I knocked softly while slowly opening the door of Pete's hospital room. I peeked around the door to see Pete's eyes closed as he snored quietly. The monitors were still hooked up to him as a precaution, but he was well on his way back to full health.
I paused, considering coming back later, when Pete's snores suddenly stopped and he peered out one eye. Seeing me at the door, he fully opened his eyes and his features changed to appear wide awake as he sat up and smiled. "Oh, it's you, Mac! Come in, come in! Hurry, before those nurses come back to ask me how I'm doing for thousandth time. I was hoping if I pretended to be asleep they'd leave me alone."
I went in, closing the door behind me and then walked over to the uncomfortable chair that was beside his bed to ease myself down into it. "I'd ask you how you're feeling, but I don't think you'd appreciate it." I smiled as I watched Pete mutter about being babied. It was good to see him back to his normal self, no longer pale and unresponsive. I shook away that image and focused on the Pete in front of me.
"So did Michael finally go home?" I asked. Michael hadn't left his dad's side until he was awaken and stable, and after that he kept coming back for frequent visits. I was pretty sure he has stayed in a five-mile radius of the hospital, only leaving to eat since the cafeteria food was mostly rubber products that were lightly seasoned with what I was pretty sure was plaster dust.
"Only when I signed the restraining order." Pete chuckled and shook his head. "No, he said he some project he had to do, though I think he's really just practicing bowling for our game on Friday."
"When are they letting you out of here?"
"They want to keep me over another night for observation or some such ridiculous excuse to empty my wallet. I don't get it; I told them I feel fine again and again, but they still won't let me go home." He put his hand on his forehead and groaned. "Oh, I can just see all the work on my desk that's going undone, piling up until it's overflowing."
"It won't be that bad. Tucker's done fairly well at taking care of things, not to mention Helen bringing you some things that needed signing."
"Yeah, well, there's only so much you can do from a hospital bed."
I laughed. "I suppose so."
"After I get out of here, I'm going right back to work. Call me whatever you want to, but when I have too much time on my hands I go mad."
"Speak for yourself. I'm ready for a nice, long vacation."
"Say, I hear Australia's nice this time of year."
"MacGyver... Thanks for doing what you did. I know that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
I leaned forward in my chair. "I just did what anyone else would have done."
"No." Pete shook his head, his eyes a little watery as he spoke. "They wouldn't. You would do it for anyone, but not anyone would do what you did."
I smiled. "Thanks, Pete."
He coughed and covered his mouth, looking awkwardly away for a moment. "So, want to come bowling with me and Michael on Friday?"
"Are you kidding, Pete? You know I'm awful at bowling."
He shrugged. "Playing against you is good for my ego."
"Yeah, thanks a lot. I might go, but only as your cheerleader."
"Come on, Mac! We can get one of the lanes with the bumpers!"
"Yeah, but all the people around those lanes are families celebrating parties for eight-year-olds with a group of ten or so kids waiting for their turn to throw the ball."
"When did that make any difference to you?"
I paused, glancing at him as I thought. "You know what? I think I will. Besides, I can play a decent game... with bumpers."
"Good. I look forward to it. Though, this time, don't keep your bowling shoe on with duct tape. Just ask for another shoelace."
"The line was too long and my turn was up next, what did you want me to do?"
"It's called being patient and waiting in line."
"Me, be patient? You were the one who sighed and looked at your watch every time you had to wait for you turn! Besides, I got a high score with my properly secured shoe."
"Sixty-three is your highest score?"
"Hey, I am proud of that score!" I shook my finger teasingly at him.
Pete nodded along, clearly humoring me. "Oh, yeah, sure. A good score. You were so close to beating my 235."
"Ha, ha, ha," I said sarcastically. "Yeah, you may take the bowling trophy, but just wait until we strap on some skates and go play hockey next week, then we'll see."
"Uh, I think I'm busy next week, actually. Lots of meetings."
This time I humored him. "Oh, yeah, sure. Busy. I'm sure it has nothing to do with that fact that the last time we played the score was...oh, what was it now...oh yes, 53...to 1." I raised my eyebrows.
"That one shot was spectacular."
"I was in the bathroom."
"Yeah, and you should have seen me."
I laughed and shook my head. "Pete, you're just an overgrown kid at heart, you know that?"
"Me, overgrown? You're the tall one in the family."
The comment about family struck me, and I found no response ready to come to my lips. It didn't matter anyway, because Pete wasn't finished.
"I think I'm the pet pot-bellied pig."
"Yeah, well, you keep plugging away, Wilbur." I stood slowly. "I've got to get going, I have some stuff I need to do at home, but I just wanted to see how you were doing."
Pete nodded. "Thanks for coming, Mac."
I grinned. "What are friends for?
Hope you enjoyed the story! It was a blast to write and a bit different from what we normally write. Stay tuned for more stories to come!