Lost In You - Chapter 7
Chapter 7 Preview: Impulsive and insecure Cooper Jackson accompanies her cousin to a wedding where she meets Sound Wave, a famous boy band.

Raindrops hit the window pane as soft as feathers land on the ground.  The city of Milford, New Jersey looked dark and dreary at six pm.  Cooper’s roommate, Casey, walked through the door and tossed her keys on the table.  Boxes of Cooper’s things were piled high in the hallway.  Casey could hear the living room TV playing some cheesy theme music to one of Cooper’s many favorite chick flicks.


“Hey,” Cooper said softly.


Casey poked her head into the living room to see Cooper curled up on the couch clutching a pillow.  Tears flowed freely down her face as she sat; clad in her pink polka dot pajamas, with her hair piled on top of her head in a messy up-do.


“Coop, please with the movies…”


Casey sighed before reaching for the mail.  Her manicured nails delicately thumbed through the envelopes.


“You will only have to deal with me for a few more days,” she sniffled in pathetic voice.


Casey laughed, “This was your big idea, so don’t go crying about it.”


“I’m not,” Cooper wiped her tears.  “You know My Best Friend’s Wedding always makes me cry.”


“Actually, this is usually the one movie that doesn’t make you cry.”


“That’s because Julia Roberts didn’t deserve to be with Dermot Mulrooney.  She’s kind of a sneaky bitch in this movie.”


Cooper shrugged her shoulders as she wiped her tears.  Casey laughed before joining her friend on the couch.  She put her arm around Cooper’s shoulder, in an older sister kind of way, even though Casey was only a year older.


“Would you please let me in for once?”


“What are you talking about?”


“Coop, we’ve been roommates for over a year and pen-pals for seven.  How is it that you never once opened up to me?”


“Casey, I tell you everything.”


“You do not!  That’s me.”


“Well, you tell me too much,” Cooper smiled referring to Casey‘s tell-all sex details.


“Sorry.  I’m an open book,” she laughed.  “I just wish you were.”


“I don’t have anything to tell.”


“Dave told me about Florida.”


“When did you talk to Dave?” Cooper was a bit surprised.


“We hung out a couple of times while you were gone.  In fact, I have to get ready.”


Casey stood up and she laughed inwardly.  She was thankful Casey backed off that quickly, never really bothering to pry more information out of her.  At the same time, Cooper was hurt that Casey’s Friday night “booty call” came before her best friend.


“Who are you going out with?”




“What?” Cooper asked, wide-eyed.


“If you wanna come, we’re going to dinner,” Casey shrugged.


“You and Dave?”


Casey nodded before walking out of the room.


Cooper just sat there in shock.  Casey was not the kind of girl she wanted for Dave.  He was a great guy; not just a cousin, but a real best friend.  Out of anyone in Cooper’s life, Dave was there for her.  He made her laugh when she needed to, and never asked questions; just listened.  He never told her to settle down or to move ahead.  He simply supported every turn she took, no matter how crazy the path.


Dave would make a great husband someday, and Cooper knew that he wanted to settle down with someone.  She also knew Casey was not looking for the same thing.  Her roommate hopped from guy to guy from week to week.  In Cooper’s opinion, Casey didn’t respect herself or the men she was with.  She did not want Dave to be another sexual conquest for Casey.


Rather than speaking to Casey, Cooper reached for her cell phone and called Dave.


“Hey Coop.”

He sounded extremely happy, but she was too angry to notice.


“Tell me this whole date thing with you and Casey is a bad joke.”


“Cooper, just be happy for us,” Dave sighed.


“Us?  Just how deep is this thing?”


“As deep as you and JT.  Oh, except that I’ve known Casey for longer than a minute.”


Dave knew Cooper wouldn’t be happy about him and Casey.  She liked being the only girl in his life.  She wasn’t happy when her brother, Zac got married.  He didn’t want to hurt her with the comment about JT.  Dave felt she was in no position to criticize him for dating Casey when she had a fling with a guy she barely knew.


Cooper swallowed and just hung up the phone.  She had nothing more to say.  It was typical of her to end a conversation when things turned to her life.  She headed toward her room and slammed the door behind her.  Casey came out of her room and looked at the closed door.  She wasn’t surprised by Cooper’s behavior.  She knew what Cooper thought of her, and sometimes she wondered why she remained friends with someone who thought so little of her.  She always felt like there was a competition between she and Cooper.


Casey cared about her too much to just end the friendship with her.  Dave confided in her many times about his concerns with Cooper; that was the first thing she and Dave had in common.


Cooper was crying steadily on her bed.  Her things were cleared out of the room and she’d be leaving for Florida on Monday.  Still, she had no job.  At least Joyce told her she could stay in her guesthouse until she found a place of her own.  Cooper felt like her life was falling apart.  She never felt more alone in the world.  She needed to get out of her head, and she was finding that difficult lately.


After she heard Casey leave, Cooper looked at her cell phone and was compelled to click on a number she never thought she’d call.  She waited as the phone rang.  And waited.  It felt like forever before the voicemail picked up.  She was disappointed it was an automated voice instead of his.  Cooper hung up the phone feeling stupid for calling him.


A moment after she hung up, Cooper’s cell phone rang back.  Her heart pounded thinking it was Ryan Latham—who she just called in a weak moment.  She looked at the caller ID and was a bit surprised it wasn’t Ryan.  She was even more surprised it was JT Madden.  She honestly didn’t expect to hear too much from him, even though she would be staying with his mother.


He sounded upbeat as he greeted her, and Cooper tried to hide the shake in her voice.  She didn’t even know why she was letting Dave and Casey bother her.  She didn’t know why she felt on the verge of some kind of emotional breakdown.  JT didn’t stay on the phone long; he mentioned some kind of meeting and party the band was going to.  Cooper appreciated his call, though, if only for the fact that he took her out of her head for a few moments.


Music notes


The meeting seemed to drag on.  Ryan kept glancing at his cell phone, and wondered if there was a voicemail to go with the missed call from Cooper Jackson.  There was no notification of a message yet.  Maybe she would call back? Ryan wondered.  Maybe she called accidentally? 


As Sound Wave’s managers discussed the tour, Ryan couldn’t help but to let his mind wander.  He glanced over at Matt who was doodling some kind of alien creature onto the back of the tour itinerary.  Ryan then glanced down at his phone under the conference table.


“Everything ok?” he typed before looking up nervously.


He felt like a schoolboy passing notes in class.  Ryan hit “send” and his heart pounded.  He began to bite his nails, a habit he had finally broken when he met Danielle.  As the wedding neared, the habit resurfaced.




He quickly silenced his cell phone, receiving scowls from his managers, Roger and Josh, along with John.


“Tell Danielle to hold her horses,” Matt laughed.


“Shut up.”


Ryan gave Matt the finger and everyone gasped.


“Church boy!” JT shouted.


It was rare Ryan cussed or made obscene gestures; when he did, he was teased about it unmercifully.


Ryan shrugged, “Oops.”


“That’s going to cost you an extra Hail Mary,” Mike taunted.


“Alright guys, let’s wrap this up or else we’re going to miss the press at the party,” Josh said.


John agreed, “Yeah, we need this push tonight for the new album.”


Ryan continued to bite his nails until the meeting was adjourned.  As soon as he walked out of the conference room door, his phone was back in his hand as he eagerly checked his messages.  The only text message in his inbox was from Danielle, and he felt the disappointment course through him.  He quickly wrote Danielle back before shoving his phone into his pocket.  He headed toward the awaiting limousine.


“Hey JT, have you talked to Cooper?” Mike asked while they rode in the car.


Ryan’s attention snapped toward JT.


“Yeah, before the meeting actually.”

“Did she find a job yet?”


“Good,” Mike smiled.


“Mikie!” JT and Matt yelled in surprise, thinking that was a mean thing to say.

“Kelly has a job for her,” Mike laughed at their reaction.

“Awesome.  What is it?”

“Kelly needs a new assistant at the travel agency.  Dave said she’d be good at it.  The pay’s decent and she’d get amazing discounts.”

“That sounds great.  Cooper will be thrilled,” JT smiled.  “Now she’ll have a job and a place to stay.”


“I wish my mom would be cool with a girl I’m dating staying with her,” Matt laughed.

“Wait, Cooper is living with your mom?” Ryan interrupted.

“Yeah.  For now anyway,” JT shrugged.

“Isn’t that awkward?”

“For who?” JT laughed.



“Me?  Rizz, it doesn’t matter to me.  Cooper needs a place to stay.  I want to help.”


Ryan looked at him; he recognized the expression on JT’s face.


“J, are you serious about her?”

Everyone became silent waiting for JT’s answer.

“I like her,” he shrugged.  “I could like her more—I don’t know.”


The band was used to JT jumping in and out of relationships, but after his fiancée, Anna broke up with him, he hadn’t gotten serious about anyone in a long time.  The limo ride remained silent until John spoke up.


“I think Cooper would be good for you, J.”


Ryan looked over at John with his mouth open.  John simply smirked at his little brother, knowingly.  Ryan readjusted his eyes and decided to look at the carpeting of the limo instead.




“Ugh, is she going to be texting you all night?” Matt groaned.


“Leave Dani alone,” Ryan sighed, taking out his phone from his pocket.


The message wasn’t from Danielle this time.



Now I’m the one who’s confused, the text message from Cooper read.


Ryan wasn’t sure what she meant.  He secretly hoped she was confused about her feelings toward him, like he was confused about his strange attraction to her.  Ryan couldn’t fight the smile tugging at his lips when he thought of the possibility.


“Look at that smile… Rizz is getting dirrrty talk!”


JT shouted before he reached for Ryan’s phone.  He quickly shoved the phone back into his pocket.


“Ah, come on, bro, we need some excitement in our lives.”


“Get your own woman to talk dirty to you,” Ryan laughed.


“Okay, maybe I’ll call Cooper again,” JT grinned with a sleazy sound to his voice.


Ryan scowled and John sighed at his brother’s reaction.  Luckily, JT didn’t pick up on the look Ryan was giving him.


The limo pulled up to the party and cameras were snapping left and right.  The group stopped for interviews before going inside.  Ryan excused himself to the bathroom and called Cooper.


“Hey,” Cooper answered softly.


“Hi.  What are you confused about?”


Ryan skipped any small talk; desperate to know what she meant in her text message.


“I shouldn’t have called you.”


“I’m glad you did.  My night would have sucked otherwise,” Ryan admitted.


Cooper blushed on the other end.


“So what are you confused about?” he asked again.




“That’s it?”


Cooper laughed, “My friends.  Dave.  My job.  Moving.  JT.  You.  Me.”


“Ah, so I am included?”


“Don’t get cocky, Ryan.  I don’t know what I want from you, and I don’t know what you want from me.”


“Cooper, I don’t know either.  I love Danielle, but lately… I don’t know.  I met you and I don’t know what I’m feeling or what I want.  All I know is I feel so drawn to you, like we’re two magnets… And I… I can’t stop thinking about you,” Ryan confessed.


Admitting his attraction to another woman was the hardest thing he ever had to do.  The guilt he felt inside was awful, but not speaking to anyone about what he was feeling was even worse.  At least now, maybe Cooper could help put things in perspective.  She would tell him he was crazy; that he was a jerk and she didn’t feel the same way.


Cooper was shocked by Ryan’s confession.


“Wow… I didn’t expect that,” she laughed nervously.


“I’m insane, right?  You can tell me.”


“Well, I don’t know you well enough, but you sure act crazy.”


Ryan laughed, “So what do I do about this problem?”


“I don’t want to come between you and your fiancée,” she said, still shocked that this was happening to her.


“I don’t want to lose Danielle,” he swallowed the lump in his throat.


“So it’s settled,” Cooper seemed to swallow the same lump.  “We just leave this as a what if.”


Ryan took a moment of silence before agreeing.




“Goodbye Ryan,” Cooper whispered.


“Goodbye Cooper.”


Ryan hung up the phone reluctantly.  He looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.  He didn’t recognize himself anymore.


Music notes


Dave pulled up to the stone house with blue shutters.  He looked over at Casey in the passenger seat.  She picked at her manicure and Dave stopped her.  Lifting her hand, he made eye contact with her and kissed her knuckles.  Casey smiled and leaned over to kiss him on the lips.


“She will get over it,” he promised.


Casey nodded her head before unbuckling her seatbelt.  The new couple stepped out of the car and up the walkway.  After ringing the bell and listening to the dog bark for a few seconds, Zac Jackson opened the door.  Cooper’s younger brother had invited them over for her going away dinner.


“Hey cuz!” Zac roared with enthusiasm.


Dave hugged the younger male before bending down to pet the cocker spaniel causing all the noise.


“Hi Case,” Zac smiled and kissed her cheek.


Zac welcomed his guests inside.  His wife, Marcela, Dave’s father, Bill, and Cooper sat in the living room.  Cooper didn’t expect Dave and Casey to show up, thinking they would be angry with her.  Everyone exchanged greetings and pleasantries before Casey approached Cooper.


“Can we talk for a minute?”


The two young women walked through the kitchen and outside onto the deck.


“Is this new?” Casey asked, running her hand along the finished wood of the spacious balcony.


Cooper nodded, “Yeah.  Zac had it built before the summer.”


She was proud of her brother.  He was stable and secure in his life and marriage.  She now admits to herself she was jealous of Marcela in the beginning.  Zac was her baby brother and after their mother died, Cooper practically raised him.  He was so young when he and Marcela were married; only eighteen.  Cooper didn’t want to let him go, but now, she understands.  Zac needed this.  He needed to build his own family in order to move on from his childhood.  He found his happiness and that was what Cooper wanted.


The autumn chill wrapped itself around the two women.  Cooper pulled her pink sweater tighter around her stomach.  Casey smiled and Cooper waited for her to say something.  She was too stubborn to speak first.


“This is stupid, Coop.  You’re my best friend, and I know you don’t dislike me as much as you pretend to,” Casey sighed.


Cooper laughed.  She realized she did harbor negative feelings toward Casey and she wasn’t quite sure why.  She couldn’t believe Casey was even willing to speak to her after she acted like such a baby.


“I love you, Case,” Cooper hugged her.


“Dave is a great guy.”


“I know that,” Cooper said arrogantly.


“I care about him more than I ever cared about anyone.”


“Just don’t hurt him.”


“I won’t,” Casey nodded.


Music notes


After everyone had left and gone to bed, the night seemed to drag on for Cooper.  She just lie awake.  She replayed the pieces of her life, and realized she didn’t know who she was.  She thought of Zac.  He knows where he is and where he was going.  He didn’t run from problems or people.  She thought of Casey and knew the reason she judged her so much was out of fear of judgment on herself.  She then thought of Dave and Uncle Bill.  They both lost Aunt Mary a couple of years ago, and yet they faced the trauma and even managed to move on.  Uncle Bill didn’t run, and he even visits Aunt Mary and his sister’s graves every two weeks.


Cooper couldn’t remember the last time she visited her mother’s grave.  It was just too difficult.  Zac asked her to go with him for Mother’s Day this year, and she made up an excuse about not feeling well.  Guilt set in even more when her thoughtful baby brother showed up with flowers and chicken soup Marcela made later that afternoon.  Why was life so difficult for me?  Cooper wondered.  Maybe she made it that way.  She needed to get out of her head once again.


Cooper made her way out of the guest room and headed downstairs to the kitchen.  She ran her hand along the wall for the light switch.




The dog startled Cooper half to death.  She found the light and flipped it on, revealing herself to the cocker spaniel.


“It’s just me, Milo.”


The dog wagged his tail and made his way over to her.  She pet Milo a few times before opening the freezer in search of ice cream—her favorite.


Zac heard the noise in the kitchen and knew what his sister was up to.  She made it a habit to eat ice cream in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep.  Zac decided to join her.  He didn’t see Cooper a lot these days and sure wouldn’t be seeing her much after today.  He didn’t wholeheartedly agree with her decision to move to Florida.  She rarely thought these half-baked ideas through, and with each decision, he saw her lose more of herself.


Dave had given Zac the rundown of what went on in Florida.  Zac wished Cooper would confide in him, but she closed herself off from the world all the time, even him, especially him sometimes.  She never wanted him to worry about her; Cooper was the big sister, she was supposed to look after him.  Zac almost hoped things worked out with JT—even though he knew it was unlikely.  He was certain if she fell in love with the right guy, she’d finally start to stabilize the rest of her life.  Of course, she picked the most unstable type of person to start a fling with: a celebrity.


In ways, Zac admired his big sister, though.  She was free.  She wasn’t tied down to a job, location or a person.  She had the luxury of picking up and leaving whenever.  Most people were too afraid to start out new.  Cooper made it a habit.  Though there was a cowardliness about it all, there was some bravery there as well.


“I always stock up when you come over,” Zac teased as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.


Cooper looked up from her carton of ice cream and smiled.


“Sorry I woke you.”


Zac waved her off as he rummaged through a drawer for a spoon.  He hopped up on a stool next to Cooper’s and dug into the half gallon of Edy’s Samoa.


“You always find the best.”


Cooper licked the spoon clean and savored the flavor.


“Anything for my favorite sister,” he winked.


Cooper smiled before taking another scoop of ice cream.


“You know, I’m going to miss you.”


“I’ll miss you too, Zac.”


“I really hope you find yourself in Florida.”


Cooper looked up at him.


“Will you visit Mom for me?”


Zac nodded, “Yeah.”


He pulled Cooper near and kissed the top of her head.


“I’m so scared,” she admitted.


“Of what?”


“That I’ll always be alone,” she sniffled.


“Coop, you were never alone.  You have me, Casey, Dave, Uncle Bill–”


“I know, but…” Cooper pulled away from Zac’s shoulder.  “In here, I’m alone,” she pointed to her heart.


“Only you can change that.”


She nodded, “I know.  I just don’t know how to change.”


“You’ll figure it out.  Just take your time and let people in.  Let yourself in.  I know how you feel.  I know what it’s like to want to give up and not want to feel anything,” Zac explained.  “I just don’t want you to go down the path I went down…”


Cooper was surprised Zac brought up his attempted suicide.  No one ever talked about it.  Cooper didn’t even like thinking about it.  He was only sixteen when it happened.  If it weren’t for Uncle Bill finding him, he wouldn’t have survived.


When Cooper found out, she was a nervous wreck.  Dave couldn’t keep her from shaking.  She couldn’t lose Zac, not after her mother.  After he had left the hospital, Cooper practically slept by his side every night for a month.  She forced him to make a pact with her: they’d call each other whenever they felt lost.


They kept that pact, but mostly Zac was the one to need Cooper.  She liked having someone to take care of.  It was a great distraction from taking care of herself.  Eventually Zac depended on her less and stood on his own.


“You broke our pact, Cooper,” he sighed.


“I guess I did.”


“Listen, I am your brother.  We’re in this together until the end.  Marcela doesn’t change that and she never will.  She wants us to be close, and she wants to be closer to you.”


“I’m sorry, Zac.  I’ll try,” Cooper cried softly.


He hugged her tight; she suddenly didn’t want to leave.  Still, she knew she had to, at least for a little while to find herself on her own.


Music notes


“Good night guys.”


Ryan called out as everyone went off to their hotel rooms.  Matt flashed the peace sign as he spoke on the phone and continued down the hallway.  John caught up to Ryan.


“I can’t believe the album’s coming out next week,” Ryan said.  “I don’t know about you, but I’m nervous.”


“Nah, it’ll be cool.  The critics are at least on our side this time,” John laughed.


“True,” Ryan smiled as he put his key in the door.


“Bro, are you alright?”


“Yeah,” he looked at John oddly.


“Look, remember who your fiancée is.”




“That’s all I’m saying.”


John put his hands up in defense.  Ryan groaned.


“Yeah, bro.”


“I’m just saying; is some girl worth losing Danielle over?” he asked before walking off.


“I thought you were done talking from the last comment?” Ryan called to him before going into his room, frustrated.


It was bad enough Ryan felt his own guilt, but John saw right through him; reminding him of his engagement every chance he got.


JT stepped into Ryan’s room before he could shut the door.


“Yo Rizz.  Matt and I were thinking…”


“Oh no,” Ryan laughed, knowing every time JT started a sentence like that, it was never a good thing.


“You need a bachelor party.”


“Dani would love that,” Ryan said sarcastically.


“Come on, she’s doing her girly thing,” JT waved him off.  “What do you think about Vegas?”


“Sounds more you than me.”


“Okay, so what do you want?”


“How about like a sports day or somethin’?” Ryan suggested.




“Yeah.  Just like a day of basketball, golf, a few beers…”


“A few stripper cheerleaders…” JT threw in.


Ryan shook his head, “Whatever.  Again, that’s more your thing.”


“That’s more every guy’s thing,” JT teased.  “You know, you can tell us if you’re secretly gay.  Lance Bass came out of the closet; it’s only a matter of time…”


“Shut up, J!”


Ryan shoved him with a laugh.  JT gave off a little wacky laugh of his own.


“I forgot it’s just your morals.”


JT rolled his eyes as he made an obscene gesture with his hand.


“Good night, JT,” Ryan shook his head and went into the bathroom.


Ryan slipped into bed a minute later and glanced at Sound Wave’s schedule, which was lying on the nightstand.  He tried to make it a habit to find out what part of the world they’d be in.  Sometimes they traveled so much, they easily forgot where they were off to next.


Sound Wave finished the LA circuit making stops at the Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel along with hitting the radio stations.  The fans seemed to swarm the studios, which was a good sign.  Las Vegas was the next stop for the Billboard Music Awards and then onto Florida.


Ryan smiled thinking of the possibilities that could await in Florida.  He also thought of the disappointment at the realization JT would be glued to Cooper.  And there was still that other little factor—Ryan was engaged.  He decided he wasn’t doing anything wrong.  Cooper was an unlived fantasy.  He also decided he better get to church on Sunday morning.


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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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