Hopeless Scars

A MM Interracial Coming Out Paranormal Romance

by A.L. Williams

Two Scars…one wish...

I am not running.
Lucifer’s fate was sealed millennia ago. No matter how much he wants to, he can’t stay or it could mean the end of all things.

This is a sin.
Adam has finally found peace in his life. He just wishes he could ignore the yearning and be the good Christian man he was raised to be.

A sick child shows up at the hospital, bringing them face to face once again. They are dragged through the mud by a series of events that throw the world into chaos. Can they find the strength to fight for what they want or are the Scars too deep?

Hopeless Scars CAN be read as a standalone.

Note: This book may contain situations that are difficult for some readers. See Author notes for details.

Published:
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Coming Out / Closeted, Coming Out Later in Life, First Time, Forbidden Love, Gay for You / Straight to Gay, Hurt / Comfort, Interracial Relationship
Word Count: 56000
Setting: Tucson, AZ
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

“You would look so beautiful in a dress!” Hayley chimed from across the room.

“I'm not a drag queen,” James replied.

I sighed and turned from the large window, the drapes dancing with the cool March air. The remaining light of twilight faded. Pressed against the wall was a flat-screen television on a stand holding DVDs and a player, casting shadows along the white block walls. Pictures of James, Andrew, Hayley and me littered the room alongside a mix of minimalist modern decor, a stark contrast to the rustic adobe style home.

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James, Andrew, and Hayley sat on the gray couch. A variety of soft blue and white color swatches covered the glass coffee table in front of them. I looked at my son James as he glared at Hayley. She continued to babble, while Andrew shook his head. James and Andrew were getting married in a year, so they had spent their time off planning the event with Hayley's help. As James’ closest friend, she was more than happy to give her two cents on the details. 

“Oh come, it would be fabulous,” she said with a ridiculous pout on her face.

James rolled his eyes, brushing a loc away from his warm brown face. “Not happening.”He continued flipping through magazine after magazine, his white eyes shimmering as he scanned each page, the covers displaying people in different wedding fashions.

She turned to me, her light golden brown hair bouncing around her pale face. “If you keep making that face, it's going to get stuck that way, Lucy.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Do not call me that.” I couldn't for the life of me understand why she had to be so obnoxious and loud. I always left her company with a headache. I pushed off the glass doors, unable to remember why I agreed to come over. I crossed the room, stopping in front of the glass coffee table and peered down at them. James stared down at the magazines with furrowed brows. 

He glanced up at me. “What do you think?”  He held up a magazine.  I clenched my jaw. He was trying to include me, but I did not have experience with weddings.

 I eyed the glossy pages. Splashes of bright blues, lavenders, and grays were spread across its contents. The people in the picture smiled, love and affection brightening their eyes. “Do whatever you want. I am sure it will be adequate.”

James looked down, chewing his lip. Andrew leaned forward, running his hand along his dark russet bald head, eyeing me with annoyance. “Whatever you choose will be beautiful.”

I thinned my lips. What did he want me to say? Human marriage ceremonies held no interest for me. When James had told me that Andrew asked for his hand, I was not sure what to do with that information. 

Hayley shifted closer to him. She placed her hand on top of his. “Don’t worry so much, I’ll make sure you don’t fuck things up too bad.” James chuckled and nodded.

She  turned and glared up at me. “Your son is getting married. How about a little more excitement?” My chest tightened. I understood its importance, but I did not care. How was I supposed to show otherwise? 

Andrew leaned over and placed a kiss on James's forehead. “They are all beautiful. I'm sure whatever you choose will be perfect.” James relaxed into and gazed up at Andrew, tucking his head in Andrew’s neck. He pulled away with a bright smile, a reflection of the one on Andrew’s face. When the moment passed, my son's attention returned to the pile on the table, still beaming. Andrew peered up at me, jerking his chin towards the kitchen. He stood and I followed him. 

We entered the kitchen and Andrew walked over to the fridge and started to prepare coffee. The kitchen was moderately sized with marble countertop and dark wood cabinets. The refrigerator quietly hummed as Andrew slid the pot back into the base, moisture sizzling at the bottom. He grabbed the mugs filled with the dark liquid and handed one to me. “This is probably silly to you.” I inhaled the rich scent and took a sip, the heat warming my chest. “This is important to him.” 

I met his gaze, his dark brown eyes intense. It always amazed me how human and yet not quite human he was. He was not human, but a loa; a spirit that had accidentally landed a permanent body several decades prior. 

He walked past me with the other three mugs, stopping at the swinging doors. “He has something to look forward to.” Smoke rose from the cups around his face,  the memory of Beatrice's warm brown face wavering in the haze. My shoulders grew tight as I set the half empty mug on the counter.

Andrew shook his head with a frown. “He’s happy. You should try being happier about it.” He left the room before I could respond.

I stared at the doors as they swayed slowly, wrinkling my forehead as his words replayed in my mind. I shook my head and returned to the living room, finding Hayley and James laughing. Andrew sat down and James leaned back against him.

I walked over and the others turned to me. “I am tired.” James’ face fell and  my stomach twisted. “I will come over for dinner tomorrow. I just have a headache and need to lie down.”

The light returned to his face. “See you tomorrow night.”

“Night, Lucy!” Hayley chirped.

I grimaced and walked to the door. “Goodnight.” From the corner of my eye, Andrew shifted closer and James leaned back. They returned to their banter. Andrew eyed me over his shoulder and turned back, watching James flip through the magazine. I walked to the door, their voices fading behind me, and left. 

 

A gentle breeze brushed my face as I stepped outside. I sighed and shoved my hands in my pockets, strolling down the path to the street and relaxing as the houses shrunk behind me. 

The moon was high over the city of Tucson, surrounded by silhouettes of dusty cliffs and mountains. The distant rustle of palm trees mixed with the continuous chirp of crickets in the night. The neighborhood faded in the distance, the yellow street lights leading my way. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my son, but all these interactions were exhausting. It had been millennia since I had been around so many humans. 

The wind whistled, thick clouds drifting closer. My surroundings shifted from cozy homes to businesses. Backing into the shadows, I released my ivory wings, each feather radiating light. Wrapping them around myself, the night faded away.

When I uncurled them, I was inside the dark apartment. The air conditioner buzzed loudly in the silent studio. I walked over to the neatly made bed next to a small end table and turned on the tiny lamp. It released a dim yellow light that bounced off the wall. I sat on the bed, looking down at the faded gray carpet. Two years ago James had moved in with Andrew and now he was getting married. After all the centuries of my time here, it was still difficult to adjust to the passing time and it was even more unsettling that I was still here. 

Why was I?

It had always been my plan to leave even with James' determination to find a way for me to stay. He was so much like his mother. I wish he understood that there was nothing anyone could do. My curse was absolute. 

I unbuttoned my shirt as the wind rattled the window. After folding it, I got up, slogging to the bathroom. Bright light filled the room as I flicked on the switch. I turned to the large mirror that hung above the bare sink and plain faucet. There weren’t many items in the bathroom, but I didn’t need much.

I moved to the shower, turning on the water. The loud spray filled the small space with steam as I undressed and climbed in, Hayley and Andrew’s words drifting through my mind.  

Your son is getting married. How about a little more excitement?

He has something to look forward to. You should try being happier about it.

I shut my eyes, shaking my head to clear out my thoughts. I did not understand what the point was. My thoughts drifted to Beatrice, her radiant smile filling my mind. 

He’s happy.

 

A week later, the sun sat high in the sky, the sweet smell of blooming wildflowers filling my nose. The chirp of birds mixed with the sound of passing traffic. James and I sat across from each other on my back patio, enjoying the cool air. Beyond the patio wall, the clouds drifted over the mountains. “It’s been awhile,” James said, grabbing his mug of coffee. 

I leaned back against my chair. “Has it?”

“It’s hard to imagine that one year ago, we were strangers.” He blew away the rising steam and took a sip.

Glancing down, I watched the dark liquid swirl. “Days, years, centuries. It is all the same. None of it makes a difference.”

He furrowed his brows. “That seems depressing.”

 “It is what it is.” 

He faced me. “You made a mistake. He can’t punish you forever.” I ran my hand across my chest. Beatrice's voice danced through my memory. 

He can’t punish you forever.

The boy was just as naïve as she had been. I chuckled, the sound bitter even to me. “You sound like your mother. He is God. He can do whatever he wants.”

James looked down at his hands in his lap. “Did you ever love anyone before Mama?”

I shook my head. “No.”

“What did you love about her?” he asked.

I looked off into the distance. “She always had a positive outlook. Even being a slave, she believed in a better future. I suppose she was not wrong. Mankind has improved.”

I glanced over at my son, still watching me. “She had so many hopes for you. Even in her circumstances, she always looked at life with—”

James’ lips curled into a smile. “Hope.” 

I nodded.

Suddenly, James’ phone started to ring, disturbing the comfortable silence. He grabbed it from the table and answered. A muffled voice drifted through the receiver. His expression softened. “Hi, babe.” I watched as he talked, noticing the joy dancing in his eyes. I looked away. It was amazing how much James had changed. His smile was a sight to see. 

When he told me he was harming himself, I was shocked and guilt had twisted in my gut. I was thankful that Andrew had managed to help him as he struggled to stop. Over the last two years he had cut less and less until he completely stopped. A part of me had been envious of his trust in the others, but I knew I had not earned that at the time. I was part of the reason he did it. My chest tightened. 

 “Alright. Love you,” James said. 

I turned back to him, meeting his gaze. 

“I have to go meet Andrew, but we’ll talk later?” 

I nodded, and he left.

Later, when I went inside, the room had grown dark. I flicked on the light, filling the room with a yellow glow. I walked over to the bed and sat down. Memories of my time with Beatrice rushed to the surface of my mind.

Feminine fingers brushed through my hair, the sun dancing along the wild flowers surrounding us. I gazed up at her, my head cradled in Beatrice’s lap. She smiled down at me, her mahogany ringlet curls swaying with the wind in front of her round face. “It’s our very own Eden.” 

My skin tightened. “This is nothing like Eden. You will never know its beauty.” 

She smiled, the glint of sun in her deep brown eyes. “Foolish man. I see its beauty in you.”

She gazed off into the distance, rubbing her small round belly. The surrounding flowers swayed in the gentle breeze. “I will be in paradise when my time comes, and so will you.” 

She leaned over and planted a kiss on my forehead, warming my heart. I would never see the golden gates again, but for now I wanted to believe her. Reaching up and running my fingers along her strong jaw, I pulled her down for a deep kiss. 

 An ache shot through my chest when the memory faded away and a loud snap jolted through my senses. I gasped as the pain intensified, my fingers gripping the side of the bed. I pulled myself to my feet, crossing the room to grab my phone. I panted, pushing through the pain. I did not know what was happening and the only thing I could focus on was getting to my phone. When I reached the counter, I grabbed it. 

My vision blurred, and seconds later I hit the floor. I curled into myself as my scar burned. The sound of trumpets resonated through my ears melding with the clop of hooves striking the earth. I clenched my chest, panting against the tile. I reached blindly for my phone that had fallen to the floor and dialed James, lifting the phone to my ear, my hands trembling. “Hey, what’s—” James started. I groaned, struggling to breathe through the pain. “What's wrong!” he asked with concern in his voice.

My vision blurred. “I—.” The phone fell out of my hand. Another sharp pain rushed through me and I pressed my hand to my chest. A loud snap and the sound of hooves on gravel once again stampeded through me and faded into the walls. My head spun, the continued shouts of James fading away. A distant melody was the last thing I heard before I passed out.

Wade in the water.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

My name is Alec Lee Williams, a trans #ownvoices artist. My pronouns are He/him/his.  I have loved creating things ever since I can remember. My art is the visual and written expression of what is in my heart and mind. Show the world what social expectation and stigma it has created in regards to mental health. Mental illness and discrimination are a part of our history and it’s time the world sees it.  The beautiful and the dirty.

With my art, I want to show those who don't have mental illness what it's like. I want those that do have a mental illness, specifically queer POC, to relate and maybe even letting go of their trauma and triggers by seeing it displayed. I want them to know they are not alone. Now that I have decided to pursue writing my novels I hope will do the same.


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