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Chasing Dreams - Part Two
Two Years Later
Jason Cooper knelt down in front of his late wife’s grave. He began to cry. He had held everything in until now. Why did she have to die? Why in the world did she have to die?!
Jason had no idea how her health had gone from great to terrible in the span of a year and a half. Unbelievable. Maybe it was the pregnancy that put too much stress on her body. No. We both wanted to have a child. Is this why I lost my dear Morgan? Jason picked up his phone to call the babysitter.
“Hey, it’s Jason, how’s she doing?”
“She’s doing just fine, I gave her a bottle and put her down for a nap about a half hour ago.”
“Thanks, Carrie, you taking care of Sam helps more than you know,” Jason told her. He hung up the phone and tears streamed down his face again.
Morgan had passed away six months earlier, and Jason could not take it anymore. Their daughter, Samantha Rose, just had her first birthday, and she had no mother. Jason slipped into his car and slowly drove out of the cemetery.
He had begun to change significantly since Morgan passed away. His time consisted of thinking how things had gone so wrong, so fast. Her condition had worsened in the span of a day, and the doctors could not explain it.
Jason drove to his house and tried to dry his tears before he stepped out, but he knew that he could not mask his sadness. He opened his front door slowly and saw Carrie.
“Rough day?” she asked him.
“Very. I went back to her grave today.”
“Jason, why? That is only going to hurt you,” she touched his arm lightly.
Jason moved away from her touch. He and Carrie had an odd relationship. Jason had met her a year earlier through working at the publishing company near his house. She told him about her job troubles, and Samantha, a newborn at the time, needed someone to watch her. Jason offered up babysitting, and Carrie accepted.
“Carrie, let’s keep our thing about work,” Jason told her.
“Absolutely, Mr. Cooper.”
Jason retreated to his room and slammed the door. He did not want to do anything except think about Morgan. His whole life ended when she died. He did have Samantha, a small piece of her, at least.
Jason grabbed a bottle of whiskey and twisted the cap off. He had taken up drinking, even though he knew it would not help him get better. Especially with his addictive personality. But he limited himself to small amounts, because he had a daughter to take care of when Carrie could not watch her.
Jason took a swig of the poison and groaned. He looked at the wall before him. Pictures of him and Morgan covered every inch. Their relationship had made so many memories, most of which found their way into a photo and onto that wall. He stared at the picture right in the middle. It showed a giant tree, under which he and Morgan sat, sharing an innocent child’s kiss.
They had no idea back then that years down the road, they would have a daughter and Morgan would no longer be alive. How could they have known?
Jason opened the door and went downstairs to find Carrie holding Samantha.
“Carrie, you can go, I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Are you sure, Mr. Cooper? I can stay the night if you want to stay in your study.”
“I’ll be fine. Thanks, Carrie.”
Carrie Statesman left the house, confused as to why Jason did not want her there.
Jason picked up his daughter and cradled her. Every time he looked at her, he saw Morgan. He loved Samantha so much for that reason. Jason kissed his daughter on her forehead and smiled. He knew at least one reason to continue living: Samantha. He loved her with all of his heart.
6 Months Ago
Jason Cooper walked through the doors of Sister Madeline’s Hospital, carrying Samantha in his arms. He clung to his daughter while Morgan clung to her own life.
“Morgan Cooper’s room, please.” Jason told the receptionist.
“Room 111. Mr. Cooper, I presume?”
“Yes, Ma’am. Thank you.”
Jason walked slowly into the room and saw a very tired looking Morgan sitting up in her bed.
“Hey, honey,” Jason said, kissing her forehead.
“Hi, Jase,” Morgan said weakly.
“Have the doctors said anything?”
“That-*ahem* building that your father’s people had me in. It could be connected to that.”
“If that was the case, they must have known that it would hurt you more and more over time,” Jason said.
“Yeah, because a few-” Morgan coughed again, “weeks ago, I felt fine.”
Jason handed Morgan their daughter, and wrapped his arms around them.
“I love you so much, Morgan.”
“Jase, I want you to know,” she coughed again, “if I pass away, please move on. Sam needs a mother.”
“What? Honey, I…I don’t even want to think about that.” Tears began to form in Jason’s eyes.
“I do not think that I am going to be here much longer. Jase, I love you too, and I want the best for you, so please, do not shut yourself in your room; Samantha needs her father.”
Jason grabbed Morgan’s hand.
“You are going to be here to be the greatest mother ever,” Jason choked through the tears.
“Jason,” Morgan began to cry, “take care of our daughter. I am about to start knocking at death’s door, and I need you to know- I love you so much. Thank you for asking me to spend my life with you,” Morgan struggled to lean up and give Jason a kiss on the lips.
In that moment, Jason realized he had heard his wife’s last words. Morgan lost her grip on Jason’s hand and fell back down onto the bed.
Jason began to yell and a nurse came in with other doctors to help with Samantha as Jason crumpled to the floor.
“Sir, we need to move her. Can you take your daughter, please?”
Jason took Samantha in his arms. She began screaming in a high pitched tone. She did not know the circumstances, but seeing Jason in a state of distress made her cry.
Jason waited helplessly outside as the doctors tried to revive his wife. His whole world. Two hours later, the doctor walked out to the waiting room and Jason knew right away that he had bad news.
“Mr. Cooper, your wife. I am so very sorry, she didn’t make it,” The doctor said somberly.
Jason set Samantha in her stroller and put his head in his hands.
Tears seeped through his fingers as the doctor walked slowly away. What am I going to do? He had first begun to ask himself that question back when Morgan had been taken.
Jason woke up to his alarm blaring next to him. The baby monitor amplified Samantha’s cries next to his ear. He rolled from his bed and pulled on the pair of jeans he had not washed in three days. Then he walked to his daughter’s room.
Samantha stood holding onto the railing of her crib. She’s standing! Jason grinned as he went to his daughter.
“Shh- it’s ok, honey, Daddy’s here.” He whispered as he picked her up out of her crib. He began to bounce a little to calm her down as he walked to get her bottle.
“I’m so sorry your Mother is not here to feed you,” he whispered to her as he fed her the formula from the bottle. Samantha looked up at him with her piercing blue-green eyes. They looked like the part of the ocean right below the surface, just like Morgan’s eyes.
“You’re so beautiful,” he said, “I hope you always remember that. And that Daddy and Mommy will always love you.”
Jason thought of his father in that moment. He had not spoken to him in quite some time. Jason had not called him since right after he rescued Morgan from the Dream Co facility. Jason laid Samantha down and dialed Carrie’s number.
“Hey, can you come watch Sam for a few hours?” Jason asked.
“Absolutely, I’ll be right over!”
When Carrie came in, Jason thanked her and walked to his car. He had to go see his father. He had so many questions for him.
Jeff Cooper sat at the dining room table with a cup of coffee.
“Ah, son, it’s good to see you. How are you?”
“Well, Dad, Morgan is gone, how do you think I am?” Jason asked, a slight anger in his voice.
“No need to get all defensive Jase, what is it you need?”
“I want to talk about your company,” Jason stated coldly.
“What is there to discuss?”
“Your employees held Morgan hostage. I killed them, and not quite two years later, my wife ends up dead.”
“And you think my employees had something to do with it,” His father said.
“Well, son, I have no idea what to say. You say that they wanted to use you for testing against your will? Where’s your proof?” his father questioned.
Jason fished out the picture of him and Morgan and the wedding script that he had found in the back of the testing room. Jeff picked it up.
“Where did you find these, Jase?”
“They were in one of your lab rooms inside your company.”
“That is concerning, for sure,” Jason’s father pondered, “I told them to not run tests on humans for at least a few weeks after this.”
“I know. So, why were they targeting my wife and I?”
“I don’t know, Jase. Tell you what, I’ll do some digging. Go home, get some rest, and spend some time with your daughter. I’ll let you know what I come up with,” Jason’s father promised.
6 Months Ago
Jason picked up Samantha from her stroller and bounced her slightly as she cried.
“Shh- it’s ok. I’m right here,” he told her. He had stay strong, if only for his daughter. But on the inside, Jason knew that the coming years would drive him insane without Morgan.
4 Years Later
“Daddy, wake up!” Samantha screamed at her father, tears streaming down her face.
Jason Cooper groaned and rolled over, sending liquor bottles crashing to the ground.
Samantha stood in front of him holding his phone.
“Jason Cooper, I have been calling you for two hours, you should be awake by now.”
“What do you want, Dad?” His spoke in a soft and slow voice. The lights and sounds from the phone hurt his head.
“We were supposed to meet and talk about the information I have been digging up for the past few years today.”
Jason hung up the phone and looked at Samantha. Her eyes looked red and swollen from the tears that had running down her face. Where the hell is my life going? I am throwing it all away. Morgan even told me to not sit around being depressed, yet here I am.
Samantha needed her father now more than ever, and Jason knew that. His fatherly duties currently did not top his list of priorities though. Thoughts of Morgan consumed him. Jason picked up his daughter, who then stopped crying. Jason remembered Samantha’s first cry. The first time he saw her, he knew that everything was going to turn out alright. Samantha helped Jason through Morgan’s death.
Jason carried her downstairs and saw Carrie standing there.
“Carrie, what are you doing here? I didn’t know you were working today.”
“You called me last night when you were drunk off your ass,” Carrie stated.
“Oh,” Jason said as Carrie took Samantha in her arms.
“Jason, I’m worried about you. I am going to stay here for a few days until you get back on your feet. And Jason? No more alcohol.”
“There’s no need to—,” and Jason fell to the ground.
Carrie called 911 and waited for an ambulance to arrive as she tried to save Jason.
“Let’s go wait for your Dad, ok?” She told Samantha as they followed the ambulance to the hospital.
When they arrived at the hospital, they went in to see Jason laying in a bed with an IV in his arm. The doctor came in to explain that Jason’s BAC was .34. He was close to death.
“Is he alright now, at least?” Carrie asked.
“We stabilized him. One more incident like that though, and he could die. At this point, it is serious,” The doctor confessed.
An hour later, Jason awoke to Carrie and Samantha waiting for him.
“Daddy!” Samantha yelled as she jumped up onto the bed.
“Hey there, girlie.”
Carrie stood from the guest chair and wiped her eyes. She had thought he would not make it.
“I thought she was not going to have a father any longer,” Carrie sniffled.
“I’m still here.” Carrie came over to stand next to him. She put her hand on his as Samantha snuggled up against his neck.
Samantha needed a mother, Jason knew that much. Could Carrie take on that responsibility? Jason shook the thought from his head as he drifted off to sleep.
Two days later, Jason and Samantha were back at home. Carrie began working full time, and Jason was still unsure about being that close to someone who seemed to like him.
Jason knew he would never love someone like he loved Morgan. Especially not his Nanny. Jason struggled with this for quite a while. Five weeks after he hired Carrie for full time work, he came home to find her naked in his bed.
“Carrie, what in the hell do you think you are doing?”
“Mr. C, you and I both know that you cannot resist me,” Carrie said seductively.
“Oh, I can. Get out, you’re fired.” Jason said sternly.
“Mr. C, please, c’mon.”
“OUT!” Jason yelled.
Carrie wrapped the sheets around herself and walked shamefully out of the room. Jason followed her and made sure she left the house.
“I’m going to burn those sheets. Here are your clothes,” Jason threw them at her, and slammed the door. He needed Morgan now more than ever. She would have kicked Carrie to the moon and back. Carrie could never hold a candle to Morgan. No one could. No other woman would take her place, ever.
Jason shut the door to his room and went to his liquor cabinet. His need to be with Morgan was slowly taking over. He opened the bottle and swished it around. One more incident like that though, and he could die. Jason took a swig from the bottle.