Home > My Not So Perfect Life(6)

My Not So Perfect Life(6)
Author: Sophie Kinsella

“Yes. Yes.” Demeter resumes: “What’s going on with Trekbix? Because I thought Liz was going to write a response to their email, but I’ve just had a further email from Rob Kincaid asking why he’s heard nothing. So?” She swivels round to Liz, finally focusing on the person she needs to, finally coming alive. “Liz? Where is it? You promised me a draft by this morning.” She taps her phone. “It’s in my notes from last Monday’s meeting. Liz to write draft. First rule of client care, Liz?”

Hold the client’s hand, I think to myself, although I don’t say it out loud. That would be too geeky.

“Hold the client’s hand,” declaims Demeter. “Hold it throughout. Make them feel secure every minute of the process. Then you’ll have a happy customer. You’re not holding Rob Kincaid’s hand, Liz. His hand’s dangling and he’s not a happy bunny.”

Liz colors. “I’m still working on it.”


“There’s a lot to put in.”

“Well, work faster.” Demeter frowns at her. “And send it to me for approval first. Don’t just ping it off to Rob. By lunchtime, OK?”

“OK,” mumbles Liz, looking pissed off. She doesn’t often put a foot wrong, Liz. She’s project manager and has a very tidy desk and straight fair hair which she washes every day with apple-scented shampoo. She eats a lot of apples too. Actually I’ve never connected those two facts before. Weird.

“Where is that email from Rob Kincaid?” Demeter is scrolling back and forth, peering at her phone. “It’s disappeared from my in-box.”

“Have you deleted it by mistake?” says Sarah patiently. “I’ll forward it to you again.”

This is Sarah’s other pet annoyance: Demeter is always carelessly deleting emails and then needing them urgently and getting in a tizz. Sarah says she spends half her life forwarding emails to Demeter, and thank God one of them has an efficient filing system.

“There you are.” Sarah clicks briskly. “I’ve forwarded Rob’s email to you. In fact, I’ve forwarded all his emails to you, just in case.”

“Thanks, Sarah.” Demeter subsides. “I don’t know where that email went….” She’s peering at her phone, but Sarah doesn’t seem interested.

“So, Demeter, I’m going off to my first-aid training now,” she says, reaching for her bag. “I told you about it? Because I’m the first-aid officer?”

“Right.” Demeter looks bemused, and it’s clear she’d totally forgotten. “Great! Well done you. So, Sarah, before you go, let’s touch base….” She scrolls through her phone. “It’s the London Food Awards tonight….I need to get to the hairdressers this afternoon….”

“You can’t,” Sarah interrupts. “This afternoon is solid.”

“What?” Demeter looks up from her phone. “But I booked the hairdressers.”

“For tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” Demeter sounds aghast and her eyes are swiveling again. “No. I booked it for Monday.”

“Look at your calendar.” Sarah sounds barely able to control her patience. “It was Tuesday, Demeter, always Tuesday.”

“But I need my roots done, urgently. Can I cancel anyone this afternoon?”

“It’s those polenta people. And then it’s the team from Green Teen.”

“Shit.” Demeter screws up her face in agony. “Shit.”

“And you’ve got a conference call in fifteen minutes. Can I go?” says Sarah in long-suffering tones.

“Yes. Yes. You go.” Demeter waves a hand. “Thanks, Sarah.” She heads back into her glass-walled office, exhaling sharply. “Shit, shit. Oh.” She reappears. “Rosa. The Sensiquo logo? We should try it in a bigger point size. It came to me on my way in. And try the roundel in aquamarine. Can you talk to Mark? Where is Mark?” She glances querulously at his desk.

“Working from home today,” says Jon, a junior creative.

“Oh,” says Demeter mistrustfully. “OK.”

Demeter doesn’t really believe in working from home. She says you lose the flow with people disappearing the whole time. But Mark had it negotiated into his contract before Demeter arrived, so there’s nothing she can do about it.

“Don’t worry, I’ll tell him,” says Rosa, scribbling furiously on her notepad. “Point size, aquamarine.”

“Great. Oh, and Rosa.” She pops her head out yet again. “I want to discuss Python training. Everyone in this office should be able to code.”


“Coding!” says Demeter impatiently. “I read a piece about it in The Huffington Post. Put it on the agenda for the next group meeting.”

“OK.” Rosa looks baffled. “Coding. Fine.”

As Demeter closes her door, everyone breathes out. This is Demeter. Totally random. Keeping up with her is exhausting.

Rosa is tapping frantically at her phone, and I know she’s sending a bitchy text about Demeter to Liz. Sure enough, a moment later Liz’s phone pings, and she nods vociferously at Rosa.

I haven’t totally fathomed the office politics of this place—it’s like trying to catch up on a TV soap opera mid-flow. But I do know that Rosa applied for Demeter’s job and didn’t get it. I also know that they had a massive row, just before I arrived. Rosa wanted to get on some big one-off special project that the mayor of London spearheaded. It was branding some new London athletics event, and he put together a team seconded from creative agencies all over London. The Evening Standard called it a showcase for London’s best and brightest. But Demeter wouldn’t let Rosa do it. She said she needed Rosa on her team 24/7, which was bullshit. Since then, Rosa has hated Demeter with a passion.

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