Lena walked out to the main part of the school office to use the PA system. "Excuse me teachers, I need all of the Adams Foster children dismissed to the office. Thank you."

XXXXXX

Callie heard the announcement and slouched down in her seat. This was the third time this week that Lena had called for all of them over the loud speaker. It was becoming rather embarrassing how needy she had become.

"Hey, Foster, isn't that your mom calling for you?" A boy behind her teased.

Callie ducked down a little more. "She'll get over it… There are a lot of us, maybe she won't even notice that I am missing. I will ask the others later what this impromptu meeting was all about."

Since Callie's last name had just recently become Foster, she figured that her teacher may not notice her and she was correct. She also figured this meeting, just like the other two, would be something that could easily be written in a memo or text.

XXXXX

Mariana and Jesus were in class together when the announcement reached their classroom. Jesus started to get up and Mariana motioned him to stop. Their teacher was momentarily distracted dealing with another student and may not have heard. On Monday, the whole family was called to the office so that Lena could tell them how much she loved them. Then yesterday Lena called all of her children to the office and grounded all of them for seemingly no reason and then ungrounded them with an apology after school. Today seemed too soon to be calling for them again. Jesus and Mariana would both rather stay in class.

XXXXXXX

Brandon was taking a note to another teacher and was in the hallway when he heard Lena on the speaker system. He figured he needed to finish his errand and then maybe his teacher would think he had already run by the office. Maybe he could convince Lena after school that he didn't hear the announcement from the hallway. Brandon saw Jude leaving his classroom and headed to the office. He figured everyone else went, too.

XXXXXX

Jude heard the announcement and was excused from class. He was nothing if not loyal to Lena. This meeting would probably be like all the others, but Jude was so happy to have a family that nothing else really mattered. When he got to the office, he knocked.

"Come in!" Lena looked up to see her youngest peeking in. "Hey, Jude! Come on in and have a seat. Go ahead and leave the door open since you are the first one here. How is your day going?"

"I got an A on my history test!" Jude only wanted to give her good news if it was possible. "Thanks for helping me study!"

"I am so proud of the effort you have been making with your work, Bud. When you get home you should tell Mom. She will also be proud of you."

Jude smiled back at Lena. She glanced at her watch and wondered what was taking the others so long to get here seeing as Jude's room was the furthest from the office. "Jude, did you see any of the others in the hallway on your way over here?"

"Ummm…. Well…." He was unsure how to answer. Jude had seen Brandon going into a classroom, but it did not look like he was headed here. Again trying to keep things good he gathered some courage and smiled bigger. "No, I guess not."

"Well, I will try something else then." Lena suspected Jude knew more than he was saying. She walked back out in the main office and got back on the PA system. "Excuse me teachers, I need all of the children who would like me to continue paying their phone bills to be dismissed to the office. That would be Brandon Foster, Callie Jacobs Foster, Mariana Foster, and Jesus Foster. Thank you."

Lena walked back into the office and smiled at Jude. "That should get the others here quickly. You know that you are our favorite, right, Jude?"

"Of course, Mama… Are we in trouble?"

"No, I just wanted to talk to you guys. Why does everyone think they are in trouble with me all the time lately?"

XXXXXXX

This time there was no amount of slouching, ignoring, or pretending to keep the kids from making their way to the office. Each felt rather mortified by the announcement and just wanted to get out of his or her classroom as quickly as possible. Their classmates were already snickering and the kids knew that come lunch time they would all have to hear it. Since all of their classrooms happened to be close together, they descended on the office as a group.

Lena met them at the door and had Jesus close it on his way in. "Well, I am glad to see you could all make it. What was the hold up?"

Everyone except Jude mumbled incoherent things under their breath. "Okay… I just called you guys here to tell you that I have another doctor's appointment at 1:30 this afternoon. Mom and I will be leaving here around lunch time. B, I am giving you the keys to the car. I need everyone home right after school today. Start your homework immediately so it will be done before we get home. Jude, if you need help I am sure one of them would be happy to work with you. We are hoping to have some news to share when we get home. Any questions?"

"You embarrassed us in front of all of our classmates just to tell us to come straight home after school?" Jesus asked impulsively. "Couldn't that have just been put in a note or something?"

"I wouldn't have embarrassed you if you had come the first time! I really should just ground the whole lot of you!" Lena admonished her children, but then started tearing up, "I just love you guys so much and I just wanted to spend time with you… Does that make me a bad mother?"

The kids silently looked at each other and then glared at Jesus. Lena has been having treatments to become pregnant and the extra hormones made her sort of crazy. She could go from happy to mad to crying in less than five minutes. They all knew not to cross her as all of them had already experienced the wrath of their mama tiger in the past week. Stef had been assuring them that Lena did love them still and to play nice until things got better again.

Jude, as always, was the first to recover. He got up and hugged Lena tightly. "You are a great mother, Mama! We all love you!"

Lena hugged the boy back and smoothed his hair with her hand. "Thanks, Buddy. You always know how to make me feel better."

The other kids slowly got up and joined in on the hug. It's true, they all did love their mama. They also knew that when Stef said to play nice, it also came with a stern warning that upsetting Lena would call for serious consequences. Between their love for their mama and their love for their phones and freedoms, all the kids could put on a brave face to assure Lena of their love.

Lena, of course, was quickly drying up her tears. "Okay, Loves, you all have class to get back to right now. Go learn something! I will see you at home later."

XXXXXXXXX

Stef and Lena nervously waited hand-in-hand on the test results at the doctor's office. They had been through the in vitro process twice with no pregnancy and financially this had to be the last attempt. Lena had been faithfully following all of the doctor's instructions and this time around more hormones had been prescribed. She knew that she felt crazy, but she hated it that her kids and even her wife were acting so strangely around her. The doctor had told Lena that once she was further along in her pregnancy, her moods would settle out some.

They heard a knock at the door as the doctor came in the room. Lena felt her heartbeat faster and Stef moved to the edge of her seat. "Well, Lena, Stef, I have good news for you…. You're pregnant! We will need to do a few more tests to see how things are going in your pregnancy and then you will be free to go."

After a longer wait and a quick sonogram, it was determined that everything looked good. Lena was just at two weeks along. Lena scheduled her next appointment while Stef texted the kids to tell them they were on their way home.

XXXXXXX

"Uh… Mariana, we have a problem…" Callie read her text again as she nudged her sister. "You promised we would make it home before Moms, but did you just get this text?"

Mariana couldn't drive so she had convinced Callie, a newly licensed driver, to go to the mall with her after school. Lena had said to come straight home, but it had been the kids experience that these doctor's appointments tended to last a long time. Plus, all the times before the moms wound up going out afterwards. Obviously this was not one of those times.

"Mama is gonna kill us… unless Mom gets to us first…" Mariana quickly texted her brothers to say that she and Callie were on the way home.

Callie texted Stef back and said she just realized they were out of bottled water and asked permission to leave the house with Mariana in order to pick some up. This was a risky move. Callie knew that Stef had a tracking app on her phone, but also knew that Stef was probably the one driving home. Therefore, Lena would get the message and would give permission. That would buy the girls a little time. If Mariana would hurry up and make her mind there would be no problem.

XXXXXXXX

Lena was currently visiting with the receptionist and Stef was ready to go. Then her phone buzzed with the text from Callie. Now, Stef knew that this morning they were not out of bottled water. She had opened a brand new package. On a hunch, she used her tracking up and found that Callie and Mariana were on their way home from somewhere. "Hey, Hon," Stef interrupted Lena, "There is something we need to deal with at home right now." Turning to the receptionist she said, "It has been great meeting you and we can't wait to see you next time." Stef then practically dragged Lena from the doctor's office.

"Stef, I can't believe you just did that! It was so rude to that lady! What is the big emergency at home?"

"It seems that Callie and Mariana are trying to beat us home. Here, you read the text. You can reply if you like, and we are not out of bottled water either, by the way."

Lena once again jumped straight to mad. "I called the kids out of class today to specifically tell them to go straight home! I should give them a piece of my mind…."

Stef heard Lena typing back, "Lena, wait! Remember you are on my phone…. We need to think about how to play this right. If we text that back to them now, they will know we are on to them. We want Callie to drive safely back to the house and into our trap. Instead tell them we will pick some up on our way home since we are already out."

XXXXXXXXX

"Callie, Mom just wrote back and said she would pick up the water." Mariana and Callie both sighed in relief. That would buy them at least ten minutes to get home first.

"Perfect! Text Brandon and let him know what is going on just in case we have less time than we think."

XXXXXXXXX

When Brandon got the text from his mom, he realized he would be in a lot of trouble if he didn't do something fast. "Talya, we will have to do this another time. My mom is on the way home right now." He and Talya had come to a new understanding recently. They were back dating and this particular day, Brandon thought they could be alone for a few hours. He was wrong. Talya kissed him one more time and then grabbed her back pack and left. Brandon's phone buzzed with the text from Mariana. It seemed that his sisters would be racing their mothers back to the house.

Then Brandon started looking for his brothers. They were not in their room so Brandon went downstairs. Jude was at the kitchen table obviously very frustrated with his math. "Will you help me, Brandon?"

"I will in just a little while, have you seen Jesus?"

"No… But Mama said you would help me with my homework. They are on the way home and I am not going to be done in time. I don't want to get in trouble."

"It will be okay, Jude. The girls are on their way home and I am sure Callie will help you. Right now, I have to find Jesus." Brandon picked up his phone to text his brother and received a new message from Mariana. It explained that they had delayed the moms a few minutes with their water story and ask him to cover if they weren't home. Great, he thought. The girls aren't home, Jesus is missing, and no one is finished with their homework (Jude was the only one to even start it).

Just then Jesus came running in the backdoor as the moms pulled in at the house. Brandon quickly went over to Jude to at least seem like he was trying to help his little brother. He wanted to know where Jesus had been, but he knew that discussion would need to be done later. Jesus, not knowing the girls' excuse went and grabbed a bottle of water before Brandon could stop him.