Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 14.2

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 fourteen, part two.

Everything was going extremely well for us, professionally and personally. We spent pleasant evenings with Lindy and Roger and their children. Yes, after a lot of soul-searching, they had adopted two sweet little siblings, brother and sister. They had travelled out to Songea and visited the Jont orphanage. Their plan was to adopt babies with albinism but when they saw what Gabriel’s company were doing, they were persuaded by the orphanage that their life-chances would probably be better within that organisation and that environment than in the big city. They wanted to adopt at an early age but were unsure of their abilities as parents of babies. They returned to Dar empty-handed and involved themselves in various bodies that would give them experience dealing with very young children, including a period of fostering when a number of toddlers needing short-term care passed through their hands.

Finally, they adopted a brother and sister – city kids whose parents had been killed in a badly botched house burglary. As part of the adoption proceedings, they had agreed with the presiding judge that, when old enough, the children could and indeed should be told that their parents were killed in a housebreaking incident, but they should never be told that their mother and father were the ones committing the offence. That they would one day find out was a possibility that the judges and the then-prospective adoptive parents accepted – they were always likely to find the newspaper accounts or even the court records. However, everyone agreed that they could be told in such a way that they would assume their parents to be the victims rather than the culprits.

Maxwell and Mercy were delightful. Max was a bit of an imp. At eleven years old, he was full of mischief; watching him walking around the house, his eyes moving from one thing to another, put me in mind of the Jack Russell that Mama and Papa had at home when I was a lad. He always walked around like that, and Mama said that he was looking for some mischief to get into. He had the same look I saw on Max. Mercy, Max’s sister was a regular little princess. I know it’s not fashionable these days, but she was.

At nine years old, she was what I would describe as a ‘proper little madam’. It was as if she sensed that, even in this day and age, the right looks and an assumed air of vulnerability would get her anything she wanted. And she was right. Roger and Lindy absolutely doted on her. Not that they loved Maxwell any less for it. Their love for him was different. Not less, just different. Max they wanted to enable, to embolden and strengthen; Mercy they felt the need to protect. And yet they managed to do that without any hint of cosseting. I had no doubt, and I knew my Max (not that she was my Max as such, we were good friends and companions and that was an end to it; no, I said my Max only to distinguish her from Roger and Lindy’s Max) held the same view, that they would both end up as well-rounded, complete individuals, both fully equipped to make their way in the world and make a success of their lives, whatever they chose to do. What do you mean, how can you tell that when they’re both so young? Just humour an old man, will you?

We all enjoyed these evenings. Max (my Max) and I were delighted to see how well Lindy had turned out. After all the ups and downs, the business with Tanja and the wild weekends of his teens, he is happy, he is settled and he is secure in who he is. Roger and he are clearly right together and I can’t now imagine the dear boy in any other relationship. Not that I should be referring to him as a boy – he’s well into his late forties now and an accomplished businessman. Sure, from time to time, especially when he gets excited, he falls back into being as camp as Christmas; a trait he has passed on to Mercy, on whom it seems so natural, so right – well, it would be on a little girl, wouldn’t it?

Roger, while by no means ‘butch’, never displays anything other than what I’d think of as masculine attributes. He is physically strong in a way that Lindy never was; he tends to hold his emotions in check – in company, at least (who knows what goes on behind closed doors?). That’s something Lindy can’t be accused of. Lindy has always been as subtle and guarded with his emotions as a protester waving a banner at a protest meeting. They are so different in so many ways, and yet they complement each other. Individually, if one of them is too much in one direction for one’s taste, the other will be too far the other way. Together, though, they work, they fit, they’re perfect. And those two young kids have so landed on their feet.

Although there wasn’t much work coming in for Max and me, we did keep ourselves occupied. We offered consultancy services as sub-contractors to Knight Investments and Holy Island Services and we did some pro-bono work for a few local charities and community groups. Max had got back to the book she’d started writing more than forty years earlier and I busied myself researching my family’s history. Recent breakthroughs in DNA research enabled me to unearth a lot of information I would have had trouble finding otherwise and threw up a large number of candidates for the position of long-lost relatives. Interestingly, even though the DNA was out there, none of the people listed as potential relatives was called Stephen Parker.





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