My Saving Grace

Despite losing her mother when she was ten, Sophia Grace Weston has the life most kids dream of. Growing up, she had a loving father and was always surrounded by the most privileged people, but when she enters college, a brief encounter with Chase Lincoln reveals that life isn't easy for everyone like her. In fact, life can go spiraling downwards in just the blink of an eye. And when that happens, sometimes all you can do is pray for a saving grace.

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14. Chapter 14

Morning sunlight spilled through the large window as I stirred awake, my eyes slowly blinking open. I stretched my sore arms, turning my body to wrap them around the man lying next to me. 

 

Instead, my hands clutched at nothing but wrinkled bedsheets. 

 

I simply stared at the empty space where Antonio's body should have been, blinking twice to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. 

 

A quick glance at the nightstand revealed that his wallet and car keys were also gone. 

 

I called out his name, but all I got in response was the sound of the ocean breeze lightly rattling my window. 

 

I couldn't believe it...he'd vanished. Again. 

 

The faint smell of his cologne on the pillows was the only proof that he'd been in my bed last night. And of course, the fact that I was deliciously sore between my legs. 

 

Then I recalled him telling me after the mind-blowing sex that he'd slept with a woman just last weekend. 

 

Of course. It all made sense now. 

 

Antonio was a no-strings-attached type of guy. Just like how I'd been back in college. 

 

But when I was around him, it sure didn't feel that way. 

 

Feeling more perplexed than ever, I dragged myself out of bed, stooping down to pick up my clothes where Antonio had tossed them then made my way to the bathroom. 

 

Out of curiosity, I glanced into the mirror, and my eyes widened at the reflection staring back at me. My hair was a tangled mess, my lips had never appeared more swollen, and worst of all, a visible hickey adorned the side of my neck. 

 

To sum everything up nicely, I looked thoroughly fucked. 

 

The depressing part was, being with Antonio had refueled my sex drive that I'd failed to satisfy for two long years, but he wasn't even here at the moment. And I was in desperate need of some hot morning sex. 

 

It wasn't just that, though. I also craved simply being in his company. Talking, laughing, all that good stuff. 

 

With a heavy sigh, I stepped into the shower, washing away the scent of Antonio and the memories of everything he'd done to my body last night. 

 

Afterwards, I threw on an old college tshirt and pair of cotton shorts then strolled to the kitchen to prepare a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Even though the clock on the wall read eleven. 

 

Now with Antonio gone, my apartment felt lonelier than ever. He'd only been here a night, but his presence had definitely left a mark. If I'd known it'd feel like this, I wouldn't have invited him over in the first place. We could've met at a bar or something. 

 

Maybe it was time I got a dog. 

 

But in all honesty, I only liked seeing them in public or at people's houses. I didn't love them enough to consider them a living companion in my apartment. 

 

Once I finished breakfast, I went to brush my teeth then headed outside to sit on the balcony. My next door neighbor, Lisa, was on her balcony as well, and we gave each other a wave in greeting. She was older--in her thirties--and super friendly. On some weekends, we'd head to the pool together or watch movies. 

 

Pulling out my phone, I decided to dial my dad. It'd been a while since I got to talk to him. He picked up on the second ring. 

 

"Hey, pumpkin, what's up?"

 

"Are you ever going to stop calling me that?"

 

"Do you want me to?"

 

"No." I grinned childishly. 

 

"That's what I thought." He chuckled. "Anyway, did you get the gift card I mailed you for your birthday?"

 

"Yes. Thank you, Dad."

 

"You're welcome. I know how much you use Amazon."

 

"Don't we all?" 

 

"Right on." I could hear the smile in his voice. 

 

"Oh, I was just about to ask. Are you still seeing Jennifer?" 

 

There was a slight pause, and Dad let out a weary sigh. 

 

"I was going to wait until you and Nick came down for Easter to tell you. But since you ask, no, sweetheart. Jennifer and I are no longer seeing each other."

 

"Why not?" I scooted to the edge of my chair. 

 

"A man can only give his heart out once in his life. And the woman I gave mine to was your mother. Believe me, Jennifer was lovely to be around, but she wasn't Claire. I felt like I couldn't fully be with her, and that wasn't fair to both of us. No one deserves to feel like second best." 

 

I was silent for a moment, absorbing his words. 

 

"Was Jennifer hurt?"

 

"At first, yes. But then she understood and even told me that she saw it coming. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to let go of your mother." His voice cracked at the end. 

 

"I might not know much about love, but I'm proud of you, Dad. You did the right thing." I wiped at a few tears that had managed to fall down my cheeks. 

 

"I hope she does find happiness with somebody new."

 

"Me too, Dad. Me too."

 

He asked me how work was going, and I told him about Wednesday's presentation for a thermodynamics class at USC, of course leaving out the part where I screwed their professor. 

 

After saying our good-byes, I hung up the phone then decided to go for a run. It was one of the things I'd inherited from my mom. She loved running with a passion. 

 

Not only was it physically exhilarating, it also provided a sense of mental clarity. 

 

I changed into a pair of athletic running shorts and grabbed my earbuds before heading out the door. Once downstairs, I smiled in greeting at the doorman then stepped outside, letting my legs take me where ever they so desired. 

 

The sun was beating down on my back, and I immediately regretted not wearing sunscreen. I started out slower, gradually speeding up as the minutes passed, my arms pumping furiously. 

 

Half an hour later, I ended up at a shopping center and stopped to catch my breath on a nearby bench. In the middle of skipping through a song on my playlist, my phone started to ring with a call from none other than Antonio Rossi. 

 

"Hello?", I practically panted into the phone. 

 

"Damn, you having sex again already?"

 

"Very funny, Antonio. And for your information, I'm on a run." 

 

"I see. Listen, about this morning..."

 

I tried to fight the feelings of disappointment that were surfacing. 

 

"It's fine, we don't have to talk about it," I said, sounding as detached as possible. 

 

"Something came up, and I had to leave. I was going to tell you, but I didn't want to wake you up. You were fast asleep." 

 

"How considerate of you." 

 

God, I hated being petty. 

 

"If you want, we can meet up again this week. Does Friday evening work for you?"

 

"Fridays are half-apps nights with my friends," I stated. 

 

"Gotcha. Well, it'll have to be a later date then because next week, I'm flying out to D.C. for a conference meeting with the American Chemical Society."

 

"Sounds fun."

 

"Not really. And Sophia?"

 

"Yes?"

 

"Could you please stop panting into the phone? You're giving me a painful hard-on here."

 

My cheeks turned a bright red. I didn't even realize I'd been panting for breath the entire phone conversation. His fault for calling at the wrong time. 

 

"Why don't you let one of your lady friends take care of it for you? I'm sure you have plenty, Professor."

 

"The only lady I want taking care of me right now is a certain sexy, smart-mouthed blonde." His voice was low and husky, making my entire body quiver. 

 

"So, now you finally admit I'm sexy, huh?"

 

"Don't let it get to your head, woman." 


I laughed in response. 

 

"I have to go now. I'll call you a different day, ok?", he said. 

 

"Ok. Bye, Antonio." 

 

"Ciao, mia bella."

 

We hung up, and I sat there on the bench smiling like an idiot. People were giving me weird looks, but I couldn't care less. 

 

It was on the run back to my apartment when I remembered one very important detail. 

 

I'd forgotten to ask Antonio about Veronica. But I guessed that would have to wait until another day. 

 

Work was quite exhausting that week; we'd been given a new project to work on that required more brains and skill than ever. So when Friday came at last, I was beyond grateful. 

 

Like always, the drive home dragged on for an eternity, and when I finally made it to my apartment, I set an alarm for six o'clock then collapsed onto the couch, falling into a deep sleep. 

 

When I woke up an hour later, I felt much more refreshed than before. Heading to my bedroom, I picked out a coral dress and jean jacket then jumped into the shower, letting the powerful jets sooth my aching muscles. Bending down and standing up for hours in the lab did that to a person. 

 

Half an hour later, I arrived at Ella's apartment and she got into the car, happy to see me. Then, I began the short drive over to Westfield Shopping Center. 

 

"So, what's new girl?", she asked, flipping back her thick blonde hair. 

 

"Nothing much," I muttered distractedly. 

 

She raised a brow in skepticism. I sighed before speaking.

 

"I slept with a man whom originally I thought was a professional male stripper until last Wednesday when I went to USC and discovered he was actually the professor for the class I spoke to, and dammit, he was freaking amazing in bed." The words left my mouth in a breathless, jumbled heap, and Ella simply sat there, blinking. 

 

"Damn...that's some crazy stuff." Then her face split into a huge grin. "You have to tell me more. How'd you two meet?"

 

So, for the next ten minutes, I caught Ella up on my encounters with Antonio, and in the end, she had the dreamiest look on her face. She'd always been a hopeless romantic--love stories were all she had ever read growing up. 

 

"Gee, I hope I find myself an Antonio soon," she said. 

 

"Oh, you will." I smiled at her. 

 

We spent an hour shopping at Westfield, and unlike Ella, I wasn't much of a shopaholic, so the whole time, she carried at least five bags in her hand while I only had one. 

 

A little after nine, we met up with Peter at Applebee's in Chatsworth for half-apps. Like usual, we ordered a bunch of mozzarella sticks, buffalo chicken wings, and chips and salsa. Ella and I both had a margarita to drink while Peter nursed a beer. 

 

"You wanna know something sad, Peter?", Ella spoke. 

 

"What?" 

 

"So, we've always been the three single friends who go out for half-apps every Friday, right?"

 

"Right." 

 

"Well, thanks to Sophia here, the number's dropping down to two now." She gave me a wink, playfully nudging me on the shoulder. 

 

I slightly choked on my drink. 

 

"Don't listen to her, Peter. I'm still single as a Pringle."

 

Peter's eyes lit up in amusement. 

 

"She fucked a guy. And not just any guy. He was the thermodynamics professor whose class she spoke to last week at USC," Ella said. 

 

"We'd already met before that day, though. Just to clarify." My cheeks were turning into tomatoes. 

 

Peter stared at us both then burst out laughing. 

 

"God, I love you two. And Sophia, way to go."

 

I smiled at him then turned to Ella. 

 

"Ella, I'm single still. Trust me. Just because I slept with a guy doesn't mean he automatically becomes my boyfriend."

 

"I had a threesome the other night, but you don't see me with two girlfriends now, do you?", Peter chimed in.

 

"You what?" My head whipped around to face him. Next to me, Ella's jaw was hanging wide open. 

 

"What? I'm just stating a fact," Peter said, taking a swig of his beer. 

 

Ella huffed, shaking her head. 

 

"I can't hear a single word of this anymore."

 

Peter and I shared a glance then we began to laugh so hard our stomachs hurt. Even Ella couldn't help joining in.

 

At the end of the day, it was always my friends who put a smile on my face. And I sure was glad to have them in my life. 

 

 

 

A/N- Hope you guys are enjoying this story! I can't believe it's already August; one month left til I'm back in school. I'll try to write as much as possible before then (: Remember to like and comment!

 
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