"Bathroom," Jessie whispered in Paige's ear as they climbed the steps.
Paige moved a little bit faster. "Ok, I'm going to show you the bathroom by your room," she said.
Paige made it up to the third floor and put Jessie down in front of the bathroom. She opened the door and Jessie trotted over to the toilet.
"Ok, so this is the bathroom you're going to use because the one downstairs is a little crowded." Paige wrinkled her face, "...And the boys use it," she said rolling her eyes. Jessie giggled at her remark. "We can leave the light on at night so that you can find it when it's dark, ok?"
Jessie made her way over to the sink and tried to wash her hands. Seeing her struggle to reach the faucet, Paige made a mental note to find a foot-stool later and lifted Jessie up so she could wash her hands.
"Who taught you to wash your hands?" Paige asked noticing how particular she was. Jessie didn't respond.
"Did Katia make you wash your hands?" Jessie nodded and held onto Paige as she carried her out of the bathroom. Paige hadn't thought about it earlier, but it seemed strange that Jessie showed up hungry and dirty, but still knew to wash.
Paige walked over to Jessie's closet and was happy to see a zip-up hoodie hanging there. "Perfect," she said to herself as she took it and walked over to the bed. She put Jessie down and helped the girl slide her arms through the sleeves.
It was little bit big on her, but Paige could tell she liked wearing the sweatshirt. Paige scooped Jessie back up in her arms and went to her own bedroom.
She deposited Jessie onto the bed and got a sweater for herself out of her dresser. Jessie pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.
Paige put her hair back in a bun and reached in her closet for a pair of flip-flops. Jessie's eyes were glued to her movement around the room.
When Paige turned around towards Jessie, she noticed that the girl's tone had changed. She was deep in thought and was carrying a worried expression on her face.
"Ready?" Paige said with a big smile, trying to get her to relax. Jessie didn't look at her.
Paige sat down next to her on the bed and wrapped her arm around the girl, pulling her close. "What are you thinking about?" Paige asked her, running her hand up and down the girl's arm. Jessie looked up at Paige; her eyes were glossy.
Paige sighed and kissed the top of her head. "I know everything's really confusing right now," Paige said calmly, "but it's going to be alright." She let a few seconds pass. "Come on, let's go outside and listen to the ocean."
She stood up and put her hands out to Jessie, ready to pick her back up, but Jessie didn't move. Trying a different tactic, Paige squatted down in front of her and looked into her eyes. "Do you want to just stay here and not go outside?" Paige asked quietly.
Jessie shook her head. "I don't like night time," she whispered.
Paige looked to the window; it was getting dark pretty quickly.
Paige took a breath and smiled at her. "Well that's really good then, because this fire is going to be really bright!" Paige threw her hands forward and lightly tickled her. Jessie fell back onto the bed, and after a few seconds, she gave such a belly laugh that Paige couldn't help but laugh too.
"Let's go see everybody." Paige picked her up and headed downstairs. Jessie held on tightly as they made their descent.
Mike was in the kitchen holding a grocery bag. "Briggs and Charlie went to get some six-packs. They said they'd meet us down there."
Paige grabbed two water bottles out of the fridge with one hand, and Mike added them to the bag.
"We never got to talk about this afternoon," Paige said to him. Jessie yawned and buried her face in Paige's neck.
"About the case?" Mike asked her, trying to think of what she meant.
"You know what you did," she said smiling. Paige glanced down at Jessie and then looked back up at Mike. She took a step closer to him and planted a long kiss on his lips. She pulled away after a few seconds and looked up at him, "Thank you for stepping up." Mike smiled at her and gestured for them to make their way outside.
They walked down to the beach together and saw that Briggs and Charlie had beaten them there.
Jessie picked her head up to stare at the bonfire. "Pretty cool, huh?" Johnny said to her. Paige sat on one of the long flat rocks and turned Jessie around in her lap so that the girl could see everyone.
Briggs and Charlie were sitting next to one another in the sand, leaning up against the rock across from Paige.
Mike sat down beside Paige. She reached into the grocery bag he had and grabbed a water bottle. "What else is in there?" she asked Mike. Her hand felt something squishy in the bag. She opened the water and handed it to Jessie. Paige was happy to see the girl sipping the drink.
Johnny interrupted Mike before he could respond, "Dude, did you bring the 'mallows?"
"Right here, John," he said, tossing him the bag.
"I'm gonna take a guess," Johnny said over to Jessie, "and say that you've probably never roasted a marshmallow before..." His tone of voice was almost comical.
"Do you know what that is?" Paige asked her. Jessie didn't respond.
"Ok, watch," Johnny said picking up a skewer. "You put a marshmallow on the end and you hold it over the fire." He was making a show of a very simple concept, but Jessie watched him carefully.
After rotating the marshmallow a few times over the flame, Johnny slid it off of the skewer and popped it into his mouth. "Delicious," he said throwing his head back. "You want one?" he asked her. Jessie shifted a little in Paige's lap.
"I know you want one..." Johnny said, "come on." He waved her over with his hand and Paige was almost shocked to see Jessie slowly try to slide off of her lap.
Johnny met her halfway and took her hand. "Anybody else?" Johnny asked looking around the circle. "Make me one, J.T.," Briggs said, raising his hand up.
Johnny grabbed another skewer off the ground and put a marshmallow on each of them. He handed one of them to Jessie, but when she took it from him, the marshmallow weighed down into the fire.
"Woah, woah, I got it." It was Jakes. He quickly kneeled behind Jessie so that he was almost down to her height and helped her hold the skewer in her hands, raising the marshmallow out of the flame.
"Good save, Jakes," Paige said laughing. Despite Jakes' help, Jessie looked very focused and mimicked what Johnny did.
"Ready?" Johnny asked her. She nodded and Jakes helped her take the marshmallow off the skewer so that she wouldn't burn herself. Jessie looked at Jakes with a puzzled expression, and Paige wondered whether or not Jessie realized that it was Jakes who had been helping her.
Jessie took the marshmallow from him and ate it in one bite, just like Johnny had done.
"Good?" Jakes asked her, still kneeling in front of her. She smiled at him.
"Should we make one for Paige?" he asked her. Jessie nodded yes and let Jakes help her roast another marshmallow. When it was done, Jakes helped her carry the skewer over to Paige and Mike. "Yep, hold it up straight," he said, "don't hit anybody... perfect."
"For me?!" Paige asked her. Jessie nodded with delight.
"Oh, why thank you!" Paige tossed it a few inches into the air and caught it in her mouth. Jessie giggled at her. "Do I get one?" Mike asked. Jessie looked up at Jakes. "Ok, you heard the man; let's go get one for Mike."
After Jessie walked away from them, Paige leaned her head up against Mike's shoulder. "Tonight's going to be an adventure," she said to him, "don't expect to sleep."
"Normally I would be very excited to hear you say those words to me..." Mike said with a grin. Paige swatted at him with her hand.
Mike pulled away from her, but then leaned in to her ear. "At least we have a pretty good excuse for staying in the same bed," he whispered.
Paige looked over to Jessie, who was now getting help from Johnny. Paige couldn't hear what Johnny was saying to the girl, but there was a big smile on her face.
"Oh, I don't know," Paige said playfully to Mike.
"Oh come on," Mike said, "Even I know there's no way she's sleeping by herself tonight."
"Yeah," Paige said, "I figure I'll be up in her bed for a good chunk of the night... but if she wants a bodyguard... she might choose Johnny."
Mike looked at her as if she had just put a dagger through his heart. He gasped loudly.
"Never," he whispered.