Safe House: Graceland Fanfiction

Chapter 26

Mike clutched his phone in his hand as he made it to the top of the stairs. He walked down the hallway on his left and slowly opened the bathroom door.

Paige was in the shower rinsing shampoo out of her hair. She turned slightly, unknowingly making her body visible between the wooden slats that separated the showers from the rest of the space.

Mike couldn't look away, and for a brief moment, he forgot why he had gone into the bathroom in the first place.

"Paige?" he asked loudly, hoping that she would assume he had only just walked in the room.

"Enjoying the show, Mike?"

"Funny," he said sarcastically. "Charlie sent us all a text... apparently Jessie's father just made bail." He hesitated. "He's no longer in custody."

Paige shut off the water and stood in silence. She reached for a towel, wrapped it around herself, and stepped out of the shower.

"Solano needs someone to do the pick-up," she said. Mike could tell she was trying to keep the emotion out of her voice.

"But where would he bring it?" Mike asked her. "We seized the house."

"You think they would use the warehouse where the girls are?" Paige walked over to the sink and started to brush her teeth.

"No way. Solano doesn't know that place exists. That warehouse is all Carlito," he said.

Paige thought about his point as she finished brushing. She put her toothbrush away and turned to face him.

"Unless... Carlito is the only one arranging product transport." She took a step towards him; her mind was racing. "How could the FBI authorize his release? He was still under investigation!"

Mike was getting the impression that Paige was just now realizing how corrupt Sid was, and how it put Jessie in danger.

"Sid must have had them reduce the charges," Mike said quickly. "Maybe Charlie will tell us more when she gets back."

"But Sid is angry with Barone because of the passports and the girls... do you think Sid is going to hurt him?"

"No, Sid's revenge was tipping off the FBI about the house. If he helped with Barone's release, it's because he was told to do so."

Paige was deep in thought, wrestling with different scenarios in her head. "Do you think Sid knows about her? If he has a friend helping him at the bureau, could he know that she's a C.I.? Do you think they're going to take her?" Her voice was cracking.

Mike exhaled loudly and slowly moved towards her. Despite her hair still being wet, he pulled her into a hug.

"She's safe here," he said. "You know that our address isn't listed on any of those documents." He tilted her head up and stared into her glossy eyes before gently kissing her.

"She can't go back into that world," Paige said, shaking her head.

"We'll make sure she gets placed with a good family when this is all over."

He thought that he had said the right thing, but Paige's expression told him otherwise. Her eyes were glaring at him.

"She is not a puppy, Mike!"

She stepped back and Mike crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Paige, we've known her for about thirty hours. What did you think was going to happen after this case ended?!" His tone was slightly more agitated than he had wanted to sound.

She took a deep breath and looked down at her feet. "I don't know, Mike."

She walked past him out of the bathroom and went to go change.

After he heard her door shut, he walked across the loft to his bedroom. He reminded himself that he needed to focus on the buses and the contraband.

For now, Briggs and Johnny figured that they had better not tell Jessie about her father's release.

Johnny had carried Jessie into the kitchen and they were sitting on the bench across from Briggs at the table.

Briggs continued to fill out more C.I. paperwork while Jessie drew a picture. Johnny wasn't quite sure what she was trying to draw yet, but he noticed that she was taking her work seriously.

"Would it be ok if we talked some more about your house?" Briggs asked her.

She nodded, but continued to draw.

"Did your mom live with you?"

"She went away," Jessie mumbled. She switched out the marker for a new color.

"Did you want her to go away?" Briggs asked her gently.

Jessie shook her head. "No," she said sharply.

She slowed down the pace of her coloring. "She was sick."

"So Katia came after she went away?" Johnny asked her.

Jessie nodded.

"Why did Katia come live with you?" Briggs asked her. He tried his best to keep his tone light.

"To watch me and cook and clean," she said matter-of-factly.

"Did Katia like living with you?"

Jessie dropped the marker. "She liked me, but she was scared of them." She curled up into Johnny's side on the bench.

"Did they hurt her?" Briggs asked.

Jessie nodded again. "She cried..." The girl's eyes were getting watery and Briggs sensed that their conversation was ending.

He chose his words carefully. "Did you ever see them hurt her?"

Briggs and Johnny were relieved when she shook her head back and forth. "I hid."

There were footsteps on the stairs and the three of them watched Mike make his way into the kitchen. He treaded slowly when he realized that Briggs was questioning her.

"Besides the man who took Katia away," Briggs said, "did anybody else ever hurt you?"

Jessie held on tighter to Johnny and looked over at Mike. She gasped and slid under the table to hide from them.

Briggs looked at Johnny and Mike with a puzzled expression. What had he done wrong?

"Well, I guess that answers your question, Briggs," Johnny said. He pointed to Mike's hand and Briggs sighed.

"What?" Mike asked, looking down at his own hand. After a few seconds, he realized what Johnny was implying. He was holding his belt. "Did she think that I was going to-?"

Mike put on his belt while Johnny reached under the table. He was coercing Jessie into sitting back on the bench with him.

Jessie let Johnny lift her onto his lap and Mike sat down next to Briggs.

She looked Mike over for a few moments before giving him a piece of paper and a marker.

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