Manwhore(3)By: Katy Evans
“And if Saint wants to make a play for you,” Helen continues, “then be prepared. You might need to play a little bit back. Can you do that?”
“I believe so,” I say, but I sound much more confident than I feel. And I just . . . I’m not sure how many opportunities like this I’ll get. I’ll never be able to move into reporting things that are important to me if I don’t make a stronger effort to be heard. Tackling a topic that fascinates the public so much will give me a voice, and I really, really want that voice.
“Do you think you can do this? Or . . .” She glances outside.
No. I can’t bear for Victoria to get the story. It’s not a pill I want to swallow. In fact, it’s downright bitter, and I don’t want to swallow it.
“I’ll do it. I’m hungry. I want a good story,” I assure Helen.
“We can always wait and find you another good story, Rachel,” she says, playing devil’s advocate now.
“I’ll do it. He’s my story now.”
“He’s Chicago’s story. And Chicago’s darling. He has to be handled with care.”
“He’s the story I want to tell,” I assure her.
“That’s what I like to hear.” She laughs. “Rachel, you are absolutely beautiful. You are a doll. You’re funny and you work hard, you give it your all, but for all that you’ve lived, you’re still an innocent. You’ve been here two years, and even before you graduated you were working it. But you’re still a young girl playing in a world for grown-ups. You’re too young to know there are protocols with the rich in the city.”
“I know we usually cater to the rich.”
“Just remember, Saint could crush the magazine. He can’t see it coming. By the time he does, he’ll see his face on the newsstand.”
“He won’t catch me,” I mumble.
“Okay, Rachel, but I want intimate revelations. I want every detail. I want to feel like I stepped into his shoes and walked his everyday walk. What is it like to be him? You’re going to tell the whole city.” She smiles happily and wakes up her computer with a wiggle of her mouse. “I look forward to hearing all about it. So off you go now, Rachel. Find the story in the story and write it.”
Holy crap, Livingston. You’ve got your story!
I’m so dazed and exhilarated, I’m euphoric as I head to the door, fairly trembling with the need to start working.
“Rachel,” she calls as I open the glass door, my stomach in a whole new tangle. She nods her head. “I believe in you, Rachel.”
I stand there, completely awed that I finally, finally have her trust. I didn’t expect it would come with a huge fear of failure on my shoulders. “Thanks for the chance, Helen,” I whisper.
“Oh, and one last thing. Saint isn’t normally accessible to the press. But there have been exceptions, and I can think of a way you could get lucky. Check out his new social media site, Interface. Use it as an approach. He might not like the press, but he’s a businessman and will use us to his advantage.”
I nod with some self-confidence and a ton more self-doubt, and as soon as I’m outside, I exhale nervously.
Okay, Livingston. Focus and let’s do this.
I’ve got so much information on Saint that I email myself dozens and dozens of links to continue researching tonight at my apartment. I place a call to his office and talk to a representative, asking for an interview. She assures me they’ll let me know. I cross my fingers and say, “Thank you, I’m available anytime. My boss is very excited to run a piece on Mr. Saint’s latest venture.”
Done for the day, I head home. My place is close to Blommer Chocolate Company, in the Fulton River District. I wake up to the smell of chocolate in the air. My building is five stories high, on the edge of downtown.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m living my dream, or at least half of it; I wanted the briefcase, the mobile phone, the heels and matching jacket and skirt. I wanted to be self-sufficient enough to buy my mother the car of her dreams, and a home of her own where she wouldn’t get evicted because she couldn’t pay the rent. I still want those things.