A loud crash sounded from upstairs.
"It's okay, Zoe," she heard from upstairs. "Everything's good."
Normally she would have sighed and left it like that but her dad sounded... squirrelly... so Zoe put down the mug of coffee she wasn't supposed to be drinking.
"SARAH? Is everything okay with my dad?"
"Sheriff Carter has ordered me to tell you all is fine."
Zoe rolled her eyes because that meant it wasn't fine and this was SARAH's way of letting her know without actually disobeying her dad's order.
"Traitor," Zoe heard from the stairs and looked up to see her dad on his way down looking frazzled with his hair all mussed.
"Shouldn't you be at school?"
Definitely squirrelly, she thought.
"Shouldn't you be at work?" she countered. "What's going on, Dad?"
"Is that coffee I smell?"
"Oh no you don't. No changing the subject. What's going on, Dad?" she insisted and saw his eyes dart back towards the stairs, and that was when it clicked.
Zoe had spent last night at Pilar's house, supposedly studying for an important test but instead binge watching the latest season of 'The Dating Game'.
"Did you have a sleepover, Dad?" The way his eyes widened like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic gave her the answer. "Way to go, Dad!" she exclaimed as it was about time he started dating again; her mom had moved on years ago.
Her thoughts immediately jumped to Allison, except Zoe knew Allison was out of town visiting her parents with Kevin. Tess and Callie were no longer in Eureka and Jo was dating Zane. She hadn't heard her dad mention anyone else except in reference to a crime or incident except for... No. It couldn't be.
"Dad?" she asked quiet but firmly. "Who's upstairs?"
"Me," came a deep voice from the direction of the stairs.
"Aw, crap!" her dad exclaimed softly as Nathan Stark sauntered down the stairs and into the kitchen.
"SARAH, coffee please, for everyone."
So that was how Zoe learned of the new man in her dad's life, who would eventually be a very cool step-father.