Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 1.5

 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…

Beginning on 14 January 2018, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter one, part five

The meetings we had with our regional directors were pretty much a formality; nothing had changed since we last met, after Papa’s funeral. It was useful to catch up, though, and I was encouraged by how well Max’s suggestions regarding start-up funding had been received, and by the progress that had been made in the investigations and research into suitable beneficiaries, particularly in Asia and South America.

The meeting with Stephen Parker was less pleasant. His wife had insisted on coming with him, which I knew would result in fireworks. Sophie had elected to sit this one out, hoping to avoid any one-wife-to-another nonsense, and I was more than happy to have Joe Green present, to back me up.

Unsurprisingly, Parker’s wife started the ball rolling. With a belligerent look on her face, she asked, “Why have you called us in here?”

“As Chairman and Chief Executive of Knight Global Trading, I have asked my Head of Logistics to pop in for discussions about his job. With respect, Mrs Parker, the request did not include you.”

“How dare you speak to me like that? Stephen. Tell him he can’t speak to me like that.”

“Whatever else he is, Joan, Mr Knight is my boss. I don’t want to lose this job,” Stephen replied.

“You shouldn’t have that job,” she yelled, “you should be a full director, on the board, and paid a lot more than you are!”

Joe interjected. “On what basis, Mrs Parker; a report that, and I’m quoting here; ‘does not exclude the likelihood that Mr Knight and your husband have the same biological father’? On a ranking of evidence, there is a big difference between ‘probable’ and ‘not impossible’, and both fall well short of fact. Were I your lawyer—”

“Well, you’re not, are you?”

“But if I were, I would be advising you to accept the generous way in which Mr Knight responded to this remote possibility of a filial relationship, and allow your husband to work with Knight Global in a way that will enhance his chances of advancement. Who is advising you, by the way?”

“No-one is advising us. We don’t need any fancy lawyers. We have the law and natural justice on our side.”

I turned to Stephen. “Stephen. It has been our experience that senior managers who enjoy support from their families, who are supported, not driven, by their loved ones, tend to perform a lot better than those who don’t. You know most of our UK-based directors, and I can tell you that they all enjoy that kind of support at home. Don’t take my word for that. Talk to them. They will tell you that there have been periods when they have been under severe stress, and it is the quiet support of their families that has seen them through it. And I can confirm to you now, that it shows in their performance, and that we, as a company, recognise and support it.”

“So you’re telling me to keep my trunk out. Is that what you’re saying?” Joan Parker demanded.

“What I am saying to my employee is that this meeting is at an end.”

“But—”, Joan Parker complained.

“Thank you for coming in, Stephen. See yourself out, will you?”

Stephen Parker got up and left, followed by his wife, whose strident tones could be heard clearly almost until they were out of the building.

“What do you think, Joe?” I asked.

“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of that woman, Hannice,” he said.

“Suggestions?”

“Go off on your honeymoon and don’t think about her. Concentrate on your own wife. We’ll talk more when you get back.”

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