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Continuum, Mac's story continues 2 1/2 yrs. later
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Persona non grata
Posted: 19 December 2018 - 07:49 PM                                    
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I'm totally willing to buy that Mac's thought-process on "how much is enough" was just "eh, one of everything will probably do it."

Also, the visual of health-conscious MacGyver wandering around with a literal armful of junk food sounds hilarious.

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 20 December 2018 - 06:00 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 19 December 2018 - 07:49 PM)
I'm totally willing to buy that Mac's thought-process on "how much is enough" was just "eh, one of everything will probably do it."

Also, the visual of health-conscious MacGyver wandering around with a literal armful of junk food sounds hilarious.

Thanks! And Damon is a growing teenage boy so they can definitely eat...especially if someone else is paying!! LOL! And Mac knows that sprouts and bean curd won't cut it:)

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: 28 December 2018 - 04:37 PM                                    
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Chapter 18: A MacGyver Wedding

June 1, 1995

Dear Sam,

It was good to hear from you. At least I know you’re alive and kicking. So much has happened since I last wrote. I had a set-back and am still on light duty at Challengers, but let me start where I left off last time…

MacGyver glanced guiltily at the stack of resumes patiently awaiting his attention. He pushed the files a little further away. Man, he hated paperwork! It was the first day of summer vacation, and the next few months were going to be anything but a vacation given the commitment he had made to Challengers. Surely no one could fault him for taking a break and writing a letter to his son half a world away.

A couple hours later, after a little writing and much procrastinating, MacGyver settled on the couch, resumes at his side, ready to review them and separate them out into “Yes” and “No” piles. Once he had sorted out the applications, Mac sighed heavily. The ‘No’ pile was twice the size of the ‘Yes’ pile. Oddly enough, the only Challengers non-faculty employee who had reapplied was Officer Carl Wilson. Mac was glad to see that. He would happily rehire Carl. Mac would give him a call first thing Monday morning.

A car horn pierced the otherwise quiet afternoon. MacGyver ignored it at first, but when it continued to blare incessantly Mac went to look out his front window to find the cause of the ruckus in his usually peaceful neighborhood. He could not believe his eyes when he saw a blue and white 1957 Chevy Nomad station wagon parked in front of his Jeep. His Nomad which he had left behind in L.A. when he made the temporary move to Wisconsin. He’d recognize it anywhere! Like a kid on Christmas morning, MacGyver rushed out of his apartment building to the classic vehicle. Pete sat in the passenger seat with ex-wife Connie behind the wheel. In the back seat sat Jack Dalton grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“What are you guys doing here?” Mac asked, thoroughly delighted to see his long-time friends. “Why didn’t you call and tell me you were coming? And why did you bring the Nomad?”

“Whoa! Slow down there, Kemosabe,” Jack instructed his childhood friend as he climbed from the car. “One question at a time!”

The two men exchanged brief but heartfelt hugs before MacGyver turned to see Pete and Connie standing next to each other on the sidewalk. He caught both of them in a large embrace before herding everyone through his building’s lobby and up to his apartment. Once the initial excitement died down and everyone found a seat, MacGyver posed his original questions once again.

“What are you guys doing here?”

“Can’t a guy drive two thousand miles over hill and vale to visit his best amigo?” Jack asked.

“No Jack,” Mac answered succinctly. “Especially not you who would fly in a tin can before spending three days on the road.”

“You wound me, Mac,” Jack feigned offense placing his hand over his heart.

“Perhaps Pete should explain,” Connie suggested.

The blind man cleared his throat before turning in the direction of MacGyver’s voice.

“Connie and I decided to move to Chicago,” Pete explained matter-of-factly.

“What?! Why?! Pete, you hate cold weather!”

“Yeah, well, certain ‘higher-ups’ at Phoenix suggested my consultant skills would be put to better use in a, how shall I say, smaller division.”

“I’m sorry, Pete,” Mac replied solemnly. “But what about Connie’s travel agency?”

“It was getting to be too much for me,” the ever-stylish yet down-to-earth lady confessed. “I hired a few strong managers. It’s in good hands. Besides, I could always open an expansion office,” she smiled.

“Well that’s just great,” MacGyver smiled, “But why’d you stop here?”

“That should be obvious, Mac. I have a dear friend in the area,” Pete replied. “Besides,” he continued, “I’d really like to go over to Challengers, check things out, you know?”

“Yeah, I know Pete. But what about Jack?”

“What about Jack?” Jack asked as he shot MacGyver a look.

“Well, that’s where it gets a little…complicated,” Pete hedged.

“Then could someone please uncomplicated it for me?” Mac asked no one in particular.

“Pete and Connie are getting remarried and I’m the best man!” Jack announced proudly.

Three pairs of eyes pinned him to his seat. “What?” he asked innocently. “He said to uncomplicated it!”

“That’s great, Pete!” MacGyver exclaimed. “I’m really happy for the both of you, but why didn’t you tell me? You know I would have wanted to be there, be your best man.”

Pete shrugged. “Connie and I were just going to have a civil ceremony at the courthouse back in L.A. With you way out here, we asked Jack to stand up in your place.”

“In his place?!” Jack interjected. “Pete, I’m hurt!”

“What made you change your plans?” Mac inquired as he struggled to make sense of everything he was hearing.

“Can you believe there’s a waiting list at the courthouse?” Pete laughed. “And then Phoenix wanted me out here sooner than planned.”

“Plus, our house was only on the market a few days before we found the perfect buyers,” Connie added. “So we decided to pack up and spend some time here until our house in Chicago is ready. It should only be a week or so. Pete and I made reservations at a nearby hotel. We plan to drive down to Chicago and get married next weekend. Of course, you’re invited.

MacGyver shook his head as if the action would help the pieces of this puzzle fall into place.

“But how does Jack and the Nomad fit into all of this? And who’s taking care of my place while Jack’s here?!”

“Allow me,” Jack said as he got up from his chair and took center stage in Mac’s small living room. “Phoenix is anxious to get the Jeep back, and we thought you’d like to have your old wheels back.” MacGyver nodded. He couldn’t argue about that. “And Connie needed someone to co-pilot that boat for her since Pete isn’t the best map reader around, no offense Pete.”

“What about my place, Jack?” MacGyver was afraid of the answer, but he needed to know.

“I have some friends looking after it,” Jack replied nonchalantly. “Don’t worry. Ole Uncle Jack has everything under control.”

“That’s what worries me,” Mac groaned. “By the way,” he began cautiously, “I don’t remember hearing where you plan to stay.”

“Well right here, of course,” Jack stated, motioning to the couch. “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

XXXXX

MacGyver plodded into his kitchen Monday morning, poured himself a glass of orange juice, and willed his eyes to stay open.

“Sleep well, Compadre?” Jack asked with a grin as he folded his blanket and smoothed imaginary wrinkles from the couch cushions.

“No, Jack, as a matter of fact I didn’t.” Mac tipped his head to one side to add emphasis.

“Sorry to hear that. Was your head bothering you again?”

“No, Jack. It wasn’t my head. It was you!” MacGyver snapped, not bothering to ask how Jack had found out about his headaches. Word apparently traveled fast in his small circle of friends.

“Moi? What did I do?!”

“You snore, Jack. You snore. Loudly!”

“Well there are just some things a guy can’t help, ya know, like—“

MacGyver held up a hand to cut his friend off. “And when are you going to tell me why you’re really here?!”

“I already told you. I helped drive the Nomad and I’m here for the wedding.”

Mac squinted at his friend. “That’s it? Nothing else?”

“Like what?” Jack asked naively.

“I don’t know!” MacGyver threw up his hands. “Some sort of scheme, a shady business venture, a buried treasure…Aha!”

“Aha what?”

“Your left eye twitched when I said ‘buried treasure’,” Mac observed.

“So, maybe there’s an eyelash in it or something,” Jack attempted to explain.

“Aw, c’mon Jack! Everyone who knows you knows your left eye twitches when you’re lyin’!”

“Alright, alright! I just happened to be doing some, um, research on the area and,” Jack’s voice quickened with excitement, “there’s an old abandoned school and convent between here and Chicago. Legend says there are tunnels underneath leading out to Lake Michigan that were used by gangsters and bootleggers from Chicago. Maybe even pirates!”

“Great, Jack. Next your gonna tell me it’s haunted.”

“Well, since you mentioned it…”

“Stop it, Jack! There’s no such thing as ghosts and you know it.” MacGyver turned on his heel and headed back to his bedroom to dress for the day.

XXXXX

Mac pulled the Nomad into his normal parking space at Challengers to find Pete and Connie in their rental car already waiting for him and Jack. He led them into the building and called out for Evelyn and Joanna. He had seen their cars in the lot so he knew they were around somewhere. They both came from the direction of their offices.

“Peter!” Evelyn exclaimed when she saw her old friend and immediately wrapped him in a warm hug.

“And Connie!” The two women hugged each other and gushed about how good the other one looked.

“This is my friend Jack,” MacGyver motioned to the man next to him.

“Ah, Pete’s told me a lot about you!” Evelyn teased and she wrapped him in a hug as well. Jack’s eyes bulged out and for once he was rendered speechless. Mac almost laughed, but his attention was now on Joanna who had hung back in the shadows.

“Joanna, come and meet MacGyver’s friends,” Evelyn ordered with an encouraging smile.

Jo stepped up to the small group and stood in front of Pete.

“It’s nice to finally meet you, Mr. Thornton,” she said politely, reaching out to take the hand he offered.

“Likewise. And please call me ‘Pete’. MacGyver has told me a lot about you.”

Mac watched as her cheeks turned pinked.

“And I’m Connie, Pete’s soon-to-be-no-longer-ex-wife.”

Before Joanna could shake her hand, Connie was hugging her as if they had known each other for years. MacGyver let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding as he saw Jo relax in the embrace of her new friend.

“What did you say?” Evelyn demanded.

Connie answered with a warm laugh. “Pete and I are getting remarried in Chicago next weekend. Of course you’re both invited!”

Before the women could respond Jack approached Mac, cleared his throat and adjusted his shirt collar.

“Joanna,” he said reluctantly. “This is my friend, Jack.”

“Enchante, senorita,” Jack crooned, taking up her hand and placing a kiss on the back.

MacGyver winced inwardly. Women either giggled or cringed at a Jake Dalton greeting, but Joanna did neither.

“Nice to meet you,” she said in a professional yet friendly tone. Her eyes danced with amusement as she gently removed her hand and casually wiped it on the back of her pants leg. MacGyver wanted to laugh, but he controlled himself, not wanting to hurt Jack’s feelings.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once the appropriate small talk had been dispensed with, Evelyn and Joanna headed back to their offices while MacGyver took his friends on a tour of the school, detailing the projects he hoped to accomplish this summer. While the men discussed the details of the undertakings, Connie slipped away to search out Evelyn.

Evelyn and Joanna were in the administrator’s office when Connie knocked lightly on the door. The short red-head got up and met her at the threshold to give her another hug and congratulate her on her upcoming remarriage before insisting that the bride-to-be take a seat in the visitor’s chair next to Jo.

“I meant what I said before,” Connie reiterated looking back and forth between the two other women. “I really do want you both to come to Chicago for the wedding. The boys decided that both Mac and Jack will serve as best men so I need two wonderful ladies to be my maids of honor. Please say you’ll come.”

Evelyn readily agreed, but Joanna remained silent. Sensing the other women looking at her she replied shyly, “I really am flattered, but we only just met. I don’t want to intrude.”

Connie let out a laugh and then sighed. “I guess my invitation may have seemed abrupt. It’s just that, with everything Pete has told me about you from his reports from MacGyver, I feel like I already know you!”

Joanna was still uncertain, thinking of several excuses to extricate her from this sudden commitment as she glanced at Evelyn, seeking guidance. Her boss gave her a discreet nod and Jo struggled to set aside her discomfort and agreed to the gracious woman’s request.

“Wonderful!” Connie exclaimed. “I know you’re all very busy, but perhaps we could meet for lunch one day so I can give you all the details and we can coordinate outfits.”

“That sounds lovely,” Evelyn assured her as Joanna’s organized mind revolted at the sudden upheaval in her well-scheduled week, but she nodded her ascent as well.

Wednesday was sunny, hot and humid. The kind of day Joanna loved…when she didn’t have to work. Dressing professionally yet coolly was always a challenge. She had two interviews scheduled for this morning before her and Evelyn were to meet Connie for lunch. MacGyver, Jack, and some interns from the Chicago Phoenix office planned to spend the day thoroughly cleaning and repainting the recreation room. Of course, Mac had included Pete in the day’s activities insisting that a person didn’t have to see dirt in order to clean it.

Before Joanna knew it, Evelyn and Connie were standing outside her door waiting to go to lunch. They dined at a nearby restaurant, enjoying the climate controlled atmosphere while Connie laid out the plans for the upcoming weekend. They were scheduled to leave for Chicago Friday evening to hopefully miss rush hour traffic. Two hotel rooms had been reserved: One for the men and one for the women. Connie had planned well, but that was to be expected given her line of work. Upon returning to Challengers, the three women went to check on the progress the men had made in their absence. They only went as far as the rec room doorway to avoid getting splattered with paint or cleaning products, but even from there Joanna could feel the stifling air hanging in the room. Despite having opened some small windows, there was no cooling breeze to be had.

Joanna’s gaze immediately sought out MacGyver, and the sight of him made her body go rigid and her cheeks turn hot. Joanna was used to seeing him in loose fitting henleys, baggy colorful shirts and the occasional suit, but today he was wearing his usual jeans paired with a black tank top that displayed his broad chest, strong shoulders, and well-developed upper arms. His smooth, taut skin glistened with moisture while his slightly-too-long sweaty hair clung to his long, sturdy neck and she fought the urge to go wipe his dripping bangs out of his eyes. She usually didn’t notice these things, but since she had met Mac, her life had been anything but usual.

“Enjoying the view?” Evelyn asked, causing Joanna to gasp in surprise. Before she could respond she heard Connie address Evelyn.

“Appears she’s doing a little window shopping,” the usually prim and proper woman observed with a smirk.

“Hmmm,” Evelyn replied as if Jo wasn’t standing there. “But you know the trouble with window shopping?” she directed her question to Connie.

“Yep. You never actually buy anything!” And then the two of them giggled like school girls while Joanna wished for a sink hole to appear and swallow her whole.

Suddenly Connie’s hand was on her shoulder. “Don’t be embarrassed dear,” she implored. “We were only having some fun with you. Mac is a very attractive man, both inside and out. I’d be worried if you didn’t stop and appreciate that every now and again.” Connie smiled again, but this time it was with genuine affection.

Joanna returned the smile, politely excused herself, and headed toward her office, but not before overhearing Connie ask Evelyn about the status of her and MacGyver’s relationship. Joanna hurried away, not wanting to hear the answer because she, herself, wasn’t sure what the answer was.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The week flew by quickly for MacGyver. Between conducting interviews, working on the rec room, and catching up with Pete and Jack he had hardly seen Joanna at all. Therefore he was pleased when he saw her pull up in front of his apartment building Friday evening. He had genuinely missed her and looked forward to spending time with her. It had been decided, by Connie and Evelyn, that Jack would drive the elder members of the wedding party down to Chicago in the roomy Nomad while Mac and Jo took the Jeep which had been deemed too uncomfortable for ‘old’ people. MacGyver had been an agent too long, and a bachelor even longer, to know a set-up when he saw one, but for once he didn’t mind. Their efforts were so obvious it was amusing.

As they stowed their luggage and climbed into their respective vehicles, Mac felt Jo’s gaze boring into him.

“You got a haircut,” she said, as if he didn’t know.

It was really just a trim, but MacGyver was glad she noticed.

“Yeah, it’s my wedding present to Pete and Connie. Along with agreeing to be trussed up in a suit and tie.” Truthfully, Mac would do whatever it took to make the Thornton’s day perfect and memorable.

Companionable silence reigned in the Jeep as they made the short road-trip south. Normally this wouldn’t bother MacGyver, but a niggling question gnawed at him and he thought perhaps Joanna might have an answer.

“Jack was telling me about an abandoned convent on the shores of Lake Michigan that might be haunted.”

“Yeah, St. Mary’s School for Girls in Prairie Point. My great-grandma worked there.”

MacGyver glanced at her, his curiosity rising.

“Have you ever been there?”

“A long time ago. I found it pretty creepy.”

“Do you believe in ghosts?” MacGyver meant to tease her, but was surprised by her answer.

“I don’t believe in them. But I don’t not believe in them, either,” she replied.

“Do you know anything about the tunnels?”

Mac saw Joanna’s head snap toward him. “Jack knows about the tunnels?”

“You sound surprised.”

“There are several widely known stories about the place being haunted. Many of which have been debunked, by the way. But it’s hard to find information about the tunnels. If they even exist.”

“How did you learn about them?” he asked.

“Local rumors,” she shrugged. “You can supposedly access them from the chapel, but I also heard the entrances have been blocked. Is Jack planning on going ghost-hunting?”

“More like treasure hunting, but yeah.”

“Are going with him?” she asked with a grin.

“No! Absolutely not! No way, never! Well…maybe. Yeah, probably.”

Joanna laughed out loud.

It was ten o’clock that night when the small group arrived at the high rise luxury hotel located on Michigan Avenue just a few blocks from the lake. MacGyver slid his keycard through the electronic lock, allowing Pete and Jack to enter as he surveyed the well-appointed room which offered two double beds and a sleeper sofa along with a microwave and mini-fridge. Mac assumed the set-up was the same for the women’s room across the hall. Tomorrow night Pete and Connie would be sharing the honeymoon suite before settling into their new home Sunday morning. Jack had offered to help the couple move in and they were quick to accept an extra body to assist with the onerous task, insisting he stay in their guest room for as long as he needed. Mac shook his head. Did they have any idea what they were in for? MacGyver would have liked to have stayed and helped his friends, but he was technically still on assignment and needed to return to Milwaukee and Challengers.

Early Saturday morning Mac entered the lobby area to take advantage of the free breakfast buffet. He found Joanna already sitting at a table browsing through a magazine, half-way through her meal. After grabbing a glass of juice, a yogurt and a banana, MacGyver made his way towards her.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” he asked.

Joanna looked up, the look in her eyes turning from surprise to pleasure when she saw him.

“What would you do if I said it was?” She asked cheekily.

“I’d have to go to Plan B,” he replied.

“Which would be…?

“Don’t know. Haven’t thought of it yet.”

Joanna laughed and motioned for MacGyver to join her. Sitting across from her, he noticed her pale skin and drooping eyelids.

“Sleep well?” he asked, though her face had already give him the answer.

“No,” she grumbled. He cocked and eyebrow. “Turns out Evelyn snores like a chainsaw. There are some things you just don’t need to know about your friends.”

Mac grunted. “Tell me about it. Both Jack and Pete kept me up half the night. When I left, they were still sleeping like babies.”

Having finished her breakfast, Joanna closed the magazine and began to rise. “I better get back to the room,” she told him. “Connie has Pete’s credit card and insists we do some damage to the Miracle Mile before the ceremony this afternoon.” She headed towards the elevators, soon out of sight.

At 3pm there was a knock on the door. MacGyver opened it, taken aback by the woman standing there. He was used to seeing Joanna in professional as well as casual attire, but nothing had prepared him for this. She stood in front of him wearing a light aqua sundress that gracefully draped her figure, showing it off to perfection. The skirt flared slightly, the hem falling just below her knees and flitting around her legs with the slightest movement. He couldn’t help noticing the tie he had been struggling with for the last ten minutes was the same lovely blue as her dress. The tie Connie had insisted he wear. Why hadn’t she just given him a sign to put on his back that said ‘I’m with her’?

“And they say women are never ready on time,” she quipped, crossing her arms in front of her and leaning on the doorjamb as she balanced on high-heeled beige sandals.

“There’s a first time for everything,” Mac smiled back just now noticing Evelyn standing off to the side. The shorter woman wore a peach colored sheath that matched Jack’s tie, and behind her Connie wore a light beige skirt suit, a bouquet of summer flowers already in hand.

“Here, let me help you with that,” Joanna said, causing MacGyver to step back as she and the other two women entered the room. Jo reached up and began straightening and tightening Mac’s tie when Jack emerged from the bathroom.

“MacGyver,” he scolded. “Why didn’t you tell me we had three lovely visitors?”

The women snickered and soon the small party was standing in front of the hotel, hailing taxis. As with the room, the women road in one car and the men in the other, their destination the Cook County Courthouse. Upon their arrival, they were escorted into a small conference room and greeted by the judge who was to perform the ceremony. He and Pete had been good friends back in the day so the judge had arranged to marry his friend outside of normal hours when there would be less of a crowd. The judge donned his black robe and instructed Evelyn and Joanna to stand next to Connie and stationed MacGyver and Jack next to Pete. He then opened the portfolio he carried and began to recite the age-old words that would bond Pete and Connie together for the rest of their lives…again.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…” Mac’s mind drifted. He recalled the way Joanna had looked, standing in his hotel room doorway, her face glowing and eyes sparkling as if she hadn’t a care in the world. He remembered the soft touch of her hands as she deftly fixed his tie as if she had been doing it all her life. He wondered what it would feel like if it was Joanna he was standing next to in front of the judge, making forever promises to each other. A forearm to his gut jerked him from his reverie.

“Wha?”

“The ring,” Pete hissed.

Fully present now, MacGyver began patting his suitcoat in search of the small velvet pouch Pete had given him for safe-keeping until this exact moment. When he finally pulled the ring from an inside pocket, the room gave a collective sigh and the ceremony continued.

“I knew Pete should’ve given me the ring,” Jack complained as he elbowed Mac in the ribs. Mac frowned and focused hard on the rest of the proceedings.

After rings and kisses were exchanged and the proper documents signed and witnessed, the happy group headed back to the hotel’s premier restaurant for an intimate celebratory dinner. The Thornton’s were picking up the tab and everyone was under strict instructions to order whatever they wanted, regardless of cost. Drinks were served and toasts were made. Joanna and Evelyn each indulged in a glass of white wine while MacGyver ordered sparkling water and the newlyweds sipped champagne. Jack took advantage of the full bar and free liquor.

Dinner was a delightful affair with scrumptious food and even more enjoyable company. After being escorted to a large, round table, Connie instructed MacGyver to sit between Evelyn and Joanna and he happily obliged. Conversation flowed easily and there was much laughter and good-hearted teasing. Even though Joanna didn’t have a history with the group, she managed to hold her own and join in the happy discussions. This pleased Mac perhaps more than it should have, but he had sensed how apprehensive she was about the trip and he was glad she had been able to relax and allow his friends to accept her.

They had just finished a decadent chocolate dessert when a small band stepped onto a dais at the front of the dining room beside a small dance floor. After briefly tuning their instruments they started playing a slow waltz. MacGyver saw Pete whisper something in Connie’s ear that made her giggle, then the two were off to the dance floor.

“What’s wrong?” Joanna leaned over and whispered in Mac’s ear, obviously seeing the confusion on his face.

“I didn’t know Pete could dance,” he replied as he watched the couple in awe.

Soon the band segued into a more upbeat tune. Connie guided Pete back to the table as younger couples made their way to the floor. Next it was Jack who leaned over toward Evelyn.

“Excuse us,” she offered politely as Jack led her toward the other dancers. Joanna’s mouth fell open.

“What’s wrong?” Mac whispered in her ear.

“I didn’t know Evelyn could dance,” she replied.

“First snoring, then dancing…this is turning out to be quite an enlightening trip,” Mac observed as Joanna giggled softly.

Jack returned Evelyn to her chair as the band launched into a well-known swing dance number.

Jack bowed to Joanna. “And now it is your turn, mademoiselle.”

“Oh, I don’t really dance,” she hedged.

“Neither do I, but what the heck!” Jack exclaimed as he reached for her hand.

“She said she doesn’t dance,” MacGyver stated firmly, glaring at his friend.

Joanna watched the two men. Jack still had possession of her hand.

“Well, I always did like this song,” she relented. “I guess one dance can’t hurt.” And off she went with Jack.

Mac felt his hackles rise even as he willed himself not to be jealous of his friend. After all, he could just as easily be dancing with Jo now if he had bothered to ask instead of sitting like a bump on a log. He focused on taking calming breaths as he watched the duo attempt to execute the basic steps of the jitterbug, laughing when their efforts failed to produce the desired result. Honestly, Jack was one of his best friends. He should be glad that Joanna was getting along with him. After all, Jack Dalton tended to be an acquired taste.

The lively tune turned into a slow, rhythmic ballad and Jack pulled Joanna close. That did it! MacGyver quickly got up from his chair and made his way across the dance floor. He tapped Jack on the shoulder.

“Get your own girl,” Jack mumbled as he attempted to bury his head in Joanna’s neck.

MacGyver poked Jack in the shoulder. Hard.

“All right, all right, she’s all yours,” Jack said, releasing Joanna and backing away a bit unsteadily.

Joanna walked into Mac’s arms and they began gently swaying to the music in perfect rhythm with each other.

“I’m sorry about Jack,” Mac murmured softly.

“No problem, I could’ve handled him,” Joanna assured.

MacGyver pulled back so he could look her in the eye. “I’m sure you could’ve,” he smiled, before once again holding her near until the song ended.

It was 2am and MacGyver sat on the edge of his bed, dropped his head in his hands and groaned. The only thing worse than a snoring Jack was a snoring intoxicated Jack. Mac pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe a walk would help. He was reaching for his jacket by the door when he heard a muffled noise in the hallway. He looked out the peephole and saw Joanna sneaking out of her room across the way. Mac quickly opened his door, the noise catching her attention, and joined her in the hall.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked.

“No,” she said with a yawn. “I guess I’m still kinda wound up from this evening. And Evelyn’s snoring again. What about you?”

“Jack.”

“Ah.”

“Where were you headed?” he asked, noticing she was dressed as well.

“I thought I’d go down to the lobby. See what’s on TV or look through a magazine or something.”

“I was gonna go for a walk, get some fresh air. Wanna join me?”

“You’re going for a walk in the middle of the night in downtown Chicago?” She shot him a look that said he was one beaker short of a chemistry set.

“I heard this was the good side of town,” he assured her with a grin as they left the building and turned east, heading to Lake Michigan. MacGyver was surprised at the number of people still meandering the streets at this hour.

“Did you have a good time today?” he asked.

“Sure. It was very nice.”

“You don’t sound too enthusiastic,” Mac observed.

Joanna sighed. “I’m sorry. The whole day was lovely. I just find weddings in general to be rather depressing?”

MacGyver remained silent, giving her time to find the words to elaborate.

“Kinda gets me thinking about what I’m missing out on. I guess that sounds pretty selfish.”

“Not really,” Mac declared. They had reached the paved path that ran parallel to the lake. Lights of distant freighters twinkled in the darkness and the full moon shone brightly on the water.

“How come you’ve never gotten married?” Joanna asked bluntly, literally stopping MacGyver in his tracks. This had to be one of the most direct questions she had ever asked him.

“I thought we already talked about this?”

“You told me why you didn’t marry Sam’s mother. There must have been other women in your life you were serious about.”

“And how can you be so sure?” he smirked, trying to lighten the mood.

“Trust me, Mac. In my experience, a guy like you has to work really hard at staying single. I’d extol your virtues, but I don’t want you to get a big head.”

“There were a couple girls,” MacGyver admitted. “But it was a long time ago.”

“What happened?”

“One or the other of us would leave because we couldn’t handle the thought of being tied down. We wanted freedom, adventure. I guess the easy answer is that I’m afraid of commitment.”

“What’s the hard answer?” Joanna asked quietly.

Mac sighed. “I guess I’m afraid of making a mistake. Of letting someone down that I care about, having someone I love get hurt.”

Joanna simply nodded as a visible shiver went up her spine. By now they had abandoned the concrete path and were walking side-by-side on the beach. The sand was still warm, but the breeze off the lake had significantly cooled the air.

“You’re cold. Here,” Mac said, slipping out of his lightweight jacket and draping it around her shoulders before she could protest. “So, what’s your story?” he asked gently.

“I always saw myself as a wife and stay-at-home mom. I guess I thought it would just magically happen. One day I looked around to see all my friends married with children and realized that life had happened without me. By the time I understood what I should have done it was too late.”

MacGyver reached down and grabbed Joanna’s hand, bringing her to a halt.

“Don’t say that,” he said brusquely, turning to look at her. “It’s not too late for you. And hopefully not for me, either,” he added with a crooked smile.

Her brown eyes searched his as if asking for a promise that this was true. The vulnerability he saw there was his undoing.

MacGyver dipped his head slightly, his gaze zeroing in on her soft, pink lips. He hesitated, giving Joanna a chance to back away when she wordlessly raised her face to his, apparently eager to accept what he offered. Cupping her face in his large hands he carefully lowered his mouth to hers until their lips met in a gentle, soft caress. He didn’t rush, but he didn’t linger. His heart fluttered as if he was a schoolboy kissing a girl for the first time. He would readily admit that he had kissed his fair share of women, but he couldn’t recall any of them feeling exactly like this. Maybe it was because he had never kissed someone exactly like this before.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Rise and shine, sleepy head!” Evelyn crowed as she entered the room with a disposable breakfast tray laden with various fresh fruit and muffins.

“’Morning,” Joanna mumbled from under the heavy down duvet. It had been nearly 4am Sunday morning by the time she and MacGyver arrived back at the hotel. She had kicked off her shoes and crawled back into bed fully clothed, but sleep was elusive as her mind replayed, in vivid detail, every word, every touch from their walk on the beach even as she berated herself for overthinking it. But that’s what she did. She overthought…everything! Maybe, just this once, she could let things play out. She had just been kissed by an incredible man. If it went no further it was still more than she could have hoped for.

Joanna threw back the bed clothes and reached for her shoes. When Evelyn turned to find her fully dressed she cocked her head and furrowed her brow.

“I went for a little walk last night,” Joanna offered hesitantly.

Evelyn nodded and went back to arranging their breakfast. “I heard you come sneaking in early this morning like a wayward teenager and wondered what you’d been up to.”

Joanna smiled to herself as she wondered how her boss would react if she said she’d been kissing MacGyver.

“You should know better,” Evelyn continued. “It’s not safe to go walking the streets alone in the dark.”

“I wasn’t alone,” Joanna assuaged her, heading to the bathroom.

“Oh? Ooooh!”

“It was just a walk, Evelyn,” Jo called over her shoulder.

“Whatever you say, dear!”

An hour later saw the group of six once again in the lobby sorting out transportation plans for the day. Mac had to return the Jeep to Phoenix and Jack, Connie, and Pete needed to be taken to the Thornton’s new home.

MacGyver took the Jeep to Phoenix while Jack took the Nomad and dropped off Joanna, Evelyn, Pete and Connie at the new house before picking Mac up at the Foundation and returning to the Thornton’s. Connie happily showed off her new home as she guided her friends through the maze of boxes the movers had left in each room. Everyone laughed at Jack’s hangdog look when she showed him the guest room, currently devoid of any furnishings.

“Don’t worry, Jack, we’ll have the beds ready for tonight. After you finish putting them together,” Connie promised delightfully.

Jack looked imploringly at MacGyver who held up his hands in a gesture of surrender.

“Don’t look at me!” Mac warned him. “It was your idea to help with the moving in exchange for free room and board.” Jack scowled.

After exchanging more hugs, more congratulations, and good-byes with promises to get together soon, Mac guided the Nomad onto the highway which would take him, Joanna, and Evelyn back to Milwaukee. The trio rode in comfortable silence for several miles before Evelyn spoke up from the back seat.

“I’m so glad Pete and Connie finally worked things out and got back together. Just goes to show that anything can happen given enough time,” she declared.

Neither MacGyver nor Joanna responded as they stared out the windshield at the passing landscape, Evelyn’s words bringing small, hopeful smiles to their lips.















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: 28 December 2018 - 08:07 PM                                    
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I have a lot to say:

So much shipping! Everyone ships JoGyver. Or Macanna

QUOTE
“Do you know anything about the tunnels?”Mac saw Joanna’s head snap toward him. “Jack knows about the tunnels?”
Boy, she caught on fast laugh.gif

QUOTE
Is Jack planning on going ghost-hunting?”
“More like treasure hunting, but yeah.”
“Are going with him?” she asked with a grin.
“No! Absolutely not! No way, never! Well…maybe. Yeah, probably.”Joanna laughed out loud.
Mac and Jack's relationship in one paragraph laugh.gif

QUOTE
“No,” she grumbled. He cocked and eyebrow. “Turns out Evelyn snores like a chainsaw. There are some things you just don’t need to know about your friends.”
Ooh, that sounds familiar. I think Jack and Evelyn just may be a good match wink.gif tongue.gif

QUOTE
He couldn’t help noticing the tie he had been struggling with for the last ten minutes was the same lovely blue as her dress. The tie Connie had insisted he wear. Why hadn’t she just given him a sign to put on his back that said ‘I’m with her’?
Mac is clearly aware he is being shipped laugh.gif

QUOTE
Mac smiled back just now noticing Evelyn standing off to the side. The shorter woman wore a peach colored sheath that matched Jack’s tie
Foreshadowing?

QUOTE
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…” Mac’s mind drifted. He recalled the way Joanna had looked, standing in his hotel room doorway, her face glowing and eyes sparkling as if she hadn’t a care in the world. He remembered the soft touch of her hands as she deftly fixed his tie as if she had been doing it all her life. He wondered what it would feel like if it was Joanna he was standing next to in front of the judge, making forever promises to each other.
A forearm to his gut jerked him from his reverie.“Wha?”
“The ring,” Pete hissed.
Fully present now, MacGyver began patting his suitcoat in search of the small velvet pouch Pete had given him for safe-keeping until this exact moment. When he finally pulled the ring from an inside pocket, the room gave a collective sigh and the ceremony continued.
Oh Mac laugh.gif

QUOTE
Jack took advantage of the full bar and free liquor.
Of course he did

QUOTE
“What’s wrong?” Joanna leaned over and whispered in Mac’s ear, obviously seeing the confusion on his face.
“I didn’t know Pete could dance,” he replied as he watched the couple in awe.
Me neither tongue.gif

QUOTE
Next it was Jack who leaned over toward Evelyn.“Excuse us,” she offered politely as Jack led her toward the other dancers.
Joanna’s mouth fell open.
“What’s wrong?” Mac whispered in her ear.
“I didn’t know Evelyn could dance,” she replied.
Guess everyone's in for surprises, huh?

QUOTE
“First snoring, then dancing…this is turning out to be quite an enlightening trip,” Mac observed as Joanna giggled softly.
Yes. Yes it has XD

QUOTE
The lively tune turned into a slow, rhythmic ballad and Jack pulled Joanna close. That did it! MacGyver quickly got up from his chair and made his way across the dance floor. He tapped Jack on the shoulder.
“Get your own girl,” Jack mumbled as he attempted to bury his head in Joanna’s neck.MacGyver poked Jack in the shoulder. Hard.“All right, all right, she’s all yours,” Jack said, releasing Joanna and backing away a bit unsteadily.
JACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! surprise.gif mad.gif laugh.gif

QUOTE
The only thing worse than a snoring Jack was a snoring intoxicated Jack
I can imagine

QUOTE
“Couldn’t sleep?” he asked.
“No,” she said with a yawn. “I guess I’m still kinda wound up from this evening. And Evelyn’s snoring again. What about you?”
“Jack.”
“Ah.”
That's all she needed to hear XD

QUOTE
“I wasn’t alone,” Joanna assuaged her, heading to the bathroom.
“Oh? Ooooh!”
“It was just a walk, Evelyn,” Jo called over her shoulder.
“Whatever you say, dear!”
I swear, if this ship gets shipped any harder, it's going to get as big as the Titanic. Minus the iceberg XD

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 28 December 2018 - 08:07 PM                                    
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Also, what's a Miracle Mile?

"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: 29 December 2018 - 11:50 AM                                    
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Hi Dragondog!

Thank you *so* much for all your wonderful comments! You are a writer's dream!! Actually, as i reread this chapter before posting it I found it to be rather messy...it's basically a means to end...I wanted to get the Nomad back to Mac as well as have Pete and Connie remarry and move to Chicago. I threw Jack in for some comic relief and also because I wanted to start using some canon characters. Anyway...I'm glad you liked it!!

I'm afraid I made a mistake with the term "Miracle Mile" which is odd, since I do research my ideas. It's actually called the "Magnificent Mile". It's an area of Chicago around Michigan Avenue that has high-end shops, jewelers, restaurants, etc. I've never been there myself, so I thought I'd let Joanna go and have some fun!!

BTW...I *love* the term "JoGyver"! Funny no one else hasn't thought of it already!!

Thanks again for reading and commenting....I'll be adding another chapter shortly!

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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Persona non grata
Posted: 29 December 2018 - 01:36 PM                                    
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Jack: gee, Mac sure is taking his own sweet time getting to know this girl already.

Jack: hey, if I dance with her first, that'll make Mac jealous!

Jack: *grins*

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 29 December 2018 - 05:41 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 29 December 2018 - 01:36 PM)
Jack: gee, Mac sure is taking his own sweet time getting to know this girl already.

Jack: hey, if I dance with her first, that'll make Mac jealous!

Jack: *grins*

LOL!! I love it!!

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: 29 December 2018 - 06:43 PM                                    
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QUOTE
Thank you *so* much for all your wonderful comments! You are a writer's dream!!

You're welcome smile.gif

QUOTE

I'm afraid I made a mistake with the term "Miracle Mile" which is odd, since I do research my ideas. It's actually called the "Magnificent Mile". It's an area of Chicago around Michigan Avenue that has high-end shops, jewelers, restaurants, etc. I've never been there myself, so I thought I'd let Joanna go and have some fun!!

Oh, that makes so much more sense now laugh.gif

QUOTE

Thanks again for reading and commenting....I'll be adding another chapter shortly!


I'll be here. Looking forward to it! wink.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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MacGyver85
Posted: 29 December 2018 - 09:06 PM                                    
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So I read this chapter really fast last night cuz it was late and I was tired but I give it thumbsup.gif thumbup.gif biggrin.gif

Also Dragondog, you pretty much said most of what I was thinking lol

 
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Jen85
Posted: 30 December 2018 - 03:56 AM                                    
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thumbsup.gif happy_dance.gif Loving it, really looking forward to what happens next. wink.gif

MacGyver: Two guys with bazookas blew up your cab.
Jack: They blew up my cab with a bazooka?
MacGyver: Two bazookas. But I can explain.
Jack: Bazookas? You can explain bazookas? YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN BAZOOKAS!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 31 December 2018 - 12:46 PM                                    
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Chapter 19: Jack’s Back


It was the last Saturday in June when MacGyver’s ringing telephone coaxed him awake. He peeled one eye open and looked at the clock, 6am! Mac groaned and debated letting the machine take the call. However, it was unusually early so it could be an emergency. The ringing continued as Mac crawled out of bed and padded to the kitchen. “I’m coming,” he murmured, as if the person on the other end could hear him.

“Hello?” he answered groggily.

“Buenos Dias, Kemosabe!” came an annoyingly cheerful reply.

“Jack,” MacGyver growled, “do you have any idea what time it is?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So I was trying to sleep!” Mac scolded.

“I must have the wrong number, then. The MacGyver I knew could go days without sleeping and still bring down a Colombian drug cartel single-handedly. You must be getting—“

“What do you want, Jack?” Mac interrupted, his patience wearing thin.

“Well, Pete and Connie are all unpacked and settled in. I’m probably gonna be taking off soon so I thought this would be a good weekend to go down to Prairie Point and—“

“I’m not going with you, Jack.”

“What do you mean, MacGyver? You always go with me.” Mac could hear the bewildered dejection in his friend’s voice and could picture the sad, puppy dog face that accompanied it.

“That’s just it. I always go with you. No matter how stupid, dangerous, or futile your scheme, I always go. Not this time, Jack. You’re on your own.”

“But Mac, I’ve been at the library doing more research. This could be it, my friend. One big glorious treasure trove hidden in the tunnels under St. Mary’s.”

MacGyver groaned.

“C’mon buddy, I know you’re curious.”

Mac knew he was going to regret this later. “Okay Jack. Let me do a little research of my own and I’ll meet you there in a couple of hours.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Later that morning, MacGyver and Jack stood outside a tall, wrought iron fence surrounding the neglected property. Knee-high weeds and grass swayed in the gentle summer breeze. A short distance away, two multi-story stone buildings flanked a gothic structure. Waves from Lake Michigan reached out to the sand and stone that had protected the school from the water for over a century.

“So, what did you find out about this place?” Jack asked as the two men leaned against the hood of the Nomad, Mac flipping through papers in a manila folder.

“The owner of record is the township of Prairie Point. Public workers come out and cut the grass a few times over the summer and that’s about it. The local historical society is currently trying to get St. Mary’s added to the National Register of Historic Places. Their efforts have kept the buildings from being torn down or repaired. Therefore, it just sits here until a final decision is made,” MacGyver explained.

“What about the hauntings? Anything about ghosts?”

“I thought you were looking for gold, Jack?”

“I am,” he replied. “I just want to make sure you and I are the only ones in there.”

MacGyver sighed. “Every year, right before Halloween, news crews from around the state run stories on the supposed hauntings of St. Mary’s. Of course, people are more than ready to share their supernatural experiences whether real or made up in order to get their fifteen minutes of fame.”

“And the tunnels?” Jack prodded.

“Not much is really known about them,” Mac replied. “But it wasn’t all that unusual for multi-structure sites to have tunnels between the buildings, mainly for easy access during inclement weather.”

MacGyver pointed to the ornate building in the center. “That’s the chapel. The building to the right is the school, and the building to the left is the convent and dormitories. There’s probably a tunnel that runs between each building and the chapel.” At this point he paused. “Legend has it that another tunnel runs from the chapel to the beach.”

“That would be the one they used to move the gold,” Jack whispered in awe.

“You ready to go in?” Mac asked.

“Lead the way!”

MacGyver grabbed a small bag from the trunk of his car and looped the strap over his shoulder.

“C’mon,” Mac grunted, heading toward a rusted gate. There was no lock. As MacGyver pushed it open enough for him and Jack to enter, it groaned in protest.

The two men walked carefully through the high grass and uneven terrain. They had almost reached their destination when MacGyver felt Jack grasp his arm.

“Did you see that?” Jack whispered urgently.

“See what?” Mac hissed as he pried his friend’s fingers loose from his bicep.

“I thought I saw something in that window?” Jack answered as he pointed to a third story room in the dormitory.

“Would you get a hold of yourself?” Mac demanded. “And stop whispering. There’s no one here but us.”

MacGyver walked up the crumbling stone steps of the chapel.

“Where’re you goin’?” Jack asked nervously.

“If the information about the tunnels is correct, they should all converge here, in the center of the building,” Mac explained, becoming impatient with his friend.

“Maybe we should walk around the outside first,” Jack suggested. “You know, scout out the place.”

“Yeah, that might be a good idea,” MacGyver agreed and smirked when he heard his friend sigh in relief. Apparently the fortune hunter was in no hurry to enter the old building.

As they inspected the exteriors of the decrepit buildings, MacGyver found nothing unusual until they reached the back of the chapel and saw old, wooden cellar doors firmly secured by a shiny silver padlock.

“I’d say that’s not an original fixture.” Mac lifted his arm to point out the lock to Jack.

“Oh, wow! Who do you think put it there?”

MacGyver shrugged. “Maybe a maintenance worker? It could be a storage area.”

“Or the entrance to a tunnel,” Jack added with renewed excitement.

Mac felt a surge of adrenaline as he approached the doors, digging in his hip pocket and pulling out his ever-present Swiss Army knife. With practiced movements he selected the proper tool and easily picked the simple lock. He and Jack pulled back the heavy doors to reveal a dark, steep staircase of rotting wood. MacGyver reached into his bag and removed two flashlights, handing one to Jack. With Mac in the lead, they cautiously made their way down the steps, breathing a sigh of relief that the rickety stairs had held when their feet touched solid ground.

Jack let out a long, low whistle as the two men surveyed their surroundings. Mac had expected to find a narrow walkway carved out of earth and sand. Instead, he found himself standing in a large, clean corridor. Plywood boards covered the floor and shored up the sides and top. He scanned the area with his flashlight. A generator stood in one corner. Mac looked up to see light bulbs strung the length of the tunnel. Moving forward into the darkness, the beam of his flashlight landed on a pile of pallets against the far wall loaded with packages of a white, powdery substance.

“Jack, take a look at this,” MacGyver directed as he strode to the pallets.

“Is that what I think it is?”

Mac took out his knife and cut into one of the packages, balancing a bit of the powder on the blade. He sniffed it and then ventured a taste.

“Cocaine,” Mac confirmed. “Here, take this,” he shoved his flashlight toward Jack and reached into his bag, pulled out a camera, and began shooting from various angles.

“What’re you doing?” Jack asked.

“Collecting evidence to take to the authorities.”

Once MacGyver was done taking pictures, he and Jack continued to inspect the packages and pallets.

“Hey, what’s this?” Jack asked, picking up a piece of ledger paper from underneath one of the pallets.

Mac stood next to his friend as they studied the rows of numbers listed neatly on the paper.

060295 0030
060995 0100
061695 0130
062395 0200
063095 0230

“Let’s figure this out later,” MacGyver said as he folded the paper and tucked it into his hip pocket. “In the meantime, let’s check out what’s behind door number two,” he suggested, pointing his flashlight beam to an old wooden door directly to his right.

The door was unlocked and swung open easily. A little too easily, which concerned Mac. He shown his flashlight into the darkness, discovering another tunnel. This one was damp and dank, carved out of mud and stone. They followed it to the end and another wooden staircase at the top of which was another door which again opened way too easily. Jack and MacGyver stepped into what must have been, at one time, a large classroom given the blackboards lining the walls and the desks pushed up against the walls. Everything was covered in a heavy layer of dust. Well, almost everything.

“Do ghosts leave footprints?” Jack asked, pointing to the floor.

“Not the last time I checked,” MacGyver replied, crouching down to examine the imprints further. “And I doubt they wear hiking boots.”

“Should we follow them?”

“No. If someone is hanging around, I don’t want to announce our presence. There should be another tunnel directly across from this one leading to the dorms. Let’s check that out.”

They retraced their steps until they once again stood in front of the pallets of cocaine. To their left was the same type of tunnel they had just come from. At the top of an old staircase another door opened into a still-furnished bedroom. Mac stopped on the top step and looked at the floor. The same footprints appeared. MacGyver turned around, motioning Jack to do the same.

“Let’s get out of here and figure out what’s going on,” Mac ordered as he and Jack descended the stairs, walked back through the main tunnel, and emerged from the cellar doors. MacGyver replaced the padlock before he and Jack headed back to the car.

“We need to figure out what these number sequences mean,” Mac said, pulling the piece of paper Jack had found from his pocket.

The two friends walked to a nearby diner for a bite to eat while they studied the numbers. By the time they had finished their dessert, MacGyver thought he had found the solution.

“I think I got it,” Mac announced. “The first set of numbers all end in ‘95’ which is the year. The first two numbers are all ‘06’ which could be the month. The numbers in between correspond to the dates of all the Sundays in June.”

“Makes sense,” Jack agreed, looking over Mac’s shoulder at the list. “What about the last four digits.”

“I think that’s military time, starting at 12:30am and getting later each week by thirty minutes. If that’s right, then the last number sequence is tomorrow morning at 2:30am. Could be some sort of shipping or delivery schedule,” Mac deduced.

“Looks that way,” Jack nodded, “but which one?”

“Since they appeared ready for shipping, I’d say whoever is doing this is smuggling the drugs out of Prairie Point, and the batch we saw is leaving tonight,” Mac explained. “I think it’s time we call the cops.”

“And tell them what?” Jack scoffed. “That we were searching for gold and happened upon a huge stash of drugs? I say we take care of the bad guys ourselves and then hand them over to the police all nice and tidy.”

“I don’t like it, Jack. We don’t know what we’re walking into. It’s too dangerous.”

“Well, you didn’t want to come here in the first place yet here you are.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It was 2:15am Sunday morning. MacGyver crouched in the overgrown grass and weeds, his back against the cold stone of the chapel. Jack took up the same position on the other side of the cellar doors.

MacGyver grew more uneasy as the minutes ticked by. He wished he had more intel. More backup. A plan. The most logical scenario was that a boat would come to pick up the drugs and transport them to their predetermined destination. But had the deal already taken place or would the money be exchanged tonight? There had to be quite a lot of money involved given the amount of coke he had seen. Was he naïve in thinking he and Jack could lock whoever was picking up the goods in the tunnel when they went to retrieve the pallets and then call in the authorities to handle the rest?

The drone of a boat engine caught MacGyver’s attention. He pulled out a pair of night-vision binoculars from the bag he had been carrying and looked out over the lake. There he saw a thirty-five foot stripped down cabin cruiser clipping toward their position, pulling a dinghy with an outboard motor behind it. The cruiser anchored several yards from shore as two men scrambled into the dinghy and headed toward the beach. It would take numerous trips in the small boat to carry away the bags of cocaine that were waiting. MacGyver frowned at the inefficiency of the operation. Yet, it had apparently been successful the previous weekends.

MacGyver watched as two burly men climbed out of the dinghy and pulled it ashore. They headed straight for the cellar doors. One stood look-out as the other unlocked and opened the doors. Mac and Jack sank further down in the grass. Once they heard the men’s boots pounding on the stairs, they threw the doors closed and secured the lock. And then the world exploded. The men in the cellar began shooting through the closed doors. MacGyver and Jack once again threw themselves into the relative safety of the tall grass. Automatic gunfire from the larger vessel erupted sending bullets into the sand and pinging off the stone façade of the chapel. Bright lights flooded the area. More boats arrived, men pouring out of them into the shallow water and onto the beach. MacGyver stood up to run, hoping Jack would do the same. He had only taken one step before the butt of a gun was brought down hard against the back of his head and he fell forward into silent darkness.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver awoke slowly to a steady pounding in his head. Bright overhead lights assaulted his eyes when he tried to open them. He lifted his hand to massage his forehead and that’s when he heard the metallic clink and felt something bite into his wrist.

“What the--?” He raised his head only high enough to see the handcuffs that chained him to the hospital bed.

“Ah, sleeping beauty has arisen!”

“Jack…” MacGyver growled, turning to see his friend in the bed next to him, also handcuffed to the safety rails.

Just then the door to their room opened and in walked Pete, his hand on the elbow of a man Mac recognized as an agent from the Chicago field office.

“Hiya Pete!” MacGyver greeted him, trying to sound cheerful…and innocent. “I can explain.”

“You should know better than to go off and take the law into your own hands, Mac! You could have easily have been killed tonight!” Pete admonished him. “And don’t try to explain. I’ve heard several official reports about what happened tonight. According to them, you and Dalton were staking out a drug smuggling ring working between Milwaukee and Chicago. The FBI and Coast Guard just happened to set up a sting operation the same night you and Jack planned to ambush the smugglers. The agents mistook you for one of the smugglers and knocked you out. Once Jack explained what you were doing, you were both charged with trespassing, breaking and entering, tampering with evidence and impeding a federal investigation. Did I miss anything?”

MacGyver winced. “At this point, I think you know more than I do.”

“And then,” Pete continued as if Mac hadn’t spoken, “they find your Phoenix ID and I get a call in the middle of the night to come bail you out!”

“Don’t be so hard on him, Pete,” Jack said quietly. “It was all my fault. Mac just went along with it to try and keep me out of trouble like he always does.”

“Then I should have both your butts in a sling!” Pete blustered.

“Look, Pete,” MacGyver said contritely. “We made some bad decisions, it won’t happen again.”

“That’s what you said last time!” Pete paused to take a deep, calming breath. “You should both just be thankful that I still have enough pull to save your hides. I’ve convinced the authorities to clear you of all charges the minute the doctor releases you…and not a second sooner. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a weekend to get back to.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Several hours later, after being poked, prodded, and poked some more, Jack and MacGyver were released from the hospital…and from police custody. An officer drove them back to their cars that had been left behind at St. Mary’s.

“Hey man, I really am sorry,” Jack apologized as they approached their respective cars.

“Don’t worry about it,” Mac replied, clapping the other man on the shoulder.

“No, I mean it! You’re a good friend, MacGyver. I don’t deserve a buddy like you.”

“Well, you got me anyway,” Mac smiled warmly. “But promise me one thing.”

“Anything!”

“No more schemes, Jack. Get a job. Make an honest living for once in your life.”

“You got it, amigo!” Jack promised, quickly turning his head toward his car so Mac couldn’t see the twitch in his left eye.

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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Persona non grata
Posted: 31 December 2018 - 05:09 PM                                    
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I do love that Jack's reaction to Mac contentedly settling down in the Midwest is to go "doggone it, there's gotta be *something* wacky and foolhardy to do where he lives now. I'm gonna plow through this library until I find it!"

That there actually *is* valuable loot involved is a bonus. That the treasure hunt turns out to be genuinely dangerous and involves them getting arrested...

well, I bet he leaves real happy.

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 31 December 2018 - 06:17 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 31 December 2018 - 05:09 PM)
I do love that Jack's reaction to Mac contentedly settling down in the Midwest is to go "doggone it, there's gotta be *something* wacky and foolhardy to do where he lives now. I'm gonna plow through this library until I find it!"

That there actually *is* valuable loot involved is a bonus. That the treasure hunt turns out to be genuinely dangerous and involves them getting arrested...

well, I bet he leaves real happy.

I truly believe Jack can find mischief wherever he goes...or it can find him!

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: 31 December 2018 - 06:28 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 31 December 2018 - 08:17 PM)
QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 31 December 2018 - 05:09 PM)
I do love that Jack's reaction to Mac contentedly settling down in the Midwest is to go "doggone it, there's gotta be *something* wacky and foolhardy to do where he lives now. I'm gonna plow through this library until I find it!"

That there actually *is* valuable loot involved is a bonus. That the treasure hunt turns out to be genuinely dangerous and involves them getting arrested...

well, I bet he leaves real happy.

I truly believe Jack can find mischief wherever he goes...or it can find him!

...And if he can't, he'll make some himself 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: 4 January 2019 - 07:44 AM                                    
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Chapter 20: Be There

The hot summer days melted together quickly and it was the end of July before Joanna knew it. Much had been accomplished at Challengers and she was finally able to let go of the concern and worry that had seemed to be her constant companions for the past several months. Evelyn had quickly approved Jo’s faculty recommendations and all positions had been filled except for a science teacher, but Joanna wasn’t concerned. Much. There was still plenty of time before the fall term began. Aside from occasionally enrolling a new student and preparing for teacher orientation in August, Joanna found herself with extra time on her hands. Time she found herself spending with MacGyver who had wheedled his way into her everyday life. Sharing meals, either at his place or with her parents, had become the norm to the point where Joanna was just as comfortable in his kitchen as her own. It was not unusual to find Mac helping her dad with yard work and outdoor projects as they bonded over their mutual love of duct tape or taking direction from her mom as he assisted with minor indoor projects as well. In addition, they had resumed their air hockey rivalry which resulted in several evenings spent playing, eating pizza, and watching movies. At times, it seemed Joanna couldn’t turn around without smacking into his solid form, and she discovered that wasn’t a bad thing. Sharing time and conversation with him was incredibly easy, as if she had been doing it all her life. Though their time together was dwindling, Joanna had vowed to herself that she would live in the present and appreciate every moment instead of worrying about whatever the future may hold.

MacGyver and his Phoenix volunteers had completed most of their tasks at Challengers as well. An internal communication system had been installed with each room now having a telephone that connected directly to the security booth and Officer Carl. Not only did this allow for two-way communication, but Carl would be alerted if the phone was simply taken off the hook in an emergency. Surveillance cameras had been mounted in the corridors and all common rooms to record and provide live feed of all activity much like the outdoor cameras. Another bank of monitors had been added to the security office to accommodate the extra video screens. Phoenix engineers were in the final stages of installing and refining a discreet metal detection system at the main entrance, and a new air conditioning unit was scheduled to be installed early next month. With so much accomplished ahead of schedule, MacGyver had extra time to spend at the Pettit Center. Every day the heat refused to relent brought a few more teens to the rink to enjoy the cool environment and take part in hockey drills and practices. The uniforms and equipment Phoenix had promised had arrived and if participation continued at this rate, Mac was confident he’d be able to field a strong team when school began. If he was still around. The more time he spent with the kids, Joanna, and her family, the less excited he became about returning to his life in L.A. and with the Foundation. But that was where he belonged. Wasn’t it?

MacGyver had just walked into his apartment and was putting his hockey gear away when his phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hello MacGyver, it’s Connie,” his friend’s sweet voice greeted him. “How are you?”

“Hi Connie. I’m good, thanks. How are you and Pete?”

Connie sighed dramatically before answering. “We’re doing alright. We finally have the house fixed up the way we want it. It took a little longer than planned, but you know how those things go. At least it gave Pete something to do.”

“Doesn’t he have some projects he’s working on at Phoenix?”

There was a long silence before she answered. “Unfortunately not. He’s only been in the office a couple times since we moved. They say there aren’t any suitable assignments for him right now. That’s the reason I’m calling you.”

“What do you want me to do, Connie? Get myself held prisoner in North Korea?” he teased.

“No, Mac,” she chuckled. “I was hoping you could come down and spend some time with him. Come for an afternoon and stay for dinner. You haven’t talked face-to-face since the wedding, and I’m not even going to discuss that debacle with Jack Dalton. And please bring Joanna. I really enjoyed meeting her, but we didn’t have nearly enough time to get to know one another.”

MacGyver couldn’t help but smile. “I’m sure she’d like to see you again, too.”

“Excellent! I’ll call you back soon with all the details.”

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The following Sunday afternoon found Joanna and MacGyver engaging in lively, light-hearted conversation with the Thornton’s in their new suburban Chicago home. It didn’t take long until the men became restless and loaded their fishing gear into Mac’s station wagon and headed for a nearby inland lake leaving Connie and Joanna to indulge in some girl-talk.

“Can I get you something to drink?” Connie asked. “I have fresh-squeezed lemonade.”

“That sounds fine. I’d love some,” Joanna replied politely.

“Come,” Connie motioned, “let’s sit out on the patio and enjoy this lovely day.”

With drinks in hand, the two women settled themselves in cushioned wicker chairs as Joanna willed herself to relax. As much as she liked Pete and Connie, she had only spent time with them once, and she was never able to get totally comfortable in someone else’s home. Except MacGyver’s. And that troubled her more than she cared to think.

“I must confess,” Connie began, breaking into Joanna’s private thoughts. “I had an ulterior motive for inviting you here today.”

“Oh?”

“Pete needs to tell MacGyver something that will probably upset him.”

“Is something wrong with Pete? Is he sick?” Joanna asked anxiously.

“No, dear, nothing like that,” Connie replied. “Pete is going to retire from Phoenix. Permanently. He wanted to tell Mac in person.”

“Is that why they went fishing?”

“No,” Connie sighed. “This is going to be as difficult for Pete to say as it will be for MacGyver to hear. Pete wants to wait until after supper before breaking the news. He’s worried about how Mac will react and wanted to spend some quality time with him before telling him.

Joanna frowned as a lump grew in her stomach. She had quickly learned of the special bond Pete and MacGyver shared that went far beyond boss and subordinate and knew this would be a big adjustment for both of them.

Jo struggled for words. “I don’t mean to sound rude or ungrateful, but why did you insist that I come, too?”

Connie reached out and took Joanna’s hand in hers. “From everything MacGyver has told us about you, and what I saw with my own eyes, it’s obvious there is something special between you two.”

“No! It’s not like that!” Jo insisted as she instinctively pulled her had free from Connie’s grip. “We’re just friends!”

“Close friends,” Connie agreed with a placating smile. “And Pete and I think MacGyver is going to need a friend like you now more than ever.”

“But what can I do? How can I help?”

“Just be there for him, honey. Be there when he wants to talk and, more importantly, when he doesn’t.”

Joanna’s inner questions must have shown on her face because, before she knew it, Connie had once again taken her hand.

“Let me explain something about MacGyver. When you strip away those good looks and daring exploits you will find a very gentle soul. One that loves easily, hurts deeply, and takes on far more guilt than it deserves. And when that happens, the only way Mac knows how to deal with it is to turn inward.”

Joanna’s confusion must have still been evident because Connie continued.

“Has MacGyver told you about Mike?”

“No, he’s never mentioned him.”

“Actually, ‘Mike’ is short for ‘Michelle’. She, Jack and MacGyver were best friends for the longest time. Several years ago her and Mac were rock climbing and she lost her grip. Before Mac could reach her, her harness broke and she…well, MacGyver took it really hard. Convinced himself he should have been able to save her. He went to an old cabin Pete had and shut himself off from the world for weeks. He wouldn’t see anybody. Even refused to answer the phone. Pete was sick with worry. Then last year, when Sam left, he locked himself in his apartment for days. Once again refusing any human contact. Please don’t let that happen again. Be there for him whether he wants you there or not. Show him that he’s needed. Loved. And most importantly, don’t give up on him.”

Joanna nodded, still trying to grasp everything Connie had told her when the other woman suddenly stood up.

“Well, the boys will be back shortly. I’d better get supper started. We’re having eggplant lasagna. It’s one of MacGyver’s favorites. Would you care to help me?”

“Sure,” Jo replied then smiled. “I’m always looking for new recipes!”

“Especially ones that don’t include tofu or bean curd I bet!” The two women laughed as they entered the kitchen.

The men returned shortly before dinnertime.

“I hope you caught enough to feed us all!” Connie teased. “Us womenfolk are counting on you and we’re hungry!”

“Sorry, dear,” Pete held out his empty hands. “They just weren’t biting today.”

“Then it’s lucky I had a back-up plan. Now both of you go and wash up while Jo and I get dinner on the table.”

The meal dragged on for Joanna. She looked around the table at her new friends. Connie was acting as if they had never had this afternoon’s conversation. Pete was laughing and joking with MacGyver who looked more at ease than ever before, and then there was her. Jo struggled to choke down bites of what she assumed was a perfectly delicious meal, but all she could think about was the news Mac was going to hear and the fact that she’d be the one left to pick up the pieces. That was if there were any pieces to pick up. Maybe the Thornton’s were overreacting. After all, Pete was retiring, not dying. Sure, MacGyver would initially be shocked by the news, but he would get over it. He and Pete would remain good friends and life would go on. With these new thoughts foremost in her mind, Joanna finished her meal with gusto and savored the chocolate gelato Connie served for dessert.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver felt guilty leaving Joanna and Connie to clear away and wash the dishes, but the serious look on Pete’s face when the older man invited him into the study left him no choice.

“Pete, what’s going on?”

“Have a seat, MacGyver.” Pete motioned to a black leather sofa before feeling his way to a matching chair across from it. Mac still found it hard to believe his friend was blind.

“There’s something I need to tell you, Mac, and I don’t want you to get upset or somehow think you had any influence on my decision. I’m retiring from Phoenix. Permanently.”

Connie’s delicious supper suddenly felt like a rock in the pit of MacGyver’s stomach.

“Pete, you can’t!” Mac blurted out rising to his feet.

“I can and I am, MacGyver. I probably should have done it a long time ago.”

“No Pete, you’re still an important asset to the Foundation,” Mac protested.

“You mean an asset to you,” Pete countered then chuckled. “How many times have I had to pull you out of some pretty tight places?”

“And how many times have I done the same for you?! We’re a team, Pete. I became an agent for the DXS because of you. I followed you to Phoenix. You just can’t leave!”

“Mac, you heard Connie. They don’t have any assignments for me. Well, except for watching out for you. Science and technology are moving faster than ever. Too fast for an old guy like me to keep up with. The Board has made it clear that they want to take the Foundation in a different direction.”

“So they’re railroading you into retirement?!”

“No Mac,” Pete said firmly as he stood up and turned toward his friend’s voice. “You need to know that I made this decision completely on my own. Nobody forced me to do anything. Understand?”

“Yeah,” Mac answered grudgingly. “But what am I supposed to do now?” MacGyver winced at how selfish and petty he sounded.

“You’re gonna keep doing what you’re doing. You’re young! You have a lot of years and a lot of adventures ahead of you. Follow your path, just like I’m following mine.”

“I’m gonna miss you, Pete.”

“Hey, I’ll still be here. We just won’t be working together. Besides, you spent half your time on the other side of the world and I hardly saw you anyway. Now we can go fishing more often!”

“Sure thing, Pete,” Mac smiled sadly, hoping his voice didn’t convey the emptiness he felt inside.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna arrived later than usual for work the next morning. With all but one faculty member hired and her paperwork finally down to a manageable pile, her sense of urgency was lacking. The fact that she tossed and turned most of the night didn’t help. It had been a long ride back from Chicago. She had tried to make small talk with MacGyver. She talked about hockey, her need for a science teacher, the weather, more hockey, but her monologue landed on deaf ears, or at least a mute mouth. Connie had been right. Mac was upset and withdrawing from the world.

“Joanna? Is that you?” Evelyn called from her office.

“Yeah, sorry I’m late,” she said as she entered the small room and stifled a yawn.

“Oh, don’t go worrying about that. You know we have loose hours during the summer.”

Joanna nodded lazily.

“I wanted to tell you that MacGyver called in sick this morning.”

“You talked to him?!” Joanna didn’t bother to hide the excitement in her voice.

“No,” Evelyn replied, drawing out the one syllable word. “He left a message on my answering machine in the middle of the night.”

Jo sighed. Well, at least he had talked to…something.

“Is there something I should know about?” Evelyn asked.

Joanna knew she should say that everything was fine, or that it was MacGyver’s story to tell, but she was tired and done with diplomacy. She flopped down in one of the visitor’s chairs in front of her boss’s desk.

“Mac and I had dinner at the Thornton’s yesterday,” she began, choosing to ignore Evelyn’s raised eyebrows. “Pete told MacGyver he’s retiring and Mac took it pretty hard. He didn’t say one word the entire drive home. I was hoping he’d have come to terms with it overnight, but I guess he needs more time.”

“Well it’s a good thing we’re ahead of schedule, then,” Evelyn declared. “I’ll let him know to take all the time he needs.” She turned back to her computer and Joanna headed back to her own office.

By noon Joanna could stand it no longer. She picked up the phone and dialed MacGyver’s number. She got his machine. She hated talking to those things so she kept it simple.

“Mac, it’s Jo. I need to know you’re OK. Call me.”

She had no sooner hung up than the phone rang. How could he have dialed that quickly?

“Hello?” she answered anxiously.

“Hello Jo, it’s Connie.”

Joanna let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.

“Hi Connie.”

“How’s MacGyver doing?”

“He didn’t say a word after we left your place and he left a message saying he’s not coming into work today,” Jo reported.

“Oh, dear, we were afraid this would happen. Remember what I told you yesterday, Joanna. Be there for him. Don’t let him shut you out.”

“Don’t worry, Connie. Everything will be fine,” Jo promised before ending the call, silently thinking that her new friend leaned toward the melodramatic.

When it was finally time to go home, Joanna decided to stop by Mac’s place since he hadn’t called her back. She pulled up to the curb, parked in front of the Nomad, and looked up at his front window. The shade was pulled down tight. He never pulled the shade. Concern began to niggle at her. She went up to his apartment and knocked on the door. Nothing. She knocked harder and called his name. Still nothing. He was okay, wasn’t he? Not sure what to do, she decided to go home and hope that things would return to normal tomorrow.

Tuesday brought the same results. MacGyver had left a message that he wouldn’t be in, Joanna called him three times always getting his machine, and Connie called for an update and to tell Jo to ‘be there’ for him.

“Now is the time when he needs you most!” Connie insisted.

“But how can I be there for him when he is doing everything he can to keep me and everyone else away?”

“You’re a bright young woman. You’ll think of something.” Connie sounded so confident. Joanna had her doubts.

When Wednesday arrived with no word from MacGyver, Jo knew she needed to do something. Honestly, how long could a grown man pout?! Even groundhogs poked their head out once a year! She slipped out of work early and went home to throw some things in a duffel bag, or her ‘Mac Sack’ as she thought of it, told her mom she may be staying at his place for a day or two and not to worry, and then headed to his apartment. She parked in front of the Nomad which hadn’t appeared to have moved since Monday. The window shade remained drawn.

Joanna knocked on MacGyver’s door and called his name to no avail. Refusing to accept defeat, she sought out the custodian with the excuse that she had lost her key. Thankfully the man wasn’t too nosey and gave her an extra key without question. Deciding to give Mac one last chance, she knocked and called out to him one more time. Nothing.

“I have a key and I’m coming in,” she warned him. Still no response. She hesitated, unsure of how to deal with him now that she was here. Perhaps a bit of humor and sass would diffuse his self-induced pity party.

Jo opened the door to find Mac lying on his couch staring up at the ceiling.

“So the rumors are true. You are alive,” she quipped.

“Go home, Joanna,” he said in a gravelly voice that expected to be obeyed.

“And he speaks!” she gasped, sighing when he didn’t respond. She dropped her bag on the floor by the coffee table where she took a seat.

“You might as well give it up, Mac,” she announced. “I’m not leaving until you’re back among the living again.”

MacGyver rolled his head her way. His eyes were dull, his face drawn and expressionless.

Joanna cocked an eyebrow and he returned his gaze to the ceiling.

Sighing inwardly, Jo got up and began to peruse his video tape collection.

“Aha!” she exclaimed, pulling a tape off the shelf. “I’ve been wanting to see this since that tornado so rudely interrupted us!” She turned on the TV, put the tape in the player, and settled in a nearby chair to watch the 1980 U.S. hockey Olympic gold medal game. By the end of the contest, Joanna’s stomach grumbled and Mac still hadn’t spoken to her. She headed to the kitchen and made herself a peanut butter sandwich and grabbed a yogurt.

“Want anything to eat?” she called to MacGyver. Of course there was no answer. Okay. Time for her secret weapon. If this didn’t make him talk she didn’t know what would.

“Lucky for you,” she proclaimed as she returned to the living room, “I brought a tape of the best movie ever made…Dirty Dancing!” Mac swung his long legs off the couch and headed for the refrigerator. Progress! He snatched a yogurt and apple, turned around, and headed for his bedroom, closing his door with a bang.

Terrific!

“Don’t worry about me, Mac!” Joanna called. “I’ll be just fine out here on the couch!” She sighed, started the movie, and sank down on the piece of furniture MacGyver had just vacated. The cushions were still warm. She folded her legs underneath her, bit into her sandwich, and lost herself in the story playing out on the television.

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It was the wee hours of Thursday morning when MacGyver poked his head out of his bedroom door. It was a sad day when a grown man had to hide in his own room. Then again, he supposed he was a pretty sad man. He walked to the living room only to find Joanna curled up in the corner of his couch sound asleep. His heart melted at the sight as he went to the closet, retrieved a blanket, and gently draped it over her. She hadn’t deserved his surliness last night, or this past week for that matter. She had come to him because she was his friend. She had stayed with him because she cared. He went to the front window and quietly raised the shade before returning to his room and falling into a deep, dreamless slumber.

Hours later MacGyver headed for his kitchen only to find Joanna already up and making breakfast.

“Hope you’re hungry,” she said gaily. “I made pancakes. Well, at least I tried. You don’t have all the traditional ingredients,” she smiled good-naturedly.

How had he come to deserve this?

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, jamming his fingers through his hair.

“No problem. I managed to improvise.” The sassiness from last night replaced with genuine friendliness.

“I mean I’m sorry for everything. For how I’ve acted since I talked with Pete. For shutting you and everyone else out.”

Joanna shrugged. “You just needed some time and space to work things out in your head. I’m the same way.” Her smile was gentle and her eyes were soft.

“Thanks for that,” MacGyver replied. “And thanks for not giving up on me, even when I was a little stubborn.”

“A little?” Joanna laughed.

“Okay, a lot,” Mac amended, allowing a small smile to form on his lips.

She handed him a plate piled high with food.

“Here. I bet you haven’t had a decent meal in days.”

He had just taken a huge bite of pancakes when his phone rang. Joanna held up her hand to indicate she would answer it.

“MacGyver’s.”

“Yeah, it’s me. What’s up, Evelyn?” he heard Joanna ask.

“Did you call the police?” He stopped chewing and swallowed hard.

“We’ll be right there!”

“What’s wrong?” he asked as he followed Joanna out the door.

“When Evelyn got to work today she found the school had been vandalized.”

MacGyver and Joanna arrived at Challengers to find a number of police cruisers in the parking lot. Evelyn had just finished giving an officer her statement as they approached.

“What happened?” MacGyver demanded.

“See for yourself,” Evelyn said as she led them around to the side of the building. Black spray paint marred the old brick.

Joanna tilted her head as she studied the damage. “Doesn’t look like gang graffiti to me. Looks more like tagging.”

“I agree,” Mac concurred. “Appears to be artfully arranged, though wrongly placed, initials of some sort.”
“That’s what the police said,” Evelyn told him. “They’re looking for evidence now but doubt they’ll find anything.”

Joanna turned to MacGyver. “What about the surveillance cameras?”

“We don’t have any facing the building so it won’t show whoever did this in action,” MacGyver replied. “But we should be able to see them approaching and get a time stamp.”

“And how are we supposed to clean this up?” Evelyn asked crisply.

“Don’t worry,” Mac assured her. “I have a secret recipe that will take care of this.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver, Joanna, and two police officers gathered around a video monitor in the school’s small security office to watch surveillance footage of the night before. The small numbers in the corner of the screen indicated the incident took place at 4:12am. Two figures dressed in black with baseball caps pulled low approached the building. Due to the ball caps and angle of the camera it was impossible to make out their faces. They ran the tape at regular speed, slow motion, and frame-by-frame but were still unable to recognize the culprits before one of the officers confiscated the cassette as evidence.

Once the police officers finished processing the scene, they gave MacGyver the go-ahead to clean up the graffiti. He wanted to get it off as soon as possible to avoid unwanted attention. Armed with graffiti remover from a nearby hardware store and an old power washer he found in the school’s storage room, Mac was soon spraying away the ugly paint. Movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention.

“So that’s your secret recipe?” Joanna teased, pointing to the gallon jugs of chemicals. “I didn’t even know they made that stuff.”

Mac smiled and stepped back to inspect the results.

“It looks great!” Jo praised.

“It’s still wet. There may still be some paint residue that will show when it dries. I can take care of that tomorrow.”

Joanna stood shifting her weight from one foot to the other as if she was nervous. “Can I ask you a favor?”

“Sure, anything. You know that,” Mac replied gently, wondering what she had in mind.

“Could you drive me back to your place so I can get my stuff? We left in such a hurry I didn’t even grab my purse.”

“No problem. Let me put this stuff away and we’ll go.”

Upon arriving at his apartment, Joanna quickly gathered her things and prepared to leave, but Mac blocked the doorway.

“Listen,” he said, placing his hands on her shoulders and kneading them gently. “I meant what I said earlier. Thanks for sticking with me while I worked things out.”

“That’s what friends are for, right?” She looked up at him with her big brown innocent eyes that he could so easily get lost in.

“Right,” he replied huskily. “Let me walk you out,” he offered, not eager to part company quite yet. He expected her to protest or resist, but to his surprise she easily agreed.

They were walking through the small lobby as the mailman was making his deliveries.

“Hey MacGyver!” the uniformed man called. “Wanna come and empty your box?”

“Sorry Ernie,” Mac called back as he strode to the mailboxes. “I’ve been kinda tied up lately.”

“No problem, man. Just didn’t want you to miss out on any important junk mail!”

Mac gave Ernie a friendly pat on the shoulder and met Joanna at the door, glancing at the envelopes in his hand. Suddenly his jaw tightened and his heart fell as he saw a familiar envelope.

“Mac, what is it?” Joanna’s voice was laced with concern.

“Ah, nothing,” he replied. “I just realized I have a lot of stuff to catch up on. Drive safe and I’ll see ya tomorrow, OK?”

“Yeah, sure,” she replied and headed out the building to her car.

Back in his apartment MacGyver tore open the envelope with the Phoenix Foundation logo on the front. He knew it would come eventually. On the top of the letterhead, in bold print, were the words Six Month Review – Final Notice. There was no more putting it off. If he wanted to keep his job he had to get out to L.A. for his performance evaluation.





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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Persona non grata
Posted: 4 January 2019 - 03:09 PM                                    
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Connie's very good here. Sensible and emotionally astute, I wouldn't mind seeing more of her.

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 4 January 2019 - 03:53 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 4 January 2019 - 03:09 PM)
Connie's very good here. Sensible and emotionally astute, I wouldn't mind seeing more of her.

Thanks! She will pop up once in a while. Like Sam, she's both easy and hard to write for the same reason: We never see much of her on the show and it didn't help that she was played by two different actresses!

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 January 2019 - 04:31 PM                                    
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"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

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

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

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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 9 January 2019 - 11:54 AM                                    
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Chapter 21: The Fork in the Road

MacGyver’s plane landed in Los Angeles early Monday morning. He had just enough time to stop by his apartment and change clothes before his performance evaluation. These meetings had never bothered Mac since they were always conducted by Pete who always gave him a glowing report. However, today he’d be meeting with William Stern, the new director of operations at Phoenix, and he wanted to at least attempt to make a good first impression on the man who was ultimately his new boss. MacGyver still hadn’t quite wrapped his head around the fact that he would no longer be working with Pete.

After renting a car at the airport, Mac headed toward his apartment, anxious to see Mama Lorraine and his other neighbors. The street was eerily vacant and several homes and buildings appeared to be deserted. His finely honed senses went on high alert. Something was definitely wrong. This was not the same place he had left just six months ago. Stepping into his apartment he froze. Large cardboard boxes haphazardly packed with his belongings stood where his furniture used to be.

“Jaaaack!!” he bellowed. He had trusted his friend to take care of his place while he was on assignment. He should have known better.

“MacGyver, you’re home!”

“Don’t sound so surprised. I called and told you I was coming.” Mac stood in the center of his living room and turned in a complete circle surveying his home. “What’s going on with my stuff, Jack?” he asked menacingly.

“Well, um, it’s a funny story actually.”

“Oh, really?”

“Well, maybe not that funny. In fact, it’s not funny. Not funny at all,” Jack sputtered.

“Tell me,” MacGyver demanded.

“I’m putting your stuff in storage,” Jack responded lightly. “You’ve been evicted.”

“I’m what?” Mac’s voice was dangerously low and barely controlled.

“Not just you, Mac,” Jack hurried to explain. “The whole block. Some big time developer bought up all the buildings. Plans to revitalize the neighborhood.”

“And just when did you plan on telling me about this?”

“Soon!”

MacGyver jammed his fingers through his hair, looked at his watch and groaned.

“I’ll deal with you later,” he promised, pointing a finger at Jack. “Right now I’m gonna take a shower and get changed.”

“That might not be such a good idea,” Jack warned.

MacGyver turned on his heel. “And why not?”

“The utilities got turned off yesterday.”

“Terrific!” Mac slammed his fist on the kitchen counter and then winced in pain. “And just where am I supposed to stay?”

Jack shrugged his shoulders, his expression genuinely apologetic. “You can bunk with me,” he offered.

“And just where are you living these days? Obviously not here.”

“I’m crashing in the hangar. I’ve got an extra sleeping bag you can use.”

“I’ll think about it, Jack. But right now I have to get over to Phoenix.”

Outside in the summer sun, MacGyver looked up and down the now-lonely street and shook his head wondering how so much could have happened since he left.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver quietly walked up to the secretary’s desk located just outside Director Stern’s office. She had her back to him, busily typing away at her computer. He cleared his throat and she turned around.

“Ah, MacGyver!” Helen exclaimed, pleasantly surprised. “I didn’t know you were back in town!”

“I just got in this morning,” he replied as Pete’s former secretary wrapped him in a motherly hugged that always made him smile. She stepped back and held him at arm’s length, her gaze sweeping him from head to toe.

“I haven’t had a chance to shower,” MacGyver grinned ruefully.

She waved off his comment. “I swear you get more handsome every time I see you! If only I were twenty years younger…” she sighed.

“Nonsense, Helen. You can be my date anytime!”

“Mr. MacGyver. So nice of you to take time out of your busy schedule and join us,” a deep, sarcastic voice came from the doorway of Pete’s old office.

Mac turned to find a tall, well-built man of a similar age wearing a tailored suit and silk tie inspecting him as if he were a prize thoroughbred. MacGyver immediately decided he did not like this man and swallowed the urge to apologize for his faded jeans and wrinkled tropical print shirt.

“Mr. Stern, I presume?” MacGyver addressed the man with a slight nod of his head.

“You’re late,” the director stated and turned to walk into his office, clearly expecting Mac to follow.

MacGyver looked at the clock on the wall. One minute. He was one minute late.

Director Stern settled himself behind a large mahogany desk and invited MacGyver to have a seat in one of two buttery leather chairs. Stern opened a thick manila file and perused its contents before pinning Mac with his gaze.
“So you’re the infamous MacGyver,” Stern stated, as he leaned back in his chair. Unsure of how to answer, Mac simply nodded.

“It says here you worked at Phoenix for six years on a variety of highly sensitive projects and government assignments.”

MacGyver nodded again.

“From previous reports you have quite a knack for accomplishing your missions in, shall we say, unorthodox manners?”

“Let’s just say I improvise when necessary.”

Stern grunted. “Then three years ago you suddenly tendered your resignation. Why?”

“I had some family matters to tend to.”

“And then six months ago you asked to be reinstated but failed to pass concussion protocol.”

“Yeah, that didn’t go exactly as planned,” MacGyver replied, trying to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

“Since then, you’ve been assigned to oversee security operations at Challengers Academy in Milwaukee, during which time you had a company car stolen, sustained yet another head injury, and impeded a federal investigation. Tell me, Mr. MacGyver, what exactly is it you hope to do at Phoenix when your current assignment ends.”

“I plan on being cleared for active field operations and resuming my former role with the Foundation.”

“I don’t think so, Mr. MacGyver.”

“What do you mean you ‘don’t think so’?”

Just then Stern’s intercom buzzed. Holding up one finger to silence MacGyver he answered the call.

“Yes Helen?"

“Your next appointment is here, sir.”

“Thank you, I’ll be right out.” Turning back to MacGyver he said, “I’m sorry, but we’ve used up all our time for today. Please schedule an appointment with Helen to come back tomorrow so we can finish our discussion.”

“But—“

“I’m sorry, Mr. MacGyver,” the director stood. “We’ll continue this tomorrow.”

“Yes sir,” MacGyver replied in a clipped tone as Stern escorted him from the office.

As directed, MacGyver went to Helen to schedule an appointment for the following day.

“How’d it go?” she asked in a staged whisper.

“Don’t know. He talked. I listened. And apparently we get to do it all over again tomorrow.” Anger seethed just below the surface of his words and Helen gave him a compassionate smile.

Suddenly he heard a female voice call his name from across the room.

“Mac? Is that really you?”

“Maria--?!” was all he could say before the pretty, young blonde was in his arms, kissing him passionately. He resisted for a moment before instinctively tightening the embrace and deepening the kiss…if that was even possible.

“Ah, MacGyver, I see you have already met Ms. Romburg,” Stern observed from his office doorway, the couple quickly breaking contact at the sound of his voice.

“Yeah. We were…friends,” Mac explained.

“Close friends,” Maria added with a suggestive smile. “MacGyver reunited me with my grandfather whom I had not seen since I was a little girl in East Germany. Then his friends at Phoenix were nice enough to give me a job so I could stay in America.”

“What a charming story,” Stern sneered, “but we are late for a meeting, Ms. Romburg.”

“Of course, Mr. Stern. I am sorry,” Maria apologized before turning back to MacGyver. “Come to my place for dinner tonight?” she asked, slipping a piece of paper with her address into his shirt pocket.

“Sure,” MacGyver replied, glancing at Helen just long enough to see her give him a sly wink.

MacGyver secured a room at a nearby motel, dropped his duffle bag just inside the door, and flopped on the bed. This trip was not going as expected. Not that he had expected anything in particular except returning to his old apartment, catching up with friends and neighbors, and being welcomed back to Phoenix and the job he loved. Instead, he had returned to an eviction notice, empty neighborhood, surly new boss, and aggressive ex-lover. He sighed and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, reached for the phone on the nightstand and called Jack to tell him he wouldn’t be needing that extra sleeping bag. He then went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water over his face before pulling out the piece of paper tucked in his pocket. He looked at the address and grinned.

That evening MacGyver knocked softly on Maria’s door. She greeted him with a kiss on the cheek and invited him in. Her apartment was small but elegantly furnished and well-maintained. Near a window next to the kitchen sat a small round table draped in linen and set with china, a single glowing candle its centerpiece.

“Please, feel free to look around while I get our meal ready,” she encouraged him.

Mac strolled through the living room, taking in the feminine décor.

“Nice place you got here.”

“Thank you. It is not much, but it is home. Unfortunately Phoenix keeps me very busy so I do not spend as much time here as I would like.”

“I know how you feel,” he assured her. “So, what’s for dinner?”

“Hawaiian pizza with pineapple,” she announced. “It was one of our first meals together, remember?”

“Yeah, I remember,” Mac grinned as he sat down at the small table drinking in the sight of her as she served the food. She wore a light blue sundress that showed off her slender figure and cream-colored skin to perfection. Her long blonde hair cascaded down her back like a waterfall of sun beams and MacGyver itched to run his fingers through it.

“It is so good to see you again, MacGyver,” she sighed happily from across the table.

“You, too,” he smiled warmly.

“We had a lot of good times together, did we not?”

“Sure did,” he agreed.

“Perhaps, if I had not gone on assignment to Brazil we could have—“

“But you did,” Mac cut her off.

“I was a new agent. I had to,” she frowned. “But we are here together now. We can pick up where we left off,” she urged, her eyes hopeful, expectant.

MacGyver suddenly and inexplicably felt uneasy. “Ah, Maria, I don’t know about that. A lot has happened. A lot has changed.”

“Do not say you fell in love with one of those milk maids in Wisconsin,” she pouted playfully.

“She’s not…I mean, no!” Mac quickly corrected himself.

Anger flared in Maria’s eyes. “So there is someone!”

“Yes. No. I mean, it’s not like that, Maria. We work together, that’s all.” But was it really?

“I see,” she replied, getting up and leading him to her overstuffed couch before pulling him down next to her. “Then you will come back to L.A. when your assignment is over and forget all about her. It will be just like before! You and I going off on grand adventures!”

“Ah, I don’t think—“

“That’s your problem, MacGyver,” she purred seductively as she threaded her fingers through his hair. “You think too much. Why can you not just let yourself feel?”

“There’s a chance I won’t be cleared to go back in the field,” he confessed.

Maria’s face fell momentarily. “No matter,” she replied lightly, her smile now firmly back in place. “You will still be here and we can be together.”

Her soft, sweet lips were now inches from his, yet he hesitated. Five years ago he had been ready to commit to her, but before he could tell her, Phoenix sent her to Brazil. She had been so excited and he had no choice but to let her go. A lot of things had changed since then. He had changed. MacGyver grasped her upper arms and gently sat her away from him.

“I better go,” he told her. His voice husky yet firm. “I have an early meeting with Stern tomorrow.” He kissed her chastely on the forehead and showed himself to the door, leaving Maria alone on the couch, a deep frown marring her otherwise lovely face.

The next morning found MacGyver once again standing by Helen’s desk, chatting with the long-time employee.

“Oh, I almost forgot. Ms. Romburg left this for you.” Helen handed him a small envelope.

“Thanks,” he murmured as he tore it open and pulled out a notecard.

Dear MacGyver,

Late last night I received an assignment from Phoenix which will take me out of the country for quite some time. I must leave immediately. Now you may return to your precious milk maid.

Maria

MacGyver drew in a sharp breath and balled up the paper in his fist.

“That bad?” Helen asked.

“I think I’ve just been dumped.”

“Well, if you ask me, she was never the right girl for you anyway.”

“Oh really?” Mac’s curiosity was piqued.

“You need someone more grounded. Someone who won’t walk away at the drop of a hat. Someone to keep you in line. You need a woman with some sass!”

“Well, I did meet this one girl,” he ventured, curious to see Helen’s reaction. “She got upset with me and when I tried to apologize with tickets to a hockey game she tore them up and gave them back.”

Helen threw back her head and laughed out loud. “She sounds perfect for you!”

Mac’s eyebrows shot up in response just as Stern stepped out of his office.

“Mr. MacGyver, glad to see you made it on time this morning. Please, come in.”

Mac obeyed and seated himself in the same chair as yesterday.

“After thinking about our discussion yesterday and reviewing your file yet again, I have decided to assign you to the Western Division Secure Research Facility.”

MacGyver’s muscles tensed. Stern was going to lock him away in a lab? Though Mac was always willing to help the Phoenix scientists with new developments and special projects, he could not see himself working day in and day out in a secured, windowless, sterile environment.

“I assume this is a temporary placement until I am cleared for active field operations?” Mac asked hopefully.

“On the contrary,” Stern puffed out his chest in a show of authority. “This is your new, permanent assignment.”

Mac’s anger once again began to simmer. “With all due respect, sir. I believe my skills and experience would be better utilized elsewhere. I’m going to need some time to consider your offer.”

“You don’t understand, Mr. MacGyver. This is not an offer. It is an order. I will give you until the end of August to complete your current assignment. At that time, the lease on your apartment will be dissolved and you will report to your new position. If you believe my decision does not suit you, perhaps you should consider whether or not Phoenix is the best place for you and your ‘skills’.”

“I just might do that, sir,” MacGyver responded firmly before walking out of the office without a backward glance.

Back in his motel room, Mac sat on the edge of the bed scrubbing his face with his hands. After Sam had left for the Middle East, MacGyver was sure that going back to the Phoenix Foundation had been the right thing for him to do. The only thing for him to do. Now he wasn’t so sure. He needed to talk to someone. Someone who knew him better than he knew himself. He picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hi Pete, it’s MacGyver,” he greeted his friend.

“MacGyver!” Pete responded eagerly. “How are things going? Have you had your review yet?”

“That’s kinda what I wanted to talk to you about. I’m actually in L.A. right now.”

“Oh? Are you having problems?”

“Pete, how did you know it was time for you to retire?” MacGyver asked bluntly.

“Well, I guess you could say I just sort of knew.” With only silence on the other end Pete continued. “I wasn’t happy anymore, Mac. I realized how much I had given to my job and how much I lost because of it. When I started losing my eyesight and Connie came back into my life, the things that made me happy had changed. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” MacGyver replied.

“Hey, you’re not thinking of leaving Phoenix again, are you?”

“I don’t know, Pete.” Mac sighed and hung up the phone.

Feeling even more conflicted after talking with Pete, MacGyver knew who he needed to call. He dialed the phone again, his heart beating hard against his chest. This next conversation could be the deciding factor.

“Challengers Academy, this is Joanna, how may I help you?”

“Joanna, it’s Mac.” His voice sounded strained, even to him.

“Mac? Are you still in L.A.? Is everything OK?”

“Do you mind if I ask you something?” He was in no mood for small talk.

“Of course not. What is it?” Her voice held genuine concern.

“What made you decide to quit the learning center?”

“Wow, Mac that was a long time ago. I thought I told you about it?”

“Tell me again.”

“It really wasn’t any one thing. After twelve years I was tired of working eleven hour days, not eating meals with my family, not having time for my friends. My job duties changed to where I was doing things I didn’t want to do. When the man who had owned the center from the beginning sold it, I just knew it was time to leave. Too much had changed. I just wasn’t happy there anymore.”

“Was it hard for you to leave after all the time you had spent there?”

“Actually, it was surprisingly easy. That’s how I knew I was doing the right thing. Does that help answer your question?”

“Yeah, it does. Thanks.”

“How’s the review going?”

“I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Some things came up that I need to take care of so I may stay a few extra days. Hey, by the way, have you hired a new science teacher yet?”

“No, but I have a couple interviews scheduled. Why?”

“No reason. Just wondering. See you soon.”

MacGyver kicked off his shoes and reclined on the bed, replaying the conversations with Stern, Pete, and Jo in his head until he drifted off to sleep.

“Hey, Bud!”

MacGyver blinked his eyes open and raised his head. His grandfather stood at the foot of his bed.

“Harry?!” Mac’s face clouded with disbelief. “You can’t be here. You’re dead!”

“Just ‘cause I’m dead doesn’t mean I can’t check up on you once in a while,” came the lovingly gruff reply. “From what I see, it seems you have some decisions to make.”

MacGyver was now wide awake and sitting up on the bed. “I just don’t know what to do,” he replied.

“Why don’t you do what’ll make you happy?”

“Because I’m not sure I know what that is anymore.”

“Then I suggest you figure it out, Bud. And once you do, don’t look back.”

Mac suddenly awoke and bolted upright. “Harry?” He looked around the room. It was empty. It had only been a dream. But it had left him with one very real question.

MacGyver needed to think. Normally he would head for the Southern California hills, but he didn’t have the gear nor the time. Therefore, he pointed his rental car in the direction of the ocean. Standing in a secluded spot on a deserted rocky beach, Mac stared out at the waves churning in the Pacific. Watching the water reminded him of the hours he had spent with Joanna on the shores of Lake Delton, talking, consoling, contemplating and rejuvenating. It also reminded him of the moonlight shining on Lake Michigan the night they had shared their one and only kiss. A gentle, innocent kiss that had touched him more deeply than any of Maria’s passion-filled offerings. He shook his head as if to clear away the memories and headed to the one place that always put life in perspective. The ice rink.

Pausing momentarily at the skate rental booth, he decided to forego the borrowed equipment and instead took a place in the stands, close to the ice. He recalled the time Pete was on the verge of burn-out and had gamely played the role of goalie as MacGyver pummeled him with pucks insisting that the exercise was relaxing. Mac smiled to himself, wondering if Pete could still be a goalie in spite of his blindness. He doubted his friend could be much worse. No sooner had that thought crossed his mind than other memories crowded in. Memories spent on the ice with the troubled teens from Challengers back in Milwaukee. The drills, the practices, the fights and the lectures. The pride and satisfaction at watching a kid who could hardly stand up on skates his first time out circle the rink with speed and confidence to score a goal, albeit into an empty net.

MacGyver buried his face in his hands and sighed. Harry had asked what made him happy. Three years ago the answer had been easy: His work at Phoenix. The travel, freedom, adrenaline he always experienced on a mission. But then there were also the weeks-long assignments that kept him away from his home and friends. The calls in the middle of the night sending him to far-away places at a moment’s notice. Had he been unhappy? Quite the contrary, but would those same things bring him happiness once again? And if his time as a field operative had truly come to an end, what then? The people he cared most about and an assignment he had come to love were two thousand miles away. With a sudden clarity that had eluded him for the longest time, he now knew exactly what he had to do.

Entering the nearest library, Mac commandeered an empty computer console and sat down to write two letters that would forever change the course of his life. The first message was brief and to the point. He stuck it in an envelope and scribbled Director Stern’s name on the front. The other document took more time and precise wording. Glancing at his watch, MacGyver had just enough time to get the second letter to the post office for overnight delivery.

The following morning, Mac strode purposefully into the lobby of William Stern’s office. Helen was already busy at her post.

“Hi Helen, is Stern in yet?”

“MacGyver! So good to see you again!” she exclaimed. “I’m sorry, but he’s out for the day. He has some meetings in the field.”

Disappointment coursed through him. He had been looking forward to seeing the look on the pompous man’s face when he presented his letter of resignation.

“Could you please see that Stern gets this when he comes in?” MacGyver asked, holding out the white envelope.

“Of course.” A shadow crossed Helen’s face. “Is this what I think it is?”

Mac nodded and sighed. “I’m leaving Phoenix. Sorry, Helen.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry about!” the spunky secretary exclaimed. “You know I care for you like a son, so trust me when I say you don’t belong here anymore. There are better things, and people, waiting for you elsewhere. Just promise me one thing.”

“Anything, Helen.”

“Let yourself be happy.”

“That’s the plan, Helen. That is definitely the plan!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Joanna, could you check for the mail?” Evelyn hollered from her office. With just the two of them in the building, communication had become much more casual.

“Sure. No problem,” Jo called back, glad to take a break from staring unseeingly at the papers in front of her. Three days. He had only been gone three days and she was already daydreaming of his return. What was she going to do when he left for good? Pushing that depressing thought to the back of her mind she went and emptied the mailbox. A business-sized envelope with her name on it captured her attention. Hopefully it was another resume. Her quest for a science teacher had stalled with only a few weeks left before school started for the fall. Back in her office she anxiously tore open the envelope and pulled out the resume. At the top, in bold black letters was the name: A. MacGyver.

“That man has lost his ever-lovin’ mind!” Joanna’s exclamation echoed through the corridors.

Evelyn closed her eyes and sighed, wondering what ‘that man’, Joanna’s vernacular for ‘MacGyver’, had done this time.



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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Persona non grata
Posted: 9 January 2019 - 06:50 PM                                    
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To do him justice, Jack probably *was* planning on telling Mac about the eviction soon, if only because he's got nowhere else to sleep now.

So Mac's finally been and gone and done it. Hope he doesn't regret leaving Phoenix...

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 9 January 2019 - 07:03 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 9 January 2019 - 06:50 PM)


So Mac's finally been and gone and done it. Hope he doesn't regret leaving Phoenix...

Oh, there's plenty in store for 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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Dragondog
Posted: 9 January 2019 - 09:15 PM                                    
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Stern came in, and his first line had me like mad.gif

Then Maria pushed herself onto Mac, and I was even more mad.gif (not that I had anything against her before, but in this story, I'm glad she's off on an assignment)

Then Mac asked about the science teacher position and I was like w00t.gif happy_dance.gif

Then Harry, and I was all surprise.gif

Then the ending love.jpg

Looking forward to the next chapter wink.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

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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 10 January 2019 - 06:04 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 9 January 2019 - 09:15 PM)
Stern came in, and his first line had me like mad.gif

Then Maria pushed herself onto Mac, and I was even more mad.gif (not that I had anything against her before, but in this story, I'm glad she's off on an assignment)

Then Mac asked about the science teacher position and I was like w00t.gif happy_dance.gif

Then Harry, and I was all surprise.gif

Then the ending love.jpg

Looking forward to the next chapter wink.gif

Do I sense a bit of an emotional rollercoaster?? LOL!! Actually, that's kinda what I was going for. I never liked Maria...totally wrong girl for Mac, hence my depiction of her here! Yeah, I'm a bit passive-aggressive:)

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: 10 January 2019 - 07:07 PM                                    
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Passive-aggressiveness rolls with me laugh.gif

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

 
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Posted: 16 January 2019 - 06:56 AM                                    
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Chapter 22: Finally Home

Evelyn picked up her phone and dialed Joanna’s extension.

“In my office, now,” she commanded before Jo even had a chance to say hello.

The younger woman arrived thirty seconds later and Evelyn pointed her to a chair.

“What in tarnation is going on?!” she asked.

“It’s MacGyver! That man—“

“Hold on! Be quiet and take some deep breaths,” Evelyn instructed. Joanna quickly obeyed. After a few minutes Evelyn continued in a calmer tone. “Now, tell me what happened.”

“MacGyver just applied for the science teacher position,” Jo said disgustedly.

“Why, that’s wonderful!” Evelyn couldn’t keep the glee from her voice. “I was so hoping he would!”

“What?!” Joanna’s jaw literally dropped and the look of horror on her face made Evelyn want to laugh.

“You have to admit, dear, that Mac has extensive scientific knowledge that would greatly benefit our students, not to mention the fact that he has a great rapport with the teens. You told me so yourself.”

“But he’s not a certified teacher,” Jo protested.

“You know darn well that a piece of paper doesn’t make a person a good teacher.” At this Joanna nodded. “And if he’s willing to take courses to obtain his certification while he’s working here, I don’t see the problem.”

“How can you not see the problem?!” Jo retorted. “He doesn’t belong here! He belongs in Los Angeles, working at Phoenix, doing whatever he does there! He has no idea what being a real teacher is like. The time, dedication, lesson planning. It’s not just doing some cool experiments to impress high-schoolers.”

Evelyn leaned back in her chair. “Perhaps you do have a point,” she conceded. “This does seem to be a rather hasty decision on his part. Did his performance review not go well?”

“I don’t know,” Joanna sighed, her senses slowly returning. “He called me and told me he had some things to take care of.” She paused thoughtfully. “He also asked me why I decided to quit the learning center and if the science position had been filled. He must have resigned from the Foundation!”

“Now let’s not go jumping to conclusions,” Evelyn advised. “Perhaps he’s just playing a joke on you?”

Joanna shook her head. “No,” she replied adamantly. “He would never joke about this.”

“You sound sure.”

“I am. Mac thinks too much of Challengers to pull something like that.”

“Then I suggest you speak with him as soon as he returns and get this all straightened out.” Evelyn began organizing the stacks of paper on her desk, expecting Joanna to stalk back to her office, but she stayed rooted in her chair.

“Is there something else?” Evelyn inquired.

Joanna sat chewing on her bottom lip, a sure sign of her distress. “If Mac is really serious about working here, I can think of several ways we could use him. I just don’t think teaching science full-time is one of them.”

“Then talk with him. Work something out. I give you carte blanche to make any hiring decision regarding MacGyver.”

“All right,” Joanna agreed. “I’m sure if we sit down and talk about this logically we can—“

“No.”

“Huh?” Jo asked.

“You both need to forget about logic and listen to your hearts. If your assumptions are correct, Mac is looking at a major life change. It won’t be easy for him, and he needs to be sure this is what he truly wants to do. As for you,” she continued before Joanna could protest, “you’ll be committing to a long-term working relationship with him. You have to be sure about this as well.”

“I need to get back to work,” Joanna murmured as she got up and walked out the door leaving Evelyn to offer up a quick prayer for guidance.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna sat at her desk the following day, glancing at her watch for the third time in five minutes. MacGyver had returned to work in time to oversee the installation of the new air conditioning unit that had arrived a week ahead of schedule. They hadn’t had a chance to talk privately yet, but he was now back in his office and she knew it was time to speak with him.

Joanna tapped lightly on Mac’s door frame.

“Come in!” His handsome face brightened. “Have a seat,” he offered, his attention now fully centered on her. “I’m sorry I didn’t call, but it was late by the time I got in and—“

Joanna held up her hand to cut him off.

“It’s no problem. How did everything go?”

MacGyver’s dark eyes clouded over. “Not quite as expected, which I assume you probably figured out by now.”

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

Mac shook his head. “Not really, but I will.”

Joanna listened intently as MacGyver spent the next several minutes regaling her with the events that led up to his resignation. He judiciously chose not to mention his encounter with Maria. That could wait for another day…or lifetime.

“Wow, Stern sounds like a piece of work,” Joanna commented dryly. “I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”

“I’m not. It forced me to think about what I really want to do. Where I really belong at this point in my life.”

Joanna swallowed hard. “I got your resume.”

“And?”

“I’m not gonna hire you, Mac.”

“What?!” He stood up and turned away from her, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“I’m sorry. I just don’t think you understand the extent of the commitment you’d be making. You’d be locked into a regular schedule, work evenings and weekends creating lesson plans and correcting papers, the list goes on. I just don’t think you’d be happy. At least not for long.”

“And just what makes you think you know what will make me happy?” he rounded on her. “For twelve years I thought I was happy traveling around the world getting shot up, locked up, blown up…and all I have to show for it is a collection of concussions and empty roles of duct tape. I’m done with that.” His voice softened. “I want to put down roots, have a real job, build a normal life, and I want to do it here.”

“Slow down, Mac,” Joanna cautioned. “You’re making some really big decisions. You need to take some time—“

MacGyver crouched in front of her, putting his hands on her knees. “I know it seems sudden to you, but I’ve been thinking about this for the past several weeks,” he explained, a sense of urgency returning to his voice. “With Pete retiring and Sam setting his own course, it’s time for me to move on, too.”

His pleading gaze ripped at her heart and she remembered Evelyn’s words about letting go of logic. She reached out and covered his hands with hers to keep him close.

“I’ve been doing some thinking, too,” she told him gently. “I have no doubt you belong at Challengers, just not in the way you think.”

Joanna went on to explain how she saw Mac in a much more fluid and unorthodox position. One that would keep him both mentally and physically stimulated while carving out a new life for himself.

“So, let me see if I got this straight. You want me to continue on as security advisor, science assistance and tutor, hockey coach and mentor?”

“Yeah,” Jo smiled confidently. “And I’m sure we can find a way to fill any spare time you might have so you don’t get bored,” she teased. “So, what do you say?”

“Do you think Evelyn will go for it?” he asked, excitement growing in his voice.

Joanna nodded. “She gave me permission to hire you in any way I saw fit.”

MacGyver rose, pulling Joanna up with him. “In that case, I absolutely accept the job.” His soft gaze studied her face now only inches from his. “There’s one more thing,” he whispered.

“What?” she whispered back, barely breathing.

“I need to find a place to live by the end of August.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“No, Mother! Absolutely not!”

“Joanna, the house has been in foreclosure for months. The bank will probably agree to anything just to get it rid of it,” Judy Fairfax reasoned.

“But it’s right next door!” Joanna whined, not caring if she sounded childish.

“What’s right next door?” her dad asked as he passed through the kitchen, popping a couple grapes in his mouth.

“Mom thinks MacGyver should buy the Jenson’s house,” Jo explained with a huff.

“So?”

“Never mind,” Joanna replied, waiting for Joe Fairfax to leave the room so she could continue the argument with her mother.

“I think the house would be perfect for MacGyver. It needs a lot of work, both inside and out. He’d enjoy the challenge. Besides, it’d be nice to have a strong young man nearby to help your dad and me out.”

Joanna crossed her arms and stared at the floor.

Judy sighed. “What’s the matter? You and Mac work together eight hours a day and when you’re not at Challengers you’re either at his place or he’s here! I think having him right next door would be very convenient.

“That’s just it, Ma! Mac and I are together a lot. I need to be able to get away from him sometimes.”

“Is that the only reason?” Judy asked calmly.

“What, that’s not good enough?!” Jo spouted, then cringed under her mother’s knowing look.

“Would you just tell him about the house?” Judy asked. “Let him make up his own mind about where he wants to live…and who he wants for neighbors.”

“And if I don’t tell him, you will,” Joanna countered before conceding defeat as her mother smiled and went back to chopping carrots for the stew.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver couldn’t believe his luck. Just a couple days ago he had mentioned having to find a new home, and here he was, touring a house that could be his in thirty days. The real estate agent explained that the bank was anxious to rid itself of the property, and the fact that MacGyver offered to pay cash ensured a quick transaction. As the agent guided Mac through the small rooms of the old house, Joanna and her mother followed. Judy chattered about the changes and upgrades he should consider making while the agent tried hard to point out the positive aspects of the run-down dwelling. Joanna remained silent.

After inspecting the living room, two bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen that made up the main floor of the house, MacGyver was shown to the finished basement and attic that could be used for guests or extra storage. All the rooms needed a thorough scrubbing and fresh coat of paint. Unfortunately, the building’s exterior was in much worse shape. Roofing shingles, siding, and windows needed replaced, and the tall grass and knee-high weeds that comprised the yard needed to be tamed. Still, Mac was giddy at the thought of having an actual house for the first time since he left Minnesota in his late teens and immediately made a competitive offer.

That night Mac tossed and turned in his bed. He couldn’t believe he had just bought a house! Particularly a house and yard that needed a lot of work with fall and winter just around the corner. Was he biting off more than he could chew? He would need to get a lawn mower, snow blower, and the rest of his belongings that were still in a California storage unit…the list seemed endless. Add to that the fact he’d be working full time at Challengers and it was overwhelming. MacGyver’s chest grew tight and perspiration moistened his brow. He couldn’t do it. It was too much, too soon.

The following morning he called the real estate agent and rescinded his offer. Next, he called Joanna to tell her of his decision.

“I’m sorry, Jo, but I just don’t think it’s the right house for me.”

“It’s no problem,” Joanna assured him. “I’m sure you’ll find something better. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

“Well, now that you mention it, I saw some other houses for sale in the area and was wondering if you’d take a look at them with me. Give me your opinions.”

“Yeah, sure. Just let me know when. I love looking at other people’s houses,” she said eagerly.

Over the next two weeks, MacGyver dragged Joanna through six different houses, always finding fault with something. The lease on his current place was running out and he needed to find something fast, but he also didn’t want to make the wrong choice. Buying a house was a big decision. A big commitment. One he wasn’t sure he could make.

“You know, maybe you’re not meant to buy a house just yet,” Joanna observed. They were in his apartment with Jo sitting at the breakfast bar while he fixed them a quick dinner.

“But I was so sure that’s what I wanted,” Mac groaned.

“Maybe later, just not now,” Jo tried to reason. “You’ve been living in apartments for a long time. A house is a big adjustment and you’ve had a lot to deal with these past few weeks.”

“I miss my houseboat,” he mumbled under his breath.

“What’d you say?” Jo asked.

MacGyver sighed. “Back in L.A. I had this houseboat. I really liked it.”

“Tell me about,” she urged.

Mac went on to describe, in detail, the layout of the two story structure and its untimely demise in a fire.

“It sounds great,” Joanna agreed. “I would have liked to have seen it.”

“Yeah, well….”

Jo glanced her watch. “I have to go,” she said suddenly.

“Something wrong?”

“No, I just need to check on something. I’ll call you later!” she promised as she made a hasty retreat out the door.

Two hours later MacGyver’s telephone rang. It was Joanna.

“Hi Mac,” she greeted him happily. “I’m sorry I bolted on you, but I had an idea I wanted to look into right away. Meet me at 803 W. Elmhurst tomorrow morning at eight. It’s about half-way between your place and Challengers. I called Evelyn and she said we could come in late.”

“It’s not another house, is it?” MacGyver asked wearily.

“Not quite. Just meet me there tomorrow. Good night!”

Mac stared at the phone and shook his head before hanging up. Maybe he should just pitch a tent in a park and be done with it!

MacGyver arrived at the designated address to find Joanna already standing on the sidewalk in front of a modest, two-story, side-by-side duplex with a ‘For Lease’ sign stuck in the front yard.

“C’mon!” she insisted excitedly, already heading up the concrete walkway to a door on the left hand side of the house. Her knock was answered by a grey-haired man in his sixties.

“Mr. Rainey? I’m Joanna Fairfax. We spoke on the phone last night.” She shook his hand.

“Ah, yes, Ms. Fairfax. And this must be the friend you were talking about. Mr. MacGyver?”

‘Please, call me ‘Mac’,” he said, shaking the older man’s hand.

“Well, in that case you must both call me ‘Charlie’. I own this property. Come on and take a look at the place,” he said, leading them to the other side of the dwelling. “Please take all the time you need,” he encouraged as he unlocked the door. “Just let me know when you’re ready to leave.”

Joanna stepped aside to allow MacGyver to enter first. His jaw went slack with awe as he crossed the threshold. He could hardly believe what he was seeing! It was his houseboat reincarnated only a little larger. The entire main level was open, the kitchen separated from the rest of the room by a half wall and breakfast bar. He could already see his furniture in place. There was enough space for a small kitchen table as well as his computer desk. On the far wall were patio doors leading to a small, wooden deck. A fireplace was angled in the corner. His couch, coffee table and matching cushioned chair would fit nicely in the center. Wood paneled walls doubled as bookshelves and storage areas to hold his books, video tapes and sports equipment, but the sight that made him smile the most was the spiral staircase.

“Go ahead. Check it out!” Jo nudged him with her shoulder.

He climbed the winding stairs to a lofted bed and bathroom suite.

“Well,” Joanna called, eager to see his response.

“Well,” he echoed her as he made his way back downstairs, “It’s perfect! Absolutely perfect!” He grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a sound kiss on the cheek. “How did you ever find this place?”

“When you were describing your houseboat, I remembered my mom showing me an article in a neighborhood newspaper about these new duplexes and this one was pictured.”

“You’re amazing, you know that?” Mac beamed.

They locked the door and went in search of Charlie. They found him weeding a small garden. He got to his feet when he saw them.

“How do you like it, Mac?” he asked.

“I love it! It’s just like a place I had out in L.A. I’m afraid there’s only one problem.”

“And what might that be?” Chuck looked concerned.

“I’m on a pretty tight deadline,” Mac explained. “I need to be out of my current place at the end of the month. I doubt that leaves enough time for us to come to a deal.”

“Nonsense,” Chuck waved his hand in dismissal. “I’ve been waiting for a renter since I bought this place. As soon as you can come up with first and last month’s rent we can sign the papers and get you moved in.”

“It’s a deal,” MacGyver declared, shaking the man’s hand one more time.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The first day of the fall term arrived and Joanna pulled her Cavalier into the staff parking lot at Challengers, choosing a new space to occupy for the coming year. She grinned, wondering if MacGyver would still park next to her. She didn’t have to wait long for the answer as her colleague pulled up in his classic car and eased into the spot next to her.

Jo got out of her car, grabbed her purse and school bag and waited for Mac.

“New year, new spot. Is that it?” he quipped.

“Something like that,” she smiled back. “You’ve been a hard man to find. Are you all moved in to your new place.”

“Sure am,” he said.

“I could have helped, you know,” she replied.

“I know, but this was something I needed to do by myself,” he explained. “However, now that I’m all settled in I’d be more than happy to have some company.”

“Is that an invitation, sir?” Joanna queried as she playfully batted her eyelashes.

“You bet. And it’s a standing invitation as well,” he promised, draping his arm around her shoulders as they entered the building together.

They were immediately greeted by Officer Carl who held a pile of envelopes in his hand.

“Looks like someone forgot to check the mailbox on Friday,” he scolded with a grin. “There’s something here for you, MacGyver.”

Mac took the envelope addressed to him. “Thanks Carl.”

“Who would send you mail here?” Joanna asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied, as he cautiously tore off an end and extracted a letter. He scanned the brief note. “It’s from Sam. He probably sent it here so you could forward it to me if I was already gone.”

“What does it say?” She tried to peek over his shoulder, but he was too tall.

“It just has a phone number and says ‘call me’.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? Go call him,” she urged. “The students won’t be arriving for another hour.”

Fifteen minutes later MacGyver stood silently in her office doorway.

“Did you get to talk to him?” she asked anxiously. “What did he say?”

“He’s living in Germany waiting to rotate out. He’s coming home for Thanksgiving and says he has a surprise for me,” he grimaced.

“That’s great, isn’t it?” Joanna asked carefully, confused by Mac’s reaction.

“Yeah, of course. It’s just that I’ve got this problem with surprises.”

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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Persona non grata
Posted: 16 January 2019 - 01:35 PM                                    
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Well ain't that nice.

I'm pleased by the improbable-yet-delightful resurrection of everybody's favourite houseboat, at least. Loved that one.

 
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Posted: 16 January 2019 - 02:32 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Persona non grata @ 16 January 2019 - 01:35 PM)
Well ain't that nice.

I'm pleased by the improbable-yet-delightful resurrection of everybody's favourite houseboat, at least. Loved that one.

I couldn't help it! I LOVED the houseboat and I just couldn't think of a place that would suit Mac better! That's why it's called "fiction", right!

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 January 2019 - 07:28 PM                                    
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Ooooh, Sam, what are you up to? wink.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: 23 January 2019 - 07:09 AM                                    
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Chapter 23: Happy Thanksgiving Grandpa Mac

It was the Friday before Thanksgiving break and the entire school seemed to buzz with the anticipation of an entire week off. The students vacated the premises immediately after the final bell and their teachers weren’t far behind. The new faculty had raised Challengers Academy to a higher level, but it came at a cost. Everyone deserved a week of rest and relaxation. MacGyver and Joanna took advantage of the empty building to play a few rounds of air hockey in the recreation room. The game had not fit in Mac’s new place, or the ‘houseboat’ as he referred to it, so he had graciously donated it to the school. Jo had just scored her second straight goal with MacGyver not even attempting to reject the puck. She stepped back from the table and crossed her arms in front of her.

“Earth to MacGyver,” she called.

“Huh?” he asked as if just coming out of a trance.

“I just scored twice on you,” Jo announced. “Your head’s obviously not in the game, so where is it?”

“Sorry,” he apologized, moving to lean against the side of the table. “I just talked to Sam this afternoon. His plane gets in Sunday morning. I offered to pick him up at the airport, but he said he already rented a car. Apparently this has something to do with the ‘surprise’ he has for me.” MacGyver frowned.

“Maybe it’s a really big souvenir,” she quipped, earning an irritated look from her hockey partner.

“Hey, you’re really upset,” Joanna observed, turning serious with concern. “You aren’t worried, are you?”

MacGyver raked his fingers through his hair. “I’m not worried,” he sighed. “It’s just…well, it’s been awhile. Almost a year. A lot can happen in a year. I’m proof of that.”

“Does Sam know everything’s that happened?”

“Yeah, I told him. I just have this feeling…”

By now Joanna was standing next to him, absently rubbing his back in what she hoped was a soothing gesture.

“What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?” she asked, trying to change the subject.

“We’re invited to the Thornton’s.”

“That should be nice. Evelyn told me Connie’s a great cook.”

Mac simply nodded.

“I’m sure you’re concerned about nothing, but let me know if there’s anything I can do,” she offered.

MacGyver turned towards her, his eyes brightening in a way that made her suddenly regret her words.

“Would you be there when he comes?”

“Are you sure that’s such a good idea?” she asked. “You’ll want time to talk and catch up.”

“Please?” he asked uncertainly.

Joann couldn’t recall ever seeing MacGyver this uncomfortable.

“What time did you say his plane gets in?” she hedged.

“If his flight is on time, traffic is light, and I’m worrying for nothing, you’ll make it home in plenty of time to see the Packer game,” he laughed, tapping her on the tip of her nose which made her scowl.

“Okay, what time do you want me there?” she sighed in resignation.

“How about nine?”

“Fine. See you then.”

Mac reached out and grabbed her hand as she started to walk away.

“I really appreciate this, Jo.”

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“Where have you been?” MacGyver snapped as he opened his front door to let Joanna in.

She glanced at her watch. “It’s nine o’clock on the dot. Will you relax?!”

“I’m sorry,” Mac apologized, rubbing his hand over his forehead. “Sam just called and he’s on his way.”

Joanna stowed her coat and purse in their usually spot and looked around the apartment. When she had first visited, she felt uncomfortable being surrounded by all of MacGyver’s belongings instead of the rented furnishings in his old place. Everywhere she looked it felt as if she was looking at a part of him. And in a way she was. He seemed to have sensed this and had gone out of his way to make her feel at ease. Now she felt as if this was her second home.

“I see you cleaned up,” she observed.

“You make it sound like I’m a slob,” Mac complained.

“I wouldn’t call you a slob, exactly—“

A knock at the door interrupted her. She saw MacGyver glance down at his collarless shirt and jeans. She rolled her eyes. This was his son! Granted, they hadn’t seen each other for almost a year but still…

Mac opened the door to reveal a young man a few inches shorter than him with neatly cut dark brown hair and slim physique. Joanna stayed silent as they embraced and patted each other on the back.

“You got a haircut,” MacGyver said as he stood back to take in his son.

“And you didn’t!” Sam laughed.

Mac pulled a face. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” he told Sam as he turned toward Jo. “This is Joanna Fairfax, my friend from Challengers.”

Sam displayed a dazzling smile as he reached out to shake her hand.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person. My dad has told me so much about you I feel like I already know you.”

‘”Oh really?” Joanna playfully cocked an eyebrow at Mac. “It’s good to meet you, too, Sam,” she continued. “And please call me ‘Jo’.”

“There’s, um, someone I’d like you to meet too,” Sam announced, turning back to his father and making his way to the door, gesturing for someone to come in.

A pretty young girl about Sam’s age and Joanna’s height stood on the threshold holding a baby carrier, her long auburn hair blowing in the autumn breeze. Joanna sucked in a breath and looked at MacGyver who stood tall and stiff as a board, his face expressionless.

“Dad, Jo, this is Julie Conner. And this,” he glanced toward the carrier where a blue-eyed, blond-haired baby boy not more than a few months old peeked out from a fleece blanket, “is Joshua. Your grandson.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Julie,” MacGyver smiled without offering to shake her hand. Turning to Sam he growled, “We need to talk. Now!”

As if on cue, Joshua began to wail.

“I’m afraid he needs changed,” Julie said apologetically.

“C’mon, I’ll show you upstairs,” Jo responded. As she climbed the steps she caught MacGyver’s gaze which held myriad emotions. She was definitely not going to get out of here in time for the Packer game.

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“Dad, just give me a chance to explain,” Sam implored.

“Oh, you’re gonna explain, all right,” MacGyver grabbed his son’s arm and steered him toward the couch. “Start from the beginning and don’t leave out a thing,” Mac commanded.

Sam leaned back on the couch and sighed as he began his story.

“I met Julie when I was in New York for a mandatory training before flying out. She’s a print journalist and had just been assigned to a U.S. base in Germany. We hit it off and went out a few times. We got...friendly.”

“Friendly,” Mac repeated, staring at his son.

“Very friendly?” Sam stared back.

“I get it. Go on.”

“We were only together once, but three months later I got a letter from her saying she was pregnant. She said it was mine.”

“But you hardly knew her! How can you be sure?”

“I introduce you to your grandson and that’s the first question you ask?”

“But you admit you were only with her once.”

“Once is all it takes, Dad!”

“I know that, Sam,” Mac shot back as Joshua wailed his protest from upstairs. Both men lowered their voices.

“Anyway,” Sam continued, “We stayed in touch and I arranged to get leave so I could be there for the birth.”

“That’s why you postponed your leave this past spring,” MacGyver stated.

Sam nodded. “The baby came early so I missed it anyway, but I got to Germany as fast as I could. Julie and I have both been on leave since then.”

Mac scrubbed his face with his hand. “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?” he asked wearily.

“I kept meaning to, but it wasn’t something I wanted to say in a letter. I wanted to tell you face-to-face.”

“Well it looks like you got your wish,” MacGyver sneered.

“Dad, I’m sorry…”

“It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?”

There was a sound by the stairs and both men turned. Joanna stood there with Julie hovering by her side, baby carrier hanging on her arm.

“Joshua’s fussy and tired from the trip,” Jo proclaimed. “Julie wants to go check into the motel and get him settled.” Sam nodded his consent.

“This isn’t over, Sam,” Mac declared. “We still have a lot to talk about.”

Polite good-byes were hastily exchanged and Joanna went to gather her things as MacGyver plopped down on the couch.

“What are you doing?” he asked, catching her off guard.

“Going home,” she stated. “I figured you’d want to be alone.”

“I do. It’s just…don’t leave,” he requested, his voice so raw and vulnerable Joanna had no choice but to stay. She sat down next to him as he grabbed the remote and turned on the football game.

They watched the game together in silence until Mac grabbed his jacket and went out on the back deck during the second quarter. At half time, Joanna grabbed her coat and joined him.

“I owe you an apology,” she began.

Mac gave her a questioning look.

“From now on, when you say something doesn’t feel right, I’ll believe you,” she smiled, hoping he would do the same. Instead, he simply returned his gaze to his backyard.

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The following morning, Sam tapped lightly on his father’s door before letting himself in.

“Have a seat.” MacGyver pointed the spatula he was holding at a stool behind the breakfast bar. “I’m making pancakes. Want some?”

“No thanks,” Sam declined. “When you called and asked me to come over I thought…well, I wasn’t expecting you to be in a very good mood.”

Mac turned off the griddle and faced Sam. “You took me by surprise yesterday, and I lashed out. I was hoping we could talk, privately.”

“No problem. Joshua had a rough night so he and Julie are sleeping in.”

“He’s okay, isn’t he?” MacGyver asked.

“Yeah, just jet lag and new surroundings. I’m used to it, but they’re not.”

“Look Sam, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and have some questions for you.” MacGyver now took a seat on the stool next to his son.

“I kind of expected that,” Sam replied. “Go ahead, ask whatever you want.”

MacGyver sighed, not knowing where to begin.

“What if Joshua isn’t really yours. What if his real father is out there somewhere?”

Sam shook his head. “Julie said he’s mine and I believe her.”

“But what if there’s a chance he’s not?”

“Then he needs a father anyway. Besides, you believed me when I said you were my father based only on an old picture in a locket.”

“It wasn’t just the picture, Sam,” MacGyver began to explain, his voice gaining urgency. “Your mom and I were together for a while. We knew each other well. Maybe too well. There’s no way she would have deceived me like that.”

“If you two were so close, how come she never told you about me?!”

“I don’t know,” MacGyver shot back, “but I’m sure she had her reasons! Besides, this isn’t about me and your mother, it’s about you and Julie!” Mac took a deep breath, struggling to regain his composure. “Alright, so you’ve agreed to raise Joshua. Now what? Are you going to get married? Where are you going to live? How are you going to support a family?”

“Would you stop with the third degree?!” Sam shouted.

“Look,” Mac said calmly, trying to diffuse the situation. “You’re making a big commitment here. There are things you need to consider.”

“At least I’m making a commitment. Something you never had the guts to do!”

Sam’s words hit MacGyver like a smack in the face and it hurt. Mainly because it was true.

“If I had known about you, I would have committed! I would have married your mom and settled down instead of dragging you across the world from one assignment to the next. But your mother never gave me that choice!”

“Then you’ll be happy to know that Julie and I have agreed to make sure Joshua has a stable, loving home to grow up in. The day after Thanksgiving we’re driving down to St. Louis. Julie has family there and her folks have agreed to raise Joshua until we figure out what we want to do.”

“What?!” MacGyver bellowed.

“That is unless you want him,” Sam sneered.

“A child deserves a mother and a father. Not some stand-ins to raise him until his parents decide what they want to be when they grow up!”

“Look, dad, I didn’t ask for this. I’m trying to do what’s best for everyone, including Joshua. Can’t you cut me some slack? You said you’d always be there for me, but apparently you lied!”

“I didn’t—“

“Forget it, Okay. We’ll pack up and leave tonight.”

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Joanna was on her hands and knees scrubbing her bathroom floor when the phone rang. She groaned. Her parents had gone shopping and she was taking advantage of time alone to conquer household chores she had let go too long. She sat back on her heels, waiting for the machine to pick.

“Joanna, this is Pete Thornton. If you’re there, please pick up.”

Jo scrambled to her feet, the concern in Pete’s voice scaring her.

“I’m here,” she said breathlessly. “What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”

Pete chuckled, “Do you always ask that first thing?”

“Yeah. Ever since MacGyver came into my life.”

“I know the feeling,” Pete commiserated. “To tell you the truth, I’m not sure anything is wrong. Mac called Connie and told her they couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving. I tried to tell her he probably just wanted to spend the day alone with Sam.”

“Have you tried calling MacGyver?”

“Yes,” Pete sighed. “He’s not answering his phone. I thought you might have some insight.”

“Maybe him and Sam are out for the day,” she suggested.

“You’re probably right,” Pete agreed. “Sorry to bother you. Have a happy Thanksgiving.”

“Thanks, you too,” Joanna smiled and hung up.

Drat! Was MacGyver pouting again? Joanna knew it wasn’t any of her business, yet…

“MacGyver!” she yelled as she knocked on his front door. “I’m coming in!” The man really needed to learn to lock his doors.

Joanna found Mac lying on his couch, staring up at the ceiling. She walked to where he could see her and planted her hands on her hips.

“OK, spill it,” she commanded.

He swung his legs off the couch giving her room to sit, but she remained standing. He scrubbed his face with his hands and launched into his argument with Sam earlier that day.

“So what are you going to do about it?” she asked, looking down at him.

“I don’t know what I can do,” he replied, looking up at her with piercing, unsettled eyes.

Jo finally relented and sat down next to him taking a gentler approach.

“You could apologize.”

“For what?!” Now it was MacGyver’s turn to stand over her.

“Oh, I don’t know. How about for overreacting and being a jerk?”

“I tried that. It didn’t work.” He dropped down next to her.

“You need to work this out with Sam before they leave.”

Mac sighed, “I doubt he feels much like talking to me right about now.”

“Do you mind if I take a shot?” Jo asked.

MacGyver looked at her, surprise registering on his face. “You shouldn’t have to clean up the mess I made.”

“Cleaning was on my agenda for this week anyway. Where’s the phone number to the motel?”

In no time, Joanna had made arrangements for the two couples and the baby to meet at a casual restaurant for a late lunch. MacGyver and Jo got there first and she quickly requested a booth, insisting that Mac go in first, that way she could block any attempt he made to bail. Sam and Julie arrived shortly, Sam going in the booth first so Julie could take the baby out quickly if needed. She placed the infant carrier between them.

For the first several minutes, everyone studied their menu intently. After giving the server their orders, they fell into stilted small talk and awkward silences. Everyone was grateful when the meal was served and mouths could be filled with food instead of words. Several times Joshua became fussy and Sam was quick to calm him, but Julie always took over. When the child could no longer be easily comforted, Julie excused herself and Joanna followed in order to give Sam and Mac some time alone, hoping they would mind their manners in a public environment.

“Does he need changed?” Jo asked once they reached the restroom.

Julie lifted the small bundle into her arms. “No, I think he just needs a nap. His internal clock takes a while to adjust.”

“’Joshua’ is a nice name,” Joanna commented. “What made you and Sam choose it?”

Julie cast Jo a suspicious glance before answering. “I named him after his…grandfather,” she hesitated slightly.

“Oh,” Joanna nodded. “He has such lovely blue eyes. Do they run in your family?”

“Why don’t you just ask what you really want to know?!” Julie turned on her. The shy, quiet young lady façade gone.

“Fine,” Jo squared her shoulders. “Is Sam Joshua’s biological father?”

“Sam warned me you’d ask that,” Julie spat. “Why can’t you and MacGyver just accept the fact that Sam has a son?”

Julie stormed back to their table. “C’mon Sam, let’s get outta here,” she demanded.

Sam shot MacGyver a bewildered glance before following Julie out of the restaurant.

Mac looked at Jo as she resumed her seat next to him. “Sam and I were just starting to talk things out. What happened?”

“I don’t think Sam is Joshua’s real father.”

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MacGyver stared incredulously at Joanna as she intently studied the dessert menu. He could feel her leg against his jeans as it bounced up and down, a sign that she was upset.

“What?!” Mac exclaimed.

“You heard me,” she replied, head still buried in the menu.

MacGyver reached out and removed the laminated folder from her hands.

“Sam and I were talking. Really talking. He’s convinced that the baby is really his. What makes you think he’s not?”

Joanna turned to him. “Didn’t you notice how Julie was always swooping in to comfort Joshua, even when Sam was trying? And she’s always the one carrying him.”

Mac tipped his head in thought. “Maybe she’s just an overprotective mother.”

“Why would she feel the need to protect him from his own father?” Jo asked. “And when we were in the ladies room, I commented on the baby’s name and she said they named him after his grandfather.”

“So what’s the big deal about that?”

“It was the way she said it. She hesitated, like she almost said he was named after someone else but then caught herself.”

“You think he’s named after his real father?”

Joanna nodded vigorously.

“Don’t you think that’s kind of a stretch?” Even though MacGyver had doubts about Joshua’s biological father, this certainly wasn’t hard evidence.

“But that’s not all,” Joanna continued. “What about his coloring?”

Mac sighed. “Hair and eye coloring can change as a child gets older.”

“I know that!” Joanna rolled her eyes at him. “But when I asked if blue eyes run in her family she completely turned on me and got all upset for insinuating Sam isn’t his dad.”

“So that’s why she insisted they leave in such a hurry.”

“Afraid so,” Jo answered. “You’re the ex-spy science guy, how can we prove whether or not Sam is Joshua’s father?”

“The fastest and easiest way is a blood test. But it’s not fool-proof and we’d need their permission.”

“That’s what I thought,” Joanna crossed her arms and slouched down in the booth. “And they’re not likely to allow it.”

“Look, I convinced Sam to stay the night. Tomorrow morning I’ll go and talk with them. If Julie protests too much we’ll know something’s not right.”

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“Just give me some time to pack the rest of our things and then we can hit the road,” Julie instructed as she, Sam, and Joshua entered their motel room.

“Wait a minute,” Sam said as he grabbed her gently by the arm. “I told my dad we wouldn’t leave until morning. It’d give us a little extra time to—“

“What? Work things out? It’s crystal clear what your dad thinks of us and now he’s got his girlfriend on his side too! Let’s just forget we were ever here and spend Thanksgiving with my family.”

“We’ll spend the holiday in St. Louis,” Sam promised, “but give me a chance to make things right with my dad before we leave. I at least owe him that much.”

“You owe him nothing!” Julie turned and headed into the bathroom, closing the door with a loud bang.

Sam sighed. Julie’s emotions had been all over the board these past couple of months. He had chalked it up to hormones and just having a baby, but maybe there was something more to it. He could admit, at least to himself, that he really didn’t know her well at all, and the more he saw of her, the less there was to like. But she was the mother of his child and he was determined to do right by her and Joshua.

There was a knock on the motel door Tuesday morning. Sam opened it to find MacGyver standing casually on the other side.

“Hope I didn’t wake you,” his dad said.

“No, Joshua took care of that a couple hours ago,” Sam replied with a wry grin. “Come on in.”

Sam stood back to allow MacGyver to enter the small room just as Julie emerged from the bathroom.

“What’s he doing here?” she hissed at Sam, refusing to look at Mac.

“I wanted to talk to the both of you about something,” MacGyver volunteered before his son could respond. “Maybe we should all sit down, first,” Mac suggested, glancing at the two double beds.

Sam plopped down on the foot of the bed while Julie stiffly lowered herself next to him

“What’s up, Dad?”

“There seems to be a whole lotta accusations and misunderstandings surrounding Joshua. I was wondering, hoping actually, that you would be willing to take a blood test to prove paternity.”

“Sure,” Sam agreed readily. “I know he’s mine, and I’ll do whatever it takes to prove that. And even if he’s not mine, I still plan on being his dad. It won’t change anything.”

“Sam, you can’t!” Julie cried, suddenly clinging to his arm.

“Look, Jules,” Sam offered calmly. “We have nothing to hide, right? So where’s the harm if it’ll make everyone happy?”

Sam felt Julie suddenly release his arm.

“Fine,” she replied icily. “Do what you have to do. I have to feed the baby now.”

“Actually, I was hoping we could all go out for breakfast. As a family,” MacGyver said.

“C’mon, Jules, what do you say?”

“I thought we were leaving this morning. And stop calling me ‘Jules’! You know I hate that!” she snapped.

Sam’s heart sank. His precious little family was fracturing right in front of him and he felt helpless.

“Then just how about us guys,” Mac suggested, slapping Sam on the back.

“We won’t be long,” Sam promised Julie before heading out the door with his father.

The two men walked to a small diner next to the motel and commandeered a booth. Sitting across from MacGyver, Sam sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck to relieve the tension that had settled there.

“I’m sorry about Julie, Dad.” Sam apologized. “I don’t know what’s gotten into her.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you agreed to the paternity test. I’ll go ahead and make the arrangements.”

“It’s not going to change anything.” Sam’s resolve strengthened.

“But at least we’ll know the truth. That’s something everyone deserves.”

Father and son ordered light meals and chatted amicably as they had done before Sam had left on his assignment almost a year ago. As they were walking back to the motel Sam suddenly froze.

“What is it?” MacGyver asked, his own senses going on high alert.

“Our car. It’s gone!”

“Now don’t panic. Maybe Julie just had to run an errand.”

Sam saw a maid pushing her cart outside their room.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” Sam called. “Did you happen to see the woman from that room?”

“Sure did,” the woman replied. “She packed up the car and her kid and went squealing outta here like the devil himself was on her tail.”

Sam thanked the maid and quickly entered the room, MacGyver close behind. There was a hastily scrawled note on the dresser. Sam didn’t want to read it but he knew he had to, even though Julie’s actions had spoken louder than any words.

Sam,

I guess you have your answer now. Joshua isn’t yours. I’m sorry for using you, but believe me when I say I had my reasons. Please don’t try and find us. There’s been enough trouble already.

Julie

Sam crumpled the note and tossed it in the trash before turning to MacGyver.

“Seems you were right. Joshua’s not mine. They’re gone,” he said flatly.

Mac put a comforting hand on his son’s shoulder.

“Why don’t you pack up and come to my place,” he suggested quietly.

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It had been almost twelve hours since Sam dumped his duffle and satchel in MacGyver’s doorway and lay down on the couch to stare at the ceiling and MacGyver was going crazy. How could Sam just lie there? He hadn’t eaten or even spoken, and Mac doubted very much he had slept. Every couple hours Mac had encouraged him to do or say something, anything. But all that earned him was more silence. He had never seen anyone close themselves off to the world so completely. Had he been like this when Mike had died? Or when he learned of Pete’s retirement? It was a scary thought. Thankfully he had friends who refused to give up on him, just as he refused to give up on Sam, but he needed help. He automatically picked up the phone and dialed the now-familiar number.

“Hello?” Joanna answered.

“Not screening your calls?” Mac tried to tease.

“Telemarketers don’t call this late,” she explained. “What’s wrong? Did you talk with Sam today?”

“Yeah. It’s kind of a long story.” MacGyver went on to tell Joanna about how Julie had taken Joshua and about the note she left for Sam and his son’s subsequent behavior.

“Can you come over and help me?” he pleaded. Something he wasn’t used to doing since he was generally the one riding to the rescue.

“Honestly, Mac, I don’t know how I could help.”

“But you helped me when I withdrew after Pete retired.”

“All I did was be there for you. And that’s all you can do for Sam. Be there when he’s ready to do whatever he needs to do and don’t let him push you away no matter how hard he tries.”

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” MacGyver sighed, reluctant to end the call. Just the sound of Jo’s voice centered him.

“Give it time and don’t rush him,” Joanna instructed. “And if you need me tomorrow, give me a call,” she capitulated.

Early Wednesday morning MacGyver awoke to strange sounds coming from his kitchen. He bolted upright, preparing to take on an intruder before remembering that Sam had spent the night downstairs and was probably, hopefully, making something to eat. Not wanting to ruin any progress his son may have made, Mac took his time showering and dressing for the day before heading to the kitchen himself. Reaching the bottom step he looked around to find Sam now seated in a chair staring at a blank TV and eating a banana. Mac grabbed an apple and joined him.

“You’re gonna have to talk about it some time, you know,” MacGyver told his son gently.

“I just can’t believe it,” Sam responded. “Why would she do something like that?”

Mac shrugged. “I don’t know, Sam. She said she had her reasons so I guess you just have to trust her.”

“Trust her!” Sam spat. “She let me believe she had my baby! That I was a dad! How am I supposed to trust her?!”

MacGyver raked his hand through his hair. The pain in Sam’s eyes stabbed his own heart. He longed to take the pain away, but how?

“What can I do to help you through this?” he asked Sam.

The young man shrugged. “It probably sounds terrible, but I really don’t care what happens with Julie. I hardly knew her and now wish I had never met her. But it’s the baby. I need to know that Joshua’s okay.”

“Do you think she really has family in St. Louis?”

“Yeah, I guess. I don’t know.”

“I still have some connections at Phoenix. How about I have them do a little digging and see what we can find?” Mac offered.

Sam nodded silently before putting his feet up on the coffee table and reclining back in the chair to continue his study of the ceiling.

MacGyver contacted an intelligence agent at the Foundation whom he had worked with before. The agent wasn’t excited about being given a new project the day before Thanksgiving, but the information Mac wanted was simple enough so he promised to get on it and call back when he had something.

Hours later MacGyver was tinkering with a new science demonstration he planned to use at Challengers the following week when a knock on his door startled him. He looked up to see Joanna standing on the other side of the glass. He motioned for her to enter.

She stood beside him, observing Sam.

“I can’t believe it! There are two of you!”

“Do I really get that bad?” MacGyver winced at the thought.

The look on Joanna’s face told him he did.

“Not that I mind, but what brings you here?” he asked.

“You never called and I’ve been wondering how things are going.”

Before MacGyver could respond his phone rang. It was the Phoenix agent he had contacted earlier. On a small pad of paper he quickly wrote down the information he received, thanked the agent and hung up. Two pairs of expectant eyes watched him.

“That was my friend from Phoenix. Seems Julie was telling some truth, at least. Her parents are Joshua and Mary Conner. They currently reside in an upscale suburb of St. Louis.”

Sam’s shoulders dropped a bit in relief.

“There’s more,” Mac said, pain for Sam in his eyes.

“Go on,” Sam prompted huskily.

“My friend dug up Joshua’s birth certificate. The father’s name is listed as ‘unknown’.”

Sam sighed, pushed himself out of the soft chair and stood looking out the patio doors.

“So that’s it,” he said with resignation.

“Not quite,” MacGyver cleared his throat. “My friend got a phone number for her parents if…”

Uneasy silence hung in the air.

“I know all I need to know,” Sam stated several minutes later. “I’m gonna need a place to crash for a while until I get reassigned.”

“You can stay here as long as you need to,” MacGyver assured him.

“Thanks Dad, I was hoping you’d say that,” Sam smiled slightly and for the first time since the weekend MacGyver felt that everything might work out after all.

“And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry about Joshua. I know you really believed you were his dad.”

Sam shrugged, unshed tears glistening in his eyes. MacGyver’s heart broke and he wrapped his son in a strong embrace which was heartily returned.


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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