Briggs was the first to leave the house, with Johnny right behind him. They gave Paige an "all-clear" sign and she walked out of the front door with Jessie in her arms; the girl was still crying into Paige's shoulder. Mike followed right behind them, hyper-aware of his surroundings.
"Oh, thank God," Charlie said, running over to them as they made their way across the front lawn. She bear-hugged Briggs and kissed him in relief. "We're not bringing her back to them, are we?" she asked, confused as to where Jessie was going.
"No, love," he said. He kissed her gently. "I'll call the bureau in a few minutes... tell them in it was some kind of emergency cross-conflict. We'll act like Johnny didn't know she would be in the house before he made the deal..."
"I love you, Paul Briggs," she said, running her hand down his arm. Charlie's eye caught Jessie and Paige. Paul watched as Charlie ran over to them. She wrapped her arm around the little girl and cuddled into her, making sure everything was alright.
Briggs got the car started and Johnny opened up the back so that they could store their weapons. Paige noticed that Jessie's cries got softer when she heard the car engine. "We're going, we're going," Paige whispered to her, trying to confirm the girl's suspicions. "Should we go with Briggs or Mike?" Paige asked her, seeing if she would talk.
Paige wasn't the least bit surprised when Jessie didn't answer her, so Paige took her best guess. "Should we go with Mike?" she whispered with a smile. This time, Jessie nodded her head.
Johnny stood in the middle of the road, looking back and forth between the two couples, undecided as to what he should do. Jakes had dropped him off before and he didn't have a car of his own there. Briggs and Charlie were being way too weird and he didn't want to be the third wheel with Mike and Paige either.
Paige noticed his hesitance and whispered to Jessie, "Can we let Johnny come in our car too?" She didn't know what Jessie thought of Johnny at the moment, but she was relieved when Jessie nodded even bigger into her shoulder.
"Johnny!" Paige said over to him, "let's go!"
Mike had put the vest back in Charlie's car (he hated driving in it) but he kept his gun on him. He ran back over to Paige and made sure she was ok before getting into the driver's seat and starting the car. Johnny helped Paige get into the back and he slid in next to her.
Johnny could feel his cell vibrating in his pocket and he saw that it was Charlie. "Hey, everything good?" he asked her, wondering why she was calling him.
"We're going to go back to the foster house. You know, to get her stuff and explain to them..."
"Yeah, ok, Chuck," he said quietly. "Did anyone ever tell them not to file a-?" He stopped himself because he didn't want to use the word "kidnapping" in front of the little girl.
"Hope so," Charlie said, understanding what he meant. "And if the police department doesn't have a missing persons file on record, it's because they're in on it and they're trying to cover it up."
"Oh, yeah," Johnny said. Mike was raising his eyebrows at him through the rearview mirror as they drove back out to the highway. He wondered what their conversation was about. "Ok," Johnny said, "so I'll see you back at the house later?"
He hung up the phone after a few seconds and leaned forward into Mike's ear. "Charlie and Briggs are gonna go get her bag from the house and explain not to put out a missing person's report on her." Mike nodded and kept his eyes out on the road.
"But," Johnny continued, "if they say that they did, you know, call it in, and there isn't any paperwork on it downtown, that means the cops are covering it up. It never happened." Johnny could see Mike squinting his eyes.
"Everything ok?" Paige asked the boys. "Yeah, P," Johnny said, sitting back and leaning into her. He put his hand on the back of Jessie's head and the girl leaned into his touch.
She had calmed down considerably and was starting to take in her surroundings. They hit a small bump in the road and Paige changed her arm placement to get a better grip on the girl, but Jessie instinctively snapped away from the hand that had grabbed at her side.
"You're ok, you're ok," Paige repeated to her, trying to calm her down once more. "It was just a bump. We'll be home soon."
Johnny considered how Jessie had reacted and had a different thought. "Hey there," he said gently, moving Jessie's hair out of her face, "when you were in the car, or in that house where I found you tonight, did somebody hurt you? Does your side hurt?"
Mike's eyes glared to the back of the car through the rearview mirror.
Jessie pushed her face into Paige's neck, hiding from Johnny. Paige tried to lift Jessie's shirt up on the side, but the girl beat her to it and grabbed the fabric, holding the bottom of her shirt down.
Paige could sense how scared she was and figured they would wait a little while longer before causing her any more stress.
Nevertheless, they did their best to discreetly look the girl over during the rest of the ride back to Graceland. "Are you hungry?" Paige asker her. Jessie shook her head slightly.
"No? Really?" Johnny asked, trying to be playful. "I know I'm hungry. If I made myself a snack, would you help me eat it?" he asked her. Jessie nodded into Paige's shoulder. "Oh, ok, good," Johnny said with a smile.
"Should we have some ice cream?" Mike asked them from the front seat.
"With chocolate chips?!" Johnny asked him.
Mike laughed at his remark. "Who is the kid in this car right now?"
"Uhhh, men can like chocolate chips too, Mikey."
"Do you want some ice cream when we get back to the house?" Paige asked Jessie quietly.
Jessie nodded and pulled herself up a little more in Paige's arms.
They drove in silence the rest of the way back to Graceland, and Paige was pretty sure that Jessie had been in and out of a light sleep.
When they pulled into the driveway, Johnny got out of the car and went to unlock the front door.
Mike helped Paige get out of the back seat and wrapped his arms around her so that the little girl was in-between them. Paige closed her eyes and kissed him softly. When Mike pulled away a few seconds later, he noticed a tear on her cheek. "Hey, hey, hey," he said, using his thumb to wipe the tear away, "what's the matter?"
"What if-," she started. "What if they want to take her tomorrow?"
Mike tilted her head up and stared into her eyes. "We will figure this out," he said. "We can go through the DEA; I can get a desk job; maybe they'll just let her stay in protective custody. We can prove it to them that she's safe here."
Paige nodded, but was still doubtful.
"Are you guys coming, or what?" Johnny asked, standing in the doorway. Jessie must have felt the cold on her back when Mike turned away from them because she reached her hand around the back of Paige's neck and held on tightly. Mike ushered them into Graceland.
Johnny turned on some lights and Jessie opened her eyes, wanting to check and make sure that they were indeed back at Graceland.
"Ice cream?" Johnny said to the little girl, tilting his head at her.
Jessie smiled slightly and Paige walked into the kitchen with her. She sat down on the bench at the table and turned Jessie around so that she was facing the table as well.
Mike had gotten some bowls out and scooped ice cream into each of them, but when he got to the fourth, Johnny grabbed the spoon from him. "I want to do it," he whined comically.
Mike was glad to hand over the scooper and Johnny helped himself to another giant serving of ice cream. They carried all the bowls and spoons to the table and sat down to join the girls.
Paige glanced at Johnny's bowl. "No chocolate chips?" she asked him.
He sighed. "We don't have any..." he said grumpily.
Paige had a few bites and was happy to see that Jessie was eating too. Hoping that she was distracted enough, Paige tried to lift up the side of the girl's shirt again.
Jessie squirmed away from her slightly and kept her elbow tucked in to her side. "I won't touch it," Paige said soothingly, "I just want to see."
Paige gently coaxed her into lifting her arm up off of her side so that she could lift up the shirt a bit more. She could see some new bruises along with added coloring to a few of the old ones.
"Mike," Paige said, getting his attention. She made a camera gesture with her hand.
He nodded. "We'll add them to the file. It'll help our case."
Johnny looked back and forth between them. "So, are you guys... going to try and adopt?"
"We won't get approved," Mike explained. "But we're going for guardianship."
Jessie finished the last bite of her ice cream and leaned back into Paige. The woman ran her hand through the girl's hair. "Ready to get some pajamas on? Do you want a bath?"
Jessie shook her head back and forth. "Just pajamas?" Paige asked her. Jessie nodded once and turned to cuddle into Paige more.
Paige stood up and put Jessie on her hip. She walked over to the fridge and took out a pitcher of water, pouring a glass. She helped Jessie take a drink before finishing it off herself. "Ok," she said, bouncing the girl once in her arms, "let's go get some PJs on."
They moved towards the steps, but when Jessie looked up at the dark staircase she panicked and protested. Jessie wouldn't speak, but she shook her head fiercely and tried to break away from Paige's arms.
Paige wasn't expecting her reaction and immediately moved back into the kitchen. "Ummm," she said to the boys, "I don't think we're sleeping upstairs tonight."