Jessie tried to scream, but the man held her close to his chest and immediately ran off the front porch.
Mike and Paige watched as Jessie tried to kick him, but he restrained her with ease and opened the car door.
Paige was furious at the way he threw Jessie into the back seat, slamming the door in the little girl's face. Mike's hand was still holding Paige's wrist; he started the car with his free hand, nervously waiting to begin the tail.
Mr. Henderson, hearing the car door, ran out into the front yard, but it was too late. Jessie was up on her knees in the back seat of the car, her hands banging on the window. The tears fell freely down her face as the car sped backwards out of the driveway.
Mike and Paige could see that Mr. Henderson was yelling something as he ran to the bottom of the driveway to chase the car.
His efforts had no effect on the kidnapping.
"Drive!" Paige screamed, shaking Mike's hand off of her wrist. Mike sped down the street after the car, keeping a safe distance so the driver wouldn't be suspicious.
"Call Briggs," Mike said to her, not taking his eyes off of the car in front of him.
Paige reached for her cell and dialed the number. "Briggs!"
"What happened, kiddo?"
"They got her."
"We don't know..." Paige's voice cracked into the phone. She gasped as Mike took a sharp turn onto the highway.
"Are you still at the house?"
"No. Someone pretending to be FBI came. He kidnapped her. She's in the back of a car. W-we're tailing it." Paige could barely get the words out clearly as she explained the situation to Paul.
"Ok, Paige, ok," he said soothingly into the phone. "We'll get her."
Paige took a breath and tried to pull herself together. "Can Johnny set up the meet tonight?"
Mike snapped his head at her. "We don't even know if she'll be with him tonight!"
Paige swatted at his thigh and shook her head at him.
"I'll talk to Johnny," Briggs said. "We'll get the pick-up arranged soon."
"No back-up," Paige said sternly. "Just us."
She could hear Briggs' hesitance in the silence.
"We'll talk more about it once we've set up the meet. Do you think he's leading you right to Barone?"
"Where else would he take her?" Paige asked, her voice sounding defeated.
"I don't know," he replied curtly.
Paige watched as the car maneuvered carelessly through different lanes. Mike skillfully kept up the chase.
"I'll call you back when we get to the house," Paige told Briggs.
Paige and Briggs said their goodbyes before they ended the call.
Mike and Paige drove in silence for the next ten minutes on the highway. Paige's occasional sniffles were the only sounds to break the tension.
Paige gasped when she saw the car swerve over to the right-hand lane. Mike checked behind him to make sure he could follow suit and swerve as well. He took the same exit as the car.
"She didn't have her bag, right?" Mike asked.
"No..." Paige sat up tall in her seat, trying to spot Jessie in the backseat of the car up ahead.
"We lost the GPS."
"We're not leaving her." Her phrasing was robotic, but not in the least bit surprising to Mike.
"I didn't mean that..." he said. "I just, thought it would have been helpful."
"Is that what you've been thinking about? You're not usually this quiet." Paige broke her eye-contact with the car to look over at him.
"Yeah, well, that, and how I'm going to make my case for guardianship." The light turned green and he sped off after Jessie onto the main road.
"Yeah," he began, "well, you said yourself adoption won't work. We won't get approved as fosters so... we can use the case against Barone to apply to be legal guardians." His voice was almost too casual.
"Just like that?"
"I don't know." He grinned with a hint of mischief in his eyes. "I've never tried it before," he said.
Paige was already on her phone, Googling the differences between the legal jargon. "This," she said, scrolling through the wikipedia article. "This could work."
They turned down a side street. The change in the architecture and style of the buildings was apparent. They had definitely gone to a worse side of town.
"Do you think he's renting a new house?"
"I would say renting is probably a strong word to use," Mike replied. "If the address has any criminal activity connections it will only help our case."
"She must be so scared."
The car slowed down and pulled onto a small driveway with large cement cracks and overgrown weeds. Mike and Paige took note of the house, but kept driving past it to not catch the driver's attention.
"Hurry," Paige said to him as he drove around the block. "I want to see her."
"I don't know if that's such a good-"
Mike drove around the block and parked a few houses away on the opposite side of the street.
Paige reached out her hand and grasped his thigh when she saw the two men. One was bent down into the backseat of the car; the other stood a few feet away with his arms crossed over his chest.
Mike took Paige's hand in his and described the scene into his voice recorder.
He cut himself off when he saw the man forcefully pull Jessie out from under the back seat of the car. He wanted to look away so badly; he could feel fire rising in his throat as he watched, but something prevented him from being able to shift his eyes from the scene.
He held onto Paige, watching Jessie struggle against the man. When the little girl saw the second man though, she silenced her scream and stilled her body. She was placed on her feet and she obediently walked like a zombie over to him.
Mike couldn't have been sure, but he wondered if the little girl had spotted Paige and himself in the car. He doubted that that had been the case. He held onto the thought with hope though, because the only alternative reason to her surrender, was defeat. Defeat and fear.
The man picked her up and kissed her forehead. As Jessie's tears dried, Paige's began to fall.
"We'll get Johnny and Briggs here," Mike repeated to her. He kissed her gently and wrapped his arm around her in the car. "Tonight."