[Free Sample] Paradise Induction Chapter 4 – Extract 14

Chapter 4 – Extract 14 from The Paradise Induction! 

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A year later, my mother orchestrated a debt-mounting, surprise family vacation with my brother and sister on a Florida cruise liner —a second one. But this seemingly great gift that was far outside my mother’s means, invited a new sensation I’d ignorantly thought would never happen to me. The concept of betrayal.

I met an American girl called Arianna Lane—the girl in the red dress. She’d looked amazing in that dress, but the two-week holiday had been awkward.

My confidence was at an all-time low and Arianna had shown an attraction to me I couldn’t understand.

My abysmal self-esteem put me in a place of compromise, because despite her beauty, I knew that her personality didn’t meet my preferences.

It was words and sentences that showed she didn’t really care the way I would wish a prospective partner to care.

Or the way she jokingly told me to respond to her statement. “I bet you get a lot of girls digging you,” she said.

“Nah, I don’t know,” I replied.

“Nooo,” she said, giggling. “You say, ‘Arianna. Of course I do because I’m hot!’”

I scrunched my face. “Sure Arianna,” I mumbled. “Of course I do because I’m hot.”

“There you go.”

I didn’t like that exchange at all.

Then there was the way she absorbed her friend’s advice to play hard-to-get and not call me on the cruise ship intercoms. Some people like games. I don’t.

The worst was at the ship’s nightclub. She danced with my brother in front of me in a way that was beyond acceptable; but she wasn’t my girlfriend so I had no say. My confidence took another smashing blow. Why was she doing this to me? It wasn’t right. Envy rose out of my principles that dictated this was disgusting. But I had no say. It seemed like she was playing a game and the scenario—where my brother at one point felt compelled to bring her over to me, knowing she was going too far—made me feel tiny.

She asked me if I was jealous.

I denied it.

She enjoyed telling me about a time when she’d been on a cruise before and ‘played’ three guys at once.

In my moral superiority, I’d thought that no girl would ever do this to me—not out of arrogance, but out of a simple old message from Sunday School days.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” I believed I was protected by it. If I don’t play the field and cheat on girls, no girl would do it to me. Simple. And so very very wrong.  

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