The sun crept through the window the next morning and Jessie slowly opened her eyes to adjust to the light. She wiggled out from under Paige's arm and let go of Mike, smiling that the two of them had stayed.
She looked out into the hallway. Not seeing anyone, she thought it was safe to go use the bathroom. She was proud of herself for remembering what Paige had said to her yesterday about which one to use.
She crawled off of the bed, careful not to wake them up, and made her way across the hall.
A door shut behind her. There were footsteps.
Startled by the trespasser, she ran to the corner of the loft space and sat up against the wall. She hugged her knees on instinct and kept her head down.
"Oh no, little one. Did I scare you?"
Jessie shifted her eyes up. Johnny was now sitting cross-legged on the floor a few feet away from her. "I had to get a tape out of the phone room," he said to her, pointing to the door behind him, "We all use this room for work. I thought you were still asleep... it's really early." He watched her carefully, trying to read her body language. He could tell she was doing the same thing and trying to read him.
"Did you sleep ok?"
She nodded and slowly started to stand up.
"Oh, did you need to -?" Johnny said smiling. He gestured for her to move into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.
When she opened the bathroom door a few minutes later, Johnny was still out in the hallway, but was peeking his head into her bedroom.
He turned around and smiled at her. "You had a sleepover?" he whispered.
"Shhh," she said putting a finger over her mouth. He put his hands up in surrender.
She walked back over to the sink and put her arms up, hoping that Johnny would understand what she wanted. "I have a better idea," he said. He disappeared from her view. She looked into the hallway and saw him come out of another room with a small wooden box.
He put the box down in front of the sink and she stepped onto it. Johnny watched her as she washed her hands and her face. He went through a small grocery bag on the shelf and found the toothbrush and toothpaste that Charlie and Briggs had bought the day before. He was relieved when she took the items from him and brushed her own teeth.
She stepped off the box, but hesitated before going back into the hall.
"Are you hungry?"
She nodded and grabbed his hand. "We just gotta do one thing..." he said, walking with her into the phone room.
He took a piece of paper and scribbled a few words down quickly. He folded it in half and led Jessie back over to her bedroom. "Go put this on your pillow."
She let go of his hand and carried the note to the bed, carefully crawling in between Mike and Paige. She put the folded paper down and crawled backwards off the bed, running over to Johnny after she had finished the job.
"Good work," he said. He carefully picked her up and made his way down to the kitchen.
Briggs was standing up against the counter with a mug in his hand.
"You doing sunrise yoga again, Briggs?"
"Nahh, just trying to wake myself up," he said. "I leave with Jakes in an hour."
Briggs looked at him suspiciously. "She was already up," Johnny said to him. "I, uh, had to go get something out of the phone room and she was in the hall..."
"Sure you did..."
"I was right though, man," Johnny said smiling. He bounced Jessie up and looked into her eyes. "Did Mike and Paige come help you at the same time last night?" His eyes were narrowed as if he was interrogating her, but he kept a big smile plastered across his face.
She shrugged her shoulders and thought about it for a few moments before nodding her head.
"See?" Johnny said to Briggs, throwing his free hand up. "What did I tell you?"
He sat Jessie up on one of the barstools at the island and grabbed two bowls and a box of cereal. Briggs got some watermelon and juice out of the fridge and helped him set up breakfast for her. Johnny took a bite of cereal and Jessie quickly started eating, spilling some of the cornflakes onto the counter.
"You have any meets today?" Briggs asked him.
"Yeah, but not till tonight. I'm heading back to the club with Carlito. I'm going to see if he knows anything about the next pick-up."
He didn't catch himself in time. Briggs and Johnny whipped their heads over to her when they heard the metal hit the countertop. She had only dropped the spoon, but the look on her face made it seem as though she had done a lot more damage.
"Hey, I'm playing pretend, remember?" Johnny said calmly.
"He's –" she whispered.
"He's what, kiddo?" Briggs said softly.
"He's the boss," she said looking down at her food. She picked the spoon back up and started to eat again.
Johnny and Briggs shared a glance.
"Yeah, we know about him being the boss. Have you ever met him before?" Briggs asked her.
She shook her head. "No, the rat yells about him." She took a big gulp of juice.
"Would it be ok if we talked more about him later?" Briggs asked.
She nodded and put the juice down with two hands.
"Alright, kiddo. I have to go get ready; I'll see you later." He smiled at her and then went back upstairs to finish prepping with Jakes.
Johnny put his cereal bowl in the sink. "So, I was thinking of going surfing this morning." He paused and tilted his head. "Do you want to come with me?"
She shrugged her shoulders and continued to eat.
"Do you even know what I'm talking about?"
She shook her head.
"Ok, let me rephrase," he said. "Do you want to go have some fun at the beach?"
She nodded and smiled at him.
"Ok good, because I picked up something for you yesterday when I was at the pier..."
She followed him with her eyes as he reached into the hall closet and pulled out a shopping bag. He walked over to her and took what looked like a bright green shirt and shorts out of the bag.
"It's a bathing suit, but it's better for surfing," he explained to her. "See? The shorts are longer and it has sleeves... and," he poked at the foam pieces that were sewn into the shirt, "it helps you float."
Seeing that she was done with her breakfast, he lifted her off of the stool and walked her over to the downstairs bathroom. "Can you change in here? I'm going to go put my wetsuit on and grab a board for us."
Before she knew it, he was already halfway up the steps. She didn't like that the shirt was puffy, but she was excited to see the new clothes.
She went into the bathroom and changed out of her pajamas. She managed to get the shorts on, but the top was too tight and it got stuck on her head.
"Let me help you." Johnny was already back and pulled her arm through the sleeve. He stretched the top so that it didn't pull on her bandages as he slid it over her torso.
She took a step back from him when she saw what he was wearing.
"It's called a wetsuit. Do you like it?"
Johnny flexed his arms and Jessie giggled at him. He took the pajamas and laid them on a chair in the hallway.
She nodded and he picked her up with one arm, grabbing his board with the other. He was careful not to smack the wall with the surfboard on his way down the stairs to the beach.
Paige yawned loudly and stretched her hand out. She smiled when her fingers found Mike's bicep.
"Good morning," Mike said. He leaned down and gently kissed the top of her hand.
Still sleepy, she moved over towards him; he rolled onto his side to grab her in an embrace. He slid his arm around her ribcage and put his hand on her chest, pushing her tightly up against him. "Did you sleep well?" he asked, planting small kisses on the back of her neck.
"Hmmm," she hummed. She tilted her head back to give him more access to her neck and the side of her face.
She tried to open her eyes, but squinted at the brightness of the room. "You need new curtains..." she whispered.
Mike froze. As if on cue, they both shot up and stared at one another. "She's gone," Paige said, realizing where they were.
She jumped out of bed and frantically looked out into the hallway.
"Paige, look!" Mike was holding a folded piece of paper. Paige turned around and watched him open it. He took a breath and looked up at her. "Johnny took her to the beach."
Paige narrowed her eyes. "I'm going to kill him."
Instead of matching her tone, Mike smiled and casually got out of the bed.
He walked over to her and gently slid his hands over her hips. "You could go down to the beach and bring her back." He trailed kisses down the side of her face and moved his thumbs in little circles. "Or... we can make the most of this morning off together..."
She placed her hand on his abdomen and playfully trailed her fingers down.
He pushed his pelvis forward against her hand.
"Not in here," she said, raising her eyebrows at him.
She pulled away from him with a smirk on her face and ran down the stairs. He chased after her and made sure that no one was around before following her into her bedroom and shutting the door behind him.