Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 1.4

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, 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.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.


Knight after Knight. Chapter one, part four.

We drove through the lanes and villages to the motorway, where we had about fifteen miles of higher speed driving. I asked Pepu to pull off in the service centre.

“How are you with satnav?” I asked.

“Fine,” he replied.

“This one is voice controlled,” I told him, “its activation phrase is ‘oh, TomTom’. Tell it to go home.”

“Oh, TomTom,” he said.

I’m listening,” came the response.

“Go home,” he said.

Calculating route to home.”

“Follow it where you think it appropriate,” I said.

“Sir?”

“I want to see if you can use it intelligently rather than following it blindly.”

He didn’t let me down. Two points at which the device wanted us to use what was clearly a rat run he ignored. When we got back to the house, food was on the table which had been set for two. Sophie and I took our seats and enjoyed a splendid Lancashire hotpot.

“What do you think?” Sophie asked.

“I think we’ve found our staff,” I replied.

The Kunongas ate their meal in the kitchen. Sophie had told Jen to make enough for four so they could eat, too. They had never tried Lancashire hotpot. We called them through after we’d eaten.

“What did you think of your meal?” Sophie asked.

“Not as flavoursome as what we normally eat,” Pepu said, “but nice.”

“Well, Jen,” I said, “we thought it was delicious.” She beamed again.

“I think we’re ready to offer you the jobs. When can you start?”

“Tomorrow?” Pepu said, hopefully.

“Excellent. What about your living arrangements?”

“We have one room in our friend’s house. It’s really too small for us, but it’s okay.”

“We are going to give you a choice,” I said, “there is a one-bedroomed flat on the ground floor of the house where Mrs Cooper lived while she was here, or there is a more comfortable two-bedroomed flat on the second floor. If you’d rather not live in the main house, there is accommodation above the garage. It’s not been used for a very long time, and it needs a bit of work, but we can arrange that for you, if that’s what you’d prefer.”

“That’s very kind of you, Sir, but I don’t know which we could afford – if any of them.”

“We won’t be asking you for rent on any of them,” Sophie said, “there will be rules, of course, but the accommodation will be considered part of your salaries. I know this is none of my business, and I’ll understand if you’d prefer not to answer me, but do you plan to have children at all?”

“Yes, we do,” Jen replied, “either two or three, we thought.”

“Okay,” Sophie said, “thank you for that. Can I make a suggestion?”

“Please.”

“Why don’t you start off in the second-floor flat. We’ll have the flat above the garage done up then, when you start your family, if you’re still with us, you can move out there for more privacy. How does that sound?”

“I’m tempted to ask what the catch is,” Pepu said.

That annoyed me a little, but I didn’t want to let it show. “Why would there be a catch?” I asked.

“Well, Sir, for a start, no-one has ever been that generous or kind to us – even our own families – and secondly, I just can’t believe what you’re offering us. Will we be paid, too?”

I laughed at that. “Of course you’ll be paid. Here.” I pushed across to him a piece of paper with two numbers on it. His eyes opened wider. He pushed it across to Jen, who looked at it and stiffened with excitement.

“Where do we sign?” Pepu said.

“I’ll have contracts drawn up. What do you need to move in? I’ll arrange a moving van if you wish.”

“We only have our clothes, Sir.”

“Take the 4×4 in the garage,” I said, “keys are on the peg by the front door. We’ll air the flat for you. Do you have a mobile phone?”

“No, Sir.”

“You’ll have one tomorrow. Off you go, take the 4×4 home tonight and come back in the morning with your stuff.”

“That was kind of you, Hannice,” Sophie said after Pepu and Jen had left, “and very brave.”

“Why brave?”

“Well, we’ve only just met them and not only have you offered them a job and a home each, but you’ve even given them a brand new 4×4 to play with.”

“Not brand new; it’s nearly a year old, but I get your point. Yes, it’s a risk, but it’s a calculated risk backed up by a good feeling about this pair – and you know how much my business… our business runs on trust and personal relationships. Come with me.”

Sophie followed me into my study. I fired up one of the monitors which displayed an image of a road map of the county with a pulsating spot moving slowly along one of the roads. A few keystrokes and the image zoomed in. “That’s our car. It has a tracker embedded in it. Can’t be seen or detected without special equipment. If they don’t come back in the morning, it will only take a few keystrokes for me to lock all the doors and remotely disable the electrics, so it won’t start even if they get in.”

“So much for trust,” she said, smiling and gently squeezing my shoulder, “I should have known you’d think of something clever to protect us.”

“It’s not about trust,” I said, “it’s just another level of security. We employ some very bright people to think of something clever to protect us. The tracking technology on the 4×4 – and on the Bentley, for that matter – is the same as has been fitted to all KGT vehicles globally for more than a decade, and we haven’t lost a single one in that time.”

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