The Apprenticeship

Vienna Barnes is given the opportunity of a lifetime when she is offered an apprenticeship to work for her favourite football club, Sunderland AFC. Sunderland AFC are one of the biggest clubs in the North East. After pulling off the greatest escape in Barclays Premier League history, the Black Cats are back in action, and sitting nervously towards the bottom of the table. Just as Vienna arrives at the club, a bombshell is dropped, and owner Ellis Short sells the club to a mystery new owner. This new owner is determined to keep themselves a secret from the footballing world, and the media are therefore forced to keep possibly the biggest secret and scandal in footballing history. Soon, all begins to fall apart at the club, and the new owners drive Sunderland into the ground. Thinking on her feet, Vienna steps in to offer her help in any shape or form. With problem after problem unveiling, will Sunderland AFC still remain intact by the end of the season?

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22. A Work Night Out

"What do you want V?" Megan asks, dialling our local Dominoes, "The usual?"

I mumble in response and lean my head back on the bean bag chair. Megan puts on her best 'phone voice' and I have to bring my hand up to my mouth to stop myself from absolutely pissing myself. You would think this girl was on the phone to President Obama the way she's talking. I never knew she could speak with such a high, squeaky voice.

Ever since yesterday's incident I've not been able to stop talking about it. As soon as I got home yesterday I ran into Megan's room and violently shook her until she woke up, and obviously she wasn't entirely happy. Once I told her that our new owners are the Janoskians she screamed the place down. It was a wonder no one thought she was being attacked. But I don't blame her for her reaction. I mean, I'm not a massive fan of the Janoskians as what I used to be, back in the 'fangirl' days, but they're still fucking amazing.

Next was Henry, who wasn't really that bothered to be honest. He only knows who they are because of me, so I wouldn't expect him to be overly concerned. Once he heard the story of Jared and I last night he was crying with laughter, he said it was 'typical me' - which is absolutely adorable.

Finally, I told the family. I rang Mum up early this morning, because by the time I got in last night it was almost midnight, and if I woke the whole family up I would get a beating and a half from my Dad. She instantly put me on loudspeaker and gathered the whole family round. Much like Henry, my whole family have no clue who the Janoskians are. I was so excited to tell them the news, but all I got was,

'Who?'

'Who the fuck are they?'

Dad and Vince didn't really care when I told them. As long as they can watch a match every weekend, they're not entirely bothered, and Mum only really follows football because we all do.

"Should be about twenty minutes." Megan informs me, "God I'm so hungry."

What I love about mine and Megan's friendship is that even though sometimes she drives me up the wall, and to be honest I probably drive her screwy too - but she still remembers my Dominoes order. That's love right there. That's real friendship for you.

"Did you ever hear from Lloyd again?" I cautiously ask, tugging at the ends of the bun on top of my head.

Megan's head snaps round instantly, "Why the fuck would you even bring him up?"

"Just wondered." I shrug.

"Well no I haven't. I refused to answer any of his calls after what happened, and then he just stopped calling me so I gave up on him eventually." She explains, a sudden grin appearing on her face, "....I might even be talking to another guy."

"Who?!" I screech, jumping up off my bean bag to run to my best friend in our kitchen, "Who, who, who, who, who?!"

I poke Megan over and over again, pleading with her to tell me about this new guy she's been talking to. I don't know where she could have met somebody to be honest - unless it's someone at her work. With Megan though, her 'lads' don't seem to last very long.

"You know when you went into hospital..." Megan begins, looking up at me in reassurance, "Sorry to bring it up V."

"What about it?"

"Well I met this guy, whilst I was waiting to see you. I was a bit shaken up, obviously, and we just spoke for a while. He helped a lot." Megan smiles reflectively, "He's Russian."

"So you're getting off with a Russian guy you met whilst I was in hospital?" I ask, unsure of whether I should be pleased my best friend found someone outside of a club, or completely disgusted.

"Fuck sake V I'm not getting with him!" Megan laughs, "We're just texting that's all."

"Well? Who is he? How old is he? Where does he live? I don't know...does he have any children?"

I annoyingly cross my arms, pretty much resembling that of an over protective parent...because standing in a kitchen in your penguin slippers and monkey onesie really screams 'parent'.

"His name's Dimitri," Megan sighs, "He's 28 years old, he lives on the opposite side of time...and erm."

She pauses briefly and grabs two glasses out of the cupboard, and then one of our giant bottles of Diet Coke out of the fridge, pouring us each a generous glass before handing one to me. The grin on her face only means that the answer to my last question won't be one that I want to here.

"Here you go babe," She grins, "He's only got one child..."

"...I just...I have no words for you sometimes." I sigh.

To be perfectly honest it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to make any form of comment on Megan and Dimitri, seeing as my boyfriend is three years younger than me...and underage. She can be a little blonde sometimes, but Megan's not dumb, she knows what she's doing.

"Nothing else is there?" I chuckle, walking back over to my bean bag, "He's not married is he?"

My body relaxes slightly into the chair, and a long silence breaks out in the flat. I flicker my head towards Megan who is stood in the kitchen, resting up against the counter with a nervous look on her face. Tell me this isn't happening right now...

"Jesus Christ he's married isn't he?!" I groan, raking my hands through my hair.

"Yeah but, "Megan begins, finding the appropriate words to argue her side, "He says they've been growing apart for ages now, and when she got ill she came out of hospital not long after you and went straight back to Russia. He barely speaks to her now."

"That poor woman had just come out of hospital and you were getting with her husband? Classy move Megs...really classy."

"Please don't give me a lecture on relationships V...especially when-"

"I know I know, especially when I'm dating a fifteen year old...blah, blah, blah."

Before Megan has a chance to reply, a loud knock at the door causes both our heads to turn simultaneously. I instantly jump to my feet and run to the door, assuming that someone would be greeting me with two rather large pizzas. As I open the door I grin at the sigh of a young man holding two pizzas, but he's not dressed in the Dominoes uniform. Instead he's wearing black skinny jeans, with a baggy green jumper and covering his deep ginger hair is a black beanie.

James.

"What do you want?" I groan, looking down at the floor as I realise the unattractive state I'm currently in.

"Well I just came down here to see you in that amazing onesie." James sarcastically comments, adding a slight chuckle, "But really, we're arranging a little night out for everyone at work and I thought I would come and personally invite you."

"Who is it V?!" Megan yells, "Is it the pizza man?!"

James hands me the pizza's, his hand over his mouth to prevent any outburst of laughter.

"Be prepared. She will probably kick off at you." I whisper, opening the door for him, "But just come in for a bit."

With a deep sigh, James cautiously steps into the flat and immediately comes face to face with my best friend, who has the same expression on her face when James can round our flat the last time. Thank God Lloyd isn't here.

I walk straight past the two frozen statues and put the piping hot pizza boxes down on the counter, taking a sip from the fizzing glass of Diet Coke. James and Megan are still staring at each other, neither one looks as if they're going to move anytime soon.

"So!" I chirp, "Uh, erm..."

"Alright Megan." James quietly comments.

Without a single word Megan strolls straight past James and into the kitchen, opening up one of the pizza boxes and taking out a slice. Her eyes reconnect with James as she takes a bite, and slowly chews, over and over again.

My fucking God this is so uncomfortable to watch.

The silence drags on until Megan finishes the whole slice of pizza, not taking her eyes on James for one second. James' breathing increases as she slowly steps towards him, and to be honest so does mine. Neither of us know what Megan will do, and although I would like her to just make up with him so all this tension can just fade away, something tells me I could be wrong and we could have another fight on our hands.

In a complete change of events, Megan outstretches her hand towards James and smiles.

"Truce?"

"Oh hallelujah." I say out loud, resting my head on the counter.

"Sure." James smiles, gladly shaking my best friend's hand, "Just to let you know you're more than welcome to come out tonight if you want to."

Megan shoots James and I a confused look, and I quickly intervene, informing her of our plans for tonight.

"B-but, the pizza." She dramatically whines.

"So that's a yes then! Great, up at our flat in about an hour?" James smirks, "We're meeting the others in town but if you guys wanna get some pre-drinks flowing with Lloyd and I you're more than welcome."

"Lloyd's coming?" Megan's face quickly drops, "That should be fun..."

For the first time in quite a while now, Megan and I both agree on something. Yes we've not really spoken that much, but he just has something about him that I find strange. He has a certain aura that is telling me he's trouble. But as long as he stays away from me then he can do what he wants. I'm not bothered.

We bid our fair wells to James and I push Megan into her room. She stretches her arms towards the pizza's as we pass the kitchen and lets out a groan in despair. We burst through her door, laughing, and I open her wardrobe for her.

"Come on, get dressed. Our first night out holy crap."

I leave Megan to dress herself appropriately and make my way back to my bedroom. It is quite upsetting to be departing from my unique slippers and my ever so loyal onesie, but for a night out...you do what you need to do.

Upon entering my room I delve into an unpacked suitcase and pull out a knee length red dress. I remember this being my seventeenth birthday present from Megan, but I never actually wore it. It's been sitting in my wardrobe back at home for so long, and I knew I would wear it sometime whilst I was here. I doubt she'll even notice the dress when I walk out with it on.

I slide the dress on with ease and smile as the thin material at the back of my dress drops, revealing a forgotten dip-hem. I fasten the jewelled belt in front of me and examine myself in the mirror. Apart from my gigantic thighs and arms - which will be covered, I don't look that bad. I grab a small black jacket from my wardrobe and one of many pairs of black tights out of my bed side cabinet. There's not way I would ever expose my arms or my legs, it would be too humiliating.

Within ten minutes my hair is perfectly straightened and tied up in a ponytail, and my makeup is similar to any normal night out - not too much, and not too little. I slip on a pair of red ballerina pumps and grab my things. Walking out of my room I come face to face with Megan, who is made up perfectly, as usual. I don't even know how she gets her makeup so on point, because I know for a fact that half of any available space in her room is made up of makeup, so I know she wears a lot. How she manages to make it all look so natural I will never know.

"That dress!" She squeals, "I've never seen you wear it before!"

"You know I don't dress up that much. I just thought I would make a bit more of an effort this time." I admit, running a hand down the red fabric.

Megan's dress compliments her figure perfectly. She's not the skinniest of people, and I'm sure she would say the same, but the black and white babydoll dress on her right now is absolutely stunning - and I look like a fucking potato compared to her.

"You ready to go?" I ask.

"Yeah, but just answer me something before we go." The tone is Megan's voice changes dramatically, and I can't help but feel slightly worried, "Why are we doing this? You know two weeks ago you hated James, and now we're heading up to his flat..."

"I know, I'm just trying to move on from it. I'm tired of arguing so unless he gives me an excuse to kick off at him again, then it's all smiles from here."

With that I stroll out the door, motioning for Megan to follow me. She lets out a deep sigh and steps outside the flat, locking the door behind her. We take a leisurely stroll towards the lift towards the middle of the hallway. Megan's heels click after her, and even though she's probably wearing 6 or 8 inch heels, she's still not as tall as me.

The lift journey is a short one. James only lives two floors up but in that short time I feel, for the first time in such a long time now, the anxiety step in. It dawns on me what I'm actually doing, and I don't know whether I should feel proud that I'm making this step in improving my relationship with James, or completely fucking mad.

"Which number are they?"

"Ten I think, it's just here." Megan explains, as we exit the lift.

We finally reach James and Lloyd's flat, and I can't move. It's as if I'm stuck to the floor. Luckily, my ever so confident best friend hammers away on the door until we're greeted by a sly looking Lloyd. I haven't seen him since the incident at our flat, and he cannot take his eyes off Megan. He bites his lip and wraps his arms around her waist, and Megan can't help but put on her overly high pitched giggle. She enters the flat, and Lloyd's face drops as he sees me, but with a single tut I move straight past him and into their flat.

It's pretty similar to ours actually, but a lot messier. The layout is still the same; the bedroom on the left as soon as you walk in, and a living area and a kitchen straight in front of you. The only difference is that their flat is a lot messier than ours.

"Alright girls." James greets us, walking straight over to me with a massive grin on his face, "I'm alright to hug you aren't I?"

"Erm, sure...that's cool I guess." I nervously reply, shakily stretching my arms out towards him.

"Ah come here you!" He laughs, tightly wrapping his arms around my neck, "Cor! I never thought I'd see the day when we'd be hugging, eh Vienna?"

"Okay, enough of that." I sarcastically comment, kindly removing James' arms from around my neck.

"What about you M-"

James stops mid sentence and I watch as his jaw drops in shock. My head snaps round to meet Megan and Lloyd, who are quietly sucking each others faces off. Lloyd has both hands on my best friend's ass, and has her pressed up against the wall, with her hands engulfed in his messy curls.

"Woah, woah, woah. Lloyd mate!" James laughs, "Want us to give you two some space?"

"Yeah, think we've got a lot of catching up to do don't you think Meg?" Lloyd winks, sending Megan into a fit of giggles.

With that, James heads for the door and I automatically follow him. As I pass Megan, she wraps a free hand around me, whispering in my ear about how she'll 'be fine', and she 'knows what she is doing'. I shrug my shoulders at my predictable best friend and join James out in the hallway.

"Guess it's just us now, eh? You're alright with that yeah?" He asks, as we make the brisk walk downstairs.

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, we're not exactly the best of friends right now are we?"

"Times change James. I've moved on." I admit, as we step into the lift.

"Holy crap you've changed your tune!" He chuckles, as the lift jolts and begins to lower us to the ground.

The doors open and James and I head towards the door. Like an annoying gentlemen, he opens the door for me, and I step through and the cold air hits me like a ton of bricks. It's the first time I've really been out into the town, other than to get to work and do the food shopping, stuff like that.

A nerving silence breaks out as we make the short journey into town. I allow James to lead the way, because I don't have the slightest clue as to where we're going. All I can think about is Megan and Lloyd together, alone in the flat.

Snap out of it Vienna, fuck sake.

"So, erm...how's things going?...Work wise." I blurt out, "Shit I can't remember where you're stationed at the minute..."

"Oh, I'm a Steward. With Chris, Zoe and Anna."

"You and Anna alright now? You're spending a lot of time with her."

"Oh yeah." James adjusts his beanie, again, "We said that we would put our differences aside, but I don't know. I don't really think we're going to be friends."

I don't really know what to say to that. I still don't really understand the whole story between James and Anna. Anna seems to think that James came on to her, but Anna seems to think the complete opposite.

"You don't think what she said was true do you?"

"To be honest I don't care. It's your business not mine."

"She was working in a Rednecks bar, okay." James blurts out, "It wasn't in Chicago...I mean, yes she does live in Chicago but...I dunno why she was in Omaha at the time but she was working in a local Rednecks bar. She came onto me. That is the truth."

Before I have a chance to react, Sophie comes running up to me in the highest heels I've ever seen. She is followed by a cheery June, Jared, Dean, Zoe...and a rather timid looking Anna.

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