TRAINING THE MOTHER - NEW VERSION

**Love story with explicit content**
The story of Fifty Shades/One Direction fan Alexa and Jake continues. Now married and settling into life in the suburbs with Jacob, can they fit their love life in between caring for an active 9 year old? How will Alexa cope with her role of Wife and Step-Mum? Is their passion and love for each other still as strong?

Only one way to find out...


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15. CHAPTER FOURTEEN

"Fuck me, they're in a Bentley." Jake whispers.

I had received a text this morning from Hugo, saying he had managed to persuade Stephanie to come over today and if the offer was still on, they would come round about 3pm. I was still a bit concerned that it wasn't Stephanie who had texted and just hoped that Hugo wasn't bringing her here under duress.

I open the front door and am pushed aside by an over-excited Jacob.

"THEO!" He yells running down the path. "Did you bring your iPod?"

The door of the baby-blue Bentley opens and Theo jumps out. "Yes! It's so cool you've got an iPod too! We can play games together and Face-Time!"

I smile at how happy they are together, then my eyes catch sight of the barely recognisable figure sliding out of the car.

Stephanie is wearing a black Lipsy velour tracksuit and Uggs. Her highlighted blonde hair is scraped back severely off her face and she is wearing no make up. She looks exhausted. I try to contain my shock as she shuffles up the driveway.

"Hi!" I say a little too over-enthusiastically. "Come in!"

"Let them get up the driveway, sweetheart," Jake whispers from behind me.

"Mummy, can me and Theo go straight to my room?"

I hear Stephanie gasp. I cup his little face. "Of course you can honey. I'll bring up some juice and nibbles in a bit."

"Thanks, mummy."

"Thank you Mrs. Martin."

I smile at Theo. "You're welcome, Theo. It's lovely to have you over."

Both boys beam and hurtle up the stairs.

Stephanie is now practically on the doorstep, with a worried looking Hugo behind her. I don't know what comes over me, but before I can check myself, I literally throw my arms around her slim shoulders and hug her tightly.

"Oh Stephanie, please don't worry about it anymore. It's fine. It's done. It all worked out for the best in the end."

For a few moments she stands there rigid in my arms. Then I suddenly feel her sag against me and I hear a sob. Jake's arms circle my waist as he pulls me gently backwards.

"Get her inside, sweetheart."

I shuffle backwards, unable to let her go for fear of her collapsing on the floor. Somehow, with Jake pulling me gently backwards and Stephanie shuffling forwards in my arms, we end up in the sitting room and we slump onto the couch.

"Oh God, oh God," Stephanie mumbles as Jake offers her the box of tissues. "I'm such a mess. I'm so sorry."

"Would it help if I said everything was okay?" Jake offers gently. "It doesn't seem to be registering when Alexa tells you."

Stephanie sniffs and looks up at him. "The fact that you're both being so decent about it, is probably what's upsetting me."

"You'd rather we tore into you?" I ask, surprised.

Stephanie nods. "I would have done if it had happened to me. I find your understanding of the situation, totally incomprehendable."

"Next time, I'll just bollock you."

Great...Looks like my Turrets is back.

Stephanie, Jake and Hugo look at me in horror and disbelief.

FUCK!

I open my mouth to say I only meant it as a joke, but a noise from Stephanie startles me. It's a nasally grunt, half-way between a snort and a cough. I look at her in alarm, then her shoulders twitch and she lets out another noise.

Jesus...was that...

...Yes! Stephanie Mason-Owen is sat on my couch and actually laughing!

"Next time?" She breathes. "I'm not going anywhere near a day trip ever again!"

"Oh Stephanie!" I chide gently. "You can't let what happened put you off. Shit happens."

Hugo snorts and Jake looks at me in bemusement.

What?

"Your wife certainly has a way with the English language." Hugo murmurs with a smile to Jake.

"Tell me about it," Jake beams proudly.

 

We are sat around the dining table eating nibbles and drinking wine. Jacob and Theo came and filled a bowlful with crisps, popcorn and other treats and retired back to Jacobs room, with huge grins on their faces. After we had cleared the air, Stephanie was finally feeling much better and looking more like herself again.

"So," Hugo said looking at me intently, as he puts down his glass of orange juice. "You don't feel it would be to Jacob's advantage to sit as many entrance exams as possible? You would rather limit his options?"

Jake and I exchange looks, then Jake leans his head to one side, giving me the green light.

"It's not so much limiting his options," I begin. "Jacob wants to go to St Austin's or Taylorbrooke Boys Grammar which is where Jake went to Sixth Form. So neither of us saw any point in putting him through the stress of sitting extra exams."

Hugo inhales sharply and Stephanie gasps.

"But what if he gets into neither of them? Won't you regret your decision in not letting him try out for other grammar schools?" She asks.

"Mrs Wilding has said she believes Jacob is more than capable of passing the Austin exam. But anything is possible. Exam pressure can play havoc with the mind. If he doesn't get into either, he can try for Hayes Grammar. Failing that we'll look at whether a mainstream school would be the best option."

"You would consider a mainstream school?" Hugo is stunned. "You really don't think he would be better off trying out for Kings Road Grammar or somewhere like that?"

Jake shakes his head. "I want him where he's a short bus ride away. Kings Road is the other side of town. I don't want him having to get up early to spend hours travelling and in the same way after a long, hard day at school, spending hours travelling back. I also don't like the idea of him taking up after school activities, then getting home even later and travelling in the dark in winter. I want him to be able to take up whatever extra curricular activities he wants, knowing that me, Alexa or even my parents can pop and collect him afterwards. I'd like him to have the option of getting the bus or one of us driving him and letting him be independent, knowing that we are close by."

Hugo and Stephanie look at each other in shock.

Well, looks like they never thought of that!

"I spent my formative years in Boarding School," Jake continues softly. "Saying I hated it would be extreme...I didn't hate the school as such. I hated the fact that I only had a family life in the holidays. It's not the exact same scenario...but if Jacob went to a school far away from home, by the time he gets back, he's already tired, then he has homework...He'll just end up having tea and getting into bed. I don't want to spend quality time with my son just on weekends and holidays. I have to work a lot of weekends with my job. It could be weeks at a time before I can catch up with him properly. Alexa would practically be managing it all on her own." He sighs and shakes his head. "No. That's not the life we want for our son. We all sat down and discussed the pros and cons with Jacob. If Jacob had said I really, really want to go to Kings Road then that would have been different and we would have had to look at what options there were and what that would mean to us. But thankfully he didn't. He was horrified at how far Kings was when we went to the open days and pretty much said straight away, I don't wanna be so far away."

Stephanie and Hugo look troubled.

"What did Theo say when you discussed options with him?" I ask.

They look at each other. Stephanie screws her eyes closed and Hugo's shoulders slump as he takes a deep breath.

"We didn't," he says quietly. "We decided for him. We thought we were doing the right thing...Now I don't know what to think. I certainly hadn't considered any of the valid points you've both made." He turns to Stephanie. "What do you think, Steph?"

Stephanie opens her eyes and they are bright with tears.

Oh no! Not again!

"I...I think," she sighs heavily and looks down. "You must think what terrible parents we are."

WHAT?????

I lean across and squeeze her hand. "Stephanie, NO! Why would we think that? You have an amazing little boy who is clever, articulate and wants for nothing. Why on earth would we think you are terrible parents?"

"Because we just seem to be constantly clutching at straws and making the wrong decisions."

I shake my head. "Sending Theo to a school with a poor OFSTED rating is a bad decision. Trying to give Theo every opportunity to choose which school is best for him, isn't a bad decision. Trying to do your best by your child is never a bad decision."

She squeezes my hand back. "You are far too nice." She says softly.

Jake chuckles. "I'm forever telling her that!" He turns to Stephanie. "Just because we have made a different decision for Jacob than you have made for Theo, doesn't mean it's a bad decision. We feel strongly that Jacob shouldn't be in a school more than a couple of miles away. That is our opinion and Jacob agrees." He sighs softly. "However, I do believe it would be an idea just to sit down and discuss it with Theo. If he's happy to sit all those entrance exams to give him the best opportunities, then great. If Theo feels he'd be happier to limit his options, then that's when you have a massive decision to make. I know it's hard and it's a lot to take in. Please don't be offended when I say - base your decision on what will make Theo happy and not you."

Oh God. I love the way my husband is so much more articulate with words than I am. I'd have worded that all wrong and probably offended the crap out of them!

We are interrupted by two little thunderbolts who come running into the room.

"Theo and I just got passed a really hard level of Angry Birds!" Jacob pants excitedly, running over to Jake to show him his iPod.

"It took us over an hour!" Theo pants breathlessly. "Please can I have some juice, Mrs. Martin?"

"Of course, Theo." I stand and grab the jug.

"Theo darling, come here a minute," Stephanie beckons him to her. Theo gratefully takes his filled cup of juice and heads over to his mum. "Daddy and I want to ask you a very important question." She takes a deep breath, whilst I hold mine. "If you could choose a school after you finish Prep, which one would it be?"

"St. Austin," Theo says without hesitation.

"Why's that, son?" Hugo asks softly.

"I like it. The grammar is amazing. Plus most of my class have it down as their first choice, so most of my friends would be there, including Jacob."

Jacob looks up from his iPod and beams at him.

"What about if you don't get in?" Stephanie asks.

Theo looks at her as if she has grown two heads and I bite my lip not to laugh.

"Of course I'll get in mummy! I've been doing really well on my practice papers."

Stephanie nods and looks at Hugo.

"Son, practice papers are all well and good, but under exam conditions anything can happen. What would be your second choice?"

"Taylorbrooke Boys Grammar." Again, absolutely no hesitation.

Obviously Theo has been thinking harder about his options than his parents have.

"Any particular reason?" Hugo asks.

"I really liked it when we went round. It's got great facilities, plus it's most boy's second choice in my class."

"It's my second choice," Jacob pipes up.

Theo grins.

"So son, what you are saying is, ideally you want to go to St Austin or Taylorbrooke and sitting entrance exams for Kings, Marlborough Grammar and all the others we out you down for...would just be a waste of time and energy?"

Hugo suddenly looks a bit scared. Stephanie strokes his hair. "It's okay darling, just say what's in your heart."

He looks at her in astonishment. "Really?" He whispers.

Stephanie nods. He looks across to Hugo who also nods.

"Yes," he whispers like he cannot believe he can actually say this. "I only want to go to St Austin or Taylorbrooke. I'm confident I can get into either one or even both. Mrs Wilding said I could achieve it if I continued to work hard."

"You really wouldn't prefer to even try out for one of the others?" Hugo asks.

Theo shakes his head and looks questioningly at Stephanie who continues to stroke his head reassuringly. "No...they're good but...they're so far away Daddy. I'm afraid I'm going to be really tired all the time."

Stephanie and Hugo look sadly at each other as realisation hits them. Hugo leans across and ruffles his sons hair. "Well, if that's what you want Theo, then that's what we'll do."

Theo's blue eyes grow large in his face. "REALLY? I can just sit the St. Austin and Taylorbrooke exams?"

Hugo nods and smiles. "I'll ring the schools and cancel your places on the exams tomorrow."

Theo leaps into his father's lap. "OH! Oh, thank you daddy!Thank you so much!"

Hugo hugs his son fondly to him, then Theo turns and jumps into Stephanie's lap, giving her a huge hug too.

AWWWW!!

Stephanie hugs him and kisses the top of his head. He turns out of her arms.

"Let's go back upstairs and see if we can reach another level, Jacob!" He exclaims, his face a huge beam.

"Okay!" Jacob agrees and jumps off Jake's lap.

I feel Stephanie squeeze my hand.

"I can't thank you enough, Alexa. I can't believe we almost made him so miserable. Alexa...are you...crying?"

I nod happily as my view hazes, only to hear both my boys groan in unison.

"Oh not again!"

 

I stand in the school playground the following afternoon, waiting for Stephanie. After Jake and Jacob had explained I spend most of my time crying, we had spent the next couple of hours in a much more jovial mood and by the time they left, we were all smiles, especially Theo. Poor kid looked like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Stephanie had text last night to thank me and ask me which school run I was on and as Jake was on an early, he had taken Jacob in, so I had texted that I was collecting.

A tap on my shoulder has me turning around. I am greeted by a huge bouquet of red roses, lilies, red gerbers and God knows what else.

WHOA!!

"Just a little something to thank you for yesterday," Stephanie's voice comes through the flowers.

"Oh! Oh...Stephanie, there really is no need..." I begin as I take them off her. Thankfully, Stephanie looks back to her immaculate self.

"Are you joking?" She exclaims. "We all turn up at a moments notice, you provide food, drinks, hospitality, advice..." She sighs and looks at me with bright hazel eyes. "Believe me it's the very least we can do. Plus," she rubs at her forehead. "I cannot believe we turned up to your house empty handed! Hugo is appalled at what bad form that was!"

"Oh Stephanie! You weren't yourself and Hugo was so worried about you. We weren't expecting anything. All we wanted was to try and help reassure you."

She nods. "I really am sorry, Alexa."

Jesus, how many times must she apologise?

"Stephanie, really, please stop apologising. You can see it all worked out for the best."

She shakes her head. "Not just for the episode at the Zoo. For everything. I had you all wrong. From that first morning I met you here in the rain and you looked like you had just rolled out of bed...I wrongly assumed you were some kind of Chav that had struck it lucky."

HUH?

"And then," she continues. "When you turned up at the lunch looking so immaculate in vintage Chanel, I'm embarrassed to say, I felt threatened by you. I put you down when I should have been championing you."

WOW! That explains a lot. Should I tell her now that the jacket wasn't actually mine?

Nah..!

Christ she's still talking...

"There's not many women out there that would take on another woman's child and bring him up as her own, especially when she had every chance to back out before it happened. In the same situation, I don't think I would have been so generous." She looks downcast. "I'm...I'm embarrassed to say, I've never given Hugo's children from his first marriage, the time of day. Again, I saw them as a threat to me and Theo. This morning, I told Hugo we were to have a family holiday to Connecticut in the summer so Theo and I could get to know Brandon and Melissa properly. It made him so happy. That's all down to you and Jake."

She hands me a bottle-gift bag, that in my haze I hadn't noticed in her other hand. "Something for Jake. Hugo chose it especially, from his wine cellar."

Of course Hugo would have a wine cellar...

"Oh Stephanie...I don't know what to say. Thank you. Jake will be delighted. But there was really no need..."

"There's also a little something for Jacob in the bag. I didn't want him to feel left out, plus it's my way of apologising personally to him for Friday."

I shake my head. I cannot believe my ears and eyes. I keep thinking I'm going to wake from some mad dream at any point!

"Alexa!"

"Alexa!"

I am suddenly surrounded by some of the mum's from Jacobs class. All have cards in their hands which they hand to me.

What the hell is this now?

"Stephanie texted us to tell us what had happened! We're so happy for you and Jacob!" Karina says hugging me. "It's just a congratulations card and a little something to say well done to Jacob. That was really mature of him."

"Umm...yeah...thanks a lot." Is all I can manage to say as I jiggle huge flowers, a wine bottle and numerous cards.

REALLY?

"Mummy! Why have you got flowers again?"

In all the mayhem, I hadn't even noticed my son had come out of school and was standing in front of me.

"They're from Theo's mummy to say thank you for yesterday. And Theo's daddy got papa some wine and we have cards from a lot of the mummies to say congratulations on me becoming your mummy."

Jacob's dark eyes widen in shock. "WOW! That's so cool!"

I nod. "I know! Everyone has been so kind and generous." I feel my throat constrict.

"You're not going to cry again are you Alexa?" Stephanie asks with a smile.

Umm...probably...

 

 

 

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