Safe House: Graceland Fanfiction

Chapter 39

Paige squeezed Mike's hand while they all continued to talk with Jessie about what was going to happen. Jessie laid back up against Paige, who was running her other hand over the little girl's forehead.

"Mr. Clarke is going to drive with you to a new house," Briggs said to her gently.

"L-like this one?" Jessie whispered.

Briggs chuckled. "Well... probably not as big, but they will be nice there."

"They might have some other kids, too," Johnny added.

"And they'll have a soft bed for you, and books, and good food, and pictures to color..." Paige tried to make the move sound enticing.

"A-and you c-come with m-me?" Jessie stuttered.

Briggs nodded with a small smile. "Not inside with you, but we will be so close the whole time."

Jessie started to get fidgety in Paige's lap. "And then I c-come b-back here?" Her voice was pleading, trying to understand.

All six of the agents held their breath. Paige and Mike shared a glance. Mike could see how broken down Paige was. He would be lying to himself if he didn't admit he felt the same way.

"We will make sure you are safe, ok?" Johnny said to her. "And... if something happens... and you're not safe anymore... that's when we will come play pretend and help you."

Jessie looked over to him and stopped squirming. Paige could tell that Jessie was thinking hard about what they had explained.

"C-can we pr-practice?" she mumbled.

Johnny smiled at her and stood up. "Sure," he said, "who should be the real bad guy?"

Jessie looked at the agents and then slowly pointed at Mike.

"What?!" Mike said playfully. He threw his head back and laughed little at her. "Ok..."

Paige stood Jessie up in front of her. "So if bad guys were in this room right now, where would you go?" Paige already knew how the girl would answer, but watched as Jessie bravely walked over to the coat closet in the foyer and pointed to the door.

Johnny and Mike both stood up and started to walk over to her. "And where would I be?" Mike asked her.

Jessie just pointed to a chair over by the window. "You yell," she said to him.

Mike squinted his eyes at her, but then obeyed and walked to the other side of the room.

"I'm going to pretend that I want to buy some coke, ok?" Johnny reminded her. He felt very strange talking about drugs in front of the kid, but he reminded himself that to Jessie, hearing the word was expected.

Jessie nodded slowly and stepped away from him. She opened the closet door and shut it quietly behind her.

Johnny and Mike looked over to the rest of the agents on the couch. Their faces were priceless.

"Go ahead, dad," Jakes said chuckling. He was still finishing his cereal, but was treating it more like a bag of popcorn as he watched the scene unfold.

"Funny..." Mike said darkly.

Johnny knocked loudly on the wall. "Hey!" he shouted, "it's Johnny! You home?"

"Yeah," Mike yelled back awkwardly. Charlie was snickering at his acting skills. He walked over to Johnny and put his hand out. "Good to see you, man," Mike said.

"Yeah, you too," Johnny replied loudly. "So, uh, ever since that bust, I need to get my hands on some more product. You know of a new hookup?"

"Well, as a matter of fact-"

"Mike! No drug dealer would say 'matter of fact'!" Johnny whacked Mike's arm and shook his head at his housemate.

"You want the coke or not?!" Mike yelled.

"Yeah..." Johnny said. He nodded his head at Mike. "You know I'll move it easy." Johnny looked around the room. "Uh, is anyone else here?"

Mike tilted his head at Johnny. "You sure?" he whispered.

Johnny whispered back at him. "Let's see what she does."

Mike cleared his throat and yelled, "Jessie! Get out here; I want you to meet someone!"

There wasn't any movement from the closet. Mike tried again. "NOW!" He immediately regretted his scream and he couldn't help to look over at Paige, who gave him a very disapproving expression.

But to their surprise, the door handle twisted open and Jessie moved forward to stand in the doorway, staring out at Mike and Johnny. "Come here," Mike said imperatively. She shuffled her feet a little, but stayed back against the door.

"This is my new friend, Johnny," Mike said. "Can you say hello to him?"

Jessie waved at him a little, but kept her eyes on Mike.

"Hey man," Johnny said to Mike, "I didn't know you had a kid here..."

Mike shrugged his shoulders and walked over to the couch to get a pillow. He held the pillow out to Johnny. "Here is the coke you asked for." Mike knew that his phrasing was not even remotely close to how a coke dealer would make a buy, but this was the semi-PG version...

Johnny took the pillow from Mike and tried not to laugh in his face. He shook Mike's hand and said, "Pleasure doing business with you."

Briggs yelled, "FBI! Freeze and put your hands up!"

Johnny dropped the pillow. He and Mike put their hands in the air. Briggs walked over to them and put his hands out in front of him, pretending to hold a gun. He noticed that Jessie was still frozen up against the door. "Hey Jessie," Briggs said out of character, "when the good guys come in the FBI jackets, I want you to sit on the floor in a ball, ok? I'm going to practice again."

Briggs took two steps backwards and then screamed into the room once more. "FBI! Freeze and put your hands up!" Mike and Johnny kept their hands in the air and Jessie dropped down onto the floor. She brought her knees to her chest and covered her ears with her hands. "Perfect," Paige said to her.

Briggs walked over to Mike and pretended to cuff him. Paige walked over to Jessie and squatted down in front of her. "Hi there," Paige said to her, "My name is Paige and I am with the DEA. Here, look at my badge." Jessie picked her head up and looked at Paige's empty hand. "Don't let anyone take you who doesn't show you their badge, ok?" Paige whispered to her. Jessie nodded and put her arms out to the woman. Paige scooped her up and swiftly carried her back over to the couch.

Johnny took a big bow and Mike started to clap his hands together. "Girl," Johnny said beaming, "that was so good!"

Jessie smiled at him a little in Paige's arms.

"If the FBI comes just stay still wherever you are, and we will find you, ok?" Briggs told her. "And even with the nice new family," he added, "...you can't tell them our names..." Briggs was sure that she could rattle off who they all were. And if the foster house was a set-up, he couldn't risk a five-year old burning Graceland.

Jessie reached her arm around to her back and pulled at her shirt. "Mike," Paige said to him, "We should probably-"

He nodded at her. "Let's go put the bag together..."

Briggs looked over at them. "You guys get her packed, and me and Chuck will get some lunch ready."

Jessie clung tightly to Paige as the woman carried her up the steps. Paige did everything in her power to not start crying. She knew this was going to end badly, and she wasn't prepared for their separation yet.

Mike joined them in Jessie's room a few minutes later. Jessie looked up at him and saw that he was carrying the burn cream with some gauze and the roll of tape.

Jessie put her head down on Paige's shoulder, but nodded at him and lifted up the bottom of her shirt. "It's itchy..." she whispered to them.

"That's because it's getting better," Mike explained. "Can I see?"

Jessie nodded and Paige lifted the back of her pajama top up. Paige and Mike had changed into sweats before they had sat down to watch the movie with Jessie earlier that morning, but they had let the girl keep the pajamas on.

Mike had forgotten that he had used bandaids the last time he treated the burns. "I'm going to try my best..." he said. He slowly peeled back one of the sticky tabs and Jessie squirmed away from him. "Ok, ok," Mike said, stopping, "one minute."

He left the room and Paige tried to make light of the anticipation.

"He's pretty crazy, huh?" Paige asked the girl, rocking slowly with her back and forth.

Jessie nodded into her shoulder. "Are you gonna marry him?" she asked in a whisper.

Paige couldn't help the laugh that creeped out her mouth. She didn't know how to answer her. "Do you want us to get married?"

Jessie nodded again. "And then I can live with you?"

Mike came back into the room with a wet washcloth in his hand and Paige just stared into his eyes. "What?" Mike asked her, taken aback by her expression.

"Nothing..."

He walked over to them and tried to remove the bandaids again. This time, he used the water to loosen the adhesive and the bandaids fell right off. He took out his phone and looked at the photos he had taken of her back when she had first arrived at Graceland. He compared the image to Jessie's back now.

"Pretty soon you won't even need the medicine anymore," Mike said to her. "It's getting a lot better."

He used his sleeve to gently pat dry her back and reapplied the burn cream, securing the gauze over the spots with the medical tape.

"W-will the new p-people have it?" Jessie asked them.

"Medicine for your back?" Paige asked her. The girl nodded once.

"We can give it to them," Paige explained.

"We'll put it in your bag, ok?" Mike added.

She seemed satisfied with their answer and she let Paige put her down on the bed.

Mike grabbed the duffel bag. "Do you think we need something bigger?"

"No," Paige said quickly. "I doubt she'll need much..."

Mike didn't retaliate. He knew Paige needed more time to accept that the girl was leaving Graceland.

Paige brought Jessie a new outfit to wear and helped her change, while Mike started adding items from the dresser into the duffel bag. Paige was surprised at how calm Jessie was being.

They added as much clothing as they could, along with some books that Jessie picked out of the shelf. Paige looked over at the bed. "Do you want to take the purple blanket with you?" Paige asked her gently.

"It's yours," Jessie whispered.

"But you can have it," Paige said. Jessie nodded and grabbed it off the bed, holding it close to her.

"Let's leave it in here for now, and we can go get your stuff from the bathroom," Paige suggested.

After the girls left, Mike went into the phone room to grab a small GPS, adding it to the duffel bag.

Paige helped Jessie brush her teeth, and they packed up some of the items that Charlie had bought for her.

Mike carried the bag out into the hall, with the purple blanket folded on top.

"Is it in there?" Paige asked him, walking with Jessie back out into the hallway. She added the toiletry bag to the duffel.

"Yeah," Mike said, "should last for at least 72 hours."

He could see that Paige was starting to lose her composure. Her eye movements were scattered and she was pursing her lips. Mike leaned forward and kissed her, putting his hand gently on the back of her head. "We will figure this out," he said. He kissed her again, closing his eyes and matching his breath to hers.

"I know," she mumbled. Jessie had her arms wrapped around Paige's leg and had been watching them.

"I think she's being stronger than I am," Paige said with an awkward laugh.

Mike smiled at her and moved his hand through her hair.

Their moment together was disrupted by the sound of a car door slamming outside. Mike and Paige both held their breath. The doorbell rang, and within seconds, Jessie started to sob.


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