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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4. Sunderland bound

The train races along the tracks as we ever closer and closer to our new home.

A few minutes after we departed, Megan tried to take my mind of things by giving me my birthday present, a bottle of my favourite vodka. It definitely distracted me, and at least we have a plan for the rest of the night.

"How was your lunch with Henry" Megan asks, biting into probably one of the biggest BLT sandwich I have ever seen.

"Good actually" I explain, "But there was this really stupid waitress that kept touching him. I think she was called Madison, something like that. I nearly decked the bitch"

"Not Madison Xavier? Does she work at Ask Italian in town?"

"Yeah...she's blonde and annoyingly skinny" I groan, slamming my head against the table in frustration.

"Oh my god. Madison Xavier is known for splitting up couples. She's a full on slag"

It takes me a few seconds to digest the words that have just left Megan's mouth. Once they do, my head snaps up towards her. She cannot actually be serious?

"Are you for real right now?" I snap, "There is no way in hell she is breaking Henry and I up"

Megan tries to reassure me as best as she can, but the thought is running round my head constantly. I can't imagine Henry with another girl, and I don't really believe he would do that. I put up with so much abuse for getting into this relationship, and he's such a kind-hearted human being, I highly doubt he would do that to me.

"Ugh" Megan groans, "I'm shattered, I'm gonna take a quick nap. Wake me up when we get there okay?"

I nod lazily in response and stick two headphones in my ear, as Megan lays down on her two seats. To my sheer delight, Superheroes by the Script comes on and I smile subconsciously.

"Cause she's stronger than you know,

A heart of steel starts to grow.

When you've been fighting for it all your life,

You've been working every day and night,

That's how a superhero learns to fly.

Every day, every hour,

Turn the pain into power"

It's strange how that one song can just describe everything you are going through at that one moment. All this pain I'm feeling, leaving home. Leaving everything and everyone I know. I can't let that hold me back, because I have a once in a lifetime opportunity and I need to use the pain as power to achieve success.

Wow, I've only just left home and already I'm sounding like my Mum, jeez.

I glance at the time on my phone,

22:24

It doesn't feel like a minute's gone past, and we're already near Sunderland. The train is due in just after 11, and then it's a fifteen minute taxi drive to the flat. Actually, when I think about it, I'll probably be too tired to drink anyway. Damn train journey.

I turn my body so that my legs are hung over the extra seat beside me, and lean my head back. The rest of the track plays out as my tired eyes slowly begin to close.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Vienna!"

"Vienna!"

"Fuck sake Vienna wake up!"

My eyes snap open to meet Megan, who is impatiently stood in front of me, both of her suitcases in hand.

"I've been trying to wake you up for the past 5 minutes you idiot. We're here!"

"Woah" I yawn, "We're here already?"

I blind rapidly as I observe the world outside the windows. The station looks completely empty. Not a soul in sight.

I slowly move to my feet, grabbing my phone in the process.

"Grab your stuff man, all the taxi's will be gone if we don't move quickly" Megan orders, slowly walking towards the train doors.

With both suitcases in hand, we walk off the train and towards a nearby lift. Within minute's we leave the station and head towards a lone taxi on the side of the street. The town is completely dead. In the distance I can hear faint screams of drunken townsfolk, and I quickly step into the taxi, lugging my suitcases into the boot whilst Megan tells the driver our destination.

"Yeah that one. Thanks"

Megan swiftly enters the taxi and sits next to me, playfully squeezing my arm as the taxi moves into the centre of town.

"I can't believe we're actually here!" She squeals, "I hope the flat's still the same way we left it"

"Probably, you got the keys?"

We were each given a key when we got everything sorted for the flat. But due to the fact that my anxiety makes me such a clumsy, forgetful idiot, Megan decided to keep my key until we officially moved in.

"Yep. They're in my handbag" She replies, "Do you mind paying for the taxi?"

"Sure, I've got a ten on me, do you think that will cover it?"

Megan nods in response as we move closer and closer to the flat. The town is becoming a little more familiar now, and surprisingly, the journey is a lot quicker than I thought.

As I glance out of the corner of my eye, an all too familiar sight catches my eye. The place I will be working at for the next goodness knows how long.

The Stadium of Light.

I can't see it very well in the dark, but even it's presence makes me both nervous and excited. I won't actually be going there until Saturday, so I have one day to mentally prepare myself for the beginning of what could be my future job. We won't officially be working on Saturday, we're just going to watch the match and get to know each other. The real work begins next week.

"You alright V?" Megan asks, gently touching my arm.

"Mmmhm" I reply, yawning heavily, "Just seeing it. It's like...it's actually happening. We're here"

"You on about that apprenticeship at the Stadium?" A loud North Eastern accent bellows through the taxi, "My lad was nearly picked. Got down to the last twenty and they turned him down. Poor boy was gutted"

"Oh I'm sorry" I reply, "I don't know how I was picked to be honest. Guess luck was just on my side"

"You heard the latest about that Mr Short?" the driver asks, "Apparently a mystery bidder put in a high offer for the club. Rumours going round that he canny turn it down, like. Really hope Ellis knows what he's doing"

"I dunno" I shrug.

The taxi quickly pulls up outside our block of flats, and Megan and I exit the vehicle. We grab out luggage from the boot of the car, and I delve into my handbag to find my purse.

"How much is it again mate?" I ask, reaching for a crisp ten pound note.

"It's £7.90 pet" The driver smiles, as I hand over the money.

"You can keep the change"

"Cheers for that lass, and good luck at the Stadium. Maybe I'll see you about on Saturday!" He chuckles, "The names Andy by the way!"

Andy reaches out a hand towards me, and I gladly meet his with mine as he roughly shakes my hand.

"Vienna"

"Okay Vienna, you and your friend have a good night" Andy smiles, before speeding away in his taxi and back into the town centre.

I turn around and head towards the entrance to our block of flats, where Megan is waiting eagerly with the key held tightly in her hands.

"Come on you, it's another lift I'm afraid" she jokes, stepping into the brightly lit box.

I groan in frustration and step inside, watching as the doors slide shut and we are pulled up towards the third floor. The door's quickly slide open and the heavy sound of suitcases rolling across the jet black carpet fills the hallway as we arrive at flat number 5.

Megan slowly unlocks the door and we step into our new home.

 

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