Safe House: Graceland Fanfiction

Chapter 21

Johnny put her down when they got to the sand at the bottom of the steps. He took her hand and walked with her out to the ocean.

"Ok, let's talk about paddling," he said when they got close to the water. He put the board down on the sand and laid down on it on his stomach. "So we ride the board out like this." He circled his arms around as if he was actually paddling to show her how to do it.

"And then we wait for a good wave... and when it comes, we paddle paddle paddle, and then pop-!" He pushed off the board with his hands and popped up to his feet. "Got it?" he said with a big smile.

Jessie shook her head, looking a little intimidated.

He smiled at her. "Ok, you just stay down then. Come on!"

Before she had time to react, he picked her up under one arm and grabbed the board with the other, heading to the ocean. Jessie pulled herself up higher on him when she felt the cold water.

Once he was waist deep, he let go of the board and laid her on her belly towards the nose. "Hold on tight!" he said. He jumped on behind her, his chest pinning her feet down. He tried to get her to help him paddle, but she just held on fiercely to the sides.

The water was pretty calm, but occasionally they paddled over a small wave. Johnny made sound effects each time the water smacked against the nose of the board and prayed that she wouldn't panic if she somehow got knocked off.

When he thought they were out far enough, he stopped paddling and turned them around so that they were facing the beach. "Do you see our house?" he asked her.

She turned her head around to look at him and nodded. Johnny got nervous when he saw that she wasn't smiling.

"This is gonna be so fun," he said. He looked behind him and spotted a good wave.

He started paddling more aggressively than he had done before. "Stay just like that!" he yelled to her as the wave caught them.

Even though it was pretty small, the wave propelled them to the beach at a rapid pace. Just as he was about to pop up, he saw Jessie let go with one hand. He immediately grabbed on to the sides of the board to steady it. She reached behind her with one arm and locked her hand behind his neck.

Johnny pushed his elbows closer together to keep her steady between his arms, and managed to ride the wave all the way in to the shoreline.

He exhaled loudly and looked down at her. She was now lying on her back, her arm still wrapped around his neck. "So?!" Johnny asked smiling.

"Again," she whispered.

He jumped off the board, took her in his arms, and tossed her gently up into the air.

"Is that an order?" he asked playfully.

She nodded and grinned. "Alright," he said, putting her back on the board, "if you insist." He spun the board back around and jumped on it behind her just like he had done before. "But this time, you gotta help me!"

He took her hands and made her start paddling in the water. After a few strokes, he let go of her and paddled harder on his own, happy to see that she continued to help him.

When he was satisfied with how far they'd gone, he got the board to turn around.

He sat up with his feet hanging off into the water. "Do you want to sit up more?" He grabbed her waist and pulled her up off the board. She tucked her knees underneath herself and sat back on her heels, her hands still holding on to the sides.

Johnny saw a good wave coming and managed to paddle out despite Jessie kneeling on the nose. When the wave caught up to them, he popped up onto his feet. "Here we go!" he yelled. He reached down pulled Jessie up so that she was standing. She grabbed onto his hands, holding them tightly to her waist.

As they got closer to the beach, Johnny started to lose his balance and had to jump off. The water was only chest deep on him and he managed to keep Jessie mostly out of the water by holding her up above his head.

After he steadied himself, he sat her on the board. She clapped her hands together and he realized how excited she was. Her laughter was contagious. "You did it!" he said. He tossed her up into the air again and held her in his arms.

Jessie smiled at him, but then looked over to the house. "I want to tell Paige," she said to him softly.

Johnny looked over at Graceland. "Yeah... ok," he said. "She might be a little busy though..." He laughed at his own joke and carried Jessie out of the water and back up to the house.

When they got to the living room, Johnny put her down and leaned the surfboard up against the wall.

She ran ahead of him up the stairs to Paige's room. Afraid that she might walk-in on something, he caught up to her just as she reached the loft and picked her back up.

"Uhhh, Paige might still be asleep," he said. He saw that her door was shut, which wasn't the case when they had left the house earlier that morning. He made sure that he was loud so that if Paige did have company in her bedroom, she would be warned that they were back.

Jessie pointed up at the staircase. "You think she's still upstairs?" he asked her. Jessie nodded at him.

"Ok, let's go check!" Johnny carried Jessie up to her room.

Jessie was a little disappointed to see that her bed was empty. "How about you get dressed and then we can go find Paige," he suggested. He walked with her over to the closet and she picked out a t-shirt and shorts.

He looked around the room for a moment before carrying her over to the dresser. Taking a guess, he opened the top drawer. "So organized, Chuck," he said to himself. Jessie grabbed a pair of underwear from the drawer and Johnny put her down next to the bed.

"Uhh, do you need help?" he asked her. She poked at the foam pieces in the swim top.

"Ok, lift your arms up." He tried to get it off of her without hurting her, but it was definitely a struggle. "We'll get one with a zipper, ok?" She nodded and picked up the t-shirt that she had dropped onto the bed.

"I'll meet you back up here in a few minutes, ok?" She nodded as she put on the dry shirt. He walked out of the room to go get changed, only closing her door halfway.

After getting on the underwear and shorts, she wasn't sure what to do with the wet swimsuit. She peered out into the hall and didn't see anybody, so she carried the wet clothes into the bathroom. She slid the shower door open and dropped them on the floor.

Satisfied with what she had done, she walked over to the staircase and sat on the top step to wait for Johnny.

He ran up the steps a few minutes later and laughed when he saw where she was. He stopped a few steps below her. "Come on," he said, "let's go wake up Paige. She moved to her room when we were at the beach."

Jessie smiled and followed him down the stairs. When they got to Paige's door, Johnny convinced her to knock.

"One minute!" they heard Paige say through the door. Johnny thought he heard another door open, but didn't see anyone else in the hall. After a few seconds, Paige opened the door and Jessie jumped up into her arms.

"Hi!" Paige said, "How was the beach?"

"I surfed," Jessie said to her. Paige could tell how proud she was of herself.

"She did, P!" he said, "She was up on her feet on her second run... very impressive stuff." He put his hand on Jessie's head and messed up the girl's hair. "Wow!" Paige said with a big smile. "You'll have to show me how good you are sometime!"

Johnny tried to take a step into her room to see if there was any sign of Mike. Understanding what he was up to, Paige shifted forward to block him.

She looked down at Jessie. "I'm so glad you had fun, especially since somebody would have been in a lot of trouble if you didn't like it." She kicked Johnny hard in the shin. Despite keeping her tone light in front of Jessie, Johnny knew that Paige was pissed.

"Oww, P!," he said. He rubbed the bottom of his other foot over the spot on his shin where she had kicked him. "We had a good time. Why do you gotta be like that?"

Paige opened her mouth to give him a smart reply, but was interrupted by Briggs. "House meeting in 5!" he yelled from the living room.

Paige shut her door behind her and walked passed Johnny to go downstairs, happy to have an excuse to walk away from the room.

Just as Johnny turned to follow her, he saw Mike walking down the hall between Paige and Charlie's room. "So when did you sneak out of her other door?" Johnny asked him.

Mike responded without missing a beat. "I was going over the case with Charlie. I don't know what you're talking about."

"So, you didn't sneak out through Paige's other door and then hide in the hallway to wait until we left?" Johnny was laughing and shaking his head, knowing very well that he had just described exactly what Mike had done.

"No, Johnny, I didn't," Mike replied harshly.

"Didn't do what?" Charlie asked, walking out of the bathroom further down the hall.

"HA!" Johnny said, throwing his head back. "Come up with a better cover story next time, Mikey!" He slapped Mike on the back before running downstairs.


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