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 eighteen, part two.
It hurt me to know that Max had been harbouring feelings for me all those years without letting on. In a number of ways, I’m glad I didn’t know when Sophie was still with me because that would have been difficult for all of us. On the other hand, if I’d known before Sophie and I became more than physio and patient, maybe things would have been different. On the other hand (how many hands can there be?) had that happened, I wouldn’t now have David, and would never have met Jess. Hell, I may never have met Jason and Noelani. That’s the trouble with exploring what-ifs; things get over-complicated.
I made a decision a long time ago, I think it was not long after my accident, that I would never regret anything in my past. The reason for that is simple: if I regretted my past; if I wished to change anything that had happened in my life; I’d have been wishing for a different present, which I’ve never done. You see, everything, no matter how tiny, no matter how seemingly insignificant that we do in our lives, every choice, every decision we make, irrevocably changes the world forever. And not just for ourselves, either. Let me give a hypothetical example:
While walking to the bus stop, I see across the road someone I recognise, an old colleague I haven’t seen for some time, perhaps. I decide to call out to him. He looks at me and ends up bumping into someone who drops their mobile phone. The phone is picked up by an opportunist thief who runs off with it. The thief is rugby-tackled by a well-meaning passer-by, her head hits the pavement, the impact fractures her nose, causing a bone to penetrate her brain and kill her. The passer-by ends up in prison convicted of manslaughter, and when the police examine the phone, they find it contains embarrassing material that ultimately results in the break-up of its owner’s marriage.
Now, if I hadn’t called to the man I saw across the street, one young woman would still be alive, one man would probably still be married and another would still be walking the streets a free man. At the same time, although I would most assuredly regret its consequences, I could never regret calling to the man because, had I not done so and stopped to witness what followed, I wouldn’t have missed the bus and spent ten minutes at the stop, making the acquaintance of a homeless woman who told me her story and led me, by a most indirect path, to make a substantial donation to a homeless charity, which in turn provided support and shelter for a dozen or more homeless folk.
I can only speculate on what might have been different, had I known at the time Max invited me to join her in her East African venture, that she had deep feelings for me. I imagine that I would have become protective of her, as I had always been with Sophie – frequently much to her annoyance. It is likely that thinking I was protecting Max, I would have been more cautious in many of the things we did. Having said that, Max was, like Sophie, a strong-willed woman who would never mildly sit back and allow me to assume the role of protector. That would have militated against the partnership of equals that we enjoyed during the years we spent together as HanMax Consultants. On balance, then, it is as well that things panned out the way they did. And it was a partnership I enjoyed, and I think she did too. It certainly didn’t stop at business. To many, we were the ultimate Darby and Joan, more than friends but less than lovers, perhaps appearing as brother and sister. Even so, it was a source of some discomfort to me, knowing that poor Max had felt obliged to suppress her true feelings for so many years.
I really need to see someone to reground me; I’m starting to become morbidly maudlin, and that’s not something I like. I need young people around me to keep my mind active. Not necessarily young like Hannah, although she brightens any room she enters and she never fails to get me into a younger state of mind. No, I mean young like Lindy and Tanja. I know they’re both retired and pushing seventy, but I always think of them as younger folk. If I close my eyes now, I can clearly see Lindy in his best floral shirt and tight jeans, jumping up and down and clapping his hands from the wrist, having been given even the tiniest morsel of good news. Then I see Tanja in black leathers, her ears, lips, eyebrows and nose decked with metal ornaments and her hair bright green, blue, purple or whatever the couleur de jour happens to be. And I can see Henk beside her. Henk, my old sidekick who had stood beside me through all manner of tribulations. Henk, who had never let me down and, when that snake Parker had made those vile allegations, was the only one of my directors who refused from the beginning to give any credence to his lies. Poor Henk, whom I fully expected to outlive me but who fell prey to a massive heart attack so recently.
But I can see him there. And Max is with him, and Sophie. And my father, too. And… is that Dicky? Oh dear, what’s his surname? Damned if I can remember. Dicky was my first friend at prep school, my first friend ever, really. Funny thing is, I never did find out why everyone called him Dicky. His name was Barry. That’s it – Barry Bowe. Fancy him being here now. I wonder if that means anything…
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Starting next week.
Rory Rogerson is 67; an overweight, unfit, retired ‘protection officer’ (that’s PC for hired muscle). He is also a prolific and, by his own reckoning, successful author of crime fiction.
Penny (60) is his headmistress wife and Charlie Watkiss is the bloke next door.
Together, they make a formidable team!
Rory (ret’d) will be serialised in 63 parts between May 2020 and July 2021.