Lost In You - Chapter 6
Chapter 6 Preview: Impulsive and insecure Cooper Jackson accompanies her cousin to a wedding where she meets Sound Wave, a famous boy band.

The sun beamed through the arched stained glass windows of the small Baptist church in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Ryan squinted as he listened to the sermon.  His mind kept wandering.  The band’s tour started in a month, and he wasn’t sure how his fiancée would take the distance.  Throughout the three years they dated, Sound Wave weren’t as active in their career as they would be in the upcoming months.

 

Danielle didn’t know what it was like to be a celebrity wife entirely, and he worried she couldn’t deal with the baggage that comes along with it.  Ryan knew firsthand how fame could destroy a relationship.  His high school sweetheart couldn’t handle the distance or the adoring fans.

 

Ryan glanced over at Danielle sitting with her legs crossed and her hair pulled back.  She looked proper and feminine, yet confident.  Ryan took her hand in his.  Danielle smiled at him absently before turning her attention back to the minister.  He sighed subconsciously; catching his mother’s attention.  She looked at her son intently and knew.

 

Lynda Latham could read her three sons like a book, much to their dismay.  She saw Ryan as the same curly, blond haired boy filled with joy and purity.  Except, in between smiles, gone was the joy.  Ryan had a hole in his heart, and she was the only one who noticed.  Lynda insisted on it, but her husband along with everyone else passed it off as her dislike of Danielle.  It was no secret she and her future daughter-in-law didn’t have the best relationship.

 

Danielle was extremely opinionated, especially where it concerned Ryan.  What he should wear, what he should eat, who his friends are.  Sure, Danielle was a nice girl with natural beauty, a religious background, and cared about her son dearly, but Lynda felt there was something missing.

 

When Ryan and Danielle announced their engagement almost a year back, Lynda pulled Ryan aside.  She asked him to be sure Danielle was the one.  Ryan was angered, and to make her son happy, Lynda accepted the engagement and pretended to be overjoyed.  Ryan wanted a short engagement, but Danielle wanted to “plan” properly, which meant every last detail down to embroidered napkins.

 

Lynda took Danielle’s side in the long engagement argument, hoping Ryan would have time to back out.  Now, the wedding was just two months away, and Ryan hadn’t shown any signs of backing out.

 

Lynda did notice the distant look in his eyes ever since he got back from Florida, however.  Maybe Mike’s wedding scared him? She wondered.  She knew Ryan better than that, though.  He wasn’t afraid of commitment and never was.  Getting married and starting a family has always been a dream in his heart, even more so than singing.

 

After the service was over, Ryan walked hand in hand with Danielle out of the church.  His parents, brother, Bobby and sister-in-law followed.

 

“Bobby?” Lynda turned to her son, purposely slowing down so Ryan wouldn’t overhear.  “What’s wrong with your brother?”

 

“As far as I know, nothing,” Bobby shrugged.

 

“Well, go find out,” she nudged his arm.

 

“Mom, Ryan is fine.  You need to let go.”

 

Bobby rolled his eyes, knowing his mother was overprotective of her youngest son.

 

“Lynda, would you accept he’s getting married,” her husband sighed.

 

“I accept he’s getting married.  Just not to her,” Lynda whispered with disgust.  “Just talk to him Bobby, please,” she pleaded.

 

“Fine, Mom.”

 

He shook his head and jogged over to Ryan.

 

“You want to hit the green?” Bobby asked.

 

“Um…” Ryan thought, before turning toward Danielle.  “I’ll catch up with you later?”

 

“Okay,” Danielle nodded before getting into her father’s car.

 

“No kiss?” Ryan asked.

 

Danielle puckered her lips and Ryan leaned down and met them.

 

 

Music notes

 

Ryan swung at the small, dimpled ball and watched it fly.

 

“Nice,” Bobby said before taking his shot.

 

The ball ended up in the water and Ryan laughed.

 

“Are you ever going to get good at golf?”

 

“Are you ever going to get married?” he teased.

 

Ryan sighed, “Two months.”

 

“Excited it’s finally happening?”

 

“Of course,” Ryan grinned.

 

Bobby returned his smile before coming out with it.

 

“Mom thinks something’s wrong.”

 

“Is that what this is about?”

 

Ryan motioned at the grass with his finger.

 

“I did want to spend time with you, but yeah.”

 

“Bobby, nothing’s wrong,” Ryan shrugged walking toward the golf cart.

 

Bobby followed ready to accept that statement.  Ryan threw his golf club into the white duffle bag sticking out of the cart.

 

“I’m finally getting married.  The group’s coming out with another album; I’m working on a solo album… I mean why wouldn’t I be happy?” Ryan laughed.

 

“You tell me.”

 

Ryan turned around and looked at him with one eye squinted as the sun hit it.

 

“I’m ecstatic.  I love Danielle and I’m going to marry her,” Ryan insisted angrily.

 

Bobby shrugged it off and got in the golf cart; not taking the conversation nearly as serious as his little brother was.

 

 

Music notes

 

Joyce clapped at her pugs to stay away from her marigolds as she walked toward the guesthouse.  The two black and brown dogs followed her.  Joyce knocked on the door.  She waited and knocked again.  She could hear giggling from inside the guesthouse; she sighed before marching back up toward the house.  JT opened the door in a towel, dripping wet from head to toe.

 

“Mom, wait!” JT called out to her.

 

Joyce turned toward her only child and shook her head.

 

“I wanted to know if you two lovers,” Joyce emphasized the word, “would want to go to lunch.”

 

JT laughed, “Sure.  Cooper’s getting ready now.  Give us twenty minutes.”

 

“Yeah, thanks for saving me money on the water bill,” Joyce quipped, figuring they had showered together.

 

“Love you, Mom.”

 

She waved him off, “Yeah, yeah.  Just get dressed already.”

 

JT walked back into the guesthouse and closed the door laughing to himself.  He loved that his mother could handle these situations.  She had to be both a mother and a father to him, therefore, she learned to roll with almost anything.

 

JT snuck back into the bathroom.  He wrapped his arms around Cooper from behind as she dried her hair.  She smiled at him in the mirror as he sucked on her neck.

 

“We’re going to lunch with Mom.”

 

“Okay,” Cooper replied, realizing how much that sentence sounded like they were in a relationship.

 

JT stuck his hands inside Cooper’s towel.  She sighed and closed her eyes.  She loved the way JT made her feel.  The past week had felt like a honeymoon without the marriage.  Cooper was alive in his arms.  She was sexy and secure.

 

“Don’t start what we can’t finish.”

 

JT grabbed the hairdryer out of her hand and turned it off.  She turned around and kissed him as he pressed her against the sink.

 

“I can’t help it,” JT said in a husky voice.  “I can’t get enough of you.”

 

As he spoke, he unwrapped her towel and began kissing down her body.  Cooper bit back her lip as a moan escaped.

 

 

Music notes

 

Two hours after the twenty minutes Joyce was supposed to wait initially, she was finally seated at Cracker Barrel across from JT and Cooper.  She just glared at them; annoyed they kept her waiting for so long.

 

“We said we’re sorry,” JT sighed, taking off his sunglasses, so his mother could see his eyes.

 

“Joyce, it’s our last night together,” Cooper said, feeling awkward about the situation.

 

“Fine,” she gave in.

 

Cooper’s discomfort was enough apology for her.

 

“What are you two exactly?” she laughed.

 

JT and Cooper looked at each other and he smiled slyly.

 

“Unwritten?” JT suggested.

 

All three of them laughed.

 

“We don’t know,” Cooper shrugged.  “We’re just having fun.”

 

Music notes

 

Later that afternoon, Cooper and JT laid in bed in silence.  JT lightly ran his fingers up and down Cooper’s arm as she drew lazy circles across his tattooed chest.  The silence was comfortable, but Cooper’s thoughts jumped from one spectrum to the next.

 

Will I ever see JT again after tonight?  What about Ryan?  Am I actually going to move to Florida?  Could I fall in love with JT?  What about Ryan?  What kind of job can I get in Florida?  Maybe I don’t want to see JT again.  What kind of girl is Ryan marrying?  I’m going to miss JT.  I hope he wants to see me again.  Will I ever see Ryan again?  Do I want to see Ryan again? 

 

Cooper’s thoughts just kept going, flip-flopping and contradicting one another.

 

“What are you thinking about?” JT asked.

 

“You don’t want to know.”

 

Cooper smirked as she looked up at him.  He laughed and kissed her.

 

“I guess I should get going,” he sighed, moving his arm out from underneath her head.

 

JT dressed quickly and Cooper didn’t bother with clothes.  She just laid her head down on the pillow.  JT put his shoes on and sat down on the bed.

 

“I’ll call you, okay?”

 

“You don’t have to…” Cooper smiled.

 

“Do you want me to?”

 

She shrugged, “Do you want to?”

 

“Yeah,” JT nodded.

 

They both laughed lightly.

 

“Then call me, Madden,” she pulled him by his shirt and they kissed.

 

After JT left, Cooper just laid in bed; she suddenly was overwhelmed by life.  She was at some sort of crossroads for what wasn’t the first time in her life and certainly wouldn’t be her last.  Her ankle brace was able to come off in a few more days, and fantasy was wearing off with it.

 

The reality of making decisions was hitting her hard.  For the first time in a long time, she allowed herself to think about her choices for more than a minute.  She blamed her injury for that.  Not being able to be as active physically slowed down her ability to change things.

 

Trying to avoid thought and changing her mind too much, Cooper quickly reached for her cell phone.  She clicked on a number in her phone.  Waiting for an answer, she sighed impatiently as she rocked her good ankle back and forth.  I’m stupid, she thought as she clenched her eyes shut and wanted to hang up, but it was too late.

 

“Richard Baldwin & Associates,” the temp answered.

 

“Hi, is Richard in?”

 

“Who’s speaking?”

 

“Cooper Jackson.”

 

“Oh, hi.  Please hold one second.”

 

Cooper waited, and she dared herself to hang up several times, but couldn’t actually do it.  Finally, her boss picked up the line.

 

“Cooper, how are you feeling?”

 

“Better.  Thanks Richard.”

 

“When are you coming back?”

 

“I’ll be coming home next week, but I’m not coming back to work,” Cooper gulped.

 

“Of course.  Take all the time you need to heal.”

 

“No, Richard.  I want to move out here to Florida.  I’m quitting.”

 

Cooper held her breath as she waited for Richard’s response.  She was used to annoyed bosses.  She had to admit she was not the most loyal employee.  Sure, she did a great job while she worked.  However, her heart wasn’t in any job she ever had; making it easy for her to quit and start another one at any given time.  She often didn’t give two weeks notice, just like now, but Richard saw her departure coming.

 

In the six months Cooper worked for Richard Baldwin & Associates, she had done nothing but talk about moving out of state.  She seemed restless most of the time, and though she didn’t discuss her personal life much, Richard sensed she suffered from more than just boredom.

 

“Well, we’ll miss you,” Richard answered, not seeing a reason to put up a fight.  “I guess I’ll mail your vacation hours and last pay check to you.”

 

“Thank you for understanding.”

 

After hanging up, Cooper exhaled and wasn’t sure whether to scream or cry.  She silently asked her mother for guidance.  Just then, her telephone rang and she was shocked at who was calling.  Cooper debated on answering before her hand hit talk subconsciously.

 

“H-hello?” she stuttered, but tried to hold her composure.

 

“C-cooper?”

 

The voice on the other end seemed to be in the same dilemma.

 

“Hi Ryan.”

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

“Great.  My ankle doesn’t hurt much anymore, even without the drugs.”

 

“Good to hear, wouldn’t want you to develop a problem,” he chuckled.

 

Cooper smiled to herself hearing his laugh.  She didn’t get why he would call her, but she felt good about it in some way.

 

“How’s wedding planning going?”

 

“Good.  You should come,” Ryan said, not knowing why he said it.

 

The words seemed to fly right out of his mouth.  He felt like he had no control of the things he said to Cooper.

 

“Right.  The only way I would come is if I was on JT’s arm.”

 

“Oh, you guys are already at that stage?”

 

“Well, you never know,” Cooper said, purposely trying to make him jealous.

 

It worked.

 

“Hmm, and JT made it sound like you were just sleeping together.”

 

Ryan wanted so much to burst Cooper’s bubble.  He wanted her to hate JT like she had him.  Then he thought better of it.  If JT was through with Cooper, maybe Ryan had to be as well.

 

“What?”

 

Of course that was the truth of hers and JT’s relationship, but no one should know that.  Cooper was a private person when it came to her personal life.  She didn’t let many people in her heart or her bedroom, or even in her head.  Some of her best friends didn’t know her most intimate or private thoughts.  To know JT was discussing their “time” together with someone she barely knew felt degrading to her, especially because she wasn’t exactly proud of the nature of their relationship.  Cooper also barely knew JT, and that was bad enough.

 

“After your date, JT told us things got hot and heavy,” Ryan said, fibbing a bit.

 

JT never actually said anything to Ryan.  Matt knew something, but even he didn’t know much.  Still, Cooper preferred it to be a secret.  She specifically asked JT not to tell anyone, though she knew his mother had to know something.  She also knew guys talked, but she hoped JT was at a stage in his life that he didn’t feel the need to brag.

 

“JT told you?”

 

“And Matt.  JT’s got a big mouth, Cooper,” Ryan laughed.

 

“He knew how I…” Cooper trailed off.  “Why are you telling me this?”

 

She was embarrassed, and blindly Ryan continued in a conniving manner.  He wanted his comments to burn, and it was unlike him, but he couldn’t stop himself.

 

“I just thought you knew he told us.  Listen, if that’s what you do…” Ryan started.  “I mean there are some girls you marry and some girls you mess around with… it’s your choice who you want to be.”

 

The tears brimmed Cooper’s eyes and she wanted to hang up.  Her stomach tied into knots; she could have vomited right then as the lump built in the back of her throat.

 

“Me personally, I was never into sleeping around.  I’m kind of a one woman kind of guy, and I like my wife to be that way too.”

 

Cooper had to speak up.

 

“Oh, is that so?  Then why were you kissing me, and trying to get to know me?  I’m sure your fiancée would appreciate that, Ryan.”

 

“I asked myself that question and I went to church and I prayed.  You know what I came up with?”

 

Cooper didn’t answer.  Church wasn’t her thing and she didn’t like the judgment passed on by religion just like Ryan was passing right now.

 

“You were my test.”

 

“Your test?”

 

“The devil tempts us all the time, and you were there trying to tempt me.”

 

“You’re fucking unbelievable, Ryan!” Cooper screamed.

 

It was then Ryan noticed the faltering in her voice.  Immediately, his heart ached for her.  Why was he a different person lately?  He wondered.  This was the girl he met last week, who intrigued him and who he saw as an angel.

 

“Cooper, I’m sorry,” Ryan sighed.  “I’m an ass.  I didn’t mean all that.”

 

“Then why did you say it?”

 

Cooper was still in a high-pitched tone and was viciously wiping the tears from her eyes.

 

“I don’t know.  I really don’t.”

 

“Ryan, you don’t know why you kissed me, you don’t know why you just hurt me.  What do you know?” Cooper sighed.

 

“I know¾I know that I’m confused, okay?”

 

“About what?”

 

“You.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Why would a beautiful, sweet, amazing girl like you settle for a fling?”

 

Cooper was both touched and offended.

 

“I’m not settling.  JT’s great.  You make us sound trashy.  We’re not doing anything wrong, Ryan.  Despite what you or the church thinks.”

 

“Look, I’m not saying I’ve never done… I’m not an angel, but you¾you’re so much better than that.”

 

“It’s not easy.  I don’t meet people¾guys that just fall in love with me, and I don’t fall in love too easily either.”

 

“I’m sure plenty of guys fell in love with you.  I bet you’re kind of hard not to fall in love with,” Ryan said before clearing his throat.  “All I’m saying is I’ve seen JT hurt girls.  He doesn’t want to and he doesn’t mean to.  JT is pretty fickle.”

 

Cooper laughed, “So am I.  You have no idea how much I change my mind.”

 

“Well, then maybe you two can work,” he laughed.

 

“Let’s just see if it goes anywhere.  I’m in the middle of change right now as it is.  I’m officially moving to Florida.  But I’m unemployed,” Cooper laughed.

 

“Wow, you really did it?”

 

“Yeah.  Pretty scary, but I’ll make it through.  My mom always did.  We moved all over.”

 

“I admire you,” Ryan said truthfully.  “You really go for what you want, don’t you?”

 

“I’m not someone who should be admired,” Cooper sighed.  “You’re confusing Ryan.  One minute you’re insulting me and the next, you’re putting me on a pedestal.”

 

“I told you I was confused,” Ryan said.

 

“Ya think?”

 

Ryan laughed and a minute later they hung up, both feeling uneasy and comforted by their conversation.

 

 

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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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