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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19. EPILOGUE ONE

JUNE 1994, THE ELMS PRIVATE DAY NURSERY, BOWHAM

 

7:25am

Okay, I may have slightly misjudged the amount of traffic there would be on the road at this time. I was worried about getting stuck in the morning rush hour on my first day of college placement and arriving late, but by the looks of things I'm actually early. There's no bugger here...

A blue Ford estate pulls into the driveway and stops beside me. A woman gets out of the drivers seat, straightens out her clothes and catches my eye. I smile weakly and roll down my window.

"Can I help you, love?" She asks. She has a red smiley face and I warm to her immediately.

"I-I'm Alexa from South Trafford College. It's my first day on placement here and I'm a bit early. I'm meant to be meeting Emma in Reception, at eight o'clock."

The lady humphs. "None of the others get here till just before eight, love. You'll have a long wait for them I'm afraid. I'm Maureen the Cook. I always get here early because I need to open up and start the food prep for the breakfasts."

"Ohhh..."

Bollocks! I knew I was too bloody early...

"Can I help you with anything in the meantime?" I offer. "I'd rather be useful than just sit here for the best part of half an hour."

Maureen beams. "Well if you don't mind love, I'd welcome the extra pair of hands. My catering assistant also doesn't start work till eight, so you'd be doing me a favour."

I beam back. "No probs. I'll grab my bag and be right with you."

 

I have had a thoroughly pleasant time. Maureen is a gem and very organised. She busies herself round the kitchen and I help her get the right amount of bread and toasters ready for all but the baby room, as they have formula for breakfast. Maureen also sets out boxes of cereals and rusks to accompany the toast. Nadine her catering assistant then arrives and I am introduced to her too. She has come over from County Mayo in Ireland to study and is coming to the end of her time at Sommerville College. She is also lovely and we have a good laugh about the college and at some of the Tutors expense.

"Alexa...it's gone eight, love."

I glance at my wristwatch.

Shit! It's nearly ten past eight! How the hell had that happened?

I pale. "Oh God, I was here early and now I'm gonna be late!" I grab my bag and lurch towards the door. "Which is the quickest way to Reception?" I pant.

Nadine jumps up. "I'll take you through the inside. Don't worry, you'll be there in two minutes."

Two minutes! I need to be there in two seconds!

I follow Nadine through the kitchen and out into a long corridor. The nursery is actually an old, rambling, detached Victorian house and we are soon in Reception which is technically the old hallway. It's deserted.

"Do you know who Emma is?" I ask, my voice high with panic.

Nadine shakes her head. "Soz I don't get to mix much with the staff. I know a few of them, but," she drops her voice. "Most of them are a right bunch of stuck up cows, who think their shite doesn't stink just because they're room supervisors. They see me and Maureen as nothing more than hired help." She shrugs. "Not that I'm arsed, I wouldn't want to hang around with them anyways." She smiles fondly at me. "Just knock on the first door and ask for Emma. Someone will know who she is - or you may strike it lucky and find her first time."

I nod, panic beginning to seize me.

"Pop down to the kitchen when you're on your lunch. Me and Mo will keep you company."

I smile shakily. "Thanks Nadine, I'd like that."

"Cool! See you later then. Good luck!"

She turns and heads back down the corridor, leaving me alone in the vast hallway.

Shit, which door do I try?

All the solid wood doors are closed, but I can hear the noise of children coming from behind them. I take a deep breath and knock on the nearest door to me. Without waiting for an answer, I gently push open the door and poke my head round. A girl who looks around my age is cradling a young baby in her arms and there are four other staff in the room all busy with different babies.

"H-hi...I'm Alexa from South Trafford College. I'm looking for Emma?" I ask tentatively.

"Toddler Room." She says curtly.

Yeah...cos I know where that is!

She must have got something from my expression, as she then snappily follows up with; "Door nearest the stairs."

"Okay, thanks for your help." I say brightly and smile at her scowl as I close the door.

Jesus. Thank God I'm not in that room.

I cross over to the door near the stairs and again I knock and gently push the door open.

"Hi, I'm..."

"Are you the student?" A girl who looks in her early twenties cuts me off.

"Y-yes. I'm Alexa are you Em..."

"I was expecting you fifteen minutes ago! Come in and close the door. I wanted to go through everything with you before you started, but there's no time now." She says crossly.

"I-I'm sorry. I actually got here too early and ended up helping Maureen in the kitchen and lost track of time..." I stammer out my excuse as I look round the room. There are around 8 toddlers all playing happily in the room with three other staff. None of who make eye contact with me. They all seem intimated by Emma too.

"Right. Well now you're finally here, you can start by mixing up the paint. Tins and paint pots are in that cupboard. Just red, yellow, orange and green. They're going to be printing leaves." She stops glaring at me, turns away and goes and sits by two toddlers who are playing in a sand tray.

JESUS CHRIST! Nadine was right! They are a bunch of stuck up cows!

I realise I am still standing by the door holding my bag. I daren't ask where to put it, so I hang it on the back of a chair, on my way to the cupboard. I open it and look for tins of paint to pour. I pull down the four tins of red, yellow, green and orange paint and using a spoon that was resting on the tins, I lever the first lid off and pour some into a paint pot. A rush of red powder descends into the bottom of the paint pot, swiftly followed by a cloud of fine red dust that goes right up my nose.

SHIT! What kind of paint IS this?

"AAAATIISSSSSSHHHHHHHOOOO!" I suddenly sneeze loudly and violently into the pot, causing another plume of fine red dust to rise out of it.

"You do know how to mix powder paint, don't you?" Emma says mockingly, making me feel as small as one of the kids in the room.

Nope...Never done it in my life.

"Umm...yeah..." I begin, hoping my faltering voice will mean someone will come and show me. I look round, but I am still being studiously ignored. Even the kids aren't paying me any attention.

Well, why would they? The miserable bitch didn't even introduce me to any of them. They are innocently oblivious to the fact that I'm supposed to be helping to look after them.

I grit my teeth angrily. This can't just be because I was a few minutes late. It's not as if they are rushed off their feet or anything. All the kids are playing beautifully - three are moving cars in the sand tray with Emma and another member of staff, two are fixing pieces of Duplo bricks together with the help of a third member of staff and the final member of staff is sat on the floor with the other three kids, whilst she reads them a story from a book. They all seem happily occupied and none of them need Emma to do anything for them.

So why can't she just go through stuff with me now and show me how to get the paint ready? College will have told her I'm an inexperienced first year student. I will be telling college how bloody unhelpful she is being...

I read the side of the tin, but there are no measurements of how much powder you put into a paint pot. I'll just have to wing it. I shake the pot of red, moving my head clear out of the way of the dust plume that rises. When it's level, it comes up around an inch from the bottom, so I set out spooning an inch of powder into the three other paint pots, then taking them to the sink in the other corner of the room to add the water. I fill each pot with water and begin to mix. The powders dissolve easily, leaving me with four pots of brightly coloured thin paint.

"Where do you want the paint?" I ask gruffly. I don't see the point in niceties at this moment in time.

Emma gets up lazily from her chair and ambles her hefty frame towards me. She looks at the paints, then at me.

"What the hell are they meant to be? I thought you said you knew what you were doing?" She snaps angrily.

I hear the room grind to a halt and out of the corner of my eye I can see that all the staff and children have turned to face us.

"You told me to mix the paints," I squeak in my defence, going beetroot in colour.

Seriously, what IS her bloody problem? And was that tumbleweed that just went past?

She grabs the pots from me. "This isn't paint," she sneers. "This is just coloured water. It's useless!" She pushes past me and throws the pots into the sink, where the colours merge and make a brown muddy colour as they drain away. I want the floor to swallow me. "I'll just have to do it myself!" She snaps tersely.

WELL IT'S NOT AS IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO BLOODY DO!

My head is screaming at her, but I have been struck dumb and I am rooted to the spot. I can feel sweat breaking out and beginning to pour down my back. I feel like a complete imbecile. Emma yanks open the cupboard doors under the sink, grabs a plastic bag and literally throws it at me. I only just catch it in time.

"Go in the garden and get the leaves for the kids to paint. Surely, you can't get that wrong too."

My face on fire, I hurriedly leave the room, tears pricking my eyes. I am back in the vast hallway looking at the closed doors.

Okay...how the hell do I get to the garden..?

"How's it going?" Nadine's friendly voice comes suddenly from behind me and I resist the urge to fling myself at her.

"I'm doing everything wrong," I breathe, swallowing past the lump of unshed tears in my throat.

Nadine is carrying a tray piled high with buttered toast, two boxes of cereals and a pint of milk.

"Oh no! What happened? Which room are you in?"

I point to the Toddler Room door and Nadine rolls her eyes. "Feck, you really did draw the short straw there. They are the miserablest bunch going. Emma's that one with legs like tree trunks isn't she?" She asks tilting her head to the side.

I can't help but smile. My first smile since I left the kitchen. "She's been really nasty to me because I was late. She practically bollocked me, then told me to mix the paint. I daren't ask how to do it, so I had a go, but ballsed it up completely." I moan dejectedly. "She's just torn strips off me in front of everyone - not that I know anyone, she's not even introduced me to the staff or the kids."

Nadine shakes her head. "Miserable fecker. So what are you doing now?"

"She's sent me into the garden to get the leaves for the activity...but I don't know where to go."

"Christ, she is unbelievable!" Nadine growls angrily. "Follow the stairs round. The door is just to the right." She suddenly smiles wickedly at me. "You leave her to me. I'll be coming round with brews in 20 minutes. I'll spit in her fecking tea for you!"

"Nadine!" I squeal, but can't contain my glee.

"Wouldn't be the first time!" She sniggers. "One of the main advantages to being in the kitchen - you can easily get revenge on who pisses you off! Chin up chick. It'll be lunch in a few hours."

I nod. "Honestly. Can't. Wait."

She grins at me, then taps one of the doors twice with her foot. "Breakfast!" She calls. I hurry away as the door is opened for her.

 

I unlock the door to the garden and wander out. The sun has come out but it is still barely half eight, so it's not warm. I look round the garden. It is large and L- shaped as it winds round three quarters of the house. I close my eyes and take a long welcoming, calming breath. Opening my eyes again, I head towards the bushes. I begin to yank away at various leaves, trying to pick ones with unusual shapes and textures as I walk along the back of the garden. I'd so been looking forward to my first nursery placement. It was definitely the area of child-care I wanted to go into. So far I had been placed with a child-minder who was lovely but didn't really do much with the three kids in her care, except for taking them to the local park and a bit of craft, in between playing and watching videos and I'd had a placement at a special educational unit in a primary school, where I literally spent all day playing and interacting with children with various special needs. I'd never had to organise an activity or anything and had been looking forward to getting more involved with that side of child-care. I like being creative. Somehow, I had ended up at the nursery from hell with the most unhelpful, unpleasant people I had ever come across. If it wasn't for meeting Mo and Nadine, I think I'd just throw the bag in the bushes, grab my bag and walk out. Surely there were other nurseries better than this one? I walk over to a large, rambling Ivy that is creeping it's way upwards around a Horse Chestnut tree. My bag is half full and I begin to root through for some nice leaves. I catch a movement out of the corner of my eye and turn around. Standing a few yards away and staring worriedly at me, is the cutest little boy of around three years old. He truly has the most adorable face I have ever seen. I smile at him and he smiles tentatively back.

"Hello there little man. Would you like to help me get some leaves?"

He nods and runs over. I bend down so I am at eye level with him. He has a round face, short black hair and large, solemn dark eyes. I open my plastic bag.

"I have been picking leaves for an activity with the toddlers."

The little boy looks into the bag then back at my face. His jet eyes suddenly light up and he beams. Two dimples dance in his little cheeks. He is quite adorable. He points to the Ivy.

"UP!" He squeals lifting his hands.

I happily grab him under the armpits and haul him upwards, until he is resting at my hip. He wraps a little arm round the back of my neck and tightens his legs round my waist. Grinning happily, I point to a nice big leaf with three sculpted points.

"That's a good one honey. See if you can pull it off."

He nods and reaches for it, yanking it away so it ends up in his hand.

"Yes! That's it! Clever boy." I beam at him and he beams back.

Oh he is sooooooo cute!

I open the bag and he drops the leaf inside.

"'GAIN!" He squeals and I point to another leaf which he reaches for.

Oh this feels so good. I am finally interacting with a damn child! I had almost forgotten what I was supposed to be here for. He drops it into the bag and I look for another one.

"THERE YOU ARE YOU LITTLE HORROR!"

We both jump and turn round, as a member of staff who looks in her mid thirties, barrells angrily towards us. I feel the little boy start to tremble and I instinctively hug him tighter to me.

"We've been searching for him for the last ten minutes!" She snarls. "He legged it out of his room and disappeared! Did you not think to bring him inside?"

"I-I'm sorry. He just appeared in the garden," I stammer. "I was going to come in with him. We were just getting the final leaves for an activity." I explain.

"Who are you anyway? I don't recognise you."

"Al-Alexa. I'm from Sommerville College. It's my first day here."

"Which would explain why you left the door to the garden wide open so anyone can wander out! You were told about making sure all doors are secured at all times, weren't you?" She snaps.

Well , no I wasn't told, actually. Emma hasn't bloody told me anything, the miserable cow!

I scream at her in my head, but once again I am struck dumb, beetroot in colour, feeling like an imbecile and wishing the ground would swallow me up.

She makes a grab for the child.

"Right! Come with me, you annoying little pest!"

The little boy turns suddenly in my arms, buries his little head in my neck and clings to me.

"Nooooo!" He wails as he trembles harder against me. "No lady. Please."  He whispers against my skin.

Oh the poor, darling little man...

I squeeze him tighter to me and stroke his back, feeling the tremor under my fingertips.

"Look," I begin, finally finding my voice. "I'll bring him in. No point in upsetting him further. I'm sure he's sorry for running off."

"HA!" She spits. "Him sorry? I don't think so. He's been nothing but trouble from the first day he started with us." She glares at us. "Fine, bring him yourself. Bloody suits me." She turns on her heel and stalks off, whilst I follow in her irate wake. I can feel my neck getting damp and I know he's crying. My heart aches for him. Is he really such a monster? He didn't seem to be when he was happily picking leaves with me. And how the hell had he got out of the room? Surely that's the fault of the staff, not the kid?

 I could kick myself for leaving the door to the garden open. Even without Emma telling me, I should have known to close it behind me. I had bloody unlocked it myself, so I should have pushed it closed behind me again...

I sigh as I go back through the door and this time I pull it closed and lock it securely. The little boy is still crying softly and I automatically place a gentle reassuring kiss on the top of his head where it is nestled under my chin.

SHIT! I'm probably not meant to do that! But I can't help it. He's so cute and so upset and smells of baby powder...Mmm...

He squeezes me in response, giving me a hug.

Aww bless him, he appreciates I'm trying to comfort him.

Mrs Angry Knickers pushes open the door to her room and flounces inside and I follow her, still stroking his little back.

"Where was he?" A small blonde lady asks.

"The garden. This lady was out there and left the door wide open."

Blonde lady glares angrily at me as she approaches us. "I'm from Sommerville College," I almost whisper. "I'm sorry... it's my first day. I've barely been here an hour. I'm still getting my bearings."

Blonde lady's features soften slightly. "Well thank you for bringing him back." She takes a deep breath and lowers her face until she is inches away from the little boy. "You are in SOOOO much trouble young man!" She hisses at him. "You're going straight back on time out until I say you can move."

The little boy begins to sob uncontrollably. I feel my heart twist again.

"You can stop with the crying, none of us are interested. I will be telling your mummy when she gets here." She straightens up and looks at me. "Thank God we haven't got him for much longer. He starts at Nova Scotia Academy very soon. They're welcome to him." She looks at me. "Just deposit him on that chair over there, so he can have a good think about his actions."

I nod and carry the sobbing child to the chair. I try and put him down on it, but he just clings harder and wails louder.

"Shhh, honey." I whisper. "You don't want to get into more trouble." I look round the room. All the staff are busy with the other children, who I realise all seem much bigger than the one in my arms.

Christ he must be around four then. He's TINY for his age.

No one is giving us a second glance. I take a deep breath and sit on the chair, placing him in my lap. I gently rock him from side to side and continue to stroke his little back. After a few moments, I feel him quieten down and he shudders against me. I pull away gently and wipe his tears away with my thumbs.

"There's a good boy," I whisper and smile fondly at him. He really has the cutest little face I have ever seen. Even after it has been ravaged by a fountain of tears, it's still adorable.

He's going to grow up to be a right heartbreaker, this one...

He looks directly into my eyes and smiles sweetly, the dimples in his cheeks dancing in and out.

Oh, I could just take you home! But I'm sure that's illegal...

I sigh and stand up. I have to get back before I really am thrown out. I turn and place him back on the chair, but he wraps his hands round the nape of my neck.

"Stay with me lady. PLEASE." He begs.

OH CHRIST...

I reluctantly pull his hands off my neck and kiss them as I bob down to his eye level. "I have to go back to my room little man. I'm so sorry. But you won't be here much longer," I whisper.

He looks at me with wide, sad, jet eyes that I feel are looking directly into my soul.

"Pwomise?" He whispers back.

Oh God, I can feel my heart tighten in my chest. He is really pulling at my heart strings. I have to go, before I blub all over him.

I ruffle his thick, soft, dark hair. "I promise." I whisper into his little ear and I can't resist giving it a gentle kiss. I never knew a child could affect me so much.

I straighten up and smile as reassuringly as I can at him. He seems to sense my unease, as this time when he smiles, his eyes are flat and his dimples don't join in. He looks so sad and lost sat on his own on the chair - which just makes his little frame look even smaller.

Get out Alexa, before you lose it completely!

I straighten up, grab my plastic bag and with a final wistful look at him, I leave the room.

I take a deep breath and head dejectedly back into the Toddler Room.

"There you are!" Emma exclaims through a mouthful of toast. "Did you get lost?"

I square my shoulders. I really have had as much shit from her as I can stand for one morning. I am seriously contemplating telling college not to send me here for the next five placements if today is anything to go by. If all nurseries are like this, I really don't want to work in one.

"A kid ran out of the Prep Room. I helped find him. He was pretty upset and clung to me, so I was just settling him back down again." I say matter-of-factly. I of course miss out the fact that he had run into the garden because I hadn't secured the door behind me.

There is a collective gasp from the other staff and Emma's eyebrows shoot up in surprise. I don't know if it's from my sharp tone or the fact that I can actually be quite useful.

"We didn't know what had happened to you, so unfortunately we didn't save you any toast." She says snidely.

I shrug. "That's fine. Have the kids all eaten breakfast?" I ask glancing down to the table where they are all sat together, some playing with their uneaten crusts.

"Yes, we give them time to finish off and socialise whilst they are all sat together. Gives us chance to have our morning brews. If you want one, you'll have to pop down to the kitchen." She gives me a smug smile.

"Nah, I'm not much of a tea drinker. You carry on though. Maybe you could introduce me to everyone whilst it's quiet and you're not doing anything."

I put as much emphasis into the final four words as I can. A hush settles on the room again, as another piece of tumbleweed rolls past.

Emma glares at me and takes a long swig of tea from her mug.

Now it's my turn to smile smugly.

 

 

 

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