Mike and Paige joined the others at the table in the kitchen and Briggs started to speak in a hushed voice. "Did she say anything to you at all?" he asked Paige. She had brought the duffel bag over to the table and started to go through the contents.
"Nothing," she said, "I got her to nod her head a few times, but that was it. Do you know what kind of conditions she was living in? She's so tiny, her clothes are worn and she definitely hasn't had a bath in a few days."
Briggs looked over to Charlie for a reassuring nod before answering Paige's question. "I was told by the FBI that when the investigators were going through the house for evidence, they found her in a small closet in one of the bedrooms.
They had no idea how long she had been in there and they said they didn't see any kind of child's bedroom in the house. They suspect she's the daughter of one of the guys in the ring."
"Did they do any kind of medical check?" Paige asked him.
"Not as far as I know," Briggs replied with a shrug. He could tell that Mike's head was spinning with an idea.
"So-," Mike began, "wouldn't she know exactly who all these Solano dealers are? Do you think she has intel on the buses? Do you-?"
"Mike," Johnny quickly cut him off, "she won't tell us her name. Do you really think she's gonna tell us all about the people who've been treating her like crap?"
"No, Johnny, not today," Paige said, "but in a few days, if we can gain some trust, she might be the best C.I. we'll have."
Jakes took a breath. "Where are we putting this kid?"
"We're going to turn Lauren's room back into a bedroom up on the third floor next to the phone room," Charlie said. She looked over to Paige and at the same time they both gasped and said, "We need to go shopping!"
Jakes grinned and looked at Paige. "You're not going anywhere, mama bear. What are we supposed to do if she wakes up and you're gone?"
"Johnny, get some paper and a pen," Charlie said, "You and Jakes are going grocery shopping." Johnny wrote down what the girls told him to and went upstairs to get dressed before heading out. Jakes took a bit of convincing, but he left with Johnny to go get groceries for the house.
"Our favorite boss," Briggs said sarcastically, "handed me an envelope with a couple hundred bucks in it for clothes, bedding and whatever else we need to get. Chuck, you want to drive down to the mall with me and we can pick up some stuff?"
"Yeah," she replied, "Let me go and get freshened up first though." Before leaving the kitchen, Charlie turned around and added, "She's pretty much stuck in this house, right? We should probably get some G-rated movies and books, too? Lord knows what shit is saved on that DVR..."
Briggs followed her upstairs, leaving Paige and Mike alone to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen.
Mike was finally able to tell Paige that he didn't appreciate her stealing his sweatshirt out of his room, which she was still wearing. What he didn't tell her though, was that he loved the way she looked in it. Seeing his smile, she playfully kissed him a few times. His hands went to her hips as he continued to kiss her, but she suddenly pulled away.
"What's the matter?" Mike asked with a smile, "You okay?"
Paige's eyes had become watery and she had raised her hand up to cover her mouth. "Do you think they...?" she asked herself quietly.
"Do you think they what, Paige?" Mike asked, placing a hand gently on her shoulder.
"Do you think these guys hurt her? Lil' Top didn't think twice about putting a knife through my hand and we know that they're trafficking..."
Mike pulled Paige into a close hug. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and gently kissed the top of her head. He knew he wasn't very good with little kids, but he found himself confidently telling Paige that everything would be ok.
Another hour went by and the house looked a lot more straightened up. All the dishes were put away and Mike had made his bed with precision. He thought he heard something in the living room and made his way downstairs thinking that maybe someone was getting back from shopping. But as he got closer to the bottom of the staircase, he realized that the sound was whimpering.
He noticed movement on the couch and yelled back up the stairs for Paige. Not getting an answer, he walked quickly over to the girl and realized that she was having a nightmare.
Mike instinctively got down on one knee and reached out to her, gently moving his hand across her forehead. He noticed that her fingers were clenched in a fist and that she was starting to twist her body. Her eyes were scrunched tight and after Mike saw her kick her leg, he knew he needed to wake her up. "Hey there," he started, "you're ok. C'mon, it's just a dream. Wake up for me."
He took hold of her fisted hand and moved his thumb back and forth across the tops of her fingers, repeating short comforting phrases.
It wasn't working.
Mike looked back towards the stairs and yelled for Paige again. When he heard quick footsteps he turned back to the girl.
He immediately let go of the little girl's hand when he saw that her eyes were staring up at him. It was obvious to Mike that she was terrified.
Paige made it over to the couch and sat down next to the girl's head. Seeing her try to move off the couch, Paige gently scooped her up and sat the girl in her lap.
Mike sat on the coffee table and watched as the girl buried her face in Paige's chest. "You're ok," Paige said to her softly. She rubbed circles on the girl's back.
Mike tried to hide his worried expression when he saw that the bottom of the girl's shirt had lifted up a bit, exposing what looked to him like cigarette burns.