Dinh's Journey

by Andrew Passey

Chapter 8

Once I recovered from the tears, I lay on my bed in a state of wonderment. I felt so lucky to have this room all to myself. After everything that had happened to me it felt like a dream. For the first time in a long while I felt I could relax. I let out a loud sigh and closed my eyes.

I must have drifted off to sleep without realising as the next thing I know I heard running up the stairs and my door bursting open just after the shout of " Alex, knock before you go into Dinh's room!"

He clearly ignored her and stood there beaming at me. "Sorry! I should have knocked! Did I wake you up?" He asked me.

I yawned and nodded which he then followed with a giggle. "Well sorry about that but it could have been worse. You could have been wanking off!" He said making the universal sign for masturbation. I liked the term wanking, it sounded like the fun thing it was! Thank god I wasn't wanking, what sort of introduction would that have been for Alex. Not that I managed to do it that much still given what I'd been through.

I smiled at his comment but stayed silent. I'd only just met Alex and it was a bit too soon to be talking about that sort of thing. I looked closely at Alex. He was attractive, there was no doubt of that. The best mix of his heritages and he looked very handsome with his dark hair, brown eyes and faintly Vietnamese features. When he smiled he looked really cute and I instantly suspected he was very popular with the girls at school. And the boys as well! I was instantly smitten with him and smiled as he held out his hand for me to shake.

"I'm Alex, nice to meet you. Don't worry, my hand is clean! I washed it after I wanked earlier!" He said giggling which set me off. I shook it and said I was Dinh.

"I know you are! I've been very excited about meeting you. Sorry about the wanking comment, I sometimes say inappropriate things when I'm nervous and I can't stop myself! I talk too fast when I'm nervous too. I haven't had a brother before so I don't want to fuck it up! So tell me if I'm being a bit weird," Alex said, smiling shyly again.

"You're not being weird. Anyway I am a bit weird as well so don't worry about it. As for nervous, well I'm shitting myself. It's a really big life change for me and I don't want to mess things up."

"Don't worry Dinh! You'll be fine. Tell you what, let's both help each other to not fuck things up! I heard you've been through a bit of a rough patch so don't worry about anything. Now you're here, everything is going to be amazing! Even with my weirdo parents who are a bit suss tbh."

I didn't understand a lot of the words Alex used. I guess it was all teenage slang that had totally passed me by. I didn't know much about Alex and his upbringing but I was fairly sure he had a normal one. A world away from me slaving away in a cannabis farm....and worse. I was a fast learner though and I knew that I'd no doubt start peppering my conversations with some of the words he used. After all, I liked to fit in and not stand out in the crowd. As Alex was half Vietnamese it did hopefully mean that my appearance at school wouldn't be quite the shock for other pupils that it might have been.

That was for the future, for now Alex talked to me very quickly about things and I couldn't take it all in. While my English was very good I'd been used to people speaking significantly slower!

"So Dinh, let's go and play some PS4 together in my room, do you play Fortnite? FIFA? Or are you more of a COD fan?" Alex said, standing up and gesturing me to follow him. His room was just down the hall from mine and it was even bigger. He had a double bed and desk with a laptop like mine. He also had a small sofa facing a TV linked up to the console. I sat down on that as Alex rummaged around in a drawer.

"Um. I don't really know Alex. I haven't been able to play any games for a very long time. I'll be very rusty. I like football though and played an old version of FIFA in the past."

Alex smiled at me as he started to undo his school tie. "FIFA it is then! Let me just get out of this bloody school uniform and changed into my gaming clothes."

I watched as he started to take his clothes off with seeming no embarrassment. He stood there topless in just his trousers and asked me to throw him the t-shirt next to me on the sofa. He had a lithe athletic build. Not muscular but like he was fit and did a lot of exercise. He then pulled his trousers down showing off a snug fitting pair of black boxer shorts. I didn't want to be seen to be looking too closely so I picked up the PS4 controller to familiarise myself with it.

"That's better!" Alex said, sitting down next to me and reaching for another controller. He clearly played PS4 as he destroyed me in our first game.

"Right, I think I need to give you a bit of training Dinh!" He said before proceeding to show some tips and give me advice on how to improve. We played a few more games and I felt like I was beginning to get a bit better.

"So Dinh, where were you before you came to live with us?" Alex asked out of the blue.

"I um...I will tell you but it's all a bit too much to process at the moment. Your parents know but have left it up to me how much I tell you. I guess I will say that I haven't exactly had a normal childhood."

I felt awkward being put on the spot. I had wondered what to do about telling Alex but at the moment I didn't want to look back and think about all of that. However in order for me to become fully part of the family I would want Alex to know about my past. Not today though. Another day.

Alex seemed fine with that and I deftly changed the subject and asked if he'd been to Vietnam. I knew he had but it allowed me to sit back and listen while he regaled me with tales of where he'd been. Luckily he didn't ask me follow up questions about where I'd been which was a relief not to have to answer.

Then it was dinner time and we both went downstairs. I met Mike who was just home from work and he gave me a big hug. He was a tall man with dark hair and a nice smile. I quickly found out he made a lot of bad jokes , sometimes inappropriate ones that shocked me but maybe that's what everyone was like here? I didn't really have a point of reference!

Huong had cooked a Vietnamese meal for my first dinner in the house. I think she thought it would make me feel comfortable and welcome there. However it was totally different to anything I'd eaten before. It was delicious though. The conversation was fairly relaxed over dinner even though I stayed mostly quiet. It was all such a big shock to be in this situation. Sarah brought me into the conversation every now and again. I'd get used to these family dinners but to be honest at this stage I didn't really have much to say. I couldn't really talk about my old life and I didn't really know much about what was happening in my new life.

At the end of dinner Mike stood up and made a speech, "I'd like to welcome Dinh to the family. As they say in Vietnam, a day of travelling will bring a basket full of learning. This is just the beginning of our journey together. We were just three and with Dinh we are now four. We'll be travelling towards the future together. We'll learn lots about each other, the good and the bad. However this is always a safe place for you Dinh. In this house we treat each other with love and respect and I formally welcome you to the family."

Mike made a bow after this which was very formal! I blushed at the attention and just said "thank you for taking me in, it means a lot.". Any chance of an uncomfortable silence following that was broken by Alex launching into telling everyone how excited he was to have a brother and how pleased he was that he was no longer outnumbered by the adults.

Then it was all over. I'd survived my first family dinner, my first day living with the family! I was exhausted so I went to bed early. Sarah had already gone but promised me she'd be in very regular touch. I said my good nights and went to get ready for bed. It was all such a head fuck dealing with this change. I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom when Alex came in to do his, just wearing those black boxer shorts. I avoided looking though and wished him a good night.

To my surprise he hugged me close and whispered, "I'm really glad you're here."

I was a bit choked up by this but managed to say I was really glad I was too. I left him to it and went back to my bedroom. I stripped off and got into bed. I was so exhausted and it was so comfortable compared to what I was used to that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

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