Enjoy The Silence, chapter 1

"What is it that keeps holding you back?" Dana demanded, pulling away from him. "Every time that I think we get somewhere, you pull away." She looked into his cobalt eyes, which seemed to be clouded with confusion. "Why can't you just tell me what it is? I care a lot about you Tre, but there has to be a little give and take in here somewhere." Tre sighed, sitting up and rubbing his face. He wanted nothing more than to tell his girlfriend what it was, what kept holding him back. He was more than aware that it wasn't fair to keep this from her, but it was hard. It had been a year ago, but it was still so damn hard.

"Look Dana," he started, trying to find the right words. "It's complicated-"

"So you keep reminding me," Dana snapped out of anger. Tre frowned and looked away, and almost as if to amend the harshness of her last statement, Dana sidled up next to Tre and wrapped and arm around him. "I'm sorry," she muttered. "It's just irritating. It's almost like you don't want this at all." Tre wanted to look at her and assure her that she was wrong, but he honestly didn't know what it was that he wanted. He couldn't bring himself to lie like her like he had been doing by ignoring the insecurity that still surrounded him.

"I don't know what I want," Tre admitted, fidgeting with a small hole in his jeans.

"Then why even call me?" Dana asked, the emotion in her voice causing Tre to look up. "Why even bother asking me out time and time again? You could have just left me alone, you know." She looked down, catching her breath and holding back tears that she was determined not to let him see. He slipped a finger under her chin, lifting it up and forcing her to look at him.

"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I thought I was ready. And I called you because you made me feel like myself again, and I haven't been able to do that ever since... " he cut himself off, looking away. Dana frowned, anger flashing at his reluctance to share the secret that he had been harboring ever since they had met.

"Why won't you just fucking tell me?" Dana yelled, pulling away. "I've given you infinite fucking patience, but I can't understand if you keep me guessing all the time. Did someone hurt you that damn bad?" She bit her lip in thought before returning to meet his eyes. "It's almost like you've been comparing me to someone else, Tre." He opened his mouth to protest, but nothing came out. "That's it, isn't it?" Dana went on. "I don't know how to be good enough for you."

"No," Tre choked. "That's not it. You're perfectly fine. It's not you-"

"Don't say it," Dana warned in a very calm voice that was almost close to breaking. "Don't even give me the whole it's not you it's me bullshit." She stood up and walked over to the window, staring at the cars as they passed by on the street below. "I can't fight for you if I don't even know what I'm fighting against."

"You're not," his voice said right behind her ear, making her shiver. She turned to meet his gaze, apparently wanting to comfort him and yell at him all at once. "You don't have to fight against anyone."

"Then who are you comparing me to?" Dana said vehemently. Tre was startled at the anger that had spread its way across her face. He couldn't stand to see her mad like this, and yet he didn't want to just tell her. Really, he didn't mean for any of this to happen. Tre didn't really know much of anything anymore, and his loss of control over his own life was finally paralleling with his irritation of Dana's demands.

"Would you like to meet her?" Tre yelled back, almost wishing he hadn't. The look on Dana's face darkened, and he turned away before she even had a chance to answer. He snatched his car keys up from the kitchen counter and flung open the front door, barely aware that Dana was following closely behind. Tre was, however, acutely aware of the numbing feeling that was inching its way all throughout his body. Even his footfalls to the car seemed muted, as well as the rumble of the engine as he started it. He had tried so hard to keep from going to that place for the past year, but now it was coming on full force after being suppressed for so long.

"Where are we going?" Dana demanded as he started driving off down the road. His focus was completely absorbed into driving and his own thoughts, so no answer came. "Tre! Where are we going?" Dana said, louder this time, causing the tension level to rise even more. Tre glanced at Dana from the corner of his eyes, none too surprised at the anger he saw there.

"You'll see when we get there," he mumbled distractedly. He was almost unaware that he spoke at all, memories and thoughts consuming him completely. A heavy weight was tugging at his heart and making him miserable, and Tre was positive that there was nothing he could do about it. He had convinced himself that it was something that he was just going to have to live with forever, and that recuperation from such a loss was impossible.

Tre was almost surprised when he threw the car into par at the Oakland Cemetery. He had barely been paying attention to where he was driving. Tre had traveled this well-worn path many times in the past, and he supposed that this time was no different. He chanced a look at Dana, whose face was a mask of confusion. She looked over at him and they stared at each other briefly before Tre looked away and opened his door.

"You wanted to meet her," Tre said before he got out, his voice cracking. He stood up out of the car and stuck his head back in. "So come on." Dana followed behind Tre silently, and he couldn't gauge what she was thinking. Her face was giving away nothing, but he couldn't force himself to linger on that thought for long. The all too familiar headstone was in sight, and a lump gathered in his throat. Finally, the pair stood before it, Dana looking to Tre patiently. "Dana, meet Kadi." His voice was disconnected and his thoughts were far away as he jammed his hands into his pockets, feeling very cold even though it was July in California.

"Tre... " Dana murmured softly.

"You wanted to know," Tre snapped, cutting her off. "So now I'm going to tell you." He swallowed hard a few times, his eyes never leaving the tombstone. He hadn't realized how hard this would be, but now it was becoming expressly clear. "I met Kadi a year ago," he started after a while, the mere mention of her name causing his voice to choke. He paused for a moment. "She was this amazing person that I never thought I would ever meet. I met her in Oakland while we were finishing up our tour for American Idiot."

"I had no idea," Dana offered to fill the silence. Tre looked up at her with wounded eyes, and it didn't take long for her to look away. Vindictively, Tre almost wanted her to feel bad. Selfishly, he wanted her to regret ever pushing him to tell her, to put himself in pain like this. He really didn't mean it, though, because sooner or later it would have come to this. He never wanted to put Dana through this at all, or himself, but he was here, now, and there was now way to change it.

"I met her at a club," Tre continued. "She was there with one of her friends-Rachel. I asked her to dance with me, before she got really faint and we went outside. It was cold, so I gave her my jacket." The details came to him so vividly, it was almost like reliving the entire thing all over again. "I made sure she was okay and then left. I forgot my jacket and she called Billie from my cell phone, got directions to the hotel we were in and dropped my jacket off. I asked her for her number, which she gave me, and then she left." Tre let out a small, ironic laugh. "Looking back on it, I can't understand how I didn't see it before."

"What happened?" Dana urged. Tre glanced at her and shrugged nonchalantly.

"We went out," he supplied. "Things started getting really weird. I knew she wanted something with me, but there was something wrong and she didn't want to tell me... " The last words fell out of his mouth heavily, the situation seemingly repeating itself, only this time Tre was in Kadi's shoes. He took this time to walk over and brush off some leaves that littered the tombstone, his fingers brushing over the engravings.

<center> In Loving Memory
Kadi Sanderson

Dana watched from afar, standing still patiently and waiting for Tre to continue. He stood back up straight, his right hand remaining on the top of the tombstone. He turned his gaze from the grave to Dana, watching as the breeze lightly scattered her brown hair around her face. He could tell that she was unsure of what to do or say, let alone what he was going to say next. He also noticed a thirst for more knowledge on her face, a brave curiosity that she didn't dare speak aloud.

"I found out later," he went on, Dana looking back up at him, "that she had pancreatic cancer. When I met her she had only five months left to live, and by the time I found out she only had two." The words came out easier than he had expected, but they were laced with a numbness that only he could feel. "A couple weeks later she passed out, and I took her to the hospital. The cancer had progressed-" his voice broke, the numbness overshadowed by the pain. "She died the next day."

Tears stung at his eyes at the last five words, and his voice trembled. Dana swiftly moved over to him and wrapped her arms around him, her warmth making Tre realize just how cold he had been. He let the tears come freely, not ashamed of how he felt. Dana held him there and let him cry as he slowly realized that just telling Dana had lifted a weight off of his shoulders. But with that one weight being lifted, a floodgate of other emotions came with it. Memories he had been trying religiously to forgo all came back at once, enhancing the pain and opening new wounds.

"I'm so sorry," Dana whispered, pulling away and placing both her hands on his face. Her eyes were full of concern and regret. "I didn't know it would hurt you like this." She embraced him again, trying to help in any way she could.

"I should have told you sooner," Tre admitted. "I know it wasn't fair to keep it from you like this." Dana pulled away again, her hands resting on his sides.

"You don't owe me an explanation," she continued quietly. "I-I shouldn't have forced you into this." She met his gaze with a fair amount of shame spreading across her face. "I was just so angry that you wouldn't tell me anything, but now... " Tre rested a hand on her face, pulling closer to her.

"I don't blame you," he answered quietly. He rested his forehead against Dana's. "I needed this," he assured her, "otherwise I might not have told you. I needed you to push me, even though it hurts. It's nothing you can control." Dana nodded, hugging him tighter. She placed her lips on his own, and though it was only a gesture of comfort, Tre couldn't help but feel it was wrong. He turned his head away slightly, but Dana didn't seem to mind. He knew that she probably understood for the most part, and for that he was grateful.

"Come on," Dana said quietly, grabbing his hand and tugging him lightly towards the car. "Let's go." Tre nodded, stealing one last glance at Kadi's grave. "I'll drive." Tre relinquished his car keys to Dana without question before following behind and getting into the passenger seat of the car. So many different things lined Tre's face, none of them good.

Dana started the engine and pulled out and onto the road, heading back towards her own apartment. She kept stealing glances over at Tre, worry etching her face commingled with a tinge of guilt. Tre only stared out of the window blankly, watching Oakland pass by in a blur. The silence prolonged the trip back to Berkeley, Dana shifting uncomfortably every few minutes and Tre perfectly oblivious to just about anything but what he was thinking.

It had occurred to Tre that he should offer some words to Dana, but the problem was that he didn't know what to say. He couldn't explain what he was feeling, neither to her or himself. All he could think of was vivid memories of Kadi; her looks, her smell, her feel.

He could almost see her smiling at some of the stupid things he would say, or shake her head at the innuendos he would make or the suggestive smile that always seemed to playing on his lips. He could hear her girlish giggle as he tickled her mercilessly, or her outright laugh as they watched a stupid movie together. He loved all of that about her, which multiplied the pain, cubed it and then stabbed him where it hurt the most.

He let out a shuddering breath, gripping the armrest slightly. He didn't want to cry in front of Dana; not because he was ashamed, because he had already cried in front of her once, but because he didn't want her to feel even worse than she already was. He didn't want her to feel like she could never make him feel as good as Kadi had made him felt, because Dana of all people didn't deserve that.

Tre had met Dana at a club, not all too unlike the one he had met Kadi in. Mike and Billie had taken him out drinking, but he really hadn't wanted to go. He only went to make his friends feel more at ease and worry less about him. Besides, there was always alcohol at a club. Billie and Mike had tried several times to coerce Tre into asking multiple girls dance, which used to make him feel better, but they just didn't understand that this time the hurt was different. He couldn't mend everything with his old habits, so he fell harder into more of a new one-drinking until he couldn't feel anything anymore.

Mike and Billie had kept a steady stream of conversation going the entire time, more to fill the silence and to help bring Tre back to his old self. Tre appreciated their efforts, really, but it all got old very quick. Finally, when Tre had reached the bottom of his fifth beer, he stood up to make another bar run. He maneuvered his way around and in between tables, finally making it up to the bar and asking for another Killian's. As he had been waiting, he had felt eyes on him from the side. He glanced over momentarily, catching the eyes and a smile of a brown haired, brown eyed woman.

"Hi," she said with a grin, slowly sipping her daiquiri. She was seated alone at the bar, looking very bored and very much unlike she was in a club for the party. Tre only offered her a small smile in response, taking his beer that was slid to him and paying the bartender. He turned to go back to the table where Mike and Billie were seated. "I don't bite," the woman said, amusement lining her voice. He turned around to look at her to find her grinning, almost reminiscent of a similar smile he himself used to wear.

"Look, I'm sorry... " Tre trailed off, but stopped before he could finish. The woman didn't even seemed phased by the beginning of his polite decline; she only took another sip from her straw and waited for him to continue, the same smile playing on her lips. When he didn't finish, she held out her hand to Tre, which he took out of reflex.

"I'm Dana," she introduced. She never broke eye contact the entire time, and everything about her seemed to be daring and bold and uninhibited. She let go of his hand, which was still tingling all the way up his arm.

"Tre," he responded, finding his tongue. Tre broke eye contact only to glance back at Billie and Mike, who were both watching him with curiosity. Not wanting to keep his gaze lingering on those two to see the encouraging gestures they would invariably proceed to give, he turned back to Dana.

"Those your friends?" she asked, already knowing the answer. She cocked her head to one side and let out a small laugh. "The short one looks almost like a girl." This made Tre snort, which seemed to be the desired effect that Dana had been going for. She only grinned and inclined her head towards the bar stool next to her. "Why don't you have a seat? Unless, of course, you have something else you need to be getting off to."

Tre contemplated the offer momentarily before sitting, setting his beer down on a napkin on the bar. "You don't look like you're here for a good time," Tre observed. Dana had been wearing a pair of black slacks and a button down jacket to match, pulling it off very nicely and seeming anything but a plain, boring businesswoman.

"I wasn't," Dana answered, stirring the daiquiri with her straw. "This is the closest place to get a drink from where I work, so I usually stop by every once in a while." She looked back up at Tre. "You hardly look like you've come for a good time yourself." Tre gave a faint smile, glancing down and then over at Billie and Mike. They had their heads together, almost conspiratorially, which made Tre roll his eyes. "They drag you here?"

"Kinda," Tre nodded.

"It shows," she responded. Tre only shrugged, looking off for a moment before back at her.

"It's just been a bad year," he answered, a little too truthfully. Dana caught on fairly quickly and nodded, finishing her daiquiri. She shoved it towards the bartender and declined when he offered to give her a refill. She pulled money out of her purse and set it on top of the bar.

"I've had many of those," she nodded, standing up. Tre's stomach lurched, and he almost wanted to beg her to stay. This feeling surprised him, especially since he hadn't felt like being in anyone's presence in a long time, let alone a woman's. "I'm going to be heading off. Nice meeting you, Tre." Tre had his mouth open and ready to respond, but Dana was already walking off, her heels clicking on the floor. He watched her walk out of the front door, undecided on whether or not he was going to go after her.

Finally, he decided it was now or never, and followed quickly out the door after her. "Dana!" he called, his eyes taking a second or two to adjust to the darkness.

"Yeah?" Dana queried, coming from his left. He looked over to see her standing there, car door open.

Tre walked over, wishing that he hadn't suddenly turned chicken shit out of nowhere. "You think I could have your number?" he asked, scratching the back of his head. Dana grinned and handed a piece of paper with a number already written on it. She had already had it ready in her hand. He looked down at the slip of paper and then back up at Dana. "You knew I was going to ask you for your number?" he questioned dumbly. Dana laughed slightly and shrugged.

"I'm not psychic," she responded. "Let's just call it wishful thinking." She fiddled with the car keys in her hand, making them clink together.

"I'll call you then," he said. "Wouldn't want to let you down." Dana smiled at that, taking in a small breath before glancing down at her car.

"Guess I should get going," she announced. "See you later." She turned and made to get in her car, but seemingly second guessed herself. Instead, she turned back to Tre and leaned forward, pressing a kiss onto his lips. Tre's mouth opened slightly in surprise, Dana taking the opening and sliding her tongue through and brushing his own tongue teasingly before she pulled away. Tre couldn't help but grin, a moment of his old self talking a hold of him. "Bye."

"Bye," he said with a grin, watching her slide into the driver's seat and shut the door. Within seconds she was driving off down the road, leaving Tre in the parking lot of a club with a phone number in his hand.

"Tre," Dana said, pulling him out of his thoughts. He looked over at his girlfriend, whose face was still nothing but concern. "We're back." Tre looked out the windshield. It seemed he'd lost all concept of time in the past year, so it didn't really surprise him that they were back at her apartment so quickly. Dana grabbed his hand and squeezed it slightly. "Are you going to be okay?"

"I'll be fine," Tre answered, his voice coming out slightly more weak than he had intended it to. They slipped out of the car and walked into the building, climbing the stairs to Dana's apartment. She waited for him to go in before following, shutting the door after he had entered and turned to him. He had been right behind her, and when she had turned he slipped his arms around her and pulled her to him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered in her ear, making her grip on him tighten. She pulled away to protest his apology again, but he pressed his lips to hers instead, wanting to feel that surge of life that she had always brought to him.

She relented quickly, kissing him back softly at first and then more roughly to comply with his efforts. He buried a hand in her brown hair, sighing against her lips and taking in this moment. He knew that if anyone could get rid of the numbness, it was Dana. She had made it better from the beginning, and she could make it better now. Almost as if reading his thoughts, Dana moved from his mouth to his neck, planting soft kisses while moving her hands under the front of his shirt to rest on his stomach.

"Are you sure?" Dana whispered in his ear, a certain amount of doubt in her voice. He knew she didn't want to pressure him into anything unless that was what he wanted, but right now there was nothing he wanted more.

"Yes," he answered, his voice like a low growl in his throat. Dana nodded and kissed his mouth again, passionately this time, and started pulling Tre back to her bedroom.
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