A/N: Hi there, although there are no reviews yet, there maybe a reader or two, so if there is, howdy there. I'm doing my best at keeping characters in character, so if you are reading this, give me a review and tell me; how's my writing?
Nick and Jasmine finished their meals around the same time, and shortly after they were finished Sheriff Baker rose from his chair and stood, looking out the window. "Now, how about we get those others?" He smiled, turning to Nick as he spoke.
Nick smiled back and nodded. Of course first, they needed to get Vince to spill, and he knew that, he just wondered about the method. What happened next was something he did not expect in the least.
Jasmine smiled mischievously. "Need me to work my magic, Daddy?" She stood, stretching, and cracking her fingers. Had Nick been able to hear it, he would have been quite amused. He was amused by her theatrics, and wondered what this 'magic' she was working entailed. She waited for her father to answer, and when he gave her a nod and evil smile she giggled, a sound as sweet as vanilla ice cream, and led the way back to the tank.
Vince sat in a jail cell, hungry, and not yet ready to spill. He couldn't get the mute man out of his head and how he had been able to tell Baker that he was one of the people who beat him up. He had been in the cell for hours, and wanted food desperately. Vince was not a man used to wanting; he got what he wanted, when he wanted it in some way or another. He looked up as Jasmine, the Sheriff's daughter waltzed into view. He gulped, knowing what was coming.
"Thanks for that chicken, Daddy, it was so delicious. Mamma makes the best home fried chicken in the entire United States." She licked her fingers in a theatrical fashion, knowing what it would do to Vince who they had left to starve most of the day. "And those mashed potatoes and corn Mmmmm mmm." She was a little temptress, and she knew it. She glanced over at Vince, seeing he was ready. That was when her daddy stepped forward.
"You want some food, Vince?" He grinned as Vince nodded several times. "You can get some, if you tell us the names of the other ones who did this to Nick here." John knew he had Vince, he knew it. And very soon after he was done speaking, Vince began to speak as well.
"I'll tell you anything you want to know..." Vince then revealed the names of those with which he was in cahoots. He also spilled the beans about the real leader of the pack, who was exactly who John suspected.
"Very good. I'll go get you some food, and be right back." He led Jasmine and Nick back to the outer office, a big grin on each of their faces. "Jasmine, you also do know how to make 'em squeal, though I'll never know how you know exactly what to do." John smiled, shaking his head. His daughter would make a fine sheriff, but he would never allow that. "You two kids stay here while I get Vince some grits."
"You certainly are one incredible girl." Nick wrote on his pad and passed it to Jasmine. He wished he could talk so he could tell her that in his own voice. Never before had he wanted to hear, and speak so much. He wondered what it was about Jasmine that made him feel that way, to feel those longings.
"Why thank you. Years of practice my friend, years of practice," Jasmine wrote back with a smile. She passed the pad to Nick wondering what his voice would sound like if he could talk.
Nick read her note, and would have laughed were his muteness not in the way. "Just how many years have you been perfecting your art?" He passed her the notebook, still amused that she wrote back even though she could talk; really it endeared her to him.
"Oh, I'd say... about five years." Jasmine passed the notebook back to Nick thinking about the first time her daddy had employed her help in getting a criminal to crack. It had been a B&E case involving Hank Royd, one of the local trouble makers. He was a hard one for her father to crack, but Jasmine had done it with ease, so her father usually employed her help ever since then.
Nick would have written back, but John came in just then. Nick watched as he carried a plate of food back to Vince. When the Sheriff came back he turned to Nick.
"Want to go round up those others?" He smiled as Nick nodded. "Good. Let's get 'em. Jasmine... do you want to come with this time?" He didn't usually take Jasmine out with him to round up wrong-doers, and felt a bit of unease, but she had been begging to go along for a long time, and now that she had two protectors, he thought he might as well invite her out this time.
Jasmine smiled and jumped up out of her seat, blushing as she nearly tipped it over in her excitement. She quickly caught the chair before it could crash to the floor, but it was still quite embarrassing. "Yes, I would love to go." She said calmly.
Nick smiled as Jasmine almost tipped her chair over. He observed she had quick reflexes as she caught the chair just before it fell. He followed Baker out, followed by Jasmine. They went out to the Power Wagon. He was going to climb in the back, but Jasmine beat him to it. He wondered why she went straight to the back, for he didn't think it was just for him. He climbed in the front seat next to John, and buckled his seat belt.
John drove to the place of Mike Childress's employment and rounded him up, putting him in the back of the car, not really worrying about Jasmine, for not only could she hold her own thanks to years of Judo classes, but also because Mike was handcuffed. They then drove to Billy Warner's place, and it seemed just in time for old Bill was packing his stuff in his car, getting ready to run. Baker caught him, and put him in the car too. The back was a bit crowded, so it seemed like a good thing that Ray had turned tail already. John locked Billy and Mike up in the slammer in cells next to Vince's. "How about we go get some supper?" They had had to search a bit for Billy, and they were all getting pretty hungry. Nick and Jasmine agreed to food, and Jasmine had been out all day, so she was ready to go home.
Nick thought that John, and rightly so, was a very kind and generous man. He had helped Nick bring down the men who had mugged him, and mangled his face, and now he was giving him a place to stay. He pulled out the small notebook and pencil and wrote a note to John, passing it over to him as they sat in the car. The note said, "I'm sure sorry it's her brother. How is she taking it?"
John turned to Nick, as usual Jasmine was quiet. "She's bearing up. I guess she's done some crying over him but she knew what he was. And she knows you can't pick your relatives like you do your friends." John led Nick and Jasmine up the porch steps, holding the door open for the other two.
When Nick say Jane Baker, he realized where Jasmine got most of her good looks. Jane was a small, but pretty woman who shook his hand warmly. He felt a bit awkward seeing as he was the man her brother had beaten up. He really was sorry that he had to be related to such a kind looking woman.
Jane shook Nick's hand, hoping she didn't look to disheveled from crying. "I'm pleased to meet you, Nick. And I apologize deeply for your trouble. I feel responsible with one of mine being a part of it and all." She smiled slightly as Nick shook his head and shuffled his feet. He obviously felt a bit awkward. "Ah there you are Jasmine, I should have known you were out with your father."
Jasmine smiled and nodded. "You know me, Momma, a daddy's girl through and through." She giggled lightly, not ashamed to admit she was Daddy's princess.
"I offered him a job around the place," John informed his wife and daughter, "Station's gone right to hell since Bradley moved up to Little Rock. Painting and picking up mostly. He's gonna have to stick around for a while anyway – for the... you know." Now John felt a bit awkward, having to maybe put his wife's brother in jail.
"For the trial." Jane hand fully accepted that Ray might have to go to jail. In fact, she thought he rather deserved it for beating up such a seemingly nice boy. He seemed to be a proper boy at the very least, modest, and knowing his place in someone else's home.
A silence descended, and not a companionable silence, a heavily awkward one that everyone found uncomfortable, but no one wanted to be the first to break it. Nick would have, could he have. After a while the silence was almost painful, and it was a relief when Jane broke it.
"I hope you eat redeye ham, Nick. That's what there is, along with some corn and a big bowl of slaw." Jane was doing her best to force cheerfulness, and she thought she was doing a bang-up job of it too. "My slaw's never been up to what his mother used to make. That's what he says anyway." She smiled at Nick as he rubbed his stomach with a smile of his own.
"Grandma does make good slaw, but Momma you know yours is just as good, and maybe just a smidge better." Jasmine grinned and winked over at Nick, who smiled back. She couldn't wait for more of Momma's homemade cooking. She loved what her mother made, and while her grandmother surpassed her in some ways, Momma's cooking was always the best. Jasmine herself wasn't too shabby of a cook either, for her mother had been teaching her little kitchen secrets.
Dinner was delicious, but desert, strawberry shortcake, was even better. Jane was glad to see that Nick had two helpings of it. But she was a bit worried about her husband. "Your cold sounds worse. You've been taking too much on, John Baker. And you didn't eat enough to keep a fly alive."
John looked down at his plate a bit guilty, then palpated his double chin saying; "I can afford to miss a meal now and then." He knew his wife was worried, but he also knew that it was just a summer cold and would pass quickly. Summer colds always passed quickly.
Nick watched Mr. and Mrs. Baker and wondered exactly how they had managed to make Jasmine. He grinned inwardly and figured they got along well enough, and that it was really none of his business. He did notice a very strong resemblance between Jasmine and her mother, though she seemed to be closer to her father. He wondered why that was, but thought it best to not ask quite yet.
"You're flushed too. You carrying a fever?" Jane couldn't help but worry about John, she loved him dearly, and didn't like when he got sick; though it was a little fun to care for him when he was. She watched John shrug, and her worry increased a tiny little bit.
"Nope... well. Maybe a touch." Baker knew what his wife would say before she said it.
"Well, you're not going out again tonight. That's final." Jane didn't care who was in the prison, her husband's health came before the care of lowly criminals and that was that. She would not take no for an answer, and the woman had a will of steel.
"My dear, I have prisoners. If they don't specially need to be watched they do need to be fed and watered." John knew his arguing would do no good, but he had to try anyway. Though he would be giving in long before he could have, and he knew it.
"Nick and Jasmine can do it. You're going to bed. And don't go on about your insomnia; it won't do you any good." And it wouldn't. It was just an excuse, and Jane Baker did not accept excuses.
"I can't send Nick. He's a deaf-mute. Besides, he ain't a deputy." John didn't seem to hear that Jasmine would go with him. She seemed to like the idea, though he was trying to ignore it.
"Well then, you just deputize him. And besides, Jasmine will go with."
"He ain't a resident!" John still didn't seem to notice that Jasmine's name was mentioned.
"I won't tell if you won't." That was the final word. She stood up and began to clear the table, gesturing for Jasmine to sit down, she'd be going with Nick. "Now you just go on and do it, John."
Nick and Jasmine grinned at each other, both thinking it a bit ironic that Nick was a deputy in a town that he had been a prisoner in not even twenty-four hours before. They got ready to go down to the station together, not needing to say anything.
John Baker had gone upstairs and changed into a bathrobe which made him look big and spooky like a ghost. He was a bit embarrassed to be seen with it on in company, but there was nothing for it. "I never should have let her talk me into this. Wouldn't have done either, if I didn't feel so punk. My chest's all clogged up and I'm as hot as a fire sale to days before Christmas. Weak, too." John didn't think he could stay down stairs much longer. He just needed some rest was all. "I'm stuck between deputies. Bradley Caide and his wife went up to Little Rock after their baby passed away. One of those crib deaths." It had been a very sad thing, and Bradley had all his sympathies. "Awful thing. I don't blame them for going."
"Daddy, we'll be fine. You just go on up to bed." Jasmine gave her father a quick hug. He looked as pale as a ghost, and she didn't like it. He was sicker than he was letting on, that she knew. She was every bit as worried as her mother was.
Nick also gestured that he would be okay after glancing over at Jasmine. She seemed really worried, and it made him worried too. But then as she had said, she was a daddy's girl so maybe she was really worried over nothing.
"Sure, you two will be okay. You just take normal care, you hear? There's a .45 in the drawer of my desk, but don't you be taken it back there. Nor the keys either. Understand?" John was ready to go upstairs and get some rest, but he had to make sure they understood the ground rules and the basics.
"We got it Daddy. I know the rules already." Jasmine gave her father a reassuring smile. "And we know not to go in reach of the cells, and not to believe them if they play sick. We'll call Doc. Soames and he'll come in the morning." She gave her father another hug.
Nick took out his pad and wrote; "I appreciate you trusting me. Thanks for locking them up & thanks for the job." He really was thankful to John and his family. He owed them a lot, and he knew it.
John read the note, and had to ask. "You're a purdee caution, boy. Where you from? How come you're out on your own like this?"
Nick knew someone would ask sooner or later. "That's a long story. I'll write some of it down for you tonight, if you want." Nick held up the pad for John to read, knowing the man had to get to bed.
"You do that. I guess you know I put your name on the wire." He smiled a bit as Nick nodded. The boy was smart, he probably knew that it was standard procedure. "I'll get Jane to call Ma's Truck Stop out by the highway. Those boys will be hollering police brutality if they don't get their supper."
"We'll watch for him Daddy." Jasmine smiled. Her father really was a good man. But she was excited that she would get to learn of Nick's past before her dad could. She had been curious herself, but had been too scared to ask him.
"There's a cot in the corner. You two can take turns watching. It's hard, but it's clean. You just remember to be careful. Call for help if there's trouble."
"We can handle it." He smiled and wrote. He smiled at Jasmine as she gave a firm nod. She seemed to spend a lot of time at the prison so if he had any questions he would ask her without hesitating.
"Yeah, I know. Still I'd get someone from town if I thought any of them would-" John was cut off by his wife who came in at just that moment.
"You still jawing these two? You let them go on, now, before my stupid brother comes along, and breaks them all out." Jane knew to never underestimate Ray. He was stupid, but he had rare moments where he could be quite clever.
"He'll be in Tennessee by now, I guess." Baker laughed sourly. He tried to whistle, but it turned into a heavy coughing fit that made Jane and Jasmine worry all the more.
"I'll bring you some aspirin to cut that fever." Jane went up the stairs, holding on to her husband's arm for his support. She looked back down at Nick and said; "It was a pleasure meeting you, Nick, whatever the circumstances. You be just as careful as he says."
Nick nodded, and thought he saw a gleam of tears in her eyes. He looked over at Jasmine who just shrugged. They then set off for the jail together.