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The Perfect Father by Nenny May


Overview: Was he the perfect father, Or the Perfect killer?
Ten years ago, Terrence Gresham was arrested and tried for murder. The charges had been dismissed for a want of evidence.
Ten years later with a murder brewing at his office dwelling, all fingers point to Terrence and Christina Gresham is the only one willing to save his case.
How well Do You know your father?
Christina Gresham is officially in Lawyers' hell. Just when she thought she'd escaped the past, it found her. That same ugly past that believed her father had murdered her twin brother.
Riddled with doubt, Christina Gresham finds herself delving deeper into Terrence’s arrest ten-years ago, not expecting to find the bitter truth that made her blood run cold.
What Lines are you willing to cross for family?
With her health rapidly deteriorating, Christina Gresham can’t afford a prolonged trial and entangles herself in a forbidden affair with Detective Harrington, because, she would die before she letting her sixty-something-year-old father serve time for a murder he probably didn't commit.


The Perfect Father by Nenny May Book Chapter One


Lawrence Harrington was dead and Manhattan knew this, and when the curtains tore apart and the morning sun glared upon the fast-paced city, newspapers would have the headlines; news outlets would carry the story with long weary faces. But that was hours away. Reporters and writers and photographers still clustered the scene in packs, barking questions at anyone behind the police tapes, each eager to cover the narrative as it unfolded. Pedestrians with busy fingers tweeted and posted; they each had a perspective, a version of the story. Rumors surged like wildfires. Why wouldn’t it? Lawrence Harrington wasn’t just a fancy name. Not like the other investors. He was more to the public, to his family, to his audience, and just like that, he was gone. Had he had enemies? Jealous colleagues? Had it been a crime of passion by a disgruntled lover? Time would tell because Christina Gresham surely couldn’t.


The night was young, however, bleeding leisurely into daylight; the moon a glare from a flashlight in a starless deep blue sky. Christina was smart on her feet, shuffling through the revolving doors and towards the pristinely polished elevators. As anticipated, the building had been easily evacuated of the grinning overpaid receptionists. They always seemed to rub her the wrong way. Her reflection had been distorted, almost smudged in the polished doors. She looked lean, resembling a patient in recovery; pin-straight shoulder-length bed hair ruffled over her head, hickory brown eyes cradled in visible bags and plush pink lips chapped.

Had there been more reflective gold surfaces in the reception, the building could have passed as the inside of the Trump Towers.


If only Terence had listened to her, he too would have grimaced at the architectural outline.


They hardly saw eye-to-eye.


Into the elevator, Christina clicked the number fifteen and then rummaged through her Valentino bag—an easy purchase, almost a gift to herself for not letting her last case bite the dust—for her phone buried underneath her packets of L&M's.


It was a busy night for Gresham Square—already having to deal with plummeting stocks as well as a rapid loss of clients. It was a wonder how the investment company would recover from the impact of Lawrence Harrington's death—and Christina had a feeling her father's frantic phone call had nothing to do with catching up. How would it, he’d been vague. Terrence Gresham was anything but a man with little words, at least the Terrence she’d known before the divorce wasn’t. Thinking back, maybe that’s where she’d gotten her chatter-box trait from? Growing up with a man that found a way to fill the silence; at times with wonder and other times with an opportunity to reflect, it was a speculation, a thought. But it wasn’t the time to entertain such.


It was likewise startling how accurate social media could be in a moment of crisis. Headlines and cover stories filled Christina's home screen the moment she'd switched on her phone. Numerous hashtags covered the story of Lawrence Harrington's murder. Though there were no pictures to back the claims, various bloggers uploaded abstract Getty images of the building or of the late Lawrence Harrington. Other than the headlines and missed calls from Grace Gresham and Carter Wellington, Christina had no other notifications. She shut off her phone tossing it back into her purse. She gulped a breath, but for some reason couldn’t feel it in her lungs though she knew it was there.


Rather, she could feel that gut-clenching feeling before she lost a case. What was it? A gurgling bubble of anxiety? Another episode of bowel moving Fear? For all she knew, her palms were damp and clammy, and her throat dry, but standing alone in an elevator nearly overcome by this suffocating sensation wouldn't suffice as enough of an excuse to back out of what she was walking into. She hadn’t backed down from the case of Kim Brimmings v Manhattan when she’d had the chance. No, she’d known at the time it was a career plummeting case, and yet, she’d taken it anyway and drove it into the wall. She would never forget that case, she couldn’t. She needed a smoke. Now more than ever she needed to pop a stick of L&M. She had a good enough excuse with what she was probably going to walk into. Her jaws clenched as fingers grazed gradually over the sealed packet in her bag.


There was a soft-jolt and a hum as the elevator rose the fifteen floors of Gresham Squares administrative branch.


The executive floor when the doors slid apart had been crawling with uniform-clad officers and paramedics; the crime scene investigators. Christina could tell without a second opinion that the cadaver hadn’t been taken to the morgue; the putrid smell of a rotten corpse still clung to the walls like cheap cologne. Lawrence Harrington had been reduced to a mere cadaver. The thought sat heavily on her chest.


Though she kept walking, her steps strategically slow, calculated as she strode out of the elevator. She was a lawyer evaluating her case, analyzing the facts before her. She was a daughter searching for her father. She was coerced into a hurricane of thoughts with each click of her red bottom Jimmy Choos against the marble floors.




Lawrence Harrington was a close friend of Terrance Gresham...




Terrance Gresham was the last person to see Lawrence alive...




Terrance Gresham has a criminal record. Christina's panic was lenient, suppressed as she edged Terrance Gresham's office. His barely-opaque doors hung open, he was by his desk. Not surprisingly, unchanged from his much preferred three-piece-Tom-Ford suit; an anniversary gift from his wife before their imminent separation. Much to Christina's chagrin, he wasn't alone. His colleague had been murdered, the likelihood of Terrence Gresham sitting isolated in his office while officers combed through the workplace seemed highly unlikely.


Leaned against his desk in what seemed like a hushed squabble, Christina easily recognized the district attorney; Harper Berkeley. Yet another person that irked Christina.


Never a man to conceal his distress, Terrence's expression was caviar-like; his eyelids drooped above hickory brown eyes and there was a slight lolling to his head, drunk with fatigue after a session of night-time trading no doubt. Unmoving, Christina observed her father's brows crease and his jaw clamp, an unblemished reaction to Harper's malicious words. Perhaps to Christina, Harper had been painted in a darker light. After all, to the D.A., this was merely professional; Harper could and would press charges against her suspect once granted the green light by the Sheriff’s office. But this was Christina’s father in a sticky wicket; she could paint Harper and whoever in whatever light she pleased.


"My client has nothing to say to you, Miss Berkeley." Christina's words were clear as she inched further into her father's office, the night pouring into the room from the open blinds. Never once a man of many colors, the dusky shades of Terrance Gresham's workplace begged for brighter lighting and pastel paintings.


Sigh, if only Terrence had taken her opinion on the decor...


It at times resembled a gothic canvas.


Harper almost looked pleased with Christina's presence as she offered her an over-the-shoulder smile, one that didn't quite meet her soil brown eyes. Christina scowled. "Humor me. I'm merely asking Terrence some basic questions." Harper mused pushing herself upright. "When this entire situation ripples out of proportions and things are brought before a court, I need to know I did my research." Christina strode further into Terrence's office, hickory eyes trailing the district attorney in the light brown pencil dress. Christina huffed. “You can’t blame me for wanting to find criminal liability, can you, Christina?”


" If it's only routine questions you're here for, I assume you're finished?" She gave room for the district attorney to make her exit, Harper smiled, pacing the room, footsteps muffled by the black carpet.


"Can you blame a girl for wanting to be prepared?"


Christina glimpsed at Terrence by his desk, his elbows on the table and hands running over his tired, wrinkled face.


"Lawrence Harrington's death isn't his age coming back to bite him in the rear, he was shot in the head, his body found bloated and discolored behind his newly imported desk," Harper said. Something flipped in Christina's stomach. “We’re looking at a capital murder of the first degree.”


"Let's look at things from your perspective, Mrs. Berkeley; Lawrence's case is taken to court, what makes you so sure Terrence Gresham will be the defendant?" Christina asked, Harper, shrugged, she was now by the window gazing down at the florescent lights of neighboring high rise buildings.


"I’m not. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to subject this man to basic questions. I could care less that he is your father Miss. Gresham, he is a suspect in a murder investigation and he will be treated as such."


"Aren't you curious to know what I have uncovered?" Harper continued. She was yet to move from the window. Though she seemed concentrated on something in particular down below. Perhaps the crowd gathered by the body as it was trudged away on a gurney contained in a black zipped body bag.


"Do tell, what did you find?" Christina crossed her arms over her chest. Harper straightened and turned. Her lips had been pressed into a thin line. Harper was a worthy opposing council when found within the court setting; she did her homework and drove the extra mile for her win, that didn't mean that Christina had any plans to face the district attorney in the near or distant future—at least not with regards to Terrence Gresham’s involvement in the murder of his colleague.


"He was in contact with the deceased on the day of the murder." Christina frowned. "According to Terrence, they'd spoken over the phone, multiple times on the day of the murder."


"You're going to build a case on the grounds of a phone call?" Christina wanted to know.


"Multiple phone calls, actually, and that's not all I was able to extract from your father." Christina's stomach was completely churning at this point. "Don't you find it interesting that Terrence has been working with Lawrence for over six years and his employees cannot even vouch for the friendship he claimed to have had with the deceased?" Christina clenched her teeth. It’s complicated, she wanted to say, but couldn’t seem to force the words through her chapped lips. “The pair were known to butt heads when it came to basic decisions; hardly caught together outside the workplace. Now I’m no expert, but I don’t think that’s the recipe for a good friendship.”


"What exactly are you rambling about?" She said instead.


"Those happy-go-lucky receptionists aren't there for fancy, you know? They talk, and they can't vouch for Terrence's buddy-buddy relationship with the deceased. It might not be much but that there is a motive." Christina was stripped of words. "I have an investigation to conduct, Christina, if you'll excuse Terrence and I?" She glimpsed at the man in the three-piece-suit. Terrence was not a dull man. He'd been in the hot seat once before; faced claims by the state police department and even had his case taken to trial. She wasn't his lawyer then and he'd prevailed; had the charges dropped.


Christina raised her hands in mock surrender, her UlysseNardine wristwatch gliding further down her arm and disappearing within the sleeve of her trench coat, she dropped her hands sighing. "Those overpaid airheads would do anything to build a story, just saying." Christina brusquely commented.


"That may be so, but their testimony leaves Terrence wanting of an alibi." More than once, Christina had lavished in the pleasure of handling Harper as an opposing counsel, and often at times, she'd exited the courtroom with a child-like-grin and hickory eyes dancing. She was tempted to want that, to want to relish in a win against the smug district attorney.


No, not with regards to Terrence Gresham’s involvement in the murder of his colleague, Christina reminded herself. Those receptionists; Colleen Harlow, Jack Patrick, and the likes were new-recruits to the investment enterprise. They knew only what they’d seen. They saw a friendship that through the years had been worn threadbare. And Christina Gresham more than ever wanted to screech this at the top of her lungs to each of them, and to Harper. But her voice was lodged in a clustered throat.


"I'll be right outside." She said instead. Terrence from behind his desk stared blankly at Christina; a flicker of dread in his eyes. Maybe times had changed and he wasn't the Terrence arrested and tried for murder on account of numerous witness claims? Maybe he didn't trust Christina's capabilities as an underrated defense attorney. Did she trust her capabilities? She had in the Kim Brimmings case and look at how that turned out? Her client was sentenced to the death penalty and claimed her own life a week into her sentence. Whether or not Christina Gresham trusted herself didn't matter at the moment. Terrence was her client and she had to trust that he wouldn't worsen his case by answering some inadequate questions.


Turning on her heels, Christina took hesitant steps out of her father's office. The intensity of the foul smell hadn't dulled in the slightest and the number of gloved, uniform-clad CSI officers only seemed to have multiplied.


Curious, Christina glimpsed at the officers tossing couch cushions aside for stray hair strands, the ones taking pictures of the scene as well as those determined to rip apart Lawrence Harrington's office in the name of identifying stray fingerprints. One step closer to the office of the deceased, her eyes seemed to linger on the dent in the fossil grey carpet, stained by an almost black splotch of dried blood. She peeled her eyes from the scene and rather assumed the murder weapon would have already been taken into evidence.


Christina continued to observe suited officers rummaging through the office, directed by a man, in a steel grey blazer. He had his back to her, but she’d easily assumed he would be the Detective responsible for the case. He didn’t look familiar to the last homicide Detective 28th precinct she’d worked with. She didn’t give it much thought. What she did however deliberate on had been in regards to Terrence Gresham.


He will be featured on tabloids, what is left of his image ripped apart by the New York Times and the New Yorker if he's accosted as Lawrence's alleged killer.


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