Safe House: Graceland Fanfiction

Chapter 8

Paige held Jessie close to her. She couldn't believe that the boys brought that box into the kitchen. She looked down at the girl and whispered, "Can you read, Jessie?" She nodded.

"I told you!" Johnny said to the room. "You are the smartest little kid I know!"

He held out his hand for a fist-bump, but Jessie wasn't paying attention.

"Can Johnny get a fist-bump?" Paige whispered to the girl. Jessie slowly turned towards Johnny and cautiously obliged, punching Johnny's hand.

She cracked a small smile when Johnny opened his hand really big and said "explosion" in a funny voice.

Paige had an idea. "Can you write too, smarty pants?" Jessie shrugged her shoulders and then nodded. "Can you write your name for me?" Paige asked.

Everyone in the room watched as Jessie picked the blue marker back up and wrote "J-E-S-S-I-E" in big letters across the page.

"What about your last name?" Paige asked. She didn't expect the girl to be able to do it, but was excited when she wrote "B-A-R-O-N-E" right underneath her first name on the paper.

Paige looked over to Mike. He saw the name she wrote and started to go through the files, looking for anything connected to that surname.

Jessie looked behind her at Paige and put the marker in Paige's hand. "Oh, it's my turn now?" she asked with a small laugh.

Paige took a sheet of paper and used the marker Jessie had given her to write out "Paige" across the top. She was hesitant to write her last name, unsure as to how much the girl was supposed to know about Graceland and who the agents were.

Jessie seemed satisfied with what Paige had written though, and then pointed at Johnny, who promptly wrote out his name and turned the paper around to show the girl.

Charlie brought four glasses of water over to the table and sat down next to Johnny. "I have an idea," Charlie said, passing giving each of them a glass. "How about we play a game?"

Jessie looked up at Paige and then nodded. "How about we all draw our house and our family?" Charlie asked the four of them.

"That's a great idea, Chuck," Johnny said, reaching for a new piece of paper.

Paige got Jessie and herself new paper and she managed to get Jessie off of her lap so that the girl was sitting next to her. Jessie sat up on her knees to get closer to the table.

The four of them began drawing, and even though Paige tried her best to not watch what Jessie was doing, she frequently peeked over at the girl's paper.

"Hey, Briggs, check this out," Mike said, taking out a folder from the box and laying it on the island in the kitchen. Mike knew better than to read what he had found out loud, so he pointed to show Briggs that it was labeled "Joseph Barone".

Jessie started looking around at Johnny, Paige, and Charlie's drawings. She pointed to Johnny's picture and then looked up at him.

"Those are my brothers," he said to her, "and that's my mom."

Jessie looked at the picture some more and pointed again to one person who was drawn towards the top of the page with the clouds. Johnny smiled at her. "That's my brother, Jacinto," he said, "He died when I was young, but he's still my family." She nodded and went back to coloring her picture.

Paige drew a big house with palm trees. In the front were her parents, herself and her younger brother. When Jessie saw that Paige was finished, she took some interest in it, pointing to the drawing of Paige and smiling. "Yep," Paige said, "that's me...and that's my little brother."

Paige slid Jessie's drawing closer to her. The house was two stories, with a small front door and maybe some kind of porch. There were two windows on each side of the door and a few windows on the second floor. Paige also noticed that most of the house was drawn with only a black marker.

"Good job, Jessie," Paige said encouragingly.

Paige pointed to a window on the picture she had drawn of her own old childhood home and said, "That was my room when I was a kid."

She looked over at Jessie's picture. "Can you point to your room?" The girl shook her head back and forth.

"No?" Paige asked. "Was it somewhere else in the house?"

Jessie put her head down on the table, resting her cheek on her forearm.

"That's ok," Paige said, trying to be positive. She reached out and gently rubbed her back. Paige saw that there were three stick-figure people drawn on Jessie's paper. "Is that you?" Paige asked, pointing to the person who was half the height of the other two. Jessie nodded.

Paige saw that one person had long hair, "Is that your mom?" Jessie nodded again.

"I like her pink dress," Charlie said, bringing attention to the fact that the only bright color she used on the whole page was for her mom.

"So, is that your dad?" Johnny asked, carefully pointing to the other person.

"Why is he standing further away?" Paige asked. Jessie shrugged her shoulders and kept her head on the table.

Paige pulled Jessie back up onto her lap and ran her fingers through the girl's hair. "Is the address of this house the one that's written on the box?" Paige asked gently. Paige was excited when Jessie nodded.

"My brother's friends used to come over a lot and they would leave their stuff at my house," Johnny said. Paige wasn't quite sure where he was going with his thought, but she caught on when he continued, asking, "Did your dad's friends leave a lot of their stuff at your house too?"

Jessie stayed close up against Paige, who could feel her tense at Johnny's question. Briggs and Mike were also listening.

Hoping to get some sort of a negative reaction, Briggs walked over to the table and pointed to Jessie's picture. "You know, we can bring you home soon if you want," he said with a friendly tone. Jessie looked up at him with teary eyes. He was hoping she would say something, but to his surprise she picked up her picture, and tore it in half with both hands.

Briggs sat down at the table right across from Jessie and she stared at him. "You never have to go to a place that isn't safe for you, okay?" he said. He pointed to the two halves of her picture, "Did bad guys work at this house?"

She nodded. "Did the bad guys ever hurt you?" he asked. She broke her eye contact with Briggs and dug her face back into Paige, wrapping her arms around the woman's back.

Mike walked over with a different folder. It was filled with photos of people who were arrested at the house and people who the FBI thought were involved with the case. He put his hand on Jessie's shoulder and moved his thumb back and forth to get her attention.

She was still clinging to Paige, but turned her head to look at him. Mike crouched down so that he was eye-level with her, "Do you want to help us catch the bad guys so they can't hurt people anymore?"

After a few seconds, a small smile was plastered on Jessie's face. "Yes," she whispered to him.

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