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The Ties That Bind Us

(Part One)

Danda K.

Copyright © 2021 Danda K.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

The Ties That Bind Us (Part One)

Editor: Brandi at Notes in the Margin

Proofreader: Molly at Novel Mechanic

                    Marissa Shaw

Cover Designer: Graphics by Stacy

Formatting: H.L. Swan

Photo: Deposit Photos


To Ozkan, my destiny.

Thank you for loving all of me, even the parts that aren’t easy.


For those who get knocked down, please don’t stay down. You’re stronger than you know.

You may be caught in stormy weather, but that doesn’t mean it rains forever.


After all this time

The Sun never says

To the earth,

‘You owe me.’


What happens

With a love like that,

It lights the whole sky.”



Title Page



















































Cameron (5 years ago)

From the couch in the living room, my father yells, “Grab me a beer outta the fridge while you’re standing there doing nothing!”

I grab him a beer and place it on the end table where he’s sitting. I head back to the kitchen so I can continue doing “nothing” and pack my school bag with whatever food I can find for the day.

People say high school is one of the best times of your life, but it can also be the hardest.

For me, it’s nothing but hard. It’s not my grades that are the problem, though; it’s the atmosphere. Not only are high school kids exceptionally mean to skinny girls with frizzy hair and glasses, but they’re even meaner when those girls have a mouthful of braces.

Sounds pretty typical, right?


Because usually, a parent recognizes their child’s crooked and spaced out teeth when they’re much younger. And most parents are eager to get it fixed for them. They also take them to all of their yearly check-ups with their preventative doctors.

But nope, not mine.

My mother waltzes into the kitchen, wearing her pink silk robe swishing against her knees. The front is open, exposing a matching silk nightdress. Her dark brown hair is already perfectly straightened and reaches below her chest. With my back to her as she grabs a mug from the counter, I hear that subtle twang in her voice as she asks, “Where are you going this early?” I roll my eyes as I throw my recycled bottle of tap water into the front pocket of my bag.

“It’s the first day of school.” I hear a hmph from behind me as she struts her way around the small kitchen island. Somehow, even at seven in the morning, she still manages to look stunning.

Well, on the outside, at least.

You can tell she’s aged by the subtle crow’s feet around her eyes before she plasters herself in makeup. Regardless, she still looks younger than she is. She dresses the part, too. It’s not surprising that she managed to get my father to marry her within a year of their meeting. She claims she was born and raised in Brooklyn. She also claims that the slight accent she carries is Greek, but I have my doubts.

Her olive skin glows in the sunlight streaming in from the window. She raises one of her thick and perfectly plucked eyebrows at me when I add an extra banana to my bag.

Defensively, I tell her, “They’re rotting…you won’t even eat them if they’re bruised.” She shrugs and ties a knot in her robe, the silk fabric now conforming to her thin frame. The slight pouch on her abdomen might indicate that she had had a child, but it’s obvious it wasn’t difficult for her to lose the baby weight.

She checks the ends of her hair when she says sharply, “I’ll be working all night tonight, so don’t expect me home.”

There’s ashocker. I give her a thumbs up and continue getting my supplies in order. She heads back to her bedroom, waving me off over her shoulder.

As I’m tying up my boots, I hear my father yell, “Another!” I stop what I’m doing and grab him another beer from the fridge.

I walk over and hand it to him this time.

Without taking his eyes off the television, he snatches the can out of my hand. I spot the discoloration on the couch from the time in seventh grade when I accidentally spilled his beer while dusting the end table; that wasn’t a good day.

Not only did he lock me in my room with no food until the next morning, but he also offered a few blows to my ribs after he forced me to clean the floors.

As was typical, my father focused on the areas of my body not visible when clothed. The only reason he didn’t hit me before I cleaned the floors was that he wanted them done correctly.

I’d like to say my father wasn’t always this way, but it would be a lie. He never wanted me, and my mother acts like I’m a burden and don’t exist.

Now that I’m a teenager, she doesn’t really care if I can stand on my own two feet or not. Little does she know or care to know, I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember.


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