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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13. CHAPTER TWELVE

It's now early July. Jacob will finish his first year, and Year Five at St. Austin's in ten days time. I can hardly believe it! His first year at St Joseph's seemed to go pretty quickly, but this one at St. Austin's has gone past at supersonic speed. Jacob and I are preparing for his class day trip to Chester Zoo today and I am one of the volunteer mums helping out for the day, as is Karina and unfortunately, Stephanie.

Jacob is so excited that I'm coming on the trip, bless him. I have warned him that Mrs. Eaton had said that he won't be in my group, as they don't want the mums to offer any preferential treatment to their child, but he said he didn't mind what group he was in, he was just happy that I was going too.

Aww! I do love my darling little man!

And I still say it to him over and over and he just smiles and nods. Sometimes I think he's about to say it back, but at the last minute he stops and I just get the smile and nod again. I keep telling myself it doesn't matter, just so long as I keep saying it to him, maybe one day I'll hear it back.

It really doesn't matter...

Oh who am I trying to kid?!

Of course it matters! He says it to Jake, Joe and Krystal, yet not to me. I think that's what upsets me. If he just didn't say it to anyone, then it wouldn't bother me so much...

 **********

I pull into the school car park and Jacob and I grab our backpacks from the boot. In my time at the Playscheme, I must have gone on over fifty day trips, so I know not to wear anything that can get easily lost or damaged and to wear something that you are going to be comfortable in for the whole day of an action-packed trip. I have put Jacob in navy canvas pants that have the added bonus of a zip just below the knee, so if he gets too warm, he can zip them off and make them into shorts. He is also wearing an old t-shirt, a sweatshirt that has seen better days and has a thin water-proof jacket in the bottom of his backpack in case the weather turns. I'm wearing old black leggings, a faded red t-shirt I use when Jacob and I are doing any kind of painting activity and an old Playscheme sweatshirt. Its bright orange, so the children can spot me easily in a crowded Zoo. I have allowed Jacob to wear his Valencia cap, again purely because it is white and will make him easy to spot, when I want to subtly keep an eye on him. I have my oldest trainers on my feet, which I will probably throw away when I get home and I've also shoved a thin waterproof in the bottom of my rucksack. Grinning with supressed excitement, we enter the playground. Jacob goes eagerly running off to join his friends, whilst I trudge towards Stephanie who is talking to Karina.

"ALEXA, HI!" Karina says excitedly as I approach. Stephanie turns towards me.

OH. BLOODY. HELL....

Stephanie looks like she has just walked out of a Millets Catalogue. She's wearing black Hunter wellies, a quilted jacket skinny jeans and she even has a silk scarf floating from her elegant neck. I try not to stare, but I know it's a Chanel one as Krystal has something similar. At least Karina had the presence of mind to wear something smart as well as casual, but I still look like a pauper in their presence. They both gape at me. Stephanie looks me up and down and cannot hide the smug smirk that pulls at her lips. I quickly glance over to Jacob who is totally oblivious in his joyful little bubble, as he talks animatedly to his friends. Whereas all the other boys pretty much look like their mums have bought their outfits at the weekend, Jacob and I look like we fell out of a Jumble Sale.

"I bet this is second nature to you, Alexa. I'll be asking you for pointers, as it's my first trip!" Karina says brightly, trying to lift the atmosphere.

I smile weakly.

My first pointer is for Stephanie to treat the trip seriously and not like a fashion shoot!

"Yes, you can certainly tell Alexa has worked with children before," Stephanie smiles a thin lipped smile at me.

And what the fuck is that supposed to mean? I'd rather look child-friendly than untouchable...

"Right everyone!" Mrs. Eaton calls in her clear voice. "If you could all gather by the benches, Mrs. Peat and I will tell you who is in which group."

I end up with Roman, Tom, Alex and Sebbie. I am familiar with them from Jacob's party and I know Roman quite well, now he has been round for a few play-dates. They seem delighted to be in my group and cheer their approval. I grin at them as they surround me.

OH FUCK! JACOB IS IN STEPHANIE'S GROUP!

I watch in horror as Jacob looks mortified, then dejectedly walks over to Stephanie. I catch his eye and give him a reassuring smile, but it doesn't seem to work.

Oh God, this is going to put a  right dampner on his day, when he was so looking forward to it...

 

We clamber onto the coach and when Stephanie is distracted by a seatbelt that won't fasten I quickly move across to Jacob, under the pretence of checking his seatbelt.

"Don't let her spoil your day honey," I whisper in his ear as I rattle the seatbelt. "Just be a good boy, do as she says and have fun. Okay?"

"Okay," he whispers back, not very convincingly.

I give his ear a quick kiss and head back over to sit with my group.

 

We are lucky to be blessed with nice weather for the trip and I'm soon taking off my sweatshirt and tying it round my waist. I have given my boys the same pep talk I gave to Jacob - if we get separated, don't panic, stay where you are and don't go off with anyone, even if it's a Ranger. Tell the Ranger to radio a message on the tannoy speakers for us to come and get you. Under no circumstances do you move. If someone tries to move you or take you elsewhere, make a loud fuss, start to scream and draw attention. If that person is genuine, they will look after you, if they aren't they will run off. The boys listen solemnly then nod their heads.

 

We all walk round in a large group, just keeping our eyes on the boys in our own individual groups and of course, I am still keeping a watchful eye on Jacob. He seems happier as he talks to Henry and points out a baby Chimpanzee as we stand in the Monkey enclosure. My eyes drift to Stephanie. She is padding away at her forehead and I can see her highlighted blonde hairline getting dark with sweat.

Not very breathable those quilted jackets are they? God knows what her feet must be like in those wellies...

Now it's my turn to smile smugly. At least Karina has had the common sense to take off her jacket, but I'm sure Stephanie is keeping it on just to save face.

Serves the stuck up, silly cow right!

We spend a very pleasant morning walking around various enclosures whilst the children fill out school worksheets with information about the animals. I help out with bits of information that I know as I am an animal nerd, which I think impresses the boys. Then Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Peat take us to the picnic area and we get the children to sit down and take out their lunches. I packed Jacobs with mine, purely because I knew if I hadn't had chance to speak to him, it would give him an excuse to touch base with me. In the end Jacob went one better and asked Mrs. Eaton if he could come and sit with me as I had his lunch. Mrs. Eaton didn't object and he practically ran to my side and plonked himself next to me. My group were delighted to have him join us and they happily chat away through mouthfuls of sandwiches,whilst I inconspicuously stroke Jacob's little back, as he rests against me.

I really do have a problem with keeping my hands off my boys!

A sudden ear-piercing scream startles us. Stephanie has leapt to her feet and is running blindly through the group, arms frantically flaying around her head as she hurdles over the children. Mrs. Eaton, Mrs. Peat and Karina all leap up to help, whilst I sit and watch the scene in quiet amusement.

It's just a wasp for fuck's sake...Besides...someone has to watch the kids...

After five very entertaining minutes, Stephanie is satisfied that her little black and yellow assailant has flown off to attack someone else and things settle down again, whilst my group snicker - especially Jacob, who murmurs in Spanish to me about how ridiculous she is to be frightened of a tiny wasp.

At least he didn't call her a Perra...Yet...

There are a few different shows to see after lunch, but not enough places for us all, so Karina and I are paired up and directed to the Penguin enclosure where the children will watch the Penguins being fed and hear a talk all about different Penguin species all over the world. Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Peat go off to the Elephants and Giraffes for something similar and Stephanie's group start at the Black Rhinos to hear all about the work being done to conserve them. Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Peat have devised a timed route, so we all chop and change with each other and every child gets chance to see and hear everything. It all needs precise timings and I plough ahead leading the group in my comfy trainers and t-shirt, with Karina valiantly keeping up at the back. We help the children fill in the worksheets during each talk, as points of interest come up and if my four boys and Jacob don't write the best essays about the trip tomorrow, then I won't be impressed!

 

We are due to all meet up at 4:30pm at the Fountain Lawn for snacks and drinks, so Karina and I and our eight boys, all head to the area, excitedly talking about how important it was to look after Rhinos, how funny the Penguins had been and how huge the Tigers were. I can't wait to hear what Jacob thought of the Tigers, as I know they are his favourite.

We get to the lawn just as Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Peat arrive with their eight boys, so there is only Stephanie's group to come. Mrs. Peat and Mrs. Eaton tell the children just to find a space, sit down and start on their snacks, and Mrs. Mason-Owen's group will just join us whenever they get here.  The children all exchange stories in loud voices as they munch away, but I am distracted as I keep an eye out for Stephanie and Jacob. Ten minutes later, when I have just got my iPhone out to phone her, she appears all red faced and flustered, with poor Oliver carrying her jacket. I look at her boys...There are only three...

Where's Jacob...?

"Oh gosh everyone, I'm so sorry we're late, but there was this humongous Bee that chased me when we left the Penguins!"  Stephanie begins breathlessly. "The boys were so good, they all helped trying to fan it away from me, but we got a bit lost because of it and ended up in the sunken garden..."

I'm already up on my feet.

"STEPHANIE! Where's Jacob?" I ask sharply.

"He's here..." She turns and looks at her group and her red face suddenly drains of colour. "But he WAS with us..." She begins, her voice going all high pitched with panic. "Boys...who saw Jacob last?"

OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD...

"I'M GOING TO THE SUNKEN GARDEN!" I shout.

"But Mrs. Martin, we have an emergency procedure. I will find a Ranger and get a message on the tannoy..." Mrs. Eaton begins.

"I can't wait for that!" I snap at her and then immediately regret my outburst. "Sorry, Mrs. Eaton. You do what you have to do. You have my mobile number - if you find him, ring me and I'll ring you if I find him, but I can't just sit here!"

She sighs then nods and I grab my backpack and hare off. Jacob is lost somewhere in this massive Zoo and all I have to go on, is he may be somewhere in the Sunken Gardens.

Oh God, please let him be okay. I'll never be able to live with myself if something happens to that little boy.

My boy.

MY.

SON.

I run towards the Penguin enclosure, frantically looking around for any signs of a little boy in a white baseball hat. I thank the Gods I had the presence of mind to put him in something so visible, as I feel like I am running against traffic. It's now nearly 4:45pm and most people are heading out of the Zoo, as I am heading into the heart of it.

Fuck! How does Jake do so much running! It's knackering! Note to self - make more of an effort to go running on some days with him, my fitness is appalling...

I make it to the Penguins and run round their enclosure. There is no sign of him, so I dash round into the sunken garden. It is practically deserted.

"JACOB!" I scream at the top of my burning lungs. "JACOB!"

There is no response and I run right round the garden, panic beginning to rise within me. There are no children in the garden just a few tourists that I manage to startle, as I hurtle around screaming.

Fuck! I'm back at the entrance to the garden! I've done a full circuit and there's still no sign of him.

I bend over and place my hands on my knees, trying to draw breath into my scorching lungs. Sweat is pouring off me and I can feel tears beginning to prick my eyes.

No, no, NO! Keep it together, Alexa!

I wearily stand back upright and look around.

Think Alexa. If I was Jacob and couldn't find my way back, where would I go?

Inspiration hits me. It's a long shot, but it's the only shot I have...

Sucking in a huge burning lungful of air, I run down the pathway, circle the Aviary and head towards the Tiger enclosure. My lungs feel like they are about to explode, I can taste blood, my legs feel like they are ploughing through treacle and I have a stabbing stitch in my side, but I grit my teeth and will myself forwards.

I get to the enclosure and skid to a halt. I feel like my heart has dropped into my stomach. There is no sign of him along the enclosure wall. There are the last few families mingling around and that's it. I can feel the adrenalin trickle out of my body as tears haze my eyes and I cannot stop them. My legs literally give way from under me and I slowly sink to the ground.

I've lost him. How am I going to tell Jake...Joe...Krystal. If something's happened to him, we'll never recover...He's only been with us for such a short space of time, but he's the light of our lives...

My body is screaming at me to curl up into the foetal position but I have to contact the others to see if there has been any news and to tell them I haven't been able to find him. I stagger to my feet as some of the families disperse around me and wipe at my eyes with the back of my hands in a vain attempt to rid them of tears. As my sweaty fingers are being dragged across my eyes I spot something. One of the families has a small boy with them, wearing a white cap...

"NINITO!" I scream.

In the near two years he has been with us, I have never called him that, but right at that moment I want him to know, I have found him.

He's safe.

He's loved...

Two dark, watery eyes find mine, then he breaks away and runs towards me. My legs are heavy and leaden as I try and run towards him. I catch him in my arms and clasp him tightly to me as I drop to my knees, showering his little tear-stained face with kisses as I cradle him to me.

"Oh Jacob!" I sob between kisses. "Oh honey, are you okay?"

He nods. "I-I knew you would f-find me. I'm s-sorry I got lost. I c-came here and f-found a nice family who were g-going to help m-me." He mumbles between gulping sobs.

I continue to cover him with kisses between my own sobs tasting the salt of his tears mingling with mine. "Oh Jacob it's okay! Oh God, I'm so happy I found you!" I look over to the family he'd been with and the mum smiles and gives me the thumbs up. I smile through my tears and mouth the words "Thank You".

A sudden noise above our heads startles us.

"Could Jacob Martin aged ten on a trip with St Austin school, please make his way to the penguin enclosure. Henry's mummy will be waiting for you." Announces the tannoy.

"SHIT! I've got to ring Mrs. Eaton to call the search off!" I breathe.

I grab the edge of my t-shirt and run it over Jacob's face, then mine as I dial the number.

"Mrs. Eaton, it's Mrs. Martin. I've found him! He's okay!" I pant.

"Oh well done Mrs. Martin!" She exclaims. "She's found him! He's okay!" She calls out and I can hear a loud cheer go up in the background from the boys.

"Don't wait for us, I'm sure the kids are eager to move off again having been sat for so long. We'll catch you up. Where will you be?"

"Well, our last stop was going to be the gift shop, so you could meet us in there?"

"No worries. I'm just going to buy him an ice-cream while we calm down, then we'll head over. Will you let Karina know?"

"Mrs. Peat is already onto it. You take your time Mrs. Martin. And well done again!"

I ring off and Jacob is staring at me with wide dark eyes.

"Everyone was looking for me?" He asks in astonishment.

"Well, we were meant to follow a procedure, but I couldn't wait. I told Mrs. Eaton to follow the procedure and I would start searching."

Suddenly he throws his arms around my neck and buries his head under my chin.

"I love you Alexa. Please be my mummy."

WHAT???????

I am so shocked I nearly fall backwards and take us both down. I quickly regain my composure, pull away and look at him.

"Oh, Jacob! Oh, honey! I can't tell you how much I want that!"

"You do?" He gasps in surprise. "I've wanted you to be my mummy for ages, but you keep saying you're my step-mum so I didn't think you wanted to be." He says in a sad little voice.

OH MY FUCKING GOD! SERIOUSLY?

"Oh Jacob, is that what was bothering you so much? Why didn't you just say? I've wanted to be your mummy for ages too, but...Manuela was your mummy. I didn't want to upset you."

Jacob shakes his head. "Manuela was my mamma. I loved her. But I love you now and I want you to be my mummy and not my step-mum." He smiles shyly at me "Would that be okay?"

Suddenly I feel like someone has given me a shot of pure adrenalin. I jump to my feet, lifting Jacob in my arms and I  swing him around, so he squeals and laughs as he holds on.

"Oh honey, it's more than okay! It's the best thing in the entire world! You have no idea of how much I have wanted to be someone's mummy. And to be mummy to such a wonderful little boy like you, has made me the happiest, luckiest mummy...EVER!"

He beams a miniature version of his Daddy's all-dimples-all-worshipping smile as he throws his arms around my neck and hugs me tightly.

Well...I never thought Jake's smile could be bettered...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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