Manwhore(7)By: Katy Evans
Ms. Livingston, this is Dean, Mr. Saint’s press coordinator. We have a ten-minute opening today at 12 p.m.
So I get that notification right now, Saturday, at like 11:18 a.m.
“Shit, I got it!” I tell Gina as I show her the message. But instead of high-fiving me because I freaking landed this and I rock, she glances pointedly at my coveralls.
“Oh no,” I groan. “I can’t see him like this!”
“Okay, take my belt.”
“OMG, really? I look ridiculous!”
She ties it around my waist and cinches it. “Rachel, focus. There’s no store around, you don’t have time to go change.”
We share panicked looks, then we both survey my clothes. I’m now wearing a jean coverall with a tank top beneath and a red belt, with paint splats here and there. “I look like an absolute slut on a washing day!”
“You have paint on your cheek,” says Gina, wincing on my behalf.
I groan and whisper to the universe: Next time you make one of my dreams come true, can I please be dressed for the occasion?
As if reading my mind, Gina tries to pep me up. “Come on, clothes don’t make the girl. Hey, at least you’re not naked.”
I’ve tried to twist my hair this way and that, and no, my appearance hardly improves. I’m passionately hating on this entire situation while riding in the back of the cab, sitting sideways because I suspect that, when Gina washed her hands after me, she got some paint on my back. Just seconds ago I felt it sticking to the cab vinyl, and now I’m hating on this situation so bad, my stomach hurts. I ask the driver to drop the passenger mirror, and I stare at my face.
“Ohmigod,” I say.
And there I am. My long blonde hair twisted into messy pigtails, a slash of paint on the side of my neck, stark like blood against my pale skin. “Ohmigod,” I moan.
This is the woman the renowned Malcolm Saint is going to see?
And, if I thought in the back of the cab that I really loathed this situation, I had no idea how much more I would hate it when I got to the M4 corporate building.
The building itself looms with its fancy mirrored windows piled up almost as high as the Sears—supposedly-called-Willis-now-but-screw-that-name—Tower. Inside the lobby, from one end to the other, marble and granite floors spread out beneath my feet. Steel structures hold glass staircases leading to a second lobby floor, while see-through elevators zoom up and down.
M4 is about as edgy as a nightclub but as quiet as a museum. I feel like a balloon delivery girl who forgot the balloons as I walk past the revolving doors and deeper toward reception. Oh fuck me, this is so not optimal right now. Everybody in the lobby is looking at me.
I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.
Livingston! Focus. YES. You can.
I thrust my chin out and proudly walk up to the receptionist. “Rachel Livingston for Malcolm Saint.”
She eyes me quietly. Inspects my ID card. Frowns a little.
At five foot seven, I’m not short by any means. But I feel smaller and smaller. I am shrinking, right here, as I wait. Humiliated quietly.
“Top floor,” she says, eyeing me down to my Converse sneakers.
I head to the elevator with as much pride as I can muster.
The elevator zips up to the top floor, dropping my companions—all of them in sharp black-and-white exec suits—along the way until it’s just me. And a knot of nerves tightening more and more. I bet Victoria wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this. Not even if she were paid to do it.
But Victoria isn’t here, Rachel. You are.
The elevator tings, and I step out.
There are four desks, two to the right, two to the left, and huge frosted-glass doors leading to . . . his lair. I know it’s his because of how the frosted doors give the impression of a glass fortress that is both bold and strangely understated. It signals accessibility while being completely out of reach from the world.
A woman comes around a desk and gestures for me to take a seat in a section to the left.
Thanking her under my breath, I perch on the edge of a chair for a few minutes, watching all four of his assistants—all of them sharp and attractive in different ways—take continual calls. They work in absolute perfect synchronicity.