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?


31. Carefree

My fingers tremble as I turn the key into the lock and set foot into apartment. As expected, I can see my own breath in front of my face as the heating hasn't been on in about two weeks. I wrestle with the door to stop it from crashing against my suitcase and lock the door behind me, I want no unexpected guests this time round, no one will be getting into this flat without my permission.

"Back to this shithole." I groan, and I take a confident stroll into Megan's room.

It's completely empty.

All her posters that were up on the walls have disappeared, and the covers from her pillows and duvet are no where to be seen. Her wardrobe is completely empty and all her draws have been cleared out. She knew she was going even before we left here two weeks ago. I can't believe her.

Without a second thought I walk out into the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water. The silence is so deafening. I can't hear anything. This is pretty similar to the part in a horror film when the main character goes,

'This is quiet...too quiet.'

Before this imaginary murderer can come out and attempt to kill me, I run over to the living area and collapse onto my beanbag, switching on the television immediately.

"Up next is a woman who's boyfriend cheated on her with their next door neighbour whilst she was pregnant with their child. Now he's claiming that she cheated on him and that their child might not even be his! Let's meet her..."

I can really rely on good old Jeremy Kyle to cheer me up after a breakup. Nice one Jezza.

This is so quiet. I don't even know what to do with myself. I have no one to talk to and nothing to do, this is soul-destroying.

My phone begins to buzz on the floor next to me, and Sophie's name appears on the screen. Hallelujah, finally someone to talk to.

"Hey!" I chirp.

"Vienna! I'm guessing your back in the flat?"

"Yeah I just got back about ten minutes ago, alone this time." I curse loudly.

"Where's Megan? Vienna are you alone?" Sophie begins to question me frantically.

"Yes. After the fight with Anna she just didn't want to come back. Didn't feel like this was her home anymore." I scoff, "So I'm now living alone."

I don't know much about where Sophie lives, other than its on the opposite side of town. I know that June is living with some friends she has up here, but I think Sophie lives alone. I couldn't ask her to live with me, purely because I don't think I have the balls to. She's such a lovely girl and I think we'd get on great.

"Well to be honest I hate this place that I'm living in. It's in such a crap neighbourhood and I swear I'm lucky enough to be alive because every time I walk out that door I feel as though I might get shot." Sophie groans, "Oh V I know this is a long-shot...but can I come live with you? I'm so sorry about your friend but-"

"Seriously I was going to ask you the exact same thing. I could come help you after work tomorrow?" I offer, "Then we can get a taxi back to mine or something. Oh God it'd be so fun to live with you."]

"Yes that'd be perfect. Are you sure you'll be okay until then?"

I'm left to ponder over the thought of spending my first night alone...ever. The panic immediately sets in, but I don't want to worry Sophie. It would easily take her a half an hour taxi ride to get over here, and I feel so bad.

Fuck I'm crying. Why am I crying? Stop being such a wuss for fuck sake.

"Mmm, I'll be fine." I quickly respond, biting down hard on my bottom lip to stop anymore tears.

"Alright, if you're perfectly sure. See you tomorrow then?"

Sophie and I bid our farewells and although I feel a certain sense of relief that I won't be alone for too long - I'm still alone tonight. I'm going to have to man the fuck up else I'll be back for my first day of work and be running on no sleep whatsoever. I'm just lucky that the lads are playing at Southampton today, else I would have probably been an absolute mess serving customers tomorrow.

It's only eight o'clock at night, but fuck it. I'm getting in my pyjamas and watching television until the early hours of the morning, and no one is stopping me. My hair is thrown up into a tight bun, and I sport my heart decorated matching pyjamas. As I sit back down onto the beanbag, a stern knock on the door forces me out of my seat again.

I'm guessing it's Mr Jacksmith, and he's probably checking up on Megan and I to see how we are after the incident. What a surprise he'll get.


Well I guess it's me that's getting the surprise.

"James! Hey! Erm...come in." I nervously laugh, "What are you doing here?"

James takes a gentle walk through the hallway and into the kitchen, scanning around for any other signs of life. He turns around to face me with a confused look on his face, and I already have an inkling that he's wondering where Megan is.

"She's gone."

"Gone where?..." He questions, "Out?"

"She didn't feel right after the incident so she didn't come back." I quietly inform him.

I hate talking about it. Everyone will have to know at some point, but I'm still getting over a breakup and my best friend leaving me. It's too much right now.

James' face drops and his eyes widen in shock. I watch as his hand covers his mouth, and he leans against the kitchen counter.

"Oh my God." He groans, "This is all my fault I'm so sorry Vienna."

Subconsciously I walk over to him and wrap my arms around his waist, bring him in for a hug. I try my best to tell him that none of this was his fault, and that Anna is just a messed up, psychotic bitch. He hesitates slightly, before slinking his arms around my shoulders and resting his head on the top of mine. Two weeks ago this would have been so awkward, but now I just feel so carefree. Being in James' warm embrace feels so comforting.

"Your boyfriend would hate me so much if he saw us here right now?" James lightly chuckles.

He had to bring it up didn't he? We were stood here all nice and peaceful in this lovely hug and he has to bring up my retarded ex boyfriend that cheated on me with a skank.

"Mmm, I bet he would." I groan, removing myself from James' body.

I walk around James and head towards the open space of kitchen counter and climb on it. He keeps his eyes on me and follows in my footsteps, standing not to far from my raging person. He knows something's up. I'm going to have to tell him, because I know he'll get it out of me.

"What's wrong?" He questions, "I know you fairly well now Vienna and I know something's wrong. What happened with you and Henry?"

I bite down heavily on my lip again and stare at the floor. Annoyingly, James stand right in my view and I have to avert my eyes to stop myself from staring at his...male region.

" to me."

"Henry, erm..." I choke mid sentence and curse at myself as the tears begin to form in the corners of my eyes, "He...we're, we're not together anymore."

My hands cover my face and I kick my legs out in frustration as I burst into a blubbering mess in front of James. I hate crying in front of people, mostly because I pull a face similar to the image of a prune. My face scrunches up together and my lips purse. Sooner or later my face turns red and I just make a stupidly awkward noise. It's just not a pretty sight to see.

"Come on, don't cry please." He comforts, embracing my trembling body in his arms.

"He cheated on me." I blurt out, my head rest on James' padded shoulder, "The last match before the break he fucked another girl at his birthday party, and then two days after that...he took, my, fucking, virginity."

I'm absolutely sobbing into James' jacket, but he's staying completely silent. His grip on me tightens and I can't tell whether he's going to laugh about it or totally take my side and confess his disgust at what Henry did. Numerous options are running through my mind.

"He's a dick." James whispers in my ear, "An absolute dick, and he doesn't deserve someone as amazing as you."


"You think I'm amazing?" I detach myself from James and beam at him, wiping away a few stray tears still dotted on my cheeks.

James' hands move to my waist, and in one swift movement he lifts me off the counter and down to the ground. I'm not exactly shocked about his action, more to the fact that he was actually able to lift me...that's definitely a first. Lord he's growing on me every minute.

I'm now back to shoulder height with James, and he can't stop staring at me. A slight smirk grows in the corner of his mouth and I burst into a fit of giggles, much to his delight. I think that's the third time I've embarrassed myself now. In the space of about twenty minutes. That's a new personal best.

"Can I show you something? Do you have a laptop about?" He asks, his hand barely touching my fingertips.

"Yeah. It's just in my room give me a second." I reply, "You can come too if you'd like."

He nods gently, and the atmosphere turns from being all joyous and happy, to awkward as hell. I don't know why. It just has. Probably because I offered him to come into my room. At the start of this whole process I hated James, and thought he was a stuck up, pretentious, asshole.

Now I'm inviting him into my room. My how things change.

"You can sit down if you want." I offer, as I grab my laptop off the floor.

My instincts cause me to climb into bed, and James casually sits on the edge of the bed. If he wants to show me something he's going to have to come a hell of a lot closer...which could turn things from awkward, to down right sexual. Or maybe that's just my dirty mind acting up yet again.

"What is it? What do you want me to look at?" I question James, who in one swift move, slides up the bed next to me.

I look up at James and move further along the bed to allow him room. He confidently thanks me, as he now has full view of my laptop screen. His warm body radiates heat and I can't help but rest my head on his arm - which is surprisingly muscly.

"Youtube. Type in 'Ellis Short, Ice Bucket Challenge'."

I follow his orders and click on the first video I see. Ellis Short is sat on a chair towards the tunnel that leads into the dressing rooms, and announces that he will be nominating Mike Ashley, Alan Pardew and Jack Colback - much to the amusement of the audience he has behind the camera.

"Oh my God!" I laugh, "How have I not seen this?!"

Jack Colback was originally a Sunderland player, but left in an odd transfer to our rivals - Newcastle. In the footballing world, leaving a club for its local rival is basically the same as treason. Basically, he's not very popular amongst us anymore. We could've got a lot of money for him, as a club, but he left for free and kind of fucked us all over. So watching this is just a treat. Mike Ashley is the chairman for Newcastle, and just the worst human being in the world. He's purely invested in Newcastle for the money, and I'm one hundred percent sure he doesn't care about the club at all. As for Alan Pardew, he's the manager and head coach. He seems to have good intentions, but he's just like the nice guy that always finishes last.

As John O'Shea and Wes Brown drop the bucket of ice and water over our former chairman's head, James and I burst out laughing simultaneously. He moves his arm around me, and my head drops to his chest. I look up to him in a state of confusion, and gasp in shock as his lips connect with mine.

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