I don't own The Fosters. (Obviously.)
"Jesus, honestly, it's like you're doing this just to spite me now." Lena groaned at the sight of her son squeezing a generous helping of ketchup onto his fish. "No one puts ketchup on halibut unless they're intentionally trying to give their mother an aneurism."
Jesus reluctantly put the bottle of his precious condiment down. "Ma, how many times do I have to tell you? It's nothing personal. It's just a proven fact that absolutely everything tastes better with ketchup."
Mariana wrinkled her nose, disgusted by her brother's habit of lathering anything and everything in the red sauce. "It's not just with your cooking, believe me. He asked the waiter for it at that really fancy steakhouse we went to before the winter formal," she rolled her eyes.
"The steak needed a little kick. It was very dry. That place was overrated," Jesus commented.
"It was totally embarrassing," Mariana continued, ignoring his irrelevant commentary. "Not to mention the fact that you aimed it, like, right at me and almost spilled it all over my fancy dress," she said, glaring at him, recalling the memory.
"Hey, it was either point it in your direction or Lexi's, and did you really think I was going to risk ruining my date's dress and ending our relationship?" Jesus said with a cheeky smile.
"The way you're talking makes it sound like you want to risk me ending your life," Mariana snapped back.
"Okay, enough," Lena raised her hands in surrender. "I didn't foresee my innocent comment leading to death threats."
"Well we can't predict everything," Stef cast a side-comment at Lena before going to pick up the hot sauce in the middle of the table.
"Are you kidding me right now?" Lena asked, glaring at her wife.
"What?" she asked innocently, unscrewing the bottle. "It compliments the fish. And I wouldn't insult my condiment usage unless you want a full-blown war. You saw what just happened when ketchup was slighted."
"All right, let's change the subject then," Lena said. "Anything new happening? Anyone?"
"Uh, not really," Brandon replied.
Callie shook her head, "can't think of much."
"Well you all are just riveting, aren't you?" Stef asked.
"Um, I got an 85 on my math test," Jude spoke up. "I know it's not an A or anything but I got a sticker so it must be pretty good. For me, at least," he said, trying to suppress his excitement.
"That's pretty good for anyone, babe. I'm proud of you," Stef said, standing to kiss his forehead before bringing her plate to the sink.
"Yeah, good job buddy," Brandon smiled at him while Callie gave him an encouraging knee-knock.
"More than pretty good, even. That's great. Way better than I ever did," Jesus added.
"You can say that again," Mariana snickered, albeit playfully.
"Hey, knock it off, Ms. Thing, unless you want that little shiny piece of metal you're so fond of to be confiscated and become my shiny piece of metal. And yes, that's just a fancy code for 'phone confiscation.'" Stef said, nudging her daughter's arm on the way to the refrigerator.
"Well, with this newfound news I feel like dessert is even more appropriate. Anyone up for a slice of celebratory pie? I slaved over the stove all day in order to treat you all with this," Stef said, removing a pie pan from the fridge.
"That's from the grocery store. And you didn't even buy it," Lena informed her.
"And you don't make pies on the stove. You put them in the oven," Callie said.
"Oh hush, both of you. If I get any more sass, neither of you are getting any," Stef said, pulling the drawer open to retrieve a pie cutter. She held up the blade. "Seriously, don't mess with me. I've killed for less."
Stef's threat was interrupted by the ding of the doorbell.
"I got it," Lena said, setting her napkin down on her plate. "You guys start on the dishes, please," she said, getting up, crossing to the other side of the house to answer the door.
"I thought you said Kelsey wasn't coming over until later," Stef asked.
"I didn't think she was. She said she wasn't coming over until like eight. Said she was going to have dinner with her family before coming and working on costumes," Mariana said, rinsing off her silverware and rolling her eyes. She still wasn't the biggest fan of Kelsey, but she'd have to play nice for a little while longer. Tolerating Kelsey was a small price she was more than willing to pay in order to continue working on the play and spend time with Chase.
"Maybe she wanted to come early and spend a little extra time with yours truly. No one can resist this for long," Jesus added.
"Could you not?" Mariana responded with a fake smile.
Stef let out a heavy sigh. "Could you two please go five seconds without bickering? If this house gets any more chaotic, I'm going to have to give Dr. Phil a ring."
"Hello," Lena said pleasantly, opening the door to reveal the warm California evening air and girl with dirty-blonde hair.
"Hi," an unfamiliar face replied back. She looked to be in her late teens, average height with a tiny nose stud featured on her face.
"Can I help you with something?" Lena asked with a smile. It wasn't uncommon to get kids at their doorstep selling things or asking them to sign petitions. Mission Bay was a relatively small town and a tight community, so going door-to-door was definitely not unheard of.
"Kind of? I mean, maybe. If this is the right house," she said stepping back to seemingly compare the address number on the side of the house to the one on the small slip of crumpled paper she had in her hand.
"Are you one of Mariana's friends?" Lena asked, taking her best guess considering her nose ring and Mariana's recent obsession with body art, much to Stef's and her dismay.
"Oh, uh, no," she shook her head, but offered no further information.
"Jesus? Brandon? Callie? Jude?" she rambled off names of her children, although Jude seemed unlikely, she figured she'd toss it out there. She crinkled her eyebrows, waiting for a response. This girl had an almost embarrassed look about her, and her silence was getting a little odd.
She took a deep breath. "Ah, what the hell, I might as well just say it," she mumbled to herself before looking up at Lena. "Okay, so this may be a complete long shot, but, uh, does a Stefanie Elkin live here?"
Lena was slightly taken aback not only the use of her wife's maiden name, but she couldn't imagine why this girl would be looking for her.
"Actually yes," she said, her tone giving way to her confusion. She saw the girl's grey eyes widen faintly. "Would you like me to get her for you?"
The girl nodded slowly, her heart beating faster now that her information was confirmed. "Yeah, that'd be good," she nodded a bit hesitantly.
"Okay, not a problem. Just one second," she held up a finger before giving her a tiny smile and shutting the door to retrieve Stef.
"Stef, there's someone at the door for you," Lena said, walking into the kitchen. By now most of the dinner plates were in the dishwasher and the pie tin was being opened by an eager Jesus.
"Can't they see I'm about to eat pie?" she asked.
"Stef, the pie can wait," Lena replied.
"I'm coming, I'm coming. Don't you dare eat all that while I'm gone," she said, pointing a serious finger to everyone in the room. "I know where you all sleep."
"Who's at the door?" Stef asked as she made her way to the other room.
"I don't know," Lena said, still distracted by the odd encounter. She'd find out soon enough, she supposed.
"What do you mean you don't know? You opened the door, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but I didn't recognize her. She looks young, too."
"Must be the stripper I hired," Stef said deadpan.
"No, as in our kids' age young," Lena said. "Let's hope she's not a stripper."
Stef glanced out the window and wrinkled an eyebrow. "That's odd. I don't recognize her either."
Lena hesitated. "Do you want me to stay here while you talk to her?"
"No, no, it's probably nothing. Go save me a piece of pie, will you?"
Lena rolled her eyes. "You're worse than Jesus."
"Love you too," Stef smiled as her wife made her way back to the kitchen.
"Hi," Stef said as she opened the door. "Can I help you?"
"Hi. Are you Stefanie Elkin?"
"Yes, that's me," Stef crossed her arms and leaned against the doorframe. "Although I go by Foster now."
"So your name is Foster Elkin?" she asked, confused.
"No my name is Stefanie Foster. Elkin is my maiden name," she replied, her forehead creased.
"Oh, right. Gotcha. Wow. Sorry…" the girl laughed nervously.
"And who might you be?" Stef asked, raising her eyebrow. She was studying this girl carefully, trying to figure out her business here. She sized her up. Lena was right, she did look young. Too young to have a hole through her nose and a small wrist tattoo she could see peeking out from under her sweatshirt sleeve. What was her agenda?
"I'm, uh, I'm Alexandra," she replied shakily, the smile slipping from her face, the nervous laughter gone.
"Look a little old to be a girl scout, Alexandra. Although if you had a box of thin mints handy I can't say I'd hesitate to buy them off of you," she said.
Alexandra laughed, the joke making her slightly less nervous. Stefanie didn't seem to completely hate her. At least not yet.
"Sorry, no thin mints. And believe me, if I had a box they'd be long gone and currently digesting by now."
Stef gave her a small smile, but was too suspicious for it to reach her eyes. "So, Alexandra, why exactly are you here looking for me?"
Alexandra looked down at her hands, clearly uncomfortable. "I, uh, I was wondering if you by chance…" she cleared her throat. "If you by chance are related to or may know a Franklin Elkin?" she asked.
Stef's face darkened and she felt a pang in her chest. It was still a fresh wound for her. Frank had only passed away about a month ago, and the mention of his name was threatening to make her tear up. She put a hand to her chest and cleared her throat, keeping her eyes downcast in order to get control of her emotions. She couldn't cry. Not here, not now.
"Yes," she said quietly, nearly in a whisper. "I did. He was my father," she said, finally looking up to meet Alexandra's eyes.
"Was?" Alexandra asked in a whisper, looking down at the ground in disappointment.
"He passed away about a month ago," Stef nodded, trying to force smile and regain control of herself. She didn't have time to get emotional. She still needed to figure out what this girl's deal was.
"Wow," the girl whispered, blinking back tears herself.
"Why do you ask?" Stef asked dryly. She needed answers, and wished this girl would cut to the chase.
"You said that you were his daughter?" she clarified, still staring at her feet.
"Yes, that's correct," Stef said factually, standing up straighter, crossing her arms more tightly around herself.
Alexandra looked up, her eyes meeting Stef's.
"So am I."
Oh snap. Who saw that coming? Hope you all liked the first chapter of this. Thanks for reading, and please drop a review to tell me what you thought. Feedback would be much, much appreciated!
Big shoutouts to justliziam, obsessedatopia, and mea23 for reading over this and helping me out. They're pretty awesome.