Paige followed Jessie into the kitchen, carrying her plate and some other items from the table. She smiled as she watched the girl stretch her arms up to place the plate on the counter. Paige put what she was carrying in the sink and then sat Jessie up on the island.
Paige reached behind the girl and stole two cookies from the tray. She handed one to Jessie and they both took a big bite.
"Hey, hey," Johnny said trotting over to them with his own dirty plate, "save some for me." He took a cookie and ate it dramatically, causing Jessie to giggle at him.
Paige noticed that Briggs and Mike were back in a heated discussion as they cleared the table.
Jakes followed behind Charlie into the kitchen. "Just put it all in the sink," she said to them.
Paige looked over to the dining room and saw Mike nod before looking over at her. She could tell that he won whatever debate he had been having with Paul.
"Charlie, do you think we can put the kitchen on hold for a little while?" Mike said for everyone to hear. "Can we have a house meeting?"
No one moved at first, but Charlie picked up the tray of cookies and started walking to the living room, using them as bait to gather everyone together. Johnny followed behind her, and after a minute or so, all of the agents had made it over to the L-shaped couch in the living room. Jessie was situated on Paige's lap, listening intently to the agents' conversation.
Briggs stood in front of the group. "So we only have two weeks to take down..." he glanced at Jessie and then looked at Mike, "you sure?" he asked Mike quietly.
Mike nodded. "She's ok," Mike said. "She'll get it."
"Two weeks to take down Carlito Solano," he continued. Paige could feel Jessie shift when she heard his name, but if anything, her focus on Briggs intensified. "We know that Bus 118 comes into the bay for an extended period and that the contraband is left in barrels until there is a pick-up after hours. We know that the tinker bells come in on 118, but from there we haven't tracked them to a location."
"Do we have the schedule for the next shipment?" Charlie asked, "Can't we just beat the bus to the transfer station and follow the next tinker bell?"
"Yeah we're working on the TAC team for the bus tail," Mike said.
"And Jakes," Briggs said, cutting Mike off and handing Dale a folder, "has an interview tomorrow at the garage to get the schedule."
"Why?" The voice was so little that Briggs barely heard the question.
"Why what, sweetheart?" Paige asked her.
"You're the good guys," she said with her head down. "Stop the bus."
Maybe it was speaking in front of everyone that made her nervous, or maybe it was the way that she challenged Paul's plan, but Jessie turned and laid her head up against Paige's chest, who welcomed the kid with open arms.
"That is a great plan," Paige said to her, "but, if we stop the next bus, we can't catch any bad guys except the bus driver. We need to make the rest of the bad guys do something that will get them in trouble."
"Do you know what 'undercover' is?" Briggs asked her. Jessie slowly looked over at him and shook her head.
"It means that we play pretend and make friends with the bad guys so that we can catch them and get them in trouble. So if Jakes works at the bus garage, he can see who comes to get the barrels and who helps Carlito. That way, we know who to put in jail and we make sure we get everybody."
Jessie nodded at him, but her eyes were pensive. "Are you going to put my dad in jail?"
The words were spoken simply and without too much emotion.
Paige rubbed Jessie's back and held onto her. Briggs was contemplating an answer. "Do you want him to go to jail?" he asked probing.
Jessie thought about it and then shrugged her shoulders. "Is he in jail now?" she asked. Her voice broke a little this time.
"I don't know, kiddo," he said to her, "a lot of the guys who were taken aren't telling the FBI a lot about themselves..."
Jessie put her head back down on Paige's chest and snuggled into the woman's embrace around her.
Sensing that Jessie's anxiety may be limiting the group's conversation, Paige stood up with her, took another cookie off of the plate on the coffee table, and walked into the kitchen. "Come on, let's go clean up dinner for Charlie."
Paige sat Jessie up on the counter next to the sink and handed her a towel. "Can you dry the plates I give you?" she asked. Jessie nodded to her.
Paige turned on the water and started to clean the dishes that had been dumped, in a not-so-organized way, into the sink.
The running water helped to mute the semi-loud conversation that was building in the other room between her housemates.
Jessie dried the bowls, plates, and forks as they were given to her, and she made small piles on the counter to sort the objects.
When Paige was done, she wiped down the counter top and put Jessie on her hip to carry her back into the living room.
It was clear that things had gotten a bit heated, and she hoped that seeing the kid would get them to take it down a notch.
"I need a drink," Johnny said, lounging back on the couch.
"Well 'The Drop' is out of the question," Paige said, bouncing Jessie once in her arms.
Charlie peered out the glass wall at the front of the house. "We're overdue for a bonfire," she suggested.
"It's not even dark out yet, Chuck," Jakes said to her.
"Well some of us have an earlier bedtime," she said back at him.
Jakes put his hands up as if he was surrendering.
"You too D.J.," Briggs said to him. "You need to be that garage by 8."
He sighed, but Briggs could tell that Jakes was pleased with his involvement in the case. "Come on, Johnny," Jakes said rolling his eyes, "let's go start building this fire."
Paige looked down at Jessie. "Do you want to go sit with everyone down by the beach? We have a really nice spot where we can relax."
Jessie looked up at her.
"If you don't want to leave the house, I can stay here with you," Paige added.
Jessie looked at Mike, Briggs, and Charlie.
"Yep," Paige said to her, "everybody will be there to help keep you safe."
Jessie laid her head back down on Paige's chest. "Beach," she said quietly.
Paige smiled, "Ok, let's go get you a sweater to wear."
She kissed the top of Jessie's head and started the climb up to the girl's bedroom.