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One of the assistants calls, “Oh, Mr. Saint,” and jumps into the elevator before we can leave.

“Yeah, Cathy?”

She opens a folder and points at something written down on there.

“That’s right,” he answers out loud.

“Okay,” she says. “And this?”

He doesn’t wear too much cologne. He smells of aftershave and soap. His lips distract me a little bit as he keeps answering whatever questions the assistant seems to be tapping. They suddenly face me and tip upward slightly, those lips, and when I look up a few inches higher, I realize he just caught me staring.

I’m red as we hit the lobby. “Thanks, Cathy,” he tells her.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Saint.”

Cathy. She’s at least one or two decades older and clearly in love with him. How long has she been here? I wonder, and shoot myself a little reminder email.

“You doing okay?” He hands me a bottle of water once we’re in the car. Seated facing me, the guy fills the bone-colored leather seat with broad shoulders that look about a mile wide. He looks relaxed, his hair black and silky—shorter on the sides, a little more generous and playful at the top, slicked back today to reveal his smooth forehead and chiseled features. The green of his eyes is never the same each day. Maybe that’s why I can never seem to pull my own eyes away?

“Yes, thanks for seeing me,” I finally tell him.

I pull out my note cards, because I’m not messing it up this time. He silently sips his water as I start charging forward with my questions. I learn that:

Interface will also offer Tumblr vids, gifs, and YouTube videos.

The site will have high file-sharing capacity.

Its user subscriptions are exceeding their initial estimates by 160 percent daily.

“So Interface is the thirty-fifth company you’ve begun from scratch?”

“Thirty-fifth, thirty-sixth . . . The number is irrelevant. Each feels like the first.”

When we arrive, the event is happening in a huge garden in the back of a mansion. There are several dozen tables with white linens, a podium, and floral arrangements to spare. A huge canopy shields the tables from both the sun and rain, the effect elegant and beautiful.

SAVE AN ANIMAL, the tall banner over the podium declares in navy-blue letters. When Saint stops by a table to get a paddle for the auction, I’m confused.

“I thought you were speaking publicly today?” I ask as I follow him through the tables.

“I’m letting my wallet do the speaking.”

“Saint,” a guy calls, coming over with a camera. “I thought you didn’t do reporters.”

I don’t remember the guy’s name, but I suddenly remember that he worked for only a few days at Edge. He’s tall, blond, young, and looking at me with all kinds of professional envy.

Saint takes me by the elbow, ignores the guy, and walks us right past him as he states, “Mind your own business, Gregg,” in low warning.

“You’re my business, Saint!” Gregg yells.

Quiet and curious as to his reaction, I peer up to read Saint’s unreadable profile. I’m quickly impressed with how easily he dismisses the guy from his thoughts. He must be completely used to such scrutiny, to the point that we could all be flies, vying for his attention, waiting for him to make a move we can call newsworthy. Sometimes he obliges us, the media—he’s been reckless before. How hard must his limits have been pushed for him to lose it?

I notice he ignores most everyone or just greets them amicably—but the attitude he radiates is “I don’t give a shit.” People, on the other hand, can’t resist his magnetism. They seem to gravitate in his direction the moment they spot him. I can’t explain the kind of venomous looks I’m getting from the same women who then turn adoring gazes back to Saint.

He sits me down at a table at the very front.

With each place setting there’s a small picture catalogue of the loveliest wild animals you’ve ever seen. “What do you say?” he asks me in a cool, businesslike tone as I flip through one.

“You’re saving one of these animals?” I ask, bemused when he nods. “I can’t possibly pick one.”

“They were in the circus. They’ll be euthanized if they don’t find a home, and to do that, they need a sponsor who’ll help set them up in the care of a local zoo.”

“I’m so sad right now.” I look at the list of animals and stop on one. “Elephant. I think it’s one of the noblest animals. How they are with each other, so nurturing, so strong and so gentle.”

“That’s your pitch?” he asks, as if not amused.

“No, I’m just getting started,” I say, pride pricked. “Elephants are lucky. I bet if you save this elephant today, its luck will save you one day.”

“I’m absolutely unsavable, Miss Livingston—but let’s get the elephant.” He hands me the numbered paddle so I can do the bidding, then sits there on his phone, answering emails while I keep on lifting the stick.

I start freaking out as the price rises. “Saint—”

“Keep going until she’s yours.”

“She’s yours,” I amend.

He shrugs. “If it makes you feel better.”

We save the elephant named Rosie, and now she’ll have a home for life. He also retrieved the stick from me and bid on each of the other animals, enough to get their prices up and make the others pay out their asses. He didn’t say he’d do this—I observed by the fourth animal he was bidding on them all, pushing everyone to their limits until he was satisfied.

It’s as if the world is his playground. I’m awed, and also a little frightened.

Saint could crush the magazine. . . .

I just saw a calmly ruthless side of him I hope to never see opposing me.

On our way back, he’s on the phone speaking in another language, and I’m trying not to notice how the sound of his voice caressing the foreign tones makes me shift in my seat. I write down notes on my phone to email to myself, especially the one that’s most on my mind.

He takes no prisoners. He pushed the prices up as far as they’d go. Why? He challenges his peers and his peers don’t like it——> How many enemies does he have?

I start blushing when I think of the way he seems to enjoy teasing me, and I exhale and look at him as he talks to someone I’m pretty sure is Tahoe Roth. He’s different with his friends. More at ease, less intense. I think of his business calls, of his actions today.

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