1 A New Order From the Boss

"Shit, I can't put such photos in my magazine," the editor swore, unceremoniously tossing a bundle of photos on the desk. - Andrzej, finally understand that nobody cares about the peaceful life of the stars. People want scandals, sex scandals, domestic violence, divorces, no quiet dinners with their husbands!

Andrzej Nowicki looked at the editor gloomily and once again thought that he was not fit for this job.

"Look, you are a good photographer, you have a sense of the lens, but in this profession it's not enough. Until the end of the month, bring me some compromising photos of Dominik Śliwiński, or we'll have to say goodbye."

It was just an hour ago today. Andrzej left the chief's office furious, with a firm determination that he would stoop to being a paparazzi scandal, after all, as a student, he won two prestigious photo awards. He was too good to follow a star and take photos of it from behind a bush. Now, however, he was standing in the street, gritting his teeth, stuck a murderous look at a huge advertisement for a new Polish film production.

The face of the man he was about to catch in the scandal stared at him from the billboard. Dominik Śliwiński, according to the media, was twenty-four years old and was a natural talent, a diamond that is hit in the cinema once in a million. He made his debut as a 17-year-old in a supporting role alongside the icon of European cinema, Fryderyk Kos. His delicate features, light brown hair and intense blue eyes made him a teen idol within weeks, and the box office success of the production brought him new film offers. The boy not only had a pretty face, but he could really play, so his career developed rapidly. However, unlike most stars, Śliwiński did not exist in the media outside his professional life, completely guarding his privacy.

The fans, however, constantly demanded some news from his personal life. The girls wanted to know if he was seeing someone and their mothers - if he was eating healthy. Half of Europe was crazy about him, and the more he guarded his privacy, the more the world wanted to know it. Now Andrzej's thankless job was to reveal some of his compromising secrets and capture it in his camera.

"Shit!" he swore to himself, having the impression that at the moment he was being watched by Śliwiński. The star's piercing blue eyes looked at him from the poster of the latest film in which he played the lead role. Every day "In the light of the accusation" broke new records, filling the pockets of its producers.

Andrzej recognized Śliwiński's talent, but was not one of his fans. He definitely preferred to watch Patrycja Maj, his partner on the screen, whose coquettish smile and other undoubted attributes made her an object of sympathy for the male audience. It is true that Andrzej would have liked to observe her, but he was glad that he was not forced to interfere with her privacy, which was not entirely private. Contrary to her on-screen partner, Patrycja Maj did not avoid the pages of colorful magazines, showing herself with more and more partners.

"Shit!" Andrzej swore again. Being a paparazzi offended his dignity, but he couldn't afford to lose his job. He still had a student loan to pay off and the rents weren't falling either. This is not how he imagined his work when he graduated five years ago.

The card with the actor's address was in Andrzej's pocket. Śliwiński was not shooting anything new at the moment, rumor had it that he had been invited to perform two productions, but he had not yet given an answer. Therefore, he was not on the set. Since the premiere of "In Light of the Accusation", he did not take an active part in the promotion of the film, as always. It was supposed to give it a certain mystery and the effect was actually achieved. Readers begged for any information about how Śliwiński lives, who he was seeing and even what he was eating for breakfast. It was this approach of fans that put Andrzej in this unpleasant situation for him.

With Śliwiński's address and guidelines for his own vantage point, Andrzej Nowicki did not go straight to the site. He was too annoyed by the humiliation to immediately start boring observing a guy's life. Instead, he went to the family's little restaurant, which also served delicious lunches, and sat down at the counter.

"You look pathetic," said Paulina, the owner's daughter, who, due to her father's health, was the actual manager of the place, although she also worked as a waitress before lunch.

Paulina was his friend from high school and a best friend for years. That was when Andrzej learned to come to this restaurant. The habit has remained with him so far. He liked the atmosphere, tasty food and service, which was always very cordial to him. After all, it happened that at one of the tables he wrote off math lessons under the guise of learning together. Paulina was great at science, which turned out to be salutary for Andrzej, who was at risk of not being promoted to the next class.

"Give me a break," he waved his hand.

"That bad?" she asked.

"I studied photography for five years, I won two prestigious awards and what for? To take suspicious pics of some starlets now known only for being famous?" He couldn't stand it and complained to his friend.

"Why don't you quit this newspaper?"

"And I'll go where? You think I'm not sending my CV?"

"You wanted to be a freelance photographer and have your own studio."

Sure he wanted to, but the prices of the premises in Warsaw were simply thieving and with his salary he will not be able to afford to rent for a good few years. The only thing that could save him was a fluke. If he had taken a really good photo that would have landed on the covers, he would have made a name for himself and then the rest would have gone somehow. Until then, however, he simply had to earn a living by putting off his dreams.

"You're too handsome to worry so much," she smiled brightly at him. "You'll get wrinkles here," she touched between his eyebrows.

Andrzej snorted, but felt better. Whenever he had a bad day, he could count on Paulina's support. In all, she had been his friend for about fifteen years.

"Anyway, you should find yourself a girlfriend," she said. "You know, it's a little disturbing that someone with your looks and talent has not found anyone. It takes a chance from us, grays."

Paulina, of course, was exaggerating. She was a lovely woman with suitable, not too big, not too small, breasts, of medium height, with a nice body and skin. Contrary to nerdy stereotypes, she was very successful at school. Andrzej on the other hand, although he was considered one of the more handsome boys not only in the class, he was not very successful. He was one of the taller ones, with hazel eyes and fair hair that he liked to keep a little longer. Now he trimmed the lower part of his head, but the top was still longer and the bangs fell over his eyes.

Girls, later adult women, looked after him often, but they rarely had the courage to approach him, and when he tried to pick one up, they got weirdly nervous and the meetings were a little awkward. The girl he had kept with him the longest had been with him for three months, two of which were vacation months spent away from each other in their family homes. She broke up with him via text message at the end of August and pretended that they did not know each other in college. Andrzej was handsome, talented, but unpleasant for some reason. He was used to the thought and it didn't bother him that much. He was too young to be married, and his affairs didn't have to last more than two months - and they usually didn't.

"Ha, ha," he commented. Paulina chuckled.

He could not be angry with her, after all, she was one of three or four women in the entire history of Andrzej who liked his company, but interestingly enough, he did not have a romantic relationship with any of them, although he once asked for a hand by one of them. He looked into her bright, unusually warm eyes and felt the bad emotions drain away from him.

"I do make more noise out of it than it's worth," he admitted, more to himself than to her. "I'll look at him a little through the window, maybe I'll follow him around town. I will take three photos of him as he looks at shop windows and I'll get rid of the trouble. Editorial Aces are sure to find an explosive backstory as to why he stuck to this particular site and not another."

"And that's it," she tapped him on the shoulder in a friendly manner. "So what, are you falling out of your social life a bit?"

"It looks. Why?"

"Martynka wanted you to book the first of September for her."

Nowicki smiled radiantly. This is the fifth woman who felt at ease in his company. How could he have forgotten about her?

"Sure. I will not miss such an opportunity."

"Thanks. She also mentioned that you could invite her to the movies. She would like to see this latest film with Śliwiński."

Andrzej choked on his water.

"Are you all right?" Paulina worried, patting him on the back.

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"Yes, sure," he coughed a few more times and wiped the tears that fell into his eyes. "I'll think about it, but now I have to go. The sooner I do this job, the sooner I will finish it. See you soon!"

Even here, even now, Nowicki could not escape Śliwiński, whose fans, despite the fact that he was getting older, were getting younger and younger.

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