A Matter of Life and Death
Chapter 1: Genesis
Copyright© 2016 by G. J. Raven
Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 1: Genesis - James was a slightly atypical, globe-trotting, sports playing, arcade loving teenager. Here's his journey from a boy to a man, through middle school to college as he learns about his strengths and weaknesses, and grows to dream about becoming a sportsman, whilst dealing with all the vagaries of life.
“The New England Patriots, and Tom Brady select James Chetwynd-Talbot Vũ, of Harvard.”
“James, oh Jamesie, I’m so happy for you,” my Mom said as she reached out from where she was seated on the couch in our family room, and planted a kiss on my cheek. “Not too shabby, Yi An,” was my Dad’s contribution.
With a wry smile, I thought to myself that the time to pack my bags and uproot my life has arrived once more. Thankfully though, this time round, the journey was merely miles away, rather than across countries like I was used to.
Moving around the room, I accepted a few congratulations from my other relatives that were sincere, fielded a few questions from the other curious ones, and ignored the slightly disdainful stares from peripheral blood-relations. That done, I stepped out to the guest room where a plethora of reporters were seated and waiting.
“Alright guys, I’m yours.”
“Jeff Howe, Boston Herald. James, how do you feel right now; and what does this mean for you personally, being drafted by your hometown team?”
“Well Jeff, I’m delighted to be playing in the NFL regardless of the location of the organisation. Of course, it was a pleasant surprise to be playing for the Patriots.”
“I noticed you didn’t confirm or deny that the Patriots were your hometown team?”
Letting out a chuckle, I said, “You know my story Jeff, I’m a citizen of the world. The Patriots are now the organisation that I’m with, regardless of my personal thoughts, I will be giving them all due effort.”
After spending close to half an hour talking to the press, I begged forgiveness as I tried my hardest to be courteous while booting them out of the door so that the house was once again the sole domain of the Chetwynd-Talbots’ and the Vũs’.
Walking back into the family room, I collapsed boneless-ly into the couch surprising my Mom who was snoozing on the other end. She looked at me blearily before smiling and said, “Charlie gives his love and congratulations! Any plans to head out tonight?”
“I don’t think so, Mom.” I replied.
“Okay then. Don’t stay up too late, you hear?” I nodded my head, as she woke my Dad up from his favourite armchair. They left the room together with arms around each others’ back.
Still feeling slightly buzzed from the adrenaline of being drafted by an NFL team, I switched on the TV hoping to find out how some of my other teammates were faring in the Draft.
“Notice how he did not confirm or deny that the Patriots were the team that he supported? Or that it was his hometown team?”
It was one of those panel shows, analysing the 2015 Draft picks of all teams.
“What an assured response off the cuff. I said it then, and I’ll say it again. The New England Patriots are getting a hardworking, wily, and intelligent kid with their draft-pick. The reassurance and presence he has, it could only help him in the pocket when he’s faced with rushers. It’s quite a bargain for the Patriots considering the disparity between talent and draft position but expect this kid to shine once he gets his chance in the NFL!”
How did they manage to get my answers to the talking heads that quickly? Either way, I was pleased to hear some support for my talents. Leaning back into the couch, I thought about how far I had come to reach this point.
I’ve always been at ease with having a nomadic lifestyle of sorts.
It wasn’t exactly as if I had a choice. I was born on the 15th September 1989, in Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore. From what I heard, my birth was traumatic enough that my mom decided against further children. Of course, that was probably an oft-used lie to guilt-trip me into behaving whenever I stepped out of line.
My dad was in Singapore because he was there to iron out the kinks in the fledging regional headquarters of the family’s business empire. Some say love is the greatest force in the world. I say the rich are so used to getting their way that they forget the sound of ‘no’. Either way, she missed Dad, and enough was enough. My mom, who was stubborn enough to ignore all warnings of travelling while heavily pregnant, felt that she was capable of travel in spite of her hormonal state, whilst dragging along a two year old toddler as well.
Thus, I came into the world, and lived my first five years in Singapore. After which, life was ... well, an adventure. At least that was until I started making friends and discovered the jarring disappointment and sadness in having to leave them. No matter, I had my older brother with me. Charles Henry John Crofton Chetwynd Chetwynd-Talbot Vũ Yi Ming was two years older than me, and certainly the best older sibling anyone could have by far. Especially since life is never great for kids who stand out for whatever reason; and believe me, with our names, we definitely stood out.
Perhaps I should explain.
The old man was descended from a long line of Chinese scholars, generals and noblemen. My mom was descended from a slightly shorter, but nonetheless, equally snooty aristocrats. Between the both of them, our names were significantly different from those given to average individuals. In the East, we stood out for having five extra English names, more than the usual one. In the West, we stood out for having Chinese names. At least Dad was slightly forgiving since he merely insisted on contemporary naming forms.
After having been ordered to serve as diplomats for the Chinese court to Vietnam in the 16th century, the Vũs’ never left after the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the same rulers that sent them there. Vietnam proved hospitable enough to my ancestors. So much so they adopted the Vietnamese versions of our surname, originally spelt as Wu. However, the family remained fairly Chinese in terms of culture and tradition. Believe me, our wai po, Granny Vũ certainly tried to instil in us said customs.
With extraordinary prescience, wai gong, Granddad Vũ wound up the family trading empire in Vietnam before both the Second Indochina War, and the victorious communist Vietnamese government could affect and disenfranchise the family business; being that it was owned by ethnic Chinese rather than Vietnamese. He moved the whole family, servants included to Marseilles, France where Dad grew up.
For Dad, meeting Mom was a delightful coincidence. Mom and Dad could not have been two more dissimilar people in the world. He was studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Oxford. Mom on the other hand was studying Fashion in Central Saint Martins. They literally bumped into each other in London, while he was exploring the city during the semester break. From the stories Dad would tell us, it seemed that the Chetwynd-Talbots were not too fond of the blossoming relationship between one Francois Vũ, and the Lady Victoria Alexandra Mary Cecilia Chetwynd-Talbot, only daughter of the 20th Earl of Shrewsbury. I suppose, between the ability to be equally arrogant and disdainful as his future in-laws, along with the fact that Dad stood to inherit the family business which outstripped even the respectable holdings of the Chetwynd-Talbots in terms of revenue, all dissent eventually subsided. Money talks, indeed. So it was between them, that both my brother and I certainly learnt our lessons in human behaviour and how to profit from reading people.
That was arguably how we survived growing up with relatively healthy egos and psyche. For me at least, it was also because Charles, or Charlie as we called him, tried to include me with whatever he did with his friends. Automatically, hanging out with the older kids, upped my ‘cool points’ with the kids of my age.
After Singapore, the family rotated between China and Vietnam, always returning to the regional headquarters in Singapore every other year. When I was 12, Mom put her foot down and decided that she was home sick, and so we returned to England. Now that I’ve just turned 14, the family business once again prompted a move, this time, to America, and that was how I found myself eventually living in Boston.
2003, Shrewsbury, England
“Jamesie, are you done packing?” my mom cried out from below as she stuck her head into view just next to the banister running along the stairway.
“I guess. Why do we have to move? Just when I’m getting to love life in Eton...” I grumbled, as I shouted from within my room. Hearing footsteps, I lifted my head as Charlie came into my room.
“Stop grumbling you gu niang (maiden), I’m leaving my first girlfriend which is more than I can say for you and you little ‘sissy’ buddies down at school,” he said, before lowering his voice, “Don’t make things harder for Mom, she’d just got used to living close to the Chetwynd-Talbots.”
“Fine...” I conceded, Charlie’s first girlfriend and all peripheral benefits did outweigh my grouses. “I just wished we had a more, I dunno ... normal life I guess?”
“What? And miss out on all our adventures so far?” Charlie exclaimed. “You must be crazy, besides, there’ll always be more friends out there; more girls too!” With that, Charlie visibly brightened. “C’mon, lemme help you carry your boxes down, you weakling.”
At 16, Charlie was already experiencing the end of his first growth spurt which meant that at 1.87 metres, or six foot two, he was a good five inches taller than Dad, who was five foot nine, and a good deal taller than Mom, who was five foot five. What made him stand out significantly was the fact that he was as brawny as a bull. This was not that surprising considering he loved rugby from the moment we were introduced to it at Eton. While Charlie was rather broad, he was not fat, far from it.
In contrast, Mom was considered rather svelte from her age, perhaps too svelte considering how some of my schoolmates started to call me ‘Stacy’ in reference to ‘Stacy’s Mom’, the song about a MILF by Fountains of Wayne. Dad also had a wiry sort of athletic body, partly due to his love for running marathons. Regardless, it was always a family mystery as to Charlie’s build until you looked at pictures of my great-grandfathers on both sides.
Me, I was only four feet nine, and while I looked like Charlie a great deal, I was as skinny as a beanpole, with an unattractive smattering of acne clouded my face. Thankfully, inasmuch as our physiques differed, our looks were similar. We were both considered rather attractive, as most children from mixed marriages tend to be. Both of us seemed to be identical copies, as far as our facial features went. We both had brownish-black hair, black eyes, angular faces with a defined nose and chin, and a sturdy jaw line. Before I had issues with acne, I tended to be a hit with the older teenage girls who were Charlie’s friends.
Despite my stature, I too liked rugby. I was not built like a forward such as Charlie, but played as a scrum-half. This position was my favourite since I got to touch the ball the most, dictate plays, and command players around, but mostly also because I could run pretty much non-stop and remain active, rather than standing around, waiting for plays to develop. Perhaps this was something I had similar to Dad, given our respective stamina and love for running.
As Charlie and I both descended the stairs to the foyer of our townhouse, the workers from the shifting company were already at work shifting boxes into the transport vehicle. My Mom stood in the foyer directing them to be careful like a general, albeit a nervous, high-pitched one. My mood soured further as a box slipped the hands of a worker and out spilled some trophies.
As kids, we were fairly active. While Dad was usually busy with business, Mom was equally busy with her endeavours ranging from local charity bodies, to meeting other expatriate wives for tea at the local country clubs. This meant that we were usually brought along, but also allowed to roam around in said clubs without supervision. There, we discovered the joys of sport. Since it was usually the two of us, until we got fairly settled, I was always drafted to be Charlie’s opponent, never willingly since I hated losing, and because of my age, I invariably lost. Be it in swimming, tennis, badminton, squash, and table-tennis. Whatever sport existed in country clubs, you name it, we played it. Except for golf and polo which we were deemed too young to play for real. And, regardless, I ... always ... lost!
It wasn’t a surprise therefore, to find me in the arcades that were ever present in malls, but more importantly also in country clubs. There I reigned supreme over the computer as I battled my way through virtual enemies, or raced against the A.I.s. Charlie had no interest in arcade games, and as he grew older, he craved greater athletic competition, which meant I was usually allowed to hang out in the arcade. That was up ‘till I, too, found someone my age to play against in sports.
It was only in Eton though, where I had my first taste of team sport in rugby, and believe you me, that was where I hit my stride as I first grew to like having teammates on your side, but also over time, the nature of a contact sport. It was there when I first won in a sport over Charlie during the Inter-House Games. I smiled wistfully as I recalled the defining moment where I entered as a substitute but left the game a hero as I sidestepped Charlie who was the last defender on route to scoring the winning try. But that’s all gone I suppose, since rugby is pretty much non-existent in the U.S. or at least from what I read online.
Snapping out of my thoughts as a hand gently caressed my cheek, I turned to look into Mom’s concerned eyes. “Jamesie, you know as well as I do that I hate to move as well. But more than that, I would hate to be away from your Dad, and for him to live in an empty flat all by himself.”
“I understand Mom,” I grounded out, “It’s just that ... I hate it how we can’t have friends for longer than two years.”
“Ahhh, mon petit garcon; that is part and parcel of growing up.” My Mom replied. “I too missed my friends from school and Uni, but I love your Dad too much to leave him be. One day you’ll understand why. Besides, think of all the friends you have all over the world. Surely, your classmates can’t say the same.”