Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters that appeared or were mentioned in 1-800 Missing or Missing.
So Now What?
Antonio and Nicole had always had a rocky, weird relationship. The two of them were one of those on and off couples. After being reunited after the phoenix fiasco they got back together, separated, and got back together again. Jess's relationships were a little more solid than her partner's—only a little. She met a man who she thought was "the one". They were a great couple, but it seemed she was more committed to them than he was. He left for an undercover assignment.
Antonio was at his computer—where he could usually be found—when he noticed Nicole in the doorway.
"Hello," he said with a smile. Seeing her brought back memories of the time they had solving their latest case. It was an undercover mission, and they played man and wife—the couple had no trouble with the act. "Do we have a case?"
"No," she smiled back. "I just wanted to see you." She came up behind him, and put her arms around him.
"Last night was great wasn't it?"
"Best undercover mission I ever had." She started massaging his shoulders.
"Maybe tonight we can- damn," he said. His beeper started vibrating. "We have to be in front of the board."
Jess was at her desk finishing the expense report from the case she solved on her own while Nicole and Antonio were undercover across the country. She gave the report one last overview to make sure it was as it should be, and she was done. She had been sick all day, and was feeling worse, so to be done with work for the day seemed like a dream. It was only that—a dream.
"Jess," Nicole called, "Pollock wants us in the bull pen."
Nicole and Antonio went to the board with Jess in tow.
Pollock stood in front of them, and showed a picture of a young girl with brown hair and dark eyes. He opened his mouth to explain the picture when Jess caught his attention. His agent on the far right was pale, and looked ill.
It seemed to get Nicole's attention at about the same time, "are you alright?"
"Yeah," she said to Nicole. "What have we got?" Jess asked Pollock.
"A sick agent. What's wrong with you?"
Jess looked around at the three people glaring at her, "I'm fine."
"If you say so," Pollock complied. "Alright folks, listen up. This is six year old Alexa Geller. She never showed up at school this morning."
"Why are we just hearing about this now?" Nicole asked. "Missing child cases should be given to the FBI as soon as they are reported. Not five hours later."
"Alexa has a habit of skipping school, and hiding in the park by her Virginia home," Pollock said. "When the school called the parents, Julie and Vincent Geller, assumed she was there. Police looked for four hours, and found nothing. Now it's our turn."
Antonio went to the Geller home with the evidence team. Nicole and Jess put a file together, and made the forty-five minute drive to the home.
"And that's where we found him." Nicole told Jess about her and Antonio's undercover case. "In the last place we would have guessed."
Jess nodded despondently through the whole story, and said nothing when Nicole was finished. She looked better, but still visually unwell.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Nicole asked again.
"Yeah, yeah. Sounds like you two had a good solve."
"What was your case?"
"Nothing special. We found who we were looking for."
Nicole pulled into the Gellers' driveway.
"Mr. and Mrs. Geller, I'm special agent Nicole Scott, FBI. This is Jess Mastriani. We have to ask you a few questions."
Nicole and Jess followed Julie and Vincent Geller to the family room.
"And then I fed her and dressed her and I sent her to school," Julie said. Her voice was barely auditable because she was crying.
"And where were you?" Nicole asked Vincent.
"I had already left for work."
"Our supervisor mentioned Alexa skipping school," Jess said.
"She used to. But the last time we put an end to that," Julie said.
"She was punished," Vincent told Jess and Nicole.
"Which I thought was a bit harsh," Julie said. "But she promised she would never do it again."
"How was she punished?" Jess asked either of them.
"Does it matter? She said she wouldn't do it again," Vincent repeated.
"Actually it does. How was she punished?" Nicole asked again.
"I spanked her, alright," Vincent replied defensively.
"With your hand?" Nicole asked offensively.
"Yes. We had nothing to do with this! You need to be out there catching the guy who has her." Julie was still distraught. But at least they were able to understand her at that point.
After they left the home Jess, Nicole, and Antonio went back to the office.
"You think she skipped?" Jess asked Nicole.
"I doubt it. The cops would have found her by now."
"It just seems weird," Jess told her. "What six year old skips school in the first place? When I was six I loved school. I mean really, have you ever heard of a first grader skipping class?" As soon as she finished that sentence Jess's sick feeling became worse.
"She must have had a good reason to not want to go. Let's go find out why." Nicole started to walk to Antonio's office; then realized Jess wasn't by her, "you coming?"
"In a minute," Jess walked in the other direction.
Nicole wanted to follow her. But first she had to tell Antonio about their latest revelation.
"Hey, what's up?" Antonio looked up from his computer.
"With Jess I don't know. With the case we need to find out why Alexa was skipping."
"We should talk to the school. What's wrong with Jess?"
"I'm going to go find out." She handed him the Geller file. "If you could just take over with this until I get to the bottom of that."
Nicole left Antonio's office, and went to find Jess. Jess was in her office with her face in her hands.
"Okay, what's up with you?"
"I must be coming down with something," Jess finally admitted.
Nicole put her hand on Jess's forehead. "You don't feel warm. How do you feel? Headache? Stomachache?"
Jess pushed Nicole's hand away without much force. She didn't appreciate her partner's "mom" act. "I have been sick to my stomach all week."
"Why didn't you go home?" Nicole rolled her eyes at her own statement that she knew the answer to.
"It's usually not all the time; only a couple of times a day. Today it was all day."
"You probably have the flu. Go home. Stay there until you're not sick at all."
"I don't need to leave. I'm already feeling better. Listen, I had a vision."
"Just now. I saw Alexa and a bunch of other children. They were doing jumping jacks. The other kids looked alright, but Alexa was upset. She was crying."
"Where was she? What did it look like?"
"School. I think she was at school."
"I knew the school had something to do with this."
Antonio went to Alexa's school. "I need to talk to you about Alexa Geller," he told the teacher.
"Has something happened to her?"
"She's been kidnapped."
Alexa's teacher gasped, "wha…what happened?"
"That's what I need to find out. What can you tell me about her family?"
"They're wonderful people. If you think they are somehow responsible for this you're wrong."
"Did you ever notice anyone watching Alexa on the playground?"
"I'm a teacher. Don't you think if I saw someone gawking at one of my students I would notify the office?"
"Did anyone other than her mom or dad ever pick her up or drop her off?"
"She walks to and from school everyday."
"What about the skipping school?"
"She did it a few times. But her parents had a long talk with her, and she hasn't done it since."
"When was the last time she skipped?"
"A few weeks ago."
Before he left the school Antonio stopped by the school office to pick up Alexa's school records. He then went back to the office to fill in Jess, Nicole, and Pollock.
"The last time Alexa skipped school was March 3rd. According to this her grades are good. And she doesn't really get into much trouble," Antonio read.
"I can't get passed the school skipping thing," Jess said.
"Yes. We know," Pollock said. "We all know, Agent. A six year old skipping school baffles you. We've established that. Can we move on? Scott, what percentage are the parents suspects in this?"
"About thirty, Sir. We're mainly looking at the school."
"I think those estimates should be higher," Pollock told her. "It seems that Child Welfare paid a visit to the Geller home on March eighth. Alexa's P.E. teacher reported suspicious bruises on Alexa's legs and back on the sixth."
"And it took them two days to look into it?" Nicole asked.
"I guess so," Pollock said.
"We're looking at the parents," Jess stated.
"They are definitely suspects," Nicole said. "Remember what Alexa's parents said about what happened the last time she skipped school? She was punished. And Julie said it was overdone. I think we ought to get the parents in here."
"What about my vision?"
"Well jumping jacks sounds like P.E. The P.E. teacher reported the bruises."
Nicole and Jess waited in their office for the cops to bring Julie and Vincent Geller in. Nicole's mom unexpectedly dropped by, "mom."
"Hey baby, I just stopped by to give you back your house keys." Her mom had watched her home while she was undercover. She handed Nicole the keys, and glanced at Jess. "Wow. You look awful."
"Thank you," Jess said sarcastically.
"Are you sick?"
"Oh no, she's fine; even though she's been miserable all day, and sick all week," Nicole retorted.
"What's wrong with you," Carla asked.
"I don't know," Jess sighed. She was getting sick of being asked that. "It's probably the flu. But I've never had a flu like this before. I'm tired all the time. I can go a few hours feeling fine, and then all of a sudden I'm sick again."
"Mmm, sounds like how I felt when I was pregnant with Nicole."
While Nicole talked with her mom out of the office Jess thought about what she had said. After Carla left Nicole came back to her and Jess's office. Her eyes were closed. She was thinking.
"Are you feeling worse?"
Jess opened her eyes, and looked at Nicole. "Maybe I am pregnant."
"You're not. You worry too much."
"It's been two months, Nicole."
"Jess, how…when did this happen?"
"I guess before Colin left. I can't believe this!"
"Okay…alright, don't panic. We don't know anything for sure yet. We'll get a test, and take it from there."
"Let's solve the case first," Jess said trying to stay focused on finding Alexa. She always put the victim before anything in her personal life; even more so when the victim was a child.
The cops brought Julie and Vincent in, and Jess and Nicole started the questioning.
"This is crap!" Vincent yelled. "Do you really think we would have told you we spanked her if we were trying to hide the fact that we had beat her to death?"
"You're wasting time talking to us. You need to be out there trying to find who did this," Julie said.
"I think we did find who did this," Nicole told her looking at her husband. "Child Welfare found unexplained bruises on your daughter just days after she was "punished."
"Read on, Agent," Vincent said to Nicole. "You'll see they had to drop the charges because there was insufficient evidence. You know why? Because we don't beat up our daughter!"
"Are you willing to take a lie detector test?" Jess asked them.
"Yes!" They both exclaimed.
"They both passed," Antonio told his fellow agents. "There was questionable response to, have you ever abused your daughter, but they didn't kill her, and they don't know who has her."
"Bring in the P.E. teacher," Pollock said.
Jess needed to lie down, so Nicole handled the interview with the P.E. teacher.
"Mr. Bradley Wilson?" Nicole asked unnecessarily. "I'm sure you've been told why you're here. Alexa Geller. You reported her folks on the sixth of last month. Can you tell me why?"
"I saw bruises. All children have bruises from falling off their bikes and stuff. But these weren't like those."
"Bruises from play accidents are usually on the knees or elbows. These were on her back, and they were bad, dark. When I asked her about them she seemed scared."
"Was that the first time she seemed battered?"
"Yes. That was the first time I ever saw anything suspicious."
"That's all we can do today," Pollock said watching from the other side of the mirror. "Everybody meet back here at five."
After they were alone Nicole pulled something out of her locker, and gave it to Jess. "I ran out and got this when you were resting, and I was waiting for them to bring in Bradley Wilson, here."
"What is th-," Jess realized it was a pregnancy test. "Nicole, I don't want to do this now. I thought we were going to worry about this when the case is over."
"How do you know it's not gonna take weeks to solve this? Do you want to know or not?"
Jess took a long sigh. It was apparent her answer was yes.
"How does this work?" Nicole wondered trying to make sense of the ridiculously long and complex instructions. "I think I got it. If this line turns pink it's positive, if it stays blue it's not."
"How long does it take to change? If it does."
"Three minutes. Okay, good luck. I will be waiting right here."
"Maybe it's inaccurate," Jess said in denial.
"No. It's positive, Jess," Nicole told her in an unfortunate tone. "You're pregnant. Are you okay?"
"I don't know," she said without emotion. "I just can't believe this."
"Come on, I'll drive you home."
"No. I'm okay. I need to be alone."
Jess did not sleep at all, and it showed when she strolled in at five.
"Anything new on the Geller girl?" Jess feebly asked Antonio.
"No. Did you sleep on a rock last night?"
"Ha ha," Jess said sarcastically. "I'll be in my office."
"What was that?" he asked Nicole.
"She took a pregnancy test last night. It was positive."
"Whoa! What? I didn't even know she was seeing anyone."
"It's Colin's. I'm going to go see if she's alright."
"Any visions about the case?" Nicole asked Jess, who was deep in thought.
"What are you gonna do?"
"Where have you been? I'm gonna have a baby!"
"No, I mean-"
"I know what you mean. I'm not gonna end the pregnancy. But when my family finds out they're going to kill me. My mom is going to be so disappointed. And my grandparents…they are going to want me to marry Colin, which is never gonna happen."
"They will get over it. They love you, and when they see that baby they will fall in love with her or him."
"I got something," Antonio popped in, to Jess's relief. "Bradley Wilson was fired from an elementary school in California in 99. He worked doing odd jobs until he was hired at Alexa's school."
"Why was he fired?" Nicole questioned.
"It doesn't say."
"How can it not say?"
"Don't question it." Pollock appeared as he always does at the right moment. "Get the school on the phone."
Antonio walked over to Jess's desk, and dialed the California school. He put it on speaker. Once he got a hold of the principal he asked her why Bradley Wilson was fired.
"The parents…and me were uncomfortable with the way he handled the children." The principal told him. "He was warned several times, but eventually we had to let him go."
"How did he handle the children?" Antonio asked.
"It's hard to describe. He always had his hands on them. He was hugging them or…it was just the way he did it. I told you it was hard to explain."
"That's alright. I think I get the idea."
"Get the P.E. teacher back in here, and call Alexa's principal. Find out if there have been any complaints," Pollock told the team.
Antonio talked to Alexa's principal, and Nicole and Jess pressed Bradley Wilson.
"I don't have her," he insisted. "I would never hurt a child."
"Yeah, yeah. You love children. You would never do anything to harm them. I've heard it all before, Mr. Wilson," Jess confronted him. "Now that you've got that out of your system let's talk about what really happened. I don't think Alexa's dead yet. You still have a chance of getting out of prison before you die; if we find her before she does."
Bradley stared Jess right in the eye; for a moment he looked like he was about to confess. But no such luck. "I don't have her."
"Really? Because it makes perfect sense to us that you would take a child you believe is being abused—and probably is."
"Does it? Why?"
"You knew that the Gellers were suspected of abusing their daughter, and that we would look to them first. And you assumed that when Alexa's body was found we would think they did it; which tells me you plan on killing her by beating her to death. You may have already started. She might be bleeding out right now."
"You have no proof."
"Don't you think that a jury is going to wonder how you knew there were bruises on Alexa's back?"
Those words she spoke reached him, "I want a deal."
Nicole looked to Jess to finish what she started.
"Here is you deal Mr. Wilson, if Alexa is breathing when we find her you won't spend the rest of your life in prison."
"She's in my garage. I bruised her some, but she should be fine; unless she hurt herself."
Nicole and Jess rushed to Bradley's home.
"What do you think?" Nicole asked her partner.
"I don't know that was a pretty vague confession."
"Speaking of confessions, that was pretty great questioning."
"Let's just hope Alexa is alive or it means nothing."
"Everything is alright?" Antonio asked them.
"Alexa is going to make a full recovery." Nicole told Antonio and Pollock.
"And Child Welfare is going to reopen the case and see if she really is being abused," Jess added.
"Good work," Pollock said. "You guys are free to go home. See you soon I'm sure."
Pollock didn't know about the baby, so Nicole waited until he had gone before she said anything in reference to it.
"So now what?"
"Now we go home." Jess knew that wasn't the information Nicole was searching for. "I don't want to talk about the baby."
"When are you gonna tell your family?"
"Not now." Jess walked away.
Nicole and Antonio looked on curious and concerned about what the future holds for their friend.