Safe House: Graceland Fanfiction

Chapter 22

Paige carried Jessie down to the living room. "Did Johnny give you breakfast?" she asked the girl. Jessie nodded.

"Are you still hungry?" Paige asked her. "No," she said softly.

Paige kissed the top of her head and sat on the couch next to Jakes. Jessie stared at him for a few seconds before simply telling him, "I surfed."

"You what?!" he said surprised.

"Johnny stole her this morning and took her out surfing," Paige explained with a bitter tone, "because that wasn't dangerous or anything..."

"How many times do I gotta say it, P?" Johnny yelled walking down the stairs. "It was good therapy. You should be thanking me," he said raising his eyebrows.

Mike ran down the stairs, followed by Charlie.

Briggs pulled up a chair in front of the couch. "I'm a better surfer than Johnny," he said casually to Jessie with a wink. "We'll go again sometime, ok?"

"But do you know who is the worst at surfing?!" Johnny asked her dramatically. Before the girl could respond, he pointed his fingers and threw his arms over towards Mike. "You are never allowed to surf with Mike..."

"Hey!" Mike said pretending to be offended.

"Ok, ok," Briggs said, now that everyone was settled. "We have a big day. Johnny is meeting Carlito downtown later."

Jakes chimed in, "Bus 118 comes in to the shop today around 2, so it should be at the passenger station in Sylmar around 1:30. There might be a tinkerbell on board."

"I already talked to FBI," Mike added, "when the bus gets there, the team will stall and hold the mechanics and the driver inside while we rip apart the bus."

"Who is following the tinkerbell?" Paige asked.

"Chuck, you got work today at the shop?" Briggs asked her.

"Yeah, but not till late tonight."

"Ok, so Jakes and Mike grab contraband at the bus dock; Johnny meets with Carlito; Me and Paige go to Sylmar and follow the tinkerbell," Briggs said.

Jessie tugged on Paige's arm.

"And..." Paige said to Briggs, pointing down to Jessie.

Briggs sighed, "One of us will make it home before Charlie leaves..."

"Can we hang out together today?" Charlie asked Jessie, looking over at the girl in Paige's lap. Jessie smiled at her and nodded.

"Jakes, will my guys have access to the shop equipment to rip the bus apart?" Mike asked him with an authoritative tone.

"Yes sir," he said sarcastically.

"Ok, well the coke is going to be lining the bottom of—"

"No," Jessie said cutting him off. "Just the barrels."

Paige looked down at her, "Have you seen the coke come out of the barrels?"

Jessie nodded. "He brings home eight of them in his truck and then Top helps him get all the bags out."

She had the attention of everyone in the room.

"Your dad?" Briggs asked her.

She nodded. "I'm not allowed to touch it," she added, "but sometimes they put bags in my room..." Her voice got softer as she spoke.

Paige ran her hand up and down the girl's arm. "Were the bags ever ripped open?" she asked.

"Downstairs," she said. She turned around in Paige's lap and gently fell into her. Paige wrapped her arms around Jessie's back.

"Paige," Briggs said calmly, "if she was exposed to.... We have to..." He was holding the blood draw kit.

Paige closed her eyes for a second and nodded. "Hey," she said to Jessie with an upbeat tone, "can you go pick out a book to read from your room and bring it down here?" Jessie nodded and Paige put her down.

"Come on," Johnny said to her, putting his hand out, "let's go find a really good one." Jessie was happy to see that she didn't have to go alone and quickly grabbed Johnny's hand before walking with him upstairs to her room.

"Oh, I have an idea," Charlie said to them heading towards the stairs. "I'll be right back."

"Look," Paige said to Briggs, "I agree that we need to see if she was exposed to coke and I get that the FBI wants genetic conformation, but I will not be responsible for putting another traumatic image in that kid's head."

"What choice do we have?" he said back to her, matching her tone. "You would rather have some stranger do it in an office somewhere?"

"...and she can't go out in public," Jakes added. Briggs and Paige both shot him a look and he put up his hands in surrender. "I'm staying out of this. I'll meet up with you later." He grabbed his keys and headed out the front door.

"Are you even good at this?" Paige asked him.

"More than you know," Mike said under his breath.

"Yes, Paige," he said too harshly, "I happen to have too much experience with finding good veins..." He exhaled and apologized.

"Wait—" Mike said, "Did they find evidence of heroin? Is she going to see a tourniquet and think we're giving her drugs?"

"No," Paige said, "I already thought of that. Top didn't have access to H when I first started buying from him."

Paige's eyes snapped over to the stairs when she heard footsteps, but it was Charlie. "Here," she said, handing Briggs a small bottle with a spray cap on it, "it's called emla. We use it at the tattoo shop when some 'tough guy' wimps out and can't handle the pain. It numbs skin."

Briggs sprayed it once on the back of his hand. "It's cold..." he said to himself. After a few seconds he tapped his finger on top of the spot where he sprayed and nodded. "Thanks, Chuck."

Johnny and Jessie were coming back down the stairs. "I'll explain it," Paige said to Briggs, "but I still refuse to cause more stress. We're stopping if it gets bad."

Briggs nodded, "It won't. You and Mike keep her still and distracted. It will take thirty seconds, max."

There were more footsteps on the stairs and Paige put her arms out to Jessie as Johnny led her back to the living room. The girl ran right over to her with the book.

"Which book did you bring us?" Paige asked her. Jessie held it up and Paige sat on the couch sideways with her back up against the armrest and her legs out straight in front of her. "Ohh, this looks like a really good one."

Paige paused for a second.

"Can Mike and Paul hold your hand and do something tricky with your arm to help you while we read?" Jessie squinted her eyes at Paige and shrugged her shoulders.

"Ok, are you going to read, or should I read?" Paige asked her. "Both," Jessie said with a smile.

Paige lifted Jessie up onto her lap and tried to have her sit back a little, without much success.

She ran her hand through Jessie's hair, partially to comfort her, and partially to get the girl to lean back up against her. When Jessie finally laid her head back on Paige's right shoulder, Briggs came over to them and sat on the coffee table.

Paige managed to get Jessie to put her legs out straight in front of her as she asked her questions about the cover of the book. She discreetly bent her own right leg so that Jessie's feet would fall onto the couch between Paige's knees. The agent then crossed her ankles, making Jessie's legs immobile.

When Paige went to open the book, she snaked her hand under Jessie's right arm and held the book up vertically so that Jessie couldn't see Briggs.

Briggs held the girl's hand gently and Jessie squeezed his fingers, sensing that something was up. Paige could see Mike opening the contents of the box. Paige put on a very animated tone and started to read, asking her questions about the pictures as she read to keep her mind engaged.

When she finished the page, Briggs grabbed the tourniquet. "I'm just going to put a tight bracelet on your arm, ok?"

Paige got Jessie to start reading the next page and Briggs impressively got the tourniquet on with one hand. She started to get fidgety and they could tell that she didn't like it, but she continued to read softly to Paige and held onto Briggs' hand.

Mike moved so that he was standing behind the girls and Jessie arched her head back to look up at him, still wiggling her arm to try and loosen the band. "Can I hear the story too?" he asked her.

She nodded and then went back to finish reading the page. Mike rested his hand on her right shoulder to help keep her arm still.

She heard a wipe pack tear open and shifted on Paige again. Briggs just kept moving his fingers back and forth over her hand. "It's just cold, kiddo."

When Paige turned the page there was a full size picture of a field with about a dozen flowers. "Can you count how many red ones there are?" she asked Jessie. The girl nodded and started to count out loud. She jerked her arm a little when she felt the alcohol wipe and shifted again when she felt the spray.

Briggs moved Mike's hand down so that he was pushing up on her elbow to prevent her from being able to bend her arm. Paige continued to distract her. Now they were adding up how many red and yellow flowers there were together.

She didn't even flinch when Briggs slid the butterfly needle into a vein in the crook of her elbow. "It's magic stuff," Charlie said smiling. With some help from Charlie, Briggs was able to switch out the vials with one hand.

When the second vial was almost full, he reached up and pulled the tourniquet off, passing it back to Charlie.

He put the vial next to the first one and carefully slid the needle out, putting it in the little plastic sharps case that had come in the kit. He put some cotton over the spot on her elbow and slowly bent her arm up. Paige made sure that Jessie's arm stayed tucked up against her chest as they finished the book.

Charlie wrote on the labels that had come in the kit and stuck them on the vials.

Briggs put the contents back in the box and threw the kit out in the garbage.

When Paige finished the book she kissed the top of her head. "You ok?" she asked. Jessie nodded, "Am I in the FBI now?"

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