Dinh's Journey

by Andrew Passey

Chapter 17

"Of course he's not dead you fucking idiot! He's just banged his head, look he's coming round now. You're acting like you've banged your head too!" I heard a voice say. I was lying on the floor of the bathroom but kept my eyes closed as my brain started to wake up.

"Sorry but it's Dinh! After all this time. You've got to cut me some slack! Do we tell him it wasn't what it looked like?" Phuc replied.

"Well it clearly was and what's the problem anyway? You know him! We looked for him in Vietnam! You've sucked his dick!"

"Yes but that was a long time ago. You weren't the one on your knees anyway, well not when he saw us! He might be all homophobic these days. Actually what the fuck is he doing here anyway? He's supposed to be in Vietnam!"

"So are you Phuc!" I said, opening my eyes to see the two boys standing over me with anxious expressions on their faces. The blond haired boy smiled in relief and gave me his hand to help him up.

"I think you've both got lots to talk about but maybe the bathroom is not the best place! Mum will be wondering where we are. Well she probably knows what we're up to but she doesn't like to think about it! I'm Dan by the way Dinh. Phuc is my brother….and my boyfriend. I guess there's no point pretending he isn't given what you just saw us doing!"

Dan had a relaxed, easy manner to him that I instantly liked. He reminded me slightly of Alex but without all the manic energy that Alex often had. Phuc was Dan's brother AND boyfriend?! There were clearly a lot of questions that needed to be answered. I stood there looking at Phuc closely to see if I could see how he'd changed. He looked older unsurprisingly but his face wasn't giving much else away. He stared back at me as if doing the same.

"Aren't you two going to hug and say hello properly?!" Dan asked which broke the tension in the air between us and we rushed into each other's arms. To my surprise I realised Phuc was crying and then so was I. All those months of worry about what had happened to him was clearly shared by him.

"We tried to find you! But it was like you'd disappeared off the face of the earth!" Phuc said between his sobs.

"I pretty much had! I was really worried about what had happened to you!" I said back as tears ran down my cheeks. At that moment a man came into the toilet and looked at the three of us standing by the toilet cubicle in shock.

"Come on, we can catch up properly later but the bathroom isn't the best place for stories," Alex said, putting his hand on Phuc's shoulder in a gentle caring gesture. Phuc looked at him and smiled and I could instantly see the love between them. I could tell Phuc had a story to tell but whatever had happened to him it seemed like he had a happy ending to it.

So there we were in Phuc and Dan's room in the hotel half an hour later. We'd left the bathroom and found their Mum who was shocked to find I was the same Dinh Phuc had mentioned before. She gave me a big hug and said they'd all worried and wondered what had happened to me. Sarah also came over when she saw me in tears and was relieved to find out it was for a good reason. Thankfully no one asked what had been going in the bathroom!

Phuc, Dan and his Mum were over on holiday visiting family and were heading back to New Zealand in a couple of days. This meant tonight was my only chance to properly catch up with Phuc. Yes now that we'd found each other we could call and email and WhatsApp but still, the time difference would make that a bit difficult.

Sarah needed a bit of persuading but once she realised how important Phuc was to me she agreed that I could stay up late chatting to Dan and Phuc in their room. She'd spend time in the hotel with their Mum and then they left us to get reacquainted.

Sitting on the double bed that Dan and Phuc shared I thought about how to answer their question about what had happened to me. I started to tell my usual story..

"Picture a dark and dangerous world, inhabited by demons and monsters. Our hero must travel all across those treacherous lands to face the final showdown against the ultimate evil in a far off land….." but then I added more at the end. "Our hero was captured and put to work growing strange plants. He was beaten and mistreated but eventually he escaped. He went to live with a kind hearted family and lived out his days happily."

"Well yes that's all well and good Dinh but what the actual fuck happened to you?" Dan asked. I liked him. It was exactly the sort of thing Alex would have said to me. I liked the way he and Phuc held hands so naturally without a care in the world.

"I just told you!" I protested

"No you didn't. You gave us a fantastical retelling of your story. Reading between the lines you were trafficked, forced by men to do things you didn't want to, then ended up in a cannabis farm. And now living with a nice family in the UK?" Phuc said, chipping in.

"Er yes that's about the long and short of it. Like back in Can Tho I had to do what I had to do in order to survive," I replied.

"Well why the fuck didn't you just say!" Phuc said exasperatedly. I was fairly sure he had no idea how hard it was to tell people what had happened to me. I wanted to leave it all behind rather than relive it. Dan could see my slightly upset expression and clearly decided to help.

"It's a classic story Dinh and you're not alone. So many boys like you have had this happen to them. That's why Mum is involved with the charity. It's not much but if it can help boys like you it's enough. We all love Vietnam and I wish we were still living there. If I hadn't met Phuc that day outside the pizza restaurant in Ben Tre…..well he might have been in the same situation," Dan squeezed Phuc's hand as he told me this.

"Well yes, enough about my shitty story. I want to know how you two ended up together and how Phuc got out of Vietnam! Tell me all the gory details!"

Dan and Phuc looked at each other after my request and smiled as it seemed they remembered good memories. They took it in turns to tell all, the other one finishing the other's sentences and adding context as the story progressed.

"I fell in love the moment I met him but I didn't realise he felt the same way."

"I woke up to him sucking my dick. I was so pissed off at first because I was worried Phuc felt he had to do that because I was helping but once he assured me he wanted to then I was the happiest boy in the world"

"We then found out from Dan's Dad that hotel walls aren't as thick as we thought and they'd heard us having sex!"

"My parents ended up adopting Phuc and now we're lovers and brothers! Incest rocks!"

"We moved to New Zealand because of our Dad's new job. I miss the Mekong but New Zealand is amazing. I'm so happy Dinh!"

Once they were done telling me I realised how pleased I was for Phuc but also how much I envied them both. It was clear they'd met their soul mate and couldn't be happier together. How strange life is that a random encounter in a mall car park could lead to such a massive life change for Phuc.

"It seems you two couldn't be happier!" I said, smiling at them both. They smiled tenderly at each other as they continued to hold hands. I felt a pang of regret that Alex and I hadn't reached that stage and probably never would.

"So you've got a new brother as well? But not your lover?" Phuc asked with a cheeky smile. It was slightly inappropriate as I hadn't mentioned anything about my sexuality. If I even knew what I was. Still, he wasn't to know and maybe he could help?

"Yes Alex is amazing, his smart, funny, attractive, bisexual and I'm in love with him. But after everything that has happened to me I'm so confused about everything. Do I like boys because of what happened to me? Am I broken? Alex knows about my history and so he also doesn't want to take things further with me even though he says he really likes me. Apart from one drunken fleeting encounter in a hotel that's all that's happened between us."

You're not broken Dinh," Dan said reassuringly. "No more than either of us though. You're a survivor. You're stronger than the rest of us. As for Alex. It sounds like a shame he doesn't want to act on his impulses. A life without consensual sex is certainly less fun."

"Well I didn't say I wasn't getting any sex!" I said leaving it open ended.

"Really? But not with Alex?" Phuc asked in surprise.

"Not with Alex no. I'm in love with Alex but am having sex with my friend Max. Just for fun. It's really helped me deal with what happened to me and see things from a different perspective. Maybe I've started to feel comfortable with my body and my urges. Up to the day I started messing around with Max, sex was pretty much something that was done to me, that I had to do to survive. He's shown me it doesn't need to be complicated. It can be just sex solely because it's fun and sex with Max is lots of fun!" I said smiling and hardening at the thought of Max's hard black dick thrusting into me.

Dan and Phuc smiled at that and I guess they knew all about how much fun it was. Phuc reached over and squeezed my hand before speaking. "After what you've been through I'm so pleased you've discovered how much fun sex can be, but it's also amazing with someone you love. That's a very different type of sex. It's even more special and precious. You mentioned Alex and you did something in a hotel a while back?"

I pondered on how to answer Phuc's question. It was a very private moment between Alex and me. Then again Phuc had also been inside me before and he knew all about my history. There was no harm in telling the truth.

"Yes we were drunk and the alcohol made us lose our inhibitions so we did what we wanted before we were very unfortunately interrupted," I said before then giving an in-depth account of what had gone on that evening and since. I finished off by just saying how difficult I was finding it all.

"So while for those brief few seconds it was amazing, it's now just left me feeling even more confused. Alex just won't talk about it."

Phuc and Dan in particular looked thoughtful. Dan had his hands to his mouth in an almost praying motion until he brought them back down and looked at me intently.

I think I understand," said Dan. "Alex knows you've been through a terrible time and that you've been mistreated so much. He probably knows you've been….well I guess I'll say it, raped and sexually assaulted. He really likes you, maybe even loves you and would like to have sex with you. But he feels he can't because of what you've been through. So that night in the hotel he feels he got carried away.. Now he feels he treated you like you've been treated before by terrible people. He feels like he used you for his own pleasure. He feels really guilty and now doesn't want a repeat performance. So he got a girlfriend to prevent that eventuality. He loves you and as a result can't face the risk of hurting you. He'd rather be miserable and avoid a relationship with you because he wants to protect you from the pain of everything."

"Fuck. That is complicated!" I said as for the first time I started to understand how Alex might be feeling.

"Love is complicated," Phuc said, smiling at Dan. "If me and Dan hadn't been thrown into the intense situation we were then we might never have got together. Dan was worried about being seen as a white saviour, I was worried I was latching onto Dan as a way out. It was only because we were able to have an honest conversation about how we felt that things moved on. I think you need to talk to Alex again. Lay all your cards on the table. Don't stop talking until you've poured your heart out."

"But what if he just shuts down like he did before?" I asked, feeling worried that history would repeat itself.

"It's simple. Well it's sort of simple," Dan chipped in. "You need him to understand that in trying to protect you he's making it worse. He needs to know you love him and if he loves you too then taking a risk and going for it won't cause everything to collapse. As Phuc said, tell him everything. What have you got to lose?"

"Hmm well I could create a really uncomfortable home life for myself but I guess I've lived through worse. So I'll try and do as you suggest. What do I do about Max though?"

"Keep having fun until hopefully Alex asks you to stop because he only wants you to have as with him!" Dan said with a giggle. The three of us all started giggling at that and I hoped that would eventually be the case.

At that point the room bell rang and I knew it was Sarah saying I needed to go. I hugged both boys and promised to keep in touch. Now I had emails and phone numbers it would be easy. I left them and went with Sarah to head back to her place for the night. What an emotional roller coaster the evening had been. Giving a speech in front of loads of people and then the biggest shock of all when I saw Phuc. Seeing him so happy with Dan and knowing he was safe and well was just one more stage of the healing process for me. Him living in New Zealand would make it hard to see him that often but I hoped I'd see him again in person one day soon..

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