Sunday, September 28, 2008

Say 'cheese'

I didn’t even suspect that some days after the tennis match my life would be changing completely.

It was Wednesday; just a normal working day. I woke up at 7 AM, as usual. I had a sudden flashback of Ed and our incident with the hidden reporter at the Arena. After we saw the camera flashes and realised we were being photographed, Ed escorted me to my box in the Arena, making sure Bob was not looking. When the match finished, I went back home. I had a thorough look, but I failed to find any trace of a reporter; until that fatal Wednesday.

I took my daily shower; had breakfast in the kitchen as I listened to the news on the background and checked my e-mails; as I usually did every morning.

Then I drove to Dumbass premises, just like every day; but this was not going to be a normal day: As soon as I left my flat, I started noticing strange things.

I had the impression that two guys on a motorbike were following me through the streets. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Nothing seemed to be suspicious there. I thought I was getting a bit paranoid, so I tried to calm down and followed my way.

But five minutes later, I spotted two guys in a car behind me. They were equipped with cameras and huge zoom lenses and were shooting in my direction. I moved several times to the next lane, but couldn’t shake them off.

When I arrived to my office, I had the very shock of my life: Leslie, the assistant, was waiting for me.

- Leni, you may want to have a look at the papers before Big Cheese arrives –she said, pointing at the newspapers-.

I took The Sandwich Gazette and I saw with horror, on front page, next to the Orsinian candidate to the Presidential elections’ picture, a snapshot of Ed and me French kissing at the Arena terrace the day of the tennis match. The caption read:

“Plutocratic Burdish publishing tycoon Ed Davies kisses passionately unknown Sandwichian girl: Cinderella dreams come true!”

Nerds. My face was slightly blurred in the picture, but it was not hard to recognise me. I collapsed on my chair.

- Wow Leni… are you really going out with Ed Davies? –she asked in amazement-

I was too nervous to answer that question.

Leslie had piled up the tabloids, local newspapers and gossip magazines that had published that picture on their front page. There was a load of them. I felt a strange cocktail of rage and embarrassment inside. What an unfair and flagrant violation of our privacy.

The whole world and his wife would see these pictures and I would have to explain things that were still at a very early stage. I was overwhelmed. It was blowing my mind. I would be the butt of many of the jokes at Dumbass street that morning. And what was even worse: That would be affecting my relationship with Ed; and we hadn’t even started.

He predicted this would be happening. I needed to speak to him, but he was in Burdishland, on a business trip. I called him and got his voicemail, so I decided to phone his secretary, the pandimensional Lotte Artmann-Rottenmeier (a Zantlander lady of indeterminate age, who had dyed blond hair done up in a bun, and wore granny glasses. And boy, she had a face like a slapped arse).

- Can I speak to Ed Davies, please? –I asked her-
- I’m sorry but he’s on a business trip this week –she answered shortly-
- When you speak to him, would you be kind enough to tell him that I need to talk to him? It’s very urgent. This is Leni Qinan, my cell phone number is…
- I have your number, Ms Qinan. I’ll give him your message as soon as I speak to him.

- Thank you. –I said shortly, putting the cellphone down-

She hated me. I knew from the very beginning we would never be good friends. That happened some months ago, when I first visited Ed’s office. She hated me just because I used the word ‘secretary’, instead of ‘assistant’ when I referred to her. (Does it make that much difference? Even to the point of being offended?)

- I'm his Personal Assistant. –she said, projecting an air of feline self-satisfaction-
- Ehm… ok, I’d like to speak to the secretary, then –I replied. I was not going to let my arm be twisted-
- He doesn’t have a secretary, but a Personal Assistant; and it’s me –she insisted, smirking-

I knew very well what she meant. I knew she was more likely to be found in the boardroom preparing a presentation than in the kitchen preparing a morning latte. But I was not into the Women’s Lib jargon little game.

Women’s Lib is the biggest lie ever believed. And secretaries will always be secretaries; whether you call them administrative assistants or associates; that doesn’t make much difference to me.

It’s the minds of those who consider secretarial work as a second class occupation what needs to be changed, not the name. Words have the sense we want them to have. With all due respect for the secretaries: what really counts is recognition for their hard work behind the scenes in an office. Not what they call them.

The word ‘secretary’ derives from ‘secret’ and relates to a person overseeing business confidentially, usually for a powerful individual. In my opinion, that concept is neither sexist nor politically incorrect in itself. And it’s good for both men and women in the profession.

But inexplicably, it has been renamed "Administrative Professional" to highlight the increased responsibility of today's secretary and other administrative workers, and to avoid embarrassment to those who out of political correctness believe that the word "secretary" refers only to women or to unskilled workers.

So obviously, Frau Artmann-Rottenmeier was one of those who were ashamed to be the Chairman’s Secretary, but happy to be the Chairman’s Executive Assistant. Live and learn.

I was in distress and texted Ed: ‘Our last kiss appeared in the papers and gossip mags this morning’.

Five minutes later he called me.

- I got your message, baby. I’m very sorry for that.
- It’s not your fault, Ed. Four guys with cameras and zoom lenses followed me this morning as I was driving to work and took pictures of me.
- I’ll bring my travel date forward. Not sure yet when I’ll be back, I still need to sort out some things here…
- Ed, I’m very scared at the way things are turning!

At this point I broke down and started crying. That was just my way of unlocking the stored tension. I was very worried about the consequences. They could even stretch the truth about him and me. Would I have to be running away for the rest of my life?

- Hey love… we’ll be alright. I promise to take the first flight back, ok?
- Ok.
–I answered, feeling better-
- I love you, baby. –he said-
- I love you too. –I replied, out of fondness, rather gratefulness-
- Oh, good. Finally, you said the L word!

Well, it seemed so. Eloquent silence on my side. But I was saved by the bell.

- Ed, I need to go now. Big Cheese is arriving.
- Ok, sweety. Don’t forget that I love you. Chin up. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Big Cheese looked serious. I saw him go into his office. He stood there for half an hour very quiet, until he called me on the phone.

- Q, come to my office, please.
- Ok.

Jeez. Things didn’t look good. I entered his office, sat on the guest chair, knowing what I would be hearing next: the morning papers were on his desk.

- Holy crap! These bastards took one hell of a snapshot –he said, pointing at the picture that was already so familiar to me-
-Indeed –I said, looking down-
- Hey, Q. This is not the end of the world, ok? Tell me something. In all honesty, are you really going out with Ed Davies?

Big Cheese enjoyed gossiping, but would never admit it, like men often do. That seemed to be the million dollar question. I didn’t know the answer myself.

- Some months ago I sent him three stories I had written and asked him if they were suitable for publication. He was interested; we met and then got involved in some sort of romance. I see him, but I’m not sure whether we’re dating on a regular basis or not. That’s the plain truth. –I said-

He looked very surprised.

- I never knew you wanted to become a writer, Q!
- I’m an amateur. I do it just for fun. But some time ago I felt I had to try and publish a book.
- I see. Ed Davies is a very rich and powerful publisher. You know that, don’t you?
–he asked-
- Yes.
- If you see him, you will become an involuntary public figure, Q. That’s a real cockup, I know this very well. You will have to change your lifestyle a bit and bear a number of unpleasant situations; you have no choice but live with that if you maintain your relationship with Ed. Have you spoken to him about it?
- Yes, he is in Burdishland now for work, but he’s taking the first flight back.
- Good. He’s used to this shit, but you’re not; and you will need a lot of help to overcome this situation. Of course, you have all my support.
- Thank you. I really appreciate this.

We continued talking for almost one hour. That was the longest conversation I ever had with Big Cheese. When I left his office, I tried to focus on my work and forget temporarily about the whole thing. But it was hard. My cellphone was going all the time, so I decided to put it off.

It was almost midday when Big Cheese came over to see me and asked me to prepare some documents for Big Shot. Leslie, the secretary, was also there. Suddenly, the security guy knocked on my door.

- Leni, there´s something for you here –he said-.

Behind him, there was this guy from the flower shop who came in with a huge beautiful bunch of red and orange daisies. He handed it to me and said very loud, so that everybody could hear:

- Miss Leni Qinan? This is for you, from Interflower Burdishland.

My heart started beating so fast that I thought it was escaping from my chest. My legs became suddenly so weak and I started sweating and shivering, but I managed to hide it. Leslie and Big Cheese looked at the flowers and smiled quietly.

I was overwhelmed.

- Who’s gonna sign the voucher? –asked the flower shop guy-.

I couldn’t do that. So petrified I was.

- Oh, I will –said Leslie on the spot, snatching the voucher from his hand-

I put the flowers on my desk just pretending nothing had happened, turned to Big Cheese and said with a trembling voice:

- Eehm… where were we…?.

The truth is that my heart was beating like a machine gun. Big Cheese finished telling me what he wanted me to do but -of course- I didn’t even understand what he was saying. He knew that and left, after having a further look at the flowers.

- Leni… who sends you flowers from Burdishland? –asked Leslie-

I sat on my chair, leaned back and tried to calm down.

- Who do you think? –I asked-
- Ed Davies!!! WOW!!! This is so fucking romantic!!! –she shouted-

Soon my office was full of people who wanted to see the flowers and ask if Ed and I were really going out. I took the small envelope containing Ed’s message and managed to leave. I ran through the corridors, and when I felt I was on my own, I opened it, took the card and read the message:

“I’ll take care of everything, love. Meanwhile... say 'cheese'.”

"Come rain or shine" (BB King & Eric Clapton)


Fernando said...

Quiero leer un libro tuyo... YA!

Que hay que hacer? Hablar con Ed, con B.Ch., con Mr Q.....

Buena semana, un beso.

Leni Qinan said...

Hola Fernan!

Gracias por el entusiasmo, estoy encantada de contarte como lector. Mis libros aún no están publicados, aunque sí protegidos por el Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual. Puedes leerlos descargando el vínculo que he puesto en la columna de la izquierda.

Sólo he incluido los que están traducidos al inglés, pero en atención a las ganas que le pones, he decidido añadir los que no tengo traducidos –tarea que pronto voy a reanudar, porque la mayoría de mis lectores son de habla inglesa y algunos me han pedido más cosas para leer-.

No hace falta hablar con Ed (todavía no ha publicado nada mío; como sabes, estamos escribiendo juntos un libro que ya tiene 13 capítulos y del que pronto tendrás noticia en un nuevo blog que se llama The unbelievable magic box (está en el blogroll, por si tienes curiosidad). Es otra historia viva. Ya estamos haciendo las correcciones de los primeros capítulos y el copyright –que por ser una obra en conjunto de escritores de distintos países, es un poco más complicado-.

Tampoco hace falta hablar con Big Cheese –ese es mi jefe, no mi editor-.

Y de momento no hay ningún Mr Q. Al paso que voy, lo más probable es que sea yo la que se convierta en Mrs Ed D en un tiempo prudencial.

Sonríe a la cámara y dí ‘patata’, ;)

Que tengas un día estupendo y una buena semana.

Leni Qinan said...


Fernando said…

I want to read a book of yours… NOW!
What do I have to do? Speak to Ed, Big Cheese, Mr Q… ¿
Have a nice week. Kiss.

Leni said…

Hi Fernan,

Thanks for your enthusiasm. I’m delighted to have you as a reader. My books are still unpublished, but protected by the Copyrights Office. You can download them from the links at the bottom of the left column.

I included only those works translated to English, but since you’re eager to read, I will be adding those that are not translated –and I promise to work on that, because most of my readers are English speakers and some of them asked for more stuff to read-.

You don’t need to speak to Ed (he hasn’t published any of my works yet; as you know, we’re writing together a book that has already 13 chapters. You’ll be soon hearing about it in a new blog called The unbelievable magic box (it’s in my blogroll, just in case you were curious). It’s a very lively story. We’re already correcting the first chapters and doing the copyrights –that’s more complicated and it’s taking more time, because we’re co-writers and born in different countries-

You don’t have to speak to Big Cheese either –he’s my boss, not my editor-

And for the moment there is no Mr Q. What is more likely to happen –in view of the latest events- is that I become Mrs Ed D within a reasonable time.

Smile for the camera, and say ‘cheese’ ;)

Have a nice day and a nice week too. Kisses.

tom909 said...

Wow, this story is turning out quite nicely, at least for you and Ed.
Because of all the twists and turns I'm still a little nervous what might be coming next - I'm all for happy endings myself.

Anonymous said...

Leni Qinan , usted no es peligrosa , usted es romántico !

La poursuite en ville ( d'une belle demoiselle ) avec les paparazzis !
Mad'moiselle "Creí que usted tenía alas "!

Il n'y a pas de sot métier, il n'y a que de sottes gens...!

Mademoiselle ! dit un patron à sa secrétaire, en voyant le texte de la lettre que vous me donnez à signer, je me pose deux questions. Primo : qu'est-ce que vous avez bien pu fumer avant de taper ça ? Secundo : il ne vous en resterait pas un peu ?

Un patron reçoit une nouvelle secrétaire, superbe, et lui dit :
- Bon ! Alors voilà vais vous faire passer un examen d'entrée : si je vous donne douze mille francs par mois moins 8 %...qu'est-ce que vous retirez ?
- Tout sauf les boucles d'oreilles !:o

Be pleasant ,kind , and methodical, organized, have the sense of the contacts and an ability to synthesize qualities are for which we expect from a secretary !! ;)

Pour expliquer mes propos surréaliste ,tout de même, à ma décharge ! Ma professeur d'anglais était Espagnole et si jolie que je ne peux l'oublier ! Aujourd'hui c'est l'automne ,qu'il est loin le printemps ...

Antoni said...

Hello Leni
Finally I decided to comment on your stories in your bloog from time to time. I hope you appreciate this.
The upcoming decision of Leni is delicate. Do you think that she knows exactly what she is doing? Has she any idea about the consequences? Romantic feelings are one thing (wonderful and thrilling, no doubt about this) but to live a public life is another thing. Think twice, but always believe in your feelings.
carpe diem
Have a nice day,
Butterfly kisses

max said...

Hi Leni,

WOW You’re famous!

On one hand I’m glad for you (you seem to be finding your way in your emotional life. Ed appears to be able to tame you, lol) but on the other hand… I guess your life is gonna change a bit. Will you sign me an autograph? (Sorry for the bad joke, but I couldn’t help it).

Just like Fernando, I can’t wait to read your new book ('Moonshine killed... blah blah'). What are you waiting to link it to this blog? And the rest of your stories too (what are you waiting to translate them?)

Big kiss from a faithful reader ;))

Nahuatl said...

I was going to say what Max said - YOU are FAMOUS! :D

Enjoy it. There is nothing to worry about unless you want it to become an issue. :)

You know you are happy - finally you said the L thing :D

There are some issues.. erm.. I will tell u later :D

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Tom!

You’re right, things are getting very interesting at this moment, but hey! don’t get nervous, lol. I’m pretty sure there will be a happy ending, but I still don’t know when, how or where.

So.. expect anything –as you said, life has many twists and turns-.


Leni Qinan said...

Bienvenu Monsieur Crabtree!

Votre arrivée m’a fait sourire largement!
On m’a dit que je suis dangereuse précisément pour être si romantique (*pousse un soupir*). Voilá pourquoi le nom de ce blog.

(Ooh la belle demoiselle…
c’est moi? (*devient rouge foncé*).

J’aime bien vos blagues sur cette relation amour-haine entre patron et sécrétaire, hahaha. C’est rigolo!

Et je ne pourrais être plus d’accord, vous avez très raison:
« Il n'y a pas de sot métier, il n'y a que de sottes gens...! »

OOh votre professeur d’anglais était Espagnole ? (j’éspère qu’elle ne parlait pas français comme une vache espagnole!). Et maintenant je deviens rouge foncé à nouveau ;))

(Le printemps s’est éloigné, Monsieur Crabtree... mais l’automne est aussi charmant, avec ses couleurs rouges et jaunes... les feuilles mortes qui tombent –c’était ma berceuse préférée quand j’étais petite-c’est le cycle de la vie...)

À bientôt !

Fernando said...


Leni Qinan said...


Crabtree said…

Leni Qinan, you’re not dangerous, you’re romantic!

The prosecution in town (of a beautiful lady) by the paparazzis! “I thought you had wings to fly”!

There is no silly profession, but silly people…!

’Mademoiselle!’ said the boss to the secretary, ‘as I read the letter that you gave me to sign, I’m asking myself two questions.
Firstly: what have you smoked before tyyping this?
Secondly: I wonder if you still have a bit of that…

The boss greets the new gorgeous secretary and says to her:

-Ok, now you need to pass a little test before you start working: if I paid you 12.000 francs per month, and deducted an 8%, how much would you get? (1)
-Everyting except the earrings!

(1) The French expression is ‘what would you remove’ referring to the money she would earn per month, but this can’t be transated literally.

Be pleasant ,kind , and methodical, organized, have the sense of the contacts and an ability to synthesize qualities are for which we expect from a secretary !! ;)

This is to explain my surrealistic purposes, anyway in my defence!

My teacher of English was Spanish and she was so pretty that I cannot forget! (Today we’re in autumn, springtime is so far away…)

Leni said…

Welcome Monsieur Crabtree!
Your arrival made me smile big time!

I’ve been told I’m dangerous precisely for being so romantic (*sighs*). Hence, the name of this blog.

(Wow, ‘the beautiful lady… is that me? (*blushes real red*)

I liked your jokes about that love-hate relationship between boss and secretary, lol. It’s funny!

I couldn’t agree more with you, you’re so right: There is no silly profession, but silly people…!

Ooh you teacher of English was Spanish? (I hope she didn’t butcher the French language (again untranslatable French idiom). And now I really blush again.

(Springtime is far away, Monsieur Crabtree… but autumn also has its charm, with its reddish and yellowish colours… the dry leaves falling –Les feuilles mortes was my favourite lullaby when I was a kid- that’s the cycle of life…)

See you soon!

Leni Qinan said...

Wow Antoni! You finally showed up! Hahaha. That’s just cool!

First and foremost, let me give you a warm welcome and thank you for your comment. Of course, I appreciate it and will love to hear from you in the future.

Actually, I don’t think there’s much room for a decision here (papparazzi will be pestering Leni (me) whatever I do). So, the million dollar questions here would be:

1) Do I really love him?, And if so:

2) What would I do for love? (which Ed asked me in the sci-fi post and I answered ‘all kinds of stupid things’).

Would I accept to sacrifice a part of my privacy for the love of Ed? (BIG QUESTION, isn’t it?) And if I wouldn’t, would I regret it for the rest of my life? (Even BIGGER QUESTION. That’s what I ask myself when I have a super size dilemma like this one).

There are only 2 possible answers ‘yes/no’. That could be the key to the rest of my life.

Stay tunned. I will try to exercise my carpe diem as much as possible –as you should too-.

Sweet butterfly kisses 4 u 2.

Leni Qinan said...

Hey Max!

Eew… rather than famous, I feel unvoluntarily notorious –now I understand what famous people feel when they’re stalked by papparazzi-.

What do you mean ‘Ed appears to be able to tame you’ (hey silly, I don’t need to be tamed! I’m not Shakespeare’s Shrew!). And NO, I won’t be signing you an autograph!

To be honest Max, all these ups and downs are a bit emotional, but that’s very much the stuff I’m made of.

About my books… I promise to give it a thought. Be patient, translations take some time. I will do that.

But thanks for your enthusiasm. That’s sweet.

Big kiss.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Nayan!

(I felt something was going on, because you were very quiet. I hope these issues you mention are not serious. Just let me know everything is alright with you, ok?)

Not so famous, I hope Nayan, but YES, very happy. :)

Take care (please). Big hug.

Leni Qinan said...


Si dices 'potatoe', por 'patata' como decimos en español para salir guapos en las fotos, vas a salir muy feo.

Mejor dí 'Luis', que es más parecido a 'Cheese'.

Yo lo estoy ensayando y salgo guapísima en las fotos. ;)

Leni Qinan said...


Fernando said...

Leni said...

If you say 'potatoe', instead of 'patata', as we say in Spanish to look good in the pics, you're gonna look real ugly.
You better say 'Luis', which sounds a lot more like 'Cheese'.
I'm trying and I look so gorgeous in my pics, ;)

Ghost Particle said...

Leni! howzzap!

hugs and thank you.

net connection is slow... bt im all well and ok :)

Leni Qinan said...

Hey Ghosty!

Sorry for being late with your birthday :( -I'm up to the neck with papers lately and couldn't visit my blogfriends as much as I hadwanted- but I hope you had a lot of fun!

Net connection in summer is horrible (I spent the month of august with a portable modem and an Orange connection limited to 1GB called 'Business Everywhere' -how funny is it?- that worked through the cellphone net. I wasted my data limit in just 5 days! So I understand very well what you mean with 'slow net connection', lol.

(I'm very happy to know you're fine. Thanks for letting me know).

Big big hug.

Anonymous said...

Je suis stupéfait , très agréablement stupéfait !!

J'entends par ces mots que je vous trouve cherche mes mots ..." Fantástico , Maravillosa "!!

Je suis vraiment heureux D'être ainsi traduit :)

Finalmente el otoño es una temporada muy bella ...

Leni Qinan said...

Mon cher Crabtree,

Merci, vraiement (vous êtes toujours si gentil :))

C'est un vrai plaisir vous traduire pour ceux qui visitent et ne parlent pas français -j'ai toujours dit à mes visiteurs qu'ils pouvaient s'exprimer en n'importe quelle langue, avec la seule condition que je puisse traduire pour ceux qui ne comprennent pas-. C'est à dire, espagnol, anglais, français, catalan (ça vous donne une petite indication de mon lieu de naissance). J'aime bien traduire et augmenter la communication dans ce blog.

Vos efforts avec l'espagnol sont très très charmants (mignons, je dirais plûtot :)) Tout d'un coup, l'automne est devenu si joli!

(*Et encore, je deviens rouge et vous envoie un grand sourire à travers la toile*).

Un tout ptit bisou. ;)

Leni Qinan said...


Crabtree said...
I'm dumbfounded, very glady dumbfounded!
I realise through these words that I find you... (I'm looking for the words)... amazing, wonderful!
I'm very happy to have been translated that way :)

Finally, autumn is a very nice season...

Leni Qinan said...
My dear Crabtree,
Thank you very much (you're always so nice :))
It's a great pleasure to translate your words for those visitors who don't speak French -I always tell my visitors that they're welcomed to comment in whatever language; the only condition is that I'm able to translate for those who don't speak the language. Meaning Spanish, English, French and Catalan (this will give you a little clue about my birthplace).

I really like to translate and increase communication in this blog.

Your struggle with spanish is really really charming (cute, I'd rather say :)) All of a sudden, autumn became so beautiful!

(*and still I blush and send a big smile through the net*)

Small kiss. ;)

Anonymous said...

j'ai vu le pays "Sang et or" , Couleur d'automne ! Cataluña " Som i serem "
« Il est doux de se SOUVENIR. »
Anatole FRANCE

Leni Qinan said...

Mon cher Crabtree, que vous êtes gentil!
Oui, je viens du pays de sang et or, mais les circomstances de ma vie m'ont emporté très loin; mon petit coeur part là là-bas très souvent. Mais après tout... on est des citoyens du monde, n'est-ce pas?

Merci pour la citation d'Anatole France -c'est si mignon!-.

Un tout ptit bisou.

Leni Qinan said...


Crabtree said...
I saw the "Blood and gold" country; autumn colours;
Cataluña " Som i serem " ("We are and will be", first 2 words of the anthem)
« It's sweet to remember. »
Anatole FRANCE

Leni Qinan said...
My dear Crabtree, you're so nice!
Yes, I come from the "Blood and gold" country, but my circumstances took me real far away; my little heart flies over there very often.
But after all... we're citizens of the world, aren't we?

Thank you for the Anatole France quote -it's just so cute!-.

Little tiny kiss.

Grass said...

Yay! A french kissing scene on tabloid! That beats my Pond's ad in Europe! LOL

Wow, Leni, you're gonna be famous. Who knows, maybe you can use this "Cinderall" story in promoting your works. I laughed when you mentioned "Cinderalla". People are bound to be nasty but in reality, they were just envious. After all, some people would die to be on TV or newspapers. In fact, some people did die, but these were usually accidents but it's another story..LOL I'm babbling as usual.

And what Ed did sending you flowers and a note like that is "fucking romantic" indeed! :D


Grass said...

btw, if you say "shit" instead of "cheese", you'll get the same effect on photos.. I've tried it LOL

Nahuatl said...

No Leni, they unsaid things are not serious. :)
{anyway.. I forgot what I was thinking x-D )

Hope you are fine... I am far far away from blog-wonder-world, enjoying my time! B-)