Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 11.5

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…

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 five

In contrast to the flight to Hawaii, when David slept for the entire journey, he was so energised that none of us had any sleep at all on the way back. As soon as he realised that WiFi was available on the flight, he asked us if he could use it. Of course, it came at a price, but compared to the cost of the tickets, it was small change, provided the usage was low.

“Okay,” I said, “but no movies, alright? Plenty of movies to choose from on the in-flight entertainment.”

“No movies, Dad. I might look at Facebook, but its mostly for WhatsApp.”

I tapped the relevant card information into his phone and did the same with mine and Sophie’s. Immediately, his phone sounded a tone. I looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“Jess,” he said, and turned his attention back to his phone.

“I’m going to message Noelani, to thank her for looking after us so well for so long,” Sophie said.

“Go for it,” I replied, “and remind her that we expect to see her and Jason at Knight Towers before too long.”

“And Jess,” David added, before turning back to his screen.

“And Jess,” I agreed.

For the next twenty minutes or so, the Knight family observed a kind of silence, broken only by the gentle sound of fingers on pretend keyboards. For my part, I had my tablet out and was reviewing the notes on the working party’s recent meetings and activities.

“Dad?” David said, breaking the silence, “What do you think of Jess, really.”

“She’s so much like you, David, how could I not love her.”

“Do you, Dad? Really?”

“Seeing the two of you together was like seeing a brother and sister, only without the worst parts of sibling rivalry.”

“Yeah, we did do that a bit, didn’t we?”

“At first, I didn’t know if you’d work it out. You really are very similar, you know, even to the point of being what I would call ‘quietly competitive’. You wanted to show her that you were her intellectual equal, didn’t you?”

“Well, yeah. Because she’s so much smarter than I am.”

“And do you know why she was going on about her accomplishments; what she had done and what she knew?”

“I thought at first it was because she wanted to rub my nose in how much better and cleverer than me she is.”

“At first?”

“Well, yeah. I figured out that she was just trying to show that we are equal.”

“And do you know why she was trying to do that?”

“No.”

“She was trying to show that you were equal because she was convinced that you are much smarter than she is.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not at all.”

“But she’s smarter than I am.”

“Possibly she is, in some areas, but you’re smarter in others. The end result is that you complement each other, and between you, you make one very smart team.”

“Oh, wow.”

“Why do you ask, anyway?” I said, “What matters isn’t what we think of your friends, it’s what you think of them; how you relate to them.”

“But I want you and Mum to approve of my choice.”

“We do, but we don’t have to approve of your friends. They’re your friends, not ours. We’d let you know if we thought any of them were bad for you, but even then, it’d only be an opinion. You’re old enough to take responsibility for a number of things, David, and your choice of friends is one of them.”

“But what if Jess were more than just a friend?”

“What are you saying?”

“Nothing, just a hypothetical.”

“You mean if there were a romantic dimension to your relationship?”

“Or sexual.”

“She’s only fifteen.”

“Now, but she won’t always be.”

“Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?”

“Hypothetically, Dad. If I were to fall in love with Jess—”

“You think you might?”

“I think I might… I think I might have.”

“Oh.”

“Hypothetically.”

“Okay. Do I think the two of you are suited? Yes. Would I, in later years, be happy to welcome her into the family? Absolutely. But do I think this is something we should be addressing when you’re sixteen and she’s only fifteen—”

“Yes, I do,” Sophie interrupted.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Hannice. If you respect our son, respect his feelings, and especially respect that he feels able to discuss them with us. David, I think you and Jess would make a smashing couple. Now, I know that you have been very close over the past few weeks, but you need time now to work out whether this is the real thing, your first love, or a holiday romance. Once we get home, you can WhatsApp and Skype her as much as you like.”

“Or FaceTime, Mum.”

“Or FaceTime, whatever that is… and don’t bother explaining it to me now, that’s for later. Point is, when the pressure of time is off, you can use all your gadgets to get to know each other better. Talk about everything, even politics and religion. As you really get to know each other, you’ll gradually come to realise what pulls you together and what could separate you. My hunch is you’ll get closer. But know this. Long-distance affairs are hard. Relationships are never static. Throughout your lives, you will either grow closer together or further apart; and that’s when you are together a lot of the time.”

“So are you saying it can’t work, Mum?”

“No, not at all. I’m just saying that your father and I will support you, but it might not be as smooth sailing as you would like it to be.”

David’s phone gave out the tone that suggested an incoming WhatsApp message.

“It’s Jess,” he said. “She’s been having a long talk with her folks.”

“About?” I asked

“Same as we’ve been talking about.”

“And?”

“They said the same as you guys. She said they’re not trying to put her off, just preparing her for a disappointment they hope she won’t have to face.”

“I’m glad we’re all thinking the same. We don’t want you guys to be hurt, that’s our only concern. But if you have to face any pain, I hope you’ll let us support you through it.”

“You don’t sound very positive.”

“We are. We’re positive that you believe this is the real thing. We’re positive that you’ll both do your best to make it work. And though we hope against hope that it doesn’t go wrong, we hope you’re positive that we’ll be here to help you pick up the pieces if it does.”

“Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Mum. I think I’ll try to sleep for a bit.”

That was when the pilot chose to give his ‘we are preparing for landing’ announcement.

“On second thoughts,” David said, “maybe I’ll stay awake for a bit longer. What shall we talk about?”

“How about your gap year plans?” I suggested.

“I might want to change those, in the light of recent events,” he said.

“Perhaps you could spend part of it with me and Scott Enoch, identifying and investigating expansion possibilities in the US.”

“Any States in particular?”

“Wherever there may be openings for us.”

“Hawaii, by any chance?”

“If Scott identifies openings there, why not?”

“Will you talk to Scott, or shall I?”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, David. I know where you’re going with this, but we’ll investigate Hawaii if, and only if, there are opportunities that Knight Global can profitably exploit.”

“Can’t let love get in the way of business, can we?” Sophie asked with a wink and a grin.

“Sadly, no, but the one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other,” I suggested.

3 comments