In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.
On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.
As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.
This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.
But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…
A bump in the Knight is now being published here as a serial; one part each Sunday.
A Bump in the Knight. Chapter eight, part four
When Sophie returned with David on Monday afternoon, I immediately noticed a softer look about her. The steely gaze was replaced with something more… accessible. I didn’t feel that I was entirely on the losing side. Recently, I had felt not so much that I was on the losing side, more that I was the losing side.
“Good weekend?” I asked.
“Very good, thanks. David was playing with Dad a lot, leaving me free to have a heart-to-heart with Mum, and think about my situation.”
“And how are you feeling about things now? Any better?”
“A little, but—”
“Before you go any further, I’ve been talking to someone over the weekend, too.”
“That’s not important. What is important, is that I have some insights, some understandings that I didn’t have before.”
“Such as it never occurred to me, being a man, and particularly being the sort of man I am, that you may not be getting everything you need.”
“In what respect?”
“In relation to stimulation, fulfilment, all that sort of stuff. It never occurred to me, that being stuck inside the house all day, every day, with only David for company, could be quite boring for you.”
“I wouldn’t say I was bored, more frustrated. I know that I have a lot to give, that I am more than just a mother. Not that being a mother isn’t an important job, it is. It’s possibly one of the most important jobs there is, but you can’t have an intelligent, challenging conversation with a toddler, bright as he is. But I’m also a physiotherapist, a PA, and I can turn my hand to a lot of different jobs.”
“So, let’s talk again about David’s schooling. Are you sure you are happy to have a tutor in for him? I mean, what will you do while he’s being schooled? And will he learn how to interact with other kids, if the only people he sees with any frequency are his parents and a tutor?”
“Those were exactly the things I was worried about when you proposed this, but you seemed so set on it, I didn’t want to object.”
“Point taken. I think I was rebelling against being sent away to school, and I didn’t want that for David.”
“I can understand that. Is it too late to enrol him in a local school?”
“I’ll find out. Probably a few strings I can pull, anyway. Question is, small village school or larger one in town?”
“I’d prefer the village school. It’s more intimate, and although the bigger schools have more and better facilities for older kids, and we’ll want him to have all that later, for younger ones, the village school provides a much less impersonal atmosphere.”
“Village school it is, then. Leave it with me.”
“Thank you, Hannice. I’ll be able to make friends with some of the other mums, too.”
“Or even talk to the hospital about working as a physio under their jurisdiction. I’m sure they’d appreciate someone they could have go out to patients in their homes, instead of either making the patients come into the hospital or have one of their staff go out.”
“Of course. Have a chat with Lockhart. He knows both sides of the business. He might even want to take you on either in the clinic or out visiting.”
“That would make so much difference to me, Hannice. Thank you.”
I immediately got on the phone to the Head of the local school, who was a chum of mine, and asked what were my options. He said that the school was fully subscribed for the next five years at least, but that he could probably juggle something to make it possible for David to attend as soon as he is of age. I learned subsequently, that a couple who live just outside the catchment area were told that the rules were being applied more strictly, and that, as a result, their child wouldn’t be able to go to that school. They were disappointed, of course, but accepted that he would have to go to one of the schools in town. I felt awful about that, but because it was what Sophie wanted, I got over it.
Sophie, meantime, visited Dr Lockhart and got herself enrolled on the staff of the clinic, as a part-time physiotherapist. He put her on a zero-hours contract, which I generally detest because it deprives the employee of a regular, predictable income, but as it suited her needs, I got over that, too.
“What terms did he offer?” I asked when she got back. She managed to do the whole thing while David was taking his afternoon nap, which disappointed me a little, as I would have liked to have spent a bit of time with the lad.
“I only work during school hours, unless there’s an emergency, and when there’s no physio work for me, I can act as nursing auxiliary, orderly, receptionist or whatever needs doing.”
“Don’t really need it, but National Living hourly rate for hours worked, plus a hundred a month retainer. I think that’s more for his benefit than mine.”
“And you’ll work for the KGT clinic?”
“No, I’ll work for Dr Lockhart.”
“Fair enough. Good result.”
I then told her what had happened with the school, and had the impression, I hope not mistakenly, that Sophie and I were friends again.