Category: A bump in the Knight

Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 3.4

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman 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.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

Beginning on 14 January 2018, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter three, part four

Over the course of the following weeks, a number of important things happened: Sophie’s morning sickness came to an end and her tummy started to show larger, the building and decorating work in the new master suite was completed to everyone’s satisfaction, and Mrs Fan signed me off. Dr Harry now only wanted to see me once a year, to make sure there was no relapse or complication.

With the completion of the structural work, Kanene had gone back to Dar with Max. She had specified all the furnishings and fittings before her departure, and Sophie busied herself selecting and engaging suppliers to complete the bedroom, dressing room and bathroom fitting to Kanene’s specification. I had been excluded from all discussions about the design of the rooms and barred from going near the floor until the work was finished and ready for us to move in.

When that day came, Sophie bundled me into the lift and blindfolded me whilst we were ascending. She helped me out when the door opened, guided me to the spot where she wanted me to stand, and removed my blindfold. I was staggered.

“Is this how Kanene designed it?” I asked.

“It was a joint enterprise between Kanene and myself, but it would be wrong of me to describe myself as anything more than a very junior partner. So, yes. It’s fair to say that this is Kanene’s design.”

“So what’s she doing working as a house-girl? She has so much more to offer.”

“I think you’re right. With a bit of training, she could be a fine interior designer.”

“She doesn’t need training as a designer,” I said, “I think she could benefit from business training, so she knows how to run an interior design company, but she’s already a capable designer. A design course would most likely replace her ideas with theirs. Let’s give it some thought, and I’ll talk to Max. After all, she’s Max’s housegirl, not mine.”

We walked around some more, and Sophie pointed out some of her favourite features.

“All we have to do now is move our stuff in,” I said.

“Already done,” she said.

“When?”

“Yesterday afternoon.”

“You are supposed to be resting, Sophie.”

“Don’t worry. Mrs Cooper helped me, and I used the lift to save walking around too much.”

“I still would have preferred if you’d let me help.”

“You were busy. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

I set up a Skype call to Max and walked around the master suite while I was talking to her, so she could appreciate what I was talking about.

“Wow, Hannice. Did Kanene really do all that?” Max asked.

“Can you see why we think Kanene deserves more than a housegirl’s job?” I asked.

“I can, Hannice, but I don’t know what we can do for her.”

“I’ll give it some thought. Perhaps we can talk about it some more later. Meantime, how is Lindy doing? Was he okay while you were over here?”

“Lindy’s in his element. We have two clients now, and he’s managing accounts and admin for them, in addition to the Jaxsons joint venture and our own stuff. And he’s doing it without any extra staff.”

“Does he still have some ex-Jaxsons people with him?”

“Yes. Just the two he started with. They’ve settled in well and are giving him good support.”

“You did a good thing there, Max, promoting him like that.”

“I think you would have done it eventually, Hannice. I just got in there first.”

This new master suite really is something. We’re using the largest bedroom and its attached dressing room with its built-in wardrobes and dressers at one end and the en-suite bathroom/wet room on the other. So far, the nursery is an empty room, devoid of furnishings and with bare walls, waiting for us to call Kanene back to design its décor and furnishing. Across the corridor is the small but splendidly equipped gym, the nanny’s room; again, fully fitted and ready for anyone to move in, and the large room that can be used as a games room, a den, an office or a family room. Over its lifetime, it will most probably be used for all these purposes, and more. For the moment, it’s furnished and fitted as a den, with its full-wall television, wrap-around cinema sound and luxury sofa and armchairs.

Dr Lockhart has been coming in two or three times every week, monitoring Sophie’s and the baby’s health and condition to the minutest degree, and we have been visiting Mr Fillingham-Smythe at the KGT clinic every week. On our last visit, he carried out another detailed scan and pronounced himself well satisfied with the result. He also confirmed to us that Kanene was right about something else: baby is a boy.

“Does that mean we can start thinking about a name now?” Sophie asked me.

“I’d like to name him after my father,” I said.

“Maurice?”

“Yes, Maurice.”

“No, Hannice. These days, he’ll be called Mo in school, and that’s horrible.”

“It was good enough for my father,” I said, pouting.

“Let’s compromise, and have Maurice as his second name.”

“What’s your idea for his first name?”

“I’d like to name him after my Dave if that would be alright.”

“David Maurice Knight. Hmm. I can live with that.”

“That’s agreed then?”

“That’s agreed. David Maurice Knight it is.”

“Let’s get Kanene across to design the nursery, then; unless you want to do it yourself.”

“No, I’d like to let Kanene do it. I’m beginning to find things quite tiring, and I don’t want to take on anything that involves a lot of running around.”

“I’ll call Max.”

“Can you get Max across, too? I enjoy her company.”

“I can. I’d like to move to the next stage with this India proposal, so I’ll set up a meeting with Henk and Danny Cho, as well.”

“Here or London?”

“Here, I think. Do we have enough guest rooms ready?”

“I’ll get Mrs Cooper on it tomorrow.”

“Allow for Lindy and Tanja, too.”

“You match-making, Mr Knight?”

“You may very well think that, Mrs Knight. I couldn’t possibly comment.”

Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 3.3

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman 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.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

Beginning on 14 January 2018, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter three, part three

As soon as I walked back into the room, the women both asked after Sophie.

“She’s okay,” I said. “She was dreadfully poorly this morning, and we, Dr Lockhart and I, got her into the clinic. She’s been seen by a gynaecologist, and he’s keeping her in overnight for some tests. He thinks it’s normal morning sickness, but made worse by a bug she may have picked up in India.”

“How come you didn’t get the bug, too?” Max asked.

“I probably did. It’s likely that we both fought it off, but when Sophie’s morning sickness started, it weakened her resistance. The medics are talking about giving her a course of antibiotics; special pregnancy-safe ones that will attack this specific bug; then she’ll just have normal morning sickness – as if that isn’t bad enough!”

“I’m so sorry,” Kanene said. “This is my fault.”

“How?” I asked. “Did you make her pregnant? No. Did you give her the bug? Not at all. All you did was to have a vague vision that she might not be in perfect health for forty weeks.”

“I know, but—”

“And one thing we don’t do here, Kanene, is shoot messengers.”

“But I still feel guilty.”

“Don’t. If you must, then make up for it by doing a specially good job on this conversion – and don’t say anything to Lindy about Jamie. I don’t want him rushing over here all hormones ablaze for a piece of the action.”

“Hannice!” Max admonished.

“Joking!”

When I visited Sophie, later that day, she seemed in good spirits and, crucially, a better colour.

“Mr Fillingham-Smythe has been in a couple of times since you left earlier. He’s taken blood, stool and urine samples for testing. He also said he’d like to take a cheek swab, so he could have a DNA sample to test for any genetic problems.”

“Is that normal?”

“Not really, but I think it will be before too long.”

“So, did you let him swab you?”

“Of course. The earlier we know of any problems, the better our chance of dealing with them.”

“What do you mean, dealing with them?”

“I don’t know. It depends on what problems he finds, if any.”

“Wouldn’t they need to test my DNA, too?”

“I asked him about that. He said your sequence is on file, from when the Stephen Parker test was done.”

“Did they keep that?”

“I don’t know about the sample, but the sequence will be on file. We’ll have all the results in a week or two, Dr Lockhart says.”

“And how are you feeling in yourself?”

“A lot better. Whatever is in this drip seems to be helping. Mr Fillingham-Smythe has put together some diet guidelines that he says will help with the morning sickness. He’s just waiting for the culture he started from the stool samples, so he can confirm exactly which bug is causing the trouble. He can then give me the best antibiotic to deal with it. He suggested you should take the same antibiotic, to rid it from your system, too; assuming it’s there.”

“And if I take the antibiotic and I’m not infected?”

“I asked him that. No negative outcome was the phrase he used.”

I stayed with Sophie for an hour or two, updated her on progress with the building firm and learned quite quickly that I was, indeed, the only person, possibly in the world, who didn’t know that Lindy had a thing for Tanja and vice versa.

The following morning, while I was visiting Sophie, and hoping to take her home with me, Mr Fillingham-Smythe trotted in. I tried to gauge something from his face but found nothing.

Walking up to Sophie’s bed, he looked up from his tablet and said, “Campylobacteriosis.”

“I’ve heard of campylobacter,” I said, “admittedly, only on an American Express advert. Food poisoning, isn’t it?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. Now, Mrs Knight. Here’s my prescription for you: bed rest, drink plenty of water, eat small, light meals at whatever interval you’re comfortable with. Your sickness is mostly pregnancy-related and will pass within a few weeks. In the meantime, I will give you a mild anti-emetic which you can take if the sickness prevents you from sleeping at night. Don’t take it routinely, just when you think you really need it. Your body will tell you.”

“What about the infection?” I asked.

“That will clear up on its own quite soon. If you are without symptoms, I wouldn’t worry about it. I shall have Dr Lockhart keep a close eye on Mrs Knight throughout her pregnancy, but particularly at this early stage. If you can hang around, I propose to carry out a scan later this morning, to establish that baby is developing normally.”

“I thought the first scan was at around thirteen weeks,” Sophie said, “I’m not nine weeks yet.”

“The first scan, the dating scan, is normally carried out at the end of the first trimester. However, where there is any concern, usually where there have been previous miscarriages or a family history of difficult pregnancy, it can be done at any time from about six weeks onward. Tell you what. Why don’t I do it now?”

The gynaecologist called a nurse to fetch the scanner from the equipment room. While he was waiting, he applied gel to Sophie’s lower abdomen. The machine arrived, the nurse made all the connections and handed the handset to the doctor, who passed the scanner over Sophie’s abdomen and explained what we were seeing. At the end of the scan, as the nurse cleaned Sophie’s skin, he said, “You have a normal, healthy baby there. Congratulations.” He then gave his estimate of delivery date.

“Can you see the sex yet, Doc?” I asked.

“We can take a stab at it, but statistically, it’s only 60/40 that I’ll be right. We’ll have a better idea from the second-trimester scan, at 18 to 21 weeks, when we check for any developmental problems.”

“You mean abnormalities,” I suggested.

“That’s too emotive a word to be using at this stage, but yes, that’s what we’ll be screening for at that time.”

When he left us, I said to Sophie, “So we don’t know yet if Kanene was right.”

Dr Lockhart poked his head around the door and said, “You can go home now, Sophie. Pick up your medications and advice sheets at the desk on your way out. I’ll come and see you tomorrow morning.”

Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 3.2

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman 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.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

Beginning on 14 January 2018, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter three, part two

I had one of the orderlies drive me and the wheelchair back to the house. Yes; it’s less than half a mile, but I didn’t fancy doing it on foot; not yet, anyway. As we pulled up, we saw two men alight from a car and walk up to the door.

“Can I help you?” I called out.

“Come to see Mrs Knight and Miss Fonseca,” the disarmingly handsome one of the pair said.

“Mrs Knight isn’t available this morning,” I said, “I’m her husband, Hannice Knight.”

“The Hannice Knight?”

“Well, I guess so.”

“Hannice Knight of Knight Global Trading?”

“Yes…”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr Knight. I’m Jamie Robinson. You were at uni with my dad. He talks about you a lot.”

“You Finlay’s son?”

“I am.”

“Now I understand the lady-killer looks,” I said, which caused the poor lad to blush deeply. “Your father was always a devilishly handsome sort. All the ladies wanted him; never a one was interested in me.”

I pushed the front door open. “Come on in. Miss Matham is with Miss Fonseca in the conference room.”

“Is that Max Matham?”

“That’s she.”

“Wow. Wait till I tell Dad! He’ll be choked. He’s been going on about you two, and somebody he calls FFS, ever since your wedding a couple of months ago.”

“That’ll be Forbes Fillingham-Smythe. Are you up to another weird coincidence?”

“What?”

“My wife is in the firm’s clinic for a check-up this morning. Her gynaecologist is none other than Forbes’ cousin Freddie Fillingham-Smythe. By the way, are you going to introduce your colleague?”

“Yes, of course. Sorry. Mr Knight, this is Rick Shaw, our chief estimator.”

I offered my hand. “Pleased to meet you, Rick. I take it you’d rather I didn’t attempt any—”

“With all due respect, Mr Knight, I think I’ve heard them all more times than I care to remember.”

“Fair enough, Rick.” I opened the door in front of us. “Go right through.”

We entered the room where Max and Kanene were seated, their hand-drawn plans laid out on the table in front of them. I made the introductions, “Max, Kanene? You already know Jamie Robinson, I think. This is Rick Shaw, who will look after the commercial side for your project. Jamie and Rick? Miss Max Matham and Miss Kanene Fonseca. Kanene has travelled here from Tanzania to design and manage this project for me. I should tell you that this isn’t her first major conversion.”

“Excellent,” Rick replied, “we much prefer working with people who understand the business. First-timers can be such hard work.”

I winked at Kanene, wondering what he would say if he knew that she was only a second-timer and that her first job was so very much smaller than this one.

After mutual shaking of hands and a round of small-talk, we got down to business. I rang down to Mrs Cooper to ask her to bring coffee and biscuits.

Max and I allowed Kanene to take the lead, and it was very plain to us not only that she had a very clear idea of what she wanted to see done, and how she wanted to achieve it, but that she was able to manage the contractors as well as a seasoned pro. Jamie and Rick both placed their laptop computers on the table, and while Rick pulled up a spreadsheet, Jamie was using design software to transfer Kanene’s design to his machine as she was explaining it to him. Once he’d finished, he turned his laptop so the screen faced Kanene and Max and pressed a key that started the display of a three-dimensional walk-through of the proposed suite.

I pulled a cable from its recess in the table, and said, “Plug that into your computer, Jamie. Let’s project the image so we can all see it.”

My IT experts had set this room up specifically for this kind of thing when I was tied to Knight Towers, and unable to make meetings in London. It worked the first time. Jamie and Rick were impressed. I was surprised!

As we were viewing the 3-d model of the suite, Kanene suggested small changes and improvements, which Jamie fed in and re-ran.

“I love this technology you have,” she said, “I can see much more clearly here, than on my simple sketch. I can see that some of my ideas need improvement.”

“But without your sketch, we’d have nothing,” Jamie replied. “Before we had this software, I would have taken your sketch away and had our draughtsmen create various projections, which I would then have brought back to you for approval. That often went through half a dozen cycles over four or five weeks before we could agree on the final design. Now we can do it in half an hour. That means we can start work more than a month earlier than we could have before.”

Before two hours had passed, Jamie and Kanene had agreed on the final design. While they were doing that, Rick was breaking the project down into labour and materials and, by the time they’d finished, he had priced all the materials and costed the man-hours needed to do the job. He then added an allowance for admin and for contingencies and presented a final figure to Kanene.

“It is Bwana Knight who will pay for this,” she said, pushing Rick’s PC over to me. I looked at the figure and nodded. The time and cost quoted were close to their initial estimate.

“Some of the material costs are higher, due largely to exchange rate fluctuation,” Rick said, “but against that, a couple of the changes have reduced complexity. I’ll have a detailed quote emailed to you tomorrow. It will be valid for thirty days.”

“Do you expect any variation from the figure you’ve just shown me?”

“No. There’s enough allowance in there for most unforeseens. Of course, force majeure will be excepted.”

“Of course.”

“Apart from that, no. You can take it as a fixed quote.”

“And if you don’t need the contingencies allowance?”

“We’ll share the savings with you fifty-fifty.”

“Okay,” I said, after a couple of seconds’ thought, “I’ll give you verbal acceptance now, and confirm in writing tomorrow when I’ve studied your detailed quote.”

I showed Jamie and Rick out of the house and returned to Max and Kanene.