Lost In You - Chapter 14
Chapter 14 Preview: Impulsive and insecure Cooper Jackson accompanies her cousin to a wedding where she meets Sound Wave, a famous boy band.

The month following the non-nuptial reception was filled with touring for Sound Wave.  City to city, country to country, the band was in a blur of motion.  The guys enjoyed the time they spent together, but everyone was homesick.  Ryan and JT weren’t exactly back to normal either.  There was a coldness between them that the entire band felt.  Ryan hated it, and knew to give JT space and time.  At least they weren’t fighting; just blatantly avoiding each other.  If JT truly hated him, he’d be at Ryan’s throat.  JT had a horrific temper that luckily had calmed down after going to rehab.

The band was in South America for another week.  They were happy to leave the craziness of the region.  Their fans were pretty wild there, and though it was flattering, it sometimes became scary.  A girl had practically thrown herself in front of their tour bus, and could have been killed.

The following week, they headed to England.  JT was thrilled since he was always a fan of the country.  The band finally had a day off, and wanted to do some sightseeing.  Kristin and Kelly were visiting, which meant John and Mike didn’t want much to do with the rest of the band.

Matt walked down the hall, and knocked on Ryan’s door.  He missed Laura terribly, and was happy he would get to meet up with her next month.  She had off for spring break, and was coming with Cooper to visit while the band was still touring Europe.  Ryan opened the door, and Matt smiled.

“Want to head to a pub with me?”

“Okay,” Ryan shrugged.

“JT’s coming, too,” Matt informed him.

He was hoping things would go back to normal soon, especially before Cooper came to visit.

Matt didn’t like having to spend time with Ryan and JT separately.  Once Ryan was involved in any plans, JT would back out.  He was surprised when JT was coming along, even though Ryan would be with them.

Matt knocked with Ryan standing next to him.  JT opened the door with an unlit cigarette in hand, and slipped his sunglasses on.

“Are we ready?” he asked.

Ryan smiled slightly.  He had been in a bit of a funk since the wedding that didn’t happen.  It felt weird to be single again.  It felt awkward to be around JT.  On top of that, Ryan felt immoral.  He should have known better when it came to Danielle.  He should have known to stay as far from Cooper as possible.  If Ryan would have realized Danielle wasn’t for him a long time ago, maybe he would be Cooper’s boyfriend instead of JT.  The fact was now Cooper loves JT, and Ryan hates that he hid his feelings for Cooper from him.

On the way to the pub, Ryan was silent.  JT and Matt spoke fluidly about everyday things, and of course their girlfriends’ names came up every few minutes.  JT was well aware of how often he said Cooper’s name in conversation.  He wanted it that way.  He wanted to remind Ryan of who Cooper belonged to.  He couldn’t deny his worries, though.

The truth is JT was afraid of losing Cooper.  He had a fear of people leaving him since his father abandoned him early on in life.  He also witnessed many deaths in his family.  He even lost his first serious girlfriend in a car accident when he was only seventeen.  JT knew Ryan wouldn’t want to hurt him.  He knew Ryan better than he knew himself.  Ryan was an open book with colorful pages.  JT was not, and neither was Cooper.  There was a darkness within themselves that they fought to overcome every day.  Maybe that’s why it was easy for JT to accept Cooper’s apology over Ryan’s.  JT simply held his friend at a higher stander than anyone else.

The guys walked into the oldest pub in London.  The smoke was thick, and the smell of alcohol was prominent.  Ryan coughed, and JT just lit up another cigarette.

“You gotta quit, man,” Ryan said, breaking the silence between him and JT.

“I know,” he blew smoke out of his mouth as he spoke.

They found a table, and Matt excused himself to the bathroom.  A barmaid walked over, and asked to take their order.

“Can I just get a diet coke?” JT asked.

“I’ll have the same,” Ryan nodded.

The barmaid looked at them strangely.  Not many people went to a pub to order soda.

“Oh, and a beer for our friend.  Whatever you have on tap,” JT offered.

“I’ll be back in a jiffy with that.”

The barmaid smiled at JT seductively.  Her nametag read “Lizzy” and she couldn’t have been more than twenty-two.  She had a high-pitched English accent, and wore her blonde hair in a bun.  Her uniform blouse was off the shoulders; her skirt was short and tight that when she walked, it rode up a bit.  JT checked her out as she walked away.  He dipped his ashes in the tray provided, and Ryan followed his gaze.


“What?” he laughed.  “I can look.  Maybe you should start.”

JT hoped he could divert Ryan’s attention away from Cooper with another woman.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ryan asked.

“It means you need to get laid.”

“Yeah, that’ll solve everything.”

“No, it won’t, but you can have a hell of a lot of fun trying to forget your problems.”

JT smirked, and Ryan laughed.  They missed the banter and fun they always had.  Somehow they both had confidence things would go back to normal.  They had a stronger bond than a couple of kisses.  JT knew if he forgave Cooper, he had to eventually forgive Ryan as well.  He could clearly see Ryan was battling with the entire situation.

The barmaid came over with their drinks a moment later.  She leaned over Ryan to put his drink down.  Her breasts rubbed against his shoulder, also giving JT a view of her cleavage.

“Thanks,” Ryan looked back at her with a timid smile.

“Anytime,” she ran her fingers through his hair before walking off.

Ryan looked back at JT, and they both started laughing.

“Hello nurse!”

“God, here comes Matt.  She might just rip off her clothes for him,” Ryan joked.

“Are you kidding?  That punk’s got nothing on us.”

“Wha’d I miss?” Matt asked sitting down, and grabbing his beer.

“A great set of cans on Ryan’s back.”

“What?” Matt almost spit out his beer.

“Can I get you boys anything else?” Lizzy walked back over a minute later.  “Hey cutie,” she said putting her hand on Matt’s shoulder.

“Actually, my friend here,” JT said motioning to Ryan, “thinks you’re cute.  Wanna go out with him tonight?”

Ryan’s eyes widened and he didn’t know what to say.

“I’d love to.  Meet me here at ten?”


Lizzy leaned over, and kissed Ryan’s lips.

“I don’t bite,” she winked before walking away.

“Dude, she’s hot!” Matt said smacking Ryan’s chest.

“I can’t believe you asked her out for me.”

Ryan threw a pretzel at JT, but he caught it and ate it.  JT laughed.

“You can thank me later, and you better sleep with her.  Not like that girl in Greece you wound up talking all night with years ago.”

“I don’t do one night stands,” Ryan reminded him.

“Oh right, just kisses?” JT teased.

Matt cracked up laughing, and Ryan just looked at JT.  Was he trying to mess with him somehow?

“Too soon?” JT asked.

Ryan continued to stare blankly, amazed he was able to joke about the situation.

“Dude, it’s cool.  I knew you liked Cooper.  I knew she liked you.  You kissed…twice?” JT questioned before waving his hand in the air.

Ryan knew there were two different times he kissed Cooper, but that last time, they definitely kissed way more than twice.

“Anyway, it’s in the past.  She loves me, and that’s all that matters.  You saved yourself from marriage, so at least you got something out of it.  We’re all good,” JT laid it all out there.

Ryan always admired JT’s honesty and forwardness.  He appreciated that he was lighthearted about the situation.  It took away the awkward feelings, but at the same time made what Ryan and Cooper shared seem meaningless.  Ryan knew that wasn’t true no matter what Cooper said.




Kristin slipped her robe on, and reached for the telephone.  She ordered food for John and herself before lying back in his arms.  John kissed her lovingly.  They had been married for over five years now, and dated on and off for six years before that.  The couple had been through everything together, and remained best friends, even through the times they split up.

John soaked in every part of his fair-skinned wife, as he held her close, like he was afraid to let go.  Kristin loved John’s strong arms and missed them holding her.  She caressed his hand, which was much bigger than hers, and brought it to her lips.  She looked up at him; her eyes letting him know how much she missed him.  John kissed her once again.

He couldn’t fathom being with any other woman; maybe that’s why he was so hard on Ryan.  Maybe that’s why he was afraid Matt would hurt Laura.  John feared losing Kristin like he had so many times in the past.  He rebelled once the group hit success in Europe.  He blew up at Kristin saying he couldn’t be tied down.  He remembers that first tour of their career being extremely stressful, and the only way he could take the edge off was with women.  Kristin was back in the states, and John didn’t appreciate the sanctity of love as much as he does now.

John learned a great deal in life for a relatively young man.  He knew he was sometimes hard on the people he cared about, especially his band mates.  They were his little brothers, and he didn’t want them steering down the wrong path with the wrong women.  He finally believed Matt when he said he loved Laura.  He could tell he adored her, and vice versa.

John admits to himself he was sometimes envious of the other guys.  They had long periods of being single, and were free to date whom they wanted.  John never had that.  His heart was always connected to Kristin, even when he didn’t want it to be.  Though still, John wouldn’t trade what he had for all the women Matt and JT slept with combined.

John sighed subconsciously as he thought of his brother.  Ryan was lost, and John feared he’d fall into a depression.  He’s seen JT head down that road, and though Ryan didn’t have many addictions to battle, his own broken heart was enough to destroy his spirit.  Anyone who knew Ryan understood it would be a shame if his spirit was ever broken.  He deserved to find “the one”, and John wonders if his fixation on Cooper was nothing more than jealousy, or infatuation.

“Hey,” Kristin flicked John in the head.  “What are you thinking about?”

“You,” he smiled.

“Ha, nice try.”

“I’m being honest…kind of.”

“I knew it.”

“I was thinking how lucky I am to have you and then I was worrying about Ryan.”

“I’m not worried,” Kristin said with certainty.

“You’re not?” John looked at his wife questioningly.

“No,” she shook her head.  “Ryan will bounce back.  He always does, and he always loves with all his heart.  He’ll find the right one, maybe he already has.”

“Kristin,” John laughed.  “You can’t possibly think he and Danielle are¾”

“Who’s talking about Danielle?”

“Well, what right one has he already found?”

“I don’t know…” she said looking away from John, and starting to play with the bedspread. “Cooper?” Kristin mumbled the name, and John’s eyes went wide.

“You can’t be serious?”

“All I’m saying is Ryan trusts his gut ninety percent of the time.  Danielle was not one of those times, but anyway…if he thinks something is there with Cooper…”

“And what about JT?”

“Are you really worried about JT?”

“He loves Cooper, and he’s really happy with her,” John laughed incredulously at her.

“Yeah, until he gets bored¾or until he realizes she loves Ryan.”

“Okay Miss Know-It-All, JT will still get hurt if Cooper has any sort of feeling for Ryan.”

“Maybe,” she nodded.  “But I think he knew all along, and maybe he ignored it.  He’ll wake up.”

“You’ve lost it,” John laughed sitting up in bed.  “Maybe I don’t think Cooper is good enough for Ryan or JT.”

“Why not?  She is nice, and she’s social enough for both of them, which you know with their personalities is a plus.”

“Yeah, well, I have something against women who go around falling for two men at once, and then sneak behind the other’s back.”

“Okay Mr. Judgmental.  Didn’t you ever see The Notebook?”

“Kris, that’s a movie and a fictional book, babe.”

“Well, movie or not, I love Allie, and she cheated on Lon with Noah because he was her true love.  But that didn’t mean she didn’t love Lon, too.  She was just meant to be with Noah.”

John rolled his eyes as he got out of bed.  He looked at Kristin; she was sitting up now, looking at him with her mouth half open; her eyes were narrowed as she tried to make her point.  He thought her reference to a movie was absolutely ridiculous, but yet, he loved her for making it with such conviction.

“Well, if Nicholas Sparks says Allie’s good people then I guess Cooper must be, too.”

“Shut up,” Kristin rolled her eyes, and smiled at him.




The smell of sautéed zucchini, honey roasted turkey, and dressing filled the house.  Cooper brushed a strand of hair out of her face as she took off an oven mitt.  Joyce smiled over at her.

“Thank you again for helping with dinner.”

“You cook for me all the time; I needed to make myself useful,” Cooper shrugged.

Cooper and Joyce brought everything onto the table before sitting down to eat.  Tommy joined them as the dogs begged quietly under the table cloth.  Cooper enjoyed moments like these.  It wasn’t that she didn’t have a family of her own to share meals with, it was that she moved around too much to have a stable schedule.

When she did live in New Jersey, she took dinner invitations for granted.  When Cooper did take Zac or Uncle Bill up on dinner, she was often withdrawn.  Her family was a constant reminder of who was missing: her mother.  It was also a reminder of what she was missing in her life.  She heard Uncle Bill brag about Dave’s college diploma, and his great job.  Zac and Marcela always spoke about their jobs, and their house.  Cooper felt she didn’t measure up to their accomplishments.

Finally, Cooper felt her life was going somewhere.  She had a steady guy, a great job she loved, a nice living arrangement in a city she felt comfortable in, and she found herself spending more time with Kelly, and especially Laura.  On top of that, she considered Joyce and Tommy family.  Even her attitude toward her actual family had become much healthier.  She was finally opening up a bit, at least about what was going on in her life, minus the Ryan drama.  She mentioned to Dave about Ryan calling off the wedding, but left it at that.

Cooper would be lying if she said she didn’t think about Ryan often.  She was happy he was single, even if she wasn’t.  Maybe she was being just a tad selfish in wanting Ryan to stay single, but she couldn’t help it.  She felt guilty for many things since her trip to Georgia.

Cooper believed Ryan had every intention of making something happen between them.  And maybe that was her fault.  After all, she was the one who told him she’d be there if he decided to back out of the wedding.  Things change, though.  That was before JT professed his love to her, and she reciprocated it.

If JT were out of the picture, she’d run to Ryan in a heartbeat.  But that wasn’t the case.  JT was very much in the picture, and she felt she owed so much to him.  Her life has been better since knowing him, and loving him has opened her up to new possibilities.  She is afraid to let that go.  She is afraid to lose a man like JT, and never find someone as good.  Then again, she was even more afraid she lost the possibility of Ryan forever.

After dinner, everyone helped clear the table.  Cooper laughed at Joyce as she prepared a plate for the dogs, Brownie and Toby.  Cooper’s cell phone rang, and she picked it up off the kitchen counter.  She saw it was Casey, and was pleasantly surprised.  Cooper hadn’t spoken to her all that much, just through e-mail.  Casey was promoted at her job, and took on a heavier workload, while Cooper was readjusting to her new job and friends.  She placed a serving bowl in the sink before answering the call.

“Hey Case!”

She waited to hear Casey’s equally ecstatic greeting, but when that didn’t happen, Cooper turned concerned.

“What’s wrong?”

Joyce and Tommy were alerted by Cooper’s tone of voice.  Cooper didn’t say much on her end.  Casey spoke quickly and emotionally.  By the end of the conversation, Cooper was crying, and telling her she’d get to New Jersey as soon as possible.  Cooper hung up the phone, and looked to Joyce like a lost child.

“My Uncle Bill had a stroke.”

Joyce immediately embraced Cooper.  She rubbed her back as she cried.  Cooper’s heart was racing, and her hands were shaking.  She couldn’t handle anything happening to Uncle Bill, not now when everything was finally okay.  Joyce stroked Cooper’s hair, and tried to quiet her tears.

“You need me to do anything?”

“Um, I need to pack, and book a flight,” Cooper pulled away wiping tears.

“I’ll find a flight out for you,” Tommy offered, already making his way to the computer.

Joyce walked Cooper to the guesthouse as if she couldn’t stand without her.  Cooper hurried around the bedroom, hoping she wouldn’t forget anything.

“I think that’s it,” she sighed sitting on the bed next to Joyce.

She put her arm around the young woman, and Cooper put her head on her shoulder.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Cooper whispered.

“I’m always here for you,” Joyce assured her.

The two women sat together for several minutes, not needing to say anything more.  Tommy and Joyce drove Cooper to the airport later that night.  On the drive back, Joyce worried terribly about Cooper.  She picked up her cell phone and let JT know what was going on.




The next few days were rough.  Uncle Bill was awake, but couldn’t communicate.  He only seemed to have some function in his left hand, which he used to let everyone know he was still with them.  Cooper walked into the hospital room one morning with flowers.  She smiled seeing Dave and Casey scrunched together in one of the chairs completely asleep; neither one of them had left Uncle Bill’s side.  That didn’t surprise her about Dave.  She assumed Casey had grown close to Uncle Bill over the past few months.  Casey had lost her own father to prostate cancer five years ago, and indeed found solace in Bill treating her like a daughter.

Cooper set the flowers down by the window quietly.  She found an extra chair outside the room, and dragged it in.  As she sat down, Uncle Bill’s eyes fluttered open.  Cooper smiled at him, and he reached his good hand out to her.  She held his offered hand, and felt comforted by the gesture.

Once Dave and Casey woke up, Cooper encouraged them to get breakfast.  After they walked out, she smiled at Uncle Bill, and gave his hand a squeeze.

“Finally, we’re alone.”

She began talking to him as if she were making small talk.  She wasn’t sure if he understood entirely, but she hoped.  Cooper told him all about her job, and her friends, and JT.

“I’m going to Europe!” She gushed.  “JT’s really good to me, Uncle Bill.  I can’t wait for you to meet him.”

Uncle Bill squeezed Cooper’s hand, and a tear rolled down her face.  She put her head down, pressing it against his hand.

“I’m so sorry for all the dinners I missed and for moving away so much…” she cried.  “I love you, and I want you to know that.  I know you always worry about me, just like I always worry about Zac.  Don’t worry, I’m okay now,” Cooper assured him.

Suddenly, Cooper felt a hand on her head, and she quickly looked up.  Uncle Bill moved his right arm.  He slowly held out both his arms to her, and she happily hugged him.  He’ll be fine, Cooper thought as she remained in the hug for a minute or so.

Cooper stayed in New Jersey for the next two weeks, and it appeared Uncle Bill would make a full recovery.  Slowly, his motor skills were coming back, and by the time she left, he could even make out a couple of words.

Still, Cooper worried.  She hated leaving again.  She held onto her brother for the longest time at the airport.

“We’re okay, Sissy,” Zac whispered.

He hadn’t called her the nickname since they were children, and it brought back a flood of memories.  Cooper tightened the hug.  They were finally better.  Though Zac had outwardly gone through his own withdrawal period, Cooper had emotionally been killing herself.  The scars were starting to heal, but still Cooper was skeptical.  She knew how easily she could slip back into that lonely state.

If she lost Uncle Bill, she knew that was enough to set her off.  She also trusted JT, which was a huge change for her.  She never trusted her judgment enough when it came to men to actually choose someone who wouldn’t break her heart.  She assumed she inherited the bad taste in men trait from her mother, and refused to allow herself to come back with her heart broken as often as she had.  JT hadn’t let her down yet, and she was somehow secure in that.  At the same time, she worried she would let JT down in some way.  She would lose him, and Joyce, and maybe everything else would crumble around her.


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*Legal Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2009 by Sandy Lo.
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About the Author

Sandy Lo ()

Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.

Website: http://sandylo.com

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