It felt like forever since he'd felt the warmth of another curled up close to him. He had grown so dependent on affection that once it was gone, he felt hopeless. Lost. A genuine smile was something that he'd forgotten how to do.
It had only been a few weeks since the turquoise hedgehog had officially signed his divorce papers, but those few weeks felt like an eternity. He still lived with his ex, staying on the couch whenever he was home. The two never made eye contact and it was very awkward. He had nowhere else to go, though, not able to afford living on his own and having too much pride to even let his family know what had happened. He didn't want to deal with his father's “I told you so”s or his mother's … well, mother henning. His brothers would probably not be impressed either. Especially if they knew what else he was doing to try to relieve his anger and sadness.
He hated that almost every day the man that stole his wife from him came over. They often were very noisy as well, likely just the two of them trying to put salt in his wounds. He had never realized how malicious Joa could be until that fateful day. He really cared for her, even now. He dropped everything to make her happy. What did he do so wrong to make her want to flay him emotionally?
He no longer used his telepathy to communicate, resuming his original 'mute' status. He felt like he had no energy to put forth. If he needed anything he would simply use sign language.
It had been a cold, gloomy morning. It was still damp from the night's rain. Xander had been lying on the couch, nuzzled into the single, small pillow he had and curled into a tattered, old sheet. By no means was he restfully sleeping. He just had his eyes closed. His mind had still been buzzing. He felt like he needed the companionship of another, but no one knew of his situation. He desperately wanted to be in someone else's arms. Another stress for him was when he heard the front door unlock, a single ear twitching. He knew well who it was, closing his eyes even tighter as the other male walked through, straight to his old bedroom. He felt sick, pulling the thin sheet up and over his head.
Xander had resorted to drinking a lot lately. He hated the taste, but at least it gave him some freedom from his thoughts and worries temporarily. It also gave him an excuse to stay out as long as he possibly could. Sometimes while he was out he would find desperate or drunk women to stay with for the night and he would disappear before they awoke in the morning. He was quite ashamed of himself.
He heard talking in the bedroom, the male that stole his wife away (he'd never even bothered to learn his name. Why should he?) joking with her. She seemed so much happier with him, laughing at the jokes. He couldn't handle it right now. He threw off the cover, going straight for his boots and jacket, almost carelessly putting them on as well. He had to get out and get some fresh air.
He shut the door behind him, standing at his apartment's stoop for a few minutes before deciding to head over to the local book store. Maybe a book would help him forget his worries. It was way too early to drink, anyways. He started off, but made note to pick up a small cup of coffee when he got to the library.
The walk wasn't long, it was only two or three blocks down the road. Once he popped into the library he headed straight to the little cafe in the corner. He offered the barista a very small smile as he walked up to the counter.
“Hello, welcome to Kaleidoscope Café. My name is Mary. Can I get you anything?” She asked with a smile.
Xander nodded very softly, pulling out a small pad of paper from his jacket pocket along with a pen, quickly writing down his order and offering the pad to the barista. She seemed a little confused at this, but took his order without question. He paid for the small cup of caramel flavored mocha with whipped cream, promptly heading towards the fiction section after receiving the treat and tipping the girl at the counter.
He sipped on the drink, enjoying the flavor and the warmth it brought him. He browsed through the sections, looking for something that would interest him. He eventually pulled out a book, looking at the cover with a quirked brow. It was a picture of a dragon on a cliff with very dramatic text. It was worth a try, at least. He found a very plush seat with a small table next to it, plopping down on it and sitting his drink down next to him as he thumbed through the book. It didn't catch his interest right off the bat.
Xander heard a woman's soft voice not too far away from him, clearly teaching a class of younger children. Curious, he looked up to see a group of maybe ten young mobians looking on with much curiosity to the woman. As soon as he'd seen her, his heart skipped a beat. She was beautiful. She had a very kind face, powder blue fur and short platinum blonde hair pinned to the side of her head with very small glasses perched atop her nose. She was dressed very modestly, wearing a long skirt and a long sleeve button up shirt. She had a genuine smile as she was teaching these children the alphabet in sign language. She was probably the same age as Xander, possibly a little older. Wait. Hold on.
He was stunned. Not a whole lot of people – other than his family, of course – knew sign language in this town. It did make his life pretty difficult being born without a voice. He lowered his book to watch her for a moment, watching her go through the alphabet. The children had some difficulty with it, but she was incredibly patient and kind with them. The more and more he looked, the more he liked what he saw. He wanted to get to know her.
The class lasted another twenty minutes or so, Xander waiting patiently for her to finish. Not like he had anywhere else to be anyways. As she gave the children departing hugs and encouraging words, he took that as an opportunity to greet her. He set the book down next to his now empty drink cup on the table. As he stood up he got a little nervous, not really even knowing what to say. He swallowed, deciding that the worst that could happen is he would embarrass himself and never see her again. But... that thought had already upset him. Oh well. If he didn't do anything now he would for sure never see her again.
He mustered up enough courage to walk up to her, waiting for her to say her goodbyes to the children and their parents, standing off to the side. As she finished up, she noticed him standing there, turning to him and smiling. “Hello. Can I help you?” She asked politely.
Xander hesitated for a minute, getting nervous again. He offered her a smile as well before lifting his hand and offering her a simple sign, at a complete loss for words.