TRAINING THE COUGAR *warning explicit content*

**Love Story with explicit content **
Shy thirty-something, Fifty Shades obsessive and One Direction fan Alexa, was hiding a traumatic secret from her past. As a result, she'd put up personal barriers and kept friends, colleagues and men at arm's length. Then one summer, Jake Martin appeared all too briefly in her life. He was handsome, clever, kind...and only eighteen! Nothing happened during that Summer, but now five years on, fate had ensured their paths crossed again. Could this traumatised Cougar put the past behind her and could Jake be the one who finally teaches her how to love?


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1. PROLOGUE

JULY 2007

 

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK?

Alexa stared at her Playscheme Manageress in ill-concealed disbelief.

"Me? You want ME to help the student with the football coaching?"

Sue frowned at her as an irritated look flashed over her face. "Yes! Why would I assign someone else when you're the only one who knows anything about football?" She snapped. Sue had been snapping a lot lately. Some of which was down to her being in denial about starting the menopause, but Alexa suspected it was more to do with her not having had sex since her last match.com relationship hadn't worked out. Well - if you can call two dates and one shag a relationship.

Alexa took a moment to gather her thoughts. Okay, so she did watch a lot of football on TV; there were worse ways of passing the time than watching twenty-two fit men in shorts getting all hot and sweaty. And she probably did know more about football than the rest of the staff put together. But the role of the child-carer in this case would literally just be to ensure the kids were well hydrated and to patch them up if they fell down. It was hardly rocket science...

...and a thoroughly menial job for a children's Playscheme Supervisor! Even one of the Trainees could easily do it!

She opened her mouth to make this point, but her eyes suddenly switched to Victoria - her Co-Supervisor - as she stood smiling smugly next to Sue. That's when the penny dropped.

Oh this had that bitches influence all over it!l

Alexa clamped her mouth shut. There was no way she was going to let Vicki think she'd got the upper hand over her. Fighting internally with herself, she forced her lips up into a sweet smile.

"Oh right. Of course I'll help him, Sue. So what would you like me to do?" Alexa trilled in what she hoped was her happiest voice.

Victoria's smug smile slipped from her face as she gaped at Alexa from her position beside the Manageress. She was always stood next to Sue or in her immediate vicinity. Under any other circumstances it would be classed as stalking. They made a very odd, almost comical looking pair, Alexa had decided. Sue was a larger lady - all boobs and bum with blonde wavy hair, whereas Vicki was literally straight up and down, with no boobs and no arse to speak of. It gave curvaceous Alexa no end of secret pleasure that if Vicki cut her mousey-brown hair short, she could easily get mistaken for a man.

"You will need to get the footballs out of the shed and map out a pitch with the cones," Sue instructed, seemingly oblivious to the undercurrent of animosity between Alexa and Victoria. "Jake's coming in at eight-thirty so you'll have time to show him the ropes. I've told the parents that the coaching will start at nine."

She concluded the morning staff briefing shortly afterwards and Alexa trudged over to the storage shed. She armed herself with a large net bag of six footballs and two cone stands which held around fifty small plastic cones - shaped like upturned saucers. Heading out onto the school field, she took the first cone in her hand and began to walk in a large rectangle, dropping a cone every few steps to mark out the area. When she had finished, she stood back to admire her handiwork. There were a few cones that had gone awry and needed aligning, so bending over she began to straighten them up. Left to her own devices, the red mist of anger that had descended earlier, reared it's crimson head again. She could not believe she had been enrolled to babysit some gangly, spotty student just because he was running a football course for children at the Summer Playscheme.

"Get the cones, Cinderella, map a pitch, Cinderella..." Alexa muttered bitterly to herself. "Un-fucking-believable..."

"Hi - are you Alexa?" A deep voice suddenly asked from behind her, making her jerk in surprise. Alexa took a deep calming breath.

Great! This must be the spotty student. He's early.

Still bent over, she looked over her shoulder to where the voice had come from.

HOLY CRAP! THIS IS THE STUDENT?

Standing smiling at her was someone who looked less like a student and more like a member of a boy-band. She gaped at him and toppled forward, landing unceremoniously in a heap on her hands and knees - with her face in the grass and her arse in the air pointing at him.

"SHIT! Oh God...Are you okay? I'm so sorry I startled you." She heard him exclaim. Two large, tanned hands were suddenly clutching her waist, as he knelt down beside her. "Are you hurt?"

Alexa pushed herself upwards mortified with embarrassment. She felt her face flush with colour as she blinked rapidly, trying to gain some composure. As her eyes refocused she found she was staring into two warm, dark eyes the colour of espresso. They were set in a handsome, tanned face, which was framed with short, thick, jet hair.

"Umm...yes. I'm okay. Just Dyspraxic, apparently!" She breathed, trying to make light of her less than elegant position.

Full, heart-shaped lips grinned at her, causing two dimples to dance in his cheeks as he helped her up, still holding her firmly by the waist. "I'm Jake Martin, by the way," he said in a gentle, plummy voice. He slowly let go of her and extended his hand. He was obviously well-mannered and very posh - not at all what she had been expecting.

Alexa took it as he shook it firmly. "A-Alexa. I'll be helping you this w-week." She stammered.

And apparently my recent dramatic fall has also given me a bloody speech impediment!

Alexa wasn't sure why she was getting flustered. But Jake Martin was so far removed from the picture she had painted of him in her mind, that she was finding it hard to believe that he was just an eighteen year old student. He was pushing six feet tall, broad shouldered, olive skinned and had an athletic physique that was barely contained in a green Adidas tracksuit. Not that she was staring or anything...

"You're a bit wonky."

"I'm sorry?"

"Your lines...they're a bit wonky. No worries, I'll sort them. So how many kids will be coming to the coaching today?" He asked, as he skilfully adjusted the cones just by using his feet.

"Umm.. about twelve aged between six and eleven. They'll be mixed genders and abilities."

"Cool. I've helped coach the Year 7's football team whilst I was at the Grammar and I used to help out with different sports at my boarding school."

"You went to boarding school?" Alexa asked in astonishment.

Which school had he attended? Hogwarts?

"Yeah...my parents spilt when I was four. They're both Chemical Researchers so their work takes them all over the country and sometimes all over the world. Papá then moved to London, so it was just easier if I went to boarding school and saw them in the holidays."

Alexa felt her heart ache. "That must have been hard." She said softly, feeling quite sorry for him.

Jake shrugged his broad shoulders. "I didn't know any better. I was there till I was sixteen. By then I had decided I'd had enough and wanted to finish my education here and have some kind of home life at long last. So I've been at the local Sixth Form for the past two years. I get my A-level results in a few weeks."

"And what would you like to do if you get the results you want?" Alexa asked with interest, pottering alongside him.

"Get a degree in Sports Science and hopefully go onto some kind of sports coaching." He said with a wistful smile. "I have belts in a number of martial arts, Captained my school football team at every level and also competed in swimming and athletics. I've applied to Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield University, so hopefully one will accept me!" He finally came to a stop. "There, that's better." He grinned making his dimples dance in his cheeks again as he surveyed the now-perfect lines.

Wow! He's some kind of sports prodigy! Well that explains the phenomenal physique...

Alexa shook her head, dismissing her wayward thoughts. She stood up straight, squared her shoulders and cleared her throat, in an attempt to look more professional. "Well now you've made up for my Dyspraxia, I'll go get the kids organised. In the meantime, if you could set the football nets up and get your balls out..." Alexa stopped, mortified.

Jeeesssssuuuusssss...

Jake bit his lower lip, stifling a laugh. "Yeah, if you want to get the kids ready, I'll finish setting up here." He said in a sympathetic tone.

Alexa nodded going scarlet. As she turned away, she heard Jake mutter.

"That's one HUGE ball bag..."

***

AUGUST 2007

 

"Take That? Seriously?" Jake asked, his full lips pulled into an amused smirk.

"And what's wrong with Take That being my favourite band?"

"Nothing. I just thought you'd have better taste in music!"

"I have great taste in music, thank you very much. I like all the boybands - Take That, Backstreet Boys, Westlife..."

"But they're not proper bands!" Jake interrupted. "Have you heard of U2?"

"OF COURSE I'VE BLOODY HEARD OF U2!" Alexa cried indignantly and then caught the wicked gleam in his dark eyes, followed by his annoying, but very cute smirk that she had grown so fond of over the weeks.

His football courses had proven so popular that Sue had asked him to extend them over the length of the Summer holidays. Alexa had been delighted for him, as despite her initial displeasure about the role being a little beneath her, she had loved working alongside him. He was a natural with the kids and his fun and easy-going nature had been a big hit with all the children and especially with Alexa. Of course, Jake being very easy on the eye had been another benefit to working with him. His mouth, Alexa had decided, was one of the best features in his far-too-handsome-to-be-a-student-face. However, at that precise moment in time she didn't know what was most annoying about him - his daily playful ribbing or that she lay awake most nights thinking about him and his gorgeous mouth...and face...and body...

"Well I think Take That are shit without Robbie Williams." Jake stated, dragging Alexa out of her erotic thoughts.

"They seem to be doing just fine without him!" She snapped trying to sound irritated, but he just gave her one of his too-cute smiles that he seemed to reserve just for her. The one that made his dimples dance inside his cheeks and did things to her insides.

They were sat in the staff room having their lunch break together and indulging in one of their many discussions. Today it was favourite bands. Most of their 'discussions' ended the same way - they'd have totally different opinions and Jake would just tease her mercilessly about them. They weren't always on the same shifts, but when they were, they always had their lunch together. Alexa kept telling herself that a thirty-one year old woman shouldn't have that much in common with an eighteen year old adolescent, but somehow they just clicked. Maybe it was because Jake was clever, articulate and mature beyond his years, or maybe it was just because they shared the same wicked sense of humour.

"I'm glad I'm on the same shifts as you again this week. I've missed our lunches over the past couple of weeks." Jake said placing four Pringles sideways into his mouth in one go.

"Really?" Alexa tried to hide the joy from her voice as she desperately endeavoured not to stare at his beautiful mouth. AGAIN. He had the kind of full, natural lips that would make a Supermodel weep. His Cupid's Bow alone was a thing of beauty...

"Yeah..." Jake continued "I've been here a month and I still can't seem to talk to the others. Rosie just moans about everything - her weight, her hair, her general health...Kerry just talks shite, and Victoria just bitches about..." Jake stopped abruptly and muttered a curse to himself.

"Finish what you were saying," Alexa said softly. She'd long harboured suspicions about Vicki.

Jake sighed. "She just bitches about you. Sorry Alexa. I sat through ten minutes of it and then I couldn't take anymore. I walked off and finished my sandwiches on the bench outside. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to stop myself from giving her a roundhouse kick to the head!"

Alexa giggled and then quickly sobered up. Having her long-held suspicions confirmed wasn't exactly anything to laugh about.

"I'm so sorry Alexa, but she's a total bitch. I would have defended you, but I'm only here for a few weeks, you have to keep working with her. I don't want to make it worse for you. But I'd deffo recommend you giving her a wide berth where possible."

Aww, bless him...

Alexa reached over and squeezed his hand. "Thanks. She's had it in for me since Sue made me Supervisor before her. But she's also a Supervisor now, so why she continues to dislike me, is beyond me."

"Why don't you do something?"

Alexa sighed. "Because I won't sink to her level. That's what she's waiting for. She'll continue to bait me till I lose my rag and then it'll be me Sue comes down on. Vicki's very manipulative. Sue thinks the sun shines out of her."

Jake gently squeezed her fingers. "If it wasn't for you being here, I wouldn't have stuck it out as long as I have. I honestly can't stand the other girls and Sue just scares the crap out of me! You're the best thing in this place."

Alexa felt herself blush at the unexpected compliment. "They're all good at their jobs..." She began.

"Yeah... but you're the one the kids like best. It's obvious how much they all adore you...and I asked them who their favourite member of staff was and they all said you!"

Oh my God! Is he for real?

"YOU ASKED THEM?" Alexa exclaimed, horrified.

Jake laughed. "I just wanted their honest opinion on what they thought of all the staff. I knew the kids would tell it like it is. They all said you were the best. Like I didn't know that already." He smiled, his dark eyes glowing at her.

Alexa's breath caught. He was gazing and smiling at her and he still had hold of her hand. She felt a long forgotten tingle creep over her.

Christ...What's happening to me..?

A noise at the door made her pull her hand away quickly. Dave the caretaker went past the door and waved to them.

Jake stacked up another pile of Pringles, seemingly oblivious to the effect he'd just had on her. "I don't doubt the others are good at what they do...but they're too harsh with the kids. They raise their voices far too often. I've never heard you shout once."

Alexa sighed. "Sue recons I'm too soft."

Jake shook his head. "But that's why they all love you. You're not bawling orders at them. You go and speak to them at their level and they respond to that."

"Yeah...but then I can't keep them in order when they get too boisterous." Alexa grumbled.

"They're kids for God's sake! They're meant to be boisterous!" Jake exclaimed. He leaned over the table and looked intently at her. "Please Alexa, don't ever change. Get the others to shout and bring them into line if you have to. All I've ever had is discipline and orders. Okay - you could argue that I may not have achieved everything I have without the discipline, but I would have loved to have had someone like you in my life to balance it all out. Kids need to know that someone cares."

Alexa felt her head begin to swim. She pictured Jake as a little boy, alone in boarding school getting shouted at and pushed hard to achieve his potential, when all he wanted was someone to show him that they cared about him.

I'd have cared for you...What the fuck, Alexa!

"Umm...What did you do in the holidays when you were at boarding school?" Alexa asked trying to change the subject before her wayward thoughts consumed her.

"Depends on who I was staying with. Mum would palm me off to various kids clubs and sport activities with the odd day spent at home with her. Papá would take me to see my relatives in Spain, stay with me for a couple of days and then leave me with them for the holidays. He'd then fly back out for the final few days and we'd come home together."

Alexa shuddered inwardly.

Poor sod. What a loveless childhood.

"So your dad's family is from Spain?" She queried, enjoying the little insight into his life.

Jake nodded chewing his mouthful of crisps. "He's originally from Valencia. He came to Manchester Uni to study, met my mum and the rest is history!"

Alexa frowned. "But...Martin...it's not exactly a Spanish surname."

"It's short for Martinez. Papá thought as he was staying over here, he'd anglicise it."

Alexa tilted her head to the side.

Well that explains his dark, sultry looks...For pity's sake Alexa!

"So you can speak Spanish?" She continued, desperately trying to maintain some normality in the conversation.

"A bit. I'd like to be more fluent in it and be able to read and write it, but I want to get my degree first and then get into that. I can count, order food and swear in Spanish, so it's enough to get me by for now!"

Alexa laughed. "Maybe you could teach me some words."

Jake beamed. "I'd love to! I think we'll start with Perra."

"Perra..." She repeated. "What does that mean?"

Jake grinned wickedly at her, and she felt like her heart had just flipped in her chest.

"It's Spanish for bitch!"

 

***

 

SEPTEMBER 2007

 

The Summer Playscheme had been a huge success. It was early September and the activities were winding down, as they would be re-starting the Fun After Three Club from next week. Jake's football coaching had been very well received and had got busier and busier as more and more children had opted to join in. Alexa had been delighted he had made it so successful and even more delighted that due to the larger numbers, Sue had assigned her to help him out on pretty much a daily basis. She'd overheard Vicki laughing about how "Alexa was always stuck outside with that loser, Jake" but she had smiled inwardly. She loved being 'stuck outside' with Jake. It was certainly better than being stuck inside with that Perra...

She was going to miss him so much when he left. The summer had flown by thanks to him. She would miss working with him, their lunches and even his constant ribbing of her. She would certainly miss seeing him in a vest and shorts... Alexa shook her head. She really needed to get herself a man. Working so closely with Jake over the weeks had made her realise how much she'd missed by not having a man in her life.

How long had it been since Paul...Christ was it really over five years ago? How had that happened?

She'd been so badly traumatised, she'd locked her heart away so it wouldn't get damaged. Now Jake had come into her life and unexpectedly shown her that she could feel attracted towards a man again without feeling gut-wrenching fear. Not that she was attracted to Jake. She stopped dead in her tracks.

Oh God! Am I?

She inhaled sharply. No, she was not attracted to Jake. He was only eighteen for crying out loud!

He's very nice, been lovely to work with and that's it. I do NOT fancy him! Why am I getting so bothered? Get a grip Alexa! Get what you need from the shops and get into work before you're running late...

She'd picked up some photos from Boots and then hurried off to find him a good luck card as today was his last day. Finally, she placed everything in her bag and headed into work. It was a very busy last day whilst they finished off the holiday club activities. Alexa hoped she'd be able to give Jake his gift at lunchtime, but they had been that busy they hadn't even had a proper lunch hour. Sue chose that day to treat all the staff and children - and went out for fish and chips! That meant they had all spent lunchtime together - eating and talking with all the children. At 6:30pm when all the children had left, Sue called an impromptu staff meeting and thanked them all for their hard work over the summer and for making the scheme such a success.

"And finally," Sue began. "I'd like to thank Jake for making his football courses such a success this summer."

Jake stood up from where he was seated next to Alexa and took a bow. Victoria rolled her eyes, Kerry continued to stare out of the window and Rosie checked her face in her compact. Alexa had to practically sit on her hands not to applaud him.

"On behalf of myself and the staff Jake, I'd like to wish you all the very best for the future. I'm sure you'll be a huge success. Right then. I think it's high time we all headed home. I have a very nice bottle of Chardonnay waiting for me..."

Kerry bolted out of the door, quickly followed by Rosie. Victoria swiftly went up to Sue and started a conversation with her about her plans for next week. None of them shot a backward glance at the two people left standing awkwardly in the doorway.

They both spoke at once.

"Jake..."

"Alexa, I...Please - you first." He smiled.

Alexa dug in her bag and handed him the card. "I just wanted to wish you all the best with your studies. I'm so happy you got into Sheffield."

Jake opened the card. "Oh Alexa, that's very kind of you. Look, I..."

But Alexa wasn't listening. She eagerly handed him her gift.

"What's this?"

"Just a small gift...something to remember your time here."

Jake beamed at her. "Aww...You really shouldn't have..."

He opened it to find a framed photo Alexa had taken of him unawares during a recent sports day. He was trying to give a piggy back to one of the little children in the 50 meters race, whilst another group of children were clinging to him and trying to haul him backwards by his clothes. He was laughing hard in the photo, as were all the children. It was such a joyous picture of fun, it made Alexa's heart warm every time she saw it.

"That's, that's...wonderful Alexa. Thank you so much. I'll treasure it."

Alexa smiled. Under the photo was her second gift, a small children's book.

"Lassie?" He looked at her in confusion.

"Nearest thing I could find to a bitch!"

Jake threw his head back and roared with laughter.

"Oh Alexa! It's perfect! I will think of our little secret every time I see it! Thank you so much."

Suddenly his arms were around her and he enveloped her in a crushing bear-hug. He couldn't connect with her properly as his hands were full, but he still managed to squeeze her tightly into his chest. Alexa found herself putting her arms around his waist, her head against his chest and squeezing him back. For a couple of seconds she inhaled his musky scent and closed her eyes to the delicious sensation.

Oh my God...This is sooooo nice...

"I'm really going to miss you," he whispered into her hair.

She could hear his heart slamming rapidly against her ear. He also showed no signs of being in any hurry to let her go. But she had to release him. She had only wanted to wish him luck with the rest of his life, she hadn't banked on getting this close to him.

Have...to...let...go...

 She pulled her hands away from his waist and stepped back, effectively breaking his hold on her. She cleared her throat.

"Umm, yes I will miss you too. But at least I'll be able to enjoy my taste in music in peace!" She smiled, trying to fight a blush as she peeked up at him.

Jake took a deep breath like he was about to say something important, but he closed his eyes momentarily and just sighed instead.

"Take care Alexa. And don't let that Perra bring you down." He smiled.

She smiled back. "You too Jake. Thank you for giving me something I can use against her without her knowing!"

He placed her gifts into his rucksack and slung it over one of his broad shoulders. Giving her a final, glorious, dimply smile that lit up his dark eyes from within, he walked off into the Autumn sunshine.

 

 

 

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