Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 6.3

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 six, part three.

Max took me to the hotel, made me a cup of tea with which I took the two pills the nurse had given us and helped me to bed.

“I’ll fix up another room for myself,” she said.

“Don’t go,” I asked, “not yet.”

“Okay. I’ll stay here with you until you’re asleep.”

“Thanks…” I said, drifting into chemical oblivion.

When I awoke, Max was sitting in the easy chair by the window in her room.

“Welcome back,” she said, “How are you feeling?”

“Oh,” I said, “it wasn’t just a bad dream, was it?”

“I’m afraid not,” she said, “do you feel like eating?”

“Not really.”

“You haven’t eaten today and it’s seven-thirty.”

“I’m okay.”

“You should call David.”

“No. I can’t face that. Not yet, anyway.”

“Would you like me to call him?”

“Okay,” I said, listlessly. I was still groggy from the sedative, but I knew there were things that had to be done. I just didn’t much want to do them. Not yet, anyway.

The following few days were a total haze. I slept (but only with the aid of some advanced chemistry), I got up reluctantly, I ate half-heartedly and I have no recollection of what, if any, conversations I had with Max. I was aware that she was in my room when I went down each night and there in the morning when I awoke. I vaguely remember her telling me that she had a separate room in which she was sleeping, but I had no way of knowing that for sure. On the fourth day, I awoke feeling a little more alive.

“How are you feeling this morning?” she asked.

“A little more alive,” I said.

“Good. You only had half the sedative last night than you’d had before. Doctor’s advice. He said it should be enough and would leave you more alert on waking.”

I noticed that Max had brought a suitcase into my room. “Suitcase?” I asked.

“Stuff from the villa. I’ve asked Katerina’s people to close it up for you. Are you ready for me to tell you what’s going to happen today, or do you need some coffee or breakfast first?” When I didn’t respond, she said, “Okay. Coffee it is,” and left the room.

I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower. One can never overstate the reviving effect of a shower on a morning when one is beyond groggy. By the time Max let herself back in, carrying two steaming cups of coffee, I was seated on the chair fully dressed.

“Good,” she said, giving my shoulder a gentle squeeze, “drink up and we’ll talk.”

The coffee was good. It was my first since that morning and I appreciated it.

“Ready,” I said once I’d downed it.

“Right. We’re booked on a direct flight to Heathrow this morning and the local undertakers will have Sophie on the plane before we board. David and Jess will meet us at Heathrow with the funeral director you used for Sophie’s parents. You don’t have to talk to them straight away if you’re not ready; David is ready to deal with all the arrangements. Just let us know how you want to play it and we’ll make it happen. I have your passport and all the paperwork we’re likely to need. Okay?”

“Thank you, Max. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“I know you, Hannice Knight; You would, somehow, have coped. You always do. I’m just glad I was here so you didn’t need to. Is there anything else you want me to tell you about?”

“Just one. We told the doctor—”

“Organ donation?”

“Yes.”

“The doctors tell me that some of her organs are already giving a few people another shot at life. Do you want me to give you more detail?”

“Not now, Max. I’m happy that they were able to use something. That’ll do me for the time being. What now?”

“We take a taxi to the airport in an hour.”

I slept for most of the four and a half hour flight to Heathrow. On arrival, we found that David had pre-alerted the ground staff, who ushered us through the various formalities with no delays at all. David and Jess were waiting for us in the meet-and-greet area. Although unenthusiastic, I was glad to see them. David briefly hugged me, then Jess made more of a meal of it.

“Thank you so much for taking care of things for me, David,” I said, “I’m so sorry.”

“What are you sorry about, Dad?” he asked.

“Your mother was fine when I took her to Cyprus. I never thought…”

“Max told me what happened, Dad. You have nothing to be sorry for. I know it’s bound to be hard for you, the argument and everything, but that wasn’t Mum. That was the illness taking hold. I’ve spoken with Dr Willis, too. Partly to get his thoughts on what happened at the Cyprus hospital…”

“What did he say? Was it something they did?”

“He doesn’t think so. Neither the MRI or the contrast agent should cause or exacerbate a bleed. He also said that everything leading up to it fit together and nothing you, the ambulance personnel nor the hospital did would have made it worse. More importantly, his opinion was that there was nothing anyone could have done at that stage to prevent it.”

“You say nothing at that stage. He saw Sophie often enough. Could he have spotted it early and done something to prevent it?”

“What are you asking?”

“I’m asking if there was something he missed that he could and should have spotted. I’m asking if it was his fault.”

Jess put her arm around my shoulder. “If you really want to go there, Dad, we can look into it later on. Not now though, eh? Let’s concentrate our efforts on what needs to be done.”

“Okay,” I said, “Have you told—”

“My parents? Yes. They’ll be arriving tomorrow. Pepu will pick them up in the new Bentley.”

That cheered me a little. “Has it arrived, then?” I asked.

“Day before yesterday,” David said, “and she’s a beauty. You’ll be able to see it in a second.”

Before we left the terminal building, David spoke briefly on his phone. Right outside the door was my gorgeous, brand new Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. For a second, I was so taken by it that I felt a load leave my shoulders.

“I shall have to miss that treat,” Max said, “my car’s on level five. Okay if I follow and see you all at Knight Towers?”

“Be sure you do, Max,” I said, “I have so much to thank you for.”

“Just trying to be a friend, Hannice.” She peeled off towards the long-term parking where her car was.

“What’s that colour called?” I asked David.

“Amber,” David replied, “Like it?”

“Like it? I love it,” I said, “but where’s the undertaker? Where’s your mother?” Suddenly the elation was gone and the weight was back.

“They’re around at the cargo entrance, Dad. They’ll deal with all the paperwork and everything; they have copies of the certificates and everything from Cyprus. We can talk with them tomorrow.”

I started to cry again. Jess tried to comfort me.

“What is it?” she asked.

“It’s just the thought of my Sophie being cargo,” I blubbered, “it’s not right. It’s just not right.”

“I know, Dad. It’s terrible, but really, it’s just a word. Don’t dwell on it too much.” She turned to David. “Side entrance might have sounded a little bit better, David,” she said tersely.

“You’re right,” he said, “sorry; didn’t think.”

Pepu opened the doors and we all piled into the car while he put our cases into the enormous boot.

“I adore this car,” Jess said, as she laid back into the luxury leather seat. “Poor Max doesn’t know what she’s missing.”

In the back of the car, Jess and I continued the journey in silence. In the front, Pepu and David were in almost constant conversation. At least, I thought, David seems to be okay with Pepu now. Perhaps I shan’t mention what he had said before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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