Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 8.1

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 eight, part one.

A few weeks later, Max and I arrived in Dar-es-Salaam. Lindy came to meet us at the airport. It was the first time he and I had been able to have a decent chat in rather a long time.

“Business aside, Lindy, how are you doing?”

“Doing good, Boss,” he said, “should I still call you Boss, you not being my Boss any longer?”

“Given the new arrangement, I think I may have to start calling you Boss. But I think it’s about time you called me by my given name, don’t you?”

“I don’t know if I can do that, Boss. It just doesn’t seem right. How do you manage, Max?”

“Easy,” Max replied, “but then, I have known the old fool for better than half a century.”

“Now you’re trying to make me feel old,” I complained, “but, Lindy, how are things between you and Tanja these days?”

“There was never much between us, Boss. It was always business; a bit like you and Max. You’re close, and good friends, but I don’t see anything romantic going on. Anyway, never mind me, how are you coping, Boss? I was devastated when I heard.”

“Thanks, Lindy. I’ll never fully get over losing her, but I’m learning to deal with it.”

“Will it cheer you up if I give you some of my good news?”

“You can try.”

“Well. You remember Roger?”

“Roger… Roger… No, you’ll have to give me more than that.”

“Roger Crawford.”

“Roger Crawford…” I was having serious trouble with this, though I noticed Max smiling. I looked at her and raised my eyebrows. She smiled back. Then a light-bulb moment arrived, “Wasn’t that the guy who worked as something-or-other with Jaxsons?”

“Yes, he was in charge of administration and we worked together to make the takeover of the pharmaceutical thing work.”

“Okay, what about him?”

Lindy looked at us, stiffened with excitement, clenched his fists and started to shake a little. “We’re getting married!” he all but screamed.

My jaw must have visibly dropped. I had known from the very beginning that Lindy was, as I had told Sophie, as camp as a row of pink tents, that many of his expressions and actions bordered on the effeminate, but it never occurred to me for one second that he was actually gay, especially after all that business with Tanja.

“I never knew you were gay, Lindy,” I exclaimed.

Max and Lindy looked at each other, then at me. Both had furrowed brows.

“Hannice,” Max said, “how could you not have known that since forever?”

“It just never occurred to me. How long have you suspected it, Max?”

“I never suspected it, Hannice. Not for one moment.”

“So how…”

“Hannice. Can I ask you how long you’ve suspected that the sky is blue on sunny days.”

“I’ve never suspected it. It’s just the way it is, it’s obvious, you only have to … oh, I see what you’re saying. Am I thick or what?”

“No, Boss. I’m flattered. It means you’ve always accepted me as I am, without judging or categorising, without putting any expectations on me. And I love you for it.”

“Steady!” I said.

“Not like that, silly. Anyway, I’m true to Roger. Will you come to the wedding?”

“When is it?” Max asked.

“Saturday week!” Lindy screamed.

Max and I looked at each other. “Wouldn’t miss it for anything,” I said, “anything we can do?”

“I was hoping you’d ask, Boss. Will you be my honour attendant?”

“Your what?”

“Honour attendant. It’s like the best man but it can be done by someone of any gender.”

“I’m not sure if I—”

“Hannice!” Max said, “It’s a great honour to be asked to be best man. You can’t refuse.”

“I’m not refusing. I don’t know if I’m ready for this kind of thing yet, and I don’t even know what a best man’s supposed to do in a same-sex marriage. I mean, do you both have a best man, or what?”

“We’ll both have honour attendants, Boss. Roger has chosen one of his old friends from school, but it’s taken me ages to decide. Even when I knew you were coming here I wasn’t sure whether to ask you, Boss or you, Max.”

“I’m surprised you wouldn’t ask someone of your own age group to do it,” I said.

“I could, but you two just happen to be the two people I respect most in the whole world.”

“Then why not have us both?” Max asked.

“Ooh. I hadn’t thought of that. Yeah. We can make that work. Boss and Max, how do you feel about being joint honour attendants?”

“What do we have to do?” I asked.

“Mostly just be there for me. Oh, and if one of you could make a little speech at the reception, it would be terrific.”

“So we don’t have to organise a … I don’t know what to call it – can’t be stag party or hen party—”

“No, Boss. Neither of us is going to get wasted before our wedding. We can spend the evening before together – the three of us – and on the day, one of you will need to pass me the ring—”

“And if I know you, Lindy, the other will need to pass you a hankie!” I said, jokingly.

“You know me too well, Boss.”

Max and I looked at each other. “So, Lindy,” Max said, “HanMax Consultants to the rescue – our first joint project.”

“Can you do the speech, Max? It’s too close to losing Sophie for me to be waxing lyrical about someone else’s wedding.”

“Oh, God, Boss. I hadn’t even thought about that. You must think I’m dreadful.”

“Not at all, Lindy. You’re so wrapped up in your own stuff, no-one expects you to think of everything.”

“But I should have thought of that. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, Hannice,” Max said, “I’ll be happy to do the speech. I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to run it past you, though, and to have you listen whilst I rehearse it.”

“Surely. I could probably write it if you prefer. I just don’t think I’m ready to deliver it.”

“No, I’ll write it. If I’m giving it, It has to be in my voice, not yours. Thanks for the offer, though, all the same.”

“That’s settled, then,” Lindy said, “Max will do the speech. Will you be happy to pass me the ring in the ceremony, Boss?”

“Of course, Lindy. That puts you on handkerchief duty then, Max.”



    • Keith Channing

      Thanks, John. Just as a bit of background, I wrote Knight after Knight in less than four weeks last November as an exercise in stream of consciousness, seat-of-the-pants writing. All it’s getting now is proofing and a small amount of line editing. The weekly episodes will run until next March. Once it’s done, I have in mind to self-publish it as a three-part novel. At some time, I’d appreciate either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down on the idea.
      I ‘m delighted to say that our new home has no land to speak of – about 400 square feet at the back and 300 at the front. No more need for a ride-on; we can mow back and front in not much more than twenty minutes with a small, rotary, electric push-mower.

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