Lost In You - Chapter 19
Chapter 19 Preview: Impulsive and insecure Cooper Jackson accompanies her cousin to a wedding where she meets Sound Wave, a famous boy band.

The airport was swarmed with travelers, but some people were there just to welcome Sound Wave back to their hometown of Orlando.  Fans wanted pictures and autographs, and the band was eager to please despite their exhaustion.  Ryan, John, and Matt headed to the hotel with the rest of the crew, while Mike went home to be with his wife.

JT decided to stay at his mother’s house to make the most of his time with her.  He was tired, and glad the tour was ending.  He knew he’d be longing for the road again in a few months, though.  He loved touring and craved the spotlight.

Lately, Anna consumed most of his thoughts.  Making things right with her would be his focus after the tour ended.  He replayed their relationship from beginning to end over and over, and how she stood by him throughout rehab and gave him the strength he needed to get help.  Anna had been his best friend, even after their break-up, until she started getting serious with her last boyfriend.  JT couldn’t deal with her having another man in her life, and he distanced himself, hurting Anna once again.

After ending things with Cooper, JT has fought for Anna’s friendship and love again.  He’s made phone calls, sent texts, emails and mailed letters.  Anna, being burned one too many times by JT, was skeptical.  She agreed to be friends again, but fought him on taking it to another level.  She wasn’t ready for that.  JT was hopeful she would come around eventually.  Anna admitted to him she was impressed with and surprised by his commitment to therapy.

An hour after the band landed, JT found himself hugging his mother.  She was practically crying, and JT was no better.  Joyce and JT had the strongest of bonds a mother and son could have.  He made regular visits with Joyce, and phone calls were made at least twice a week.  When JT was growing up, Joyce was all he had and vice versa.

 

d

 

The sun beat down on Cooper’s back as she studied her notes.  She took a sip of her latte before shutting her book.  She had an exam for her life coaching program on Monday, and though she much rather be shopping, she wanted to get studying out of the way, especially before Kelly’s party.  Cooper’s mind drifted to the party.  Ryan and JT would be there, of course.  Though Cooper wasn’t afraid to face JT, in fact she was excited to see him, she was anxious about seeing Ryan.

“Anything else, ma’am?”

The waiter walked over to her.  He was a twenty-something brown haired, blue-eyed charmer who had been flirting with Cooper since she sat down outside the café.  Cooper liked what she saw, but when he jotted his number down on her receipt, she knew she’d never use it.  She wasn’t ready, at least not for him.

Glancing at the time, Cooper figured JT would be home by now.  She packed up her things and headed to her car.  She leased a red 2007 Honda Civic a couple of months ago to get around town in.  She drove home and parked the car in the driveway.  Cooper rang the doorbell a minute later before Tommy let her in.  JT spotted her on his way to the kitchen.

“Coop!”

“JT!”

Cooper walked over to him and met his enthusiasm with a large hug.  They held onto each other for a moment before JT kissed her cheek.

“You look beautiful as usual.”

“You don’t have to say things like that anymore, but thank you.”

“I want to say things like that all the time.”

“Would he be JT if he forgot to compliment a girl?” Joyce laughed, knowing very well JT was big on flattery, and could easily charm any girl.  It was just his nature.

They sat down in the kitchen and talked for a while about the tour.  JT spoke of sightseeing and fans.  In turn, Joyce told him about her business, which led to Cooper speaking about her life coaching course.  She would be certified in a month and Joyce smiled proudly.

“That’s great.  What about personally?”

“Personally…well, Casey asked me to be her maid-of-honor.”

“Awesome, but I meant, what about your love life?”

JT decided to be forward about it.  Cooper was taken back and pushed her hair behind her ears.

“Jamie,” Joyce warned.

“What’s going on with you and Ryan?”

“Nothing.  I haven’t talked to him.”

“Why?”

“JT…” Cooper sighed; she didn’t know what to say to him.  “Can we talk about something else?”

“Cooper, just talk to me.”

“This is not something I need to discuss with my ex-boyfriend.”

She stood up from the kitchen table and walked out.  JT looked to his mother for answers.

“She’s scared,” Joyce offered, and he sighed.

He was almost offended that Ryan and Cooper weren’t together.  Neither one had made even an effort to talk to the other.  Considering Ryan and Cooper found it difficult avoiding each other while she dated him, JT found it extremely irritating they were keeping their distance now.

 

d

 

That night, Kelly was doing what she did best: arranged things for the party and welcomed guests.  Mike watched her from across the room, and she seemed to glow.  She moved at a frantic pace when it came to the preparations, but now she was relaxed, and he loved that about her.  She wasn’t an uptight hostess, and unlike many women he knew, she enjoyed herself at her own parties.  Mike was unaware Ryan stood next to him, asking him a question.  Ryan followed his line of sight and patted Mike on the back.

“B., she’s not going anywhere.”

“Huh?” Mike turned to look at Ryan.

“You’re staring,” Ryan nodded toward Kelly.

“She’s my wife, I’m allowed,” Mike winked.

Ryan smiled envious of what he and Kelly have.

“Do you think she’s coming?”

Mike knew he meant Cooper.

“She’ll be here.  JT said she’d be here.”

“What do I say to her?”

“You’re usually good with words.”

“I can’t just blurt out I love you.”

“Why not?”

“We haven’t even been on a date.”

They laughed at the absurdity.

“Ask her out.”

Ryan thought about Mike’s suggestion, and though he was still nervous, he knew he had to start somewhere with Cooper.

 

d

 

Outside Mike and Kelly’s house, Cooper turned off the engine of her Honda.  She looked over at JT, and he smiled.  She felt every urge to drive away.  In past month, her mind had created so many bad scenarios about seeing Ryan again.  She imagined he no longer had feelings for her; that he met someone else.  She worried he didn’t care about her as much as she cared for him.

“Stop thinking,” JT whispered, reading her mind.  “Just live.  Go in there and talk to Ryan.”

“Why are you so supportive?”

“Because if I can’t have you, I don’t want anyone but Ryan to.”

He winked at her, and Cooper laughed.

“I hope Anna knows what she’s missing.”

“How do you know about Anna?”

Cooper shrugged.

“You’ve mentioned her once or twice.  Your mom and Kelly told me a little about her.  You’re trying to get back together with her?”

“I don’t know if she’ll ever take me back,” he sighed.  “I hurt her bad.”

Cooper put her hand on top of JT’s, and offered him a smile.  They finally stepped out of the car.

Once inside, Kelly hugged JT and Cooper before Mike greeted them.  Cooper looked uneasy as she scanned the room for the one person she was waiting to see.

“Looking for someone?”

The voice came from behind Cooper, causing her to jump.  Her breath caught in her throat at the sound of his voice.  JT patted Ryan’s back before slipping away from them.  Cooper turned around, and was standing face to face with Ryan Latham.  His face always put her at ease.  His blue eyes actually smiled at her, just like his mouth did.

“You look great.”

Ryan noticed a change in her, despite her obvious jitters, as she shifted her weight from one foot to the next.  Cooper appeared peaceful and carefree, like she was happy.  Ryan always sensed uneasiness from her in the past, like something had been missing.

“So do you,” she smiled.

“Sorry I didn’t call.  I wanted to.  I really did.”

Ryan looked down at his hands as he spoke before meeting Cooper’s eyes.

“I wanted to give you space and I didn’t know how…” he trailed off until his words were whispered. “…you felt.”

“You didn’t know how I felt?”  Cooper looked at him surprised.  “I seem to remember making the first move on you, buddy.”  She poked him in the chest and he laughed.

“Can we go for a walk or something?”

“I’d like that.”

“Good, because I feel like everyone’s watching us,” Ryan laughed.

Cooper glanced around the room and noticed Mike and Kelly immediately looking in the opposite direction of them.  Matt and Laura tried to actual casual by smiling at them.  Cooper giggled, feeling like she was back in high school about to be asked out by her crush.  Ryan Latham was much better than any high school heartthrob she crushed on though.

He held the door open for Cooper and they started down the steps of the house.  They walked side by side in silence until they stepped outside the gate.  Ryan took Cooper’s hand in his.  She shivered at the contact before squeezing his palm affectionately.

“Is everything okay with you and JT?” Cooper broke the silence.

“Yeah, we’re as good as new,” Ryan grinned.

“Good.  I worried about you two.”

“Nah, we’re brothers,” he assured her.

They kept continued down the walkway of the gated property.  The trees swayed in the warm breeze.  Cooper’s hair blew back for a second; the streetlights making her golden highlights shimmer.  Ryan stopped walking and she looked at him wondering if something was wrong.

“Now that we’ve talked about JT, let’s talk about us.”

“Is there still an us?”

He was offended by the question.

“Do you want there to be an us?”

“I didn’t mean that¾I just thought¾I mean, a lot has happened and I don’t know if I can handle getting my heart broken.  If you don’t think we’ll work out…” Cooper rambled.

“Cooper, slow down,” Ryan laughed.  “Can we give this a try before we decide whether we’re going to work out?”

She sighed and let go of Ryan’s hand.

“I’m sorry.  I just don’t know if I can handle getting hurt.”

“I’m not going to hurt you, Cooper,” he said, knowing how afraid she was of losing people.  “Besides, who says you won’t hurt me?”

“Exactly!” She threw her hands up in the air.

Her eyes had an exasperated look and Ryan smiled, finding her vulnerability adorable.

“No one knows what’s going to happen.  I can’t promise you I’ll never hurt you, just like you can’t make that promise to me.  We’re only human.  We make mistakes,” Cooper explained.

Ryan wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his body.

“I can promise you that I will give you all I have inside of me, though.  Can you promise me that in return?”

Cooper pressed her forehead against his, and nodded.  Finally, she gave into her emotions.  Happy to be free, the words just tumbled out.

“I promise.  I love you.”

Ryan pulled back to look at Cooper, “You love me?”

Her eyes widened.  She hadn’t meant to say the words out loud.  She was embarrassed.

“No…” Cooper quickly tried to change her answer.

He looked offended she was now trying to recant her confession.

“Yes…no, yes, okay?  I think I love you,” She said quickly, before turning away from him.

Her insecurities and emotions were having a conflicting battle within her.

“You told me you loved me once, you know?” Cooper sighed, trying to change the focus to Ryan’s feelings.

He chuckled amused by her embarrassment.

“I was drunk, though.”

“See, I knew you didn’t mean it.”

He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her against him, as he whispered in her ear.

“I’m sober now.  I love you, Cooper.”

Her insides fluttered at the sound of Ryan’s words.  Her accidental confession seemed well worth it upon hearing his words.  She turned around and kissed him in both appreciation and with all the emotion she had stored up for him.  He returned her kiss.  They parted and went in for a deeper version.  Cooper felt Ryan’s tongue against hers, and her legs quivered.  He practically held her up as they continued to kiss.

Once they parted, Ryan pecked her lips once more, smiling at her.  He ran his fingers through her hair as she ran her fingernails up the back of his shirt.  He loved the tenderness of her touch.

“Will you go out with me tomorrow night after the show?”

“I’ll think about it,” Cooper said, releasing herself from his hold.

She began walking away, and Ryan grabbed her arm, spinning her around.  She squealed and he brought her in for yet another passionate kiss.

“I guess that’s a yes?” he asked looking at Cooper with her head thrown back, still caught in the rapture from his kiss.

“Uh huh.”

Ryan laughed at her, before they walked back to the house hand in hand, taking their time up the walkway, stealing kisses as they went.

 

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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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