Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 17.2

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 seventeen, part two.

Over a three-year period, Knight Overbock Partnership enjoyed reasonable success.

Although we were only called on by Knight Global for two more jobs, both of them tested and stretched Susie to her limits and resulted in promotions and salary increases for her. One of these jobs coincided with Hannah’s university holidays and she, too, gained a deal of experience and growth in her knowledge and capability. Apart from those two jobs, we carried out follow-on audits on a number of projects that Max and I had started, and were called on to perform management development consultations for a number of new clients.

By the end of that period, Henk and I were beginning to feel that it was time to slow down. Susie had, on occasion, expressed a desire to return to head office where there was an opening for her in a junior management role and Hannah was becoming, as Jess had predicted, disenchanted with the business and itching to get started on a real career.

“Whilst we’re all together,” I said at what turned out to be our last weekly meeting, “I, that is we, Henk and I want to thank you both, Susie and Hannah, for all your work. As well as keeping two old men in check—”

“Not always easy,” Susie said, “but at least we never had to fend off unwanted advances. We appreciate that.”

“Thank you, Susie. I can’t deny that there’s a lot to enjoy about having two attractive young women with us whilst we’re working, and we feel a great affection and protectiveness towards you both. However, we appreciate and respect more your professionalism and your capabilities. The time has come, I regret to say, for Henk and me to admit that we’re not getting any younger and it’s probably time for us both to retire. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you; you’ve both been hinting for some months that you want a change of direction. We can’t offer you that. What we can do is to release you, Susie, from your secondment. I’ve spoken with David, and he assures me that there’s a role for you in head office as manager of the internal audit department he’s setting up. Your developing forensic accounting skills will be put to good use.”

“Can I just ask, Hannice, will I still be able to keep Ms Matham’s stuff?”

“Of course, Susie.”

“What are your plans, Hannah?” I asked, “I know you told me recently, but my memory’s letting me down more often these days. That’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to retire – before I forget that I want to!” That gave everyone a laugh.

“I said I wanted to go into Dad’s business and work my way as far up the hierarchy as my abilities will take me. Well, I start next week on Susie’s internal audit team!”

“And are you happy with that?”

“I should say! I love working with Susie and I enjoy the work.”

“I thought you were getting bored with it,” Henk observed.

“Not the work as such, Henk. I was getting bored with the long gaps between jobs.”

“What about you, Susie? Are you happy to have Hannah in your section?”

“Mostly, yes—”

“Only mostly?” Hannah asked.

“Well, you’re too much competition for me, aren’t you?”

“How? You know so much more then I do.”

“I wasn’t talking about work.”

“Okay,” I said, “so you’re okay working together. The rest will sort itself out, and I don’t imagine either of you will have trouble in the other department.”

“So what now?” Henk asked, “What do we do about our client list?”

“Here’s the exciting part,” I said, “David has offered to have Knight Global absorb KOP as a going concern, so our clients will become his clients. The paperwork is ready for our signatures whenever we can go in to sign it.”

“But if Knights are acquiring KOP, who will run it?” Susie asked.

“You will. The new internal audit department I told you about is basically KOP reinvented. You will manage it with Hannah as your deputy.”

“So just the two of us, then?”

“I think it’ll be too big for the two of you, but that’s for you to negotiate with Finance. Your first job will be to establish an outline business plan along with the main accounting managers and from there, set out what people you think you’ll need.”

“That’s a big ask, isn’t it?”

“If you’re telling me that you don’t think Hannah and you, between you, can do that, perhaps I should ask David to rethink his ideas.”

“It was his idea?”

“Whose did you think it was?”

“We’d assumed it was yours.”

“Seventy per cent David’s, twenty per cent Jess’s and ten per cent mine.”

“In that case…”

“Glad to hear it, kids. You can call on me if you need any help, but my money says you won’t.”

We closed the meeting and, as if you hadn’t guessed, enjoyed a glass of sherry each. At our suggestion, the two girls left for head office straight away, leaving Henk and me alone in Knight Towers.

“End of an era, Hannice,” Henk said.

“Indeed.”

“What are you going to do with yourself?”

“Rest. These last few months have been something of a struggle. I’ll have myself checked over at the clinic and see what level of activity they recommend. You?”

“Back to Amsterdam. I want to be around my people for whatever time I have left.”

“You’ll be around for years, yet, Henk. Promise me one thing, though. Promise me you’ll say something nice about me at my funeral.”

“What makes you think you’ll go first?”

“Just a feeling I get. I’ve been thinking about Sophie a lot these past few weeks; more than I had before. You can’t have missed how Hannah seems to be looking more like her grandmother every day. I’ve lost count of how many times recently I’ve had to stop myself calling her Sophie instead of her real name. It’s all becoming too hard. I don’t hold with any of that life after death stuff, you know that, but wouldn’t it be great if it were true, and I could look forward to seeing my Sophie again.”

“Now you’re getting maudlin, my friend. Stop it. You’ve got years ahead of you yet.”

“Yes, I had, old friend. And ”

And that was the end of KOP and probably, although I didn’t accept it at the time, the end of my working life.

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