Johnny knocked on the door of the Solano house. He put his hands in his pockets and looked down at his feet, waiting patiently for someone to answer.
He could see Carlito walking towards him through the glass.
Johnny took a breath and pushed out his chest as Carlito opened the door.
"Johnny," Carlito said with a smile, "I am glad that you have decided to join us." He put his arm out, gesturing for him to step inside the grand foyer.
"It's good to see you too, Carlito," he replied awkwardly. Johnny walked into the living room and Carlito handed him a cigar.
Carlito sat back in an oversized armchair, and Johnny moved to sit across from him on the couch. "Uhh, is it just the two of us?" Johnny asked him.
"Lucia is upstairs," he said. "This is not a conversation for her." He took a slow long drag from the cigar, never losing his eye contact with Johnny. "Some friends will be joining us later tonight."
"Oh, ok," Johnny said. He was trying to keep his composure, but the tension surrounding Carlito's presence in the room was nothing like Johnny had ever experienced before.
He was thinking of what to say, but was saved by Carlito's cell phone.
"Excuse me, Johnny," Carlito said slowly, brushing past him as he stepped into the hallway to answer the call.
Johnny surveyed the room and tried his best to listen in on the conversation.
Carlito came back a few minutes later. Johnny thought that he seemed almost aggravated.
"Everything ok?" Johnny asked him.
"Yes, Johnny," he said clearly. He walked back into the space, but instead of sitting on the armchair, he moved to sit next to Johnny on the couch. "I have a, a friend, who helps me with business. He recently ran into a small problem, but we were able to... sort it out." He crossed his legs and leaned back casually. "But now, he is upset. He went back to his home and his daughter is missing."
Johnny did his best to hide his reaction. "Like she ran away or something?" he asked, trying to get more information from Carlito.
"No. She's small. He believes that the FBI has taken her. I assume he is correct, Johnny."
Johnny nodded and thought about whether or not Barone knowing that the FBI had Jessie would impact the case.
"But, you will meet him tonight." Carlito leaned in and brushed the back of his hand over Johnny's cheek. "He will be joining us at the club for some..." he pulled slightly on Johnny's bottom lip with his thumb, "fun."
Briggs and Paige pulled into the station a few minutes after the bus unloaded.
"Wait here," she said quickly to Briggs. She was already halfway out of the truck when Briggs reached out and grabbed her arm.
"Hey," he said firmly, "Give her the tracker and then come right back here. And then you're calling Warren because my phone's gonna die."
"I'll be right back," she said, ripping her arm away from him. "Watch to see who is coming to transport her. See if you can get a plate number." She stepped away from the truck and then turned. She smiled at him. "And then I'll call Warren."
Briggs watched as Paige ran into the bus station to look for the tinker bell.
Most of the people who were on the bus seemed to have left the station already. Briggs dialed Charlie's number and was relieved when the call went through.
"Hey Charlie... Yeah, Paige is at the next station getting the girl to take the tracker... The one from that op we did last week... She should be coming back out soon... This phone is going to die though and I'm pretty sure Johnny never returned my charger, so call her cell instead, ok?... See you later, Chuck." The phone went dead as he ended the call.
He frantically looked in the glove box for the car charger, but it wasn't there. "Dammit, Johnny!" he yelled, slamming the glove box shut.
He focused his attention on two men who were getting out of a minivan. One was wearing a cowboy hat.
"Come on, Paige," he mumbled to himself.
The men walked into the station. He felt so helpless out in the truck with no way to communicate. They didn't even have a wire on her.
He was not used to feeling removed from being in control.
Another few minutes passed before Briggs saw any movement. He thought he saw Paige coming back out of the station, but it was the tinker- no, it was Paige. She was the one wearing the backpack. She was the one being put into the minivan. She was the one being taken to the warehouse.
Without any time to process what he had just seen, Briggs put his truck in drive and took off after the van, thankful that he still had over half a tank of gas.
Mike and Jakes had their men ready in mechanic uniforms to take the barrels off the bus. There were only four men total. The rest of the FBI team went inside in uniform to keep the actual employees busy.
Jakes shut the garage door and turned to Mike. "This is all you, Warren."
"Ok," Mike said to his guys, "let's do this as quickly and efficiently as possible."
They undid the back hatch of the bus and Mike immediately saw the barrels. They worked together to load them off of the bus and onto a cement dock in the garage. Mike started laughing to himself after the last barrel was exposed.
"What?" Jakes asked him.
"Guess how many there are..."
Jakes just stared at him. "I can see how many there are, Mike."
"Eight. Just like she said..."
"The kid knows her shit."
Mike shook his head and smiled. He turned to speak to the team. "Ok, let's put this back together and get out of here. Jakes is staying on shift until everyone clears out for the day."
Charlie did her best to get work done, but her mind was in another place. Her thoughts were running wild, torn between understanding how she was going to be a new mom, and not being able to assist in the field on this case.
Jessie was rearranging some of her knick-knacks and books on the lower shelves. Charlie kept going through her housemates' plan, making sure that they had thought of everything. She needed them to come home tonight.
She glanced at her cell and thought of a detail that she hadn't confirmed with Clarke.
"I'm going to make a call to my boss, ok?"
Jessie nodded at her and pulled some more books off of the shelf.
Charlie stepped out of the room and dialed. "Hey, it's Charlie DeMarco again. For tonight's op, no one from LAPD is working back up, right?"
"No," Clarke said, "Briggs requested that there be no LAPD officers present at the pick-up." She could hear him flipping through some papers. "There is a detective though, with the LAPD, who is scheduled to help if a team is called to this 'warehouse site' that Agent Briggs mentioned."
Charlie widened her eyes when she realized who the detective was. "No, no, no, no," she said to herself.
"You have to pull him off. We think he's connected to the case."
"How do you know he's connected?"
"Jessie drew a—"
"A crayon doodle is not going to convince me to change my site staff, Agent DeMarco."
"I understand that, but we think he's working with the cartel as protection."
"Until I have more evidence, I can't authorize the change. Call me back if you—"
"Ok, thanks," she said, feeling defeated. "Bye."
She dialed Briggs to let him know that Sid would be making an appearance later, but she was frustrated when he didn't pick up. Remembering what he said about his phone dying, she tried Paige's cell. No answer either. She tried Johnny. She tried Mike. She tried Jakes. Nothing.
She took a breath and thought about what Briggs had said to her. The tracking device would lead her to them.
She had a plan, but she didn't like it at all, and she hoped that Paige would call her back before she had to go through with it.
Charlie went back inside the bedroom and picked Jessie up in her arms. "We have to go upstairs to the phone room for a minute, ok?"
Jessie nodded and laid her head down on Charlie's shoulder as the woman carried her up the stairs.
Charlie smiled when she saw that the paperwork from the previous week's op was still out on the desk. She quickly found the paper with the serial number for the cell phone-tracking device they used and put it in her pocket.
She sat Jessie down on the desk and made herself eye-level with the girl.
"I think that the cop, the one who wears the letters, is going to sneak up on Paul and Paige tonight."
Jessie nodded at her. Her eyes got big.
"I tried to call them to warn them, but Paul's phone isn't working and Paige isn't answering hers either."
She thought really hard about how she wanted to ask the girl what she needed to say.
"I know where Paul and Paige are going, because they are following a girl who is wearing a little computer... and I can put this number," she showed Jessie the paper, "in my phone to see where that computer is."
Jessie looked down at her lap and then back up at Charlie. "We can go," Jessie whispered.
"But, I don't want to take you out of the house, sweetheart."
"We can go."