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?


20. Perfect Chaos

"I can't believe he got you roses!" Sophie laughs, "What a little kiss up!"

"More like what a little asshole." June scoffs.

Sophie and I laugh at June's ever impressive witty comments, as we make our way towards the stadium. Today is the Capital One Cup match between Sunderland and Stoke, and our first match day without Ellis in charge. We still have no clue who the knew owners are, and to be honest it's getting really fucking annoying. The anonymous owners don't really add an air of mystery, they add an air of being a fucking piss take.

All of the apprentices have come to some form of agreement in that our new owners must be some form of celebrity. You wouldn't protect your identity from practically everyone if you weren't of a high status, I assume. Either than or they're just too scared to show themselves.

As usual, Jared's cheery face greets me outside the main entrance, and I cant help but smile like an absolute idiot. It's weird how much we have clicked since we've been here. We just get on so well, and he opens up to me about pretty much anything. He told me about his girlfriend back in Australia called Lucy, and how he Skype's her every night. I could kind of relate to that, with Henry being back in Nottingham, but perhaps not to the extent of Jared's relationship.

June heads off to the club shop, whilst Sophie makes her way round to the opposite side of the stadium, to work on another food stand.

Upon entering our work station, we are greeted by Mary who hands us our name badges.

"There you go kids!" She cheers, "Don't lose them."

"Ah wow thanks."

"No problem sweetheart. Now Jared son you get back here and start prepping, Vienna dear I need you to get some bread rolls from storage. Just down the corridor, and its the third door on your left." Mary explains, gently urging me away.

"Oh I see!" I jokingly comment, "You're already trying to get rid of me!"

"Away with you." Mary laughs, her voice filling the corridor as I begin the leisurely stroll to the storage room.

I carefully count each door on the left side, disregarding the toilets, until I find a door market as 'Food Storage'. The door is already unlocked, and I make my way into the fairly small room piled high with all different types of bread and condiments. The faint sound of football studs hitting the rock hard flooring appears in the background, but I quickly shake the sound off and grab a whole range of bread rolls and hot dog buns.

I curse lightly under my breath as the sudden realisation hits me that I'm seriously going to struggle trying to shift these back. I desperately try to fit as many packets of bread as I can on my arms, but only manage eight. Fuck it, I'll make two trips. The football boots have become louder, and as I exit the storage room I briefly scan the corridor, but nothing can be seen. I cautiously reach back towards the door to shut it, and begin the slow walk back to my co-workers. I can hear the football boots directly behind me, and think nothing of it, until they come to a stand still. The noise is replaced by a low chuckling sound, and in a sudden shock of the man in front of me, I spin around and drop the bread all over the floor.

"Fuck sake, thanks for that." I groan, dropping to my knees to try and recover the now party squashed bread.

The man silently drops to the floor, but manages to imprint his knee on one of the hot dog buns, causing me to groan out loud once more.

"Shit, sorry about that." He apologises.

As I look up at the man, I catch his jet black shorts that have the number '30' printed in white on the left knee, and my heart stops. I begin to make my way up towards his torso, and the red and white striped shirt only ignites my belief in the identity of this person. My eyes finally catch his face, and he's smiling right at me.

"Hi!" He chirps, "...You look like you've seen a ghost."

It's Will Buckley, holy shit. What's he doing here? The players aren't even supposed to be around at this time.


"I'm guessing you already know who I am then!" He chuckles, "I shouldn't really be around here, but we're meeting the new owner before the game so Gus thought it would be better to train here instead of at the Academy."

A lot of what Will is saying I can't really pick up. I'm too busy staring at his perfect face. I've never really seen a famous person up close like this before. I've seen Justin Bieber, One Direction and those kinds of people at gigs and stuff like that, but I've never really been so close to a celebrity that I could reach out and touch them. He doesn't look real.

"You don't talk much do you...erm." Will takes a quick glance at my name badge, "Vienna."

"It's not everyday you bump into a footballer." I nervously giggle.

The giggle quickly leads into an uncontrollable snort, and I bury my face in my hands in embarrassment. Jesus Christ, if this is what I'm like around Will, imagine what's going to happen when I meet Seb.

"You've got such a cute laugh." He quietly comments, causing my head to snap up.

His chocolate brown eyes are staring right at me, and he's smirking so adorably. If I wasn't sat down my legs would be like jelly right now. I'm just a normal, unattractive, awkward teenager and here I am being complimented by a professional footballer. He should be complimenting skinnier girls, and dating models...not girls who have the similar frame to that of a potato.

"Wow...oh, erm, t-thanks." I stutter, shakily running a hand through my hair and trying desperately hard to hold back another oncoming giggle.

"Don't worry about it. Can I help you with these?" Will offers, pointing towards the bread that is still on the floor.

"Oh yeah, erm, thanks."

I shakily climb to my feet, grabbing a few of the packets in the process. Will picks up the rest and grabs a few more from storage, closing the door behind him as we make our way back down to the food court. The silence is deafening, but I don't know what to say really. What do you say to a Premier League professional footballer?...

"Training!" I blurt out, "You erm...said you were's t-that going?"

"Yeah, training's good. How's the Apprentice thing going?" Will asks, laughing at my awkwardness.

"Good. It's...very good." I nervously comment.

The food court comes into sigh and Will suddenly stops dead in his tracks. I turn my head to face him and smile, as he seems to be placing the bread packets just a few doors down from my work station.

"I can't come all the way. If anyone else sees me I'll be around for ages, taking autographs and things like that. I shouldn't really be around here anyway"

"Oh yeah, of course. Well, thank you for the help." I smile, "Wait, didn't you say you were meeting the new boss'?"

"Yeah. They want to meet the players first and then they'll introduce themselves to everyone else apparently. They want to get comfortable before they make themselves known to the general public." Will explains, "Still have no clue who they are, but hey, it's quite exciting."

I nervously scratch the back of my neck, nodding in response to Will's statement. He takes a few steps towards me, a smirk smothered across his face.

"I best go, but it was good to meet you." He grins, gently touching my forearm, "Maybe I'll see you again...bun girl."

Bun girl?!

I stand there, bread in hand as Will begins to back away, still smirking at me. He spins on his heel and takes a gentle job down the hallway, leaving me motionless, jaw hanging open because I still really can't believe who I was just speaking to.

"There you are!" A familiar Australian voice announces, "We've been looking for you for ages!...What are you looking at?"

Jared puts a gentle hand on my shoulder, snapping me out of my daze. I turn around and apologise, handing him my packet of bread rolls, before grabbing Will's and heading back into the kitchen. Mary is stood by the till, saying something to Harriet. As soon as she sees me she throws her arms up in the air, and moves towards me at an alarming pace.

"Where on earth have you been?!" She cries, "Come on put those down and get to work. Goodness me we were going to send out a search party!"

"Sorry boss. I had trouble finding the storage room."

Jared and I place the bread packets on top of the counter, and he begins to ask me numerous questions.

"I know you were with someone." He whispers, "Who was it?"

"No one. I don't know who you're on about." I reply, emptying the bread rolls and arranging them on the counter.

"Come on Vienna! It looked like one of the players! Tell me I'm wrong..."

"Fucking hell Jared." I groan, "...It was Buckley."

"Oh come on, as if!"

"You wanted to know and I told you. How do you think I carried all these packets down here without dropping them?" I confidently ask, "Why do you think there were rolls on the floor?"

I catch Jared's face and his jaw drops almost like mine did when I first saw Will. His face hits the counter and he starts saying 'Oh my God' repeatedly. I whack him playfully on the arm, and I can't help but laugh a little bit.

"If you think that's crazy," I begin, leaning down to whisper into Jared's ear, "He also said I had a cute laugh."

Jared pauses briefly before turning his head towards me, his eyes wide and his jaw still hanging open.

"Shit Vienna, that's crazy!"


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