I managed a meek “okay.” Harville said “she was a piece of work, wasn’t she?” I nodded in agreement. He smiled when he said “I understand she spanked your bottom a few times.”
I could feel my face flush as I tried unsuccessfully to attribute the “butt kicking” to my youthful inexperience but I knew Harville wasn’t buying it.
“She sent quite a few of you crying home to your mamas, didn’t she?” I began my defense but he quickly dismissed me by saying “save it. I want to tell you a little about Parker Patterson but first, I want you to tell me what you really thought of her and you can be honest.”
I put on my big boy panties and said “okay. I thought she was a fucking bitch and I hated her. I never could understand how she could so vehemently defend people who were lower than pond scum and not only that, but get them protection. Protection! Like they actually had some kind of value to society. Like they were somehow entitled to special treatment after they had raped, murdered and destroyed other people’s lives. I’ll be honest with you. More than once, I wished somebody would end her.”
I felt ashamed after my rant and tried to temper it with the stupid statement “but I’m sorry that she was killed. She didn’t deserve to die that way.”
Harville figuratively yanked the chair out from under me when he said “that was a pretty visceral response. Were you in love with her?”
“No!” I proclaimed rather loudly, “but I will say that I admired her and envied her ability to win every single time. Every single time! She always found a loop-hole or a mistake or some way to make the rest of us look like rank amateurs. But I will admit that she was drop dead gorgeous.”
I tested the waters when I flippantly said “tell me. Were you in love with her?”
That question seemed to anger him at first. He looked down and there was obvious pain in his voice when he said “yes, I did but I didn’t love her in the way you are implying.” His reply was genuine and I felt like a cad because I could see the anguish in his face.
Still wearing my big boy panties, I switched gears and took charge. “Okay. Tell me about Parker Carolina Patterson.”
He leaned back in his big, impressive chair and began. “Parker Patterson was high-born. Do you know what that means?” I stopped just short of asking him if he thought I was a complete idiot. Of course I knew what it meant to be high-born.
“Well,” he went on. Her father invented a little gadget that nobody knew they needed until he convinced them that they needed it. He patented it, marketed it and became a multi-billionaire. That’s billionaire with a B,” he said.
“Parker was not only the apple of her parents’ eyes, she was a child prodigy. She was reading at three years old and actually read “War and Peace” when she was four. She was a brilliant pianist and I remember seeing her sitting in front of that huge Steinway grand piano. Her little fingers were flying over those keys like a bumblebee in a garden of daisies.”
I interrupted him and said “you knew her when she was a little girl?” This time I think he was the one who had to stop just short of asking me if I was a complete idiot. He shook his head and said “how else would I know these things? He looked sternly at me and said “don’t interrupt me again. I don’t like it.”
After I apologized, he continued. “I was the Patterson’s attorney and they were my only clients. As you can tell, they paid me quite handsomely. In return, I was totally devoted to them.”
“They were as honest as the day was long and never asked me to hide assets or misrepresent their wealth in any way. They were very unassuming and gracious about their wealth and position and that’s a rare trait, son.”
“They were very generous to charities. If they saw a homeless veteran, they would put them up for weeks and sometimes months. They would open their home on Thanksgiving and Christmas. They didn’t care if you wandered in off the street or were another ‘blue blood’ who had been invited.”
“Parker met each one at the front door and handed them a gift and a card. They were living the perfect American dream.”
He hesitated for a minute and said “then, one day…..”
To be continued______________________