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?


12. Confrontation

"You didn't talk to me the whole taxi ride home!" Megan yells, "Can you just stop ignoring me?!"

We checked out of the hospital about half an hour ago, and Megan has not stopped annoying me since we stepped into that fucking taxi. I barely slept in that hospital bed. It felt like I was sleeping on straw.

It's 6:45am, so that leaves me about two and a half hours to get ready for work and try and dodge Megan's oncoming barrage of stupid questions.

"Vienna!" She snaps, as I storm into our flat and head towards the fridge.

In times like this, food is my only comfort.

I grab the box of Coco Pops and one of our bowls, and pour myself a generous amount. As I turn around and head for the fridge once more, Megan blocks my path, an angry scowl on her face as she folds her arms in front of her.

"You better say something to me else you're going to be eating dry cereal" She smirks, with a sense of accomplishment.

"What do you want me to say?"

"That you forgive me!" She begs.

"Fine" I angrily sigh, "I forgive you, now give me the fucking milk"

Megan giggles in delight and allows me access to the fridge. I grab the pint of milk and gag violently at the smell.

"This milk is off!" I groan, and hand the plastic bottle to Megan, "Fuck the cereal, I'm going to get ready"

I stroll towards the bedroom, and search through the piles of clothes for something decent to wear. I still have yet to actually unpack the majority of my clothes and other things I brought with me. It's been a week and I'm still acting as if I should be heading home by the weekend.

The only outfit that you could really deem as 'decent', is a pair of navy blue jeans and my favourite black ankle boots, with a white blouse that has these adorable sequin flowers on the front, and a long blue cardigan. Just as I am pulling the boots over my feet, I hear a loud vibrating on my bedside table and notice inches away from falling onto the floor. I grasp it in my hands and read the called I.D.

'Mum x'

"What's up Mum?"

"I was just worried about you sweetheart" Mum explains, "You haven't called me in days"

"I know, I'm sorry. Just had a rough weekend"

"You seemed so happy at the game, you were texting me and everything. What's happened?" Mum asks, and the nerves kick in.

I don't know whether I should say I was drinking last night, after the game. She doesn't have to know about James, and everything else...But she does, and she needs to know. Oh fuck.

"I kind of, erm" I nervously stutter, "I was in hospital"


"Mum, I really don't have time for any lectures or anything. I've only just got back and it's my first day at work" I groan, "I just had a panic attack, and apparently I collapsed, but I'm fine and-"

"Vienna Charlotte Barnes why on earth did you not call me?!" Mum practically screams down the phone.

"To be honest Mum I was too busy lying unconscious on a hospital bed. You weren't my top priority!"

As an argument quickly erupts over the phone, my head snaps up towards the door as Megan slowly slides in. She mouths at me to see if I'm okay, and I reassure her quickly.

"Well where was Megan?!"

"Oh!" I sarcastically laugh, "She was too busy getting the two lads out of our house that she never fucking told me about in the first place!"

I watch my best friend's face drop and she shoots me a 'watch what you say else I'll kick your ass look', much to my amusement. A sudden loud screeching noise bellows down the telephone and I quickly move my phone away from my ear. Megan instantly moves her hand to her mouth to prevent her laughing being heard.

"If you don't get yourselves sorted I will come up there myself and take you right back to Nottingham!"

"Mum. I'm fine. If there were any massive problems I would have been kept in hospital a lot longer" I explain, to my irate mother.

"Alright, well you are an adult so I trust you"

"Good. Now can I get ready for work? It seems like everyone's trying to stop me going" I sigh, shooing Megan out of my room.

"Yes okay. Let me know how it goes okay?" Mum asks, "....Please take care of yourself sweetheart"

"I will" I reassure her.

We quickly say our goodbyes and I end the phone call. To be honest I don't think I could have lasted any longer. If I had let Mum rant any longer I'm worried that she wouldn't have been able to stop.

Right now, all I want to do is go to the stadium and do what I've actually come here for. Ever since I arrived in Sunderland, it feels as though everything possible has happened to try and stop me from doing this. My boyfriend may or may not have had, or currently does have a 'thing' going on with the local slag. If that wasn't enough, I may have got myself a stalker at work, who caused me to have a panic attack, collapse, and spend the night in hospital. That was all Megan's fault.

It's only been a week, fuck sake.

To make things worse, I've not actually spoken to Henry for quite a while now. Apart from the odd text here and there, I've been too busy to really talk to him. It's just under 3 weeks until we see each other again, and come to think of it, I still haven't bought him a birthday present.

Time is racing by and it's only an hour until I have to be at the stadium. I don't know what's going to happen today, or if James will even be there. I'll work professionally with him, if needs be, but apart from that I want nothing to do with that disgusting excuse for a human being.

"V?" Megan calls.


"You need to come here, I..."She pauses nervously, "I just got a text from Lloyd"

I jump off my bed and take a meaningful stroll into the living room, where Megan is sat on her red bean bag. Her phone is held tight in her hand and her facial expression hardly gives me any hope.

"Fuck sake Megan what's happened now?" I whine, childishly stamping my feet on the floor as I prepare for the worst.

"Lloyd just texted me saying that James wants to talk to you"

"Well why on earth would I want to talk to him?!" I laugh.

"Dunno V, but he's on his way down now" Megan warns, much to my displeasure.

I curse loudly as the door bells rings, and Megan quickly scurries off to her bedroom. I sarcastically thank her for her support, and tread nervously along the nude carpet towards the door. With a deep sigh I slowly open the door and gasp and James' face.

His eyes are bloodshot, and he looks like he has been crying for hours. He is still wearing the same clothes he wore last night, and his breathing makes him look as if he's just finished running a marathon.

"What do you want?" I ask, in a low monotone voice.

"Please, just hear me out" He begs, in between breaths, "I was bang out of order last night, I don't know why-"

"Damn fucking right you were out of order!" I interrupt.

"Please, can I just come inside? I really don't want the whole block to hear you screaming at me"

Without a word, I open the door wide enough for James to step in. He immediately stuffs his hands into his pockets and shuffles his feet into our flat, mumbling a 'thank-you' in the process. I storm past him and head towards the kitchen, standing in the exact position that we were last night.

"Shit, what happened to your head?"

"Oh this?" I comment, pointing towards the large gash that is partly hidden in my hair, "This was when I collapsed after having a panic attack that you caused. Then I had a lovely journey in an ambulance, which I actually can't remember because I was unconscious for the majority of last night. Oh, and I only got home from hospital two hours ago after not really getting a wink of sleep. But hey, who cares?"

"You went to hospital?" James asks, nervously fixing the beanie on his head for the umpteenth time, "Vienna I'm so sorry"

"Yeah, that was after you had slagged off my relationship and stormed out of my flat" I snap.

"I shouldn't have said those things I said" He apologises. with the least amount of expression I have ever seen on a human being, "About your erm...boyfriend. I just... Well you were the only person that spoke to me at the game, apart from Anna and she just threw abuse at me"

"Well she threw abuse at everyone, and everything. I think she even tried to argue with the door at one point, she was that pissed out of her mind"

Much to my annoyance, James laughs at my comment. Fucking idiot.

"The other thing being that, I think...I think you're beautiful Vienna" He nervously smiles.

I feel a hot flush build in my cheeks, and my head drops to the floor as I kick my feet against the floor, desperately trying to think of something witty to say.

"Well" I announce, my voice trembling, "....That's nice"

God Vienna you're such an embarrassment.

"But, you have a boyfriend" James sighs, adjusting his beanie once again, "So, I know I need to keep my distance in that perspective. However, if we can start over as friends, I would love that"

I can either go two ways here. The bitch in side of me, who's head is still throbbing from last night wants nothing more than to tell James to do one, and tell him that there is no future for us, friends or anything. On the other hand, the lady-like woman is telling me to bite my tongue.

"Fine" I say, through gritted teeth, "This doesn't mean that we're going to be best friends. I'll be pleasant towards you, but if you really want us to be friends then you need to prove how sorry you really are"

James nods in acknowledgement, and a smirk begins to creep on his face.

"We could walk to the stadium together?...You know, if that's not too much to ask of you"

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