So as you know I'm here in Edinburgh and I never actually realised just how slow this wifi would be! It's taken me hours to actually get on here and it took me ten minutes to post my last mumble! Therefore I'm posting this chapter as I finished writing it about two days ago.
As you all know we'll be saying goodbye to three of this story's characters between now and Chapter 30, and this is the first of the characters to go! We all kind of expected this, and to be honest I'm quite happy she's gone to be honest :P
Anyway, I'll have a go at writing whilst I'm here but if I can't, you won't be hearing from me until Tuesday at the earliest! :(
I step into the taxi and inform the driver of the flat's location, before he quickly starts driving along the streets of a mid morning Sunderland. It's about half past 10, and although I would have loved to stay with Megan, my job is just as important as she is.The only thing I can think to do whilst I wait for this long, painful journey to be over is to ring Megan's Mum. She strictly told me not to, but to be honest she would do the same if I was in her situation.
"Hello? Vienna? Are you alright sweetheart?"
"Hiya Christine. I'm just gonna cut to the chase. Megan's in hospital." I sigh, running a hand through my matted hair.
I can't even bare to go back to the flat. Nothing was smashed last night, and I should be grateful, but I keep getting flashbacks of holding an unconscious Megan in my arms as Anna kept wailing on about some useless shit. I probably should have brought my work clothes with me, because I'll be lucky if I actually make it to work on time.
"What on earth?! Why, what's happened?!" Christine shrieks down the phone, "Oh for goodness sake Vienna why do you two keep ending up in hospital?!"
"I'm sorry Christine. Two of the apprentices involved me in one of their arguments and Megan was just trying to stick up for me. She got punched in the face and managed to hit her head on the handle to my wardrobe when she fell over." I explain, "She's fine, she's in safe hands. I just had to leave because work will start in half an hour. She's had a few stitches in her head and they should be letting her out in a few hours. Please don't be angry I didn't want any of this to happen."
"Who are these people anyway? Why are they involving you in their arguments?! You're meant to be working for a worldwide company probably worth billions of pounds, imagine what example it's going to be setting! Oh I swear to goodness as soon as you two get home we are going to sit down and really talk about this!"
Christine Barnes is a wonderful woman, don't get me wrong. She'll be kind and polite towards you, and sometimes even sickly sweet. However, the minute you threaten her family, friends, or her livelihood, she can turn on you in a split second.
"Someone's in love with someone else, and they both tried to convince me that the other was in the wrong. Yeah it all just escalated from there and Megan was just...Megan."
"Yes she does have a temper sometimes. Whoever that other girl is she better not be allowed back onto the apprentice programme! Else I swear I will come down there and speak with Mr Short myself!" Christine yells.
I politely inform her that Ellis is no longer in charge of Sunderland, and in a blind burst of anger she sternly bids me goodbye and hangs up the phone. Perfectly timing really. We pull up outside the flat, and I kindly ask the driver if he could wait for 5 minutes so I can grab my uniform, and my purse. I don't think he would be too impressed to learn that I don't actually have any money on me. Especially with the ever-growing metre, that's currently on £18.65.
"Alright lass, but don't plod along!"
I run into the building and head for our flat, praying quietly that I don't bump into James. My hands fumble around with the key and I intake a sharp burst of breath before gently stepping into the flat. I don't know why I'm so worried to be honest. Nothing was broken last night, and everyone left the flat...I think.
"Hello?" I cautiously ask, taking gentle steps into the living area, "Is anyone here?"
I turn my head slowly and gasp at the sight before my eyes. James is stood by the window, a forceful smile upon his face as he takes a few steps towards me.
"I'm sorry, I...didn't take anything. I was just so erm, nervous, I didn't want to leave the flat unattended. I kinda felt bad, you know?" He stutters, heavily scratching the back of his head.
"No no!" I protest, "It's okay...Are you, alright?"
Without saying a single word, I feel James' muscular arms gently wrap themselves around my shoulders, pulling me in for a hug. Hesitantly, I repeat his actions, and I feel a certain sense of comfort in his arms.
"I'm fine, I just wanted to know you were safe." He whispers, into my matted ponytail, "How's Megan?"
"She's doing well yeah. She regained consciousness in the ambulance. A few stitches in the back of her head and she should be out of hospital in a few hours." I quietly explain, still relishing in James' warm embrace.
I know I shouldn't be saying this, but I could stay like this for a long time. It's been so long since I've been properly hugged by someone, and felt so safe and secure. Yes it's James, and at the start of this whole process I hated his guts, but it's still nice.
"I'm so sorry. I never meant for any of this to happen. I kept telling Anna not to involve you." He quietly explains, his soft accent soothing all the aches left from sleeping on an uncomfortable hospital chair.
"Why did she involve me in the first place?" I sternly ask, tearing myself away from James' grasp.
"It didn't take long for her to realise that I really like you." He sighs, leaning himself up against our kitchen counter, "She didn't really take it too well, and from how she's been acting I'm guessing she wanted to turn you against me. So there would be no chance of us getting together."
"We wouldn't be together in the first place! Why does everyone forget that I have a fucking boyfriend?!"
In a made rush of anger I storm into my bedroom and grab my work uniform, shoving it into a bag with my purse. As I turn to walk out of the room, James is stood in the doorway. This doesn't half bring back memories of last night. God dammit.
"Breathe Vienna, please." He begs, "Come on. We need to get to work."
"Yeah, I've erm...got a taxi outside. You can join me if you want."
"You would let me, your arch nemesis, join you, in a taxi ride?" He jokes, a sarcastically amusing shocked look on his face, "What have they done to you?!"
"What the hell are you on about James?" I laugh, guiding him towards the front door, "That metre's going to be up to about £30 if we don't hurry up, come on."
James and I take a pacey stroll outside, to where the taxi driver is shaking his head furiously. We step into the taxi, and I apologise numerous times. With a sharp jolt, we make our way to the Stadium.
"Do you think she'll be there?"
"No." James bluntly answers, "She's definitely gone."
"You're fully convinced of that?"
He replies with a simple nod of the head, and just like that, the Stadium is in full sight. Margaret is stood out in the open, and the minute she spots our taxi, she takes a confident stride towards us. A less than please expression on her face. I pay the taxi driver, and he speeds away, leaving us out in the fairly warm air.
"You two had an interesting night I've heard." Margaret sourly greets us, "The new owners want to see you. Now."
Staying completely silent, James and I shoot each other a 'shit is about to go down' look, and we timidly follow Margaret up a flight of stairs. This is the same route we made on the first day, when we were watching the game, and when we were all officially informed that Ellis was leaving.
We walk past all the VIP rooms and head into the office that every congregated in to hear about Ellis departure. Instead this time, we're lead towards the back of the room, that is marked as 'Authorised Entry only'.
"In there." Margaret orders, "All the others are in there as well."
She holds the door open for us, and James and I nervously walk into a lavishly decorated office. A neatly stacked bookcase is situated behind an almost new looking black leather chair. A mahogany coloured desk is glimmering under the light in the centre of the room, and 5 familiar looking young men are glaring in mine and James' direction.
"Sit down." Beau orders, "We know you know who we are, so there's no need to mess around."
I look to the left of me, and the other apprentices are sat on chairs in front of a window. Sophie looks beyond terrified, and even Dean and Zoe look a little shaken up.
Anna is no where to be seen.
"He told you to sit down!" Luke's voice bellows through the room.
I immediately shoot across the room and sit down next to June, gripping her hand for support.
"Now that the stars of the show have arrived we can get down to business." Beau begins, "Last night an incident took place in a local block of flats involving three of you. To be honest I'm not going to fuck around, the incident involved Anna Young, James McNamee and Vienna Barnes. Anna was arrested after assaulting Vienna's flatmate, and is still being detained in a cell. This kind of behaviour is beyond unacceptable. We never wanted to reveal our identity this early on. But now we've had no choice. The media have been informed and you are the last members of the company to find out. The media will be swarming this place within days thanks to this little incident, which is the prime reason we were going to keep our identity a secret for longer."
"You were all chosen out of thousands of applicants for this job. You all went through months of tasks in order to get to where you are now and you will be making your way up this company to some of the highest positions. If you're acting like this so early on in the process, how are we supposed to trust you all?" Daniel interrupts, "Anna has been fired and will no longer be part of the Apprenticeship programme, and will no longer be working for the company."
"Let this be a lesson to all of you. I know we haven't been in charge that long, but we definitely won't be holding back. Any inappropriate behaviour like this and you will be straight out the door like Anna." Luke contributes to the speech by our new owners, "Now get to work, all of you."
The group quickly heads towards the door, a couple of conversations breaking out in the process. A gentle tug on my arm makes me jump in shock, and as I spin around, Jai Brooks is smiling sympathetically at me.
"We'll see you later V." June and Sophie smile in my direction, and I am left alone with our new owners.
The Janoskians. I'm in a room with the Janoskians. I never new Sunderland to be so full of drama and excitement. Wow.
"You're Vienna I presume?" Jai asks, "We just wanted to make sure your friend was alright."
"Erm, yes. She's fine. Still in uhm, hospital, but she should be out soon." I nervously reply, tugging at the end of my sleeves, "A couple of stitches in her head and a slight concussion. That's all."
"Bloody hell." James scoffs, "Don't worry Vienna. Anna's never going to be coming back here again."
"Thanks. Oh, I erm, wanted to apologise for, you know, that night outside the stadium. We didn't want to come forward, because we were quite, nervous."
"Honestly. Forget about that. It's all forgotten. As long as you, your friend, and James are alright, then all is forgotten. We known you and James had no part to play in this mess. Now just do what you came here to do, and allow us all to forget about all of this." Jai kindly reassures me, "If we don't see you before the end of today, then enjoy the International Break."
"Thank you, thanks a lot." I smile, walking slowly towards the office door, "Bye."