late-night handiwork, and headed off to work.

Joanna’s Chevy was the only car in the lot when he pulled in. Officer Carl wasn’t even here yet. A shiver ran up his spine. He didn’t like the idea of her being alone in the school. The urge to protect her sprang to life. The previous evening’s conversation had been quite enlightening. Joanna had started to show him a side of herself he believed not many people were privy to. Whether she liked it or not, he considered her a friend, and he believed that when you made a friend, you took on a responsibility, and now Joanna had become his.

The door to Joanna’s office stood open. Had her feelings changed for him or was she just not expecting him in this early? She was seated behind her trusty desk, eyes down. He knocked gently on the door to get her attention.

“Good morning,” he greeted her, leaning lazily against the doorjamb.

“Good morning,” she replied automatically before looking up. Her eyes lit with curiosity when they landed on the boxes he was holding.

MacGyver walked up to her desk and held out one of the boxes.

“What’s this?” she asked, a hint of suspicion in her voice.

“Consider it a ‘thank you’ for giving me a ride last night.”

“I thought that was what the pizza was for?”

Mac sighed, “Just go ahead and open it.”

Joanna slowly removed the top cover and warily studied the contraption inside before taking it in her hand.

“What is it?”

“What does it look like?”

Joanna turned the object over in her hands, studying it.

“It looks like a doorstop. With tiny wheels. And a battery.”

MacGyver nodded. “Now open this one.”

She opened the box and pulled out what looked to be a remote control belonging to a toy car. She met his gaze and raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

Deciding not to keep her in suspense any longer, he took the items from her hand and walked back to the door. He slid the wheeled device under the door, like a doorstop. He then took a step back and worked a toggle on the remote. As if by magic, the door began to close. Once the door had closed just short of clicking completely shut, MacGyver worked the toggle again. This time the door slowly opened. He then looked at Joanna with a self-satisfied grin.

“Well, what do you think?”

“I don’t get it,” she replied. “I’m perfectly capable of opening and closing a door.”

“I know that. I just figured that you must be getting pretty tired of having to get up and close the door every time I’m around, so I thought I’d help you out.”

Busted!

“It’s that obvious?” she inquired embarrassingly.

MacGyver simply shrugged.

Joanna approached him and took the remote from his hands. “I’m sorry. I guess I have been acting kinda childish.”

“Forget about it. I know deep down you can’t stop thinking about me,” he teased.

Joanna’s eyes grew wide as saucers making MacGyver laugh as he left for his office. He had barely cleared the threshold when he heard the whir of a small motor and the door began to close behind him. A playful female giggle carried through the air.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna’s attention returned to the report she had been working on before MacGyver had interrupted her. She chuckled to herself as she glanced at the homemade device he had made for her. It was becoming painfully obvious that there was little she could hide from this man. He had gotten under her skin, and not in a bad way. She didn’t know how long she could continue teasing and rebuffing him. She didn’t know if she wanted to.

Emotionally confused, Joanna got up and opened her door the normal way. She intended to head to the teachers’ lounge for something to drink until she noticed MacGyver had his door closed. This struck her as odd since she hadn’t heard him leave his office and there weren’t even any students in the building yet. She knocked. No response. After a moment’s hesitation, she tried the doorknob. It was unlocked. She opened the door carefully, not wanting to intrude but curious at the same time. He was standing with his back to her, looking out the window.

“MacGyver?”

No response.

Joanna entered the office and tried again. “Everything okay?”

Still no response.

Joanna now stood beside him, looking out into the cold winter day. “What’s going on?”

Finally he turned and looked at her. His eyes were dull and his face was sullen.

“I got the test results,” he stated bluntly.

Joanna was sure her features now mirrored his. “And?” she prompted.

“The doctor concluded that I do have a brain bruise and it is slowly healing.”

Joanna let out a sigh of relief. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“I guess,” Mac jammed his fingers through his hair. “It means I’m still on light duty, though.”

“When can you have another scan?”

“The doc said it’s no use doing another one until I complete this assignment. He wants to give it more time to heal.”

“But it will heal, right?”

“He couldn’t really say for sure,” MacGyver answered in a lifeless tone.

Joanna’s mind failed to form an acceptable response. How did you tell someone whose career may be ending that everything would be okay? She allowed her fingers to reach out and lightly touch the back of his hand. Wordlessly, his palm found hers and they stood together, watching as a large gray cloud floated across the sun.






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 November 2018 - 06:41 PM                                    
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love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg love.jpg

MacGyver and his door stop thingy roller.gif

I'm just now realizing this is the fanfiction you told me about when I wrote mine, which I bookmarked but still haven't read... Until now, since you're posting chapters 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: 14 November 2018 - 06:56 PM                                    
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I'm glad you're enjoying it, Dragondog! And come to think of it, I could really use that door stop thingy at work!

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: 16 November 2018 - 11:41 AM                                    
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Chapter 8: Jesse James

The days began to pass quickly and uneventfully at Challengers Academy, a fact not lost on MacGyver and Joanna. There was plenty to do without dealing with cranky teenagers. By an unspoken agreement, they both kept their office doors open whenever they were in, but Joanna still kept the odd little doorstop in place and the remote close by…just in case.

MacGyver’s first task was to get decent lighting in the parking lot and surrounding area. After much research and discussion with various contractors, the campus could now pass for a landing strip at night. In addition, he made sure he was the last one to leave the building each day. He had expected Joanna to bristle at being escorted out, but she was surprisingly compliant. Often they would use the short walk to their cars to catch up on the day’s events since they both kept busy with their own duties and exchanged little more than polite greetings as they passed in the halls during the day. Was she finally accepting the friendship he was extending? Evelyn openly enjoyed his attentiveness and he soon found himself taking on the role of personal pack mule as opposed to protector. It seemed the administrator always had something for him to carry and load into her car and his mock complaints were met with her lilting laughter.

Mac’s second project, and one he took an especially active role in, was getting new, high-resolution security cameras set up on the roof of the facility so every aspect of the outside area could be accounted for. Not only would these cameras capture everything on video tape, but they would provide a direct, real-time feed to a bank of monitors now located in Officer Carl’s station at the entrance to the building. Once the equipment was installed and working properly, he gathered the faculty and staff to show them the upgrades. After providing the appropriate oohs and aahs, they all headed back to their classrooms and work spaces.

Soon it was MacGyver’s favorite time of the day. Chemistry lab. He had promised Mr. Kowalski that he would do a demonstration for the students to hopefully get them excited about the class. He set out the necessary materials and waited until all the teens filed into the room and took their seats before he began.

“Who can tell me what you use to put out a fire?” Mac asked as an easy way to get the class involved right off the bat.

“Water!” they almost all replied in unison. Okay, so much for hand-raising.

“Most of the time that’s true,” Mac agreed. “But what else can be used?”

The students sat quietly, some fidgeting a bit in their seats, but no one volunteered to answer. Finally, a boy in the back slowly raised his hand and MacGyver nodded for him to speak.

“I was watching a TV show and they used a whole bunch of foam.”

“That’s right,” MacGyver smiled at him. “Anyone know why firefighters sometimes have to use foam instead of water?”

More silence.

Mac continued, “Sometimes water can actually make a fire worse. In fact, water can actually start fires and today I’m gonna show you how.”

Kids that had been slouching in their seats suddenly sat up straighter and those who had been whispering to friends turned their attention to him. Got ‘em, he smiled inwardly.

MacGyver patted a pad he had put on the demonstration table. “This is a fire proof mat where I’ll do the demonstration,” he explained.

In a glass beaker he mixed together small amounts of zinc dust and ammonium nitrate before adding a few grains of ammonium chloride. He carefully dumped the powdery combination onto the mat and made a small depression on the top of the pile.

“Okay, now how do you think I can set this on fire?” he asked.

A girl in the front confidently raised her hand. “You said you were gonna use water to start a fire, so you’re gonna put water on it.”

“You got it!” Mac praised her. “But I’m only going to use one drop of water.” He held up a small eye-dropper and, after releasing a droplet of liquid he quickly stood back. The zinc ignited and flashed with a brilliant blue-white flame that was followed by a dense cloud of white smoke.

The class gasped at the initial reaction before calling out various, and sometimes colorful, exclamations. By the time MacGyver opened the window to dissipate the smoke, everyone was clapping. Mac warned the students not to attempt to do the experiment on their own and promised that he would show them more ‘cool things’ as the semester progressed. He caught Joanna’s gaze as he dismissed the class. He had seen her sneak in about halfway through and take a seat in the back. Was she watching to make sure he didn’t mess up? Or had he already messed up and she was just waiting to call him on it?

“Meet me in my office after school,” she directed Mac, following the teens out the door. “I have a favor to ask.”

“You got it,” he replied, his heart practically singing. Finally, she was asking for help. Help from him!

The remainder of the day dragged on for MacGyver as he tried to figure out what Joanna wanted. Granted, he’d do anything she wished, but curiosity was in his DNA. At last, the final bell tolled and the students quickly vacated the building. Mac laughed to himself. That was the fastest he’d seen them move all day! But who was he to laugh as he headed towards Joanna’s office, his pace quicker than usual. When he arrived her door was closed.

“Aw, come on!” Just when he thought their friendship was making progress she literally closed the door on him.

Frustrated, he turned toward his own office when he heard the fast, rhythmic click of heels coming towards him. He recognized the cadence immediately.

“Sorry, but I had to take care of something,” Joanna explained, slightly out of breath as she unlocked her door and ushered him in.

“Nothing too major, I hope.”

“No, just needed to get some student grades from the teachers for a report I’m working on.”

When they had both taken a seat, Joanna leaned forward, arms resting on her desk.

“By the way, nice job in there today,” she complimented him. He smiled in satisfaction. “So, you’re probably wondering why I asked you here today—“

“Joanna, it’s me,” he interrupted tersely. “Cut the professionalism. What do you need me to do?”

“Fine,” she huffed and relaxed back in her chair. “I was wondering if you could make some time in your schedule to tutor a student in sophomore biology.”

“Sure, I can work something out,” Mac assured her. “But my biology is kinda rusty. What about Mr. Kowalski?”

Joanna gave him an ‘are-you-kidding-me’ look.

“Right,” Mac nodded. “Counting the days to retirement.”

“Not only that, but if Jesse doesn’t understand what he’s teaching in class, I doubt she’ll understand him as a tutor.”

“Point taken. So, who is this ‘Jesse’?”

“Her full name is Jessica Jameson. She likes to be called Jesse James.”

“Sounds like a tomboy.”

“She’s a sixteen-year-old going through an identity crisis. Her dad left before she was born and her mom just got sentenced to court-ordered in-patient rehab. She’s living with her grandmother and is new to the area.”

“Poor kid,” Mac mumbled.

“Yeah,” Joanna agreed. “Oddly enough, records and test scores from her previous school show her to be quite intelligent. She’s doing well here in all of her classes except science which used to be her strongest subject.”

“Well, biology can be tough.”

Joanna smiled. “When I was in high school I tested out of it so I wouldn’t have to cut up any animals. Anyway, I went ahead and scheduled a meeting with her before classes tomorrow morning. Can you come in a little early so I can introduce you?”

“No problem. I’ll be here.”

“I have another question for you.”

MacGyver remained silent, allowing Joanna to continue.

“The security lighting and the cameras you’ve put up…they look pretty expensive. I’m sure you know Evelyn and I have been working on a shoestring budget…”

Mac was nodding his head. “I know. A lot of the money was earmarked for safety upgrades. That’s what I’m tapping into.”

“Oh, okay,” Joanna relaxed a bit.

MacGyver decided it was time to put all his cards on the table. “Look, I’m also here for another reason. Phoenix wants me to report on the school to help determine future funding.”

Joanna’s face fell.

“Hey, don’t worry. I see the problems, but I also see how much this school means to you and Evelyn and the kids. I’m going to strongly suggest you receive extra funding for the next term. Even if it means digging into Phoenix’s own pockets. I’m not going to let this school fail.”

For once, Joanna was speechless. MacGyver stood up and headed toward the door.

“See you in the morning,”

“Hey!” Joanna called. He turned toward her. “Thank you….Mac.”

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The following morning, MacGyver arrived early and headed straight to Joanna’s office where he found her talking amicably with a teenage girl he assumed was Jesse. The girl had dishwater blonde hair that appeared greasy and unkempt. She wore a faded blue t-shirt, jeans with holes in them, and high-top athletic shoes that appeared a couple sizes too big. She was about Joanna’s height and her build was lanky. MacGyver cleared his throat to announce his presence.

Both females turned towards the door.

“We were just talking about you,” Joanna said with a smile.

“Don’t believe a word she says,” Mac said in a staged whisper to the teen, hoping to elicit a giggle or at least a grin, but all he got was a wary glance.

“Jesse, this is Mr. Mac. The biology tutor I was telling you about.”

“Nice to meet you.” He put out his hand. After glancing at Joanna and receiving an encouraging nod, Jesse put her hand in his. It was cold, clammy, and limp. MacGyver had filleted fish with a firmer handshake. He didn’t claim to know a lot about kids, but he instinctively knew this wasn’t going well.

“How about we meet in the science lab after the chemistry class?” he ventured.

“Sure,” came the soft reply.

“Jesse, why don’t you head to your first class, now?” Joanna prompted.

“Yes Ms. Jo.” Jesse left the office, head down, refusing to look at MacGyver.

The adults watched her leave before Joanna motioned Mac to what he was starting to consider ‘his chair’.

“Was it something I said?” he asked.

Joanna sighed. “No. I don’t know. We were having a great conversation until…” she let the sentence hang.

“Until I showed up,” Mac finished for her.

“The only thing I can figure is that she’s uncomfortable around men because she never had a father figure growing up,” Joanna tried to reason.

“That for me?” MacGyver changed the subject as he pointed to the text book on her desk along with a manila file folder.

“Yes. Mr. K. outlined the topics she needs to review as well as the lab experiments she needs to complete.”

“Sounds good. I’ll stop by after our session and let you know how it went,” he offered.

“Thanks, I’d appreciate that,” Joanna said, gracing him with a gentle, genuine smile.

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It was 4pm. MacGyver lay sprawled in his chair at Joanna’s desk. His shirt was wrinkled, his hair disheveled from jamming his hand through it numerous times, his throat was dry and his head ached. Joanna sat across from him, biting her lower lip to keep from laughing out loud.

“It’s not funny,” he grumbled. “I tried everything! I was nice, I was serious, I was funny, I ignored her…nothing! It was like tutoring a rock!”

Joanna bit her lip harder, her eyes dancing playfully.

“Go ahead!” he bolted from the chair and began to pace. “Go ahead and tell me I’m a miserable failure after one hour of trying to be a real teacher!”

Joanna let out the giggle she had been holding in, but turned serious when he stabbed her with his gaze.

“Let me ask you this,” she began calmly. “Did she learn something?”

“No! Yes! I don’t know!” he threw his hands in the air and fell back into the chair. “She buried her nose in the book and answered all the questions perfectly….all the while refusing to talk to me, much less look at me.” He was back to grumbling.

“First of all,” Joanna began, “she proved that she knows more than she shows in class. Second of all, don’t be so hard on yourself. All teachers go through this. Maybe you just tried too hard to connect with her.”

MacGyver looked at her skeptically but let her continue.

“You just need to be yourself and show that she can trust you. Rumor has it you can be a pretty charming guy when you want to be.”

“Thanks for the pep talk,” he replied, his confidence returning.

“Now go mope in your own office,” she directed, her hands making a shooing motion.

MacGyver continued to tutor Jesse every afternoon. He took Joanna’s advice and stayed true to himself. Jesse continued to do well in her studies, at least with him. And there were changes in her behavior as well. She became more comfortable with Mac, looking him square in the eye and laughing at even his dumbest jokes. He noticed her hair looked cleaner and she dressed less like a boy and more like the teenage girl that she was.

Finally, the day MacGyver was dreading finally arrived: Their first dissection. It was only a crayfish, but the environmentalist in Mac wished schools would get rid of this archaic exercise. He had looked ahead in the curriculum...a frog was next. Great.

MacGyver and Jesse stood side-by-side at the lab table donned in protective aprons, gloves, and goggles. They stared down at the dead crustacean.

“Go ahead,” he urged, “look at your notes and take it one step at a time.”

MacGyver noticed Jesse’s hand shaking as she pick up the sharp instrument that would make the initial incision. Mac stepped behind her and reached around to put his hand on top of hers to steady it and guide it through the first cut. It was then that he noticed she smelled like flowers. A lot of flowers. As they continued to examine the crayfish, Jesse’s hand relaxed, her confidence growing. Yet, when MacGyver pulled his own hand away, she began to shake again. By the time they had finished, Mac felt a heavy weight pressing against his chest. She was leaning into him. Uh oh. As casually as possible, MacGyver hurried her along to clean up the mess they had made and complete her lab report.

“Good job today, Jesse,” he praised her as she headed out the door.

“Thanks Mr. Mac. And you can call me Jessica.” She then disappeared down the hall.


“You gotta help me!” MacGyver demanded. Joanna once again sat behind her desk looking at him, but this time her expression was more serious.

“Well, Jesse can’t be the first girl to have a crush on you,” she pointed out as Mac nodded his head in agreement, recalling an expedition that had stranded him with four teens in the wilderness. One of those teens had been a girl who wanted to use him to make her boyfriend jealous. “How did you handle it before?”

“I was straight with her.”

“Then I suggest you be ‘straight’ with Jesse.”


“But I don’t want to hurt her. She’s had a tough life. And you, yourself, said she could use a male role model.”

“And I believe that’s the reason she’s latched on to you,” Joanna explained. “She’s desperate for attention from the opposite sex and you just happened to be there.”

“Gee, thanks a lot,” Mac said sourly.

“You know what I mean. You also know what you have to do.”

“Yeah.” He dragged his hand down his face. Bringing down a Columbian drug cartel was preferable to breaking a young girl’s heart.

The following afternoon, MacGyver waited in the science lab for Jesse to arrive for their tutoring session, a lead weight forming in his stomach. He never used to be prone to such anxiety. He’d been out of the field for too long. He needed to find productive ways to work off his adrenaline. If he kept going like this he’d have an ulcer by summer.

“Hi Mr. Mac,” Jesse said breezily as she all but danced into the room. “What’s the plan for today?”

“Have a seat, Jesse,” Mac replied in a calm, confident voice he had mastered during his years of field ops and interrogations.

“What’s up? You sound so serious?”

“We need to talk.” Hmm, usually it was the girls that said that to him!

MacGyver looked at the quizzical expression on the teen’s face and steeled his resolve as he sat in a chair across from her.

“We need to talk about yesterday. And you and me,” he clarified.

“You mean, you felt it too?” Hope and excitement filled her eyes.

MacGyver knew he had to give it to her straight. No lectures, no platitudes, no pithy comments. Just keep it real.

“No Jesse, I didn’t,” he said evenly. The girl’s face fell and his heart clenched.

“No, I know you did! And don’t tell me I’m too young. I know what I felt!”

“I’m sure you think you know what you felt, but it isn’t real. It’s all a part of growing up. And yes, you are too young. But look around you. This school is full of boys who would jump at the chance to spend time with you.”

“All the boys here are so immature,” she responded haughtily. “All they care about is how good of a ballplayer I am. But you’re different. You really care about me. You’re handsome, intelligent, fun—“

“Jesse stop. Yes, I care about you, but not in the way you think. And if you let yourself act more like a sixteen-year-old girl like you have been instead of the tomboy I first met, I’m sure the guys here would notice you and appreciate you as more than just another teammate,” MacGyver said earnestly.

Jesse stared down at her hands folded in her lap. “It’s just hard, ya know?” Her voice was little more than a whisper.

“What’s hard?” Mac gentled his own voice.

“Moving to a new town. Coming to a new school. Trying to fit in.”

“You’re right. It is hard. But maybe you need to stop trying so hard to ‘fit in’ and just be yourself.”

The girl let out a very unladylike snort.

“Jesse,” MacGyver continued, “What did you really find attractive about me?”

She glanced up shyly. “You’re new here, too. And you’re different.”

“Different than who?”

“All the other teachers here.”

“That’s exactly my point! I caught your attention because I’m new and different. Don’t you think the boys here would be attracted to someone new and different too?”

“I never really thought about it like that,” she mumbled.

“Well, think about it! Stop selling yourself short and give people a chance!”

After a long silence, MacGyver heard Jesse sigh. “I guess I did act kinda stupid,” she admitted.

“Not stupid. Just human. Everybody makes mistakes once in a while. The trick is learning to live with it and move on.”

“Will you still keep tutoring me?” Jesse asked shyly.

“Do you really need the extra help, or were you just fakin’ it so I’d get assigned to work with you?”

The blush on her cheeks was his answer. “I thought so.”

“Do you hate me, Mr. Mac?”

“No, I don’t hate you,” he replied earnestly. “Now why don’t you get outta here and go do something teenagerish!”

“Thanks Mr. Mac, for everything.”

Jesse smiled as she headed out the door leaving MacGyver to wonder how his own son had navigated his teen years. Regret niggled at him, but then he recalled what he had told Jesse moments earlier. Everyone makes mistakes, but you have to move on.

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Joanna stood in MacGyver’s office doorway watching him type away at his computer.

“So, how’d it go with Jesse?” she asked.

MacGyver let out a sigh. “Good, actually. We talked and I think she’s gonna be okay.”

“Good, I’m glad,” Joanna responded, lingering by the door. Mac looked up at her pointedly. “Um,” she continued, “You still owe me a game of air hockey.”

“I believe I do,” he laughed, surprised that she had taken the initiative. “How about you follow me back to my place. We’ll order a pizza and then see how ‘uncoordinated’ you really are!”

“Sounds good. But remember, you promised to play with your hockey gloves on!” she reminded him playfully before heading to her office to gather her things, completely unaware of Jesse standing just around the corner. Tears in her eyes.









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: 16 November 2018 - 03:01 PM                                    
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Poor Jesse sad.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: 21 November 2018 - 11:27 AM                                    
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Chapter 9: You’ve Got Mail


As soon as MacGyver opened his apartment door he headed to the phone to order a pizza leaving Joanna to hang up their coats. She had only been here once, but she seemed quite comfortable. Almost as if she belonged here. Perhaps it was because the apartment and most of its contents were owned by the Phoenix Foundation instead of MacGyver himself, making it less intimate.

Mac hung up the phone and joined Joanna at the air hockey table.

“So, how much do you know about the game?” he asked.

“You use this thing…” she held up a game piece that resembled a sombrero, or maybe a meat pounder, with a round, flat surface and a handle sticking up in the middle.

“It’s called a mallet or striker.”

“Right. You use this thing to hit the puck or keep the puck out of your own goal.”

“Are you sure you never played before?” Mac asked teasingly. Joanna cocked an eyebrow in response. Mac cleared his throat. “It’s customary to play to seven points, but people often change it to ten. It’s your call.”

“Let’s see what the score is after one of us reaches seven and I’ll let you know then.”

“Fair enough,” MacGyver laughed and turned on the table. It whirred to life, providing a cushion of air for the puck to glide on.

“Oops, almost forgot,” Mac said, as he walk to a corner in the living room. “Hockey gloves!” He held up his favorite pair and started to put them on.

Joanna laughed. “You’re not really gonna play like that?!”

“Hey, a deal’s a deal.”

Joanna shrugged and MacGyver gave her the puck to start the game. Her movements were hesitant, reaction time slow, and depth perception bad. Wearing the large, cumbersome hockey gloves, Mac played just as poorly if not more so.

“Time out!” He called. He shook off his gloves. “Instead of playing for points, why don’t we just practice for a while so you can get the feel of the game?”

“Whatever you say, coach,” she declared.

As they glided the puck back and forth between them, Joanna’s grip on the mallet relaxed and her coordination improved. Every so often MacGyver would start to pick up the pace and Joanna was able to quickly adjust. He was impressed. After a while they started playing for points. Mac let Joanna get a couple easy goals before she scolded him.

“You don’t have to patronize me. Win or lose, I want it to be fair and square.”

“Alright then,” MacGyver responded as he swept the puck across the table into her goal. She pretended to pout, but continued to play determinedly.

Her play was improving by the time the pizza was delivered. They sat side-by-side at the breakfast bar chomping on their supper and chatting casually.

“So, are you a hockey fan?” MacGyver asked even though he thought he knew the answer.

“Not really. My first love is football. Born and bred a Packer fan, remember?” she said proudly. “But I do like to watch hockey when I get a chance. I’ve been to a few Milwaukee Admirals games and that was fun.” She stopped and laughed under her breath.

“What?” Mac asked with a curious smile.

“You wanna know one of my biggest regrets in life?”

“Yeah.” He turned to look at her, resting his chin in the palm of his hand. She had his undivided attention.

“I wasn’t into hockey when Team USA won gold in the 1980 Olympics. I missed the whole ‘Miracle on Ice’!” She paused. “I bet you watched every game.”

“Just about,” MacGyver responded. “I had just started working at the DXS so I was moving around quite a bit. Fortunately part of an assignment had me working security for the Olympics so I got to see some of the games,” he said matter-of-factly.

Joanna’s mouth fell open. “You actually saw Team USA play in the Olympics?!”

“Yep.”

“That is so cool!” she exclaimed, her excitement making Mac laugh.

“Maybe we could take in a couple of Admiral’s games before the season ends,” he ventured.

“That would be great!”

“Good. I’ll look into getting us some tickets,” he promised as she smiled again before biting into her last slice of pizza.

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The days flew by as February faded into March, though the weather improved little. Mac had forgotten how late spring came to the Midwest. His days fell into an easy routine as he took on various roles at Challengers. He noticed Joanna was interacting a lot more with the students. She spent a lot of time helping out in the learning center and he even saw her eating lunch with Jesse in the cafeteria a few times. It was obvious to MacGyver that Joanna was happiest when she was with her kids. Too bad her job kept her chained to a desk most of the time. One afternoon they crossed paths in the corridor after school.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Mac asked her.

“Good,” she replied happily. “I’m forcing myself to get of the office more and I’m really enjoying it.”

“So I’ve noticed. I see you’ve also been spending some time with Jesse.”

“Yeah,” Joanna replied, wrinkling her brow. “She has really warmed up to me lately.”

“What is it?” MacGyver noticed uncertainty in her voice.

“I’m not sure. Sometimes she makes me uncomfortable. Like she’s watching me or something.” Joanna shrugged, “I suppose it’s just teenage stuff.”

“Yeah, sure,” Mac agreed, unconvinced. Always one to listen to his gut, he believed if it felt like something was wrong, then something was wrong.

They said goodbye and headed to their separate destinations. Jesse glared at them through the rec room window. Her earlier tears replaced by anger.

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Mac and Joanna had fallen into the habit of meeting at his place a couple evenings a week to play air hockey and eat take-out. This was one of those evenings. Joanna had informed him she had a quick errand to run first and would be a little late, so he took the time to grab his mail from his box in the lobby before heading to his apartment. Upon entering, he tossed his keys on his desk and began shuffling through the envelopes. Junk mail. He had only lived here a matter of weeks and he was already receiving junk mail! Then his hand paused as he saw the distinctive military post mark on a crinkled envelope. He quickly ripped it open and pulled out a single page. He read the first words eagerly: ‘Dear Dad’. It was from Sam!

MacGyver sank into his couch and slowly read the scribbled missive, savoring every word.

Dear Dad,
Sorry I haven’t written sooner. Things have been crazy around here and I hardly ever stay in one place more than a couple days. The trip over here to the sand box (that’s what the soldiers nicknamed this part of Saudi Arabia) was long, but I arrived safely. As of the writing of this letter I am still alive….ha ha! I’ve become buddies with some of the troops and even some of the villagers. I’ve already gone through more rolls of film than I can count. I think I have some great photos for publication. Look for them!! There are still so many stories that need to be told. People in the States have no clue what it’s really like over here. I have to stop now. The mail pick up is arriving. Are you still getting those headaches? Gotta go….Love, Sam

Beneath his signature was an address to the military base where he could receive mail. Mac read the short letter twice, a crazy grin on his face. A knock on his door drew his attention away. He got up to answer it, tossing the letter on the breakfast bar next to some take-out menus he had picked up. He ushered Joanna into the apartment.

“Hey listen, do you mind if I go change out of this shirt?” he asked, looking at his white dress shirt with disdain.

“No problem. Go ahead,” she encouraged with a laugh. Everyone knew how much he hated the stiff shirts. And don’t even get him started on ties!

“There are some menus on the bar. It’s your turn to choose,” MacGyver told Joanna as he headed down the short hall towards his bedroom.

Joanna walked over to the kitchen area and started to pick up the folded brochures when her gaze landed on a wrinkled letter that looked like it had done war with the postal service. Before she could do the ethical thing and look away, her eyes landed on two words: ‘Dear Dad’. Her breath caught. Was MacGyver writing a letter to his dad? But he had told her his dad had died when Mac was still a child. She then saw an envelope with the matching handwriting addressed to A. MacGyver. Did MacGyver have a child? A knot formed in the pit of her stomach. She glanced down the hall to make sure MacGyver was still in the bedroom. Then, as if on autopilot, she picked up the letter and began to read. The knot in her stomach tightened and her face grew hot. Mac had a son named Sam. A son old enough to somehow be involved with the military in the Middle East. A son he had never once even mentioned to her much less discussed. During their time together he had told her about his fear of heights, love of animals and joy of travel. Never had he seen fit to inform her that he had a child! What else was he keeping from her? Was there a Mrs. MacGyver? Other children? A tiny voice in her head said it was none of her business. They were just temporary colleagues. Casual acquaintances. He deserved his privacy. That voice, however, was drown out by her heart which screamed of betrayal. He had lied to her even as he asked her to trust him! Granted, it was a lie of omission, but still a lie. Why didn’t he feel he could share this part of his life with her?

She heard the bedroom door open and the heavy footsteps that would soon lead him to her. She quickly dropped the letter and turned to watch as he entered the kitchen.

“So, what’s it gonna be?”

Joanna looked at him with what could only be described as utter horror.

He looked down at his chest. “Don’t you like my shirt?” he quipped.

“I…I…” her look of horror intensified, if that was even possible. “I have to go,” she breathed out quickly. “This was a bad idea. I’m sorry.” She turned quickly, almost tripping over her own feet as she headed to the closet, grabbed her coat, and fled out the door.

MacGyver stood in the middle of his now-empty apartment completely stunned.

“What just happened?” he asked no one in particular.

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Mac awoke early the next morning. Truthfully, he had hardly slept at all. He couldn’t get the picture of Joanna’s horrified face and her hasty departure out of his mind. He had turned the events of the previous evening over in his mind so many times he feared he’d give himself another concussion. She had been perfectly fine when he left to go change. What had happened? He had already checked his answering machine. There were no messages she might have accidently overheard. He gathered his things and headed to Challengers hoping that she had gotten over whatever had upset her.

When he pulled into the parking lot, Evelyn’s hatchback was present as well as Joanna’s car. Didn’t anybody ever sleep? He parked his car in its usual space and headed for his office. He noticed Joanna’s door was shut tight, his remote control door stop removed. The frown he had been wearing grew deeper. This was getting ridiculous. He decided to bypass his own office and headed straight to Evelyn, not even breaking his stride as he knocked on the doorjamb to announce his entrance.

“Ah, MacGyver! I see you came in early as well,” she crooned, her face a study in serenity, except Mac could see her mouth was slightly pinched.

“What’s wrong with Joanna?” he demanded as he unceremoniously dropped himself in one of the visitor’s chair. “And don’t pretend you don’t know.”

Evelyn leveled a glare at him that would break any student. He glared back. After several seconds, the older woman blinked and refocused her gaze on the controls of an ancient P.A. system on the far wall.

“I don’t know what’s bothering her,” she immediately held up her hand to quell any response. “I know Joanna and she needs time and space to think things through. She also knows I’m here to listen if she needs to talk. Until then…” Evelyn simply shrugged.

“But you’re technically her boss,” MacGyver reminded her. “Can’t you make her tell you what’s going on?” Evelyn’s eyebrows shot up and Mac instantly wished he could take back his words. He was way out of line.

“Even if I could make her tell me I wouldn’t,” Evelyn replied, her tone slow and deliberate. “Joanna deserves just as much privacy and respect as anybody else. As long as her work doesn’t suffer, there is nothing I can do.”

“I’m sorry, Ms. Evelyn,” Mac replied contritely, jamming his fingers through his hair. “I was way out of line just now.”

“It’s alright,” she assured him. “You’re only upset because you care. And that’s a good thing.”

MacGyver nodded and retreated to his office.

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Joanna sat in her office staring at a spreadsheet and trying to convince herself she was actually working. She hadn’t slept a wink all night. Her mother had offered to listen to whatever she had to say, but Joanna hadn’t been ready to talk. Her emotions were too raw. She was so ashamed of how poorly she had misjudged her new colleague and how deeply he had hurt her with his lie. There was a soft knock on her door.

“Who is it?” she asked lifelessly.

“It’s Evelyn. May I come in?”

Joanna got up and opened the door, suddenly sad that she had smashed her little doorstop to smithereens when she arrived that morning.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Evelyn asked gently.

Joanna just shook her head.

“Wrong answer!” the shorter woman declared.

Joanna glanced at the thin wall she shared with MacGyver. “Not here,” she replied softly, and headed towards Evelyn’s office.

After settling herself in the same chair Mac had vacated just moments before, Joanna sat staring at the floor. Evelyn relaxed into her desk chair and waited. A heavy silence permeated the room.

“I think you ought to know that MacGyver is very concerned about you,” Evelyn stated softly.

Joanna’s head jerked up and she looked at her boss. Her once-hollow eyes now seething with anger. “I highly doubt that,” she replied curtly.

“Tell me what happened.”

“What did he tell you?”

“Not much, actually. He’s quite dumbfounded.”

Joanna rolled her eyes. “Talk,” Evelyn commanded. “Whatever you tell me is absolutely confidential.”

“You’re a school administrator, not a priest.”

“And you’re stalling.”

“It’s really embarrassing and I know I’m probably making a big deal out of nothing but,” Joanna’s shoulders fell in defeat, “I found out he has a son he never even mentioned to me.”

Evelyn’s face remained neutral, her speech deliberate. “You raised a lot of questions for me in that brief statement,” she stated calmly.

Joanna braced herself. She had just opened a can of worms.

“First of all, how did you find out about his son?”

Joanna’s gaze hit the floor again. “I kinda accidentally read a letter from him,” she answered softly.

“I see.”

“I didn’t mean to!” Joanna responded, feeling the need to defend herself. “Mac told me to look at some take-out menus and the letter was laying right there out in the open. I know I shouldn’t have read it, but I was curious…”

“Does MacGyver know you saw the letter?”

“I don’t think so. If he does he sure didn’t let on.”

“Hmmm. Now for my second question. Why do you feel embarrassed?”

“I’m embarrassed for getting so upset.”

Evelyn remained silent, a cue for Joanna to continue.

“I shouldn’t be getting so upset about a man I’ve known for less than two months and who will be leaving at the end of the term if not sooner. It’s stupid!”

“And what, exactly, are you upset about? The fact that he has a son or the fact that he didn’t tell you about him?”

“Both,” Joanna answered. “But mainly that he lied to me, and just after I told him I trusted him!”

“Do you think he didn’t tell you about Sam on purpose?”

“I don’t know!” Joanna was getting confused. “Wait a minute, how do you know his name? You knew he had a son this whole time?!” Her anger flared.

“Yes. But it’s not my story to tell.”

Joanna’s frustration mounted. She wished to go back in time, back to the days before she had ever laid eyes on the name ‘A. MacGyver’.

“I believe you have some things to think about,” Evelyn said gently. “The students will be arriving soon.”

“Yes ma’am.” Joanna got up and turned toward the door, relieved for the dismissal.

“And Joanna,” Evelyn called, “talk to MacGyver.”

The young woman paused for a moment before squaring her shoulders and heading into her day determined not to talk to MacGyver ever again!

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MacGyver heard Joanna walk past his door and he immediately bolted into Evelyn’s office.

“What did she say? What’s wrong?”

“I promised her I would keep our discussion confidential,” Evelyn replied evenly.

“Can you at least answer a question?”

Evelyn didn’t protest. “Does it have anything to do with me?”

“Yes,” came the simple response.

“What? What did I do?” he pleaded, his pride taking a fall, but he didn’t care. Why this was so important to him he really didn’t care to explore at the moment. Right now he just wanted some answers.

“I can’t tell you that. You need to talk with Joanna.”

MacGyver sighed loudly. Maybe he should just forget about it. He’d be going back to L.A. in a few months anyway.

“MacGyver,” Evelyn responded. “You are an ingenious young man. Use that big brain of yours to figure this out. The answer is right under your nose.”

Stunned by the cryptic reply, Mac stared at Evelyn who had turned her attention to the paperwork piled up on her desk. That was it. She’d told him as much as she was going to.

By the end of the day MacGyver’s head was pounding. What had Evelyn meant? What was ‘right under his nose’? He decided he had to start looking at this as he would any other case. He had to think like a field op again. Whatever upset Joanna happened at his place. He was sure of that.

Upon returning to his apartment late that afternoon, he decided to recreate the events of the previous evening. He stood by the door. He had opened the door to let Joanna in. Okay, harmless enough. Then he had gone to the bedroom to change. He retraced his steps. Nothing. He had then returned to the kitchen and found Joanna looking as if she had seen a ghost, but he could not find anything amiss.

Wait a minute. He was going about this the wrong way. He needed to see the evening through Joanna’s eyes. MacGyver went back to the entrance to his apartment and looked around slowly. Granted, it was a little dustier than the last time she had been there, but everything appeared the same and she wasn’t bothered by it before. What next? He headed to the bedroom and told Joanna to look at the restaurant menus. This time, he headed to the breakfast bar as he assumed Joanna would have done. The menus were still there and he reached out to pick them up. It was then that he saw a single sheet of crumpled paper next to his hand. Sam’s letter. Joanna must have seen it. She must have read it! Mac felt a surge of anger and betrayal well up inside him. How dare she go around reading his mail! However, guilt suddenly replaced the anger when he realized it was him who had carelessly tossed the letter on the counter for all the world, or at least Joanna, to see.

But why had she gotten so upset? Granted, he couldn’t remember ever talking about Sam with her. But did that warrant her current behavior? With a sigh MacGyver realized he had just been handed more pieces to the puzzle that was Joanna. Now he just needed to find out how they fit together. He needed to talk with her.






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: 21 November 2018 - 07:21 PM                                    
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Huh boy, Mac, you've got an interesting problem you've gotta fix now wink.gif

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uniquelyjas
Posted: 22 November 2018 - 08:45 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 21 November 2018 - 07:21 PM)
Huh boy, Mac, you've got an interesting problem you've gotta fix now wink.gif

And I doubt duct tape and a paperclip will work this time!! whistle.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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 25 November 2018 - 12:13 PM                                    
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Chapte 10: He Loves Me Not

Sometimes the simplest plan is the best plan. MacGyver decided to just wait for Joanna to get over her initial shock and anger at finding out about Sam. How long could she hide, after all? In watching her with the students, Mac had found her to be intelligent, open-minded, and sympathetic. Surely it was just a matter of time until they would talk it out and put this whole incident behind them.

Hours turned into days, and Joanna kept herself locked in her office. She no longer helped out in the learning center or joined students for lunch in the cafeteria. If MacGyver didn’t park next to her car every day, he wouldn’t even know she was there. As time passed, his frustration mounted so he decided to stay as busy as possible to keep his mind off the stubborn female. He spent his time helping Officer Carl monitor the security cameras, and he assisted Mr. K. in not only Chemistry, but Biology and Physical Science as well. He ate his lunch in the cafeteria, usually surrounded by students eager to hear about his adventures with the DXS and Phoenix and he happily shared the declassified details of his exploits. After school he could be found assisting teens with the computers in the learning center or monitoring the recreation room. It was here, as he was making some minor repairs to the ancient pinball machine, that Jesse found him.

“Hi Mr. Mac!” She greeted him enthusiastically.

“Hey Jesse, how’s it going?”

“All right,” she shrugged. “I’m really glad you’re helping out in my Biology class.”

“Well, it keeps me out of trouble,” he teased.

Jesse’s face grew serious. “Mr. Mac, do you like Ms. Jo?”

Well, that was a loaded question that came out of nowhere. “Do you like her?” he countered, wary of the twist in the conversation.

“Yeah, I guess,” Jesse responded thoughtfully. “She’s pretty nice.”

“That she is,” MacGyver agreed with a smile.

“You’ve seemed kinda sad lately, Mr. Mac. Is something bothering you?”

MacGyver eyed the teen carefully, trying to decide what to say. “A friend of mine is going through a tough time right now and I’m just concerned. It’ll all blow over soon, though,” he assured her.

“Well, if you need to talk, my friends say I’m a good listener,” she offered.

Despite the warmth of her words, MacGyver couldn’t help seeing the coolness in her eyes. “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” he responded, patting her on the shoulder before turning back to his tools, silently signaling the conversation was done.

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After yet another day passed with still no Joanna sightings, MacGyver decided it was time for Plan B. If he couldn’t wait her out, he would draw her out…carefully. He made sure to arrive before she did the next morning and gently slid some take-out menus under her office door with a note that read ‘still your turn’. The day crawled by as he waited for Joanna to respond to his offer, even if it meant she threw the papers in the face. Nothing. He was in his office late that afternoon trying to catch up on some paperwork when he heard Joanna leave for the day. He soon followed suit only to find the pamphlets he had left for her tucked under the windshield wiper of his Jeep. Strike one.

The next day, MacGyver decided to take a more traditional route. One that had proved successful for generations. He sat at his desk, flipping through the Yellow Pages searching for a florist. After finding one nearby and calling in his request, he leaned back in his chair, a self-satisfied grin spread across his face. Hours later, he was once again squeezed in the security booth with Carl when a delivery van pulled up. MacGyver quickly buzzed in the young courier bearing a vase of freshly cut spring flowers and directed him straight to Joanna’s office. He was confident she would be too polite to turn the man away and he was correct. The van driver returned empty-handed except for the sizable tip he was tucking into his pocket. Mac relaxed a bit. It was only a matter of time, now.

MacGyver had just made his way through the cafeteria lunch line and settled his tray at a table full of freshman when the P.A. system crackled to life. The boisterous room suddenly quieted. Apparently, school-wide announcements were a rare thing. Above the static he heard Evelyn’s voice: “Mr. MacGyver, please report to the Administrator’s office at your earliest convenience.” What in the world could be so important to warrant such a request? Mac bolted from his seat, abandoning his lunch tray as he quickly headed to the office. He tried to remain calm and not allow himself to think of the horrible scenarios he might need to deal with.

When he got to Evelyn’s office, the door was partially closed. He knocked briefly before walking in.

“What’s going on? What’s wrong?” He demanded.

“Ah, MacGyver! I didn’t mean to worry you. I just thought you should know…” She waved her hand to the corner of her desk. A vase of colorful blooms mocked him. “Joanna brought these to me. She said she’s allergic.”

“Is she?” he asked warily.

“I don’t know. But that’s not the point now, is it?”

MacGyver hung his head in defeat and frustration as he turned to leave.

“MacGyver!” Evelyn called. “Don’t give up on her!”

“I don’t intend to, ma’am,” he replied as he headed back to his lunch.

Mac decided to leave work earlier than usual that afternoon. He not only had to find a way to get Joanna to talk with him, but he was yearning to work off the frustration that had been growing daily. He stopped to chat with Officer Carl.

“I don’t suppose you know of any hockey rinks around here?” he asked the officer.

“No sir, I don’t. I’m a football man myself.”

MacGyver smiled and shook his head. Minnesotans learned to skate before they could walk and apparently Wisconsinites cut their teeth on the ole pigskin.

“There is that fancy indoor center that opened a couple years back,” Carl mused.

“Tell me,” Mac encouraged him.

“It’s called the Pettit National Ice Center. If I recall it has one or two ice rinks and a speed skating oval.”

“Sounds impressive,” Mac observed.

“Eh, if you’re into that sorta thing I suppose.”

MacGyver received directions on how to get there from Carl before hurrying home to grab his gear. Some one-on-one time with the ice was exactly what he needed to gain some perspective.

He arrived at the modern skating facility around supper time. The place was deserted except for one rink where a small group of young boys practiced basic hockey skills under the watchful eye of their coach. MacGyver suited up and stepped onto the adjacent rink. For several minutes he simply skated around the perimeter, hockey stick in hand. He loved the sensation of gliding over the smooth ice. It was as close as a man could come to flying without leaving the ground. He then snagged a puck and started skating around would-be defensemen, taking shots on goal. He was about ready to call it a night when thoughts of Joanna started creeping back into his brain. He decided to put himself through one final exercise. He piled up some pucks in front of the net to practice his slap shot. This skill demanded his concentration: stick position, blade placement and weight shift. One after another, he sent the pucks slamming into the net. It was so easy without a goalie! He smiled ruefully to himself.

The next morning MacGyver limped into Challengers. Man, he had to get himself back into shape! Fortunately, the hockey practice had cleared his mind and presented a fool-proof way to lure Joanna to him. He used his lunch break to run a quick errand. When he returned, he pulled a small white envelope from his jacket pocket and took out the contents. Two tickets to that evening’s Admirals game. First row behind the home team’s bench. They didn’t get any better than that. Feeling quite pleased with his offering, he tucked the tickets back into the envelope and slid them under Joanna’s office door. Now all he had to do was wait, again. But this time he could taste success.

It was almost 5pm and still no word from Joanna. MacGyver was worried. He checked the parking lot. Her car was gone. He muttered a mild oath under his breath and headed to the main entrance.

“Hey Carl,” he greeted the officer as he was finishing his shift.

“Hey Mac, how goes it?”

“Not sure. Did you by any chance see Joanna leave?”

“Sure did. In fact, she told me to give this to you.” Carl handed him a very familiar white envelope.

MacGyver gingerly opened the envelope, not quite sure what he expected to find. He peered inside and saw it filled with bits of paper. What the..? He tipped the envelope upside down to allow the contents to fall on Carl’s desk like pieces of confetti. “Oh no, she didn’t!” he exclaimed, not realizing he had said the words out loud.

“Didn’t what?” Carl asked, curiously looking over Mac’s shoulder.

“That stubborn, insufferable, cold-hearted woman tore up the hockey tickets I gave her!” Frustration made his head pound as anger burned in his stomach. “That’s it! I give up!” MacGyver threw his hands in the air. “Let her hide in her office and hate my guts! I don’t care anymore! I’m done!” Mac turned on his heel and left the building.

Carl watched him go, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. “That poor boy’s got it real bad,” he chuckled to himself as he locked up the school for the night.

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Joanna sat behind her desk, rubbing her throbbing temples. It was finally Friday. What’s more, it was a teacher work day which meant the students would be leaving at noon and the staff would follow shortly. Granted, the concept was to have the teachers stay and use the extra time to catch up or get ahead in their work, but most took the afternoon off. Officer Carl had asked if he could leave early to spend time with his kids and grandkids who were driving up from Chicago and Joanna had readily complied. Even Evelyn was leaving early. Joanna sighed. Maybe she should leave early as well. Who knew how exhausting avoiding one man could be? She hadn’t even had the energy to get dressed up today. She looked down at her lightweight pull-over, jeans and athletic shoes. She put her head in her hands and sighed. This nonsense with MacGyver had to stop.

As the hustle and bustle of the morning grew, Joanna remained steadfastly locked behind her office door reflecting on the last couple weeks. She had behaved so badly. Her initial anger and shock had dissipated rather quickly, and she found herself wanting to reach out to Mac on several occasions, but she always managed to talk herself out of it. It became more difficult for her to stand her ground when he went on the offensive. How she longed to share another take-out meal with him, enjoy the fragrant flowers he had sent, or attend a hockey game with him by her side. She had shed a tear with every rip she had made in those precious tickets until the paper was damp. To others, she hoped she appeared to be standing up for her principles. But she knew the truth. She had taken advantage of this rift in their friendship to push MacGyver away before he walked out on his own. In a few short weeks, she had allowed herself to believe that this attractive, intelligent, caring man actually cared about her. How could she have been so foolish! Though she had lived a sheltered life, she wasn’t naïve. MacGyver had traveled around the world and surely had left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, including Sam’s mother. She was determined to not be one of them. Except, she probably already was.

Joanna knew she couldn’t stay locked away forever, and to be honest, she missed spending time with the kids. Come Monday, she would resume her professional façade and treat MacGyver as she did the rest of the staff until his assignment was over and he went home to L.A. The dismissal bell startled her from her reverie. Evelyn poked her head in Joanna’s office to say good-bye and wish her a happy weekend with orders to enjoy the warm spring weather that had finally arrived. Carl buzzed her phone to let her know he was leaving for the day. Joanna promised herself she would leave, as well, just as soon as she finished inputting some data into her computer.

Twenty minutes later there was frantic pounding on Joanna’s office door followed by panicked calls of “Ms. Jo! Ms. Jo!”

With a surge of adrenaline, Joanna flew to her door and threw it open to find a tearful Jesse on the other side.

“Ms. Jo! You gotta help!” the girl wailed. “Something’s wrong with Mr. K.!”

“Jesse, calm down and tell me what’s happening,” Joanna said calmly, taking the girl by the shoulders.

“I think he’s dying! You have to come quick!” And with that Jesse took off running down the long corridor leaving Joanna no choice but to follow. All rational thought left her as they barreled through the stairway door, taking the steps two at a time. As they approached the science lab, Jesse hesitated, motioning for Joanna to go first. She stepped over the threshold and stopped, surveying the room and finding no one.

“Where is he?” she asked Jesse.

“Over there, on the floor behind his desk,” she pointed, her hand shaking.

Joanna started to rush over to the area Jesse had indicated, but halfway there she heard the classroom door close with a loud bang and the unmistakable sound of the deadbolt engaging. Joanna whipped around to find Jesse leveling the barrel of a handgun at her chest.

Joanna automatically raised her hands in a ‘don’t shoot’ gestured. Her mouth was dry, her legs weak, and her heart pounded rapidly, but she knew she had to remain calm.

“Where’s Mr. K.?” she asked Jesse as non-threateningly as possible.

The teen shrugged nonchalantly “Got me, last time I saw him he was headed for the parking lot.” Her voice was cold. Devoid of emotion.

Joanna locked gazes with Jesse. She had watched and read enough crime-dramas to know she had to keep the girl talking until she could find a chance to escape.

“Jesse, c’mon. Can’t we talk about this?” she asked, praying she could somehow keep the girl from shooting her.

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MacGyver decided to head home early since almost everyone else was gone. As he was making his way back to his office he encountered Ms. Candy, the bubbly English teacher, teetering toward the exit in her stilettoes. He rolled his eyes. “Bye Candy!” he called to her.

She turned around at the sound of her name. “Oh, good-bye Mac! Is everything Okay with Joanna?”

Good grief. Had they become grist for the high school gossip mill? He decided to play dumb.

“What do you mean?” he ventured.

“I was just coming out of the teachers’ lounge when I saw Joanna and Jesse running down the hall.”

MacGyver’s pulse kicked up a notch. “Where were they going?”

“Who knows? Maybe one of the lab rats got loose. Anyway, have a great weekend!” And with that she was gone.

MacGyver knew something was very wrong. He felt it in his gut. He had to find Joanna and Jesse, but how? As far as he knew there was no one else in the building, and if there was trouble, searching room by room would waste precious time. He then recalled the P.A. system in Evelyn’s office. If his memories from his own high school days served him correctly, the speakers worked both ways allowing principals to listen in on classes from their offices.

MacGyver hurried to Evelyn’s office and tried the doorknob. Locked as he expected. He dug in his pants pocket for his Swiss army knife. He had little use for it lately, but still carried it with him constantly. He found the appropriate tool and proceeded to pick the flimsy lock easily. He then made his way to the P.A. system, taking inventory of the controls. Each toggle was labeled by room. If Joanna or Jesse were talking, he should be able to locate them. He started flipping the switches one by one, beginning with the rooms on the lower level. Silence. He started on the second floor. When he turned on the switch for the science lab he heard female voices. He let out a sigh of relief that was incredibly short lived when he heard Joanna’s voice.

“Jesse, put down the gun and we’ll talk about whatever is bothering you.”

Good girl, stay calm, keep her talking.

“No!” Jesse snapped. “You’re not good enough for him! You make him sad!”

MacGyver listened anxiously, trying to get a better handle on the situation while at the same time trying to think of a way to diffuse it. Jesse was unstable. He had to be careful.

“Who Jesse?” came a steady voice. “Who do I make sad?”

“Mr. Mac, that’s who!” Jesse spat at Joanna.

“Jesse, Mr. Mac and I—“

“Shut up!” The teen was in a rage now. “At first I was jealous, ya know? He was always walking you to your car or talking about going over to his place. But then you changed. You stopped talking to him and that made him sad. He doesn’t need you! He needs me!!”

MacGyver had heard enough. He had to get to the science lab and subdue Jesse, hopefully without hurting her. But how? From what Joanna said, she was being held at gun point. He’d have to figure out something on the way. He sprinted down the corridor and up the stairs, slowing when he neared the science room so Jesse wouldn’t hear his approach. He scanned the hallway, looking for anything he could use as a weapon or diversion. Mac’s eyes lit upon a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall. A plan began to form, but he had to get into the classroom first and surely Jesse had locked the door. He wondered how much longer Joanna could keep the delusional girl occupied. He pulled the extinguisher off the wall and decided to gamble and take the direct approach. He knocked loudly on the door.

“Jessica, it’s Mac, let me in,” he urged.

“No!” she shouted. “You just want to keep me from hurting Joanna!”

“That’s not true, Jesse,” he called through the door. “I don’t care about Joanna, I care about you!” He winced at the lie he was forced to tell. “If you hurt Joanna you’ll be taken away from me. Please don’t let that happen! I can help you if you’ll let me in,” he promised.

He heard movement and held his breath, holding the fire extinguisher behind his back. He heard the locks click open. Progress. He reached out with one hand and turned the knob slowly. He gingerly inched the door open knowing he might only have mere seconds to assess the situation and take action. He entered the room to find Jesse and Joanna facing off against each other several feet apart. Jesse’s hand trembled as she tightened her grip on the gun and Joanna continued to stare down her assailant. MacGyver used this opportunity to gently pull the pin from the extinguisher and slip it into his back pocket.

“Put down the gun, Jessica,” Mac said evenly.

“No! She has to die!”

MacGyver chanced a glance at Joanna. Her jaw was set, and her eyes conveyed determination. She wouldn’t go down without a fight.

“No one has to die,” MacGyver tried to convince Jesse. “I already told you, I don’t care about Joanna. Let her go so we can be together.”

The gun Jesse was holding wavered slightly, and Mac knew he had to act now if everyone was going to get out of here unharmed. In one swift movement, he swung the fire extinguisher from behind his back, aimed the nozzle between the two females, and squeezed the discharge lever slowly, creating a cloud of CO2. Jesse began to cough and he bolted toward her, aware of Joanna running past him toward the door. He quickly approached Jesse from behind. Reaching out to grab her wrist, he increased the pressure until she dropped the weapon. He then wrapped his arms around her, pinning her own arms to her side. She screamed and kicked and fought against his hold until she had no more fight left in her. She began to cry and sank to the floor, taking MacGyver with her, now nothing more than a puddle of teenage angst.

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As soon as Joanna was sure Jesse’s vision had been obscured by MacGyver’s smoke screen, she bolted for the door and ran to her office. She lunged for the phone and dialed 911. It seemed like hours until her call was answered, but in reality it was only a few seconds. Joanna explained the situation to the dispatcher as calmly and succinctly as possible and then stayed on the line as directed. She could only hope that MacGyver had been able to disarm Jesse before either of them got hurt.

A long while later, Joanna sat on the back step of an ambulance. An EMT checked her vitals. When the police had arrived on scene, Joanna had led them to the classroom where they found MacGyver looking up at them as he comforted the broken girl. Joanna willed her eyes to make contact with his and her breath caught at what she saw there. Remnants of fear lingered, but an astounding gentleness dominated accompanied with a gentle smile. Before she could respond, an officer moved in to secure Jesse and lead her away as two other officers swept in and took Joanna and MacGyver in separate directions to give their statements and answer questions about the incident.

Joanna was arguing with the EMT’s about her condition when MacGyver approached.

“I am absolutely fine!” Joanna’s voice rang out clearly. “I do not need to go to the hospital!”

MacGyver smiled at the beleaguered technicians and motioned for them to give her some space. When they were out of sight, Mac settled himself next to Joanna.

“I’m fine,” she replied before he could ask. “I’m just a little shook up.”

“That was quite an ordeal you went through. You stayed calm and did all the right things,” he told her, wondering if his pride for her was evident on his face.

“Thanks,” she said quietly.

MacGyver noticed her limbs begin to tremble. He reached for a blanket the EMT’s had offered her earlier which she had quickly discarded.

“Here, put this around you. You’re going into shock,” he explained matter-of-factly. He expected Joanna to fight him, but when she didn’t, he helped her tuck the blanket around her and then held her close to his chest, pleased when she didn’t pull away.

“We need to talk,” she informed him weakly.

“Yeah, but not now. You need to go home and get some rest.”

Joanna moved her head so she was looking up at him, but she remained in his embrace.

“There’s a park a few blocks from here. Meet me there tomorrow? 2 o’clock by the boathouse?” she asked tentatively.

“I’ll be there,” he promised, as a female police officer approached.

“Ma’am,” she addressed Joanna, “do you have a way to get home?”

“She most certainly does,” came Evelyn’s authoritative reply.

The officer silently slipped away as Evelyn approached the duo.

“The police called me,” she explained before either of them could ask. “You both Okay?”

“Yes ma’am,” they replied in unison.

“I fear this situation is far from resolved, but we’ll deal with that later. Right now let’s all go home and try to forget about it for a while,” Evelyn commanded.

Joanna nodded and slowly stood up, the blanket she had snuggled in dropped to the ground. She tested her legs, making sure they would support her before she walked with Evelyn to her car. Before sliding into the driver’s seat, the short woman turned to MacGyver who had followed a few paces behind them in case Joanna needed his support.

“Well done, Mr. MacGyver,” the spunky administrator praised. “Well done.”




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: 25 November 2018 - 07:42 PM                                    
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Me reading about all the tricks Mac tried to cheer up Joanna: Mac you idiot, it's going to take more than that. dry.gif

Me reading about Joanna's feelings towards Mac now: Joanna, you idiot. doh.gif

Me reading the ending parts: Jesse you idiot. sad.gif

Seriously, I love this so far, looking forward to the next chapter wink.gif

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

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uniquelyjas
Posted: 25 November 2018 - 08:40 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 25 November 2018 - 07:42 PM)


Seriously, I love this so far, looking forward to the next chapter wink.gif

Glad to hear it!! There are plenty more chapters to come!! Can't promise that no one will be an idiot, though!

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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