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?


10. A Night in A&E

"Sky Sports was right. Ellis is selling the club. I can't believe it"

"Oh my god" Henry gasps, "How do you know?"

"I went to find a toilet after the game, and I overheard him talking to someone" I explain, for the third time today.

As soon as I got back from the game I told Megan instantly. I sort of had to. If I get sacked then we'll have to move back to Nottingham for good, and that's going to be a tad embarrassing. I know I told Ellis I wouldn't tell anyone, but I had to tell her, and Mum too. The rumour has been flying around for days, and eventually people will find out.

Mum took the news a lot better than Megan did. Even though she's absolutely furious, like me, that Ellis is willing to sell Sunderland just because of the money, she knows that he will find an appropriate successor.

"I don't know what's gonna happen" I stress, groaning in frustration, "I'm absolutely terrified"

"Don't be, V" Henry soothes, and I wish so badly he was here right now, "You know you can always call me, or text me if you're worried"

"How long is it again until I see you?"

"Well" He begins, "When's my birthday?"

"October 2nd"

"There you go!" He laughs.

I playfully scold him and sigh deeply. I so desperately want to be with Henry, because he knows just how to make the pain go away.

"It just seems so far away" I whine, "I know it's not even been a week here, but I just miss you so much"

"I know Vienna. It's just under three weeks away, you can do it"

What's really starting to bug me, is the fact that I'll get there the day before Henry's birthday, and have to leave the day after. I barely have anytime to see everyone. The only real time I have off is a few days at Christmas, and obviously when the football season ends in May.

"I'm sorry babe" Henry apologises, "I need to go, I've got school tomorrow"

"Oh shit yeah, it's Monday tomorrow. I start work holy crap"

After the incident with Ellis I went straight back to the VIP room, and thankfully Margaret was along a few minutes after. She explained to us what we would be doing for the next week, and that we would need to meet outside her office at 10am tomorrow morning. Where her office is I have no clue, so that should be a great little adventure tomorrow morning.

"You'll be great" He encourages, gently yawning as we reach the end of the conversation, "I love you"

"I love you too" I announce, "Bye"

I quickly hang up the phone, and walk into Megan's room. She is sprawled out over her bed, twirling a piece of her auburn hair as she engages in deep conversation with someone over the phone.

We catch eye contact and she mouths 'hello' at me, as she giggles at the person's comment.

"Yeah come down whenever" She coolly responds, "You guys can meet my friend"

"Megan what the fuck?" I whisper, as she completely ignores my question.

"Okay, see you in a sec, bye"

"I angrily glare at Megan as she hangs up the phone and stares at me, excitement glistening in her eyes as she grabs hold of my wrists.

"Okay, so there's two lads a couple of floors up from us. I met one of them yesterday when you were at the football, and apparently he has a friend who is one of the apprentices at the stadium. Do you know him?"

My mind instantly thinks of James, and I feel a lump in my throat as I nervously scratch the back of my head. I really don't like the idea that I'll have to work with James at some point, so I'm not too thrilled about him being inside my flat.

Before I have a chance to respond, the door bell rings and I hear multiple knocking sounds at our door.

"Jesus Christ" I curse, "How long are they going to be here for? I have work in the morning!"

"Not long I promise. Just relax Vienna you'll be fine. You need to stop letting your anxiety get in the way of things!"

"Megan for fuck sake you're letting two complete strangers into our house!"

I watch as Megan strolls towards the door and lets the two young boys into our flat, and to my complete disliking, James is smirking right at me.

"V!" Megan giggles, "This is Lloyd, and James"

My teeth bite down hard on my upper lip as the two boys confidently greet me. I smile back at them and make my way into the kitchen, nervously pouring myself a glass of water as Megan shows our flat to our 'guests'.

"I know our living room is a bit dull at the minute" She explains, looking like a drunk real estate agent. Seriously, the amount of 'uhms' and 'ahs' this girl is coming out with is actually comical.  "There's a few bean bags there, and erm, yeah. Come on you two I'll show you my room"

I snap my head round to face Megan as she struts into her bedroom, and the two young lads follow behind her.

"You two just chill in there" James laughs, "I'll wait out here, alright?"

Oh god please no.

My head falls to the floor, and I take a sharp intake of breath as James begins to whistle to fill the awkward silence. Conveniently he whistles to the tune of "Wise Men Say" by Elvis Presley, the song that's normally played around three times during a match at the Stadium of Light. How fucking delightful.

He continues the song, and I can feel his presence edging closer towards me. James drums his hands on the fridge and leans up against it. I can feel his eyes on me, and the anger is slowly brewing inside as he lets out a light chuckle.

"Something funny?" I ask, my hands gripping my hands onto the counter.

"Why do you hate me so much?"

"You're just" I sigh, "Annoying man. I feel like you're trying to come onto me or something!"

"So what if I am?" He smirks.

I jump in shock as I feel the gentle touch of James' hands on mine.

"Get off"

"What's wrong babe?" He whispers, fully interlocking his fingers with mine as he bites his lip playfully.

"You wanna know what's wrong?" I snap, pulling my hand away from James as his face drops completely, "You have not stopped coming onto me since I first met you. You creep me out to the point where I don't want to be around you. I have a boyfriend for fuck sake, and you need to just back off!"

Anxiety enters my body in such a rush that I that I fall quickly to the floor, my hands entangling in my hair as I feel a panic attack brewing.

"Shit, Vienna I'm sorry. I didn't know" James sighs.

I feel his body come down to the floor with me and I instantly begin to feel the room spinning. My anxiety hasn't been this bad in so long, it's starting to worry me a lot, and James isn't helping one bit.

"You should have told me about your boyfriend" He advices.

"Sorry I didn't want to tell you all of my business!" I sarcastically comment, "Do you want to know more about him?! He's fifteen for starters!"

"Holy fuck are you shitting me?"

I angrily glance up at James through my fingers, and to my complete horror he is crying with laughter. There is only so much shit you can put someone through before they walk up to you and slap you round the face. Come to think of it I don't know why I didn't do that earlier.

"You're dating a fifteen year old?" He sniggers.

"Get out" I whisper, tears engraving into my cheeks as those words hit my like a moving train.

I feel like I've heard this so many times in my life. I'm not sure whether I feel raged, or I just don't care.

"Vienna you're eighteen, and you're dating a fifteen year old that's practically-"

"Illegal?" I finish his sentence for him, I already know what he's going to say anyway, "Yeah I know. But do you know that it's only illegal for you to engage in sexual activity with someone underage?"

"Yeah, but still" James replies, standing back up to his feet as he annoyingly adjusts his beanie.

I pause briefly, before feeling the anxiety brew up in the pit of my stomach once again, "No. You know what I am sick to death of people feeling as though they know my relationship with Henry. I've never engaged in any form of sexual contact with him, or with anyone. He doesn't want to do that until he's sixteen and neither do I. You can't help who you fall in love with, and neither can you stroll into someone's house and try and come onto them for I think the fiftieth time. Neither can you comment on their relationship!"

By this point I am stood face to face with James. My breathing has increased dramatically and I'm panting as though I've just run a marathon. To my complete relief, Megan comes bursting through the door, Lloyd lazily strolling after her as she comes right up to me. Ten minute's ago I wanted to scream in her face, but to be fair I couldn't be happier to see her right now.

"What have you said?" Megan sternly asks, a comforting hand being placed on my back.

"What about the fact that she's dating a kid?" James scoffs.

"That is none of your fucking business" Megan spits, and I feel the room begin to spin slowly.

"It's disgusting!"

With ever pant of breath, my hands start to shake and my mind races uncontrollably. I think about Henry, and my parents reaction to his age. I feel as though I've heard all those things so many times. I would never use Henry. I would never force him into anything he didn't want to do. This is our relationship and no one else's.

I try to find the words to insult James even more, and I anxiously turn to face him. Megan still stood right in front of me.

"No" She begins, her fists clenching at the side of her tiny body, "You're disgusting"

The room begins to spin more and more, and I watch in awe as Megan's fist connects with James' cheek. For a moment I think he will actually hit her back, but he stands his ground as Lloyd suddenly speaks up.

"Come on Jay" He encourages, "Let's go"

We both remain speechless as the two young boys leave our flat, and I heard Megan sigh in frustration.

"I can't do this anymore" I say, in between breaths, "I need to end it with him. I can't do this. I, just can't"

"No. V you don't mean that. Don't let some jackass define your relationship with Henry" Megan yells, as I feel the full force of this panic attack.

The war between my inner self defence and anxiety carries on. Each hit takes a deep blow at my fragile body, and I feel my limbs weaken as my eyes begin to flutter.


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