Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 11.4

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 eleven, part four

David and Jess joined us.

“Will you be going on Facebook, Mr Knight?” Jess asked.

“Hadn’t planned to,” I replied, “can’t really see much point in it.”

“I should,” David said. “Your firm has a page and a closed group. You might want to see what they’re saying about you.”

“What are they saying?” I asked, suddenly concerned.

“Oh, nothing yet, but they might. Besides, a closed Facebook page for your working party might be useful for communication.”

“I’ll talk to Max about it, but email does the job fine for me.”

“WhatsApp?” Jess asked.

“Nothing,” I said, “I’m just not a facebooky kind of man.”

“No, not ‘what’s up’, WhatsApp. It’s a secure instant messaging application. Better than email because it’s as instant as a telephone call, and encrypted end-to-end for privacy. You can have group chats on it, too.”

I moved my hand over my head and made a whoosh sound.

“Dad. It’s not hard. You know about instant messaging.”

“Yes. Text messages.”

“Them, too. WhatsApp is similar.”

“So what’s the point, if we already have text?”

“Four things. First, it’s instant. If the person you’re messaging is online, they get it the instant you hit ‘send’. Second, you can see straight away if it was delivered okay, and if it has been read. Third, there’s always a record of it on your phone; and fourth, it’s encrypted, so if anyone should intercept it, all they’ll see is gobbledygook.”

“Much like I’m hearing now, David. Is there an English translation.”

It wasn’t my intention, but that made the two youngsters fall about in fits of laughter.

“Go with them, Hannice. It’d Jess set me up, and I’m glad I did,” Jason said.

“Give me your phone, Dad,” David said. I gave it to him. His fingers moved across the pretend keyboard at impossible speeds and he handed the phone back to me.

“Okay, Dad. Bring up your contacts and find Uncle Jason.”

Jason beamed at that. To be called Uncle Jason instead of Mr Reeves was an unexpected but very welcome sign of acceptance.

“Now click on ‘show all’ and scroll down until you see a green bubble with a phone inside it.”

“Got that.”

“Click on it, then type something in the box. Okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Then click ‘send’.” Immediately I did so, Jason’s phone made a sound, and a tick appeared beside my message.

“There’s a tick,” I said.

“That means it’s been delivered.”

Jason smiled.

“There’s another tick,” I said.

“Which tells you that Uncle Jason has read it.”

My phone made a tone. I looked and saw that Jason had replied.

“And how long will this stay available?”

“Like email, until you delete it.”

“And I have proof of delivery?”

“Yes.”

“And proof that it’s been read?”

“To all intents and purposes, yes.”

“This is good,” I said, “I must tell Max and Henk about it.”

“Look them up in your contacts, Dad. If they have the WhatsApp symbol, they already have it. Or you can look at contacts in the WhatsApp application. If they have it, they’ll be listed.”

“So I don’t need to use the contacts thing – that’s far too long.”

“Not if they have WhatsApp.”

“And they both do! I should tell them that I have it, too.”

“You can, but you don’t really need to. Your name will be in their contacts list in WhatsApp.”

“Already? All by itself?”

“Yup!”

“Wow.”

Jason giggled. “It’s a revelation, isn’t it, Hannice. And, unlike a lot of these apps the kids love, it’s not a total waste of time.”

“This might just be the first thing that makes me glad I let David talk me into buying us one of these new phones each.”

“Maybe,” Sophie said, “we can learn some things from the youngsters, as well as teaching them what we’ve already learned.”

David and Jess shared a satisfied smile.

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