Paige grabbed Mike's hand. "Oh my gosh," she said under her breath. Mike squeezed her hand back, but looked at Briggs as though he thought this was the worst idea in the world.
Paige stood up first, making her way through the living room and over to the foyer. "Hey there," she began, squatting down a few paces away from the girl, "are you hungry? We have some really good breakfast..."
The girl closed her eyes and hid her head from Paige's view by standing behind the FBI A.D., but after a few moments of silence, she slowly nodded her head.
Paige walked up to her and reached out to take her hand, but as soon as she made contact, the girl jumped away and pulled her arms in tightly up to her chest.
Clarke turned his head and gave a bit of an audible sigh. He looked back over at the group. "We haven't been able to get her to eat since we found her. We've only had her in custody for five hours. She hasn't said a word. We don't even have confirmation on a first name."
Now that the girl had let go of him, he walked past Paige, over to Briggs and the others on the couch. He placed the duffel bag down on the floor, hoping that his movement would get the girl to follow him into the house.
Clarke's cell began to ring, and he had a short conversation confirming the placement in temporary custody for the child. His facial expression changed, and after hanging up the phone he apologetically said, "I have to go. I'll send more intel when I can."
But instead of walking back over to the door he came in, he went down the main staircase to the lower level and used the beach exit.
The little girl remained silent by the door, staring blankly into the living room and assessing her new surroundings. Paige could sense that she was trying to fight back tears.
Without missing a beat, Charlie stood up, clapped her hands together and said pretty loudly, "Well, I would just love some pancakes right now. Guys, you in?"
Understanding her intentions, the boys followed her into the kitchen, and Johnny started to make a big bowl of pancake batter.
Paige watched the others walk away and got an encouraging smile from Mike when he realized Paige wasn't going to follow them into the kitchen. Paige didn't want to give up on getting her to join them for pancakes.
She squatted down and sat on her knees. "My name is Paige," she said, realizing that she hadn't introduced herself. "Nobody here is going to hurt you." She spoke slowly with a gentle voice, trying to gauge a reaction. "I know that a lot has happened over the past two days, but I also know that you're hungry..."
Paige glanced over at the others, "Would you like to come eat with me and my friends?"
The girl looked up and shifted her gaze back and forth from Paige to the now-somewhat noisy kitchen. "Come on," Paige said with a smile, holding out her hand. To Paige's disappointment, the girl stepped back again, but continued to eye the kitchen.
"My friends are kind of loud... but we are all here to keep you safe. We work for the good guys." Paige was trying to figure out what she needed to say to gain her trust. The girl looked so fragile and based on her size, Paige suspected that she was malnourished. "What if we ate over here? Can I bring food just for the two of us over here and we can sit by the door?" The girl made eye contact with
Paige and slowly nodded her head. "Good girl," Paige said with a big smile, "I'll be right back."
Paige quickly walked over to the kitchen and told Johnny to make two plates of pancakes. Jakes grabbed the container of juice and filled two glasses. Charlie had found a tray and placed the pancakes she got from Johnny and two forks on it. Paige put the glasses of juice on the tray and carefully walked back over to the foyer.
In an attempt to coax her out of the entranceway, Paige set the tray of food down a few steps away from her. Just as she had hoped, the girl walked up to Paige and sat on the floor. She waited for Paige to take a bite before starting to eat. It saddened Paige to see how quickly she ate, but Paige never let the smile leave her face, wanting to be encouraging.
Briggs had peered out from the kitchen, and when Paige saw what he was holding, she nodded at him. Briggs slowly made his way over to the girls, carrying three dishes of sliced fruit. He sat down facing them and handed Paige a dish. Briggs smiled and reached out to the girl, trying to get her to take one of the plates of fruit from him, but Paige wound up taking it and placing it in front of the girl.
Once again, Paige had to take a bite before the kid would eat it, but within a few seconds, the fruit was gone from the small bowl and the glass of juice in front of her was empty.
"My name is Paul." Briggs spoke slowly and tried to be as friendly as he could.
"We have some more food in the kitchen. Are you still hungry?"
The girl nervously looked up at Paige and then over to Briggs before nodding again. Briggs stood up with the tray and walked into the kitchen. Sensing that the food had sparked a bit of trust, Paige stood up too and took a few steps forward. "Come on," she said with a big smile, "my friend Johnny can make you pancakes in any shape you want." Paige's smile grew when the girl started walking along side of her, and her heart melted when she felt a little hand clutch onto a few of her fingers.
Mike, Charlie, and Jakes were sitting at the table, and Briggs was over by Johnny, requesting more pancakes for their new guest. Paige sat down next to Mike at the table and the girl climbed up next to her, but kept her head down and stared at her lap.
Johnny was excited to see that he had a new pancake fan and yelled out over to the table, "I can do all kinds of shapes and animals! What do you want?"
Feeling pressure to speak, the girl reacted to Johnny's question by leaning in and curling up into Paige. Charlie had noticed that there was a picture of Minnie Mouse on the girl's shirt. "How about a Minnie pancake?" she asked with a smile. Even though she never answered Charlie, she smiled when she saw the perfect Minnie-shaped pancakes on the plate in front of her, along with another glass of juice.
There were only a few bites left on her plate when the girl decided she was finished and curled back into Paige.
Paige sat still, unsure if she should do more to try and comfort the girl. After a few minutes, Jakes nodded to her. "I think she's asleep," he said. Paige looked down at the girl and smiled. She gingerly lifted her from the bench and carried her over to the couch in the living room. Mike met her with a blanket and Paige tucked it around the girl's small frame before walking with Mike back into the kitchen.