Throuple In Paradise by Faleena Hopkins

Chapter One





Marion





How did I end up here, broken legged and broken hearted?

I was Valedictorian.

Also, the best ballerina in Atlanta.

Better than Samantha Cocker.

That’s for fucking sure.

Throughout my school years, my nose was in books and my toes were en pointe. I hardly had any friends because I cared about studying and dancing too much. Also, I don’t like people. I don’t trust them. They can’t be trusted, that’s been proven.

By my own mom.

My parents were overachievers. Their ambition was the reason I was tossed into ballet classes at age three. In the beginning, I didn’t really care about dance for dancing’s sake.

I did it to please them.

And only them.

It never occurred to me to please myself. I worshipped my parents. Those were the days. Sigh.

My frigging Mom was the most beautiful woman in the entire world with sheets of gorgeous dark hair that hung to the small of her back and skin that shined like glitter was its main ingredient.

Her curves are the one thing I didn’t inherit, thank God. You can’t have curves in ballet. Taut lines, perfect arches, yes. Curves, however, must be done away with by starving yourself and working yourself to the bone. Literally.

It wasn’t just Mom I wanted to please with my ballerina skills back then in the earliest of my days. My father was like Zeus to me, albeit not as intimidating as the Greek god is said to have been. But to me, Daddy was everything. And the two of them together were so in love that I felt it my duty to not be the one thing they didn’t do right.

So I danced and studied and followed their life code.

They believed in work hard, work hard, work hard, and that’s pretty much all they believed in. Your parents pass down everything they know to you. They’re your foundation for how you view the world.

What if what they know, and what they pass down, is utter and complete shit?

I mean, how much expertise could they have had, considering the fact that she’d been cheating on him for ten whole years? Not the best foundation for relationship-success in my future, if I followed their lead.

Who really knows what they’re doing, anyway? Why do we all have to follow a pattern set down by other humans who were just as lost as the humans before them? What is this ‘normal’ anyway?

I don’t want it.

Normal people don’t look happy to me. They look bored. That’s why they watch their neighbors and gossip about this or that drama someone else is going through—because they don’t create any of their own.

I want drama.

Chaos.

Excitement.

Not that I’ve found it yet.

I’m stuck here on the couch with my leg in a cast, my dream thrown out the window by…who…fate?

This injury has given me too much time to rethink my life. What I’ve figured out so far is pretty simple.

I’m not happy.

Dad found out about the affair when I was eight, back when it started. They fought. He forced her to end it. I felt my whole world vanish in a puff of fantasy-smoke.

One minute I think my parents are in love, the next I realize Mom has been kissing other men. That’s all I understood then…kissing.

Sex wasn’t even on my radar.

Storks brought babies.

But from their screaming and yelling, I learned kissing other men when you loved one man, was wrong.

The foundation I lived on crumbled during that rough time, and I no longer felt safe in my own home. I didn’t know these people anymore. They weren’t who I thought they were. Dad didn’t call Mom a whore before. Mom didn’t call him rabbit-dick before. But now these and a whole slew of other weird words were thrown around like invisible knives that left real tears behind.

To hide, I threw myself into dance, and simultaneously learned not to trust anyone. My studying at school I kept at, too, because it gave me something to think about other than fear, confusion and isolation.

They stayed together and we all lived a lie. Mom didn’t seem that interested in my father, though in public she kept up airs. I heard her tell Nana that they were staying together for me. I didn’t have the vocabulary or the courage to tell them not to. The idea of living with my parents separated was too terrifying to me. What would that be like?

I wish I’d told her to leave.

I wish I’d told him to leave.

Years of fights were worse.

I wish.

I wish.

I wish.