"What did I miss?" Johnny said, trotting back down the stairs to the living room.
"Where did you disappear to?!"
"Researching for tonight, P!" he said to her, taken aback by her concern.
Paige wanted to scream at him, but she kept her voice as calm as she could. She didn't want Jessie to think that she had done something wrong by telling them about the passports.
Paige knew that if she acted anxiously, the girl would mirror her fear, and Paige didn't have time for that.
Mike stepped forward. "We don't have an exact timeline, but within the past forty-eight hours, the cop who has been protecting the Barone house found out about Carlito's trafficked girls..." He glanced over to Paige. "Which was apparently a side job...?" he added.
"Hold up, Mikey. You're telling me that Papa Solano didn't know about the girls?!"
"Nope," Paige said casually. "And he still might not..."
"We have no confirmation on whether the cop will share the intel or try to make this benefit him personally and keep Carlos Solano Sr. on the outside," Mike said quickly.
Johnny nodded, but felt as though he had been smacked in the face.
"So... you want me to find out from Carlito if his dad is going to shut down the warehouse?" Johnny put his hand over his mouth and tugged down on his chin.
Paige cut Johnny off before Mike could respond. "If Jakes and I see a tinkerbell – it's not shut down. Even if they've stopped with the buys, the girls are still being trafficked here. Carlos Solano won't let them go." She could feel herself getting emotional. "He'll kill them! It's not his money he's losing..."
Mike turned to Johnny. "Can you get him to do the pick-up?! We have his normal pick-up guys in custody..."
Mike was figuring out his plan as he gave Johnny the orders. "We will leave the contraband out after we document it. We'll set him up," he said with a glimmer of hope in his voice.
"I can try to get him to go," Johnny said shaking his head, "but he's too smart for that."
Paige moved closer to them. "Do what you need to do, Johnny. Get him there."
They looked over to the kitchen as Briggs put the phone back in his pocket and walked over to them.
"The cop on record for leading the raid is Sid Markham," Briggs said.
"That's our guy," Mike said.
Briggs nodded and then looked over at the dining room table. "Where is she?" he asked them.
Paige, Mike, and Johnny glanced over at him in unison, almost upset that he had changed the subject.
"Charlie went down to HQ with the blood sample and I'm pretty sure she didn't take the kid," Briggs said.
"She's right over –" Mike turned to the dining room table.
Jessie was no longer sitting in the chair.
"Did you see -? How did we miss -?" Paige was looking at Mike, but knew that her questions were rhetorical.
There was a slight moment of hesitation between the four of them.
"Closets," Paige said to them. "Closets and small spaces. They found her hiding in a closet two nights ago."
The four of them split up to search the house. Johnny ran into the kitchen and opened up all of the cabinet doors, calmly talking to the girl as if she was right in front of him.
Mike looked under the couch, remembering where she hid after she had spotted his gun the day before. When he realized that she had chosen a new place to hide, he scrambled around the rest of the living room and the foyer.
Paige and Briggs both headed for the stairs. "I'll take this floor," Briggs said to her. "You go see if she went to her room." Paige didn't respond, but kept climbing the stairs as he suggested.
Briggs slowly walked into Paige's room. He looked under her desk and under the bed, making cautious movements. "Are you in here, kiddo?" he asked gently. He didn't see any sign of Jessie, but he did notice that one of Mike's t-shirts was kicked under the bed-skirt.
He opened Paige's closet door and quickly realized that there was no way someone could hide in it. The pile of shoes was overwhelming, and the amount of clothing and purses stacked up would definitely block someone from getting to the back corner of the tight space.
He moved onto Mike's room. There was so little furniture that there really wasn't anywhere to hide. After checking the closet and the small en suite bathroom, he considered where else he should look.
He opened Johnny's door and instantly heard a small whimper. "Hey there," he said very gently to the open space in front of him. He didn't know where she was, but he knew she was upset.
He quietly walked into the room. "It's Paul," he said, trying not to make any loud or sudden movements as he checked under the bed and the couch in the corner. "Don't be scared." He kept his voice steady and calm.
He opened Johnny's closet and turned on the light. He exhaled and grinned when he saw that she was sitting in the back right corner of the closet, her head leaning up against some of Johnny's sweatshirts.
Briggs squatted down in front of her, but Jessie wouldn't look at him.
"What are you doing?" Briggs found himself asking her.
After a few seconds of no response, he reached out to her and rested his hand on the side of her head. He was surprised when he felt her lean into his palm. She started to cry.
"Shhh," Briggs said, brushing the hair out from in front of her face. "You're ok. You're safe."
She leaned forward slightly and reached her arm behind her, pointing to her back.
"Does your back hurt?" Briggs asked her. He ran his hand through her hair.
She nodded and looked up at him with pleading eyes.
"You know, Paige and Mike and Johnny are looking for you too. Should we go find them?"
Jessie didn't protest when Briggs moved his hands under her arms, which Briggs took as a cue to pick her up and bring her back to Paige.
He carefully lifted her up and Jessie fell softly into his chest. One of her hands grabbed onto his arm; her other hand grasped onto a piece of his shirt.
Mike was on his way up the stairs as Briggs made it back out into the hall. He yelled up to Paige to let her know that Briggs had found her.
Paige was relieved when she saw that Briggs was holding the girl. Jessie looked even tinier in Briggs' arms.
Paige raised her eyebrows at him. "Johnny's room," Briggs said to her quickly.
He walked over to Paige and Mike on the other side of the loft.
"Somebody wants you to know that her back hurts," he said to Mike.
Mike put his hands out, ready to take her from him.
"Do you want Mike to carry you?" Briggs whispered down to her. She shook her head and cuddled harder into his chest.
"I got it, Mike," he said walking past them to the stairs.
Mike and Paige followed him down the steps and Mike got the burn cream and some band-aids, figuring that they would be easier to use.
"Keep her just like that for now," Paige said to them. She helped Mike lift the back of Jessie's shirt up. The girl shivered when she felt the cold air on her back.
Mike took the old patches off to treat the burns and, with some help from Paige, managed to care for the burns on the back of her right shoulder without having to take her shirt off.
Mike pointed out the bruising to Paige.
"Does your side still hurt, Jessie?" she asked her. Paige gently moved her fingertips over the blue and green handprint marks on the girl's ribcage.
Jessie quickly shifted away from her touch, despite being held securely by Briggs, but shook her head no.
"Ok," Paige said with a sigh, "but let us know if it bothers you and we can give you some medicine to help." She lowered the girl's shirt back down and Jessie shook her head back and forth into Briggs' chest again.
"Where's Johnny?" Paige asked, turning to Mike.
"He went down to the beach to check..." he said. "I'll go get him and let him know." He put the burn cream on the counter and headed down the stairs to the beach.
Briggs carried her over to the couch and sat back against the corner cushions to make himself comfortable. He lightly kissed the top of her head and he could feel her start to relax.
"Does your back feel better?" he asked her. She nodded, but still held onto him.
"What made you runaway from us?" he asked her. Paige covered them with the blanket, curious to see if she would continue to give them intel. She couldn't figure out what they had said to make the girl run.
"Sh-she's... sh-she's," Jessie started to stutter. Her little frame was shaking and Briggs did everything he could to hold her tight without hurting her.
"Who, sweetheart?" he asked her.
"Paige said that he'll kill her."
Briggs could see tears now and looked up at Paige. The woman had her hand clasped over her mouth. Her eyes were wide as she racked through her brain to figure out what she had said to scare Jessie.
"Who will kill her?" Briggs asked, unsure if that was the best way to phrase the question.
"Solano will kill her," she said through some cries. "He'll kill Katia."
Paige sunk down onto the couch and wondered how she could have been so stupid to utter those words while Jessie was in the other room.