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

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

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



Jody~

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about Chuck?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“’She sure is’?!”

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mac shook his head.

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

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

“That should hold you until I get back.”

“Where are you going, Gordon?”

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

“Fine,” he sighed, “I’ll go check.”

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

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

“Mac?! Mac, is that you?!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

“Mac?!”

“Jack!” he called out thankfully.

“It’s locked!” his friend called.

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

“Nice to meet you. I’m Joanna.”

“Have you spent much time in Mission City?”

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

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

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

This woman was a little too friendly.

“I don’t think—“

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

“She was at the bar when I left.”

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

“Can I help you gentleman?”

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

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

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

“No. A woman.”

“Winnifred,” Mac said under his breath.

“Who?” Jack asked.

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

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

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

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

“So?”

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

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

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

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

Another shrug from Jack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“MacGyver?” she asked hesitantly.

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

“What’s she doing here?” he sneered.

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

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

“But…she’s your wife!”

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

“Then who is she?” Winnie asked slowly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You okay?” he asked calmly.

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

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

“I’m sorry,” she muttered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mac and Joanna began to laugh.

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

“Forget it, Jack,” Mac commanded.

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

“Exactly!”










Jody~

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

QUOTE


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

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

...

...

Insane. Definitely insane.

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE


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

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

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

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

I'm fairly certain he did thumbup.gif



Jody~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you say we go on home?”

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

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

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

“I wanna go to the dance!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This piqued his curiosity.

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

Suzy shook her head vigorously.

“Why not?” MacGyver asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Please, call me Jill.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She told me about her solution.”

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

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

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

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

Jill’s face fell again.

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s Mr. Mac’s favorite color?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mac chuckled. “You bet I will.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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











Jody~

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

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 15 August 2019 - 06:58 PM                                    
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QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

This piqued his curiosity.
Mine as well huh.gif

Well, I was right XD XD XD

This whole conversation is adorable XD

QUOTE

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Jody~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, maybe,” MacGyver mumbled.

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

“There’s a lump there,” Mac frowned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well how long have you had him?”

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

“Where did he live before?”

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

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

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

“I don’t really know,” Mac shrugged.

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

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

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

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

“Sure,” MacGyver replied as Jo quickly nodded.

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

“What did you find?” Mac asked anxiously.

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

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

“Like shrapnel?”

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

“Can that be done tonight?” Jo asked.

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

“We’re good,” Mac assured him.

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” the couple gasped in unison.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thank you, doctor.”

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

XXXXX

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

“How did you know it was me?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What did you tell him?”

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

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

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

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

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

“It was big and black,” he shrugged.

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

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

“Can you remember anything else?” Jo prodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

MacGyver grinned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It was in a frog?” the doctor asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What does that mean?” Pete asked impatiently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, but Frog—“

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You mean ransom,” Jo replied dully.

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

“How?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch! Must the dimwit be so demeaning?!

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

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

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

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

“Shut up!” the man snarled.

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

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

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

“But boss…”

“Go!”

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

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

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

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

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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

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

“That might be a problem,” Mac replied.

“Why is that, sir?”

“Well, ya see, I don’t have it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did you hear that?” she whispered.

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

“I thought I heard something on your patio?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Stay back! It could be a trap!”

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

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

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

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

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

“Dr. Pleshenkov.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pleshenkov took a deep breath as his cheeks grew pink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” she replied sheepishly.

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

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

XXXXX

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

“You okay?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Jody~

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

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

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



QUOTE

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 28 August 2019 - 12:44 PM                                    
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Posts: 570
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Chapter 14: Dating: MacGyver Style

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

“Morning, Geena! Happy Friday!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why would you say that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” he shrugged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Nothin’! Forget I said anything.”

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

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

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

“Yeah. Well, according to the quiz.”

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

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

“Yeah. I mean, it can’t hurt, right?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

“Mac said to give these to you.”

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

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

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

“Something wrong, Miss?”

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

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

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

“Hey!” he greeted her with a smile.

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

“Here, let me help you with those.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh really?!?!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay, your turn,” he told her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh goody,” came her sarcastic reply.

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

“Why?” she asked suspiciously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I take it you had a good time?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jo cocked her head but remained silent.

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

“Than what was tonight all about?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Jody~

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

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 29 August 2019 - 10:47 AM                                    
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Phoenix Special Agent
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Posts: 3,304
Joined: 11 Dec 2017
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Episode:Halloween Knights
Vehicle: Motorcycle
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House:  House boat



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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

QUOTE


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

“I take it you had a good time?”

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

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

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

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

QUOTE

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

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

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

So, when's the wedding? XD



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

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

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

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

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

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 11 September 2019 - 08:57 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 570
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
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House:  House boat




*****So, so sorry I missed posting last week! This is a long one to make up for it:)))


Chapter 15: Bride #3


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

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

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

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

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

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

“It is not a Western!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Cheap seats,” he muttered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You know what I mean.”

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

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

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

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

“Sorry. Cast only,” the hulk grunted.

“But I’m a friend of—“

“Sorry. Cast only.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXXXX

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mike? Mike who?”

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

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

Mac pinned her with a glare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Try me,” Mac challenged.

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

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

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

“There’s no way, Penny! You know Murdoc just made all that up to get to you…and me. And since he’s dead—“

“Don’t you get it, Mac?” Penny cried. “There really is a crippled director named Jacques La Rue! Murdoc must have known that and impersonated him. But the real Jacques La Rue is much nicer! He’s the one who hired me for this show!”

“I don’t suppose I could meet him?”

Penny chewed on her lower lip before answering. “He really prefers to stay in the background. Behind the scenes, you know. I think it’s because of his disability.”

“I see,” MacGyver replied cynically.

“But I’m sure if I told him a friend of mine wanted to meet him he would make an exception!” Penny brightened. “I’ll ask him about it tonight!”

Back in the car, MacGyver found himself pinned by Joanna’s gaze.

“What was all that about Murdoc and Jacques La Rue?” she asked.

“It’s a long story. And not a very happy one.” He didn’t care to explain further. Not even to Jo. There were some things in his past that he wanted to keep there, and Murdoc was certainly one of them.

“Maybe Penny will tell me more about it tomorrow,” Jo responded. “We decided to have a girl’s day and get to know each other better.”

“When did this happen?” Mac asked, more than a little shocked.

“Before dessert, when we went to the ladies room,” she shrugged. “Do you have a problem with me spending time with your ex-girlfriend?”

“No! And she’s not my ex-girlfriend!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Late Sunday morning Joanna stood in the middle of Penny’s motel room as the actress finished putting on her make-up in the small bathroom. The main room was sparsely furnished with everything one would expect and nothing more.

“So, I was thinking we should hit the mall for some retail therapy, grab some lunch and then treat ourselves to a manicure. How does that sound?” Penny called to Joanna.

“Sounds great, but I thought you’d have a Sunday matinee.”

“No, Jacques doesn’t believe in working on Sundays which is fine with the cast. We get a whole day to relax or spend traveling without having to worry about performing.”

Joanna looked around the room once more before taking a seat in a straight backed wooden chair. “That makes sense,” she replied. “But I would’ve thought that you’d be staying in a…different...motel.”

“Yeah, me too,” the younger woman sighed, now standing in the bathroom doorway. “Jacques promises it’s only until the profits from the box office pick up. But until then, it was either fly to the cities we’re performing in and stay in cheap motels, or stay in nice hotels and take the bus.” At this, Penny pulled a face. Obviously, professional actors did not endure long bus rides.

There was a sudden knock on the door and Penny hurried to answer it. She opened it to reveal a twenty-something, blonde-haired girl holding a plain white box.

“Oh, hey Jenny! C’mon in. This is my friend Joanna. Jo, this is my understudy, Jenny.”

Jenny stepped into the room and smiled at Joanna. “I’m sorry to interrupt. I didn’t know you had company, but I just ran into the motel manager and he said this had been left at the front desk for you so I offered to bring it over.”

The girl handed Penny the box who eagerly opened it.

“Cherry cordials! My favorite!” she exclaimed. “Well, maybe not my favorite but definitely a close second! Gee, I wonder who sent them? Maybe I have a secret admirer!” She started to reach for one of the treats before hesitating.

“Oh, gosh, where are my manners?! Jenny, Joanna, would you like one?”

When both women politely declined, Penny popped an entire piece of candy in her mouth. Her eyes rolled back in pure bliss.

“These are wonderful!” she mumbled around the chocolate concoction.

“Well, I better be going,” Jenny announced. “Are we still on to run lines tonight?”

Penny nodded then swallowed before answering. “You bet. Come on over around six.”

Jenny smiled and slipped out the door.

“Poor kid,” Penny said sadly once the girl had left. “This is her first big break and she’s so worried she’s going to have to go on for me.”

“Isn’t it pretty rare for understudies to actually be needed to perform?” Jo asked.

“You’d think so, right? But brides number one and two are both currently being played by the understudies.”

“Really?! How come?”

“When we were in Houston, bride number one kept getting these strange notes and was convinced a stalker was trying to kill her so she just up and quit one day and went back to Los Angeles. Then, in Omaha, a piece of rigging fell and almost hit bride number two. She stumbled getting out of the way and broke her ankle. You sure you don’t want one?” Penny thrust the candy box under Joanna’s nose.

“No. Thanks,” she smiled.

“Suit yourself! I’ll be back in a jiffy!” Penny promised as she headed back to the bathroom, popping another cherry into her mouth on the way.

Curious about the information Penny had just disclosed, Joanna called to her, “So what did the police in Houston and Omaha say about what happened to the actresses?”

“They said the falling rigging was an accident, and the notes were probably just a cruel prank. Jacques refused to let them investigate further because that would have put us behind, travel wise, and he didn’t want to postpone any performances.”

“Don’t you think that’s kinda odd?” Jo asked, but her question was met with prolonged silence.

“Penny?” she asked again. Still nothing but silence.

Suddenly, a loud clatter and muffled thud come from the other room. Joanna raced into the bathroom to find Penny’s unconscious body crumpled on the floor. Not wanting to move her, but needing to know if she was alive, Jo gently shook the other woman’s shoulder.

“Penny! Penny, can you hear me?!”

When she received no response she frantically searched for a pulse. She relaxed slightly when she found one, albeit slow and weak. She also noted that Penny’s face was unusually flushed and there was the slightest scent of…something. Jo tried to place it and finally realized it reminded her of bitter almonds. She flew to the telephone on the nightstand and placed two calls, the first to 911, the second to MacGyver.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver all but flew through the automatic doors of the emergency room. He still had on his worn jeans and stained t-shirt as he had received Joanna’s call in the middle of painting a dorm room at Challengers. Groups of people huddled together in the waiting area. Penny’s co-stars, he assumed, but no sign of the director. His eyes continued to search for the one person he needed to find most. After several moments, he found Joanna comforting a young, blonde girl who was clearly distraught. Their gazes met and Jo excused herself from the girl and joined Mac in the center of the room.

“Any news?” he asked anxiously.

“No. They’re still working on her, I guess.”

“What about you? Are you okay?” he asked, cupping her face with his hands.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Joanna sighed. “Maybe a little shook up, but I’ll be okay.”

“You always say that,” he gently chided as he pressed his lips to her forehead in a tender, comforting kiss. “Tell me what happened.”

Jo led him to a pair of chairs away from the others and told him everything that had happened from the time she arrived at the motel until now.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t get here sooner,” he apologized. “By the time I got cleaned up and drove over to the motel everyone was already gone.”

“It’s okay. There was nothing you could have done anyway.”

“I could have been there for you,” he declared huskily as he noticed she was holding his hand a bit tighter than usual.

Before Joanna could respond, a tall woman in a white lab coat stood in the doorway, scanning the large number of people that had gathered. She spoke quietly to the nearest nurse who nodded toward Joanna.

“Ms. Fairfax?” the doctor called.

Joanna jumped out of her seat, pulling MacGyver with her, their hands still intertwined. Together they anxiously approached the physician.

“How is she, doctor?” Mac asked immediately.

“And you are…?”

“MacGyver. I’m a good friend of Penny’s.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. MacGyver, but I’m not at liberty to discuss a patient’s condition with anyone except immediate family. I came to speak to Ms. Fairfax since she was with Ms. Parker when she collapsed.”

“I’m the closest thing to family she has,” Mac insisted.

Just then a nurse quickly approached the doctor and whispered in her ear. The doctor’s face softened and she turned to MacGyver once again.

“It seems one of the paramedics found an emergency contact card in Ms. Parker’s purse with your name on it, although the contact information seems to be outdated.”

MacGyver was surprised to learn that he was the person Penny wanted someone to call if anything happened to her, but in a way it did make sense.

“And since Ms. Parker is a travelling performer, her situation is a bit different,” the doctor continued. “If you two will please follow me?”

Mac and Joanna followed the woman to the nearest empty emergency room bay for some privacy.

“My name is Doctor Reagan. I’m sorry if I was a bit brusque, but with all the new privacy laws these days…” she blew out a breath of what appeared to be frustration.

“We understand,” MacGyver assured her. “We’d appreciate anything you could tell us, though.”

“From the information the paramedics at the scene and Ms. Fairfax have provided, as well as my initial examination, I am all but certain Ms. Parker is suffering from cyanide poisoning.”

Stunned, Mac and Joanna looked at each other before turning back to the doctor for more information.

“We’ve drawn blood and the lab is analyzing the cherry cordials found in the motel, but I’ve already started Ms. Parker on an antidote. I doubt there was a high level of the poison in her system, and thanks to Ms. Fairfax’s timely actions Ms. Parker should recover quickly.”

“When can we see her?” MacGyver asked.

“We sedated her when she began to gain consciousness in order to allow the medicine to work. She’ll probably sleep into the evening. We can give you a call when she wakes up.”

Mac jammed his fingers through his already messy hair and shook his head.

“No. I’ll stay and wait,” he declared. Then he turned to Joanna.

“I hate to ask this of you, but could you swing by Challengers and check to make sure everything is going okay? I left in kinda a hurry and I’m sure Cynthia’s concerned.”

“I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” Jo assured him. “But promise you’ll call if there are any changes with Penny.”

The doctor called out to Joanna as she prepared to leave. “Ms. Fairfax, since this appears to be an intentional poisoning, I’ve already called the authorities and I’m sure they’ll want to speak with you.”

“No problem,” Jo replied. “Mac knows how to reach me.” She gave MacGyver a quick hug which he wished could have lasted much longer before turning her back and heading to the parking lot.

XXXXX

A few hours later, Penny’s condition had stabilized enough to allow her to be moved to a private room. However, it was early evening before she awoke to find MacGyver keeping vigil at her bedside.

“Hey you,” she greeted him with a weary smile.

“Hey, how’re you feelin’?”

“Not so great, but I guess I’ll live,” she replied, more subdued than Mac had ever seen her.

“Do you remember what happened?” he asked.

Penny sighed. “I remember I was putting on make-up before going to the mall with Joanna and then everything went black. What happened to me, Mac?”

Her innocent, questioning gaze twisted MacGyver’s heart. How could he tell her the truth without frightening her?

“Do you remember eating cherry cordials?” he asked

Penny began to smile. “Yeah, they were sooo good!”

“Penny, the lab here analyzed them. They were laced with cyanide. You were poisoned.”

“Oh no!” Penny exclaimed, struggling to sit up in her bed. “Thank goodness Joanna and Jenny both refused when I offered them some!”

“Who’s Jenny?” Mac asked, but he was interrupted by a soft knock on the door.

“Mind if I join you?” Joanna asked from behind a large vase of yellow roses.

“Oh Joanna! You shouldn’t have!” Penny gushed when she saw the flowers.

“Actually, I didn’t,” Jo replied with a grin, carefully setting the crystal vase on the table next to the hospital bed. “They were at the nurses’ station so I offered to deliver them. Here’s the card.”

Penny plucked the small white envelope from Joanna’s fingers.

“Oh! They’re from Jacques! He’s such a sweet, thoughtful man!” Penny clutched the note to her chest as if it was a valued prize.

“If he’s such a great guy, why didn’t he come with the others to make sure you were okay?” MacGyver asked with an edge to his voice.

“I already told you that he doesn’t care to make public appearances,” she replied with a slight pout.

He was gearing up to ask her more questions about the mysterious Jacques La Rue when Joanna cleared her throat, interrupting his thoughts.

“You look like you could use a break,” she said. “Why don’t we go to the cafeteria and let Penny rest for a while?”

MacGyver didn’t want to leave, he wanted to learn more about this enigmatic director Penny was so enamored with, but the stern look in Joanna’s eyes told him she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Joanna took a sip of her soft drink and peered over her plastic cup at MacGyver who was seated across from her nursing a glass of orange juice. An uneasy silence had settled between them since leaving Penny’s room.

“Mind telling me why you dragged me down here?” Mac asked sternly.

“I’m worried,” Jo answered softly.

“Penny’s gonna be fine,” Mac’s voice softened. “You saw how much better she’s doing already.”

Joanna shook her head. “I know. That’s not what I mean. She told me something at the motel I think you need to know about.” She then proceeded to tell MacGyver about the previous incidences.

“You gotta admit it’s pretty strange, Mac. I mean, one mishap can be an accident. A second can be a coincidence. But a third? I think there’s a pattern here.”

“Like someone trying to oust the main actresses,” MacGyver replied, picking up her line of thought.

“Exactly! I tried to convince the police of that when Jenny and I gave our statements this afternoon, but they didn’t seem to want to believe me. They’re just focusing on Penny right now.”

“I don’t suppose they shared anything with you?”

“No.”

“Figures,” Mac replied, scrubbing his face with his hands. “By the way, who is this ‘Jenny’ person anyway?”

“She’s Penny’s understudy,” Jo answered as if he should’ve known that.

“The girl you were with in the waiting room?”

“Yeah. She’s gonna have to go on tomorrow night and she’s really nervous.”

“She’s the one who gave Penny the cherries, right?”

“Right. She got them from the desk clerk.”

“Or so she says,” MacGyver mused, his eyes glinting with suspicion.

Joanna’s jaw dropped. “You don’t think…?”

“Well, she does have motive. This will thrust her into the limelight and no doubt help her career.”

“But she’s scared to death, Mac! I really think her feelings are genuine. But you could be onto something. Maybe it’s one of the other understudies?”

MacGyver tipped his head in thought. “They would all have motive and probably opportunity, but I’m still not convinced Jacques La Rue is as genuine or innocent as Penny says.”

Joanna remained silent, as if she knew Mac was working on a plan. And he was.

“Do you still have the program with the cast list?” he asked her.

“Yeah, it’s in my purse.”

“Good. When you get to work tomorrow, run background checks on all the actors. Get as deep as you can. And see what you can find out about La Rue as well.”

“You got it. What are you gonna do?”

“I’m gonna pay a visit to a certain motel desk clerk.”

XXXXX

Bright and early Monday morning MacGyver stood at the front desk of the Glenfield Inn facing a lanky young man in his early twenties.

“Sorry, no vacancy,” the man said.

“I’m not here for a room,” Mac explained. “I’m here for some answers.”

This seemed to get the young man’s attention.

“Were you working here yesterday morning?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Did someone deliver a plain white box for a Penny Parker?”

“Yeah.”

Boy, this kid either had a very limited vocabulary or he was trying to hide something.

“Did you recognize them? What did they look like?” Mac pressed.

“It was a boy, maybe about ten or so. Just asked me to give the box to Ms. Parker.”

“And did you?” MacGyver already knew the answer, but he wanted to make sure the stories matched.
“I was on my way to her room when one of the other actresses, a blonde, said she was headed that way and would take it.”

“Then what did you do?”

“I came back here,” the clerk shrugged.

Mac sighed, frustrated at the apparent dead end. He bade the young man good bye and was headed to his Jeep when his cell phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hi MacGyver! It’s Penny! I’ve got some great news!”

Penny’s bubbly toned made Mac smile in spite of himself. “Hello Penny, what’s your great news?”

“The doctor is releasing me this morning! She says I’m almost fully recovered and can leave if I promise to take it easy. Isn’t that great?! But I’m gonna need a ride, so if you could come and pick me up that would be super! You can come and pick me up, can’t you?”

“No problem. I’m on my way.” Mac grinned as he got into the Jeep and drove to the hospital.

His grin immediately turned to a frown when he entered Penny’s room to find her already dressed and sitting on the side of the bed talking to a man in a wheelchair. It could only be the infamous Jacques La Rue and MacGyver was more than ready to have a few words with the reclusive director.

“MacGyver!” Penny exclaimed when she saw him. “Look who came to visit me! It’s Jacques!”

As the man maneuvered his wheelchair to face the doorway, MacGyver observed that the director was portlier than he had envisioned. He also wore thick glasses and had a bald head.

“Ah, so this is the ‘MacGyver’ Penny has been telling me about,” the older man smiled, reaching out his hand.

Mac stepped forward and shook La Rue’s hand even as he raised his eyebrows at Penny who offered and apologetic shrug.

“Ms. Parker was telling me how you so heroically rescued her from an evil assassin who was impersonating me. I owe you a debt of gratitude for protecting this wonderful lady.”

“Yeah, well, it was nothing, really,” Mac replied, a bit embarrassed as well as surprised at the friendliness and openness with which the director addressed him.

“Oh, Mac does stuff like that all the time,” Penny added airily.

“Well, not all the time,” MacGyver rebutted. “In fact, I’m trying to cut back.”

Jacques La Rue laughed heartily and Penny giggled along with him. Mac figured now was as good a time as any to get some questions answered.

“Mr. La Rue—“

“Please, call me Jacques! ‘Mr. La Rue’ makes me feel so old!”

“Jacques,” Mac continued, “do you know why anyone might want to harm your lead actresses?”

A dark cloud appeared over the man’s countenance and MacGyver waited for Jacques to gather his thoughts.

“The theater is a fickle mistress, my boy. One day you’re on top of the world, directing the world’s most prestigious performers, the next you are staying in cheap motels, trying to earn enough money to keep the show from going under. Unfortunately, my current status is the latter. If we do not complete this tour in its entirety, my career is ruined.”

“So you believe someone is trying to shut down the show.”

“Yes, I’m afraid that is so,” the director replied sadly.

“Do you have any idea who it might be?”

“Mr. MacGyver, in my position one makes a lot of friends as well as enemies.”

They were interrupted when a nurse arrived with Penny’s discharge papers. La Rue quietly took his leave and Mac waited before helping Penny to the Jeep.

“Hey! This isn’t the way back to the motel!” Penny sputtered twenty minutes later.

“That’s right,” MacGyver replied. “I’m taking you back to my place. You’ll be safer there.”

“But I need my stuff!”

“Give me your room key and I’ll pick it up later.”

“You really think I’m still in danger?” Penny asked despondently.

“Yeah, I do. And even if you’re not, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna leaned back in her desk chair and massaged her temples. She had been staring at her computer screen since eight o’clock that morning and it was now mid-afternoon. When she had arrived at the office, she had immediately pushed her assigned files to the far corners of her desk which was now littered with computer printouts and various colored notepapers that threatened to tumble onto the floor. Despite the fact that her office looked like a landfill, she actually had gleaned very little information about Jacques La Rue and the female actors Mac had asked her to investigate. From what she could find, La Rue had been a successful theatrical producer and director in his day. Articles reported that he was beloved by performers as well as peers. Unfortunately, his most recent productions had fallen on hard times and he was struggling to stay afloat financially. Perhaps he was sabotaging his own show to collect insurance money. If there was any. As for the actresses, they were all either unknowns or has-beens grateful for any role that would pay the rent. She had just called up the information on the actor who played the eldest brother in the play when there was a light tap on her door and Geena, the receptionist, entered her office.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, Ms. Fairfax, but Mr. MacGyver is on the phone for you.”

Joanna wrinkled her brow. “Why didn’t he just call me directly?”

“He tried, but said he couldn’t get through. I just tried to transfer him to you with the same results. It sounds as if your phone’s off the hook.”

Together the women shoved aside papers and searched for Jo’s telephone. At some point, the receiver had been pushed out of its cradle and hung against the side of Joanna’s desk. She let out a low moan as she replaced it, wondering how many calls she had missed. She was just about to speak to Geena when she noticed the woman staring at the picture on the computer monitor.

“Is that who I think it is?” the receptionist asked breathlessly.

“I doubt you know him,” Jo informed her. “He’s just one of the actors in a play Mac and I went to the other night.

“That’s Chad Connors!!” Geena exclaimed.

“Who’s Chad Connors, besides brother number one?” Joanna asked.

“Don’t you watch ‘Memorial Hospital’, girl?!”

“The soap opera?”

“Of course! That delicious-looking young man right there is none other than Dr. Jack Weaver! Well, at least until he left the show.”

“Why did he leave?” Joanna wasn’t quite sure why she was interested, but she was.

“The official reason was because of creative differences,” Geena explained with an eye roll. “The real reason is anybody’s guess. But there’ve been rumors that the studio’s been bombarded with fan mail and they’re working hard to get him back. What’s his gorgeous face doing on your computer, anyway? Getting tired of looking at that man of yours?” Geena raised her eyebrows and nodded toward the small photo of Mac taped to the corner of Jo’s monitor.

Joanna smiled, squashing the urge to tell Geena, yet again, that Mac was not ‘her man’. “I’m just doing some research, Geena.”

“Okay, whatever you say,” the receptionist smirked as she headed back to the outer office.

Jo sat back and studied the face of the apparently famous Chad Connors. His dark hair and piercing brown eyes should have made her swoon. Instead, a shiver slid down her spine as a suspicion took root in her mind. The sudden ring of the telephone startled her.

“Hello?”

“It’s about time!”

“Sorry, Mac,” Jo grimaced. “I accidentally knocked my phone off the hook.”

“Find out anything interesting?” he asked regarding her research.

“Up until a few minutes ago I would have said ‘no’, but I think I may have changed my mind. I need to do a little more digging.”

“Can you come over to my place after work so we can exchange information? I’ll pick up Chinese.”

Joanna grinned into the phone. “Now how could I possibly refuse an invitation like that?!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Late that afternoon, Penny opened MacGyver’s front door to find Joanna waiting patiently on the stoop, her myriad notes now tucked neatly inside a manila folder.

“Ya know you don’t have to knock,” Mac grinned, walking up behind his friend.

“I know,” Jo shrugged. “I just don’t feel right barging in.” She blushed slightly before addressing Penny.

“I’m so glad they let you leave the hospital! Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, but I’ll feel a lot better when whoever tried to poison me is behind bars!”

MacGyver ushered the two women to his kitchen table where they passed around containers of various Chinese cuisine. Once they had taken the edge off their hunger, Mac cleared his throat and prepared to eat some crow.

“I met Jacques La Rue today,” he informed Joanna. “He was at the hospital when I picked up Penny. I think I really misjudged the guy. He really seems to want to finish the tour and end his career on a positive note.”

“See!” Penny gushed, “I told you Jacques was one of the good guys!”

“Are you sure about that, Mac?” Jo asked warily.

“Unless you found something to incriminate him,” MacGyver countered.

“Not really, though it had occurred to me that maybe he was trying to sabotage the show to collect some insurance money or something.”

“Penny and I talked about that this afternoon. From what we know, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose if the show shuts down. What did you find out about the actors?”

“Not much, and it wasn’t for lack of trying,” Jo scowled. “But I might have a lead.”

MacGyver felt hopeful for the first time that day.

“Do you know who Chad Connors is?”

“Should I?” he asked.

He noticed Penny bouncing in her chair, unable to contain her excitement.

“He plays the eldest brother, but before he signed on with Jacques he played Dr. Jack Weaver on ‘Memorial Hospital’! Rumor has it he got mad that they cut one of his scenes and just walked out one day!”

“Isn’t that a soap opera?” Mac asked.

Penny nodded vigorously. “On T.V. he’s real dreamy, but in real life he’s kinda a jerk.”

“What do you mean?” Joanna asked.

“When he’s not performing all he does is walk around like a big shot and complain about how his career is ruined. He keeps demanding that poor Jacques let him out of his contract, but if he leaves, no one will want to come to the shows. He’s the most famous person here!”

“Penny, when you signed your contract, was there some type of clause requiring you to stay for the entire run of the play?” Jo inquired.

“Yeah,” Penny shrugged. “It’s really not unusual, but I’ve heard some actors actually ruin their careers because they take legal action to get out of that type of agreement. That never really made sense to me. I mean, you get out of your contract and then you’re unemployed!”

“And nobody wants to hire you because you have a bad reputation,” MacGyver added.

“But if the show folds, then the contracts are null and void,” Joanna mused.

“Go on,” Mac encouraged.

“Rumor has it that ‘Memorial Hospital’ is eager to get Chad back. That has to be why he wants out of his contract with Jacques, and the best way to do that is to shut down the play.” Jo concluded.

“You mean Chad is behind all this?! He tried to poison me?!”

“I’m afraid it looks that way,” Mac replied sympathetically.

Penny straightened in her chair with new resolve. “Well, can’t we have him arrested or something?!”

MacGyver sighed wearily. “We don’t have any evidence, Penny.”

“Well, how can we get some?”

Her guileless expression twisted his gut. “I don’t know. Yet. Let’s sleep on it and talk about it in the morning.

He led Jo to the door and quickly kissed her goodnight as Penny trudged up the stairs to the bedroom.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Penny lay awake, staring up at the ceiling and listening to MacGyver snore softly from the living room couch below. How could he sleep when there was a killer on the loose?! Well, technically Chad wasn’t a killer, but he certainly was trying to be! She rolled her head to the side and glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand. It was almost midnight. The show should have ended a couple hours ago and, if Chad was true to form, he’d be out at a local bar getting hammered until closing time which meant his motel room would be empty. Mac had said they needed hard evidence against Chad. Well, now was the time to get it!

Penny silently slid out of bed, put on a pair of jeans and a sweater, and grabbed a pair of shoes which she planned to slip into once she was outside. She needed to be as quiet as possible. Tip-toeing down the spiral staircase, she paused every few steps to make sure MacGyver was still sleeping. She then stealthily made her way to the front door, snatching the keys to the Jeep from the brass sailboat keyring holder on the wall. Feeling bolder, she opened the door and stepped over the threshold. Unfortunately, she cut the turn a little too quick and rammed her bare toes into the doorjamb. An inadvertent squeak escaped before the slapped her hand over her mouth and hurried to the driveway.

Except for the light from a few stray lampposts, the motel parking lot was dark and more than a little spooky. Penny parked in front of her room so as not to draw attention and walked across the courtyard to Chad’s assigned room. She reached out to turn the doorknob, but of course it was locked.

“Oh, Penny! You can be so stupid sometimes!” she muttered as she headed to the front office.

An old man sat behind the counter. He was slumped in his chair, half asleep behind a newspaper he had been reading.

“Hello?!” Penny called.

“Sorry, no vacancies,” the man mumbled before readjusting his paper.

“I don’t need a room. I already have one, but I locked myself out. Can I get an extra key?” she asked, using her sweetest smile.

The clerk sighed gustily, asked for the room number, and handed over a key.

“Next time be more careful,” he growled, returning to his paper.

Once safely inside Chad’s room, Penny looked around and for the first time realized she had no idea what she was looking for! She chewed her lower lip and wondered what MacGyver would do in this situation. After a few moments, she figured he would probably look for something that seemed odd or out of place. She clicked on the lamp next to the bed, hoping the heavy curtains drawn across the large picture window would blot out the light. She really needed a flashlight, but it was too late.

Ready to begin her search, she opened the drawer to the nightstand but found it empty save for the requisite Bible. She then dropped to the floor and peered under the bed, only to be met by numerous dust bunnies that sent her into a sneezing fit. She rummaged through the dresser drawers next, but again found nothing suspicious. She was ready to give up when she remembered the bathroom. She entered the small room and clicked on the light. Unlike her own vanity, which was cluttered with various bottles and tubes of beauty products, Chad’s cabinet was empty except for his shaving kit. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she unzipped the leather pouch. Her mouth fell open at what she saw. There, nestled in amongst his razor and other toiletries was a small syringe and a vial of a clear liquid. Penny instinctively reached out to grab the items when a scuffling sound from the other room startled her. Chad had returned! And she was trapped!

Penny frantically looked around as if a window or door would appear out of thin air, but as reality set in and the man’s footsteps got closer, she did the only thing she could think of. She stepped into the bathtub, pulled the shower curtain closed, crouched down and focused on quieting her breathing.

She sensed the moment the actor entered the room. She heard him stumble against the commode before apparently leaning against the sink, causing the contents of his shaving kit to clatter to the floor. He cursed loudly and she tried to make herself as small and quiet as possible. She almost gasped when she saw his shadowed figure on the other side of the curtain. Only a thin piece of plastic fabric separated them. Her eyes widen as a large hand snaked around the edge of the curtain, flailing for a few seconds before grabbing onto the shower faucet and giving it a hard yank. The spray of cold water hit Penny and she could stay silent no longer.

“Oh!” she cried, immediately regretting her outburst. The shower curtain flew open and the tall man stood scowling down at her, his hands clenched at his sides.

“What are you doing here?!” he roared.

“I…I...um…” Penny stuttered as she slowly rose and stepped out of the tub, her foot momentarily slipping on the tile floor. Before she could gather herself and fabricate a reasonable explanation, Chad had already shoved her out of the bathroom and pushed her down into a straight-backed chair. He quickly grabbed the telephone, disconnected the extra-long cord, and used it to bind Penny’s arms to her torso.

“You’ll never get away with this!” Penny spat, finally finding her voice.

“Get away with what?” he snarled. “I’m not the one who was trespassing.”

“I wasn’t trespassing!” she denied instinctively.

“Oh yeah? Then what would you call it?”

“Ummmm, I forgot which room was mine?”

“Is that the best you can do?!” he rounded on her. “No wonder you’re such a lousy actress!”

“I am not a lousy actress! Jacques says I have a lot of potential!” She raised her chin and glared into his beady eyes.

“Well, let’s see what he has to say about you when he finds you dead!”

Penny’s bravado disappeared immediately. “Dead? Why would he find me dead?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Parker!”

“But…maybe I am dumb,” she replied softly, her large eyes full of innocence. Yes, she was dumb alright. Dumb enough to think she could find evidence and get Chad arrested all on her own. Tears threatened as she thought of MacGyver, still asleep on his couch, completely unaware she had left and was in danger. He wasn’t going to be her hero this time.

“Look,” Chad said, “I saw your friend in the Jeep this morning poking around and asking questions. You figured it out, didn’t you?!” he demanded.

“Figured what out?” Penny had seen enough movies to know that the longer you kept a person talking the longer it took for them to kill you…she hoped.

“That I’m the one sabotaging the show to get out of my contract. But if anyone finds out, my career is ruined!”

“I won’t say anything, I promise,” Penny vowed.

“I know you won’t, because I’m going to kill you! I messed up the first time, but it won’t happen again!”

He stalked into the bathroom and when he returned Penny noticed him holding a syringe filled with a clear liquid that could only be a deadly dose of cyanide.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver grumbled and opened one eye. Something had awakened him. He turned his head to find Frog sleeping soundly underneath the coffee table as usual. An intrinsic need to figure out what woke him pushed him up from the couch and he padded to the kitchen for a drink. He opened the ‘fridge, grabbed a carton of juice and took a swig. Maybe Penny had come down for a drink as well? Without turning on a light he slowly made his way upstairs to check on his house guest.

“Penny?” he called in a loud whisper.

No reply.

“Penny?” he called again.

Upon reaching the landing he found himself staring at an empty bed with the door to the adjoining bathroom standing wide open. He swallowed a curse and ran back down the stairs. Maybe she had just stepped outside for some fresh air, he tried to tell himself as panic rose in his chest. He jerked his front door open and looked around quickly. No Penny. And no Jeep!!

Thankful that he had decided to sleep fully clothed in deference to having a woman in his house, he quickly grabbed his bomber jacket and the keys to the Nomad. Recalling their conversation from earlier that evening he knew, he just knew, that Penny had gone back to the motel to find evidence against Chad Connors.

He slowed the car as he approached the motel, dousing the headlights before pulling into the parking lot. There was his Jeep, parked outside Penny’s room. Maybe she had decided to come and pick up more of her personal items. Granted, it was an odd thing to do in the middle of the night, but he had learned early on that anything was possible with Penny Parker.

He parked the Nomad next to the Jeep and tapped softly on her door. When there was no answer he took out his Swiss Army knife and jimmied the lock. The room was dark and empty. He let go a sigh of both fear and frustration. He looked around at the other rooms, all of which appeared equally dark. He had to find out which one belonged to Chad. And fast! He wasn’t in the mood to go another round with a surly desk clerk, but that seemed to be his only option. He was just about to turn and head to the office when a door opened across the parking lot and a young blonde stepped out into the night. Jenny. Mac sprinted across the asphalt and quietly called her name.

“MacGyver! What are you doing here?”

“Have you seen Penny?”

“No. I thought she was staying with you?” Confusion knit her brow.

“She is. She was. Look, do you know which room Chad Connors is staying in?”

“Yeah, room number twelve. What’s going on?”

“Hopefully nothing, but just to be safe, go back inside, lock the door, and don’t come out no matter what you hear, okay?” A sinking feeling in his gut caused him to add, “And call the police!”

Jenny nodded and Mac waited until she secured the room before moving. He kept his back up against the building and his steps as light as possible as he made his way to the room Jenny had indicated. As he got closer, he heard muffled voices arguing. Even though he couldn’t hear the words, there was no doubt that one of those voices belonged to Penny. He stopped at the edge of the large window, trying to peek around the curtain, but it was pulled tight. He had no idea what he’d be walking into, but he didn’t have time to worry about it. Chad was in there with Penny and there was no way that was a good thing. He glanced around for anything he could use as a diversion. His eyes lit on a small fire extinguisher bolted on the outside wall next to the door. It probably wasn’t large enough to meet the fire code, but for him it would serve as a key, a diversion, and a weapon if needed.

After quietly lifting the extinguisher from its holder and pulling the pin, he aimed the base at the locked door knob. He only had one shot at a surprise entrance so he had to make it good. He raised the red canister and slammed it down hard on the knob which easily gave way. Having announced his presence, he pushed the door open, raised the hose, aimed the nozzle and squeezed the discharge lever sending a cloud of carbon dioxide into the room.

“What the—?!?!” he heard Chad yell. Diversion accomplished.

But the cylinder ran out of the chemical way too soon. In seconds, the vapor had cleared enough for him to see the athletically built man charging towards him. Mac balanced the now-empty extinguisher in his hands before ramming the device into Chad’s abdomen, knocking the breath from his lungs and causing him to drop the syringe. The actor stumbled backwards, lost his balance, and fell, hitting his head on the corner of the table knocking himself out cold.

“Oh MacGyver!” Penny exclaimed as he cut through her bindings. “I didn’t think you would find me! How did you know where I was?!?! I thought for sure Chad would kill me!”

“We need to get out of here before he wakes up,” Mac commanded, pulling Penny to her feet but stopping when the excitement on her face turned to horror. Not wanting to turn around but knowing he had to, MacGyver slowly swiveled to find himself face to face with Chad Connors.

“Boy, this guy’s got a hard head,” he muttered.

A second later, Chad thrust his fist into Mac’s gut before hitting him in the jaw with a strong right cross. Mac staggered back, doubled over trying to catch his breath. Chad took another swing, but this time MacGyver was quicker and jumped out of the way. While the other man was recovering from his strike out, Mac balled his hand into a hard fist and smacked the other man square in the face. There was the sickening sound of cartilage breaking as Mac made contact and then the moans as Chad grabbed his nose and fell to his knees, blood flowing everywhere. For good measure, Penny came up beside him and kicked her would-be killer in the ribs turning the moans into curses. Mac shook out his fist. Man that hurt! Why did he keep doing things like this?! Suddenly, the room was awash in light as police offers moved in to grab their prisoner. Mac took Penny by the arm and gently led her from the room. Most of the other performers had heard the commotion and now huddled in small groups in the parking lot as their eldest “brother” was escorted to a waiting squad car.

“You saved my life again!” Penny cried, as she wrapped her arms around MacGyver’s neck and hugged him tight.

“Nothin’ to it,” he grinned, returning her grateful gesture.

XXXXX

The following evening, MacGyver, Penny, Joanna, and Jacques gathered backstage before the final performance. Actors hustled by practicing lines and dance steps. The theater began to swell with spectators and there was electricity in the air.

“Are you positive this is what you want?” the director asked Penny in a fatherly tone.

“Yes, Jacques, I’m sure,” she replied gently. “I’ll miss the excitement and all, but I really feel like it’s time for me to go home and put down some roots.” She looked at Mac and Jo and smiled. “Maybe I’ll even find me a guy to marry and have some kids. Not a lot, though. Maybe only one or two. Or maybe I won’t have any so I can be free to travel. But then again, that wouldn’t exactly be putting down roots, would it?” she laughed.

Jacques took Penny’s hand. “Just be happy, my dear. Follow your heart wherever it takes you!”

“What about you, Jacques?” MacGyver asked. “What will you do once the play finishes touring?”

The older man’s expression turned thoughtful, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“I had every plan to retire and live out my days in a reclusive French villa,” he replied. “But once news got out about this whole sabotage ordeal, well, it seems I’m a sought after director once again!”

“Hey, that’s great!” Mac responded. “But I thought this ordeal would actually hurt your career.”

Jacques smiled. “In show business, any exposure is good exposure. My name and works have been revived!”

“So you think you’ll continue working?” This time it was Joanna’s question.

“Time will tell, my dear! Time will tell.”

The overhead lights began to blink before the conversation could continue.

“Looks like that’s our cue to head to our seats,” Mac observed. “Thanks again for inviting us,” he said to Jacques.

“After what you did, it was my pleasure! Please go and enjoy the show!”

MacGyver and Joanna had just settled into their front row seats when the house lights began to dim. Mac slung his arm around Jo’s shoulders, pulled her close, and began to nuzzle her ear.

“Stop it, Mac! Everyone is watching!”

“So? Let ‘em!” he murmured as the curtain rose.



















Jody~

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

 
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Posted: 13 September 2019 - 08:29 AM                                    
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Wow, that is really long surprise.gif

QUOTE
Chapter 15: Bride #3
... huh.gif

QUOTE
Never in his life had he thought he’d be jealous of a piece of material. But he was.
On one hand I'm cracking up, but on the other, I'm trying to figure out why I find this relatable. Can't figure out why XD

QUOTE
with the marquee below advertising the current performance of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.
PFFT, I know what that's referencing! roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE

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

“What do you expect for free!” Joanna shot back.
Accurate XD

QUOTE
By happy coincidence, she had seen fit to wear her hair clipped back, exposing her neck in the most enticing way. Ever so slowly he pressed his lips to the smooth, tender skin behind her ear. Feeling her flinch, he quickly broke contact. It was then that he noticed her head tip, giving him better access.
You should be happy you're in the back row wink.gif

QUOTE

“It was okay,” she shrugged. “But I think you missed a spot.” She grinned shyly as she tipped her head and pointed to spot beneath her jaw.

“Well, I can fix that in a jiffy, lil lady,” Mac replied using his best cowboy imitation, causing Joanna to giggle softly.
You two are going to flip out on your wedding night, aren't you? XD

QUOTE
There, in black and white, were the words ‘Bride #3 – Penny Parker’.
Oh, that's where the title of the chapter came from XD

QUOTE

“Why didn’t you ever tell me about her?”
Sheesh, Jo, chill, he can't tell you about everyone he's befriended... XD

QUOTE

Any further explanation was drowned out by applause as the stage curtain closed and the house lights came on for the first intermission.
That's either the fastest first act ever, or they spent a long time making out XD

QUOTE

Penny skittered towards him and launched herself into his arms, throwing him slightly off balance, before planting a solid kiss on his lips.
Someone really needs to teach Penny about boundaries XD

QUOTE

“You’re reason for moving to Milwaukee?” The actress smiled knowingly at him before turning to embrace Jo.
Penny's not always as dumb as she acts XD

QUOTE
“Oh, I just know we’re gonna be great friends!” she gushed to a stunned Joanna.
I can picture that, and it's hilarious XD

QUOTE

“So that’s a Penny Parker,” Joanna mused. “She certainly is friendly.”
Understatement of the century XD

QUOTE

“Me? Jealous? Why would I be jealous just because your ‘old friend’ happens to be young, gorgeous, and successful?”
Jo is starting to annoy me dry.gif

QUOTE

“Oh,” she said sheepishly. “Point taken.”
Good smile.gif

QUOTE

“Wait a minute,” she put a detaining hand on his forearm before rummaging in her purse and pulling out a small mirror and a couple of tissues which she used to blot her lips and gently sweep at least one layer of make-up from her face. “Okay. I’m ready now.
laugh.gif Good call, Joanna

QUOTE

The actress leaned in towards Joanna and whispered loudly, “He always tells me that, but the house really is haunted. But in a good way. It’s just my Aunt Betty and she would never hurt anyone. Besides, I think he says that just to make himself believe it. Heaven forbid MacGyver not be able to explain something with science and logic.” Penny proceeded to roll her eyes as Jo suppressed a giggle.
You write Penny's dialogue really well biggrin.gif

QUOTE

Penny took a deep breath before continuing. Likely it would be her last for a while unless something managed to interrupt her.
Lol, I love how she prepares for this XD XD XD

QUOTE
Mac, his name was Jacques La Rue!”
Okay, so did Murdoc steal the guy's identity the first time around or what?

QUOTE

“Before dessert, when we went to the ladies room,” she shrugged. “Do you have a problem with me spending time with your ex-girlfriend?”

“No! And she’s not my ex-girlfriend!”
Mac reminds me of a little kid in this XD

QUOTE


“Poor kid,” Penny said sadly once the girl had left. “This is her first big break and she’s so worried she’s going to have to go on for me.”
You gotta admit though, if you're not feeling confident or positive for any reason, Penny's the best person to have around XD

QUOTE


“When we were in Houston, bride number one kept getting these strange notes and was convinced a stalker was trying to kill her so she just up and quit one day and went back to Los Angeles. Then, in Omaha, a piece of rigging fell and almost hit bride number two. She stumbled getting out of the way and broke her ankle. You sure you don’t want one?” Penny thrust the candy box under Joanna’s nose.

“No. Thanks,” she smiled.
Okay, something is probably wrong with those candies...

QUOTE

“Don’t you think that’s kinda odd?” Jo asked, but her question was met with prolonged silence.

“Penny?” she asked again. Still nothing but silence.

Suddenly, a loud clatter and muffled thud come from the other room. Joanna raced into the bathroom to find Penny’s unconscious body crumpled on the floor.
Called it XD

QUOTE

“My name is Doctor Reagan. I’m sorry if I was a bit brusque, but with all the new privacy laws these days…” she blew out a breath of what appeared to be frustration.
I feel you, doc XD

QUOTE

“Actually, I didn’t,” Jo replied with a grin, carefully setting the crystal vase on the table next to the hospital bed. “They were at the nurses’ station so I offered to deliver them. Here’s the card.”
I wouldn't accept any more deliveries for the time being, thank you very much :/

QUOTE

“You look like you could use a break,” she said. “Why don’t we go to the cafeteria and let Penny rest for a while?”
That... sounds like an awful idea...

QUOTE

MacGyver tipped his head in thought. “They would all have motive and probably opportunity, but I’m still not convinced Jacques La Rue is as genuine or innocent as Penny says.”
Now I just want to know if "Jacques La Rue" is some code name for serial killers, and they all pretend to be crippled directors to snag young, aspiring actors/actresses off the streets...

QUOTE

As the man maneuvered his wheelchair to face the doorway, MacGyver observed that the director was portlier than he had envisioned. He also wore thick glasses and had a bald head.

“Ah, so this is the ‘MacGyver’ Penny has been telling me about,” the older man smiled, reaching out his hand.

Mac stepped forward and shook La Rue’s hand even as he raised his eyebrows at Penny who offered and apologetic shrug.

“Ms. Parker was telling me how you so heroically rescued her from an evil assassin who was impersonating me. I owe you a debt of gratitude for protecting this wonderful lady.”

“Yeah, well, it was nothing, really,” Mac replied, a bit embarrassed as well as surprised at the friendliness and openness with which the director addressed him.
Wait... he's not Zito, is he?

QUOTE

“Don’t you watch ‘Memorial Hospital’, girl?!”

“The soap opera?”

“Of course! That delicious-looking young man right there is none other than Dr. Jack Weaver! Well, at least until he left the show.”
This installment is just packed with references XD

QUOTE
It was almost midnight. The show should have ended a couple hours ago and, if Chad was true to form, he’d be out at a local bar getting hammered until closing time which meant his motel room would be empty. Mac had said they needed hard evidence against Chad. Well, now was the time to get it!
And it'd be much better to wake Mac up and tell him such instead of sneaking out yourself...

QUOTE

“Oh, Penny! You can be so stupid sometimes!” she muttered as she headed to the front office.
Lol XD

QUOTE
Chad had returned! And she was trapped!
Also saw that coming...

QUOTE

“But…maybe I am dumb,” she replied softly, her large eyes full of innocence. Yes, she was dumb alright. Dumb enough to think she could find evidence and get Chad arrested all on her own.
I mean, I feel bad for her, but... she's not exactly wrong...

QUOTE

“We need to get out of here before he wakes up,” Mac commanded, pulling Penny to her feet but stopping when the excitement on her face turned to horror. Not wanting to turn around but knowing he had to, MacGyver slowly swiveled to find himself face to face with Chad Connors.

“Boy, this guy’s got a hard head,” he muttered.
I was gonna say, he should've been out longer than that. But then again, he should be too drunk to handle himself as long as he has too XD

QUOTE
Mac shook out his fist. Man that hurt! Why did he keep doing things like this?!
XD XD XD

QUOTE
Suddenly, the room was awash in light as police offers moved in to grab their prisoner.
Did Jenny put two and two together? Are these the same cops who were investigating Penny's poisoning? How did they know to arrest Chad and leave mac alone? XD

QUOTE

Jacques took Penny’s hand. “Just be happy, my dear. Follow your heart wherever it takes you!”
Awwwwww XD

QUOTE

MacGyver and Joanna had just settled into their front row seats when the house lights began to dim. Mac slung his arm around Jo’s shoulders, pulled her close, and began to nuzzle her ear.

“Stop it, Mac! Everyone is watching!”

“So? Let ‘em!” he murmured as the curtain rose.
He's lucky Penny's so bubbly, or she'd be so embarrassed to see this XD XD XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM                                    
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Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel? huh.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 13 September 2019 - 09:20 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM)
Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel? huh.gif

Ya got me! LOL! Probably a kid playing hooky from school? Any kid'll do something for money! Honestly, I needed a discreet, generic delivery person!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 14 September 2019 - 06:54 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 13 September 2019 - 12:20 PM)
QUOTE (Dragondog @ 13 September 2019 - 08:34 AM)
Although I'm confused... where'd the ten year old boy come from? The one who brought the box to Penny's hotel?  huh.gif

Ya got me! LOL! Probably a kid playing hooky from school? Any kid'll do something for money! Honestly, I needed a discreet, generic delivery person!

Works for me biggrin.gif tongue.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 24 September 2019 - 09:45 AM                                    
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Ugh! Can't believe I missed posting last week. In my defense, I was in a training all day that fried my brain!


Chapter 16: Homecoming

MacGyver paced the airport’s concourse much as an expectant father would pace the maternity ward, except that his son would be delivered by a commercial jetliner straight from Heathrow as opposed to a doctor in scrubs. He had been anxiously awaiting this day ever since Sam called to say he was coming home so why was he so nervous? Perhaps it was because, for the first time in two and a half years, Sam was coming home…to stay.

“Dad! Dad!” the dark-haired young man called, waving one arm in the air as he pushed his way through the crowd of people that had deplaned with him.

MacGyver easily detected his son’s voice amidst the din of the other passengers and wasn’t even concerned about the goofy grin he knew he wore. Before he knew it, he was locked in a tight embrace with his widely-smiling offspring as they heartily patted each other’s back. After a few moments, Sam backed away and glanced around the open waiting area, a deep frown marring his handsome features.

“Where’s Joanna?” he demanded. “Is she okay? You guys didn’t break up, did you?!”

“Relax, Sam,” Mac replied as he put a calming hand on Sam’s shoulder. “She’s still at work, but she promised to meet us for dinner.”

“Sorry for overreacting,” Sam apologized sheepishly. “I forget she’s still at the law firm.”

“No problem. What do you say we grab your luggage and get outta here?”

The two men made their way to baggage claim where they joined the group of travelers gathered around the carousel waiting for the conveyor belt to regurgitate their belongings. It didn’t take long before an old, worn rucksack slid down the ramp and landed in front of Sam who quickly snatched it up.

“All right, let’s go!” Sam said, turning to leave, but Mac grabbed his arm, keeping him in place.

“That’s all you got?” MacGyver asked incredulously. “Over two years living abroad and all you come home with is that?”

Sam chuckled. “Dad, most of that time I was imbedded with troops who were constantly on the move, the rest of my time I spent in a furnished apartment traveling around Europe. I didn’t need that much.”

“And I thought I packed light,” Mac muttered as they left the airport.

“So, tell me again what happened. You were kinda vague on the phone,” Mac said as he maneuvered the Jeep through the city traffic. It was a warm day so the top was off and the breeze ruffled their hair.

“There’s not much to tell,” Sam shrugged, not looking at his dad. “My editor in London has a friend at the Tribune. He sent him some of my work and the guy was impressed. Offered me a job right away.”

“I’m so proud of you Sam. And your mom would be, too.” Mac praised. “All your hard work has finally paid off and now you’re working for the Chicago Tribune.”

Mac glanced at his son who stared out the windshield. His stomach did a little flip, but he blamed it on the day’s excitement, not Sam’s odd demeanor.

“So when do you start?” MacGyver asked, attempting to get more information.

“In a week or two. They’re giving me time to get settled. I was kinda planning on crashing at your place for a while.”

“That’ll work,” Mac grinned. “I’ll take some time off from Challengers and we can go apartment hunting.”

“Yeah, sure,” Sam replied, not sounding nearly as excited as MacGyver expected him to.

XXXXX

“That boy’s driving me nuts, Jo,” Mac complained a few days later as they were closing up Challengers for the night.

“He’s hardly a boy,” Jo snickered.

“Well, he sure is acting like one,” MacGyver groused. “We spent the last two days apartment hunting in Chicago and he found something wrong with every single one of them! Every. Single. One.”

“This has to be a huge adjustment for him,” Joanna tried to reason. “A new job, a new place to live, it can be as overwhelming as it is exciting.”

“I guess you’re right,” Mac sighed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The following Saturday, Cynthia carefully returned her paint roller to the tray and stretched out her back. Joanna did the same.

“Looks good,” the older woman commented as she looked around the final dorm room to be painted. “We should be able to finish it up this afternoon. How about we break for lunch?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Jo agreed, stifling a yawn. Working at the firm and volunteering at Challengers was catching up with her. And starting next week the club was scheduled to be open twenty-four hours a day every day of the week. She’d have to make time to help out as much as possible until MacGyver and Cynthia could get more volunteers.

The two women plodded down the stairs only to find Sam waiting for them in the rec area.

“I’m sorry, dear, but your dad’s not here,” Cynthia told him. “He’s at a City Council meeting. Every now and again they like to see the man behind the lease instead of me,” she grinned.

“I know,” he replied. “I was actually here to see Jo.”

Joanna’s eyes grew wide with surprise, but she turned and nodded to Cynthia who quietly slipped into her office.

“Hey Sam, what’s up?” she asked, trying to sound upbeat even though the young man in front of her looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Wanna go grab a cheeseburger or something?”

“No,” he answered softly, staring at his shoes. “I was wondering if we could talk. In private.”

“Sure,” she replied, her tone low and serious. Sam glanced at Cynthia’s office and his brow furrowed.

“Why don’t we step out back and get some fresh air,” Jo suggested.

Once seated side-by-side on the small stoop, Sam continued to avoid Jo’s eyes and she waited patiently for him to begin the conversation even though worry gnawed at her. She had never seen the young man so quiet and dejected. He was like a stranger to her.

“Sam?” she prompted gently after several minutes of awkward silence. “What did you want to talk about?”

He threw a quick glance her way and she saw unshed tears welling in his eyes. “It’s gonna sound really stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t have come here.”

“Well, you’re here now and I doubt anything you have to say is gonna sound stupid.”

His eyes still locked on the concrete beneath them he mumbled, “I miss my mom.”

He then turned his head so he was looking Joanna straight in the eye. “I mean, I really miss her! How stupid is that?!”

Tears streamed down his cheeks as Jo put an arm around his shoulders to comfort him.

“It’s not stupid at all,” she assured him softly.

“How can you say that?!” His grief suddenly morphing into anger. “She’s been gone fifteen years! I shouldn’t miss her like this!”

Jo’s voice was gentle but firm. “Sam, you watched your mother get murdered. That isn’t something you forget and it certainly isn’t something that stops hurting. Have you talked to your dad about this?”

Sam shook his head. “I can’t. That’s why I came to you.”

Joanna’s heartbeat hitched at the blind trust he had in her. “Why can’t you talk to Mac?”

“He won’t understand. He had forgotten all about her until I showed up!”

Jo was treading in deep water and she knew it. “I don’t think you give him enough credit. You need to talk to him, otherwise this will always come between you.”

“There’s more,” he mumbled.

“There’s no job at the Tribune, is there?”

“How did you know?!”

Joanna shrugged. “Call it ‘women’s intuition’ if you want. It’s just that the Sam Malloy I know would be in seventh heaven and chomping at the bit to start his new job even if it meant living in a bus station. From what your dad is telling me, you’re doing everything in your power to avoid moving to Chicago.”

“You’re not wrong,” Sam smiled through his now-subsiding tears.

“And you know you have to talk to your dad about all of this.”

“I know.”

XXXXX

The following afternoon, Joanna parked her car in front of MacGyver’s townhouse. She had come on the pretense that he needed to sign some documents so Cynthia could get them in the mail first thing the next day, but really she wanted to know if he and Sam had talked yet. The driveway was empty, but one of them could still be home. Approaching the front door, she raised her fist to knock before recalling how Mac had chided her formality. She tested the doorknob and, finding it unlocked, let herself in.

“Mac? Sam?” she called, but got no response. It wasn’t like Mac to leave his doors unlocked. Perhaps Sam had been the last one to leave and forgot. Looking around the large living area she sighed. Clothes, towels and other miscellaneous items lay strewn across the floor and furniture. She placed the envelope containing the documents on the kitchen counter before stooping to collect the pieces of clothing she recognized as belonging to MacGyver. She knew he wasn’t a neat freak, but he also wasn’t a slob. His son was definitely having a bad influence on him!

Arms full, she carefully made her way upstairs where she tossed the pile of laundry on the bed. When she looked up from the heap it was to find MacGyver standing in the bathroom doorway, drying his unruly hair with one white towel while another was wrapped around his waist, his skin still glistening with moisture. She let out an instinctive squeak and quickly turned her back to him.

“Hey there! I didn’t hear you come in. I was in the shower,” he addressed her nonchalantly.

“Obviously,” she muttered shyly as she felt him draw closer.

“I didn’t startle you, did I?” he asked, taking hold of her upper arm and coaxing her to swivel toward him.

“No! I just wasn’t expecting…um…” she blushed furiously and couldn’t find the words to finish her sentence. Shoot, she couldn’t find any words at all as she stared at his broad shoulders, sturdy abs, and the little cluster of dark curly hair in the center of his chest. She was pretty certain she would need to go to confession if she didn’t rein in her thoughts quickly. Unfortunately, Mac didn’t seem inclined to assist her with that as he took her hands and placed them on his bare shoulders before looping his arms around her waist.

“With Sam in the bathroom at all hours, I have to catch a shower whenever I can,” he offered, grinning mischievously.

“I…I can see that,” Jo stammered, feeling like a naïve teenager and wishing the floor would open up and swallow her whole.

“I didn’t embarrass you, did I?” he asked, his smile fading.

“Of course not!” Jo shot back, summoning all the bravado she had even as the heat from his skin seared the palms of her hands, but she was unable to pull them away. She was suddenly aware of the back of his forefinger gently caressing her cheek.

“You know that feeling you have right now?” he asked huskily. “That’s the feeling I get every time I see you in one of my hockey jerseys, or sleeping on my couch, or doing practically anything or nothing at all.”

“Really?” she asked breathlessly.

“Really,” he confirmed. “And it’s not a bad thing. But right now I think I should get dressed.”

He leaned forward and placed a quick kiss on the tip of her nose, breaking the spell she had been under. He released her from his grasp and she reclaimed her hands.

“Could you hand me a pair of boxers?” he asked, indicating the bureau behind her. “Second drawer from the top.”

With still slightly unsteady hands she opened the drawer and extracted a pair of cream colored undershorts. She held them at arm’s length between her thumb and forefinger like a three-day-old fish and wrinkled her nose.

“What’s wrong?” he chuckled.

“I don’t know. They’re just so plain. I guess I was expecting something with more pizazz.”

“What kind of ‘pizazz’?” he asked warily.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she responded, her playfulness returning. “Something more colorful, maybe with little hockey sticks or cowboy hats on them.”

“Well, if this is going to be an issue for you I could go shopping later,” he suggested.

“Just get yourself dressed,” Jo ordered as she wadded up his boring boxers and tossed them smack in his face. “I’ll be waiting downstairs.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Ten minutes later, after pulling on a pair of khakis and a collarless, turquois shirt, MacGyver headed down to the kitchen to find Joanna sitting patiently at the cluttered breakfast bar.

“So, what brings you by?” he asked.

“Cynthia needs you to sign some papers,” she responded, waving absently at the large brown envelope next to her elbow.

Mac raised his eyebrows so they were almost touching his bangs. “It couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning?”

“Well…actually…I was kinda wondering if Sam had a chance to talk to you,” Jo hedged.

Mac sighed and sat down on the stool next to Jo’s. “Yeah, we talked. A lot.”

“And…?”

“Kate’s been a part of my past for so long, it never occurred to me that she was still a part of Sam’s present.” Mac scrubbed his face with his hands before continuing. “Sam was on assignment in Saudi Arabia. There was a military skirmish in the village where he was staying. He saw a mother get shot in front of her children. It kinda brought everything back for him, ya know?”

Jo nodded her understanding but remained silent.

“As soon as he got back to London he put in his notice, finished up his assignments, and arranged to come home. His editor over there does have a friend at the Tribune and Sam’s gonna look him up when he’s ready.”

“I just don’t get why Sam thought you wouldn’t understand.”

Mac shrugged. “He said he was afraid I’d be ashamed of him wanting to come home and settle down. He knows that at his age I was still hungry to see and do whatever I could and he felt like he should follow in my footsteps. The funny thing is, a part of me has always wondered what my life would have been like if I had come home, or at least found a place to put down roots, sooner.”

“Did you tell Sam that?”

“Yeah.”

“So things are okay between you two?”

Mac smiled. “I’d say better than okay, and I have you to thank for that.”

“Me? I didn’t do anything.”

“You were there for my son when he felt he couldn’t come to me. I’d say that’s everything.”

XXXXX

A few days later, MacGyver was in the middle of reclaiming his living room from his son’s dubious housekeeping skills when Sam came bounding through the front door, cell phone in hand.

“Dad! Guess what?!”

“You finally got a date with that cute checker from the supermarket!” Mac teased.

“C’mon, Dad, I’m serious!”

“Alright, what’s the big news?”

“I just got done talking with my editor’s friend at the Tribune and he wants to bring me on board!”

“Sam, that’s great!” Mac exclaimed as they exchanged high fives and a brief hug before Sam became unusually somber.

“There’s only one problem,” he said flatly.

“What’s that?”

“I’ll have to work as a stringer until a full-time position opens up.”

“So? You’ve done that before,” Mac pointed out encouragingly, still excited about his son’s news.

“Yeah, but you know what that means. I’ll be covering stories that don’t warrant a big name reporter and I’ll have to free-lance whenever I can. But more importantly, I won’t be receiving a regular paycheck, and you saw how much apartments cost in Chicago. Especially something close to the Tribune,” Sam sighed and dropped down on the couch.

“Well, you have some money saved up, right? There’s gotta be a way,” MacGyver pressed.

“You can’t build me an apartment out of duct tape and paperclips, Dad,” Sam said dejectedly.

“That’s not what I meant,” Mac scowled. “I meant we need to think of other options.”

“You mean like commuting?” Sam offered.

“Yeah, that could work. You could use my Jeep.”

“Have you seen the price of gas lately?” Sam asked. “I’d burn through my savings in no time!”

“You got a point,” Mac agreed.

“Too bad you don’t live in Chicago, Dad. Then I could just keep bunking with you!” Sam chuckled.

“Of course!” Mac exclaimed, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?! You could stay with the Thornton’s!”

“But I hardly know them,” Sam grimaced. “Don’t ya think it’d be kinda awkward?”

“Nah!” Mac replied excitedly. “You and Pete will get along great, and I know Connie will love to have someone else in the house to dote on. You want me to call ‘em?”

Sam shrugged. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot.”

MacGyver grabbed his cordless phone, dialed the number he knew by heart, and paced as he waited for someone to pick up.

“Hello?”

“Hey Pete! It’s me!”

“Who’s ‘me’?” the older man asked gruffly.

“Pete, it’s me! MacGyver!”

“I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number. The MacGyver I know waits until the middle of the night when I’m fast asleep to call and then he has the nerve to ask me for a favor. I don’t suppose you’re gonna ask me for a favor, are ya?”

Mac closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “C’mon Pete, those were emergencies.”

“I know, Mac! Lighten up! I was just teasing you!”

“Oh? Well, very funny.”

“I thought so! What’s up?”

“Well, I sorta have a—“

“I knew it! You have a favor to ask!”

“It’s not so much a favor as a proposal,” Mac replied diplomatically.

“Oh really? And what, exactly, is this proposal?”

“Sam landed a job at the Tribune and needs a place to stay until he saves enough for an apartment. I thought he could stay in your guest room in the meantime.”

“Gee, I don’t know Mac…”

“Aw, c’mon Pete! It’ll be great! Sam’s a great kid! He’s even housebroken!”

Pete chuckled. “Well…I’ll have to talk to Connie. Can I call you back?”

“Sure thing. We’ll be waiting. Thanks, Pete!”

XXXXX

Late Saturday morning MacGyver turned his Jeep into the Thornton’s driveway. Connie threw open the front door and came to greet them before he could turn off the ignition.

“It’s so good to see you!” she exclaimed, enveloping Mac in a surprisingly strong hug as he stepped from the car.

Sam jumped out and grabbed his luggage, such as it was, from the back seat before he, too, was accosted by Pete’s wife.

“Looks like she’s glad to see me,” Sam commented as they followed the woman into the house.

“And Pete will be, too,” MacGyver assured his son. “He pretends to be tough, but really he’s just a big old teddy bear.”

“Hey, who’re you calling ‘old’?” Pete complained from his chair in the living room.

“It’s good to see you, too!” Mac greeted his friend with a firm handshake before Sam did the same.

“I really appreciate you letting me stay here, Mr. Thornton.”

“It’s our pleasure, and please call me ‘Pete’.”

“And I’m ‘Connie’,” the petite woman instructed as she carried a tray of glasses filled with lemonade into the room just as Mac and Sam settled themselves on the couch. “It’s such a pity Joanna couldn’t come with you.”

“She wanted to, but this is the first weekend Challengers Club is open for the summer and someone had to stay and help out Cynthia,” Mac informed her before taking a sip of his tart drink.

“Well, now that Sam is living here perhaps you’ll both visit more often,” Connie said hopefully. “She’s such a sweet girl. You know, MacGyver, you should really think about—“

“Connie! Leave Mac alone,” Pete scolded. “He doesn’t need you poking your nose into his love life!”

Time passed quickly as the small group caught up on everyone’s activities and the success of Challengers. Once Connie had settled Sam into the guest room to her satisfaction she served a light lunch. Conversation continued well into the afternoon as Sam regaled his new friends with stories of his adventures in the Middle East and Europe.

“Sounds like a chip off the old block!” Pete observed with a smile.

“Yeah, he sure is,” Mac agreed before looking down at his watch with a frown. “Pete, what time does that used car lot you told me about close?”

“Being a Saturday, they close at four.”

Mac looked to Sam. “If you want to check it out we should get going,” he advised.

“Sounds good to me,” Sam replied.

An hour and some haggling later, Sam was the proud owner of a twenty-year-old faded yellow Volkswagen Beetle.

“What’s with the frown, Dad?” he asked, as he examined his ‘new’ car.

“I was hoping you’d get something a little newer and more reliable,” Mac shrugged.

“Newer? This is a classic!”

“No Sam. The Nomad’s a classic. This one’s just old!”

“Aw, c’mon Dad! I can handle any mechanical problems that might come up,” Sam gushed. “Besides, it’s all I can afford, and it only has to get me to the train station and back.”

MacGyver reluctantly agreed and the two men headed back to the Thornton’s in their respective vehicles. After admiring Sam’s new acquisition, Connie insisted Mac stay for supper before driving home. He had just taken his last bite of pie when Sam stood up and whisked his plate away.

“Hey! You never clear the table at home!”

“True. But I’m your son so I don’t have to make a good impression on you!”

Everyone laughed and soon it was time for Mac to take his leave. He shook Pete’s hand and hugged Connie before they disappeared, giving him and Sam some privacy for their good-bye’s.

“So, what do you think?” Mac asked.

Sam smiled. “I think I’m gonna like it here,” he confirmed. “Pete and Connie seem pretty cool. Thanks for setting this up.”

“Hey, that’s what dads are for!”

After an exchange of hugs and hearty pats on the back, Mac headed to his Jeep. He looked back and watched through the large bay window as Sam locked the door and walked down the hall to his room. Finally, his son was home.





Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 25 September 2019 - 05:04 PM                                    
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QUOTE
Ugh! Can't believe I missed posting last week. In my defense, I was in a training all day that fried my brain!
If it helps, I forgot all about it until you posted today XD

Yay! Sam's back! XD

QUOTE

“Where’s Joanna?” he demanded. “Is she okay? You guys didn’t break up, did you?!”
Geeze, jump to conclusions much? XD

QUOTE

Mac glanced at his son who stared out the windshield. His stomach did a little flip, but he blamed it on the day’s excitement, not Sam’s odd demeanor.
Yeah 'kay, something's wrong, I know it XD

QUOTE

He threw a quick glance her way and she saw unshed tears welling in his eyes.
sad.gif

QUOTE
“It’s gonna sound really stupid. Maybe I shouldn’t have come here.”
Okay but that's me when I get emotional over stupid crap XD

QUOTE

His eyes still locked on the concrete beneath them he mumbled, “I miss my mom.”
*cries* *cries* *cries* Okay, we need a sobbing smiley, because this: sad.gif doesn't always cut it XD

QUOTE

Tears streamed down his cheeks as Jo put an arm around his shoulders to comfort him.
Welp, there goes my heart. Farewell...

QUOTE

“He won’t understand. He had forgotten all about her until I showed up!”
Y'know, I really like how you've been writing Sam and Mac's relationship. Like, they have a tight bond, but the truth of the matter is that there's still a lot of past hurt and bad memories that'll always be there. Something the show never touched on (not that there was much of a chance).

QUOTE

Joanna shrugged. “Call it ‘women’s intuition’ if you want. It’s just that the Sam Malloy I know would be in seventh heaven and chomping at the bit to start his new job even if it meant living in a bus station. From what your dad is telling me, you’re doing everything in your power to avoid moving to Chicago.”

“You’re not wrong,” Sam smiled through his now-subsiding tears.

“And you know you have to talk to your dad about all of this.”

“I know.”
*flops dragon-doggie self into the mix and snuggles him as comfortingly as possible*

QUOTE
She placed the envelope containing the documents on the kitchen counter before stooping to collect the pieces of clothing she recognized as belonging to MacGyver. She knew he wasn’t a neat freak, but he also wasn’t a slob. His son was definitely having a bad influence on him!
*rolls eyes* Bachelors laugh.gif

QUOTE


Arms full, she carefully made her way upstairs where she tossed the pile of laundry on the bed. When she looked up from the heap it was to find MacGyver standing in the bathroom doorway, drying his unruly hair with one white towel while another was wrapped around his waist, his skin still glistening with moisture. She let out an instinctive squeak and quickly turned her back to him.

“Hey there! I didn’t hear you come in. I was in the shower,” he addressed her nonchalantly.
I can't decide who's reaction is funnier roller.gif Jo is me, but Mac just doesn't care roller.gif

QUOTE

“I didn’t startle you, did I?” he asked, taking hold of her upper arm and coaxing her to swivel toward him.
Sheesh, not the best time, Maccy roller.gif

QUOTE

“No! I just wasn’t expecting…um…” she blushed furiously and couldn’t find the words to finish her sentence. Shoot, she couldn’t find any words at all as she stared at his broad shoulders, sturdy abs, and the little cluster of dark curly hair in the center of his chest.
Wow. Okay then laugh.gif

QUOTE
She was pretty certain she would need to go to confession if she didn’t rein in her thoughts quickly.
I mean, we've all been there, haven't we? XD

QUOTE
Unfortunately, Mac didn’t seem inclined to assist her with that as he took her hands and placed them on his bare shoulders before looping his arms around her waist.
Mac may be a little too comfortable around Joanna. Please tie the knot soon XD

QUOTE

“With Sam in the bathroom at all hours, I have to catch a shower whenever I can,” he offered, grinning mischievously.
Partly because of my OCD, my mom can relate to this XD

QUOTE

“I didn’t embarrass you, did I?” he asked, his smile fading.
...Earth to Mac, you are slow XD

QUOTE

“Of course not!” Jo shot back, summoning all the bravado she had even as the heat from his skin seared the palms of her hands, but she was unable to pull them away. She was suddenly aware of the back of his forefinger gently caressing her cheek.

“You know that feeling you have right now?” he asked huskily. “That’s the feeling I get every time I see you in one of my hockey jerseys, or sleeping on my couch, or doing practically anything or nothing at all.”
Okay, are we done yet? There's a time and place for this, guys, and this is neither XD

QUOTE

“Really?” she asked breathlessly.

“Really,” he confirmed. “And it’s not a bad thing. But right now I think I should get dressed.”
Yes. Yes you should XD (But wouldn't it be hilarious if Sam walked in right now and just... had to process what was happening, while Mac shouts "SAM IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!" while Same runs from the room celebrating as if his favorite team scored a winning goal? XD XD XD)

QUOTE

“Could you hand me a pair of boxers?” he asked, indicating the bureau behind her. “Second drawer from the top.”
Mac, you're a big boy. You can dress yourself tongue.gif

QUOTE

“I don’t know. They’re just so plain. I guess I was expecting something with more pizazz.”
Jo they are boxers. I'm not sure what you're critiquing here... XD

QUOTE

“Oh, I don’t know,” she responded, her playfulness returning. “Something more colorful, maybe with little hockey sticks or cowboy hats on them.”
Lol, can you imagine? Wait... on second thought, I don't want to imagine laugh.gif

QUOTE

“So, what brings you by?” he asked.
Oh, other than that really steamy thing that just happened? Just some paperwork XD

QUOTE

Mac sighed and sat down on the stool next to Jo’s. “Yeah, we talked. A lot.”
Sorry I missed that...

Idk why, but the evil side of my mind says, "Mac was so disappointed in his son's lie, he decided it was time to mate and produce new offspring. So far, Joanna seemed very responsive, but he knew better than to push her too hard, or she might tear into him like a lioness feasting on a dead gazelle..."

QUOTE

“Kate’s been a part of my past for so long, it never occurred to me that she was still a part of Sam’s present.”
Okay, back to what I was saying earlier, this is a very realistic parent/child relationship, especially given their history, and I love it so much <3

QUOTE
“Sam was on assignment in Saudi Arabia. There was a military skirmish in the village where he was staying. He saw a mother get shot in front of her children. It kinda brought everything back for him, ya know?”
Poor baby (I thought it might be something like that...)

QUOTE

Mac shrugged. “He said he was afraid I’d be ashamed of him wanting to come home and settle down. He knows that at his age I was still hungry to see and do whatever I could and he felt like he should follow in my footsteps. The funny thing is, a part of me has always wondered what my life would have been like if I had come home, or at least found a place to put down roots, sooner.”
Okay but the amount of hugs I want to send Sam now are enough to suffocate a fully-grown rhinoceros.

QUOTE

“You can’t build me an apartment out of duct tape and paperclips, Dad,” Sam said dejectedly.
Sam has some shade to throw XD

QUOTE

“Of course!” Mac exclaimed, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?! You could stay with the Thornton’s!”
When was the last time we heard from them? I think it's time we hear from them again XD

QUOTE

“I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number. The MacGyver I know waits until the middle of the night when I’m fast asleep to call and then he has the nerve to ask me for a favor. I don’t suppose you’re gonna ask me for a favor, are ya?”
Lol, Pete's been eating some of Connie's less-than-edible dishes again XD

QUOTE

“Aw, c’mon Pete! It’ll be great! Sam’s a great kid! He’s even housebroken!”
XD XD XD (as housebroken as a male can be, anyway...)

QUOTE


“Well, now that Sam is living here perhaps you’ll both visit more often,” Connie said hopefully. “She’s such a sweet girl. You know, MacGyver, you should really think about—“

“Connie! Leave Mac alone,” Pete scolded. “He doesn’t need you poking your nose into his love life!”
No, listen to Connie. She knows best, listen XD XD XD

QUOTE

“I was hoping you’d get something a little newer and more reliable,” Mac shrugged.

“Newer? This is a classic!”
I feel like Sam's taken after Harry a bit XD

QUOTE

“Hey! You never clear the table at home!”

“True. But I’m your son so I don’t have to make a good impression on you!”
I feel like this would happen between my mom and I XD




"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 26 September 2019 - 05:01 AM                                    
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Hi Dragondog!

I take it you enjoyed this latest chapter! I'm really glad for your feedback regarding Mac and Sam's relationship. Obviously, the show left us with a pretty blank slate so I'm glad I'm portraying them realistically! As for the underwear scene...that came out of a conversation I had with another writer (Sanguine). In one of the early episodes, I believe it might have been The Human Factor, Mac is trapped (as usual) and takes off his pants, tosses them over a ceiling-type pipe and pulls himself out. Well, that's when MacGyver Nation discovers he wears boxers and I was oddly disappointed that they were simply a very light beige. Sanguine and I discussed this (yes, we have some strange conversations) and I think it was even her idea to put hockey or cowboy symbols on them. So voila! The scene was born!!!



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: 26 September 2019 - 07:53 PM                                    
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Lol, funny where inspiration comes from sometimes 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: 2 October 2019 - 06:54 AM                                    
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oops see next post



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: 2 October 2019 - 07:04 AM                                    
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Chapter 17: Vengeance


Sam slowly opened his eyes and squinted at the ray of sunlight streaming in the window of the guest room. Well, he supposed it was his room, now. Rolling onto his back, he stretched like a lazy cat, the scent of homemade waffles drifting through the air tickling his nostrils. He smiled. He had been living with the Thornton’s for over a week now and was surprised at how content he was. He knew he could count on warm meals, easy conversation, and a comfortable bed. A far different life than he had been living overseas where his flat was cold and empty and his bed was hard. That is, when he had a bed and wasn’t sleeping in a fox hole or transport vehicle while imbedded with U.S. troops in the Middle East.

After a quick shower, he pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt before heading to the kitchen. Raised voices came from the room, causing him to stop just short of the doorway.

“I’m telling you, Connie, you’re spoiling him!” Pete scolded his wife.

“Oh, nonsense! I just want to make him feel welcome! It’s so good having a boy in the house again.”

“That’s just it!” Pete argued. “He’s not a boy, he’s a man. A man who can take care of himself without you hovering over him all the time!”

“I’m just fixing him breakfast, Peter. That’s hardly a federal offense.”

Sam cleared his throat and walked into the room before Pete could respond.

“Hi guys,” the young man greeted the older couple, effectively ending their argument.

He had barely taken a seat across the table from Pete when Connie placed a plateful of waffles dripping in warm maple syrup in front of him. He smiled up at her.

“Thanks, Connie,” he said warmly. “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation and Pete’s right. You don’t need to take care of me. I’ve been on my own a long time.”

“All the more reason to give you a little extra TLC now that you’re home!”

Even though Pete was blind, his silent eye-roll spoke volumes.

“I saw that, Peter Thornton!” Connie admonished.

Sam grinned and wolfed down his gooey sweet breakfast before getting up and grabbing his camera bag.

“I gotta get to the paper,” he announced. “Thanks for breakfast. I’ll get out of your hair now, so to speak,” he snickered as he patted Pete’s bald head. The older man’s face turned red and Sam made a hasty exit.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver leaned casually against the door jamb of his office watching the group of teens in the rec area. Word of the club was spreading and Challengers was becoming a popular place to hang out. The phone rang, demanding his attention.

“Challengers Club,” he answered automatically.

“Hey Mac, it’s me.”

“Hi Pete! What’s up?!”

“What’s up? My blood pressure! That’s what’s up!”

Mac pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t suppose this has anything to do with Sam?” he asked warily.

“No,” Pete said firmly. “It has everything to do with Sam! Connie’s been coddling him worse than she did with Michael and what does he do? He comes and goes at all hours, plays that awful noise kids his age call music, and to top it off he makes fun of my hair!”

“What hair?” Mac asked, trying to keep his tone serious.

“Like father, like son,” Pete grumbled and MacGyver smiled.

“C’mon Pete, it’s only until he can earn enough money to get his own place. As for Connie? He seems to bring out the maternal instinct in women. I’ve even seen it with Jo.”

“But Joanna’s different!” Pete retorted. “I mean, she’s practically his step-mother!”

MacGyver let go a strangled cough. “I’ll talk to Sam as soon as I can,” he promised.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

When Sam walked into the Tribune, the whole building was abuzz with activity and he quickly tracked down the editor he’d been assigned to.

“Got anything for me today?” he asked the grumpy, over-weight man.

“Not today, kid,” the editor grumbled as he pushed pass the younger man. But Sam, with a reporter’s persistence, was not deterred that easily.

“C’mon Hank,” Sam pleaded. “This place is a mad house. You must have something that needs covered.”

Hank turned to Sam and sighed. “Well, there is this pro-am charity auto race this weekend. They’ve been clamoring for some press coverage. Maybe you could go over, take a few pictures, you know the routine.”

“Thanks Hank! You’re the best!”

Sam quickly commandeered the nearest computer and soon found the necessary information he needed about his new assignment. The Fairview Raceway was hosting a pro-am charity stock car race to benefit Gulf War veterans the following weekend. Each of the fifteen cars would represent a home-town vet and have the soldier’s name scrawled on the hood. He perused the list of entrants, but didn’t recognize any names. Apparently the “pros” weren’t top names in the sport and the amateurs were probably local kids looking to break into the big time. Finding the contact information at the bottom of the page, Sam placed a call and scheduled an appointment.

The next morning, Sam pulled his Bug up to the security gate at the race track and was directed to the main offices where he was to meet the track manager. As he parked his car in the small lot, he turned and surveyed his surroundings. Except for the one mile oval track and grandstand, he was essentially in the middle of nowhere. No wonder management had been asking for press coverage. He stepped into the small office building and introduced himself to the receptionist who immediately led him to a small room where he met the track manager. The jovial man was smiling broadly and soon Sam had secured a press pass and full access to the track.

Minutes later he was walking through the tunnel that ran under the grandstand and deposited him on the infield and pit area where teams were working on and testing their cars. Fumes of oil, gas, and burning rubber assaulted him, making him smile just a bit. The race was still a few days away so crews leisurely made engine and chassis adjustments as drivers took to the track to test the set-up of the car they would drive on Sunday. Sam pulled out his camera and began taking candid shots of various cars and crew members which earned him many smiles and friendly greetings. However, when he reached an area that a sign designated as belonging to the Stanley Reed Team, the mood was decidedly sullen and the air laden with disappointment. A small group of men in jumpsuits huddled around what appeared to be a brightly painted and very damaged race car. A younger man hovered in the background, his left leg in a plaster cast.

“Rough day at the track?” Sam quipped, hoping to lighten the mood but was apparently unsuccessful as a stocky, middle-aged man pinned him with his gaze.

“We ain’t here to play show-and-tell,” the man growled. “Go get your story someplace else.”

“I’m sorry,” Sam apologized sincerely. “Mind telling me what happened? I might be able to help.”

This time the man laughed sadly. “You got any experience with racing, son?”

“A little.”

“Well, then you should know that it’s gonna take a lot more than a little help from you to get this car ready to go and get us a new driver by Sunday.”

Sam moved closer to get a better look at the car.

“I’ve seen worse,” he commented. “And events like this usually bring out drivers lookin’ for a ride.”

“Usually. But this is a charity event. No money for the winner, therefore not a lot of guys looking to drive.”

“I might be able to help with that, too,” he grinned. “Name’s Sam Malloy.” He put out his hand which the older man reluctantly shook.

“I’m Ray Simmons, team owner. Over there is my son and driver, Bobby.” He used his chin to indicate the young man with the injured leg. “Well, former driver. Brake line ruptured during a practice lap and he got close-up and personal with the wall.”

“Ruptured?” Sam’s reporter curiosity was piqued. “Isn’t that pretty unusual?”

“Yeah,” Ray sighed, scratching his head, “Especially since we had just replaced it. But every now and again you get a dud. That’s racing.”

“I assume you still have it. Do you mind if I take a look at it?” Sam asked.

“Sure, follow me.”

Ray led Sam up the steps of a trailer that doubled as a portable garage and motioned to the workbench on the far side. Sam gingerly ran his index finger around the edge of the hole where the line had broken. Something didn’t feel right.

“I don’t suppose you have a magnifying glass or anything?”

“Not that I know of, but would these help?” Ray held out a pair of plastic rimmed reading glasses. “Wife insists I wear them to read the fine print before signing anything,” he chuckled humorlessly.

“Yeah, these should work,” Sam replied as he popped out one of the lenses and positioned it so he could see the rupture point more clearly.

“I’m not so sure the line broke by accident,” Sam informed him. “Come here and look at this.”

The two men bent their heads over the piece in question.

“See how the edge is jagged all around except for this little section right here?” Sam asked. “It’s smooth. As if someone cut it. Kinda gave it a head start.”

The older man squinted. “Well, I’ll be! Whatever made you think to look for that?”

“Just a hunch,” Sam shrugged. “I suggest you get this to the proper authorities, though. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to alert the other teams to check theirs out just in case.”

“I’ll get right on it! But who on God’s green earth would do something like this?”

“That I can’t help you with, sir, but if you’re interested, I can still help you get that car fixed up and take her for a spin on Sunday. I’m no Dale Earnhardt, but I’ll do my best.”

“That’s an awful hard offer to refuse, son,” Ray said thoughtfully.

“Then don’t refuse,” Sam smiled. “Just tell me what to do!”

With the extra manpower and renewed sense of purpose, the Stanley Reed Team got to work fixing up the race car. To their relief, the damage wasn’t as extensive as initially believed and what couldn’t be repaired could be replaced. One long day and an even longer night later, the car was deemed race-worthy. In the stillness of the early morning, Sam pulled on his fire retardant jumpsuit and, with helmet in hand, started towards the track where he was to take his first practice run. Butterflies of both excitement and trepidation flitted in his stomach, but he quickly tamped them down, knowing he had to keep his cool if he was serious about driving. As he walked across the dew-dampened grass of the infield, he was intercepted by a tall, sandy-haired man he didn’t recognize. A few years older than Sam, the man stood ramrod straight as his face broke into a smile.

“I hear you’re the man to thank for keeping the team from dropping out of the race,” the stranger said.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” Sam replied self-consciously, running his fingers through his dark brown hair.

“I would! Especially since that’s my name on the car. I’m Stanley Reed, the veteran that car is representing.”

The two men shook hands and exchanged pleasantries as they made their way to the pit area. Once there, Sam put on his helmet, slid through the window of the car, and allowed various crew members to adjust and secure the harness that would keep him strapped to the seat. When all safety precautions had been satisfied, Sam eased the machine down pit lane and onto the track, picking up momentum as he went. With each lap, he got a better feel for the car and its handling. Soon he was speeding around the track as if he did this every weekend. The engine hummed and the steering wheel vibrated and he was lovin’ every minute of it. The crew monitored his progress and radioed in instructions and encouragement and his confidence grew. Suddenly, the wheel jerked and became loose in his hands, his steering was gone. Sam frantically braked and shifted gears as the car headed for the wall, but it was out of control. He felt the car hit and then go airborne before landing on its side, the metal of the body screeching and sparking against the asphalt of the track. He felt his restraints break free as his head hit something hard and then everything went black.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“This is nice. I’m glad you could take the afternoon off,” MacGyver commented before biting into his deli sandwich.

“I have the time coming so I might as well take it,” Joanna replied lightly. “You usin’ that pickle?”

Mac regarded the limp spear lying untouched on the wrapper. “Oh, I get it, you only love me for my food!” he teased while reaching across his desk to hand her the requested item.

“That’s not true!” she protested, still eyeing his midday meal spread out in front of him. “Are you gonna eat your cookie?”

“Yes! As a matter of fact, I am!” Mac laughed as Joanna pretended to pout.

The shrill ring of the telephone interrupted their friendly banter.

“Hello?”

“MacGyver, it’s Pete.”

“Hey Pete! What annoying thing did Sam do now?”

“He’s been in an accident, Mac.”

MacGyver shot to his feet. His whole world narrowed to the voice on the other end of the phone line.

“What kind of accident?”

“A car accident.”

Mac sucked in his breath and bit his lip, fighting to contain his emotions.

“How is he? What’s happening, Pete?”

“Connie and I are here at the hospital, but they won’t tell us anything because we’re not relatives.”

“Why wasn’t I called?” Mac ground out. “I’m his father!”

“Apparently Sam listed me and Connie as his emergency contacts at the Tribune. He probably thought it made sense since he’s living with us.”

“Stay with him, Pete. I’m on my way.”

Mac hung up the phone and turned to catch Jo’s questioning gaze.

“Mac?” her voice waivered.

“Sam’s been in a car accident. He’s in the hospital and they won’t tell Pete anything. I’m gonna call Cynthia and have her cover for me here, then go home and pack a bag with some stuff for a few days. You do the same and I’ll swing by and pick you up.”

“You gonna be okay?”

“Yeah, I’ve got this. Now let’s hustle.”

XXXXX

The automatic doors of the Emergency department swished open and MacGyver rushed through, Joanna hurrying to keep up with him. He quickly glanced around the waiting room and found Pete and Connie seated in uncomfortable molded plastic chairs.

“Any news?” he asked, as Connie enveloped him and then Joanna in a motherly hug.

“Not yet,” Pete sighed.

“But it’s been hours!” Mac protested.

Just then a doctor in a white lab coat entered the waiting area, his gaze lighting upon the small group.

“Are you family of Sam Malloy?” he asked.

“I’m his father. How is he?”

“Very lucky. We just got the results of his CT scan. He has a severe concussion, a few cracked ribs, and a very bruised shoulder, but given the circumstances it could have been a lot worse. In fact, he’s already beginning to regain consciousness which is a good sign as well.”

“When can we see him?”

“I’m afraid I can only allow one person back at a time, and then not for long,” the physician offered apologetically.

Mac looked at Joanna who nodded before he allowed the doctor to lead him back to see Sam. The man pulled back the curtains that cordoned off the treatment bays, allowing MacGyver to enter.

“Hey Dad,” Sam whispered huskily, his eyes slightly unfocused and his skin pale.

“Hey yourself,” Mac replied, trying to sound lighthearted as myriad emotions churned in his gut at seeing his only son lying weak and helpless in a hospital bed.

As MacGyver walked further into the room, he noticed the scratched and dented helmet sitting on the bedside table.

“Pete said you were in a car accident. What’s with the motorcycle helmet?”

“Pete’s right and that’s not a motorcycle helmet,” Sam answered, his eyes focused on the far wall. “I was taking practice laps in a race car when it flipped.”

“What?!” Mac exclaimed, before looking around self-consciously and lowering his voice. “What?!” he repeated in a loud whisper.

“It started out as an assignment, but it’s kinda a long story. You gotta do me a favor, Dad.” Sam reached out and grasped MacGyver’s forearm. “You need to check out the car before anyone else can. It’s at the Fairview Raceway in the Stanley Reed trailer.”

“What’s this all about, Sam?” Mac demanded, shaking his head as he tried to make sense of what his son was telling him.

“I think the car was sabotaged. My steering went way loose and my harness broke. I don’t think it was by accident.”

“Stuff like that happens, Sam. That’s what makes the sport dangerous.”

Sam slowly shook his head. “It wasn’t the first time. Bobby, the original driver, got hurt ‘cause the brake line was cut.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave now,” the doctor said from the doorway. “We’re going to admit Sam and move him to a private room. You can see him again once he’s settled.”

“Dad, please…” Sam pleaded as two orderlies appeared to wheel him from the emergency bay.

Against his better judgement, Mac nodded his agreement as Sam was taken away. Back in the waiting room, he explained that Sam was being admitted before pulling Joanna off to the side.

“I need to go check something out,” he told her quietly. “Can you stay with him ‘til I get back?”

She nodded, but he could see the questions and concern in her eyes. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to say anything more until he was sure about what was going on.

Forty-five minutes later, MacGyver pulled his Jeep up to the security booth at the race track. After providing identification and receiving directions, he made his way to where Sam had indicated.

“Excuse me!” he called as he approached a group of men in the area reserved for the Stanley Reed Team. “Is one of you Ray Simmons?”

“That’d be me,” a stocky man said, stepping away from the others.

“Name’s MacGyver. I’m Sam’s dad.”

“Pleasure to meet you. Too bad it isn’t under better circumstances. How is the boy?”

“He’ll live,” Mac said with a crooked smile. “But he did ask me to take a look at the car he was driving.”

“Looks like curiosity runs in the family,” Ray chuckled. “It’s pretty beat up but you’re welcome to look all you like.” He pointed MacGyver to where the car had been towed.

“Thanks. Appreciate it!”

Mac took his time examining both the steering mechanisms as well as the safety harness. His frown deepened as, one by one, members of the crew approached, some peering over his shoulder.

“I hate to say this, but it looks like this car’s been tampered with,” MacGyver announced as he straightened to his full height. “See that?” he asked, pointing to a contraption under the hood. “That’s what caused the steering to go. And here,” Mac continued, leaning in through the driver’s side window and fiddling with the safety belts. “They’re mostly frayed, but if you look closely you can see where little cuts have been made. The force of the accident and strain from Sam’s body weight caused them to tear apart.”

Simmons took off the baseball cap he was wearing and scratched his head.

“I just don’t understand why this is happening! This is a charity event for goodness sake!”

“Can you think of anyone who might have a personal vendetta? Someone with access to the car?”

Ray shook his head slowly.

“Teams are competitive but not vindictive. And we don’t have money for much security so pretty much anyone with the proper credentials can get near the car. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m gonna report this to the authorities and then withdraw from the race. It just isn’t worth it. Would you mind if I stopped by the hospital to visit your boy? I’d really like to thank him for everything he’s done and apologize for letting him get involved in this mess.”

“I’m sure he’d like that,” Mac grinned. “I’m headed back there now. Come anytime.”

XXXXX

Later that evening, MacGyver, Joanna, and Ray Simmons sat around Sam’s bedside chatting amicably. Pete and Connie had left shortly after Sam had been settled in a regular room leaving Mac and Jo with an open invitation to stay at their place as long as they needed. After a couple of hours of rest and sustenance in the form of clear broth and Jell-O, Sam regained enough strength to explain everything to his dad and was visibly distraught when Ray informed him the team was withdrawing from the race.

“But if we pull out now they win…whoever they are!” he protested.

“It’s just not worth the risk, son,” Ray reasoned.

“How will we find out who’s behind this if we stop now?” Sam argued.

“We may never find out,” Mac said, “but getting someone hurt or killed isn’t the way either.”

“Besides,” Ray added, “There’s no way that car can be ready for qualifying tomorrow. This is all for the best.”

For the next few minutes everyone grew silent, focused on their own thoughts. Then Mac noticed a grin begin to bloom on his son’s face.

“Sam? What are you thinking?” he asked cautiously.

The young man looked at him and then at Ray.

“Yesterday I overheard the guys talking about a back-up car you have stashed away. If the crew pulls an all-nighter they should be able to get it ready to go!”

Ray considered Sam’s suggestion. “Well, given the format of the race, all cars will start on Sunday. Tomorrow only determines position so as long as she can limp her way around the track we can get her set up for the race.” Then he frowned. “But we’re still without a driver…again.”

“No problem! My dad can drive for you!” Sam announced excitedly.

MacGyver felt his eyes grow wide and his jaw go slack, but he couldn’t form any coherent words to protest.

“Does he have any experience?” Ray asked warily.

By this point, Sam was almost jumping out of skin. “Yeah! Years ago he used to race Formula One. Stock cars are much more forgiving. It’d be a piece of cake for him!”

Mac felt everyone’s eyes on him as he pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned.

“He even ran a race for the Phoenix Foundation once,” Sam added, pouring fuel on the already growing fire.

“I’m sorry, Sam,” Ray replied after some thought. “It’s just too dangerous. I can’t ask your dad to take on our problems.”

“But my dad loves doin’ this kind of stuff. Don’t ya, Dad?”

MacGyver had to admit, if only to himself, that the thought of getting behind the wheel of a race car again did cause his adrenaline to surge. And he definitely wanted to catch whoever was behind the sabotage that injured Sam as well as Bobby Simmons. He rocked back on his heels and drew in a breath, wishing he wasn’t going to say what he was going to say.

“What time should I be at the track?” he asked.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna rolled over and squinted at the digital clock sitting on the nightstand. Its glowing red numbers told her it was just past midnight. She sighed. With everything that had happened in the past twelve hours, her mind would not allow her to sleep, so she slipped out of Sam’s bed, which Connie had insisted she use, and quietly made her way to the kitchen where she drew a glass of water from the tap. She sensed, more than heard, someone behind her and turned to find MacGyver shuffling her way.

“I tried not to wake you,” she apologized.

“You didn’t,” he responded. “Somehow that couch isn’t as comfortable as I remember,” he complained as he took a carton of juice from the ‘fridge and filled a glass. By unspoken agreement, they each took a seat at the table.

“Are you sure it’s just the couch that’s bothering you?”

Mac jammed his splayed fingers through his already-disheveled hair. “No,” he admitted. “I guess I’m just worried about Sam.”

“Sam’s gonna be fine,” Jo assured him.

“I know,” he murmured before swallowing half a glass of juice in one gulp.

“Why didn’t you tell me you used to drive race cars?” she asked quietly.

“It never came up,” he replied with an impish grin.

“I get the feeling you’ve done a lot of things that have never come up,” Jo countered lightheartedly.

“And you’d be right. But that was in a different lifetime.”

“A ‘lifetime’ you miss?”

“You know I don’t!”

“Just checkin’,” Jo smiled.

“You’re not upset about me driving, are you?”

“No!” she exclaimed. Shaking her head to reinforce her answer. “Actually, I’m really excited about it. I like auto racing and the chance to be in the pits and stuff is so cool!”

Mac tilted his head in that adorable way he had and gently gazed into her eyes until she became uncomfortable under his scrutiny.

“What?!”

“You’ve still got some surprises left in you as well,” he observed and they both chuckled before allowing an easy silence to fall between them. It wasn’t until after they had both finished their drinks that Mac spoke again.

“It occurred to me that I never even asked if you could come. You just came.”

“You didn’t give me much of a choice!” she teased.

MacGyver lowered his gaze, his expression and tone of voice now serious. “It really means a lot to me, having you here.”

Joanna reached out and put her hand on his forearm that lay across the table.

“We’re a team. Where else would I be?” she asked with a loving smile before it turned to a frown.

“Mac, do think someone…will something happen to the car tomorrow?”

MacGyver shook his head confidently. “No way! The crew will be working on it all night so it won’t be accessible to anyone not affiliated with the team.”

“But what if it’s being sabotaged by someone on the team?” she asked, chewing her lower lip thoughtfully.

“We don’t have any evidence of that. Besides, what could a possible motive be? Why don’t you shut that brain of yours off and go get some rest.”

“Okay, but only if you do the same!” Jo challenged.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The following morning Mac and Joanna arrived at the track just in time to watch the crew move the race car from the secure trailer to the pit box where they would make last minute adjustments before qualifying. They were welcomed with weary but friendly greetings and handshakes before someone tossed MacGyver a jumpsuit and helmet and ordered him to change.

“We’ve still got a couple hours,” Ray Simmons said, approaching Mac. “Take her out and get a feel for the track and let us know if you need any modifications.” MacGyver nodded and disappeared into the trailer.

Minutes later, he eased the car onto the track and settled into the ride. The machine felt solid and well-balanced. Lulled by the steady hum of the engine, his mind wandered back to the fatal accident that had marked the end of his racing career.

“It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault,” he repeatedly whispered to himself, his hands clenching the steering wheel tight.

“What was that, Mac?” a voice crackled through the speakers in his helmet.

“Um, nothing. Everything’s good,” he radioed back, embarrassed that he forgot the crew was monitoring his radio transmissions. He thought he had rid himself of this particular demon after racing for Phoenix. He had thought wrong.

Satisfied with the set-up of the car, he slowly pressed down on the brake and guided it back into the pit box. Crew members swarmed around him as he climbed through the window, asking a variety of questions before turning their attention back to the machine and getting it ready for their qualifying run. MacGyver was looking around the small crowd for Joanna when he heard someone call to him.

“Excuse me! Are you the new driver?”

“Yeah. Name’s MacGyver.”

“I’m Stanley Reed. The vet your car is representing.”

“Good to meet you, Stanley, and thanks for your service,” Mac said as the two men shook hands.

“Ya know, you really don’t have to do this. I’d hate to see someone else get hurt.”

“It’s not a problem,” Mac assured him. “Besides, the decision’s already been made and we’re taking all necessary precautions. Everything’s gonna be fine.”

Seemingly mollified, Stanley bid MacGyver goodbye just as Joanna came to stand next to him.

“Do you really believe that?” she asked.

“Of course I do,” Mac replied confidently. Like he had a choice! “We’ve changed the lock on the trailer and the crewmen are gonna take turns standing guard tonight. No one’s gonna get near that car and cause any more problems.”

Ninety minutes later, a voice boomed over the loudspeakers ordering all teams to report to pit road for the beginning of the qualifying session. The format was simple. Each car took to the track individually and ran one practice lap to get up to speed before running two qualifying laps. The faster of the two laps would determine its starting position on the grid for the race tomorrow.

MacGyver watched as the five cars in front of him laid down their times. Then it was his turn. The car felt really good…and really fast. Ray had warned him not to push it, but Mac couldn’t quell his competitive side completely and opened up the engine a bit more than necessary, earning himself a spot on the inside of row two, bumping a few other cars back a notch. Then it was a waiting game. Once all fifteen cars had qualified, Team Reed was positioned on the outside of row four which was a very good starting point, especially given the circumstances. It would be a long night for the crews as they worked to get the cars ready to run the one hundred lap race tomorrow, but MacGyver’s plans were simple: Visit Sam, eat a good supper, and go to bed early.

XXXXX

Race day dawned cloudy and cool. Just the way MacGyver liked it. The track and inside of the car would heat up quickly enough. He and Jo arrived at the racetrack and walked across the eerily silent infield hand-in-hand. In a couple of hours, spectators would crowd into the grandstand and the roar of engines would fill the air. But for now he would soak in the temporary peace and tranquility. Jo discreetly slipped away as Mac headed towards his crew. Despite their assurances that the car had been guarded all night and was ready to go, he insisted on doing his own inspection from front bumper to tail pipe. Finding nothing out of sorts, he grabbed his jumpsuit and headed for the trailer, catching Joanna’s eye in the process. She smiled back encouragingly and his heart leapt. She was being a real trouper and once this was all over he promised to find a way to show her how grateful he was. Just thinking of a list of options brought a grin to his face as he prepared to go racing.

Time began to pass quickly and before he knew it he was suited up and standing next to his race car already placed on the starting grid. Connie and Pete had joined him and Joanna as they stood at attention for the National Anthem. After receiving last minute instructions from his pit crew, as well as a good luck kiss from Jo, he slid into the driver’s seat and focused on the track ahead. Only a mile long oval. It would be a fairly quick one hundred lap race and he was thankful for his good starting position as he jammed on his helmet and hooked up his radio. He glanced at his pit and saw Joanna and Pete don headsets as well.

“See you all at the finish line!” he said into the mic and turned to see smiles and waves from his friends.

After a couple pace laps to bring the cars up to speed, the green flag waved and the race was on. MacGyver instinctively hit the accelerator and passed two cars before the first official lap was complete. His adrenaline was flowing and he was feeling confident. After all those years of driving the freeways of Los Angeles, this was a walk in the park! He deftly shifted and made a move to pass yet another opponent. After several more laps, a car behind him lost control and hit the wall, bringing out the yellow caution flag.

“Okay Mac, bring her in,” Ray instructed.

On his next pass, MacGyver steered the car onto pit road, braking abruptly when he arrived at his pit box. Fuel was topped off and tires were changed and he was back on the track without losing a position. Once the debris from the accident was clear, the green flag waved and the remaining cars settled into a fast but friendly competition. With twelve laps left to go, Mac glanced at his telemetry and frowned. He was running low on fuel. He didn’t want anyone to get in an accident, but he also didn’t want to pit under green and lose the second place spot he was currently riding in. Half a lap later, the yellow flag flew. A car had blown an engine and was limping its way toward the infield.

“Okay Mac, let’s top her off and win this thing!” Ray radioed.

“Roger that,” MacGyver replied before loud static assaulted his ear drums.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Mac!” an unfamiliar voice sneered over the radio.

“Who is this?!” Mac demanded.

“You don’t need to worry about that right now. What you do need to concern yourself with is the bomb I have wired to your accelerator. Any let up in pressure will cause the bomb to explode. So unless you want to kill hundreds of innocent bystanders, I suggest you keep driving.”

“Why didn’t it go off the first time I stopped?” Mac knew the only thing he could do for now was keep this mad man talking and glean as much information as possible.

“Because I hadn’t activated it yet. You see, I thought the race should end with a bang!”

“Tell me who you are!” There was no way it could be who Mac thought it was. He was dead and buried and only existed in Mac’s nightmares.

“My name’s Walter Smythe, though I doubt that rings any bells. You’re veteran hero got my son killed over in that sand box and now it’s time to get revenge!”

More static, then silence.

“Ray? Pete? Did you guys get that?” Mac asked.

“We got it, Mac,” came Pete’s familiar voice. “What’s your plan?”

“Plan?! What makes you think I have a plan?!”

“Relax kid,” Ray instructed. “Just keep her steady.”

MacGyver weaved and skidded around the track, much to his fellow drivers’ dismay, but they had no idea what was going on. Mac had to maintain his speed or risk detonating the bomb. However, in doing so, he was eating up fuel. With no fuel, the car would stop and the bomb explode…with him in it.

“Okay. Listen up,” Mac ordered, frantically making a mental list of his options of which there were few. “Get to Race Control. Tell them what’s happening and have them stop the race and evacuate the stands and the infield.”

“Consider it done,” Pete replied. “Then what?”

“I’ll let you know when I think of it.”

Mac maintained radio silence as he concentrated on keeping appropriate pressure on the gas pedal. As he flew by the main grandstand he saw people being herded out of their seats. He couldn’t do anything until he was sure there was no risk of collateral damage.

“What’s happening, Mac?” Pete pleaded in his ear.

“The wall by turn four has a gate in it, right?”

“That’s right.” This time the voice belonged to Ray.

“And there’s nothing but field beyond it, right?” Mac was practically yelling into the radio.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Ray concurred.

“Then that’s where I’m gonna ditch the car. Get a safety crew out there and open it up!”

“But what about you, Mac?” Joanna had now joined the conversation.

“I’m still workin’ on that,” he answered before becoming silent once more as he watched the needle of the gas gauge drop into the dangerous red zone. The track was now free of cars and as he roared around the oval he noted that the observation stands were empty as well. It was now or never, but first he had to make sure he wasn’t in the car when it blew up.

With his left hand tightly gripping the steering wheel, he used his right hand to unlatch the fire extinguisher mounted next to the driver’s seat. He slowly lowered it against his leg until it came to gently rest next to his foot on the accelerator. He took a deep, calming breath as he wedged the top of the canister against the edge of the seat.

“Mac?” Joanna called, her voice filled with trepidation. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t think you really want to know,” he muttered.

“But you have a plan, right? I mean, one that’s not gonna get you blown up?”

“Yep. That’s the idea.”

“Look, in case your plan doesn’t work, I want you to know—“

“Not now, Jo!”

“But you need to know that I—“

“Don’t say it! Not here, not like this.”

He heard a sickening thud and then nothing.

“Mac, you okay?” Pete asked anxiously.

“Yeah, what just happened?”

“Um, Joanna, um…”

“Never mind. It’s better if she doesn’t see this anyway.” He figured the sound he had heard was Jo’s headset dropping to the ground. No doubt followed by her running out of the pit. Running away from this nightmare.

Putting Joanna out of his mind, he went back to work on the fire extinguisher, slowly pressing it against the gas pedal at the same time he eased his foot off. When he found himself and the car still in one piece he was fairly certain his plan would work, though probably not for long. As he guided the car into turn one, a light on the dash lit up, indicating a critically low fuel level. He gingerly removed his foot from the gas pedal and concentrated on steering.

“Okay everybody, this is it,” he radioed as he approached turn four and aimed the car for the opening in the wall.

The terrain of the field was rutted and bumpy compared to the smoothness of the track. Mac glanced down, making sure the fire extinguisher wasn’t moving…much. He knew when he let go of the wheel the rocking of the car would cause the extinguisher to shift and possibly fall. With only seconds to escape this death trap, MacGyver carefully lifted his body, holding onto the steering wheel until the last possible moment before pushing himself through the driver’s window. He tucked himself into a ball and rolled as he hit the ground, the car continuing to speed away. The pick-up truck that served as one of the safety vehicles pulled up next to him and he scrambled into the bed and huddled against the back of the cab, ducking his head as the truck raced off in the opposite direction. He had only counted to three before he heard the explosion. Small pieces of flaming debris fell from the sky onto the truck and he was thankful for his helmet and fire suit. When he figured they were a safe distance away, he looked up to see the race car consumed by flames, pieces of it scattered across the meadow. He pulled off his helmet and let the warm air whip through his damp hair as he let out the breath he had been holding. That had been a close one. A little too close.

Minutes later he jumped off the tailgate and approached Pete.

“Where is she?” he asked.

“Mac, the authorities are waiting for you in the track office. They obviously have a lot of questions for you.”

“Where is she, Pete!?” he demanded.

“Ray said she ran out to the parking lot. Connie followed,” his friend replied.

As MacGyver jogged across the now-empty infield, he tried to prepare himself for what Joanna’s reaction might be. Would she cry? Like any red-blooded American male, he hated to see a woman he cared about cry, especially when he was the cause. Would she run into his open arms for comfort or would she be spitting mad, glaring daggers, with fists ready to pummel his chest and any other body part that got in the way? It wasn’t long until he discovered the answer, and he found himself stupefied. There she sat in the passenger seat of the Jeep, staring straight ahead with seemingly unseeing eyes, her face void of all emotion. His gut clenched and his heartbeat skipped at the sight. He tore his gaze from Jo to find Connie several yards away gazing across the rural landscape.

“How is she?” he asked once he was standing next to the older woman.

Connie shrugged. “She’s been like this ever since we got here. She winced once when we heard the explosion, but that’s it.”

“She must be in shock.”

“She’s not showing any physical signs, but I’m sure emotionally it’s a different story. It’s as if she just folded in on herself.”

They walked toward the Jeep and the prone figure together, Connie hanging back as MacGyver drew close.

“Hey baby, everything’s fine. I’m okay. It’s all over,” he assured her as he lifted her hand and held it in both of his. It was surprising warm and pliable, yet his touch yielded no effect. “C’mon Jo, talk to me,” he pleaded.

Receiving no indication that she had even heard him, he gently placed her hand back on her thigh and jammed his fingers through his hair.

“I gotta get back and give my statement about this whole mess,” he told Connie. “It could be a very long afternoon.”

“Don’t worry about a thing,” she said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Stay as long as you need to. Pete and I will take Joanna home so she can rest and process everything that’s happened. I’m sure she’ll be back to her old self again in no time.”

Mac smiled at the two women who had come to mean so much to him before turning and walking away.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna lay on top of the duvet, fully clothed, curled into the fetal position, staring at the closed bedroom door. Upon arriving home with Pete and Connie, she had called in sick to work for the next day and taken a long, hot shower after which she was treated to a hearty, home cooked meal. Not wanting to be rude, she engaged in idle conversation and helped clear the table and load the dishwasher before heading off to bed with the request not to be disturbed. Now, hours later, her mind replayed the moment when she first laid eyes on MacGyver after hearing that earthshattering explosion. Oh, how she had yearned to run into his arms and let him hold her forever. And then, when he had held her hand, it was all she could do not to hang on tight and never let go, but she forced herself to refuse those luxuries at least until she could understand her own behavior that afternoon. As the sun sank below the western horizon, she had finally figured out the words to say, but the only person who would ever hear them still hadn’t come home.

Suddenly, as if her thoughts had conjured him, she heard the back door open and followed the sound of Mac’s distinctive gait as he walked through the kitchen, down the hall, and into the living room where the Thornton’s were watching television. She quickly slipped off the bed and padded to the door in her stocking feet to listen, not wanting to miss a word he said.

“How is she?” he asked, and Joanna just about melted. After everything that had happened, her welfare was still first and foremost in his mind?

“She went to bed right after dinner and asked not to be disturbed,” Connie told him.

“Oh.”

The pain and disappointment in that one syllable pierced her heart more deeply than any blade ever could and convinced her it was time to rejoin the land of the living and let him know she was okay. She opened the bedroom door and stepped into the hall, staying hidden in the shadows until the right moment came for her to reveal her presence.

“I didn’t know how long you’d be, so I made a plate for you. I’ll just go heat it up,” Connie told MacGyver, no doubt trying to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

“Thanks, but I ate at the hospital when I went to visit Sam,” Mac replied. “He managed to charm the nurse into smuggling in an extra supper tray.”

Joanna suppressed a giggle.

“How is he doing?” Pete asked.

“Great! He’s being released tomorrow. I told him I’d be there to pick him up.” Even with his back to her, Jo could hear the smile in his voice.

“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Connie gushed as she gave Mac a hug.

Now was her chance to speak up and enter the conversation.

“Can I go along?” she asked softly, stepping into the well-lit room.

Mac turned toward her. “You bet,” he replied with a surprised smile. He took a moment to study her. “I thought you wanted to be left alone tonight?”

She shrugged and then reached out gingerly, grasping his hand. “I did. But I got lonely,” she explained with a smile of her own.

When silence fell, Pete cleared his throat and repositioned himself in his chair. “So Mac, wanna tell us what happened at the track today?”

“You still need to debrief?” MacGyver grinned, even though he knew his friend couldn’t see it.

“What can I say, old habits die hard!”

Everyone laughed as Mac and Jo took a seat on the couch, still holding hands.

“It’s kind of a long story but we ended up catching the guy.” Mac said, “I’ll give you the abridged version so I don’t keep you up past your bedtime.”

Pete huffed, Connie smiled playfully, and Jo squeezed his hand just a little tighter to let him know she was ready to hear whatever he had to say.

“Well,” Mac sighed, “It’s basically what Walter Smythe said when he hijacked our radio. His son, Bryan, was nineteen years old and serving under Stanley Reed when he was killed by enemy fire. Reed and several others were injured but survived. Mr. Smythe irrationally blamed Reed for his son’s death and wanted vengeance.”

“But that happened years ago? Why wait until now?” Joanna asked.

“He lost his job last year and then a month ago his wife passed away. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and something in his mind snapped.”

“Didn’t he realize he could have killed hundreds of people with that bomb?” Connie asked, clearly upset.

Mac nodded. “That was the reason for the radio call. He assumed, and rightly so, that we would take appropriate action to prevent as much collateral damage as possible.”

“But what about you!” Jo protested. “He doesn’t even know you but was ready to blow you apart!”

Mac turned to look at her with a sympathetic gaze. “In his mind, the driver of that car, whoever it may have been, was honoring the man who killed his son. You have to remember, he wasn’t thinking straight.”

Jo lowered her eyes and felt a stab of pity for the man.

“So how in the world did anybody catch him? No one even knew who he was!” Pete blustered, apparently annoyed that this detail had been left out.

“Security knew that he had to be at the facility in order to interrupt our radio transmission. During the evacuation, a guard found a man huddled underneath the bleachers with an electronic jamming device and binoculars. Apparently he was waiting to see the results of his handiwork.”

“But how did he ever get near the car, much less rig it for all those accidents?” Joanna asked, her mind trying to make sense of it all.

MacGyver released her hand and scrubbed his face. “That’s the clincher. He paid off Claude Chapman, a new crewmember on the team.”

“Why would Claude ever agree to sabotage his own team?” she probed.

“Money can motivate people to do things you never imagined were possible,” Pete replied sadly. “I’ve seen it enough over the years, so I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“What’s gonna happen to them?” Jo asked.

“Currently they’re both in custody. With my statement and plenty of witnesses, they won’t be going anywhere for quite a while,” Mac assured her.

A hush fell over the room until Connie slapped her hands on her thighs and looked toward Mac and Jo.

“Well, I’m just glad no one was injured and the bad guys got caught. Now I believe it’s time for me and Pete to head off to bed. I’m sure you two have some things to discuss.”

It looked as if her husband was about to protest when she grabbed his arm, but he allowed her to guide him from the room. Alone with MacGyver, Joanna suddenly felt anxious. Could she say what she needed to say? Would he understand? She opened her mouth to begin the conversation, but Mac beat her to it.

“I really owe you a big apology,” he sighed gustily. “I knew this whole race thing could be dangerous. I shouldn’t have let you get involved.”

Her anxiety instantaneously turned to irritation. “First of all, I knew of the danger and I chose to get involved, just like you. Secondly, I’m the one who needs to apologize to you!”

“No way!” Mac protested. “You’ve got nothin’ to apologize for, and even if I didn’t force you into this situation, I still cut you off when you tried to tell me that you—“

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Joanna said firmly, interrupting him. “It was so selfish on my part. You were doing everything you could to keep everyone safe and I just wanted to make myself feel better by making sure I wouldn’t have any regrets if your cockamamie stunt didn’t work out. And then I did what I once promised you I’d never do: I ran.”

“Out of fear and anger. I get it,” Mac said softly.

Joanna nodded. “But I stayed away out of shame. I was a hypocrite, Mac!”

“What are you talking about?! You’re weren’t a—“

She held up a hand to shush him. “Yes, I was. And maybe still am.”

Mac’s face was a mask of confusion.

Taking a deep breath, she delved into her explanation. “When you and I were first getting to know each other, I couldn’t understand why women who supposedly cared about you were scared off by your job. I understood it was dangerous at times, but in my eyes that was all the more reason for them to want to be with you as much as possible, not run the other way! And today I did the exact same thing! When you needed me to be calm and supportive, I ran away from you instead!

“Listen,” Mac commanded, turning sideways on the couch and placing his hands firmly on Joanna’s shoulders, turning her towards him. “What happened today was tough on everybody. I figured you had run when I heard your headphones drop. At least, I hoped you had run because then I didn’t have to worry about you getting hurt. But I’ll admit, you had me scared when you wouldn’t talk to me afterward.”

“Scared of what?” Jo asked, her eyes wide and innocent.

“Scared of losing you,” he replied hoarsely, as if the words clogged his throat. He then shook his head and chuckled. “Do you think we’ll ever get this ‘committed relationship’ thing figured out?”

She thought her eyes couldn’t grow any wider, but they did. “Is that what this is?” she asked tentatively, as if saying it out loud would make it disappear.

He raised one hand from her shoulder to cup her cheek and her breath hitched.

“Considering that I fell for you the first time I saw you, have grown to love you more every day since, almost proposed to you, and have no desire to even look at another woman, I’d have to say yes.”

Tears welled in her eyes as she reached out to touch his face. “The day I met you my world turned upside down. I tried so hard not to love you but failed miserably. You are such a special man and I can’t imagine my life without you.”

“Then don’t,” he whispered huskily, “Because I’m not planning on going anywhere. You’re my home, Joanna. I love you.”

With one hand still caressing her cheek, she felt his other hand reach up and cradle the back of her head, gently urging her closer until their lips met in an all-consuming kiss. Oblivious to the world around them, they didn’t see Connie peek around the corner, hand over her mouth and eyes glistening happily.

“Oh Peter, did you hear that? They finally admitted they’re in love with each other!” she whispered excitedly.

“I could’ve told you, and them, that two years ago,” he grumbled.

Connie shot him a chastising look she knew he couldn’t see before saying, “Let’s go back to bed, dear, and leave the two love birds alone.”

“It’s about time,” came the surly reply.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sam paced back and forth in his hospital room, glancing impatiently at his watch. The doctor had signed his discharge papers and he had called his dad for a ride thirty minutes ago. What was taking so long? As he waited, he recalled MacGyver’s visit from the night before. At Sam’s insistence, his dad had relayed every detail of the day’s events. While he was glad no one had been hurt, he was disappointed he had missed all the excitement. The reporter in him just couldn’t help it! He was about to turn and take another lap when the large door swung open and Joanna walked through, followed by his dad.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, but traffic was brutal,” Mac said.

“Traffic is always brutal here,” Sam replied wryly before hugging his dad and then Joanna. “I was hoping you would have come last night,” he told her.

“I’m sorry, but there were some things I had to take care of,” she replied cryptically.

Sam watched as Jo looked to his dad. He literally felt the air in the room change as their gazes locked and they shared a loving smile. Oh, wow! Something big had happened between them and he had missed that, too! He’d have to pump the Thornton’s for information as soon as he could.

The ride from the hospital went smoothly, at least by Chicago standards, and when the trio entered the house they were greeted by the scrumptious aroma of Connie’s cooking. After indulging in a leisurely lunch, Mac announced it was time for him and Joanna to head back to Milwaukee.

“We’d stay longer, but it looks like you’re in good hands,” he commented to Sam before Connie embraced the two men.

Jo stepped forward to give Sam one last hug as Mac retrieved their suitcases.

“Now be sure to take it easy and follow the doctor’s orders,” Joanna instructed. “If you’re anything like your dad poor Connie has her work cut out for her, but you don’t want to end up back in the hospital. And remember, Mac and I are just a phone call away.”

“Yes, Mom,” he promised with a playful eye-roll, secretly enjoying her attention.

Connie, Pete and Sam followed MacGyver and Joanna outside where the couple climbed in the Jeep and waved farewell as they pulled out of the driveway and disappeared down the quiet street. As soon as the car was out of sight, Sam rounded on the older couple.

“Okay, tell me everything! I know something happened between my dad and Jo. Something good. Did they get engaged? Oh! They didn’t sneak off and get married without me, did they?!”

Connie smiled indulgently. “It was so sweet, Sam. They finally confessed their love for each other.”

“That’s it?” Sam frowned. “They just told each other they love them?”

“That’s it,” Pete confirmed.

“Aw, man! I could’ve told ‘em that a long time ago!”
















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: 3 October 2019 - 05:47 AM                                    
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QUOTE
Chapter 17: Vengeance
I'm intrigued...

QUOTE
Rolling onto his back, he stretched like a lazy cat,
Me waking up. Regardless of where I sleep XD

QUOTE

“I gotta get to the paper,” he announced. “Thanks for breakfast. I’ll get out of your hair now, so to speak,” he snickered as he patted Pete’s bald head. The older man’s face turned red and Sam made a hasty exit.
Sam takes after his father XD

QUOTE

“What hair?” Mac asked, trying to keep his tone serious.

“Like father, like son,” Pete grumbled and MacGyver smiled.
I repeat... XD

QUOTE

“C’mon Pete, it’s only until he can earn enough money to get his own place. As for Connie? He seems to bring out the maternal instinct in women. I’ve even seen it with Jo.”
Oh crap, now that it's in writing... XD I mean, I pretty much adopted him, and he's the same age as me XD XD XD

QUOTE

“I’m sorry,” Sam apologized sincerely. “Mind telling me what happened? I might be able to help.”

This time the man laughed sadly. “You got any experience with racing, son?”

“A little.”

“Well, then you should know that it’s gonna take a lot more than a little help from you to get this car ready to go and get us a new driver by Sunday.”
I can guess where this is going XD

QUOTE
“Well, former driver. Brake line ruptured during a practice lap and he got close-up and personal with the wall.”
Yep, I'm even more sure of what's coming now XD

QUOTE

“Ruptured?” Sam’s reporter curiosity was piqued. “Isn’t that pretty unusual?”

“Yeah,” Ray sighed, scratching his head, “Especially since we had just replaced it. But every now and again you get a dud. That’s racing.”
And I know what's coming up here too XD

QUOTE

“I assume you still have it. Do you mind if I take a look at it?” Sam asked.

“Sure, follow me.”
Yep, here we go XD

QUOTE
Sam gingerly ran his index finger around the edge of the hole where the line had broken. Something didn’t feel right.
Yup XD

QUOTE

“I’m not so sure the line broke by accident,” Sam informed him. “Come here and look at this.”
Also yep XD

QUOTE

“That I can’t help you with, sir, but if you’re interested, I can still help you get that car fixed up and take her for a spin on Sunday. I’m no Dale Earnhardt, but I’ll do my best.”
Son of MacGyver indeed XD

QUOTE
In the stillness of the early morning, Sam pulled on his fire retardant jumpsuit and, with helmet in hand, started towards the track where he was to take his first practice run.
I kinda figured that was gonna happen too XD But it's a given that Sam is going to have a nasty accident himself now, isn't it?

QUOTE

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” Sam replied self-consciously, running his fingers through his dark brown hair.
I almost feel like this chapter should've been called "Like Father Like Son" XD

QUOTE
Suddenly, the wheel jerked and became loose in his hands, his steering was gone. Sam frantically braked and shifted gears as the car headed for the wall, but it was out of control. He felt the car hit and then go airborne before landing on its side, the metal of the body screeching and sparking against the asphalt of the track. He felt his restraints break free as his head hit something hard and then everything went black.
Okay, I expected that, but not this soon... blink.gif

QUOTE
“You usin’ that pickle?”

Mac regarded the limp spear lying untouched on the wrapper. “Oh, I get it, you only love me for my food!” he teased while reaching across his desk to hand her the requested item.

“That’s not true!” she protested, still eyeing his midday meal spread out in front of him. “Are you gonna eat your cookie?”

“Yes! As a matter of fact, I am!” Mac laughed as Joanna pretended to pout.
Me whenever I eat with anyone XD XD XD

QUOTE
“Sam’s been in a car accident. He’s in the hospital and they won’t tell Pete anything. I’m gonna call Cynthia and have her cover for me here, then go home and pack a bag with some stuff for a few days. You do the same and I’ll swing by and pick you up.”
My favorite thing about this is that Mac doesn't even say anything about Joanna staying behind. He just assumes she's coming with, and she agrees love.jpg

QUOTE

“Hey yourself,” Mac replied, trying to sound lighthearted as myriad emotions churned in his gut at seeing his only son lying weak and helpless in a hospital bed.
I'm not sure which of them I feel worse for.

QUOTE

“No problem! My dad can drive for you!” Sam announced excitedly.
Geeze Sam, hold your horses XD

QUOTE

“It occurred to me that I never even asked if you could come. You just came.”

“You didn’t give me much of a choice!” she teased.
Like I keep saying, you guys are pretty much a family unit. So why not try the proposal again? I see no real reason not to tongue.gif

QUOTE

“Um, nothing. Everything’s good,” he radioed back, embarrassed that he forgot the crew was monitoring his radio transmissions. He thought he had rid himself of this particular demon after racing for Phoenix. He had thought wrong.
sad.gif

QUOTE

“You don’t need to worry about that right now. What you do need to concern yourself with is the bomb I have wired to your accelerator. Any let up in pressure will cause the bomb to explode. So unless you want to kill hundreds of innocent bystanders, I suggest you keep driving.”
Of course.

QUOTE

“My name’s Walter Smythe, though I doubt that rings any bells. You’re veteran hero got my son killed over in that sand box and now it’s time to get revenge!”
Was that based on the season finale for the MacGyver reboot, or just a coincidence?

QUOTE
Oblivious to the world around them, they didn’t see Connie peek around the corner, hand over her mouth and eyes glistening happily.

“Oh Peter, did you hear that? They finally admitted they’re in love with each other!” she whispered excitedly.
OH MY GOSH CONNIE roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE

“I could’ve told you, and them, that two years ago,” he grumbled.
Everyone in and reading this story XD XD XD

QUOTE

Connie shot him a chastising look she knew he couldn’t see before saying, “Let’s go back to bed, dear, and leave the two love birds alone.”

“It’s about time,” came the surly reply.
Lol, two kinds of people XD

QUOTE

Sam watched as Jo looked to his dad. He literally felt the air in the room change as their gazes locked and they shared a loving smile. Oh, wow! Something big had happened between them and he had missed that, too! He’d have to pump the Thornton’s for information as soon as he could.
Oh Sam roller.gif roller.gif roller.gif

QUOTE

“Yes, Mom,” he promised with a playful eye-roll, secretly enjoying her attention.
This is so cute XD XD XD

QUOTE

“Okay, tell me everything! I know something happened between my dad and Jo. Something good. Did they get engaged? Oh! They didn’t sneak off and get married without me, did they?!”
Pfft, Sam is my favorite shipper XD

QUOTE

“Aw, man! I could’ve told ‘em that a long time ago!”
Now which dad are you taking after? XD

Technically, they've had conversations like that before, but never in front of an audience XD

Also, is it just me or is this chapter slightly longer?



"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: 3 October 2019 - 09:06 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 3 October 2019 - 05:47 AM)


QUOTE

“My name’s Walter Smythe, though I doubt that rings any bells. You’re veteran hero got my son killed over in that sand box and now it’s time to get revenge!”
Was that based on the season finale for the MacGyver reboot, or just a coincidence?

Since I don't watch the reboot this is purely coincidence. And yes, this chapter was a lot longer;)



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: 9 October 2019 - 02:21 PM                                    
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So....this chapter is pretty dull compared to the last one, but Mac and Jo need a breather!!

Chapter 18: What’s in a Name?

Joanna leaned back in her soft leather office chair, staring unseeingly at her computer screen. It was almost noon on Tuesday. She and MacGyver had arrived home from Chicago the night before and, while she should be walking on air now that Mac had told her in no uncertain terms that he had fallen in love with her, she was dead on her feet as the events of the weekend caught up with her and the fallout at work began. She had come into the office to find a stack of files on her desk, all supposedly requiring her immediate attention, but they had to wait until her boss called her into his office to chastise her for taking off on the day the firm landed one of its biggest accounts. How was she to know that would happen?! To top it off, Mac had called to ask her to lunch and she had turned him down. She hated to, but it was necessary because if she walked out of the office right now there was a good chance she may never return. A sharp knock on her door interrupted her reverie.

“Who is it?” she called.

“That man of yours!” a very familiar masculine voice replied.

Good grief! Joanna covered her face with her hands before mumbling, “Come in.”

She was met with a chuckling MacGyver.

“You’ve been talking with Geena, haven’t you?” she moaned.

“Hey, she’s my favorite receptionist around here! Calls ‘em like she sees ‘em!” he said as she peeked through her fingers and melted at the warm smile he gave her.

“Anyway, since you couldn’t come to lunch I figured I’d bring lunch to you.”

He held up two brown bags from their favorite deli and handed one to her. She opened it up and inspected the contents.

“Alfalfa sprout sandwich and yogurt? I think this one is yours,” she said, crinkling up her nose and handing it back to him while he handed her the one containing a turkey club and a bag of chips.

“Sorry about that,” he said with a mischievous grin indicating he wasn’t sorry at all and that, in fact, he probably mixed them up on purpose. “So, why’d you try to bail on me today?”

“I really didn’t want to but I’ve had a tough morning,” she explained.

“You wanna talk about it?”

“Not really,” she sighed, but continued anyway. “I came into a load of paperwork and then got reamed out by Hernandez for taking time off.”

“But you had that time coming!” Mac’s voice rose. “He can’t dictate how you use it!”

Joanna gave a sad laugh. “You know, a couple of years ago I would have been so mortified about getting yelled at that I would have run and cried in the ladies room. But now, I just can’t seem to care. There are other, more important things in my life and I refuse to let my job get in the way.”

“Am I one of those ‘things’?” he asked with a crooked grin that made her heart beat faster.

“You know you are!” she chided. “Now, cheer me up by telling me how things are going at Challengers.”

“It’s actually going a lot smoother than I expected now that we’re open twenty-four hours a day. Of course, most kids are still in school for the next couple weeks,” Mac answered around a mouthful of sprouts before swallowing.

Joanna frowned. “I wish I could help you out more.”

“Hey, you’re there every day after work to tutor, that helps out more than you know.”

She then watched as he eyed the stack of folders on her desk.

“Of course, if you can’t make it tonight everyone will understand.”

“Are you kidding?! Looking forward to working with the kids is the only thing that keeps me sane!”

“The only thing?” Mac asked huskily.

“You know what I mean,” she replied in a clipped tone signaling the end of the conversation.

MacGyver suppressed a grin as he stole a peek at his watch.

“I better get back,” he informed her. “Cynthia wants to take some time off to go shopping and after she covered for me all weekend I owe her big time.”

“I’ll say,” Jo agreed. “I’ll see you in a few hours.”

“You sure you don’t just want to go home and rest up?” he asked, his concern for her evident.

“I’m positive,” she said, smiling up at him.

He leaned over and wiped a glob of mayo from her lips with the pad of his thumb before kissing her gently. “Later,” he whispered, disappearing through the door before she had a chance to respond.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver spent the remainder of the afternoon alternately looking at the clock and watching the front door to the club. He couldn’t wait to see Joanna again. Something fundamental had shifted in him the other night on the Thornton’s couch when he had finally told her that he loved her. Finally said the words aloud, face-to-face, making it all very real. Interestingly, the sense of uneasiness he had anticipated never came. Instead, he felt a steadying calmness. A feeling that, for once, everything in his life was coming together. It hadn’t been that long ago that he had been, for all intents and purposes, alone in the world. Then Sam had found him and now he had found Joanna. Could they eventually become the family he was yearning for?

The sound of high-pitched voices coming from the recreation area broke into his thoughts. He went to stand in his office doorway, watching as the club members talked amongst themselves and chose various activities to participate in. He smiled as the teens and adolescents respectfully played and worked together regardless of age or skin color. That peace was suddenly shattered when a mob of teens, with Joanna’s head bobbing in the center, barreled their way through the front door, all talking at once, some waving hands and arms in exasperation.

“Okay guys,” she commanded. “Take a seat at the big table and I’ll join you in a minute. We’ll get this all worked out.”

“What’s going on?” Mac asked, taking Jo by the elbow and guiding her away from the chaos.

“I don’t have a clue. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but I think it has something to do with not passing into the next grade level.”

MacGyver looked at the group, now seated quietly around a large, wooden dining table that served a variety of purposes. He recognized them as freshman from a nearby high school.

“Want me to talk to them?” he asked.

“No. I’ve got this. I just needed a minute to catch my breath. They were waiting for me when I pulled in.”

Mac frowned. “They know better than to accost an adult. Or anyone, for that matter.”

He started to walk toward them when Jo put a hand on his arm, causing him to stop and enjoy the tingling sensation he should not be so incredibly aware of at this moment.

“Relax,” she laughed lightly. “I said I’ve got this. They’re just upset. Everything’s fine...really!”

MacGyver hesitated for a minute before allowing his muscles to relax and his jaw to unclench. He had gone into super-protective mode in one point two seconds and he knew that would never do. Not with Joanna.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“No problem,” she smirked. “Just don’t let it happen again.” She gave his arm a reassuring squeeze before she dropped her hand and headed into the teenage fray.

His concern put to rest, curiosity was now front and center in his brain. He trailed Jo to the small group and stood off to the side as he listened in on the conversation.

“It’s not fair! She can’t make us do anything!!”

“Hold on, Jessica. Who can’t make you do what?” Joanna asked calmly.

“The vice principal said we won’t pass ninth grade unless we do an extra credit assignment for Sociology,” Sergio explained.

“At least she’s giving you a chance to redeem yourselves. She could just let you fail,”
Jo reasoned, much to the students’ dismay.

“When you put it like that it doesn’t sound so bad,” a girl named Jordan muttered as the others nodded their heads.

“All right. So what’s the assignment and when is it due?” Jo asked, her eyes twinkling with the challenge.

This time it was Michael who spoke up. “We have to write up and give a presentation about our name. You know, its origin, what it means, if we like it or not. That sort of thing. But it’s due this Friday.”

“That sounds doable,” Jo responded confidently. “I’ll get some books and tomorrow you can come and do the research. On Thursday, we can get everybody here to listen while you practice your presentation. Then you’ll be all set for Friday!”

The students let go a collective sigh and MacGyver was astounded at how easily Joanna had not only diffused the situation, but gotten a plan of attack together so quickly.

“That was great!” he commended her once the teens had scattered.

“Thanks!” she replied. “So then you won’t mind if I leave early and hit the library before it closes?”

“Go for it!”

XXXXX

The following afternoon, MacGyver held open the front door to Challengers as Joanna carried in a tote bag full of books.

“Here, let me help you with that,” he said, reaching out to take the bag.

“Thanks,” she replied airily as she stepped past him and handed over the tote which was a lot heavier than it looked.

Mac followed her to the large table they had used the day before and started spreading out the books. Some were geared towards soon-to-be parents offering popular baby names while others were more reference-type books with historical information. They had just finished putting out some paper and pencils when the students arrived, smiling and happily chatting with one another. A much different scene than yesterday!

“Okay everybody!” MacGyver called above the din of voices. “Those of you who need to do the extra credit assignment need to come over to the table. Ms. Jo brought in a bunch of resources for you so let’s get started!”

To his surprise, the eight students eagerly headed his way and were soon paging through the various books and commenting loudly.

“Man, dig this name!”

“I’d hate to be called that!”

“If I have a girl, I’m naming her this!”

“Okay guys, listen up!” Jo said, her voice an octave lower demanding their attention. “You’re supposed to be looking up your own name. Got it?”

Their excitement turned to mumbles and hesitant head nods, but soon they settled around the table, reading the books and making notes on the paper while the adults monitored their progress and helped out when needed.

“Hey! I got an idea!” Michael said a few minutes into the project. “We should have Ms. Jo, Ms. Cynthia, and Mr. Mac do this assignment too!”

His classmates eagerly agreed as Mac’s stomach dropped to his toes. Only his family and a few close friends knew his first name and they rarely, if ever, actually used it since they knew how much he hated it. He was not about to divulge it to a bunch of blabber-mouth teenagers!

“Count me in,” Joanna told them. “And I’m sure Cynthia would love to participate as well.”

“What about MacGyver?” Sergio asked. “We don’t even know his first name!”

“Mr. Mac has a lot of work to do,” Jo replied, coming to his rescue. “Ms. Cynthia and I will just have to do.”

She glanced up at Mac and surreptitiously pointed her chin in the direction of his office and he took the hint.

“Ms. Jo’s right,” he said. “In fact, I need to get back to my office now.” He turned and walked away, thankful for the ‘out’ Joanna had provided him.

Hours later, when the last member had left, Mac and Jo went about their nightly routine locking up windows and doors and doing general clean-up of the rec area before heading home. Joanna suddenly paused and stood regarding him thoughtfully.

“What?” he asked.

“Look Mac, I know how much you hate your name, but did you ever research it, find out what it means? It might change your mind.”

He sighed. “Several years ago I had my family tree traced and studied its origin.”

“That was your last name. Did you ever learn about your first name?”

“There are some things that need to be left alone, and that’s one of ‘em!” he snapped but Jo wasn’t deterred.

“Did you ever think that maybe your name has a really great meaning or story behind it? I mean, your folks chose it for a reason, right?”

“It’s an old family name that I wish they would have kept in the past. It’s not up for discussion.”

“Fine,” Jo shrugged. “Have it your way.” She tossed out the trash she had collected, gave him a peck on the cheek and slipped out the door.

A shiver ran down Mac’s spine. That had been too easy.

XXXXX

It was five-year-old MacGyver’s first day of Kindergarten. His mom and dad walked him to his classroom door where he was greeted by his teacher.

“Hello, Angus, it’s good to meet you.” She held out her hand for him to shake.

First wincing then frowning at the use of his given name, he reluctantly but politely shook her hand as his parents had taught him.

“What do you say, son?” his dad prompted.

“It’s nice to meet you, too,” Mac muttered.

His new teacher led him to a large piece of carpet which would later be referred to as ‘the reading rug’. Girls knelt primly on one side while boys sat cross legged on the other. A little blonde girl offered him a shy wave which he returned before taking his place with the guys. The bell rang and signaled the start of the worst day of MacGyver’s life thus far.

Instead of taking tradition roll call the teacher asked each student to stand and introduce themselves. When it was his turn, he stood up and proudly stated, “Name’s MacGyver,” before quickly sitting down again.

“Thank you, Mr. MacGyver,” the teacher responded. “But in my classroom we address each other by our first names. Could you please share your first name with your fellow students?”

Mac slowly stood up again, the collar of his brand new shirt suddenly feeling stiff and tight. “Angus,” he muttered softly as the other boys and girls began to giggle and snicker. He felt his cheeks grow warm and he wanted to run out the door, but took his seat instead.

The second time the bell rang it was to signal the beginning of recess. He eagerly made his way to the door along with the rest of his classmates. Once on the playground, Mac approached a small group of boys who had a basketball.

“Can I play with you?” Mac asked hesitantly.

“Hey everybody! It’s Angus!” the boy holding the ball announced in a teasing taunt.

“Why’d your folks name you after a cow?” another jested.

Before MacGyver could say or do anything, a third boy pushed him roughly to the ground as the others gathered around, looking down at him and chanting his name. All he could hear was “Angus! Angus! Angus!”

Mac bolted upright in bed, breathing hard. His hair was damp and sweat trickled down his bare back. Man, he hadn’t had that dream since he was a kid! All this talk about his name had to end.

MacGyver arrived at Challengers earlier than usual the next day. As a result of his childhood nightmare, sleep had been out of the question. With Cynthia not due in for a few more hours, Mac grabbed some of the name books Joanna had brought the day before and locked himself in his office to do a little research. He actually had his doubts about whether or not a name like his would make publication, but he soon located it and began jotting down the information he found and, much to his surprise, it made him smile.

Later that day the after-school crowd began to pour in and along with them were Joanna and the eight students she had been working with. Mac and some of the older boys were put in charge of setting up folding chairs in rows to mimic a classroom setting. Room was left at the front where each presenter would stand. When most of the club members had arrived and filled the seats, Joanna stepped to the front and began explaining about the presentations. Mac took a seat in the back and watched as she orchestrated the event. The glow of her cheeks and the spark of fire in her eyes were testament to how much she loved working with and educating the youth in the community.

“To get things rolling,” Jo began, “Ms. Cynthia and I are going to share what we learned about our own names, and then we will listen to your fellow club members. Please remember to be respectful and listen carefully as they put a lot of effort into their presentations.

“As many of you know, my first name is Joanna. I was named after my maternal great-grandmother, Johanna. Both our names derive from the Hebrew and Greek term meaning ‘God is gracious’. According to the reference books, people named ‘Joanna’ are confident, ambitious, independent and self-sufficient. We also don’t like taking orders.” She winked playfully after that last sentence and Mac’s heart flipped.

As Jo quietly took a seat, Cynthia took her place in front of the teens and began her presentation.

“My name is Greek for ‘From Mount Cynthus’.” This statement was met with muffled giggles from the audience. “My name means I’m independent, practical, decisive, capable, efficient, and appreciate art and music.”

Wow, that described her perfectly, Mac thought as the students applauded and Cynthia was replaced by Michael.

“First of all, I hate my name,” the boy began earnestly. “It’s so common! There are guys named Michael everywhere I go! But after learning about it, I can see why folks would want to name their kid that. Ya see, it’s Hebrew for ‘Who is like God’ and really, who wouldn’t want to be like God?!” This received a hearty laugh. “Anyway, according to the books, I’m clever, responsible, self-confident, and I care about my family and friends so I figure that makes me a pretty awesome dude!” Michael shot his classmates a huge smile as everyone clapped happily. The next presenter was Jessica, who had been the first student to complain about the assignment.

“Just like Michael, I hate my name too. People often call me ‘Jessie’ and I don’t mind, but then a lot of kids tease me, calling me ‘Jessie’s Girl’ from that old ‘80’s song. Jessica is Hebrew and means ‘to see before’. The qualities I possess are courage, honesty, determination and creativity. I’m also outgoing and like to talk with people. All my teachers get on my back about that, but now I have scientific proof to show them why I do it!”

Joanna turned, caught Mac’s gaze and did an exaggerated eye roll before Sergio took his turn.

“I always thought my name was pretty cool. You know, really slick and attractive to the ladies. Now, thanks to this dumb assignment, I find out it’s Italian for ‘servant’, and I ain’t nobody’s slave!”

“Sergio…” Mac heard Joanna warn from her seat.

“Um, sorry about that, Ms. Jo. Okay, my name also means I’m friendly, sociable, charming, and give good advice. Heck, I could be the next ‘Dear Abby’!”

Joanna cleared her throat loudly and Mac tried not to laugh.

“But anyway, I also don’t like to be told what to do and I never change my mind once it’s made up, which is true. So I guess my name’s really not so bad after all.”

Everyone applauded and Mac watched Jo’s shoulders visibly relax. Sergio was apparently her most challenging student in the club. Next, a diminutive girl with glasses moved to the front.

“My name’s Jordan and I don’t like it because it’s usually a boy’s name. I think my parents just picked a name they could use either way. And this year I took a world geography class and kids started calling me ‘Jordan River’. But anyway, my name is Hebrew for ‘one who descends’. I’m gracious, capable, and clever, but I’m also a private person and I like to read and stuff but don’t like to do spontaneous things so I guess that sums me up pretty good.”

Every clapped as she took her seat and the next student began their presentation. As MacGyver listened to their reports, he was amazed at what Joanna had helped them accomplish in so little time. He was also learning a lot about some of his club members and looked forward to spending more time with them.

When the final student finished, they all huddled around Joanna and exchanged hugs and high-fives.

“Now do it like that in school tomorrow and make me proud, okay?!” she encouraged.

It seemed like forever until Jo was once again standing by herself. MacGyver walked up beside her and gently placed an arm around her shoulders.

“You’ve done good, teach!”

She leaned into him and smiled. “I didn’t do much, just provided the tools, the rest was all them.”

“And you loved every second of it.”

Jo nodded before turning, burying her head in his chest, and wrapping her arms around his waist. “I miss teaching, Mac. I miss it so much.”

“I know you do, baby. I know,” he crooned as he stroked her hair and let her silent tears dampen the front of his shirt.

XXXXX

Friday afternoon found Joanna pacing back and forth in the rec room waiting to hear how her students’ presentations went.

“Ya know, I just waxed that floor and now you’re wearing it all off,” Mac quipped, earning him a slit-eyed scowl.

“Cynthia, can you please come and tell Jo that the kids did great and she needs to stop worrying?” he called across the room.

“Nope!” Cynthia called back. “She said it herself, ‘Joanna’s’ don’t like taking orders!”

MacGyver threw up his hands and walked away, hoping to find something that needed fixing. The truth was, he was probably just as anxious as Jo was to hear the results.

At long last, the doors to Challengers flew open and Jo’s eight students scrambled in.

“We did it, Ms. Jo! We did it! We’re all gonna be sophomores!” Jessica exclaimed as the others quickly gathered around her for a celebration session.

Mac couldn’t suppress his own smile and the tinkling of Joanna’s laughter only made his smile grow. He was so engrossed in watching the happy group that he didn’t notice the appearance of a petite, middle-aged woman until he heard Cynthia greet her.

“Hello, I’m looking for Joanna Fairfax,” the woman stated. Dressed in a grey skirt suit with a white blouse buttoned up to her neck, Mac assumed the woman had come from the law firm.

“I’ll go see if I can pry her away from her adoring public,” he told Cynthia and the woman as he reluctantly went to interrupt the happy group.

Joanna was laughing and putting her hands up in a “time out” gesture as she addressed the teens that surrounded her.

“All right, that’s enough!” she huffed. “Why don’t you take your teenage energy and go do something productive with it?!”

After a final round of thanks and congratulations, the kids began to disperse allowing Joanna to see MacGyver making his way towards her. She smiled automatically at him, but when it was not returned she wrinkled her brow in concern.

“There’s someone her to see you,” he said flatly, indicating a woman in a grey suit.

“Who is she?”

“You don’t know?” Mac asked. “I assumed she was from the firm.”

Jo shook her head. “I’ve never seen her before.”

She slowly approached the stranger as MacGyver followed just steps behind. Who was this woman and what did she want?

Cynthia smiled and made the introductions. “Joanna, this is Mrs. Elizabeth Varga, vice principal at Lincoln High where several of the Challengers members attend.”

As the two women shook hands, Mrs. Varga’s stern face brightened. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person. Some of our students have told me a lot about you.”

“All good, I hope,” Joanna laughed.

“Absolutely. And that’s why I’m here,” Mrs. Varga said, looking around the large room. “Is there some place where we could speak in private?”

Jo glanced at MacGyver. “You can use my office,” he told the two women.

They smiled their thanks and walked away.

Now it was Mac’s turn to pace the floor. He’d re-wax it tomorrow if he had to. Twenty minutes later his office door opened and Mrs. Varga was the first to emerge. Both women had a smile on their face as she turned and shook Jo’s hand.

“I look forward to hearing from you next week and don’t worry, I can see myself out,” Mac heard the older woman say before heading to the exit. He looked at Jo who still stood in the doorway, a stunned look on her face, and hurried to her side.

“What was that all about?” he asked. “Are you okay?”

She nodded slowly before looking up at him with her liquid brown eyes. “She just offered me a job.” Her voice was monotone, as if she couldn’t believe what she was saying.

“Congratulations! That’s a good thing, right?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied flatly.

“Care to explain?”

She shook her head. “Not yet, Mac. I need to work some things out in my head first.”

“No problem,” he smiled softly. “I’m gonna head out soon. Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight.”

“I’d like that,” she said quietly.

XXXXX

Joanna picked at the piece of eggplant parmesan in front of her. She had only taken two bites while MacGyver was already on his third helping. Frog sat at her feet, watching her expectantly.

“When did you turn him into a vegetarian?” she asked.

“When he started begging for table scraps.”

“No more chicken livers?”

“Only on special occasions,” Mac grinned wryly. “So, feel like talkin’ about that job offer?”

Jo pushed her plate away and sighed. “Mrs. Varga wants to hire me to teach Freshman English this fall.”

“I thought you didn’t want to teach in a traditional school environment.”

“That’s just it! Lincoln High is a charter school, meaning they don’t have to adhere to the strict policies of the public school system. The administration, teachers, and even students have a lot more flexibility. Mrs. Varga said that most teachers even get all their lesson plans and grading done during the school day so they don’t have to do it at home.”

“That sounds perfect for you! And you did say you missed teaching.”

“It is, and I do, but unfortunately the position is only part-time,” she sighed.

“So?”

From the look on her face you would have thought he had just asked her to swim across Lake Michigan.

“So,” she replied, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “Even if this was a full-time position I would still be taking a significant pay cut and losing benefits.”

“So this is all about money to you,” Mac stated scornfully. After all the time they had spent together, she had never once appeared materialistic. If anything, he had admired her frugality. Had he misjudged her so completely or was she playing him for a fool after he had given her his heart.

“Yes! No!” she huffed. “Look, no one goes into teaching for the money. I’ve always been smart financially, but when I got laid off a few years back it was a real wake-up call for me. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay rent or feed myself, but it was still an eye-opening experience.”

“I get that,” MacGyver replied, ashamed of his initial reaction. “But would you really rather stay at a job you never did like in the first place just for the money? I see how your eyes light up when you’re with the kids at Challengers. That’s what you were meant to do!”

“That’s why this is so hard on me, Mac. I really want the teaching job, but it’s scary to give up the financial stability I may need one day.”

They sat in heavy silence with their own thoughts for several minutes until Mac began to form an idea.

“You’ve put in a lot of volunteer hours at Challengers, and I really appreciate that, but maybe it’s time I--”

“No way!” she cut him off. “You are not going to pay me like some employee!”

“That’s not what I had in mind!” he shot back. “If you recall, you loaned me the money to start up the club in the first place and I haven’t paid you back one cent.”

“And this is helpful how?”

“Technically, we’re business partners, and you should be getting your share of our revenue.”

“I didn’t know you even had revenue? Besides, you should be putting it back into the club”

“We’ve gotten a few large donations and so far that’s exactly what I’ve been doing, but I would much rather have the money go to a compassionate, competent ‘partner’ rather than a can of fresh paint. Besides, Cynthia’s been dropping hints that she’d like to cut back on her hours. I think she forgot how challenging working at Challengers can be,” he grinned. “We could really use you around there, especially with summer here.”

“So let me get this straight. You’re suggesting I quit the law firm, spend the summer hanging out at Challengers and then start teaching in the fall?”

Her answer came in the form of the sly, crooked smile that always made her stomach squishy. In short, the one she couldn’t say ‘no’ to.

“All right, I’ll call Mrs. Varga first thing Monday morning.”

Mac’s smile faded and he stared at her suspiciously.

“What?!”

“That was way too easy,” he confessed.

“Maybe you’re just way too persuasive,” she responded coyly.

“Maybe you know this is the right thing to do.”

“Touche,” she replied, pulling her plate closer, suddenly ravenous.

“I have a surprise for you,” MacGyver announced as Joanna curled up in the corner of his couch after dinner.

“Oh, really?” she asked, bending over to help Frog up on the couch before cuddling him against her chest.

“Yes, really,” he countered as he pulled some note cards out of the back pocket of his jeans. “While you were working with the kids on their extra credit assignment, I took your advice and did a little research of my own.”

Her jaw slackened and she slowly shook her head. “Oh Mac, you don’t have to…”

“I want to. I want you to listen to my presentation.”

Joanna leaned further back into the cushions as MacGyver cleared his throat and began.

“My name is Angus. I’ve hated it for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a small town in Minnesota doesn’t exactly lend itself to the acceptance of unusual names. Especially names of cattle breeds. My first day of kindergarten I remember the other kids jeering and chanting my name until I cried. I begged everyone to call me something else, anything else, but ‘Angus’. Finally, my grandpa Harry took pity on me and started calling me ‘Bud’. Eventually, I convinced people to call me by my last name or simply ‘Mac’. A few days ago, a woman who has my absolute love and respect challenged me to take a deeper look at the name I’ve despised and hid from for most of my life.”

Here he paused and caught her eyes in a gaze that she swore would melt all her internal organs.

“My name’s origin is Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is interpreted as ‘one choice’, ‘one strength’, ‘chosen one’, ‘unique strength’, and ‘exceptionally strong’. In Irish myth, my name means ‘god of love and youth and beauty’. My name also represents a Celtic god who helped his people with his wisdom and intelligence. It’s humbling to learn my name is defined by words such as ‘strength’, ‘chosen’, ‘love’, and ‘wisdom’ because I’ve always considered myself a pretty ordinary guy, but maybe my folks knew something I haven’t figured out yet. Or, as Michael would say, ‘I’m a pretty awesome dude!’”

Joanna laughed and clapped as MacGyver concluded his presentation and flopped down on the couch next to her, reaching out to fondle Frog’s ears.

“So what do you think?” he asked. “Did I pass?”

“With flying colors!” she assured him. “So, what do you think of your name now?”

“Let’s just say I won’t be asking people to start calling me ‘Angus’ anytime soon! I appreciate the meaning behind it, and I’m glad you encouraged me to learn about it, but I think I still prefer ‘Mac’ if that’s okay with you.”

“I suppose I can live with it,” she replied playfully, leaning in to kiss him, causing Frog to whine as he became squished between his two humans.



















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: 9 October 2019 - 09:56 PM                                    
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QUOTE
She and MacGyver had arrived home from Chicago the night before
I can't speak for everyone, but I need a day to recoup after road trips, so personally I wouldn't be at work quite so soon tongue.gif

QUOTE
She had come into the office to find a stack of files on her desk, all supposedly requiring her immediate attention, but they had to wait until her boss called her into his office to chastise her for taking off on the day the firm landed one of its biggest accounts. How was she to know that would happen?!
It was a family emergency, you ungrateful jerkwad

QUOTE
while he handed her the one containing a turkey club and a bag of chips.
I didn't realize Joanna shared my taste in sandwiches XD

QUOTE
You know, a couple of years ago I would have been so mortified about getting yelled at that I would have run and cried in the ladies room. But now, I just can’t seem to care.
You know, I can actually relate. I was always the sensitive type, but at the same time I hate humanity as a whole, so now I just get all deadpan when they try to make me feel bad about anything XD For example, a customer snapped at me last week for being uncertain and vague about where things were (I haven't figured it all out yet, I'm still new), but he fell back when he saw me shrink back, and then tried to make it up to me by being much more polite and warm. Didn't make me feel better, but instead of having to force niceness while trying not to cry over it, I had to force niceness while trying not to get super curt instead XD

QUOTE

He leaned over and wiped a glob of mayo from her lips with the pad of his thumb before kissing her gently.
Alternate version: He leaned over and wiped a glob of mayo from his lips with her hair.

...

Yeah, I need to go to bed XD (I read it wrong the first time, so that's where that came from XD)

QUOTE

This time it was Michael who spoke up. “We have to write up and give a presentation about our name. You know, its origin, what it means, if we like it or not. That sort of thing. But it’s due this Friday.”

“That sounds doable,” Jo responded confidently.
That actually does sound pretty easy, for an assignment smile.gif

QUOTE

“Man, dig this name!”

“I’d hate to be called that!”

“If I have a girl, I’m naming her this!”

“Okay guys, listen up!” Jo said, her voice an octave lower demanding their attention. “You’re supposed to be looking up your own name. Got it?”
To be fair, at least they're interested, right? XD

QUOTE

His classmates eagerly agreed as Mac’s stomach dropped to his toes. Only his family and a few close friends knew his first name and they rarely, if ever, actually used it since they knew how much he hated it. He was not about to divulge it to a bunch of blabber-mouth teenagers!
I mean, you can look up Mack, or see if a name similar to MacGyver is in there XD

QUOTE

“What about MacGyver?” Sergio asked. “We don’t even know his first name!”

“Mr. Mac has a lot of work to do,” Jo replied, coming to his rescue. “Ms. Cynthia and I will just have to do.”

She glanced up at Mac and surreptitiously pointed her chin in the direction of his office and he took the hint.
Smart girl XD

QUOTE

“Fine,” Jo shrugged. “Have it your way.” She tossed out the trash she had collected, gave him a peck on the cheek and slipped out the door.

A shiver ran down Mac’s spine. That had been too easy.
Yeah, we all know she'll do it if you won't XD XD XD

QUOTE

It was five-year-old MacGyver’s first day of Kindergarten. His mom and dad walked him to his classroom door where he was greeted by his teacher.
Okay, unexpected flashback time! XD

QUOTE
The bell rang and signaled the start of the worst day of MacGyver’s life thus far.
Awww, I know where this is heading :'(

QUOTE
When it was his turn, he stood up and proudly stated, “Name’s MacGyver,” before quickly sitting down again.
I initially read that in his adult voice XD

QUOTE

Mac slowly stood up again, the collar of his brand new shirt suddenly feeling stiff and tight. “Angus,” he muttered softly as the other boys and girls began to giggle and snicker. He felt his cheeks grow warm and he wanted to run out the door, but took his seat instead.
Does the teacher not see how upset he is, or does she just not care? (I mean, she seems nice enough, but I'm bitter about the education system dry.gif )

QUOTE

Mac bolted upright in bed, breathing hard. His hair was damp and sweat trickled down his bare back. Man, he hadn’t had that dream since he was a kid! All this talk about his name had to end.
I don't know if I'm more disgusted that the incident traumatized him enough where it still affects him today, or disappointed that we don't know more of what happened that day...

QUOTE
Sergio was apparently her most challenging student in the club.
Oh, he didn't seem that bad to me XD

QUOTE
He was so engrossed in watching the happy group that he didn’t notice the appearance of a petite, middle-aged woman until he heard Cynthia greet her.

“Hello, I’m looking for Joanna Fairfax,” the woman stated.
Hmm, now what have we here? hmm.bmp

QUOTE

Here he paused and caught her eyes in a gaze that she swore would melt all her internal organs.
I snorted laugh.gif

QUOTE

“My name’s origin is Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is interpreted as ‘one choice’, ‘one strength’, ‘chosen one’, ‘unique strength’, and ‘exceptionally strong’. In Irish myth, my name means ‘god of love and youth and beauty’. My name also represents a Celtic god who helped his people with his wisdom and intelligence. It’s humbling to learn my name is defined by words such as ‘strength’, ‘chosen’, ‘love’, and ‘wisdom’ because I’ve always considered myself a pretty ordinary guy, but maybe my folks knew something I haven’t figured out yet. Or, as Michael would say, ‘I’m a pretty awesome dude!’”
So did you research all these names for this chapter?

QUOTE

“I suppose I can live with it,” she replied playfully, leaning in to kiss him, causing Frog to whine as he became squished between his two humans.
That mental image made me laugh 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: 10 October 2019 - 05:22 AM                                    
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Thanks for the comments, Dragondog!! Yes, Joanna and I both like turkey club sandwiches with chips (just had one the other night!) And yes, I DID research all those names!! I'm gaining so much useless knowledge writing this story!!! LOL!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 10 October 2019 - 08:56 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 10 October 2019 - 08:22 AM)
Thanks for the comments, Dragondog!! Yes, Joanna and I both like turkey club sandwiches with chips (just had one the other night!) And yes, I DID research all those names!! I'm gaining so much useless knowledge writing this story!!! LOL!

Ah, the life of a writer laugh.gif

If, by some twist of fate, we ever meet irl, we should go get turkey clubs 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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uniquelyjas
Posted: 11 October 2019 - 04:59 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 10 October 2019 - 08:56 PM)

If, by some twist of fate, we ever meet irl, we should go get turkey clubs wink.gif

Sounds good to me!!!



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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